Sunday, 16 May 2021

A blue-buzzed haze

Who knows where the time goes? Not me, that's for certain, as it absolutely boggles my mind that we're already half-way through the month of May at the time of typing.

Give or take the odd day when it felt like Summer was on its way, there hasn't been much improvement in the weather. We were treated to the familiar mixture of clouds - sometimes dark and foreboding, a solid blanket of mind-numbing grey at others - showers and sudden bursts of sunshine. The kind of neither here nor there weather that makes us sigh and resignedly plod on. 

The temperature hasn't been much to write home about either, reaching only a shivery 11°C on Wednesday the 5th of May. Nevertheless, this was redeemed by it remaining dry and sunny, so that my coiffure wasn't immediatly ruined after my visit to the hairdresser!

An after-work stroll through the garden revealed yet more Nasturtium seedlings, the newly planted Aquilegia about to unfold its first flower, and all four of our garden's Heucheras, including those in the window box and terracotta pot in the passageway next to the kitchen - having developed wands of budding flowers.

Thursday went off to a sunny start, but clouds soon appeared out of the blue by late morning. The initial forecast had been for warmer temperatures than the repeat of Wednesday's 11°C, making me reach rather optimistically for one of my short-sleeved frocks. 

Made from a jersey polyester, this mod style dress - once again an old Think Twice find - was warm enough to combat the relative chill, although its pastel yellow colour failed miserably at replacing the vanishing sunshine.

I couldn't really put my finger on it, but I didn't really feel this outfit. Perhaps I've gotten so used to seeing myself in stronger colours but, whatever the case, it made me feel a bit washed out. A feeling which wasn't even remotely remedied by the liberal doses of sky blue I completed my outfit with. 

The cardigan was a charity shop find, and so were the boots, but everything else was once bought new, the birds in flight brooch as well as the necklace UK holiday acquisitions.

We needed a couple of things from the garden centre, but decided to make a detour to the big Oxfam shop in a small nearby town which we hadn't been to since February.

The majority of their clothing rails are suspended from the ceiling by ropes, causing something akin to seasickness when browsing them, which, together with the semi-fogginess of my glasses caused by my mask, made me feel quite dizzy.

Nevertheless, I found a couple of things, including an apple patterned skirt by retro label Zoë Loveborn and a burgundy and pink Summer dress from Cassis, a Belgian high street shop.

My favourite find, though, was this green based floral top by French label Gerard Darel. Again, Angelica was lucky enough to get first dibs on wearing it!

Then it was off to the garden centre where, apart from another batch of plants, we bought an additional log effect wooden slab to complete our stepping stone path.


The weather wasn't inviting a gardening session after lunch, but I was still determined to put the finishing touch to the path, which now reaches all the way to the retaining wall.

Soon, the bluebells will be over for another year but until then, their delicate violet-blue veined flowers never fail to delight me, even if in our tiny garden they might not provide the ‘blue-buzzed haze’ as described by the poet Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889). And oh, look, another Aquilegia is on its way. This one is called 'Crimson Star' and as it has been newly planted, I can't wait to see it in its full glory.

The mercury climbed to 16°C on Saturday, but once again it was overcast and it starting raining quite heavily soon after our fruit and yoghurt breakfast. Obviously, this did nothing to improve my morale, which was at a bit of a low. In fact, I felt quite tired and out of sorts all day, and definitely needed the colour boost provided by my outfit.

I was determined to finally wear the funky plum-coloured long sleeved top I charity shopped in January. I think it found its perfect companions in my green and white plaid textured polyester skirt and my plaid King Louie cardigan, a charity shop find which, apart from the obvious red, also has grey, yellow, teal, green and brown in its knit. 

Further accessories were a pink, yellow, white and brown woven belt, a necklace of plain green and black and white glass beads joined by felted circles, a crochet flower corsage pinned to my cardigan and a green plastic squirrel brooch adorning my top. Together with my grass green opaques, the latter was my only retail buy. My green wedge-heeled ankle boots - a charity shop find in November 2018 - came out to play once more.

