L'ISLE SUR LA SORGUE, PROVENCE.

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We were staying really nearby to L'Isle sur la Sorgue so it was (relatively) easy to leave the retreat of our (entirely cosy and comfortable) bed and head down to the market that takes over the centre of town, just as it was starting to unfold.




LA BASTIDE DE MARIE + LE PRIEURE, PROVENCE.

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I've two special hotels to share with you today, and worry not, this post is more than just showing you some rooms ;)




AIX-EN-PROVENCE MARKET.

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The markets of Provence are somewhat of a coveted affair.

And the ones at Aix are at the top of the market tree.




ARLES, PROVENCE.

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I'm *so* excited to be sharing this year's Provence holiday with you!

I've been getting snap happy down in the south of France - here's part one of our voyage :)

5 FAVOURITE ITEMS IN MY WARDROBE RIGHT NOW #3

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S I M P L E   K N I T S


I'm really enjoying classic knits at the minute. A simple wrap or navy trim, the kind of timeless piece you'll wear for years.

I've seen the Tory Burch Kendra around a lot at the moment but it's a pretty pricey number! Marks do some great options if you're after more affordable cashmere and I love Gerard Darel or Winser knits - quintessential classics.



C L A S S I C   L O A F E R S


I am in love with these classic, tan loafers (when am I ever not in love with loafers? I own so many pairs yet still buy more.. the Madewell Elinor's are next on my list I think, although I'm contemplating venturing into a blue velvet pair..).

They go with everything. I've been wearing mine with jeans and one of my many breton tees, or lately with a tote bag and pleated skirt.


Speaking of which..

T H E   P L E A T E D   S K I R T


I didn't think I'd be a pleated skirt person but lo and behold.. I've quite a few now ;)

This pink maxi has a beautiful amount of swish and sway and just the right amount of sheen for a piece quite so inexpensive. It's a definite bargain at under £25 and you can use my code 'barelytherebeauty13' for 13% off this skirt and the rest of your order for the next few days (I'm not benefiting from it, just for you guys!)


R O S E   G O L D   A C C E S S O R I E S


I was recently sent this beautiful, rose gold watch, which I've been enjoying wearing even though I'm not historically been a big watch wearer..

Nor have I historically been a big jewellery wearer but perhaps I'm a changed woman! Rose gold accessories are nothing new but they've taken a recent boost in my affections, I'm building up quite a little collection now.


J U M P E R S   W I T H   D E T A I L S


Whilst I am the queen of plain clothing and neutral palettes, it's nice even for me every now and then to indulge in a little print, colour and detail.

Seeing as we're heading into autumn now, fine gauge jumpers are the perfect layering piece. I love this textured, pink one (the one in the photo above), made a little more interesting by a tomato-hued stripe around the edges, and this gorgeous bee-embellished number (a bit of a dupe for a Gucci equivalent).



(And I'd love to hear what your most coveted item of the moment is!)


xx

DIGITAL DETOXING + LIVING IN THE MOMENT 2018.

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It's been a good while since I last spoke about digital detoxing and my experiences with it, and as I sit here surrounded by clothes, notes and bags of electricals and toiletries, it's quite apt that we revisit it today.

10 THINGS THAT'VE MADE ME HAPPY #16

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one. // Last of the summer peaches. We bought a basket of huge, juicy peaches from a local market and they've been an absolute pleasure to eat. The ripest, we've been guzzling raw and unadorned, juice dribbling down our hands (because they need nothing else), the more firm I've been using for my honey butter peaches and they're so delightfully moreish.

two. // Holiday planning! Looking up the spectacular views and beautiful, bucolic villages is making me really look forward to going (and especially picking restaurants ;). I've making a bit of an attempt to organise my holiday wardrobe too, and an organiser-app like Pureple is so handy to do so. I've been uploading/taking photos of the items I'm thinking of taking, and using the 'Outfit' section to create little collages of the clothes to see what might look good together. Fun and useful in equal measure.

three. // Autumnal fashion. We're going to be having a bit of an extended summer in the south of France, but I've already been buying autumnal pieces and stashing them for when I get back.. Here are a few pieces I'm loving right now!



four. // Simply Nigella. Such a great cookbook, F and I have been thumbing through it in the evenings and trying new recipes - roasted radishes and cornflake-encrusted chicken are a revelation.

five. // It not feeling humid at night, and being able to reinstate my thick cotton sheets and higher tog duvet - delightfully cosy.

six. // Getting a little influx of fashion PR - BTB first started out as a beauty blog but I wanted to expand it's subject matter to incorporate different aspects of my life, fashion being one, so it just feels.. really nice, to have brands recognise that and want to send me clothing. It's a small thing truly, but it's joyful :)

seven. // Confit herb cod (fresh oregano and chive) with homemade aioli and panzanella. And crushed avocado on oatcakes (or ryvita or whatever we have) with chilli flakes and crisy onions.

eight. // Crisp morning walks through the trees. I had to drop dad off for an early hospital appointment the other day and decided to go for a morning walk - it just made me feel so peppy and fresh for the rest of the day. And I bumped into a golden retriever puppy along the way so maybe that's the real reason.. ;)

nine. // My silk eye mask - makes getting to sleep a whole lot easier, and good quality sleep makes me one happy camper.

ten. // @itsmekellieb - a plus size, body positive blogger who I love to watch because she makes me feel I can wear whatever I want, whether it's 'flattering' or not.


xx

HONEY BUTTER PEACHES.

