The Best Hostess Gifts: 30 Gifts for the Domestic Goddess

The Best Hostess Gifts for the Domestic GoddessPictured (clockwise from top left): marble serving platter // brass ‘hello’ ornament // monogrammed tumbler // copper tray // gold-rimmed glasses // cut glass cocktail mixing jug // gold fortune cookie // kitchen towel // brass apple candle // ‘perfection’ dish // large candle c/- // small candle // conversational side plates // gold cheese knives

It’s hard to believe that 2016 is nearly over, but here we are at the end of November already. Of course, with the arrival of December comes the wonderful festivities of the holiday season. My own diary is rapidly filling up with holiday parties and events galore (and we’ll be hosting a few events for friends and neighbours at our place, too).

I was always taught to never show up at someone’s home empty-handed, and whether I’m just staying for cocktails or the whole weekend, I always like to take a small but lovely gift for my hosts. While flowers or a bottle of wine are always excellent standbys, I personally like to put a little more thought into a token I know they’ll be able to enjoy long after the party is over (but which needn’t cost much more than that predictable bottle of wine).

Because everyone has different tastes when it comes to their home, it’s best to stick to items which will work no matter the recipient’s taste or decor. I find it hard to go wrong with some classic cut glass or brass, or a touch or marble or copper. And I don’t know a single woman who wouldn’t be thrilled to unwrap a beautifully scented candle, for any occasion. So below, a few ideas for the perfect gift; whether it be a thoughtful gesture for the party host, or just a beautiful present for the glamorous homebody.

For the gracious hostess: a set of chic tea towels and an offer to help with the post-party cleanup, a bottle of the most luxurious hand wash, or a guide to every entertaining scenario for the modern-day hostess.

For the bidding mixologist: a bar cart-worthy cocktail set, a pair of gold-rimmed champagne coupes, a cut-glass mixing jug, or a set of monogrammed tumblers.

For the passionate foodie: a handsome box of the very best chocolates, a gingerbread candle (which doubles as a cookie-cutter once finished), a pair of marble platters, or a wedge of French brie and a set of cheese knives.

For the glamorous homebody: a golden monogrammed mug and a tin of salted caramel hot chocolate, the ultimate guide to a stylish home, a whimsical lucky charm for the coffee table, or the most beautifully-scented candle.

Let the holidays commence!

P.S. Stay tuned for a few more gift guides in the next two weeks (and as always, let me know if there’s anything in particular you want to see on here). 

Love, Miss B xx

Holiday Gift-Giving

A Girl, A Style _ Gift-GivingSomehow, the holiday season is already upon us and Christmas is a mere few weeks away. I love the act of gift-giving; hunting down the perfect gifts for my favourite people and lovingly wrapping them, ready to tuck under the tree on Christmas Eve.

If you’re anything like me (almost zero free time combined with a complete dislike of traipsing around the stores along with every other stressed individual in the lead up to the holidays), then the key is to do everything online (bonus festive points for doing so in your pyjamas with a side of hot chocolate and the Rat Pack’s Christmas album playing in the background).

Here’s my roundup of the best pre-holiday sales and the 50 best gifts and stocking fillers for everyone on your list (yourself included!). If all else fails, you can’t got wrong with a beautiful book, a luxe scented candle, cashmere anything, a monogrammed coffee mug (with a bag of roasted beans), the perfume you know they’ve been coveting, or a little sparkly something.

