Saturday, 30 April 2011

Cocktail Hour!

Seems very poplur for American weddings to have a 'Cocktail Hour' after the ceremony and before the reception... which I think is great and we should introduce over here!  Maybe we already have it but in no means is it as fancy.

Now what does cocktail hour consist of, cocktails and nibbles!

Find great cocktail recipes at; from Wayne Collins - Something For The Weekends cocktail man!

Friday, 29 April 2011

Royal Wedding - Zara & Mike

So we seem to have forgot about the other Royal Wedding this year between Zara Phillips and Mike Tindall... and ensure they aren't second best Albion charity campaigner are focusing on them!

Albion is championing the other royal wedding taking place this year between Zara Phillips and Mike Tindall as part of a charity campaign for Sargent Cancer Care for Children, using Facebook.
T-shirts and other wedding memorabilia with the slogan, "I‘d rather be at Zara & Mike's" are on sale, as well as tea towels carryingh the slogan, "Zara & Mike. Never afraid to get dirty". Profits will go to the charity.
Jason Goodman, Albion London founder and chief executive, said, "We wanted to create a mini-movement to support Zara and Mike on the run-up to their wedding. Kate and Wills have all the hype, but we think this wedding is going to be much more fun." (

So they did it... Zara and Mike tied the knot this Saturday July 29th in Edinburgh!

The bride's dress, an ivory silk and satin gown, was designed by Stewart Parvin, one of the Queen's favourite couturiers. This was accompanied by a veil, tiara and Jimmy Choo shoes.  a, 30, will keep her maiden name when she marries. It is understood this is because of her sporting career in equestrianism

GET THE LOOK - Ikea Wedding

Ikea seems to be the place for DIY 'cheap' alternative wedding decorations... here are the top style suggestions!

SHOP online at Ikea:

Happy Royal Wedding Day!

A big 'Good Luck' and 'Congratulatons' to Will & Kate from all at Your Wedding Support!!

Thursday, 28 April 2011


Last weekend (Easter Bank Holiday) H2B and I went to Whitstable for a long, relaxing romantic weekend!  We rented a cottage just set back from the harbour... we found the cottage on - great for UK breaks, and worldiwde!
Thankfully Whitstable is only just over an hour outside London by train and we arrived in the lovely sunshine Friday afternoon.

On our first day we took a stroll around the high street and shops,Whitstable has lots of small unique shops which is great.  Whitstable is also the place for Oysters... and has several lovely fish restaurants.  In the evening we sat on the beach with a couple of beers and some fish and chips and watched the sunset.

Day two we walked from Whitstable to Seaslatter along the coast watching the tide come back in... and it goes some distance out!  Then in the evening we went to the beach and had a BBQ as the sun went down.

On our final full day we went up to the Harbour and watch some local music (which appears to be daily) then wondered back to the beach and enjoyed a few ciders at the Neptune pub until we caught the sun and decided it was getting  little chilly and returned to the cottage.

Whitstable Beach

Easter Sunny Day Boiled Eggs (with home made egg cups)

Whitstable's Royal Wedding Couple

Royal Wedding is getting everywhere...

Sailing anyone?

Whistable Wedding:
Whitstable according to Wiki:

Whitstable (pronounced /ˈwɪtstəbəl/, locally [ˈwɪʔstəbl]) is a seaside town in northeast Kent, southeast England. It is approximately 8 kilometres (5 mi) north of the city of Canterbury and approximately 3 kilometres (2 mi) west of the seaside town of Herne Bay. It is part of the City of Canterbury district and has a population of about 30,000.
Whitstable is famous for its oysters, which have been collected in the area since at least Roman times. The town itself dates back to before the writing of the Domesday Book. Whitstable's distinctive character is popular with tourists, and its maritime heritage is celebrated with the annual oyster festival. Freshly caught shellfish are available throughout the year at several seafood restaurants and pubs in the town.
In 1830 one of the earliest passenger railway services was opened by the Canterbury and Whitstable Railway Company, and in 1832 the company opened Whitstable harbour and extended the line to enable passage to London from the port. The railway has since closed but the harbour still plays an important role in the town's economy.

