Wednesday, 21 October 2020

No escape from reality

Last Friday evening, after a nerve wracking wait for our spanking new government to finish negotiations, we were informed of Belgium's new restrictions, which would come into force as from Monday. We are now allowed close contact with only one person from outside our households, while you can invite four people, which must be the same for a period of two weeks, to your home if you respect social distancing rules. In public spaces too, groups are limited to four people. All cafés and restaurants have to close for at least a month, takeaway is only possible until 10 pm, and there's a curfew between midnight and 5 am. There's more, but that's it in a nutshell. All this in a bid to prevent new cases rising even more dramatically than they are already doing. Admittedly, the situation is particularly bad in Brussels and Wallonia, Belgium's French speaking part, but that doesn't mean that we are off the hook at the other side of the country.

As for the restrictions, we have no problem with them. It's not a complete lockdown after all. Nevertheless, there's simply no denying that things are a bit bleak as we head into the year's darkest months.

And while I know it's no use to bury one's head in the sand, I would very much like to do so right now. Hibernation has never sounded so appealing.

For the sake of my blog's continuity, however, I'm taking a short ride in the time machine, back to Tuesday, the 6th of October.

I woke up with a craving for fresh greens, which I found hanging in my wardrobe in the form of this calf-length H&M dress. Its floral extravaganza, featuring blue, purple, white and magenta strewn on a grassy green background was what seduced me to buy it in the sales about three years ago.

There was no lack of colour to choose from for accessorizing, so I wore a woven belt in a plummy purple at my waist and picked a lighter shade of purple for my beaded necklace. Purple appeared again as the background colour of my brooch, while my stash came up with opaques in the exact shade of blue of the dress's flowers.

As the days are getting darker and colder, we are once again making regular use of our rented garage's photo studio, a communal parking space next to our garage box, its ancient bricks having received a fresh coat of paint during lockdown. I just wish it was nearer to Dove Cottage, so that we could use it more frequently, and not just when we need to use the car.

Since we were going out that morning, I wore a cord jacket in a delicious berry colour  and added a zig-zag patterned scarf featuring purple, olive, blue and white. Both were charity shop finds and, by pure coincidence, originally from H&M as well.

We were off to the local C&A branch at the edge of our little town, as Jos was in dire need of some new zip-front cardigans, which are a wardrobe staple for him. Having searched high and low in the charity shops without any luck, there was nothing for it but to go retail.

Mission accomplished, Jos waited in the car while I went into the shoe shop next door on my eternal quest for burgundy ankle boots to replace my tatty ones. And no, I didn't find what I was looking for, but I still didn't leave the shop empty-handed, having been seduced by a pair or caramel coloured tall boots and a pair of sage green ankle boots. 

Rain and wind had been forecasted, but although the latter was present throughout the day, it remained mercifully dry until late afternoon, when we were treated to a couple of scattered raindrops.

Summer is still hanging on by its fingernails in our garden, with lots of annuals refusing to admit defeat and stubbornly keeping up appearances.  Most of our ancient Cotoneaster's leaves are still retaining their colour, providing a contrasting backdrop for its shiny red berries. And then there's our Toad Lily (bottom right), whose flower buds seem to be getting fatter before our very eyes.

Spurred on by my new footwear, I put away the last of the Summer shoes, replacing them with a further selection of ankle boots and the odd pair of tall ones.

Then, deciding to strike the iron while it was hot, I carried on with my wardrobe switch, so that the main part of my wardrobe now holds the majority of my long-sleeved dresses. I've still got the skirts and woolens to do, as well as the warmer dresses, but having more time on my hands definitely proves to be counterproductive. There's always tomorrow, or next week ...

The weather continued to be reasonably kind that week, mostly dry and cloudy but with regular sunny spells, and temperatures around 15° C. 

