West Country spa hen weekend ideas

West Country Spa Weekend

Charlton House Spa Hotel… the perfect rural retreat

Nestled neatly into the heart of what I can only describe as a breathtaking scene of beauty, Charlton House holds quite a history for the Somerset town of Shepton Mallett. Developed as a boutique hotel by Roger Saul – founder of the Mulberry fashion & handbag empire, this stunning hotel and bar complex is now successfully operated by the Bannatyne group and I recently visited with my sister to experience the day spa… unsurprisingly – we had a ball!

Charlton House Hen weekend

My lovely friends over at BUY A GIFT kindly invited me to road test one of their divine day packages and I thought it would be rude not to! And divine it really was. From the minute we arrived to the moment we departed – kicking and screaming might I add – things got pretty messy with security (jokes!), we both really did relax, unwind and enjoy every second of our experience. The team within both the hotel and spa couldn’t have done more to make us feel welcome – and by the way, nobody had any idea I would be writing this blog feature, so it wasn’t like we were getting the vip treatment or anything. You just got the feeling that everyone was a vip at this location – my kind of venue.

West Country Spa

Once we had grabbed our robes and completed the formalities, we quickly settled into the hot tub and took a dip in the accompanying pool. It was bliss. We really should have ordered a glass of bubbles though as pictured – it was the only thing missing! Also a good point to note here is that we arrived on a Monday morning, so we pretty much had the place to ourselves which was lovely. An ideal time to visit if you are a Maid of Honour and thinking of treating your Bride-to-Be pre-wedding day for some proper RnR time.

Restuarant at Charlton House

A three course lunch followed which was not only beautifully presented, but perfectly sized and well considered for a spa day retreat. Nothing worse than an overloaded plate for such occasions. Light and healthy should be the order of the day when detoxing a little – well, we did have a glass of bubbles thrown in at this juncture and a delicious pud, but hey, we were treating ourselves after all!

the-spa-at-charlton-house

Next up after lunch it was time to hit the spa for a hot stone massage – A-MAZ-ING! In one word. And trust me, I’ve experienced loads of hot stones! This treatment was up there as one of the best. My Sister loved her back and neck massage also. Now normally, I don’t like to take another dip post treatment, but on this occasion, we just couldn’t resist! It was back into the hot tub before rounding off proceedings with a Cappuccino in the drawing room. All very Agatha Christie and all very fabulous!

To book a perfect day retreat or overnight stress buster pre-wedding simply visit buyagift.co.uk

London hen party restaurant ideas

Laura Santtini
With Laura Santtini at Santini’s London

When it comes to throwing a memorable party, Santini’s in Central London has the lot. Private dining, a cocktail bar, an intimate restaurant and a gorgeous terrace too. Ok, so I was blessed with some pretty fabulous company, but honestly, I am not even sure you would need that to have a good time at Santini’s! And I can tell you from personal experience, you really are guaranteed a night to treasure, because not only is the food utterly exquisite and the cocktail menu to die for, the relaxed atmosphere at this stunning venue – steeped in a glorious history is… out of this world too!

Established back in 1984, Santini’s offers a superb menu of classic Italian food and wine served with a distinctive Santini’s twist! Designed with a strong Venetian accent, the menu is simply incredible and can only be described as a massive hug on a plate that literally ignites the senses. Now in it’s 30th year, my party and I had a ball at this intimate venue that seems to really come alive after 9pm. Trust me, it was buzzing and we visited early in the week!

Santini's restuarant evening dinner

Now headed by Laura Santtini (pictured) who is recognised as a global expert in flavour and as an award-winning author of the cookbook At home with Umami, this iconic venue has also played host to a wealth of stars and politicians over the years from Bill Clinton to Lisa Minelli and was also known to be Frank Sinatra’s favourite restaurant in London too!

So, if you are looking to add a little star dust to your Hen Party plans, Santini’s is definitely the location for you. And with private dining rooms at your disposal, you could even think about hosting an intimate wedding dinner or pre-wedding meal at this venue too!

