JD Williams does Christmas!

Hello and welcome to my slightly premature Christmas card shot!
(From left to right are Kath, Annie, Katie, Jenny and Savi.)

I'm totally thrilled to be involved in the JD Williams Christmas campaign with my JDW friends. These ladies have become a great new addition in my life. They also became my very first WhatsApp group which wasn't without its teething problems I can tell you! Our new found friendship has grown from our mutual delight at being chosen for this project. The initial "Who'd have thought?" and "Can you believe it?" messages have now been replaced more recently with "Well done!", "Have you seen...?" and "Don't we all look fab?". It's lovely to have this supports system with a common bond and understanding.

This Christmas Day look has me still toying with the idea of a second pair of these Meghan trousers which I bought in the cobalt version last month (see here). They do them in red, green and black but I can't decide between the red and the green. My new M&S tartan boots would work with either colour I'm sure, which is what's making the choice so darned difficult. What do you think? See the boots in question here

My party look is the Glitter Bardot top, Joanna Hope Jacquard Metallic Prom skirt and Rose gold sandals. These are a wide fit which was heaven. Filming took hours with lots of standing around in the interim and I wore these without flinching or needing to take them off. Definitely worth considering for dancing at the Christmas bash! If you can't wait to see the commercial live on TV you can catch it at the end of the blog. My party outfit details are also featured on the JDW blog. It's all rather surreal writing this, as is the fact that another rash of JDW magazine ads are out in the Christmas issues. See both the December Good Housekeeping and Prima for coverage of the campaign along with little ol' me. (Me in magazines and on TV is something I'd never have contemplated on my 60th birthday and now look at things!)

This larking about shot is one of my favourites, which will be no surprise to my regular readers. I love to have a bit of fun, especially in front of the camera, so this looks much more naturally me. Katie and I are both up for a bit of messing about, although she's the consummate professional and can deliver the perfect shot in the blink of an eye (she does a lot of work on TV commercials which is hardly surprising given her beautiful English Rose looks, so keep your eye out for her). Working with these women was fabulous and all the more so thanks to the wonderful team that turned us into the glamorous versions of ourselves. 

This is my make-up story board. With these iconic beauties to aspire to I was ever hopeful for the transformation ahead.

And this is my hair story board, again nothing to complain about here!

Hair, nails and make-up were all lovingly attended to which is a great treat. Each hair stylist or make-up technician is a perfectionist and that's so lovely to be on the receiving end of as they are such experts. Being done to, handing over that responsibility allows for a lovely stress free time, where you can just relax and enjoy the pampering. But also, all the team were ready for a chat if that's what you wanted. As this is our second time around we've gotten to know everyone and it's just like meeting old friends when they ask about family/travel details/bothersome skin issues - nothing is off limits!

So (fingers crossed) here's the new Christmas advert. If this doesn't work then just click onto the link here which will take you to the website where you'll definitely be able to see it. 

I'll revisit the JD Williams filming experience later this month with more of the behind the scenes footage and hopefully by then you'll all have seen the TV advert too. Have a super week everyone - I'll be back soon!

I'll be linking with -
Catherine of Not Dressed As Lamb
Anna x


Anna meets... Ruth

It's been a while since I posted one of these, but I'm delighted to bring it back with today's guest, Ruth Connolly. Ruth has been working on the island for the past few months and has become a friend of my daughters, and as such I've got to know her. And now it's your turn. I posed a few questions for Ruth to answer.

Ruth and I are both wearing H&M Christmas jumpers, but not just any old jumpers, as these (my Elfie Selfie and her Penguins) were designed by Ruth. 

A. Tell me about these jumpers and how they came about.

R. Whilst completing my Textile Design degree I was given the opportunity to spend a year working in the fashion industry. I was fortunate enough to be selected for an internship with the Ladies Everyday department at H&M in their head office in Stockholm. One of the projects we were working on was the 2015 Christmas jumper campaign. 

A. Is your background/training in fashion design?

R. I am a specialist in Printed Textile Design so I create the fabric that is used for garments. Although I specialise in print for fashion I am also experienced in designing fabrics to be used for interior purposes too. As a print designer I have a good eye for colour and current trends and also strong drawing, painting and digital skills. Print Design is a fantastic way of working with both traditional drawing methods and digital technologies to create innovative designs. 

Trend Forecasting is my other passion. This involves analysing key movements and trends both artistic and political to predict what we will be seeing in store within the coming years. This allows me to discover new concepts and ideas to work with which for me is the most exciting thing about being a designer. 

A. Do you prefer to shop on the high street/designer/charity shop?

R. I primarily shop on the high street (Zara and &otherstories are amazing for key, on trend pieces) but seek designer finds in thrift and charity shops. I like to keep a file of images from magazines, lookbooks and fashion history books that inspire my wardrobe. I buy key items for each season and pair them with existing garments I already have. I have lots of images of Victoria Beckham’s pre-fall 18 and Valentino’s A//W 2017/18 collections in my file at moment and am lusting over the colour combination of blush pink, terracotta and mauve. 

A. How would you class your style?

R. Classic and on Trend: one of the many advantages of being a trend forecaster. You’re unlikely to see me dressed the same as the crowds or in head to toe TopShop for example (although I do own a pair of those oh-so popular Stan Smiths... just too damn comfy). I spend a lot of time in London so channel classic YSL: a good black trouser and jacket but will jazz it up with a quirky pair of shoes (my absolute weakness). 

