Punting on the Cam

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One sunny Bank Holiday weekend in last month, my friends Liv and Joe were visiting Cambridge for a spring staycation. Of course, I did what any self-respecting Cambridge-resident would do: rounded up my favourite Cambridge girl Caroline and her boyfriend, Oscar, and insisted on a picnic and an afternoon of punting on the river to kick off the summer.

I cycled across town to meet the gang at St John’s, where we all traipsed through the Bridge of Sighs towards the river to borrow a punt from Caroline’s college. We all piled in, the bottles of champagne outnumber the crew, and set off on the Cam with dashing Oscar and his master punting skills at the helm.

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The sun was shining gloriously, so the afternoon melted into dusk as we floated up and down the river more times than I could count until it was time for dinner. It is quite simply the best way to see all the grand colleges along the Backs, and the three of us recounted all the marvellous historical tales we could think of as we passed each college, and made up our own stories when we couldn’t think of anything better.

It wouldn’t be a Cambridge summer without at least a few adventures by the river, and there’s no place I’d rather be on a sunny Sunday afternoon than messing about on boats with friends.

Summertime in Cambridge, you’re alright.

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Wearing: Saint James for J.Crew top // ASOS jeans // Salvatore Ferragamo pumps // Ralph Lauren blazer // Chanel bag // Tom Ford sunglasses // Chanel brooches // Michael Kors watch // J.Crew necklace.
Beauty: Chanel ‘L’Eclatante’ lipstick // NARS ‘Gaiety’ blush // Deborah Lippmann ‘Naked’ nailpolish

What are your very favourite adventures to kick off summer? I’d love to hear your traditions, old and new!

Love, Miss B xx

Photos of me by Joe Galvin

Playing Princess in Vienna

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As those who follow me on Instagram will know, I’ve just spent a lovely two weeks in Paris, Bratislava and Vienna with the Clever Boyfriend (with a brief pause at home between the two trips to unpack and repack my bags). This was my very first time to Austria, and I fell head over heels with the city; it’s grand architecture, spectacular culture and beautiful streets.*

As luck would (not) have it, it started to pour – that kind of inescapable torrential spring rain that blows sideways and upwards, melodiously pounding against the pavement for hours on end – from the minute we arrived until the moment we left. Undeterred, I donned my trench coat, a giant umbrella and a few extra baubles for good measure, and we spent the weekend skipping over puddles and dashing from galleries to cosy coffee shops and discovering all the wonderful indoor pursuits the city has to offer.

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On Saturday, we ventured to the breathtaking Schönbrunn Palace (the former summer home to the Hapsburg monarchs and the childhood home to Marie Antoinette before she became Queen of France), for what could be better on a rainy day than playing princess inside a real-life palace?

After a tour through the gorgeous state rooms – each larger and more extravagant than the last – we made the most of an interlude of sunshine and took a long stroll through the sweeping grounds; happily getting lost in the maze of hedges, making a wish at the Neptune fountain, and stopping to smell the sweet blooms in the rose garden for a lovely few hours.

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 Wearing: Coach trench coat (similar style at Shopbop) // Mulberry ‘Lily’ bag (also available at Matches + Selfridges) // Salvatore Ferragamo ‘Varina’ shoes // Carven skirt (similar styles available here + here) // ASOS shirt // Karen Walker sunglasses // Kenneth Jay Lane bracelets (sold out, but similar styles at J. Crew Shopbop) // Topshop necklace (similar stye available at BaubleBar) // Topshop brooch // Chanel ring (past season, but similar style available at Net-a-Porter) // J. Crew pearl necklace (similar faux pearl versions available at J. CrewTopshop).
Beauty note: NARS ‘Istria’ lip gloss (available at Sephora + John Lewis) // Chanel ‘May’ nail polish.

Even in the midst of all that rain, it was the perfect moment of escapism. Oh, how wonderful it must be to be a princess with a palace to call your own!