For bookings click here

Santini's private dining room London wedding

Bridebook has landed

Bridebook

A few weeks back I was thrilled to be invited to the launch of a real innovation within the wedding industry, set in the super gorgeous library at Brown’s Hotel in Mayfair. Now as I am sure you know, there are lot’s of boring spreadsheets and planners that can help us break down the a-z, but Bridebook offers something completely different – because it helps makes wedding planning fun! And super inspirational too. Visually you just want to delve right in and get stuck into the planning, which for most will be a first! And on top of that, there is a serious amount of expert advice from some of the best in the business including: Mary Berry, George Clooney’s wedding stationer and Kate Moss’s wedding stylist. I totally adore the look and feel of this site which I suspect, is going to start a bit of a revolution in the wedding business…

Bridebook The Wedding Fairy

Described as the World’s first virtual wedding planner, this state-of-the-art toolkit allows you to plan your entire wedding in one place…. or your wedding planner a la wedding fairy of course! Welcome to the ‘world wide wed’ – how great is their catchphrase?! Only wish I could take the credit for it. The live wedding ‘dashboard’ also gives real-time updates, guidance on the planning process and what to tackle next. Perfect!

Bridebook Brunch 119 (1)

Bridebook founder Hamish Shephard (who I am pictured with above) says about the new wedding planning site, ‘We believe everyone deserves a wedding planner. Whatever your budget, Brideboook is completely personalised for you. We are transforming the whole wedding planning process into an incredible journey of inspiration, discovery and creativity.’

Here here I say! And I am sure you’re wedding fairy will be contributing a few pearl’s of wisdom to the site real soon too…

For more on Bridebook, why not visit the site, register and discover just how easy this fabulous new service is for yourself.

Professional head shots and pic below by The Springles

 

Bridebook Brunch 010

Seaside themed weddings in Brighton

Weddings in Brighton

Weddings in Brighton

Ok so maybe the kiss-me-quick and candy floss look might not be for everyone, but I adore Brighton and the diversity it offers for a truly spectacular wedding destination. Actually, talking of candy floss, bringing elements of the traditional British seaside actually works really well for a summer wedding, as does customised rock for your favours – just had to snap this advert to share with you! I am also loving retro ice cream vans serving classic 99’s and of course the Nation’s favourite – fish ‘n’ chips – to follow the theme through onto the table. The real treasure of Brighton of course is it’s natural ambiance and this really is something to treasure…

Sunrise in Brighton

Sunrise in Brighton

I recently spent a weekend at The Steine Hotel courtesy of my friends over at BuyAGift and what a gorgeous retreat it was. My converted loft room was so homely and everyone welcoming. As was breakfast, delicious in fact, and all locally sourced. Brighton in general has to be the most eco and food conscious town in the UK  – offering a vegan option is the norm for example. Finding guest accommodation or a little retreat for a pre-wedding getaway on the other hand takes a little research and can be more challenging. It’s not the cheapest place to stay in the UK, but this little nugget – as with Brighton itself – is worth every penny and I am more than happy to recommend to you.

Steine Hotel Brighton

Steine Hotel Brighton

And on that note, here is my top 10 rundown of favourite wedding venues in Brighton for you to check out too:

The Royal Pavillion

The Tempest Inn

Brighton College

Hilton Brighton Metropole

Brighton Music Hall

Proud Cabaret Brighton

The Grand

Blanch House

Drakes of Brighton

The Old Market

Click here for more brilliant ideas from BuyAGift.co.uk

*Background image by Child Friendly Brighton

We must remember them – Armistice Day

Life post

Armistice day

Imagining what life would be like today if it wasn’t for the sacrifice of so many is pretty difficult to comprehend and probably something most of us rarely stop and think about. I for one would hold my hand up to that. But for some reason this morning, the news coverage has grabbed my conscious and led me to do exactly that. Probably because I am working from home and my mind isn’t totally in ‘work’ gear as it were, I find myself reflecting somewhat on the bravery of so many to fight for a freedom we know of and take for granted today. It’s human nature for us to do so, but stop and think we should because even now, the potential consequences of an extreme political or religious idea taking hold is all too evident for us to see.

We face a tide of problems – particularly with regards to social equality and protecting precious institutions at the heart of our Country – but, remembering our ancestors and all those that actually gave up their lives for what we have, is something we must all respect and be thankful for. Without doubt, many of us in this Country are way more blessed than others and I count myself in that bracket.  A loving upbringing, education (including fee free university) and a freedom to go and grab life and make the most of it. Taking a moment to reflect on my own achievements today has been a pretty powerful force, especially when you think it might not have been possible without others making the greatest sacrifice of all.

