Velvet + embroidery = my perfect jacket

This gorgeous jacket was a Christmas present from my husband, albeit with a bit of guidance from me. I love embroidery on most things and on this velvet jacket it's a great addition. I have lots of bomber jackets, each different, but all so useful as that extra layer at work for when it's a bit chilly.

I bought this nude pleated skirt in Tesco in December, but have been waiting to find the right pieces to style it up. I also had another (Christmas jacket) in burgundy that would work just as well, so may redo this another time. The blouse was from Topshop (sold out but this is pretty), the vest is from River Island (charity shopped), and the jacket is by Glamorous from ASOS (it's in the sale here). The shoes are from my favourite supplier of brogues, Office, but currently they have nothing similar. And last, but by no means least are my silver glitter socks by ASOS.

I'll apologise in advance if these links don't work. I seem to be having a technology blip at the moment. Instagram decided not to work for the day on Tuesday. Then yesterday my camera went all huffy on me when I was out and about, supposedly to take some shots of the island. The blog links have been a challenge for the past week, meaning I've fought shy of posting a blog in case it keeps happening. Fingers crossed it'll be OK!

News on my staycation is that I'm having a lovely time, thank you. I've just ordered a new filing cabinet to set to with the dreaded task of sorting out my paperwork; filing, shredding and dealing with all the collected clutter along the way. Next week will herald the start of the big clothes cull. I'm going to group into jumble, which will go to the clothes bank on the islands, eBay for anything that's worth selling, and finally the keep pieces which will be checked for any mending or dry cleaning needed. 

Running parallel to all of the bigger jobs are the daily swimming, shopping, tidying etc as well as batch cooking for the freezer so that I don't have to cook at the end of the working day. Yesterday I also went to yoga and had a walk around the beaches as I tried to find the perfect spot for my swim - we've had some wild weather recently, and that means big ground seas leave the beaches awash with huge reams of seaweed (yuk) and also there is a big run of tide that sucks in and out of the beaches, sometimes a 15 foot drag that feels quite threatening when you get caught up in it. 

I've just read Leap In by Alexandra Heminsley which has been very inspirational. The story of her determination to crack open water swimming resonated with me, and best of all she shares so much of what she learnt. Alex traded up her strong breast stroke for a hard-earned front crawl which took her out into the sea as well as tackling river swimming and finally a crossing from Kefalonia to Ithaca. Inspired by Alex I too want to trade my strong breast stroke for the less labour intensive front crawl. My daily efforts at this streamline stroke are handicapped by a poor breathing technique which impacts on the smooth glide and rhythm. All of this is covered in the book and fills me with excitement that I too, may conquer this challenge. The book is a great read, not just for those who swim or want to, but it's more about her dogged determination that shows her true spirit. 

Anna x


It's my birthday!

Yes, today is my birthday. January is not the best of months to have a birthday, but hey, what can you do? I'm at work today, but as a nod to my birthday I decided on Sunday to have a walk to one of the local beaches, taking some time to enjoy the sunshine while I reflected on being a year older.

But before we go any further, I want to apologise to my regular readers for my sporadic posts of late. The irony of my position has been lack of inspiration - this from the woman who professes to having a desire to inspire others - very funny, I know! Yes, I may have lots of clothes to choose from, but good daylight for photo opportunities during the winter does really become a challenge for me over time. I was given a very useful bit of advice when I first started blogging, and that was to be consistent with my content. I've had to make a choice between regular posts of a mediocre standard or decent posts as and when they occur. I hope you understand and that this decision will keep you coming back.

Unbeknownst to me, I had lost the stone from my ring somewhere between leaving home and getting to the beach. It was only when I came to edit the photos that I noticed. It's only a costume piece, so of no monetary value, but it was a lovely sparkly blue stone that matched my jeans perfectly. Ho hum!

This is Toby who belongs to some friends of mine. He had been enjoying the sea, but was well behaved enough to sit nicely for his photo shoot.

And talking of the sea, this was how I started my day on Sunday (and every other day of the year).

The swim had been one of the coldest of the year so far. My skin was ruddy in response to the temperature, matching the pink and lilac hues of the clouds behind, which were bathed in the rosy glow of the rising sun. This truly is the best time of the day for me. The swim gives me with a wonderful rush of endorphins which set me up for the day ahead. 

Turning 59 feels like a dress rehearsal for 60, and that's not really as big a deal as I thought it might be. I know I'm not there yet, but I was delighted to hear on radio 4 that Barack Obama, at 55, is a young and vital man with so much to give. Heck, this moving of the goalposts has come in the nick of time for me! Instead of having to write a woe is me piece I can rejoice that I too, am still young. Have you noticed that there's a lot of this going on for my generation? 50 is the new 40, and now 55 is young! I'm feeling a bit like Benjamin Button.

But seriously, I have to admit that I'm very happy with my lot and know I have a great deal to be grateful for. I'm lucky to be in a strong marriage where we are equal partners and have different interests to bring into the mix. Lucky too, that my son lives here on the island and that my daughter visits often - my family means everything to me. I'm so lucky to work in a job that I enjoy which leads me to meet and work with so many interesting and talented people. I'm incredibly fortunate to live here on this tiny island where life is lived at a slow pace in the most beautiful of surroundings.

I'm grateful too, for good health, but that hasn't always been the case. Click here to read about the battle to find my own pathway to healthy eating and consequently a healthy body. And click here to read about sea swimming because without it I don't think I'd have the healthy immune system I benefit from now. 

