We’re in August already – the only problem with planning a summer to remember is that time goes really fast! I feel as if I’m on a bit of a one-legged hobble now, finally on the run-up to our holiday so it’s a quick Midlife Lately today. I’m whizzing through my camera roll and not exactly jetsetting but last week I had city trips to London and Glasgow and now I’m in Newcastle but I’ll save that for next week’s post.
City trips to London and Glasgow
So here I was last week, heading down to London for an illuminating few days. You already know that it was all about Christmas and I met some interesting new retail people as well as some very old friends who are still knocking around in the industry like me. I travelled in jumpsuits because it just makes life so easy, you’ve seen this before, sadly the designer ceased trading during lockdown.
Jumpsuit – Michaela Jedinak 2018; sandals, And Other Stories SS18
It was one of those particularly pleasurable trips where I was being hosted and I found myself staying in Shoreditch, at Terence Conran’s The Boundary Hotel. I can certainly recommend it if you’re looking for an interesting base in a creative quarter. Each room is an individual tribute to a particular designer and features their original design classics.
It’s particularly well known for its spectacular roof garden (roof gardens seem to be becoming a real London thing)…
… and the views from the event space up there are pretty good too. I enjoyed wandering around Shoreditch when I could snatch some spare time. It isn’t my usual district so it was good to get to know it a bit better and it has some great boutiques. I couldn’t, however, buy anything as mundane as a hairbrush when I realised I’d forgotten to pack one (so I had to implement emergency manoeuvres with the clothes brush in my room the next morning!)
Obviously there was nobody to take photos while I was there but this was a bit of a weary looking one when I finally got home on Friday. Another day, another easy to pack jumpsuit that doesn’t crease – past season again.
Jumpsuit – M&S 2017, And Other Stories SS18
It was a case of unpacking and repacking because on Saturday morning we were up early, ready to head to Glasgow. We’d been hoping to see our friends Gillian and Stephen at our Newcastle flat but it’s been booked almost all summer so we decided to go and see them instead. After a week of difficult travel thanks to the train strikes we were hit again but we finally made it up there.
I have to say it was a huge relief to be with somebody else in their city. We didn’t have to make any plans or think about where to go, we just followed Gillian’s itinerary although obviously it was hard for them to do justice to their city in the space of just a few hours. We’re beginning here at the wine bar she used to go to when she had her first job after graduating. Mr MC made a point of catching what he claims is a lesser spotted moment – me ordering drinks at the bar.
It’s been a year since we last saw our Scots friends so fizz felt in order.
You may remember that we met through Midlifechic and there’s something lovely about making brand new friendships at this stage of life. As a foursome we click and it was great to spend an hour or so just catching up on each other’s news.
After a while we had a wander through the city and just happened to pop into Massimo Dutti where we wondered at the vibrant colours – aren’t they stunning? The 100% silk pieces were quite well priced we thought.
We continued on through the city centre with Gillan and Stephen pointing things out along the way. This is the Duke of Wellington, famous in Glasgow not only for his prowess in battle but also for his headpiece. Apparently every time the police remove the cone, a Glaswegian climbs up and pops another one on (Gillian suggested an architectural stance and this was Mr MC’s unusual interpretation).
Just a few words on my outfit, these jeans have to be the most leg lengthening I’ve ever had and they’re now in the sale. I’m wearing a 29 inch waist and in hindsight a 28 would have been better. The gold lustre top is last year’s but I see it’s also available in the sale. The suede bomber jacket as you know is now eight years old and still going strong.
Gillian had booked a table at Babbity Bowster, well known for its traditional Scottish music. A band of fourteen people were playing jigs which made for a lively atmosphere (oh and read the board behind Mr MC to yourself in a Scots brogue).
We feasted on hearty pies which were some of the best I’ve ever tasted – honestly I’d make a detour to Glasgow’s Merchant City district for one of those alone.
Another walk was needed to burn off some of the carbs so we explored the Merchant City district and there was a craft market just a little further up from here which was good for a browse.