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There is the recipe I prefer for peaches as summer, and their season, come to an end.

I'm sitting here now with a batch (slightly overcooked, so extra unctuous and sticky) and honestly, it is delicious.

Soft, yielding peaches with bronze, tinged edges, steeped in their syrupy, honey and butter puddle.

And rather fortuitously, it requires very few ingredients, and almost no kitchen prowess.




Ingredients: (for two)

2 large, ripe peaches
4 small knobs of butter
2 tsps - 2 tbsps honey, depending on your taste
A pinch of salt
60g greek yoghurt
60g mascarpone
30g flaked almonds (or as much as you like)


Method:

- Preheat your oven to 180 degrees celcius.





- Halve the peaches, removing the stones as you go, and pop cut side up into a roasting dish.



- Adorn each half with a little knob of butter, a drizzle of honey and a few flakes of salt.


- Roast in the oven for 20 minutes if your peaches are very ripe, around 35 if they're a little less ripe (I just check mine with a knife tip or skewer - if it sinks in readily, they're done).

- Whilst the peaches are roasting, mix together the mascarpone and greek yoghurt. You could use either/or but I think a 50-50 split is the perfect balance of astringent tang and smooth, velvety richness.



- Serve two halves per person, and top with the yoghurt-cream mix and flaked almonds. They're excellent as hot as you can bear, so the creamy topping melts gloriously down the sides of the peaches, or equally as delicious at just above room temperature (easier to shovel in greedy mouthfuls).



Peach perfection in my eyes.


xx


SUMMER SELFCARE.

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Although practising self care ought to be a 365-days-a-year affair, there are a few habits that seem especially salient during the summer months.

OOTD // MID-SIZE STYLE UNDER £50.

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I love the high street.

And high street pricing too! Because who doesn't love feeling like they came away with a bargain?

I'm sometimes asked about more affordable alternatives to some of the pieces I wear and share, so today I wanted to show that you don't need to spend a lot to look put together. In fact, you can pick up this entire look for under £50.

THE INSTAGRAM TRAP.

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I've a love/hate relationship with Instagram.

Aside from it being a veritable goldmine for inspiration, eye-candy and things that bring me joy, I really enjoy using it as a space to curate my own collection of photographs, memories and moments. I mean, heck I'll say it, I like my feed right now!

But there's also so much about it I, well, hate? Hate seems a strong word, but they evoke pretty strong emotions so perhaps in this case, it's justified.

Firstly, there's the algorithm, building/losing followers, buying followers/likes etc. I spoke to a blogger a while ago who bought followers, grew from 1K to 10K overnight and no one batted an eyelid. Now they're at least four times that and are getting brand requests left, right and centre - I mean each to their own but that doesn't seem fair or.. 'proper conduct' to me? I don't think I'd be able to justify that to my conscience! But really, that's not what today's post is about because I'm sure none of you want to hear me moan and complain about the algorithm etc for a few paragraphs straight (although can we just mention how particularly bad it is at the moment? At least for me anyway!).

I'm falling into a different trap with Instagram - and at both ends of the spectrum.

It's really hard for me to perpetually remember that a lot of Instagram is somewhere between a 'highlight's reel', and just down right fakery. It's hard not to get sucked into people's picture perfect moment after picture perfect moment and not compare them to your everyday, comparatively very ordinary life.

I often check in on Instagram upon waking and seeing photograph upon photograph of countless expensive holidays, extravagant lifestyles and seemingly too-perfect-to-be-true female bodies can (and let's be frank, often does) leave me feeling utterly inadequate. And I can't imagine that I'm alone in this.

And the reason why I feel like I'm falling into the trap at both ends, is that I might be guilty of portraying a 'more perfect than normal' lifestyle too..

In life, not every perfect moment has to be a picture perfect moment.

Or more specifically, an Instagram-worthy moment. Contentment comes in many forms, and not all of them arrive when you've styled your hair and are dressed in your best clothing.

