Our Budapest adventure and a week without the ‘W’ word

They really are all consuming. They take over your newsfeed, Pinterest habit and often daily conversations. Not only do they take up much of your purse strings, they too often take up much of your out-of-work mind space too.

Ah yes, weddings.

I’d heard lots of couples talk about taking a few days away before the wedding itself (a pre-moon if you like) to really relax, unwind and appreciate the massive step you are about to take. With many couples banning any talk of the upcoming day itself, (marriage, however, you can talk about) the W word is off the cards.

And I can totally see why. When you both work full time, with one day a week dedicated to spending time together, a weekend of just you-time can be very much desired.

 

Budapest Palace

Which is why we decided to leave all ‘W‘ talk at home when we jetted of to Budapest last week. We explored cobbled streets, wandered down the river Danube, drank lots of craft beer and ate scrummy Langos– and pretended we didn’t have a wedding book at home pining for us. And it was blissful. Truly truly blissful. No big decisions to make, no calculating spreadsheet and no constant reading of Love My Dress in the hope of yet another amazing idea.

 

Beer time!

 

Langos menu

 

Traditonal langos

If you haven’t explored Hungary yet, then I’d highly recommend you do. I adore the place, and their Parlimentary buildings are definitely in my top 3 architectural loves. There is something new to see and explore around every corner.

 

Budapest Parliment

We stayed at the Casati Hotel, which was a stones throw from the main shopping and drinking district. PERFECT!

This hotel is modern, quirky and really rather fabulous. Prosecco at breakfast? No problem. A car to the airport? Our pleasure. Tickets to a candle lit boat cruise? Let us organise that for you. Nothing was too much trouble. Plus the cracking cocktail bar next door wasn’t to be sniffed at!

 

Tuk Tuk Cocktails

Saving, planning and organising for a wedding is stressful enough without rewarding yourself with some downtime. If you want my advice? Budget a mini break or 2 into your wedding costs.

I honestly don’t think you’ll regret it.

Pre-wedding pampering at Solaia Spa

Well it’s a been a while, and whilst life is passing us by at lighting speed we’ve landed just before Christmas and a mere 4 and a half months the big day….eeekkkk!

So like all ‘me time treats‘ my facial routine has kind of bitten the dust of late, leaving this pre-bridal complexion lacking all kinds of lustre. 

Luckily for me, I live a few miles away from one heavenly spa. Solaia Spa at Hillbark Hotel, located within the pretty grounds of Roydon Park on the Wirral, offers a wide range of hairdressing and beauty treatments in the most relaxing of surroundings.


My therapist Suzanne greeted me with the friendliest of smiles and tastiest lattes (you can always win a girls heart with a good coffee first thing in the morning) before our in-depth consultation. Approaching 30 with not the healthiest of diets and a strong coffee addition my skin is not exactly in the best of conditions, with fine lines, uneven tone and breakout blemishes a plenty, so I was excited to try the suggested treatment of Microdermabrasion


Off we went to a cosy treatment room, complete with heated bed, relaxing lighting and a handy mirrored ceiling so I could even watch the treatment and see my skins transformation in real time!

What is microdermabrasion?

Microdermasion uses a highly controlled flow of fine, medical grade crystals to remove the outermost layer of skin. This then reveals new, living skin cells which are soft, smoother and ready to absorb nutrients. Microdermabrasion stimulates cell renewal, improves circulation, reduces lines, wrinkles, acne and scaring and eliminates dull, rough looking skin.

Now that all sounds pretty damn good to me!


My treatment began with a relaxing cleansing massage, think sleep inducing, total bliss relaxation, before the microdermabrasion began. During this part of the treatment, which takes around 30 minutes, Suzanne passed the Derma Genisis hand piece over my skin with its suction forcing the medical grade crystals to lift off daily grime and layers of dead skin cells. Feels slightly tickley, but definitely not uncomfortable- it’s not a case of pain is beauty here!

Once completed my skin was treated to a tailor made mask with anti oxidants from SkinCeuticals, the perfect perfect end to the treatment.

Suzanne said ‘SkinCeuticals treatments and products provide scientifically proven skin improvement through use of its active pharmaceutical based ingredients and processes.’ Before going on the recommend my at home after care to ensure I received the most benefits from the treatment. 

Immediately afterwards my skin left fresh, smoother and almost more awake. It’s not recommended to apply make up after microdermabrasion, and luckily enough I wouldn’t even want to. When your skin looks this good, you want to show it off!

