Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Flora and fauna

 Floribunda. Many-flowering.

I think that describes my wardrobe pretty well.

Floral prints are an oft-recurring theme.

(And that's not all of them by any means...)

More than stripes, polka dots or checks, abstract, geometric or paisley prints, florals take pride of place. I love them. Small and ditsy, big and blowsy. Stylised, splashy, or subtle, in any colour combination.

I am a floral tart.

This week's selection features chrysanthemums and tulips; whatever the weather, sunshine or dull fog, a floral print will brighten my day.

1980s American-made Katie dress - Ebay
Cape - flea market
Beret, scarf, tights and bangles - charity shopped
Boots - retail
1950s tapestry bag - vintage shop, Birmingham

1970-80s Wallis dress, denim jacket, belt and necklace - charity shopped

The colour palette is similar in both of these outfits, and while I don't think of myself as drawn to soft heathery shades, I think the cape and faded denim work rather well against the prints and my hair.

Get me, being analytical.

 The garden has its share of pretty Spring blooms too.

I helped out on a school trip yesterday, taking seventy 5-6 years olds round the Yorkshire Wildlife Park at Doncaster.

It was a brilliant day; the sun shone, the lions yawned, the tigers snoozed, the giraffes were racing each other, the zebras had a bit of a set-to, the meerkats and marmosets were perky, the capybara looked disdainful, the Amur leopard ignored everyone, and the lemurs made a lot of noise.

And the zookeeper is very fond of rum... 

The kids were great too.

Thank you for all your very sweet comments about my family and in particular my mother.

I will read some out to her over the phone (she doesn't do the internet). She'll be astonished.

She has spent a lifetime believing that she isn't attractive, feeling shy and self-conscious, disliking having her photo taken or being the centre of attention. I was much the same, for far too many years, but life is so much better when you embrace it and challenge those fears.

If I have learned anything from experience (and from all those anxiety management courses I used to facilitate, back in the day), it's this.

By looking upwards and outwards, we focus less on ourselves and how we feel. And if we are less wrapped up in our own anxious thoughts and feelings (or we challenge them) and more engaged with the world around us, we are less self-conscious.

The flora and fauna don't judge anyone; and if people do, well, that's their problem, not yours.




Gracey the Giant said...

I love florals - that Wallis dress is especially lovely - but I don't have nearly as many as you do in my closet. I think I tend towards tropical prints and stripes for some reason.

Emma Kate at Painted Style said...

Well done you. I've given up volunteering on school trips as they always induce stress headaches. I like having one child, not 32.
Your blue cape is beautiful and your boots go with everything. Lets make the most of our boots while the weather is still chilly enough. Don't they say we're headed for a scorcher soon? xxxx

Suzanne Carillo Style Files said...

Words of wisdom to live by.

Lucky you with all the garden in bloom. We are still trying to get rid of our snow here.

I too love florals. I'm a bit of a pattern whore really.

That blue brown and purple dress is SO pretty!

I hope your Mom gets a kick out of the comments. She is a real inspiration.


Tamera Wolfe said...

I am in love with the cape!!!
love seeing the blossoms in you garden!! We are about a month behind
In our spring bursting forth!!

I love both dresses...I'm not a big floral person myself but I'm becoming more of a fan!!!

Vix said...

Too blinking right! Embrace and life and concentrate on having fun. They only people who care whether we look daft or make fools of ourselves are ourselves.
I like the sound of that zoo keeper. Can we go back and snaffle a few of the animals? I have a fondness for capybara after the ones who used to snuffle round the hotel grounds when we were in Brazil.
You have got some wonderful florals stashed in your collection. Love that wild tulip print, it works wonderfully well with the cape and bad ass boots.
It has been bastard freezing today. I reckon those bloggers in ballet flats and skinny jeans are all on drugs.
Love you! xxxxxxxx

señora Allnut said...

fabulous floral prints collection!, and you look gorgeous wearing your pretty dresses in lovely color combo!. You always look great in your jean jacket, it's a great piece and you've inspired me to wear mine more frequently!
Also lovely cape, such a great color and shape!
besos & zoo

Mother of Reinvention said...

I love all those floral prints and your smashing garden. They are really beautiful and cheerful and full of life. Your zoo day sounds utterly brilliant. xx

Lesley Extance said...

Great advice Curtise !, love the floral prints you cannot beat flowers!, love your cape to.
Great post Best wishes xxx

Asparagus Pea said...