We all know people from both sides of a war suffer and I wish we could exist without such terror. My fingers are always crossed for a peaceful existence. The mere thought of being called upon to fight and be prepared to give my life for freedom is terrifying, and something so many less fortunate are doing across the World right now. A basic right I rarely think about I am guilty to say. Many could also argue that people choose to join our military forces today and it’s way of life. This is true – what brave people they are. There is much talk of heroes in sport and the world of celebrity. Soldiers are the true hero’s, along with nurses, doctors and so many others who fight for others on a daily basis.

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So, if like me, you are starting today, pretty much the same as yesterday, stop and think about everything you have that might not have been possible without them.

Find out about the British Legion’s work in supporting veterans of war by clicking here

Luxury destination weddings in Marrakech

Worlds Greatest Wedding Venues

CASINO ES SAADI

When I was invited to review Es Saadi Palace Gardens & Resort in Marrakech it really didn’t take me long to say yes. In fact, one visit to the website and I was hooked! To be fair, anyone in their right mind would hop on a plane tomorrow to soak up such luxury, and luxurious ladies & gents I assure it is. To hit the top spot of my Worlds Greatest Wedding Venues series you need to be pretty spectacular and this venue truly deserves it’s position at the very top of the A-list pile.

Designed in 1966 by Jean Bauchet, the Palace has been passed down through the generations and is now run by his grandson, Jean-Alexandre Bauchet and his wife Caroline. Known as the most glamorous venue to be seen at in Morocco, the venue certainly lives up to it’s reputation and has played host to icons including: Princess Margaret, The Rolling Stones and more recently Leonardo DiCaprio. Even our very own Kate Moss has graced the casino. Quite simply, Es Saadi oozes sophisticated fifties star-style glamour that is near on impossible to replicate. An authentic Moroccan experience that guarantees to deliver a memorable celebration unlike any other.

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My adventure began with what I can only describe as one of the most spectacular of welcomes I have ever experienced in my life – a poolside party at one of the Palace’s 10 private villas. Not only a sensational location for a private dinner, but an incredible space to choose for a pre-wedding celebration with loved ones, or even a wedding breakfast. Something I always treasure in a venue is a flexible approach to hosting parties and this is where Es Saadi Palace delivers a first class service. The food btw, was to die for! The traditional lamb Tagine with all the trimmings I sampled on this particular evening was something not to be forgotten in a hurry!

Es Saadi palace breakfast

After the night before it was time to explore Marrakech, kicking off with a gorgeous breakfast with my fellow travellers. The view poolside from this location is just stunning and again, makes a gorgeous spot for hosting a drinks party on your big day. To be fair, you could pick any spot within the grounds to say ‘I do’ and it would be incredible. On that note, my room was rather fabulous too, with lots of lovely personal touches including handmade truffles on arrival and an indulgent body scrub to delve right in to. Hello I am in heaven!

Biggest pool in Morocco

An aerial view pool side – The 2400 metre swimming pool is the largest in Marrakech &
includes a swim-up bar!

SENIOR DELUXE SUITE_Es_Saadi

A Senior Deluxe Suite at Es Saadi Palace & Gardens

Now clearly I couldn’t come all this way without checking out the World famous souk markets & ancient Palaces of Marrakech. Abdul our knowledgeable guide gave us a whirlwind tour of the key sights and even managed to throw in a few beauty treatments along the way too! Morocco is renound for its incredible mix of herbs, spices and healing oils. And I guess ultimately all these Ancient Moroccan traditions are the true Wonders of Marrakech – beyond the fact it is only three and a half hours from London and the sun is always shining – that and Yves Saint Laurent’s Jardin Majorelle which was honestly a highlight and worth a visit in it’s own right.

Exploring Marrakech

Exploring Marrakech with our brilliant tour guide Abdul

Jardin Majorelle in the summer

A view of the spectacular Jardin Majorelle – home of the late Yves Saint Laurent.

