Still shopping my closet!

Hello and here we are in February! How are you doing in Lockdown3? Are you coping okay? I'm so pleased to notice the difference in the daylight hours as the evenings start to stretch out day by day. Just that little bit of light adds a ray of hope to our days, don't you think?

It was a year ago since I was last on the mainland and a year ago that I ventured into a (charity) shop.  By March last year I'd bought my last piece of clothing online (see it here) and that was to be the final item I would buy for the next 12 months. The most influential read to spur me on to taking a break from retail therapy came in the form of The Year of Less by Cait Flanders. I'd been feeling overdone clothes-wise for some time prior to that: knowing that I had too much to wear despite it being pre-loved and therefore less of a financial drain, it still bugged me that I just couldn't fit anymore into my wardrobe. But not just that; the minute I dropped clothes into the recycling centre, I was driven to replace them with more. This had to stop.

So here I am almost at the 12 month finish line and I'm amazed at not only how easy this has been, but also I have to admit that I'm still finding pieces of clothing with the shop labels attached that I've not yet worn. My shopping ban couldn't have been more timely as unemployment figures soared with families having to prioritise their spending, leaving clothing at the bottom of the list. Reuse, re-style and recycle and buy less, wear more are the kind of hashtags trending on social media, helping me to feel more in step. As we eventually emerge back into normal life again I fancy that we may all find our buying habits and choices have changed forever due to the impact the pandemic has made on the High Street.

Anyway, enjoying our clothes be they new or recycled is what I'm all about and today's look is gathered from the past few years. The jacket is three years old and was a boutique find in St Andrews (the brand is FDJ). The culottes and boots are both from Zara, again about three years ago and the blouse is from H&M. The retro sunglasses are from Topshop.

The rings are pre-loved and the necklace is from Topshop.

The jacket is a fake suede but isn't lined. I've not worn it often and yet looking at the back view of it, I do wonder why. This is often the story with so many of my clothes. It's only when I see them on the blog that I remember what attracted me to them in the first instance.

These bronze boots look as if they have fishnets over the top of them - I do get that remark often. The colours make them very wearable with lots of outfits.

And finally, I've managed to start on my long term sewing project again. I can't remember how long ago it was (maybe six years ago) that I decided I'd like to recover my old sofa. In the meantime, I've collected some fabulous velvets and other sumptuous fabrics together to add to my initial cache and have a renewed enthusiasm for the task. Today I finished one cushion cover and hope to keep the momentum up over the week ahead. 

The other side of the cushion looks like this. I'm so pleased to get back sewing again - it's a joy to be creative and to improve our surroundings at the same time. 

None of this would get me into the Great Sewing Bee, but it's great to have an indoor hobby at this time of year.

                                                                                       Anna x


Gothic Romance, our Style Not Age challenge for October

Hi there! Welcome to the October Style Not Age challenge, set this month by Emma. I'll be totally honest and admit that when Emma announced that Gothic Romance was her theme, well my heart sank. Gothic anything is my least favourite thing in the whole world. The popularity of the Goth trend is something that seems to have eluded me over the years. I'm not sure what the appeal is at all. However, as you can see, I found an outfit of sorts which ticked that box. Sorry Emma, this one is just not for me!

As you can tell, Emma is in her element with this - and why not? She and her hubby travelled to a local beauty spot to capture the right atmosphere for her outfit too. Read all about her back story on Style Splash

Hilda looks the part in this dramatic setting too. Also wearing black with lace, she is embracing the seasonal theme. See more from her on Over The Hilda.

Jacqui is looking just a tad concerned at the prospect of something spooky about to happen down in the woods. Find out if there were any goulish happenings on Mummabstylish.

And last, but by no means least, is Gail who looks to be in her element with this challenge. Bravo with your interpretation of this! Check out her story on Is This Mutton.

My Gothic Romance dress was from Zara quite a few years ago, as were the sock boots. The dark green sheer crepe fabric is whispy and feminine. As winter dresses go it's useful to have in my wardrobe, but I seem to have fallen out of love with it. I've kept hold of it for occasions like this - it was the only thing that came to mind immediately and I honestly looked no further. 