GET THE LOOK - Kite Themed Wedding

As I was at the beach this Easter weekend I saw a few people flying kites, beautiful colours, all different types... made me think why not have a kite themed wedding since I've pretty much looked at everything else!?  And it turns out - this is a popular theme.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

The Royal Wedding Diet

Its approved by a Royal (to be) - The Dukan Diet

Phase 1: Also known as the Attack phase. You eat low-fat protein only. And drink a lot of water (coffee, tea and diet sodas or OK too but they have to be zero calories and zero fat).

Your protein is likely to come in the form of meat (low-fat beef, chicken, turkey, fish), but there are also dairy possibilities (e.g. zero-fat yogurt and cottage cheese, etc) and vegetarian/vegan options (e.g. eggs, tofu and seitan). You can season your protein with anything that is zero fat and zero carbs, like salt, vinegar, onions, mustard, normal spices (oregano, basil, pepper, etc.) and so on. You also add some oat bran (1.5 tablespoons per day) to the mix and a 20-minute walk every day.

In the attack phase, the only thing that will passing your lips is the protein, the oat bran and the water.
Unlike the Atkins diet, the goal is low-fat meat. The article claims that in the first 5 days of eating nothing-but-protein, you could lose between 7 and 10 pounds. See the second article above for details.

Phase 2: Also known as the cruise phase. You have days of nothing-but-protein alternated with days of nothing-but-protein-and-vegetables. Salad is included as a vegetable. You continue the oat bran (2 tablespoons per day), the water and the walking (which increases to 30 minutes a day, briskly). You can see why the Dukan diet is also known as the French protein diet.

You get to pick how you mix the nothing-but-protein days with days of nothing-but-protein-and-vegetables. Some of the mixes you will read about are 5 days of protein only alternated with 4 days of protein and veggies. Or 4/3. Or you could try other combinations.

Phase 2 could last for months if you have a lot of weight to lose. How do you know how long you need to be in Phase 2 and when it is time to switch to Phase 3? Also, how do you calculate your correct target weight (which is what marks the end of Phase 2)? You use the calculator on One stone equals 14 pounds, by the way. So if you weigh 140 pounds, you weigh 10 stone. If you weigh 142 pounds you weigh 10 stone and 2 pounds. See also: What is your “ideal weight” if you want to be healthy?.

What does the menu look like in Phase 2? The vegetables you are allowed to eat are pretty limited, because some things that we consider “vegetables” actually contain a lot of carbs. Things like carrots, peas, corn and potatoes are out, therefore. Green is in. So anything you might normally find in a salad is OK, including: Lettuce, spinach, broccoli, cucumbers, tomatoes, bell peppers, mushrooms, onions. Also allowed are things like green beans, cabbage, cauliflower, asparagus and celery. You can eat them raw, or steam them, or boil them. Your menu could include soups or stews that combine protein and vegetables. The menu will definitely include salads. This site has some recipes for salad dressings, including Vinaigrette Salad Dressing and Creamy Salad Dressing.

Phase 3: Also known as the consolidation phase, this phase starts once you reach your target weight. You don’t lose any weight here – you just maintain your new weight. The consolidation phase adds a little fruit, bread and cheese to the mix, as well as one “celebration meal” per week. See article 3 above for details. If you mine through the article you find that a typical menu for the week looks like this:
1) Continue eating protein plus vegetables to your heart’s desire. They are always on the menu.
2) You get one fruit a day, but you are looking for the watery fruits like watermellon, cantelope, apples, etc.
3) You get two slices of whole-grain bread. If you must have butter, make it low-fat. Be stingy with the butter.
4) You get one serving of carbs per week. This might be pasta or rice.
5) Your menu expands to include one “celebration meal” per week, where anything goes. But really, if you are losing a significant amount of weight, it has been 6 or 8 months since you had real food. Do you really want to blow it now? I guess if you travel, this meal would allow you to eat one normal restaurant meal a week. As you move to the second half of Phase 3, you get two of these “celebration meals” per week.
What does all this protein cost? See this page for details.

Phase 4: The article is a little ambiguous here. It says, “Go back to eating whatever you like, but continue to use the basic rules of the Consolidation Phase as a safety platform (eat unlimited protein and vegetables, one piece of fruit a day, two slices of wholemeal bread, a portion of cheese, two starchy foods and two celebration meals a week).” There is a huge difference between “eating whatever you like” and eating the Phase 3 diet. So let’s summarize: Eat a phase 3 diet, except on Thursday. On Thursday you eat nothing-but-protein. You continue walking every day. See article 3 above for details.

