Saturday, 14 March 2020

Strange days indeed

In the first weeks of my blogging career back in March 2016, on the day following the terrorist attacks at Brussels airport, I published a post called Could Life Ever Be Sane Again.

Part of the lyrics to a Smiths song called Panic, this kept playing over and over in my head in the days following the attack, as it expressed exactly how I felt: a kind of numbness mixed with disbelief and above all, a feeling of powerlessness, a reality check in a time when daily realities seemed to be ever shifting.

How very apt that post title would have been now!  As if on cue, it has wormed its way back into my subconscious ever since the dreaded Coronavirus has reared its ugly head. The situation has become pretty dire here and it's hard to stay positive when faced with the relentless scaremongering the media bombard us with, causing panic and paranoia all around and seemingly throwing all common sense overboard.

For the last couple of days, I feel as if I'm about to lose my sanity. Numb and powerless, I can only stand and watch as reality is shifting yet again, and Belgium is going into the first stages of lockdown. Strange days indeed!

Ironically, I also wrote a post called My Corona back in 2016.  I'm not joking! It's here and it's about my grandfather's typewriter!



On top of that, sunny spells are still rarer than hen's teeth these days, but at least there's a cure for the rainy day blues!

And if wearing colour doesn't kiss it all better, it certainly goes a long way in making me feel marginally better and, perhaps, anyone seeing me wearing it too.

Giving preference to those items which haven't been worn yet this Winter, I unearthed this 1960s purple floral shift dress from my wardrobe. Yet another old Think Twice find, it has a dropped collar and a row of tiny decorative self fabric buttons at the yoke.



Trying to keep a sunny disposition was aided by adding yellow in the mix, a first for this dress which in the past I always wore with either pink or mustard.

I was surprised at how well the purple seemed to work with the amber yellow of my tights, cardigan and necklace. And look how the pansies in my brooch are bringing the colours together! As a final touch of sunshine, I added an orange flower corsage to my long-line cardie.



In February's final week, the weather had been particularly fickle.

One afternoon at the office, I looked up from what I was doing to see a flurry of snowflakes drift by my window. Much to my relief, the snow didn't stick, but it still managed to cause even more disruption than usual to Antwerp's feeble excuse for a public transport system.



On my way to the bus stop the next morning, I was sufficiently entranced by the delicate morning sunshine illuminating our village church that I took a photo with my phone's camera.

I did the same the next day when we were once again treated to the usual foggy drizzle. What a difference a day makes!  



The weekend, as weekends tend to do, couldn't have come sooner. 

You've already seen Saturday's purple and yellow attire at the start of this post, but not my outerwear.

I didn't have much use for my Princess coat this Winter, so I'm taking the opportunity of any chilly day to give it an outing. Recently, I was asked why I'm calling it my Princess coat. Well, at the time it made its first appearance on the blog, back in December 2017, somebody remarked that it was a coat fit for a Winter Princess, and so the name stuck.



That Saturday, we did our usual round of the charity shops, where I found a fabulous pair of hardly worn brown boots, with a kind of decorative elastic panel at the back. Their heels have just the right height for them to be wearable for me, so in our basket they went.


Next up was a pale green suede belt with the most gorgeous buckle. You'll see me wearing it in my next post!



A handful of necklaces also made their way into our shopping basket. Surely a girl can't have enough of those?


People have been asking me about the background fabric I'm using to photograph most of my jewellery finds. This is actually a quilted plaid I found in a charity shop years ago, consisting of  large alternating pink and white printed rectangles. The quilt covers our antique linen chest and its position in front of one of our upstairs windows offers the perfect light for photographs as well. I love the faded grandeur of the fabric, the faded bit greatly helped by the fact that it's one of Phoebe's favourite sunbathing spots!


Enter Sunday the first of March, and a brief respite from all the rain. I don't remember if it lasted all day, but I don't think so, as we didn't leave Dove Cottage's confines.

