June 14th, 2016 | Rachel Parry
Ladies, we all know the affects that stress can have on our bodies; from aching muscles and skin flare ups, to dark under-eye circles and generally feeling worn out. As one of the most stressful (but enjoyable, we hope) events you can experience in life, it’s little wonder that couples planning weddings can really feel the pressure, both inside and out.
This is why we highly recommend taking a relaxing break from the wedding schedule now and again to recharge the batteries and gather your thoughts, while treating your mind, body and soul. And what better way to do so than booking into a spa resort, whether just for the day or an indulgent minibreak.
Keen to point our readers in the direction of fabulous retreats in the North where they can escape to for solace – and a flippin good massage, we’ve been out on our Blissed Out Bride travels once again.
This time our destress-destination was Slaley Hall golf resort and spa hotel, located in a secluded area of Northumberland. Following our full-on, yet fabulous, season of spring wedding fairs across the north of the country, we were literally crying out for some R&R and so sped up the A1 for a well-deserved Slaley spa day.
As part of the Q Hotel group, the historic hall, set in 1,000 acres of stunning countryside, includes a range of accommodation and eating and drinking facilities, as well as a choice of beautiful function suites, which are available for weddings. Meanwhile outdoors Slaley boasts two championship golf courses and stunning grounds, upon which marquees can be pitched for outdoor celebrations.
The part of its facilities we were looking forward to viewing most however, was its luxury spa. Safely changed into our comforting robes and slippers we headed straight to pool side for some light refreshments and a little magazine time (one of our very favourite ways to unwind) – the pressure on our shoulders instantly lifted. As we stretched back on our loungers the humidity of the room acted as a warming cocoon and we had all on to keep our eyes open – talk about optimum conditions for relaxing!
An impressive space, Slaley’s pool area has a lovely holiday feel about it with tropical plants dotted around the pool, waterfalls and Jacuzzi, and little bridges linking the different areas together.
It was soon lunchtime so we were shown through to one of Slaley’s three restaurants (still wrapped in our robes) to receive our spa day lunch. Presented in a neat Bento Box we enjoyed a healthy (ish) yet satisfying meal of chicken salad with cous cous, vegetable sticks and dip, followed by a lovely piece of chocolate cake, which was all washed down with a tall glass of fizz. We felt this provided he perfect combination of clean and treat eating (both we feel are essential to keep a girl heathy and happy!).
Once the food had settled it was back to the pool for a little snoozing and swimming, whilst also taking some time to detox and clear our skin in the sauna.
Though we didn’t muster the strength to visit (shame on us), Slaley also boasts a health club with state-of-the-art equipment and experienced instructors, to help you reach any pre-wedding fitness goals. Feeling the need for some ultra-pampering, we were booked in for a treatment each and so made our way to the gorgeous relaxation room, complete with soft sofas and beds, to meet our knowledgeable Espa therapists. As I’m soon to be jetting off on my jollies I wanted a treatment that would refresh my skin and really make it glow while still soothing my tired muscles while Julia, who is soon to be expecting a second bundle of joy, required a relaxing facial treatment to prevent any pregnancy break-outs.
May 9th, 2016 | Rachel Parry
As one of our very favourite red carpet events of the year, we were thrilled to see celebs making a stylish return to New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute last week for the annual Met Gala.
With opulent and outlandish outfits galore, garments are picked to wow, shock and stun, as stars vie for the paparazzi limelight. Their choice of threads do all have something in common though, as each year’s gala celebrates the theme of the current Costume Institute exhibition, making the dress code for 2016 – ‘Fashion in an Age of Technology’.
Cue a whole host of beautiful metallic maidens in shimmering and reflective garments with tech themed embellishment, artistic cut-outs and robotic style finishes.
As is always the case at such events there some sensational faux pars (errrrr, Madonna what were you thinking?!), but thankfully the fashion hits outweighed the skips with the likes of Sienna Miller, Kylie Jenner, Blake Lively and Jourdan Dunn setting our hearts racing.
