TO TAKE HIS NAME OR NOT...
It’s another one of those traditions that modern day society has begun to question. Personally I don’t find it archaic in the slightest, far from it in fact. However, there are some theories being thrown around as to why you might not want to take his name. So would you take your husband’s name?
YOU ARE YOUR BRAND
The old adage ‘making a name for yourself’ rings true here. If you’ve spent your career building up recognition around your name – especially if it’s quite distinctive – it can seem like a big step back to make the change. Keeping your surname allows you to retain the personal brand you’ve been working on for years. Alternatively, more and more women are taking their husband’s name legally, but keeping their maiden name professionally.
KEEPING THE FAMILY NAME ALIVE
For women with sisters and no male cousins, there can be an element of sadness to see the family name die out, or perhaps even pressure from relatives to carry it on. If you’re strongly attached to your family name, you may feel personally invested in seeing it handed down to the next generation should you have children.
THE SIMPLE LIFE
A major bonus of taking your husband’s name is that it can make general life admin, such as your finances, that bit easier. Equally, if you have children, some people find it really helpful or unifying to have a single family name.
For a lot of people, a wife taking their husband’s name is just the done thing in their family. It might be what you’ve grown up around and could feel like a natural choice, or maybe you think it’s romantic to merge your life and name with your partner’s. While it’s more acceptable than ever to keep your own name, there shouldn’t be any shame in valuing tradition either.
In some cases, it can simply come down to taste or how a name sounds – does your husband’s name go with your first name? Some women can’t stand their family name and are eager to cast it off for a new start, while for others a surname can be strongly linked to their identity and might feel bereft at the thought of letting it go. Perhaps you’ll decide a double-barrel suits you best as a couple, or maybe your husband could take your surname. After all, why should it always be up to the woman? There’s no one-size-fits-all solution.
WAKE UP, BEAUTIFUL
For sure we're all beautiful souls, inside and out, but sometimes that just doesn't cut the mustard when you've woken up with what you feel is a completely different face from the day before. Your lips look smaller, your cheeks are more puffy and you've developed wrinkles overnight, well no more. There are a few things you can do to wake up with better skin...
SLEEP ON SILK
“While it may seem extravagant, swapping your regular pillowcase for a silk one can really help to support your skin. Unlike cotton, silk allows the skin to slide, so it won’t pull or tug, which reduces crease lines and marks across your face, neck and décolletage. Plus, as a non-absorbent fabric, silk won’t deplete your moisture levels or absorb precious serums and night creams.” – Lisa Franklin, facialist
GO FOR GOLD
“If my skin needs some extra help, I’ll reach for Alpha H’s Liquid Gold, £33.50. Applied before bed, its AHA-rich formula gets to work on dead skin cells, penetrating deep into the pores for a deep cleanse and to eradicate spot-causing bacteria. If you suffer from a dull complexion or are prone to blemishes, try this a couple of times a week before bed but remember to pair with an SPF during the day as acids can make your skin more sensitive to the sun.” – Emma Day, make-up artist
KNOW YOUR INGREDIENTS
“When looking for a night cream, keep an eye out for formulas with a high concentration of hyaluronic acid and centella asiatica, which are great at boosting hydration and revitalising the skin overnight. Make the time to use a face mask at least once a week – they work wonders to lock in moisture and can help to stimulate the production of collagen for glowier skin in the long run.” – Dr Yannis Alexandrides, Founder of 111 Harley Street
CLEANSE SOONER RATHER THAN LATER
“It’s really important to get into a habit of cleansing and moisturising your skin the minute you get home, not just before you go to bed. If you get home at six and go to bed at 11, that’s five more hours of grime on your face. If you cleanse as soon as you get home, your products will have even longer to work their magic too.” – Lisa Franklin
“Sleeping on your back can make a huge difference to your skin in the long-run. When you sleep on your side, your face gets compressed into your pillow – when this is repeated night after night, it causes short-term creases which can develop into permanent lines.” – Abigail James, facialist.
GLOW FOR IT
“If your skin needs a subtle boost of colour but you’re wary of using fake tan, especially in the winter months, start adding a few drops of Hylamide Booster Glow Serum, £20, into your moisturiser a couple of nights a week. It contains melanin peptides, which gradually work to add a glow to the complexion – add a couple more drops for a deeper colour.” – Jessica Kell, make-up artist
TURN DOWN THE HEAT
“While it’s tempting to put the heating up as the temperature drops outside, lying in the heat for hours on end can wreak havoc with your complexion. Also remember to hydrate before bed – we lose enormous amounts of water through sweating at night which can dry out the skin.” – Dr Benji Dhillon, cosmetic doctor at PHI Clinic
“If you want to wake up with better skin overnight, layer up on your skincare, and really invest the time in proper application. Double cleanse to remove makeup and spritz on toner before working an oil into the skin, making sure you’re massaging upwards and outwards around the face for a heightened glow. If, after 15 minutes, you feel your skin needs more moisture, don’t be afraid to add a small bit of moisturiser, again working it into the skin instead of letting it sit on top of the surface.” – Charlotte Connolley, facialist
CARB FACE IS A THING
“To wake up with defined cheekbones, eat a high-protein, low-sugar dinner (try salmon and asparagus, a natural diuretic) and skip the rice pasta and potatoes. When your diet is high in refined carbohydrates, your features can take on a soft, doughy appearance. A handful of Brazil nuts or walnuts (rich in potassium and selenium) before bed instead can also help you fall asleep faster and guarantee adequate beauty sleep.’ – Nicholas Perricone, Founder of Perricone MD
Living well isn’t just about fixing imbalances, it’s about fine-tuning our bodies to do what they do best: just be.
