Friday Miscellany: Distractions - une femme d'un certain âge

Friday Miscellany: Distractions

Colorful fall outfit in cool tones. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

Between some scheduled household projects as well as little nuisance issues that kept cropping up, I’ve fallen a bit behind this week. So today, a few random bits and bobs.

Above, another fall outfit idea in cool shades.

Scarf | Tee | Vest | Fragrance | Pants | Bag | Shoes

(Today only, J.Crew has 50% off all outerwear with code COZY!)

We’ve been watching…

Cable Girls, a Spanish series on Netflix, set in Madrid in the early 1930's. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

To wind down in the evenings, we’ve been taking Gigi for nightly walks after dinner, and then watching mostly lighter fare. Someone recommended “Cable Girls” on Netflix, another fun Spanish soap opera, this time set in the late 1920’s – early 1930’s. We’ve just finished season 2. The costumes are fantasicas, and my ear is getting more attuned to the Castillian Spanish.

Family Business on Netflix. This French series is really funny! Details at une femme d'un certain age.

Another series we are really enjoying is “Family Business.” This one’s set in Paris. When the Hazan family’s Kosher butcher shop seems headed for failure, they decide to go into the weed business on the presumption that it’s about to be legalized. (You may recognize Liliane Rovère from “Dix Pour Cent.” She’s given more to do here as grand-mère, and is delightful.)

“The Duchess” is a fun, very raunchy British series about a single mom and her complicated relationships. While it’s not as nuanced as “Fleabag,” if you liked that you may want to check this one out.


I’m still working my way through “The Mirror & The Light,” by Hilary Mantel, the third book in the Wolf Hall trilogy. It’s quite engaging, but it’s also very dense. If I put it aside for any amount of time, I find I have to go back and re-read the last few pages to re-orient myself in the story.

Also on my nightstand: “The New Parisienne: The Women and Ideas Shaping Paris” by Lindsey Tramuta. If you’ve ever been frustrated by the narrow stereotype of la Parisienne, you will enjoy this book. Tramuta has interviewed and profiled several women who are activists, artists, politicians, “disruptors” and more, a diverse and fascinating cross section of modern women.

(Though I’ve provided links, if you have a local independent bookstore, I encourage you to purchase there.)

What have you been enjoying watching and/or reading lately?

Stay in touch.

Affiliate links in posts may generate commissions for See my complete disclosure policy here.


  1. Sandra
    September 25, 2020 / 1:54 am

    We just finished three seasons of “Borgen” on Netflix, about Denmark’s first Prime Minister. The acting is wonderful, especially the lead actress. A total delight!

    “A Woman of No Importance “ by Sonia Purcell is an interesting read about an American woman who was a spy in France during WWII.

    If you’re enjoying the Castilian Spanish, check out “Velvet”, also on Netflix. It’s not as good as “Cable Girls”, more of a telanovela!

    • Tricia
      September 25, 2020 / 6:02 am

      I am also loving Borgen! Such a good series!

  2. Lagatta de Montréal
    September 25, 2020 / 2:51 am

    I love the colour of the forest green (deep spruce) cords; definitely among my colours. Don’t know whether they’d fit though; I’m very much an hourglass, even more after losing some unwanted weight (though I have to be careful, as I’d completely lost my appetite, which can be dangerous). I’m able to eat small portions (a tapas dish) of nutritious food again now. I don’t wear pastels.

    Those TV programmes look good and such divine costumes on the cable girls. I’m most familiar with Cono Sur Spanish, but have worked at enough conferences and events to understand lisping Castillian. I’d love to see “Family Business” – what is the title in French?

  3. Susan
    September 25, 2020 / 4:28 am

    I thoroughly enjoyed the final book in Mantel’s Thomas Cromwell trilogy and was disappointed she didn’t receive a Booker Prize nomination. Have just started Ken Follett’s prequel to Pillars of the Earth and a book which critiques (and is critical of Intersectionality) I like to read non fiction to keep my brain active and fiction for relaxation. Just finished Away on Netflix, which I found a tedious slog, but will give Cable Girls a shot as I really enjoyed the Spanish series about the nurses in Morocco (can’t remember the series name). I love listening to them speaking Spanish, but certainly need to have the English subtitles on.

