Picnic perfect!

Hello and welcome to this month's Style Not Age challenge. Our quest was chosen by Gail this time, being Perfect Attire for a Picnic. For me this would of course mean a beachside venue and here I am on Skirt Island at the most Southerly end of Tresco. My style buddies are all set, ready to show you their picnic-ready outfits too so let's get going!

Gail set the bar quite high with her fabulous picnic basket alone! Bowie tee, silver pumps and a bottle of bubbly signal a great picnic don't you think? Join Gail over on Is This Mutton to see more. 

This tent dress was made for drifting about in a meadow of wild flowers, however the British weather had other ideas meaning Jacqui had to make do with her own back garden! Join her for the backstory at Mummabstylish

Emma from Style Splash chose her outfit because she thinks the pattern is not unlike a picnic blanket.  The pretty pink gingham two piece was a Zara purchase a few years ago and has come into its own for today's challenge!

Picnic ready, Hilda is sporting an entire outfit from Tesco's apart from her trainers. Her cute look is ready for fun. See more on Over The Hilda blog. 

My picnic outfit is a collection of old pieces which are still bright and colourful. The tunic top was a hand-me-down from my daughter which she bought from H&M years ago. I'm a huge fan of paisley print therefore was delighted when she offered it up to me. An outfit for a picnic needs to be comfy and easy to wear, as well as being practical enough for clambering in and out of boats or in this case across the sand dunes to get to this remote craggy setting. 

The tide was still rising, sending splashing foam up as I was setting up for shots. There's nothing like a quick soaking to send me off in a fit of the giggles!

The elegant hat pose isn't just for show; sunhat and sunscreen are part of my picnic essentials, especially as I've had surgery and other treatments for skin cancer. I wear factor 50 on my face everyday now and have established a routine whereby I apply suncream before my sea swimming every day too. My pale Celtic skin is very much at risk of more sun damage even at work where the sun shines into the Gallery window for a lot of the day. 

We all need a little bit of sunshine on our skins to absorb our daily dose of vitamin D, but it's really not that long. In my case only 5 minutes a day and for those with darker skin it's about 30 minutes. These times are for arms, legs and hands as well as faces. After that you start to experience sun damage which is the precursor of more serious problems.

My pom-pom raffia bag was a charity shop find some years ago. I love the bold colours and the roomy size that is big enough to take beach towel and swimming kit too.

The pink plisse trousers are from New Look - they're light and airy and ideal for sunny days. My floral sandals were from Primark years ago. Perspex rings were gifts from a friend.

A tiny seed pearl necklace was a pre-loved purchase. It's a habit for me to always finish off an outfit with a necklace, even for a picnic. Sunglasses are by Radley London.

Time to stop and stare. Nature is the perfect meditation isn't it?

I do hope you enjoyed this month's challenge. I was so pleased to have made the effort to spend some time outdoors on Saturday, as by Sunday we had rain all day long - such an unusual thing for us. The forecast for the UK is another mixed bag of weather, but improving in the southwest later in the week. Fingers crossed for Thursday as I'm off to St Martin's for the day for another picnic outing!

Wishing you a great week ahead!

Anna x


All the pinks and polka dots

Hello lovelies, how are you?

Saturday's work outfit here, in all the shades of pink that I could muster up. Not exactly matchy-matchy, more a bundle of fun in this summer outfit. If I'd left the Candy bag out of the equation this would have been a sleeker style, but honestly it wouldn't be such fun. 

Some of you may recognise this as the It Dress of 2019 from Zara - see it here. I fell for its charms way back during a London trip when I visited the Oxford Street branch. Today's twist is a new one for me and one that is maybe a tad sugary sweet for some...

Last year I showcased the frock again, but that time with silver and white accessories - see here. Today's effort may well be saccharine sweet, but it does still say summer to me. The addition of my H&M sock boots add an elegance despite the bubblegum Barbie shade, echoed in the eBay elasticated belt. 

It's a joy to bring out my little pink Candy bag again. The jelly bag by Furla is one of two that I have; the other is a larger yellow version. See the rainbow bright collection here. The silver rings are both preloved, as is the wooden beaded necklace.

