Tuesday, 24 January 2017

UPDATED: Kate in Rich Green Hobbs for Norfolk Children's Hospice Visit

The Duchess of Cambridge visited her patronage East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH) in Quidenham, as it continues fundraising for a new purpose-built hospice in Norfolk.

Kate received a very warm welcome from local schoolchildren who were incredibly excited to meet her.

Nell Cork, whose brother Finnbar died aged five last year, presented The Duchess with beautiful flowers.

Nell's parents Tristan and Claire are paramedics who have advocated for greater funding for research into brain tumours. Very sadly five-year-old Finnbar died of a brain tumour last September. Richard Palmer reported "The Duchess of Cambridge hugged bereaved parents Tristan and Claire Cork and told them: "I'm a mother and I can't imagine what you've been through." . The family were supported by EACH throughout their son's illness - no doubt it was very emotional for them today.

EACH at Quidenham supports families and cares for children and young people with life-threatening conditions from across Norfolk. Their family centred approach includes specialist nursing care, symptom management support, wellbeing activities, and therapy and counselling – all meeting the individual needs of the child or young person, and the whole family. Since its opening in 1991, the increasing numbers of children with life-threatening conditions and complex healthcare needs visiting Quidenham means the hospice has outgrown its current site. A new purpose-built hospice ‘The Nook’, will help to provide more families with the same facilities as those offered by EACH hospices for Cambridgeshire, Essex and Suffolk.

Kate helped launched the Nook Appeal in 2014. EACH describes plans for the new hospice as "Our vision to transform children’s palliative care in Norfolk and deliver even better children’s hospice care services. EACH currently provides specialist care and support for 351 children and young people with an additional 417 family members receiving face-to-face therapeutic support. With high demand in Norfolk we are caring for 131 children and young people and 215 family members. The nook will allow us to do this while offering greater choice in a much improved, significantly larger, and more appropriate environment. This will positively impact on care delivered both in the hospice and in the community throughout Norfolk."

Take a virtual walk through The Nook by viewing this video.

The Duchess toured the current facilities of the hospice and met families who use the services at Quidenham as they take part in an art therapy session.

More from the Mail Online:

Kate met four-year-old Daisy Benton on a visit to East Anglia's Children's Hospices in Quidenham, Norfolk, today. Daisy's sister, Isabella, six, who has a number of neurological conditions including complex refractory epilepsy and global developmental delay, is a patient at the centre. Kate laughed uproariously as the youngster excitedly tipped an entire pot of pink glitter onto her picture during an art session. 
 Play specialist Rachel Turner, who was running the sesson, said afterwards: 'I was worrying about not getting paint on her because Isabella, bless her, is very vigorous with the paint and the glitter.' Isabella's mother Michala Benton, 42, said afterwards: 'My other little girl Daisy asked her what it was like to be a real princess and Kate said she's very well looked after by her husband. Daisy is four and absolutely loves princesses. 
Kate also said about her kids that Charlotte and George run in different directions all the time. She was very down to earth and was happy to sit with Isabella.' After the session Kate looked around at the toys in the room and, gesturing to some plastic dinosaurs, in what is thought to be a reference to her three-year-old son George, she said: 'I can see these going down very well with someone I might know.'

A lovely shot of Kate and Isabella.

Kate was asked what it's like to be a real princess :)

Rebecca English Twitter Feed

Kate chatted with staff at the hospice.

Visiting the sensory room.

Kate posed for photos with families.

The Duchess clearly enjoyed meeting the children.

Before the visit concluded, Kate received an update on the appeal. Chief Executive Graham Butland spoke about Kate's 'journey' since she became patron in 2012. He said 'Then that journey developed into your first public speech.' Kate smiled and interjected - 'terrifying'. Mr Butland continued: 'Terrifying, well I can tell you my former chairman was equally terrified that day.' Rebecca English noted " After Mr Butland's comments, Kate held her hands to her face as though she was blushing from his remarks.".

