Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Cheese wedding cakes

Cheese Wedding Cakes offer a modern, delicious alternative to traditional cakes and are an eye-catching feature at your Reception. They are practical and good value and are great for when your guests get a little peckish later in the evening! Some couples will opt for both a Cheese Wedding Cake and a traditional cake to satisfy both savoury and sweet toothed-guests!

Local cheese specialist La Cremerie, based in Nettleden near Berkhamsted, designs bespoke Cheese Wedding Cakes from petite cheese cakes to feed 40 guests up to gargantuan towers of cheese to feed over 250 people.

La Cremerie’s cheese expert Emma Dandy uses delicious British cheeses in the cakes, with more than 100 different cheeses to choose from. She offers brides and grooms a free cheese tasting and consultation to find out which cheeses you do (or don’t) like in order to design a suitable cake. She will stick to your budget and ensure you have sufficient but not too much cheese.

Contact Emma Dandy at La Crèmerie on 01442 870508 to arrange a private consultation or email

Friday, 24 June 2011

Buying Your Summer Flip-flops

Follow these tips for buying your summer flip-flops to avoid injury, pain and permanent damage to your feet (adapted from the American Podiatric Medical Association).

  • You should not be able to bend or twist your flip-flops
  • They should only bend at the toe
  • Look for arch support which improves stability and cushions the feet
  • Flip-flops made of cheap plastic often cause blisters; choose leather or fabric instead
  • Ensure your toes do not hang over the edge as this can cause tripping
  • Don’t wear your favourite pair year after year, check for wear and tear and discard
  • Poorly fitting flip-flops encourage clawing of the toes and ankle injury
  • Do not wear them for gardening, sports or walking long distances
  • Do wear sturdy flip-flops around the pool or on the beach
If you follow these simple tips, you can still enjoy wearing your flip-flops this summer

I recommend and stock Orthaheel (Vasyli) flip-flops. Please contact me for more details.

Lorna Pullman - Foot Health Practitioner tel: 07860 927958

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

The Perfect Wedding Diet!

The perfect wedding diet isn’t just about cutting calories – it’s about attitude!

Brides, naturally, want to look fabulous on their wedding day – and who wouldn’t? A stunning dress and beautiful accessories are key but can only take you so far to look and feel amazing in those all-important photos.

Forgive me for saying but if you want to lose weight and tone up, a perfect wedding fad diet is not the answer. This sounds crazy, right? But crash dieting through extreme caloric deprivation is dangerous and more likely to set you up for failure since it is impossible to maintain. In fact, abandon the notion of dieting altogether.

Instead, incorporating simple changes into your daily routine will gradually improve the health and look of your body. Choosing to adopt these new habits as a lifestyle will keep up your energy levels, maintain nutrient intake and ensure a safer, permanent weight loss. Following are 7 of my 20 top tips I advise my bridal clients:

1. Give your body ample time for reshaping. Plan to lose a maximum of 2lbs a week, therefore taking 7 weeks to lose 14lbs. If you want to lose a lot of weight, give yourself 6 months. Don’t wait, start today!

2. Don’t stop eating or excessively starve yourself of calories. This will slow your metabolism and make it harder to lose weight. Eat five or six small meals throughout the day to boost your metabolism and burn fat.

3. Looking good starts with lots of water. Healthy skin is derived through proper hydration from water and herbal teas. Add a slice of lemon, orange or mint for taste if you find water boring.

4. Eat protein at each meal – meat, fish, dairy, eggs, tofu, pulses, legumes, nuts – to feel fuller for longer and drive up metabolism to make weight loss easier.

5. High fibre foods also promote satiety making you less likely to overeat. Found in whole grain breads, pasta, rice, beans, fruits and vegetables these complex carbohydrates are positive and against the notion that all carbohydrates are evil.

6. Give fat a chance. A small daily amount of unsaturated fat promotes shiny hair, clear skin and strong nails. Add nuts to a salad, avocado instead of butter in a sandwich or olive oil in a stir fry.

7. Smart snacking on fruits and vegetables increases your fibre intake that boosts energy levels. These alkaline foods make it easier to lose weight rather than acidic, processed crisps, crackers and baked goods. Graze on baby carrots, cherry tomatoes and sugar snaps.

Exercise, of course, will help tone your body and give you the ‘feel good factor’ to keep you on your nutritional track. Intermittent exercise is the most effective at burning calories; for example 3 minutes walk/2 minutes walk, etc.

