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THE FEEL GOOD WHEEL

 

 Dr. Mark Hyman created the Feel Good Wheel for his patients to map out the eight areas that are essential to building vibrant health. Below, he’s breaking down each spoke and how it supports wellness in a truly integrative way…

Health is multifaceted, it needs to be cared for on many levels for true wellness to occur, and these concepts have been my tried and true method for achieving that in my own life and with my patients. Wishing you health and happiness.

 

COMMUNITY


Did you know a lack of community and strong social connection can have a disastrous outcome on your health? You might be surprised to learn that an imbalance in these aspects of life can pose just as much health risk as smoking. We often only focus on eating well and moving our bodies, which are most definitely keys to good health, but they mean nothing if someone feels isolated, disconnected, and lonely. We know that friend-power is more powerful than willpower, and that comes in the form of a supportive and aligned community. Volunteering, joining a class, and prioritising time with loved ones are all ways you can strengthen your social bonds and support your health in the process. Get involved in things you care about and your community connections will naturally fall into place.

SPIRIT


Deepening our connection to ourselves and finding a sense of spirit leads to profound strength and courage, allowing us to better navigate the ups and downs of life. We’ve seen that a positive attitude with enthusiasm for life, emotional vitality, and a sense of purpose can make people more physically resilient and decrease the risk of health issues, like heart attack and stroke. Taking time to check in with yourself everyday, allowing yourself the room to change when necessary, and practicing meditation are all helpful ways to nourish your spirit; these tips have greatly helped me overcome hard times and rediscover happiness.

 

EMOTIONAL HEALTH


Making the decision to work with a coach and overcome my emotional barriers has changed my life. The more we push the bad feelings away, the more power they seem to hold over us, and I was guilty of not wanting to recognise my negative emotions. Ignoring these feelings can actually contribute to physical disease, which is one of many reasons it’s important to face your fear of feelings. There are many ways you can foster a more open relationship with your emotions; try practicing deep breathing methods during overwhelming moments, show yourself compassion when times are tough, and don’t be afraid to talk out a difficult feeling with a friend or professional coach. You deserve to feel your best and overcoming emotional conflict is a key part of that process.

 

RELATIONSHIPS


From your relationship with yourself, to your children, friends, and romantic partners, each of these holds significance for your short- and long-term health outcomes, starting in childhood and having a cumulative effect throughout life. The quality of our relationships can influence every aspect of our health. I’ve personally dealt with the consequences of broken and half-lived relationships. After working through this, I’ve been able to heal and meet the love of my life. One way you can focus on supporting your relationships is to first realize that as humans we all have an innate desire to connect and be close to others. It’s also important to explore your own feelings, put yourself in someone else’s shoes, and work on prioritizing the relationships you want to support. It’s okay to walk away from toxic relationships that aren’t serving you—sometimes moving on is the best way to support our own needs.

 

NUTRITION


What we put into our bodies can impact our mood, our energy, and our physical health. By becoming more mindful and intentional about what we eat, when we eat, and why we eat, we can create balance and harmony, both physically and emotionally. But nutrition can be confusing, even overwhelming at times. There are so many dietary approaches out there—vegan, Paleo, Mediterranean, keto—how do we choose which one to follow? That’s actually why I wrote my latest book, Food: What the Heck Should I Eat?, to help debunk the nutritional myths and calm the confusion surrounding what the ideal diet is. My favorite rule of thumb for eating a nutrient-dense diet is to eat a wide variety of colorful plant foods, which ensures you’re getting beneficial phytochemicals and antioxidants to support whole-body health. The bulk of your groceries should be organic vegetables and fruits, some grass-fed meats and pastured eggs, healthy fats like coconut and avocado, along with nuts, seeds, herbs, and spices. Real foods in their simplest form make the most nourishing fuel for the body.

 

BODY + MOVEMENT


We’ve known for quite some time that aerobic exercise benefits cardiovascular health, but we’re now seeing that all types of movement, even slow and mindful practices like yoga and tai chi, additionally benefit our body through decreases in blood pressure, body mass index, and even cholesterol. Science is also showing additional physical benefits from movement, ranging from supporting brain health and cognition to balancing our stress response signals. I always encourage my patients to find an activity that is fun for them and keep an open mind to try new things. It’s also okay to start small—even just a short walk each day can work wonders for your health. For those that have a hard time getting motivated, find a buddy and help each other stay accountable. And remember, longer is not always better. Interval training can work the entire body in short amount of time, which is a great way to fit a shorter workout into a busy schedule and still feel amazing.

 

PURPOSE


Feeling we have a purpose in life and sharing our unique gifts with the world allows us to tap into more joyful living. In fact, research has shown that having a sense of purpose produces longer, happier lives. It’s clear that our internal dialogue is intimately connected to our physical body. When it comes to digging deeper into purpose, there are several questions I’ve found helpful in clarifying my own role in life. A major part of pursuing a sense of purpose is identifying what makes you feel your best. What parts of your schedule do you most look forward to? How can you make more time for these things that light you up, and what is sucking away your energy and happiness and how can you step away from it? Are you keeping an open mind to unexpected opportunities? These are important questions to ask yourself so that you can move forward feeling happier and more fulfilled.

 

MINDSET + PRACTICE


Our mindset and daily practices can be the strongest guiding force to carry us on the journey to better health. Having the intention to eat well or get regular exercise doesn’t make you successful, it’s taking action on those good intentions and making them part of your daily routine that will help you thrive. Your mindset is your collection of attitudes—how you respond to challenges, how your express gratitude, how you manage your time, and how you take care of yourself are just some of the parts of your life that you can assess to get a better understanding of your mindset. Mindset can deeply affect our body’s reactions. In the case of stress, one study found that those with a “stress-is-enhancing” mindset, as opposed to a “stress-is-debilitating” mindset, had fewer psychological stress responses like anxiety, depression, and anger. I’ve found meditation is essential for me to maintain a balanced mindset, and prioritising this practice in my daily routine keeps me functioning at my highest level. Beneficial practices can come in many forms, just find something that feels good to you and make it a non-negotiable part of your schedule.

