Monday, 28 November 2022

In the place of fallen leaves

Now that the dust had settled on the first installment of the office move, it was finally time to relax. 

And what better way to do so than by enjoying a 3-day weekend, starting with a public holiday on Armistice Day. As I already regaled you with that day's adventures in the sculpture park in a previous post, let's move swiftly to the rest of the weekend.

With everything being closed on Friday, there was nothing for it but to indulge our rummaging urges on Saturday the 12th when, as usual, we visited two shops, with a car picnic in between. Rather unusually though, there wasn't anything which even remotely tickled our fancy.

As those of you who have been following my blog for a while will have gathered by now, this doesn't happen all too often. I can only surmise that it was just one of those days on which the charity shop goddesses must have been lavishing their attention elsewhere!

Perhaps it peeved them that, apart from my belt and necklace, most of what I was wearing that day didn't find its origins in a charity shop.

Take the blouse, for instance, which I actually bought brand new, snapped up in an Outlet shop during one of my lunch breaks the other week. My matching opaques and favourite mock croc ankle boots were retail buys too, as was the ring which I picked up from fast fashion shop Forever 21 back in the mists of time. 

While not charity shopped, at least both the skirt and the elephant brooch are vintage. My red plaid and pleated skirt, which much to my surprise I hadn't worn since January 2018, came from Think Twice, while the brooch was a flea market find.

Contrary to the charity shop deities, those in charge of the weather kept being on their best behaviour. When we woke up to lashings of sunshine and forecasted highs of 15°C on Sunday, we were adamant to make the most of our good fortune by going for a walk. Particularly since the forecast for the week ahead was looking pretty dire!

We'd set our hearts on a stroll in a park established on the pleasure grounds of an old castle estate called Solhof, in the neighbouring village of Aartselaar

This was one of the parks we'd attempted to visit but couldn't reach back in October. Confident that the roadworks which had thwarted our plans would have been completed by now, we hopped into our car for the 12 minute drive it would take us to get there. Imagine our dismay when the street leading towards the park's entrance turned out to be still under construction.  As one or two cars - probably belonging to the street's unfortunate residents - were turning into the bumpy, unsurfaced road, we followed suit and were rewarded with a parking spot in a side street.

The park, designed in English landscape style inspired by Capability Brown, is now a semi-wild woodland traversed by a warren of meandering paths, and is home to a number of monumental 100 to 150 year old trees. I'm always in awe of these mighty giants who, I'm sure, must have a few tales to tell if only they could speak our language. 

They do put me in a reflective mood, reminding me of our insignificance and putting those little day-to-day woes into perspective. 

Trying to get back into the charity shop goddesses' favour, I was wearing some of my recent finds, starting with the off-white and bottle green checked wool-blend Tommy Hilfiger skirt I found back in October. 

I always look forward to wearing my green wool jacket with its furry collar again. It's vintage and I paid full price for it at Think Twice about five years ago. As it was the jacket of my dreams, there was no way I was going to take the risk of waiting for it to be reduced in the shop's next sales! 

The feathery pink scarf was charity shopped in 2018 and is among my most worn ones, while the matching beret was an old retail buy which has definitely proved its worth over the years.

A mix of retail, charity shop and flea market finds made up the rest of my outfit, most notably the Art Nouveau inspired vintage blouse found during a charity shop rummage earlier this month.

I'm at my happiest when I'm able to indulge in a leaf-kicking session, delight in the symphony of colours provided by the turning leaves and have the scintillating mix of Autumn scents tickle my nostrils. 

There were vistas to delight us around every corner: a time-worn heart carved in a tree trunk, the Autumn-hued canopy above us, a golden-clad weeping willow preening itself in the moat, and the top of the gazebo peeking out from a frame of evergreen yew hedge and russet leaves.

The gazebo, which crowns an earthen mound insulated by ancient yew hedges cleverly concealing an ice house, can be reached by a narrow path spiralling up the mound. We weren't feeling too adventurous that day and refrained from climbing to the top. After all, the view from up there isn't on a par with the  magical one of the gazebo on its mound, the seemingly impenetrable wall of yews conjuring up an image of Sleeping Beauty's castle.

The late 19th century castle has been much modernized and turned into a fancy hotel and for all its air and graces isn't much to look at.

Taking the path skirting the castle and its moat took us to its entrance on the busy main road through the village. Our effort was rewarded with a view of the picturesque courtyard flanked by the former coach house and caretaker's house. Surprisingly these only date from the early 20th century. Only the two watchtowers dating from around 1550 and standing sentinel on either side of the entrance, have stood the test of time.

