When okay just isn't good enough

This is far from my best post, but I thought for the sake of honesty and realism I ought to share it with you anyway. Sometimes my outfits just hit middle ground or middling to okay, but even this wasn't quite good enough in my eyes.

Today I really ought to have shown a bit more patience and this shoot perhaps would have turned out better. I wanted to take some photos of this new dress and decided to do a tour of the island to find a good backdrop. The wind had shifted, leading me to this sheltered spot at the Ruin Beach Cafe which is closed for the winter. 

But really the problem started even before I left home. I was guilty of trying to fit too much into my Sunday off; I wanted to have an afternoon swim too. In the rush I didn't really do a good job to the styling of this dress and ought to have spent more time trying other options of tights, jacket and shoes.

Even now, when I look at this I know the tights are wrong (black or brown would have been better) and I wonder if my long velvet trench might have been an improvement too. And boots, why didn't I try on some boots? But no, I charged about grabbing the first thing that came to hand!

On top of the photo shoot and the swim, I was also cooking a family meal for this evening to celebrate my daughter's 29th birthday so I had quite a lot on my plate. But this is just typical of me; I'm greedy for life, always wanting to do as much as I can.

The beach I normally go to (Appletree Bay) is having some repairs done to the nearby wall, meaning I have to consider tides and winds every day as I try to find another place to swim. The stormy weather we've been having has brought reams and reams of seaweed onto our shores and I really don't like sharing my swim with all the maggots and flies it harbours. So all in all, it's quite a palaver - just to get a swim.

I have a green corset belt that may improve the outline of the dress enormously. It looks pretty shapeless, although that may just be the style. I bought this in the Zara sale and when I tried it on, I absolutely loved it. Seeing it now, I think I'll have to work a bit harder for the next time I wear it.

Can you see the shirred waistline? I think that corset belt would be ideal. Next time eh? I also have brown knee high vintage boots that could work too... 
Outfit details read like this, dress: Zara, jacket: Next, shoes: from Portugal, tights: old, necklace: Sasha's, camisole: Primark, rings: old, sunglasses: Quay Australia.

Anyway, now that I've got all that moaning done, I have to tell you that within half an hour I was back here, swimming on this very beach. The wind direction was perfect and there was hardly any seaweed and what there was, was high and dry at the top of the beach. 

As I stood on the water's edge rinsing my goggles preparing to get in, I could see a man strolling down the quay, and I could almost hear his disbelief at the sight of me in my cossie - he, all wrapped up in winter coat, scarf and hat. His pace slowed as he kept turning towards me to see if I dared... Yes, clearly the local madwoman!

This was a little family returning to St Martin's with a tiny child wedged between mum and dad. It was such a lovely day to be out on the water having an island adventure - very Swallows and Amazons, eh?

Appletree Bay - the road and footpath as well as the supporting wall were all washed away as a result of storm Eleanor. Luckily we had no other damage to the fabric of the island nor was anyone hurt, so I suppose you could say we got off lightly compared to some places in Europe.

Those of you who know the island will understand the impact this has on our beach. The upper wall has been undermined too. However, the good news is that work is already being done and hopefully will be all put to rights in time for our season opening in March.

I forgot to mention that there's a webcam located above the decking where I did my shoot today. I've no idea if anyone was watching as I got out of the sea, but I gave a wave just in case my friend Angela was checking the view, as I know she often does. Hello!!! And didn't I look pink?

Anna x


My diy trousers

Hello again and how are you? I've just been released from the spell cast by Game of Thrones. Steve and I have been held captive since Monday when series seven was screened on tv. We've binge-watched the entire seven episodes and here I am, spat out and feeling a tad frustrated that it'll be another year 'til the final series will hit our screens. Are you a fan? We held out for some time, poo-pooing the fanciful notion of dragons, bloody battles and resulting gore, but once we started we were hooked and have raced through the entire box set in a matter of weeks. (Yes, my fellow bloggers, that's where I've been, when I ought to have been visiting you.)

Anyway, on to the topic of the day, aka my diy beading on these velvet trousers. They were a charity shop bargain at £1 but never quite inspired me. Too long and too boring in their original form, I was suddenly taken with the idea of perking them up one weekend. Last month I was struggling with the mightiest of toothaches and the sewing project was absorbing enough to take my mind off things. See the before elements of the project here.

