Anna meets Kezzie

This sees the return of an occasional feature where I introduce you to someone of note in my life, with fashion being the tenuous link. (My apologies must first be given to "Hello" magazine, where they too run this feature, hosted by Lady Gabriella Windsor, called "Ella meets". I only discovered this whilst at the hairdresser recently and had no idea I'd plagiarized their idea.) Thus I would like you to meet Kezzie, a blogging friend who recently visited the islands on a cruise ship which was touring the British Isles. We frequently see these ships anchored up between the islands throughout the summer months, and yet it was very unusual for me to be making arrangements to actually meet up with one of the cruisers for the day. Kezzie and her mum, Ros, were on the last lap of their tour that would be travelling on from the Isles of Scilly up the English Channel and across to the Channel Isles and France before docking in Tilbury.

We met up at the Abbey Garden at mid-day and headed straight off to Pentle Bay beach for a swim. Thereafter we hiked onwards past the silky soft sands of picturesque cove after cove, stopping to take the obligatory tourist shots until we arrived at Old Grimsby where we quenched our thirst at the Ruin Cafe. From there we crossed to New Grimsby where I live, which is also where Kezzie and I grappled with the famous Travelling Yellow Skirt as we sought to strike the right pose for posterity. And then we were a hop, skip and a jump away from the gallery where I work. The gap in the sea wall elicited a huge cry of delight from Kezzie as she grabbed her camera to have her photo taken in the very spot where I pose on a daily basis. Finally I frogmarched the two reluctant sailors back along towards the quay where the local boat waited to deliver them back to St Mary's from where they would be taken off to their ship. We had such a wonderful day, and hopefully Kezzie will be posting (or heck as she already?) her account of the visit to the Isles of Scilly. I think it's much better that she gives her viewpoint than I just boast and brag about these sun kissed islands as I always do! 

In the meantime, I did manage to enlist Kezzie as my next victim for this feature, so let's get down to the questions and answers where I will intermingle the snaps of the day as we progress.

Q How long have you been blogging?
A I have been blogging 11 and a quarter years! Wow, almost a third of my life!

Q What's the best thing about blogging?
A The best is meeting (virtually or in person) and becoming friends with lovely, lovely people from all over the place. You meet like-minded individuals who have the same interests as you (and obsessions, e.g. er-clothes!) and they are interested in you! You learn and you are inspired. Of course, comments are wonderful! We love those! More comments for everyone!!!! The delight upon clicking on your post and finding a zillion comments!

Q And the worst?
A The worst... I guess being ignored when you put in effort into supporting someone's blog. Also, staying up late to comment or write posts and realising that yet again, it is midnight and you are going to be exhausted in the morning. Every time you say you WILL go to bed at 10pm and yet you think, "Just one more comment..."!!!

Q What's the day job?

A I am a primary music teacher.

Q Do you have any other passions?

A Well, music is very important to me of course- I love my flute, singing and composing music. I love making things although I am not so good at anything that involves thread or material. Cards are my thing.  I love charity-shopping. My faith is, of course, important to me.

Q If you had chosen another career, what might it have been?

A Hmmmm... well,I would have loved to be a librarian.  I applied for a job at English National Opera as a Music Librarian which I didn't get but any sort of library would be wonderful. I'd have had to retrain though.

Q One thing you'd like to change about yourself?

A Oh the sensitivity! I worry endlessly about things- worry I've said something to offend someone, that they don't like me, that people think I am an idiot, I worry when I've said something to a child at school that I might have upset them; I worry when I can't seem to communicate what I want to say clearly when I'm upset- it comes out wrong always! I wish I could switch it off but things go round and round my head!!

Q What's your favourite season and why?

A Late Spring. I adore the blossoms, the sense of change and excitement; the flurry of activities and changes; the colours, the light; the reminder that things will only get better with Summer afterwards. The relief after a long Winter. I adore it!

Q Describe your perfect day.

A It will involve a walk somewhere beautiful and natural. By the sea, surrounded by flowers or foliage.  It won't be too hot or too cold and my bag will not, unlike most of my life, be heavy. I will be with my husband CBC and family or friends.  It won't have any scary uphills or downhills but there will be a challenge. There will be  some cake and litres of Earl Grey tea.  A chance to stop and read a Whodunnit book will arise and there will be swimming- river, sea, swimming pool- I am not fussy but water is a must. There will be quiet and there will be laughing.
In the evening, we will get dressed up  (a pretty 50's dress) and go to either a Ceildh/Barndance, with the option to join in playing if I want, but I am allowed to dance. I will not muck up 'Stripping the Willow'. If not a Barndance, then it will be a swingdance evening. There will be lots of male lead partners and they will want to dance and they will be considerate and repeat a move if I muck it up first time!!!!
Miraculously, I will get home at a reasonable time, despite the late nature of these things.
Oh and there will be Thai food at some point. And lots of Tofu and Tempeh.  Can we arrange this perfect day please?

