Sunday, 28 June 2020

Bubbling up

If working only a two-day week might have given me oodles of time, one thing that hasn't changed is that I'm still lagging behind with my blogging time-line. As a rule, I'm writing about what I did and wore a week or more ago, but where in pre-Corona times my posts were firmly centred around my weekends, almost inevitably including my charity shop and flea market finds, my musings now cover weekdays as well. In my life as it is now, there is little or no distinction between weekdays and weekends anyway.

My none-office days are usually well filled, and I have yet to come across a boring moment. All the same, at the end of a day I'm often left wondering where the time went and what I've actually done with it.

Take Friday before last, for instance. My photographic record tells me what I've been wearing and, as it was a Friday, it must have included a visit to the garden centre. The rest is a bit of a blank as once again I forgot to make a journal entry.

With no further rain clouds on the horizon, and the weather's cruise control set to default sunshine, I dug this green embroidered peasant-blouse from my drawer of Summer tops. With its short, scalloped trumpet sleeves, it is an absolute joy to wear. A sales bargain from New Look about two years ago, this certainly isn't its debut on the blog, as it has proved to be surprisingly versatile. Here's how I wore it in August 2018 and again later that month.  It also came on holiday with me in June 2019, when I wore it to visit Powys Castle.

The skirt I decided would be its companion this time around was a cotton retro print circle skirt I'd found in a charity shop back in December. The black and white necklace was charity shopped as well, while the multi-coloured bracelet was a flea market find.

The stretchy belt, with its funky triangular pattern and mock tortoiseshell buckle, on the other hand, is brand new. It's one of two belts I picked up from an accessories shop in Antwerp during a rare lunch break outing the other week. 

Let's have a closer look at hat skirt, which is something of an oddity.  In spite of the fact that a label has been sewn in, I am sure that the skirt is handmade and that the label is a personalized one. It's got a visible red side zipper and features random felt circles and visible stitching on the front left side only. An unfinished project, perhaps? Whatever the case, it's quirky and I love it. On the off-chance that whoever created this skirt ever reads my blog, I'd love to hear its story! 

Our shopping list for the garden centre that day included a bag of compost as well as some plants to replace the unfortunate Tagetes which the slugs and snails in our garden had stripped down to some sorry looking stalks and one or two droopy half-eaten flowers.

Being a self-confessed plant-o-holic, we bought more than we'd bargained for, but we did get some Pot Marigolds (Calendula) and trailing Wax Begonias, which research ensured me weren't on the slimy creatures' menu.

There were some perennials to add to the new border as well, and I couldn't resist a shorter stemmed variety of Agapanthus, some Ox-eye Daisies and a pot of pink Snapdragons.

I'm pleased to note that the other Snapdragons which are dotted all over the garden have started blooming again after I'd cut them back a couple of weeks ago.

Back at home, I removed the remains of the Tagetes and put them into the compost bin, planting the Calendula in the space they'd vacated in the border. The trailing Begonia replaced the single Tagete which I'd been foolish enough to put in a planter teamed with Echinacea and purple and cream striped Petunias. A week later, and there's still no sign of any slug or snail damage. However, as if to spite us, the gastropods - as apparently they're officially called - have now moved on to the Petunias. Oh dear! 

On Saturday, I took advantage of the morning's cooler temperature to add the perennials we'd bought to the new border, noting that the lavender flowered Clematis had opened its first blooms.

As we expected our first visitors since before our semi-lockdown, I then changed into something celebratory for the afternoon, opting to wear one of my maxis.

I promised Vix first dibs on it in case I should I ever get tired of it, but somehow I don't think that will ever happen.  It's a 1970s Indian cotton Ritu Kumar for Roshafi dress with a quilted bodice and the most massive sleeves and was a lucky find in a charity shop back in November 2018.

