Birthday Cake Dates

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Last weekend, I had decided to skip the Fashion Week festivities* in favour of cake and festivities with friends in London and Cambridge instead. After what felt like weeks of endless English rain, the sun was shining with all its might, the temperature was warm enough to go without a coat for a few hours, and it suddenly felt as though spring was on the way. Joy!

So I did whatever I do when I have a sunny day to myself in Cambridge and put on my favourite new dress, dusted off my Pashley for a bike ride around town and met my friend for a walk around town and belated birthday cake (I like to stretch my celebrations out as long as my friends will tolerate) at one of our favourite Cambridge cafes.

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I don’t know about all of you, but I am, by this point, so bored of winter that I simply cannot take another week of dark, heavy layers so I’m injecting a little spring into my wardrobe in the form of girly dresses (teamed with a coat and tights instead of bare legs and a tan), bright lipstick and fun accessories.

I bought this RED Valentino dress (a birthday present to myself and the latest addition to my growing collection from the label) a couple of weeks ago in the Net-a-Porter sale and already I’ve been wearing it repeatedly with a sharp jacket, tights, a beret and this darling glittery Lulu Guinness clutch which has been on permanent rotation this month. 

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Wearing: RED Valentino dress (sold out, but black version on sale at Urban Outfitters + My Wardrobe or similar styles available at Shopbop + Net-a-Porter) // Lulu Guinness glitter Fifi clutch c/- (also available at House of Fraser) // Mulberry bow heels (past season, but similar styles available at Net-a-PorterJ. Crew) // Zara blazer // Karen Walker sunglasses (also available at Saks 5th Ave) // Wolford tights // Michael Kors watch (also available at ASOS + Net-a-Porter) // Mimco bracelet + necklace (past season, but similar styles available at Kate Spade). Beauty note: Chanel Rouge Allure lipstick // Essie ‘Muchi Muchi’ nail polish (also available at Nordstrom).

Love, Miss B xx

*is anyone else as bored of blurry runway photos and ‘what I wore to Fashion Week’ posts as I am?

 

The 30 Best Things I Did Before 30

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Today is my birthday, which means I get to eat cake for breakfast, drink pink champagne and get spoiled by people I love. In the year since I reached my 30s, in thinking about what I hope to achieve this decade, I’ve been reflecting on the best things I’ve done so far (and the lessons I’ve learned). Here are my favourites:

Fell in love. No explanation required, but without a doubt one of my favourite things yet.

Travelled the world. I’ve seen the sun set over the pyramids of Giza, climbed to the top of the Eiffel Tower, seen the cherry blossoms in Japan, slept under the stars in the red dessert in Australia, visited temples in Thailand, explored the souks in Marrakech, swum with rainbow-coloured fish in the Great Barrier Reef, and walked through a snowy Red Square at nightfall. I am so grateful for the adventures I’ve had seeing this incredible world of ours, and can’t wait to keep exploring.

Graduated from University. 3 degrees, 8 years, and countless essays later, I am thankful for the knowledge, experiences and life lessons I came away with.

Worked overseas. Half way through University, I went to Washington to intern with a Senator on Capitol Hill. It remains one of the best experiences I had, and was the catalyst for my career in my politics.

Moved abroad. Leaving behind people I love and moving my whole life to the other side of the world (with nothing but 2 suitcases and my boyfriend by my side) was one of the scariest things I’ve ever done, but also one of the best. I see the world from a new perspective, made wonderful new friends, and had opportunities and adventures I never would have otherwise.

Learned to accept and value myself. Like anyone, I am certainly flawed and wish I could change some things about myself, but I’ve learned to make peace with my flaws, appreciate my differences and make the most of my strengths.

Built a circle of friends and loved ones I treasure. I am so lucky to count some incredible people all around the world as my friends and family, and try to make sure they know how much I adore them.

Stretched my talents. I’m still horrible at karaoke and team sports, but I’m grateful I learned to tap dance, took ballet classes, performed Shakespeare and trained in classical piano.

Earned my career. By no means do I have it all figured out, but I’m proud I worked hard to build a career I value.

Ran for Parliament. Even if you know you’re going to come in second place, it’s pretty wonderful to be a part of the democratic process and see your name on a ballot paper.

… And drafted a law. I’ve done many things that I’m proud of, but negotiating a piece of crime legislation through Parliament is up there.

Volunteered. I’ve learned that helping a worthy cause is one of the most valuable uses of my time, and helping others always helps me get perspective on what really matters.

Invested. I don’t yet have a mortgage or own a house, but I’m pleased that I have savings, investments and no debt.

… And learned how to spend my money. When I first moved out of home and started earning money, my approach to shopping was more about quantity than quality. But as I now know the reverse to be true, I know when to save my money and when it’s ok to spend a month’s rent on a bag (hint: only if it’s something you’ll keep for a decade).

Achieved goals. Whether major life goal or small achievement, it’s an incredible feeling when you reach what you set out to achieve.

