Saturday, 23 May 2020

Day in, day out

It never ceases to amaze me how time flies, even in these precarious times, when everything's out of kilter, and nothing is as it was. This would be the time for the first of the outdoor flea markets but I don't miss them as much as I thought I would. Also, at this time of year, the countdown to our UK holiday would have started and I would already have been stressing about packing. This is a much harder nut to crack, but I'm not allowing my mind to dwell on it too much, saving my energy for the ongoing home and garden projects here at Dove Cottage.

As I already mentioned in my previous post, Thursday before last was a bit of a meh day. It took until the early afternoon before I could even bring myself to do anything useful and, as I'd had more than enough of attacking the kitchen with my cleaning cloth, I decided to make a final effort and finish it there and then.

Opposite the big kitchen cupboard is an equally big window and wedged in between the latter and the doorway to our dining room is a tiny cupboard with sliding doors. To my slightly colourblind eyes - I have problems differentiating between certain shades of blue and green - it is blue and always has been, but I'm being told that to some eyes, it might very well be veering towards green. 

Whatever its colour, it started life as a doll wardrobe made by my Dad as a Sinterklaas present for a 3-year-old me. There was a little bed as well but that's no longer with us. The wardrobe was passed on to my sister, who then passed it on to her daughter, and it was only by pure coincidence that we were able to save it from ending its life at the dump.

It now holds a myriad of smaller kitchen necessities, while providing yet another surface for displaying kitchenalia, such as a 1970s melamine tray, antique kitchen scales and weights and a well-used bread bin.

Hanging above the cupboard are two vintage enamel household wants indicators. 

The larger one on the right was found in an antiques shop in Lewes, East Sussex in 2005, and dates from the 1920s to 1930s, while the smaller one is a 1930s Lucie Mabel Attwell designed wipe clean one complete with its original pencil. This was picked up in Bridgnorth during our penultimate Shropshire holiday in 2018.

Here's a closer look at the larger one, which basically consists of a shopping list with metal tabs in front of each item. These tabs can be turned to indicate the required items. I've turned the one for the all-important toilet paper as an example! 

It seems that in the last couple of years, this particular one has become even more desirable as apparently it features in Downton Abbey's kitchen!

On the other side of our kitchen window, some vintage orange and white enamelware is on display. There's a utensils rack with an assortment of ladles and strainers, and a colander hanging above it.

Phew, I'm glad that's all done now!

On to Friday, with sunnier and slightly warmer weather making a return. 

Dipping into my wardrobe, I found this dress winking at me. In a deep chocolate brown with an orange, yellow, green and light brown floral print, it hadn't seen the light of day at all last Summer, as it was a just a tad too snug on the hips. A more healthy lifestyle - and less snacking - has certainly been a positive side to all this, inadvertently nipping inches off my hips and waistline without the need of a diet.

Green was my colour of choice for my accessories, a vinyl round-buckled belt, beaded necklace and  a green floral brooch. I even added a green hair clip to my #Coronahair solution hair band.

Oh, and did I mention my green fingers? I'm so glad I took up gardening again and rediscovered that I actually had them. Especially as green is my favourite colour :-)

Fridays usually mean a trip to the calm oasis provided by our favourite garden centre. Now that all other shops had re-opened, it was even quieter than usual. Look at all that space, with nobody else in sight, enabling us to browse the well-stocked aisles at ease.

Apart from a few more plants, we bought a bag of garden compost and some solar garden lights to replace our decrepit ancient ones which had long ago run out of steam.

We discovered there is a home-baking department as well, so that we were able to grab some bags of bread mix, which aren't available at our smaller supermarket.

Back at home, Jos took the secateurs to the giant currant bush, giving it a bit of a haircut, so that we can now walk to the bottom of the garden without getting tangled in its branches. He had to sacrifice some of the currants for this, but these would probably have either been damaged by us trying to squeeze past, or been eaten by the local population of wood pigeons.

