Flaming June!

Hello and welcome to this month's Style Not Age challenge! Flaming June is the theme set by Jacqui and goodness I do hope she enjoys the irony of my offering in this less-than-summery month. When she suggested this topic, Jacqui proffered tips on any fire bright colours from flame yellow through to brazier bright orange and all the way to sizzling shades of red. That seemed to be simple enough I thought. But as we all know, life rarely goes to plan and the minute I started to line up this outfit, well the weather seemed to take against me! Polly and I finally accepted that we'd shoot the gorgeous outfit regardless of the fickle British weather.

I've been trying a new style strategy to counter these grey summer days which is simply to wear bright colours on dull days. The resulting lift in mood has been remarkable helping me counter the blahs with a blast of colour confidence I've not experienced before on these rainy days. My default setting has previously been to wear black or at least dark colours when it rains, goodness knows why, but I've been drawn to these dour shades almost as if I've been reflecting the grey skies. My fashionista friends may have been luckier with the weather for their photo shoots, so let's see how they fared with this month's quest.

As this is Jacqui's challenge I thought we'd start with her and goodness, it's a fantastic start!  Her daughter's wedding and a holiday in Majorca seem to have fallen back to back, so goodness knows how she's found time to pull this great outfit together. Read the back story to the look on her blog Mummabystylish.

Emma never fails to impress me with these monthly tasks and this month she is as cute as ever. Not only does Emma have a great sense of which colours flatter her, but she has the most stunning figure to showcase the outfit too. Emma, this is fab-u-lous! See more on her blog the Style Splash. 

Last, but by no means least is Hilda from Over The Hilda showing she's pretty hot stuff too in her Flaming June ensemble. We've clearly all been inspired by this one! Join Hilda on her blog here to see more of this super outfit.

My fabulous yellow trouser suit is from JD Williams (not gifted, please note) and was on my wishlist for months after I saw Evon wearing it during the trip to Cape Town for the spring fashion shoot. The scene in the TV commercial where she throws those big doors open wearing this suit won me over immediately - I just knew then that I'd have to buy it! The jacket and trousers are actually on offer now see here

Evon's silver sandals are still available and also on offer currently as seen here.

My own styling twist for the zingy trouser suit has me wearing these brocade trainers by Replay for a practical workaday outfit. I've injected another burst of colour with my Frida Kahlo tee shirt from Primark. You couldn't get a more summery look could you? Well, maybe if the sun actually shone I suppose.

Polly and I did this photo shoot at the end of the day on Tuesday last week and I fancy if we'd held off until the weekend the weather might have been a bit brighter. However, this weekend I may well be in London, but that my dear friends is another story as they say ...

Accessories comprise of heavy gold chain (a gift from Sasha) and these gold coloured rings are both pre-loved. 

One of the best features of these trousers is the stretch fabric - no tweaking and pinching when they have that extra bit of give in them! I wore the suit all day long and there's hardly a crease to be seen either. This is the first time I've worn it and that was a real bonus to find it after a long day at work it was still sharp enough to withstand the scrutiny of these close up shots.

I'm sure the ladies from the collective will be laughing at my usual out-of-step offering for this month's challenge. I would have loved to showcase this fabulous suit in sunny weather, but life truly conspired against that. The photo shoot for last Thursday's post took place on Wednesday and on Thursday I had a whole lot of packing to do. As I write, my plans are just coming together for a quick weekend trip with Steve to London to see a concert. 

By Monday he and I will be back on the train hurtling back south to Cornwall for an overnight stay in Truro. And when I say Truro, you know what that means - it's my favourite stamping ground for a bit of charity shopping! I'll only have a couple of hours, but goodness, I'm pretty adept at speed shopping as it's one of the skills I've honed to perfection after living on an island for over 40 years. As the summer exhibition period is fast approaching I could do with some new inspiration in the party frock department. Look out mainland, here I come!

                                                                                               Anna x


The summer maxi

Hiiiiiiii! How's it going folks? I've been inspired today to don a summer maxi, thanks to a young lady I saw on the road the other day. She was walking ahead of me, hand in hand with her beau (ahem, yes my age is showing here) and she was dressed in a wonderful white, floaty maxi dress that was being caught by the wind, blowing around her in the most flattering of manners. The sight of them conjured up a story of young love, romance and their honeymoon on this perfect little island which gave me a wave of the feel-good factor. 

I promised myself that on the next sunny day I too would don my favourite maxi dress and recreate an image or two that might be inspire you in your summer dressing. So here's what Steve and I got up to at the end of play yesterday. We're on Pentle Bay, the longest sweep of beach on the east side of Tresco. The island in the distance behind me is St Martin's, famous for its vineyard, the Damart and also for (allegedly) having the best beaches on the whole of the Isles of Scilly. 

