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Wills/Kate or Meghan/Harry Mugs from The House That Lars Built

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Good morning! I hope you are ensconced somewhere cozy with a good cup of coffee enjoying a little quiet time before the day gets going. I am coming to you this morning to pitch you some cute mugs with which to enjoy future coffees or cuppas. Back in January or February I saw these fun mugs featuring William and Kate and Harry and Meghan. I mentioned how sweet they were and the company that makes them - House That Lars Built - reached out and suggested a promo code for readers of From Berkshire to Buckingham. 

I have been following The House That Lars Built for some years now. The website/company was created by Brittany Jepsen as a grad school project for one of her interior design classes in college. She maintained the blog for school for a few years, but over time it morphed into a craft/DIY blog, and then into the company it is today. The blog/website provides a continual supply of DIY crafts and artsy inspiration for entertaining, home decor, themed parties, and more. It's like a lifestyle/design/crafting/everything-creative-and-fun-under-the-sun blog. I love all the inventive crafts that Brittany and her team come up. Right now she is featuring lovely printable invitations, and if you poke around her shop you will find all sorts of paper crafts, stationary, and more. You can find her blog here. I am crazy about daffodils, as I think most of you know thanks to my enthusiastic St. David's Day posts, and this is a great example of the kinds of crafts that I love from House That Lars Built: paper daffodil placards!

Or these sweet little Valentine's Day treats:

You can browse all sorts of her great ideas here at the online shop. Most important for our purposes today, the Kate/Meghan mugs can be found here, as well as a few other royal-themed pieces. House That Lars Built has provided us a code with which you will get $10 off your order. The code is: FBTB25.

I feel like themed-mugs are the adult version of "fan posters." They are a subtle way to celebrate our favorite royals, without going overboard. ;) Hope you enjoy these mugs!

Kate's Chelsea Flower Show Debut

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Kate had a busy day yesterday! Sadly, so did I, which is why this post is coming to you fashionably late. Let's jump right in.

Kate began the day with a morning visit to her Royal Chelsea "Back to Nature" garden. This was a casual visit where she introduced the space to school children and climbed around in the tree house and shrubs making sure everything was neat as a pin for the official debut with the Queen later in the day. Kate wore a Broderie Anglaise blouse by M.i.h. Jeans (a lightning fast ID by Laura), and Massimo Dutti culottes. She finished her laid back look with her trusty Supergas and Monica Vinader Siren earrings. By the by, we haven't seen her wear the Siren earrings in a while, so if you are a fan, yesterday was your lucky day.

This ensemble got mixed reviews from fans. We all love Kate. When it comes to Kate, we all have rose (even magenta) tinged glasses, so although there is something about this look I like, I think it is my tinged glasses, because I deeply dislike this style of trouser. I will admit that as an ensemble, this was super trendy. Culottes are en vogue kids, in a big way. I don't mean to offend anyone who has embraced this trend, and I have some friends who have already done so. We all experiment with trends, sometimes with varied results. Sadly, not even Kate can save these for me. She is slender and willowy, and if these trousers could ever look chic and sophisticated, they'd look chic and sophisticated on her. And yet, if this were anyone else, I think we'd all be giving a huge thumbs down. I do like that she is switching it up form jeans and Bretons, or jeans in general, so I hope she continues to experiment. All I can say beyond that is, do not try this at home. Let's make a pact that none of us will go along with this trend, and we will snuff it off ASAP. This was an A for effort, but not a win in the style stakes.

Later in the day, Kate returned with various members of the Royal Family, most importantly the Queen, to formally visit the garden. For her big debut, Kate chose a floral dress from Erdem, paired with the Castanera wedges she wore on her previous preview visit, and finished off with earrings from Accessorize. It is so fun to see the Cambridges with the Queen. Patricia Treble made the point that William and Kate both kissed the Queen in greeting before their formal bow and curtsy, respectively. It is super cute to see the Queen interact with her grand-children.
Emily Andrews shared video of Kate showing the Queen around, and she noted that Kate was "endearingly nervous at first," but that William held back and let her take the lead. 

I loved this dress. I know Erdem isn't the favorite brand around this blog, or even elsewhere in the royal-watching world, but I think it is on point and picture perfect.  I love the blues and yellows in the floral pattern, and this flirty/feminine style dress is a current trend that I can embrace. Kate braided her hair, just the way she braided Charlotte's when they came for the preview, and the whimsical hair, and the flowing floral dress, all melded perfectly with Kate's theme and the day. Honestly a huge win in my book. William in a suit is always a win for me; William climbing around shrubbery in a suit--super win.

This has been a fabulous few days for Kate, highlighting the hard work she has been putting into this project, and her growing role as the future queen. This was such a great project for her, because it combines her private passions so perfectly with her professional ones--gardening, the outdoors, and family time, bringing mental health and early development into focus. It is nice to see Kate take center stage on a project all her own, too, and it was clear that the Queen, and most importantly William, were very proud of her.

Speaking of William, although he spent most of the time in the "back seat," ever the charmer, he did insert himself a few times to make the ladies in his life laugh uproariously. I don't know what he said, but these two cracked up.

One final note, before I run off to start my day. I think this video of George saying that his mummy scored a 20 out of 10 for her garden is the first time we have heard the little prince speak. Am I correct, or have I missed a video?  