The upside is that our Fuchsia magellanica now has more room at the top!

Meanwhile I got busy in the passageway next to our kitchen, replacing the tired looking Primulas and pansies in the window box with Lobelias, Busy Lizzies and Begonias.

I replanted the yellow Primula, which was still in reasonable nick, as well as the leggy pansies, into pots, allowing them to live out the rest of their lives on an old garden chair turned plant table in the passageway.

The rusty enamelled coffee pot in the garden bathroom was planted with a spare Lobelia.

Jos's final job of the day was dotting the garden with the solar lights we'd bought. One of these is a spotlight, which he used to illuminate the enamel sign in the courtyard.

That night, we waited anxiously for darkness to fall, so that we could see the full effect, which was definitely worth waiting for! Can't wait for a balmy evening to sit out there and enjoy our little secret garden.

More of the same weather on Saturday before last, sunny but not quite warm enough to go without a cardigan. 

My outfit that day was based around one of my Diolen delights, a green dress with a print combining flowers and stripes in a multitude of colours. It was made in France, proudly bearing a Françoise de France label. It's not in the best of conditions, but it was a Think Twice sales bargain and I found its print utterly irresistible. 

I added a blue cropped cardigan, its three-quarter sleeves trimmed in green, as well as blue beads and a blue moulded flower ring. A bevy of bracelets and a yellow felted flower pinned to my cardi completed my outfit.

While having a good old rummage upstairs, I made a discovery - or should that be re-discovery - which put a huge smile on my face. 

A week or two ago, I got up one morning, determined to wear a particular dress - the top one in the below photo - but I couldn't find it anywhere. I'd already resigned myself to the fact that I'd probably sold it, although I couldn't for the life of me understand why, when I suddenly thought of another dress I was missing: the green and white one in the photo, to be exactly.

After racking my brains as to where it could be hiding, I had the brainwave to open the bottom suitcase in the above photo, which I initially thought only held some coats. Well, what can I say? Not only did I find both dresses, but many more to boot! 

Other things I did that day was clipping Jos's hair again, and make an appointment with my hairdresser for a colour and cut on the 3rd of June. Huzzah!

I did some more work in the garden too, potting up a couple of annuals and adding more perennials to our new border: another Scabious, in a dusky purple, and Erigeron, or Mexican fleabane, which has white daisy flowers blushing with pink while they age.

When we were clearing some of the rampant groundcover, we unearthed two tiny stone rabbits I'd forgotten all about. One of them needed a good wash as he had been half buried under some soil and was absolutely filthy, poor thing. I bet they're happy to be reunited.

Look at all those cheerful blooms! Clockwise from top left are a candy pink Dahlia, some purplish blue Lobelias, pink cheeked double Million Bells and a symphony of pink Cosmos and yellow Nemesias. 

I'd just finished my planting when our neighbour popped his head above the garden wall for a chat, telling us he and his wife were separating - #Coronadivorce - and they were selling the house, which means we'll be getting new neighbours in the near future. Fingers crossed they'll be nice people!

We would be in for warm Summer weather in the week to come - gone again at the time of writing - but that will be for my next post. 

Until then, keep on keeping safe, my friends!

Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Poison arrows

Admittedly, the torrential rain we were treated to on Sunday before last did have its advantages. Not only did it go a long way in quenching our garden's thirst, it also saved us the job of cleaning the decorative tiles lining the path in front of our garden bench.

This higgledy-piggeldy collection of what we suspect might have been Dove Cottage's original kitchen tiles, was part and parcel of our garden's lay-out when we bought the house, and add a quirky element to the otherwise boring grey paving slabs elsewhere in the garden.

But the rain had made some casualties as well, as it had flattened the one and only Allium out of the half a dozen bulbs I'd planted many years ago, which had been foolhardy enough to produce a purple globe.

