Baby it's cold outside!

Snow is a novelty for those who live on the Isles of Scilly. In fact it's nine years since the last occurrence and so you could imagine the excitement today as the skies grew heavy with snow clouds. Initially there were just a few dancing flakes, but as the day progressed the islands disappeared in full white-out and snow settled on the ground, thick enough to make snowballs and even a snowman or two were built.

For some of the local children this will be the first snow they've seen in their lives.

If it's cold enough for snow, then surely it's cold enough to showcase my red fox fur again. I took these shots last month and was hoping to air them before spring overtook me. And here we are, as huge swathes of the are UK under snow I feel it's perfect timing.

I've gone with a casual styling of honey coloured jeans and striped roll neck sweater giving a simple counterbalance to the luxury of real fur. 

The top ring is quite old (from East) and the bottom one was charity shopped.

The final touch of glamour comes by way of these Michael Kors ankle boots, bought in TK Maxx a couple of years ago. The pale nude leather is supple yet soft and the elastic gusset ensures a snug fit. Yes, the heels are toweringly high, but I can still walk in them.

See? I walked all the way from one side of the balcony all the way across to the other before I had to sit down. Once I got my breath back, I got right back up again and walked all the way back!

I realise that my blogging friends across the pond won't be mightily impressed at the light dusting of snow on the road in front of my gallery, but hang fire - we may have more to show by tomorrow. The West Country is forecast to have heavy snow by the end of the day and you can bet your bottom dollar I'll be out there taking some shots if it comes about.

For those of you who really are experiencing blizzard conditions, do take care!

Anna x


Style, not age

Welcome to our new and improved group, "Style, not age" where this month we're having fun with faux fur. We've had a bit of a shake up since our last group feature and have taken on a new name, lost a couple of stylists and gained a new one, but apart from that it's business as usual. This month Hilda set the challenge so let's see the results shall we?

I can understand why Hilda chose fur; this coat is an old faithful and looks so cosy as well as super soft. Given the bitter East wind that's sweeping across the UK at the moment, Hilda is dressed perfectly to keep the chills at bay. And when the Siberian blizzard hits us later on in the week, Hilda's Russian hat will surely come into its own. Read more about her outfit on Hilda's blog Over the Hilda here and see her on instagram here.

Jacqui of Mummabstylish has stepped forward to lead our newly reformed group and is showing the way in style in her electric blue dress from H&M, topped with a faux fur gilet from M&Co. Not only do her Lotus shoes look fab, but they tie in perfectly with the graffiti. See more of this outfit on her blog here and follow Jacqui on instagram here.

I'd like to give a warm welcome to Emma from Style Splash. Her working background is TV and radio, and like the rest of the group she is also a mother. It was while she was an at home mum that Emma decided to pursue her passion for fashion and now works freelance as well as volunteering at an animal hospital and yet still finds time for running her beauty, fashion and travel blog. Emma chose a faux fur collar for the challenge and how clever that it echoes the red hues of her hair! Click on the link above to see her blog and follow her on instagram here.

The story about this coat goes something like this - you know when you have things in your house that eventually become invisible? Yes, sure you do! Well, in the corridor upstairs we have a few hooks, actually nails if the truth be known, spaced along the wall and on them hang about half a dozen coat covers. OMG is this another senior moment? You know what I mean - those grey zip up storage bags that you use for coats to winterise them?

Well, they had become invisible until the other day when I kinda brushed against them on my way past and thought, "Hey what's inside these then?" and here was this faux suede, faux fur coat. Lots of other coats and jackets were lurking there too and I really think that they might all need to be sorted through ready for my next eBaying session. 

It's so long since I bought this coat, I can't be 100% sure where I got it, but fancy it would have been from TK Maxx. It certainly was before my charity shopping days. It's fully lined in faux fur and is toasty warm to wear, making it ideal for this cold snap.

