Summer pattern play

Hello again!

Great to see you again! This was my work outfit from the other day and as you can see it was all about that playful bit of fun called pattern mixing. Sometimes I like to clash my patterns, but this outfit was more about complimentary patterns and colours and how they work well when they have this common thread of lemon to tie them together. 

I'm having great fun shopping my closet, finding clothes that haven't been aired since last year. I've never worn these pieces together before and so this really is like a brand new outfit to me. I was very pleased with myself when this all came together - a new ensemble without shopping or spending a penny - hurrah! Who knew that being thrifty could look so good.

I bought the skirt in the Zara sale last year whilst in the shop in Oxford Street. I didn't have time to try it on and it's a tad small for the size on the label. I've been missing the odd meal, working late, swimming longer and faster on each outing and this is the pay off - I've dropped a few pounds and everything fits so much better. I have to revel in this fact now as I know how easy it'll be to drift in the other direction as winter descends.

The summer sandals are by Europen brand, a TK Maxx find from last year too. This neutral colour works with everything and goodness, they have a lovely squashy insole making them really all-day-long comfortable too!

My friend Fiona lives just around the corner from the Gallery and did the honours with my photos. It was just like the old days with Polly - lots of heckling and telling me to stop talking!

This jacket by Heyton is joyful piece. I love the 3/4 length sleeves, the tiny leaf pattern, the crisp clean colours and especially the overall quality of it. It'll be no surprise to you that I bought it from TK Maxx. The white vest top has an element of stretch to it and is also quite thick fabric. It was £3 in Topshop sale last summer - result! My resin and flowers necklace is an old piece that I've had for almost 20 years now. It's by Daisy Dunlop, a Cornish jeweller. I've just checked out her website and she's working in silver and gold now. My rings are pre-loved pieces and the sunglasses are by Quay Australia.

My oh my, haven't our lives changed so much in the past six months! Who'd have thought we'd all be making and wearing face masks? My sister made this one for me from a template she created. Here's a few things to keep in mind when you're buying or making a face mask - 
  • Make sure it's big enough for your features. I've got a long face with a big nose and some masks are simply too tiny to cover my nose, mouth and chin.
  • To be effective against the virus our masks need to be 4 layers thick. This one has two layers of interfacing as well as the inner and outer fabric. Government guidelines suggest 3 layers, but the scientists are recommending 4. 
  • The fabric needs to be a tightly woven non-stretch type, ie cotton or linen. If you have a stretchy jersey fabric one then they won't provide sufficient protection making them ineffectual. 
  • You need to be able to talk with it on. Again, some masks can be really pretty, but if they fall off your face when you talk then they're not providing you with the safety needed.
  • Wire across the top of the mask to tighten it over the bridge of the nose is essential. Without wire, when you talk the mask will simply slide down over the nose. I see this a lot with clients constantly readjusting their masks. 
  • The more you touch the mask, the more chance you have of introducing the virus onto its surface. Keep washing your hands and keep your hands off your mask. Again, this is a good reason to wear a well fitting mask.
  • Disposable masks can't be carried around in your pocket or handbag for days on end without becoming laden in bacteria. Medical masks are meant to be thrown away after use, not used as if they are fabric ones with a long life.
  • When taking the mask off, remove it by the loops to avoid contaminating the face covering.
  • You ought to wash your mask after one wear, that means daily. In other words, you're going to need more than one mask for the forthcoming months so that you've always got a clean one. 

I've got some fabric that may also match this jacket and plan to make another mask or two this weekend. 

Running the Gallery alone is proving to be both challenging and rewarding. I'm working longer hours, but finding that the job satisfaction is greater as every time I sell a painting it's through my own efforts. The appointment system means that I take only two clients at a time for half hour sessions. This really is personal service, giving me time to share stories about each painting and the artist who created them. 

I sold this pair of paintings the other day. Created by artist Rosemary Trestini, they do look stunning together, but were actually painted some 12 months apart with no cross referencing to each other. The client had requested to view all of the work I held by this artist and we moved them around, rotating them to see which looked best as stand alone pieces and together. On placing these two side by side we both witnessed a little bit of magic as it was like a beautiful homecoming for them. They truly look like they ought to be together and within a minute the client had decided she must have both.  It's such a joy to make this happen. We all deserve beauty in our lives and if I can find the right thing, be it a vase or a necklace, a sketchbook or a fabulous oil painting, I'm thrilled to be part of the process.

                                                                                     Anna x


My signature colour - July's Style Not Age challenge

Welcome to another Style Not Age challenge!

Suddenly it's the last Monday in July and time for this month's style challenge. Where has this month gone? Since returning to work three weeks ago I've fallen back into that crazy headless chicken mode again. In fact, it's as if I never had all of those months on furlough, getting on top of chores and making home a place of order, tidiness and calm. Now it's back to the chaos that seems to come with normal working life. But hey, let's focus on the challenge of the month - My Signature Colour. As you can see I have opted for a veritable rainbow of colours as I have no single one that is my signature. We'll have a closer look at the outfit in a minute, but first let's check out the rest of the Style collective to see what colours they chose.

