What to wear for a UK staycation & great summer reads

I’m early this week because today’s post includes quite a few pieces that have just gone into the sale and I wanted to get them to you before they all sell out. I’m heading down to London in the morning, Friday will finally be haircut day for me and Mr MC is coming too (to London, not the hairdressers). We’ll be making the most of a couple of nights away because I want to be able to walk everywhere rather than take a tube or bus so we’ve planned plenty of time around our visit.

It’s a slightly shorter post today because a bombshell landed here yesterday – Northumbria University sent an email to the middle son telling him that his degree course has completely changed and so we’ve spent the last two days trying (but failing) to find out more about the new one and work out what we should do. I feel really annoyed because the very limited information they’ve sent is couched in academic puffery, it doesn’t actually tell you anything – and I’m used to working with universities so goodness knows how anyone who isn’t is supposed to make sense of it.

I appreciate that these are difficult times for universities but they need to do some straight talking. The decision that we’re making is going to cost the boy in the region of £30,000 for tuition alone so it’s not the sort of thing you can do based on a few Powerpoint slides filled with promise but no substance. This is the first time that I’ve had to deal with any kind of organisation during Covid-19 and it’s impossible trying to communicate with either the university or UCAS. You’re left holding on the phone for hours, when somebody eventually answers they’re working from home, they don’t seem to have any information and they can’t transfer you to anyone else. We have seven days to let them know whether he wants to transfer to the new mystery course or withdraw – can you tell I’m tearing my hair out? It isn’t often that I feel stressed but I do at the moment however the upside is that sitting listening to endless hold music has given me a few hours to put this post together.

What to wear for a UK staycation – women over 40

Quite a few people have been in touch asking for fresh ideas for a UK staycation wardrobe. It seems that as lockdown lifts, new getaway plans have been made and of course with the stores in mid-sale, it’s hard to know where to go to buy anything new for a break away – or even just days in the garden at home. So, I’ve put a capsule together gathering as many pieces from the sales as I can so that they’re good value. It means that they might be low in stock though so don’t dally.

I’ve done a lot of brightly coloured palettes already this season and to be honest, brights are now thin on the ground in the shops so I’ve gone for a more neutral collection which suits a British summer well and makes clothes wearable because you don’t tire of them as easily. The whole capsule mixes and matches and should give you options for anything from country walks to beach barbecues and pub garden meals. I’m being optimistic about the weather so I haven’t added wellies or waterproofs and I’m sure you have plenty of those anyway.

What to wear for a UK staycation – bottoms

As always when I put a hardworking capsule together I focus on separates to give extended outfit options. The important place to start is with the anchor pieces or bottoms:

What to wear for a UK staycation - bottoms

White linen relaxed trousers – I’ve lost track of the number of white linen trousers that I’ve bought and returned this season. I know they’re high maintenance but if you can cope with that, they’ll always add a touch of luxe to your outfit. They’re handy for summer holidays because you can dress them up and down but finding a good fit is really difficult. I’ve had my eye on these all season but at full price they were too expensive, this week they’ve gone into the sale so they’re on their way to me. (40% off in the sale.)

Navy chino shorts – you can’t go wrong with these mainstays, they’re a consistently great cut and available in different leg lengths – I find the four inch to be the most flattering. Not in the sale because they’re year-round classics but buy them and you’ll have them for years (10% off and free delivery with code 6T2C).

Wide leg khaki crops – wide but not too wide with elastane for stretch. Khaki is a great alternative to navy for a summer neutral and it always looks cool. (40% off in the sale).

Rayon mix midi-skirt – it says maxi on the website but it’s a midi-length, an easy skirt for wafting around in and comfortable thanks to its deep elasticated waistband. Not in the sale but already great value.

UK staycation capsule – tops

Moving on to tops, you need more of these than bottoms for versatility and fluctuating temperatures.

What to wear for a UK staycation - tops

Cotton stripe jumper – a move on from the breton and perfect for blustery days in the UK. Made from a cotton blend with a flattering boat neckline, it has 40% off in the sale.

Cotton broderie blouse – this is new in this week so not in the sale but it has such a nice neckline that I had to include it. Wear it over the shorts or tucked in to the skirt – either way it works with everything. Also available in pale lemon yellow.

Cotton linen jumper – just gone into the sale, this soft coral V neck is a great buy for summer in a blend of cotton and linen. (25% off, also available in navy in some sizes.)

‘Mon coeur fait boum’ tee– a new French brand for you to play around with if you’re looking for something different, they make fab t-shirts… to make your heart go boom, as this one suggests.

Soft white hoodie – my favourite so I’m including it again, the only one that I ever find to be exactly the right length. A new delivery so not in the sale.

