Ascot Ladies Day 2013

It’s my much-delayed report on Ladies’ Day at Ascot 2013! I had a blast as usual – and we even won big in one race when we bet on the Queen’s horse to win, and also scooped the second and third place runners too – but somehow, the shine is wearing off of this event for me. Maybe it’s the fact that I had my foot crushed by a rather large middle-aged lady who was completely smashed out of her mind during the Bandstand Singalong (and it still hurts now, two months later) or maybe it’s the fact that the dress code standards have slipped again, but there’s just something about Ascot Ladies’ Day that is wearing a little thin on me now. But, this post is to concentrate on the positive!

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The theme this year was floral (my friends and I try to match – last year’s theme was obvious and awesome at the same time!), so I spent a lot of time hunting out the perfect floral dress. It had to be flared and with a ’50s style vest-shaped top. I found the perfect dress in French Connection’s Maggie Lou. However, I had a massive crisis of confidence when my usual dress size didn’t fit me, which prompted me to go on an epic, short-term weight loss plan, which I’m pleased to say was successful. I am certainly not the size I’d like to be, but I did fit into a size 10 again!

Once I found my perfect dress, I needed a hat or fascinator to go with it. I had always planned to get something made, so I commissioned the fabulous Marissa Fleur from Etsy to create a bespoke headpiece based on the colours of the dress.

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Floral Headpiece, commissioned from Marissa Fleur via Etsy / Disc Stud Earrings with Aqua Chalcedony Stones, Azuni / Maggie Lou Dress, French Connection / Wrap, Monsoon / Natalie Clutch, L.K. Bennett / Black Patent Maddox Wedges, L.K. Bennett

Here’s what the headpiece looks like flattened out, and below is the finished product on a headband, which is how I wore it on the day!

We booked afternoon tea at the event and wound up being incredibly late thanks to some atrocious traffic on the way. I think we were stuck for at least an hour and a half. It wasn’t the best of ways to begin, I have to say, although the tea was lovely enough to make it worth the wait:

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At first I was slightly disappointed, as I thought the pork pie, tarts and fondant fancies were shop-bought, but upon thorough investigation, they seemed to have been made by hand – and they were certainly tastier than their supermarket counterparts!

The tearooms were a bit corporate feeling, but the mismatched china gave it a cool look – although, obviously, it’s much cheaper to fill a tearoom with mismatched china sets! At our table there was even a set that matched my colour scheme!

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The afternoon tea cost £24pp and was honestly worth it for not having to go through the drama of fighting for a table at one of the kiosks or in the Bandstand restaurant. The food was very decent, and there was certainly enough! I think we were stuffed by the end! And anywhere with tea on tap is fine with me, of course.

For dinner, we went to Heston’s Hind’s Head in Bray again, but I think I’ll save that for another post. In the meantime, here are a few more pictures of the day…

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Next year, I think I’m going to try out a few different race meets. I’m thinking Epsom and Goodwood for 2014!

Coronation Festival at Buckingham Palace

On Saturday, the girls and I got up at stupid o’clock so we could head to London to celebrate the  Coronation in her Madge’s fine gardens at Buckingham Palace.

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The gardens are beautiful – although I obviously didn’t see them in their full glory, as they were covered in marquees full of stalls set up by Royal Warrant holders – everyone from the providers of locks and boilers, to high-end fashion designers, fabric shops and the now-famous Hunter wellies!

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This gorgeous display is from Stewart Parvin, who was the designer of my lovely lace wedding gown, so I had to snap a picture. Check out that beautiful dove grey coat!

It was blisteringly hot all day, so it was time to break out the big floppy hat!

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Bianca Hat, Hobbs Invitation / Slinky Facet Bead Drop Earrings, Accessorize / Green Gathered Dress, Zara / Gold Necklace, Peacocks / Gold Leaf Bracelet, Etsy / Barely There Non-Slip Tights, John Lewis / Patent Kate Bag, Jaeger / Maddox Wedges in Patent, L.K. Bennett

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I love the neat gathered detailing on the Zara dress!

As you can see, my shoes got very dusty from the lawn, I do hope her Madge gets the sprinklers out this week before the grass pops its clogs!

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Here’s the stand from Lock & Co Hatters, with some beautiful creations!

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Absolutely gorgeous (and incredibly expensive) fabrics from Joel & Sons.

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Beautiful blooms outside one of the eating places.

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Of course, the food tent was my favourite!

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The King’s Ginger had an amazing stand with some miniature bottles from the doll’s house at Windsor Castle. Their liqueur was absolutely top drawer too!

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This was a neat display from Gordon’s Gin.

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Ever wondered how Stinking Bishop is made? Wonder no more – this is one of the first stages, apparently.

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Check out this beautiful display of French bread from Shipton Mill – I love bread, it’s one of my major weaknesses. I’ve ordered a selection box of organic flour from this company, and I’ll be baking up a storm when it arrives!

For lunch, we treated ourselves to fish and chips – it was delicious, if a little greasy… But hey, eaten in the shade on the Queen’s lawn – I don’t think you can beat that!

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After our tour of the Warrant holders, we took a look around the gardens a bit more, and there were some lovely plants – as you would expect, of course!

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If you’d like to visit Buckingham Palace and see the gardens for yourself, check out this site for details including prices and access information!