When I try the calculator, it tells me my target weigh is 13 stone 2 pounds and I should be there in August.
If you take a look at How the Atkins Diet Works, you will notice an eerie similarity between the Dukan diet and the Atkins diet. The 4 phases are the same. The emphasis on protein and the lack of carbs is the same. The Dukan diet looks a lot like the Atkins diet minus the fat that the Atkins diet allows. See this page for the benefits and drawbacks of the Atkins diet.

A cohort at HSW had some questions about the downsides, problems and side-effects of the Dukan diet, so let’s go through those:
1) What are the health effects or problems of the Dukan diet? Any side-effects?
When you look at the health effects of any diet, you have to weigh the tradeoffs. For example, obesity is a big health problem because it can lead to an increased probability of high blood pressure, diabetes, heart attack and stroke. If you can lose a lot of weight, those risks generally decline and that’s a good thing.
As mentioned above, the Dukan diet is similar to the Atkin’s diet, and there has been fairly extensive research on the health effects of the Atkin’s diet. This article summarizes some typical problems that people encounter, including:
- Gout – The article Gout in-depth lists a number of factors that lead to gout, including age, gender, family history, obesity, certain medications and alcohol consumption. A high-protein diet may increase the liklihood of gout, but as you can see it is just one of many factors. If you fit the profile, this diet may not be for you.
- Headaches or Dizziness – Some people have an initial reaction to the loss of carbs in the diet. If you don’t see these symptoms going away in a day or two, this diet might not be for you
- Cholesterol problems – generally speaking, losing weight helps cholesterol long-term, although cholesterol may go up during the initial part of the diet. Sticking to non-red meats (e.g. chicken and fish) lowers cholesterol intake. There is a decent chance that your cholesterol will eventually go down on this diet. But if your doctor has you on cholesterol or BP medication, you should mention the diet to your doctor so he/she knows about it and can offer advice.
2) Isn’t all that meat going to make you constipated?
During the attack phase and on nothing-but-protein days, the high concentration of protein in the diet might cause constipation in some. Note that you are asked to drink a lot of water and to take oat bran as part of the Dukan diet – both are designed to relieve constipation. However, if a constipation problem arises, this diet may not be for you, or you might need to skip the attack phase and go straight to the meat-plus-veggies phase.
3) Aren’t you just going to gain all the weight back once you end the diet?
If, after losing the weight, you go back to eating 4,000 calories per day, then yes, you will gain all the weight back. But the intent is that you will not do that. If you were to stick with this diet as designed, the idea is that the consolidation phase changes your eating habits and exercise habits while maintaining a stable weight. Also, the nothing-but-protein-on-Thursdays idea is designed to counteract mild overeating. The success of this diet, and any diet really, depends on your ability to change eating and exercise habits. See How Dieting Works for more info.
4) Are there people who really shouldn’t be doing this diet?
As mentioned above, you should talk to your doctor about this diet or any diet. If you have a family history of gout, severe constipation or cholesterol fluctuations, these are concerns you should definitely discuss with your doctor.
5) What about kidney failure? Won’t your kidneys fail eating all that protein?
I haven’t seen any evidence of kidney failure – as best I can tell this is an urban legend that has grown up around low-carb diets.


Kate Middleton - Wedding Diet

GET THE LOOK - Black & Gold Themed Wedding

Don't fancy a 'white' wedding... how about trying something different but still glam - Black & Gold!  If you don't want full on gold, go for a more muted tone - specially for the dress, this will be high lighted with black bridesmaid dresses and black decorations...

Sugar Kei

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Wedding Weight Loss

Looking for a way to lose those extra few pounds before the wedding, tone up or lose some extra weight you've been trying to shift for a while now!

Here are a few helpful tips to get you on your way to the body you want, but a couple of thing - make sure to do in moderation, this is not a short term fix and to maintain your desired look must be continued, eat correctly, drink plenty of water during exercise and finally be happy with the body you have... continually looking to be smaller my be a sign of something more sinister!

