Tuesday, 30 March 2021

Cat paws and catkins

Whatever life has thrown at us in this past year, and continues to do so as we speak, the world is still turning on its axis and yet another Spring has made its entrance in the Northern hemisphere. 

March is marching along towards its end, with fickle April lying in wait around the corner. In just a matter of days it'll be one year since my working hours were seriously reduced. After the initial shock, though, I took to it like a duck to water. Having an unprecedented amount of time at my disposal was an undiluted luxury, only slightly marred by the sorry state of the world at large.

Fast forward one year, and the dark cloud of a return to full-time employment has been looming on the horizon for a while.  For now, however,  I've been given a reprieve and I'll be continuing  my current three-day working week schedule for yet another month at the very least.

Kudos to those who have been working full time, often in challenging circumstances, all through the pandemic! I am fully aware how lucky I have been!

Rewinding the tape again back to Thursday, the 18th of March. 

So far, the month had been quite a mixed bag, weather-wise, and it wasn't an unusual occurrence to be faced with several seasons in one day. That Thursday, however, the weather gods were fairly consistent in delivering a grey and dismal day, with highs of about 8°C.

Even though I'll be doing my wardrobe changeover quite a bit later than Sheila does, I am casting a critical eye over my wardrobe's contents, trying to wear those poor frocks who haven't yet seen the light of day this season.

Enter this glorious 1970s does 1940s with its blowsy flower pattern on a green background. Green being my favourite colour, I'm sure that some of you are shaking their heads in disbelief that this is only its first - and probably only - wear before it is relegated to the out-of-season vacuum bags.

Funnily enough, scrolling through my Instagram squares - which is easier than going through my blog - revealed that I combined it with the same opaques and charity shopped King Louie cardigan last time I wore it. As this, incredulously, turned out to be almost exactly a year ago, I am definitely a creature of habit!

I am wearing a different brooch though, one of my vintage favourites, as well as another belt. For some reason, the latter seems to be popping up quite a lot lately.

Both the Fly London ankle boots and my necklace with its swirly teal and white beads were between lockdowns charity shop finds. 

Talking of charity shopping, that is exactly what we did that day. It would be the last time for a while, although we were blissfully unaware at the time. With Spring on its way, it isn't that big a deal for us, really, as we'll be spending more time in the garden and, almost inevitably, the garden centre.

Once again, we had to turn back at our original choice of shop, as there was a queue waiting outside, which there was no way I was going to join. We then continued to a shop a bit further up the road, where I found a stripy Monki jumper with a bit of sparkle in its knit, and a midi skirt by Belgian designer Nathalie Vleeschouwer. This would have retailed at well over € 100, so mine was a snip at just € 4,50.

Ever since little Bess entered our lives just under a month ago, no post would be complete without reporting on her progress. And progress she is definitely making, gaining confidence on a daily basis.

As recommended by many a cat whisperer, we are letting her do her own thing in her own time, which seems to be doing the trick. But boy, does she love her food! We only have to open the kitchen cabinet it is stored in for her to come out, waiting impatiently until her bowl is filled and we put it down.

There is no petting just yet although we are longing for the day that she'll come up to us, but when I gingerly put out my hand towards her, she sometimes comes up for a brief sniff and, on two occasions, to high five my hand with her paw! Aww!

There was a considerable improvement in the weather on Friday - sadly, an office day - and even though it was still quite chilly, with the lightest of frosts overnight, the sun having come out of hiding made all the difference.

Much to our relief, the sunny spell continued on Saturday, when wild horses nor even Bess's funny antics couldn't keep us from going for a walk.

In the weekends, our local choice is rather limited, as we want to avoid anywhere too busy at all cost.

As it had been fairly dry for a couple of days, we thought we'd risk driving down to the nature reserve established on the former clay pits in Terhagen. There's a choice of paths we can take there and we were sure we'd be alright as long as we avoided a certain uphill path which seems to be mired with sticky, muddy clay most of the time.

