Orange you excited for Halloween?

Hello again and a very warm welcome to our monthly Style Not Age Challenge where five over 40's come together to showcase our chosen theme, which this month was proposed by Jacqui. Orange you excited for Halloween may not apply to everyone, myself included, but the opportunity to wear one of my favourite colours is not wasted on me. Let's catch up with my style sisters to see their offerings, shall we?

Mummabstylish's Jacqui chose the colour orange to tie in with pumpkins and also it lets her show off this fab 70's print dress by Izabel worn with her pretty Clarks sandals. 

Emma from the Style Splash is channeling that 70's vibe too with this hippy chick maxi dress from TK Maxx worn with her cute stetson. Do pop over to read her back story on the blog.

Gail is entering into the swing of things with her spooky themed outfit. Those tights are rather fabulous, aren't they? See more from her on Is This Mutton blog. 

Hilda shopped her closet for this autumn look and didn't she do well (as one famous TV presenter used to say)! The cosy coat is 25 years old and the boots and hat are 6 and 5 years old respectively - great cost-per-wears on these, eh? Check out her story on Over The Hilda blog.

My outfit is a mixture of old and new pieces. The trench (TK Maxx) must be about 5 years old, the polo neck was a charity shop buy from years ago, boots are from Topshop a few years ago and the orange floral trousers are this season from Primark (now on sale for £6).

Nothing new jewellery-wise here. You'll have seen it all before, sorry.

As you can tell, this week's photo shoot took place in Gallery Tresco once again. Terrible weather left me with few options and the gallery is sooooo much tidier than home!

Saturday was our last day of trading until Christmas, so my days are now all about catching up on winter works. Currently I'm involved in packing up artworks in some holiday cottages in readiness of building works being done. I do enjoy the varied job I have. 

We've had a brilliant year at Gallery Tresco. Sales of paintings were up on last year, and we expanded our jewellery collection too with great success. I know it'll seem like the blink of an eye before we re-open for 2023. 

                                                                                        Anna x


Where did autumn go?

Hi there! How's tricks? Life here on the island is finally slowing down to an easier pace and looking around me this week I've been wondering what on earth happened to autumn? We seemed to fast forward from balmy September into the depths of winter within the space of a couple of weeks. I've now packed away the last of my summer fripperies and am back in the land of woolly socks and winter coats again.

I was delighted to rediscover this oxblood Next leather coat during the seasonal clothes changeover. I bought it in the Truro Oxfam shop last year for £30 and think it's a blooming bargain at that price. The colour is an unusual one for me, but it has become a firm favourite already. Leather is wonderfully wind proof and therefore perfect for island life where we're subjected to wild winds for almost half of the year. Worn here at the weekend it's great for a casual look, but is also handy for a smart finish to my work wear too.

I like the simple straight lines of the jacket - no belt or flap pockets to create bulk - and love the fact that it doesn't have a back vent. Oh goodness, how drafty they can be, flapping open when the wind attacks you from behind!

Dressing down for the weekend is my time to be quirky and creative away from work. I've teamed the pre-loved fairisle vest (known as a tank top in my youth) with skinny jeans embellished with embroidered flowers, beads and pearls for this trend clashing look. The tan heavy brogues by John White have leather soles which sound out with every step - a great way to announce this style statement. Under the vest I'm wearing a skinny ribbed sweater to keep out the cold - this was from Primark.

The jeans were from TK Maxx a couple of years ago when ornate embroidered jeans were in fashion. Trends may come and go, but if I like something I'll wear it regardless. They have a bit of stretch which adds to the comfort value of them, another winning feature.

The floral leather belt is rather ancient which again adds appeal and character to the piece. The wool vest is by Ralph Lauren, a wonderful charity shop find. The scottie dog bracelet and matching necklace were a lovely set which I bought in Harrogate about 5 years ago. I have them wrapped up in one of my jewellery boxes where they lie forgotten for months on end, waiting to be found once again with renewed delight. Such joy for me in these simple pleasures!

