End of year review

A lot of fashion bloggers are taking a moment as this time of year to review the past 12 months, showing their favourite outfits and special moments. I intended to do this myself and then I remembered that my blog has only been up and running for 6 months and therefore doesn't really merit such a review. Instead I thought I'd share some thoughts and images from my other passion, sea swimming. Wait! Oh dear, I fancy I've just heard a (virtual) door slam as many readers have just scarpered. But for those who remain let me start with the view down to my favourite beach, Appletree Bay. This was taken in early December and is the sight that greets me after a brisk uphill cycle at about 7.30 in the morning. As the cove is about half a mile from home, it's far enough to prepare me for the icy dip which is my true wake-up call.

The sun is rising below a bank of cloud over the back of St Mary's. Just a glimmer of sunshine at this time of year is encouraging. Many's the morning I've cycled head on into driving rain with the darkest of skies offering no improvement in sight. These grey, bleak starts have me wondering what on earth I'm doing.

But here's what keeps me coming. This beautiful stretch of white sand is my very own playground at this time of day. The bay is just short enough for a quick morning swim, but most importantly, I'm usually the only one here at the crack of dawn. An occasional jet boat is the only other sign of life giving me an extra workout as I battle against the impact of the following wash. The two things that will stop me swimming are ill health and wild seas. As I swim alone, it's important that I don't take any risks which might also put others at risk if they had to come looking for me. My husband is my weather adviser as he goes out early every morning before me and on his return tells me if it's too wild to swim or at least which beach I ought to go to to keep out of the worst of the wind/swell. In addition I know that if I can't cycle because the wind is too strong, then I ought not to be out in the water either. And finally my advice to any other solitary sea swimmer is to swim parallel to the beach so that you are always within striking distance of the shore. A sudden bout of cramp can be disabling, and an unexpected seal encounter can also take your breath away - any of which can compromise even the strongest of swimmers. Swim safe!

Photo courtesy of Chris Billington

This is the Jubilee pool in Penzance. It was here about 10 years ago that I glimpsed an inspirational sight which was the catalyst for the sea swimming I do now. I'd been walking along the promenade when I heard laughter followed by men's voices coming from the changing booths opposite. I snuck around the gates and there in the late afternoon light I saw about half a dozen old guys standing drying themselves off. These weren't youngsters in training for an event. This was a jovial meet up for a dip in this sea water pool, probably a regular event throughout the season. What struck me was not the white or sparse hair, or the elderly stance of these guys, no what really got my attention was their amazing ruddy complexion. Arms, legs, faces, everything was red, glowing and they, every single one of them, looked so healthy. Coupled with their laughter, the whole scene etched itself into my memory bank. I instantly knew that I wanted to experience this joie de vivre too. I didn't manage to motivate myself immediately, but life finally conspired to get me into the sea swimming groove. For the past couple of years I've swum every day, sometimes even twice a day, if the tide was right and work permitted. These are solitary events; my time to be alone in nature, but more than that; my time to talk to my Maker. This morning commune gives me a clean slate; it's where I share my thoughts, give my thanks and emerge from the salty water, cleansed, restored, rebalanced. 

With goggles and swim cap at the ready, the aim of this snap is to show you the difference in skin colour from before...

 ...to after. This ruddy, glowing complexion is the trophy of a good swim. And I know it's not just my skin that is benefiting - heart, lungs, immune system are all under siege for the duration and my metabolism is boosted for the rest of the day. I know of no better workout, and it's free! My swimsuit is just that - not a shortie wetsuit, but a nylon Speedo-type suit offering no warmth, but with the bonus of thigh coverage which is merely for vanity's sake. I love the afterglow - it gives me such a rush. 

And that's it, mission accomplished! I pile on the layers of thermal socks, fleece lined trousers, cashmere polo neck, fur lined jacket, beanie hat, thermal gloves and furry boots. I jump onto my faithful steed for the dash home to eat, shower and dress for work. Ah yes, dressing for work...

