Kate and Wills/Royal Brides then and now…

If you haven’t heard of the wedding that took place on Friday April 29 at Westminster Abby, then you’ve lived under a rock. Prince William and Catherine Middleton exchanged and sealed wedding vows with a traditional kiss on the balcony of Buckingham Palace as 2 BILLION people around the world watched.

It was really beautiful. Pure magic.

Prince William looked so handsome in his red tunic of the Irish Guards, while Princess Catherine’s dress was designed by Sarah Burton at Alexander McQueen. 

They say that she chose Alexander McQueen for the beauty and traditional workmanship and she worked closely with Sarah Burton in designing the dress. She looked so classy as well as SEXY! She reminded me so much of some of the classic Royal brides like Grace Kelley and Princess Margaret. Kate’s dress is very similar in design to both of those. I loved her lace appliqué and I hear it was hand-made by the Royal School of Needlework.  The veil was made of layers of soft, ivory silk tulle with a trim of hand-embroidered flowers, again embroidered by the Royal School of Needlework.  And how about that tiara? It’s a Cartier ‘halo’ tiara, lent to her by The Queen.  It has great history. It’s from 1936 and was purchased by The Duke of York (later King George VI) for his Duchess (later Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother) three weeks before he succeeded his brother as King (you know the one in “King’s Speech”) and was given to Princess Elizabeth by her mother for her 18th birthday. 

Kate’s earrings, by Robinson Pelham, were a personal gift to her from her parents.

Her shoes were of ivory duchesse satin with lace hand-embroidered by the team at Alexander McQueen and her Bridal Bouquet was a shield-shaped wired bouquet of myrtle, lily of the valley, sweet William and hyacinth.  It was designed by Shane Connolly and incorporates traditions of flowers of significance for the Royal Family, the Middleton family. The flowers’ meanings in the bouquet are:

Lily of the valley – Return of happiness

Sweet William – Gallantry

Hyacinth – Constancy of love

Ivy: Fidelity; marriage; wedded love; friendship; affection

Myrtle: the emblem of marriage; love.

His Grand mum, The Queen gave a lunchtime Reception at Buckingham Palace for only 650 guests (including Kate’s postman and the butcher). Guests were served a choice of canapés, including:

Cornish Crab Salad on Lemon Blini

Pressed Duck Terrine with Fruit Chutney

Roulade of Goats Cheese with Caramelized Walnuts

Assortment of Palmiers and Cheese Straws

Scottish Smoked Salmon Rose on Beetroot Blini

Miniature Watercress and Asparagus Tart

Poached Asparagus spears with Hollandaise Sauce for Dipping

Quails Eggs with Celery Salt

Scottish Langoustines with Lemon Mayonnaise Pressed Comfit of Pork Belly with Crayfish and Crackling

Wild Mushroom and Celeriac Chausson

Bubble and Squeak with Comfit Shoulder of Lamb

Grain Mustard and honey-glazed Chipolatas

Smoked Haddock Fishcake with Pea Guacamole

Miniature Yorkshire Pudding with Roast Fillet of Beef and Horseradish Mousse

Gateau Opera

Blood Orange Pate de Fruit

Raspberry Financier

Rhubarb Crème Brulee Tartlet

Passion Fruit Praline

White Chocolate Ganache Truffle

Milk Chocolate Praline with Nuts

Dark Chocolate Ganache Truffle

As for the booze, guests were served Pol Roger NV Brut Réserve Champagne and plenty of other soft and alcoholic drinks.

And now we come to a CAKE! And what a cake it was! Kate and Wills had his and hers cake. Kate’s wedding cake was designed by Fiona Cairns and is made from 17 individual fruit cakes and has eight tiers. It has been decorated with cream and white icing and there are up to 900 iced flowers and leaves. Each of the 17 different flower designs on the official wedding cake has their own individual meaning according to the Language of Flowers. They include:

White Rose – National symbol of England

Daffodil – National symbol of Wales, new beginnings

Shamrock – National symbol of Ireland

Thistle – National symbol of Scotland

Acorns, Oak Leaf – Strength, endurance

Myrtle – Love

Ivy – Wedded Love, Marriage

Lily of the Valley – Sweetness, Humility

Rose (Bridal) – Happiness, Love.

