Dull but not dreary

The weather may look dull, but that gave me the perfect opportunity to bring out my wonderful new, aka upcycled, Hobbs velvet trench coat. A recent purchase from last month's charity shopping blitz (see here), I have only gotten around to giving it a bit of a face lift by replacing the buttons with these pretty floral ones in both round and square shapes. I love to personalise clothes like this, giving them a little tweak here and there to make them unique.

The coat only cost me £10 and is in great condition. It's a thick velvet with the bonus of a bit of stretch making it really comfortable. I've used buttons by Stockwell Ceramics whose range is vast see here. I particularly like the single button on the back.

May seems to be such a crazy month for weather here in the UK. Sometimes it's like a summer's day, and others it's blowing a cold north wind with driving wind. This is playing havoc with my plans for outfits, as I will be lured into believing what the main weather forecasters predict, but once I've come back from my swim, will realise that our local weather is something completely different. Today's solution of trench coat at the start of the day worked really well while it was cold and grey in the morning. By the afternoon it was bright and sunny and my lacy top was the perfect answer for a warm session at work. 

A quick run through of what I'm wearing goes like this - velvet trench coat comes from Hobbs via charity shop. The fab floral trousers are again from a charity shop but made by H&M. I think this pattern was featured last summer, but these were brand new, still with the label attached saying £19.99 and I paid £5. The lime green lace, peplum top was from H&M. Underneath I have a vest top from Primark. My pink patent brogues are again from H&M. The handbag was a prize find many years ago in the Oxfam boutique in Bath which was a wonderful place to browse and find true vintage pieces. This handbag is a designer piece - "Bespoke Designs By Samantha Carrey" the label proudly states. My necklace is handmade by Vanessa Robson who runs her own business making ceramic jewellery trading as Magpie and Butterfly.  My cerise cocktail ring was a gift and the pink and silver ring was a recent purchase in a charity shop in Harrogate.

I'm linking up with these lovely ladies today -
Cherie of Style Nudge 

Anna x


All in black today

I've only worn this fab jacket once before (see here) and thought I really ought to be trying to get the cost-per-wear down. As you probably know, I don't wear a lot of black as I'm a big fan of bright colours, but sometimes it's good to mix things up and do something different. So here we go with basic black spiced up with a touch of orange.  

I hate to be predictable in my dressing, but more than that, the worst thing anyone could ever say about me is that I'm boring. I may, in fact, be a clothes bore, but that's something I can happily live with! My motto of "Let's bin the beige and have fun with colour" comes from the notion that beige is the most boring colour in the whole spectrum. (I do accept that the beige tones when sported by the the uber-classy Victoria Beckham and her genre can look beautifully understated, and I was one who in her younger years felt comfortable in beige too.)  Middle age however, for some women, heralds the onset of a loss of identity and verve for life often resulting in the birth of the beige years. I know this is a gross generalisation, and if you're a fellow blogger, then we know it won't apply to you, and by virtue reading this, that excludes you too, as you must have an interest in colourful clothes otherwise you'd surely not be part of my readership. In all honesty, I don't level this at anyone I actually know. This generic, beige-wearing, identity-less, style-less, post-menopausal ghost of her former self, is in essence, the me I dread becoming. It's what drives me to suck the marrow out of life; to dress wholly for myself, be the most honest version of me, the flamboyant, colourful self that makes my heart sing when I look at the veritable kaleidoscope of colours hanging in my wardrobe today. 

This look of surprise and delight is because my favourite doggy-driver, Charlie, has just appeared. Polly managed to capture his wind-swept look as he zoomed around the corner towards us. First photo-bomb of the day!

So, to give you a quick run down of the outfit - Michael Kors jacket which I bought from TK Maxx in Feb; harem pants were a purchase again from TK last September and have only been featured once as here; frilled and pleated orange shell top is from Coast, but picked up in charity shop in Harrogate; the boots are new from the sale at Office last month; the Madonna inspired handbag was a find in a charity shop in Truro last month. Rings are charity shop finds too.

