Thursday, 4 August 2022

Catching up is hard to do

I'm once again pausing my travelogue to give you a brief update of what's been happening in July - which isn't much, actually - and to show you what I've been wearing. As we've finally established a proper routine and have been photographing my outfits on an almost daily basis, this will be a mainly outfit-based post. There will be 7 of them altogether so, lending one of Sheila's catchphrases, which I hope she doesn't mind: grab a cool drink, or a warm beverage depending on where you are, then sit back and relax. 

Blogging about my travel adventures means that I'm even further behind than usual, so let's hop into that time machine and alight on Monday the 11th of July.

This linen blend dress - the polyester content keeping it from wrinkling too much - is one of my all-time favourites. A lucky € 3 Think Twice find last August, I was looking forward to wearing it again this Summer. However, after its out-of-season sojourn in the linen chest it was in need of a bit of ironing. As I'm sure you know by now, the latter is a seldom seen activity here at Dove Cottage!

Anticipating hot weather, I'd spent the weekend in a frenzy of ironing my cotton Summer dresses, so that it was now ready for its first wear of the season. That Monday, with the mercury climbing towards the mid-twenties, couldn't have been more perfect for this.

It's a classic fit and flare dress and I love how the bodice's red, blue and yellow deckchair stripes develop into a chevron pattern in the skirt. And it's got pockets too!

Red was my colour of choice for my accessories, all of which you've seen before. The wooden brooch with its carved cornflowers, poppies and edelweiss is vintage and was flea market find.

The weather gods cranked up the thermostat to 29°C on Tuesday. 

Enter the maxi skirt I'd cheekily bought at C&A back in May. With its full-on flower meadow print and two fuchsia pink crocheted lace strips at the hem, who was I to say no? I instantly knew its crisp organic cotton would be ideal for a day like this, and I wasn't wrong.

Paired with a bright orange cotton blouse by Gigue - a fairly recent charity shop find - I felt cool and collected all day. That is, until I braved the bargain hunting crowds after work. By the time I'd reached our pick-up point, sweaty pools had collected in my armpits, which I did my best to hide during our photo session by keeping my arms pinned to my sides.

Our Sweet Peas, which we planted as two tiny things back in May, had just started producing their first blooms in the week before our holiday. Judging from the seed pods I had to remove when we came back, they must have put on a real show while we were away. 

They've since put on a repeat show and their fragrant blooms in colours ranging from palest pink to a deep burgundy have been an absolute joy to behold. Daily removal of seed pods is obviously required to keep the show going, as is regularly picking stems to carry their delicate scent inside.

Now, where were we? 

Wednesday saw a repetition, not just in terms of weather, but also in the wearing of that wonderful C&A maxi. This time its companion was a green, cap sleeved blouse edged in pink rick-rack and with a row of buttons in the same colour. From the Belgian Who's That Girl label, it was found for a pittance in a charity shop in Poperinge while on holiday in Belgium's west country in September 2020.

I added more pink in the form of my beaded necklace and owl brooch. 

One of my chevron patterned stretchy belts came out to play, as did my gold Gabor sandals, both of which were retail buys.

I couldn't help but notice the similarity in colour between the rick-rack and buttons and the gently nodding flowers of Anemone hupehensis ‘Hadspen Abundance’. Abundant it is indeed, but it's also rather early, as it's only supposed to flower in September!

In other garden news, our Jacob's Ladder (Polemonium caeruleum, top right) with its fern-like foliage and clusters of lavender flowers, has finally seen it fit to produce some blooms, while it is actually supposed to flower in late Spring, which it duly did last year.

The pots of Osteospermum and Nemesia (top left) and Mimulus (bottom right) have both benefited from the haircuts they received when we came back and have repaid my efforts by another round of flowering. 

And then there's the pink Petunia (bottom left), the offspring of one of last year's, which decided to settle into a crack between the paving stones in the courtyard.

Thursday was another sunny Summer's day, but with a tiny drop in temperature to a much more bearable 24°C.