Floral art from a floral tart - love the collage, very tonal. The school trip sounds like a good un, we have millions of school kids on trips at work. i have been answering lots of barnyard based enquiries. 'What are those lumps on the back of the pig Miss?' 'Those are his testicles' I say in a loud clear voice...

beate grigutsch said...

both are fab outfits! you look just gorgeous in all that flowers! especially love the cape - can´t have enough of this dramatic pieces.....

Patti said...

I adore these floral prints - I'm always drawn to them for home decor as well as dresses. "The capybara looked disdainful" - don't they always?
Hooray for moving past our fears and insecurities. The world is so full of a number of things, as R.L. Stevenson said. xox

Goody said...

I've never suffered from anxiety, though I've been told I do a good job inducing it in others. I just can't bring myself to care what strangers think of me. Life's short, ya know?

That's a great collection of florals. I do think they are different enough to stand out from each other. Tulip prints are difficult to find-yours is beautiful. I was just thinking the way you laid them out, it looks like the world's best-ever quilt. Not that I'm suggesting you take scissors to your dresses (heaven forbid!) just that they look so nice arranged that way.

Kezzie said...

I absolutely love the way you put an outfit together!!! Fun, quirky but classy!!! You have a real eye for it! Adore that gorgeous Chrysath dress!x

Anonymous said...

I like your dress!!

Helga! said...

Floral tarts of the world UNITE!!!
You are so splendid in your flora, and those funky ass boots!
The chrysanthemums outfit is perfectly casual and so approachable, and the tulips one is such wonderful Winter dressing inspiration for me!!!
The zoo keeper may well be someone I;d hang out with!! I haven't been to a zoo in a pet shop, I avoid them, as I get too emotional over the animals and want to take them all home! Dammit!
Nice bit of advice you end up with...I am taking that on for today, thank you very much!

Autumn said...

Excellent advice!
Fab cape and I particularly like the Wallis dress. Floral tarts forever!

Krista Gassib said...

Flower power! Love your floral montage~ you have some really perky prints. And here we go with your typically beautiful English garden, I love these! What in the world is that burgundy flower? Your tulip dress with cape is pretty stinking cute Curtise and especially your faint lil smirk.

I'm laughing at the zoo keeper and the bit about rum, why does that not surprise me? The day at the zoo sounds like an adventure I'd take in a minute.

Thanks for the reminder to look up and out. I need to hear this now. I'm so in the thick of my Dad's end of life I can barely lift my head. This is the hardest part. I just want to curl up in a ball on my bed and instead I force myself to go for a walk. The cherry trees here are in full bloom. They look like cotton candy clouds. Look up look out.
I love ya~

Fashionista said...

I do so love your outfit posts. I found it funny that your tulip print screamed 80s to me, I didn't like it so much then (possibly because my mother did) but I would rather like it in a wrap dress now ;)

Good on you for going on the school excursions. I always came home totally exhausted with new admiration for teachers, confirming that they are the true heroes and I could NEVER be a teacher.

Angels have Red Hair said...

I'm a little partial to a floral print as well ... and denim and floral are a match made in heaven.
Love your garden ... I wish I could have an English garden.

Fiona said...

Yo Floral Tart, what stonking fritillaries you have there. You obviously know your stuff when it comes to flowers so it makes sense you'd choose to wear them too. It's been quite warm down South, no need for a coat in these parts, but you look a picture in yours. Cripes...rum and wild animals doesn't sound a terribly sensible combination although quite understandable if seventy schoolkids descend on a daily basis. xxxxxxxx

Fiona said...

Yo Floral Tart, what stonking fritillaries you have there. You obviously know your stuff when it comes to flowers so it makes sense you'd choose to wear them too. It's been quite warm down South, no need for a coat in these parts, but you look a picture in yours. Cripes...rum and wild animals doesn't sound a terribly sensible combination although quite understandable if seventy schoolkids descend on a daily basis. xxxxxxxx

Melanie said...

I was never so self-conscious as I was when I wore big bags of black and grey nothingness. You are absolutely right about being outward looking.
Your florals are blooming. YOU are blooming. Such a perfect match. It looks like you painted that tulip-like flower in your garden, bottom right. Stunning.

silvergirl said...

You are definitely the queen of florals

Connie said...

It IS a light and tumble journey, isn't it? Whenever I see one of your posts pop up the Mary Poppins movie song starts playing, "Oh it's a jolly holiday with Curtise. Curtise makes the sun shine bright." Sorry it's not a rock song but it really fits. :-) Oh oh oh. I know....."she comes in colors everywhere. She's like a rainbow." There you go!

