Colour blocking in my new winter coat

A midweek welcome to you, my dear reader. How's things shaping up for you this week? I'm doing fine and am so pleased to be able to show you my new winter coat. The brand is Covent Garden, not one that I've heard of before, nor could I find it online, but the coat was a purchase from TK Maxx in Truro last month. It looks and feels like wool, but is actually 100% polyester, but no matter - it's toasty warm which is all I need for the months ahead. The minute I tried the coat on in the shop, it just felt like me. Don't you just love that? The fit is perfect, the pockets just deep enough and the collar folds up to keep the drafts out without needing a scarf. Gloves and scarf will be the final sign of defeat that winter is truly here. In the meantime, I'm perfectly cosy like this!

I decided to do a bit of colour blocking with this splash of mustard being my starting point. The strong autumn hue of yellow goes beautifully with the punch of paprika of these flared culottes (from Zara last year, or was it the year before?). The final block of colour is the ginger of the suede boots by Office (not this season's either I'm afraid). 

I picked up the bag of the moment, aka the across the body bag, from TK Maxx too. I like the mix of colour and animal print that will make it truly versatile even once the trend is dead and gone. The brand is Carvela and it cost me £28 in the sale.

The plum spiral ring is from Venice and is made out of glass. I've had it for years and thought I'd lost it. The knotted bobble ring was a purchase in Cape Town when I was there in January - oh happy days!

The long retro necklace was a charity shop find for the grand sum of £3. The striped crew neck sweater was from Topshop earlier this year.

Am wondering if this crazy hair shot might be the next hairstyle trend? Reminds me of my blogging friend Mel of Bag and a Beret... 

                                                                                 Anna x


Autumn florals, our Style Not Age challenge

Welcome to September's style challenge! Autumn florals is what I came up with for my theme, which feels like the halfway house to admitting that summer is over. I've unpacked some of my autumn clothes today, but I'm not convinced that I'm ready for the decline into what I find the most difficult months of the year. Drab and dull is what comes to mind when I think autumn and winter, but I mustn't confuse the weather with the clothes must I? Anyway, let's see how my co-conspirators have done this time shall we?

Jacqui gives her florals a light touch by adding white to the mix. This is a clever bit of transitional dressing if ever I saw it! Read more on her blog Mummabstylish here.

Another pair of light coloured boots lifts Hilda's dark floral frock and adds a funky element that I really love. See her back story on Over the Hilda here.

Editor of Style Splash Emma is sporting a #secondhandseptember frock for the challenge. I would have snapped this pretty offering up too if I'd seen it! And how cute is that little bag?

So let's get down to details shall we? My floral frock is by Zara, an earlier purchase from this summer. The mustard suedette jacket is by Boohoo which I picked up in TK Maxx this year too. You may remember seeing these chestnut suede boots before. I've had them for a couple of years now - they're from Office and are still comfy as ever despite the height of those heels.

The maxi dress has one side split giving the odd flash of thigh. I think I'll be happier to wear tights with this during the colder months. The tiny and beautifully soft leather bag by Gigi is preloved and was a bargain at £3.99. I was rather pleased to match the orange flowers with the orange trim of the bag.

I've got a few maxi dresses that I'm planning on wearing with boots over the next month or so to see if I can extend their life beyond that summer fling. I think a bit of layering may be needed to carry it the look off, but it may be worth a try. My cream and peach floral frock from Zara (see here) is one that I'm loath to pack away just yet, so watch out for that bit of styling soon.

Rings are both preloved, as is the leather belt by Evie and my necklace is by Daisy Dunlop. Did you notice the punched floral pattern on both ring and belt? I can't help these tiny link-ups.

Sunglasses are by my fave brand Quay Australia.

So that's another month's challenge in the bag. Thanks for joining us again. Are we inspiring you? Does autumn inspire you? If so, please do share with me what fires you up most for this new season as I do struggle with this. Perhaps you've had your colours done and autumn is you? I think I may be autumn, but that doesn't seem to make it any easier for me. 

Have a great week and let's catch up again soon!

Anna x


Tweed and satin? Yes!

Mixing up fabrics can be just as much fun as colour play in my book, so today I'm sporting a cute little tweed jacket with these skinny satin trousers. The jacket is pre-loved by Joules which I picked up for £15 in a charity shop and the disco pants are quite old and were from H&M Conscious Collection. Jeans might have been an obvious pairing for this, but I wanted to add a bit more colour, hence the tangerine pants. 

The jacket has velvet edging and a fancy lining as well as non-matching buttons making it very me. The fit is great to say it's off-the-peg with the sleeve length being perfect too. All of my jewellery is charity shopped, but the watch was a gift from Nordgreen - see more about it here. I still have an offer available on this brand if you use the code PARKES15 you will get a 15% discount on any purchase. 

At this time of year I seem to always add a polo neck sweater to the outfit of the day, probably because I'm one of those chilly types. I hate having a cold neck more than anything, so my closet has lots of them, especially black ones - I must have about six of those currently. This cream one was from Primark last year.