It was a quiet day at work, and after my hairdresser's appointment during lunch break, I went to check out a recently opened charity shop a couple of doors down. Apart from a most delightful red and white striped Zara jacket, which alas turned out to be a bit too snug in the chest area, the stock was of an altogether boring variety.

Nothing boring about the vintage dress I was wearing! This was another one of last Summer's charity shop finds. Trimmed with white bias tape at the collar and cuffs, with an abstract seascape decal and a wave-like pattern on the skirt, it was definitely love at first sight.

And no, I wasn't about to do any gardening! The red rake belongs to the man who rents the part of the communal garage we sometimes use as our photo studio. I know his lovely wife sometimes reads my blog, so if she does read this: hello there! 

I just couldn't resist posing with it as it perfectly matched my outfit ...

It was my final working day of the week, but unfortunately there was not much rest for the wicked, as we had a flea market to prepare for. 

I did, however, manage to finish my latest read, which was rather addictive. It was part of my book haul from various Shropshire charity shops, by the way. 

More deckchair stripes, anyone? Friday's outfit saw the return of an old favourite: a multi-coloured stripy jumpsuit which was a New Look sales bargain in 2018. 

Having done a fair bit of gardening in it over the years, it is becoming a bit worse for wear, with an unsightly patch of pilling, which fortunately isn't visible in the photos. Well, I guess that's fast fashion for you ... 

I'll wear it until it falls apart, though. This time, I took my lead from the blue stripes and added a blue camisole underneath, cinched my waist with a blue belt with a rather fabulous square buckle, and wore a blue glass ring. I paid tribute to the jumpsuit's multiple other colours with my cat brooch, necklace and sandals.

With Sunday's flea market in mind, we drove down to a bargain shop at the edge of our town to buy a batch of clothes hangers. 

Then we continued to our local charity shop for a rummage. There was a buy two, get one free offer on clothing, and this is what I found. The green twigs and birds fabric belongs to a skirt by Belgian label Wow To Go. Funnily enough, it was only when I got home that I twigged (pun totally intended) it was exactly the same pattern as the top I charity shopped the other week (above, bottom right).

I'd been on the lookout for decent yellow tops for months, so the pleated one, originally from H&M, was a welcome find. I only found the third item, which is the pink and white gingham top, at the very last moment, as it was in a box full of stuff near the till.

With the temperature still a balmy and bearable 24°C, this is what I wore on Saturday.

The yellow, red and black floral top is yet another recent charity shop find which was still waiting for its turn. It is by the Danish ICHI label.  It couldn't have found a better match than the 1970s black and white button-through skirt. The pattern is tiny flowers, not polka dots, as you can see in the close-up. With its three rows of white rick-rack and its pockets, it is definitely a winner!

While the skirt came from Think Twice, both the belt and the necklace were charity shopped. My brooch is war-time 1940s and an example of the era's make do and mend philosophy. The lady has been painted directly on a piece of fabric, obviously by someone very talented! It was a lucky flea market find and you can see it in more detail here.

Most of the day was spent going through my boxes of stock, selecting the best items for my initial rail. I would replenish the rail whenever an item was sold and a clothes hanger became available.

The majority are things which I no longer love as much as I used to, are no longer me, or have simply become too snug. Then there are those items I picked up at the tail end of various Think Twice sales for € 1 or € 2, bought specifically with our yearly flea market in mind. With you know what throwing a spanner in the works, of course, this would be the first one in three years ...

It was just gone 7 am when we wheeled out the rail, put our folding table outside and brought out th rest of our stock, which included shoes, handbag, costume jewellery and miscellaneous items. 

By that time, our street had already been abuzz with traders putting up their stalls for well over an hour. They were joined by early punters on bicycles out for the deal of the century. I soon lost count of the times we were asked whether we had any watches or mobile phones for sale.

My clothes and jewellery sold like hot cakes, but in spite of regular interest, there were no takers for the shoes. As they were cluttering up sorely needed space, they're now ready to be taken to the charity shop. I did sell all of the handbags, though, most of them in bulk at a steeply reduced price. 

At around 28°C it was too hot for a rummage, so I only went to say hello to a friend who had a stall a bit further on. I was given the tiny cat and mouse sculptures by the nice lady running the stall next to ours.

