Steal her style - our July Style Not Age challenge

Hi there and welcome to this month's Style Not Age challenge. Set this month by Hilda, the theme is "Steal her style" and has brought about some interesting results. 

I chose Suzi Grant, blogger, author and broadcaster as my inspiration for this month's challenge. I've only recently discovered Suzi on Instagram and was so sorry to have missed her when she visited the Isles of Scilly in May. Maybe we'll get the chance to meet up another time. Find her website Alternative Ageing here

Jacqui is no stranger to this lovely copycat game as she plays it once a month with her very own Style Steal. See this month's edition here (I can't believe I missed this one Jacqui!). Her outfit was taken from that wonderful movie Pretty Woman and doesn't she wear this well? Why not pop across to view her backstory here

And in a very sweet moment of snap we also have Hilda sporting her own Pretty Woman outfit. Great minds think alike ladies! 

Don't these ladies look rather fabulous in their spotty dresses and hats? I only wish I'd got the memo as I too have one of these spotty frocks! Join Hilda on her blog Over The Hilda to read all about her offering.

Last in this great creative feature is Emma from Style Splash who is copying a look from Killing Eve. I have to confess to never having seen this series, but if you nip across to her blog there's a link to Villanelle for you to compare. I'll see you over there!

And so back to my copycat look of Suzi's. My paisley print top was a hand-me-down from Sasha some time ago and seemed like the perfect piece for this month's challenge. It was from H&M and is looking good considering how often I wear it. The pink chinos are from Boden earlier on this summer - see here. My Puma trainers were a TK Maxx find when I was in London. I love the fact that they have silk ribbons instead of ordinary laces. I'm partial to a stylish twist. The retro sunglasses are a real signature piece for Suzi - mine are from Topshop.

Many thanks to Polly for this cute hairband which helped to finish off my Steal her style look.

And on a finishing note, I'd like to pass on a bit of advice I was given this weekend - that being not to leave your electrical items running when you go out. We had a small fire in our kitchen this weekend when our dishwasher motor burnt out, eventually bursting into flames. Our local fire brigade tackled the fire and all we were left with was a gaping hole where the appliance used to be, plus some charred worktop and smoke damage around the area involved. Sooty residue and a lingering smell of smoke will take a bit longer to get rid of. Had my husband not popped home when he did the fire wouldn't have been discovered so quickly and things could have been quite different. Washing machines, dishwashers and tumble driers all ought to be used when someone is at home - please pass this on.

                                                                                              Anna x


Summer show 3

It's not by chance that we always have our group shot taken after the exhibition party rather than before, as by then the sheer relief and perhaps a glass of wine or two help us all look beautifully relaxed. The third summer show features artists Iona Sanders and Richard Guy (shown here) along with Neil Pinkett in a glorious collection of work (find the third July show images here). Each of the July exhibitions has been a diverse showcase of the artists' work and this final one is no exception. Red spots were dotted about, sales were made and we all had a splendid evening. Painting stories were exchanged between artists as to where's the best spot to see the finest Agapanthus blooms at the moment with my own particular highlight being when Iona's lovely father regaled me with tales of his time at sea as Coxswain aboard the ships that serviced the Trinity Lighthouses around the UK some 25 years ago. It was fascinating stuff.

And so on to the frock. This week's outfit is a mix of old and new; the new by way of this maxi dress by Zara which is on the website currently if you love it - see here.  I must admit I'm still utterly enchanted by these longer length summer frocks, not just for the romantic nature of them, but for the cool waftiness (made up word) which has come into its own during these wild summer temperatures we're having again. Loose fitting and lightweight fabric is a winning combination for this super maxi. I'll be dressing it down soon with simple sandals or those natty white trainers of mine for a cool and practical summery look.

This week's dress may not have the same big swoosh factor as last time but it makes up for this in its sleek contemporary styling. I know that white and black is an understated colour choice for me too, but sometimes I like to throw in the odd wild card with something unexpected. 

Pretty summer sandals would have been an obvious with this dress, but I chose these silver stiletto heel boots (by Buffalo) to give a bit more of an edge to the outfit. Polly tells me that this is Zara's dress of the moment as it's turning up all over Instagram. And if that's the case then styling this is more of a challenge to find that individual touch. I carried on the silver theme with all of my jewellery. The disc necklace was from M&S a few years ago, but still gets lots of admiration. The sunglasses are by Quay Australia and just happen to go perfectly with this black and white get up, don't you think?

The pre-loved accessories go a long way in helping this dress looking different. The Vogue clutch, bangles and rings are all charity shop finds, each one a delight at the time. These inexpensive trophies help me to stamp my personality onto an outfit. There's no better thrill than finding an unusual piece in a tiny charity shop, knowing it will one day add that certain twist to an ensemble. What simple pleasures I have!

My next post coming up will be on Monday when the ladies from the Style Not Age Collective and I will be delivering our latest offering. This month's theme is "Steal her style" which has certainly had me chopping and changing my mind over the past few weeks. I'm still in the throes of getting the look together, but fingers crossed, I'll be ready in time. I do hope you'll pop back to see how it goes. In the meantime, keep hydrated, keep slapping on the factor 50 and enjoy the sunshine!

                                                                                           Anna x


Utility wear for summer

Hooray, it's the weekend! Do you have to work weekends? I do sometimes, but yesterday Steve and I both had the day off and found time to go for a walk together rather than rush from chore to chore as we seem to have so far this summer. Talking of which, can you believe that we're more than half way through July? Oh my goodness!

