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Rocina: William and Kate's Mustique Villa in the Caribbean

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Happy Saturday, all y'all! Yesterday, we chatted about the news that Kate, William, and HRH Baby George jetted to the tropical island of Mustique for the annual Middleton vacation. It was rumored that the families were staying in Villa Aurora, a beautiful home in which they have spent past holidays. We now have multiple reputable sources disagreeing on which villa the party is staying. Aurora, covered yesterday, possibly Rocina, where they opted to stay last year, and there is now a third possibility, but that won't be reported on until the dust settles definitively. Let's look over Rocina while we wait: 


The Rocina is beachfront and overlooks the Endeavor Bay. A set of steps lead down to the water. Perhaps most importantly for the growing party, Rocina can host 8, in comparison to Aurora's 6. Rocina has four bedrooms: three kings and one double.

Like Aurora, the home has stunning sea views and an open air dining area:

The property has four staff members: a chef, butler, housekeeper, and gardner.

The home also comes with an exercise room, so if Pippa and Kate aren't getting enough exercise walking the beach or splashing in the pool, they can sneak in some Pilates or cardio. It was after a holiday at Rocina in 2009 that thieves stole Pippa Middleton's purse from a car in Kensington. In the purse they discovered a memory card that had pictures from the Mustique holiday at Rocina, with many snaps of William goofing-off and Kate doing yoga.

The home is two-storied, so two of the four bedrooms are on the first floor, but by descending the steps next to the pool, one can access a green terrace below where the second two bedrooms open graciously to the lawn and the view of the sea. Again, this affords double privacy to the families. 

Interestingly, the villa is the closest to the only hotel on the island, The Cotton House, which boasts a sophisticated restaurant and a spa. 

Today is busy for yours truly, but hopefully, tomorrow we can finally settle on which Villa is lucky to be hosting this year. Wherever they are, they will be well looked after and are sure to have a wonderful holiday...hopefully, we will get just a few snaps afterward. :)  Enjoy your day!

Celebrating Carole's 60th on Mustique

Friday, January 23, 2015

Happy Friday, folks! Friday, as I tell people in the elevator, is the best day of the week, because you still have the entire weekend ahead of you. Think about it... A certain royal couple are having a particularly great Friday as they flew from London yesterday, bound for a tropical holiday.

The Duke and his Duchess were spotted on their way to Mustique, which means they have the entire weekend, and the following week, to enjoy the sun and the sand. Carole Middleton's birthday is next Saturday.

The family is rumored to again be staying at their preferred accommodation, Villa Aurora. Villa Aurora (above) boasts three gracious bedroom suites, each with an attached bath and terrace, a great-room...

Great Room at Aurora

... a beautiful pool down the center of the courtyard, and exterior dining room.

Pool & Dining Room

In addition, the villa has a detached, two-bedroom cottage called Jasmine, complete with its own small  terrace and plunge pool. As you can imagine, it is a perfect situation, allowing the whole family to stay in one place, but still have a little privacy thrown in.

William & Kate's Private Terrace and Plunge Pool at Jasmine
From another angle, you can see Jasmine also boasts quite a beautiful view all its own:
The group will be well looked after, since Aurora has a staff of five: butler, chef, housekeeper, maid, and gardener. The luxury comes at a price, and Aurora is rented this time of year for $20,000 a week, plus a 19% tax, so that's an extra $3,800. Jasmine will cost an extra $6,000, as well.

The family were snapped while enjoying lunch on the beach several years ago. The camera was so far off the coast it was difficult to tell Pippa from Kate, but it was a popular picture-set nonetheless. Pictures of the family surface almost every year, and I am still a little surprised that none have emerged of George on his first holiday last year. Perhaps they kept the little prince close to the house and stayed around the pool instead of venturing to the beach, or maybe no photographer felt like sitting off the coast for so long. Of course, they may have yet to come on the market... This year, as every year, the Cambridges will have to risk the possibility that they will be photographed while on the public beach. Perhaps more so, since the Duchess is pregnant.

Meanwhile, if we could quickly shift to a few fashion items. Some of you may be interested to learn that Zimmerman has given Kate's Roamer Day dress an update. They released the piece with a twist, under the new name "Confetti Scallop", with thanks to Perth Fashion for the heads up. It is for sale at $595:

Lastly, while you wait these last few days before Paris Haute Couture, I hope you have cast an eye over Alexander McQueen's Pre-Fall 2015.

