Monday 12 October 2020

When rain clouds gather

It was a gloomy morning we woke up to on September's last Sunday, with a leaden sky holding a promise of rain.

The temperature kept hovering around 15°C but the lack of any sunshine made it feel decidedly chillier.

Scanning my rail of dresses for a likely candidate to wear on such a day, my eyes alighted on this fit and flare 1970s does 1940s number in a heavy knit polyester.

I'm in two minds about whether it was a charity shop or Think Twice find, but it has lived in my wardrobe for many a year. With its floral brown, orange and white print, it couldn't be more 1970s if it tried, while its colours and weight of fabric make it the perfect dress for those early Autumn days.

As it's short-sleeved, it does need a bit of layering to keep the goosebumps at bay, so I wore a burgundy King Louie cardigan on top. Isn't its heart-shaped ajour pattern delightful? I have several of these cardigans in a range of colours, picking them up whenever I find them in the charity shops.

To tie in with the dress's colours, I pinned a generous orange flower corsage to my cardi.

My shiny orange, half-elasticated belt is an old high street buy, which has seen better days, the scuff marks on its buckle disguised by orange nail varnish!

The brown and white necklace with its wooden, polished stone and metal beads was another charity shop find, as was the brooch, which seemed to blend in organically with the pattern of my dress.

From our window, we watched hordes of people making their way towards the village centre and the annual September fun fair, which much to our dismay wasn't cancelled due to Covid-19. Admittedly, it was a slimmed-down edition, with a one-way system and the necessary precautions, but with cases still soaring dramatically, surely this was madness. We could only shake our heads and sigh when we saw groups of people acting as if nothing was out of the ordinary. Even the rain we were treated to that afternoon didn't seem to deter them!

We were following Phoebe's example and opted for the comfort of our sitting room. Not for sleeping away the day as is our furry creature's habit, obviously! There's no shortage of reading matter at Dove Cottage and, accompanied by some relaxing music, it was just what we needed to while away this Sunday afternoon.

In-between showers, I ventured into the garden, where big fat raindrops had joined the bulging flower buds in the pot of annual Fuchsias in the passageway (top right), and I was pleased to see tiny buds were starting to appear in the Toad Lily (Tricyrtis hirta, bottom left) we brought back from the garden centre in August.

Will it still grace us with some flowers this year, I wonder? Its plant label says flowering time is August to September ...

The rain continued overnight and it rained all day on Monday too. Sitting on my own in an otherwise empty office feels even lonelier on a dark day like this, when cotton wool is joining the turmoil in my head.

Life-affirming Autumnal sunshine streamed through our windows on Tuesday morning, so after our usual fruit and yoghurt breakfast, I enjoyed a leisurely walk into the village to run a couple of errands.

Still persevering with my short-sleeved frocks, I layered a long-sleeved t-shirt underneath this vintage Burlington Jersey dress, its fabric a polyester and wool blend. 

And no, your eyes are not deceiving you! There really isn't any print to be spied in my entire outfit!

Pondering what to wear when I got up that morning, this outfit appeared in my mind's eye quite out of the blue. If purple and yellow manage to live together harmoniously in the garden, then why wouldn't they please the eye in an outfit?

To accompany the dress and long-sleeved t-shirt, I dug out a belt and opaques in the same ochre yellow as the latter, spicing it up with a wine red leaping deer brooch and a beaded necklace which added brown and turquoise to the equation.

My old and worn burgundy ankle boots once again completed my outfit.

The sun continued to grace us with her presence until mid-afternoon, when she lost the battle to the encroaching clouds.

For days, I'd been intrigued by a petal of one of our Echinacea 'Green Jewel' flowers, which appeared to be growing in an upward position. With the afternoon sunshine illuminating the spider webs which seem to be especially prolific this Autumn, I noticed that a clever spider had anchored its web to the petal in question. Can you see the gossamer thread leading upwards? It goes all the way up to a web suspended from our hanging strawberry plant! The latter, by the way, is still trying but so far bitterly failing to produce some more fruits.

Wednesday was another office day, which was interrupted by a visit to my hairdresser for a colour and cut. This would have made for a relaxing hour and a half, if it weren't for the mask wearing. 

