Thursday, 26 May 2011

Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead Recycled Fashion Competition

On Saturday 26th March the Royal Ascot-themed recycled fashion competition entries were judged and a winner and two runner-ups were chosen. The winning designs are below and will be displayed in the Core 4 window during Royal Ascot in June, so why not check them out.

Winner: East Berkshire College
· Naa Williams
· Tyler Halstead,
· Georgia Nutkins
· Jessika Downing
· Kabir Sagoo
· Aneesa Farooq
· Katy Noga


Students from the 1st and 2nd years of the BTEC Diploma in Art and Design at East Berkshire College worked together to create their recycled outfits for entry to the ‘Ascot recycled fashion’ competition organised by The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead.

The creative design used unconventional materials which included willow, newspaper and carrier bags as well as a recycled waistcoat and other fabrics.

Runner- Up : Claudia Moreira


This floral piece was inspired by the sight of the beginning of spring, noticeable in the Berkshire area. An old Japanese pleating technique was used to form each flower. Pages of a horse racing book found in a local charity shop were incorporated into the design. The rest of the materials include a piece of wire and an old headband covered in fabric.

Runner- Up : Heather Atkinson


This outfit for Royal Ascot is totally recycled using a vintage second hand dress in royal blue polkadot, this year’s high fashion. The Tutu skirt and corset with matching hat reflects the social excitement of the Royal Ascot Race Meeting. The hat represents champagne bubbles, twinkling playfully in the brim with two cocktail sticks and cherries.

Items used in the making of this piece include an old vintage dress, curtain tape, an old necklaceand materials sourced from local charity shops.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Royal Ascot Morning Dress Etiquette update

“Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.” - Mark Twain

Traditional morning dress is obligatory for gentlemen in the Royal Enclosure but it is increasingly popular in the public enclosures too. A black morning suit is generally considered de rigueur at Royal Ascot, although a grey morning suit is perfectly acceptable. The top hat’s place in society fashion was assured when Prince Albert started wearing one in 1850. The first top hats were made with felt, most commonly being beaver fur pelt. Later, they would be made of silk. The structure underneath the felt or silk was made of a material called goss. The nineteenth century is sometimes known as the Century of the Top Hat. In the latter half of the 19th century, the top hat gradually fell out of fashion, with the middle classes adopting bowler hats and soft felt hats such as fedoras, which were more convenient for city life, as well as being suitable for mass production. In comparison, a top hat needed to be handmade by a skilled hatter, with few young people willing to take up what was obviously a dying trade.
By the end of World War I it had become a rarity in everyday life. It continued to be used for formal wear, with a morning suit in the daytime and with evening clothes (tuxedo or tailcoat) until the late 1930s. In the present day, the top hat is only worn with a morning suit for such occasions as Derby Day, Royal Ascot and weddings. You would no more expect to see a polar bear in the Royal Enclosure than a male patron without morning dress but that doesn’t mean that their attire is stale or stuffy or prevents an expression of their personality. There are all sorts of acceptable ways to personalise Royal Enclosure attire, starting with the tie.
The tie as we know it today has been around since the 1920s and, rather than keeping the neck warm, this style of neck wear was simply a fashion statement and an opportunity to display individuality.

Ties are a must for Royal Ascot, as opposed to cravats which, along with bow ties, were worn with morning dress up to about the 1920’s but are now for weddings. A tie of any colour is acceptable and this is an opportunity for the male racegoer to display his individuality and express his character. Tie pins are optional.
Once a virtually mandatory piece of men’s clothing, the waistcoat has become uncommon in contemporary dress with the exception of its partnership with the morning suit. The waistcoat is one of the few pieces of clothing whose origin historians can date precisely. King Charles II of England, Scotland and Ireland introduced the waistcoat as a part of correct dress during the Restoration of the British monarchy in the 1600s.
During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, men often wore incredibly elaborate and brightly-coloured, even garish, waistcoats, until fashion in the nineteenth century restricted them in formal wear. The development of the suit dictated that informal waistcoats become the same colour as the rest of a man’s outfit.

