I've written about my wonderful days out in Oxford before - you can read more on this post. But last week it was my nephews birthday and he is at Worcester College, Oxford University so I grabbed the opportunity to join him and my sister and other family members for a private tour of the college and lunch out.
We always use the park and ride facility and Oxford city centre has changed a bit recently with the opening of the new shopping centre - Westgate, so we took the opportunity to have a quick look on the way to Worcester College. Last week I wrote about my quick pit-stop into & Other Stories on this post.
My sister Heidi is a fully accredited Oxford city tour guide - holding the green badge issued by the Institute of Tourist Guiding - it is a prestigious achievement and meant a lot of hours studying. She is also a member of The Oxford Guild of Tour Guides. Basically she is very good and knows her stuff, a love of history helps and it comes across in her tours. She is currently number one on TripAdvisor. She runs Walking Tours of Oxford and offers both public and private bespoke tours.
Heidi has set up two excellent offers on her Oxford tours for readers of Fifty & Fab - giving you a discounted rate throughout the summer. I will give you all the details - and how to book at the end of this post so make sure you scroll down!
Last week was one of those perfect days. The sun was shining. It was warm but not too hot. I was with my family and Oxford is a beautiful city to visit. I am especially proud of my nephew.
The gardens and buildings at Worcester college are stunning. And it was even better to be shown around properly by my sister and nephew and learn a bit more about life for the students at Oxford University.
I am sharing my day mostly in photos as they speak for themselves ...
What I wore ... skirt is Black Pleated Chiffon Skirt from Mint Velvet £89, slogan tee is from Whistles £49 and my denim jacket is old from House of Fraser but I hear H&M is a good place for denim jackets this season! I wore Birkenstock style sandals from Shu Shu.
If you have ever wondered about stepping off the main shopping streets and discovering what lies behind the modern buildings in Oxford or you are a Morse, Lewis or Endeavour fan then do take advantage of these fantastic offers- . I guarantee you will have a superb day out. And it's not just for adults - Heidi makes children very welcome too.
Disclaimer: This was a private visit to Oxford, and I am sharing this review with you because it genuinely is a fabulous day out!
Heidi has set up two excellent offers for readers of Fifty & Fab:
Firstly she is offering her Morse, Lewis and Endeavour Tours on a Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 2.00 pm throughout the coming season - this offer is available until 31st October 2018. All you have to do is follow this link and make your booking with Eventbrite at the special rate of £14 per person (plus booking fee). You will need to enter the passcode: johnthaw to access this special rate.
She is also offering her Simply Oxford University Tour on two dates - Saturday 2nd June and Friday 22nd June 11.30 am at the reduced rate of £13 per person (plus booking fee). To book this please follow this link and make your booking with Eventbrite - you will need to enter the passcode: oxon1167 to access this special rate.
Not Dressed as Lamb
This week I had a really wonderful day out in Oxford. My sister is an Oxford City Tour Guide (qualified blue badge accreditation - I have written about her before and the fabulous tours she offers). And her oldest son is in his first year at Worcester College, Oxford University. It was his 19th birthday so I joined my parents and my sister for a tour of his college and lunch. I'll be sharing more photos later on as the gardens are so stunning.
But on the way to meet him we did a quick detour into the new shopping centre in Oxford - Westgate. There are lots of the big names situated in there and it is light and bright and clean and very pleasant. This was only a very quick visit and not enough time to do any real shopping. But I spotted & Other Stories and the only other branch close to me is Oxford Street and although I have been in, it is exceptionally busy (queue for fitting rooms and tills) and it put me off.
This branch however was quiet and I had the opportunity to have a quick browse. And I liked what I saw - very much. It is a bright, clean store - all white and everything laid out in beautifully co-ordinated tidy rails. My idea of heaven (you may have seen my comment on Instagram recently about my dislike of Primark and H&M because they are so untidy).
I didn't really have time to do a proper try on so it was a quick whisk round, I quickly slipped on a pink pleated skirt but it wasn't lined so I didn't think that would work for me. The sizing is a bit confusing so I had to ask - at a 10 I am a 36 apparently. That information will be useful for online shopping.
If you have seen a previous post about cotton dresses you will know I am on a search for natural fabrics and cool dresses for my holiday in Sri Lanka (but I don't like linen). I saw this dress in & Other Stories, it's cotton, it's pretty, its summery, it is a shape I love ...
I grabbed it in a 36, no time to try it on, paid for it, had a lovely chat to the young man serving me and ran off to meet my family.
Tried it on when I got home and it fitted, it worked and I love it. The shoulders need to be lifted a bit for me - this isn't unusual though, it is hard for me to find a dress that is short enough in the body so I look for ones that can be altered easily. This Peony Print dress is £49 also available in a blue Pineapple Print.
