Fantastic locations to pop the big question this Valentine’s Day

Sopwell House hotel pictured at night

The most romantic night of the year is almost here, so cue the endless bouquets of red roses and the sound of the champagne cork popping. But if you’re planning to pop something else (the big question) this Valentine’s Day, we’ve rounded up five of the top hotels which promise an exciting engagement night you’ll never forget.

♥ Contemporary: The Arch London (www.thearchlondon.com)
Five-star hotel The Arch London is the perfect location for lovebirds seeking the ultimate romantic night in the city, being a stone’s throw from Oxford Street and Hyde Park.

Exterior, The Arch London

The Arch London’s Valentine’s package offers an overnight stay for two in a luxury suite with a bottle of Champagne, an indulgent Valentine’s dinner with a glass of Champagne, as well as English breakfast and late check out. The package is available from 10 until 19 February 2016 and is priced from £559 per night. The Arch London will also be serving a sumptuous three-course Valentine’s menu and a Valentine’s Afternoon Tea.

1. Royal Afternoon Tea at The Arch London

♥ Cool: K West Hotel & Spa (www.k-west.co.uk)
Formerly the BBC Building Kensington House in the 60s, an endless list of Rock ‘N’ Roll royalty has stayed, played and misbehaved at K West. For Valentine’s, the hotel has created a mix-tape of perfect packages.

Executive Room 3 at K West

Just as Bob Marley sang, the Saints Valentine’s Package is perfect for couples with ‘one love, one heart’. The romantic package includes a Champagne welcome, an Executive Bedroom adorned with rose petals, gifts from K Spa and breakfast. Alternatively, get your kink on just as The Kinks would want you to: all day and all through the night with the Sinners Valentine’s Package. Guests will enjoy a giant Porn Star Martini upon arrival, Executive Bedroom seductively dressed with feathers, the gift of an F Box and breakfast in bed. The packages are available from 10 until 19 February 2017 and are priced at £219 per couple.

Love Potion at K West

♥ Country: Sopwell House, St. Albans (www.sopwellhouse.co.uk)
Sopwell House is a stunning countryside Georgian manor house in the city of St. Albans. Located only 20 minutes from London St. Pancras, the hotel is an idyllic romantic getaway just outside of the hectic capital.

Sopwell House (front)

Sopwell House is the perfect place to have an intimate dinner looking out on 12-acres of beautiful gardens. There are a wide range of dining options exclusively for February 2017; The Restaurant is offering an indulgent five course tasting menu, The Brasserie has launched a Valentine’s Day three-course menu, and the traditional afternoon tea has been given a romantic makeover.

The Brasserie at Sopwell House

♥ Classic: Lancaster London (www.lancasterlondon.com)
Lancaster London is an iconic mid-century hotel located opposite Hyde Park. The 18-storey hotel offers unrivalled panoramic views across London’s skyline.

HeART Tea at Lancaster London

The hotel has reinvented its much-loved ARTea Afternoon Tea to offer an exclusive Valentines edition. HeART Afternoon Tea includes oysters with salmon caviar and adorable heart-shaped white chocolate and strawberry macaroons. Island Grill will be offering an exclusive Valentine’s 9-course tasting menu of sharing dishes. The menu will feature divine dishes plus speciality cocktails like the Love Potion Martini.

Dessert Heart-Island-Grill at Lancaster London

♥ Coastal: The Club Hotel & Spa, Jersey (www.theclubjersey.com)
Situated within walking distance from some of the island’s most breathtaking beaches, The Club Hotel & Spa boasts a sought after St Helier location. Enjoy romantic strolls on the beach before indulging in Michelin-starred dining at Bohemia Restaurant & Bar. The glorious Roof Garden Cocktail Bar is the perfect location to enjoy a pre-dinner drink whilst admiring the ocean views.

Bohemia restaurant The Club Hotel & Spa, Jersey

Why not treat your other half to a couples’ treatment at the luxurious Club Spa before diving into the outdoor heated pool? The Club Spa’s private Rasul Mud Treatment for two is one of the Spa’s most popular treatments and comprises an exfoliation followed by therapeutic mud being applied to the body.