Next up, it was time to hit the five star spa at Es Saadi Palace – the perfect way to relax, unwind and prepare for a party! Showcasing the very best in luxury treatments, the spa boasts a cutting edge mix of hydrotherapy treatment systems, one of only two Dior Institutes in the World offering professional make-up services and an in-house salon to get you big day beautiful before the wedding. At the heart of the spa is a 100 year old eucalyptus tree that symbolises renewal and transformation – everything this incredible spa stands for. And the best bit? Well, I am thrilled to be previewing an exclusive first look at the new couples spa treatment room, which is due to open at the end of 2015 and quite honestly, is out of this world…

Couples spa at Es Saadi Palace

Es Saadi Palace couples spa room

So, all dressed-up and ready to go post spa indulgence, it was time for a big night out with a sumptuous dinner and a cocktail or two at the stunning L’Epicurien bistro & lounge bar. And to really get the party started we hit the dance-floor post meal and popped some bubbles to celebrate Es Saadi style! A dream location to toast any occasion – especially a post wedding party – that guests can continue into the early hours at the TheatrO nightclub. Literally all your entertainment needs are fulfilled and exceeded on-site to the point you don’t ever have to leave the resort! You can move between the various spaces on offer at Es Saadi and each one feels like you are somewhere different. When it comes to the wow factor, it doesn’t get bigger than this. And without doubt, this is what really makes Es Saadi stand out above and beyond the rest. The Palace even plays host to Africa’s very first casino too. A hugely popular attraction for both residents and tourists alike. When I said, everything is catered for I wasn’t joking!

L'EPICURIEN LOUNGE RESTAURANT

L’Epicurien bistro & lounge bar

TheatrO nightclub Marrakech

TheatrO nightclub – the best in Morocco

Diamonte camel Marrakech

How was I ever expected to resist a snap with a sparkly camel?!

Kate Moss outside casino Marrakech

More importantly, how could I say no to a quick swing in the cage outside the casino? Granted, I may not tick all the boxes of a traditional showgirl, but hey, when they told me Kate Moss had a go on a swing at the casino, not even security could hold me back! What a backdrop and what a night to remember.

Luxury destination weddings in Marrakech do not come bigger than this, in all honesty, I think you will be hard pushed to find such a treasure anywhere globally offering so much variation under one roof. It’s not a brand, it’s a family home and that’s what truly makes Es Saadi so special for a wedding. Steeped in a glorious history, there is an air of both majesty and mystique – a thrilling combination that is rarely found and cannot be faked. Es Saadi is the real deal. A place to make your own, where memories to treasure for a lifetime are made and dreams really do become a reality.

CHRISTIAN DIOR DINNER

Getting ready for a party – table setting for a Christion Dior dinner

To discover more about hosting a wedding or event at Es Saadi Palace Resort & Gardens simply click here to connect with their wedding team

London spa ideas for bride-to-be

M Spa Jacuzzi London

Whether you are on the hunt for the ultimate hen party pampering, or a little RnR time pre-wedding with the other half, I have uncovered a total nugget of loveliness for you and trust me – you will NOT be disappointed. If you depart leaving anything other than fabulous, I’ll massage you myself!

Yes The M SPA by Montcalm really is a rare contemporary haven of relaxation right in the heart of London’s tech city. And it’s super handy to reach too, being only a few minutes walk from Old Street Station. Open to the public since April 2015, I was particularly keen to see what this new spa-on-the-London-scene had to offer and as I am sure you can already gather… all expectations were superseded and then some!

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With interiors by Versace, you can instantly imagine the wow factor on arrival. In fact, the entire hotel has a cool cutting edge feel about it the moment you walk through the door and this sense of innovation follows through the entire experience at the venue. I was greeted by my wonderful therapist Giovanna who kindly showed me around the spa before promptly slipping into my robe. Oh I do love a robe and that transformation from real life into a world of relaxation is simply unbeatable. Anyhoo time for a quick Elemis shower before heading straight-in for the main event… a jacuzzi, swim and iced lemon water poolside. #heaven

And to be fair I really did drift off thanks to the fact this spa is so well thought out in terms of not overcrowding to purposely offer a sense of exclusivity – a very important element I think for both a party with the girls or a time out with your partner. I could have stayed poolside for hours, but a full body massage awaited me and there was no way on Earth I was going to miss out on that!

