7 Things To Do In July

A Girl, A Style _ July

 
1. Have a weekend adventure. Plan a fun day or weekend trip with your best friends. Spend the day at the coast, explore another city nearby, or escape to the countryside. I’m planning a weekend in Oxford and a trip to the English seaside with girlfriends.

2. Stop to smell the roses (both literally and figuratively). This is one of the most beautiful times of the year, so don’t forget to take a moment to appreciate the beautiful moments; the feel of the breeze on a hot day, the beauty of a summertime sunset, the smell of the roses that bloom in the gardens you pass on your way home.

3. Buy yourself a fabulous pair of sunglasses, in honour of the sunshine. I’ve been wearing my favourite Karen Walker pair on repeat, and they magically seem to make every outfit a little bit better.

4. Take in an outdoor show. Make the most of these precious, sunny evenings and get a cultural fix outside. On my schedule: Shakespeare in a secret college garden at sunset (one of my favourite annual Cambridge traditions), jazz in the park and watching a movie beneath the stars at an outdoor cinema. (Take a blanket, a picnic and someone to snuggle up to.)

5. Spend a sunny afternoon dreaming + making plans. As we are now half-way through the year (!), now is the perfect opportunity to step back and assess how the year is going. Find a window in your schedule one afternoon, settle in a shady spot outside, and spend a peaceful moment just watching the clouds as they lazily float by. Think about the goals you set at the start of the year, about how this year has been thus far, and about the dreams you have for the rest of the year. Make plans to set in motion the actions you need to take to make those dreams a reality (and to make the rest of this year as great as it can be).

6. Surprise someone you adore with a thoughtful letter. Instead of just emailing, take the time to write a beautifully-penned letter or put together a thoughtful package to brighten up someone’s letter box. (I stock up on gorgeous Rifle Paper Co. notecards in the Selfridges stationery hall; they make letter-writing a joy.)

7. Hunt down the best gelato in town. Work your way through all the best ice cream places in town to find your favourite (because what’s summer without ice cream?). Personally, I’m still trying to find a version in London that is as good as the orange blossom gelato from Cibo in Adelaide, Australia and the apricot sorbet from Maison Berthillon in Paris.

I’d love to hear how you plan to make the most of the month!

Love, Miss B xx

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Summertime Pursuits

Here in England, we have been blessed with the longest, warmest summer I can recall since I moved here. The sun has been shining solidly for a month, the days are long and hot and the balmy evenings are made for languid, outdoor lazing in parks or by the water. Many of my happiest memories have been made in golden summer moments, so I plan to make the most of every sunny day for the season. Here are a few of the ways I’ll be spending the summertime:

1. Take a trip to the seaside. Growing up in Australia, most mornings started with a swim in the sea or a weekend at the beach, so to me, it just wouldn’t be summertime without a few seaside adventures. If you don’t live near the coast (as I don’t in Cambridge), then make a road trip out of it and take a weekend trip to the seaside for sunshine, sand and ice cream.

2. Throw a garden party or picnic. If you’re lucky enough to have a garden of your own, then gather all your friends and throw a summer garden party. Otherwise, pack a basket of snacks, a bottle of champagne and some fun activities and head to the park for a fabulous picnic. Bonus points for a round of croquet or bocce on the lawn.

3. Master a signature summer cocktail. You don’t have to be an expert mixologist, but everyone should be able to serve up at least one signature cocktail. Master a drink or two that you love (mine is a rosewater and lychee or pear and elderflower martini) and have your friends around for a summer cocktail party.

4. Wear bright lipstick. Summer is the perfect time to have a little fun with your makeup. Move on from Spring’s pastels and try bright colours you wouldn’t normally wear. I’ve been playing with bright pink lips or cobalt mascara paired with dewy sunkissed skin, messy buns and my favourite summery perfumes.

5. Go on a boating adventure. When the sun is shining, there is nowhere more pleasurable to be than on the water. If you don’t count someone who has a yacht among your friends (and if you do, lucky you!), then hire a rowboat or a punt, take surfing lessons or go wild swimming in a lake for an adventure on the water. If all else fails, then don your favourite swimsuit and your biggest shades and spend the whole day at the best pool you can find. I’ll be punting in Cambridge, rowing on Regent Park lake or having a pool party in Cambridge.

6. Have fun outdoors. I figure that when the temperatures are soaring, exercise might as well be fun. Learn to salsa dance, play tennis, take up surfing or go for a hike. I’ll be taking my Pashley out for long bike rides around Cambridge.

7. Watch jazz or theatre in the park. In summer, I’ll take any excuse to be outside on balmy evenings, so I include my cultural outings in this. Most cities have a wonderful programme of outdoor cinema, jazz, theatre, performances or festivals in green spaces. I’ll be going to the rooftop cinema at The Varsity by the river in Cambridge, jazz on the lawns at countryside estates with my family and watching Shakespeare in the gardens.

