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Kate Goes Organic on Shopping Trips to Local Farm Store

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

I come to you this fine Wednesday evening with a little Kate update. Who doesn't want to know even the most mundane detail of our princess's idyllic home-life in Anglesey Anmer (Just making sure you all are paying attention...you are. :)? By all accounts, the family continue to settle into a routine that resembles, as much as possible, a normal family. Kate is taking it easy as she recovers from labor & delivery, but if US Weekly is correct, she is relaxing with some cooking therapy. The Duchess has been frequently spotted at an organic store near her home, Back to the Garden:
"She's buying fresh local produce," says a source. "All organic." And the princess is just plain folks amongst the locals, adds the source. "People give her space. No one is rushing over to ask for selfies."
Back to the Garden is housed in a charming, converted barn outside Holt in Norfolk.

Back to the Garden in Norfolk via Facebook 
They specialize in local and organic food, from meat products and produce to tempting pre-made items that look straight from a farm kitchen James Herriot might have popped into during his rounds around Yorkshire. 

Back to the Garden Facebook

Back to the Garden even has a restaurant and café, although no reports suggest that Kate has yet stopped for a snack in-house.

Back to the Garden

The company has a farm nearby, where they raise poultry and produce, in addition to the local famers who supply them:
At Barney, just off the A148, we raise organic beef, lamb and a flock of garrulous French chickens. For Christmas, numbers swell with turkeys and geese. We sow every kind of vegetable in our organic garden and have most fruits too.

Amongst our stock, you'll find the beers of hard-working local brewers, pickles, conserves, jam, a range of organic wine for all pockets, fresh bread and pastries, artisan and wild food. Come first thing any day - we open all seven of them - for coffee and home-baked cake and the chances are you'll meet one of the local producers dropping off goods.
I think we are all thinking the same thing. I need one of these near my house. US Weekly is also reporting that Pippa has given Kate a little post-baby gift by treating her sister to delivered juices every three days. Pippa is quite the juice enthusiast, and we have heard in the past that Kate also likes to go in for the occasional green smoothie. According to this latest report, she has become a disciple:
The new mum, 33, drinks the elixirs...but is not dieting, clarifies the confidant. "She just enjoys green juice in the morning. It's Kate's go-to for an extra boost."
Flag on the field! I am sure the new mum is, in fact, starting to healthily regain her pre-baby body. Really, remember how quickly Kate was in her skinnies and Corkswoons after she had George? 



That takes some discipline and focus. I am never clear why magazines add little comments like that, comments where we all roll our eyes, but...they do. So, she's not dieting, or anything. *Wink, wink.* [N.B. I have no problem with her refocusing her meals and nutrition to begin slimming down while maintaining her energy and health for little Charlotte. I would be doing the exact same thing.]

That's the dispatch from the front line. Have a lovely evening, after all, tomorrow is Thursday, which is basically Friday. ;) 

George's Playtime at Dersingham + Kate's and the Women's Institute?

Monday, May 18, 2015

By all reports, Kate and the Cambridges are settling in well to their rural life at Anmer Hall. According to People, Kate was recently spotted at Dersingham Recreation Ground where Prince George had a ball on the various playground equipment, notably the slide.  The Dersingham park is a green space protected by the "Fields in Trust" project. Fields in Trust is an organization that protects green spaces and playing areas for children. The charity was one of the first patronages undertaken by the Duke of Edinburgh on his marriage to Elizabeth, when he accepted the role of president. In 2013, William took over the role. Fields in Trust is a member of The Charities Forum, so it is fun to see Kate's own children benefiting from the efforts she and other royals have put into this initiative.


You may recall the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's flirtations during an outing with Queen Elizabeth in 2012. Among other things, the trio were supporting Fields in Trust, in addition to the Scouts.

