Wednesday, 8 May 2019

When April steps aside for May

I'm briefly interrupting my travelogue for an update of what else I've been doing and wearing. There might even be one or two finds to show you as well!

So, let's retrace our steps to the Easter weekend, and to Easter Day in particular.

We had been graced with the most delicious summery weather all weekend. Temperatures had soared into the mid-twenties and, while our neighbour was getting sunburnt up on his roof, we sought refuge from the ongoing sawing, hammering and drilling by going for a walk in the shade.

Just a short drive from Dove Cottage, in a neighbouring village, is a recreational area established at one of the chain of forts surrounding the city of Antwerp, built between 1859 and 1864.

A path alongside the old fort's moat takes you into the domain, with one or two paths leading off it and circuiting the fort. If you continue on the main path, at one point it takes you through some of the atmospheric, time-forgotten buildings.

I was barelegged but not bareheaded, wearing my favourite sunhat for the first time this year, with a scarf I'd scored the day before wrapped around it. My sunglasses, with their charity shopped frames, protected my eyes from the glare of the sunlight, which seemed to have doubled in brilliance when we emerged from the semi-darkness of the fort.

I'm sure you'll need sunglasses too when spying my glow-in-the-dark legs. Now where did I put that bottle of fake tan again?

My dress was charity shopped on my birthday in 2016, while both the woven fabric belt and the lacquered wicker bag were charity shop finds as well. 

Uncharacteristically, I was wearing sneakers, a retail buy from last year. I succumbed to them as they are a rare pair which doesn't have those thick white soles, which I'm not a fan of, to put it mildly.

So, what else did we do that Easter weekend? 

Retracing my steps even further, on Saturday I had a vintage shopping date in Antwerp with my friends Ingrid and Inez. You've already seen what I was wearing that day (here), but the question is, what - if anything - did I find?

I'm happy to say that we were all successful and went home with lots vintage and second hand treasures for next to nothing.

At Think Twice, where everything was € 3 that day, I found the floral maxi skirt and the lime green short-sleeved knitted top I am wearing in the above collage, as well as a lightweight denim skirt with a row of embroidered roses at the hem, which you can catch a glimpse of on the bottom right. We finished our shopping at Melting Pot, a shop selling vintage per kilo, where I picked up a long-sleeved polyester frock, black with a gorgeous orange and reddish brown print, and two scarves, one of which I'm wearing here, for a total of just over € 4.

Meanwhile, things have started stirring in Dove Cottage's wild jungle garden, watched over by Phoebe on her favourite perch. 

At the back of the garden, I spotted some gorgeous, tiny pink flowers, which I'm pretty sure weren't there before. Some googling revealed them to be Geranium purpureum, a wildflower commonly known as Little Robin,which probably arrived with the birdseed we scatter in Winter. How lovely they are! They can definitely stay. Dandelions are welcome in our garden too. 

We will have gooseberries aplenty as well. I'm quite impressed with the size of them this early on, although it will be a while before they achieve their final, ruby red hue.

As usual this time of year, our Cotoneaster bush is a-buzz with bees of all sizes and descriptions, who seem to be exceptionally fond of its diminutive flowers, their constant buzzing providing a drowsy summer soundtrack.

More treasures were found at the charity shops that weekend. Clockwise from top left: a handmade cotton circle skirt trimmed with rick-rack, a hand-painted wooden bangle, two necklaces - note the fabulous polished wooden one on the left, which I'm wearing with my Think Twice finds above - and a multicoloured, woven belt.

Browsing the rail of new arrivals, I discovered this gem of a Crimplene shift dress. The colours might be a little muted compared to my usual colourful attire, but surely the Paisley print more than makes up for that!

By the time I was back at work after our short holiday, all traces of summer had disappeared, leaving us with temperamental weather more suited to an average March day.

In my reluctance to break out the long-sleeved frocks again, I thought Crimplene would at least keep me warm enough, especially with an extra layer worn underneath. Taking the lead from the greyish blue notes in the dress, I chose powder blue for my cardigan and accessories. You might notice I'm wearing ankle boots in the same colour as well. They were picked up in the sales last Winter, but as they are suede, and thus a bit delicate, I haven't been wearing them much.

