Bonus days

Hurrah for these last few bonus days of golden sunshine and calm weather that we've had here on the Isles of Scilly. Tresco is still buzzing with holiday makers, especially now that we're coming into half term time meaning that the island is busy as ever. I finished work at 4pm the other day and instead of tackling the behind the scenes jobs and mounting admin, I opted to lock up promptly and head out for a walk in the late afternoon sunshine. It's ages since I've been up to the two castles and thought they would afford good light for a photo shoot too.

Up here at the top of the island is a fantastic opportunity to get a 360 degrees vista of the islands. King Charles Castle sits at the entrance of the channel between Tresco and Bryher islands and was build as a fort to protect the north end of the island. However, the site was too steep too be practical and was superseded by the Star Castle on St Mary's which held a better location to protect the islands from invading forces. 

To the north in the background you can see Round Island Lighthouse which is no longer manned but is still operated remotely to keep the shipping traffic safe from the surrounding rocks and reef.

Out in the east, I knew that Brittany Ferries ran from Portsmouth to France and Spain but had no idea that they passed so close to the islands. 

Looking west towards Shipman's Head on Bryher and the big Atlantic ocean beyond.

And so, on to the outfit of the day. Transitional dressing is still the theme, whereby I've not pulled out any of my autumn/winter clothes and am trying to get by with clever dressing. These fabulous corduroy dungarees have been perfect for the past couple of weeks when it's been chilly in the morning but warmer by lunchtime. I bought them at Enjoy Clothing in Truro and every time I wear them they attract lots of compliments. The colour is fab and the fit is wonderfully relaxed and easy to wear; slouchy and yet still okay enough for work. 

The neon top works so well with the ribbing of the corduroy, don't you think? The high neck is again, cosy for the mornings, but being short sleeved is still cool enough when temperatures rise. And neon is making a big comeback at the moment isn't it? I do like it when fashion and my wardrobe collide like this. My blue plastic rings are both charity shopped and sunglasses are by Quay Australia.

My grey platform trainers are old, but hardly worn. I bought them online a few years ago from Zara and even though I didn't totally love them I couldn't be bothered to send them back. Anyway, they've come into play this summer which alleviates the guilt somewhat.

It was a glorious afternoon; peaceful and calm away from the hubbub of the village. 

These cannons are defending Cromwell's Castle which is below King Charles's Castle. 

And looking south down towards St Mary's and St Agnes. Golden light, the best for flattering my pale skin tone!

As the sun started to drop in the sky I made my way home along the coastal path. This beautiful big gin palace appeared and moored up between the islands. We don't get many visiting boats coming into the islands after summer, but the spell of calm had surely brought this latecomer. 

A couple of hours spent outdoors had done me the world of good. The pressures of work have held me hostage for far too many weeks over the summer months, but at least I can feel things beginning to ease at last. As we drift into the winter I plan to take a month off work with no real aims or goals at this stage. I need to recharge my batteries and what better place to do that than here.

                                                                                          Anna x


Easter weekend

Hurrah for Easter weekend!

Not only is it the weekend, but it's Easter weekend, time for guilt-free chocolate indulgence. Yay! 

Daffodils and Easter chicks have been the colour inspiration for today's chilled weekend look. The lime green faux suede jacket was a Primark purchase a couple of years ago and yet is still looking fresh and rather funky too. 

I teamed the jacket up with this neon bright clutch, a second hand purchase also from years ago. I love the textured bubble effect. The floral blouse with lovely yellow daffodils was from M&S.

The wide legged Diesel jeans were recently featured (see here) and I'm afraid you may be seeing a lot of them over the next little while. They're such an easy to wear style - it's a great weekend look, don't you think?

I've had these grey platform trainers for two years and would you believe it - this is the first time I've worn them? It's shocking how deep this stream of new finds runs eh? I bought them online in the Zara sale one January and somehow never got around to wearing them. I'm pleased to say that they're really comfy!

I've taken blue as my accent colour for accessories; the rings are both pre-loved and the belt is also second hand, gifted to me.

These pretty floral edged sunglasses are by Tu at Sainsbury's. A sale purchase from ages ago - no surprise there then! They're a bit Dame Edna Everage don't you think? Hilarious!

I'm so enjoying having the structure of work again now, most of all because it's helping me to redefine weekend wear from working outfits. I've been trying out new combinations at work to check how much stretch and bend room they have; I've been busy hanging art this week - you can see that on our Gallery Tresco Instagram page here
It's only a week until we have guests on the island when I'll open the gallery on an appointment-only basis.

I'm going to apologise in advance to say that the blog may be a few days out of kilter now as my camera broke the other day and I'm still waiting for a new one. There was a terminal tripod accident when a gust of wind blew the whole lot over, smashing the lens. It happened in a flash without me having any time to catch it. I ought to have had a weight attached to steady it, especially as I've had a close call once before, but I thought I was tucked in out of the wind. I wish I'd been squirreling photos away for this eventuality, but alas I haven't! The postman only comes to the island three days a week and sadly it didn't arrive today, so there'll be no feature on Monday. Fingers crossed, I'll be back on Tuesday!

In the meantime, enjoy your Easter eggs !

Anna x


I make no apologies for being me

The past 12 months have been an amazing time for me. I've had so many new opportunities come along which I would previously never have imagined possible and then the latest adventure to South Africa really was the icing on the cake. New opportunities also meant meeting new people and that can be challenging too. Sometimes I wonder who might find it the most challenging - me or them? 