I couldn't resist this pose!

I was slightly disappointed that Steve didn't know the words to that particular song.

Most of his input was about me not being a mountain goat and for me not to break my ankle as I hopped about from rock to rock, chasing the perfect angle in relation to the sunlight.

Let's talk about the outfit of the day, shall we? I'm working hard at keeping up the green message of shopping my closet and wearing recycled items too and with that in mind am pleased to say that there's nothing brand new in this post. The dress is by Anmol and was from TK Maxx years ago. The gorgeous fringed jacket (synthetic not suede sadly) was a charity shop scoop, but has no label. The brown leather sandals are also second hand and by Dune - sooooo comfy and look like they'll last forever.

A great idea to sit here, but the wind scooped the dress up, billowing it like a sail resulting in the flashing of flesh and undies. 

My sister Sandra sent me this recycled statement necklace which she found in a charity shop in Scotland many moons ago. The rose gold sunglasses are from Guess. The orange resin ring is also recycled and the other ring was a purchase in a street market in Cape Town in January - happy days!

This shot sums up the lure of these islands, offering that get-away-from-it-all feeling without a ten hour flight. Steve and I had the beach completely to ourselves. A top tip if you ever visit here - that early evening time is perfect to have a moment of reflection without interruption as everyone is either getting youngsters fed and bedded or they're getting ready to go out to dinner themselves. This golden hour is when you can stroll the beaches alone and if you land lucky, you can capture some pretty stunning shots too.

My next post will be on Monday when I join the ladies from the Style Not Age Collective for our monthly challenge, the theme being Flaming June. I do hope you can join us for that.

In the meantime, have a lovely weekend!

Anna x


Appearances can be deceptive

Hello and how are you? Have you had a good weekend? This is Fiona my new swimming buddy. We had a dip together last week not long after she arrived on the island to take up her role in the accounts department. According to her, an office job isn't too bad if you live on a beautiful island like this.

And who am I to argue with her? Fiona is finding it tough to acclimatise to the sea temperature here, but that may have something to do with the fact that she's lived in Australia for the past two years. She'll be fine in a month or two ...

 What did you think to your first sea swim on Green Beach, I asked?

"It was okay. A bit too cold to get my face and head under though." was her response. In the past I've prided myself in helping friends and sometimes mere acquaintances to brave the chilly island waters - mostly with a resounding success rate - but with Fiona I felt I maybe needed to allow her to do it her way.  She's going to try a spell in a wetsuit, which sounds like a good idea.

I really like this photograph. Don't we both look brimming with health and vitality? But appearances can be deceptive. You may recall I had a bone density scan in March. Well, the results are back and it turns out that I have osteoporosis in the long bone in my left thigh. Two bones in my spine and my pelvis are in the osteopenia range too. In one way I was surprised as I have this notion of myself being very fit due to all of the cycling and swimming I do. However, I know that I've been calcium deficient for years thanks to my allergy to dairy products. It's so long since I ate dairy that I've completely lost track of how many years.

When we talk about osteoporosis I imagine a frail old dear, maybe with a dowagers hump, but certainly underweight and looking fragile too. I never considered that an active 60+ woman such as myself could be harbouring this condition. Look at me - I run, I beetle about wherever I go, I spend most of my day at work dashing up and down the stairs - I thought I was fit as a flea, fit as a butcher's dog, however you want to say it. 

The combination of a calcium poor diet, being post-menopausal, as well as being over 60 have compromised my health picture, but it's not irreversible. I've been prescribed supplements (a stronger dose than the ones I've been buying over the counter) and then I'll have another bone scan in a couple of years time to see if the five year recovery plan is working. So, it's not a big deal. But I wanted to share my news with you in case you too are living under the illusion that you're healthy just because you look fit and are well. If you too are lacking in calcium in your diet along with the other contributing factors like me, then it might be worth chatting to your GP to see what they think. I'm currently reading up about bone health on the Royal Osteoporosis Society website which is teeming with information.

The final part of the health jigsaw is for me to include more weight bearing exercise regularly. So lots more of me running (not necessarily along the beach), getting my yoga mat out again and using my gym membership to lift some free weights would all go a long way to rebuilding the strength of my bones. Perhaps giving the bike a rest too in favour of walking briskly to and from the beach might be an easy way to incorporate exercise into my daily life. Seemingly we lay down the foundation for strong healthy bones in our 20's, but that's not the end of it. Our bones are constantly breaking down and rebuilding as we age: we can always work to strengthen our bone density, so don't wait until you're my age - address it now, before it becomes a problem.

