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 December heatwaves and garden parties have been replaced by the kind of festive pursuits I used to dream about growing up.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

Pastel Streets and Pink Coats

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If my Instagram feed the past week is anything to go by, the only thing we should all be wearing now that December has arrive is a combination of red, plaid and cream aran knits. But while I love a little tartan – and I’m certainly not opposed to a sartorial cliche or two – I prefer invest in the sort of pieces I know I’ll be able to wear all season long and that won’t feel entirely passé come January. For me, a chic party dress and a classic coat beats a scratchy Christmas sweater any day.

Although blush pink is my favourite colour, I used to think it was just for spring and summer. But the past couple of years, it has established itself as a year-round favourite in my wardrobe. A pink coat might not seem like the most practical choice for winter, but it’s actually the piece I reach for the most once it’s too cold for a nude trench coat (my autumn staple). Aside from blush and navy, I don’t actually wear much colour, and a pink coat seems to instantly brighten an otherwise all-black outfit and add a pop of much-needed colour on a grey winter day and feels subtly festive at this time of year.

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Although I already have several pink coats in my wardrobe, I fell for this blush version the moment I spotted it at Whistles. I resisted for a few weeks (on the very rational basis that I didn’t need a sixth pink coat), but then reasoned that as I wear a coat every day for five months of the year in England, buying a couple of lovely new options each winter was a sensible investment. Because really, life is too short and winter too long to settle for boring coats.

And I’m happy to say that on a cost-per-wear basis alone, the coat has already earned it’s place in my closet. I added a couple of these darling crystal brooches to make it resemble this Kate Spade version I was also fantasising about, and have been teaming it with a black dress and heels for work and appointments, and cashmere sweaters and over-the-knee boots for errands and weekend outings. Bonus points for the big pockets and the classic cocoon cut that makes me feel instantly more pulled-together.

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Wearing: Whistles coat // Ted Baker dress // Kate Spade heels // Coach bag (fuchsia version on sale here) // J.Crew bag charm // Celine sunglasses c/- SmartBuyGlasses // Topshop crystal brooches // Michael Kors watch // Kenneth Jay Lane earrings (inexpensive version here) // Z for Accessorize crystal ring c/- // ASOS horseshoe ring.

Beauty: Marc Jacobs ‘King & Kisses’ blush // Charlotte Tilbury ‘Kim K.W.’ lipstick // Chanel ‘Pink Rubber’ nailpolish. 

What are your favourite non-festive winter staples for this time of year?

Love, Miss B xx

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Photos by Joe Galvin

By Invitation: A Night in New York with Michael Bublé (+ a Competition)

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As those who follow me on Twitter and Instagram will have seen, a little while ago I was invited to New York to join Michael Bublé to mark the launch of his debut fragrance, By Invitation, and new album. And when Michael Bublé calls, you definitely answer (and jump on the next trans-Atlantic flight). Regular readers will know my that New York is one of my true loves (I’ve been every year for the past 7 years), but this was definitely one for the books.

After spending our first day ticking off as many of our favourite New York things as we could, on the second day we were treated to a fragrance masterclass with renowned perfumer Karine Dubreuil-Sereni, who worked alongside Bublé to create By Invitation. I’m a bit of a fragrance obsessive, so it was so wonderful to learn about the complexity of the fragrance notes (from precious white musk to cassis and red roses) and the process that goes into creating a perfume. Truthfully, I normally avoid ‘celebrity’ fragrances at all costs so was worried I wouldn’t like this one, but it is honestly gorgeous; feminine but not saccharine, classic and yet modern. Mr Bublé summed it up by saying that if he were to pass a gorgeous woman on the street, this is the smell he would want to catch as he passed. I’ve been wearing it constantly since autumn (I especially love it spritzed into my hair or on a scarf so that it lingers all day), and am always getting asked what I’m wearing.

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My friend Hayley and I were lucky enough to get to spend time with the man himself in the afternoon, and he is quite probably the most charming man I have ever met (lovely, kind, handsome and hilarious in equal measure). Needless to say, my long-standing Bublé crush went up a few notches (sorry, fiancé!). Afterwards, we hopped to DryBar for a blowout (when in New York…) before headed back to the iconic Hotel Edison to get ready for the evening.

