Thank You!

This Saturday is my last bride of 2015 and what a year it has been.  I’m not going to brag about the number of weddings I’ve worked or the number of brides and bridesmaids I’ve styled, even the  number of lessons I’ve delivered.  However, I am going to say how grateful I am for the last year, which has been my best year yet.

More so, I’m truly thankful that I have met some really wonderful women through my business.  Women who I have supported during their transition from Miss to Mrs, but who have also very generously supported me during a turbulent personal period.

I’m looking forward to 2016 and meeting the gorgeous brides who have chosen to be styled by me ready for the day that they marry the love of their life.  But more than that I’m looking forward to strengthening the friendships I have already made and those I’m yet to make.

Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year that’s filled with love and sparkle!

Natalie x

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New skin, new me – The skincare concierge service

Hey makeup lovers! A few weeks ago I had a new experience – a skincare concierge service.  Intrigued by the concept I was excited about trying it out. Here’s what happened..

The day of my appointment arrived and Chloe the lovely lady from Skin Oracle came with a number of big bags – exciting!  In my lounge she set up a portable light machine and after removing my makeup took photos of my face.  I would happily share the photos with you however, I’m pretty certain they would scare small children!

Chloe explained what each photo meant and pointed out issues with my skin.  What I learnt was that regardless of how many hours sleep I got each night, only drinking sufficient water would help reduce the dark circles under my eyes.  It was a lovely surprise to learn that my skin was actually in pretty good shape for my age.  Also, I don’t have as much sun damage as I imagined I may have after spending a number of years abroad as a child and not being that particular about wearing an SPF every day in the UK.

Once I’d recovered from looking like a horror story in those photos, Chloe explained what treatment she would recommend.  I was in for a treat – I needed a facial peel as more traditional methods of exfoliation (scrubs) were too harsh for my skin which was causing some of my problems.

Out to her car she popped and came back with a rather comfy portable bed, which she set up in my lounge.  It would have been a relaxing treatment however, Buster my dog had other ideas and spent much of the following 20 minutes jumping up and barking! All kudos to Chloe though she wasn’t put off by hi and even thought it was funny!

If you’ve never had a peel before it feels like you’ve got a face full of nettle stings.  The product isn’t on long – only 2 minutes in this case and then a further minute while it was neutralised.  Then a really comforting moisturiser was applied.

Since then my skin has felt and looked amazing but more of that in a minute!

Chloe gave me a number of pointers before she left and said she would send a few samples in the post for me to try.

Its been two weeks since the treatment and I’ve had a week of using the samples – a prescription blended moisturiser and cleaner specific to my skins needs and a tube of Heliocare SPF.  As the moisturiser had vitamin A in it I was advised by Chloe that I should wear an SPF hence the tube of Heliocare. I’m still delighted at how my skins looks and feels.  After 1 mini treatment my skin is clear, smooth and soft.  Makeup goes on better and stays on longer.  I’ve found using the SPF easy and not the chore I expected as the Heliocare helps leave your skin soft and doesn’t have that usual sunblock kind of smell.

So what did I think of the whole concierge service?  I loved it!  What a treat having someone come to your home to provide a service usually found in a skin care clinic.  Chloe was really knowledgeable and friendly.  And then to have prescription blended skincare tailored specifically for the needs of my skin – amazing!  This experience completely changed my perception of skin care clinics.

My advice would be if you are getting married or just want to take better care of your skin then give it a whirl, you’ve got nothing to loose and great skin to gain!

 

Wedding dress shopping – a whole new world for The Wardrobe Angel (Part Four)

My brilliantly funny friend Steph is The Wardrobe Angel.  She has a thriving fashion business and has even been on TV.  But this year she has stepped into unknown territory.  She has become a bride to be and now has the task of going wedding dress shopping.  I asked Steph to write a couple of blog articles for me about how she felt etc not just because she was in an unusual position for herself but also because this was an experience that every bride to be shared.  I’m sure you’ll enjoy this funny and insightful start to Steph’s wedding dress search.

Shopping for my wedding dress (Part Four)

People have now begun to ask me:

“as a stylist are you feeling the pressure of finding a dress?”

The simple answer is no. Fashion and style are intensely personal experiences which can be influenced and shaped by the media, magazines and peers but I believe each one of us has an innate sense of style which, when displayed in all its awesomeness, is congruent with who we are, where we are going, and shows what we do.

The dress has to fit certain, non-negotiable, categories:

  1. It has to fit.
  2. It can’t show my cleavage. I’m getting married in a church.
  3. I have to be able to walk, sit, stand and eat in it. I’m not paying for a fancy meal only to be able to manage a few mouthfuls. I intend to chow down come Wedding Day.
  4. I have to be able to wear it again. Just kidding. Although I might bring it out at fancy dress time, or just wear it when I am cleaning…you, know…to pep up my day. Like Monica and the gals from Friends back in the day….

