Pastels - our Style Not Age challenge

Hello and welcome to the Style Not Age challenge which this month has the ladies of the collective featuring pastels thanks to Emma. After a bit of thought I decided to showcase my beautiful mermaid coat in its many pastel hues (see the first time here). Steve bought me this for Christmas (it was from Topshop) and I've been waiting to feature it on the beach in true mermaid style. However I had to draw the line at actually plunging into the sea as I fancy these are really sequins and not scales. 

Steve and I went to Borough beach just after sunrise on Easter Sunday and the surroundings looked pretty idyllic. It was high tide and the beach was bathed in a gorgeous soft light. This is such a dreamy beach, don't you think? There are rocks at either end of the cove but its smooth sand stretches from end to end without rocks or pebbles making it family friendly for paddling and swimming. Straight ahead of me lies the uninhabited island of St Helen's which is a prime picnic spot as well as offering a safe anchorage for yachts and beyond that is Round Island with the lighthouse on top of the rugged cliff tops. It used to be manned when I first came here over 40 years ago, but is now operated remotely. The bleak wailing of the foghorn drones on during thick pea-soupers warning boats of the treacherous rocks nearby.

Anyway let's take a look at how my blogging friends tackled this month's challenge and we can come back for a few more beach shots at the end shall we?

Jacqui has entered into the swing of things with her rear view too. But here's her pretty pastel offering from the front as well -

Tres chic ma cherie! Catch the full story on Mummabstylish blog.

Here's another cheeky shot this time from Emma of Style Splash. I love this combination of coral and lilac, don't you?

Hilda is playing full tease here, so there's no choice but to zip right across to Over The Hilda blog to see what's to be revealed ...

I do feel that I have an unfair advantage with what Mother Nature has laid on for us on this perfect cove. The silky soft sand has captured the rosy morning glow and the tide is on its best behaviour with not a rogue wave in sight. 

Excuse me if I look pleased as punch in this fabulous twinkly layer, but honestly this does make me feel rather glamorous in a beach babe kinda way! I did a fair bit of twirling around and generally swooping about in a non-mermaid fashion. Thank goodness we had the beach to ourselves!

My swimsuit was a super find in TK Maxx last summer and was first showcased here

The golden dawn obliged me perfectly with this pastel challenge. I do hope you enjoyed this month's feature. Next month it's my turn to choose a theme, so I'd better get my thinking cap on!

As always, I'm so grateful to have these islands as my home, my most beautiful home. To be steeped in this kind of imagery enriches my life on a daily basis. I could never take island life for granted nor walk away from the opportunities it affords me. I do hope that you're able to count your blessings today and find things in nature to bring pleasure to your life too. 

Have a super week!

Anna x


The year of the trouser suit

Hello my lovely readers. How are you today? I do hope you're feeling better than me currently. The photos belie the fact that I'm in the middle of a horrible head cold. I'm surrounded by tissues, paracetamol and throat lozenges as I wallow in self pity. To be perfectly honest I'm really lucky that I hardly ever get colds, but when I do I always feel that it must be worse than anyone else.

Steve took these shots on Sunday during the lovely sunny spell and when I was feeling pretty sunny-natured myself. He steps into the roll of photographer when he can and we always bicker back and forth as I boss him about. My laughing face is preferable to my resting face that's for sure, so I'm happy to have the banter. 

Anyway, this is the year of the trouser suit according to me with this one being the second I'm sharing with you. The first was the glorious pink version I wore on Mother's Day, see here. The white and black checked suit is from Primark, bought separately and as far as I can recall it cost about £30. The fabric is man made and is a summer weight so I expect you'll be seeing it again later with sandals and a colourful tee shirt. Today I'm sporting a simple white tee from Dorothy Perkins from many moons ago.

I'm a big fan of the trend for paper bag top trousers and find them very forgiving with the post lunch tummy syndrome. Sitting high on the waist then that frill plus bow they distract the eye from any secrets that may lie beneath. 

I have a very small weight tolerance allowance which in normal speak means that I only allow 7lbs as my personal fluctuation limit. At the top of that range I'm fat and at the bottom I'm thin. Feel free to call me crazy, but after years of struggling with my weight I've found that this tightening of the belt as it were keeps me on an even keel. Currently I'm at the top of that range, but today in the midst of this head cold I've fallen into that old adage of "Feed a cold, starve a fever". The fruit bowl is my sofa companion - a shrunken satsuma and two wrinkled apples are all that's left.