There was one lady in particular though who caught our eye (alright, we literally couldn’t stop looking at her) and that was the fabulous Poppy Delevingne. Reminding us that there is more than one hot Delevingne on the celeb circuit, model Poppy rocked a striking sheer and beaded gown whilst dripping in lavish jewels.
While not an obvious bridal look, we feel that ladies soon to be making their way down the aisle can certainly take a style tip or two out of Poppy’s on-trend book, and so today we’re making her the subject of our celebrity spy post…
Ok, so as we said, while perhaps not wholly suitable for a wedding there are certainly elements of Poppy’s stunning Marchesa dress that translate to current bridal trends. Embellishing: check, tassels: check, metallics: check, sheer panels: check. You get the idea!
So while you brides-to-be might not be able to steal Poppy’s look from top-to-toe, you can definitely give a nod to it on your big day.
For fabulous embellishment and beaded detail we would say to look to designers such as Jenny Packham, Anna Campbell, Ellie Saab and Eliza Jane Howell. Whether it’s a boho, vintage or a super glam look you are after, a creation from one of these talented designers is sure to tick the box.
The level of detail varies from one design to the next, giving brides the opportunity to follow in Poppy’s footsteps with full on razzle dazzle appearance, or pare things back a little with lighter scattering of beads and gems.
And while most brides might want to stick close to tradition with a white or ivory design, there are also metallic creations hitting the bridal runways, broadening the choices available to gold, bronze, silver and copper.
the hair & makeup
Clockwise from top left: image source| image source| image source, photography by Amanda K Photography| image source, photography by Kristen Wood| image source| image source, photography by Shelley Richmond of Kindred Photography| image source, photography by Tamiz Photography| image source, photography by Rebekah J Murray| image source| image source, photography by EK Studios.
Poppy kept her hair poker straight and vamped up her look with a dark lip colour, but although alternative, neither of these are out of bounds for a wedding.
Just as Poppy did, keeping hair sleek and simple is a good way to let the dress take centre stage and a wise move for brides opting for heavily detailed dresses. For a slightly different take on the look, brides could wear their hair to the side with a coordinating beaded hair comb to hold locks in place, or sweep the hair up into a sleek ponytail.
While Poppy’s choice of dark plum lipstick might be a shade too far for brides, a colourful lippy can be a fun and fashionable way of adding individual personality and style to a big day look. Similar to Poppy, those choosing to go down this route should keep other elements of the makeup simple – so neutral colours on the eyes, a slick of eyeliner and mascara and just a touch of blush or bronze.
December 3rd, 2015 | Rachel Parry
Today’s wedding is pretty – and we mean, oh so pretty!
From bride Sarah’s stunning lace detailed Pronovias gown and the sweet pastel bridesmaid dresses, to the vintage wedding transport and fabulous country garden style blooms, we adore it all!
With images by Jessica O’Shaughnessy.
anthony says: We got engaged on the 13th July 2013. I decided to surprise Sarah with a city break to Paris as part of her birthday gifts. I had planned to propose to Sarah for a while but she had no clue.
The week after Sarah’s birthday we flew to Paris and we stayed in a quaint hotel in the Opera District. We spent the weekend just spending quality time with one another and enjoying the moment. On the day of the proposal, we had been admiring the landmarks and scenery that Paris had to offer.
Later in the evening, following a romantic meal, Sarah and I enjoyed Paris by Night and headed for a walk in the Eiffel Tower Gardens, I found a bench in a quiet location of the gardens, got down on one knee and asked Sarah to marry me.
sarah says: Our wedding date was on the 28th June 2015. I always wanted to be a June bride, for they say when you marry in June, you will always be a bride. We also hoped that June would give us a warm sunny day, which, luckily it did.
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August 5th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
When in need of a little R&R sometimes a day away doesn’t quite cut it, and so an indulgent overnight stay is required to truly unwind.
