It’s time. By the end of June, the sales will be starting and all the good clothes will have gone. We need to think about holidays and what to pack so today we’re focusing on what to wear for a holiday by the sea. I can’t tell you where we’re going this year. You see last year I booked a very luxurious villa in Turkey thinking that it might be the last holiday we would have as a family of five. Thankfully it wasn’t; our cash strapped student son has decided that 2 weeks in the sun with the bank of mum and dad actually isn’t a bad idea and so he’s gracing us with his presence once again.
However because I was so excited about where we were going last time, I showed the boys the villa videos long before it was time to go. Over dinner one night whilst we were there, they were talking about what a great surprise it would have been if they hadn’t known what to expect and a decision was made that this year’s holiday would be a complete secret. So, my lips are sealed, I haven’t told a soul where we’re going, not even Mr MC. Whether I’ll manage to keep it that way until August remains to be seen but I booked it last September so I haven’t done too badly so far.
So doing these posts is helping me to lay yet another smokescreen. The boys claim they still don’t want to know but of course they each want to be the one who finds out. They are now avidly hunting for clues and I overheard them saying I was bound to talk about it on my blog. If you’re reading boys – unlucky – no clues here!
Because no two holidays are the same, over the next few posts I’m going to put together a capsule for different types of breaks. Today I’m thinking about what to wear for a holiday by the sea. I’m casting my mind back to the breezy coastal holidays we’ve had in places like Cornwall, Suffolk and Brittany – or anywhere in France above the ‘Ligne Jaune’ of Lyon which is the starting point for guaranteed sunshine. It’s the kind of holiday where the weather can’t be guaranteed. Each night you fall asleep happy but exhausted by all of the activity you’ve been doing and you come home with a burnished wind blown tan.
What to wear for a holiday by the sea
So let’s imagine we’re on a windswept beach in Brittany. We’ve cycled there from our villa. En route we had a lunch of moules washed down with cider and now we’re sitting on the sand with a book, watching families of all ages leap over the waves in the sea. The day is warm rather than hot but we’ve found a spot sheltered by a sand dune and all is well with the world. Even though we’re a woman over 40, we feel ‘bien dans la peau’ because we are wearing something like this:
Grecian style dress a simple style to throw over a bikini on a hot day or it could easily be dressed up for dinner. I am waiting for this to be delivered, 10% off at the moment
Towelling beach tunic – great for British beach holidays when you shiver as you come out of the sea
Cross tie beach tunic – thicker than your average kaftan so ideal for breezy coastlines
Swimsuit – for anyone who prefers a one piece, this range is made from a knitted cotton fabric so it keeps you cool
Tankini top – if you can find a good cut like this, tankinis are more flattering than a one piece for a long torso. Unless you have long legs, a one piece can make you look dumpy.
Bikini top – this is one of the bikinis that I have bought for our holiday this year
Bikini bottoms – along with these of course, I had the same bikini in red and blue last year and found myself wearing it more often than the others I took
Solillas beach sandals in the simplest colour way for understated chic
Jute beach bag – good for day and night with plenty of space for everything you need to carry with you
Summer straw hat – just so chic, the hat from a thousand Instagram pictures
As the sun gets lower it starts to feel a bit chilly so we get back on our bikes and head towards the épicerie for olives and bread – and maybe a bottle of cremant for an apéritif. Choosing what to wear for a casual stroll to the harbour bistro is easy because we’ve packed so well, everything mixes and matches.
Striped dress – unbelievably good value and selling out quickly
A simple multi purpose striped dress – for the beach, for days out or even with jewellery for a relaxed dinner, 25% off with code J5N5
Bardot blouse – the style of the year in the colour of the year, baby blue and made from soft cotton poplin too
Soft washed cotton sweatshirt for an instantly relaxed look, 10% off at the moment
Bardot style not for you? Try a simple cotton poplin shirt in this year’s key colour instead – selling out quickly though
Silvery, shimmery knit another item that’s going fast, 25% off with J5N5
Lace trimmed t-shirt, classic with a touch of elegance
Swishy maxi skirt relaxed chic for day or night
Short jumpsuit easy dressing for a casual but pulled together look 25% off with code J5N5
Cropped jeans with on trend fraying at the edge – still available in most sizes but selling quickly
Buff coloured chino style shorts are back
Solillas slingback shoes – not just for the beach
A great pair of wedges – easy to walk in (they even have an orthopaedic sole) and instantly rev up even the simplest outfit
Easy days, easy nights – I love this sort of holiday and we’ve had many over the years. Sometimes we’ve driven through France and camped at places that have taken our fancy, other times we’ve had villas in Provence or a cottage in Suffolk. It’s easy to pack light when you know that you probably won’t need to dress formally – you just won’t wear those 10 pairs of shoes that you’re thinking of taking!
A visit to George Northwood
So, it’s been busy. I have all kinds of things that we haven’t discussed such as haircuts. 3 weeks ago I began the journey towards a great haircut by booking into the hairdressing salon du jour, George Northwood. This wasn’t some enviable blogger’s perk by the way, I paid for my appointment. I chose them because I’m trying to achieve a less ageing, slightly looser style which isn’t easy when you have lots of very straight fine hair like I do – it just likes to be smooth and tidy.