Popular opinion once claimed that a man could be identified as a “real gentleman” if he left the lowest button on his waistcoat unbuttoned. This anecdotally originated from the habits of King Edward VII whilst still Prince of Wales when his ballooning waistline caused him to leave the bottom button of his waistcoat undone. The story goes that his subjects took this as a style-indicator and started doing it themselves. Others consider the practice to derive from the habit of undoing the lower button to stop the waistcoat riding up when on horseback – possibly a more likely, if a little less interesting explanation! Again, the colour options open to the male racegoer are wide and varied. A waistcoat in silk, satin or a lightweight wool is acceptable and it is quite common for the man to echo the colours that his female partner has chosen so that as a couple, their appearance complements each other.
Cufflinks, whether they’re cuff buttons, flats, chain links, snappers, kum-aparts or one-piece links, are elegant accessories that lend a sparkle to formal wear. It is not certain when the cufflink arrived. Its first mention in writing was in 1788, but for sometime before that, buttons had ceased to be decorative and cuff-fastening slits were being cut into clothing. The ribbons or tape ties of the past were replaced with luxurious items, often made with gold or silver and set with gemstones. These were an extravagance reserved for the wealthy classes and were all hand-made.It wasn't until the mid 18th century and the invention of the steam-driven stamping machine, electro-metallurgy and the Tour a' Guilloche machine, which could mass-produce enamel cufflinks, that men’s jewellery really took off amongst a wider audience.
By the 1840s the double-cuff shirt became popular - and unlike most fashions it has remained so since. The middle classes adopted cufflinks, but unable to afford the silver or enamel versions they used replicas such as fake diamonds and gold-coloured alloys with foil backing.

Like cuff links, the handkerchief is optional with morning dress. Amazingly, perhaps, the handkerchief is only about 400 years old. Its origin is in Italy, where a Venetian lady invented it from pure flax, decorated with lace. Only a silk handkerchief is up to the mark in the Royal Enclosure, a cotton one simply won’t do. The handkerchief provides another smattering of colour in the male racegoers attire as a triangular shape, neatly folded and pressed.Lace up shoes are the only suitable style with a morning suit. Slip on shoes are not really the done thing in the Royal Enclosure.

Moss Bros are the official supplier of morning dress to Royal Ascot and provide a stylish Royal Ascot Collection morning suit available for hire:

Ascot’s Shergar Cup 1980s concert...spotlight on Jason Donovan

As some of the finest jockeys in the world descend upon Ascot Racecourse on Saturday 6th August, we look ahead to the spectacular 1980s Here and Now concert after this year’s Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup. In the run up to the raceday, each week we will focus on one of the acts performing in the concert. Kicking off this trip down memory lane is Australian legend Jason Donovan.

Jason Donovan shot to fame in the Australian soap opera Neighbours as Scott Robinson. Jason went on to have a successful pop career with many hits like ‘Nothing Can Divide Us’, ‘Especially for You’ (with Kylie Minogue) and ‘Everyday I Love You More’. He has sold over 3 million records in the UK with his debut album ‘Ten Good Reasons’ selling over 1.5 million copies alone making it the highest selling album of 1989.
Jason has not only wowed his audience as a pop singer, but he has also performed the lead in many West End shows such as ‘Joseph & The Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat’, ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’ and most recently ‘Priscilla Queen Of The Desert’. After re-launching his career in I’m a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here! in 2006, Jason went on to produce his ‘Greatest Hits’ album and in 2010 released his 5th album ‘Soundtrack of the 80s’.

Tickets for the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup (Saturday 6th August), including the Here and Now concert, start from £26. To book, or for further information, call 0870 727 1234 or visit

Friday, 20 May 2011

Steve Golding's Millefeuille of raspberry and fraise des bois with vanilla cream

Steve Golding, Executive Chef at Ascot Hospitality, has opened up his recipe book exclusively for the Ascot blog. The last of his creations we reveal is Millefeuille of raspberry and fraise des bois with vanilla cream (Serves 8).

150g Icing Sugar
1 Sheet of Puff Pastry
88 Fresh Raspberries
24 Fraise de Bois (Wild Strawberries)
40 Small Pale Pink Rose Petals
8 Chocolate Match Makers

85g Merri-white Mix
570ml Cold Water
1kg Caster Sugar

Rose Jelly
100g Rose Flavoured Turkish Delight

Vanilla Cream
600ml Double Cream
2 Vanilla Pod
3 Egg Yolk
1 Whole Egg
80g Caster Sugar

Mille Feuille
Roll out a large puff pastry sheet to half its original thickness.
Dust with icing and bake in oven with a tray on top at 160ºc for 15 minutes.
Remove from oven and leave to cool.
Cut into strips 8cm by 3cm and dust heavily with Icing Sugar (2 bars per serving).

