Sunday 30 October 2022

Audacious Autumn

It simply beggars belief that yet another month has reached its end. Surely last time I looked we'd just turned the calendar's page to October, with Halloween and the bi-annual ordeal of changing the clocks still a whole month away. And while I'm not celebrating the former - even if there's no getting away from the spooky season merchandise - there definitely is no escaping the latter. Never mind the extra hour tagged on to the weekend, I'll still be feeling somewhat out of kilter for days. It's about time they put a stop to this nonsense.

Obviously, my blog hasn't quite made it this far yet. In fact, on Wednesday the 12th of October, we hadn't even made it halfway through the month.

We'd been blessed with another sunny day when, after a chilly low single figures start, the mercury climbed to 16°C. 

Long sleeves and layers were very much needed for that morning's commute. I even exchanged ankle boots for my knee-high mock croc ones. They are ridiculously comfy, which is why although my other knee-high boots are clamouring for attention, it is usually this pair I'm reaching for these days.

I've been busy with my seasonal changeover, doing a little bit at a time during the weekends. However, this long-sleeved frock with its blowsy pink and brown flower print is a permanent resident of my wardrobe, as I don't want to risk ruining the pleating by putting it to sleep inside one of my vacuum bags.

My blog tells me I last wore it during the first Lockdown, in April 2020, so surely it was about time I gave those pleats another twirl. I was actually wearing the exact same moss green suede belt last time, but I changed up my accessories, which were all of the green variety.

Even the lady in the vintage brooch I pinned to my briefly worn cardigan was wearing green!

No photos were taken on Thursday, which was a rainy and overcast run of the mill office day. I actually have no recollection of what I was wearing ,but it might very well have been some sort of repetition of Wednesday's outfit, or a trial run of Friday's.

The forecast for Friday the 14th of October sounded quite promising, as it was supposed to remain mainly dry. The weather gods must have been sending out the wrong signals though, as it rained from early morning until well into the afternoon. I'd taken the afternoon off, which I soon regretted as we were assaulted by lots of neighbourly building noise the minute we walked through our front door. Sigh! I guess we can't complain really, as we've had a couple of reasonably quiet weeks.

If Wednesday's dress had to wait two and a half years for its next outing, Friday's frock had to have the patience of a saint. Its last wearing dated from April 2017 and in fact I was quite certain I'd sold it on one of our local flea markets. A fact I regretted when I came across this photo, so imagine my delight when, while getting everything ready for this year's edition back in July, it turned out to be languishing at the bottom of one of my flea market boxes.

There's a smidgen of turquoise in the dress's Paisley-esque pattern which, same as five and a half years ago, prompted the addition of a turquoise belt. You can also catch a glimpse of my turquoise opaques, while I opted for blue and white for my necklace and brooch.

The temperature, which had remained a moderate 16°C all week, climbed a couple of degrees to an unseasonable 19°C on Saturday.  I'd woken up tired and with a lingering headache, which wasn't made any better by the grey sky we could spy behind our bedroom curtains and the pitter-pattering of rain on our landing skylight.

After our usual fruit & yoghurt breakfast, I washed my hair and got dressed. Then I spent a stupid amount of time looking for the snake patterned Van Dalen ankle boots I'd misplaced after finding them in a charity shop in August. At the time, I'd wrongly attributed them to Van Dal instead of Van Dalen, which is a Dutch chain of shoe shops established in 1873. I have a favourite pair of bright green suede ankle boots by them as well, and both pairs were made in Italy.

Except for the dress with its William Morris-style pattern which was an old  C&A sales bargain, the rest of my outfit was either vintage or charity shopped, including the tartan Gigue blazer and the frilly pink scarf, neither of which I needed once the sun had finally made short shrift with the blanket of grey.

We were dying for a rummage, but with the charity shops (called kringloopwinkels in Flemish, which actually translates as recycling shops) having their yearly event to promote their workings, we weren't keen on visiting any. The event usually draws quite a crowd, which the shops are taking advantage of by selling vintage and other stuff at inflated prices.

Instead, we drove down to the big Oxfam shop in the neighbouring town of Wilrijk, which is actually one of the only charity shops in the area in the true sense of the word.

Apart from two books, another King Louie dress, two cardigans and a pristine looking Oilily bag followed me home. 