Sue said...

You are the best floral tart I have ever seen!!!! And your garden is looking so beautiful, I do love spring colour. You keep brightening up the day in your gorgeous prints!

Val S said...

You are so right about looking outward and not focusing on ourselves. And yet look at us all posting selfies all the time! It's a paradox.

So nice to see Spring in your garden and in your wardrobe. And I agree about the soft blue with those prints - just like the sky against the flowers. Every color goes together.

shah said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Caroline said...

What are you implying about the zookeeper?

I like a good floral print. I spent years avoiding them and have only recently rediscovered them.

Jane and Lance Hattatt said...

Hello Curtise,

Your bouquet of floral prints is simply stunning. They look so very good on you and they are perfect for Spring and Summer when one is so glad to see flowers emerge from their Winter hibernation.

The heather shades do indeed look particularly attractive and work well with the boots and wide belt. You have such an artistic eye for colour combinations and you wear them well.

Yes, it is so important to look the world straight in the eye and believe in oneself. Too many people hide away for fear of rejection and, yet, often when one stands tall it is amazing how one can connect with others and have the most amazing adventures.

Natalia Lialina said...

You are a true marvel! :)
I love this glorious collage of flowers - on your dresses and in your garden! And the story of the animals and the zookeeper. (And I absolutely understand what it means to take 70 kids out on a field trip, been there done that - fun stuff though.) I like the thought of your Mum listening to our comments. I love it how our "real" life connects with our internet life and vice versa. It makes sense to me on a deep level.
You look beautiful in your floral dresses and this new to me cape. And the denim jacket fits you so perfectly!

peaches mcginty said...

Floribunda! blooming great word! your wardrobe is florabundant! you do floral gorgeously and I adore both outfits, similar hues but different looks, the cape is delicious! a rum soaked zookeeper sounds hilarious, does he lock things? I wonder whether he hangs out with the animals in a rum haze, ha! 70 kids on a school trip, feck! when I worked with teenagers it used to be quite a nerve wracking time taking them out and they were more 'sensible'!
and yes to challenging anxious thoughts! difficult but doable!

peaches mcginty said...

xxxxx I forgot kisses! please, have some more xxxxx there, that's better!

Indigo Violet said...

I love it when you get all philosofickle!

Vintage Bird Girl said...

So well said Curtise. And you look glorious in your floral combos too. I do love the denim jacket & dress outfit. So very you & so beautiful. Xx

Miss Magpie said...

I remember going on a trip to an animal place near Doncaster from school, half the class came home with Gerbils and then most of their parents complained to the school!

You have a very impressive collection of floral prints.

Winter Moon said...

So many pretty fabrics! I bet I could get lost in your wardrobe.

Your flowers look gorgeous. I don't have many bloomng in mine at the moment.

I'm usually in a world of my own and don't notice people around me much. I sound quite ignorant, but I think I just lack confidence.

I hope your lovely mum enjoys hearing all those messages :)

Off to listen to that Simon and Garfunkel track one last time before I go.

Have a lovely day xx

Bobbi said...

Love the floral dresses! The tweed with the tulips is so cool. Why can I never find great stuff at my secondhand shops?
Zoos are such fun! Although I'd be the one drinking rum with that many little ones around.
Have a lovely day!

Olga Rani said...

I too am a big fan of floral prints and have quite a large collection in my wardrobe but I guess I can't beat yours. Those flowers in your garden are such beauties.

Forest City Fashionista said...

You're a better woman than I, helping to chaperone 70 5 & 6 year olds. I would be curled up in a fetal position by the lion cage. I had a laugh about the zookeeper though.

Yes, you are a floral tart! I realize I'm not that big on floral prints and only have a couple of items in my closet with flowers on them. I am fond of the strips and other graphic prints though.

Your Mom sounds a fair bit like mine. Good-hearted, kind people, both of them.

It is hard to keep "looking out" when you're caught up in your own misery, but it's excellent advice, and I've always found if I'm in a bad place emotionally, it helps to focus on helping someone else - distraction is the best medicine.

Carina Rosenholm said...

Oh i love floral patterns to and you look so great , that Wallis dress is pretty awsome...

Liz said...

Spring? What's that - still not happening here in my bit of Scotland! I do love all those florals, though!
Liz @ Shortbread & Ginger

PinkCheetahVintage said...

You look lovely! I'm a floral tart, too :)

Jan Graham-McMillen said...

