Not Square With Gingham - our Style Not Age challenge

Hello and welcome! Thanks for joining me today as I gather together my Style Not Age friends who between us are presenting "Not Square With Gingham". It was Hilda's choice this month, and one that had me scratching my head a bit as I wondered what to wear. I really only have three gingham pieces, one of which I've already featured on our monthly style challenge (here). With no shopping trip in sight and a clampdown on spending this month due to far too many expenses with out little motor boat, I had to give up on my idea of eBay solving my problem. Anyway, as you can see I've gone all bright and colourful (oh what a surprise!) wearing this floral gingham top that came from a charity shop last year, but more on this later.

Hilda wears gingham check fitted trousers by Puno Roma and a classic Zara shirt. Why oh why, does that half tuck look stylish on her and yet half undone on me? Hilda's feature can be seen in full on her blog Over The HIlda.

Emma from Style Splash wears a summery pink and white gingham skirt and tee shirt both from Zara. (Have these ladies both been cashing in on the Zara sale site I wonder?) Her sleek and stylish summer shoes are from River Island. Do pop over to see more from Emma on her blog too.

Jacqui has given us a double dose of gingham with these crops and matching brolly, but she's also added some pattern play by way of this sleeveless duster in summer florals - fab! Last minute photos brought about this weather-led shoot which turned out both cute and playful for her. See Jacqui's post on Mummabstylish.

My photos were weather-led too as I panicked at my last minute attempt to find somewhere out of the high winds and between showers to capture my gingham offering. Steve kindly did the honours in his lunchtime. If he had zoomed into the sea in the distance you'd have seen the white horses driving over the tops of the waves. Heavy showers for the past few days has brought inches of welcome rain to the UK which is long overdue as you can see by the parched grassland of Jimmy Cox's field. (Jimmy Cox is long dead, so we weren't in danger of being chased off!)

I pushed the boat out by adding these pop art courts by Chockers to my jolly vintage skirt by Jaeger. They cost £8.50 in St Michael's Hospice charity shop in Harrogate in the spring.

My gingham top is by F&F at Tesco's but was sourced in a charity shop last year. I like the feature of the split sleeve which was a great compromise for me when off-the-shoulder tops ruled the roost, but weren't my thing. The addition of flowers and greenery to the gingham appealed to my need to break with convention. 

Today's jewellery is all preloved apart from my favourite gold chain necklace which was a gift from Sasha. This pretty pink cuff is a recent and welcome addition to my stash.

My other go-to accessory has to be this pink stretch belt which I found on eBay a couple of years ago. At £5 the cost per wear must have dropped down into the pennies by now as I seem to wear this belt at least once a week - it's turned into a signature piece of mine - not the most stylish, classy or expensive, but certainly useful!

The final flourish to my outfit was my black net petticoat, adding fun and fullness to the skirt. The simple act of adding a net underskirt instantly adds a sense of occasion to any ensemble - a favourite trick of mine.

Thank goodness that there was no-one about to see this windswept scenario as they were out for a woodlands walk - what would they have thought?

Thanks for joining me today on this last post of July. I can't quite believe that August is upon us! The summer is rushing past me with so many things left behind in the rush and tear of life; no link-ups as I'm too time challenged; far too infrequent exchanges with blogging friends; not enough miles clocked up ready for my big sea swim challenge - oh dear, I must try harder. On the plus side, I'm drawing on my mindfulness training from earlier this year (see here) and remembering to take a moment which has been a life saver. The "musts" and "shoulds" and "have tos" are being dropped in favour of power naps, picnics and revelling in the outdoors life. Counting my blessings is a great way of grounding myself and stopping the runaway train of thoughts that can sometimes drive me to exhaustion. Summer on these beautiful islands is in itself a huge blessing and one not to be overlooked. On that note, I shall leave you, my lovely readers and wish you well. Downtime is just what the doctor ordered methinks!

Until next time, take care!
Anna x


Show time once again!

Hellooooo! How are you? I may be a day or two late, but here they are, the dream team from our most recent exhibition opening night and don't these young ladies look fabulous? From left to right, Tash, Polly and Hannah did a wonderful job as well as sparkling amidst the heat of the evening on Tuesday when we opened the show for Stuart Kettle, Maggie O'Brien and David Thomas (see the paintings in full here). We sold a few pieces on the opening night and sales are continuing fine thank you.

My frock for the evening is an chiffon number (preloved) by LK Bennett which almost broke the bank at £15. Joking apart, it was in immaculate condition and fits like a dream. This lightweight fabric was perfect for the hot summer evening when we were almost becalmed at New Grimsby with not much of a breeze circulating around the building despite doors and skylights being open.

The finer details of the dress can be seen here where the pleating creates a gentle empire line and a deep v neck with a tiny modesty band behind. The lining is polyester which swishes nicely as you move. This cobalt blue isn't a colour I wear a lot of, and certainly not what I would wear in the winter when my Scottish pallor wouldn't be enhanced by this tone at all, but with a light tan I can just about get away with it.

Note this delicious floaty layer of chiffon - I fancy I didn't quite dance around enough to do it  justice however!

Here's a wee twirl for you.

Oh, and I can do this too!

These lime green satin sandals are by Steve Madden from TK Maxx and also cost £15. The kitten heel was a great height to wear after a long day at work, not too high, nor were the straps too snug either. I wish I'd had a some lime green accessories, but I got by as you can see below.

My oversized pearls (from Debenhams) you'll have seen before as well as the green amethyst bracelet which my dear hubby bought me in Morocco. The fab blue rings are charity shopped. I'm wearing my old favourite sunglasses from Quay.