I've actually been using a smaller, green bag from the same brand as my weekend bag ever since I found it back in January. This one is in a far better condition and more spacious to boot, so I wasted no time in putting it to use as my companion for our weekend escapades.

Rummaging urges satisfied, we bought a cake from a bakery we passed on our way back to the car, and drove to Jos's son and daughter-in-law for a visit and some quality time with grandson Cas.

The weather deities were on their best behaviour for once on Sunday the 16th, treating us to a sunny day with highs of 18°C. 

Aww, look at Ms. Bess basking in the rays of sunshine streaming in through the windows.

I pottered for a while in typical Sunday fashion until the eternal drilling noise started up again next door by 11 am. We'd noticed that one of our neighbour's cousins from Austria - a Johnny Depp lookalike, so that's what we are calling him - had come over again for a couple of days to help him out so, instead of finishing the wall, they were doing some heavy building work.

Desperate to escape the madness for a couple of hours, we had an early lunch, after which we set off to the park in nearby Boom for a walk.

The perfect place for a impromptu stroll, we hadn't been here in months as, due to a blockage in the sewage system in a neighbouring village at the end of July, a large amount of wastewater ended up in the brook which is running through the park. Exacerbated by the subsequent heatwave, the stench had been unbearable. Several of the resident fish hadn't survived the ordeal and even the ever-present ducks refused to take to the water. Even now, an unpleasant musty smell was still noticeable the moment we opened our car doors, so we decided to go elsewhere.

We then tried another one of our local haunts, Solhof park in Aartselaar, but couldn’t find anywhere to park our car due to roadworks. A third option, provincial domain De Schorre in Boom, had to be scrapped as well, as there was an event going on. 

At that point, we'd been driving around in circles for a while and were about to call it a day when we hit upon the idea of paying the nature reserve in Terhagen a long overdue visit.

This is where Jos grew up, smack dab in the middle of brick-making country. In fact, part of the reserve covers the place where the tiny hamlet called De Wildernis once stood. Jos was born here and it's where he lived until the row of workman's cottages was swallowed up by the clay-hungry brickworks.

Same as Walenhoek, the reserve we visited the other week, the area was reclaimed by nature after the industry fell into decline during the 1970s and 1980s. 

We have walked here countless of times over the years, most notably at the height of the pandemic when the reserve was a firm favourite as it usually wasn't quite as inundated with fellow walkers as elsewhere.

A myriad of paths criss-cross the domain, although some of them can be quite treacherous after long periods of rain, when the clay-based soil has turned into sticky mud ready to suck you in. In fact, the boots I was wearing - a slightly worn pair I'm keeping especially for nature walks - were all but ruined the last time we attempted to conquer such a path, in November 2020.

I keep forgetting whether the vintage moss green, brown and orange-red floral skirt was a Think Twice find or a charity shop one. Whatever its origins, I think there couldn't have been a more perfect colour palette for this sun-drenched Autumn day. 

The red crepe blouse trimmed with tiny white pom poms at its yoke and collar (you can see its detail in one of the collages below) did come from Think Twice, while both the black and white belt and necklace were charity shop finds.

My green cord jackets (originally from H&M) and the black and white cameo brooch I pinned to the blouse were both picked up from flea markets.

We followed our noses for a while, taking the up-and-down paths meandering through the woods, until we arrived at a grassy clearing randomly dotted with trees. The soil is quite sandy here, sometimes creating hurdles of a different kind. When we walked here on a hot day in the Summer of 2020 parts of it had turned into a subsidiary of the Sahara, with the fine sand sloshing over the tops of the Clarks Cloudsteppers I was wearing and all but burning my bare feet.

We'd only met a handful of people so far, but then the quiet was briefly interrupted by the arrival of some youths riding mountain bikes, intent on tackling the uphill path which leads to one of the most scenic parts of the reserve. Yes, you've guessed it, the very path which was our undoing in November 2020. The mountain bikes are actually part of the problem, as they are the source of the deep ruts which make the going tough even in the driest of weather.

This time, we just took the path skirting the clearing and walked back the other way, breathing in lungfuls of balmy, almost Summery air and topping up our Vitamin D levels to tide us over the dark days to come.

It had been far too long since we were last here - my blog and journal tell me it was in March 2021 - so we are planning to return for a longer walk soon. Who knows, perhaps it will stay dry for long enough so that we can finally make it to the top of that path again. 

