Saturday, 17 August 2013

D&M Wedding

I just wanted to take a little moment to share with you some photos from one of my best friends' weddings in the beautiful French countryside this July. As so many of you have been asking me about wedding preparation I thought that you would enjoy these photos and if not for inspiration, then purely for the beautiful imagery.
 The reception venue was an old Abbey set in the French countryside near Versaille.
 Getting ready in the bridal suite... I did my own and bridesmaids' makeup :).
 Something blue? Louboutins of course!
 The gorgeous Caroline Castigliano dress (honeycomb) and veil with blusher (apologies for my ridiculously long arms ruining an otherwise perfect photo)!
 Confetti cannons!
 The wedding party (and me trying to hide the fact I'm as tall as the groom).
 The lake created such a stunning backdrop!
 Luke and I stealing a quick moment alone during the drinks reception.
 The wedding breakfast. The table numbers and place cards matching the laser cut invitations by Intricate Creations.
The cake was a custom creation by The Cake Parlour to match the lace in the wedding dress and shipped all the way from London!

Wishing all the best to my dear friends D and M in their future life together!!! 

Friday, 16 August 2013

Eqvvs - Fit Not Thin!

Those of you who have followed my blog for a while already know that this year I have set myself some fitness goals that I am very determined to achieve. Of course a wedding dress is an unparalleled motivator, but I wanted to overhaul my body not for merely one day, but for the foreseeable future. Even though I have never been overweight I have found myself creeping upwards slowly over the last few years and sitting at my desk for 10 hours a day my fitness levels were truly despicable. After one speedy climb up the escalators at Piccadilly Circus left me feeling like my heart was going to fly out of my chest I knew the time had come to start investing in my health.
Having joined David Lloyd and tried all (yes all) of their classes and weekly sessions with one of their trainers I can definitely say that I have toned up and gained muscle, though not necessarily in the right places. My body fat has dropped by about 8% and I have lost 7kg, but have remained the same dress size. Being tall I can fluctuate a lot without really changing shape. I am undecided if this is a good thing (when I pile on the padding in the winter), or a bad thing (when I spend months burning it off and see little visible result). Even though clothes do feel better I have found inches have come off the areas where I didn’t mind them so much (I’m sure you can guess!). Going to the gym 3/4 times a week and keeping to a healthy eating plan has become somewhat a routine, but even though I am still trying out lots of different types of exercise my weight/ fitness has stalled for the last few months.
I was therefore very excited when Glossybox informed me that I had won their recent Twitter competition for 3 personal training sessions at the exclusive eqvvs studios in Knightsbridge. Having been a regular gym bunny since February I am still very much at the beginning of my fitness journey and am looking to learn as much as I can about different exercises and what I can push my body to do.

Eqvvs is situated in a little cul de sac near Harrods that gives it privacy and ambiguity, so it is no wonder it is such a favourite among celebs. The studio is equipped with all the latest equipment and despite being fairly small there are never more than 2 trainers/ clients working at the same time so there is plenty of space to work up a sweat. They have a number of private changing rooms with your own shower and sink, complete with fresh towels and Aromatherapy Associates toiletries (yes I am still a beauty blogger at heart so I notice these things). The sessions themselves are an hour long and completely dedicated to helping you achieve your goals at a pace and intensity that challenges, but does not make you dread your next visit. The trainers are so friendly, patient and knowledgeable that they spend every moment encouraging you, while checking your form and making sure you are doing the exercises correctly to get the full benefits. While my fitness level has improved there are still some areas that I really struggle with (core!) and the trainers were great at modifying exercises so that I could complete them and still feel a sense of achievement. I’m sure you guys know the feeling of when you try something new and completely bomb, the last thing you want is to be told to forget it and move on, because that will never help you learn. At eqvvs the treatment is so bespoke that you never feel like you have failed at anything. Even though some of the exercises we tried (eg. hanging knee hugs on the TRX) were far too advanced for my little muscles I felt like I was really progressing even being able to do a few in a slightly different position. A modified stance or hand grip could make all the difference so it is always worth finding out from a pro!
Both of the trainers I worked with (George and Miad) really made the sessions fun, but I knew that I was getting a really good workout all the way through, and even if I wasn’t sure my heart monitor reassured me I was ‘in the zone’.  They mixed up cardio with weights (machines, free weights and my own hefty body weight) to make sure each session gave a whole body workout and targeted major muscle groups to get those calories burning too. My favourite part of each hour was the last five minutes of stretching. I felt like it really helped both my recovery time and prevent soreness the next day as after they had stretched me out I was bouncing out of the studio full of energy. Sometimes you just need that little extra bit of help, especially when it came to realigning my back and shoulders!
Whether you are looking to shape up for a special occasion, have decided to overhaul your fitness or just fancy a change to your regular routine I would highly recommend looking into personal training at eqvvs. Their amazing service doesn’t come cheap, but you definitely get what you pay for and I have no doubt that you will notice the difference. Eqvvs also have a number of special packages available, such as a pre-wedding package (eqvvsONE), or a total body overhaul (eqvvsthree60) that will transform you in 6 weeks, as well as a nutritionist, physio and partnerships with many amazing suppliers.
Even after 3 sessions I can feel a difference and have started incorporating some of the exercises I have learned to target new muscles into my routines. I will definitely be going back to eqvvs in the final stretch before my wedding to make sure all those wobbly bits are banished, but I also hope that I will be able to use what I have learned to maintain a healthier way of life in the future!