Jacqui from Mummabstylish is bit like me, not able to choose only one colour, instead she's opted for this pretty pink and blue patchwork dress that she picked up in the Next sale.

Style Splash's Emma is a big fan of red and is sporting this fabulous creation by Dark Pink from Asos with co-ordinating shoes from M&S.

Blogger Gail from Is This Mutton has chosen lilac as her favourite colour and how very flattering it is! I do love the pink accessories too Gail. 

Hilda says orange/red is her colour and this looks stunning on her. She's recently had her hair coloured and it, and she, look great. Catch up with Hilda on her blog Over The Hilda.

I'm never happier than when I'm wearing bright colours and this look has it all! The Jaeger skirt is a vintage piece, pre-loved of course and a much loved favourite of mine. 

The net underskirt gives body to the skirt and add that bit of pizzazz that I so love. There's nothing understated about this outfit today, but sometimes I'm just larger than life!

The white ruffle blouse is by Jovonna, a find from TK Maxx last year and perfect for this over the top bit of dressing up. 

Much as I think the skirt and pop art shoes are perfect together...

... by adding this handbag it takes the outfit to a whole other level. It's pure riotous assembly in colour and yes, represents my signature style colourwise. 

The handbag has no label and is a charity shop find from my November shopping trip in London with my friend Ben. My rings are both charity shopped too.

A show-off outfit deserves show-off sunglasses and these old favourites are just the job! In case you've missed them before, the brand is Quay Australia.

Steve and I had an interesting time when we did this photo shoot last weekend. Within a minute of leaving the house (which is actually exactly here in this photo) the heel of my shoe came apart from the sole. In true the show must go on style, Steve bashed said heel and squeezed it back into place so that I could walk about (albeit gingerly) for the shots.

The heel came off the other shoe almost a year ago so I posted it to the cobblers in Truro to have it mended. And then when it came back, a funny thing happened. I had lost its partner. As it sat on a book shelf during the winter I kept looking at this beautiful solitary shoe mocking me for having paid £30 to have it repaired and now it seemed that it would forever be a showcase piece with its wearing days a thing of the past. I even put it out of the way at one point, annoyed at my stupidity. I questioned the chain of events. Had I just thrown the partner away when the shoe broke as I was appalled at the quote to have it repaired? The shoes had cost me £8.50 in a charity shop in Harrogate, worn only once before and now it'd cost me £30 to have it fixed? Yes, clearly I'd been so cross that I'd chucked the other one away in disgust. From time to time throughout the winter I'd come across the single shoe and get all excited that I'd found the other one. Only it wasn't! And then when I was unfurloughed I was digging through a pile of boxes at work and hey presto! The partner was in a shoebox under some files. So here's another £30 gone as I have this one repaired too. Man these shoes aren't quite the bargain I thought they were!

                                                                                   Anna x


Fins and face masks

Another Friday, another feature.

Thanks for swinging by again! Yes, Friday's are looking a bit different now that Dress Up Friday is over, but never mind, here's a dose of beach therapy for you instead. This shot was taken on Wednesday when I was trying out my new toys. Look a bit harder and you'll see them.

But before we talk about these glove fins, I thought I'd just mention that jazzy swimsuit of mine, bought from the Wiggle website. I buy all my swimwear from there as well as goggles, swimcap and anything else you can imagine. Here's the link to the same one

I tend to wear this longer kneeskin suit in the evenings when the beaches are a bit more busy. I'm not keen on flashing too much flesh and love the way this accentuates the positive while covering up the negative. Fiona and I are enjoying our after work swims, often challenging ourselves to swim further and faster than if we swam alone.

A fellow swimmer introduced me to these hand fins recently, raving about the difference they can make to both the speed and power of stroke. I bought mine on Amazon, but I suppose you could find them elsewhere. In fact, I don't know why I didn't look for them on Wiggle! Anyway, as Fiona can testify, they do make for a much more powerful stroke and have also helped me improve the pitch of entry for my hands on freestyle. Every time I wear them they improve my speed which in turn means that she too improves her speed as she works to keep up with me. The tables will be turned next week when hers arrive and I have to try even harder to catch up with her speedy gonzalez stroke!

This was taken on Pentle Bay when we swam from the south end to the north and back again. We reward our efforts with a hot flask of tea or in my case fresh lemon and honey - yum! It's a good way to wind down at the end of the day, giving us the chance to take in the view and congratulate ourselves on both the swim and the lifestyle we have here.

Yes, today it's Mask-up Friday and for me, although I've been wearing these at work since the 6th of July, this means another daily challenge to find the right mask to compliment the outfit of the day. I've been making my own for some time in both the snout shape and the pleated one. I won't pretend that they're comfortable, but as someone recently pointed out, if you don't like wearing a mask then you'll hate wearing a ventilator.

Initially I really struggled wearing the face covering, but the more I do, the more I have become acclimatised. My customers are wearing them, some in fabric and some are the disposable kind, but whichever, I'm grateful that they are. Together we're doing our bit to keep each other safe and with the other measures I take, hopefully my workplace has become a sanitary space for everyone. I had a visit from our local Environmental Health Officer today and felt very reassured that everything I'm doing is right and appropriate for this type of retail opportunity. 

