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!
Lots of glorious green in those first two outfits and some wonderful autumnal tones in the last one.ReplyDelete
Ah...the never ending restrictions. We can but live in hope that they'll do the trick, people will understand and abide by them and we'll all be normal one day soon.
Your new boots are fantastic, I'm looking forward to seeing them integrated into your wonderful winter wardrobe.
Antwerp's park is gorgeous, what a lovely spot to eat your sandwiches between charity shops.
Dove Cottage's garden still looks tranquil and colourful, an oasis in sea of rampant development.
Stay safe, Jos & Ann & Phoebe! xxx
Thank you Vix! I am living in hope, but I'm sure it's easier to cope with in glorious sunshine rather than endless grey days and rain :-( Our garden is looking quite soggy by now! xxxDelete
I'm a little envious of your lockdown as it has been made clear, Nebraska won't be doing much to limit the spread. Hopefully your time inside will produce good results.ReplyDelete
I always wanted a Roomba, but never lived in a house where it made sense. You may come home to find Phoebe riding it!
That autumnal hued dress is beautiful. All your outfits are, but that dress especially. I haven't even thought about the wardrobe switch, but I guess it is time. At the very least, some winter boots.
Hang in there!
Thank you Goody! I'm not doing the wardrobe switch in one go, just a little every day. Not sure we'll ever find Phoebe riding the Roomba, she's absolutely terrified of it :-) As for the lockdown, I think we're in for a real one now, just waiting for a government announcement! xxxDelete
Fabulous Autumnal outfits, I do love the green H&M dress. How gorgeous are your bookends! what a find.ReplyDelete
Thank you Gisela! I can't believe nobody had snapped up those bookends yet! xxxDelete
I'm in favour of hibernation! Can you please wake me up when this is all over??ReplyDelete
All of our health recommendations have been just that: recommendations. Our health officers have trusted us to "do what's right" instead of ordering us. Thankfully, we have far less COVIDiots in Canada than south of the border, but there are still those who insist that this all doesn't apply to them. Sigh.
Love the first dress, Ann, especially with your outerwear which really elevates the whole look. How funny that it's all H&M! Love your new tall boots - what a fab colour! Good for you for starting on your closet change-over - it's so much work!
I also hate dealing with paperwork - and L is a messy person, so we have random stacks of papers all over the place. Sigh.
Love that pussy-bow blouse - the colours are amazing! - and I adore that fall-palette dress in your last outfit! So fun to see all your fall dresses/clothes again!
Good luck this week. Keep calm, stay safe, be kind.
You'll have to wake ME up first :-)Delete
Currently waiting for another government announcement. There'll be more rules and restrictions, and no, there not recommendations. But even that doesn't mean there are no Covidiots here :-( xxx
Escape from reality, I wish I could. Can't sleep at night ... All the best to you! RegulaReplyDelete
I'm still sleeping, with the aid of Valerian. But how I wish I could escape reality! xxxDelete
You look fabulous in your colourful outfits. Thank you for not keep the head in the sand.ReplyDelete
I fear more and more people will not comply with the restrictions. Here are the restaurants open.
I wish you a good week, stay healthy! with a huge hug Tina
Thank you Tina! I think we are in for a lockdown, just waiting for government announcement. It's really getting from bad to worse here! xxxDelete
looove all your green outfits!! of cause :-DReplyDelete
your little garden is still a very pretty corner of the world with all its flowers. and your luck in 2.hand boots is legendary by now!
thanx goodness for parks and nature reserves - a walk and picknick in the greenery helps to stay sane a lot.....
Thank you Beate! We just need some drier weather so that we can go for another walk and picnic. Losing my sanity staying inside! xxxDelete
Love this green dress with its floral print so amazing!, and love how you've styled it in a fab color combo with purple, berry color and matchy blue tights.ReplyDelete
No wonder that Jos had to resort to C&A, they sell some good old basics!. Mr.A. usually buy some sensible clothes there too.
And your new boots look Amazing, both pairs have so nice colors. Sage green is such a versatile shade!
Your green & pink outfit is a joy for my eyes!, love it!, so delightfully matchy and so fabulous accessories!. You Totally Rock!
Also totally in love with your atumnal shades outfit, so brilliant!. Loving every piece of this orange fabulousness!, the print, the matchy tights, the brooch, the jacket and boots, EveryThing is Fab and Inspiring!