This longer clip from ITV shows how spunky Charlotte is, although we already had that sense, I think. At some point she says, Oh la la! So, someone in her life must use that expression often, and I assume it is Kate or Carole. Super cute. 

Cambridge Family Photos at Chelsea Flower Show

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Kate took her family to preview the garden she co-designed for the Chelsea Flower Show before it debuts tomorrow. Matt Porteous was on hand to take snaps for the family's photo album, and happily for us, for public release as well. The couple has shared six snaps of their family enjoying the hard work Kate has put into this show. 

Kate has kept the focus on mental health with this garden, where Kate is hoping to highlight the positive effects nature has on mental health generally, and in the development of healthy children. 

According to Kensington Palace, George, Charlotte, and Louis all helped Kate collect twigs, moss, and leaves to help their mother's efforts to decorate her garden show. 

It was my opinion that Kate took a step away from the limelight at the start of the year, as Meghan enjoyed the honeymoon phase after her marriage and her busy schedule before her maternity leave. I suspected Kate would shift gears after Meghan stepped away to spend time with her new baby, and if this is any indication, she certainly is doing that. 

I love this shot of Louis looking at William as if to say, "Don't let go, Dad!"

I am so happy Kensington Palace has released these photos so that Kate gets the full attention and applause she deserves on this project. 

Laura IDed the dress as a piece from And Other Stories, the earrings from Accessorize.  Kate's wedges are by Castaner--the brand's Carina wedges. 

Kate's Visit to Bletchley Park in Alessandra Rich

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Good evening all, and Happy Monday. This afternoon, Kate visited Bletchley Park for a second time. She first was a guest of the park in 2014; this return was to see a D-Day exhibition in the run-up to the 75th anniversary of the landing. Kate visited with the young and the old, joining school children who were at Bletchley as part of their STEM programs, and also chatting with veterans of Bletchley--women who served at the park during World War II. As I am sure you all remember from Kate's visit in 2014, as well as subsequent war-related events, Kate's grandmother and great-aunt both worked at Bletchley during the war, so there is personal touch when Kate comes to Bletchley. The Duchess even wore a brooch today that belonged to her grandmother, Valerie Middleton. Some of Kate's events catch my attention more than others, and I love the war-related events she undertakes. Bletchley Park in particular has such a fascinating history. I looked forward to this event, and loved looking at all the coverage today from the royal reporters, and from Kensington Palace's Instagram. 

Ok, let's talk fashion. As you recall, Kate wore this Alessandra Rich dress for the Wales family photo-shoot to celebrate Charles's 70th birthday. We've seen a couple of sweet family snaps from that, so most are familiar with the dress. I loved it in all those photos, and I love it today, too, but for two drawbacks. We will come to those in a minute. Still focusing on the good things, many people have pointed out, and I agree, that this dress has a vintage look. Rich's Spring 2018 collection, from which this dress comes, was actually inspired by the World War II era, so Kate knew the convocations the dress would raise. Kate is the queen of occasion dressing--a very royal talent--and I do see why she zeroed in on this beautiful piece from her closet. The dress is made of delicate material and only buttons to just above the knee, so it floated in a graceful ballon around her when she bent down to accept flowers, and revealed her stunning legs when she walked. You all know I love a piece that features a nice mix of staid and sexy. In this video from KP, it looks quite glam, really.
Nevertheless, I have two problems with this dress. The first is that it is too long to properly perform as a midi-length day dress with heels. This is our first full view of the dress, despite its previous appearance, and it is so long on Kate that I would relegate this to a hostess garden dress only, which is almost exactly the context in which Kate seems to have worn it. I'd pair this with woven shoes (I am in love with Tory Burch's new flats) or pretty sandals, or artsy mules. Styled properly, it would be the perfect ensemble to enjoy idyllic English garden during a tea party or similar intimate, yet fancy, gathering. But, on an official function at Bletchley today, it looked odd to me, and I think it is down to the length. It is not a maxi dress, but it is not a midi-dress. I loved all the pictures of Kate that didn't show the full dress. When we couldn't see how long the skirt was, this was a win. As soon as that awkward length was apparent, it was most definitely not a home run. 

The other issue was far more minor. Simply that given its length, the delicate nature of the fabric, and the high slit, there were some strange shots as she arrived. These snaps from Mark Cuthbert have a good example--the picture in the bottom right shows the billowing skirt well. This "flaw" really just highlights that the dress is too long and not quite the right style for a public engagement like this one.

It's a B+ from me. The color and style on top were all lovely, but that weird length... Oh well. Kate paired the dress with Emmy London Rebecca pumps in "Riviera" blue (how appropriate for Cannes week), and she carried the Panama envelope clutch from Smythson. Kate added the perfect touch with her beloved Annoushka Baroque pearl drops. 

On another note, Kensington Palace has been doing a fabulous job on their social media. Today, on Instagram, they shared maybe six photos, all stunning shots that clearly highlighted Kate. In the past, it has often felt that the social accounts downplayed Kate in the posts, sharing pictures from an event that only had her in a few shots, and then didn't really celebrate her. Now, the Palace has started to license the images from PA and the professional images keep the beautiful princess at the center of attention. I do think this is partly to do with Meghan's influence in the family. KP had to step up its game. ;)