How to throw the best royal wedding viewing party!

If you aren’t lucky enough to be heading to Windsor on May 19th, the next best way to join in the fun is to gather a group of girlfriends and host a royal wedding viewing party. Read on to find out how to throw the best one ever….

Decide on the dress code

Depending on your time zone and your group of friends, your dress code might be replikate, British morning dress or even a pyjama party- just don’t forget, head ware- fascinator, hat or tiara is compulsory!

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Get over the top on the British decorations

Stop by the Middleton family business party pieces to shop their best of British range to pick up fabulous union jack decorations including bunting, cups and flags.

Worried about shipping not arriving in time? Stop by Etsy where you can buy some decoration packs you can instantly download, such as this one by the royal hamster which includes bunting, place cards, cupcake flags and invitations.

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Fresh flowers will make a wonderful addition to your decorations. Take inspiration from the flowers Harry and Meghan have chosen for their big day and decorate with white roses and peonies.

Add the best British food

Think traditional British high tea fare like cucumber sandwiches, miniature cakes and scones. Now is the time to dust off your copy of Celebrate by Pippa Middleton and turn to the spring section for some wonderful cake and sandwich recipes fit for any tea party.

You might also like to make Prince Williams favourite treat, a chocolate biscuit cake or take inspiration from Harry and Meghan’s lemon and elder flower wedding cake by making champange and elder-flower cupcakes.

Add the drinks

Champagne is a must to toast the happy couple but also make up a festive jug of Pimms punch, its sure to be a crowd pleaser.

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No British inspired gathering is complete without tea. My favourite is the wedding breakfast blend from Fortnum and Mason but your favourite blend of Earl Grey or English breakfast are also fine choices.

Add the fun

Invite Harry and Meaghan to your shindig or instantly download this 20 piece British photo booth party pack to entertain your guests and ensure you have some great photo keepsakes of the day.

Don’t forget the take home gift

A little gift box with a biscuit from Biscuiteers royal wedding box makes a memorable take home gift or make your own biscuits with a Queen Elizabeth cookie cutter. Throw in a pretty or novelty tea bag like these royal family ones and your guest will be looking for an invitation to come back for Princess Eugenie’s wedding later this year.

Share with me any other hints or tips you have to make your party memorable!

Kylie

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My Afternoon With Paul Burrell

On Wednesday, this week I had the absolute pleasure of heading to the Palazzo Versace Hotel on the Gold Coast for a charity fundraiser high tea which was also attended by a very special guest speaker, Paul Burrell, former butler to the late Princess Diana. A controversial figure within Royal watching circles, whilst I understand he is not everybody’s cup of tea, he did show me how to pour the perfect cup in case I ever have the pleasure of hosting her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II for tea.

The high tea was in support of Young care, an organisation which helps young people with high assisted living needs exit or avoid admissions to aged care facilities.

There were two events on the day. The Royal afternoon tea and conversation with Paul Burrell was the main event however prior to that there was a VIP event for only 12 people which I attended.
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Nervously ushered into an elevator we had no idea where we were going until we ended up in Paul’s very own room, the hotels Imperial suite, a luxurious three-room suite which boosts possibly the best view on the Gold Coast. With mellow music coming from a guitar player/singer in the corner and Versace staff circulating with trays of champagne and cucumber finger sandwiches, Paul Burrell emerged into the lounge. Just as synonymous with Diana to me as her ‘boys’ Princes William and Harry, Kensington Palace or that pearl and sapphire choker, it is quite a thrill when he appears, almost like catching up with an old friend as his image is so familiar. The presence of Diana lingers around him, almost to the point you expect her to pop through the door at any second.

