Tuesday 30 November 2021

Time of the season

Spring's wakening bugle long is hushed,
Long dimm'd is Summer's splendour;
October yields her easel bright
To "black and white" November!
~James Rigg, "November," Wild Flower Lyrics and Other Poems, 1897

I have to confess that I've been feeling somewhat uninspired lately. The fact that I'm feeling a bit blue this time of year is nothing new, though. The darkening days always seem to sap some of my energy and if semi-hibernation would be a choice for us humans, I would be first in line. 

Now don't get me wrong. I am definitely a four seasons girl and adore a crisp but sunny day in Autumn or Winter. In short, I'm a firm believer of the fact that every season has its charm. But surely there's a distinct lack of charm in a seemingly endless string of wet and murky days when a sorry excuse for daylight is all that's on offer. 

Saturday the 13th of November was yet another one of those dismal, grey and rainy days, even if the mercury managed to climb to a reasonable 13°C.

After our return from park Den Brandt on Friday, it was Jos's turn to get the sniffles, going through a stack of old-fashioned hankies before the day was done.

Nothing a couple of paracetamol couldn't deal with though, and in fact, he was already feeling a whole lot better in the morning. Still, we decided on a day of pampering and doing nothing in particular. 

We did, however, step outside our backdoor when there was a gap in the clouds. Surely, it would have been a shame not to show you my mustard and cream shift dress patterned in scrolls and flowers.

This Crimplene beauty is an old Think Twice find and always makes me feel fabulous, which is just what the doctor ordered, I suppose.    

A turquoise polka dot cardigan was added on top and I wore opaques in the same colour. Further accessories were a turquoise perspex ring and a long beaded necklace in turquoise and green. On my feet, the yellow suede ankle boots I charity shopped a couple of weeks ago.

The day's pottering included sorting out my collection of berets and gloves as according to the weather forecast we would be waving goodbye to the double figures shortly.

We got a first taste of what was to come on Sunday, when the temperature dropped a couple of degrees and came accompanied by a harsh, biting wind. The kind of weather that was too uninviting to leave the house if it weren't for the fact that we'd already been cooped up inside all day on Saturday.

In the end, we decided on a head clearing walk around the block, getting a loaf of bread from a vending machine in the process. At the very least the wind managed to blow the cobwebs away but as it was also making our eyes water and our noses leak, we couldn't get back home fast enough.

The dress I was wearing was bought in the closing down sale of a local shop in November 2020. I knew I was doomed when I walked into that shop and indeed it had been impossible to resist this midi shirt dress in a gorgeous shade of teal printed with purple and caramel flowers. 

Long-sleeved but too thin to go it alone, I wore a yellow long-line cardigan on top, to which I pinned a crocheted flower corsage which was an old high street buy. The cardigan itself was charity shopped, as were the multi-coloured beaded necklace and the purple woven belt. The gold-tone flower brooch I wore on my dress was a flea market find.

The rest of the day was spent lazing around and following the example of our little rascal who seemed to have taken up the offer of hibernation for the day.

Now what I can tell you about Monday the 15th and Tuesday the 16th of November, other than that it was cold and miserable with hardly any daylight to speak of.  On top of that, I was quite inundated with work after my 4-day weekend.

Meanwhile, Bess had been making up for lost time by causing mischief and clawing a hole in our front room blind. Admittedly it was old and in need of replacing, so perhaps she was just being helpful? 

She can truly be a handful at times. This, in fact, was predicted by Jos's daughter An upon seeing Bess's picture taken at the shelter (see here, top left). Weirdly enough, she instantly spotted mischief in those sad-looking eyes! 

There was a slight improvement in the weather from Wednesday afternoon onwards, although ominous looking clouds were still looming on the horizon.

The best day was Thursday, when the sun was out in full force and the mercury briefly climbed into double figures again. The gorgeous weather prompted me to leave my desk during lunch break and go for a rummage at Think Twice. It still boggles my mind that I used to do this several times a week in the Before Times, while I have only managed a handful of visits in the last 20 months or so.

I often come away empty handed too, but not this time, as I found not one but two dresses.

