The joy of the tent dress

Hello lovelies! How's your week going? I'll confess that my cold has reached the hacking cough and snotty stage now. I've managed to pass the virus on to my hubby who is not very enamoured with me. And my son, who is due to go on holiday on Monday, is treating me as if I've got the plague. I've defended my very own version of this bug, telling him that surely this family cold is preferable to any of the mainland brands that will be available to him as he travels through Cornwall to London en route to Barbados. London Underground will surely have thousands of various strains of the cold virus smeared on every touchable surface. Makes my little island variant seem much more acceptable don't you think?

Cold or no cold, here I am experiencing the joy of the tent dress. Now that British Summer Time is over I'm embracing tights once again too making this a cosy combination for this time of year. Are we still in autumn or is November a winter month? 

The tent dress in indeed a thing of joy thanks to the unrestricted nature of it. No tight waistbands or pinching bustline, the dress falls from the shoulder in a totally relaxed fashion making for joyful dancing, even here up on the heathland of Tresco. The dress is secondhand, the brand is Zara and it cost me £6 last week when I was in Truro. Washed and dried overnight on the airer, it didn't even need an iron before I popped it on for the shoot. The stretch cotton material is weighty; perfect for the months ahead. 

Another joyful feature of the dress is the long trumpet sleeve which acts as a good counterbalance to the length of the hemline. Long sleeves and short dress work well, making for an elegant look. Last of all, the floral pattern and colourway are even more reasons for a happy dance. In other words, I'm thrilled with this frock.

My accessories are pre-loved too. 

A touch of glitter finishes off this outfit. Blue Oxfords are by Xti Tentations from TK Maxx, not this season however. These shoes are great for stomping around all day long, offering comfort and bit of razzle dazzle too. The grey tights are both brand new and charity shopped, by Calvin Klein, and cost me £2.

My recent trip to Truro has garnered me a clutch of new clothes which I'll gather together for a show and tell session on Sunday if you'd like to see them? Pre-loved pieces and brand new bargains are in the mix with a lovely new winter coat being top of my favourite list already. Do join me on Sunday to see what my winter wardrobe looks like!

In the meantime, keep well!

Anna x


A birthday lunch

It was my husband's birthday a couple of weeks ago and as usual it proved very difficult to buy a present for him. He didn't want anything, had all that he needed, don't waste your money etc, etc. Anyway, I decided to book a birthday lunch at our local beachside restaurant, The Ruin. I then arranged to bring our daughter home from the mainland to join us as a birthday surprise. This turned out to be the perfect present.

It's not easy to turn up for a surprise lunch when you have to catch a plane and a boat without letting anyone know, but Sasha pulled it off. We spent a lovely couple of hours enjoying the delicious food and drink. The birthday boy was very pleased, if not a bit surprised that we had managed to keep Sasha's arrival a secret from him.

My CK jeans were a lucky find in a charity shop, brand new, and just £4.95!

Sasha did the honours and took a few photos for me. The weather had gone very windy and chilly that day, but luckily the rain held off until we got back from our lunch. My woolly winter coat was a great defence against the cold, along with the cute little gloves that I found last winter in a bargain basket in a charity shop for 0.99p. I thought the satin shirt created a fab partnership with my boots, dressed down with these brand new (perfectly fitting) jeans.

Details - jeans: Calvin Klein (charity shopped), coat: Palermo, shirt: Next (charity shopped), boots: ASOS, bag: Candy bag, Furla, necklace: Magpie and Butterfly, rings: charity shop, belt: H&M. 

Am late posting today, as I spent this morning watching the news from America. I'm still reeling. I can't imagine what it must be like for the country to wake up to this result.

Anna x


Business travel, street fashion and a smidgen of shopping

OK, when I say a smidgen of shopping, you know I'm stretching the truth. But that's alright when your amongst friends, isn't it? And hey, you all know me by now; I like to dress things up, play things down according to how good a story it makes...

So let's start with the travel, shall we? After a short boat ride to St Mary's I caught a small Twin Otter plane to fly the 15 minutes to Lands End airport, followed by a brief taxi ride into Penzance where my friend Nicky collected me from the railway station. She and I headed out to have lunch in a cafe overlooking St Michael's Mount. But let's just backtrack a moment. Nicky has recently moved from Cambridge to St Ives, and although we've been friends for many years I usually only see her when she visits the island. I know she drives, but haven't seen her car. "What car am I looking for?" I messaged her. "A red Mazda" she replied. I don't drive, never have, and don't know one car from the other, but at least knew I was waiting for a red 'un. Bang on 10am a little red car came whizzing into the car park. Hell, it was the hottest, cutest, little sports car I've ever seen!

The idea was for me to have a shot of Nicky with her car, but she protested so much about having a bad hair day that, of course, I just had to stand in for her.

St Michael's Mount is a big tourist attraction for those visiting Cornwall. You can walk across the causeway at low tide to visit the tiny island with its castle, garden, and cafe. Once the tide comes in you can return to Marazion by boat. Full details on the link above.

