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Oh Italy, with your incredible food, exquisite architecture and undeniable charm, you are undoubtedly one of my favourite countries in the world. I’ve been lucky enough to visit Italy a few times now but in February of last year, to celebrate a big birthday of my mum’s, we travelled to Rome for the first time and it’s safe to say it left an amazing impression on us.

Rome is a bustling yet charming city. We spent two nights there which gave us three days to see all that the city has to offer – and it definitely didn’t take long for it to steal a place in our hearts. Keep reading to hear how we spent 72 hours in Rome!


Rome: At a glance

Currency: Euro – cards are widely accepted, although I would recommend carrying a small amount of cash on you for smaller purchases.

Language: Italian. Learn some basic phrases out of courtesy, but the majority of people will speak good English.

Getting there: To make the most of a long weekend, take the 6.45am flight out of London Gatwick on a Friday, which will land in Rome just after 10am. Return on the 8.55pm flight on Sunday to give you 3 full days of exploring.

Getting around: The roads in Rome are notoriously hectic, but you’ll be grateful not to have a car when you realise how much more you’ll see getting around on foot. Public transport in Rome is also very good – I would recommend taking the train into central Rome from the airport; they also have an easy to follow Metro system.

Where to Stay: We stayed at the 4 star River Palace Hotel, which is conveniently located just a stone’s throw from the enchanting Piazza del Popolo and made the perfect place for us to rest our heads between three busy days of exploring. Oh, and be sure to take advantage of their five (yes, five!) hour long happy hour!


 

Day 1

Once you’ve arrived in Rome and dropped off your bags, set off on foot to discover all that the city has to offer. We spent our first day strolling through the charming side streets and stumbling upon some of Rome’s most famous sights. 

Sit people-watching on the Spanish Steps, throw a coin in the Trevi Fountain, immerse yourself in the history of the Pantheon and enjoy the fountains of the Piazza Navona (with some gelato in hand, of course). All of these sights are within walking distance of one another and you’ll find plenty of little shops and café’s to duck in and out of on your way.

After an afternoon of exploring, meander back along the Tiber River and find the perfect spot for dinner. Italian food and drink is my absolute favourite and, by the time this 3 day trip was over, I pretty much had to be rolled onto the plane after consuming so much pasta, pizza, wine and gelato. And personally, I say embrace the carbs because nowhere else in the world will you find food quite so good!

Day 2

Of course, no visit to Rome would be complete without a trip to The Vatican City. I would recommend allowing the best part of a day to explore The Vatican Museum and St Peter’s Basilica, which is what we did on our second day in Rome. 

You will most likely have to queue during your visit and be prepared for crowds of people, but you will be grateful for the slow moving lines because there is quite literally SO much to see. Learn about the incredible artwork and sculptures, witness Michelangelo’s work in the Sistine Chapel and experience the grandeur of St Peter’s Basilica – The Vatican was definitely an unexpected highlight for me and I can’t wait to go back one day.

Oh, and for the best view of Rome, I would definitely recommend climbing the 551 steps of the St Peter’s Basilica Dome. With unparalleled sights of both the inside of the dome and a magical view of the city, it is not to be missed.

Once we’d absorbed all of the art, history and architecture we could manage for one day, we wandered back to Piazza del Popolo and spent a lazy hour or so enjoying a cannoli in the square as the sun went down.

Day 3

On our final day in Rome we paid a visit to the famous Colosseum. We were met with a cloudy and drizzly day (which had turned into a definite downpour by lunchtime!) but this didn’t spoil our visit one bit – just be prepared to pack a waterproof coat if you’re travelling to Rome in February!

The Colosseum is an incredible sight to see from the outside. Many people visit without going inside, however we booked a tour around the inside which I would really highly recommend. It was so interesting learning about the history of the Colosseum (I also unashamedly had a Lizzie McGuire moment when I first stepped inside!).

Whilst we were in the area, we also visited the Roman Forum, which is located directly opposite the Colosseum. Again, I would recommend booking on to a tour of the Forum because there are so many interesting snippets of information which we wouldn’t have known had we not been told by a local.

Rome Colloseum | 72 Hours in Rome | The Ivory Book

 

We boarded the plane home feeling exhausted, full to the brim with pasta and overloaded with culture but with a new place in our hearts for this beautiful city. Rome is romantic, charming and perfect for history fanatics, art lovers and foodies alike.

Although I could have happily spent weeks exploring this enchanting city, 3 days was definitely long enough to see lots of what Rome has to offer. I hope this post inspires many of you to do the same! 