The flower ring was charity shopped and the domed ring was from a street market in Cape Town. Sunglasses are by Quay Australia.

The classic leather brogues are from that era when I seemed to purchase them in almost every colour - cream, mint green, blue, black, brown, silver, gunmetal, pink, burgundy, two tone blue and bronze, two tone yellow and brown, flats and heels - and in leather, suede and patent leather too. These ones came from my beloved TK Maxx. Talking of which I'm on the final push now of my 12 month shopping ban. It's 8 months since I went shopping for clothes or shoes, although I did one online purchase in March. My autumn/winter clothes collection is a fraction of what I have for spring/summer, but that's probably because I really don't like this time of year. Perhaps if I made more of an effort to find interesting and colourful clothes for the darker months I might enjoy this season much more? Still, that won't be happening any time soon.

Thanks for swinging by today and if you're a new reader then why not introduce yourself in the comments box? It's always lovely to have your feedback. Fingers crossed we shall all have some nice weather this weekend so that we can get out for some fresh air and exercise. I'll be out and about taking photos for the blog, weather permitting, as well as catching up on some long overdue housework!

Have a super weekend!

Anna x


Pink boots x 2

Hello my lovelies and how are you? I'm well and hope you are too. With summer fast approaching I'm posting these sock boots once again as I'm aware that sandal season is just around the corner. Have I paired these with this pink trench already? Surely. Can't stop to check, as I'm heading off to the beach in a moment - yes, I'm back on my daily sea swims and all is once again well with the world! Yay!

Anyway, I ended the day yesterday wearing this version of pink sock boots as these are my afternoon comfy version. I think that the chunky sole is a great feature and distracts from the fact that these are more or less slippers. Pop a tweedy checked fabric on these and they'd be perfect grandad footwear.

They're also kinda spaceman boots too, don't you think? I bought these Jeffrey Campbell boots in TK Maxx earlier this year.

The rest of the outfit comprises of the polo neck sweater which is preloved, also much loved by me for the ribbed knit giving a figure hugging fit, plus the gilt buttons at the cuffs. The trousers are from Primark, this season, and the leather belt is preloved. The pink trench is by Topshop and was a fab charity shop scoop last year. The pink sock boots are by H&M.

You'll have seen a lot of this necklace recently due to the simple versatility of this silver chain which adds a contemporary twist to any outfit. It's by Melissa James, a brand that we carry in the gallery - please note this was a purchase of mine, not a gift. I link through to the brand cos it's a super and very affordable range of jewellery.

My old favourite sunnies are by Quay Australia - another shout out for a great brand - I have about half a dozen pairs of them, but seem to come back to the same couple of pairs time after time. And last of all my diamante ring is preloved and the pink ring was a gift from a friend.

We had a fair few spectators for this photo shoot by way of the cattle in the field nearby. Plus the obligatory photo-bomber this time was Graham the bike hire guy on the island. Am sharing this photo of him for those of you who know and love 'im!

Graham is a popular figure on the island and is know for his declaration that "This is my last year on the island" which earns him a healthy tip from his customers. Somehow the fact that he spins this one year after year only serves to endear himself to them even more!

Well, that just about rounds it up folks. It's been great to catch up with you again. You can tell that I'm feeling back on form again with this punchy pink ensemble. I'll be back at the weekend with another offering of sorts. I hope you have a brilliant week and look forward to seeing you again soon.

                                                                                         Anna x


Springtime dress and some shopping

How's your week going? Like a true Brit I'm gonna talk about the weather and say that after a whole weekend of rain, the sunshine has returned therefore all is well in my world. The forecast is for a sunny Easter weekend which will be ideal for us as we're hosting our first exhibition of the year on Saturday and I do love it when the opening night party can spill outdoors, drink in hand, to enjoy the vista in front of the gallery.

