giovedì 25 dicembre 2014

Festive in Fuchsia: The Queen Leads Her Family on the Traditional Christmas Day Service at Sandringham

First of all, let me say a big Merry Christmas to all of you who are celebrating today!
We're back with our traditional Christmas Day post here at Books, Birkins & Beauty (you can read about last year's Christmas here), for a recap of what the Royals wore!


The Queen is, of course, spending the holidays as usual at Sandringham with her family, while this year is the first Christmas the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (and Prince George!) get to spend in the nearby, newly-redecorated Anmer Hall.

Anmer Hall.
After an early morning church outing for Holy Communion, the Royal Family were back at St Mary Magdalene Church on the Sandringham estate for the Christmas morning service at 11am.
The Queen, wrapped up warm in a fur coat against the early morning chill, arrives at St Mary Magdalene Church for Holy Communion.
The Royals arriving.
The Queen looked striking in a festive fuchsia ensamble with magenta accents by Angela Kelly, and completed her look with a three-strand pearl necklace, Queen Mary's diamond and pearl earrings and a diamond and coloured stones (and enamel?) brooch in the shape of the Tudor Rose:


Close up of the Tudor Rose brooch from when the Queen wore it to the
Cartier Polo Cup on 15 June 2014.
The Duchess of Cambridge was in a brown outfit, sporting a new and as yet unidentified calf-lenght coat, her "Betty Boop" hat by John Lock & Co. and double leaf gold earrings by Catherine Zoraida:
I really must say, if someone manages to get an ID for this scarf I'd be rushing out to get one, as I absolutely love it!!

Catherine with her father-in-law the Prince of Wales.


The Duchess of Cornwall was sadly unable to attend the service as she's suffering from a bad back. Also absent were Zara and Mike Tindall. Other royal ladies present included Princesses Beatrice in a Valentino striped coat:
And Eugenie:
The Countess of Wessex:
With her daughter Lady Louise:

The Princess Royal, looking very festive in red:

And her daughter-in-law Autumn Phillips:

Of course, today was also the day of the Queen's Christmas Broadcast. This year's theme was "Reconciliation", and the Queen had words of praise for medics fighting Ebola in West Africa, and remembered her and Prince Philip's visit to the Field of Remembrance at the Tower of London in October. You can view a video of the broadcast here.
The Queen wore a lilac dress by Angela Kelly, previously worn on 2 May 2012 on a visit to Somerset and Devon as part of her Diamond Jubilee tour of the UK and later that same year on Day 4 of the Ascot races.

Previously paired with her amethyst bouquet brooch, the Queen accessorised the dress for today's appearance with the striking Duchess of Cambridge pearl and diamond brooch (more on the brooch in my blog post here).
I'll leave you for now, wishing you all once again a very happy Christmas!

domenica 21 dicembre 2014

Woodland Charm Necklace Repli-Kate Review

Hello, everyone! It's been a while since my last post, apologies for the long silence, but I've been snowed under with studying for my approaching bar exam...

Anyway, just in time for Christmas, here I am with a new repli-kate review of Catherine's Asprey Woodland Charm Necklace by The Looking Glass Shop on Etsy.


The Duchess of Cambridge was first spotted wearing the Asprey necklace on Easter Sunday this year, while on a visit to Taronga Zoo in Sydney, as part of the royal tour of Australia and New Zealand, and she has worn it a number of time since, including on her subsequent visit to the National Indigenous Training Academy at Uluru.

In Sydeny with Prince George, 20 April 2014.
At Uluru, 22 April 2014.
 Anna from My Small Obsessions of Facebook first identified the necklace as a piece from Asprey's Woodland Collection.
The collection features whimsical charms inspired by English woodland flora (you can read more about it here).

Catherine's charms included a mushroom, an oak leaf and an acorn. It is believed the oak reference may be a nod to the Duchess's own coat of arms, which features three acorns with leaves:

The Asprey charms are all made of yellow gold and diamonds and can be bought as part of the Woodland Mini Charm bracelet, which retails for £ 9,400 (approximately $ 14,800 or € 11,800). They aren't available to buy individually at the moment, but originally retailed for £ 2,900 (the acorn), £ 1,950 (the oak leaf) and £ 3,900 (the mushroom).
Of course this places them out of most repli-katers price range, I dare say, therefore I was absolutely thrilled when a gorgeous repli-kate from The Looking Glass Shop on Etsy came up!
Both the necklace and charms are plated in 14k yellow gold (there's also a white gold version) and the charms are accented with clear CZ crystals. The chain is 17 in long, with a 2 in extender and fastens with a lobster clasp.
Processing time at the Looking Glass Shop is longer than at some other Etsy shops - as per shop policies, items are shipped within 3-5 business days after payment is received. That meant my necklace, purchased on 27 November (a Thursday, Thanksgiving), was shipped on the next Wednesday, 3 December. This was still perfectly acceptable to me, and the necklace arrived on 17 December, so still in plenty of time for Christmas anyway, which I wasn't expecting but was a nice plus, but I thought it worth mentioning (I gather rush processing can be arranged by contacting the shop owner).