All information sourced from

Weight Loss Tips - Commit to Change

Do today

You can take four actions today that will start your journey towards a healthy weight:
  • If you haven’t already, check your BMI with our Healthy weight calculator. If it is in the obese range, aim to lose between 5% and 10% of your starting weight.
  • Now take the next snack you plan to have and swap it for something healthier. Many common snacks, such as sweets, chocolate, biscuits and crisps, are high in fat and sugar and supply calories that we don’t need.
  • Next, find a way to fit just one extra walk into your day. Brisk walking is a way to burn calories, and you can often fit it into your daily routine. You might walk to the shops during your lunch break, or get off the bus one stop early on the way home and walk the rest of the way. Commit to this and you’ve adopted your second long-term habit. Ideally, you should aim to walk 10,000 steps a day: it’s not as many as it sounds. Learn more in the 10,000 steps a day challenge.
  • Last, think about your breakfast tomorrow morning. Can you make it healthier, using the foods you already have at home?

Do this week

There are four actions you can take this week:
  • First, plan a healthy weekly shop. Healthy, balanced meals are key to a healthy weight, and eating well often starts with having the right foods at home. At the supermarket look out for fresh foods and healthier options. Stuck for ideas? See our Healthy recipes.
  • Everyone likes a treat occasionally, like a pizza or a takeaway. So this week, swap your treat for a healthier, home-made alternative as you can make lower-calorie versions of many takeaway foods at home. If you do order in, choose healthier options: see Healthy takeaways.
  • Next, commit to one more way to increase your level of physical activity. It’s recommended that adults get a minimum of 30 minutes of physical activity at least five days a week, and you may need more to lose weight. Physical activity means anything that raises your heart rate and makes you warm. You can split the 30 minutes up, for example, into three sections of 10 minutes. You could try our Couch to 5K programme, for more ideas see our step-by-step exercise guides for beginners. 
  • Last, identify this week’s danger zones. These are times when you might find yourself eating lots of unhealthy foods, perhaps because you are eating out or simply because you’re tired or stressed, see Diet danger zones.
Weight Loss - Diet Tips (Eat the right number of calories for how active you are, so that you balance the energy you consume with the energy you use.)

Get started

  1. Base your meals on starchy foods
    Starchy foods include potatoes, cereals, pasta, rice and bread. Choose wholegrain varieties when you can: they contain more fibre, and can make you feel full for longer. Starchy foods should make up around one third of the foods you eat.
  2. Eat lots of fruit and vegIt’s recommended that we eat at least five portions of different types of fruit and veg a day. It’s easier than it sounds. A glass of 100% unsweetened fruit juice can count as one portion, and vegetables cooked into dishes also count. Learn more in 5 A DAY.
  3. Eat more fishFish is a good source of protein and contains many vitamins and minerals. Aim for at least two portions a week, including at least one portion of oily fish. Oily fish is high in omega-3 fats, which may help to prevent heart disease. You can choose from fresh, frozen and canned; but remember that canned and smoked fish can be high in salt. Oily fish include salmon, mackerel, trout, herring, fresh tuna, sardines and pilchards. Non-oily fish include haddock, plaice, coley, cod, tinned tuna, skate and hake.
  4. Cut down on saturated fat and sugarWe all need some fat in our diet. But it’s important to pay attention to the type of fat we’re eating. There are two main types of fat: saturated and unsaturated. Saturated fat is found in many foods, such as cakes, pies, biscuits, sausages, cream, butter, lard and hard cheese. Try to cut down, and choose foods that contain unsaturated rather than saturated fats, such as vegetable oils, oily fish and avocados. Learn more, and get tips on cutting down, in Fat: the facts.
     Most people in the UK eat too much sugar. Sugary foods and drinks are often high in calories, and could  contribute to weight gain. They can also cause tooth decay, cut down on sugary fizzy drinks, cakes, biscuits and pastries, which contain added sugars.  Food labels can help: use them to check how much sugar foods contain. More than 15g of sugar per 100g means that the food is high in sugar.
  5. Eat less salt
    Even if you don’t add salt to your food, you may still be eating too much. About three-quarters of the salt we eat is already in the food we buy, such as breakfast cereals, soups, breads and sauces. Eating too much salt can raise your blood pressure. Use food labels to help you cut down. More than 1.5g of salt per 100g means the food is high in salt. Adults and children over 11 should eat no more than 6g of salt a day. Learn more in Salt: the facts.
  6. Drink plenty of waterTry to drink about six to eight glasses of water (or other fluids) a day to prevent dehydration. When the weather is warm or when we get active, we may need more. But avoid soft and fizzy drinks that are high in added sugars. Remember: Alcohol is also high in calories, so cutting down could help you to control your weight. Learn more about safe drinking in Alcohol.
  7. Don’t skip breakfast
    Some people skip breakfast because they think it will help them lose weight. In fact, research shows that eating breakfast can help people control their weight. A healthy breakfast is an important part of a balanced diet, and provides some of the vitamins and minerals we need for good health. Wholemeal cereal, with fruit sliced over the top is a tasty and nutritious breakfast.
Weight Loss - Exercise Tips

