Friday, February 26, 2010

Launch of the stunning new Weddingstar Site...


Today we are very excited to announce the launch of the new-look Weddingstar website. With the 2010 Weddingstar magazine now available on news-stands, the website has also been updated to offer an even better 'one-stop' shopping experience with spectacular new products complemented by the best of the existing product range.

Weddingstar is your 'one-stop' shop for all your wedding bomboniere, favours, accessories, decorations, stationery, clothing, jewellery and much, much more! Specialising in unique and creative items for today's style savvy bride, Weddingstar offers over 2800 individual items, great pricing, stunning personalisation and fast delivery, so we know you will love browsing through the Weddingstar site.

The new-look website includes:

• Dozens of new gifts and wedding favours
• Stylish new themed collection accessories
• Three new 'real weddings'
• Stickers and tags that can be personalised just for you
• Many more hot new items making their debut
• Planning tips for creating the wedding of your dreams
• Our largest magazine to date!

Once you have been inspired by the wonderful themes and exciting products, simple visit www.weddingstar.com.au and place your order through the secure ordering system. It couldn't be easier. Weddingstar sincerely wants you to have a perfect wedding and we know you will find Weddingstar - simply better! 

Here are a couple of my favourite new arrivals from Weddingstar
 
Love Bird Card Holders with Brushed Silver Finish 
The popular Love Bird motif has inspired the creation of these stylish card holders in brushed silver. Use to display your guest's place card or combine two holders to support menu cards or small table signs. 

 
ECO Folding Multi-use Tote made of Natural Cotton
This simple tote can mean so much! Enjoy presenting your guests with a take-home favour that just makes sense and is a long serving reminder of your happy wedding day. 
 
Woven Heart Shaped Box with Lid
This miniature heart shaped box makes a lovely presentation. The woven paper string creates a natural texture that blends well with a wide range of decorative themes. Available in five fashionable wedding colours. Combine complementary colours to enhance the visual effect.
 
Love Letter Ceremony Box Set
A Love Letter exchange is a romantic ceremony that will enhance your wedding and serve as a lasting reminder of the commitments made to one another. Heart felt letters, encapsulating your thoughts and feelings are locked away to be revealed several years into your marriage. A distinctive way to celebrate your love for one another. 
 
Lucky Elephant Card Holders with Brushed Silver Finish
Good fortune will abound with these "Lucky Elephant" holders. Use to display your guest's place card or combine two holders to support menu cards or small table signs.

 Have a great day!… Anna



Thursday, February 25, 2010

Statement Necklaces from Mimco for Today's Modern Bride


This year for Christmas I was absolutely delighted to receive a truly beautiful Mimco Floral Muse Necklace. Wearing it in the office today, the BD team and I began talking about how statement necklaces are a unique and popular accessory for today's modern bride.

So for my blog today, I thought I would share with you my favourite Mimco necklaces and show you how I think they can be worn to provide the perfect finishing touch to your wedding day style.

The Floral Muse Neck is a tuxedo bouquet of resin, acetate and pewter flowers, with velvet ribbons threaded through chain and pearls. Can be worn long or short by separating the pearl strands. While this may not bode well with the traditional white wedding, it would look fabulous with an ultra modern layered dress, and pulled back hair. Or if you are not bold enough to wear this yourself, perhaps it could complement your bridesmaid dresses… 

 
The Shambolic Choker in both jet and ivory is a new take on a Mimco classic style. Features acetate bow set with Swarovski crystals on brass chain. Short profile makes for a very wearable style. This choker would be the perfect accessory to almost any style of wedding gown, whether it be a more traditional full skirt, and a modern A-Line style. The choker is also available in black for those more adventurous.

The Tuxedo Princess choker is the darling of the speakeasy collection, teamed with gunmetal plated ball and loop chain and a selection of shell and glass pearls, with a centrally positioned princess motif emblazoned with clear Swarovski crystals. This choker is simply exquisite, with its mixture of pearls and crystals. it would complement a traditional princess gown with a fitted bodice, and a full, puffy skirt. Wear your hair pulled back with this one so that the necklace can command the full attention it deserves.