8. Pick your own strawberries. To me, one of the best things about summer is the abundance of delicious fresh fruit and produce (I’ve been practically living on a diet of cherries and nectarines the past few weeks). Head to a pick-your-own farm and fill a basket with sun-ripened berries or cherries and eat them just as they are or turn them into homemade jams and tarts.

9. Go to the zoo. Spend a day doing the things you used to love doing as a child. Go to the zoo, the aquarium or the funfair. Buy an ice cream, go on the rides and smile at the animal enclosures. I’ll be going to the Friday night lates at the London Zoo for monitors and monkeys.

10. Eat lobster + champagne. Head to the coast or marketplace near you for the freshest summer seafood, then throw a simple yet luxe lobster and champagne dinner party. Perfect!

Now, if anyone needs me, I’ll be having a picnic in the garden…!

What are some of your favourite activities to do at this time of year? I hope you’re all having a wonderful summer so far!

Love, Miss B xx

 

Glittering Festivities

Here in England, I’ve been in fully-fledged festive mode for the past week. Despite long hours in the office each day, I’ve been cramming in nightly playings of all my favourite festive tunes (Frank, Bing and Dean), having cosy Christmas movie marathons (It’s a Wonderful Life, Home Alone, Love Actually, A Muppet Christmas Carol…), ice skating (badly) at the outdoor rink, wearing glitter and sparkles with everything, and generally making the most of this wonderful time of the year.

Last weekend, I met up with some of my favourite blog friends for an all-day festive girl date. We began with shopping and the Christmas windows at Liberty (my favourite London department store), black cab rides in the rain, walks through the West End (amidst, inexplicably, thousands of chaps dressed as Santa), afternoon cocktails overlooking Trafalgar Square, dinner at the National Gallery and my very favourite Christmas tradition, the English National Ballet’s performance of The NutcrackerAs well as those festive rituals I already treasure each year, I love the English Christmas traditions I’m now making my own; the novelty Christmas jumper (which is simultaneously fun and hideously bad taste) – this bedazzled version is my 2012 version, mulled wine, and hearing the glorious choir sing carols from Kings College in Cambridge.

Now, I’m tucked inside my family’s place in London for a few nights of cosy laziness, too much of my Uncle’s good food, walks along the Thames and board game marathons until midnight.

And with that, I wish you all a very happy festive season (whatever you celebrate).

Wearing: Topshop crystal-embellished jumper, Uniqlo oxford shirt, Witchery skirt (old), Chanel shoes, 2.55 bag and crystal ring, Mimco necklace and clear bangle, Michael Kors Paris watch, Lulu Frost for J. Crew bracelet, bow hair clip from Tokyo, Chanel ‘Malice’ nail polish, Mac ‘Ruby Woo’ lipstick, the smile of an excited child at Christmas.

Love, Miss B xx

 

London: Tim Walker’s Fashion Fairytale

Yesterday morning, I had a breakfast date with Mulberry and Tim Walker to celebrate the launch of Tim’s Story Teller exhibition at Somerset House. It has been a whirlwind of a week (in a wonderful way), and I couldn’t think of a lovelier way to start a busy day in Parliament than by escaping into the fantasy worlds of my favourite English brand and my favourite photographer.

For those not immediately familiar with his work (though I’m certain you all will have seen his work within the covers of Vogue), Tim is a fashion photographer unlike any other. Unsatisfied by the easy aesthetic appeal of a beautiful girl in a beautiful dress, Tim creates fantastical fairytales driven by the most elaborate narratives. Imagine if your wildest childhood daydreams of gargantuan dolls and animated woodland creatures became a reality, throw in a sprinkling of couture, and you’re on the right page.

If you find yourself in London between now and January, I can’t recommend a visit to the exhibition enough. I don’t want to give everything away, suffice to say the exhibition is a showcase of many of Tim’s most beautiful portraits and editorials, all brought to life by many of his most extravagant props (of the grandest proportions) that will make you squeal with delight. I had only intended to stop by the exhibition for the briefest period (given the fact I was meant to be in about six places at once), but I was so caught up in the view of the world as seen through Tim’s extraordinary lens that, like Alice in her Wonderland, I fell down that rabbit hole and wasn’t sure when I wanted to return to reality.

Eventually, return to reality I did. I bid one last ‘cheerio’ to the human-sized bumble bee playing a double bass (obviously) and skipped back to Westminster, inspired by Tim to keep that lens through which I view the world permanently rose-tinted.

I’d love to hear about any wonderful exhibitions you’ve been visiting lately!

Love, Miss B xx

Story Teller, the exhibition is supported by Mulberry and is on at Somerset House, London from today until 27th January 2013 (daily between 10:00-18:00) and admission is free. Somerset House will also be screening a number of classic films, curated by Tim, throughout the duration of the exhibition. The Story Teller book is available on Amazon here.