This weekend was exactly what I needed. I’ve finally recovered from the election (I haven’t stayed up literally all night like that since I was at University and had six essays all due in my final week before graduation) and a frenetic few months in Parliament and have finally been able to relax for the first time in ages. The Clever Fiancé was overseas for work, so on Saturday I made the most of my first day with no plans in weeks and headed to Notting Hill for an all-day date with myself (every girl needs them occasionally): a much-needed primp and polish session at my favourite salon (Taylor Taylor on Portobello Road for those who ask), lunch at Ottolenghi, a little shopping at Aesop and Diptyque and treasure-hunting on Portobello Road, and wandering around those gorgeous leafy, pastel streets in the sunshine.
On Sunday – he fresh off the plane and in need of caffeine and sustenance to help stay awake all day, me in need of juice and weekend newspapers – we headed out for the kind of long, lazy dates Sundays were made for: lunch, sunshine (which, in typical English fashion, lasted until precisely the minute we took these photos) and a walk through a few of our favourite colleges.
I threw on my ‘lazy weekend’ uniform (when it’s too warm for tights but not yet warm enough for breezy dresses, it’s always an iteration of the easy top, blazer and denim combination) that always feels like Sunday. It takes 5 minutes flat to get ready and you’re good to go wherever your weekend plans take you; I just add heels (only if I’m cycling instead of walking, and otherwise it’s chic ballet flats or ankle boots), sunglasses (these Miu Miu cat eye sunglasses seem to go with every single thing I own) and bright lipstick to yesterday’s hair and the most comfortable clothes I own to make it look as though I have made an effort, when really I haven’t.
Gloriously lazy weekends; you’re really rather wonderful.
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).
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.
Decking the halls for the holidays + filling my home with festive sparkle. My new Louboutin heels that look like presents for my feet. Pink champagne and cocktail hour by the tree. The sounds of the Rat Pack Christmas album. Kate Spade cocktail rings + J. Crew crystal earrings. Curling up with tea and Gatsby on rainy evenings. Fairy lights + golden owl candles from Anthropologie. Wrapping presents. Wearing these sequinned heels to holiday parties. A shiny new bow purse from Kate Spade. Gingerbread men. Christmas movie marathons.
London all dressed up for the season. Festive sparkle and department store Christmas windows on Oxford Street. Sale shopping at Selfridges. Mulberry’s fairy tale pop-up at Harrods. Wandering through Trafalgar Square and the National Gallery after work. An evening at The Nutcracker (my favourite annual Christmas tradition). Old London glamour and the best lobster rolls in town at The Delaunay. Stella McCartney‘s Christmas lights (and this pink silk dress of dreams). Cristmas loveliness with family. Wintery walks around Mayfair. The glow of The Ritz at sundown.
The past two weeks have been a hectic whirlwind at work, leaving me so busy there was (almost) no time left for festive celebration. But even when I’m working the longest days, it’s important to me to make a little time to enjoy this wonderful season; the Christmas lights making all of London twinkle on my way home, watching the skaters twirl around the ice rink on the weekend, the sound of carollers at Parliament as I work, homemade mince pies and eggnog after supper, house parties with friends, wrapping presents with the Clever Boyfriend at home while watching our favourite holiday movies and a magical evening at the Nutcracker with my family (it wouldn’t be Christmas to me without a night at the ballet).
Here, a few of my favourite things that feel perfectly appropriate for the holiday season: a pair of fabulous Christian Louboutin red silk bow heels (treasure-hunted at the Louboutin sample sale) for cocktail hour with a Kate Spade purse to match, glittery manicures and twinkly jewels, a few sparkly accessories that make me feel like I’m unwrapping presents every time I put them on, and holiday candles that make my house smell like a festive cocktail of Christmas trees and wood fires and cranberries and loveliness.