The sun was shining brightly in a deep blue sky and we could feel our muscles as well as our muddled brains relax as we walked and basked in her body and soul soothing rays.

There was a haze of green carpeting the ground beneath the trees and there were catkins and sun warmed lichen galore. Looking upwards was rewarded by the sight of a whisper of buds about to spring into leaves. 

And all around us, there was joyous birdsong, joined by the cackling of geese and the high-pitched squawks of the moorhens going about their daily business on the water-filled clay pit beyond the thicket lining the path.

I emulated the mood of the day by wearing yellow and blue. The yellow jacket with its double collar and sleeve cuffs is by the Spanish Cortefiel brand, and was a lucky charity shop find back in February.

It accompanied one of my favourite and most worn skirts, the multi-coloured specks in its slubby turquoise fabric inviting a multitude of outfit possibilities. In the depths of where the clay pits used to be we were sheltered from the wind, so that my frilly turquoise scarf and Burberry beret were rather superfluous. As usual on our outings, I was carrying the cork bag charity shopped earlier this year.

Against our better judgment, we took a path we'd never walked before. Initially, all went well, with only the odd muddy patch to negotiate. Then we came upon the mother of them all. Still we persevered and, with the helping hands of our walking sticks, we managed to keep upright on the slippery clay which was trying to suck us in, triumphantly reaching the other side.

Hurray, we thought, but then we came across a kind of sticky clay gully, leading quite steeply down and then up by way of makeshift steps which were slippery with rain-gorged clay. What can I say? We tried but we failed and had to turn back, recrossing the mud we'd only conquered minutes before. When will we ever learn to wear our hiking boots? 

On our way back through the wood, we came across a sturdy tree branch, which was just inviting to sit and swing one's legs upon. 

The perfect opportunity to remove my outerwear and show you the rest of my outfit.

I took the lead from the red specks in my skirt's weave and wore a red and white vintage pussy bow blouse, its trellis pattern enhanced by different sized solid red squares. Echoing the skirt's turquoise, I tamed the pussy bow with a turquoise based floral cameo scarf clip from my modest collection.

I'm sure that the belt does not need further introduction, as it's one of three similarly patterned stretchy black and white belts which joined my accessories wardrobe last year.

As an extra layer, I wore a yellow, red and turquoise checked cardigan, which unfortunately isn't very visible in the photos.  If I remember correctly, it was charity shopped back in 2019.

What a glorious, life-affirming day! One of those days which lead you to believe that things can only get better.

But until they actually do, please do stay healthy and happy, my friends!


  1. totally matching the landscape!
    colorwise. the shoes - not ;-D
    you found another stripey sweater - great colours..... and bess comes out of her shell - so lovely. you are very lucky with your job and boss! maybe you can "half-retire" soon?
    hugs! xxxx

    1. I know! I actually had to think of you when I penned that remark about not wearing hiking boots :-) Plans for working less are in the making, by the way! xxx

  2. What a that skirt and jumper! And so gorgeous, wow. Love that hanger too, my patents had those when I was a child. Bess is such a sweetheart, those eyes..... too melt for. The photo of you on the sun with your ochre coat on is so beautiful! Haha, but hiking boots doesn't look good right! Lol.

    1. Thank you Nancy! We often see those hangers in charity shops here. I've got a couple of them, which I'm using to photograph new finds for the blog! xxx

  3. We all need those life affirming days. It's great you enjoyed your hike, even if trying out a new path proved more adventurous that you thought. I'm so happy to see that Bess is doing well. She's a cute kitty. It's a good sign she is eating well and eagerly waiting for food.
    Your outfits are fabulous. The printed green dress is splendid. I love how you call it 1970s does 1940s. The flower pattern is very pretty. Green is simply a perfect colour for spring. I always thought green is underestimated colour. I don't remember if I had know known that green is your favourite colour, but I'm surprised that it is the first wear for this dress. I also like the blue cardi, necklace and brooch you paired this dress with.
    Lovely photos from hiking. The hiking outfit is fabulous. The blue skirt looks wonderful paired with a red top and the mustard yellow coat. The boots look very chic as well.

