With the advent of a short but searing heatwave here in Belgium and elsewhere in Europe, culminating in temperatures of nearly 40°C on Tuesday, it has been too hot to think, let alone write a cohesive blog post.
So, I'm taking a short break from my travelogue and thought I'd do a catch-up on what's been happening in my life - and what I've been wearing, obviously - since we came back from our UK holiday instead.
In between unpacking, laundering and catching up with blogland on Sunday the 3rd of July, Bess claimed our laps whenever we dared to take a breather.
If she had only recently discovered the joys of napping on our laps in the weeks before our holiday, she now seemed to be determined to make up for lost time. Not having had a lap cat before, this is quite a revelation, but the problem is that once she's made herself comfortable you must be prepared to stay put for a while. But what a joy she brings to our lives. Never mind the needles and pins, or her sharp claws ...
It was a good thing I'd taken Monday off as well, as the garden, and in particular the poor patio pots, sorely needed some TLC.
I'd grouped together most of the pots in the passageway, giving them a thorough drenching the day before we left, but basically they'd had to fend for themselves for two weeks.
Most of them survived surprisingly well though, with only one fatal casualty. However, the majority were looking a bit straggly and had all but given up flowering, so I gave them a haircut, quenched their thirst and hoped for the best.
The orange top with its blue leafy pattern was charity shopped back in May, and for its first outing I paired it with a denim skirt I'd picked up in a Shropshire charity shop. I accessorized my outfit with my tan leather belt and multi-coloured beaded necklace, both thrifted ages ago, and one of my cat brooches, a cheeky retail buy from Katshop, a delightful shop catering for cats and their personnel.
A stroll through the garden revealed quite a few novelties which had decided to rear their heads during our absence. There were spikes of Verbascum nigrum, its cheerful yellow flowers enhanced by contrasting pinkish-purple hearts and orange anthers (left). More yellow cheerfulness was provided by double yellow Hollyhocks (top right) and Nasturtiums in the palest of yellows. The latter were self-seeded the offspring of last's year's.
Tuesday was my first day back at the office, and as I loved Monday's outfit so much I wore it again in its entirety. As I passed the coat rack in our hallway, my eyes were drawn to the blue jacket with its pattern of orange leaves - to all intents and purposes the top's mirror image - which surely couldn't have been more perfect.
As usual, chaos reigned at the office, and it took me the better part of two days to get back on top of everything and wrestle through nearly 900 emails. Fortunately, things were back to the usual office routine by the end of the week.
More garden surprises were offered by the drumstick Alliums (Allium sphaerocephalon, top left), which seemed to have multiplied in their second year. There is Phlox 'Sweet Summer Wine' (top right) in abundance as well, but the lavender flowers of Geranium 'Rozanne' (bottom left) appear to be less plentiful than before.
Lately offering only a handful of flowers each year, any of the purple saucer-like blooms in Clematis viticella 'Etoile Violette' (bottom right) are welcomed with squeals of delight.
My outfit, worn on Wednesday, was employing a similar colour palette of blues, lavenders, purples and pinks. My cotton floral frock, with its front zip closure and solid blue collar and pocket tabs, is vintage and an old Think Twice find. Those are real pockets, by the way!
I added a tan belt with a cream lace inset at my waist, while oodles of pink were supplied by my cardigan, beaded necklace, ring and flower brooch. My rose gold sandals are by Gabor and a sales bargain in the Summer of 2019.
Helenium 'The Bishop' has been brightening up the garden with its sunshine yellow flowers for the third Summer running and it seems I'm not the only one drawn to its daisy-like flowers with their prominent brown hearts.
Legend tells that Helenium sprang from the ground, watered by the tears of Helen of Troy. Apparently, this perennial is also known as Sneezeweed, because the leaves were once used in snuff.
I can do yellow too, although this beloved Diolen frock is more of a mustard. Whatever the case, it's an instant pick-me-up for a humdrum working day.