 

March 4, 2019

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Last night’s Oscars brought the 2019 Awards Season to a very glamorous close, and with a host-less ceremony, a controversial duet from Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper and an utterly adorable acceptance speech from Olivia Colman, it certainly gave people plenty to talk about.

But with Awards Season being Hollywood’s biggest chance to dress to impress, I want to talk about the gowns that ruled the red carpet this year and, in particular, the bridal-inspired looks which would look equally as stunning walking down the aisle.

From ruffles and tulle to beaded beauties and structured gowns – it has all been happening on the red carpet over the past few weeks and I’m rounding up all my favourite looks in this post. Brides to be, take note!

 

Regina King wearing Oscar de la Renta to the Oscars

 

Brie Larson wearing Celine to the Oscars

 

Amy Adams wearing Versace to the Oscars

 

Kacey Musgraves wearing Giambattista Valli to the Oscars

 

Michelle Yeoh wearing Elie Saab to the Oscars

 

Letitia Wright wearing Dior Haute Couture to the Oscars

 

Kiki Layne wearing Versace to the Oscars

 

Lady Gaga wearing Dior Haute Couture to the SAG Awards

 

Margot Robbie wearing Chanel to the SAG Awards

 

Rachel Weisz wearing Gucci to the BAFTA Awards

 

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge wearing Alexander McQueen to the BAFTA Awards

 

Letitia Wright wearing Stella McCartney to the BAFTA Awards

 

Michelle Rodriguez wearing Jenny Packham to the BAFTA Awards

 

Cynthia Erivo wearing Vera Wang to the BAFTA Awards

 

Kiki Layne wearing Dior Haute Couture to the Golden Globes

 

Dakota Fanning wearing Armani Privé to the Golden Globes

 

Saoirse Ronan wearing Gucci to the Golden Globes

 

Lady Gaga wearing Valentino Couture to the Golden Globes

 

Emma Stone wearing Louis Vuitton to the Golden Globes

 

Constance Wu wearing Vera Wang to the Golden Globes

February 25, 2019

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Valentines Day is just around the corner – and if that sentence makes you clam up and think of couple-filled restaurants or an M&S meal deal for two, keep reading!

Personally, I love Valentine’s Day, but I firmly believe that it doesn’t need to be a day full of cliches and it definitely doesn’t need to cost the earth either. However you are deciding to celebrate this year, or even if you’re deciding not to celebrate at all, it’s so important that you do something that suits both you and your valentine.

Today, I’m thinking outside the dinner-and-a-movie box and giving you four alternative ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day. So, whether you’re planning something special for your special someone or a galentine’s day you’ll never forget, here are a few ideas on how to do February 14th a little differently. And I promise, there’s not an M&S Meal Deal in sight.

 

Take a Trip

Beat the winter blues and use Valentine’s Day as the perfect opportunity to take a trip with your significant other. Cities renowned for romance such as Paris and Rome will likely be busier around Valentine’s Day (although no less charming!), however for many parts of the world February means ‘off-season’ which makes it the perfect time of year for a budget-friendly getaway!

 

Spend it with your Girlfriends

What better way to celebrate a day focussed on love than with your best girlfriends? It doesn’t matter if you’re single, your partner is away (I’ll stick my own hand up to that one!) or if you just fancy spending it with friends – rallying up your girls for a fun-filled Galentine’s day is something I’m fully on board with. For me, this Valentine’s Day will be spent with my bestie, Patrick Swayze and a bottle of wine – perfect!

Go Low-Key

If there’s ever a day of the year that people feel as though they have to put in an effort, it’s Valentine’s Day. Realistically though, some of my most memorable V-day date nights have been spent doing as little as possible. Agree with your partner beforehand, but if neither of you are feeling flashy this year then tone things down and do something low-key which you’ll both really enjoy. Frozen pizza and a Netflix crime documentary? Just tell me where to sign up.

 

Learn Something New

If flowers and chocolates aren’t really your thing, why not treat your significant other to a new activity or experience as your Valentine’s Day gift. Consider trying a cookery course or go for an adventure-packed activity like rock climbing or kayaking. And if you’re spending the day solo this year, see it as the perfect opportunity to try something you’ve always wanted to do – a calligraphy workshop, floristry masterclass or a yoga retreat are all great options if you’re going solo!

 

Image by Nataly J Photography

February 10, 2019

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Happy Friday folks! And, even more excitingly, happy 1st February! January felt long this year (tell me it’s not just me who thought this?) but we made it – and I’m ready to embrace February in all of it’s heart-filled glory.

