Monday 15 February 2021

Another week in paradise

And so January finally comes to an end. If it whizzed by in real life, it seems to have taken forever to catch up with things here. I'm adamant that our slower pace of living, combined with the general quieting down of life in Winter time, has a lot to answer for. But here we are in the year's first month's last week. In hindsight, it was another week in paradise, before dark clouds scudding across the horizon, but how were we to know? 

The week started, as usual, with Monday's office day, which turned out to be quite hectic. I managed to work my way through everything my mailbox offered by doggedly carrying on and skipping lunch break. Anything for that Tuesday off dangling in front of me like the proverbial carrot! I'm not sure how I'll cope when eventually I'll have to return to working full-time again.

The sun, who kept winking at me through the office windows, continued to shine on Tuesday which, in spite of it only being 7°C, felt decidedly Springlike.

Trawling through my blog, I couldn't believe my eyes when it turned out I hadn't worn this dress in about four years! A Think Twice sales bargain, it lacks any sign of a label, so that it's safe to presume it was handmade. It's made from a rather odd fabric, which is quite stiff and coarse, but it is mercifully lined so that it doesn't grate the skin, and I love its groovy pattern.

I added a sepia woven belt, a brown and off-white beaded necklace, my Lena Stein lookalike cat brooch, a rust coloured beret secured with a hair clip, a pair of goldenrod opaques and my beloved burgundy boots.

Everything except for the opaques and the hair clip were either vintage or second-hand finds.

We had to run an errand, driving down to Mortsel - our nearest town of any significance - as we needed a new brush for our vacuum cleaner. Jos also took some of his family heirloom watches to the town's excellent watchmaker for repairs.

While we were there, it would have been downright silly to miss the opportunity of visiting the town's charity shop.

With my brooch collection put on hold significantly due to the absence of flea markets, I was more than happy to come across this heavy silver plated one by Sidney Carron, a contemporary Paris jeweller. Surely € 1, 50 well spent!

The plentiful clothing aisles came up trumps too, with a blue tweed skirt, and a vintage dress in a shiny blue and red patterned polyester fabric.

The rest of the day, so my journal tells me, was spent vacuuming the upstairs room - which was a doddle with the new brush - and employing Angelica to pose in my latest finds.

Then my lovely boss, Victor, called me about a minor, work-related problem, and we ended up chatting about half an hour or so. 

Wednesday was the office day from hell. When I switched on my PC, it turned out I couldn't access my emails or documents, all of which are in the cloud. Calling our IT company, they said it was not just us, but a general cloudburst (my choice of word), and that we could only wait until it was solved. They put me on the right track for accessing my emails via Office 365, but it took forever, especially as it stopped working half way through. Things were back to normal around midday, but I'd lost so much time that there was nothing for it but to go in for an extra half day on Thursday.

I was so knackered when I got home that I spent most of the afternoon on the couch not doing very much at all and consequently no outfit photos were taken. I can't even remember what I was wearing that day!

I was glad to be back to my usual energetic self when I got up on Friday morning, which was certainly helped by the temperature, a Springlike 12°C. The sun was shining, but rain was expected for later in the day.

No need for warm layers, so I wore my recently charity shopped tartan LC Waikiki skirt, picking up the burnt orange in its plaid with a bird print skirt by Steps, the brand the lovely Nancy used to work for. It was charity shopped several years ago, and I was so in love with its print that I willed it to fit in spite of the fact that it's only a size 36. It is a bit tight and slightly gapes in the chest area, but surely that's what safety pins were invented for!

I pinned a tapestry brooch (yes, really) to its frilly collar and added more birds with my green birds-in-flight brooch. The stretchy belt, with its most fabulous of buckles, was a post Lockdown 1.0 retail buy.

My lime green, purple and brown Tweed blazer was a sales bargain from a local boutique more than 10 years ago, and was just perfect for the mild weather we were having that day. I didn't really need the burnt orange vintage beret except for, you know ...  #Coronahair! 

Nothing like a bit of a rummage to soothe my slightly frayed nerve ends, so off we went, visiting the Oxfam shop in nearby Wilrijk for a change. 

By the time Jos had found parking space, I'd already put these floral textured suede Tamaris ankle boots in my trolley. I know, I'm on boots and shoe roll: this is already the 4th pair I have found in less than a month! The boots are black rather than the navy blue they appear to be here. This is the best my camera was able to deliver.

Clothing was 50% off, so I was surprised that the lady trawling the aisles and heaping up her trolley without even looking at sizes (obviously a reseller) had missed this King Louie dress and red slubbed Colours of the World jacket.

I also found this cardigan from the Italian il Duomo label for Jos, which he wore immediately after its cycle in the washing machine on Saturday.