Full body massage M Spa

Now I must admit, I have road tested quite a few spa’s in my time and often find hotel therapists a little disappointing, or rather light on substance/expertise shall we say. But hands down, this was actually the BEST deep tissue massage I have had to date. And I told Giovanna too! She was very happy I am pleased to say. Using a mix of various disciplines, Giovanna promptly deknotted and detoxed my body leaving me feeling refreshed and revitalised, ready for a night out on the town with some friends. A perfect tonic pre-event that’s for sure!

The carefully selected ranges used at this ultimate urban sanctuary are pretty fabulous too, with meticulously sourced products from both ila-spas organic collection and the results driven Natura Bissé skincare range.

Montcalm Hotel

The facilities are simply sensational and also include a massage room for two! Ideal for you and your partner to enjoy a treatment together. Plus there’s a sauna, steam room and light-experience showers for you to try out. Oh and even a state of the art gym if you fancy a de-stress workout pre-relax!

M SPA LONDON

For full details and to book The M Spa by Montcalm London simply click here!

Wedding thank you gifts for parents

Afternoon tea on the Thames

Not keen on the idea of saying ‘Thank you’ with a bouquet of buds? Or maybe you just want to add an extra special something into you’re burst of blooms for a loved one? Well, I think you would be pretty hard pushed to find a sweeter treat than this delicious ‘Afternoon Tea on the Thames’ by my friends over at buyagift.co.uk. Yes, it may have been raining a little on the outside, but on the inside it was simply delicious and with the bubbles flowing, we quickly drifted off into nautique heaven… with some pretty spectacular World Famous views thrown in for good measure too!

View of the Shard from the Thames

Whipping up a memorable thank you gift post wedding for your nearest and dearest can be a tricky affair – especially when you are not looking too spend a fortune! And let’s face it, most couples are rarely swamped with cash to spend on gifts as the big day nears. So, with this in mind, my guest Steph and I decided to take a trip down the Thames to find out firstly if it’s true what they say about the view being better from the river and secondly to see whether this great value experience measure’s up when it comes to giving you’re loved ones something to treasure.

Afternoon tea by London Bridge

Unsurprisingly this particular afternoon tea ticked all the boxes for me on both counts! Drifting along the Thames watching a wealth of history pass you by really is rather special. And it’s true, somehow the views are different?! Hard to explain, but being in the middle of it all somehow offers a totally different dynamic to ‘seeing the sights’ en route. I have lived in London for 15 years and still to this day I am wowed by it all. The action below deck was pretty spectacular too. I always think that customer service can make or break an experience and on this occasion the staff could not have been any more helpful. I even left a tip! The fabulous array of fancies on offer were to die for and the pianist on board was a lovely touch too.

Sights of the Thames London

The overall verdict? Well, I guess the above say’s it all really. Raising a glass on the river is a total winner for me! If it’s memorable you are after, this wonderful experience delivers with bells on…

For more details and to book simply click here

Cheers! twf x

London Bridge from the river

buyagift logo

Luxury castle wedding in Ireland

World’s Greatest Wedding Venues

Lough_Eske_Castle_night

Introducing LOUGH ESKE CASTLE

Nearly 20% of British couples now opt to say ‘I do’ outside the Kingdom and as this trend doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon… I decided to pack my bags and hit the road to see what all the fuss was about. And yes, the options are endless if not a little overwhelming, but my quest in uncovering The World’s Greatest Destination Wedding Venues could not have started in a better place. And yes, there is a reason why they call it ‘The Emerald Isle’ – this is one adventure I am never likely to forget…

Bristol_Easyjet

And like any trip to a foreign land nowadays, it all kicked off with an early morning flight a la Easyjet. All aboard for a skylark both myself and trusty partner in crime Al McLeod proclaimed. We were having a ball already, pole dancing our way to the terminal gates. After all, when you’re not flying you should be dancing right?! In all fairness, I think the double shot latté had kicked in twenty minutes previous and perhaps the other passengers were not quite so enthralled with our early morning exploits as we were, but hey, you’ve got to try your best to entertain the troops right? I am a wedding fairy after all.