Much like a cocktail party on an episode of the Bachelor, everyone breaks off into small groups where we wait for our own private ten minutes with him where we can take a photo, have him sign a copy of his bestselling biography ‘A royal duty’ and ask a few questions each.
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My first impressions of Paul Burrell, he has a smile which is larger than life, he radiates warmth and personality, he is slightly embarrassed when you ask him for a hug but always obliging, he is skilled at putting people at ease and calming their nerves, he effortlessly drawers you into conversation. His sunny disposition and megawatt smile are what directly led to him getting the job as the Queens personal footman after only two years of service at Buckingham Palace. That and an uncanny knack at being effortlessly able to pinpoint someone’s needs and fulfil them before they ask. Summoned to see the Queen from the breakfast table one morning as she was interested in the ‘footman who always smiles so much’ he thought the only thing a footman could be summoned for at this time of the day was to walk the Queens beloved corgis. Slipping 2 sausages in his back pocket he went to see the Queen. ‘Would you like to walk my Corgis?’ she asked, ‘of course’ he replied. Out in the gardens of Buckingham Palace the Queen peeked through the curtains as her 8 corgis, normally terrors to control were enthralled and chasing down the footman, or his two sausages at least. Upon his return, the Queen commented ‘They do seem to love you, I think I will keep you’ and promoted he was to be one of two of the Queens personal footman.

In a world where we are so used to seeing commentary from friends and family of Diana’s or the Royals being split firmly in two different camps and loathing the other side, it is surprising to see someone talk about both the Queen and Princess Diana with the same love and affection. But he does. Possibly the only member of Diana’s camp who didn’t want to cheer during Charles Spencer’s eulogy inside Westminster Abbey, he wanted to tell people to stop clapping, to look at the Queen, that the Queen was heartbroken. Always respectful of the entire Royal family he cannot be baited to speak poorly of even Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall. When asked of his opinion of Camilla and Charles’s relationship he simply replies, ‘I can never speak warmly of Camilla, I am Diana’s man, she was not my mistress, she was somebody else’s mistress, Diana was my mistress and it is with her my love and loyalty will always lie’. In fact, I kind of get the feeling that he wishes people would stop mentioning both Camilla and Diana in the sentence. That he does not want Camilla to become as synonymous with Diana as her boys, Kensington Palace and her style. That he hopes when we focus our discussion on Diana we will focus on her legacy, her charity work, the way she changed the Royals and the world, her sons and grandchildren and not be fixated on the parts of her life which brought such pain and heartache.
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It is surprising how little gossip and scandal he does discuss. When he talks of Diana he discusses their friendship, her charity work, her love for her sons all peppered with personal memories of their day to day interactions with one another. Topics such as previous lovers including Hasnat Khan and Dodi Al Fayed, preparing for her funeral, her divorce with Charles only come up when he is asked directly and ask him we do constantly. When asked if he wishes that Diana had never married Charles he replies it is impossible ‘it was Diana’s destiny to marry Charles, to have those two boys, to change the monarchy and the world today, to pave the way and go through the hardships she did to create a better life for her boys and grandchildren, it was her destiny’.
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Ushered from the private event to the foyer outside the ballroom for the afternoon tea we are greeted by doorman dressed as Queen guards and trumpeters announce the event officially open. Walking into the ballroom we are greeted with candle light and over 5000 flowers, mostly roses in tribute to England’s rose. My own outfit, a dress from Australian brand Review, covered in a rose pattern blends in with the décor.
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After some on stage introductions Paul joins our table for a traditional afternoon, the menu includes delights such as English cucumber finger sandwiches, candied lemon and sultana scones served with balsamic strawberry jam with cream, guava and passionfruit mousse and finishes with a chocolate dome etiquette smash, so called as it contains a small take home guide book on etiquette.


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Halfway through the tea Paul takes to the stage for an hour presentation where he talks of his life pre-Royals, how he was studying a hospitality and hotel management course and dreamed of working at sea with Cunard cruise line. He applied to Cunard at the same time he applied at Buckingham Palace. In a secret, he only found out from his younger brother on the day of his mother’s funeral, his mother had received two letters on the same day, one from Cunard and one from Buckingham palace, both offering him employment. She took the letter from Cunard and tossed it on the fire telling his younger brother that if he went far away to sea they would never see him again. It seems just as much as he believes it was Diana’s destiny to marry into and change the Royal family and touch people the world over by becoming ‘the people’s princess’ it was just as much his destiny to enter a life service with the Royals and to be there for Diana, the princess needed her rock. He talks of her work, their trips overseas, her joy at connecting with the common people and making a real difference on issues such as land mines, her legacy of her sons and grandchildren. Through William, he feels the Monarchy is in safe hands and will flourish in the future. He advises he has no inside special knowledge but he sees Harry being happy in a way he hasn’t seen since before his mother’s death and he predicts another Royal wedding next year. I’m sure we all have our fingers crossed for that one! He addresses the charges of theft of Diana’s personal items and the intervention by the Queen which stopped the trial, the only time the Queen has intervened in such a legal matter. He says his favorite memory is of Diana, in her robe, her hair in a towel, playing her piano, finally having a moment to live her life like she doesn’t have cameras pointed on her at every second.

