Wednesday, 1 April 2015

It's Royal Baby Month, Final Weeks & Vote In Our Polls!

It's officially April!

I'm not normally one to particularly favour the spring month traditionally (it tends to consist of endless last-minute exam prepping), however this year it's a very special month for royal watchers as it will mark the arrival of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's second child.


Excitement is building in the media too, with the Mail Online claiming to have an exclusive on the due date:

'Sources have now told the Mail that William and Kate have been given April 25 as the expected date for the birth of their second child.
 If born on April 25, the new royal will share their birthday with stars including RenĂ©e Zellweger and Al Pacino. He or she will be born under the sign of Taurus the bull. Taureans are known for being resolute, dependable and faithful but also proud, obstinate and with a liking for the finer things in life.'

Whether or not this is specifically accurate, we do know the Duchess herself confirmed the baby is due "mid-late April". As with her first child, Kate is due to give birth at the Lindo Wing of St. Mary's Hospital in Paddington.


Prince George will be twenty-one months old when his brother or sister arrives - it will be wonderful for them to be so close in age and no doubt the boisterous toddler will revel in having a partner in crime :)


For now, with Kate officially on maternity leave, it's an incredibly exciting time in the Cambridge household. Yesterday Prince William started work as an employee of Bond Air Services, and over the coming months he will undertake job-specific training before he begins piloting missions for East Anglian Air Ambulance during the summer.

We know William's role will see the family primarily based in their newly renovated country home Anmer Hall in Norfolk. A Katie Nicholl story suggested the family are residing at Wood Farm,  a shooting lodge because renovations are ongoing.  We know the Cambridges enjoyed Christmas at Anmer with the Middletons who stayed for a couple of weeks, and one presumes work was postponed for the festive period. At present, no other reporters have confirmed this story.


Whether Kate decides to spend the first weeks with baby at Anmer Hall or enjoy time in Bucklebury, it is certain her family will be close at hand providing support. The Duchess is incredibly close to her family and will want her mother Carole by her side once again. Mrs Middleton, who is a regular presence at Anmer, has been decorating a nursery in recent months. With two under two, it will be wonderful for William and Kate to have a close family support system, and of course Nanny Maria Teresa who has become an integral part of the team.


Unlike her first pregnancy, Kate appears to be feeling much better, with a string of engagements in recent months, and has been seen shopping on King's Road in London or taking a stroll around Burnham Market, close to Anmer Hall, to buy treats according to locals.


Kate's been craving sweet treats and both she and William have been spotted popping into the Humble Pie Bakery. Their favourites include a £7.25 chocolate biscuit cake and a sticky fruit loaf. Of course, there's an old wives tale, if a pregnant woman is craving chocolate and biscuits, it's a sure sign it's a girl. At home, she's enjoying baking with Prince George and making last minute preparations for the new arrival.

Humble Pie

Many of you have expressed an interest in voting on the baby's gender and name, and today we're doing just that. Do you think the Duchess is expecting a boy or a girl? Kate said during her first pregnancy: "I would like to have a boy and William would like a girl". I'm sure they would love to have one of each, however, all that matters is a healthy baby.


What do you think? Do you have a preference?

Will the Baby Be a Boy Or a Girl?
 
pollcode.com free polls


As for names, there's more scope in terms of choice for the second child, as they are not the heir to the throne. In many ways, William and Kate are quite traditional and I believe they'll honour family names with their choices. It would be nice to see a Middleton family name incorporated this time too.


According to bookies, the favoured name at present is Alice.

'Since the mid 19th century a number of royal women have been called Alice, with Queen Victoria calling her second daughter Princess Alice and the wife of the late Duke of Gloucester - the Queen's uncle - also had the same name.
 After Alice, which is also Paddy Power's favourite, the next most popular name with punters is Elizabeth at odds of 9-2, followed by Charlotte at 11-2, Victoria at 12-1, Alexandra at 14-1 and Diana at 16-1.'

For a boy, people are betting on Arthur, Henry and James.

'For boys names Arthur, Henry and James are all currently at 20-1. Odds on the gender of the baby are now evens for a boy and 8-11 for a girl.'

For the purposes of a poll, I've selected fifteen possible names for each gender looking to the family's history, popular possibilities, strong and recurring names from the Windsor and Middleton/Goldsmith family tree. You can vote for more than one name (if you'd like to vote for your choices for middle names too) and if the name you like is not on the list simply vote for 'other' and leave a comment letting us know your choices.

Vote for Girl Names
 
pollcode.com free polls


Vote for Boy Names
 
pollcode.com free polls


There are so many beautiful name possibilities for the royal baby; I personally like Peter Arthur Francis (Kate's grandfather was named Peter Francis Middleton) and for a girl Alice Elizabeth Charlotte (ahem :)) rolls off the tongue nicely. If the baby is a girl, many will be hoping to see the late Princess Diana honoured, again her middle name was Frances, and we may see that name incorporated in some way. Kate's late grandmothers' names Dorothy and Valerie are both worth considering too.


In the meantime, are you all ready for the Great Kate Wait 2? :)


Very excited to see your votes and hear choices not mentioned on the list in your comments!

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!