Join us on a journey as yogi and energy medicine master, Lauren Walker, teaches us how to activate the natural healing potential of our bodies – and it’s a whole lot more simple than you might expect…
When the body is in balance, it can heal everything. We’ve all read those miracle stories of overnight healing of cancers and other debilitating diseases; Western medicine has no answer for those miracles. The answer is: your own body!
Every day our bodies are detoxing and clearing disease patterns. A healthy immune system can handle almost anything you throw at it. But the problems happen when our immune systems are overtaxed.
So if you’re taxed, tired and stressed, how can your body do what it naturally wants to do? This is where energy comes in. Not just any kind of energy. But energy that is intelligently guided to help you come into balance, so you can heal. This type of intelligent energy is what we teach with Energy Medicine Yoga.
The first thing you need to do to activate the natural healing intelligence of your body is to start speaking to your body in the language your body can understand. Your body speaks in pulses and rhythms. Once you learn this simple language, your body will start listening to you and responding. Without having to learn the whole language, here are some basic things you can do to get your body into healing mode.
GET YOUR ENERGY MOVING FORWARD
+ Thump all over your upper chest with vigor, Tarzan style.
This speaks to all of your meridian systems, and specifically, your kidney meridian, which is the leader of the pack. Thumping on your chest like this gets your energy moving forward.
GET YOUR ENERGY CROSSING OVER
+ March in place tapping the right hand to the right thigh and the left hand to the left thigh. Do this ten times.
+ Brush your hands off and march in place, tapping your right hand to your left thigh and your left hand to your right thigh.
This crosses the energy over the midline of the body and is incredibly important to your body’s ability to function well. The body can’t heal if the energy isn’t crossing over.
CALM YOUR STRESS RESPONSE
+ Put your palm over your forehead.
+ Put two fingers into the hollow at the base of your throat.
These two holds help to diffuse the stress response in the body so you are calmer and can think clearly. They help keep you from going into fight-or-flight response at every little trigger — even the big triggers.
GET YOUR ENERGY GROUNDED
+ Walk barefoot on the earth.
+ Oil your feet.
+ Rub a stainless steel spoon over the bottoms of your feet.
All three of these things help to ground your energy, so it can be more easily directed to do the work it needs to do in the body. Once you start to activate, de-stress and ground your energy, it will start to work for you in ways you’ve dreamed of but never thought were truly possible.
HERE COMES THE...BRIDAL EDIT
With so many styles, lengths, cuts, shapes and designers to choose from, picking your wedding dress can seem a daunting experience to embark upon. Here comes the…Bridal Edit – the UK’s first curated wedding dress finder, bringing hand-picked designers to each bride-to-be, baring their style in mind.
Boho, traditional and everywhere in between, it’s a collection of bridal brands old and new ensuring a style to swoon over. Sheerluxe (my favourite blog) sat down with The Bridal Edit founder Laura Shepherd to get her top ‘bride tips’
WHAT ARE YOUR FAVOURITE BRIDAL DESIGNERS CURRENTLY?
It’s all about British labels right now. Charlie Brear for her stylish cuts and insanely beautiful fabrics; Naomi Neoh for her passion and dedication to the romantic bride, her dresses never fail to make me swoon; and Kate Halfpenny for pushing the boundaries and always bringing a smile to my face.
WHAT'S THE NEXT TREND?
Bridal separates aren’t going to disappear anytime soon – you can mix and match your favourites and create different looks throughout the day. Wow-worthy backs are still big next season too; never forget the back – it’s just as important as the front of the dress.
There’s also a ‘no rules apply’ movement happening. Adding denim and leather jackets has become a great way for brides to inject their own personality into their look.
ANY TIPS FOR NAVIGATING PINTEREST?
Search by style to help narrow down the looks you like. Connect with your favourite bridal labels (via The Bridal Edit) and follow their boards for inspiration – not only will you see all their dresses, you’ll also find out what inspires the designers, and this might just be what you’re looking for.
WHO DO YOU FOLLOW ON INSTAGRAM?
Coco Wedding Venues is great for finding your perfect wedding venue.
B.LOVED is our go-to UK wedding blog for brides.
Prezola is the ultimate wedding gift list site for British brides and grooms.
ANY TIPS FOR SHOPPING FOR A WEDDING DRESS ON A BUDGET?
All designers have sample sales and so do their retailers. Sign up to newsletters or follow their social media platforms to stay in the know and find yourself a bargain.
WHAT ARE THE GOLDEN RULES FOR WEDDING DRESS SHOPPING?
Research – You’re entering the world of the unknown. Find out what’s available on the market for your style and budget. Connect with your favourite designers and boutiques via social media platforms such as Instagram and learn a little more about them.
Plan - Based on your research, plan. Identify the boutiques you wish to visit, don't just stay local – if there’s a designer you really love, make the journey. Give yourself enough time too, ideally you need to be making final decisions around six to nine months in advance, so plan your visits accordingly. If you do your research carefully, three boutiques should be a good number to visit before making the all-important decision.
Squad - Whilst it might sound like a good idea to take a whole entourage, boutiques prefer less guests. The more people, the more opinions – remember your dress is your decision at the end of the day. You only need the professional guidance of a bridal stylist and a few guests to make the experience special.
MAKE UP TIPS FROM A PRO
Celebrity makeup artist and green beauty guru, Katey Denno – is no stranger to the madness of New York Fashion Week, including the challenge of getting runway makeup to play nice under pressure and on a variety of skin types. Katey spills some of her top secrets for the Chalkboard Mag, including getting just the right amount of glow, rocking a bold eye without looking like a (sexy) raccoon, and keeping it all in place…
Although it’s been a few years since I worked New York Fashion Week, I remember vividly those times backstage when the atmosphere felt like a mix between an emergency room, a carnival and a mad artist’s studio.
