Anna meets...Philonena

It's been a while since I've run this feature, but I'd say it's been worth the wait as today I meet Philonena who was visiting the island during the Cider Festival in June. Her partner organised the music for the weekend. He was so pleased that I wanted to interview Philonena as he's very proud of her taking such care over her appearance and stepping out in style.

Anna: What brings you to this tiny island?

Philonena: My partner, Mike arranges gigs for the 59 Ford Band in the West Country.They play here at the Inn every year, mostly 50's/60's music as well as rock 'n' roll led by the singer, Phil who is a friend of ours.  This is my first visit to the Isles of Scilly and it's been lovely out here by the sea - it's very different to a normal gig. 

Anna: Do you like to dance?

Philonena: Yes, I love to dance. Mike and I like to jive and dance to rock 'n' roll as well as any kind of good music. 

Anna: Do you have a style icon who has influenced you?

Philonena: Audrey Hepburn. 

Anna: Would you like to tell my readers how old you are?

Philonena: I'm 67.

Anna: You have amazing skin for a woman of your age. What's your secret?

Philonena: I use oil on my skin rather than cream, but think my Mediterranean genes play a part too.

Anna: Where's home for you?

Philonena: I'm half Maltese, but have lived in Bristol since I was 15. I was born in Yorkshire and have lived in Cornwall amongst other places. 

Anna: Do you dress like this every day?

Philonena: Yes, I love 1950's dresses and wear them every day.

Anna: You've recently had a tattoo. Tell me about it.

Philonena: It's a very unique image, and not one I want to share as it's a one-off. It's based on me in a Union Jack dress in a 1950's style. I had it done on the inside of my arm so that it's not on show, but is there for me to see and enjoy. The tattooist had to use a extremely fine needle to achieve such a delicate image. 

Anna: What keeps you young?

Philonena: Music and dancing with my special partner keeps me young. We love going out and having holidays together.

Thank you Phee, it was an absolute pleasure to meet you!

One other thing that Philonena and I chatted about was her motivation for dressing as she does. She was keen to get across the fact that she doesn't dress for anyone else, but herself. This is who she is, not who she's trying to be, and I understand that completely. She is quite shy and reserved and is keen for me to see that she doesn't dress like this as a way of showing off. Philonena has a strong sense of self that's not reliant on society's approval - that's a great message for women of all ages, don't you agree?

Anna x


Black trouser challenge 9

Yes, it's week 9 of my self-imposed Black Trouser Challenge featuring these marvellous fancy pants by River Island. Today's post is very special however, due to a spot of luck. Earlier this month I entered a give-away sponsored by ADRA. Now, I'm sure we all have friends who are always lucky with raffle tickets and prize draws, but I never win anything. Until now. ADRA chose me as one of their four winners in their 4th of July draw and I won this beautiful white blouse. Huge fanfare, streamers popping and technicolour fireworks zooming skywards please!

The blouse is a dream to wear, made out of 100% silky smooth cotton and is crispy cool for summer. I love the cutaway shape to reveal shoulders and also love that it's cut high enough to clevery hide that unsightly overspill that can happen between bra and underarm - the angle looks sharp, modern and chic. The cutout on the back is beautifully placed to show an area that I'm very happy to reveal, but still allows you to wear a bra. And let's not forget to admire the fabulous frilled finish that has to be the best feature of all. Little wonder that I was so keen to win this as it's the perfect partner for my ruffled hem trousers. The blouse is long enough to wear over trousers rather than tucked in and I'll be showing you that next month when I wear it with a splash of colour to show you a more casual look. So, thank-you ADRA for changing my luck and making my day!

Outfit details - trousers:River Island, blouse: c/o ADRA, necklace: Du Barre, shoes: New Look, belt: Dorothy Perkins, rings: Sainsbury's, sunglasses: Quay Australia.

Anna x


Summer show 25th July

So here we are, already at the end of the month with our final July show, and I can't understand where the time has gone. Do you feel the same? Perhaps the lack of what feels like consistent summer weather hasn't helped. Anyway, let's take a look at what we got up to last night shall we?

Heather, Polly and Ruth were still smiling at the end of the evening, despite it being one of the busiest yet. On the right is our attending artist, Iona Sanders, who managed to get across to the island for her opening night at the gallery. Iona spent the night chatting to clients resulting in her selling two beautiful paintings which was a great start to her show. See the full line up of our July shows here.

My outfit comprises of a vintage dress that was a charity shop scoop for £9, gold sandals from H&M, the bracelet is green amethyst and was a present from my husband when we were in Morocco, the large brown ring is from TK Maxx and the other rings were from a charity shop.

Iona and I had a farewell squeeze before we said goodnight. My job is a wonderful way of meeting people and making new friends and Iona is not only a talented artist, but also a lovely new chum. 

Coming up soon on the blog is a special edition of The Black Trouser Challenge, followed by Anna meets... (yes I know I promised this previously, but it's nearly finished now) and the 5Over50 collective will be rallying soon with our next challenge "Orange is the new black" - the most difficult part of this challenge will be to decide which orange outfit I feature as it's almost a daily occurrence for me at this time of year!