The sewing was all done by hand, in the smallest of schoolgirl stitches that I could manage and was a lovely challenge. I have these odd times when sewing takes my fancy and realise I have to make the most of it, as I know the phase will soon pass for months on end. I've still not finished reupholstering my sofa cushions and now live with the entire sofa covered up under a throw to disguise the jumbled mess lurking below. 

So here we have the finished article and I'm rather pleased with them if I may say so myself. The beading gives the trouser hems a beautiful weighty swish that makes these culottes feel like the Rolls Royce of trousers now. I love that they're unique and might even pass as designer...?

Styling them up wasn't too troublesome once I'd rediscovered these pink glitter pumps. That led me onto the hunt for my blue bejewelled glittery belt - in my belt box under the bed, surprisingly enough. Playing up the details, I was pleased to add the pleated cuffed blouse as well as pink glitter nail polish. Understatement is not the look I'm going for.

I bought the blue velvet clutch in a little boutique in Truro just before Christmas. The best part of it has to be the rose gold clasp and trim. At the time of buying I had great intentions of pairing it up with my rose gold heart pendant, but that will have to be for next time. 

This necklace was a Christmas present from a girlfriend and is sparkly too, but doesn't show up very well in the bright sunlight. The rings and shoes are pre-loved, sunglasses by Quay Australia, blouse from Sainsbury's and biker jacket by Toxic. 

In a couple of weeks, I'm going to be celebrating my 60th birthday with an island party. But not just any old party, that'll be an ABBA party! My favourite movie of all time has to be Mamma Mia. So, the invitations are posted and the feedback good, with lots of talk of catsuits, platforms and wigs being ordered, and that's just the men! The more resourceful are recycling their disco outfits from the 80's, but no matter where it all comes from, as long as it comes together I'll be happy. Some of my nearest and dearest are dragging their (non-platformed) feet so may need a bit of help from me - what colour of satin shirt would suit my husband best, I wonder? Rest assured I'll be putting a post together of my ensemble as well as any incriminating evidence I can gather on the night - I fancy the fashion police might be out in force!

In the meantime, I'll say adieu and wish you well until we meet next time. Take care! 

Anna x


Leather and fur

Hello again! How are you settling into 2018? Made any New Year's resolutions? I've not. All too often I set my sights on new goals and promises of improvements and then feel bad when they peter out after a few weeks. 

This year I'm taking a new approach to life. Gratitude is the way forward I've decided. We're constantly bombarded with images on TV and social media telling us what we need and how we ought to look to achieve happiness which, in my opinion, only causes us to feel disgruntled with our lot. Instead, I'm counting my blessings for all that I have.

What do you see? A crazy Scottish woman? Or a joyful soul who has started her day with a positive activity that enhances her well being? After my swim I always take a moment to give thanks for the opportunity to swim safely, to reconnect with nature and revel in the sights and sounds of the big outdoors. Never do I feel more alive than at this moment.

This was the view from my kitchen window just a day later...

It's almost a year since I bought these leather trousers (from TK Maxx) and yet I've only worn them a couple of times. I suppose green leather joggers (yes, real leather) aren't that easy to slip into the everyday.

I've been so keen to feature my new sock boots, but have been finding it difficult to put the right outfit together. Every time I came to do the photo shoot, my perfect pair of jeans seemed to be in the wash. I must speak to the maid about that. Anyway, these joggers were my next item of choice.

One thing that does seem to be an everyday item for me at this time of year is the turtle or polo neck sweater. I always feel chilly, (maybe something to do with that cold swim in the morning?) and rely on a high neck jumper to keep me cosy. I came across this version in Primark and proceeded to buy the same one in grey and black too. Primark is brilliant for basics like this.

The little fur gilet is a hand-me-down from my daughter and is the ideal length for this get up. I'm wearing my much loved Vivienne Westwood pendant (a gift from my husband) and the rings are both charity shop finds.

