Style Not Age December challenge - Sequins!

Hello and welcome to our final challenge of the year, and yes I'm in my element as the theme for the Style Not Age collective is Sequins!

New Year's Eve can surely be no better licence to bring out every bit of sparkle and the ladies have definitely risen to the challenge this month. So without further ado let's start with Emma shall we?

The author of Style SplashEmma has totally embraced the sequin theme with her silver jacket and boots taking centre stage. Talk about ready to party! Join Emma on her blog to get the back story for this festive look.

This gorgeous sequin top was a very timely Christmas present for the equally gorgeous Jacqui of Mummabstylish. Black jeans and heels complete the chic look with a metallic clutch adding a final bit of bling. Join Jacqui on her blog to get all the details.

Elegant glamour with a sprinkling of sequins is what Hilda has conjured up for this month's challenge in the shape of this sophisticated frock. Her sleek heels have had a sprinkling of fairy dust too! Check out Over The Hilda for the full story.

My festive offering comes with extra Brownie points to me - I've shopped my closet as the Americans say. I'm big on recycling as you know, but Christmas presents a huge pressure to buy some new bling to party in. I have three different options of party wear for this evening and only one of them is new and even that was a Christmas present from my lovely hubby.

The leopard print fur coat is very old indeed and was bought in Dorothy Perkins - does that shop still exist? I only ask because the branch in Penzance closed down this year and I'm not sure if that means they have all closed. 

My sequin top was from H&M a couple of years ago and has turned into one of those go-to items, a classic party piece I suppose you'd say. I have a matching skirt, but rarely wear them together as even I have my bling limits! The top and skirt both are fabulous enough even when paired with a simple black top/jeans, but this time I opted for a pre-loved pair of satin trousers in dusky pink to bring out the gold hues in the top. Likewise I chose rose gold for my jewellery - rings were both charity shop finds and the heart pendant was from a boutique in Truro which has since shut down too. The high street is under siege isn't it?

You'll have seen these ASOS boots before, I'm sure. Brocade boots will always be on trend with me! I love the ornate pattern and the colours make them so versatile too. 

So that pretty much rounds things up for our final style challenge of the year. I do hope we've inspired you to try something new/different or maybe even outside of your comfort zone. The ladies and I will be together again on the last Monday of January with our first quest of 2019 - do make a note of this in your diary!

Thanks so much for your company throughout the year. It's been great to know that you're tuning in to see what I've been up to and it's heartwarming to have your feedback and comments. The blog has opened up my life, connecting me to far flung places that I may never visit, but where I've found new friends. I do appreciate your time. It's been a pretty amazing year for me, full of wonderful opportunities and such fun along the way - I hope you've enjoyed the ride. I look forward to sharing further tales of my island life in 2019. 

Wishing you a Very Happy New Year!

Anna x 

Happy Christmas!

Happy Christmas!

Hello and how are the preparations coming along? Currently I'm still making fudge as fast as I can, but hopefully by the end of today everyone will have their allotted box. Tomorrow I'll be making a raised chicken pie for dinner along with other savoury nibbles, and I hope to do some prep for the Christmas meal too. Please don't mistake me for a domestic goddess - there's a whole lot of panicking and comedy moments take place when I'm in the kitchen!

Homemade vanilla fudge for family and friends. 

And finally, after weeks of trying to find the perfect showcase for my tartan boots - here it is! Oh my goodness, how I love this tartan medley. I'm not sure why tartan is so big around Christmas, but I've not got a problem with this fabulous pattern being on trend again. The green teddy bear coat was from TK Maxx last year and is still a fond favourite of mine, cosy and snuggly, just like a cuddly bear in fact.

After searching the Internet for hours I came across these tartan trews (what beauties!) on the ASOS website and if you fancy them they've got £10 off now, see here. I totally love them and have had so many compliments about them and how very me they are. And now here they are teamed up with my fab M&S tartan boots and don't they look amazing together? Gush, gush!

The red pie crust, frilly cuffed blouse is by H&M and was sent all the way from Japan when my dear friend Ben was there on holiday. He came across it in a market and decided it had my name on it. It came by post, via surface mail arriving some 10 weeks after he got home. But arrive it did and thank you Ben - I love it!

Another H&M secondhand purchase is the Sealed With A Kiss Christmas jumper. I bought it on eBay last year and have found that the black makes it easy to pair with most festive outfits. I have a new sparkly jumper set aside for Christmas day and if all goes to plan I hope to sidetrack one of the family to take some photos before the post-dinner naps commence.

