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Winter break – Summer fun

Winter in New Zealand is naturally a slower time for millinery – so what better time for a few weeks in Europe.

My 5 1/2 weeks trip to Austria is only a few hours away and the excitement is growing. So many plans, so many things to see. Starting off in Vienna – down to Styria – up to the Czech border – Czech Republic / Prague – down to the Wachau Valley – back to Vienna – hopefully over to Budapest….and who knows where else.

Vienna has sooooo much to offer – I don’t think one could run out of things to explore and see, I so love this city. The perfect place to wander and getting lost in small streets amongst old buildings. My bucket list is quite long by now and who knows how many more things will be added to it.

Graz and Styria – my breeding ground  – taking my daughter there again will make me re visit lots of childhood haunts.



The Wachau Valley is one picturesque history lesson  – Melk, my daughter’s birthplace with its over 900 years old  Benedictine  Abbey,



the medieval Dürnstein Castle Ruins – the famous site of the imprisonment of the English King Richard the Lionheart ,  Aggstein Castle  with it’s breath taking views over the Danube are but a few points we will revisit this time.

Wachau Weinberg - Wachau vineyard 15

Wachau vineyard 


Aggstein Castle ruins


The valley is of course a famous wine growing region established during the medieval period of the Roman settlements  but equally well known for it’s apricots. Lucky for us we will be there in time for the harvest and we will no doubt gorge ourselves on those delicious globes. One of the most loved dishes – Marillenknödel – will be on the menu. Apricots are de stoned – a lump of sugar is placed inside and the apricot is enveloped in a potato based dough. They are then cooked in simmering water and rolled in a butter and breadcrumb mix. Sprinkle with icing sugar and devour. Heaven!


Another thing on the ‘to do’ list is mushroom foraging! One of the things I miss in New Zealand is the variety of wild mushrooms  and going out into the forest to try and find these tasty fungi is a lot of fun…especially if the weather is right for it: warm weather with recent rain…boom….


Coming home with a basket as full as this makes for a delicious meal – good knowledge of what’s edible and what’s poisonous is a must – and there are lots of very edible treasures to be found.

Walking and biking will be a big part of our mode of transport – not least to counteract the effects of all the calories ingested during this time. Austria is famous for its pastries and coffee house culture and we will indulge. The Viennese Coffee House is an institution and listed as   “Intangible Cultural Heritage  in the Austrian inventory of the “National Agency for the Intangible Cultural Heritage”, a part of  Unesco.  Coffee is said to have been brought to Vienna during the Turkish sieges in the 17th Century. The ‘Kipferl” , the ancestor of the croissant, is also said to stem from that time, the shape representing the Islamic crescent and commemorating the defeat of the Ottomans.



And of course I will look out for all things hats and millinery. Fortuna has arranged for a hat exhibition in Vienna to be visited and I hope to have some lucky finds at one or two antique fairs.

So for now……

so long




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After Ascot…..

The much anticipated event has been and gone. 5 days of hat and frock ( and trouser) looking / searching and I somehow think that this year was less “spectacular” than previous years.

I realize that we only see a fraction of attendees…often the media focuses on the outrageous rather than the truly stylish. I’m sure that there were more wonderfully dressed ladies about who we just don’t get to see…still…

It was rather pleasing to see so few fascinators but quite a lot larger brimmed hats and headpieces.  In the last few blogs on Ascot I picked the outfits which stood out for me, a couple of them more so than the rest. All of the ladies looked lovely, but I was hoping for more…..more of “haven’t seen before”…more fashion forward….more truly amazing. I mean, come on – if you can’t do it at Ascot, where else? Right?

Let’s remind ourselves of the Ascot Dress code suggestions of the last couple of years:

This is along the lines of what I hoped to see more of: elegant outfits, statement millinery and a bit of quirky wow thrown in with it. Alas – not much of that has been seen, at least it wasn’t shown by the media.


The 2 outfits I have seen which would quite easily fit right in with all these images:

Bebe Pham in pink on Ladies Day – absolutely gorgeous



Tatiana Korsakova nailed “how to be super stylish in relaxed fashion” in black with hot pink accents – millinery by Philip Treacy


Tatiana Korsakova


Was also hoping to see more really cool millinery like these ( Stephen Jones, Philip Treacy)


I found these 2 examples but hoped for more hat porn – aka beautifully made model millinery



Stephen Jones Model Millinery 2016


unknow milliner


Quietly hoping that in the coming days more pictures will emerge in which case I will update .

Final word: after talking to a couple of people about it I have come to the conclusion that we “downunder” are really quite spoiled when it comes to racing fashion. We see so many amazing outfits on the Fashion on the Field events , put together with style and creativity, that we have become a tough bunch to impress.

And to end it all – here are a couple of rainbows🙂




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Ascot Day 5

So this was the last day of Ascot 2016.

First of all…from what I’ve seen over the last few days –  let’s pay a few seconds of respect to the Fascinator. RIP. It seems this previously much loved head adornment, aka a chicken’s bum on a comb, has all but left the building; thanks for all you’ve done to get women back into hats, we will never forget this good deed.

Brimmed hats , saucer style hats and cocktail / button headpieces all around. Three cheers to that.

