September 27th, 2018 | Rachel Parry
We almost feel like someone has hit the fast-forward button on 2018 as our feet have barely touched the ground these past nine months, and now in the midst of our autumn Luxury Wedding Show season, things are showing no signs of slowing down!
And not that we’re complaining. So far it’s been a year of hard work but fabulous rewards in producing another two stunning issues of UNVEILED magazine and giving this gorgeous brand a slick new website too. We’ve also added some amazing new venues to our portfolio of shows and have more exciting announcements to come in 2019. We had an epic run of events in the spring and are loving being back out on the road for the current collection of events and all the time we’ve kept the pretty pages of Brides Up North filled with inspiration, up to the minute news and trends as well as priceless expert info and tips.
So, you could say we’ve got a lot going on! This might explain why we snapped up an invite from the wonderful team at Ragdale Hall for an overnight spa break quicker than Megan could make her way through the guys on Love Island this summer.
Having visited this beautiful venue of tranquillity before, we knew we were in for 24 hours of pure relaxation and excited by the glorious sounding additions and enhancements at Ragdale Hall that had taken place since our previous stay – most notably the Rooftop Infinity Pool.
The welcome to Ragdale sets the tone for your time at the spa as you arrive at its idyllic Leicestershire countryside location to be greeted by friendly staff who take care of your luggage and even park your car for you – fingers firmly un-lifted from the off.
Once checked in we enjoyed a hot drink while we were run through our schedule and given a map of the site – that’s right a map! Larger than your average spa, Ragdale boasts an impressive list of facilities beyond the usual pool, sauna and steam room, with impressive outdoor areas, relaxation rooms, exercise pool, gymnasium, fitness studios, hair and beauty studio, treatment rooms and three shops, plus its famous Thermal Spa. With all this on one site it comes as no surprise that some guests at Ragdale check in for an entire week, I mean, can-you-imagine?
But alas, we needed to soak up the heavenly goodness in the in the short but sweet time we had and so after a light Caesar salad (and prosecco!) lunch it was straight into the robes and out into the new Rooftop Infinity Pool, which forms part of a recent multi-millionaire-pound development at Ragdale – and worth every penny, if not for the view alone! The open-air, stainless steel pool is heated to a cosy 35 degrees and features reclining underwater massage jets – by day we liked to idle at the infinity edge breathing in the open countryside beyond, while by nightfall it was another level of peace to lay back on the bubbling beds and gaze at the stars.
In the same area there is also a modern elevated lounge area with floor-to-ceiling glass enjoying the same delightful views and therapeutic atmosphere, plus on the ground floor a shiny new exercise pool, complete with aqua gym and cool LED light show.
We spent the rest of the afternoon exploring the Thermal Spa – a playground of relaxation consisting of a range of experience rooms, some of which have been exclusively designed for Ragdale and so can’t be found elsewhere.
Enhancing for the mind, body and soul the rooms vary in temperature, lighting and aromas to deliver different benefits. We particularly loved the Thought Zone, designed to inspire positive thinking, and the Colourflow Cave, which combines a heady mix of jasmine, lavender and camomile for a hedonistic detox. The crème de la crème for us though has to be the Candle Pool – an underground candle-lit cavern with star-lit ceiling and inviting 34-degree waters. Pure heaven, and if it wasn’t for our pruning fingers, you might still find us in there now!
After a bob in the outdoor Waterfall Pool we headed to our room to shower and dress for the evening meal. Served in the wood panelled dining room, Ragdale’s expert chefs always offer a beautiful choice of healthy yet thoroughly appetising dishes, with a tempting choice of starters, main and desserts.
Both Julia and I chose the tomato and mozzarella salad to start, followed by a vegetarian pasta main and I then opted for the indulgent ‘comfort pudding’ of a roulade while Julia selected the cheese board to finish, all washed down with a delightful Sauvignon.
Feeling highly satisfied we retied to our rooms for a blissful night’s sleep before another bout of relaxation, and treatments – always the highlight of any spa trip.