Accessories read like this - black mirror sunglasses are by Quay Australia, citrine rings are - small one gifted, large one charity shopped and pendant is by Vivienne Westwood.

The Zara sock boots often give rise to comments about me wearing fishnet tights over my boots. From the close-up you can see they are created from two layers which indeed give that effect. 

Apologies to the ladies of the collective as I just seem to have gone through the motions with this month's challenge. I fancy that I may be suffering from the the winter blahs and this theme didn't bring out the best in me, sorry!

                                                                                      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


Red tartan/yellow tartan?

Hello and happy Sunday to you all!

I've hit on a bit of a tartanfest at the moment, but there will be no apologies proffered for this. I totally love tartan! My dilemma of late has been whether to buy trousers in red or yellow tartan, but the solution was solved perfectly when I came across these on the ASOS website. Aren't they fabulous? The brand is Tripp NYC and they cost £48. This is where my normal frugal ways of charity shopping help to subsidise these real price items. 

Tartan seems to be having a moment fashion-wise, but it's a forever favourite of mine, which I've chuntered on about recently, I know. Anyway, I've pretty much been searching for these jeans in either of these colourways with no success. I tried to find them in wide legged culottes too, but again they were just as elusive. It was a wee miracle to find the cool collaboration allowing me to wear both red and yellow at the same time. I'm well aware of the Marmite nature of these, but can only hope that you'll all agree that they are so very me!

These stretchy soft fabric, uber comfy trainers are from Zara, but they seem to be sold out now. I've found something similar though if you follow this link. I kinda like this skinny leg/big trainers look, but again it may not be for everyone. The one other style story I may try with these trousers though is my red sock boots - what do you think? Would two of my most favourite pieces together be too much for the fashion police? Do give me some feedback on that.

The plain black polo neck finishes the look without battling with bottom half of the outfit. I've added a simple black leather belt and black necklace as my accessories. 

The necklace is by Melissa James and the rings are both pre-loved. 

Today's shoot was taken at Green Beach with Blockhouse Castle over one shoulder and Blockhouse Cottages over the other. I've been swimming on this beach (on the high tide) lately as it's been stormy with the prevailing wind on the other side of the island. The sea at Appletree Bay has been too lively for me to swim safely there, but here on the leeward side of the island it was sheltered enough for me to enjoy my early morning swim as well as see the sunrise just above the cottages too. 

Yesterday morning I swam in an absolute downpour which was a first for me. I've never been a fan of swimming in the rain (or more precisely trying to dry off and get dressed in the rain), but I'm currently reading a wonderful book "Wild Woman Swimming" by the late Lynne Roper and she has converted me to the joys of nature's water play. The sensation of being at eye level with the bouncing raindrops is akin to seeing Christmas lights twinkling on and off as they hit the surface of the water. Between the visual effects and the clattering noise, the experience was enlivening and left me with a real joie de vivre. I added a little clip after this swim on my Instagram feed if you want to see my afterglow. 

And finally, yes I'm flying solo and today's shoot was taken not only with tripod and timer, but also using my brand new camera. It was only after taking these shots and walking home that I remembered that I'd not put the dial onto P for portrait nor had I used the telephoto lens to get some good close-ups too. This could be a steep learning curve for me. It's back to the booklet for me to learn a bit more in time for my next shoot. I was relieved however to at least have a break in the rain so that I could get outside for some new material. I do hope you've enjoyed some good weather this weekend too.

Thanks for dropping and I hope you have a lovely week!

Anna x


Hey Poll!

Hey Poll! Look this way, over here girl!

Pint sized, cute as a button and worth her weight in gold, here she is, the blog photographer without whom my life would be a shambles. (Yes, we know I have other back-up, but let the girl have her moment in the spotlight eh?) Not only does she take great shots, but her banter enlivens me and always makes me laugh; if there's a blog or Instagram photo of me laughing my socks off then invariably that's down to this humorous young lady. 

