Sunday, 29 January 2012

Shed to Wed Wedding Diet Sunday

Ok - I have a feeling that the Weight Watcher leader Rachel will be slightly miffed at my unorthodox start!

Thursday 26th January.

Apple, 5 slices ham, 0 point soup - talk about thinspiration!

Then my best girlfriends came to my house for a belated Burns night supper...

 Here is the diet breaking cocktail that led to to my downfall

Followed by a Scots themed supper as recommended by Waitrose!

Pear and Haggis Salad

Cullen Skink pies

Little Clootie Puddings

I can recommend all these recipes as being totally yummy - off message for a weight watcher, but pretty healthy.

However I have taken great leaps forward with training. Here am I on Thursday at Geoff Mathis' gym being put through my paces! The theory that black is slimming is irrevocably shattered.

Geoff took these photos whilst doubting I really wanted to see them. They are unflattering but this is what I look like at the moment. I'd like to change, I'd like my clothes to look better fitting and my back to ache less.

I love boxing!

Not sure that this is what Stella McCartney had in mind when she designed these items for Adidas

Inspired and encouraged by Geoff I have been a very good Miss Bush today and gone for a power walk/interval run along the beautiful paths of the waterway network that are moments from my house!

Proof - as shot by Marshy

Quad stretch!
On the horizon this week is a lunch at Parallel Venues' Fetcham Park. I have become associated with the venue as I have fallen under the spell of it's charismatic owner Laura Caudery. Her very words were 

 " I'd like to treat Fetcham park as your second home"

Fetcham Park - my second home!

Laura is hosting the  lunch for some leading lights of the wedding industry. Knowing the amazing catering provided by Fetcham Park, usually by At Home , this will be the Wedding Diet challenge of the forthcoming week...

However, as an ambassador for Miss Bush, I know I am going to meet some of my wedding industry heroes and heroines and can interrogate them about their trends and style predictions for brides of 2012 and onwards.

 I'm taking champagne for the scoops; canapes for the cause...

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Shed to Wed Wedding Diet Thursday

I have been to Weight Watchers and have discovered that I weigh 6lbs more than I feared. I am tipping the scales at 13stone 6lbs. This is approximately 3 stone more than when I met the lovely Marshy. This is also a stone more than when I last considered dieting.

Picture from Little Britain of Bubbles Devere taken from This is also a great substitute for an artist's impression of my self-image sporting the 'Vintage meets Grecian' trend.

My lovely and very 'on message' Weight Watcher's group leader Rachel suggested we measure ourselves too. Oddly enough this has come as a far greater shock.

This week at Miss Bush's I measured a porcelain doll of a bride. A tiny, perfectly proportioned woman with a 22 1/2 waist. This is unusual but it has served to give me a huge comparison between my stats

Bust 47" (I know I am staggered too - no wonder my back aches!
Waist 40" (Aghast - in the diabetes risk bracket and the kind of measurement that takes me into some   uncomfortable regions on a bridal size chart!)
Hips 43" (this is supposed to be my small bit!)

This means I would have to order myself a Maggie Sottero size 18/20 and they are generous.

I feel taken aback. All the stats are slightly grimmer than I thought.

However, there was a very lovely woman at Weight Watchers that had already lost 30lbs and a bride that visited me late yesterday that had lost 2 stone with Weight Watchers and bought a size 10 Jenny Packham sample! Clearly the programme works and added to the trainer Geoff's regime I hope to make an indent in these stats fast.

Rachel, our Beloved Leader, has given me a record chart to fill in that suggests I can lose 5% of me by week 7.

I however have an alternative target - significant improvement by the 29th February. The day, should I so chose, I could propose. This is just over a month - time to get the trainers on!

Annabel from Love My Dress has looked into the traditions of this - check out her blog post on the subject and where I shamelessly nicked this image!

Useful links

Weight Watchers
Geoff Mathis

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Shed to Wed Wednesday's Wedding Diet

No I am not engaged. No I have not set the date. Neither am I one of the new breed of Single Bridezillas, as described in The Huffington Post  (an article linked to me by Betti Confetti - one of my Twitter mates!)

I would like to get married. Again. As a director of a wedding dress shop it is an uncomfortable fact that I have a failed marriage. It is also one of my life's greatest joys, second only to my children, that the lovely Marshy, partner and step parent to  my children,  appeared in my life after the duel watersheds of my Decree Absolute and tuning forty.

A sage, hippy friend of mine, who firmly believes in the curative powers of crystals, has reliably informed me that you get delivered angels when you need them. Please follow the following link to see a potential first dance song for Marshy and also choreography that closest resembles his dance floor moves.

When I met Marshy at the tender age of forty years, three months and two weeks approximately I was a virtual whippet. A pound or two either side of 10 stone, a 34 E/F bust, Karen Millen size 10 trousers were my friend. This was helped quite considerably by a forty a day Marlboro Light habit. I gave up smoking on Valentines Day 2007 a month after our meeting. Not because of Marshy - though he is, and always has been, a non smoker. I had been a perpetual re offender, a yo-yo smoker and,  perversely,  massively allergic to Nicotine patches. For the first time, with a really supportive partner, I kicked the addiction for good.

