Home Sweet Home

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Today marks a very major milestone for me: the Clever Boyfriend and I just bought our very first house!

Well, ‘house‘ is probably a polite exaggeration. Really, it is a teeny tiny apartment (which by Cambridge standards probably equates to a sprawling estate in other, less spatially-challenged cities), but it is right in the city, on the top floor, filled with light, minutes from the station (so I can be in central London within the hour), and even has a little balcony (roughly the size of a postage stamp) for planting herbs and having morning papers and brunch outside on weekends.

But, most importantly, it is all ours!

As a compulsive over-sharer, it has taken all my restraint to keep this quiet until now. But conscious of how drawn-out and boring these things can be, and for fear of things falling through at the last minute, I didn’t want to share the news until we’d signed that big stack of paperwork (so.much.paperwork).

We complete and collect the keys next week, and then have less than a week to move, set up, and gather an entire house worth of furniture, fittings and accessories before we leave our current place (all while holding down our day jobs). The timeline and ‘to do’ list gives a mild control freak like me palpitations (eg. I don’t even know where to start with setting up a wardrobe system to fit the space…), but I am so excited to get stuck in and to turn that blank, empty canvas into a cosy little space that feels like our very own home.

I hope you won’t all mind me adding a new interiors section to the blog (to share the stages as I go, as well as new treasures I discover and love), but please do let me know if you have any comments, questions, suggestions for wonderful places to buy treasures for the home, or first-house-buying wisdom of your own!

Love, Miss B xx

 

How to be Fabulous Each Morning (in 15 Minutes)

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I don’t know about you, but during the week, I never have the luxury of being able to take my time getting ready. If I want more than half an hour to get ready, then I have to either forgo sleep or get to the office late (and frankly, I’d rather lie in bed for those blissful ten minutes after my alarm goes off than spend time styling my hair). Needless to say, I’m by now an expert in getting out that door as quickly as possible, without turning into a frazzled, grumpy mess.

The secret to leaving the house feeling your best? Leave ten minutes to do your makeup (more if you can spare it) and always do a few things that feel leisurely and fun, no matter how rushed you are (for me that’s taking a few minutes to put on a soundtrack to listen to while I’m getting ready, make a quick + healthy breakfast to have while I’m doing my makeup, and always remembering my lipstick, perfume and jewels: those finishing touches that make me feel ‘done’).

Here’s how I do it when I’ve got 15 minutes flat:

One minute: Turn on music that makes me want to have a dance party in the bathroom (hello, Motown!). Brew coffee/put fruit in the blender. Jump in the shower (Jo Malone shower gel starts the morning off right), brush teeth + sing badly.

Four minutes: Quick face routine + slather on body moisturiser (+ sunscreen if it’s summer). Get coffee/juice, giggle at my boyfriend’s silly jokes.

Six minutes: Dry shampoo (Batiste is the best bargain in my beauty arsenal) + quickly run a GHD or tongs through the front and ends of my hair. Twist hair into a bun while it’s still warm to set while I’m getting ready.

Eight minutes: When I’m short on time, I focus on perfecting my complexion and adding a pop of colour. I start with BB cream all over + long-wear foundation and concealer where I need it.

Ten minutes: Add a glow (I like Nars illuminator around the cheek/browbones, down the bridge of the nose and on the cupid’s bow), lightly buff bronzer into the cheekbones/temples/jawline) then a pop of peachy blush on the cheeks.

Eleven minutes: Add a flick of liquid liner (I’ve tried them all, and this Stila marker version is absolutely the best; foolproof and SO fast), fill in brows and a wash of pearly/bronze shadow if you have a moment.

Twelve minutes: Spritz on perfume (this Jo Malone version is my current favourite), undo hair (shake out waves or pin back into a loose undo), and get dressed in something that makes you feel fantastic.

Fourteen minutes: Add a dash of sparkle (if in doubt, add a statement necklace or a pair of fabulous earrings). Do a twirl + turn off Motown soundtrack.

Fifteen minutes: Grab handbag, do a quick outfit check, smile and go!

In transit: Add a coat of mascara and a pop of bright lipstick on the bus/train/at the lights if you ran out of time at home (ie. these are the only two acceptable steps to do in public; never your whole makeup routine). Write your ‘to do’ list for the day (be sure to include something just for you/that makes you smile). Spend the morning being pulled-together + fabulous!