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PLANNING A LEGAL CEREMONY

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Taking advice from the always wisdom filled folk over at Love My Dress, today is all about how to plan a legal ceremony alongside the big shabang. The ceremony is often the formal bit, a little more traditional and law abiding before celebrating with a big blow out. So, following their advice...here are their best tips on how to plan your legal ceremony.

 

WORK OUT WHAT YOU WANT FROM IT

Firstly, who do you want there? Just you two or a treasured family few? Either way make sure you stick to your guns about the guest list. Daniella from Love My Dress suggests treating it like a rehearsal dinner, with parents and the wedding party getting together before the big day to do the official bit. 

 

KEEP THE LEGAL BIT SIMPLE

Go easy on the vows, sack off the readings and save the ring exchange for when you've got a professional photographer to capture the moment. 

 

KEEP IT QUIET

I'm a bit of an old lady when it comes to sharing your life on social media but thankfully Love My Dress agrees and recommends not posting anything about the legal ceremony on your social pages. That way, no-one feel as though they were missed off the list!

 

 

So there you have it, a few ways to keep your legal ceremony, quick, easy and straight to the point. Good luck to all those brides-to-be preparing to walk down the aisle this weekend!

 

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WHERE WILL YOU WED?

 

It's wedding season, which means summer engagement season is on the way too. Couple after couple travel around the country each weekend attending wedding after wedding, making it the perfect opportunity to scope out venues for your own nuptials. So, if you're recently engaged or you've been planning for a while but still can't settle on a place to hold your big day, look no further...

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The Asylum, London

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Dreamland, Margate

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Aynhoe Park, Oxfordshire

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Jimmy's Farm, Suffolk

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SOO...THIS IS AN ACTUAL THING

 

Curry carts, children's nurseries and now bridesmaids for hire? I couldn't quite believe my eyes when I stumbled across a blog post titled something along the lines of...'Hiring a professional bridesmaid.'

Having never been married myself, but having had close family members who have planned their big day, I can for sure see that it's a stressful time with lots to think about and even more to actually do - but this one made me sad. The idea that for the right amount of money someone would pretend to be your closest friend and the fact that it's being considered to be a lucrative business is a bit of a mood killer for me. I get it, some people don't have many friends to call on for these big moments, I'm lucky enough to have a sister who would be my first and obvious choice, but in terms of girlfriends...I'm running pretty low on bridesmaids. I don't know what the male version of a maid is, but that's what more likely what I'd have....a 'brideguy' maybe.

The 'professional bridesmaid' (as they're being referred to) is there to help throughout the planning process as well as the big day. They'll sort the hen party planning, they'll talk you through the panic 'I don't want to do it anymore' moment whilst you taste cake and even go dress shopping with you. To be fair that last one's not a bad idea, at least they'd give you an honest opinion...too many brides are told 'you look like a princess' by their best friends that can all see the back fat we could also all see on the big day and in the pictures to last a lifetime! 

So, as with anything there are plus sides, but personally, the shame of other people finding out coupled with the money it costs to hire a friend (up to £2,500)...it's not something I'd do and it's certainly not something I'd advocate. One girl even dyed her hair because the bride wanted all blondes, or all brunettes, or whatever it was...turns out Mum was wrong all along...you really can buy your friends. 

 

P.S. Sorry for the ranty blog post, I watched Piers-the-knobhed-Morgan on Good Morning ITV or whatever it's called and he rubbed me up the wrong way...and my breakfast strawberries were mouldy. First world problems I know. 

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THE ENGLISH WEDDING BLOG

 

'Elegantly free-spirited in the country - Hampshire wedding style edit'

 

A few months ago, I was lucky enough to have worked alongside a host of other wedding suppliers based on the South West coast, putting together a photoshoot at the magnificent Somerley Estate in Hampshire.

The day was captured by Anna and Stu, of Cooper Photography and I'm sure you'll agree they've created something quite beautiful.

You can see more from the shoot here.

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BOBBI'S BRIDAL ESSENTIALS

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Whether you're going it alone or you've got someone prepping your big day make up for you...picking the right tools for the job can be a tricky task. I prefer a 'make-up free' look myself, but with this latest handpicked selection of best bridal make up from the Bobbi Brown collection you can opt for all out glam or understated elegance...Click the pictures below to shop your bridal bests.

LUXE LIP COLOUR - £27.00

SKIN FOUNDATION STICK - £31.00

NO SMUDGE MASCARA - £22.50

POT ROUGE FOR LIPS & CHEEKS - £22.00

VITAMIN ENRICHED FACE BASE - £43.00

MEDIUM BROW KIT - £38.00

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OOOO WHO'S IT FOR?

 

It's been a busy week prepping day of stationery for the upcoming summer weddings but amongst all the gold leafing, paper folding, menu printing and wax sealing it's been a beaut week of sunshine which has inspired some new ideas here in the studio...here's one I made earlier. 

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With lots of requests over the last few days for bespoke stationery suites, the diary is beginning to look a little crowded over the next few weeks, so if you're keen to send out your save the dates or get cracking with your ceremony booklet...give us a shout and we'll get you and your big day in the diary. Otherwise, enjoy your bank holiday and fingers crossed the sun sticks around for some beach time next week too!

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THE GIRL CRUSH

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The ultimate inspiration for all things nutrition, health, wellness, lifestyle, mum tips, fitness, style...well everything really! I've been following Earthy Andy on Instagram for a while now and every day her Insta stories, breakfast bowls for her beautiful boys and commitment to cleaner living inside and out inspire my own wellness journey. As you can tell I'm a bit of a fan girl, but with so many clean, lean preachers out there it's refreshing to find someone who lives the lifestyle realistically with her ups and downs honestly recorded on the daily. Take a look around her site for recipe ideas, Hawaii travel tips and more tan-envy enduring pics of Earthy Andy herself. Just you see if you don't desperately want to whip up a salad for dinner and slip on your yoga pants after you've checked her out!

