Charlotte Balbier

sun & the city: honeymoon high street haul

July 14th, 2016 | Rachel Parry

Ted Baker

Tapestry wrap bikini top £49, Ted Baker

It’s that time of the year again (thank God!) when we leave our worries and woes behind and jet off to warmer climes for some all-important R&R.

Whether you’re preparing for the honeymoon *eeek!* or have booked yourself a romantic European city break this summer, we’ve been scouring the high street to make packing your case that little bit easier.

Better still, sale fever has well and truly hit the shops meaning there are some real bargains to be had – ladies if you needed an excuse to shop, we just gave you one!

beach bum

Beach BumMissoni Mare Fringed Crochet-Knit Swimsuit, £350, from Net-A-Porter – Because if you can’t splash out on your swimwear for your honeymoon, when can you? We absolutely love this flattering one-piece in Missoni’s signature print with on-trend tassel detail in the most dreamy ocean shades.

Cold Shoulder Bardot Dress, £42, from Topshop – When packing for a holiday there’s nothing like an all-rounder that will see you through from day to night. This sweet pastel blue number, in one of summer’s hottest shapes, can be used as a beach cover up, day dress with flats and hat or blinged up with accessories for the evening.

Alexander Wang Distressed Denim Shorts, £175, from Net-A-Porter – A summer and holiday staple that’s worth investing in. These are perfect for throwing on over your bikini or teaming with a loose shirt or relaxed boho top/kaftan while out on day trips.

Cream Embroidered Cropped Cami, £28, from River Island – The perfect accompaniment to the above, this cute little cami has holiday written all over it.

Marbella Glitter Beach Tote, £29, from Accessorize – Whether heading to the beach or pool, you’ll need a bag to fit in all the essentials – sunglasses, sun cream, towel, book, magazine, mobile, purse – better make it a large one then, just like this super chic striped design.

Rose Gold Metallic Platform Sandals, £30, from River Island – And how’s about some fancy metallic footwear to match your metallic beach bag? These rose gold flatforms provide both comfort and class.

Sasha Scalloped Bandeau Bikini Top, £15 & Bottoms £14, from Monsoon – Girly scalloped edge designs have been around for a while now but we still can’t get enough of them, particularly in beachwear. For those of you brave enough to bare your midriff we suggest this gorgeous navy number

Alyssum Mesh Burnout Lace Maxi Dress, £120, from French Connection – Another holiday staple and all-rounder has to be the maxi dress and we don’t think they come much more gorgeous than this luxurious lace design.

Tassels Clutch, was £29.99 now £11.99, from Mango – As well as a casual beach bag, you’ll want to pack a dressy clutch for the evenings too. This cute design from Mango would easily be amongst our top picks, not only for its cool tassel detailing, but also the price #steal

Lace Dress, £70, from Oasis – We thought this lovely sunshine dress was a great buy for this time of year; to pack for holiday evenings out, but also to wear as a guest to a wedding – or best of both worlds – a destination wedding!

Vix Floppy Hat, was £55 now £27, from French Connection – Let’s face it, we all like to emit a little celebrity style when by the beach and what better way to do it than with this elegant sun hat?

Cara Oversized Sunglasses, was £75 now £40, from Whistles – Well if you’re going all A-lister you’re going to need a big pair of shades too!

culture vulture

Culture Vulture

White Panelled Wheelie Suitcase, £70, from River Island – First thing’s first, a stylish compact case is needed in which to pack your capsule city wardrobe so that you don’t have to bother with the cost or faff of checking in a large suitcase at the airport.

Mesh Sneakers, was £29.99 now £12.99, from Zara – Chances are if you’re on a city break you’re going to be on your feet a lot so you’ll want a comfortable pair of trainers, just like these, to prevent the burn kicking in.

Cotton-blend Shorts, £19.99, from Mango – White shorts are a fabulous summer staple (for those that can keep them clean for longer than five minutes) as they’ll literally go with every top, shirt and blouse that you own.

Chambray Ruffle Bra Crop, £30 from Miss Selfridge – perfect to go with the above day or night, we adore this cute cami featuring on-trend ruffle detailing.

Trevill Christys Trilby, £90, from Reiss – This classic trilby is ideal to help keep you looking and feeling cool when darting from one tourist attraction to another.

Havana Tie-Up Sandal, £26, from Topshop – As well as sensible footwear, you’ll want some stylish footwear too and so we suggest these lovely leopard print wraparounds for making a statement come the evening.