The Bella Miriam choker is inspired by the aesthetic of the deco period with vintage highlights. Glass and shell pearls, Czech faceted glass beads and metal coated balls are thread between a silver plated motif encrusted with Swarovski crystals. Another simply stunning design that would wear well with just about any style of wedding gown…


Take a glimpse into the future with this silver plated Metal Mesh choker. A combination of yesterday in tomorrow's world armoured with hammered brass rings and tubular metal mesh. Be inspired; layer these up or wear alone. A stunning piece that would look equally fabulous with a modern, fitted wedding gown with a precise cut and structure, or a more stylised cut with an empire neckline.

Visit Mimco now…

Have a great day!… Anna

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Couture Bridal Wear from Karen Willis Holmes

Just about every girl has dreamed about her wedding day for as long as she can remember, and while most of us will not be able to afford the high couture gown like we see in Hollywood classic films, we can dream… But what if you don't have to dream about the perfect wedding dress fit for a queen? What if you could purchase the high couture gown of your dreams right here in Australia without breaking the bank? Karen Willis Holmes Couture Bridal Gowns is your dream come true.

All Karen Willis Holmes couture bridal gowns are designed and manufactured by Karen and her team at her Sydney atelier.

Starting with an hour and a half consultation, Karen works with you to design the perfect gown for you taking into account your individual requirements, and tailoring the fit to your unique figure with a calico toile and five fittings. All the fittings and consultations are with Karen. This ensures that your gown fits perfectly and the final result will be a gorgeous dress, exactly how you had envisaged it.
 
The manufacture of the bridal gown can take 40 to 100 hours to complete, and the price reflects this process, with the price of the couture bridal gowns ranging between $5,500 to $13,990.

Below are a selection of my favourite gowns, so have a look through, and then head over to Karen Willis Holmes to find out how you can make your dream wedding dress a reality…

Have a lovely day!… Anna

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Home Beauty Recipes


Beauty products are a girl's best friend, but they are not always your wallet's friend, and restocking your beauty supplies can often be quite a costly exercise. So I have found these great recipes from Pink of Perfection that will keep you looking fabulous without breaking the bank…

Detoxifying Bath Salts
¾ cup Epsom salts
¼ cup baking soda
4 drops of grapefruit essential oil (or scent of your choice)

Combine dry ingredients in a bowl. One at a time, add drops of essential oil, stirring after each addition. Add salts to warm bath water.

Wake Me Up Scrub
from Body + Soul
¼ cup olive oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup sugar
15 drops peppermint essential oil
½ cup used coffee grounds from a freshly brewed pot

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and thoroughly blend. Transfer the scrub to a wide mouthed jar, and store in a cool place until ready to use. The scrub will keep for one to two weeks, longer if refrigerated.

Almond Orange Scrub
from Self
1 handful almonds
1 orange peel
1 cup grapeseed or olive oil

Blitz all ingredients in a blender or food processor for an antioxidant rich scrub.

Sweet and Spicy Sugar Scrub
adapted from Care2
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white granulated sugar
¾ cup almond, hazelnut, or coconut oil
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons ginger
2 teaspoons nutmeg

In a medium-sized bowl, combine all ingredient. Using a whisk, blend ingredients thoroughly, making sure to break up any lumps of brown sugar or spice.

Oatmeal Yogurt Mask For All Skin Types
1 tablespoon oatmeal, finely ground
1 tablespoon plain yogurt
a few drops of honey

Add the yogurt to the oatmeal in a small bowl and mix together. Warm a few drop of honey. To do this, warm a spoon under hot water for a minute, then add a few drops of honey to the spoon. Stir the honey into the yogurt and oatmeal mixture. Apply the mask to face. Leave on for 10 minutes, then rinse off with several splashes of warm water.

Green Papaya Brightening Mask For All Skin Types
from Body + Soul
½ cup unripe papaya, diced
1 teaspoon plain yogurt
1 teaspoon honey

Blend ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Apply to clean skin and leave on 10 minutes. Rinse off using cool water and pat dry. Finish by applying a gentle moisturizer.

Avocado Mask for Dry Skin
½ avocado
¼ cup honey

Mash the avocado in a bowl, then stir in honey. Apply to skin and leave for 10 minutes, then rinse.

Banana Mask for Oily Skin
1 banana, preferably ripe (you can keep ripe bananas in the freezer. Let it thaw before using)
1 tbsp honey
an orange or a lemon

Mix the banana and honey together in a bowl. Add a few drops of juice from an orange or a lemon. Apply to face for 15 minutes, then rinse.

