Friday, 2 December 2022

Rainy days are made for this

With the dawning of December the year is now swiftly striding towards its end, the days getting shorter, and shorter still, until the Winter solstice is upon us.

The last month of yet another year which has sped by in the blink of an eye. I'm getting a case of déjà vu here as I'm typing these lines: surely, it was only yesterday that I pondered the passing of time, using similar words, as we turned the calendar's page to December 2021.

But yet here we are, one year - a full twelve months! - later. The shop windows dressed in their festive finery and the dazzling sea of lights I'm walking beneath on my way to and from work are the tell-tale signs that it must be that time of year again, which the Scrooge in me is trying to ignore.


And what better way to do so than by taking a short trip back in time, to Saturday the 19th of November to be exactly.

That day we were treated to November at its bleakest. It was cold, wet and miserable throughout, the mercury not climbing beyond the 5°C mark. The advent of the low single digit temperatures always spurs me into action, frantically unearthing several warm and woolly items of clothing from their various out-of-season hidey holes.

I didn't have much unearthing to do for that day's outfit, though, as both the groovilicious textured polyester dress from Think Twice and the striped, chunky knit C&A cardigan I picked up from a local charity shop were fairly recent finds. 

A variety of flea markets and charity shops supplied the pink vinyl belt, grey beaded necklace and vintage swallow brooch. My pink plastic ring, grey opaques, which you can catch a fleeting glimpse of in the first photo, and faithful pair of chocolate brown boots were all bought on the high street and have become wardrobe staples over the years.

My old cream, blue and tan plaid coat has emerged from the depths of my coats wardrobe to shine another Winter season. Charity shopped for € 10 many years ago, it is becoming quite threadbare, but I won't part with it until it falls apart completely. Admittedly, layering it over a thick dress and an even thicker cardigan might have been tempting fate a bit by putting extra pressure on those poor time-worn seams. My stripey scarf and purple mohair beret were second hand finds as well. Not the leather gloves though. I've got them in a rainbow of colours, the majority of them retail buys.

After ticking a couple of tiny tasks off my to-do list, we had lunch while brainstorming on how to spend our afternoon. The rain had temporarily dwindled to a fine drizzle, which nevertheless rather limited our options. So, wielding an unwieldy umbrella, we walked to our garage to pick up our car and drive to a seldom visited charity shop. The shop used to be the source of many great finds but then all of a sudden it became quite rubbish, so that we dropped it from our itinerary. In fact, I think this may have been only our third visit since the pandemic.

Sadly, it hadn't improved much since the last time we were here. The rails of clothing, for instance, were chaotic, and most of the stuff was definitely sub-standard and tired-looking. I was about to give up when I found two dresses among the tat: a vintage, made-in-France pussy bow one and a cute retro-style one by high street label Zoë Loveborn.

These, and finding the handmade felted wool cross-body bag (above) and - my favourite find of the day - the wicker basket with its gorgeous raffia embroidery - made it worth our while driving all that way.

I also picked up some baubles for the office faux fir (you'll notice I'm avoiding the C-word as long as I can) and, while queueing at the till, a lovely wooden sound puzzle for grandson Cas.

We returned home via the big Oxfam shop in Wilrijk, which is in fact the complete opposite of the other shop, their displays being neat and orderly and with everything in its right place. 

Here I found a blue polo neck by Terre Bleu (which you'll see me wearing later on in this post) and a lovely ochre yellow cardigan by high street label Zoë Loveborn, which I forgot to photograph.

Back at home, we played with tested the sound puzzle, after which I tried on the dresses, as I hadn't been keen on facing the shop's fitting rooms. I needn't have worried as I can usually tell by sight by now.

Then I snuggled up on the sofa with Bess until it was time for dinner. In case you are wondering, it was Dove Cottage's take on cottage pie and I promise to take a photo next time it's on the menu.

Sunday was yet another gloomy day, starting at a chilly 2°C but climbing to 8°C during the day, and with rain forecasted from the early afternoon onwards.

We didn't care too much about the weather, though, as we had the November edition of our favourite indoor flea market to escape to.

