Thank you, thank you, thank you for all of the supportive emails and comments after my last post about the end of days, every single one has lifted my spirits. Even Mr MC came out of hiding and posted his first comment – who knew he reads my blog – not me – until now! Because we moved to the North from London when my eldest was 7, my everyday friends here are the ones that I made via the younger two, so I don’t have anyone near me who is going through this strange time of parting. Your words have meant a lot to me.

It’s been a week of getting used to an altered state in our house. I’ve stopped disappearing into the bathroom for a silent scream and discovered that it’s certainly less time consuming having two children rather than three. There’s not so much emotional housekeeping and far less washing as the younger two don’t change outfits 3 times a day and then discard everything into the washing basket after a few hours’ wear. But it’s quiet – oh so quiet, we’ve all realised what a big space the eldest occupies in all of our lives.

So I’m behind on everything – answering comments and emails on the blog (again, sorry). Also on making a decision on the returns I must make from my last few orders which has to be done today. So to give my credit card a break, I’ve been very disciplined and browsed rather than shopped for this week’s post. As I continue to work on style for women over 40, it’s becoming apparent that strong structural shapes look particularly distinctive when worn by a woman rather than a girl. This means that I am veering more towards stores such as Whistles, Cos and Jigsaw. In this vein I decided to take a look at Kin by John Lewis which is coming into its sixth season and is definitely a sister to these brands.

The thing to remember is that this very strong, architectural look only works well if the cut and cloth are good. This means that it is a form of investment dressing but, on the upside, because the pieces are very neutral, you don’t need as many of them to engineer a distinctive look. Kin is probably the most entry point level I’ve found in terms of the price / quality balance and I’ve put a couple of simple suggestions together to show this very sophisticated style.

Kin by John Lewis Autumn 15 - a review

Kin by John Lewis Autumn 15 - a reviewKin by John Lewis asymmetric black top – figure flattering top that would look great with jeans at the weekends or slim black or navy trousers too.

Kin by John Lewis Autumn 15 - a reviewKin by John Lewis cocoon coat this has this season’s ‘cuddle’ effect plus knee length coats are often less swamping than midi-lengths and easier if you’re a commuter too

Kin by John Lewis Autumn 15 - a reviewKin by John Lewis asymmetric wrap pencil skirt this skirt would also look great with a crisp white shirt or a tie neck blouse. The asymmetry adds the quirky detail that stops it looking too middle aged.

Kin by John Lewis Autumn 15 - a reviewKin by John Lewis Anja cut away ankle boots the trend for wearing ankle boots with skirts and dresses goes on but you need to be careful if you are an apple, pear or have disproportionately short legs like me. These ankle boots have a low cut front which combats the ‘dumpy’ effect that ankle boots can give, the heel isn’t too high and is a solid shape making them easy to walk in.

Kin by John Lewis Autumn 15 - a reviewKin by John Lewis Sonja leather bag it makes me smile to see how they’ve added to the marketing of their Kin accessories by adding a Scandi name. However this bag is just so Copenhagen you can’t blame them.

Kin by John Lewis Autumn 15 - a reviewHot Diamonds at John Lewis ‘Awaken’ diamond pendant. This isn’t part of the Kin range but it’s beautiful. It has been designed so that the diamond looks as though it has seared the gold.


This next one is a less fashion forward collection but the shapes are still great and each piece is hugely versatile. Deep blues and indigo worn with greys and blacks are going to be a huge trend in 2016 so if you buy this you’ll be ahead already.

Kin by John Lewis Autumn 15 - a review

Kin by John Lewis Autumn 15 - a reviewKin reverse seam jumper A great shape and the detail of the reverse seams makes this look more expensive than it is. It isn’t pure wool but the fabric blend will add to the soft hang of this jumper.


Kin by John Lewis Autumn 15 - a reviewKin white simple collar shirt This is a great price for a white shirt with a twist. It’s the detail of the collar and the shoulder yoke that add the subtle difference.


Kin by John Lewis Autumn 15 - a reviewKin cocoon coat No apologies for repeating the coat above in a different colour way. I’ve found it hard to adapt to the resurgence of twill because it reminds me so much of the 80s but when you start putting outfits like this together it feels fresh because it adds texture to the look.


Kin by John Lewis Autumn 15 - a reviewJohn Lewis Gracie trousers it’s difficult to find flattering tailored trousers in grey, they all seem to be black or navy so I was pleased to see these at John Lewis.


Kin by John Lewis Autumn 15 - a reviewKin Otine grey suede boots beautiful architectural boots, the black detail creates an optical illusion making legs look longer


Kin by John Lewis Autumn 15 - a reviewKin Adina navy suede and leather heels I’ve added these for those who find ankle boots uncomfortable. Again for apples and pears they enable you to rebalance your shape by revealing your ankle. The quality of the suede and the contrast with the patent is lovely – you need to zoom in to see it properly.

Kin by John Lewis Autumn 15 - a reviewKin grey leather tote bag as you know, I have a collection of Mulberry bags that date back to when I used to work with them (and was able to choose a free one each year) and I do love them. However I would never spend £500 plus to carry a logo on my arm. A beautifully structured leather bag like this has much more impact on an outfit and you can spend the rest of the money on something more memorable like a weekend away (purely my opinion of course but the designer bag thing is just crazy bonkers nuts).


Kin by John Lewis Autumn 15 - a reviewJohn Lewis square silver bangle lovely and incredibly reasonable, John Lewis are sourcing some really great jewellery


Kin by John Lewis Autumn 15 - a reviewJohn Lewis triple stone tassel pendant – this pendant is another example of something well made and distinctive.


Kin by John Lewis Autumn 15 - a reviewJohn Lewis ombre scarf you’ll have noticed that scarves are skinnier this season, this gives the outfit a lift and keeps it on trend.


So what else do I have to tell you? Well not much in this week of two posts other than that just one week in, my 3 day week plans are already collapsing around my ears and I’m working on Monday! Too much to do, too little time but I must add that right now I’m really pleased that I have my career back. I think the feeling of ‘what now’ would have been much stronger if I wasn’t so busy and fulfilled.

Now, it’s Mr MC’s birthday so I need to go and devote some attention to him. I deliberately chose this happy day as the deadline for my Claudia Bradby competition and the winner chosen at random by Rafflecopter is …. Karen Berry. I will be getting in touch with you directly Karen, congratulations. And I’m going to leave you on a Claudia Bradby note. After reading my blog posts about my work life balance plans they very thoughtfully added this necklace from their new collection to the one they sent me to review. You’ll understand why I waited until last Saturday to wear it – it was a subliminal message to my son but also a reminder to myself in this new chapter.


You often see a ‘the world is your oyster’ message on jewellery but not accompanied by a real pearl, it would make such a lovely gift for someone venturing into pastures new.

Nikki Garnett, Midlifechic

IDLF at Uniqlo pinstriped soft wool blazer; Next relaxed skinny jeans; White Company long sleeved t-shirt; Claudia Bradby necklace and my wedding earrings for luck. This is after we got back from the big uni drop off and I appear to be giving myself a consoling hug! Have a brilliant weekend in this amazing sunshine we’re all having, I’ll be back next Friday. Keep in touch.

Disclaimer: this is not a sponsored post and I have no relationship with John Lewis. The Claudia Bradby necklace was sent as a gift and I was under no obligation to review it – I honestly think their jewellery is gorgeous.