And yes, some of you may recognise the dress from last month when I wasn't all that happy with my styling efforts that time (see here if you must). This pleases me much more, thank you. The boots are slim and elegant and yet edgy enough to give the dress what it needs to sharpen it up. The belt with its studs lends a rock chick feel. And the long fur coat says sleek, so all in all I'm happy.

You'll gather by the shots that this was an interesting photo shoot for Sasha and I on Saturday afternoon.. We both struggled to keep our balance against the gusts of wind that came hurtling over the top of the hill towards us. We'd had words (surely not?) about what was the wind direction and where would be best to find a sheltered spot, but this was the best we could do.

If you're on the island over the next couple of weeks you're sure to see me in this again. It's a bit like an old love affair that has been rekindled and I'm looking forward to seeing what other outfits will be enhanced by this slim fitting coat. I usually wear trousers during the winter months as I always feel the cold, but the longer length and thick fur of this coat means I can wear skirts and dresses and still be toasty warm.

I found this new gold chain necklace in a charity shop last month (£3.50) and it has a matching bracelet (£3) too. I like the stones for an extra bit of sparkle and makes it a bit different to my other (go-to) chain necklace. The large ring was from TK Maxx, the other is from Sainsbury's, the dress and boots are from Zara, the belt comes from Portugal (a gift) and the black tee is a thermal layer from M&S.

I was all set to write about the pro's and con's of fake fur which would of course mean I'd have to write about real fur. But you know, we're all intelligent adults here with access to the latest information about this fashion minefield. My blogging friend Hilda put it very succinctly by saying she's pro choice, and I have to agree. It's not my place to be judge and jury about the rights and wrongs of wearing fur. Last time I wrote about it, the response was huge so do feel free to visit that post if you want to challenge your own viewpoint; Fur - fake or real read here.

I'll leave you with a very contrasting photo taken, would you believe, only four hours earlier than these others. I've been asked to take part in a magazine feature that will be published in the height of the summer which requires shots of me throughout the day, with the required accessory being a cuppa. I have only two weeks to gather a bundle of about 12 images together showing one day in my life here in the "summer", drink in hand! As I was heading off to the beach on Saturday morning I decided to take my flask with me in case the right opportunity arose. 

No-one could be more surprised than me that I managed to nail this shot. I had just been for my swim (hence not a scrap of make-up, not even lippie!) during which time the sun had started showing itself in fits and starts through the cloud cover. I quickly unpacked my kit - tripod, camera with timer and then somehow I had a perfectly stage managed moment when the sun shone boldly and click, there we have it! One down, 11 to go...

This week I'll be linking with Patti of Not Dead Yet Style.

P.S. Just in case you're worried, I'm hanging up my cossie for the next week as the temperature is due to fall below freezing even here on the sunny Isles of Scilly. Do take care on the roads and wrap up well!
Anna x


Pattern clash

This is the first time I've worn this checked trench coat (a charity shop find, originally from Topshop). Styling something for the very first time gives me carte blanche as I have no set idea of how it ought to look which is always exciting. 

My first thought was to pick out the orange and use it for my accessories. The scarf - I think I'm having a senior moment here and am stumped as to what the correct description is for those circle scarves (never ending perhaps?) - anyway, the scarf is deliciously soft to the touch and also has a lovely shade of contrasting green which I adore. You may have seen my orange ostrich skin bag a few times before, but I appear to have "rested" it over the winter months and now here it is all bright, and bubbly and rarin' to go. The scarf is thrifted and the bag by L Credi was from TK Maxx.

The ankle boots are new, well when I say new, I actually bought them last summer in the sale at Sainsbury's when Sasha and I were allegedly buying a hot chicken for dinner. It was our favourite way to shop; to be on a legitimate mission aka getting something to eat that often entailed us doing a slight detour of the clothes section just in case someone had relocated the hot food counter next to Gok's most recent offerings. Again, this is the first outing for these babies too. They're imitation suede and despite the pointed toe are quite a wide fit so are uber comfy. And best of all they were only £5 in the sale!

