7 Things for the Weekend

Joanie hat c/- (similar style here) // J.Crew bracelet // Deborah Lippmann ‘Shape of My Heart’ nail polish.

Hola from Spain! Apologies for the slightly delayed weekend post; I’m staying in a gorgeous villa in the remote hills of the Costa del Sol and wifi is scarce to say the least. We’re here for a week to celebrate the marriage of two of our best friends (who also happen to be our neighbours), and I couldn’t be more happy for a week of sunshine, downtime beside the pool, good company and excellent Spanish food. However you’re spending it, I hope you have a lovely long weekend!

1 // Celebrate the start of summer as you mean to go on. Pack a picnic, round up some of your favourite people, head to the park, the beach or your favourite place outdoors, and make some new memories.

2 // Our wedding is now less than a month away (!) so I’ve been trying out all my favourite beauty products to try to decide what I’ll wear on the day. I think I’ve finally found the *perfect* pale blush pink polish in the form of this shade from Deborah Lippmann. Next on the list: finding just the right lipstick, and deciding on the scented candles we’ll burn throughout the day.

3 // I recently bought this gorgeous breezy white dress to bring to Spain with me, and I’ve already worn it so many times. Perfect for lazy summer days, Sunday picnics, and everything in between.

4 // Between work, blogging, wedding planning and everything else, life has been a little crazy lately. I’ve been thinking a lot about shifting gear and the need to slow down post-wedding, so these tips were well-timed.

5 // One of my favourite high street stores, And Other Stories, now does stationery and it is so good! I bought this golden envelope holder to organise our mail, and it looks so charming atop a stack of books on our hallway console table.

6 // When was the last time you refreshed your sleepwear? I have rather a serious pyjama addiction; they’re one of my favourite things to buy, and I change into them the minute I get home from work. I just ordered this cute blush pink set for summer; they’re lightweight and so comfortable.

7 // Even though I’ve made a career out of it, I confess I’ve been feeling a little disillusioned by the political system of late (a subject which probably warrants it’s own separate post). But one thing I can always get behind is feminism + equal rights, and this slogan tee is both chic de la chic, and supporting a good cause (proceeds go to the UN’s Women’s Fund).

Love from Spain, Miss B xx

 

Spring (Shirt)dressing: How to Dress for Those In-Between Days

A Girl, A Style _ Spring in Notting Hill 2A Girl, A Style _ The Blue Shirt Dress

Ahh, England in May; what a beautiful temptress she is. Spring is playing its usual tricks of luring us in with gloriously sunny days one week, and then – just when you’ve fallen madly in love with all those blossoms and blue skies – surprising us with frigid temperatures and blustery showers the next. All this makes knowing what to wear each day a tricky game of wardrobe roulette, and because I’m a foolish optimist and pack away all my winter clothes as soon as the first blossoms appear on the trees, I’m often left shivering through my determination to dress for the season rather than the weather forecast.

So while I’ve mostly been living in my favourite summer jeans teamed with a white blouse, some days only a dress will do. Although I refuse to wear tights after April, I still want some coverage until summer kicks in (I’m optimistic, but not crazy), so it’s all about the dress with sleeves. Much like pockets, a ‘machine washable’ tag (please tell me I’m not the only one who forgets that I’ve dropped clothes at the dry cleaner…), or a subtle ruffle, sleeves are almost guaranteed to make me like a dress more. Especially good if, like me, you spent the winter hibernating and forgot to do any push-ups.

A Girl, A Style _ The Blue Shirt DressA Girl, A Style _ Vila Blue ShirtdressA Girl, A Style _ J.Crew Paint Splatter Blush Signet Bag

I love the effortlessness of a cotton shirtdress; just throw it on, dress it up with pearls and heels, or down with a belt and trainers, and you’re done. I used to have a white version I wore to death, so had been on the hunt for a replacement for this spring.

I must have ordered 15+ versions in pale blue from at least five stores – some just right on the fabric but wrong on the cut, or vice versa (too flimsy, too sheer, too short, too frumpy…) – so knew this was the best of the bunch. A total bargain, and bonus points for the peplum frill (so you needn’t worry if everyone can see your knickers at the back) and the fact it looks even better a little crumpled as the day goes on. When the clouds look ominous I just throw a beige trench coat over the top, and I’m ready for just about every situation: meetings at the office, brunch with friends, or a day of running errands around town.

