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 December heatwaves and garden parties have been replaced by the kind of festive pursuits I used to dream about growing up.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-_-christian-louboutin-bow-heelsa-girl-a-style-_-topshop-pink-fur-coata-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-_-christmas-in-cambridgea-girl-a-style-_-christmas-in-cambridge-2Wearing: Cambridge Satchel Co saddle bag c/- Cambridge Satchel Co // 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…)

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

The Perfect Gifts for Everyone on Your List

Pictured: European travel guide (I swear by the recommendations in this book) // gold bracelet c/- // brass apple candle // blueprint key dish // nude + pink lipstick // crystal earrings // lip balm c/- // crystal arrow brooch.

I’m now officially in full-on Mrs Claus mode; filling our house with twinkly lights and the sounds of Christmas music and finalising the perfect gifts for everyone on my list. Having to go near the high street or a department store in December gives me anxiety, so with the exception of a couple of foodie gifts, everything is being ordered online by the end of this week (with a hot chocolate in hand).

Speaking as someone who everyone seems to find impossible to buy for, I can say with authority that if in doubt you can’t go wrong with a beautiful candle (this is my number one favourite), a good cookbook, anything cashmere or something indulgent from the recipient’s favourite beauty brand. I usually ask my boyfriend to avoid ‘stuff’ I’ll never use and just get me nice chocolate, one of my favourite lipsticks or nail polishes, and a ticket to the ballet or theatre – wonderful!

So if you’re yet to finalise your shopping, here’s my definitive guide to the best gifts for everyone on your list.

For Her (or yourself):
I like to either buy one excellent gift – perhaps a nice pair of pyjamas (I love this classic pair and this inexpensive pair for everyday), a gorgeous piece of jewellery or new handbag for someone special – or a thoughtful set of items tailored to the recipient; a new teapot and some lovely tea for your mum, or a set of gilded coupes and a bottle of champagne for your girlfriend.

For Him:
I’m always a bit stumped when it comes to shopping for the men in my life, but never seem to go wrong with a good book (anything about science, psychology or cricket is a winner with both my fiancé and Father), dapper wardrobe essentials, some luxe (but man-friendly) toiletries, or foodie treats. This year my fiancé is getting a new cashmere sweater, face cream, and a stocking full of all his favourite small-indulgences.

For the Little Ones:
Truth be told, I’ve never really had to shop for children until recently, but suddenly all my friends seem to be either pregnant or having babies and I now feel it’s my responsibility to furnish them with cute things! I personally like to avoid anything too garish or noisy (for the sanity of the parents) and go for utterly adorable clothes or old-fashioned toys to stimulate their curiosity.

For their Stockings (+ small gifts under £20)
If you have tight budget, it’s always better to get one small but perfectly formed gift over lots of cheaper alternatives; I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t be thrilled to unwrap an indulgent box of chocolates or a new version of their favourite lipstick/beauty treat. I always keep a few small pre-wrapped gifts on hand just in case I need an extra present or make last minute plans with a friend and don’t want to show up empty-handed.

I’d love to know your favourite things to give (or receive)!

Love Miss B xx

The Best Hostess Gifts: 30 Gifts for the Domestic Goddess

The Best Hostess Gifts for the Domestic GoddessPictured (clockwise from top left): marble serving platter // brass ‘hello’ ornament // monogrammed tumbler // copper tray // gold-rimmed glasses // cut glass cocktail mixing jug // gold fortune cookie // kitchen towel // brass apple candle // ‘perfection’ dish // large candle c/- // small candle // conversational side plates // gold cheese knives

It’s hard to believe that 2016 is nearly over, but here we are at the end of November already. Of course, with the arrival of December comes the wonderful festivities of the holiday season. My own diary is rapidly filling up with holiday parties and events galore (and we’ll be hosting a few events for friends and neighbours at our place, too).