The appeal aims to raise £10 million and following mammoth fundraising efforts they are almost half way there. Graham Butland noted "We still have some way to go before the new hospice can be built, though, and we need continued help from individuals, trusts and events, and as much corporate and community support as possible." I follow EACH on social media and have been enormously impressed by their tireless fundraising work. From a festive fun run in Norfolk to local businesses hosting golfing events, the people of Norfolk are truly rallying behind the charity. Royal reporter Victoria Murphy joined Kate today and noted how "cramped" the Quidenham hospice is.

For those who are considering donating to The Nook Appeal or wish to find out more, please click here.

Kate looked elegant in a rich green jacket and skirt by Hobbs London.

Below, the boiled-wool Sinead Jacket. It has a sleek collarless cut with with a subtle peplum and bodice detailing to the back to define the figure, and fastens with an exposed front-zip for a contemporary finish. 

Hobbs London

The matching A-line Sinead skirt is crafted from a stunning floral Italian wool-blend, featuring clean lines and slit detail on the reverse. Both the skirt and jacket have been sold out for some time.

Hobbs London

The Telegraph reports Kate purchased the suit over a year ago:

'It's the first time Kate has worn the elegantly-cut Sinead peplum jacket and pencil skirt, which cost £189 and £110 respectively, but intriguingly she must have bought her outfit some time ago. "The skirt and jacket are from a past season and came out in late August 2015 and would have sold out in the AW15 sale," a Hobbs representative told us of The Duchess's outfit.
That means that the latest Kate could have bought the green suit is December 2015 - implying the Duchess's wardrobe is planned meticulously and exceptionally well in advance. It's been suggested before that Kate buys clothes well in advance of wearing them to avoid being seen in the same outfit as other guests. And, of course, it dampens the impact of the so-called Copy Kate effect; fans of her look can't buy her exact item because it has long sold-out.'

Kate teamed the skirt suit with the Gerard Darel Josephine Blouse (with thanks to Middleton Maven). Crafted from pure silk the blouse features a collar with ruffled hem and button fastenings down the front framed by black stitching. The tie at the top of the blouse gives an extra piece of detail. The £175 was on sale at John Lewis before selling out. As of writing, it's available in several sizes on the Gerard Darel website.

Gerard Darel

I believe it is the first time we've seen Kate wearing a piece by the brand. More on its background:

'The Gerard Darel brand was established in 1971 by founders Gerard and Daniele Darel. Championing a simple, chic and ultra-feminine aesthetic, Gerard Darel has embodied French elegance for over 40 years. From its first collection, the brand has continually displayed soft, dulcet tones and classic chic cuts at the core of its timeless and refined pieces.'


The Duchess accessorised with her Kiki McDonough Morganite Cushion Drop earrings.

Kiki McDonough

And completed the look with her black suede Mulberry clutch.

You can view a video from the visit here.

A lovely engagement in support of a wonderful cause!

When will see Kate officially next? Kensington Palace announced, on 6 February, William and Kate will attend ‘The Big Assembly’ by Place2Be hosted at Mitchell Brook Primary School, as part of the Heads Together campaign to start millions of conversations on mental health in 2017. The Big Assembly, on the theme of kindness, is one of many being held at primary schools across the UK to mark Children's Mental Health Week (6th to 12th February 2017). There's also a very sweet video of Kate and Pippa as bridesmaids (and little James Middleton stealing the show) at their Uncle Gary's wedding in 1991. Kate was just nine years old at the time - it offers a very candid look at a special day for the family. You can view the video here.