It's quick confession time now. I'm a day late posting the blog as my latest obsession has gripped me, causing me to spend hours yesterday hunched over my sewing machine. Yes, I'm trying to make a toile of my yellow linen dress. Despite the fact that I've bought a paper pattern, I'm hell bent on trying to make a pattern of the dress from scratch, something that, of course, isn't really advisable for someone of my limited sewing abilities. But, I'm possessed, obsessed and driven into trying. Logically, I know that the only way to make a pattern from an existing item is to take it to pieces and use them as the pattern, but no way am I relegating my gorgeous frock into pieces!

I've been watching YouTube tutorials, learning how to make gathers in fabric and unpicking the old sheet that is to be the trial run before I even venture into measuring up for the linen. I wish I could just conform, open up the shop bought pattern and get on with it, but it's not the exact shape of dress I want. I know I'm not the only one who has been smitten with the sewing bug since the Great British Sewing Bee has been on our TV screens. This sewing frenzy has gripped me and there's no getting over it until I've achieved something akin to a frock. If I'm not sewing, then I'm watching the previous series, trying to pick up tips to improve my skills. Practice, practice, practice is all I can do!

Wishing you a fabulous week everyone!

Anna x


Shop local

Hello again! I'll be upfront about today's feature - I'm promoting our island boutique, Lucy-Tania and the online shop where you can buy this fabulous range of clothes. I've not been paid to advertise, I just want to support them in the same way that we're all being encouraged to shop local. 

You can find the clothes range on the Tresco Island site. For those of you who holiday here you may recognise some of the models, including yours truly. My personal favourites being the four adorable children fronting the site. (They just so happen to be my great nieces and nephews so I'm obviously biased.)

You can't go wrong with a simple sweatshirt can you? This protea design relates to the plants which flourish in the sub-tropical climate within the Tresco Abbey Garden. You may remember I recently spent the day there doing a photo shoot for my 6th blogging anniversary see here. The Garden features over 4000 species of plants collected from far flung countries such as Australia, New Zealand and South Africa as well as South America and the Mediterranean and yet they all survive in our mild temperatures which rarely drop below freezing. Another crowd-drawing aspect are the red squirrels that can be seen from the blue bridge nearby the entrance. 

I can't decide if I prefer the grey sweatshirt or the cream one to be honest. They're both comfy and stylish which is a clever combination and are great holiday or weekend wear. As you can tell I was in my element posing and laughing my way through the shoot. It was a lovely interlude earlier on this year, spent with my daughter Sasha who was creative director of the shoot and Ellie Tabron of Island Images, our local professional photographer.

Again, I'd like to give a shout-out to another local business as Ellie is still at the fledgling stage of her career, but making great strides doing Wedding Photography as well as producing calandars, notecards and wooden postcards which are proving to be hugely popular. Ellie is a local girl, who like Sasha grew up on Tresco then went off to the mainland to finish her education. As they both found, island life beckoned them from afar, drawing them back to Tresco in search of happiness and hopefully a career. Both are now gainfully employed; Sash in Marketing for Tresco Island and Ellie working freelance while raising her young family. It's testament to the progressive nature of Tresco that our young local talent has been embraced and included in the island's development. 

There's a lot to be said in favour of knowing your creative team - a relaxed model in our local environment made for a lovely afternoon spent wandering this corner of the island, looking for the right backdrop. I do hope they ask me to help out again. These childhood friends have come so far in carving a niche for themselves in their island home. I'm so proud of what they have become. Good luck for the future girls!

                                                                                         Anna x


Debenhams bolero jacket

Hello again. How was your weekend? The mercury rose here at the weekend and Tresco became thoroughly tropical for a couple of days. On Sunday I took cover for most of the afternoon as it really was too blooming hot for me. I spent a couple of hours indoors doing clothes management. If this is a new term to you then I decided to name the constant chasing of laundry around in circles as such. Not only laundry though as I've been putting away some spring outfits and bringing lighter summer clothes out. The chore is complete for this weekend at least!

This was Saturday's work outfit. I'm so pleased to showcase this yellow linen bolero jacket. I love it! The brand is Debenhams Collection (Petite) and was a pre-loved purchase from my recent mainland trip. I paid £4.50 for this pristine jacket and am thrilled to have this as part of my wardrobe now. The cut is great, the fit is perfect and I do like the notch front too.