Tuesday 25 October 2022

About time

Time has been a bit of a distorted concept these days. At least, it has been in my book. The days are passing by at the speed of light, yet the weeks do tend to creep along at a snail's pace, seemingly taking forever to reach the weekend. Then, without fail, Saturday and Sunday whizz by and before I can catch my breath it's Sunday evening with another working week just a short night's sleep away. 

Having been utterly spoiled in the last two years, when first my working week was reduced to two and then three days during the pandemic, followed by four-day weeks courtesy of heaps of leftover holiday allowance, my current five-day weeks are nothing but a pain. I've been able to take Friday afternoons off once or twice, but I'm missing my Friday sleep-ins and leisurely breakfasts, followed by the luxury of a whole extra day to do as I please. I'll be going back to four days as soon as my colleague is back and then, hopefully, I'll be able to make it a permanent fixture.

With just Saturday and Sunday to cram in everything I love doing - not to mention the inevitable chores, which I fully admit often fall by the wayside - is virtually impossible. One thing, however, which come rain or shine is always top of my list is taking the time to get dressed and play around with my wardrobe.

Saturday the 8th of October was no exception, although this time I already had an inkling of what I would be wearing. The grey, black and rust plaid skirt I'd found at Think Twice back in September had been hanging outside my wardrobe ever since, patiently awaiting its first outing. Taking the lead from the rust stripes in its plaid, I had this funky bell-sleeved blouse in mind to pair it with. Charity shopped in Spring, it's by JBC - a Belgian high street label - and has a pattern of rust coloured white stemmed flowers on midnight blue.

The only gripe I've got with the blouse is its high fold-over collar which simply refuses to stay flat. In a bid to save the problem, I tried out a couple of brooches to tame it, but none of them looked right until I stumbled upon this white vintage flower brooch. Surely, it couldn't have been a better match!

At 15°C and with only a modicum of sunshine, it needed another layer which, what with the bell sleeves, was easier said than done. Although not matching any of the colours in the rest of my outfit, I thought my mustard batwing cardigan, from H&M by way of a charity shop, solved the problem perfectly.

Finally, my outerwear consisted of a grey tweed blazer with elaborate embroidery on one side only. This too was an old charity shop find.

Saturday's main activity was a rummage at the charity shops with a picnic in-between, but as I already showed you my finds in my previous post, let's move swiftly to Sunday.

The mercury got stuck at 15°C, but with the sun out in full force, it was the perfect weather to go for a slightly longer walk. Something we hadn't been able to do since we came back from our September getaway as the weather had been playing spoilsport. 

I ticked off a couple of tasks in the morning, including putting together some likely outfits for the week ahead. Then, after an early lunch, we picked up our car and were off. 

Our destination of choice was one of the ex-clay pit based nature reserves in the area, Walenhoek. By now, I've lost count of all the times I have taken you there, but my blog tells me that we last walked here back in May. About time we paid it another visit, surely.

At just a 20 minute drive from Dove Cottage, and covering 60 hectares of woodland and reed-bordered lakes and ponds, it is the perfect place to unwind in all seasons, although admittedly Autumn is a firm favourite.

On this early October Sunday, the leaves were just starting to turn and there was the odd toadstool poking its head through the leaf-mulched soil. The crunch of the layers of leaves under our feet and the unmistakable earthy fragrance typical of Autumn were adding to the sensory delights of the season.

I love it all: the hazy light, the works of art supplied by Mother Nature, the nostril tickling aromas and the pervading air of melancholy. And although it awakens a tendency to wax lyrical in me, I couldn't have put it any better than this:

"The first breath of autumn was in the air, a prodigal feeling, a feeling of wanting, taking, and keeping before it is too late." ~ J. L. Carr

My outfit was another one combining things old, new-to-me and the odd item bought brand new on the high street, in this case my black stretchy belt with its square buckle.

The skirt came from Think Twice and is another purchase I made back in Spring, when I fell in love with its folksy black, green and orange floral pattern.

If I remember correctly, the orange blouse with its slightly abstract flower print was picked up from Think Twice as well. Same as the leaf brooch, it is vintage, although the latter was a flea market find.

The charity shops, in their turn, supplied the faux-tortoise shell necklace, green cardigan and the sage green wool blazer which I'd selected as my outerwear.

Creatures of habit that we are, we always seem to end up taking the same route through the domain, the meandering paths tiptoeing between ponds and through patches of impenetrable woodland where nature has been allowed to take its course.

