Friday, 11 August 2017

TROPEAN DAYTIME LOOKS


Anne H here following up on my July holiday to Tropea.  I have featured Tropea itself on a number of blog posts (here, here and here) and thought that this time I would focus on the clothes I wore on holiday, split over two posts featuring daytime and evening looks.  One of the key things with me is that I reintroduce the same clothes year after year.  I don't know about anyone else who lives in the cloudy and often wet UK, but my summer holiday wardrobe is completely different from my usual outfits and really only gets used a couple of weeks each year. Hence, I tend to only buy the odd new item each year.  


The outfit above is a rerun of last years - the blue longline shirt is from Zara and a really useful addition to any wardrobe as it can be worn as a cover up or, as here, over trousers. The linen trousers are also Zara and the sandals were purchased this year when on holiday in Rome.

If I was looking for a shirt like this now I would go for this one from Zara  because I really like the structure, or this flowing shirt from Mango.  



I did actually buy these trousers this year when in Rye.  They have a fab elasticated waist and a loose unstructured style that I love for holiday but never wear when I am home in the UK.  They are by a brand called d.e.c.k by decollage and seem to be stocked mostly by independent retailers. The top is another from Zara and is a really cool swing design with lots of pleats.  Both items are man made fabrics but still cool to wear on a hot summer days. The sandals are from Next and I have had them for ages - sadly they are due for the bin now as the metalwork is coming away.  



The top below was purchased earlier this year - so much for me saying I don't buy much summer clothing, clearly a lie!  It is from a brand called Aspiga and is a really light cotton and comfortable to wear, again as a cover up or over trousers.  This one is available on their site in the sale and also comes in white. They are brilliant site for summer beach wear including some beautiful sandals, so well worth a look.  


Relieved to say that I have had the cotton turn up trousers for a number of years and they have a bit more structure to them than the linen ones so make an outfit look a bit smarter. They are by a brand called YaYa, again stocked by independents, but I think these cotton blend M & S trousers are pretty good too.


The next outfit is also a re-run, being a white top from River Island and black linen trousers from Zara.  I like this pair from Next as they are long enough for me. I tend to favour full length trousers over cropped or capri and like a flowing shape for summer wear.  For a similar top I would go for this one from Fat Face via John Lewis as it has a similar length and feel to it. 




When we were in Rome a couple of years ago I bought this simple cotton top from Muji in both blue and white.  It is not somewhere you might naturally think to go for clothing, but they have a great range of simple classic designs in natural materials. 


The trousers are the YaYa ones previously featured, but wait for it some more new shoes! These are my favourite, most comfortable and the third pair that I have owned, so almost a re-run.  They are Varca and are made in Menorca.  I first came across them in Majorca when my daughter was little and I bought a pair for her and quickly realised that they were a very clever design - a sling back that does not come off your foot... perfect for a child or adult. Then I discovered them in the UK years later for adults so I got buying and never regretted it.  I go for the flat version and they are so so easy to wear, I can walk for miles in them. 


Back with some true oldies - this H & M sleeveless top is an old favourite and a lovely slate grey. It washes like a rag and is a really flattering cut and length.  I have again teamed it with Zara linen trousers and those Roman sandals.   I try to get maximum wear out of what I have taken by teaming different tops for day and evening with the same trousers - as you will see on the post next week. 


And just to share some sunshine from our days in Tropea. Which I am missing so so much now.  Got the heating on and a cardigan.  Yep, truly home in Blighty.  







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Friday, 4 August 2017

ANNE BOLEYN AND THE GARDEN OF ENGLAND


Back to Anne H this week - as both Anne C and I have been in separate countries for pretty much the last two months!  I am continuing my trips round the UK, this time spending a week in Kent to attend a friend's son's wedding and then taking in some of the sights of the beautiful "garden of England" county. Above is the outfit I wore to the wedding which was held in Princess Diana's old school West Heath, a fabulous venue for such a special day. I am wearing a dress purchased from Fenn Wright Manson - the Montpellier design - and which is now in the sale at £118. The shoes are from Carvela Kurt Geiger and I teamed them with a clutch and pashmina from Simply Devine in Tadcaster. 


HEVER CASTLE 



On our first foray into the tourist hotspots of Kent, we visited Hever Castle on a beautiful sunny day. I am a great lover of country houses and have always had a particular interest in the Tudor period, so the chance to visit Anne Boleyn's family home was not to be missed.



It is a visit I cannot recommend enough, from the fabulous cafe to the gardens, and of course the house itself, there is so much to see and enjoy. The history and ownership of the house spanning more than 700 years is amazing and includes not just the Boleyns but Anne of Cleves as well.



The American William Waldorf Astor purchased the property in the early 1900s and was responsible for refurbishing the house and the creation of the gardens, including the beautiful 38 acre lake which was built by 800 men in under 2 years ....just a mind boggling feat. The Italian Garden was created to house Astor's amazing collection of Italian sculptures and overall he allegedly spent £10 million on the house and gardens (£1 billion in today's money!). The lake and gardens alone were reputed to have had £1 million spent on them (£110 million today). Hard to imagine that anyone could invest those sort of funds these days, but he must have been thrilled with the final result.



The walled rose garden was particularly beautiful and now reaching its full maturity.  The first flowering will have been in June but the colours are still amazing and the sheer number of plants staggering. I wouldn't want to dead head this lot!


There are beautiful walks and different gardens throughout the estate and even mazes - a yew and a water one.


WIMBLEDON

I also made my first ever visit to the Wimbledon tournament with tickets for court Number 1 for the quarter finals of the women's tennis. It was a great day out and only marred by the weather - one of the few days of rain in the whole of the 2017 tournament. So sadly there was minimal tennis, although we saw one full match and three-quarters of the second including watching the overall winner Garbine Muguruza play.   


PENSHURST

We made our way to Penshurst, which is less than six miles from where we were staying in Tonbridge, to eat at The Bottle House Inn and restaurant where we had a brilliant meal. I was particularly taken by the pub sign which was really imaginative and has been designed by the son of the owner and handmade by Adam Aaronson Glass Studio.  


The Inn itself reflects the style of building often found in Kent with red roof and white clapper board cladding, cosy interiors and a really friendly and helpful staff to boot.



Having enjoyed a hearty meal we headed down into Penshurst to wander round the pretty churchyard and village which had established itself around Penshurst Place - the ancestral home of the Sidney family. Sadly the house itself was closed as it was evening time but the local hotel The Leicester Arms was open so we popped in for a coffee before heading back.  


RYE 


On our final full day in Kent we ventured by train to Rye which is located in East Sussex. This pretty town with cobbled streets and medieval black and white buildings reminded me of York and in particular the Shambles. In medieval times it was an important Cinque Port and indeed was surrounded by the sea although now the harbour is some 2 miles from the town itself.



The parish church of St Mary's dominates the town and includes some beautiful stained glass windows and is well worth a visit. 



Voted one of the prettiest streets is Mermaid Street which is home to The Mermaid Inn,  notorious for its links to smugglers who are said to still haunt the premises.  The cellars of the inn date back to the 12th century although much of the current building was primarily from the 16th century, so lots of low ceilings and beams abound in this fantastic building.



It has been a delight to see yet another corner of our beautiful United Kingdom and I look forward to venturing to some more new destinations in the coming months.  If you could guarantee sun in the summer months, there really would be no point in venturing further afield!


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