We began our day with breakfast in the bright and airy Verandah Bar, which offered a feast of cereals, toast, pastries and fruit, which we devoured – me alongside a helping of smoked salmon and avocado and Julia along with a small stack of fluffy pancakes.
February 28th, 2018 | Alexis Forsyth
After what will no doubt have been a thrifty January for most, the arrival of February payday means we can finally start to loosen the purse strings a little and treat ourselves to a few pretty purchases.
Around this time of year, one area we like to invest is the contents of our makeup bag, as we find switching up the beauty regime and trying out new products can transform not only how we look, but also how we feel about ourselves. And for the brides-to-be tying the knot this year (try to contain your excitement ladies!) we know that you’ll be especially eager to experiment with different bridal looks and get your skin and hair in tip-top condition.
And so, to kick-start your all-new 2018 beauty regime, we’ve rounded up some of our favourite products to tackle those pesky skin and hair woes leftover from the winter months and re-invent your look in time for spring – and your big day!
Our skin has a tendency to look lacklustre during the winter thanks to the dreary, cold weather, and hibernating indoors doesn’t do us any favours either. But the good news is that a fresh and radiant complexion is just a face mask away. Lancome’s Energie de Vie Purifying and Refining Clay Mask is one of our favourites, boasting an enriched blend of French Melissa, Cranberry and Ginseng; unclogging pores and removing residue of makeup and day-to-day urban nasties to reveal new-found luminosity. We think a face mask should be a mainstay within your beauty regime all year round though, especially if you’re prepping for that sought-after wedding day glow.
Rose is having something of a moment within the beauty world, with numerous product launches in the past year harnessing the anti-inflammatory, hydrating and antioxidant qualities of this skincare hero. Along with its distinct, beautiful scent, the delicate rose comes in many guises when it comes to skincare formulae, with rose essential oil and rosewater two of the most common. Want to incorporate rose into your beauty regime for 2018? Give the new Pixi Rose Tonic a try, which is a retake on the cult beauty brand’s popular Glow Tonic, promising to balance your skin’s hydration levels and minimise redness to boot.
January 15th, 2018 | Rachel Parry
While it can be tempting to have a complete beauty overhaul ahead of your big day, we believe it’s incredibly important to be the very best version of you on that special day, and not to take things too far so that you look like someone else altogether.
With this being our mantra, we’re very much in favour of our talented Sponsor Alexandra Jane Edgar’s approach to bridal beauty: “you wear the makeup, it does not wear you”. For, as Alexandra explains in today’s post, hiring a professional to create your wedding makeup doesn’t mean changing the way you look, but enhancing your features and complementing your big day plans, with luxury brand products that are kind to skin and long-lasting.
As an out and out pro, with experience of working for and training with some of the world’s most luxurious brands and cosmetics houses, we’ve invited Alexandra to the blog today to tell us more about her fabulous makeup services while also sharing a few top tips and tricks along the way…
With images by Joe Laws Photography.
Can you tell us a little about your background and how you came to be in the wedding industry?
alexandra says: Yearning for a creative career I began working in the cosmetics industry 16 years ago. I have represented the world’s most luxurious brands and cosmetics houses and have had extensive training throughout my career from the industry leading names, such as Lisa Eldridge, Francois Nars, Eve Nom and Sylvie Chantecaille. I have been so fortunate to come into the wedding industry purely through client demand for my services on their big day.
Can you give us an overview of the services that you offer and the area that you cover?
I travel throughout the North East to your bridal venue on your big day. I am based full time in an award-winning wedding and portrait photography studio in Newcastle Upon Tyne. This is where you can come for your makeup trial and very excitingly receive a digital photograph. This is a wonderful opportunity to see how you will photograph on your wedding day whilst giving you a confidence boost and a little experience being in front of a camera. We even host hen party experiences, which is fun opportunity to meet us and trial your big day look, with a fabulous photo shoot of you and your bridal party.