Classic Eye De-Puffer
2 chamomile tea bags or 2 slices cucumber
Make a cup of tea for you and a friend. Remove tea bags and place in refrigerator until chilled. Place cool tea bags on closed eyes for 10 minutes. Or put cucumber slices in fridge until chilled and place over closed eyes for 10 minutes.

Old-Fashioned Bubble Bath
from Real Simple
½ cup mild liquid hand or body soap
1 tablespoon sugar or honey
1 egg white

Mix ingredients together in a bowl and the entire mixture under running bath water as you draw your bath. Honey is a natural humectant, and the egg white helps create stronger, longer-lasting bubbles. For extra-dry skin, adda tablespoon of light oil, such as almond or light sesame.

Foaming Vanilla-Honey Bath
from Real Simple
1 cup light oil (almond, sunflower, or canola)
½ cup honey
½ cup mild liquid hand or body soap
1 tablespoon vanilla extract.

Mix ingredients together in a glass jar. To use, shake gently to remix and pour ¼ cup under running bath water.

Monday, February 22, 2010

The World's Healthiest Foods


Your wedding day will be one of the most important days of your life, and will be filled with memories that you will treasure forever. Like every other bride-to-be, I am sure you will want to look and feel your absolute best, so I thought I would share this fabulous website with you to help you achieve this.

www.whfoods.org is a not-for-profit website run by the George Mateljan Foundation, and with no commercial interests, it is a new force for change to help make a healthier you and a healthier world.

It is a great site, filled with recipes, tips, information about just about every kind of food you could imagine, eating for the seasons, as well as videos to watch and topics to follow.

Below are three of my favourite recipes, so read through these, and then I thoroughly recommend you head over to www.whfoods.org and register your details to receive the newsletter - it's a great site and it will help you be at your best for your special day…

15-Minute Stir-Fried Chicken & Bok Choy



Healthy stir-fry is one of my Healthiest Way of Cooking methods, which avoids the necessity to use heated oils that can be damaging to your health. Low in calories, this easy-to-prepare meal provides you with a rich concentration of many health-promoting nutrients including vitamins B, C, and K as well as protein and much more. Enjoy!

Prep and Cook Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:
  • 2 TBS low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 cup chopped scallions
  • 2 TBS fresh minced ginger
  • 2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1½ cups sliced fresh shiitake mushrooms
  • 4 cups chopped bok choy
  • 2 TBS soy sauce
  • 1 TBS rice vinegar
  • salt and white pepper to taste
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
Directions:
  1. Heat broth in a stainless steel wok or skillet.
  2. When broth begins to steam, add scallions and Healthy Stir-Fry for 2 minutes.
  3. Add ginger and continue to stir-fry for another minute.
  4. Add chicken and continue to stir-fry.
  5. After 2-3 minutes, add shiitake mushrooms and bok choy. Continue to stir-fry for another 3-4 minutes, and then add soy sauce, rice vinegar, salt, and pepper.

Mediterranean Lentil Salad


This easy to prepare Mediterranean-style recipe makes a great side salad or a perfect vegetarian lunch or dinner for your Healthiest Way of Eating. It provides you with a wealth of health-promoting vitamins and minerals including 220% of the daily value (DV) for vitamin K, 135% DV for vitamin C, 107% DV for molybdenum and 79% DV for vitamin A. Enjoy!

Prep and Cook Time: Prep: 20 min; Cooking: 25 min; Chill: 1 hr

Ingredients:
  • 3/4 cup dried green lentils (you want to end up with 2 cups cooked)
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 oz canned/jar roasted bell peppers*, chopped
  • 2 TBS finely minced onion
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1/3 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
  • 3 TBS balsamic vinegar
  • 1 TBS fresh lemon juice
  • 2 TBS + 2 TBS extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and cracked black pepper to taste
  • 1 bunch young dandelion leaves or arugula, chopped
  • * If you prefer, you can roast the bell peppers yourself
Directions:
  1. Wash lentils, remove any foreign matter, and drain.
  2. Combine lentils and 2 cups lightly salted water in medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and cook at low temperature for about 20 minutes, or until lentils are cooked but still firm. Cook gently so lentils don't get mushy. When done, drain any excess water, and lightly rinse under cold water. Continue to drain excess water.
  3. Mince onion and press garlic and let sit for 5 minutes to bring out their hidden health-promoting benefits.
  4. Place lentils in a bowl and add peppers, onion, garlic, basil, walnuts, vinegar, and 2 TBS olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Marinate for at least 1 hour before serving.
  5. Toss dandelion or arugula with 2 TBS olive oil, 1 TBS lemon juice, salt and pepper. Serve on plate with lentils.
Primavera Verde


 This festive, colorful dish is an excellent way to enjoy the nutrients from a variety of vegetables. The vegetables you use are only limited by your imagination; it’s a great way to use whatever you have in your refrigerator. And the variety of vegetables provides an excellent source of vitamins A, K and C. Enjoy!

