Christmas and Boxing Day have come and gone. Storm Bella has raged over us, unleashing a wind that was making our old house groan and our windows rattle.
The year's days have dwindled to just a handful and soon we'll be saying goodbye and good riddance to this hell-hole of a year. In only a matter of days, we'll once again be welcoming a new one, and more than ever, we'll be wondering what it has in store for us.
But let's not be too hasty, as I haven't finished with the old year yet. In fact, my blog has only just made it halfway through December. So, let's not beat about the bush and proceed with the task at hand before my memory fails me completely.
The handmade vintage dress I was wearing two weeks ago on Saturday was found in our most local charity shop several years ago, when I was bowled over by its Autumnal colour mix.
However, its green foliage and red berries always remind me of Christmas and consequently I only seem to wear it as close as possible to the festive season. Opening my wardrobe's doors during the preceding months, my eyes often alight on it, but just as I'm about to pull it out, I'm thinking: no, not yet, it's too Christmassy!
I admit it does rather limit its possibilities, but that Saturday, as we were well and truly in the run-up to the silly season, it was now or never.
The red berries were echoed by my opaques, while the greenery was joined by the green boots I charity shopped almost exactly a year ago. The burgundy fluffy cardigan - which I seem to be reaching for an awful lot lately - was another charity shop find during last year's Christmas holidays.
That just leaves the funky necklace I picked up on my first post-lockdown 2.0 visit to the charity shops, its arrangement of red, white and tan plastic discs and flowers quite at home with the colours of my dress.
The day had been particularly dismal, dark and rainy, even if at 10°C, it remained quite mild for the time of year.
I just moped around the house, doing this and that, until a bit of cheer arrived in the form of a box of chocolate seashells filled with hazelnut praliné, a Belgian delicacy. We'd ordered these through Jos's granddaughter Saar, in aid of an organization she is volunteering with, offering summer camps for children.
Fortified by a handful of chocolates, I was ready to show you my charity shop finds of the previous day.
These included a chunky orange cardigan, a funky retro-print dress, a long teal-ish blue cardigan and two belts.
I wouldn't be surprised if you think the one on the bottom left looks familiar as yes, I do already own two of these stretchy zig-zag chevron patterned belts. Both sales bargains earlier this year, they have been on constant rotation, and I'm actually wearing the new one with its round, black wooden buckle, as I type!
Sunday's weather was almost a duplicate of Saturday's, but this time we were treated to some watery sunshine in the morning.
This lasted just long enough to take some photos of the pink Geraniums on the plant table under the awning just outside our kitchen door. In this sheltered spot, and aided by the continued double digit temperatures, they are still blooming their heads off. They are joined by one or two tiny pinks in the pot to their right and the last of the magenta Cyclamen in front of them.
My outfit that day was based around another recent charity shop find, a riotously coloured and patterned blouse with a frilly button placket.
I took the lead from the turquoise in its print and wore one of my favourite skirts, in a slubby turquoise fabric, its weave enhanced with blue, green, white, red and black specks.
My belt and necklace tied in with the honey coloured stripes in the blouse's print and I referred to its main colour by wearing a ring and opaques in shades of red. Oh, and my red-eyed Bambi brooch too!
On top, my teal waterfall cardigan charity shopped at the tail end of last year, and on my head, one of my oldest berets in term of ownership, a zig-zag patterned black and white one from H&M.
I repeated this outfit in its entirety for Monday's office day, when the mercury reached highs of an almost unheard of 14°C. After a wet start, and much to the delight of the emerging crowds of Christmas Zombies, it cleared up in the afternoon. Apart from the obligatory face masks and the queues, it's as if Covid-19 doesn't exist for these crowds of crazy people.
When I photographed the views from my office window soon after getting in that morning, all was still quiet. The calm before the storm.
Back at home on Tuesday, it was again grey and rainy for most of the day, with a strangely out of kilter 15°C.
Not wanting to be cooped up inside the house all day, but with the weather ruling out any chance of a walk, we decided to visit yet another charity shop.
We went a bit further afield this time, visiting the shop on the outskirts of the town of Lier, where in the past I not only found the green boots I'm wearing in the first outfit, but which also came up trumps with other lucky finds like my yellow handbag and my blue boots and burgundy Fly London boots.
And although the clothing aisles were rather uninspiring this time around, I still couldn't leave without this pristine wool blend skirt suit by posh Belgian label Caroline Biss.
Quite hard to photograph, especially on a dark day, I've included a close-up of its fabric, although it still doesn't quite capture the sparkle in its weave.
The jewellery display also yielded two necklaces for my burgeoning collection.
Then, instead of returning straight back home, we treated our car to a long overdue session at the car wash, where I had some fun experimenting with my phone's camera.
My journal tells me that after lunch, I vacuumed the dining room and hallway, after which Jos took over to do the front room.
In the afternoon, a gap in the clouds allowed for a sudden burst of sunshine which lured us outside for outfit photos.
You might recognize the dress, which is the first one with the "Ein Fink Modell" label I'd charity shopped the other week. Thank you, Beate, for sending me the link shedding some light upon the label!
The dress's previous owner had apparently removed the bottom part of its lining, so that it now ended at the hips where it bunched up annoyingly. There was nothing for it but to take it out completely, and wear one of my vintage slips underneath.
I used bright pinks for my opaques, cardigan and dragonfly brooch, and added my famous wooden discs necklace from Accessorize. The purple leather belt is one of the charity shop finds I started this post with.
My green turban headband was crocheted for me by my friend Ingrid. It's even better than a beret for taming my unruly hair!
This might very well be my final post of the year, unless I decide to squeeze in another one at the last moment. If I don't, I'll see you on the other side of the great divide!
Before I go, I'm treating you to a glimpse of another garden stalwart which is still blooming today: a cheerful orange Nasturtium flower peeking out from behind one of our bird feeders! A sight for sore eyes, but a bit worrying too, as surely they are not supposed to produce flowers at the end of December!
Oh, and before I forget: this morning at 11 am, the first Covid-19 vaccinations were administered here in Belgium!
Take care and stay safe, my friends!