Rose gold brogues, again.

The fresh onshore wind was playing havoc with our photo shoot this morning and drove us to pastures new in an effort to have at least one snap without my hair being too windswept. Well, this didn't quite happen, but we are delighted to have found an authentic backdrop which our local fishermen had set up for us.
I feel these brogues didn't quite receive the necessary accolade in their first appearance so just want to rave a little bit more about them now. In case you hadn't realised, rose gold is my favourite take on the gold spectrum, and I'm adding it to my wardrobe whenever I can. Brogues are pretty much my favourite type of flats so putting the two together you have my perfect pair of shoes. I will hold back, however, from wearing them too often as I worry that I may not come across another pair. All of my shoes are lovingly buffed, stuffed and boxed in between wears - a leftover from my days in the Brownies when such tasks earned me a badge. Happy days!

Jacket: charity shop. Blouse: charity shop. Trousers: H&M. Shoes: TK Maxx. Handbag: Primark. Rose gold bangle: Kate Spade New York. Topaz ring: gift. Sapphire ring: engagement ring. Russian band: wedding ring. Gold band: Les Grimshaw.


Hurrah for summer!

British summer is unreliable at it's best so it pays to have a seize the day attitude meaning wearing this lovely white linen skirt. This is a first for these separates appearing as an outfit. The Boden jacket nearly ended up on eBay last summer as I thought it might never pay for itself (have only worn it two other times so far). However, since giving myself a talking to about Sunday Best I've decided to wear this beloved item. The top likewise has only had one outing as I've been guilty of keeping it aside as it says Special to me. I found it a few years ago when I was on holiday in Ireland with my sisters. It was from the same shop where I discovered the silver Tiffany necklace and oh, how I yearn to go back there for another rummage! I must admit I tend to rate my holidays by how many prize finds I return with and Ireland did have quite a high yield rate. Steve and I went to New Zealand in February and I was delighted to find some loot in Russell which was our first port of call. The trousers I found will be featured on a beach day so do look out for them as they're bright pink and therefore a bit of a surprise purchase for me.

Jacket: Boden. Top: charity shop. Skirt: charity shop. Shoes: New Look. Clutch: charity shop. Blue necklace: Charlie Dodge. Small pearl necklace: charity shop. Flower ring: Dorothy Perkins. Turquoise ring: old. Friendship bracelets: Fiona Petheram and Noel.


These arms - that dress

After yesterday's rant I realised that the outfit didn't get a mention which is very unlike me, so let's put that right. The dress is a couple of years old and, surprise surprise from a charity shop, although I think the brand was Next. It's proved to be a mainstay in my wardrobe as it's a wash and wear dress which always makes me feel very glamorous without too much effort. I think we all need one of these in our arsenal. Carrying on from the whole arms/sleeves debate, what is interesting is that if this had short sleeves I don't think it would look as good or feel as fab. In fact, given that it's well past knee length if it had sleeves too it could look quite mumsy and that's certainly not going to feel very glam!
The necklace is another instant glam item which has been featured a lot on the blog so far, but I make no apologies for that. The size of the imitation pearls and general chunkiness again adds instant glamour yet doesn't look out of place during the daytime. I have a black short tailored cardi that I wear over the dress if it's a bit chilly which does give the outfit a more formal edge, but given that I knew where this photo shoot was going I felt formal was not the look I was trying to achieve.

The feedback through email and Facebook re "These arms" has been amazing, thank you. Looks like I struck a chord there, so please do feel free to share with friends who may enjoy the rant.

Dress: charity shop. Necklace: Debenhams. Shoes: TK Maxx. Belt: charity shop. Gold garnet ring: gift. Gold band: Les Grimshaw. Sapphire ring: engagement ring. Sunglasses: Quay Australia.


These arms


OK, the photos pretty much say it all. This is the current state of play regarding the onset of middle age and the big question of whether to cover up or not. Yes, I know it may not look like much at the moment, but it's the start of things to come, a sign that there's no going back. With a bit of clever posing my arms still look fairly acceptable for an old bird of 57. Don't think that this has happened by chance though. As a teenager I played volleyball, netball and basketball. From being spindly, string arms they took on some shape and definition until gradually I developed fine, not overdone, muscles. Swimming club kept these muscles lean and since my recent love affair with wild swimming I'm happy to say that I can still pull off a shapely pose from time to time. But don't be fooled. Age is catching up with me and my arms are showing the ravages of time as much as my face now. Caught unawares, there's a whole lot of dodgy stuff to be seen.