But a lot of the time on Instagram, the picture perfect moments are what we're driven to produce because they 'perform better'. And our eyes are glued to the numbers. My own feed is by no means how my life runs everyday (the latest shots show beautiful little cafes and me swanning around in a twirly skirt, whereas the reality of today is that I'm sat at my desk surrounded by partly opened boxes of PR, clothes, and general mess because I strained my lower back almost a week ago and can't bend to pick anything up. Not to mention my hair hasn't been washed for four days.), but the algorithm already hates me, so imagine how shocking my stats would be if I posted 'ugly' photos of my mismatched, untidy living quarters?

I also think that it's encouraging a life of materialism. Seeing what everyone else has and thinking you need it too. To me, life is more about moments than commodities - it's one of the reasons I started my 10 Things That've Made Me Happy series.

I love taking and editing photos so I'm not going to stop treating my feed like a bit of an 'art gallery' (ergh, so pretentious, but I hope you know what I mean!) and posting the photography I want to, but I am going to make an effort not to be so wary/hesitant of photos taken on my phone, to try and share a bit more of the 'mundane', and to try not to compare myself and my life with those on the internet..


xx


SUMMER DRESSING AS A SIZE 14 (AND UP).

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Whilst I'm not saying that I couldn't wear denim hotpants, tiny camisoles and skin-tight summer dresses if I wanted to (it's your life and your body, wear what you like), my body is frankly not made in such a way that certain clothing styles and my comfort levels don't clash horribly..

And although I try to exhibit a general trend towards being somewhat stylish and put together, I am The Comfort King.

In my time, I've pretty much been every size under the sun, from a gaunt, slip of a girl, to a round, Rubenesque figure. And I suppose that, and my sheer detest for exercise, has left me in no way taut, nor toned - giving the hot, humid weather potential to be incredibly uncomfortable.

Today I'm sharing some of my go-to pieces and styles that I covet when the warmer months come around, as well as a few tips to surviving summer in both comfort and style.

AN INSTAGRAMMABLE GUIDE TO BATH #1

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Quite possibly my very favourite city in the UK, Bath has a special place in my heart.

Full of beautiful, classic architecture and independent stores, I look forward to coming back every time, no matter how soon after the last visit.

Whilst there's an Instagrammable spot around almost every corner (not an exaggeration), some are more well known than others. I'm sure you'll all have heard of the likes of the Royal Crescent and Bath Abbey (beautiful in their own right) but today I'm sharing some of the recondite spots, gorgeous little streets, quaint little eateries and lesser-known riches the city has to offer.

THE PERFECT SUMMER-STYLE COMBO.

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Although we've had a little respite from the heatwave lately, the temperature seems to be creeping back up again as we head into the weekend, meaning I'm ready to don my current favourite way of dressing myself - a cotton shirt and twirly skirt.

10 THINGS THAT'VE MADE ME HAPPY #15

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one. // playing 90's RnB in the car with the air conditioning entirely turned up.

two. // chicken sandwiches. I used to love these as a child - using up leftover's from mum's roast chicken the day before. These days it's the best roast chicken I can find/afford, pulling succulent pieces off the carcass, lemon and pepper mayo (homemade if I can be bothered, Hellmann's if not) and fresh homemade bread. Because everything tastes better between two slices of bread after all.

three. // Dad's been going to a special sort-of exercise class affair for his mobility/illness and the PT who runs it is just fantastic. He looks around 20 and as though he might be a bit of a 'lad' but he's anything but. Luke is incredibly sweet, patient and encouraging with my father and it's heartwarming. Gives you faith in humanity!

four. // Albeit a little impromptu, we plumped with a visit to Bath again for our recent anniversary (4 years!). I really think it's probably my most favourite place in the UK.. I love it so very much. And being back there again with my partner in crime was just an utter delight :)

five. // New Alresford. The most gorgeous, quaint little town on the outskirts of Winchester - F and I have fallen in love with the place. Not to mention the Petersham-Nursuries-esque secret they're harbouring, that I mentioned in my recent blog post!

six. // sitting out in the garden as dusk approaches with F to go on hedgehog watch! We've a fat little dumpling of a visitor who seems to have recently (rather aptly) set up home under one of our hedges.

seven. // laying awake with the blinds open at night. Partially for the breeze (or hope of one..), partially to watch the slight glow in the night's sky.

eight. // we've (somewhat) booked a holiday! Essentially just a base camp for now (in the south of France), but I'm so excited! Some pieces I've already got my eye on....


nine. // tumbling bundles of broad beans from the garden.

ten. // sitting barefoot on a set of grassy steps near the Lexicon in the evening, watching a beautifully lavender-strewn sky (and getting a touch of sweet, sweet breeze!).

eleven. // a bonus one - cottage garden planting, inspiration for it and Gardener's World. I'm not a big tv-watcher but Gardener's World is my hour of relaxed dreaminess :)


Let me know what's been making you happy of late!


xx

IF YOU LIKE PETERSHAM NURSURIES..