Hello, My Florabunda Beauty! Yes you are, and they suit you perfectly. Such a treat to see you blooming in spring!
Just checking in because I'm awfully behind in everything! I'll work my way backwards here, because I hate to miss anything!

Shawna McComber said...

Why am I always thinking that I want to mug you and steal your clothes? I love florals too and I drool over your collection. Sorry about getting them wet. I am crazy about your wallis dress with the purples and the purple belt. Purple being my favourite colour and florals being a favourite too, well I guess that's why I covet your dress. Your tiny waist looks so lovely in it too! I so enjoy your photos of the garden flowers, with a sort of bitter sweet feeling, I suppose.
Hugs to you, my flower fairy friend, for bringing so much floral to my day!

Pull Your Socks Up! said...

I just came over from next door at Vix's (Freckleface says we should be living in the same street with Helga), still recovering from her fab yellow floral frock and cape. Now my eyes and brain are exploding with joy over your floral "patches" in the first pic! All your frocks are glorious, especially with the gorgeous finds you pair them with - so joyously unexpected ( I LOVE surprises!) That amazing cape, your beret, the boots! Your Mum will be squirming with both embarrassment and happiness at the lovely comments about her birthday pics. You did something lovely for others by going to the wildlife park with the excited pack of littlies, I'm not surprised the keeper likes a drop or two of rum! Focussing on others certainly helps to take the heat off our own problems, such good advice Curtise and a timely reminder for me. xxxxxx

Mrs. D said...

I love florals but more on other people. For some reason I am never too drawn towards them. You have a fantastic collection though!

freckleface said...

Snap! I'm one o' them an' all! Floral tarts of the world, unite and take over! You can't beat a good floral. Both your outfits are lovely for Spring, but I'm going to award first prize to the tulips, because I love your silhouette in that capelet. You are so wonderful to give your time so freely to the school, but actually, it sounds like you get a lot out of it too. I can just picture you with all those bright chatty little girls! Lovely. Wise words there Ms Monk! It really is a good life lesson, stop getting bogged down in the mire and look out. Not only do you feel less self conscious, but also less self-absorbed, which is always a good thing. Xxxxxxxxx

Dawn Elliott said...

Florabunda to you, too!
I are the way to go a huge percent of the time...and you ROCK IT!!! The last dress is my favorite fits you beautifully and the colors are sublime! I love your attitude and spunk!

Ivy Black said...

Hang on...why have I missed this? Slap me in the gob and call me slack.
Floribunda. I love that word. like moribund, but more cheery...and flowery. You are a floral tart.
The older I get the more flowery I've become. I've got some cracking floral frockage from Etsy recently that my 14 year old self would have vomited on.
And how cheery is a garden waking up in spring? In fact in a bit,I'll be off with a cuppa to offer the tulips some encouragement to get up...not the menfolk, the real tulips.
God you can tell I've got a day off can't you?
Life is too short to hide ones blooms. Be like the flowers...blossom and show the world how gorgeous we are I say!
See you soon.
Loves ya flowery bits.

Brooke F said...

Floral tarts of the world unite! I can never go past a good floral, and I just love what you have done with yours. That cape is amazingly fabulous. I'm not sure if I have the stamina and fortitude to cope with all those kids on a school excursion, so hats off to you! XXX

Melanie said...

I love your cape, it's gorgeous!
The spring flowers in your garden are so beautiful. I love looking out of the kitchen window while washing up as I can see oodles of flowers the neighbours have planted and the trees have all their new leaves, it's so lovely.
Regarding anxiety, I get terribly anxious socially, it's a horrible cross to bear.
I love all your florals, they're so pretty, the poppies really popped which must mean I need some poppies in my wardrobe xxx

Veshoevius said...

A woman who loves florals is a woman after my own heart - what a gorgeous collection you have! I love that cape coat too!

Janey G said...

i have always loved tarts myself and floral ones are without doubt the very very best! your mum is beautiful as are you and you are so very right when we look inside we can get all screwy and unsure the more we focus out the better! parenting tilly is like that if i focus on my challenges it all seems a bit much but when i focus on how i can help others suddenly the world feels fine and all is manageable! xxxxxx

The Small Fabric Of My Life said...

I am off to sniff a flower.
Your reminder to look onwards and upwards is just what I need.
Teenagers - need I say more.

Young at Heart said...

so so so pretty...and top advice too!!

Citizen Rosebud said...

Florals most certainly become you! I love your collection- really much more a variety in patterns too- great blooming madness!