The forces of nature soon reclaimed the area after the brick making industry declined in the late 1970, but there's still the odd relic from the past hidden among the wilderness, such as the old electricity cabin with its picturesquely peeling and rusty red door.

And so another weekend had come to its inevitable end and I'm looking suitably melancholy here. Try as I might, it proved to be impossible to keep the Sunday blues at bay. 

It has been a bit quiet at the office lately, which makes the weeks seem even longer. To say I wasn't looking forward to another one of those slow weeks is quite an understatement. On top of that, Monday, which had had a sunny start, soon became overcast with rain threatening at a moment's notice. Typically, it held off until it was time to go home, which scuppered all plans to take any photos of my outfit.

This was what I wore on Tuesday, which was a sun-drenched day with highs of 17°C. Nevertheless, I definitely needed all the layers, as we were into the single figures that morning. By lunchtime I no longer had any need for the hot pink cardigan I'd thrown over my dress.

My dress, of course, was another Think Twice find. With its full-on pattern of multi-coloured flowers - not to mention the odd pagoda - on a vivid cobalt blue background, it must be one of the most eye-catching frocks in my wardrobe.

There's no lack of colours to choose from to accessorize it with, although with its green buttons this is often the one I go for.  Not this time, though: I let hot pink play the starring role.

My necklace of painted wooden beads, which also contains a nod to some of the other colours, as well as my pink leather Tommy Hilfiger belt, were both charity shopped at one time or another, while the metal dragonfly brooch was a flea market find. Only the pink plastic ring was a high street buy.

Making the most of the day's sunshine, I strolled over to one of the Think Twice shops in my lunch break. In stark contrast to my regular pre-Covid shopping sprees, pickings have been meagre lately and more often than not I'm leaving the shops empty handed. I wasn't expecting to find much that day either, but old habits die hard, so I keep going for regular rummages, hoping to find treasure among the prevailing 1990s trash. 

It had been a while since I found some decent vintage dresses, so when I spotted this polyester frock from the Finnish Marketta label, I couldn't pounce fast enough. I fell hard for its pink and green abstract print, its flower shaped buttons and its tie neck.

I'm a sucker for anything plaid, so this black, grey and red wool-polyester blend dress definitely tickled my fancy. It's got a flattering fit and flare shape and although it is short-sleeved, it's going to be a welcome addition to my Winter wardrobe, worn with a long-sleeved T-shirt or polo-neck layered underneath. I've already found it the perfect belt in my stash!

I'll keep you in suspense about the rest of the week and the weekend ahead until my next post. Hope to see you again soon!

Thursday 20 October 2022

Bittersweet October

Before I continue where I left off, I would like to thank you for your words of encouragement and understanding in your comments on my previous post, which were truly heartwarming. As over the past six and a half years my blog has slowly but surely developed into my journal, you're getting a warts and all account of my life and as I'm a HSP (*) my senses are often working overtime. 

Now, what did we do on Sunday 2 October? Although the day's temperature of about 17°C wasn't too bad, it was cloudy and overcast, and would remain so until late afternoon.

Whatever the weather, it definitely wouldn't have scuppered our plans, as they involved an indoor activity. 

We were happy to learn that our favourite flea market, which in Pre-Covid times provided a bright spot once a month from October to May, was opening its doors again. Admittedly, it had already started up again last year, but due to Covid rearing its ugly head with the Omicron variety, we'd only been twice.

Having been regulars for years we often stop and chat with some of the stallholders and I have received lots of compliments on my outfits over the years. With such high standards to maintain, I'm always going the extra mile, which this time resulted in this rather moody Autumnal combo.

The maxi skirt is vintage, its fabric a heavy, lined Crimplene, in chocolate brown sprinkled with a naive flower print. Its companion, a burgundy flower infused Esprit blouse in a thin jersey fabric, which came to me by way of the charity shops.

The latter also provided the moss green suede belt, green and turquoise long-line necklace and flower brooch. My copper ring with its green stone was found at this very flea market a couple of years back, while the cord blazer, which is from H&M, was another flea market find, picked up at the one held in our street in July 2019.

Our journey took us quite a bit longer than the usual 25 minutes or so due to an endless string of roadworks and diversions, which we should have taken as an omen for the rest of the day. 

