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


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


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


Done and dusted!

Hello and happy Thursday to you all! Yes, I'm delighted to say that the big wardrobe changeover is done and dusted. But before I show you the results, I'll share an outfit that's not made an appearance previously.

I fancied a change from all the dazzling colours I've been touting lately, opting for a monochrome palette today instead. Plain ol' black and white wasn't quite exciting enough for me though so I chose checks and stripes to enliven the look. I've had this (boohoo) jumpsuit for almost a year now without it seeing the light of day. I found it in a charity shop last summer, but struggled to wear it as it was strapless. When I came across it at the back of my wardrobe earlier this month I decided to see if I could make it wearable. At the bottom of my sewing box I found some discarded straps and a few stitches later all was sorted.

The striped top is actually a body; perfect for wearing under a jumpsuit as it saves all that annoying tucking in. This one came from TK Maxx in Harrogate: the label says Mira & Co and is made in Italy. I somehow think it's going to be a very useful piece.

You'll have seen these courts before, they're from New Look.

I'm hoping that by next month the storm boards behind me will be removed allowing Polly and I an uninterrupted view across the bay to Bryher as well as giving us easy access to the beach. High tides and big sea swells have brought lots of seaweed up and over the boards, even this month, but rumour has it that summer is on the way ...

Black and white needn't be boring; the silver and black accessories help to make this interesting. I found the two spiky metal rings in the Harrogate spree, the necklace is preloved too, but was from Truro and the studded belt was a gift from my friend in Portugal. I do have a large range of jewellery and belts as I think having just the right piece can make all the difference to an outfit. When you consider that some of my rings cost as little as 50p and necklaces only £1.50, this is where charity shopping really comes into its own.

The black and silver rings are like the Ying and Yang of anemone rings.

My postscript to this outfit has to be that half way through the morning, on going to the loo, I discovered a small split in the seam of the jumpsuit - in a most revealing spot! It answered my question as to why something so lovely had ended up in a charity shop. I can only imagine that the owner couldn't or didn't sew!

And here's one section of my wardrobe all sorted, ready for some warmer weather. I've kept my sock boots out for the next little while and once it really warms up properly I'll replace those with sandals. In the middle section of my wardrobe are all my maxi skirts, maxi dresses and jumpsuits along with shelves holding handbags, scarves and more shoes. This isn't fit for viewing currently as I am in the process of culling the contents.

Talking of culling, these are the latest pieces to be evicted from my wardrobe. I'll be putting them onto eBay over the next month or so. I've put a box into storage that's all winter clothes and I'll sell those when they're back in season. Please feel free to message me if something catches your eye ...

This section of my wardrobe houses denim jackets, leather and suede jackets and all of my summer jackets. Below are shirts and tee shirts and below those are bodies, white jeans, coloured trousers and culottes, shorts and palazzo pants. Alongside the wardrobe is a cupboard that holds all my jumpers, cardigans, waistcoats, coloured jeans and blue jeans. Along the entire top run of the wardrobe are boxes of shoes and I have more under the bed. Like any true addict, I'm suitably vague about the precise extent of my addiction, but shoe-wise it's probably almost 100 pairs I'd estimate. I have to hastily add that I view it as a benign addiction as does my husband, thank goodness!

This final reveal is a holdall of clothes that I'm donating to our local fete which takes place next month. I've offered to take on the (most dreaded) jumble stall and will colour co-ordinate these and anything else that is donated. I plan to display them all on hanging rails, shake/steam/iron the creases out of them and hopefully make some money towards the day's fund raising. Wish me luck!

Anna x


Harrogate - the final instalment

As promised, here's the third outfit that I wore at the trade fair last week. The dress is quite old (by Nine West), polo is from Primark, tights and belt are old, shoes are by Office, my handbag is by Ted Baker, rings are preloved and my watch is by Michael Kors. I thought this van was the ultimate in accessorising! 

