Winter Floral

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Let it never be said that I don’t know what I like. Trends come and go – and whilst I’ll sometimes experiment with a new style – it’s those classic, gorgeously feminine pieces I always reach for. Or put more simply, red lipstick and Louboutins always trump #normcore (unless you’re my friend Alex of The Frugality, who wears boyfriend shirts and Birkenstocks like no one else and makes me wish I were half as cool as her). 

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I’m pretty powerless against a dark floral dress, but I always prefer a dark, winter version (as seen here and here) vs a lighter spring iteration, which can feel a little too twee or predictable. I bought this neoprene version in Anthropologie before Christmas, and it it looks instantly glamorous, but is actually completely effortless (exactly what I like in a dress). I teamed it with my sky-high red Louboutins for date night, but it looks just as good with a mid-heel (this Kate Spade pair are a perfect substitute because, let’s be honest, those Louboutins are strictly taxi shoes only) for dinner, or teamed with black boots or a ballet flat for day. Just add red lipstick and a jaunty beret and voila: the perfect coquettish winter look that will work for just about every occasion.

A Girl, A Style _ Winter Floral 2A Girl, A Style _ Chanel Classic 2.55 Flap BagWearing: Erin Fetherstone at Anthropologie dress // Kate Spade coat // ASOS beret // J. Crew necklace // vintage bracelet (similar style at J.Crew) // Lulu Frost crystal ring // Alex Monroe ‘love’ ring // ASOS pearl ring // Jacquie Aiche heart ring // Christian Louboutin heels // Chanel bag. 
Beauty: NARS ‘Greta’ Audacious lipstick // Chanel ‘Provocation’ nail polish // NARS ‘Orgasm’ blush.

What’s your instant style formula for winter?

Love, Miss B xx

Shop the look:

Photos by Amber-Rose

Beauty: My Favourite Winter Fragrances

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Though I’m never one to dive head-first into the latest trends, I do like to give a nod to the changing seasons; a new silhouette here, and added dose of sparkle there. For me, like my favourite jewels or a stroke of red lipstick, fragrance is a year-round style staple; a spritz of scent in the air as I dash out the door each morning lends the final finishing flourish to every look.

Once the clocks go back and winter descends, the scents I associate with summer – my beloved Petite Cherie by Annick Goutal which smells of pears and cut grass and a Parisian park in the springtime, or Jo Malone’s crisp Orange Blossom, which always accompanies me on any far-flung summer adventure – make way for gourmands and heady white florals that so beautifully complement winter’s richer palette and moody skies.

Much like my sartorial style, I’m always drawn to pretty, classic feminine scents rather than anything cloying or overpowering. Marc Jacobs‘ original scent – a gorgeous combination of gardenia, jasmine and bergamot – has been a favourite for a decade, and Diptyque’s DoSon is a similarly lovely white floral that works anytime. I adore Jo Malone’s Rose Water and Vanilla cologne (pretty-sexy rather than saccharine, it smells of Turkish delight and candlelit dates and will linger softly all day), and was so upset when I discovered it was being discontinued that I panic-bought two more bottles from the Cambridge store (if you also love it, you won’t find it anywhere online but the standalone Jo Malone stores should all still have a bottle or two hidden in the back). My Burberry has become my everyday scent – it works just as well with a cashmere sweater and jeans as it does with lace and jewels for evening - and Chanel’s Gardenia is a perennial favourite when I want to feel my most ladylike. 

And if they look well-loved, that’s just because they are. With the exception of Jo Malone’s Pomegranate Noir which I’ve just added to my collection (I’m giving this a whirl in lieu of my other autumn/winter favourite, Blackberry & Bay), and Tom Ford’s Fleur de Portofino (which I added this year and wore all summer long, but is luxe enough to work just as well for winter too), these are all firm favourites from last year* which will take me through another winter season until spring’s call for an olfactory clean sweep next year.