Although we were obviously glad to be back and there were plenty of stalls to browse, it felt quite different from our visits in the Before Times.  I couldn't exactly put my finger on it, and no, it wasn't the lack of things on offer.

In the end, we only bought two items, one of which wasn't even for us. Jos's daughter An had been on the lookout for one of those quintessential 1970s fake leather patchwork poufs, so when I spotted this beauty on our friend Tania's stall we bought it for her. 

Before it made its way to An, however, it was put to the test by Dove Cottage's Quality Control departement, a.k.a. Bess! I'm sure An's cats Spookje and Hazel will appreciate it too.

The only purchase I made for myself obviously was a brooch, although it took me until the penultimate aisle to find this cute little celluloid mouse. It's displayed here on an enamelled copper dish which was a flea market find back in 2016. I'm just mentioning this as someone on Instagram thought it was part of the brooch!

The sun, who finally showed her face in the late afternoon on Sunday, continued gracing us with her presence on Monday and Tuesday, bringing balmy temperatures of 18 and 19°C for company.

This was what I was wearing on Monday, although I did dispense with the cardigan as soon as the sun had done away with the single figures morning chill.

My bottle green dress with its blowsy flower print is from the Danish Only label and was a charity shop find in the Autumn of 2021. Hot pink opaques, one of my stretchy belts, a sage green flower corsage and ditto beaded necklace completed my outfit.

You might have noticed that in spite of a plethora of footwear I have been wearing these mock croc ankle boots - or their tall sisters - with nearly every outfit. They're my most comfortable footwear for my back, hip and knees which have been conspiring together in plaguing me. 

On top of that, Tuesday saw the return of my migraine, which nothing seemed to be able to shift. I was feeling quite miserable and only went for a short walk around the block during lunch break even if the weather was gorgeous. 

Thankfully, it was all over by Wednesday. However, contrary to what had been forecasted, the sun had gone AWOL, leaving us with one of those dull grey days quite at odds with the continuing balmy temperatures.

My recently charity shopped dotty blouse from the Belgian Wow To Go label got its first outing. I paired it with the tweedy turquoise skirt I wore to the park in my previous post.

The blue and red dots in my blouse dictated my choice of colour for my accessories, which included a  necklace featuring chunky blue stones, a blue plastic ring and textured belt, and a red vintage brooch. 

In spite of the weather, I did go for a wander in my lunch break during which I was lured into an Outlet shop for CKS, which is another Belgian label. They had an extra 30% off everything and although the clothes were a bit meh, the best offerings being in size XS, I bought a suede belt and a scarf in mustard yellow for a total of € 7.

The belt couldn't have come at a better time, as I was mourning the loss of a similar one with a round buckle, which I'd worn to death.

That evening, our neighbour, who had finally started insulating the wall earlier that week, announced that he was going to put up portable scaffolding in the passageway.  In order to do this, the plant table under the awning outside our back door had to be moved. He also requested that we move the compost bin, which proved to be an impossible task as it was full and therefore top heavy. Instead, he emptied the bin and put the contents into bags, which he dumped in the place our plant table had been, with the now empty compost bin precariously on top.

This is our view until this day. The wall still needs to be rendered and then we can finally put back some of our things until it is ready for painting in the colour of our choice. By which time it will be Spring ...

As an aside, our neighbour looked at us incredulously when we told him the bin would have to be put back and refilled after he was done. Apparently, he'd never heard of such a thing as a compost bin!

On that note, I am skipping Thursday, on which there was nothing to report, nor did we take any outfit photos. 

With my colleague still on sick leave, I once again had to go into work on Friday. 

But what is that strange phenomenon I can see on the horizon? It's an afternoon off followed by the weekend!

We'd had a hellish commute both in the morning and again when Jos picked me up at 1 pm, but instead of going straight home we stopped at the charity shop in our village.

Ms. Sunshine had rejoined us by now and the mercury was still flitting around 17°C, which allowed me to wear this long-sleeved yet lightweight vintage dress. With its white and burgundy feathery print on a navy background, I stalked this dress at an outdoor flea market until the girl who was holding it up for inspection had put it back on the rails. Then I took a chance on its size, paid the silly asking price of a couple of € and carried it home to find it was a perfect fit.

I took the lead from both colours in the dress's print for my belt, beaded necklace and vintage flower brooch, all of which were either charity shop or flea market finds. Only the white chunky ring was a retail buy. I tend to snap these up whenever I find them and yes, that's often on the high street! 

