Flower Power - February's style challenge

Welcome to our style challenge for February!

Hello and welcome to our monthly challenge with the Style Not Age Collective. As we hurtle towards March the promise of spring is in the air echoing this month's theme of Flower Power. As usual we've managed to come up with varied offerings, ranging from elegant through to playful as we showcase our very individual style. I do hope we're going to inspire you!

Style Spash Emma has created a chic look with this black and pale pink dress, topped with a stylish felt hat and fur scarf that looks soft and cosy. The big blowsy blooms of the frock are offset by the teeny dotty pattern play. Do please keep me in mind when you're ready to pass this one on Emma!

Jacqui from Mummabstylish looks lovely and also very summery in her offering this month. She carries off this pastel hued outfit with a girlish flair - adorable eh? 

It was Hilda's turn to choose a theme and how fab this choice turned out to be. We're seeing a fair bit of the 70's influence amongst us and Hilda's embracing the look perfectly. See more of her backstory on the her blog Over The Hilda.

This month we're welcoming back the familar face of Gail of Is This Mutton blog. If you're a regular reader you'll remember she was involved in our monthly style challenge called 5Over50, the last one of which is shown here. After spending some time away doing her own thing, Gail was keen to rejoin our monthly collaboration and we are very happy to have her back on board. Gail is featuring her favourite floral bomber jacket with an almost identical print top underneath. Do swing by her blog for a catch up when you get a moment.

Fiona and I had to take refuge indoors this week to capture these photos, out of the wild weather that storm Dennis brought to the island. Bright sunshine was at least a help to lift the atmosphere as we made use of the space within the Pavilion in the middle of its face-lift. 

Even though the wind was blasting across the sea, the view from here was still stunning.

With no musical backdrop, I hummed some inane tune to counter the echoing of my footsteps, dancing around creating fun as is my way. Fiona struggled with fluctuating light levels, blurry shots and backlighting slowing down the process as I sashayed around, oblivious. Point a camera at me and I'm in my element!

Flower Power to me stirs up thoughts of those teenage years when I was enjoying my first forrays into fashion, spending my hard earned pocket money on mini skirts and skinny rib tops, hot pants and suede long fringed waistcoats and tent dresses worn with knee high wet-look boots. This homage to those days was quick to pull together from my wardrobe; the dress was a second hand buy last year, the New Look ankle boots were in the sale last spring and the tights are from a huge cache I have of all sorts of colours and designs.

I've featured this floral tent dress (Zara) on the blog before (see here) and I must admit it is indeed a thing of joy to wear. I recall wearing a similar dress - white cotton in a light waffle fabric, with discs of pink, yellow, orange, purple and lime green with three quarter length sleeves and a ring pull zip up the front -  when I was only about 10 years old. We were going to a family wedding and the psychedelic dress was one of the first fashion buys that embedded itself into my memory bank. It captured my imagination and fired up a lifetime of passion for clothes.

All of today's accessories, including handbag and floral necklace and matching bracelet are second hand. 

The finishing touch for today's look was this ditzy print coat (pre-loved) by Kew. The 3/4 length sleeves and thigh high hemline make this a versatile jacket that looks equally good over jeans.

I'll leave you with this final shot of the view across to Bryher and Samson islands. White tops on the sea show how wild these sheltered waters have been lately. We must count our blessings however, that we're not suffering floods like so many regions of mainland UK are. Let's all hope for an improvement this week!

                                                                                     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


Summer show 3

It's not by chance that we always have our group shot taken after the exhibition party rather than before, as by then the sheer relief and perhaps a glass of wine or two help us all look beautifully relaxed. The third summer show features artists Iona Sanders and Richard Guy (shown here) along with Neil Pinkett in a glorious collection of work (find the third July show images here). Each of the July exhibitions has been a diverse showcase of the artists' work and this final one is no exception. Red spots were dotted about, sales were made and we all had a splendid evening. Painting stories were exchanged between artists as to where's the best spot to see the finest Agapanthus blooms at the moment with my own particular highlight being when Iona's lovely father regaled me with tales of his time at sea as Coxswain aboard the ships that serviced the Trinity Lighthouses around the UK some 25 years ago. It was fascinating stuff.

And so on to the frock. This week's outfit is a mix of old and new; the new by way of this maxi dress by Zara which is on the website currently if you love it - see here.  I must admit I'm still utterly enchanted by these longer length summer frocks, not just for the romantic nature of them, but for the cool waftiness (made up word) which has come into its own during these wild summer temperatures we're having again. Loose fitting and lightweight fabric is a winning combination for this super maxi. I'll be dressing it down soon with simple sandals or those natty white trainers of mine for a cool and practical summery look.

This week's dress may not have the same big swoosh factor as last time but it makes up for this in its sleek contemporary styling. I know that white and black is an understated colour choice for me too, but sometimes I like to throw in the odd wild card with something unexpected. 

