Tuesday, 2 February 2021

Rose Red and Snow White

In two days' time, on the 4th of February, Jos and I will have been married for 26 years, and exactly one year ago today we were treating ourselves to a couple of days away to celebrate our Silver Wedding Anniversary. We'd arrived at our B&B on the outskirts of Bruges just after midday and, at the time this post is published, we had just returned from an afternoon roaming the streets of that most romantic of cities and having dinner in a restaurant on the Market Square.

I don't have to tell any of you what a whirlwind of a year separates us from these carefree days, when mingling with the crowds came as naturally as breathing, and social distancing was an alien concept. When there were no limits or restrictions on where to go other than those imposed by the weather and opening times, and we were able to walk in and out of shops unmasked and without fear. 

This hit home more than ever when, against my better judgment, I reread the post I wrote about that day, which put a lump in my throat and caused a tiny sob to escape from my lungs. 

But what's the use of crying over spilt milk, so I'd better continue with the January chronicles instead. Before I do so, however, I'm taking you back even further in time, to the 4th of February 1995. For those who might have missed it last year, here we are on that long ago wedding day!

Now, let's return to the here and now, or to the second week of January, to be more specific.

As usual, Jos was up first on Tuesday morning. When I eventually made it downstairs, he was peering through the kitchen window into the still semi-dark garden. Phoebe had been outside for a while and unusually for her she wouldn’t come back inside in spite of the rain. Not only was she nowhere to be seen, she did not respond to our frantic calling either.  It was when she wasn’t even tempted by rattling a bag of Catisfactions (Dreamies), that we started to get really worried. 

In the end, Jos got dressed and went looking for her. She must have been sheltering under the little table at the back of the garden, as no sooner had Jos made it outside than she came pelting down the garden path at full speed. She never ever leaves the garden but still, you never know what tricks she's got on her sleeve in her old age!

In the meantime, you've already caught a glimpse of what I was wearing that day.

My black floral shift dress had spent quite a few weeks in my ironing pile as its lining - a secretly matching green - was beyond wrinkled. I tend to alternate between purple and green for its companions, this time opting for the latter. All different shades of green, though, and not one of them an exact match to the green flowers. The green suede lace up ankle boots were charity shopped that very day.

On top went my faithful pink long-line cardigan. If any of my clothes will ever reach the mythical #30 wears, it will surely be some of my cardigans!

But I mentioned charity shopping, as that was what we did that day. It had been raining on and off all morning, and although the temperature was quite moderate, it was too damp to do much else. 

This time, it was the turn of the shop in the nearby town of Mortsel, which is another one of our favourites. I'd hardly walked in when I found this wicker and faux leather handbag waiting for me. In perfect condition, it was an absolute no-brainer.

Having more time on my hands has made me reach for separates more often than ever before. Dresses are often the easiest option for my office days, but now that these have dwindled to only two a week, there's no pressure when getting dressed in the morning. Now, instead of the rails of dresses, it's the skirts aisle I am making a beeline for when I go charity shopping.

These two flared skirts caught my eye and came home with me. The moody tartan one is from the French LC Waikiki brand, and has already been worn in the meantime. The black and white one is from New Look and will be perfect for Spring and Summer days.

It was the pattern that made me pull out this dress after a quick browse through the rails. Even though it was on an XL hanger, they so often get the size wrong here that it really pays to look outside of your size range. It's cotton and unlined, so it will go straight into my suitcase of hot weather clothes. Don't you just love that belt buckle?

I found the shoes while I was on my way to the till, so although they were my size (37 or 4) I briefly returned to the fitting rooms to make sure of their fit.  Me and my camera had a real struggle capturing their true colour and after a bit of tweaking this is the closest we got.

Another office day separated us from Thursday. It was a chilly day, the mercury not climbing higher than 3°C and although snow had been forecasted, it never happened.

In anticipation, however, I pulled one of my warmest dresses from my wardrobe. Having a certain percentage of angora in its wool-and-polyester blend, it feels cozy even on the coldest of days.

Its pattern is a full-on botanical one, with flowers and foliage in every imaginable colour vying for attention. From its menu, I picked purples for my belt, necklace and opaques, and added a large teal flower brooch.

I only wore the orange cardigan and the ankle boots (which are green rather than grey as they seem to appear here!) when we briefly went into the garden for outfit photos.