And here's Ros, our amazing photographer of the day - didn't she do well brandishing my camera about like a good 'un? Mother and daughter had barely 10 minutes to spend in the gallery before their boat arrived at the quayside. We dashed around the bay to join the queue. We said our goodbyes, making promises to meet up again sometime, then Kezzie and I simultaneously produced our small presents, as tokens of our new friendship. I urged them to get on board, and once seated I called to Kezzie to open her gift as I wanted to see her reaction.

For those of you who haven't read Kezzie's blog yet, I say, please treat yourself and do! Her writing is as delightful as she is. She covers so many, varied topics and loves the most unexpected things. From Dr Who to brooches, she is highly entertaining. Read it here. Anyway, my gift to her was a Puffin brooch, which is one of our most loved little birds on the islands. I was pretty sure she wouldn't have had time to find such a thing herself and by the look on her face I'd say it was a great surprise.

As I watched their boat head off into the distance I felt a twinge of sadness. We had been blessed with the most perfect weather making this a pretty perfect day for my first ever bloggers meet up. Living here in this remote corner of the UK I wonder how many other times I'll have the chance to meet up with a fellow blogger? And if I do, could they ever match up to the sweet-natured Kezzie?

Kezzie's dress is from Seasalt, shoes are from Rieker and hat is from a market in Croatia. My top is from H&M, trousers are from Topshop, shoes from TK Maxx (sim) and sunglasses are by Quay Australia (sim).

Today's postscript is about the Travelling Yellow Skirt see here for the full story. I shall be posting the skirt off on to the next lucky blogger (hahaha, yes I'm so corny) who is Anja in Singapore. I'm sorry to let this magical garment leave me, but I know I must. I spent yesterday finishing off my addition to the Skirt, adding a few more stitches of embriodery to bring my little icon to completion. I'll be avidly waiting and watching Melanie's blog for details of the next episode in the life of the wonderful TYS.

Anna x


Summer show: 6 of 6

Ah well, as the saying goes "All good things must come to an end", and so it has with my summer exhibitions. We've had an amazing run of shows this summer including this last one featuring three fine artists all so very diverse in their styles. But more about that in a moment as I really have to point you in the direction of the star of this particular evening, yes it's Polly! My darling assistant saved the best 'til last, making a dazzling entrance in this gold seqinned skater dress which sparkled and shone.

I'm so happy for Polly to have knocked me off my perch for the last evening.  She looks radiant from that gorgeous smile down to every last sparkling seqin. A passing boatman commented that she could be seen from Bryher! (The island opposite the gallery)

And as the evening sunshine dazzled these guys, let me introduce the attending artists, Alasdair Urquhart on the left and Stuart Kettle on the right. See Alasdair's work here and Stuart's can be seen here. The third of the trio, Anthony Garratt, couldn't make the opening night but you can view his striking paintings here. I love the fact that these three artists, more than ever, have managed to portray these islands so very differently. Their interpretations are as unique as the islands; full of character, individual, unrivalled in their beauty.

And for one last time this summer I'd like to say a very big thank you to the team who have held things together behind the scenes as well at on the frontline. Thank you Max, Polly and Heather!

Well, if we had to finish, then let it be on a perfect note like this. These two guests had spent an evening with us, enjoying the art, chatting to the artists and finally sipping wine as they watched the sun drop below the Bryher. We couldn't have laid on a better entertaiment than that I say.

My dress for the event was an absolute find from Tesco of all places, although the label denotes AX Paris, a concession I've previously found at New Look. Shoes are from H&M (sold out), necklace is from Dorothy Perkins (similar), my old faithful watch is by Michael Kors, bangle by Kate Spade New York and the rings are charity shopped.

This week I'll be linking with
Catherine of Not Dressed As Lamb
Cherie of Style Nudge
Patti of Not Dead Yet Style
Jess of Elegantly Dressed And Stylish
Anna x


Cream shift dress

I wasn't sure how to follow up the rather unique post from Wednesday see here, so decided to play it pure and simple. This cream shift dress was charity shopped last September and this is the first time I've thought to wear it. However, something seems to happen to me when I put on a shift, I look so formal that everone thinks I'm off to a wedding. I suppose a lot of that must be down to how I accessorise it, but a shift seems to dictate smart as far as I can see. I have another shift dress that I wore last week and I ended up looking like the mother of the bride. I'll post that another day, just to give you all a laugh. I do like a good laugh at the shots myself!

Today we open our final summer exhibition so I will look a bit different by the end of the evening. Another posh frock will be pulled out from the depths of my wardrobe along with several shoe options just to complicate matters. The bedroom always looks like carnage after this last minute rush. I usually have something in mind for the show, but it doesn't always work out right. I do have two maxi dresses that may be good, but until I try them on with all the right accessories, I won't actually know. Wish me luck and will see you with the last round up of the summer shows and the frock of the day - all to come on Sunday!