Reportedly, Kate's PPOs politely requested that the mothers at the play ground not photograph or film Prince George on his outing:
It was all really relaxed," the resident adds. "Kate's detective walked over to the other mothers and said, 'Would it be okay if you don't take any photos?' That was it."
I imagine the ladies were happy to oblige, given their tots were getting a chance to play with the future king, and the likelihood that Kate will return if she has a good experience is relatively high. They might even get a glimpse of Princess Charlotte in the future! By all accounts, George is loving having a tiny sister to ooh and aaahhh over, and I imagine Kate is teaching him to be gentle, so perhaps this outing was also meant to burn off the rambunctious toddler's excess energy. 

While Kate works on keeping her little ones involved in a normal lifestyle, whispers are emerging she may also be considering joining the Women's Institute. For non-UK readers, the Women's Insitute (WI) is an organization founded during the first World War. Their mission statement:
The Women's Institute (WI) was formed in 1915 to revitalise rural communities and encourage women to become more involved in producing food during the First World War. Since then the organisation's aims have broadened and the WI is now the largest voluntary women's organisation in the UK. 
Interestingly, WI was founded in Llanfairpwllgwyngyll, Anglesey, not far from Kate's first marital home in Wales. According to Hello!, a proffered invitation to the Duchess has been met with a positive response. The president of the Anmer Women's Institute:
"I had a very nice letter back from her private secretary saying she was interested," said the 70-year-old retired barrister. "We would be delighted to see her."
Kate would be joining a long list of royal ladies who have been involved in the historic organization:
The Queen became a member of Sandringham WI in 1943 and is now the branch’s president, having taken over the position from the Queen Mother. Prince Charles's wife the Duchess of Cornwall and Prince Edward's wife the Countess of Wessex are also WI members, while Princess Anne is an associate member. Sophie and the Princess Royal are expected to join the Queen on 4 June to attend the WI's annual meeting – which will also mark its centenary.
If Kate and William intend to put down roots at Anmer, which we have every reason to believe they do, this would be a logical group for Kate to join. Nevertheless, her involvement would cause, by far, the greatest hullabaloo of any royal member. I suspect she will join, and we will have to wait and see to what extents she is involved.

Lastly, one of my lovely readers emailed me last week. She has created a little craft project to commemorate the birth of Princess Charlotte. Éva has made this little scene of the presentation on the steps of the Lindo Wing. I think it is super cool!


Apparently, these craft projects are a hobby of hers, and she made this from paper, wood, and other materials. I was particularly impressed by the detail she got on the dress, which she told me she hand painted, in addition to the blanket which she made to match Charlotte's!


I don't speak a word of Hungarian, but if you do, and want to check this out a little more thoroughly, you can find photos and narrative at her blog here.


Children's Hospice Week: Kate's Commitment

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

It is Children's Hospice Week in the United Kingdom. As we touched on in the last post, Kate issued a brief letter of support, highlighting this campaign's hashtag/tagline: #MakeMomentsCount. The Duchess has certainly poured a lot of energy into hospice work, and I thought it might be nice to look back at some of her activity over the years.


It was no accident that Kate marked what was a significant milestone--her first public speech--at EACH's children's hospice, Treehouse. Her brief remarks garnered a lot of excitement and attention, and she used that publicity to shine the light directly on a charity and cause close to her heart:



As is the case everywhere Kate goes, there were children desperately excited to meet the princess:
Tilly Jennings, a six-year-old from Felixstowe born with a rare condition that means only half of her heart functions properly. Doctors told her family she wouldn’t live longer than a week when she was born. She also suffered brain damage from a stroke in 2007 but has defied medical opinion with her survival. Tilly presented a posy of flowers to the duchess, and her mother Jeanette said her wish had always been to meet a princess. She said: “She’s so excited about meeting the Duchess of Cambridge, she’s carrying a picture of her wherever she goes.”
Kate again chose a children's hospice to when she gave her first overseas speech at Hospis Malaysia.



The first tour that Kate and William undertook together--Canada in 2011--was a unique trip during which time Kate was still slipping into her royal duties, and she had yet to make any charity choices. But, on both the two tours since, Kate has incorporated hospices into her schedule. In Southeast Asia once, and twice Down Under.


