Thursday 16 June 2022

Loose ends

I don't think it has sunk in yet but today was my last working day before the holidays. Tomorrow, we will finish our packing - 30°C and more have been forecasted, so that'll be fun - and after an undoubtedly restless night we'll be off in the early hours of Saturday.

As usual, I've got a bit of catching up to do, so let's get this thing started, shall we?

A short ride in the time machine takes us back to the first weekend of June, which started with a warm and humid Saturday on which the mercury climbed to 27°C. 

Not the greatest start to the long Whitsun weekend, as I wasn't feeling very well. I'd been suffering from tiredness, a lingering headache, sore eyes and a slight feeling of nausea - all telltale signs of one of my recurrent migraines - since Friday, and of course the weather only managed to exacerbate things.

I walked into the village after breakfast as I needed to pick something up from the chemist, then crossed the street to Zeeman, a Dutch chain of bargain shops, to buy some socks for Jos. By the time I got home, I was quite exhausted and needed to have a lie-down.

The outfit I'd picked for the day was an effortless one.  I'd already earmarked the recently charity shopped button-through black and white polka dot skirt for its first outing, then had a quick browse through my Summer tops, where the green flower sprigged one instantly leapt at me.

Adding accessories was child's play, with the stretchy black and white chevron belt picking up the colours of the skirt and the orange-red beaded necklace tying in with the flowers in the top's pattern. I added the brooch for good measure, hoping some of the lady's good looks would rub off on me and make me feel better. Not sure it helped, but the skirt having pockets definitely did.

Things had greatly improved by the evening when, before settling down to an episode of the latest series of Vera, I quenched the garden's thirst with freshly pumped up well water.

Both the hanging bucket of strawberries - now going into its third season - and the hanging basket planted up with two varieties of Calibrachoa (Million Bells) mixed with cheerful yellow Sanvitalia, are doing very well indeed. 

We've already picked several handfuls of juicy strawberries for our fruit and yoghurt breakfasts in the meantime. The dusky purple Million Bells have been christened 'Blueberry Scone', which I admit was one of the reasons they ended up in my trolley at the garden centre!

While our early flowering Clematis "Guernsey Cream" is bearing its silken seed heads, it's now the turn of its neighbour to shine. Going under the rather unimaginative name of "So Many Lavender Flowers", the climber does exactly what it says on the tin, although it still has a long way to go to grow to its full height of approximately 3 meters.

Verbena rigida (bottom right), a shorter version of the omnipresent Verbena bonariensis, is popping up all over the garden, although typically not in the spot where it was first planted. 

The pink flower spikes of Astilbe chinensis "Pumila" in the passageway next to our kitchen are getting fluffier by the minute. The plant has been claimed by a tiny green grasshopper-like creature, which has been squatting there for weeks. Edit: sadly, the little guy is currently missing ...

By Sunday morning, my migraine symptoms had upped and left, although I was still feeling somewhat tired.

Just a tiny bit envious of the poppies in our garden, I decided to give them a run for their money and wear my vintage poppy dress which, if I remember correctly, I must have picked up at Think Twice.

I kept it simple by continuing its pink and green colour scheme, adding oodles of green in the form of my cardigan, beaded necklace and birds-in-flight brooch, and a tiny bit of pink by way of my ring and socklets, which you can see peeking out from my green suede ankle boots.

The green, pink and white fabric belt probably once belonged to a dress, but it was languishing in a box of belts in a charity shop.

The temperature had dropped well below 20°C by now, and soon the forecasted heavy rains arrived, making me switch my suede ankle boots for a less delicate pair.

It continued raining all afternoon and into the early evening, which rather scuppered the plans of a garden party for grandson's Cas's first birthday.

He loved his birthday cake, but refused to wear his crown. His first bicycle had him stumped, but he absolutely adored the Noah's Ark, which was his present from us. Jos, however, was a bit sad that he had to let it go ...

Monday was a bank holiday, but the weather gods weren't too cooperative and sent us grey skies and the odd shower, with a moderate 18°C.

What with two days of leisure, I had a bit of a catch-up to do, so I swept the downstairs rooms and then picked out some more clothes for my holiday shortlist. As the latter had become more of a longlist by now, and I could no longer see the wood for the trees, I asked Jos to help me make my final choices.

Then, in the afternoon, we got a visit from our new cat sitter, who will share the burden of looking after Bess with our usual cat sitter, Maurice. Our new candidate is a lovely lady living just a couple of houses down the road. She ended up staying for almost three hours and she even got to pet Bess, albeit very briefly!

After she was gone, we ordered a 14-day National Trust touring pass for our holiday, which will save us quite a bit of money.

We didn't take any photos that day, so the outfit I'm wearing here is from one of my office days.