Friday, 20 January 2017

The Cambridges' Plans for 2017 Confirmed, Vote for Kate's Best Separates Look & More

Hello and Happy Friday everyone,

Today Kensington Palace shared a statement on Twitter confirming the Cambridges' plans for 2017. As expected, Prince William has decided not to renew his contract with the East Anglian Air Ambulance and will take up full-time duties in support of the Queen when he finishes his role this summer. The Palace said: "Their Royal Highnesses have loved their time in Norfolk and it will continue to be their home. From this autumn, however, the Duke and Duchess will increasingly base their family at Kensington Palace. As they have in recent years, Their Royal Highnesses are keen to continue to increase their official work on behalf of the Queen and for the charities and causes they support, which will require greater time spent in London."

Kensington Palace

More from the Telegraph's report:

'The Duke of Cambridge is to quit his role as an air ambulance pilot this summer so he can take up full-time royal duties in  support of the Queen, Kensington Palace confirmed today.
The Duchess of Cambridge will also step up the number of royal engagements she undertakes, and the couple will move back to London with their children Prince George and Princess Charlotte.
With the Duke of Edinburgh in his 96th year and the Queen preparing to celebrate her 91st birthday in April, the onus has been on the Duke and Duchess for some time to take on a greater share of royal engagements.'

Undoubtedly a range of factors came into plans when making this decision. One of these was likely the fact Prince George begins school in London. I suspect it seemed like the best time to make the transition. The Palace confirmed George will begin school in London in September (the choice of school was not revealed), whilst Princess Charlotte will also go to nursery in London.

Prince William thanked the people of East Anglia for their support and said his experiences "will add a valuable perspective to my royal work for decades to come". The statement continued: "I would like to thank the people of East Anglia for being so supportive of my role and for letting me get on with the job when they have seen me in the community or at our region's hospitals. I would especially like to thank all of my collegues at EAAA, Babcock and Cambridge Airport for their friendship and support. I have loved being part of a team of professional, talented people that save lives every day. My admiration for our country's medical and emergency services community could not be any stronger."

ITV News deputy political editor Chris Ship noted the timing of the release coinciding with the presidential inaugartion in the US.

Chris Ship Twitter Feed

We recently discussed the topic following The Sunday Times' Roya Nikkhah report. As I said at the time, I think this was a huge discussion for the couple. As in Anglelsey, they have loved their time in Norfolk and the privacy they enjoyed. Anmer Hall will continue to serve as a country home for the family, likely at weekend and school holidays as schedules allow, but their primary home will be Kensington Palace. With George starting school in September and HM approaching her 91st birthday, it very much feels like the time is right to make the transition. We will reportedly see William taking on a full-time schedule of duties; whilst Kate will continue to focus on George and Charlotte, we're certainly going to see a marked increase in engagements.

William and Kate make a fantastic team, they represent the monarchy with aplomb at home and abroad, and are fantastic ambassadors for Britain. I believe they can achieve so much not only for causes close to their hearts, but in modernising the monarchy while staying true to its traditions. The next couple of years are going to be particularly interesting, during which we will gain an insight into the paths they wish to carve for themselves within the Royal family. It's a period of big changes for the family, and it's also an exciting time full of opportunity.


Best Separates Look

In today's poll, we're asking you to vote for 'Kate's Best Separates Look of 2016'. Pairing a skirt with a jacket or blouse can provide a relaxed, chic look and we saw Kate opt for smart skirt suits and stylish separates on a number of occasions in 2016. It's amazing to see how a simple piece can be elevated when paired with the right item. We're looking back on ensembles the Duchess put together for official appearances. With that, let's take a look back through Kate's looks...

In January, the Cambridges and the Middletons joined the Royal family for the 100th anniversary of the First World War Gallipoli campaign. Kate repeated her slate/claret Michael Kors suit. The Virgin Wool Plaid Blazer is described as a "vintage-inspired equestrian silhouette" with notched lapels, long sleeves, four-button closure and plaid knit print. The Guncheck Wool Trumpet Skirt is crafted from heritage guncheck wool with the trumpet silhouette offering a flattering feminine fit. Kate teamed the suit with a black turtleneck and her trusty Aquatalia Rhumba Boots.

