Ted Baker skirt

Here's another outfit from my birthday weekend. If you missed all the fun then you can catch up on the celebrations here. Just before Christmas I bought this rather splendid Ted Baker skirt that I scooped up in TK Maxx when it was discounted by 75%. Too good a bargain to miss I say! The moment I saw it I instantly knew that I wanted to wear it over my birthday weekend, and this is how I did.

The skirt is the only new piece of the outfit. The red sock boots from H&M have been worth the money already and are still favourites of mine. The shirt was from Sainsbury's last year and is becoming a classic piece for me. 

I added the bright cerise belt to bring out the pink of the blooms. It was an eBay purchase for under a fiver which is another great bargain. I just love that pop of colour!

I had coerced Steve into being my photographer this day and I really ought to have taken a shot of him. Here was I in my flimsy shirt and flouncy skirt braving the elements on this windswept balcony and Steve was bundled up in his winter coat, heavy boots and flat cap - talk about contrasts!

The little row of cottages behind me are called Blockhouse Cottages and this is where Steve grew up and lived until we married. We had a little boat moored in the bay below the house and would spend our weekends buzzing around the tiny uninhabited islands, fishing, shrimping on the low tides and having picnics on deserted beaches. And now that our children are all grown up we're back revisiting those times during the summer months and still counting our blessings for this idyllic lifestyle.

This lovely crystal pendant was a charity shop find, the triangle ring was from Sainsbury's and the oval one was from East many moons ago. 

Looking at this now, I can see that this would make a great outfit for one of my gallery exhibitions. I understand that the fashion for sock boots will fade, but as you probably know I'm not a slave to fashion and will wear this particular trend well past its sell by date. I think that surely has to be one of the perks of being a mature style blogger; I can fall in love with a trend and just add to to my own list of classics without feeling pressured to move onto the next must-have piece.

I can't believe that it's already two weeks since this wonderful party weekend. That wistful look on my face was me trying to capture the moment and hold it dear. Thank goodness I have lots of photos to remind me of those special times with all of the people who helped to make it so. Next month Steve and I have one final joint treat to mark our 60th birthdays. We're off to London to see Paloma Faith in concert at the O2. This will be our first ever concert which is quite funny at our age. None the less, it's an exciting thought and hopefully will be all that we could imagine. We'll be off-island for a week, so rest assured I'll bring back lots of imagery from the trip for you to see.

Enjoy your weekend!

Anna x


My ABBA party!

Yep, here we are, hubby and me having a little pre-drinks party in Nautilus cottage (see here) before we joined the revellers in our local pub for my ABBA party. We moved into this holiday cottage for the weekend as part of my 60th birthday celebrations and invited some of the family around to get us in the mood for the night ahead. 

One or two fuzzy shots are inevitable as the booze was flowing freely!

My niece Zoe (far right here) owns and runs the grocery store on the neighbouring island of Bryher and in addition to looking after her young son, also has a thriving cake making business. My dietary issues mean I can't eat cake and I was worried that I'd miss out on that particular birthday treat, but Zoe delivered this wonderful chocolate cake for everyone else to enjoy.

Zoe copied my pink patent brogues to perfection. They look too good to eat, don't they? Follow the link here to see more of Zoe's incredible cakes as well as seeing her adorable son Emilio. 

And this is Jamie downloading ABBA music at the last minute as plan A had gone awry. He did a fabulous job with only 30 minutes notice, helping with the playlist and putting the sound system in place at the pub in time for the party to start. 

Oh, just one last tweak!

So here they are, all the party goers in their various and splendid outfits -


All the shiny, happy people.

All that hair!

All those teeth!

Pucker up!

Ben was a previous gallery assistant of mine, but didn't look half as sexy then!

Have you lost something, Steve?

As the evening progressed, the boys became girls and...

... the girls became boys!

The family photos seemed to be lacking my favourite daughter every time!

Boys in green satin, boys in blue satin - it's not often you see that in our local pub!


My poor feet were aching after four hours of dancing in these heels.

Catching up with Polly... 

... and Heather.

And my other gallery helper, Max on the left. What an amazing wig!

Diggin' that man-love!

The smoke machine was working overtime, but that didn't stop them boogying. 