What did I learn most from my afternoon with Paul Burrell? A little kindness goes a long way, life is precious and can change at any second, a sunny disposition and a smile can get you far in life and the importance of a thank you note, in fact I am off to write one now.

Kylie XOXO

My Royal Wedding Memorabilia

Earlier this week I posted on Instagram a really lovely gift that I had received from a follower, a copy of the official Royal wedding program from Will and Kate’s big day. Since then I have been flooded with requests for looks inside and it appears many people have missed out on seeing the ‘my story’ snaps I added to Instagram so I will be adding pictures of each page at the bottom of this post. First though, lets take a look at my other Royal wedding memorabilia.

William and Catherine Figurines, Hamilton Collection

These wonderful fashion figurines are part of the Hamilton collection which was sold via the Bradford exchange. They have a whole range of fashion figurines featuring Kate pre wedding, in gowns post wedding and with a baby George. Unfortunately no figurine has been made with charlotte. Whilst the figurines are no longer sold directly from Bradford exchange, they are constantly popping up on Ebay so keep an eye out there if you are interested in starting your own collection of Kate figurines.

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Royal Wedding Fashion Illustration

I am a huge fan of fashion illustration in general and love the work of Brittany from Replikate It. Keep an eye on her Etsy store around special occasions such as Royal tours and you usually find new art work pop up for sale. I’m not sure what she has planned yet but she told me she is in the process of working on something special for the 20th anniversary of Diana this year.

https://www.etsy.com/shop/RepliKateIt

Royal Wedding Earrings

My lovely copy of the custom-made acorn earrings that were gifted to Kate on her wedding day by her parents were bought on my trip to London a little over a year ago from the Kensington Palace gift shop. They are the loveliest copy of these earrings I have come across and can be bought directly from the Historic Royal Palaces shops at Kensington Palace or the Tower of London or purchased online here; http://www.historicroyalpalaces.com/acorn-drop-earrings.html

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Illuminum White Gardenia Petals Perfume

The perfume that Kate wore on her wedding day has proved to be the single most difficult Replikate for me to get my hands on as it is not in stock or shipped to Australia. I was able to purchase a small bottle on Christmas eve from Fortnum and Mason department store and was extremely lucky as it was the last bottle they had in stock. I had hoped to purchase 1-2 of the large bottles. I’m not really sure what I will do when it runs out, maybe plan another holiday to London?!?!?!

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Jo Malone Products

Probably the easiest way to add a touch of the Royal wedding into your own home and daily life appears to be through the use of the Jo Malone products that Kate used in Westminster abbey as they are reliably in stock and available world-wide. In an effort to have Westminster abbey resemble a British garden wedding Kate transformed the chapel through the bringing in of trees and flowers and the use of Jo Malone Orange blossom scented candles and hand washes of grapefruit and lime, basil and mandarin.

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Official Royal Wedding Program

My newest Royal wedding memorabilia has been recently gifted to me by a lovely follower on Instagram. A local London lady who loves near Buckingham Palace, she wondered down on the day of the wedding and was able to score a couple of the programs. I feel incredibly privileged that she offered to send me this as I truly would not have been able to get my hands on one otherwise and truly cherish it.

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I would love to do a follow-up post in April over the Royal wedding anniversary  so if you have any memorabilia you would like to share or were lucky enough to be there on the day please get in touch via the contact form or send me a message over on instagram.

Kylie

My Favourite Royal Moments of 2016

2016 was a great year for Royal watchers, with multiple tours from our favourite Royals and a multitude of festivities planned in honour of the Queens 90th birthday, there was no shortage of the Royals being out and about. In today’s post I’m taking a look back at my top 5 Royal moments of 2016.

