So today I thought we’d take a break from Christmas because I have a few random winter outfits of the day that have been sitting on my desktop. There is no particular theme or order, they’re just things I’ve been wearing for work and weekends. Before I start though, some of you may be aware of questions that have been raised recently on various forums (can’t help thinking the plural should be fora) and social media channels about bloggers and brands. I’ve been reading them and thinking it through because some valid points have been raised about disclosure of sponsored posts and gifted items.
Because I come from a magazine background, I manage the editorial:commercial ratio of Midlifechic very carefully to ensure that first and foremost, it is a good read. This blog will always primarily be a labour of love for me and something that hopefully will give my great, great grandchildren an insight into my life. However it does need to cover its costs and although we’ve been over this before, I just want to reiterate how it works.
As you know, I declare commercial interest at the bottom of each post and I also let you know in the body of the post if an item has been gifted. How does gifted work? A brand will approach a blooger to ask if they would like to select something from their range. I would say that I accept about 10% of the opportunities that I am offered and they are almost always from brands that I already buy from. A sponsored post on the other hand is usually dedicated to a brand. They pay for the exposure but have no control over images, opinions or content. The items featured are sometimes gifted but usually samples that are returned.
The benefit of gifting as I see it is that I can explore the brand further than my own budget would allow and try pieces that differ from my usual style. As readers, you can judge for yourself whether or not you think they work and make your own decisions – as you did very clearly when I covered side stripe trousers! The very occasional sponsored posts that I run help to cover the escalating costs of Midlifechic and any associated travel to London that helps me to stay abreast of trends. As you know I am self-employed and so when I dedicate time to researching, photographing and writing posts for Midlifechic (i.e. not working in my marketing job) I am not billing. My blog therefore has to pay its own way. If it doesn’t I will have to close it.
One area that I hadn’t considered is continuing to demarcate items that have been gifted. So, in line with changes that other bloggers are making, when I repeat something that has been gifted but don’t discuss it in the body content because you’ve seen it before, I will add a (g) after the item. I fully appreciate that this helps you to assess the balance of outfits and personal spend. I will also trial adding the year when I bought things – let me know whether that is useful or not.
With new items, I will continue in my usual way, disclosing within the copy and in a summary at the end. I think the whole debate has been really useful. You know that I’m always interested to hear what readers think and people are often more frank when they can discuss things beyond the confines of the comments section.
The other question that arose was about bloggers being represented by agencies. I am not represented by an agency. Although Midlifechic is growing, for me to be a career blogger I would have to make very regular trips to London and be more available for shoots and events than I am. I like the balance that I currently have and so I won’t be changing it.
I would like to say thank you to the readers who have pointed out on other platforms that I disclose – I really do appreciate it. I have always had a full disclosure policy on my website but do post a comment if there is anything else you would like to know. Obviously I can only answer on behalf of myself (not other bloggers) because we all handle these issues differently. Right, that’s the housekeeping done – let’s move on!
Winter outfits of the day
I know it isn’t officially winter but the weather seems to think it is up here. Actually I quite like it. So this picture is from ages ago (you can see my hair growing longer and longer in these pictures, I’m having it cut when I’m down in London this week). This was a Saturday afternoon when we popped out to drop the boys off at various places and then stopped for a coffee.
Coffee and cake Sunday
This was a happy Sunday – the eldest was home for the weekend. Now that he spends his weeks in central London he really appreciates our spectacular scenery and is glad to come out for a walk (and a cake) with Gary. I have been invited to choose a few pieces from House of Fraser and the cable knit jumper I am wearing here is one of them. It hasn’t photographed very well so I’ll include it again soon.
This was Remembrance Sunday which involves a long parade through the village to the Cenotaph. I always find it very moving because at the time of the First World War, our house was owned by the headmaster of the village grammar school. He and his wife had three sons and they all went off to fight, never to return. They are the last three names to be read out on the roll of honour. I can’t imagine the pain that their mother must have suffered in our house and I find it very moving as I stand there with my three, thankfully very much alive sons.
Coat (AW17); Boden Cambridge jeans (AW15); Inès de La Fressange at Uniqlo merino polo neck (AW15); Finery boots (SS15); J Crew gloves (AW15)
Speech Day Saturday
Please forgive me for having a proud mum moment now. Sometimes I think being a parent is a bit like being a lighthouse. Your lamp is in constant rotation but it tends to have its full beam on one particular child at a time. When I started writing Midlifechic it was all about the youngest because he was leaving primary school. After that my attention transferred to the eldest going to university and on to London. Then it moved to the middle son’s GCSEs and other exploits. In the meantime, the youngest has sat quietly by, waiting for his moment to come round again… and now it has.
Firstly he achieved his Black Belt in karate last month, not bad for a 14 year old. Then we received a letter from his headmaster saying that he was to be awarded a prize for his ‘outstanding achievements in the lower school’ (lower school is first to third form or Y11 to 13). He was stunned… we were stunned… and delighted. So we went along to watch him and here he is being given his prize by an old boy who is now a judge.
Here I am waiting for him…
…so that I can give him a hug. Well done my ‘little’ one – you make us proud.
Working from home outfits
I’ve been based at home this week – someone needs to keep the decorator topped up with tea. I’m not sure about this outfit now that I look at this photo, the coatigan doesn’t feel right. It just shows that it’s worth trying things on ‘on camera’ rather than in the mirror.
And another working from home outfit. You’ve seen this jumper before, I’ve worn it a lot because it’s warm but not remotely itchy.
Chenille jumper(AW17); Hush Skirt (AW17 sold out); Boden boots (circa 2005)
And this was after we’d been to watch Paddington last Sunday – what a great movie! It’s just so British but in a really good way. Yes the two youngest teens came along reluctantly and yes – they really enjoyed it too. I love what I’m wearing here, this jacket was an impulse buy but every time I put it on I feel like me.
I bought this rainbow stripe jumper when Boden had 30% off last week. I think it’s the first thing I’ve kept from them this season and I love it. It reminds me of the Wyse cashmere jumpers that are beyond my budget.
Jumper (AW17, the rest of the outfit as above)
So there we have it, we’ve caught up – apart from a quick Gymcube update.
I’ve lost the weight that I wanted to and I’ve been hammering my cardio sessions at the gym over the last couple of weeks. I’m feeling much, much fitter but I have to say I’m missing my Pilates classes. I haven’t been doing them since I started with GymCube at the beginning of October and I can see and feel that my core is less firm. Kevin has been busy helping Katie Price to transform herself so I’m waiting until he has time to give me some advice. I think I’m going to move into maintenance mode for December and then start again with a vengeance (along with the rest of the world) on 2nd January.
One last thing!
I did it! Last night at the WeAreThirtyPlus Awards I won “Blogger of the Year.” I’ll tell you all about it in my next post but I just want to say thank you. Because without all of you reading my blog and voting for me it wouldn’t have happened. And it was a wonderful night. I’m finding it hard to absorb – I was genuinely stunned and still am. But I am also ecstatic (and rather hungover). The wi fi on the train is awful so I’m going to log off but I’m hoping to upload just this one picture of me and the man who stands behind me at every step of this journey. Thank you to you too Mr MC – this award is as much yours as mine.
Disclosure: ‘Winter outfits of the day’ is not a sponsored post. Gifted items are marked with a (g). Thank you to GymCube for my ongoing membership and to all of the brands who help me to keep this blog going.
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