My ceramic brooch, with its little boat sailing off into the sunset, was a gift to myself from a craft shop in Cardigan in June 2017, and so will be forever linked to that rather washed out holiday.

I only had two days of work to go through before our public holiday on the First of May. I can't say I minded very much.

Making use of the time on my hands, I sorted out my boots and shoes, putting away most of my Winter ones and bagging up those which didn't pass muster for charity.

Then I brought out all of my Summer shoes and sandals and sorted them by colour, adding one or two pairs to the charity bag. There were still more than enough left, though.

Those of you with minimalist tendencies, please look away!

All of these have been neatly put away into my IKEA shoe boxes, which have semi-opaque flaps closing with Velcro, and which live in a tower building in our spare room, each one resting on its own pair of shelf brackets.

I had the brainwave of making a snapshot of each pair of shoes before putting them away, putting them into an album I can scroll through on my phone for easy reference.

Now, which pair shall I wear today? 

As at the time of writing the weather is still letting us down, I was actually wearing boots today, but never mind ...

I am leaving you now with my latest find, a tapestry evening bag I happened to run into at Think Twice last Friday. 

How gorgeous is that print? And how often do you come across a green tapestry bag? I'm sure you'll agree that this has my name written all over it.

There will be another episode of my travelogue in my next post. Will you join me again?

Linking my Paisley print Crimplene frock to Nancy's Fancy Friday.


  1. Our weather is inconsistent too. A week ago it was summer now it is back to fall. At least the leaves on the trees have come out.

    That little tapestry bag is stunning. Perfect for this time of year.

    Good on you for sorting and photographing your shoes. I'm sure that was quite the task. I'm putting off my closet switch out till the weather smartens up.


    1. I've done most of my wardrobe switch, but still have plenty of cold weather clothes out just in case ... xxx

  2. That charity shopped dress is gorgeous. I really like how you styled your dress with sneakers. The tapestry bag is so lovely. This second dress is very nice as well and I do like blue accessories with it.

    1. Thank you Ivana, I do not often buy/wear sneakers, but loved these ones. xxx

  3. Oh, my eyes! Cover those legs before someone gets hurt!

  4. Good Morning Ann,
    you found wonderful clothes. I like the green skirt and this handpainted bangle.
    and so cute is this ceramic brooch with sailing boat. Sometimes it need a gift to ourself ;)
    I wish you a nice day, a huge hug Tina

  5. I'm rooting for the yellow pair of shoes btw (once that the weather improves that is, we've got rain here as well).

    1. They're rather lovely, aren't they? I've had them for many years! xxx

  6. I laughed when you mentioned your "glow-in-the-dark" legs, Ann! I have the same issue all year round! ;) That first dress is so pretty and I love that wicker bag! That floral maxi skirt is fab too! I really love your paisley shift dress! It looks so pretty paired with that powdery blue. Your accessories are fab, as always! ;) Your shoe collection is fantastic! Hope you have a wonderful weekend, Ann! XXX

    1. Thank you Sasha, and I'm glad I'm not the only one with glow-in-the-dark legs ;-) I'm rather loving your shoe collection too, by the way! xxx

  7. lovely to see you enjoying a summery day in your floral dress and Straw hat!, so delightful!. And that wicker bag is so cute!
    Also love your floral maxi and all those fab finds you got!, those necklaces are so cool!. Love the paisley dress with those matchy accessories in blue, they make it looks fab!
    And I do love your shoes collection!. Not a minimalist myself, obviously!!