    1. Thank you Ivana! I'm not sure why I didn't wear the green floral dress before this season. But I've got so many clothes - too many, perhaps - that quite a few of them are only worn once a year! xxx

  4. Love your outfits and amazing landscape!

  5. Hooray for the Bess Report! She "high-fives" you?? How wonderful! We had a lot of issues with Vizzini for years - he was not an affectionate cat at first. I did a lot of reading on cat behaviour, and one of the things I learned was to gently pet him while he was eating, so that he associated the petting with a thing he loves (eating). We also praise him for "good cat behaviour" like scratching his post and playing with his toys. It worked miraculously - he went from being very stand-offish to letting us pet him and cuddle him. I repeat "Good boy, good boy" over and over whenever I do this, to reaffirm his behaviour. Of course, the hard part is not reacting to his "bad" cat behaviour (opening closet doors, scratching furniture), but to just calmly walk over and gently push him away from the source. Anyway, good luck with Bess - she seems to be coming around. :)

    I love your green dress and I totally get the "worn once a year" thing - so many of my clothes were only worn once this season!

    The waterlily skirt is lovely! I would wear that!

    Your pictures of your muddy clay walk are amazing, Ann! That portrait of you (the one with your purse) against that blue sky is stunning! That pussy-bow blouse is fabulous!

    I am dreading working full-time again! I've been completely spoiled by my 3 days a week for the past year. Fortunately, I think it will be late summer or September before we get more folks into the office. We've had a shut-down this past week due to a) variants gaining traction and b) young people who think they're immune to COVID (gah!) having house parties. OMG, seriously?

    Have a lovely week, my dear! Closet swap-over tomorrow for me! Woo hoo!

    1. We did have issues with Phoebe too, she never was very affectionate but we never had problems with petting her. Bess is just taking longer to adapt, but we knew that before we adopted her. I knew you'd get the "worn once a year" thing. Most people do find it incredulous! xxx

  6. Happy Easter! Hopfefully you can go on long and pleasant walks, enjoy lots of sunshine, wear your colourful clolthes to make THE difference, and also hug your kitty.

    xxx Regula

    1. Thank you Regula! I hope you are having a wonderful Easter break. Unfortunately, the weather did let us down a bit here ... xxx

  7. In fact, it's hard to work full-time during a pandemic. It's all made difficult.
    So sweet your Bess. Very nice that she loves her food. She'll come to cuddle at some point. You look amazing in your go for a walk style! I am in love with the picture you sitting on the tree.😁🌸
    Have a nice day Ann! With a very huge hug Tina

    1. I totally understand, Tina, and you've got my respect and understanding for the difficult work situation!
      That tree was so inviting. The crazy thing is that when I was trawling through the photos on my phone yesterday, it turned out we sat on that branch before! xxx

  8. I'm loving seeing Bess coming out of her shell on each visit. Look at those eyes, that anxious little face in the photo that made you both fall in love with her is but a dim and distant memory.
    Your walk looked just gorgeous and both of you look so calm and relaxed in such tranquil surroundings as well as your outfit choices echoing the colours around you.
    The stripy jumper couldn't be more Ann, I'm looking forward to seeing you wear that. The green dress definitely deserved an outing. There's a lot of my clothes that haven't seen the light of day for over a year now but I'm still keeping them! xxx

    1. Bess's anxious little face is indeed a thing of the past. She's still to gain confidence, though. She is ready to explore the rest of Dove Cottage, but still a bit scared to do so ... xxx

  9. I love the yellow and blue in your walking outfit - and the more colourful outfit hidden underneath! Although what a shame the mud made things tricky!

