March Madness, our Style Not Age challenge.

Hi there and welcome to this month's Style Not Age challenge, titled March Madness. I hope that you've been following the lovely group of ladies so that you may understand what madness means to each of us. Jacqui of Mummabstylish is quite conservative in her fashion tastes and therefore this mish mash of colours and patterns is indeed madness for her.

Style Splash editor Emma has gone all out in her approach to outfit madness from those crazy shoes to the cute fluffy clutch and everything in between. Personally it's something you'd see me wearing any day of the week!

Hilda's offering came from a murder mystery dinner she attended recently. The choice of this month's challenge was hers and maybe that's because she had this natty little number tucked up her sleeve. Do whizz across to her blog, Over The Hilda to read more about it.

Did I get the memo? Well yes, of course I did. Let me explain. The motto for my blog is "Let's bin the beige and have fun with colour" and therefore it's a form of madness for me to be seen dressed head to toe in beige. Beige = boring in my book. For some, such as my elegant friend Laurie of Vanity and Me Style, well beige is the height of sophistication. She looks classy in beige, I on the other hand, feel dull when I don beige. 

I know I look completely out of step with the other ladies, all jazzed up in their mad ensembles, but honestly, I couldn't find anything in my wardrobe, be it a bright pattern clash to some mad mix of colours that didn't constitute an everyday outfit for me. I do hope the collective don't feel I've let them down with this challenge.

Let's get down to details shall we? The boots are by Michael Kors, handbag is by Radley, trousers are hand-me-downs from my daughter, the brand is River Island, the sweater is pre-loved and is by Carolyn Taylor.

As for my accessories, I found the beautiful leather Radley bag in a charity shop last year and the fact that it was in pristine condition helped me get over the colour. I bought the patterned ring at an airport concession in January, the other one is a charity shop find. And I was gifted the Nordgreen watch a few months ago. 

I dug out my old favourite chunky pearls for the shoot too - these were from Debenhams many moons ago. And the mirror sunglasses are by Quay Australia.

I feel I would be letting down my style credentials if I failed to mention the fact that yes, beige is actually the height of fashion currently. Beige Is Back was the headline in January with People magazine amongst others and in the world of interiors beige is the new grey. What can say? Following the latest trend isn't high on my list of priorities, but if something I love happens to be on trend then that's a bonus for me.  Those who slavish follow the tidal wave of trends from one season to another will be easy to spot out and about being seen in all the right places as they sport the various shades of creams, tan, flax and cream. Hurrah for me then, that I've hit the mark this month, but it's all very tongue in cheek and you won't be seeing me in this washed out shade again soon.

I do hope you'll take a moment to visit the other ladies from the challenge to read their back stories too. Thanks for dropping by and I'll see you again soon!

Have a lovely week!

Anna x


Baby it's cold outside!

Snow is a novelty for those who live on the Isles of Scilly. In fact it's nine years since the last occurrence and so you could imagine the excitement today as the skies grew heavy with snow clouds. Initially there were just a few dancing flakes, but as the day progressed the islands disappeared in full white-out and snow settled on the ground, thick enough to make snowballs and even a snowman or two were built.

For some of the local children this will be the first snow they've seen in their lives.

If it's cold enough for snow, then surely it's cold enough to showcase my red fox fur again. I took these shots last month and was hoping to air them before spring overtook me. And here we are, as huge swathes of the are UK under snow I feel it's perfect timing.

I've gone with a casual styling of honey coloured jeans and striped roll neck sweater giving a simple counterbalance to the luxury of real fur. 

The top ring is quite old (from East) and the bottom one was charity shopped.

The final touch of glamour comes by way of these Michael Kors ankle boots, bought in TK Maxx a couple of years ago. The pale nude leather is supple yet soft and the elastic gusset ensures a snug fit. Yes, the heels are toweringly high, but I can still walk in them.

See? I walked all the way from one side of the balcony all the way across to the other before I had to sit down. Once I got my breath back, I got right back up again and walked all the way back!