Mini Verity Backpack, £180, from Whistles – Both practical and pretty, this soft leather backpack is the perfect way to carry around your necessities when in the city.

Oversize Striped Shirt, was £35.99 now £9.99, from Mango – Pretty much daylight robbery! A classic striped shirt like this will see you through any city break and beyond, so we say – buy, buy, buy!

Ray-Ban Clubround Acetate and Gold-Tone Sunglasses, £135, from Net-A-Porter – We don’t know about you but each summer we find it hard to resist purchasing some new sunnies, particularly when shopping in the airport. And if your budget allows, you can’t go wrong with a cool pair of Ray-Bans.

Open Back Jumpsuit, £59, from Warehouse – Hopefully your city break will include a few romantic evening meals out and so you’ll want to include a dressier option in your case, such as this stunning red jumpsuit. Another possible wedding guest outfit too for when you return from your break.

White Stripe Bardot Maxi Dress, £35, from River Island – When packing for a city getaway often casual is key, as well as items that fold up to nothing, which is why we would definitely be putting this off-the-shoulder number into our luggage.

Camouflage Print Shacket, £45, from Topshop – Unfortunately hot weather isn’t always guaranteed at European city destinations and so it’s wise to take a cover up, though not anything too flimsy or too heavy. Behold the shacket – the hybrid of a shirt and a jacket, which offers the perfect solution.

All prices correct at time of publishing.

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be our guest: summer wedding high street haul

June 16th, 2016 | Rachel Parry

Summer Wedding Ted Baker

Eleese Skater Dress by Ted Baker

As well as planning your own wedding, it’s highly likely that you’ll be attending a friend or relative’s big day during the peak summer season.

If that’s the case and you’ve still not picked an outfit to wear, help is at hand as we’ve pulled together a haul of some of the very best summer wedding guest options on the high street. Whatever budget you’ve set, you’re bound to find something to fit the bill with shops awash with pretty summer time colours, elegant free-flowing shapes and pack-a-punch patterns.

And as we’ve always got your back ladies, we’ve not only picked out the top wedding guest outfits, but also some fabulous accessories to help complete the look!

So without further ado – let’s shop!

the threads

Summer Wedding High Street Haul - The Threads

Double Dot Silk Dress, £150, from Whistles – Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few months you’ll be aware of a little trend known as the ‘cold shoulder’. This super-sweet dress is a stunning example of the trend, flashing a little flesh but then covering the tops of the arms that us girls usually get hung up about. The sugary pattern screams summer and the dainty belt will cinch waists at the most flattering point. What’s not to love?

Ada Embellished Top, £95, & Hi Low Meslita Skirt, £150, both from Coast – The absolute pros at occasion wear, Coast is brimming with sophisticated cut dresses, elegant skirts and sparkling tops for prime wedding season. We just adore their hi low skirts, and particularly this one in pale grey. There are numerous cropped tops to team with, though we thought this pretty pastel blue number was perfect for the season and gave just the right amount of sparkle!

Self Portrait Azaelea Guipure Lace Dress, £240, from Net-A-Porter – Lace has been incredibly popular in bridal wear for a while now and thankfully the wonderfully girly material is also making a strong appearance on the high street. This has to be one our very favourite lace numbers currently available with its soft, feminine detailing, thin straps and flattering flared skirt. We’re in love!

Green Drape Panel Jumpsuit, £75, from River Island – If skirts and dresses aren’t really your thing, what about a jumpsuit? Guaranteed to turn heads, this design features an attention-grabbing Missoni-style print that makes it look much more expensive than its price tag. Though bold, the drape detailing (another big trend for summer) and wide legs gives it a lovely relaxed feel.

Ruffled Wrap Slip Dress, £55, from Topshop – A real steal for a summer wedding guest dress, this cute polka dot frock will suit a variety of figures thanks to its wrap style waist. Ruffles are bang on trend, both on fashion and bridal catwalks, and give the dress a soft feminine edge while its metallic spots and a little touch of glamour.

Avenue Blazer, £130, & Avenue Slim Leg Trousers, £80, both from French Connection – Another excellent choice for those wanting to cover up more. This sleek single-breasted blazer and straight leg trouser are paired-back tailoring at its best. Comfortable and colourful this is an ideal outfit for summer weddings, and one that can be easily worn again for events beyond the big day. Bonus!

