Yay, it snowed!

Oh my goodness, didn't it snow? We couldn't believe the forecast when they predicted a blizzard here this far south in the UK, but golly it arrived on Thursday evening big time! This was just as it started and by late evening it was laying inches deep on the ground.

I took a walk out after work to capture this unusual aspect of Tresco, but after only about 10 minutes of walking my camera seized with the cold. Once I got home I managed to switch it back on and the battery was fine, so I can only imagine that the freezing temperature caused it to shut down.

You many not recognise this vantage point, but I often take shots from here of the sunset across the bay.

These houses are known at the Flying Boat Club development, but not often marketed like this!

Can you see the snowman in the distance? It's the first time ever for some of the children to be able to play in the snow here.

Probably the first time too for these exotic plants to be adorned in snow.

I realise these photos may mean more to those readers who've already visited the island, but they're still pretty don't you think?

The blizzard was raging now, obliterating the view across the channel where you would normally be able to see Samson and Bryher in the distance.

Increasingly the view became more and a more like a winter wonderland (and it was the 1st of March!)

This was the very top of the island where I was most exposed to the blizzard. You can see by the palm trees ahead that the wind is blasting them sideways as the snow was starting to fall more heavily. It was at this point that my camera seized up, maybe because I turned to face into the wind and it upset the mechanism.

Sasha and I dodged out earlier on that day to take a few outfit shots in between snow showers. What could be more fitting on a day like this than to wear my leopard print faux fur coat? Well, maybe adding a pair of snakeskin ankle boots? These came to me c/o J D Williams a couple of seasons ago and are still available and even on offer here.

The rest of my outfit is pretty low key for a change - just a pair of black skinny jeans from Primark and an M&S cashmere polo neck to keep the chills out. I had layered a long sleeved thermal tee under that, again from M&S. My green leather gloves were a charity shop find some time ago.

The one thing I ought to mention is the disruption that the snow has caused to our Internet connection on across the island as well as Bryher. The fibre optic cable has suffered some damage and it looks like it may take a few more days to restore. In the meantime I'm accessing (non superfast broadband) Internet through a friend. My access to your comments will be limited in the meantime, so do excuse me if I don't respond quickly. 

I hope that life for my UK readers is starting to get back to normal now and wish you a better week ahead!

Anna x


Style, not age

Welcome to our new and improved group, "Style, not age" where this month we're having fun with faux fur. We've had a bit of a shake up since our last group feature and have taken on a new name, lost a couple of stylists and gained a new one, but apart from that it's business as usual. This month Hilda set the challenge so let's see the results shall we?

I can understand why Hilda chose fur; this coat is an old faithful and looks so cosy as well as super soft. Given the bitter East wind that's sweeping across the UK at the moment, Hilda is dressed perfectly to keep the chills at bay. And when the Siberian blizzard hits us later on in the week, Hilda's Russian hat will surely come into its own. Read more about her outfit on Hilda's blog Over the Hilda here and see her on instagram here.

Jacqui of Mummabstylish has stepped forward to lead our newly reformed group and is showing the way in style in her electric blue dress from H&M, topped with a faux fur gilet from M&Co. Not only do her Lotus shoes look fab, but they tie in perfectly with the graffiti. See more of this outfit on her blog here and follow Jacqui on instagram here.

I'd like to give a warm welcome to Emma from Style Splash. Her working background is TV and radio, and like the rest of the group she is also a mother. It was while she was an at home mum that Emma decided to pursue her passion for fashion and now works freelance as well as volunteering at an animal hospital and yet still finds time for running her beauty, fashion and travel blog. Emma chose a faux fur collar for the challenge and how clever that it echoes the red hues of her hair! Click on the link above to see her blog and follow her on instagram here.

The story about this coat goes something like this - you know when you have things in your house that eventually become invisible? Yes, sure you do! Well, in the corridor upstairs we have a few hooks, actually nails if the truth be known, spaced along the wall and on them hang about half a dozen coat covers. OMG is this another senior moment? You know what I mean - those grey zip up storage bags that you use for coats to winterise them?

Well, they had become invisible until the other day when I kinda brushed against them on my way past and thought, "Hey what's inside these then?" and here was this faux suede, faux fur coat. Lots of other coats and jackets were lurking there too and I really think that they might all need to be sorted through ready for my next eBaying session. 

It's so long since I bought this coat, I can't be 100% sure where I got it, but fancy it would have been from TK Maxx. It certainly was before my charity shopping days. It's fully lined in faux fur and is toasty warm to wear, making it ideal for this cold snap.