The geometric print trousers are from H&M and I've had them for a couple of years now. The fabric is synthetic and therefore really stretchy which is very handy as I was having a bit of a bloaty day when I took these shots. Sometimes these just skim over my thighs like a dream and might even need a belt, but this time it was more a "thank goodness these have stretch in them!" moment.

And here's the final part of the pattern clash, a lovely bit of leopard print. In my eyes, this is more pattern play than clash as I think it all works so harmoniously. What do you say? Note the little sprinkling of orange by way of the rings - charity shopped of course. The gold chain necklace was a present, the sunglasses are by Quay Australia and my watch is in rose gold and is by Michael Kors.

I'd spent the whole day at work thinking this outfit warranted a photo shoot, but it was only at the end of the day that I finally found time. The winter sun was weak and also dancing behind the clouds making for an interesting challenge throughout. From shot to shot, I was altering the timer to try to capture the golden light before the next cloud came along. Sometimes the shot was fine, but often I'd forgotten to compose my face and would have a questioning/worried expression which wasn't the look I was aiming for!

This time last week I was about to start on a Mindfulness workshop that was being held on the island over a few days. It was a trial run for one that is going to be offered commercially later on this year. I'm going to feature my experience on the blog, but - and hey you'll appreciate this - I'm not wanting to rush into it. Joking aside, I'm trying to implement some of the skills I learnt and one of the main things I know I want to attend to is the crazy speed I lead my life. It's ironic given that I live on this incredibly peaceful and idyllic island, but as an employee I still have deadlines and budgets just like any other job and that's before you even touch on all my personal goals.

Apart from that I have a new group post coming up on Monday, so please do join me then. In the meantime, I'm going to be taking my time to catch up on some outstanding projects on the home front as well as saying Hi to some of my fellow bloggers who I've neglected to visit of late. If you want to find some new style inspiration then do take a look at my blog list on the right for the ones I love. And last of all, I'm going to link up with one of my favourites, Catherine, below. By following the link you'll be led to lots of new bloggers too as well as reading one of the best blogs on the block.

Linking to -
Catherine of Not Dressed As Lamb

And finally... I want to introduce you to one of my favourite instagram accounts featuring Julie Alpine of She wears the trousers. I love Julie's wit as well as style - do take a look.
Anna x


Vintage winter coat and cowboy boots

Hail showers and stormy days are still with us on the Isles of Scilly meaning this winter coat is as useful as ever. The bonus feature of it has to be the rich colours which would cheer up any dull day.

On my recent trip away I found these amazing cowboy boots in the vintage section of a charity shop in Penzance for £9.50. They're real leather, made in Spain and are hardly worn. The moment I saw them, I thought they'd go perfectly with my woollen winter coat (as well as so many other things in my wardrobe). 

Black jeans and checked shirt emphasise the cowgirl look and I picked out some red and black accessories to pull the outfit together. The belt is by Tommy Hilfiger (from TK Maxx), the red and black ring and necklace are both from charity shops and the silver and gold ring by Emily Nixon is the one Steve bought me for my birthday last month.

The day looked deceptively bright here, but the wind was hurtling along the beach towards us as Sasha and I tried to take these shots. I took cover behind the wall but the gusts whipped around us and played havoc with my hair.

This was my Donald Trump moment.

Seconds after this the hail started again ending our photo shoot. 

I just want to end with a note on sunscreen and moisturiser. Since turning 60 I'm (somewhat belatedly) questioning what order these ought to be applied and if it's even necessary to apply both. Well, I can only say that if you Google the question there are so many trains of thought that it left me baffled. I can see the importance for daily sunscreen protection and wear sunscreen from the word go as I head off for my morning swim. After my swim and shower, I'm now applying facial moisturiser with factor 30 sunscreen which seems as if it might be the right compromise. 