As for the lack of sunshine, I just provided my own by wearing my yellow jacket from the Spanish Cortefiel label. Charity shopped in February 2021, it's got a double collar and ditto sleeve cuffs. Plus, it's got pockets! The mother-of-pearl brooch I pinned to its collar was found during one of our escapes to Middelburg in August.

And here's the polo neck I found at Oxfam on Saturday! It's a thin ribbed knit and I loved the zig-zag pattern on the yoke. I added a vintage leaf brooch to it and wore it with an orange and brown plaid skirt I charity shopped in January.

Both the belt and my necklace were high street finds, the latter bought from Accessorize who at one time had a shop in the small shopping centre near my office. My boots are the same ones I wore on Saturday, and which have hardly been off my feet lately.

We were happy to see that this month there were lots of traders at flea market, one of whom, a lovely lady called Christine who sells lovingly curated vintage jewellery, we hadn't seen since the Before Times. 

In spite of my best intentions, I quite forgot to take photographs of the flea market itself, apart from those in the below collage. On the top left, a tray of brooches and pendants on the stall one of our favourite trader and, on the bottom right, a corner of one of the market's most imaginatively displayed stalls, selling all manner of vintage kitchenalia.

My first finds are on the bottom left and top right: a chunky orange ring and a set consisting of a zebra-esque patterned necklace and ring

I wasn't going to buy any more handbags, but then I spotted this beauty at such an affordable price I couldn't possibly leave it behind. 

We were chatting to Rita, one of the traders who also follows my blog, when she suddenly unearthed this gorgeous lady, which made me go weak at the knees. 

As the original place we had in mind for her didn't work out, we cleared space for her on our sitting room mantelpiece, where she gets the limelight she deserves.

Having bought only one brooch at the flea market's previous edition, I certainly made up for it this time, as I bought no less than 10, from various stalls.

The one on the top left is a one-off from a random stall, and has a heart of jade!

Both brooches on the right were bought from the same trader. She's the owner of the tray of brooches and pendants above. She always gushes over my outfits and we usually have a chat with her, even if we don't always make a purchase. 

The cream flower brooch is celluloid and came from another favourite trader, an older lady who turns out to be living in the neighbouring village to ours. Although we've passed the time of day with her for years, and usually make a purchase, we only found out we were near neighbours when we saw her at our street market back in July.

Apart from the celluloid brooch, I bought no less than four other brooches from her, the one on the top left and those on the bottom row, paying a total of € 22 for them all!

The enamelled boat with its dangling anchor came from another random stall, while the cute celluloid Scottie dog was purchased from the aforementioned Christine.

I'm sure you'll agree that wasn't a bad haul at all, and I can't wait for the market's December edition which will be next weekend!


  1. supercute bess!! <3
    love the black&pink pattern of the first dress and i have to come to dove cottage and steal that sweet straw bag....... ;-D
    hugsies! xxxx

    1. I'll have to put that bag under lock and key then :-) xxx

  2. Fabulous photos as always, Ann! I absolutely love that mustard jacket, tartan midi and polo neck combo on you. The princess coat and raspberry dress with the Starsky and Hutch style cardi are equally groovy.
    Love the two dresses you found in the normally disappointing chazza and I think your beautiful plaster lady's boyfriend lives on the shelf in our kitchen! Amazing haul of brooches and I wouldn't have been able to resist that bag either, I'm a sucker for a tourist souvenir (I think your might be from Menorca!)
    Love seeing Bess all snuggled up like that, what a happy girl! xxx

    1. Thank you Vix! Fancy my plaster lady's boyfriend living on your kitchen shelf! Menorca crossed my mind as well, so I guess you might be right! xxx

  3. Not bad at all. I love the wicker basket as it looks like Spanish summer to me. Happy Sunday! xxx Regula

  4. beautiful finds. the patchwork bag is lovely, as is the straw.