Once the shoulders are lifted I will share an outfit post with you but in the meantime do take a closer look at & Other Stories!
For more information or to join a tour of Oxford run by my sister, please take a look at her website - Walking Tours of Oxford. She offers many public and bespoke tours including Morse, Endeavour etc. Mention Fifty & Fab if you book!
Not Dressed as Lamb
You might have seen some of my posts and stories on Instagram but a couple of weeks ago I was in Kent for a short weekend. For Christmas my sister had bought myself and my daughter a voucher each for the Call the Midwife Location Tour at Chatham Historic Dockyard (Brit Movie Tours). We love Call the Midwife!
When I looked into the dockyard I realised that there was an awful lot there that my husband would also love so we decided to make a weekend of it and all go. Then my mum and dad were keen to join us too - so that made five of us!
I booked a budget hotel in Chatham (The Charles Hotel) - I am not sure I can totally recommend it as breakfast was a bit of a disaster (seriously couldn't make it up) but in terms of location and comfort of rooms for the price it was perfect.
The tour we were booked on was at 1.30 pm so we left mid-morning and arrived about midday, we took a picnic with us but in fact the newly refurbished cafe at the dockyard is really fabulous so we bought a cup of tea and some cake and sat outside with our picnic. It was the start of the sunny weather. It wasn't overly warm but comfortable enough and bright and sunny.
I wore Boden navy jeans and a pink stripe breton from Baukjen and a scarf from Mint Velvet (all previous season - but I have linked similar). And of course my Vionic sneakers as they are just so super-comfortable I can't take them off now!
We met up with the tour guide and thoroughly enjoyed our tour of the locations for many of the Call the Midwife scenes that are familiar to us. I read the first Call The Midwife: A True Story Of The East End In The 1950s book well before they'd considered a TV series and loved it - I then read the rest of the books - Shadows of the Workhouse and . Farewell To The East End I also read her final book In the Midst of Life (about her work with the dying) and then more recently her sister wrote about their childhood in her own book The Midwife's Sister. I recommend all of them!
The tour guide had a set of photos so she was able to show us the location of many of the scenes. She told us lots of interesting facts about the filming. They have also set up a small museum with lots of the props, costumes, photos and furniture used in the series.
We loved it all and really enjoyed wandering around the old buildings. As part of the price of the tour you also get your entry to the dockyards included so it makes a super family day out. There are some historical navy vessels to look around, we went on the destroyer and the submarine. There is also a full working ropery that you can have a tour around.
This is the bench and the park used in the scene when Trixie told Christopher they couldn't be together.
On the Sunday we decided to leave Chatham and drive half way home to Chartwell House, Winston Churchill's private family home. We had been planning a visit there for a while and this was a perfect opportunity. The house is owned by the National Trust and as we have membership, our entry was free of charge. Entry to the house is by timed ticket which you can book in advance or get when you arrive, we had no problem getting a convenient slot. The gardens are beautiful to wander in and we went into Winston's art studio and saw some of his gardening projects before having lunch then heading into the house.
It wasn't quite so warm and sunny on the Sunday so I added a jumper from Jack Wills and thankfully my capsule wardrobe worked very well. I am a dreadful packer, I always take too much!
It was quite obvious why Winston Churchill and his family loved Chartwell so much. It felt very much like a family home and it wasn't too big, you could imagine a family living there and growing up. Winston could often be found doing jobs in the garden like building a wall or this beautiful playhouse for his youngest daughter.
My favourite room was the dining room (far right above) it has beautiful opening doors and views across the garden and the Kent countryside. The NT stewards in each room were so helpful and answered our questions and chatted to us, sharing lots of interesting facts. Even my 17 year old daughter enjoyed it and didn't get bored (I am lucky that both my children embrace a little bit of history)!
Every year there is a different exhibition at Chartwell and this year it was about Winston's wife, Clementine Churchill - Speaking for Herself. It was fascinating and if you have seen the recent film, Darkest Hour you will recognise some of the facts and history.
I love Kent of course, I was born in small village near Orpington and then lived in another village just outside Maidstone until I was 14. I still visit regularly to see my two best friends. This was a really fabulous weekend but both would make equally good day trips depending on where you live. I certainly recommend!
Hi, I’m Michelle and my blog Fifty & Fab is all about my journey into and through my fifties. I share style tips, health and fitness inspiration, I talk about my holidays and days out and I tell you about my beauty regime and my lifestyle. I hope you might pick up a tip or two and get some inspiration!
Use my hashtag on Instagram #beingfiftyandfab
I’d love to see what you are doing and with your permission, share some of your images.
Join my mailing list for regular updates and don’t forget to look at my social media pages too..
Subscribe to receive regular blog updates by email: