Thursday 25 November 2021

Wardrobe therapy

The clock keeps ticking, its hands tirelessly moving through the days. 

And I too keep moving through the days, my mind in a whirl of do's and don'ts. With the C word once more playing a starring role in the news, I'm putting on my blindfold and I'm plugging my ears, while sending up prayers to gods unknown and hoping for a miracle. That light at the end of the tunnel which seemed so temptingly close a while ago has been snuffed out for now.

Heaven knows I need all the therapy my wardrobe and nature can give me!

Sorely in need of some cheering up, I riffled through my wardrobe on Sunday the 7th of November and decided that it was time to give this vintage Venetia frock another outing. 

Purchased from a long-gone vintage shop about 10 years ago, it was its pattern of tiny white dots and  garlands of frothy pink flowers that won me over.

More flowers were added in the form of my rosebud sprinkled granite grey opaques. 

Further accessories, all in a delicious shade of wine red, were a beaded necklace, incidentally picked up from the same shop, a ceramic leaping deer brooch found at a flea market and the belt I charity shopped a couple of weeks ago.

A burgundy King Louie cardigan and my recently found ankle boots, both courtesy of the charity shops, completed my outfit.

I donned the boots for the photos only, as otherwise than that we didn't leave the house at all that day. The vague plans we'd made during breakfast to either go for a short walk or drive down to the garden centre, were both ditched by lunch time. By then, the day's initial sunshine had upped and left and taken my energy as a travelling companion.

Instead, I caught up with blogland and then joined Bess for a nap on the sofa. Apparently, she'd run out of steam as well. When I posted this collage on Instagram, I captioned it with waking up is hard to do!

Waking up was indeed a hell of a job on Monday morning as, in spite of a good night's sleep, I was still feeling tired and would have happily slept for another couple of hours. As it was, tiredness would plague me for the rest of the day, so it was a good thing work wasn't too busy.

In the run-up to Armistice Day, I'd pinned my wooden poppy brooch to my coat. 

Can you believe I hadn't worn this houndstooth patterned vintage coat at all last Winter? To make up for lost time, I've been wearing it almost daily ever since. 

I woke up tired again on Tuesday, but this time it were the telltale signs of an impending cold which had kept me awake. Hello itchy throat and runny nose, I haven't run into you in a long time!

I haven't seen an unblemished view from Antwerp's magnificent cathedral in a long time either. 

The view from my office window has elicited many a photograph over the years. However, the cathedral's tower has been partly scaffolded for almost three years now. To add insult to injury, our other pride and joy, Antwerp's Art Deco skyscraper, is currently being renovated and given a new purpose, for which a giant tower crane has been installed.

Although not nearly as picturesque as the cathedral tower partly hidden behind an errant cloud (bottom right), I couldn't resist snapping the two portaloos which were being hauled up in the photo on the top right.

As the 11th of November is a public holiday in Belgium, Wednesday was my final working day of the week. I can't say I was sorry, as I was feeling like a zombie. My sinuses were congested by now - I've got chronic sinus issues at the best of times - which no amount of the usual home remedies would shift. 

Things greatly improved during the evening and, after a good night's sleep, I was feeling almost right as rain again on Thursday morning.

To celebrate my return to the living, I wore one of my latest Think Twice purchases, a teal vintage dress patterned in Autumnal hues.

We'd planned a quiet day of reading and perhaps napping on the sofa to help me bounce back, so I opted for comfort by wearing one of my stretchy belts. No athleisure wear for me!

While we were photographing my outfit, Jos pointed out that I wasn't wearing a brooch. I did however, wear a faux tortoiseshell necklace. Orange opaques and a ditto cardigan completed my outfit while for stepping out into the garden, I added a sage green beret and my C&A ankle boots.

The sun, which had been playing hide-and-seek with the clouds all week, had decided to take the day off as well, disappearing completely for the duration of the day. 