After a string of days with temperatures hovering around the mid-twenties, the mercury dropped below 20°C on Thursday, which was the perfect excuse to wear a dress in a fabric which is a close cousin of Crimplene!
I picked out the green of the flowers in its print for my belt, necklace, ring and unusual green Cameo brooch. No sandals, but a pair of comfortable flat-heeled gold shoes. And yes, I was wearing nylons, although the weather turned out not to be too bad and I could very well have done without them.
There's something weird going on with our Salvia microphylla ‘Hot Lips’. Planted last year with great success, I initially feared it hadn't made it through Winter when finally its tiny flowers started popping up. However, apart from the usual fiery red ones with a bit of white, there were half red/half white ones, and even a couple of pure white blooms.
The white pom-poms (top right) belong to Achillea ptarmica 'The Pearl', also into its second year, as is Astrantia 'Primadonna' (bottom left) which has really come into its own this Summer, offering a plethora of ruby pincushion flowers.
Having only started on Tuesday, I forewent my usual Friday off that week, so that my weekend was only a two-day one. It couldn't have come soon enough though.
Saturday was a warm yet windy day, with the sun playing a game of hide and seek with the clouds, and highs of 21°C.
In spite of a to-do list as long as my arm, we decided the day was too good to be wasted inside, so we went for a rummage in the charity shop near the park.
I spent some time happily trawling the full to bursting rails and, having been very restrained lately, ended up buying just three items.
The blue blouse patterned with twigs and birds is by Belgian label Wow To Go. It had the most boring and annoyingly teeny-weeny blue buttons, which I replaced with slightly bigger domed green vintage ones.
Two jackets made the grade as well. The mustard blazer is by L' Histoire de Louise, which is another Belgian label, while the green speckled short-sleeved one is vintage. I suspect it originally paired with a skirt.
Afterwards, we went for a stroll and a picnic in the park. Here, there were plenty of opportunities to take outfit photos alongside the wildflower borders which seemed to have sprung up out of nowhere.
I last wore the skirt, which was an irresistible retail buy in Spring, when we visited Powis Castle. There's another link with Powis Castle in my green cotton and broderie anglaise peasant top, which is what I wore on our previous visit in June 2019. It was snapped up from New Look in the 2018 summer sales.
My bangles, necklace and brooch were all charity shopped at one time or another, while the orange belt was picked up on the high street many years ago. The red sandals were yet another sales bargain.
The latter echo the colour of the poppies in the wildflower borders almost exactly!
Apart from these there were magenta corncockles, bright blue cornflowers and yellow corn marigolds rearing their lovely heads among the high grasses while, lining the shady paths were several pinkish white lacecap Hydrangeas.
Sunday was cloudy and overcast until late afternoon. In fact, as luck would have it, the sun had just made an appearance when we were about to take outfit photos. In our sun-drenched garden, it wasn't easy to find a suitable spot.
My dress with its Autumnal millefiori pattern is from the Danish Only label and was a charity shop find last August on a particularly fruitful day. For my accessories, I picked up the bright, cornflower blue from its pattern, adding the odd splash of orange as well. The necklace, belt, bangles, ring and shoes were all thrifted, while the Lea Stein lookalike cat brooch with its orange eyes and ears, was a gift from my lovely blogging friend, Kezzie.
With both a string of hot days and our street's flea market coming up, there was nothing for it but to tackle that to-do list.
Therefore, Sunday was spent in a frenzy of ironing wrinkled cotton Summer frocks and unearthing my boxes of surplus clothing from the depths of our hell-hole of a built-in cupboard.
To be continued, at some point.
P.S. Thankfully, it has cooled down considerably by now ...
I'm so sorry the heat is now impacting Europe in such extremes. It takes a toll mentally too (sitting in the dark to keep the house cool probably doesn't help). Glad to hear it was short lived.ReplyDelete
The orange/blue combination of the shirt and jacket is why you are the BEST at pattern mixing. No one else even comes close.