Peggy's Diner Ireland

Not one to shy away from a spot of spontaneity, we decided to road trip it from Belfast to Donegal. And what a hoot that was. A chance to take in the scenery, explore the sights and take a pit stop at Peggy’s Diner – still a highlight for us and probably our finest find en route to the castle! Turns out I am a MASSIVE fan of the Irish cuisine and it all kicked off with one of Peggy’s breakfasts. And some much needed mapping advice. We were a little lost at this point and only about 30 mins into our mission. Possibly I am more suited to a schedule rather than a free-stylin approach! Anyhoo the pic below was the snap that really got us excited… we were nearly there!

Lough Eske Castle route

The Wedding Fairy descending on a real life Fairy-tale castle sort of felt like it was meant to be. There was a majestic vibe in the air, although I suspect this was more down to the breathtaking scenery, rather than letting my imagination run wild with me. And who could blame us, the Lough (Irish spelling of Loch) totally blew us away en route! We hadn’t even arrived at the castle yet, made it up the drive in fact, and already it felt like we had arrived somewhere seriously magical… I am rarely lost for words, but the landscape of Lough Eske totally left me speechless.

Lough Eske scenery

And yes, we were a little giddy with excitement at this point!

Outside Lough Eske Castle

Yay! We’ve landed. From Weston-super-Mare (home of Dismaland just in case you haven’t heard of it before!!) to Donegal via taxi, plane, hire-car and foot… done and dusted in 8 hours! Yes, a mild bout of hysteria may have kicked-in at this juncture. But we made it and my goodness we were glad we had.

Inside Lough Eske Castle

Booking-in completed, we headed to our suite where I promptly stripped and slipped into the gorgeous set of slippers and cosy robe that awaited me. Our room was utterly gorgeous and the little basket of fruit, hand-made truffles and delicate fancies that greeted us really was the icing on the cake. The heated floor in the bathroom was a proper treat too! You could not ask for a warmer welcome and for me, this is what really excels a venue from fine to fabulous – beyond the luxuries and natural beauty of a space. There was a sense of pride about the castle from all the team members we met actually and I think that is a really important touch when considering a wedding venue.

Lough Eske Castle bar

Next up it was onto the important stuff – hitting the bar! And a pretty impressive cocktail list it was too! I must say, having never been to Ireland before, the food in general was right up my street. Home-made, wholesome and utterly fabulous. I sampled a Donegal fish chowder earlier in the day next to the Lough, teamed with my first official pint of Guiness in Ireland – a pretty special moment. But I had no idea what was to come later in the eve… my first Irish lamb stew at the castle was to die for! As you can probably tell from said picture, the party started early and finished late for us. A proper Irish knees up. Just as it should be.

Lough Eske breakfast

Good morning! Yes the morning after the night before can often be a rather delicate affair, but on this occasion, all that was needed was a hearty Irish breakfast and a beautiful welcome courtesy of the restaurant team. We were totally set up for the days activities and put it this way, there is no fear of being under-fed at this particular hotel! The breakfast buffet was hands down the best I have ever seen. More of an event than a breakfast. You name it they had it. The freshly smoked salmon was simply divine. Breakfast done, I promptly headed back to said boudoir to slip back into the robe ready for my morning spa treatment. And again, the spa itself really was a treat. I have sampled many and am quite often left a little disappointed by the treatments in hotel spas, but on this occasion, my deep tissue massage really hit the spot. Actually it was up there as one of the best treatments I have ever had. And yes, a little dip in this beauty below was also very welcome to round off proceedings.

Lough Eske pool

Post lunch we hit the road again to explore the area and boy I am glad we did. The coastline is World famous and for good reason too. The stunning scenery draws tourists from all over and makes for a pretty sensational set of picture perfect postcards. I had a bit of a moment below and as you can see… I am certainly not over emphasising the point, which for me, is pretty unusual.

Donegal views

Back at Lough Eske Castle post road trip, it was time for us to dress for dinner, which for me always proves to be a highlight when away. I just love popping on my finest for a gourmet treat and that it really was. The relaxed approach to dinner was also a winner for me too. Quite often, fine dining can be a little stiff, but the ambience at Lough Eske Castle hits a really lovely balance between the two and for me, that really ticks all the boxes and is quite hard to find actually.