I realise that my blogging friends across the pond won't be mightily impressed at the light dusting of snow on the road in front of my gallery, but hang fire - we may have more to show by tomorrow. The West Country is forecast to have heavy snow by the end of the day and you can bet your bottom dollar I'll be out there taking some shots if it comes about.

For those of you who really are experiencing blizzard conditions, do take care!

Anna x


And yet more sequins...

Sequins yes, but not as you may have expected. Well, I wouldn't be me if I didn't deliver something a bit different, would I? This outfit channels the rock chick in me, but more than that, it also feels so blooming good thanks to trousers which fit like a dream, paired with boots that definitely put the ROCK into rock chick. It's a huge contrast to last year's party fare as seen here, but I think that's why I've been showcasing all of these other outfits: it's time for a change, but which me should I be this year? 

The sequins don't show their true colour in the sunlight - they're actually silver, yellow and rose gold on a black backdrop. 

I fancy that today's outfit may need me to convince you in it's favour. So firstly; paisley pattern is one of my all time favourites and when you add to that a liberal sprinkling of gold thread as well, then these trousers are pretty much top dog; next comes the dash of leopard print to give a funky edge, not to mention the fun of pattern clashing; finally, the top may look a bit dark or even blue/grey, but the fact is it's actually silver and gold and looks much more stunning in real life, matching the tone of the trousers and boots really well. A change in plans mean that I'm now attending the party without my husband as he's having to make a unexpected trip to the mainland. I'll tag along with some girlfriends instead, but this means I don't feel quite so bold about being all dolled up on my own. This, the most casual of all of the outfits, may feel more comfortable. (Casual = 4inch heels and metallic coloured sequins. Welcome to my world!)

The thing that can be said about all of my sparkly outfits is that come the summer months I'll be hosting my gallery exhibitions again which will afford me ample opportunity to dress up with all the glitz and glam not looking the least bit out of place. Whatever doesn't make the grade tonight can have it's debut in a few months time.

Details - trousers and top: H&M (old), boots: Michael Kors, handbag: charity shop, sunglasses: Quay Australia, necklace: Dorothy Perkins, rings and bracelet: old.
Anna x


As suggested by...Samantha

This is the second in the new series. The first offering, As suggested by...Karren was a resounding hit with so many of you that I thought I'd establish this as a monthly offering. You'll recognise this wonderful jacket from some posts recently as seen here so it's already coming down in terms of cost-per-wear. The gorgeous leather jacket generated some good feedback for me, both in the comments and on Instagram, the first of which I'm going to address here today. This outfit was inspired thanks to Samantha's (of Fake Fabulous) input. Her suggestion to pair the very fitted jacket with a big skirt was a great choice, therefore was a no-brainer for me.

I've had this beautiful cotton lawn skirt stashed in my closet for years, so I could do with getting some more wear out of it. All I had to do was add my black net underskirt and hey presto - the big skirt was born! Such a huge outline needed high heels to stop me looking like a wee toadstool, which is where my legendary Michael Kors boots came into their own. 

As it happens this outfit is the second one this week where I've showcased a net underskirt and I maybe had something to learn from Wednesday's offering. I think the beauty of wearing a net underskirt is all in the showing of it. Perhaps this skirt could have been hoicked up a bit to reveal the bottom of the underskirt in a more playful way. Too late, I know, to re shoot, but I think that's the whole point of these frou-frou net creations - they really beg to be flashed, don't they? 

Well, when I said it was too late, that got me thinking. So last night after work, I quickly pulled this together before the sun set. With skirt duly hoicked up, jacket left open and new beaded belt on show, I decided to give it another go. The question is, Samantha, do either of these looks showcase the jacket a-la-big skirt that you imagined?

