Friday 10 June 2022

Goodbye May, hello June

Time has been slipping through my fingers again, so although the calendar is claiming we've reached the 10th of June, my blog hasn't even made it to this month yet!

In fact, Summer still seemed a long way off on Sunday the 29th of May. At a chilly 14°C and with the odd sunny spell alternating with cloudy ones and plenty of showers, it felt decidedly unsummery, the weather more suited to one of those famously fickle April days.

So, it was long sleeves and layers to the rescue once more!

My green and white plaid polyester jersey skirt, which was an old Think Twice find, isn't exactly a Summer one either! Much as I love it, I'd rather be wearing lightweight cotton skirts this time of year.

As its main companion, I went for this wildly patterned long-sleeved vintage acryl blouse, its matching green joined by purple, yellow, red and tan. My blog tells me it was charity shopped in August last year, yet this was its first outing. 

No such thing for the yellow trimmed chocolate brown cardigan. This is from a retro label called Zoë Loveborn and came to me by way of a charity shop many years ago.

The long green necklace with its wooden beads was a present from my friend Inneke, while both my green plastic ring and stretchy belt with hexagonal faux-tortoise shell buckle were bought on the high street. 

While we were taking photograph  I realized that, unusually, I wasn't wearing a brooch. Oh, never mind, surely I was still way more dressed up than the average person on a stay-at-home Sunday!

With the weather not playing nicely, going for a walk was out of the question. As was a pottering session in the garden. Instead, we donned our aprons, grabbed dusters, cleaning cloths and glass cleaner spray, and tackled the rest of Dove Cottage's display cabinets.

First up was our collection of antique cameras and photography equipment which lives in the hallway.

Then we moved to the sitting room where two more cabinets flank our sofa.

One of these contain a collection of Expo 58 memorabilia, which is mainly Jos's field of interest. He's been fascinated by Expo 58, the 1958 Brussels World's Fair which was held from April to October 1958, ever since he visited the fair as an impressionable 11-year old.

Opposite this cabinet is another one containing more of my vintage Barbies. Although I stopped collecting many years ago, I have close to 100 dolls and even more vintage Mattel outfits, all dating from around 1960 to the mid-1970s.

Here are some of my 1970s dolls lounging in their sitting room! The furniture was a flea market find but the majority of my dolls were acquired either on eBay or at specialist fairs. Finding vintage Barbie stuff on flea markets has become quite a rarity.

As we had a long weekend coming up - Monday the 6th of June was Whit Monday, a bank holiday in Belgium - I wouldn't be able to take my usual Friday off as well. However, as I couldn't face working a 5-day week, I took Wednesday the 1st of June off instead.

It was another day of sunny spells and showers, the mercury making the effort to climb to 17°C.

As Jos had other obligations that morning, I decided to tackle some of the things on my to-do list, starting with making photos of Saturday's charity shop finds.

Our visit to the three-floored charity shop in Duffel had been a fruitful one, as I found no less than three skirts, three tops and a maxi dress.

The black midi skirt with its wavy grey, white, orange and yellow stripes is by Claude Arielle Couture, which I'd never heard of but which apparently is a Belgian label. I thought it went rather well with the caramel, white and blue patterned short-sleeved top, which is by the Danish Vero Moda label. 

I don't generally look at labels when I'm shopping, but rather go by touch and sight. Neither do I look at size labels too much. Although clothing in this particular chain of charity shops is organized by size, it wouldn't be the first time that they got their sizes mixed up. Plus, sizing can be quite varied, which is why my wardrobe contains everything from an XS to an XL.

I couldn't believe my eyes when I spotted this vintage psychedelic maxi skirt which, in spite of initial doubts, fits me perfectly. The green, turquoise, pale blue and yellow patterned blouse I combined it with is by the Belgian Wow To Go label, and its pattern is pentagons, not dots.

The final skirt and top combo consists of a delightful turquoise skirt in a felted fabric, patterned with orange and blue birds perched on branches, and a black, green and pinkish beige striped top by H&M. If you look carefully at the close-up on the top right, you might even detect a bit of sparkle in the latter.