Here's one final outfit that didn't make the cut this summer, although I don't know why as it's one of my favourites as I look through my album now. 
Dress: H&M. Cardi: Boden (customised with buttons by Stockwell Ceramics). Necklace: Debenhams. Shoes: TK Maxx. Watch and rings: charity shop.

I'd like to wish you all a very happy and peaceful New Year and hope that you'll keep in touch throughout 2016


Six do a style link up

Today I've been asked to join five other fashionistas who all have their very own strong sense of style. It's such a lovely opportunity to be asked to take part in this link up. Please take a moment to check out their blogs.

The theme of the link up is four colours or more which lends itself to quite different interpretations - some have taken a very colourful spin whereas I've gone along the lines of playing with neutrals with prints. My ensemble is a mix of vintage and old faithfuls such as these tartan tights which made their debut in my very first post in May of 2015 as seen here. The dress is a vintage piece from Marks and Spencer when their branding was St Michael which I bought from eBay some time ago. The quality is superb, it's fully lined and the stitching and finish is perfect. I've added my net underskirt to give it a bit of body and show off the fullness of the skirt. As the dress is such a simple, classic style I've added this cream jacket which relies on lots of pleating and a great cut to give it a bit of pzazz. The conservative nature of the dress was what gave birth to the notion of tartan tights with the leopard print shoes and belt. I finished off the look with my gorgeous orange and gold necklace by Magpie Vintage. The piece is made up of recycled vintage jewellery which is remodelled into a contemporary shape. 

It's amazing how the time has flown past since starting my blog, and how my closet has offered up such such a collection of outfits, some of which have been quite a surprise to me sometimes. The fun of sharing with friends and family was initially all I had hoped for, but over these months my world has expanded to encompass fashion bloggers from all across the globe. These fashionistas also have a driving passion for dressing up and are quite happy to trade ideas and discuss the minutiae of what makes a perfect outfit - it's been a wonderful discovery for me.

Jacket: Tabitha
Dress: St Michael at Marks and Spencer
Shoes: BCBGeneration
Belt: Zara
Tights: old
Necklace: Magpie Vintage

Liyana from Affordorable  is looking cute in this pastel blue two-piece. I love the way she has styled sports shoes and a maxi skirt for a fresh and youthful look, but most of all I think her bag is perfect to pull the whole look together - a masterful stroke, Liyana.

Outfit details
Adidas polka dot track jacket
Ciaopanic two-piece dress
Adidas polka dot Stan Smith
Mousse sling bag

Ann from Kremb de la Kremb is currently in the true winter wonderland of Idaho giving her own spin to the leopard print and tartan combo. With lippy that matches her gloves Ann is looking very polished and that's without a mention of that bag!

Outfit Details
Leopard Faux Fur--ASOS
Red Lippy--Maybelline Lip Studio Color Blur
Pants--Forever 21
Red Fur Cuffed Gloves--market in China
White Shirt--Tailored from China
Tote--Louis Vuitton Speedy 35

Sheela from Sheelagoh has mixed things up with spots, checks and these fabulous suede boots. This combo is wild and adventurous for most, but when you read her take on this you'll see how far out of her comfort zone she had come today. Great stuff Sheela!

Outfit details
B&W Polka Dot Sweater - Thrifted
Mustard Top - Poshmark
Orange & Red Plaid Blanket Scarf - Zara
Black Capris - Herban Devi on Etsy
Burgundy Suede Boots - Shoedazzle 
Lipstick - Veronica from Anastasia Beverly Hills

Some girls just manage to weave colours and patterns together making them look perfectly natural and Nicole from Lipstick&Brunch is one of them. I love the theme of blues and lilac here, but most of all I adore these shoes!

