Jeans and biker jacket with Furla handbag

Hello again! I've been sooooo blooming busy since my last post, but here I am with all my news. I normally post a feature on Fridays, but that was Sasha's birthday meaning my day was filled with baking and doing the prep for her birthday tea. A lock-down birthday is a bit rubbish isn't it, but I suppose many of you will have had one of those by this stage. We seem to have overcompensated by having three days of special family meals and it really has been great fun for us all. (Death by feeding, is what my husband is calling it actually!) Friday's tea was an old fashioned birthday party with sausage rolls, bacon frazzles, cheese scones, salads, cold meats and cheeses followed by millionaire's shortbread and a magnificent birthday cake created by her cousin Zoe of Bryher Bake Box

Sasha is 32 now and like most mother's I'm amazed at how the time has flown past since those baby days. I loved being a stay-at-home mum, never missing the world of work or the social aspect thereof. 

Seen here with her cousin David who is only 8 weeks older than her, Sasha loved being the big sister to Jamie.

Sash was dog mad from the start, in fact her very first words were "a dog, a dog, a dog!" as her father's gun dogs appeared in front of our window. Sasha is training her own spaniel, Brigg, now - you can follow his progress on her Instagram page here

And so, on to the OOTD, this blue biker jacket and dotty jeans. Like lots of others on lock-down I'm wearing casual clothes most of the time. These jeans by Cosmic Jeans were a charity shop find in 2018 but I've not worn them often. Hipster jeans don't flatter my hourglass shape very well as they seem to accentuate my rounded tummy. Pairing them with my bright blue biker jacket maybe wasn't the best move either as the two barely met in the middle :(  The polo neck sweater is rather ancient as is the leather belt - both are by H&M. My black and white sunglasses are from Quay Australia.

The cute little jelly bag by Furla has been a joyful discovery of late. I seem to have spells where I have a bag of the moment and then they get stored away for months on end. I have the  bigger version of this in yellow and the small one fits inside it meaning I do forget about it in that out if sight, out of mind way. The rings are both pre-loved.

The white leather boots were a Christmas present from Steve. The brand is Besson and they came from TK Maxx. I had a similar pair of white boots (see here), but they fell apart in the autumn, after only a year of wear. I've loved how my shopping desires have been brought into sharp focus since I gave up retail therapy. My wish-lists for both Christmas and birthday (soon) were, and are, so specific and therefore satisfying to receive that their worth seems so much more than ever before. I've found I don't need to browse eBay or retail sites searching for... and that's just it - what are we all looking for? Happiness? Fulfillment? A need to simply have something new? The psychology of shopping is a complex one that's for sure. As I was putting my wish-lists together I discovered that the enormity of choices swamped me if I didn't have an exact thing in mind and it all started to feel rather pointless. As the end of my shopping ban looms large, I find myself wondering what I'll do when it comes.

Thanks for dropping by again. I'll be back later on this week and also on Sunday with my birthday post. Monday the 25th will be our Style Not Age challenge so there's lots to come this week!

                                                                                             Anna x


Vintage joy!

Hurrah for a sunny start to the day and the opportunity to nip outdoors in a frock! The weather here was frosty first thing on Sunday morning, but I think we got away lightly in comparison with some places in the UK where they were under inches snow. I lost no time in putting an outfit together so that I could capture some golden rays and inject some joy into my day.

This vintage dress has lived in my wardrobe for years now; I bought this piece in my favourite charity shop in Harrogate and think that may have been three years ago. I love the huge shoulder pads and the frilled finish around them, giving that top heavy look to flatter the waist and hips by comparison. The pleated insert below and the shirred elastic waist all go to make a Diane Freis dress worthy of its current price tag of around £200 (not the £25 I paid for it).

I took my lead from the pattern of saddles and equine paraphernalia and added my red vintage boots to complete the cowgirl theme. The gold link chain was from Primark and rings are preloved. The corset belt is very ancient but accentuates the waist.

The leather cowboy boots are also vintage (from the 90's) and cost me all of £10 - what a brilliant bargain! The chiseled toes do pinch if worn all day however which is probably why they ended up in a charity shop.

