For any bride, they want to look stunning on their wedding day. And no matter what – you will. But, most brides like to spend time getting themselves ready and picture perfect for their big day. And, quite often, in the whirlwind of wedding planning, they forget to do the prep, and end up trying to fit everything in to the last few days including the wedding day, and have to abandon plans they had early on. There are many things you can do in advance of the bog day that will help you to look and feel amazing, and by planning in advance, you don’t run the risk of forgetting things, or having to cut out plans.
No matter what happens, your wedding will be perfect, and the person lucky enough to marry you will think you’re the most beautiful thing in the world regardless. But we all understand the want to look the best we can, and there is absolutely no shame in it.
A lot of beauty prep you can do has little to do with makeup and stylists, so make a plan that you can stick to, but don’t get stressed out about it. Plus, there are beauty prep routines that will help you to stop stressing! Which is perfect for any bride.
And we’re not talking about how you can lose five stone in three months – because that is just not going to happen. If you want to lose weight for your big day, then look at your diet and start cutting out the fats and sugars, make sure that you have the right portion sizes for you, and that you are eating all the right things. Get some advice if you’re unsure of the right diet for you. A balanced diet has so many more benefits than just losing weight – it will give you more energy, which is perfect for those long days trying on wedding dresses. It helps you sleep better, which counteracts those stressful nights. And it can also clear your skin. The biggest contributors to bad skin are greasy foods, dairy and sugar. Cut all these down or out, and combine it with a good skin care routine (which we’ll talk about later on) and you’ll see improvements in no time.
You knew it was coming! Again, if you want to lose weight, then exercise is an absolute must. Get yourself a workout plan designed to help you shift the weight and tone up, and stick with it. Just picture that perfect dress as motivation. Set yourself a realistic goal, and if you think you’ll struggle on your own, you can rope your bridesmaids into the workouts, or get yourself a personal trainer. Even if you don’t want to lose weight, exercise is great for you anyway. It gives you that boost in endorphins which helps to conquer stress and beat wedding blues, which is a real thing and effects a lot of brides. It will also help clear your skin, and can be a great way to relax. If high-impact isn’t for you then try yoga or swimming,
Prepping your hair for the big day goes beyond having it cut and styled just before the big day. Although, that is a big part of it. You can also help your hair to be as luscious and thick as those hair ads on TV. Use a deep cleansing conditioner once a month, and combine it with an argon oil and coconut oil wash. Use the right products for your hair type, and, if you have coloured hair then make sure you are using the right treatments for it; ie purple shampoo for fake blondes. You can also help your hair by drinking plenty of water, and applying a heat protector before applying any heat to your hair. Have dead and split ends trimmed regularly too.
We have already touched on diet and exercise to help clear you skin, but, if you’re really concerned about it, you might also want to consider seeing a dermatologist for stubborn acne or blackheads. Apart from that, your skin can only improve with a daily skin care routine – which starts with drinking plenty of water. When buying products, make sure that they are right for your skin type – the three main types are oily, dry and combination skin. Use a cleanser and a toner day and night, with a foam wash on the mornin and an exfoliating wash in the evening. Use a face moisturizer every morning and night – you can switch to an anti-aging cream if you want to. Sunscreen should be used every day and not just when it’s sunny outside, and your skin can be protected from getting clogged with makeup by using a primer and water-based foundation. Add in a mask or a pour strip once a month for extra care.
So many brides don’t think their teeth are up to scratch for their wedding photos. Everyone wants to have perfect photos on the big day, so if this is a problem area for you, then take this opportunity to fix it. Use a whitening toothpaste twice a day while also flossing to help improve the health or your teeth and gums. If you wish to make bigger changes to your smile, then go to a dentist for teeth whitening and any other procedures.
Too many brides get so stressed over every little detail of the wedding, which causes sleeplessness, weight loss or weight gain, irritability, and simple unenjoyment of the whole process – which is a time we’re sure you’ll want to remember. One of the simplest ways of relieving some of that stress comes with meditation. It can simply be some time spent on your own, relaxing and doing nothing. Put on some calming music, light your favourite candles, and lay down. Focus on your breathing and visualise those stresses leaving you with every exhale. It’s a simple yet effective practice that you can use for the rest of your life.
Wow. Okay. Where do I begin to recap on a bliss-filled 48 hours at Billabong Retreat on the way to Richmond, NSW? Should I start with the delicious vegetarian food, the awesome tent I was in, the yoga, breathing, and vocal sessions, the tea ceremony, or the purrrty scenery?
Shall I start with the food, as that’s what you’ve come to expect? :)
On arrival there was a spelt and fruit based slice and tea on offer (and caffeinated products because for the addicts, there was no point spending the whole weekend with a headache!), and some delicious tasting filtered rain water. Technically they can only recommend us drinking from two of the taps (the bubbler and the kitchen tap) but the rest of the water is rain water, so no issues with brushing teeth with that water.