Prep and Cook Time: 50 minutes

Ingredients:
  • 1 medium onion, quartered and sliced thin
  • 1 small red bell pepper, cut in 1 inch strips
  • 1 medium carrot, cut in very thin sticks 1-1/2 inches long
  • 1 bunch thin asparagus, cut 1-1/2 inches long, discard bottom fourth
  • 1-1/2 cup zucchini or summer yellow squash, cut in thin 1 inch strips
  • 6 medium cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 15 oz can diced tomatoes, with juice
  • 1 TBS + 1/4 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 3 TBS fresh sage, minced
  • 1 cup fresh parsley, minced
  • 3 TBS fresh oregano, minced
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • 4 oz whole grain linguini pasta
  • 4 oz Chevre goat cheese (optional)
Directions:
  1. Bring salted water to a boil for pasta.
  2. Chop onion and garlic and let sit for 5 minutes to bring out their hidden health-promoting benefits.
  3. Chop remaining vegetables.
  4. Heat 1 TBS broth in medium stainless steel skillet. Healthy Sauté onion in broth over medium heat, stirring frequently for 3 minutes. Add vegetables in order given, waiting about 1 minute between each.
  5. Add tomatoes and broth and simmer for another couple minutes, until vegetables are barely tender, about 10 minutes. If needed, you can add a touch more liquid to keep moist. Add minced herbs. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. While vegetables are simmering, cook pasta according to package instructions and strain through colander.
  7. Toss pasta with vegetable mixture and top with goat cheese if desired.


Friday, February 19, 2010

Bomboniere Idea - Donate to Charity


Your wedding is a very special time in your life, a time when all your loved ones - friends and family - come together and celebrate your marriage. Traditionally, you would organise a bomboniere gift or favour for each of your guests to take home at the conclusion of the event. Well, here is a lovely idea for your consideration…

The Cancer Council has introduced a new program, the Gifts Thing, and invites you to give a donation in lieu of the traditional wedding favour, to instead donate the money that you would have spent on smaller gifts such as bomboniere to Cancer Council. Donating to Cancer Council NSW is a unique way of thanking your guests for celebrating your wedding, or remembering loved ones who can’t be there to share your special day.
There are lots of reasons to do the Gifts Thing:
  • 1 in 3 Australians will get cancer. By giving up your gifts for just one occasion, you can save lives.
  • Stuck for what to give the person who has everything? Making a donation in honor of their special occasion is a great gift idea.
  • Foregoing gifts in order to honor someone you know who has been affected by cancer.
  • Perhaps you feel uncomfortable having an expensive gift registry, yet would still like to provide direction to your friends or guests? The Gifts Thing is a perfect solution.
  • It's an easy way to join the fight against cancer, and help people living with the disease.
  • It's double the joy - giving a gift and helping us defeat cancer!
When you register your event, you’ll have the opportunity to order donation cards. Many Gifts Thing organisers feel that the cards make it easier for their friends and family to make a pledge.

You can choose to either hand them out or mail them to your friends and family ahead of the event. The card is divided into two halves; the first half is completed by recipient and sent back to Cancer Council. The second half they can either keep as a reminder or choose to send back to you with details of their pledge.

After registering your event we’ll send you a welcome kit. The welcome kit includes lots of helpful information on how to communicate your wish for friends and family to make a donation in lieu of a traditional gift. We also include in this kit a tally sheet to help you keep track of your donations.
Cancer Council will send tax-deductible receipts and thank you letters to everyone who donated to mark your special occasion.

A month after your celebration event, we will send you a thank you letter to acknowledge the funds received and a certificate for your to keep and share with your friends/ family.

