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Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Travel: A few days in Prague

In mid-December I set off for a short trip to Prague, a city I visited many years ago. I remembered sights like Charles Bridge, Prague Castle and Old Town Square but hoped to find some new gems this time. 

View over Charles Bridge of Prague Castle

Beautiful ceiling at Art Deco gallery Palac Rokoko

Rooftops at Old Town Square

I also came across an amazing spot for lunch in the Old Town. Sisters is a Czech-Scandi fusion restaurant on Dlouha serving open sandwiches - beetroot/goats cheese, ham and egg, chilli/feta. They also have a range of warming soups and cater to all allergies. 


Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Monday, 15 September 2014

Focus On: Stephen Webster

I first really sat up and took notice of Stephen Webster when I saw this editorial in the inaugural issue of ELLE Wedding, out this month. 


Not usually one for large statement pieces of jewellery, I love the intricate detail and power of Stephen Webster's designs. 


But my absolute favourites are these moons and stars earrings which lend a certain ethereal, magical quality. 


Follow Stephen Webster on Instagram.

T.A x 

Friday, 12 September 2014

The Dream Coat

Today, a slight diversion from weddings and all things bridal to swoon after this creamy nude coat from Zara.


T.A x

Friday, 5 September 2014

Wedding Dresses: Honor

Take inspiration from the New York catwalks for modern bridalwear. Honor is the label from opera singer turned medical student turned designer, Giovanna Randall and my new favourite NY label. 





T.A x

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Q&A with: Beulah London

Choosing a beautiful outfit for a wedding can be a difficult task, we spoke to Natasha Rufus Isaacs, co-founder of beautiful British-born silk label Beulah London about what to wear to a wedding as a guest, bridesmaid and mother of the bride. 

Lady Natasha Rufus Isaacs
In 2009 Natasha Rufus Isaacs and Lavinia Brennan spent time in Delhi volunteering for an organisation that helped women who had escaped the sex trade. Many of these women were from the suburbs or villages and had been promised work or a better life. Inspired by the charity's work, they decided to start a company that would provide such women with an income and skills as well as raise awareness of the issue. Despite no formal fashion training the girls decided to found an ethical fashion company, and in 2011 Beulah London was born. 

You can find out a bit more about the brand here.

What was the reason behind starting your gorgeous label, Beulah? 
To produce beautiful clothes that are effortlessly glamorous and made in the finest silks. Our motivation to set up the business is to help provide women who have been trafficked or are vulnerable with an alternative, sustainable livelihood.

Who tends to be your customer?
She's a young, ambitious professional who loves to look her best and has a conscience about how her clothes are made.

Beulah Seraphina
What has been the most exciting moment for Beulah to date?
It has to be being given a commendation by the UN as a business in dedication to combatting human trafficking in 2010 and 2013.

What kind of dress style do you think suits most bridesmaids? Have you noticed any trends recently? 
A-line, floaty and flattering style that suits all figures and shapes. Our Sarai style is the most popular, it is floor length and has sheer sleeves with small buttons down the middle. It's classical, elegant, in fact, my bridesmaids wore the same style to my own wedding!

Kate Middleton wearing the Beulah Sarai dress
What would suggest as a stylish and contemporary outfit for a mother of the bride?
Our Sabitri dress is beautiful for mother of the brides - as it is covered, but very flattering and cinches in at the waist. Otherwise I would suggest a light silk shift dress with a knee length jacket to go over the top. 

Beulah Sabitri
What are your ultimate dos and don'ts for guests when deciding what to wear to a wedding?
Don't wear white, never wear backless in the church (always wear a jacket with it) and do not opt for anything too short! 

For summer weddings I suggest our floaty silk dresses which are easy to wear and transition well from day to evening.

Beulah Porcelain
Thanks for speaking with us, Natasha. 

T.A x

Friday, 22 August 2014

Focus on: NEOM Organics

I have long been a fan of Harrogate-based NEOM organics and recently my sister and I bought our mum a hamper of NEOM treats to unwind for her birthday. 

My absolute favourite product to date has been the Sicilian Lemon and Fresh Basil Scented Travel Candle, £16. A great product to take away on holiday with you, the scent takes minutes to fill the room and make you feel at home, while stimulating a tired and busy mind. I find it very quickly reenergises me. 



NEOM organics have recently undergone a rebrand, with new packaging and a refresh of their website, focusing on the natural elements of the products. I love the new look products with wooden lids and thick cardboard boxes that feel indulgent to open. Inside they say 'Scent to make you feel good'.

In the midst of wedding planning, I was delighted to trial their new Time to Unwind Bath Foam, £22, which is a pure blend of 12 botanical extracts handpicked from around the world - recommended as a great product to de-stress and unwind, exactly what I was hoping to do. 

The second I opened the box I could smell the gorgeous infusion of Guaiacwood oil, which comes from a tree called palo santo originally used to help meditation, mixed with rose and bluebell which helps to make you focus and reminds me of walks through the woods. 