It was a grey and utterly wet day, the rain metamorphosing into melting snow by the early afternoon. The temperature had dropped from its Springlike heights to about 7°C, which still wasn't nearly cold enough for the snow to stick. It just added to the general dampness of the day.

It's nothing short of a miracle that we were able to make outfit photos outside at all!

The groovilicious blue on off-white textured polyester dress is one of my favourite cold weather frocks. Wearing it never fails to cheer me up, especially when combined with yellow, which this time came in the form of one of my fluffy cardigans and a beret.

The brown belt is ancient and features embellishments in a multitude of colours, including blue and yellow! My necklace and cameo brooch added a 4th colour, a fresh, Springlike green. I wore bright blue opaques and the blue Western style mid calf boots I charity shopped a couple of weeks ago.

The day was spent adding more stuff to the donations bag, as we'd read on social media that our local charity shop would be doing collections on Monday. 

We folded and put away that morning's washing, hanging up things that don't go into the tumble dryer on a drying rack in the spare room. 

I then caught up with blogland, commenting and finishing a new post, after which we made Chili con Carne for dinner, following by watching the first part of The Pembrokeshire Murders we'd recorded earlier that week.

Sunday was January's final day and, in total contrast to Saturday, bright sunshine ruled the sky. It was crispy cold, though, the mercury barely climbing above freezing point.

We were raring to go out, so plans were made while having Sunday's bacon and eggs. After weighing the pros and cons of our options, we settled on a walk in the park in Duffel. 

I was delighted to find several varieties of Hellebores (Helleborus orientalis, more commonly known as Lenten rose) flowering abundantly. Their cup-shaped nodding flowers centred with crowns of contrasting creamy stamens, are of a delicate beauty. We have planted some in our garden back in Autumn, but obviously being in their first year, it is still touch and go. We can only hope they're feeling at home in Dove Cottage's little plot and will one day be as prolific as those in the park.

Having only taken you there on Christmas Day, there's no need to introduce you to the castle ruins, so I just snapped some details of its weathered wrought iron gates and peeling coat of arms.

I don't know the first thing about fungi, but find them intriguing, and I particularly loved these orange jelly ones.

Me and my twin were wearing our green fur-collared coats and bright yellow hats and scarves, courtesy of our blogging friend Monica.

Now let me show you what I was wearing underneath that coat!

My woollen skirts and jumpers have come out of hiding, and you'll get to see more of each as the temperatures dropped to freezing depths in the weeks to come.

It's always a joy reacquainting myself with this vintage Tweed A-line skirt, in green speckled with tiny red dots. My jumper is vintage and green as well, with dashes of cream, sage and burnt orange. They are such a perfect match that I'm wearing them together at least once every Winter!

The delicious Welsh wool waistcoat with its suede pockets and belt, were a gift from Vix

My legs were kept warm courtesy of my bottle green knit tights with their yellow and wine red plaid pattern. Back at home, I swapped my snow boots for a pair of sage green pull-on ankle boots.

The necklace, with its green centre stone, was charity shopped the other week, while the Miracle brooch was a flea market find in November 2018. I wonder how I would remember all of this if it weren't for my blog.

Once again, that's it for now. See you in a couple of days! In the meantime, stay safe, sane and sensational is still our mantra!


  1. Hello Welsh Tapestry waistcoat, don't you look magnificent on your new owner? A fabulous array of outfits, that lime tweed jacket is fabulous and I can't belive it's been four years since that lovely dress last made an appearance, the blue and yellow look wonderfully spring-like and fresh and your fur collared coat and Monica's crochet look fabulous on both you and your twin!
    How cool does Jos look in her cardi? Jon would love that!
    It seems so strange to read about you visiting charity shops and driving to lovely places. It seems like years since we did that!
    How are you finding The Pembrokeshire Murders? We really enjoyed it! xxx

    1. Thank you Vix! I've been cherishing that waistcoat ever since it arrived unexpectedly on my doorstep, styling it differently every time I'm wearing it. It has been greatly admired over the years, most recently when I posted this outfit on Instagram! We did enjoy The Pembrokeshire Murders. What a stroke of luck they aired it on our national TV channel! xxx

  2. Looking lovely in your outfits, and rocking those berets!. Obviously, I have a weakness for any outfit including a yellow crochet beret and scarf!. ;DD
    Love the way you match those earthy warm colours in your first outfit, so delightful rusty orange, goldenrod, burgundy. The dress is a beauty!
    Sorry that you have to deal with usual computer/cloud problems, totally understand you (no wonder you felt exhausted). Argh, these things make me feel so frustrated and annoyed.
    I love particularly your bird print blouse and bird brooch, and lovely tweed jacket!, so fab colours!
    Your blue dress and fluffy cardigan and matchy beret has put a smile on my face, such a joyful outfit to cheer up any dump day!. The blue motives of your dress make me think on portuguese tiles.
    Great finds, I'm enjoying vicariously your charity shopping!. Jos looks fab in his new cardi!.
    Loving the green shades in your last outfit, so delightful colours and so fab textures. And another lovely brooch!
    You Rock It, dear Anne!, and make me feel better to see my fellow bloggers rocking it!