Drum roll …..this is possibly my winning look of the week and what I’ve been waiting for:

Bebe Pham, model/actress wife of actor and director Dustin Nguyen, a vision in pink. Everything I associate with Ascot – elegance and fashion trend combined in this ensemble, with or without feather capelet. I think they attended  Day 3 – Ladies Day.



and here are my other picks for day 5

all images via gettyimages



The Queen in blue and aqua


Princesses Beatrice in Burberry and millinery by Gina Foster and Eugene,  wearing Alice + Olivia with a Nerida Fraiman hat



The Tootsie Rollers – again in retro style with modern millinery in metallic tones

on day 5 of Royal Ascot at Ascot Racecourse on June 18, 2016 in Ascot, England.


Pretty in cream and pink – Martha Ward

on day 5 of Royal Ascot at Ascot Racecourse on June 18, 2016 in Ascot, England.

Safiyaa dress and coat, a Piers Atkinson hat


another large brim covered in lace

on day 5 of Royal Ascot at Ascot Racecourse on June 18, 2016 in Ascot, England.


monochrome brimmed hat

on day 5 of Royal Ascot at Ascot Racecourse on June 18, 2016 in Ascot, England.


Cute monochrome dress and shoes with a straw boater

on day 5 of Royal Ascot at Ascot Racecourse on June 18, 2016 in Ascot, England.


All cream with a touch of red

on day 5 of Royal Ascot at Ascot Racecourse on June 18, 2016 in Ascot, England.


love the purple accent

on day 5 of Royal Ascot at Ascot Racecourse on June 18, 2016 in Ascot, England.


cheerful floral skirt, cute shoes and statement headpiece

on day 5 of Royal Ascot at Ascot Racecourse on June 18, 2016 in Ascot, England.


And that’s that.


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Ascot Day 4

Another day – another hat…..

HM wore a pretty coral pink colour


via Zimbio

Princess Haya bint Al Hussein opted for a smaller headpiece with veiling


The Telegraph


Anna Friel in copper and gold tones wearing a Ermanno Scervino dress an interesting feathered headpiece by Jane Taylor


Daily Mail


Lisa Tan looking lovely in a floral skirt and red cape top


via Daily Mail


monochrome and stripes


via Daily Mail


Nice little boater hat and I like the bow in her hair – nice balance and added interest. All together nice outfit


via Daily Mail


Another interesting monochrome ensemble – note the snail on the Piers Atkinson headpiece


Olga Stepp via Daily mail


The Tootsie Rollers added a contemporary  detail to their retro inspired outfits with some millinery embellished with shiny metallic bows


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Ascot Day 3 – Ladies Day aka Gold Cup Day

The event that launched the Royal meeting as it’s known. Thousands turning out to watch this coveted prize being contested and  “out there” millinery takes centre stage.
I will keep to those a bit more “restrained”😉

The Queen diverted from her usual matching colours to this contrasting ensemble in blue and orange


pic via Daily Mail


Princess Eugenie wore a navy Roksanda Ilincic dress and opted for larger hat by Jess Collett


pic via Daily Mail


Olivia Grant went all green and Peacock


Pic via Daily Mail


The Tootsie Rollers made for a nice change in Pant suits


pic Daily Mail

more pants…Tatiana Korsakova


via gettyimages


Big hats are in and so are the sleeves


Via twitter @myjodybell



In full blossom


pic via Daily Mail


feminine side disc piece


A bee in her bonnet…or on it as it were


pic via

…will add to this selection as I find it🙂



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Royal Ascot Day 2

The rain had stopped and a sea of Umbrellas gave way to the usual sea of hats…well, without the umbrellas over them.


Most headlines today read: William and Kate, so let’s start with the Duchess. She looked pretty in  Dolce & Gabbana, I like the length on her as well as a bit more volume on the skirt. Millinery by Jane Taylor



Monochrome polkadots, I love the matching chenille dots on the veiling



Perspex put to good use


(Photo by Kirstin Sinclair/Getty Images for Ascot Racecourse)


Beautiful feather headpiece and the colour is divine



an elegant vision in grey and black


Olga Stepp via The Telegraph


Olivia Grant in all nude and gold tones – every detail was paid attention to : Matthew Williamson jewel embellished dress and feathered coat, Jane Taylor millinery, shoes, hair and makeup…..a complete success



Looking forward to day 3

Photo credits 


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Royal Ascot 2016 – Day 1

Each and every year Royal Ascot is a much anticipated event…not least by milliners. We made hats and we want to see hats. Some of them have a wow factor. And they are the ones I wait for every year…..those amazing creations which are perfectly styled with a gorgeous outfit that works from head to toe.

As far as Day 1 goes we remember one of the racing fashion rules: dress for the weather.

Good English weather for the opening day – I’m sure that’s not necessarily what race goers called it. Ladies handing out pashminas to cover up were not really obvious yesterday, the weather seems to have encouraged jackets, coats and indeed rain ponchos. The smart shoe choice for the ladies was either gumboots or sandals which could easily be slipped off to wade through ever growing puddles.


via Zimbio


The Queen arrived in cheerful yellow – and avoided the downpour. She seems to have made it dry to the Royal enclosure ….cheerfully so.


photo credit Toby Melville/Reuters



The Princess Royal is not known as a fashion icon but this light coloured coat really gives her a lift and she looks lovely in this photo



A couple of other highlights so far


This stylish lady did look out the window in the morning when she got dresses – I’m sure she was rewarded by not being cold and miserable                                                                                pic credit Jed Leicester / BPI/REX/SHUTTERSTOCK




Royal Ascot is declared Open – covered up in pretty lace and a quirky top hat to say so photo Steve Parsons



Liz Hurley – all white was a brave choice for a day like this                                                                    photo Steve Parsons



Lisa Tan added more cheerfulness with this Stella Jean dress  pic credit 

 …hopefully the weather improves as the week goes on


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