On Thursday, we were rudely woken up by workmen who started felling trees and demolishing a house on the opposite side of the crossroads near our house. Soon, they'll start building yet another block of flats in what was one of the last green spaces in our neighbourhood. 

This called for the wearing of more green, so out came this green with a touch of turquoise floral vintage skirt and a charity shopped pussy-bow blouse in shades of green and pink. The pussy-bow was kept in check with an emerald green brooch, which was joined by a second brooch, a green-backed cameo, pinned to the blouse's bodice.

Pale green beads, a pink, white and yellow woven belt, hot pink opaques and forest green ankle boots completed that day's outfit.

Still determined to tackle some of the tasks on my to-do list, I started the gargantuan one of filing away the paperwork which had accumulated over time. Time, in this case and to my utter horror, turned out to be no less than two years! I'm in the habit of chucking any paperwork that has been dealt with into this ancient leather file, a family heirloom I remember playing with it as a small child. What a relief to have everything filed away in its appropriate folders which live behind the doors of our charity shopped 1930s cupboard (bottom left). 

With neither of us in the mood for vacuuming, Jos suddenly remembered the robot vacuum cleaner he had been given by an acquaintance just before lockdown, and which had been unceremoniously dumped in our garage. Well, what can I say? It seemed to be scuttling around in circles - putting me in mind of one of Phoebe's toys, a little wind-up mouse - and we actually had to chuck the dust-balls in its path to make it vacuum them up! 

I think we'll stick with our regular one!

And then it was Friday again, which meant another charity shopping trip.

I was in an Autumnal kind of mood, so this vintage dress liberally sprinkled with sprigs of orange, brown and white berries fit the bill perfectly. In a swishy, lined rayon, it has three-quarter sleeves and - again - a pussy-bow. I took the lead from its brightest orange for my choice of opaques.

We'll be having a closer look later, but first: let's go shopping!

No sooner had we walked into the first shop than we came across these gorgeous wooden Scottie book-ends. They were ours for just € 1,20.

This knee-length green and white patterned woolen skirt is the latest one to join my burgeoning collection. The same shop also yielded a fluffy ochre yellow cardigan. I have similar cardies in burgundy and bottle green, and they are on constant rotation in Winter.

The grey cardigan with its blue flower pattern was my only buy in the second shop.

Both of them have already been worn in the meantime, with the skirt still awaiting its turn.

As we'd been running late that morning, Jos had made a couple of sandwiches to ward off the hunger pangs between shops.

We found the perfect place for this impromptu picnic in one of the chain of forts surrounding the city of Antwerp. Built between 1859 and 1864, most of them have been turned into parks and nature reserves, and this particular one happened to be on our route.

The perfect place too for outfit photos, showing you a close-up of the dress's print, as well as my belt, beaded necklace and brooch.  As for my ankle boots, they were obviously most inadequate for the short stroll along the muddy banks of the fort's picturesque moat.

Vowing to come back here for a properly booted walk soon, we made our way back to our car to continue our shopping trip.

Back at home, with the weather still on its best behaviour, we did some well-needed work in the garden. 

While Jos was cutting back the rampant ivy and other climbers, filling a huge garden waste bag to the brim, I finally planted the Hellebores and Pulsatilla we brought back from the garden centre in September.

I'm rather looking forward to seeing their gorgeous blooms appear next Spring, even if for various reasons Spring seems to be an impossible eternity away.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I think I'll make a start with that hibernation I mentioned earlier. 

The perfect way to stay safe, surely!

Saturday, 17 October 2020

A quiet life

Life at Dove Cottage has been rather quiet lately. 

If during lockdown back in Spring, my creative juices were flowing and a surge of energy got me ticking off things on my to-do list one after the other, this gradually dwindled over Summer, until they both came to a grinding halt by late August.

My batteries recharged after our week away, I had great expectations, but alas, the energy I'd saved up was soon consumed by the worries and uncertainties created by an alarmingly increasing infection rate. Back to square one, it seems.

