When I got out of the dressing room at Max Mara in Paris, wearing this white cherry print dress, my friend Susan (of Une femme d’une certain âge) went “Ohhhh, lovely”…which immediately sold the dress to me. The previous day my husband had already picked this dress out as something he loved but I thought it would be too short. I still prefer it to be 2 inches longer at the front but decided not to fret over it.
I suggested to Kitty we’d do the photo shoot for this dress at another ‘hofje‘ (almshouse), like the one you saw two weeks ago. Kitty is swamped with work these last months so we only had 1 hour before the ‘hofje‘ would close for the public.
This week’s hofje is Hofje van Staats, after the thread-seller Ysbrand Staats, who left his entire legacy to poor women over 50. Initially there were 29 houses in this hofje, but after renovation in 1990, the number of houses was reduced to 20. The term ‘poor women’ should be used loosely as they had to buy themselves a place and have possessions. Just like the women in hofje Den Groenen Thuijn (see further down in this blog post). So much for charity.
Below: The entrance of the main building, with the family crest at the top.
Below: Although I do not like a distorted view like this, it is the only way to show you the whole street. The main entrance, as on the photo above, is on the left and at the end of the street you can see the Saint Bavo church on the main market square of Haarlem.
We had to go through a little side door on the right to enter the garden with the almshouses.
Below: Above the garden entrance door is this face brick.
Then, shock! There was a sign on the door telling us they were very sorry, but the hofje was closed to the public due to renovations. As I am very law abiding, I wanted to search for another spot, but cheeky Kitty pushed against the door and said “We are no public, we are on a mission”. The door gave way and nobody protested. There were scaffoldings everywhere but Kitty managed to keep them out of sight haha.
Below: Entering the garden through the corridor behind the entrance door.
Below: View to the left. The ‘back door’ of the main building and a few almshouses. Oops…scaffolding on the far right.
Below: Let’s check the hair first, before we begin.
Below: What a beautiful background to photograph this dress. At this time I was still wearing the bag the way it is supposed to, with the pink flap and the fastening on the outside.
Below: Of course I had to descend the stairs.
Below: There was an opportunity for a sitting pose. Kitty loves photos at an angle and I hate them. But this is a mutual project, so we both have a say in it. As you can see, I did not remove the spots on my legs this time. Couldn’t be bothered.
Below: The earrings are by Lara Design and are called Biba.
Below: We wandered through the garden, carefully keeping the scaffolding out of sight. By this time I was wearing my bag the wrong way round. Any stylist out there who wants to help on shoots?
Below: The dress is longer at the back. I wish they’d made it the same length at the front.
Below: Yellow and black are the colours of the Staats family crest. Isn’t it beautiful that they have flowers on each side of this front door in the same yellow?
Below: Everybody has pots with flowers outside their house. Really pretty.
Below: Hanging from this lamppost, you can see through the dress a little.
Below: Kitty, after the shoot, having cappuccino at café Volkslust.
Below: And a head-to-toe shot to show you the lovely blouse she was wearing.
Below: Kitty took this photo with her iPhone. Me with wind-blown hair, showing the photo of the Max Mara model in the dress. The model obviously was size zero and ten feet tall, so the dress is even shorter on her.
That concludes this week’s main outfit.
What happened in my life this week
First I am going to show you the ‘elegant dress’ of last week with yellow pumps, as requested by a number of readers.
Below: I also took out my yellow clutch.
Below: Before I went on holiday I wanted another maxi dress and I ordered this one, only to send it back immediately. Too much of everything. Perhaps it would have worked with high heeled pumps but that is not going to happen. I find that most dresses in 2022 are this length and I don’t think it is a flattering length.
Below: After a week’s holiday I found my bicycle, which is always tied to a traffic sign post, completely surrounded by hollyhocks. I know who put the hollyhock seeds there.
Saturday Sylvia of 40+Style and I had lunch in Haarlem and did some shopping (bought nothing). She is spending a few weeks in the Netherlands again for family visits. Always so nice to see her.
Sunday we had lunch with Ron’s daughter and her husband for Father’s day. The forecast was rain and low temperatures but luckily we had none of that. We stayed until 4 p.m. and left the youngsters to enjoy the rest of their Sunday.
In the evening mum told me the wound on her heel was getting better. Yay.
Monday was a day of sorting out the holiday photos and I paid a visit to the seamstress. She advised me not to alter the dress and skirt I bought in Spain, but she will add two buttonholes on a short dress, so it can be closed all the way down to the bottom.
She had taken the hem up of the kimono in a very skilled way and she made me a pattern of my favourite (green) jumper. Making new tops with this pattern will have to wait a few months until my eyes are used to the new lenses and I can get a definite pair of reading glasses.
My friend Ayen did a photo shoot with me on Tuesday. I called her and inquired whether she would mind taking photos for my blog. She didn’t mind; as a matter of fact, she was quite enthusiastic. We had a great day, chatting, seeing her new apartment and taking photos.
Wednesday I had the first cataract operation and the lens of my left eye was replaced by an artificial lens. The surgeon said it went very well. My other eye will be done in two weeks which means, effectively I cannot wear eye make-up for 4 weeks. So blog photos with sunglasses, guys haha. I have photos for two more Sunday posts so it won’t be too bad.
Below: This is what I looked like when I came home.
I kept rather quiet that day as you can imagine. I have to say I did not particularly like this cataract operation, but perhaps it had a lot to do with anxiety. After all, you don’t want to lose your eyesight. The operation isn’t painful, just rather unpleasant.
Woke up the next morning, removed the patch, got rid of the ointment in my eye and presto, very sharp, clear vision with my right eye. Now I cannot wait until my left eye will be done (the 8th of July).
Thursday I kept quiet as well. Ron is doing all the household chores as I am not allowed to operate heavy things like a vacuum cleaner or lift heavy stuff. He put the sunbed in the garden and I laid in the sun for less than an hour in the morning.
Below: Sophie, my cat, was watching over me from the neighbours shed roof and the jasmine next to my sunbed was blossoming. Not really a punishment to keep quiet. In the afternoon it was far too hot to be in the sun and besides, an hour a day is more than enough. (And please don’t say I shouldn’t be in the sun at all, skin cancer and aging etc. I know all that. We all pick our risks.)
Friday nothing happened. I had coffee with my friend Loes across the road and during the rest of the day I created a photo album for the girls I went on holiday with. I also put the two photos below on Instagram with the following text:
“When you see that first photo, I bet you think “Wow, what a gorgeous figure for a 68 year old woman”. Then look at the second photo for some reality haha. That, my friends, is the body of a 68 year old woman: chubby, wrinkly but oh so happy.
Below: The top was €4 at a charity shop in Spain. (Bargains…the poor need them; the rich love them.)
Below: Now for some reality.
I often get the comment that I am brave posting a bikini photo with my less than perfect body. But hey, what can happen to me? Will somebody kill me? Will I be scorned? Laughed at? None of these things happen; quite the contrary. Women are so relieved to see a normal body they can relate to, that you only get compliments. Perhaps perfect looking women might think otherwise, but they don’t bother commenting as I am not in their league haha. If you don’t take yourself too seriously, it makes life lighter.
And with that deep thought (LOL) I say goodbye. Next week you will see all holiday photos.