Yay! Another Dress Up Friday

Happy Friday!

Hello and happy Friday to you all. And yes, Friday now means Dress Up Friday which surely has to be the highlight of my week currently. I do miss dressing up for work so this is the next best thing. What about you? Do you have a day when you bring out your glad rags? Sunday maybe when you Zoom the family? Do let me know what merits some dressing up in your life.

I bought this fabulously colourful jumpsuit in the autumn of 2018 when I was in Manchester filming an advert for JD Williams. The all-in-one was from H&M in collaboration with GP & Baker fabric which I picked it up in their end of summer sale. See my styling of it then, but mainly to check out my sharp haircut of the day - oh how I'm missing getting to the hairdressers!

I chose neutral sandals (Bertie) and belt (pre-loved) for today's outfit along with my lovebirds handbag (also pre-loved) to tie in with the pink and blue of the flowers. 

Orange is my accent colour for rings and bangle - all of these are charity shop finds.

Today's sunglasses are by Guess. The tonal beaded necklace was from a market in Cape Town.

Thanks for joining me again today. As the lock-down restrictions are gradually being eased in England, I can say I'm delighted to report that sea swimming outdoors is now legal again as are water sports. Wednesday saw a flurry of boats being launched in the harbour at New Grimsby. Apart from that we're not seeing much different here on the island currently. Plans are afoot to gradually restart the business within the next month or so which has galvanised me into action again. I'd determined to achieve as much of my spring cleaning as possible before I have to return to work. 

The view from my kitchen window looks as quiet and calm as ever.

Anna x


Summer show 6

Hi, hello and welcome to the reprise of our final summer show at Gallery Tresco. The schedule of 6 exhibitions in 60 days is a huge undertaking, but a challenge I love none the less. Featured above is the attending artist Maggie O'Brien, who over the years has built herself a big following with our clients. Her painting above my right shoulder has been sold, but the star of the show had to be her large homage to the swallow, a lament at the decline of our bird population in general which is one of Maggie's passions. See the entire show here

Maggie and I are both putting our best foot forward in our frocks of the evening. Maggie is wearing her new dress by Whistles, not brown but snakeskin print she corrected. And me, I'm wearing a Monsoon gown (pre-loved) which of course, isn't beige, but vanilla. Whew, thank goodness we've got that all straight!

I bought the beautiful satin and chiffon dress from the Cancer Research shop in Truro when I was over there last month for my medical appointment. I'd walked past there in the evening when all the shops were closed and this was hanging against the door. I promised myself that I'd return the next morning and if it were less than £30 I'd buy it. It cost £18 and is worth every penny. The dry cleaning label was still stapled inside which itself had saved me about the same amount of money. Hurrah! You do know how I love a bargain.

It may not be the biggest swoosh factor of the summer, but this gorgeous gown certainly wins in the glamour stakes, don't you think?

I added my favourite oversized Debenhams pearls to the column dress for a bit of impact and two pre-loved rings in neutral tones. The sunglasses of the day are by Guess

The satin kitten heel shoes by Wallis must be vintage by now as I've had them for over 20 years. They've hardly been worn. The first outing they had was on a New Year's Eve party which nearly spoilt them for good. We walked home in the rain and it was only the next morning that I discovered that they were soiled with muddy splashes. Some gentle mopping and drying redeemed them and I wrapped them up in tissue in their box, put them into the top of the wardrobe and promptly forgot them. It was only earlier on this year that I rediscovered them. Their best feature has to be the pale green lozenge gemstone surrounded by smaller gems - another touch of glamour!

And here, as promised, is the dream team from that evening. From l to r, Duffy, yours truly, Polly and Hannah. The girls worked wonders on the Opening Night party, zipping back and forth with bottle after bottle, keeping the clients topped up with refreshments and canapes. Thank you ladies for the endless support this summer - I couldn't have done it without you!

As we say goodnight in the glow of the evening sun, I also had to say goodbye to Polly. My wonderful assistant of the past 5 years has moved to an office job on the island. Her admin skills will be put to very good use in Human Resources and she is looking forward to new challenges within this very different role. Her departure was sudden and without much notice; a complete surprise to me if the truth be known, but I don't begrudge her the new start and have wished her well on the next phase of her journey. In the meantime, I've been given part-time help to tide me over the last few months of the season (not quite enough to cover her full time support, but hey, such is life). I shall miss Polly's bright, enthusiastic input, her capacity for hard work, her ability to wrap a painting which defies all efforts by the courier service to trash it, and let's not forget her talents as my blog photographer. Thank you for everything and good luck Polly!

