Still, there have been more rainy days than we've bargained for and we've hardly seen more than a few hours of sunshine in the last two months.
When the weather forecast promised us a long-awaited sunny weekend, we did a little jig and made some plans.
But Saturday dawned with a persistent fog, against which the feeble January sun hardly stood a chance.
To cheer ourselves up, we decided on some retail therapy, in our case, of course, involving a trip to the charity shops! What an exciting life we are leading ...
A long overdue outing for this mellow yellow dress!
It's made from a heavy polyester fabric, which the label identifies as Crinklé Terylene. The bulk of the dress has got a simple, slightly shiny, yellow flower print on an off-white background, with strips of solid yellow accenting the collar and the fake pocket tabs. The buttons are covered in the same yellow fabric.
To break up the pattern I used a shiny vinyl belt in a caramel brown, echoing the hearts of the flowers in the print. My other accessories were amber coloured beads and a blue framed plastic flower brooch.
Another wear of my burnt orange tights! They seem to go with quite a lot of my outfits, so it's a good thing I was able to find another couple of pairs at the market stall. To balance it out, I added the chunky orange cardigan I charity shopped during the Christmas break.
The embellished brown boots (I love the cutouts at the top) were charity shopped as well, back in December.
In fear of getting bored with the coats and jackets I have on rotation, I pulled out this brown checked swing coat, which I found it at Oxfam about two years ago.
You've probably noticed my yellow beret, which I couldn't take off as my hair was all over the place. I also wore my green furry supermarket scarf (so soft and cosy!) and a pair of teal gloves. I love how my cardigan's orange cuffs are cheekily peeking out from under my coat sleeves ...
On to our shopping trip, which certainly wasn't a wasted one. Minutes after walking into shop number one, we spotted this plaster bust of a pale but blushing Mary and baby Jesus. Even though poor Mary has had an accident, they pair came home with us joining our little collection living on top of a bookcase in our front room.
I also found several items of new-to-me clothing. From top to bottom: a blue and pink cardigan from retro label Zoë Loveborn, a hairy green cardigan from Thelma & Louise (a ridiculously expensive Belgian label), a King Louie dress and a charcoal skirt in a fine charcoal corduroy fabric by River Woods.
If I'd bought these new, they would have cost me around € 300 - gasp! - so the € 19 I paid for all four items can be considered quite a bargain!
The sun was making headway through the clouds when we came out of shop number two so, as we were parked near the small park in Duffel, we wasted no time, threw our gear in the boot, grabbed the camera and went for a walk.
The perfect backdrop to show you my final finds of the day: these two miniature Spanish fans, for € 0,25 each. Even though they are tiny, they seem to be quite effective, so ideal for keeping in my handbag to combat any hot flushes en route.
The park in question is not very large, but always a joy to visit, with its imaginative planting, water garden with stone fountain, pond complete with waterfowl of all plumage, and access to the adjacent river's towpath.
But all is not well. Although the council is doing its utmost to keep it all nice and tidy, their well meant plans keep being thwarted by the resident hoodlums, who leave mountains of empty beer cans as well as a trail of destruction in their wake.
An avenue of newly planted trees had been decimated, several young saplings deliberately snapped off.
At least this tree was allowed to grow old and die gracefully and is now playing host to a colony of fungi.
As the sun was sinking lower, we made our way back to our car, with sore feet in my case, as my boots were definitely not made for any substantial walking.
Before I sign off, let me show you some of the bargains I bagged in the sales last week.
These rings were going at € 1 each in the closing down sale of an accessories shop.
Linking again to Patti's Visible Monday at Not Dead Yet Style!