Giftast Loves… The Vine Witch

The Vine Witch, by Luanne G. Smith

 

 
 
 
 
 
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I had to keep this secret for SO long, but today is the day. THE VINE WITCH is an Amazon First Read for September!! #debutauthor #fantasy

A post shared by Luanne G. Smith (@luannegsmith) on

 

If I’d not already decided to bring back #GiftastLoves, then I would have to tell you about The Vine Witch. It’s an Amazon First Read for this month, so maybe go download it immediately, then come back here and finish reading my review.

Having escaped from a curse which left her trapped in the body of a toad for 7 long years, Elena Boureanu returns to Château Renard to find that much has changed in her absence. The now failing vineyard has been bought by Vigneron Jean-Paul Martel, a mortal with a distaste for witchcraft and superstition. Elena must fight Jean-Paul’s prejudice, the curious web of hexes which has been cast over the vineyard in her absence, and her unquenchable thirst for revenge, to restore Château Renard to it’s full glory.

"And yet just because a thing can't be seen doesn't mean it isn't real." - The Vine Witch, Luanne G Smith

So let’s start at the beginning.

This book has the weirdest opening I’ve ever read. It’s just – I love it. I think it’s gross, but I love it. It’s a strange, jarring thing, which I’m not going to spoil for you by sharing. But it’s brave, and interesting, and immediately gripping. 

The storytelling is atmospheric and fast-paced, and I absolutely raced through the book because I couldn’t put it down. Elena is a witch, yes, but human and relatable in her overwhelming desire for revenge. I was with her at every stage – first willing her to do the unthinkable, then mellowed by the handsome, kind Jean-Paul and his slow steps towards belief. 

I find witchcraft so interesting. It’s a feminine realm, one crushed and persecuted over centuries. We forget, I think, how much has been lost due to fear and ignorance. Yet we’re currently in a resurgence – I went into a remainder book shop the other day and saw 6+ books on spells, and half of them were for kitchen witches, (the side of witchcraft I imagine is most closely related to vine witchcraft).

The thing about Giftast Loves is that I only put stuff up here that I like.

This way I get to share the things I love, and we all get a little bit more positivity in our lives. I’ve always liked the idea of karma, and so the witchy idea that whatever you put out, you get threefold in return, really chimed with me. It’s encouraged me, since I put the book down, to try and be kinder. Not just because I think I’ll get nastiness back threefold, but because it’s just nicer being kind. 

So rather than a book review per se, I’m more sharing how this book made me feel. It boiled my blood with thoughts of revenge, it cooled and calmed and healed me, and it made me sad. But most of all, it made me want to be kinder, not only to other people but also to myself. 

The Vine Witch is written by Luanne G. Smith and published by 47North.

You can buy it here – it is part of Amazon First Reads for September 2019.

As an Amazon Affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Personalising your Wedding Ceremony with Yvonne Beck, Celebrant

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of chatting with Celebrant Yvonne Beck. Yvonne is based in Berlin, but has worked all over the world, and regularly hosts ceremonies in the UK.

Going into the conversation, I had no idea what a celebrant did. Yvonne really opened my eyes to what was available to couples who didn’t want a traditional or religious ceremony. I wish I’d known this much when I was planning my wedding!

Yvonne and I chatted about different types of ceremonies, and how couples can make theirs personal to them. As tends to happen in conversations with me, we also got onto my favourite subject – animals at weddings!

I really enjoyed speaking to Yvonne, and learned a lot. If you’re feeling restricted by the idea of a traditional ceremony, then this is one for you. 

Check out the video below, or the transcript beneath for more info. You can see more of Yvonne on her website, on Instagram, and Facebook.

Hi there, it’s Katherine from Giftast Wedding and Events Stationery, and I’m here today with Yvonne Beck, who is a Celebrant based in Germany, in Berlin. Yvonne, can you tell us a bit about yourself?

Hi, I’m Yvonne, I’m a celebrant that’s based in Germany.

I divide my time between Berlin and London, but I also do ceremonies in different parts of England.

And also lots of ceremonies now in Southern Germany, where the mountains are. So it’s elopements as well, which have been really coming up this year. I’ve had quite a number of your elopements last year and this year.

That’s nice – very romantic! I always think elopements are the most romantic. How did you get started being a celebrant?

I was looking for a change of career after spending many years working in the public sector, in education and training. I was invited to be a guest at ceremony in Australia, from some friends who’d worked in London but married in Australia. They introduced me to their celebrant, and as we had the ceremony in the vineyard overlooking the ocean at sunset, it was just magical.

I’d never experienced anything like that,

so when the time came, I was looking to see whether celebrantsy was something I could do in in England. I was based in London looking at what kind of training I could do, and I trained with the Fellowship of Professional Celebrants in 2011. So I’ve been a celebrant for about eight years now, and yeah, I’ve never looked back.