It doesn't really help that the weather hasn't been on its best behaviour either, with wet and windy days adding to the general doom and gloom.


Some days are better than other, of course, but there is one constant that's keeping me from the brink. Getting dressed up will always be a joy, a bright spark on even the darkest of days. And no, I don't think that is shallow at all. It's therapy! 

The dress I was wearing two weeks ago on Friday (eek, that long ago already?) was a Think Twice find last Autumn, plucked from the rails less than a minute after the shop assistant had hung it up. 

I fell head over heels for its monochromatic print dotted with red and green hexagons. More geometry was added in the form of my necklace, a chain of wooden, jigsaw-like circles, octagons and rectangles, some of them picking up the red from the dress's print.

Green was almost the obvious choice for my cardigan and opaques, while I threw in delicious caramels for my belt, boots and stag's head brooch. Everything but the boots was a charity shop find at one time or another.

As was the amazing grey, black and lime swirly coat, which I found new with tags in a charity shop back in February. My outfit was completed with a well-needed scarf, echoing the green of my opaques.

It was Friday, which in these pandemic times has replaced Saturday as our weekly date with the charity shops, as they are obviously much quieter on a weekday.

There's only a limited number which we deem safe enough due to their size and layout but, always willing to try out new haunts, we decided to check out a large Oxfam shop in one of our neighbouring villages. After having given it a wide berth for years, we were pleasantly surprised at its transformation, so that it has now been added to our list of approved shops.

The jewellery display near the entrance, for starters, enticed me with no less than four necklaces.

Then, while Jos browsed the vinyl, CD's and DVD's, I perused the well-stocked clothing rails, where my heart made a happy jump upon spying one of my holy grails: a midi-length skirt in a sturdy and slightly stretchy denim. I'd been looking for one in my size, and which ticked all my boxes, for well over a year.

On the same rail, a handmade floral pleated skirt in a gorgeous mix of blues, pinks and greens winked at me, so that went into my basket as well.

You might have noticed that I'm going through a bit of a skirt phase lately, so surely it won't come as a surprise that I found yet another one at our local charity shop, which was next on our itinerary.

This purple and pink knee-length jacquard skirt is by Melvin, a Belgian label founded in 1975. I'm not sure they are still trading as I couldn't find any recent information on them. Whatever the case, I can definitely see myself wearing it with the sparkly magenta top Angelica is modelling here, and book-ended with opaques in the same colour. 

It would be silly to pass up the opportunity of adding another charity shopped King Louie frock to my collection, even if I won't be wearing this one any time soon. I'll probably have forgotten all about it by next Summer, when it will be like finding it all over again!

It had started raining while we were in the shops and by the time we got home it was clear it would be one of those all-dayers, so the sofa and a book were beckoning.

But however tempting that sounded, the dust balls and cat hair hiding in the corners downstairs were becoming a bit of a health and safety hazard and thus could no longer be ignored. 

Afterwards, I finished my current read (Jonathan Coe's Number 11) and started the Lucinda Riley novel I'd picked up in Oxfam that morning. 

Saturday was another dismal day, grey and rainy, and only once or twice interspersed by a watery ray of sunshine.

Not our resident spiders' favourite weather, their only catch of the day being tiny raindrops.

While doing the dishes, I noticed a strange blob in the pot of Million Bells which is hanging just outside our kitchen window. The blob turned out to be a snail, which on further investigation seemed to have taken up residence behind the cherub's chubby legs on the stone plaque hanging directly above the pot.

This late in the season, we could not be bothered, and just let it be.

That morning, after breakfast, I stood in front of my wardrobe and let inspiration strike. 

The starting point of my outfit was the ruby red polka dot blouse I'd picked up in the charity shops back in July but was still awaiting its first wear. Selecting a pair of opaques in an almost identical colour was a doddle, as my stash of opaques contains a veritable rainbow. And yes, I am one of those crazy people who actually likes wearing tights!

