Monochrome Monday

It's great to have you join me today, especially as we're all a bit preoccupied with other things. So let's just talk (briefly) about the elephant in the room. We're currently in the middle of a terrible piece of history and it's rather scary. The arrival of the Coronavirus has shaken us and we've only just begun. Depending on which country you're living in, we are either ahead of you or behind in the development of the disease, but we're all finding the reality quite worrying. My thoughts go out to the NHS workers who are going to see the worst of it. These everyday hero's will be stretched to the limit in the forthcoming weeks, if not months. I've suffered some anxiety attacks over the past few days, feeling vulnerable at times and then being annoyed when others don't feel the same. But today something that someone said made me stop and see things in quite a different light. A friend told me "I just want to get on with catching the virus so that I can recover and then volunteer at my local hospital, pushing beds around and helping to support the staff." What an amazingly selfless attitude! Her comment has helped me to see the current situation as less of a personal threat and more as something that we're all in together. 

This was Monday's outfit, and all the better for having a bit of sunshine when Lora and I popped out to take these shots. A new week, but nothing new in the outfit at all. I'm happy to be shopping my closet, mixing up high street and pre-loved items to create this homage to the 60's.

The two sizes hound's tooth skirt is pre-loved, as is the black roll neck sweater. I was pleased to unearth these matching tights to pair up with the skirt as it's the first time I've worn these together. 

My New Look ankle boots are a year old now, but still holding out well, considering they only cost me £5 in the sale.

My Michael Kors jacket was at the other end of the financial spectrum, but has been well worth the investment. It's a real showcase piece, weighty, thanks to all of these metal studs and a bit of genuine rock chic (or chick depending on your thoughts).

All of my accessories are old too, as are my favourite sunglasses from Quay Australia.

More than ever, I'd like to think that today's offering has acted as a cheery escape, even if it's only momentary. Please look after yourself and try not to worry too much.

                                                                                   Anna x


The Zara "It" dress does autumn

Hello and how are you? I hope you're having a great week. Today I'm continuing with my quest to restyle a summer outfit, recreating an autumn look from one of my favourite summer frocks. Not only my favourite, but this polka dot dress became the "It" dress of 2019 as it appeared like a rash across the whole of Britain, even as far south as the Isles of Scilly! If you Google Zara spotty dress you'll be able to read what all the papers had to say about this new classic piece. In the meantime, it's still for sale here or you'll maybe prefer the reverse colours in the new style here

The first time I showcased this fabulous frock I was bigging it up for an exhibition night, adding lots of silver to the monochrome look - see here. Today I've added a splash of red in both boots and belt, along with the red in this vintage leather handbag. 

I stumbled across the handbag when I was holidaying in Cork many years ago. It was a wonderful charity shop find that nearly had me fending off a rival shopper as she loitered behind me, hoping I'd change my mind and put it back on the shelf. My sister stepped in to clarify the matter, that yes, I would be buying it. Hahaha, forever my big sister, even though we're all grown up now! The belt and rings are also charity shop finds.

The silver disc necklace is quite old now, but was from M&S. Sunglasses are by Quay Australia. 

The silver and black studded Michael Kors jacket is becoming a signature piece of mine. It has the ability to add a bit of edge to any outfit, giving it a style boost as it were. I like that the studs echo the polka dots here. 

These H&M sock boots have coped very well considering the amount of times I've worn them. I think I may have had them re-heeled last year, and I do wipe off any marks and mud to keep them as pristine as possible. Sock boots seem to suit my curvy calves and show off my slim ankles, hence me investing in about half a dozen pairs so far.

Today's outfit crosses all the fashion sources from high street to charity shop and vintage which encapsulates all of my shopping vices. I love to dabble with all kinds of clothes and accessories to create my own style. Next week I've got a wee trip to the mainland lined up and hope to find time between appointments to fit in some charity shopping in my favourite venue of Truro. It seems that a whole swathe of my autumn/winter clothes have gone walkabout or rather I just can't find them in the morass of boxes and suitcases that are scattered throughout the house. I know it sounds like a made up excuse for a bit of retail therapy, but it's the truth, honestly! 