Sometimes our pets know we need to slow down and plant themselves in our laps for our own good. We had a tiny poodle that knew I needed a sit down better than I did. I'm sure Bess is delighted to have her humans home.
It may have been short-lived, but there's another one on the horizon, which I'm not exactly looking forward to. Thank you so much for the pattern mixing compliment by the way! xxxDelete
I adore that purple dress! Just lovely! The flowers are looking great! Glad they are surviving your heatwave! The reverse colour blazer with that shirt is fabulous and the blue items you chose are a perfect contrast to the orange dress!ReplyDelete
Thank you Laura! xxxDelete
Oh but don't be too happy yet. In the Shevchenko it's getting to 30 degrees Celsius again. I don't mind at all, I can cool off in our inflatable bath. Now I'm receiving the notification mail again, weird right. I want to read a lot more about England! We have planned to go on the 11th of September.ReplyDelete
Love that last dress, blue and brown are perfect together. And those lovely cat brooches! Isn't it so nice that Bess wants to cudle. We have 2 very cudly cats, one is extreme, but so lovely. Enjoy your long weekend.
Thank you Nancy! The email notification doesn't seem to be working anymore, unfortunately. I'm a bit envious of your upcoming England trip ... xxxDelete
The heat has been intense where I live as well. Hopefully it will ease up a bit and life can go back to normal! I am completely obsessed with all of these outfits. That orange top with the blue leaf pattern is absolutely stunning. You are a master of combining prints and colours together. I love that you incorporate colour through belts and necklaces as well. In a word? Wow. Honestly, your style is perfection from head to toe! Thank you for the inspiration today!ReplyDelete
the creation of beauty is art.
Thank you so much Shannon! xxxDelete
We've never experienced heat like it here either. Think it reached 36 degrees in our area. Stifling!ReplyDelete
Lotte isn't really a lap cat unless I take a call on my mobile and sit on our bed while she's napping. She then takes full advantage. It's hard to imagine now, but you'll be grateful of Bess in the depths of winter - she'll add another layer!
Your 900 email return to work sounds nightmarish. Hope you've sorted through them!
Love all your garden inspired outfits, but I think my favourite is the first one - orange really suits you and looks fabulous with that denim skirt and gorgeous cat brooch.
Stunning flower photos Ann. Coincidentally, our blue geraniums haven't produced as many flowers this year either. Shame. I adore those wild flower borders. xxx
Thank you Claire! How strange about the blue geraniums, Lulu has mentioned the same! 900 emails aren't unusual after a two-week holiday in my job. Today I had almost 200 just after a three-day weekend! xxxDelete
awww - sweet bess! she really loves you!ReplyDelete
your flowers look gorgeous - and you do the part with your outfits. especially the shirt & jacket combo is a match in heaven.... and i agree with claire: warm orange is your colour!
stay cool my dear!! xxxx
Thank you Beate! I'll have to look out for more orange then ... Trying to stay cool, but we're having another heatwave this week ... our poor gardens! xxxDelete
Bess is such a sweetie , she must have missed you both.Your garden is looking very pretty , glad it and your pot plants survived your absence.ReplyDelete
Each and every one of your outfits are simply wonderful.
Glad to hear that the heatwave has passed.
Thank you Jill, and yes, I do think Bess missed us. She's being more cuddly than ever! xxxDelete
Hello Ann, thank goodness it has all cooled down now. It can't be fun being a moggy in that heat. Bess is so cute! I love your zingy orange top. Fab zingy colours in the garden too with your verbascum and hellenium. Very strange about the Salvia 'hot lips' turning white. I have seen that happen with dahlias too. Like yourself and Claire, my Geranium 'Rozanne' plants, which are usually positively rampant, are having a bit of a sulk this year. Gorgeous picture of you in the park with the wildflowers :) xXxReplyDelete
Thank you Lulu! I rather like the variety in flowers in our Salvia 'Hot Lips'. But how strange about the Geranium 'Rozanne' plants being in a sulk! xxxDelete
This is a lovely photo of Bess. I'm happy to read about the joy she brings to your lives.ReplyDelete
I love your orange top with blue details. It looks great paired with that denim skirt. Wonderful dresses as well. Your colourful outfits always bring me joy.