In order to still enjoy its transient beauty, I snipped off its stem just above breaking point and put it in an orange glass bottle we found lurking at the back of our kitchen cupboard.  It lasted almost a week on our kitchen windowsill, between two items of 1970s orange kitchenalia.

It was such a relief to be home from work that Monday, as it had been a bit of a stressful day. That Monday, the 11th of May, was the day all Belgian shops were allowed to re-open, with a mass of people reminiscent of the first day of the sales flocking to Antwerp's shopping streets.

I had been anxiously watching procedures from my 5th floor office windows, noticing that a lot of people seemingly couldn't care less about the rules. People were supposed to walk on the right with helpful arrows painstakingly painted on the footpaths, but even as early as late morning it was total chaos, with people walking willy-nilly and often hardly observing social distancing.

I was a nervous wreck and had a knot in my stomach by the time I had to go home. Needless to say I wore my mask as an extra precaution while trying to avoid people running straight into me. I told off quite a few of them, pointing at the arrows and telling them they had to walk on the opposite side of the street, but most of them just looked at me as if I was a madwoman. They might have thought they were smart, but really, they were so stupid, stupid, and I was all ready to shoot some poison arrows into their general direction.

So glad Tuesday rolled along, and I could stay safely at home. 

The sun, which had been shining on Monday's shoppers, did let us down a bit that day, and it was chilly enough to wear a cardigan. I was re-wearing the green plaid patterned midi skirt I wore on the blog not all that long ago, this time adding a long-sleeved blouse printed with green and turquoise flowers and tiny brown dots.

Both Jos and I were almost at the bottom of some of our self-care essentials and we were running low on hand soaps, so I ventured into our village's mercifully quiet high street by opening time, and was able to get most of the things on my list in one particular shop. As the shop had had to close in the run-up to Easter, they were stuck with lots of unsold stock, so that I was given a whole kilo of mini Easter eggs for free. 

Most of which have been scoffed by Jos, I should add.  I honestly, hand on heart, have only had a handful.

While sitting out in the garden after this expedition, we were visited by a fledgling blue tit, who excitedly chirped at us. Further excitement in the garden was provided by the steadily growing Hydrangea flower heads.

And here's a better look at the print of my blouse, to which I'd pinned a faux tortoiseshell bird brooch. I wore a turquoise flower-embossed belt and a string of pale green plastic beads. Due to the chill I'd reverted to wearing opaques, unearthing this pair in a soft eau de nil shade from the bottom of a box.

Who needs shopping - except for food, flowers and face creams - when one lives in a maximalist home? A stylish cover for our garden chairs was provided by a redundant vinyl tablecloth we'd kept for decorating our flea market stall. 

The neither here nor there weather continued throughout the day, so that I decided to carry on with the seemingly never-ending kitchen cleaning. When I'd just learned I would only be working two days a week, I envisaged myself whirling like a white tornado through the house, ending up with a fully cleaned and reorganized ground floor by the end of the month.

Instead, I've just only worked myself halfway through the kitchen, taking my time with everything and only tackling the jobs I feel like doing.

Having finished the shallow Tomado shelves, it was now the turn of the mantelpiece shelf next to it.

After I'd taken everything off for cleaning, I thought the shelf did look a bit lacklustre, especially its edge, where the creamy white paint had chipped in several places. I was thinking of adding some kind of lacy trim but when I looked in my haberdashery stash, I came across some white ribbon trim embroidered with orange and green. Perfect!

Nearly all my sewing things are second-hand, by the way. They were either the contents of charity shopped sewing boxes or were inherited from my Mum and my paternal grandmother.

The copper moulds which grace the wall on either side of the mirror were bought in the UK and at a local flea market respectively. I gave them a bit of a well-needed buff but I've got no intention of making them all shiny and stately home perfect. In fact, I rather prefer them with all their stains and imperfections, speaking of a well-lived previous life.

