It’s one of those ‘conversations with a friend’ posts today because I had a panicky text from one who’d been told rather suddenly that her office is going to reopen for three days a week and she was dumbfounded. “It’s going to mean going to bed and getting up at regular times again… and setting an alarm… and packing lunch… and getting dressed – I know you’ve been getting dressed all through this so tell me what to wear?!” Well actually you can tell she hasn’t seen me in the flesh for a while because for the last months of this never-ending Winter I’ve been bundled up in an endless succession of jeans and jumpers but at last the sun has come out and feels as if Spring is finally here. So this is what I’ve been wearing as we emerge from lockdown. Today’s post is a collection of outfits I’ve liked, things I’ve bought myself and pieces that have been sent in by brands for me to show you as I’ve gradually defrosted – and I feel as though I’m defrosting in spirit as well as in body.
You may remember me mentioning our wedding a little while ago and the fact that lots of people made spontaneous speeches. My Geordie father-in-law talked about watching his son move to London and seeing him lose his soul. He said that he understood because every time he drove past Watford Gap to visit him, he felt his own soul being sucked away as the South was a soulless place… and now picture him delivering this speech in the Surrey heartland of Cobham with eyebrows being raised all around us! Anyway his point was that when we met, he believed Mr MC got his soul back even though we were still living in the South which was a sweet thing to say. And the reason I’m telling you this story this week is because I feel as though my soul has come back after a lockdown absence too – or rather my spirit – so I wonder if you’re feeling the same.
I’m aware that I’ve had a relatively easy journey through the pandemic (so far, fingers crossed). Other than a drop in income I’ve come out of it ok but even so I’ve found the last few months to be a real slog – so goodness knows how it’s been for some of you who’ve had far more to deal with. Since the relaxing of lockdown rules though I’m busy at work, retail is reviving, brands are keen to be updated on the midlife zeitgeist again, we’ve completed on our Newcastle apartment and the barrage of A Level exams and testing has just one more month to go.
I feel much more like myself and I can sense it in my words and pictures as I put this post together. I don’t know about you but I’m feeling optimistic… and it all started with this… the day when I went down to London for the first time in months for a haircut.
What I’ve been wearing as we emerge from lockdown- London bound
I was looking very shaggy and, like my friend when she sent her text, didn’t have a clue what to wear. It was still cold at that stage so I opted for old favourites that always help me to feel pulled together along with a decent pair of trainers because I always walk everywhere rather than getting the tube. It took me ages to find a pair that I like in navy for days when I want something more weather proof than white but here they are at last, currently high heat so they keep coming in and out of stock. And I did wear a face mask on the train – you can see it in my hand.
Out and about in The North
Back in the North the following day, feeling like a newly shorn sheep, I accompanied Mr MC on one of his Ercol missions. It took us to the house of an elderly couple who were downsizing and it was lovely to chat on their doorstep and reassure them that we’d take care of their prized pieces. The lockdown hobby shows no sign of waning, the problem is that he puts so much love into restoring each piece that he doesn’t want to let it go unless he knows it will be cherished. Our cellar’s starting to look like a small museum because he’s determined to track down at least one example of each design (or more!) so if you ever fancy a piece of beautifully restored mid-century modern Ercol please do get in touch. I’d be very happy to see more pieces going out than coming in…
Anyway this outfit is from one of this month’s edits, the silk blouse includes some of my favourite colours and feels suitably upbeat for these times. The jeans are my preferred shade of deep indigo and have a very subtle kick flare at the hem. Both are true to size.
What I’ve been wearing as we emerge from lockdown – Saturday at home
This was a weekend outfit and the breton is one I bought when I pulled my Spring clothes out and realised that my striped tops were looking shabby. You can have anything you like embroidered on them at the moment for no extra cost so I decided on ‘allons danser’ or ‘let’s dance’… my motto for the year ahead, preferably somewhere other than the kitchen. By the way I had no post-Brexit problem with extra customs or import charges in case you’re wondering.
The socks are off and my feet need to pick up a bit of colour from the sunshine but these shoes are another item from the edit. They’re much redder than the dusty pink I was expecting from the photo on the website but I still like them as part of the current macrame trend and they’re true to size.
Just after he took this picture Mr MC glanced up and saw that the youngest had opened his window that morning with some force because the lower frame had fallen away leaving the glass panels hanging like wobbly teeth (the joys of a 300 year old house). For some reason he hadn’t told us about it – although he had found time to stuff a row of cushions in front of the gap – so moments after this picture there were ructions between father and son…
A dog walk seemed like a good idea and as we passed, the pub was open with an empty garden so a better solution was a pint of Guinness in the late evening sunshine… to Teddy’s disgust.
Sunday – and another walk
We spent almost the whole day on Sunday working on plans for the apartment, scrutinising our dwindling budget and trying to work out which pieces of furniture to order. Even though we’re going to let it out we want it to feel special so we’re working really hard on it. There came a point when our heads were spinning so we decided to go down to the beach for a bit of fresh air and headspace. It’s the first time since last summer that I’ve felt the sand between my toes and although it was still chilly, it was like the kiss of things to come. The ecru denim jacket is another of my picks this month, made from organic cotton it’s one of those pieces that I know I’ll wear all summer long, with trousers like this and dresses too.
Goose pimples here because with a brisk sea breeze it wasn’t quite warm enough for a t-shirt but this is new too and made from organic cotton again. The fabric and the neckline help it to stand apart from the rest.
What I’ve been wearing as we emerge from lockdown – a real meeting!
Back to work on Monday and a proper meeting, it feels so good to have the chemistry of real life situations again. I’m settling on a semi-smart style of dressing, this was new in last week and it’s sold through really quickly (but actually I’ve found more stock here). It’s a shirtdress with a straight bodice that flares out into a slightly looser fit so it nods to the trend of a buffet dress while looking as though you’ve just eaten a couple of canapés rather than the whole table if you know what I mean.
