A trial run

Yes, it's that time of year when I start doing the big try on, getting ready for the party season. I've got a couple of parties on the horizon as well as drink do's to prepare for so I like to be ready. 

I'm still besotted with these red sock boots, so please accept my apologies if you've tired of them already. Be warned - they will be making a few more appearances! 

When I wore them for the first time (see here) I didn't need tights, but the cold weather and length of this dress mean that's not an option. I'm not sure if black is the right thing here though...Maybe plain black would have been better?

The book handbag was a prize find in Primark in London. It was a fraction of the cost of the real McCoy ones I've seen in other shops.

This must be the first red dress I've had since I was a child. It's from H&M and was partnered with the boots in an advert. I don't normally fall for the spoon fed version of fashion, but I thought it was so simple yet effective.

I thought this charity shop owl necklace was the perfect ploy for the Harry Potter book bag, and only £5 too!

Maybe this could be an option for Christmas day? I'm not sure it's dressy enough for an evening party, but again, that's just me. This is where I ask you for your opinion. I'll be popping up again over the next couple of weeks to run some Christmas outfits past you, so please feel free to give me your thoughts. You can email me if you're too shy to post a comment.

Outfit details - coat: vintage, dress: H&M, boots: H&M, necklace and rings: charity shopped, handbag: Primark, sunglasses: Quay Australia, tights: H&M.

I've just taken delivery of a box of shopping from my Black Friday splurge. I'll let you know how that goes once I've had a try on. In addition, I'm aware that I've yet to show you my shopping from London, so I maybe need to have a post where I do a round up of all that's new in my wardrobe as we hurtle towards Christmas. I'm acutely aware of how short lived this hugely hyped holiday is so I'm fighting shy of buying any more in the way of glitter and sparkle as I own quite a lot of glitzy items already. I'm currently searching for the perfect pair of black shoes that will last beyond the party season and will let you know how that plays out too. 

How are you getting on with your Christmas shopping? Did you wait until Black Friday to hit the shops? And what about your big food shop? Do you do that online or do you brave the supermarket in that last minute rush? Are you one of those very organised types who picks up something every week for months in advance? Do tell - I'm keen to hear how life plays out beyond our little island especially at this time of year. Whatever you're up to, do try to enjoy what you're doing without getting too stressed. See you soon!

Anna x


Take three colours

One of the best things about making friends within the blogging world has to be our common bond through fashion. Jacqui of Mummabstylish and I got on like a house on fire when we met up in London (see here), chatting about all our ideas and concerns on our joint blogging horizon. She told me about her rule of three; the magic number of colours that she uses to create her outfits. The idea had never occurred to me and we laughed about that too.

So here's my ode to Jacqui in yellow, green and burgundy. I suppose in this pure form, it also meets the criteria for colour blocking as I've eschewed my normal pattern play too. 

Catherine of Not Dressed As Lamb has recently posted a feature on fashion bloggers who excel at minimalist styling which got me thinking: why does minimalist dressing look so classy on these women and yet I know would look so bland on me? Apart from the obvious - they're young, slim and pretty of course! Anyway, do click the link to see the ultimate in chic understatement.

With this in mind, today I thought I take a baby step towards minimalist style by dropping down to three colours, albeit quite bold ones. I say baby steps as it's still over the top in other ways; namely the tiers on the tunic as well as the velvet trim and tiny beads. 

I will be honest with you, the idea of an entire collection of clothes that comprises of black, white and neutrals leaves me totally cold, but in the interests of a style challenge I think I may have a go. But not yet, my lovely readers! With Christmas only a month away, I have more bold colours and patterns, a sprinkling of glitter and of course, a liberal dose of sequins all lined up for your delectation.

The tunic is actually an early Christmas present from a friend. She lives in Portugal and had ordered it online to be posted direct to me. She prompted me to open it in case I didn't like it, meaning I could just send it on to her. Sorry Bo, as you can see it's rather fabulous and I'm keeping it!

And that brings me onto another style matter. I would never, never have chosen this shape of top. Tunics are just not my thing. My reasons are usually to do with the boxy shape, the lack of definition, and the focus on the bust making me look bigger than I like. However, I was so bowled over by the colour that I was happy to step out of my comfort zone and try it on. It's a lovely floaty material and it feels really feminine. I'm a convert! 