I'm making a point of sharing this as it's really winding me up to be honest. Not the whole ravages of time thing, but the dilemma of which way to go with it. Do I take cover and invest in sleeved versions of everything? Or do I ignore it? Well, that's not really an option, is it? Here they are flashing about in front of me, catching my attention at the most inopportune of moments. Take the other evening during our latest exhibition. There was I blithely accepting payment for a beautiful painting, feeling delighted for the artist, happy for the business and suddenly, as I was bending over the PDQ machine, out of the corner of my eye I caught sight of my terrible inner arm gloopiness, a kind of lacy, drapey skin. Worse still was the thought that the client may have been exposed to this unsavoury display too! Did I actually see the guy wince? Is this a major social gaffe, worse than having your skirt stuck up your knicker leg?

Mary Portas tried to wean us onto her solution to the problem. Armery, I think she called it: a pair of arm tights which was designed to be worn under the dress/top.  Available in lace, jersey or cotton and in umpteen colourways it was going to revolutionise the way we dress. In some ways I was kind of pleased that we were talking about yet another unmentionable women's problem, but in another it riled me a bit too. Why, oh why, are we so pressured into being perfect even as we come into our later years? As I look around at men of my own age are they being asked by society to cover up their imperfections so as not to offend me or other sensitive souls? Not that I've noticed. More to the point, are they worried about the ravages of time? It doesn't look like it to me. I'm not about to declare war and itemise every imperfection of the male anatomy just to make my point, and I'll tell you why. I don't really care. Blokes are blokes and they come in all shapes and sizes just like us women. But somehow their imperfections don't feature in newspapers and magazines with sickening regularity. Nor are there pages and pages of advertisements selling creams, potions or surgery to fix all of their problems. And no, these chaps are not to be found squinting at their rear view just before they go out to dinner. The very thought that the male of the species would have their evening spoilt by a glimpse of their balding pate in a mirror as they were departing the Gents is laughable, ridiculous. But I know it's such a common occurrence for a woman to have her evening spiral into a decline if she happens to discover that her outline is not as she imagined as she gazes into a different mirror - this isn't what her reflection at home told her. So sad and so annoying too.

Anyway, back to the matter in hand. In the grand scheme of things I know how terribly shallow, no, pathetic this all seems.  Looking around me at failing economies, school shootings, global warming, famine and war, does it really matter if my arms look like those of a 57 year old? I think not. These arms have cherished two babies as I breastfed them for years and years, way beyond what was necessary, and well into a place that satiated my overwhelming desire to nurture, my need to love and wonder at these small and amazing creatures that were my blessings. These arms have hugged and squeezed so many friends, too many to count, but left no doubt that my love was strong, my concern genuine. These arms have comforted family in times of need, been solace and safety when life was tough. These arms have welcomed newcomers into my life as I have opened my heart to them unreservedly.  These arms have waved their bingo wings like joyous flags to departing loved ones as they headed off to pastures new. These arms have carried bags and bags of shopping, lovely loot from all of my favourite charity and non-charity shops. These arms have been hugely industrious and strong, lugging paintings and sculptures from here to there and back again, thousands of times over. These arms have beaten pounds and pounds of the most delicious homemade fudge you'll ever find. These arms have carried forth many a plump, burnished turkey to complete another family Christmas dinner. And these arms are going to attempt to swim between every one of the six isles of Scilly on the 5th of September 2015.

So what I'm saying is that these arms, like your arms (all you lovely readers out there) are wonderful, functional, expressive and generous. They may jiggle and wobble and have a mind of their own, but they're pretty amazing none the less. And if you see me in a sleeveless outfit this summer, don't feel sorry for me that I maybe ought not to be showing my arms as the flesh it ripples, the skin it sags, and I'm looking a tad less than perfect. Please note that I won't be concerned about these arms. Please, don't you be either.


