Whiteley Hats

My visit to Ascot Ladies’ Day has renewed my love of hats – even though, quite blasphemously, I wasn’t wearing one on the day! (It was actually a floral headpiece, so there!). So when I spied a bunch of Whiteley hats on sale at John Lewis, I of course had to model a few in the interests of science. Whiteley has been made famous by the Duchess of Cambridge, of course, she of the many hats, and I have to say some of my favourite items of hers are either by Whiteley or Lock & Lock. Sadly, the latter is somewhat out of my price range – but trying on hats is free no matter where they’re from, right?


This looks to be a pink version of Kate’s famous swirl hat, which she has in brown, although this one is actually a slightly different shape. I LOVED this hat, and I plan to get the brown version as soon as it’s available (stalking it here).

A lot of people (including myself) get nervous about wearing hats with elastic, but if you match the elastic to your hair colour, it’s perfectly acceptable to have the band showing:


Or, if you want to wear your hair down, you can still do so with these hats – what I did was just put my hair up, place the hat, and then remove the band from my ponytail:


This side-view shows what’s happening with the band:


This hat I thought was rather unsuccessful…:


This one is very good for those that want to wear something a bit more subtle:


It’s a pretty versatile shape and colour, and I think was only about £40-45. Also, it sits on a comb, which some people are more comfortable with, although I really prefer headbands for my hats!

However, this one was my out-and-out favourite:



It looks very similar to the black one the Duchess of Cambridge has worn on a few occasions, but has a rounded top rather than a straight edge like hers (but I fully intend to make that one mine as well, so of course it wouldn’t do to have two the same style, would it?!).


As the hat was £42 in the sale (reduced from £85), I decided it would be rude not to buy it, and so I now have yet another hat to add to my collection of hats I have nowhere to wear. I am thinking of starting a hat club just to give people a reason to wear them… Who is in?!

Whiteley hats available in store and online from John Lewis and other retailers: see http://www.whiteley-hat.co.uk/ for more.

Judy’s Affordable Vintage Fair

General outfit 2

On Saturday (1 December), my husband and I popped into Judy’s Affordable Vintage Fair, so I could get my hair did for our big night out (more on that later)! I managed to restrain myself from spending big, although I’m now kicking myself because my parents have planned a roaring ’20s Agatha Christie murder mystery night for New Year’s Eve (okay, I sorta suggested it… and already had the kit… shush). If I had known then what I know now, and all that – although I have to admit, I’m more of a ’50s-era fan! (Despite the victory rolls!) There’s been some fierce, flapper-related eBaying since then, but we’ll get to that later – onto the fair!

Vintage Fair 5

The fair definitely lived up to its reputation as being affordable, and there were plenty of goodies on offer. I love vintage accessories, and although I don’t own any vintage clothing, that’s just a matter of time… I did try on a lovely long-sleeved white lace dress, but in the end I couldn’t get on over my hair – how about that for ironic?

In Judy's Vintage Fair 1

One of my favourite things about vintage fairs is how beautifully all the products are displayed. I spent most of my time taking pictures of everything rather than looking properly, in the end!

Vintage Fair Table Display Vintage Fair 13 Vintage Fair 10

I love vintage homewares, and I even spotted some Babycham glasses just like my nan used to break out at New Year’s!
Vintage Fair 7

That brought back some memories, I can tell you! I also coveted these gorgeous phones, and there was plenty of pretty crockery to be had.Vintage Fair 6 Vintage Fair 2

In Judy's Vintage Fair 3

I think for sure the highlights of the show for me were these pair of frankly amazing hats…

Vintage Fair 9 Vintage Fair 8

I especially had my eye on the bottom one – I don’t even know what this style of hat is called, but it’s lovely. I think the price was £50 – sadly too much to spend on something I know for a fact I’ll never really wear (as opposed to things I know I probably won’t wear but take a punt on anyway in case one day I wake up thinner, more daring, and more likely to be invited to lounge around a casino in Monte Carlo or something…)

These babies, however, were in my price range, and something I know I would wear…

Vintage Fair 12

So I bought the lovely silver one on the right – £6! Bargain!

Did anyone else visit the fair at the weekend? Or any other vintage fair recently? Let me know what you bought! And if you know what that style of hat is (and where I can get one, just for future reference, y’know), leave a comment – I’d be everso grateful!

Halloween spider hat tutorial

This Halloween, I decided to challenge myself to make part of my outfit. I have a some specific rules about my Halloween costumes – firstly, that I don’t wear wholly pre-packaged outfits. Nothing off the peg for me, thanks! Thirdly, it has to be scary, or based on a Halloween theme. I guess this is pretty European-centric of me, because I know in the US, Halloween isn’t restricted to spooky costumes. But I love spooky things, so I’m always up for dabbing on the fake blood! Thirdly, I try to dress up as a different version of myself – this sounds very weird, but by that I simply mean that instead of dressing up like a specific person or character, I instead try to imagine what I would wear if I was a witch, vampire, or whatever. I’m sure a lot of people do the same thing! Last year I actually broke this rule when I dressed up as Morticia from The Addams Family, but hey – rules are meant to be broken…

As I’ve been doing this Halloween thing for a good many years now (ouch, how old am I?) I’ve already cycled through the obvious candidates – zombie, witch, vampire. So this year I decided to confront my fears head on and go as ARACHNIA! SPIDER WOMAN. Very scary. Mostly, it’s because I had seen these amazing cobweb style hats, and I wanted to wear one… Unfortunately for me, they were all pretty expensive, so I decided to make my own version. Startlingly, I really didn’t need to buy much in order to make this – but then again, that’s because I’m a failed craft nut, who had bought too many supplies and never used them.