 

 

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THE SHEERLUXE LOW-DOWN ON BRIDAL STYLE

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Interviewing bridalwear expert, Charlie Brear, Sheerluxe have recently revealed the top wedding dress tips to consider when shopping for THE dress. So, whether you haven't started looking yet, or you've narrowed it down to two but you want both...have a read of what Sheerluxe and Charlie Brear suggest to help you make the right choice.

 

As a bride, where do you start? 

Magazines, online blogs and Pinterest can be fun at first to source ideas, but you won’t know what suits you until you start trying dresses on. If you don’t already have a preferred designer in mind, browse online to get a sense of which designers and styles you like, then book an appointment with them. Once you visit a store you’ll be in the hands of experts who will be able to guide you through the process.

Should you go to a store with an idea, or stay open minded on the first appointment? 

With an open mind – you may suit a style that’s completely different to what you had initially envisioned. Be honest with your stylist/designer as they have a wealth of knowledge and ultimately want to help you find ‘The One’. Be open to trying on outfits suggested by your stylist as these are often the best surprise! Do come with an idea of the vibe you want to create though – think of the venue, flowers and bridesmaids, and explain how you see it all coming together.
 

What's the biggest worry brides have in regards to their dress?

Women want to look like the best possible version of themselves on their big day. They want their dress to wow their friends and family, but also be in line with their signature style. We advise all brides to wear something they feel totally at ease in, both physically and emotionally. A beautiful bride is one who appears relaxed and comfortable, and so it is important to pick a wedding day look that reflects you, whether that’s soft and romantic or pared back and minimal.

What styles are most popular right now?

Weddings tend to be much less formal now and consequently brides are more confident in choosing a look that reflects their own sense of style, rather than having to follow traditional notions of what bridalwear should look like. Brides are seeking out modern, effortless styles that maintain elements of tradition. Creating a look that’s fashion-led, clean and contemporary is really important to our clients. Standout pieces of the current collection include Avalon, an effortless strapless luxe crepe gown with a soft flared bodice overlay and long waist tie; Elua, a tailored dress with graphic dandelion lace, sheer sleeves and a back panel; and the Keala, a wide-sleeved boxy cropped lace top with optional eyelet lace trim neckline.

Would you ever advise against an idea a bride has in mind if you think it wouldn't suit her?

Yes. It’s our job as stylists to guide brides through the process to create a look that represents the best version of her. We would always encourage brides to try on something even if we believe it wouldn’t work – typically at this point they’d be able to see for themselves why it doesn’t work and we’ll be able to guide them to the styles that would be most flattering.

What brands do you stock?

Exclusively Charlie Brear for all bridalwear.

How much should you spend?

As much or as little as you can afford. You want to feel amazing in your dress as it’s a big moment in your life, but you don’t want to bankrupt yourself either! Set yourself a realistic budget before you begin your dress-shopping journey and allow a little room for movement – you don’t want to fall in love with something that is unattainable, so this will help determine the designers you can shortlist. It’s also important to factor in alteration costs and accessories to complete the look. Our dresses start from £1500.

How long before the big day should you start the dress hunt?

Ideally 6-12 months ahead. However, as our dresses are made in London we are able to work to a shorter time frame on occasions, should a bride be planning a quick engagement.

How long does it usually take?

It varies from person to person. Some women are very confident in their style and know exactly what they want so the process is very quick, whereas others need more reassurance and prefer to explore all options before making a decision. We will talk a bride through our collection, selecting a number of dresses to choose from based on their personal style and shape, and accessorising where appropriate.

How many fittings are there?

Typically, a bride would have their first fitting of the dress where it will be pinned, and once the work is complete they will go back again to check it’s perfect.

Are there ways to keep the cost down?

Our styling additions range is a great way to achieve an incredible look within an affordable budget. By choosing one of our simple crepe, chiffon or silk dresses and accessorising with a fabulous overskirt, jacket, top or belt you’re able to create multiple looks to carry you through the day.

Any tips for brides that don't want to go classic long and white?

Jumpsuits are a great option – we’ve had a number of jumpsuit styles within our last five seasons that sell really well. For 2019 our super popular Carson jumpsuit comes in smoke blue which is a great option for non-white outfits. 

What about bridesmaids? How do you tie their dresses in with the bride's?

As with brides, there’s no set rules for bridesmaids these days. Bridesmaids are now often seen in an array of dress styles and colours to suit their individual body shapes. Once you’ve chosen your dress, you’ll get a sense of the style of bridesmaid outfit that will best complement your look in terms of colour palette, fabric and shape.

What are your thoughts on veils? Are they still popular?

I personally love a veil as it’s the only day you’ll ever get the chance to wear one! That said, if you don’t feel comfortable wearing one it’s important to go with your own instinct and sense of style.

Tips for brides getting married on the beach or in a hot climate?

Look for fabrics that are breathable, such as chiffon and organza rather than silk or satin-silk gowns, and take into account how you will transport your dress. Go lightweight and choose a fabric that doesn’t crease as easily.

What about a city or registry office wedding?

The style of outfit will depend on whether the ceremony is taking place ahead of the wedding day or on the day itself. If it’s a small, intimate affair you may want to opt for a tea-length wedding dress like our Peploe, or a contemporary jumpsuit such as our Carson. Otherwise, if it’s taking place on the same day as the reception you could accessorise by overlaying a top for the ceremony which can then be removed to create a different look for the reception.

A traditional church wedding?

