Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday

As you know, the first few days of our half term were packed with our trip to Newcastle and then the Boden party which took up the whole of Monday and Tuesday. Fortunately the smallest boy was keen to help at the Boden event which meant I felt I’d at least spent some time with him. He also managed to win a £50 Boden voucher in the raffle but was most disappointed as he’d had his eye on a tub of Celebrations. A bit of rapid negotiation and he was happy to trade it for the promise of a trip to Waterstones and a tub of chocolates of his choice. Not a bad deal in my book! You know what’s coming don’t you…a certain blue coat…

Anyway on Wednesday I had to be in London by 10am for the Woman magazine shoot that I mentioned last week so it was an ungodly time to get up for a half term morning. I’m under a contractual embargo so can’t say much about the shoot other than it was great fun and I met lots of lovely, interesting women. Whilst I was having my make-up done, I thought I’d take the opportunity to grill the poor make-up artist on the products she uses and here’s a summary of her views.

She uses Bobbi Brown for prep and base and then Chanel for illumination (i.e. eye shadow, illuminating powder, bronzer and blush). She doesn’t believe in using primer, she feels you are over layering your skin and so prefers to use a really good foundation and then adds Chanel’s healthy glow. I wasn’t surprised to notice she was using a Maybelline Great Lash mascara but she buys them from Canada because they come without the brush and she prefers to use her own mascara brushes. She also added that Bare Minerals isn’t the best choice for over 40 skin because you need something to carry the pigment and soften the end result. So there you have it, a lovely day out for me and I’ll be able to show you the pictures soon because the magazine’s out at the end of next week sometime.

Thursday Chic

All the way back on the train I was feeling guilty. We were nearly halfway through half term and I’d spent next to no time with the boys. The eldest was in Iceland so he was fine but the other two had been creating merry mayhem at home. Although I was feeling pretty shattered I also had a longing to have a good day out with them as mums and children are supposed to in the holidays. Therefore I thought I’d come up with a good plan to take them to a local wildlife reserve that they used to love because I knew two snow leopard cubs had been born. It’s a place that struggles, despite the fact that the BBC films lots of its animal observation studies there and we really like to support it when we can. So on Thursday morning I suggested it and was met with great enthusiasm from the smallest…and huge reluctance from the middle.

I cannot believe how fast he has hit teenagerhood. Only a few weeks ago he was still coming downstairs every morning and asking ‘what are we doing today?’ Now he has turned into an often grumpy, silent creature whose idea of torment is to spend a day doing something worthwhile with his family. I am very grateful for the fact that I have inherited my dad’s super calm temperament but on this occasion I blew. Opportunities for trips out are decreasing fast and I had so wanted to squeeze one in while I could. Equally though there was no point in dragging a reluctant teen around with us so I furiously accepted that it would just be the smallest and me. However, the reluctant one, to his credit, handled my outburst very maturely, explaining simply that he hated the feeling of not being in control of his day but that he could see that it mattered to me and so would come with good grace. Son – 10 points, mother nil!

Anyway it’s only a small place so he didn’t have to suffer for long. We saw the snow leopard cubs, so sweet. The boys then took great amusement in watching me negotiate the interior – I hate flying things and it was full firstly of monster butterflies and then massive fruit bats flapping around and hanging from the roof as you can just about see:


It was a huge relief to get outside and feed the meerkats. There’s also a family of red squirrels that they’re hoping to breed and reintroduce locally:


Lest we forget that this is meant to be a blog about clothes, here’s an outfit:

casual chic round up

We were in the lemur enclosure here – they were incredibly affectionate, in fact posh boy didn’t want to leave and when he’s happy, he’s the joy to be around that he always has been (he’s asked me to point out that he’s pulling his crazy face by the way)!


So in the end we had a good day. I learned that teenagers need more warning about days out in order to feel in control, he learned that he can avoid trouble if he just talks to me. Not bad for a Thursday!

Friday Chic

Friday of course was Hallow’een. We usually let the boys go trick or treating and then have a Hallow’een tea with games and apple bobbing but with the eldest away and Middle on a sleepover there were only 3 of us left. So I took Small into town in order to fulfill my promise of a trip to Waterstones and be able to spend the Boden voucher guilt free. Don’t you just love a good mooch in a bookshop. Even though I read everything on kindle now I still prefer proper books. Of course he wasn’t having any old book – it had to be a hardback so the deal had become less good but at least the old ladies won’t think I’ve completely exploited him when they ask what he did with his voucher! We had a stop for a coffee and a milkshake. My boys might not like going to visitor attractions any more but at least they’re good company in a cafe.


So, a quick dash home to carve a pumpkin with Mr MC…


…and then he went off trick or treating with his friends (the boy that is, not Mr MC). It must be the easiest Hallow’een we’ve ever had – suitably spooky takeaway ribs for supper whilst watching the very gentle movie Hocus Pocus followed by a gruesome episode of The Walking Dead.

Saturday Chic

We were up bright and early on Saturday for a walk by the river followed by brunch in a local market town and a wander round the shops – something that would be hard to do spontaneously with three children but so easy with one. We were watching some amazing little birds in the trees which Google told us were nuthatches.


  • Ines de la Fressange at Uniqlo tweed blazer – they have restocked in all colours today, be quick if you want one. Sizing is tricky – I find a medium is a standard size 12.
  • Uniqlo ultra-stretch grey jeans
  • Mango blouse S/S 14
  • Mulberry Bayswater bag (old)
  • Jigsaw riding boots (old)

Sunday Chic

And then finally on Sunday I decided it was time to do something about the garden. Fear not, I’m not a very enthusiastic gardener and this is probably the only gardening reference you’ll ever find. However, it was badly decimated by the building work we had done last year and this summer we’ve been trying to get rid of a ground elder invasion so we’ve kept it clear. It now looks really bleak so I thought some ornamental cabbages would do the trick. It turns out that people don’t get the concept of ornamental cabbages up here and the garden centres have given up on stocking them. In the extreme North of England cabbages are a delicacy, either pickled or boiled to within an inch of their life. So, I had to make do with heather although quite when I’m going to plant it I don’t know – the weather has since then turned very cold. After the warm sunny days it’s a bit of a shock.

casual chic round up for women over 40

So it was another lovely, if frantically busy, half term. The eldest returned from Iceland yesterday without incurring any further injuries and we were just heaving a sigh of relief at having finished paying for that £1000 trip when, on the same day, the middle son came home with an £800 Barcelona trip form! It never ends, I haven’t even processed the eye watering student finance talk that I’ve just returned from. Hope you’ve all managed to have a break from routine, do keep in touch with what you’ve been up to.