                                                                                          Anna x


Age Disruptor?

Michael Waring

Meet Juliette Branker: beauty industry disruptor.

Up until a day ago, I'd never heard of the term Age Disruptor, but I looked it up and found this - Age disruptors come from all age groups to bust preconceived ideas about aging.

A friend sent me the link to an article about Juliette see here. At 62 she is age-defyingly beautiful and certainly not what any of us would describe as old!  My friend Judy thought the term age disruptor applies to me too given my recent modelling adventures. To be perfectly honest, the article came at just the right time. Since returning from Cape Town I'd had cause to question why on earth I was doing this - putting myself up for rejection at this time of my life? Self doubt is no stranger in my life. On reading the article I recognised an element of myself in Juliette's language - phrases such as "Why not?" and "What do I have to lose?" summed up my philosophy too. 

I was recently sent details of a competition in a magazine, an age related topic along the lines of Why Not? which resulted in this impromptu photo shoot in my kitchen. A friend of my daughter's had seen it and thought of me. I'm often asked how my little adventures come about and there's no trick to it. We all hear of or see opportunities flagged up in various places, but for the most part think, Oh that's not for me! I, on the other hand, think Why not? Nothing ventured, nothing gained. This far I've been lucky and have had a positive result with the few things I've pursued. Until the other day that is, when I discovered that I'd not made the cut for a modelling job I'd been hoping for. It was my first experience of rejection within this new #sidehustle of mine. I thought my luck had run out. Was the party over? Had it just been my 60th year that somehow had cast this magical spell over me? 

Juliette was asked -

What’s your advice for women in their 50s and above who have dreams of modeling?
Go for it! You’re never too old. If you have the desire, don’t let this be an ‘I wish I did’ sort of thing. Even if you get a “no,” get 50 no's. Don’t let anything stop you. Don’t live in regret. 
And yes, this was maybe my first rejection, but I had to come to terms with it and understand that what had happened previously was no more than beginners luck and that I'd have to suffer rejection in order to grow. Pick myself up, dust myself off and start all over again, as someone once said.

Another quote of Juliette's that really strikes a chord with me is - 

"But – if they ask me to not smile for a shoot, I can’t do it.  I end up looking miserable. I never get those jobs." 
A smile is a natural facelift and also adds a bit of life, a sparkle to my complexion. As we get older our resting face can belie the happiness within - I know my resting face can look quite miserable, but that's not what I feel. Well, most of the time, anyway!

There's a book on this subject too which I've just ordered - it's called "Disrupt Aging - Living Your Best Life At Every Age" and golly I can't wait to read it. See more here

A couple of days later Sasha and I went out to shoot this outfit again. The main feature is the trousers which were in the Zara sale. The denim is weighty and the cut is neat around the waist and hips, beautifully wide over the leg, making for a fab fit. I ran with the theme of black and brown, adding my Zara sock boots from last year. A simple black polo neck was all that was needed under my studded jeans jacket by Michael Kors. The belt is old, from H&M and my crochet phone pouch is again from Zara - the sale is still on see here

The tiny phone case is a novel idea for me. I love that I know exactly where my phone is and no longer have that panic and scramble when I hear it ring and have to race to catch it in time. The other thing we must talk about is this rather lovely citrine ring. You may recall that I arrived back into the UK on the morning of my birthday. I spent that day in Truro, primarily to buy myself a new laptop. Steve rang me when I was at Gatwick airport waiting to fly down to Cornwall and confessed that he hadn't bought me anything for my birthday. That's no biggie in our house as he's not an online shopper and works in the woods all day so can't nip to a shopping centre to find me a present. We laughed at his confession and I offered to remedy the situation while I was in Truro. I visited TK Maxx first of all and found the most amazing orange sequinned jacket which I've already showcased here. After a bit of browsing through the rest of town, I came across this ring in a little jewellers window. For years I've wanted a citrine gemstone ring and this one seemed to have my name on it. I tried it on and it fitted - and because it didn't need to be adjusted I was given a 20% discount - not too shabby! Since then I've been reading up on the qualities of the stone. It's known for its powers of manifestation of wealth and success, and for encouraging generosity and shared good fortune. I like the sound of that.

