The year that was (well, almost) …

Happy hols. It’s Boxing Day here (named for when the servants of the rich used to have the day off after working on Xmas and were given their Christmas ‘box’) which is a day off in a week that few people will be working here. It used to drive me crazy that all the European et al clients were relaxing the week between Xmas and New Year but the one American client was working, of course. So, because I did shifts for them, I was working too. No longer, as I resigned from that client at the end of 2021 – and certainly no regrets.

I ended up spending an hour at the walk-in centre nearby on Xmas day due to very painful chest cold. Otherwise, Hannukah and Xmas have been very pleasant. I think my fave gift is a mini olive tree. It tends to be warm enough here that it will mostly live outside.

(This is my amaryllis for this year. The low bloom is done. The second stalk is
now two-foot high and hasn’t opened yet. I buy a ‘holiday’ bulb
each year. When it’s done it gets planted in nearby field.)

In any case, the next time I write will be the new year so I thought I’d do my review now.

A number of things stood out for me on various fronts. Maybe you’ll recognise or agree with a few.


In the latter half of this year I have gone on fairly endlessly about By Kilian Dark Lord. I tried this on paper during a rushed-off-my-feet visit to London over the summer at Harrods and have been obsessing about it ever since. I will definitely be trying on skin in the new year as early as I can manage.

This is a perfume where the noir name actually fits the fragrance. It’s a leather scent to the max. Finding a sample has proved close to impossible. Nothing on the sample sites here and while eBay has it the seller is in the US and postage is silly money (on top of silly money for a few drops of juice). For sure I will write about this when I do finally get to sample on skin.

My other fragrance standout for the year is recent. I read about Lush Turmeric Latte about a week ago and immediately ordered it unsniffed. Lush does some perfumes that get serious plaudits but I haven’t tried anything of theirs for ages even though there’s a Lush shop in the closest decent-sized town.

Anyway, short comment on this I read said gourmand – ie, vanilla, turmeric, milk. I’ve had a turmeric latte once and it was fine. I am big of chai lattes. This starts with that weird, scratchy thing turmeric has going. It then does what it says of the package: slightly Middle Eastern spicy, slightly sweet, milky. It never gets too sweet – comforting, a bit weird, very pleasant. For £30 for 30ml well worth it.


I don’t currently own a telly and haven’t for several years. If I want to watch something at this point I do it on the computer or the iPad and mostly that’s fine. I’m not anti-television – I just got rid of an old one and a new one is fairly low of my list of needs. I got twitchy when Gardeners’ World finished for this year but that happens every year. However, about a week later I noticed the BBC making noise about a new series called The English. Touted as a Western but different the write-ups were strangely fulsome when you could find them – ie, for something that was supposed to be a big deal the commentary initially was oddly muted.

I finally carved out an evening to watch the first episode and that was it: hooked and binge-watched the rest. Emily Blunt and Ceske Chase (the only thing I’d seen him in was a Twilight film which isn’t much of a recommendation but he’s a revelation in this) — the protagonists, an English ‘lady’ and a Pawnee man — are remarkable whether on their own or together. This has all the trappings of a Western but stood on their heads. Beautiful, weird, beautifully acted, appalling. The last TV series I watched was a French police procedural, Spiral (Engrenages). In any case, I will watch The English again – because it needs rewatching for all kinds of reasons.


As I’ve said in the past, I read for work but I also read for relaxation etc. Most of the non-work reading is fiction – in fact, I’d say 99%. I follow various series, I like mysteries, crime stuff, a large dollop of magical realism in anything.

However, a while ago a friend recommended Empire of Pain, the book about OxyContin, Purdue Pharma and the Sackler dynasty. I hmmm’d etc and always found something else.

About a month ago, for no reason I can’t remember now, I finally ordered Empire of Pain. The friend who recommended this said it took her a while to get through it, that it was ‘dense’.

Uh, what? How to describe this if you haven’t read it? History, social commentary – what happens when you are amoral and driven by greed and self-aggrandisement. It reads like a novel in that the author writes beautifully and is a spectacular scene-setter and narrator. I sometimes thought that was a negative because he made something appalling so compelling.

But in the end the awfulness does come to the fore. Perhaps that doesn’t sound like much of a recommendation – and this is a thoroughly enraging and depressing book. But it is so worth reading and it is definitely an object lesson.

So, that’s me for this (almost) past year. How about you? Things that had an impact? Recommendations?

Pics are Pexels and mine


  • Tom says:

    I’ve ben terribly dull- not reading or watching but re-reading and re-watching. The only “new” thing I’ve been watching are “The Closer” and “Major Crimes” which I never saw when they were first run wherever they were first run. Liking them a lot, though. I watched the first Ep of “Wednesday” and enjoyed it, but not enough to tune in for the rest in a binge.