I’m doubly happy today because I am truly DELIGHTED to have had my first ever styled shoot published on Rock My Wedding! This is such a milestone for me, not only speaking on behalf of Rachel Dalton Weddings, but also for me personally. Rock My Wedding was one of the first blogs I ever read, so to see my own work gracing it’s pages today has me unashamedly squealing with happiness!

Photoshoots are nothing without the right team behind them and it’s safe to say that with this one, I well and truly hit the jackpot. I was lucky enough to bring together suppliers from Dorset, Hampshire, Surrey and London and I couldn’t have been happier with what we created.

On a personal note, I would like to thank each and every supplier involved for working with me, and trusting me with this editorial. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for lending your time, talent and creativity to the shoot – I can’t recommend you all enough!

Lastly, a huge thank you to Rock My Wedding for featuring us! I will leave a few images on this post to give you a peek at what we created, but I would love for you to head over there and read the full feature.

 

CLICK HERE TO READ THE FEATURE

 

Credits

Photography: David Wheeler Photography

Planning & Styling: Rachel Dalton Weddings

Venue: West Horsley Place with Rhubarb

Florist: Emma Soulsby Flowers

Cake: MonAnnie

Makeup: Tara Sanger Makeup

Hair: Sacha-Lilly for EJW Hair

Dresses: Suzanne Neville and Jesus Peiro from Anna Bridal Couture

Linens: Just 4 Linen

Tableware: Couvert

Stationery: Georgina Read Creative

Model: Natasha

 

  

 

February 1, 2019

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January has hit me HARD this year. With chillier days and darker evenings I can’t help but spend these winter months dreaming about sunnier climes. Which is why I thought I would use this post to rewind to last summer when Jordan and I headed to Croatia for a week of sunshine and exploring.

Croatia has always been one of the top countries on my bucket list, so when it came to booking a last minute holiday at the end of September, we both jumped at the chance to spend a week travelling around this beautiful country. Whether you are planning a European honeymoon, your next summer holiday, or simply looking for some travel inspiration, I’ve condensed everything we learned about travelling to Croatia into this post. I hope it inspires you to plan your own getaway!

 

 

Croatia is one of those places where, as soon as you start researching where to go, you will feel well and truly spoilt for choice and will likely find many conflicting opinions on which regions to visit.

We decided to spend the majority of our trip in the northwestern peninsula of Istria, flying in and out of Pula airport. And of course, we couldn’t go to Croatia without paying a visit to the incredible Plitvice Lakes National Park – a real must-see if you are heading to this part of the world!

 

 

Opatija

Our first stop was the coastal town of Opatija on the eastern side of the peninsula. If I’m being completely honest, this was probably our least favourite out of the three places we stayed. Although it wasn’t cold or raining on the two days that we stayed here, we didn’t have the sunny, late summer weather I was hoping for (according to the locals we were just a week too late!) – and the town somewhat lacked the Istrian charm I was hoping to find.

Nonetheless, we had a fun time exploring the area, and we stayed in a beautiful apartment just a short drive from the main town which was the perfect place to relax. I’d recommend taking a meander down the Lungomare Promenade to see the Maiden With the Seagull statue; we also spent a morning at Trsat Castle in nearby Rijeka, which is well worth a visit.

 

Plitvice Lakes National Park

I’ve never visited anywhere quite like Plitvice National Park, it feels worlds away from the Adriatic coast and it’s safe to say it stole a piece of my heart. The park is comprised of 16 crystal clear lakes connected by a series of waterfalls and it truly is incredible.

One thing I feel I should note is that I massively underestimated what the weather would be like. Don’t let that bright blue water and shimmering sunshine fool you – Autumn had well and truly arrived when we visited and it was COLD. When we woke up on our first morning there to find ice on our hire car, I very quickly stowed the pretty playsuit I had planned on wearing that day back into my suitcase and layered up with any warm clothing I could find (which, incidentally, wasn’t anywhere near enough)!

As it turns out, I think early Autumn was the perfect time to visit. Although still very busy, the crowds were significantly less than they appear to be in the busy summer months, and the leaves had just started to turn beautiful shades of orange which made for some truly beautiful photos.

There are two entrances to the Lakes and several routes that you can take around the National Park. It’s definitely possible to see everything in one day, although if you are able to spend two days there I would highly recommend it. We spent our first day exploring the whole park, and on our second day we were able to skip certain parts and go straight back to the areas we wanted to revisit (which predominantly meant beating the crowds there).

Tickets prices vary depending on the time of year you visit, but you can expect to pay between 55-250 Kuna (£6.50-£30) for a one day ticket and 90-400 Kuna for a two day ticket (£10-£50).

