7 Things for the Weekend

A Girl, A Style _ 7 Things for the Weekend

Hello lovelies! Although most of you follow my everyday adventures over on Instagram, I thought I’d start a new regular series on here where I can share the things I’m reading, buying and enjoying each week. I never want this blog to be just about fashion, so this is hopefully a new way to share some things that don’t warrant an entire post (whilst also allowing me to post more frequently, too). As always, I’m so grateful for your feedback and advice on what you want to see more (or less) of around here, so please do let me know in the comments!

This week we have family visiting from Australia (hurrah for deliveries of Haighs chocolate and dried peaches to cure expat cravings), so evenings have mostly been spent exploring Cambridge, picnicking in the botanical gardens and working our way through our neighbourhood restaurants.

1. Even though I’m still trying to stay in summer mode (I don’t want to let the last of the season pass me by), I definitely have that ‘back to school’ feeling that always seems to arrive towards the end of August. Although I now add all my appointments to my iPhone calendar the moment I confirm them (otherwise: goldfish memory), I still love a hardback planner for all my daily ‘to do’ lists and things I need to remember. I just bought this perfect Kate Spade 17-month agenda (I buy one every year and I love that they start in August and run to the following December) and am spending this weekend getting myself organised.

2. I loved seeing this lookbook my BFF Nicolette shot around LA for Target’s AVA&VIV collection (proving that style is never defined by a shape and size).

3. Although I’m trying to read more novels (any suggestions? I’d love to hear what you’ve enjoyed recently), I always favour interesting biographies and non-fiction books. I’m fascinated by the tech industry, and have just devoured ‘How Google Works’; it’s a fascinating insight into this game-changing company and why they’re so successful (confession: I dream of working there one day).

4. It is a sad day when peony season comes to an end (I bought the very last bunch from the market last weekend and felt smugly victorious). Head to the market this weekend and treat yourself to a giant bunch of hydrangeas or dahlias instead.

5. Did you spy my pictures over on the Coach Instagram account? I’m obsessed with their entire blush pink collection (and this one is similar to my favourite Mulberry Lily bag, minus the price tag).

6. I’m usually sleep-deprived, and this guide to getting a better night’s sleep is an excellent reminder (note to self: stop staring at my iPhone in the dark at midnight!)

7. I loved this post by Garance on how women’s careers and lifestyle influences their style. It’s something I think about often; my day job in politics requires me to be fairly corporate when I’m in the office (you’ll usually find me in a tuxedo blazer and heels during the day, but always with a little sparkle and my own feminine spin), so I love letting loose and being extra feminine or playful with my style when I’m off-duty. I’d love to know how your lifestyle influences your own style?

As always, you can find me over on Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest for more day-to-day updates in between posts.

Happy weekend, lovelies!

B xx

 

 

How To Ace Summer

A Girl, A Style _ How to Ace SummerWe are half-way through August, which means there is just over a month left until the end of summer in the Northern Hemisphere. This is the best season of the year, so don’t let it pass you by without extracting every last drop of fun from these long, sunny days. Here’s my guide to how to win at summer (even if you don’t have a vacation booked):

1. Have an adventure. Travel to a new place or have a fun weekend getaway with your girlfriends. Explore a new city, go to a festival, spend a weekend on the coast, or go camping in the countryside.

2. Get outdoors. Make the most of these long summer evenings and get outside whenever you can. Cycle to work instead of taking the subway, dine al fresco at sunset, watch an outdoor play, visit an outdoor cinema for to see a favourite movie beneath the stars or listen to a jazz band in the park.

3. Dance all night. Every summer should include at least one extravagant party. Get all dressed up, drink champagne, kiss beneath fireworks and dance until the small hours.

4. Play tourist. Don’t let the tourist have all the fun in your own city. Visit the sights, go to the zoo, take in a show or try the hottest new restaurant or rooftop bar in town.

5. Throw a picnic. I take any excuse to have a picnic outside, but every summer I try to have at least one especially wonderful version complete with the best food, good company and a round of croquet or punting on the river afterwards.

6. Build the ultimate summer playlist. Make the perfect soundtrack to accompany those summer adventures. Mine is filled with everything from the Beach Boys and Brigitte Bardot to Phoenix and Vampire Weekend and evokes fond memories of summer bike rides and beach days (and my imaginary summer in California).

7. Take to the water. Head to the pool to practice your swan dive (or cannonball), rent a rowboat on the lake or, better yet, make friends with someone who owns a yacht and set sail into the sunset.

8. Host an impromptu dinner party. On an evening when you have no other plans, gather your favourite people for a summer party at home. Decorate with bright flowers, put together a make-your-own taco or pizza bar, play your favourite tunes and serve up homemade lemonade or frozen cocktails.

A Girl, A Style _ How to Win at Summer 1

9. Work on your green thumb. Even if you only have a tiny windowsill or balcony, make the most of the sunshine and try growing your own basil, mint or hydrangeas. Guaranteed smugness when you make a salad with your own herbs.

10. Have a beach day. Grab your brightest towel, your strongest SPF and your favourite swimsuit and spend the day splashing about at the sea. Bonus points for beach hair and silly photos.

11. Visit the farmer’s market. Go for brunch at your favourite cafe and then head to the farmer’s market to stock up on summer berries, peaches and the biggest bunch of hydrangeas or sunflowers you can find.

12. Ride a bike. If you don’t have your own set of wheels, rent a couple of bikes and spend the day cycling out to the prettiest spot outside your town (I’m planning to cycle to the Grantchester meadows or the Hitchin lavender farm in Cambridgeshire).

13. Find the best lobster rolls or ice cream in town. I’ve taken this one step further and bought an ice cream maker with my neighbour so that we can make our own ice cream flavours as often as we want (my favourite so far is peach and orange blossom).

14. Make like an aristocrat. Head to the grandest estate near where you like and spend the afternoon strolling the gardens, having tea in the orangerie or playing croquet on the lawns.

15. Spend a day in the park. Feed the ducks, watch the clouds drift by and and make a dent in your summer reading list.

I’d love to know your favourite things to do in summer! How do you plan to spend the rest of the season?

Love, Miss B xx

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 to play 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, equal marriage, the extent 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