Friday, 12 February 2021

Kate Meets A Princess During Little Village Call

On Tuesday, the Duchess of Cambridge participated in celebrating Little Village's fifth anniversary by learning more about their efforts to support families. 

Kensington Palace said: "Since their launch in 2016, Little Village has supported over 11,000 children and grown into one of the largest baby banks in the UK. Baby banks aim to support and empower families by ensuring every child has the essential items they need to thrive. Families are referred to Little Village through a network of over 1,800 professionals such as midwives and social workers. As well as providing practical support for families, the baby bank also supports families emotionally, which is particularly crucial during lockdown when families can feel more socially isolated than ever."

Over the summer, the Duchess brought a number of British retailers together to support baby banks after she was "moved to tears" by stories of families she heard during a private visit to one of Baby Basics Norfolk branches and was determined to help with their plight. The endeavour saw 25,000 items donated to 40 baby banks including Little Village. 

During the call, Kate told Yelda Rashid and Vicky Jones "I'm thinking about you a lot and I really care for families up and down the country." Vicky told the Duchess about her relationship with Little Village and the ways in which they have supported her and her daughter over the last three and a half years while Yelda, whose daughter has Rett Syndrome, spoke about the challenges she has faced during the latest lockdown and emphasised the importance of support networks. Vicky added "As soon as I walked in to Little Village it was like a huge family unit. It was absolutely amazing."

There was a very sweet moment when Vicky was joined by her adorable daughter Isla who declared "I am a Princess today".

"Can she say hello to you quickly?" asked Vicky.

"I'd love that," replied the Duchess, adding: "Hi Isla. You look very nice today. I love your hairband."

"I'm a princess today," the little girl told her.

Told it was snowing outside, Kate said: "No way! Have you been outside? Have you made a snowman yet?"

"No, mummy's too cold," laughed Vicky.'

Founder Sophia Parker told the Duchess in addition to providing essential items, the charity has made 7,000 phone calls to families in order to "retain a sense of community and connection" during the pandemic. It's a bittersweet time for Sophia. After five years which saw Little Village help 11,000 children she completed her last day yesterday. Of Sophia's legacy, a member of the team said "The village that you’ve created is a village filled with love - that’s an amazing legacy and such a rare thing to have sustained it through its growth."

To coincide with the anniversary, the charity commissioned a report outlining the poverty crisis families are dealing with and the additional challenges presented by the pandemic. You can read it in full here. A cursory look at the most significant findings:

'Little Village has released a report, supported by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, revealing exclusive new data exploring the rates, persistence and depth of poverty in families with young children. It also highlights the impact of the Covid pandemic on low-income families with young children.

The analysis reveals 1.3 million of the 4.2 million children in poverty in the UK are babies and children under the age of 5.'
The Duchess wore L.K. Bennett's Liv Jumper for the call (with thanks to Sophia). Described as "Crafted from a soft cotton and merino wool blend in cream, this stylish knit has a Seventies-inspired collar, short placket with navy buttons, long sleeves, a regular fit and navy stitch detail." It's available in limited sizing at L.K. Bennett and John Lewis

Kate also wore black jeans/trousers.

Kate wore the same pair of earrings we saw earlier this week for a call to students at Ulster University which also took place on Tuesday. It remains very difficult to make a definitive ID. 

I hope you all have a great weekend!

Wednesday, 10 February 2021

The Duchess Tells Students Nurses They Are "Needed More Than Ever"

Over the past year, nursing students have been thrust into an unprecedented situation. For those on work placement amid a pandemic, challenges like never before have been presented to the NHS, as staff on the front line grappled with the toughest circumstances.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge spoke to students from Ulster University, Northern Ireland, as they participated in practical clinical sessions with their lecturers.

The couple spoke to first-year nursing student Abigail McGarvey about her insightful diary. Abigail created it to offer a glimpse into a typical shift for student nurses. She told the Duke and Duchess about the impact of patients being unable to receive visits from their loved ones. She also discussed starting university during a pandemic and how it affected engaging and learning with her peers.

Abigail told the couple her experiences have confirmed nursing is her chosen path. "This is what I want to do for the rest of my life. This is my chosen path. You have to give so much more because families cannot visit."

People reports:

"Caring for people puts me as a student nurse in a very privileged position as many of these people are extremely vulnerable," she said. "In providing person-centered care we often form close relationships with patients and watching them becoming ill and perhaps dying means we have to develop the resilience to cope with that."

McGarvey added that they are "supported by nurses  . . . who act as role models" and she is "so grateful for the experiences" during this placement and is exciting to see where she heads next.

"Starting nursing training during a pandemic is never ideal, but I've been so well supported and I'm so thankful," she continued.'

The Duchess, patron of Nursing Now, told students, "Nursing is one of the most trusted professions in the country, so you couldn't have chosen a better career choice and it's needed now more than ever. You've got almost three generations now. Those coming back from retirement, but also you guys doing your training who are stepping up. It shows real commitment and real teamwork, and it should really be celebrated."

Hello! writes:

'William said: "It's very difficult for you guys to go straight into a pandemic I would imagine, that's really baptism by fire as they say, isn’t it?"

Lisa Semerdzhieva, a Year 3 nursing student, replied: "Yes, right, although it was frightening at the start, you know, you really want to go out more.

"Now you can't wait to get back out and practise, to feel like you're helping, you know, because that’s what we were born to do really."

It very much appears the Duchess wore her Alexander McQueen black tuxedo jacket. The leaf tailored crepe blazer features cobalt blue satin lining. The piece has padded shoulders and a single button fastening. It's currently on sale at Net-A-Porter, reduced from £1,240 to £868.

Kate wore the piece last October for the Wildlife Photographer of the Year Awards.

The Duchess accessorised with a new necklace.

It's the striking £160/$220 Astley Clarkle Round Stilla Lapis Lazuli Pendant necklace (with many thanks to the eagle-eyed Liz from Kate's Closet).

The necklace is described as: "A celebration of vibrancy, this demi-fine Stilla gemstone pendant features a captivating table-cut lapis lazuli gem, set in 18 carat yellow gold plated sterling silver, and uses a spectacle setting to display the entire blue gemstone and show its complexities beautifully. This gemstone pendant is finished with a gold nugget detail and our signature Astley Clarke star-set lapis lazuli tag."

Below the Stilla in Malachite and Amazonite.

Kate's earrings don't appear to be a pair we've seen before. The talented Gabi suggests Missoma's Gold Baya Hoop Earrings as a possibility. It's very difficult to be certain without high-res images.

I know we have several nurses reading the blog. It feels like a good time to say thank you for everything you have done.

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