The mirror was originally intended for our bathroom. We'd spotted it in a charity shop, but baulked at its highly inflated price. Months later, after we'd found a different and much more affordable mirror for our bathroom, we noticed that this one had been reduced to too ridiculously low a price it would have been a shame not to buy it.

The shell-shaped Bakelite chocolate moulds were charity shop finds as well.

More treasures on the shelf are two Bakelite coffee grinders (top left) and a wooden sieve, potato masher and butter pats (bottom right).

The green salt cellar and funnel were picked up at flea markets several years apart.

Finally, on the top right, is one of our oldest pieces of kitchenalia in terms of ownership. The French Fries cutter (big mistake, as fries are a Belgian invention and not French!) was bought in a junk shop in Wells, Somerset, in the early noughties. The box has been living on top of our wall mounted plate rack next to the mantelpiece shelf for years.

Being on a roll, I continued with said plate rack, again taking everything off and cleaning the surfaces as well as the myriad of objects on display. Apart from plates, there's a multitude of other kitchen bits and bobs on top of the rack, as well as items of kitchenalia, including a colander, whisks, a pudding mould and an enamel bread basket hanging from its hooks.

The glass fronted cabinet below the rack holds our collection of 1960s Boch crockery.

Vintage packets of sugar cubes and pasta are sharing space with a small collection of Thermos flasks - one of them Bakelite - and a kitschy ceramic poodle decanter bearing several poodle-faced cups.

The Wright's Biscuits Ginger Nuts tray, featuring the cheeky-faced little boy called Mischief, was picked up at a flea market held in the next village. 

Mischief was Wright's Biscuits' trademark, drawn by Mabel Lucie Attwell, and children could join the Mischief Club and get a special badge.

Other treasures include the orange Wedgwood butter dish, which was winking at us in the window of an antiques centre in Newcastle Emlyn, Wales, as well as the French coffee pot, complete with filter, and our beloved Teasmade, both of which were flea market finds.

The small canister on the bottom left, which has long ago lost its lid, is part of the set of canisters living elsewhere in our kitchen (see here) and is holding the tiny cocktail forks which used to belong to my parents. 

Wednesday was another office day and even if there was less of a crowd out shopping in Antwerp, the arrows were still mostly disregarded. I tried not to let it get to me too much and hastened to our agreed pick-up point hiding my scolding face beneath my mask and my quiver of arrows tucked away inside by bag.

Uncharacteristically, Thursday was a bit of a slow burner, when I couldn't settle to anything, with the weather not inviting enough to spend much time in the garden.

After an unproductive morning, I though I'd better finish in the kitchen but in order not to bore you I've decided to leave this for my next post, treating you to that day's outfit instead.

The floaty floral C&A midi dress was a sales bargain three Winters ago. Picking up the pink bit in its print, I wore bright pink opaques. The off-white bits were enhanced by my mother of pearl pendant and brooch, both of which are favourite flea market finds.

Some animal elements were introduced as well: a zebra print belt and snake print ankle boots - both sales bargains - and a fiery eyed Phoebe, who was given to us for free but has cost us handfuls of money over the years!

But does she appreciate this? Not a chance!

And before you ooh and aah over the kiss we share, don't be fooled, as it's just a snapshot, and I was taking the risk of being scratched or bitten any minute.

I hope you are all staying safe and sane?

Saturday, 16 May 2020

Greetings from a lockdown garden

Those of you who are the lucky owners of a garden will almost certainly agree that it's been a blessing in these most unsettling of times. Surely, even at the best of times, nothing compares to spending time in one's garden on a warm Spring day?

After the brief but welcome rain and cooler temperatures of the preceding week, they'd climbed well into the twenties by the weekend before last.

That Friday, we were all ready for another outing to the garden centre, followed by a spot of gardening.

I dressed in a skirt you've seen before quite recently, a pink one scattered with a blue, green, yellow and white floral print. I wore a plain green sailor-style jumper with it last time, but now I opted for a charity shopped King Louie blouse with a retro-style print in green and turquoise.