But aside from that, it’s my decision what I wear. It’s my style.

  I have NO IDEA about wedding dress trends, no idea AT ALL and I don’t want to know.

 I don’t want an “on-trend” wedding dress simply because everyone else has that one. I want a dress which fits (see point number 1 above and whilst you are there you may want to re-read the other points as well), which I feel awesome in, which when I put it on, I’ll know

YES, this is the dress I’m going to marry Rich in.

 

 

Wedding dress shopping – a whole new world for The Wardrobe Angel (Part Three)

My brilliantly funny friend Steph is The Wardrobe Angel.  She has a thriving fashion business and has even been on TV.  But this year she has stepped into unknown territory.  She has become a bride to be and now has the task of going wedding dress shopping.  I asked Steph to write a couple of blog articles for me about how she felt etc not just because she was in an unusual position for herself but also because this was an experience that every bride to be shared.  I’m sure you’ll enjoy this funny and insightful start to Steph’s wedding dress search.

Shopping for my wedding dress (Part Three)

So I went online this week to try and cure my wedding dress blindness and put together a coherent wedding Pinterest board to send to my wedding florist, Cate Wood who owns Flowers at 180I had had a tweet from Oxfam who directed me to their second-hand wedding dress site after hearing about my wedding dress dilemmas. Initially, when we got engaged, I adamantly told people I would find my wedding dress in a charity shop and buy some designer shoes to go with it which I would wear again…and again…and again. Sustainable shopping is one of the pillars of The Wardrobe Angel and half my wardrobe is from charity shops so it just felt right to go down this route.

Then something happened:

My Mum very, very kindly offered to buy my wedding dress.

She remembered shopping for her wedding dress with my Nana as a pivotal moment in their relationship. I’m only going to do this (get married) once: so this kind of enduring, wonderfully special memory, this mother/daughter experience of wedding dress shopping was something I realised I wanted too. As Rich and I planned the guest list and the congratulation cards rolled in late last year, I realised that I had just been going through wedding planning motions, I forgot (or didn’t quite realise) how many other people were supporting us and loving us during this frankly awesome time. (And I wasn’t about to start dragging my Mum round every Oxfam in the area – she would not have been into that at all!) So I put down my ideas of a thrifted dress and dove head first (albeit terrified) into the wedding dress experience.

Even though I’m committed to trying dresses on in person, feeling the garments, seeing how they looked on me rather than on a picture on a model online, I did find an immensely awesome, minimal stylish label called Houghton based in New York. I spent a good hour browsing the bridal collection wistfully imagining the slim fitting dresses pulling like an elastic band on my 28F chest, dragging miles of fabric behind me as I’m at least a whole person shorter than the models. This was my wake-up call – yes the Houghton dresses are awesome and wonderfully aspirational but they aren’t me. Not on my wedding day. They look perfect for weddings in castles, sleek registry offices, cool swanky London bars and on boat trips down the Thames. But a church wedding in Halifax followed by Fish and Chips? Pull the other one.

This is another big realisation I’ve had in wedding land – I’ve got to be realistic. I’m 5’3″ and my weight is 7 1/2 stone. Too much fabric and I’ll be like Alice slipping down the rabbit hole; blink and you’ll miss me. Our wedding location isn’t high profile, it isn’t fantastically glam, but it’s our home. And I want a dress which fits our bill, not the bill certain dresses give license for.

So onwards…. I’ve had so many positive messages from people…

Just keep an open mind.”

“Focus on hair and make-up so all the focus isn’t on the dress.”

And a lovely message on my blog from a lady who works in a wedding dress shop:

“Everyone is uncomfortable the first time they try bridal dresses on and why wouldn’t you be?! You probably have never done it before and hopefully never will again!”

Thanks for all your messages and for reading… it’s fun writing these blogs!

PS – here’s s bridal horror story if ever I saw one – click the link … Brides ordering online receive dresses which can barely be called dresses, and certainly aren’t a patch on what they thought they were ordering. 

 

 

Wedding dress shopping – a whole new world for The Wardrobe Angel (Part Two)

My brilliantly funny friend Steph is The Wardrobe Angel.  She has a thriving fashion business and has even been on TV.  But this year she has stepped into unknown territory.  She has become a bride to be and now has the task of going wedding dress shopping.  I asked Steph to write a couple of blog articles for me about how she felt etc not just because she was in an unusual position for herself but also because this was an experience that every bride to be shared.  I’m sure you’ll enjoy this funny and insightful start to Steph’s wedding dress search.

