November 8th, 2017 | Rachel Parry
Ever wonder how much time you would save if didn’t have to do all your makeup from scratch every day? Us too. But a rise in semi-permanent makeup treatments mean you could get some of that precious time back and remain looking tip-top, as our new Sponsor to the blog will tell you in today’s post.
Qualified Leeds-based permanent makeup artist, Jessica Speight of JS Semi-Permanent Makeup, offers a range of effective treatments, including lip, eye and eyebrow makeup, that provides radiant and lasting results.
Ideal for brides-to-be who crave a polished and fresh-faced look for their wedding day, honeymoon and beyond, these pain-free treatments can give ladies that final extra boost of confidence for their moment in the limelight. Intrigued? Well, the lovely Jessica is offering Brides Up North readers a fabulous 10% discount on treatments so now is the time to find out more and book that appointment…
Can you tell us a little about your background and training?
jess says: I have always been very creative and loved makeup, art and anything that requires a lot of patience and detail. I wanted to train as a permanent makeup artist for years before I decided to take the plunge. I decided I needed a career change two years ago and finally decided it was time to go for it! I was lucky enough to have one-to-one training through LCN elite PMU School in Manchester. I was awarded a distinction qualification for my work and every year continue to up skill through training; which means my qualifications continue to grow.
Can you give us an overview of the services that you offer and the area that you cover?
I specialise in semi-permanent eyebrow, lip and eye makeup. The variety of techniques and finished look of each treatment is determined during the consultation period. I am based in East Leeds, not far from junction 46 off the M1 and A1, therefore I am accessible and easy to find. There are also direct train and bus links from Leeds to my area.
Why would you advise brides to consider semi-permanent makeup?
It’s a great consideration for your wedding day as it means you don’t have to worry about reapplying any makeup throughout the day, you will always ready to go for every photo opportunity. It also gives a flawless finish for your honeymoon, so you will look and feel amazing throughout all of your celebrations.
This is also a great option for mother of the bride/groom or anyone for that matter that would like to look their best for the big day. Semi-permanent eyebrows frame your face and open your eyes, so it’s great for any ladies that want to achieve a fresh faced, youthful appearance.
Beautiful gift box vouchers are also available for permanent makeup treatments; perfect for brides looking to give their leading ladies a unique thank you gift.
How far ahead of the wedding would you recommend a bride gets in touch with you to discuss treatments/booking appointments?
Appointments do book up quickly, therefore to avoid disappointment, I’d definitely recommend getting in touch for more information as soon as you are considering this as an option. I do a free consultation and patch test with all of my clients before I discuss dates etc., therefore anyone wanting to ask any questions or come in and have a chat about times and the full treatment and costs, feel free to contact me. I always aim to reply to any queries the same day.
May 4th, 2017 | Rachel Parry
The month of May is one of our very favourites here at Brides Up North HQ, not only as it tends to signal the start of warmer weather, but it’s also when our incredible festival wedding fairs take place across the north of the country. These super cool events are like no other as we create outdoor wedding wonderlands with huge sailcloth tents, tipis and yurts filled with wildly creative wedding suppliers, plus street food vendors, pop-up bars, live bands and so much more. The tour starts this Sunday 7th May with our glorious WEDSTOCK’17 at Stockeld Park, Yorkshire, and from there we will be heading to Ormesby Hall in Middlesbrough on Sunday 14th May, and Capesthorne Hall in Cheshire on Sunday 21st May, to give all you brides-to-be a piece of the fabulous festival action.
Another reason we favour May is for its bank holidays (who doesn’t love a bonus day off?!) and so with such a busy time on the horizon, we were sure to make the first long weekend of the month a relaxing one by heading off for an overnight spa break at the stunning Hoar Cross Hall.
Such getaways not only enable us to signpost you in the direction of the very best retreats for pre/post wedding pampering and luxurious hen do locations, but it also gives us chance to discuss exciting ideas for the blog, and boy do we have amazing plans in the pipeline! But more about that to follow soon, for now let us fill you in on our heavenly stay at this Grade II stately home where total relaxation comes as standard!
Situated in breath-takingly beautiful Staffordshire countryside, the chilled-out vibes start on your approach to the Hall and only deepen once over its threshold. Its impressive entrance and bar lounge area combine period style and modern luxury perfectly and make for a very warm welcome. Arriving early evening and keen to start the pampering from the off, we began with a glass of bubbles in the bar before heading to our room to freshen up before dinner.
Each of Hoar Cross Hall’s 96 bedrooms are individually designed in keeping with the stately surrounds and offer comfort and class, which resulted in a very restful night’s sleep for the two of us in our adjoining rooms.
