7 Things for the Weekend

A Girl, A Style _ 7 Things

Pictured: Deborah Lippmann nail polish in ‘Blue Orchid‘ // Alex Monroe ring 

Honestly, this week flew by in a complete blur and I didn’t do anything aside from work, so I’m looking forward to the long weekend and having a few days off with my family in London before an even busier week ahead. Next Thursday I’m off to The Hague for work (it will be my first time there and I can’t wait to see the Binnenhof and visit the Girl With a Pearl Earing at the Maurithuis gallery), and then will have a few hours to myself in Amsterdam before my flight home Friday night (I haven’t been since I was small, so all tips and suggestions for things to see and do in Amsterdam or The Hague gratefully received).

1. Whether you celebrate Easter or not, it’s the perfect time to indulge in the traditions of the season; buy a big bunch of spring flowers (I love pink hyacinths and perfumed white narcissi), paint your nails a pretty easter pastel hue, and eat all the chocolate eggs and hot cross buns (Marks & Spencer’s toffee & belgian chocolate chip buns are a revelation) you can manage. And then work it off with a long walk somewhere beautiful.

2. I am a huge fan of London label Self Portrait. I bought two of their dresses last year and they’re both so beautiful and of such great quality (without being wildly expensive) that I just added another two to my wardrobe for spring/summer: this black one (I love midi-length and the ribbon ties), and also the blue version of this white one I bought last summer (it also comes in blush, yellow and mint).

3. It’s going to be raining all long weekend in England, so I’m taking my Aunt and Cousin to see the garden exhibit at the Royal Academy (I tried to go with my friend Grace while she was in town last month, but it was completely booked out), followed by tea at Laduree or Fortnum & Mason afterwards. The French Impressionists are my favourite, so I can’t wait to see all those works by Monet, Renoir and Matisse.

4. After sitting in my cart for months, I finally pulled the trigger and bought these GHD tongs (before I’d just try to curl my hair with my straighteners, but the style would never last all day). It’s completely changed my morning routine and it looks like I’ve had a blow-dry every day (even though I really need to get to the salon).

5. I nearly completely burned myself out when I turned 30 – mostly under the weight of my own expectations for myself – so this article definitely resonated: ‘Why Millennial Women Are Burning Out‘ (can you relate?)

6. I have a weakness for anything monogrammed and which looks like it might belong in a Parisian apartment, so just bought a set of these cute little coasters for our coffee table.

7. I’ve been making a point of reading for half an hour before bed (instead of just coming home late from work, working through an enormous to-do list and then falling into bed exhausted) and it has made such a difference to my stress levels. Whenever I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed by my schedule, commitments or just ‘stuff’ in general, I re-read this rather excellent book and it reminds me to take charge of my own happiness. Does the trick every time!

P.S. Don’t forget you can follow me over on InstagramTwitterPinterest and Facebook for daily updates + catch my latest posts (in case you missed them) here: 
Style: Bow & Arrow
Lifestyle: On Blogging Alongside My Career
Style: Je’Taime Jane

As always, please do let me know what you’re buying, doing or enjoying this week in the comments below (I always love reading your favourites).  I hope you all have a wonderful long weekend!

Love, Miss B xx

 

Bow and Arrow

A Girl, A Style _ Bow & Arrow
A Girl, A Style _ Bow & Arrow 3

Confession: I despise the concept of fast-fashion. Of course I’ll indulge in fun, inexpensive updates to my wardrobe each season just like everyone else (and I must do an ASOS at least a few times a month), but generally I prefer to see my wardrobe as a collection of treasures which I curate, edit and build upon each season and love for years to come. Like any collector, I have my weaknesses that I’m drawn to again and again; give me a French detail (little black dresses, breton stripes, pearls and chain-strap bags), lucky charms and love talismans (cupid’s arrows, lip motifs, hearts and wishbones), or put a bow on anything (it must be chic, never twee) and I’m powerless to resist.

On this blog, you’re far more likely to see me wearing a mix of a new favourite items teamed with the pieces I’ve owned and loved for years and years rather than a head-to-toe look I’ve just bought that week and might never wear again. That’s not how I dress in my daily life, and it’s not how I like my wardrobe; I don’t believe in consumerism just for the sake of it, and will only buy things if I know I’m going to get mileage out of them. Whilst that probably makes me a bad blogger (I rarely post the latest trends just to drive sales), it does mean that if something appears on here, it’s because I genuinely love and wear that item (and think you might too).

A Girl, A Style _ Lulu Frost
A Girl, A Style _ Corpus Christi Clock Cambridge
A Girl, A Style _ Bow & Arrow 2

Take this outfit, for example: I bought this little Marc Jacobs ‘Stam’ bag about 12 years ago (I loved it so much I invested in three versions of the same bag and still bring them out each year, because to me they’re classics), these sunglasses were a gift from my fiancé about 10 years ago (they’re so classic that they’re still Chloe’s bestsellers every season), and I bought these Louboutin heels a few years ago and still love them (even though they’re entirely impractical). Throw in a dress which works as well on weekends as it does at the office (it’s both fun and classic at the same time) and some jewels which feel like vintage treasures, and it’s the perfect formula.

So my point is this: invest a little more in those labels and pieces that make you the happiest (they’re usually the items you are drawn to again and again, regardless of trends), treasure them for years and just add a few fun new things into the mix to keep things fresh each season.

If you embrace the items you can’t help but collect, then your wardrobe will always feel like a curation of treasures.

