I was feeling somewhat lightheaded from the overdose of fresh Spring air when we returned from our waterlogged walk on Saturday before last. In fact, I kept nodding off in the car on our way back, so Jos dropped me off at Dove Cottage and, while he ran an errand and returned the car to the garage, I had forty winks on the sofa. Bess wasted no time in joining me and, struck by the perfect harmony of her eyes and my tights, I quickly grabbed my phone and snapped this picture.
The remainder of the day was spent reading, catching up with blogland and, after our evening meal - Dove Cottage's version of Chili con Carne, if you're wondering - watching an old episode of Midsomer Murders.
On Sunday - we noted the 12th of March by then - Saturday's blue skies had reverted to grey again. Nevertheless, the mercury eventually climbed into the double digits, although the rain which followed in the afternoon soon made us forget the previous day's attempt at Springtime.
Browns and blues were the main ingredients of the day's outfit, which consisted of a mix of vintage, charity shopped and the odd high street purchase.
My skirt, with its brown, black, grey and white chevron pattern, was a Think Twice find back in October 2020, while the chocolate brown blouse with its crazy multi-coloured print was an earlier purchase from one of their shops.
The charity shop goddesses recently provided the two-tone blue and tan diamond patterned Zoë Loveborn cardigan and the No Stress caramel suede lace-up ankle boots. The blue beaded necklace and flower corsage were charity shopped as well.
The high street ingredients of my outfit are the turquoise plastic ring, and the stretchy belt with its massive wooden buckle. Oh, and my blue tights, which were a sales bargain from Inno, a chain of Belgian department stores founded in 1897 in Brussels as A l'Innovation.
The gloomy, ill-tempered weather kept us inside for the day, but as usual, I had no problem keeping myself occupied. My journal tells me that I washed my hair, assembled some possible outfits for the week ahead, did a minor repair on a dress and continued my wardrobe purge by filling another bag for charity and putting aside a pile of items to be sold at this year's flea market.
Assisted by the ever helpful Bess, we changed the bed sheets, using the William Morris-style duvet cover and pillow cases which ended up in our IKEA shopping bag for the first time.
After a thorough quality check, it seemed to meet our funny feline's approval.
I also finished my latest read, Alice Hoffman's The Third Angel, which I picked up from a second hand book shop during lunch break the other week.
So far, I've read a dozen or more books by her, loving the elements of magic realism which are such an integral part of her novels. However, I'm still on the fence about this one. Somehow, it didn't grip me as much as some of her earlier works, such as her well-known 1995 novel Practical Magic, Second Nature (1998), Blue Diary (2001), The Probable Future (2004) and Blackbird House (2005).
And so another weekend had come and gone, with another working week waiting in the wings. But even those tend to pass by in a blur, the days akin to the wagons of a high speed train. I don't know what's happening to the passing of time lately, but I wouldn't at all be surprised if someone has been fiddling with the hands of the universal clock. I'm waking up, bleary-eyed, on Monday, and then - woosh! - it's Thursday again, and time to wave the office goodbye for another 3-day weekend.
It had been a week of ups and downs in terms of weather, the days only having had a chilly start in common, but varying from sunny, with highs effortlessly reaching the mid-teens, to grey and rainy, with the mercury not even climbing into the double digits.
Thursday the 16th of March fell into the former category, with glorious all-day sunshine, and it's on days like these that the light noticeably lingers longer. Cue the first of the after-work outfit photos of the year!
Apart from my necklace and brooch, which were a charity shop and a flea market find respectively, all I was wearing that day was bought brand new.
The rust coloured faux-suede paperbag waist skirt was a sales bargain, bought at 70% off in January 2022, while the blue blouse with its purple stripy print, from the defunct Belgian Wow To Go label, was snapped up from an outlet shop back in November. Finally, the zebra striped belt was a cheeky retail buy a couple of years ago. One of my favourites, it has definitely earned its place in my wardrobe by now!
I was happy to see that several of the dwarf Irises (Iris reticulata) whose bulbs I tucked into the kitchen window box at the end of December had decided to show their pretty little faces. I swear that only days ago, there wasn't even a flower bud to be spied. Aren't they absolutely gorgeous?
