September beach outfit

Oh wow, what a beautiful day we had yesterday! Luckily I had the day off and by lunchtime I managed to persuade Steve to sneak a half day off too so that we could skip off-island to a remote beach. As we motored off in our boat, it felt like it might be the last chance for a summer picnic this year. And we weren't the only ones making a break for it - the sea was teaming with small boats like ours, all hoping to find a secluded spot to claim for themselves. Our favourite beaches over on the Eastern Isles were already occupied so we turned back to Tean (no), then St Helen's (full of kayaks) and then finally across to Northwethel before we could claim our own island for the day.

I'd taken a couple of outfits for my beach romp. I'm sure I've shown these cover-up trousers before as they're my go-to piece for picnic days on the beach. I found them in an Op shop in New Zealand when Steve and I went touring over there in a camper-van. Oh happy, carefree pre-Covid days!

The multi-coloured swimsuit is by Boden, gifted from a friend. The very nature of being strapless means it's well constructed with lots of inner support as well as stretch. I haven't worn it for swimming, but I fancy it would withstand the normal rigours of a dip in the pool, if not the sea.

I was very pleased with the impromptu picnic I pulled together at short notice; I made Steve a couple of sandwiches of french baguette filled with mashed avocado, crisp fried bacon, sliced fresh tomato and a sweep of mayo. I had tuna, tomato, avocado and beetroot salad and we both had some sweet baby tomatoes from our greenhouse followed by banana icecream made by yours truly. 

It's ridiculous how quickly this summer seems to have shot past us, don't you think? Indoor and outdoor life aka beach life for me has felt much more normal than last year when we were all quite jittery about the pandemic. Our guests on the island seem much more relaxed too, although this has meant that we have a rising number of cases of the virus being reported on the Isles of Scilly of late which is inevitable. The easing of rules was always going to result in numbers rising. However, the upside is that the local economy has thrived with the influx of cruise ships as well as almost every bed on Scilly being fully booked for the entire season. It's been a great year.

My necklace is by Charlie Dodge, rings are both pre-loved and sunglasses by Quay Australia. Thanks for dropping by. I'll show you my second beach outfit in my next post, so please do swing by again for another dose of sunshine on the beautiful Isles of Scilly. 

Another picnic and another day to count our blessings for our life here.

Anna x


62 and good enough

At the weekend Steve and I had our first outing on our boat this year. It's been a funny old year as we all know and it had taken us some time to decide if we'd bother getting our boat into the water. But we have and it was lovely to get away from work and home on Sunday. We pootled off at no great pace, enjoying the sights and sounds of being on the water during such a beautiful spell of weather. 

We neither of us take our life here on the Isles of Scilly for granted, making sure that we talk about our good fortune often, especially on days like this. There's something utterly timeless about these boating days which spans our 40 years of being together. The simple freedom of having a boat opens up opportunities to visit other islands in the archipelago, be they populated or uninhabited. Mostly we take ourselves off to an uninhabited spot, aiming to have a beach to ourselves. On Sunday we weren't alone in that thought.

During the summer months these Fortunate Isles are a lure for the yachting community and it almost has to be an act of stealth to land upon a stretch of sand that hasn't been claimed by a like minded party. Local boats can be seen circling the islands looking for their very own private beach. And that's what we did for almost an hour as the tide was receding that morning. 

At Old Grimsby there's a tiny smattering of rocks, hardly islands as such, called the Small Islands where Steve and I had spent many a courting day, catching shrimps and having picnics long before we married. These rocky outcrops aren't blessed with pure silky sand and offer little to do for families and therefore were a great place for two young lovers to escape to. It became a favourite spot for us.  We'd clamber up over the rocks onto the grassy tussocks on top to eat our picnic and view the world from our vantage point, people-watching as boats zig-zagged below us and windsurfers whizzed past on their way to nowhere. Later, laying down on our blanket, we would become invisible to the world as we watched clouds scudding by, terns screeching overhead. 

This particular islet is called Foreman Island where we enjoyed an idyllic few hours on Sunday. We spread a blanket and enjoyed our time just like we used to. The decades slipped away as we talked about our lives when we had first met. The fabric of these islands hasn't changed for thousands of years. Superficially yes, buildings have been erected and castles have crumbled, but the core of the Scillies remains the same. I take great solace in that. Generations will come and go, but barring some terrible natural disaster, these beautiful islands will always be the same.

Vapour trails are still a rarity in the skies above us. One of the best things about lock-down was the untainted skies overhead for months and months.

I had earmarked this sandbar as a good location for a photo shoot, bringing a mermaid frock with me for the moment when the tide dropped enough to reveal the white blond silky brow of sand. As we made our way out towards the Eastern Isles we could see that our plans were coinciding with others. The colourful sails of little toppers signaled company and as we got nearer we could see some kayaks there too. However, by the time we had transferred onto our little dingy, the interlopers were leaving and the sandbar became ours.

I hadn't planned to do a bikini shoot, but when we hit the beach the idea came to me I decided that it was the right thing to do. Unplanned, you see me without fake tan on my white belly or beach mules to lengthen my legs. The hand placed on that soft vulnerable spot of my tummy eventually drops away to reveal the truth of a 62 year old woman. Sea swimming is my only form of exercise, well that plus the frantic bit of cycling to and from the beaches, but in an ideal world I'd workout to keep myself more toned and trim. Having Madonna as a role model for my age is a tough act to follow and I do wonder sometimes if I had my own chef and personal trainer would I be sporting a springy, nay rock-hard body like hers.