Bohemia restaurant at The Club Hotel & Spa, Jersey

Tips for Healthy Winter Skin with K Spa Manager Lyudmyla Nagirnyak

This would make an ideal hen party day out or just as a treat for the stressed out bride leading up to the big day…

As the warm weather draws to a close, so too does our bronzed summer skin. In the midst of the chilly weather and low humidity levels, one area that seems to suffer most is our face. Fortunately K Spa Manager, Lyudmyla Nagirnyak (shortlisted for Hotel Cateys Spa Professional of the Year 2016), has lent her top tips on how to keep our faces looking fresh this winter season.  Below, Lyudmyla advises us on how best to achieve a rosy winter glow.

K WEST HOTEL SHEPHERDS BUSH

  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle

A nutritional diet plus regular exercise is the recipe for good skin. If you take one away, the equation is ruined. Doing regular exercise means your blood circulation is boosted and a good diet means your body receives all the essential nutrients you need to keep your skin healthy.

  • Chapped lips

Interestingly, your lips are the first place that dehydration presents itself. Use this as a tell tale sign of when you should be more attentive to your skin!

  • Treat yourself

In order to get rid of those old skin cells once and for all, it’s worth booking in for a facial treatment at the beginning of the season.  It might be expensive, but your face will thank you for it. Pick up an exfoliation glove and make sure you use it regularly.

  • Water, water, water

This is a well recognised trick to achieve great skin. You should drink about 2 litres of water everyday. It gives you a radiant, healthier, younger looking complexion by keeping your skin hydrated from the inside.

  • Pay attention!

It’s important to pay attention to how your skin reacts to the change in climate over the winter season. It may well be that you have to alter your products to suit different seasons, as what works for you in the summer might not work in the winter.

  • Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a natural sun protection which can be used in different ways. Either stock up on citrus fruits such as oranges and kiwi, or apply the miracle vitamin directly to your face. This allows for a more concentrated target area thus resulting in a more noticeable change for your problem areas.

SMC - February 2010

SMC - February 2010

Awarded ‘Best Spa in London’ at the Good Spa Guide Awards 2015, K West’s holistic spa offers a range of exclusive treatments.  K Spa introduced the first ‘Snow Paradise’ to London, which mimics the Finnish experience of alternating between freezing and steamy environments.  The spa also features a twinkling hydrotherapy pool, sanarium, sauna, dry flotation tank, aromatic herbal steam room and the fully equipped K Fit gymnasium.

SMC - February 2010

SMC – February 2010

K West Hotel & Spa, Richmond Way, London W14 0AX

For reservations, please call: 020 8008 6600 or visit www.k-west.co.uk

How to get in the best shape of your life before ‘The Big Day’

The 8-week countdown

Your wedding day will be one of the most memorable days of your life. On top of the wedding planning hysteria, every bride will want to look and feel her absolute best. Many brides however find it difficult to control their weight as the big day fast approaches. To help you stay on track we look at five changes that you can make at the eight-week mark, at which point we believe you can make real positive changes. We may not be able to guarantee a drop of three dress sizes, but this is the time during which you can shift those stubborn pounds, achieve the pre-wedding glow and get a spring back in your step.

Work with a personal trainer

Many brides choose to work with a Bridal wedding fitness before their wedding day. With a clear vision, and a tight timeframe, this is the perfect time to get motivated and work with a professional who will help you to achieve your ideal weight. If you lack the knowledge or willpower when working out, a personal trainer can help you to get results safely and far more quickly. It also acts as a major stress reliever to schedule a one-hour session away from wedding planning to focus on you, and only you!

Don’t skip meals

The most dangerous thing you can do ahead of your wedding is to skip meals. We understand that life as a bride to be is often manic and overwhelming but missing meals and eating irregularly will cause your weight to fluctuate. Skipping mealtimes often results in binge eating and filling up on the wrong food types when the hunger does finally catch up with you.  Eat for energy and strength, and you won’t go wrong.

chef in hotel kitchen prepare vegetable food with fire

Get your beauty sleep

It is inevitable that you are going to have some sleepless nights before your wedding, but it is important that these are anomalies and not the norm! If you are struggling to get enough sleep, try and address this directly. You don’t want to feel and look exhausted during your wedding. Develop a pre-bedtime routine that will help you switch off. Try having a hot bath, reading a book or having a cup of hot milk. Don’t do any wedding planning late at night, and just in case you do reel off an endless list of to-do’s during the night, keep a pen and notepad by your bed so you can jot these down and deal with them in the morning.

Ditch the sugar

Sugar is a huge contributor to weight gain and many brides rely on their sugar rush for energy during the eight-week countdown. Cutting sugar out of your diet will help you to lose excess weight, improve the appearance of your skin and it will normalise your energy levels. Eating sugar late at night can also disrupt your sleeping patterns.