Church weddings usually command a more modest dress so it’s best to avoid anything that’s backless or too revealing for a church ceremony. We often suggest adding beautiful sleeves, such as our Keala sleeves, or wearing a jacket or overdress, which can then be removed for a slinkier look at the reception. A church wedding is also a great opportunity to add a bit of drama to your look to really make an entrance; the addition of an overskirt, such as our Merletti skirt, worn over the dress is a great way to achieve this.

What do you suggest for older brides?

There shouldn’t be any rules for older brides, they deserve to feel just as beautiful as a younger bride! Like all brides, some have concerns about certain body areas and we always suggest styles that will flatter these areas, but often we have many older brides who are actually fitter and more at ease with their own style and look incredible in anything! 

Do you ever get brides who don't want to wear white? What do you advise? 

Yes, absolutely. Our 2019 collection will be in store from this summer and features luxurious, artisanal fabrics in a soft palette of blush pink, silver grey and metallic, to sit alongside traditional ivories and creams.
 

Do you have any tips for brides with big busts?

Bigger busted women will usually want to wear a bra so the outfit needs to work with this. We have many styles that suit this shape such as the Carenne, Harwood and Pallas dresses, as well as the Carson jumpsuit.

Curvy brides?

Our dresses look beautiful on brides of all sizes and many of our styles are available up to size 24. Again, a stylist will be able to advise on the best styles to flatter your body shape.

Smaller busts?

Super low backs – such as the one on our Iconics Torum gown – are very on trend and can’t be worn with a bra, so these work really well for a smaller bust. High neck dresses are also really flattering, as well as dresses with a deep, plunging neckline, such as the Nyika dress from our 2019 collection.

What about tall brides?

If you’re tall you’ll pretty much look good in anything, and we offer extra length on most of our gowns. Bias cut is also a great option. Our Merletti overskirt has lots of layers of chiffon and is a showstopper on a tall girl, as is the Onilie embroidered gown.

And petite?

Petite girls also look great in many different styles, as long as it doesn’t swamp them. Our polka dot Luna Top and Lyra Skirt in stores this summer looks amazing on petite girls and styles such as Ama and Avalon are also great options.

What about brides who want to hide their arms? 

Sleeves are the perfect solution and add beautiful detail to the dress whilst covering the arms too. Our Nyika gown and Luna and Lyra spot tops are ideal, and we have a beautiful new crepe piece being launched later this year for our Additions collection, that can go over a dress to cover arms.

What to do if you change your mind on the dress?

Our dresses are made to order; however, we do offer a 14-day ‘peace of mind’ policy, so if a bride changes her mind within this period she is able to cancel the order.

Do you have any favourite celebrity dresses?

Our stunning new Nyika dress was recently worn for the ceremony of style influencer Jessie Bush of @Wethepeople and looked incredible. Cat Deeley is a personal friend of mine and wore a handmade veil that was three meters long for her wedding, which looked amazing. Olivia Palermo and Nicole Kidman have also worn Charlie Brear pieces, but my all-time favourite was Olivia Wilde in a bespoke Haliton, worn with Catroux sleeves in the movie Rush.
 

Any tips for finishing touches on the day?

Accessories are key and can completely transform a bridal look from day to night. With our styling Additions collection, every bride has the opportunity to create her own individual take on a CB gown. Starting with a simple crepe, satin or chiffon dress and layering with everything from a sequinned overskirt and lace sleeve to washed silk sashes, a bespoke look can be effortlessly created and customised. Combinations of accessories allow endless possibilities!

What about hair and makeup? How much does the hairstylist need to see to ensure the whole look is right?

Once you’ve chosen your outfit, your hair stylist and makeup artist will be able to advise on styles that will work with your look if you don’t already have something in mind. Sometimes brides will have their hair and makeup done ahead of the final dress fitting so they can see the full look ahead of the big day.

Where do you start with lingerie on the day?

This depends on the style of dress chosen. If you’re wearing something very slinky in a soft fabric you’ll need to wear invisible lingerie that can’t be seen through the dress. Your stylist will be able to advise on lingerie once you’ve chosen your dress. Most importantly you need to feel good in it and be comfortable – there’s always the option to change into something ‘sexier’ later on if needed!

What underwear should you take to fittings?

Underwear is crucial when dress shopping. Nude, smooth underwear is best – it doesn’t have to be the exact lingerie you’ll wear on the day (that can be tried on at a later stage during alterations) but wear something that works under white.

Any tips on shoes – do you need to find them early on for the fittings?

The shoe needs to match the dress both in terms of style and practicality. The heel height will affect the length of the dress and if you’re wearing something in a delicate fabric, it’s important that you don’t have shoes with details that could catch the fabric. Ideally, it’s best to choose your shoe early on in the process if the shoes will be important to you, or as soon as you’ve selected your dress.

To what extent should you take trends into consideration?

Ultimately, you know best in terms of what you like and don’t like, so always go with your instinct. If you don’t feel comfortable in a dress it won’t look good, so it’s crucial that you choose a dress that represents your own unique sense of style.

 

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THE SOMERLEY EVENT

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I'm excit

I'm super excited to be attending the Somerley Estate Wedding Show this Sunday, to showcase all my stationery goods. The estate have recently opened their doors to more private weddings, and although little temptation is needed on account of the stunning surroundings, beautiful grounds and exceptional architecture you are invited to look around and imagine your big day hosted amidst all this understated but equally sophisticated grandeur. 

 

Alex Dollin-Webster liaises with brides-to-be and nervous grooms too and has organised the whole affair for this Sunday 29th April. Having worked with Alex in the past, I know for certain this will be a refined, elegant, and beautifully humble wedding show with local and handpicked suppliers. Fingers crossed it will be a beautiful spring day to show it off in all its glory. 

 

Hope to see you there.  