Outfit details
Dress: CeCe
Cape Coat: ASOS
Clutch: The Cottage Shop in Houston
Earrings: Burdlife
Shoes: Custom Made by Coronation Vintage local stylist Dawn Bell
Sunglasses: Ray-Ban

Samantha from Fake Fabulous is a big fan of colour at the best of times so this isn't a difficult challenge for her today. Her sense of fun is infectious - check out her signature pom poms on that handbag, and what about these silver loafers for a finishing touch?

Outfit details
Skirt: Forever21
Jumper: Boden
Polo neck: La Redoute
Shoes: JohnnieB
Tights: Lidl (honestly!!)
Necklace: Ebay
Bag: Topshop
Scarf: Newlook

I hope you've enjoyed the link up from across the globe today and that you'll take a moment to learn a bit more about my partners in crime - we've had fun too!


Happy Christmas to friends and fellow bloggers x

This is the sign that Christmas is on the way in our house. For years I've been making homemade fudge to give to friends and family at Christmas and there's nothing more satisfying that putting the last ribbon and label in place. I love finding different boxes, or sometimes recycling and decorating my own (the tree paper was from last year and the box is a recycled Jo Malone one). I love the whole ritual - it's all about the joy of giving.

Anyway this is a very brief post today, primarily to say a huge thank you to all who have followed me over the months since I started my blog in May. It's been great fun to write and gad about in all my fancy wares, and even more fun when you give me your feedback, so do keep it coming. I'll be absent for a week now, but will be back on the 30th with a big link up so do come back for the big reveal...

Apologies to all the true fashionistas for showing this very ordinary Christmas jumper, but I wanted to finish with a festive outfit. The sweater is actually my husband's which he refuses to wear (those who know him will get that), but I wore it recently when we did a charity event on the island recently "Text Santa" I think it was called in aid of several charities.

I thought I could at least co-ordinate my boots with the jumper.

 So that's pretty much it folks. I'll be spending some time at home with the family over the next week and popping into work from time to time too. I wish you all a very Happy Christmas and a peaceful New Year, and hope that you will be able to spend the festive season with your loved ones too xxx


Party time

We had our annual island party last night - this is what I wore.

The skirt and shoes were bought at different times, but compliment each other so well. Check out those gold heels.

I wasn't happy with the first belt so ordered this one at the last minute and it arrived just in time!

This fabulous maxi skirt was a find in Enjoy Clothing in Truro. The shop is a veritable cornucopia of vintage clothes, party wear and fancy dress outfits. I spent a couple of hours in there gathering together a bundle of unusual items to add to my closet. The annual island bash had provided me with the perfect excuse to push the boat out in this over the top frilly, glitzy ensemble. We had a great evening with a huge turn out, and I fancy that there may be a few fuzzy heads this morning after all the drinking, dancing and singing. It was so good to catch up with others on the island who we don't see on a day to day basis, as well as letting our hair down with co-workers. Steve and I were home by midnight, but I suspect the party relocated and rumbled on until the wee small hours...

The skirt was an absolute bargain at £15 and I know I will be able to wear it on exhibition nights next summer. And the satin flowered shoes were also a bargain at £6 from Primark of all places. The style and these gold heels say designer rather than this budget retailer don't you think? I've worn this pink blouse a couple of months ago as seen here and must admit it's now my go-to piece when I want to inject a bit of glamour into my day. The belt I felt was a make or break item when I first did a try on here in readiness for the party. The silver link belt is stretchy and performs the function of pulling skirt and top together, but wasn't exactly what I wanted. So I did a bit of online browsing and finally came across this navy one with an ornate buckle. The pre-Christmas postal system worked with rather than against me and hey presto the belt turned up, and was all that I had hoped it would be, hurrah!

Skirt: Susan Small, Enjoy Clothing. Blouse: Shubette Separates, charity shop. Shoes: Primark. Belt: eBay. Necklace: Debenhams.

This week I'll be linking with
Catherine at Not Dressed as Lamb 

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