Vote Coco (not really…)

A Girl, A Style _ Vote coco
I hope you won’t mind, but I thought I’d return from my unofficial blogging hiatus with something a little different to my normal programming. Despite the usually hyper-feminine tone of this blog, many of you will know that by day I actually have a serious job as a political advisor in Westminster.

I’ve been working in politics since 2002, when I first went to Washington to intern for a Senator; my office was on the same marbled corridor as Ted Kennedy and Hilary Clinton, and President Bush was just about to launch a war in Iraq. Although I was always raised to be politically aware and  an active part in society, in those first months ‘on the inside’, I came to realise first-hand what a very real and direct impact politics has on all of our lives. And for me, there was no turning back from there. I wanted to be a part of of this world; to help others, to make a difference and, in my own small way, to help shape those policies for the better.

On May 7th, the UK goes to the polls to decide who will govern the country for the next five years. Casting your vote is one of the biggest, if not the most significant, decision you will make all year. Yet even though we live in a world where still individuals struggle and sacrifice and die for the right to vote, at the last General Election in 2010, only 54% of women my age voted. That means almost half of my female peers had no say in their democracy and the very laws which shape our nation and daily lives.

But here’s the catch: whether you take an interest in politics or not, it still directly impacts on your life every single day. From the sweeping general issues; the national economy (the strength of which determines how much tax you pay, whether jobs are being created and paying well, how affordable your mortgage is, and so on), the government services we all need to access at some point in our lives (the infrastructure and innovation the government invests in, the schools our future children will go to, the NHS we turn to when we’re sick) and the social policies that define us as a society (ensuring that every individual in our society enjoys equality of rights, how we treat those different to us, how we look after our most needy and vulnerable) to the specific; maternity leave, closing the gender pay gap, reproductive rights, the extend to which the government interferes in our private lives…. you get the picture.

Truthfully — despite what Karl Lagerfeld and his S/S’15 band of Chanel-clad protesters may suggest — it’s certainly not glamorous (and we shouldn’t actually ‘Vote Coco’, obviously), the characters rarely resemble President Bartlet or Sam Seaborn, and most days it feels more like a ruthless grind than a glorious victory. But oh, there is nothing more beautiful than a democracy in which, however briefly, we are all equal participants.

If you do just one thing that matters this week, then have your say at the ballot box. We owe it to the suffragettes and all those who are still yearning for that same right we get to exercise tomorrow.

Love, Miss B xx

Image via Pinterest (from Vogue Korea March 2015)

 

Sunday Girl

A Girl, A Style _ Sunday Girl 3A Girl, A Style _ Sunday Girl 6 Summer weekends: surely two of the most beautiful words in the English language. For this, the first weekend of summer in the Northern Hemisphere, I had a blissfully relaxed schedule filled only with the sort of pleasing pastimes that make the weekend feel wonderful. On Saturday, the Clever Boyfriend and I went for bike rides and burritos at our favourite Mexican place, before a long stroll through a few of the grand colleges and a Saturday matinee at the charming little ADC theatre (if you’re in Cambridge and get a chance to see the Footlights perform, you simply must go; I guarantee they’ll have you in fits of giggles!). A Girl, A Style _ Sunday Girl 2A Girl, A Style _ Sunday Girl 7A Girl, A Style _ Sunday Girl Yesterday, I met my friend (and A Girl, A Style sidekick) Sophie for brunch at Afternoon Tease (one of my favourite little Cambridge cafés; anywhere that carries Frankie magazine, peonies on the tables and an abundance of homemade cake is alright in my book). I say brunch, but really it was one of those long, languid afternoon dates that ease into the early evening. We talked for hours and hours about good books, happiness and everything in between over the best eggs Florentine and iced coffees in town. Eventually, we tore ourselves away at closing time, parted ways and I cycled off home with that glorious summer sunshine on my face, Phoenix in my ears and a basket full of peonies. Summer Sundays, you are my favourite! A Girl, A Style _ Sunday Girl 4A Girl, A Style _ Sunday Girl 5