 

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MEGHAN MARKLE'S WEDDING CAKE MAKER

 

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Sheerluxe recently delved into the life of Claire Ptak, the Californian baker in charge of knocking together Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding cake. So, let’s meet the maker…

 

She Became A Catering Assistant Aged 12

Sure, she wasn’t a name many of us had heard of before her addition to the royal wedding, but those doubting her credentials should know that Claire’s been in the baking business since she was a pre-teen. In an interview with British chef Anna Jones, Ptak revealed she had her first job as a catering assistant at just 12 years old.

“I lied and said I was a teenager to get the job,” she admitted. “When I showed up she took one look at me and said ‘how old are you?’ I said, ‘I’m 12 but I can do a lot and work hard.’”

She Once Made 500 Cupcakes With Laundry Powder 

She may have started her career at the tender age of 12, but that didn’t stop her once accidentally making a massive batch of cakes that tasted exactly like freshly-washed laundry.

“We had bought the icing sugar from a cash and carry in the first year of the [Borough] market stall. It turned out it was stored in the same aisle as the laundry detergent. It absorbed the flavour,” she said. But we’ve all made similar mistakes – sort of. She admitted the experience has taught her to taste everything a bit earlier.

She Gets The Baking Bug From Her Mum

In a 2015 interview with the Telegraph, Ptak revealed her mum had a penchant for making increasingly elaborate cakes – and once even created a Boy George cake, complete with his Karma Chameleon braids.

She and her brother would often come home from school in Marin County, California, to her mum baking brownies, cakes and chocolate chip cookies. Dream childhood? We think so. 

She Has Her Own Podcast

A woman of many talents, Claire also runs her own podcast called the Violet Sessions, in which she interviews “interesting women who do incredible things,” with past episode guests including Radio 1 DJ Alice Levine, coder Kim Boutin and Sony Music’s Julie Weir.

She says she started the podcast in order to get the know the women who walk through the doors at her bakery every day.

She Didn’t Set Out To Be A Baker

Despite her early initiation into the baking business, she went on to study film theory and video art at Mills College in California – quite the curveball.

She even became a Hollywood personal assistant, but gave it all up to live her dream baking delicious cakes, and in 2003 was given a job making desserts for Chez Panisse’s café in Berkley, California.

She Started Her UK Career In A Gastropub 

Ever the glamorous career, Claire’s first job once she moved to London was in The Anchor and Hope gastropub near Waterloo station, before opening her organic bakery in 2010. She also worked as a freelance food stylist, teaming up with Jamie Oliver.

She Has A Lot In Common With Meghan Markle

We all know that Meghan and Harry are hot on charity work. So it makes sense the couple chose Claire as their star baker, as they have the same ethical stance on a lot of topics.

When the news was announced, Claire said: “I can’t tell you how delighted I am to be chosen to make Prince Harry and Ms Markle’s wedding cake. Knowing that they really share the same values as I do about food provenance, sustainability, seasonality and most importantly flavour, makes this the most exciting event to be a part of.”

She’s Making A Lemon And Elderflower Cake For The Wedding

No Colin the Caterpillar for these newlyweds! Claire’s stepping away from the more traditional fruit cake in favour of something a little lighter for the start of the warmer weather. The lemon and elderflower sponge will be covered in buttercream and decorated with fresh flowers. The Kensington Palace Twitter announced the news, adding that the couple had asked for the cake to “incorporate the bright flavours of spring”.

 

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EMMY ROSSUM'S WEDDING DAY WELLNESS GUIDE

 

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The Chalkboard Mag recently linked up with actress Emmy Rossum never fails to look nothing short of amazing, and excelled her normal glamour glow even more than normal on her wedding day. She gives her pre-big day wellness tips, a helpful guide for how to look and feel amazing on the day of your wedding.

 

CUT THE COFFEE

Limit caffeine on the day. When nerves and adrenaline are high, one comforting cup of coffee is enough. Instead, focus on hydrating with water throughout the morning whilst you get ready.

 

DRINK LEMON WATER

Hydrate with enzyme-rich water. Adding cucumber and or lemon to your water will help your body to stay hydrated and encourage urination to prevent water retention and swelling on the day of your wedding and leading up.

 

AVOID FOODS THAT BLOAT

Steer clear of cheese, gluten and any white or empty carbohydrates for ten days before your wedding; all of these will make you bloat. For breakfast on the big day, go for a fructose-free smoothie made of protein, fat and fibre to balance blood sugar and turning down hunger hormones. Why fructose-free? Fructose feeds gut bacteria that can contribute to bloat. Not to mention, fructose is metabolised in the liver and if you plan to drink alcohol it’s best to give your live a break. Added fibre from chia of flax helps ensure you have a BM before you slip into your dress and slows the absorption of glucose to prevent a blood-sugar roller coaster. 

 

TAKE YOUR ENZYMES

Take an enzyme supplement before your morning smoothies and lunch to support your body in breaking down the macronutrients in your meal and to help easily convert your food to energy. An added bonus: taking enzymes can reduce bloating.

 

DON'T FORGET TO ACTUALLY EAT

With so much going on, it’s easy to forget food all together and might end up more frazzled – or tipsier – than you want. Nourishing your body with essential omega-3 fatty acids and protein prior to a night of drinking can help slow the absorption of ethanol into the circulatory system to avoid being a super tipsy bride. A high-protein, high-fat lunch will keep your blood sugar balanced and help prevent a hangover.

 

LOW-SUGAR COCKTAILS

If you want to toast/drink alcohol whilst you get ready, consider low-sugar options such as vodka or silver tequila with double soda water instead of champagne.

 

 

 

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THE OTHER HOROSCOPE : 12 SMOOTHIES FOR EVERY SIGN

 

Don’t roll your eyes just yet. The much-trusted wellness beings over at The Chalkboard Mag say astrology is actually an interesting way to relate to the world around us and feeds into an approach to our wellness too. Why not try the tastes the universe has picked for you, and see if it aligns with all your chakras.

 

 

Aries : The Spicy Grapefruit

 

Adventurous and passionates, Aries need a smoothie that matches up with their intensity while helping to level it out. Grapefruit is bright and energizing and ginger is spicy, dynamic and detoxifying. Add a pinch of fresh mint to this recipe to help cool off that hot head.

