Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Kate Shops at Zara in Zara, An Outing with Prince George & Fashion Updates

Hello hello, we hope your week is off to a good start!

The Duchess of Cambridge has been out and about over the past few days enjoying quality time with Prince George and a little retail therapy. We begin with a sighting shared with us by the informative Kate & Pippa Style.

Kate was spotted shopping at one of her favourite haunts, Zara, on Saturday, when an excited fellow shopper noticed her and took a couple of pics with her phone.


Kate reportedly purchased a pair of Leather-Bulcher soft-soled boots, available in sizes from newborn to nine months. The boots are unisex and neutral toned.

Zara

The Duchess sported one of her stylish coats from the brand for the trip. The dusty-pink, straight-cut coat originally retailed for £80 before going on sale for £30 and selling out. Kate was first photographed wearing it during a shopping trip at John Lewis in January. The roomy silhouette makes it a great choice for comfortable maternity wear.

ZARA

It also looks like Kate wore her trusty Russell and Bromley Charge-It boots. Below we see them worn on a previous occasion.


Kate was also seen at Trotters doing a spot of shoe shopping for Prince George. According to one onlooker the Duchess chose the Start Rite Flexy-Soft Milan navy blue leather casual shoes. How adorable are these?

Start Rite
************

What else has Kate been up to? She enjoyed an outing with her lively toddler Prince George last Thursday at London's famous Science Museum to explore a selection of exhibits aimed at young children. Accompanied by royal protection officers, the pair spent a good portion of the morning at the Pattern Pod, a multi-sensory gallery targeted at young kids.

National Science Museum

A source told People:

'They seemed to enjoy themselves. It's lovely that she feels she can bring George here.'

Another feature of the exhibit is the Penrose Tessellations. How many different patterns can you make with just two simple shapes? The amazing thing about these colourful foam shapes is that they can be arranged in a seemingly limitless number of ways. Children can make patterns of their own on the table, or even the wall, thanks to the shapes’ clever magnetic backing.

National Science Museum

It's great that Kate and George can enjoy regular family outings, and it reminds me of reading about the late Princess Diana's activities with William and Harry. Despite their position, she was determined to instil a sense of normality and ensure they experienced as much as possible. The exhibits at the museum for young children are an excellent idea, and who knows, perhaps George will take a particular interest in science when he grows up.

************

The Mail Online reports the Duchess was seen Easter egg shopping at luxury store The Conran Shop in South Kensington. A favourite haunt of Princess Diana's, the Duchess browsed for a while before purchasing the chocolate treats where prices begin at £15 per egg.

Conran Shop

Below, a look at chocolate treats from their website: the £15 Chocolate Tool Kit, Chocolate Big Bar with Blueberries and Raspberries and Chocolate Spoons.

Conran Shop

Pretty much a haven for chocolate lovers...

************

Moving on to fashion updates beginning with restocked and discounted items. Kate's very popular Somerset by Alice Temperley Boat Print Dress is back in stock in most sizes at John Lewis.


You will also recall the gorgeous Max Mara Studio Villar Belted Wool Coat Kate wore with the dress. It's available in very limited sizing (with just a handful in stock) for those interested, reduced from £580 to £345.

Max Mara

Kate's aquifer Jaeger Silk Tile Print Dress is significantly discounted from £250 to £175 at present. The collared shirt dress is available at Jaeger and John Lewis.

Jaeger

Glancing through Kate's favoured footwear brands, I noticed the ever-popular Aquatalia Rhumba Boots are still on sale at Nordstrom, with a considerable saving of $250. They are available in several colours and sizes 4-12.

Aquatalia

Kate's (love em or hate em) Stuart Weitzman Corkswoon Wedges are also available at Nordstrom for $398 with Free Shipping. Keep an eye on the Stuart Weitzman website if you're a fan; there are various prints and colourways available.

Stuart Weitzman

************

We leave you with a look at William and Kate on the cover of Hello! Canada. They chose a beautiful shot for the cover.