Achieve your wedding ambitions by embracing a positive attitude to nutrition and fitness that focuses on inclusion rather than deprivation. Then this new way of eating will become your normal routine and keep the weight off after the big day. In private consultations, I tailor nutritional plans according to personal requirements and setting realistic goals. I also treat holistically by investigating potential physiological reasons that may prevent weight loss and may include stress relief strategies like Reiki, Bach flower remedies and ear acupuncture.

Sophia Villiers

Sophia is a Nutritional Therapist practising at:
The Pain Management Centre
148 High Street
07758 643164

Monday, 28 March 2011

Wedding Feet

Whether planning a beach wedding, traditional wedding, exotic honeymoon or a Hen weekend, spare a thought for your feet.

Here is a suggestion for a foot care plan which can be included as part of your beauty routine:

3 Months to Go
  • Visit a foot health professional for a check-up and advice on how to tackle any problems you may have
  • Start using a foot file or foot scrub to remove rough skin
  • Moisturise every night
1 Month to Go
  • If you have not started a foot care plan, start now
  • Choose your colours for your pedicure and book your appointment
  • You can massage your feet using a light oil. This encourages circulation and encourages skin and nail growth
2 Weeks to go
  • Maybe visit a foot health professional to remove any stubborn hard skin, especially on the heels, thin thickened nails, etc. You are then ready for your pedicure
1 Week to go
  • Why not book a paraffin wax treatment or try some reflexology? Both are relaxing and good for the skin
1 Day to go
  • Enjoy a professional or home pedicure knowing your feet are more beautiful than you ever remember.
On your wedding day you want to be confident about every part of you, so do not ignore your feet – and don’t forget the groom’s feet too!

Lorna Pullman - Foot Health Practitioner tel: 07860 927958

Thursday, 17 February 2011

When is it too late to call a wedding planner?

People ofter say to me that they know someone who is getting married but that they've already planned everything themselves.  That's great, but who's going to look after everything for them on the wedding day?  Who is going to make sure that all the details the bride has so meticulously planned are actually going to be done? 

Often, the reception venue has a co-ordinator and that's great too, but will that co-ordinator be there on the day of the wedding or will it be an 'operations manager' who has never met the bride and groom?  Will they be looking after more than 1 event on the day? 

Who is going to help the bride get laced into her dress, do any last minute pressing or alterations, tie the groomsmens' cravats, pin on the buttonholes and do all those other jobs that need doing before the ceremony?

Who is going to ensure everything happens as and when it's supposed to happen and deal with any issues which may occur?

Who is going to be there in the evening to ensure the gifts and cards are safely stowed away, that the top tier of the cake doesn't get cut, that the vases and candles get put away for collection the next day? 

Who do you know who could step in to look after a wedding at less than 36 hours notice and get a comment like this from the bride:

"I understand you were stuck in Egypt & we were both so impressed with how Debbie (Wedding Wonders) took over the reigns so smoothly in your place...

Everyone commented on how good the food & service was & Debbie in particular was brilliant - helping the boys with their button holes, helping me with my dress, meeting us with drinks as we arrived at the venue & generally being on top of what was happening."
If that's how good Wedding Wonders can be with less than 36 hours notice, can you imagine how brilliant we are when we actually meet the bride and know all the details of the wedding!
Wedding Wonders - Turning Your Stress Into Success
It's never too late to talk to us - unless your wedding has already taken place!

Sunday, 9 May 2010

On the Day Co-ordinator or Toastmaster?

On the day of a wedding, I usually set off at around 9am with the following items loaded into my car:

• Umbrellas (hopefully not required!)
• Locking post box for cards to be collected
• Large emergency kit bag
• Small emergency kit bag
• M&S sandwich order form

My first stop is at M&S to collect the pre-ordered sandwiches for the bride and bridal party – it’s a long time between breakfast and sitting down for the wedding breakfast at around 5pm.

At around 10am, I arrive with the bridal party where I am available to iron the wedding dress, bridesmaids’ dresses, make cups of tea for mum, dad, bride, hairdresser, make-up lady and anyone else who is there.

I can do any sewing that needs doing and anything else that anyone needs me to do.

Before I leave, I lace the bride into her dress or do up all the tiny buttons and leave the white bridal umbrellas for the bridal party if necessary.

I then set off for the ceremony venue. Once there, I ensure everything is set up and light any candles, put tissues in place for the mums and put ‘reserved’ signs on the seats for the family, bridesmaids, speakers and witnesses.