At times like these, I'm glad I'm all on my own in the office so that I don't have to bother with a face mask. Kudos to all of you who are having to wear a mask for hours on end!

Back at home, it rained for most of the day on Thursday, which was the 1st of October, but we managed to nip outside for outfit photos during a rare sunny interval.

I was determined to wear the blue and white short-sleeved jumper I'd found in the charity shop the other week, and was pleased to find an exact match for its colour in the blue flowers of this skirt.

My long beaded necklace managed to bring all colours together, while I added a white accent to the jumper in the form of a white-petalled 1950s brooch, one of a handful that kick-started my collection.

Extra warmth was provided by a long-line orange cardigan, picking up the orange bits in the skirt.

While Jos was doing the food shop that morning, I tackled our bedroom's chandelier which had become rather dusty over the years. Apart from a perfunctory dusting with a feather duster now and then, it would be its first proper cleaning. This involved me standing rather precariously on top of a wooden box which in its turn lives on top of the linen chest at the foot of our bed.

Standing that high up meant I had an almost bird's eye view of the rest of the bedroom.
You already know the green Art Deco lady who resides in front of the mirror on our mantelpiece, but here she is again, together with one of her pet birds. The antique bevelled mirror with its carved wooden frame was a charity shop find from back in the days when these things didn't go for a fortune.

This is part of what's on top of the cupboard to the left of the mantelpiece. Apart from a collection of old family photographs, there's an antique glass-domed religious statue (one of a pair), an heirloom which used to belong to Jos's grandparents. 

The vanity set in the foreground was one of my parents' wedding presents, which I remember being on display in their bedroom when I was growing up. In our bedroom, it is feeling quite at home on top of the vintage wicker and glass tray, a flea market find back in 2016.

To the left of the green lady on the mantelpiece is a blue enamelled vanity set found in a charity shop in Tunbridge Wells about 15 years ago. The blue vinyl Jasper ware-style case behind these holds a nail grooming kit, and was a flea market find, as was the trinket box with its Limoges decal behind the brush.

And finally, here's the little corner with my "dressing table", offering a view of the shelves above, which didn't appear in my post on the subject back in April.

The shelves hold the accumulated stuff we've collected over the years, all charity shop or flea market finds. While there's a 1930-ish link to the items on the bottom two shelves, the top one holds the kitschy Lourdes souvenirs we used to collect.  Now that's a shelf that definitely needs some dusting too!

Something I'll certainly have time for now, as more rainy weather seems to be on the horizon.

See you next time, and do stay safe!


  1. Just love looking at all the wonderful items in your home. The blue dresser set is beautiful. I've seen them in green, but never blue.
    Purple and yellow are indeed a lovely combination.
    Stay safe.

    1. Thank you Goody! I'd love to have the dresser set in green, though :-) xxx

  2. Ooh, I am glad you got to wear your new sweater. It's really pretty.
    #WHAAAATNOPRINT?!??!! Impossible! Aha, do I recognise those tights at all?
    It's a great outfit- most of the flowers in our garden are those colours!
    The dressing table set is really attractive. What a great wedding present it was for your folks!
    You still have some pretty flowers in your garden!
    My Nasturtiums are still going strong!x

    1. Thank you Kezzie! Yeah, I know. They are not THE tights, though. The ones you sent me are very similar in colour, but slightly warmer, so I'm keeping those for the depths of Winter! Glad to hear your Nasturtiums are still going strong. Mine are too! xxx

  3. The blue and white jumper is so fun!

  4. So many nice outfits for autumn. I am in love with you in violet.
    Rainy days are made for drinkung tea and clean the house.....reading or watch TV. At work it's hard to stay cool. ☹️ And it was my first day after my little holiday break.
    with a very huge hug Tina

    1. Thank you Tina! Drinking tea: ok, cleaning the house: not so :-) I can imagine it was hard going back to work! xxx

  5. the puple dress is chic - even without any pattern :-D
    still lovely flowers in your garden! here the lack of sun and the rain took its toll only the most strong flowers are still blooming......
    well done cleaning the chandelier - ours (in the red salon) is in need tooooo.......
    hugsies! xxxxx

    1. Thank you Beate! Our flowers' blooming is slowly but surely coming to an end ... Oh, and re. chandelier cleaning: I can't believe how much lighter the room is now! xxx

