Anna meets...Maggie

I want to introduce my dear artist friend who by rights ought to have been featured a long time ago. Maggie O'Brien spends most days in her studio dressed in paint splattered overalls (not as a fashion statement) and the frustrated fashionista in her would often ring to ask me to send her a photo of my outfit of the day. We have a common bond, Maggie and I, in our love of charity shopping, and the joys of that unique or vintage find. She did in fact act as the catalyst to me starting my blog. Maggie nagged me to step out into this world where others shared their outfits of the day too. My thanks go to her for igniting the spark of this idea and for her encouragement in those early days when I was so unsure about how I was doing. I trusted Maggie and am really grateful that she prompted me as she did.

Maggie has very kindly agreed to answering some questions, so let's see what's she's got to say.

Q How long have you been a full-time artist? (What did you do prior to this?)

 After studying for a degree in English I worked in press and public relations for various organisations including The Metropolitan Police. I had a place at art school when I was 18 but never quite had the nerve to go.Once my children were born though I began painting again and eventually got the chance to do an art foundation course at Central St Martins as a part time student in my 30s. A degree at Camberwell and an MA in drawing at Wimbledon followed during which time I ran private painting classes to support my studies. The wolf was at the door though so it was back to work at the Home Office for a few more years until my husband got the chance to take early retirement. We up sticks and moved to Cornwall. The landscape bowled me over and I began to paint like my life depended on it. The rest is history...

 Do you prefer to teach or paint?

 Paint! I love teaching and get a great buzz from helping students gain confidence and find personal ways of working but the need to paint and draw runs deep.

Q Is there another career you might have followed?

A  I still love to write. I keep journals and hanker after writing a novel one day. It will have to be in another life though -  there isn't enough time or creative energy in this one to be both a writer and a painter! I also always think I would have loved to have been a florist - I adore picking and arranging flowers.

Q Describe your perfect holiday location, and if it's real or imaginary.

I have just been to a tiny, unspoilt village called Kelakoy on the Southern Turkish coast. Only accessible by boat and on a protected peninsular it felt like an Island and was almost impossibly beautiful. The old village house we stayed in had a large shady terrace and the most glorious views. A student I met this summer lent me the house to paint - and paint I did! I got up at dawn and worked in the mornings before it got too hot and the paint dried before it left the palette. The afternoons were spent reading, swimming, snorkeling and pottering around in kayaks hoping to spot a turtle. In the evenings we explored the Lycian ruins all around us, hunted for fossils and ate fish caught by the local fishermen. Pretty damn perfect!

How do you like to unwind? 

My husband will tell you I'm useless at unwinding! I like to be active so I guess things that have a purpose do it for me - gardening, picking and arranging flowers - even turning out cupboards and arranging things in the house! I walk the dog every day and have some of my best painting ideas on the coastal path.

How do you describe your style of dressing?

I don't think I have a style as such though I tend to favour casual, unstructured, clothes and layering.. why wear a couple of items of clothing when you can have fun with six! I'm not a great one for tailored clothing, I don't possess a 'smart ' jacket or skirt but I love putting clothes together and I can happily veer from boho to glam or monochrome to full on colour depending on mood and occasion. In fact, that's another great unwinder - playing with clothes...It's all a bit daft really because I spend most of my time in a pair of overalls!

Favourite place to shop?

Charity shops in posh locations! A great find is so exciting and forces you to be inventive in getting it to work in your wardrobe.  TK Max is fun too - again, you never know what you are going to turn up on those crammed rails.

Q What food can't you live without?

A Cheese probably! A good old English cheddar would be the hardest thing in the world for me to give up.

Maggie comes to the island twice a year to teach painting within the landscape (for details of these holidays see here). To see her work in my gallery click here. These shots are from her visit in September. Here's the happy group with their teacher on their last evening prior to the celebratory dinner. 

Anna x


Friday fun

Yay, it's Friday! And this was a rather lovely Friday with Polly as the autumn sun shone down on us. We had nothing in particular to laugh about, apart from the fact that I always speak and she always tried to shut me up - very good of her too, as my speaking face is not in the least photogenic! My dear assistant and brilliant photographer extraordinaire is currently packing for her trip to New Zealand, an event that is pretty much a bolt out of the blue for her. Within the space of a week, she's had an invite to join a friend on the South Island, has been to the travel agents, booked her flights, and is now frantically shopping, flapping and packing, ready for the off on Tuesday. I hope to goodness she comes back!

The brand new geometric print swing dress is from H&M (sim) but was a find from one of my favourite charity shops in Truro. Across the road and round the corner in TK Maxx was where I came across the fabulous stud encrusted jacket by Michael Kors (this one is equally fabulous). It weighs a ton, well maybe not a ton exactly, but you get what I mean. It was so heavy in fact, that I had to post it home to myself. It was February and I was on my way to London, en route to our cruise, and couldn't take it with me as I didn't have enough luggage allowance left to pack it. My leopard print brothel creepers from Office are a bit bashed up after a year of wear and tear, but I still love 'em. The brass bangle is by Almost Perfect, rings are old, and sunglasses are by Quay Australia.