 

1 grapefruit | 1 large apple | 2 cups spinach | 1 large ripe banana | 2 ice cubes | a dash of coconut water | ½ tsp fresh ginger

 

Taurus : Strawberry, Basil & Avocado

 

This grounded Earth sign isn’t one for the complicated or outrageous, but finds deep comfort from a little luxury. Avocado creates a luscious texture that tactile Taurus will love to indulge in. Strawberry lights up their romantic nature, and nerve-calming, aromatic basil helps soothe the sometime overly sensitive side of it.

 

2 handfuls frozen strawberries | 1 handful cherry tomatoes | a  few goji berries | 2 large Medjool dates |  2tbsp mashed avocado | 1 freshly squeezed lime | 1tbsp chopped basil | a dash of coconut water

 

Gemini : The Birthday Cake

 

Gemini are playful, clever and always a little unexpected, which is why this birthday cake blend is a perfect pairing. Sipping on an almost-dessert for breakfast innocently appeals to their mischievous side, while offering a protein blast to keep this imaginative air sign’s wit sharp.

 

3 frozen bananas | a dash of almond milk |  2 tbsp raw honey | 2tsp maple syrup | 1tsp vanilla extract | 1tbsp protein blend | rice whipped cream to garnish

 

Cancer : Coconut & Lemon Green Shake

 

As one of the most loyal and loving signs, Cancers know what it’s like to really feel the feels. This nourishing smoothie will keep Cancer cool as a coconut. A heavy handful of dark leafy greens, with tangy lemon is a well-balanced combination whilst keeping things exciting – just like a Cancer ‘s personality.

A dash of coconut water | 1 freshly squeezed lemon | 1 handful kale | 1 handful spinach | 1 frozen banana | 2 pineapple rings | 1 scoop vanilla protein powder

 

 

Leo : Tropical Green Smoothie

 

Warm-hearted Leo loves to be admired. This pineapple smoothie cleverly conceals a generous serving of Swiss chard behind a sweet blend of bananas, mango, strawberry and date paste. A playful concoction that fun loving fire sign Leo can share with friends – with high praise sure to follow.

 

3 handfuls Swiss chard | 3 large bananas | 2 pineapple rings | 1 frozen mango | 1 handful frozen strawberries | 3 heaped tbsp. date paste | a dash of coconut water

 

 

Virgo : Chai Spice Smoothie Bowl

 

As the modest and practical brainiac of the zodiac, Virgo needs something that can multi-task to the max. If you’re a Vrigo, try not to over-think the layers of flavour in chai (no doubt you’re tempted to) – mixing it in with coconut and vanilla creates a seamless yet stimulating blend even a perfectionist will love.

 

Meat of 2 coconuts | 1 frzoen banana | 1tbsp almond butter | ¼ cup of chai tea | ½ tsp vanilla | sprinkle of cinnamon | 1 tbsp raw honey

 

 

Libra : Berry Beauty Shake

 

Romantic and idealistic Libras have an artistic attraction to classic beauty – and a berry smoothie is about as classic as it goes. Just about any berries will blend together making this smoothie an easily adaptable one you can switch up when they’re feeling inspired by your surroundings. Loads of beautifying benefits a Libra is definitely going to love.

 

Small handful blueberries | Small handful cherries | 5 strawberries | ½ avocado | 1 scoop chocolate protein powder | 2 tsp flaxseed | 1tsp chia seeds | water or ice to thin as needed

 

 

Scorpio : Vanilla Spice Cookie Shake

 

Scorpios are known for their passion, mystery, fiery magnetism…and fiery mood. This offbeat blend features a mix of bold spices for a complex but harmonious flavour that won’t pin down or bore Scorpio with something too familiar. Cosy vanilla and cooling yoghurt will keep any overly spicy flare-ups in check.

 

Small handful rolled oats | ¼ small glass filtered water | 2 big dollops of dairy free yoghurt | ½ small glass of almond milk | 1 apple | 1 date | ½ tsp cinnamon | 1/8 turmeric | pinch nutmeg | 1tsp maple syrup | 1 fresh vanilla bean | 4-7 ice cubes

 

 

Sagittarius : Mango Mint Coconut Smoothie

Freedom –seeking and straightforward Sagittarius love to explore. This mango smoothie is bright and uncomplicated, featuring a flavour explosion of tropical vibes that will instantly transport the taste buds of any wander lusting Sagittarius.  A healthy dose of greens offers the nourishment needed to keep their energy and optimism high as ever.

 

1 mango | 1 glass coconut water | 1 handful spinach leaves | 1 small head romaine lettuce | 1 small bunch fresh peppermint | 5 sprigs fresh parsley

 

 

Capricorn : Melon Beauty Elixir

 

This hydrating melon mix is perfect for notoriously practical and patient Capricorn. With only three ingredients and plenty of beautifying benefits for any glowifying-ambitions, the only downside is holding out until watermelon season comes back – but chances are a Capricorn will be just fine with waiting.

 

3 tbsp chia seeds | 3 big handfuls freshly cut watermelon | 1 small glass lukewarm water

 

 

Aquarius : Beets, Ginger & Berry

 

Charismatic, inventive and independent, Aquarius can’t be slowed down – so they need their smoothie to keep up. Antioxidant rich beets add a little sweetness an a lot of heart-healthy power for an air-sign always on the run. A punch of ginger helps keep things lively and clear. Root veggies are random but perfect, a little rebellious just like an Aquarius.

 

1 cooked beetroot | 1 handful frozen blueberries | 1 frozen banana | fresh ginger | coconut water | almond milk | almond butter

 

 

Pisces : Cashew Cream Mulberry Shake

 

Compassionate and sensitive, Pisces are know for their adaptability. This creamy blend is perfectly nourishing on its own, but can also be host to other stronger flavours too. Tonic herbs, pine pollen and tocos provide vitality and much needed nourishing balance for the ones who usually do the nourishing for others.

