Tuesday 22 June 2021

The heat is on

Hello there! We've just come down from a heatwave with sizzling hot highs of 33°C. Now I do know that some of you relish these kind of temperatures, but anything from the high twenties onwards is making my brain go liquid and my body languid, and I can feel myself slowly but surely turning into a sloth.

In the days which are the subject of this post, temperatures were only just starting their ascent towards the dreaded 30°C mark, but they were still quite bearable in hindsight. Our bedroom was still relatively cool and we were still sleeping under our Summer weight duvet, albeit with one leg dangling overboard whenever it got too sticky. 

Before I plunge headlong into this post, however, I 'd like to thank you all for the well wishes on the receipt of my first jab. My way of posting, switching almost seamlessly between the here and now and the recent past might have caused some discombobulation, though, as some of you seemed to be under the impression that I was talking about my second jab. This, I'm afraid, will only be on the 9th of July!

From the future to the past again now, as this is what I wore on Thursday the 10th of June. That day we were treated to temps of about 26°C, accompanied with a welcome light breeze and a smattering of clouds.

Thankfully, the mystery bites, whose itchiness had been exacerbated by sitting under a sweat-inducing hairdresser's cape on Wednesday, had benefited from the cream I'd liberally applied to them overnight. Phew, what a relief.

Those on my legs had all but disappeared by now, so that I could epilate my legs without any discomfort. I even applied mint green polish on my toenails! No closer look, as I must be one of the world's clumsiest nail polishers! Time to get out my sandals, starting with my super comfy red suede Gabor ones, which were a sales bargain a couple of years ago. 

This vintage dress always puts a huge smile on my face. Not just because of its tomato red colour or its delightful floral pattern. Obviously, I'm head over heels with its flattering silhouette and fluttery butterfly sleeves. But the main reason for that huge smile is that the label has my name on it: Lady Ann! How lovely is that?

A sage green flower corsage was added to keep the blowsy roses in its pattern company. The wooden zebra striped bangle was part of a charity shop haul in October 2019, while the plastic green and amber bracelet was an old retail buy.

Both my ring and swirly pendant are made of glass and both are holiday souvenirs, the ring picked up at a market stall in Bruges in 2019, and the pendant at Scolton Manor in Pembrokeshire in 2012.

Sauntering into the garden after breakfast, I was delighted to see that all five Oriental poppies had now opened, offering fierce competition to the delicious jewel colours of the two-tone Lupine spike at the opposite side of the garden path. 

Next to the bench, the first of the tiny but fiery flowers had appeared in the Salvia microphylla ‘Hot Lips’ we brought back from the garden centre in May.

Having pruned our Hydrangea to within an inch of its life, it seemed to take a lot longer than usual for its first flowers to appear, and when they finally did, they remained tiny for the longest time. The warm weather following a period of prolonged rain must have done them the world of good, though, as look at them now! This is one of our oldest additions to Dove Cottage's garden and still going strong after all these years, delighting us with its frothy acid green and delft blue flower heads each Summer.

Another old favourite is our "Honey Baby", a deliciously named dwarf honeysuckle, at the very back of the garden. This is not its best year, though, as it needs a lot of dead wood removed. The abundant foliage to its left belongs to Herb Robert (Geranium robertianum), which arrived in our garden uninvited, courtesy of the bird seed we scatter in Winter. 

That afternoon, we went to meet grandson Cas for the very first time. His parents only live a matter of minutes from us by car, and in fact I've already taken you to their house a couple of times when we were looking after their cat, Abby. She even features on Cas's birth announcement, although we're not quite sure she's very keen on having to share attention with a tiny human!

Demonstrating the ventilating properties of butterfly sleeves on a hot day!

Friday, my final office day of the week, was quite a busy one, and with the 26°C we were once again served with, brain melt had already started creeping up on me. Needless to say, I was exhausted by the end of the day. With the heat trapped in our little walled garden, we had to wait until the worst of it had passed before quenching the thirst of our pots and hanging baskets at about 8.30 pm.

