If I Were a Handbag, our Style Not Age challenge for February

Hello and welcome our monthly style challenge! I'll 'fess up straight away - yes the subject was my choice this month. For those who know me, you'll agree that my featured handbag is a good reflection of my character - fluffy on one side and smooth on the other, and exceedingly bright and colourful. I have a scatty fun side away from work, but also a smooth, glossy business side which is how I see myself at work. So how do my fashionista friends see themselves...?

Jacqui's offering for the challenge is this compact satchel bag with ornate front. Not sure what this says about her, but it's a super practical bag. See more from Jacqui on Mummabstylish.

Gail is showcasing a red bowling bag which was a Christmas present. The compact, sleek style ties in with her elegant outfit. Find all of the details on her blog Is This Mutton? 

Hilda's choice is a bright green tote borrowed from a local boutique. The bag is big enough to carry a laptop, in a burst of colour from a local designer. See her back story on Over the Hilda blog. 

Emma's handbag is a funky colourful piece by Angel Jackson which has inspired a lovely mix of colours in her outfit. Read all about it on The Style Splash.

My dear friend Ben found this fabulous multicoloured bag in a market on his travels and immediately thought of me - wild and colourful! I was thrilled to receive such an individual piece to add to my handbag collection. It's been my go-to bag for the past month, inspiring various colourful outfits for my working day. 

The fringed side of the bag is a glorious fuzzy, tufted aspect of this oversized handbag. 

As for the outfit of the day - the leather coat is by Next, a charity shop purchase for £20, trousers are from Topshop (ah, the good ol' days!), turtle neck from Primark, shoes and glitter socks from TK Maxx - none of this is new. 

The ring gold coloured ring is pre-loved and the chunky silver and gold etched In Heaven on Earth ring is by Diana Porter. The mustard gloves are from TK Maxx.

The mustard hues continue with my Quay Australia sunglasses.

So how did we all fare with this month's challenge? I do hope you enjoyed it. I loved the opportunity to show you this glorious bag again and would like to think there may be some inspiration within today's feature for everyone. 

Sending love to you all and I do hope that you're safe. Take care!

                                                                                                Anna x


Agapanthus how I love thee!

Hello again my lovelies! What a busy week it's been on the islands since we last spoke. Schools have broken up for summer holidays and we're seeing so many day trippers now. The gallery is doing a roaring trade, as are all the other businesses on Tresco. Sunshine and showers was the rule of thumb for the week and then bang, we were hit by Storm Evert! The rescue services were in evidence throughout Thursday evening as helicopters refuelled on the island and the local lifeboat had to be supported by one from the mainland as it hit difficulties too while they responded to distress calls from over 20 yachts in danger. Campers across the Isles of Scilly had their tents ripped, flattened or in some cases blown away as the storm raged overhead. The island communities rallied around offering shelter and repairs to help the visitors get back on their feet again.

In the meantime, I've been snapping away trying to capture my garden in bloom, specifically these fabulous agapanthus flowers which grow like weeds around the island. The are big and blowsy, larger than life and real show-offs as flowers go; they remind me of myself! I've had to do a fair bit of cropping of these photos as we have power lines run along the top of the garden plus there's the steel framework of our children's swings from their childhood. Anyway, here's the results plus me in Friday's work outfit.

Nothing new here, but it's the first time I've worn this sheer flower sprigged top (by Clara) with my gingham dungarees (from Topshop). It was raining as I set off to work and rainy days always present a problem for me clothes-wise. My white pumps (from TK Maxx) are patent and therefore ideal for weather so that was easy. And for some reason I always end up wearing black in some shape or form on wet days, maybe simply because I feel a bit dull? Anyway, as the rain drifted away this outfit served me well even when the sun came out.

A couple of pre-loved rings was all I could muster by way of jewellery, well that plus my ever favoured sunglasses by Quay Australia, of course!

Do you have a favourite between the white blooms or the blue ones? I think I prefer the blue.

It was my day off on Saturday and Steve, Sasha and I went for a picnic at Great Bay on St Martin's. I forgot to take any photos but here's a few snaps from the last time we were there.

I had a swim in the clear waters of this little bay. It seemed to feel colder than on Tresco but I wonder if that's because it's open to the elements rather than sheltered by other islands within the archipelago. Next stop from this beach is mainland Cornwall.

Great Bay is a lovely long sweep of sand, but there's lots of rocks and seaweed here which I find a bit off putting for swimming in. I think I've been spoilt by the like's of Cradle's Porth!