Mix together 570ml water and Merri-white on a mixer with whisk.
Slowly stream in sugar until soft peaks are formed.
Place in a piping bag and pipe small dots onto a tray.
Place in hot cupboard or oven set at 65ºc to dry out.
Leave for 12 hours

Vanilla Cream
Separate three eggs yolks, add vanilla and caster sugar and whisk until light in colour.
Heat 400ml double cream until boiling remove from heat and add to the egg mix.
When mixed place back on the heat and cook until thick.
Take off heat and chill.
Whisk 200ml double cream to soft peaks are formed then fold through the vanilla cream base and whisk again until it holds its peaks.
Set to one side until you are ready to plate up.

To serve
Pipe some cream onto plate and place piece of pastry on top.
Quenelle 4 teaspoons of vanilla cream onto pastry leaving gaps for 2 raspberries in each gap so you will use 6 for each one
Pace top sheet pastry at an angle to show off filling.
Quenelle 3 teaspoons of vanilla cream on the plate and scatter meringues and rose jelly.
Place 3 more raspberries and 3 fraise de bois on the plate.
Garnish with rose petals and a chocolate matchmaker.

New Blog Followers

Thank you to all our new Ascot Blog Followers, as promised we will provide you with 2 complimentary Premier Admission tickets to the Summer Mile Raceday on Saturday 9th July. If you could email your blog name, name and address we will get the tickets sent out as soon as possible.

This offer was only available to new Ascot Blog followers as a result of the twitter and Facebook campaigns.

Monday, 16 May 2011

Queen Anne Rose prose competition winner announced

The 'Queen Anne' from David Austin Roses

Recently, we ran a competition with David Austin Roses to write a piece stating what Royal Ascot means to them. The winning entry was so good, we thought we’d put it on our blog. Here is the master piece from Liz Shaw:

Tradition, heritage, fashion and fun,
Top class facilities, second to none.
Great hospitality, fit for a queen,
The perfect location to see and be seen.
Thundering hooves, excitement and thrills,
Smartly dressed jockeys displaying their skills.
Pageantry, Pimms, punters and posies
Amidst David Austin’s magnificent roses!

‘Queen Anne’ by David Austin, is one of five new rose varieties, which will be officially unveiled in May at the prestigious Chelsea Flower Show in London (24th to 28th May).

The medium-sized flowers of ‘Queen Anne’ are a beautiful, pure rose pink, the outer petals slightly paler than the central ones. It will quickly form an upright but still bushy shrub rose, with very few thorns. The blooms have a most attractive, rounded Old Rose scent with hints of pear drops. The rose is ideal for rose beds, mixed borders and large decorative planters. This beautiful rose is named after the founder of Ascot Racecourse, in celebration of the tercentenary anniversary of this national institution.

Deciding upon a name for a new English Rose is something David Austin sees as an essential part of the rose breeding process. Rose lovers write to suggest many hundreds of names each year, which are considered for one of his new releases. From so many options, David Austin aims to choose a name that perfectly suits the unique character of each rose. Many of the rose names celebrate people or places that have played an important part in shaping British heritage.

David C.H. Austin says: “‘Queen Anne’ is a rose with a very classic Old Rose beauty. The flowers have something of the charming character of Bourbon and Centifolia roses, which have long been celebrated by artists. The way the flowers of a rose are held on the stem has always fascinated me – this makes a very particular and often overlooked contribution to its overall character.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Win 2 Grandstand Admission tickets to Royal Ascot

This competition has now closed. Thank you for all the #RT.

The Royal Ascot early booking discount, which can save you up to £10 per ticket (excluding Thursday 16th June), ends this Friday 13th May at 6pm. For your chance to win 2 Grandstand Admission tickets to Royal Ascot on Tuesday 14th June re-tweet our twitter message and you will be entered into a prize draw. Ticket start from as little as £17 up until Friday 13th May, so make sure you get yours before prices increase!

Silver Ring tickets are now SOLD OUT for Saturday 18th June!!!

To purchase tickets for Grandstand Admission or Silver Ring please visit or call our sales team on 0870 727 1234.