The energy is palpable and – with anywhere from 14-26 hairstylists and makeup artists each trying to wrangle models into chairs, carry out the art direction as it came from the lead makeup or hair artist, and maintain some level of a calm and upbeat attitude – it’s one of those experiences that feels more like a dream than an actuality.
I learned a number of tricks-of-the-trade during my years working NYFW, from other artists and from the depths of my imagination, because, sometimes when you’re in the trenches, inspiration strikes in the form of lipstick.
GLOW VS. SHINE | When you want to glow in just the right places, but you’ve messed up and put too much face oil on that just isn’t absorbing, take one ply of a tissue, or a sheet of oil-blotting paper, wrap it around the pointy side of the beauty blender and target specific areas to remove that crazy excess shine from just the right places (and to be clear, those areas would be the middle of your forehead, your nose, the space on either side of the bottom of your nose, and center of your chin).
FALSIES REFRESH | If your strip eyelash starts to buckle when you blink or peel off at one end and you don’t have time to pull it off and fuss with reapplication, reapply the glue, wait for it to dry down a bit, grab a toothpick (not a cotton swab) to dip into lash glue, and then wiggle the tiny droplet of glue where its needed, smearing it along the base of the false lash, without disturbing your amazing eye makeup creation.
TWEEZE YOUR LASHES? | When you’ve just opened a new mascara and applied one too many coats only to find that the formula is different than what you’re used to using and it’s super gloppy and causing your lashes to clump together, there is hope. Before lashes have dried, use a Tweezerman lash comb to instantly separate lashes, starting at the root and combing through. It’ll remove excess clumps and help to fan ‘em out all pretty-like. I didn’t think this was so much of a pro-tip, but I’ve recently been surprised by how many people don’t have one of these amazing tools in their makeup kit!
MIX YOUR MASCARA | When the lashes of the model sitting in your chair aren’t as thick as the models sitting on either side of you, but the look is ‘model’s own lashes –no fake lashes,’ there is an old makeup artist’s trick that’ll help. Apply one coat of mascara from root to tip, on curled lashes (if they’re long enough to curl, that is). Then apply your eyeshadow, making sure to be a little messy in your application, so that some loose shadow falls onto the lashes, thus clinging to the one coat of mascara, and acting as a thickener. Once you finish the eye makeup, apply two more coats of mascara to the coated lashes, and you’ll see an obvious difference.
AMP-UP EYESHADOW | Sometimes you buy a powder eyeshadow for the boldness of color or pieces of gold or blue sparkle in it, only to find out when you apply it, it barely shows up on your skin – regardless of your skin tone. One pretty sure fire way to fix this in a flash is to fill a tiny container, or your palm, with a few drops of water, dip your brush into the water, drag it onto your shadow, and then press what you’ve picked up onto your lid. It’ll intensify the color payoff and help the shimmer particles to adhere.
LINER AS LIPS | When you can’t find lipstick that matches your favorite lip liner, use your liner to line and color-in your lips, and then go back and do it again; coat with a layer or two of your favorite lip balm, and you’re good to go (plus it’ll probably last longer than if you’d just used the lipstick)!
GEL YOUR BROWS | When your eyebrows are wild and each hair has a mind of its own and you need them to cooperate and all lie down facing the same way, together, having a fancy eyebrow gel on hand isn’t a must. Grab any hairspray you have on hand, or any balm (think: non-petroleum version of Vaseline) and apply sparingly, with your finger, or – even better, an eyebrow spoolie – to tame your brows in a flash.
SOFTEN YOUR SMUDGE | If you favor that ‘morning after’ messy, smudgy, sexy, black eyeliner look, but have found it difficult to recreate because you’re too much of a perfectionist, you’re not alone. Makeup artists have struggled with this forever. One of my favorite tricks is to use a soft, creamy dark-black liner, have the model scrunch her eye closed, get that pencil inside the scrunch, and gently drag it from corner to corner. Blink a number of times before the liner ’sets,’ to messily transfer product from top to bottom, and back again, and then use your finger to smudge it, (removing some with your finger is generally a good idea) a bit into a shape that’s slightly upturned on the outer corner (an upturn is generally the most flattering shape on all eyes). It’ll look a mess, but once you coat your lashes with mascara and step back from the mirror, you’ll see just how ‘morning after’ it really looks. Keep a cotton swab on hand in case you need to remove any more.
September may still evoke that familiar ‘back to school’ feeling, however this year it represents a wakeup call you simply can’t ignore. This has the potential for exciting new beginnings. On the 5th an apparently chance encounter leads to a unique makeover, which you’ll see is much more than skin deep. You're on a self-fulfilment quest with all kinds of repercussions for work and lifestyle routines. Your vitality levels, including your capacity for fun and some seriously hot loving, will reach new heights if you recognise what you really need. Yet for once – even you – can’t expect instant results. After the 15th a valued prize will be in sight, and by the 23rd anything is possible concerning an irresistible new person on the scene.
You may start the month feeling slightly jaded as a result of recent commitments, but this is about to change. After the 7th you will be offered an opportunity which could reboot your zest for life and banish some of the more negative feelings you have been grappling with. The key to success now is seeking fresh inspiration from untried and untested sources. This may well mean exploring creative avenues and injecting a playful spark into your love life too, whether you are single or attached. Make the most of an adventurous approach to collaborations of all kinds. After the 20th innovative thinking will pay off in style and you’ll also realise that appreciating yourself fully is the key to a relationship breakthrough.