 

1 glass cashew milk | 1 handful coconut meat | 1 frozen banana | handful dried white mulberries | 2 tbsp sun potion tocos | 2 tsp pine pollen | ¼ tsp ground vanilla | pinch Celtic sea salt

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THE WEDDING PLANNER

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I've always greatly admired those that plan weddings for a living, it's not an easy job and it takes a lot of gumption to keep on keeping on with a calm head and enough energy to get you through. I absolutely love working with wedding planners, they always know the score and, as you'd expect, are impeccably organised. I've been lucky enough to have been approached recently by three exceptional women planning weddings across the country to join them for photoshoots  and work on stationery for the upcoming wedding season. So, I wanted to give them a special mention today and bring them to your attention in case you're looking for a wedding planner for your big day. 

 

KATRINA OTTER

http://www.katrinaotterweddings.co.uk

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LISA BAKER AT JUST BESPOKE

https://www.just-bespoke.com

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LIANNE TUCKER AT BLONDE ARMY

https://blondearmy.co.uk/about/

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THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL

 

'What happened, my dear Zero, is I beat the living shit out of a sniveling little runt called Pinky Bandinski, who had the gall to question my virility. Because, if there's one thing we've learned from penny dreadfuls, it's that when you find yourself in a place like this, you must never be a candy ass; you've got to prove yourself from day one. You've got to win their respect. You should take a long look at his ugly mug this morning. He's actually become a dear friend. You'll meet him, I hope so.'

{ M. Gustave }

 

I'm not the kind of creative that walks along the beach and draws inspiration from the formation of the sand, or whose mind conjures the most wonderful creative images just by listening to the birdsong outside my window. Some days I have blank days, I mean really blank days...days where I find Phillip and Holly absolutely mesmerising and once they're off air I stare at the dog's nose until he wants a walk...that kind of blank day. To get me out of those slumps and to get my creative juices flowing once again, I watch The Grand Budapest Hotel. As soon as the score of 'Moonshine' by Alexandre Desplat hops, skips and jumps through the speakers, I get a niggle of excitement and a sudden desire to create beautiful things again. The way Monsieur Gustave delivers his lines, the backdrop of colours, the clouds, the hotel keys, the cake boxes at Mendl's...everything about the film fuels me to pull my socks up and get to work.

With a few photoshoots around the corner, here's a little something I've been working on. I think it's fairly clear which film I watched right before I sat down to work.

 

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BESPOKE WEDDING STATIONERY

 

I recently had the pleasure of working with a couple who are good friends and work colleagues of my brother-in-law. Getting married in Dorset later this year, their summer wedding at Axnoller is sure to be a picture perfect, better than Pinterest marriage ceremony. 

Sally & Dan were looking for a suite of bespoke stationery, featuring custom wax stamp sealed envelopes, hand lettered addresses and linen textured card stock...three of my favourite things. We are currently working on the day of stationery to match this beautiful stationery set, so keep your eyes on Instagram for more from Sally & Dan's wedding stationery.

My favourite designs to date, easily the nicest people I've had the pleasure to work with, and they sent flowers to my studio too.

If you're looking for your own bespoke wedding stationery, get in touch and we can make a plan to create something as beautiful as this.

 

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TOP WEDDING TRENDS FOR 2018

 

Long before I began in the industry, Pinterest has been the source for millions of wedding mood boards, dinner setting ideas and 'pimp your prosecco' bars too.

 

Whether you're getting married this year or not, Pinterest have pulled together their top predicted trends to help hone the thousands of ideas you've probably got flying around your  wedmin filled mind. 

 

VEGAN FOOD

Search up : 186%

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SUSPENDED FLOWERS

Search up : 346%

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ROSE DRESSES

Search up : 46%

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MIDNIGHT SNACKS

Search up : 236%

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METALLIC DECORATIONS

Search up : 476%

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JUMPSUITS

Search up : 178%

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HIGH NECKLINES

Search up : 351%

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FLATS

Search up : 119%

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FIG CAKES

Search up : 575%

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CAPES

Search up : 88%

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BACKDROP NECKLACES

Search up : 207%

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PLUS ONE WEDDING ETIQUETTE

The guest list is one of the worst Sunday afternoon wedding jobs. You know you’re probably going to disagree about someone or something, so take out any additional ‘does he really need a plus one?’ stress by sticking to these guest list tips.

 

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How to decide who gets a plus one and who definitely doesn’t…

 

First things first, once you’ve set the guest list be strict. No late additions, even if he really really really reeeaaally likes her.

 

Don’t give a blind plus one. If you haven’t met the partner several times before then there’s no need to invite them to your wedding. You don’t want any strangers rocking up at the top table mid speeches.

 

Offer the bridesmaids, groomsmen and bridal party a plus one. Just ask them to let you know who they’re going to be brining.

 

If you’ve got a long distance friend travelling and he/she won’t know anyone else except you at the wedding, allow for a plus one so they don’t feel awkward.

 

If there’s someone on your guest list who you think might be expecting a plus one, but it’s a definite no from you, then let them know in person ahead of sending out invitations. 

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NEW WEDDING STATIONERY COLLECTION 

 

With my new wedding stationery collection launching this week, I thought I'd tell you a little more about where the weird names come from and why I opt for simplicity over sparkles. 

 

First up is the Kihei collection. Kihei is beach-combing territory on Maui's southwest shore, the most sunny end of the island with the least rain too. With 6 miles of beaches offering clear views of Kahoolawe, Molokini, Lanai and West Maui, this is the place I learnt to surf and so will always hold a place in my heart. Hopefully you'll fall in love with my version of Kihei too.  

