Vote Coco (not really…)

A Girl, A Style _ Vote coco
I hope you won’t mind, but I thought I’d return from my unofficial blogging hiatus with something a little different to my normal programming. Despite the usually hyper-feminine tone of this blog, many of you will know that by day I actually have a serious job as a political advisor in Westminster.

I’ve been working in politics since 2002, when I first went to Washington to intern for a Senator; my office was on the same marbled corridor as Ted Kennedy and Hilary Clinton, and President Bush was just about to launch a war in Iraq. Although I was always raised to be politically aware and  an active part in society, in those first months ‘on the inside’, I came to realise first-hand what a very real and direct impact politics has on all of our lives. And for me, there was no turning back from there. I wanted to be a part of of this world; to help others, to make a difference and, in my own small way, to help shape those policies for the better.

On May 7th, the UK goes to the polls to decide who will govern the country for the next five years. Casting your vote is one of the biggest, if not the most significant, decision you will make all year. Yet even though we live in a world where still individuals struggle and sacrifice and die for the right to vote, at the last General Election in 2010, only 54% of women my age voted. That means almost half of my female peers had no say in their democracy and the very laws which shape our nation and daily lives.

But here’s the catch: whether you take an interest in politics or not, it still directly impacts on your life every single day. From the sweeping general issues; the national economy (the strength of which determines how much tax you pay, whether jobs are being created and paying well, how affordable your mortgage is, and so on), the government services we all need to access at some point in our lives (the infrastructure and innovation the government invests in, the schools our future children will go to, the NHS we turn to when we’re sick) and the social policies that define us as a society (ensuring that every individual in our society enjoys equality of rights, how we treat those different to us, how we look after our most needy and vulnerable) to the specific; maternity leave, closing the gender pay gap, reproductive rights, the extend to which the government interferes in our private lives…. you get the picture.

Truthfully — despite what Karl Lagerfeld and his S/S’15 band of Chanel-clad protesters may suggest — it’s certainly not glamorous (and we shouldn’t actually ‘Vote Coco’, obviously), the characters rarely resemble President Bartlet or Sam Seaborn, and most days it feels more like a ruthless grind than a glorious victory. But oh, there is nothing more beautiful than a democracy in which, however briefly, we are all equal participants.

If you do just one thing that matters this week, then have your say at the ballot box. We owe it to the suffragettes and all those who are still yearning for that same right we get to exercise tomorrow.

Love, Miss B xx

Image via Pinterest (from Vogue Korea March 2015)

 

A New Year’s Love Story

A Girl, A Style _ Ringing in the Year.JPG

Hello darlings, and a very belated happy new year to you all! Apologies for the inadvertent blogging hiatus this year; my day job has been rather frenetic of late, and I confess I’m not always excellent at balancing these two worlds of mine. Busy though it has been, I have to say: 2015 has been rather wonderful thus far!

For now, I’ll start with the most significant news: as those of you who follow me on Instagram may have seen, I got engaged on New Year’s Eve! The Clever Boyfriend and I met on that same night 10 years ago; by a series of coincidences we had ended up at the same cheesy bar and, as the cliche goes, our eyes met across the room. One chance encounter and a midnight New Year’s Eve kiss later, we started dating; frequenting tiny Italian cafes and galleries across the city as we fell head over heels for each other. Since then we spent years separated by oceans (he studying a Masters in Tokyo, me in Australia), moved half way across the world together, and made a home together in Cambridge. And then on New Year’s Eve, while celebrating at home (with our own tiny, but fabulously sparkly soiree with just a few of our favourite people), he asked that question. It was the perfect way to celebrate a decade of love and togetherness.

A Girl, A Style _ New Year's EngagementA Girl, A Style _ A New Year's Engagement

Being the Clever Boyfriend that he is, he knows me well enough to know that I would want to choose my own ring (he knows how much jewellery means to me, but also how particular I am about what I like). So he proposed with a candy lollipop ring (truly!) with the intention that we would choose one together and, in the meantime, I’ve been wearing a rather spectacular Lulu Frost stand-in.

This weekend, we at last started the hunt for the ring. As any good engagement ring searches go, we started at Tiffany & Co. on Old Bond Street where I fell in love with the sparkliest diamonds of them all (with the price tags to match…) and had my Audrey moment, and then it was on to Cartier, De Beers and the jewellers along Hatton Gardens (with a stop at Laduree on the way to refuel on tea and French sugar). As we haven’t quite found ‘the one’, I think we’ll opt for a bespoke ring that is uniquely ours (I’ll just have to be patient for a few more months). Stay tuned!

A Girl, A Style _ Ringing in the Year 2.JPG Details (top): Lulu Frost ring + star necklace (sold out, but similar styles available at Net-a-Porter + J.Crew + Shopbop) // BaubleBar double pearl earrings // Lulu Guinness glitter clutch c/- // gold fortune cookie // vintage bracelet (similar style at Shopbop), headband (from my friend Nicolette) and champagne saucers (similar style at BHLDN). Engagement rings (bottom), all Tiffany & Co.

I’d love to hear your love stories! Did you choose your own engagement ring, or do you have any advice for finding the perfect ring? Please do share in the comments below!

Love, Miss B xx

Christmas Traditions

A Girl, A Style _ Christmas Traditions 1A Girl, A Style _ Christmas Traditions 2A cliche it may be, but this really is the most wonderful time of year. I love the the festive cheer everywhere (there are few things lovelier in December than the sound of carollers in Parliament and the Christmas lights around Regent Street), the glittering parties and celebrations, traditions old and new and, most importantly, sharing time with beloved friends and family.