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If you like Petersham Nursuries, and let's be frank, I don't know a single soul who doesn't, then you'll love today's post.

F and I have fallen in love with New Alresford and the surrounding area. A quaint little town down on the peripheries of Winchester, it's dreamy in every sense. Monica, a human of impeccable taste and fellow Petersham-o-phile, recommended a visit to Long Barn so who were we but to heed her advice?

SUMMER BEAUTY EDIT.

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Boy has it been a hot July. And when the heat and humidity rises, my beauty routine becomes ever the more streamlined.

And I also bring in some of my summer favourites that are as efficient and/or multitasking as they are enjoyable to use - so read more for this year's summer beauty edit!

5 FAVOURITE ITEMS IN MY WARDROBE RIGHT NOW #2

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It's time today for the second installment of my newest style series, so let's delve into my wardrobe again for a selection of my most loved items :)

THE PERFECT, CASUAL SUMMER DRESS.

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This is what 'happy' is.

Evenings spent with loved ones, in rural surroundings, with the nigh on smouldering warmth of an intensely hot, evening sun basking on our shoulders.

And what better a dress to gleefully dance about the fields than this?

4 WAYS TO MAKE SOMEONE'S DAY.

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I've spoken a fair amount about increasing our own happiness levels here on BTB.

From simple ways to better your mood to beautiful, positive mantras to brighten your day, and heck, I even have a whole series (14 months strong! I'm such a proud mother ;) dedicated to what's been making me happy lately.

But a part of our own happiness and self-fulfillment is linked with doing for others and giving back, so we ought to ask ourselves - what are we doing to make those around us happy?

I'm sharing 4 simple ways to make someone's day, most of them free, won't take up a lot of your time, and all them absolutely worthy and gratifying.

SUMMER.

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I'm having a bit of a reflective moment.

The kind where you've committed yourself to stopping, amidst the bustle of your ever-busy routine, to think about where where you are, and the little moments that make life what it is.

I know I have my 10 Things series but I don't tend to really purge my current thoughts, feelings and present ramblings into one post on here. Like the diary-like mentality I still sort of wish for this blog. I think it's because there's quite a bit going on behind the scenes that I'm not yet ready to document? I'd like to in time though.

Also there's always the option that no one would want to read it! ;)






There are a few things I hate about summer, that I don't remember hating until it comes around again each year. The first of which is hayfever. I've mentioned it many a time on Instagram especially already but why exactly it seems to be so bad this year I have no idea! Mornings are the worst by far. It wakes me up at around 5-6am and I've got to sit upright against the v-pillow and try not to sniffle too much as F tries his best to be supportive.. The heat as well. F's infamous for being 'the human-radiator' so cooling down at night is definitely a struggle in this weather!

But there are many things I love about this time of year.

Everything is decidedly lush and green in the garden. We've had bouts of giant peonies and beautiful cascading roses, and now we're onto produce in all it's glory. Fat green beans, that look far too heavy to hang so delicately from those spindly stems, entwining themselves with the peas. And it's the raspberries that have impressed me most this year. We've been getting a bowlful every few days, our rambling plant churning out beautifully sweet, sunsoaked fruit, plump and dark red from lazing about in the heat.




Outfit details

Navy broderie top - on sale here but more sizes here (and in white here!), White wide leg trousers (comfiest clothing item ever), Straw hat with ribbon (and a different ribbon), Flip flopsOversized sunglasses





There's a little lake nearby our house that's so beautiful this time of year. I love going down there with F in the evenings when it's cooler and the sun's starting to dip behind the trees, casting a golden glow about the fields (one that I would've liked to have captured more of had my camera not have thrown a tantrum and given up the ghost..). It's right about this time of year that the lighting around an hour before sunset is just the most beautiful light I've seen, picking up all the tiny particles in the air and sets them aglow - it gives me goosebumps.

I couldn't imagine living in a city again. I love being so close to rural, idyllic countryside now - it speaks to the very soul of me. I love that we're so close to London too, and that I can be there in under an hour door to door but I can't help but wear a little smile when, on the train home, I dip back into fields, greenery and wide, open space.

Today's post seems somewhat aimless in comparison to my usual. But I enjoy it's meandering and unimpeded nature. And I may well do more of these. I'll no doubt love looking back over these thoughts in months and years to come and remember what little moments were filling my head at the time. I think part of that instinctual rigidity regarding writing comes from school day's of writing essays and being drilled not to veer from the essay title, and to make sure you had a succinct intent and conclusion. All of which I can now eschew with sheer abandon now that I'm an Adult and can write whatever the heck I want ;)

So with that, here's to July, aimless meanderings, and eschewing with abandon :)



xx
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