This weekend I'm off-island having a little jaunt in Cornwall. I'm taking this outfit with me and hope to meet up with friends for lunch while I'm away. A haircut and some retail therapy are also on the cards. The gallery will be opening for business on the 15th of March so I thought I'd fit in a mini-break before things take off again. I hope you all have a lovely weekend too!

                                                            Anna x


Checks, plaid, tartan...

Checks, plaid, tartan, call it what you will, but this pattern is very much my calling card for the autumn/winter months. I love the sock-it-to-me boldness of these trousers which encompass so many of my joys all in one. From the zingy orange colour to the wide cut of the trousers to the obligatory pockets and neat fitting high waist, these new trews are my latest delight. The brand is Collusion and I found them on ASOS a couple of weeks ago, although they appear to be all sold out now I'm afraid.

The outfit is a mix of old, new and charity shopped. The wool roll neck was a charity shop find last year, the fabric boots are by Zara (see them here) and the Michael Kors jacket is a few years old now. 

From the shoes up, this outfit was all about comfort. Some days that's the main focus as I'm getting dressed, but I'm happy to say that I don't think I've had to compromise on style with this luxe look. The trainers have a stretch top to them, knitted in fabric all the way to the ankle and I must admit I felt like that I was at work in my slippers all day long - what heaven!

A little aside here: I just wanted to acknowledge the presence of the storm boards that are now in place for the next few months. I hate to have them in the way of our view from the gallery window, but with the prevailing winds, high tides and storm surges they're a necessary addition to keep us safe. Apart from that they impact on my daily photo shoots, but at least you still get a glimpse of the view beyond.

Today's sparkle comes in the form of rings from Diana Porter and Emily Nixon and orb pendant by Vivienne Westwood. 

I've been gathering a few photo shoots together in my draft box ready for when Polly leaves me. In fact we have our last day of working together tomorrow. Her daily input into my life as well as the business will be sorely missed, but at least I'll see her often as she'll be just five minutes away. I'll be dipping into that back catalogue for a couple of weeks and hopefully by then I'll be back into the swing of my winter shoots with tripod and timer again. Steve and Sasha are both on call too when I'm needing a hand, so hopefully it'll look like business as usual for you readers. Thanks for dropping by and here's to our journey into winter together!

Anna x


You got my memo then?

This is Rachel, Bookings Manager for the island and friend of mine. She turned up in the gallery the other day and on seeing her I quipped "You got my memo then, about stripes as dress code?". This started a little flurry of shots of some of the other members of the office team who do in fact have stripes as their uniform.

Rachel joined by Carina ...

Carina and Nikki ...

Rachel with Ruth, the Office Manager.

Those of you who are regular visitors to the island may well recognise these ladies who help organise various elements of your stay, ensuring that everything goes smoothly.

Sasha and I got together after work to add a few more shots for the post. Polly had been poorly for a few days (she's much better now, thanks) and my draft box was getting a bit empty in her absence.

These are the striped culottes I mentioned recently; they're from Primark and I'm afraid I can't remember how much they cost. The striped body was from TK Maxx and I decided to go for stripes overload with the these mules, again from TK Maxx.

Standing, serving at the desk all day long while Polly was away called for some clever/sensible footwear that wouldn't cripple me by lunchtime, and these mules were ideal as they're a lovely broad fit. I have a grey pair and pink ones too which are also equally comfy.