Thankfully as I built up to a week’s annual leave to recharge the batteries away from Brides Up North HQ (hey I love my job, but we all need a little rest now and again), I was offered the opportunity to visit the fabulous mill wheel spa on the edge of the Staffordshire Peaks for an overnight break with my partner in tow. How’s that for timing?
All in the name of work (I’m so dedicated to the cause) I took up the kind invitation knowing the venue would provide a perfect subject for a Blissed Out Bride post, in which we explore ideal places for our readers to enjoy some pre and post wedding pampering, as well as girly hen dos. My assumptions were right, as once again we’ve discovered a tranquil retreat in the north of the country for brides and grooms to put on their ‘to do’ list.
The journey from South Yorkshire took just over an hour, passing through picturesque areas such as Ladybower, Castleton and Buxton before arriving at The Three Horse Shoes Country Inn in rural Blackshaw Moor, which houses Mill Wheel Spa.
A family run business since 1981, the hospitality is among the warmest I have ever experienced as we were greeted by Katie Kirk who tends to the inn, alongside her husband and brother- and sister-in-law. Though the level of care, pride and customer service has clearly remained throughout, it soon became apparent that the inn itself has undergone quite a few changes over the years in order to deliver something special to its guests.
Among its most recent additions is Mill Wheel Spa, which offers a wide choice of day and overnight spa packages, including those specifically designed for hen dos, husbands and wives-to-be and newlyweds.
The Mini Moon Break package that we were invited to experience included use of the spa facilities with a rasul and ‘beach hut’ experience, a three-course evening meal in The Stables Restaurant, overnight accommodation, breakfast and a treatment each before departure the following day – boy were we in for a treat!
First to drop the bags off – we were staying in one of the inn’s top garden rooms, complete with four-poster bed and private outdoor hot tub. After a look around we headed to the spa making a mental note to return to the room in enough time before our evening meal to try out that hot tub.
The spa’s facilities focus on a number of hot and cold experiences to clear out the pores and awaken the senses and so we followed the suggested route to get the most out of our visit. First on the agenda is the visual centre piece of the spa, and a UK first, The Mill Wheel Shower, which pays homage to the history of the James Brindley Water Mill in neighbouring Leek and Cheddleton Flint Mill, which were once an important part of the area’s local industry and economy. The large revolving mill pours out water from its shovels in intervals, alternatively warm and cold, a bit like a tame game of Russian roulette.
We are then advised to use The Peak District Stonebath for a ‘steam bath experience’ followed by The Farmers Sauna, with a quick dip in The Cedar Plunge Pool in between (refreshing but freezing!). Next our rasul treatment in a special chamber made for two. We were instructed to smooth mineral rich mud onto our skin while the room heated up, which provided a lot of entertainment as we came to look like we’d emerged from a swamp. The results however were fabulous – at the end of the 30 minutes water rained down washing the mud away and revealing hydrated, soft skin.
By this point the sun had made an appearance so we ventured outside to the spa’s garden for some refreshments, including a little fizz. Here there’s also a three metre square hydrotherapy pool set at an inviting 36 degrees, so we had to have a quick dip. Like much of the inn, this area enjoys stunning views over the Roaches and surrounding countryside, which enhanced our already chilled out mood.
June 9th, 2015 | Julia Braime
As we continue to look to wedded stars for inspiration for bridal wear, hair and makeup, we’re delighted to be putting the gorgeous fearne cotton in the spotlight today – one of our top celebrity crushes here at Brides Up North HQ.
Whether she’s snapped on the way to the Radio 1 offices, presenting on TV or gracing the red carpet, style setter Fearne seems to get it right time and time again.
Cool, quirky and individual in her look, we all knew Miss Cotton was unlikely to wear a traditional wedding dress when she tied the knot to her long-term partner Jesse Wood last summer. And we were right as Fearne dazzled in an ankle-length Pucci gown, complete with sparkling headband, heels and bag. Pure perfection!
