Thursday, April 18, 2019

Jo Malone 'Scent Your Wedding' Experience at Harvey Nichols Manchester

It can be stressful planning a wedding. Whether an intimate or large affair there is always so much to do and in the weeks running up to the big day there will times where you just need some YOU time. This is where Jo Malone London, the luxury bespoke fragrance brand comes in.  They have a number of services which are complimentary and they allow for some time away from the stresses of planning. What’s more, you may even find your signature wedding scent with the ‘Scent Your Wedding’ experience which is exclusive to Jo Malone Boutiques.

The booking process was really easy, it can all be done online and I just had to show up 10 minutes before my appointment at Harvey Nichols, Manchester ready to enjoy my half hour slot.

What does it include? Well first things first, I was given a glass of champagne, which is always a winner with me. My lovely host took me through the process and what I wanted to get from the service.

There are so many things to think about but there is nothing overwhelming and it’s an enjoyable experience talking about bath oils the night before the wedding, shower gels the morning of the big day, moisturisers and when to apply them and of course the main event, the fragrance!

I learnt a little about how things work too, I loved that everything was about layering. You may find a fragrance that you like but if you layer it with other scents (spicy/fruity/earthy) you can make it into the scent you love.

As well as that you get to think about how you can scent others parts of your day – will you choose a candle to remember your wedding morning by? Would you like that to be the same as your bridal scent or something different?

Or you can go even bigger by scenting your entire wedding. Add them to your tables, ceremony aisles or drinks reception areas. A chance to make a real mark on your day! You can even push the boat out and have candles or other products for favours.

Whilst sipping on my glass of fizz I made my choices (there are no right or wrong answers) and my lovely host went ahead and pampered me with a hand and arm massage using my chosen my scent/s. This was my favourite part of the experience I was left smelling incredible and feeling completely relaxed.

Sadly this is where my half hour journey ended and is where you decide to make your purchases, if any. I thought I’d feel awkward, I wasn’t sure if I was ready to make a purchase yet, the products on offer came with a higher than average price tag and I really wanted to think about it first. Thankfully my host was just a dream, there was no pushiness or upselling, there is a sincere desire to find you your perfect scent and if you need to go away and think about it or wear it for a few hours before purchasing then that is not a problem.

Just a tip, there are a number travel size items which will save some money and are big enough to last over your wedding and mini/honeymoon period.

This is definitely something I would recommend that all brides do, even if you do not make a purchase you will leave the boutique smelling amazing and ready to take on the world or at least some more wedding planning.

Friday, April 5, 2019

Lake District Anniversary Stay at The Gilpin Hotel and Lakehouse, Windermere

Shortly before we got married last year we decided that going on a honeymoon straight away was not for us. We were set to move house shortly after we were married and since we wanted a more active honeymoon we knew a short relaxed minimoon was the perfect compromise especially after such a busy build up to the wedding.

I’ve got to be honest, I knew exactly where I wanted us to stay. I had attended The Wedding Edit, an annual event hosted by Love Bridal Boutique. The lovely staff from the The Gilpin Hotel and Lakehouse were there showcasing their idyllic retreat and I fell in love.

They offer a number of set Magical Escapes packages and after much deliberation we went for the for the Platinum Package which was a room at the wonderful Lakehouse, approximately a mile and a half down the road from the main Gilpin Hotel and we absolutely loved it.

So when it came to deciding where we wanted to stay for our first wedding anniversary, there was no competition, we wanted to experience The Gilpin once again. In 2016, The Gilpin Hotel and Lakehouse introduced 5 luxurious spa lodges to their portfolio of rooms and if I am honest ever since we had left the lakehouse I had been stalking them out! So we went ahead and booked a 2 night Ultimate Magical Escape.

We arrived at The Gilpin Hotel on a wet and windy day on our anniversary date very thankful that the weather had been kinder one year earlier. I remembered the high level of service from the previous year and it was lovely to still arrive to a welcome committee which was ready and waiting to whisk us under an umbrella and check us in quickly. I have to point out that the service here is incredible and before arriving I had already complimented the guest experience I received over the phone whilst booking.

Thankfully the rain clouds parted as we arrived to our own private spa lodge, we were in the beautiful Veroda. Each cedar-clad spa lodge is decorated differently and I was so glad we got this beauty of a lodge, it even provided me with some inspiration for the interior design for my own home! Upon entering it was a complete WOW moment and even though I had researched the lodges and seen the pictures I still was not prepared for this beautiful place.

We arrived to a stunning living area with a huge king size bed built up with soft furnishings leading to a huge bathroom with his and hers sink plus a gorgeous free standing oval stone bath. From then on it starts to get really special and it becomes clear why the spa lodges are called just that. Within the bathroom area is a giant steam room with rain maker shower which leads to a very private patio area with loungers, outdoor sauna, hydrotherapy hot tub all surrounded by a walled garden.

We were so touched to find a couple of extra treats, one of which was from my Mum who had called ahead and organised a bottle of prosecco to be waiting on arrival!

The package we chose was packed full of food experiences and the first was the Michelin starred Hrishi for a Seven Course tasting menu.  This was a quick walk over from the spa lodges to the main hotel and begins with pre-dinner cocktails and canap├ęs. We had experienced the restaurant the year before but this time it was just that little bit better, the food was outstanding and the staff were accommodating allowing us time to relax between courses and guiding us through appropriate wine choices.

On the second night we ate at the amazing Spice restaurant, I love this place, it is a tapas style restaurant which is very chilled and it was lovely to sit back with a drink in hand and watch the chefs cooks in front of us.

Breakfast at The Gilpin is next level, you can choose something really light with beautiful pastries and a fresh pot of coffee or you can go all out (the menu has starters/mains/extras) with creamy porridge, a full English breakfast or you can even go for pancakes which were a popular choice on one morning since it was Shrove Tuesday.

My favourite part of the trip? The spa lodge experience! We began with a bespoke couples’ 30-minute aromatherapy massage in the stunning open-plan lounge which was seamlessly turned into a treatment room. Next we delved into our basket of Jetty Spa products which came with a guide of how to use each and when to use them. We used the Passion Fruit Body Mask (for the steam room), Bamboo Body Polish (for the rainmaker shower), Chamomile Facial Spritz (for the outdoor sauna and thot tub), and finished with the Vitamin E Face Cream and Sweet Orange Body Oil. The whole journey was bliss and was topped off by the most incredible cream tea. This extra experience allowed us to utilise the room to its full potential and I would recommend doing this.

There is something effortless about the way The Gilpin works, meals and activities are booked in advance and there is no need for you to worry that anything isn’t going to go to plan. For those of us who like to be in control and needs perfection this is the place for you.

We had an amazing time yet again and we were so sad to leave. I would recommend the Gilpin Hotel and Lakehouse to anyone looking for the perfect retreat with incredible staff, perfect food and impeccable rooms. I have to admit that the rooms and packages are not the cheapest but if you want to treat yourself to a stay somewhere special then this place should be on your list.
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