Sweet William – Grant me one smile

Honeysuckle – The Bond of Love

Apple Blossom – Preference, Good Fortune

White Heather – Protection, Wishes will come true

Jasmine (White) – Amiability

Daisy – Innocence, Beauty, Simplicity

Orange Blossom – Marriage, Eternal Love, Fruitfulness

Lavender – ardent attachment, devotion, success, and luck.

Wills had his favorite chocolate biscuit cake which was created by Mcvitie’s Cake Company using a Royal Family recipe. His cake was square and consisted of three tiers above its golden stand.

It was decorated with white chocolate water lilies, milk chocolate leaves and a mixture of white and milk chocolate feathers with flowers placed at the corner of each square on top.

HA! They say it’s a secret recipe, but I have Google on my side! So, here’s a recipe, so try to make your own.

Chocolate Biscuit Cake

   Yield: 12 servings

   For cake:

   1 (7-ounce) package butter tea biscuits (sold in the cookie aisle)

   1 cup heavy cream

   2 tablespoons honey

   1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter

   16 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips (about 2 1/2 cups)

   1 teaspoon vanilla extract

   For glaze:

   2 tablespoons butter

   1/4 cup heavy cream

   6 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips (about 1 cup)

   1. Make the cake. Coat a 7- or 8-inch round spring form pan with cooking spray. Break up
biscuits with your hands into 1/4- to 1/2-inch pieces; you want chunks, not crumbs.

   2. In a medium microwave-safe bowl, combine 1 cup cream, honey and 1/4 cup butter. Microwave
on high for 1 1/2 minutes or until bubbling. Add 16 ounces chocolate and stir until smooth. Stir
in vanilla, then crumbled biscuits.

  3. Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan, using the back of the spoon to smooth the top.
Gently tap the pan on the counter to eliminate any air pockets. Refrigerate for 3 hours or
until thoroughly chilled.

   4. Once the cake is chilled, prepare the glaze. In a small saucepan over medium heat,
combine 2 tablespoons butter and 1/4 cup cream. Bring to a boil, and then remove from heat. Add 6
ounces chocolate, stirring until smooth.

   5. Carefully remove the sides from the spring form pan (you may need to slide a paring knife
around the inside upper edge to ensure the sides come away cleanly from the cake). Invert the
cake onto a wire rack, and then remove the bottom of the pan. Set the rack over parchment paper to
catch drips.

   6. Pour the glaze evenly over the cake, allowing it to drip down and completely cover the
top and sides. Allow to firm up, and then transfer to a serving plate. Refrigerate leftovers.

So if you want to inhale (505 calories; 33g fat; 19g saturated fat; 50mg cholesterol; 4g protein; 49g carbohydrate; 34g sugar; 3g fiber; 80mg sodium;) a piece, go for it!

Interesting rumor during and after the ceremony:

Prince William told Kate, as she joined him at the altar:  “You look beautiful” and as they settled in the carriage, she turned to him and asked: “You happy’ and he said “Yes, you?” and she nodded and said “Yes”. When they stepped out on the balcony, she went “WOW” looking at the crowd, and what can I say about “THE KISS” or in their case TWO kisses! It was AWESOME!

What a day! How I wish Diana was there to see her son today…Made me cry thinking about it…Well, God Bless Wills and Kate!

RRAH Review’s April (part 2)

Well, Easter’s come and gone, and we’re still under clouds here in Chicago Land. Rain’s decided to stay, cold’s decided not to leave. I hope all you had a great Easter weekend (hopefully off).

I’m bringing you a few more books that I’ve done reading and reviewing for RRAH.

First one’s an Anthology,  IT HAPPENED ONE SEASON and it comes from such authors like Stephanie Laurens, Mary Balogh, Candice Hern and Jacquie D’Alessandro (who I’ve never read). This is their second book together, and I highly recommend it (first one as well-It Happened One Night). 

My next book,  DEVIL’S OWN, I really didn’t care for and it was a trial to finish, but since I needed to review it, I got down to it. I’m not familiar with Veronica Wolff, and if you are, please let me know your thoughts on this book as well as her other work. I’m debating if I should venture and read another one of her books, or just give up?