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5. The Cambridge’s at Christmas

With the announcement that the Cambridge’s would be attending a private christmas with the Middleton’s and not be releasing a christmas portrait there were many of us who thought we would not see the family at all, however those who stayed online with hopes of a morning church appearance were heavily rewarded when the cambridges not only attended church with the littlest members of the family in tow but when Kate wore a $20 faux fur mini slot through collar from online retailer ASOS which was still available. A big shout out to Gemma from Food, Fash & Fit,  who so quickly made the ID and the christmas of everyone who was able to purchase it!

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The christmas appearance was also significant as it was the first time Prince George and Princess charlotte had attended the christmas day service with their parents which was not expected until the children were a few years older.

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4. Kate appears on the cover of Vogue

There aren’t many things that stay a secret in todays technological age without at least a few whispers or rumours leaking first but Kate’s collaboration with Vogue and the British National Portrait Gallery was a complete surprise when Vogue released the first images.

The collaboration came about as the gallery was holding an exhibit of portraits commissioned by Vogue in their 100th anniversary year. After many years of attempts to have Kate pose for the cover of Vogue she finally agreed, in support of the gallery of which she is a patron and to support the art of photography and portraiture which she has a long-term interest in. The photos were a wonderful collection of images which showcased her private country life and not the ball gown and glamour images many of us would have expected of a Royal featuring in Vogue.  What was most inspiring was to see how Kate’s confidence since becoming a Royal has grown to not only enable her to take on a projet such as this but to drive it so it remains true and authentic to herself and her personal style and life.

 

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3. The Queen turns 90

Last year provided many specials moments in celebration of the Queens 90th birthday, from the release of special portraits with the Queen and her heirs, the 90th birthday spectacular held at Windsor castle, a documentary where we found out what Kate gave the Queen for christmas her first year as a Royal and the fabulous street party held at Buckingham Palace.

 

2. Kate hikes up a mountain and still looks perfect

Proving she was a great choice to star in this years London marathon ad as she is definitely fit enough to run one, Kate was left with not a hair out of place and barley broke a sweat during a 3 hour hike to a remote monastery during the Royal tour of Bhutan whilst Will appeared out of breath.

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1. The Cambridge’s take a family vacation to the snow

My favourite Royal moment of 2016 was right at the start of year when they surprisingly released images taken on a private family vacation to the French Alps which was the first time the children had seen snow. Showing how much the children had grown and what a cheeky, playful and affectionate relation ship Will and Kate have, I think these photos are my favourite ever of the two as a couple.

 

Well that wraps up my favourite Royal moments of 2016. With Kate’s first appearance of the year scheduled for Tuesday  and with her taking on extra patronages as the Queen scales back i’m definitely looking forward to seeing whats in store for 2017!

 

A Middleton Style Christmas

There have been many news reports this week that suggest the Cambridge family will not be attending the Queens Christmas celebration at Sandringham but will be celebrating privately at Kate’s family estate in Buckleberry. Thanks to Kate’s sister Pippa’s event planning book Celebrate, we have a bit of insight into how the Middleton family celebrates Christmas, through the book itself and some publicity interviews Pippa gave at the time of the books release. Read on to find my top tips on how to add that Middleton touch to your own festivities.

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Stir Up Sunday Weekend

Stir up Sunday weekend traditionally occurs on the last Sunday before the start of the advent calendar, so the last weekend in November. It is a terrific time to get everyone together for some quality family time and get prepared for the busy Christmas season which will  follow.

Traditionally the weekend is used to make the Christmas pudding however it can also be used as a time to make a variety of Christmas crafts such as home-made cards and crackers or Bon bons. In her book Celebrate, Pippa recalls the best thing about Christmas was the anticipation and she remembers spending her December weekends as a child making cards, decorating the tree and making brandy butter and peppermint creams. These are traditions Kate will likely continue with George and Charlotte.

Make Edible Gifts

Do you have family and friends that your just not sure of what to give them for gift? Do you have in-laws that seem to have everything already? Surely this is a dilemma that Kate must have felt her first Christmas as a royal in 2011. During the documentary made to celebrate the Queens 90th birthday, Kate revealed that for her first Christmas at  Sandringham she gave the Queen a jar of homemade chutney  and the next day it was on the table for the Royals to use. A homemade edible gift will make a thoughtful and personalised impression and Pippa’s book is jam-packed full of recipes for edible gifts including gingerbread stars, peppermint creams and her grandmothers chutney recipe.

