7 Things For the Weekend

A Girl, A Style: Cafe Bonaparte, Paris

Bonjour! I’m writing this from a little café on Rue Saint Honoré in Paris where I’ve escaped for an impromptu weekend away. My friend Grace is in town from New York and invited me to to join her for a weekend adventure together. The sun is shining and we have no plans other than to visit a few galleries (we’re staying next to the Louvre) and do as many of our favourite Parisian things as we can manage (sincere apologies in advance for the inevitable macaron spam on Instagram).

French pastries aside, here’s my roundup of suggestions for the week ahead:

1. Make a date with your favourite gallery-loving friend to see an exhibition near you. Grace and I went to see the David Hockney exhibition at Tate Britain after work on Wednesday and it was marvellous. Although I had hoped to see the full collection of his portraits, I adored seeing the evolution of his style and the exquisite explosion of colour (his Malibu series – set against a pink backdrop – is a particularly good antidote to a rainy day). If you’re a fellow art enthusiast and in London between now and the end of May, be sure to go and see it.

2. I’ve just finished re-reading this book, and it’s the perfect bedtime read (for when you can’t face anything too intellectually-demanding). I love the idea of setting your own happiness project each month and figuring out what works best for you (my January theme was ‘family’, February is ‘what I love’, and March will be ‘organising’).

3. I loved this post by my friend Carly on how to meet people. I remember the anguish I felt when I first moved to Cambridge and realised that aside from my boyfriend (with whom I moved), all my friends were now on the other side of the world in Australia. Great advice for any fellow-introverts and those who find themselves alone in a new city.

4. Try a new workout. I confess that after life got in the way over Christmas, I completely fell out of my exercise routine the past couple of months and am now struggling to get back in the swing of things (nothing more demoralising than realising you can only lift half the weights you could a couple of months ago). So I’m shaking things up with some cute new trainers, some different classes and a weekly trainer in between to keep my motivation up.

5. If you haven’t already, start planning a spring adventure. I’m thinking of heading to New York with my aunt and cousin for some much-needed happy family time up after losing my beloved uncle to cancer last month. A picnic in Central Park, tea at the Plaza, an afternoon at the Met and a glittering Broadway show seem like a good cure for the blues. (P.S. If you’re also heading that way, this is my favourite guide to NYC).

6. I know there’s still two months of winter weather remaining, but I can’t help but think of Spring days ahead. Although I won’t get to wear it for a couple of months, I just ordered this perfect blush lace midi dress (it looks like Self Portrait but is only £35) to wear the moment I can step outside sans-tights!

7. Send someone you love a surprise in the mail, for no reason other than that you appreciate them and want to make them smile. I was sent this gorgeous Jo Malone candle last week – just because – and it completely cheered me up at the end of a particularly stressful day. Now I smile every time I burn it!

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend!

Love from Paris,
Miss B xx

 

Faux Fur Security Blankets + Coffee Dates

A Girl, A Style _ The Faux Fur JacketA Girl, A Style _ Cambridge Satchel Co Cloud Bag + Fitzbillies Chelsea Bun

Well, we made it through January! Between the current state of world political affairs (which I just can’t, and won’t ignore) and losing my beloved Uncle to cancer, it definitely goes down as one of the most emotionally taxing months I’ve known for a while. But no matter how trying the times, there’s always a way through. For me, that means reverting to my most introverted tendencies and taking it one day at a time until the storm passes; temporarily eschewing anything not immediately urgent or essential in favour of quiet hibernation, familiar comforts and small pleasures, and doing what I can to help make things a bit better for others worse off than me (as my readers so wisely reminded me, there’s no shame in admitting that life isn’t always Instagram-perfect, and the world is definitely not perfect right now).

While the January might be the most depressing month of the year in the Northern Hemisphere when it comes to the weather, those cold, dark nights do make for the perfect guilt-free excuse to embrace cosy hibernation and battery-resetting JOMO (the joy of missing out, or not having to fill your diary with important events and exciting adventures).

