Thursday, 28 January 2021

The January Round Up

 So usually my January post would be a bit of a round up including the usual the good, the bad and the ugly dress purchases from the previous 12 months, and maybe a few of the things I’m looking forward to in the next few months.Obviously last year was an extraordinary year... 

Certainly the year started well, I went to a ‘January Sale’ vintage fair and made purchases there and elsewhere, all of which definitely fell under the good, bad & ugly definition! (When will I ever learn??) I went to a cool theatre production set in a real courtroom, I had tickets for Beautiful the musical in August and the Chelsea Flower Show in May which had been on my bucket list for years. I had managed to persuade Himself to have more than just a long weekend away and quickly booked a week in Cornwall before he changed his mind, and I was signed up for 4 events at the Oxford Literary Festival. So much to look forward too.

The week we went into lockdown I was actually on holiday with dates set and tickets booked for the Bright Young Things exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery and the Kimono; Kyoto to Catwalk Exhibition at the V&A. Instead both venues closed, and I ended up cancelling my leave to dash into the office to collect my work laptop and anything else from my desk I thought I might need to work from home for a few months. I never expected to still be working from home nearly a year later. 

I started to adjust to the new normal. It wasn’t easy and there have definitely been more downs than ups. Whilst I thank god we have remained well I’ve had the sad and sobering experience of seeing people I know as well as friends I care about getting sick or having family members die. I will never fathom the covid deniers and anti maskers, never. 

Like many I plunged into gardening with a passion and comfort ate with the best of them. As I said to a colleague it’s a good job I’m not in the office right now because none of my clothes fit! 

I tried to go out and walk. Himself signed up for a couple of virtual challenges and by the end of the year had pounded the pavements and clocked up an impressive 1500 miles, lost a shedload of weight (damn him) and general got fitter.

 I started small with a 21 mile challenge and then another for 31 miles in September because who wouldn’t want this awesome elephant medal? This walking plan didn’t start so well as Himself was well into his challenge and was walking far and fast, whilst I was out of practice overweight and unfit! I drove him mad walking too slowly and only for 3 or 4 miles before I had to give up and go home, in the end I stopped going out. I then moaned about being unfit and over weight so we struck a compromise. I would go out with him a couple of times a week and we would walk at my pace for a few miles I would then branch off and go home and he would crack on for another 10 or 12 miles. I was slowly building up my distance and sometimes I would carry on without him at my own speed. This all slid off towards the end of the year but after the excesses of Christmas I knew enough was enough. 

I have been watching what I eat but still allowing the odd treat like chips & wine, I also signed up for a new and bigger challenge. I’m doing the Cabot Trail because I liked the medal (yes I am that shallow) and it also reminded me of Murder She Wrote and Angela Lansbury which was set in the fictitious town of Cabot Cove!

It’s 184 miles long and I started it on a very foggy 1st January, so far I have done 65 miles. 

I am walking every other day and my speed and distance are improving. I have still been doing my pilates class though hugely frustratingly my frozen shoulder has meant I have been able to do less and less of the class. I have also reduced by caffeine intake dramatically to try and help with the mad night sweats. It’s been interesting to see how alcohol affects those. I may well do more experimenting on this but so far spiced rum & coke is a big trigger (weeps) wine less so and beer not so much at all. Of course there is no way I will ever stop drinking the rum, but I’m limiting it to a Friday or Saturday night so it doesn’t matter so much if I have a crap night’s sleep and want to have a lie in the next day! 

A plus of lockdown is having more time to read which has been bliss. I got quite a few books for Christmas as you can see above, but I am trying to resist dipping into the new ones until I have cleared some of the ones that have been in my book mountain for years now. Having said that I dived straight into the Peanuts one on Christmas morning I loved it. 

I’ve noticed a few blogs listing what they read last year so I shall add my list at the end of this post so you can skip over it if you really couldn't care less about my reading habits. I have used Goodreads for several years now as a sort of virtual bookshelf and I always sign up for their annual reading challenge. On Goodreads you rate the books from one star to five and whilst I didn’t actually give up on any this year some were definitely better that others. 

Just because I’ve got fatter doesn’t mean I stop shopping I just move from clothes to accessories! 

As you can see I had a bit of a brooch splurge.The suns and the boats were job lots. 

I also got this fabulous Erstwilder one from Himself for Christmas. Ok so I just might have bought it as soon as the collection dropped because I knew it would sell out instantly, and then given it to him to give me for Christmas, but as my favourite Peanuts character has always been Linus this was a no brainer. 