Long Printed Dress, £49.99, from Zara – Nothing quite says summer wedding like a maxi dress. If this is your cup of tea we adore this floaty number from Zara that features on-trend ruffles and a bright and beautiful floral pattern in sunshine yellow.

Needle & Thread Ornate Embellished Georgette Top, £125, & Embellished Skirt, £225, from Net-A-Porter – If you’ve got a bigger budget to blow, this is one of the most gorgeous summer occasion wear outfits that we’ve ever seen. The intricate beaded detail in pretty pastel tones and sparkling silver will catch the sun beautifully while the high-waisted skirt and backless cropped top create an elegant silhouette. Though at the higher end of the price bracket, the top and skirt could be separated to create further outfits following the wedding.

Iris Lace Dress, £260, from Whistles – If you’re wanting to pack a punch with colour this is how to do it. We fell head over heels for this vibrant patterned dress as soon as we saw it. Featuring on-trend pleats, this strappy little number will see you good through a number of summer time events.

the finishing touches

Summer Wedding High Street Haul - The Finishing Touches

Liesel Lace-Up Suede Sandals, £95, from French Connection – A summer wedding is the perfect excuse to buy a new pair of heels, and top of our list has to be these gorgeous strappy sandals from French Connection. In this perfect neutral tone these will match with almost any outfit, meaning you could even purchase them before finding your dress. Go on, you know you want to!

Resin Floral Necklace, £25, from Marks & Spencer – Flowers are big in accessorises for the summer season, adorning everything from bags to shoes. We think this statement necklace from M&S is a great way of dressing up plainer summer wedding outfits, for that ultra girly finish.

Florentina Statement Bow Fascinator, £39, from Accessorize – As well as flowers, bows are making a big impact in accessories too, earning this pretty fascinator a place on our top picks list. After all, what’s a wedding outfit without a fancy headpiece?

Pavola Mid-Heel Mule, £89, from Topshop – Talking about bows, we absolutely adore these gorgeous mules, which are a top shoe style for summer. Not too high to walk in, with love the powder blue colour, and check out that pearl heel ladies #swoon!

Foldover Zip Clutch, £95, from Whistles – If you can rely on one store to deliver elegant arm candy its Whistles, and it doesn’t come much more pretty than this candyfloss pink clutch with gold zip. Big enough to fit in all the essentials and small enough to tuck under your arm when it’s time to hit the dancefloor, it’s perfect!

Pearl Bird Fascinator, £35, from Coast – After something striking yet dainty to finish off your look, then look no further. This elegant headband from Coast will add that finishing touch without blocking other guests’ view in church.

Crossover Metallic Sandals, £39.99, from Zara – For those wanting to add a touch of glamour to their outfit, metallics are everywhere this summer and do the job perfectly. We love these block gold heels from Zara which will be easy to walk and in make brilliant holiday footwear too!

Mega Rhinestone Chandelier Earrings, £15, from Topshop – Another way to add some glamour to your outfit is with some glitzy jewellery. For ladies planning on an updo for the occasion, statement chandelier earrings, such as these beauties, are an ideal purchase.

Chelsea Hardcase Clutch, £45, from Accessorize – Did we mention flowers were a thing this summer? Well, you can’t get much more floral than this fabulous 3D number. Though small in size it certainly makes a statement, so just streamline your packing girls!

Round Sunglasses, £120, from Karen Millen – Finally, the absolute essential for all summer weddings – a pair of statement sunnies! Not only to keep the sun out of your eyes during the Pimms drinks reception, but also so that you can spy discreetly on other guests’ outfits. Come on ladies, we all do it!

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baby its cold outside: our winter high street haul

November 24th, 2015 | Rachel Parry

French Connection

dress French Connection

If there’s one thing we love as much as weddings, it’s shopping – well we are females, after all! So in a nod to our other passion, we’re today introducing a brand new post to the blog, titled ‘high street haul’ that will become a regular feature on our pretty pages.

Within these posts we will bring you our recent purchases of the season, along with what’s still on our wish list of ‘wants’. So as the chill of December is nearly here, we’re kicking things off with our winter high street haul.

Be warned, this post may lead to an impulsive splurge of online shopping, for which we can only apologise!

rachel’s haul

Rachel's Haul

Clockwise from top left: Skirt Topshop| coat Warehouse| boots River Island| bag Marks & Spencer| shirt Warehouse| dressing gown Marks & Spencer| gilet French Connection| bag Topshop| skirt River Island| shoes River Island

I may be in the minority but I love it when the clocks go back signalling the beginning of the colder season, as for me its outfit options are much more creative and cool.