She's currently away on holiday playing the part of rent-a-bridesmaid to two of her old school friends and in her absence I've been reminded of just how much she supports me in her primary role as Gallery Assistant. As she gads about on the mainland, eating out, meeting up friends and maybe partaking in a little retail therapy, I can sing her praise and post some shots of her too without her censoring. Polly is an absolute gem; hard working and reliable, a skilled trouble shooter with all of my computer problems, sharp as a knife - a graduate in Forensic Science no less, and has better customer skills than I could rival with the best smile ever to greet our customers day in, day out. She embraces island life, revels in her job and hopefully a little local love interest may well keep her here long term too. Anyway, thanks Polly for all that you do, and have a lovely break!

And here I am responding to the veritable ray of sunshine who feeds me jokes and compliments. So let's talk outfits now, shall we? Or more to the point, this totally over-the-top jacket. This biker jacket in a bronze/red metallic finish is about three sizes too small for me (yes, it's actually a size 4!) and was a recent find in (small drum roll please) TK Maxx! Not only that, but it cost me £9.99. The brand is Missguided which is more a Polly brand than mine (targeting the 16-35 market allegedly), but by finding it in TK Maxx it becomes a bit of a free for all. I love to see other mature women rifle amongst the racks labelled MOD BOX - we know there's all sorts of treasures to be found there. I had every intention of keeping the jacket for a party, but, and my friend Sheila will understand this, the very newness of it begged a quick outing. What if I had kept it for months, and then discovered that it pinched or squeezed or just didn't deliver the wow factor I had envisaged?

Well, rest assured that all is well, wow factor duly delivered. And now I want you all to forget that you've seen this as I may well have to wear it to my next birthday bash. "Rocking the 60's" is one idea for the theme so far, but as it's not until January I have plenty time to improve on that. 

Cue lots of gregarious flouncing about in response to the quip of the moment. Polly brings out the show-off in me. Strike that. I bring out the show-off in me. I'm human Marmite - love me or hate me, you just can't ignore me.

Rings are preloved, trousers are from TK Maxx by Costume Nemutso.

Bronze and black mesh sock boots were from Zara last year. I raved about these kinda boots recently, so enough said.

Razzle dazzle in my Quay Australia sunglasses.

Life is fun.

This is me.

60 rocks!

Anna x


More sock boots!

Excuse the huge cheesy grin, but I'm loving these sock boots and thought you would want to see them too. I know this is going to look like yet another Zara promo feature, but it honestly isn't! Yes, the boots are on offer (see here), but that's just a coincidence - I love them regardless of the price. 

Check out the sparkle on these heels! 

I love the comfort factor, I love the colour, I love the stretch, but most of all I love the crazy angle of these heels. Steve warned me to be careful with the sharp slant as I maybe need to perform a risk assessment before I step out in them. Hahaha! Don't ya just love a little input from yer man?

This is my "I'm not amused face". 

So anyway, by the time you read this I'll actually be on the mainland, at the dentist once again, boo-hoo! Another tooth drama, as I've cracked a tooth and think it may have opened up a root canal. It feels a bit groundhog day I must admit. I worry that at this rate I'll have no teeth left and will have to suck all my meals through a straw! 

In the meantime, I hope you enjoy seeing this combo of culottes and boots with this butter soft leather jacket. 

Steve thinks the angle of these heels is a bit too weird, but I like the quirkiness - what about you? Would you wear them?

Outfit details - jacket: DSquared, trousers and boots: Zara, shirt: Sainsbury's, sunglasses: Quay Australia, rings: Sainsbury's.

Sorry to be brief this time, but I've still to pack a bag this evening as I've got to catch an early boat tomorrow morning. This is probably the only time I envy mainland life - how simple it must be to jump in the car and drive to health appointments. I'll leave you with this lovely poem by Pam Ayres who captures my sentiments completely...

Oh, I wish I'd looked after me teeth!

Oh, I wish I'd looked after me teeth,
And spotted the dangers beneath
All the toffees I chewed,
And sweet sticky food.
Oh, I wish I'd looked after me teeth!

The rest of the poem can be seen here.

Wish me luck at the dentist. See you soon, and keep brushing those choppers!

Anna x

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