Lough Eske dinner

In all honesty, we didn’t want to leave the next morning! I was last seen grabbing onto the reception desk for dear life, before finally being evicted from the property by security. I am of course joking, but parting with my comfy robe and heated bathroom flooring was an emotional moment. But luckily our adventures didn’t just end there, we took the coastal route back to Belfast airport, catching the famous Giants Causeway before finally boarding our Easyjet for the flight home. Yes it was a whirlwind tour, but one I will truly treasure. And as for Lough Eske Castle, well, if you are looking for a 5 star service without a 5 star attitude, this is most definitely the destination wedding venue for you.

Lough-Eske-weddings

Built in the 17th Century and steeped in Gaelic history, Lough Eske Castle is licensed to hold civil marriage ceremonies and operates a one wedding per day policy which I love. Nobody would want to share such a space on their special day! The venue can cater for up to 280 guests, with food prepared by Donegal’s award-winning and Michelin trained chef, Philipp Henkes. There are a range of packages you can choose from, or tailor make your own. You can even do a castle take-over and exclusively hire the entire venue for your celebration… including the spa! For more on weddings at Lough Eske Castle just click here to visit the relevant pages on their website. Trust me, you will NOT be disappointed.

Mary & Darragh

5 star service without the 5 star attitude GUARANTEED

Lough Eske dinner

First wedding couple at Dismaland

First Dismaland wedding couple

Introducing the first wedding couple at Dismaland…

In all fairness you really couldn’t make this up! I was en route to a family soiree in Devon, but annoyingly the dramatic weather conditions in the West Country put stop to that, so in traditional Somerset fashion, we re-grouped for an epic Sunday lunch spread to re-stratagise the days activities and when you are from Weston-super-Mare, there really is only one option right now… Dismaland!

George Watts family
With the family en route to #Dismaland

Now in my business, a wedding fairy is never off duty. I have met some of my best clients in the most random of circumstances (I shall park that one for another blog post!!), but even by my standards this one was pretty out there! At first I thought Si & Rachelle Christie-Irwin were actors employed to add a little sparkle to proceedings at Banksy’s fairy-tale castle, but as my brother-in-law got chatting, suddenly all became clear – this was the real deal. Dismaland’s first official wedding couple had landed at the bemusement park! This was ridiculous and clearly a fatalistic moment. Ultimately I was mildly hysterical and riddled with excitement (as per pic below), but luckily Rachelle recognised me from an interview I did in ‘You & Your Wedding’ magazine last month, and thus they didn’t hail for security in fear of their lives!


The Wedding Fairy with Si and Rachelle Christie-Irwin
Poor Si just wanted to eat his pizza in peace… Rachelle and I on the other hand had other plans!!

Si and Rachelle married last week in Newcastle in what they described as a ‘wedding in the woods’… sounds mysterious and rather fabulous doesn’t it? And the theme? Till death do us party. My kind of people! Time to order a pint and really get the party started :-) The venue of choice was actually Sweet Hope Lough – a gorgeous lakeside setting in Northumberland. Originally the couple had opted for a festival themed ‘I-do’ at Glastonbury, but Rachelle didn’t turn up, so Si proposed again 5 years later whilst a band banged out ‘I touch myself’… the rest as they say is history. Falling slightly in love with this fabulous duo at this point fyi.

Dismaland wedding couple

‘So where was the honeymoon going to be’ I asked? ‘Cancelled’ the couple replied. ‘Why’ I asked? ‘To be here of course’ replied Rachelle and Si in harmonious union. Yes their three week getaway to Cuba had been cancelled to be at #Dismaland instead. And they have no idea of how, if, or when they will get any money back or an alternative date set. Bonkers I know – and that’s exactly why I love them! Yes, clearly it might be an understatement to call them #Banksy superfans, but this is a once in a lifetime opportunity after all to visit the Worlds most exciting contemporary art exhibition… Cuba can happen anytime right?

George Wedding Fairy Rochelle Wedding Dress Protection
Rachelle protects her wedding dress from the elements!

So what were our couple looking forward to seeing the most? The Dismaland castle of course! Si told me Dismaland was like being at their wedding day anyway, so for them, they got to re-live their nuptials all over again for the bargain price of £3 a ticket! What a steal… and they even got a wedding fairy thrown in for free too!! :-)

For details on visiting Banksy’s mind-blowing ‘Dismaland’ just click here!

Outside the Dismaland castle

Any yes, the Worlds most exciting bemusement park was pretty fabulous too!
Thank you to Jason Smith my brother-in-law for picture contributions :-)

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