While the eye-catching black and red patterned one on the left is still waiting for its first outing, I already wore the green and pink tartan one to work last week. It's by Betty Barclay and the fabric is a wool and polyester blend.

And then another week had flown by, and Friday and its usual charity shopping trip were once again upon us. 

Still in double figures, the sun had nonetheless deserted us again by hiding behind a blanket of granite grey. In other words, a day in need of a good dose of colour therapy!

Enter this vintage dress charity shopped back in October. Made from a sturdy cotton fabric, this navy dress liberally decorated with diagonals of white and orange dots caught my attention when I saw someone try it on and model it in front of her boyfriend. Lurking in the aisles, I almost jumped for joy, when I saw the boyfriend shake his head and I lurked some more until I saw them put the dress back on the rails. 

I couldn't get into the fitting rooms fast enough, so imagine my disappointment when it turned out to be a bit large on me ... As you know by now, it just needed replacing and moving the buttons!

Due to its three-quarter sleeves, I layered a burnt orange long-sleeved t-shirt underneath, then added opaques in the same colour. At my waist, a white vinyl belt while, in lieu of a brooch, which would have got lost somewhat among the dress's exuberant print, I used a white felted flower corsage. I did have a problem finding the right necklace, settling for this navy and white beaded one after quite a bit of trial and error.

My lightweight blue and green tartan coat was a gift from my friend Inneke, and this was its first wear.

More orange was added by my beret, and the stripe of orange in my multicoloured scarf.

That day's charity shopping trip took us to the Oxfam shop in nearby Wilrijk. After striking it lucky on our previous two visits to the shop, this time nothing seemed to tickle my fancy.

This was more than made up for at our next and final shop of the day, the Opnieuw & Co. one at the edge of our village.

Here I found a short-sleeved groovily patterned vintage blouse, which has been put away until next Spring. 

For a while, it looked as if this would be my only find, but then I saw this blue and white rick rack patterned midi skirt in a loosely woven fabric. It is from &Other Stories, a shop I'm passing twice every day on my way to and from work, but have never seen the inside of.  Not only does it fit me perfectly, it looks as if it has never been worn, or perhaps just the once.

A wide, dark green leather belt was my next find. 

As you might have noticed, I've been lucky in the boots department lately. I keep finding perfect pairs in my size without even trying. This time, I just couldn't bear to leave behind hese grey-green waxed nubuck beauties.

As I was heading towards the fitting room to try on the skirt, my eyes were drawn to a row of shop dummies standing duty in front of the fitting rooms. 

One of them was wearing the most delicious burgundy velvet coat. Not for long though, as this turned out to be my size too. It's by C&A and, apart from some minor damage at the back of the belt, it's in perfect condition. No, I didn't need another coat and no, I couldn't leave this one behind either!

Christmas season - there, I've used the word - has already been embraced by our charity shops and although we tried to steer clear, I couldn't resist trying on a moose headpiece for fun. Perhaps the zebra mask isn't the ideal match ...

On this note, we've once again arrived at the end of this post. I hope you'll join me again next time.

Do stay safe and healthy, everyone!


  1. Your mustard dress is so beautiful. Its floral pattern is so dreamy. A wonderful Think Twice find for sure. I love the turquoise dotted cardigan you paired with it and the turquoise tights. Such a beautiful outfit, perfect for fighting the seasonal blues. I love autumn but I find the lack of sunshine depressive. Fortunately, today we saw some sunshine after many days of rain. I've been inclined to wear light blue items this Autumn as well. Maybe I'm longing for the blue skies?
    The teal blue dress with caramel flowers and purple leaves pattern is an amazing find as well. It fits you so well and I love the yellow cardigan you paired with it.
    It was fun seeing your glove and beret collection. I need to get mine organised as well. I don't have a lot of berets, but I love those I have. Maybe I should get more.
    Bess is being a little naughty, tearing the blinds, ha? Well, she is still very young so some mischief is excusable. She's very cute so you must forgive her.:)
    I love your white, red and black dress. Such a fun pattern! The red tights are a lovely pairing with it as well.
    Your shopping find are great. Those boots are very chic and they look very comfy. A win-win situation!