 
 
 Visit Cancer Council - Gifts Thing for information on how to order.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Fine Dining with your Valentine


Well Valentine's Day 2010 is almost upon us, and love is most definitely in the air…

We have been bringing you all the latest Valentine's Day tips and ideas across all The Bride's Diary Blogs today, and in keeping with our cupid theme, I thought I would share with you 4 top restaurants in Sydney and Melbourne so you can wine and dine your Valentine in style.

Kobe Jones Melbourne - Profile by De Groots Media


If you're after a more modern take with innovative dishes and unique tastes then look no further than Kobe Jones. In a prime Docklands position with waterfront views of Bolte Bridge and the Melbourne city skyline this is where eastern spices and the Californian flavours of the west collide.

The extensive menu offers fresh and light options including a selection of Kobe Jones signature dishes which are an absolute must. Start with the number one special (crab salad with avocado wrapped in snapper and baked with KJ's cream sauce), or the oyster shooter (a trio of oyster shooters each with their own distinct flavour). Kobe rolls, like the crunchy roll of tempura-battered prawns with crab salad and cucumber layered with tempura flakes and smelt roe, are also offered. Follow with a main of whole-grilled baby snapper with miso citrus sauce served with miso soup and rice, or the green tea salmon (seared smoked salmon marinated in green tea with nori cream). Finish with the kanpai trifle (sake infused trifle with marinated cherries in jelly). The wine list comprises a tempting selection of Australian varieties and sake imports.

LOCATION Docklands


Chophouse Sydney - Profile by De Groots Media


Sitting deep inside a faux ribcage with a view of dangling cow skulls is a little unsettling. Add glazed beef short ribs to the plate and Merlot to the glass, and you have yourself an evening at Kingsley Smith’s new venture, Chophouse. Hemmed in by the blinking high-rises of the city, this authentic steakhouse is a meat-lover’s delight; man-sized portions of t-bone, lamb chops and beef brisket are sure to get bellies rumbling. A mirror alcove gives an element of space; brown banquettes and booths are set against rustic walls – a sly wink to the abattoir in an interpretation of a New York-style steakhouse. A recent addition to the Sydney dining scene, Chophouse is Kingsley Smith’s fourth restaurant and an ideal function venue, with an upstairs private dining room complete with cow hide patterned walls and private bar.

Executive chef David Clarke dishes up hearty portions of lip-smacking meals, plus an assortment of sides and sauces to create your ideal meal. Nibble on the deliciously crunchy spheres of tallegio risotto balls with Australian morels for a promising start to the meal. For mains carve into the grain-fed and hormone-free twice-cooked pork rack and crackling, paired with apple sauce, for a hearty belly-filler. Spatchcock and rabbit also feature on the red meat-focused menu, as do a range of chopped salads for those after lighter fare. The impressive array of 120 wines available by the glass or bottle have been hand-picked to match the flavours of the menu, hailing from France, Italy, Germany, New Zealand and Australia. Chophouse is open from 12pm Monday to Friday for lunch and dinner.

LOCATION Sydney CBD behind Sofitel Wentworth Hotel, close to Hunter Street.

Radii Restaurant and Bar Melbourne - Profile by De Groots Media


Radii is now nine years old, and its bold multi-level design still looks modern. There are so many surfaces, levels and materials used in the design that the restaurant is not far behind a glamorous architectural showroom. The great advantages are significant in the streaming natural light, and the spaciousness of the dining room which makes Radii an ideal place for a business lunches and private chit chats. It’s expansive without being intimidating with cheerful touches here and there such as the baskets of fruit and vegetables placed lovingly on the counter, and the general clatter that comes from the big open kitchen.

Jean-Christophe Tomasi’s food is essentially Mediterranean with French and Italian influences. The flavours are clear and fresh and the presentation of each dish is very attractive. Start with the deliciously flavoursome flamed lobster bisque with Pernod cream and then perhaps move onto the crisp pork belly with Hokkaido scallops, cauliflower puree and sticky jus. There is a wood-fired oven of which I can safely recommend anything that’s been cooked within it. The snapper fillets, which are seared on the skin side and left to rest in the oven, combine crispy skin and succulent flesh and are served with baby vegetables and a citrus beurre blanc. There are a number of grills too, for those who like a dozen oysters and a great steak. It’s not cheap (five-star hotels never are), but it has a sense of occasion that makes it worthwhile. Lunch is a more casual affair with choices like Caesar salad and vegetable frittata however the lunch special, including valet parking, is exceptional value.