Your ancient leather file makes me remember that I have something similar, a cardboard one that I saved from the bin in a previous job. It stores some stationery now.
I'm quite good dealing with papers, but I recognize they annoy me sometimes!.
Glad to see your garden looking so colorful and still blooming!. And also lovely that you have those parks nearby to have a sándwich when going shopping.
Dear Ann, totally agree about hibernation. The new local restrictions means that we're not allowed to go out to other provinces, which only bothers me because we can't go to nearby villages for a walk. But still plenty of paths to choose. I'm grateful to be allowed to walk outside, another lockdown would be such a nightmare!
Thank you so much Monica! I really need to improve when it comes to handling paperwork. I blame it on having enough of it already at work :-)Delete
How I wish I could hibernate! We might be in for another lockdown, which would indeed be a nightmare, especially this time of year! xxx
You started in lovely summer greens and finished is perfect autumn hues. It bookended your blog perfectly..speaking of which those scotty dog book ends are lovely and you sandwiched some excellent reads between them!ReplyDelete
The city centre park looks very tranquil a perfect backdrop for your photography.
I love pulsatilla and hellebores, you will have a beautiful spring garden.
Wishing you a wonderful weekend ahead.xxx
Thank you Sally! I'm quite looking forward to next Spring, for several reasons!Delete
I'm glad you approve of my reading matter. They are mostly vintage paperbacks, which I used to collect! xxx
Hi Ann, I’m green with envy at your outfits, I like the short sleeve cardigan over the striped top. Your had a good haul with the boots and bookends.ReplyDelete
I know things aren’t great the world over right now but it’s lovely to see your blog posts popping up with all its colour.
There’s been big changes here and my heart goes out to all the businesses and people who work for them and are having to close.
Like you we are starting to hibernate and not really to bothered about it. It’s just my Mum I worry for.
Take care both of you and Phoebe of course xxx
Thank you Lynn! I'm actually glad both my Mum and Dad do not have to go through this, and we do not have to worry about them. We're in for a government announcement any minute, and I'm fearing another lockdown! xxxDelete
Such fab outfits and accessories. I don't think I've ever seen a green cameo brooch before. Your new boots are lovely; green boots are quite rare here and you find a pair straight away!ReplyDelete
The book ends are fab and I loved your charity shopped skirt and cardigans. Good finds!
I'm sorry to hear about your increased restrictions - they're slowly spreading out across the country here, too.
Please don't hibernate I would miss your blog post!
Thank you Vronni. The green cameo brooch is unusual, isn't it? I love it very much. I'm doing my best not to go into hibernation mode. Blogging is actually one of the things that are keeping me sane! xxxDelete
Oooo I love your pink and green outfit, Ann. I've never thought to pair those colours together but you've done so splendidly.ReplyDelete
It's always great to have a peak into people's wardrobes. I would love a closer look at your bag shelf. X
Thank you Jess! I do love a peak into people's wardrobes too! And it's just one of several bag shelves ;-) Seeing that we might be in for another lockdown, I might take up your suggestion and show you some of my bags! xxxDelete
Hello Ann. We've had our case numbers under 5 this last week (in our state of Victoria) after a long period of lockdown. We're only just now slowly opening up schools and a limited number of businesses. So, as you may have guessed we have hibernation down to a fine art in this household. We're really itching to spread our wings and venture outdoors a little more, always taking safety precautions of course. My first trip out was to see my dad in the nursing home. He looked better than I expected, but I still cried all the way home. It's so hard to accept a parent being old and frail.ReplyDelete
Anyway, onto a brighter note, you're very blessed to have the sort of complexion that marries so well with so many colours. Each outfit in this blog sits so lovely on you.
The carpet cleaner brought back a funny memory - I once mentioned to my brother that he should help with the housework as his partner had increased her hours at work. So what does he do? Went out and bought one of those carpet cleaners, made himself a coffee, sat down and watched it do it's magic!