The Clever Boyfriend is in Australia for a couple of weeks (our first Christmas apart), so we started the festivities rather early this year. So far, December has been filled with all the key ingredients which, for us, add up to a wonderful festive season; decorating the house (the first Christmas in our own apartment), coming home after a long day at work to a house filled with the sound of the Rat Pack’s Christmas tunes and the smell of Diptyque’s holiday candle, and Christmas movie nights with our friends (complete with a side of Christmas cake and mugs of candy cane hot chocolate).

A Girl, A Style _ Christmas Traditions 4A Girl, A Style _ Christmas Traditions 7A Girl, A Style _ Christmas Traditions 5When it comes to those presents under tree, I love the treasure-hunt involved in finding the perfect gift for everyone on my list (even if I do always seem to leave the wrapping until the last possible moment). For me, bringing joy to others with something that you know will make them smile makes the act of gift-giving more rewarding than receiving.

But that said, I do know what I most like to recieve; a stack of beautiful books, a boxset of old movies, or a gorgeous bauble to add to my jewel collection.  Every year, my boyfriend buys me a beautiful piece of jewellery for Christmas. Whereas I’m always buying myself fun, statement costume jewellery when it comes to a special piece, when it comes to a special present, I prefer something delicate and beautiful that will stay with me for years to come. Monica Vinader has become one of my (and his) favourites; I treasure these perfect little rose gold rings, the gemstone earrings that work just as well on their own as they do when paired with a statement necklace, and the simple engraved charms that remind me of the love with which they were given every time I slip it on.

Guess what’s on my wish list this year…? 

A Girl, A Style _ Christmas Traditions 3

Wearing: Monica Vinader diamond hoop ring, diamond disk ring, moonstone stacking rings + rose quartz earrings // Alice by Temperley dress (past season, but similar style available at Net-a-Porter + TheOutnetShopbop) // Monica Vinader engraved pendant necklace c/- // Eugenia Kim headband (similar style available at Net-a-Porter).
Beauty: Clinique ‘Matte Peony’ long last lipstick (also available at John Lewis + Neiman Marcus) // Estee Lauder ‘Fuchsia Flash’ pure colour lip lacquer // Nars ‘Gaiety’ blush (also available at Sephora + ASOS + Selfridges) // Deborah Lippmann ‘Today Was a Fairytale’ glitter polish (also available at Liberty).
Homewares: Antrhopologie monogrammed mugs // C. Wonder gold plates (sold out, but similar styles available at Shopbop) // White Company platter // Paperchase Christmas decorations.

Love, Miss B xx

This post is in partnership with Monica Vinader

Holiday Gift-Giving

A Girl, A Style _ Gift-GivingSomehow, the holiday season is already upon us and Christmas is a mere few weeks away. I love the act of gift-giving; hunting down the perfect gifts for my favourite people and lovingly wrapping them, ready to tuck under the tree on Christmas Eve.

If you’re anything like me (almost zero free time combined with a complete dislike of traipsing around the stores along with every other stressed individual in the lead up to the holidays), then the key is to do everything online (bonus festive points for doing so in your pyjamas with a side of hot chocolate and the Rat Pack’s Christmas album playing in the background).

Here’s my roundup of the best pre-holiday sales and the 50 best gifts and stocking fillers for everyone on your list (yourself included!). If all else fails, you can’t got wrong with a beautiful book, a luxe scented candle, cashmere anything, a monogrammed coffee mug (with a bag of roasted beans), the perfume you know they’ve been coveting, or a little sparkly something.

AGENT PROVOCATEUR: 20% off all styles + free worldwide delivery with code ‘MINGLE’ (until 1st December)
ANTHROPOLOGIE (UK/EU): 20% off site-wide (until 1st December)
ANTHROPOLOGIE (US): 25% off site-wide with code ‘HOLIDAY25′
ASOS (UK): 20% off site-wide with code ‘CYBERWKND20′ (until 2nd December)
ASOS (US): 30% off site-wide with code ‘TGIBF’ (until 30th November) + ‘ILOVEMONDAYS’ (until 2nd December)
BAUBLEBAR: Get 15% off 2 items with code ‘FRIDAY15′, 25% off 3 items with ‘FRIDAY25′ and 35% off 4 items with ‘FRIDAY35′ (28th – 29th November) + 20% off with ‘CYBER20′ (30th November – 2nd December)
GAP: 50% off everything with code ‘BLKFRIDAY’ (28th November)
J. CREW: 30% off most full-priced items, extra 40% off sale and free shipping with code ‘HOLIDAY’ (until 30th November) + ‘MONDAY’ (1st December)
JOHN LEWIS: Site-wide promotions and discounts on select lines (until 30th November)
LIBERTY: 20% off site-wide (until 30th November)
LULU GUINNESS: 20% off site-wide (until 1st December)
SELFRIDGES: 20% off site-wide with code ‘SELF14′ (until 30th November)
SHOPBOP: Save up to 25% off site-wide with code ‘GOBIG14′ (until 1st December)
TOPSHOP: Site-wide sale on select items + free worldwide shipping (until 1st December)
URBAN OUTFITTERS: Site-wide sale on select items + free shipping with code ‘BFDELIVERY’ (until 1st December)
WEST ELM: Save up to 25% off site-wide with code ‘SUPERSALE’ (until 1st December)
WHISTLES: 25% off site-wide (until 1st December)

Happy present-buying!

Love, Miss B xx