Anna x


Summer show 5

Hello and welcome to the reprise of Tuesday night at the gallery where Tom Rickman was our artist in attendance for the opening of his summer exhibition with us. I'm not sure who was the most delighted with the outcome as Tom sold 6 of his 10 paintings. We're both grinning madly here at the end of the night and for good reason! Tom has been showing his work with us for many years now and his passion for the North End of the island hasn't faltered over that time, nor has our guests appreciation for the subject either. Thank you Tom, for making the effort to come across the water from mainland Cornwall to attend the party. The other two contributing artists are Jenny Ulyatt and Alasdair Urquhart. The entire show can be viewed online here

I've shopped my closet this week for my exhibition outfit, purely because I love this frock by Finery and have only worn it once before. I fancy that I probably paired it up with the same shoes that time too, but goodness why on earth not? I'm a big fan of Finery as a brand because they do a great job to what you'd call grown up dressing. The cut is always stylish and flattering (see this other dress in the sale currently for more of what I mean). My orange frock was a TK Maxx find last year, so I picked up a bargain there too.

The satin floral shoes are my favourite summer stilettos meaning you'll have seen them many times before I expect. The always earn me lots of compliments, especially for those shiny gold heels. I'm learning to keep it zipped when someone says they love these (and yes, a few ladies did the other evening) as my default setting would be to blurt out the fact that they cost me £5.99 from Primark. Sharing that here somehow doesn't seem to count. Mad, eh?

This frock is all about the f's - flouncy, frilly and fun!

I'm hoping to round up my lovely helpers during the next and last summer show to get a photograph of them all together. The girls are always in a rush to go off for a celebratory meal together at the end of the shows and I seem to get caught up in saying farewell to the artist of the day, missing my chance of a group shot. Needless to say, I'm so grateful to them for all the hard work they put in to make these nights a success - especially Polly who helps to hang the show too - I couldn't do it without you, so thank you all ladies!

I usually have a swoosh factor shot, but this is the best I can do given my limited resources this time!

The rose gold ripple necklace was a purchase in a tiny side street boutique in St Andrews earlier on this year. I've added a rose gold ring (pre-loved) to that along with this bejewelled contemporary ring which I bought at an airport concession during the same trip. Both bangles are in rose gold, the sailor's knot is by Kate Spade and the other was from the gallery in the basement of the Barbican. The sunglasses of the moment are by Guess

Thanks so much for joining me again. I'm dreadfully aware how busy we all are at this time of year, all the more so when we have to make the most of these precious last few weeks of the summer. I've come to accept that my readership drops off around now, so I do appreciate those of you who are able to make the time to follow the story of my island life. It would be lovely to have your comments, good or bad - I love a bit of constructive criticism - to let me know you're out there, especially if you've never spoken to me before. I write my blog for you, each and every one of you and it's wonderful to create a connection to you. I'm always happy to widen my circle of friends. And a final thank you to those who comment regularly x

                                                                                         Anna x


Another summer trouser suit

Hello, and how's your Sunday going? We've had a big gale blowing across the Isles of Scilly over the past few days, but at last the wind is dropping. Polly and I have relocated to give you a different aspect of the island today, showing Bryher in the background, which just so happens to be staging its annual Summer Fete this afternoon. I'll be at work by then, but I'll clip the doors open so that I can enjoy the live music. Fingers crossed for the good weather to hold!

Earlier on this season I declared that this is the year of the trouser suit and here's another one from my collection. Today's outfit isn't new, but is new to me. It's from M&S, but goodness knows how many seasons ago.  I bought it in a charity shop when I was in St Andrews in January with the sole purpose of wearing it on my flight to Cape Town. It's a size bigger than I usually wear which was ideal as I seem to suffer a bloated tummy when I fly. I avoid eating completely and don't drink carbonated drinks, but I still get a painfully tender stomach. Looking back at the photos from the airport in Cape Town, I'd say all of me looks pretty bloated!

Not so much a trouser suit as culottes and matching pyjama top if you wish. The low slung waist and pleated trousers make for a lovely comfy fit. I've added a vest top in similar colour underneath. The label on that says White Stuff which I think I bought many, many moons ago. The button fastening on the top is very clever and well worth a mention. Good ol' M&S have designed the buttons closure to overcome that dreaded gaping over the bust area by adding buttons on the underside of the shirt which don't show through either - how very neat!