I'm so grateful to everyone who made my evening the success it was. I think about half of the adult island population came and weren't the outfits just fantastic! I'm already thinking that I need another birthday party like this next year - it's the perfect antidote to that post-Christmas slump. Another year, another theme... Any ideas?

I had lots of lovely gifts for my birthday and want to share them in another post. I also managed to fit in a couple of photo shoots while I was in Nautilus, so will feature some of that in my next post later on this week. I gave myself a few days away from work and the usual domestic routines as well as social media, but now I'm back home I need to get back on track. So to my fellow bloggers - I'll be round to see you soon. And to all my readers - thanks for your patience and I hope you thought my ABBA post was worth waiting for.

See you soon!
Anna x


Yay! This is 60!

Yes, here I am, jumping for joy as it's my 60th birthday today. I had no idea what 60 would look and feel like for me, but it's turned out fine. 

40 years ago I came to this beautiful little island for a summer job, as a chambermaid no less, a job that I'd never done before. Within two weeks I had met and fallen in love with my husband-to-be, changing my life completely. I was a college dropout, having given up on the oh-so-wonderful career path of high-flyer interpreter who had her sights set on working for the World Health Organisation in Brussels, earning big money to prove how terribly clever she was. 

Instead, at 18 experiencing my first time away from home, in damp digs with no friends, I crumbled with dreadful homesickness, pining for boyfriend and home resulting in me giving up on my dream without so much as a fight. My parents swallowed down their bitter disappointment. Two years later, and my resolve was no stronger when life as a bank teller left me downhearted and desperate for change. Overnight I upped sticks with my bank teller friend and we headed South. My story from there can be heard online here where I share my adventure with Johnnie Walker on his radio programme, Sounds of the 70's.

Escaping from the cold North of Scotland was like a rebirth giving me the chance to start afresh. Living on a tiny island, one mile by two, with no retail therapy, no cinema, one pub, one hotel and one grocery store may not sound like much of a life, but for me, it was ample. Maybe I'm just a small town girl an island girl at heart. I needed boundaries, needed life to be simple, and it was. Picnics on the beach, catching shrimps for tea, bobbing about in our little boat, Friday nights watching Steve row in the gig races, late night parties singing sea shanties with friends, family gatherings to welcome yet another new niece or nephew into the fold - yes this was indeed enough.

Seven years on and that once scatty chambermaid had become assistant housekeeper with a host of practical skills that she could apply to running a pristine home for her, now, husband. Four years later and Sasha was born, followed by Jamie a couple of years after that. All pretty ordinary stuff. And ordinary is just what I loved; the husband, the kids, the routine, the security.

And then at 40 I started working at the gallery once the children were both at school. I recall thinking "Life really does begin at 40" as it was a whole new world for me, being surrounded by the wealth of creativity - I was in my element! My grandfather and father were both amateur artists: this path was one I had thought I might follow too. As a teenager I had gained "O" level art at school and my teacher encouraged me to take it further, but no, I had bigger plans...

Now, 20 years on, I'm manager of the gallery and have found my niche in the world of fashion blogging, fulfilling my creative desires. If this all reads as a perfect fairy tale, then don't be fooled; as a family we've had our ups and downs, but that's normal isn't it? 

Outfit details - dungarees: Primark, denim shirt: H&M (pre-loved), jacket: H&M (pre-loved), shoes: TK Maxx, socks: gift, rings: Sainsbury's, necklace: Sasha's (borrowed), sunglasses: Quay Australia. (The photo shoot isn't from today - I had the foresight to do this in advance while the weather was good. Today is blowing a howling gale with winds of about 50mph!)

Saturday promises to be a big day as family and friends rally around to help me celebrate this significant birthday with an ABBA party. Hopefully all the fancy dress parcels will have been delivered in time, and the platform boots and wigs will be fit for purpose. My first attempt at buying a wig ended up being clown red rather than the auburn that I expected! The second one (blonde), made me look like one of the Witches of Eastwick. The third is very reminiscent of how my hair looked when I first arrived here in 1978. I hope to publish a post on Sunday or maybe Monday at the latest sharing some party outfits.

How very young we were!

Anna x

Created by bo design