To its collar, I pinned a squirrel brooch I picked up in a charity shop during our last sojourn in Belgium's west country. Both the multi-coloured wooden beads and the bracelets were local charity shop finds, while the teal belt with its mock tortoiseshell buckle was a retail sales bargain earlier this year.

Back from the garden centre with two more boxes of colourful plants, our first task was to clear the little courtyard at the back of our garden.

I did not take before photos, but believe me, it was one hell of a task, as the paving stones to the right of where we'd put the barrel were completely hidden by a thick layer of soil and garden waste. It was so bad that some uninvited plants had firmly taken root in the cracks between the stones.

Finally, after quite a bit of sweating and swearing in the sweltering heat trapped between the garden walls and the shed, the old paving stones emerged. By that time, we had just enough energy left for some perfunctory sweeping of the dust, and decided to leave the rest to the rain which was inevitably forecasted for Sunday.

Now, it was time for the fun part: converting the courtyard into a cozy place to sit and enjoy the garden. 

The pots I'd put on the barrel received the company of several of the plants we'd brought back from the garden centre. I've always loved hollyhocks (Alcea rosea), so I was delighted to have come across a pot of  'Charter's Double' in pink, which I transferred to a big terracotta pot, giving it a home next to the barrel.

The old metal, double layered plant stand which had been wasting away plant-less for years, is now taking pride of place, bearing two pots with a mixture of annuals, with a pretty white lavender in the top one. Separate pots of Nasturtiums and pink and white Gypsophila were added for that cottage garden feel.

Oh, and you've probably noticed the tin buckets with Pelargoniums and Million Bells hanging from the brackets bearing the enamal sign!

Some of the annuals I've planted in the pots include a raspberry swirl Pelargonium, yellow and lilac Osteospermum, and Antirrhinum 'Yellow Maroon', a range of new, exquisite and lightly fragrant snapdragons.

The newly planted border is coming along nicely, with one of the hardy Geraniums opening the first of its flowers. I added some traditional snapdragons, and a row of Tagetes, or French marigolds, in a bold maroon and bright orange variety called 'Tiger Eyes'.

Some more perennials were added as well. I planted Scabiosa 'Pink Mist', a double Geum called 'Lady Stratheden' and Helenium 'The Bishop'. And I definitely needn't have worried about the climbing Nasturtium seeds I planted at the base of the wire obelisk, as they are emerging one by one. How exciting!

Exciting finds from the potting shed as well, including an ancient cleaver belonging to Jos's Dad and a pair of secateurs belonging to his ex-father-in-law, who was a professional gardener.

Sunday was even warmer, with the mercury nudging towards the high twenties.

First wearing for the multi-coloured diagonally striped dress I picked up from Think Twice late last Summer. 

Jos had dragged our comfortable folding garden chairs out of the shed and given them a thorough clean, and we sat enjoying the spoils of our labour in our newly created secret sitting area, well hidden away from prying neighbourly eyes.

The perfect spot for some reading - finishing my latest book, which I admit was a bit of a slog - and making some blog post notations in my funky charity shopped notebook.

While we were sitting there, Jos noticed that the enamel sign was marked with the year 1932, making it an incredible 88 years old!

From the dress's colours, I picked cornflower blue for my accessories, adding a belt and beaded necklace, as well as a 1940s carved celluloid brooch featuring the typical poppy, daisy and cornflower associated with the World War II Liberation.

What a glorious day it was, with the balmy temperatures lasting well into the evening, the slanting rays of the setting sun casting a golden glow over our tiny piece of paradise. 

And look at the gorgeous little bells of our Fuchsia magellanica peeking through the foliage of the mighty white currant bush. They are very early this year, as they usually only appear from late June onwards.

It was a completely different story on Sunday, the temperatures having dropped several degrees. And while during the first part of the day, the sun still did its best to warm things up, a sharpish wind made it quite unpleasant and admittedly a bit too chilly for short sleeves.