    1. Thank you Monica, and no, I didn't expect you to be a minimalist ;-) xxx

  8. ohhh - that little bag is beautiful!!!!
    did not look at your shoes......
    the rickrack skirt is so fun - has a bit of a patio skirt. esp. with the colorful, folky jewelry you bought too.
    my legs are still snow white - leggings do safe me by having bare feet in light shoes for the mild weather.
    hugsies! xxxxx

    1. That's very wise, Beate ;-) Legs are still snow white, even with 2 applications of fake tan ... xxx

  9. Oh, that wonderful Easter weekend, when we had some sunshine and heat!
    That tapestry bag is gorgeous as is your collage of shoes. Can you believe that I have the matching blazer to your dress in the stockroom? Sadly it would fit both of us together!
    Love your wonderful collection of wall plaques and those snippets of the old fort, Dove Cottage's garden and, of course, Phoebe and Jos! xxx

    1. We're finally having some sunny weather again, even if it hasn't been exactly warm. How funny that you have the matching jacket in the stockroom. Shame it's too big, though, as it would have looked lovely as a set! xxx

  10. Wow that's quite a shoe collection!
    Your tapestry bag is beautiful, such gorgeous flowers...speaking of which, I love the way you welcome the wild flowers too. I keep my forage and nettles, they may be weeds but the insects love them and it's their garden too!
    What on earth happened to that lovely Easter weather, it's been dismal here ever since. xxx

    1. I know, I was a bit shocked myself, Sally. And of course the wild flowers can stay. The more the merrier! xxx

  11. No, that tapestry bag has MY name on it, Ann! Only joking - it is gorgeous.

    I was surprised at the extent of your shoe collection but only because they were all together. I'm sure if I laid out all my shoes/sandals in the way you had I would have just as much!

    Loving all the outfits and the lovely accessories; especially the boat brooch! You did very well at your vintage sale.

    Your garden is looking lovely.

    Have a great weekend.

    1. I was rather shocked seeing them all together. But I'm being ruthless, one sign of bad behaviour, and they're out! xxx

  12. Oh that bag is just gorgeous! And all those shoes!!!! Heaven!

  13. The tapestry bag won over my heart! Good to see you enjoying the wonderful weather, surroundings and thrift shopping with friends (and Jos, of course!). Such a great shoe collection you have, dear Ann, I'm a little envious! :)

    1. Thank you Natalia! I was quite surprised the bag hadn't been snapped up yet. xxx

  14. Your Crimplene dress brought warm fuzzies to my heart as it took me back to happy days spent with my beloved grandmother. That's not meant as a back-handed compliment. For starters, grandmothers come in all shapes and stripes and fashion styles. So I mean no disrespect to you or to grandmothers. My grandmother simply lived during the time your dress originated. She had similar styled/colored/patterned dresses and it makes me happy to see something like hers again. You bring the dress straight into the present day with the personalized way you style it. I love how you've brought out the blue with your cardigan and accessories. And I ADORE those powder blue boots!

    Thank you for warming my heart and being inspirational with your style. Is that one of the reasons you love vintage so much? You enjoy happy memories and associations from them?

    It would seem spring has landed quite happily on your doorstep. How your garden photos made me smile. (That's two smiles in one blog post!) I hope the weather continues to warm up more regularly so you can enjoy the change-over of your seasonal wardrobe more fully.

    And, yes--I'm ready to read more of your travel adventures!

    Sending hugs,

    1. Aw, what a sweet comment! I've been thinking about why it is I love vintage so much. Not my grandmother, I'm sure, although my maternal grandmother had quite a collection of clothes, and I do think I inherited my fashion sense from her. I even did a post on her once, called Bertha's Wardrobe, with I think you would love. I do think my love of vintage stems from the fact that these were the fashions which were around when I first started showing an interest in clothes. xxx

  15. Looks like a lovely way to enjoy the warmer weather, and you had some great luck shopping! :)

    Really liking how you've organised your shoes too, the phone album is such a clever idea!

    Hope that you are having a wonderful weekend :)

    Away From Blue

    1. Thank you Mica! I tend to forget about certain pairs of shows when I can't see them, so the album is ideal, as I can scroll through my shoes without having to look into all those boxes! xxx

  16. I love the bag it's so sweet. What a great idea to take pictures of your shoes, I am impressed with the collection!

  17. Oh that tapestry bag! How beautiful! I like the little lacquered bag too.
    Lovely to see a glimpse of your shoe collection. I find shoes stay in my wardrobe for the longest, my collection doesn't rival yours but I'm working on it!

    1. Thank you Hazel! I was surprised that the tapestry bag hadn't been snapped up yet. It's in pristine condition too! Oh, and re. the shoes, I'm sure you'll get there in the end ;-) xxx