I genuinely can’t recommend Plitvice Lakes enough. Not only is it packed with incredible scenery, it offers an indescribable tranquility that’s like nothing I’ve ever felt before. It was without a doubt the highlight of our trip and we both agreed we would return again in a heartbeat. 

 

 

 


Tips for Visiting Plitvice Lakes

Take the road less travelled: We hired a car during our trip, which I would highly recommend for getting around. The drive from Istria to Plitvice National Park was around 3 hours, and we purposely avoided the main roads there, which not only avoided tolls, but also forced us to take a stunning route along the Adratic coast and through the mountains. It was the most beautiful road trip I’ve ever taken – we couldn’t resist stopping to take pictures several times!

Get there early: Plitvice Lakes are open between 7am and 8pm and I can’t recommend enough being there as soon as they open. We did on both days that we visited and agreed it was the best decision we made. The Lakes start to get exceptionally busy around 9am so enjoy a couple of hours of unspoilt tranquility before most visitors arrive.

Find the best (secret!) views: Wondering where those epic, postcard-worthy shots of the lakes have been taken from? We happened to stumble upon them by accident but we were SO glad we did! To find the viewpoints, follow signs to ‘Veliki Slap’ (or Big Waterfall), and take the small stepped path up on your left just before you reach the waterfall. There are several viewpoints along the top, the most favourite with photographers being one 200 metres down the road to your right. It’s well worth making a little excursion to get the perfect, uninterrupted view from up high – we only saw around 3 or 4 other people up there. 

Be Patient for the Perfect Photo: Plitvice Lakes is PERFECT for any photography fans, but don’t expect to point your camera and immediately get the perfect, tourist-free shot first time. We took our time and were more than happy waiting 5 or even 10 minutes to get some beautiful (people free!) pictures – be patient!

Don’t expect to go swimming: As tempting as it looks to jump in and go for a dip, swimming isn’t permitted in Plitvice Lakes. However, if you are looking for an alternative Croatian waterfall that you can swim in, try Krka National Park – which is definitely on my bucket list after this trip!


 

 

Rovinj

Our final stop on the trip was the highly charming town of Rovinj, on the western side of the Istrian peninsula. When we visited in September, it was touristic without losing it’s Croatian authenticity. We were also very fortunate with the weather and had beautiful sunshine for the two days we were staying.

If you’re a big foodie, be sure to taste the Istrian cuisine that you’ll find on offer here. Fresh seafood, olive oils and Istrian truffles are all a must in this area. Or why not make a day of it and go wine tasting or truffle hunting?

There aren’t a huge amount of sights to see in Rovinj; instead, I would recommend losing yourself around the winding cobbled streets of the old town, paying a visit to the bell tower of the Church of St. Euphemia which dominates the town, and be sure to return to the harbour in time to watch the sunset in the evenings – it truly is stunning.

 

 

All of the images in this post were taken by Jordan using his Canon 6D, or myself using my Olympus Pen E-PL8.

January 13, 2019

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Confession time – I definitely intended for this blog post to go up earlier than the second week of January! You might have caught this post all about my 2019 bridal style trend predictions at the end of December, but a bout of winter flu between Christmas and New Year meant that sharing my trend predictions for weddings in general got pushed back a week. Better late than never, right?

Nevertheless, I have LOVED putting this together. I’ve had a delve through the trends I’ve seen emerging recently and my predictions for what is going to be huge in 2019, so settle down with a hot drink and get stuck in!

 

Dark Meets Light

This has been my favourite colour styling trend recently and I am firmly hoping will stick around for a little longer. Pastels have been huge in the wedding world for years but in 2019 they’re getting a grown up makeover by being paired with rich, darker tones and I am obsessed!

Some winning combinations? Pale blush with warm lilac and a pop of rich burgundy, or go sleek and modern with a subtle nude and strong black pairing like the tablescape I created below.

 

 

Planning & Styling by Rachel Dalton Weddings, Image by Charlotte Bryer-Ash Photography

 

Weekend Weddings

Weekend-long weddings have soared in popularity over the past 12 months and I think they’ll be even more present in 2019. With many couples now inviting guests from far and wide, it’s no surprise that weddings are being made even more of an occasion.

The most popular schedule for a weekend wedding is an intimate rehearsal dinner the night before the wedding and a relaxed, informal brunch the day after. Looking ahead to next year, I can see couples getting even more creative with ways to extend the celebrations – including activity days in and around the local area and festival-style events the day after the wedding. This also brings me quite nicely onto my next prediction…

 

Wedding Welcome Gifts Over Traditional Favours

Going perfectly in hand with weekend weddings, many couples are now forgoing favours at their wedding, instead supplying their guests with a personalised welcome gift package when they arrive for the festivities.