By mid afternoon, torrential rains put paid to any further gardening plans. We'd left it too late to make outfit photos, so that we had to wait out the rain to show you my tomato red dress liberally sprinkled with green and white flowers. 

I stuck to green and white, with a bit of red, for my accessories, including a beaded necklace, a stack of bracelets in all three colours, a creamy oval brooch bearing the portrait of a lady, and a red flower clipped to another #coronahair solution.

The rain made the garden smell heavenly, and I think I could actually hear it breathing a sigh of relief on receiving those welcome, life-giving rains the heavens were chucking down.

No chance for sitting out in the garden, but at least I only had to water the plants under the awning that day!

Wednesday, 13 May 2020

A slower pace of life

After one and a half months of reduced working hours, it seems that we've finally established some kind of rhythm to these out-of-sync weeks, while relishing this slower pace of life.

They now come in two distinct parts, these weeks, with our old routine still present in the first part of the week, where a quiet, at-home Tuesday is sandwiched between my two office days.

The rhythm changes in the second part of the week, as it's during the slow-paced extended weekend from Thursday to Sunday that we tend to lose track of time, often forgetting which day of the week it is.

Still, there is some kind of rhythm to this too. Thursday is food shopping day - done by Jos - and lately we have been treating ourselves to a visit to the garden centre on Fridays, which is as safe and relaxing an outing as is possible in these pandemic times.

I'm at my best on Thursdays and Fridays, when I'm chomping at the bit to tackle a couple of chores around the house, but my enthusiasm usually peters out by Saturday. And then there are the Sundays, which are often off-days, with a certain sadness creeping in and the chances of a wobble increasing as the day goes by.

Weather permitting, any time we can is spent in the garden. Tiny it may be, but undoing the neglect of the last a couple of years will keep us busy for quite a while to come.

Any gardening projects were definitely off-the cards on Sunday before last, as the weather gods kept sending fickle Spring weather our way.  In order to keep the blues at bay, I decided to crack on with something I'd had in mind for weeks, which was to empty, clean and rearrange the display cabinet in our big kitchen cupboard.

Its contents, which includes heirlooms, souvenirs and vintage finds, had grown organically over the better part of 20 years, resulting in a haphazard display of miscellaneous odds and ends.

And even though I had already removed and re-homed some bits and pieces over the past days, I was still quite shocked to see the cabinet's contents filling the whole of our kitchen table. And some.

Having already given it some advance thought - Jos would often find me standing in front of the cabinet, seemingly gazing into space - rearranging all that stuff turned out to be a doddle.

In no time, I'd created separate displays of vintage glasses and other drink related items, washing powders and starches from a bygone age, baking and sweets paraphernalia, toilet soaps and some random items of kitchenalia.

The tin decorated with The Three Little Pigs used to contain Côte d'Or chocolates and used to belong to my paternal grandparents. It still holds the same set of dominoes I played with as a child.

The Tala jelly moulds came from an antique centre in Newcastle Emlyn, Wales.

This quirky carton advertising gimmick is for "Caramella Mokatine", also known as "Arabierke" (Flemish for little Arab) due to its distinctive wrapping, a coffee-flavoured sweet which was introduced in 1934 and is still being produced today. 

Pulling the tab with the factory name at the bottom makes the Arab open his eyes and stick out his tongue, which has the French words "C'est Bon" printed on it. Belgium being a bilingual country, it also came in a Flemish version.

Spring made a happy return on Monday's office day, continuing into Tuesday, and I was glad to be back in short sleeves.

My choice that day was a vintage dress in a funky turquoise, green, grey and white pattern. It has self fabric buttons and a notched lapel, to which I'd pinned a turquoise starburst brooch.  My other accessories were a white vinyl belt and a string of pale green beads.

While I was a the office on Monday, Jos had been busy too. 