I was always taught to never show up at someone’s home empty-handed, and whether I’m just staying for cocktails or the whole weekend, I always like to take a small but lovely gift for my hosts. While flowers or a bottle of wine are always excellent standbys, I personally like to put a little more thought into a token I know they’ll be able to enjoy long after the party is over (but which needn’t cost much more than that predictable bottle of wine).

Because everyone has different tastes when it comes to their home, it’s best to stick to items which will work no matter the recipient’s taste or decor. I find it hard to go wrong with some classic cut glass or brass, or a touch or marble or copper. And I don’t know a single woman who wouldn’t be thrilled to unwrap a beautifully scented candle, for any occasion. So below, a few ideas for the perfect gift; whether it be a thoughtful gesture for the party host, or just a beautiful present for the glamorous homebody.

For the gracious hostess: a set of chic tea towels and an offer to help with the post-party cleanup, a bottle of the most luxurious hand wash, or a guide to every entertaining scenario for the modern-day hostess.

For the budding mixologist: a bar cart-worthy cocktail set, a pair of gold-rimmed champagne coupes, a cut-glass mixing jug, or a set of monogrammed tumblers.

For the passionate foodie: a handsome box of the very best chocolates, a gingerbread candle (which doubles as a cookie-cutter once finished), a pair of marble platters, or a wedge of French brie and a set of cheese knives.

For the glamorous homebody: a golden monogrammed mug and a tin of salted caramel hot chocolate, the ultimate guide to a stylish home, a whimsical lucky charm for the coffee table, or the most beautifully-scented candle.

Let the holidays commence!

P.S. Stay tuned for a few more gift guides in the next two weeks (and as always, let me know if there’s anything in particular you want to see on here). 

Love, Miss B xx

The Party Dress

A Girl, A Style _ Whistles Ren Dress (small)A Girl, A Style _ Christmas

Happy holidays! I’m off to Australia today just in time for Christmas; I haven’t been back in a few years and I couldn’t be more excited to see my family and friends and white sandy beaches. But because Christmas in the middle of summer just doesn’t feel as merry, I’ve been cramming in as much of the festive season here in England as I can before jetting off for the other side of the world.

There have been all my favourite traditions; all-weekend holiday movie marathons in our pyjamas (with a side of hot cocoa), holiday baking sessions (and dancing around in our kitchen to Christmas tunes), the Royal Ballet’s The Nutcracker, seeing all of London’s Christmas decorations and department store windows and a few marvellous holiday parties.

A Girl, A Style _ The Party Dress 1A Girl, A Style _ Party DressA Girl, A Style _ Lulu Guinness Clutch

Of course, a fabulous holiday party demands a dress to match; preferably the sort that makes you want to twirl, and which can be worn year after year as you create new memories and traditions.

I added this floral organza dress to my collection a month ago, and it has already taken me everywhere from my office Christmas party and an afternoon tea date with a friend, to the most fabulous soirees on my schedule (just add a little extra sparkle). I love everything about the style (bonus points for any dress with pockets), and it will work just as well on Christmas day (even in the Australian heat) as it will well after the holiday season has ended.

A Girl, A Style _ Kate Spade Licorice ShoesA Girl, A Style _ The Fitzwilliam Museum, CambridgeA Girl, A Style _ Party Dress 2

Wearing: Whistles dress (I also love this similar style) // Lulu Guinness clutch (on sale!) // Kate Spade heels (more colours here) // J.Crew crystal necklace // J.Crew emerald necklace (also in pink) // Eugenia Kim headband (similar style at Shopbop) // vintage bracelet // Kenneth Jay Lane ring // vintage earrings (almost identical styles at BaubleBar + Net-a-Porter).
Beauty: Chanel ‘Singulaire’ nail polish // MAC ‘Ruby Woo’ lipstick // Charlotte Tilbury eyeshadow // Clarins ‘Soft Peach’ blush.

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Do tell me; how do you dress for the party season? Wherever you are, and however you celebrate, I hope you’re all having a wonderful holiday season!

Love, Miss B xx

Photos by Amber-Rose