The weather kept being quite changeable, offering the usual menu of clouds, sunshine and showers, with the mercury darting around 20°C. The perfect weather for one of my vintage Diolen Delights, in palest green patterned with dainty orange, yellow and green flowers. It has got an attached self fabric belt, which in this case I didn't mind at all. I wore a pair of charity shopped orange shoes and added a beaded necklace and ring in the same colour. Pinned to the dress's collar was the cheeky little fellow on the top left.

The garden is still throwing up surprises on a daily basis. There's the first of undoubtedly countless of flowers in our Geranium "Rozanne" (top right), for instance. Then one day I spotted a splash of red near the bench at the top of our garden from our kitchen window. Initially, this had me stumped until I realized it was Salvia microphylla ‘Hot Lips’, which I thought we'd lost. I love how it is playing happy families with its purple relative, Salvia nemorasa "Caradonna".

I'm just loving the jungle vibes of the narrow passageway ... and the sunshiny yellows provided by Helenium "The Bishop" (top left) and Gaillardia "Kobold" (bottom right).

We've got masses of drumstick Alliums (Allium sphaerocephalon) ready to burst out of their skins. But my current favourite must be the ruby pincushion flowers of Astrantia "Primadonna".

Saturday - we were the 11th of June by now - had a cloudy start, with more and more sunny spells later in the day, and highs of around 22°C.

After a morning of pottering, we made a couple of sandwiches, and were off for a stroll and a rummage at our favourite charity shop in Duffel.

I had my heart set on wearing this red flower sprinkled cotton vintage blouse, and selected a sorely neglected box pleated skirt as its companion. Incredulously, I don't think it ever made it to the blog. Isn't it flower meadow and rainbow stripes pattern just gorgeous?

I picked up the sky blue in both patterns for my belt, butterfly brooch, ring and shoes, and added a long yellow beaded necklace.  

We stopped at the park to eat our sandwiches, go for a short stroll and make outfit photos. Then  we strolled over to the charity shop where I once again managed to find plenty of things.

It has just dawned on me that I still had to show you my finds from our visit to our most local charity shop on the 1st of June, so why don't we start with these?

Apart from a blue vintage slip, which I didn't photograph, and a navy and green Breton top which is already packed away in my suitcase, these three items ended up in my basket. From left to right: red flower sprigged long-sleeved blouse from Vero Moda, a pair of pristine navy low-heeled shoes with straps, and a King Louie dress printed with birds and flowers.

Saturday's finds included beige spotty vintage dress with pleated skirt,  a Vila Joy green and blue top (packed away), a red Wow To Go top with white flower pattern (an upgrade of one I already have), and a Morris & Co. for H&M long-sleeved blouse.

Oh, and this French Connection short-sleeved thin knit top, which I wore straight away on Sunday.

Doesn't it look a treat with the lemon and forget-me-not patterned black viscose skirt I charity shopped almost exactly one year ago? The tan leather belt is an old favourite featured here countless of times.

My necklace is another one I charity shopped last year. Both Bakelite bangles - which I admit I only wore for the photos - were charity finds as well, bought for the silly price of € 1,50 each! 

It's been a busy week - so many loose ends to tie up, both at work and at home - so that's it for now.

I'll be back in the first week of July with tales of adventures. Do keep your fingers crossed that all goes well and that the weather isn't too atrocious.

One thing is certain: we will miss our funny, sweet little Bess something fierce ...

See you on the other side!


  1. so sorry to hear that a migraine has tormented you - extra hugsies!
    but the outfit with the dotted skirt is a lovely one..... as is the light coloured dress you wore to work.
    beautiful garten shots - and congrats to the strawberries - i started harvesting mine 3 days ago with a handful daily - but it will improve to end up in bucket loads :-D
    bess is so very sweet - how can you bear it to leave her alone for so long!!

  2. I’m popping by to wish you both a wonderful holiday. We are at the caravan for two days to open it up for the first time this year, then it’s back home as Mum’s house is now up for sale and there are a lot of viewings going on this weekend as well as yesterday. Hopefully things will calm down soon and we can get our life back.
    Take care Ann, safe journey and enjoy yourselves. Lots of love from us both xxx

    1. Thanks Lynn, and I do hope things have calmed down for you in the meantime! xxx

  3. Oh how exiting that you are leaving tomorrow! And you will probarbly have the best weather you could wish for! I can imagine Jos didn't want to say good bye to that lovely toy. I wouldn't either, lol. Love all the outfits, amazing skirts and brooches! I wish you a fabulous holiday and enjoy every minute of it, but of course you do! Have a great time!