It’s a surprisingly unflashy salon given that it is the favourite of Alexa Chung and Rosie Huntingdon-Whitely although when I arrived, I did have a Stepford Wives moment as I spotted 4 twenty something blondes sitting in a row having identikit wavy ‘Lob’ haircuts. This is how they work the Lob:
They quickly won me over by giving me a bar of Green & Blacks with my tea!
My appointment was with one of the younger (less eye-wateringly expensive) stylists Fabz. My thinking was that since they are such a small team he was bound to be highly trained and it felt as though he was. It’s a long time since someone has spent as long looking at my hair and the way it grows as he did. He explained that their cuts are designed to last up to 3 months so that you don’t have to visit a salon as often. I had a consultation with a colour specialist too although I needed a skin test before having it coloured there. She suggested taking it darker and ‘cooler’ in tone so I passed this on to my usual stylist when I came home and she took it in this direction. This is probably the best photo I have of it when it had just been done – excuse the selfie, no-one was in to take one for me
So was it worth the trip to George Northwood? Well time will tell, Fabz was very clear that he needed to get the cut right so that it could ‘grow in.’ If it lasts for 3 months it will cost no more than my local hairdresser that I go to every 6 weeks. I am finding that I don’t need to spend as long on it, it’s very easy to style and I don’t wake up with crazy bed head hair. I’ll give you my verdict in another 3 weeks’ time when he said that it should be starting to look as he wanted it to.
A blogger meet
As you can see, this was after the cut but before the colour so my hair was still very blonde. A few days later I went down to London again for the 30/40 blogger meet. I arrived the day before so that I could spend an afternoon with the Over40Collective that I told you about in our last post. We spent some time having a sort of superhero session, thinking through our approach and deciding how we will work to improve the choice of fashion on the high street for women over 40. Here’s my outfit for that day (whilst I was having this photo taken I somehow managed to miss the train and had to wait an hour for the next one).
Whistles blazer (this year’s version); Finery top; Whistles cropped kick flare jeans; Boden shoes; Coach bag.
Here’s a better shot of the Finery top which I love because it is such great quality for a reasonable price – like everything that Finery makes
The event was great fun – I met up with Greetje from No Fear of Fashion blog who often comments here. She was looking very chic – if you don’t already read her blog, pop over, she’s based near Amsterdam so there are lots of cool shots and each post is guaranteed to make you smile. I’ve been following her for a long time and we clicked instantly in real life, meeting her was the bonus of a brilliant day and she made me laugh all day long.
My friend Catherine from Notdressedaslamb gave a talk about the dos and don’ts of blogging
Photograph Timmy Vowles
Nayna MacIntosh from Hope talked to us all about her vision for the brand
Photograph Timmy Vowles
And then we got to play around with the clothes which was great fun and made me even keener to run a Midlifechic reader event with them. When you actually try the clothes on, you can see how well they work – they were for sale on the day and yes, I ended up buying so you’ll see a couple of the items coming up soon.
Photograph Timmy Vowles
(Clockwise l-r: Greetje, Suzi from alternative ageing; Yvonne from Funky Forty and moi)
The best bit was being back together with my friends from the Over40Collective
Photograph Timmy Vowles
I wore Ada trousers; Boden shimmer jumper (past season); Whistles blazer (past season) and new Finery Ferncroft shoes which attracted a lot of attention from other bloggers. As you can tell, Finery is rapidly becoming one of my ‘go to’ brands.
Finery Ferncroft shoes – sold out at Finery but available here, I love the low block heel and square toe which makes them easy to wear all day plus the snake and silver colours mean that they go with everything.
The lovely Liz from whatlizzyloves had also brought us all a gift from her online jewellery shop LizzyO so we look like a proper sorority now with our matching star rings (the hairy feet belong to the photographer by the way – not any of us)!
Photograph Timmy Vowles
A birthday photo
I’m finishing with one last photo from my birthday. My big birthday wish was to have the company of Mr MC and all three of my sons for the evening – and it came true. We went for burritos locally although we couldn’t stay long because the eldest was in full revision/exam stress mode. I sympathise because I used to hate the fact that exams always ruined my birthday. I managed to get a quick snap but you can tell by his face that he’s anxious to get back to his books which is unusual and in itself worth keeping for posterity!
The middle one (aka hopalong) is still on crutches – on the very last kilometre of his 54 km DofE trek he ruptured a tendon in his foot but was determined to hobble on to the finish line. We’re not sure how long it will take to heal but I take back all of those times when I’ve said I miss doing the school run. Strolling across the road to the village primary school was a pleasure, the rush hour traffic in town twice a day is not! But…at least I’m here to do it and not stuck in an office on somebody else’s time.
So, that’s brought us a bit more up to date. I hope I’ve inspired you with a bit of holiday feeling. Todays’ outfits of course don’t have to just be what to wear for a holiday by the sea, apart from the swimwear you could wear all of the other pieces in Sainsbury’s. The next post will be all about what to wear for a hot beach holiday. Thank you for reading and keep in touch.
Other summer wardrobe posts
Chic sandals that won’t hurt your feet
Simple summer broderie anglaise
Great summer buys for women over 40