Have a wonderful trip Polly!
Anna x


Not #PPP

Sometimes we Ping Pong Posters have an item that's been on its travels and that for one reason or another doesn't quite make the grade. Today's post is one of those. These fabulous paisley trousers belong to Ann of Kremb de la Kremb. They're her Thanksgiving pants she says and I drooled over them this time last year. She very kindly sent them on to me with a bundle of other goodies which have all since been aired. These lovelies, however, were too short for our long-limbed Samantha of Fake Fabulous and so were dropped from the schedule. 

Paisley is one of my favourite patterns, but translated into rich corduroy and these trousers become my ultimate winter wear. I kinda hoped that Ann would donate them to my undernourished wardrobe, but no such luck. I spent this particular Sunday gadding about with these on, mixing and matching with all sorts of separates that didn't get in front of the camera, but which were all rather lovely. A fair isle cardi and orange pussy bow blouse looked rather gorgeous, as did a sleek polo neck with these long beads and chunky belt, but this charity shop tunic gave the best look of all. I love the pattern clashing, the bold colours and the real autumnal feel of this version. It was great to come across these photos in my draft box although for some reason they do look a bit dated - or is that just me?

Trousers: Ann's, tunic: charity shop, boots: River Island, cardigan Fenn Wright Manson, beads: gift, watch: Michael Kors, flower ring and bracelet: Dorothy Perkins, perspex ring: gift, rose gold bangle: Kate Spade New York, sunglasses: Quay Australia.

Anna x


#Ping Pong Post no 9

Welcome again to our monthly style challenge where an item of clothing traverses the globe between my friends Samantha of Fake Fabulous who lives in Scotland and Ann of Kremb de la Kremb, a resident of Hong Kong. It's been nine months since we started Ping Pong Post and you can see how it all began back in March see here. This month it was the turn of Samantha to proffer up something - her pink dotty jacket was a fabulous challenge - let's see if we'd be foiled or if we'd flourish shall we?

The inclement weather didn't dampen Samantha's enthusiasm for her weekend spin on the pink jacket. Samantha's Scottish home is prey to chill winds and more rain than it deserves, but she works around this with a cosy pashmina and clever layering featuring shades of cream, navy and burgundy reflected in bag, boots and over shirt. I love the rosy pink glow created by her brolly which enhances her lovely, healthy complexion. Samantha is growing out her signature pixie cut in favour of a longer, shaggy style which suits her pretty features so well. Follow Samantha on Instagram here.

Shirt: Second Female
Poloneck: M&S
Jeans: Topshop
Shoes: Mini Boden
Bag: Charity shop
Ring: My daughters!

Ann too, has changed her hairstyle this month and is looking equally cute with this swept back look. She's added polka dots and snakeskin print to a black and white palette to showcase the pink jacket. The simple mini skirt paired with fantastic Stella McCartney patent, platform shoes almost steal the show were it not for those beautifully tanned legs of Ann's - the result of a recent beach holiday methinks! Metallic nailpolish and toning jewellery are her finishing touches. Follow Ann on Instagram here.

Shirt is Target
Top, Sams
The tie is Zara as is the snake bag--but from the girls department.
The suede mini is Forever 21
The shoes are Stella McCartney
Oh, the strings are from my buddy Ben from a market here in Hong Kong.
And the hair tie I found in a random jewellery shop in Kowloon. 

I must admit I thought the jacket was a fantastic offering this month. The fit was great, it had a little bit of stretch and the colour was a the ideal springboard for creativity. My initial thought was to add some jeans as I'm aware I don't dress down very often for the blog. I pulled out a couple of pairs, one black drainpipe and the other a dark blue cropped. Hmmm, not sure. The pink frothy blouse nearly leapt out of the wardrobe next and that really helped move things along. I remembered seeing these studded leggings of Sasha's when I was rooting around in a drawer the other week. Once I'd recovered them, the boots were a no brainer. The finishing touches of this tartan clutch and the belt were both trophies from my last charity shopping episode in September see here. Lots of silver jewellery was my final nod towards this rock chick look - at my age? - YES!

Thanks to Samantha and Ann for the Pink Pong Party this month (Ann's take on this) - it was great fun. Next month we'll be showing a bit of razzle dazzle thanks to Ann, right on the cusp of Christmas. Hope you'll find a moment to swing by for a look.

Jacket: Sam's
Trousers: borrowed from my daughter
Blouse: charity shop
Clutch: Ness 
Necklace and rings: charity shop
Watch: Michael Kors

Linking with
Catherine of Not Dressed As Lamb
Cherie of Style Nudge

                                                   Anna x

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