I won't be giving Angelica the honour of modelling the maxi dress, nor will I offer you a look of me wearing it for the time being. I've packed it away in my holiday suitcase, and hope to give it its first outing in Shropshire. Just look at that glorious pattern, though!

Right, back to Wednesday! 

Clearly on a roll after making those photos, I then made a start with sorting out some travel essentials, made a shortlist of the clothes I would like to take on holiday, deadheaded and watered the pots in the garden and whizzed through the kitchen with a cleaning cloth. I had just finished when Jos got home around 1 pm.

After lunch, we drove to our local charity shop for a rummage, finding a couple more things in the process. I'll have to try and remember to make photos for a later post. 

I was just on my way to the fitting rooms to try on my finds when I ran into my friend Inez, whom I hadn't seen for months.  A lot of squealing ensued, and we spent a happy hour or so having the mother of all catch ups while enjoying a cup of coffee in the shop's cafeteria.

The rest of the afternoon was spent immersed in my latest read, which I find quite unputdownable.

It was back to work on Thursday, where I was faced with an extremely busy day which felt like a punishment for my lovely day off on Wednesday. It was sunny and the temperature had apparently climbed to 20°C. Not that I had time to enjoy any of this, as I worked flat out through my lunch break.

Work was still hectic, but less relentlessly so, on Friday. The weather gods had made another effort and treated us to a sunny and warm day with highs of about 24°C.

I've been seriously shirking my blogger duties lately, hardly ever making the effort to take outfit photos after work. Being home just that little bit earlier that Friday, we stepped out into the garden, so that I could show you what I was wearing.

Both my grey and white striped seersucker skirt and turquoise floral King Louie top were recently charity shopped. As was the pink translucent necklace, which I found back in March.

The pink plastic butterfly brooch and ring were both retail buys, which have been in my collection for absolutely ages. On my feet, the ridiculously comfortable ART clogs, which I snapped up at a very bargainous price in a outlet shop last month.

I'm rather strapped for time, so this will be all for this post. But of course, I cannot possibly leave you without a glimpse at some of the treasures in Dove Cottage's tiny plot.

There's the last of the lilac pansies, getting quite leggy now, and the first of the cheerful yellow Geum chiloense "Lady Stratheden", now going into its third season. Deep purple Salvias are thriving as well, while its neighbour, Gaillardia "Kobold", is developing more colour with each day. At the time of writing, the flowers' orange-red petals have emerged, providing a wonderful contrast with the purple of the Salvias.

Finally, here's a view towards the bench, its back completely overgrown by Virginia Creeper. It might very well have disappeared completely by the time we get back from holiday! 

Here, the Oriental Poppies are still playing as starring role, enjoying their moment before the rains came.


  1. lovely flowers in your garden! i just trimmed the ivy around the summer salon - it was really dark in there......
    well done cleaning all the glass cabinets full of vintage cameras, souvenirs and dolls. you got quite a lot of barbies....
    how gorgeous to met inez at the chazza coincidentally!
    the first look is my favourite this time.

    1. Thank you Beate! Unfortunately, the ivy is once again getting out of hand :-) xxx

  2. You definitely don’t shirk your blogger duties but I’m sorry I’ve not been getting round to reading them lately. And I’m also sorry and sad that we won’t see you this time.
    I’m excited for you and your forthcoming holiday though and hope all goes to plan. Enjoy every minute. We are going to the caravan for the first time next week for a couple of days as we need to get it opened up before our friends spend their usual annual week there. Keep posting Ann, it’s so lovely to see you and your fabulous outfits
    Lots of love lynn and Philip xxx

    1. Thank you Lynn! I do hope things are getting better at your end. Let's aim for get-together next year! xxx

  3. It's always manic workwise before a holiday isn't it? But it only makes the break all the more enjoyable when it finally arrives.

    I enjoyed perusing your vintage camera collection and after Googling Expo 58, I can see how witnessing an event like that in his formative years would leave such a lasting impression on Jos. Lucky he has those mementos too.