    1. Thank you Ivana! We've had an endless string of rainy days, and I find the lack of sunshine quite depressing.
      Bess is mischievous, but so sweet, and you're absolutely right: we do tend to forgive her! xxx

  2. What a lovely post, Ann! That mustard/cream dress is AMAZING on you - what a great fit and cut. Thank you for the glimpse into your berets and gloves - I am coveting those turquoise ones, a colour I have long been on the lookout for.

    That blue/brown/purple patterned dress is lovely, but it looks like my own blue/brown dress (also with sleeves!) that is far too cold without extra layers. That is a gorgeous pattern.

    Oh, Bess, you little monkey. Vizzini did not grow out of his "kitten" ways until he was 10 years old! He chewed and destroyed so many things. But that sweet face on Bess - it is full of mischief!

    Love your new dresses, and I know what you mean about shopping. I used to go every weekend, and often in the evening after work on Friday! I don't know how I shopped so much. I prefer my less frequent shops now, and rewearing more of what I've got.

    I snickered at your story of grabbing that dress after the young lady'd tried it on! I've stalked a cool piece too - and also chased people away from my shopping cart!

    What a lovely coat your friend gave you! I'm in love with that rickrack skirt, and dang, how do you find so many boots?? I so rarely find shoes - maybe it's my size (9.5/40). I have big feet.

    Hang in there, darlin'. Enjoy the small moments. *hug*

    1. Thank you Sheila! I was very lucky to find those turquoise leather gloves at a flea market! I've become a pro at stalking, but I've never had to chase people away from my shopping cart :-) As for shoes, I've got a very common size 4 (37), which is a great help! xxx

  3. And again a song pops up in my head reading the title of your post. Colin Blunstone, we have been several times to his cozy concerts. I think I will have this song in my head for the rest of the day. I always find January and February very depressing. November seems to me a month where I want to wrap up and do all things that are necessary before December. December is a month off relaxing and enjoying for me. Those boots Ann!!! My word, they are so perfect! I saw a gorgeous Betty Barclay skirt online, Vinted, to short sadly. But it's a beautiful brand as to see at that gorgeous dress. Now shake off that blue feeling and enjoy.... just life! Even when it's grey, wet, cold and hard. There is always a ray of sunshine somewhere!🙃

    1. At least it's a good ear-worm, isn't it :-)
      You're so right about enjoying life, I think I should get a leaf out of your book. You're an example to us all! xxx

  4. Hi Ann, Your outfit photos really cheer me up. I tend to mimic my surroundings and seek out Autumnal colours at this time of year, but I too am trying to top up the positivity levels by wearing brighter colours. I adore that mustard and cream shift dress and I've also donned a pair of tights in that very colour this week. They do lift the spirits! I envy your beret collection. I love them but don't own one, always wondering whether they actually provide enough warmth, but you've persuaded me that they do. Another great charity shop haul this week. My favourites are the boots, the tartan dress and that C&A jacket. Sweet little Bess couldn't possibly have torn a hole in your blind...could she? xxx

    1. Thank you Claire, I'm absolutely delighted that my outfit photos do cheer you up. I'm finding that wearing colour really helps. And yes, sweet little Bess did actually tear that hole in our blind. Oh well, it was old and way past its best! xxx

  5. I love that mustard shift dress and the floral midi has the most glorious colours. How fortunate the the girl in the charity shop's boyfriend didn't like the dress so you could pounce. Moving the buttons sounds like a nice activity for one of the many dark, gloomy days!
    What a huge collection of berets and gloves. How funny that we both found green antiqued leather knee high boots in the charity shops this week? Not that mine fitted my huge feet!
    I can't wait to see you modelling that C&A jacket, it's lovely.
    Talking of lovely, Bess is gorgeous, those eyes! xxx

    1. Thank you Vix! I have to admit that these are not even all my berets, plus I've got some woolly hats too! I know, I'd just found the boots when I saw yours. Such a shame they weren't your size! xxx

  6. haha - a zebra moose - in tartan! :-D
    love the betty barclay dress - great find..... and the rick-rack skirt is quite unique - although i think its knitted.
    bess is indeed helpful - beside of very pretty - this blinds are way to bland (ha!) for dove cottage. i can imagine some pattern instead - groovy 70s or art deco perhaps?
    xxxx hugsies!