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Makawao is next in the collection. Simple but structured and a little more reserved...just like Makawao itself. Upcountry Maui, Makawao is located on the mid-slopes of Maui's Haleakala volcano with one foot in its plantation past and another in its thriving arts community. So, it's clear why I've chosen to name this particular style after one of the top 25 arts destinations in the states. 

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Lahaina is another favourite of mine, both the namesake and the style. Although the village's historic whaling roots are not something I agree with, the new Maui hotspot is now the perfect blend of old architecture and new shopping boutiques. Ranked one of the 'Top Ten Greatest Streets', it's picture perfect with a little more too it. Much the same as the stationery that it has inspired. 

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The Paia collection is an old favourite newly revamped for 2018. The place I called home when in Hawaii, Paia is a historic town on Maui's north coast. A hospitable community with rustic storefronts and colourful local art all around, it's the place to be for happy, healthy hippies. Shining from the inside out, it seemed only right to adorn this stationery suite with a delicate touch of gold leaf. 

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WHERE TO HONEYMOON IN 2018

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On a day like today we’re all scrolling through old holiday photos wishing we were right back there…preferably with that tan. Holiday daydreaming is one of my favourite things to do and quite often distracts me from the jobs I should be completing. But, if your fictional holiday daydreaming becomes real life honeymoon planning, then where better to take inspiration than from Mr & Mrs Smith, the luxury travel experts. Their collection of resorts and retreats are unrivalled, much like their knack for seeking out the worlds best infinity pools, dining experiences and even mattresses. 

 

When it comes to honeymoons, Mr & Mrs Smith, can do it all…source the perfect escape for you and your newlywed companion, arrange your flight itinerary and book your transfers too. So, what and where do they think we will be thinking about when we come to book the big trip? 

 

 

Number One : Responsible Travel

Hotels that give something back. Not just a recycling bin in the kitchen, this years trend will be to seek the local hotel heroes who work with both the environment and the community, to build an experience that enhances the area surrounding them. Two such fiercely community minded, ethical hotels that don’t scrimp on luxury are the Nay Palad Hideaway on Sigaro Island in the Philippines and the Uxua Casa Hotel & Spa in Bahia, Brazil. The picture says it all really. 

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Number Two : In The Thick of It

Getting back to nature, sleeping under the stars and being open to the elements can bring a sense of freedom that often compliments the activities of a honeymoon couple, if you know what I mean. These beautiful boutique retreats take safari camping to a whole new level. Think four poster beds, personal butlers and unspoilt views to be enjoyed from your private veranda. Mr & Mrs Smith recommend Chamba Camp Thiksey in the Himalayas, Nihi Sumba Island Hotel in Indonesia and South Africa’s Lion Sands Game Reserve for the best back to nature experience. 

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Number Three : Pools With a View

The outdoor pool is often one of the first things I look at when searching for the perfect holiday location. I like them to be a short stroll from breakfast, but far enough away from the hotel hustle that you can enjoy the serene waterside scenery. Two of Mr & Mrs Smith’s most spectacular pool side settings include the reed-fringed pool at Tieraa Atacama Hotel & Spa in Chile, with front-row seats to a sunset that paints the volcanic backdrop a fiery red. The second is the Other Side in Eleuthera, a Bahamian island where the pool floats atop a wooden jetty leaning out to sea, and is filled with water filtered straight from the ocean.

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Number Four : Castaway Chic

No news, no shoes and no blues are the rules for these three superbly secluded honeymoon destinations. In the Maldives the One & Only Reethi Rah lives up to its name, located all on its very own island with 12 beaches and eight dining spots. Soneva Jani, also in the Maldives, hosts its own overwater cinema, star-gazing observatory and meditative labyrinth. Yes, a meditative labyrinth. And finally, Be Tulum in Riviera Maya, Mexico. Tucked within a tropical forest, winding jungle paths are illuminated by hanging lanterns, with leather butterfly chairs and palm-thatched palapas for just the right amount of shade. 

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Number Five : All About the Food

These are the places you’d book for a special birthday lunch or an anniversary dinner, so if you can stay there as well, then why not? Far flung and the best of British, Mr & Mrs Smith have picked their top two gourmet getaways to find the best way to most people’s hearts…food. Zaborin in Japan offers ambitious multi-course menus, showcasing traditional skills and techniques with dishes shaped by the seasons. Set amidst the Hanazono Forest, the wild wood, lake and Mount Yotei provide the culinary temptations from just steps away from the hotel itself. The Lime Wood hotel in Hampshire is a little closer to home, especially for me. They cater to every taste, with a raw-food bar at the spa, a smokehouse and an accomplished cookery school that has put their culinary cred on the map of the most established chefs. 

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Number Six : Sppppaaaa Relax

After the hectic wedding planning, sleepless nights and endless conversations about table cloths, take a minute to chill and enjoy each other at some of the worlds most spoiling spas. Chablé Resort & Spa in Mexico not only has its own cenote but also three ancient Mexican sweat lodges too, the perfect place to receive sound cleansing and spiritual guidance. Secondly, the world-famous birthplace of vinothérapie, you can see where they were going with this one. The place where spa brand Caudalie began creating its wine based lotions and potions, Les Sources de Caudalie in Bordeaux, France has 19 treatment rooms, barrel baths and plenty of places to do as little as you like. 

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Number Seven : Villa Villa Nice

If you’re having a destination wedding and you don’t mind the wedding party crashing your honeymoon, then why not extend the wedding weekend and host your guests for a social stay in a home-from-home feeling, hotel-worthy space to entertain or be entertained. Els Comellars in Mallorca, is family-friendly with generous grounds, lounging spots and Jaipur-pink clay walls that perform in the Balearic sun. Built in the 16th century, Lake Como's Villa Sola Cabiati has opened its gates to reveal its parterre gardens to those outside of the blue bloodline. Marble balconies bedeck this Baroque folly, proudly showing off a grand piano, porcelains and in-house museum of Napoelon’s hats…naturally. 

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