Friday saw a repeat of Thursday's gorgeous weather, and in spite of the fact that a light layer of cloud briefly obscured the sun once or twice, the mercury effortlessly climbed to 17°C.
I was raring to go outside and into the garden to make a start with the gargantuan task of spring-cleaning our little plot. So far, the weather and my mood - but mostly the weather! - had conspired against doing anything but the very bare necessities. It hasn't really helped that the little paved courtyard at the back of our garden is looking like a junkyard of garden waste bags and discarded pots, hastily moved there when our neighbour started work on the infamous wall.
I chose to ignore the latter for now, and cut back, pruned and filled up our compost bin with garden waste for the better part of two hours.
In spite of the self-confessed neglect, our garden is slowly but surely coming to life, with new green shoots seemingly appearing overnight. Our ancient Spirea shrub, planted in our first Spring at Dove Cottage, is full of tiny flower buds (above, top right). And I couldn't believe my eyes when I spotted several Snakeshead Fritillaries (Fritillaria meleagris, bottom left) about to burst into flower. Only one Daffodil though ...
Task finished, I changed out of my gardening gear and into this dotty Diolen delight. An old Think Twice bargain, I was surprised to find I hadn't worn it at all last year. A big mistake, surely, as with its joyous multi-coloured dots it's the perfect mood booster on the gloomiest of days!
I paid tribute to the green dots with my opaques, ring and carved heart brooch, the latter bought in Cardigan on one of our last Welsh holidays. My pink, charity shopped, beaded necklace matched the pink dots exactly.
Of course, no Friday would be complete without a rummage at the charity shops, so that was our afternoon sorted.
Our first stop was at the Oxfam shop in Wilrijk, which isn't on one of our regular charity shop itineraries, and therefore often forgotten about. In fact, our last visit dated from October.
I ummed and ahed about a chambray skirt and a chunky aqua long-line cardigan, both of which were put back on the rails.
But then I spotted this coat! And no, I definitely don't need another coat, nor do I usually like Desigual very much. But what can I say? I fell head over heels and even more so when I tried it on and it turned out to be a perfect fit. What's more, it was on the half-price rail, so I couldn't hand over its € 15 asking price fast enough.
Next, I took pity on this snakeskin bag. It's not in the best of conditions, but it's the real thing, and I couldn't bear thinking of what would happen to it if I didn't take it home. I happily paid € 8 for this.
At our most local charity shop, I purchased this handmade fluted navy and green pin-striped midi skirt. I couldn't get it to look right in my photos, as neither my phone's camera nor my Sony Cybershot seemed to be up to the job, particularly on the gloomy Saturday morning I tackled the task. It does look quite a bit greener in real life.
A dark red belt, Gustav Klimt spectacles case and gold-tone and faux tortoiseshell chain belt landed in my trolley as well. They are displayed on a tartan garment, which I couldn't get Angelica to pose for you. No fear, though, I will do the job myself in my next post ...
My final purchase was plucked from the bookshelves: The Gardens of Emily Dickinson by Judith Farr.
The book highlights the poet's passion for gardening. As I love both her poetry and gardening, this will be a book to regularly dip into.
* Post title taken from Emily's Dickinson's poem Snowdrops in Spring
Today it felt like spring. I mean really spring. :-) I hope to be able to pack aside the many cardigans and go along with lighter sweaters. Pink it is actually ... Have a nice rest of the week.ReplyDelete
We haven't had any real Spring days yet, so no chance of packing away the cardigans ;-) xxxDelete
I'm not a fan of Desigual either but indeed this coat is stunning. Bargain! We had a fabulous warm weekend last weekend....... but I didn't even spend a minute outside as I had other things that needed to be done. Horrible right. But the garden is getting greener and greener. Oh boy, how I love that. Better times at coming Ann! And now I'm off to get Jack out of my plants.....pfff, the energy of a kitten....ReplyDelete
Oh what a shame you weren't able to spend those warm days outside ... and oh dear, Jack really sounds like a handful :-) xxxDelete
That first picture is a killer! And I like the skirt in the second photo. By the way, if we lived closer, I'd steal the dot dress from your closet when you weren't looking. :)ReplyDelete
Thanks Ally! If you were living closer, I'd probably have to put that dress under lock and key :-) xxxDelete
I'm utterly mesmerised by Bess's beautiful eyes, what a wonderful photo!ReplyDelete
I love those mini irises. Jon did some garden tidying whilst i was out gallivanting this week. I find it hard to muster up much interest until I can walk around barefoot!