Red glitter tights and Radley sunglasses complete the look.

I was listening to Michael Ball on Radio 2 while I was getting dressed for these shots and it heartened me to hear him urge us to find ways to keep happy and enrich our lives during lock-down. His suggestions range from keeping a journal, taking up a musical instrument, writing letters to distant family or even just dressing up for the sake of it - oh how grand to have my whimsical hobby validated by this lovely, lovely man!

I do hope you're bearing up at the moment and beg to remind you to be kind to yourself, as much as you are to others. Getting outside once a day is a Godsend for me and my sea swimming really has come into its own this time. I'm reading a fascinating book called The Wim Hoff Method that explains the science behind cold water exposure. The book goes on to justify a lifestyle choice that I made some eight years ago when I was unwell and consequently I swam my way back into robust health. Sure, you can say that it's preaching to the converted, but for me, I'm pleased to find out the physiological changes that go on as a result of my daily swims. Maybe I'm not so mad after all!

Yes, I know that sea swimming isn't for everyone, but Wim is also a big advocate of a 30 second burst of cold at the end of your daily shower... Hey, you can't blame me for trying eh?

                                                                        Anna x


Sending a little happiness your way

Hello! So here we go again with our third lock-down in the past 12 months. January and Feb are my least favourite months of the year, stretching my ability to keep cheerful and fight off the blues, but hey ho, here we go! I've yet to find out if being at home during this time makes it easier to bear. What has added to the challenge however, is the fact that my husband had a minor accident at work in December and is now at home laid up with a poorly foot. Hopefully he's to have an x-ray next week so he might have a diagnosis and idea of when he'll get back to work. In the meantime, I seem to be spending a lot of time providing cups of tea, cakes, snacks and meals as well as plumping up of cushions and generally faffing around him. Does he not realise that my Domestic Goddess outfit had to be returned at the end of the festive period?

Anyway, here's a little corner of Tresco where you can soak up some happiness under this golden mosaic, the creation of Lucy Dorrien-Smith. Smith Square, in the heart of the island, is where you'll find three of these lovely pieces of art, the other two being called Peace and Love. I set up my camera, timer and tripod here the other day and it wasn't without the odd hiccup as well as funny outtakes as I endeavoured to do this outfit justice. 

Colour therapy is my usual answer to anything that ails me, hence this warm combination of orange and bottle green that were the start of this OOTD. The orange gloves by Harssidanzar were a Christmas present from Steve; they are buttery soft Italian nappa leather, lined in cashmere for heat and comfort. Jamie bought me a pink pair by the same brand and both are a really impressive quality of leather as well as being a perfect fit. How snazzy will I be this winter with these two colourful pops to jazz up my outfits! The fun fur isn't new, but is a cosy snuggle-up coat for this time of year. The brand is The Vintage Boutique Collection from TK Maxx from a couple of years ago.

Not only have I gone strong with colours, but patterns too. Fairisle and paisley print for the cardigan and shirt (both by H&M), checked Italian wool trousers by No 21 (see their sale here, wow!) and my rich brocade boots by ASOS. Nothing here is new as I'm still on my shopping ban, month 11 currently.

Jewellery-wise I'm wearing pre-loved rings. The brown leather bag with orange piping is by Gigi and was a charity shop find ages ago.

This cute diamante Scottie dog brooch was a charity shop find also from a long time ago.

Taking photos of boots while you're actually wearing them isn't as easy as I thought...

My Quay Australia mirror sunglasses reflect the tripod as I rush to fix my hair before the capture... 

I'll leave you a shot from my walk around the island yesterday. Tresco was bathed in sunshine with not a breath of wind and honestly it looked just like a spring day. How grateful I am to enjoy the big outdoors on days like this.

Take care and see you soon!

Anna x


New Year's Eve party outfit for 2020

Happy New Year!

