Leading with grace, dignity and duty, Queen Elizabeth II is Britain’s longest serving monarch, having become the first British monarch to Sapphire Jubilee in February last year – marking 65 years on the throne.

As well as being an outstanding leader, Queen Elizabeth has also been celebrated for her impeccable fashion sense, which has remained ever present throughout her reign. If you’re left wondering just how she does it, Fulton Umbrellas, designers of bespoke windproof umbrellas are here to lift the lid on the Queen’s fashion secrets; giving you a glimpse into how she stays styled and polished to perfection.

Adapting to the changeable British weather


The Queen is always dressed for every eventuality; after all, her royal engagements could take her anywhere.

Of course, the chance of a sudden downpour is not uncommon in the UK. The Queen’s umbrella of choice is a birdcage-style, clear umbrella created by Royal Warrant holders, Fulton Umbrellas. The umbrellas have to be transparent, so crowds can see her.

In advance of an engagement, the Queen’s senior dresser sends out a colour swatch of the outfit she’ll be wearing and they then create an umbrella with a perfectly matched trim.

As well as the chance of rain, the wind can also be an issue. The Queen’s team test her dresses and coats using electrical fans to evaluate the movement of the fabric. If the fabric moves too easily, they sew in small curtain weights into the hem in order to provide more structure and sturdiness.

Staying practical for Royal Engagements

Some Royal events can be quite lengthy, so it’s important that the Queen’s outfits are both practical and comfortable. Every aspect of her outfit is precisely considered to ensure that she looks polished and flawless.

Since the Queen regularly travels by car, lightweight fabrics are often unsuitable as they crease easily. Therefore, each outfit is made from a crease-proof fabric in order to keep her clothes looking fresh and perfect even after a lengthy car journey.

To keep her feet comfortable, the Queen wears 2.25-inch heeled shoes with insoles. Her handbags are also very well thought out. As her engagements often require her to shake hands, she prefers a bag with a long handle – namely Launer’s Royale and Traviata bags. Because these handbags feature a longer strap, they don’t interfere with handshakes or her preferred three-quarter sleeve length.

But what does the Queen keep inside her handbag? That remains a mystery unfortunately, however, rumour has it that she carries a compact mirror, a fountain pen, reading glasses and mints. The Queen supposedly only carries cash on Sundays – in the form of a perfectly folded £5 or £10 note.

We’ve covered the shoes and the bag – what+ about the Queens hat? As expected, her headwear is also carefully thought out. Rachel Trevor-Morgan, the Queen’s preferred milliner, creates bespoke hats that are designed so as not to obscure her face and are just the right height for easily entering and exiting a vehicle.

A rainbow of colours


The Queen is well known for enjoying a colourful wardrobe – but have you noticed that you never see her in the same colour at consecutive events? This is because her majesty has a team behind each one of her outfits, who choose the colour based on factors including when she last wore a similar shade and the nature of the event.

For example, if the Queen was to visit a leafy area or park, she would avoid shades of green as they would cause her to blend in with her environment. Instead, the Queen wears colours that help her stand out from her surroundings, which in turn makes her easier for crowds of people to see.

The Queen also has a team of dressers, who keep handwritten notes of all the outfits that she wears. This allows them to keep track of everything that she wears and what occasion she wears it for. As the Queen will sometimes wear outfits more than once, this process ensures that they’re worn on a strict rotational basis.

She makes looking impeccable easy. As her reign continues, we can expect to see more of the looks we love — although now we know the secrets behind them!

Driving in Europe for me is a phrase that brings back so many fond memories. When I was a child we travelled in France and I was always chief navigator for my Dad. I am not sure whether he actually needed my assistance or whether he was just keeping me entertained. I do remember feeling very responsible and grown-up.

Just before I went to university, my older brother took me on a great road trip all around France. I was very anxious about going to university and I remember so many pep talks based on his experiences of music college. It really helped and gave my parents a much-needed break from my constant stressing.