Alexander McQueen

I am in love. Sarah Burton has really put together a striking and sophisticated line-up, and I can see any number of these pieces being modified for Kate, or serving as the inspiration point for a customized ensemble. We have great fashion in our future!

Alexander McQueen
Whether you are sunning somewhere warm, or still wrapped up in multiple layers, have a lovely and relaxing weekend!

P.S. Did anyone snag a copy of Bild with Kate shopping? Were there more great photos? If you have info, get in touch:

Kate Wears Beulah in Bucklebury During Weekend Visit

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Good morning! Another snap of Kate shopping has emerged to brighten the day!  I use the term loosely. Perhaps it is better to say out and about, as it is not entirely clear what activity she is undertaking. A German newspaper has published this pap shot of Kate, which Melissa was kind enough to alert me to this morning:

Unfortunately, other than the year of German in grade-school, from which I remember little beyond Guten Tag and Wie Gehts, I don't understand a word of the language, and so I can't give you scrutinized details from this little blue information tag. Translations are welcome...

Many thanks to Ilka and Sonja who have weighed in on the comments with the translation, as has Christiane via email:
“With a hearty-sweater over her bump, without make-up, her hair casual undone:Here we see Englands Duchess Kate (32 years old, 6 month pregnant) shopping in a supermarket. Without a big entourage she was out and about in the only “Spar”-supermarket in her hometown Bucklebury (2066 residents). Royal normal – and very likeable!”
This explains why we haven't seen these photos on UK papers. They were taken of Kate shopping in Bucklebury, presumably this weekend. Kate is a regular customer at the Peaches Spar supermarket. She even invited the owners, Chan and Hash Shingadia to her wedding. According to The Daily Mail, the couple asked Mike Middleton if it would be ok to wear their traditional Indian garb, to which the answer was a certain yes. 

On the fashion side, Bella D suggested, and I concur, that Kate is wearing Beulah London's "Delaney" heart jumper. This sweater top features Beulah's signature white heart on a dark knit of 70% wool and 30% cashmere, and retails for £125 down from £250.

Kate regularly wears Beulah London. She has chosen the brand for very public events, like on tour in South East Asia:

To personal events such as private weddings:

Most of you are aware that Natasha Rufus Isaacs is (stunning, and) the founder of Beulah. In addition to being a good friend of William's, she is married to Rupert Finch, Kate's ex-boyfriend from St. Andrews. 

I was not aware, but Bella pointed out, that Donna Air, James Middleton's girlfriend, has also worn the Delaney sweater. (A photo here) It certainly is a small royal-fashion world!

Meanwhile, all is quiet on the Cambridge front. It is January 20th today, and it won't be long before the Middletons are jetting to Mustique. This past weekend that they spent in Bucklebury could suggest the couple do not plan to join the tropical holiday this year. I am more hopeful, however, that it means only William will sit it out, but that Kate and George will still go. We don't have long to wait... 

Séraphine Scores a Smash Hit as Kate Dazzles on Her Day in Kensington

Monday, January 19, 2015

I am tempted to call it perfect and let that be the entirety of the post. I think everyone is swooning over this one. Today, Kate was busy with three separate engagements around the Kensington area. This is my favorite photo of the day: Kate arriving for her first event. I love morning sunshine, golden and warm, brimming with the energy and potential of a fresh day...a new beginning. It's also gentle, and great for photography.

The Duchess kicked off the morning with a visit to Family Friends. She was there for a coffee-date with volunteers at the charity which provides a friendship/mentoring service to disadvantaged families.

@KensingtonRoyal Twitter
Often, Kate will wear a coat and dress and never take the coat off, much to the disappointment of fans. Today was one of the rare occasions she did take her coat off. This cute little guy was all set to give Kate her flowers, but at the last moment had a shy-attack and his mother had to sub for him.


Next, Kate officially opened the Kensington Aldridge Academy. Below is a video of her arrival taken by People magazine's Simon Perry:
A video posted by Simon Perry (@sperrypeoplemag) on


During the day, according to Richard Palmer of The Express, Kate mentioned she has been feeling her baby move, and Rebecca English added that Kate said, "It's moving all the time, I can feel it kicking now."

