Summer exhibitions: 1 of 6

During the months of July and August our gallery hosts one exhibition every 10 days. This is no mean feat, but I treat it as my annual challenge where I try to outdo myself with all sorts of figures, ie numbers of guests who attend, number of paintings sold, profits made etc. I work with a small team of girls who play a huge part in the success of the evening and all without any direction from me, which is the perfect kind of teamwork.
Exhibition nights are the ultimate reason for dressing up and are such a pleasure for me, as is finding the right components that will work well for an opening night party. Sometimes I'm game for a pair of really high heels, such as tonight, but other times only flatties will do. The soiree is always well attended and for the ladies is a chance to wear that special something they might have packed "just in case..."
So here's the ensemble I put together for the first of the six shows. And here's me with one of the exhibiting artists, Tom Rickman. And finally with my small, but perfectly formed support team comprising of Polly Edwards (gallery assistant and blog photographer), Julie McMurray (assistant to the assistant) and Beth Inch (yes, you guessed it, assistant to the assistant's assistant). And as you can tell we all had a great evening.

Skirt : TK Maxx. Blouse : charity shop. Shoes : TK Maxx. Necklace : Debenhams. Opaque white stone ring : New Look. Peach perspex ring : gift. Beaded purse on chain : eBay. Sunglasses : Quay Australia.


Crazy culottes

These over sized culottes are totally gorgeous, but somehow being culottes there seems to be this need in me to have them recognised as such. While Polly was snapping away I was checking if you could tell that they weren't just looking like a long floppy skirt. Why is that important? I don't really know, apart from seeing a skirt that length as a bit granny-ish. Which is ridiculous, of course, as who could possibly mistake me, a woman of 57, as being a granny? 
Anyway, I bought them in the Topshop sale last summer and am aware that I've only worn them a couple of times, so have decided that this may not be the only time you'll see them. I want to style them up differently to prove to myself, if no-one else, that culottes can be quite versatile. And for once, the almost constant element of an island breeze comes into it's own when you need said culottes to blow about and be seen for what they truly are!

Culottes : Topshop. Cardi : Boden (customised with buttons by Mary Goldberg). T shirt : charity shop. Shoes : New Look. Orange necklace : old. Orange rings : Sam Williams. Bracelets : charity shop. Leather belt : charity shop. Sunglasses : Quay Australia. Yellow barrel bag : NW3 (charity shop). 


Honey, she told me, you've got backfat!

About 10 years ago, when I was a curvaceous size 12 on a good day or a lumpy size 14 on a bad one, I went on a business trip to Cornwall with an artist friend. It was a business trip on a budget and we were therefore sharing a room, but at least it was in the Penzance Arts Club where we were both members. It was a very bohemian set-up and always full of colourful characters so it was great fun to have an excuse to spend the weekend there.

One evening we were invited to attend the Private View of an exhibition in nearby St Just which created a flurry of activity in the bottom of our weekend bags. Did we have anything arty enough(her) and dressy enough(me)? The options were limited, and after retreating to bathrooms we regrouped to assess ourselves and each other. Kathy looked her usual understated, cool-artist self. I thought I looked passable, faintly chubby, but at least presentable enough not to have to hide in a dark corner all night. That was until I checked out my rear view in a couple of strategically placed mirrors. "What's going on with the back of my bra line, Kathy?" I asked. It looked decidedly dodgy. To which she replied in her native American drawl "Honeee, you' got baaayckfat!"

This alarming reality had previously gone unnoticed by me due to the lack of awareness of the condition and also the lack of perfect mirror alignment. Belly fat, chubby thighs, moon face (side effect of steroids), massive mammaries (due to over production of milk akin to a dairy parlour whilst breast feeding) - all of these I knew about, but no, not back fat. Apart from spoiling a good evening out (yes, I did actually find a dark corner to lurk in for the duration), it was also a terrible blow to our friendship. How could she have told me? How could she have not? Bugger.

And so began the inevitable search for wunderwear or what our mothers/grandmothers referred to as foundation garments. It soon became apparent to me that the production of this vital configuration of "lingerie" is a massive industry. Once you've discovered that your body has let you down (somewhat literally), the hunt for the easy solution never ends. Lose 10lbs and you still need it, only in a smaller size. Likewise with the post-Christmas gain which suddenly decides to show up, bang on New Year's Eve just as you're trying to squeeze yourself into that silky sheath dress you foolishly imagined you were going to slim into in time for the annual do. You now need all the same items to suck you in and pull you up, only in 2 sizes bigger than normal

You may look at photos of me in my blog and wonder what I've got to complain about? But listen, dropping 3 dress sizes was wonderful (and still is), but it does has a downside. I may be smaller, but there is an element of deflation about my person (remember those sad, wrinkly balloons you find behind the sofa 2 weeks after the children's birthday party?) and these areas, I feel, still have to be coaxed and neatly tidied away to give a smooth outline.

I now possess every combo in every size of Spanx (other brands are also available) long shorts, short longs, all-in-ones with mini letterbox apertures which allegedly allow for bodily functions to continue (a bit of a challenge), skinny vest-type tops which do away with any cleavage/bust definition as well as the desire to fully breathe in, and an amazingly lurid pink number which starts just above my knees and meets the bottom of my bra line. All of these work to a certain degree, but the problem is, and excuse me for stating the obvious, well the problem is that all the excess fat, flesh or in my case skin just gets gathered up and eventually spills out in another location! It seems to me that total mummification is the only complete remedy. Either that, or we all agree not to tell our best friend that she's got back fat.

The shopping spree and a Highland wedding!

 We recently went to Scotland to attend my niece's wedding and even though I was off-island for a whole week I only managed one day's shopping. My expertise in speed shopping can be seen in the fine display of my loot spread out on my return. The majority of my purchases are from several charity shops in Cornwall topped up with a dash of finds from TK Maxx and a sprinkling from Florence and Fred at Tesco's. Much as I like to look stylish or quirky or trendy I really can't justify breaking the bank to achieve that when I'd rather save my cash for holidays and treats for the family. Don't get me wrong, I'm not averse to buying lovely designer wear, I just prefer to scoop up my Jean Paul Gaultier jeans on their second time around. Spending my money in charity shops also means I'm supporting a variety of worthy causes as well as diverting a quantity of clothes away from landfill sites. This way everyone wins and I don't have to suffer shopper's guilt to boot!

Dress : Monsoon (eBay). Shrug : charity shop. Shoes : M&S. Brass bangle : Rose Cecil. Rose gold bangle : Kate Spade, New York. Rings : charity shop. Necklace : Debenhams.

Congratulations to Lynsey and Mike 

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