Containing absolutely no sodium lauryl sulphate, the Bath Foam doesn't dry you out and it is packed with soothing marshmallow, aloe leaf, coconut and sweet almond to nourish and protect the skin. The ingredients are good enough to eat!


Next on my list to try is their Great Day Body Scrub, £34, from the Make you Happy range, which recently featured in STYLIST. The scrub is infused with wild mint and mandarin for a rejuvenating post-summer pick me up designed to help you de-stress and give you a boost. I love body scrubs and this one looks nice and textured to slough away dry skin,


See more of the product range on NEOM Organic's Instagram page.

And head to NEOM Organics for 15% off your first shop.

T.A x

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Dream Honeymoon: Provence



This week I'm dreaming of travelling to Provence on honeymoon and below are my top picks of what to wear when you're there…

What to wear


1. Essie, Find me an Oasis, Beauty Bay

2. Etoile Isabel Marant Cassidy Chiffon Dress, Net-a-Porter

3. Monica Vinader Rose Gold Quartz Necklace, Net-a-Porter

4. Philip Lim 3.1 Dress, Net-a-Porter

5. Mimi Holliday Banoffee Pie Lingerie Set, Damaris

6. Superga Blue Plimsolls, John Lewis

7. Miguelina Shorts, Shopbop.com

Where to stay 

Hotel Crillon le Brave


T.A x

Friday, 1 August 2014

An evening with Jenny Packham

In July we were invited to an exclusive preview of Jenny Packham's 2015 collection at the Elizabeth Street boutique, with a talk from Jenny herself followed by hair styling in the garden, champagne and macaroons.  



The flowers were by the wonderful Philippa Craddock


Dress heaven, I found one that we are going back to see.



Here is a selection of designs from the 2015 Jenny Packham bridal collection.














T.A. x

Friday, 18 July 2014

Wedding Beauty: Night Skincare

Night time skincare is something I have never really considered to date but I now realise it is the optimum time for skin to recover from the day. 

I tried Kiehl's Iconic Midnight Recovery Concentrate, £36, which sells one a minute globally (!) and contains over 9 botanical oils including Omega 3, 6 and 9, helping skin to repair and replenish overnight. 

While we sleep, it is the perfect time for skin to rejuvenate and recover given that there are less environmental aggressors, allowing your skin to rest. Night time is when skin is naturally programmed to best absorb active ingredients, this usually happens between midnight and 4am. 

The best thing for me about this midnight elixir is the heavenly lavender scent and its lightness. Only two drops are recommended to cover your face and the oil doesn't feel sticky or heavy on your skin. Instead it glides on and is instantly absorbed into the skin. The small bottle will last ages and is perfect for slipping into your hand luggage when travelling. 



T.A. x

Friday, 11 July 2014

Wedding Dresses: Paris Couture

If money were no object...

Here is a selection of the most dreamy fantasy wedding dresses from the recent couture shows in Paris...

Chanel

Elie Saab
Valentino

Ralph & Russo

T.A. x

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Stylish Brides: Fearne Cotton


Fearne Cotton married in Richmond with a ceremony at The Orangery in Kew.

Follow Fearne Cotton on Twitter

T.A. x

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Focus On: Arthus Bertrand

I stumbled across Arthus Bertrand via Vogue.fr. An iconic Parisian jeweller just a stone's throw from Les Deux Magots in St Germain, the Arthus Bertrand house has been making fine jewellery since 1803. 


princess ring, this features a one carat solitaire encased by a white gold crown containing white diamonds. Arthus Bertrand specialises in engagement rings and draws on fairy tales and fantastical elements to create the jewellery of your dreams….



Follow Arthus Bertrand on Facebook





Monday, 30 June 2014

Stylish Brides: Olivia Palermo marries in Carolina Herrera



This weekend Olivia Palermo married Johannes Huebl in a private ceremony in Bedford, New York.

Follow Olivia Palermo on Twitter



Monday, 16 June 2014

Wedding News: Jimmy Choo launches bespoke shoe service

When on a recent dress shopping visit I asked a shop assistant what is the most popular brand for brides'  shoes, she instantly answered, 'Jimmy Choo'.

There is a whole area on the Jimmy Choo website dedicated to those who have said 'I Do in Choo'.


But Jimmy Choo has now launched a bespoke shoe service, where you can choose your perfect heel height, colour, fabric and design. Perfect for brides (on the neutral end of the spectrum) through to Mothers of the Bride, bridesmaids and wedding guests. 

From £475. 

Follow Jimmy Choo on Twitter

#IDoinChoo

Saturday, 14 June 2014

Q&A with: Mr & Mrs Smith

We are just starting to think about honeymoon options and really don't know where to begin…

Boutique hotel experts Mr & Mrs Smith know the importance of a romantic retreat so I asked their honeymoon expert Claire Wilson for the latest honeymoon trends and the inside scoop on a stylish stay...

