I confess that as we head into another weekend with a forecast of bitter weather, I’m beginning to feel at a bit of a loss as to what to write about. It seems that we’re living in Narnia’s perpetual winter. Spring has completely stalled up here, the birds are quiet, buds are barely showing on the trees and the skies are many shades of grey. Even I don’t feel like shopping when every day is just another jumper day. So for now I’m not looking at new clothes. Instead I’m on a daily mission to find reasons to be cheerful whilst wearing the clothes I already have. Here are some ways round the gloom in case you’re struggling too.

Wear your spring clothes anyway

I’m determined to wear the new season clothes I accrued in February when I was convinced that winter was breathing its last gasps. The way round it is by layering them and adding bright accessories. This photo was taken in Manchester a couple of weeks ago when it started to sleet and our shopping trip was curtailed by the lure of a cosy tapas bar.

Rainbow jumper, Midlifechic

Helen Berman peacoat AW14; Rainbow jumper (gSS17); IdLF at Uniqlo roll neck SS16; Boden jeans SS15 (this year’s version here); Boots now in clearance

Plan a week of themed cuisine

On Saturdays when the boys were little and we lived near London, we used to spin a globe and get one of them to put their finger on it when it stopped. We would then go out and find a restaurant from the country that they landed on. It was always such an adventure and I’m sure it’s one of the reasons that the eldest has such a passion for geography. Obviously as a project it came to an abrupt halt when we moved up here because eateries offering exotic cuisine don’t extend much beyond chips or curry… or even chips and curry.

This photo was taken last Saturday when we were waiting for our French exchange student to arrive. It took his group longer than they expected to travel north from the airport so we had an unexpected coffee in town. As we were filling in time, I started planning a menu of English delicacies to cook during the week and I asked for suggestions on Instagram. As a result we’ve eaten like kings (my waistline is suffering though). I might do it again soon with a different theme – I suspect a week of salads would probably be a good place to start!

Reasons to be cheerful

& Other Stories Captain Coat AW17; Wide leg cropped jeans (these have now been restocked); Uniqlo Roll neck AW16

Bad weather is a good reason to drink champagne

This was on Sunday which as you know was Mother’s Day. My boys did a great job with cards and thoughtful little gifts in the morning. They then went their various ways and our house felt very quiet so we cracked open a bottle of champagne. Sometimes you have to remind yourself to stop saving things for best and just enjoy them.

Reasons to be cheerful

Hearts top

Dedicate time to daydreaming

Obviously this photo wasn’t taken this week(!) but I’ve been dreaming about lazing by a warm sea with a good book. You see I’m getting good value out of our summer holiday by looking forward to it already. I think a lot of people are doing the same. Lots of our friends are in the middle of holiday bookings and (rather guiltily) I’ve slotted in a few extra days of sunshine for May half term.

Reasons to be cheerful

Sheila who owns Yellow Villa in Kalkan got in touch this week to warn me that if we wanted to go there next year, we would need to give her our dates fast. Apparently it has been almost completely booked out by Midlifechic readers not only for this year but for next year’s summer holidays too (I may have shot myself in the foot by sharing my secret)! So, we’ve had to secure some dates for ourselves quickly – it feels weird to have next year’s summer holiday planned already.

I just thought I’d let you know because if you are considering it, you need to make some decisions. She is still honouring the 10% discount if you mention Midlifechic. There is one week left in August this year and next year is fully booked from 1st July until 12th August. I think we’re going to have to rename it Midlifechic Towers!

 Play around with a street styler look

When I posted about jeans on Tuesday I had an email from Sarah saying that she finds it easier to visualise looks when I wear them myself rather than when I feature street stylers. She asked me to show how cropped jeans in a lighter wash would work. This is just a quick outfit that I pulled together. The jeans are some ‘mom jeans’ that I bought a couple of years ago and I’ve never really liked the bulk they add to my stomach area. However, at least it gives you an idea of how I will wear the tucked-in look when I find the right pair (must get on with ordering some).

As you can see, I was also trying on the white boots that I featured a couple of weeks ago as my order had just arrived. The leather is incredibly soft but they seem to have sold out already. They’re still listed though so keep an eye out for stock coming back in if you like them.

Reasons to be cheerful

Cashmere jumper; Mom jeans (past season); Boyfriend coat; Boots; Belt (gSS17)

Take time out to see an old friend

This was a work day but I popped in to see an old friend who was holding a coffee morning. It was a fundraiser for her niece who is heading off to do some charity work in South Africa and she’d baked ten different cakes so I couldn’t decide whether I was in heaven or hell! While I was there I caught up with a few other mums I knew from the primary school playground which was really refreshing. Up until last week I would have turned this invitation down saying that I was too busy. However as you know, when I decided to reduce the time I was spending online, I promised myself that I would divert it to doing something enriching. This coffee morning was one of those things and it really brightened my week.

Reasons to be cheerful

M&S coat AW16; Love saves the day jumper (gSS18); Hope roll neck (gAW16); Finery wide leg trousers (AW16); Autograph sock boots (AW16)

Face something you hate head on

As I’ve said many times, the thing I hate most is anything that relates to numbers and yet I always feel better when I’ve conquered them. This photo was taken when we had just finished the first of our year-end accounts meetings so I was feeling particularly giddy at being liberated from it.

checked trouser suit, business

Check jacket (gSS18); check trousers (gSS18); ruffle shirt (gSS18); Parisian boots; Finery bag (AW15)

When Baukjen invited me to choose something from their spring collection I went straight for this blazer and trousers which are sold as separates but can be worn as a suit. I’ve been veering away from the Prince of Wales check that is so popular because it feels too fussy for me. However this simple navy and white feels much easier to wear. I’ll use the blazer in the same way as my navy pinstripe one – with jeans at the weekend and with navy crops for work. Equally the trousers will dress down nicely with a  white t-shirt in summer.

