Anna's Island Style

The perfect beach holiday dress

Yes, it's that time of year again when our thoughts turn to packing for our summer holidays and I've found the most perfect dress for you. This vibrant floral print dress is an easy care crinkle fabric that can be rolled up for travelling and simply shaken out on arrival, popped on a hanger and it'll be ready and waiting for your holiday adventures.

I've been gifted this super frock by JD Williams and am honestly thrilled with it. The fit is roomy and very comfortable, with a pretty square neckline, gently elasticated waist and a deep hemline frill. I'm a big fan of bright colours as you probably know and love that I can accessorise this with so many accent shades of pink, orange, yellow and citrus green. Today I've chosen to show you the dress in a simple styling with only a bracelet, necklace and sunglasses - this would be a great look for a day at the beach or sight seeing.

The maxi could be dressed up for the evening by adding a pair of strappy wedges as I've done or even some pretty flat sandals. The waist can be accentuated by adding a pop of colour such as this pink stretch belt. I swapped the coloured beads for a gold chain added a pink bangle and an orange ring and finished with a clutch to hold lipstick, hairbrush and phone - et viola, you're ready for an evening out!

There's nothing better than a maxi dress for holidays, in fact I love them for summer wear generally. The elasticated waist flatters the figure without being too tight, and there's lots of fabric to waft about, to keep you cool in hot climes while feeling very feminine. Slip it over a swimsuit as you walk to the beach and it won't spoil if it gets wet while you do a bit of paddling. (This photo shoot took three days to capture and the dress got wet each time.  I simply hung it over a chair to dry overnight and it was good as new by the next morning.)

I love the crochet trim at the neckline and the mini pompoms are a fun addition to the wide sleeves - this dress is all about comfort meaning it's going to be a sure favourite for me over the summer months. I can just scoop this up as we set off to a desert island beach for our days out. This is Samson island, one of many uninhabited islands here on the Isles of Scilly and is only a five minute boat ride from shore to shore between home and beach - yes, how lucky am I? We often grab a beer and head to the beach at the end of the day during the summer. It's our special time when we forget about work and chores and all of those other bits of reality that we like to escape from. Our time on these desert islands are about our plans, our hopes and dreams for us and our children and also a time to acknowledge how amazing it is to have all of this on our doorstep. A beer for Steve and a swim for me and all is well with the world.

Steve has done the winter repairs to our motor boat, Leah Dancer, making her ready for another summer of picnics and jaunts. He'll also use the boat to accompany me as I start my longer swims again now that the sea is starting to warm up. I plan to swim back home from Samson one evening. Home is at the top right in the photo and only takes five minutes in the boat - I'll let you know how long that takes for me to swim!

We all need a little sanctuary in our lives and Samson is ours. Close enough to see from home and yet far enough away to feel removed, it's all that we want, all that we need. 

Details -
Shoes H&M
Bead necklace, market in Cape Town
Bangle, belt and ring, preloved
Sunglasses, Quay Australia
Clutch, preloved
Gold chain, Primark

Please note that is a sponsored post, but all comments are my own.

Thanks for dropping by!

Anna x


It's exhibition night again!

Hi, hello and how's your Sunday going? Last evening we opened our latest exhibition, the Creative Scilly Festival Show which ties in with the 13 day festival which has been running across the islands between the 10th and 22nd of May. We were so happy to have one of our exhibitors, Nicola Hancox, join us for the evening. She had a busy evening meeting guests and clients who wanted to hear about her paintings and the time she had spent on the island finding new inspiration for this body of work. She sold one piece at the event and the buyer was delighted to hear first hand how the painting came about. 