My trip to the mainland yeilded a fabulous haul, but I'm afraid it's already packed/squashed into my wardrobe. Things are full-on at work during the exhibition period and I really didn't have time to do the usual bed-spread. If this causes huge disappoinment to you, then leave me a comment and I'll drag it out for a quick photoshoot. If I say that I bought 18 pairs of shoes and boots, then you'll get an idea of how good the shopping was. Sasha steered me through the best of the summer sales and yes, I descended on my usual charity shops too. According to the masters of retail therapy we're already in need of our autumn clothes, hence this shedding of all of the summer fripperies. Well, I'm ever hopeful that summer will just be taking a breather and is about to return with gusto and therefore I'll be needing all things, floaty, flowery and lightweight in readiness for the next heatwave. And if not, then at least I'm all stocked up for next summer! New swimsuits and a bikini have me all primed for more beach shoots too...

Anna x


Mastering monochromatic at last

Earlier on this month I was taking part in the 5Over50 challenge and managed to misread the remit. Monochrome and monochromatic became one and the same to me, much to my ensuing embarrassment. See the post here. And so, somewhat belatedly, here is my take on monochromatic. 

On reflection, it's no bad thing that I didn't wear this version for the challenge as Laurie and I both have this very same skirt (from F&F at Tesco). I had suggested this outfit to Polly by way of "What about nude?" and she insisted that "You're better than nude", resulting in my change of heart to black and white. Well, when I did finally turn up for work in this outfit, she loved it and declared that this wasn't just nude - it's nude and blush and pink and fluffy gorgeousness. So you like it then Poll?

Outfit details - skirt: F&F, cardigan: Sainsbury's, shoes: Primark, necklace: Debenhams, rings: charity shopped, sunglasses: Quay Australia, watch: Michael Kors.

If you're reading this on Sunday, then I'll be swanning about somewhere in Cornwall with my daughter. Annual health checks require me to be away from work at this busy time, but it's just for a couple of days. I'm sure that Polly will cope perfectly well without me to boss her about. I'll hit the ground running on Monday when I return to hang the new show in readiness for opening on Tuesday. I'm hoping to find something new to wear for the opening night, so fingers crossed eh?

Linking with -
Catherine of Not Dressed As Lamb
Cherie of Style Nudge 
Anna x


Ping Pong Piece no 5

Welcome to the latest edition of Ping Pong Piece, the new and improved version of Ping Pong Post which entailed three bloggers posting our clothes around the world in the name of creativity (see how it started here). Now, instead of pinging clothes back and forth, we ping ideas around to each other. This month Samantha, Ann and myself along with my guest of the month, Mary Murnane are styling a beach cover-up. 

Mary is an Emmy Award winning TV news reporter and anchor whose love of photography and fashion has led her to publish her own blog. I've followed Mary for some time now and am in awe of her sleek, polished style which still incorporates a playful element and a penchant for beautiful handbags and shoes. Her cover up is by Neiman Marcus and slides are by Zara.

Samantha has recently been playing happy families on the beach in Scotland where the temperatures aren't quite making the 20's yet. Sam's answer is to keep her top half cosied up against the wind which enables her to don her shorts to catch a few rays. See more of this on her blog Fake Fabulous.

Outfit details -
Jumper: Charity Shop
Gilet: Joules
Sandals: Vionics
Shorts: Fat Face

It seems that Ann has a similar approach to the beach cover-up idea. An old favourite of hers, this fisherman's jumper is her go-to casual wear for summer by the lake. Sunnies, flip flops and cut-offs complete her summer essentials for a day in the sun. Join Ann on Kremb de la Kremb

Outfit details are -
Sunnies--Forever 21
Suit and Flip Flops--Target
Cut-offs--DIY thrifted Wranglers
Beach Tote--Louella OdiƩ

My beach cover up was a charity shop find earlier on this summer, from ASOS, and cost all of £3.99. I love the crazy hooped hemline which reminds me of a Lady Gaga costume. The shoot took two days and two visits to my favourite desert-island-of-the-moment, Samson. The black hat on day one, left me a bit non plussed, but the pistachio hat and coral sandals were more the mood I wanted. And the joy of these islands is that you don't have to wait too long before a yacht or two will sail on by adding that Caribbean vibe to the shot.

Body confidence is in the news currently thanks mainly to the Loose Women photo shoot where the presenters all stripped down to their cossies shunning the aid of airbrushing. When you consider that the oldest, Janet Street-Porter, is 70 it's a brilliant message for women of every age that we ought to love our bodies - wobbly bits, scars, lumps and bumps - it's all part of our unique story and a celebration of normal life.

Every summer I promise myself that this will be my last one for wearing a bikini and this year is no different. Will I dare to bare next year when I'm 60? So here's my (maybe) last bikini shot. I share it to celebrate a body that's given birth to two babies and over the decades has gained then lost many pounds all in the name of body confidence.

I'm heading over to the mainland today and may not manage to respond to your comments during the next few days, but please do drop me a line and I'll catch up with you when I get back. Are you still wearing a bikini in your 50's? And why not? I'd love to hear from you if you are!

Anna x

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