For contrast, I chose one of my favourite skirts, in a turquoise slubby fabric with specks of blue, green, white, red and black in its weave (see here for a close-up). Some of you might recognize it as it is definitely not making its debut on the blog. 

Turquoise appears again in my brooch, ring and necklace. The rust-coloured belt is a crochet one with a massive round wooden buckle and was a sales bargain from Mango back in August.

Oh, and I'd almost forgotten to mention my beloved snake print ankle boots, snapped up in New Look's closing down sale in Antwerp last year.

Wandering through the garden during a short respite from the rain, I noticed a large but very wet and bedraggled looking bumble bee hanging on for dear life on top of one of our miniature sunflowers.

We think she must have been the same solitary bee we'd christened Big Maya, who used to visit the Salvias in front of our bench like clockwork around the same time each day. Flitting from bloom to bloom, she regularly interrupted her activities by going for short flights around the garden, buzzing around our heads if we happened to be siting there, before resuming her flitting and nectar gathering. 

The poor thing must have been at the end of her life as she was still sitting there the next day, although she'd disappeared the next time I looked.

On Sunday, the rain was joined by a blustery wind; a grey, chilly and decidedly unpleasant day.

After a breakfast of omelettes with tomatoes and mushrooms, I photographed Friday's new finds modelled by Angelica, which you could see earlier in this post.

Then, in a bid to shake off the lethargy I've found myself prey to lately, I made a list of things to do in the next couple of weeks, although I wasn't in a frame of mind to get started just yet.

So, let's look at my outfit instead!

Opting for a dress with a wide pleated skirt wasn't perhaps the wisest move on a windy day!

Nevertheless, this fit and flare vintage dress with its print of tiny red, pink, turquoise, blue and lilac squares, shouted the hardest when I opened my wardrobe's doors that morning.

To ward off the chills, I wore a turquoise cardigan on top. Spicing things up, I once again added caramel as a contrast colour with my belt and beaded necklace.

My attempt to ward off the rain by wearing one of my umbrella brooches failed miserably!

On that note, I'm leaving you with a selection of brooches I shared on Instagram earlier this year, including all of my brolly brooches as well as a couple of fans. The latter, of course, I won't be needing anytime soon!

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend, wherever you are, and please do stay safe!

Monday, 12 October 2020

When rain clouds gather

It was a gloomy morning we woke up to on September's last Sunday, with a leaden sky holding a promise of rain.

The temperature kept hovering around 15°C but the lack of any sunshine made it feel decidedly chillier.

Scanning my rail of dresses for a likely candidate to wear on such a day, my eyes alighted on this fit and flare 1970s does 1940s number in a heavy knit polyester.

I'm in two minds about whether it was a charity shop or Think Twice find, but it has lived in my wardrobe for many a year. With its floral brown, orange and white print, it couldn't be more 1970s if it tried, while its colours and weight of fabric make it the perfect dress for those early Autumn days.

As it's short-sleeved, it does need a bit of layering to keep the goosebumps at bay, so I wore a burgundy King Louie cardigan on top. Isn't its heart-shaped ajour pattern delightful? I have several of these cardigans in a range of colours, picking them up whenever I find them in the charity shops.

To tie in with the dress's colours, I pinned a generous orange flower corsage to my cardi.

My shiny orange, half-elasticated belt is an old high street buy, which has seen better days, the scuff marks on its buckle disguised by orange nail varnish!

The brown and white necklace with its wooden, polished stone and metal beads was another charity shop find, as was the brooch, which seemed to blend in organically with the pattern of my dress.

From our window, we watched hordes of people making their way towards the village centre and the annual September fun fair, which much to our dismay wasn't cancelled due to Covid-19. Admittedly, it was a slimmed-down edition, with a one-way system and the necessary precautions, but with cases still soaring dramatically, surely this was madness. We could only shake our heads and sigh when we saw groups of people acting as if nothing was out of the ordinary. Even the rain we were treated to that afternoon didn't seem to deter them!

