Saturday 18 May 2024

I spy with my sore little eye ...

... something beginning with double H: a holiday on the horizon! 

It truly beggars belief that in just three weeks' time to the day, we'll be spending our first evening in our Shropshire cowshed! It feels like time is slipping through my fingers, though, as I've still got a million things to do before we leave, both at the office and at home. Lists to make and tick off, instructions to leave, decisions to make: you know the drill. Not even my three-day weekends and the bonus 4-day ones we are lucky enough to have in the month of May seem to hold enough hours to fit it all in. 

Just having had what I can only describe as a week from hell hasn't exactly been helpful either. To cut a long story short: I've recently been prescribed stronger eye drops for the glaucoma in my left eye, which initially left me with a slight headache and a dry, sore and itchy eye. On top of that, I developed a whopper of a stye in the same eye. Not related according to my doctor, but very painful and exhausting nonetheless, so that blogging once again ended up on the back burner.

Now that things have somewhat settled, and I can see more or less clearly once more, it's time for another little catch-up. So, please do hop on for a short ride in the time machine back to the first days of this month. 

The 1st of May is Labour Day and a public holiday in Belgium, and obviously an extra day off in the middle of the week is always welcome! Thankfully, the sun didn't take the day off as well. In fact, after a false start due to lots of overnight rain, she went the extra mile by cranking up the thermostat to 24°C.

I built that day's outfit around a vintage C&A skirt I fell in love with at Think Twice the day before. Isn't its navy cotton fabric dotted with tiny posies of multicoloured flowers delicious? Not to mention its two double zig-zag rows of orange stitching! It's to the latter that I matched my short-sleeved V-neck jumper which, together with the stretchy belt with its massive buckle, were the only items bought brand new on the high street.

I opted for navy for the rest of my accessories, which included a charity shopped bracelet, necklace, chunky glass ring and genuine 1970s watch strap, as well as a brooch found recently at the indoor flea market.

After sleeping in, having a leisurely breakfast and a morning of gentle pottering, we had our friends Inneke and Maurice over for a long overdue catch-up.  Inneke was kind enough to bring cake and biscuits and Jos made a pot of freshly ground coffee and, while a lovely afternoon was had by all, not a single photo was taken.

Passing our kitchen window that evening, I swiftly ran back to get my camera and snap the golden daffodils illuminated by the late evening sun.

Seeing that it was my final working day of the week, it wasn't much of a hardship going back to the office on Thursday. 

After a sunny start, clouds starting gathering in the early afternoon and by the time I went home it had cooled down considerably from the day's initial 23°C. We were even treated to a stiff breeze and some light drizzle.

Everything was still hunky-dory when I walked down to the Botanic Garden during lunch break.

It's hard to believe that only the garden's retaining wall separates the woodland path lined with bluebells and wild garlic from a busy inner city street!

I stopped, not to smell the roses, but to admire the variety of bearded Irises, the fragrant bright yellow flowers belonging to King's Spear (Asphodeline lutea) and the flower spikes of the Gunnera near the pond. 

Friday the 3rd of May was another grey and rainy offering from the weather gods on which initially I struggled to assemble an outfit. 

Riffling through a pile of skirts I'd recently unearthed from the suitcase they'd hibernated in, I pulled out this floral midi one in a symphony of blues. The three-quarter sleeved t-shirt turned out to match the darkest of the blues exactly.

Same as the skirt, the orange, red, and burgundy tank top was charity shopped. It's by the Belgian designer Nathalie Vleeschouwer and although I've had it for about two years now, this was its very first outing. 

Red and blue accessories, a mix of high street, charity shop and flea market finds, completed my outfit.
On my feet, a pair of red slouchy Western-style boots. They too followed me home from a charity shop one day.

For once, we didn't go for a rummage that Friday. Instead, we drove down in the pouring rain to the optician's in the nearby town of Mortsel. Our mission: to choose a new pair of sunglasses for me. As one does on a rainy day! Pictures will follow in due time.

The sun finally got a look in that evening, which was much appreciated by the lovely Art Deco which lives on our bedroom's mantelpiece!

We were up bright and early on Saturday, as we had a wedding to attend: after having been together for over 12 years, Jos's son Kris and his partner Carolien had decided to tie the knot!

Before we go, let's have a look at our outfits! Neither Jos nor yours truly had bought anything new (or even new-to-us) for the event: everything was shopped from our wardrobes, as they say. In fact, both our outfits were Friday's spur of the moment decisions.

My green floral dress was a sales bargain from H&M many years ago, while the belt was picked up in the Mango sales in the Summer of 2022. The blazer is Zara, found in a charity shop in Welshpool back in 2019, while my beloved green suede ankle boots came from a local charity shop.