We called it a day at 2.30, which was later than we'd anticipated. In spite of our vintage parasol, it had become quite unbearable out there.

As Bess hadn't been too keen on the comings and goings outside our front door, we spent the rest of the day indulging her.

Those are Jos's fancy new pyjamas, by the way, straight from good old Marks & Sparks in Shrewsbury.

That's it for now. It'll be another installment of my travelogue in my next post, for which I hope you'll join me again.


  1. I'm so glad you bought or were given the lovely cat and mouse! I thought at first it was part of your stock to sell. It's a great idea to have a 'flea market' in your street. We call them 'street jumbles' here and so far this year there hasn't been one in my area; it may still be arranged for September. There was one in a different area but too far to walk to.

    All of your outfits were fabulous! I really love your C&A skirt; no wonder you wore it twice! Loved the deckchair striped dress and jumpsuit and the floral top with the teeny tiny flowered skirt. Wonderful accessories. Your 3 for the price of 2 finds in the charity shop were brilliant! Loving the haircut btw.

    If I were you I'd nick Jos' pjs for myself - they're gorgeous!

    Hope you have a great weekend,

    1. Thank you Vronni! I think I should have bought a pair of those pjs for me as well, as I don't think Jos will ever share his! xxx

  2. The maxi skirt is beautiful and I loved it more with the green top.

  3. You have SUCH incredible style and so many gorgeous pieces. I am truly in awe of the way you mix colours and prints. You have a real eye for fashion. The floral skirt is a favourite. It is such a remarkable piece and the green top you paired with it? Wow. Perfection. I'm not surprised that the clothes and jewellery sold so fast. Everything looks beautiful! <3
    the creation of beauty is art.

  4. glad the flea marked was a success for you!
    and your bright and summery outfits are fabulous - still a big fan of that red "landscape" dress......
    the BW wants pajamas like jos´s now!
    hug bess from us! xxxx

    1. Thank you Beate, and I'm a big fan of that dress myself, that was such a lucky find. Not surprised the BW wants pjs like Jos's now. They're fabulous, aren't they? xxx

  5. Oh gosh, I still didn't get your emails and Sheila s neither. Have to go over to her!! Now I how it is sorted as I seem to be logged out of something, no idea actually. Love that maxi skirt and red dress! And it sounds like such a joy to have all the stalls in the street. We don't do that over het at all. Now I'm going to Sheila and hurry because you know what we are going to watch tonight! Vera!

    1. It's such a pain that the emails are stopped, isn't it? The flea market is such fun, but hard work too. It wasn't just our street, but the surrounding ones too. I hope you enjoyed Vera! xxx

  6. Oh wow so glad you had a succsessful flea market! 😁
    I am totaly in love with your striped jumpsuit! You look amazing in it Ann. And you look also great in maxi skirts! 💕
    with a very huge hug Tina

  7. Beautiful summer outfits! I love that maxi skirt.
    How I miss wearing wearing real clothes. I haven't practically worn anything but my uniform (shorts and a t-shirt) for months.

    1. Thank you Ivana! I can imagine you must be fed up with wearing your uniform. I would absolutely hate that! xxx

  8. A wonderful round up of your delightful Summer outfits Ann. It really is hard to pick a favourite but I did love your floral sprigged maxi skirt.
    Pleased that you had success with your sale, what a great idea to have a street flea market. xx

    1. Thank you Jill! The flea market is a huge success and has been going from strength to strength. It used to be only a couple of streets but now it's almost the whole village centre! xxx

  9. It sounds as if your flea market was a big success!

    I adore sweet peas. Sadly mine were attacked by green flies last year, which hadn't happened before. I haven't grown any this year.

    Just as colourful are your amazing outfits - I have a thing for that bright pea green colour at the moment, although I'm not sure it's my colour exactly. The collar on your blouse is a stunner! I'm also not surprised that you were drawn to that gorgeous twigs and birds fabric.