You can find some tips on what to include in a welcome gift and how to put them together in this previous blog post – but as a guide, think miniature bottles of drink, some snacks to keep your guests going and hangover kits for the morning after. They’ll be sure to be appreciated much more than the forgotten favours that you painstakingly laid out for everybody!

 

Image by Lissa Ryan

 

Sustainable Weddings & Foam – Free Florals

Couples are more conscious than ever about the impact their wedding could have on the environment, and rightly so! Princess Eugenie led the way with her plastic-free wedding earlier this year and I wouldn’t be surprised if many couples opt for a similar approach going into 2019.

Another emerging trend amongst florists which I am fully on board with is the use of foam-free florals – omitting the use of non-biodegradable, plastic Oasis from wedding florals in favour of reusable, environmentally friendly techniques.

 

 

Florals by Moss & Stone Floral Design, Planning by Katrina Otter Weddings, Image by Hannah Duffy Photography

 

Grazing Tables

One for the foodies, grazing tables are styled up tables of cured meats, cheeses, breads, dips (and so much more!) that will be sure to go down a treat with both your guests and your Instagram feed!

Unique, colourful and bursting with selection, grazing tables are the perfect informal dining option and will provide a great talking point amongst your wedding guests that they’ll remember long after you say ‘I Do’.

 

Grazing Table by Your Platter Matters

 

Hygge

Hygge swept us all up in a comforting hug way back in 2017, but this year I’m predicting it will make it’s way into the wedding world too. If you’re not familiar with the phrase, ‘Hygge’ (pronounce hoo-ga) is a Danish term that loosely translates to a sense of comfort, togetherness and wellbeing. As Meik Wiking, author of The Little Book of Hygge, explains “it is about being with the people we love. A feeling of home. A feeling that we are safe.” Which sounds like the perfect atmosphere for a wedding, don’t you think?

Think intimate, relaxed weddings; atmospheric candlelight; minimal, Scandinavian decor and technology-free ceremonies that are all about family. This is a theme that is all about a feeling of joyfulness and comfort and I am so on board.

 

Images via Rock My Wedding

 

Bright Colours

I had to give a mention to the 2019 Pantone Colour of the Year – Living Coral, which is sure to have a huge influence on the wedding industry over the next 12 months. I can see many couples forgoing the pastel shades that we saw everywhere in 2018, instead opting for brighter, more vibrant hues.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a self-confessed lover of all things blush and if you are too then you MUST choose a colour palette that you love, BUT if you are looking to be a bit more bold with your colour choices then why not consider a bright coral, vibrant fuchsia or even a pop of navy. You can read more about how to style Living Coral here.

 

Image by Luna de Mare Photography

 

Dramatic Florals

Thanks to the two gorgeous royal weddings we had in 2018, we’ve all gone a bit obsessed with statement florals! From Meghan and Harry’s floral archways to Princess Eugenie’s autumnal hued displays, dramatic florals are definitely having their moment.

If you don’t quite have a royal budget for your own florals, invest in one big installation to be the focal point – it will make much more of an impact than several small displays and you can always ask your florist to use individual bud vases or foliage-heavy arrangements elsewhere in your space to keep costs down.

 

January 10, 2019

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Happy New Year! And a very warm welcome to my first blog post of 2019. If you are new here then I am so happy that you’ve stumbled upon my little corner of the internet. I have lots of exciting things planned for The Ivory Book this year so I am delighted to have you along for the ride.

2018 was an incredible year for me but it’s safe to say that in between all of the wonderful things that happened my New Year’s Resolutions got put on the back burner a little bit (I still can’t cook and I definitely could’ve read more books than I did). So, for 2019, I’ve set myself four small, attainable resolutions to focus on – I hope it inspires you to set yourself some goals for the next 12 months too!

 

 

Travel more

I travelled more than ever before last year (you can read about my top 5 travel destinations here) and I definitely want to visit even more places in 2019. This Christmas, Jordan and I agreed not to get each other physical presents and instead put the money we would have spent towards a holiday that we would both enjoy much more. 

Top of my 2019 travel list is to see much more of Europe this year – Tuscany, Amsterdam, Germany and Edinburgh to name just a few!

 

Continue saying ‘yes’ to work opportunities

2018 was a very ‘yes’ year for me when it came to work. Without really realising it, I adopted the mantra of saying yes to any career opportunities that came my way and figuring out how to cope with them later.