The office worker
  • Cycle or walk part, if not all, of your journey to work. Get off one bus or tube stop before your final destination.
  • Discuss project ideas with a colleague at work while taking a walk.
  • Stand while talking on the telephone.
  • Walk over to someones desk at work rather than speaking to them by phone.
  • Take the stairs instead of the lift. Or get out of the lift a few floors early then use the stairs.
  • Go for a walk during your lunch break. Try to find different walks, and alternate between them during the week.
  • Use your lunch break to exercise. Your office may have a gym, or you may have access to a nearby swimming pool or squash courts.
The busy mum
  • Walk your children to and from school. This will also help your kids to develop a pattern of physical activity.
  • Exercise with your child. Take them to the swimming pool or play in the garden or park.
  • Unappealing as it sounds, housework is a good workout, but it depends at what pace you do it. The most demanding activities include vacuuming, mopping, changing the bed linen, cleaning the windows, and scrubbing the bath and oven. “Put on some upbeat music,” says Waterman. “That’ll get you going and keep your pace up.”

New parents

  • New parents often don't have time for exercise. But there are ways of squeezing it in while looking after a baby.
  • If you’re going for a run, take the baby with you. There are baby wraps and baby backpacks. Jogging strollers have improved. There are also ways to take your baby with you when you're riding your bike.
  • Exercise during your lunch break at work. You can do a lot in half an hour. 
  • Your workplace may have a gym where you can sign up for lunchtime fitness classes. There may be a swimming pool or racket club nearby.
  • As you get older it's even more important to stay active. Exercise will help you to stay mobile and independent in your later years.
  • Be active around the house. Cooking, housework and walking while you're on the phone can help to keep you mobile.
  • Work in the garden or mow the grass. Pushing, bending, squatting, carrying, digging, pruning and picking things up will use different muscle groups, and improve your balance and co-ordination.
  • Go out for a short walk. Start with five to 10 minutes, then gradually do 30 minutes, increasing the pace from leisurely to brisk.
  • Consider community-based activities in your area.
  • Conservation groups can be a great way to get involved in improving your local environment and being active at the same time.
Love your garden - Gardening for 10 minutes will burn 53 calories.
Skip yourself fit - Depending on the intensity of your workout, skipping will typically burn between 70 and 110 calories in a 10-minute session.
Swap the sofa for cycling - Ten minutes of moderate cycling will burn around 62 calories, and the same time on the treadmill will burn 97 calories.
Take the stairs - Climbing the stairs burns around twice as many calories as walking, and 10 minutes of taking the stairs adds up to around 70 calories burned.
Get walking - Try using a pedometer to keep track of how many steps you do. You can burn 35 calories in 10 minutes of brisk walking.
Dance the night away - Ten minutes of aerobic dancing burns around 65 calories.
Park and walk - You will burn around 35 calories for every 10 minutes of brisk walking, and more if you're carrying heavy bags at the same time.
Clean up on calories - In 10 minutes of energetic dusting, you could burn around 33 calories, while 10 minutes of ironing uses up 15 calories.

Monday, 25 April 2011

GET THE LOOK - Poppy Theme Wedding

Obviously with this theme you can go for traditional red poppies - good for those who are traditional, or maybe those in the military services... But I love a mixture of the other (pink, orange, yellow, white) coloured poppies for a more vintage, country garden romantic chic style!

Maggie Sottero - Poppy Wedding Dress