Sasha was my photographer, catching me laugh when I almost fell over on this tiny incline. It's really not a very steep road, but as I changed my footing I almost lost my balance, creating a drama out of nothing as is pretty much my way. Slight incline plus high heeled boots equals risk assessment!

In my previous post I was complaining about having short legs, but today I concede that the towering boots (by Office) are magnificently leg-lengthening. Those extra five inches make all the difference confidence-wise. The best part of course is the deep platform that means these are all-day comfortable too. 

I seem to have waited ages to showcase this tiny leather bag, but here it is at last. It's by Gigi and yes, it was a charity shop find. I'm particularly pleased to have matched up the orange trim with the trousers - small things please small minds eh?

I'm enjoying this lovely view looking east across the Great Pool, a perfect spot to stop and chill. The island has benches dotted all around (many made by my dear husband) encouraging the habit of pausing to take in the scenery. The big lure of holidaying on the island is indeed the slow pace allowing for time to reconnect with not just nature, but with oneself. Read more on this aspect here

And as we hurtle towards Christmas in a flurry of shopping, baking and partying it's worth keeping in mind the need to take a moment away from the commercialism of Christmas and remember the true meaning of our celebrations. This is a reminder to myself as much as anyone.

Have a fabulous week!

Anna x


Here and there

Hello again! I'm both here and there today, in that my photo shoot was taken here on the island, but I'm actually up there (in Harrogate) where I'm wearing the same outfit.

The vintage tunic was £3 from a charity shop in Truro. The sales assistant told me it had only been on the rail for an hour which somehow makes me feel even more lucky to find it. Where's the logic in that? Goodness only knows! Surely I'd be more lucky if it'd had been there for a month and was still around when I arrived?

The Ted Baker handbag came from the same shop; it was £23 and worth every penny in my eyes. It shows a little bit of wear and tear, but I can forgive it everything because of the fabulous colour. I'll be wearing my red/black/lilac woollen coat (last seen here) over this ensemble while I'm in Harrogate and know this bag will be the bizz.

I've had the orange satin disco pants for quite a while and yet have only worn them a couple of times. Not easy to leaf into everyday wear, I suppose, but I'm thinking that now I can play the eccentricity card whenever something falls into the "questionable item" category. Crossing into my 60's surely promotes me from crazy lady into eccentric lady - hurrah!

All of today's jewellery is pre-loved, so hurrah for that too!

I don't know if it was just the power of this outfit or that I'd had a particularly lovely swim this day, but I was feeling so well, and so very me. Do you know what I mean? How some days what you wear really reflects your inner self - in this case, my inner joy. I bubbled and grinned from start to finish, so much so that I have earmarked this ensemble for a photoshoot that I have to submit for a magazine later this year. More details of that in due course...

The big platform helps to offset the height of these heels making them all-day-long boots for a change. Bought from Office a couple of years ago, they're not wearing too badly considering that they're real suede. I love the ginger colourway too!

My velvet trench (pre-loved from Hobbs) has had another makeover with some new retro vibe buttons. 

I'm writing this a week in advance, so I do hope that nothing has come along to change or scupper my plans. Hopefully I've arrived safely in Harrogate and have enjoyed my first day at the British Craft Trade Fair. It's a three day long trade fair where I usually find some new artists and makers to supply me with new products for the gallery in the year ahead. 

I'll be home again on Friday, but have another blog post lined up for you on Wednesday, so do please come back to see what that may feature. Until then, have a lovely week!

Anna x


It's magic

Every woman deserves to have an item of clothing that can work a bit of magic. For me, it's this bright red flouffy underskrt. Whenever I put it on I feel transformed; playful, flirtatious, joyful - it's magic! Maybe not everyday wear for some I know, but for me, if I need to inject a bit of fun into my day, out comes the petticoat. 

I've pulled together this outfit today from that bloggers standby - shopping my closet. The rollneck sweater was a brand new piece picked up from a charity shop; it caught my eye because of the gold buttons on the cuffs as well as the slimfit shape. I'd put it away in September and then completely forgotten about it. The skirt was a hand-me-down from my daughter (or should that be a pass-me-up?), anyway, it too was brand new with the label still attached. And the tights, well what a great find they were! I came across a bag of tights under the bed (like we all have, right?) and inside were a couple of pairs of these wonderful thick tights that have a slightly fleecy lining. I'm probably well behind with this trend, but golly how warm they are! I have no recollection where or when I bought them, or they may even have come from Sasha too, but hey what a find.

This month I've noticed that a few bloggers on Instagram are taking a month off from clothes shopping and I've decided to join in with the challenge. I'm not due to go away to the mainland again until April, so I thought I'd steer clear of the online sales at Office and H&M which are generally my downfall and see if I can go cold turkey until then. April in the charity shops will herald all sorts of spring and summer goodies - that's what I need to focus on. I was very lucky with both Christmas and birthday presents so I do have quite a few new clothes to add to the blog over the next few months. It's going to be an interesting few months I think. Wish me luck!

