Well hello, I promised a midlife lately – October catch-up today and as I start to type I’m wondering what I’m going to talk about because life since Greece has been all about work so it’s going to be a bit rough and ready. I know from the survey that there are a few of you who don’t like midlife lately posts, that you’d prefer me to focus purely on clothes and retail – I do understand so I hope that the new Tuesday retail spotlights are providing a little extra for you. I don’t want to lose sight of this blog being a personal record of my life though, as I’ve said before it’s a way of holding a hand out to future generations of my family that I might never meet and so the midlife lately posts will continue now and again. If they’re not your thing then I’ll be back to retail on Tuesday.

Midlife lately – October catch-up

So, let’s crack on. We’re now heading into our third year of life as a couple rather than life as a family and we seem to be establishing some kind of rhythm. When we’re at home we work solidly – as our local friends and family would concur. We no longer have to stop in the evenings for a family meal and so when we’re busy we just keep going and weekends are often taken up with work too. The good thing is that it means we can juggle things so that we can take time away when we need to – as you saw we took a few long weekends over the summer and we did the same last week when we managed to go over to Newcastle for the first time in ages.

Our Baltic Nest has been busy accommodating quite a few of you for a while and it’s particularly nice that we’re seeing the same people coming back again and again. We love hearing that you feel it’s your second home in the city because we know exactly how you feel. We need to spend more time with mum-in-law and so we’re shuttling back and forth from here to there between now and Christmas. This was late last Thursday, we’d driven over after a lunchtime meeting, done a trolley dash at M&S, spent a couple of hours with MIL and I even remembered to get a quick photo before we headed in.

You can see I’m using texture for contrast in a very simple work outfit. I’m wearing one of my favourite soft scuba jumpers that I told you about – for those of you who asked about length you can see it here. It’s perfect for skirts or high waisted trousers, sitting beautifully over the waistband without needing to be tucked in. The leather skirt is from last year but there are a few still available at half price in the sale. The suede boots were an investment buy a few years ago but they’re released every winter and the bag is an old one that you see all the time – I found an alternative in Tuesday’s post. Jewellery from Cos, years ago.

Midlife lately - October catch-up

Soft scuba jumper, leather skirt; suede boots; bag alternative

We’d planned the next day to be one of the more pleasurable sides of our work – store assessment. We do a quick whizz around the key high street stores to look at what they’re doing. It’s more for Mal’s side of things than mine, he assesses the window displays, graphics, POS, Visual Merchandising, Wayfinding etc. I’ll often wander off to look at something and return to find him stroking a banner, working out the print finish… which has given the boys no end of entertainment over the years. Anyway last Friday of course was the day when Storm Babet hit, the rain in Newcastle was torrential and it’s a city that just isn’t used to being wet so everything starts to flood. This was on our way back to the car so I was feeling a bit damp and dishevelled (and to the reader who stopped me quickly while we were taking this photo, it was lovely to meet you). I threw this outfit into the boot at the last minute before we left so that I had some shorter jeans just in case the pavements were wet so it isn’t very carefully thought through. I’m wearing another of those soft scuba tops…

Midlife lately - October catch-up

Soft scuba jumper; jeans (10% off with MLC 15); Veja trainers; Waterproof parka

… and this is getting a bit embarrassing, here’s another one – I meant it when I said I live in them at this time of year! This was Friday evening and we were going out to meet the middle boy and a new young lady that he’s become very fond of. They’re working together in the same pub but they’re both hoping to move on to more exciting ventures very soon, fingers crossed for them. My metallic boots had their first outing of the season, I think I bought them in 2018 and they still bring me joy.

Just a word about these jeans, they’re designed for chic travel so they’re really comfortable as well as having a fabulously flattering cut. I actually find myself wearing them for work a lot because they’re smart enough for client meetings. It’s so difficult to find a dark dye at the moment but it will always be my preferred wash for denim.

Midlife lately - October catch-up

Soft scuba jumper (past season colour); Wide leg travel jeans; Me+Em leather bomber past season; Hush boots past season

On Saturday we had a lazy morning waiting for the last of the storm to blow over so that we could go for a run. I managed to stay ahead of Mal which is rare so I was feeling quietly jubilant when I reached the lovely cafe where we reward ourselves with a coffee. For anyone staying in Newcastle, if you run along The Tyne from our flat to the very end of the Staiths and back to the cafe it’s a nice, gentle 4K.