Apart from some light pottering as I can't seem to be still for long, I started a new book. Pure, by Andrew Miller, is set in 1785 in pre-revolution Paris. The novel's protagonist is a young, provincial engineer charged with demolishing the French capital's oldest and by that time seriously overflowing cemetery. I've just finished it and although it mostly lived up to expectations, I felt a bit let down by its final chapter and end.

A bit of light entertainment was provided by browsing some 1950's women's magazines we've got lying around (top left). 

Passing the bottle garden which lives on our hallway cabinet, I noticed that one of its plants was trying to make its escape. After more than a year's confinement I can more than sympathize with the poor thing ... Secretly, though, I am more that just a little chuffed that we've managed to keep it alive all this time!

By Friday, I felt more than ready to face the world again. What's more, we were greeted by the sun as soon as we got up. 

While Jos was doing a food shop, I washed my hair, and then tackled some of the dust in the downstairs rooms. Nothing like the low slanting sunshine this time of year to show up the accumulated dust! 

As the sun still wasn't showing any signs of doing another disappearing act after lunch, we grabbed our coats and went outside for a much needed breath of fresh air.

Apart from the embellished belt I charity shopped a couple of weeks ago, there's nothing in my outfit which hasn't made it to the blog at one time or another. 

The rust coloured slubbed skirt is St. Michael and came with a short-sleeved belted jacket. I've had it for absolutely ages. My teal cardigan is another charity shopped King Louie in the same pattern as the one I wore in my first outfit. The blouse with its riotous pattern and frilly button placket was charity shopped too, a lucky find in between lockdowns last year.

In order to ward off the rain, I pinned a vintage umbrella brooch to the blouse, while I clipped an orange flower corsage to my cardigan. Further accessories were a turquoise plastic ring and beaded necklace.

Our afternoon outing took us to yet another park, Den Brandt, one of the pearls in Antwerp's crown of parks. 

It is part of a cluster of green spaces south of the city centre. Den Brandt, Nachtegalenpark and Middelheim used to be private estates belonging to aristocratic families until they were purchased by he town council in 1910 and opened to the general public.

After parking our car around the corner, we entered the park via the public picking garden where we checked out the offerings made to the Gautam Buddha, a gift from the Ambassador of Nepal back in 2004.

From there, we took the flight of steps leading into the park itself, continuing on the path to the left and passing through an avenue of monumental trees. Look how tiny I am compared to them! Looking up, I did feel a bit like Alice after she'd taken a sip from the Drink Me potion.

The grinning shark graffiti on a defunct stone plinth just beyond the avenue made me smile. 

As usual, we skirted the heart of the domain dominated by its romantic late-classical castle and the sweeping undulating lawns at its back, walking leaf-strewn paths under ever thinning canopies, and taking care not to trod on tiny fungi hiding among the carpet beneath our feet.

But there's no avoiding the castle forever, so eventually we could see it beckoning between the trees.

Nowadays, the castle is a venue for events and parties, and incorporates a Grand Café, which didn't seem to be open at the time of our visit.

By then, clouds had gathered again, drawing a curtain across the sun.

With a backward glance towards to Dancing Nymphs (bottom left), which have been dancing around the currently empty fountain since 1910, we made our way back to our car and drove back home.


  1. Sorry to hear you've been feeling under the weather and sorry to hear about the C word taking centre stage again...our numbers seem stable and are even dropping but our hospitals are struggling nonetheless.

    What lovely outfits; my favourite was the second dress. Such beautiful autumnal colours and it looks like an autumn leaf pattern, too. As always you have fabulously accessorised everything.

    Bess is a really gorgeous cats - her eyes look blue in the photo.

    I'm glad you finally got out into the fresh air and the park looks a wonderful place to enjoy it!

    Hope your weekend goes well!

