Black trouser challenge 1

If you're a regular reader you'll be aware that my favourite places to shop are charity shops and vintage stores. That doesn't mean to say I abhor mainstream fashion, it's more that I enjoy finding individual pieces that make a unique statement as well as getting a bargain. The trousers I'm wearing today are from the high street, from River Island (see here), and to my mind they deliver the individual style that I love. 

Before we go any further let me say that this isn't a sponsored post. I've set myself this personal challenge to justify the £40 I spent on these trousers - not an extortionate amount I know, but still more than I'm used to compared to charity shops. Over the next few weeks I plan to wear them once a week to see how versatile and cost worthy they are. What can I drive the cost-per-wear down to?

I'm not a huge fan of black trousers, particularly in synthetic fibres as they remind me of school trousers or office wear. In fact I don't own many pairs of plain black trousers as frankly I do find them totally uninspiring. I have forgiven them and the fabric here however, because of these fabulous frills. These trousers are ticking a lot of boxes. The fit is great for my hour glass figure with this high waist and the cropped length is also perfect for my height. And last of all let's not forget to mention the side pockets to give full comfort factor.

To complete the look I've added a black retro vibe shirt from Sainsbury's (in the sale, sold out, sorry) and the apple green jacket was a charity shop find (Precis brand) along with my much loved black sandals from New Look a couple of summers ago. I've cinched the waist of the trousers in with a stretch belt to add definition and slipped on a couple of gold toned rings - all of these are from charity shops. 

I fancy that I may be preaching to the converted here as I suspect that the majority of my readers wear black trousers far more often than I do. For you, this feature will be a chance to observe me (hopefully) discover how versatile these will be in my wardrobe. I don't think I could enter into this challenge with bog standard plain black trousers as the very thought of that has me loosing the will to live, but the flamenco frills add fun and hence Anna appeal. 

Linking with -
Catherine of Not Dressed As Lamb

Anna x


Show time again!

I'm playing catch up on the blog today. It was a week ago that we opened our May exhibition at the gallery (see here for full details) with Polly and the girls in attendance. Amanda Hoskin was the only artist able to be there for the reception party which worked to her advantage as she sold all but one of her originals. We had an exceptionally busy evening which left us all buzzing. 

I wore this dark green beaded dress that's almost vintage now (19 years old) which I bought for my 40th birthday party. It wasn't what I intended to wear, but my jumpsuit failed me at the last minute when the zipper came flying off in my hand as I zipped it up. With only 10 minutes to go, I suddenly had to find something that didn't need to be ironed and that worked. After 4 attempts this came to light as my only choice. My colourful shoes and orange toned vintage necklace brought the look together in the nick of time. My floral clutch lay forgotten on the bed in the last minute rush of things. Hey ho!

Outfit details - dress: Monsoon, shoes: TK Maxx, necklace: Magpie Vintage, rings and bangle: charity shopped.

It was Ruth's turn to have a Marilyn Monroe moment. It does seem to be a tad gusty in front of the gallery this week. Ruth, Polly and Heather did a stalwart job on what was a pretty hectic evening, so thank you all very much. 
Anna x


Hurrah for 2 years of blogging!

No-one can be more surprised than me to discover that it's two years since I posted my first feature on the blog (see here). When I started out on this adventure I really had no idea how long I could keep up a good head of steam, as it were. Would I get bored? Would you get bored? Would I run out of outfits that were worthy of a photo shoot? Would I run out of ideas to keep you interested? Today these very same questions still loom over me and all I can promise is that when the joy of running this online diary starts to wane, I'll bow out gracefully before the ratings become too embarrassing to read.

In the meantime I will take a moment to gush and say thanks to my readership without whom this whole thing would be pointless. Thank you for coming back time after time to follow my antics and for the occasional email you send me out of the blue to talk to me about your life and what the blog adds to it. Hello to my lovely reader who returned from abroad to settle in Truro and was excited to visit all the same charity shops as I do - maybe we'll bump into each other one day. Hello to my far flung readers in Australia and New Zealand who are always out of sync with our season and yet still join me to see the outfit of the day. Thank you to my readership in the far East who surprise me with a massive hit of 3000 or so every six months - I wonder if I'm the subject of some college course or a network who follows me? Hello to Angela, Joan and Jude with whom I have become friends through their support by email. And a huge thank you to the blogging community for welcoming me into the body of the kirk. Your comments keep me on the right track, and encourage me when I'm not sure about my clothes or even my choices in general. The blogging world is huge and I realise that my blogging community is tiny in relation to that, but that somehow makes it all the more special. We all search out our niche, our crowd, those that we identify with most and I'm so happy to be part of a blogging family, who like many families may be too busy to catch up from time to time, but always, always regroup and are there to support each other.

Last of all, let's not forget that a blog is only as good as its photographs and mine are always better when Polly is around to do the honours.

Thanks to her for her ideas, advice and technical skills and most of all for her ability to make me laugh! Poor Polly is a captive audience, forced into the position by default, but takes on the role with enthusiasm and good humour every time. In these last few shots she captured the fun when the wind decided to play havoc with my skirt and despite my warnings she just carried on snapping anyway. Thank you Polly x

Outfit details - top: H&M, skirt: vintage, Jaeger, net petticoat: eBay, shoes: TK Maxx, belt: Dorothy Perkins, clutch and rings: charity shopped, bangle: gift, necklace: Noel, sunglasses: Quay Australia.
Anna x


Ping Pong Piece no 3

Yes, here we are again. The monthly collaboration that used to be Ping Pong Post (see the start of the feature here), has progressed from physical items into this ping-ponging of ideas instead. I'm so pleased that you've joined me to see the verdict on this month's piece chosen by Samantha - the white shirt. The new remit is for us to chose something ordinary that, hopefully, can inspire our joint readership. We all own a white shirt, don't we? Well let's see if we can enthuse you. 

