SPOTTED: Gorgeous Vintage-Style Wedding Dress by Caroline Castigliano

Walking past bridal gown designer Caroline Castigliano‘s Central London store on Berners Street is always an exciting experience. ¬† The dresses in the window always make me stop and stare but, being a lover of vintage bridal designs, I often find her elegant gowns too modern for my tastes. Until today.

The vintage-inspired gown seen below took my breath away. I love lace, sparkle and sleeves and this one has all three (thank you Princess Kate for starting the sleeved trend again!)… Despite the fact that marriage will never be in my future, when I see a dress like this one, I feel a wistful pang (sad and pathetic, I know):

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Caroline Castigliano Bridal Gown - Berners Street Window Display

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Caroline Castigliano Wedding Gown - Vintage Style

The dress was difficult to photograph through a glass window but I’ve blown up sections of the image and added colour effects to try to bring out some of the gown’s intricate, gorgeous detail:

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Caroline Castigliano Gown - Amazing Detail!

The above images don’t do the dress justice but I tried my best! Whichever brides may get to wear this stunning gown are very lucky indeed. Wishing you all a beautiful wedding and a blessed future.

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PHOTOS: The Cake & Bake Show 2013 – Part 2

Here are a few more shots of yet more lovely cakes from The Cake & Bake Show at London’s Earl’s Court on Sunday 15th September:

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Time for tea!

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Hungry yet?

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Stylish & Girlie!

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Red & Romantic

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Rosettes!

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Chocolate... Mmmm!

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Ruffle-icious!

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Stairway to heaven...

PHOTOS: The Cake & Bake Show 2013

I saw some cracking cake designs at this year’s Cake & Bake Show at Earl’s Court on Sunday 15th September – great inspiration for your wedding cake!

From vintage to abstract, there was every conceivable design to view. Here are a few photos of my favourites:

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Stained Glass Window Design

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Elegant Yet Modern!

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Vintage Elegance

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Colours & Petals

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Helter Skelter & More!

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All Wrapped Up!

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Feathers!

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Black & White!

Lessons from THE DARK KNIGHT RISES

The sign of a good man is not his status, wealth or estate – it is his humanity. The Dark Knight Rises is not the best Batman movie ever made but it is the best representation of not only the character but also of what denotes a good human being.

When the going gets tough, Bruce Wayne can choose to run away and turn his back on the citizens of Gotham, including his friends, yet he doesn’t hesitate to don the cape and bring out ‘Batman’.

Ready to fight to the bitter end to put right old wrongs, protect the innocent and atone for past sins, it’s worth remembering that ‘The Dark Knight’ is still just a man: Bruce Wayne – a scared, scarred, lonely man with little faith in himself or much of mankind.

We have all felt like Bruce Wayne at some point. We have all had to retreat into our own shell at least once, whether it was because we felt too weary to face the world or just needed some time to lick raw wounds inflicted by others.

Wayne is a man without special powers, devoid of extraordinary gifts enjoyed by other superheroes such as ‘Superman’ or ‘Spiderman’. Yet when Gotham comes under attack, he never shirks from his responsibility because he knows that it’s the right thing to do.

You see, when the going gets tough and reality comes to bite you on the rear with the ferocity of a Great White shark, there are only two options: fight or flight. When all around you the world seems to crumble – and betrayal, fear and evil suddenly invade and threaten to conquer – it’s the ultimate test for all your bonds: family, friendship, love.

A decent person with a good heart, whose friendship or love is genuine, would never abandon you to save their own skin. They would stand with you and for you, no matter how shaky the ground upon which you stand may be.

In times of trouble, those who turn their backs on you are those who lack that inner core of courage that is the true mark of our humanity. Even the villain in the movie, the mask-clad Bane, stands until the bitter end in support of his friend – going to battle for them, with them and alongside them.

Whatever your view of this “mercenary”, his loyalty is noble and admirable. At his core lies a compassionate man, turned into a vengeful brute after abandonment and cruelty. Ultimately, we are faced with a being who needs to belong and will do anything for those he loves and a cause he believes in. This is a trait shared with Batman – hero and villain are only separated by a hair’s breadth of difference. For both men, fighting to preserve their inner humanity is not a choice, it’s a way of life.

Thus, when I reflect upon a life-changing betrayal by a supposed ‘best friend’ earlier this year, I feel more sorry for them than myself. I was willing to stand by them, even after all they did, yet they ran away to bury their head in the sand. Were it out of shame, I might understand their behaviour. However, their motivation seems to be convenience: brush things under the carpet and then they don’t exist.

