Charlotte Balbier

high street honey: new look’s honeymoon hitlist

February 4th, 2015 | Rachel Parry

White Halter Neck Bikini Top & Bottoms

It may be cold outside but if you’ve planned a destination wedding or an exotic honeymoon your mind may well be on hotter climes.

Either of the above will call for some serious summertime shopping and fortunately we’re just starting to see collections for the warmer seasons ahead roll out as the dregs of the January sales are pushed aside.

And with Spring/Summer ranges comes an abundance of killer swimwear, which is an absolute must for all you beach babe brides.

Black Caged Longline Bikini Top & Bottoms

Having recently discovered New Look’s impressive lingerie collection, I noticed that the High Street favourite also has a stunning choice of swimwear. From cute two-pieces with matching cover-ups to sexy one-pieces with flirtatious cut out detailing, brides-to-be will be spoilt for choice. Better still the designs carry very modest prices tags meaning ladies can easily splash out on two or three different options for their honeymoon wardrobe.

As a starting point ladies might want to consider which style of swimwear suits them best: faithful halter necks, bare-all bandeaus, tops with straps for extra support, tie-at-the-side bottoms, high waisted designs or classic brief bottoms.

Then there’s the question of colour and design. Luckily, New Look has all areas covered with bright, patterned and neutral offerings.

Khaki Lattice Bikini Top & Bottoms

Perhaps the most striking pieces within the collection are the orange caged top and bottoms and the lattice two-piece design. Both use attention-grabbing cut away detailing to draw the eye. The caged design offers slightly more cover-up with a long-line bikini top but its vibrant hue will not suit all skin tones so choose with care. The lattice design – in one of Spring/Summer’s hottest colours khaki – is also bound to turn heads. It’s very much posing-poolside style swimwear though as unless you undo and roll down the detailed part of the top you will be facing strap mark hell!

Further cut-away options can be found in plainer designs, such as the simple yet stunning white halter neck design and the sophisticated black caged bikini.

Black Crochet Cover Up

More practical pieces come in the form of bralette tops. We’ve seen them on the clothing catwalks and now the midriff revealing tops have spilt over into the swimwear department. Not only are such designs on-trend but they offer a little more cover-up and way more support than skimpier designs. Ladies with larger busts looking for maximum support should also consider crop top bikini designs which are big news for 2015. New Look’s Aztec print design is a stunning example, offering on-the-go-girls comfort and style.

As well as a choice of detailed cover-ups, I’m a big fan of the beach trousers New Look has included within its Spring/Summer collection. The sheer, patterned and lose-fitted designs are easy to throw on both two and from the beach or for lazing around the beach bar – I’ll drink to that!

continue reading

high street honey: monsoon 2015

January 19th, 2015 | Rachel Parry



They’ve only gone and done it again – Brides Up North High Street Honey favourite Monsoon has just released its Spring/Summer 15 bridal collection and just as those that have gone before, it’s flippin’ gorgeous.

Ideal for stylish brides on a budget, Monsoon knows how to deliver highly swoon-worthy dresses that won’t break the bank. Drawing on current bridal trends there are gowns of varying styles, lengths and materials, providing plenty of prettiness.



As the collection is for the warmer season, it includes some stunning short-length gowns, including the sweet and sophisticated Harriet and Jane. I absolutely adore these designs, which have highly desirable price tags, with Jane coming in at just under £300 and Harriet costing an incredible £169.

Harriet is a 1960s inspired shift dress with simple floral jacquard and crystal gem, pearl and bead detailing while Jane features a tulle overlay with lavish pearl and sequin embellishments, which are all hand embroidered.



For fans of intricate detailing there is also the wonderful Maria and Georgina gowns in short lengths but both have sleeves for those wanting a little more coverage. Both are adorned with elaborate embellishing that ooze opulence. I also particularly like how the cape of Georgina can be worn two different ways around or even detached altogether, giving a bride the option of several different looks for her big day.



Sticking with highly detailed designs, Monsoon has some vintage inspired floor-length gowns that emulate regal Gatsby glamour. Sophia and Camille are wonderful examples. Slim-line Sophia is encrusted with crystal gems, pearls and sequins from top-to-toe, while the flirty tassels and glitzy detailing of Camille gives it an elegant flapper girl feel.