We took the outfit photos at the end of the day, when the sun decided to pay us the briefest of visits. 

The rest of the day wasn't entirely wasted, though, as I switched around my coats and jackets, making the Spring and Summer ones more easily accessible, wrote a batch of plant labels and continued my latest read, Douglas Kennedy's The Woman in the Fifth.

Sunday had been heralded as the week's best day, with temperatures of up to 25°C. This was good news for Belgium's cafés and restaurants, which had been allowed to open their outdoor spaces and terraces that weekend. The fact that the sun was mostly hidden behind a layer of clouds, and that we had one or two heavy showers to contend with, didn't dampen people's enthusiasm, with the inevitable crowds as a result.

Obviously, we stayed put and spent the better part of the day in the garden, making up for lost time.

I last wore this chocolate brown short sleeved dress almost exactly a year ago to the day. It was a happy reunion and with its orange, yellow, green and light brown floral print on a dark background, it wasn't too delicate to be worn for gardening.

The stretchy green belt is slightly too large on me - it was bought retail but came in one size only - but some clever (Sheila would say "klassy") use of a green hair elastic solved the problem of its end dangling ungainly.  I added an orange necklace and green bracelet and bangle, et voilà! There's also a cat brooch but it is somewhat hidden among the flowers.

And obviously, I did not wear the orange shoes for gardening!

We started by planting Salvia nemerosa ‘Caradonna’ to the right of the dead tree trunk structure (top left and right). Its flower spikes will soon attract the local population of bees.

Then I lifted the spent bulbs, including white Muscari (bottom lef) from their pots, and put them in an out of sight spot in the passageway border, where they are allowed to die down gracefully.

Meanwhile, the Aquilegia 'Biedermeier' (top left) in the new border is making progress, some flowers already clearly exposing their spurs, while elsewhere, a glut of gooseberries is in the making.

Even last year's curry plant (Helichrysum Italicum, bottom right), which stubbornly remained flowerless back then, seems to have mended its ways, as it is full of flower buds.

As is the white lavender peeking up behind the sea of cheerful looking pansies. 

My final task was planting up some of the annuals which had been waiting patiently in the aisles. Here, Salvia 'Mystic Spires', which were a huge success last year, are joined by Petunia 'Fiesta' and white Nemesia.

And now, for some more Bess progress before I call it a day. The little rascal has now started exploring heights, as here she is on top of one of our dining room cupboards. As this is unknown territory for us - Phoebe never did anything as daring - this is quite unsettling, but luckily she seems to be very careful and no damages have occurred (yet).

She is still fond of her snooze bay, in which we often find her fast asleep. She's even found an alternative way of using it (bottom right) by jumping on top of it and plonking herself down in the resulting cavity.

So, that was it for now.

I hope to see you soon. Until then, as always, please do stay healthy and happy, and I'll try to do the same. 


  1. This inclemant weather is certainly working wonders in our gardens even if it isn't doing much forour spirits! Look at all that colour and beauty emmerging in your garden. I'm overwhelmed with nasturtium seedlings they seem to be sprouting everywhere - not that I'm complaining!
    Love how the top and cardi correspond perfectly together in your second outfit and that floral top you found in the charity shop. You're in perfect syncronicity with your garden in the last dress and I really like the yellow Crimplene shift, maybe it's the teal accessories that drain the colour from it?
    I love Bess so much! look at that cheeky face! xxx

    1. Thank you Vix! I seem to be overwhelmed with Nasturtium seedlings too. Apart from those I sowed, there are those self-seeded ones from last year to deal with! It's a wrench having to let go that yellow Crimplene shift, but I think I will as it just not my colour! xxx

  2. Bess is such a beauty...and she looks so happy.
    I love your pale yellow dress paired with blue opaques, a blue brooch and a necklace with blue, yellow and brown beads. The brown shoes are lovely.