The necklace arrived in its own box with a handwritten note. The charms are just gorgeous in person, very sparkly, and the gold-plated material is really shiny. On the whole, I'm SO happy with my new repli-kate, especially since I'd been looking around for a decent, affordable copy of this necklace for ages. Now next on my wishlist are these equally gorgoues repli-kate earrings!


martedì 30 settembre 2014

Budding Heart Dress Repli-Kate Review

Here's my review of a repli-kate for the green silk "Budding Heart" tea dress by Suzannah the Duchess of Cambridge first wore in New Zealand and then, most notably, for Prince George's first birthday photoshoot.

You can just about get a glimpse of the dress in this photo taken during a walkabout in Cambridge, New Zealand, 12 April 2014.
And a much clearer view here, holding Prince George on one of his official birthday photos, at the Sensational Butterflies exhibition at London's Natural History Museum.
As I was saying, Catherine's original dress was quickly identified as the "Budding Heart Silk Tea Dress" by British label Suzannah. Suzannah is a brand that creates "flattering, beautiful investment pieces" with a modern edge, but still infused with plenty of vintage charm, as is very much the case for the Budding Heart dress, which is based on a 1930s design.

From the Suzannah website product description: the dress is made of "matt silk crepe de chine with skirt part lined in 100% silk habotai", and remains available in UK sizes 8-16 for £475 (about $770).
I loved this dress, and thought it'd be a perfect choice for summer, as it could be easily dressed up or down, so I was thrilled when numerous fashion blogs came up with repli-kate suggestions.
I ordered the "Green Floral Heart Print Tea Silk Vintage Style Dress" from eBay. It was a bargain at £29.99 (about $50), plus £5.50 standard international postage (about $9). I have to say first of all that I wasn't exactly impressed with shipping times: I ordered the dress on 17 August and it only shipped on 26 August. Afterwards, it took about a month for it to get to me in Italy with registered postage, and I received it on 29 September. The original listing stated the dress was going to be shipped from the UK, so I assumed it wouldn't take long for it to arrive. When I contacted the seller about it, I was told (as I had imagined...) that the dress was in fact shipping from China, hence the delay. The listing has now been amended to reflect this. Anyway, apart from this initial glitches, I was on the whole happy with my shopping experience: the seller always replied promptly and helpfully to my emails and when the dress arrived I was not disappointed.

Listed as being 80% viscose and 20% silk, the dress is, thankfully, much less shiny in person than it looked in the listing photos. The fabric is good quality, and tolerated a medium-hot iron, although I doubt very much the silk content is as high as 20%.
eBay repli-kate.

The cut looks a lot like the original Suzannah dress, down to the skirt part being lined in a white fabric, and the print is almost identical. The main difference I noticed is, in the eBay copy the white hearts have a black/dark grey contour (as shown below) which is absent in the original print:
eBay repli-kate.
I'm usually a UK size 12, I got the size 14, as I was worried it'd run small, and it fits me perfectly. The dress is available in UK sizes 8-18. I found the measurements supplied were fairly accurate; plus, at 101 cm long, the dress is the perfect lenght for me (I'm 168 cm tall).

The lowdown: you can definitely tell this is mass-produced and not the original, £475 dress, but for the money I paid I think it's a great repli-kate and I'm looking forward to wearing it in this first mild day of autumn!
Has anyone else purchased this or another repli-kate of the Suzannah dress? Let me know what you think!

venerdì 15 agosto 2014

Currently on my Wish List

Currently trying to sort out the mess that my apartment turned into while I was busy studying for my bar exam...the sheer tedium involved in tyding up has inspired me to put together a list of items I'm coveting and can't wait to add to my (hopefully) soon-to-be revamped wardrobe/bookshelves/closets/flat at large!

Here they are:

London Screen Print, €60 from me&him&you (which has a great selection of city landmark posters, beyond this one of London, by the way).

This would look stunning on my bedroom wall (plus, no need to feel guilty you spent too much when shopping on Repli Kate It, as 50% of the profits will be donated to the African Reflections Foundation to bring clean water to a village in Tanzania - genius!).
'Bursa' Colour Block Silk Shirt, £165 from L.K.Bennett, to add that all-important splash of colour to my otherwise conservative, courtroom-friendly 9 to 5 wardrobe.
"A Royal Cookbook: Seasonal Recipes from Buckingham Palace", £12.95 from the Royal Collection online shop (or £10.47 from Amazon). Nothing better than a selection of recipes served to guests of HM to brighten up a dinner party, non?
Eva (Ava) Earrings, £195 from Beaut Jewellery. These have been on my wishlist since the first time the Duchess of Cambridge wore them in November 2011 at a dinner for the National Memorial Arboretum Appeal (you can see photos here). Given the price tag, I've been of two minds for a while about getting the real deal or this great repli-kate from The Looking Glass Shop on Etsy (originally suggested and reviewed by Tatiana's Delights in her blog post here). Eventually, I decided I will be getting the real deal as a birthday treat and I'm looking forward to my upcoming trip to London in October to lay my hands on a pair of these beauties!
Stuart Weitzman 'Muse' Suede Clutch, £255 at Russell&Bromley - same as above, a much-coveted piece seen on the Duchess of Cambridge that I've finally decided to get for myself, despite the eye-watering price tag - after all, I have cleared out my handbag closet, and I do need a navy suede clutch. I really do :)