I, however, follow the Bruce Wayne / Batman school of thought: stand up for what’s right, fight for all that is good and never run away from your responsibility to others, no matter how small. When we abandon those principles and forget to tap in to our inner Dark Knight, we risk becoming as misguided as Bane: fighting for the wrong side and losing sight of our own humanity – a very sorry state indeed.

Etsy UK Brings A Little Magic To London

This weekend saw Etsy UK’s first ever wedding event in London – an interactive, vintage-themed exhibition for those looking for creative ideas for their big day.

Held at Gallery Soho, the intimate setting boasted two floors of gorgeous fashion, stationery, jewellery, home furnishings and craft workshops. There was something for everyone, from Hollywood-siren oppulence in the form of a show-stopping, sequin-covered, gold, vintage gown to the endearing charm of handmade cushions, adorable wedding cake toppers and button-decorated, pastel-coloured bouquets.

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For vintage lovers like myself, it was an intoxicating way to spend my Saturday morning, putting me in a joyful mood for the rest of the day.

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The downstairs showed off a range of wares from Etsy sellers and there was a free hair consultation and styling session for any girl wanting to see which vintage look would be the most flattering at her pending nuptials. Like a magpie, I found myself drawn to the sparkly antique hair pins and rhinestone combs being used to create the beautiful styles. Art deco hair accessories are definitely the most impressive but, let’s face it, if it gleams and sparkles, you can’t go wrong!

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The upper level of the gallery heaved with gushing future brides eager to try their hands at the craft workshops being offered by Parapluie Events. Armed with a fabulous free cocktail from St-Germain – a light, breezy concoction blending the French liqueur, Prosecco and club soda – I got to try my hand at making clay wedding favours and place settings as well as frilly, paper doily pom-poms to use as hanging decorations. The cackling heard from the photo booth provided by LookLook was testimony to how much fun was being had by all the guests.

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The entire session was a blast and I walked away with not just a renewed love for vintage but also the uplifting sense of accomplishment; showing my creations to family and friends triggered a gush of compliments and admiration. Not bad for a mere £5 entry fee!

Parapluie Events are definitely worth booking for hen-dos and parties – get all your bridesmaids to help craft your wedding favours and you’re not only quids-in, you’ve also managed to involve your nearest and dearest to help create the most special day of your life!

Hopefully, Etsy UK will repeat the event next year, perhaps with a few tweaks to help drive more revenue sales. That said, everyone at the event received a fantastic goody bag – which included a special code for 15% off buys on Etsy. Given the wonderful stuff we saw on display, I imagine many will go on to use the generous discount. Etsy UK deserves to do well from this first foray into events – it was awesome fun and the quality of handmade and vintage goods on display were genuinely breathtaking.

To see more pictures and news from the event, social media users can search for #etsywed on Twitter or check out the Facebook page for EtsyUK.

New British Film Director Showcases First Movie

This one is for all the movie fans out there…

Check out my Q&A with up-and-coming film director Tyrone Samuels on http://www.projectskylinemovie.com

It’s great to see homegrown talent chasing their dreams, making movies and helping other rising stars, like actors, get some exposure.

Wedding Favours – Homemade Macarons

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As much as I love vintage and antique wedding features, I do like the idea of making homemade Macarons to give out in pretty bags as wedding favours.

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They’re really simple to make, taste great and, depending on the filling, can be made in advance without requiring refrigeration. They also bake really quickly and are a doddle to assemble. Lovely!

Can A Friendship Survive Without Trust?

They say “keep your friends close and your enemies closer”. Such is the world in which we live; a place where smiles mask hostility and people willingly hide behind a veneer to keep up the illusion of ‘friendship’.

Imagine someone you have been ‘friends’ with for over 5 years is suddenly revealed as someone to have routinely lied to you, made fun of you behind your back, used you for their own gain and took pleasure in repeatedly humiliating you? What would you do? Would you forgive, forget and give them a second chance? Would you secretly regard them as a ‘frenemy’ and resort to playing them at their own game by pretending to be friends? Or would you turn on your heel and walk away?

It’s a taxing dilemma. In our current society, many will veer towards keeping up appearances – say nothing and feign friendship. Others will feel outraged and hurt by the deception and unceremoniously¬† kick the culprit to the curb. But what of the rest? The compassionate folks who are willing to give the person another chance? Are they the weak or the strong ones? Walking away vs. trying to forgive – it’s one hell of a bitch fight for your conscience. Both options are draining and take a lot of resolve and inner strength.

What would you do? And what do you think of those who would do the opposite?