I had to give a bit of a wry smile when I first saw this photo of Samantha's. To say she chose to showcase the white shirt, I really wanted to say "Where the heck is it?" as this must be the smallest white shirt I've seen! But wait. On reflection, Sam has done a great job in showing us something quite novel here. These little Peter Pan collars completely change the neckline of her dress which is obviously the whole point. Sam is all about layering, partly down to the cooler weather she has to cope with up in Scotland and this shows how she layers up for summer in the North.Today she looks all set for an afternoon about town with the girls, stepping out in style with these fab leopard print shoes. Top marks Samantha! Follow her blog Fakefabulous here and join her on instagram here.

Details -
Dress: Bonmarché
Belt: French Connection
Shoes: Office
Bag: Hidesign
Earrings: A gift
Glasses: Tkmax

Samantha has invited Monica to join in this month's challenge.

Monica, like me, is a huge fan of bright colours and pattern play, so the notion of a classic white shirt is almost an anathema to her. But like all good fashionistas she welcomed a new opportunity to stretch her comfort zone. Monica used the textured white shirt worn open to top off her bold outfit that is so much her signature style, while adding white sandals to tie the look together. Lashing of colourful jewellery by way of double necklaces and armfuls of bangles are typical of Senora Allnut style. The white shirt as an overshirt - tick. Another nifty move, this time from our guest blogger. Follow Monica on her blog Senora Allnut here or on instagram here.

Details -
- pants, Festa (old) / pantalón
- white shirt, La Redoute (ages ago) / camisa blanca, de hace siglos
- shoes, El Naturalista (last summer sales) / zapatos, rebajas del año pasado
- striped t-shirt, C&A (old) / camiseta rayas
- orange trench, La Redoute (old) / gabardina naranja
- necklace, Sfera (old) / collar
- bag, Surkana (old) / bolso

Annie won't mind me saying that she's the sex kitten of the group always raising the temperature with her take on the challenge. That coquettish pose along with the glimpse of her golden midriff is enough to assert her position in the luscious league. She has strategically tied her giant overshirt to draw the eyes downwards to cute white jeans, beaded anklets and pristine wedge sandals. Ann has given us all food for thought with her take on the white shirt. See more of Ann on her blog Kremb de la Kremb here or follow her on instagram here.

Details -
Earrings--Forever 21
Too many other baubles to mention!
Jeans--Gloria Vanderbelt from charity shop, double DIYed hem by me

My take on the classic white shirt is pretty conventional by my standards. The pleated front with pearl and gilt buttons mean my shirt offers enough detail to stop it from being a jaw breaking, big fat yawn. In fact, I shied away from what you may have expected from me - white ruffles and lavish chiffon - in favour of the most basic white shirt I own. 

I did joke with Polly about the fact that I look like a barista in this white shirt and waistcoat combo. But that aside, I enjoyed giving the more is more touch to my much neglected white shirt. Pattern play, metallics and a bit of bling all came together in a cohesive look which I will definitely wear again. I've been inspired by this challenge and I hope that you've been too.

Details -
Blouse: charity shopped
Waistcoat: River Island
Trousers: Primark
Boots: Primark
Ring and pendant: charity shopped
Sunglasses: Quay Australia

Linking with -
Catherine of Not Dressed As Lamb
Patti of Not Dead Yet Style
Jess of Elegantly Dressed and Stylish
Laurie of Vanity And Me

Please join me on Thursday for a rather special post - see you then!

Anna x


Midweek muddle

Today's outfit was shot a while back when we were experiencing a brisk north wind, hence the snug fitting scarf. As long as I've got my neck covered I can cope with the chillest of winds. What about you - is it neck, wrists or ankles that need to be cosy?

The muddle I refer to is the state of mind rather than the outfit, so apologies if I'm brief. I ought to be splashing about in the sea currently, but thought I'd post this first before I go. A head cold has kept me out of the water for the past week which would normally have driven me to despair, however I've been taking part in a yoga retreat on the island so don't feel such a failure. I've been doing Iyengar yoga for about four years now in weekly classes led by Lucy Aldridge who is everyone's idea of the perfect yoga teacher - lean, lithe, supple, aka very bendy and most important of all, has a great sense of humour, often interjecting these cheesy jokes between the toughest of poses. 

Exercise is what gives me my drive; the energy expended somehow being regenerated for me to use over the day ahead. I'm sure that's one of the reasons we all push ourselves to sweat and gasp and get fit. Yoga is less gasp, more stretch and is a wonderful blend of body, mind and spirit that is the best kind of escape I know of. The retreats always give my own practise a boost which compensates for the times when work takes precedence over class throughout the summer months. The holidays tend to get booked up very quickly as they offer a lovely blend of work and play. Classes last for 90minutes and take place at 7.30am and 5.30pm meaning you have the entire day free to go boating, walking, sightseeing or relaxing in the spa where you can swim or enjoy a massage amongst the many treatments on offer. The island works its magic no matter how you choose to spend your time. 

Sorry but there's not any photos of me in class, but if you follow the link you'll see Lucy striking a few poses. 

Outfit details - jacket: Next, jeans: M&S, scarf: gift, handbag: L Credi, boots: ASOS, sunglasses: River Island, rings: charity shopped.

Anna x

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