So you may remember me saying that I had a couple of other new February outfits to show you from last week’s deliveries. I was waiting to get some slightly more exciting photos than a trying on session because we were going to the opening of a new play. We are ‘critical friends’ of the local theatre and every so often they invite us along to see something they have been working on and get our feedback.
This was a one woman show, written by the actor about her marriage breakdown and it was gripping but gruelling at the same time. Anyway, never one to miss an opportunity, Mr MC suggested leaving work early for a pre-theatre supper and I (never one to miss an opportunity) was happy to oblige if he agreed to take some quick shots of my new outfit first.
I’m going to start by talking about the coat. It’s been quite warm here and so I’ve been thinking about lighter weight coats. I found this one at Marks and Spencer. I’ve been hunting for a simple black city coat since I wore my last one out.
It wasn’t expensive and so it isn’t wool but it has a nice felted effect. The cut is the best thing about it – M&S have absolutely nailed the cut of their single breasted coats this season by adding a curved seam to the front panel which gives you an on trend cocoon effect without the volume.
As I said, it isn’t a heavy Winter coat but it’s perfect for times when you don’t want a bulky extra layer – when you’re commuting, shopping or for evenings out. I’m really pleased with it.
The other new item I’m wearing is also from M&S. I loved this top as soon as I saw it. I know some of you aren’t keen on this season’s statement sleeves but this is a really easy way to wear them. They’re just slightly fluted and they aren’t especially long so they don’t trail in your tapas (I tested that out just for you).
I love the monochrome colour blocking and the fact that the colours break at your slimmest part, just under your ribs which is very figure flattering. The fabric is soft and felted which is great because it means the turtle neck stands properly and the sleeves have structure. It’s a close fit so if you’re between sizes, go up.
Unfortunately because M&S have just had their 20% weekend, both of these items are showing as very low stock but if your size has gone, keep checking back for returns. The top is still showing plenty of stock in the pale grey.
So, new top and new coat worn with Hush velour jeans and my classic ponyskin clutch and shoes. A simple outfit but it felt great.
On Sunday we went to spend a lazy afternoon with some friends in the village. It was warm but wet so I didn’t need a coat at all which gave me a chance to wear this waistcoat which is from Hope’s new Spring collection.
They have just released some of their bestsellers in navy and I loved this boiled wool waistcoat when they lent me one to shoot in the Autumn so when they invited me to pick something to photograph, it was my immediate first choice.
I’m also wearing one of the bretons that I featured a couple of weeks ago and then ordered. Now that I’ve seen them in the flesh I declare them to be the perfect weight and cut with a lovely boat neck plus they are only £12.90 – you’d be mad not to buy one. I added my new pink shoes for a touch of Spring.
Back to the waistcoat you can see that it does you lots of favours from the side…
…and the back. It’s cut from a single piece of boiled wool and the raw edges make it flare beautifully because they have no weight.
It comes with its own kilt pin but the friend we were visiting gave me this Finery brooch for Christmas and it seemed the perfect opportunity to wear it.
If you’re wondering why I’m brandishing a book, it’s because I’ve just finished it and it was so good that I wanted to pass it on – I knew it would be well received (along with the cava)! I very rarely buy printed books these days unless I know it is one I will want to share or keep for life. And now of course I feel compelled to share it with you.
I don’t know if you’ve read any of Helen Simpson’s short stories but I’ve loved them for years. She writes about the stage of life she has reached and so when the boys were small, she was writing about her own trials of early motherhood. Now she is writing about midlife.
Her writing is pared down and she encapsulates situations beautifully using only a few words which is why short stories are such a good medium for her. If you’re not hugely into the detail of writing, it might leave you cold. I remember proposing “Hey Yeah Right Get A Life” for a book club read a long time ago and my local friends just didn’t get it. I could have wept. However if you are a fan of the written word and sardonic, understated British humour, you’re going to love her.
Let me give you a taster. In this story a midlife woman is having one of her regular sessions with her acupuncturist. They have been chatting about menopause and the changes they anticipate it will bring.
“Liz drew a long slow breath and closed her eyes again. Into her mind floated the lunchtime concert she’d attended at St Pancras Church last week, Schubert’s Death and The Maiden. Most of the heads in the audience had been white or grey haired. And she hadn’t been able to help noticing the smell: nothing awful, just the subdued but unmistakeable smell of underwashed jumpers and hair that had been left to go on an extra day. They weren’t expecting anything.”
I love the way she’s left those last four words to hang at the end of the paragraph!
It’s like having a book of short stories on the go for the odd moment when I have the chance to sit down with a cup of coffee. I know if I pick up the main book I’m reading I won’t want to put it down but a short story is like a biscuit – a frisson of guilty pleasure and then you can carry on with your day.
Anyway I’ll stop talking now. If you’re anything like Mr MC you’ll be yawning – actually he would have made his escape when I said “I feel compelled to share it with you!” Here’s the book if you’re interested – let me know if you love it (or you don’t) and I’ll feel less alone in my bookworm world.
And with that I’ll leave you to get on with your week. I’m not sure if I’ll post on Friday because I’m going back down to London. I may pop up and surprise you though, you never know.