The trousers are a synthetic material, a decent medium weight fabric that reminds me slightly of the crimpelene trousers my mother used to wear back in the day. They're pull on, with an elasticated waist and for that reason I decided to go up a size so that they'd give a sleeker, smoother fit. It's taken me a long time to get over being a slave to sizing; the buzz of fitting into a size 8 means nothing if it pinches and shows every seam of underwear. I know I can vary from anything between an 8 to a 14 depending on the brand or shop, so I take a few sizes into the changing room nowadays, ignoring the size label and relying on the fit as to what looks best. 

As a safety measure, I added this diamante Scottie dog brooch (preloved) to the stripey body as the crossover front isn't stitched together. The black and silver necklace is by Melissa James, the frilled silver and gold ring is by Emily Nixon and the other ring is preloved.

I feel I just have to mention the line of washing hanging in the garden behind me. This is mine and a source of comment from many visitors who see it as documenting how my family as it has grown; the baby grows and terry nappies heralding the birth of my first then second child and thereafter the size of clothes indicated how they were thriving through their school years into teens and beyond. And now that Sasha is home again we just seem to have a constant array of bright and colourful items to entertain the masses. Hanging my washing out is a pretty sociable affair, causing strangers to stop and comment on the weather and if things will dry today, or to say they like that my clothes prop is an oar, or the most frequent thing they say is that I have the best view ever from my washing line. I have a friend who is rather coy about hanging her undies on the line, but not me - I'm pretty sure we all wear these so what's the problem?

I had some technical problems on the blog recently which resulted in lots of comments sitting unpublished for a few days. Hopefully I've remedied this now and can look forward to continuing my dialogue with you once again. I'm heading off to the mainland this week for yet more dental treatment, so do give me a day's grace as I may be a bit worse for wear - I think I'm having an extraction which does fill my heart with dread. Once again, wish me luck!

In view of this, I'm scheduling a post for Wednesday in my absence which is a rather special feature about more friends, but this time swimming buddies. Marilee, I think you will love this one and for all of you, it's another opportunity to see the extensive and rather beautiful swimming pool I have access to every day thanks to Mother Nature. 

Anna x


Michael Kors studded jacket

Hi there! How are you? Today's post features a mellow mix of old and new, pulled together for the first time. I enjoy putting preloved and new pieces together to create a unique look.

The Michael Kors jacket is a few years old, and I'm so pleased that it remains a firm favourite of mine. I bought it in TK Maxx and therefore paid real money for it, as opposed to it being some lucky charity shop bargain.  The studs are a mixture of metal and plastic, meaning it's a veritable workout in itself just wearing that all day long.

I stuck with a simple black and white theme for the rest of the outfit, but that doesn't make it staid when you throw a few patterns into the mix. The preloved trousers and top (H&M) are both in a floral print and therefore are a very happy marriage indeed.

Silver is the accent colour for my accessories. The silver trainers were a recent purchase in TK Maxx while I was in Harrogate. Aren't they fab!

The brand is Ellesse.

The disc necklace (reminds me of those big mints my grandad used to eat) is old and was from Marks and Spencer, the disc ring is preloved and the other is by Diana Porter. Sunnies are by Quay Australia. The rose gold watch is by Michael Kors.

And this is why I fell for this preloved H&M blouse - aren't those sleeves lovely!

Not so much a pose, more a delicious stretch to get a kink out of my spine!

And finally, I'd like to say a big thank-you to those of you who are still visiting the blog. It's at this time of year that blogging views start to drop as we all have more pressing things to do with our time. Warmer weather draws everyone outdoors to spend time in the garden or the beach to enjoy a barbeque on those balmy evenings all of which detract from the lure of the blog. For me, I still love getting dressed up and therefore the photos will keep coming regardless of the numbers of readers. I hope that those of you who remain continue to find something to keep you interested. Your comments mean a lot to me and help keep me motivated during these times, so do please take a moment to give me some feedback. I love to hear from you!
Anna x

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