Back in Class

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The students are all making their way back to Cambridge this weekend, all wide-eyed and enthusiastic ahead of the start of term this week. I love the sight of them wheeling the wooden trolleys through their colleges, laden with books, cases and all their worldly possessions for the year ahead. Although it is years since I graduated myself, every autumn I still crave that preppy back-to-class look (which seems to suit life here in Cambridge so well).

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I had to wear almost this exact outfit (navy blazer, kilt, bow-tied shirt) all the way through school and so really should be over it by now, but there’s still something I love about that uniform. Though truthfully, the preppy look is a lot more fun as an adult when you can swap the knee-socks for ladylike red-soled Louboutins, the tartan kilt for a leather skirt, and not be hauled into the Headmaster’s office for wearing lipstick (true story).

I suppose there will come a point where I’ll have to stop dressing like Blair Waldorf at prep school, but for now, while I’m in Cambridge, I still take comfort in pulling out my preppy uniform each autumn.

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Wearing: Band of Outsiders blazer (similar style available at J.Crew) // Whistles sweater (also available at ASOS) // ASOS shirt // Whistles skirt (now on sale + also available at ASOS) // Lulu Guinness clutch (past season, but similar styles available here + at Kate Spade) // Christian Louboutin heels (sold out, but similar styles available at Net-a-Porter + J.Crew) // Lulu Frost necklace (past season, but similar styles at MatchesNet-a-Porter + J.Crew) // Vintage brooch // Lola & Grace ring c/- // ASOS hair bow (also available in red).
Beauty: NARS ‘Heat Wave’ lipstick (also available at Sephora + John Lewis) // NARS ‘Orgasm’ blush (also available at ASOS + Selfridges) // Essie ‘Bahama Mama’ nail polish (also available at Debenhams + Liberty London). 

Is there a style you gravitate to year after year, regardless of which stage of your life you’re at?

Love, Miss B xx

Photos by Beth Morton

 

7 Ways to Welcome Autumn with Bobbi Brown

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Outside, the brisk evenings are drawing in and there is the palpable feeling of change in the air. As the leaves begin to fall and autumn announces its arrival, I suddenly desire  a few new pleasures; cosy cashmere to snuggle into, a refreshed beauty aesthetic and a little luxurious glamour. I’m thrilled to team up with Bobbi Brown (one of my favourite everyday beauty brands) to celebrate the new season.

1. As the temperature drops and the seasons change, so too do I crave a few changes come autumn. For me, the easiest way to transition my look for the season is with an overhaul of my beauty bag. I switch my fresh summer fragrances to those with a little more depth, step up the hydration, and tweak my makeup look. Pastels are replaced by warm hues, and my everyday bronzed eye becomes a little more smoky and sultry. My favourite go-to is the Bobbi Brown smokey nudes palette; I’ll wear a contoured 60s eye for day, a smudgy, smoky look for evenings, or a molten metallic for parties.

2. As with the changes to my beauty look, each season I look forward to refreshing my wardrobe. Girlish pieces are pushed aside in favour of a slightly more sophisticated, classic aesthetic, summer’s floaty white blouses and lace dresses are paired with tuxedo jackets and polished accessories, and a neutral palette is offset with a singular pop of colour in the form of fuchsia nails or berry-stained lips (I like Creamy Matte lipstick in ’Bright Lily’).

3. Make the most of the last warm days of the year with a gloriously lazy weekend filled with all your favourite simple pleasures. Team a chic neutral beauty look (try with your favourite weekend uniform for a leisurely brunch and a walk around the neighbourhood with someone you love.

4. Treat yourself to a few fabulous dates with your girlfriends. As the nights draw in, I like to retreat to cosy, glamorous haunts where I can get dolled up (a smokey cat eye using inky black kajal liner is always appropriate in this scenario) and linger over good conversation and a marvellous cocktail or two.

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5. Make the most of the harvest season and stop by your local farmer’s market for a bounty of local autumn produce. I love stopping for a hot chocolate and s’mores, buying armfuls of flowers, and going home with a basket of plump figs, apples, blackberries and pumpkins and turning them into something delicious.

6. Transform your place into a cosy, inviting retreat. Invest in a few new home comforts  (I like those to aid luxurious hibernation; scented candles, divine bed linen, gorgeous lighting and a good supply of tea and books), spend an afternoon organising your wardrobe and beauty cabinet, and add a few fresh flowers in each room. Invite your friends around for an old-fashioned movie night/slumber party, or host a cocktail party for a few of your nearest and dearest. Just add a swipe of red lipstick (Creamy Matte lipstick in ’Heart’ is my current favourite) and a swinging soundtrack.

7. Play tourist around town or take a trip to the countryside to see all the changing colours of the season. Go for a long bike ride, visit an apple orchard or pumpkin patch, tour a historic home, and jump in piles of crunchy leaves.

Love, Miss B xx

P.S. Stay tuned for my tutorial on how to achieve the perfect smokey nude look for autumn using the new Bobbi Brown collection.