My accessories of choice were a multi-coloured wooden beaded necklace, which was another charity shop find. The lilac suede shoes were an old retail buy from C&A, while the pink owl brooch is modern and came from a delightful little shop in Antwerp.

Now that we are allowed to extend our bubbles, it was about time that we met up with our friends Inneke and Maurice. 

We kept our distance as much as possible (in Belgium, this has always been 1,5 meters rather than the 2 meters which seems to be the rule elsewhere), and obviously we didn't hug or shake hands, but Inneke and I couldn't resist having this happy photo taken while sitting on our garden bench surrounded by a riot of flowers.

The eagle-eyed might have noticed that both Inneke and I are wearing the same brooch. She loves owls - she even has a face mask with an owl print - and she'd admired my brooch when she spotted me wearing it on Instagram a couple of weeks back. With her birthday coming up, I walked to the shop where I'd bought it one day during lunch break, crossing my fingers that they would still be stocking these.

I had to queue outside for a while as only two people were allowed into the shop at once, but it was definitely worth the wait, as I managed to snag the last of the owl brooches!

Inneke came bearing a gift for me as well: a gorgeous scarf clip tucked away inside a crocheted lidded box.

A lovely afternoon was had by all, involving coffee and cake and the mother of all catch ups!

As is often the case, I was feeling a bit morose on Sunday, but I've learned to my advantage that once I start tackling a job on my to-do list, I soon start feeling better.

With a heatwave forecasted for the week ahead, I wanted to be prepared and have a choice of lightweight cotton clothes at my disposal.  As most of them were still residing inside a suitcase from which they emerged all crumpled and creased, there was nothing for it but to have a good old ironing session.

Meanwhile, Jos had picked all the ruby red gooseberries, a whole colander full of them, from which he proceeded to make no less than five pots of jam!

I'm leaving you for now with the outfit I wore that day. 

Again, the odd one out was the raffia stretch belt with its round multicoloured buckle, which was the only retail purchase in my outfit. The denim button through skirt and floral cotton/polyester mix shirt were from Think Twice, while the bracelets and the brooch were charity shop and flea market finds respectively. The Clarks slingbacks came from a charity shop in Bridgnorth which we visited in June 2019 and, finally, the yellow beaded necklace was another gift from Inneke.

And then another four-day weekend was over, having passed almost as fast as a two-day one.

With another week in my so-called "new normal" coming up, all that's left is for me to bid you goodbye for now. Please do stay safe and positive, my friends!


  1. Whoever made that skirt had a fun sense of design-it is really wonderful. Also-how incredible is that Indian Maxi?!

    I'm happy to hear you were able to have friends over-that's such an important thing. I'm afraid it will be some time before anyone (well, anyone with any sense) can do the same in the US as we go careening into the point of no return.

    Gooseberry jam is a delight, and there's something so relaxing about making jam. What a gorgeous colour it has.

    Here's hoping you have a good week.

    1. Thank you Goody! I've been reading about the situation in the US, it sounds quite catastrophic. I'm glad we've got it more or less under control, but I'm not holding out much hope now that people are allowed to travel abroad. I'm not a big fan of jam, but this one is truly delicious! xxx

  2. Oh Ann what a wonderful Maxidress ❤️First I thinking about Vix 😄
    You look gorgeous in it. Yes I am an eagle eye and saw Inneke wearing the same brooche. So cute and an amazing gift.
    Did you ever had so much time for gardening? 😉🌺🌸
    I wish you a wonderful new week, with a very huge hug Tina

    1. Thank you so much Tina. Yes, it really is a "Vix" dress isn't it? I never had so much time for gardening indeed. Now all I need is better weather, as it has been raining on and off all week! xxx

