I have a late addition to the summer sales for you. Hope will be opening their sale tomorrow (Saturday 8th July) and I have a VIP preview which means you can go onto the site and snap up the bargains before everyone else. In preparation for the new stock arriving, they are having a huge clearout from past seasons and a lot of items are 70% off. It’s a great opportunity to buy something of high quality at an amazing price. Here are my top picks:
I have loved this monochrome scarf since I saw it in the very first collection but at £95, I just couldn’t afford it. There are a few left in the sale for £23.75 and I have already ordered mine…
…it is made from Italian wool and is luxuriously oversized so it will work beautifully with a winter coat.
The silk trousers that I wear on holiday are also 70% off. They are hand washable.
I always roll mine at the bottom for a relaxed look.
I wore this watermelon linen wrap a lot last summer – I must dig it out, I haven’t seen it this year.
And both the long waistcoat that I was wearing to interview Nayna in this shot, and the porcelain shrug that she is wearing, are also in the sale.
Long grey waistcoat; ribbed shrug with cashmere
And lastly, my favourite Hope jumper has 40% off. It is pure cashmere and knitted in one piece so that it has no seams. The reduction isn’t as big as on the other items but it is a very good price for something that you could wear every weekend once summer is over.
As you know, I love Hope because it is a small brand run by women like us. A high proportion of the clothes are made in the UK. There are lots of other items in the sale with huge reductions and you have VIP access until Saturday so I hope you find something you like. Oh – and before I move on, Hush have released a small new summer capsule collection here.
Midlife lately – revisiting my past
Now, as I mentioned on Friday, we returned to our old life near London last weekend which always leaves me feeling in a muddle. It’s actually been longer than I realised since we had a fun weekend down there. Longstanding readers will remember that I wrote about the last time we were down two years ago here, when we had the sad task of sorting through the belongings of an old friend who had died suddenly.
The boys were 7, 2 and 10 months old when we left the south. It seemed like a good idea to start with a trip down memory lane for the eldest which gave us a chance to show the youngest two all of our important places. I wanted them to have an insight into the life we left behind. They were very patient as we walked around Surbiton (where we used to live) with Mr MC and I remarking repeatedly “…and this is where…”
As you can see, I even took them to the branch of M&S where I was in labour with the middle son and regaled him with the tales of my waters breaking – much to his distress!
IdLF @ Uniqlo blazer (past season); 1967 tee made by Mr MC for my birthday; Boden Cambridge jeans; Boden loafers (past season)
I mentioned last week that we were going to a good friend’s 50th birthday party. It was at Sandown racecourse and the many offspring that we have produced between us were invited too. The youngest is doing his stuff for the camera here – shame he forgot to pack a decent pair of trainers to do his posing in!
I knew it wouldn’t be a fancy frock kind of do so I opted for a Finery top with jeans – and sandals that I could dance in. I’m sorry that I alarmed so many of you last week by mentioning the loss of my toenails at my last party with this bunch of friends. For those who have asked how it could possibly happen, I was wearing high heeled stilettos with a very pointy toe. They were glitter shoes (so not made of leather) and they had no give in them. The boys weren’t with us that time and the music was really good. We danced all night, without sitting down once. We then went back to somebody’s house and danced some more. At about 4am, as we were walking walked back to our hotel, I noticed that my toes were really throbbing.
I’ll spare you the detail but the end result was similar to runner’s toe and I lost both of my big toenails. It took a year for them to grow back and yes, last summer was a challenge. I didn’t mention it because I felt a bit of an idiot. However, from the correspondence I’ve had, it seems I’m not the only one it has happened to. These false toenails were my saviour. They stayed on for about two weeks at a time, even when I was swimming – although there was an alarming moment when I lost one as I was climbing back onto a speedboat in Kefalonia and the middle son had to dive deep down into the sea to retrieve it!
Top; Jeans; Sandals – sold out but I’ve found them with 50% off here;
I hadn’t realised that my friends in the south read my blog (unlike the northerners) and some of them were even willing to be photographed. I like to think the rosy glow is reflecting our almost 30 year friendship. (I’ve been telling the two on the left to fasten one more button on their shirts since 1989 but they’ve never listened)!