I come across as a real chatterbox, bubbly and a bit over the top, but scratch the surface and I can be quite shy really - it's all a big ruse. I used to be terribly awkward around strangers, but my job brings me into contact with strangers every day of the week and that forced me to step outside of my comfort zone many years ago. However, the role of Gallery Manager is like a coat I put on for work. I can talk forever about art, artists and the place I live, all within the workplace and I'm fine. But plonk me in the pub next door and I'm lost for something to say.

I think that dressing up as I do is a front, a ploy to take the focus off the real me and place it firmly on the outfit of the day. I can play the part of the flamboyant entrepreneur, ready to speak about what I've got on and where I found it. Wearing bright clothes is a great ice breaker too, saving people the effort of finding a safe subject to talk about. Some of us need a mask to hide behind and this is mine. That said, I wouldn't dress down in the hope of disappearing from sight, as these clothes do channel the peacock within. I love bright things, bold colours and unusual shoes. Today's bright things come mostly from Zara (the lounge suit and boots) and the sequinned jacket was from hubby for my birthday present and is from TK Maxx.

Being a peacock within a small community can make you appear to be a bit of a show-off, a court jester, you may look guilty of playing to the gallery all of the time. But as I've said before, I dress to please myself. My pleasure in my clothes is authentic, joyful and such a positive aspect of my life. When someone might raise their eyebrows at something I wear I always remember the talk my husband gave me many moons ago, the main point being, "Make no apology for being you". He too was the one to tell me I'm human Marmite and goodness, I just hate Marmite, so that caused us both to laugh like hell. 

Anyway, to get back to my point, I do know that some might find me challenging. I'm too in-your-face for some people. My first impression can leave many reeling, others could feel a little punch drunk and some, thank goodness, are pleased to have met a human whirlwind. My enthusiasm can be infectious and that's what I hope will make my readers come back for more. Or even come to seek me out on my little island home, which has happened too. Did I live up to their expectations? They never did say!

As you'll probably know, I'm a big self-help fan and am always on the look-out for a good read. My latest purchase Love For Imperfect Things has been a great help for me in assessing who I am in the grand scheme of things and if I'm good enough. The following recommendation was just the pointer I needed to make me want to buy the book and learn more - 

"The world could surely use a bit more love, a little more compassion and a little more wisdom. In Love for Imperfect Things, Haemin Sunim shows us how to cultivate all three, and to find beauty in the most imperfect of things - including your very own self" (Susan Cain, author of Quiet). 

My inner battle of not feeling good enough, comes from an unhappy childhood, of feeling unloved, which is a subject that Haemin broaches with great sensitivity. He treads lightly, offering wise words and simple suggestions as to how to move on and love oneself regardless of self doubt. It's a beautiful book reflecting his imperfect soul - no haughty preaching, just sympathetic guidance and kindness. The following quote of his has to be one of my favourites.

"If I like myself, it is easy for me to like people around me. But if I am unhappy with myself, it is easy to feel unhappy with those around me. May you become your own biggest fan!"

And so yes, I am my own biggest fan. I laugh loudly, sing loudly, dress loudly. But goodness, I'm big on love too. I hug big, I'm a loyal friend, I give genuine compliments to complete strangers, I love my family and I am a generous boss. I throw myself into both work and play with real gusto, with a complete passion for life, a genuine enthusiasm for the things that give me joy. I make no apologies for being me. I think being in my 60's has been very liberating, helping me to get over my insecurities and self doubts. I at last know who I am, am happy with who I am and am ready for whatever comes along next.

                                                                  Anna x


Checks, plaid, tartan...

Checks, plaid, tartan, call it what you will, but this pattern is very much my calling card for the autumn/winter months. I love the sock-it-to-me boldness of these trousers which encompass so many of my joys all in one. From the zingy orange colour to the wide cut of the trousers to the obligatory pockets and neat fitting high waist, these new trews are my latest delight. The brand is Collusion and I found them on ASOS a couple of weeks ago, although they appear to be all sold out now I'm afraid.

The outfit is a mix of old, new and charity shopped. The wool roll neck was a charity shop find last year, the fabric boots are by Zara (see them here) and the Michael Kors jacket is a few years old now. 

From the shoes up, this outfit was all about comfort. Some days that's the main focus as I'm getting dressed, but I'm happy to say that I don't think I've had to compromise on style with this luxe look. The trainers have a stretch top to them, knitted in fabric all the way to the ankle and I must admit I felt like that I was at work in my slippers all day long - what heaven!

A little aside here: I just wanted to acknowledge the presence of the storm boards that are now in place for the next few months. I hate to have them in the way of our view from the gallery window, but with the prevailing winds, high tides and storm surges they're a necessary addition to keep us safe. Apart from that they impact on my daily photo shoots, but at least you still get a glimpse of the view beyond.

Today's sparkle comes in the form of rings from Diana Porter and Emily Nixon and orb pendant by Vivienne Westwood. 

I've been gathering a few photo shoots together in my draft box ready for when Polly leaves me. In fact we have our last day of working together tomorrow. Her daily input into my life as well as the business will be sorely missed, but at least I'll see her often as she'll be just five minutes away. I'll be dipping into that back catalogue for a couple of weeks and hopefully by then I'll be back into the swing of my winter shoots with tripod and timer again. Steve and Sasha are both on call too when I'm needing a hand, so hopefully it'll look like business as usual for you readers. Thanks for dropping by and here's to our journey into winter together!

Anna x

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