The black and silver ring is preloved and the frilly seaweed ring is by Emily Nixon.

From here on in, my lovely readers, I'm not sure how the rest of December will go blog-wise. I'd like to award myself with a few days off, away from the clamour of social media and let the blog bubble away, garnering comments from you or not as the case may be. 

On New Year's Eve I'll be joined by the Style Not Age Collective for our monthly challenge which just so happens to be Sequins. Oh dear, can you imagine what a terrible chore this will be for me to don something so brash and sparkly? Never fear, I'll give it my best shot!

In the meantime, I'd like to wish you all 
A Wonderful Christmas 
and let's catch up again soon!

Anna x

Party, what party?

In case you missed my last post, I was due to go to the annual staff party on Saturday night, but I got cold feet and decided to stay home and watch a movie instead (The Shape of Water, which was fabulous). Steve was very happy to settle back and relax too as he'd been out working since crazy o'clock in the early morning. Anyway, I'd already photographed my outfit, so I thought I'd be as well to share it with you. What do you think?

I hope to get the chance to wear this another time as I love the combination of tough biker jacket and fluffy tulle skirt. The Zara boots have been featured on the blog a few times previously and I fancy they will pop up again.

The Ted Baker skirt was featured on the blog once before over my birthday weekend in January see here, but since then has languished in my wardrobe for no other reason than I seemed to forget about it. Shame on me! It's such a luxurious piece that deserves an occasion to let it take centre stage and yet I've let it down again! 

You'll have seen the metallic Missguided jacket a little while ago on the blog here. I wore it with the same boots too as tonally I think they're perfect and perfection is what I seem to aspire to. The heavily beaded and sequined top (Topshop) was a charity shop find in October and which cost me £3. 

You'll probably have guessed by now that these shots were all taken with my tripod and timer meaning they're not the best/most finely focused etc. However, my thoughts are that as Christmas approaches at breakneck speed you may all be slightly distracted with other things and won't a) have time to visit me anyway or if you do b) you'll be skimming through while feeling guilty that you ought to be doing something much more important. And talking of more important things ...

Channel 4

I'm addicted to Kirsty's Handmade Christmas which is on daily on Channel 4 in the run-up to Christmas. Kirsty Allsop's tips to creating our best ever Christmas urge us to get crafting, making and cooking and leave me full of enthusiasm for the features of the day. Steve is very keen for me to stencil a snow scene on the kitchen windows, but thank goodness I've managed to poo-poo that idea as we get terrrrrible condensation on them. (Lack of stencils, fake snow and places to buy such things at this late juncture also come into it.) Next year I propose that Kirsty actually hosts the entire series in my home so that I benefit from all of these lovely homemade goodies without actually having to toil over them myself! 

In the meantime, thanks for making the time to visit at this most hectic time of year. I do hope that Kristy has sent some little elves round to yours to help you achieve your most perfect Christmas. If not, then like me, you're sure to cope with a slightly dry turkey and singed roast spuds due to spending too long in the pub at lunchtime. I'll be back on Sunday though if you can make it!

Anna x


Fur and sequins

Hello to you on this very fine Sunday!

As the countdown to Christmas continues I'm striding out in fur and sequins today. The super soft fur bomber jacket (from New Look) is a hand-me-down from Sasha which she gave me last winter. It's the first time I've worn it and now I can't imagine why I've waited so long! 

I decided to up the fur factor by adding this grey cuddly scarf that Polly gave me for my Christmas last year. Much as the day was bright it was actually very stormy and cold warranting this bundled up weekend outfit. Steve and I had to search for a spot out of the wind to capture these shots. The view behind me is called Penzance Road and I suppose if the road did continue off the island it would eventually reach the mainland.

The snuggle factor continues with this turquoise cashmere sweater (very old from M&S). I have this sweater in three colourways and really, you can't beat cashmere for the perfect combination of warmth and comfort. I'm always on the lookout for cashmere when I visit charity shops as you can find them at any time of year. I have a turquoise V neck cashmere sweater that somehow I managed to shrink in the wash and yet I still can't bear to get rid of it. The turquoise rings are both pre-loved and I actually had on a matching necklace which I forgot to reveal. Ho hum.

As ever, I'm sporting my much loved sunglasses from Quay Australia, and why not?