As soon as I put a suit on, I’m reminded of my 90s self when I was working at Selfridges and wore one every day. Suits just make career dressing so simple and of course Baukjen’s tailoring is so good that it feels as though it was made for me.


Check jacket (gSS18); check trousers (gSS18); ruffle shirt (gSS18); Parisian boots; Finery bag (AW15)

We’ve just come to the end of our 16th year in business together which Mr MC and I decided deserved a small celebration. It’s always such a relief to know that our business has survived another year, especially in the current business climate which is riddled with Brexit uncertainty.

Reasons to be cheerful

Do something you’ve always wanted to

Satisfying though it was, the accountancy meeting wasn’t the high point of my week. You see there is a columnist who writes for Guardian Weekend that I particularly love. His name is Tim Dowling and I’ve been reading his weekly updates about life in London with his wife and three teenage sons for so many years that I feel as if I know them. It is one of my Saturday morning pleasures because he writes so well, encapsulating the ups and downs of family life in such funny, concise and beautifully worded pieces that his verbal agility often makes me catch my breath.

He sometimes mentions his hobby which is playing the banjo and refers to performing with “the band I’m in.” Every so often I do a search on the band and I’ve always been unlucky when they’ve been on tour, often missing their performances by a whisker. A couple of weeks ago though everything came together when I discovered they were playing in Morecambe which isn’t very far from us.

It was a quick turnaround to get home from work, whip up an English delicacy, have a bilingual chat over dinner, get changed and go out but here’s a quick shot of what I wore.

what to wear to a gig over 40

Boden silk blouse (AW17); Reiss cropped straight jeans (AW17); Zara sock boots (AW17); Faux leather jacket (SS14)

As I say every year, I really must replace this biker jacket (which was a complete bargain and is still available) with a proper leather one but… I can never find one that has such a good cut. The hunt goes on. (This is another example of me wearing straight leg cropped jeans with a top tucked in by the way Sarah).

Anyway the concert was great. They play Americana which isn’t the sort of music I usually listen to but I enjoyed it. More exciting though was getting to meet Tim afterwards. If you’re a Guardian reader you’ll understand that he drily judges the success of a gig by the number of souvenir tea towels they sell afterwards. So, here I am with my tea towel which I purchased from the man himself… and yes I know I look rather manic and he looks really scared!

Reasons to be cheerful

I’ve never been the sort of person who gets excited by celebrities but he is my favourite diarist and I was completely starstruck (as was the lady on my right). Mr MC found the whole thing highly entertaining and just couldn’t stop laughing at my enthusiasm. Now if you read the column you’ll know that Tim often talks about his wife. I relate to the journey that she has been through with her boys so closely that she feels like a friend. And guess what? She was there too. We had a really good chat about all kinds of things including our good fortune at being mothers blessed with three teenage sons. And I apologise if this is all going over your head because you don’t read The Guardian but if you buy one this Saturday (his column is in the magazine) hopefully you’ll see what I mean.

Make the most of a second chance

So, that was definitely one of the high points of my year so far. I’ll stop going on about it now. I have one last piece of sartorial news – there has been another drop of stock of the Inès de La Fressange at Uniqlo collection so if you missed out last time, you might be lucky. Remember that the shirting is especially good – Inès has similar designs in her own mainline collection and they are priced at 310 Euros! Oh and there’s 15% off big brand beauty at House Of Fraser until midnight (tomorrow) Saturday 17th March.

And with that I will leave you. I hope that next week we’ll look at the forecast and see some spring weather in sight which will make us all feel like shopping. I know that retailers are starting to get worried because footfall is low. Of course the benefit to us will be some cracking discounts just when we need them.

I have a long night ahead. I am taxiing the boys right across the county to a party and then going all the way back again at midnight to collect them. Mr MC and I are thinking of going to a late showing at the cinema while we wait. Guess how many minutes into the film we’ll be before I fall asleep? Actually a nap might not be a bad idea because we then have to deposit our French fils in town at 3.15am so that he can join the rest of his group for the journey home. Zut alors!

Disclaimer: ‘Reasons to be cheerful’ is not a sponsored post

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2018 posts you may have missed

Casual basics – jeans

What I’ve been wearing – and how I carved out an extra day in my week

Thoughts on Mother’s Day as your children grow older

Spring pick-me-ups

5 things to do in the Lake District when the weather’s bad

The Boots No7 Face Study

Spotlight on Inès de La Fressange at Uniqlo

Midlife adventures – Transylvania review

Some thoughts about our midlife Valentines

How to keep your complexion glowing in midlife

Capsule packing for a winter city break

Spring 2018 trends for ageless style

Winter outfits for women over 40

The best place for a family holiday with teens

January casual wardrobe updates

How to find your purpose at midlife

Great British Boltholes – The Pentonbridge Inn

Midlife lately – winter outfits and events

Happy January – searching for a better way to manage 2018