Luxury Hens

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Hen parties are a traditional feature of getting married, known for the mad unforgettable weekends away in large cities a few weeks before your wedding. Well I’ve found something a little different, luxurious and you will be well rested, well pampered and well prepared for your big day.

Derbyshire is known for its stunning countryside, relaxed atmosphere and outdoors activities. I can’t think of a better combination for the perfect hen party. It’s packed with activities to do and stunning accommodation for large groups of people. Convinced yet? Well let me give you some of the details.

Cottage Accommodation

Cottages are as beautiful now as they were back in the day and designed for comfort and luxury holidays, they truly are the best place to stay. Hillside Croft has multiple cottages in remote areas that can sleep from 12-16 people which are more than enough for your hen party. They come at an affordable price per person, and for a week’s stay, they are much cheaper than your average hotel. You can kick back in the gorgeous traditional rooms, and sit around the large dining tables together to enjoy your breakfast. Self-catered or bed and breakfast is optional depending on how bad your hens hangovers are going to be. Click here for more information and a full gallery of the stunning cottages.

Alton Towers

If this doesn’t fill your adrenaline needs then I don’t know what will! Alton Towers is close by and the theme park is renowned for its huge rollercoaster’s and water rides. It is the perfect day out for a small or large group and everyone is sure to enjoy it, even those who aren’t so much a fan of heights as there is a range of smaller rides to choose from too. Restaurants and cafes are available on site and discounts are available for large groups if you book online. Why not email Alton Towers and inform them it’s a hen party that is coming and you may be able to get some free fast track passes that allow you to queue jump! Click here for full information and details from the official Alton Towers website.

Water Sports

If you fancy something more adventurous…and wet, Carsington Water Sports is perfect! They have a range of different water sports to choose from such as sailing, windsurfing, kayaking, canoeing and motor boating. This is perfect if you ladies are the outdoors type, and it’s a lot different to the typical bar crawl hen doo. Get your wet suits on, take silly pictures and get into the water! Choose a theme to spice things up a bit, like wearing silly hats or wigs to give you all a laugh and I am certainly sure it will provide entertainment for the staff! It is a different experience and something that each and every hen can take away and say they have done, possibly even a first for some of you lovely ladies. Click here for full details and more activities that are available from Carsington Water Sports.

Spa Day

A hen party would not be complete without a spa day. Get you and the ladies off for a full day of wine, treats and serious pampering at the local spa and indulge yourself in the relaxing atmosphere. This is great preparation for the wedding in getting your body and skin in tip top condition for the big day. This is a great one to keep for the day before you leave so you are fully refreshed returning to your stag. Decide on your treatments before hand and make sure you are booked in to avoid disappointment of not being able to get the treatment you want. Click here for Losehill House and Spa that is as luxurious as the rest of your hen party! A brochure is available online including all prices and treatments available.

Perfect Night In

You’re probably pretty tired out by this stage with all the fantastic activities you have been taking part in so have a chilled out night in, in your stunning cottage and book a cookery class.  Seasoned Cookery will come to your home for a full cookery lesson with you and your hens making little dishes that you can all enjoy after. A few bottles of wine and cosy pyjamas is a great relaxed evening in the comfort of your cottage. These nights are fantastic also to catch up with the ladies and discuss the wedding and the excitement that is brewing in the next few weeks over great food. Click here for more information and all the details you need to know to organise your cookery lessons.

This is a hen party with a difference and one that you and all your lovely ladies will remember forever. It is a great way to spend some quality time with your friends and the girls of your family so make the most of it before the last few weeks running up to your wedding as it gets all very busy then!

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The Wedding Guest

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There comes a point when everyone must attend a wedding as a guest. Weddings are a formal occasion and require formal attire therefore this will nine times out of ten always mean – a brand new outfit. Some may find this somewhat a chore were some of us love the prospect of getting dressed up and getting something lovely and new to wear. Luckily for those who aren’t quite the enthusiastic shoppers, you can buy just about anything online these days, suits and dresses included!

 

 

For Men:

suitBoys, whether you like it or not you must wear a suit to a wedding. It’s essential to look smart and very much cleaned up as everyone knows weddings mean lots and lots of photographs. There is literally every kind of suit in every kind of colour available out there these days so choose something you will be comfortable and confident in wearing. Burton is renowned for supplying good quality suits, and after all once you buy one, you have it for life! It will last you more than just one occasion so bare this in mind also when choosing the style and colour. If you choose to play it safe choose a deep grey colour, or black and you will not go wrong! When choosing shoes, it’s also a good idea to opt for a pair that will have more durability and quality to them that a standard cheap pair. Check out Samuel Windsor for good quality, and reasonably priced men’s shoes in a range of colours and style. Remember the must match your suit!! You can’t go wrong with investing in a decent suit and shoes as you will without a doubt get the wear out of them in the future.