I'm most definitely a jeans at the weekend kinda girl and these embroidered (Next) ones with beads and sequins were a happy find in a charity shop months and months ago. I think it's the first time I've worn them though as they're quite long and needed some high heels. I like to wear my jeans with trainers, hence why it's taken so long to find the right outfit. By adding my metallic silver Buffalo ankle boots I feel this has taken on a lovely wintery look.

This weekend has been a busy one with a trip to St Mary's yesterday to buy a few Christmas presents and have my fringe cut. I spent the afternoon wrapping all my Christmas presents while I watched "It's a Wonderful Life" - that was my idea of a perfect afternoon. 

Last night was the island Christmas party and I'm afraid we ducked out of that this year. Being a non-drinker sometimes stops me wanting to socialise. Being totally sober as everyone gets more and more merry can be a bit of a downer, leaving you on the outside looking in. I don't drink out of choice and for health reasons, so this year I decided to sit it out. However, I did take some shots of what was going to be my outfit and will show you those on Wednesday. What I would have worn seems a bit of a crazy post, but some of you may still be interested ... In the meantime, I do hope that all of your Christmas arrangements are coming along. I'm off to make a few batches of fudge today. I seem to be quite popular at this time of year with those who have a sweet tooth!

Anna x


Mail shot surprise

It's a funny feeling to open the mail and see your own face smiling back at you.This mailshot landed on my doormat yesterday which was a lovely surprise. The product launch was a few weeks ago and I've already run a feature about the products (see here). Anyway, seeing this reminded me that I've not shared the behind the scenes shots from the day I spent working on the campaign. Would you like to see them? 

The photo shoot took place in a house in a London suburb. Don't ask me where exactly, as I haven't a clue. I spent the night with my dear friend Ann who lives near Borough Market and the next day I took a taxi, a train and then walked the last half mile to the house down a quiet avenue in a residential area. This is the entrance hall which was a taster of what was to come. The house is a large family home full of both classical features and quirky objects d'art. I must admit that in between shots I did a fair bit of snooping about, taking lots of photos of this extraordinary home.

I was barely over the threshold when this message carved into the mantelpiece struck joy in my heart. Had I just entered my dream home?

Directly opposite the front door this central area joining all of the downstairs rooms leads through to the garden with lawn and sitting areas. A couple of models are being prepped here ready for their shoot as I continued to nosey around.

Flamingos are a fabulous passion that crop up again and again. 

Yup, the obligatory selfie.

The kitchen island is build around a real olive tree. I gawped and tried not to gasp out loud at each quirky aspect of the house and its decor.

And the other end of the kitchen ...

... leads into the garden.

On the veranda is Annee being lined up for her shot.

She's worked for the brand for a while now and looks very much at home in front of the camera.

Yet more flamingos in the undergrowth.

And perched just around the corner was fellow blogger Laurie of Vanity and Me Style. It was lovely to meet up with her again and have a catch up on each others news. We had lunch together and sat out in the sun as we waited for our shoot.

What a great way to protect your outdoor furniture from the weather - cover it in AstroTurf!

We were both in agreement that this was a most unusual and stunning house. We enjoyed the privilege of spending the day in these luxurious surroundings, as the stylists worked their magic and pampered us with the products.

Annee and Amanda, one of the make-up and hair stylists, are loitering outside a bedroom - there was a lot of loitering to be done.

I joined in as I'm not averse to a bit of loitering myself.

The natural light in this bathroom was perfect for the photo shoots.

At every turn and from every angle there was something artistic to see. Someones imagination had run wild in the creation of this home.

The editing suite was located in the playroom which doubled as the changing room, meaning I got the chance to snoop at the proceedings. This is Ruth, the oldest model on the day at 83 - doesn't she look amazing? The brand, Look Fabulous Forever, has truly encompassed all mature women in this campaign.

Next day I was on the train back on my way to the West Country, enjoying the view across the Tamar bridge as we passed from Devon to Cornwall. I spent the night in Truro, although, shock, horror, I had little time to shop in my favourite city.

These motor bikes parked up on Lemon Quay were too colourful to walk past - I'll have one of each please!

Early morning light over St Michael's Mount as captured from the train at the end of my journey.

And there she is, The Scillonian loading up with freight and passengers as she makes ready to leave for the day trip to the islands. My adventure may be over, but the memories remain. It's been a funny old year. If someone had told me in January on my 60th birthday that I'd be featured in three advertising campaigns this year, two of which would show me on TV - well, I'd have laughed in their face. I'm still slightly bemused at how I've pulled this off, but I suppose it just goes to show that anything is possible.

Anna x

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