In New Zealand, while William was touring a plane factory, Kate made a stop at the Rainbow Hospice for a tea party. I love this photo of her, natural and relaxed, as she interacts with some of the patients, her foot slipping out of her shoe. 


When the Cambridges arrived in Australia, Kate made another speech at the Bear Cottage hospice.  William looking on with pride in his wife's obvious empathy and love is one of my favorite "Wills & Kate Moments." She really has blossomed as a royal, as he confidently promised during their engagement interview that she would. 


Usually, when home in the UK, Kate makes these appearances solo. It is special to see William join her, as he did in Malaysia and again here in Australia.

Bear Cottage Facebook
At home, Kate has put her time in, too. Everyone knows that I think this was a...fashion Chernobyl, but as an engagement in which Kate brought her warmth and her joy, it was one of her best. Kate visited the Shooting Star Hospice in December of 2013 and she wished one of the precocious little ones a Happy Christmas. The sensible child remarked that it was not yet Christmas, to which Kate responded, well bye then. She wasn't left off the hook, though, as Demi Leigh-Armstrong requested and received a hug from the Duchess:


I think everyone, royal or "commoner", has to examine his or her talents to determine where to focus that energy. Kate really, really shines in what is a very difficult area. Palliative care carries a burden of senseless tragedy, and yet, so much happiness is needed, since these children are young and naturally filled with exuberance. It is very inspiring to see what an impact the Duchess of Cambridge has on the children and their families. She is a real bright light and beautiful blessing. If you'd like to explore more of her work in hospices, Children's Hospice Week is currently being feature on Kate's Clothes, and there are several special links that will allow you to explore her engagements in this important niche.


Kate's Letter for Children's Hospice Week + Giveaway

Monday, May 11, 2015

Today marks the start of Children's Hospice Week. Kate has supported this week of awareness for a number of years. She released her first recorded video plea in 2013, while pregnant with Prince George, on behalf of Children's Hospice Week, in addition to making a public engagement on April 29th at Naomi House, also to aid the appeal.  

Kate Appearing on Behalf of CHildren's Hospice Week in 2013

This year, Kate is ensconced at Anmer Hall, bonding with Princess Charlotte and playing with George, but the Duchess released a short letter in which she urged the public to keep in mind the valuable work that the many children's hospices provide to suffering families. 



Kate chose not to release any photo to accompany the letter, although this is likely because there was no accompanying event. Given she has been on maternity leave for over a month, and will continue to be so for several more, I think there has been little opportunity for a private visit. Princess Charlotte has changed the royal schedule this year, but I expect we will see Kate even more prominently next year during this charitable drive. 



Sky has released an interview with Prince Harry in which he discussed Princess Charlotte's birth:
"I didn't see any coverage [of the Lindo Wing presentation] at all," he said. "[William] sent me two photos; one before everybody else, which was nice, and then another - one with her back with George back home. So, as I said, I'm so looking forward to seeing her, to meeting her and to holding her.
"She was a little bit late, hence I missed her. So she'll have to work on that! But apart from that, it's fantastic news for both of them. So I'm thrilled."
Since Harry confirmed that Kate was late, I suspect for some time they had been expecting his visit to London to happen right after the little princess was born. Babies have their own timing, and I am sure Kate, William, and Harry were as disappointed as anyone that Harry missed seeing Charlotte. It sounds like he is getting plenty of behind-the-scenes photos. I have to say, we still haven't seen any photos of George being held by anyone but his parents, his nanny, and Prince Charles. I am looking forward to some shots of both Uncle Harry and Mamma Middleton and Mike Middleton holding George and Charlotte.

Nanny Maria & Prince George

I am excited to say that I am hosting a giveaway over at Kate's Clothes. To celebrate Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana Cambridge, I chose one of G. H. Hurt & Son's beautiful baby blankets. The piece has some fun royal history and would be a great gift for friends, or something to wrap up your own little one.  Pop on over to Kate's Clothes to enter! 



