The zeitgeist and what to wear for the weekend

Has anyone else found this week to be a tough one? For me it’s been by far the most challenging of lockdown, not for any particular reason other than the new monotony. As I’ve said before I’ve realised how much I rely on forward goals to keep me going and with the endless uncertainty that seems to surround us in the UK in particular, it’s still impossible to implement any. Of course the weather this week really hasn’t helped, it’s felt far more like March than any day in March actually did and I realise what a blessing our warm spring was. Come on summer, we need you!

The mood of the nation

Sali Hughes tweeted along the same lines on Wednesday:

Something about this week in particular has tipped people from coping to temporarily not. I’m hearing this loads. Weather, social media rows, tribalism, government incompetence, the unendingness blah

As I write this on Friday morning she’s had 5,800 likes and endless replies which are fascinating if you want to gauge the zeitgeist but be warned, they don’t help to lift your spirits. It’s clear that as we head towards week twelve of lockdown there’s a low mood across the nation. It’s certainly been a difficult time in terms of social media rows as she says. You may have seen from my Instagram post last night that I made a statement about my support for #blacklivesmatters. I didn’t jump on what I felt was a bandwagon last week because I wanted to step back, listen and think – it’s just how I do things.

My concern is that it’s an issue that a lot of people have paid quick lip service to and then skipped away from. After all, posting a black square with a line of text takes 30 seconds although I’m not saying that everyone who did it was insincere. I decided not to post last week but I was then contacted by a number of people, some reasonable, others aggressive, asking me why I hadn’t shown support. I refused to be bullied into rolling out a knee-jerk statement but I accepted that as someone who writes what she describes as ‘the thinking woman’s style blog’ I should state a view.

The thing is that the killing of George Floyd was so shocking that I felt I had to work through it and as I’m sure you have, we’ve been talking about it a lot at home since it happened. Racism isn’t a topic that we’ve focused on as a family for a long time and so it was good to address it. You see one of the big reasons for our move here was that I didn’t want the boys to grow up in the middle class Surbiton ghetto of young professional families that we found ourselves living in. Not that I didn’t like the people we knew, I really did but as we reached the school years and the divide between those who were privately educated (most of them) and those who weren’t, I felt increasingly uncomfortable.

I knew from my own school experience that if we moved up here where private education isn’t an option, they’d grow up amidst a good cross section of society. The one thing I’d forgotten until we arrived back was just how white it is here. Perhaps because there’s a lot of land owned farming and very little industry, economic migration never seemed to happen. As a result I put a lot of focus on ensuring that they understood the issues of racism when they were little but it’s a topic that hasn’t often arisen since.

So the discussions we’ve had over the last ten days have been fascinating and I can imagine that similar debates have been taking place at mealtimes all over the world. I’ve been pleased to discover that my boys now have a far better understanding of how racism presents in today’s society than I do, despite having attended schools in what is said to be the least ethnically diverse city in the UK. We’ve been talking about JK Rowling’s comment about sex and gender too and watching it play out. Transsexuality is something that they do have direct experience of because they all know people at school who have changed sex and as you can imagine, that’s been a hurdle for the boys’ school that the eldest and youngest attended to overcome.

I thought I knew a lot about racism, it turns out that there’s far more for me to learn so I’ve started reading How To Be An Anti-Racist by Ibram X Kendi as my first step along the way. However I continue to feel uncomfortable about the way it played out on social media last week because I can’t help thinking that there was an element of performance to it. As so many of the more thoughtful articles I’ve read have said, if you’re going to get involved you can’t just use a hashtag to tick a box and then decide you’ve done enough. And yet some activity from brands and influencers suggests that that’s what’s happening and it’s phoney and tokenistic – we need to keep our eyes open to it.

So there you go, lots of people have asked me to state my opinion and I have. Being a better person isn’t about hashtags and empty words; it’s about constant listening, learning, talking, reflecting and then making whatever changes you decide to be the right ones.

What to wear for the weekend

As always while we’re processing bigger issues like this, looking at clothes can bring light relief to other parts of the brain. After the survey on Tuesday a few people got in touch to ask me to keep on putting together ideas for what to wear now. I’ll bring you results from the survey next week by the way I just need to collate them. And thank you so much to everyone who joined in – 3,000 responses in just a few hours was amazing – and fascinating.