Spring dressing at its simplest!

A Girl, A Style _ J.Crew Signet Bag Paint SplatterA Girl, A Style _ Spring in Notting Hill

Wearing: Vila shirt dress // J.Crew bag (+ in plain blush here) // Mulberry shoes (old, but similar style here) // Kenneth Jay Lane necklace (similar style here) // Louis Vuitton brooch // Celine sunglasses c/- // BHLDN earrings.
Beauty: Charlotte Tilbury ‘Red Carpet Red’ lipstick // Clarins blush c/- // Deborah Lippmann ‘Blue Orchid’ nail polish.

What are your wardrobe staples for this sartorially confusing in-between months?

Love, Miss B xx

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Photos by Joe Galvin

How To Be Both: On Style + Intellect

A Girl, A Style _ Little Black JacketA Girl, A Style _ Marc Jacobs BlouseJ.Crew jacket // Marc Jacobs blouse // J.Crew skirt // Chanel bag // Charlotte Olympia heels // Celine sunglasses // Charlotte Tilbury lipstick

This post was originally meant to be about those wardrobe staples I rely on – the little black skirt, a white silk blouse, my well-worn Chanel bag – but lately I’ve had so many emails from younger readers asking for advice on how to juggle an interest in style and fashion with their first job, a career, or a social conscience. This somewhat took me by surprise, until I remembered that I was that girl not so long ago.

When I landed my first big internship during university – working for a US Senator on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. – I had no idea how to dress for my first entry into my future career in politics. So the week before my departure, in a panic and on a student budget, I raced to every shop desperately trying to find anything that would make me look serious, intelligent, and like less of an outsider than I was.

A Girl, A Style _ Little Black Jacket 5A Girl, A Style _ Little Black Jacket 3A Girl, A Style _ Little Black Jacket 7A Girl, A Style _ Charlotte Olympia Kitty Heels + Chanel Timeless Bag

I knew no women in politics from which to ask advice, there was no such thing as style bloggers, and there were as yet no political dramas that portrayed strong female characters who were both stylish and brilliant. So I presumed that to be taken seriously, I should show up looking as ‘serious’ as possible, and eschew any signs of femininity – lest an interest in fashion marked me out as frivolous. My suitcase was full of cheap black suits, boring shirts, and ‘sensible’ shoes I thought would make me look professional. I didn’t look ‘more intelligent’, I just looked like an 18 year old trying to dress like a boring 40-something. And because I love you all, here is the hideous photographic proof to illustrate my point.

I went far in that internship, and it opened so many doors when I got back to Australia and started my career in politics. But I wasn’t noticed because I was wearing sensible shoes and no makeup; it was because I showed up at 8am each morning and didn’t leave until 8pm, volunteered for more and more responsibility, worked hard, and knew my stuff. Wearing lipstick and a pretty blouse wouldn’t have changed my success in that role (and for what it’s worth, I was still sexually harassed by two male Senators regardless of what I was wearing, simply because I was young and female – not because of how I was dressed).

Of course it’s important to be well-groomed and mindful of dress codes in the workplace, and in much the same way you wouldn’t wear a silk ballgown to the beach, or denim shorts to afternoon tea at Claridge’s, some things will never be office-appropriate. But over the years, thanks in part to having more female role models to look up to, but also due to my growing confidence in my own abilities, I learned that you don’t have to sacrifice your own style, feminininty or personality to be taken seriously. I still wear a suit from time to time (though now it’s a black tuxedo that I team it with a silk top + a great necklace rather than an ugly shirt), but nowadays you’re more likely to find me in a dress or a skirt in which I feel like myself.

A Girl, A Style _ Little Black Jacket 2A Girl, A Style _ Chanel + J.Crew Lady JacketWearing: J.Crew jacket (I also love this spot versionthis navy version) // Marc Jacobs blouse // J.Crew skirt (past season, but very similar style here) // Chanel bag // Charlotte Olympia heels (also in flats + this summer version which I’m definitely going to need) // Wolford tights // Celine sunglasses // Michael Kors watch // BaubleBar earrings c/- // Chanel brooch.
Beauty note: Charlotte Tilbury ‘Carina’s Love’ lipstick // Deborah Lippmann ‘Shape of my Heart’ nail polish. 