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Whitney Port Venus & Olay Blogger Challenge!

A few weeks ago I was challenged by Venus and Olay's new ambassador Whitney Port to customise a pair of denim shorts for a chance to feature on Whitney's site, as well as win a pair of shorts designed by the leggy lady herself. I am a huge Whitney fan as I love her style and general attitude so I was excited to try out the new Venus razor and take part in the fashion challenge!
I was sent a pair of denim shorts to play with, along with a bag of embellishments and of course the new Venus and Olay razor that combines Olay Moisture-Boost shave gel bars, which help replenish your skin’s moisture, with Venus’s five-blade technology for an incredibly close shave. The shave gel bars mean there’s no need for an extra shave gel, which is perfect for travel or when you are in a hurry. As well as being super quick and convenient this razor gives a really close, comfortable shave. I also noticed that the bars have a lovely scent, which was a nice surprise!
So after trying out the razor I was all set to show off my legs and began working on the perfect pair of shorts to do so. I decided to keep the colour palette very classic and focus on some gold detailing on the front and back pockets. Since my sewing technique is somewhat lacking there was a lot of fabric glue involved, but I'm pretty happy with the results. I think the extra sparkle gives the shorts a bit of personality, while still being really wearable.
I used lots of gold thread on the back pockets to make them really stand out and give the shorts a little bit more shape. I then tied the design in with the front by accentuating the corners with more gold sequins, to reflect the shape of the curve.

So what do we think ladies? Would Whitney ever wear a pair of shorts like this? Regardless of the competition I had so much fun decorating (and almost gluing my fingers together) and I can't wait to show them off on holiday in a few weeks :). xxx

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Invisalign - Smile!

As I am approaching the half way point with my Invisalign treatment I thought that this would be a good time to update you all on my progress. However, when trying to plan this post I found it tricky to think of what to say… which is very much unlike me! Mainly this is because I am now so used to the Invisalign that on a daily basis I barely notice it. I have got so comfortable that I am quite happy popping the trays in and out in public as it takes less than 5 seconds and with a quick twist of the head it’s all done and no one notices! Among my close friends I refer to the trays as ‘my teeth’ and they have learned great evasive manoeuvres if I need to ‘take my teeth out’ in the most inappropriate places. It’s actually surprising how unobservant people can be and even when I have had to do a sneaky removal while enjoying some fine dining no one has batted an eyelid!
Every time I put a new tray in I do examine my teeth for any movement, but I haven’t really noticed a great deal so far. However, any change is so gradual, and given I don’t have very much to move in the first place, it’s not going to be glaringly obvious. The slight overlap in the front two teeth does look like it’s reduced a little; though I have noticed the pressure on these teeth with the last tray so I am hoping now is the time I will start seeing some results. I think the initial stages have been to create more space for my teeth and counteract the effects that my wisdom teeth had and now the rest of my teeth will be able to move back into position.

In terms of tooth health I am still having regular check ups and my teeth look fine and healthy. I did have some slight gum irritation and soreness, but nothing out of the ordinary as my gums are generally quite sensitive and sometimes a thorough clean can cause the same problems.
So many of you have been asking me about Invisalign vs. braces and I have to reiterate my earlier comments in that I think teeth are so important and if you are self conscious about yours I would definitely set up a consultation. In my opinion Invisalign is far superior to regular metal braces, especially if you are an adult. There is absolutely no way I would have had ‘train tracks’ at my age, unless it was medically required, because I know that any improvements in my teeth would be completely counteracted by the self consciousness I would feel wearing them for the best part of a year. With Invisalign I was both surprised and shocked that most people haven’t noticed I am wearing them. I can smile, laugh and feel completely uninhibited.

Reading a recent survey it has actually been found that a quarter of the UK feels self conscious about their crooked smiles – resoundingly beating concerns about bottoms, legs, hair and chests! When it comes to attraction three quarters of Brits rated a person’s smile as important when first considering going on a date with them. The survey also discovered that people with straight teeth and a great smile are seen as more successful (32%), wealthier (23%) and more likely to get a job (27%) than those with crooked teeth and a bad smile - suggesting perception is everything! I completely agree with this, even having your teeth whitened can make you look like you’ve had a makeover!

A great smile not only looks good, but can also have psychological benefits! Behavioural psychologist Judi James says, “The great thing about people having the confidence to smile is the natural impulse in the receiving person to return the smile. This instantaneous reaction often triggers a dramatic effect on our own mood, creating a sense of well-being. The outward performance of happiness and well-being produces a similar effect on our subconscious - by echoing a smile, it can give us a boost in confidence and cheer us up.” Happiness is contagious so why not make someone’s day with a big smile? I can’t wait to see the results at the end of my treatment and show them off on my wedding day, but in the meantime I can smile confidently knowing my Invisalign is not going to stand in the way :).
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