AGENT PROVOCATEUR: 20% off all styles + free worldwide delivery with code ‘MINGLE’ (until 1st December)
ANTHROPOLOGIE (UK/EU): 20% off site-wide (until 1st December)
ANTHROPOLOGIE (US): 25% off site-wide with code ‘HOLIDAY25’
ASOS (UK): 20% off site-wide with code ‘CYBERWKND20’ (until 2nd December)
ASOS (US): 30% off site-wide with code ‘TGIBF’ (until 30th November) + ‘ILOVEMONDAYS’ (until 2nd December)
BAUBLEBAR: Get 15% off 2 items with code ‘FRIDAY15’, 25% off 3 items with ‘FRIDAY25’ and 35% off 4 items with ‘FRIDAY35’ (28th – 29th November) + 20% off with ‘CYBER20’ (30th November – 2nd December)
GAP: 50% off everything with code ‘BLKFRIDAY’ (28th November)
J. CREW: 30% off most full-priced items, extra 40% off sale and free shipping with code ‘HOLIDAY’ (until 30th November) + ‘MONDAY’ (1st December)
JOHN LEWIS: Site-wide promotions and discounts on select lines (until 30th November)
LIBERTY: 20% off site-wide (until 30th November)
LULU GUINNESS: 20% off site-wide (until 1st December)
SELFRIDGES: 20% off site-wide with code ‘SELF14’ (until 30th November)
SHOPBOP: Save up to 25% off site-wide with code ‘GOBIG14’ (until 1st December)
TOPSHOP: Site-wide sale on select items + free worldwide shipping (until 1st December)
URBAN OUTFITTERS: Site-wide sale on select items + free shipping with code ‘BFDELIVERY’ (until 1st December)
WEST ELM: Save up to 25% off site-wide with code ‘SUPERSALE’ (until 1st December)
WHISTLES: 25% off site-wide (until 1st December)

Happy present-buying!

Love, Miss B xx

 

7 Ways to Welcome Autumn with Bobbi Brown

A Girl, A Style _ 7 Ways to Welcome Autumnjpg

Outside, the brisk evenings are drawing in and there is the palpable feeling of change in the air. As the leaves begin to fall and autumn announces its arrival, I suddenly desire  a few new pleasures; cosy cashmere to snuggle into, a refreshed beauty aesthetic and a little luxurious glamour. I’m thrilled to team up with Bobbi Brown (one of my favourite everyday beauty brands) to celebrate the new season.

1. As the temperature drops and the seasons change, so too do I crave a few changes come autumn. For me, the easiest way to transition my look for the season is with an overhaul of my beauty bag. I switch my fresh summer fragrances to those with a little more depth, step up the hydration, and tweak my makeup look. Pastels are replaced by warm hues, and my everyday bronzed eye becomes a little more smoky and sultry. My favourite go-to is the Bobbi Brown smokey nudes palette; I’ll wear a contoured 60s eye for day, a smudgy, smoky look for evenings, or a molten metallic for parties.

2. As with the changes to my beauty look, each season I look forward to refreshing my wardrobe. Girlish pieces are pushed aside in favour of a slightly more sophisticated, classic aesthetic, summer’s floaty white blouses and lace dresses are paired with tuxedo jackets and polished accessories, and a neutral palette is offset with a singular pop of colour in the form of fuchsia nails or berry-stained lips (I like Creamy Matte lipstick in ‘Bright Lily’).

3. Make the most of the last warm days of the year with a gloriously lazy weekend filled with all your favourite simple pleasures. Team a chic neutral beauty look (try with your favourite weekend uniform for a leisurely brunch and a walk around the neighbourhood with someone you love.

4. Treat yourself to a few fabulous dates with your girlfriends. As the nights draw in, I like to retreat to cosy, glamorous haunts where I can get dolled up (a smokey cat eye using inky black kajal liner is always appropriate in this scenario) and linger over good conversation and a marvellous cocktail or two.

A Girl, A Style _ Bobbi Brown 2

5. Make the most of the harvest season and stop by your local farmer’s market for a bounty of local autumn produce. I love stopping for a hot chocolate and s’mores, buying armfuls of flowers, and going home with a basket of plump figs, apples, blackberries and pumpkins and turning them into something delicious.

6. Transform your place into a cosy, inviting retreat. Invest in a few new home comforts  (I like those to aid luxurious hibernation; scented candles, divine bed linen, gorgeous lighting and a good supply of tea and books), spend an afternoon organising your wardrobe and beauty cabinet, and add a few fresh flowers in each room. Invite your friends around for an old-fashioned movie night/slumber party, or host a cocktail party for a few of your nearest and dearest. Just add a swipe of red lipstick (Creamy Matte lipstick in ‘Heart’ is my current favourite) and a swinging soundtrack.

7. Play tourist around town or take a trip to the countryside to see all the changing colours of the season. Go for a long bike ride, visit an apple orchard or pumpkin patch, tour a historic home, and jump in piles of crunchy leaves.

Love, Miss B xx

P.S. Stay tuned for my tutorial on how to achieve the perfect smokey nude look for autumn using the new Bobbi Brown collection.

This post is in partnership with Bobbi Brown

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