Going into this year I definitely want to keep the same attitude towards any work opportunities that I am faced with. It is so easy to spend our time worrying and talking ourselves out of something which we don’t believe we are capable or deserving of, so in 2019 I’m saying a big fat YES to more of the incredible career opportunities that come my way.

 

 

 

Find my feet with my blog

I wasn’t quite sure what to say about my plans for The Ivory Book in 2019 but I think ‘find my feet’ sums it up quite nicely. I had always planned to launch a blog alongside my wedding planning business at the end of last year and over the next 12 months I want to gain more confidence and establish my blog as a place that truly embodies what I love to read and talk about.

I’m not going to set myself any resolutions for how frequently I’ll be posting or limiting the topics I talk about; instead I will be focussing on developing a writing style that sounds like me, remaining authentic both here and on my Instagram, and posting content that I am completely proud of.

 

Allow myself time away from social media

Towards the end of 2018 I took a couple of much-needed breaks from social media and it did wonders for my mental health. It is so easy to get swept up with the notion that we always need to be present on social media (especially when you run a small business) so it was a total revelation that the insta-world was completely fine without me for a few days.

In 2019, I will be much more conscious to schedule in some phone-free time – and I definitely urge everybody reading this to do the same!

 

Images by Charlotte Bryer-Ash Photography.

January 6, 2019

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I was scrolling through old photos on my phone a few weeks ago and it made me realise just how much travelling I’ve done in 2018 compared to previous years. I’m a self-confessed homebody, but I do love to explore new places and I definitely want to travel more in 2019.

My job as a wedding planner has taken me to London, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, Essex, Surrey, Oxfordshire, Hampshire, Dorset and Devon this year – which is one of the reasons I love what I do so much. In my personal life I’ve taken several unforgettable trips too, so from holidays abroad to UK weekend breaks, I thought I would round up the top 5 travel destinations I’ve visited in 2018.

 

1. Rome

My family and I had a weekend break in Rome this February to celebrate a big birthday of my mum’s and it was wonderful! Although I’ve always loved Italy, this was my first time visiting Rome and it didn’t take me long to fall in love with this beautiful city.

Rome is steeped in history and there is incredible architecture around every corner – visit famous sights such as the Trevi Fountain, the Colosseum, St Peter’s Basilica and the Pantheon and, if you have time, I would highly recommend a tour of the Vatican Museum. Walk as much as possible and absorb the Italian culture as you wander around the charming streets and ornate piazza’s (whilst of course consuming copious amounts of pizza, pasta, wine and gelato).

We arrived early Friday morning and left late on Sunday afternoon which gave us 3 (almost) full days of exploring and plenty of time to see what Rome has to offer – although once you have fallen for the city’s intensely romantic charm, I wouldn’t blame you if you never wanted to leave.

 

 

2. New York

Anybody who knows me will know just how much I adore New York. I first visited 10 years ago and have been desperate to return ever since, so in April me and my sister jumped on a plane and had the most unforgettable trip.

I find an inexplicable sense of belonging in New York, it’s such a world away from the place I’ve grown up in and yet there is something so special about this vibrant, lively city which completely draws me in. I will have to write a separate post to give all of my recommendations of what to do in New York, but some particular highlights were walking over the Brooklyn Bridge (and demolishing the Grimaldi’s pizza we ate on the other side), afternoon tea at The Plaza and watching The Lion King on Broadway.

We stayed for 3 nights at The Archer Hotel (which I can highly recommend) and we completely packed the time we had there full of things we wanted to do. We returned home exhausted, jet-lagged but buzzing with the most incredible memories from this epic trip.

 

 

3. Bath & Bradford on Avon

In July a couple of friends and I decided to head to Bath for a couple of days and it was the perfect place for a girly weekend away!

I’ve visited Bath several times now and it is such a relaxed city, full of historic sights, small independent cafes and pretty little houses. On this occasion we spent the day shopping and enjoying the sunshine, but if you have time I would recommend paying a visit to the Roman Baths.

On our way home, we took a detour into Bradford on Avon, a beautifully quaint town only 8 miles outside of Bath. There are so many amazing places to eat and drink, as well as many independent shops and plenty of Insta-worthy opportunities around the town, so it was easy to lose ourselves in an afternoon spent here.

 

 

4. Croatia

Croatia has been on my bucket list for years so in September, when Jordan and I decided we wanted to book a last minute summer break, it didn’t take us long to decide where to go.