    • September 25, 2020 / 4:32 pm

      Morocco: Love in the Time of War. We LOVED it and were sorry there was no Season 2. Sorry you didn’t enjoy Away; we can’t wait for Season 2. Not sure we’ll still be alive when we finally land people on Mars. It will definitely be exciting.

  4. Julie
    September 25, 2020 / 4:37 am

    Hi Susan
    There are so many ads flashing today I cant read the content.
    There is a banner that runs across the bottom 25 percent of the screen that I cannot x out and obliterates the photos. Impossible to see the photos and read at the same time.
    On the right constant flashing for John Deere tractors and huggies diapers. Why?
    Im a long term subscriber but this is becoming a bit much.

    • Bea
      September 25, 2020 / 5:24 am

      Julie…same thing here. Tons of ads all over, but I’m finding the same on 2 other bloggers I follow. Amazingly, the other over 50 blogs have none at all.

    • Susan Blakey
      September 25, 2020 / 5:47 am

      You should be able to close out the ad at the bottom by clicking the X to the right of the ad. (On a smart phone the text “close ad” will appear to the right.) On my phone, the bottom ad only appears on about the bottom 10% of the screen. I’ll check the settings to be sure nothing’s changed. Thanks for letting me know.

      • Julie
        September 25, 2020 / 6:06 am

        They hide the X off screen.

        • Susan Blakey
          September 25, 2020 / 6:06 am

          What device are you using? I’m able to see it on all of my devices. If you let me know, and who the advertiser it, I can report the issue.

          • Julie
            September 25, 2020 / 8:17 am

            It’s fine on my iPhone.
            iPad mini is a mess. Other iPad problematic as well.
            Thanks for following up.

          • Lauren
            September 25, 2020 / 5:26 pm

            I am on a MacBook….Safari. All the ads are on the right side of my screen except one that is a band about an inch wide at the bottom of my screen. All of them have an “X” but I don’t bother…I just read the left side and scroll right on past the ads

      • Patrish
        September 25, 2020 / 9:33 am

        The X gets rid of the ad but a new one pops up elsewhere.
        Like playing Wackamole.
        It’s very distracting and repetitive and simply annoying.
        Too bad the ads can’t be a bit controlled.

        • Susan Blakey
          September 25, 2020 / 10:22 am

          There should not be any popup ads that cover content. If you see one, please let me know the advertiser and I’ll report it.

          • Julie
            September 25, 2020 / 6:14 pm

            Ads were from John Deere and Huggies diapers.

    • Lagatta de Montréal
      September 25, 2020 / 7:19 pm

      That’s a weird assortment. Does tractor guy have a large family?

  5. Diane B
    September 25, 2020 / 5:43 am

    Ooooo, I love the fashion in the Cable Girls shot above. I will have to go looking for that one. Of course I will need subtitles. My reading is sporadic lately and is all over the place topic wise. Most days I just need to spend a good amount of time outdoors to imagine a normal life, actually that is my normal life..ha.As for the readers with the ad problems, I can’t imagine reading on a small device as I use my laptop for most and don’t have a problem. Perhaps two in the content and maybe a sidebar. The cost of keeping up a blog of this calibre means there has to be income of some sort and I am quite willing to accept that.

    • Lagatta de Montréal
      September 25, 2020 / 7:20 pm

      I’m nor opposed to bloggers having ads. Just when they cover the content or make it unreadable.

  6. Rebecca Ford
    September 25, 2020 / 5:47 am

    I listened to The Mirror and the Light on Audible and it was superb. The actor who played Cromwell on stage narrates brilliantly and it’s much easier to follow the different characters because of their different voices. His vocalization of Henry VIII is perfection. I covered a lot of miles on my walks because I “”couldnt put it down”.

  7. Eva Popovich
    September 25, 2020 / 5:55 am

    Thanks so much for the “bits and bobs”! Extremely helpful. Hope you have a good, and restful, weekend.