Gillian knows that Mr MC and I compromise by alternating wine bars with pubs so we were back in my world here. We cracked on with weighty topics such as world peace and lipstick…
while the men adopted a gravitas all of their own.
We ended the evening at The Pot Still which is said to be THE place for whisky in Glasgow. I don’t have a clue about whisky so Stephen suggested I go to the bar with him to order while he worked with the barman to create a special whisky flight.
They came with a print out so that we could learn as we tasted…
… and of course we had our native Scot on hand for the finer detail. In the end we decided Speyside was our favourite but that might just have been a case of them tasting better and better as we went along!
We ended the night Glasgow style…
with chips followed by (you guessed it)…
… a deep fried Mars Bar! Here it is in all its glory, enough for a bite each. Unusual is all I’ll say, I don’t think I’d try it again.
We all stayed at Malmaison which was a stylish, comfortable and central base but Mr MC and I didn’t sleep particularly well because we’re trying to get used to contact lenses and I woke in a panic at 3.30am realising we’d forgotten to take them out.
Luckily Gillian had booked a table for a sumptuous breakfast the next morning at a fabulous place called The Singl-end on Garnet Street, Garnethill…
… so of course we immediately felt at home. We’ve recently had DNA tests done that show Mr MC’s heritage to be more Scottish than English so maybe this is his native patch!
And feeling happy but weary (and certainly not quite peachy) we made our way back home from the Scottish rain to soft English sunshine. Gillian has a nice mantra that focuses on keeping her ‘cup of joy’ as full as she can and mine felt topped up after all of the chat and laughter.
So those were my city trips to London and Glasgow last week and before I go, I have some new jewellery pieces to show you. As you know, I try to keep my jewellery collection to a tight capsule but I can never resist my friend Claudia’s designs. She has a new range this season that along with her signature pearls, includes turquoise for the first time. I’m finding it works beautifully with summer blues and that it lifts a simple white t-shirt and jeans too.
As always the detail is exquisite and the range has been designed to mix and match with any other Claudia pieces you may have. It’s the way she styles her necklaces and bracelets that makes them feel so much more contemporary than pearls sometimes can. She layers them, augmenting the impact of each delicate piece. Hardly a day goes by when I’m not wearing a piece of her jewellery and as a small brand built by a midlife woman, I’m always keen to support her. She’s offering 20% off her collections to Midlifechic readers with code MIDLIFECHIC20 which will last until further notice – so keep it safe.
And here’s something special from another tiny midlife jeweller, Amanda Coleman who’s based in Lincoln and makes beautiful silver and gold pieces by hand. Do go over to her website and have a look because her pieces really are quite extraordinary. She invited me to choose something to show you and with lockdown in mind, I had to go for these stunning owl on a bough earrings to remind me of the baby owl that fell out of its nest and had us all captivated for the day.
The lovely thing is that as people face you straight on, these earrings look like a gold hoop – it’s when they catch you from the side that they see the owl. I keep being stopped and asked about them. Amanda finds her inspiration in nature and so she has all kinds of themes such as animals, flowers, insects and the garden. Given the work and materials involved, everything is very reasonable so do bear her in mind if you’re looking for something special for yourself or someone else.
Owl in a tree earrings (gifted SS22)
And with that I’ll sign off, it’s been another busy week of meetings in different places ending up in Newcastle where we’ve been balancing work with helping Mum-in-Law to maintain her independence. My goodness this Dementia journey is a fathomless pool and the ripples spread far; there’s a lot to deal with. However, we have relaxed and happy celebrations for the middle boy’s 21st and MIL’s 80th birthday this weekend so I’ll tell you about that next week. If you haven’t seen them, it’s worth going back and having a look through the comments from last week’s post because there’s so much midlife warmth and wisdom in there – thank you to everyone who contributed, Nicky told me that Toby sat and read them with a huge smile on his face. Happy Friday, don’t forget to keep on making summer count because it’s really ticking away now!
Disclosure: ‘City trips to London and Glasgow’ is not a sponsored post
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