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 ...
Our furkind leave large pawprints on our hearts. I still miss our first dog and she passed in 1983.ReplyDelete
I love your Cork handbag!
Thank you so much for your lovely comment. I love the word "furkind", especially as "kind" has another meaning in Flemish: it translates as "child" :-) xxxDelete
Glad your sadness is diminishing.ReplyDelete
What wonderful outfits! The water colour dress is just glorious and I loved how you accessorised it. Loved the palazzo pants and the skirts with the rescued cardigan. I loved all your charity shop finds; you are most definitely on a roll with those at the moment! Long may it continue.
The tablecloth is so springlike; I immediately smiled on seeing it.It has such a 70s vibe to it. I hope it is cheering you up still!
I look forward to a closer look at your treasures.
My favourite Maggie O Farrell is 'The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox'.
Thank you Vronni! I know, I am on a roll. I still missing being able to pop out to Think Twice during lunch break, though. 'The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox' is one of my favourites of hers too, together with 'The Hand That First Held Mine'. xxxDelete
I love the colourful outfits! the orange and green combo at the end is so fun but my favourite is the pink floral dress with the purple! It's nice you can look back on happier days through writing the posts even as you deal without your beautiful cat. It's a painful loss :(ReplyDelete
Thank you Mica! I've always considered my blog my "happy place", and writing posts - even on difficult subject - is quite cathartic! xxxDelete
what a luck to find a complete outfit at the same day in a 2.hand shop!ReplyDelete
its a cool look on you!!
the fabric of the greenish skirt reminds me on an 70s item i wore ca. 1980..... something about the colours - but its a very nebulous memory - like most of this years.......
well done to finally fill the little frames!!
i´m glad that you feel better <3
I know, it has happened to me before, and it was quite unintentional :-) I'm feeling better day by day, although I'm still having the odd wobble! xxxDelete
Beautiful outfits. The purple and pink dress is so beautiful. I love the pattern, so full of gorgeous colours. I like that you choose a contrasting green belt with it that matched your turban. The outfit with printed pants is fabulous as well. The green skirt and orange jumper combo is fabulous as well. I like how the necklace matches the details on the jumper. The green skirt has a lovely pattern as well.ReplyDelete
I'm glad to hear you're doing better, despite still being understandingly sad about the loss of Phoebe. Grieving over a pet is always so hard, especially one with whom we shared a home. The house must feel so empty without her:(.
Thank you Ivana! Although I'm still grieving, I can look back in fondness instead of sadness some days! xxxDelete
I would love to go to a charity shop. Not essential "they" say. I hate "them". :-( All the best.ReplyDelete
All our shops are now open, but charity shops were indeed considered "non-essential" here as well! xxxDelete
This green orange look is amazing. You look gorgeous.ReplyDelete
I am so glad that you are better. I am still sad when I think of Luna, but it doesn't hurt that much anymore. Maybe a little one will find its way to you again?
Can you imagine, that I have no kork bag?!! such a shame!😊
I wish you a great weekend, with a very huge hug Tina
Thank you Tina! I know it's going to get better, and we'll have another cat eventually. No cork bag? That's a shame indeed :-) xxxDelete
That is a completely normal way of feeling after a pet's died, so go easy on yourself Ann. I remember feeling the same way when our cat died and seeing her in the corner of my eye too. Cat's have spirits, I'm sure.ReplyDelete
I love your souvenir brooch from Holland, very cute and not tacky at all. I also enjoy seeing your dining area. Cane chairs and a huge book shelf - love it! X
Cats definitely have spirits! I'm pleased to hear you love our dining room. I bought the cane chairs - a total of six - brand new back in the mid-1980s, which makes them practically vintage! xxxDelete
I love 50 and Counting's word, "Furkind". I'm pleased that you aren't quite as tearful but don't rush your grief, Phoebe was a huge part of yours and Jos's lives. I've been aware of a presence after each of my beloved cats have left us. When we first moved into Stonecroft both of us used to see a black cat, she'd snake through out legs in the middle room and vanish up the stairs.ReplyDelete
I read The L Shaped Room when I was 11 and still maintain that it's one of the best books I've ever read.
The thought of charity shopping seems so alien these days, it's lovely to recall those trips through your blog and share your treasures.
I love how you mixed the olive green in with the watercolour dress and the orange with the green. You are a master of colour! The trousers look really stylish.
How fab is that cork bag? The Barbour shirt is lovely -I didn't know they made shirts but have often admired that range of William Morris waxed jackets they produced.
The house looks fab! xxx
I love "furkind" too, especially as the word "kind" means child in Flemish! The L-Shaped Room is one of my all-time favourites too, and one of the few books I've re-read several times. I had no idea Barbour made shirts either. When I googled it, I initially thought it would be from their William Morris range, but I couldn't find it! xxxDelete
I can't comment with my phone anymore to your blog, it's irritating. Also can't comment with Disques anymore. So I had a hole story typed for you and then it all disappeared!! I try to remember what I wrote. When Jan, Teun's brother, died I cried for weeks. I can't handle dead, whether it's for people or pets. It's Teun's birthday today , he is 14 now.Which is very old for a Maincoon. Which also means we probably will loose him this year! Only the thought.... So that's a comment to cheer you up....not! Well, you did find some great gems! I don't know if it is to soon, but do you want another cat again? Jos and you don't seem like people to me without a pet.ReplyDelete
Oh dear! New technology can be really trying! I do hope that Teun will be with you a bit longer. We definitely want another cat at some point. It's too early now, but still I don't think it will be long! xxxDelete
Well done Ann on getting your blog post out. I know you will be hurting for a long time yet.ReplyDelete
I love the watercolour dress and you look fabulous in the palazzo pants. I’ve said for a long time that you totally rock a cardigan and you’ve cracked it again with the longline one.
