I've been hunkering down in a world hushed by snow, digesting my sadness in bite-sized chunks. And I'm doing surprisingly well, really, all things considered. Day by day the pain is losing its jagged edges. I've just passed a whole day without shedding a single tear, although it still doesn't take much to choke me up.
We're trying to establish new routines to replace the old ones which involved our beloved fur-baby, but we keep seeing her out of the corner of our eyes, and I can often hear her phantom-snoring behind me while I'm typing away. We find ourselves rattling around Dove Cottage's rooms, where her absence echoes and bounces off the walls.
Lagging behind with my blog means that she was still very much with us in the days I am writing about in this post and it's weird to think how blissfully unaware we were of what was to come.
Picking up where I left off, let's start with what I was wearing on Friday the 22nd of January.
The temperature, which had climbed into the low double figures in the preceding days, had taken a bit of a dive, but at 7°C it was still slightly too warm for this vintage wool-blend dress. With its vibrant watercolour print, its abundance of pinks joined by steel blue, sage green, yellow and red, it was love at first sight at a charity shop many years ago.
It came with a self fabric belt with a transluscent pink plastic buckle but, as you're probably used to by now, I preferred wearing it with a contrasting belt from my stash, from which I picked this moss green suede one. More green appears in the turban hat my brooch lady is proudly wearing.
Shades of purple were added too, a darker hue for my necklace and a lighter, lavender one for my cardigan. To the latter, I pinned two floral hair clips in lieu of a brooch.
After our usual weekday fruit & yoghurt breakfast, Jos was off to the newsagents for our and our elderly neighbour's daily paper. Meanwhile, I repaired the ripped lining of a pocket in one of my Winter coats as well as a small snag in my Nordic style cardigan.
Then the lure of the charity shops proved once again too strong, so we drove down to the big three-floored one in Duffel, where we went our separate ways.
The clothing department had apparently just been restocked and the rails were bulging with stuff so it will not come as a surprise that I didn't leave empty handed.
One of the first things that caught my eye was the flower patterned cross-body bag, which I was delighted to discover was made from cork (top right and bottom left).
I also found the tiny and slightly tacky souvenir brooch from Holland, containing all the usual suspects: a typical Dutch clog with a windmill design, filled with a miniature bunch of tulips!
The blouse, with its William Morris style pattern, is by Barbour, a fact I only discovered back at home. Although its label had been removed, I found the name proudly displayed on its buttons!
But that, obviously, wasn't all. The next day, Saturday, I dressed up in all the rest of Friday's finds.
The amazing pair of palazzo trousers was hiding among the skirts. In addition it was put into the rail's XL segment by mistake and it was only because of its sprinkling of flowers that I pulled it out. Further investigation determined that not only was it completely lined, it had pockets too! No brainer!
A bright green light-weight jumper was lacking in my wardrobe, so that came home as well. As did the slubbed long-line cardigan with its mix of colours, the black woven belt with its round two-tone buckle, and the chunky red necklace!
The day's weather went from bad to worse as the day progressed. It had been grey all morning and by early afternoon it started to rain, the dampness making it feel much chillier than the 5°C indicated by the thermometer.
Dusting the treasure filled Tomado shelving unit in our bedroom, I took down the Art Nouveau style family tree photo frames, which had been standing empty ever since I found them at a flea market back in January 2017. When I showed it on the blog all of four years ago, I mentioned that it would soon be filled with old family photos. The champion of procrastination, I am!
On the very top, my great-grandmother Aloysia, whom I never met since she died in 1946. She is a bit of a mystery and we believe that she may have been at least half Dutch.
The row below her has my maternal grandmother Bertha, whom I once honoured with a post of her own. Next to her, her husband Alphonse. They both passed away in the 1970s.
Finally, on the bottom row, are my Mum, Alice and my Dad, another Alphonse, Fons or Fonny for short. Both are not longer with us either, as they passed away with 15 years between them, my Mum in August 2001 and my Dad in the same month in 2016.
There, much better, isn't it? The rest of the shelving unit's contents might be the subject of a future post. A show-and-tell, so to speak, does make you look at things with fresh eyes and appreciate them all over again.
With no let-up in the rain, I settled myself on the couch and continued reading the book I'd just started. A recent charity shop find, I was enticed by the Maggie O' Farrell reference but, although it was a good read, it didn't reach Maggie's heights at all. Initially, there were traces of Lynne Reid Banks' The L-Shaped Room too, but seeing that the latter is one of my favourite books, it once again did not quite live up to expectations.
Sunday rolled along and brought bright Winter sunshine with her. The thermometer was still stuck at 5°C but didn't feel quite as chilly with the sun's rays warming, if not our bodies, then certainly the cockles of our hearts.
My own internal thermostat, cranked on high as a result of the menopause, has lately cooled down enough for me to start wearing jumpers again. I'd originally consigned this King Louie cardigan to the flea market boxes as I'd mistakenly washed it at too high a temperature, but I took it out again and it turned out to be fine once I'd stretched it by putting my arms through its sleeves. It's a bit shorter than before, but I think I can live with that.
I pinned a pearly brooch at my neck, and wore a necklace of blue and green beads, some of them wearing jumpers of their own! They tie in with the colours in the floral pattern of my vintage skirt, which was an old Think Twice find. To create a more elongated silhouette, I added a sea-green belt at my waist.
The sun streaming in through our front door's glas panel and fanlight brought Spring vibes to Dove Cottage's dining room. I'd just put on a fresh tablecloth, a vintage one I found at Think Twice in October 2016. Just look at that happiness inducing print of Summer flowers on a deep blue background!
Here's our dining room again, taken from the other side. The doorway to the right leads to our kitchen. In front of the window, which offers a view into the passageway leading beside the kitchen, you can catch a glimpse of Phoebe's scratching post. She was an avid post scratcher and demolished several of them during her lifetime. It's been relegated to the basement for the time being.
More details, from top left: a vintage spice cabinet hanging, perhaps incongruously, in our hallway, a Christmas ornament featuring a glass deer which we keep out all year, a green glass vanity set bought at a car boot sale in Cardigan, and a doily-an-button wall hanging, a handmade gift from my lovely friend Lynn.
By the time I'd finished taking photos, all traces of sunshine had gone, leaving the usual dismal grey January day in its wake.
I spent the rest of the day reading and rummaging, starting a bag of charity shop donations. I even went through my flea market boxes, adding some non-vintage items to the bag. But as usual, those boxes proved to be a danger zone, as these two dresses went straight back into my wardrobe. Oh well, in my defence, I have already worn the one on the right in the meantime.
I'll leave you now in the usual way, urging you to stay safe, sane and fabulous! I can't believe it has been almost a years since this has become our standard way of parting ...