Getting ready on the big day

Most brides I’ve read about say that they were absolutely serenly calm on the morning of their wedding, regardless of their brideszilla tendencies whilst planning. But it can still be fairly stressful (I’m looking at myself here and shaking my hindsight head). So here’s a few tips to ease the anxiety of what should be 0ne of the most exciting and glamorous mornings of your life…

  • Wear something comfy, but make sure you’re happy with how it looks as it will show on your ‘getting ready’ photographs. I was all set to treat myself to a lovely dressing gown but as the week of the wedding approached, I realised that I’d run out of money so decided to take my nice (but not particularly glamorous) Cath Kidston robe with me.  I was just too hot in it though, (March heatwave anyone?) and I had to take it off, revealing a polka dot t-shirt I’d bought from Primark years ago and that I only normally wear when I’m auditioning for an acting part that requires me to look younger than I actually am, or when I’m slobbing about.  So, God knows why I decided to pack it the day before the wedding in order to wear it for getting ready. I HONESTLY don’t know why I picked it up when I have so many nice clothes. I had stressed myself out so much that week though, so I think I’d just burnt myself out and couldn’t think straight anymore. Our photographs are excellent though thanks to the amazing Annamarie Stepney, and so after all that, I actually think the t-shirt looks okay but I do wish I had a pretty robe on instead.

Getting ready in that Polka-Dot T-shirt// Image credit Anna-Marie Stepney

  • Take a medicine kit. It came in handy for both me and my bridesmaids after one of them felt pretty ropey with a churny tummy (thank you Imodium) and I was suffering from my usual all-year round hayfever woes.
  • Have some snacks and make sure you eat them. It’s so easy to get carried away with it all so make sure you feed yourself since you probably won’t eat again until a lot later in the day.
  •  Give yourself the right to relax. You’re about to get married to the man of your dreams, the hard work has been done, so relax and let the genius of your pampering team make you look wonderful OR if you’re doing it all yourself, make it a great experience. Put on your favourite music, light a scented candle (if you’re allowed) and get to work making yourself look mega-glam, rather than doing what I did and worrying about what’s happening in the reception room and whether it’s all being laid out the way you’d  planned. I thoroughly recommend Neom candles for an all round relaxing and theraputic experience. Try the ‘Real Luxury’ scent or ‘Happiness’. They smell so gorgeous.
  •  Get an early night the night before, have a bath, watch a film, or have some pampering time with your bridesmaids. You could even get your wedding manicure done or have a relaxing massage with the help of a mobile beauty therapist. I can’t speak for other regions, but in London I’ve heard great things about Blossom and Jasmine who will work until late and have very reasonable prices. On the night before my own wedding, as we all live miles away from each other, mine and my husband’s families actually met for the first time. This was lovely but we all ended up having a very late night and an eventful evening leading to one of the most eventful days of my life was perhaps not majorly helpful, so my advice is organise that family meal for another time unless it’s essential.
  • Take some back up make-up supplies and the same colour of nail polish in case of chipping. A little vial of your perfume can also be handy to pop into a clutch bag. When I bought my perfume (‘Live Life Love’ Oscar De La Renta) they gave me a small sample size at the same time which I used on the day. Either ask if they have any samples at the perfume counter or try ‘Travelo’ a little perfume dispenser especially for travelling. I bought mine from The Perfume Shop.
  •  Take a sewing kit. I didn’t need mine but I’ve heard of many brides who have! You just never know.

    Vintage Sewing Kit via

  •  Enjoy it! I was too stressed and I’m gutted that I didn’t give myself enough time to savour the last hours of being a ‘Miss’. Plus, If all else fails and things don’t go exactly to plan, just go with it and remember that you’re about to get MARRIED !

P.S. I’m not forcing the issue or anything, but I strongly recommend that you buy a pretty dressing gown for getting ready in advance just in case for some odd reason you go and pick out your ‘slobbing about’ t-shirt. I love this rose print kimono from Rosie Huntingdon Whiteley’s lingerie collection from M&S.

Rose print kimono by Rosie Huntingdon Whiteley for M&S £65//Image credit:

I hope this is helpful, if you have any more tips and advice for the morning of the wedding, leave a comment below!
Abi xx


Recommended: MUA Make-Up

If you’ve read this blog before, you’ll know that I’m a beauty junkie. I really enjoy trying new products and I’m a sucker for pretty packaging. I like expensive stuff, but the cheaper products can sometimes come out on top too and this is certainly the case for the brand MUA (Make up Academy). After reading rave reviews of their make-up on various beauty blogs and then finding out that most of their products retail at just one pound, I was chomping at the bit to trial them. I ordered online and received a package a couple of days later. I’d ordered three eye shadow palettes, ‘Undressed’, ‘Heaven and Earth’ and ‘Innocence ‘ all featuring very pretty neutrals  which I love to wear, an eye make-up primer and a lipstick in a coral shade named ‘juicy’. With a 25% off offer I came across, my swag came to the princely sum of £10.50 which as you can guess, I was delighted by, and the products do not disappoint.