I've known Nicky and her husband Rick since I took over as Manager of the Gallery which must be about 15 years ago now. We've been good friends ever since I managed to (unwittingly) lock Nicky in the gallery one lunchtime as I was dashing out to catch the post. Nicky was standing at the back of the gallery at the foot of the stairs, drumming up the courage to ask if I'd take her work on, when she realised that the music had stopped, the lights were out and her reverie of a much-longed for exhibition in the beach side gallery dissolved as she found that she was alone and locked in to boot! Ten minutes later, a neighbour passed the gallery to find Nicky at the window, panicked expression on her face, mouthing "I'm locked in!" - poor Nicky imagined that she was stuck for the weekend! When I released her, she and I laughed and hugged and have become firm friends ever since. Needless to say, I had no choice but to offer to show her work! (And thank goodness I did, as she has a very loyal following which has grown over the years.)

The dress was a Mother's Day present from my kids last year. They gave me money to buy something when I was off on one of my jaunts to the mainland. I found the maxi dress in my favourite retail haunt, TK Maxx, the brand being Luna Allegra - the label says it's made in Italy. I didn't know how to style it up last year as it seemed very frumpy by the time I got it home and left me uninspired. But yesterday I came across the lime satin sandals by Steve Madden which seemed to lift the dress into another place completely. I loved how it made me feel, which I hope comes across in the photos.

It's lovely to do a photo shoot on these evenings as the vibe is much more relaxed, less rushed too. Polly and I seem to have less time to fit in a morning shoot of late so this was a treat to get back in the groove again.

I've dug out another pair of Quay Australia sunglasses for this evening look which I thought worked well. The necklace is from Primark, lime stone ring was from an airport concession and the other ring was a charity shop find as was the elasticated black and gold belt.

Polly and my helpers are all a bit camera shy this year, but trust me, they all look as spiffing as ever! We had a hectic evening which felt like one of our height of the summer openings due to the volume of guests that arrived en masse as we opened. The wine flowed, the canapes were much appreciated and red spots were scattered over the exhibits which made all the hard work truly worth while. We had a fab evening, and now I must get back to work to clear up ready for today's trading. 

Have a super weekend!

Anna x


The Serious Readers Alex light - what's so special about it?

Hello again and welcome to this sponsored post where I want to share the details of the new reading light I've been gifted. When Serious Readers got in touch with me a couple of months ago I questioned myself as to whether I really need a reading light and if so, why this one? After using it for the past three weeks I can honestly say there's quite a lot about the Alex light which makes it special. Serious Readers are all about looking after your eyesight by preventing eye strain. I'm at that stage when I have reading glasses but don't need them all of the time. I'm aware that I tend to sit near the window to read my magazines during the day, but in the evening I don't bother to try as we have quite subdued lighting for watching TV. 

Thanks to the Daylight Wave Technology these lights replicate natural daylight. What really makes the difference is projecting a spectral power distribution akin to real light.  Here's the technical stuff - CRI (Colour Rendering Index) is a measure of natural light simulation with 100 being perfect. The High Definition light projects a CRI of 96 for the Alex light, making them the best for seeing colours in their true light. 

Founder and creator of Serious Readers, Alex Pratt revolutionised lighting when he developed a specialist sewing light for Singer in 1986. Combining brightness, durability and versatility, the light was an industry game changer. From there Serious went on to design ultra high specification lights for machine tools. As their reputation grew so did their client list with specialists in surgery, forensic science and fine art restoration all demanding technically specific lighting. Commissions followed for airport control towers, RNLI lifeboats and even the Space Shuttle. 

The warm white light has a 27 inch beam spread and is recommended for those who suffer from Glaucoma. I mention this as my father had the eye condition which can lead to blindness and therefore my siblings and I are regularly tested for it. Read about the their purchasing guidelines here for this and other conditions such as cataracts and AMD- they really have it all covered. 

One of the other great features of the floor lamp is the stay put flexible arm - it really does stay put! Not only that, but it has a 359 degree swivel joint at the lamp head with makes it uber-directionable (yes, I know that's probably a made up word). Anyway, for those of you who like to stretch out at the end of a long day, this lamp delivers light exactly where you need it, rather than you having to position yourself under it. The only thing it didn't do was give me the last two clues in my crossword.

The sleek design is real plus too and as you can see it fits in with the most modern of interiors. Oh, if only this were my kitchen/diner!