Hello! Canada

We'll see you on Friday for Kate's final engagements before the royal baby arrives!

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Kate Talks Due Date During Home-Start Visit in Polka-Dot ASOS Dress

The Duchess of Cambridge visited Brookhill Children's Centre in Woolwich this morning to find out more about Home-Start and its support for children and families.


Today's engagement is one of a number the Duchess, who is eight months pregnant, has carried out this month. We hear she may carry out another one before she officially takes her maternity leave before the arrival of her second child next month (more on that further down).


The Duchess attended a briefing with the organisation's chief executive and the centre’s manager. A very interested Kate heard about the work the charity does to support families and improve their confidence.


Home-Start is a national family support charity that helps parents to build better lives for their children. Volunteers provide support and friendship to more than 29,170 families every year.  They have more than 288 local Home-Starts working in communities across the UK and with families on British Forces bases in Germany and Cyprus.

Home Start

They provide universal services to families with children under five, with some services targeted at the most disadvantaged and vulnerable families in order to improve outcomes for children and to reduce the inequalities gap. Services cater for emotional and physical support, illness, disability and isolation.


Why does the organisation specifically focus on the first five years? "The five years between birth and school are vital for a child’s development. What goes on inside a family during these years strongly determines the opportunities and life chances children have. Children who are raised in a stable, loving family environment are more likely to have a positive and healthy future."


There are a multitude of ways to get involved and support the charity: click here to donate, here to find out about fundraising and volunteering opportunities and here to visit the online shop.

Home-Start

Speaking ahead of the royal visit Rob Parkinson, chief executive of Home-Start UK said,

“We are delighted that the Duchess wants to hear about the challenges that parents of other young children can face and learn how Home-Start is helping them. Without support, the pressures caused by isolation, mental ill health, multiple births, bereavement, disability, poor housing or financial stress can have a devastating effect on families.
 What the Duchess sees in Greenwich represents the incredible work that is done by hundreds of local Home-Starts up and down the country.  Home-Start’s work with the Royal Borough of Greenwich at four of its 24 children’s centres is a wonderful example of how Home-Start links families into their local communities across the UK.”

Her Royal Highness then attended a coffee morning where she met families who have been supported by Home-Start and listened to their experiences. The Duchess viewed a volunteer training session in which volunteers are taught how best to offer practical and emotional support in a family’s home to help children make the most of nursery or school.


Kate admires three-month-old Franchesca.


Kate visited the on-site Together for Twos crèche to meet families and staff.


Reporter Rebecca English said Kate was "enchanted" by a card made for her by the children.


A closer look at the card.

Rebecca English

The centre is one of four run by Home-Start on behalf of the Royal Borough of Greenwich.


Interestingly, Kate was asked about her due date. More from the Western Daily Press:

'Volunteer Christie Osborne, 49, was among those the Duchess sat and spoke to at the coffee morning.
Ms Osborne said: “I told her she is beautiful and that she’s got a tiny little bump. I asked when her baby is due and she said mid-to-end of April.'

Kate received a small gift and flowers before she leaving saying 'it's been absolutely wonderful'


Kate's been on something of a roll lately, sartorially speaking, and today was no exception. The Duchess looked effortlessly stylish in a polka-dot print dress by online retailer ASOS. The Maternity Exclusive Wrap Skater Dress in Spot Print features three-quarter sleeves, a Deep V neckline and empire seam. It's available for £35 at ASOS with Free Shipping Worldwide.

ASOS

The Duchess has long been a fan of spot print dresses. Many will recall the polka-dot Topshop Florence dress she wore during her first pregnancy and of course the bespoke Jenny Packham frock she chose when leaving St. Mary's Hospital with Prince George.


As of writing Kate's dress has sold out, The Mirror reports it will be back in stock next week. Keep an eye here if you're interested in purchasing one.