My sister Dianne made four of this style of masks to start me off and I've been copying her template to make more. I'm also making the oblong, pleated version as some days it feels less restrictive, but maybe that also means less effective. Mask-Up Friday is headline news today, but soon it'll be the norm. 

Now I have masks as my newest accessory I'm finding the daily outfit choice is being led by the mask rather than the other way around. This weekend I hope to make a few more which might mean no matter what I wear, I'll always have the right mask to wear. 

And talking about matching ... Did you notice how beautifully my new fins matched my swimming cossie?

I'll be back on Monday with our end of month style challenge, so please don't miss it!

Anna x


Zara's "It" dress of 2019

Hello again!

Hi there, and thanks for joining me. It's been a glorious few days of weather here on the Isles of Scilly and this was my outfit of the day yesterday for another scorching day. As the mercury rose I did have to abandon the belt and change the boots for sandals as it became uncomfortably hot later in the afternoon. Thank goodness for living only 100 metres away from work!

This Zara dress was the It dress of last year, but I was oblivious of that when I bought it. (Google Zara It dress 2019 and you'll see umpteen photos of it.) For me, it was merely a pleasant departure from my usual bright and colourful plumage. I wore it for one of my summer exhibitions during the summer (see here) and again dressed it with boots. I laughed when I went back to find those photos as I discovered how similar my styling was both of these times. I clearly like silver and boots with this frock!

The material is light and airy and even with a belt it's very comfortable and still wafts about in a floaty manner, perfect for a summer's day. Increasingly I seem to be drawn to black and white outfits and do wonder if it might be a sign of my tastes maturing at last? Will I ever stop dressing up like a clown in garish, over-the-top garb? Probably not, but I do enjoy a touch of black and white sometimes to help me feel elegant and stylish. I feel well put together, cool and in control when I'm sporting a monochrome look which is no bad thing when you want to give off the right vibes at work.

My New Look boots were bargain basement finds at only £5. Ridiculous, I know, but I couldn't resist buying my first pair of white boots as an adult at the age of 60. Since then, I've gone on to buy another white pair of Doc Marten type boots to make up for a lifetime of lack. After decades of avoiding white trousers and white boots, I'm suddenly making up for the hunger years. They may not be to everyone's taste, but I'm all about pleasing me!

The silver chain mail belt and rings are all second hand.

My sunnies are fab retro round framed ones, this time from Radley London. I've just checked out their website and to my dismay they now have a pair called Anna and they're gorgeous.  I say dismay, because of my self-imposed 12 month shopping ban. Booo-hooo!

I'll be back on Friday. Until then, take care!

Anna x


Dressing up for work again

Yay, it's Friday!

Thanks for joining me again this Friday. The usual Friday feature has run its course as life returns to normal. That's the new normal I mean. As we adapt to different regimes, we're all still trying to find things that were the same as before the virus shook the world. So, for me, that means getting dressed up every day for work. The routine of work after furlough is very welcome especially as the job calls for looking smart rather than casual. 

Taking a break from shopping has been a great way for me to be forced into trying on forgotten clothes, such as this jumpsuit. This made its debut onto the blog five years ago (see here) and hasn't been seen since. I can't imagine why I've neglected it for all this time as I really love both the pattern and style. I bought it in Tesco all those years ago and was thrilled with such an exciting find while I was doing a mundane food shop. It does make me wonder if the thrill of the chase is what fuels us on with our retail obsession. That sense of excitement at finding a lovely new piece of clothing or pair of shoes, the inner battle as to should I/shouldn't I? and finally that devilish feeling of thrusting it into the trolley with gleeful abandon. At the checkout, bubbling with joy at this unexpected purchase, I'm feeling like a teenager playing hooky from school, the happy rebel. Once the newness and sparkle has gone, we come full circle, leaving us in need of that shopping thrill once again.

The nutmeg in this beaded belt (from Sainsbury's many moons ago) is what caught my eye when I was rummaging through my belt box, looking for inspiration. The first time I wore the jumpsuit I kept the self tie belt but this time I wanted to change it up a bit. 

The turquoise beading was a great lead-in to some turquoise coloured jewellery. The rings and bracelet are all charity shop items and work perfectly with the belt. I almost added a turquoise necklace, but decided that it might be overkill.

The round framed sunglasses give a lovely retro feel to the outfit. These were from River Island last year.

I've no assistant working with me currently which means that Steve, by default, is still my photographer of the day. I have to be a bit more organised, planning my outfits in advance for work so that we can take photos the weekend before I wear them. These scorching shots were taken at 9am in the morning last Sunday which proved to be one of the hottest days of the year so far. I must admit I took refuge indoors most of the day as it was just too hot for me! The neutral tone wedge sandals are by Europen brand, found in TK Maxx.

And that pretty much rounds it up folks! Thanks again for dropping by to see me. Cheers too, to those of you who leave me a comment or send an email - I do appreciate your input and the time you take to keep in touch.

Until next time, take care!

Anna x

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