    1. Thank you Vronni! Our numbers seem to be dropping slightly too but, what with the new variant, I think we still have a long way to go. xxx

  2. I'm glad that your cold was as short-lived as mine was although aren't they miserable? I'd forgotten how horrible that woolly-headed feeling was.
    Den Brandt looks like a wonderful place to visit, those trees are magnificent.
    Gorgeous outfits, the rich burgundy of the first dress, the wonderful teal in the second and that marvellous tweedy skirt with funky blouse.
    Bess is such a beauty.
    Pure looks intersting, I think I'd have picked it up too, the cover illustration and typeface are so attractive.
    It's all doom and gloom here with a storm and the threat of now to add to our woes. I'm having a day indoors, tending to my houseplants and reading! Take care. xxx

    1. I'd totally forgotten what having a cold felt like too. Well at least it was only a cold ...
      I know I shouldn't judge a book by its cover, but I admit it's often a deciding factor :-) xxx

  3. Hi Ann, Sorry to hear you caught a cold, but glad it didn't bother you too much. Love your photos of Antwerp's cityscape and fabulous outfit photos as ever. I'm particularly taken with your vintage umbrella brooch and that last outfit photo is sublime. You do indeed look tiny compared to those towering trees. What a tranquil place Den Brandt looks. Wonderful! xxx

    1. Thank you Claire! I'm glad my cold was quite short-lived. I'm not very good at being ill, I'm afraid ;-) We are lucky to have so many wonderful parks nearby, just perfect for a short escape from reality! xxx

  4. Sorry that the C word is taking center stage again, so dissapointing and sad. I think all we need some wardrobe and colour therapy!, so it's fab to see you in your mood booster burgundy and teals and rusty shades.
    Lovely colours and lovely outfits. Love your burgundy ensemble. Love your new teal dress with the cute belt and beads and autumn leaves colour and also love your teal and rusty colour combo, the fab funky shirt and fab accessories to: delightfully matchy!. I have a weakness for teal with orange/red actually!
    Bess keeps looking so cute and adorable!
    And so lovely to have such magnificent parks to go for a walk, I admire the giant trees and the autumn colours and your cute coat and turquoise scarf!

    1. Thank you Monica! Isn't it wonderful that our wardrobes are such mood boosters? xxx

  5. Sinus infections and winter have been a misery most of my life too-I'm glad you're feeling better.
    Don't know if I've ever seen the houndstooth coat before, but it is beautiful. Glad you were able to find a bit of cheer in your wardrobe.

    1. Thanks Goody! I've inherited the sinus problem from my Dad. It doesn't really bother me much except when I've got a cold which luckily doesn't happen very often. xxx

  6. your wardrobe therapy worked for me very well - the parade of colourful outfits never fails to cheer me up!
    your sinus infection came to me afterwards.... ;-D
    love those dancing nymphs.
    sweet bess knows something - lisbeth too is sleeping mostly - hibernation i guess. and i often go to bed very early in this time of the year, gathering sleep for an aktive spring :-D
    hugsies! xxxx

    1. It was my pleasure! The wardrobe therapy, not the sinus infection, obviously ;-) xxx

  7. I'm sorry to hear about your sinus infection and that the home remedies haven't been helping. Maybe try something from the pharmacy? I know from experience that sinus issues can be painful. On the bright side, your outfits are lovely. That dress with pink flowers and little white dots is beautiful. Such a precious pattern. I also like your blue dress with lovely pattern (of leaves?). I like how you contrasted it with a red cardigan. The skirt and the blouse combo is wonderful too. I like your park visiting outfit a lot. It seems you had a lovely autumn outing. Den Brandt looks so beautiful! I can imagine spending hours there. Have a lovely weekend dear.
    P.S. Bess is adorable in that collage of photographs! She is a beautiful car.

    1. Thank you Ivana! I did take some paracetamol, but I tried to avoid nose sprays from the pharmacy, as usually they don't agree with my sinuses ... xxx

  8. I love how cheerful and colourful your Thursday outfit is! Bright colours can really be a mood booster! :) I'm glad you recovered quickly, it's no fun being sick! I think 2020 was the healthiest year for us as the lockdown was over autumn and winter and so the kids didn't pick up all the coughs and colds from school and kindy, haha!

