I thought I’d take a breather from the madness of new season so that we can have a quick catch up. Today I’m bringing you a post of recent outfits, try-ons and a midlife lately catch up which has ended up being more introspective than I intended but that’s what happens when I have something on my mind. So, as far as the weather is concerned, we seem to be sliding quickly into Autumn here but every so often, summer comes up for one last gasp and it’s difficult to plan from one day to the next. The one thing I’ve been focusing on is colour and here are some recent work outfits.
Outfits for work
Apologies for the light on this one – I was late home from work and so I think Mr MC overcompensated on the exposure in the twilight.
Trousers (SS18 now in clearance) ; Pure Collection linen tee SS17; Sezane sandals SS18; Bag coming very soon to Midlifechic
This was after a meeting in Blackburn which isn’t the prettiest of Lancashire towns but it does have some rather magnificent graffiti.
Midlifechic tee SS18; Trousers; Jigsaw shoes SS18; Bag coming very soon to Midlifechic
A cooler work day here so a jacket was needed.
An outfit for fun
This was a couple of weekends ago and as you’ll know if you follow me on Instagram, I’d completely forgotten about an event afterparty that I’d promised to go to. A friend texted me to find out what time we were meeting and so I had to move from ‘Sunday night sofa’ to ‘out out’ in 10 minutes flat. The chips were in place of the lovely roast dinner that was planned but they did a good job of lining my stomach!
Finery top (AW16); Hush jeans (g AW17); Finery sandals (AW17)
Trying on cord suits
As you know, cord is a key look this season and it’s one I’m very happy to embrace because it’s warm, comfortable and functional (and yes I realise that I couldn’t sound more middle-aged if I tried)! These are two cord trouser-suits that I keep seeing featured as ‘must buys’ so I decided to order them for a try-on and take some quick iPhone snaps to show you how they looked.
Here’s the first one, a boxy jacket with a wide-leg crop that seems to sell out as fast as new stock comes in. I’m wearing a size 12 and it’s true to size but the cut isn’t for me. Although I know that loose and oversized is a key look for the season, for me it needs to be either top or bottom only, not both. The colour’s not doing me any favours either.
This one is exactly the colour I’d been looking for – a warm rust. I much prefer the cut although it will need altering. By the way I’m often asked if I alter or pin things before I shoot them and I just want to emphasise that I don’t. It makes me cross that a lot of bloggers pin or even have their clothes altered without admitting it, usually to get a better picture for a brand. It’s my belief that if someone might buy something as a result of seeing it on your blog, it’s your responsibility to show how it looks straight from the hanger. Pinning and airbrushing should be left to the magazines. I’ll be putting noses out of joint now but it’s something I feel very strongly about – bloggers owe it to their readers to be honest.
Anyway, rant over. This one’s a keeper but I’m going to have the sleeves on the jacket taken up and the hems on the trousers too. If you’re buying it, apart from the length it comes up small – I had to go for a size 40 jacket and a 42 in the trousers.
Midlife lately catch up – new horizons for the middle son
Last weekend was the first of our visits to university open days with the middle boy. We couldn’t go to any in June and July because he was immersed in rehearsals for a play so we now have a heavy schedule ahead and many miles to cover. As some of you know from Instagram, I’ve been worrying about his yearning to do a degree in Theatre Studies – not because I don’t value it as a subject, I really do. It’s just that it’s a highly competitive career choice in a field that’s been underfunded for a long time – and of course who knows what lies ahead in terms of arts funding over the next few years?
We’ve had lots of discussions and we discovered that the other thing he enjoys is mentoring younger kids when he’s working on productions. So, we agreed that it might be worth looking at a joint degree in drama and education. We shortlisted five places with open days to go to and Aberystwyth was first up in the calendar. My goodness it’s a difficult place to get to – we left work at lunchtime picking the boy up from school along the way and we finally arrived six hours later.
As soon as we got there we decided to look for somewhere to eat. I’m not smiling quite as warmly as usual at Mr MC because we’d had a SatNav malfunction which meant the last bit of the journey was somewhat fraught. Anyway, here we are on a very windy prom and I just want to digress from Open Days for a moment and talk to you about the trousers, jumper and scarf that I’m wearing.
You know that I’m very fond of the team at Hope and have been since they first launched three years ago. I love the fact that they continue to be a company run and staffed by women over 40 who have taken endless risks to establish the business and keep it running. What I’m particularly pleased to tell you is that they have a new design team working with them this season who have listened to some of the feedback about the cut needing to be worked on.
Now, it’s always lovely when something arrives for me to review but it isn’t often that I want to wear it immediately. However when I unwrapped this, I knew it was going to be perfect for a morning of meetings, followed by a long (long) drive in the car.
Merino coat (gAW16, this year’s version here); cashmere / merino jumper (g); cashmere / merino wrap (g); Power Foundation wide leg crops (g); Finery shoes (AW17); Midlifechic tricolour bag (past season)
It was getting too cold and dark to take any detailed shots in Aberystwyth – plus we needed to restore our plummeting blood sugar (and bonhomie). So I’ve put the pieces on again today for you to see in more detail. The cropped wide leg trousers are part of what is called the Power Foundation collection. Hope have taken the fabric from their best-selling foundation range and fused two pieces together to create more structure without losing stretch. This means that not only does it support you where needed but it hangs beautifully. They offer free alterations so you can have your trousers cut to your required length before delivery.