And Monsoon hasn’t forgotten about ladies that like to keep things simple. The likes of Elinor and Olivia are graceful gowns that still feature fancy detailing but that isn’t too flashy.

continue reading

high street honey: Dune

December 1st, 2014 | Rachel Parry

Breanna hot pink

Along with the festive party season comes killer footwear making now the ideal time for brides-to-be to find their dream shoes.

While some ladies like to stick to specific bridal collections in search of a plain but pretty shoe, others use their footwear as a way of expressing their personal style, opting for a pair with a bit of pizzazz.

If you fall into the latter category the current high street offerings won’t let you down. Christmas and New Year is a period when people want to stand out from the crowd with shoes that sparkle, pop, or quite literally put them head and shoulders above the rest (we’re talking skyscrapers).


Dune’s store window to many women can easily be compared to that of a sweet shop. It’s neat and shiny with delicious treats carefully positioned to lure you closer and closer, until before you know it you’re excitedly saying the words: “I’ll take them in the pink”.

Looking at Dune’s current collection there’s certainly a few show-stoppers for brides-to-be.

Here at Brides Up North we love glitz and glam so for us a wedding shoe glitters is a fabulous choice. The stunning Harlane T-bar platform design offers a wonderful amount of shimmer as does the sleek Hydro.  Meanwhile those wanting shimmer and gems will fall head over heels for Hasim as well as the Hottie platform, that certainly lives up to its name.

But if you’re looking to lower the height but up the sparkle, the dashing glitter-encrusted Blitzen will give you toes that twinkle.


Metallic heels are also hot news at this time of year and can be a more subtle option to the above. The Henrieta peep-toe sandal in gold and the strappy Hilarie in silver would both make fashionable yet elegant bridal footwear. Alternatively Azura and Aonda offer classy courts with a magical metallic shine.

Again for tall brides, or those that just don’t get on with heels, Cameron provides a cute flat option in adorable blush pink with gold snakeskin pointed toe.

But the ultimate show-stopper has to be the Breanna which bears a striking resemblance to Carrie Bradshaw’s something blue Manolos that she wore when she married Mr Big in the Sex and the City movie.  The gorgeous suede design, complete with square broach detailing, is made for the aisle. Better yet, it’s available in a range of colours, including Brides Up North’s favourite – pink!

continue reading

high street honey. Lipsy

October 20th, 2014 | Rachel Parry

Black fishtail maxi dress

With the last of the summer stock swinging on sale rails, autumn winter collections are now being rolled out across shop floors. I’ve been checking out the occasion wear high street offerings for the cooler season ahead and once again I’ve been peeking my head around shop doors I’d usually sail right by. This time it’s Lipsy.

I’ve been lured into studying the store’s autumn/winter collection following a string of desirable celebrities putting their name to the brand, most notably ex-Corrie star Michelle Keegan and one of my absolute favourite style icons, Millie McIntosh of Made in Chelsea fame.

If it’s good enough for these super stylish and stunning ladies then surely it’s good enough for the rest of us, right? And that is why I deem it worthy of our high street honey accolade.

Royal blue floor-length gown with glitter detail

At Brides Up North’s recent season of Luxury Wedding Exhibitions I couldn’t help but notice the flurry of brides who will be tying the knot at Christmas time. And who can blame them? It’s a truly magical time of the year when everyone is in high spirits and it offers the perfect excuse for a comforting wedding breakfast (bangers and mash, anyone?).

But what does one wear to a winter wedding? Well Lipsy offers solutions not only for guests, but also potential bridesmaid and hen do outfits. From sexy strapless frocks to figure-hugging, floor-length gowns, Lipsy has lots of lovely attire to choose from.

Those opting for a short or strapless dress – such as the cream and black pencil dress or the floral print midi dress – may want to consider a faux fur jacket, of which many can currently be found on the high street, to complete their look in a classy and cosy way.

Maroon maxi dress

The full-length gowns are particularly striking and offer an opulent look for winter weddings and high-end hen dos. I really love the black dress with regal gold detailing as well as the maroon maxi with black cobweb panels The long royal blue gown with glitter embellished shoulder straps would make a gorgeous bridesmaid dress, complete with Christmas sparkle.

And finally, for those pre-wedding nights out, there are a couple of eye-catching jumpsuits within the autumn/winter collection that can be worn during the festive period and beyond.

Happy Lipsy shopping ladies!

continue reading

high street honey: Monsoon a/w2014

September 22nd, 2014 | Rachel Parry


Wedding couples’ budgets vary, as do their lists of priorities. While some will want to splurge on a delicious wedding banquet fit for a king and queen, others would much rather invest in an amazing band to keep the dance floor rocking all night long.

