Power Dressing, this month's SNA challenge

Hello again! Can you believe it's the last Monday of September? Man, where did that go? Anyway, here's what's probably going to be my favourite autumn/winter outfit this year. I love to find an out of season piece that I can put away in readiness for the months ahead and that's what this was. But first let's see what the collective made of our monthly Style Not Age challenge, the theme for which has been chosen by Emma so let's take a look at what she's wearing.

The double breasted purple jacket with big shoulder pads and shiny buttons is everything that power dressing ought to be, especially with the addition of purple trousers. Emma does a lot of clothes shopping while abroad, that's where she found the Zara two piece. Check out her blog for the back story on Style Splash.

Another trouser suit comes from Jacqui of Mummabstylish, this one from H&M last year. Neutral and black work well together and the unstructured shirt lends the whole look a more casual style. Catch up with all of Jacqui's news over on her blog here

Gail did her homework to check the current definition of Power Dressing which led her to coming up with this punchy look where she's using cream to offset the red jacket and contrasting green handbag. Find her whole story here on Is This Mutton blog.

I'm more than a tad envious of Hilda who seems to have a rich seam of clothes at her disposal thanks to her local boutique, which is where this sleek navy trouser suit comes from, on loan, I have to add. She's added a fab pop of colour with her phone bag and courts to finish the look off. See more from her on Over The Hilda blog.

I'm bubbling over with excitement about this fabulous co-ord that I bought months ago when I was in Taunton. I found it in Primark where this beautiful pink and orange tweed suit was in the summer sale. The jacket was £20 and the lined shorts only £14 - I honestly couldn't believe my luck! The orange lining gives the ensemble a luxe look not normally associated with Primark. I'm a huge advocate of savvy shopping, of rooting about in the most unlikely of shops to find stylish tailoring like this. Vintage and charity shops are other obvious places not to be overlooked, especially as we're still in Second Hand September.

Of course, not everyone would agree that a 65 year old woman ought to be wearing shorts to work, but I'd respond by saying that coloured tights in a good denier can help to carry this look off. I've bought 80 denier pink tights as another option and will showcase these within the next month or so. These sizzling orange tights are from my favourite Penzance haunt, Number 36 boutique. The orange leather ankle boots were a purchase from ASOS in the spring.

My new orange handbag is from Oliver Bonas and is called Emma East to West. Not only is it all kinds of fabulous in colour with these multicolour straps, but if you follow the link you'll see that inside is a detachable clutch in a contrasting green along with another detachable zipped wallet too. I bought this recently when I was marooned in Paddington Station for 15 hours during train disruptions as Sash and I tried to travel back to Penzance. It was a little ray of sunshine on what was a very dark and stressful day.

My shirt is second hand, the brand is Lands End, and was a charity shop find many moons ago although this is the first time I've worn it, but hey, doesn't it work well? I'm always happy to add a bit of fun with pattern play. The leather belt was also a charity shop buy as were the rings.

The gold linked necklace was from Primark a couple of summers ago and my sunglasses are by Quay Australia, not new. 

My thanks go to Emily for stepping in as photographer this week. Didn't she do a good job!

This month's challenge came at just the right moment for me as the weather is changing and turning more like autumn, therefore making it a legit move to pop on this glorious tweed two piece. I'm so looking forward to wearing this over the next six months and do hope you'll enjoy seeing it often too!

Many thanks from us all on this month's style challenge. I do hope our five interpretations of Power Dressing have entertained and maybe even inspired you.

Have a great week!

Anna x


The dancing queens

Hello and welcome to this mega post covering my week off-island. Thanks for returning to catch up with the fun. So, this is Sasha and I sporting our post-concert glow following an evening of dancing all the way through ABBA Voyage! The whole experience, for any ABBA fan, is amazing and worth every penny. Photos and videos are banned during the show in order to keep the content a surprise for everyone planning to come along. Suffice to say, the website shows the stadium; the dance floor is most definitely the place to be; and you simply have to submit yourself to the ABBA avatars and let them mesmerize and hypnotise you. 