Outift details - sweater: H&M (similar), skirt: H&M (similar), underskirt: eBay, belt: New Look, boots: Office (sold out, but these are similar), rings and necklace: gifts, sunglasses: Quay Australia.

Linking with -
Catherine of Not Dressed As Lamb
Cherie of Style Nudge

Anna x


Fur - fake or real?

It's mid-winter and here in the Northern hemisphere fur coats are big business. It's too sweeping a statement to say most women own something fur, but the magazines would lead us to believe that's the case. Personally, I own a few fur pieces, both real and fake, but when you add fur trims on jackets, gloves, fur lined boots, scarves and pom-poms, then it amounts to a fair bit. 

Outfit details - trousers: H&M, boots: Office, fur coat: vintage, rings: charity shopped.

A few years ago my husband and I were fortunate enough to go on holiday to Venice. It was early February and the temperature had dropped to minus 9 degrees making headline news as it was cold enough for the Grand Canal to start to freeze over which hadn't happened in almost 100 years. I'd packed a duvet coat and fleecy hat to keep me warm, but they didn't. European women wear real fur when it's cold. They have no qualms about that. Given the severity of the weather, I soon came to understand why. Nothing man-made can keep you warm in these kinds of temperatures, or at least not without making you look like the Michelin man from head to toe. The bitter, icy wind blew across the canals causing chills in every nook and cranny. One of our walks took us along a tiny canal where I came across a vintage boutique. In the window was this beautiful red fox fur coat. The jacket is second hand, an important point for me, and it wasn't long before I had succumbed to its charms. I wore it for the rest of the holiday, warm, toasty warm in fact, and feeling as glamorous as I ever have.

Fast forward to last autumn when I bought this fake fur jacket. Its ombre tones called to me when I was rooting about one of the charity shops in Truro.

As consumers I'm sure we all like to understand the impact our purchases have on the environment and it's for that reason that I'm a huge advocate of thrift/charity shopping wherever and whenever I can. Previously I might have admitted to feeling a bit uncomfortable about owning a real fox fur jacket, but strangely not in the least bit awkward about wearing suede boots or pony skin shoes or carrying an ostrich hide handbag, and I fancy I'm not the only one who suffers from this odd kind of logic. Fake fur obviously carried none of the guilt that real fur might. My viewpoint has recently been changed thanks to new information. 

At the end of October I read an article in the Daily Mail by Zoe Brennan titled "The faux fur timebomb". She cites various facts, such as the ten barrels of oil it takes to make a fake fur coat, and that non-renewable plastics are used to make fake fur, and that when washed they in turn release an average of 1900 tiny particles of plastic that end up in our seas. This comes in the wake of the microbead scandal that hit the news in 2016 alerting us to the fact that our face washes and scrubs contained these ocean polluting beads of plastic. These microbeads are now being found in some sea creatures, one step away from entering the food chain. Ms Brennan's most revealing fact is that when you and I throw out our fake fur coats, they will end up alongside all other plastic waste in a landfill side and that it will take our coats 1000 years to biodegrade. Shocking isn't it? I had no idea, did you? Real fur on the other hand biodegrades naturally within 6 months. (I realise we're mixing ethics with environmental issues here and that's complex.)

The anti-fur lobby have omitted to tell us these facts. We may not want to buy mink as a result of what we've learnt about mink farms, but equally we surely don't want to have a massive carbon footprint thanks to this throw-away fashion. Another worrying fact is that the production of fake fur uses enormous amounts of energy and produces greenhouse gasses, ionising radiation and noxious chemical by-products, many of which cause cancer. Buy fur responsibly maybe ought to be the message here.

I write this for the same reason I write everything in my blog: to share my story. This is not a call to arms, a request to boycott or indeed an article intended to make us all feel bad. Remember, I'm in no position to judge. I'm sorry that this doesn't make for comfortable reading. But turning a blind eye to anything that challenges our comfort zone isn't protecting the future of our planet. Fun fur will not be much fun for our descendants to deal with. I now wear both my real and fake fur with a genuine awareness of their implications. I said my viewpoint has changed, and here's how - I now prefer the honesty of wearing my real fox fur coat. If someone wants to knock me for that, then fine. And much as I will continue to wear my fake fur, I'm no longer deluded that it's the better thing to do.

I'll finish with a quote from Orsola de Castro, of Fashion Revolution, a campaign for ethics in the fashion industry. She states "The use of real fur (in fashion) is, of course, deplorable, but faux fur is not the answer. It comes with an incredibly heavy carbon footprint, it doesn't biodegrade and the cheap examples are often produced in unregulated factories, with all the concerns that brings over sweatshop conditions, poor pay and child labour." She urges us to "Look for alternative textures, such as luxurious knits. Most people simply don't realise how bad faux fur is. They think of it as a "good" moral alternative to real fur, without realising the damage it is doing."

Linking with 
Catherine of Not Dressed As Lamb
Cherie of Style Nudge

Anna x

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