We drove for so many miles often through the night and sometimes I worried he would end up falling asleep at the wheel. All my very best memories of my brother come from that adventure. Again  I navigated and once when he was tired, he snapped at me about a place name. Years later we giggled on a return trip with my 14 year old son when we saw signs to that place.

Dad and my brother would often pop across to Europe to stock up on wine supplies at bargain prices. Mum was very much against foreign travel for many years. Eventually persuaded, she tried Germany, Italy, Spain, Malta and France. Soon she was heading off to Egypt too!

When I visited France with my husband, I was so worried he would not adapt to driving on the other side of the road but he took to it really easily.

If you are planning on driving in Europe, I hope you find this infographic helpful. Discover more summer driving tips at Auto Protect and I wish you a happy holiday.


Driving In Europe

Mum Muddling Through


The initial marketing campaign to make men’s engagement rings more popular failed in the 1940’s. In recent years however, more men than ever before have been showing off their groom-to-be status with a ring. Men’s engagement rings, also known as mangagement rings, could be the next big thing in the world of jewellery – but are they really here to stay? To investigate this new trend and find out whether mengagement rings will break into the mainstream jewellery market, we’ve teamed up with diamond rings retailer Angelic Diamonds.

Times are changing

Did you know that in the 1940’s and 50’s men did not even wear a wedding ring? It’s thought that the rise of men’s wedding rings began during World War II, with men choosing to wear a ring as a reminder of their wives and children back at home. Men’s engagement rings were first seen in 2011, when a number of celebrities began to show their support. Wearing any ring at all comes down to personal choice however, for example, Prince Phillip and Prince William never wear their wedding rings at all.

The rise of the male engagement ring can also be linked to same-sex marriages. In 2013, same-sex marriage was finally legalised in the UK, with the first gay wedding taking place one year later, in 2014. A number of jewellery retailers responded by releasing their own ranges of men’s engagement rings, which also appealed to women wanting to buy a ring for their partners.

Google data reflects this new trend too; by the end of 2014, search volumes for ‘male engagement rings’ had reached a total of 54,000. This figure had more than doubled by the end of 2017, at 12,100 searches. The number of searches for this term hit an all-time high in February of 2016, around leap day. It is traditional for women to propose to their partners on leap day and this was reflected in the searches, which reached a total of 22,000.

How men and women are reacting to the trend

Men’s wedding rings are common these days, however, male engagement rings are still quite rare. Male celebrities have been welcoming change however; in 2010, Michael Bublé was spotted wearing an engagement ring after getting engaged to his fiancé. Bublé explained to journalists that in Argentina, where his fiancé is from, male engagement rings are customary. Additionally, Johnny Depp was spotted wearing a ring in 2014, after becoming engaged to Amber Heard.

This trend has also been embraced by female celebrities – Jennifer Hudson famously proposed to her fiancé with a diamond ring just a few months after he proposed to her. For some men however, the thought of wearing an engagement ring is still rather strange. Research shows that a rising trend for men’s engagement watches emerged around the same time as the engagement ring trend. H.Q Milton, a vintage watch retailer recently revealed that they had noticed an uptake in engagement watch sales. Similarly, the co-founder of Christopher Ward the luxury watch retailer noted that customers were now buying watches with engraved personal messages for their fiancés. Evidently, more women than ever before are wishing to treat their loved ones with an engagement gift of their own.

Men's Engagement Rings

Many feminists have also praised the idea of mengagement rings, with some claiming that by wearing a ring, women signify their taken status to the world – men on the other hand have always been free to go without a ring, as though they are still single.

For other however, male engagement rings are a simple symbol of their appreciation for their partners. So, is this trend here to stay in 2018? It is clear that jewellery wearing habits have undergone a huge transformation over the past few years, but only time will tell if this trend will truly stick around in the long term. It is thought that the jewellery industry could gravitate towards engagement watches if men’s rings do not take off. Whatever the outcome however, it’s always good to see couples showing their appreciation for each other with a symbol of their affections.










