Sunday, 1 May 2016

Princess Charlotte's Birthday Portraits Released

Kensington Palace released four beautiful photographs ahead of Princess Charlotte's birthday tomorrow.

The Duchess took the photos at the family's country home, Anmer Hall, in Norfolk in April. It's becoming something of a tradition for Kate to take photos of her children; as a keen photographer she always captures excellent shots and they offer a relaxed feel each time as George and Charlotte are so very much at ease with her. Below, Charlotte is looking at mum as she takes her photo. :)

My favourite photo from the set is the one below showing a smiling Charlotte pushing her walker across the lawn. It's a delightful 'family album' photo and she looks simply adorable with a pink bow in her hair. It also looks like Lupo was eager to get in on the action, making the background of the photo.

The Palace said: "The Duke and Duchess are happy to be able to share these family moments, ahead of their daughter's first birthday. We hope that everyone enjoys these lovely photos as much as we do."

What do you think of the photos? I thoroughly enjoyed seeing them and thanks to the selection of four we were afforded the opportunity to get a glimpse into Charlotte's personality. She's changed so much in the last few months and appears to be having a splendid time exploring around Anmer. cute are those expressions?

HRH The Duchess of Cambridge

Charlotte's pretty blue dress is also from Spanish brand M & H. It is from their FW15 Collection (below we see it in pink). It was worn with the Princess Charlotte Cashmere Rose Stitch Cardigan by Olivier Baby and Kids.

The wonderful team at Prince George Pieces have been busy identifying Charlotte's outfits. The Princess wore her pink M & H cardigan, and Amaia Kids tights from the Queen's birthday portrait. Charlotte's navy shoes are the Early Days Emma Pre-Walkers. As for Charlotte's precious bows, it is thought they are also by Amaia Kids, retailing for £2.50.

In one of the photos, Charlotte was holding the popular The Wheels on the Bus sound and action book.

John Lewis

As for her walker, it's the $145 Walker and Alphabet Blocks by Pintoy.


Big brother George's first birthday portraits were taken at the 'Sensational Butterflies' exhibition at the Natural History Museum by press association photographer John Stillwell. The Prince was depicted toddling towards the camera with his arms in the air.

Three photos were released in total - two with William and Kate included.

It's hard to believe its been a year since Charlotte was born. Who will ever forget this day? Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana of Cambridge was born weighing 8 lbs 3 oz at 8.34 am.

In June, photos of George and Charlotte taken by Kate at Anmer Hall were released.

The Princess was baptised at St Mary Magdalene Church on the Sandringham estate in Norfolk on 5 July.

A mother and daughter christening portrait by the one and only Mario Testino.

The family of four.

Photos released in November showed a smiling Charlotte playing with a toy at Anmer.

Another precious smile for the Cambridges Christmas card photo.

The family enjoyed a ski holiday in March. It was the first time either George or Charlotte had played in the snow.

And sitting on "Gan-Gan's" lap for the Queen's 90th birthday portrait. It's been a wonderful year, the Princess has grown so much.

Wishing Princess Charlotte a very, very Happy Birthday! I have no doubt it will be an enormously special day for the family. :)

If you're just joining us, yes, the Duchess is gracing the cover of Vogue; click here to find out more on that and enter to win a pair of Kate's Bow Gloves. Someday in the future Charlotte may even follow in her mother's footsteps and also feature on the cover.

We'll see the Duchess on Wednesday - she has three engagements throughout the day.

Saturday, 30 April 2016

The Duchess of Cambridge Graces the Cover of British Vogue, Latest News & BLACK Giveaway

We had expected we might see a royal surprise tonight, suspecting it might be birthday portraits of Princess Charlotte - instead Kensington Palace announced the Duchess of Cambridge will grace the cover of the June issue of British Vogue.

Kate's patronage the National Portrait Gallery has collaborated with British Vogue on a series of portraits of the Duchess, shot by photographer Josh Olins on the Sandringham estate in the Norfolk countryside in January, and styled by Vogue fashion director Lucinda Chambers. The Duchess used professional make-up artist Sally Branka, who persuaded her to forego her usual black eyeliner in favour of a fresher look.

Photographer Josh Olins was thrilled to be asked to take the photos:

"It's a privilege to have been chosen to photograph the Duchess of Cambridge for the centenary issue of British Vogue and an honour that two of those portraits will hang in the National Portrait Gallery, This was the Duchess's first sitting for a magazine and she was a joy to work with, a natural. I am extremely grateful to Alexandra Shulman for placing her faith in me for such an important and historic assignment."

