Hello and Happy New Year to you – I hope you’ve had a really good Christmas break and avoided the wretched cold/cough virus that’s going around. I had it when I left you last and only started to feel better on Christmas Day which was a bit of a shame as it meant the build-up week when the boys first came home was a bit muffled – but at least it meant we could enjoy Christmas itself. I smiled sympathetically yesterday when a friend posted on FB asking wearily if anybody knew what, after two weeks of it, she might be able to do to feel better. The thing is that her husband’s a GP so you can imagine the string of witty comments she received in reply – but even he’s at his wits’ end, saying he’s never known anything like it in 25 years of practice. I’m just telling you this in case you’re going through it now – there’s no escape it seems and it lasts much longer than a normal cold/cough so look after yourself. It will pass!

Anyway, I’ll talk a bit more about Christmas and New Year thoughts next week. Today I’m easing myself back into blogging gently with our friends at John Lewis who’ve invited me to look through their sale and pull out any thoughtful sale buys that might interest you. I’ve had a complete digital detox over the last 18 days, barely looking at my phone unless there was a message to respond to and I haven’t opened my laptop so delving back in to write this post has been fun. It’s felt a bit like the shopping trips I used to do twice a year when my friend Deb’s mum would take us to the Houndshill shopping centre in Blackpool for the afternoon which to us felt like London’s West End. We never knew what we’d find when we got there but we’d come home giddy with a feeling of discovery and that’s a retail experience at its best.

Before we dig in, let’s think about the sales this year. There are, of course, some real bargains to be had, particularly when it comes to the big ticket items such as coats, boots and partywear because a lot of people have been postponing significant purchases. I’m not going to encourage you to buy anything you don’t need but there are some really good finds, especially now that the sales have been live for a while and so we’re moving towards final reductions. Let me show you what I’ve uncovered and remember the important questions for thoughtful sale buys, especially when it comes to everyday items – “can I instantly make three outfits from it with pieces I already have?” and “will I wear it at least thirty times?”

Thoughtful sale buys – fashion

So, I’m starting with everyday coats. I’m so often asked for recommendations for easy layers to throw on for things like dog walking and there are some incredible bargains around.

Relaxed coats

The key thing about this jacket is the on trend onion shaped quilting which makes it much more chic than your average quilted number. As with a lot of the pieces that follow, it strikes me that it would be an easy jacket to wear around the house too when the heating’s off. I’ve pulled out the khaki but it’s also available in black and it’s great value at less than half price.

Thoughtful sale buys

Onion quilted jacket (also available in black)

This too has 65% off and is another inside / outside layer that will go with everything.

Thoughtful sale buys

Recycled borg shacket

This jersey shacket is also one of the season’s key looks made from BCI cotton. It has 50% off and is also available in khaki.

Thoughtful sale buys

Plain jersey shacket (also available in khaki)

If you like the shacket look but want something heavier there’s this bouclé number again at half price although sizes are limited. And look, it really does work for walking the dog!

Thoughtful sale buys

Boucle shacket

I find these quilted gilets indispensable at this time of year. I use them for running, I very rarely need a full jacket, just this with a breathable top. You don’t have to run to wear one though and they’re great for layering. The thing is that they’re beautifully cut because they have a breathable panel at the back which prevents overheating but also means that the gilet fits to your shape without bulk. This has a handy packaway hood too – a new feature that none of my current gilets have. It has 40% off.

Thoughtful sale buys

Fitted, breathable gilet

Smart coats

We’ve already talked about the power of statement coats this season. They enable you to wear simple pieces underneath, doing all the work for you – and they’re great for nights out when you have a good look that you don’t want to ruin with an everyday coat. The Erica Davies range was lunched last autumn to huge press acclaim but there are now some incredible savings to be made in both the coats and boots. This is just one that has 70% off, you can find everything else here.

Thoughtful sale buys

Dress coat

If you’ve always liked the idea of a leather jacket but don’t quite like the biker look, this clean lines version is just stunning. It’s top quality too so it still isn’t cheap but it’s good value at 50% off. A forever purchase I’d say.

Thoughtful sale buys

Clean leather jacket

And I can absolutely vouch for these city coats, I don’t think you can find better quality on the high street. I have one in a minky brown colour and whenever I put it on I just know it screams luxury. They’re made from 100% wool and have the most beautiful sheen. This grey-brown one has 40% off and the khaki has 50%.

Thoughtful sale buys

100% wool city coat

Thoughtful sale buys – boots

There aren’t as many boots left in the sale as I hoped – I presume people have been snapping them up. However metallic is a key trend for 2023 and these are great, especially for nights out – I still wear my metallic boots on summer evenings sometimes because they’re the best heeled alternative to sandals. There aren’t many sizes left but these are such a bargain at 65% off, less than £40 and they’re leather.

Thoughtful sale buys

Metallic leather boots

The other type of boot that works far harder than you realise is animal print. These are leather and half price…

Winter sale bargains 2023 leopard Boots

Western style leopard boots

This lighter cheetah version are a little more expensive at only 30% off but they’ve been sold out for months on Boden’s main site. The longer length is great for anyone who prefers to wear cropped jeans.