I chose contemporary silver jewellery to compliment this crisp simple look - silver and onyx rings (old) along with silver chain by Melissa James and my favourite sunglasses from Quay Australia

I was torn between wearing my white kitten heel boots or these pink sock boots (from H&M) and decided that pink just added a bit of pizzazz to the outfit. They weren't ideal for traipsing across the boardwalk here though. Steve poked fun at my footwear not being quite the thing for the big outdoors and yes, he was right - this is gallery garb! 

Thanks for your company while I wrote this today. I had to drag myself off the sofa and think of something other than my scratchy throat, runny nose and outbursts of sneezes while I challenged my brain to write a few words. I'll be back on Monday with the Style Not Age Collective as we take on "Pastels". That had me stumped for a while then I remembered a lovely pastel offering for you all. Steve and I had a laugh with the photo shoot for this one too. In fact I can't wait to show you!

Until then, have a great week!

Anna x


New yellow dress for the Easter show

Hello, and how was Easter for you? Did you overindulge in chocolate? There was certainly a great combined effort in our family to eat our entire body weight in chocolate!

We opened our Easter show on Saturday amidst much excitement and bustle. It was a super evening following on from what has been summer-like weather which really helped to bring out the crowd for our opening night party. 

I changed my mind at the last minute as to what I would wear - mainly because it was so blooming hot! I'd planned to wear a maxi dress with sock boots, but thought I might expire in the extreme heat of the gallery. We opened the doors and skylights though and it wasn't too bad after all.

Anyway, back to the dress. I bought it recently in TK Maxx and the brand is Never Fully Dressed. I thought it would be useful for the summer as it's a lovely lightweight fabric with a super silky feel. It's one of those dresses that once it's on you completely forget about it. That surely has to be a sign that it works. No tugging, wrinkling, riding up or itching of labels - no this one is a keeper. The material is very thin though, so I have a half length slip underneath it. 

The early sunshine really caught me out here as I hadn't done any fake tanning on my legs and so I had to find some sheer tights for the occasion. Luckily I have a big stash of all colours of tights and these natural ones were brand new from M&S. The shoes are quite old and were from New Look, but they work really well with the dress, don't you think?

As for jewellery, I'm wearing my favourite, but very old oversized pearls which were from Debenhams many moons ago. The cuff is brass, also old and the rings are the citrine one my husband bought me for my birthday this year and there's also the charity shop silver and enamel one. And yes, my trusted old favourite sunnies are from Quay Australia.

Now that I've worn this pretty frock to an exhibition I shall downgrade it to an everyday dress purely because of the ease of wearing. I don't have enough of these kind of dresses and they really do make it much easier to put an outfit together. 

And finally. Apologies for being a day late with my feature this week. Easter weekend was a busy time, with not only the first exhibition of the season, but it was also my big wardrobe changeover day on Sunday. I spent 7 hours moving suitcases, boxes and assorted bags out of cupboards to be emptied and refilled with winter clothes. It did cross my mind to take some shots of the event for you, but I reckon you've seen it all before. I've still got one suitcase to go through next weekend and that ought to be the deed all done. As usual there were some lovely surprises as well as some not so lovely ones, for instance the shrinking of last summer's trousers whilst in storage is probably not a true thing, but more likely is evidence of me still carrying a couple of winter kilos in places I'd rather not have!

And this is the gallery and how it looks with the current show on the walls. It's not often that we have a plethora of sorbet coloured paintings on display nor do I always match the artworks so very well! I'm wearing some of my latest purchases - trousers, tee shirt and biker jacket are all from Primark and the brocade trainers are by Replay. This is the moment between preparing the gallery for the evening ahead and finishing the day's trading. A final check of everything to make sure all is as it ought to be and then Polly and I scoot off home for a bite to eat and a quick change ready for the party.

I'll be back again on Thursday this week with my first summer trouser suit (as promised) and then on the last Monday of the month it'll be time for our monthly style challenge. For the next little while I'm going to post on Mondays and Thursdays to see if it helps my busy routine. Thanks for joining me again and I do hope you'll still find time to visit on those days!