Solaia Spa at Hillbark Hotel, Wirral, currently have an amazing offer on Microdermabrasion.

For a limited period, you too can treat yourself to a pamper for only £49.00 instead of £70. 

To book please call 0151 625 4040

Wedding Budget Blues

For all you brides-to-be, you really need to join us in the Love My Dress Facebook group. It’s a splendid little place dedicated to wedding chit chat, rants and support when needed. There’s no better place to find supplier details, decor inspiration and to air any big day niggles.

Plus you mind certain members joining the blogging community by voicing their opinions on the weekly feature, From The Heart, on the official Love My Dress page.

And last week, that post really came in handy. Written by former bride-to-be, and now happily married Mrs, Claire, the post focused on that Big Black Cloud– the budget. And how to justify your spend, no matter what others opinion may be.


Now your budget is as personal as your pant size, political opinion and monthly salary- yet no-one bats an eyelid when they ask how much your spending on your big day. Or even considers how rude, abrupt or upsetting their response can be if you actually ‘fess up to the big (or little) number.

We made our budget on day one of planning, and have so far stuck to it pretty well. We’ve had finicial ups and downs in the 11 months since we selected that figure, but for us, it’s still he right amount of money to be splashing out on what will be the most important day of our lives so far.


Now, we don’t own a house, have any children or any serious debt to consider. Neither do we scrimp and panic month on month to meet our savings goal, still making sure that that weekend away we desperately need or gig we are dying to go to, are still part of the plan. We work our socks off and if we want to create the day of our dreams, so be it.

So why do people feel to need to comment?

From working closely with brides, mainly on a 1-2-1 basis, I’ve heard it all before.

‘Are your mad?! I’d rather save up to buy a house’

‘God I’d need a second mortgage to afford that type of venue/dress/photographer (whatever your main splurge is)’

To the polar opposite 

‘I can’t believe your ONLY spending X amount, won’t you regret it?’

‘Oh it’s a sample dress? Like one people have tried on before?’

And the all so common 

‘Why waste all that money when you could spend it on your honeymoon instead’

WHY DOES IT MATTER?! If it’s right for you, your day and your dream, then why do we let other people’s opinion rain on our parade?!

Which is why we need to let it go, invertly roll our eyes and give a little secret giggle to ourselves when said friends, acquaintances and the general population feel the need to judge you on your budget. 

And remember- when all is said and done- it’s your day, your dream and your fairytale.

A week of relaxation by the sea

Sometimes all we need is a week of walks by the beach, cuddles with the youngest member of the clan and unlimited cider consumption to recharge our batteries.

By the seaside


So, after a mammoth few weeks of weddings, teaching and early prom appointments, I headed south to the seaside town of Porthcawl, not too far from the capital Cardiff. We stayed in a gorgeous caravan, which was perfect for late morning laziness, early evening snacking and late night drinking!

The weather may not have been on our side- but sometimes a seqa breeze is all you need to reset your sails!

Finally giving these Cath Kidston pumps a whirl!

Porth Cawl

 

I also tried my hand at archery- which was surprisingly easier than I ever expected! It’s a great sport to try if your not particularly sporty (I’m definitely not!!)  and I’d highly recommend it!

Not a bad attempt!


Plus we managed to spend two pre-wedding milestones together- now there is less than 10 months and 300 days to go. EEEKKKKK!!!!

Cheeeese!

The best way to spend the day


What plans have you got this Summer?

I’ve said YES TO THE DRESS! 

It’s happened. It’s purchased. It’s mine!

I’ve finally finally found THE DRESS- and what a beauty of a dress it is!


Obviously I can’t really tell you anything at all, but I will tell you it’s different to what I imagined, but in the best possible way.

And when people say ‘you’ll just know’ and ‘the dress will feel different to all other dresses’ For me, IT DID. I definitely knew it was the one as soon as I stepped into it, which I was worried I wouldn’t do.


I visited quite a lot of bridal boutiques along the way, and had a real mixed bag of experiences. But the experience I had at Boutique Brides in Crosby, Merseyside was top notch, first class. Friendly, knowledgable and Honest, without being sales pushy or too ‘Say Yes to The Dress‘ OTT. I truly felt at home here, and knew the girls were speaking the truth when I asked for their honest opinion on certain dress elements or accessories. 

So a note to all you brides-to-be, wait for that feeling and that boutique. It’s the dress of your dreams after all…. And shouldn’t be a nightmare experience.