Wearing: French Connection dress c/- (also now on sale at ASOS + John Lewis) // Chanel 2.55 bag // Karen Walker sunglasses (also available in black at Shopbop) // Kenneth Jay Lane bracelets (sold out, but similar styles at J. Crew Shopbop) // ASOS necklace (sold out, but similar style available at J. Crew + Net-a-Porter) // J. Crew pearl necklace (also available in a less-expensive faux pearl version) // Mimco bangle // Miu Miu ring (now on sale at Net-a-Porter) // Zara heels (sold out, but similar style available at ASOS). Also pictured on table (Sophie’s): pink Karen Walker sunglasses (sold out, but similar styles available at Shopbop + ASOS) // GAP palm print clutch (I loved it so much I just ordered the same one from here). Beauty details: Estee Lauder ‘bare’ nail polish (available at John Lewis + Debenhams) // NARS ‘Roman Holiday’ lipstick (available at ASOS + Sephora

I hope you all had a blissful weekend! I’d love to hear how you fill your summer weekends.

Love, Miss B xx

 

At The Flower Market

A Girl, A Style _ At The Flower Market 4A Girl, A Style _ At The Flower Market 1

There are few simple pleasures I love more than a trip to the florist to pick up a big bunch of fragrant blooms (as anyone who follows me on Instagram will know). Since moving to Cambridge, a weekly trip to the flower stall at the market has become one of my favourite rituals at the end of the work week.

To me, those flowers are so intrinsically linked with happy memories and moments throughout my life, that it is a luxury I’m happy to indulge (I’d take a bunch of roses over a coffee, any day). Growing up in Australia, we had a beautiful English garden which exploded with perfumed blossoms each season, and some of my happiest days were spent hosting tea parties under the peach trees for my (usually imaginary) friends, helping my father tend to the flower beds, and collecting armfuls of fragrant roses, hydrangeas bluebells and ranunculus with my mother to bring inside.

A Girl, A Style _ At The Flower Market 12A Girl, A Style _ At The Flower Market 10

Although I don’t have a garden here in Cambridge, it is a tradition I try to maintain to this day. Each week, I’ll pop to the flower stall before a massage and date night with the Clever Boyfriend on Friday evenings, or cycle to the market early on a Saturday morning for coffee, flowers and long chats about life with my best friend (we’ve been friends for 16 years, and by some wonderful stroke of fate, we have always seemed to end up in the same places in the world at the same time ever since and now both currently call Cambridge home).

A Girl, A Style _ At The Flower Market 3Wearing: Alice by Temperley dress (sold out, but similar styles available via Shopbop, Net-a-Porter and TheOutnet) // Whistles leather jacket (past season, but similar styles available here) // Marc Jacobs Stam bag (available at Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus) // Chloe sunglasses (similar style available at here) // J. Crew pearl necklace (also available in cheaper faux pearl version) // Kenneth Jay Lane pearl bracelets (sold out, but similar style available at J. Crew and necklace version available at Net-a-Porter) // Chanel brooch + ring (past season, but very similar styles available here and here). Beauty note: MAC ‘Ruby Woo’ lipstick // Essie ‘Bachelorette Bash’ nail polish (available at Nordstrom and Debenhams and Liberty).

Regardless of how hectic my week has been, life always just feels wonderful again after these weekends filled with love, friendship and those beautiful flowers.

Do you have any small pleasures you adore which always seem bring about happy moments? I would love to hear!

Love, Miss B xx

Sponsored post in partnership with Flowers of Holland

Birthday Cake Dates

A Girl, A Style _ Birthday Cake Dates 3A Girl, A Style _ Birthday Cake Dates 2

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.

A Girl, A Style _ Birthday Cake Dates 4A Girl, A Style _ Birthday Cake Dates 5A Girl, A Style _ Birthday Cake Dates

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. 

A Girl, A Style _ Birthday Cake Dates 8
A Girl, A Style _ Birthday Cake Dates 6

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?