    I also love your second styling. The plum-coloured sleeved top is fabulous and so is your belt! I also like your midi plaid polyester skirt and the cardi you paired with it. A great styling. Finally, I love the floral dress and the orange shoes pairing.

    1. Thank you Ivana! We're so glad we were able to make Bess happy! xxx

  3. The weather isn't much different here Ann apart from it might be even wetter here! Your garden is coming to life like mine but we can't enjoy it enough can we? I like the stepping logs. Lovely idea xx

    1. Thank you Laurie! We're having wonderful weather now, I do hope it lasts longer than just a handful of days! xxx

  4. bess is a little adventurer :-D thanks for showing her sweet photos!
    dress colors: you´r an autumn - colour theory wise. one can say "anyway, i wear what i want/have" but.... you see it. the first dress colour (from far) has nothing to do with a fall palette - its spring, and a bit of summer. the other 2 outfits are the cross-check - the berry tones of the blouse make the wintery/springy ice blue of the skirt wearable for you - and the brown dress with the light but very warm coloured flowers is simply perfect on you!
    donate the pale dress to a tanned blonde ;-D
    you´r very busy in the garden, despite the not so inviting weather.... sending you some sunshine!! hugsies! xxxx

    1. You're absolutely spot on about me being an "Autumn". And not just colour-wise, either! I'm letting that dress go, however painful it may be! The problem is, I don't think I know any tanned blondes :-) xxx

  5. The hair is fabulous!

    The outfits were all gorgeous but I see what you mean about the pale coloured one with the yellow pattern. You definitely suit stronger colours and bolder patterns. Your new finds were brilliant; I loved the apple skirt, the floral dress (such good colours) and the lovely top. Angelica is very lucky to get first dibs!

    I'm glad you were able to get out in the garden and plant your flowers even though the weather wasn't the best. It makes such a difference though when its warmer, I find.

    Hope you have a great week

    1. Thank you Veronica! Angelica usually gets first dibs :-) That yellow dress is still in my wardrobe, although I don't think I'll be wearing it again. I always find it hard to let go of my vintage clothes ... xxx

  6. Clothes first! I have to agree, Ann, I don't think that top dress is doing you any favours. Despite the yellow in the print/knit, it reads as a muddy beige-ish tone on my monitors - I'd say you have better dresses that are far more "you"!

    I LOVE your King Louis tartan cardigan! It looks fantastic on you. I have learned that adding the subtle colours in patterns like this often don't work out well for Blogland, as we can't see those colours onscreen. I would stick to the greens/blues that are easily discernable.

    Your last outfit is my favourite, from the Klassy (thanks for the shout-out!) elastic fix on the belt to your fabulous orange shoes, which go so well with your bright lippy. I'd be remiss in not mentioning your new 'do - it's awesome. Love!

    So glad to see Bess exploring and getting up high! We've been lucky with all three of our cats that we've had over the years: none of them have ever gone after our knick-knacks or tried to push them off shelves. I hope Bess will leave your stuff alone. It's so sweet to see her snoozing in her house...and ON her house! What funny creatures they are.

    Big hugs to you - I hope the doldrums lift for you, both weather-wise and mentally, my dear.

    1. I agree, Sheila. I'm often drawn to a pattern, and then find it doesn't photograph well. I've been trying to pay attention to this lately, but I'm not there just yet. The yellow dress will be sold on once we can do flea markets again. xxx

  7. Oh yes I know what you mean. You look pale and a little bit sick. It’s not your colour... pastell.
    The other styles are amazing. 😁
    Bess is so cute, sitting on her house.
    Have a good week, with a very huge hug Tina

    1. I agree, pastel shades are not my colours. I can get away with blue, but that pale yellow is a definite no-no! xxx

  8. So many flowers I hadn't ever heard of. Beautiful. Wishing you better weather.

    1. Thank you Hena! I am a self-confessed plant-o-holic, I'm afraid :-) xxx

  9. I'm so excited for your garden! You have just the loveliest mix of flowers. We've had days on end of rain without a break in sight for at least a week, so I completely understand how it can be less than inspiring. You've still managed to dress yourself beautifully though.
    I do hope Bess is one of those careful cats that can navigate cluttered spaces without disturbing so much as a clump of dust. I'm told they exist!
    Have a good week.