  8. Bonnie
    September 25, 2020 / 5:59 am

    The New Parisienne is a wonderful book about some amazing Paris. And having visited Paris and France multiple times, I agree it is time to give up the stereotype of the French woman who is always chic and never gains weight. Take a ride on the metro and one will see the normal French woman – not that different from us. It’s interesting that Lindsey is writing these interesting books that go beyond the superficial ideas of a woman’s French life and isn’t French herself. Sometimes fresh eyes see more clearly. Enjoy the read

    • Lagatta de Montréal
      September 25, 2020 / 8:26 am

      Yes, especially once gets past the most posh arrondissements not everyone is chic (though there are some very chic girls and women in more working-class areas – which is also true in North America and many other places). Actually the short Vogue article on the book struck me as very accurate (I’ve also spent considerable time in Paris, and most was not as a tourist). I’ll manage to read it somehow – NOT via Amazon.

      • Bonnie
        September 25, 2020 / 10:25 am

        I ordered the book from my neighborhood independent bookstore. I paid a bit more than I would have on Amazon. It felt right to support a store that is working hard to stay afloat in these tough times.

        • Susan Blakey
          September 25, 2020 / 10:30 am

          Thank you! Neighborhood bookstores (and libraries) are such a great resource and worth supporting!

  9. Bette
    September 25, 2020 / 6:12 am

    I’m reading every Haruki Murakami novel I can get my hands on.

    Re the ads. I use adblocking software (free) and I see no ads on your site. Love it.

    • Carolyn
      September 25, 2020 / 6:30 am

      I agree re ads. I use ad blocking software also. Just get it, everybody.

      • Téa
        September 25, 2020 / 6:47 am

        can you please recommend THE adblocking software you use??

        • Kim
          September 25, 2020 / 11:45 am

          I use Ublock Origin, it’s free. Works well. But I only read blogs on my laptop so I’ve no idea how it works on other devices.

        • Bette
          September 25, 2020 / 4:11 pm

          I use AdBlock Plus for Firefox. It works perfectly, and it’s free.

    • Susan
      September 25, 2020 / 4:02 pm

      I’ve read my first Murakami novel and I agree I will definitely be looking for more!

  10. September 25, 2020 / 6:58 am

    I’m in a film-noir club, organized by a theater critic who really knows the genre and who has supplied us with a syllabus. Many of these films from the late 1940s and early 1950s are short–under 80 minutes–and many are available free on YouTube or Prime. Highlights so far have included “Gun Crazy” (1950), “The Reckless Moment” (1949), “Pickup on South Street” (1953), and “Night and the City” ((1953), the latter two starring the inimitable Richard Widmark. If you go down this deliciously dark path, be sure to check out “czar of noir” Eddie Muller’s intros and outros, most of which are available on YouTube.

    Reading: I’m wrapping up Kurt Andersen’s “Evil Geniuses: The Unmaking of America,” which I reviewed today on my blog. I also read a novella, “The Blank Wall,” on which one “The Reckless Momen,” was based; it was written by Elizabeth Sanxay Holding, whom none other than Raymond Chandler called “the top suspense writer of them all.”

  11. Francesca. B.
    September 25, 2020 / 7:10 am

    I am really loving The Restaurant on Sundance TV a three part Swedish series that takes you from 1945 to the 60’s gorgeous costumes and swedish life. There is also The Split with Nicola Walker, (fantastic actress) which is on Amazon and Sundance about a British family of divorce lawyers and their entanglements. And Last Tango in Halifax is just abou to begin, the new season on PBS this Sunday, which is wonderful, all about two very different families who collide together when the two eldest members fall in love.
    I normally love Hillary Mantel but the latest one is very difficult to “get in” so it is still sitting there. Meanwhile I have been chasing through all the books by Jane Harper an Australian crime writer. Gritty and fun to read.

  12. September 25, 2020 / 7:20 am

    I am watching Downton Abbey again. Talking about breathtaking costumes, settings and acting. Superb. But thanks for the tips. I will see whether Netflix the Netherlands is also featuring them.

  13. Sandra J
    September 25, 2020 / 7:28 am

    Thank you for the Netflix recommendations. I’m looking forward to checking out your suggestions.

    I’m an audiobook fan. If you haven’t listened to audiobooks, be warned that the enjoyment factor with audiobooks is directly related to the quality of the reader. I books which I can highly recommend for both the story and the delivery of same. First, The Art Forger by BA Shapiro is a fun read about a modern day art forger and a Degas painting and just how far people will go to further their ambitions. Here is a YouTube promotional video by the author to pique your interest.

    The other book is A Hundred Suns by Karin Tanabe. Below is a link to the review on GoodReads.
    Though I’m sure these novels are both just as enjoyable in a regular book format, I found the audiobooks thoroughly enjoyable and hard to turn off! Enjoy!