There are many advantages to getting back to basics this month, which will be evident as early as the 3rd. And it’s more enjoyable than it might sound as an antidote to August’s social demands and output of nervous energy. Steps to simplify your life will lift your spirits in miraculous ways. This may mean going back to your roots in one way or another, and paying special attention to any overlooked relationships. You’ll also gain a great deal by digging into your family history – a revelation midmonth could take you by surprise. Engaging with loved ones openly and intimately is a vital ingredient in September’s success. Then, by the 25th, what once seemed like a pipedream may be more realistic than anyone had thought possible.
You are subtle and considerate in your dealings with others, however from the 4th it’s time to speak your mind directly. This will prove to be the best way to handle someone whose behaviour has been troubling you for a while. Seize your moment and enjoy this no-nonsense approach, as you’ll make major headway in more than one area of life. However, any potential conflict shouldn’t be allowed to get out of hand. On the 19th an exotic offer is another positive sign but will require you to go with the flow. As you make sense of all the exciting, if complex, developments during September, you’ll also solve a home/work dilemma. When you have accomplished this, be sure to celebrate a significant sense of achievement. You deserve it.
From early September the spotlight falls on the assets and projects that really matter to you. Be sure to focus on your key personal priorities. If recently you have been dragging your feet, now you must go for what you want without hesitation. Around the 11th you will know that you are embarking on an important adventure and should appreciate your own resources and talents. After the 19th on-going cash affairs will need to be tackled and it becomes obvious that money represents deeper issues than you may have thought. Understanding this thoroughly will ultimately be liberating. At the same time an unexpected gift will take an unusual form, and you won’t necessarily know its full meaning at first… allow this to unfold.
However reticent you are about being at the centre of attention, now you can’t avoid having the spotlight trained on you. You have earned this, so try to enjoy it. Various people have expectations of you, but none of these are as high as those you place on yourself. From the 11th take a deep breath and be sure to put yourself first for once, as midmonth marks a special turning point and is in fact the fresh start you really need. However, from the 25th it’s also important to stay grounded, as close encounters will deliver all kinds of surprises. Glamour and entertainment are definitely on the agenda, while your innate common sense will be vital to pin down your personal achievements. Expect to rediscover a few forgotten, yet genuine, treasures too.
Being a social butterfly suits you much of the time, and recently it has introduced you to all kinds of new people and opportunities. But if this hectic activity has been a bit too much, September presents the perfect conditions to take a back seat – you can even be a hermit for a while if you feel like it. Great results will come without you needing to strive to achieve them. Intriguing action unfolds behind the scenes and later you’ll know how to maximise this beautifully. After the 18th sharp thinking will also get to the heart of a dilemma, and you’ll need to improvise a little… even some chaos at work will have its upside. On the 23rd you’ll realise that you have made some dazzling progress where it really counts.
Your capacity to interpret the undercurrents in situations has been invaluable this summer. Having x-ray vision and solving the deeper mysteries in life is one of your fine gifts, but there is no need for this to become obsessive or to allow yourself to get bogged down. From early September breadth of vision and forward thinking will lead to what you most need to know. By taking a leap of faith and staying open-minded you’ll embrace inspiring new influences and contacts. Networking is at the crux of personal and professional victories, and you’ll only know the full extent of this after the 22nd. When you're on a roll, no one can deny your charismatic impact. Enjoy indulging a romantic fantasy too, but beware of getting totally carried away.
A positive and fun-loving attitude makes you popular, and this autumn should offer up the kind of exploits you most relish. However, from the 8th you are also poised to make headway when it comes to your career, plus other long-term goals and aspirations. Around midmonth being a little cautious in your decision-making will not cramp your style. Some misunderstandings at home may arise, so being focused will become increasingly important. After the 21st you’ll attract attention from someone you admire, and at the same time you’ll be able to impress them as much as you want. Intimate distractions in late September will keep you on your toes – of course you’ll throw yourself into this, but don’t for a moment let it derail you from your mission.
Follow your heart when it comes to your dreams and ambitions – nothing will stand in your way if you decide to pursue a project you have held back on until now. With a little discussion and planning you can achieve a great deal, and will see a breakthrough as early as the 10th. No matter how determined you are to hit specific targets this September, it’s also important for you to explore unknown ground and take off on adventures that you cannot control or predict the outcomes of. Just roll with the changes as they arise. From the 21st you’ll experience the benefits of being flexible and will find that you actually thrive on this. Your courage and spontaneity will result in someone special taking you very seriously indeed.
Your inventive mind and capacity for rational thinking always play a special role in your approach to life. However, now is the time to plunge more instinctively into the underlying emotional complications of certain relationships, professionally and personally. Around midmonth a series of ‘eureka’ moments will have the power to open your eyes to a whole new take on romantic life too, while at the same time you'll sense that you have met your match in more ways than one. You will rise to this, and even the inevitable confrontations will prove to be highly therapeutic. However, at the same time, look out for someone who harbours hidden agendas. Remember, you have the imagination to outwit anyone.
This September, collaborations of all kinds will reap rewards. This will require you to be assertive in terms of what you need and what you find acceptable from other people. Personal relationships will be at the top of the agenda from the 7th, although understanding someone else’s motives can seem like heavy duty detective work. However, you will overcome the challenges posed and may well taste sweet success by midmonth. Once again, your powers of perception will prove to be an amazing talent and you’ll learn so much by observing other people’s behaviour. By the 29th a unique character will also have insight into what you need, and in one way or another you may well find you are being swept off your feet.
Personally, I’m not a big fan of the whole five-year plan thang but it’s definitely a good idea to have some goals in mind. Whilst most of mine include ‘drink more ginger’ and ‘look like Elle Macpherson one day’ there are a few easy steps to keep your (slightly more realistic) goals in check.