How can brides-to-be prepare for a wedding makeup trial?
Start to consider your wedding day look when you have chosen your palette, flowers etc. so we can complement your ideas. It really is important to know you are going to look and feel your best on your wedding day. I can then also advise you on skincare to really get your complexion radiant in plenty of time for your big day. Afterwards, just relax and look forward to your wedding morning.
Why would you recommend a bride hires in a professional makeup artist for their big day?
Brides tell me they could not have achieved the same look themselves and they all enjoy a professional, pampering and relaxing service on their wedding morning.
What should a bride look for when hiring a makeup artist?
It is your day! You need a good relationship with any professional to feel happy and confident. Experience is essential. I use luxury brands of skincare and makeup and I create looks for ladies of all ages every day.
What would you say is the best part of your job and what you excel at?
I love meeting new people and being a part of your most special day is so rewarding and the feedback from my brides and the bridal party is so positive and encouraging. I am told from my clients that they do not feel any makeup on their skin so they can just feel and be themselves. This is definitely my signature style – you wear the makeup, it does not wear you. Making a woman feel transformed, beautiful and her best is extremely empowering.
Where do you look to for inspiration?
I work in such a creative space, as a team we are constantly challenging ourselves with new looks, lighting techniques, photographic editing. We pore over fashion magazines and Instagram for inspiration and bounce lots of ideas around the studio and on location. We never stop creating – #getcreative is our thing. I recently created a stunning Baroque inspired look for a shoot for Kathryn Russell, an incredible couture bridal gown designer who is based in Gosforth, Newcastle upon Tyne.
What bridal makeup looks are in vogue currently?
Brides always tend to require timeless and classic makeup for their wedding day. I’ve recently noticed an increase in brides requiring elements of glitter and sparkle into their looks too.
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.
September 13th, 2017 | Alexis Forsyth
Bridal beauty doesn’t magically take centre stage on the morning of your wedding day. No, ladies, it begins weeks – even months – in advance. You’ll want your complexion, skin and hair in tip-top condition, so that you look and feel fabulous as you walk down the aisle.
Chances are, you’ll have booked a makeup artist and hair stylist already, but there are a few additions to your own daily regime that will help prepare you for your special day. And there’s certainly no harm in scouting out a new lippy or eye palette that you’d like to incorporate into your bridal look.
As such, we’ve rounded up some of our favourite new products to bolster your beauty and skincare regime every step of the way – from the lead up, to the big day itself and through to your first moments of wedded bliss while on honeymoon.
If your skin is in need of a little pick me up – we’re talking unclogging pores, removing product build up and blitzing general day-to-day nasties – let us introduce you to Lancome’s new Purifying and Refining Clay Mask. Enriched with French Melissa, cranberry and ginseng – the rich mask zaps dullness and the appearance of pores, for skin that’s reinvigorated and beaming with radiance.
If there was ever a time to up the ante with your facial skincare regime, then this is it! You’ll want glowing, bright skin on your big day – the perfect base for your bridal makeup. Elemis has unveiled a new Dynamic Resurfacing Day Cream that gently resurfaces the skin, leaving the complexion smoother, hydrated and more even. As a bonus, it also has SPF 30 for added protection from the natural elements.
If you suffer from dark circles and wrinkles around the eyes then you might want to give this area a little extra TLC to ensure your eyes are sparkling bright come your wedding day. Murad has launched a new Retinol Youth Renewal Eye Serum – a potent treatment that tackles both of these pesky skincare problems, helping to lift, firm and illuminate the eye area in just one week.
Laura Mercier’s new Caviar Stick Eye Colours are just divine – a collection of high impact, pigment rich shades with a matte or shimmer finish. The creamy crease-resistant formula is ideal for building up colour, smudging, blending or defining, whether you’re after a soft natural look or something bolder. And with the eyeshadow lasting up to 12 hours, you can enjoy your new life as a Mr and Mrs without dashing to the mirror for frequent touch ups throughout the day!