@KensingtonRoyal Twitter Feed

Kate concluded her slew of engagements at the Kensington Leisure Centre, where excited children called, "here come Kate" as she arrived.  She has spent a great deal of time with new charities over the course of this engagement spree. I wonder if she is researching new charities, possibly prepping to announce new patronages after the birth of her second child. More than one person has remarked on how nicely these organization match Kate's work and interests. To be developed, I suppose...


Kate emerged this morning in Séraphine, and as is always the case when she wears the luxury maternity label, the ensemble was perfect. This is endlessly elegant on Kate, and could not be more flattering.

As we have discussed, the Duchess has carved out a style she obviously prefers for maternity wear. She has really started to put together that style well, but today's look is more to my taste, and frankly more what I had expected from Kate. The day she stepped out for her first engagement after her HG bout with George, she was wearing that grey MaxMara wrap, and I thought we would see that style continue. Instead, she veered in another direction, but every now and again, she returns. The DVF at the Royal Variety Performance, the Séraphine in New

Of all the colors in the crayon box, blue is perhaps one of the more high-maintenence hues. All the shades do not necessarily play well together, and anytime blues are mixed as they were today, I often find myself starting to feel a little worried. Kate chose carefully, however, it seems, and her Muse clutch and bespoke McQueen pumps worked the misty-blue "Natasha" coat from Séraphine and the floral patterned "Florrie" dress underneath. I don't know if they were perfect together, but nothing that took away from the look.


The £195 coat features clean lines, a flattering cut to the waist, mother-of-pearl buttons, and faux pockets...all in a cozy cashmere blend. The £99 dress in a floral crepe de chine, has a distinctive Empire waist, cropped sleeves, and falls just above the knee. Both pieces could have been designed for Kate, and it is remarkable how well the brand's clothes fit into Kate's style niche. I wonder today, as I have wondered many times, why she does not wear Séraphine a little more often.


Verdict: run-away win. This ensemble drives home, yet again, the need for proper tailoring. Translation: clothes designed and measured specifically for a pregnant body will flatter a pregnant body. Kate looked great.

Kate spent the weekend in Bucklebury, relaxing with her family. She was spotted by a fan driving her sister Pippa (in the passenger seat) with George in the back out to Berkshire. William followed in a separate vehicle. This blurry image is so grainy as to be almost be unrecognizable, but a picture is a picture.

We started the post with a sunrise, but I have to end this one with a sunset. My grandmother, from whom, via my mother, I suspect I inherit much of my sass, has been failing. It seems she may die today or tomorrow. If you would keep her in your prayers as she passes on, it would be deeply appreciated.

Kate Visits The Fostering Network in Hobbs & New Mirabelle Earrings

Friday, January 16, 2015

Welcome to the tardiest Kate post in recent memory. I am so sorry that this was such a longtime in coming. I have a moderately decent excuse, but no one has the patience for that right now, so let's just jump in, shall we? Kate was at her second engagement of the week this morning visiting The Fostering Network in Islington. The Duchess had the opportunity to meet with foster-carers and the children whose lives they impact.

I have to say, this charity really touches me. It is such a particular, and sometimes forgotten, area of need. So many children are currently innocent victims of our broken society and the bad choices of others. They need stable and safe environments to have a chance of thriving and succeeding. Taking a vulnerable and potentially damaged child and giving him or her a second chance at life--what an incredible thing. Of course, it isn't without emotional pitfalls for the families. Taking in children, giving them a home, bonding with them, loving them...and potentially losing them. That takes a very special courage, a particular strength.  I have nothing but admiration and respect for those willing to give with such full hearts.

The Fostering Network

Shall we dig into the fashion? Her Royal Highness wore her brown, animal-embossed shirt dress from Hobbs. We first saw it under the blue Matthew Williamson in Wales...

 ...and again on Christmas morning. 

You may recall that at the time of its first appearance, it did not get rave reviews from yours truly. I may have made some unflattering references to the '70s...

The good news is that I don't dislike this dress half as much as I thought I would from the peek or two we have received thus far. This is due primarily to its very flattering style, and owes little to the aforementioned pattern. I wonder if Kate was wearing something under it, perhaps a tight knit of some kind? The dress has a substantial look for silk, which I did not expect, but significantly improves my pre-convieved opinions. If she doesn't have an added layer, than even more props to the dress! 