This post is in partnership with Bobbi Brown

Valentino Dresses and Autumn Leaves

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A couple of weeks ago, I had just returned from New York and was in need of caffeine and a girl date to help overcome my jetlag. My friend had just received some excellent news, so I put on my favourite new dress and we met for hot cocoa and cake at a charming new café in Cambridge to celebrate.

As it was such a beautiful day and Cambridge was looking so splendid in all it’s autumnal glory, we walked through the colleges after lunch to savour those perfect last moments of autumn. The last of the leaves seemed to be swirling on the breeze and falling that weekend, blanketing all the college gardens in a carpet of red and gold.

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As usual, we had my friend’s secret fellows garden all to ourselves (a heavenly escape from the tourists in the form of an acre of sprawling lawns and manicured English flower gardens and a canopy of old trees behind her grand college), so there was only one thing to do: act like children and throw autumn leaves at each other for the rest of the afternoon.

This dress had been on my wishlist for months and months (I have a RED Valentino addiction), so I finally bought it the moment it went on sale on Shopbop. I realise that a Valentino dress this special should really be reserved for dinner at nice restaurants and birthday parties and nights at the theatre rather than throwing leaves and twirling through Cambridge colleges, but I live by the motto that one’s favourite things should be enjoyed every day. So – true to my word – I wore it to the museum and for a rainy afternoon on the Upper East Side when I was in New York a few weeks ago, for a long walk through Central Park, at brunch with my friend at the Delaunay in London, paired with a black tuxedo jacket at the office, and just about everywhere in between.

Because really, life feels that little bit more wonderful when you’re wearing a dress that makes you want to twirl.

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Wearing: RED Valentino dress (also available at Net-a-Porter) // J. Crew Necklace // Jacquie Aiche ring // Isabel Marant ‘Poppy’ heels (also available at Matches or similar (cheaper) style here) // Wolford tights (also available at ASOS and Selfridges). Beauty note: Essie ‘Big Spender’ nail polish // Estee Lauder ‘Fuschia Flash’ lip lacquer.

Do you save your favourite things for special occasions, or do you make your own excuse to dress up?

Love, Miss B xx

 

September Loves

1. Buying: I wear my blush Mulberry Lily handbag (available here and here) so much that I’ve just ordered this dark blush version for winter. What can I say; I know what I like!

2. Sparkling: I have a thing for beautiful bracelets, and the double-cuff (the same bracelet worn symmetrically on each wrist) has become my jewellery signature. This crystal version from J. Crew is ever so beautiful, and will add a little Gatsby glamour to every outfit. I’ll have two, thank you!

3. Wearing: I’m not yet ready to give up bare legs and hibernate beneath wintery layers, but September has brought with it an autumnal chill in the air and a tendency to a sudden rainy shower which call for a little more than a summer dress. I’ve just added this perfect Coach trench coat (a timeless classic) to my wardrobe and have been throwing it over everything to make my wardrobe feel instantly more autumn-appropriate.

4. Beauty note: After a summer of petal pinks and bright lips, I’m currently craving a 60′s cat eye and nude lip. The best shades I’ve found are from MAC (‘Hue’ or ‘Myth’) or Tom Ford (‘Vanilla Suede’ or ‘Blush Nude’), and really, could there be anything more chic than pulling out a little black and gold tube of Tom Ford lipstick?

5. For the home: As the nights draw longer, I’m favouring cosy evening indoors and am making my home feel as welcoming as possible with warm throws, scented candles, soft lamps and twinkly lights. This clear Kartell bougie lamp is my favourite, and adds a touch of modern French chic to my desk.

6. Play: Making the most of the last lingering moments of summer and the first days of Autumn with lazy weekend walks along the river and evening bike rides around town. Happiness is having the wind in my hair and a big bunch of flowers from the market in my Pashley basket.

7. Small luxury: Because a girl can never have enough sparkle, I’ll be adding these charming little lucky horseshoe studs (which look much more expensive than they are) and the matching necklace to my collection.

8. On my wishlist: I have an unfailing weakness for both Valentino and lace, so the two combined is irresistible. These lace ankle strap pumps are chic, feminine and just the right height that they could be dressed up with a cocktail dress, or down with a flirty skirt or cropped trousers for day.

9. Listening to: My love for Paris extends to my musical tastes, and the annual albums released by Hotel Costes (that chic Parisian establishment) are perfect for sunny days and evening cocktail hours alike.

10. Watching: The Spring/Summer ’14 collections on the runway at London Fashion Week. Orla Kiely is always a favourite, and the Mulberry show at Claridge’s was utter perfection; from the invitations arriving with a miniature Wedgwood teacup and Claridge’s afternoon tea being served for breakfast to the beautiful embellished floral prints and dogs in Mulberry jackets on the runway.

I hope you’re all having a lovely month! I’d love to hear what your favourite things are currently!

Love, Miss B xx