Jos was wearing a pair of trousers and a floral shirt from C&A. His blazer is part of a suit which has been in his wardrobe for well over 10 years. The green suede shoes were bought in the Shrewsbury branch of Clarks last June. Last but not least, his waistcoat was a gift from Vix & Jon. 

The civil ceremony was taking place in the old town hall of the village next to ours. Built in the typical neo-Renaissance style and dating from 1912, it has been a protected village landmark since 1983. Nowadays, it is mainly used for wedding ceremonies and wedding anniversary events.

Some introductions as we were waiting to go in: next to Jos, his eldest daughter, Els, with next to her, Carolien and Kris and their soon-to-be three-year-old son Cas.

Here's the happy couple during and after the ceremony, with Cas very much in attendance!

Afterwards, we walked to Hof ter Linden with its crumbling castle, as the wedding lunch was taking place in one of the coach houses flanking the courtyard. The perfect place for wedding photos, although the official photographer seemed to think otherwise. 

Who wouldn't want to pose next to those haughty sphinxes, I wonder?

Having arrived in the courtyard, I grabbed the rarest of opportunities to get all three of Jos's elder grandchildren in one photo. To the left of their dad, Tom - the one with the guitar, and husband of Els - is granddaughter Saar. Between the boys Warre (left) and Rik (right), is Warre's girlfriend Sarah. 

If you are wondering about the guitar, the family had prepared a little song for the bride and groom!

The weather gods had been on their best behaviour until then, allowing us to have pre-lunch drinks on the terrace, but decided that enough was enough half-way through lunch.

Thankfully, there was a lull between showers in the late afternoon, as we hadn't had the forethought to bring an umbrella. Son-in-law Tom snapped the below photo of us as we were walking in front of them along the cobbled linden-lined avenue back to the village and our car.

No rest for the wicked on Sunday, as we had the May edition of the indoor flea market to go to.

In contrast to the rest of the weekend, it was mostly sunny that day, which made the mercury climb to a reasonable 18°C.

The outfit I picked for the day's outing was almost entirely charity shopped, except for the green stretchy belt, which came from a fast fashion shop I won't name.

The maxi skirt with its groovilicious pattern is vintage and was a lucky find about 2 years ago. It even joined me on our Shropshire holiday in June 2022 (here).

The floaty floral bell-sleeved blouse is by Vero Moda and picked up the pinks and reds in the skirt's pattern. In its turn, the green of the blouse was echoed by the belt and the greenish-grey necklace charity shopped in Poperinge in September 2019. I can't remember which shop the red cat brooch came from nor when I found it. I was wearing the same green suede ankle boots I wore to the wedding.

Now, onto the flea market! As usual at this time of year, there weren't quite as many stalls, and some of our favourite sellers had given it a miss.  I was also feeling tired and not really in the mood.

Consequently, finds were few and far between, but I still managed to add to my brooch collection.

There seemed to be a green theme going on! Which one is your favourite?



  1. I hope your eye is better now.
    What a lovely wedding party. It's a rare opportunity to get everyone together.
    My favourite brooches are in the order you photographed them!

  2. Ik ben verliefd op de rood-blauwe combinatie (hoe kan het ook anders?🫣). De top van Nathalie De Vleesschauwer past perfect bij de bloemenrok! 💖

  3. I’m sorry to hear about your eye. What a pain! Luckily, there was a wedding to attend. Congratulations! I think you chose your clothing very well! Have a nice Sunday! xxx Regula

  4. Remember to take care of yourself during this busy and stressful time. It's okay to ask for help or to take breaks when needed. Hopefully, things will start to feel more manageable soon, and you'll be able to enjoy your new home in Shropshire without these added challenges weighing you down. Take care!

  5. fabulous outfits for the wedding - sounds like a wonderful day with family!
    and a holiday is in sight again! poor lass ;-DDDD
    speaking of sight - take care!

  6. The first outfit is my fav. Less is more and that one hits the mark.

  7. The C&A skirt you built your first look around is fabulous.
    I really like the finished look, it's so put together.
    The second styling is really pretty too, I love a mix of blue and red. The red and orange top is tres chic. Orange, blue and red...simply perfect. You look fantastic!

    Wedding at sight! First of all, congrats to both of you!!!
    To tie the knot is always a big thing, after 12 years or less.

    I love the outfit you both wore. The photos from the wedding are so lovely to see. It looks like it was fun.

    The final styling is very bohemian and art deco, I love it!

