Friday, 27 March 2015

Kate in Cerise Mulberry Coat for Day of Engagements in South London

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge carried out three engagements in south London today, which marked Kate's final public appearance before the arrival of the couple's second child next month.


William and Kate's first stop was a visit to the Stephen Lawrence Centre, home to the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust.


Few people in Britain have not heard the tragic story of Stephen, who was born in south-east London in 1974 to parents Neville and Doreen Lawrence, who described their son as an artistic young man who adored art and maths. A young entrepreneur, at 16 he set up a small business selling clothing and book covers. He even appeared as a film extra alongside Denzel Washington in the film For Queen and Country. He was working towards his dream of becoming an architect.

Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust

On the 22nd April 1993, age 18, Stephen was murdered in an unprovoked racist attack. He didn't know his killers and his killers didn't know him. Sadly to this date, only two of the five perpetrators have been convicted of his murder.

In his memory and to inspire and help young people just like him, his family set up the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust. Since 2000, the Trust has helped many young people realise their ambitions to become architects by supporting them with bursaries and mentoring support. In 2008, the Stephen Lawrence Centre was opened in Deptford, south-east London, giving thousands more young people an opportunity to nurture and use their creativity.

Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust

Stephen's mother Doreen was appointed OBE for "services to community relations" in 2013 and was created a life peer. An incredibly brave woman determined to ensure her son was not forgotten, she has carried out work in his name since his death. Baroness Lawrence accompanied the Cambridges today.


Today, the centre is a place for community learning and social research, inspiring and motivating young people. The space is available for conferences, meetings, training and seminars.The trust continues to campaign for fairness and justice, ensuring the lessons from Stephen’s murder are acted on.


William and Kate chatting.


Kate received a posy of flowers.


Their Royal Highnesses toured the building and met with staff and volunteers at a reception.


Afterwards, they saw the Harris Academy law workshop in the Centre's lecture room and viewed a display of some of Stephen Lawrence's architectural work.


The Duke and Duchess then met with SLIK (Stephen Lawrence Instils Knowledge) Magazine editors in the PC room who are working on the The Write Way project, a digital magazine and website project which offers young people aged 16-26 the opportunity to create, design and manage a digital magazine and interactive website.


An exhibition of work by the Architectural Bursary recipients concluded the tour. Before departure the royal party signed the Centre's visitors' book.

Next, the Cambridges visited XLP, “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. This was the beginning of XLP, a Christian charity that has an emphasis on being faith-based, but not faith-biased. XLP works equally with young people of all faiths and none.

XLP

William and Kate met key volunteers and supporters of the organisation as well as young people from each of the boroughs XLP supports.


The Duke and Duchess watched an arts performance and were invited onto the stage to meet and thank the performers. They were presented with XLP shirts bearing the logo “I refuse to believe this is a lost generation”.


Finally, William and Kate visited an XLP community bus and the XLP mobile recording studio on the Hazel Grove Estate.


The bus project acts as an accessible point of contact for many young people. The buses provide accessible drop-in sessions, which include 1-2-1 mentoring, cooking lessons and small group activities.


The couple posed for a photo.


Speaking about fatherhood Prince William said "not long now" and this memorable quote:

'The first time is a learning experience, the second time is a game changer.'

There was a clear theme in today's engagements - support organisations created out of terrible tragedies and loss of life. The Duke and Duchess had the opportunity to meet inspirational people who created positive places to help others out of senseless crimes. If you wish to donate to the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust please click here and for XLP please click here.


Kate repeated the cerise pink Mulberry coat she wore in New York last December for a visit to the National September 11 Memorial Museum.


The double breasted coat is a double crepe wool/silk blend. It originally retailed for £1500 before selling out shortly after Kate first wore it. It is described as "a timeless winter style with a reassuringly classic silhouette".

Mulberry

For me, the look worked better today. Kate looked radiant today and her hair looks fantastic. Do you prefer today's look or the first time she wore it?


Underneath, Kate wore a black dress.


Kate wore her favoured Stuart Weitzman 'Power' Pumps again today. The pointed-toe stilettos are currently reduced from $355 to $178 in a variety of colours on the Stuart Weitzman website. They are also available in black and taupe at Nordstrom and Zappos with Free Shipping.


Stuart Weitzman

And carried her Mulberry Bayswater Clutch. The power pumps and Mulberry clutch have been a favourite combinations of Kate's recently.

Mulberry

Kate accessorised with her gorgeous new Kiki McDonagh morganite cushion cut earrings.


A closer look at the £3,400 earrings. They are stunning.

Kiki McDonough

You can view a video at ITN Source.


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Also today, we have a couple of other updates to share. The Duchess shared a message with The Times newspaper reiterating the importance of children's mental health:

"I have been heartened to see that so much progress has been made in ending the taboo of adults openly treating mental wellness as the health issue it is. I believe that our generation of parents, caregivers, teachers, and health workers now have the chance to give the mental health of our children the focus it requires.
 I feel strongly that young people and parents need to know that they can ask for help. Just as with physical health, we need to act early to provide support when a child is faced with emotional difficulties.
"This is a discussion that William and I hope to play a part in during the months and years to come. We welcome all work to highlight this important issue for the benefit of all our young people."

This is an area Kate is passionate about and one she could make a significant difference in. We're seeing her slowly forging an individual role for herself within the Royal family, and tackling important yet often overlooked issues such as children's mental health. I look forward to seeing this commitment continue later this year.

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Yesterday, William, Kate and Harry attended the memorial for Richard Meade at Bath Abbey. Mr Meade was Britain's most successful equestrian and his son Harry Meade is a friend of the princes. The Duchess repeated her Beulah London Chaira Coat which she wore for a service at St. Paul's Cathedral earlier this month (with thanks to Kate & Pippa Style)

Kristina Schuler / @livelovelaughr

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A gorgeous new photo of Prince George with Prince Charles can be seen in the background of a video he made for the WWF in advance of Earth Day. The message can be viewed here.

British Royals Twitter Feed

Finally, as many of you may have heard the next season of Downton Abbey will be the last. Surprising and disappointing news for fans of the show!

We hope you all have a wonderful weekend; we'll be talking all things royal baby next! :)

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
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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.

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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...

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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

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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.

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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!