Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Kate Brings Back Favourite L.K. Bennett Dress for Day in Luton!

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge carried out a day of engagements in Luton, Bedfordshire combining their interests in young people, hospice care and mental health.

The engagements marked a return to royal duties following their summer break, during which, the Cambridges enjoyed a family holiday in France. Since their return, they have been at their country residence Anmer Hall with several sightings of Prince William working with the East Anglian Air Ambulance reported. The future king travelled to Germany yesterday for the British Forces German Military Parade and celebrated 70 years of the North Rhine-Westphalia state. He also met chancellor Angela Merkel, and during a speech became the first royal to openly mention Brexit: "This partnership will continue despite Britain’s recent decision to leave the European Union."

The couple began the day with an engagement at Luton's Bute Mills to see local organisations who are doing fantastic work with young people.

They were greeted by officials who were delighted to welcome them.

The building has served many roles over the past century. A hundred years ago it was a flour mill helping to feed families across Bedfordshire - earlier this year it reopened following a £3.2 million renovation, and is now converted into an award-winning space for national charity Youthscape.

The space has been designed for Youthscape as a national hub for innovation in youth work, with areas for therapeutic and informal work with young people, and also room to train youth workers and professionals from across the UK.

The Duke and Duchess received a tour of the building before an introduction to Youthscape and their work.

Youthscape is divided into projects, each with their own staff team. In addition, a small central team provides financial, HR and administrative support across the whole organisation. At the heart of their work is local high schools, supporting curriculum areas as well as working with teenagers individually. It’s there they develop and pilot the new approaches and ideas that are shared through national projects. Youthscape calls this approach deep and wide - intense work in one community, leading to innovative training and resources across the UK.

Youthscape made these (very yummy looking) biscuits to celebrate the royal visit.

The Duchess sampled handmade brownies that had been homemade for her and William. Kate talked to the teenagers who made the brownies "So what are you making, this smells seriously good,' asked Kate, 'what are you putting in? Is this just chocolate? Golden syrup? Good." She added: "When I try to do this with George at home, chocolate and the golden syrup goes everywhere. He makes so much mess. It's chaos". Kate described the brownies as "delicious".

Kate told a group of young people she loved the card game Uno as a child and revealed she enjoyed reading the very popular The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins. Laura Murphy commented that Kate "said it was really, really good". For those who have read it, it's an excellently written book, isn't it? Very Hitchcockian, intriguing and a real page turner. No doubt Kate will be looking forward to the motion picture adaptation starring Emily Blunt.

Holly and Ellis told William and Kate how Youthscape has supported them both through difficult times.

More from the Mail Online's story:

'Miss Jones, 18, emotionally revealed that she began self-harming after her mother was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease. She told the couple that Youthscape helped her cope, especially when her mother died when she was just 14.
William told her: 'What happened should never have happened to you and you should never have gone through it. 'The fact you have gone through it and got where you are now, you should be really, really proud.' 
Kate told both girls they were 'so courageous' and 'strong'. Speaking after the meeting, Miss Jones told the Press Association: 'I feel so thankful for what he said, especially because he lost his mum at a similar age. 'It meant a lot to me. He said I was really brave and strong and that I should be proud of myself. He was really nice and so was Kate.'

The Duke and Duchess took part in Self Harm UK online support group Alumina to help young people stop self-harming.

William and Kate met CHUMS (Child Bereavement & Trauma Service), a mental health and emotional wellbeing service. They discussed how the organisation supports children dealing with or affected by suicide.

The couple were also introduced to the work of Luton-based group Our Minds Matter. Luton Council of Faiths and Grassroots are working together to raise awareness and address the stigma of mental health among faith groups. Meeting several groups together affords the royals the chance to see the various approaches and strategies being deployed in the area of mental health.

A shy 9-year-old Ella Curtis presented Kate with a beautiful bouquet as the couple left Youthscape.

Next, William and Kate visited Keech Hospice Care.

Kate greeting well-wishers.

There has been great excitement ahead of the visit with ongoing preparations underway in recent days.

Staff practising their flag waving.

The royals met staff, volunteers, families and friends of the hospice.

Keech Hospice Care support both children and adults and is based in a purpose-built facility in Luton. Care is delivered to patients in a number of environments, including the family home, schools and hospitals. The services are provided free of charge - with the organisation relying on public donations for 70% of its budget.

The Duke and Duchess discussed the bereavement serviced offered with families who've lost loved ones. During a chat with a family who lost their mother, William gave them advice noting how important it is to talk as a family and said: "It's OK to feel sad." He added: "I know how you feel. I miss my mother everyday." It was the stand out moment of the visit for me, seeing William opening up on such a deeply painful subject to help a family going through the same terrible time he did. I think it's so important, particularly for our younger royals, to connect with the younger generation, something that was achieved in a very delicate and emotional setting today. You can watch a video here.