Today's outfit has been aired before, but deserves to be seen again I thought. Polly has named her theme as "the year of the dress" and turns up to work in a cute little number most days now. Following on from her lead, I'm pulling out some of my favourite dresses too. This ditsy print shirt-waister was from H&M last year and has a very grown up feel to it. I wore it before with these H&M red sock boots too, so there's nothing new here at all. I decided that it still warrants another look though. 

The seaweed and high tide had left the rocks a bit slippery - we really ought to have done a risk assessment!

Easy does it!

My pre-loved accessories are belt and rings, my much loved sunnies from Quay Australia and the gold chain necklace was from Primark earlier this season. 

I call this my master of illusion dress simply because it draws the eye to all of the right places. The red belt puts the focus on the smallest part of the body as the dress skims over the hips and thighs, the floral pattern disguising any lumps and bumps which may be lurking there. There's not too much material either which could cause bulk and it's long and flowing giving the impression that I may be long and flowing too, hahaha! I've just about talked myself into buying another of these, but I won't ....

I stumbled across this limited edition print in a charity shop in Harrogate recently and it couldn't have hit me at a better time. If you're a regular reader you'll know that Harrogate charity shopping is some of the best for me, resulting in a mammoth shopping spree. But this year I've had a fair dose of retail therapy over the past few months. I had decided to rein myself in, use my powers of self control and only buy pieces that would be really useful within my existing collection. I'm having this print framed up to act as a reminder of this new mindset. Pity I found this at the end of my stay and not the beginning!

Anyway, with this statement firmly to the fore, here's what I succumbed to -

I'll confess that these neon sweaters may not be the most stylish, in fact when I got them home I did a double take at how terribly bright they really are. But this is what seems to happen to me when I get my first sniff of the shops. A friend of mine who lives just along the road said she suffers the same problem. We go a bit stir crazy you see. Living on this tiny island (only one mile by two) with very limited retail opportunities, well it can make you impulsive when you get to the mainland and have your first dose of retail therapy. The excitement can go to ones head, resulting in some rather dodgy purchases. Thank goodness this was only a Primark splurge - it didn't break the bank!

The two pairs of dressy courts are a completely different ball game. Each of them was £20, both are Italian made and are indeed very classy (I think). These will be ideal party wear for our summer exhibitions.

In the sale at TK Maxx for £24 the brand is Tokyo Laundry and is a very practical purchase indeed. Ideal for dog walking or for wearing on the boat, this jacket is cosy and fits like a glove.

Pretty and practical, these Replay trainers were £35 in TK Maxx. Being pretty alone would have been fine, so it's a real bonus that these are comfy enough to be drafted in as afternoon shoes when the heels from the morning session are playing havoc with my tootsies. 

This Topshop skirt was a charity shop find and like so many pieces you come across it was stained. I trusted my instinct (and stain removing prowess) et viola, it's as good as new.

Another charity shop piece here, this time by Classic brand and coming in at under £5. The apricot shades are what attracted me - such a flattering colour for me.

And yet another charity shop find. By Boden, I thought this might look good with a black polo neck sweater and some pink or silver brogues - what do you think?

It was very exciting to find these snakeskin boots in New Look in Harrogate. I'd tried these on in Truro a few weeks ago, only to discover that one was a size 5 and the other a 6! The sales assistant scoured the entire store to see if she could find the other odd pair, but with no success. Clearly someone had bought them believing they were a pair. These were a 5 and had been reduced to £10, so it was a win-win.

This M&S dress is brand new with tags still attached. The retail price was £89, but thanks to the Scope charity shop, I only paid £14 for it. I've come up with a kooky plan to stop this looking too frumpy - watch this space.

Last of all are these leather and hessian sandals by Dune, from TK Maxx. They are nice and broad and the wedge belies the fact that they seem to be high, but the angle of them is very slight, making them all day sandals.

The next thing on the agenda for me clothes-wise is to change over my wardrobe for spring and summer wear. I'm keen to see what I've had packed away for these past few months. What about you? Do you do a seasonal changeover or are you someone who believes in layering up for the winter instead of having a complete change of clothes? Do share!

                                                                                           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 ( 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

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