We spent a week travelling around the Istrian coastline, with a trip inland to Plitvice Lakes midway through our holiday. Croatia as a whole blew us away but it was Plitvice Lakes that well and truly stole our hearts – even though there are lots of tourists around many areas of the lakes, there is a feeling of complete calm and serenity that I’ve never experienced elsewhere. We spent two days at Plitvice (arriving as soon as the gates opened in the morning to avoid the crowds!) and we would return back in a heartbeat.

The Istrian peninsula was completely different once again and has such a charming, relaxed atmosphere. My favourite town that we stayed in was Rovinj – a coastal town with cobbled streets, a strikingly beautiful church tower and a breathtaking view of the sunset. Visiting in late September meant that we mostly missed the tourist season and instead found Rovinj was lively with locals, which only added to it’s charm.

 

 

5. The Cotswolds

This was definitely the most low-key trip this year but still one of my favourites! At the start of June me and Jordan went for a weekend away just outside the Cotswolds and it was exactly what we needed to recharge our batteries after a busy few months of work.

We did very little aside from curling up and watching movies, strolling into the nearby village and enjoying the long evenings of sunshine with a glass of wine – and that suited us perfectly! It is so important to set aside time together and I am determined to make this a frequent trip.

We stayed in this gorgeous little Airbnb which was like a cosy home away from home, I truly can’t recommend it enough!

 

December 19, 2018

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Bridal styling is something I could talk about all day and with a background in bridal wear, I am always keeping an eye our for what brides will be wearing over the forthcoming year. I was so excited to take a look back at what brides have been loving style-wise throughout 2018, and forecast my predictions for 2019.

From trouser suits to texture, this post is packed full of bridal style inspiration for the next 12 months so make yourself comfortable and get stuck in!

Trouser Suits

Who wears the trousers? Well… whoever wants to really! Trouser suits ruled the runway this year, with the likes of Suzanne Neville, Ines Di Santo and Rime Arodaky adding tailored two-pieces to their 2019 collections. When it comes to rocking a bridal suit, go for strong tailoring, subtle details and, of course, some epic shoes to show off!

  

(L-R) Rime Arodaky, Ines Di Santo, Suzanne Neville

 

Blush Pink

Blush pink got a romantic makeover this year, with our very own Princess Eugenie opting for a stunning rose-toned Zac Posen gown for her second wedding dress, and both Mandy Moore and Malin Akerman giving blush pink an ethereal vibe for their laid back weddings. From sand and champagne to the perfect powder pink, there’s a hue to suit every skin tone and I’m predicting that it will be the colour for 2019 brides.

  

(L-R) Mandy Moore wearing Rodarte, Princess Eugenie wearing Zac Posen, Malin Akerman wearing Cushnie

 

Sustainability

More so than ever, we all have a duty to be kinder to the environment and it’s a mantra that many couples are applying to their wedding day too. To support this when it comes to your wedding attire, opt for designers who use ethically sourced fabrics and sustainable manufacturing methods and let your bridesmaids and groomsmen choose outfits that they will actually wear again.

Sanyukta Shrestha

 

Subtle Sparkle

Sparkle has been around in the wedding world forever but this season it’s had a lesson in subtlety and the effect is truly beautiful. Think twinkly fabrics, fully sequinned gowns and delicately beaded dresses that shimmer in the light as oppose to being in your face with bling. Not ready for sparkle on your dress? Go for a beaded hairpiece to give a nod to the trend in your outfit.

 

(L-R) Suzanne Neville, Berta

 

The Meghan Effect

This post wouldn’t be complete without giving a mention to the royal weddings we’ve had this year and the influence they are bound to have on the bridal trends we see over the next 12 months. With Meghan Markle shunning lace in favour of two completely plain wedding dresses, I think we’ll be seeing a huge rise in the number of brides opting for classic and simplistic gowns that are all about the cut and silhouette of the dress (weren’t we all obsessed with that halterneck second dress!).

 

Meghan Markle wears (L-R) Clare Waight Keller for Givenchy and Stella McCartney

 

Bows

Whether they’re neat and small or organic and oversized, bows are making a huge statement right now and they’re more fashion-forward than ever. Personally, my favourite way to style this trend is by going for a gown that is clean cut and simple at the front with a dramatic half tied bow at the back.

Oscar De La Renta

 

Plunging Necklines

Take the plunge and go for a gown with a plunging V neckline, a shape that is perfectly feminine and super flattering (especially on a smaller bust). Fit is everything with a daring neckline like this, make sure that you have a trusted seamstress on hand to alter your dress and make you completely comfortable on your wedding day – and remember to pack some fashion tape just in case!