    Lush has a store in Century City, literally a mile or two down the boulevard from me. Have I gone? Er, no. That mall has grown to 3 times the size without adding a parking space and the bus stop is a wait-through-three-lights to cross the street affair. That and I am a lazy sot.

  • Portia says:

    Hey Cinnamon,
    Australia didn’t even get that LUSH perfume and all the bath bombs are sold out in it. BUMMER! Yes, I went straight and looked.
    Also, I’m going to buy that book on the Kindle but as with so many others I’ll probably never read it.
    Now I’m going to put The English up for Jin and my next series. We rewatched the Hunger Games trilogy over the XMAS period and I’ve just finished all three seasons on the Jack Ryan series with Emily Blunt’s dude JK.

    Porta xx

    • cinnamon says:

      I never do blind buys so this was strange and a very pleasant result. Def The English. Well worth binging on.

  • morgana62 says:

    Thank you for giving +++ to the superbly acted and beautiful cinematography in “The English”. I could not take my eyes off the performance by Rafe Spall as David Melmont. Mesmerizing and at times, hard to watch.

    • cinnamon says:

      It is a great series. I’m confused though as to why they called it Series 1. How would they manage to keep it going, on what basis?

  • March says:

    I didn’t go to Maine for Christmas and by last week I was glad I didn’t — I don’t know that I would have gotten there given the huge storm, and then their power was out for two days! It’s back on now, they are “doing” Christmas this morning due to Tobin’s work schedule (she’s a nurse, worked through the holidays.) I miss them but this was a good year to stay home; we mailed our presents. I went to a concert on Christmas Eve and spent yesterday afternoon having a nice Christmas Dinner at a friend’s. I haven’t read anything recently that I feel like raving about, but I think I’ll look up those Alan Bradley books mentioned below; our library has them (just checked) and I love that genre. This is the time of year for light, fun, cozy reading for me which I am guessing they are even though they are murder mysteries lol. I hope you are feeling better.

    • cinnamon says:

      Weather in the US looks very scary. Good you didn’t try to travel. And glad the kids were able to celebrate amidst the chaos. Hope all turns out ok.

  • Dina C. says:

    Lovely wrap up, Cinnamon. You introduced things in every category which I haven’t heard of and/or haven’t tried. I’m closing in on having read 150 books this year. My kindle tracks the number. I check them out on the Libby library app. It’s awesome. My best rec is Alan Bradley’s series of mysteries featuring narrator-sleuth-chemist-sasspot Flavia who is 11 years old and her bicycle Gladys. The books are set in 1950, English village, but written recently. Mr. Bradley is Canadian and in his 70s. Brilliant! I tore through all ten books in two weeks. They’re that scrumptious. Start with “The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie.”

    • March says:

      I just checked and our library has those Alan Bradley books, they look fun, I’m going to pick one up. Thank you!

    • cinnamon says:

      Will look at that series. I read all over the map, including good YA. That book name is lovely.

  • Tara C says:

    This was a tough rollercoaster of a year but things are looking up. Financially at a low ebb, but at least everyone is healthy and happy. My current perfume infatuation is Encens Suave by Matière Prémière, a gourmand incense. Just ordered another one today, Merchant of Venice Mystic Incense, a blind buy because I am crazy that way, but I have always wanted one of those gorgeous bottles and it is compared to Encens Suave.

    I didn’t smell Dark Lord because I assumed it would be too masculine for me but now I’m intrigued. I did love and buy immediately Woman in Gold, as it smells like vintage Rochas Tocade to me.

    • Phyllis Iervello says:

      I am glad someone else likes Encens Suave besides me as I have heard a lot of negative comments about it.

    • cinnamon says:

      It’s been something of a strange year. Glad things are looking up for you. Oh, don’t let the ‘masculine’ noise around Dark Lord keep you from testing it.

  • alityke says:

    Oh no, having to go to a Walk In Centre on Christmas Day must have been a PITA. Hope you got what you needed from them.
    I’m afraid the most impactful things in the past year have been mum’s declining health & behaviour & DH’s diagnosis & treatment. I shall be starting 2023 from a low ebb.
    The high spot perfume wise has been the release of Shalimar Millisime Tonka. I love it so much I bought a back up! Not done that in years. Needless to say it was my Christmas Day scent.
    I’m grateful that both my boys now have there own homes, both are well & happy.
    I wish you, the Posse & fellow readers a happy, healthy & safe 2023

    • cinnamon says:

      You really have had a difficult year. Strangely, it didn’t take long at the walk-in centre and I am supremely glad it exists. The bigger one in the bigger town has been closed for some reason. And while there were other people at the centre it wasn’t as many as I was expecting given this has been an awful covid/flu/cold season. Haven’t done that Shalimar. Will add to the sniff list.