I snuck away this weekend for a little break, and so I apology for the short post and the lack of attention to the comment section. Tomorrow, I will be back in full-swing. I would like to point out that FBTB's comment section is not an open forum. The fact is, there are many places to voice discontent, but this space is for fans. Many of us come here for polite conversation and debate, but the common thread is an admiration for the Duchess of Cambridge. Very negative attitudes about Kate clearly upset this demographic, and since I maintain this blog for the purposes of enjoyment, I try not to approve comments that are nasty toward other readers or overly critical about Kate. Even if you do not agree with this policy, hopefully you see the logic behind it.  I have been distracted, but I will be moderating with renewed attention from now on. 

Princess Charlotte's Spanish Bonnet + Photo Issue at Anmer

Friday, May 8, 2015

Happy Friday. Oh my gosh, what a week! William and Kate have whisked little Prince George and their brand new Princess Charlotte off to Anmer Hall. As you can imagine, the world is hungry for more photos of the Cambridges new addition, to say nothing of our favorite Mr. Chubby Cheeks. Willow privacy fences have been put up along the public roads near Anmer, to begin to screen the house from view.



Just before Charlotte was born, a number of pap shots of George were published in foreign magazines and you can imagine that anyone scoring a photo-set of the Cambridges relaxing in their new Norfolk bolt-hole will be handsomely rewarded. The Palace has contacted the press about the possibility with a very straight-forward warning:


This letter, shared by Peter Hunt of BBC, is preemptive action on the part pf the Palace, but it is not clear to me how useful it will be. I think if a photographer can snag a photo and sell it overseas, they will do so. That being said, we have never gotten any shots of George or Kate at their home in Norfolk, and I think that the changes they made to the property have made it very secure from photos. 



The fashion reports on Miss Princess Charlotte are already coming in. Her precious knit bonnet was a gift from Nanny Maria's mother! She bought it at a luxury store in Spain called Irulea. People reports:
"We had contact with someone who wanted to buy some baby things, but it was all very discreet," says Villar, who owns the shop in the picturesque beach town of San Sebastian. "We don't know who she was. She didn't want to be seen or noticed."

Irulea Facebook

Mrs. Borrallo purchased a number of items, only saying she was sending them to her daughter in London. 
"The person who bought the bonnet bought a set, which includes a jersey and some little slippers, all made from the same wool in the same color," she adds. "They bought various of these sets in both white and in bone, because she said she did not know the gender of the baby."
Whether by accident, or intentionally, Kate put the bonnet on Charlotte backward. I didn't notice, but maybe it will get a recycle the right way? In any event, I just absolutely love that it came from Nanny Maria's mother, and that Kate thanked her so publicly by using it at such a very iconic moment. Sweet, sweet, sweet all around. 



Kate and Family Leave for Anmer Hall

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Welcome back! Happy Wednesday, tomorrow is Thursday, which is basically Friday... So essentially we are knocking on the weekend's door. If that doesn't cheer you, yesterday, the Queen made a half hour visit to Kensington Palce to meet her new great-granddaughter, Princess Charlotte! The pictures of her leaving show her absolutely beaming, so I think she must have really enjoyed meeting little Miss Charlotte. (Actually, this is her arriving, but...she has a look of eager anticipation, yes?)


Is anyone else still getting used to the whole Princess Charlotte thing? I saw a headline last night, and I thought, wow! We have been calling her "RoyalBaby" for 9 months and at last, she is here and has a name. this removing I saw another article talking non-chalentaly about Princess Charlotte and I hesitated for a moment and though...who? I love it. I love adding things. New projects, new blogs, new people. The more, truly is the merrier.



As has been anticipated for several days, William and Kate left for Anmer Hall today. They were photographed pulling out in the black Range Rover, closely followed by the car carrying their PPOs. Unlike when William drove Kate and George to Bucklebury after the prince's birth, Kate sat in the front this time. After all, it would have been a bit of a squeeze in the back, wedged between Prince George and Princess Charlotte. 



Kate was wearing a creamy top, that Ashley speculates is actually Kate's JoJo coat, and a summer-weight scarf. Kate accessorized with a Beulah scarf and her Annoushka pearl drops, which she just wore on Saturday when presenting Charlotte at the Lindo Wing.



