A Tress Distress

A Tress Distress

February is always an inspiring month thanks to the Designer Wedding Show and National Wedding Show. I'm not talking about the walking talking scrapbook of dresses, stationery, party decor, flowers and mad cakes. For me, it's a great reminder of who I'm writing for because I get to meet readers who genuinely need our help and advice. I don't think I've ever worked at a magazine where I've felt so much job satisfaction.

This season I met a reader who had just finished a course of chemotherapy and, having unfortunately lost most of her hair, wanted to know which hair salons could style her wig for her wedding. In all honesty I was a bit stumped. From a family experience I know that www.vickiullah.com and www.trendco.co.uk make fantastic wigs, but I really didn't know if anyone specialised in styling them. I promised to email back after researching.

It turns out that a lot of salons do: I called up a few favourites (Michaeljohn, Hershesons, John Frieda, Electric and Mathew Alexander) and, yes, their stylists did in fact know how to style wigs. So my suggestion is to get recommendations from friends for a great, friendly salon - as you normally would for any hairstyling issue - and call up to find out. Ask about home visits so that you can do a trial with your wedding dress (or simply for the luxury of being in your own home).

Two bits of advice: firstly, I'm told that there can be problems with certain veils and accessories - anything too long or heavy runs the risk of tugging, thus misplacing the wig or (yikes!) yanking it off completely. I have visions of little flower girls treading on veils and the whole thing flying off down the aisle. Secondly, keep the style loose. As Mathew Alexander says: 'Once you start lifting the sections of a wig you can see the base underneath where the hair is attached, so do something very loose and add lightweight accessories (I've used silk tiger lilies in the past).'

On the same subject, a fellow beauty editrice is going through her own wig experience. Sophie Beresiner, from LOOK magazine, has sadly lost her hair following chemotherapy and has turned a 'demoralising and confidence-crushing' side-effect into a new assignment: how to look good to feel better. Her brilliant blog (http://sophiefeelsbetter.blogspot.com) tracks her progress with excellent advice for make-up, skincare and wigs for women undergoing cancer treatment. If you're going through a similar experience her insightful account is definitely worth reading.

Top Of The Pop-Ups

Top Of The Pop-Ups

I love this teaser facade on Clarins' new pop-up beauty shop, opening this week.
Pop-up shops don't usually get me excited: there's never much to do and it's all just a bit of hot marketing air. However, this one does because there's plenty on offer and it's geared towards skincare newbies who don't want to commit to buying before they've had some professional guidance (ideal if you're shelling out for a wedding and can't afford to make a mistake). It opens on Thursday Feb 17 for nine days. Here's what you'll get when you visit:

- A sneak peek at the new Daily Energizer skincare range. I've actually had a preview myself: there's a selection of three moisturisers (gel-cream, lotion or cream) plus a great cleanser and toner all designed to perk up city-dulled skin and prevent ageing. It's affordable and feels gorgeous on the skin, and it visibly brightens one's complexion. Tick tick tick!

- Free skincare advice and samples. Having a professional beauty therapist give you personalised advice is absolutely essential before making any kind of purchase. Take advantage girls.

- Free facials! Seriously! Every day, there will be six free appointments available for a fabulous 40-minute Energy Recharger facial (on a first come basis) plus 12 more slots with a £10 redeemable booking fee.

- Guest appearances by two of my favourite beauty gurus. On Wednesday Feb 23, from 1-6pm, meet celebrity tanning expert James Read for his amazing tricks and tips. On Thursday Feb 24, from 1-6pm, meet celebrity nail technician David Barton for nail advice and mini manicures.

- More freebies! Apart from the excellent facials, advice and guests, there's a complimentary Juice & Cappuccino Bar plus a brilliant Clarins' canvas shopping bag that's yours for free when you purchase any of the new products.

My advice? Aim for a morning slot to avoid the lunchtime rush and make sure you test out the Daily Energizer Gel-Cream - it's a perfect summer wedding day moisturiser because it sinks straight in and primes skin for make-up.

Clarins Pop-Up shop: 10a Blandford Street, London W1U 4AZ (020 73076798). From Thursday February 17 until Saturday February 26 2011. See the full Clarins range at www.clarins.com  

Midnight Secrets

Midnight Secrets

There is a fun little network of beauty editors, writers and assistants on Twitter where we share our latest product obsessions and office reflections, but this week reveals a bit of a worrying conversation thread. It seems that everyone is going through a rough patch of trans-seasonal sleep deprivation. We are all very healthy and happy souls who practice what we preach (keep fit.. soak in aromatherapy baths.. exfoliate once a week.. rub in cuticle oil in front of Glee) but for some reason we're all sleeping badly. Either we're suddenly up in the middle of the night for no reason, or waking up feeling unrested even after seven hours straight.
If you're in the same boat (and feeling the added pressure from wedding planning), here are some helpful tips that have been retweeted this week:

"Don't drink water for at least an hour before bedtime or you'll need to 'go' in the middle of the night!"

"Try a black-out eye mask - the earlier daylight in the morning can be confusing"

"Earplugs and Dr Stuart's Valerian Tea (www.victoriahealth.com). Works a treat."

"A friend gave me Champney's Sleep Spray (www.champneys.com), which I was sceptical about but it worked with me. I've also used Farmacia Sleep Spray in the past (www.urbanpath.com)"

"Try Dr Bach's Night Rescue Remedy (www.boots.com). It really works!"

"If I don't drink alcohol I really do wake up feeling so much better."

"Avoid bread and stodgy food like pasta and mashed potato at dinner time. It'll induce sleep, but you'll wake up feeling like a ton of bricks"

"Do your workout in the morning rather than after work - otherwise you're body is on an endorphin high for a good four hours afterwards so it'll stop you from drifting to sleep"

Follow me at www.twitter.com/alicedp and Brides at www.twitter.com/bridesmagazine and share your beauty dilemmas!

A Spa Cry From Reality

A Spa Cry From Reality

Lucknam Park Hotel is situated on the edge of the classically pretty village of Colerne six miles outside Bath. The long drive stretches up to the 17th century main house that fronts the breathtaking 500 acre estate. This secluded venue offers an ideal setting for weddings, spa breaks or simply an indulgent weekend away with a loved one.

Lucknam Park's spa boasts a twenty-metre swimming pool lined by daybeds, and thermal cabins sit just behind - the pick of which has to be the Japanese Salt Room complete with horizontal marble chairs to sink into. Particular appreciation must be paid to the indoor-cum-outdoor Jacuzzi separated by an electronic sliding window. Enjoy the sharp fresh air whilst bobbing idly amongst Jacuzzi bubbles and taking in the magnificent rural view - a moment of relaxation you'll urge yourself to bank for when you are back at your office desk.

The tranquillity of the pool area continues through to the treatment rooms, where an abundance of spa staff are on-hand to politely welcome guests. Waiting time is non-existent before being whisked off to one of the numerous therapy rooms. Music is tailored to your preference during your treatment, whether it be Beethoven's Adagio or more traditional spa music. The Anne Semonin facial is a must (which ironically begins with a hot towel being wrapped around the feet), and the relaxation room is available after treatments to unwind further still. Take this opportunity to sip herbal teas whilst overlooking the immaculate gardens of Lucknam Park. Pampering perfection. Find out more and book at www.lucknampark.co.uk