A lifetime of dieting and feeling dissatisfied with my body is at last giving way to believing that I'm good enough - that this body is good enough. In years to come I'd love to think that society will have its focus on other things rather than our exterior selves. In the meantime, I'm the result of my upbringing, of a father who poked fun at my chumpfy thighs and of a gym mistress who pointed out how I had the whitest legs on the cross country team. My formative years were plagued by these shortcomings and only now have I laid them to rest. Happiness by way of body confidence doesn't rely on the word perfect. I'm 62 and good enough. Hurrah for that!

PS The mermaid dress will be showcased next time, so do please swing by again at the end of the week to see it.

                                                                            Anna x


High summer on the Isles of Scilly

High summer on the Isles of Scilly is all about a state of being rather than doing. Keep it simple and you can't go far wrong. We often sneak in a post-work beer on these beautiful days when the sun is still high in the sky at five in the evening. We hopped aboard our boat and went a-looking for a corner of beach to call our own for an hour or two. But honestly, everyone seemed to have the same idea as us. We opted instead to pull up onto a sand bar revealed by the low tide.

A cold beer for Steve and a cool swim for me is all that we ask on a day like this.

I love this central trail of white shells along this beach. Mother nature at work here.

These footprints remind me of hieroglyphics.

Bridgette Jones would be envious of these legs that go all the way up to here.

The tide had turned and Steve said he wanted to sit in the dinghy until we were washed away. But first, I wanted to see how quickly the tide would maroon me. The following shots were virtually only seconds apart. I could hardly believe how quickly the tide flooded in.

For a millisecond I had my very own tiny of tiniest islands!

And this was us, floating off on the tide.

Soon this entire sandbank would belong to the sea again. We and the seagulls were evicted from our temporary tenancy, the rattling of shells the next incomers on the tide, adding to nature's decoration.

The sun sinks behind Bryher as we tootle gently home. Time for Steve to run the dog while I rustle up some dinner. Summer is my favourite time.

                                                                                         Anna x


St Martin's is such a beautiful island!

High summer on the Isles of Scilly is all about messing about in boats and we recently took ourselves off to St Martin's for the day to meet up with friends for a day of walking, talking and a picnic lunch on one of the finest beaches of the islands. We were blessed with a beautifully calm day for a boat trip affording us some lovely views as we sped around the North End of the island towards St Martin's. 

These awaydays are a lovely treat in the middle of what is the busiest time of the year. We revel in the chance to potter about in our boat and this trip to St Martin's was a great opportunity to catch up with Steve's friend Pete who was key in his life when Steve was a young lad who wanted to learn about working on the land. This common bond cemented their lifelong friendship and golly when they get together, man can they talk!

St Martin's lies in the foreground with Tean island beyond on the left, St Helen's behind that and on the far right is Round Island Lighthouse.

I had requested that we go to have our picnic lunch on Great Bay as I've never visited the beach before. It's often voted as the best beach on the Isles of Scilly which is what Sasha had reported too after her visit there last year. It may have taken me a long time to get there, but rest assured I'll be pushing to return quite soon. 

The UK mainland lies some 28 miles ahead, but the shoreline was what I was focusing on. The turquoise water and pure white, silky soft sand are all that you could wish for. In fact it looks like the Caribbean, don't you think? And yes, of course I did have a swim here. It was deliciously warm as the tide gently flooded in across the hot sand. The day was indeed scorching and had us all retreating under hats to escape the blasting heat. After picnic and swim we were going to tick off another item on my wishlist - to walk out to the Day Mark which is the tiny white dot on the top of the hillside to the right of the shot.

This massive cruise ship is rounding the mainland near Land's End. You can just make out the land mass as the dark outline behind the vessel. Those 28 miles don't look that far away do they?

As the ship shimmers off into the distance we start our walk out towards the Day Mark. 

Sky and sea with the ghostly mainland sandwiched in between.

One final longing look back at Great Bay - it was great, really great!

Walking along the spine of St Martin's gave us some spectacular sights. To the right is St Mary's, the main island of the group, skirted by the uninhabited Eastern Islands.

As the chaps were discussing the names of these tiny islets and how to approach each one at differing states of the tide, I had caught sight of this wonderful heart shaped sandbar and some intrepid voyagers making their way to it.

And there we have yet another outing added to my wishlist for this summer. I too want to gad about on this fabulous white scrap of sand as it emerges on the low tide. I can even imagine which amazing outfit for this very unique photo opportunity - well, what self-respecting blogger wouldn't?

Nearing the Day Mark and I wish I'd thought about a better outfit for this striking backdrop.

Come on guys, more walking and less chatting!

And talking of self-respecting bloggers, how on earth did I manage to forget both lipstick and hairbrush on this day out? Anna au naturel is all I can say about this shot.

I love this end of the world image. I do in fact, have an artist friend who is planning to swim all the way from the mainland to the Isles of Scilly soon. It's only been done once before and took the lady about 17 hours which seems like an amazing feat. Mark is hoping to rival that figure. I take my hat off to him just for getting this far into his planning never mind the actual swim. Awesome stuff!

This headland settlement must have borne the brunt of the wild Atlantic gales.

The best kept chickens on the island live here.

Our St Martin's awayday was a super day out for us. We headed back to the beach to make our way home after a long day. There's so much to do on the island and we only scratched the surface. We must make the effort to return before the summer is over.

St Martin's is a gem in the crown that makes up the Isles of Scilly. If you get the chance to visit, I'd urge to you come!

                                                                                    Anna x

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