Shopping for my wedding dress (Part Two)

So last Friday was an experience I shall never forget. Wedding Dress shopping has surprised, delighted and scared me in equal measure. Why?

  1. I’ve never been so closely aware of my physical form before. 

Head to foot in reams of fabric, suddenly I was acutely aware of my exact proportions, my waist, my chest, even my chin! Better than being naked, one of the dresses hugged my curves severely, announcing my hourglass shape. I looked wide-eyed in horror at my reflection as the words “I feel like Jessica Rabbit” left my mouth. There were my tits, my ass, my shape…so clearly defined….so damn sexy….and not in any way shape or form appropriate for a church wedding. I felt like sex was oozing from my pores, steaming off me in a hot sweat. That’s the power of a dress right there.

  1. My height (or lack thereof) was magnified tenfold.

I always wear heels but in a height-off between me and the dresses, the dresses won hands-down. When I walked into the shop I immediately folded my arms and became increasingly defensive and cowed. I put my bag down and retreated to the corner of the room. The dresses, though hanging a safe distance away on rails, were already taller than me and I was wearing heels. This was intimidating no end.

  1. I feel my inner princess has been unleashed

I was always a tomboy growing up – didn’t like dresses, wore dungarees and when I got my hair cut short I marvelled in glee at the mounds of discarded hair on the floor. Even at uni I turned up at one of my hall formals wearing trousers and a top rather than a dress. Then I tried on a wedding dress and BOOM – I was parading around like Cinderella waiting for her pumpkin coach to arrive. It was magnificent!!! I got so into it – shoes, veil, headpiece – the works! Never thought that day would come but it did and I LOVED IT.

  1. Wearing a wedding dress requires herculean strength.

I tried one dress on with a massive train, the weight of which was what I imagine dragging around a dead person is like. People talk about high heels impeding women’s ability to walk. Well, I’d like to chuck certain designs of wedding dresses into that pot as well. I felt physically unable to lift this train of fabric up. I struggled out of the fitting room, made 2 hapless steps forward then had to be rescued by the assistant who said.

“this dress is really made for someone 5’8″ tall and a good few sizes bigger than you.” 

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Kudos to Di for dragging that train around

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This woman attached HER BABY to her train. There are no words…

She stripped the TRAIN OF TERROR dress me off and we went onto what looked like an awesome dress but again – OH MY DAYS HOW ON EARTH DO YOU EXPECT ME TO WALK IN THIS???? The dress had a wonderfully sparkly top half, was cinched in at the waist and then sprouted like a material fountain out from the waist a good few inches, with reams of fabric layers in the underskirt. Due to height issues (see point number 2) the top, supposed to be a modest V Neck, practically hit my navel so had the rather weird look of J-Lo circa the Puff Daddy Days..

steph

Having never worn a floor length gown, especially one with so many layers, I ended up kind of simultaneously walking and kicking the underskirts of the dress to get around. Seriously NOT a good look. Plus massively heavy!!

All in all an eye opening and muscle toning experience. But, on a serious note, with each dress I got a stronger and stronger sense of what I wanted to wear on my wedding day and how I want our wedding to look and feel. The shop assistants could not have been more helpful and for that I am eternally grateful. So where next? Next stop on my wedding dress journey I am heading online….wish me luck.

For more updates on The Wardrobe Angel finding her wedding dress follow her blog:

http://thewardrobeangel.blogspot.co.uk/

Website:

www.wardrobeangel.co.uk

Twitter:

https://twitter.com/wardrobe_angel

Wedding dress shopping – a whole new world for The Wardrobe Angel (Part One)

My brilliantly funny friend Steph is The Wardrobe Angel.  She has a thriving fashion business and has even been on TV.  But this year she has stepped into unknown territory.  She has become a bride to be and now has the task of going wedding dress shopping.  I asked Steph to write a couple of blog articles for me about how she felt etc not just because she was in an unusual position for herself but also because this was an experience that every bride to be shared.  I’m sure you’ll enjoy this funny and insightful start to Steph’s wedding dress search.

Shopping for my weddings dress part one…

This is already hilarious for me. Much as I love clothes I have never dreamt of my dream wedding dress. You read that correctly. I have dreamt of Mulberry handbags and mid heeled court shoes, of wardrobes with magnificent sliding doors and clothes all neatly organise inside. I have dreamt of holidays in Ibiza, the ultimate red lipstick and of the perfect brew and the accompanying wheat free biscuit. But I have never dreamt of my dream wedding dress.