Although the sun was still in evidence on Monday the 14the of November, there was a significant drop in temperature with highs between 7 and 10°C. That morning, I actually wore gloves for first time this season!

It was my first day at the temporary office, and as my colleague had the day off, I was all on my own. I felt a bit weird and out of sorts all day, as if I had lost all sense of direction. On top of that, building work had started in our proper office next door, at times accompanied by lots of noise, making all efforts to concentrate on my work fruitless.

I made my escape during lunch break and walked to the outlet shop where I'd bought the three blouses the previous week, finding an additional two. Again, both are from the defunct Who's That Girl/Wow To Go labels.

Apart from some hammering and shouting - why do these builders always have to shout, I wonder - the noise was bearable for the rest of the week, and when my colleague and I went to have a peek on Wednesday, they'd already removed the nasty old carpet and the ceiling tiles and they were in the process of painting the walls and woodwork.

My working week was another short one as I once again took Friday off.

It had been a wet and windy couple of days, so we were glad to wake up to a dry morning, with some timid sunshine thrown in. It didn't last long, though, as it started raining again before the morning was over, with hardly any let up all day. It was quite chilly as well, the mercury climbing to 9°C at the very utmost.

This called for a first wearing for the Italian made pink Tweed jacket with its gorgeous floral lining I charity shopped at the end of October. I can't remember where or when I bought the large green bird-on-a-branch brooch I pinned to the jacket. More shades of green were added with my scarf - last Winter's charity shop find - and beret, which is the twin of the pink one worn above.

The forest green pleated skirt - a naughty retail buy in between Lockdowns in 2020 - wasn't the best choice for the day's temperature. Its fabric is rather thin and even with a half-slip worn underneath as well as a pair of opaques and my tall mock croc boots, my bottom half was freezing!

My pink and green belt was bought in this year's Mango Summer sales, but the floral cardigan-worn-as-a-jumper, the brooch I pinned to it, the green wooden necklace from the Belgian Les Cordes label, and my ring with its green and pink stone, were all charity shopped at one time or another.

And talking of charity shopping, well yes, it was time for another round of rummaging, which this time was rather more successful. 

As luck would have it, there were a lot of deadstock Who's That Girl and Wow To Go items on the rails of the first shop we visited. The lady at the till, who recognized the label, congratulated me on my finds, which would have cost me at least a tenfold of the € 25 I paid for the lot if I'd bought them brand new.

There was a blue box-pleated cotton-blend midi skirt adorned with the label's speech bubble logo, an orange and olive green check shawl-collared cardigan and a pink woollen jumper masquerading as a cardigan. I was properly fooled by the latter as I only discovered it wasn't actually a cardigan after I got it home.

Finally, there was a green rainbow striped cropped cardigan and a classic red V-neck jumper trimmed with a double row of navy stripes. I've included the ribbon-tied tags in the photo. Both garments also came with a tiny zip-lock bag containing alternative fabric samples, indicating that the garments were initially meant as samples and would have eventually been sold at one of the label's sample sales. They both mentioned their sample sale prices of around € 25 ... which if you remember was what I paid for the lot! 

I'll be back with more outfits and bargains in my next post. Hope to see you again in a couple of days!


  1. Haven't you done well with the 'Who's That Girl' and 'Wow to Go' tops! They are all lovely and I also particularly liked the blue one from the outlet shop worn in the first photos. Both your jackets are gorgeous and they both look so warm and cosy. I also really liked the floral cardigan wore as a jumper and the belt was an elegant addition. I had a thing about floral cardigans and had to make myself stop buying them as they weren't getting worn; I gave them all away except 2!

    The art nouveau patterned blouse was wonderful!

    Hope you have a great week and that the weather doesn't get too cold.

  2. There is nothing better than a three day weekend! It's too bad you didn't find anything interesting at the shops. That is definitely a letdown! However, that blouse you wore is stunning. I love the pattern and the colours. I am just obsessed with your style! It's wonderful that you were able to spend some time outdoors over the long weekend and make the most of the weather before it gets too cold. That green wool jacket is such a fantastic piece. Wow, that gazebo is so picturesque! I just love looking at all of your incredible photos.

    the creation of beauty is art.

  3. You've really hit the jackpot with those brands' pieces in the shops lately, Ann! They seem to have a slightly retro pin-up vibe to me. I LOVE that the top is a fake cardigan - I have sewn up a few cardis in my time!

    Your green and pink outfit is lovely! I enjoyed the pics of the beautiful park! Have a good week, my friend!