So here we go my friends, something for the weekend with rather chilly, socially distanced barbecues in mind. We’re feeling noble because we’re still not seeing our friends. We’ve promised the boys we’ll be on hand with lifts for the first couple of weeks so that they can go out and release some of their pent up energy (in small groups only though) which means we’re on taxi duty. Here are some ideas for you though:

what to wear for the weekend

L – R, top to bottom

Soft organic cotton pale pink sweatshirt: this sold out at the beginning of lockdown but has just been restocked. It’s made from the softest loopback cotton and is also available in baby blue – there are matching shorts too.

Blue cotton shirt with ribbed side panelling: one of those quiet wardrobe heroes, the ribbed panelling at the side ensures a flattering fit and the open collar will visually slim your face and the upper half of your body. An amazing price given that it’s 100% organic cotton Also available in red or yellow brights here.

Sweatshirt with gently puffed sleeves: voluminous sleeves are everywhere this season but they can be hard to wear. This nods at the trend and is slightly more feminine than a classic sweatshirt style.

Chiffon blouse: a light chiffon blouse that will drape gently over your curves, lined so there are no transparency issues

Charity tee – I’ve bought one of these from this tiny brand because I think there’s no better message for these times. 25% of the profits goes to the NHS Together charities and there are a few different colours available (I went for the red flock because I liked the extra texture). Bear in mind that they take ages to arrive (almost three weeks) and they’re a straight boyfriend style that comes up quite big, I ordered a medium but in hindsight would have preferred a small for a neater fit.

Striped wrap: a good price in the sale, we’re going to needs wraps this summer for evenings spent outside.

Surf sweatshirt (more sizes here): a loose cotton sweatshirt with a good length and a really flattering cut. Also available in bright yellow.

Pink and orange leopard scarf: my favourite summer combo in soft modal for the moment where the evening turns chilly

Classic navy trainers: for damp evenings when you don’t want to ruin your white ones, also available with a pink stripe.

Blue Jeans: I only feature jeans that I know I can recommend and these are loved by countless readers as well as me. A size 28 is a 12.

Ecru jeans: another pair that I’ve been wearing a lot this summer, sometimes you just need a change from blue.

Low profile canvas trainers: simple, well priced, low profile canvas shoes for the white trainer look without the bulk.

A new dress

Remember I pointed out a couple of pieces that were only available to backorder from Boden a few weeks ago? Well the navy and gold dress arrived this week and I’m glad I bought it as soon as I saw it because I love it. Sadly it hasn’t been warm enough to wear it but here’s the try-on moment – there are a few sizes left but you’ll need to be quick if you want one.

what to wear for the weekend

Navy and gold kimono dress (true to size)

And while we’re on the subject of Boden I see they now have masks available on backorder in packs of three and £5 from the purchase of each pack goes to Helpforce, a charity supporting NHS staff and patients.

what to wear for the weekend

Boden face masks

Midlife lately

And I’ll finish with the highlight of our week. On Wednesday we were sitting in the office when an owlet fell out of the nest and landed unceremoniously outside Mr MC’s window.

Midlifechic owlet

We got in touch with the Owl Trust who assured us that he’d be fine as long as he was away from predators so the cats had to spend a miserable day shut in the house with Teddy. The poor mum owl was whirling around, screeching every time we went to check on him but he spent most of the day asleep. In the evening we watched as he waddled slowly up the garden towards the house. The cats were really crossing their legs by this point so we were wondering what to do when suddenly he disappeared and it was too dark to see where he’d gone. I swear Mr MC was far more anxious than he ever was when we had babes of our own!

Midlifechic owl

Anyway the next morning we headed into the garden nervously, expecting to find a pile of feathers but there he was, sitting in a tree. And now he’s gone so he’s obviously found his wings… but mum’s still there, she cries out every so often from her empty nest. I’m sure we all relate to the week she’s had, watching chicks fledge.

And with that I’ll wish you a good weekend, especially if you’re feeling fed up. We’ve been binge-watching Unorthodox and we both thought it was the best thing we’d seen for a while. I’ve just finished reading Late In The Day by Tessa Hadley and there are moments when she expresses what it’s like to be a midlife woman so succinctly that it choked me. Until next week my friends… we’ll get through this.

Disclosure: ‘The zeitgeist and what to wear for the weekend’ is not a sponsored post

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