A Girl, A Style _ Marc Jacobs Stam Bag
A Girl, A Style _ Bow & Arrow 6Wearing: Carven dress (sold out, but similar styles here) // Christian Louboutin heels (old, but similar styles here) // Marc Jacobs bag (old, but available here) // Lulu Frost necklace (old, but similar styles here) // Lulu Frost earrings (similar style here) // Kenneth Jay Lane ring // Chloe sunglasses.
Beauty: MAC ‘Ruby Woo’ lipstick // Deborah Lippmann nail polish // NARS ‘Impassioned’ blush

Which pieces do you collect time after time? I’d love to hear about your most treasured items and talismans!

Love, Miss B xx

Photos by Amber-Rose

A Little Life Update: On Blogging Alongside a Career

A Girl, A Style _ Westminster Louboutins

It’s been a while since my last life update, so I thought I’d share the latest. As many of you will know, I have worked full time in politics the whole time I’ve had this blog (over 6 years – how time flies); first as a government policy advisor on domestic affairs, then as a parliamentary advisor to a Cabinet Minister for five years (until my boss retired from Parliament last year), and now at a policy consultancy.

I don’t deny that politics and lifestyle blogging are a strange combination. While most other bloggers either have complementary jobs (usually in fashion or beauty), or eventually give up their jobs altogether to become full-time bloggers, I have always been somewhat of an anomaly amongst my peers for having (and maintaining) two such disparate roles. For a long while I struggled with being both at once – fearing my colleagues in politics would dismiss me as frivolous whilst thinking my blogging industry peers didn’t see me as a ‘real blogger’ even though my readership numbers were just as good as theirs (I’d always have to skip daytime events and then rush to evening events straight from Parliament, to the bemusement of everyone else).

And then I came to realise that just like I always relate more to bloggers who, like me, hold down full time careers alongside their blogs*, I like to think that having a career separate to this blog makes me similarly relatable to my readers (I know that most of you are not yourselves full-time bloggers; I receive more emails from readers asking for career advice each week than I do about any other subject).

So I decided to ignore Sheryl Sandberg and Lean Sideways in my career (not quite as catchy, I’ll admit). After endlessly feeling guilty that I was too burned out after long days at work to find the creative energy to blog, but not wanting to just give up the career I’ve worked in for over a decade (and spent six years at university working towards), I made the decision to ignore a promotion this time in favour of taking Fridays off to work on my blog and creative projects from now on. My peers in Westminster would probably consider this career suicide (in politics you’re no one unless you’re the top of the game, which includes being available to your boss and journalists 24/7); but because I don’t know anyone else in the blogosphere with my strange career combination, I’ve decided to make my own rules.

And I couldn’t be more excited! I still won’t be able to blog daily like my full-time peers, but you can expect considerably more regular updates from me from now on.

So, as always, please let me know if there are any specific topics you’d like me to cover more from now on. Do you want to see more outfits and personal style? Beauty? Lifestyle and advice? Home and interiors? And I know so many of you want to know more about careers advice, so please let me know if you have any questions and I’ll cover all of them in a separate post.

Have any of you ‘leaned sideways’ at any point in your career? Do you work and blog at the same time? I’d love to read your advice, tips and questions in the comments below!

Love, Miss B xx

*(…inspiring women like Krystal from This Time Tomorrow, who works at Google, Blair from Atlantic Pacific who works at Tory Burch, Kristina who is an anesthesiologist (!), and my good friend Nicolette Mason, who is an editor at Marie Claire and spends countless hours championing equality in fashion.)

 

7 Things for the Weekend

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I don’t know about you, but this week absolutely flew by in a blur. I was in Brussels for work (I’m there often, but it’s always just a series of political meetings; one day I really must carve out enough time to actually explore the city whilst I’m there), and am still feeling rather fragile after hitting some ice and taking a spectacular dive off my bicycle last week (I managed to tear a ligament in my knee, hurt my shoulder and ribs and fracture my ankle, which means no gym or high heels for me for the next couple of weeks). Needless to say I’m looking forward to a weekend of no plans other than pottering around the house, working through a stack of new magazines, and binge-watching the new season of House of Cards on Netflix.

1. Spring is almost here! While it’s not quite time to pack away all your winter supplies just yet, now is the best time to stock up on lighter layers for Spring (before the warm weather arrives and everything is sold out). I just ordered this powder blue coat and this fun cardigan (pictured above, which I’ll team with blue jeans + a white Oxford shirt; this one is my favourite).

2. Sign up for a class or try something completely new (that you’d never ordinarily do). My friend and I just signed up for weekly salsa dancing classes in town.

3. Put your winter fragrances away and treat yourself to something lighter for the new season. I just put any that haven’t run out in the top shelf of my fridge (to preserve them until next winter) and re-stocked my favourite Jo Malone English Pear & Freesia.

4. No outdoor space? Plant some bulbs indoors to mark spring’s impending arrival. I bought a big pot of sprouting white hyacinth bulbs for about £2 in Marks & Spencer the other day, and transplanted them into pretty glass pedestal pots and empty jam jars to display in every room around the house. Instant spring cheer for less than the price of a cup of coffee.  

5. I just bought this Kate Spade book and it’s the perfect bible for the modern hostess: recipes, entertaining tips and ideas, and the complete guide to etiquette for every situation.

6. Its been over a decade since I was single and dating, and boy things have changed (Tinder didn’t even exist back then). I loved this post by my good friend Grace on dating in your thirties.

7. J.Crew has got its mojo back, and I’d like everything please. This ruffled striped dress is definitely coming home with me.

What are you all enjoying at the moment? Happy weekend everyone!

Love, Miss B xx

P.S. Don’t forget you can follow me over on InstagramTwitterPinterest and Facebook for more updates between posts.