The most problematic part of the long weekend was the terrific spell of weather where we struggled with temperatures of 33 degrees.  Getting dressed for the concert was challenging despite us having cold showers beforehand.

My trousers were bought from Shein last winter with a view to wearing them over the festive period but somehow that didn't pan out. The sequinned vest was a charity shop find and required a fair bit of repair work, replacing and relocating beads and sequins that were virtually hanging off - this is my favourite type of repair. And the aqau cardi was bought in London many years ago when my friend Ben took me out charity shopping; I paid £7.50 for it and this was its debut!

I bought this tiny blush glitter bag from Vinted earlier on in the summer as I was planning my outfit. It was just big enough to house my phone, lipstick and hairbrush. I wanted an across the body bag to wear while dancing and this worked beautifully.

5pm on Saturday evening and we were still blasted by the extreme heat before we even set off. It took us an hour to cross London on the underground and Docklands Light Railway by which time it was all a bit hot and sticky. We checked in at the venue and sat outside in the early evening sunshine to enjoy the stream of fans arriving in their finery.

There was a great deal of mutual appreciation for all the efforts that the party-goers had made. These guys were greeted with cheers and applause as they entered and we all wanted photos of them! Without sounding too corny, the love flowed and compliments passed from stranger to stranger in a wonderfully uninhibited way. ABBA was our common bond and we were all amongst friends. I reveled in it and was completely in my element. After a few Mojitos, Sash was ready to immerse herself too.

An aside here - this was the photo that made us decide I needed a new phone - check out the blurry quality! I've since bought a Google Pixel 7 and hope to showcase the resulting photos soon. Earlier on that day Sasha had decided that she ought to capture all images for the evening, thank goodness!

And here we go, off into the arena. The screens are huge, the volume is LOUD and everyone, simply everyone loses themselves in the ABBA moment. It was blooming awesome!

All too soon it was over and we all, as one body, crossed to the tube station. One last photo opportunity for me to show off before my evening was over - Waterloo played in the background and I threw some shapes in my typical shameless manner.

They say every picture tells a story and these boots will be my forever memento of the evening. I wore them for six long hours, up and down the stairs on the Tube as well as being a #dancingqueen all night long. My sister urged me to keep them as they're part of my fashion history and pretty iconic too.

By Monday morning Sash was on the boat back to the islands and I had been delivered to my sisters awaiting me in Hayle. A quick shower, some breakfast and we were ready for some sightseeing.

On the left is Sandra the eldest of us and Dianne is the middle sister. I think it's five years since we've all been together. Sandra lives on Orkney and Dianne in St Andrews, so we're not exactly neighbours. But that makes it all the more special when we do manage have a meet up. My bucket list was to visit the Minnack after 45 years of sailing past the Cornish landmark on the Scillonian and never once setting foot in it. I don't drive therefore it's not an easy task.

For the record, Sandra isn't terribly keen on having her photo taken, but tolerated it to humour me. Sandra has recently started a course at Orkney College, part of the University of the Highlands and Islands, to complete a BA in Fine Art, a lifelong ambition for her. I hope that when I'm 72 I'll be starting on a new adventure too!

Second on my bucket list was to create this one for our family album. When we were children our parents took us to John O'Groats for one of these photos. Mine has gone astray but hopefully one of the others will send me a copy (nudge nudge Dianne :-)) Montrose is our home town.

This photo caused much debate later on that evening as to who's now the tallest, who's shrinking the fastest and finally how honest we were in our declared heights, and consequently positions, as young women. Who says you've gotta grow up just because you grow old?

I tried to capture this weird optical illusion where the two rocks in the far distance seem to be floating in mid air. Sandra says there's a proper name for this. Do tell if you know.

After a well earned cuppa we headed off to Penzance where Dianne wanted to visit my favourite boutique Number 36. I finally got a chance to introduce myself to the manager while my sisters browsed. No purchase for me this time, but Dianne bought some fabulous lime green trousers that have somehow managed to come home with me...