All positive points accounted for,  I still am not in love with it. Usually I am an animal-print's biggest cheerleader, but embossed is a little different, and I while I have warmed to the dress overall, (moving from Arctic ice, to spring slush, to tepid tap-water) I would not choose this if I had my druthers. I actually love the style, and frankly is my preferred maternity look, but the hem and seams along the bottom of the skirt look puckered. That cheaper flavor, with the embossed croc... I am just not swooning.

Kate carried her Bayswater again, wore her Stuart Weitzman Power pumps, and completed the ensemble with a new pair of gold earrings. I have not been entirely focused this afternoon, as the time-stamp on this post should attest, so I do not know who IDed these, but What Kate Wore has a very interesting Style-Sleuthing Special on, which you should check out! The short story, these are Mirabelle "Lolita" hoop earrings and retail for a reasonable £20.00. It is always fun when Kate adds to her closet!

Final verdict: This is not a miss. Kate looks so great in brown and black, the belted waist is particularly flattering, and her hair was perfect. It reminded me of the early pregnancy day's with George. It isn't a hit, but a pass is a pass, my friends. 

We have a packed day on Monday, with three separate engagements on Kate's Calendar. Perfect for those of you taking advantage of the three-day weekend in the United States! Until then, I think we all deserve a glass of wine. Cheers to you and to the weekend!

Kate At Clore in New Maternity Label Madderson

Thursday, January 15, 2015

The first official engagement of the New Year is always exciting, but to have that event be a visit to a school makes it all the sweeter. Fan photos are fun but the scores of excited children vying for Princess Kate's attention warms even the coldest day. The excited smiles and outstretched hands... 

The Duchess was in Notting Hill (great movie) to officially name the Clore Art Room at Barlby Primary School. You may recall that one of the engagements Kate had to cancel while she was suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum was the launch of Clore Art Room on October 1st. This is a bit of a make-up event. 

Kate debuted a new shift dress. The "Naomi" is a navy wool trimmed in colorful French tweed from  Madderson London. This is a new label for Kate, and it is quickly apparent how perfectly it fills her need: 
Madderson London creates investment pieces that are aspirational yet accessible. The brand encompasses two lines, Womenswear and Maternity Wear. Founders, Sara Madderson and Helen Hughes, both worked for large corporations during their first pregnancies and saw the opportunity for a luxury maternity wear line that allowed strong, style conscious women to retain their sense of self and to indulge their love of fashion while pregnant. Their signature style embodies London society at its most elegant and timeless.
Apparently, Zara Tindall favored the brand while pregnant with Mia, so it is likely that Kate chatted with her cousin about it, and kept the brand in mind for her second pregnancy. 

Kate has really solidified her maternity style this pregnancy: straight-shift dresses and short hemlines.  
As most of you regular readers know, I felt Kate really struggled when pregnant with George. It was as if she wasn't quite sure how to handle a new silhouette. She had some hits, but she had far more misses than anyone would have expected from our impeccable lady. When I saw her this morning my first thought was, "At last she is hitting her stride!" We have seen many variations on this ensemble, certainly it was reminiscent of the Goat coat she wore in New York, but there are quite a few other examples. After experimenting and finding her feet, she has really pegged the look that she clearly feels comfortable in and that is also scoring in the style stakes. 

Today was a hit! Kate looked cute and young, trendy and ladylike. She paired the dress with opaque stockings, her Mulberry Bayswater and Episode Angels for a classic ensemble that has been universally praised.  I am really thrilled to see her looking so well and fit. My gosh, she looked fit for 6-montsh pregnant! It is amazing that she is still doing her deep-knee bends to give attention to children. I hope she popped out of this quickly. I have hard time with these at a mat Pilates, and I do them in socks and am in way pregnant. Hope she was deep breathing... Kate the Great, kids:

Well, busy week. We saw Kate today, we will see her tomorrow, and we will see her on Monday Funday three times. The best little piece of trivia to take away from today's event is that the wool of Kate's dress was made at Hainsworth, "a heritage British mill that clothed the soldiers in the Battle of Waterloo." (That would have been Wellington vs Napoleon.) This year is actually the 200th anniversary of Waterloo, and there are going to be some significant celebrations going down in June in Belgium. I am halfway through a bio of the Duke, who was an extraordinary British hero, so it seems that Kate made a good-choice all around with this dress. Of course, Napoleon practically ruled the world, so it is trimmed in French tweed. All around, quite the historical piece! I think I will rename it The Waterloo. oookk... Over and out, all!