Here’s an extra picture to try to show you how it moves, it’s a great buy, true to size and the print is white and navy if you can’t quite tell from the pictures.
Another quick drink in the sunshine
Out for a drink again. Now that the big rush has died down we’re enjoying popping back to our favourite places – having been in lockdown since October here it feels like a very long time since we’ve been able to make spontaneous escapes like this.
Denim jacket (15% off with MLC15, gifted)
The evenings are chilly though so we don’t stay out very long, one burst of sunshine and I’ve moved a little too enthusiastically into summer clothes mode. Hush have just had another drop and as it’s been so long since I tried their clothes I did a big order. I’ll do a try-on in next week’s post but I immediately loved this bamboo and cotton jumpsuit for its ease and flattering cut. It’s very simple but thanks to details such as the cut of the neckline and the shirred waist that sits at just the right point, I’ll wear it a lot.
What I’ve been wearing as we emerge from lockdown – Manchester meeting
And I’ll finish with last night when I came back from a Manchester meeting to find Mr MC and the youngest enjoying the sunshine by the canal. As you can see from the poo everywhere the ducks like the decking as much as we do – and we now have a family of otters living underneath which is quite something.
This dress was my big ‘back to meetings’ gift to self and it’s already a great love. It’s so cleverly made – the ruching and panelling around the midriff do great things and it’s easy, textured jersey so it feels good to wear. The colour is a warm indigo blue, brighter than navy which makes it even better in my opinion.
I’ve finally caved and bought some Veja trainers too which has caused great debate with the sneakerhead son. I don’t like jumping on bandwagons but the low cut at the ankle does mean that they look good with dresses. The ethics and sustainability focus of the brand are both great, however, they’re not particularly comfortable and I understand the sneaker world’s argument that if you’re going to wear trainers you may as well benefit from the sports technology that’s invested into them.
This style is reported to be the most comfortable of them all because it has a padded tongue but it’s very long and so it catches the front of your ankle when you walk. People suggest pushing it to the side but the asymmetry would annoy me. There’s no cushioning or support in the sole and it doesn’t flex at all so it’s a bit like walking in a flat espadrille. They’ll be fine for meetings and short trips out but I won’t be wearing them to hike around London. Form over function is my conclusion.
So that brings me to the end of the last few days and what I’ve been wearing as we emerge from lockdown. It’s been a good week and I’ve realised how much I enjoy working with people rather than just talking to them on the phone or via Zoom. Even a distanced meeting is better than no meeting at all because your ideas flow so much better in person. Let’s hope this really is the start of us all being able to interact again.
Kemi Telford at John Lewis
I’m pleased to say that the collection finally arrived yesterday although being a tiny range from a small brand it’s tipped to sell out very quickly. I love the skirts and dresses as you know but this time my absolute favourites are actually the navy and gold sweatshirts and tees. I love the font and can just imagine wearing them at an outdoor concert – if they ever stop being cancelled! You can find the full collection here.
Other new drops
There’s been a big new drop at Hush this week as I mentioned and I’m hoping to take some quick photos of the pieces I ordered for next Friday’s post while I’m deciding what to keep and what to send back. In the meantime you can see everything here. Baukjen have had a new drop too here and don’t forget you get 15% off there with code MLC15 at checkout.
MAC at Next
MAC cosmetics launched at Next this week and to celebrate they’ve put together a limited edition ICONS box for £40 (worth over £100). In addition to travel sizes it contains five full size best selling products:
- Prep and Prime Fix+ Original
- Matte Lipstick in Velvet Teddy
- Lip Liner in Spice
- In Extreme Dimension 3DMascara in Black
- Prep and Prime Lip
- Strobe Cream in Pinklite
You can find it here while stocks last
Last of all I just want to welcome the new readers who have come over from Platinum magazine. Platinum very kindly featured me on their social media channels a couple of weeks ago so I’m returning the favour by checking that you’ve seen it on newsagents’ shelves. It’s aimed at women who are midlife and older and launched just over a year ago. It’s a brave thing for the team there to have done when so many magazines are closing but I do think that a lot of us still enjoy sitting down with a glossy, it’s a particular pleasure that the internet can never replace.
The one thing I keep saying to them is that I wish there was less of a focus on celebrities but apparently I’m in a minority so I’d be interested to hear what you think – do you enjoy reading celebrity interviews? I know the answer will probably be ‘it depends on who it is’ but there are very few that I find interesting. I’d rather read about somebody with a lower profile who’s doing something out of the ordinary or following an unusual passion.
Anyway Platinum is a good read and I like the fact that they involve their readers in testing products so the feedback they give is credible. Look out for it next time you’re out shopping… and how nice it is to be able to say that.
There are still things that I want to tell you about but I’ve run out of time. However I’m pleased to say that there will be two posts next week so look out for one on Tuesday. Thank you for all of your words of encouragement when I explained why I was keeping them to once a week.
I should finish by saying ‘Happy St George’s Day,’ this is the day when my mum used to pick the dandelions in the garden and start on her annual batch of wildly potent dandelion wine. I hope you’re finding that life is picking up for you a bit and that the arrival of Spring is making a difference. I know I’m always at my best when I’m busy and I certainly am, knee deep in the Newcastle project which I’ll tell you more about soon… and of course we have May ahead which is my favourite month of the year. Let’s hope life is on the up for all of us and that as we come out of lockdown we know what we want to do, to be… and to wear! On that note… more outfits next week.
Disclosure: ‘What I’ve been wearing as we emerge from lockdown’ is not a sponsored post
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