The next morning we went to have coffee with some of our old neighbours. We took lovely photos of us all standing outside our old house – only to discover later that once again, the SD card was not in the camera. Olympus really need to introduce better alerting when they design their new PEN.
We were stunned to see just how many extensions had been added to our lovely old Victorian cottage – to the top, to the rear, to the side… It’s now really ugly but I guess it’s just how people survive the house price issue down there these days. I must say that our eyes watered when we walked past an estate agent and saw a house very similar to our old home being advertised. I will NOT let my mind go there!
We then went on for a long, lazy lunch with some more good friends who are godparents to the youngest. This photo was taken just after we realised that the card hadn’t been in the camera for the neighbours’ shots. I have my ‘not smiling inside’ face on.
Massimo Dutti blouse (past season); Boden jeans (past season); Sezane sandals – sold out
On our last day we made the 12 minute trip from our old place to the centre of Kingston. We had a wander round the shops and I couldn’t help thinking how different my blog would have been if we hadn’t moved and I had access to so many big stores.
IdLF at Uniqlo pinstripe blazer (past season); linen t-shirt; sandals
We went for a walk down the river which excited the boys less than it used to when they were toddlers.
And I think the picture below sums up how I was feeling as it was time to go home.
We had a really good 15 years living down south. I miss my friends. I miss the intelligent conversation, the open minds and the belly laughs – as well as the comfort of being with people that you have known since you were 22 and life was just beginning.
I love seeing their children – who I have known since they were in utero. It was shocking at the end of the party because instead of rushing back to relieve babysitters, we found ourselves waving them all off to go clubbing. For them, at 1am the night was still young. “That used to be us,” we said to ourselves.
My friends live aspirational Surrey lifestyles. They have continued to climb the property ladder and progress along their career paths. I admire them – but equally I can see the price they pay for their lifestyles, both financially and physically. They do gruelling commutes to high powered jobs that most of them hate. It’s hard work maintaining all of that along with the extortionate private school fees that made me choke.
I will never be able to say whether returning to the north was the right move for Mr MC and me as individuals. What I do believe is that it was the right one for our family and particularly the boys. The education they have received and the freedom they had to roam when they were little and, have even now as young teens in a scalable city, makes it worthwhile.
As Mr MC said to me on the way home, you only remember the good things and of course nostalgia rose tints everything. This week we have particularly appreciated the fresh northern air and the amazing water. I have been working from home so I have relished my commute to the bottom of the garden. What I’m not going to mention is the weather. The weather and the house prices are the two issues that it is best not to dwell on!
So, we boarded the first of our trains to go north – and it was symbolic that the eldest crossed to the opposite platform to make his way south.
I can’t believe that the baby who was born in Kingston hospital is now big enough to navigate his way alone. He was off to mop the brow of his beloved after the first day of her year’s internship at Danone. He’s home again now but he will be following her to London next week for an adventure of his own. I’ll tell you about that when the time comes.
The winds of change are blowing around Midlifechic; it’s all positive change but it’s bittersweet nevertheless. It was an appropriate coincidence that I spent the weekend with the friends from my 20s. It feels as though we’re now handing the baton to the next generation… and wistfully wondering where the years have gone.
Have a good weekend everyone and if you’ve made it this far, thank you for listening. I’ll be back on Tuesday.
Disclosure: ‘revisiting my past’ is not a sponsored post.
This week I’m linking up to NotDressedAsLamb
Sales that have started
Mango – up to 50% off
Reiss – up to 50% off
Great Plains – up to 60% off
Baukjen – new lines added and further reductions
Pure Collection – up to 60% off plus 15% off new arrivals here
Jigsaw – up to 50% off
Joules – up to 50% off
House of Fraser up to 50% off
Jack Wills – up to 50% off
Reiss – up to 50% off
Whistles summer sale – new lines added
Key Spring / Summer Style Posts
Holiday packing for women over 40 – Part 1
Summer city dressing – dresses
Chelsea Flower Show and Madeleine
A holiday wardrobe from Marks and Spencer
What to buy from Boden and Hush
Uniqlo – linen and denim review
How to update your capsule wardrobe for Spring
The Midlife Series
Simple 50th birthday celebrations
How it feels to reach your 50th birthday
Midlife loneliness – a follow up
Loneliness and the midlife woman
What is midlife in the twenty-tens?
Survey results – what you are experiencing