  3. How lovely that you got to see Inneke and Maurice and that my favourite dress got to join in. I think you need to pack her when you visit next year, we can pose for a photo in our Ritu Kumar dresses! How pretty is that scarf clip?
    That first skirt is such fun. The print reminds me of the 1980s Top of the Pops graphics! The denim skirt is timeless and looks really chic with the red blouse and the shoes you bought in Bridgnorth (I remember how excited you were when you saw them).
    The garden is looking wonderful and I'm very impressed with Jos's jam.
    Guess where last night's Antique's Roadshow came from? Erddig! It was a repeat & must have been the same episode you saw recently.
    Our fine weather has abandoned us again, we've got a week of miserable temperatures and rain forecast. It's so dark this morning I've had to put the light on! xxx

    1. It was such a joy being able to catch up with our friends and it was pure coincidence that Inneke had also opted to wear a maxi. I'll definitely pack that dress next year, wouldn't that be fun? xxx

  4. love the first outfit with the unique skirt!
    how fab to have some friends over! you both look lovely in the dainty dresses on the bench between all the flowers and greenery. jos shirt is fab too and he´s posing like a super model :-D
    and *hhmmmm* gooseberrie jam! <3
    tons of hugsies! xxxxxx

    1. Thank you Beate! Both Inneke and I love that photo of the two of us very much. Oh and I agree about Jos and his supermodel pose ;-) xxx

  5. Beautiful outfits all of them. I love your purple maxi dress. The pattern is beautiful and the sleeves are so fabulous.
    It is so lovely you were finally able to have friends over.

    1. Your garden looks wonderful. Being a plantaholic doesn't sound bad to me especially when the end result is so beautiful. Great idea to pick up plants that snails don't like.

    2. Thank you Ivana! That dress was the luckiest of finds, and I agree that being a plant-o-holic isn't bad at all! xxx

  6. I've been wondering 'where the time went and what I've actually done with it'. I have reduced working hours (summer!) but it doesn't feel like I have more time. A whole evening goes by and I can't tell what I did!.
    Love your peasant blouse, its scalloped seams, its embroideries, and love the 'graphic fantasy' skirt with its distinctive 80's style, and these felt circles make a difference!, such an amazing detail!
    And love your maxi dress, its beautiful lavender and lilac shades, its sleeves and print!, everything is fabulous!. So lovely that you could have visitors at home and enjoy some chatting and catching up with friends!. And also love your owl brooch!
    Glad that you made some jam, I think it's relaxing (as Goody said!) and feels more rewarding when made of your own fruits!.
    And lovely floral shirt and denim skirt, such a cute combo, I really like red and denim!. And also cute matchy shoes!

    1. Phew, I'm glad I'm not the only one, Monica! It doesn't feel like I have more time either, even if I'm only working 2 days a week. How strange is that? xxx

  7. The circle skirt is fab - such a lovely print. As for the maxi dress it is absolutely lovely and lovely on you; what a great find! I also loved the scarf clip; it looks like an old Dutch Master painting.

    The snails and slugs are voracious beasts but I admire that you've researched what they don't eat and bought it. Why didn't I think of doing that? The hostas we've lost thanks to the gastropods...

    More beautiful plants for your garden; I'm a bit of a plantaholic, too. Still, there's worse things to be addicted to.

    The jam looks delicious. We have not a single gooseberry appear yet. Fingers crossed...

    Take care

    1. Thank you Vronni! I was so fed up with the slugs and snails eating my precious plants. I found a website with a list of slug-resistant plants and took it with me to the garden centre. I agree there's far worse things to be addicted to! xxx

  8. Love that retro skirt.
    You garden space is lovely.

  9. Wouldn't it be really funny if that person actually saw it! Let us know if she, or he, does! That maxi dress is so lovely! Donn't you just love to wear maxi dresses when it is so hot. And what a lot of gooseberries, wow. We had visitors to last weekend, it is good to chat with other people. It's energizing!

    1. It is indeed very energizing to chat with people and share experiences. I'm not holding out much hope of that person seeing my post, but you'll be the first to know! xxx

  10. Ah, what a lovely post, Ann. Your garden soothes me, and your wonderful outfits are balm for my athleisure-filled vistas here!

