Charity shopping at Crisis in London


Hello from London!

I love that saying, "Every cloud has a silver lining". Last weekend my silver lining took the form of a visit to stay with my dear friend in London. Ben used to be a Gallery assistant of mine (about 10 years ago I think) and our friendship has continued over the years. He's now a mature student studying for a degree in Japanese at SOAS in London. Although he's only just started his course I have every faith in his ability to achieve his goal. When he worked with me he was an absolute power horse, with not just a huge capacity for work, but he had a real flair for selling. Bright as a button and utterly focussed, this guy was always gonna go far! I'd come away to the mainland to have minor surgery on the skin cancer on my back, but rather than the starkness of a trip for that alone, I decided to tag on his offer to stay and have a tour of his local charity shops.


I'd forgotten my Oyster card, but Ben told me I could just use my contactless card to get around on the tube. I loved that I could keep the card safely inside the palm of my glove as I swiped my way around the underground! How exciting these wee things are for an island lass.


My wonderful shaggy leather bag was a gift from Ben many months ago. He bought it in Stanley Market in Hong Kong on his last trip there. Coat is by Covent Garden, two piece is by Zara as are these most comfortable of boots. Handbag is by Carvella. 


But first, was breakfast. Of course. You can't go shopping without a decent breakfast and Duck and Waffle serve a pretty mean breakfast it has to be said.  


The view from this 40th floor restaurant isn't too shabby either.


Ben went for the house special, Duck Benedict whereas I opted for something more simple, but equally delicious. We toasted the day over a glass of Mimosa. For a moment I was worried that we'd peaked too early. 


But no, things were just about to get a whole lot better. Ben took me to his favourite curated charity shop, Crisis at the bottom of Stroud Green Road, Finsbury Park. The shop does away with that endless searching for a gem which can be so time consuming. Instead the staff pride themselves with sifting through the donations to steam and display designer wear along with more funky pieces that can command a good price. 



Coming from our tiny island community, one of the shocking truths about London for me is the amount of homeless people you see as you travel around the city. Ben told me that the number of deaths of the homeless is already over 140 this winter. It's a chilling thought that we're barely into winter and this figure is set to rise when the first cold snap hits. Crisis aims to help in the long term as well as over Christmas by bringing those in need off the streets into a caring community where they can not only eat and shower, but access all kinds of medical support and practical help too. My shopping was going to make a real difference to lots of lives. 


The haul!



When we returned to base Ben kindly modelled one of my most sparkly finds. This (H&M) cardigan will surely come into its own over the festive period.


The spree was mostly from the Crisis shop with a few other finds from the Cancer Research shop in Muswell Hill. Exhaustion soon set in, resulting in us beating an early retreat home. Ben cooked dinner while I had a soak in the bath, but not before I spread the loot out for us to admire. Not the best photo, I'm afraid, but you'll see more of these pieces over the next few weeks I'm sure.


All shopped out!


Truro was suitably festive by the time I arrived on Monday. I had time to do some Christmas shopping before going to the hospital for my appointment. In keeping with the island-girl-goes-shopping tradition, I packed up a box of presents, putting them in the post before coming home. Ben had sent a box of clothes home for me too. 


By Tuesday I had reduced my luggage to this amount. That day I had a frustrated trip to Land's End airport as the weather or rather cross-winds, put paid to my flight home. En masse we weary-from-going-nowhere travellers were sent away to return the next day. I took this opportunity to deposit my suitcase at the docks to be shipped home to me, hence avoiding excess baggage charges.


24 hours later and hurrah! Here she comes!


Farewell to the mainland! See you again next year.

Anna x

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My Favourite Trend for Autumn, our Style Not Age challenge for October


Goodness doesn't time fly? Here we go again with our end of month style challenge. Jacqui has plumped for this month's theme which has given us lots of creative scope. Me, I've been influenced by a magazine spread again, this time for the ubiquitous argyle knit. The trend isn't so much a fashion as an enduring classic.


You'll excuse me for feeling ever-so-slightly-smug that my knit was a charity shop find last year and has been loitering with intent until the right moment came along. The Country Casuals cardigan cost me all of £4 which adds to the smug factor. But enough of that, let's catch up with the rest of the Collective to see what their favourite seasonal trend is.


