Let’s have a quick catch up today. I say quick because I lost a whole day’s work this week thanks to lightning striking the local substation. It meant that we had no electricity on Wednesday from 11am until nearly midnight. The schools were closed and, as always, at first it was fun. We played boardgames and then lit the barbecue so that we could munch our way through the melting freezer food. By 9pm though, when we had reached the depths of I Spy, it didn’t feel like fun any more. And of course since then I’ve been chasing my tail, trying to catch up. So, this post is going to be a mixture of summer outfits of the day and discoveries that I’ve been meaning to tell you about.
Dinner at The Confucius Institute
This is a picture from a few weeks ago when I was on my way to have dinner with the Chinese Ambassador at the Confucius Institute. China has shown a particular interest in the Northern Powerhouse and so locally we are doing our best to fly the flag for the more rural areas of north Lancashire and Cumbria.
Winser London dress and cardigan (past season); Jigsaw shoes (past season); Boden clutch (past season but see below for similar in the sale)
End of exam celebrations
And this is from last Saturday evening when the sun was shining and we took the younger two out for a burger to celebrate the end of the exams. We then went on to watch Churchill at the cinema (education by stealth as always). The youngest and I really enjoyed it, the middle son and Mr MC were less keen.
Linen dress and scarf: Inès de La Fressange at Uniqlo (sold out); Espadrilles; Watch; Leather bucket bag – I’m still taking orders for these, email me if you’re interested
New jewellery from France
Sunday was another lovely sunny day. Of course it was Father’s Day so we had the pleasure of having all three boys at home for a lazy afternoon in the garden.
Léonor necklace; Linen blouse now in the sale; crystal wrap bracelets
I was wearing a new necklace that was sent to me by two Parisian ladies, Elisabeth and Cecile who have launched a jewellery business together called Elicce. I’m very happy to introduce them to you because they fit my theme of supporting women over 40 who are launching their own business. They have worked together as interior designers for years, often travelling to India to source furnishings. During their trips they discovered jewellers working with precious and semi-precious stones. They started commissioning pieces for themselves, then for friends and before they knew it, they had a flourishing side business.
Léonor necklace; Linen blouse now in the sale; crystal wrap bracelets
So, they have now set up Elicce which offers reasonably priced but high quality jewellery. This sterling silver necklace features dry sapphires and fresh water pearls but there is also an option with dry rubies. Dry sapphires and rubies are the part of the stone that surrounds the gem itself. They keep their luminosity because they are still a real stone but they are less expensive than the gem. This is a really lovely piece to wear with jeans and a simple top or breton at the weekend.
In the spirit of entente cordiale I’m really pleased to be working with a European brand! It’s particularly lovely to know that each of these pieces is hand made and unique. Elisabeth and Cecile choose the stones when they travel to India and work on new designs, taking into account feedback they have had from friends and customers. Please do have a look through their site, it is all very reasonable and a sale has just started too. It’s good to know that you are wearing a piece of ‘real’ jewellery that isn’t readily available in the UK.
Delivery within Europe is only 6 Euros and worldwide it is 10.55 Euros or free if you spend over 70 Euros – a bargain.
Great sale offers
There are a few good offers that I want to bring to your attention. Firstly, M&S have released their summer beauty box. It includes £105 worth of really good sized products but it only costs £10 if you spend £40 on clothing, beauty or home.
If you’re stuck for something to buy, there’s 20% off school uniform here at the moment. (It has just occurred to me that I only have one single set of uniform to buy this year. I haven’t made the adjustment from three schoolboys to two yet… and now there is just one).
Alternatively, when I was waiting for an eye test at the opticians yesterday, I was reading Cosmo and they were raving about this tan activating lotion. I’m a big fan of Ultrasun and apparently the unique activation formula in this really works, improving your tan by 40% whilst still giving you high protection. It isn’t fake tan but actually something that stimulates your own protective melanin.
Ultrasun tan activator – SPF 30
For anyone who is still looking for a metallic leather clutch, I have just bought this one. Strangely it isn’t on the main site but I had it saved in my bookmarks. It’s a lovely dark shade of gold which makes it look expensive. You’ll use it all year round because it will work just as well in winter as in summer. It’s great value, reduced from £59 to £29 but I’m wondering if they haven’t featured it because there aren’t many left – so be quick.
I thought Boden might start their sale today but it doesn’t look as though they will. However they do have 40% off quite a few things at the moment which is a good offer. The sale usually begins at 30% so the price of these pieces might actually go up. These are my picks – firstly another bright clutch. This gives you both a great colour contrast and texture with the pony skin so it is another hard working wardrobe essential. Plus it has a bright pink lining which looks very chic as it opens.
I’ve already talked about the tankini version of this swimwear range. The one pieces in this design now have 40% off and are available in a wide range of colours and patterns. I like the way that the colour blocking breaks the body up. It circumvents the long expanse of shiny swimsuit from bust to groin which often leaves the eye to settle on other unflattering contours.
So, last night was Prom night for the middle son. As you know, we have spent some time thinking about what to wear. Unlike our other two boys, he goes to a mixed school and he kept telling me that he was under pressure. Apparently because the girls know I am a blogger, they were expecting him to stand out in the style stakes. This meant that rather than him being under pressure it was actually me!
Most of his friends had decided to buy blue suits. As he is (hopefully) moving up into the sixth form, there didn’t seem to be much point in buying him a suit now. So in the end, we opted for a shawl collared, slim fit dinner jacket with dinner shirt and skinny fit bow tie worn with skinny black jeans for a louche contrast.
Parents were invited to school to see them all together before they boarded the coaches that took them to their venue. I had spent the afternoon having my hair done so that I could have one for those all important mum and son shots – and even the youngest had agreed to come along after school (as you can imagine, there is a certain amount of inter school banter in our house and they tend not to tread on each other’s turf)!
So, as the school is very old and architecturally beautiful, we took lots of photographs. It was a lovely evening with the school jazz band playing on the balcony and I felt quite overwhelmed that they had all grown into such lovely young people. We waved them off, took the youngest out for a bite to eat and then went home so that I could choose some pictures for this post…only to find that there had been no SD card in the camera!
Mr MC had taken it out to edit some photos on a laptop during the power cut. I hadn’t realised and had just picked the camera up quickly as we left home. I’m so disappointed not to have the family photos. However, luckily the youngest had taken a couple of snaps with his phone so I do have something to show you. Our boy is on the left with his arm around a pretty young girl – I’m not sure who she is…
..with one of his two best chums…
shawl collared, slim fit dinner jacket; dinner shirt; skinny fit bow tie; skinny black jeans
…with a young lady who has been a particularly loyal friend over the years – and who in fact has also been on the receiving end of my English poetry revision sessions. I forgot to ask her how she found the exam (and I suspect she was very relieved about that)!
And I really like this picture of them striding off to get on the coach. I’m so used to seeing them together in their matching school uniforms and suddenly they look so grown up. They will all be going their separate ways after the summer and I just hadn’t noticed until now that they’ve turned into young men. It’s all happened so quickly.
So, I’m signing off for another week with a lump in my throat. I always find the end of the school year to be emotional and the eldest two are taking particularly big steps this time. More about that soon – I feel one of those posts coming on! In the meantime I’ve updated the sale listings below – Happy Friday everyone.
Disclosure – ‘Summer outfits of the day’ is not a sponsored post but thank you to Elicce for the necklace.
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