Gold knitted vest – I bought this a while ago and I’m looking forward to going out again so I can wear it. It has just the right amount of sparkle to elevate a relaxed outfit. Not in the sale because it’s been such a popular piece – limited numbers available on back order, size down.

What to wear for a UK staycation – accessories

And finally, accessories to finish it all off and no, I haven’t aded any sensible walking shoes – you don’t come here for those.

What to wear for a UK staycation - accessories

Rose tinted sunglasses – arched brow sunglasses work for most faces and the rose tinted frame can be more flattering than black or tortoiseshell.

Nude leather sandals – be part of the barely there trend, no horizontal bands across the foot so they will visually lengthen your legs. This is a great place to find an eclectic mix of high end brands at good prices and it’s particularly good for shoes.

Navy and cream striped cotton scarf – scarves are, of course, handy as an extra layer when you’re sitting outside with a glass of wine – something we’ll be doing a lot this summer. Modal and wool blend, washable and 60% off in the sale.

Raffia bag with silver stars – lined bag with stars and a silver handle, big enough to hold just about anything. 35% off in the sale, also available in black.

Pink and orange leopard scarf – wear it as a scarf or a wrap, the summer shades will lift a neutral outfit. 35% off in the sale.

Gold toned espadrilles – perennial classics with subtle sparkle and a great low heeled wedge, just enough to add a dash of glamour without making you hobble.

What to wear for a UK staycation – women over 40

And this gives you an idea of how it all works together.

What to wear for a UK staycation - women over 40

New AW20 deliveries arriving

Boden’s new season started this week and it includes a few coats and boots which makes me feel a bit sad. You can look through it all here but I promised to point out when the next vibrant silk blouse came in to stock and it’s arrived now (and yes, I was surprised to see a picture of me on there too!).

Multi-coloured silk blouse (10% off and free delivery with 6T2C)

I’ve ordered this from the new in collection, it’s easy to wear, good value and I love the colours. I can imagine it’s another one that will be snapped up before the new season has even started.

great summer reads

Multi-coloured jersey shirt (10% off and free delivery with 6T2C)

I’ve also ordered the necklace because it will instantly update any AW19 outfit.

great summer reads

Antique brass necklace

And the last thing I want to point out is this cardigan which picks up on the quirky, cosy homespun theme that we’re going to see a lot next season.

& great summer reads

Cotton and wool blend cardigan (also available in navy or pink)

Great summer reads from Midlifechic readers

As promised last week, the eldest has kindly collated the book recommendations for great summer reads that flooded in via my Instagram post. He’s tried to list them in order so that the ones that were recommended most often are at the top. Thank you to everyone who sent a suggestion, I hope you’ll join me in my mission to get through as many of them as possible over the next month or two.