For Jacqui's Mummabstylish, the trend is the colour rust which is a true autumn shade. I'm partial to that hue for the cooler months too. See more on her blog here.


Hilda is rocking her stunning red trouser suit accompanied by fabulous leopard print courts. Wowee, is all I can say! Catch the full details on Over The Hilda


Rust is another favourite for Emma of Style Splash along with a liberal dose of velvet by way of this charity-shopped jacket (£2) - way to go Em!


Sasha was my photographer of the day and told me I ought to point out that despite how polished I may look, I'm actually full of the most revolting cold at the moment. I'm layered up in concealer to cover the dark shadows under my eyes from not sleeping last night (hurrah for my Quay Australia sunglasses, eh?) and have a dry, chafed nose from endless blowing.


The Country Casuals cardi has inbuilt shoulder pads which makes me think it might be a vintage piece. It's not showing much sign of wear however. I particularly like the deep pockets as well as the motif on the back of the sweater.



The cream ruffled blouse is another vintage find of mine, one that's been a mainstay for years. The ring is pre-loved too. 


Jumbo cord, wide-legged and lovely - that's how I'd describe these fabulous trews. The brand is Zara, but not this year's. Likewise with the tartan/plaid boots - not this season's, and from M&S, they're still a super statement ankle boot that demand attention.



I'm striding off home now, heading for a Lemsip, lots of fruit, and some downtime for the rest of the day. I fancy this cold was a freebie from my recent trip to the mainland - not the kind of freebie I like though!

                                                                                          Anna x

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Save and splurge


Today's outfit sums up my shopping ethos of save and splurge. The majority of the time I like to shop to save, preferably from charity shops where I'll often find a gem vintage piece or even just a high street brand from a few seasons ago. I'm not averse to shopping from the high street, but I do like the varied selection that pre-loved shopping offers. 


I bought these alphabet trousers in a charity shop in Truro when I was there recently. The brand is River Island and they cost me £2.50. I'll hazard a guess that they would have cost about £30 in store. A quick wash and they're as good as new.


The jumper was again second hand, the brand is Topshop and this time costing me £3 as opposed to, say £25. Over these two items alone I've saved nearly £50 to set against the cost of the (non-charity shopped) shoes.  


The brand of the shoes is Church's - check out their website here with the other fabulous city smart shoes on offer currently. I found these ones at the Edinburgh branch of TK Maxx when I was there in January. But that's not the price I actually paid for them ...


This was the ultimate in savvy shopping. I saved a massive £363 on these, and gained a pair of high class shoes at the same time. So maybe not so much of a splurge after all!


And yes, the blue soles on these Oxfords was a big plus point when I was considering buying them. Well, the considering took a very brief time in fact, only as long as it took to try them on. I love something a little bit quirky, a bit off-centre and these pretty much tick all of the boxes for me. Plus, I knew how versatile they would be - black and white are a wardrobe staple - as they've proved to be today.


My only piece of jewellery is this charity shopped ring which cost me 99p and again is just a bit unusual, a little bit funky to go with this retro inspired ensemble.


Polly and I were forced indoors yesterday for our photo shoot due to the storm that was blowing across the Isles of Scilly at a ferocious speed. I don't think there were any flights into the islands all day and the freight ship has been affected by the weather for days too. But such are the joys of island life. If I hadn't been at work I would have loved to be wave watching at the North end of the island. I bet it would have made for exciting viewing!

                                                                                           Anna x

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Ready for spring!


I don't know about you, but I'm more than ready for spring. The weather today was totally rubbish for my photo shoot meaning that I had to have another indoor session in the kitchen instead. At least a bit of Zoe Ball on radio 2 gave me plenty to bop about to. I'm sure we mums do our best dancing in the kitchen, don't we?


I came back from my little mainland jaunt yesterday and have had a lovely time away. The weekend was a mix of business (meeting up with my framer) and pleasure (meeting an artist friend for lunch) as well as a tad of retail therapy. Add to that a chance to see the extravaganza aka Bohemian Rhapsody and it was a pretty perfect mini-break. These fabulous orange trousers were a last minute find in Primark (£13) as I was beetling through on my way to the homewares department. I ended up buying five pairs of trousers in all plus two blouses. I'll photograph them soon to show you. I also did a small shop at TK Maxx and found a few bargains in my favourite charity shops.