I’m a stylist and image consultant and love clothes, but this wedding dress malarkey is a whole new, terrifying, other worldly ball game for me. Here are some wedding dress shaped facts about The Wardrobe Angel:

  • I have never tried on a wedding dress before. NEVER. NEVER EVER.
  • I fell out with maxi dresses last year and have never worn a floor length gown so I don’t know if I’ll like that wedding dress material swishing around me.
  • I think I have wedding dress blindness – I bought a bridal magazine and after a few pages of flipping through I couldn’t tell the difference between one dress and the next.
  • I’m scared of the weight of the dress; I’m hardly a body builder and carrying around all that tulle and lace for a whole day seems out of my bodily reach.

We’ve set the date, booked the church and the venue and now there is this HUGE gaping hole in the organisation of our wedding – my missing dress. And time is ticking. I get married in under 9 months. I rang the very wonderful Natalie Willingham to book her as my make-up artist on the day and she gave me some very sound advice,

“You’ve never tried on a wedding dress before and they are a different breed of clothing altogether so when you enter the shop take off your stylist hat and be guided by the shop assistants.”

Except here we are – the first day of wedding dress shopping is tomorrow. I don’t know what pants to wear, I am plucked, waxed and shaved within an inch of my life and I have NO IDEA what to try on first. I don’t know what I like. I can feel a huge panic rise in my chest and it does not subside. My Mum is clearly loving this and I am trying my very best to go through the motions but I NO IDEA what I am doing.

And I am TERRIFIED.

For more updates on The Wardrobe Angel finding her wedding dress follow her blog:

http://thewardrobeangel.blogspot.co.uk/

Website:

www.wardrobeangel.co.uk

Twitter:

https://twitter.com/wardrobe_angel

I’m getting married but I don’t wear makeup – help!

Does this sound like you?

You’re an au natural kind of girl. Your makeup bag probably contains about 4 or 5 items, which have lingered in the bottom of your bag for a good few years, and only get an outing every time you know you’ve really got to make an effort.

Having a bridal makeup trial scares the bejeezus out of you. You’re worried that you’ll look or feel caked in foundation, look too old, too orange, like you’re wearing a mask, or not like you. And the thought of finding a suitable makeup artist fills you with dread.

Well fear not, in the next few minutes I’m hopefully going to take care of your fears, put your mind at rest and turn what feels like a scary experience into something positive. So here’s how to survive choosing a wedding makeup artist and having a bridal makeup trial.

The first thing you need to do is breathe, grab a cuppa and do some research. Ask friends who have recently married for a recommendation – that’s if you liked how they looked on their wedding day!

If that’s not possible then you need to start looking at websites for makeup artists in your area. Each artist, whilst being able to create almost any look you want, will have a signature style. Spend some time looking through these websites and I mean really look, to get a feel for this. Check out the real brides and not just the styled inspirational shoots. If you want to see more photos of the bride, so you can see how well the makeup lasted throughout the day or night, then pop over to the photographers website too, they will have a lot more images than the half dozen on the makeup artists website.

Ok you have your shortlist of artists whose style most reflects how you want to look on your big day. Again, breathe and pick up the phone. Give the people on your list a call, this helps you suss out their personality under the guise of checking their availability. You may even want to mention your nerves to understand how they empathise and help put your mind at ease.

Ok so the first big hurdle is over. You’ve found and booked a makeup artist and have scheduled your bridal trial. But you aren’t looking forward to the experience as much as you’d hoped.

At your trial explain your reservations and nerves to your makeup artist. I understand that for some ladies a bridal trial is a daunting thing and quite intrusive so always have a good old chinwag with you before I even pick up a brush to gain a better understanding of your needs, expectations and to share with you what I’m going to do. This helps you understand what products I’m using, how many and why and takes away some of the fear. At the trial you will get an idea of how the products are going to feel on your skin and how they can help create a polished version of your usual self. Also, if you’ve never worn false lashes before, it’s a chance to give them a try before your big day.

Having a bridal trial should be an exciting experience as you get to see how you will finally look on your special day. During my trials, I guide you through the process, explaining, reassuring and answering any questions along the way and with a bit of luck having some fun.

Most importantly, I prepare you for what you are about to see in the mirror. Now don’t start to panic. Remember you don’t normally wear makeup, so you will look different to how you look everyday. Hopefully, you’ll see flawless skin, defined eyes and luscious lips. Once you’ve had time to take in your new look, I’ll help you communicate how you feel about the beautiful version of yourself that you can see in the mirror.

Basically, relax, have fun, be honest and trust your makeup artist.

Want to find out how to get the most from your bridal trial? Then check my post here.

Natalie xx