For Kate's video message in support of Children's Mental Health Week, the Duchess wore her blue Rebecca Taylor suit. Kate first wore the jacket and skirt in April 2012 for the Scott-Amundsen Centenary Race to the South Pole, and more recently in New Zealand in 2014. The suit is from the designer's Pre-Fall 2012/2013 Collection. Both pieces are crafted in heavily textured melange weft. The jacket features frayed trim and sequin floral embellishment at the neck.

The Duchess was stylish in the Reiss Vinnie High-Neck Shirt - cut from a lightweight chiffon with a textured stripe design - and the Dolce & Gabbana Boucle Wool Blend Skirt. I loved the pairing of both these pieces and thought it a lovely choice for the day.

For a trip to Scotland in February, Kate removed her green SportsMax coat to a reveal a classic combination of a black turtleneck with a grey houndstooth wool kilt with pleated pin embellishment by Scottish brand Le Kilt.

The Duchess debuted a gorgeous look by Kensington-based label Eponine London for a visit to the XLP mentoring programme in March. The red and white skirt suit is from the brand's Spring/Summer 2016 Collection. The top features a boat neck and three-quarter sleeves while the skirt is A-line. It's a beautiful outfit and I love the silhouette, the lines, and the gingham pattern.

HRH combined high street and designer for the Heads Together launch in May. Kate chose the cream Goat Binky Blouse with full sleeves and the Blue Geo Jacquard Midi Skirt by Banana Republic.

Kate brought back a favourite Alexander McQueen ensemble for a visit to Portsmouth to learn more about her patornage, the 1851 Trust. The nautical-looking, military-inspired look is always a hit for me; it's beautifully tailored and versatile.

For the Cambridges' new official portrait, Kate sported an ivory jacket from Alberta Ferretti's diffusion line Philosophy with a rounded collar, embroidered detailing and three-quarter length sleeves, with a pleated skirt.

The Duchess spent a rainy day on the Isles of Scilly in September and surprised us all when she chose print trousers (rather than her favoured skinny jeans) for the event. Kate teamed the GAP Bi-Stretch Skinny Ankle Pants with her navy Smythe Blazer and an Off-the-shoulder top by H&M.

An elegant Kate hit all the right style notes in a pale blue bespoke Catherine Walker skirt suit for her first solo overseas visit to the Netherlands. The belted jacket features large buttons and peplum detail, whilst the skirt falls to just above the knee. What I love about many Catherine Walker designs for Kate is the feeling of timelessness - this suit could be worn in a decade or two and still exude classic style.

Kate wore her Dolce & Gabbana Boucle Wool Blend Skirt again for unannounced engagements in November to a women's prison and the Nelson trust. The Duchess completed the low-key look with a black turtleneck.

At a fun pre-Christmas engagement with the scouts, the Duchess debuted a new brand - Iris & Ink - wearing their Grace Cashmere Turtleneck Sweater with jeans believed to be from Zara.

An excellent selection, I think you'll agree! I love the pale blue Catherine Walker skirt suit and the Eponine London look in particular. Which look got your vote? Do let us know in the comments section. :)

Kate's Best Separates Look of 2016
pollcode.com free polls


Finally, a couple of sales opportunities to share with you. The updated version of Kate's much-loved Aquatalia Rumbah boots are currently discounted by 30% ($750 to $524) at Nordstrom.


Kate's Preen Finella Dress is significantly discounted from £1,126 to £450 at Boutique1.

Kate's Temperley London Desdemona Dress is reduced by 50% at Net-A-Porter in black. The jade version Kate wore is available in limited sizes (reduced from $1,395 to $837) at Avenue32.

Temperley London

And Beulah London are offering readers an additional 10% off sale items with the code HRH10 throughout the weekend. Sale items include the pretty Pink Wool Coat, the Black Devore A-Line Dress and the Alice Print Shirt Dress.

Beulah London

Wishing you all a lovely weekend and thanks for reading as always! :)