This old sailing ship was moored up in the bay, looking very romantic, don't you think? We get a lot of Tall Ships pass through the islands on the way to some further adventure. I do love to see them, but don't envy the thought of days and weeks at sea feeling seasick!

Bee heaven in this beautiful meadow!

And king of all he surveys - this goat looked very at home on his perch. I hope you've had a great weekend so far. Fingers crossed we'll get some sunshine today!

Anna x


Dressing for a heatwave

Hurrah, we're having a heatwave!

Hello lovelies! Are you wilting in this weather? The heatwave here in the UK is a wonderful summer bonus for us, but golly it's a challenge to keep cool at work. You may have seen how I was keeping cool in my previous feature, but for work I need to be a bit more formal. 

Long and loose was my way of coping at work the other day. A double dose of lightweight fabric in my most favourite of patterns, paisley of course, was a wonderful way of wafting my way through the day. Neither the skirt or top is new, but that doesn't detract from their loveliness. Sasha gave me the H&M orange top a few years ago and it pops up on the blog with regularity. The paisley maxi skirt was a charity shop find a few years ago too and has that sweet sparkly stretch waistband making it uber comfy! The whole outfit is perfect for a hot day.

Simple yet bold accessories today in the shape of two turquoise coloured rings, both pre-loved, and a gold chain from Primark. Retro sunglasses are by River Island.

The silvery blue embroidered mules were from TK Maxx years ago and are still going strong. I often bring them out to wear with this skirt as they work so well together.

The weather is due to break today with rain arriving in the Southwest by the end of the day. I'm off to raid my wardrobe for inspiration to cover this eventuality. It's still hot at the moment so wish me luck in finding the right outfit to fit the bill!

                                                                                       Anna x


A double paisley day


Thanks for joining me again today. Yesterday I had a double paisley day wearing an outfit that you've probably seen me in before. The forecast was for it to be the hottest day of the year and for that reason alone I decided that long and floaty would be the perfect ploy for a day cooped up in the greenhouse of a gallery that is my second home. However the weather on Scilly didn't quite live up to the predictions. As so often happens, the high temperature created sea fog which swirled in and out all day long. On the upside the fog does play with the light making the colours of my outfit really pop.

Long and swooshy, the skirt was lovely and cool all day although I hadn't really thought things through work-wise as I spent a fair bit of the morning climbing up and down the ladder as I rehung paintings. For some reason all of my appointments were in the afternoon giving me the luxury of a free morning to review the artworks. Normally at this time of year I'd be showcasing a new exhibition every 10 days, but under the current restrictions our shows and their opening night parties have all been postponed until next year. Fingers crossed that things will revert to normal by then.

My latest obsession with the face mask continues. Once I'd decided that this was to be the outfit of the day, I decided that I needed the perfect mask to match. Yes, an hour before I was due to go to work I set about cutting fabric, lining and interfacing to create this natty little number in complimentary colours. On reflection, these decisions of mine do make me seem like a workaholic or maybe simply a crazy person.

I haven't had a major sewing project for ages and these little masks are giving me instant sewing satisfaction. I hand finish attaching the little tube over the nose that houses the wire for a snug finish. The turquoise elastic pleased me enormously - such little things give me joy!

Jewellery today is a gold chain (from Primark) and rings which are charity shopped. My sunglasses are by Radley London. I must admit that it tickles my funny bone to have my photo taken with a mask on, merely because I can chat and laugh without spoiling the photo! 

These embroidered slippers complete the ornate look of the day's ensemble. The skirt and shoe combination did result in a few compliments yesterday which is reward enough in my little world of clothes obsession. It particularly pleases me as I'm still shopping my closet and feeling rather smug that my wardrobe holds these delights.

Outfit details read like this - the top is from H&M (a hand-me-down from my daughter), the maxi skirt was a charity shop find, the brand is Blue Deise (there's no belt - this is the glitter stretch waistband of the skirt) and the shoes were from TK Maxx. I love the timeless elegance of these posh slippers and how well they work with jeans for a dressed down look too.

For those of you in mainland UK I bet you've been blessed with another scorcher of a day today. We on the Isles of Scilly have had a mixed bag of weather. The morning started off looking very promising, so Steve and I packed a picnic and jump aboard our boat to head off to one of the uninhabited islands. Within five minutes of setting off however the fog just started to roll in. We continued a while longer, but could see that it was only going to get worse and so decided to come home. I've still managed to have a lovely day off, culminating in the rare event of an afternoon siesta! 

                                                                                                            Anna x

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