How To Ace Summer

A Girl, A Style _ How to Ace SummerWe are half-way through August, which means there is just over a month left until the end of summer in the Northern Hemisphere. This is the best season of the year, so don’t let it pass you by without extracting every last drop of fun from these long, sunny days. Here’s my guide to how to win at summer (even if you don’t have a vacation booked):

1. Have an adventure. Travel to a new place or have a fun weekend getaway with your girlfriends. Explore a new city, go to a festival, spend a weekend on the coast, or go camping in the countryside.

2. Get outdoors. Make the most of these long summer evenings and get outside whenever you can. Cycle to work instead of taking the subway, dine al fresco at sunset, watch an outdoor play, visit an outdoor cinema for to see a favourite movie beneath the stars or listen to a jazz band in the park.

3. Dance all night. Every summer should include at least one extravagant party. Get all dressed up, drink champagne, kiss beneath fireworks and dance until the small hours.

4. Play tourist. Don’t let the tourist have all the fun in your own city. Visit the sights, go to the zoo, take in a show or try the hottest new restaurant or rooftop bar in town.

5. Throw a picnic. I take any excuse to have a picnic outside, but every summer I try to have at least one especially wonderful version complete with the best food, good company and a round of croquet or punting on the river afterwards.

6. Build the ultimate summer playlist. Make the perfect soundtrack to accompany those summer adventures. Mine is filled with everything from the Beach Boys and Brigitte Bardot to Phoenix and Vampire Weekend and evokes fond memories of summer bike rides and beach days (and my imaginary summer in California).

7. Take to the water. Head to the pool to practice your swan dive (or cannonball), rent a rowboat on the lake or, better yet, make friends with someone who owns a yacht and set sail into the sunset.

8. Host an impromptu dinner party. On an evening when you have no other plans, gather your favourite people for a summer party at home. Decorate with bright flowers, put together a make-your-own taco or pizza bar, play your favourite tunes and serve up homemade lemonade or frozen cocktails.

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9. Work on your green thumb. Even if you only have a tiny windowsill or balcony, make the most of the sunshine and try growing your own basil, mint or hydrangeas. Guaranteed smugness when you make a salad with your own herbs.

10. Have a beach day. Grab your brightest towel, your strongest SPF and your favourite swimsuit and spend the day splashing about at the sea. Bonus points for beach hair and silly photos.

11. Visit the farmer’s market. Go for brunch at your favourite cafe and then head to the farmer’s market to stock up on summer berries, peaches and the biggest bunch of hydrangeas or sunflowers you can find.

12. Ride a bike. If you don’t have your own set of wheels, rent a couple of bikes and spend the day cycling out to the prettiest spot outside your town (I’m planning to cycle to the Grantchester meadows or the Hitchin lavender farm in Cambridgeshire).

13. Find the best lobster rolls or ice cream in town. I’ve taken this one step further and bought an ice cream maker with my neighbour so that we can make our own ice cream flavours as often as we want (my favourite so far is peach and orange blossom).

14. Make like an aristocrat. Head to the grandest estate near where you like and spend the afternoon strolling the gardens, having tea in the orangerie or playing croquet on the lawns.

15. Spend a day in the park. Feed the ducks, watch the clouds drift by and and make a dent in your summer reading list.

I’d love to know your favourite things to do in summer! How do you plan to spend the rest of the season?

Love, Miss B xx

Heat Wave

A Girl, A Style _ West Village NYCA Girl, A Style _ Heat Wave 3

As a girl raised in Australia, I love the heat of summer. Until I moved to England, my wardrobe consisted entirely of dresses, shorts, and breezy blouses (and I only owned one coat that I think I wore a total of three times a year). Because wardrobe habits die hard, I still rather optimistically over-shop for summer in the hopes that we’ll have a long, hot summer that will stretch on for months on end. This being England it never works out that way, but when we do have a heat wave, at least I’m always the one prepared.