More from Rebecca English:

Rebecca English Twitter Feed

Hello! Magazine shared the following:

'William and Kate also met Jamie and Ethan Coniam, ten and six, who lost their brother Kieran when he was ten after a battle with cerebal palsy, epilepsy and autism. Ethan asked Kate if he could have a hug, to which the Duchess replied: "Yes of course, I love cuddles." She then offered a hug to Jamie, which he accepted.'

William and Kate were given two memory jars.

More on the services offered:

"Imagine hearing the heart-breaking news that your child, spouse or parent has an incurable and devastating condition. At a time when it can feel like nothing may be the same again, Keech Hospice Care is here to help. We recognise that people diagnosed with terminal and life-limiting conditions not only experience physical symptoms, but also have social, emotional and spiritual needs as well. At Keech we offer care and support not just to the patient but the whole family. Through our specialised activities, clinical appointments, in-patient care, community nursing teams, art and music therapy, one to one counselling and drop-in sessions, we offer a holistic approach to a patient and their family’s needs."

The Duke and Duchess attended a reception.

William and Kate enjoyed chatting with staff and families.

William had the honour of cutting the cake.

Finally, they unveiled a plaque to mark twenty-five years of the adult hospice.

A lovely shot of the royals leaving.

The day concluded with a visit to Hayward Tyler, Luton.

William and Kate visited to present them with the Queen's Award for Enterprise (International Trade) and to open their newly-built Centre of Excellence.

The centre is the result of a £20m investment, the largest in the company’s history.

The company has been operating from its current site since the early 1870s, and is the global centre of design and development for its key products, the Boiler Circulating Pump and wet-wound motors. Other achievements include producing the first submersible motor in the early 1900s, the largest sub-sea motors, and providing units to all the Royal Naval submarine fleet.

The Duke and Duchess meet some of the graduates and apprentices training at the company.

The Duchess brought back one of her most popular dresses - the L.K. Bennett Lasa dress first worn during the 2014 royal tour in Queensland.

The elegant £245 snorkel-blue dress is knee length and features short sleeves. It was described: 'Let your spring style blossom with the Lasa dress. This silhouette-skimming style comes adorned with bright poppies, arranged in an artful print against a white backdrop.' It's an excellent summery choice, and I was very much hoping the Duchess would wear it again.

L.K. Bennett

For those who are fond of the dress, the very similar cornflower-blue L.K. Bennett Lara dress is currently available in limited sizing.

L.K. Bennett

The Tamara Floral Print Dress appears to be another update of the Lasa. The £250 dress is: 'Decorated with a scattering of florals, this cream style features flattering, half-length sleeves and a unique curved neckline. In addition, it’s crafted with stretch, ensuring the sleekest fit.'

L.K. Bennett

The Telegraph's Emma Speeding gave the chic look a thumbs up in her article:

'Getting dressed in a heatwave is tricky enough, let alone when you factor in overzealous air conditioning, a formal office dress code - and the world's attention on you. So spare a thought for the Duchess of Cambridge, who is in Luton today for a number of official engagements with Prince William. Ever the professional dresser, Kate has managed to look both cool and appropriate despite the rising mercury by rewearing a summery white flattering shift dress covered in a bright blue poppy print from her favourite high street store L.K. Bennett.'

It was a day of L.K. Bennett styles for the Duchess, who wore her Fern pumps. They are available in most sizes for £195.

L.K. Bennett

The Duchess accessorised with the brand's Nina clutch.

L.K. Bennett

Kate completed the look with her sapphire and diamond earrings.


It was a great day in Luton! We'll have the dream looks post next :)

Monday, 22 August 2016

The Unique Beauty & Rugged Wilderness of Canada's West Coast: Tour Schedule Revealed!

Kensington Palace has released the Cambridges' tour schedule for their week-long visit to Canada next month. William and Kate, who are expected to take George and Charlotte, will touch down in Victoria, British Columbia, on 24 September with the tour reaching its conclusion a week later on 1 October.

Kensington Palace Twitter Feed

An outline of the locations the Cambridges will be visiting.

Kensington Palace Twitter Feed

More from the Mail Online's story:

'William and Kate, who are expected to bring along their children, Prince George, three, and one-year-old Princess Charlotte, will travel to Bella Bella in British Columbia – home to the Heiltsuk people – as part of the week-long tour to the British realm.
The couple will be basing themselves in Victoria or Vancouver, along with the childrens’ nanny, Maria Borrallo, before travelling off to a number of locations in Canada including Victoria, Great Bear Rainforest, Kelowna and Haida Gwaii in British Columbia, and Whitehorse and Carcross in Yukon.'

Victoria's government house will likely serve as a base for much of the trip allowing the family privacy.

Maclean's shared this insightful map with each of the locations.


Canadian Heritage released this statement:

'The unique beauty of Canada’s West Coast and the rugged wildness of the North will be front and centre during the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s second official Royal Tour to Canada. The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage, today announced Their Royal Highnesses will visit five communities in British Columbia—Victoria, Vancouver, Haida Gwaii, Bella Bella, and Kelowna—and two communities in Yukon—Whitehorse and Carcross.
Their Royal Highnesses will participate in events and activities that highlight the work Canadians are doing to preserve the environment, empower young people, improve mental health, encourage active living and highlight Indigenous culture and ‎heritage.'