Day two and Sandra's request was to visit the Leach Pottery. None of us had ever been there and what a great immersive experience that proved to be. I'd love to spout some facts to you, but I've still not read my guide. See the link here to find out everything from the official website. 

The museum and shop are open to the public and at the rear runs the pottery which offers the opportunity to work alongside the Leach potters and learn their craft. My dear friend Fiona took herself off there last year for a week resulting in her pots evolving in form, finish and style, and selling out very quickly both with us and at our local Makers Market. We met potter and shop Manager Joanna Wason who was a mine of information about the history of the pottery as well as being author of Janet Leach : Potter.

A cuppa with a view of St Ives was next on our agenda lending itself to the perfect people watching vantage point. The dog to people ratio was quite high, although not apparent in either photo. 

The final quest of the day was to find the grave of renowned artist Alfred Wallis who died a pauper and was saved from a pauper's grave by the St Ives art community who paid for a fitting resting place for him, in the graveyard overlooking Porthmeor Beach. 

And that winds up my trip away. Ironically I picked up a bug on my way home and have spent the past week in haze of sweats and urgent trips to the loo.  Drinks and naps have aided my recovery as well as the mere passage of both time and dreaded bug through my system. Today, a week later, is my first day of getting dressed so I must be feeling better and this too, to write to you with my mega post, has to be a good sign!

Do please leave me a comment if you've enjoyed the post, the photos or just my rambling on. I'm always delighted to read your feedback.

Monday heralds the next installment of our Age Not Style feature so do please swing by if you get a moment and in the meantime, have a lovely weekend!

                                                                                      Anna x


Vintage frock goes out to dinner

Hi there and thanks for dropping by. As promised, here's some pics of our staff outing where I was joined by Emily (centre) and Mel for our dinner at the Ruin Beach Cafe last week. 

Emily has worked in the gallery for the past two years as my admin girl. It's probably no surprise to you to learn that in a previous life she was a catwalk model after being approached as a teenager, continuing for three years before moving on. 

Mel and her boyfriend Pete have lived on Tresco for a couple of years making it their base while they've been touring Europe. They come from New Zealand, land of the travellers, and have just left Tresco for another jaunt abroad. Next year Canada beckons them.

This was the view from our table for our lovely dinner . 

The photos are a tale of two halves. This and the following were taken by my daughter before I met up with the girls and as you can see, I had the prettiest pair of shoes on (old from Primark) to match my vintage dress. I had teetered up to the top of the hill where she and I met, and afterwards decided that I ought to carry my shoes to the venue and wear something more practical, hence the first photo shows me in red cowboy boots. In the flurry of changing footwear and reapplying lipstick I somehow managed to leave my shoes behind!

I added my very old green Benetton jeans jacket to the floaty frock along with my orange stretch belt. I've had this dress for some time now, but it was only recently that I decided to customise it by adding some silk flowers to the skirt. If I ever stop working then this customising of old clothes would be my ideal past time. Upcycling unwanted items and turning them into unique pieces would be a great environmental and creative project.

The dress was much admired and I must admit it felt gloriously feminine to waft about in this gauzy frock for an evening out. I'm not much of a party girl, but it was so good to cross the island and enjoy great food in an idyllic setting.  We really had a super time.

My fab leather handbag was a vintage find many years ago when I was on holiday in Ireland. Red and green aren't the easiest of colours to weave into an outfit so this was the perfect opportunity to give it an airing. My rings are all old, not charity shopped for a change, but various gold rings plus my engagement ring bought by my husband over the years.

The gold floral necklace is also very old, a purchase from Gallery Tresco when we used to stock Magpie Vintage jewellery. The jury's out as to whether it was too much for this summer look, but hey, that's what I wore! Sunglasses are by Radley London.

I go away on holiday later this week so will be off-grid for a wee while. I'm going to spend time with family and will be back with all the news soon. Until then, look after yourself!

                                                                       Anna x

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