MUA Undressed Palette. Image credit


Although the packaging is on the cheaper slightly flimsy side, I’m still in love with the eye shadows, I love the ‘Undressed’ palette in particular which is rumoured amongst beauty bloggers to be a ‘dupe’ (basically, in beauty terms, a dupe generally means a very good copy of the colours) for Urban Decay’s Naked Palette which retails at £36. The ‘Undressed’ palette on the other hand can be snapped up for £4 and the quality is amazing. I’ve been using the matte beige shade (which I think is very similar to one of my favourite neutral shadows by Laura Mercier in Sandstone) all over my eyelid for a nice ‘wide awake’ classic look and layered over  the £2 MUA eye primer (which has also been compared to the much raved about Urban Decay Primer Potion) it stays ALL DAY and into the night. It’s actually a challenge to remove in the evening! I’ve also tried the eye shadow without the primer and I can vouch for its staying power, the only slight difference is that the colour fades ever so slightly. I’ve used many eye shadows, pricy and cheap and as I have large and sometimes oily lids, they always crease so I’m thoroughly impressed and I’m chuffed to bits that I’ve discovered this eye primer. I now don’t have to worry about topping up my eye make up during the day, and the fact it’s an absolute bargain makes the discovery even sweeter. I did mention the lipstick as well which sigh isn’t as impressive as the eye make up but it’s still quite a sweet coral shade scented with coconut, but as it’s very sheer, perhaps better suited to a younger audience.
Would I recommend for Brides? Yes, yes and yes to the eye shadows and the primer. They’re cheap but the quality is anything but and as already mentioned, they’re often likened to brands which are a lot more expensive. With the price being so reasonable, you could pick up a few (sold exclusively at Superdrug or online) and practise your wedding day look to your hearts content! The lipstick is fun, but if you’re looking for staying power, I’d recommend MAC lipsticks all the way!

*All the MUA make-up was bought and trialled by me. ‘Heaven & Earth’ and ‘Undressed’ palettes are £4 each, Innocence palette £3, Eye Primer £2 and Juicy Lipstick is £1.

Have you tried MUA make-up?

Cowshed Spa Carnaby- A Review

After frequently walking past the Cowshed Soho spa just off London’s Carnaby street and pressing my nose up against the window whilst staring longingly at the luxurious massage/mani-pedi chairs, I decided to firstly get my legs and bikini line waxed there. After having my hair follicles ripped from the root with a lovely smelling wax by a very good therapist with nice hair, I came out of the spa feeling very surprised indeed.  I’d found that my  usual excruciating experience had, in fact been fairly…. pleasant. (Yes, who knew that pleasant and bikini wax would ever be mentioned together?)

Shop front of Cowshed Soho. Image (who also reviews a different treatment at the same spa.)

So, after my delightful waxing experience, the Cowshed spa was on the top of my list for some pre w-day pampering. I would have gone crazy and had the full pampering works, a facial, mani, pedi, etc etc…but as our wedding budget was already over the limit and my purse literally shed tears every time I opened it, I decided to *just* have a manicure the day before the wedding. Although, this was no ordinary manicure…this was the ‘Ultimate Cowshed Manicure’ in which not only would my knarly hands come out looking like that of a Goddess, I’d also get a head massage to sooth away those wedding nerves. Well, before you could say ‘jam jar collection’ I’d booked it and made  asked my bridesmaids to come along with me to join in the fun.

When we arrived at the spa, a lovely space with treatment rooms downstairs and a mani/pedi area and shop upstairs, we were asked to wait at the large rustic table in the centre of the shop in which you can enjoy tea and cake surrounded by lovely smells and walls of gorgeous Cowshed products. After a very short wait, we were led to the famous luxurious white chairs at the back of the salon.

The Cowshed Chairs I was so enamoured with. This is actually a photograph from the Babington House Cowshed Spa,slightly different to the chairs at Carnaby, but you get the picture! Image credit

My first impressions were very good, my therapist introduced herself to me, we picked out the colour I wanted on my nails (Red) and then she laid a lovely fluffy pillow and then a fluffy towel over that and began to work. This instantly made me feel like I was having a luxurious treatment and was a welcome change to sitting in an uncomfortable chair whilst having a mani. My therapist was very thorough, checking with me as to how I’d like my nails filed (squoval-this made my bmaids laugh) and then checking with me again once she’d filed them. She was also very gentle which was good as it can sometimes really hurt when having your cuticles trimmed and pushed about.  She wasn’t chatty but I like that, it makes me uncomfortable making small-talk with therapists especially when having treatments. My hands were then exfoliated, massaged and wrapped in a hydrating warm mask.

The products she used (Cowshed’s own) smelt divine and at this point, I was very relaxed and safe in the knowledge my hands were going to look great. She then started my scalp massage whilst the mask on my hands was working. The massage was lovely, very firm and relaxing, I was worried about oil in my hair afterwards but there wasn’t any residue so if you’re planning on going somewhere afterwards, you wouldn’t have to worry about major bed-head. She then set to work on my nails and painted them the beautiful pillar-box red I’d picked out. My nails looked fantastic and I was very pleased and reluctant to leave the chair I was so comfy. However, all good things must come to an end and after five minutes of waiting in the chair as drying time we had to leave. My BM’s had the speedy manicure which was half an hour but still very thorough, just no massage. They were both pleased and had lovely lilac nails to match their dresses!

Overall, I’d highly recommend the Cowshed Spa Soho, Carnaby for either a pre-wedding treat or just for some ‘me-time’. I’ve got my eyes on the ‘Cow Groom’ in which ‘two therapists work in synchronised movements to ensure complete pampering and relxation’. Sounds good to me!

Have you ever been to a Cowshed Spa? What do you think about their products?

*The Ultimate Cowshed Manicure cost me £50 and lasts for 60 minutes. The Speedy Manicure is £28 and lasts for 30 minutes. I got my manicure done in March 2012.