Thursday 29 October 2020

Rest and be thankful

It's quite unfathomable that only a couple of days from now it will be seven months since my working week was reduced to a mere two days. And while it has undeniably been and continues to be a bumpy ride, each tiny up followed by a freewheeling down, these topsy-turvy weeks have been a blessing, albeit one in an at times very clever disguise.

I'm not going to beat about the bush: I love being at home and having more time on my hands than I ever imagined having before retirement. The one thing I can't say is that I have always used it wisely.

And so, while the virus seems to be taking its toll more than ever, the weeks continue to roll along in their out-of-sync way, the seasons following in its each other's wake just like they did before. If we'd  imagined 2020 as the start of another roaring 20s, we could never in a million years have imagined the enormity of what we were about to be hit with.

Two weeks ago on Thursday, after a particularly stressful office day on Wednesday, I was more than ready for another four-day stretch at home.

While Jos was doing the food shop, I rummaged around upstairs, going through boxes of half-forgotten stuff and filling a couple of bags for charity with no-longer loved or wanted items of clothing. 

The weather turned out to be quite nice and, if initially a bit chilly, the sun which put in an appearance  by mid-morning soon warmed things up. Too good to waste the afternoon inside, I suggested to go for a walk and take the charity bags to the Oxfam used clothing container just over a kilometer from our home.

I dusted off my beloved but slightly moth-eaten belted Tweed jacket, wrapped an orange crushed velvet scarf around my neck, and grabbed my yellow snake print bag, a cheeky retail buy last year just big enough for essentials: my phone, hand sanitizer and, obviously, my mask.

Turning two corners, we arrived on one of our village's main access roads, which on this particular stretch is lined with some grand detached houses, each in their own generous grounds and often protected from prying eyes by shrubs and trees. On this glorious October day, these delighted us with their amber and russet foliage.

The most covetable of these houses is a villa called "Rest and Be Thankful", built in English cottage style in 1906. It was here that the surrender of Antwerp was signed on 9 October 1914 after the city was heavily attacked by the German army in the night of 7 to 8 October. In order to avoid further bombardments, all of the occupying forces' demands were met and the Belgian army subsequently withdrew behind the River Yser, which greatly determined the war's ultimate course.

We made a shortcut through the somewhat unkempt Altena park, where glossy chestnuts and their prickly husks were littering the paths. We dropped off our bags, and then returned to the park for a short stroll and, of course, the obligatory outfit photos.

The park is part of a domain which used to belong to an order of nuns, but which was taken over by the council in the 1980s.

The big chapel on the top right, built in neo-Gothic style at the end of the 19th century, has been turned into a venue for concerts and exhibitions.

The black floral Mae Scott frock I was wearing was yet again part of my Think Twice birthday booty back in September.  I accessorized it with both colours of its print, choosing a green cardigan and opaques, an orange necklace and a green and orange flecked brooch. The belt with its rectangular buckle could almost pass for orange, especially in the close-up picture, but is actually a caramel brown.

Before leaving the park, we halted at the Lourdes grotto, dating from 1881, and sent up a silent prayer for a miracle.

Back at home, I was thrilled to find that the first of our Toad Lily's late flowers was in the process of opening. Over the next few days, it would be slowly but surely revealing its exquisite contents.

Our garden's micro climate ensures that there's still quite a bit of colour, with some of our garden stalwarts having been in flower almost continuously since Spring.

Remember the non-ribbiting frog (bottom right) we found hidden under some ivy back in April? He used to make a "ribbit" sound when you walked past him, but in spite of cleaning him up and changing his batteries, the poor thing remained mute. Well, out of the blue, he suddenly started ribbiting continuously. We only found out after Phoebe came running inside in a panic. We had to remove the frog's batteries to make him stop, but it took Phoebe until the next day to pluck up the courage to go out into the garden again! Scaredy cat! 

Being in productive mode, we put up the black and white photo I'd found when rummaging in our bedroom's built-in cupboard (a cupboard of doom if ever there was one) that morning.

It was taken by Jos's younger daughter during our first Summer at Dove Cottage back in 1999. We were both wearing shorts, Jos still had a lot of hair, and we are sitting on our garden's original, ugly white plastic bench, which would soon be replaced by our current one.

Joining the photo are two of our childhood photos: a two-and-a-half year old curly me, and a school photo of a cute, eight-year old Jos. The Summer after my photo was taken, my Mum had my hair cut into a pixie, and the curls disappeared forever.