We were following Phoebe's example and opted for the comfort of our sitting room. Not for sleeping away the day as is our furry creature's habit, obviously! There's no shortage of reading matter at Dove Cottage and, accompanied by some relaxing music, it was just what we needed to while away this Sunday afternoon.

In-between showers, I ventured into the garden, where big fat raindrops had joined the bulging flower buds in the pot of annual Fuchsias in the passageway (top right), and I was pleased to see tiny buds were starting to appear in the Toad Lily (Tricyrtis hirta, bottom left) we brought back from the garden centre in August.

Will it still grace us with some flowers this year, I wonder? Its plant label says flowering time is August to September ...

The rain continued overnight and it rained all day on Monday too. Sitting on my own in an otherwise empty office feels even lonelier on a dark day like this, when cotton wool is joining the turmoil in my head.

Life-affirming Autumnal sunshine streamed through our windows on Tuesday morning, so after our usual fruit and yoghurt breakfast, I enjoyed a leisurely walk into the village to run a couple of errands.

Still persevering with my short-sleeved frocks, I layered a long-sleeved t-shirt underneath this vintage Burlington Jersey dress, its fabric a polyester and wool blend. 

And no, your eyes are not deceiving you! There really isn't any print to be spied in my entire outfit!

Pondering what to wear when I got up that morning, this outfit appeared in my mind's eye quite out of the blue. If purple and yellow manage to live together harmoniously in the garden, then why wouldn't they please the eye in an outfit?

To accompany the dress and long-sleeved t-shirt, I dug out a belt and opaques in the same ochre yellow as the latter, spicing it up with a wine red leaping deer brooch and a beaded necklace which added brown and turquoise to the equation.

My old and worn burgundy ankle boots once again completed my outfit.

The sun continued to grace us with her presence until mid-afternoon, when she lost the battle to the encroaching clouds.

For days, I'd been intrigued by a petal of one of our Echinacea 'Green Jewel' flowers, which appeared to be growing in an upward position. With the afternoon sunshine illuminating the spider webs which seem to be especially prolific this Autumn, I noticed that a clever spider had anchored its web to the petal in question. Can you see the gossamer thread leading upwards? It goes all the way up to a web suspended from our hanging strawberry plant! The latter, by the way, is still trying but so far bitterly failing to produce some more fruits.

Wednesday was another office day, which was interrupted by a visit to my hairdresser for a colour and cut. This would have made for a relaxing hour and a half, if it weren't for the mask wearing. 

At times like these, I'm glad I'm all on my own in the office so that I don't have to bother with a face mask. Kudos to all of you who are having to wear a mask for hours on end!

Back at home, it rained for most of the day on Thursday, which was the 1st of October, but we managed to nip outside for outfit photos during a rare sunny interval.

I was determined to wear the blue and white short-sleeved jumper I'd found in the charity shop the other week, and was pleased to find an exact match for its colour in the blue flowers of this skirt.

My long beaded necklace managed to bring all colours together, while I added a white accent to the jumper in the form of a white-petalled 1950s brooch, one of a handful that kick-started my collection.

Extra warmth was provided by a long-line orange cardigan, picking up the orange bits in the skirt.

While Jos was doing the food shop that morning, I tackled our bedroom's chandelier which had become rather dusty over the years. Apart from a perfunctory dusting with a feather duster now and then, it would be its first proper cleaning. This involved me standing rather precariously on top of a wooden box which in its turn lives on top of the linen chest at the foot of our bed.

Standing that high up meant I had an almost bird's eye view of the rest of the bedroom.
You already know the green Art Deco lady who resides in front of the mirror on our mantelpiece, but here she is again, together with one of her pet birds. The antique bevelled mirror with its carved wooden frame was a charity shop find from back in the days when these things didn't go for a fortune.