    1. Thank you Sheila! I've never sewn up a cardi, but that's quite a good idea! xxx

  4. The floral top/cardigan is pretty. Your jackets and scarves look cute and cozy.

  5. slowly i do feel sorry for the owners and designers of Who's That Girl and Wow To Go - because of that much dead stock that lands in 2.hand shops......
    pretty outfits! love the hilfiger skirt :-D
    hugsies! xxxx

    1. Do do I, Beate! Not sure what went wrong there ... xxx

  6. Fantastic score on the Who's That Girl? and Wow To Go booty! They've got Ann written all over them.
    Loving the Autumnal outfits and the mix of modern and retro. I knew that Tommy Hilfiger skirt would look great on you and the floral cardi with the puffed sleeves makes me go weak at the knees, I love it!
    The Capability Brown designed park is glorious, I always used to say that I wasn't keen on landscaped gardens until I started visiting them and seeing how glorious they actually were. The shot of the gazebo was stunning.
    Glad to hear that the building work is cracking on, I don't mind builders shouting, it's their choice in music that drives me mad, what can't they listen to 6Music rather than some lame Best of the 1980s station? xxx

    1. Thank you Vix! I used to love their stuff before I properly got into vintage. As for builders, I'm finding it hard to concentrate whether they're shouting or playing music ... xxx

  7. I love the way you mix colors together. Especially that pink and green! I work in a charity shop benefitting local seniors. Lately someone has been coming through the shop with scissors and cutting random holes in some of the most expensive things!

  8. Sometimes the Thrift Gods don't drop those amazing finds, esp. around Halloween when scary stuff takes over.

  9. Looks like you're having an incredible Autumn your Autumn walk photos, especially that little gazebo poking out of the yew trees.
    I'm very envious of your beret collection and pink really does suit you - the Italian Tweed jacket is divine!
    So glad you managed to get some respite from the noisy builders with a well-deserved Friday of leisure and that the charity shop gods came good for you in the end. xxx

    1. Thank you Claire, I'm loving my berets and can't resist picking up new ones in colours I haven't got in my collection yet! xxx

  10. The idea of the secondhand shopping gods being angry at you made me laugh! Maybe we all share the same patron goddess of shopping and we all have to take turns with her! I certainly have had good luck recently!

    1. Perhaps that's it, Laura, I never thought about that :-) xxx

  11. Shame about those pesky thrifting buys being missing in action , though no doubt next time you will find many treasures.
    The Capability Brown gardens are just beautiful in their Autumn glory.
    Every one of your Autumn outfits is wonderful with their special Ann touches.

  12. Green, Pink Red together, you rock it soo well! 💕 I love your bargains from both labels. They made it for you I think. 😊
    Have a good wednesday, with a huge hug Tina

  13. My absolute favourites must be the green checked skirt, the lovely green jacket and the pink tweed jacket! Alas, as I write, it is misty and cold - still, tweed jacket weather.

  14. I see I'm Anonymous...

  15. Eventually the vintage gods come through. Fantastic cardigans and sweaters,

  16. Shopping is like hunting in the early days: You just can't be lucky every time you go hunting. At least, it doesn't leave us hungry. ;-) Good luck next time! Have a lovely weekend. Regula

  17. Hello Ann, those woodland autumn colours are glorious. Your gazebo picture is wonderful. The was a blind lady on Gardeners World that does woodland tours with her dog, focusing on sounds and textures and smells. Interestingly she said smell is the only sense that fully develops within the womb, and it is children's predominant sense until the age of ten, when sight takes over. I am so glad the charity shop goddess was appeased with your outfit and treated you accordingly. Lulu xXx

    1. Thank you Lulu, and how interesting about smell being the only sense that fully develops inside the womb! xxx

  18. Haha, and you are wondering why builders always shout!

    The first blouse looks vintage, it's a gorgeous print and perfect on that skirt. And the baret looks so good on you. We haven't been out this weekend as I'm sick, what's new, but I missed some fresh air! Have a great relaxed Sunday evening.

    1. Thank you Nancy, I'm sorry to hear you were sick :-( xxx

  19. So lovely outift, that plaid skirt and the graphic printed blouse look so delightfully matchy!
    Also lovely to see you wandering in the woods and enjoying the colours of the leaves in a sunny day! And looking fabulous in your green jacket and that ArtNouveau style blouse with the plaid skirt. Really amazing colours and patterns!
    Well done on shopping those blouses, they're fantastic!
    Sorry that you have to deal with works at your office, and noise (totally agree about builders shouting or hammering on something all the time).
    I'm in love with that pink tweed jacket and the pink&green combo you created, the cardi, the accessories!
    And so great finds, those cardigans are fabulously bargainous and so lovely!