Carpe diem is Latin phrase which encourages to seize the day. I love the concept but all too often find myself living in the past particularly the Eighties or stressing about what the future may hold not only for myself but my children, my country and latterly the environment.

Yet as many of us have just been reminded, we only ever have the present so what a shame if we do not live fully in that minute ensuring each one is also a moment. Moments are important as they consist of making magical memories that are great at the time and also sustain us (and those we eventually leave behind) in challenging times.

So I am taking on the #BestBootForward challenges set by the lovely Chloe as best I can today.

How can I seize the day?

I am so much better at this than I was but there is more work to do. I could be braver and if I was on limited time I would be. Of course, the truth is we are all on increasingly limited time so it is time to buck our ideas up.

What should I do to enrich my life?

I should spend more time outdoors connecting with nature particularly as it is right on my doorstep. I have got sucked into too much daytime television. It used to comfort me in my depressive days but now it is just a habit that I should break. I don’t really know why I find it so hard to do so. Do I really want my legacy to be “she was a world authority on Come Dine With Me, This Morning and a Place in the Sun”?

Blogging can also be something that enslaves so I need to ensure it is in its rightful place and not taking my life over. There will only ever be one top blogger and it is unlikely to be me. Good enough blogging will do! Memory-making with my children is more important!

I would like a more romantic life but I guess that is at least partly in my control. Perhaps we are always more than we think we can be and even if we aren’t it could be heaps of fun finding out.

I feel like I should end with a bold statement such as “Tonight Matthew, I will put on that red lipstick I bought ages ago, invest in that playsuit and tell ….”.

After all, realistically what is the worst that could happen if I do just that?




If you are bullied in the workplace, it can make your whole life a nightmare. We spend so much time at work. If someone is getting at you at work, the stress spills over into family life too. So when it has got to a point where you dread going to work every day, what can you do to move forwards positively? This might involve speaking out or pursuing legal rights perhaps with the help of someone like Prosperity Law or via an advice agency.

Acknowledge you are being bullied

Being bullied can eat away  at your self-esteem. Your bully may make fun of you for being over-sensitive. Whilst it is fine for a boss to highlight any poor performance or wrongdoing on your part, it is not OK to belittle you or to pile on pressure. Bullying can sometimes be identified by its repetitive nature and it can be done to you in so many ways and face-to-face, over the telephone and in written communications via text and email.

Examples of bullying behaviours

  • Rudeness
  • Insults
  • Gossip
  • Ignoring
  • Excluding
  • Victimising
  • Giving degrading, demeaning or pointless tasks
  • Threats
  • Sexual abuse
  • Blocking access to training or promotion

Feelings on being bullied

Being bullied can lead to various negatives in your life. These might include:

  • Lack of motivation
  • Anxiety
  • Sleep problems
  • Loss of confidence
  • Stress
  • Depression

There are no excuses for bullying and the bully is often in a powerful position but it is important to stand up to them.

What to do if you are being  bullied

Initially you could try speaking to the person who you feel is bullying you. Sometimes and only sometimes, the person does not realise their behaviour is out of order. Sometimes just telling someone how you feel can help a relationship work better. I say this because I once was amazed to see one boss and I get through a troublesome time once we started to understand each other that bit better. You could ask a colleague to be with you when you confront the other person. If this does not work, you can talk to your line manager or the Human Resources Department.

Taking legal action

You could put in a grievance about the situation. All too often though, grievances end up with you being on a disciplinary charge. This is when you would be well advised to contact ACAS (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) for support. which comes free of charge.

Sometimes bullies go as far as sacking you in which case you will need employment law advice about unfair dismissal. In other situations, you may find the situation so intolerable that you choose to leave yourself and then you can look into claiming constructive unfair dismissal.

In conclusion, always know that bullying in any environment is unacceptable. It always defines the bully rather than yourself. Do not suffer in silence and respect yourself enough to reach out for support. That is a sign of strength.














Lucy At Home UK parenting blogger