A Girl, A Style _ Faux Fur JacketA Girl, A Style _ The White Fur JacketA Girl, A Style _ Fitzbillies, Cambridge Instagram

So while I could quite happily tuck myself indoors until winter is over with a stack of books, a Netflix queue of old movies, and a coffee table laden with Diptyque candles, the reality is that I have an office to go to (and a heaving workload to go with it), political causes to rally behind, wedding plans to make, and friends to see (who probably think I’ve gone and fallen off the face of the earth).

And if I can’t literally wrap myself in a furry blanket indoors, I’ll be wearing the closest thing I can (on days when a duvet and/or pyjamas are not socially acceptable). This outfit is pretty much the lazy girl’s guide to cold-weather glamour: a fur jacket that looks polished but feels like a cosy bear hug, a pair of black jeans that go with anything and require zero thought, red lipstick (to give the appearance of having made an effort), and a couple of fun accessories to make you smile. Fact (according to me): it’s scientifically proven your day will be 20% better when accompanied by sparkly shoes (that you can walk in) and a whimsical bag (that can still fit all the essentials).

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to need another flat white and a blowdry to face February front-on.

A Girl, A Style _ The Best Coffee Shop in CambridgeA Girl, A Style _ Cambridge Satchel Co Star Print Cloud Bag

Wearing: Cambridge Satchel Co cloud bag (plain navy version here) c/- // Unreal Fur jacket (past season but similar style here) // GAP jeans c/- // Self Portrait top (just seen; on sale here) // J.Crew heels (past season but similar style here) // Chanel brooch // Z by Accessorize rose gold crystal ring // ASOS gold horseshoe ring // Alex Monroe gold love ring.
Beauty: Charlotte Tilbury ‘Carina’s Love’ lipstick // NARS ‘Gaiety’ blush // Deborah Lippmann ‘Naked’ nail polish.

How are you making it through winter? Please send all your loveliest hibernation tips my way!

Love, Miss B xx

Shop the post:

This post is in partnership with the Cambridge Satchel Company. Photos by Joe Galvin.

Hello, 2017!

Hello, 2017

Happy New Year* everyone!

I love the clean slate that January brings; new beginnings, a chance to reset and reflect on what did and didn’t work for us the previous year. Personally, I ditched the idea of austere resolutions years ago, and instead now try to focus on a few happiness-boosting intentions each year.

Although I have a few tangible things I need to work on (finalise my wedding planning, stop being lazy about getting to the gym, eat less sugar, and to get my anxiety-inducing stress in check), my goals for 2017 mostly focus on prioritising what makes me happiest. Hardly groundbreaking, but we could probably all do with being reminded once and a while.

So if, like me, you’re also wanting to focus on that which brings you happiness vs a set of restrictive resolutions, here are five intentions to set for the year ahead. Consider them our 2017 mantras, if you will:

1. Spread love + positivity // Choosing happiness each day, even if it’s not the easier option. Limiting negative thoughts before they escalate. Telling the people you care about how much they mean to you, often. Being kind to everyone you meet. Standing up for what is right and important in the face of injustice. 

2. Spend more time doing things you like with the people you love // Stop wasting time on things which bring little joy or serve no purpose, and instead make regular dates with the people that matter (this is so obvious that I sometimes completely forget to do it). Schedule regular dates with your friends (including making the effort to visit those further away) doing things you both enjoy. 

3. Learn + explore often // Adventure = happiness. Continuing to explore the world (both near and far) as often as possible. Travel to new places, learn about different cultures, try new things. Read as much, and as widely, as possible. Develop current talents and learn new skills. 

4. Be kinder to yourself // Stop being your own worst critic + instead be your own head cheerleader. Quit comparison and worrying about what everyone else thinks of you. Nourish + treat your body with respect. Get enough rest and quality downtime to manage stress and avoid burnout.

5. Prioritise what makes you happy + have one thing to look forward to every week // The main perk of being an adult is you don’t have to ask for permission; if you really want something, then get it. Build in small pleasures every single day. Always schedule in one bigger treat each week (dinner with a girlfriend, a theatre date, a massage…) so there’s always something to look forward to, no matter how stressful the week. Make happiness a year-round affair.

Hello, 2017!Pictured: Kate Spade agenda // West Elm ‘hello’ // West Elm lucky horseshoe // Charlotte Tilbury ‘Electric Poppy’ lipstick // J.Crew earrings.