Hello two stone. The combination of smug loved-upness, eating breakfast, lunch and meals out played havoc with my figure. My mother Gen warned me in her inimitable style that 'Marshy didn't start going out with a fat lass' .... anyone wonder why I am so competitive?

The weight went, now, for reasons that may well be explained in the next few posts, the weight is back. Only the two original stones have bought a mate!

I haven't stepped on the scales - that joy will happen at Weight Watchers tonight. I know I am on the last straining threads of the overlocking around the bust of my size 16 and 18 clothes. Those too are labels that are generously cut like Hobbs and Episode! The cheap and cheerful youth labels have been archived...

I have re engaged the services of the lovely Geoff a gentle, rehab kind of personal trainer and Issy, the fearsome distance runner, waits in the wings until some basics have been achieved.

I am, readers, aiming to fit into a wedding dress.

Jenny Packham Antonella. Discontinued - but the only dress I have been moved to try on for years.One of the five or six styles I would plan to rock in my five day wedding festival.

Monday, 23 January 2012

Jesus Peiro on Gemma. Photography by Juliet Mckee

As an advertiser in You and Your Wedding it is my dubious privilege to receive an early copy of the magazine. As befits my geek status I like to, then, scrutinise every page for credits, mentions, new labels, who's in, notable exclusions and most importantly where my ad is (LH page facing fashion editorial - just so you know.) In the past I have used Rosa Clara images predominently. Their images are strong but alas their customer service does not match. The new March/April issue of You and Your Wedding will be on the newstands soon and for the first time ever I have featured a shot from a collaborative shoot.

The shoot was organised by Stacey-Marie Chalk from Cherrytopped Wedding Planners and photographer Juliet Mckee. The brief, the vision, the styling was all theirs - Miss Bush was simply 'wardrobe'. When asked to get involved with collaborative shoots (read - nobody gets paid!!!) I am very circumspect. I see lots of styled shoots fail by using badly fitting dresses and however beautiful the table arrangements look the fashion can badly fail the images. The great aspect of being asked to be involved as wardrobe is that Miss Bush can concentrate om what they do best. Selecting and fitting dresses and providing on site wardrobe services.

The end result is that I have a collaborative shoot that has been featured by Love My Dress and Rock My Wedding amongst other blogs and is soon to be featured in Wedding Magazine. It continues to circulate and be featured nearly six months after the shoot. For me this was worth all my time, that of my production manager Janet, the custom made pieces, the custom dyed shoes, the money I paid Gemma and the day on location for Janet and myself.

As a huge and amazing bonus it was my first introduction to Janet Mohapi Banks, a couture wedding cake designer, and Steph - chief designer at Fairynuff florists. I have subsequently worked with both these remarkable women and thank Stacey Marie and Juliet for asking Miss Bush to be involved.

Here are four shots of Miss Bush house model Gemma in a stunning Jesus Peiro dress, one of which can now be seen gracing the pages of You and Your Wedding.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Jenny Packham Saskia for Emma Cookson

Most of my blog posts so far have involved a massively tangential introduction. Here Emma has written such a lovely letter full of praise for Miss Bush, Amy and my Mum, Gen, that I thought for once I'd let someone else get a word in edge ways!

Dear Miss Bush team,

Happy New Year! I hope you are all well. I wanted to write and thank you for all your help with my wedding dress last year.

From my first visit to the shop I knew I wanted to purchase my dress with you. You have a beautiful boutique and each time I visited I just wanted to try more and more dresses on - it was very hard walking past them all when I arrived for my fittings!

Choosing my dress was full of surprises. Jenny Packham's 'Saskia' is a long way from the long sleeved lace dress I had in mind, but thanks to Amy's expert guidance, this was the one we arrived it. It was a very close call between that and another dress and until putting Saskia on on the day I wasn't totally sure I had made the right decision, however by the end of the day I couldn't believe I had to take it off! 

It is a beautiful, beautiful dress - big thanks to Amy for making me see that and for all her patience and advice on accessories. Please pass on my thanks also to Jen for all her work on the alterations and making the dress fit someone as short as me!

We had a brilliant day, very laid back and full of laughter. I've attached a few photos in case you'd like to see the 'finished product'. Ok I'm sending more than a few as I couldn't decide which ones to send!

Thank you once again - I can't believe I won't be making trips to the shop this year :( 

Best Wishes,

Emma Cookson (Bradshaw)

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Cherished Vintage Pop Up shop Saturday 14th January

Headdress by Cherished Vintage, Hair by Sharon Roberts, Make Up by Carolanne Armstrong

The adage 'you always want what you've never got' is never more evident than in a bridalwear shop. Your gene pool dishes out an A Cup - you lust for an E! Alabaster skin?  You'd rather have olive. At size 6 you worry about jutting hip bones - at size 16 you worry about jutting hips.