Because an interest in fashion and intellect are not mutually exclusive, and a preference for Louboutins over sensible footwear does not diminish the fact I have three university degrees, graduated top of my politics class, or have successfully negotiated a bill through Parliament.

Putting on a pair of cute heels for the office won’t lessen your intelligence, caring about fashion doesn’t make you less of a feminist, and you won’t be taken less seriously for wearing lipstick to a political rally.

So here’s to all the brilliant, smart, and politically-aware girls in the great outfits! You deserve to be there as much as anyone.

Love, Miss B xx

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Photos by Joe Galvin

Three Days in Paris

Wearing at top: Whistles coat (now on sale here + also seen here) // Chanel bag // Topshop brooches (on coat) // Kenneth Jay Lane bracelets // Tom Ford sunglasses // Mac ‘Ruby Woo’ lipstick. 

One of the definite perks of living in Europe is that there is a wealth of marvellous cities just a couple of hours away (vs Australia, where flying anywhere takes about 20 hours). My friend Grace was was coming to town from New York a few weeks ago, and when we were making plans she asked if I also wanted to join her in Paris after her stay in London. I thought about it for all of two seconds before saying ‘oui‘. One of my resolutions for 2017 was to do more of what I love, more often. And Paris and wonderful girlfriends definitely both fall into that category.

So I put on my out-of-office, hopped on an early Eurostar, and just three hours after leaving my house found myself stepping off the metro and into the glorious sunshine in Paris. As Grace was flying and thus arriving an hour later (I’ve since educated her on the merits of getting a Eurostar instead of a flight between London and Paris), I found a charming little cafe around the corner from our apartment and holed up with my laptop and the biggest coffee the French do (translation: tiny).

We headed upstairs to the tres incroyable One Fine Stay apartment we were lucky enough to call home for the next two nights, and it was everything we could have wanted in our fantasy Parisian apartment – just steps from Le Louvre above a florist on Rue St Honore and all marble, chic design elements and sweeping French windows. After tearing ourselves away, we wandered down the road to the Palais Royale. In the springtime – when the roses are in full bloom and all the Parisians sit around the fountain with their weekend papers – it’s one of my favourite places in the world, but it’s still utterly lovely in the winter too. Our first stop was to Cafe Kitsune for coffee (like the blogger cliches that we are), before finding a little cafe nearby for a late lunch outside in the sunshine. We sat and caught up on life over champagne and Croque Monsieurs, and just happily people-watched for hours. I could think of worse ways to spend a Friday afternoon…

One of the joys of visiting a city you’ve both been to many times before is that instead of feeling you have to rush around to see everything, you can just move slowly with no agenda and do exactly as you please. So after lunch in the park, we went for a stroll around the neighbourhood with nowhere in particular to be but all of Paris to enjoy. For dinner, we headed to Tannat – the most wonderful little neighbourhood restaurant a little out of the way, but entirely worth the metro ride – where we caught up with Lindsey (who is an American writer living in Paris and is basically living my dream) over French onion soup which we all agreed was so good, it was practically life-changing.

As Grace and I had both only recently visited Paris with our boyfriends, we wanted to spend hours shopping – not exactly something you can do with a man in tow, no matter how patient (my fiancé has a one hour shopping threshold, so I have to use it wisely). And as we were staying on Rue St Honore, we didn’t have far to go.

We started with brunch in the sunshine at Cafe Marly (on the terrace of the Louvre), before heading to Astier de Villate at no. 173 – one of my favourite purveyors of delicious homewares, but also rather devastatingly expensive. Next it was onto Collette, one of my favourite boutiques, at no. 213 where we fell for embroidered shoes by Tabitha Simmons and bags by Olympia Le-Tan, and sniffed our way around the beauty room (always one of my favourite spots to discover cool new beauty products), where I convinced Grace to buy a bottle of Byredo’s Pulp perfume (we have the same taste in fragrance and as I’d just acquired my first bottle for my birthday and am now quite obsessed, I knew she’d love it too). After a pause at Diptyque at no. 330, it was on to the really excellent spots. We went to Goyard at no. 233 to fantasy shop, but Grace fell for a chic white clutch bag which she took home. Whilst we were there, two guys came in with their adorable dogs to have them fitted for Goyard collars… only in Paris!