LOCATION Melbourne CBD

Summit Restaurant Sydney - Profile by De Groots Media 

Turning 40 has never looked so fabulous. Life really does begin at 40 for Sydney’s original revolving restaurant, the Summit. The crowning glory of the Harry Seidler designed Australia Square, the Summit has been given a glam makeover to mark its milestone birthday that combines 60s retro style with new millennium flair, proving that what goes around truly does come around. And with a new man on the scene in the guise of internationally renowned celebrity chef and restaurateur, Michael Moore, the Summit has proven that it is still the “It Girl of Sydney dining” even into its fourth decade.

Michael Moore took over the Summit in 2007, bringing with him 20 years of experience garnered in some of Europe and Australia’s top restaurants. Moore’s approach to his menu is to build around a feature ingredient which is then interwoven with accents of flavour. The result is a contemporary culinary creation that encourages the produce to shine as much as the view through the floor-to-ceiling windows. Moore’s signature dish of mushroom croustada with fontina and reggiano cheese, cauliflower and garlic creamed spinach with a porcini mushroom glaze tempts with its intricate blend of flavours. Another star is the twice-cooked pork belly with glass crackling and apple balsamic topping. Lenotre patissier Mark Stone deftly handles desserts but if you want to see out the night in truly decadent style, kick back in the Orbit Lounge with a classy cheese platter and drink in the sparkling view of Sydney below.
 

LOCATION Level 47 of Australia Square, Sydney CBD. 

Enjoy your Valentine's Day!… Anna

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Lola by Marc Jacobs

Lola by Marc Jacobs is a superb fragrance and I simply love the beautiful new bottles, and the unique solid perfume ring…

This is the new and playful way to wear Lola - the chic new solid perfume ring. This flirty must-have accessory is the ideal gift for the most fashionable fragrance lover and the perfect way to take your favourite scent with you wherever you go. 

The ring's oversized, colourful top is inspired by the exploding bouquet that blooms from the Lola fragrance bottle. The flower slides open to reveal the ring's secret: the alluring Lola Marc Jacobs solid perfume. The stylish Lola ring comes in a sweet violet pouchette with playful mini flowers.

Meanwhile, the new Lola Marc Jacobs 30ml spray is smaller and sassier with the same alluring scent.

Displaying Marc Jacobs inventiveness, Lola is available in 3 distinct shapes and sizes… Collect all three luxurious bottles. The 30ml companion flaunts its own sexy style with the same voluptuous violet bottle as the 50ml original, topped with a single bright red floral cap that is soft to the touch

Lola is a warm floral bouquet, playfully alluring, irresistibly tempting. the captivating heart of the fragrance blooms with the luscious Fuchsia peony. 

The Lola Marc Jacobs solid perfume ring will be available for a limited time only from February 2010 from David Jones, Myer, The Perfume Connection, selected pharmacies and authorised Coty stockists nationally.

Enjoy your day...

Anna

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Celebrate Valentine's Day with Pandora



Love is the most wonderful feeling of all, and it is the feeling that brings two souls together. Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to express your love in the most extraordinary way, and to let those near and dear to you know just how much you value them.

With Valentine's Day drawing near, love is most definitely in the air! Today I received a campaign email from Pandora that detailed the latest Pandora news in the lead-up to Valentine's Day. Pandora is currently running a promotion where you can win wonderful prizes for your Valentine simply by sharing your Valentine's Day story. 

I was so touched by these romantic, and sometimes humorous stories, that I wanted to share them with you. So head over to Pandora now so you can read these unforgettable stories, and don't forget to vote for your favourite story while you are there! And if you submit your story, you will go in the draw to win one of three great prizes.

What's more, you can celebrate your love and affection for that special someone in your life this Valentine's Day with a beautiful gift from Pandora. Read on for more inspiration…


Gold hearts set in silver… Simple, elegant, understated – this silver jewellery set sends a Valentine’s message that will last the test of time.






So pretty, so pink… Woven bracelets bring a new way to wear your charms. Choose heart and flower motifs for a traditional Valentine's message.
 

Love that lasts…Mix & Match gives a choice of handcrafted pendants in stunning gold and silver to create your own earring designs.  It’s the best way to celebrate your individuality this Valentine’s day.

 
Diamonds and Pearls… Romance is always about beautiful combinations so create your own look with a daring mix of gold, pearls and diamonds.



