Autumn in is full swing here in London with chilly mornings, cloudy skies and strong winds blowing outside at night. The heating is back on and I'm whipping out my coats to go out. But it was a different story at the beginning of October. Believe it or not these photos of me wearing a spaghetti strap sun dress were taken on the first Sunday of October when the UK was treated to some freakishly hot weather and the mercury hit a staggering 29 degrees! However my reports of the "heat wave" caused great amusement to my family back in Oz where hot means temperatures in excess of 35 degrees.
Here though such weather in October is virtually unheard of. It was so freakish that Spring flowers such as these crocuses were out in bloom again.
Following a botanist's recommendation via the BBC, Mr V and I took a trip to Kew Gardens that record breaking weekend to see firsthand the effect of the Indian summer on plant life. In addition to seeing crocuses so late in the year, it felt very odd to be walking through an autumnal scene with a light summer dress and sandals on, with the foliage of the trees turning colour to burnt orange, bright red and pale gold...
...with autumn leaves already covering the ground, the dry shells of fallen acorns, pine cones and chestnuts crunching underfoot...
...bright red holly berries hanging from boughs to remind us that Christmas was encroaching even though we felt it was too hot for our jackets...
...and seeing mushrooms and species of fungus sprouting from the earth and at the foot of trees despite the air feeling hot and dry.
Wearing sandals to beat the heat turned out to be poor choice of footwear to go marching across the forest floor in. I actually sustained several painful puncture wounds from standing on one too many spiny chestnut shells to get these photos! And I actually had a pretty bad attack of hay fever from all the pollen in the air from the confused trees that were back in bloom.
It's been years since I've been to Kew Gardens and it is such a stunning place to spend a day if you like nature, gardens and plants. There were beautiful peaceful lakeside scenes like this one to take in.
There are several magnificent glass greenhouses around the grounds housing all manner of plant species in architecture styles spanning several centuries from the Victorian to the modern.
My favourite greenhouse is the one with the giant water lilies. The giant lily pads floating atop the surface of the water with their magnificent blooms opening up above them never fail to fascinate me.
And I especially love the elegant architecture of the Victorian glasshouses, their multifaceted structures and crystalline windows catch the light beautifully as the sun starts to go down in the late afternoon.
My dress is about seven or eight years old. It was the striking print that sold me. I like that it is a kind of geometric and botanical hybrid that your imagination can twist into many familiar shapes. Is it fans? Exotic lilies? Palm leaves? The gills on the underside of mushrooms?
So I thought it an appropriate choice for an outing to a botanical garden. I chose some zany earrings to match the print.
The pearl trim crop sleeve cardigan was a vintage find years ago during my student days trawling Portobello Market, days when you could still actually find bargain vintage clothing at the place! The antique marcasite frog brooch with ruby red eyes was bought in Barts Bazaar in Bath. It was one of two, this frog and a smaller one, which I gave to my little sister for Christmas.
To anyone who has not yet been to Kew Garden's I highly recommend a visit. We thoroughly enjoyed our day out there and it was a reminder that having such a wonderful place right here in London warrants another visit soon to see how it changes with the seasons.
Silk print dress: Karen Millen; Cropped red cardigan: Vintage; Marcasite Frog brooch: Vintage; Earrings, Warehouse; Jewelled Sandals: Zara; Bag: Michael Kors; Beige Leather jacket: Bershka