Behind the scenes with Mark Hill and Jordan Bone

This week I’ve been lucky enough to spend some time in sunny Yorkshire. Well I say sunny- it was hot, sunny and humid for all of around 6 hours before every other weather hit. Thunder, lightning, rain and hale plus a flooded motorway to boot. British Summer hey?!

Anyway, I was in Yorkshire to join the Mark Hill team for their latest exciting launch, which features 4 gorgeous bloggers.


I was working with the beautiful and inspirational Jordan Bone, and together we decided to create a soft, warm smokey eye with a pop of copper teamed with a contoured cheek and creamy nude lip. Jordan would wear this make up to accompany her slot alongside Mark Hill stylist, Tash. I can’t tell you too much about the styles created, but they we all fabulous in their own way!

Make-up time !


I chose my favourite foundation range, Make up Forever Ultra HD in 140 with Make-up Forever colour correction primer in Yellow and Purple to even out Jordan’s skin and create a camera ready flawless base. Whilst I selected Illamasqua Copper Liquid Metal and MAC Pink Bronze Pigment to create those sultry eyes.

Jordans’s finished look

It was then time to get on set! You’ll have to wait a few more weeks to see what Mark Hill have no offer- so until then, make sure you follow their Instagram for lots of behind the scenes gossip!

sneak peek!

Behind the scenes at QVC

Phew, a long, exhausting day is over!

You would never believe how tiring  a QVC TSV is- considering its generally 5-6 20 minutes shows, I feel like I’ve ran a marathon! Even repeating the same advice, tips and pro secrets becomes exhausting. Who knew?!

Anyway, what a day it was! The staff at QVC were as ever, fabulous! 

backstage finds

QVC is a rather fabulous place to be- it’s super pretty, so friendly and with a chilled, fun atmosphere. You’d almost never think it was live everyone is so cool, calm and collected!

what a camera!

Even the backstage area is gorgeous, and I was  lucky enough to have my very own dressing room- which was soon occupied with copious amounts of make up!


dressing room love

The backstage team was headed by Roo Maurice, who is absolutely incredible and such an inspiration to work with. She created the models hair styles backstage and even styled mine between shows- and it was lovely to be sat in the chair for a change! We were sharing our backstage salon with Percy and Reed, another inspiring brand!


After all the prep was complete, it’s time to hit the air! For these shows I was representing Instyler and talking about their cult products- The Titanium Barrel and Tulip Auto Curler.

on set with Instyler


models on set


If you tuned in, what did you think of the Instyler tools?!

Instyler Titanium Hairstyling System 

Curling, straightening, smoothing, volumising. All from one tool.

A straightener? No. A wand? Nope. A tong? Not too far off

No, the tool that creates so many styles is another treat from Instyler, this time their Titanium Hairstyling System. 


Designed for making daily hairstyling quick and easy for the  every day women, this multi functional tool is ideal for all hair lengths, textures and types. It can add body to fine, limp hair, eliminates frizz, transforms into polished straight locks from natural waves and can even create smooth curls. 

Simply detangle dry hair and take 1-3 inch sections at a time.

The Instyler features a heated rotated barrel with two sets of ionic bristles brushes- one to smooth and align hair and the other to polish. One you insert hair and close the Instyler, the barrel begins to rotate, smoothing and lifting each individual hair strand. 


Slow and steady wins the race, and unlike traditional flat irons, this won’t lead to indentation marks or damage. In fact you can run the Instyler over hair up to 3 times without risking damage to her hair- all thanks to the ceramic tourmaline barrel.

Frizzy or kinky roots? Open the Instyler and gently run the barrel over the root area before clamping the tool over the section of hair you wish to style.

With two heat settings and lots of techniques at hand, you really can create anything.

For example, when you fancy flicky ends, run the Instyler down the hair shaft as normal until you reach two thirds of the way down. Release the hair and flip the Instyler over so the Barrel is on the top. Twist your wrist at the end to create a gentle flick of the hair. 

Or maybe you want a loose, soft curl. Open the Instyler and wrap your section of hair round like a traditional tong. Close the tool and hold in place for a few seconds. Release the hair to reveal a smooth, shiny curl!

This really is a ‘no effort’ tool- say goodbye to your round brush, rollers and flat irons, this little beauty does it all!

I’ll be on QVC showcasing the Instyler range on May 30th, with lots of special offers!