Pop over to Pandora now for more beautiufl gift ideas, and to enter this charming Valentine's competition.

Have a lovely day!… Anna

Monday, February 8, 2010

Summer Bridal Ideas Expo 2010 – What a Show!



As the official sponsor of the Summer Bridal Ideas Expo 2010, The Bride's Diary® was very excited to have been a part of this wonderful exhibition. Handing out hundreds of free copies of The Bride's Diary® to brides-to-be at the door, we just love to be involved with the many leading industry professionals that exhibited at the expo, and are also featured in the 2010 edition of The Bride's Diary®. We were thrilled to receive the following round-up of the Bridal Ideas Expo from the organisers.

"The expo organisers would like to thank all the exhibitors that participated in the recent Summer Bridal Ideas Expo in Adelaide 16 and 17 January 2010. The show was a huge success with the best visitor turnout the Bridal Ideas Expo has ever had… for very good reasons! 

Upon arrival, visitors walked past stretch hummers and limousines, and were greeted with beautiful live music from the Burgundy String Quartet. Dance performances by Arthur Murray Dance Studio set the scene on the stage by demonstrating an elegant bridal waltz, while the stage was romantically decorated by Lush Lighting.

A bride’s arrival to the fashion parade stage by Harley Davidson, with thanks to Absolute Affordable Harley Escorts, grabbed everyone's' full attention. The hall resonated with the sound of the Harley for each parade, a sound that brought the parade to life and received cheers from the audience!

The Fashion Parades themselves with bridal houses participating included: Bridal on Pulteney, Jenny & Gerry’s Bridal House, Princess Collection, Elegant Alternatives, Indubbio, Aurora’s Bridal Couture, Spurling, Asha’s Bridal on Waterloo and Peter Shearer Menswear. The models wore Georgini Jewellery from Andrew Mazzone Design Jewellers, and hair and makeup was professionally done by Ninettes Hair City.

Accompanying the models on the cat walk were two beautiful and well trained white ‘puppies’… coupled with the beautiful flowergirls, they added the ‘oooohhhh’ factor.

There were two main prizes on offer: Win a Fiorenza Bridal Gown by Bridal on Pulteney and Win Georgini Jewellery by Andrew Mazzone Design Jewellers. The winners of these prizes were very excited - what a great start to planning your wedding! The two main prizes were joined by a large number of other draws and competitions held by individual exhibitors over the two days.

Visitors also enjoyed the Bridal Café with bride-conscious menu items, as well as beautiful  champagne and wine. Grooms were treated to a Free Beer, (with compliments from Bridal Ideas) as a happy groom is a co-operative groom!

Are you getting married later this year, or perhaps next year? Don’t miss out on the experience of the Bridal Ideas Expos in Adelaide. Attend Winter Bridal Ideas on July 24 and 25, 2010. With exhibitors waiting to discuss your plans with you, you will find information for all aspects of your weddings, including: Bridal Wear and Accessories, Photographers, Videographers, Beauticians, Venues, Cakes, Flowers, Honeymoon Travel Agencies, Decoration, Diamonds, Gift Registries, Jewellery, Hair Design, Marriage Celebrants, Cars, Planners, Make-up, Magazines, Bomboniere, Stationery, Health and Wellbeing, Entertainers ... and more!!!

We have some wonderful surprises for the Winter Bridal Ideas Expo 2010 – so become a VIP at www.eee.net.au to receive e-news updates and also discounted entry to the show!"

Have a lovely day!… Anna
 

Friday, February 5, 2010

Sweet Indulgence...

Just look at this delectable creation, beautifully photographed by Davina Murray Photography, Sydney.

I have such a weakness for pretty cakes, cupcakes, chocolates and desserts. While I can resist indulging most of the time (except for Friday cakes in the office), I am at a total loss when it comes to the gorgeous sweet offerings at a wedding.

This unique creation of chocolate covered strawberries, all decorated differently (with milk, dark and white chocolate, coconut, sprinkles and piped icing) would also make a superb centre-piece on each reception table. Complementing a colour theme of red, cream and mocha, it would make a signature statement that your guests would love.

Then, at the appropriate moment during proceedings, maybe when serving coffee, or just after the official toasts, each guest could select a beautiful strawberry of their liking. 