All three of your outfits are fabulous - the cheery spots, the chevron midi and the groovy Aston Villa team colour blouse. Splendid chazza finds - the snakeskin bag, the Klimt spex case and that coat's going to look amazing on, I can't wait to see it worn.
I've never read any Alice Hoffman books but if Jodi Picoult thinks they're good then I'd probably enjoy them.
After reaching the balmy heights of 13°C this week our weather's expected to nose dive at the weekend, a sure sign it's Spring! xxx
I wish I could get Jos to do some garden tidying while I'm at work, but then again, I'd rather be there to supervise him :-) The coat has hardly been off my back in the meantime! xxxDelete
How lovely are those irises! I've just planted fritillary bulbs; they probably won't flower but what the heck. I loved all your outfits especially the fabulously spotted number; definitely a mood lifter.ReplyDelete
What an amazing coat. No wonder you snapped it up. I also loved your skirt, bag and the Gustav Klimt spectacle case.
I'd read nearly all the Alice Hoffman books you'd listed but I stopped reading her a long time ago; I didn't really get on with the magical realism - too much of a good thing if you know what I mean.
Hope those balmy temperatures remain; it was 16 degrees here today but now cold and wet...
I planted lots of fritillary bulbs a couple of years ago, but most of them didn't do anything. Then I did buy a flowering plant during Lockdown, and that one keeps coming up every year! xxxDelete
We are still at least a month out from anything starting to bloom. I love spirea, always have though it seems to have fallen out of popularity for some reason.ReplyDelete
The Desigual coat is beautiful. I really do love the brand, but have only ever found two dresses.
Is that you Goody? I know you've got some Desigual dresses. As for Spirea, I know, it does seem to have fallen out of popularity. Admittedly, it only looks nice for a couple of weeks in Spring ... xxxDelete
Awwwwwhhh Ann, I am totaly in love with you in this polka dot dress. 💕 Very trendy, you remember Yayoi Kusama?! ☺️ Now spring can come.😁 with a huge hug TinaReplyDelete
Thank you Tina, and you are "spot" on, I hadn't even thought about that! xxxDelete
gargantuan task? ;-DDDDReplyDelete
since a week i do work on our 700m2 and only made it half thru.... but its the best work i know. my muscles are growing, the lungs get wide and i even got a little sunburn on my nose! total bliss.
the dotted dress is a big cheering up - and i love the carved brooch and the red&white daisy one too......
give bess a big cuddle! xxxx
I love to exaggerate, but we're so behind with our garden it actually feels gargantuan :-) xxxDelete
Hello! New here...ReplyDelete
I Love your clothes! Reminds me of the 1970's...I love thrift stores and old jewelry.
Especially, love Bess! Too sweet and gorgeous eyes. I'll be back!
Hello, and welcome to my blog Donna! xxxDelete
Bess's eyes are totally hypnotic - no wonder you are under her spell!ReplyDelete
Love the William Morris bed set and all of your outfits this week, especially the spotty one and I think your faux tortoiseshell chain will be very wearable.
Irises are just so exotic looking aren't they? I prefer the dark purple ones. Gorgeous!
We're off to Wales this weekend. Unusually, the weather looks better there that at home! Have a good one! xxx
Thanks Claire, and yes, we're definitely under Bess's spell. Rather envious of your trip to Wales ... xxxDelete
In the first picture the blue eyes of Bess and your tights, a painter could not have depicted it better :-))ReplyDelete
I love your new coat and colorful polka dot dress... lovely.
Lots of love to you. I wish you a happy weekend Ann.
