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.
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.
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!
I’m not ready to say farewell to summer just yet, so I’ve been filling my days with sunshine, bike rides and an abundance of colour and sparkle; whether in the form of a pop of bright pink lipstick against tanned skin, boxes of juicy Cambridge strawberries or cherries from the market for picnics by the river, a spritz of a favourite summery scent, or big bunches of flowers from the garden or flower stall.
Here are a few of my favourite summertime treasures of late: floral-scented Diptyque candles and bunches of pink roses, peonies and hydrangeas in every room; favourite new blush pink Ferragamo flats (that have walked all over London, Cambridge and Oxford with me all summer long); vintage jewels treasure-hunted in tiny antique shops and on Portobello Road; a favourite new perfume from Jo Malone; sparkly Miu Miu heels (that magically seem to work with almost every outfit I own); a sweet Anya Hindmarch makeup purse; nail polishes in every shade of petal pink from Chanel and Estée Lauder; this wildly impractical yet entirely fabulous lips clutch from Lulu Guinness.
What are some of your current favourite pastimes and treasures?
Sunny days and golden evenings all month long. Indulging in all my favourite summertime pursuits. Picnics in the park. Escaping the heat of London with weekends at grand country estates with my family. Lazing on the lawns with views over the rolling English countryside as a live jazz band plays. Bumblebees and English gardens. Games of croquet. Buying the last peonies of the season and picking the first roses from the garden. Orange blossom macarons and rose milkshakes in the sunshine at Laduree. Playing tourist in London. Lunchtime bike rides from Parliament through the leafy streets of Mayfair. After-work strolls through Soho.
Throwing open all the windows and summer-fying my home. Floral-scented Diptyque candles in every room. Pink hydrangeas and sweetly-scented roses fresh from the garden brightening up every available surface. Adding this fantastical Graham & Green (one of my go-to sites for gorgeous statement homewares) ‘B’ light to my bedroom. Relaxing brunch dates at home. Pink Chanel manicures. Adding a dash of fun to otherwise casual outfits with this Lulu Guinness lips clutch. The smell of my favourite Jo Malone perfume on sunkissed skin. Pink sunglasses and vintage brooches. Ice cream dates with my friend Charlotte (who happens to be Editor of the excellent and darling Betty Magazine). Stocking up on decadent snacks before movie night (Marilyn Monroe in How to Marry a Millionaire is currently making me smile) at my favourite Cambridge chocolate shop.
Window shopping on Bond Street. Summertime fashion soirees. Playing dressup at TheOutnet with Natalie. People watching in Berkeley Square. Sun-ripened English strawberries fresh from the market. Summer staycations. Roadtripping to Oxford with my bestie. Dreaming spires, preppy graduates and midnight strolls through the cobbled streets of the ‘Other Place’ (as Cambridge and Oxford affectionately refer to each other). Shoe-lust in Liberty and Selfridges. Shakespeare in the college gardens in Cambridge. Lazing on the banks of the River Cam and watching the punts drift by.