The next day, Friday, had to do without Thursday's sunshine and thus turned out to be quite a grey and dismal affair.

For our weekly charity shopping trip, I wore my all-time favourite coat, a vintage teal new wool one which, with its medium weight, has seen me through many an Autumn and Spring by now. I am always looking forward to wearing it again. 

The photos were taken after we came back, and the scarf I'm wearing was one of my finds, matching my outfit perfectly.

The peek of burnt orange emerging from under my coat belongs to a button-through cord skirt I charity shopped last year. It's currently on the naughty bench as, being unlined and thus rather unwieldy, I didn't feel very comfortable wearing it. And yes, I was wearing a half-slip underneath!

My chocolate brown vintage blouse has a striking flower and circles print in yellow, orange, pink and a hint of turquoise. I chose the latter as an accent colour for my belt and cardigan, finishing my outfit with teal opaques. The brooch I was wearing somewhat disappeared in the pattern of my blouse, but on the top left you can see my tiger-eye pendant and my reddish brown glass ring.

Pickings were meagre in the first shop, where I only found the scarf and a book, while we made a U-turn at the second shop as it's car park was absolutely rammed.

Feeling peckish, we returned home for lunch, after which we drove to the small charity shop in the neighbouring village. Here, a brand-new looking tartan Gigue jacket and a vintage handbag with the label of a long-gone shop on a posh Brussels street were waiting for me.

I wore both straight away the next day. That morning I'd filled another bag for charity, which we dropped off at the Oxfam container on our way to Jos's son and daughter-in-law to feed their cat, Abby.

They recently had new bookshelves installed climbing the wall of their cathedral like living room, complete with a library ladder. It goes without saying I had to try out. Not all the way up, though, as I do suffer from vertigo!

Quite a collection of cat books they have. The title of the middle one made me laugh, although by the looks of it, Abby might actually be plotting something!

But isn't posing for photos tiring? 

My higgledy-piggledy striped purple dress is an old favourite which has made it to the blog many times before. 

Again I turned to turquoise to stir things up, appearing in my cardigan, opaques and some of the beads in my necklace. A pink pearly brooch was pinned to my dress, while a rose-pink flower corsage adorned my cardigan. Finally, I accented my waist with a white vinyl belt and chose a swirly white, blue and green glass ring, which you can just catch a glimpse of in the last photo.

Well, that's it for now. I do hope you'll join me again in a couple of days. See you on the other side, and please do stay safe!

Sunday 25 October 2020

Fortress of solitude

Most of my blog posts are at least partly written with Phoebe snoring away in the background.

While I sit typing at my desk, there she is, curled up on the wicker chest behind me, a vintage sleeping bag draped over it for comfort. It’s one of her favourite spots, and she often follows me upstairs, jumping on the chest mere minutes after I’ve sat myself down. Her snoring, at times gentle but often quite loud, is a soothing soundtrack which blends perfectly with the strands of classical music emanating from my pc's speakers.

These days, our little black monster is the one constant in our lives, and I’m often quite envious of her innocence, oblivious of the sea-change which has taken place over the last seven months.

Time keeps ticking away relentlessly, and it's almost beyond belief that we've yet again put the clocks back last night and that Winter Time is therefore upon us once more.

Another constant in my life is the daily joy of dressing up, any pandemic woes notwithstanding.

The blue based dress I was wearing two weeks ago on Saturday was part of my birthday haul from Think Twice back in September, and had been patiently awaiting its turn ever since. The hint of orange in its print prompted my choice of cardigan and opaques, in a delicious burnt orange reminiscent of Autumn foliage. My belt's caramel shade made use of the same colour palette.

I went off-colour by adding some green, in the form of my brooch and bi-coloured necklace, where it joined the dress's off-white elements. 

On my feet, my ancient navy ankle boots which, together with the opaques, were the only retail items in my outfit.

My sister called around that morning, and as we're not part of a bubble, we stood talking at the required social distance, she out on the pavement and me on our doorstep. 

Our chatting was interrupted when a guy arrived in a van to deliver the pie we'd ordered a couple of weeks ago. These were being sold in aid of a local school and it's common practice here that they are being sold door-to-door by the school children. We are usually happy to participate when it's that time of the year again and one of the neighbourhood children rings our doorbell.

