Tuesday 29 May 2012

Big Day Masterclass at Liberty's: last chance to book your spot (sorry) on Dermalogica bridal skincare event 30th May

Practically perfect in every way? Must be the Dermalogica Bride
If by chance like me you have a Wednesday evening to spare and skin in real need of a little TLC, join me at a unique Dermalogica event at Liberty London from 6pm this Wednesday 30th May for a big day masterclass!

Taking place in the Heritage Suite, tickets cost £30 redeemable against any products purchased on the evening AND an exclusive goodie bag of skin treats from Dermalogica.

Expect Dermalogica's signature face-mapping analysis before a personalised skin regime prescription to get you bridal beautiful in a twinkling (or, more like an exfoliate and cleanse!).

Book one of the last places now by calling 0207 734 1234 ext.2125 and watch out for live pictures from @QBride on Twitter.

Monday 28 May 2012

RUNAWAY BRIDE: QBride and the big-day fitness blitz

And lo, with just a little shy of four months to go until the wedding and my second fitting at the lovely Johanna Hehir pencilled in for next week, my thoughts have turned to things that wobble.

My thighs, upper arms and tummy to be precise. Even my upper back seems to want to get in on this new found, and extremely unwanted lackadaisical attitude to firmness, youthful bounce and a glowing, toned appearance. The timing, with wedmin lethargy kicking in and the call of the open road to pound the pavements less appealing than ever, is bad. What's worse, although an in-depth knowledge of pre-wedding diets and the benefits of exercise - particularly when it comes to beating the dreaded love-handles induced by stress' BFF cortisol - are part of the job description as a bride, nothing seems to be spurring me into action. Not even the thought of the 'forever' pictures that will stand testament to my current ostrich-like approach to training seem to be deterring me from sleeping past the alarm clock that should be getting me up for my thrice-weekly run.

*NB small note of self-defence, usually I am quite the outbound-bound kind of girl, scaling peaks, running half-marathons and dancing/prancing (delete as appropriate). But with writing the forthcoming book has come increasingly long hours fettered to my desk and an increased resilience to tenets such as 'no pain, no gain'. Where my standard riposte would be more 'just do it', this is more commonly 'meh' at the moment.

So, I thought, if I make a pact with you lovely readers on this here blog, I can't ignore it, can I? You can goad, berate and act like the uber-trainers I wish I could afford. And I promise I will take it, no grumbles or excuses. The heat is on, my friends.

Are you a bride struggling to beat the jiggles? Here's my cheats guide to ditching those few little pounds that can make all the difference, and the fitness secrets you need for the arms of Michelle Obama, the legs of Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and the midriff of a Prada model rocking this season's cropped tops...

A CHANGE WOULD DO YOU GOOD One of the most effective ways to get your body working harder is to vary your exercise and drop in unexpected challenges such as going for a long bike ride, resistance training by clearing out your loft or even pole-dancing whereby you use your own weight to strengthen. This forces your body to adapt and shed pounds without thinking about it as you don't reach a plateau as you would if you just continued one staple exercise.

GO HIGH-OCTANE ENERGY FOR SLIM LIMBS Dance classes such as Niki Rein's "isometric ballet" on the King's Road or even Zumba (the happy-inducing dancercize class) require lots of beans as you squat, lift and stretch but are low impact for lissome limbs that are naturally slim and taut.
TRY NIKI'S "BACK DANCE" Lie in a bridge shape with your shoulders on the floor, lift your hips up and down for four minutes in a steady pulse movement. Up your game by squeezing a Pilate's ball between your knees.
Niki Rein at Barrecore.co.uk

FRESH AND WILD Fill your meals with protein, fresh vegetables, good fats (avocado, nuts, eggs, full-fat greek yogurt and oily fish such as salmon) and garlic, one of nature's best cleansers - but forewarn your groom!. Avoid processed sugar, wheat products and treat treats as precisely that - something to have occasionally and savour. Also, ditch the alcohol if you can - one of the worst culprits of 'empty' calories, but a Gin and slim-line tonic is the least wasteful if you must. I've also just discovered Omega 3 fish oil, and reduced the amount of dairy in my diet to aid clearer, more radiant skin.

BORN TO RUN As one of the most liberating and all-round forms of exercise, little beats a good run. But a word of caution, a long run can actually create more cortisol (which has a direct effect on the stubborn fat that clings to women's tummies) as the body releases free radicals. Build your distances up gradually to stop your body going into attack-mode and becoming 'stressed' by the run. I also can't run without a ruddy good running soundtrack - music has recently been proven by scientists to steady pace, motivate and metaphorically 'cheer' you on - cue lots of bad rock anthems, LMFAO and avoiding the temptation to join in with the hands-up-in-the-air-clapping euphoria as Take That's 'Never Forget' plays on the home straits. Yes, I am that cool.

ALWAYS ON MY MIND Keep a vision in mind of a 'better' you when exercising (so, you looking healthy, sleek and toned on your big day) for optimum results - as athlete Lucinda Puddicombe, the former team GB teamster, says "Academic studies show how beneficial visualisation can be when training, as it improves commitment, focus, muscle recruitment, energy efficiency and spatial awareness". So the trick is to think it to be it.

Let the games begin...

Wednesday 23 May 2012

PARADISE FOUND: Our picks of the most heavenly wedding destinations...

Cyclades blue seas, balmy sunshine, the sound of rustling trees and shores of white sand stretching as far as the eye can see: isn't there something just so effortlessly 'wow' about a destination wedding?
Yes, the sun has just started to shine on our shores (!), but for guaranteed Para-para-paradise as Coldplay would have it, these are my (whispers) secret just-like-heaven wedding hideaways. These are the sort of places I really should keep to myself if I want to keep them special, but if you dream of celebrations with unparalleled luxury and blissfully relaxed romance wont to take your breath away, look no further...