Here, as promised, is my party outfit for that longed for, but non-existent New Year's Eve party. To be perfectly honest, it's not so much longed for due to our current circumstances, but also because what's the point of a Hogmanay party if you can't kiss and hug everyone? As a Scot, in exile, we tend to make more of Hogmanay than Christmas with 24 hour parties and the welcoming of that tall, dark (coal-bearing) stranger into our homes as a sign of good luck just after the strike of midnight. In England we seem to celebrate both Christmas and New Year equally which means double the excuse for over indulgences in both food and drink!

The star of the show has to be this wonderful vintage sequinned piece which I bought from Enjoy Clothing in Truro some two years ago. The 80's top by He-Ro Industries sports a zip up back and those massive shoulder pads in keeping with that era. I do love big shoulder pads - they help to draw the eye away from all lumps and bumps that may lie below.

This is the first time I've worn this top, not that I actually went anywhere in it yesterday apart from around the corner to have Fiona take these photos. I do hope that sometime this year social occasions will re-emerge once life settles into our new normal. I would have worn this to an opening night party at the Gallery, and indeed plan to in the future.

The rest of the outfit comprises of velvet trousers from F&F Clothing and boots from Topshop.

The glitter boots tend to only make an appearance over the festive season which means that they are still looking pretty smart on this their third year of wear.

The rings are both pre-loved, matching the outfit perfectly however.

The gold mirror sunglasses are from Quay Australia.

As we enter into 2021 I'd like to say thanks for your messages, comments and emails throughout the past year. It's a constant wonder to me that I have accrued interest and followers both here and on Instagram and for that I'm very grateful. I'd like to think that this island life of mine is a happy diversion during these difficult times; a wee place of escapism where you can sit down and catch up with life in this beautiful corner of the world. I send my love out to each and every one of you and wish you safe and happy New Year!

                                                                                            Anna x


Brocade and burnished gold for Christmas

Yay, it's only 11 sleeps 'til Christmas!

How are you today my lovelies? Are things coming along nicely? I start back to work again today and know that it'll be like the fast forward button being pressed in my run up to Christmas. You may have caught my Instagram post about me making my Get Ahead Gravy a la Jamie Oliver recently see it here. Well, apart from that I've really not done much more prep for the big day. The mail has become sluggish all of a sudden and I'm slightly stressed that everything will arrive on time. The courier services to the islands add up to a week extra on top of normal delivery times so all in all, we do feel at the end of the line here.

But, hey let's focus on something that I can control ... Here's another dose of style inspiration for you, straight from my closet. There's nothing new here, but I fancy I may not have showcased all of these separates previously, namely the gold jeans and the pale gold shirt. Burnished gold is a wonderfully festive take on Christmas don't you think? 

It's only a matter of weeks now for me to conclude my 12 month shopping ban and what a sound lesson that has proved to be for me. Of course it's been made a whole lot easier by not leaving the island for the past 9 months, but I had made this decision before Covid-19 appeared. I've learnt that I don't need new clothes every couple of weeks, nor do I need that rush of excitement as I carry a basket full of new clothes to the checkout. I've fought the hunter gatherer gene even if it's only short term. I can't wait to see what I shall do when I get to the end of this ...

Anyway, the inspiration for this particular Christmas outfit was the fabulous brocade jacket by Clements Ribiero, which is actually part of a two-piece (see it here). This is only the second time I've worn it in two years, so shame on me for neglecting such a glorious piece of design. The 3/4 length sleeves are flattering as is the collarless round neck and slit pockets without flaps - all work together to allow the brocade star billing. The green and gold stitching gleam together and are so flattering for my colouring. This was a dry run of the ensemble before the Gallery re-opens next week when I'll definitely be wearing it.

It'll be no surprise to hear that these rings are both pre-loved. 

The amber mirrored sunglasses are by my favourite brand, Quay Australia.

The glitter jeans (second hand) are by South and the patent boots are by Topshop.

My thanks go to Fiona for today's photos. We were surprised and delighted to find that one of our favourite backdrops had been upgraded to this buttery yellow colour. The metal door fronts the fire engine shed and so far we've managed to avoid getting caught up in any emergency.

See you again on Friday with my next festive dose of fashion!

Anna x

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