This is part of what's on top of the cupboard to the left of the mantelpiece. Apart from a collection of old family photographs, there's an antique glass-domed religious statue (one of a pair), an heirloom which used to belong to Jos's grandparents. 

The vanity set in the foreground was one of my parents' wedding presents, which I remember being on display in their bedroom when I was growing up. In our bedroom, it is feeling quite at home on top of the vintage wicker and glass tray, a flea market find back in 2016.

To the left of the green lady on the mantelpiece is a blue enamelled vanity set found in a charity shop in Tunbridge Wells about 15 years ago. The blue vinyl Jasper ware-style case behind these holds a nail grooming kit, and was a flea market find, as was the trinket box with its Limoges decal behind the brush.

And finally, here's the little corner with my "dressing table", offering a view of the shelves above, which didn't appear in my post on the subject back in April.

The shelves hold the accumulated stuff we've collected over the years, all charity shop or flea market finds. While there's a 1930-ish link to the items on the bottom two shelves, the top one holds the kitschy Lourdes souvenirs we used to collect.  Now that's a shelf that definitely needs some dusting too!

Something I'll certainly have time for now, as more rainy weather seems to be on the horizon.

See you next time, and do stay safe!

Thursday, 8 October 2020

Autumn Almanac

It seems that for once the weathermen got it right, as the weather started sliding down the slippery slope of Autumn in the days following our walk and picnic in the sculpture park.

We were Thursday 24 September by then and if initially there wasn't much sign of the predicted rain, the temperature had dived well under 20°C.

Nevertheless, I was determined to wear the short-sleeved mod dress I'd found in Think Twice the other week, before long-sleeve weather would be well and truly upon us.

As the dress's fabric is a polyester knit, it was warm enough on its own, only requiring the wearing of a full slip underneath. 

Its print is hard to distinguish from a distance (I'm hearing you Sheila!), but you can see its delightful teal, purple, orange and olive green colour scheme in the close-ups.

Making full use of the dress's Autumnal vibes, I matched my opaques to its solid burnt orange collar, and added a green chain belt and a purple and orange wooden beaded necklace. A further nod to the season was provided by the two vintage Autumn leaf brooches tumbling from my shoulder.

My beloved burgundy ankle boots, which I've had for the better part of ten years, and have been to the cobbler's once or twice during their lifetime, are now definitely on their last legs. So far, my search for a replacement pair hasn't been successful, so I'll keep on wearing these until they fall apart completely.

To combat the sudden chill, I was wearing an olive green H&M cord jacket, a local flea market find last year.

While Jos did the twice-weekly food shop that morning, I pottered around the house, but I felt a bit restless and didn't seem to be able to get stuck into anything in particular.

Nothing that a good old rummage couldn't fix, we thought, so after lunch we grabbed our coats and masks and were off to the charity shops.

But first we stopped at the local museum's rusty garden gate for some outfit photos, while gathering some of the medlar fruits which were littering the ground and admiring the glut of pumpkins beyond the gate.

We spent a happy few hours rummaging in two of our favourite shops and certainly didn't come away empty handed. My favourite find in the first shop must be this floral thermos flask, which will be accompanying us on our next picnic. It's in perfect shape and it was a steal at just € 1,20.

Further finds were a lightweight cotton kimono-style jacket, which I'm looking forward to wearing next Summer, a massive black floral scarf, and a handful of necklaces.

In the second shop, I fell head over heels for this butter-soft yellow leather handbag, but as it had a small black scuff mark on its front, I initially put it back. After asking Jos for a second opinion and a furtive scratch with a fingernail, we decided it was just a stain and thus removable.

Back at home, we set to work immediately but much to our dismay, rubbing the stain only seemed to make it worse. We decided to leave it and take it to our cobbler, who'd once worked his magic on a pair of seriously scuffed shoes of mine. But when I walked past the bag an hour or so later, the stain had magically disappeared almost completely. Perhaps burning those candle at the fever chapel did the trick? Whatever the case, please meet my new workday bag, providing sunshine on even the rainiest of days.

