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:

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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.

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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!

Foodie trip: Fortnum & Mason

I have to say, I’m a huge stickler for anything ‘British’. I’m a definite patriot, and there’s nothing more I love to do than indulge in quintessentially British experiences, like cream teas, picnics, visiting castles, and the like. I’m like a tourist in my own country, sometimes!

The outside of the shop

One of my favourite foodie places in London is Fortnum and Mason. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s like a foodie department store in Piccadilly, full to the brim with tourist-trap style products like biscuits in a tin, and the like. Because it has links going way back to the Royal family, and has a Royal warrant, the place is completely decked out to celebrate the Jubilee this year, with commemorative merchandise all over the place, including tea caddies, biscuit tins, and china. It’s the final day of February as I write this, and I’ve just realised I’ve been to F&M twice this year already – time to cut back and give another foodie destination a try, right?
Window display, full of Jubilee products

Anyway, here’s a snap of the window display, featuring the aforementioned Jubilee products, all decked out in F&M blue (also pretty similar to Tiffany blue, am I right? Gotta love that hue!). I am coveting the tea cup and saucer set, but let’s just say they’re a bit beyond my price range…

A view down the staircase

Here’s a view down the staircase of the beautiful heraldic animals on display in the shop at the moment. There was also a really cool display of crafts from people who the queen had given grants too, including a couple of beautiful displays of millinery.

Hats!

Food-inspired hats and fascinators

Do you see the detailing on these food-inspired hats? Gorgeous! I’m in the market for a hat for Ascot this year, but sadly – out of my price range again!

The real reason for my visit was to go to The Parlour with my husband. I’d been last year for my birthday, but it was a girls’ weekend and he stayed at home. Always good to have another reason to go back, right?

Banoffee sundae

If this isn’t reason enough to go back, I don’t know what is! This is their banoffee ‘cocktail ice cream sundae’, which is listed in their menu as “sliced banana, drizzled with Coole Swan Irish Cream liqueur, scoops of smooth banana, toffee and Amedei chocolate ice creams, whipped cream, toffee sauce and with malt”. Delicious, is all I can say!

Fortnum and Mason teapot

I also had tea, mostly because I just love their teapots. I actually found one on sale there this time – I’ll be buying extra lottery tickets so I can get one for the kitchen, I think… Hey, silver goes with everything, it’s an investment.

Needless to say, this was not a ‘fitness’ trip – although, the scales today say that eating a giant ice cream sundae, drinking a vanilla bean milkshake, plus downing coffees all day, snaffling a macaroon in a cafe, demolishing a bento box from the Japan Centre, and having okonomiyaki for lunch at Hyper Japan (and following it up with chocolate covered strawberries) had no ill effects. Well, it helps that I’ve been exercising like a fiend I suppose!