You could also remove the creation just before the end of the evening and have the reception staff put one perfect strawberry in each bomboniere box and have them ready at a table to give to your guests as they leave the venue. In this way, you have covered both your centre-pieces and your bomboniere gift.

It is simple ideas, such as this one, that will make your wedding unique. Your guests will remember your creativity and generosity. 

And, served with champagne, who doesn't love chocolate and strawberries...

Have a 'sweet' weekend...

Take care, Anna

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Bridesmaid Inspiration from Abed Mahfouz at Rome Fashion Week


I am absolutely loving all the beautiful 2010 haute couture fashion shows that are on at the moment. With so many designers showcasing their new ranges, there is so much inspiration that a girl can garner for her own bridesmaid gowns…

Looking through the images on smh.com.au from the Rome Fashion Week, I simply had to share with you my thoughts on the exquisite spring/summer 2010 collection from Lebanese designer Abed Mahfouz

With plunging necklines, off-the-shoulder and strapless gowns, teamed with romantic details like beading and frills, Mahfouz's gowns are simply stunning.

Soft, dreamy colours not unlike the colour palette of the Chanel Spring/Summer 2010 Haute Couture Show from Paris Fashion Week, are a feature of Mahfouz's designs, particularly peachy tones, and soft blue and green hues.

The elegant and sophisticated cut of each gown is oh-so-feminine and while most of us couldn't afford a high couture gown for our bridesmaids, we can be inspired by the styles. 

And although many of these gowns are perhaps too extravagant for a bridesmaid, with a few alterations you could create the most exquisite dress for your wedding. So have a look through these gowns, make a few notes on them, and once you have been inspired, you can start designing your own, unique and individual bridesmaid dresses.

Have a lovely day!… Anna 


 

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Chanel at Paris Fashion Week 2010



Coco Chanel is just about every woman's ideal of pure elegance; to wear Chanel sends a message to the world that you are sophisticated and elegant.

I have been keeping my eye on the 2010 Paris Fashion Week shows, and I have absolutely fallen in love with the exquisite suits from the Chanel Spring-Summer 2010 Haute Couture Show 

The beautiful, soft pastel colours, the rounded necks, the pretty bows that are oh-so-Chanel - I love them! Particularly the blue shorts suit, with the long coat, and the sequined bow.

As reported on Chanel, the fabulous suits are both "playful" and "sophisticated", while "the collection exemplifies a luxury that glorifies light, capturing it in sequins, crystals, embroideries, silver thread and ethereal volumes". 

To view the full collection, pop over to Chanel


Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Something Blue for Brides-To-Be


I absolutely love beautiful jewellery - what girl doesn't? And the most precious piece of jewellery a girl will ever possess will be her engagement ring. Your ring should be a reflection of yourself, and what better way to express your individuality then with a unique sapphire engagement ring…


According to Temelli Jewellery, when it comes to engagement rings, the traditional diamond is being challenged by another precious stone. The sapphire is quickly becoming a very popular choice, with sales of sapphire engagement rings up 38% in 2009 across Temelli Victorian stores, compared to the last five year average.

James Temelli of Temelli Jewellery, which supplies pieces to Logie and Brownlow red carpet celebrities and designs the Miss Universe Australia crown, said sapphires were a popular choice for a number of reasons.

“Sapphires are one of the second hardest gemstones available, after diamonds, therefore making it one of the more popular and safer choices for coloured gemstone engagement rings as it will wear well over time,” said Mr Temelli.

“It also enables brides to be to have a larger centrepiece stone for a more reasonable price, with some then choosing to highlight the sapphire with small surrounding diamonds.
 

“For example, $3500 would buy approximately buy 0.5carats of a single brilliant cut diamond, while the same money would secure a 1.5carat sapphire – so 3 times the size.”

Blue is the most popular colour and Mr Temelli said the intensity of the blue is the most important factor.  

“The more valuable and desired stones have an intense rich blue, without being too dark, too faint or inky/streaked in colour.

“Quality stones are also eye-clean, without visible inclusions to the naked eye.”

Prices of sapphire engagement rings start from around $1500, some designs featuring larger sapphires in excess of 1.5carats cost approximately between $4500 - $6000.

To see the latest Temelli range call into your local Temelli store at Southland Shopping Centre, Knox City Shopping Centre or Eastland Shopping Centre or visit www.tj.net.au

Have a lovely day!… Anna