DAIOS COVE, Crete: Striking ivory stone and sheer glass starchitecturally designed suites perch atop a private bay at Daios Cove for the essence of luxury. Host an open-air ceremony in one of many luscious green clifftop locations surrounded by the azure skies and soft breeze that carries a faint whiff of the nearby lavender and wild thyme. Daioscovecrete.com

AYANA RESORT AND SPA, Bali: The definitive retreat, all private infinity pools, tropical gardens of frangipani trees and divine style that is modern chic meets natural romance defined. Marry in the glass chapels overlooking the iridescent Indian Ocean or under the canopy of the 350 year old traditional Balinese pavilion before a rocking party at Ayana. Ayanaresort.com

PALAZZO MARGHERITA, Italy: Home of star-cross'd lovers, we love the almost too pretty Francis Ford Copolla owned Palazzo Margherita for its fabulous molto-glamour and homely, rustic edge (Sofia Copolla married here just last summer, which sort of says it all). Palazzomargherita.com

                                                        Photo credit (right) Tim Beddow

Credits: all photos Lisa Limer unless otherwise stated.

CHATEAU DE LA GOUJEONNERIE, France: Putting the ‘F’ in to Fantasy, this fairy-tale chateau deep in the vineyard dappled French countryside is run by the boys behind Les Trois Garcons and Lounge Lover and shares the same fantastical style. Chateau de la Goujeonnerie opens this summer for weddings. Lestroisgarcons.com/chateau

KOH SAMUI INTERCONTINENTAL, Thailand: The tangerine sunsets here never fail to astound, but for a beach wedding, there are few places more vibrantly beautiful or Eden-like than KohSamui Intercontinental. Turquoise seas, palms, pagodas and a huge deck reaching out into the waters, the hotel opens in July 2012. Samui.intercontinental.com


Monday 21 May 2012

VERA WANG S/S 2013 Trunk Show at Browns Bride

Oh, Vera - you did it again. What better on a dreary, grey-skied Monday than losing yourself in collection of heart-stoppingly beautiful, bewitching gowns in rich, jewel-like shades?

With their millefeuille honeycomb tulle layers of crimson, plum, aubergine, scarlet and deep red, the latest Vera Wang collection of gowns shown at New York Bridal Fashion week has fast formed our latest bridal crush, and seeing them in the flesh at the glossy, lovely Vera Wang at Browns Bride boutique by way of a trunk show last week only served to seal the deal. These are dresses to fall in love with - light as a feather to wear, fairy-tale meets fashion world but without a hint of the meringue or saccharine.

Featuring corseted bustiers, flange silk skirts and lashings of tulle layering each dress is exquisitely ethereal yet dramatic: the sort of dresses you really don't need to adorn. Just add youthful, undone hair and the most naturally gorgeous make-up from Karen Beadle (think that early nineties supermodels no-make-up-make-up look) and you're done.

This cunningly also means you can afford to splurge on the gown and not worry about blowing the budget with accessorising - a trick that came in very handy when I spent rather more than I should have done on my dress and had to reason my way out with a rather incredulous groom!

As with Vera Wang's last collection of coal-black wedding dresses, don't worry about the prospect of shocking your mum or leaving the vicar floundering for words at being presented with a bride in scarlet - every gown is available in ivory but loses none of the impact or knockout beauty. Alternatively, if like me you've fallen for these fiery shades, why not dress your maids in a palette of autumn berry gowns?

59 Brook Street, London W1K 4HS
T: +44(0)207 514 0090
E: [email protected]

Tuesday 15 May 2012

SILVER LININGS: chic grey colour schemes and moodboard inspiration

As the saying goes, every cloud...and boy, have there been a lot of rain-laden clouds scudding across our grey skies of late. It's enough to make any bride planning a summer wedding panic. But we say worry not - why not play the good old British weather at its own game by taking your inspiration and colour scheme from the rainy skies?

Think pretty pearl and dove grey tones, touches of silvered accessories, lashings of clear glass and a little of that Parisian chic with antique golds, blues and shimmering paste jewels. Splash out (sorry) on some of these stylish finds to inject some just-rained lustre into your wedding or even just play around with a pearly colour board of your own (surely one of the most fun bits of wedding planning). If in doubt, just remember that rainy kiss in The Notebook  - and if the prospect of a drenched Ryan Gosling doesn't make you think more kindly of the rain, nothing will.

Oh, and whilst we're on the subject of The Notebook -I'm sorry I didn't write you via this little blog here, things have been madcap busy finalising things for the book which I'll be so excited to share come July....but a hand-slap for QBride for having neglected you so long.

Credits: 1.Beautiful room from Chateau de la Goujeonnerie //2.Cloudy Lemonade with striped straws Fentimans and Etsy for similar //3.Glass candlesticks and taper candles Ikea for similar //4.Dress Claire Pettibone, image Elizabeth Messina //5. Bluebells from Jo Malone campaign , image Tim Walker //6. Dress Colette Dinnigan //7. Polka dot Save the Date similar from /8. Write your menu on a mirror from Great Hire //9. Who says umbrellas are ugly? Try Brollies Galore for pretty rain protectors //10. Gysophilia wreath similar from Scarlet & Violet //11. Pearl Feather wedding cake from Little Venice Cake Company //12. Duck egg bridesmaids dresses similar from Pronovias //13. Silvered candlesticks from Cox & Cox //15. Interior painted with clouds The Savile Club, London //16. Calligraphy on a smoky quartz milled paper - similar from Paul Antonio //17. Pearl handled cutlery makes a pretty accent on a cake table. Raid antiques shops and fairs for similar - we love RG Scott in Margate, Kent //18. Flowers from cult Brooklyn florists Saipua.