So let’s explore how you can steal classy Cotton’s big day look…
Though individual Fearne’s dress appears to take inspiration from a variety of sources. The cute tea-length with wide neck gives the gown a classy vintage edge and is reminiscent of the likes of Audrey Hepburn’s 1950s wedding dress. Meanwhile the soft pleated bodice and floaty tulle skirt have a somewhat Grecian feel about them, but then Fearne’s overall look, with soft hair and makeup, also says boho bride.
So the choice is yours. You can choose to replicate Fearne’s attire throughout or pick just one or two elements as inspiration. So for example you might love the cute length and capped sleeves of Fearne’s dress but not like the sparkle. In which case interest can instead be added with lace detail, a sash or romantic floral corsages. Alternatively you might prefer a fuller skirt than Fearne’s or a strapless or sleeveless design.
For fans of detail there are dresses with sparkle and embellishment along the neckline, sleeves or bodice that create a similar look to Miss Cotton and give brides varying levels of glitz to choose from.
If however you feel a carbon copy is the only way to go, top designer Jenny Packham produced an identical dress called Gemma in her 2014 collection with beautiful intricate detailing across the neckline which gives the illusion of an off-the-shoulder dress, just as Fearne’s did.
Clockwise from top left: image source| image source, photography by Chantal Andre Photography| image source| image source, photography by Karen Wise Photography| image source| image source| image source| image source| image source| image source, photography by Birds of a Feather.
If there’s one thing females envy Fearne for (apart from her amazing career) it’s her voluminous, golden glossy hair that seems to suit any do imaginable.
Ahead of the pack as always Fearne’s been rocking the lob (long bob) for quite some time now, even though the rest of us have only just caught on to the style. So keeping true to the relaxed look she’s become admired for, Fearne shunned a structured bridal up do in favour of wearing her gorgeous shoulder-length locks down with a cool, effortless wave.
The great news is the look is easy to achieve and works on most hair types and lengths (just those with cropped dos that will miss out on this one). Brides can tighten up the wave slightly to create more of a curl for the ceremony if they so wish and then allow to drop throughout the day for a more boho appearance come the evening celebrations.
Fearne finishes off her look with a sparkling silver headband to pick out the detail on her dress, again an easy look to copy, with numerous stunning vintage-style headpieces available to brides that like a little bling.
Clockwise from top left: image source, photography by Long Distance Loving| image source| image source| image source, photography by Bryce Covey| image source| image source, photography by Getty, Joanna Kustra| image source| image source| image source| image source, photography by Codrean Photography & Films.
We’ve seen Fearne work a variety of makeup looks over the years though she often returns to the safety of her signature style – lined eyes and a slick of lippy. Though slightly toned down, Fearne fell back on this look once again for her wedding day.
A great option for brides wanting fairly natural makeup, the finish is soft and pretty. Whether hiring a professional or going it alone ladies will want a flawless dewy base on which to begin, created using a light foundation and concealer and finished with a dusting of powder.
For a healthy boho glow Fearne’s cheekbones have been defined with bronzer and then a highlighter has been added to the cheeks and nose to reflect the light.
Eyes are kept simple with a sweeping of light, shimmering eyeshadow, that famous flick of eyeliner and a couple of coats of mascara.
Finally the main focal point of Fearne’s look, the lips. Lips should be lined for definition and staying power and then filed in with a warm pink hue for a glamourous yet girlie look.
May 28th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
Because every now and then we need a little pampering – isn’t that right girls? So today we introduce a new feature to the blog which is designed to encourage you busy brides-to-be to take some much needed time out from those hectic wedding planning schedules and just chill!
Through our blissed out bride posts we’ll be visiting beautiful havens of relaxation throughout the north of the country (you can thank us later) that are ideal locations for a little pre-wedding pampering, a heavenly hen do or even a minimoon to recharge the batteries when the big day has been and gone.
And so we begin with a trip to the wonderful Titanic Spa. All in the name of research for you tense brides (we know, we’re too kind) Julia and I visited this tranquil venue tucked away in a scheduled part of Huddersfield, Yorkshire, and came away literally walking on air.