    1. Thank you Nancy! The weather was fantastic until the end of the first week, but then it was the usual mix of sunshine, clouds and showers :-( xxx

  4. That migraine sounds horrid, poor you. Awww, Bess! She's just gorgeous and baby Cas is an absolute boster as we say in the Black Country.
    Those 30°c have finally reached us and I'm in my element - it's never too hot for me!
    Some fabulous finds and outfits, the green dress looks so crisp and cool and the colourful blouse and skirt combos are so perfectly you! Some fantastic finds - no wonder you had trouble packing, too many lovely garments to chose from.
    Hope you and Jos have a smooth journey - can't wait to see you both! xxx

    1. Thank you Vix! Unfortunately I did have another migraine episode while we were in Shropshire. And we were both gutted to get Jon's WhatsApp with the bad news :-( xxx

  5. Migraines are awful. Hopefully that's out of the way now and you can enjoy a migraine-free holiday. The colours leaping off the page are stunning, from your strawberry hanging baskets to your gorgeous poppy print dress! Wonderful finds...I like the look of that bird print King Louie dress. So glad Noah's Ark was a hit with cute little Cas. As for Bess, I'm sure she'll be fine, having her choice of sleeping spots and being Queen of all she surveys. I know exactly how you feel though. See you soon! xxx

    1. Thank you Claire! I did have another migraine episode while in Shropshire, though. And I'm so sorry not to have met. Already making plans for next year! xxx

  6. I hope you have the best time . Stay safe and enjoy yourself.x

  7. Sorry to hear about your migrane. I get them too and they are not fun.
    Love the pink dress and green cardi combo so much ...but they are all beautiful outfits.
    Who wouldn't miss the adorable Bess the cat? Enjoy!

  8. I hope you are enjoying your holiday, Ann and Jos!

    Big fan of the pocketed polka dot skirt! That's such a great shape and such a wardrobe classic. All great outfits here - you are the mistress of matching, Ann. I doff my hat to you!

    Aw, all those sweet pics of Bess. Vizzini's so happy to see me when I get home from work, he drools all over.

    1. Thanks Sheila! Bess was overjoyed to have us back and is constantly snuggling on our laps! xxx

  9. Happy Holiday Ann and Jos. 💕🙋🏻‍♀️ I wish you a great time in U.K. and the best weather ever.
    With a very huge hug Tina

  10. Lovely outfits; especially the pink and green and how could you have not yet worn that fabulous box pleated skirt? Great finds at the charity shop; I've yet to see one of those William Morris print blouses in the charity shops here...

    Your flowers are blooming lovely! We have no clematis blooming or sweet peas but I'm hopeful they will soon. Our galliardia has died but yours is looking wonderful.

    The grandson looked so happy on his tricycle and I can see Jos in him.

    Hope you have a fabulous holiday and that you coped with the heat on Friday!

    1. I know, and I fully admit that it's because I've got too many clothes. I'm constantly veering between wanting to be super organized and thinking you only live once :-) xxx

  11. Have a fabulous holiday. Looking forward to hearing all about it when you are back. xx

  12. Sorry to hear about the migraine- boo!
    the stretchy black and white chevron belt is amazing! I really love that type of 'Ann' belt!
    Yummy strawberries! I've been enjoying picking ours too!
    The two varieties of Calibrachoa mixed with Sanvitalia, are really attractive! I love the colours- like sweets!
    Verbena rigida is lovely! I have its purple friend in the garden!
    I love your poppies plus green outfit- so pretty!
    Good call on the touring pass for NT- it really will save money if you do lots! Our English Heritage passes saved us loads ina few trips!
    Cas's first birthday sounds lovely- I love the Ark!
    That box pleated skirt is aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaamazing! I am astounded it hasn't been on here before when it is superb!
    Bess is such a darling!!!
    P.S. Have an amazing time in Shropshire!x

    1. Thanks Kezzie! I love my "Ann" belts and have hardly wear any others lately!
      We spent £ 77 on those touring passes and our total spend would have been twice that much! Result! xxx

  13. So sorry to hear about your migraine. Love all your outfits. Have a great trip!

  14. That fabulous. Enjoy your time off and holidays.
    What a sweet little boy. Happy Birthday to him.

  15. I hope you have a wonderful trip and the weather stays nice for you!

    1. Thanks Nikki! The weather wasn't on its best behaviour though ... xxx

  16. Have a fabulous holiday! Bess will be just fine. :-)

    1. Thank you Regula, and I know ... she was still glad to have us back though! xxx

  17. There are so many cute and summery outfits here it's impossible to pick a favourite! I really like that last one, and I hope you are enjoying your holiday. I'm a bit jealous of your warm days too, it's a cold winter here!

    Hope you have been having a good weekend :)

    Away From The Blue

  18. Sorry the migranes were bad! Your garden looks lovely! I love all the outfits but that folky skirt is probably my favourite item! I am jealous of the Morris top, in Australia we had to wait half a year for the Morris H&M collection and then I missed the release and everything sold out!

    1. Thank you Laura! I was able to snap up a couple of those William Morris items, although not at the original release. I bought a dress in the sales, and then found two blouses in a charity shop! xxx

  19. Cas is adorable! Happy birthday to him.
    Love the combination of green and pink, so pretty!