This new schedule of only posting once a week is going to take some getting used to but it’s nice to be back. It’s going to be a bit of a cornucopia today because there hasn’t been much going on here other than work which has mostly revolved around planning and strategy meetings and I can tell you, they’ve never been harder than they are after more than 100 days of lockdown and counting. However we are, at last, making summer plans on a personal level which feels good.
So let’s begin with the serious stuff. I’ve found it to be a strange week and not just because of the change to my blogging routine; I think the start of a new month always comes with the need to look a little further ahead. Up until now I’ve been deliberately operating in a shortened timeframe – when lockdown began it was suggested that there would be twelve weeks of disruption and so it’s felt as though we’ve been living with temporary measures. However as we hit July we can’t avoid the fact that we’re officially in the second half of the year and that somehow makes this altered state feel more permanent.
To date my goal has been getting through to new season. The arrival of everything Autumn/Winter in the shops always heralds a new start to me and since March I’ve had in mind that life would magically switch back to normal on 1st September. Clearly that’s not going to be the case – you don’t need me to point out the retail closures and redundancies along with the hit to the travel sector that we’ve seen this week. We also have the emergence of new regional (re)lockdowns and a softly simmering infection rate to take into account.
I’ve been collating information from conversations with organisations such as the Food Bank and the emergency services this week. A lot of their contingency planning is being based around the strong possibility of a second wave in September and then a third in January. For the Food Bank in particular it’s a worrying time; now that redundancies are starting to be announced they’re anticipating a huge increase in demand very soon and yet donations are dropping because they’re less front of mind than usual. They can’t open easily for walk-ins and so the entire logistics of running an operation that is sensitive and yet desperately needed are all having to be reviewed.
The retailers that I’ve been catching up with are, of course, thinking about how to restore confidence in the bricks and mortar shopping experience but they’re also trying to imagine Christmas. Yet again it’s crystal ball time although it’s obviously going to be less about parties and pantos this year and more about spending time with family at home (again!) and somehow making it special. What will the mood be like by the time we hit the end of this year? It’s impossible to predict.
So that gives you an idea of some of the things I’ve been chewing over this week. Enough doom and gloom though, what other news is there? Well I’ve seen previews of some of the new season clothing collections and they’re all accommodating the new mood for comfort so they feel relevant and yet refreshing. There’s a lot of interesting pleating and drapery which works with the body in a fluid way. Colours are quite muted though which surprised me as most people I know seem to be really playing around with brights at the moment however fashion is predicting a need for soft cocooning as the nights draw in.
Cos AW20 preview
Arket AW20 preview
Boden Aw20 preview
Making summer plans as the UK opens up…
And of course tomorrow is being heralded as ‘independence day’ for the UK as well as the US because bars and restaurants are reopening for the first time. Everyone we know has a different view on if and when they’ll re-enter society and at what pace. I think we all just have to assess and manage our own attitude to risk and act as intelligently as we can with the information that we have. At the same time it’s important, as always, to try not to judge others.
I can’t say I’m particularly in the mood for going out but with Mr MC’s presidency just heading into its second term we need to show confidence and support the reopening of local businesses. So, we’ve booked a table at a small wine bar from 6 – 8pm and we’ll be comfortably back at home before the ebullience overspills. I realise that I can’t remember how to dress for a date night in a wine bar so that will give me something to think about! And now that I know we’re going I’m starting to look forward to it because even though our friends are still sticking with lockdown and won’t come with us, there’s something lovely about the buzz of other people.
I read a piece in the FT last week quoting French sociologist Emile Durkheim who used the term ‘collective effervescence’ to describe the need that humans have to escape their everyday routine by dissolving their identities into a group. He said that as we gather with others, an electricity is released – we share emotions and are transported beyond ourselves. It makes sense when you consider the unity of emotions released at football matches, concerts and religions and just being in a nice bar surrounded by like-minded people gives you a flavour of a joint mood. Obviously it will be a while before anyone can be part of a crowd but hopefully the fundamental human need to be around others will be soothed by the new ability to go out to managed spaces such as bars and restaurants. We’ll have to wait and see what happens to the infection rate but it may reduce some of the tension that seems to be simmering everywhere at the moment.
What else is opening up? Well some schools are, albeit cautiously and the youngest is attending for two afternoons a week which I’m glad about because he has to sit his A Level exams next year. We’re finding it’s giving our household a little bit of structure again although not for long because he breaks up for summer at the end of next week.