(L-R) Galia Lahav, Alexandra Grecco

 

Texture

3D flowers, feathers, pique fabrics and geometric lace – unique textures are everywhere in the bridal world at the moment! Playing around with the texture of your gown is such a fun and modern way to create a one of a kind bridal look. Designers such as Berta have been leading the way with this trend for the past few years, however I think 2019 will be the year that we see many more bridal designers get a little more experimental with their fabrics and I am so on board!

  

(L-R) Sassi Holford, Berta, Galia Lahav

 

Statement Veils

Another important royal wedding moment this year has been the significance of using your veil (or lack of!) to make a huge statement on your wedding day. The 16 foot veil worn by Meghan, featuring embroidered flowers from all 53 countries of the commonwealth, was a breathtaking sight to see walking down the aisle of St Georges Chapel and I imagine many brides will be emulating Meghan’s style with a dramatic long veil. Princess Eugenie, on the other hand, opted not to wear a veil at all for her wedding in order to show off the scar on her back from an operation she had as a child – a equally poignant statement about celebrating your scars which I hope inspires many brides to be.

 

(L-R) Meghan Markle wearing Clare Waight Keller for Givenchy and Princess Eugenie wearing Peter Pilotto

December 16, 2018

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London is without a doubt one of my favourite cities in the world and at Christmas it becomes even more magical. I always try to visit at least once each December and absorb some of the festivities that are on offer. 

There is so much to do around this time of year, many of which don’t cost a penny, so whether you are travelling to London for a holiday or simply being a tourist in your own city, I’ve listed some of my favourite things to do in the hope that it will inspire a festive day out!

Christmas Markets

Christmas Markets are a fun, free and festive thing to do at Christmas time and there are so many to choose from in London. Hyde Park Winter Wonderland is one of the biggest and there’s fairground rides, family-friendly shows and a choice of TWO Christmas markets to visit, promising a fun day out for all ages.

Be prepared for it to be busy, especially in the weekends leading up to Christmas, but I say embrace the crowds, find yourself a glass of mulled wine and eat, shop, drink and be merry.

Winter Wonderland runs until 6th January 2019. Admission is free however charges apply for certain attractions.

 

Image courtesy of Winter Wonderland

 

Ice Skating

Last month I finally got round to going ice skating at The National History Museum and it was such a wonderful afternoon out. With the stunning building of the museum behind you, a carousel and the magnificent Christmas tree in the centre of the rink, an hour or so here is sure to put you in the festive spirit! 

Elsewhere around London there are ice rinks at famous attractions such as Somerset House, The Tower of London and Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park.

Ice skating at The National History Museum runs until 20th January. Tickets priced from £12.65.

 

 

 

Christmas Shopping

Or window shop, at the very least! One of my favourite things to do is see the gorgeous  Christmas window displays at some of London’s biggest department stores throughout December. Harrods, Selfridges and Liberty London all put on some epic displays that are truly not to be missed.

If you’re ready to face the crowds (these stores will be thriving throughout December) then get some Christmas shopping ticked off the list, treat yourself in the food hall and have a mooch through the Christmas department. And afterwards, be sure to reward yourself with a big mug of hot chocolate! 

 

  

 

Hogwarts in the Snow at the Harry Potter Studio Tour

Technically this one isn’t in London but a train and shuttle bus will get you from London Euston to the Watford Studio Tours in 35 minutes, so it is well worth a day out. Hogwarts is transformed into a snowy wonderland until 27th January and it is truly spectacular! 

Take a wander through the original film sets, see costumes and props from the movies and refuel with a glass of butterbeer in the onsite cafe. I visited Hogwarts in the Snow at the end of last month and, even though it was my third time visiting the studio tours (self confessed Potter nerd over here!), none of the magic had been lost. Allow the best part of a day for your visit and enjoy every moment!

Hogwarts in the Snow runs until 27th January 2019. Tickets cost £43.00.

 

Image courtesy of Warner Bros. Studio Tours

 

Wherever Possible, Walk

When in London it is so easy to hop on a tube to get around but without a doubt one of my favourite things to do is just walk around and absorb the sights. Everything in the city is so close together so spend an hour wandering around and I guarantee you will see so much! 

See the Christmas lights in places like Carnaby Street, Oxford Street and Regent Street, take a stroll along the Southbank or visit the huge Christmas trees in Trafalgar Square or Covent Garden. Christmas time is the perfect excuse to wrap up in your warmest winter coat and lose yourself in the sights of London.

 

Image: World Of Wanderlust

December 13, 2018

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