Friday 7 June 2024

This, that, and the other

We've come to the end of June's first week and, this being the week before our UK holiday, there were quite a few hurdles to jump. I won't bore you with the details but suffice to say that I could have done without these last-minute issues. Anyway, all is done now, I've come out the other side unscathed and I'm raring to go. 

Our bags are packed and as always I'm taking far too many clothes, adding one item and then the other just in case. Travelling light will never be my forte, and as we are travelling by car, why the hell should it be? After all, years of experience have taught me that, bar frost and snow, there's every kind of weather to take into account when travelling to the UK in June.

Before we're off, however, I've got a bit of a catch up for you. So, let's travel back to the month of May once more, and to Sunday the 19th in particular.

After a dismal start to the day, the sun finally graced us with her presence in the afternoon, pushing the temperature into the low twenties. Too good to be wasted inside, we decided on a short walk in Duffel park. A very short walk, it turned out to be, as quite a few of the paths were closed off while a connecting rill between the park's various ponds is being dug.

I was wearing a button-through skirt by Monki, which I'd found in a charity shop on Saturday. Its companion, a blue and white patterned short-sleeved cotton jumper, was a charity shop find as well but has been living with me for several years. It's a real wardrobe staple, especially at this tricky time of year, and I'm taking it with me on holiday as usual. Don't be fooled by the buttons on the back, though: they are fake and for decoration only!

The green squirrel brooch is modern, found in a quirky little shop near my office, while it were yet again the charity shops which delivered my belt and necklace.

We wandered into the direction of the castle ruin but found the path around the moat a semi-flooded mud fest, so that there was nothing for it but to turn back the way we'd come. 

As a result of all the rain, the park's vegetation was the lushest we'd ever seen. We delighted in the lawns crowded with a carpet of daisies and the cheerful yellow flag Irises lining the brook.

The Monki skirt wasn't the only thing which had landed in my charity shop basket the other day!

The geometrically patterned three-quarter sleeved top - also part of my holiday wardrobe - is by the defunct Belgian Wow To Go label, while the floral dress is by its little sister Who's That Girl. 

My final find, the linen-blend midi skirt with its eye-catching exotic flower pattern is by Anonyme Designers, which apparently is an Italian brand.

The rest of the day - and part of the next, which was Whitsun Monday, and thus another bank holiday - was spent engrossed in my latest read. 

I found Emma Donoghue's The Pull of the Stars quite unputdownable.

In spite of its sunny spells and moderate 19°C, most of Whitsun Monday was devoted to going through my flea market boxes in preparation for the event which as usual will be taking place in July. 

I even climbed a stepladder to have a look into the suitcase which is living on top of my main wardrobe. I'd quite forgotten the existence of most of the stuff that was in there, which I presume are the remnants of the last pre-Covid flea market in 2019. And while the majority of the suitcase's contents will end up on my stall in July, I couldn't resist putting a fabulous denim jumpsuit back in my wardrobe! My mind boggles as to why I was thinking of getting rid of it!

What with the bank holiday, May's penultimate working week was a short one.

With time to spare before I was due back at the office during one of my lunch breaks, I wandered into a shop on the high street. Here, my eyes instantly zoomed in to a spectacular brooch which couldn't have been more me. Taking it to the till, the lovely shop assistant told me it was a one-off, and she had been wondering who would end up buying it. She was intrigued when I told her about my brooch collection and was completely bowled over when I showed her some photos on my blog. We ended up chatting until the next customer arrived at the till.

Friday was an utterly miserable day with torrential rain from late morning onwards. As I had an appointment at my hairdresser for a colour and cut, we drove to Antwerp, where Jos ran an errand while I was relaxing at the salon feeling like a lady of leisure. What a luxury to be able to do this on a Friday instead of during an extended lunch break and then have to rush back to the office!

The non-stop rain made us ditch our plans for the afternoon and make our way back home after we'd lunched instead.

A quick set of outfit photos were made when the rainclouds were taking a breather. There's nothing here you haven't seen before and apart from the belt and the boring black ankle boots, everything was found either at Think Twice, the charity shops or the flea market.

Initially there wasn't much improvement in the weather on Saturday but thankfully the rainclouds had upped and left by mid-afternoon. Just in time for grandson Cas's 3rd birthday party!

I was determined to give the frilly floral blouse I'd picked up at the vintage per kilo shop the other week its first outing, and in fact I'd already mentally selected a skirt as its companion. As it turned out it needed ironing, I opted for this faux leather snake print skirt instead. It's by posh Belgian label Caroline Biss, charity shopped at the silly price of € 5,90 back in November.

Admittedly, the vintage flower brooch I pinned to the blouse might have gotten a big lost among its floral extravaganza, but although I doubt that snakes and tigers would get along in real life, I thought the tiger eye pendant was the perfect choice.