Stacks of mandarines, green apples (my favourite!), bananas and seedless red grapes kept making appearances in front of me, and were soon in my belly :) There was a stash of Freedom Foods bikkies for the sensitive tummies amongst us, and we were welcome to help ourselves to snacks through the weekend from the kitchen.
I can smell all the spices now!
Mignon, the chef, fed us well for our main meals as well as baking up a storm. Most of the produce was local when possible, and in season was the way to go. Seconds were often had!
OMG people, I ate hard boiled eggs for the first time since I was maybe six. I thought it was the least egg smelling way to get back into eating eggs. I’m still a long way off eating runny eggs. Small Steps!
Lots of fresh breads, jams and spreads on offer. The gluten free loaf was from the freezer, but hey, it was there!
Porridge on the first morning was cinnamon, morning two there was vanilla added, and I think it inspired a winter of porridge eaters.
With bananas with Greek yoghurt, local honey and home made muesli (unfortunately not gluten free) for those after something lighter. I think most people went for a little bit of everything!
A spicy pumpkin soup. Probably towards the edge of this wuss’s chilli coping range. But delish!
Roasted Mediterranean vegetables baked with ricotta.
A plate of ‘nachos’. A little mix up meant there were some difficulties for the guy with the nut allergy, but he didn’t die, so all went well :P (He’d forgotten his epipen and all!) The salads with our meals were amazing! Simple, like with cabbage, apple, walnut and dressing, but crunchy and tasty.
(excuse the dodgy photo)
A vegetable curry and a dhal, seconds were sought by a lot of us!
Yes! We were given dessert :) Like I said, no one went hungry this weekend!
Berry sorbet with tofu cream and crumble.
MMm poached pears. Gotta love cinnamon!
If you’re going, and have dietary requests, such as allergies, intolerances or if you’re vegan, they can cater for you at Billabong. Jut let them know when you book, and have a chat to the chef when she gets there on the first afternoon to make sure accommodations are made :)
I got to experience the walk-in tents. Don’t let anyone tell you they are too cold! With a super thick doona,blankets, hot water bottle and oil heater, I overheated on the first night! Meep!
In the long term, they hope to only have the rooms along the ridge overlooking the billabong, with ensuites etc. But for now, the tent and old cottage serve well! Short dash in the rain to the loo at 3am, but I lived to tell the tale ;)
The showers all have little egg timers for 4 minutes. My first shower was so under two minutes, but I couldn’t get in under 4 on the Sunday, because I decided to wash my hair with the biodegradable shampoo and conditioner. It was soft and fluffy once it dried :)
Below are some of the other parts of the main building – the fireplaces, the super comfy couches, the yoga room and the view.
The yoga and meditation sessions were WONDERFUL. There was such a mix of experience in the room, from people who’d done nothing along those lines at all, to some of me who get so distracted meditating, to people who’d done yoga for 15+ years. But everyone got something new out of the weekend. I focussed on my breathing, an was able to take home some yoga techniques to help with my stress reduction and anxiety management that I’ve applied already!
(and for those of you that know me, no, it wasn’t all “woo” ;) Lots of practical stuff)
An amazing part of the weekend, we were guided through a mindful tea making exercise with the gorgeous Basia from My Tea Ritual. Taking note of all the aspects of the tea making, from the sound of the water, to the blooming of the tea, to the heat of the cup and the taste on your tongue. At least 3 people were “wow, I can do THIS at any time with my normal tea” to create a peaceful, portable ritual. Yep, even during 3:30-itis at work!
I had an amazing weekend and would certainly recommend it to anyone who needs to escape but can’t really find more than the weekend to do it. You walk in, and an instant calm just… happens! The place it only 45 mins from Sydney (3 hours from Newcastle by train, but that’s another story and I slept for a lot of it :p), and they pick you up and drop you back from the station if you go by train :)
Billabong Retreat can be stalked via their website, blog (where Paul promises he’ll start putting up recipes soon!) and their Facebook Page (skim for a pic of my group and for spur of the moment offers for last minute bookings)
Basia’s tea ritual information, bookings and products such as blooming tea and tea pots is over at MyTeaRitual.com and she’s on Facebook and Twitter. You should consider booking her for a team building day to help your staff appreciate their cuppas that little bit more mindfully rather than just for the caffeine hit ;)
I stayed as a guest of Billabong Retreat, and loved every moment! My only gripe is that 48 hours is just enough time to get used to it… would love to go to a longer retreat next time. :) And while it rained pretty much the whole weekend, that simply added to the beauty – and who doesn’t love falling asleep to the sound of rain?! :)