When the groom and his groomsmen arrive, they invariably have their cravats on untied, even if I have emailed them a picture guide of how to tie them! I ensure they all have their ties or cravats tied in the same way and pin on their buttonholes for them.

If it’s raining, I escort the ladies into the ceremony under my large golf umbrellas, then wait for the bridal party to do the same for them.

When the ceremony has finished, I take the flower displays from the ceremony venue to the reception venue (if this is what has been agreed).
Once I am at the reception venue, I ensure the welcome drinks are ready for the arrival of the guests and the bride & groom. If there is a Toastmaster, he will be there and will have already done that.

If there is a Toastmaster, I leave them to help the photographer get the guests organised for photos while I check the place cards, favours, flowers etc are all in the right place. I get drinks for the string quartet and photographer and make sure the bride and groom get a drink and also make up a plate of canapés for the bride and groom otherwise they will miss out.

This is the only part of the day where the Toastmaster and On the Day Co-Ordinator would actually perform the same role. If there is a Toastmaster, they will make any announcements that need making which means I might actually get a bit of a break!

While the wedding breakfast is taking place, the Toastmaster will eat at a separate table in the same room as the guests. I will be ensuring that the evening entertainment has arrived and is ready to set up. I will also be taking wedding gifts up to the bridal suite so that there is no danger of them going missing.

Once the wedding breakfast is over, I will assist in the turn-around of the room for the evening, change and relight any candles which are getting low, and sprinkle table confetti to cover any stains on the table-cloths!

It is quite likely that the Toastmaster will have left by now, so I will announce the bride and groom’s first dance and then the opening of the evening buffet.

Before I leave at around 9.30pm, I ensure that all the gifts and cards are safely locked away in the bride and groom’s room, the top tier of the cake is kept safely if required and that all the suppliers have been paid.

A Toastmaster charges around the same as an On The Day Co-Ordinator (I charge from £375) – which would you rather have?

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Wedding caterer stuck in Egypt - part 1

So there I was on Thursday evening, looking forward to Friday’s Cappuccino Connections in Berkhamsted,lunch at Brent Cross with my friend Caroline followed by a lovely, relaxing weekend off when a text arrived which changed the course of the next few days.....

‘Hi Debbie I am stuck in Sharm El Sheikh due to the volcano. I have a wedding for 120 on Sat. Is there any chance you can help me out if I am not back in the UK tomorrow night. Alison xxx’

Wow, first person I’ve heard of affected by the volcano, but I can think of worse places to be stuck! I send a text straight back ‘No problem. Just let me know and I’ll do whatever I can tomorrow and/or Saturday’. A friend in need and a wedding in jeopardy - count me in to help.

Ok, first challenge – let’s find out which Alison this is as I know a few! Turns out it’s a fellow Athena member and she’s a caterer. I hope I don’t have to do the cooking for 120 guests – gulp!

Next text from Egypt – ‘Thanks so much. Will keep you informed tomorrow – what will your fee be? Ali xx’
My reply ‘Don’t worry about fee – we’ll sort something out. I feel lots of white chocolate coming my way xx’ (standing joke between us is my love of white Lindor – yum!) I hadn’t even thought about a fee to be honest. We just need to make the wedding as good as we can for the bride and groom.

Tweeted about her plight (without mentioning any names) and immediately had a number of offers of help from friends – a few of the offers coming from previous Wedding Wonders’ brides. What did we ever do without the internet!

Friday morning, after a few texts and calls, lunch has been moved earlier and I’m to report for duty at 2:30 at Ali’s house. Lunch with Caroline was wonderful but I couldn’t relax wondering what the afternoon had in store.

Reported for duty and met Ali’s son and another Debbie who was doing all the cooking. Lucky guests – they don’t have to rely on my cooking now! Off to the cash & carry then get a call to say Tesco delivery only contains 7 cartons of gravy instead of 20.

Ok, next stop Tesco then! Very long story, but spent about an hour trying to source the gravy (no pun intended!) in other stores as they didn’t have any, before Debbie came up with an alternative option and I was able to return to the house.

Got home and devised a timetable for the day so at least we all knew what was happening. Thank goodness Ali’s son didn’t go on holiday with them or we wouldn’t have had access to all the equipment we needed! He has now forwarded all the wedding emails to me so I can get up to speed. I’m relieved to find that I already know the people who are providing the bar and I know they will help us out if we need them to.

Part 2 to follow ........