    1. Thank you Monica! It makes me feel better seeing my fellow bloggers rocking it too. I felt so much better being part of this community of amazing ladies during the pandemic! I love the comparison with Portuguese tiles, and there was someone on Instagram I believe who likened it to Delft tiles too! xxx

  3. I love every outfit Ann. You are the pattern mixing queen. ❤️
    Amazing finds in this charity shop. These boots are gorgeous and Jos cardigan is also very nice. Berets are the best friends in these hard times. For Corona hair and bad hair days and they keep my head warm in these past cold days. Now,I hope for a bit of spring. the weather service says it should get warmer. 😬
    With a very huge hug Tina

    1. Thank you Tina! Indeed, berets have been a godsend. But no more Coronahair as from today! I hope that like us you did have a bit of Spring by now? xxx

  4. Funny how time seems to be both fly and stand still sometimes. I remember those warm January days, we had some high temperatures earlier this month. Now, it has cool down but I'm not complaining because it just feels normal. The brooch you picked up is lovely and it's great you got a new vacuum brush. My vacuum isn't very good but I didn't payed much for it so I can't complain.

    Beautiful outfits as always. That first dress is gorgeous, funny that you didn't wore it for 4 years but sometimes it happens that we forget about some of the gems in our closet.
    The blue and white textured polyester dress is so pretty. The pattern reminds me of those beautiful classical ceramic tiles. I can see why this dress is one of my favourite winter frocks. I love how you combined it with a yellow cardi and beret. Such a cheerful outfit. You look great wearing it! I also like the styling with the wool skirt and green vest, it looks very warm.

    1. Thank you Ivana! We once had a bag-less vacuum cleaner which wasn't very good either. I'm so glad we got rid of it and bought another one. xxx

  5. you know i love the all green outfit :-D
    and the green coat on top too......
    cloudburst! how lovely - grrrr.... - no wonder you were knackered. glad you could go for nice outings later - beautiful "lenzrosen" - ours are still burried under half a meter of snow.
    stay warm! xxxxx

    1. I had a feeling you'd love the green outfit ;-) I hate it when technology goes wrong. Grrrr indeed! xxx

  6. It is always curious to me when I spot re-sellers in thrift shops. I'm sure they know what they're doing, and there's a market for everything but it does seem strange to see some of the obviously fast-fashion pieces piled high in a basket. You'd have to move quite a lot of items to make it worth it?
    Your new brooch almost looks like it is smiling, and the patterned boots are quite beautiful.
    I hope this week goes easier for you at work.

    1. We see these re-sellers a lot in our charity shops, instantly recognizable by their heaped trolleys. They seem to know what they're doing, always going for the quality items, but never looking at the size! xxx

  7. Ik denk dat ik eruit ben. Het is volgens mij een Blogger blog probleem. Maar goed ik had een heel verhaal vanmiddag. Maar ik hou t nu kort, lol. Oh en ik ben aan 't schrijven in t nederlands zie ik. Lol. Wij hebben ook naar die serie gekeken. Ben je weekend bij de Steps geweest in Antwerpen toen die daar nog zat? Was heel apart dat want je moest ondergronds en heel rond lopen naar hun magazijn. Bedankt voor mij noemen, wat lief. Ik heb een soort heerlijke top in grijs tinten, heeft deze trompet mouwen?

    1. Dan zal ik ook maar in het Nederlands antwoorden :-) Ik ben daar vroeger inderdaad wel eens geweest, ja. Die top heeft mouwen met ruches, maar ik denk niet dat je dat bedoelt met trompet mouwen? xxx

  8. What a thoroughly rough, draining workday that was for you, dear Ann. I'm sincerely sorry you had to contend with such a nerve taxing experience. Hopefully all will run like clockwork on the IT front for you for the rest of the year.

    I'm completely smitten with your new suede ankle boots. They're stunning!!!

    Many hugs & wishes for a cozy, safe, wonderful 2nd half of February coming your way.

    Autumn Zenith 🧡 Witchcrafted Life

    1. Thank you Autumn! Touch wood, but everything seems to be going like clockwork on the IT front at the moment. I didn't really need another pair of ankle boots, but it would have been silly to leave them behind! xxx

  9. People often marvel that I can remember things about my clothes, but it's only because I blog that I do! I'm so thankful I have the record of so many years of clothes and jewelry.