One of my stretchy belts, a pale yellow glass ring and a pair of tan calf-length boots completed my outfit.

The month's final week was another uneventful one. That is, until my colleague happened to look out the window on Wednesday afternoon and spotted King Kong climbing up the Art Deco tower building which is our opposite neighbour. Antwerp might not be New York and the Boerentoren (Farmer's Tower) a far cry from the Empire State Building, whoever thought of this gimmick definitely got the decade right, as our very own tower building, the first one in Europe, was completed in 1931.

Sadly, it was only a temporary thing, and part of a three-day event called Antwerp on Air, during which Antwerp's main shopping thoroughfare would be decorated with several inflatable animals, including a giant squid (above). None of them were as impressive as King Kong, though!

Now, how about some more outfits? 

On Thursday I wore a vintage faux patchwork vintage frock, accessorized with a charity shopped green and turquoise flower brooch, an orange beaded necklace picked up in an antiques emporium in Newcastle Emlyn, Wales, an orange stretchy belt with a massive buckle and a pair of turquoise suede shoes from Think Twice.

Friday's outfit consisted of a red, orange, navy and tan patterned vintage skirt (charity shopped) worn with a navy sailor-style jumper from Who's That Girl, bought brand new back in the mists of time.

To tie in with the orange bits in my skirt, I selected an orange cat brooch (Katshop), an orange plastic ring (flea market) and a necklace from a long-gone vintage shop. The stretchy belt with its square buckle was found on the high street.

We took another bag of donations to the charity shop and came back with a couple of things, including a couple of books and this gorgeous blue embroidered open work King Louie cardigan. At a mere € 5,90, which is the regular price for cardigans in this particular shop, it was a no-brainer. Again, somebody hadn't done his or her homework by neglecting to put it on the posh label rail where it would have commanded a much higher price.

I spent a good chunk of Saturday assembling my travel wardrobe and doing some other holiday prep, completely forgetting to make outfit photos. I can't for the life of me remember what I wore that day.

Sunday - we were the 2nd of June by now - had been forecasted as the best day of the weekend. However, it was quite windy and there was a distinct lack of sunshine until late afternoon.

We drove down to Middelheim for a head-clearing walk and I almost instantly regretted my choice of jacket and the fact that I hadn't grabbed a scarf from our hallstand the minute I got out of the car.

We entered the park through the famous Artist's Entrance (see here) and made our way towards what we thought were the beginnings of a new playground, consisting of a huge orange zig-zag frame with two triple swings. 

This, of course, turned out to be a work of art, called One Two Three Swing! It's part of COME CLOSER, Middelheim's Summer Exhibition, which is running from 7 June until 29 September.

Which means it is actually opening today, although our visit dates from a week ago on Sunday. 

As luck would have it, we were able to see a kind of première of the installation called A Retrospective View of the Pathway. It consists of foam that rises from two giant tubs and engulfs the viewer depending on the wind. Its creator, Roger Hiorns (b. 1975, Birmingham, UK)  studied at Goldsmiths College in the mid-1990s and now lives and works in London.

The artwork I'm posing in front of is actually inflatable! It's by the Polish artist Zuzanna Czebatul (°1986) and called - wait for it -  Macromolecule Exploiting some Biological Target.

Obviously, we will go back and have a proper look at the exhibition in the Summer months.

But first things first: tomorrow we'll be up at silly o'clock to start our UK adventure.

See you on the other side!


  1. Can you hear me squealing with excitement?
    That King Kong made me laugh out loud when you sent me a photo. Antwerp on Air is inspired, what a trippy sight those tails make.
    I love that A Retrospective View of the Pathway was created by a Brummie, he must have been inspired by some of our locals who live to empty bottle of washing up liquid in the municipal fountains.
    Some lovely outfits especially the blue ensemble, which looks so fresh and Springlike and the floral ruffled blouse which I'd happily steal from you. that's not to say everything else isn't gorgeous, too.
    That brooch is amazing and I adore the print on the Italian skirt!
    Pull of the Stars! I read that on the beach in Corfu in July, 2022 - absolutely magical.
    Safe travels to you both...see you VERY soon! xxx

    1. Yes, I could hear you and I was actually squealing in return! I can't believe it'll soon be one month ago! xxx

  2. It makes sense to pack more if you're travelling by car. As you say- why not? My husband always basically says the same thing when we go anywhere by car. He says- we're not carrying it on our backs. And he has a point, doesn't he?

    Anyway, I hope you'll enjoy your holiday in UK. I don't know when it comes to UK but I learned that when it comes to spring, any kind of weather can be expected.

    The giant inflatables are adorable. I love the squid poking out of the windows of the building. The King Kong is very impressive, too.

    The Pull of the Stars book looks interesting. I looked it up and it looks interesting...with the historical events described and all.

    I love your outfits. My favourite is the all blue styling.