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Fragrance: Burberry ‘My Burberry EDP’ // Tom Ford ‘Fleur de Portofino’ // Jo Malone Pomegranate Noir // Chanel ‘Gardenia’ // Diptyque ‘Doson’ // Jo Malone ‘Rose Water & Vanilla Intense’ (now discontinued, but this is the closest version).
Details: F. Scott Fitzgerald hardback books // brass pineapple // Diptyque candle // glass  cloche // Kenneth Jay Lane pearl earrings // J.Crew gold earrings (similar here) // Garance Dore for Rifle Paper Co ‘XO’ print // mirrored console table.

I’d love to know your favourite fragrances and any new scent you think I should try. Do you have a signature perfume which you wear each day, or do you, like me, rotate a collection based on your mood and the seasons?

*Tip: always keep your perfumes out of direct sunlight and store them in the top shelf of your fridge when out of season and they’ll last for at least a couple of years.

Love, Miss B xx

 

Oktoberfest, Munich

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Last month, I was lucky enough to be whisked to Munich for two days to attend Oktoberfest with Thomas Sabo. Now, anyone who knows me will know how hilarious the thought of me at a beer festival is; I hardly ever drink and the thought of noisy festival goers en masse rather fills me with terror. But because I love Thomas Sabo, and because I know attending Oktoberfest is one of those things every traveller should experience once in their lifetime (but that I probably wasn’t about to go anytime soon otherwise), I jumped at the chance.

So there I was a few days later; swapping two days in the office for the annual Bavarian festivities. Happily, my blog pal Carrie had also been invited; as we’re both premature nannas who don’t drink beer, we knew we’d be sticking together like glue. We tore ourselves away for half an hour after landing to quickly peek at the city, before being ushered off to begin our evening at Oktoberfest. We were greeted by our lederhosen-clad guides and delicious gebrannte mandeln (paper cones of hot sugar-glazed almonds) for a walking tour of the area.

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In truth, I was a bit apprehensive and didn’t know what to expect, but I honestly had the most wonderful time. The atmosphere was celebratory and merry; the air thick with the smell of warm gingerbread and the sound of old-fashioned fairground rides, and I was wide-eyed at the sight of all the charming stalls (selling German snacks and ceramic beer krugs) and almost everyone dressed in their lederhosen and dirndls. Although I was aiming for ‘Bavarian fairytale’ when I got dressed, I only wish I’d found an authentic dirndl to wear to really get into the spirit (we were the odd ones out to not be wearing traditional dress).

After trying our luck at a few games of chance and walking around the whole site (it’s not especially large, so only takes about an hour or two to cover the ground), we headed into Käfers Wiesen Schänke - one of the oldest and grandest beer halls at the festival. It was as though we’d stepped into some kind of German Disneyland; it felt like a perfect version of every traditional stereotype you could imagine. Think jolly oom-pah bands and revelry, gingerbread hearts strung from the wooden beams, and the sound of hundreds of giant beer glasses clinking. At our booth we were greeted by tables groaning with giant pretzels, brotzeit (platters of German sausage, cheese, radish and bread), potato dumplings and strudel. As the night wore on, the cries of ‘Prost!’ (cheers) grew more frequent and everyone began singing loudly and dancing on their benches while we looked on in bemused wonder (I’m sure I would have joined in had I managed more than an inch of my beer…! I’m so very rock ‘n’ roll, I know).

As they say, it certainly was a night to remember!

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Wearing: Endless Rose dress (similar styles at ShopbopSelfridges) // Camilla & Marc jacket (old, but similar styles herehere) // Chanel bag // Zara heels (sold out, but similar here) // Lulu Frost necklace (similar style here) // BaubleBar bracelets c/- (similar style at TheOutnet) // Mimco brooch (old, but I love this similar set) // Lulu Frost crystal ring (on sale!) // Alex Monroe love ring // Jackie Aiche heart ring (similar version here) // ASOS pearl ring.
Beauty: Nars ‘Michiyo’ lipstick // Nars ‘Starscape’ blush // Kevin Aucoin ‘Starlight’ illuminator c/- // Chanel ‘Singuliere’ nail polish.

Love, Miss B xx

Thank you Carrie for helping with my photos (I’m a terribly useless blogger and forgot to pack my camera, so please excuse my less-than-excellent iPhone photos from the evening).

 

Vote Coco (not really…)

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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 to play 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, equal marriage, the extent 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)