63 looks like this!

Yay, it's my birthday!

Yes, this is what 63 looks like on me, and man it feels fine. If this past year has taught me one thing, it's gotta be that we must be grateful to simply be alive. I'm happy to have got this far without contracting Covid19 and with any luck I can stay well until I'm vaccinated. 

If you're a regular reader of mine you'll know that I aim to inspire you, delight and entertain you but most of all pass on my very own version of love and joy. 
I did think about counting through all of my blog posts to see how often I mention the words joy and love, but decided that maybe my time would be better spent just creating today's happy feature.

Dressing up for fun surely has to be my forte and even though it's lockdown3 and I really don't have anywhere to go, well that's no reason for a gal not to don her birthday finery is it? Reusing and recycling at its best, this outfit also pays homage to clothes swapping through the joys of friendship. My friend Sheila (see her blog here) who also lives on an island, but on the other side of the world in Canada, sent me this two tone frock a few years ago which cemented our long distance friendship. I've jettisoned a couple of things in her direction too as we have similar wacky tastes in clothes.

Sporting my ol' favourite sunglasses by Quay Australia along with this toning tribal necklace from Topshop a couple of years ago. 

The mere act of putting on this red petticoat is an instant mood lifter for me which is another cause for celebration today. During the winter months I battle with Seasonal Affective Disorder and use all of the tools in my arsenal to keep myself buoyed up - these being mainly my sea swimming and winter walking, as well as dressing up of course. The big outdoors is a remedy for any kind of depression, acting as a diversion away from the inner self as the mind is drawn outwards to engage with the stunning sights and sounds of nature. Tresco offers a plethora of views and vantage points to stop and stare, to literally breath in the ozone and be amazed at the panorama.  

The only bit of birthday advice from this 63 year old is for you to embrace your own version of joy, be that dancing in the kitchen, completing a 1000 piece jigsaw, walking the dog, doing an on online yoga session or applying a full face of make-up just to go to the supermarket with your mask on - if it makes you happy, then do it! The realities of life can sit heavy on our shoulders if we let it and I for one battle daily to find or create my own little ray of sunshine. I'm so pleased that as I was tinkering with my camera and tripod for these photos that a couple of local girls called out to me from across the field, just to wave and shout hello. The acceptance that this is who I am and what I do and that it's nothing remarkable for me to be out on a Sunday morning dressed like this is a wonderful affirmation. Within a small community we all have a role to play and this, it seems, is mine. What a joy!

The fabulous red petticoat was an eBay find (a long time ago), the red tights are so old that I can't recall the details and the tartan boots were from M&S a couple of years ago.

Rings and elasticated belt are all pre-loved items. 

If this post encourages you to venture out in something wild and wacky, or equally cool and classy or to simply spend time leafing through your wardrobe to seek new inspiration from what lies within, then I'll be happy to have helped you on your way. To my dear friend Teddy who, like so many healthcare professionals, wears scubs to work, then I hope that my loungewear post coming up tomorrow may inspire your downtime too x

I'm linking with Catherine of Not Dressed As Lamb !

                                                                    Anna x


Frills and flounces on Friday

I'm painfully aware that most of the UK is basking, baking or even sweltering in the current heatwave, but on Friday morning this is how things looked here.

The rain was drifting in and out, as was the sun and in an effort to get it right I was in tights and boots as well as sunglasses. Despite having brought all my summer clothes back into play, I somehow am not quite ready to plunge into linen, cotton and sandals quite yet. I seem to be like this at the end of the season - I just can't quite let go of what was and move onto what is. There's always still one more outfit that deserves to be shown and this is maybe it.

Are you sick of seeing the boots by now? Oh, I do hope not! I just wanted to try out this combo of boots and petticoat together with a black and white palette to see how it would look (and feel) and it was all that I had hoped. I can't begin to try to describe the delicious swish and flounce factor of this tutu underskirt. It's the ultimate in feminine dressing, making me smile as I swish jauntily along, the bouncing hemline bobbing around me with every step. 

Time for a little boogie before I start work ...

For once I've managed to have red nails as well as red accessories, hurrah! The belt and all jewellery are all preloved, sunglasses are by Quay Australia. The leather jacket is vintage, so it the underskirt, the boots are by H&M and the dress is from New Look (rather old though).

I've said it before, but I'll say it again, "I dress to please myself". I see every day as another opportunity to be my best, my happiest and my most productive. There's no settling, wearing beige or cruising. My clothes collection allows me to be a chameleon, with colours and styles to reflect my personality and how I want to look (quirky, sleek, retro, understated, on trend) on that particular day. If my outfit is right, then I feel good. It's that simple. And yet I do get it wrong lots of times and have been known to change an outfit completely during my lunch break. As I was chatting to a friend earlier today they summed me up by saying that I wear my clothes as if they're paintings, my very own wearable art, which is very apt. Within my job I meet lots of people every day and if I'm feeling good then that rubs off - we have a positive encounter because I'm confident (in my clothes). And that's the same for all of us. Therefore, what may be perceived as vanity is actually based on the psychology of the feel good factor, and hey we all want to feel good don't we?