The couple are expected to spend the summer at Anmer Hall where Kate will focus on her young children, soaking up the early days with Princess Charlotte, and giving Prince George lots of attention as he acclimates to sharing the limelight. Which he is already beginning to relish...



So, what is next? Not a lot. June is Trooping the Colour and the Order of the Garter, I expect Kate to make an appearance at least at the first, and I sincerely hope the second as well. These are big dates in the Royal Calendar. We also have some major historical commemorations this summer, including the Battle of Waterloo (Sorry France, I love you SO much anyway) and the signing of the Magna Carta,  (a celebration for all modern democracies) so I think we could see Kate joining other senior royals for some of those events. KP has announced, very definitively, that Kate is taking the summer off to focus on her family, which I think is great! We will still see plenty of Kate, and honestly, the royals take most of the summer off anyway. The Palace likes to be really fatalistic over this stuff so that nobody can accuse them later of shirking or backing out. Better to say, "you can kiss Kate's gorgeous face goodbye for the next three months!" and then have her make some surprise events, to the public's delight, than to say, "Oh, she'll be around for sure!" and have people complaining when they don't see as much as they would like. So...stay calm, and carry on.



Some are already asking of this is it for Kate. Back in the Kate Middleton days, it was said that she told friends she wanted a large family. Recently, her Uncle Gary said he thought Kate would have more, and I hope he is right. I have 5 brothers and sisters--yes, you read that correctly. Five. Three brothers and two sisters. We are all well-adjusted, well-educated, happy and healthy. We have a great time together. The thing about a big family is that you really have a mix of personalities. I have five, diverse best friends, each of whom brings something unique to the table.  If I say so myself, we are hilarious, and when we all get together, it is a massive riot. Different styles play off of each other, and we really have a ball. I hope Kate has at least another child, and wouldn't frown if she had more. Life is a beautiful gift and when you give love, it can only enrich you more, in a currency nothing can take from you.



Ok, all y'all, I am flying to Charlotte, NC today. Someone over there must have had some serious foresight to name a whole town after the first daughter of the Duchess of Cambridge, which is obviously now the case. Well done, North Carolina. You are massively cool this week. :) 

Habemus Nomen: HRH Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana + StyleRocks Winner!

Monday, May 4, 2015

I think we are still all basking in the glow of the royal baby's Saturday arrival. What a beautiful start to the this glorious month of May! After the big reveal on the steps of the Lindo Wing, we had to wait for one other surprise: what would William and Kate choose to name their precious little princess? By now, the whole world knows that they settled on Charlotte Elizabeth Diana. Before we get into that, let's pick up where we left off on the last post and discuss how the Cambridges spent their weekend. The couple are said to be "besotted" with their baby daughter, a fact that was evident from the get-go. 



William drove his wife and daughter home to Kensington Palace, where according to KP press office, Prince George had already been put to bed. I am willing to bet that the Cambridges made an early night of it. Kate had likely been in early labor throughout the night of the 1st into the morning of the 2nd before checking into the Lindo Wing, and if you consider how much she had to go through in those ten hours--labor, delivery, hair/make-up, and a public presentation in front of the world's media, she must have been absolutely dying to cuddle with her baby princess and husband, and then fall fast asleep!



Rumors had swirled mid-morning on Saturday that Carole Middleton had been seen entering Kensington Palace. I have no way to verify this report. Perhaps she was, maybe it was a false report. She was back home in Bucklebury by the afternoon, though, as People reported today:
"Carole drove through the village at about 3 p.m. [BST]," a local source tells PEOPLE. "She looked absolutely radiant. I have never seen her looking so happy.  "She was on her own and looked absolutely wonderful. As happy as a bean. She is one very happy granny."
I don't think it is unreasonable that she did not see Kate that first day. The day was absolutely packed with work from physical labor to  mental and emotional in terms of the presentation. On Sunday, however, the family began to arrive. Carole and Pippa pulled up to the palace around 11:30am in their black Range Rover. 