The paper bag trouser trend is very evident in the shops at the moment which is great for me as I love this style. High waisted trousers suit my shape and help to elongate the leg too. Shoot me for giving in to fast fashion once in a while, but I know that these won't be turfed out of my wardrobe at the end of the season. I might buy into a trend, but if it's something that suits me then I'll be wearing it long after the mood has changed. And orange, for goodness sake - you know you'll see these again and again as I reach for my very own dose of sunshine!


I love the clean lines of the trouser with not a pocket in sight to spoil the sleek look. I wouldn't have been upset to find a pocket or two, but can see how they benefit from this simple cut.


This outfit has super-charged my smile.


My only jewellery is a couple of pre-loved rings in zingy citrus shades.


My tee shirt is by RED or DEAD and was part of a fun raising event at a charity shop last year. I'm pleased to raise awareness through fashion and help to add money to the coffers too.

Last night was the first episode of the second series of The Great British Bake Off for Stand Up 2 Cancer and I, like the majority of the UK viewing population, was glued to my telly for the duration. I won't spoil it for you, but suffice to say that Russell Brand brought his own brand of humour to the show stopper challenge of 3 D biscuits! Follow the link above to catch up on the fun.


Bubblegum pink and bright orange seemed like the best way to welcome spring into my working week, but that was before I'd seen the grey old weather waiting outside. Too late! I was sold on this for my post today and it did give me a great lift as I danced and posed my way around the kitchen. The trench coat was a crazy charity shop bargain (£4) from last year despite being from Topshop. Jamie bought me the sockboots for my Christmas from H&M and golly aren't they just dreamy together?


At the end of the day I had to visit one of the holiday properties (Barn Flat) to check on some artworks. The weather had been that typical mix of spring weather of sunshine and showers, improving towards late afternoon. I was happy to have the excuse to get out and stretch my legs as well as take in this fabulous view. 

Thanks for dropping by, and please do leave me a comment if you've enjoyed today's post!

                                                                                   Anna x

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From the archive


This shoot is from Polly's reign, a happy reminder of the heckling and laughter before she jumped ship, leaving me for another department and abandoning me to another winter of flying solo. I felt ambivalent about this outfit when I reviewed the photos, but at this stage I can see that beggars can't afford to be choosers. Today the grey skies, a gusting wind and heavy showers have sabotaged any thoughts I had of trying to do a shoot on my own. Pink fluffy jumper and rainbow mini skirt will have to wait for another day I think. Hahaha, and you think I'm joking, don't you!


Everything apart from the trousers is preloved. The leather jacket was a purchase in Harrogate in April and this is its first outing. The brand is House of Leather, London. The leather has a shiny gleam and looks well nourished as if it has been polished or fed with cream or wax. The elastic is taut showing no sag from age, fitting well at the cuffs and waist. I think I paid about £15 for it and am happy with that for the quality.


I paid £20 for the leather Radley bag and again this is in immaculate condition. It was a recent charity shop find, from Truro I think. Rings are preloved too.


The mustard trousers are advertised as culottes, showing how vertically challenged I must be. Yes, I'm laughing at my own jokes, sorry! See them here on the Zara site where the model is clearly tall and leggy and wearing them with high heels too. I bought them with the intention of wearing them with my latest crush - yes my tartan boots, but somehow that didn't work. My sunglasses are by Quay Australia and the roll neck was an eBay purchase years ago.


I like the mustard alongside the pony skin leopard print of these Oxfords (from Office and second hand). I've recently bought a pair of vintage high heeled boots that may work better with these trousers though. I've just sent them off to be re-heeled, so you'll have to wait to see how that pans out later. 


The white socks weren't me paying homage to Michael Jackson, more a momentary lapse in concentration when I was rummaging in my sock drawer. Later that morning I had to admit the error of my ways and nipped home to change them for black ones which merged much better with the shoes. Hah! And I consider myself a stylist, eh? Well actually, no I don't.


My summation of this look is that these wide, slightly cropped trousers do me no favours at all - well not with flat shoes that's for sure. I have short legs and these only serve to highlight that. But I do love them (both legs and trousers) none the less and will be trying to improve on this offering in due course. 


I'll leave you with this shot taken from my office window. That swirling bright light seemed to create a face in the clouds - does that look like a cute doggie to you?

Til next time, take care!
Anna x

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