And yes, some of you may recognise the dress from last month when I wasn't all that happy with my styling efforts that time (see here if you must). This pleases me much more, thank you. The boots are slim and elegant and yet edgy enough to give the dress what it needs to sharpen it up. The belt with its studs lends a rock chick feel. And the long fur coat says sleek, so all in all I'm happy.

You'll gather by the shots that this was an interesting photo shoot for Sasha and I on Saturday afternoon.. We both struggled to keep our balance against the gusts of wind that came hurtling over the top of the hill towards us. We'd had words (surely not?) about what was the wind direction and where would be best to find a sheltered spot, but this was the best we could do.

If you're on the island over the next couple of weeks you're sure to see me in this again. It's a bit like an old love affair that has been rekindled and I'm looking forward to seeing what other outfits will be enhanced by this slim fitting coat. I usually wear trousers during the winter months as I always feel the cold, but the longer length and thick fur of this coat means I can wear skirts and dresses and still be toasty warm.

I found this new gold chain necklace in a charity shop last month (£3.50) and it has a matching bracelet (£3) too. I like the stones for an extra bit of sparkle and makes it a bit different to my other (go-to) chain necklace. The large ring was from TK Maxx, the other is from Sainsbury's, the dress and boots are from Zara, the belt comes from Portugal (a gift) and the black tee is a thermal layer from M&S.

I was all set to write about the pro's and con's of fake fur which would of course mean I'd have to write about real fur. But you know, we're all intelligent adults here with access to the latest information about this fashion minefield. My blogging friend Hilda put it very succinctly by saying she's pro choice, and I have to agree. It's not my place to be judge and jury about the rights and wrongs of wearing fur. Last time I wrote about it, the response was huge so do feel free to visit that post if you want to challenge your own viewpoint; Fur - fake or real read here.

I'll leave you with a very contrasting photo taken, would you believe, only four hours earlier than these others. I've been asked to take part in a magazine feature that will be published in the height of the summer which requires shots of me throughout the day, with the required accessory being a cuppa. I have only two weeks to gather a bundle of about 12 images together showing one day in my life here in the "summer", drink in hand! As I was heading off to the beach on Saturday morning I decided to take my flask with me in case the right opportunity arose. 

No-one could be more surprised than me that I managed to nail this shot. I had just been for my swim (hence not a scrap of make-up, not even lippie!) during which time the sun had started showing itself in fits and starts through the cloud cover. I quickly unpacked my kit - tripod, camera with timer and then somehow I had a perfectly stage managed moment when the sun shone boldly and click, there we have it! One down, 11 to go...

This week I'll be linking with Patti of Not Dead Yet Style.

P.S. Just in case you're worried, I'm hanging up my cossie for the next week as the temperature is due to fall below freezing even here on the sunny Isles of Scilly. Do take care on the roads and wrap up well!
Anna x


My Christmas detox

Before we go any further let me clarify that the detox was in fact a digital one rather than a food one. My gift to myself over the Christmas period was to take a step back from all things digital. No mobile phone, no Instagram, no blog, no emails - I called a truce with all the digital hungry mouths and stepped back into reality. And it was just like a little holiday.

And here I am, batteries recharged and so very pleased to be back with you again. This was my Christmas Day outfit in festive red and green. The fur coat has proved to be my go-to coat over the Christmas period. It's cuddly soft and has earned me lots of strokes as it's just like a soft teddy bear.

I showed you this dress previously as it came from Zara in my Black Friday splurge. In complete contrast to all of my glittery and sparkly Christmas clothes, I decided dress that this simple shift dress was just what I needed for the day. The feather trim lifts the dress from being too simple, however, as well as giving an element of fun to the overall look.

The other great thing about this dress is the fact that once again, my fabulous red boots come into their own. I may be accused of overkill with these, but hey, shoot me.

All of my jewellery is pre-loved, apart from my Vivienne Westwood pendant. The silver nail polish is called "Pedal to the metal" by Rita Ora.

My regular readers may have noticed the new grey/red/checked theme that seems to have cropped up in my clothes recently. Goodness knows how this has come about, but it's a new found delight for me.

The local pub, The New Inn, very kindly dressed their window in time for all of my Christmas photo shoots, so I really have to thank them for giving me the prettiest of backdrops. 

I do hope you've had a lovely Christmas with plenty downtime as well as fun time. There will be a New Year's Eve party at the pub as is the tradition here on the island, but I'm not sure if Steve and I will be going. We've suddenly hit on the pleasure of the box set and are working our way through Game of Thrones in readiness for the next set (out on the 8th of Jan). What are your plans for NYE? Are you heading out to a party or snuggling up in front of the fire with a movie and a bottle of bubbly? Whatever, I wish you a very Happy New Year!