Linking with
Catherine of Not Dressed As Lamb 
Patti of Not Dead Yet Style 

Anna x


Anna meets Alison

Last month while I was away in Harrogate I happened to meet three fabulous fashionistas. See these lovely women here. These were all chance meetings, two of them on railway stations, giving us no time to stop and chat unfortunately. On my trip back home, I scrolled through my camera and was delighted with the images I'd captured, but one thing came to mind - I knew nothing about the women who had put these fab outfits together. It sparked my imagination. If only I'd had time to ask them some questions, to find out more about them, how much more interesting that would be. Even though I'd given them my contact details, none had been in touch. The photos of each of these women had gained a great response on my Instagram feed. I like that, and would love to continue with this theme. So today's post features another woman with her very own sense of style. Alison is married to a local man who grew up on the Isles of Scilly, but latterly moved away. She and her husband return here on holiday every year as many times as they can. Alison and I met up the other day for a photo shoot in the rain (it was still fun) and afterwards I posed some questions. Here's how it all went...

With her pink gamine haircut and fabulous red dungarees, Alison immediately looks like a woman who knows her own mind. And she does. So much so, that Alison would rather make her own clothes than compromise her standards by spending money on something that's not quite the perfect fit. So let's hear from the lady herself.

Anna: How long have you been gripped by the sewing bug?
Alison: I started sewing two years ago. Up until I was well into my teens, my Nana made clothes for me – I remember sending her fabric when I was away at college and a few days later a maxi skirt would arrive in the post. Because she was so good at sewing, I hadn't really bothered to learn, happy to watch her create things for me. When she died, I inherited her sewing box, and now, many years after her death, her haberdashery items have come back to life.

Anna: What got you started?
Alison: A little spark of creativity got me started – I went on a day course to make a  bag and loved everything about  it. By the next day I had bought a sewing machine and a week later I had made my first dress. And now I make all my clothes – with the exception of underwear (the learning process has begun though), knitwear (knitting takes too long) coats (one day I will make a coat, I have bought the pattern) and shoes (not even going there). It's been a whole year since I have bought clothes and in that time I have learnt a lot about the factory production of clothes and the ‘sweat shop’ conditions so it feels right to be making my own for all sorts of reasons.

Anna: How would you describe your style?
Alison: My style …. Not sure I have one! Wacky, quirky and colourful are words I have heard to describe me! I am a casual dresser but like to still look smart and well put together. For my work I wear a uniform, so out of work I like to mix and match colours and patterns with brightly coloured tights.  This spring, I made quite a few skirts and I love wearing a spotty skirt with a striped top, pink tights and a pair of my beloved Chelsea boots. I guess that's my style – uncategorised!

Anna: Where's your favourite place to shop?
Alison: My favourite place to shop is any fabric shop or haberdashery! I particularly adore Guthrie and Ghani in Moseley where I can spend hours looking through patterns, fabrics and notions.

Anna: Flats or heels?
Alison: Mainly flats out of choice. I am all about comfort and a poorly knee has meant that heels can be tricky. I wear heels for work but am always glad to take them off and get back in my ballet pumps, Chelsea boots or Superga sneakers.

Anna: How long have you been sporting this fab pink hairstyle?
Alison: My hair ….. for many years I have wanted to have my hair like Annie Lennox but never been brave enough. It's always been cropped short but to go blonde would have been a huge step from dark mouse colour. However, coming up to my 60th birthday I thought ‘what the hell’ and I spoke to my (also wacky) hairdresser and she agreed to have a go. So 9 months ago I got bleached big time and discovered pastel conditioners by Bleach London. Some days I am blue or silver but most days I am various shades of pink – as the mood takes me. I feel more me with pink hair.

Anna: What's the day job?
Alison: I work as a Peripatetic Registrar. I travel to  hotels and wedding venues conducting marriage ceremonies. It's my perfect job. I adore it – wedding days are magical and joyful and they have the added bonus that I get to see lots of beautiful outfits. I am also a funeral celebrant - it's a huge honour to conduct a perfect farewell for someone and to make a difference to a grieving family. I take great pride in both my jobs. 

