Oktoberfest, Munich

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Last month, I was lucky enough to be whisked to Munich for two days to attend Oktoberfest with Thomas Sabo. Now, anyone who knows me will know how hilarious the thought of me at a beer festival is; I hardly ever drink and the thought of noisy festival goers en masse rather fills me with terror. But because I love Thomas Sabo, and because I know attending Oktoberfest is one of those things every traveller should experience once in their lifetime (but that I probably wasn’t about to go anytime soon otherwise), I jumped at the chance.

So there I was a few days later; swapping two days in the office for the annual Bavarian festivities. Happily, my blog pal Carrie had also been invited; as we’re both premature nannas who don’t drink beer, we knew we’d be sticking together like glue. We tore ourselves away for half an hour after landing to quickly peek at the city, before being ushered off to begin our evening at Oktoberfest. We were greeted by our lederhosen-clad guides and delicious gebrannte mandeln (paper cones of hot sugar-glazed almonds) for a walking tour of the area.

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In truth, I was a bit apprehensive and didn’t know what to expect, but I honestly had the most wonderful time. The atmosphere was celebratory and merry; the air thick with the smell of warm gingerbread and the sound of old-fashioned fairground rides, and I was wide-eyed at the sight of all the charming stalls (selling German snacks and ceramic beer krugs) and almost everyone dressed in their lederhosen and dirndls. Although I was aiming for ‘Bavarian fairytale’ when I got dressed, I only wish I’d found an authentic dirndl to wear to really get into the spirit (we were the odd ones out to not be wearing traditional dress).

After trying our luck at a few games of chance and walking around the whole site (it’s not especially large, so only takes about an hour or two to cover the ground), we headed into Käfers Wiesen Schänke - one of the oldest and grandest beer halls at the festival. It was as though we’d stepped into some kind of German Disneyland; it felt like a perfect version of every traditional stereotype you could imagine. Think jolly oom-pah bands and revelry, gingerbread hearts strung from the wooden beams, and the sound of hundreds of giant beer glasses clinking. At our booth we were greeted by tables groaning with giant pretzels, brotzeit (platters of German sausage, cheese, radish and bread), potato dumplings and strudel. As the night wore on, the cries of ‘Prost!’ (cheers) grew more frequent and everyone began singing loudly and dancing on their benches while we looked on in bemused wonder (I’m sure I would have joined in had I managed more than an inch of my beer…! I’m so very rock ‘n’ roll, I know).

As they say, it certainly was a night to remember!

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Wearing: Endless Rose dress (similar styles at ShopbopSelfridges) // Camilla & Marc jacket (old, but similar styles herehere) // Chanel bag // Zara heels (sold out, but similar here) // Lulu Frost necklace (similar style here) // BaubleBar bracelets c/- (similar style at TheOutnet) // Mimco brooch (old, but I love this similar set) // Lulu Frost crystal ring (on sale!) // Alex Monroe love ring // Jackie Aiche heart ring (similar version here) // ASOS pearl ring.
Beauty: Nars ‘Michiyo’ lipstick // Nars ‘Starscape’ blush // Kevin Aucoin ‘Starlight’ illuminator c/- // Chanel ‘Singuliere’ nail polish.

Love, Miss B xx

Thank you Carrie for helping with my photos (I’m a terribly useless blogger and forgot to pack my camera, so please excuse my less-than-excellent iPhone photos from the evening).


Playing Princess in Vienna

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As those who follow me on Instagram will know, I’ve just spent a lovely two weeks in Paris, Bratislava and Vienna with the Clever Boyfriend (with a brief pause at home between the two trips to unpack and repack my bags). This was my very first time to Austria, and I fell head over heels with the city; it’s grand architecture, spectacular culture and beautiful streets.*

As luck would (not) have it, it started to pour – that kind of inescapable torrential spring rain that blows sideways and upwards, melodiously pounding against the pavement for hours on end – from the minute we arrived until the moment we left. Undeterred, I donned my trench coat, a giant umbrella and a few extra baubles for good measure, and we spent the weekend skipping over puddles and dashing from galleries to cosy coffee shops and discovering all the wonderful indoor pursuits the city has to offer.

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On Saturday, we ventured to the breathtaking Schönbrunn Palace (the former summer home to the Hapsburg monarchs and the childhood home to Marie Antoinette before she became Queen of France), for what could be better on a rainy day than playing princess inside a real-life palace?

After a tour through the gorgeous state rooms – each larger and more extravagant than the last – we made the most of an interlude of sunshine and took a long stroll through the sweeping grounds; happily getting lost in the maze of hedges, making a wish at the Neptune fountain, and stopping to smell the sweet blooms in the rose garden for a lovely few hours.