I’m really enjoying the house tours and seeing my gift hanging so prettily. I’m working my way through my cupboards still. It’s quite cathartic.
I got a phone call this morning to go for my vaccine jab on Tuesday.
Hope your weekend brings you smiles xxxx
Ps. 100th attempt haha
Thank you for not giving up and giving it another attempt Lynn :-))) I've been having a thing for longline cardigans lately. Me and my cardigans, I know. xxxDelete
Love your watercolor dress and the colour combo you've created with those shades of green and purple, so beautiful!.ReplyDelete
And so fab finds in the charity shop, love the cork bag and the palazzo trousers!, You Rock Them!
Looking like a ray of sunshine in your fab cardigan and green accessories, love this delightfully matchy ensemble and fab colours!
Love to have a look at your dining, and your new tablecloth with its 'happiness inducing print' so lovely!.
Glad to hear that you're feeling better!
Thank you Monica! I had to think of you when I found that cork bag! I'm trying to be a ray of sunshine, even if I'm not always feeling like one :-) xxxDelete
It has been 9 years this coming spring since we lost our fur-boy Inigo - L still gets very overcome with emotion if we talk about him too much. They leave such a hole...I still see both our previous kitties around the house out of the corner of my eye.ReplyDelete
Your pink-patterned dress is lovely, especially with that purple cardi, but my love is for that magnificent orange and turquoise ensemble! Ann, this may be one of my favourite outfits of yours! It's really stellar.
I love seeing peeks of what's in people's houses. If I came over, I would explore your whole house! :)
Glad you got to shop - I'm amazed at palazzos with lining AND pockets! Big hugs to you, my dear friend. Stay safe and sane - maybe this will still be a mantra post-Covid?
Aww, they really do, don't they? I had the strangest experience. I went to the bathroom in the night earlier this week. It's downstairs, off our kitchen. When I stepped on the rug in the kitchen, I could feel a warm patch under my bare feet, as if Phoebe had been sitting there and had recently vacated her spot!Delete
You'd be welcome to explore our whole house if you came over. Might take you a while, with all the stuff we have :-) xxx
I'm glad you are feeling a bit better, it takes a while doesn't it. Many years ago, I had a gorgeous cat called Polly, she was run over and died at just a year old and I was so upset. The night she died I heard a cat downstairs, I couldn't believe it and ran down to the kitchen. A big Burmese cat had come in through the cat flap, I never saw it again after that, so strange.ReplyDelete
I love your trousers and longline cardigan, it's a great look.
I had no idea the Barbour made anything other than outerwear!
Wishing you a happy weekend. xxx
Thank you Sally! What a weird experience with the Burmese cat. We can still hear Phoebe around the house as well. I had no idea about Barbour making shirts either! xxxDelete
The loss of a furbaby is profound and stays with us but as with any grief it will lessen over time. Please be gentle with yourself.ReplyDelete
Your pretty water colour dress is a nod to Spring . The palazzo pants with their small florals and the green top were my favourites. Kindest regards to you both. xx
Thank you Jill! I'm definitely trying to be gentle with myself and I'm being quite hypersensitive at the moment! xxxDelete
Sweet Ann, I can't count the number of times I've thought of you and Jos in recent days.ReplyDelete
The first days, weeks, and in time, months, after losing a treasured pet are so profoundly challenging. That is a journey I've experienced several times throughout my life, most recently when the fire claimed our darling cat (Stella) in October 2016. Even now, nearly 4.5 years later, there are still times when it feels as though she could suddenly appear at any moment. We miss her beyond measure and will forever keep her nestled in our loving hearts, just as you will with Phoebe.
Please let yourself grief as much as possible, be gentle and embrace serenity all the more at present, and know that many of us are thinking of you and sending our understanding love and support your way.
Autumn Zenith 🧡 Witchcrafted Life
Aww, Autumn, you are such a sweet, gentle and thoughtful soul. When Stella passed away - in such a terrible, terrible way - you were in my thoughts as well. I'm slowly recovering from the initial shock, but I'm being generally hypersensitive, with the least thing setting me off! xxxDelete
In love with the green sweater and palazzo trousers look! Fabulous! Losing a pet can be extremely difficult. Sending you lots of love!ReplyDelete
Thank you so much, Lovely! xxxDelete
Ann I am so sorry for your loss. I hope these words find some comfort to you, I know the loss of a pet is so hard.ReplyDelete
You look beautiful as always. I always squeal with delight when I see your pretty things....I LOVE those palazzo pants! I hope I find her sister when I venture out to thrift again.
take care my friend, hugs to you
happy thrifting ;)
Thank you so much for your kind words! And I'm glad my outfits make you squeal with delight :-) xxxDelete
I love the lampshade and the wonderful tablecloth what an instant bit of cheer. The deer Christmas decoration is very sweet. I must admit I too have a few pieces that stay out all year.ReplyDelete
Thank you Gisela! I'm glad I'm not the only one then :-) xxxDelete
I've been thinking of you and Jos a lot. Sad times.ReplyDelete
Thank you for sharing some of your recent finds and favourite treasures.
Thank you Mim, it really means a lot! xxxDelete