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


Mixing old and new

Hello and how's your Sunday going so far? Are you making time for a bit of chilling out or is it all about catching up with chores? I'm off to church this morning and then I think it'll be time for a bit of housework this afternoon. My week away in Harrogate meant that the cleaning lady didn't appear for a week either - strange that, eh?

My bags aren't unpacked yet so I can't give you a look at all my purchases, but here's a couple of new things. The back view shows the seaming details in black on the citrus faux suede jacket from Primark (£25) which attracted me to the biker jacket worn with these vintage 60's bell bottom cords that I found in the mens section of the Scope charity shop for £4.99. The pink ostrich leather bag was new from a charity shop in Truro a couple of years ago. 

Mixing old and new fashion gives me a real thrill. I love to find new things no matter if it's brand new or preloved. In an ideal world I'd like to say I only want to have pre-loved fashion in my collection, but I can't help but to be attracted to the mainsteam stores and online brands to see the latest styles and colours. Shopping responsibly is a message we're all getting and by buying recycled clothing I believe I'm making a difference. It's not my intention to set myself up here as a paragon of virtue shopping-wise as I'm as imperfect as the next fashion blogger. More importantly, my blog is meant to act as inspiration, encouraging you to try out new ideas, not to make you feel bad. What I can say is that these preloved trousers have to be my most favourite find of the whole trip and that's because they're such a quirky individual piece. That's where charity shopping wins hands down every time. 

The pairing of the vintage bell bottoms with these sixties vibe ankle boots (from New Look) takes me back to my youth. I love this retro look. It's such fun. 

This new photo shoot site is located just below my house where Polly now collects me before we start work in the morning. On a high tide in the early morning sunshine it's pretty perfect, but this is how it looked on Friday when we got together. The zingy jacket was my ploy to brighten up the slightly dull day. That plus my full on cheesy grin - hope it cheers you up too!

My ribbed polo neck sweater also channels that 60's vibe. It's a charity shop find from a long time ago and it's been worn at least once a week over the winter months - the gilt buttons at the cuffs lift it out of the ordinary - God forbid that I might look ordinary!

My silver coloured necklace is by Melissa James and again ties in beautifully with this look. The lozenge shaped ring was from an airport shop on my way to Cape Town and other gold ring was a charity shop purchase.

The pattern on the cords shows up well here. I remember having a pair of bell bottoms in a khaki green corduroy when I was about 12 years old. My dear brother poked fun at me as my rounded thighs rubbed together creating a friction noise from the cords as we walked home from the shops together - body hang-ups can start from the most playful of jibes when you're a sensitive wee lass.

And here I am, some 50 years later with the same rounded thighs (which seemingly are perfectly normal when you're a woman by the way) and at last am able to smile at the rub of corduroy against corduroy. There's always something to feel down about, something that we feel we need to match up to, someone to make us feel not good enough, thin enough, young enough, pretty enough. It's so easy to fall into that trap, especially if you're feeling a bit down. But instead I try daily to inspire myself, to be pleased with my efforts at throwing myself into the sea on the chilliest of days, to be happy that I've found a new colour combination I've not tried before, to be impressed that I've managed to get two loads of washing on the line before I go to work. Tell me what you're pleased to have achieved this week - I'd love to hear from you!

                                                                                      Anna x


Boden Richmond trousers

Hi, hello, and how's your week going? I'm off-island currently but have scheduled this post for you to enjoy in my absence. Did you see my Mother's Day feature? If so, you'll have picked up on my love affair with pink at the moment. This was a workday outfit from recently when the sun was a constant for a few lovely days. 

The Boden trousers were in the sale, in fact some still are, but not this bubblegum pink version I'm afraid. Did I cause a run on them? Hahaha, maybe not! The trousers are akin to chinos in the smooth cotton fabric which has a slight sheen. The regular length is long enough for high heels, but also not too long for flats and did you notice the neat slit at the hemline? The cut is a slim, sleek fit with deep front pockets and fake back pockets. The back pockets did have a bit of extra bulk to them which I snipped out to create a smooth outline. Cue rear shot - (sorry)

Anyway, as I write this my mind keeps wandering to the next project this evening which is to pack my bags ready for leaving to go North to Harrogate tomorrow. Travelling by train does restrict how much luggage I can take, but also I have every intention of scouring the Harrogate charity shops so I need to try to create that elusive capsule wardrobe thus leaving space for all of my finds. I'm away for a week, travelling for four of those days and at the trade fair for the other three. How many/few outfits can I get by with? Wish me luck with that!

But let's talk about this spring outfit first shall we? This top does have a connection to Harrogate though, as I found it in the Asda store there a couple of years ago and it's still good as new. I love the ruffled and fluted sleeves as well as the checks. I almost added the pink trench with the checkered lining, but it was too warm to warrant a jacket. I'll maybe have to try that another time eh?