To tame my unruly, out-of-shape hair, I wore one of the hair clips I'd purchased during our first lockdown.

Consulting my journal, I can tell you that my hands weren't idle that day. Apparently, I cleaned the bathroom surfaces and as the Patchouli soap we'd been using had dwindled to a sliver, I replaced it with a spanking new bar of Jasmine soap!

In the afternoon, I started on the kitchen shelves, which had last been done thoroughly back in Spring. Taking into account all the stuff that's crammed onto them, it is quite a daunting task and I gave up for the day when I was about half way through.

It had turned even colder on Friday, when the temperature remained barely above freezing point all day.

This heavy-weight knit polyester dress also resides in the cold weather corner of my wardrobe. In spite of its pinkish overall look, its pattern is definitely red and white stripes and chevrons, with a tiny bit of grey thrown in the weave.

Once again I added greens, starting with the belt and the enamelled butterfly brooch. The brooch was one of my very first second-hand finds way back in the mists of time.

On top went my green Mango cardigan with vintage buttons added by me. I can't remember the colour of my opaques, but they are hidden by my green boots anyway. For once, my camera captured all the green hues correctly!

That morning, we drove to Mortsel again, although this time we didn't visit its charity shop. Instead, after parking our car, we walked the length of its high street to an electronics shop. We were looking to buy a portable DAB Plus radio as well as some PC speakers, as the cheap ones I had been using at the office had given up the ghost.

There was a queue as people were only allowed in accompanied by one of the shop assistants and, as solo shopping is still the rule here, I waited outside when finally it was Jos's turn. By the time our errands were done, my toes were frozen in spite of my boots' woollen lining and the extra pair of socks I was wearing!

The rest of the day was spent pottering, catching up with blogland, reading and fiddling around with our new radio.

I'm squeezing in an extra day in a bid to catch up, so I'm treating you to four instead of my customary three outfits in this post.

We'd reached Saturday by now, with the temperature hovering around freezing point and the sky remaining a solid grey all day. Snow had yet again been forecasted for the afternoon. In anticipation of our garden turning into a Winter wonderland, I continued with the kitchen shelf project I'd abandoned on Thursday. Note the vintage pinny I was wearing for the occasion!

I had barely finished my cleaning when the first of the tiny snowflakes starting swirling down. In order to make the most of this rare occurance, I quickly donned my furry monster vest and woolly turban, to which I'd pinned a pink knitted flower corsage. My snow boots came out to play as well. After all, there are only so many occasions on which they can be worn!

Warm woollens were the overall theme that day, starting with a heavy-weight knitted skirt sporting chevron stripes in browns and off-white.  A chocolate brown mock croc belt separated it from my baby blue jumper. The funky wood and plastic beaded necklace was bought from Accessorize eons ago.

There's nothing wrong with your eyes, nor is there a fault in the photo. The white stripes in front of my face are snowflakes caught in the action of falling.

The snow stopped as suddenly as it had started, but began again in earnest about half an hour later. Soon our garden and its plants were covered with a duvet of snow, although the snowfall was never as heavy as to cover the garden path.

I went outside again, this time adding a coat and scarf, and snapped away using my phone's camera. How gorgeous are those red Cotoneaster berries amid its snow covered branches! And I love the juxtaposition of the red geraniums - still blooming as if at the height of Summer - with the wintry white!

Even Phoebe reluctantly made a foray into the garden, but she was clearly overwhelmed with the white stuff that had descended, so she soon retreated inside.

It started thawing overnight and most of the snow had gone by morning. Quite possibly, this will be the only snow we're seeing all Winter!

So, I seem to have made it halfway through January by now. I'll be back with another catch-up in a couple of days.

Needless to say, I'm expecting you all the remain safe, sane and sensational until then.


  1. Oh, Phoebe, such a scare she must have given you!

    How fun to have a snow day! We have not yet seen one here, just rain and nothing but rain. If we're going to have snow, it's usually in late January or early Feb, so we shall see.

    Happy Anniversary, Ann and Jos! I had not seen that pic of you two at your wedding, and how young you look there! I love your hair that way, Ann - have you thought about doing a bob again? I love your hair with the clip in it in your second outfit - your hair's getting long!