On a similar note, brides have different ideas of what price tag their wedding attire should carry. A proposal can mean the green light to spend a crazy amount of money on a couture dress, designer heels and matching accessories – because hey, if you don’t do it on your wedding day when will you ever have a license to spend so frivolously again?

But then there are other lines of thought – why spend so much on a dress that I’ll only where for one day? I’d rather have a blow out on fancy footwear that I can wear well beyond the wedding day? I’ll spend less on the dress and put the money saved towards my dream honeymoon.

Of course there’s no right or wrong answer as to how much one should spend on a wedding dress – it’s a case of each to their own.
For those brides that are on smaller budgets, or who would simply prefer to spend in other areas, there are some incredibly pretty high street bridal offerings that won’t completely break the bank.

An expert in elegance, style and class, high street honey Monsoon has just released its autumn/winter 2014 bridal collection, and ladies; you’re in for a treat!


Sleek and slim-line in the majority, the dresses are fabulously flattering and not one oversteps the £700 mark. In fact one of my favourites in the collection is actually the cheapest. The stunning Lyra maxi dress, which features a sparkling band hand embellished with beads and diamantes, comes in at just £229.

Mid-range dresses include Rosanna, Iris and May, though each offers a totally different look. The high-waisted Rosanna is a pretty vintage vision with a sparkling diamante and bead trimmed scalloped neckline and antique broach detailing. Meanwhile the cute tea-length Iris dress is ideal for 50- style brides with its boned bodice, full skirt and floral appliquéd layers. May is perhaps a better option for brides wanting a more fitted gown. Though less voluminous, the romantic knee-length design still packs a punch its lavishly embroidered finish.


Creeping up to the £500 region we have the beautiful Breya. The romantic, mermaid silhouette with a scalloped court train boasts vintage Indian-inspired metallic embroidered tulle, adorned with shimmering seed pearls, beads and miniature sequins. This is most definitely a show stopper!

Finally the enchanting Ellis dress is top of the shop at £699. According to its creators, this dress has been tailored to form-flattering perfection so brides can walk the aisle with the utmost confidence.


And just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, Monsoon has also designed a collection of highly-desirable bridal shoes, which remain within the £50-£100 price bracket, so you can pocket even more pennies.
1. Lyra, £229
2. May, £249
3. Rosanna, £299
4. Iris, £299
5. Jessica, £299
6. Breya, £499
7. Erynne, £499
8. Ellis, £699

All prices correct at the time of publishing.

continue reading

high street honey: mini maids

August 19th, 2014 | Rachel Parry

Jasmine - BHS

Jasmine at BHS

I’m 27 and I’ve never been a bridesmaid. I suppose this means I don’t have to worry about the ‘always a bridesmaid, never a bride’ saying, but when I was young (and now too really) I would have given anything to be one.

I remember visiting friends’ houses where their numerous redundant bridesmaid dresses had been demoted to the dressing-up box – which was as close as I got to actually fulfilling the role. I suppose it was similar to a scene from Muriel’s Wedding, but instead of trying on endless wedding gowns, I was diving into ex-bridesmaid dresses at any given opportunity.

Bailey Dress - Monsoon

Bailey at Monsoon

Veroniquea Dress - Monsoon

Veronique at Monsoon

Anyway, while I never got to be a miniature maid there are plenty of lucky tots that do get to don a pretty frock and follow a real bride down the aisle.

If you’re having young bridesmaids on your wedding day there are numerous adorable options to dress them in. Both designers and the high-street offer some truly ahh-worthy options, with Monsoon and BHS coming tops as our High Street Honeys for little fashionistas.

Pom Pom Dress - Monsoon

Pom Pom at Monsoon

Lydia Ballet - BHS

Lydia Ballet at BHSLilly Lace Dress - Monsoon

Lily by Monsoon

If you’re having a mix of different aged bridesmaids it’s worth remembering your adult bridesmaids don’t want to be wearing the same outfit as a knee-high maid, equally teens will want to feel grown-up and gorgeous, rather than wearing the same attire as their younger sibling or cousin. Therefore it’s often best for brides to pick contrasting outfits for their grown-up and toddler bridesmaids. For those who do prefer to match things up, there is always the option of selecting a child’s dress with a coordinating sash in the colour that your adult maids will be wearing.

continue reading