Pretty summer sandals would have been an obvious with this dress, but I chose these silver stiletto heel boots (by Buffalo) to give a bit more of an edge to the outfit. Polly tells me that this is Zara's dress of the moment as it's turning up all over Instagram. And if that's the case then styling this is more of a challenge to find that individual touch. I carried on the silver theme with all of my jewellery. The disc necklace was from M&S a few years ago, but still gets lots of admiration. The sunglasses are by Quay Australia and just happen to go perfectly with this black and white get up, don't you think?

The pre-loved accessories go a long way in helping this dress looking different. The Vogue clutch, bangles and rings are all charity shop finds, each one a delight at the time. These inexpensive trophies help me to stamp my personality onto an outfit. There's no better thrill than finding an unusual piece in a tiny charity shop, knowing it will one day add that certain twist to an ensemble. What simple pleasures I have!

My next post coming up will be on Monday when the ladies from the Style Not Age Collective and I will be delivering our latest offering. This month's theme is "Steal her style" which has certainly had me chopping and changing my mind over the past few weeks. I'm still in the throes of getting the look together, but fingers crossed, I'll be ready in time. I do hope you'll pop back to see how it goes. In the meantime, keep hydrated, keep slapping on the factor 50 and enjoy the sunshine!

                                                                                           Anna x


Summer Show 2

Hi, hello and here I am at the second summer exhibition last night with the artist of the evening, Saul Cathcart who managed to make it to Tresco for his opening night party. This is his first exhibition with us, and it's been worth the wait. Paul won't mind me telling you that he had contacted me many years ago, asking to show in the gallery. At that time I felt that he was very much work in progress and that he needed some time to develop his own voice. I'm glad that we both waited, as this collection is fresh and strong and shows a great emotional response to his residency here on the island last winter. 

Just unpacked, this was my first chance to see my personal favourite of Saul's, All That I Need - Pentle Beach, Tresco, which then went on to sell to the client who was viewing it. Thank goodness! It saved me that terrible inner battle of Can I, Can't I? See the full collection of the show here

The best time of the day - the show is open, the party was a success and Saul sold his first painting - all is well with the world. A huge thanks to Polly, Duffy and Jilly for running such a tight ship last night - we made a great team!

And so, on to the outfit. The boho maxi dress is actually called The Angel Dress and was from Zara when I was in London last month. I was at the grab-it-and-run stage, so didn't try it on in the shop. Oh my goodness, I'm gonna stop for a moment and have a moaning moment. Living on a tiny island means I'm not very savvy about the rules of department store shopping, but honestly I came across a crazy shopping rule in Zara that just astounded me. Picture this - a very hot summer's day on Oxford Street, the shops teaming with shoppers and the queues getting longer by the minute. I had a huge armful of shopping and had tried to skip the queue in Zara by taking the escalator up two flights to another changing room. After waiting my turn, I was asked how many items I had. I don't know was my reply. The assistant counted 15 pieces including belts, then told me I could only take 10 in. OK says I, I'll leave these belts and tops behind and swap them with you in a moment. You can't do that she said. Sorry? Well, we don't hold anything for you. If you don't want it, then we put it straight back into stock. But, if I can try it on I might buy it. Sorry, only 10 items and no hold-overs. At this stage, my own guardian angel decided to intervene, when the two young girls behind me both offered to take some of my things in with them and we'd swap as I worked my way through my stash. I thanked them profusely and we got on  with it, but honestly - what's that all about? 

The Angel Dress was a find on day two in London, by which time I'd given up all thoughts of changing rooms in Zara and had resorted to grabbing a size and hoping for the best. This floaty boho maxi was £49.99, but seems to be sold out already. I love it for the colour, pattern and shape - it's a great summer frock, dreamy and feminine and will now become an everyday piece for me to wear with white trainers or flat sandals. I think it's going to be a cool option for those hot summer days - I'll let you see the daytime version soon.

My turtle gemstone bag was from a small boutique in St Andrews in January, but it lacks a label I'm afraid. The colours of the stones are a super match for this outfit. It held a back-up pair of shoes (not needed, surprisingly) as well as my camera, hairbrush and make-up - it's a bit of a Tardis creature this one! The large ring on the left was a purchase at TK Maxx some time ago and the other gold coloured ring was a charity shop find.

These strappy gold sandals say Office inside. I think I bought them to take on a cruise a few years ago. They're not leather, but are soft enough not to rub even though I was on my feet for three hours.  We all need a pair of gold sandals surely? 

My shark's tooth necklace is adorned with Swarovski crystals and was made by Charlie Dodge. 

Best thing of all about my fabulous new dress has to be the Swoosh Factor!

Thanks so much for dropping by. As you can tell, my life has moved up a gear into summer mode, therefore apologies to all of my blogging buddies for not hanging out with you as I like to. With our summer shows opening every 10 days and my swimming training for my big swim becoming a reality rather than a plan, I'm juggling all of the plates frantically. I want to share as much of my daily life with you, my reader, as I can and am so pleased to have you visit. 

Until next time, have a super week!

Anna x

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