I mean many of my couples to begin with were from Australia and New Zealand and America because they already understood the kind of role that a celebrant can play in terms of personalising the ceremony. Now that over the years has changed,

so more and more English and UK couples are looking for that kind of choice and flexibility on their wedding day, to have ceremony that’s really about them.

Because you don’t just do weddings do you? You do birth naming ceremonies, things like that. I was looking on your website – so what’s your sort of favourite ceremony to do?

Well I suppose weddings really, because it’s all romantic, and it’s exciting. I mean, it’s a real honour and a privilege to be asked to create a ceremony and lead a ceremony. But I think the whole day, you know, it’s family, it’s friends. It’s usually a slightly bigger event than perhaps a baby-naming, where in actual fact you’ve probably got 100 children and 40 adults. That’s quite a challenge sometimes! I think all ceremonies that celebrate life’s major milestones are really important, so they really resonate with me.

As I’ve gotten older I’ve realised the importance of celebrating the things you can while you can and enjoying life.

Ceremonies I think are a way that we you know can ritualize experiences create memories. Therefore I think in lots of ways, starting a new life together as a couple is probably one of my favourites, because that couple are standing in front of me looking each other in the eyes, and saying the most heartfelt tender and sincere words. Because they write their own vows mostly, and I just stand there in awe. Love is such a powerful thing, and so yeah, I love weddings.

Ah, that sounds so wonderful. Is there any difference between what people want – because obviously you work globally – so is there a difference between what people tend to want in the UK and other places like Germany and New Zealand and Australia?

I think they want a ceremony that’s flexible and it’s about them.

They also want ceremonies that are outside out in nature, and I’ve done lots and lots of ceremonies in the gardens of manor houses, and private gardens in woodlands open areas that allow people to really express themselves and feel relaxed. I think you feel more relaxed when you’re in nature, because it reminds you of days when you were at the beach or picnicking or doing something – you know, bimbling around and in the woods.

I think that going into a formal situation like a big grand house can be quite overwhelming and intimidating. And I have done those ceremonies, but those are for couples who’ll use historical buildings because it’s their theme.

I think with the celebrant, know that there’s nothing that’s off the table.

So any of their plans and ideas are fine with me. This year I’ll be creating ceremony for a couple from Australia in a castle in Warwickshire, and they’ve asked me to dress up in 15th century costume. And that will be my first one, so I’ve come a long way I think from my first ceremonies. One of my very first ones was on an animal sanctuary in Sussex, and the couple wanted animals to be part of their day. And so the week before the wedding, I was introduced to a herd of thirty bulls and cows that were in the sanctuary, and they were looked after so lovely.

I was just told to watch where they’re putting their feet, because they can step on you. They can’t see where feet are, but these animals were so lovely and on the day and we have the ceremony in the field with the cows and bulls behind us. Because they’re curious animals, they came up behind me, and I could feel breathing down my neck!

It was most incredible, but loving.

I mean the couple actually wrote a poem to themselves, to the animals, and because they both believed very much in animal welfare, and the rights of animals to live a happy life. I mean, these were sanctuary animals, so they’d been kept as pets or in petting zoos or farms – you know in in those sorts of environments where in the end people couldn’t look after them. Huglett’s Animal Sanctuary – big shout out for them, they do the most amazing vegan breakfast and they they were really lovely! So yes I’ve done stately homes and houses, historical buildings and farms.

I think what what couples really want is this ability to express their ideas and their plans and their story.

Well that’s brilliant, I love that you talked about having animals there as well. Having animals involved in your wedding is something I’m so interested in  – big animal lover! That’s the thing I’m always trying to do, because we had a very small ceremony and my cat couldn’t come. Looking back, I wish I’d done things differently – not to have him there, because he would have hated it, but had him involved in a slightly different way. We had a tiny Lego cat on our cake, but other than that, he wasn’t really there. And I think that’s a shame, so that’s why I think that’s absolutely lovely.

Yes I mean we do get ring bearers who were pets now with the family pet,  it can be rabbits or pets but you know dogs. 

A rabbit ring bearer – that would be incredible!

It’s important to give couples that kind of confidence to go with their flow and how they feel. So as a celebrant, I will say to them, you know, there’s no wrong door. Anything and everything you put on the table, we will work through and see whether we can incorporate it. Because there are no restrictions on the time of the ceremony or the length of the ceremony, and it makes for really exciting photography. I’m sure when the couples get their photographs back, not just of the ceremony but of the whole day – you know those memories would just be amazing.

Aw, that’s absolutely brilliant –  big fan of that. Do you have any tips for couples for the ideas and things to help make their ceremony more personal for them?