Charlotte Tilbury’s new Hollywood Lips range is all about vintage glam. The collection features ten stunning retro inspired shades, from creamy nude and dusty pink to peach and ruby red. Whatever your bridal look, there’s a lippy to match. Made with a moisturising beeswax formula, the weightless matte liquid lipsticks plump lips for a fuller kiss-me-quick pout with a pop of colour that’ll stay put for hours.
We just love the new Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb Bloom, a gorgeous take on its original Flowerbomb fragrance, which comes in the most dainty of bottles. The new eau du toilette is a fruity, floral affair, combining notes of pomegranate, mandarin, vanilla and patchouli for what we think is a perfectly delicate bridal day scent, whatever the season.
For honeymooners soaking up the sunshine in a blissful beach location, you’ll want to subtly accentuate your sun-kissed glow with a light, sheer product that won’t melt away in the heat. The new Bord de Plage Highlighting and Bronzing Palette from NARS is just the ticket, promising a smoldering summer look with its water-activated highlighters and sun wash diffusing bronzer for an all-natural, luminous glow.
For something truly sumptuous while holidaying with your beau – Rituals new Karma Shimmer Body Cream soothes the skin and leaves it silky soft. Made with white lotus and organic white tea, this rich velvety cream is both indulgent and nourishing, and the light reflecting shimmer will add a gorgeous hint of sparkle to your newly bronzed skin.
Blow-drying and styling your hair for hours on end while on honeymoon is probably the last thing you’ll want to do with your precious time. For a fuss-free textured look (beach waves anyone?) Redken’s new No Blow Dry Bossy Cream promises a faster air-dry time, eliminating frizz to boot and creating that effortless ‘undone’ holiday do we all secretly crave…
January 12th, 2017 | Rachel Parry
Those of you that follow me on Instagram may well have noticed that it was my 30th birthday in December as I stretched out the celebrations across three weeks, no less! As well as nights out with family and friends and a fabulous trip to Copenhagen organised by my wonderful boyfriend Andy, I was also invited to top it all off with an overnight spa break at Moddershall Oaks in rural Staffordshire. Just want the doctor ordered after copious amounts of birthday booze and dancing!
Located in 72 acres of picturesque woodland and grounds, Moddershall Oaks houses an award-winning, fine dining restaurant and is also a stunning wedding venue with options for both indoor and outdoor ceremonies and celebrations. As part of the wedding venue hire package, couples marrying at Moddershall are treated to a complimentary one-night mini-moon break with overnight accommodation in its Master Bedroom, complete with four-poster bed and spa bath, plus full use of the spa’s facilities.
The spa’s “Girly Night In” package also offers the perfect chilled-out hen do, whilst its Snug can be hired for the morning of the wedding for the bridal party to enjoy being pampered and preened from top to toe whilst sipping on champagne. Sounds perfect, right? Which is why were so keen to experience Moddershall Oaks’ spa facilities for ourselves.
As I was on annual leave, my mum accompanied me on this Blissed Out Bride visit, and given what a wonderful time we had, I would certainly also highly recommend Moddershall Oaks as the perfect place for some quality mother/daughter time.
Upon arrival, we were greeted by the spa’s super friendly staff and given a quick tour of the facilities before being shown to our room. We were staying in one of the venue’s ten luxury suites with gorgeous Moroccan-style décor and use of the outdoor hot tub.
With fabulous-looking facilities both indoor and out to explore, we were quick to change into our robes and indulge in some serious relaxation!
First up, perhaps the main attraction and also Moddershall’s latest addition, the outdoor spa courtyard, including relaxation lounge, spa deli, heated vitality spa pool and kelo sauna. We braved the cold December temperatures shedding our robes and hopping straight into the warm spa pool with welcoming bubbling jets. You could easily idle away hours in this gorgeous open-air spot with views of the surrounding countryside. There isn’t even the need to get out for a drink, as attentive waiting staff are on hand to gab that glass of fizz for you – utter heaven? We thought so!
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