And finally, the icing on the cake has to be my blog. Much as it's been a bit wobbly of late, I do love having an opportunity to share my outfits of the day with you. It's opened up an avenue for making new friendships and consolidating old ones. Blogging brings to mind one of my favourite quotes from Oscar Wilde. He said,  "Be yourself, everyone else is taken." That little prompt allows me the freedom to be me, without fear of judgement. That's not to say that some may, and probably do, judge me, but I have no time to waste worrying about that. And that brings me nicely onto the subject of time. I'm aware that you may like to have a routine of days to tune in for the next feature, and I understand that. I'm sure once Polly is back on board I'll become more reliable, but in the meantime, may I ask that you hang on in there. I can only promise to give you my best, and if it's not forthcoming, then you may have to wait a little longer. Likewise if you're one of my fellow bloggers, then do take this as an apology to you too. I've struggled to visit all of my favourite blogs in the dark months, but do hope to catch up with you all as I emerge from the winter blues.

And as it's my birthday, I have a request. One of my favourite features on the blog is "As suggested by..."  (last seen here) and I ask that you would consider sending me your ideas. Take a look through my posts over the months and let me know if there's something you'd like to see again. Pop them in an email if you don't want to publish a comment, but please do let me have some feedback - otherwise it's a bit like a one handed applause. 

Outfit details - gold sweater: H&M (purloined from my daughter), jeans: charity shopped, boots: ASOS, shirt: H&M, bag: charity shopped, sunglasses: Quay Australia, rings: charity shopped.

Linking with -
Catherine of Not Dressed As Lamb
Cherie of Style Nudge

I'll finish with some of the views that give me daily pleasure in my life on the Isles of Scilly.

Thanks for joining me!
Anna x


Ping-Pong post no 11

Welcome again to our monthly global style challenge. I can't believe a month has gone past since our pre-Christmas offering where we three dazzled and sparkled as a starter to the festivities (see it here). But January is rushing past us, and I for one am not sorry to see it depart. This month my blogging partners in crime, Samantha and Ann, have accepted my challenge to style this black and gold top which as been forgotten in the back of my wardrobe for the past couple of years. Click here to find out how this whole shenanigans started.

Ann confessed that New Year's Eve party was what came to mind when she was styling this black and gold top. Hong Kong no doubt offers all sorts of celebrations on the biggest night of the year and Ann wouldn't have lacked a choice of venues in this hot mama look! Maybe I could've joined her in my mini skirt and glitter tights outfit too (here) to dance the night away.
Follow Ann on Instagram here and on her blog Kremb de la Kremb here.

Details -
Sunnies--Tom Ford
Hoops--from Bombay
Waistbag --ASOS
Skirt & Tights--Zara
OTK Boots--Ash

Samantha is playing it cool here. Put a hat on this lady and you can't fail to be bowled over by her cute features atop immaculate styling. The longer I know her, the more I adore her fun, quirky twists - the cap, the statement necklace, those boots. This girl can do no wrong.
Follow Samantha on Instagram here and on her blog Fake Fabulous here.

Details -
Boots: Clarks
Trousers: I can’t remember!
Leatherette Top: DIY from a dress.
Top: Anna’s
Cap: Gents section at TKmax
Necklace: Oliver Bonas

My styling starts with a coat on and unfolds from there. Oh, and it was windy!

These shots were taken on a blustery evening at the start of October just before I sent the top on its trip across the globe. It was cold enough to warrant a coat and this fake fur was a good shape to showcase the sleeves of the top as well as the elegant shape of the skirt. My tapestry boots had literally arrived that very day and Polly was the first to see them out of the box. Without the boots the outfit may well have been very monotone, so it was a case of perfect timing as far as I was concerned. This whole look is very me - not in the least understated - with every bell and whistle you could conjure up. 

Details -
Skirt: charity shop
Boots: Asos
Waistcoat: H&M
Bag: Giorgio Armani (find of the month, brand new, in a Truro charity shop!)
Necklace: old
Belt: charity shop
Rings: old

Anna x


Brocade, velvet, frills and gems

I promised I'd step it up as we go spiralling headlong into the bedlam that is otherwise known as Christmas, and my first proffering is this beautiful black velvet bomber. It was in the sale at Tesco, half price if I recall, and certainly under £20 that's for sure, so a bargain.

I said I live by the sea - this is the view from my house. I never tire of it. Well you wouldn't, would you?

The other new purchase from Tesco's is this rather fabulous pair of stretch glazed cotton skinny jeans. Burgundy is the colour of the moment with me and I seem to be gathering quite a cache of it this season. I have a pair of burgundy leather boots which I tried on with this outfit but they were just too matchy-matchy to do it any favours. Yes, it could be argued that all one colour would make for long streamlined legs, but today's look is more Prince Charming than anything else and that relied on the brocade boots as the finishing flourish. This frilled blouse seems to get wheeled out most weeks and that's because it's an absolute mainstay in my wardrobe. My bright fuchsia one would have been equally effective, but maybe too much - I didn't try it as the cream is pretty much my go-to solution to most style problems. Cream is more flattering to my skin tone than white, frills always add a touch of the feminine especially with trousers, and the shape is so versatile it works with almost everything.

I have sequined skirts, glittery tops and sparkly clothes at the ready (as promised) in the hope that the weather will be settled (and bright) enough to get some photos taken. I may enlist some help again on Saturday so that I can wow you with some party inspiration. Our annual island Christmas party is coming up soon, and I could use your opinion as I try out my options for that too.

Details - jacket and jeans: Tesco, boots: Asos, blouse: eBay, belt, H&M, rings: charity shop, necklace: borrowed from my daughter, sunglasses: Sainsbury's.

The sun sets behind the islands in the distance. I'm sure I've posted enough photos of it for this to be a pretty familiar view by now, but here's another just for the heck of it.

Anna x

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