While Jos was enjoying a cup of coffee in the on-site cafeteria, I went for a rummage, but the only thing that tickled my fancy was this puff-sleeved knit jumper by retro label Küsten Luder. Isn't it cute though?

On Saturday, we continued our browsing, visiting two charity shops as usual, with a car picnic in between.

As I'm running out of time, I'll show you what I was wearing in my next post, but I can already offer you a peek at my finds.

There was a floaty green, pink and white maxi skirt from Veritas, a Belgian accessories and haberdashery chain which has lately diversified by offering a small selection of clothing.

The off-white dress with its tiny black checks had its origins at H&M, while the lightweight jacket on the top right, its print somewhat reminiscent of the skirt, is by the Belgian Mayerline label.

Both the floral pussy-bow blouse (above, bottom left) and the Crimplene shift dress with its Paisley-esque pattern (below) are somebody's handiwork. The latter has a care home label telling me its previous owner was called Rosa. 

Saturday's final find was a mustard chunky knit cardigan with notched collar and ... pockets.  Somehow, in my mind's eye, I can see Rosa wearing the two together!

Before I go, here's a cartoon Mr. Google supplied me with:

(*)  Yes, I'm a fully paid up member, as I've literally got them all. I've even got the haircut!

Saturday 15 October 2022

Sending out an S.O.S.

Lately, I've been feeling a bit low and out of sorts, and in spite of sending out an S.O.S. for my get-up-and-go which I seem to have lost somewhere along the way, it has yet to be returned to me.

It has been a rough couple of months to say the least. The disruptive building work next door - News Flash: the wall still isn't finished and our garden is still looking like a building site! - has a lot to answer for this. As does the fact that I'm on my own in the office until end of October at the very least, with only myself and the stoically silent walls to talk to. Add a more than generous amount of rain and dawn arriving a couple of minutes later each day and at times it's all I can do to crawl out of bed in the morning. And that's before the daily headlines bombarding us with yet another round of bad news.

But I'm sure that's not what you came her for, so I'd better stop my moaning. Let's have a look at some of my outfits instead, shall we?

At least I can still find joy in getting dressed, even if sometimes inspiration doesn't come as easily as it did before.

We've arrived on Sunday the 25th of September when, after a string of rainy days we were treated to some unexpected sunshine and a reasonable 16°C.

Having procrastinated both on Friday afternoon and Saturday meant that I had a list of things to tick off before another working week loomed on the horizon, so we actually only walked to the museum garden up the street for outfit photos. I know, we could have done those in the garden, but our neighbour was working on his kitchen extension roof, and I didn't feel like being watched.

I was wearing a long-sleeved wrap dress I charity shopped back in August. Seduced by its groovilicious print, I ignored the fact that I somewhat fell out of love with wrap dresses a couple of years ago. This was its first wear and I can report that it's definitely going to be a keeper.  

I added oodles of pink, starting with the T-shirt I layered underneath and the long-line cardigan I wore on top. There's pink among the wooden discs of my necklace and as well as the brooch, a painted seascape found in a Middelburg charity shop in November 2019.

My oatmeal coat is vintage, found at Think Twice many moons ago, and the perfect weight for those early Autumn days. The funky grey, green and pink patterned scarf came from a stall on our local Saturday market and the denim blue embroidered western-style boots, originally from Sacha, were a lucky find in a charity shop last November.

All work and no play wouldn't do on a Sunday, of course, so I spent some time lounging on the couch with my latest read.

After finishing the gripping Sleep, Pale Sister by Joanne Harris during our holiday - a hauntingly evocative laudanum-dream of a novel, anyone? - I started the enjoyable but otherwise forgettable The Missing Pieces of Nancy Moon by Sarah Steele. Don't get me wrong, it isn't bad at all, especially if like me you are looking for some pure escapism, but I certainly cannot back up the raving 4 and 5-star reviews on Goodreads. 

The rain returned with a vengeance on Monday and Tuesday and with highs of just 13°C it felt decidedly unpleasant. The kind of soul-destroying murky days on which daylight hardly gets a look in.

We only managed to take outfit photos on Monday, so here I am wearing two of my wardrobe stalwarts, both picked up at Think Twice over the years. The chevron patterned skirt is the most recent of these and joined my collection in October 2020.