The dress I was wearing that day, with a repeat later that week, was a re-discovered one and no, I haven't got the slightest idea why it was neglected for so long. I don't think I wore it at all for at least two years!


It's got a generous pleated skirt which invites a spot of twirling, a tie collar, which I tamed by pinning a multi-coloured stone brooch to it, and bishop sleeves closing with two red buttons at the wide cuffs.

If I remember correctly, it also came with a self fabric belt, but I used a grey leather one with an oval leather covered buckle from my collection instead.



Everything I'm wearing here came from my existing wardrobe, except for the pinkish pearly brooch, which was twinkling at me at Think Twice a couple of weeks back, and the boots, which are the ones I picked up at the charity shop on Saturday.

Well, that's it for now. I'll be returning with one more post of outfits and finds before entering an enforced period of charity shopping abstinence, as all shops except for those selling food - and toilet paper, if it's not sold out - have to close in the weekends until the end of the month. As for flying visits to Think Twice during my lunch breaks, I somehow don't think I'll have the heart for them.

But it will pass, I'm sure it will. Do stay safe and healthy in the meantime!


44 comments:

  1. Your blog is such a welcome distraction from all that's going on. Sounds like Spring is on hiatus there, with all the grey days you've been having. We're still having sunny days, although the air is crispy. Your purple shift dress has a lovely collar and the yellow you've introduced to it is lovely. I am a fan of your princess coat - I'm on the lookout for one myself, preferably in green. Love your red pleated dress too. So flattering. Your new boots are great - can never have enough brown boots I say! Belt is cute too. As for charity shop abstinence - just the thought is giving me a migraine! We're missing our weekend hunting and we're in a dizzy spin about it. Hopefully all normality is restored soon enough so this imposed hibernation comes to an end. Take care.

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    1. Thank you so much Suzy, having lovely readers like you is what keeps my blogging mojo running! xxx

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  2. I hope you and Jos stay safe and well. This will end eventually, and hopefully being holed up at Dove Cottage will be safe and comfortable.

    I've started the spring switch over in the wardrobe as distraction. Our schools are going to be shut for 6-8 weeks by the most recent estimate. Good thing I have some experience homeschooling.

    Stay strong.

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    1. Thank you Goody, we are trying to keep safe and sane here! xxx

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  3. I like the colourful first outfit but I love the dress in your last outfit!

    We aren't at the lock down stage yet in Australia but a few events this weekend have been cancelled. It's still not yet 100% confirmed but it's looking like I'll be joining hubby and working from home next week as his office is closed and mine is thinking about it. We have worked from home in the past so it's not too hard to do, I do it every week in fact!

    Hope that you are having a lovely weekend! We are having a quiet one here :)

    Away From Blue

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    1. Thank you Mica! Going to work (me) and food shopping (husband) are the only things that still get us out of the house! xxx

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  4. So now I read 3 lyrics of songs that will stay in my head for the rest of the day! Thanks Ann! Lol. It is terrifying of I think of all the small shop owners in the next months. And restaurants, and a lot more of course. I think it's a scary world at the moment. I will stay inside for 2 weeks. Well inside, we did go for a walk today, but I canceled all my appointments. Luckely we have those fabulous colorful women like you too cheer us up with those fantastic outfits, l

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    1. Haha, Nancy, you are actually the only one to have discovered the 3 songs :-)) Well done! xxx

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  5. The coronavirus is definitely causing a lot of people to panic. It is important to remain calm, I think. We must be cautious but not panic. I'm a bit apprehensive about work, I had everything planned out and now I have to completely change my lesson plans as I'm not sure will the whole internet learning thing work.

    You look fabulous in your outfits. The printed purple dress is simply divine. Such a fun print. I also love the amber yellow tights and the matching cardigan. The boots look so chic and I bet they're comfy too. The second styling is so lovely as well. The red dress looks great paired with a blue cardigan.