Dinner was served in the Hall’s grand restaurant with calming views over the perfectly manicured gardens. Having selected a bottle of rose (well, it is getting on for summer!) we scanned over the varied choice of dishes and made our selection. We enjoyed starters of salmon two ways and chicken liver parfait before going onto mains of roast chicken and spinach and ricotta cannelloni. Something light to finish we thought, and so opted for the fruit platter and ice cream. The food at Hoar Cross is presented beautifully and tastes as good as it looks, while staff are attentive in making sure everything is to your liking.
With relaxation top of the agenda, we decided on an early night and early start to make the most of the Hall’s fabulous spa facilities.
Following an ample breakfast of granola followed by poached eggs, we took the elevator down to the lower ground where the hugely spacious spa is concealed, much like a well kept secret. And what a gem it is, with numerous tranquil pools and soothing water therapies to explore and experience.
Fellow spa visitors included groups of ladies as well as couples, making a Hoar Cross Hall getaway a perfect option for an indulgent hen do with the girls, some pre-wedding pampering with family or friends, plus a relaxing minimoon retreat to recharge the batteries ahead of jetting off on the main honeymoon.
There are various day and overnight packages to choose from, with meals included, and the option of treatments for head-to-toe relaxation.
The spa boasts two beautiful pools; a saltwater vitality pool, complete with jet massage pools, two luxury whirlpools and a starlit cave, plus a hydrotherapy pool with gentle currents and body massage jets.
There are also a number of heat, ice and massage experiences to detox and revitalise the body by stimulating different senses. These include sensory showers and aqua massage therapies as well as an aspen wood sauna, aroma room and ice temple.
And as if that’s not enough, there are lots of beautifully snug spaces to relax both poolside and within designated relaxation lounges, whether you choose to curl up with a good book or get a little extra shut-eye.
July 29th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
Last time we caught up with Jane Witherspoon, our real life bride & celebrity columnist, she’d been thinking about how to impress guests with her flower, food and entertainment choices for her upcoming wedding while getting some top tips from newlywed wed actress Michelle Keegan.
Fast-forward a month and Jane’s thoughts have turned to her own appearance on the big day, and in particular what style of hair and makeup she might have for her moment in the spotlight.
Luckily Jane’s job as a celebrity reporter has once again put her in touch with an A-lister (of the beauty world) who can help. Hair and makeup artist to the rich and famous Ciona Johnson-King, whose clients include Cameron Diaz and Keira Knitghley, has styled Jane on many occasions for glittering events at which she has been reporting.
So as her wedding day approaches, Jane has called upon Ciona to give her some expert advice on her bridal beauty regime. And rather than keeping it all to herself, the generous bride-to-be is sharing all the details with you here on the blog today. What a star!
jane says: It’s hard to keep on top of a good beauty regime at the best of times let alone when you’re finalising plans for a wedding. I’m not doing too well at trying to eat healthier and drink lots of water. In fact, the busier I get the more I seem to consume! And as for this growing my hair malarkey, generally I’m feeling a bit of a mess. I’m sure it will all be worth it come October though.
For the big day itself, I’m thinking of eeping my hair and makeup quite simple and classic, inspired by Princess Grace of Monaco.
Luckily when it comes to bridal beauty I’ve got a trump card in the form of Ciona Johnson-King. Ciona is the make-up artist to the stars and I’m so lucky and proud to be able to call her my friend. Cameron Diaz, Audrey Tautou, Liv Tyler, Gwyneth Paltorw and Keira Knightley are just a few of the names she’s worked with.
With this in mind I’m handing over this month’s blog post to Cio to give you some amazing pre-wedding beauty tips, and accompanying the post are some of my favourite Ciona creations – now what style to choose?
ciona says: If you’re reading this, the chances are you or someone dear to you is about to get married. Congratulations! It’s the most magical day of your life. I thoroughly recommend it! To help you prepare, here are few of my top wedding tips…
1. Practice beforehand, using daylight when available. Your hairstyle needs to work from the sides and back as well as the front. Make sure your skin tone is the same from the face to all body parts. It’s important to be completely comfortable on the big day so don’t go too far out of your comfort zone with your hair and makeup. It’s not the time to try the latest catwalk trend. Take photos from different angles so you can see how your hair and makeup will look.
2. Take care sunbathing in the run up to the wedding as suntan marks are very tricky to disguise. If fake tanning, build up light layers over a few days or weeks rather than going for a strong spray tan just before your wedding. Find the brand and level of tan that works best on your skin well in advance. It’s all part of the research!