A Girl, A Style _ Zimmermann Porcelain DressA Girl, A Style _ West Village NYA Girl, A Style _ J Crew Garden Party Bracelet

I wore this outfit for a long-day of sightseeing in New York, followed by dinner al fresco in Soho with friends. It has all the elements of my perfect summer outfit: start with a breezy dress (so much prettier than tiny hemlines or anything too-tight and bonus points for built-in airflow when it’s too hot for waistbands), add flat sandals that can take you anywhere, a cross-body handbag (to leave you hands free for bike rides and iced coffees), and a few jewels to add interest (and because I feel naked otherwise). Add big sunglasses and bright lipstick in lieu of full makeup and you’re set for anything.

Even though I don’t live in Australia anymore, I still uphold my tradition of buying a Zimmermann dress each summer (because no one does summer dressing better than the Australians), and this one has quickly become a favourite; I’ve been wearing it every week and it is perfect for everything from casual fridays in the office and dinner in the city to weekend adventures and picnics in the park when the sun strikes (because it’s black and I can machine wash it, I can happily mistreat it – because summer is too short to be precious with your clothes).

A Girl, A Style _ Heat Wave

 Wearing: Zimmermann dress (sold out, but similar style on sale here) // Mulberry bag // Dune sandals (also in black here) // Lulu Frost necklace (past season, but similar style here) // J. Crew bracelets // Lulu Frost ring (now on sale) // Alex Monroe ‘love’ ring // ASOS pearl ring // J. Crew earrings (similar style here) // Vintage sunglasses (similar style here).

Beauty: Clinique ‘Wow’ pop lip lipstick // Nars ‘Gaiety’ blush // Essie ‘Go Ginza’ nailpolish.

Love, Miss B xx

Photos by Lydia Hudgens

Breton Stripes & Boyfriend Jeans

A Girl, A Style _ Breton Stripes + Boyfriend Jeans 2  A Girl, A Style _ Breton Stripes + Boyfriend Jeans 6

Summer is on its way out in England, and I’m trying to make the most of these last balmy evenings before they disappear for the year. Of all my beloved Cambridge pastimes, there is little I adore more than lazy summer evenings spent idling on the River Cam. At Kings (the grandest of all the colleges), the river bank is not accessible to the general public, so we usually have the entire stretch of bank to ourselves.

Often, I’ll meet the Clever Boyfriend there after work, and we will have a picnic for supper, stretched out on the grass with cheese and strawberries from the market and some bread to feed to the resident swans (who always come to say hello).

A Girl, A Style _ Breton Stripes + Boyfriend Jeans 8A Girl, A Style _ Breton Stripes + Boyfriend Jeans 4A Girl, A Style _ Breton Stripes + Boyfriend Jeans 5

As we sit there together in the shade of the willow trees – the Kings chapel swooping into the sunset in front of us, the college cows grazing in the grass behind, and the punts floating up the river at our feet – it always feels more like a perfect literary moment from an entirely different era than real life.

A Girl, A Style _ Breton Stripes + Boyfriend Jeans 9A Girl, A Style _ Breton Stripes + Boyfriend Jeans 7

Wearing: Petit Bateau top c/- (also available at Urban Outfitters) // Current Elliott boyfriend jeans (also available at ASOS + Net-a-Porter) // Chanel bag // Mulberry heels (past season but similar style here + here) // Miu Miu sunglasses (also available at Bloomingdale’s + John Lewis) // J. Crew pearls (also available in a less-expensive faux pearl version) // J. Crew crystal necklace // Bauble Bar necklace c/- // Kenneth Jay Lane pearl bracelet (sold out, but similar style available at J. Crew + Shopbop) // Mimco bracelet (past season).
Beauty note: Chanel ‘Extatique’ lipstick // NARS ‘Orgasm’ blush (also available at John Lewis) // Essie ‘Muchi Muchi’ nail polish (also available at Target + Liberty). 

Love, Miss B xx

Photos by Beth Morton

Botanical Blooms & Cambridge Garden Parties

A Girl, A Style _ The Garden Party 3A Girl, A Style _ The Garden Party

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.

A Girl, A Style _ The Garden Party 4A Girl, A Style _ The Garden Party 5A Girl, A Style _ The Garden Party 6

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.

A Girl, A Style _ The Garden Party 2

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