    Love the pink cardi in outfit number one - it looks fantastic with that dress. Greens, blues and purples are so frustrating to photograph, right? I love your new purchases, especially those wedge booties and that fabulous dress! Can't wait to see that on you!

    A touch of angora seems just the ticket in that second outfit! Love the colours you've mixed with that fun dress.

    Your red/white plus green outfit was my favourite in the post (that is a wonderful dress!), until I saw Monster Vest!! Wow, Ann, you've outdone yourself in this stellar look. I love the turban/rose, the vest and that skirt is incredible. I'd wear this entire look.

    Your snow pictures are so pretty! Hang in there, my dear - stay safe and sane!

    1. Thank you Sheila! I have actually been thinking about doing a bob again. Now that it's grown so much longer, I might persuade my hairdresser to put me in the right direction towards one. They are allowed to open as from today, and I've already grabbed an appointment for the 25th! xxx

  2. Happy Anniversary! I have no excuse to forget it as it is also my birthday.
    It is getting hard to even find radios these days as everyone just uses their smart phones. When my portable died I didn't bother replacing it, which felt a little sad.
    I've never had an angora blend dress-it must feel luxurious as well as warm.
    Good score on the green boots!

    1. Thank you Goody! We have a portable radio which we inherited from my Dad, but reception isn't brilliant. Our new DAB+ radio has already been doing overtime. I love a station with non-stop music, as the constant blathering is doing my head in :-) xxx

  3. Happy Anniversary to you both!
    What a naughty girl Phoebe is putting you through all that worry. As we're spending so much time at home with our cats we notice any slight deviation from their routine these days and don't half worry about them. Lovely to see her snuffling around in the snow.
    We love your DAB radios, both came from charity shops and Jon treated us to a car one a few years ago, I only listen to 6Music and would rather have no radio at all than have to endure another station!
    All fabulous outfits but the red chevron striped dress with the green cardi is my stand out favourite. The giant hair clip looks fabulous and I agree with Sheila, a bob would really suit you.
    Well done for cleaning the kitchen shelves, I bet was a gargantuan task with all your bits and pieces.
    I'm glad you had a bit of snow! xxx

    1. Thank you Vix! Our new car actually came with a DAB radio, which is what got me thinking of buying one for our home as well. I'm working towards a bob, by the way. Hopefully my hairdresser agrees to put me in the right direction :-) xxx

  4. Oh Phoebe, you scared about her. But she is well and she had fun with snow?
    Great you found wonderful things in charity shops. Here all shops are closed.
    I love this fury vest, this color is amazing. You look gorgeous in it.
    Have a great day, with a huge hug Tina

    1. Thank you Tina! Our non-essential shops have re-opened Mid December, but cafés and restaurants Etc. are still closed. xxx

  5. ohhh and happy anniversary Ann and Jos. 🌸💕 I forgot

  6. Happy Anniversary to you both. I had a peek at your last years post , I can see why you miss beautiful Brugges and that delightful B&B , hopefully you can celebrate there later in the year. Your wedding photo was delightful and I did like your Louise Brooks short bob.
    Your garden looks lovely in the snow.
    Naughty Phoebe giving you both a fright.
    Your outfits as usual are wonderful, I did like your warm pretty floral dress and it must be so warm to wear.
    Take care and enjoy the anniversary together. xxx

    1. Thank you Jill! I do actually miss my Louise Brooks bob! I've had it for many years until I had it cut shorter in a moment of madness! xxx

  7. Happy anniversary to you both!
    I just love all the snow photos.
    We haven't had much at all here ( I live in Norfolk).
    I love the snow for its beauty but hate the inconvenience and the cold weather.
    Adore the green cotton dress with its groovy buckle, reminds me of the dresses the older girls wore when I was a child.
    Stay safe, stay sane and carry on being Fabulous!