    I had to smile at the photo of Bess. I sometimes think that cats have two physical manifestations of pure contentment; curled up tight or stretched to draught excluder proportions! xxx

    1. Thank you Claire! The success of our Sweet Peas actually took me by surprise, as they hadn't done well at all last year. I love the bright pea green colour too. We once had a car (a Renault Twingo) in that colour, which Jos's children nicknamed "the little pea" :-) And Bess definitely prefers the draught excluder position! xxx

  10. Nice outfits. My Bloglovin account isn't working any more and I was falling behind in following blogs so I'm going to manually check my favorites (like yours) to avoid missing more.

    1. Thank you Ally! I've heard the same from other bloggers, not sure what is happening with Bloglovin ... xxx

  11. I am loving your summer outfits! These are all so cute and colourful and it's so hard to pick a favourite! :) It looks like you had a lot of success at the market as well, even if the shoes didn't sell. I had been picking up a few things at the opshops for resale at a market, back when we had no covid cases, but now cases are through the roof so I just have a little section of my wardrobe of things to sell while I'm waiting for me to feel better about going to the markets, as they are indoors!

    Hope you are having a good weekend :)

    Away From The Blue

    1. Thank you Mica! I hope you'll be able to sell those things at a market soon. I'm sorry to hear cases are going through the roof again ... xxx

  12. I'm glad to hear the flea market went well despite the heat, now what amazing vintage treasures will you spend your pennies on??

    1. Thanks Gisela! Those pennies are still burning a hole in my pocket, I'm afraid! xxx

  13. Hello Anne, how wonderful that you have a yearly fleamarket on your street - such a good idea! You have a fab summer wardrobe with your cotton, linen and stripy deck chair attire. The C& A maxi skirt really is lovely. I am loving the red rake accessory and I'm sure it will be the next big thing!!! In fact, next time I pop out for a drink at the trendy wine bar, I'm going to take one with me ;) xXx

    1. Your rake comment made me chuckle! Are they a thing in Cornwall yet? xxx

  14. Doesn't that flea market roll around quickly? Your stall looks wonderfully inviting, I'm not surprised you sold loads!
    Some wonderful outfits, the C&A maxi skirt is really pretty, it deserves to be worn on repeat and Jos's PJs are stunning - good old M&S!
    Bess looks so chilled out! xxx

    1. It had been three years since the last one, and with the weather being at its best behaviour, there was certainly a crowd. The only thing is that people almost expect you to give things away for free ... xxx

  15. Oh, you are a dear, thank you for the shout-out! By no means is that "my" phrase, so please be my guest and use it as you wish!

    Ah, so many lovely outfits - I truly do love them all! - but my heart leapt at that abstract seascape dress. It's just so unusual. I really like the black/white skirt too. ICHI is one of the brands that my local Dots carries.

    So glad you had good sales at your neighbourhood rummage. I also have a hard time getting rid of shoes - I've had to donate most of them.

    1. I've got two bags of shoes in the basement. My friend selected three pairs the last time she was here - we have the same size - but the rest is being donated to charity. It's a shame, but most of them were picked up in charity shops in the first place ... xxx

  16. Oh, and YES to Jos' M&S pajamas - and of course, Miss Bess has to sleep on them!

  17. Lovely to see those 7 outfits that bring some inspiration and colour and fun to my exhausted brain!.
    Totally in love with your stripped cotton dress and so beatiful accessorizing in red!. Also a favourite of mine!.
    That C&A skirt is a fab piece and so versatile, it goes with every possible colour and looks so summery!
    Love that red vintage dress with the seascape detail, such a classic piece and you rock it!. Love your photo with the red rake! ;DD
    Also lovely striped jumpsuit, such beautiful colours and cute style!. And that black&white skirt with the floral top make a fabulous ensemble which I found really inspiring!
    You stall at the street market looks really appealing, no wonder that it was successful!. I'd love to visit it!.

    1. Thank you so much Monica, and I'm please to be an inspiration. I'm not feeling too inspired myself, lately. I think my brain must be exhausted as well. xxx

  18. Ooh, it looks like you had a good time running your stall. Like Vix, you dress so well it must encourage people to come and buy from you.

    1. Thanks Mim! It was the first street market in 3 years, and it drew lots of people in spite of it being a bit too hot! xxx