Cuppa Soothe

Cuppa Soothe

'I'll put the kettle on'

Ahhh... comforting words that make everything alright again.

A cup of tea is the quintessential British alternative to Valium, and we've found the perfect hit to take the edge off on your big day.

'Face the Moment' is a tea blend by Ayurvedic brand Hari Tea, designed for that very specific time on the wedding morning, once you're hair's in rollers and you're make-up done, before you put your dress on, while your bridesmaids and mum are getting preened and polished. It's that time when you finally get a minute to yourself, when no one is fussing around you, when you can sit down and take stock of the major life change you're about to experience. Suddenly, your mind gets a bit fluffy. Your eyes feel strained. Your skin begins to flush and it dawns on you that a) you're going to be the centre of attention all day and b) you're about to become someone's wife.

Face the Moment's mission is to smooth away those feelings of panic by using a spiritual blend of rose (to relax and refresh the nervous system) and hibiscus (to ease off headaches and tension). It taste delicious, it's organic and it looks darn pretty too.

I'll put the kettle on.


£3.99 per box (16 tea bags), at Partridges, Whole Foods, www.yogamatters.com or www.haritea.com

What's Your Favourite Beauty Product?

What's Your Favourite Beauty Product?

I'm about to start working on a big BEST OF BRIDAL BEAUTY feature, and I need your help!
My job as a beauty editor isn't just to deliver the news on all the latest products, but to test, select and recommend the items that will be invaluable to you in the run up to your wedding. If a mascara lands on my desk, I put it through rain and tears (and a snowstorm recently!); for new foundations, I check how they look in flash photography, the ease of application, range of colours and longevity - the works. As for skincare, I have a team of guinea pigs (from friends to family and work colleagues) who try out lotions and potions not just for a day, but for a four-week stretch to see if it really does what it says on the tin. Budget is a big deal to me: when you're planning your wedding you can't risk spending your precious pennies on something that won't perform. Of course, many products are subjective - take fragrance: one girl's fruity floral is another girl's toilet cleaner - so all we ask is that you trust our judgement and test these products out on the beauty counter for yourselves.
The thing is, we can all be biased. Personally, I don't like powdery foundation. I don't want to smell like a flower shop. Glittery body lotions make me cringe. I really can't stand French manicures. But I'm all too aware those items might be your dream must-haves. So this is where I need your help. In my BEST OF BRIDAL BEAUTY feature, I'll be including your favourite products too - those essentials items that you simply can't get married without. It could be anything, from an anti-shine powder to the perfect eye pencil, a great cheek stain or brightening eye cream - because something very special can slip through my net.
A few months ago I started a thread in our Chatroom make-up section called 'The Essential Item' (over 2,000 of you have visited that page!) so you can add your favourite product to that discussion or simply write in the comment box below and tell me why your nomination is so brilliant.

Thanks in advance - I can't wait to see your suggestions!

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You Glow Girl!

You Glow Girl!

Once in a while a beauty product lands on our desk that's just too delicious to ignore. This gleamy/glowy/pearly serum from new brand OSKIA has earned a starring role on our website today.
First, a little about the company: OSKIA (which is Greek for 'delivering beauty') is a natural skincare range that incorporates nutrition to feed the skin from inside (and out) to delay ageing and beautify the skin.
They have a range of topical and oral products, all of which include cell nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, proteins, glucides and essential fatty acids. But the star ingredient is their patented MSM-Regen Complex™, which has natural collagen boosting and repairing properties that are vital for strengthening the skin and preventing fine lines. 98% of OSKIA's ingredients are natural or nature-identical, organic where possible and free of harmful chemicals.
Their star product is this gorgeous serum that's packed with all the goodies above but has a dreamy illuminating finish that makes skin 'pop' and look super healthy. For your wedding day, we suggest wearing it under a tinted moisturiser for a dewy, fresh-looking complexion.

OSKIA Get Up & Glow, £64.50, at www.liberty.co.uk

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Smooth Operator: How To Shop For Skincare

Smooth Operator: How To Shop For Skincare

How do you want your skin to look on your wedding day? Blemish-free? Glowing (not shiny!) in all the right places? While good quality make-up can definitely achieve some of this, nothing can replace the flawless canvas of healthy skin. Here's my guide to taking your first steps towards great skin.

Face-Time
In an ideal world, focus on your skin the minute you get engaged to give yourself time to find products that work for you and your budget. But don't worry if you've left it too late: there's still hope for shotgun skincare newbies! It takes just 4 weeks for products to start showing their effects (the ingredients are designed to work on the deeper skin cells, which take 28 days to come up to the surface). So even if you're getting married in a month there's time to make a difference.

Finding The One
The big question is what or, more precisely, who to choose. There were more than 280 new beauty brand launches in 2009 so if you find it confusing, you're not alone.
'Picking the brand that's right for you is the hardest thing,' says skin expert and facialist Nichola Joss (www.nicholajoss.com). 'Think about your budget, what has worked for you in the past and which brand you want to buy into - organic, designer, aromatherapeutic?' Remember, it takes two to three days to test whether a product is compatible with your skin so always ask for free samples before buying.'

Go with the Pro
If you need a helping hand, invest in a facial. Rather than a pampering luxury, see it as a personal training session for your skin to find out exactly what it needs to function at its best. A great therapist can analyse, diagnose and prescribe - all you need to decide is which company to go with (excellent facial brands include Dermalogica, Aromatherapy Associates, Elemis and Carita). Alternatively, go for a free Skin Health consultation at larger Boots stores nationwide. You'll be examined with a Dermo-Analyser machine (made by the skincare brand Vichy), which scans for lines, hydration, sensitivity and UV damage and compares it to the 7,000 skin profiles stored. An advisor then recommends a personalised product routine with affordable dermatological brands. There's a similar service at Lancôme counters nationwide. Their 'Skincare Expert' checks your skin with their 'Diagnôs Express', a machine with cameras and sensors that measures everything from pore size to wrinkle depth. Both systems are eye-opening and help even the most skin-savvy bride figure out where she's going wrong.

Retail Therapy
Nichola suggests shopping 'when your skin has been up a little, i.e. lunchtime. It won't be stressed, too dirty from pollution or puffy from lack of sleep, so it'll be easier to read for diagnosing types, textures and problems.'
Once you've picked your brand and know your skin type, 'your basic routine should include cleanser, toner for rebalancing pH levels, moisturiser, eye cream and night cream or oil,' says Nichola. Try adding a serum (an intense gel-lotion) to wear under moisturiser, which carries age-preventing ingredients much deeper into the skin than normal creams. While shopping, pay extra attention to brand-new products at the forefront of skincare, and look out for 'relaunches', where bestsellers (such as Guerlain Orchidée Impériale day cream and Clarins Multi-Active night cream) have been remade using new, more powerful ingredients.

Work it baby!
As for applying these dream creams, 'massage products well into the skin to improve muscle tone and circulation,' says Nichola. So, just like you would with your body, give your face regular workouts and by the time your wedding arrives, you'll have the fittest, healthiest and most radiant skin possible.