Check out this bit of sleeve action! My necklace is old, but was from M&S and the sunglasses are from Quay Australia.

The silver leather boots by Buffalo were a TK Maxx find from well over a year ago. The very high heels do restrict my gadding about nature though - I usually only wear them when I know I've got a day in the office planned. By lunchtime I had to dash to the Post Office and ended up changing into some flats. But not any old flats - these ones

They seem to be the perfect compromise of comfort and style, don't you think?

I'll leave it to you to decide which is the star piece of this outfit today. I love to have your feedback and enjoying reading your comments, so do please stop for a moment longer and get in touch. I'll be home again by the weekend with tales to tell and shopping bargains to share with you too I expect. Hope you'll come back to join me for all the latest news!

                                                                                         Anna x


Frida Kahlo tee shirt

You may have seen this Frida Kahlo tee shirt last week when I wore it to our family lunch for Mother's day - see here. Well, here it is having another outing in what my husband refers to as my Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club look. I hadn't styled it that way. Like all of my outfits it just kind of evolved.

The day was a bit grey, dull and threatening to rain. I'd had my swim which was chilly as ever, but always worth the effort as it lifted my mood. Grey days are not my best, so as I cycled home from the beach I started thinking how I could avoid my default setting of wearing dark clothes as I often do on these dark days. This red kimono came to mind - nothing could be more the extreme opposite of greys and blacks. 

The kimono was a scoop from a charity shop in Truro last year costing me all of £3! I still can't believe my luck with this. It's a smooth satin finish, decorated with ornate embroidery. It's a year since I last wore it (see here). It seemed like the obvious thing to do to add the pretty floral Frida tee shirt (from Primark) to continue the theme.

I bought these rather fabulous trousers in the Oxfam shop in Truro last month. The shop has extended their premises since I was last there and it's much better lit with more room between the racks. I fancy that they may have a new manager as the lay out is more organised, the clothes are curated in better groups and the accessories are displayed better too. I spent a fair bit of time browsing, but only fell in love with one piece. I paid £20 for these heavyweight trousers and feel that they're worth every penny. Fully lined and covered with embroidery, I would have been mad not to grab these. They have no labels, nothing to say a brand and do look like a sample piece. The red leather belt is pre-loved, by Tommy Hilfiger and the perspex ring was another charity shop find.

The black patent boots were from the recent Topshop sale, reduced to half price at £35. My black patent oxfords are beginning to show signs of wear and tear to the point that they're cracking so these will be perfect replacements. The heel isn't too high, the width across the mid-foot is good and I'm find these comfortable enough to wear all day - result!

I've scheduled this post to go live this weekend while I'm away at the annual buying fair in Harrogate. I'm considering taking this as one of my outfits to wear. I love to see all of the stall holders dressed up for the event, and this does cascade on to the visitors too. This year I ought to try to take a clutch of photos for you to see some of the creatives and what they put together to wear - I certainly won't look out of place amongst the other peacocks!

                                                                                            Anna x


A burst of spring weather

Last week we were blessed with a spell of spring-like weather, prompting me to pack away my winter sweaters and bring out some summer dresses. (The story is somewhat different now at the time of writing, as I listen to the hail bounce off the roof of our lean-to.) Anyway, Polly and I certainly did make hay while the sun shines meaning my blog will be populated for the next little while by some sunny shots of me in the idyllic March sunshine.

My pretty dress is new from TK Maxx, the brand is Mango and I bought it for £15. I think it's going to be very useful. I cinched in the waist with a second hand leather and elastic belt. 

When I bought it I had no idea of how well it would go with these ASOS boots. Don't they look fab together? Oh how I love a bit of matchy-matchy!

Brocade boots were on trend a couple of years ago and I bought two pairs from ASOS at that time, knowing full well that I'd still want to wear them long after the trend had passed. So here they are, making a perfect entrance hand in hand with the floral frock in similar shades of orange, lilac and green. The mesh dotty tights in lilac are very old - it was a lovely surprise to find them in the bottom of the drawer looking like the ideal thing for this ensemble.

The set of plastic necklace and matching bracelet is a recent charity shop find, purchased during the same shopping spree in the hope that it would work with this outfit. At only £3 for the pair it was a good find. The ring is pre-loved too. The sunglasses are by Guess and were from TK Maxx.

There's nothing better than a floaty dress to make a girl feel all feminine...

... and in need of a twirl ...

... or two!

This is my giddy face after a few spins too many.

Here's a little snippet of island life. This landing craft arrived on the beach moments after Polly and I finished our photo shoot. It had been hired to take away all of the old vehicles and metal detritus that had accumulated over the years. The massive spring clean filled the boat to the gunnel's. After a few days of loading her up, it left on Friday in the fog.

So that's all from the lovely Isles of Scilly for the moment. I'll be back in a few days and hope you'll join me then.

Have a super week!

Anna x

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