    1. P.S. I hope your eye is better now. Keep us posted.

  8. Oh that's a lovely wedding! If i would ever get married i would do it like that! Congratulations to the couple. Isn't it exciting to go to Shropshire in a few weeks! We just got back and had again a amazing time. It just feels like home, it feels more at home then home..... enjoy your long weekend!

  9. Thank you for the beautiful wedding photos. The small castle is beautiful for the celebration. Such beautiful family photos. Your outfit is very romantic with all the flowers. I like it very much. The picture of you in the avenue is great, even if you are very far away.
    I wish you a speedy recovery for your eyes. A huge hug Tina

  10. Oh! A wedding! How wonderful for them...You and Jos looked great!
    My favorite is the orange and blue...and the last romantic look...SO prety!

  11. So sorry to hear about your eye problems, all sounds very uncomfortable. Your up coming Shropshire holiday will make you feel better I hope. The wedding looked very simple and sweet, love your outfit, especially the jacket, which suited you well.

  12. Sending congratulations to Kris and Carolien! What a beautiful and classy celebration. You and Jos looked absolutely splendid (so glad the waistcoat came in handy!), no naff last minute wedding outfits for you stylish pair!
    This year has been the year of the eye, hasn't it? I'm so sorry about the medication and the stye (horrid thing!)
    The moody sky with the daffs is a stunning photo. Your garden looks so colourful and pretty - as do your amazing outfits, that C&A skirt especially (swoon!)
    I'm so excited about your holiday, it's felt like ages and ages away and all of a sudden it's almost here! xxx

  13. I'm sorry you've been suffering with your eye, but relieved to know that things have improved.
    Congratulations to Kris and Carolien! You both looked lovely and that waistcoat is very smart! It's a shame the official photographer didn't want to explore the castle grounds a little.
    Love the orange top (such a mood lift of a colour), funky maxi skirt, your gorgeous Art Deco figurine and the sunset garden photo.
    It sounds like you really need this holiday! So looking forward to seeing you both. xxx

  14. Glad to hear your eye has improved and that you're feeling better. You do look good in skirts especially with fitted tops. The navy skirt with the tiny posies of flowers was lovely and I loved the blue floral skirt with the red top. Can't believe you'd had it for 2 years and not worn it! Fab vintage maxi; what a great find.

    I loved your wedding outfit and Jos' too. The photo of you both walking down the avenue of lime trees is marvellous; perfect symmetry.

    It's not too long to go until your holiday; I know you're going to have an amazing time. I pray the weather is good for you.

  15. Hope your eye is feeling better now, Ann!

    I like shopping my closet for special occasions too. X

  16. Glad to hear your eyes are better!, that kind of ailments are so annoying!
    Looking lovely in that navy & orange ensemble, love that skirt with orange seams!, so great accessorizing!. Also loving that red pullover and blue floral skirt and that brooch!. And that last outfit is so Decó style, love that blouse!
    Sending congrats to the happy couple!, so beautiful celebration!. Your wedding oufits are really fantastic!, love that you shopped in your own wardrobes!. Looking fab in floral prints! and Jos' waistcoat rocks!
    Glad that your holidays are coming soon, my own holiday had to be posponed this year, due to Mr.A's timetable at work. Who knows when we can take a break!
    I miss my usual english holiday, so I'm looking forward to reading about your Shropshire adventure.

  17. Sorry to hear you have had eye problems but glad they are improving!
    So lovely to see Jos' grandchildren and how lovely they got married after a good long while together!
    You looked lovely as did Jos! I LOVE that waistcoat!
    The new skirt is beautiful- I would have FOUGHT You for it!
    So happy you will be having a Shropshire holiday! I wish it were nearer to me! Would be lovely to see you in the UK!xx

  18. Nothing better than a holiday to look forward to! I know you will have a wonderful time, even though there is lots to do beforehand. Fingers crossed you get it all done with ease! I am so sorry to hear about your week from hell and the stronger eyedrops. Ugh. That sounds so frustrating. I'm glad things are more settled now.

    How nice to have an extra day off in the middle of the week! And that is was sunny and all! I just love the outfit you wore. All of the flowers shown are so beautiful. You capture nature so well! How nice that you were able to attend a wedding. I love what you wore! It looks like there was a really great ceremony and lunch afterward. Also, I love the additions to your brooch collection!

    the creation of beauty is art.

  19. Hello Ann, sorry to hear of the eye troubles but good to hear it is better now. Congratulations to Kris & Carolien, a beautiful looking ceremony in an incredible town hall! You all look wonderful xXx

  20. Oh, your poor eye, Ann! I hope it's doing better! And I hope your holiday (which I calculate is happening very soon!) is all you hope it will be.

    Thank you for sharing the lovely pictures of Jos' family and the wedding! I love what you and Jos wore.