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Stick To A Traditional Colour Scheme

Pippa has stated that she prefers a Christmas table of rich reds and evergreens with touches of gold as it makes her feel very nostalgic of her childhood so it’s fairly safe to assume that is the colour scheme Carole Middleton will have the house decorated in this year. She has also said that around Christmas bowls of walnuts, clementines and shiny gold wrapped chocolates popped up around the house. If you are not familiar with Emma Bridgewater pottery you should definitely take a peek right now during the  Christmas sale. They have beautiful glass bowls etched with the words walnuts and clementines as well as beautiful Christmas pottery in colours of red and green decorated with wreaths, holly and robins to add that traditional touch to your Christmas table next year.

Keep One Meal Simple

Pippa has stated that her family always has a good breakfast of scrambled eggs, smoked salmon and plenty of coffee and a proper sit down roast dinner with all the trimmings at night but their lunch is a simple ploughman’s style meal in the afternoon so that the family can make the most of the daylight hours. Whether you choose to make your main meal lunch or dinner, keeping the other meal a simple help yourself ploughman’s buffet allows you to spend extra time with friends and family and allows you to enjoy a traditional Christmas ham.

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Don’t Forget To Have Some Family Fun

As mentioned the Middleton’s choose to have their main meal at dinner instead of lunch so they can make the most of the daylight hours and have some family fun and its important that we all do that as well, which can be easy to forget amidst the busyness of meal planning, cooking and trying to find the perfect gifts. The Middleton’s spend time together at Christmas by going on a long family walk after lunch and then enjoying post dinner games such as bouchon. They also  put together a jigsaw on christmas day which Pippa has said brother James always steals a piece of so he can be the person who always puts the last piece of the puzzle in, which she says annoys her greatly to this day! William and Kate are famed for their competitive streak and this seems to be a trait Kate shares with her Middleton siblings! A little more unusual tradition the family have though involves their father Michael Middleton who enjoys sneaking off and surprising the family every year by emerging in elaborate costumes, Pippa stated that a few years ago he came out dressed as a sumo wrestler which the family found quite funny.

However you and your family are chosing to celebrate this holiday season I hope you all have a happy and healthy holiday season!

 

Writing To The Royal Family

There are few things in life that can bring as much joy to a Royal watcher quite like the arrival of mail from the Royals. As soon as you pick the envelope up out of the mail box , you can feel that it is something special and different, not just a bank statement or water bill. As soon as you look at the envelope you see the special postmark from Buckingham Palace and the insignia of the Royal you have written to. I have been lucky enough to receive mail from Will and Kate’s office on three occasions.

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The first time I received mail from the office of William and Catherine was after the Aus/NZ tour. My fellow Royal watcher Rachael had organized a gift for us to give to the Royals for Prince George and she had written our names and addresses in the card. We had waited for 8 hours on good Friday at Manly beach to see the Royals and were lucky enough to meet Rebecca Deacon, Kate’s assistant, who took the gift from us. Approximately 2 months later we both received a wonderful personalized thank you note and postcard which had been sent out by the Royals to thanks those who had written to them on the occasion of Prince Georges birth.

I have also received another two of these photographic printed post cards earlier this year in response to a Christmas card I sent the family and birthday card I sent to Kate.

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If you would like to receive your own Royal mail, Christmas provides the perfect opportunity to send a quick card with some well wishes included to your favorite Royals. However you are able write to the Royals at any time throughout the year, I have a friend who wrote to Kate a few years ago to ask about the brand of a pair of boots she wore and I also know other people who have sent a wedding invitation to the Queen, Charles and Camilla and Will and Kate. Whilst they obviously cannot attend private weddings the sender did receive a lovely letter from the Royals offices wishing her well in her upcoming marriage which makes a lovely souvenir of the wedding for any Royalist. If you do wish to receive a response it is important to  remember the Royals are unable to comment on any political or controversial world events or personal disputes. However, apart from that, as long as the letter or card is respectful you are likely to receive a response. Below you will find the addresses to send your mail to.

 

Queen Elizabeth II

Her Majesty The Queen
Buckingham Palace
London SW1A 1AA

Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall

Clarence House
London
SW1A 1BA

Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry

Kensington Palace
London
W8 4PUB