Whilst a detailed itinerary will not be released until closer to the date (from previous tours I would estimate we'll see it about two to three weeks before the tour commences), however, Canadian Heritage shared the following information:

  • An official welcome to Canada and British Columbia will be held on 24 September in Victoria. The official welcome will include protocol elements, such as an Honour Guard review and speeches.
  • A lively public celebration, where Their Royal Highnesses will meet representatives of Yukon communities, will be held on 28 September in Whitehorse.
  • This will be the third official visit to Canada for the Duke of Cambridge and the second for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge as a couple.

This will be the first time William has toured Yukon and British Columbia in an official capacity. He visited British Columbia once before on a private/working visit in 1998, where he, Charles and Harry went on a skiing vacation at Whistler. Diana had only passed away months before, so I imagine the media attention was enormously intense at the time.

Undoubtedly this will be prove a much happier visit for the future king. During the 2011 Canada tour William promised to return and it promises to be an extra special tour with the children there. It will be wonderful to see the foursome together at airport/arrival departures and a couple of select engagements. It's also going to be a real introduction to one-year-old Charlotte's personality; we've seen big brother George on official engagements, and of course the Australia/New Zealand tour, but this will be an excellent opportunity to see the royal siblings together.

 The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage added:

"As celebrations for the 150th anniversary of Confederation draw ever closer, we are delighted to welcome Their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on their second Royal Tour to Canada. During this tour, Their Royal Highnesses will shine a light on the dedication and service of many Canadians who are doing important work in our Northern and West Coast communities."

What kind of tour can we expect? William and Kate adore the outdoors and it looks like there's going to be ample opportunity to explore the fantastic sights Canada's scenic west coast has to offer. One such location is Bella Bella, a Heiltsuk reserve.

The Great Bear Forest visit should offer stunning, scenic photos. The forest is known as the 'Amazon of the North' and stretches for more than 250 miles along the Pacific coast of British Columbia. It is home to the rare, Kermode bear which is deemed to be sacred by the T'simshian people. Also known as the Spirit Bear, it is a sub-species of black bear with white fur. Wouldn't it be incredible for William and Kate to see one of these bears?

The temperate rain forest is one of the largest remaining tracts of unspoiled temperate rainforest left in the world. The area is also home to species such as cougar, wolf, salmon and grizzly bear. It was officially recognized by the Government of British Columbia in February 2016, when it announced an agreement to permanently protect 85% of the old-growth forested area from industrial logging.

More from the Telegraph's story:

'The Duke and Duchess will also visit Kelowna in British Columbia, before moving to Whitehorse and Carcross in Yukon, north west Canada, in a region famed for the 1890s Klondike Gold Rush when some 100,000 people flocked to the area trying to find gold.'

They will also journey to Haida Gwaii, formerly known as the Queen Charlotte Islands and the Charlottes, an archipelago on the North Coast of British Columbia. Approximately half of the population is made up of the Haida people.

Chosen as one of National Geographic's '20 Best Trips 2015' thanks to its serenity and cultural richness, it promises breathtaking scenery.

Aside from exploring the outdoors, it is understood the royal couple will carry out engagements with young people and there will be a focus on mental health. They will also meet with First Nations communities in order to highlight conservation and cultural issue. Other engagements in the fields of agriculture, education and the emergency services will be announced with the full itinerary. They will also spend time with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his family. Kensington Palace said the couple are "hugely excited".

Looking at images of the places William and Kate will be visiting it seems apt to describe the tour as a picture-perfect trip.

More from Maclean's:

'The royal tour will will also involve a lot of travelling. The trip on Sept. 27, from Victoria to Kelowna and then onto Whitehorse is around 1,800 km. The first big trip, on Sept. 26 is a a mere 550-km one-way jaunt up the West Coast to Bella Bella, population 1,500. Home to Heiltsuk First Nation and the Great Bear Rainforest. It isn’t just that it’s a massive stretch of old-growth temperate rainforest, but also that its waters are treasures themselves in terms of its complex marine biodiversity.
 It has the hallmarks of a picture-perfect trip. When told the itinerary, a newsroom colleague who grew up close to Bella Bella confidently stated that late September is the best time to visit British Columbia. "Spectacularly beautiful," she says.'

Are you looking forward to Royal Tour Canada 2016? :)


Kensington Palace also released a message of congratulations to Team GB who achieved incredible success during the Rio Games. It's an amazing accomplishment to see the team taking home 27 gold, 23 silver and 17 bronze medals. They were second in the table, only behind the USA - truly an outstanding achievement. I expect the young royals will formally congratulate the athletes at a later date, most likely at a reception Her Majesty is said to be hosting in October.

Kensington Palace

We'll see the Duchess on Wednesday for engagements in Luton and bring you the dream looks feature post towards the end of the week (I had intended it for today, but with the tour news we'll wait until then).