And finally, since writing this last paragraph I did a further search which advices to allow your skin 30 minutes of exposure to sunlight every day without sunscreen to avoid vitamin D deficiency. Ought my 30 minutes outdoors on the beach be my skin's time to receive the necessary daily dose of vitamin D? Or do I simply take vitamin D in supplement form?  I'd previously read that we in the Northern hemisphere are generally deficient in vitamin D. You can tell this is all as clear as mud to me. If any of my readers can point me in the right direction for some sound advice on these subjects I'd be really pleased to hear from you.

In the meantime, have a great week!
Anna x


Sweet dreams!

This is a sponsored post - all text is my honest opinion.

I recently received this gift box,The Ultimate Dream Kit, from TENA Lady to help with a sound night's sleep and very welcome it was too. Like a lot of women I'm trying to re-establish a sleep pattern after emerging from the menopause. The night sweats from those years have taken their toll, disrupting the deep REM sleep we need to process the workings of the mind and rejuvenate the body.

According to TENA 61% of women in the UK admit to experiencing bladder weakness at some point in their lives which certainly applied to me years ago. I wonder how many in that survey declined to admit they did? It's not an easy subject to discuss, but I thought it's the least I could do to be honest with my readers. Childbirth left me with stress incontinence - coughing, sneezing and even just carrying a bag of heavy shopping caused me to leak; I felt at my least feminine and painfully embarrassed too. While I was waiting for an operation to repair what was actually a prolapse, I relied on TENA pads to allow me to carry on with my everyday life. And now they've introduced a range of night time pads which offer all night protection allowing you to have a dry and comfortable night's sleep.

I'm already a fan of This Works as a brand that actually delivers on its promises. After a warm bedtime bath, I've been using the Deep Sleep Night Oil to give myself a lovely massage before bundling up my cosy pj's. My bedtime ritual is to read until I'm drowsy and just before I switch off the light I waft a couple of pumps of the Deep Sleep Pillow Spray across the entire pillow. It has the most delicious aroma of Lavender, Vetivert and Wild Camomile that combine to give an incredibly relaxing effect. I've used it for the past week and it really does work. Previously I'd read until sleepy and then somehow the minute my head would hit the pillow all sorts of unfinished business would start zooming around my brain. No more tossing and turning for me now! Click on the highlighted link below or above to be taken to the Sleep Solutions page of This Works.

The Night Time Pukka tea delivers the same dreamy notes of Lavender and the floral blend was easy on the palate, but I didn't actually drink it at bedtime as was recommended. I cut down on liquids in the evening so as to reduce my trips to the loo - another legacy from having babies or just a sign of old age? Who knows, but bedtime drinks are out for me.

I'm always happy to have a new book to read and this one was a good introduction on learning how to understand the meaning of dreams. "Discovering what the dream is telling you is half of the game; the other half is to apply the insight. A dream is practical and useful-if and only if- you apply its insight. Its application helps you unleash your potential one step at a time and puts the odds in your favour of achieving success, peace and happiness." Some people say they don't dream, but I seem to have my dreams drifting about in my head for ages. Maybe once I've finished the book I'll have a better understanding of what the messages from those dreams are and can work on them. Another of the gifts was a Dream Catcher that you may see in the first shot - said to encourage happy and positive dreams!

  "When you cease to dream you cease to live"
Malcolm Forbes

"Dreams" is a journal that seeks to inspire us to follow our dreams. Whether you've just turned 60 like me or are still in the full flush of youth, there's never a better time to write down your hopes and aspirations. Unless you pin them down, pad them out and map how your future could look you'll never start taking steps towards those dreams. I know this may sound crazy, but turning 60 has taken me a bit by surprise. It's a big number, prompting not just a full stop and a new paragraph, but I think it heralds a whole new chapter in my life. At the moment I'm taking stock and this inviting journal will be most useful for laying out my plans.

Anna x


Ted Baker skirt

Here's another outfit from my birthday weekend. If you missed all the fun then you can catch up on the celebrations here. Just before Christmas I bought this rather splendid Ted Baker skirt that I scooped up in TK Maxx when it was discounted by 75%. Too good a bargain to miss I say! The moment I saw it I instantly knew that I wanted to wear it over my birthday weekend, and this is how I did.