My main motivation for running my blog is to show women of my age that we don't have to disappear once we've gone through the menopause. The complaint of feeling invisible in our 50's is very common and as far as I'm concerned all it takes is a splash of colour to remind everyone that you're still here and more importantly still looking great. You really don't have to be an out and out colour freak like me - just a pop of colour by way of a silk scarf, or a bright necklace or handbag can make all the difference. A lot of jobs don't make it easy to show too much personality through your clothes/uniform, but on the way to and from work you can still take some pleasure in a splash of colour. If I'm preaching to the converted then well done, but to those of you who read this because you wish you could, then I say "Go on!". Take a step outside of your comfort zone and let me know how it feels.

Linking this week with -
Catherine of Not Dressed As Lamb
Jacqui of Mummabstylish 

Anna x


Thank you Sheila!

The world of blogging can be a wonderful place especially when it comes to making friends. Enter stage right, Sheila of Ephmera who was one of the first over 40's bloggers that I discovered prior to starting my own blog. As a friend Sheila gives me great advice, provides me with inspiration and of late has sent me a couple of her hand-me-downs. The first being this shot silk dress. 

Time for a little whooshing about! Check out instagram to see my boomerang clip of this.

Now, if I were as organised as my dear friend, I would have the precise details of when she wore this gorgeous dress. Sheila keeps a record of each piece and when it was worn linking back through all the previous times it was showcased too - how impressive! She was uncertain as to how flattering this dress looked on her, giving rise to lots of comments from her readers. To my utmost shame, I was a bit brutal and said I thought it was maybe a bit short on her and to move it on, adding that I would help her out by taking it off her hands. My motives were completely selfish, but golly, it worked, and here am I thrilled with my new inheritance! The joke is on me however, as it seems that Sheila and I must be the same height. Without the petticoat my knees would have been the rather unsightly focal point. With the petticoat, however, I think it's sensational. Late edit - here's the link to the post.

An additional bit of raving from me has to be about my fabulous new sock boots. Ever since I first saw these, which must be a month ago or more, I have lusted after them. And, may I add, so have many others, meaning that they're virtually impossible to get hold of. You magazine featured them in September (or was it August?), immediately causing a stampede. Within a day the only size they had for sale on their website was a 2.5 and soon even that was gone. My ever resourceful daughter tracked this pair down to eBay (brand new with labels attached) and even though they were twice the retail price, I had to have them. Just as a fish needs water or a bee needs nectar, I needed these boots. 

The dress is a coral colour, but being shot silk, the secondary tone is pink. I decided to go colour crazy by mixing the red petticoat and boots, pink belt and coral dress all together giving this eye-popping effect. My accessories are rose gold in keeping with the warm hues. Sheila, I do hope you can forgive me my ulterior motives, but as you can see, this is a truly joyful outfit that you've helped me to create.

Outfit details - dress: Big Fish, belt: eBay, boots: H&M, sunglasses: Sainsbury's, jewellery: pre-loved.

Linking with -
Catherine of Not Dressed As Lamb
Cherie of Style Nudge
Samantha of Fake Fabulous
Anna x


Leather, tulle and glitter

Understated, moi? Well, certainly not today that's for sure. Some days I feel like it's time for a bit of frothy fun and this was one of them. Polly did me proud with loads of heckling as well as prompts for lots of twirling. This red petticoat has that effect on me, so let's get going!

Apologies if you think you've seen this before, but today has a couple of little changes - the shoes for a start. These are my twinkly, glittery oxfords/brogues which just happen to go superbly well with my biker jacket and this adorable skater dress. Without the petticoat it's way too short, but with it, well I'd say it's pretty perfect!

Hang on! I wasn't quite ready there. 

I love the masculine shape of these shoes offset against the feminine of the blue sparkly glitter. 

And here's the second little tweak - this glitter belt. It's been in my eBay cupboard for at least a year now, so you can imagine my delight at rediscovering it when I was searching for the right belt to wear with this outfit. Well, not just the right belt, but the perfect match for my shoes - can you believe it?

I have a pair of yellow/mustard thick cable tights that I toyed with adding to this combo, but decided that the yellow may have been too distracting to the eye - after all, it's all working so well as it is don't you think? I could have justified the addition as they would have picked up that same hue in the dress, but think there's enough going on already. Knowing when to stop is the thing.

The clocks change here in the UK this weekend which will give us lighter mornings. This helps me with my sunrise swimming and still allows me to get into work on time. However, winter always seems to be more of a struggle, more about juggling chores and time spent on lots of projects. I've got a huge list of things I want to achieve this winter, in particular a fab sewing project which I'll share with you when I get going on it. In the meantime, I may have to move my posts around, or even post less frequently. To keep up with every post why not sign up to follow me by email? Get every single update direct into your mailbox so you don't miss a feature. And for those of you who enjoy the scenic shots I add from time to time, I have lots more of these on my instagram feed so why not follow me there too? Click here.