This type of challenge is great fun for me, so I'd like to invite you to contact me with your ideas and suggestions from what you've seen. Is there a piece I've only shown once that you'd love to see again? Do you have an idea like Karren's that will push me out of my comfort zone, yet surprise me with too? If you're a lurker and are feeling a bit shy, then you can just email me rather than publish your comment. Or make contact on Instagram if you'd rather. I'd love to hear from you - any feedback is really useful in gauging how I'm doing. I'm coming up to my first anniversary of fashion blogging soon and it would be great to know how I'm performing. I prattle on a couple of times a week, showing you the latest ensemble in my very own style, but what do you think? I'm so lucky to have formed friendships with other bloggers, but I know there's a whole raft of you guys out there, sitting quietly enjoying things at the back, and would love to hear your thoughts. Write me x

Jacket: DSquared. Skirt: Philosophy Di Alberta Ferretti. Underskirt: eBay. Boots: Michael Kors. Tights: Dorothy Perkins.
1st variation Necklace: Dorothy Perkins. Blouse: charity shop. Belt: charity shop. Watch: Michael Kors. Rose gold bangle: Kate Spade New York. Flower ring: Dorothy Perkins. Perspex ring: gift.
2nd variation Blouse: eBay. Belt: Sainsbury. Yellow ring: Martin James. Solitaire ring: Dorothy Perkins. Pearls: Almost Perfect

Linking with
Catherine of Not Dressed As Lamb 
Patti of Not Dead Yet Style 

As suggested by...Karren.

Today I thought I might introduce a new feature to my blog which has come about thanks to one of my readers. She classes herself as a "lurker", but felt the need to comment to give me some feedback. Well, I'm delighted to convert you to becoming a commenter Karren, and also to accommodate you with your suggestion. Karren wanted me to pair up my beautiful Micheal Kors boots with my leather jeans and a short jacket. Initially I thought this was a bit too racy for me, but I then realised that if I actually have these items in my wardrobe then I'm surely a bit racy anyway! I've no idea if this is what she had in mind, but I kinda ran with the idea of rock-chick seasoned with a liberal dash of sparkle.

This entire outfit flies in the face of age appropriate dressing which I find totally liberating. Since starting my blog nearly a year ago, I can say that I'm increasingly becoming more myself. What? you may well be asking. Let me explain. In the run up to launching my blog I followed lots of fashion blogs and also did a lot of reading and researching into all sorts of aspects of self development. One very useful book was "The Happiness Project" by Gretchen Rubin. This contained an abundance of wonderful, empowering advice, but the one phrase that struck a chord with me was her advice to herself to "be more Gretchen". I took that to heart and have used it daily to help me redefine myself if I feel I'm losing my way. I still urge myself to be more *Gretchen at times when I think I may be in danger of becoming a lesser version of myself through emotional or physical neglect, or even by being swayed by outside influences which are not to my benefit. So, what I mean to say is; the freedom to have somewhere to express myself through my outfits has enabled me to explore my heart's desire and be my true self. Clothes and shoes I may have previously looked longingly at, I now pluck off the rack and try them on. You, my readers, and fellow bloggers have played a massive part in my fashion liberation, and for that I thank you. I'm neither a slave to trends, nor am I aspiring to be a trend setter, but I know what I like and I know how I like to look. The joy of the platform that is my blog, is that I may share my whimsical outfits, and racy get-ups with you from behind the relative safety of my laptop.

Yes, I know I'm probably meant to say "be more Anna", but the power seems to come from what her name reminds me to do, thanks to the book (it's also more comical when I say it out loud). I contacted Gretchen once my blog was up and running, and told her how influential her advice had been. She was indeed happy to have helped and said she would become one of my first background followers - my readership figures seem to reflect a fair few of these amongst you.

I have two more "As suggested by..." posts already lined up where I'm responding to fellow bloggers suggestions. Please do feel free to pop your suggestion in my comments box, whoever you are. Anything you've already seen on my blog can be paired up with anything else (within reason) according to your fancy. I'm interested in having different viewpoints and ideas to work with over the next few months. My other new feature "Ping-Pong Post" is going to become a regular monthly feature and there's no reason why "As suggested by..." can't be too. Please come along and join in. See you all again on Sunday x

Jacket: Micheal Kors. Top: H&M. Trousers: H&M. Boots: Michael Kors. Necklace and rings: old.

Linking with
Cherie at Style Nudge
Jess at Elegantly Dressed and Stylish
Lindsey at The Pleated Poppy 

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