YOU'RE IN CHARGE
It’s your life and you call the shots. For sure, there are some things that are beyond your control, but most of the time you can jump in the drivers seat and put your life in gear. You decide which talents and skills to develop, who you hang out with, where you live and what career you stick with. So, take responsibility for your thoughts and your actions, push yourself and embrace those risky moments.
HAVE A VISION
Creating a vision board can help visualise what’s in your mind and make it a more physical, visual aspiration. Make a mood board or collage of pictures, phrases and anything else that resonates with you and your life. Visual reinforcement can be a powerful tool, a bit like Pinterest but a permanent reminder of what you want to achieve.
A LITTLE COMMITMENT
Commit to what you want and you’ll notice you’re starting to attract the people, resources and opportunities you need to make your dream come true.
EMPOWER YOUR MIND & BODY
Reading something empowering, watching empowering videos, listening to some Yonce as well as snacking on superfoods can go a long way to getting your mental state straight. Blueberries, kale, quinoa, broccoli, chia, strawberries, salmon and cranberries all trigger a ‘peak state’.
YOUR ASSOCIATION AFFECTS YOUR ELEVATION
Don’t underestimate the impact of the people around you. They can either build you up or drag you down, so find a team of supportive friends who are positive people.
JUST DO IT
Planning is essential for most things in life but acting on those plans now -is vital. Get to it, these things won’t come if you don’t put yourself out there. Don’t postpone, don’t make excuses, life’s all about growth and momentum so go forward in life and take those steps to get you started in the right direction.
MAKING MEDITATION PART OF YOUR ROUTINE
MAKE IT YOURS
Listen to your body and mind; are you a morning person or a night owl? Do you need to relax before work, after, or both? Switch up your practice and see what feels right for you. You don’t have to spend an hour sat cross legged in order to meditate, meditation for you could be sitting quietly for ten minutes whilst focusing on your intention for the day.
CHOOSE YOUR TECHNIQUE
There are many different types of meditation, but for those with busy lives and hectic schedules, Vedic meditation is ideal. The technique was developed for people with chaotic lives and doesn’t require practitioners to stop thinking and sit still. Instead, simply sit comfortably in a chair with your eyes closed, and allow your mind to become increasingly quieter.
DO IT ANYWHERE
One of the best things about meditation is that it is free and portable. You can do it sitting up in bed before your morning cup of tea, whilst you’re waiting for you dinner to cook, or on the train to work – making a morning commute more bearable.
COMBINE IT WITH YOUR ROUTINE
Meditating in the morning is a fantastic way to start your day and ensure that you're operating with a more focused, creative and productive mind. Don’t have time? Meditating in the evening helps clear the body and mind of stresses you’ve picked up throughout the day and improves your sleep quality, so you’ll wake up feeling truly refreshed. Find what works for you.
THINK ABOUT THE BENEFITS
We set aside time for things we view as beneficial, so keep the effects of meditation in mind. As well as boosting overall wellness, it can help you navigate difficult situations and manage stress. If you're having a particularly demanding day, escaping to a meeting room or the park at your lunch break for a meditation session will leave you feeling revitalised and refreshed, improving your efficiency and concentration.
KEEP IT SHORT
If lengthy meditation sessions work for you, then carry on, but for beginners, they can often be daunting. Twenty minutes is the ideal length of time, but start with whatever feels comfortable – five minutes is doable for most – and work up to twenty.
HOW TO GET STARTED
Find a quiet space where you can sit up with a straight back, be still and not be disturbed for around twenty minutes. This could be sitting up in bed, on your commute or in the local park.
Begin silently repeating a mantra (a Sanksrit sound) in your head for the duration of the meditation – try ‘So hum’ or ‘Om’ to start with.
End your meditation with two minutes of breathing without using the mantra.
When meditating, use a watch rather than your phone (technology over-stresses the nervous system) to keep an eye on the time.
PRIOR PLANNING & PREPARATION
A very wise man once told me about the 7 Ps...Prior Planning and Preparation Prevents a Piss Poor Performance...and ever since that day I do my best to live by that method. Granted, when my sisters ask me if I'm free next month for lunch, more often than not I reply 'I'm not even sure what I'm doing this afternoon!'
But there is one thing that keeps me in check and that's a good list. A list to me, is my version of the 7Ps. Every morning, as I sit down with my black coffee and ice cold triangles of watermelon chipped from the back of our temperamental fridge that thinks it's a freezer, I write my 'to do' list. Even if it's much the same as the day before...'must Tweet and Instagram...walk Django (our Rhodesian Ridgeback)...decide what to cook for dinner'...without fail, I write my 'to do' list. In chronological order, of course.
So, to help you frantic brides to be, I've put together a wedding stationery timeline. A step-by-step, month-by-month guide to when you should be licking stamps and sealing envelopes. Look scary? Chill your bones. I'll cut you a deal. I'll take care of the bits listed 'design invitations, etc' all you need to do is confirm the RSVPs and deal with the dreaded seating plan.
HELENA CHRISTENSEN & HER BEAUTY HABITS
CAN’T TRAVEL WITHOUT…
My dog, Kuma.
IN A PINCH I…
Put on bright red lips and my hair up in a loose bun.
ALWAYS IN MY EVENING CLUTCH:
Phone and Strangelove perfume oil.
OBSESSION OF THE MOMENT:
Swimming in cold harbor water.
Peruvian vegetable soup and pasta alla Genovese.
Raspberry juice is my favorite.
FOR ULTRA-GLAMOROUS EFFECT:
Shimmery eyes and smudgy dark brown eyeliner.
Chanel’s lipstick in La Fascinante, for lips (and cheeks).
Harry Josh Pro Tools curling iron.
WEIRDEST BEAUTY HABIT:
Using coffee grinds and papaya flesh as exfoliators on the body.