Make a meal out of it

We advise our brides-to-be to ditch the takeaways for simple home cooking in preparation of the wedding day. The advantages of this are endless. It helps our budgeting brides to save money, it helps them to control the foods that they are eating, and cooking is a free activity, which helps to distract the mind and can often be therapeutic. It will help you to consider all the foods that you are eating eight weeks before the big day, much more carefully, and avoid mindless munching!

Closeup of fresh farm raised strawberries

Unconventional Uses Of Flowers In Your Wedding

Unconventional uses of flowers in your wedding blog

Today everyone wants their wedding day to reflect their own unique personality and tastes. This means everything is subject to change, from the most traditional elements through to the most individualised quirky and bespoke twists.

However, when it comes to the traditional “must have” aspects, flowers are certainly one of the things that will be vital for every wedding planner to get right.

Thankfully, today this offers far more opportunities than simply choosing a few buttonholes and a bridal bouquet.

Scene setters
From extensive arrangements that make for dramatic or colourful backdrops, through to ornate constructions such as a flower fountain, there are many ways to make a big style statement.

If any part of your wedding is taking place under canvas, draping garlands of flowers around the interior frame can create an otherworldly effect with great simplicity. Likewise, if a building has an impressive staircase feature it can be embellished by using flowers to turn it into a magical floral masterpiece.

Silk flowers
One of the easiest ways to make a statement when it comes to choosing flowers for use in a wedding scenario is to avoid one of the traditional routes altogether, and go for silk flowers. Doing this offers the chance to have truly unique designs and also means that you don’t have to worry about “on the day” freshness for flowers that might wilt, or at worst even look a little past their sell-by date.

Of course, any of the ideas already mentioned can be made more exotic and enticing by using silk flowers, but even the most traditional uses can benefit from going down the silk route. Everything from a beautiful handmade Domed Bridal Bouquet in Cream Chloe Rose, through to a silk take on a classic Red Rose Wedding Guest Buttonhole can add that individual touch and make your wedding day unlike any other.

Versatility
The almost endless possibilities offered by using silk flowers means that versatility regarding colour and shape combinations are limited only by your own imagination. However unconventional you want to be there will always be a way of getting the exact effect that you want from your flowers.

However, there are many other ways that you can stamp your own style on your wedding day.

Shutters
Wedding ideas come thick and fast these days from all kinds of sources, and this means designing the decor for your wedding is easier than ever.

There are lots of different ways you can incorporate bespoke shutters and screens into the overall presentation, from mounting them with pictures or images, or using them as holders for guest placement cards, buttonholes or other mementoes of the day.

Perfect day
Ultimately, your wedding day is exactly that – yours. Although the needs of guests always have to be taken into account, at the end of the day the two most important people are the bride and groom, and that means making sure every aspect turns out exactly how you want it to be.

How to give your Wedding Invitations the Personal Touch

Your wedding is said to be the most important day of your life, so why not make your wedding invitations special too? It is easy to go out and buy a bunch of pre-made wedding invitations, but they won’t be unique and will have been used by countless other couples in the past. There are many ways in which you can give your wedding invitations a more original and personal touch, making them precious to you for decades to come. Here are a few tips that will help you along:

Homemade Invites

People always say that if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself. Rather than choosing a website to give you a mediocre template, why don’t you design and make your own homemade wedding cards to send out to your guests? You can get appropriate craft supplies from home crafts and add personalised images and text that is meaningful for you and your partner. You can even add ribbons and make it more elegant by choosing a colour theme, which may help the card to look more professional.

Real Photographs

Nothing says personal like a real photograph of the happy couple. You can incorporate these so that they appear on the front of the wedding invitation, allowing everyone to see the happy couple before the big day. Choose an appropriate photograph of course and ensure that it has great resolution before you send it off to the printers because it could return blown out or heavily pixelated, destroying the quality and presentation of your invitations.

Tell your Story

One of the best ways to give your wedding cards a far more personalised touch is to tell your own love story on the invite. According to www.hongkiat.com, you can do this as an infographic, with the ceremony details presented in the back. This will give your card a vintage feel to it and will allow you to share one of the best experiences of your life in a more personal manner with friends and family.

Personal Envelope Liner

A way in which you can add an extra touch of personalisation to your wedding invitation is by adding a photograph or design to the inside of your envelope liner. This way, when your guests open it up, they will immediately see the unique design. This will show how much effort you have put into the design, of not only your invitation, but the envelope as well.