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 Wearing: Coach trench coat (similar style at Shopbop) // Mulberry ‘Lily’ bag (also available at Matches + Selfridges) // Salvatore Ferragamo ‘Varina’ shoes // Carven skirt (similar styles available here + here) // ASOS shirt // Karen Walker sunglasses // Kenneth Jay Lane bracelets (sold out, but similar styles at J. Crew Shopbop) // Topshop necklace (similar stye available at BaubleBar) // Topshop brooch // Chanel ring (past season, but similar style available at Net-a-Porter) // J. Crew pearl necklace (similar faux pearl versions available at J. CrewTopshop).
Beauty note: NARS ‘Istria’ lip gloss (available at Sephora + John Lewis) // Chanel ‘May’ nail polish.

Even in the midst of all that rain, it was the perfect moment of escapism. Oh, how wonderful it must be to be a princess with a palace to call your own!

Love, Miss B xx

* Stay tuned for my mini-guide to Vienna shortly


Walking the Brooklyn Bridge in Sparkly Shoes

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There are some things that are cliches for a reason: because they’re just so utterly wonderful. For me, no matter how many ‘Top 10 Things to do in New York!’ lists the Brooklyn Bridge winds up on (and the throngs of tourists that come with the package), a visit to New York never feels complete without an homage to that spectacular Manhattan skyline.

So a couple of weekends ago in New York, Nicolette and I headed to the Williamsburg waterfront for brunch (I say ‘brunch’, but really I just mean a delicious, but not at all nutritionally-balanced combination of grilled cheese and salted caramel s’mores and hot chai) and treasure-hunting at the Brooklyn Flea Market (long-time readers may remember my post from the same spot here). Afterwards we took the ferry a few minutes up the East River to Dumbo, where we made our way around to the foot of the Bridge, stopping for hot apple cider and a ride on Jane’s Carousel (as evidenced here, this was the best use of $2, ever) on the way.

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Although I may take my tourism very seriously, you’ll never find me dressed like one (I’m allergic to the thought of very thought of the puffer jacket/sneakers/backpack look that seems to be the uniform of tourists the world-over). Instead, a chic trench coat and a smattering of sparkles is much more my default ‘playing tourist’ style.

This Coach trench coat (which I wore constantly all autumn) proved to be the perfect travel companion; it goes with everything, is at once chic and comfortable, and not so precious that I mind using it as a makeshift picnic blanket in Central Park or squashing it into my suitcase. Here, I teamed it with an old favourite embellished silk organza tee, rose-tinted sunglasses (for watching the golden sunset over the Manhattan skyscrapers from our vantage point on the Bridge), and my favourite New York souvenir: these gold spangled heels from the J. Crew Collection store on Madison Avenue that are actually comfortable enough to walk in for miles and miles.

As we crossed the Bridge, the sun sank behind the Manhattan skyline, casting all of the skyscrapers golden as Lady Liberty looked on against the pink sunset on the horizon. Afterwards, we made our way to Chinatown for dim sum at Nom Wah tea parlour, a hearty karaoke session and impromptu midnight manicures.

It was the perfect New York day.

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Love, Miss B xx

Photos of me by Nicolette

Pearls & Pastels in New Orleans

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New Orleans is a hard place to encapsulate in mere words. At once beautiful and dishevelled, it is steeped in layers and layers of history which make it so compelling. This was my very first trip to the city, and I was enthralled from the first moment.

My friend Nicolette and I flew down to Louisiana the day after I arrived in New York from London. On our first evening there, we headed straight from the airport to the historic French Quarter for dinner and a ghost tour around the old town (in this city, tales of spirits and pirates and strange happenings abound, and mystery seems to seep from every aged building) and I was wide-eyed at the atmosphere that surrounded me. Blues bands played on street corners out the front of smoky little jazz clubs, gas lamps flickered in the warm air, tiny bistros and antique shops glowed invitingly and the intoxicating smell of Cajun food filled the warm air.

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Even though it was the beginning of November, it was still as warm as summer in New Orleans and so anything more than a little dress would have been wholly unnecessary. I had packed this silk Band of Outsiders dress (which I like so much I just bought the top version as well) which I had worn on repeat towards the end of the English summer, but which also works with a coat and ankle boots for autumn and winter when not playing tourist in balmy New Orleans-climates.

It was so lovely to be able to make the most of the glorious sunshine, and we spent a happy few days just walking around the gorgeous streets of the French Quarter and Garden District, listening to live jazz, eating southern shrimp and beignets and all the Cajun food we could manage, making new friends and hunting for treasure in the most wonderful little antique shops and boutiques all over town. I won’t pretend that the whole city is perfect (in parts it is heartbreakingly impoverished and segregated), but on the beautiful, pastel streets of the French Quarter I felt as though I had been transported to another era.

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Wearing: Band of Outsiders dress (also available here), Mulberry ‘Lily’ bag, Zara heels (sold out but similar style available here), Chloe sunglasses, Kenneth Jay Lane necklace and bracelets (sold out but similar style available here), J. Crew necklace (similar style available here), Jacquie Aiche ring. Beauty note: Essie ‘Bahama Mama’ polish, MAC ‘Ruby Woo’ lipstick.

New Orleans, you’re really rather wonderful!

Love, Miss B xx

P.S. Stay tuned for my mini-guide to city in an upcoming post

Photos of me by Nicolette Mason