Midlife lately - October catch-up

We had a busy afternoon and before we knew it, it was time to get changed quickly for our night out. As soon as the tickets were released a year ago we booked to go to Jo Whiley’s 90s anthems and I’ve been looking forward to it for ages. Before I tell you about it let’s talk what to wear. I really wasn’t sure but the middle one had told us it was a very ‘sticky floor’ gig venue so I opted for simple and washable. It wasn’t my usual kind of outfit but when we got there it was indeed very sticky and it felt right. I bought the t-shirt as a tribute to my 90s days, for me this song is the soundtrack of getting together with Mal, it just seemed to be playing everywhere in the autumn of 1998.

Some of you will remember me deliberating over this leather jacket for months a few years ago. I don’t wear it often but I’m glad I have it and I still think it’s the best one, particularly for wearing with dresses and skirts. It’s a classic so it’s always available.

Midlifechic Jo Whiley

Leather jacket; T-shirt; Coated straight leg jeans; Trainers

So let’s talk about Jo Whiley’s 90s anthems. What is it? It’s intended to be a club night with Jo DJing all of the old 90s bangers to a midlife crowd. Was it good? Yes… but… I’d been noticing Jo’s tweets all week and she’d been having an incredibly busy time, attending events each night after her Radio 2 show and I’d been wondering at her stamina. She must have had a terrible journey up to Newcastle through the storm and all I can say is that it showed. She’s one of my all-time top five midlife icons, I’ve met her before and she’s every bit as wonderful as you’d expect. But on the night you could sense she was tired so it was more like listening to a playlist than a DJ set. She said very little and didn’t really interact with the crowd until the end. Here’s a little moment for you…

However, the music was good and the crowd was great, unsurprisingly mostly Geordies and Scots with a sprinkling of youth who seemed a bit bemused by it all. It was like being back in your 20s… the faces around you had aged but not the joy – and your body just knew how to move to the music. The venue had clearly assumed that midlifers would want to be home in time for cocoa because the whole thing started at 6pm and finished at 10pm (yes really). Our group wasn’t having any of that though and the joy of Newcastle is that it’s always easy to find somewhere to dance. 30,703 steps later it was time for a cup of chamomile tea and bed.

So this is the next morning, feeling a little jaded but not too bad. We wandered across to the street food market that pops up every Sunday outside the flat and stocked up on delicacies to take home – pease pudding and Geordie bangers. This is another pair of trousers that I have to tell you about, they’re part of the ponte shape lab collection and another super smart but super comfortable thing to wear. In my fantasy capsule wardrobe life I could happily have seven pairs of these in my wardrobe, seven soft scuba jumpers and a few different pairs of boots and trainers. That would be me done until spring but I wouldn’t have much to blog about!

And while we’re talking trainers the sneaker geek eldest suggested I get a pair of the current hot buy, they’re not expensive and they’re probably the softest, most comfortable pair I own. They’re low profile with dainty laces too so they make an elegant switch from the more chunky styles that have been around for the last few years – the only problem is finding some in stock. The afternoon that followed was about family again and then we were ready for an early night.

Midlifechic casual chic for women over 50

Ponte trousers; Cotton striped jumper (gifted AW23); IdLF at Uniqlo jacket (past season); Trainers

And so we were up and off early on Monday morning – I know I have to be sitting at my desk at home to concentrate properly. I was also heading into my first week of Zoe which has been interesting. Like most people I’m obsessed with the blood sugar monitor that I’ll be wearing for the next two weeks which is teaching me that my body doesn’t like things like porridge for breakfast but loves Greek yoghurt with fruit and seeds. I’ve also learned that if I walk Ted before lunch my blood sugar crashes but if I have six nuts before I go, it stays steady.

Mal’s bought a fourteen day blood sugar monitor from the chemist to wear at the same time so he’s busking along with me without paying the Zoe fees. Obviously he won’t get the blood fat or microbiome analysis but with diabetes prevalent in both our families, it’s the blood sugar that we’re most interested in. It’s early days so there isn’t much more to say, the only thing that I find annoying is that you can’t integrate a workout tracker into the monitoring which seems crazy. I know some of you have been doing it for longer than me so if there is a way can you let me know. It seems a huge flaw in a very scientific set-up.