So, here is what you need to make your own cobweb hat! Halloween hat tutorial


  • Sinamay hat base – any colour, round
  • Black felt
  • Pins
  • Wooden skewers
  • Black paint
  • Paint brush
  • Black embroidery thread
  • Needle
  • Hairband
  • Scissors
  • Plastic spiders


    • Cut your skewers in half – they form the arms of the cobweb. Also, cut off the pointed tipsHalloween hat tutorial
    • Paint your skewers black – you might need several coats of black paint to get rid of all the streaks. This gives them time to dry while you continue with the rest of your project.

Halloween hat tutorial

    • Cut your felt a little larger than your hat base, then pin in place.

Halloween hat tutorial

    • Sew the felt onto your hat base with the black thread.

Halloween hat tutorial

    • Once you’ve covered your hat base with felt, you can either attach the headband now by sewing it on, or wait until you’ve constructed the cobweb. Either way, it can get fiddly! When you want to attach the headband, pin it in place, then use your thread to secure it in two places onto the base.
    • Time to make the cobweb. Your skewers will be arranged in the classic spokes pattern, like this.
      Halloween hat tutorial
      So, now you sew each spoke onto the hat using your black thread. Sew in two places to make it extra secure – just loop around the skewer, back under, and around again, almost like sewing on a button. You might find your cobweb looks more even if you sew four skewers on at the compass points, then fill in the gaps afterwards. Also, remember to leave a small gap in the middle so that your skewers don’t sit on top of each other. Place a plastic spider on this at the end to hide the gap! Before you add in your final skewer, though, grab your black embroidery thread bundle, and tie the end carefully onto the end of your final skewer. Then sew on as the rest. Tying the thread on at this point will make it less fiddly to attach!
    • This rope demonstrates how to arrange the black embroidery thread onto your spokes to create the classic cobweb effect. Taking your embroidery bundle, weave the thread around the skewers, creating a loop over each stick to keep in place. This is tricky. You need to keep the sticks pulled apart so that the thread stays tight across the loops. Even so, you’ll find that it’s very difficult to keep everything looking tight – but that’s part of the homemade charm, right?

Halloween hat tutorial

  • At the end of the sticks, tie your thread off, then trim the end. If you haven’t attached your headband, do so now.
  • For some optional final touches, add in a fake spider in the centre of your web to hide the spokes, and add another, smaller spider dangling from a thread at the front of the hat!


So, that’s how to create your own cobweb hat! Here’s a slightly better picture of the hat with the spider in the centre!

Halloween hat tutorial

Anyone going to give this a try next year?

Ascot Ladies’ Day!

I love Ascot Ladies’ Day… Let me revise this. I love wearing a hat in the company of other, well-dressed hat wearers. I just really, really, REALLY love hats. But, I never wear hats. If you knew me, you might be surprised how much I love hats, because of my general lack of headwear. So, Ascot Ladies’ Day is the day I pay a wedge of cash to someone to let me into a field wearing a hat, so I can feel no shame all day long for indulging in my frivolous love of hats.

As it’s Jubilee year, this was my hat of choice:


This is the Hobbs Britannia hat, and the moment I saw it in the paper, I had to have it. I bugged the hell out of the Hobbs customer service team until it was released, and as soon as it appeared on the site, I ordered it immediately. Then, it became the centrepiece of our grand scheme to colour co-ordinate for the day. I always go with two of my friends, Rachel and Lorraine, so it was decided that we should wear red, white and blue. I immediately bagged red, because it’s my favourite colour and I decided I needed an excuse to buy another red dress. I forgot I already had three. Rachel bagged white, and Lorraine went with blue. Then, we decided to each have one accessory with the Union flag on it. I already had my hat, so shoes and a bag were the obvious choices. For my wedding, I actually wore a pair of Union flag shoes, so Lorraine decided to track a pair down for herself.


Rachel bought a really cool Union flag purse by LDC (and it was so cool I had to buy one too), and we were all set… apart from the dresses. At first we were all going to buy the same dress in different colours, but the one we had in mind just needed too much alteration, and the blue and the red weren’t particularly strong. So, we abandoned that idea and Rachel ended up with a beautiful white ASOS dress (that she won in a competition!) and Lorraine borrowed another ASOS dress from me. I wound up buying a pretty lace dress from Pepperberry. IMG_2929

Hilariously, I spent ages before the event agonising over whether everyone else would be wearing this hat, because I’d seen it in the press a lot after I bought it, and it was a fairly obvious choice considering even the venue was decked out in the flag to celebrate the Jubilee – but no one else was wearing it. Someone else did have on the exact same dress as me, though… Typical! IMG_2930

Here are Rachel and Lorraine – I cleverly cut off Lorraine’s amazing shoes, because I’m awesome at photography!

Needless to say, we had a great time. We won a third of our stake back, which is great, and we even got to stay for the singing around the bandstand! IMG_3037

If anyone has any other British hat-wearing events they can recommend to me, please do!