A spokesperson said: "British Vogue has given a platform to some of the most renowned photographers in the country's history. “She is incredibly grateful to the team at Vogue and at the National Portrait Gallery for asking her to take part. She would like to thank Josh Olins for being such a pleasure to work with."

More from the official press release:

'Forming part of the magazine’s centenary celebrations, Vogue 100: A Century of Style showcases the range of photography that has been commissioned by British Vogue since it was founded in 1916. With over 280 prints from the Condé Nast archive and international collections being shown together at the National Portrait Gallery for the first time, the exhibition tells the story of one of the most influential fashion magazines in the world.'

Vogue's story shares quotes from editor-in-chief Alexandra Shulman:

"It's a huge honour and incredibly exciting for us to have HRH the Duchess of Cambridge featuring on the cover of British Vogue and as part of our centenary issue," Vogue editor-in-chief Alexandra Shulman said today. "For me personally it has been a wonderful experience to have had the opportunity to work with her on this, and I am immensely proud of what we have produced. This special issue of the magazine is very close to my heart as it had to reflect on 100 years of British Vogue, and so I am hugely grateful that we have been able to continue with our tradition of outstanding royal portraiture with these pictures."

London-born Josh Olins discovered his love of photography while studying art at Middlesex University and began working as a photographer's assistant in the early 2000s. Olins has been working with British Vogue for the past seven years and has shot a number many of the world's top models and actresses including Emma Watson and Lady GaGa since. Vogue notes his images are "defined by their imaginative yet natural style and their precise composition".


The Duchess is following in the footsteps of her late mother-in-law, Diana, Princess of Wales who graces the cover of Vogue four times. The photos in August 1981 were taken by Lord Snowdon. The next two covers were shot by Patrick Demarchelier in July 1994 and December 1991  She also appeared on the cover posthumously in October 1997, when a photograph taken from 1994 was used for a special tribute issue.


On Wednesday, the Duchess will visit the National Portrait Gallery to view the 'Vogue 100: A Century of Style' exhibition.

It will be the first time Kate has seen the two portraits of herself displayed in the gallery.

Wednesday will be a particularly busy day for the Duchess who has two other engagements that day -  a visit to Hampton Court's Magic Garden, marking the official opening of its new children's play area. Kate will also attend a lunch reception at the Anna Freud Centre.

Nicholas Cullinan, director of the National Portrait Gallery said Josh Olins perfectly captured Kate.

"Josh has captured the Duchess exactly as she is - full of life, with a great sense of humour, thoughtful and intelligent, and in fact, very beautiful. Not only do they reflect her love of the countryside, interest in photography and championing of the National Portrait Gallery as our very committed patron, but they also encapsulate what Vogue has always done so brilliantly - to pair the best photographers with the great personalities of the day, in order to reflect broader shifts in culture and society. We had fun in making and choosing these images, and I hope that comes across."

When Kensington Palace tweeted they had surprises in store we hadn't anticipated seeing Kate on the cover of Vogue. It's a wonderful collaboration and the photos are 'very Kate'. She looks relaxed against the backdrop of the Norfolk countryside and I love the way she's styled in a nautical striped top and a crisp shirt - very much her typical style. There's been rumours about US Vogue Editor Anna Wintour's attempts to get Kate on the cover for years. No doubt it's an editor's dream and a splendid coup for the magazine. As one of the world's most photographed women, it's fascinating to see Kate posing for a magazine shoot. What do you think of the photos?

What brands did the Duchess wear for her Vogue shoot? Kate was very much involved in selecting pieces for the images. The Duchess wore the $75 Women's Striped Tee by Petit Bateau. It is described: "This tee with an admiral neck is made in our original 1x1 rib highlighted with very graphic stripes in the same width. It has a straight cut and a pocket that features a surprising vertical stripe in the opposite direction to the tee stripes."

Petit Bateau

The top is also available in two other colourways.

Petit Bateau

Kate wore the top with Burberry trousers.

Anna believes they are the £695 Burberry Stretch Boot-Cut Trousers.


The Duchess also wore a striking charcoal brown coat by British brand Burberry. The $7,500  Double-Breasted Suede Coat features a wide revere collar. The tapered waist has an integrated martingale to cinch the silhouette and a softly pleated skirt for movement.


A closer look at the collar.