3. Gently exfoliating the skin really does help with radiance. This is the time to treat yourself to some good serum and moisturiser to nourish the skin too.
4. Eat healthily, drink water, exercise, sleep well and avoid stress. Basically -look after yourself!
5. On the day, allocate plenty of preparation time. Listen to your favourite playlist to help relax you. I usually ask the bride’s best friend to help keep our zone free of too many interruptions. You’d be surprised how many people pop in to say ‘hi’! The last thing you want is someone bringing in their last minute drama whilst the bride’s getting ready. Don’t forget to eat either, as fainting at the aisle isn’t a good look (as a make-up artist, I’m likely to be the one force-feeding the bride).
Here Ciona shares three of her beauty videos to help brides-to-be achieve that perfect wedding day look: Golden, Hollywood and Romantic.
Next month Jane will be bringing us all the gossip from her hen do. She and the gals are off to a friend’s 18th Century farmhouse in France. Sounds fabulous!
Follow Ciona Johnson-King at @CionaJK or for more information visit www.ciona.co.
Follow Jane, at @Janeyspoon.
July 8th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
When putting together our real wedding posts for the blog we ask brides to share a tip with readers who are currently caught up in planning pandemonium organising their own big day. One of the most common that crops up is ‘take time to enjoy the time leading up to your wedding too’, because as they rightly say, it’s all part of the experience.
That not only means trying to enjoy the process of selecting a venue and suppliers instead of rattling through it like one big to do list, but also reserving a little wedding-free time to enjoy with family and friends, or just as a couple.
So to help you find the perfect place to take a break we’ve scoped out another restful retreat where you and either your hubby-to-be, leading ladies or female relatives, can escape to for some pre-wedding pampering.
Nestled within 27 acres of Cheshire woodland, Macdonald Craxton Wood Hotel, enjoys the luxury of being in a tranquil location but with the gorgeous city of Chester just ten minutes down the road. This makes it the ideal place to enjoy a romantic break, hen do or girly getaway – and wait, it gets better.
As well as providing stunning food, drink and accommodation, the hotel boasts a heavenly spa which has recently benefited from £1.4 million of investment, offering weary souls and pamper seekers a range of blissful spa days and indulgent breaks.
So after having all that money spent on it, we thought it rude not to try out revamped spa on behalf of our readers. And upon doing so we can confidently say – ladies you will love it!
From the moment we stepped through its doors we were completely taken with the spa, which is light, airy, welcoming and incredibly well styled. Seriously this place looks like something straight off the pages of a glossy interiors magazine and it’s that high end finish in décor and furnishings that makes for an incredibly luxurious experience, even before you’ve enjoyed the facilities.
As holidays are coming and we’re desperate to achieve our beach body ambitions, we headed straight for the gym, which is kitted out with all the latest Technogym equipment. This means ladies on a pre-wedding fitness plan can get in their exercise before indulging in pure relaxation totally guilt free!
Next we were handed our fluffy robes and super-soft slippers (why are spa slippers so good?) before being shown around the spa area, which houses way more than you’d think, including an 18 metre pool, thermal suite, relaxation room, garden room and Woodland Spa Café.
Before lunch we took a dip in the pool which enjoys stunning countryside views through its floor to ceiling glass and then retired to the bright and breezy garden room for a herbal tea and a quick magazine fix.
At this point we’d already decided Craxton Wood would be one of our top picks for a hen do, plotting how we would have a day being pampered at the spa before heading out for a night in Chester. And clearly we’re not the only ones who can see it’s girly getaway potential as staff say the hotel is becoming increasingly popular with groups of ladies who take advantage of their spa break packages which include ‘celebration’, ‘indulgent’ and ‘revitalise’ options.
Lunch was next on our agenda. I’ve previously expressed my dislike for spas that only serve up super healthy food as I see pampering as a treat and therefore want a meal to match that experience. Thankfully the menu at the Woodland Spa Café (which again is beautifully decorated) has options that are fairly low in calories but high in flavour, and they serve alcohol – hurrah!
After our delicious two course lunch (and accompanying prosecco, of course) it was back to the pampering, this time treatments. For me a skin specific facial and for Julia Macdonald Hotels’ Elemis Signature.
In the comfort of the snug treatment room my therapist Jess discussed my skin type to decide on the right blend of products for my complexion and then the relaxation began. A balancing cleanser, toner and bliss capsules were gently massaged onto my face to renew skin elasticity and to give it a radiant glow, then while a masque worked its magic on my skin, Jess worked her magic on my arms, shoulders and chest to rub away any aches or pains. It was heavenly and my skin felt super fresh.