Anyway, Steve's work shed is tucked away off the beaten track and it was here that I decided we might capture my weekend outfit. Utility wear is a big trend this summer and much as I always protest that I'm not a follower of trends, well if you shop on the high street then of course the trends are waiting to pounce on you whether you're aware of them or not. And so it happened to me. My foray into the Oxford Circus branch of Topshop was hot and hectic yes, but at least it was fruitful with this and my other gingham playsuit (see here if you missed that post).

Call it utility wear or just bog standard boiler suit, but whatever, I do love this nude cotton overall, especially for downtime. The cut is loose aka very cool and airy which is perfect for the hot summer we're having down on the Isles of Scilly currently. I do like the fact that the back has a elasticated waist giving a feminine shape to what could otherwise be a shapeless piece. Steve kindly added that I was suitably dressed to be hanging out at his workplace as I looked ready to fix chainsaws - the sawdust would hardly show at all he assured me!

Some you may wonder if I'm on commission here as I'm about to add that these chunky trainers were also from Topshop, in the sale. I seem to have fallen hard for the high street brands of late - what can I say? The temptation was too much for this island escapee!

The all-in-one has become my go-to wear for when Polly and I hang our exhibitions. It's ideal for climbing up and down ladders, stretching, lifting art and generally getting the job done. The roominess means it's comfortable without making me overheat. Perfect!

I've chosen rose gold jewellery to compliment this pale apricot outfit. My watch is by Michael Kors, from a couple of years ago, the knot bangle is by Kate Spade, the other was from the Barbican shop last year (forgotten the maker), the broad rose gold ring was a charity shop find and the knobbly ring was from a street market in Cape Town. Oh, last but by no means least, the new sunglasses are Quay Australia (my favourite brand).

I'll be wearing this again tomorrow night as it's time for our next exhibition to go up. How quickly these 10 day shows seem to come around! Next thought will be, what on earth am I going to wear to the Opening Night party? Do swing by to find out on Thursday!

                                                                                           Anna x


St Martin's is such a beautiful island!

High summer on the Isles of Scilly is all about messing about in boats and we recently took ourselves off to St Martin's for the day to meet up with friends for a day of walking, talking and a picnic lunch on one of the finest beaches of the islands. We were blessed with a beautifully calm day for a boat trip affording us some lovely views as we sped around the North End of the island towards St Martin's. 

These awaydays are a lovely treat in the middle of what is the busiest time of the year. We revel in the chance to potter about in our boat and this trip to St Martin's was a great opportunity to catch up with Steve's friend Pete who was key in his life when Steve was a young lad who wanted to learn about working on the land. This common bond cemented their lifelong friendship and golly when they get together, man can they talk!

St Martin's lies in the foreground with Tean island beyond on the left, St Helen's behind that and on the far right is Round Island Lighthouse.

I had requested that we go to have our picnic lunch on Great Bay as I've never visited the beach before. It's often voted as the best beach on the Isles of Scilly which is what Sasha had reported too after her visit there last year. It may have taken me a long time to get there, but rest assured I'll be pushing to return quite soon. 

The UK mainland lies some 28 miles ahead, but the shoreline was what I was focusing on. The turquoise water and pure white, silky soft sand are all that you could wish for. In fact it looks like the Caribbean, don't you think? And yes, of course I did have a swim here. It was deliciously warm as the tide gently flooded in across the hot sand. The day was indeed scorching and had us all retreating under hats to escape the blasting heat. After picnic and swim we were going to tick off another item on my wishlist - to walk out to the Day Mark which is the tiny white dot on the top of the hillside to the right of the shot.

This massive cruise ship is rounding the mainland near Land's End. You can just make out the land mass as the dark outline behind the vessel. Those 28 miles don't look that far away do they?

As the ship shimmers off into the distance we start our walk out towards the Day Mark. 

Sky and sea with the ghostly mainland sandwiched in between.

One final longing look back at Great Bay - it was great, really great!

Walking along the spine of St Martin's gave us some spectacular sights. To the right is St Mary's, the main island of the group, skirted by the uninhabited Eastern Islands.

As the chaps were discussing the names of these tiny islets and how to approach each one at differing states of the tide, I had caught sight of this wonderful heart shaped sandbar and some intrepid voyagers making their way to it.

And there we have yet another outing added to my wishlist for this summer. I too want to gad about on this fabulous white scrap of sand as it emerges on the low tide. I can even imagine which amazing outfit for this very unique photo opportunity - well, what self-respecting blogger wouldn't?

Nearing the Day Mark and I wish I'd thought about a better outfit for this striking backdrop.

Come on guys, more walking and less chatting!

And talking of self-respecting bloggers, how on earth did I manage to forget both lipstick and hairbrush on this day out? Anna au naturel is all I can say about this shot.

I love this end of the world image. I do in fact, have an artist friend who is planning to swim all the way from the mainland to the Isles of Scilly soon. It's only been done once before and took the lady about 17 hours which seems like an amazing feat. Mark is hoping to rival that figure. I take my hat off to him just for getting this far into his planning never mind the actual swim. Awesome stuff!

This headland settlement must have borne the brunt of the wild Atlantic gales.

The best kept chickens on the island live here.

Our St Martin's awayday was a super day out for us. We headed back to the beach to make our way home after a long day. There's so much to do on the island and we only scratched the surface. We must make the effort to return before the summer is over.

St Martin's is a gem in the crown that makes up the Isles of Scilly. If you get the chance to visit, I'd urge to you come!

                                                                                    Anna x

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