Birthstone Beauties

Hello and welcome to this month's Style Not Age challenge. Jacqui has chosen this month's theme inspired by our birthstones and I'll be frank with you - I really don't like my birthstone (garnet). I have a few things in my winter wardrobe that might have worked for this one, but not in my summer collection. This lovely red jumpsuit is borrowed from Fiona my blogging photographer. But more of this later. Let's see how Jacqui  tackled her own challenge shall we?

Emerald is Jacqui's birthstone, the colour of her shoes leading Jacqui to create this zingy outfit in greens and yellow. Her jacket is from F&F, trousers from Zara and top from Matalan. See the rest of her story on her blog Mummabstylish.

Ruby is Emma's birthstone and she has opted for various tones of red to echo the different shades of the stone. Her jacket and trainers are from Zara, top and trousers from River Island and her bag is from eBay. Emma's backstory can be found on Style Splash blog

Hilda's turquoise birthstone has me more than slightly envious. Her daughter's handbag was the inspiration for this look paired with these fab white mules and pretty summer dress. Read more from her on Over The Hilda

Gail too has an enviable birthstone - topaz. She's wearing a topaz pendant with her casual denim jacket and white M&S jeans. Did you know that topaz comes in orange too? Find out more on her blog Is This Mutton.

My offering this month was virtually thrown together at the last minute. Fiona and I had been for an end of the day sea swim followed by our flask of tea and chat ritual when I remembered the outfit challenge. After a cycle dash home I managed to find this floral top to compliment the floral jumpsuit. It's very old, so old in fact that I don't recall where I bought it. I added this ornate belt (eBay) and these neutral sandals to complete the look.

My matching rings are charity shopped from long ago. 

My gold coloured chain is from Zara, a gift from a girlfriend. 

I bought these uber comfy sandals from TK Maxx earlier on this year. 

I must admit that if this were my jumpsuit I'd definitely be wearing it as a regular work outfit. The fit is loose, yet with a belt is a flattering shape, is lightweight for the summer and would look just as pretty with a simple tee shirt underneath. Platform sandals would be another great addition too. 

So that's pretty much it folks! I do hope you've enjoyed this month's challenge. I'll be back next week with... goodness knows what!

                                                                        Anna x


Keen As Mustard - Style Not Age challenge for November

Hello and welcome again to our monthly Style Not Age challenge!

This month Hilda came up with "Keen As Mustard" as our quest and it seems to have been a breeze if I may say so myself. The shops and adverts are brimming with ideas for this lovely warm shade of yellow. Personally, I love mustard as it works well with my skin and hair tone. I'll give you all the details of my outfit anon, but first let's see what the gang came up with shall we?

Hilda is all wrapped up in her oversized mustard scarf which looks toasty warm. Hat and gloves complete the essentials for the cold snap too. I have to mention how clever her photographer was to line up this shot with the golden foliage behind as it matches perfectly! Read Hilda's feature on her blog Over The Hilda. 

Emma from The Style Splash has chosen lots of nature's colours to compliment her mustard top and courts. I could do this, yes I really could, and by that I mean that I too have camo jeans like these and a green suede jacket almost identical to Emma's! Click here to read her style story.

Jacqui and I had similar inspiration with this challenge, pairing mustard with animal print to great effect. I'm intrigued to see what footwear she chose - race you across to Mummabstylish blog to find out!

My own style story began with this new jacket which I bought in the Topshop sale recently (all sold out, sorry). I'm a sucker for these denim/jeans jackets at any time, but when you throw checks into the mix I'm a hopeless cause. It was the last one, but again that's so often the case with me. I wonder if they see me coming and stash all of the others away to induce a sense of panic in me? No matter, I love it and can see it will be a long term fave. The black polo neck was one of three essentials that I bought last year in Primark, the others being grey and cream.

These flower strewn trousers are by Massimo Fabbro Italy, bought in TK Maxx last year. The masculine cut sits really nicely, skimming over the thighs rather than clinging in the wrong places. The fabric is man-made, a heavy drape and seems to be pretty crease resistant too.

I've had these pony skin, animal print ankle boots for years. The brand is Bertie, the quality is top notch and I'm sure they'll go on for a long time yet.

I bought this cute little bag in Rome when we were there a few years ago. It's just big enough to fit in a lipstick, hairbrush and purse - what more does a girl need?

The rings are pre-loved which is a relief as I hate to appear totally extravagant, hahaha!