Carole is wearing a blouse from Mint Velvet, the same company that makes Kate's very popular Plimsolls. The blouse was IDed by the lovely Kate's Closet in Australia! the blouse is a fun and flirty flamingo print in polyester. It is retailing at £69. 

Mint Velvet "Flamingo" Blouse
Shortly after, Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall arrived, beaming with excitement to meet the little princess. 




Michael Middleotn arrived around 1:30pm, smiling broadly to the snapping cameras.



Also pictured arriving at the Kensington Palace was Kate's very close friend Emilia Jardine-Paterson. If you need a refresher on Emilia, she and Kate have been friends since their early teens. While it is hard to confirm if Emilia did indeed introduce Kate to William, it is certain that Emilia has long been a member of the royal inner circle. She boosted Kate up during the break-up in 2007:



Her friendship and loyalty to Kate has been very firm over the years, including a holiday trip to Ibiza during the big breakup.



Emilia and her husband continue to be spotted with the Cambridges, and Emilia is one of Prince George's godparents. You might remember her arriving at Prince George's birthday party last year, dressed in the the same Beulah London dress that Kate has been seen in. Her arrival at Kensington Palace yesterday is yet more proof of her intimacy with the Duchess.

Today, the Palace announced that William and Kate named their daughter Charlotte Elizabeth Diana. This name, as I mentioned on Twitter, certainly covers a lot of ground. Charlotte is certainly a feminine form of Charles, but it is also Pippa's middle name, so both the Windsors and the Middletons got a nod not his one, to say nothing of Kate's personal preferences. Charlotte is both traditional and feminine. Elizabeth clearly pays tribute to the little princess's great-granmother, Elizabeth II, in addition to the Queen Mother, after whom many believe Kate is trying to style her royal role.  Elizabeth is also a beautiful nod to the mother herself, since Kate's middle name is Elizabeth. Diana needs no explanation. I don't think anyone should be surprised that William paid tribute to his mother. As I have mentioned before, I think that the Diana situation became so toxic that some have overreacted, thinking no mention of her would be made. It is entirely appropriate for William to include his mother in his daughter's namesakes.

William and Kate are spending this evening at Kensington Palace, and it is expected that The Queen will meet Princess Charlotte tomorrow. Not long after, the family is expected to leave for the Norfolk home to spend a quiet and private summer.



Last week, I announced the StyleRocks Giveaway. Pascale, the founder of StyleRocks, had suggested a number of her beautiful pieces to be featured, and I ultimately settled on the Charlotte Russian Rings necklace, because I love it's symbolism and I love how much it looks like Kate's cartier Trinity necklace. StyleRocks 



The necklace features three circles, or Russian rings. Pascale says, "the three rings are said to represent the Holy Trinity. But they can represent other concepts too: Past, Present, Future. Peace, Love, Harmony. There’s something about the number 3 that is truly magical. And in this ring, they represent a connectedness that can never be broken." It is beautiful symbolism for a Mother's Day gift, or as a personal token. I don't think I am breaking a confidence in saying that Pascale is expecting a little prince or princess of her own this month, and I love this picture of her in a very Duchess of Cambridge inspired dress, wearing the Russian Rings necklace. Pretty gorgeous! 



Well, the giveaway closed on Sunday and we have drawn a winner. Pascale and I were thinking about how exciting it would be if Kate named her daughter Charlotte, since the necklace is named The Charlotte! Lo, and behold, the Cambridges announced today that they had indeed named their little girl Charlotte! Sweet timing. It is my pleasure to announce that the winner of the StyleRocks Russian Rings necklace is:

Melissa T!

If you still need a Mother's Day Gift and want to jump in, StyleRocks will issue you a little certificate to slip to mom on Sunday, promising a special treat to-be-delivered. 



My personal, 100% recommendation is one of StyleRocks' big, rectangular rings. I am obsessed with their color and bold and sassy personalities.   You get a $25 credit if you sign up for the newsletter using the FBTB code! 



Ok, all y'all. I'll be back mid-week to give you the skinny on the William, Kate, Cutie-Pants George, and the adorable Miss Princess Charlotte.