Speaking of rain, by the time we left the second shop, the first drops were starting to fall, and without the warmth of the sun, the temperature had dropped even lower.

Fortunately though, a weak sun soon reappeared, so that we managed to make it home without having to use an umbrella. 

Making the most of the dry spell, Phoebe and I went on a foray into the garden. While she nodded off on the bench, I admired the tenacity of nature to make flowers look beautiful even in their final hours. I was particularly enchanted with the yellow Osteospermum caught in a cluster of trailing Geranium flowers.

We woke up to a blanket of grey on Friday, but although the weathermen had gleefully forecasted atrocious weather, it was still dry when we left the house after breakfast.

We'd planned to go charity shopping again, deciding to visit our all-time favourite shop in Duffel, which we'd been avoiding until now as it tends to be quite busy. Indeed, even this early in the day, its car park was full. Rather than turning heel - or should that be wheel, perhaps - we drove on to the nearby park and decided to try our luck again a bit later.

As it still didn't look like rain, we went for a stroll, marvelling at the fact that we hadn't been there since January. Back in normal times we used to go there at least once a month, if not more, combining a short or longer walk in the park with a visit to the charity shop.

We'd just decided on a the perfect spot for outfit photos, when we were chased away by two white geese throwing a hissy fit.

Nothing for it but to cross the bridge and look for a sheltered spot where I could remove my coat to show you what I was wearing underneath.

My 1970s diagonally striped skirt, which last made an appearance back in Spring, was accompanied by one of my recents finds, a frilly Kookai blouse sprinkled with a galaxy of stars, hearts and flowers.

Taking my lead from the pale pink hearts in its print, I wore a thin pink cardigan on top which, in spite of the chilly wind, I took off to show you my blouse in its full glory. The things one does for blogging!

Tying in with the blouse's orange flowers, as well as the orange stripes in my skirt, I chose an orange beaded necklace and a tawny orchid brooch.

My outfit was completed with a stretchy belt with the most fabulous clasp buckle, a cheeky retail buy from a couple of months ago.

Afterwards, we returned to the charity shop and, as many gaps had appeared in the car park in the meantime, we decided to risk it and go for a browse.

Pickings were rather meagre, but I still came away with two tops, a short-sleeved blue and white cotton jumper with the cutest button decoration on its back and a King Louie top scattered with red roses. And obviously I couldn't leave behind the small € 0,30 wicker sewing basket for my growing collection. 

The rain came in the afternoon, and in all its ferocity was joined by a gale force wind which kept rattling our shutters all night. 

Miraculously, nothing seemed to have suffered too much in the garden when I went outside to take stock on Saturday morning. 

Again, both Phoebe and I made the most of the sunshine, which much to our surprise remained with us for most of the day. Basking in the sun's golden rays, even our little black monster seemed to take on an Autumnal hue.

I was wearing another one of my recent charity shop finds, a wrap dress by St. Germain Paris in a striking cobalt blue with a wallpapery scrolls and roses print.

The pink roses offered the perfect excuse to pile on the pinks, so in addition to the t-shirt I layered underneath the dress, I wore bright pink opaques and a matching long-line cardigan. I echoed the reddish parts in the print by wearing a red ring and beaded necklace and kept the dress's decolletage in check by pinning it with a gold-tone and purple brooch.

I'm leaving you now with a last look at the garden before we were treated to endless days of heavy rains.

There's a harmony of sea holly, catmint and fleabane, a fresh cluster of pink Pelargonium flowers and one of the many fern fronds turning yellow and eventually brown with age. Oh, and Phoebe high on catmint!

I'll be back in a couple of days. In the meantime, I'm counting on you to stay safe and sane. And fabulous, obviously!