I accentuated the blue flowers in my blouse's exuberant pattern by adding a blue beaded necklace and a gold tone leaf brooch edged with tiny blue beads. The latter was found in a Shrewsbury antique centre in June 2019. At my waist, my stretchy belt with its faux-tortoiseshell hexagonal buckle, which was last year's sneaky retail buy.

If I remember correctly, it remained mainly dry on Wednesday, although at 14°C the temperature still was nothing much to write home about. The mornings are getting chillier as well, often starting in the single figures, which is making wardrobe decisions a head-scratching exercise.

My lunch break was spent at the hairdresser's, where my coiffure was updated by my regular hairdresser Michel's wife, as he was out of action as a result of a motorcycle accident. Don't worry, his wife is a hairdresser too and what's more, I think she did a great job. I even had a host of compliments later that week.

When wardrobe inspiration is lacking, there's always a mental library of tried and tested outfits to fall back on. Case in point is this pinkish brown hued floral frock, which I don't think I've ever worn with any other colour than sky blue. And I'm pretty sure that the faux-tortoiseshell necklace and the bird brooch have been worn with it before as well.

The tall, tan mock croc boots have been on constant rotation ever since I got them out of storage, and I definitely don't regret my impulse buy after spotting them in an advertising leaflet which fell through our letter box last Autumn.

Thursday was another mainly dry day with the sun playing peek-a-boo a couple of times, and a mild-ish 16°C. As I had to go for my booster jab, I took the afternoon off and, taking advantage of the extra time at my disposal, I continued with the seasonal swap-over, and even got out my iron and ironing board to give the most wrinkled offenders a once over.

I wore Tuesday's skirt again, but this time combined with a jumper, the sleeves of which were accommodating enough to allow easy access to my upper arm. I'm happy to report that all went well and without any side-effects apart from a slightly sore arm for a day or two.

The reasonably mild and sunny weather continued into Friday, when the weather gods cranked up the thermostat to 17°C.

As I had already taken Thursday afternoon off, I had to work a whole day on Friday, for which I rewarded myself with a naughty high street purchase: a gorgeous mustard yellow wool-blend skirt from Uniqlo, which you'll get to see me wearing here as soon as we're having a cold snap.

Friday's frock was yet another Think Twice find, a teal vintage one patterned in Autumnal hues snapped up almost exactly a year ago. I took advantage of the pops of green and tan in its print by adding a belt, necklace and ring in matching colours. My brooch is matching the dress's print in both colour and theme.

And just like that, September had come and gone, and we now found ourselves in October.

"Then summer fades and passes, and October comes. Will smell smoke then, and feel an unsuspected sharpness, a thrill of nervous, swift elation, a sense of sadness and departure." ~Thomas Wolfe, You Can't Go Home Again

The first day of the first of the true Autumn months had a bit of a false start as we woke up to the sound of rain beating against our bedroom window.  Half-way through the morning, however, the rain clouds packed up their bags and made way for blue skies and sunshine. 

We wasted no time in packing a couple of sandwiches and driving to the park in Duffel for a picnic followed by a stroll.

Admittedly, I was dressed a tad too warm for the balmy temperatures we were treated to that Saturday. I certainly didn't need the beret, nor my frilly turquoise scarf and it was no hardship to remove my green Tweed blazer to show you what I was wearing underneath.

I'm sure my tweedy turquoise vintage skirt does not need introducing, as I've been wearing it on the blog countless of times. The orange floral top, however, got its first outing. It was charity shopped earlier this year and has a keyhole neckline to which I pinned a brooch I bought brand new from H&M back in the mists of time. The wide woven belt and the teal King Louie cardigan were charity shop finds, as was the orange flower corsage I pinned to the latter.

And speaking of charity shops, since we were only a stone's throw from one of our favourites, it goes without saying that we went for a rummage. 

The orange and bluish grey striped knitted top with its cute frilly sleeves is by Essentiel Antwerp, while the ajour knit blue cardigan, which as a bit of sparkle, is another King Louie.

I also snapped up Diane Von Furstenberg's autobiography and and a chunky knit orange, pink and purple scarf.

My final find that day was floaty aqua floral skirt by H&M, which I'm already envisioning myself wafting around in next Summer. 

But that's still a long way off, and I will probably have forgotten about this skirt by the time I'm doing my Spring/Summer swap-over. That said, I haven't even finished the Autumn/Winter one as I type!