    Fabulous wardrobe finds Ann - the maxi skirt is incredible and judging by the sneak peak of the maxi dress, I think it's going to be a firm favourite with you.

    Love the lilac pansies! xxx

    1. Thank you Claire! I thought you might appreciate the camera collection, which was actually stared quite unintentionally ... xxx

  4. I do love a nose around in cabinets of curiosity. Please let us know your UK itinerary, just in case you will be near us, we could buy you a coffee. Jean. x

    1. We were in Shropshire which I guess wasn't near you, but I do hope we'll get to meet one day! xxx

  5. Time is really slipping away.
    Lovely to see your Barbie dolls.
    As always, I love your colourful and feminine outfits.

  6. Your various collections are fascinating, and beautifully arranged. Everything in my house is so haphazard.
    You find the best, best, stuff. Looking forward to checking out your new maxi on holiday.

    1. Thank you Goody, the maxi will appear in one of my holiday post shortly ;-) xxx

  7. Oh my word, all those Barbies and especially all those outfits. Just thrilling! I think I love all your outfits you shopped! But especially the bird skirt, oh what a beauty. What a joy to be wearing that maxi skirt in the UK!

    1. Thanks Nancy, and I can't wait to wear the bird skirt in Winter. It's felted wool so much too warm right now! xxx

  8. Summer's arrived, hasn't it? I don't mind long sleves as long as I stay warm. I'd rather not light a fire though ... Enjoy Jund!

    xxx Regula

  9. Oh you have many stuff to dust cleaning. 😁 I love your new charity shopped skirts Ann. They are all amazing! Good job. 💕
    You packed your suitcase yet. Yeah holiday in Shropshire. Fingers crossed.
    Have a nice week. With a very huge hug Tina

    1. I know ... I'd already half-packed my suitcase as I like to be organized, but I changed around a couple of things at the very last moment :-) xxx

  10. Fantastic looking garden and those Barbies are gorgeous - I could look at them all day! Jos's camera collection is pretty special, too!
    What a haul of goodies, I love the maxi skirt and can't wait to see the maxi dress on you, the glimpse you've given us is most tantalising. Mind you, if this weekend's West Midlands weather is anything to go by you'll be accessorising it with a kagoule and a cardi!
    Your seersucker skirt and skinny cardi are lovely items and the outfits you've built around them are fantastic. xxx

    1. Thank you Vix. I needed both my hot weather and cold and wet weather clothes, but didn't wear my cagoule :-) xxx

  11. Hope you have a fabulous holiday in the UK!

    Wonderful finds in the charity shops; the maxi dress pattern was wonderful so I wonder what the dress itself looks like? I loved your outfits and the new clogs are brilliant; they look so comfortable and the colours are fab.

    Your Barbie collection is just amazing; I hope you've insured it. Jos' camera collection is most impressive.

    I hope your visit to the UK is for this week because apparently it's going to get HOT, HOT, HOT!

    1. Thank you Vronni! We got there just after the heatwave, but still had some lovely weather, particularly during our first week! xxx

  12. Good luck on your holiday, Ann and Jos! I can't wait to see you modeling your new-to-you maxi, Ann! That skirt - my jaw just dropped! It's fantastic!

    I love seeing your collections - you have me wishing I'd kept my old Barbies! I sold them all in the 80s at a garage sale!

    1. Thank you Sheila! You'll get to see me wearing my new-to-me maxi shortly! xxx

  13. Love this collection and beautiful pictures. Summer vibes!

    Love: Mariann Yip

  14. I'm envious of the Barbie collection Ann. I'm so tempted to collect the Mary Quant Daisy doll. I think we spoke about that before. I hope the sun that's visited us has reached you xx

    1. Thanks Laurie! I do remember you mentioning those Mary Quant Daisy dolls. They aren't commonly found here, so I've never seen one in real life! xxx

  15. I loved seeing some of your collectibles! I have never been to a World's Fair but knowing something about the Victorian ones, I can imagine it would be fabulous for kid!

    1. Thank you Laura! I've never been to a World Fair either, so I'm quite envious of Jos for the experience! xxx