Botanical Blooms & Cambridge Garden Parties

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One of my favourite things about summer in Cambridge is the abundance of fabulous events that fill the calendar. The end of term May Balls (actually held in June) where the colleges are transformed into glittering all-night soirees that would make Gatsby proud, games of croquet on the lawns, Shakespeare plays in the college gardens and grand garden parties for the fellows.

The other evening - in the middle of our house-moving weekend – the Clever Boyfriend (a fellow at Kings) and I took the night off to attend the annual Kings College summer party. We put on our party clothes and cycled on our way (as any Cambridge worth their salt knows, this is the only real way to arrive at a college event) to be greeted by a college all decked out for an evening of celebration.

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There was champagne on the lawn, a candlelight supper in the great dining hall, games of Russian roulette in the library, a jazz band in the garden and a magnificent explosion of fireworks on the river.

There really is no affair quite like a Cambridge party.

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Wearing: Warehouse dress c/- (also available at ASOS + on sale at John Lewis) // Anya Hindmarch clutch bag (also on sale in gold at TheOutnet) // Miu Miu heels // Karen Walker sunglasses (also available in black) // Lulu Frost earrings (sold out, but similar style available at Net-a-PorterJ. Crew + Shopbop) // Kenneth Jay Lane pearl bracelet (sold out, but similar style available at J. Crew + Shopbop) // Mimco bracelet (old).
Beauty note: NARS ‘Angelika’ gloss (also available at Sephora + John Lewis) // Clinique ‘Curvy Candy’ Chubby Stick (also available at House of Fraser + Nordstrom) // NARS ‘Gaiety’ blush (also available at SelfridgesJohn Lewis) // Deborah Lippmann ‘Shape of my Heart’ nail polish (also available at Bloomingdale’s + Neiman Marcus). 

Love, Miss B xx

Photos by Beth Morton

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