IN THE SHOWER I KEEP…
Lots and lots of conditioner and a body brush.
ON MY BEDSIDE TABLE…
Lumity’s Night Formula and a book.
ONCE A MONTH I…
Make time for a proper, professional facial.
AFTER A LONG-NIGHT OR ROUGH WEEKEND…
I drink as much water as I can possibly consume and eat a few burgers.
ON LITTLE SLEEP I RELY ON…
Nimue Skin Technology Rejuvenating Mask.
MOST TREASURED BEAUTY TIP…
My two very obvious tips are hydration and sleep. But also, keep your skin glowing, don’t cover it with too much foundation or powder.
FOR GLOWING SKIN…
Lots of hydration, mists and facial oils.
MY GO-TO DIY RECIPE OR SMOOTHIE RECIPE:
I drink all sorts of juices I make myself, mixing cucumber, aloe vera, parsley, mint, apple or pear. They make me feel refreshed and clean.
LIFE | WORK
Even though I’m writing this after another 14 day stint without any time off…the balance between life and work and getting it right is super important. Important for your self, your health and even your wealth.
Productivity needs to be nurtured and can only reach its full potential if you take time out to rest. For sure imbalance is normal, it’s near enough impossible to get it right, but have a little read and see how to at least manage the scale.
ACCEPT YOUR IMBALANCE
Truth is, there’s no such thing as a perfect work-life balance, and the more you try to get it bang on - the more pressure you’re putting on yourself and chances are that will backfire. The main thing is to find your motivation and focus your energy on it. If your motivation is a big house, nice car and fancy shoes then you’re going to have to put in the hours at the office…if your motivation is your relationship, growing a family and keeping in touch with friends - then you’re going to have to put a little extra time into your ‘life’ category. All-important, is that this is a conscious decision and you’re not doing it out of guilt.
BE CLEAR ON THE 'LIFE' SIDE OF THINGS
Work is generally more defined, you start work at 9, you have lunch at 1, you have to get that report out by end of play Friday, you might get a promotion in August and there’s your bonus in December – everything is fairly laid out ready for the taking. Life can be a little more hazy, you put things off and priorities often change. So try to set yourself a rough, realistic, schedule for life – meet with your mates once a week, cook Sunday lunch every Sunday and make these non-negotiables.
PUT DOWN YOUR PHONE
If you definitely can’t find the illusive ‘balance’ – at least learn to switch off from time to time, literally. Your phone is always there, in your hand, in your pocket, on your bedside table and as much as you can physically leave work we generally always have something physical that resembles work around us – our mobiles. Emails can wait until tomorrow and Instagram will be there in morning so switch it off, put it down and take note of what is actually happening around you.
At the start of your day, write down three things that you definitely need to get done by the end of the day and do the hardest one first. If you can get through the three things you wrote down, anything else you manage to get done is a bonus and you’ll feel that smug feeling of having a super productive day…then you can treat yourself to a bit of wine time, extra time in the gym or whatever it is that floats your life boat.
PERFECTION HAS POTENTIAL BUT IT'S NOT ALWAYS PRACTICAL
You should never actually achieve perfection, if you do it means you won’t feel the need to strive for more. Just be happy with it, that’s praise enough. If you can actually stand back from whatever situation your reviewing and say ‘actually yeah, I’m pretty happy with that’ then you’ve done all you can and you’ve satisfied that need to get it right.
HOW TO LOOK STUNNING IN ALL YOUR SNAPS
Shadows are only going to highlight features you don’t like, from wrinkles to imperfections. Lorna says natural daylight “is most flattering for skin and complexion” – facing a window or open door is your best bet.
Want to look taller and slimmer? Lorna suggests tilting the camera upwards to elongate your shape. “I often ask people who take my pic to crouch down a little when they point and shoot.” Just ensure they’re standing a safe distance from you to avoid the double chin.
TWIST 'N' WIND
Front-on shots can sometimes look boxy, whereas a distorted angle will give the illusion of a tiny waist. Angle one of your hips towards the camera, and put your hand on your hip nearest the photographer to emphasise your curves.
CROSS YOUR ANKLES
If you are forced into a front-on shot, crossing your ankles will automatically make your legs look longer.
Whatever is closest to the camera is, of course, going to look bigger, so practice posing with your least favourite body parts set back. Hate your legs? Lean forward a bit.
TONGUE IN CHEEK
If you often fall foul of a double chin, learning to push your tongue against the roof of your mouth could be the answer. By forcing everything upwards, your neck and jawline will look slimmer.
Everyone knows good posture looks best, so make a concerted effort when posing for pics to unroll those shoulders and lift your head high.
BEAT THE BRIDAL BLUES
Here are some of the challenges, and the tips, for brides-to-be:
BRIDEZILLAS ARE MADE, NOT BORN
It’s supposed to be the happiest time of your life – and you want it to be – but planning a wedding is like working a second job as a project manager. You have to find the time to tend to a multitude of details as part of an already busy schedule while managing a plethora of people, family anxieties and demands, your groom, your emotions and an array of tricky wedding dynamics.
A bride has to include stress management, self-nurturing and time to chill out as an integral part of her wedding planning process. When you feel the stress building, take time out, go for a walk, slip into a movie, get a massage, go for a manicure, write in a journal, do something un-wedding. You have to love, honour and cherish yourself if you want to be loved, honoured and cherished by someone else!
EVERYONE'S GOT SOMETHING TO SAY
And you are not alone in feeling you can’t win. You may be showered with congratulations and gifts, but you are simultaneously bombarded with unsolicited advice, wedding horror stories you don’t want to hear, and negative vibes from well-meaning friends and relatives.