Nicky did offer to be my back-up photographer, but I thought it might be too big a commute to ask. She did a very good job though, so thanks Nicky x

We had a lovely catch up over a bite of lunch whilst enjoying the view across the bay, before I headed off for my first taste of the shops. I'm always a bit light-headed with excitement when I've been set free from island life. Don't get me wrong, I love living on the little gem of an island where I lead a pretty idyllic lifestyle (apologies if I sound smug, really not meaning to), but I also love the contrast and the buzz of the mainland as long as I know it's short-term. My first blitz of the shops can be a tad frenetic, and often results in a few dodgy items, as my style radar can be a bit rusty. I exercised an element of restraint this time, only buying a couple of well chosen bargain pieces. 

Next stop was to visit Sasha in Truro for a couple of nights. We shopped, laughed and had some lovely meals together before I headed off up North to Harrogate. I may have done a wee bit of charity shopping in Truro, but we'll cover that later. There was a slight hiccup en route, where I happened to fall asleep and missed the station that I was due to change trains, but it all worked out fine in the end. Fast forward to Harrogate railway station where I came across Lilly, a fan of Japanese fashion and culture which informs her clothes choices. I think she looks fabulous, and I adore those boots.

The next morning I went to the BCTF which is the only trade fair I attend. This wholesale fair showcases the very best of British craft and attracts gift buyers from across the whole of the UK. I hadn't been there long when I bumped into Rosie, another buyer. Rosie's style statement is bold, matching her ebullient, bubbly character. When I asked her to pose for my blog she brought out her fierce sunglasses and proffered her silver shoes as a starter. Great stuff!

The final fashionista I met on my trip was Sonia who I encountered on the train from Harrogate to Leeds. We snatched a couple of minutes on Leeds station before she had to dash off to work. She was quick to apologise, saying she wish she'd worn some better jeans. Her purple hair, immaculate make-up, retro shopping bag and funky patched jeans define Sonia's street style, without any need for apology. She's a cool cat as far as I'm concerned. 

So, back to the trade fair. One joyful discovery was shoe maker, Kate Hopkins-Searle see her website here. These Cinderella type slippers are actually ceramic shoes loving created by Kate over many hours. They're hand painted, some of them gleaming with a gold lustre finish and they are exquisite. Kate's talent is matched only by her modesty. I think they ought to be featured in an exhibition at the likes of the V&A, don't you? Or even Liberty's of London, maybe Harrods? Golly, if I could afford them I'd love to have them on display in my house.

My other favourite makers are the team from Zinc White who create jewellery, bowls and boxes out of art supplies ie. pencils, paintbrushes and used canvas. I absolutely love these pencil bowls. It's amazing what skill and imagination can create - so clever.

And so on to Harrogate itself. This Spa town is steeped in history, populated with beautiful, architecturally important buildings. Famous too for its vast parklands and gardens which are always immaculate. I love visiting there, and that's not just because it's been voted the "Happiest place to live in the UK", for the third year running. No, honestly, it's a great tourist attraction as a town, as well as having many historical sites of interest around it. And the great attraction for me, that being, the wonderful women of Harrogate who are very generous in donating some of their finery to the local charity shops in time for my arrival every spring. But I mustn't forget to mention the most popular eatery in the whole of Harrogate - Bettys - where the afternoon teas are legendary. This time I stopped by to purchase some macaroons for Sasha. The window display had caused a bit of a sell-out, but I did come away with a box of Champagne ones and also some in gooseberry. Both were greeted with equal delight by her.

By the time I'd shopped in my last port of call I had not only filled my suitcase to the point that I could hardly lift it, but also the two empty holdalls were fit to burst and I'd had to scavenge another bag for the overflow - what a lovely lot of loot I had. The trolley couldn't hold any more by the time I arrived at Truro station after my second sleepover at Sasha's.

I had to deliver the three bags on the front of the trolley down to the quay in Penzance so that they could be sent across to the islands by ship, as my luggage allowance on the plane was a mere 15kg. Apparently no extra allowances are to be made for out-of-control shopaholics like myself, ho hum. The flight back to St Mary's was a bit misty, but still good enough to take a few snaps on the way across. We departed from Lands End, flew past the Longships Lighthouse and some 15 minutes later the islands hove into view. A jet boat was waiting at the quayside from where we were soon whisked off for the brief trip to New Grimsby. The time from leaving the airport to arriving at my door was 45 minutes. Perfect. The bags, however, took a bit longer to arrive. Two days in fact, but none the worse for wear. 

My journey to get my shopping hit maybe takes a bit more effort than most, but the spoils make it all worthwhile.  

And finally here we have the big reveal. The haul comprises of -
1 pr boots, 5 prs shoes, 3 belts, 1 scarf, 8 handbags, 2 coats, 3 jackets, 10 prs coloured jeans, 3 prs trousers, 6 dresses, 1 cardigan, 3 skirts and 10 tops.

Of these only 5 items were from "real" shops (TK Maxx and H&M) and the remainder were finds in charity shops. Finds from the likes of Hobbs, Roland Cartier, Coast, Reiss, Calvin Klein and Versace. All in all a very satisfactory shop I think. Well, take a look and let me know if you agree. My next trip off island won't be until September, but I think I may have had enough of a top up to keep me going until then.

You'll notice that I'm still sourcing lovely pink items to expand my colourways along with some fabulous pops of orange too. My summer wardrobe is shaping up well, and I'm looking forward to showcasing some fab new outfits. See you all again on Wednesday x

My mainland outfit comprises of -
Coat: from Sicily. Faux leather jeans: H&M. Silver brogues: Office. Gloves: charity shop. Sunglasses: Quay Australia.
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