A. Where would you like to be in 5 years time?

R. Still designing and trend forecasting. I would also like to have expanded my concept design work and collaborate with artists from other areas of the arts such as choreographers and filmmakers. Also, I want to go back to university to get my Master of Arts in Textile Design and History of Art. 

A. If you suddenly came into money (say £5000) how would you spend it?

R. I am going to talk fashion here rather than all of the boring everyday bills and loans I could pay off. 

I would invest in a printed Valentino A//W 17/18 floor length coat. The prints remind me of David Hockey’s LA work and I haven’t been able to find a high street alternative this season. 

Or I would turn to Dior and their beautiful A//W 17/18 sheer gowns in stargazer print- grungy, elegant, beautiful.

A. What are your plans when you leave the Isles of Scilly?

R. In January I move to Vancouver, Canada for a few months. I will continue to freelance whilst exploring and capturing the beautiful landscape. I am on a hunt for #vancouverssecrets which I will document on my website (www.pipicon.com) that is launching soon. 

A. Will we see you back here again?

R. I holiday on Tresco every year so will definitely be back in September with my family. The Scilly’s are key inspiration for my collections so I come and explore the islands at least once a year to photograph, draw and write. 

A. What will be your abiding memory of your time here?

R. Apart from the luxury of waking up to, in my opinion, the most beautiful landscape in the world, it would have the be the people of Tresco. My biggest fear before moving out to the Scilly’s was if I would fit in with island life and make friends. The community made me so welcome that I am the happiest and most myself I have been for a number of years. The thought of leaving this amazing island with its equally amazing people is very sad, but I thank them for giving me the most incredible experience. 

A. What possession is most precious to you and why?

R. A letter my late father wrote to me inspiring me to live my life with love and optimism. 

Many thanks to Ruth for taking part in today's feature. I'll be following her with interest as this young lady will surely do well no matter what path she takes within the fashion world. 

No style conferring had gone on prior to our photo shoot, so it was quite funny when I met up with Ruth to see her sporting silver boots too. In the battle of the bargains however, I won! Mine were £5 from Primark and hers were £8 from TopShop. My jeans were from Zara in my Black Friday shopping spree. Silver jeans are exactly what you need when you're about to turn 60, don't you agree?

Before I sign off, I just want to acknowledge those amongst us who find this time of year a struggle. Whether you have painful memories of years gone by or are alone and feeling lonely it's not always easy to live up to the Christmas dream we're fed at every turn. A fellow blogger, Tamera Beardsley has posted an article giving some timely advice that may be helpful - see here.

Anyway folks, I'll take a few days off now and be back later in the week to show you my Christmas day outfit. I do hope you have a wonderful time catching up with family and friends. So let's eat, drink and be merry. Until next time -

Happy Christmas!

Anna x


5Over50 do Christmas jumpers

Hello and welcome to the Christmas edition of 5Over50, the one where we don our Christmas jumpers. This month Laurie chose the item to be styled and really it was a no brainer - we had to go with the festive Christmas jumper!  

I'm going to skip right along here to show you the other ladies from our collective, starting with Gail, the founder of our group.

Gail's posh Rudolph jumper is from Boden which she's styled very classically with her large pearl necklace and tartan skirt. I had to smile when I saw this as I'd put together a very similar look at one stage. Our non-conferring system means we really have no idea how the others are going to present the challenge which is all part of the fun I suppose. See the full post on Gail's blog Is This Mutton here.

Jacqui of Mummabstylish blog has chosen a very understated Christmas jumper for the feature, and the charm isn't lost on me as I just love this gold sparkle. The simple elegance will surely make this a thoroughly wearable sweater for years to come too. Do pop over to see Jacqui's write up on our challenge.

And here's Hilda of Over The Hilda blog with her dear little grandson, both sporting their fairisle Christmas jumpers. How cute are they? I've yet to experience the joys of grandchildren, but can imagine the wonder of Christmas through their eyes as I'm pretty much still a child myself! 

Laurie's Christmas jumper boasts three beautifully ornate Christmas trees which are actually Christmas tree decorations that she has cleverly stitched in place. What a great idea! Pop over to see the full story on Laurie's blog Vanity And Me Style here. 

Outift details - jumper: H&M, skirt: Ted Baker, boots: Topshop, tights: old, jewellery: pre-loved.

My Christmas jumper isn't new, but the skirt is. Since my last post, I've had a mercy dash to the mainland to have a tooth extracted, but as they say Every cloud has a silver lining and this meant a quick burst of shopping in the midst of everything else. I could write an entire post about all the things that I did wrong around my dental appointment, but it would only go to prove what an idiot I was in face of my biggest fear. Sufice to say, the tooth and a lot of infected gum have been removed and I'm all the better for it now.

Moving quickly on then, I found this Ted Baker skirt in TK Maxx reduced from £200 to £49.99. Well, how could I resist? I thought it would be perfect not only for this challenge, but also for my birthday next month. Details of that nearer the time dear reader, but I have plans, I have big plans. 

In the meantime, we from the 5Over50 collective would like to wish you all a very Happy Christmas and say thank you so much for following us over the past few months. Do check out the other ladies blogs too if you get a moment. I'll be back in a few days with something a bit more casual for a change.

Anna x

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