Mary Blayney’s  COURTESAN’S KISS was such a fun read, highly recommend it. I’m thinking the heroine might irritate some of you, but she made me laugh! I’ve read all Ms. Blayney’s “Kiss” books and I’ve enjoyed them all equally. I do recommend you read the other stories first.

And my last review’s of SEVEN NIGHTS TO FOREVER by Evangeline Collins and this was my first book by her, but boy I really enjoyed it. It’s not your average romance, and it will probably offend some of you (it does involve infidelity), but if you can put yourself in our hero’s shoes, you might get over it quickly as I did.

That’s another four for my RRAH reviews, however I did read some other books that I’ve yet to bring to your attention, and that I’ll include in a separate post.

Debut Author Stefanie Sloane

This just isn’t fair! Chicago just had snow yesterday, and now we’re going through a downpour that will last us TWO days! I also can’t believe it’s Easter already. It certainly doesn’t feel like it. I left the house this morning and it was 35! I’m back to my winter coat and gloves! This sucks! The only good thing about this: I have the next three days off-with pay. What can I say? My boss ROCKS! The bad thing: spring cleaning. Has to be done, so I better get on it, but I’m betting I’ll find some time to read. I always do :)

Speaking of, in doing some more of my RRAH reviews I’ve come across a new author, Stefanie Sloane. She Debuts next month with her first book in Regency Rogues Series, with “The Devil in Disguise” which I reviewed for RRAH. By now you all know that when I stumble on to a good book/author, and ESPECIALY a good début author, nothing will stop me in spreading the word.

This author just blew me away with the books that I’ve read so far. Everything in them was exceptional and I just could not believe that she’s not written before. In the first book and Iron Will’s story she introduces us to the group of young men that belong to The Young Corinthian Gentlemen’s Club,  This was not your ordinary club and its members were titled (and not so titled) men of various skills which comes very handy when conducting their secret affairs. The man that’s in charge of this operation is Carmichael (hoping for his story, as his voice is strong through both books, so far), a very, very intriguing fellow. Every character has been developed with utmost care and so vivid that will feel like they’re right in front of you. What I’m most impressed is Ms. Sloane’s way with words, specifically the dialogue which is very witty and perfectly paced. She gives us enough tidbits hooking you into eagerly awaiting the next instalment, and that is a pure gift only a few authors posses. Both books were a treat from start to finish.  Ms. Sloane has created a wonderful world of intrigue, love, and adventure that I’ll be sure to follow. Welcome to my Keeper Shelf, Ms. Sloane!

Book Trailer

“The Devil in Disguise” opens the series with “Iron Will”.

Clairemont, is a wicked rake with little regard for society—a most unlikely suitor for the prim and proper Lady Lucinda Gray. But his latest assignment for the Young Corinthians, an elite spy organization, involves protecting her from a kidnapping plot and to do this, the notorious “Iron Will” must get close to Lucinda, and convince her that he’s a man worthy of her attention. It is a simple enough task to use his devilish charm to seduce her, but William never would have guessed that he’d become enthralled by the lovely Lady Grey—or that he’d lose his own heart in the bargain.

Beautiful and fiercely intelligent, Lucinda has managed to gracefully sidestep even the most persistent suitors. Until the Duke of Clairemont, that is. His rugged features, sinfully sensuous mouth, and piercing eyes are as alluring as the champion thoroughbred he tantalizingly offers in exchange for the honor of courting her, and she finds it hard to resist either temptation. The feelings he stirs in her both excite and arouse, urging her on despite the very real danger he represents. But when the truth is revealed, will Lucinda risk her heart and her life for a chance at everlasting love?

“The Angel in My Arms” is the second book in Regency Rogues Series and the review of it is here.

Injured in the line of duty, Young Corinthian agent Marcus Maxwell, the Earl of Weston, travels to his country estate to recover—or so he believes. His superior’s request that he investigate a smuggling ring run by Napoleon sympathizers seems ridiculous at first, but then becomes all-too threatening as pieces of a treacherous puzzle begin to fall into place. And the most troubling piece of all is Miss Sarah Tisdale, an unconventional beauty whose lust for life is rivaled only by her ability to drive Marcus to distraction. When her family comes under suspicion, Marcus must watch her very, very closely…even if her touch ignites the deep, fiery desire burning just beneath his cool façade.