Thank you Suzy! I wish they stopped dithering here and decide on another lockdown, however unpleasant it is. Having your case numbers down under 5 sounds like heaven! xxxDelete
We are literally in lockdown again too Ann. How depressing it is. We have already started being extra careful now, barely going out or seeing anybody.The one good thing about this is the freedom of time. I tend to manage to stay on track with blogging etc.I love the knee high tan boots. The leather looks really glossy. And the rust floral dress looks fabulous on you xxReplyDelete
Thank you Laurie! Yes, having the freedom is time is definitely a plus. You can never be too careful! xxxDelete
Oh isn't it all so awful! I can hardly see any light at the end of the tunnel. Gerben have to be tested again today. And that's because companies he had to visit have people work Corona but don't mention it in fear of publicity. My goodness. Sage ankle boots?? Why don't we see them? Love your autumnal outfits especially the gorgeous blazer!! Enjoy your weekend and stay safe!ReplyDelete
Oh, it is Nancy! And some days I can hardly see any light at the end of the tunnel either! How horrible about Gerben having to be tested again. I do hope all keeps on being well for you! xxxDelete
I'm loving the dress in the last set of outfit photos, what a beauty! I'm surprised it is so cold for you already! 14 degrees was spring when we were in Europe last year and it was very cold to us - that's winter temps here! We needed lots of layers, haha!ReplyDelete
We have had a few restrictions come back in now and then but for the most part we are back to normal - everything is open again, we still have to distance though and can't get together in groups of more than 30, but that's pretty good. I'm hoping we continue to stay safe until Christmas, I can't imagine not travelling to see my family (the first time around the travel restrictions prevented us from being able to see each other!).
Hope you are having a good weekend :)
Away From Blue
Thank you Mica! It could actually be a lot colder already, under 10°C isn't unusual this time of year. And Winter can be lot colder here. I'm envious of your Winter temps ;-) xxxDelete
These days we are having restrictions here too ... Patience, let's look and think about beautiful things. I really like your suggestions for outfits and accessories ... nice your green cardigan with short sleeves, on the green and pink shirt, the necklace and brooch are perfect! Enjoy your garden and the new plants ... the beautiful walks in the park ... Nature is wonderful!ReplyDelete
Thank you Carmela! Nature is wonderful indeed, and yes, I think having patience is the only thing we can do ... xxxDelete
Yes, the situation is quite depressive here as well. A good number of my colleagues and students are in isolation. Choir members in one village contracted the virus and it spread from there. Well, what can one do? Only do our best to take care.ReplyDelete
Your outfits are absolutely beautiful. I love that first printed green dress with blue touches-they match your blue tights perfectly. You always accessorize so well.
I love the second outfit in green tones as well. Great idea to match pink items with green ones. That green skirt is very pretty and so is the pink top with a pussy bow.
I also really like your autumnal outfit with the orange and brownish toned dress worn with a grey blazer and boots. Very chic styling. The location for your stroll was beautiful as well.
It is good we can still enjoy our clothes, isn't it? You look great in all of these.
Thank you Ivana! I'm sorry to hear about the choir members having spread the virus! I would never take a risk like that! xxxDelete
I did have to chuckle at the thought of you both chucking dust balls at the vacuum cleaner. Technology is only helpful when it actually works.ReplyDelete
Hibernation does sound rather appealing.
I'm glad you had a chuckle at our efforts. Well, I guess it is just a cheapo thing, anyway. We had a look at Jos's son's vacuum cleaner when we were feeding their cat, and it looks so much more sophisticated! xxxDelete
Goodness, no kidding! Much like the adorable (though, of course, potentially high dangerous) bears that quite literally wander our neighbourhood some days (we've seen them in our yard and those of our neighbours multiple times over the years), I would love to hibernate for the winter months this time around.ReplyDelete
I think we could all use a long, cozy, safe rest of that sort.
Alas, such is not possible or realistic, but we can take some inspiration from the animal kingdom for sure and lean into the coziness, serenity, and mindfulness inherent to the chilliest chapter of the year.
That said, if I see a free cave, I might just go hole up for the next few months... 😄
Autumn Zenith 🎃 Witchcrafted Life
Imagine seeing bears in your backyard! Do let me know if there is a spare free cave going somewhere :-) xxxDelete
Ooh, I do love a good green outfit - and your green outfits are always very good.ReplyDelete
Those restrictions sound stronger than ours - then again, I'm not entirely sure what we're allowed to do right now. I hope it gets things under control where you are. We don't hear so much from mainland Europe on the news here, but what we do get makes things sound very bad.
Thank you Mim! Apart from meeting up with people, we are still allowed to move relatively freely and the garden centres Etc. are open, so it's not so bad as it was back in Spring. Currently infections are going down again, so I'm not in a hurry to come out of lockdown any time soon! xxxDelete