    1. Thank you Carole! I'm not sure about Norfolk, but we are having a cold snap with lots of snow and sub zero temperatures for the last week! We haven't had that much snow in years, so I actually spoke too soon :-) xxx

  8. snow becomes dove cottages garden!!
    gorgeous pictures of the snow covered plants and a "real winter clothes" wearing ann :-D love all the pink in your outfits - and you wear my beret!
    well done cleaning the kitchen shelves - it looks like a heavy task....

    congratulations to your wedding anniversary - 26 years! and how lovely to have this golden memories of the last celebrations!
    stay warm!! hugsies! xxxxx

    1. Thank you Beate! Yes, 26 years! We can hardly believe it ourselves. The time has just whizzed by. Oh, and I had the opportunity to wear all my real Winter clothes this last week ;-) xxx

  9. Happy Anniversary. How nice to see the lovely wedding photos, you remind me a bit of Tracy Thorn in them. This is a compliment because I love her. I spent a lot of time listening to A distant Shore in my youth!
    I wear separates most of the time, I do like dresses but always seem to favour skirts and tops. I love the green of your mango cardi.
    I can imagine the fright Phoebe gave you! If Ziggy doesn't come in from the garden at night after being out just before bed in the dark, he's impossible to see and he sometimes hides. He thinks its funny! xxx

    1. Thank you Sally! I love Tracy Thorn, so that's a compliment indeed. I haven't listened to A Distant Shore, or any Everything But The Girl albums in years! xxx

  10. Happy anniversary! I hope you have a special day today! You might be surprised by the weather this weekend. At least that's our prediction. Very very cold and snow! I hate it, lol. Those new skirts and the one you are wearing are skirts I love. The simplicity, the print, love it. And your brown necklace! Gorgeous. Again, have a wonderful day and enjoy!

    1. Thank you Nancy! I'm glad to hear you love the skirts! Oh, and hasn't it been cold? xxx

  11. Happy anniversary! I wish you happy days and years to come. Thinking about past times always makes me melancholic. All the best! Regula

  12. I loved your wedding photos. You looked like a flapper from the 1920s - and so young! Happy anniversary to you and Jos.

    Lovely outfits and accessories as always. I loved the floral print; did I spy paisley? What brilliant charity shop finds. The green boots are splendid! You do find some wonderful boots. I think I have the same Accessorize necklace as you but in a different colour combination. It's the brown oval open bead with the light coloured bead in the middle that gave it away!

    I'm glad your snow didn't stay; unfortunately we have more snow forecast for Sunday - blast it!

    Take care and stay safe!

    1. Thank you Vronni! I love the flapper from the 1920s comparison, I can certainly live with that :-) I love that Accessorize necklace, it's among my most worn! The snow came back with a vengeance. It has been bitterly cold but sunny, and we have been walking almost every day this week! xxx

  13. Happy Anniversary!, hope you're enjoying a fab time, despite missing Brugge and travels. I've been missing our excursions too, celebrations, travels to nearby cities. But I'm ready to catch up with all these things as soon as possible (autumn?)
    You look so fabulous in your dark floral dress and delicious green&pink colour combo!, those colours put a smile on my face!. And your green booties are so cute!, and the summery dress you purchased is gorgeous!
    Lovely warm and colourful dress, its print is so joyful and versatile, and you rock it with your brilliant accessorizing (love your belt and necklace and brooch!) and massive hairpin!. And also lovely in your 'faux pink' dress, looking fab in red with those green details and your cute beret!. Loving a delightfully matchy ensemble!
    And also loving your monster vest and the cute turban you wore in the snow!, braving the elements to take some photos!, You Rock It!

    1. Thank you Monica! I'm certainly ready to catch up too. Perhaps Autumn is too soon, with all the dithering with the vaccinations here in Belgium :-( xxx

  14. Happy anniversary! I hope you are having a nice time celebrating even if it is different this year! Celebrations were so different after the first lockdown last year but we are so lucky we got to have some kind of normality again now _ i know it will happen for you too!

    You always have the most colourful outfits, and that second one is my favourite with all the beautiful colours in that dress!

    Hope that you are having a good week :)

    Away From Blue

    1. Thank you Mica! We are still a long way from some kind of normality here, but I'm certainly looking forward to more freedom and spontaneity! xxx

  15. Happy wedding anniversary to you two lovely people. I’d send you flowers and share a meal with you if we were allowed. Instead we will think of you when we have our evening meal and raise a glass of something to you both.
    It seems so odd you telling us that you’ve been to the charity shop. It seems an age since ours were open. You’ve been successful as well. The pattern of the green dress is lovely. I couldn’t walk in them shoes though Ann. You’re a better woman than me.
    I always admire how you suit so many different colour combos. The pink and green is a real stunner on you.
    I can see we are vintage pinny twins heehee. I got a bit maudling seeing you in your kitchen. Don’t know why.
    The snow is returning to Lancashire again this weekend so I guess that’ll be us stuck indoors. Not that it bothers us.
    Love to you both from us both xxx