The jumper and matching scarf remind me of the luxury of cashmere as it used to be before it started to be overproduced. They’re actually made from a cashmere / merino blend but they’re just so soft that it’s like wearing a cloud. It’s a while since I’ve worn a jumper as fluffy and light as this one and yet it’s still very warm. So, great pieces that sold out as soon as they came in thanks to rave reviews in the press. They’ve now restocked so have a look while they’re still available.
A glamping stopover
Now, back to the weekend. Once we’d eaten and were all smiling at each other again, we headed off to find our accommodation for the night. You see because we’d left it a bit late, by the time I tried to book somewhere for us to stay all of the hotels were full. After a lot of searching I managed to find a glamping pod on a farm five miles from Aberystwyth and we weren’t sure what to expect. It was pitch black when we arrived so we couldn’t really see much however it had its own little deck with a hot tub ready and waiting for us. Never knowingly under-equipped, I’d brought a bottle of champagne, crystal glasses and yes… a shower cap because I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to wash and dry my hair when we got out(!) We jumped in and sat in the dark in bubbling warmth as the cold Welsh winds gusted around us.
The boy of course was overjoyed by the social media mileage it gave him. We ended up just relaxing for a couple of hours and laughing so much that we’ve made it our mission to try to stay somewhere unusual for every long distance open day destination.
We had an early start in the morning and this was the hot tub in the daylight. It’s a shame we didn’t have more time there because the pod looked out onto its own lake which had an island in the middle with a picnic table.
It was equipped with lots of indoor and outdoor games, a firepit and an outdoor coolbox should a week’s supply of champagne be required. It was warm inside with a good kitchen and shower room, a bedroom and a sofa-bed in the living area. I have no affiliation with the owner but it’s a new business so I’m trying to help him. If you’re looking for a lovely break about 5 miles from Aberystwyth, here’s the glamping link.
As you can see, I couldn’t wait to have my jacket sleeves altered before I wore it.
A day of serious thinking
So, given that this decision is going to be a big part of our lives for the next few weeks, I’m going to take you along with us briefly. Our first stop at 10am was a lecture in the Education Department. As I’ve said, it wasn’t the middle one’s choice to go to it but he was feeling positive. However as we sat through the talk, I could feel his enthusiasm ebbing away and soon he was watching the seagulls whirling outside. I had one of those moments when you have to dig deep. I thought back to my own university years and how much I loved almost everything I studied… and I really wanted that for him. So when it ended, we found a café and had yet another big chat.
The course content on the education curriculum was so dry that at this point he was feeling that university wasn’t going to be for him at all. So, we agreed to look into drama schools but as we’d come such a long way, we thought we’d still go along to the Theatre Studies sessions and see how they went.
And they went like this. He clicked with the other prospective students, he was utterly absorbed by the sample lectures, he loved the improvisation sessions, …
… and was a different boy at the end of it all.
Some thoughts about knowing your offspring
So, Saturday reminded us all that the safe path isn’t always the right one… and that the way that you feel when you’re doing something you love is worth making sacrifices for. It’s a risk I’ve taken a few times in my own life so I’m a bit annoyed with myself for not just supporting his dreams straightaway. Aberystwyth may or may not be the right place but it was a great benchmark to start from. It was good to see him alight on a future where he felt he belonged. He won’t mind me saying that although he clearly has the ability to go to university, he’s not a natural scholar. He’s found some subjects at school to be a real struggle and I’ve watched his heart sink so many times over the years when he’s realised how much easier academia is for his brothers.
I realise that this sounds a bit naive but one of my biggest learnings as a mother has been how much children in a family can differ from each other. I think that particularly when I had three boys, I assumed they would all be pretty much the same – like peas in a pod. It was actually quite a shock when I realised that they weren’t all heading in the same direction with shared interests, abilities and achievements. One of the biggest puzzles of my parenting journey has involved unravelling their very different skills and personalities and trying to make the best decisions for them. Now of course those decisions are primarily theirs and I have to guide them where I can but then sit back and hope that there aren’t too many bumps in their roads.
The journey with this particular boy has shown me that education is currently so results driven that it can, at times, be damaging. However he’s now finding his path and discovering that he has skills to offer that can be more valuable than stellar grades. He’s part of the Senior Student Team at school and it was his empathy, kindness, humour and ability to entertain others that saw him elected to the post. He’s the one that teachers turn to when they need someone to lead a school assembly because they know he has the charisma to hold people’s attention and I’m so proud of that. Please don’t think I’m bragging though, I’m writing this because there have been times in the past when I’ve felt so frustrated that only grades seem to count, especially between the ages of 11 and 16. I want to reassure any of you who find yourselves there that your son or daughter’s time will come.
I’ve been dreading these Open Days because having been through them before, I know that they’re the beginning of the saying goodbye. However I have to add that I feel really excited for him too. I think that when he’s surrounded by others who share his passion, spending each day doing something he truly loves, he’ll blossom. And when that finishes, we’ll work the rest out from there.
If you’ve made it this far, thank you for listening – it’s helped me to empty my head. I hope that somewhere along the way it’s struck a chord with you. Maybe one of you is worrying about a child lower down in the school years and wondering what to do. My advice is just to build on their strengths, whatever they may be and be proud of them for who they are. I’m hoping that some of you will share your wisdom and experiences in the comments too.
Oh and if I’ve bored you to death… you’ll be relieved to know that we’ll be back to normal on Friday with more new season reviews!
Disclosure: ‘midlife lately catch up’ is not a sponsored post
Offers not to miss
M&S have started their mid-season sale here
ASOS have 20% off until Thursday 20th at 8am here
J Crew have 25% off all workwear here until 21st September
Other Autumn/Winter 18 posts you may have missed
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