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


Cherry Blossoms and Sunshine

A couple of weeks ago, in between days and days of spring rain showers, it was one of those perfect long weekends where everything feels blissful. The skies were blue, the butterflies were fluttering, the air was thick with sunshine and the smell of blossom & lilacs and fresh grass, and I had no plans other than to go outside and enjoy spring.

A weekend this glorious called for an equally happy outfit, so I finally pulled this darling cream lace Temperley dress out of storage (where it had been sitting with the tags still attached since last year’s woefully brief summer), added a sprinkling of sparkle and a dash of blush pink for good measure (because it’s entirely acceptable to match the blossoms on the trees in spring).
I dusted off my Pashley, and the Clever Boyfriend and I went for a long wind-in-your-hair bike ride around Cambridge. We met friends for Mexican food and cocktails beside the river, lazed in the grass and went for a walk through the neighbourhood.
Cambridge is so beautiful in the springtime; the charming cobbled streets come alive with golden sunsets and professors on bicycles, punting down the River Cam becomes a favourite weekend pastime, the college gardens become the setting for parties and impromptu games of croquet and preppy students laze on the river banks reading Lord Byron in raspberry chinos. Quite simply, it couldn’t be more idyllic.
Wearing: Alice by Temperley dress (past season, but similar styles here and here), Stella McCartney sunglasses c/ Sunglasses Shop, Mulberry Lily bag and bow-tied booties (past season), Jersey Pearl necklace, Alex Monroe clover charm necklace (just seen), vintage brooch, Mimco bracelets (past season),  Jacquie Aiche heart ring. Beauty note: Essie ‘Hard to Get’ nails, MAC Viva Glam lipstick. 
I’d love to hear how you’re all spending spring (or autumn) weekends where you live!
Love, Miss B xx

May in Pictures

Enjoying all the spring pleasures of my favourite month. Buying bunches of perfect pink peonies at the market. Lunchtime picnics in the park. Cherry blossoms in full bloom. Choosing to live colourfully. Adding a dash of springtime pink and sparkle everyday. Strolling the streets of Chelsea in colourful bloom (walking a mile is more fun in glittery Miu Miu heels). Learning to make the perfect martinis and macarons with Lulu Guinness. Cocktails and Mayfair private members clubs.

Glorious sunny weekends playing tourist in my own town. Spring cleaning. Packing away the cashmere and pulling out all my favourite summer things. Wearing lace and pastels and ladylike dresses and heels. Sparkly new treasures. Bike rides and long train rides. Heading north for a weekend of castles, bookshops and hidden tea rooms in Durham. J. Crew‘s marvellous London popup shop. Lunch with Jenna Lyons (girl crush) at Caravan. Sole sisters with Lucy and Laura. Handbags and afternoon tea with Kate Spade. Always stopping to smell the darling buds of May in bloom all over the city.

Walks through meadows of wild bluebells. The streets of Cambridge lined with heavenly-scented lilac trees. My neighbourhood looking respondent in spring’s glory. Filling my home with more flowers than is necessary just because it is springtime. Lulu Frost jewels everyday (this pearl-encrusted lips collar has barely left my neck). Chanel candy. Sweet treats: rosewater cupcakes, homemade macarons (with the help of an Oh La La class) and this candy pink Lulu Guinness lips clutch. Spring produce from the farmer’s markets. Date nights at Jamie Oliver. Darling blush pink Ferragamo varina bow flats and Marc Jacobs party heels.

I hope you all had a wonderful month!

Love, Miss B xx

January Loves

Buying: I still have a thing for floral pants, and these perfect Rag & Bone pants – which will take me through to Spring, Summer and beyond – are set to be my next investment piece.

Beauty note: In England at least, January is notoriously the greyest month; nothing very exciting happens, the temperatures hover around zero, and everyone is too busy attempting to stick to their resolutions to have much fun. I’ve been making a point of countering the dull skies as best as I can, if only in the beauty stakes. A healthy dap of illuminator on the cheekbones (I would be lost without Benefit High Beam) and a pop of pink lipstick and I’m instantly more radiant (even if the skies are not).

For the home: I love a month-long New Year organising session! I’ve been sorting out my wardrobe, de-cluttering my space & making a concerted effort to be more organised. My endless ‘to do’ lists are a lot prettier with this Rifle Paper notepad.

Sparkling: I just adore whimsical golden charms, and this Kate Spade bracelet is too darling for words!

Wearing: Leopard print pumps seem to possess that elusive magic wardrobe power: the ability to work with almost any outfit. Mine (seen here) are from Kurt Geiger, but as they’re proving to be such a wardrobe staple I’m thinking of upgrading to one of these perfect versions from J. Crew or Christian Louboutin (swoon!).

On my wishlist: It’s my birthday in a few weeks, so I’m thinking of buying myself this classic + chic blush pink quilted Miu Miu clutch as a present to myself (one should always buy themselves a birthday present, in my book!)

Small pleasures: I like my underwear to be decadently beautiful, and I’ve been partaking in a big re-stocking of my lingerie drawer; out with anything that is tired, uncomfortable or unflattering and in with a big pile of beautiful new Elle McPherson, Stella McCartney and Agent Provocateur sale finds. I love these sweet Stella McCartney days of the week knickers from here or here

Watching: Grace Kelly and Cary Grant in How to Catch a Thief and dreaming of diamonds and the French Riviera circa 1955 (oh, if only life could always look this chic!)

Listening to: Let’s face it: getting out of bed when it’s still dark and cold outside can feel like one hefty challenge each day (or is that just me?). But daily playlists of Motown whilst I’m getting ready help me feel a lot perkier each morning!

Play: In preparation for my second trip to Morocco this weekend, I’ve been swotting up on my Wallpaper Guide to Marrakech. I am absurdly excited for a few days of sunshine, camel rides, wonderful food, the exotic smells and colours and the hubbub of the souks!

What are you most enjoying this month?

Love, Miss B xx