    Ann, what a lovely post. That first dress is amazing (glad it's not itchy!), and I'm in love with that Carron brooch. The vintage dress you're showing with the blue tweed skirt is just amazing - I would have grabbed that too.

    The Steps top is fabulous (you should see my safety pin collection! ha!), as is that yellow plaid jacket - my friend Catherine has a similar one in full length!

    You and Jos look totally coordinated: him in his new sweater, and you in your blue/yellow outfit! I love that outfit - the colours are amazing. Your yellow is so cheery! I need colour.

    I have never seen resellers here, but I've been tempted to do that myself, as I see so much great stuff in the thrifts. Maybe when I'm retired...speaking of, I know, what am I going to do when my work goes back to 5 days a week?? I don't know if I will be able to ramp up to that pace again! I've gotten spoiled by my 3 days a week (although I miss that pay-cut).

    The green outfit is fabulous - I am in love with that gorgeous vest/waistcoat.

    Hope you have a good week, my dear!

    1. Thank you Sheila! Our blogs are a godsend in so many ways!
      I had a feeling you'd love that brooch. And € 1,50 was really quite a silly price! Your friend's full length plaid coat must be amazing! 5 days a week! Eek! I don't think I ever will. I'll be taking every Friday off until I've spent all my outstanding holidays - will take months! - and then apply to work a 4-day week! xxx

  10. Computers are so good as long as all goes smoothly , hope those glitches are now well and truly sorted.
    The Carron brooch is quite a find. Hard to pick a favourite Winter outfit , you wear them all so beautifully . The vest from Vix is perfect for you. I do like your motto, it says it all. xxx

    1. Exactly! Everything's been sorted ... for now! Isn't Vix's vest amazing! I was totally bowled over when it unexpectedly arrived on my doorstep a couple of years ago! xxx

  11. That yellow scarf makes all the differnece. Bright and shiny! xxx Regula

  12. What a lovely collection of outfits. I love your Welsh wool waistcoat and the blue patterned dress especially. I also really loved your tweed jacket; I would have snapped that up immediately had I seen it.

    You really are on a boot buying roll but your other finds were fab, too. The brooch is wonderful. Jos looks so cool in his 'new to him' cardigan.

    I love hellebores and actually saw some on Saturday at our Tesco's; I must go back and buy some before they're all gone!

    Take care

    1. Thank you Vronni! I really am on a boot buying roll, as I found even more of them in the meantime, including bright green ankle boots - swoon! I planted Hellebores back in Autumn, and two out of three are flowering! xxx

  13. Quite a find the Sidney Carron brooch!
    I loathe computer issues they turn my language blue than blueberries!
    Wishing you a happy weekend. xxx

    1. Thank you Sally! I'm glad I was on my own and nobody was a witness to all the expletives I uttered that day :-) xxx

  14. I have to laugh sometimes Ann, you sound more English than me when you write. You do make me chuckle.
    Sounds like we were doing tandem sofa surfing on Wednesday and both knackered (your choice of word) heehee. See what I mean about you being more English than me.
    Love the photo of Jos.
    Not having a great day today. Auntie Gladys house sale completed today and I feel as if I’ve lost her all over again.
    Have a good weekend you two lovelies xxxx

    1. Aww, Lynn, that really warmed the cockles of my heart. I do feel more English than Belgian. I do miss England like crazy. I'm hearing you on feeling that you've lost your lovely Auntie all over again. Sending hugs xxx

  15. I really like the layering in the last outfit but that pretty blue printed dress with the yellow is my favourite outfit in this post! it's great you were able to get so many great buys too, despite a tough week. Technology is the worst when it just stops working!

    Hope that you are having a good weekend!

    Away From Blue

    1. Thank you Mica! I really do hate non-working technology, it makes you realize how dependent we are on it! xxx

  16. What beautiful colors in your clothes! And my eyes sparkled on the wonderful tapestry brooch !! A precious miniature! I love the beautiful dress with the blue and ivory texture, and the perfect necklace. The yellow of the cardigan gives light to the outfit!
    Hugs, Carmela

    1. Thank you Carmela! Isn't that tapestry brooch amazing? I have another one, in the shape of a tiny tapestry handbag! I really must show you some time! xxx

  17. That silver brooch was a great find.

    It's so frustrating when tech doesn't work - we had to get a new Wifi booster because my laptop kept losing connection to work's VPN. Glad your outage wasn't a several-days one.

    1. Thank you Mim! Oh that sounds horrible! We once had a several-days outage a couple of years ago, when our server broke down and our external IT took days to fix it. That was the reason we switched to cloud based services in the first place! xxx