                                                                                             Anna x


Springtime dress and some shopping

How's your week going? Like a true Brit I'm gonna talk about the weather and say that after a whole weekend of rain, the sunshine has returned therefore all is well in my world. The forecast is for a sunny Easter weekend which will be ideal for us as we're hosting our first exhibition of the year on Saturday and I do love it when the opening night party can spill outdoors, drink in hand, to enjoy the vista in front of the gallery.

Today's outfit has been aired before, but deserves to be seen again I thought. Polly has named her theme as "the year of the dress" and turns up to work in a cute little number most days now. Following on from her lead, I'm pulling out some of my favourite dresses too. This ditsy print shirt-waister was from H&M last year and has a very grown up feel to it. I wore it before with these H&M red sock boots too, so there's nothing new here at all. I decided that it still warrants another look though. 

The seaweed and high tide had left the rocks a bit slippery - we really ought to have done a risk assessment!

Easy does it!

My pre-loved accessories are belt and rings, my much loved sunnies from Quay Australia and the gold chain necklace was from Primark earlier this season. 

I call this my master of illusion dress simply because it draws the eye to all of the right places. The red belt puts the focus on the smallest part of the body as the dress skims over the hips and thighs, the floral pattern disguising any lumps and bumps which may be lurking there. There's not too much material either which could cause bulk and it's long and flowing giving the impression that I may be long and flowing too, hahaha! I've just about talked myself into buying another of these, but I won't ....

I stumbled across this limited edition print in a charity shop in Harrogate recently and it couldn't have hit me at a better time. If you're a regular reader you'll know that Harrogate charity shopping is some of the best for me, resulting in a mammoth shopping spree. But this year I've had a fair dose of retail therapy over the past few months. I had decided to rein myself in, use my powers of self control and only buy pieces that would be really useful within my existing collection. I'm having this print framed up to act as a reminder of this new mindset. Pity I found this at the end of my stay and not the beginning!

Anyway, with this statement firmly to the fore, here's what I succumbed to -

I'll confess that these neon sweaters may not be the most stylish, in fact when I got them home I did a double take at how terribly bright they really are. But this is what seems to happen to me when I get my first sniff of the shops. A friend of mine who lives just along the road said she suffers the same problem. We go a bit stir crazy you see. Living on this tiny island (only one mile by two) with very limited retail opportunities, well it can make you impulsive when you get to the mainland and have your first dose of retail therapy. The excitement can go to ones head, resulting in some rather dodgy purchases. Thank goodness this was only a Primark splurge - it didn't break the bank!

The two pairs of dressy courts are a completely different ball game. Each of them was £20, both are Italian made and are indeed very classy (I think). These will be ideal party wear for our summer exhibitions.

In the sale at TK Maxx for £24 the brand is Tokyo Laundry and is a very practical purchase indeed. Ideal for dog walking or for wearing on the boat, this jacket is cosy and fits like a glove.

Pretty and practical, these Replay trainers were £35 in TK Maxx. Being pretty alone would have been fine, so it's a real bonus that these are comfy enough to be drafted in as afternoon shoes when the heels from the morning session are playing havoc with my tootsies. 

This Topshop skirt was a charity shop find and like so many pieces you come across it was stained. I trusted my instinct (and stain removing prowess) et viola, it's as good as new.

Another charity shop piece here, this time by Classic brand and coming in at under £5. The apricot shades are what attracted me - such a flattering colour for me.

And yet another charity shop find. By Boden, I thought this might look good with a black polo neck sweater and some pink or silver brogues - what do you think?

It was very exciting to find these snakeskin boots in New Look in Harrogate. I'd tried these on in Truro a few weeks ago, only to discover that one was a size 5 and the other a 6! The sales assistant scoured the entire store to see if she could find the other odd pair, but with no success. Clearly someone had bought them believing they were a pair. These were a 5 and had been reduced to £10, so it was a win-win.

This M&S dress is brand new with tags still attached. The retail price was £89, but thanks to the Scope charity shop, I only paid £14 for it. I've come up with a kooky plan to stop this looking too frumpy - watch this space.

Last of all are these leather and hessian sandals by Dune, from TK Maxx. They are nice and broad and the wedge belies the fact that they seem to be high, but the angle of them is very slight, making them all day sandals.

The next thing on the agenda for me clothes-wise is to change over my wardrobe for spring and summer wear. I'm keen to see what I've had packed away for these past few months. What about you? Do you do a seasonal changeover or are you someone who believes in layering up for the winter instead of having a complete change of clothes? Do share!

                                                                                           Anna x

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