On Saturday the 12th of June, we woke up to a cloudy day and a reprieve from the hot temperatures, at just 21°C.

Browsing my wardrobe, my eyes alighted on my favourite jumpsuit, an irresistible high street buy in June 2018. I'd been on the lookout for a jumpsuit for quite a while by then, so I jumped - pun intended - at the chance when I spotted this one in a shop known for its fast and disposable fashion. It was exactly what I was looking for and I never once regretted my purchase, which has been getting regular outings ever since. Let's call it fast fashion worn slow!

I piled on the yellow accessories, which consisted of a round-buckled belt, a felted flower corsage - another Pembrokeshire holiday souvenir - a beaded necklace and a mottled Bakelite bangle. The latter got the company of a charity shopped multicoloured resin bracelet.

As usual, the day started with an after breakfast wander around the garden. 

All our pots and baskets seem to be in fine fettle. I love how the white Lobelias are spilling over the blue enamel teapot in the passageway, and that Petunia "Picotee Blue" and Sutera "Pink Beauty" are living happily side by side in the old half-basket on the potting shed. 

The pink Foxgloves are brightening up a shady corner next to the white current bush and, in front of the bench, flower spikes have started appearing in Prunella grandiflora 'Bella Deep Rose' (bottom left), which we planted last Summer.

The forecasted hot temperatures of the week to come prompted an impromptu ironing session as I suddenly realized most of my hot weather clothes were still residing in a suitcase in our bedroom. I also repaired a fallen hem in the Lady Ann dress I wore on Thursday. After this flurry of activity, the Cornetto ice cream was a well-deserved treat, don't you think?

This was followed by an afternoon nap in our bedroom, the napping being done by Jos and Bess, while I lay reading the final chapters of my book.

The temperature stepped up a gear on Sunday, reaching 24°C. Taking advantage of all the ironing I'd done on Saturday, I dressed in my beloved curtain couture maxi skirt, a Think Twice sales bargain in June 2019. Not only is it my most-worn maxi skirt, it accompanied me on our UK holiday later that month. Here I am wearing it on a most wonderful day spent in Bridgnorth, Shropshire.

The short-sleeved cotton top - also fresh from Saturday's ironing pile - was charity shopped last Summer and was a delight to wear, even if it tried to escape from the waistband of my skirt a couple of times. Not even the recently acquired stretchy belt with its hexagonal buckle could keep it in check!

Further accessories were a string of orange wooden beads and another bangle and bracelet duo. The bangle was part of the same charity shop haul as the one worn with my first outfit.

I took this photo in the relative coolness of the morning, with some of my profusely flowering pots on the old barrel at the back of the garden in the foreground. Behind these, an out of focus melange of white Lavender and Red Valerian (Centranthus Ruber), with the abundant foliage of the white currant bush in the background. To its right is one of the baskets hanging from the awning outside the kitchen, proudly displaying its deep indigo Petunias. Such floral extravaganza is making my heart jump for joy!

The rest of the day was spent doing some light pottering and reading, finally finishing the book which still resonates with me. So much so that I'm having a hard time starting a new one. Definitely in my top three of this year so far.

Now, before I wave goodbye once more, here are the terracotta pot and hanging basket I planted up the weekend before. 

The vintage terracotta pot harbours only one plant, but what a spectacular one! This is Petunia "Night Sky", its gorgeous purple flowers with white speckles reminiscent of a starry sky.

The basket also has a variety of these speckled Petunias, this one called "Pink Sky". You can just catch a glimpse of them on the right of the basket's other inhabitants, a red and yellow Calibrachoa, also known as Million Bells.

I will be back with more heatwave woes, outfits and garden updates in a couple of days. 

Once more, do stay safe, sane and fabulous out there!