    That button-through skirt is gorgeous and the blue and white patterned jumper is adorable as well. The green squirrel brooch is very pretty too.

    The girl brooch you showcased is so artistic.

    Have a lovely weekend!

    1. Your husband is very wise indeed: Jos says exactly the same. And we did indeed have all kinds of weather, although a bit too cold for the time of year! xxx

  3. have a good and save travel!
    i´m exited by the new objects in the sculpture park!! very cool art!
    and you created some chic outfits - love them all.....
    i´m glad you was´t kidnapped by king kong ;-DDD
    hugs! xxx

    1. We'll definitely have to go back and check out the new art now that the exhibition is fully open. I'll report back! xxx

  4. King Kong must have caused quite a stir!
    I love your bright brooch - what fun.
    Enjoy your holiday in UK - I hope the sun shines for you;-)

    1. King Kong was by far the best of the bunch. I was sad to see him go after a couple of days! xxx

  5. The King Louie cardi is a real gem. Love the sculptures especially King Kong climbing up that fab Art Deco building.
    I hope that you both enjoy your holidays.
    As for snow in June, it did once but that was back in the early 70's. It hasn't happened again.

  6. I chuckled at your trip preparation. Long ago someone wise advised me on the same subject: "Take half the clothes you think you'll need and twice as much money." :)

    1. In spite of my preparations, I still didn't have enough cold weather clothes and as the shops were full of Summer stuff, money didn't get me anywhere ;-) xxx

  7. Have a great holiday. I'll look forward to hearing about it when you return.

  8. I'm loving the inflatable art, both city and Middelheim! I wish King Kong would scale a building in Kingswinford, but I suspect I'm in for a long wait!
    I had to smile when I read that you rescued the denim jumpsuit from the charity shop bag. I do that all the time.
    Saturday's and Friday's outfits are my favourites this week, although you always look super stylish and that one of a kind brooch was meant for you!
    If you're reading this, I hope it's a little bit warmer in Shropshire. I've been forced to put the heating on! xxx

    1. I'm glad I'm not the only one forever rescuing things from the charity hop bag. I'll be making a start with preparing for the flea market this weekend and I'm wondering how much stuff will end up back in my wardrobe! xxx

  9. King Kong is der Hammer! ☺️ Happy holiday Ann and Jos.
    a huge hug Tina

    1. Sadly, he was only there for a couple of days! xxx

  10. Fab outfits and some great charity shop finds. Loved the King Kong and the the squid tails; I bet you got a shock when you first saw King Kong climbing up your tower...have a brilliant time in the UK.

    1. Thanks Vronni! I instantly loved King Kong and was sad to see him go! xxx

  11. How exciting to go to England. We have been a few weeks ago, and I was looking at photos from last year, and felt homesick again. I really Need to live there Ann. Have a fabulous time! Love your first outfit, especially the top. And the giant squid looks fabulous! How funny!

  12. Have a fun holiday! I love the blue & black as well as the black & green outfits! SO pretty!
    Love the serpent's tails and the fun King Kong...wonderful!

    1. Thank you Donna! We did have a fun - but rather cold - holiday! xxx

  13. Wow, I love the inflatable art gracing the old buildings, how fun is that?? You have such a good eye for patterns, drooling over several of your funky purchases. That brooch was made for YOU! It looks like you!

    Enjoy your holiday! Sorry for my absence - I've been on "vacation brain" and just getting caught up!

    1. Thank you Sheila and no need to apologize for your absence! xxx

  14. It is always so frustrating when there are last minute issues before a holiday! I really don't know how some people travel light. It seems an impossible task! I hope you have the best time.

    So glad you experienced some sun! That short sleeved cotton jumper is so beautiful! I just love the colour. It's so wonderful that you were able to make time to read a good book. Those days are the best! WOAH that brooch is incredible. What a great find!

    Ha! King Kong climbing the building would certainly be an unexpected sight! I love the giant squid, too. How fun! You always seem to find the most incredible things!

    the creation of beauty is art.

    1. I'm glad I'm not the only one who has no idea how to travel light ... xxx

  15. So lovely post! Love that first outfit particularly because of the delightful matchiness!. Actually I love everything!, but have a weakness for your Friday's outfit because of that sprinkled colours skirt, so cute!, also lovely faux patchwork dress and that last outfit you wore for a walk in the park (despite missing a scarf!).
    Love that temporary exhibition of inflatable animals in the city, that squid is amazing!. I think this kind of exhibitions make us notice those buildings we see everyday!
    Have a fabulous time in UK, dear Anne!

    1. Thank you so much Monica! We did have a most wonderful and relaxing time! xxx

  16. It sounds like you've had quite the eventful week leading up to your UK holiday! Packing for any trip can be a challenge, especially when you're preparing for unpredictable weather.

    1. Thank you Melody! I think packing for a trip is always a challenge! xxx