Candy

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It has been quite the hectic week around here, with extra levels of busyness and not a moment to spare. So by Friday afternoon, I was completely worn out and in need of a little playfulness. While the sensible thing to do would have been to go straight home after work to tend to my bulging ‘to do’ list, my equally over-busy best friend and I decided that a speed date was just what was needed.

So I swapped my tuxedo jacket and Chanel bag for this darling little clutch that looks like a box of humbugs (please tell me I’m not the only one who keeps a mini accessories wardrobe in my desk drawer for desk-date transformations?) and raced straight from the office to our favourite tiny Italian place in town (where you can always count on the strong coffee and a steady stream of compliments from the charming Italian staff). One quick pit stop at the old-fashioned sweet shop around the corner (to satisfy our sudden cravings for nostalgic sweets my Lulu clutch had brought on) later, and it was home again to tackle that ‘to do’ list (including packing for the weekend in Paris!) with fresh enthusiasm.

Sometimes, there is much to be said for adding a little dose of playfulness (whether in the form of sweet shop dates, or just accessories that look like sweets) in the midst of the most hectic moments.

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Wearing: Diane von Furstenberg top (now on sale on The Outnet + in a dress version here) // Current/Elliott jeans (also available at ASOS + Shopbop) // Lulu Guinness ‘Chloe’ clutch c/- (also available at ASOS + House of Fraser + Luisa via Roma) // Prada heels (past season, but similar styles available at ShopbopASOSVestiaire Collective) // Mimco ring // vintage sunglasses.
Beauty note: Chanel Rouge Allure lipstick // Nars ‘Angelika’ lip gloss c/- (available at Selfridges + John Lewis) // Chanel ‘May’ nail polish.

How do you add a little fun to your week when things are getting hectic?

Love, Miss B xx

P.S. To celebrate their sweetie-inspired SS’14 collection, Lulu Guinness is giving fans the chance to win a £1000 shopping spree! Until Wednesday 7th May there will be humbugs hidden across the website, in the brand’s London stores, and on Instagram. Once you’ve found a humbug, enter the competition here. Hint: don’t forget to follow me on Instagram

Sponsored post in partnership with Lulu Guinness

Jewels at Claridges

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I’m not sure about you, but when I look my best I feel I can conquer anything. I know so many people who buy fabulous things (be it a party dress, gorgeous jewellery, beautiful perfume or even the finest china), only to “save them for a special occasion” and instead spend the day in things which make them feel lacklustre. In my view, life is just too short to feel anything but your best.

Personally, I’m never one to wait for an excuse to dress up or to be too concerned by dressing ‘sensibly’; you won’t ever find me in a pair of sweat pants, for example. But putting on lipstick and jewels to run errands around town, teaming a pair of jeans with some fabulous heels or creating a reason to get dressed up and have an adventure? Absolutely!

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This was just an ordinary weekday in London, but by adding a swipe of red lipstick and a few extra jewels to counteract the grey skies, and swapping an office-appropriate blazer and black pumps for glittery Miu Miu heels for coffee at Claridges after work, it felt a little more fabulous.

Because, really, life is the special occasion, so why let your treasured possessions sit in a cupboard gathering dust when should enjoy them every day?

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Wearing: Camilla & Marc top (sold out, but similar styles available at ASOS + The Outnet) // J.Brand coated jeans (available at Shopbop + Net-a-Porter) // Miu Miu heels // Jimmy Choo ‘Candy’ clutch (sold out, but available in gold glitter at Net-a-Porter or champagne at Jimmy Choo) // Miu Miu sunglasses (available at Sunglass Hut + Sunglasses ShopJohn Lewis) // Kenneth Jay Lane necklace // Kenneth Jay Lane bracelets (sold out, but similar style available at J.Crew) // Chanel ring (past season, but similar styles available here + here).
Beauty note: Estee Lauder ‘Pure Colour Vivid Shine’ lipstick (available at Selfridges + Sephora) // Estee Lauder ‘Modern Muse’ perfume (available at Selfridges + Nordstrom + Neiman Marcus) // MAC ‘Dollymix’ blush.

Sometimes, you just have to put on your lipstick and make your own adventures; you’ve got everywhere to go!

Love, Miss B xx

Photos by Michelle Bobb-Parris

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

 

Brighton Rock

As an (half) Australian, I’m fairly certain I have an affection for the beach genetically coded in my DNA structure. Growing up, the long summers would be filled with early morning swims in the ocean, sunsets spent collecting shells or lying on the sand and school excursions spent learning to sail or snorkel off the coast. The sand is always fluffy and white, the water blue and the days hot enough that lying on the beach in a bikini is logical.

By contrast England, for all its great virtues, is not so blessed on the oceanic front. The water looks sort of cold and steely, instead of fluffy sand there are actual pebbles, and where there should be tiny little alfresco cafes and juice bars there are usually fun fair rides and old-fashioned sweets shops and the garish sound of retro arcade games. But you know what? It’s those colourful stripey deckchairs (for lounging on in lieu of white sand), the sound of those vintage rides, the smell of ice cream and boiled sweets, and the British determination to ‘make do’ and enjoy what they’ve got no matter the weather that makes the English seaside so wonderful.

Because there is no beach near London or Cambridge, the Clever Boyfriend and I had never, in our four and a half years living here, taken a trip to the English seaside before (although I had been with my friend Amanda back here and with my family when I was younger). So one sunny weekend last month, we headed to London to collect my cousin and then took a roadtrip down to Brighton (the only way a roadtrip should be done: with the sunroof down and the stereo blaring the perfect summer sountrack) to educate the Boyfriend on the charms of the British seaside.

Obviously, I donned pastels and deckchair stripes; because matching your surroundings is fun and that’s just the kind of girl I am (and because this dress – which I’ve worn more times this summer than I should probably admit – reminds me of Grace Kelly cruising up the French Riviera in the 50s). We piled out of the car, strolled through the gardens of Brighton Pavillion and walked past the faded pastel buildings that line the shore all the way to Hove, the next seaside town along the coast for lunch. After our fill of fish and chips at the Regency (because is there anything else to eat at the seaside?), we walked back towards Brighton pier along the pebbly shore (the Clever Boyfriend tried his best not to be too offended by the absence of sand); past sunbathers (trying to get a suntan – even though the sun had by then disappeared behind the clouds – in the way only Englishmen do) and seagulls and a vintage carousel filling the air with its hurdy-gurdy tunes as it twirled and twirled upon the shore.

I pestered the boys like an irritating small child until they relented and bought me the biggest ice cream they could find (yes!), and afterwards we walked along the boardwalk to the pier. We passed the fairy floss stands and retro neon lights and the 1950s penny arcade games and bought sticks of Brighton Rock to suck as we leaned against the railings to watch the waves lapping at the pier below.

Wearing: River Island dress c/, Mulberry ‘Lily’ bag, Stella McCartney sunglasses c/ Sunglasses Shop, Lulu Frost necklace via J. Crew (similar styles here), Jersey Pearl necklace, Mimco bracelets and hair bobbles (past season), Jacquie Aiche heart ring via Shopbop, Anya Hindmarch ‘Lucky Sixpence’ coin purse (past season but similar styles here and here), vintage London souvenir scarf, Nails Inc ‘Cambridge’ nailpolish (similar shade here). 

Afterwards, we drove home tired and sunkissed and happy. For it’s certainly not a natural beauty, but the English seaside is so fun and charming regardless.

Please do share your favourite beaches in the comments!

Love, Miss B xx