    Bess is such a cute little cat too :)

    It's nice that you are continuing on with working as you are now so it's not too much change! I have found working part time much more flexible as it meant I've been able to take care of the kids and it gave me a break in lockdown from trying to juggle work and the kids on my days off, haha! I did get to go into the office a couple weeks ago which I loved but then we had an outbreak and now working in the office is off the table for the time being. at least our lockdown was only 3 days and we are back to covid normal for Easter! :)

    Hope you are having a good Easter weekend :)

    Away From The Blue

    1. Thank you Mica! I'm hearing you on working part time being more flexible, especially when you have kids! I don't mind being at the office, there's only me for most of the time anyway, and working from home doesn't suit me at all. Glad to hear your lockdown was only 3 days, so that at least you are able to celebrate Easter! xxx

  10. The yellow jacket is one of those items that will go with everything-I can imagine it getting use on a chilly summer evening. I haven't started unpacking the new season either-today we're freezing and by next week it will be sweltering-who can possibly keep up?
    Bess has figured out the mealtime sounds! That's a good sign, and how cute is getting a furry little high-five?
    Have a nice Easter.

    1. Today I was especially glad I didn't pack away/unpack anything yet. It's been freezing cold, while we had around 25°C just under a week ago! xxx

  11. I love hearing about your walks and the seeing the outfits you choose. The yellow jacket and the skirt looks wonderful! I'm glad Bess is getting along. Happy Easter!

    1. Thank you Lovely, and I hope you had a wonderful Easter! xxx

  12. Bess is so sweet and I'm so glad she is settling in well. You are being cautious, patient and careful with her and I'm sure it will reap huge benefits in the future. I loved the idea of a paw to hand high five - go Bess!

    The green dress is beautiful and I love the floral print. I also loved your new turquoise beads. The new yellow jacket with the double collar and cuffs is just my cup of tea and looks fab with your favourite skirt.

    It's great you can still get out to nice places for a
    walk; soon mud will be a rare site on your walks - I hope! I always wear my hiking boots and socks when I go walking in the countryside but not always when I'm doing the urban walks. Must have comfortable and dry feet...

    1. Thank you Vronni! Bess is taking small steps every day and we feel it's important to let her come out of her shell in her own time. We have to remember to take our hiking boots next time we go there. It's always muddy there except after long dry periods! xxx

  13. Bess is starting to look right at home hot footing it over to her food, she's lovely.
    Your 70's does 40's dress is a beauty, it's so you. I love the collar.
    Despite the thick sticky mud defeating you, you had a very good attempt on your walk, especially without walking boots. The photos are glorious. xxx

    1. Thank you Sally! Hotfooting is the right term, she even follows us into the kitchen now if she thinks we're not fast enough with her food :-) xxx

  14. Replies
    1. Thank you so much, my friend, I do hope you had a wonderful Easter weekend yourself! xxx

  15. What exciting, happiness bolstering signs of spring bursting back to life on your end. There really is something undeniably special and mood uplifting about hopping back into days of mild weather and sunlight that lasts beyond mid-afternoon!

    Unless a wee bit is hiding in the very shadiest of spots, the last of the snow has vanished from our yard this week. That said, we have had snow in April for 2 of the 3 previous years we've lived in this wee town, so it might be too soon to officially say we're done with snowman building for another year. Check back with me in mid-May. 😄

    Sunny hugs & joyful Easter wishes, my dear friend!

    Autumn Zenith 🧡 Witchcrafted Life

    1. Thank you Autumn! I'm glad to hear most of the snow has vanished from your backyard. Would you believe we had flurries of snow today? Luckily, it didn't stick! xxx

  16. So Lovely post!, So Lovely post!, I'm loving your outfits and loving to see Bess enjoying her food and looking so cute!.
    I'm back to full time work now and it feels so strange!. It's taking me time to get used to this.
    Loving the floral dress, so delightful colour combo and cute necklace and brooch!
    And so great finds, both the skirt and top look fab and versatile!.
    Obviously, I love your yellow and blue outfit, delightfully matchy to the landscape and delightfully joyful!. So gorgeous photos and so lovely to see you sitting on the branch smiling in the sunshine!.

    1. Thank you Monica! I fully understand it is taking you time to adjust to working full time again! I'm absolutely dreading the day ... xxx