When it comes to suitors, Sarah’s lush curves and perfectly kissable lips aren’t enough to compensate for her outspoken and willful nature. Sarah’s tasted disappointment before, and she long ago decided that she’s better off without an overbearing husband. Still, flirting with the sinfully handsome Marcus is a pastime worth savoring—even when it leads to wicked pleasures. But when Sarah’s life is in jeopardy, Marcus discovers that the fire between them can no longer be denied—and that he’ll do anything to keep her in his arms.

Third instalment, “The Sinner Who Seduced Me”  is as good as the other two.

A dedicated Young Corinthian agent, James Marlowe accepts the riskiest of missions—go undercover as a traitor and infiltrate a deadly French crime organization. As he heads to Paris, he is prepared for all matters of intrigue—everything but a surprise encounter with the only woman he ever has loved. Five years ago, the exquisitely stunning Clarissa Collins spurned his love, breaking his heart in the process. Now, the accomplished painter is in peril up to her lovely neck and only he can protect her.

Blackmailed by a mysterious man who threatens to destroy her world, Lady Clarissa cannot imagine a crueller fate. Until she is reunited with James Marlowe, the enthralling man who seduced Clarissa body and soul, then betrayed her. Despite the hurt and misunderstanding that still simmers between them, their enduring passion ignites anew, leaving the two breathless with desire and need. With their lives and England’s safety hanging in the balance, they have little choice but to put the past behind them and work together to save everything they hold dear. As they attempt to escape the clutches of the malicious forces holding them, can Clarissa and James find their way back to each other hearts…this time forever?

By browsing her website, I’ve found out that she’s working on three more books in the series, with stories of Lord Dashiell Matthews, the Viscount of Hardwicke, Langdon Young, the Duke of Bedford and his fiancee Lady Sophie Afton. I’m so looking forward to all of them. Here’s what’s coming up in book 4, 5 and 6 of Regency Rouges:

“The Saint Who Stole My Heart” is Dash’s story will be out May 2012.

Lord Dashiell Matthews, the Viscount of Hardwicke, remembers little of Lady Elena Barnes beyond her slight build, mousy character, and bookish ways. Her unavoidable presence at Hardwicke House would be inconvenient, true, but a woman could hardly prove enough of a distraction to interfere with what was the most important case of Dash’s life—ferreting out the monster who’d murdered a dear friend’s mother many year before.

Dash would, of course, live to regret such an assumption.

As for Elena, a trip to London to retrieve a priceless book is troublesome, though not nearly as much as the feelings the viscount inspires in her. His touch elicits feelings from Elena that she’d only ever read about. Her skin tingles. Lord Hardwicke is as handsome as she remembered—actually, more so as he’d grown into his frame in a rather attractive manner—and as dim as a ha’penny tallow. Or is he? The more time Elena spends with the man, the greater her suspicions grow regarding his intellect and just what he might be up to as they’re thrown together in the search for an individual known only as the Rook.

“The Scoundrel Takes a Bride” is Sophie’s story will be out September 2012.

Lady Sophie Afton wants one thing and one thing only: Revenge against the man who ruthlessly killed her mother fifteen years before. Painstakingly preparing herself for the task and awaiting just the right moment, she approaches Lord Carmichael armed with the skills required of a spy and the knowledge that the Corinthians have reached an impasse in her mother’s case despite all the progress made by her dear friend Viscount Hardwicke. The Rook was only the beginning. Another man cut her mother’s throat, but it will take a woman to bring his identity to light.

Carmichael cannot refuse her. And just at the moment Sophie believes she’s on the cusp of experiencing the defining moment of her life, Nicholas Young appears. The younger brother of her betrothed, Nicholas had disappeared years before into the wild of the East Indies, where, if rumors were to be believed, he’d made his fortune through questionable means. In truth, Sophie had given little thought to her childhood friend. Until now. There was no denying that she adored Langdon Young, Nicholas’s older brother and the man she was meant to marry. But the moment Nicholas stalks back into her life, Sophie knows she will never belong to another. His touch inspires desire, his kisses need, and his skin on hers brands Sophie for life.

