What to pack for a chic weekend in the countryside can be a far harder challenge than preparing for hot sunshine. While the rest of the country barbecued from dawn until dusk last weekend, we had a band of incessant rain in the Lake District with cold winds too – I had to stop looking at Instagram because it just wasn’t fair. However, we plough on and this post is, in fact, me planning for the first of our ‘summer of last hurrahs’ with the boys as we’ve been invited to go somewhere close to home in a couple of weeks’ time.
We’ll be staying in a cottage in the grounds of a rather lovely Lake District hotel (one of my favourites) and they’re organising activities for us so I only have a rough idea of what to expect. However I’m not anticipating good weather so let’s go through my packing capsule. Once again I’ve highlighted brands that have a feel good factor either because they’re small, female-led or working in a particularly ethical way.
What to pack for a chic weekend in the countryside
Day 1: leaving work and arrival
I’m going to confuse you now because we’re actually setting off on a Monday rather than a Friday which means it isn’t a standard weekend but it’s still a two-night break so the packing stays the same. It means that we’ll need to pop into the office first for a quick meeting so I’ll be dressed in relaxed workwear.
- Yellow tie waist shirt: wide cropped jeans (and midi-skirts) require a rule of thirds approach to tops and a tie-waist is more forgiving to the midriff than a top tucked in.
- Siren earrings: beautiful earrings that manage the difficult balance of making a statement and yet still being elegant from one of my favourite female-led small British jewellers.
- Pomegranate and garnet necklace: my 50th birthday necklace with three garnets that makes me think of my boys – and my mum-in-law. Another small UK jeweller.
- Ponte blazer: this is currently available on pre-order and due in any time now. Ponte is a great fabric for summer because it’s structured and yet it’s breathable. It also moves well with your body so it’s as comfortable to wear as a cardigan. I love the slightly longer length of this one (also available in navy).
- Red crossbody bag: I’ll be taking my red crossbody with me because it converts so nicely into a clutch so it will work as a pop of colour for the whole weekend. I only have a few of these left in the shop and when they’re gone, they’re gone.
- Wide leg cropped jeans: my beloved Uniqlo crops never did recover after their (first) wash with a post-it note in the pocket. I now have these as a replacement and they’re slightly easier to wear for work because they don’t have fraying at the bottom. They keep selling out but more stock is arriving at the end of June – FGF = small, British, female midlifer led brand.
- Snake slingbacks: as I said when I bought them in February, these are the shoes that have just kept on giving for SS19.
Day 1 – evening
It isn’t a long journey for us so we’re aiming to arrive just after lunch. I’ve been told I have a massage booked for the afternoon so I’ll probably leave Mr MC and the boys to enjoy the gym and the pool while I’m being pampered. Then it will be back to the cottage for a quick change before going over to the hotel for a relaxed dinner so I’m going to switch tops but keep everything else pretty much the same.
All items as above apart from the red blouse which is the short sleeved version of the Veronica that I have (still a few left in the sale here). I’m finding that I’m wearing blouses with jeans a lot at the moment, they’re more chic than a breton but just as easy to throw on. These are viscose which means they’re much easier to wash and wear than a cotton shirt and yet they’re breathable. Both blouses look much nicer with the neck undone by the way than they do in the model photos.
Day 2 – daytime
We’ve been told that we have some boy-orientated activities planned for the Tuesday which makes me rather nervous. I’m praying that it won’t be ghyll-scrambling; struggling up a slippery, rocky slope with freezing cold water gushing over you is not my idea of fun. Anyway I’m packing for various options but I still refuse to wear walking boots (and yes I know how Instagrammable Grensons are which is another of my contrary-Mary reasons for resisting them).
- Breton: I actually have an older version of this in pink but the grey stripe makes this one a little different. It’s lovely quality – easy to wear and tie round your waist if the sun comes out.
- These silver hearts will stay put without getting in the way and they’re made by a small British jeweller. I’ve been hunting for a pair for ages and I love the depth that these have which makes them a little more interesting than flatter versions.
- World is your oyster necklace: my old favourite, such a great mantra to wear on your person every day
- Bien dans ma peau t-shirt: I’ve just received a new delivery of t-shirts so most sizes are back in stock. As you know they couldn’t be more ethically produced than they are and they come from my own tiny female-led brand. A huge thank you to everyone who has supported me so enthusiastically.
- Light raincoat: you’ve seen me wearing this, it will fend off showers although it won’t cope with ghyll-scrambling which will maybe give me an excuse for spectating!
- Backpack: you often see me heading down to London with this because its laptop pocket is so useful and it’s smart enough for the city as well as the countryside.
- Jeans: my all-time, reader-recommended favourite pair – I suspect they may be discontinuing these for next season because stocks are low. Size down if you’re buying.
- Chelsea-style wellies: great value, cheaper than Hunters and more stylish with their red stripe on the sole.
- Continentals: I’ll be hoping our activity is compatible with white trainers although the ground is still muddy round here so it’s unlikely.
Day 2 – evening
When we get back to the cottage after our full day out I suspect we’ll be weary so the hotel have suggested they bring dinner to us. Assuming I haven’t been soaked through I’ll keep the jeans on and wear yesterday’s blouse…
… but a repeat of the previous evening’s outfit is a fallback option – as are pyjamas.
Day 3 – a lazy morning and back to work
On our last day, we’re planning to have a lazy breakfast and then we’ll pop into Ulverston which is a pretty market town. After lunch we’ll need to be back in the office so I’ll be opting for relaxed casual, switching to heels with my jeans for work for a slightly smarter work look.
Everything is repeated from above apart from:
Blue chambray shirt: I’ve been on the lookout for a really good chambray shirt that launders well so I’ve ordered this one. So often they come out of the wash as crinkled as a tissue but if you find a good quality one, nothing quite matches it for a gauzy summer look.
Complete weekend capsule
So here’s everything I’m suggesting together – as you can see, you could probably create enough outfits for a pared down, relaxed week if you needed to because everything mixes and matches. I’d probably just add a pair of flat loafers to the mix. Shirts and blouses are the answer when summer isn’t playing ball, they add polish to a simple jeans outfit.
And that just leaves me with a couple of recent outfits to show you. This is from Sunday afternoon when the sun finally appeared at about 6pm and we decided to go out and seize the last rays of the day. I bought these khaki linen trousers a while ago and they make a nice change from jeans at the weekend. I don’t often wear khaki but I’m playing around with it at the moment as I continue to phase black out of my wardrobe – it works well with all of my reds.
This is today, the dress is from my Boden edit for May. Unfortunately the other pieces I’ve chosen are high summer items and so I haven’t had the weather to wear them yet. However this pink linen dress is true to size and it’s handling the rather cool day very well. It’s the first time I’ve worn it and so it’s a bit stiff at the moment, it’ll loosen up after a wash and then it will hang more fluidly.
I decided it felt like a good injection of summer colour on a grey morning when I needed a strong start because a new project was waiting on my desk – my first retail strategy for Christmas. What more can I say other than I had my first meeting on the project in February! And with that thought I’ll leave you, hoping that you don’t have a head full of Christmas carols like I do. Time to get back to my tinsel and glitter…
Pink linen dress (gifted SS19); Shoes and bag past season
Have a lovely week, I’ll be back on Friday with something that isn’t remotely Christmassy!
Disclosure: ‘What to pack for a chic weekend in the countryside’ is not a sponsored post
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