  5. Hello Ann, what a fab brooch haul at the fleamarket. Love your wicker basket bag and yellow jacket too. We have chazzas that go from good to bad very quickly, usually when they start to put silly prices on things. Then a new fab chazza will spring up and all good is restored. It is very reassuring to know that the sound puzzle received a thorough testing ;) Hmmm, you have me thinking of cottage pie now xXx

    1. Thank you Lulu! That particular chain of chazzas are under new management, at which point things started going downhill ... xxx

  6. Fabulous haul Ann! I think the lack of photos of the flea market itself, goes to show what a good time you were having!
    Love the sunshine yellow jacket and the plaid winter coat - I hope it lasts many more winters...and your plaster lady is gorgeous. Glad she's been elevated to a prime position on your mantlepiece.
    Have a lovely week and stay warm! xxx

    1. Thank you Claire! Plaster lady seems to be in here element on the mantelpiece indeed! xxx

  7. Oh I am in love with your Zoë Loveborn dress. It looks amazing!
    it's not nice when things look worn out. Glad you found a treasure after all.
    Bess is sooo cute. 💕
    with a very huge hug Tina

  8. It is always shocking how quickly time seems to pass. The end of the year is soon approaching and I'm not quite sure how that happened. I love that even on the bleakest November days, you infused colour and creativity into your outfits. That dress from Think Twice is fantastic. Such a standout piece! And I just adore your cream, blue, and tan plaid coat. It is beatuiful. The yellow jacket is just as stunning! Heading to the flea market sounds fun, especially when there are all sorts of odds and ends to be inspired by. The bust of the lady is incredible. What a gorgeous item! So many gorgeous brooches as well.

    the creation of beauty is art.

  9. That's a lovely event to attend when the weather isn't great. And another one to look forward too! I don't tell myself not to buy anymore bags shoes or whatever, what's the point. Lol. You know there isn't. I hope you will have a good week at the office

    1. You're right Nancy, what's the point indeed :-) xxx

  10. So many lovely finds. You have a great eye for finding treasures.

  11. I just love seeing all of your finds, Ann - you have such a good eye! Your old cream plaid coat may be threadbare, but it's not visible in the pics - some of my older coats (the Unsafe Polar Bear) are starting to wear out, so I'm not wearing them as frequently as I once did. Love your wonderful outfits, always so coordinated top to bottom!

    My local favourite sample shop Dots sells Zoe Loveborn salesmen samples - I would have fought you for that dress, ha ha!

    So good to see sweet sleeping Bess. Have a good week, my friend!

    1. Thank you Sheila! I'm glad to hear the plaid coat's still looking the part in the pics. I'm not ready to say goodbye to it at all! xxx

  12. 'The weather outside is frightful' - pretty much sums it up!

    What lovely outfits and accessories you wore. I loved the two dresses you bought from the 'not very good' charity shop; especially the pussy bow one and the felted bag is fabulous. Hang on to the cream plaid coat for as long as you can; you look great in it.

    And as for your flea market finds didn't you do well? The brooches are magnificent! My favourites were the boat with the dropped anchor and the sweet little Scottie dog. Loved your African lady head.

    I don't expect the weather will warm up any time soon - we are forecast to have below freezing temperatures this week; brrr!

    1. You're quite right there Vronni, and it's frightful again as I type, as it hasn't stopped raining for days. I much preferred the cold but sunny days! xxx

  13. Glad to see you well wrapped in your beautiful coat and layers of delightful clothes!, that plaid coat is a fabulous piece, and love the burgundy colour dress with the cardi, you make those subtle colours rock!.
    Lovely that you found those beautiful dresses and the cute basket even if the charity shop was not tidy. It makes a difference indeed!.
    Lovely yellow jacket which actually brings some sunshine!, and lovely colour combo, those caramel and blue shades are fab all together.
    I'm admiring your brooches, dear Anne, all of them are amazing pieces, and so lovely that you found some old traders, flea markets are so fantastic!. Impossible to pick a favourite!

    1. Thank you Monica! We just love going to that particular flea market, and desperately missed it during the pandemic! xxx

  14. "Faux fir"- that is such a witty pun!!!!! I love it!!!
    I do like your mustard jacket very much! It is so chic!!!
    You really did well on the brooch front!!!

  15. Amazing bag purchases! That's quite a brooch bounty too.

  16. I do find charity shops are flooded with awful quality fast fashion these days. The sort that feels like plastic bags.

    I remember as a kid raffia embroidered bags are everywhere, now I think they are coming around again in style. They are lovely! Everything that was cheap in my childhood is now Vintage and expensive. I could have made a mint if I could see the future, haha!

    1. I'm glad it's not just our shops then ...
      And you're absolutely right: I would be rich if I'd kept my childhood things! xxx