Where the Crawdads Sing, Delia Owens

American Dirt, Jeanine Cummins

Educated, Tara Westover

The Silent Patient, Alex Michaelides

The Beekeeper of Aleppo, Christy Lefteri

Circe, Madeline Miller

The Hunting Party, Lucy Foley

The Other Half of Augusta Hope, Joanna Glenn

Girl, Woman, Other, Bernardine Evaristo

Grown Ups, Marian Keyes

A Gentleman in Moscow, Amor Towles

The Husband’s Secret, Liane Moriarty

Olive Kitteridge, Elizabeth Strout

The Island, Victoria Hislop

The Salt Path, Raynor Winn

Queenie, Candice Carty-Williams

The Authenticity Project, Clare Pooley

The Dutch House, Ann Patchett

The Great Alone, Kristin Hannah

The Kashmir Shawl, Rosie Thomas

Born A Crime, Trevor Noah

American Wife, Curtis Sittenfeld

The Guest List, Lucy Foley

Emily, Jilly Cooper

Riders, Jilly Cooper

Magpie Lane, Lucy Atkins

The Seven Sisters (series), Lucinda Riley

Humankind, Rutger Bregman

The Thorn Birds, Colleen McCullough

The Little Friend, Donna Tartt

The Familiars, Stacey Halls

The Thread, Victoria Hislop

Nine Perfect Strangers, Liane Moriarty

Cutting for Stone, Abraham Verghese

The Girl Before, JP Delaney

28 Summers, Elin Hilderbrand

Becoming, Michelle Obama

Daisy Jones and The Six, Taylor Jenkins Reid

Slow Horses, Mick Herron

Your Perfect Year: A Novel, Charlotte Lucas

The Woman at 1,000 Degrees, Hallgrímur Helgason

Man at the Helm, Nina Stibb

Tell the Wolves I’m Home, Carol Rifka Brunt

My Brilliant Friend, Elena Ferrante

The Confession, Jessie Burton

Valentine, Elizabeth Wetmore

Prep, Curtis Sittenfeld

The One John Marrs

Such a Fun Age, Kiley Reid

The Heart’s Invisible Furies, John Boyne

Utopia for Realists, Rutger Bregman

The Gilded Life of Matilda Duplaine, Alex Brunkhorst

Machines Like Me, Ian McEwan

The Only Story, Julian Barnes

Little Disasters, Sarah Vaughan

A Town Like Alice, Nevil Shute

I am, I am, I am, Maggie O’Farrell

This Tender Land, William Kent Krueger

Our Stop, Laura Jane Williams

The Love Square, Laura Jane Williams

The Other Passenger, Louise Candlish

All the Rage, Cara Hunter

Maybe You Should Talk to Someone, Lori Gottlieb

A Room Made of Leaves, Kate Grenville

The Thirteenth Tale, Diane Setterfield

Once Upon a River, Diane Setterfield

The Starless Sea, Erin Morgenstern

The Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern

Beloved, Toni Morrison

Years of Wonder, Geraldine Brooks

Outlander, Diana Gabaldon

The Butterfly Room, Lucinda Riley

Miss Benson’s Beetle, Rachel Joyce

Never Saw You Coming, Hayley Doyle

The Chiffon Trenches, Andre Leon Talley

The Home-maker, Dorothy Canfield Fisher

Sunny Days and Sea Breezes Carole Matthews

Little Fires Everywhere, Celeste NG

Maisie Dobbs (series), Jacqueline Winspear

Rivers of London (series), Ben Aaronovitch

The Cypress Tree, Kamin Mohammadi

The Alice Network, Kate Quinn

Nashville Dreams, Pamela M. Kelley

One Day in December, Josie Silver

I am Pilgrim, Terry Hayes

The Phone Box at the Edge of the World, Laura Imai Messina

The Secrets of Strangers, Charity Norman

The Vanishing Half, Brit Bennett

Love is Blind, William Boyd

Blue Monday: Frieda Klein (series), Nicci French

The Two Lives of Lydia Bird, Josie Silver

My Notorious Life, Kate Manning

Boy Swallows Universe, Trent Dalton

The Last Mrs Parrish, Liv Constantine

The Other Bennet Sister, Janice Hadlow

Before We Were Yours, Lisa Wingate

The Neighbours, Nicola Gill

The Signature of All Things, Elizabeth Gilbert

Home Fire, Kamila Shamsie

Silver Bay, Jojo Moyes

Dutch Girl: Audrey Hepburn and World War II, Robert Matzen

The Sealwoman’s Gift, Sally Magnusson

Ice, Ulla-Lena Lundberg

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, Gail Honeyman

The River Home, Hannah Richell

Feel Free: Essays, Zadie Smith

Silver Sparrow, Tayari Jones

Tales of the City (series), Armistead Maupin

Half a World Away, Mike Gayle

The Hypnotists Love Story, Liane Moriarty

The House on the Edge of the Cliff, Carol Drinkwater

Just My Luck, Adele Parks

The Cuckoo’s Calling: Cormoran Strike (series), Robert Galbraith

The Redhead by the Side of the Road, Anne Tyler

Water for Elephants, Sara Gruen

The Enchanted April, Elizabeth Von Arnim

The History of Bees, Maja Lunde

In Five Years, Rebecca Serle

The Catch, T.M. Logan

O Pioneers!, Willa Cather

The Glossy Years, Nicholas Coleridge

The All-Girl Filling Station’s Last Reunion, Fannie Flagg

Daughters of Cornwall, Fern Britton

A Theatre for Dreamers, Polly Samson

I, Lucifer, Glen Duncan

So now I must go and recommence our battle with the system – wish me luck! I’ll be back next Friday (24th) with news from our trips to London and Newcastle – and hopefully a happy resolution to the middle son’s woes. In the meantime I’ll post on Instagram @midlifechic so we can always keep in touch there. Have a good week.

Disclosure: ‘What to wear for a UK staycation & great summer reads’ is not a sponsored post

Recent lockdown posts you may have missed

Moving out of lockdown – what I’ve been doing and wearing

Making summer plans at last

Hush sale top ten and retail behind the scenes

What I’ve been wearing and learning the lessons of lockdown

Chic heatwave dresses and good sale buys

How midlifers are feeling as we come out of lockdown

The zeitgeist and what to wear for the weekend

How is it for you? – and a catch up

Midlife matters and the return to ‘normal’

The future of retail after Covid-19

How to celebrate under lockdown

Cornucopia – beauty, books and weekend ideas

Quarantine – as the days roll on what I’ve been wearing

Working from home chic – new ideas

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