January jumpers with the Style Not Age collective

Hello and welcome to our January challenge with the Style Not Age collective. I chose jumpers as this month's theme as I thought it would be our go-to item at this time of year. We've all had a pretty challenging time just getting our shots in on time as the weather seems to have played havoc everywhere this weekend. But hey, here they all are, so let's start with Hilda shall we?

Hilda's sweater is all about the back view and rather nice it is too! The ladder back with a deep V certainly lifts her jumper out of the ordinary. Skinny jeans and heeled boots round things off nicely. See more on her blog Over The Hilda.

Skinny jeans too from Emma of Style Splash and she's taken various shades of yellow as her feature colour for sock boots, hat and that cute graphic print jumper. Do hop across to her blog to read her back story.

When I first met Jacqui she told me that she has a three colour rule when she's putting a look together and today these are black, white and fuchsia which has proven to be a great combination. See more on Mummabstylish.

You could say that I'm following Jacqui's three colour rule too this month as well as taking a leaf out of her book with an injection of fun by way of the brightest of bubblegum pink, surely the perfect antidote to winter. My son Jamie bought me these sock boots for my Christmas and this is the first time I've worn them. They're the same as my beloved red ones and are also by H&M. My jumper is by ME+EM and is pre-loved, jeans are by Lee and are a lovely fit with a touch of stretch.

I've had this suede two tone belt for years now. I bought it from Benetton in Truro, another shop in the city that has recently closed down. However, it has at least been re-opened by another clothes retailer. As my nearest and most favourite retail centre I have a great interest in the city of Truro and it's future. And forgive me, but I'm just gonna have a mini-moan now about my most favourite of shops, TK Maxx. On my recent travels I've been in branches of TK in London, Manchester, Dundee, Edinburgh and Truro and I have to say how terribly disappointing the Truro branch is with regards to shoe stock. Years ago the entire width of the back of the store was full of shoes. Each size had its own rack which spread across the rear of the shop, ranging from 3 to 8. That's at least 6 islands of shoes and sometimes my sizes, a 5 and 6, would have two islands. I was in the shop a few days ago and was saddened to see that their entire shoe stock has been shrunk down to two measly racks. At the checkout I asked the assistant if they were running down their stock completely and was told it's a chicken and egg situation. Seemingly they aren't allowed more stock because their sales have fallen, and yes their sales continue to drop as the selection becomes smaller and smaller. I'm just about to write to them (a good old fashioned letter) to say my piece rather than just rant on to you.

My sweet little handbag was a recent charity shop find, costing all of two pounds. I took it abroad with me and it was the perfect size for keeping all of my valuables close at hand. Not only that, but it was ideal for both daytime wear and evening outings. I took it out to dinner and also to a party in Cape Town and this bag didn't look in the least out of place at either venue. Someone even asked me if it was a designer piece! My other accessories are two pink resin rings, both pre-loved, which my photographer and I omitted to get close-ups of, as well as a silver Tree of Life pendant and of course my obligatory Quay Australia sunglasses.

You can hardly tell from this sunny backdrop at the time that yesterday we had a gale raging across the island, could you? Steve suggested this sheltered spot, the walkway to the bird hide, timing it just right to capture the late morning sun. I'd been up early, keen to unpack my bags and get a sense of order before going back to work today. I also wanted to get back into my morning routine, so after spending some time on my blog, I waited for daybreak and got my swimming things together. I've missed my daily sea swims and am keen to get the old routine established again. I donned fleecy over trousers, big woolly jumper, fur-lined jacket, boot socks, fur lined boots, bobble hat and gloves and jumped on my bike to head to Appletree Bay.

The sea was wild, all white tops and choppy waves. 

The sun was just emerging from behind the clouds as I arrived at the beach. I watched the waves surge in and suck out again. I watched a bit longer. And then I decided that my first swim ought not to be quite so daunting - the tidal run was about 15 to 20 feet, which makes even just getting into the water a scary business. I love sea swimming, but I'm not as brave as I'd like to be. 

So I took a few photos and cycled back home again. In the distance, beyond Cromwell's Castle, I could see the waves pounding over Shipman's Head on Bryher. So no swim today then? Ah, well, maybe not. A couple of hours later when the sun was shining and the tide was high, I did a first swimming wise. I literally ran from my house in my swimsuit, out across the road and into the sea at the slipway below my kitchen window. I swam across the bay towards the quay and back. Not a big swim, but certainly a brisk one, but more importantly, a safe one. The bay was protected from the strong Northerly wind and was relatively calm. Job done!

And that's it for our January style challenge. I do hope you'll take a moment to check out the other ladies in full on their blogs. If you want to see more of these, then the December challenge is here, November here and October is here.