Thank you Viola! The matching eyes and tights mesmerized me, so I just had to take a picture! xxxDelete
Just adore that lead-off image. That eyeglass case would be a good resale on eBay.ReplyDelete
Thank you Tami, but I think I'd keep the eyeglass case :-) xxxDelete
I've been saving this post for a few days so I could do it justice and savour it. It is an absolute delight. Look at the love in Bess's eyes as she looks up at you, what a sweetie. And the clothes, my word. That Diolen dotty dress is an absolute knockout. I'm just going to log in to my local library and order some Alice Hoffman books, thank you for bringing her to my attention. Have a wonderful weekend.ReplyDelete
What a lovely comment, Jean! The love between Bess and me/us in definitely mutual, but I tend to think she is being grateful we rescued her from the animal shelter! I do hope you like Alice Hoffman! xxxDelete
Sometimes, a nap is needed! It sounds like you had a wonderful rest of the evening...and with good company! Love the browns and blues combined together. What a gorgeous outfit! It's a shame that the Alice Hoffman book you read didn't grip you in the same way some of her others have. It happens sometimes, but is still disappointing. How wonderful that you were able to do some gardening. Everything looks really gorgeous! The snakeskin purse looks beautiful, even if it isn't in the best condition. Definitely a lovely piece!ReplyDelete
the creation of beauty is art.
Thank you Shannon, I just couldn't leave that snakeskin purse behind, even if I might only display it! xxxDelete
A most enjoyable post - thank you. Your capture of Bess' eye is wonderfulReplyDelete
Thank you Janice! I often have to restrain myself, as Bess is so photographable! xxxDelete
I always like how colourful your outfits are and how you have fun with print mixing too - that zebra print belt with the purple striped blue shirt is just the perfect combo! You got some real bargains when shopping too! :)ReplyDelete
Thank you Mica, pattern mixing is so much fun! xxxDelete
What a great find that coat and snakeskin bag are! I would've bought them too. I also love your tan and blue cardigan although to my eyes, it looks wonderfully purple. Happy to visit you through a blog post and see you're doing well. XReplyDelete
Thank you Jess, and I'm sure you would have bought them too :-) And there's definitely a hint of purple in there! xxxDelete
Your outfits are so perfect for Spring. The explosion of colour is stunning. The dress with the colourful polka dots is a dream.ReplyDelete
Lovely photos too!
I love Emily's writing style, it's so unique! It is always easy to tell it is her writing.
Bessy is a beauty.
Thank you Ivana! There is definitely something poignant about Emily Dickinson's poetry, isn't there? xxxDelete
Your dotted dress captures my heart, Ann - it's so immensely cheery! I am agog at that fabulous black and white Desigual coat - that's one of their older ones (c. 2010) - if the label has a little gold man's head, then it's one of their Christian Lacroix designs. You got a bargain regardless - their good coats retailed for around $400 and up back in 2010-ish.ReplyDelete
Love the pic of Bess sprawled on your legs (we call that "puddle of cat") and she is totally owning that bed!
Thank you Sheila! I did look out a little gold man's head on the label, but it's not there ... I still love the coat, though, and it has hardly been off my back! xxxDelete
Wow, Bess!! What beguiling blue eyes you have!ReplyDelete
I adore your neglected spotty dress- it is so cheerful! Love it!
Your Welsh brooch is a pretty one! I'll bet Sheila will be all over your Designuals coat- it's definitely her vibe! Your garden blooms are a joy! X
Thanks Kezzie and yes, Sheila was all over that coat! xxxDelete
I am glad the bed was made to beautiful Bess' satisfaction Ann! Loving your chocolatey stripey get up. Those irises are lovely, especially placed next to the pretty blue tea pot. Looks like you had a jolly good chazza rummage. Enjoy your poetry book xXxReplyDelete
Thank you Lulu! Such a shame those Irises didn't last longer though ... xxxDelete
Totally understand that you fell in love with that bedcover at Ikea, really lovely William Morris print! (glad Bess approved!)ReplyDelete
I'm in love with your outfits, the colours and accessorizing are particularly fabulous. My favourite one is that dotty Diolen delight, wow, totally my kind of print!.
I've noted the titles of those books by Alice Hoffman, as I enjoyed the movie, and I'm in the hunt for something to read these days!
Thank you Monica, I hope you'll enjoy Alice Hoffmann xxxDelete