Claire Wilson, Honeymoon Expert at Mr & Mrs Smith

What is currently the most popular destination for honeymoons?
This year it’s all about Greece, particularly Santorini and Mykonos – they’re beautiful islands with the most stunning sunset views. Iconic opened earlier this year and still has availability for this summer, so that’s my insider tip! The Amalfi coast is the ultimate Italian escape for a honeymoon, too; I love Capo la Gala and Maison la Minervetta for their quirky design, ocean views and, of course, wonderful food.


Iconic, Santorini, Greece

How has this changed in recent years?
Direct flights are one of the biggest drivers for increased demand – naturally if it’s easier to get there you’re more likely to go! Bali has really opened up to travellers, as has Sri Lanka, which is upgrading its two airports currently so they’ll see more flight routes added within the next couple of years.

What are the hidden gems that people might overlook when planning a honeymoon?
Greece has about 200 inhabited islands (and hundreds more that are uninhabited) so I think there’s an enormous amount of exploring to do there. Getting around by ferry is incredibly easy – Poseidonion Grand Hotel on Spetses and the Anemi Hotel on Folegandros are perfect honeymoon hotspots. They’re both completely unique and chic, in beautiful beachside locations.

Anemi Hotel, Folegrandos
Where would you recommend for a couple looking for relaxation only? And what is the general price range for this kind of honeymoon?
If you want an indulgent beach holiday after an inevitably hectic wedding, Fusion Maya in Vietnam would be my top choice: it has all-inclusive spa treatments and a beautiful beachfront location. In terms of price, it’s hard to say because it completely depends on where you go and how long for. You could be looking at anything from £800 for a week in a hidden boutique retreat like Cortijo del Marqués in the Andalusian olive groves, right up to £9,000 for a blowout, multi-stop trip to New York and St Lucia.

Cortijos del Marqués, Spain

Where would you recommend for a couple planning to indulge in a once-in-a-lifetime honeymoon?
I always think Australia is overlooked because of the flight time, but if you fly on a Friday night you can take just two weeks out of the office and still have a full two weeks exploring thanks to the time difference. Southern Ocean Lodge on Kangaroo Island is an all-inclusive stunner of a hotel, as is Qualia on the southern Great Barrier Reef, and I love the Empire Retreat & Spa in the Margaret River region just south of Perth – it’s a secret retreat in the coastal wine region that’s perfect for honeymooners.
Southern Ocean Lodge, Kangaroo Island, Australia
Empire Retreat & Spa, Margaret River 
Where would you recommend for an adventurous couple planning a longer honeymoon (say two to three weeks) on a tighter budget?
Sri Lanka is a great option and it’s good value – it has the ideal mix of culture and beach. I’d recommend starting in Colombo, heading to Kandy and the hill country to explore the tea trails, and then, if you want to have a treat and can splash out at the end of your trip, the Maldives is hard to beat, somewhere like Cocoa Island by Como.

Cocoa Island by COMO, Maldives
Do people tend to go for one week or longer? What other trends are you noticing?
Most honeymooners head off for more than a week – if it’s a trip within Europe then it’s generally 10 days. For those heading long-haul, it’s generally a fortnight to make the most of it. I always think two weeks feels like you’ve been away for far longer than just double the one!

In terms of trends, combination stays are becoming more popular, for example twinning Miami with Mexico’s Riviera Maya, or Singapore with Bali, or Sri Lanka with the Maldives.

Your top tip for planning a honeymoon?
It sounds obvious, but book ahead… although bear in mind that flights come out 11 months before travel, so don’t try to book any earlier than that! Generally six months ahead of travelling is sensible. Remember to check direct flights and connections, too, if you want to go on a multi-stop trip – planning a logical route will save you time as well as money.

Your personal opinion…

Italy or Indonesia?
I’d personally pick Italy, because the options are endless: Tuscan hills, lakeside luxury, coastal retreats…

Maison La Minervetta, Italy
Bali or Bora Bora?
For me, Bali, because I can’t get enough of its variety and beautiful views, there is just so much to take in.

France or French Polynesia?
I’d probably say France, and specifically Hotel Crillon le Brave in Provence for its perfect location to explore beaches and beautiful countryside.

Hotel Crillon le Brave, Provence

Mexico or Maldives?
Ooh, tough one! Mexico, for its beaches, which almost rival those in the Maldives… but it also has so much to explore if you want a bit more adventure.


For your free insider guide to planning the perfect honeymoon, sign up for your copy of Mr & Mrs Smith’s Little White Book of Honeymoons and find out how to bag exclusive VIP benefits (including free upgrades and extras at every hotel). Can’t wait? Give Claire or another of Smith’s honeymoon experts a call on 0330 100 3180.


Follow Mr & Mrs Smith on Twitter