The amazing Anna identified Kate's hat as the £38 Wool Felt Fedora hat by Beyond Retro Vintage Clothing.

Beyond Retro

The brand prides itself for "sifting through a tidal wave of second-hand product to bring you the very best in trend-led vintage fashion. But only 1 in 1,000 items make it to the shop floor. The Beyond Retro LABEL is our answer to the other 999. Crafted from reclaimed materials, this growing line of apparel and accessories aligns our passion for original design with a mounting concern for declining global resources. We’re hoarders at heart, with a mission of recycling at our core. Our LABEL leverages the world’s collective closet to deliver directional full-circle fashion."

Beyond Retro

What an amazing end to an unforgettable month - I do love it when the royals surprise us. :)

The June 2016 centenary issue of Vogue will be available nationwide and ready to download from Thursday, 5 May. 'Vogue 100: A Century of Style' is at the National Portrait Gallery until 22 May (If interested in viewing the exhibition, please click here). I don't know about you, but I shall be particularly eager to get my hands on a copy and see the remaining photos. There's at least four more portraits according to various media outlets.


Moving on to the latest royal news. Kensington Palace announced an exciting new initiative for Prince William during the week. The Prince will convene a new industry-led taskforce to tackle cyberbullying. I think in many ways, it very much ties in with William, Kate and Harry's focus on mental health, as all types of bullying can have a detrimental effect on one's mental health.

Cyberbullying is incredibly topical at the moment, and I'm sure most of us who are active on social media have either witnessed or experienced online abuse; as an adult it can be quite shocking and upsetting but it's particularly difficult for teenagers who are increasingly spending so much of their time online, where schoolyard bullying follows them into their homes due to social media. Cyberbullying takes on many forms too, be it verbal abuse, threats, harassment, denigration and cyber-stalking to name a few. The statistics are startling; a survey carried out by Bullying UK found 56% of young people said they have seen others bullied online and 42% have felt unsafe online. As technology progresses, the problem is becoming rapidly prevalent.

More on the taskforce from the official press release:

"This is an issue that the Duke feels strongly about. While most social platforms and service providers do have systems in place for reporting or removing abusive content, there is no common industry standard or commitment to tackle the issue, nor is there an existing single repository of information for users on how to address it.
The taskforce will take existing models of good practice for reporting abusive content on individual networks and develop a set of commitments for the industry to sign up to, to collectively tackle the issue. It will consider the development of a single resource of up to date practical support and information for young people affected by cyberbullying, with advice on how to get help. It will also work to help parents and adults to better understand cyberbullying, and give them the confidence to find appropriate help and resources to support children affected by the issue."

I look forward to hearing more about the taskforce in the coming weeks.


Whilst we're discussing the princes, we really must share this fantastic video of Harry and the Queen, filmed ahead of the Invictus Games. It's so much fun and for an excellent cause. Harry has a rare talent for bringing out the fun side in everyone. :)


We also have a little giveaway from our friends at luxury accessories brand - a pair of Kate's ever-popular Black Bow Gloves in satin lycra. Below we see Kate wearing hers in New York, for a visit to Child Bereavement UK, and on Remembrance Sunday in 2011.

The £42 gloves are described as: "Short black cocktail gloves with an elegant and pristine side bow at the wrist. Made from satin lycra the gloves are stretchy, ensuring a snug, flattering fit. They are perfect for weddings, smart daywear and of course the cocktail hour. Made in Italy." They are also available in ivory.

This weekend, the brand is offering 25% off all items in their collections. From cashmere shawls to gloves, hats, mens accessories and much more. The discount is automatically applied.

To add an elegant accessory to your wardrobe the brand's collections have an array of possibilities. Below, a look at the Perenna Italian Silk Scarf featuring tones of sapphire, turquoise, purple and teal. We also see the Salsa Red and White Striped Hat, and the Navy and White Striped Bag.

The brand has a colourful selection of cashmere scarves in stock, The Mandarin Orange Modal and Cashmere Shawl is a very nice Repli-Kate for the piece Kate wore in Bhutan.

From the homeware section: the Black and Grey Swirl Cushion, and the Luxury Black Cotton Sateen Duvet Cover.

Back to the giveaway: to win a pair of the Bow gloves, simply leave a comment or send me a tweet to let me know if you would prefer them in black or ivory.

We hope you're all having a lovely weekend, I expect we'll see a photo or two for Charlotte's birthday soon :)