The skirt is the only new piece of the outfit. The red sock boots from H&M have been worth the money already and are still favourites of mine. The shirt was from Sainsbury's last year and is becoming a classic piece for me. 

I added the bright cerise belt to bring out the pink of the blooms. It was an eBay purchase for under a fiver which is another great bargain. I just love that pop of colour!

I had coerced Steve into being my photographer this day and I really ought to have taken a shot of him. Here was I in my flimsy shirt and flouncy skirt braving the elements on this windswept balcony and Steve was bundled up in his winter coat, heavy boots and flat cap - talk about contrasts!

The little row of cottages behind me are called Blockhouse Cottages and this is where Steve grew up and lived until we married. We had a little boat moored in the bay below the house and would spend our weekends buzzing around the tiny uninhabited islands, fishing, shrimping on the low tides and having picnics on deserted beaches. And now that our children are all grown up we're back revisiting those times during the summer months and still counting our blessings for this idyllic lifestyle.

This lovely crystal pendant was a charity shop find, the triangle ring was from Sainsbury's and the oval one was from East many moons ago. 

Looking at this now, I can see that this would make a great outfit for one of my gallery exhibitions. I understand that the fashion for sock boots will fade, but as you probably know I'm not a slave to fashion and will wear this particular trend well past its sell by date. I think that surely has to be one of the perks of being a mature style blogger; I can fall in love with a trend and just add to to my own list of classics without feeling pressured to move onto the next must-have piece.

I can't believe that it's already two weeks since this wonderful party weekend. That wistful look on my face was me trying to capture the moment and hold it dear. Thank goodness I have lots of photos to remind me of those special times with all of the people who helped to make it so. Next month Steve and I have one final joint treat to mark our 60th birthdays. We're off to London to see Paloma Faith in concert at the O2. This will be our first ever concert which is quite funny at our age. None the less, it's an exciting thought and hopefully will be all that we could imagine. We'll be off-island for a week, so rest assured I'll bring back lots of imagery from the trip for you to see.

Enjoy your weekend!

Anna x


More sock boots!

Excuse the huge cheesy grin, but I'm loving these sock boots and thought you would want to see them too. I know this is going to look like yet another Zara promo feature, but it honestly isn't! Yes, the boots are on offer (see here), but that's just a coincidence - I love them regardless of the price. 

Check out the sparkle on these heels! 

I love the comfort factor, I love the colour, I love the stretch, but most of all I love the crazy angle of these heels. Steve warned me to be careful with the sharp slant as I maybe need to perform a risk assessment before I step out in them. Hahaha! Don't ya just love a little input from yer man?

This is my "I'm not amused face". 

So anyway, by the time you read this I'll actually be on the mainland, at the dentist once again, boo-hoo! Another tooth drama, as I've cracked a tooth and think it may have opened up a root canal. It feels a bit groundhog day I must admit. I worry that at this rate I'll have no teeth left and will have to suck all my meals through a straw! 

In the meantime, I hope you enjoy seeing this combo of culottes and boots with this butter soft leather jacket. 

Steve thinks the angle of these heels is a bit too weird, but I like the quirkiness - what about you? Would you wear them?

Outfit details - jacket: DSquared, trousers and boots: Zara, shirt: Sainsbury's, sunglasses: Quay Australia, rings: Sainsbury's.

Sorry to be brief this time, but I've still to pack a bag this evening as I've got to catch an early boat tomorrow morning. This is probably the only time I envy mainland life - how simple it must be to jump in the car and drive to health appointments. I'll leave you with this lovely poem by Pam Ayres who captures my sentiments completely...

Oh, I wish I'd looked after me teeth!

Oh, I wish I'd looked after me teeth,
And spotted the dangers beneath
All the toffees I chewed,
And sweet sticky food.
Oh, I wish I'd looked after me teeth!

The rest of the poem can be seen here.

Wish me luck at the dentist. See you soon, and keep brushing those choppers!

Anna x

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