From oversized knits and cosy scarves to suede boots and leather handbags, I love it all! In particular, a weakness for coats and jackets makes winter one very dangerous season indeed for my (ever-dwindling) bank balance.

This year though I’m still on the hunt for the perfect winter coat, mainly as there are too many styles to choose from, which will inevitably result in multiple outerwear purchases (*bank balance winces a little more*). I’m particularly loving the belted wrap coats in super soft fabrics but have found that if they’re a little too thick they can come to look more like a dressing gown (a purchase that I’ve already sorted, thanks to Rosie Huntington Whiteley’s gorgeous nightwear collection for M&S), rather than chic winter attire.

So the coat hunt continues, as does the search for a faux fur gilet, which I think are Chelsea chic to a tee, when worn with skinny jeans, a sheer shirt and high ankle boots.

A purchase I have managed to make though is my winter bag. One thing I look forward to most in a change of season is some new arm candy, and this time I found it in Topshop. It’s a gorgeous leather and suede holdall in tan that reminds me of a Balenciaga design – and it was an absolute steal, as I managed to get it half price in the sale. Result!

Other items I’ve secured for the colder months ahead include a couple of long sleeved shirts, including a gorgeous botanical print design from Warehouse (another savvy sale purchase), and a couple of different length leather skirts, as their super versatile and can easily be taken from day to night. I’m also particularly attracted to dark green garments and accessories which last season led to a new mac and this season has led to a new pair of khaki heels from River Island.

While I confess my winter wish list is ever-growing, ankle boots and seasonal party wear and accessories have to be prioritised as my next must-haves. Thankfully both my birthday and Christmas are coming up, which should help boost my fashion funds a little!

julia’s haul

Julia's haul

Clockwise from top left: yoga pants Victoria’s Secret | top Nine by Savannah Miller at Debenhams |shoes Boden |mini skirt River Island |dress The White Company | handbag Michael Kors | top Zara | top Zara |trainers Superga at ASOS |shoes Charlotte Olympia

Ah, winter… season of mists and new boots!

As a busy working Mum, I’m always looking for seasonal buys that will take me straight from playdate to client meeting – and that usually means functional basics, but always with a stylish twist. I hate to be a cliché, but for me, yummy mummy fave Boden is the place to go for cool flats that turn heads: I love their Audrey bow flats in silver glitter. I’ll also be popping a pair of Superga’s gold sneaks into my online shopping bag at ASOS, perfect for dashing round historic wedding venues, at the playground and on magazine photoshoots!

I’m over the moon that it’s now acceptable to wear your gym kit all day long, as luxe sportswear has always had a place in my wardrobe.  On “in the office” days, you’ll find me catching up on emails in a pair of Pink by Victoria’s Secret super comfy yoga pants.  I also love the lifestyle ranges by Sweaty Betty and Stella McCartney for Adidas both on and off the treadmill or the slopes.

When I need to smarten things up a little, I still like to keep things on the casual side, and mix things up with a special heel or clutch.  This season’s perfect LBD for me is the Kimono Sleeve Jersey Dress by The White Company, super flattering in a classic colour and an unusual shape, and I’m also coveting their entire knitwear range for this season.

For easy pieces to add some winter sparkle or an on-trend edge, my high street favourite has to be River Island.  Style some of their pieces the right way and they could be straight off the catwalk. I love their recent range of co-ords.  I’m always throwing some of their costume jewellery into the shopping basket too – they have some amazing statement pieces that can really dress up an otherwise plain look.

I’ve never knowingly left Zara empty handed (their ‘basics’ are never just, well, basics are they?), French Connection’s party sparkle is to die for, and I have to give special note to Savanah Miller’s new line “Nine” for Debenhams… boho just got super wearable, definitely worth a look.

To finish it all off, a blown budget would see a pair of Charlotte Olympia skyscrapers (ok, ok, not officially high street I know, but I’m hoping ‘Santa’ might be reading this!) and a Michael Kors bucket bag on the credit card bill, but maybe I’ll save those for the Christmas list instead.

I’ve been an absolute angel all year, of course…

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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!

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high street honey: monsoon 2015

January 19th, 2015 | Rachel Parry

Camille

Camille

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.

Jane

Jane

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.

Maria

Maria

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.

Sophia

Sophia

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.

Elinor

Elinor

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.

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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).

Aonda

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.

Blitzen

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!

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