  1. Your grandson looks adorable - what lovely photos! It's so nice you were able to see him! :)

    And I'm jealous of your weather - it's been a very cold winter for us although I know it wouldn't be overly cold for you, 30 degrees sounds like a beautiful summer day and much nicer than the 16 degree days we had the other week! I think that first outfit is my favourite although that jumpsuit looks so good on you too!

    Hope that you are having a lovely week :)

    Away From The Blue

    1. Thank you Mica! I guess it's a matter of what you're used to. We would be glad to have 16°C in Winter, as it would be considered warm. We're usually in single digits, if it's not freezing that is! xxx

  2. On hot days I think that the cold is just around the corner. And here we are: the woolen jacket is keeping me from shivering this very morning. :-)

    Your grandson looks so tiny. Bless him and the whole family!

    xxx Regula

    1. Thank you Regula! I've still got a couple of warmer coats and jackets at the ready, as the weather has been quite unpredictable lately! xxx

  3. Congratulations on welcoming your grandson to the world! He's gorgeous! You have such an amazing wardrobe and collection of accessories. Your garden is beautiful, I love this time of year when the flowers are in full bloom!

    Emma xxx

  4. the red dress is gorgeous indeed! as is the jumpsuit....... love the pattern & colors of that little blouse.
    lots of flowering in your garden and you´r brave to do so much ironing in this summer heat - i´m way to lazy and go out all wrinkled ;-D
    lovely pics of the proud grand pa and the cute little boy!
    hugsies! xxxx

    1. Thank you Beate! I'm glad I did a bit of ironing before the temperatures soared to those heights! I'd never get the ironing board out when we're in the middle of a heatwave :-) xxx

  5. Your garden is looking stupendous! A veritable feast of flowers...

    What a cutie Cas looks and how proud Jos looks. Congratulations to you both.

    I love the dress with the butterfly sleeves and the fab jumpsuit with amber accessories. It's hard to know what to wear the weather is so hot. I have a Kaftan which I resort to when I find the heat unbearable. It's a bit see through so strictly for at home only.

    Bess looks made for that bed!

    1. Thank you Vronni! I have quite a few strictly for home garments to be worn in hot weather too. I'd love a kaftan, but haven't been able to find one I like yet! xxx

  6. Ugh, those temps are too high! We are headed into a week of 30+ temps and I hear you on the "I'm melting!" aspect. I love your butterfly-sleeved dress! It's such a great cut and colour, Ann, and fantastic with those red sandals.

    Three cheers for the new grandbaby! I hope that Abby gets along with the new human.

    Loving that jumpsuit! The yellow accents are so stunning with it - they really pop. Sometimes we just have to go retail in order to get what we really want.

    Your garden is absolutely amazing, just a riot of colour! Here's to slightly cooler temps. Looks like Bess has discovered the "puddle of cat" pose, hee hee!

    1. Thank you Sheila! I guess our temperatures were nothing compared to your 40+ ones. Just typing that has made me break out in a sweat :-) xxx

  7. Oh what a cute little boy! Congratulation🎈
    And Bess is also so cute.
    Ann you have the best Accessoires
    A very huge hug Tina

  8. That's a lovely vintage dress! Beautiful color! Your grandson is adorable!

  9. Send me some 35°C heat, please! I was definitely born in the wrong country.
    I absolutely love that photo of Jos holding Cas and of Bess lounging on the bed!
    You look wonderful in red and it's definitely not fast fashion if you love it and wear it for years like that smashing jumpsuit. I hope it won't be too long until that fabulous skirt is taking a trip to Shropshire again.
    Dove Cottage's garden is a sight for sore eyes! xxx

    1. I've been trying to send surplus heat to Walsall for years, but unfortunately to no avail :-)
      I agree that it's not fast fashion if you wear something again and again, but somehow buying something on the high street always makes me feel a tiny bit guilty! xxx