I’ve been driving myself and the rest of the family mad as I’ve obsessed over the air bridges this week and whether we’ll be able to have our holiday in Turkey (and today we’ve found out we can). The boys are making big plans for next summer and so although we’re not in need of family time, it’s looking increasingly like this will be our last holiday together for a while – although who knows? With the way that the airline industry is going travel may become prohibitively expensive in the future anyway.
On a staycation level we’re really pleased that we can go over to Newcastle soon to see mum-in-law. She’s reaching the end of her tether with lockdown so we’re busy giving her dates to look forward to and we’re going over with the boys for a couple of days later in the month. It will give Mr MC a chance to walk the middle son past some of his favourite Geordie haunts before he starts his student life there in September (fingers crossed) so we should have a few laughs too.
I’m pleased to say that I have a hair appointment booked – I managed to secure one for the day that Hersheson’s reopened but then looking at our holiday dates decided to put it back by ten days until 16th July. I now need to leave my hair alone and stop attacking it when it annoys me. I’m getting a lot of emails from people who are seeing this as a chance to really start from scratch with their hair and so I’m being asked if I think my hairdresser Premlee is really worth the investment. My view is that he has a particular talent for looking at someone and immediately seeing how their hair can work to flatter the planes and angles of their face. My hair costs me more than anything else and I wouldn’t travel as far as I do to see him if I didn’t think it was worth it. As I always say, you wear your hair every day and so getting a good cut will make more of a difference than anything you wear.
I’m always being asked for pictures of the back and sides of my hair when it’s just been cut and obviously I don’t have any recent ones but here are some from a while ago when we went to an awards do straight from the hairdressers. Excuse the teary one – it’s the moment when I was completely surprised by being named Blogger of the Year.
I’m really looking forward to being back in London and although there are no deals on train travel, one thing that surprised me is how cheap the hotels are. If ever you wanted to visit and don’t feel worried about travel, now’s the time. In the end Mr MC and I have decided to make a short break out of it so we’re staying for a couple of nights. I’m not sure what we’ll do while we’re down there yet but it will feel really good to be back in an urban environment for a day or two – with good hair!
Other than that, I’m still having annoying problems with my Achilles so I can’t run at the moment. It’s really frustrating as it’s the one big achievement I’ve made over lockdown and so I feel as though the universe is thwarting me. However, I’m working with a physiotherapist to build strength and I’m determined not to give up.
The rain is torrential today and it’s been grey and wet all week here so I haven’t felt very inspired on the what to wear front but here are some pictures anyway. Actually I’m starting with one from last week when it was baking hot and we were about to go to an outdoor class at the gym. Spartan Fit it was called and it was tough in 28 degree heat – it’s also the thing that set me back on the Achilles front so even though I enjoyed it, I wish I hadn’t gone along.
A school run picture here – the boy cycles in when the weather’s good but otherwise I quite enjoy chauffeuring him so that he can avoid the bus. I’m having fun playing around with some of the funkier retro trainers on the market and this Adidas originals pair fits perfectly with my core wardrobe colours of navy and red but they’re sold out everywhere at the moment.
My shirtdresses have been good for the mixed-up weather we’re having and I’m trying to alternate trainers with low heels every so often just so that I don’t forget how they feel.
The meadow flowers are in full bloom at the moment – cornflowers behind me and there were daisies and poppies too, it really is a glorious time of the year. The shirt and espadrilles are navy by the way – for some reason they look black here.
Blouse and jeans both IdLF at Uniqlo past season and espadrilles (gifted SS20)
And today I’m in a fleece because it’s so cold and it definitely doesn’t merit a picture. I’m spending the rest of the day working on some research and I’m trying to concentrate even though next door Mr MC is in a Zoom meeting with the local MP. From the snippets I catch, his conversation sounds much more interesting than the stats I’m going through. Everybody everywhere seems to be trying to work with the information available to them and I sense that it’s driven by a need to regain control. I wonder how you’re all feeling this week – it was clear from last week’s comments that things are particularly tough in the US so I’m sure we all want to send a socially distanced digital hug to our friends over there.
So, tell me are you making summer plans at last? Who’s keen to get back out there and go out for a meal or fly off on holiday? Who feels happier at home? 100 days of lockdown is a long time – do you think it’s changed you? I’ll leave you with some food for thought – a couple of slides from another presentation this week, this time from the Tourism Society looking at ‘UK Consumer Sentiment on the Impact of Covid-19’. I feel as if I should be setting you an essay question!
Have a good weekend everyone and I’ll be back next week – probably with another cornucopia of some kind. Let me know in the comments if there’s anything you’d particularly like me to talk about and as always, thank you for reading and sticking with me through this peculiar summer.
Disclosure: ‘Making summer plans (at last) and recent outfits’ is not a sponsored post
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