There is now less than four months until Andy and I get hitched. This is not a drill, this is full-on smack you in the face, eyes-wide-open reality and so I’m currently a bubbling pot of excitement – with a dash of expectant nerves.
Reaching the year in which you wed certainly turns the planning and anticipation up a notch – or ten! Rising from my prosecco-induced slumber on New Year’s Day, I was greeted with several “you get married this year/you’re a 2019 bride” style texts on my phone which unleashed the butterflies, leading to an afternoon of wedmin on the sofa making sure we were still on track with everything. Furthermore, now back at work, I find myself studying the Bride’s Up North real weddings that bit harder to ensure we aren’t missing anything, and the morning prep and ceremony pics, in particular, spike my anxiety – but in a delirious I-can’t-wait, I-hope-I’ve-got-this, we-are-going-to-have-such-an-awesome-day kind of way.
Since my last wedding diary post we’ve had a fair bit going on and you may remember me mentioning that an upcoming ‘to-do’ on the list that I was super looking forward to was the bridesmaid dresses, which I’m thrilled to say are all sorted. Falling head over heels for the amazingly cool concept behind the Motee Maids brand, I enlisted the help of the wonderful designer behind the label, Rosanna Garden, to help my vision for my very best girls come true.
Meeting at her fabulous northern stockist, Joy’s Bella Bridesmaids, in Riccall near York, myself and three of my bridesmaids – Gemma, Ellen and Nic (my fourth, Amy, is currently in Australia) – were in the very best hands, and space, for our appointment. Owned by Hannah Robinson, the boutique is a stunning space dedicated purely to bridesmaids, with the ground level filled with the crème de la crème of bridesmaid attire while the first floor is for the trying on, with plenty of floorspace and mirrors, plus four generously proportioned changing rooms. If you’re looking to have a ball with your #girlsquad, trying on the most gorgeous dresses and being advised by a professional rather than dragging your clique around the high street, then trust me, this is where you need to be!
Both Rosanna and Hannah listened to the plans we have for our wedding, including venue, styling and colour schemes, plus what I had in mind for my maids, and then we worked our way through the options to narrow down the choices with the girls having the best dress-up session ever!
The beauty of the Motee Maids Original Pearl Collection, from which we selected, is that differing bodice and skirts designs can be teamed up to create the dream dress silhouette, or there are even skirt and top options that can be worn as separates. Next you can select from Motee’s sensational colour palette, featuring pretty pastels, elegant muted tones and opulent jewel hues. Finally, there is a choice of four pretty embellishments to customise the attire further. Parties can then decide on whether they all wear identical designs or switch it up a little with each bridesmaid in the same colour and embellishment but different silhouettes or have the same style but mix up with different embellishments or colour. Literally SO MANY OPTIONS!!
Amazingly, the vision I set out with for my girls is exactly what they ended up with! At this point I’d like to point out this is not because I’m some crazy control freak of a bridezilla (Rosanna and Hannah as my witnesses!) but because they equally loved what I had in mind once they had gone through all of the options – though as the Motee collections are so unbelievably gorgeous (oooooo the sequin sash!!) there were a number of close front runners. As expected, I do have some serious bridesmaid-outfit-envy and I can’t wait for you to see what we chose come the wedding in May.
Another big focus for me in the run up to the big day was getting my skin in the best possible condition, as I see it, that’s what’s going to help me up my beauty game – along with the skills of my amazing makeup artist Anna Cordelia Mason, who, as it happens, is the person that recommended Ginger Tree Holistic Health & Beauty to me.
Based just outside of Richmond, North Yorkshire, I visited this haven for luxurious holistic and natural beauty treatments to seek advice via a consultation with skin specialist and owner, Kathy Scott.
Now I have to say, for me an appointment with Kathy was far more than an experience, it was an education – it turns out despite reading up on and trying more products than you will find under the roof of a Boots superstore (perhaps part of my downfall) I have only the tiniest grasp on my skin type and how to care best for it.
During the consultation Kathy and I discussed my skin history, current situation, lifestyle, habits and key concerns. It turned out, as someone who has been previously plagued by bad breakouts, that I’d been using harsher products than necessary that were hindering my skin rather than improving it.
Next, Kathy used a magical Observ 520 to photograph the different layers of my skin, which highlighted two key areas. Firstly, underlying redness/irritation which wouldn’t have been noticed just by looking in natural daylight. Kathy suggested my skin immunity and barrier functions need some support to improve this, meaning that in the longer term I will be less likely to breakout, the skin will be smoother, plumper and finer lines will ease. Secondly, Kathy detected that my pigmentation is quite marked and so my current protection needs to be improved to, in turn, improve the pigmentation damage over time.
With both time (a matter of months!) and budget (hello, I’m saving for a wedding) constraints to consider, Kathy pinpointed a number of key products that I could use at home that would focus on the immunity/barrier function and controlling further breakouts. As such I went away with Accumax supplements, which are specific for breakouts, congested skin and rosacea type symptoms, a soothing AVST Botanical Cleanser and the lowest Vitamin A moisturiser, the starting point in the Environ skincare system.
Three months in and I’m getting on great with the products. In fact, from the very off these agreed with my skin, which is totally refreshing after the ups and downs of trying numerous skincare products that would either totally dehydrate and strip my skin or add to, rather than reduce, my breakouts.
I’ve definitely seen a marked improvement in my skin so far – it seems both clearer and brighter – and I look forward to continuing my skincare journey with Kathy, who I would highly recommend to any other brides-to-be with skin hang-ups. For me, my looming wedding day was the prompt I needed to finally seek professional help and even though I don’t live near Kathy, she can advise me on email and regularly checks in with me to see how I am getting on and I truly value her knowledge and support.
So, what now? Well this next stage of the wedding planning could be seen as overwhelming as there are many meetings to be had and decisions to be made, but Andy and I are feeling really excited about what’s to come – including sorting our ceremony, visits to our amazing venue The West Mill, a meeting with our insanely talented florist Jane Steel of Wedding & Events Floral Design, catching up with photo-ace Jon Dennis of S6 Photography, a makeup trial with Anna, hair trial with Jen Ashton of Wildflower Hair Company and so much more. In the words of a sassy Kirsten Dunst circa 2000: “Bring it on!”