 

For Women:SBEXRF-00025210-001

Things get a little more complicated and to a much larger scale with women. Ladies we all want to look good as a wedding guest and that you shall! There are hundreds of online shops with dresses, blouses, trousers and more for you to choose from! Asos is one of the largest online retailers in the world and it has now got a stunning wedding guest dress section that you can browse and choose from! Like men, it is good to invest in something that you can wear again, so it is not just a one of pricy buy. If you get something you can wear over again you will get your money’s worth which always makes it that bit easier to spend a little extra cash. Similarly with your shoes it is important to get a high quality pair, as after all you will be wearing them on your feet all day. Check out Sabarini who have a wide range of occasion shoes and luckily for you they have bags to match also. Two jobs done one, off the list! Accessories are entirely up to you, and you can go as plain or as wild as you wish. Choose key pieces that match your outfit and most importantly flatter the overall style you have chosen. If you fancy a fake tan, treat yourself and get booked into a salon for a sun-kissed look. If you opt out of fake tan why not treat yourself to having your hair done instead? You don’t need to be the bride to look stunning at a wedding too!

 

There are hundreds of online shops to choose from out there so you can shop from the comfort of your home, which suits some of us better than others. If you are unsure of your size order multiple dress or suit sizes, as you can always return them if they do not fit. Be sure to check the exchange time you have to return any items so you don’t waste money on a dress you can’t wear! And most importantly… enjoy the wedding!! It’s a day off and a celebration of two people close to you who are getting married!

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Outdo the Bride!

Forget the teal colour scheme, banish from your mind the idea of a Liverpool FC or Great British Bake Off theme, the best idea for a wedding I’ve ever heard is Outdo the Bride! It’s a fabulous idea that throws on its’ head the very idea that the bride’s outfit is the most significant part of what is supposed to be a celebration of love not personal style. With this in mind, my friends got married at the weekend and designed the event around the idea of ostentation – the ostentation of the guests not the bride.

 

indiandressOVER-DRESS TO IMPRESS

Some people opted to play it straight and simply chose the most beautiful dress they could find, generally in white or a similar colour. Those with a penchance for dress-up took the theme to heart with some wonderfully extravagant attire. We had Alice’s White Rabbit, a rambunctious pirate and Elizabeth I even made an appearance. Having a love for saris stretching back to my gap year, I decided to dress in traditional Indian wedding dress. The saris I found on Sonas Couture are simply sublime. To go further with the brides around the world theme, check out the great dresses at Ram Thai, Touch of Tradition for Native American designs and Chinese Dresses.

 

FACE OFF

When it came to taking care of their face and hair, people took the brief in wildly different directions. You can let your imagination run wild with a theme like this, you can be Cinderella with Cruella de Ville make-up or a vicious pirate with the most lusciously painted lips. To dazzle as much as possible, I had my teeth professionally whitened at Harley Teeth Whitening and I was delighted with the results. From clown faces to botoxed brows,  there are endless ways to make sure that everyone at the wedding looks their best. Even taking tips from wedding magazines proved helpful in working out how to upstage the bride.

 

ACCESSORISE THIS

To add yet another touch of the surreal to the wedding, my wonderful friends decided to play some really fun wedding party games. These are a great way to prevent there from being any boring spells while the main wedding party have their photos taken or the tables are cleared after the meal. To stick with the exuberant theme, the best game we played involved a huge accessories box and a separate list of riddles to solve. We picked accessories at random and the answer to each riddle was the name of a guest – the next step of course was to have the two meet!  Another fun idea is the ‘Bride or Groom’ quiz, where teams have to decide answers to questions such as, “who will hog the bed?”, “who takes the longest to replace their toothbrush?’ and other questions designed to embarrass but not humiliate the happy couple. There are other great fun ideas on the Toronto Brides website.

 

Weddings are big business. I’ve already confirmed my attendance at four this year. My usual party dress and dangly earrings are lying in wait for the next one, but for now, I’d choose fun over formality any day. With an ‘Outdo the Bride’ wedding, the one thing you can guarantee is that your once-in-a-lifetime day won’t be forgotten in a wash of wedding package parties by your guests either. Go on, leave your ego at the door and celebrate everyone’s style, the memories couldn’t be more beautiful.

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Planning a Wedding Abroad

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I finally popped the question to my partner a couple of weeks ago, and since then all we have been able to talk about is where we want to have the wedding. It would be easy to have the wedding in England, in an old little church, but we both have our own ideas about what we want. For instance we both love travelling abroad, and our perfect wedding would probably have to take place on a beautiful beach somewhere. For us the perfect place would be Thailand, as according to TimeOut there are plenty of idyllic and picturesque beach escapes. It would be a long trip for everyone, and a lot of organising on our part, but I’m planning on only getting married once, so it should at least be memorable.