Downstairs, the ballroom had been transformed into an intimate jazz club (scented with By Invitation, of course), where we were serenaded by Mr Bublé and that voice. I grew up idolising the glamour of the stage and the old jazz crooners, so getting all dressed up and running through a glittering Times Square to hear Bublé perform at the iconic Edison Ballroom will definitely go down as one of my favourite New York moments to date.

A Girl, A Style _ Times SquareA Girl, A Style _ Times SquareWearing: Self Portrait dress (similar style here) // Whistles sandals (sold out, but similar style here) // Chanel bag // Kenneth Jay Lane bracelets (similar style here) // J.Crew necklace (faux pearl version here) // Lulu Frost earrings.
Beauty: Charlotte Tilbury lipstick in ‘Bosworth’s Beauty’ // Deborah Lippmann nail polish in ‘La Vie en Rose’ // NARS blush in ‘Gaiety‘.

Thank you, Mr Bublé for the most magical evening in New York City!

Love, Miss B xx

Any fellow Bublé fans out there? I’m giving away a bottle of the gorgeous new ‘By Invitation’ fragrance signed by Mr Bublé himself, just in time for Christmas! Just comment below letting me know why you should win and I’ll choose and announce the winner on the 2nd December.

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I was flown to New York courtesy of Michael Bublé and ‘By Invitation’. Photos of me by Bang on Style (thank you, Debs!)

My Week, My Style

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One of the best parts of reaching my thirties is that – for the most part – I’ve figured out what I like, and what works for me; both in style, as in life (there were some seriously questionable periods in my teens and early twenties when, trying to find my own identity, I embraced every new trend with varying degrees of failure). By now, I know that my look is part Parisian romantic-meets-uptown feminine, part Oxbridge preppy; classic, but always with a fun twist.

But just as I’m not defined by any one thing, I want my wardrobe to be as adaptable as I am to keep up with my strange double-life and whatever my schedule throws up each week. So when Boden, one of my favourite British brands (and always one of my Go-To’s for chic workwear, breton tops and the cosiest cashmere), asked me to show how I dress for my week – whatever that looks like – I was only too happy to oblige.

Read how I style my week below, and the full profile over on the Boden page.

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Wearing: Sally coat // Lovely sweater // Sophia shirtdress // Drawstring bag // Court shoes  (all items c/- Boden)

Weekday:

As long-time readers probably know, this blog is not my sole-professional pursuit (obviously; otherwise I might actually manage to post more than once per week…!). Whereas most of my internet pals have long since quit their jobs to blog full-time, it’s important to me to maintain both of my passions, which is why to this day I still fly the ‘slashie’ flag and maintain my political career. Yes, it probably makes me the most peculiar blogger at Fashion Week (and I’m fairly sure I win the annual award for most pink worn in Westminster, ever), but I prefer to make my own rules when it comes to my professional path.

But while I mean business, I don’t believe in playing by boring sartorial rules of sartorial dressing. Unless I have a very important meeting or have overdosed on ‘The West Wing‘ the night before, you’ll rarely find me in a suit; instead I favour sharp tailored trousers, feminine blouses, and a faithful collection of go-anywhere LBDs teamed with accessories that make it my own. Hey, if leopard print heels are good enough for our new Prime Minister…

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Wearing: Abingdon trench coat // Carolyn dress // Saddle bag // Court shoes // Sadie sunglasses (all items c/- Boden)

Weekend:

By the time the weekend rolls around, I can’t wait to see the back of the weekday commute and stay put in my neighbourhood for a couple of days. Cambridge is especially perfect in the Autumn, and this time of year is usually a glorious mix of weekends spent lazing in secret gardens, punting on the river, outdoor performances of Shakespeare and start-of-term college events with my boyfriend.

I’ve probably watched ‘Love Story‘ one too many times lately, but I’m really feeling that preppy 70s Ivy League vibe this season. I love how the tan saddle bag and tasselled boots add a new (old) twist on my usual Autumnal weekend-in-Cambridge uniform of preppy navy blazers + breton stripes.

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Wearing: Navy tweed blazer // Soho jeans // Striped breton top // Suede boots // Saddle bag // Selma sunglasses (all items c/- Boden)

Please tell me I’m not the only one around here with a strange double-life (and the dichotomous wardrobe to match)? I’d love to hear how you all divide your time between your professional and personal pursuits!

Love, Miss B xx

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Post in partnership with Boden #MyWeek. Photos by Joe Galvin