The fur coat was another TK Maxx find, by The Boutique Collection and has been a wonderful addition to my winter wardrobe. My thanks must go to my dear friend Ann who encouraged me to try this on when we were shopping together in London in October. She spotted it while we were browsing the aisles in TK and insisted I try it on. I had my eye on a huge furry coat in baby blue, but it was very over sized and just swamped me. Ann prompted me to try the green, "So your colour!" and she was right. I love it and can see it will be a Christmastime favourite from here on.

I recently read about the gratitude jar; you write one blessing from your day and pop it inside. The best part of this is to have it to call upon when you're feeling low and need a reminder of all of the joys in your life. A simple but effective way to give yourself a lift. 

Best wishes until next time!
Anna x


My 2017 highlights

January 2017 and my birthday photo shoot was achieved with tripod, camera and 10 second timer. The day was pretty perfect for this time of year and the setting not too shabby either.

February, and if I could time travel, this version of me would be overlooking the birthday girl below. Blockhouse Castle sits just above that pretty little stretch of beach. Taken again with my timer etc, I felt very proud of the fact that the wild weather didn't defeat my photo shoot, nor was I put off when an out-of-season and thoroughly unexpected holiday maker happened upon me as I sat on the castle steps to change out of wellie boots and into leopard print courts. Not sure who was the most surprised, he or I!

March, and certainly not my most glamorous shot of the year, but one that makes me proud of my sea swimming escapades throughout the winter and into the rest of the year. I love the flushed, ruddy skin that accompanies the wonderful afterglow of my icy cold dip. There's no better way to start the day and once this is done, I pretty much feel I can conquer the world.

April, and this is a bit more in keeping with the glamorous image I like to portray, hehehe! The first exhibition of the season means the start of proper dressing up. This beautifully ornate Italian gown was a charity shop find, causing me immense pleasure indeed.

May, and one of the most joyful of photos - the result of a lovely fresh sea breeze that played havoc with my flimsy skirt. Thank goodness for the fulsome petticoat that protected my dignity! This post celebrated two years of blogging.

June, and the time my husband and I took the afternoon off work as the weather was just too good to miss. We tootled off in our little motor boat to Samson, the nearest uninhabited island and enjoyed our castaway picnic. I posted this photo on Instagram where it was spotted by a PR agency who then approached me to appear in a local campaign to advertise the islands. I kinda like the fact that on this particular day I had decided that I wanted to embrace every opportunity that the blog might present.

July, and the height of the summer means one exhibition every ten days for me and my staff. We all seem to thrive on the adrenlin rush that propels us forward during these crazy, hectic summer weeks. And of course, I revel in the need to find new show outfits almost every week!

August, and another beach day (a bit of a theme going on here, don't you think?). It was my day off and I took advantage of the very low tide and did an inter-island walk between Tresco and Bryher. Despite looking on my ownsome, it was a wonderfully social event with lots of locals and holiday makers taking part in the pilgrimage too.

September, and this was the post where I was featured with Johnnie Walker on his Sounds of the 70's show. A terrifying idea beforehand, but on listening to it, my lovely husband declared it was a great collection of our memories. It was a huge honour and one I'll never forget. Dearest Johnnie, thank you!

October, and I was in London meeting up with some blogging friends as well as helping my husband celebrate his 60th birthday. We had a hectic time, fitting in as much as we possibly could. 

November, and the long awaited images arrived and I could finally post the feature about my summer shoot on Samson for the Island Partnership. I loved the whole thing, even though it was quite funny trying to do yoga on the silky smooth sand as well as having a (sometimes vocal) audience to contend with. Another memorable day of the year for me.

December, and this one didn't make the cut for the blog, but maybe should have. I don't have green fingers and unfortunately the Poinsettia no longer looks quite as healthy as this. Over-watering, under-watering, too hot, too cold - who knows? And if you do, please tell me what this darling plant needs to survive.

It's been a great year, one full of work, play, family life, shopping trips and swimming too. It gives me such a thrill to see the readership of the blog grow and know that you're out there sharing in my island life. I love to hear from you with your comments, so do drop me a line if something strikes a chord with you . My "Suggested by..." feature seems to have dried up, but if you have a favourite item of clothing you'd like to see again, then please feel free to send me an email or pop it into the comment box and I'll style it up for you to see once more. Thanks so much for joining me over the past year and I look forward to catching up with you again soon.

Anna x

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