Midlife lately - October catch-up

Breton (10% off with MLC10); Trousers; Trainers

So that was last weekend, a little glimmer of fun in a busy time. I’ll continue to be flat out with work for the next two months, it’s always the same at this time of year. It’s good that I can bury myself in it because I do miss the boys although I managed to catch up with the eldest for lunch when I was in London a couple of weeks ago. He and his university girlfriend decided to go their separate ways over the summer so it’s been all change for him, especially as he had to find a new flat too. He managed to secure a place just two days before he had to move out of the old one when the landlady suddenly put it up for sale. As so many of you know from your own young adults, it’s no joke trying to find somewhere to rent these days. They’re snapped up within minutes of being listed, tenants don’t even go round to view them, they just place their deposits unseen which is what our boy ended up having to do. Luckily he and his uni friends have ended up in a really nice flat in Putney which isn’t where they wanted to be but he’s fallen in love with the area – as I thought he might.

And after the summer of stress with the youngest’s visa he’s now settled in Spain. If you have a student heading abroad in the future don’t underestimate the amount of visa hassle you have to go through – I’d heard about it from old schoolfriends with children older than mine but I thought they were exaggerating. It takes the whole summer and it’s expensive – it costs over £1,000 to get everything signed, sealed and stamped. Thankfully he seems happy, he’s an English teaching assistant in a school in the Valencian mountains that has only 50 children and yet it has 14 teachers. We booked him an AirBnB for ten days confident that the locals would take him under his wing and help him to find somewhere to live – that’s the benefit of having done a year abroad myself, I know just how welcoming the Spanish people are. He’s landed happily in a three bedroom house all to himself and thanks to the internet has made friends with assistants from other universities in the area. They have a night out together in the nearest big town which just happens to be Benidorm every weekend (yes it makes my eyes water too!). He’s already had his brand new birthday phone pickpocketed on one of them but I guess these are the worldly lessons he has to learn.

Midlife lately – October catch-up – Beauty

One more thing – I have a couple of beauty products I’ve been sent to test that it’s really worth telling you about and they work together in a way. The first is an eyelash serum that’s half the price of my usual Revitalash and twice as big. I didn’t expect much of it but I didn’t take one with me for the three weeks that we were travelling so I had a serum break before I started using it when we got home. My goodness it’s good, I could see the difference in just two weeks – my lashes are much longer, I’m having to trim the ones at the outer edge of my eyes because they tickle. Here it is, you know I won’t ever tell you these things are good if I don’t honestly believe they work.

Midlife lately - October catch-up

Lashforce eyelash serum

And to make the most of longer lashes, I can recommend this cruelty free mascara. I’m sure you’ve seen it around because lots of people like India Knight are raving about it. Rumi is a company run by a group of midlife women creating beauty products designed specifically for midlifers. I haven’t been using it for long enough to be able to say anything about the care and growth claims that it makes but it does coat every single one of your lashes separately without clumping so they look very naturally enhanced. And it really does last all day – it took me through a day at my desk followed by a strength training session and then a hot treadmill run without budging yesterday. It came off easily at night though with cleanser and warm water. Rumi are one of the new beauty disruptors who unlike the big brands, offer you your money back if you’re not happy with their product so it’s a risk free experience.

Midlife lately - October catch-up

Rumi mascara

And the clocks go back this weekend which always feels like the beginning of the approach towards winter. It’s going to feel like a shock next week and not only because of the change in daylight. The John Lewis Christmas ad airs next Tuesday and we’re going to suddenly find ourselves hurtling towards everything festive. I’m taking a slightly different approach to my gift posts this year, I’m trying to make sure everything I suggest is either beautiful or useful – or both – and they’ll be coming up before too long. I’ll even be feeling a little bit Christmassy this weekend because my London brother isn’t coming up here with his family for Twixmas this year as he usually does so we’re having our sibling get together on Saturday night instead. It’s always comforting when we meet up, I can regress into little sister mode which is usually a relaxing place to be. Luxuriate in your extra hour on Sunday, actually I’m dedicating mine to an hour of decluttering but I hope you do something much nicer… see you on Tuesday.

Disclosure: ‘Midlife lately – October catch-up’ is not a sponsored post

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