    Hope that you are having a great weekend :) I had a long but fun day at the shops yesterday, finishing my Christmas shopping.

    Away From The Blue | Handbag Gift Guide

    1. Thank you Mica! Well, at least lockdown had its advantages :-) xxx

  9. Af of today here in the Netherlands everything, accept supermarket's, is closed at 5pm. Numbers have not been so worse in almost 2 years. Just back to where we started. I love houndstooth. It is such a classic elegant print. And I really need to find myself a poppy brooche. Enjoy your Sunday. I don't think we will go out, to much to do. Anthony I could use some nature therapy!

    1. I've heard, and it's not fun being back where you started, isn't it? I'll pick up a poppy brooch for you next time we're in Ypres! xxx

  10. Hello Ann, glad you beat your cold, and your wardrobe and nature therapy is certainly working on me, thank you :) I've been fighting my first cold for almost two years this week. Could have done with your beautiful Bess to cuddle up with on the sofa. If I were Prime Minister, I'd just cancel Monday mornings for the rest of winter - they serve no real purpose ;) How magnificent Antwerp cathedral looks in the clouds. Wow, they really can get those portaloos anywhere can't they?! Your stretchy belt and rain warding off umbrella brooch are ingenious. Lulu x

    1. Thank you Lulu! I didn't have a cold in over two years either! Yes, to cancelling Monday mornings :-) xxx

  11. Hi Ann
    I’m so sorry you’ve been off colour. The problem is we are all afraid we’ve got the dreaded virus. I started with a cough nearly three weeks ago and for the first time did a couple of tests. Negative thankfully.
    We’ve had a really bad storm and now it’s thick with snow here
    Take care lovely friend xxx

    1. That's so true, Lynn! One can't have a simple cold anymore without fearing for our lives! I can't believe you had snow already. Well, you can keep it for now, we don't need it here :-) xxx

  12. It's such a struggle at this time of they year anyway, but add that new variant of COVID onto things and ugh, things just feel like we are right back where we started. Just when we felt things were getting normal-ish again! I feel your pain, Ann. I totally get it. I've spent my weekend hiding from news, and getting Sparkle Therapy in the form of my Christmas decorations.

    Loving all of your wonderful dresses and all of this superb colour - and glad you were able to get out and have a dose of nature. Purr therapy is also hugely helpful - snuggles to dear Bess and hugs to you, my friend.

    1. Exactly! September and October were normal-ish, and I felt as if I was able to breathe again. And now this! The endless rain we've had doesn't help either. I agree, we do need colour, nature and purr therapy! xxx

  13. It does sounds like things have been horribly grey and energy sapping. I saw today that the new variant isn't now thought to be any more deadly than the existing ones, which is something, at least.

    I hope you're able to curl up with Bess and recharge your batteries.

    1. Let's hope and - well, yes - pray that the new variant isn't all too harmful! xxx

  14. How right you are at the "C word" refusing to go down without one heck of a fight. Between cases of the new variant already having been detected in Canada and one family of neighbours whose house flanks ours all ill with Covid (thankfully those who were old enough to do so were vaccinated), it feels like the pandemic is one again at the forefront of our minds, too.

    On a less serious note, can we talk about how wonderful your late autumn ensembles are? Winter is already out in full, snowy force here, so my go-to look with be sturdy boots, a thick coat, and the coziest scarfs I own for the new few months. :)

    Many hugs & wishes for a relaxing, joy-filled (and hopfully Covid-free!) start of December.

    Autumn Zenith 🧡 Witchcrafted Life

    1. Thank you Autumn! It is all rather worrying isn't it? Our Winters are generally quite mild, perhaps with a few short episodes of snow. Sturdy boots, thick coats and cozy scarfs sound like a good idea :-) xxx