Valentino Dresses and Autumn Leaves

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A couple of weeks ago, I had just returned from New York and was in need of caffeine and a girl date to help overcome my jetlag. My friend had just received some excellent news, so I put on my favourite new dress and we met for hot cocoa and cake at a charming new café in Cambridge to celebrate.

As it was such a beautiful day and Cambridge was looking so splendid in all it’s autumnal glory, we walked through the colleges after lunch to savour those perfect last moments of autumn. The last of the leaves seemed to be swirling on the breeze and falling that weekend, blanketing all the college gardens in a carpet of red and gold.

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As usual, we had my friend’s secret fellows garden all to ourselves (a heavenly escape from the tourists in the form of an acre of sprawling lawns and manicured English flower gardens and a canopy of old trees behind her grand college), so there was only one thing to do: act like children and throw autumn leaves at each other for the rest of the afternoon.

This dress had been on my wishlist for months and months (I have a RED Valentino addiction), so I finally bought it the moment it went on sale on Shopbop. I realise that a Valentino dress this special should really be reserved for dinner at nice restaurants and birthday parties and nights at the theatre rather than throwing leaves and twirling through Cambridge colleges, but I live by the motto that one’s favourite things should be enjoyed every day. So – true to my word – I wore it to the museum and for a rainy afternoon on the Upper East Side when I was in New York a few weeks ago, for a long walk through Central Park, at brunch with my friend at the Delaunay in London, paired with a black tuxedo jacket at the office, and just about everywhere in between.

Because really, life feels that little bit more wonderful when you’re wearing a dress that makes you want to twirl.

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Wearing: RED Valentino dress (also available at Net-a-Porter) // J. Crew Necklace // Jacquie Aiche ring // Isabel Marant ‘Poppy’ heels (also available at Matches or similar (cheaper) style here) // Wolford tights (also available at ASOS and Selfridges). Beauty note: Essie ‘Big Spender’ nail polish // Estee Lauder ‘Fuschia Flash’ lip lacquer.

Do you save your favourite things for special occasions, or do you make your own excuse to dress up?

Love, Miss B xx

 

September Loves

1. Buying: I wear my blush Mulberry Lily handbag (available here and here) so much that I’ve just ordered this dark blush version for winter. What can I say; I know what I like!

2. Sparkling: I have a thing for beautiful bracelets, and the double-cuff (the same bracelet worn symmetrically on each wrist) has become my jewellery signature. This crystal version from J. Crew is ever so beautiful, and will add a little Gatsby glamour to every outfit. I’ll have two, thank you!

3. Wearing: I’m not yet ready to give up bare legs and hibernate beneath wintery layers, but September has brought with it an autumnal chill in the air and a tendency to a sudden rainy shower which call for a little more than a summer dress. I’ve just added this perfect Coach trench coat (a timeless classic) to my wardrobe and have been throwing it over everything to make my wardrobe feel instantly more autumn-appropriate.

4. Beauty note: After a summer of petal pinks and bright lips, I’m currently craving a 60′s cat eye and nude lip. The best shades I’ve found are from MAC (‘Hue’ or ‘Myth’) or Tom Ford (‘Vanilla Suede’ or ‘Blush Nude’), and really, could there be anything more chic than pulling out a little black and gold tube of Tom Ford lipstick?

5. For the home: As the nights draw longer, I’m favouring cosy evening indoors and am making my home feel as welcoming as possible with warm throws, scented candles, soft lamps and twinkly lights. This clear Kartell bougie lamp is my favourite, and adds a touch of modern French chic to my desk.

6. Play: Making the most of the last lingering moments of summer and the first days of Autumn with lazy weekend walks along the river and evening bike rides around town. Happiness is having the wind in my hair and a big bunch of flowers from the market in my Pashley basket.

7. Small luxury: Because a girl can never have enough sparkle, I’ll be adding these charming little lucky horseshoe studs (which look much more expensive than they are) and the matching necklace to my collection.

8. On my wishlist: I have an unfailing weakness for both Valentino and lace, so the two combined is irresistible. These lace ankle strap pumps are chic, feminine and just the right height that they could be dressed up with a cocktail dress, or down with a flirty skirt or cropped trousers for day.

9. Listening to: My love for Paris extends to my musical tastes, and the annual albums released by Hotel Costes (that chic Parisian establishment) are perfect for sunny days and evening cocktail hours alike.

10. Watching: The Spring/Summer ’14 collections on the runway at London Fashion Week. Orla Kiely is always a favourite, and the Mulberry show at Claridge’s was utter perfection; from the invitations arriving with a miniature Wedgwood teacup and Claridge’s afternoon tea being served for breakfast to the beautiful embellished floral prints and dogs in Mulberry jackets on the runway.

I hope you’re all having a lovely month! I’d love to hear what your favourite things are currently!

Love, Miss B xx

March Loves

1. Buying: Given the fact I’ve just celebrated my 30th birthday, I really should get over my penchant for dressing like my 5 year old self. But then I saw this pink floral drop-waisted dress by Girl by Band of Outsiders, and that went out the window. Sensible dressing is overrated.

2. On my wishlist: It is neither practical nor affordable, but this transparent Valentino bag trimmed with blush pink leather and gold hardware  is the stuff of sartorial dreams. I’m not sure if I can make it mine, but a girl can pretend.

3. Beauty note: I simply cannot bear the thought of dark, moody winter makeup any longer, so things are getting pretty in my makeup routine: deep plum lipstick has been replaced with neon red and petal pink; pale skin with a hint of tan and a pop of pink blush; glitter and burgundy manicures with dusty blue and lilac polish.

4. Sparkling: I’m certainly never one to resist a whimsical or witty detail, so this Lulu Frost pearl and crystal-encrusted lips necklace is simply wonderful and must come and live in my jewellery drawer.

5. Wearing: I’ve kicked off my sensible winter boots and am easing into spring with pretty ballet flats. Could these marshmallow pink (they also come in mint and lipstick red and chic black) Ferragamo bow flats be any more darling?

6. For the home: The weather might still be undecided (here in Cambridge, it is warm and sunny one day and frozen and snowing the next), but I am officially in spring mode. I’m buying fragrant bunches of pastel spring flowers every week at the farmer’s market and lighting Diptyque‘s divine new Jonquille candle that smells of fresh daffodils and narcissi in the evenings.

7. Small luxuries: After months of bleak winter, the imminent arrival of spring has me feeling freshly enthused. I’m jotting down thoughts, story ideas and inspiration as it strikes in pretty new botanical Rifle Paper Co notepads (I have one stashed in my handbag and one at my desk) to keep track of my thoughts.

8. Watching: On days when all I want to do is hibernate, a Gossip Girl marathon is my guilty pleasure. Oh, to have an apartment on the Upper East Side and a wardrobe to rival Blair Waldorf…

9. Listening to: John Legend’s peppy soul tunes are helping me get through the last dark mornings of winter and too-late departures from the office.

10. Play: Flying South for three weeks in Australia (with a weekend in Bangkok en route). It has been over two years since I was back in my homeland, and I’m so excited I could burst! Now if you’ll excuse me, there is St Tropez to be applied and a packing list to draft.

I hope you’re all having a wonderful March!

Love, Miss B xx