House by Hazel is run by Hazel Holland who is the wife of Tom Holland one of my gallery artists. I do like to make an effort to co-ordinate my outfit with Hazel's fabrics at least once over the show period. It's lovely to catch up with them every day during the fair as we have lots to chat about and generally have a bit of fun too. Tom and Hazel are based in Penryn in Cornwall which means I can pop into Tom's gallery on my way to the dentist to see how the paintings for his next show are progressing. This will be featured next month on the blog.

After my three days at the Trade Fair it was time to cash in the gift voucher from my sisters.

Sandra and Dianne had travelled down from Scotland to join me in Yorkshire so that we could have a brief catch up. Their promise was made good with these crisp Scottish bank notes along with a suitably sparkly purse. We had a busy day visiting my regular charity shops as well as discovering five new ones I'd been unaware of. I had a ball; them maybe not so much!

They even supplied me with an extra shopping bag for the occasion!

Do not adjust your sets - this is terribly out of focus! I know that neither of my sisters would wish to be featured on the blog, but I thought this one would be better than my efforts at soft focus. We had great fun together and even though we're all in our 60's now I will always be the baby of the family, meaning that I still benefit from their wisdom. 

And this is the haul! I'm afraid I couldn't find time to take individual shots of these, but have itemised them as - 6 jackets, 2 handbags, 7 pairs of shoes, 1 matching skirt and top, 2 dresses, 2 skirts, 1 pr culottes, 3 blouses, 4 prs jeans, 1 cashmere sweater, 2 shirts, 1 rash vest, 1 cummerbund, 1 hat and lots of lovely jewellery. The majority was charity shopped, but some things were from TK Maxx in both Truro and Harrogate. I featured some of the shoes on instagram - here's the three stars of the show.

I can hear the outcry of "Where will you put all of this?", but worry ye not! This weekend I have three days off work and will be applying myself to the big changeover. During this process I'll be (ruthlessly) culling what hasn't been worn and these will be laundered, ready to be sold on eBay. One of these days, I plan to feature some of these pieces here and link through to my eBay page - you may wish to buy the odd piece or two ...

Anyway folks, it's been lovely to chat. I hope you've enjoyed seeing the last instalment of my mainland adventure. The last word has to be to Sandra and Dianne - a big thank you for my fabulous day out spending all that lovely lolly!

Anna x


Penryn palazzo pants

Yes, let me introduce you to my Penryn palazzo pants, named as such because of the pretty little Cornish port where I bought them. 

I've had to find a private dentist to do some specialist work on my teeth and this pretty town is where he's located. Earlier on this month I caught the train from Truro to Penryn for my second visit. The first time I went it was pouring with rain so I caught a taxi, but on the second it was bright sunshine and so I decided to walk. I was rather pleased with myself as I used Google Maps to find my way. I'm very old school and usually just ask for directions so this seemed quite an adventure to follow myself along the way. In fact, the route was very straightforward taking me from station to the harbour leading through the heart of the town. 

When I say heart of the town, I wonder if this is more a village considering the size and small selection of shops. Don't get me wrong, as you can see it's chocolate box pretty and has a lovely art gallery (hello Tom Holland!) and one-off shops selling local fare. AND, much to my delight, a charity shop, bang on the high street! Well, it would have been rude to pass on by when the shop keeper had dressed the window so nicely and door was even propped open to entice me in. I was on the clock however, and my recce was swift, but I still managed to find these immaculate palazzo pants for the bargain price of £3. I also picked up a furry gilet for another £3 which was five minutes and £6 well spent. Off I went with my loot and submitted to my 2 hours in the dentist's chair. Afterwards I retraced my steps up the hill back towards the railway station. I didn't want to miss the train and had little time to spare, so can you imagine my chagrin at finding a tiny vintage shop nestled on the roadside with all sorts of tempting trinkets and garments temptingly displayed in the window and inside. Not a minute to spare, I lingered for a moment longer promising myself that my next dental appointment day will be a much longer visit to Penryn.

Outfit details - trousers: Dorothy Perkins, jacket: Precis Petite, top: pre-loved (no brand), boots: River Island, sunglasses: Quay Australia, bracelet: Jackie Brazil, rings and necklace: pre-loved.

Anna x

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