  6. Cardies and frocks is always a good combo on you Ann and I like your idea of looking at the colour combination of plants. It’s a lovely idea.
    I’m looking at our chandelier now you’ve mentioned yours. I won’t be climbing up to clean it though haha.
    It’s nice to know other people have as much stuff as us. Although bedroom wise you win my friend.
    Lynn xxx

    1. Thank you Lynn! As there's no colour combination that doesn't exist in nature, I think I'll be OK :-) Took my while to pluck up the courage for the chandelier cleaning! xxx

  7. The colours in your first outfit are just stunning! The purple and yellow is lovely together and I knew that knitted top would suit you, it's really cute.
    Phoebe looks most regal on her throne.
    I cleaned all my chandeliers back at the start of lockdown, a right old pain but they were transformed. Hopefully that should be enough for a year or so!
    Your dressing table looks so cosy. Love the religious figure in the cloche!
    Stay safe! xxx

    1. Thank you Vix! I was really pleased how the first outfit turned out. I knew I wanted to wear the knitted top, and it just evolved from there! Well done on cleaning all your chandeliers. It is quite a chore! xxx

  8. woww, totally agree about this dress, couldn't be more 1970s if it tried!, lovely brown&orange print, lovely cardi and lovely accessories!.
    We're also keeping ourselves at home and only going for a walk in open areas or parks. People's behaviour is not changing even if the situation is worsening. No good news from Spain!
    Your garden looks so fab, it's lovely to have this greenery and flowers nearby.
    Love your no-print outfit, mwhaha, such a lovely color combo!. And love your purple dress!, no print but interesting texture!. Lovely burgundy accessories too!
    And so fab that you found the perfect match for your short-sleeved jumper!, this is a delightfully matchy skirt! and perfect beads and brooch!. So stunning colors and print!. Looking particularly gorgeous!
    And it's lovely to have a look at your dressing table, such a cute corner, lots of interesting details to enjoy!. Love a vintage vanity set!

    1. Thank you Monica! It never ceases to amaze me how careless some people are, acting as if nothing's wrong. No good news from Belgium either, as you'll know by now. I do loven my dressing table corner, but it's a devil to clean all those little bits and pieces :-) xxx

  9. Your first outfit is lovely and autumnal, such gorgeous colours. I also like the purple and yellow, a great combination and the lack of pattern just draws more attention to the colours, fab.
    Your dressing table is wonderfully eclectic and interesting.
    Spiders are amazing aren't they, I love the garden webs I autumn hanging with dew. Not so much the housespiders, the massive ones we call big bazzers, urgh!
    Hope you're staying safe too. xxx

    1. Thank you Sally! We have a spider that has spun her web in front of our kitchen window - outside, obviously - and it's really fascinating, though sometimes gruesome, to watch. We're lucky that Phoebe deals with those "big bazzers" :-) xxx

  10. How beautiful, Ann !! You have been able to find a perfect skirt for your new sweater! The necklace and brooch complement the colors well !! Sweet Phoebe with her granny-patch cover..I love your bedroom collections, my mum had a similar set..what nostalgia ... Staying safe!!
    Hugs, Carmela

    1. Thank you Carmela! How lovely that your Mum had a similar set. I do love a bit of nostalgia, and family heirlooms are the best! xxx

  11. Nice outfits with lots of color, which is your signature. I'm glad you don't have to wear a mask at work; neither do I. I don't mind wearing one in public for short periods but would find it very annoying to have to keep it on all day at work.

    1. Thank you Ally, I'm really struggling with having to wear a mask for a longer time. I'm always getting headaches and itchy eyes ... xxx

  12. Your art deco lady is stunning! Does she have a name?

    I loved all your outfits; you accessorise them so beautifully with cardigans, belts, tights and jewellery. They are always a colourful feast for the eyes.

    The first dress' pattern looked like a geometric pattern when viewed at a distance so I was surprised to see it's a floral print! The purple and yellow combination was fab and you matched your garden!

    I'd hate to have to wear a mask all day, too. I find I get very hot in them and it's such a relief to take it off when I'm outside the shop.

    Your garden blooms were lovely and what a strange thing with the spider web and the upright petal...