Thank you Ivana! xxxDelete
Hi Ann, I chuckled at how you don’t move when Bess is sat on your lap, we’ve been there, done that. Us humans are definitely ruled by our furry friends. I love the combination of your jacket and top with the denim skirt. Yes it was worth wearing twice.ReplyDelete
It’s hard to believe you’ve been over here and gone back already. For us it’s all about sorting Mum’s house sale at the moment, so it’s still pretty full on I’m sorry to say. Hopefully this is the last hurdle. Take care you three. Lots of love from us both xx
Thank you Lynn! We can't believe our holiday has come and gone either. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the sale of your Mum's house goes smoothly! xxxDelete
Wow lovely photos and nice flowersReplyDelete
Thank you! xxxDelete
Hehe! I know I'm a freak but I adore the heat - just as well Jon does, too!ReplyDelete
Bess is adorable, I've never seen a happier cat and what a revelation that she's a lap cat! I'd be the same, afraid to move in case she got upset.
Your garden is looking fantastic and your latest finds are gorgeous. I love hearing about Belgian labels, they seem so exotic compared to the ubiquitous Primarni and New Look in our chazzas.
The tee shirt and denim midi skirt combo is fantastic, that shade of orange is glorious on you!
I can't wait to catch up with your travelogue! xxx
I'm well aware you are both lizards, in fact, whenever I'm melting in hot weather I'm thinking, Vix would love this :-)Delete
There's all kinds of labels in the chazzas here, and there's lots of cheap tat among the better quality ones too! xxx
Great outfits. I'm loving that cat broach!ReplyDelete
Thank you Nikki! xxxDelete
Oh I am really loving that orange and blue top of yours and you managed to find the perfect jacket to match. I would have never thought to put the two together.. but it looks marvelous.ReplyDelete
Thank you Hena! xxxDelete
What beautiful outfits and beautifully accessorised as always. The green cameo brooch is stunning; I've never seen a green one before. My favourite outfit was the orange and dark blue with the jacket that was the reverse colour way of the top - fabulous!ReplyDelete
Bess obviously missed you hugely.
We have the same alliums as you. We were slightly disappointed they were this shape rather than round. I planted some from seed which were the round shaped alliums but they never came to aught. We also have the same hollyhocks and again we were slightly disappointed as we wanted and thought they were the single blooms. Never mind we're learning fast!
Have a great week
Thank you Vronni! We have some of those round shaped alliums too - grown from bulbs - but they are earlier than the drumstick ones. And we too prefer the single bloom hollyhocks ... xxxDelete
Vizzini likes to flop down violently on our legs - we call it, "I sleep here now!" He does not like being budged from his spot! It was alarming to me when he first did it - our previous cats never did, so I totally get that.ReplyDelete
Love your blue/orange leafy top with the matchy blazer, Ann! So gorgeous! I'm also very much taken with the last orange-based maxi dress. So pretty! Ah, your garden pics always make me smile.
We now have matchy orange blazers! :)
Thank you Sheila! It's almost impossible to sit anywhere without Bess jumping on our laps ... and using her claws! xxxDelete
Your color sense, in outfits and garden, absolutely sings in this post. Thank you so much for sharing your vibrant world! I too have my first lap cat - claws and all - and he is indeed both a love and a prick.ReplyDelete
Thank you Elizabeth! A love and a prick, I do love that :-) xxxDelete
I adore the orange top and it looks beautiful paired with the coat.ReplyDelete
Thank you Lovely! xxxDelete
I don't mind the heat, because soon enough it will be cool, cooler and cold. ;-)ReplyDelete
I'm not a fan of either extreme heat or extreme cold, but the first makes me quite lethargic! xxxDelete