Thailand has picturesque locations all over the place, so finding somewhere to get married would be easy. We have settled on Khao Lak as it has miles of unspoiled beaches in a secluded area, so we won’t be overrun by tourists who could spoil our big day. It also means that once we are done with the wedding day we can stay in the area for our honeymoon.

Before we get married we will have a few things to sort out if we want to get married abroad. First of all we will need to get in contact with the Embassy in Thailand in London, to see what documents we will need and what the local marriage laws are. The most important document that we will need is an affirmation of freedom to marry, which proves that we are both allowed to marry. We will have to have two copies one certified in Britain and one certified in Thailand. The British certified copy can be created for you by a public notary, Kumar Associates was recommended by my brother, who got married abroad last year. If you need to find a notary in your local area have a look at the Notaries Society website for some ideas on who to go to.

Hopefully everything will go to plan and seeing as we are not getting married for a few years, we will have plenty of time to get everything sorted for our perfect day.

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Planning Worship into My Travel

When I moved house from Worcestershire to the Lake District three years ago, one of the most important considerations was finding a Church that would be my new place of weekly worship. Whilst visiting the Lake District on weekends to scout for a new home, I visited a number of churches for Sunday worship. I really enjoyed this experience, during which I met some wonderful people, many of whom I now count as good friends.

I gained something very special from the experience of the different styles of worship. To me the different styles of worship were like different dialects of the English language – each capably conveying the same powerful message, but with different inflections and intonation. Whilst I have settled on a regular church, King’s Church, Kendal; I still visit some of the other churches for worship and fellowship meetings. I’ve also started to plan a place to visit for Worship when my travel takes me away from home on Sunday.

This is a whole new way of experiencing the richness and splendour of His word and one that I am so glad that I have adopted. I’m not away from home often on a weekend. Mostly, this happens on the annual family holiday, and just a few occasions throughout the year for work. I have found that the internet is a good tool for finding somewhere to worship. Many churches have their own websites or are listed on church directories like the Find a Church web directory.

My next trip away will be for work to a conference in Islington, London. Whilst searching for a Church to visit I found the picture featured in this blog – it’s of a statue ‘Angel Wings’ which is in Islington. I hope to have time to find this beautiful statue whilst I am there. My online search for a Christian church in Islington led me to the website of Jesus House, a church affiliated to the Evangelical Alliance, as is King’s Church in Kendal.

If you haven’t tried finding somewhere new to worship when away from home, I thoroughly recommend it. Hearing His word in a new way has been a great way of shining light on some of the scriptures that had previously been beyond my understanding. I look forward being welcomed into many more churches for worship in the future.

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Religion and Marriage Equality

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Recently a bill passed through the UK parliament called the marriage (Same-Sex Couples) bill and means that same-sex couples will be able to get married, when before they had could have a blessing or civil partnership. There are certain religions who have an issue with same-sex marriage in the UK, including the Catholic Church and the Church of England and Wales. They believe that marriage is the union between a man and a woman, in fact they were so angered by the possibility of having to perform same-sex marriages that in the bill it says it will remain illegal to perform the ceremony in the Churches of England and Wales.

Luckily there are quite a few more open minded religions out there who believe love is love and any couple should be able to get married if they choose. Quakers have long been staunch supporters of same-sex marriage and during their 2009 Britain Yearly Meeting, they decided to seek a change in the law against same sex marriage. They want to use their Meeting Houses as places where same-sex marriages can take place for Quakers and for other faith groups as well.

Other churches and religious organisations have also been changing their stances on same sex marriage before the bill went through. The Episcopal Church, Evangelical Lutherans, The Reform and Re constructionist movements of the Jewish Faith had all previously decided that blessings for same-sex marriages could all take place in their churches. They would take place at the discretion of either the bishop or priest/rabbi, so these changes were not all encompassing. When the changes that the bill suggests come into force, these religious groups can ‘opt in’ to providing same-sex weddings if they want to and again though the whole religious organisation has opted in it will still remain at the discretion of the priest/rabbi.

Perhaps in the future the law will change and all religions will want to ‘opt in’ as it were, but until that time there is still a growing gap between a religious institutions antiquated ideas and the changing views of the people of the 21st century.

 

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Step Out In Style on Your Wedding Day

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Looking sensational on your big day doesn’t just mean choosing the perfect dress. Yes, although the bridal gown would probably be considered the centre piece to a woman’s wedding attire, no matrimonial celebration would be complete without those other important finishing touches – accessories.

So for example, if we’re talking about shoes, every blushing bride-to-be needs to be able to step out in style. According to a recent article I read in Fashionista, you can tell a lot about a woman according to her shoes… would you agree? For an event as huge as a wedding, it’s important to choose a pair to reflect your personality type whilst keeping in line with wedding tradition and dress code.