  14. Olena R.
    September 25, 2020 / 8:25 am

    I would like to recommend this series to you.
    Made in Italy (2019) About fashion of the 70s through the eyes of a young journalist girl. Our youth and our fashion.
    I have been reading your blog for three years , but I just decided to write something.

  15. Alexis I
    September 25, 2020 / 9:18 am

    Hi, I noticed some comments about flashing ads – I’m not experiencing this at all on your site, so I thought that I would share the blockers I use. I use Privacy Badger for trackers and Adblock Plus to block ads. Needless to say, neither company is supporting me to share this info, just a personal suggestion!

  16. Nancy MK
    September 25, 2020 / 9:19 am

    A person I admire read War and Peace after Septrember 11th so I read that, a great soap opera. Then we watched 4 film versions of the story. Then I began Anna Karenina. Nothing like Old Russia for escaping to a different time although there are similarities as in all time comparisons. Then began studying Russian, very diverting because it requires total concentration. So nice to know I can order 2 vodkas. This may be useful one day….

  17. Patrish
    September 25, 2020 / 9:38 am

    One more thought: Why run the ads if it forces everyone to use an ad blocker?

  18. Lorraine
    September 25, 2020 / 11:44 am

    love this outfit! and the fragrance pairing- just like they do in the Nordstrom looks. Do you own this fragrance? I love the Serge Lutens line- so happy they started to carry it at Nordstrom’s. Check out Un Bois Vanille for fall. it’s like roasting marshmallows over a campfire- cozy, woodsy, sweet.

    • Susan Blakey
      September 25, 2020 / 11:47 am

      Thanks! I tried this fragrance a couple of years ago and it’s been on my wishlist since. I may break down and get it this fall.

  19. Cee
    September 25, 2020 / 2:44 pm

    My first and favorite Spanish series was The Gran Hotel, a little like Downton, but funny. You see a lot of the same actors in these series and they are all very entertaining.

  20. Susan
    September 26, 2020 / 3:34 am

    Just as I was despairing of ‘nothing to watch’, a great new Israeli thriller series, ‘Tehran’ turned up. Also season 4 of Fargo is released Sunday evening and a rsther quirky Australian crime series, Mr Inbetween, later in October. So all is good – just waiting for Season 4 of Handmaids Tale, just having binge watched the last 3 seasons, along with Wolf Hall.

  21. RoseAG
    September 26, 2020 / 5:37 am

    I’m still working away on “The Mentalist.” I think there was a screenwriters strike around seasons 5-6, and then the plot of the show fell apart and I didn’t watch all the episodes when they aired originally. But I’m working through them now.
    We watched “Borgen” years ago, it wasn’t available streaming we had to get the DVDs to see it. I’m thinking about watching it again, the ad on Netflix says it’s been redubed.

  22. Cindy B.
    September 26, 2020 / 6:41 am

    Thank you so much for featuring some cool tone outfits. I originally started following your blog because your previous color palette matched mine and I got so many good ideas for my wardrobe. If you could include cool-tone outfit ideas (since you know them so well) as well as your new palette (that suits you so well) it would be a win-win for us all. Thank you so much for providing a beacon of light into the closets of many of us older women who love looking smart and being comfortable too.

  23. Mae
    September 27, 2020 / 7:10 am

    Vests a long time fav. Recently ordered white even though didn’t want one with collar, popular this season.
    I discovered “Politician” on Netflix. Fun to have on while doing something does not involve my complete attention. Live alone so voices (wonderful Jessica Lange) make great background.

    September 28, 2020 / 9:55 am

    We’ve taken to watching (many) foreign programs to assuage the travel deficit. Highly recommend “Seaside Hotel”, a Danish series; it’s truly delightful. We’ve also enjoyed the Rick Stein food travel series sets, though the Mediterranean, Asia, India, Europe; and Long Weekends; all with some history, culture, and of course food and recipes.

    Love seeing your color transformation journey, and greatly appreciate your blog!

  25. Lee
    October 8, 2020 / 2:41 am

    I loved a book about Paris in the time of Sartre and de Beauvoir and the other artists and writers called LEFT BANK by Agnes Poirier. Fascinating. Really miss going to Paris!

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