Outfit details - jacket: TOXIK3 (TK Maxx), dress: Topshop (charity shopped), petticoat: eBay, belt: eBay, shoes: Xti Tentations (TK Maxx), rings: charity shopped.
Anna x


First anniversary post

Exactly one year ago I stepped out with some trepidation to take part in my first ever photo shoot for the fledgling blog of mine. After months of research, checking out other bloggers sites and content, I was at last ready to step into my own little spot in the blogsphere. The post was short (see here), but fun and a definite indication of the flavour of what was to come over the months ahead. I thought it might be a nice tie-in to feature these signature tartan tights once more in this anniversary post. 

Not one to underplay things, I've gone the whole hog with this today. Age appropriate? Probably not, but who invited the style police to this party anyway? As I said the first time I wore this skirt (see here) -  "Girls just wanna have fun!" 

I think I missed my calling in life. I would have loved to have been a cheerleader with fluffy pom-poms!

These mirror sunglasses are perfect for showing my photographer of the day - take a bow Sasha.

Details of today's outfit are like this - leather jacket: Lulu and Red Boutique (charity shop). Skirt: Green Envelope, Los Angeles (TK Maxx). Petticoat: eBay. Polo neck: charity shop. Shoes: New Look. Tights: old. Necklace: M&S. Rings: charity shop. Sunglasses: Quay Australia. 

To be honest, I'm amazed that it's a whole year that's passed. I had only planned to continue for about 6 months, just as a personal challenge, but was still brimming with enthusiasm and ideas so have carried on. And now after a year, I'm still not done. I've noticed that there are other fashion bloggers who have run their blogs for years and years, but I worry that I may become repetitive or a bit blah after a while, and therefore I can only say, enjoy it now as I have no idea how long I can keep this up! 

A little more than a year ago my daughter Sasha left home, not for the first time, but for the last, I think. During the time my husband was away with her, helping her set up home and doing all those necessary things, like pushing a huge trolley around Ikea to gather bed and bedding, wardrobes and tables, I was here, alone. I have no problem being alone, but this was suddenly a different thing. This state of affairs was one I had read about in many a paper and magazine. Yes, the empty nest syndrome. Now, I never saw myself as one of those sad, fretting mothers, who spent all her time, twittering around her offspring. There was never any running them to clubs and parties, not for me, not here on this tiny island. But I was aware of the space she had vacated, and that was one of female companion, listening ear, someone to share a joke with, or a moan if need be, someone to tell me if my outfit was too way-out for work or even this small community.

And that's when this wee seedling of an idea really took hold. Sasha and I had talked about me starting my own fashion blog previously. One of my close girlfriends often nagged me to send her photos of my outfit of the day, as she spent her whole life in overalls (such is the life of an artist, eh Maggie?) which I did, with her response always being that I ought to run a blog for women of our age. And now here I am, a year down the line, and loving the joy of sharing my clothes, my swimming and my life with you, my dear readers.

I've discovered that I can't be a fashion guru, or a beauty adviser, an agony aunt, or have a full-on magazine type blog with loads of tips on dressing for your shape or age. But I can show you what I wear, in fact love wearing, and hope that it may inspire women like me, of a certain age, what she can wear if she wants to, to step of our the stereotype of the over 50's. It seems that all I can write about, with any depth or knowledge of the subject, is me. This did worry me terribly at the beginning, as I struggled with the sheer vanity of the "look-at-me" nature of what my blog was going to be. I'm maybe a show-off, but I'm not smug. I'm a very generous person, particularly with other women who deserve compliments for making an effort to look good. I love to give positive feedback to women I come across, be it on a train, in the street, or even in the gallery where I work. I'm pro-women, pro-men too in fact, but I really enjoy making a woman's day by telling her she looks fab. We all like to hear that don't we?

Next, I can't do a round up of my blog without mentioning my health. I have a health page which really was the driving force for writing, sharing and putting my story into print. It's not pretty, or easy to share, but is part of me, in fact, it's why I am such a happy, joyful person. You see, when you've been ill for most of your adult life, (in my case since I was 18 when I was diagnosed and yes, I'm 58 now) then you really, really relish being well when you finally get there. I'm totally well, and delighted about this state of affairs. I work so hard to maintain my good health and I urge any of you who are blessed with a strong constitution to embrace it wholeheartedly. The only bit of advice you'll see on my blog is this - Do not take your good health for granted. Every day of my life I'm thankful for being healthy.

But I can't finish without saying thank you to the blogging community for welcoming me in. My thanks go to Catherine of Not Dressed as Lamb whose blog is a wealth of advice and sound knowledge on how to go about setting up a blog and everything else that follows. Thanks also to Kristin, the Highland Fashionista whose writing style inspired me to pen a journal type-blog rather than an info-type blog. And thanks to Sheila of Ephemera, whose daily posts were, and still are, creative fodder for me.

And last of all, thank you to those of you who write to me by email, or in my comments, or make contact through Instagram. But the biggest thank you must go to you, the silent majority for bumping up my page views with such amazing consistency. Thank you for coming back again and again to read about my life on this little island. Initially I thought I would just be running a blog for myself, for no other reason than sharing photos and words with my half a dozen girlfriends and a few of my family. And yet now it seems there are so many of you out there. Thank you so much.

Anna x

Linking with 
Jess of Elegantly Dressed and Stylish
Cherie of Style Nudge

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