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    1. Thank you Ivana! Trying to remain calm and following the rules are the only things we can do, really! xxx

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  6. Thank you so much Ann for your words about my Luna post. Thanks for the big hug. xxx Tina

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    1. You're welcome, Tina, and I saw you already have a new furry family member! Will head over to your post tonight! xxx

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  7. Sweet Ann, I'm deeply sorry for the immense difficulties and challenges that are facing your country. The virus has begun appearing here in Canada, too, with a few dozen (if I'm not mistaken) cases (including a small number of fatalities) already, though there are no confirmed cases yet in our region. Chances are, it's simply a matter of time until that happens though. This is hitting the whole world like a tsunami wave that rolling over each nation in due course.

    With all my heart, I hope and ask the universe that you and your loved ones remain safe and uninfected during these incredibly uncertain times. Please know that I'm always just an email (info@witchcraftedlife.com) or DM away if you ever need/want to talk privately about anything that you're experiencing, thinking or worried about.

    Immense strength, support & love coming your way,

    Autumn Zenith ­čÄâ Witchcrafted Life

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    1. Thank you so much for your kind and supportive words, Autumn. Hope you and Tony remain safe! xxx

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  8. a shame that this gorgeous dress was banned in the closet for so long - its a perfect princess ann dress!!!
    as for C. - the BW is at risk too with heavy infections - but we try our best to stay healthy - and, more important, cool. thankfully he works from home office anyway.
    another pair of fab boots - and the belt buckle is fun with its southwestern style.
    hugsies - my dear! xxxxx

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    1. Thank you Beate! About the dress: I know! It's not going anywhere, that's for sure. And neither am I, being housebound except for going to work :-( xxx

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  9. Yes, stay safe and carry on, Ann. Our shops are still open but I suspect the schools and colleges will be closed by Friday.

    I am loving both your dresses and accessories; so colourful and beautifully co ordinated; you gladden anyone's heart!

    The new boots, belt and necklaces were fab finds.

    I know why you forgot about the lovely dress - you have too many!! I do it all the time. Imaging how lovely it would be to have a room or cupboard large enough to display all your dresses/skirts/jackets together! We can only wish...

    Maybe you'll get more reading done if your shopping opportunities are limited...
    xxxx

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    1. You're spot on, Vronni, it's because I have too many dresses! I've been dreaming of a large dressing room for ages, but I guess it will never happen. Except when I win the lottery. But I'm not wishing for that anymore, rather I'm wishing for this horrible virus to go away before I completely lose my sanity! xxx

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  10. Keep calm and carry on and keep looking fabulous!
    Strange times indeed. Thank goodness for the internet where we can all still see and chat to each other and stop ourselves from going insane.
    Both dresses are gorgeous, accessorised to perfection. I love the new boots and the fab necklaces. Not keen on the sound of that snow though, that needs to vanish!
    I could obsess about all the festivals and fairs being cancelled and having no income for the foreseeable future but I'm determined to look on the bright side - at least our house will be clean!
    Take care, Ann, Jos and Phoebe.
    xxx

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    1. It's all we can do really, isn't it? I'm trying not to obsess about the future and the things which will get cancelled. In the meantime, do take care, Vix, Jon, Stephen and Frank xxx

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  11. I have always loved your way of writing and appreciate it even more in these strange times! Yellow and purple is a superb combination

    Everything here is silence, empty streets and sad news...

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    1. Thank you for your kind words, Dan. Thinking of you and your country's terrible plight! xxx

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  12. I love the yellow and purple outfit and here's hoping this will pass soon. I can't get over the panic buying, it's ridiculous.