People tend to see your wedding as a chance to fulfil their own needs and family dynamics erupt in every which direction because as the clan prepares to gather they begin to act out what it’s all about for them – not you! The issues are classic – mum wants it to be the wedding she never had, sister or best friend wishes it were her, your groom is afraid to stand up to his family.
A Bride has to clarify the wedding she truly wants, be assertive and set clear boundaries that no one can penetrate with words or attitudes. Learn the power of saying NO!
STIRRING UP EMOTIONS
The process itself sets forth a period of growth and change that can be very confusing and nerve -wracking. Once you decide to marry you will begin the process of getting ready for marriage, and unresolved emotions about parents and family, past loves and concerns about the person you have chosen will come to the surface to be explored.
A bride can embrace the awareness that she is embarking on a journey of evolution from one part of life to another, and recognise and address the emotions and fears that arise. Trust they are natural and pay attention to any issues that might require support or counselling.
It is important to stay on top of your emotions and be honest with yourself during this time. Don't sweep things under the rug.
HOW TO THROW A PARTY...PROPERLY
CANAPÈS YOU SAY?
Too busy getting glam to spend hours slaving in the kitchen? No problemo. Canapés are quick to assemble, easy to serve and everybody bloody loves them. Opt for wooden boards or a nice big Neptune serving plate and watch, as your guests can’t get enough of these tiny little culinary treats.
BOOK A BARTENDER
Don’t spend your night pouring drinks and keeping everyone topped up with a tipple. Bring along a professional bartender that way you’ll have fancy cocktails and concoctions to impress and you’ll be tipsy too!
DÈCOR TO SET THE SCENE
Let’s not deck the halls, but making a little effort with a centrepiece or two will go a long way. Go all Dolce & Gabbana and get creative with some lemons for a summery feel, plus you can pop them in your G&T when the night starts to get spirit…ual.
GOOD LIGHTING IS EVERYTHING
Add an atmosphere and make sure you cheekbones are picture perfect with some strategic lighting. Tea lights add a romantic feel, whilst lanterns will create an exotic element to a themed party.
All the candles and floral niceness will be wasted without some tunes to back up the background noise. I always search for ‘Ibiza Chill’ or ‘Stay See’ on Youtube for a mellow start. Set your music to play a playlist so you can forget all about it and avoid an awkward Eastenders stranger entering the Queen Vic silence.
When the sun’s out and the summer is in full flow, everyone is keen to get on the rosé nice and early. Invite people round well ahead of dinner (making the use of those canapés), and party well after sundown.
You're glowing with that fresh faced newlywed (morning after the night before) kind of skin, but your hair is battling the sun, sea and sand...the struggle is real. Here's the plan for honeymoon hair that will hopefully be roughed up and ruined in no time at all thanks to a cheeky beach romp with your new husband!
RELAXED BEACH WAVES
Give salty strands an extra boost with a quick spritz of texturising spray to create undone beach waves with plenty of surfer girl cool.
EASY HALF BUN
A half top-knot combined with a beach wave. A simple look that requires minimal effort, as easy to create as it is cool to wear.
A perennial summer staple, whether you’re a halo, French or fishtail kind of girl, plaits are the foolproof yet stylish way to nail beach chic.
THE GO TO TOP KNOT
A messy top knot is a poolside go-to – sweep long locks up into a high bun and secure for a quick and easy sunbathing solution.
Protect hair from harsh UV rays with a light scarf. Not only is it beneficial for maintaining your colour, it looks super St.Tropez chic too.
FOOLPROOF WAYS TO STYLE FLOWERS
There's something very special about the sight of fresh flowers around your home, either by your bed, on the kitchen counter top, or decorating your dining table. But, I'm no good at flower arranging, thankfully Sheerluxe have put together their 5 foolproof ways to style flowers making your home photo shoot ready - like something straight out of a Neptune Home catalogue.
Probably Instagram’s most snapped bloom; peony season only lasts through to July, so make sure get in on the action fast. The stems that start out as tightly wrapped balls and bloom into mille feuille-esque petals look best in big bunches and styled in a simple vase. Add a little eucalyptus leaf for a hint of green, which works beautifully against the pretty pink hues.
A favourite for weddings, the sheer size of these blooms mean you only have to buy a few for them to look good – thankfully, as the price does rack up. Stick to the golden rule of odd numbers – we like three of five – and style them individually in a row of recycled glass vases or as a group stacked on top of your favourite coffee table books.
You may not be familiar with the name but you will have seen this delicate foliage everywhere. And ideal choice if you prefer a neutral or monochrome colour palette, these dainty white flowers look just right in an oversized apothecary vase.
The cool girl’s alternative to roses, these rosette-style blooms look best bunched in big groups. For a classic look, choose white and style in a simple bowl, or go for a more vintage, rustic vibe by stacking individual stems in mini bottle vases.
Stocks offer a spicy, clove-like scent so not only will they look gorgeous but they’ll make your home smell great, too. A tall jar vase is a must to complement their tall stems and keep them standing upright but we love the idea of lining it with lemon slices for a look that belies even the most amateur of flower arranging skills.
THERE IS A WAY TO BEAT STRESS
Body Signaling: I’m hungry!
You Responding: Not now, I’m busy… we’ll eat later.
Body Signaling: Ahh, I’m tired!
You Responding: Now? It’s 6 p.m… it’s too early, we’ll sleep later.
Body Signaling: I need to go to the bathroom!
You Responding: Can’t… in the middle of something very important… we’ll pee later.