    That funky skirt is a mystery! It might just be a little "micro-label" company of one. I really love it, and love the peasant blouse with it.

    You are resplendent in your lavender dress! What a treasure! I've been eyeing my maxis and hoping for some warm weather soon so that I can wear them. Joss is very stylin' in his shirt, well done (and gooseberry jam too?).

    Your yellow accessories in the last outfit are so awesome.

    All the days feel the same to me. Time's slipping away so quickly! I can't believe it's July tomorrow.

    1. Thank you Sheila, and I'm glad to hear my garden soothes you! Yes, I do think it might be a micro-label company. I couldn't find anything on the Internet, but I'm not giving up the search just yet! xxx

  11. Can I be second in line after Vix please!? That dress looks Jane Austen meets India perfection!
    I really think you should take part in Style Imitating Art- you really do have the wardrobe for it! Join in sometime please!
    Your flowers are beautiful! I HATE the Gastropods! Such swines! They ate most of a runner bean plant last night. What with the blooming badger digging up and then the Snails eating everything, I'm getting quite cross!
    Isn't the Gooseberry jam beautiful! What a beautiful colour!

    1. Yes, you can Kezzie, and what an apt description. It does indeed have a certain Jane Austen vibe! xxx

  12. What a thoughtful present for your friend! That owl brooch is such a charmer - and how fun is that you now get to be accessories twinsies.

    Wishing you a sunny, safe and thoroughly terrific first week of July, dear Ann!

    Autumn Zenith 🧡 Witchcrafted Life

    1. Thank you so much Autumn. It's lovely to be brooch twinsies with my friend :-) xxx

  13. I read once that we over estimate what we can do in a day and under estimate what we can achieve in a year. This is certainly true for me, I always think I can tick so much more off my to-do list in a day than I actually ever do. But when I look back over a year I’m so surprised by how much has happened.

    I think I might’ve told you this before but I almost bought that green top from New Look too. I have top envy!

    I’d love to know the story of the skirt too. Sometimes when I sell an item of clothing on eBay I’m tempted to include a letter about the item, when and where I purchased it, what I’d worn it for, what I’d worn it with… but then I think people might think I’m a bit mad!

    I’d happily live without snails roaming the earth, little pests that they are!

    It’s so nice to be able to have garden visitors, we can now have people inside the house but I’m hazy on the rules. I’ll stick to outside visits and hope the sun comes out again soon.

    I like an ironing session to get stuck into to chase away the blues too, it’s a very therapeutic thing to do. If you see my looking distinctly un-crumpled it’s because I’ve needed a pick-me-up! hehe.

    Your gooseberry jam looks delicious, just look at the colour of it!

    take care

    1. Thank you Hazel! It helps if I write down what I did. And I never regretted buying that peasant top from New Look. It's such a joy to wear! xxx

  14. Hello Ann. I too am wondering where the day goes. Before I even blink, the evening has arrived. I don't seem to have a lot of energy nowadays so I'm often not getting much done.

    Your garden newbies look lovely. Viewing gardens has become a lovely past-time for me. Good on Jos for making delicious jam with all those gooseberries. It'll be yummy on scones.

    Three stunning outfits again this week. The skirt with circles is a mystery but I like it's uniqueness. The red floral shirt with the gorgeous collar and trim is lovely with the denim skirt. No surprise that my absolute favourite is that STUNNING maxi dress. I would definitely purchase it from you if you were ever looking to pass it on.

    I'm glad to see you managed to have some guests in your garden. We all need a bit of social contact. We still haven't had visitors, only family members and neighbours. Those owl brooches are too cute!

    1. Hello Suzy! I'm sorry to hear you don't seem to have a lot of energy. I've had similar episodes but this is not one of them, it seems. I may have the odd day I'm not feeling like doing much, though. Guess what we did after I read your comment: we made a batch of scones! xxx