    1. Thank you for raising a glass to us, you lovely people! I'm glad our charity shops were allowed to re-open. They are usually quite big here, with lots of space. Plus, we only go on weekdays to avoid the crowds! Oh, and the snow has returned to Belgium as well. Lots of it! xxx

  16. Happy Anniversary, Ann and Jos !! Beautiful your outfits! I love cardigans, the pink one is perfect on the floral dress! You found some beautiful skirts, but I'm looking in admiration at the design of the dress with short sleeves, in green and blue tones ... and its buckle! Enchanting! .. Your flowers, brave under the snow .. and the sweet Phoebe! A caress to her and a hug to you!

    1. Thank you Carmela! I love cardigans too, and I admit to having a large collection, the majority of them second hand. I've actually just bought another two yesterday :-) xxx

  17. Happy Anniversary!!! It is sad to think that things were so free last year. I was having the most bonkers three months of wonderful concerts and rehearsals! OOoh, I ADORE that first dress! So pretty. I spy those boots again!
    I like your New Look stripy dress. Cannee resist stripes!
    Well HELLO pink chevron gorgeousness- really goes well with that cardie and beret!
    The turban REALLY suits you, esp with the flower!
    Glad Phoebe is ok!x

    1. Thank you Kezzie! I remember your hectic schedule last year. Strange to think everything came to a grinding halt a little less than a year ago! I'd love to have more turbans! This one's my favourite and I try to add some variety with flower corsages! xxx

  18. Happy silver anniversary! It must feel so special. It's a shame you cannot celebrate in such a carefree manner as last year, but I guess that's reality for many right now. I hope things return back to normal soon and that you and Jos can visit the most romantic of cities freely, roaming the streets and shops as you please.
    I do like the dark dress with floral pattern but I think my favourite look this time is the green and pink. This combination of pink and green is very pretty. Lovely pink beret and the pink dress is just fab. The green cardi is very pretty. Wonderful green hues there. I like the green brooch you wore with it too.
    Your garden looks beautiful covered with snow. Phoebe doesn't look impressed and I can understand her. Snow can be tricky and most cats (I think) prefer to get back inside when it snows. Thank you for sharing and have a great week ahead.

    1. Thank you Ivana! I'm hoping the same too. We're trying to make the most of those things which are still possible, but Jos is quite a bit older than me, and obviously not getting any younger. There's still so much we want to do together which isn't possible now! xxx

  19. How gorgeous the snow is! As are your outfits. I like the pink and green outfit.

    I am forever playing catch up on my blog too. So many outfits, so little time. X

    1. Thank you Jess! I'm so glad I'm not the only one playing catch up. So little time indeed, even with my reduced working schedule! xxx

  20. Radiantly joyful anniversary wishes to you both. I am a die-hard romantic and adore hearing about couples who have been able to go the distance. They are, it so often seems, becoming fewer and further between in our modern world. Tony and I celebrated our 16th wedding anniversary last October and both wholeheartedly hope that we can follow in your footsteps by toasting our own 26th (anniversary) in several year's time.

    Warm hugs and wishes for a very serene, safe, and cozy month coming your way, my sweet friend.

    Autumn Zenith 🧡 Witchcrafted Life

    1. Thank you Autumn! Confession time: I am a die-hard romantic too! I'm sure your and Tony's time will come, but better not to hurry time too much. 16 years is already quite an admirable feat! xxx

  21. Happy Anniversary!
    I love the black and white skirt you found, it's really lovely and will be so versatile! Your red chevron dress is rather lovely too, and I really like the combination of pale blue and monster vest red!
    A little snow is lovely isn't it?

    1. Thank you Hazel! I actually can't wait to wear that black and white skirt! It'll have to wait though, as the snow (and not just a little bit) has returned with a vengeance! xxx

  22. Aw hun! Thinking of you being sad at last year's post makes me wish I could give you a hug. Better days will come.

    That green dress is fab indeed - roll on summer.

    1. Thank you Mim! I'm sure better days will come at some point. With Phoebe passing away in the meantime, things do seem extra bleak :-( xxx