Wow, that has gone quickly, hasn't it? I'm talking about the Christmas break, of course, that ray of light at the end of the tunnel guiding me through the final working weeks of the year.
For the first couple of days, time seemed to be suspended, but then the train of days picked up speed, until all of a sudden time was up, and I was back at the office, as if it was only yesterday that I closed its door behind me with a sigh of relief.
Now how did that happen? It's the new year and I haven't even finished telling you about the old. There are still quite a few outfits to share, for starters.
I didn't finish work until December 24th, but the final weekend before the holidays, with only one more day of work to get through, already felt like a little taster of what was to come.
The week had been a particularly stressful one and, arriving home on Friday night, I was feeling quite frazzled and in need of a long lie-down. Hibernation sounded like a good idea: wake me up in Spring - or at least when all the Christmas madness is over!
But Saturday dawned, and I was feeling a whole lot better after a good night's sleep, especially since I was hearing the siren call of the charity shops!
So let's get up and get dressed! I plucked this pussy-bow frock from my wardrobe. Scored in a previous Think Twice sale for the princely sum of € 2, this was its first wear. I'd dithered over this one in the shop, but in the end its purples and pinks, not to mention its print which somehow manages to combine stripes, chevrons and diamonds, won me over.
I tamed the pussy-bow with my great aunt Josephine's diamanté scarf clip, added a wide chocolate brown mock-croc belt, magenta opaques and a fuchsia bed jacket-type cardigan to which I pinned the peacock feather brooch I brought back from our last UK holiday.
Oh, and I wore my red boots!
We spent a relaxing couple of hours having a good rummage in our chosen chazza's, picking up this heavy 700+ pageTaschen book on Design of the 20th Century at one of the shops.
Trawling the aisles of clothing in our second shop, I couldn't help but notice the huge choice of boots displayed at the bottom of the clothing rails. And what did I spy, with my little eye? Only my holy grail of footwear: a pair of green boots! Tentatively lifting them from their hiding place to look at their size, I couldn't believe my luck when I saw they were a 37, which is my size!
There seemed to be a little problem with the zips, which kept getting stuck, but having been faced with, and solved, similar problems more than once before, we took a chance and took them home.
Just as we thought, the zip problem was easy enough to solve. They were priced at € 6 but the guy at the till mislaid the price tag after removing it, and asked if € 4 was OK. Well, who were we to say no to that?
Needless to say, I had to wear them straight away, and I thought they would look a treat with Sunday's outfit.
The dark olive green shift dress, with its off-white, pink and lilac print, was another Think Twice sales bargain. With its dropped waist and worn with a slightly longer strand of off-white beads, I thought it had a certain 1920s vibe, but in a 2020s kind of way.
I opted for fuchsia opaques and a ditto long line cardigan, to which I pinned a green faux-leather hair flower worn as a brooch.
I was so pleased with this outfit that I wore it again in its entirety for my final day of work on Monday.
Skipping Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, as I've already shown you my outfits, we're moving straight to Boxing Day, on which we went for a walk in Middelheim Sculpture Park.
This is a tradition we've unwittingly started two years ago and, as we wanted to continue in the same vein, we had been anxiously eyeing the weather forecast, hoping for a dry day.
Much to our relief, rain was only expected by mid-afternoon so, instead of doing an afternoon walk as usual, we started out by late morning.
There was a definite chill in the air, so I dressed warmly, topping my outfit, which you will get to see later in this post, with a vintage coat which recently joined my collection.
How fortunate that there was this pink painted wall - part of an art installation - to compliment my vintage dusky pink Kangol beret and burgundy faux-fur wrap which I bought in the January sales two years ago.
We wandered at will, coming across Orbino (2004), a container installation by architectural sculptor Luc Deleu (top left) and Walking Nuns (1960-61) by Elia Ajolfi (top right), while encoutering our own ghostly reflections in Belgian Funhouse (2004) by Dan Graham (bottom left).
The same art installation which contained the pink wall, also provided a wooden catwalk, which was perfect for more outfit photos. I was joined by Running Girl (1976) by Kurt Gebauer (top right) and Will to Live (1952) by Hildo Krop (bottom left).
We then made our way to the recently opened Collection Pavilion, where you can (re)discover hidden works from the collection of the museum, which are normally stored in depots closed to visitors.
An initial selection of artworks has been unpacked there and put on display for the public.
Clockwise from top right are Model for Sculpture Zoo (2006) by Thomas Schütte, Chiaro di Luna (1932) by Arturo Martini and - a particular favourite of mine - Expearience Trap (2018), by British artist Alalia Chetwynd, who currently goes under the name of Monster Chetwynd. And no, I didn't make a typo in the title!
Starting with Steel-Sculpture (1951) by Hans Uhlmann, we go on to Henri Rouart (1889-90) by Medardo Rosso and Gummi Girl (2006) by Yoshimoto Nara, ending with Boy on a Chair (1977) by Kurt Trampedach.
We got talking to a musem guide who told us an anecdote about the boy on the chair who, years ago, was part of an exhibition in the museum's Braem Pavillion. At the time, security was being provided by the local police force and on one particular night watch, the officer on duty mistook the boy for a real one and attempted to arrest him!
After our visit to the Collection Pavillion, we were drawn further into the park by a peculiar tapping sound, which seemed to originate from the tangled branches of a copse of trees. Peering into the canopy, we finally spotted a woodpecker going about his business, but catching him on camera turned out to be virtually impossible.
Instead, I'm introducing you to two more works of art, Demeure N° 4 - Lanleff (1961) by Henri Etienne-Martin (left), and Two Pregnant Women (1952-53) by Charles Leplae (top right).
The museum café offered a welcome break for our customary cappuccinos. We'd ordered Croque Monsieur (toasted sandwiches) and were given a small flying saucer-like device (it's in on the bottom left of the photo of me) which would start buzzing once our order was ready for collection. Jos kept eyeing the thing anxiously in case we would miss it.
The sky was darkening with the forecasted rainclouds, so we made our way back, leaving the park the way we'd come, through Artist's Entrance by John Körmeling (top right and bottom left) with its distinctive mid-century flavour.
On the top left is another one of my favourites, Firmament III (2009) by Antony Gormley, of Angel of the North fame, with Two Figures in Relation (1954) by Bernhard Heiliger on the bottom right. My eye was caught by one of the museum's silver chairs, which someone had put between the two figures in question, giving a whole new dimension to the sculpture.
It started raining soon after we'd returned home, but there was a brief respite later in the afternoon, enabling us to make some outfit photos in the garden.
I was wearing a wool skirt by Escada and purple cardigan, both charity shopped, and a psychedelic print blouse from Think Twice. The beaded necklace was another charity shop find, while you might recognize the brooch as one of my latest flea market treasures. My zebra print belt was a retail buy back in November, but has already more than earned its keep.
I'll be back with more December break outfits in my next post.