Thanks for dropping by. It's lovely to be home again and I'm so keen to hear from you all. Please leave me a comment to just say hello - it's great to know you're out there!

Have a super week!

Anna x


It's show time!

Easter weekend is generally when we kick off the season with our first exhibition of the year, and this year is no different. On Good Friday Polly and I worked late, stripping the gallery and rehanging with brand new works commissioned for the show. You can see the entire collection online.

Another thing that doesn't change from one year to the next, is the last minute flurry as I try to find the perfect outfit for the occasion. The sunshine belies the very cold temperature thanks to a chilly north wind which just added to my stress. 

"Give us a twirl" demanded Polly, but the camera couldn't quite keep up with my moves. I wanted to include it anyway as it shows the mood and movement despite the lack of my camera's technical abilities.

The dress has been showcased on a previous opening night, but not with these boots. The kitten heel sock boots are from Primark and I seem to recall that they were only about £15. I added an extra petticoat to counter the static that had built up during my wardrobe malfunction. 

And what one was that, you may ask? With only five minutes to spare, I decided that my frock did indeed need an iron despite it's crinkled effect and so I attempted to iron the skirt part whilst I was still wearing it! Please don't try this at home!!!! The result was that I could barely remove the wrinkles and also it just created a whole load of static. A lightweight net underskirt did at least douse things down.

For those of who haven't succumbed to the charms of the sock boot already, may I just tell you that the combination of kitten heel and soft fabric plus gentle grip around the ankle all go to make for an incredibly comfortable boot. At the last count I seem to have four pairs, but I don't think that's the end of it by any means.

For once I'm not sporting any charity shop jewellery - the pendant is by Vivienne Westwood, the citrine solitaire is c/o Gemporia and the other citrine ring was a purchase in an airport terminal somewhere. 

The evening was a runaway success, so much so that we had no time to capture the support team as they and I were working right up to the last minute. My thank-you shot of the group may be missing but my thanks still go to Polly, Hannah and Connor for making everything run smoothly. While the youngsters went off to party I stayed late and packed up paintings ready for despatch first thing in the morning. And that I'd say, was pretty much as it should be.

On Friday I leave the island to travel north to Harrogate for my annual buying trip. Please do drop in again on Sunday though, as I plan to post my outfit of the day that I'll be wearing. In the meantime, have a great week and I'll catch up with you again on Sunday!

Anna x


A trial run

Yes, it's that time of year when I start doing the big try on, getting ready for the party season. I've got a couple of parties on the horizon as well as drink do's to prepare for so I like to be ready. 

I'm still besotted with these red sock boots, so please accept my apologies if you've tired of them already. Be warned - they will be making a few more appearances! 

When I wore them for the first time (see here) I didn't need tights, but the cold weather and length of this dress mean that's not an option. I'm not sure if black is the right thing here though...Maybe plain black would have been better?

The book handbag was a prize find in Primark in London. It was a fraction of the cost of the real McCoy ones I've seen in other shops.

This must be the first red dress I've had since I was a child. It's from H&M and was partnered with the boots in an advert. I don't normally fall for the spoon fed version of fashion, but I thought it was so simple yet effective.

I thought this charity shop owl necklace was the perfect ploy for the Harry Potter book bag, and only £5 too!

Maybe this could be an option for Christmas day? I'm not sure it's dressy enough for an evening party, but again, that's just me. This is where I ask you for your opinion. I'll be popping up again over the next couple of weeks to run some Christmas outfits past you, so please feel free to give me your thoughts. You can email me if you're too shy to post a comment.

Outfit details - coat: vintage, dress: H&M, boots: H&M, necklace and rings: charity shopped, handbag: Primark, sunglasses: Quay Australia, tights: H&M.

I've just taken delivery of a box of shopping from my Black Friday splurge. I'll let you know how that goes once I've had a try on. In addition, I'm aware that I've yet to show you my shopping from London, so I maybe need to have a post where I do a round up of all that's new in my wardrobe as we hurtle towards Christmas. I'm acutely aware of how short lived this hugely hyped holiday is so I'm fighting shy of buying any more in the way of glitter and sparkle as I own quite a lot of glitzy items already. I'm currently searching for the perfect pair of black shoes that will last beyond the party season and will let you know how that plays out too. 

How are you getting on with your Christmas shopping? Did you wait until Black Friday to hit the shops? And what about your big food shop? Do you do that online or do you brave the supermarket in that last minute rush? Are you one of those very organised types who picks up something every week for months in advance? Do tell - I'm keen to hear how life plays out beyond our little island especially at this time of year. Whatever you're up to, do try to enjoy what you're doing without getting too stressed. See you soon!

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

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