Aided by her Corinthian counterparts, with Nicholas at her side, Sophie delves into the dangerous depths of the London crime world in search of what she’s longed for her entire life. Or is it? Can revenge mean more than love?

“The Hero Meets His Match” is the sixth and Langdon’s story will be out February 2013.

Langdon Young, the Duke of Bedford, sees little left in life to recommend itself. He’d loved Sophie Afton and she’d left him for his brother, effectively destroying all that was to be Langdon’s future. Such betrayal finds him weighing the worth of what he’s devoted his time to, namely the Young Corinthians—and coming up short. Until his brother and former fiancée ask the impossible of him: Track down the man who had ordered the killing of Sophie’s mother fifteen years before and finally secure the peace they’d all longed for nearly their entire lives.

Langdon cannot deny that he’s wished for nothing else his entire Corinthian career, and so he agrees to undertake the task armed with the little that is known about the man and one strategic ally: the infamous Lord Rupert Crowther, Earl of Blackwell’s widow, Lady Grace. Rumor has it that the lady’s father lost her in a card game to the earl and her fortune had only deteriorated from there. Blackwell was a brute made even more so when he’d lost the entirety of his wealth in various gambling hells across London. He’d turned to nefarious activities as a means of income and ultimately killed himself when the authorities had enough to send him away for good. A small stipend from a distant cousin is all that stands between Lady Grace and the poor house, and so she reluctantly agrees to supply Langdon with all that she knows of the crime organization—which is, as it so happens, a considerable amount due to Lord Blackwell’s dealings with the group.

Lady Grace could not be any more different from Sophie Afton if she tried. Exiled from polite society and wiser than Langdon feels he is himself, the widow is heartbreakingly vulnerable yet surprisingly resilient. Her strength and weakness call to him like a siren’s song, forcing him to realize that he’s never really known love—until now. Lady Grace attempts to resist temptation, having sworn off men forever. But the Duke speaks to her body and mind like no other, urging her to give herself completely to him.

Despite the stalwart support of the Corinthians, Langdon and Grace find themselves caught in a deadly web that threatens to consume them alive. Will they escape to realize the love that can save them both?

BTW: How about those Romance Trading Cards? I LOVE THEM :)

RRAH April Reviews

Is it me or is this year just flying by at a warp speed? It’s early April already. The next thing I know, it’ll be June and my flower’s will be almost in full bloom and then it’ll be August and I’ll officially become a MIL! Knowing my son, he won’t wait long to make me a GM! April 1st I added one more year to my life and …well, I seem to feel the same. Life is just rolling along and God seems to keep Blessing me with good health, peaceful home and no-stress job. What else can I ask for? Thanks for all these things are in order, so…Thank you, my Dear Heavenly Father for the Blessings.

I’ve also had time to read and here are four more reviews for RRAH that have been posted on their website. If you have time, please stop by and check out the other reviews as well. All the Ladies of Romance Reader At Heart are so much fun!

First up is an Author I’ve never read before by the name of Monica Burns and her latest book “Pleasure Me”. This book is sold under Erotica genre and I’d never buy it because of it. Well, color me happy! This was a very well told tale of love between a woman that’s in her early forties and a young man of twenty-nine. Of course, by now, y’all know that younger man/older woman subject is personal to me, so I pretty much identified with Ruth. My review’s here.

Jo Beverley’s “Forbidden Magic” was just so much fun to read! If you need to lighten your reading, please try and find this book. It was pure delight! It was like fresh cup of Lemonade! No, better yet, it was like fluffy moose, chocolate! I don’t remember the last time I laughed out loud like this reading a book! For my full review of this magical book, go here.

And then I reviewed a book that I read as soon as it came out: Julie Anne Long’s “What I Did for a Duke”. This book I reviewed for my Blog earlier in the year, but this time I reviewed it for RRAH, and because of it I went back and reread most of it. I recommend this book to all and sundry! This should be a MUST read for all romance lovers. This is one of those books that will never leave you, one of those that will be talked about a lot in the future. Here are my thoughts on it on RRAH.

And that’s about it for this post. I’ve read some more authors that I’ve never heard about, but those reviews will be coming up in May and until then, happy reading my Bookworms