  10. Oh, babies make everything better! Congratulations on your grandson-he's adorable.

  11. What a particularly lovely blog post Lady Ann. So much colour and so many good things including the lovely pictures of Jos and the new family member Cas.
    That’s a great shot of Bess.
    Now can you send that sunshine over here please. We’ve even had the heating on.
    Have a lovely weekend you two xxx

    1. Thank you Lynn! Unfortunately I can't send you any of that sunshine, as it has disappeared by now, and we had the heating on at some point as well! xxx

  12. Cas is the epitome of precious. What a sweet, beautiful young lad he is. You two (and your family) must be over-the-moon elated about this newest member. And what a blessing that he lives so close to your house.

    That is seriously roasty-toasty for sure! Things are sizzling hot on this end at the moment, too. In fact, we're experiencing a record breaking heatwave that currently has forecasted highs of (I kid you not) a staggering 46C/115F next week. If that comes to be, it will stand as the hottest temp anywhere in the world that Tony or I have ever felt.

    Aside from the ridiculous heat, summer is gorgeous here so far. Tons of blooms, blue skies, and that vibrant, pulsating energy inherent to this season.

    I hope that you and Jos are having a terrific start of the season and that the mercury doesn't even think about getting as high on your side of the pond as it is round these Western Canadian parts.

    Autumn Zenith 🧡 Witchcrafted Life

    1. Thank you so much Autumn! I do hope you survived those staggeringly high temperatures well. I wouldn't have wanted to be in your shoes ... xxx

  13. Congratulations for little Gus !! I love the flowers of your beautiful garden !! Our seedlings are suffering from the record heat of these days ... I hope it will pass soon. I like to admire your outfits and accessories that are always "perfect" .. like those in the yellow suit! A kiss to Bess and a hug to you! Carmela

    1. Thank you so much Carmela! Our garden did suffer somewhat from the heat as well, and then we had quite a lot of rain, and it suffered from that too! xxx

  14. Congrats once again on grandson. Jos must be so happy. He looks adorable holding little baby Cas. We haven't been to seen the new babies in my husband's family yet (his niece and nephew both had new babies in their families). The cat silhouette on the Cas inscription is lovely. I think cats react differently to little humans. Some are not bothered, some might be a little jealous and some are fond of them.

    The heat is really on in Mostar, it goes over 40 C. I won't complain because Mediterranean climate has its advantages and we're blessed with mild winters. However, summers are hellish and my medication doesn't play well with warm weather at all. I'm longing for an escape into the mountains or Croatian seaside. I'm planning to crash with a colleague of mine from Jelsa next week.

    I will have my second jab next month too. I think time will past fast. Lovely flowers in your garden.

    As always, I love your outfits. That dress with butterfly sleeves is simply divine. It looks so perfect on you and your haircut looks very posh as well. I also love the jumpsuit, I can see why it is your fav jumpsuit. I also understand why you 'jumped' on the chance of buying this jumpsuit. The mustard yellow accessories you wore with this jumpsuit are just fabulous. I also love your maxi skirt styling. The print on that maxi dress is fabulous.

    Finally, I love that photograph of Bess. She's a beauty.

    1. Thank you so much Ivana! Jos is really happy to be a grandfather again. He already has three grown-up grandchildren, aged 16, 20 and 21. I hope you've enjoyed your stay with your colleague in Jelsa! xxx

  15. woww, loving this Lady Ann dress and its butterfly sleeves (I'm a huge fan of them!, so breezy! and flattering too!), loving you in your red dress in the middle of your garden!, such a fab photo!
    Lovely jumpsuit too, and lovely accessorized!, fab bracelets and yellow beads!. Also lovely orange and earthy colours combo in your last outfit, delightfully matchy and so fabulous maxi skirt (love a curtain couture piece!)
    Saving the best for last, I love these photos of Jos with Cas!.
    And Bess is looking so cute!

    1. Thank you Monica, and I agree, curtain couture pieces are just the best! xxx