About to put up our enamel sign during the weekend, he was looking for some screws in the shed, when I noticed this old wooden barrel tucked away in a corner. It had been a gift from one of my Dad's friends many years ago, which had ended up in the shed as we didn't quite know what to do with it at the time. Having a light-bulb moment, I thought we could use it as a plant table, so on Monday Jos dragged it outside and, as it was lidless, topped it with a circular piece of plywood he'd found among the junk.

Going back inside the house to get his phone so that he could send me a photo of his efforts, he returned finding Phoebe doing a full investigation! She definitely approves, as we often find her keeping watch over the garden from her new perch.

Back to Tuesday morning, when Jos's son Kris arrived bearing some face masks expertly made by Jos's youngest daughter An. She'd been kind enough to send me a photo of her creations earlier, offering me first choice. How sweet is that? Surely you'll agree that the red floral one and the blue one printed with its mix of flowers and butterflies are both totally me!

As we never ever wash at high temperatures, we used the alternative method of boiling them in a pan of water - which we are using exclusively for this purpose in case you are worried - with some detergent.

Taking advantage of the sunny weather, we added some more improvements to what we rather grandly call the courtyard, a small paved area next to the shed at the bottom of the garden.

This is where we hung the sign, putting the barrel underneath. In order to make the tabletop waterproof, we tacked a piece of oilcloth to it.  Further cheer was provided by adding some terracotta pots of Pelargonium and Lantana.

Not quite ready yet, but it's a start!

Skipping Wednesday, which was another office day, Thursday arrived with more sunshine and steadily climbing temperatures.

It was still quite chilly that morning so, while Jos was braving the supermarket, I decided to leave the  garden jobs I'd lined up for the afternoon.

I thought I'd put away my tall boots and get out a selection of Summer shoes, but ended up doing a complete shoe changeover, only leaving out some of my favourite ankle boots to tide me over.

My shoes of the season live in this high rise tower of IKEA shoe boxes in the spare room, wedged between the mantelpiece and the coats wardrobe. The boxes are all on individual shelf ledgers, and each contains two to three pairs of shoes or sandals.

It had warmed up considerably after lunch, so I was out in the garden in a jiffy, as I wanted to sow some Nasturtium seeds in pots, in case the ones I sowed directly in the garden didn't come up. 

I used some biodegradable pots I can plant out straight into the garden when the plants are big enough. As I only had three such pots left, I fashioned some from empty toilet rolls. The pots were then put into a lidded propagator tray I'd found hidden away in the basement. I've really been shopping our house, not just my wardrobe! 

With that job out of the way, I potted up some of the plants we'd got at the garden centre the previous week: white and pink Cosmos, yellow and red Snapdragons and ... more Nasturtiums. I couldn't resist buying these full-grown plants, which have the added bonus of variegated leaves.

And here's my gardening attire that day. Note that I only wore the forget-me-not blue suede ankle boots for the photos. I did my actual gardening wearing my ankle wellies!

The dress was a Think Twice find at the tail end of last Summer, and got its first outing on this lovely Spring day. 

I pinned not one, but two brooches to it, as I thought the green squirrel and the green-eyed hedgehog might appreciate each other's company.

A brown belt, brown translucent beads and green and turquoise bangles and bracelets were my outfit's finishing touches.

I've included a close-up of the dress's print, which combines several floral patterns and even some stripes!

Thursday's #coronahair solution was a semi-elastic hairband to which I clipped another of my flower corsage.

Expect to see more of these hairbands, as I picked up several in a haberdashery and accessories shop during lunch time on Wednesday. As from Monday last week, these shops had been allowed to re-open as they are considered essential for mask making. Going for a quick walk around the block and passing the shop, I noticed it was relatively empty, so I went in and got these.

How strange it felt to be in an actual shop! It felt like it had been years ago, instead of just under two months. How much our lives have changed, as so many things we used to take for granted are now well out of reach. 

For now, I prefer to stay home and keep safe inside our little bubble as much as I possibly can. I hope you are doing the same?