Accidentally, when I fell into the family business, I got a 16th Century vintage shop. Following this adage, I'd prefer a modernist 'space.' I long for high ceilings, for department-store size plate glass windows. I'd love my dress collection to be 10, crushingly expensive, minimalist dresses that could only be worn with aplomb by Daphne Guinness.

Not going to happen - like me in a cropped top - never...

Miss Bush is a chocolate box shop in a proper, busy village. Visitors to Ripley like cake, queue for hot sausage rolls, buy antiques, vintage motorcycles and Cath Kidston.  Ripley locals have there own tankards in The Ship. You'd be lucky to get more than one ice cube in your gin (Gordon's) and tonic and you can't get a cocktail. There is a village green.  The village school  makes a Fairy Liquid bottle nativity scene in the window of the chemists at Christmas. There are fetes...

It embodies 'vintage' - I cannot escape from it. I have embraced it. My village of Ripley is relentlessly charming, the shop is cute - brides and their mothers love it. It has always been vintage, the shop was already 200 years old when Queen Victoria was born.

Interior of Miss Bush

Regardless of fleeting fashion terms , wedding style has always been heavily weighted with nostalgia. Silent move stars, flapper girls, pre-Raphaelites, Parisian prostitutes, Calamity Jane, Land Girls, Dior, Goths, Mods and Rockers, even vintage Disney populate aisles across the country.

Combine the passion for 'ye olde England' & weddings; nostalgia & fashion and somewhere in the heart of a post-modern Venn diagram is Miss Bush.

On Saturday Cherished Vintage will be at Miss Bush with their fabulous collection. Like any self respecting Victorian, remodelling the family jewels, Cherished Vintage remodel old brooches, necklaces, earrings and other glamorous cast offs. They create beauty from forgotten pieces,  one off exclusive accessories to weave more history into you wedding day.

If you love a costume drama and are tempted by a teacake you will find them hard to resist - it's in bride's DNA.


All headpieces and jewellery by Cherished Vintage

Photography throughout by efc photography

This is a test post featuring the Bush legends...

From l to r Hayley, Gina, Amy and Corinne

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Maggie Sottero Vanessa - restyled by Verity Crossen

I expect that it would be a good idea to write blog posts that are seasonally apt. I feel publishing this post in darkest January is akin to a woman's magazine publishing the 'get a bikini bod' for your holiday article right now. The only sunny swimwear shots in Grazia this week are of supermodels and actresses on their Christmas breaks in the Caribbean looking ridiculously fabulous.

However I have an itch to book a sunny holiday, I love Greek islands, I love the Vanessa dress, Verity looks beautiful - you'll have to forgive me for this unseasonal indulgence. Like it or not - I am putting Syros on the Blog today.

A word on Verity's restyle.

Annette Thompson
Before vintage, before upcycling, before thrifting, before crafting became cool - there was Annette.

Jenny Packham's Delphine
Before Verity bought Vanessa there was Delphine...

Annette, Miss Bush legend, beader, thrifter, craftsperson, lifetime charity shop shopper, hoarder and all round good egg salvaged the appliqued Delphine beading from the sample of the same name when the delicate silk chiffon from the dress became wrecked in store.

(Note to all would be bridal shop owners - one over enthusiastic bride and you lose a sample that may have cost you anywhere from £500 - £1500.)

Verity utterly rocked her Maggie Sottero strapless Vanessa. However, the dilemma, for Verity, was that she loved the Maggie cut but loved the Jenny Packham beading more. I hope all you eagle-eyed brides spotted the iconic Acacia II on her marvellously natural 'do!  Whisper this next fact quietly,  however much you love Jenny Packham - in my case that would be much - she doesn't construct a strapless dress as well as Maggie Sottero.

 Enter Annette. A magpie of the highest order, not only has saved the Jenny Packham Delphine beading, but had the skill and patience to remove the Maggie Sottero beading and with utter precision and care reapply the Packham beading. The dress looks like it was ever thus.

Another whisper for fear of being overheard - we often cut things off Maggie Sottero dresses. The maxim by which Coco Chanel lived her life...

"Before leaving the house, a lady should stop, look in the mirror, and remove one piece of jewellery.”

...applies to Maggie like no other designer. Rather than jewellery an unnecessary embellishment is the thing to remove. Frequently I am to be found with scissors... Less almost always more.

Oh and the sleeves. Hmmm - well Stephanie Allin could tell you why they are called Casablanca. Nuff said.

So Verity's Vanessa  really is her own gown. Fusing the best of a big label, the boutique style of designer labels, her own thoughts and the utterly bespoke service that Miss Bush offers, Verity has truly created her own vision. A contemporary Grecian inspired dress that works perfectly - in Greece.

Very Sex and the City!

Many thanks to the new Mr and Mrs Papanikitas for sharing there photos.


Photography Kelly Tunney

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