After a hefty slice of cherry pie for lunch, I decided to make the most of the dry and reasonably sunny weather and make a start with Spring bulb planting. So far, I've done the snake's head fritillaries (Fritillaria meleagris), crocuses and winter aconites (Eranthis hyemalis). The snowdrops, grape hyacinths and alliums are still on my to-do list, but need to wait until their designated places in the border have been cleared.

I had finished just in time before it started raining, which soon increased in heaviness and continued to plague us intermittently throughout the evening.

What a relief to be greeted by the sun on Sunday morning!  Just to be on the safe side, however, I decided to play my part and wear some bright sun-shiny colours.

The calf-length bottle green pleated skirt was a cheeky retail buy the other week, picked up at the same time as the boots I mentioned in my previous post. The vintage shirt, with its pink, green, yellow and white florals, was a charity shop find back in March 2019, and as a firm favourite, it has been making regular appearances on the blog ever since. As has the belt, which has been in almost constant use after I set eyes on it in a haberdashery shop just after lockdown.

The necklace was a gift from my friend Inneke, while the fluffy yellow cardigan was one of my latest charity shop finds. The first of its undoubtedly many wears!

That day, I indulged in my usual Sunday pastime of pottering around house and garden, making photos of the latter's Autumnal exuberance. 

As a drop in temperature had been forecasted for the next week, I thought I'd better get out a selection of slightly warmer scarves. In fact, I was relishing the thought of wearing my favourites, in particular the ancient frilly turquoise one and the fluffy sugar pink boa I charity shopped last year.

Imagine my panic when I couldn't find either of them. I think I looked in all likely as well as unlikely places all over the house, until I finally found them hiding in a suitcase in the company of my faux fur stuff. What a relief! 

The temperature had dropped to highs of only 13° Celsius by Monday, and even though it turned out to be a sunny day, it was quite chilly when I left for the office that morning, so I insisted on wearing one of the lost and found scarves! 

Tuesday saw a repeat of Monday's weather, although it started clouding over by early afternoon. Jos had a hairdresser's appointment in the morning, so during his absence, I dusted the dining room and mended a half-slip and a dress, both of which had suffered split seams.

In spite of the clouds, which at some point looked as if they held rain, we were itching to get out of the house and clear out heads. There's nothing quite like immersing yourself in nature to chase away the dark thoughts that keep rattling around in your head like uninvited guests who have more than outstayed their welcome.

Not wanting to venture too far from home due to the weather's apparent uncertainty, we thought we'd check out the domain surrounding the old fort where we had our impromptu picnic the week before.

There's a footpath around the outer moat, which we followed until we came full circle. In this day and age, there's a one-way system as the path is reasonably narrow. Nevertheless, we came across one or two dog-walkers ignoring the rules and meeting us from the opposite direction.

However, on this Tuesday afternoon, with the sun regularly hiding behind a blanket of clouds, there weren't too many people about, so that we could enjoy the spoils of Autumn in perfect solitude. 

We even found the perfect location for outfit photos in a little clearing, where I was able to indulge in a spot of leaf-kicking and pretend forest-bathing. 

It was the perfect weather for my burgundy tweed jacket with knitted sleeves and yoke, a serendipitous charity shop find about a year ago. It's got multi-coloured speckles all over, tying in with the rainbow of colours in my ancient knitted scarf.

As you can see, I was properly booted this time, no luxury on the at times slippery and muddy path.

Underneath my coat, I was wearing a vintage chevron striped wool skirt in black, brown and bluish grey. My geometrical print blouse with its tie collar started life as a mini dress bought from the high street. I hardly ever wore it but loved the print too much to let it go, so I painstakingly shortened it into a blouse. 

I needed a large brooch that wouldn't get lost in the print, so out came my fake Lea Stein cat brooch, while I pinned a knitted flower corsage to my charity shopped King Louie cardigan in exactly the same shade of blue as my opaques.

You would be forgiven for thinking that the chevron striped belt I'm wearing is the same as the one I was wearing in Sunday's outfit, but look again and you'll see that the buckle is different. Both belts are the result of some retail therapy after lockdown, and have fastly become firm favourites.

At some point, the path steadily climbed above the fort itself. A backward glance was rewarded by a glimpse of its deliciously faded, creeper clad and moss encrusted, glory.

There is no denying that we were feeling decidedly less stressed at the end of our walk, our moods having been boosted by the language of nature.

I'll be back with another exciting slice of life in pandemic times in a couple of days. In the meantime, I am counting on all of you to stay safe, sane and fabulous!

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!