    1. A Scottish zebra-moose, perhaps :-)
      Yes, I think the rick-rack skirt is knitted too.
      Wasn't Bess a clever one to destroy that blind? xxx

  7. I like the moose look better than the zebra. Thanks to colourful clothe the grey days are bearable. I'm already looking forward to spring.

    All the best! Regula

    1. Thank you Regula! I don't want to hurry time too much. Spring will come along sooner than we think! xxx

  8. The mustard dress is fabulous on you and I love it paired with turquoise - something I'd never thought of doing!

    The grey cold weather is so depressing but you always dress in such lovely colourful and cheerful outfits to make up for it. I bet you must cheer up a lot of people, too.

    You found some brilliant things on your charity shop rummages. I can't believe you found another pair of fab boots and I love the velvet coat - what a gorgeous colour!

    1. Thank you Vronni! I always seem to pair that dress with turquoise! I do hope I'm cheering up a lot of people, although lately not too many people do see me! xxx

  9. The mustard dress is just wow! I loved all the items which you have selected. Nice choice. Have a great day!
    Rampdiary | Fineartandyou | Beautyandfashionfreaks 

  10. Totally understand that you're sensitive to the dullness of dark days. I'm also hoping for some of those 'crisp but sunny days' and embracing the charm of every season, as you've wisely written.
    Your lovely outfits never fail to cheer me up!, the mustard dress with the turquoise cardi and tights is a joy for my eyes, with this delightful colour combo!.
    Love to see your collection of beret and gloves, a rainbow of possibilities to accessorize any winter coat!
    Love your teal and purple dress, another favourite colour combo, and love the matchy belt and cute yellow cardi!. And obviously, the navy dress with the fabulous orange and white dots has stolen my heart!, no wonder it caught your attention, so magnificent piece and so fab style, love your belt and brooch and tights!, Rocking It!
    I'm delighted by your fab finds, by how cute looks Bess in photos (despite she is a mischief maker actually, but Sooo Cute) and also by your last photo! ;DD

    1. Thank you Monica! These aren't even all my berets! I didn't include the knitted ones, so you might have noticed your cheerful citrus one was missing!
      I couldn't believe she put that dress back, but now it's mine :-) xxx

  11. I love blue and yellow together so I really like the mustard dress with the blue cardigan, and the second outfit with the teal dress and mustard cardigan! :) Mustard is definitley my favourite shad eof yellow.

    It's good you and Jos are feeling better and that you were able to get out and thrift so many pretty things - the boots are a great find! Finding shoes in my size is such a rare occurrence sadly at an opshop, I have only managed to do that a couple times over all the years of opshopping!

    Hope you have a good weekend ahead of you! Going to be a busy but fun one here with a few events!

    Away From The Blue

    1. Thank you Mica! I have a very common shoe size (4 or 37), and I keep finding pairs without even looking! xxx

  12. Ooohh, Ann, I think we need to hear more about a vending machine that distributes bread. That sounds really charming and handy! Is that a longstanding convivence in your country or something that has arisen during the pandemic as a way to reduce the need to enter grocery stores?

    Fantastic finds. The burgundy/maroon coat leapt out at me in particular. What a terrific, versatile piece with so much 60s/70s charm to it.

    Autumn Zenith 🧡 Witchcrafted Life

    1. Thank you Autumn! Those bread vending machines have been around for years here in Belgium. You often find them outside bakeries, so that you can get a loaf of bread after they're closed. There are also some randomly placed one outside other shops. Very handy indeed! xxx

  13. Oh the last picture, giggle :) Zebramoose ♥
    You look amazing in this Betty Barclay dress Ann and you always find the best shoes.
    Wish you a nice evening, with a very huge hug Tina

    1. I'm glad to hear the zebra-moose made you giggle! xxx

  14. Your collection of dresses in this post are epic! I love them. They suit you so much esp that first one and Betty Barclay is amazing- you remind me of a Turkish spa! (That's a compliment by the way!)Xx

    1. Thank you, Kezzie! I have never been likened to a Turkish spa before :-) xxx