Exhibition night: 3 of 6

And here we are on the night of the final July show. How quickly these summer months seem to pass us by. Everyone on the island prepares for months for this, our busiest of times, and it's suddenly upon us and gone before we know it.
Here's me with one of our exhibiting artists, Rosemary Trestini, and the support team shows Tash Lawson stepping into the breech as Julie was otherwise engaged. We had an incredibly busy evening where the girls and I were very pleased that we didn't actually run out of wine, thanks to the pub manager Rob Leatherbarrow who sent us extra supplies at one stage. Much as it was a hectic evening it was great fun, sales were good and some of the crowd spilled out onto the road, drinks in hand, to enjoy the last of the evening sun.
One of the highlights of my evening was when a London fashion designer who was holidaying on the island remarked on what an amazing outfit I had on. She could hardly believe it when I told her it was from Tesco. I knew the moment I saw this all-in-one that it looked like a top of the range piece. I never want to pass these things off as something more than they are, and I'm so chuffed that I've not had to spend a fortune, but can still look good. I bought the necklace especially to go with this - it's a fossilised shark tooth encrusted with rose gold Swarovski crystals. Rather fab, eh?
Jumpsuit: Tesco. Shoes: New Look. Necklace: Charlie Dodge. Rose gold bangle: Kate Spade New York. Peach Perspex ring: gift. Flower ring and bracelet: Dorothy Perkins.


Paul Costelloe jacket

Here's a beautiful jacket which I've only worn a couple of times. It's by Paul Costelloe and is such a lovely fabric and style that I don't know why I've held back from wearing it. Actually that's not true. I do know, and the reason harps back to my childhood. When I was young the deal with clothes was school, play and Sunday Best. That mentality has never quite left me and I'm aware that I have a huge raft of clothes in my wardrobe which I feel are special and are being held back as Sunday Best. This jacket comes under that heading and I really think I ought to start getting the wear out of these beautiful items. I know I've kept some dresses for special occasions which have never materialised and after a few years I gradually fell out of love with them. This usually results in me selling them on eBay for a fraction of what I paid which is annoying, but the sadness is more because I really ought to have enjoyed wearing it. 
I have a friend who when she loves something new, she wears and wears it until it more or less falls to pieces. She has such enjoyment wearing her favourite dress/coat/shoes, getting the value from them - it's a lesson for me and maybe all of us. Wear your Sunday Best on Sunday, but wear it any other time too with relish!

Jacket : Paul Costelloe. Shirt : eBay. Trousers : Boden. Rose gold loafers : Vintage Style. Green ring : Leju. Shell pendant : charity shop. Garnet ring : gift. Rose gold bangle : Kate Spade New York.


Blue day

The day may have been blue, but I certainly wasn't as Polly and I stepped out for our morning photo shoot. The backdrop was in fact bright blue and echoed my chosen palette of the day. My recent shopping trip has been a wonderful supplement to my summer wardrobe and these lovely wedge sandals were a great find in TK Maxx. I was torn between these and a pair with a leopard print in the same style and am glad to have opted for the floral as they are already proving to be so useful.
The dress has recently been altered and I'm delighted to have it back in use. I love a simple shift dress, not just for the shape, but as it's an easy no-fuss style for work and cool for the summer months. And the jacket is my go-to jacket at this time of year so you may be seeing quite a lot of it!

Jacket : Benetton. Dress : TK Maxx. Shoes : TK Maxx. Bag : charity shop. Necklace : Leju. Bangle : old. Turquoise ring : old. Silver ring : Diana Porter.


Oriental print palazzo pants

Let's have fun with colour is what I advocate and here I am practising what I preach. I'm so pleased with these palazzo pants which I found in Tesco on my recent trip away. The wedge sandals and handbag are also new and work perfectly with this look. I had previously customised the little purple cashmere cardi with new Mary Goldberg buttons and don't they tie in so well with not only the necklace, but the whole outfit? Sorry if I'm coming across as smug, it's never meant to be, I just take such pleasure in my clothes - they really are a source of joy for me. I want to share that with others and inject some enthusiasm into the wavering or unsure amongst you. Adding a few bright separates to your wardrobe can be a great facelift and a mood enhancer too. Go on, give it a try. It needn't be expensive and who knows where it might take you?

Trousers : Tesco. Cardi : Boden. Vest top : Primark. Sandals : TK Maxx. Necklace : Leju. Handbag : charity shop. Sun glasses : Quay Australia. Blue ring : charity shop. Turquoise ring : old. Bangle : old.

Created by bo design