Personal Inscription

Once you have designed and created the outside of your card, it’s time to move onto the inside, which will hold all of the important information concerning the wedding ceremony. According to The Knot, you must include information such as whoever is hosting the occasion (i.e. the couple), the time of the ceremony, the location etc. There is always a request line following the host’s name, such as “request the honour of your presence,” which you can include if you like, or you can opt for something a little more personal to you and your finance

 

Invitation blog

2015 Floral Wedding Stationery Trends with our Friends from Ivy Ellen

Ivy Ellen Stationery

Wedding trends in 2015 bring brides and grooms bold floral patterns and botanical fresh looks. As
award winning wedding stationers here at Ivy Ellen we take inspiration from all paths in the wedding
industry and fresh florals is definitely a must have. We have listed out 3 floral trends that work
beautifully and look picture perfect with Sarah’s Flowers.

 
 Ivy Ellens Millie Belly Band Wedding Invitation from £1.95 www.ivyellen.com
The first big floral trend for 2015 is rustic. Think of muted grey and brown undertones, with soft
floral accents. Rustic weddings can be anything from a little bit vintage to full on bohemian and both
work equally as well as the other. Traditionally rustic weddings include plenty of nature, low key
decoration and a large amount of brown Hessian with twine. For instance our Lavandula belly band
wedding invitation is soft, romantic and rustic. Lavender is great for floral arrangements and
stationery alike.

 
Ivy Ellens Lavandula Belly Band Wedding Invitation from £1.95 www.ivyellen.com
Another gorgeous floral trend for 2015 is bright and bold blooms. Warm and rich reds bounce off of
vibrant pinks and sunny yellows. These luxurious feeling colours create the perfect blend for a
modern floral look. Our Constance belly band wedding invitation is exactly the right tone for this
colourful blossoming theme. Created from an original artwork this invitation is far from boring.

 
2. Ivy Ellens Constance Belly Band Wedding Invitation from £1.95 www.ivyellen.com
Last but most certainly not least we have the botanical and organic florals. This natural effect is
beautiful for outdoor weddings all year round. Combining strong earthy tones with fresh greens
creates a visually enchanting look. By using naturally sourced decorations and ethically provided
suppliers your botanical theme also works great as an eco-friendly option. For example all our
invitations including our stunning new Hedgerow wedding invitations are printed on beautiful, high
quality board sourced from sustainable forests.

 
3. Ivy Ellens Hedgerow Belly Band Wedding Invitation from £1.95 www.ivyellen.com

 
You can see more floral wedding invitations online at http://ivyellenweddinginvitations.co.uk/
Written by Stephanie at Ivy Ellen.

SARAH’S FLOWERS ANNOUNCES PUBLICATION OF DIGITAL ONLINE MAGAZINE

Orchid magazine picture

The leader in handmade silk wedding flowers, Sarah’s Flowers (www.sarahsflowers.co.uk), announces the launch of their online digital magazine all about their silk and artificial wedding flowers.

The new online magazine is 52 pages of glossy photos and offers brides to be a chance to view many of Sarah’s Flowers wedding bouquet designs in a more personal way. The magazine is viewable anywhere, whether on the website, on a smart phone or tablet device. The digital magazine even gives the impression of reading an actual magazine when one turns the page and is treated to the sound of the page turning when viewed on a computer screen.

The magazine shows the 2015 bride to be beautiful pictorial layouts of popular bouquets for this bridal season, including popular colours. There are pages teaching brides how to order bouquets and arrangements as well as a couple pages of testimonials by brides with photos. Brides should take note, purple is still very in, orange is still a bold choice and vintage is still holding strong. The magazine even shows off things such as buttonhole silk blooms for grooms.

Special_touches_blog_picture

The award-winning flower makers, who just celebrated their tenth anniversary in business, specialise in wedding flowers having amassed through the years a vast expertise in this field which gives them a passion for their designs and a dedication to quality unparalleled in the industry. At Sarah’s Flowers, every single bouquet, posy, corsage, or buttonhole is hand made by fully qualified and experienced wedding florists. Sarah’s Flowers has regularly featured in many top wedding and bridal magazines with some appearing on the front covers of these popular magazines. They have also had their flowers been commissioned for television and used in such popular Television shows as Eastenders and Coronation Street. All of this talent and experience makes them the designer of choice for bespoke wedding orders and arrangements.