As the name suggests this is a spa of impressive size which has great power when it comes to the art of de-stressing and has become particularly well known for its extensive ‘heat and ice experience’ which we’ll tell you all about a little later on.
Perfect for some quality time with the girls, your hubby-to-be or your busy mum, Titanic offers a fab range of packages, from full spa days – including ‘indulge’, ‘relax’, ‘detox’ and ‘celebrate’ options – to twilight sessions and even overnight stays. We’ll let you determine the amount of relaxation required depending on how your bridezilla barometer is reading.
Upon arrival at the spa, which is set within a stunning textile mill, we were given a warm welcome followed by a tour of those impressive facilities: gym, pool, sauna, steam room, relaxation lounge, treatment areas and the heat and ice experience. Phew!
Thanks to such generous facilities guests could easily spend a day here without the need for a treatment but for the full Titanic experience, we say it’s a must (especially after all that planning) and so we started our day of indulgence with a full body massage for me and luxurious facial for Julia.
Titanic’s treatment rooms act like a cocoon, wrapping you up in warm relaxation, which feels like a treat in itself! Though once the therapist (thanks Beth) began to work her magic hands on my back, shoulders and neck I was taken to a whole other level of relaxation. The pressure was perfect ensuring pleasure rather than pain though I still felt the benefit on muscles tired out from the gym, making this a fabulous treat for ladies that have been working hard to achieve their dream bride body.
Julia’s been travelling a lot recently and working long hours at the computer screen between planes, trains and automobiles, so a bespoke facial was the perfect way to restore some much needed balance to her stressed out complexion. Although she assures me that she managed to resist falling asleep on the job, Julia emerged glowing after her hour in the hands of her therapist – looking rested and ready to take on the world once more!
There are so many other tantalising treatments, using products by Decléor, Elemis Carita and Neom Organics, to choose from. These include exfoliation, cleansing and detox treatments, great for banishing dry, lifeless skin cells and producing flawless, radiant skin ready for your big day. Alternatively you might want to sooth away pre-wedding headaches with an Indian head massage, restore your body’s harmony levels with a reiki session or indulge in beauty treatments with your hens, such as a mani and pedi.
Next, a gossip poolside before lunch. There’s so much to be said for loosing yourself in mindless chitchat whilst dipping your feet in a pool or chilling out in a Jacuzzi as we were quickly reminded and noted many groups of ladies (and the odd man) doing the exact same.
By afternoon Hudderfield felt like Hawaii (well almost) and so we requested lunch on the outdoor terrace. What we love about Titanic is that they don’t go all Gillian McKeith during your visit by feeding you just greens and denying you a little treat. The menu choices are healthy but tasty and wine, prosecco and champagne can be ordered alongside (hurrah!).
Refuelled we headed back indoors to that much-talked about heat and ice experience. Here guests can go between a number of hot and cold rooms, each with differing benefits to the body. The overall effect is rather refreshing as you peak and dip in temperature. We particularly enjoyed the crystal steam room, designed for ‘deep relaxation’, and the herbal infusion room, which is said to ‘invigorate the spirit’. However we were a little nervous when it came to the colder rooms and chickened out of the plunge pool and bucket shower altogether. If you’re currently walking around in a wedding planning haze we’re sure these would instantly bring you back to reality.
That left us with just one area to visit – the relaxation lounge, a soft lit room with huge beanbags and tranquil music. This is what every stressed out bride needs – pure relaxation a million miles away from seating plans or taster menus. Julia might have fallen asleep on the job again, but to be honest… I wasn’t in any state to check!
To round things off we each had a mini mani so that we could take a little piece of pretty away from Titanic Spa with us in the form of pastel polished nails. Gorge!
So girls it’s time to become a blissed out bride by adding a Titanic trip to your ‘wedding to do’ list.
For full details of Titanic Spa’s facilities, accommodation and packages, visit their website.
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