Love, Miss B xx

* Stay tuned for my mini-guide to Vienna shortly

 

August in Pictures

Weekend Notting Hill dates with Dearne, my favourite Australian girl in London (before she moved back to Melbourne). Twirling on the pastel streets and dreaming of a coloured townhouse of my own. The best brunch in London at Granger & Co on Westbourne. Watermelon gelato. Wearing ladylike skirts and pretending I’m Audrey in Roman Holiday (if only I could find Gregory Peck on a Vespa…!). Beautifully-scented new additions to my fragrance wardrobe from Jo Malone. These powder pink Ferragamo bow flats and other gorgeous new treasures. Lilac hydrangeas from the garden. Vintage jewels treasure-hunted on Portobello Road. Girl dates at Lauduree and having dessert in lieu of dinner. Soaking up the last of the summer sunshine (and then promptly losing my beloved Stella McCartney sunglasses after taking this picture). Pink peonies and this darling beaded butterfly necklace from Clara Francis via Belle & Bunty.

Strolls around Mayfair. Long lunches atop the OXO Tower with magnificent open-air views over the River Thames. Dressing rather like a 60s French schoolgirl in my favourite Carven pinafore and blush silk blouses. Miu Miu’s fabulous spectator heels to perk up Monday mornings in the office. Reaching 25,000 of you on Instagram (thank you!). Mid-week movie flashbacks to my schooldays (Clueless is still the best). Weekend trips to Columbia Road Flower Market. Iced tea and cake at Lily Vanilli. Buying giant bunches of pink peonies and hydrangeas from the charmingly cockney flower stalls.

Weekend pitstops at the farmer’s markets. Lazy afternoon picnics on the banks of the River Cam as the punts float by. Making daisy chains. Sunny weekends at grand countryside estates. Jazz bands in the garden. Games of croquet. The air filled with the smell of roses, English lavender and Annick Goutal Petite Cherie. Fond memories of my time in Washington D.C. in honour of the anniversary of Martin Luther King’s I Have a Dream speech on the mall. Roadtrips to Brighton. Exploring Brixton Village Markets. Taking a food tour of the Markets with my friend Charlotte of Betty Magazine and finding the best burgers in London at Honest Burger. Metallic Jimmy Choos fit for a modern-day Marie Antoinette. Making the most of the last days of summer.

I hope you all had a wonderful August! Don’t forget that you can follow me on Instagram for more of my daily adventures.

Love, Miss B xx

 

Weekends at the Countryside Estate

I should probably clarify that title; this is not actually my countryside estate; well, not outside my daydreams anyway. But though I may not have a sprawling mansion of my own, having sunny weekend adventures in the English countryside is one of my favourite summertime pursuits.

We really couldn’t have asked for a better summer here in England; the days long and golden and the weekends just made for languid, outdoor pursuits. On one of these golden weekends last month, my family and I piled in the car and made for the country; winding over the rolling hills and around curving country lanes lined with brambles (pausing only to allow the horses and their riders to cross our path) towards Polesden Lacey in the Surrey countryside.

We walked through the spectacular house, peering into display cabinets and imagining what Mrs Greville’s famous high society parties for the British royals, Prime Ministers and Edwardian ‘It girls’ must have been like; all lavish excess and glittering chandeliers and flowing champagne. Afterwards, we walked through the rose gardens (me sticking my nose in every bloom I passed), loitered too long on the croquet lawn and then spent the entire afternoon lazing on the sprawling lawns – the house behind us and the rolling hills stretched out in front as far as the eye could see – for a picnic (my beloved Uncle had packed one of his gourmand feasts) as a jazz band played until the sun sank low upon the hills.

Oh, how wonderful these summer weekends are! In my book, there is always room for summertime picnics and games of croquet and adventures in the countryside.

Wearing: ASOS scalloped collar shirt and floral pants (sold out, but similar styles here), Mulberry ‘Lily’ bag, Salvatore Ferragamo ‘Varina’ patent bow flats, Kenneth Jay Lane pearl bracelet (worn on each wrist), Chloe ‘Myrte’ sunglasses (similar styles available here), Jersey Pearl necklace, Alex Monroe lucky clover charm necklace, vintage brooches (similar style here). Beauty note: Chanel ‘Chance’ Rouge Coco Shine ‘Chance’ lipstick, Chanel ‘Emprise’ Le Vernies nail polish, Annick Goutal ‘Petite Cherie’ perfume. 

Do you have any favourite countryside escapes where you live? I hope you’ve all been having a wonderful summer filled with happy adventures and glorious new memories.

Love, Miss B xx