Outfit details - coat: The Vintage Boutique Collection from TK Maxx, top: Zara, trousers: Tesco, boots: pre-loved, sunglasses: Quay Australia, rings: Sainsbury's, necklace: gift, handbag: purchased in Rome, no brand.

This week I'll be linking up with -
Catherine of Not Dressed As Lamb
Samantha of Fake Fabulous

This shot captures me as I've just hung my coat up in the hedge and was waiting to see if the wind would whisk it off. 

Here's a couple of snaps taken from my office window over the past week. This view is balm to the soul. Have a great week and see you again soon!

Anna x


The best laid plans...

Yes, life rarely goes to plan and so it is for me that my promised feature of yesterday has flopped. Events have conspired meaning that Sasha and I haven't manged to do our joint shoot. But worry ye not, I'm here to show you brocade boots plus new trousers, my third item recently purchased from Zara.

As a teenager, flares were one of the first fashions I followed. I had a pair of bright blue satin bell bottoms that I wore with multi-coloured platform shoes and a mini seersucker smock top in rainbow stripes; my love of colour was just as evident then.

Outfit details are like this - jacket: a gift (thanks again Maggie), trousers: Zara, blouse: eBay, boots: ASOS, necklace: gift, rings: old, sunglasses: Quay Australia.

I really like how the high waist gives a lovely snug fit.

I was so pleased to come across these cropped flares in Zara last month. I've had this imaginary pair of trousers on my mind for some time, but hadn't managed to find them in real life. The shape is exactly as I'd envisioned, but I thought they might be a soft denim rather than corduroy, and certainly not in this lovely ginger colour. I wore them in London, but my camera was playing up so the shots aren't as crisp as they could be.

This variation details are - jacket: Michael Kors, roll neck: eBay, boots: Zara, ring:old, sunglasses: Quay Australia.

How's your week going? Are you on top of your Christmas plans and shopping lists? I'm about to take a look online to see if I can get some inspiration for toys for my great nieces and nephews. After that I'll get our turkey booked which will get me a bit closer to being prepared for the big day. Good luck with your shopping. Thanks for dropping by, and see you soon!
Anna x


Weekend wear

One of my highlights of the winter period is that I have the entire weekend off. During the height of the summer I often only manage to take one day off a week, so a whole weekend seems like absolute luxury.

And there is nothing more luxurious for the weekend than this little number. Are we talking Athleisure wear here? Many moons ago this would simply have been called a jogging suit, but we none of us went jogging in them. Loungewear then, maybe?

Regardless of the name, this is my idea of comfort when I'm chilling at home.

I found this in Zara on Oxford Street in my recent trip away. The truth of the matter is that I could have spent a small fortune there. Steve excused himself from the arena which was a very wise move. I was like a wild cat stalking its prey just before darkness fell; the clock was ticking, and I knew I had to be selective. I took five things into the changing rooms and bought three. Very restrained, by my standards, but this was real shopping at real prices - no thrifting bargains to be found here.

The trainers are a purchase from earlier this year. A lovely find in TK Maxx for a snip. I think I maybe prefer my black trainers (see here) with these trousers though.

It's difficult to say what I love best about this outfit. Firstly the velvet is soft and cosy, the colours are vibrant, the embroidery intricate and enriching to the overall feel, and the loose fit is essential for comfort, but I suppose the winning design feature has to be the wonderfully deep pockets in the trousers that deliver the real slouch factor. It's still in stock here, but be quick, I fancy it will sell out soon! 

My next post will be another joint feature with my daughter. Sasha and I will be styling up our brocade boots, a trend that's still going strong this winter. That will be on the 20th, so do join us to see the results. The 5 Over 50 challenge for December has been chosen by Laurie of Vanity and Me Style and will be Christmas jumpers. We've moved the date of this to the 18th of December to allow us to capture a few festive shots. I'll be rooting about this weekend to see where my offerings are and looking at what I can wear to put a new spin on them. Our annual Christmas party is on Saturday the 16th (golly, only a month away) so I will be taking a look at what I have in the sequins and glitter department, again in the hope of finding something to inspire me. How's your Christmas events calendar looking? Or more importantly are you a "Bah humbug!" type or are you brimming with Christmas spirit already? Do let me know your thoughts on the festive season.