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    1. Thanks Gisela, and isn't that panic buying crazy? xxx

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  13. Wearing colour certainly helps me to feel positive. I work from home so my routine hasn't been disrupted too much, have plenty of provisions in the pantry so I feel we'll be able to withstand some disruption. As for the news, I'm not tuning in, the media have once again caused panic by obsessing over one news item. I know it's bad, I know we all have to do our bit, and follow guidelines, but some perspective would help.
    I love Phoebe's sunbathing quilt, and those boots are a fab find!
    Stay safe, normality will return.
    xx

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    1. Thank you Hazel! I've stopped tuning in to the news altogether now. It was driving me mad. Need to see positive things right now! xxx

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  14. Your lovely bright outfits are a tonic.
    Trying not to focus too much on the situation and getting on with things but it's getting hard to ignore. Hoping all's well with you and Jos. xxx

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    1. Thank you Sally, and I hope you are both OK. It's getting very hard to ignore indeed, we do need something positive to focus on right now! xxx

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  15. I'm so glad you're still posting - thanks for being a ray of sunshine in the gloom, Ann! Many of my readers have been very expressive in thanking me for continuing to post - we are doing our part in helping people forget some of the craziness going on in the world, even if only for a little while. This will be one of those global events (like 911) that will resonate for us for years, I think.

    Now, let's get to the good stuff: Clothes! Your purple and yellow outfit makes my heart sing, particularly that luscious orangey-coral flower - utter perfection! I love a one-two colour combo, but it's often the 3rd colour that really brings them together, don't you find?

    Your new boots are incredibly fabulous? Are they leather? I love the calf detailing. They will look wonderful with your Princess coat (glad I am not the only one who names her coats!). The belt is gorgeous, as are those new necklaces. I'm particularly enamoured of the triangle one and the choker (I am a sucker for chokers).

    Your blue, red and black dress is wonderful, and how marvelous to twirl and forget one's cares! Your pinkish brooch looks like a pink, the flower! I grew up with a garden full of pinks - they remind me of my childhood.

    My part of Canada (the west coast) is rapidly progressing to lock-down as restaurants and businesses close their doors - even my Fluevog store has closed! I'm anticipating that soon I'll be told to work from home.

    Hang in there, my dear. Long-distance hugs (the safest kind!) to you, Jos and Phoebe.

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    1. Oh, I definitely agree, Sheila, we will carry this with us for years, if not the rest of our lives. I've been thinking of starting a journal to record what is happening and how I'm feeling. In the meantime, I'm trying to stay positive and provide that well needed ray of sunshine! xxx

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  16. Lol, I didn't mean to have a question mark after "Your boots are incredibly fabulous!" ha! They really are, no question!

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  17. Those boots are gorgeous.
    I know.. we don't know what to feel.. what to do.. just take it one day at a time.

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    1. Thank you Hena, and I think that is the best way forward! xxx

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  18. Good to see your fabulous outfits. I'm using the isolation period to wear stuff that doesn't usually get worn.

    Everything does feel very strange. I'm working from home, so everything feels normal to me - then I look at the news or on social media and get hit by the awfulness of it all all over again. I hope you were able to get some loo roll, and that you and Jos and all your loved ones stay safe.

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    1. Thank you Mim! It does feel strange indeed. I'm still going out to work, and Antwerp is a ghost town! I've snoozed a couple of notorious scaremongers on social media, to keep a bit of perspective. I hope that you and your loved ones stay safe, and we're OK on loo roll, yay! xxx

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  19. Thanks for reminding me of my mum's Victory Red lipstick, worn daily as a part of women's contribution to the war effort at home. Morale matters!

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  20. Glad to see your fabulous outfits, they cheer me up!
    Lovely orange and purple color combo, I love those colors and how well they work together and how brilliantly you accessorize them. Love a delightfully matchy ensemble and love your Princess Coat, a really regal piece!.
    Those boots look amazing, a high quality find!. Also fab necklaces!
    And love your last dress, its pleated fabulousness and amazing print!. Your blue cardi enhances its colors so nicely!. Totally rocks!
    besos

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    1. So glad my outfits cheer you up, Monica. I'm always glad to see your posts too, they're my positivity fix! xxx

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