    1. Thank you Goody! I love how the garden is turning out, although I'm just bumbling along really. I've got shelves full of gardening books, but I just end up buying the plants I'm attracted to! xxx

  10. I really like your Sunday outfit - what a great floral dress! And I like the first yellow dress with the blue cardigan, even if you didn't enjoy wearing that shade of yellow, I always like blue and yellow together! it's nice you started to have some warmer days too!

    Hope you are having a good week :)

    Away From The Blue

    1. Thank you Mica! I love blue and yellow together too, but this shade of yellow just isn't right for my pale colouring! xxx

  11. I really like your latter 2 outfits, so fun and colourful!
    The new Gerard Darel top is wonderful! Such a pretty pattern.
    Ah, your Aquelegia is so pretty- ours has started to come out as well- the yellow one is out and the pink is coming along now
    Oh my, what a difference in Bess! She must be very comfortable with you!
    I've got two Nasturtiums outside now, will try to plant a few more flowers too!x

    1. Thank you Kezzie! I ended up with even more Nasturtiums than I bargained for, as apparently last year's self-seeded like mad! xxx

  12. Whatever the weather, your colourful outfits rock!, lovely to see you looking fabulous!. The yellow dress looks cute with the blue cardi and accessories, but totally agree about getting used to wear stronger colours.
    Love particularly your doubled plaid outfit, so fabulous color combo and mixed prints working together!, love the way the colours in your belt match everything!
    And your chocolate brown floral dress is a beauty!, lovely floral motive, lovely orange and Green accessories, lovely You in the garden!.
    So many photos of the delightful garden, love them!.
    And Bess is looking so happy exploring every corner!, these are great news!

    1. Thank you so much, Monica! The double plaid outfit was my favourite of the three as well. And Bess keeps going from strength to strength. We so enjoy watching her develop into a happy cat! xxx

  13. Saturdays plum coloured outfit is definitely more you colour wise than the yellow Ann. I love the different patterns you’ve put together, gorgeous. I’ve been known to change my outfit during the course of the day because I’ve not been happy with it, have you ?
    The weather over here is horrid today and my sister has arrived from Oxford so I guess we won’t be getting out for a walk. It’s so lovely to see her after seven months. She cried her heart out when she saw me and we must have hugged for ten solid minutes. I wish I could whisk her back up here for good. Still no good bemoaning it, there’s a whole three days of each other’s company to go at now.
    It’s lovely to see your garden and Bess flourishing. Take care you two. Lots of love from us both xxx

    1. Thank you Lynn, and yes, I've definitely been there. It's not a problem on my days off, but quite a different story when I'm at the office, when I have to live with the outfit I'm wearing :-) xxx

  14. The weather looked very promising last night but today I haven't seen one tiny blue patch in the sky. :-( Tomorrow is another day!

    And let's wear colourful clothes.


    1. Oh yes, let's, Regula. Wearing colourful clothes always makes the greyest of days better! xxx

  15. You are far from alone on the mind (feeling) boggled front!

    Here in Canada, this weekend is a long one care of a holiday called Victoria Day, which falls annually on the penultimate Monday of May. This point in the year is largely seen as the unofficial start of summer, often with temps to match.

    Now granted, we had snow here until April 10th, but to think that even just the unofficial start of summer is upon us is hard to wrap the ol' mind around.

    Despite its many challenges (globally and personally), this year is whizzing by at the speed of light and then some!

    Hopefully these remaining weeks of spring will be a touch slower for you and bring plenty of sunny, relaxing moments your way, my sweet friend.

    Big hugs,
    Autumn Zenith 🧡 Witchcrafted Life

    1. Thank you Autumn, I am so glad I'm not the only one. Isn't it strangely contradictory that in spite of it all the year is whizzing by even faster than before? xxx