It made a nice change for me to go full out with my pattern play - it seems to be ages since I've mixed things up like this. On paper, checks, florals and animal print may not seem to be happy bedfellows, but hey I think I've proved that they are! And finally, I'm going to blame the mid-day sun for highlighting my recent decrepitude aka the jowls that I've not noticed before. I think I've always tried to hide this gradual decline by sporting a huge grin which acts as scaffolding for the face. Note to self - more smiling equals less jowls.

Well, that's it for another month. I do hope you'll take a moment to visit my co-conspirators for the full write-ups from them. I'll be back soon with another dose of colour to chase the winter blues away.

Until then, I wish you all a super week ahead!

Anna x


Frill Seekers, the Style Not Age challenge for October

Hello again and welcome to this months challenge from the Style Not Age collective. This month Jacqui came up with the idea of Frill Seekers and as usual we're all giving it our best shot. Steve and I made the most of one of the last few sunny days of October to get out and about to capture my frilly offering, a vintage and much loved cream blouse. But more of that later, first let's see what inspired Jacqui to throw this challenge into the arena.

And here she is wowing us with this very feminine dress from M&S. The frill wrap over style suits her hour glass figure as does the vibrant colour. Pop over to her blog Mummabstylish to get all the details.

Hilda's pretty frilled sweater has the added bonus of a sexy shoulder too. Add to that a pair of wide legged trousers and snakeskin courts and she's got it all going on here. Read more on her blog Over The Hilda

I think this outfit from Emma has my name all over it. From those red trainers up to the embroidered jacket all the way to that pleated filled shirt, oooo I could copy the lot! I'll race you across to her blog Style Splash to source where it all came from.

This vintage blouse has been a feature in my wardrobe for years now and was certainly worth it for cost per wear. The jeans and waistcoat are both also preloved, which helps offset the brocade ASOS boots from last winter. In my mind I can allow myself to have a retail splurge from time to time as long as I'm maintaining the majority of recycled items in my collection. Well, that's my story and I'm sticking to it!

The sunglasses were new, but in the sale at TK Maxx in April and the brand is Quay Australia, my go-to choice, but my belt is second hand - see? It all evens out.

The large ring was another TK Maxx purchase and the gold dome ring was preloved.

Some of you may recognise the island in the background as Tean, one which I've featured quite a few times for picnics. See here for the most recent of those.

I made a happy discovery of some boxes under the far side of my bed recently and found two pairs of brocade boots I'd completely forgotten about, both from ASOS. This prompted me to search for yet another brocade pair from River Island, which you'll no doubt see in due course. Autumn and winter seem to be the months when the richness of brocade work perfectly with my wool and velvet pieces. 

Today's shoot was taken from the Old Blockhouse ruins. The pristine beach below has super soft sand that shelves slowly into a rock free bay making this a lovely beach to swim from. It connects with the other similar cove beyond and both of them are classed as Blockhouse beach. When the wind is coming from the West this beach is ideal for getting out of the way of the breeze. By facing East it also means that you get some stunning sunrises from this vantage point up here too. Like these ones below...

I hope you've enjoyed our Frill Seekers production today and that you'll take a moment to visit the other ladies on the challenge. 

Wishing you a lovely week!
Anna x


Life's a ball! - our Style not Age challenge for September

Hello and welcome again to our monthly Style Not Age challenge with my co-conspirators Hilda, Emma and Jacqui.  This month I chose the theme of Life's a Ball, giving us a fine excuse to bring out our ball gowns. I've been angling to introduce my new ball gown for months now, so without further ado here we go...

The gown was a charity shop purchase; a designer piece by Sonia Pena and was an absolute bargain at £25. But more of this later. Let's take a look at my dear blogging friends to see what they made of this month's challenge.

Hilda, sporting a youthful new haircut, is resplendent in a rich green gown with a lace and beading bodice, a theme she has continued with her bead encrusted clutch. See more on her blog Over the Hilda.

Emma's stunning dress is actually her wedding gown. Lady in Red comes to mind as the soundtrack for this beautiful lady. Join Emma on her blog, Style Splash to see more of this exquisite creation.

Sleek and elegant is how Jacqui has played it in her black gown with diamante trim. Lots of sparkles and fabulous heels complete this chic ensemble. Jacqui's blog Mummabstylish is where you'll catch up with the rest of her story.

The story of this dress starts in April this year when I came across it in a charity shop in Penzance. I tried it on, fell in love with it, but had a real issue with transporting it. I was on my way to Harrogate on business and didn't have the space in my suitcase to carry it all the way there and back. 