In the meantime never fear, ASOS has a selection of spot print dresses in stock at present. First, three other maternity styles: the remarkably similar Skater Dress with shorter sleeves, the Skater Dress in Animal Spot Print and the gorgeous Crossover Skater Dress in navy and pink.

ASOS

Non-maternity dresses available in the popular print include the Skater Dress with Lace Hem (reduced from £40 to £16), the Black and White Skater Dress and the ASOS Curve Debutante Dress.

ASOS

Now moving on to Kate's coat.


We last saw the Duchess wearing the sleek black coat for a night out in Mayfair in 2012 (See our original post here). Fashion sleuths searched endlessly for the garment, however it was never identified - until today. The Palace confirmed it was made by her private dressmaker.


The Duchess wore her Stuart Weitzman Power Pumps.

Stuart Weitzman

And carried her Mulberry Bayswater Clutch again. It's available in a couple of colourways for £495 at Selfridges.

Mulberry

Kate accessorised with her Cartier Ballon Bleu watch. The piece is available at Saks Fifth Avenue for $6350.

Cartier

Kate completed the look with her Kiki McDonough morganite cushion cut earrings and Mappin and Webb Fortune pendant.


You can view a video here.

It was a lovely engagement. Kate thoroughly enjoys working with children and it shows in each photo. I thought she looked wonderful today, mixing the ASOS dress with her popular coat.

************

Also today, Prince William accompanied the Queen at Buckingham Palace.

Richard Palmer Twitter Feed

It's the first time William has accompanied his grandmother at such an event. Reporters noted it's an important part of his royal training for his future role.

The British Monarchy Twitter Feed

Finally, As we mentioned earlier in the post, we will see Kate again before she takes maternity leave. This evening, Kensington Palace just confirmed on Friday 27 March the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will carry out three engagements in South London.

Engagement 1 - The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will visit the Stephen Lawrence Centre, 39 Brookmill Road, London SE8, to tour the facility and meet Charitable Trust members.

Engagement 2 - The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will visit XLP at Christ Church, 1 Highland Road, London SE19.

XLP stands for “The eXceL Project” a charity working to create positive futures for young people from inner London boroughs. In 1996, in response to a stabbing in a school playground, the school’s headmaster asked Patrick Regan, a local church based youth worker, to come into the school and work with their students and teachers to help with difficult behavioural issues.

Engagement 3 - The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will visit an XLP community bus and the XLP mobile recording studio on the Hazel Grove Estate, Sydenham, London SE26.
Their Royal Highnesses will view the facilities provided on the XL-R8 Community Bus Project where they will meet a group of young people from across the London boroughs who have engaged with XLP projects over a number of years and hear about some of the issues they face

These engagements are expected to be Kate's last before the baby arrives!

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Kate Celebrates St Patrick's Day in Brown Catherine Walker Coat

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited the 1st Battalion Irish Guards for the annual St. Patrick's Day Parade at Mons Barracks, Aldershot today.


The couple looked relaxed upon arrival, fresh from a weekend in Bucklebury with the Middletons where they celebrated Mother's Day. We expect Prince George and William had a special gift or two for Kate, and of course it was undoubtedly important for the Duchess to enjoy the day with her own mother Carole. The group were spotted at a local play centre in the area where they built sandcastles with George.


The Duke joined his wife in his role as colonel of the regiment, which he was made in May 2011; it was his first honorary position in the army. Her Majesty the Queen is Colonel in Chief of the regiment. As you all remember, the Prince opted to wear the Irish Guards tunic for the royal wedding.


Two hundred soldiers marched on to the Parade Square at the barracks wearing full ceremonial uniform of scarlet tunics and bearskins.


Her Royal Highness then presented the shamrock to officers and warrant officers who in turn issued it along the ranks.

British Army 

Simon Perry shared a photo of the shamrock sprigs.

Simon Perry Twitter Feed

Kensington Palace tweeted 'The shamrock the Irish Guards receive is tucked behind the Cap Star on the forage cap'.