There are many different styles of shoes from flats and wedge heels to fancier editions like platforms and stilettos. We are lucky being women as there is a plethora of decadent choices on the retail market these days so you may well be spoilt for choice. Try and go for wedding-friendly colour schemes and trimmings for which you can find lots of inspiration here if you need some ideas. Pinterest is ideal for collecting ideas as you can then view these on one big picture gallery. It’s important to feel confident and ready for your wedding day so do make sure the footwear you choose is comfortable or at the very least, ensure you can walk down the aisle without any embarrassing stumbles!

One wedding retailer I would definitely recommend is Amelia Classics as my sister is getting married next year and she told me about this particular specialist retailer. I just love her selection of bridal dresses as well as wedding-appropriate shoes. Luxurious satin fabrics, embellishments and pearly colours are just right for special occasions like a woman’s wedding day.

Once you’ve got your shoes sorted you can then focus on jewellery and any customization you want to do to your outfit as a whole. Look to avant-garde couture designers to see what designs make their wedding dresses truly unique. This article sourced from Elle illustrates wedding embellishment perfectly so you can customize your outfit without being stuck for ideas. If you’re looking for different styles of wedding gowns to suit your individual taste it’s definitely worth having a browse through Formal Elegance’s designs as these are all unique and designer-led.

All you have to do now is remember your vows and look forward to living happily ever after!

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Wedding Gifts

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Giving a gift to the bride and groom at a wedding is a fine tradition to help give the couple a start in their new life together. The type of gift is traditionally intended to be of practical use in the happy couple’s new home. Often the gifts include items like dinner services, cooking utensils and other household items.

With such a narrow choice of gifts to choose from there is a good chance of well wishers buying the same gift, so today it is common for couples to write a wedding list. This is a list of items the couple would like to receive. Some people might think this is quite a callous approach to gift giving, but in reality it is only common sense. If friends want to buy a gift for the intended then they might feel they have wasted their money if someone else has bought the same gift. So, writing a wedding list to avoid this duplication of gifts is only sensible.

To make things even easier, some of the big department stores offer a wedding list service. The way this works is that the couple choose a list of item for the store’s wedding list catalogue, they then tell their friends that the list is available at said store. The friends then go along to the store and select the item they wish to buy for the couple. That item is then removed from the list of available items so that no one else can buy the same gift. Of course today, you don’t even have to go to the store, you can just log on to the store’s website and buy your gift from the wedding list online.

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Wedding Venues

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Today there are many places you can choose to have your wedding. For some years now venues other than churches and registry offices have had licenses to host at wedding. This country is blessed with many venues with the requisite romanticism to host a wedding. We have stately home set in park land, country hotels, many of which used to be stately homes, national trust properties and many civic building that are more than grand and decorous enough make a couple’s most important day of their lives also the most memorable.

These venues have built up the experience and expertise amongst their staff to make sure that the wedding party has all that they need for a successful day, because it is not just the ceremony itself that needs to be arranged but the wedding breakfast and reception that needs to be organized and go without a hitch.

Many venues market themselves as suitable hosts for a wedding ceremony and hosts for the wedding breakfast and reception in an all inclusive package. This certainly takes the stress out of organizing a wedding for the bride and groom and their entourage but gives them the benefit of the venues experience of running many successful weddings.

The bride and groom will of course want a day that is unique to them, so the best wedding venues work hard to get to know the bride and groom in the limited time they have to make sure this is the case, which goes a long way towards making not only a successful event but a day to remember.

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Religious Education

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Religious education is an important part of any balanced educational curriculum. Unfortunately, many religious education classes are used as pretences to indoctrinate children with a state sponsored religion, or to celebrate or give preference to one religion over others, in most cases the religion favoured in the region in which the class is taking place.

In most cases, however, religious education refers to educating students in religious studies as part of a wider curriculum of study. Religious education in this sense is essential to fostering understanding and tolerance between major world religions, and can go some way towards alleviating the underlying tensions in many communities where a religious ‘status quo’ is being challenged by, for example, immigration. However, a curriculum including religious education can only succeed if it is a balanced approach to all religions, allowing students to explore the spiritual with their own natural inquisitiveness. An approach that heavily favours, or can be seen to heavily favour, one particular religion, can undermine the efforts of an entire religious studies curriculum to promote cultural awareness an inter-theological understanding. In general, a good religious education programme will be a balanced one, taught in a manner that will foster and encourage discussion and consideration of the various philosophical, moral and theological concepts behind each world religion.

Religious education can also refer to the nature of a student’s education. Monks, nuns, priests, imams, rabbi’s and their equivalents in all religions will have received, or should have received, a religious education, traditional at a religious education institute, such as a seminary.

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