I paired the jacket with these silky wide legged trousers from H&M which I bought way back in 2018. Have I worn them on the blog before? I honestly don't remember - (yes, shame on me Sheila!). I've had them hung up alongside a lemon and grey striped jacket for over a year now and I do know that the combination never made it to the blog last summer or the one before. I think the jacket was too long, whereas this cropped length is a much more flattering fit for this high waist Oxford Bag style of trouser.

The cream lace top was a charity shop find from ages ago and has certainly been aired on the blog many times already.

The cream hessian weave sandals are by Europen, bought from TK Maxx, but not recently.

Nothing new jewellery-wise: the gold chain necklace was from Primark, the yellow stone ring was an airport concession purchase and the silver and gold seaweed ring is by Emily Nixon.  

The lemon and cream combo has a lovely fresh feel to it and not only that, but the jacket gives the outfit a sharp edge which garnered a few compliments too. Dressing in lemon and yellow shades are akin to wearing portable sunshine and always earn me a smile or two along the way. Hurrah for summer!

Wishing you a great week ahead!

Anna x


My new Batoko Swimsuit

Hello lovelies!

We've had a mixed bag of weather this week, but on Monday and Tuesday Fiona and I skipped off to the beach after work to make the most of the sun and high tide on Cradle Porth. This was Tuesday's swimming suit, a recent purchase from the eco brand Batoko who recycle plastic to create these eye catching cossies.

You'll find the Puffin swimsuit here. These delightful little sea birds can be seen on the Isles of Scilly at this time of year, although you'll need a boat trip out to the far outcrops of rocks to see them. Seemingly they migrate by late summer, but I'm not sure to where.

As a wild swimmer the state of the sea obviously matters hugely to me; I'm so lucky to swim in these clean, clear waters that surround the Isles of Scilly, but even here we have plastics and other waste wash up on on shores albeit to a much lesser degree than most coasts. Batoko is a small relatively new business who are endeavouring to raise marine awareness and also play a part in regenerating our underwater sealife. Find out more on their website here.

The swimsuit is a great shape with a medium high leg and also a back that covers the dreaded waist roll. The material is firm and very figure flattering. And of course the Puffins are adorable!

Summer has arrived and my daily swims are not the same chilly challenge as they were 6 months ago when I was plunging into the icy sea in my favourite cove. The arrival of some purple jellyfish are another sign that the sea temperature is rising; little purple globe ones and huge lilac ones with long wispy tendrils the same colour as my cossie were wafting about in the tide as we swam out towards the boats this evening.

The odd mild insult is exchanged between photographer and her model.

And this was the post-swim vista as we enjoyed our hot flasks. Tresco island is looking pretty tropical eh?

Anna x


My yellow linen frock

Hello again! How has your Monday been? I started the week with this burst of sunshine aka my new linen frock by Francesca Bettini, a recent purchase from TK Maxx in Truro. I've replaced the self-tie belt for a beaded number from Tu at Sainsbury's some time ago which adds a dash of colour.

I've swapped over to my every day summer handbag, an Oral Kiely waxed canvas bag that's a great size and also a lovely combination of colours for this time of year. My friend Bo gave it to me as a present a couple of years ago, not long after I had visited the exhibition of her works in London.

Jewellery-wise I opted for these orange and lime green rings, all pre-loved. The bangles in yellow and multi colour plastic are second hand too as is the gold metal brooch. 

The gold framed round sunglasses were from River Island many moons ago, but are wearing well. They add a quirky edge to any outfit or even a 60's vibe if the outfit calls for it.

The orange strappy sandals were from H&M a couple of years ago. 

I'm so pleased with this linen frock that I'm considering trying to make another one myself. I've not ventured into the world of dressmaking, but I fancy that it's not so different from the sewing I did during lock-down. I've sent off for some linen samples and am now torn as to whether I can just wing it and copy the shape of the dress or if I ought to buy a pattern. If there are any experienced seamstresses out there, then please do chip in with your advice. 

Wishing you a fabulous week!

Anna x

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