Terms and Conditions

1. The @AscotInsider message must be retweeted prior to 6pm on Thursday 12th May to be eligible for the Prize Draw.

2. Competition closes at 6pm on Thursday 12th May.

3. Offer only open to followers of @AscotInsider on Twitter

4. No cash alternative is available and all prizes are non-transferable and non-refundable. Tickets are not for resale and cannot be used for commercial use or use in further promotions.

5. Only 1 twitter follower will win the tickets & will be notified by Monday 16th May.

6. Tickets will be dispatched within 5 working days.

Promoter: Ascot Racecourse, Ascot, Berkshire. SL5 7JX.

Steve Golding's Aged Pecorino and Honey Panacotta Recipe

Steve Golding, Executive Chef at Ascot Hospitality, has opened up his recipe book exclusively for the Ascot blog. The 2nd of his creations we reveal is Aged Pecorino and Honey Panacotta, Poached English AsparagusAvocado, Lime and Shallot Salsa, Pea Purée and Beetroot Crisps(serves 4).


700ml Double Cream
150g Frozen Petit Pois (100g for pea cream, and 100g for plate)
200g Aged Pecorino
2 teaspoons Honey
10g Powdered Gelatine
16 Spears English Asparagus (Cut off 1 and ½ inches of the bottom)
150g Shallots (Finely chopped)
1 Clove of Garlic (Crushed)
1 Plum Tomato (Blanched, peeled cut into quarters de seed and diced)
100g Unsalted Butter
1 Avocado (Peeled)
1 Lime (Juiced)
150g Beetroot (Peeled, sliced thinly and dried out in a low heat oven)
1 Sweet Red Pepper (Cleaned and chopped)
Olive Oil

To make the pannacotta

Melt 50g of butter in a saucepan
Add 50g shallots and ½ the crushed garlic and cook until soft but not coloured
Add 200g of aged pecorino and 575ml of double cream
Bring to the boil and then turn down heat and simmer for 5 minutes
Take off heat and put into a blender, blend until smooth and add honey
Pour out of the blender into a clean pan
Soak gelatine in a little cold water until soft
Put the mix back on to the heat
Then add gelatine and stir until the gelatine has dissolved
Pour into moulds and place into the fridge to chill for 2 hours
Turn out using warm water to dip

To make the pea cream

Melt 50g of butter in a saucepan
Add 50g shallots and ½ the crushed garlic cook until soft but not coloured
Add 30g peas and 125ml of double cream bring to boil then turn down heat and simmer for 5 minutes
Take of heat and put in to blender,
Blend until smooth then pass to one side ready for dressing plate

To cook the asparagus

Put on pan of water with a pinch of salt
Bring to the boil then add asparagus
Cook for 2 minutes
Drain and run under cold water until chilled

To make the avocado salsa

Put avocado, lime juice, diced shallot and blend
Blitz red pepper with a little oil then pass through a fine chinois to make the dressing

To serve

Place the pannacotta in the middle of plate
Place 3 sticks of asparagus each side
Place the tomato around the bass of the pannacotta
Dress the asparagus with pea cream
Put the beetroot crisp on top of the pannacotta
Place 2 teaspoons of the salsa each side Dress around the plate with the red pepper dressing

Monday, 9 May 2011

See and be seen

The seventh and final part of our occasional series of retrospective photographs from the past 300 years of Ascot history looks back at the Ascot of today.

The popularity of Ascot soon meant that racegoers demanded the best views that they could afford. Three centuries ago, just as today, the most highly sought after stands have not only been those with the best view, but the places where the most fashionable people in society have gone to be seen.

For those not invited to the more exclusive stands and boxes, the Grandstands have provided the best view of the action. The original 18th and early 19th century stands were temporary structures, but through time have become larger and more sophisticated buildings including all the comforts that racegoers demanded.

In 1961, the Queen Elizabeth II Grandstand opened at a cost of £1 million, containing 280 private “dining rooms.” Ascot has genuine claims to having pioneered private corporate hospitality boxes within what was a ground breaking structure at the time. The Grandstand that you see today (pictured) was a slightly more expensive building to construct at 220 times the cost of its predecessor and it has been short-listed in the category of Sports Venue of the Year in this year’s prestigious Sport Industry Awards.

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