Anna: Any other passions?
Alison: I like the simple things in life –  quality time with my family, good times with my special friends, preparing good clean food grown on our allotment, listening to Motown, and lazy days doing very little.

Anna: Three things from your bucket list?
Alison:I don't have a bucket list! I have never been ambitious or wanted to do anything grand. I am really not interested in travelling, sky diving or bungee jumping. I live for the here and now and am more than happy and content with what I have. 

Anna: Describe your perfect day.
Alison: My perfect day ….. taking a trip to Surrey to see my two boys, their gorgeous girls and a pug  – we natter, chatter and laugh and walk to a lovely pub for food and drink. All is well in my world after a day like that.

Anna: Three words that best describe you?
Alison: After speaking to several of my girlfriends the three words that kept coming up are: loving, funny and creative.

Thanks Alison for stepping up as my first interviewee.  

Alison is wearing dungarees and top which she made herself. Coat: Hellweathers from Seasalt. Sneakers: Superga (TK Maxx). Bracelet: Fay Page.
Anna x


Fogbound in paradise

The tourists were seeing another side of our paradise island today as we were surrounded by fog. Or maybe not seeing, was more to the point. When a warm weather front collides with a cold one over the top of these tiny islands, then inevitably we'll be shrouded by fog until the pressure changes or some high winds blow it away. However, Polly loves a bit of fog, as the dreamy, wispy backdrop helps to make colours pop, which was perfect for this floral dress.

I have worn this dress once before but not styled quite like this. So let's draw back, start at the beginning and see the full effect shall we?

Yes, it's time to air this red petticoat again. I think we may suffer from a bit of over-exposure to it this month, but I can't help that I'm in love with this red floufy (Sheila's word) delight (a customer declared it delightful today). We have an exhibition coming up next week and I think I may be pairing this petticoat up with a lacy offering in a very feminine, overdone way for that dressing up extravaganza.

My new yellow Candy bag is so right with this dress. Not only is it a great colour match, but the size is spot-on too. It's cute and just rounds off the whole look perfectly.

Heck, that was a whole lot of photos wasn't it? Polly did such a great job, and those colours surely did pop, that I had difficulty leaving some of these out of the mix. This variation is another hit with me, but maybe not with everyone I came across today. I suppose I might have blended in better if I'd been sashaying down Carnaby Street, but here on my little island home I certainly drew more than a few glances. As I've said before, I really dress to please myself. It's a bonus if others like it, and a real bonus if they actually say something nice. That's the wonderful thing about running a fashion blog. I don't feel like an oddity or out there any more. When I check out some my favourite fashion bloggers strutting their stuff, why I look positively tame by comparison. Check out Sheila, Suzanne or Melanie to see what I mean. 

Friday's post is going to be another first for me, but you'll have to drop by again to find out what that means. Thanks to those of you who have emailed me with your ideas for my feature "As suggested by..." as it will be your turn soon. I now have the next three months lined up and would love it if you keep your thoughts coming. I'm so pleased to have your feedback and will enjoy getting these things out and re-styling them with something appropriate for that month. This month also heralds my first anniversary of blogging and strangely I'm struggling as to what to wear! Yes, laugh, please do, at the irony of this! I have a couple of things in mind, but am not sure which way I'll go with this. I've still got a little while left to give it some more consideration. Perhaps I need to take the pressure off and just treat it like any other day. Phew, that feels better already. Thanks for dropping by and I hope to catch up with you all again on Friday x

Jacket: Lulu and Red Boutique (charity shop). Dress: Vintage: Charity shop. Petticoat: eBay. Tights: Enjoy Clothing. Boots: River Island: Handbag: Furla. Watch: Michael Kors. Rose gold bangle: Kate Spade New York. Blue rings: charity shop.

Linking with 
Jess of Elegantly Dressed And Stylish 
Cherie of Style Nudge 
Sheela of Sheela Writes 

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