Kensington Palace Twitter Feed

This follows a century-old tradition inaugurated by Queen Alexandra, wife of King Edward VII, in 1901 when a decree stated:

'Her Majesty the Queen is pleased to order that in future, upon St. Patrick's Day, all ranks of her Irish regiments shall wear, as a distinction, a sprig of shamrock in their head dress to commemorate the gallantry of her Irish soldiers during the recent battles in South Africa.'

The tradition has become synonymous with a number of royals since, most notably the Queen Mother, who had a long affiliation and love for the Irish Guards after attending the the annual military parade for the first time in 1927. It wasn't until 1964 she started to present the Royal Shamrock to the Battalion, describing it as a "great pleasure which has enabled me to forge a link with the regiment I greatly cherish." The regiment supplied the pallbearers for her funeral in 2002.

BBC

It is very much becoming a tradition associated with the Duchess of Cambridge in recent times.


Today marks the fourth consecutive year Kate has presented shamrock at the parade, and it's a tradition we'll see continue - possibly for decades to come. Below we see Kate in 2012 and 2013 in an Emilia Wickstead coat, and last year wearing the Hobbs Persephone trench.


More on the 1st Batallion Irish Guards from the official website:

'The Irish Guards, part of the Guards Division, a Foot Guards regiment based in Mons Barracks, Aldershot. The current regiment was formed in 1900 by order of Queen Victoria in recognition of the many courageous acts carried out by Irish soldiers in the Second Boer War.
 The regiment takes its motto "Quis Separabit" or "Who shall separate us?" from the Order of St. Patrick, an order of chivalry founded by George III. The regiment is involved in public and ceremonial duties at Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle, St James's Palace and The Tower of London.
The Irish Guards is a Light Role Infantry Battalion affectionately, and widely, known as The Micks.'

Soldiers of 1st Battalion were in celebratory form today.

British Army Twitter Feed

Kate met veterans.

British Army

It's always a treat to see the ever-adorable Domhnall, the regimental mascot.  It's his third year taking part in the ceremonies. Below we see the Irish wolfhound with his handler, Drummer David Steed.

British Army

I do think Kate has a soft spot for Domhnall too :)


The Duke and Duchess met members of the regiment before sitting for officers' and sergeants’ mess photographs.

British Army

A smiling Kate.

British Army

William and Kate  visited a marquee where all-ranks were gathered.

British Army

The longest serving guardsman in the battalion proposed a toast to the Duke and Duchess and thanked Kate for presenting the shamrock.


Jeanne Duncan-Dolcy was delighted when the Duchess complimented her on the colour of her coat.

Jeanne Duncan Dolcy Twitter Feed

In surprising news, Kate selected a bespoke brown (yes brown) coat by Catherine Walker today. It's a beautiful garment and the silhouette works very well for the Duchess at this stage of her pregnancy, though I would have preferred green for the nature of the occasion and sartorially speaking. It's the first year Kate hasn't opted for green at this engagement.


Susan from What Kate Wore emailed Catherine Walker and received this response:

'The coat is a chestnut brown double wool crepe.'

Kate wore a brown dress underneath.


And wore her much loved £245 'Betty Boop' Beret by Lock & Co. It was complimented by Kate's elegant updo.



The Duchess wore her brown suede Emmy Shoes Valerie pumps and carried the matching clutch.


And accessorised with her Kiki McDonough Citrine Drop Earrings. The 18K gold citrine pear-drop earrings are available at Neiman Marcus for $740.

Kiki McDonough

Once again, the Duchess wore the Irish Guards gold shamrock brooch this year. The three-leaf brooch which has been worn by the Queen Mother and Princess Anne, belongs to the regiment and they determine to whom it be loaned.


Kate completed the look with a pair of brown gloves.


You can watch a video at You Tube. There's a cute moment where Domnhnall's shamrock falls off.


Lá Fhéile Pádraig Sona Daoibh!


We'll see you tomorrow for Kate's engagement at Brookhill Children's Centre.