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Pictured (L-R): Nars ‘Turkish Delight’ lipgloss // Anthropologie monogrammed mug (from Nicolette) //  BaubleBar earrings c/- (similar style available at Shopbop) // Nars ’413 BLKR’ illuminator c/- // Nars ‘New Attitude’ blush.

Do you have any tips for getting-fabulous-quick each morning?

Love, Miss B xx

P.S. By popular request, I’m bringing back Beauty Wednesday each fortnight. Do you have any requests for future beauty posts? Let me know in the comments below or via Twitter / Instagram!

At The Flower Market

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There are few simple pleasures I love more than a trip to the florist to pick up a big bunch of fragrant blooms (as anyone who follows me on Instagram will know). Since moving to Cambridge, a weekly trip to the flower stall at the market has become one of my favourite rituals at the end of the work week.

To me, those flowers are so intrinsically linked with happy memories and moments throughout my life, that it is a luxury I’m happy to indulge (I’d take a bunch of roses over a coffee, any day). Growing up in Australia, we had a beautiful English garden which exploded with perfumed blossoms each season, and some of my happiest days were spent hosting tea parties under the peach trees for my (usually imaginary) friends, helping my father tend to the flower beds, and collecting armfuls of fragrant roses, hydrangeas bluebells and ranunculus with my mother to bring inside.

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Although I don’t have a garden here in Cambridge, it is a tradition I try to maintain to this day. Each week, I’ll pop to the flower stall before a massage and date night with the Clever Boyfriend on Friday evenings, or cycle to the market early on a Saturday morning for coffee, flowers and long chats about life with my best friend (we’ve been friends for 16 years, and by some wonderful stroke of fate, we have always seemed to end up in the same places in the world at the same time ever since and now both currently call Cambridge home).

A Girl, A Style _ At The Flower Market 3Wearing: Alice by Temperley dress (sold out, but similar styles available via Shopbop, Net-a-Porter and TheOutnet) // Whistles leather jacket (past season, but similar styles available here) // Marc Jacobs Stam bag (available at Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus) // Chloe sunglasses (similar style available at here) // J. Crew pearl necklace (also available in cheaper faux pearl version) // Kenneth Jay Lane pearl bracelets (sold out, but similar style available at J. Crew and necklace version available at Net-a-Porter) // Chanel brooch + ring (past season, but very similar styles available here and here). Beauty note: MAC ‘Ruby Woo’ lipstick // Essie ‘Bachelorette Bash’ nail polish (available at Nordstrom and Debenhams and Liberty).

Regardless of how hectic my week has been, life always just feels wonderful again after these weekends filled with love, friendship and those beautiful flowers.

Do you have any small pleasures you adore which always seem bring about happy moments? I would love to hear!

Love, Miss B xx

Sponsored post in partnership with Flowers of Holland

The Ballerina

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I just adore the ballet. If you ask me, there are few things more enchanting than the sound of an orchestra tuning, the lights dimming in a grand old theatre, and the red velvet curtains raising to reveal a line of ballerinas pirouetting in their tutus like the most graceful creatures alive. As a girl, I used to dream of growing up to be a ballerina for the Royal Ballet. Alas, my ballet years came to an end at 16, but spending an evening at the ballet is still one of my favourite things to do in London.

After I posted a picture from The Nutcracker at Christmas, I bonded with Roberta Marquez (my favourite principal ballerina at the Royal Ballet) on Instagram over our love for… well, all the same things. A few weeks ago, she very sweetly invited me to come and see her perform in Giselle, one of the great romantic ballets.

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Before the performance, Charlotte (my date for the evening) and I were lucky enough to have our very own tour behind the scenes of the Royal Opera House with Roberta. Entering the stage door and being able to see the ballerinas dancing around the rehearsal room, the company’s spectacular costumes and props, the makeup artists at work and best of all, Roberta’s private dressing room (complete with film star lights around the mirror and an entire wall of ballet slippers) was such an honour.

The performance itself was breathtaking, and Roberta dances so beautifully that it is hard not to fall in love with her just a little bit. As she twirled across the stage in that majestic theatre, it was like watching a dream come true.

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Thank you, Roberta, for one of the most wonderful evenings of my life!

Love, Miss B xx