All today's jewellery is second hand too. The necklace I picked up in a charity shop when Sasha and I were out shopping together last summer. When we got outside she gently told me that this necklace along with two others were hers, donated only the previous day. I love that we've all gained from this experience: she by getting rid of unwanted pieces and me for finding things that were useful also by putting money into the pockets of our chosen charity. Hurrah! Oh, let's not forget my sunglasses today as they're by Guess, for a change!

These platforms were a River Island purchase, but goodness, that must be at least 10 years ago if not more. I kept them in a box under the bed for yonks and couldn't bear to get rid of them even though I didn't want to wear them. It's funny how you can fall back in love with something after a break isn't it?

I decided to make a concerted effort to avoid any newly-bought-from-the-high-street items in today's offering. My trips to the mainland often result in my being seduced by the latest trends which drags me away from my ideals of buying recycled clothes. I do my best, is all I can say. I bet you're the same.

And finally .... I'm touting a new magazine this week. The Simple Things feels like it's got its finger on the pulse of life currently. The tempo is chilled and all about savouring the moment, whether it's during a camping trip and eating al fresco or how to incorporate mindfulness into our daily life, the mag was a joyful discovery for me.

Some of you may recall me (ages ago) mentioning that I was going to featured in a magazine, and here I am. A big thank you to those involved for getting me into print to showcase my island life. I'm putting a copy of this away so that I can remind myself of my 15 minutes of fame when I'm old and decrepit!

On Tuesday the gallery will be hosting our second-to-last summer show - how did that happen so quickly? Please join me later on this week to see how that one went, along with the outfit of the day. 

In the meantime, have a super week!

Anna x


The summer maxi

Hiiiiiiii! How's it going folks? I've been inspired today to don a summer maxi, thanks to a young lady I saw on the road the other day. She was walking ahead of me, hand in hand with her beau (ahem, yes my age is showing here) and she was dressed in a wonderful white, floaty maxi dress that was being caught by the wind, blowing around her in the most flattering of manners. The sight of them conjured up a story of young love, romance and their honeymoon on this perfect little island which gave me a wave of the feel-good factor. 

I promised myself that on the next sunny day I too would don my favourite maxi dress and recreate an image or two that might be inspire you in your summer dressing. So here's what Steve and I got up to at the end of play yesterday. We're on Pentle Bay, the longest sweep of beach on the east side of Tresco. The island in the distance behind me is St Martin's, famous for its vineyard, the Damart and also for (allegedly) having the best beaches on the whole of the Isles of Scilly. 

I couldn't resist this pose!

I was slightly disappointed that Steve didn't know the words to that particular song.

Most of his input was about me not being a mountain goat and for me not to break my ankle as I hopped about from rock to rock, chasing the perfect angle in relation to the sunlight.

Let's talk about the outfit of the day, shall we? I'm working hard at keeping up the green message of shopping my closet and wearing recycled items too and with that in mind am pleased to say that there's nothing brand new in this post. The dress is by Anmol and was from TK Maxx years ago. The gorgeous fringed jacket (synthetic not suede sadly) was a charity shop scoop, but has no label. The brown leather sandals are also second hand and by Dune - sooooo comfy and look like they'll last forever.

A great idea to sit here, but the wind scooped the dress up, billowing it like a sail resulting in the flashing of flesh and undies. 

My sister Sandra sent me this recycled statement necklace which she found in a charity shop in Scotland many moons ago. The rose gold sunglasses are from Guess. The orange resin ring is also recycled and the other ring was a purchase in a street market in Cape Town in January - happy days!

This shot sums up the lure of these islands, offering that get-away-from-it-all feeling without a ten hour flight. Steve and I had the beach completely to ourselves. A top tip if you ever visit here - that early evening time is perfect to have a moment of reflection without interruption as everyone is either getting youngsters fed and bedded or they're getting ready to go out to dinner themselves. This golden hour is when you can stroll the beaches alone and if you land lucky, you can capture some pretty stunning shots too.

My next post will be on Monday when I join the ladies from the Style Not Age Collective for our monthly challenge, the theme being Flaming June. I do hope you can join us for that.

In the meantime, have a lovely weekend!

Anna x

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