Linking with -

Anna x


The idyllic Isles of Scilly

For the past 40 years I've lived on the Isles of Scilly, on the tiny island of Tresco where I settled by chance (hear how this came about here), and now I couldn't imagine living anywhere else. This little cluster of islands, lying some 26 miles Southwest off the tip of West Cornwall, attract thousands of tourists every year who come to embrace the slower pace of life. 

This is the view from my workplace. The gallery sits on the shoreline of New Grimsby, the main access point for our visitors.

Some of our visitors arrive under sail and moor up in the shelter between the islands; Cornwall, Ireland and France are the starting point for most of these sailors.

Every year the Isles of Scilly are featured on the itinerary of hundreds of cruise ships which bring their passengers to spend a day here. These tourists provide a vital boost to our local economy.

At the end of the day a boat load of day trippers head back to St Mary's to catch the Scillonian to return to the mainland. If you fancy visiting the islands see here or follow the link on my side bar for information on how to get here, and see the many types of accommodation available as well as details about the five inhabited islands.

My regular readers may recognise this shot from the summer when I'd spent the afternoon with my husband on Samson, one of the uninhabited islands - see the account here. I posted this on instagram which led to me being asked to take part in a photo shoot to promote the islands. I was asked by the Islands Partnership if I would play the part of a single traveller in their forthcoming campaign for 2018. The remit was to spend a few hours on the same island doing some beach yoga, reading, drawing and swimming all to be captured by a professional photographer. 

Behind me are the others taking part in the shoot, a young couple who had been brought across from Cornwall to do stand-up paddle boarding. The photographer and shoot director are standing in the shallows lining up the shot. As a blogger I totally understood the need to capture that perfect moment. 

As you can see, the weather couldn't have been better.

The kit for the shoot was minimal as we had to island hop on a small boat just big enough to take the six of us that made up the crew - shoot director and her assistant, photographer and three models.

We'd arrived on Samson at lunchtime, to find a row of about 10 kayaks lined up on the beach and just beyond them were the 10 castaways in row having a picnic. Goodness knows what they would have thought as we bundled out of our boat and immediately the photographer started striding about taking in all the views and finding the angles he wanted. 

As luck would have it, the first shot for me was to be directly in front of these onlookers. I was to do some yoga poses. No problem. I was prepared, with my swimsuit on already and they had brought a yoga mat. No problem. Eh, maybe there was a problem. Me on a yoga mat on top of very fine soft sand. Tension is paramount for a good, strong yoga pose and there was no purchase, just a gradual sinking. Deeper and deeper. Also there was another problem; every time I was asked to strike another pose, I discovered that this, my very public and first ever profession job, was made all the more difficult by the bemused looks from the 10 onlookers. I've never done my yoga practice in front of an audience before and suddenly was aware of a complete brain vacuum. There were no other poses on my memory card; maybe I've just imagined that I can do yoga; in fact, I knew nothing about yoga at all. "What about this one?" the director shouted as she pointed skywards, "or this one?". Was there muffled laughter from the back row? Did someone just choke on their sandwich as they tried to stifle a giggle? No matter, this was me, The Lone Traveller having a serene holiday moment.

I was holding my breath, squinting into the mid-day sun, thinking about my yoga teacher, hoping she would never see these foot-sliding, soft-knee poses. The mat and my back foot have both been gobbled up by the sand. How many classes had I missed this year? Did it show?

Downward Dog aka Sinking Toes instead.

Next up was reading. Only, in a different outfit. Samson has a terrible lack of changing rooms, so we performed that well known beach ritual of two women holding towels together enabling me to wriggle out of one and into another set of beachwear - all directly in front of the spectators, of course. Cue more chuckling and pretence at averting their eyes.

If I look like a middle-aged lady lying on a beach, reading then that's cos I am.

Again, if I look like I'm enjoying sitting in the sun, drawing the view, then I am.

The tide was flooding by the time it came for my final shot. Despite taking lots of swimming shots, it was the very first one that summed up the lure of these islands. 

It was a privilege to take part in this shoot as there can be no more authentic images of the islands than these. One of the onlookers did actually heckle us, calling out, "I bet you're doing a cheap photo shoot to advertise the Caribbean!" How wrong they were. Is it our fault that the Isles of Scilly look so beautiful, so unspoilt, so utterly idyllic?

Linking with -
Catherine of Not Dressed As Lamb
Samantha of Fake Fabulous 
Anna x

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