    Take care,

    1. Thank you Vronni. The Art Deco lady, unfortunately, doesn't have a name. Maybe we should think of one! I hadn't noticed that the dress's patterned looked geometrical from a distance, but you're right! xxx

  13. Fabulous outfits, Ann! I am always drawn to them first, like flowers. The autumn colours of the first one are SO 70s, and I am SHOCKED to see not a lick of pattern in the second outfit! I am with you: if it appears in nature, it will work in clothing. I'm happy you got a wearing in of your blue short-sleeved jumper - it's so cute and is a perfect match to the skirt.

    Love seeing Phoebe snoozing there, aw...I've also been watching the spider webs being created in our condo's gardens. I'm still agog at how many people are not wearing masks. Jeez, people! I wear mine at work for about 3 hours total, off and on, and I wear it 100% walking to and from work.

    Here's to a swift week and a long weekend!

    1. Thank you Sheila! I'm really impressed with you wearing your mask for about 3 hours at a time! Of course, I am wearing one while shopping, and wherever it's busy, Etc.? but I'm still glad I don't have to wear one at work all the time. It does help to have a selection of fashionable ones, like we do, doesn't it? xxx

  14. Your first outfit is gorgeous in its Autumn tones , so 70s with its small floral. I am in complete agreement on colours, Mother Nature isn't ever wrong. I was very taken with the green Echinacea. I did enjoy seeing some of the treasures in your bedroom , the joy of collecting . Enjoy your week Ann. xx

    1. Thank you, Jill! I fell in love with the lime green Echinacea the minute I clapped eyes on it in the garden centre. I was surprised they came in so many colours! I'm afraid my collecting has got a bit out of hand ;-) xxx

  15. Hello Ann. Busy sort of week here, so I'm behind on all my blog reading. Aaghh! Anyway, beautiful outfits this week. Love the popular 70's colours of brown and orange in your first dress and although rare, I do quite like a plain colour on you, as in the second one. You always know how to perfectly jazz up with accessories.

    Looking to nature is always a great way for some inspiration when pairing colours.

    Beautiful chandelier, such a bummer to dust though. Love the shelves of your collectibles. You have fantastic taste!

    1. Thank you Suzy, and there's really no need to apologize! I'm happy with every comment I get from you, whether it's early or a bit later! I always look forward to them! xxx

  16. That blue dressing table set is so pretty, what a great find. I love the deer brooch.

    1. Thank you Gisela! I have a couple of brooches in the same style. As they're ceramic, I do have to be careful with them, though! xxx

  17. Your outfits are so cheerful! I have to say that you, Vix, and Kezzie all make me feel very dull when it comes to my autumn wardrobe. I’ve fallen into my usual jeans and jumper routine, rarely venturing away from a palette of grey, navy, and black. I’m in hibernation mode already! Maybe I should make an effort to wear a dress…

    One thing I rarely have to wear is a mask - working from home and only venturing out occasionally means that I’m usually mask free, but I can’t imagine what it must be like to have to wear one all day, a quick trip to the supermarket is enough for me, I can’t wait to get it off.

    Your new short sleeved jumper looks lovey, and isn’t it perfect with that skirt? I’d just be really boring and wear it with jeans :)

    The vanity set is lovely, how lovely to have something from your parents wedding.


    1. Thank you Hazel! I really need my daily colour fix :-) I don't have to wear my mask either, just when I'm shopping or negotiating a busy street. And I'm always glad to get it off. It's even worse when you're wearing glasses! xxx

  18. What splendidly lovely fall hued outfits, dear Ann. This is a colour palette in which I feel intrinsically at home and at peace. Black and grey (and to a lesser extent darker browns and navy blue) are the backbone of my current closet, but fall's palette features heavily too - not only during the crunchy leaf filled months, but all year long.

    How heart-touchingly special + lovely that your parent's vanity set now resides in your home. Passed down treasures truly are priceless.

    Many hugs & immense thanks for your recent blog comments, my beautiful friend.

    Autumn Zenith 🎃 Witchcrafted Life

    1. Thank you so much, dear Autumn! I actually love fall's palette whatever the season as well. I've never had "my colours done" but I'm sure I would turn out to be an Autumn type! Family heirlooms are indeed priceless! xxx