                                                                                    Anna x


Citrus brights for summer

Hello, and thanks for dropping by! How's your week going? Are you blessed with good weather, wherever you are? Here in the UK it's a mixed bag again this week, making the daily outfit challenge an interesting one. Not only has it been dull and wet here on the Isles of Scilly, but there's been a cold North wind blowing which resulted in me wearing my long sleeved thermals (in June!) as a base layer to keep the chills out.

We had a last minute burst of sunshine at the end of trading today, so I nipped home and changed into this summery ensemble and Polly kindly did the honours. It was great to have a quick session in front of the camera with her. 

I'm very lucky that Polly and I have a great relationship which extends beyond the workplace. It's lovely to have the chemistry that we do, especially when it comes to our photo shoots. She has a good eye and an inquisitive mind when using the camera plus she likes to throw the odd insult in to get a funny response from me. 

Never one to take myself seriously, I do like the excuse of hamming it up in front of the camera. Acting my age isn't something that worries me too much as you can tell. 

Anyway, enough of that. What about these citrus brights - do you like them? Both trousers and jacket are from the high street, Primark in fact, purchased earlier on in the spring. The jacket is fake suede, a very good imitation to be fair as it's a decent weight with a nice nap to it. Under the jacket I've got a lime floral net tee shirt with an orange vest top underneath, tying the two tone look together nicely. Both of these tops are charity shop finds. 

The lime satin sandals were from TK Maxx last summer and the brand is Steve Madden.

The orange ring is pre-loved, the lime one was from an airport concession, the perspex necklace is very old, as is the orange bangle. My sunglasses are by Quay Australia.

It's only about three weeks now until we start our summer exhibition period with one show opening every 10 days. Where has the time gone? All my good intentions for having caught up with all of the outstanding chores seem to have whizzed past me once again. I can see that July and August will be the same flurry of work, blogging, swimming and boat trips to the uninhabited islands while the housework and gardening seems to be left for another time (goodness knows when!) but I'm all for seizing the day, as they say. Promises I have made to myself to dejunk the loft, read a book a week, and start to use my gym membership - they all appear to be fading into the background as I juggle my life/work/play balance once again. Please do tell me that I'm not the only one ... Leave me a comment if you too struggle with the superwoman image.

Until next time, have a super week!

Anna x


Pink plisse trousers and textured top

Hellooooo! How's your weekend going?

My outfit of the day is from at work yesterday when I was manning the desk, standing all day long, therefore had comfort as my main objective. Our photo shoot was at the end of the day and I was still smiling, a testament to the lack of sore feet, thank goodness.

The plisse trousers were from New Look a couple of seasons ago and are way too big, something like a size 16/18, but that makes them low slung and uber comfy. The striped sheer top is pre-loved, from M&S and a man-made fibre which washes like a dream and dries very quickly. Underneath I have a fuchsia vest top which is quite long and tucks into the trousers helping to secure them at hip level. Without this fabric on fabric bond I fancy they might just descend all the way to my feet!

The silver and white chunky sandals are pre-loved too from Topshop. Sasha gave them to me a while ago as they were too small for her. The wedge sole is a gentle angle making them all day long comfortable. I did actually start off the day wearing my beloved pink (heeled) sock boots, but by lunchtime had to resign myself to ditching glamour in favour of style in another mode.

Keeping it green here with no new jewellery either. Quay Australia sunglasses as per usual, big pink flower ring - gifted from a friend and the other pink ring was a charity shop find. I'm trying hard not to overspend on clothes this summer; I have a few bits and pieces that you've not seen before to sprinkle throughout the year, including a fab new trouser suit that I bought not long after coming back from South Africa. Apart from these, I've made a deal with myself that I'll be strong and keep away from online shopping. Charity shopping will be my weakness, I know, but recycled clothes are the greenest and therefore okay in my book. 

Steve and I are getting into our stride with our evening shoots which are proving to be a lovely way to end the day. We can be chatting about the events of the day and catching up on island news while we're looking for the right location. It all seems quite leisurely to be cycling off together looking for a different aspect or view, especially as the days are longer and the weather more settled. And good for us too, to have a bit of fun larking about together - well, that's what I keep telling him anyway!

Movement was an essential of this particular shoot when we were besieged by gnats as the evening temperature started to drop. Poor Steve was bitten to pieces as he was static for minutes at a time, whereas I just kept jigging about, trying to stop them landing on me. The road we're on is called Pool Road, running alongside the inland lake. I think it's common to have swarms of gnats around a lakes and rivers isn't it? I think we may not be choosing to do a photo shoot here again!

                                                                                 Anna x

Created by bo design