The Pendants in Pendants and Paperbacks

Given my blog is called Pendants and Paperbacks, I’d better give pendants some air time.

I admire the way my mum dresses. I have since I was in my thirties and started looking out beyond myself. I had also become a mother and knew how difficult it was to pull on a non-food-plastered item of clothing and look half decent. At that time she no longer had children at home and being too self-centred before my thirties I probably didn’t notice the clothes she wore in a previous lifetime.

But when I did start noticing, I saw a fashionable woman in her fifties choosing outfits that complimented her figure and her colouring, and I noticed how she wore scarves. I loved her scarves. I loved the way she flung them nonchalantly around her neck where they would sit in perfect unison with her outfit. I wanted to be like her – stylish and scarf-savvy. But scarves made me look like a clothes horse pegged with damp socks, so for a while, I abandoned my mission to dress like her.

Then one day, quite by accident, I found my signature style with necklaces. I can’t remember the first necklace I bought or when or where I wore it. Nowadays I have a wall-hook filled with necklaces, and I never travel overnight without at least five to choose from.

Last year my husband and I went to Toulon, France. Yes, I took a bundle of necklaces, but I wasn’t leaving Toulon without at least one new one. We were there in time for the Christmas markets and one of the stalls was filled with necklaces (one was filled with huge slabs of chocolate but that’s a story for another day). The necklaces were a little more delicate than I normally wear but after trying on just about every one available I selected two. At that point, I had chosen my blog name, Pendants and Paperbacks, so I just had to get the one that looked like a pile of books. I loved the colours and the jagged stack – it was perfect. The other one was an asymmetrical cluster of geometrical shapes in red and black – my favourite combination.

One reason I went for more delicate choices is that I was shopping with my husband and anything more flamboyant wasn’t going to fly. Outside the Toulon Opera House, there was a woman selling the boldest and most outrageous neck ornaments (for they were so much more than a necklace or pendant) in huge floral arrangements. I loved them. But the look on my husband’s face told me not to buy one. Normally, I don’t kowtow to what he thinks but, if I’m honest, they felt a little too chichi even for me. But, you know how there are some non-purchasing decisions that you regret? This is one of mine. I wish I had bought one. Even if I had never worn it, it expressed so much about the person I can be but who often isn’t seen. Now, when I long to see them again, I realise we took no photos; we didn’t even get a business card or ask if she had a website. And, funniest of all, the Toulonaisse I am working with on my novel research says she has never seen or heard of the floral pendant lady who sits outside the Opera House!

Pendants and paperbacks, necklaces and books, signature style and favoured genre, whatever way you look at it stories and costume jewellery are my happy place.

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