Anna x


Fur - fake or real?

It's mid-winter and here in the Northern hemisphere fur coats are big business. It's too sweeping a statement to say most women own something fur, but the magazines would lead us to believe that's the case. Personally, I own a few fur pieces, both real and fake, but when you add fur trims on jackets, gloves, fur lined boots, scarves and pom-poms, then it amounts to a fair bit. 

Outfit details - trousers: H&M, boots: Office, fur coat: vintage, rings: charity shopped.

A few years ago my husband and I were fortunate enough to go on holiday to Venice. It was early February and the temperature had dropped to minus 9 degrees making headline news as it was cold enough for the Grand Canal to start to freeze over which hadn't happened in almost 100 years. I'd packed a duvet coat and fleecy hat to keep me warm, but they didn't. European women wear real fur when it's cold. They have no qualms about that. Given the severity of the weather, I soon came to understand why. Nothing man-made can keep you warm in these kinds of temperatures, or at least not without making you look like the Michelin man from head to toe. The bitter, icy wind blew across the canals causing chills in every nook and cranny. One of our walks took us along a tiny canal where I came across a vintage boutique. In the window was this beautiful red fox fur coat. The jacket is second hand, an important point for me, and it wasn't long before I had succumbed to its charms. I wore it for the rest of the holiday, warm, toasty warm in fact, and feeling as glamorous as I ever have.

Fast forward to last autumn when I bought this fake fur jacket. Its ombre tones called to me when I was rooting about one of the charity shops in Truro.

As consumers I'm sure we all like to understand the impact our purchases have on the environment and it's for that reason that I'm a huge advocate of thrift/charity shopping wherever and whenever I can. Previously I might have admitted to feeling a bit uncomfortable about owning a real fox fur jacket, but strangely not in the least bit awkward about wearing suede boots or pony skin shoes or carrying an ostrich hide handbag, and I fancy I'm not the only one who suffers from this odd kind of logic. Fake fur obviously carried none of the guilt that real fur might. My viewpoint has recently been changed thanks to new information. 

At the end of October I read an article in the Daily Mail by Zoe Brennan titled "The faux fur timebomb". She cites various facts, such as the ten barrels of oil it takes to make a fake fur coat, and that non-renewable plastics are used to make fake fur, and that when washed they in turn release an average of 1900 tiny particles of plastic that end up in our seas. This comes in the wake of the microbead scandal that hit the news in 2016 alerting us to the fact that our face washes and scrubs contained these ocean polluting beads of plastic. These microbeads are now being found in some sea creatures, one step away from entering the food chain. Ms Brennan's most revealing fact is that when you and I throw out our fake fur coats, they will end up alongside all other plastic waste in a landfill side and that it will take our coats 1000 years to biodegrade. Shocking isn't it? I had no idea, did you? Real fur on the other hand biodegrades naturally within 6 months. (I realise we're mixing ethics with environmental issues here and that's complex.)

The anti-fur lobby have omitted to tell us these facts. We may not want to buy mink as a result of what we've learnt about mink farms, but equally we surely don't want to have a massive carbon footprint thanks to this throw-away fashion. Another worrying fact is that the production of fake fur uses enormous amounts of energy and produces greenhouse gasses, ionising radiation and noxious chemical by-products, many of which cause cancer. Buy fur responsibly maybe ought to be the message here.

I write this for the same reason I write everything in my blog: to share my story. This is not a call to arms, a request to boycott or indeed an article intended to make us all feel bad. Remember, I'm in no position to judge. I'm sorry that this doesn't make for comfortable reading. But turning a blind eye to anything that challenges our comfort zone isn't protecting the future of our planet. Fun fur will not be much fun for our descendants to deal with. I now wear both my real and fake fur with a genuine awareness of their implications. I said my viewpoint has changed, and here's how - I now prefer the honesty of wearing my real fox fur coat. If someone wants to knock me for that, then fine. And much as I will continue to wear my fake fur, I'm no longer deluded that it's the better thing to do.

I'll finish with a quote from Orsola de Castro, of Fashion Revolution, a campaign for ethics in the fashion industry. She states "The use of real fur (in fashion) is, of course, deplorable, but faux fur is not the answer. It comes with an incredibly heavy carbon footprint, it doesn't biodegrade and the cheap examples are often produced in unregulated factories, with all the concerns that brings over sweatshop conditions, poor pay and child labour." She urges us to "Look for alternative textures, such as luxurious knits. Most people simply don't realise how bad faux fur is. They think of it as a "good" moral alternative to real fur, without realising the damage it is doing."

Linking with 
Catherine of Not Dressed As Lamb
Cherie of Style Nudge

Anna x

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