Fast forward to June when Steve and I went to Penzance together and as we were walking down the main street I told him about his wonderful dress I'd seen some months before. By that time we were standing in front of the shop and I told him to wait as I just wanted to check in case it was still there. Yay, it was and surely was destined to be mine! Steve said it's a dress that needs to be taken on a cruise...

The colour, the embroidery, the beading, the style, the fit - all make this a dream of a gown. 

I decided to bring out my orange nail polish for this special frock adding my green amethyst bracelet and citron rings to finish the look.

So let's talk about the setting for my photo shoot shall we? As you can see, it was blowing an absolute gale on the only day I had available so rather than trying to hide from the wind Steve and I decided to embrace the conditions. 

A dramatic gown deserves a dramatic backdrop don't you think? We are on the rocky headland at the North End of the island overlooking the neighbouring island of Bryher with the raging Atlantic beyond.

We used the ruin building of King Charles Castle as our location. Steve kept guard as I changed out of jeans and cosy coat into my dress, amidst gusts of wind that whipped scarves, hangers and plastic dress cover skywards. Steve darted about as I hopped from foot to foot into dainty heels totally unfit for the surroundings. It was an absolute hoot. Cold? I can't say I had time to notice.

These pretty satin shoes are my much loved Primark specials, gold heels and all for £5!

We had one or two spectators at this stage, but being ever the professionals we just pretended that this was a totally normal thing and just carried on.

The castle acted as a vantage point protecting the north channel from attack and dates back to the 1500's. I've gathered together lots of shots in and around the building and plan to put them into a stand alone post for those of you who might like to see more of my island paradise, to follow soon.

Thanks for joining us for this month's feature. Jacqui has cleverly added links in her post taking you to all of our previous challenges so do pop over to see those when you get a moment. In the meantime, do have a lovely week!

Anna x


Wild about animal print - the Style Not Age challenge for August

Welcome to the Style Not Age monthly challenge with our subject of Wild About Animal Print as suggested by Emma of Style Splash. You may be surprised to learn that I don't seem to have as much animal print as you might expect, given my extensive clothes collection. One cardigan, one pair of boots, one pair of shoes and these trousers were all I could lay my hands on last week when I was trying to pull my outfit together.

The silky trousers are the Viyella brand, and are second hand, purchased many moons ago, but never worn until now. The issue I have with them is the elasticated waistband which makes me feel puffy around the midriff and therefore middle aged (what do you mean, that's cos I am!). My options were limited on this very hot day, so trousers it was. The Karl tee is by Karl Lagerfeld, a find in TK Maxx earlier this summer and it has been a great addition to my wardrobe for when I wanted a simple look without being too understated. 

The rose gold pumps are from TK Maxx too, the brand is Head Over Heels and again they've been very handy this summer for that dressed down look. Sunglasses are by Quay Australia.

I'm wearing my wedding ring along with a rose gold cz ring, my Michael Kors watch and two rose gold bangles.

I forgot to mention the gold necklace. This has quite a funny story to it ... Sasha and I were out shopping in Truro last year, checking out all of the charity shops for me and the high street ones for her. I came across this lovely necklace amongst a little cache of jewellery in the Barnardo's shop and gathered up a selection to take to the cash desk. Sasha stopped me on my way, telling me in hushed tones that these were all things that she had cleared out of her jewellery box only the previous week! As you can see, that didn't stop me as I was very happy to know the provenance of them all, plus the charity was benefiting too.

The Abbey Garden is full of lovely little nooks and crannies of interesting views with all sorts of plants. The agapanthus seem to be much favoured by my artists, so much so, that almost any painting featuring them sells!

The joyful bronze sculpture is called "Tresco children" and was made by David Wynne.

Let's take a look at the other ladies and their animal print ensembles.

Emma from Style Splash is vamping it up with her leopard print pencil skirt. She's chosen black as her neutral to compliment the print and wow, what a glamorous look this is. The layered frills on the sleeves are wonderful (do keep me in mind, when you're done with this one Emma).

Jacqui has accessorised her animal print dress with pink sling backs and handbag. She too has taken a walk on the wild side with the exotic backdrop for her shoot and is another lady who looks like she wants to squeeze the last out of summer. See Jacqui's post on her blog here.

This month's challenge clearly inspired Hilda to go to great lengths by wearing three kinds of animal print - giraffe, snake and leopard print and how fabulous does she look! Hilda's is always a class act and this time is no different. I'd award full marks to her for originality. See more on her blog Over the Hilda.

Thanks for joining us and before I leave, I'll add some shots of the Abbey Garden in bloom. Apologies for the lack of plants names here, but I hope you enjoy the flowers anyway.

Enjoy your week!
Anna x

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