Boden leopard boots sale bargains

Parisian style cheetah boots

And back to dog walking here. I bought a pair of these boots back in 1997 when I was going to the North Pole in March to do our Selfridges Christmas shoot. They’re still my main pair of walking boots because I don’t like the traditional styles. I think it’s because when I was nine my mum bought boots and orange cagoules for the whole family for Christmas (not what I’d hoped for!) and then made us spend the afternoon parading around the village in the rain to wear them in. It still makes me shudder. Anyway I digress – lifelong boots here, selling fast because they now have 50% off.

Timberland boots sale bargains

Classic walking boots

Thoughtful sale buys – knitwear

Who isn’t layering at the moment? This is an easy option for throwing over anything, even pyjamas. It goes with everything and it’s reduced to clear.

Long cardigan sale bargain

Longline cardigan

A nice, bright organic cotton sweatshirt that will see you through to summer barbecues. Half price but selling fast.

Best Hush sale bargains

Organic cotton sweatshirt

And there aren’t many of these left but it’s a jumper that stopped me in my tracks when I went to do the JL event in Newcastle – it’s just such an uplifting option for this time of year. It is very oversized though so size down if you can. Reduced to clear.

Stripey jumper sale bargain

Bright striped jumper

You saw me wearing this in pink back in November, such an easy option with jeans for a relaxed evening out. Now 35% off.

Party jumpers sale bargains

Lightweight sparkle knit

And I just had to pull these out because the price is unbelievable, especially as they have such good reviews – £9.60 but going quickly!

Khaki joggers sale bargains

Cropped cargo joggers


I can’t imagine many of us are thinking about dressing up at the moment but these items are classic pieces and have such good reductions that I had to show them to you. You saw me trying this dress on during my personal shopping session in November. It now has 75% off and is also available in olive green.

sequin dresses sale bargains

Gold sequin dress

Here it is on me.

Midlifechic sequin dress try-on

Gold sequin dress

And this is the skirt I wore for the John Lewis styling talks, recycled sequins and something that will be just as easy to wear in summer as winter, now half price.

Gold sequin skirt sale bargains

Bronze skirt with recycled sequins

On me.

Midlifechic sequin skirt

Bronze skirt with recycled sequins

If you’re the right size and you’re quick you can buy this for £13.50! As I’ve been typing it’s sold out in the caramel that you saw me wearing back in September but it’s still available in black in a number of sizes. This works well for parties but as daywear too as you can see when I styled it with a jumper below…

satin skirt sale bargains

Satin wrap skirt

Midlifechic satin skirt

Satin wrap skirt

Thoughtful sale buys – lingerie and nightwear

One of my all-time favourite pyjama collections is in clearance. This is the biggest bargain because it has a Christmas theme but you can see the full range here.

Thoughtful sale buys

Cotton pyjamas

And my favourite lingerie range too, stunning designs and a great fit with options that go up to a G cup. I always find that wearing great lingerie gives me inner confidence and at these prices you don’t have to save it for best – you can see the full range here.

best lingerie sale bargains

Underwired bra

And just while we’re on the subject, as your collections expands it’s even better to have a neat display to choose from in your drawer – a bit like a box of chocolates. These drawer dividers currently have 20% off.

Thoughtful sale buys

Lingerie drawer dividers


It’s always worth having a browse through the Christmas gift boxes and coffrets at this time of year because they can be even better value than they were to start with. I’ve just picked out one here, a starter kit for my favourite nail polish range with the all important base and top coat included. Remember to apply very thin coats for a manicure that will last for over a week. You can see the full sale of beauty giftboxes here.

Thoughtful sale buys

Infinite shine starter kit

Thoughtful sale buys – Home

Of course there’s a big sale in the home department too. I’ve pulled out this light fitting to show you because we now have it in all of our halls. It’s a great way of achieving maximum light in a small space and it has over 30% off. Two colours available.

John Lewis lighting best sale bargains

Modern chandelier

Now these stemless wine glasses are reduced to clear – we have them for our canal deck because they don’t fall over on uneven ground so they’re great for any outdoor wine moments. I’ve just stocked up because they have 70% off, you can even buy specific sets for white wine like this and red wine here.

Thoughtful sale buys

Stemless wineglasses

And last of all I’m leaving you with a Valentine’s idea because we all need something to look forward to. Wouldn’t this be lovely with a weekend break (or more) tucked inside? Just a thought for you and your special other if you’re quick. There aren’t many left in the sale.

Clever Valentine's gift ideas

Lovers’ Mug

With that I’ll leave you to shop your thoughtful sale buys before everything goes. Just one thing, I think I’ve contacted everyone who was interested in getting together for lunch in Lancaster on 27th January but I know I started dropping a lot of balls at the end of the year so if you haven’t heard from me, send me a quick email and I’ll reply (I’m so looking forward to an afternoon of relaxed conversation and laughter). Otherwise I’ll be back for a proper chat next Friday, until then have a lovely weekend – we still have two boys at home for a while so I’ll be enjoying the hum of family life buzzing around me while I can.

Disclosure: ‘Thoughtful sale buys for the new year’ was commissioned by John Lewis but all content was left to me

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