These are all ways we are shutting down our nervous system without even realising. Alongside the stresses of work, relationships, finances, deadlines… etc, there is a whole other level of stress we put ourselves under that shuts down our nervous system and adrenals. If things don’t go the way of your nervous system, then it just shuts down, it says, “Well, if you don’t want to listen to me then I’ll barely work for you.” That’s when we have sudden crashes, starvation modes, sudden urges to use the restroom… etc. Alongside all this, we fill our bodies with caffeine, energy drinks, zero food and stress, putting a huge stressors on our kidneys, which uses our adrenals to give us more of that desperate energy we’re looking for.
The worst part of all is, when we put our bodies in overdrive like this, we waste our precious adrenal energy to give us the energy to stress. This makes us older faster; no one wants that.
7 WAYS TO HEAL A STRESSED NERVOUS SYSTEM
EAT ON SCHEDULE. Putting your body on a schedule gives it comfort and trust in you. Build that relationship with yourself.
LISTEN TO YOUR BODY’S SIGNAL. Give yourself a week or two to really respond to what your body needs and see the difference it creates in your life. If your body is signalling sleep - go and rest, take a nap, go to bed early and honour this.
START YOUR DAY WITH WARMING FOODS. When we wake up our body, just like a car’s engine begins revving up, we start building speed with our metabolism. If we pour an ice-cold almond latte in our system, it’s a big no-no. We want to encourage the speed with heat, even if that cold drink feels so refreshing. This will also help to avoid that 12 o’clock crash.
SLEEP BEFORE 11PM. There’s a system to the organs in our bodies – each organ has a time for its peak performance. At 11 p.m. the liver is in charge, so what happens is that the liver stores the blood, meaning it gives a home to our blood. At 11 p.m. the blood needs to rest, so if we keep ourselves stimulated past 11, the blood doesn’t get good rest and we wake up tired and feel tired the rest of the day. Also, in Chinese medicine, we believe that our emotions reside in our blood, so this is also a good opportunity to take control over emotional issues by sleeping before 11.
HYDRATE. The easiest way to provide the body with oxygen is to hydrate. Oxygen gives us energy, reduces inflammation and keeps things functioning. If plain water is difficult for you to consume all day, I found that very light tea is great too. Make sure the tea isn’t sugary and is actually a little bit bitter such as a light green tea. Green tea is a natural body cleanser.
BE NICE TO YOURSELF. Every time you’re about to say something that disconnects you from your highest self, stop yourself and be nice. Create a good relationship with yourself, stay in your power and don’t give it away to anyone. This keeps your stress levels down.
TRY ACUPUNCTURE + HERBS. Acupuncture immediately resets your nervous system, It’s what we need when we’re stressed and tapping out our adrenals. Herbs replenish the body, blood and energy with natural elements that truly help heal by nourishing our entire system.
A GUIDE TO DESIGNING A BESPOKE ENGAGEMENT RING
Is it expensive to design your own engagement ring?
When you think bespoke, you automatically think high value – and whilst this is true in some respects, commissioning a bespoke engagement ring doesn’t necessarily mean it will be more expensive. Choosing bespoke is about more than a price tag, it is driven by a desire for distinctiveness and your idea of what’s perfect. The actual price will vary based on materials and method, but most customers find designing their own rings invaluable.
Is there a starting price for commissions?
Part of the beauty of choosing bespoke is that you can set the budget to some extent; our portfolio comprises engagement rings that range from £2,000 to £25,000.
And how long does it usually take?
Around eight weeks from design to completion, depending on the intricacy of the design and how soon it’s required.
What’s the process?
You’ll start with a consultation so we can understand the story behind the commission before we head to the drawing board to bring these ideas to life. Once the design is approved, we use highly skilled British goldsmiths who have years of jewellery expertise to create each piece. Clients are in control, sharing their ideas, overseeing the design process and hand picking each gemstone.
What should you consider when designing an engagement ring?
The most important thing to remember is that you’ll wear the ring every day for the rest of your life, so the design has to be something you’ll still love in 50 years’ time. When going bespoke you can ignore convention and trends, instead, capturing your own style. Often couples share the experience together, to create a ring inspired by their relationship – reflecting their favourite pastime or with a hidden message.
Always remember: colour and quality are important. Whether a sapphire or a diamond, the colour should be meaningful and, above all else, of the best quality for you requirements. There are endless possibilities but with expertise and guidance, sourcing the right stone is simple.
That said, we recommend avoiding fragile or softer gemstones as they will wear too easily over time. As a rule, engagement rings are made from superior precious metals, such as platinum, 18ct gold or a combination of the two. Both have benefits but platinum takes the crown as far as we’re concerned, due to its high polish.
Be bold and brave when designing the ring. Think about what inspires you, what your personal style is, whether you favour traditional or avant-garde jewellery. Fashion periods you love can also be a useful indication of what you might want – set out your vision and ideas and trust the experts to turn them into a beautiful piece of jewellery.
What styles really stand the test of time?
New interpretations of classic designs aren’t likely to date, but as a general rule, going bespoke gives you the freedom to create something truly unique, so design something that tells your story.
Can you remodel inherited jewellery or loose gemstones?
Absolutely! Breathing new life into a treasured heirloom gives extra sentimentality and history to a ring, adding yet more individuality. And this isn’t just confined to engagement rings; inherited jewels can be transformed into a bespoke bridal suite or celebration rings.
Is it possible to design a ring that could be added to further down the line?
Yes – whether it's eternity rings, stacking rings or jacket-style rings, there are any number of opportunities to embellish the original piece, and each addition can be tailored to perfectly complement the engagement ring in fit as well as style.
How to get a bigger end product with a small budget
Adding shape and proportions to the design is a clever way of creating a standout piece without necessarily incorporating a large diamond or gemstone. Always keep your budget in mind and ensure whoever you’re working with is aware of this, they’ll know how to design what you want within your limit.
LIVING WELL WITH ELLE