And finally one more selling point is that it makes a great uplighter with the dimmer facility meaning you can have it on full brightness or a lesser strength if you prefer. The light comes with a five year warranty too. There are other versions of this light including a heavyweight version of the Alex plus table versions and wall versions as well. All are LED lights, energy efficient and yet high performance to look after the health of your eyes. The older I get the more I realise how important it is to slow down the gradual deterioration in my sight that comes with ageing. I'm so pleased to have been given the opportunity to use this state of the art light and discover easy reading again. The crisp, clear light really makes a difference and so yes, I'd say that makes it pretty special. I know I'm no expert on this, but 500 Opticians recommend Serious Readers lights too!

Please note that this is a sponsored post, but all opinions are mine.

                                                                                                   Anna x


Come join me by the pool!

Hi and how are you? How's your weekend going? This is my third day in off in a row which is a lovely treat. Polly has returned from Tobago and no, I'm not in the least bit jealous! The two weeks away have done her the power of good and she's still very chilled out, not to mention sporting a super golden tan. It's great to have her healthy vibe about the place.

My outfit of the day is a mix of old and new, mostly from the high street. I threw this together when my friend Rachel said she'd step in as photographer of the day. Plan A had been for Steve and I to head off-island to capture that desert island feel for a summer dress I have lined up, but he's having a boys weekend on the mainland which came about at the last minute. The weather here is suddenly looking like summer and I'm only slightly annoyed at missing the chance of the boat trip, but I know it'll come around again.

These cute little beach huts are mini changing rooms for the swimming pool that's just across the way from Rachel's house. With a swimming pool on one side and the beach on the other she's so well placed for her end of day downtime too. Much as we live on this paradise island, we still have the same work stresses as everyone else and it's good that she remembers to find some time to unwind at the end of the day. Rachel and I both attended the Mindfulness Retreat on Tresco last year and its health benefits have remained with us. My time to chill seems to be during my morning swim which has the same meditative effect as stopping and staring at the view with a lovely mug of tea, as Rachel does.

So, what about the outfit? The jacket was a TK Maxx find in Manchester last summer, the brand is Anja Rock. Trousers are River Island, sandals are by Dune, tee shirt is from Topshop, jewellery is all charity shopped and the straw handbag was a present from my friend Suzie in New Zealand. 

I have to mention that the trousers have that half elastic back which makes for a great snug fit. I'm not sure if it's because I'm shopping more on the high street that I have quite a few pairs of these now or could it be that I'm still carrying that bit of extra weight around my middle that has me drawn to this easy fit style. I'd like to blame my thickening waist (and back fat) on my age and a slowing metabolism, but I fancy that I'm probably eating too much and am just not active enough. I beetle about, dodging up and down the stairs at work all day long, but I finally admitted defeat this week and have joined the gym. I think I need some weight bearing exercise and will be reviewing my week to see if I can fit in some walking too after work or maybe I'll grab an apple and walk during my lunch hour. 

Please don't misunderstand me, I'm not begging for sympathy - it's half a stone for goodness sake! But it's all relative, don't you think? I don't compare myself to others, I just refer to clothes and old photos to see what I used to be. That seems to be the best way for me to keep in touch with what's my best or should I say happiest size. If I'm carrying too much weight it simply gets me down. My clothes don't fit nicely or some of them at all and therefore I know it's time to act. 

When I looked at some of these photos I saw lumps and bumps that I wasn't happy about and so it's my nature to be honest with you and to name and shame myself rather than have my readers see this gradual change and think I don't notice.

The pool was deliciously warm, but not tempting enough for me. Give me a chilly stretch of sea with a brisk onshore wind and the odd bit of wake from a passing boat - that's more my thing!

So this is how Saturday evening at 6pm looks on the island. It's a pretty amazing backdrop looking across the Great Pool from this swimming pool location. The sunbeds were all empty and not a soul was in the water. The island is almost full booked currently which just goes to prove that you can always find a quiet spot when you come to stay. 

Until next time, have a super week!

Anna x

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