Do you have any goals or resolutions for the year, or will you adopt any of these? I’d love to hear them! Here’s to a tremendous 2017!

Love, Miss B xx

* I realise I’m a bit slow off the mark with the whole ‘New Year’ thing. I’m never sure whether readers want to know about my personal life or not, but my beloved Uncle (who is more like my surrogate Father) was diagnosed with cancer just a few weeks before Christmas and passed away earlier this week. Truthfully, I hadn’t felt much like posting cheery posts when I was feeling heartbroken and trying to spend all my time with family in London to collectively get through it.

Shop the post:

Christmas in Cambridge

a-girl-a-style-_-christmas-bowsa-girl-a-style-_-christmas-bows-3Happy Christmas week! Wherever you are and however you celebrate, I hope you’re all starting to wind down for the year and enjoy some festive merriment. In all honesty I’m still in the midst of my usual pre-Christmas frenzy at work* (desperately trying to get everything on my to-do list sorted before all the government departments shut down for the break), but I’ve been determinedly filling my weekend and evenings with all the Christmas. 

Since moving to Cambridge from Australia (almost 8 years ago to the day!), I’ve taken Christmas to a whole new level. December heatwaves and garden parties have been replaced by the kind of festive pursuits I used to dream about growing up. I treasure my Christmas traditions – both old and new. Each year I love going to see a performance of the Royal Ballet’s The Nutcracker, attempting to ice skate (terribly), meeting a girlfriend for afternoon tea somewhere fabulous, throwing our yearly holiday movie night where our neighbours all turn up in their pyjamas (we’re lucky enough to have a real-life ‘Friends’ scenario in our building and are close friends with many of our neighbours), and probably the grandest Cambridge tradition of them all – attending the annual Carols from King’s service at the King’s College Chapel (perks of having a clever Fiancé who happens to be a King’s Fellow).

a-girl-a-style-_-topshop-pink-fur-coata-girl-a-style-_-christmas-in-cambridgea-girl-a-style-_-christmas-in-cambridge-2With my calendar so full of parties in December – from decadent college supper parties in the grand dining halls to more relaxed candlelit parties at friends’ houses – I take this as the perfect excuse to dress up (you don’t have to tell me twice). In December, I really only have two sartorial modes: cosy (cute pyjamas for an evening spent snuggled indoors), or festive (because if you can’t get away with being a little bit theatrical with your outfits in December, then really, when can you?). Basically if it’s shiny, sparkly, or has a bow on it, I want to be wearing it right now.

To take the drama out of getting ready when I’m rushing from work to a party, I always rely on one of my favourite party dresses, knockout shoes, and a small but chic bag that can fit all the essentials. So when my favourite Cambridge brand – the Cambridge Satchel Company – asked me to pick out a new bag for the holiday season, I knew this gorgeous red patent version was the one straight away.

Although I don’t tend to wear red when it comes to clothes, I adore it as an accent in the form of party shoes or a swipe of lipstick (I’m never without my red lipstick in winter). I’m not really sure why I didn’t own a red bag before, but now it’s one of my favourite things and seems to work with everything I’m wearing right now (bonus points: its smart enough to be party-appropriate, but still fits all the essentials I need to tote around during the day).

a-girl-a-style-_-cambridge-satchel-saddle-baga-girl-a-style-_-christian-louboutin-bow-heelsWearing: Cambridge Satchel Co saddle bag c/- // Sister Jane dress // Topshop coat // Topshop brooches (on coat) // Christian Louboutin shoes also seen in this post (past season but similar style here).
Beauty: Bourjois ‘It’s Redding Men’ liquid lipstick c/- // Marc Jacobs ‘Kink & Kisses’ blush.

However you’re celebrating this week, I wish you all the happiness and cheer of the season!

Love, Miss B xx

* This explains the fact that I am both obviously sleep-deprived and in need of a haircut in these pictures (aka the never-ending battle that is deadlines vs beauty sleep…)

Shop the post:

This post is in partnership with The Cambridge Satchel Company. Photographs by Joe Galvin.