Julia’s 90 minute treatment meanwhile started with an exotic body exfoliation. After a light body brushing, warm oils were drizzled over her skin before a lime and ginger salt glow was applied resulting in clean, polished and softened skin. This was followed up by a massage and facial for an overall body experience that Julia described as ‘absolute bliss’ and said it would be an ideal pre-honeymoon treatment.
After coming around in the soothing, candle-lit relaxation room we tried out the thermal suite which has varying steam rooms, saunas and showers to awaken the senses, relax the mind and cleanse the skin.
Finally, to complete our visit, we had mini manicures by therapist Jess who was painted our nails to perfection (mine weren’t gels but lasted an incredible seven days before chipping).
So all in all you can see why we would highly recommend Craxton Wood for a pre or post wedding getaway with your guy or your girls. If you’re in the early stages of planning you might also want to check out the hotel as a potential wedding venue. It has a stunning range of function suites, with both indoor and outdoor options, that can cater for small, intimate weddings up to large parties of 250 guests whilst providing first class accommodation, service and food. And don’t forget about that spa!
For full details of Craxton Wood’s facilities, accommodation and packages, visit the website.
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.
January 20th, 2014 | Julia Braime
Boudoir photography has a bad name, and this is no-one’s fault but it’s own. All to often, boudoir photography is tacky, hard, artificial, awkward and the absolute opposite of soft and and sensual. Would I book a boudoir shoot? Absolutely not.
But what about a Sweet Reveal shoot? Handled in an entirely different way at the hands of our wonderful Featured Supplier Cat of Cat Hepple Photography and her team of creatives, these shoots are less of a present for his bottom drawer, and more of a present to yourself – for your armoire or bedroom window seat. Affirming, confidence building, celebratory and oh soooo sexy, would I book a Sweet Reveal shoot? Well, maybe I already have…
That’s for me to know, but for now, here’s Cat and her team (watch out for Brides Up North Featured Suppliers Victoria Farr and Story Of Your Day Wedding Films too) to ease you into this very good idea, as they present their “Winter Boudoir” shoot.
Cat says: Sweet Reveal shoots are stylish boudoir shoots with an editorial feel- they look like something from a glossy magazine. I created this style of boudoir for my brides who often asked for a boudoir shoot but with a more subtle and romantic feel than typical images you’d expect from a lingerie shoot.
I always work around a theme, a styled look for each shoot, carefully crafted around the woman I’m going to be working with. Recent shoots included a Bond Girl influence, a boho look, and a Carrie Bradshaw styled look. It’s an individual as the woman.
For this shoot, I wanted to use ballet as our inspiration, we weren’t looking to recreate a ballet scene, but to use elements of dance to soften the feel and give it a fashion edge. Firstly the lingerie choices were so important, soft laces, high waisted knickers, tulle skirts, body stockings, all gave a nod to the world of ballet. I brought in the expert help of Jayne Winn from Sheer Bliss lingerie boutique, who sourced the beautiful lingerie pieces used in the shoot. Added to that we sprinkled a little extra glamour using gorgeous necklaces and hair decorations. These pieces added that all important editorial feel to the finished look.
I asked Charlotte Miller from Eden and Eve to style the shoot for me. Charlotte has a lot of experience at styling and understands how to bring a concept to life. She added warm sumptuous fur throws and ballet ribbon to our scenes and suggested one necklace be worn as a headpiece to go with some beautiful sleepwear in the softest blush rose pink. The key for this shoot was not to make it look too cutesy. Women having a boudoir shoot want to look sultry, sassy, sexy and chic. So we didn’t want the look to become too fluffy. This is where Victoria Farr our hair and make up artist became so important. She created hairstyles which you wouldn’t expect to see in the ballet room, so keeping the look more edgy and fashion conscious. The whole mix works so well together.
Many women are scared of boudoir shoots, feeling that everything will have to be on show and that they can be completely unforgiving to most women, but this simply is not true. These carefully crafted shoots are about exploiting the best parts of a woman, and giving her confidence to feel and look amazing. The transformation between a woman who arrives for the shoot feeling nervous and when they leave looking and feeling radiant and confident, is one of the best things for me about The Sweet Reveal. It’s amazing to do that for someone.
The Sweet reveal shoots make a great Valentines day gift. Imagine surprising your partner with the most beautiful little album filled with gorgeous shots of you. Currently if you book for Valentines, hair and make up is included in the price too, making it a great way to do something amazing for someone very special.
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