… And learned it’s OK if life doesn’t work out as planned. When I was 20, I mapped out my next ten years in silly detail, but life sometimes has a way of taking you in a completely different direction. And that’s definitely OK.

Learned to say ‘yes’. Because sometimes the best adventures happen when you’re willing to depart from your comfort zone and accept the opportunity.

… And also ‘no’. I will always have an urge to please people, but it’s important to know when to politely decline that which does not bring joy.

Started this blog. Unquestionably one of my favourite pursuits yet. I’m eternally grateful for the people I’ve met, the adventures I’ve had and the opportunities which have presented themselves as a result of this blog.

Appreciate small pleasures. Perhaps most importantly, I’ve learned not to place all my emphasis on those big life events, and instead to also make time for those small pleasures (buying myself flowers, skipping lunch to have afternoon tea with friends, a spontaneous kiss or a trip to the theatre) which make every day a little more wonderful.

What are some of the best things you’ve learned or experienced? Please do share your wisdom below.

Love, Miss B xx

 

December in Pictures

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Chasing away the winter blues with an abundance of roses and small pleasures. Jo Malone Red Roses perfume on grey days. Pink boxes filled with new Agent Provocateur loveliness. The most delicious truffles from Charbonnel et Walker‘s charming little Mayfair boutique (available in the US here). Playing in the last of the autumn leaves in Cambridge college gardens. Hot chocolate dates at tiny cafes. Fuelling my RED Valentino addiction with this dress that makes me want to twirl. Nighttime walks beneath the twinkling Christmas lights of Mayfair. Window-shopping after dark + dreaming of a wardrobe full of Miu Miu heels. Afternoon tea at Laduree with my girl Aimee.

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Decking the halls for the holidays + filling my home with festive sparkle. My new Louboutin heels that look like presents for my feet. Pink champagne and cocktail hour by the tree. The sounds of the Rat Pack Christmas album. Kate Spade cocktail rings + J. Crew crystal earrings. Curling up with tea and Gatsby on rainy evenings. Fairy lights + golden owl candles from Anthropologie. Wrapping presents. Wearing these sequinned heels to holiday parties. A shiny new bow purse from Kate Spade. Gingerbread men. Christmas movie marathons.

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London all dressed up for the season. Festive sparkle and department store Christmas windows on Oxford Street. Sale shopping at Selfridges. Mulberry’s fairy tale pop-up at Harrods. Wandering through Trafalgar Square and the National Gallery after work. An evening at The Nutcracker (my favourite annual Christmas tradition). Old London glamour and the best lobster rolls in town at The Delaunay. Stella McCartney‘s Christmas lights (and this pink silk dress of dreams). Cristmas loveliness with family. Wintery walks around Mayfair. The glow of The Ritz at sundown.

I hope you all had a wonderful end to 2013!

Love, Miss B xx

 

Festive Sparkle

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The past two weeks have been a hectic whirlwind at work, leaving me so busy there was (almost) no time left for festive celebration. But even when I’m working the longest days, it’s important to me to make a little time to enjoy this wonderful season; the Christmas lights making all of London twinkle on my way home, watching the skaters twirl around the ice rink on the weekend, the sound of carollers at Parliament as I work, homemade mince pies and eggnog after supper, house parties with friends, wrapping presents with the Clever Boyfriend at home while watching our favourite holiday movies and a magical evening at the Nutcracker with my family (it wouldn’t be Christmas to me without a night at the ballet).

Here, a few of my favourite things that feel perfectly appropriate for the holiday season: a pair of fabulous Christian Louboutin red silk bow heels (treasure-hunted at the Louboutin sample sale) for cocktail hour with a Kate Spade purse to match, glittery manicures and twinkly jewels, a few sparkly accessories that make me feel like I’m unwrapping presents every time I put them on, and holiday candles that make my house smell like a festive cocktail of Christmas trees and wood fires and cranberries and loveliness.

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Pictured (top-bottom): Christian Louboutin bow heels (sold out but similar style available at Saks) // Paperchase tree and decorations // Kate Spade bow wallet c/o Selfridges (also available here) // Estée Lauder ‘zodiac’ compact c/o (also available at Debenhams) // Deborah Lippmann glitter nail polish // Estée Lauder lip lacquer in // vintage earrings (similar styles available here and here) // Jo Malone rose water and vanilla perfume c/o // vintage champagne coupes (similar style available at BHLDN) // Kate Spade crystal ring // gold horseshoe necklace c/o Katie Mullally // ASOS earrings (similar style here) // Jimmy Choo clutch (also available on MyTheresa and Farfetch) // vintage necklace (similar style available here) // Anya Hindmarch lucky sixpence coin purse (now on sale at TheOutnet) // Anthropologie owl candle // J. Crew sequinned ‘Etta’ heels (now on sale and in other colours and also available on Net-a-Porter) // Diptyque candle // Lulu Frost earrings // J. Crew necklace.

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I hope you’re having a wonderfully festive season so far!

Love, Miss B xx