Oh and make-up. My favourite ever eye liners are Urban Decay so I may have invested in some when they had an offer on. I also thought I'd try one of their eye shadow palettes. The handbags keep coming

 and still keep coming, I have added to the collection with several more since these!

At least the days are getting longer, I woke up to the most gorgeous sky last week so ran downstairs and grabbed the camera and hung out of the bathroom window to get a shot. 

Onwards and upwards.

I'll finish up with my list, I’ve highlighted in bold any I gave a score of 4 or more on Goodreads.


Among the Bohemian: Experiments in Living 1900-1939 – Virginia Nicholson

Duplicate Death – Georgette Heyer

Last of the Giants: The true story of Guns N’ Roses – Mick Wall

Hollywood Rocks!: The ultimate guide to 1980’s Hollywood rock and roll scene – Michael Rocchio

Detection Unlimited – Georgette Heyer

Courtesans: Money, Sex and Fame in the 19th Centuary – Katie Hickman

Marianna North: A very intrepid painter – Michelle Payne

A Century of Bags – Claire Wilcox

No Wind of Blame - Georgette Heyer

Dear Mrs Bird – AJ Pearce

Nautical Chic – Amber Butchart

Watching You – Lisa Jewell

The Family Upstairs – Lisa Jewell

The Glittering Hour – Iona Grey

A House of Ghosts – WC Ryan

The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle – Steven Turton

Queenie Malone’s Paradise Hotel – Ruth Hogan

Corsets and Codpieces: A History of Outrageous Fashion – Karen Bowman

Before the Coffee gets Cold – Toshikazu Kawaguchi

The Love Child – Rachel Hore

Bags – Claire Wilcox

Nigel, My Family and Other Dogs – Monty Don

Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day – Winifred Watson

Arthur: The dog who crossed a jungle to find a home – Mikael Lindnord

Longbourn – Jo Baker

The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy – Rachel Joyce

Maisie Dobbs – Jacqueline Winspear

Historical Noir: The Pocket Essential Guide to Fiction, Film & TV  - Barry Forshaw

Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race – Reni Eddo-Lodge

The Cleaner of Chartres – Sally Vickers

The Picture House by the Sea – Holly Hepburn

Appetite for Dysfunction : A Cautionary Tale – Vicky Hamilton

The Riviera Set – Mary Lovell

The Trick to Time – Kit de Waal

Once Upon a River – Diane Setterfield

The Foundling – Stacey Halls

Rebecca’s Tale – Sally Beauman ( the only book I gave a 5 star review!)

Drawn to the Edge – John Threlfall

The Street of Wonderful Possibilities: Whistler, Wilde and Sargent in Tite Street – Devon Cox

Art Deco Masterpieces of Art – Janet Tyson

Twenties London : A City in the Jazz Age – Cathy Ross 

Alice Diamond and The Forty Elephants: Britain’s First Female Crime Syndicate – Brian McDonald

The Land Girl – Allie Burns

The Good Pilot Peter Woodhouse – Alexander McCall Smith

Tombland – CJ Sansom

The Peanuts Book – Simon Beechcroft 




  1. Thanks for sharing your reading list, I've just added your name to the list of friends who've shared their reads on my blog. Some interesting choices, there.
    I'm drooling over some of those handbags.
    Hasn't himself done well with his walking? Well done for signing up to do that trail, too.
    What a nusiance about the rum & coke sweats! xxx

  2. What a year. The brooch and handbag gods were good to you at least.
    I had to stop running in November after several years of doing long distances. I haven't really found anything I enjoy to replace it. My neighbourhood isn't terribly pedestrian friendly.

  3. Love the brooches - especially the sailor one! Going to have a good look at your book recommendations. Need to get more reading done and now is the perfect time! Liz

  4. I always love having a peek at people's reading lists, almost as good as having a peek at their actual libraries. I'm trying to be good and take note of the books I'm reading this year as well.
    Well done for signing up to those challenges!
    I'm swooning over the brooches and handbags! There are some absolute beauties there! xxx

  5. I've read 5 of those on your list and quite fancy some of the ones you read! I loved your brooches and the bags were fab. I like how you took the photos on the stairs; it looks very professional.

    Sorry you had to postpone some of the events - it's such a pain isn't it but better must come soon - as they say in Jamaican patois!

    Congratulations to you and himself on the walking. It's hard getting out there when the weather has been so crapulous; I know.

    Take care