Dress by Mani (charity shopped), bag by Fleur (likewise), shoes charity shopped, rings old, necklace by Debenhams, sunglasses by Quay Australia, bangle by Kate Spade New York and rose gold watch by Michael Kors.

Linking with 
Anna x


The travelling yellow skirt arrives on the Isles of Scilly!

I'd like to have a backing track to this post but the one I'd choose is not very hip. I'll reveal it later, but have to first of all introduce you to definitely the coolest blogger I've ever come across, Melanie of Bag and a Beret (yes, you're right you probably did hear a drum roll, with cymbals too). Melanie is an extraordinary woman who is ridiculously beautiful, witty, cool (have I mentioned that already?), articulate, kind, generous and a very talented artist to boot. I'm one of the many women who will happily confess to having a bit of a girl crush on this fabulous, fearless creature. Melanie is the owner of the aforementioned Travelling Yellow skirt - the full story about this item can be read here. The skirt arrived with me last week. I opened the door to find a small brown cardboard box on the mat, with a customs label on the front, declaring the contents to be "Yellow Skirt". My heart did skip a beat. I've been waiting a while for it's arrival and finally it was here. The skirt, I must say, is not an it, but a she. She travels the world, sprinkling her magic wherever she goes. I marvelled at the colourful additions, the countries, names, dates and heart-warming messages of love embodied in the garment. How amazing that I was able to take part in this too. 

And so to set the scene. It was Sunday afternoon and I had spent the morning at church, helping out with hymn books, collection and the like. The service had been accompanied by a violinist who was on holiday here and added greatly to the proceedings. His playing was a worthy substitute for our normal prerecorded music, in particular the rendition of "The Lord of the dance" which he played beautifully as the congregation assembled. It brought back happy memories of school days when we all sang it in assembly. After the service, I gathered together a picnic, blanket and all the necessary paraphenalia including the Yellow Skirt, and then Steve rowed us out to our little motor boat moored in the bay outside our house. The day was glorious, so much so that there had been a veritable exodus of small craft leaving their moorings all with the same idea as us; to find an uninhabited island as the perfect getaway on this scorching summer's day. The Eastern Isles had been my first choice when imagining the Yellow Skirt whooshing across virgin white sands on a deserted island. Not a chance, my husband had told me. Too many locals, too many visitors, all with the same idea, was his view on this. And he was right, as we motored around the North End of the island we could see the small boats all bobbing about on the horizon near the cluster of these tiny idyllic islands. So plan B it was then. Northwethel is a teeny, tiny island with not so much in the way of stretching white sands, but what I wanted was for us to be marooned, alone with the Yellow Skirt as our guest. 

We dropped anchor, and made our way to the shore of our desert island. We ate a lazy lunch, some of us maybe had a beer or two, and we watched the boats buzzing about in the distance. As the sun cooled down, Steve was ready to don his photographers hat. The Yellow Skirt and I got our act together and so the magic of the Travelling Yellow Skirt began. On hitting the sand my soundtrack began. Yes, "Lord of the Dance" was still ringing in my ears and to that lively beat I sang, skipped and danced my way across the white sands of our uninhabited island paradise giving our guest an afternoon to remember. She whooshed, she swished, she tripped up and over rocks in the most joyful of manner. 

And then we rested. The day was still hot, the tide beginning to ebb. Steve took the last few shots - my dear friend Sacramento's pink crochet flower below my knees and my own little offering by my feet. And then we set off for home. 

It had been a pretty perfect day. We had captured something special, something of the magic of Scilly combined with the magic of this travelling token of friendship. I shall never forget singing, dancing and skipping across the sand with the Travelling Yellow Skirt.

But wait! I have a couple of postscripts. The first is about another friendship that was recently cemented and it too involved the Yellow Skirt. My blogging friend Kezzie (read her wonderful blog here) was on the island recently and we too had a joyful moment shared for you to see. In fact the entire day was pretty much a string of joyful moments which I'm still editing for you to read. Kezzie's mother, Ros, was promoted to the postion of blog photographer and rose to the challenge very well, don't you think?

I'll be featuring our day together in a future post, coming soon so please join me for that.

And finally, I longed to showcase the Yellow Skirt on a long sweep of deserted beach, so we headed off a few days later and captured these last few shots to round off what has been a very special event. As this skirt makes her travels across the globe, the hands of friendship are bonded through this mutual experience, like a magical, gossamer thread creating a cobweb of love and harmony wherever she goes. "Love can build a bridge" does indeed come to mind. I'm so privileged to have taken part. Thank you Melanie! x

I'll leave you with Melanie's words of advice:

Let's enjoy life!! 
Let's enjoy dressing up!!
It's just frickin' fabric!! (a really good piece though)
We surrender to the positivity!
Let's dance, baby!!

Anna x

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