A detour via Annick Goutal (where I again convinced Grace to buy a bottle of Petite Cherie – my favourite summer perfume) and the new Laduree macaron boutique on Rue Castiglione, and then onto Chanel on Rue Cambon. I fell deeply in love with this blush pink bag (below), but thought I should exercise some restraint (that is quite the hefty impulse buy…) and ‘sleep on it’. Alas, the next day the store was closed, and two failed transfers to the London store later, I’m still trying to hunt it down to make it mine.

Well and truly window shopped-out, we headed to Hotel Costes for a glass of pink champagne (and a peek at the hotel’s florist, exploding with perfumed roses). I’d been listening to Costes’ annual albums (the perfect French lounge soundtrack for lazy weekends) for the past decade, but had only ever visited the florist in person. My tip is to avoid the terrace (devoid of ambience and full of smokers) where they’ll try to seat you if you’re not staying at the hotel, and request a seat in the bar or one of the smaller rooms (all plush upholstery and crimson walls). Even if you only go for one drink and a peek at the hotel, it’s the perfect spot for a special treat next time you’re in Paris.

Afterwards, it was time for dinner, and we were both in the mood for a proper French supper. I suggested we head to the Left Bank, where all the iconic bistros sit – Cafe de Flore, Le Deux Magots, Cafe Bonaparte and Brasserie Lipp. So we hopped in a car and 10 minutes later found ourselves tucked into the corner table at Brasserie Lipp, imagining all the great artists, philosophers and literary greats who had dined in that same spot before us.

After far too many carbs, we decided to skip the metro and walk back to the apartment. It was a beautiful evening for it, and we strolled down Rue Bonaparte, across the Pont des Arts – pausing to take in the lights reflected in the Seine and the Eiffel Tower glittering in the distance – through the Louvre and back to Rue St Honore. We fell into our beds, full and happy.

The next day, we strolled to Le Marais – my favourite neighbourhood in Paris. Grace was hankering for crepes, so I led us to Creperie Suzette; it’s where I had my very first meal in Paris about 12 years ago when I stumbled upon it by accident (and miraculously I remembered the way this day). We sat outside and had the most delicious goats cheese crepes as a jolly French band played all my favourite jazz standards on the other side of the pavement. It felt like the perfect cinematic moment, and we couldn’t have been happier.

Given the face Grace and I are both art obsessives, we can never go to Paris without visiting at least one gallery. So after a quite turn around Place des Vosges (one of my favourite spots in all of Paris) we headed to the Musee de Picasso nearby. Unfortunately half of the museum was closed for re-hanging and so we only got to see half of the collection, but it was still worth the visit to learn more about the man himself (and gives me a good reason to return again soon and see the rest).

Sadly Grace then had to leave to get her flight back to New York, so we walked back to the apartment and said a fond farewell (happily I’ll get to see her again in a few months) and I headed up to Montmartre with my bags to see my friend Anne. After chocolate tarts from Hardware Societe (I feel it’s perfectly acceptable to forgo normal nutrition in favour of pastry when in Paris…) we walked all over the bohemian neighbourhood for hours until night fell – past the Sacre Coeur (which she lives right beside) and its vantage point over the rooftops of Paris, past the artists and the tiny cafes in the Place du Tertre, up and down picture-prefect stairways, past windmills and vineyards and cabarets, and through the Place des Abbesses. I love having friends all over the world, and it’s always such a treat to have my own personal French tour guide when I’m in town.


Wearing: Zara top (similar style herehere) // Chanel bag // Celine sunglasses. 

Finally, tired from walking but heart full of new Parisian memories with dear friends, it was time to head to Gare du Nord for my train home. Until next time, au revoir Paris!

Love, Miss B xx

P.S. You can see Grace’s post from our trip here!