The photo shoot was at the end of the evening when we were confident that things had gone well which I hope shows in our overall relaxed body language. It can be quite a stressful day, preparing the gallery for the evening's party as well as the conversation topic of the day being which outfit we will wear. So far this summer I've managed to choose mine well in advance and even stick to it rather than my usual last minute change of heart. I'm floundering a bit already about the upcoming one in August, so watch this space...

And finally, July on the Isles of Scilly has been nothing less than idyllic in the heatwave. Work days are peppered with end of the day picnics for Steve and I which makes for a welcome bit of downtime for us. We're off to another island tonight, but in the meantime I'll leave you with some picnic shots from the last couple of weeks.

Landing on the high tide at Samson, just a two minute boat trip from home. 

A quick hop from the boat into the little tender to take us ashore.

Picnic over, it's time to capture something for my Instagram feed - I gotta feature this amazing setting, surely! But first, a slight tweak here, a little adjustment there ...

What about placing another pop of colour here? This hat will do nicely!

Swatting a couple of flies away before I can settle down.

And this is it! The shadows created by the evening sun managed to make me look much more tanned than I really am, so no filters required. Tresco island lies in the backgroud with a sprinkling of yachts moored up in the channel.

This time last year I posted a bikini shot and said that I wasn't sure if at 60 I'd still be happy to wear one. Yay, I still am! 
Anna x


A pop of pink

Happy Sunday to you my dear readers and I hope your day is going well. The heatwave is being peppered by the odd rain shower which is no bad thing given the state of the burnt grassland and pastures here. I expect the rest of mainland UK is suffering the same, in fact I think I've heard of hosepipe bans in some areas too. Anyway here's a pop of pink to brighten your day if you need it.

This Ralph Lauren frock had a rrp of £260 marked down to £23 at TK Maxx which was too good a bargain to miss, don't you agree? I purchased it last month on my way back from my modelling trip as a little reward for the three days of hard work in temperatures of 31 degrees. I had intended for it to be an exhibition outfit, but when I tried it on the other morning I decided I'd rather get more wear out of it as a day dress and wow, what a fab day dress it is!

I was heading off to St Mary's for a meeting this morning and decided I'd need a jacket on the boat, opting for a faded denim one to make this a more casual outfit. This cute Levi's jacket is one I borrowed from my husband 40 years ago when I first met him and somehow I've never given it back to him. 

Silver seemed like a good choice for my accessories with these silver wedge sandals coming from a charity shop in Penryn a couple of months ago. They're a great height and the cork wedges mean they're not heavy either.

More preloved goodies are the rings and silver bangle. My pink and silver bangle was a gift a few years ago and the silver coloured chain is from the Melissa James jewellery collection which we stock at the gallery. That's of of the best perks of my job, that I see all the new jewellery as we unpack the range and therefore can buy mine before we even put it on display.

The dress is lined in pink satin and as you can see, it hangs perfectly. I'm thrilled with this purchase and can see it will be a firm favourite not just in the months ahead, but years to come too. Classic and stylish are made more fun by this brilliant fuchsia colour and honestly I felt a million dollars in this perky little number.

Before my meeting I had time for a ten minute breather sitting on Porthcressa beach which was looking pretty as a picture. These islands are just idyllic at this time of year, thanks to the best summer we've had in ages.

A tall ship was passing through the islands, looking very grand as it had moored up for the night in the calm Scilly waters.

I know that lots of you would swap your commute for one like this!

On my return to the island, I discovered the postman had delivered a bit of retail therapy for me. This Furla bag is one that I'd found on a recent online search. Well, since then it's sold out, but there's still a shocking pink across the body version here and it's on sale! Even this little bee on the handle thinks it's as sweet as honey. 

Until next time, have a great week!

Anna x


Summer equals white linen

I say that Summer equals white linen, but the fact of the matter is that despite owning many pairs of white linen trousers and three white linen skirts I don't often wear any of them. The only reason you see me in this outfit today is that the British heatwave gave me the confidence to wear these wide legged crops as I felt safe in the knowledge that the weather wouldn't change. It's my worst nightmare to be caught wearing weather inappropriate clothes - think rain mac in the sun, sandals in the snow and worst of all white linen trousers in the rain. 

Yes, that there big shiny yellow thing in the sky has liberated these preloved trousers giving rise to much fun and laughter while Polly barked orders at me. "Stop talking", being the most frequent request. Seemingly no-one looks attractive mid-chat, especially me I think.

Because I rarely wear white linen this ensemble was thrown together at the last minute once I'd come back from my morning swim. It was literally a case of looking for a top that had white in it too and this floaty little number caught my eye. I picked this up not in a charity shop, but here on the island a couple of months ago when I was in charge of the "Cheap chic " stall at Tresco Fun Day. I don't normally like wearing things from the island as I feel awkward at the idea of someone I know seeing me in their cast-offs. But then it occurred to me that I had donated boxes and boxes of my clothes to this event and what if everyone thought as I did? Instead I decided that someone might be pleased to see that their recycled item was going to be cherished by me and maybe even featured on the blog.

Here's the Cheap Chic finery on display on the day.

And this is Anna, one of the local ladies having a browse.

Accessorising my outfits is always the fun part and today's was particularly joyful to find this bangle which is heaven sent and rings that are tonally perfect too, all preloved of course!

Everything including shoes is preloved today, apart from the sunnies which I bought in Accessorize recently. Did I really need another pair? Does day follow night?

I'll leave you with a little jig, a tiny boogie, a wee dance to start my day.

Do feel free to stop me and say Hi if you're ever on the island and see Polly and I in this morning ritual.

Anyway folks, I'll wish you a Happy Wednesday and do hope you have a fab day! 
Anna x

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