I think that they should really think about what is important their values and beliefs and how they want to express those.

So whether that’s including rituals like cultural rituals or rituals of heritage. You know many couples come now from different backgrounds, and they want to respect those backgrounds and faiths and so we can include that in the celebrant ceremony. Many couples don’t realise that, because they think it’s a civil ceremony. So they think they can’t have any religion or culture or spiritualism in it, but it can and I can work with the clergy if they want.

I mean I’ve often asked couples if they’d like anything religious, and they’ve said yes, well we have an uncle who’s a pastor or a local priest – my family priest. And if they’re willing to come and give some sort of blessing, then I’m all for that. Because I’m thinking, that is that is truly then authentic, in terms of respecting everything, in terms of the couple’s wishes.

And if they want to have it in a hot-air balloon or  on the beach or just the two of them saying their vows, there’s nothing wrong with that.

Many couples nowadays I think, find that the cost of a wedding, and the size of the wedding and how big  the invitation list gets can be quite overwhelming. I’m seeing a trend to more smaller more intimate weddings, between 25 and 75 guests. So I give them  the opportunity to say what style, what size, where’s the location. And if we want it in our family garden, that’s fine too. You can dress the garden up, dress the tree up.

I’ve often created ceremonies in family gardens. They’ve ranged from a small back garden in London to where the family had a farm, and acres of land. So I think it’s about what makes you happy.

The question really is this:

How do you want to feel on your wedding day?

How do you want be about your ceremony and so what things will make you feel like that? And involving your family your children if you’ve got them. Many couples bring children into the relationship, because they’ve had a relationship and lived together before they decided to get legally married. The ceremony really can include children. With things like a unity ceremony. I don’t know if you’ve heard of these, where the unity ceremonies symbolise the bond that you’re building and the family that you’re building.

So it might be a candle lighting, and you can ask everyone to light the candle, or it might be a hand fasting where ribbons are tied around your wrists and make you tied by family and friends. Or there might be a sand pouring ceremony.

Different colours of sand representing each child and each member of family poured into a vessel creates layered look of these beautiful colourful layers.

The symbolism there is that what is brought together cannot be taken apart,

because you couldn’t then un-mix those grains of sand. So it’s about forming a lasting and enduring bond throughout your married life and family life.

That’s so nice, and lovely that you can personalise it like that. Unfortunately we’re now out of time so that’s been absolutely brilliant, thank you so much Yvonne that’s been great. I feel like I’ve learned loads, thank you very much

You can see more of Yvonne on her website, on Instagram, and Facebook.

 

What next?

If you’d like to chat about your wedding stationery options, you can contact me here, email me on info(at)giftast.com to arrange a free consultation call. 

Looking for something extra special?

Check out our Bespoke Design page for more information on how I can help you realise your wedding-stationery dreams!

Behind The Name: What does Giftast Mean?

One of the questions I’m asked most is, what does Giftast mean

I thought I’d take the opportunity to not only answer this fully, but also tell you a bit about how the company was founded.

Giftast means “marry” in Icelandic.

I started the company in 2017, after designing my own wedding stationery, and taking our honeymoon in Iceland. Several of our wedding stationery collections started life as paintings made on the back of postcards, created as we wound our way around the Route 1 Ring Road.

behind the scenes creating a wedding stationery range

It was such a wonderful country, and one I completely fell in love with. I’m not the best traveller, but Iceland was different. It was familiar and alien all at once. Parts were like the Yorkshire moors, parts felt like the Alps, parts felt like Mars! 

Because it was such a special place and time for us, it seemed most appropriate to nod to it when I decided to found my business. Giftast felt right, and seemed to really represent what I wanted to do with the business.

Hints of Mordor…

Why start a business?

After completing a degree in Illustration in 2009, I began a career combining event management, and managing the work lives and diaries of several extremely disorganised corporate leaders. 

My experience of running high-pressure events and diffusing stressful situations, combined with a love of creating beautiful, bespoke artwork led to the founding of Giftast.

It would have been lovely to go straight into a creative job, but the corporate work taught me about how business works. It also taught me new skills, such as event management, diary organisation and working in high pressure situations. This experience was invaluable when planning my own wedding, and I love to share this knowledge with couples planning their big day.

Having worked in the corporate environment for close to a decade, I provide a high-quality and trusted service to help couples and events coordinators.

Together we can take your events to the next level with bespoke finishing touches, designed to help take the stress out of wedding and event planning.

So there you have it! My career in brief. The more I learn about the wedding industry, the more I want to help couples achieve a wedding that is completely personal to them. There is an enormous amount of tradition behind weddings, and that’s great, but isn’t for everyone. I felt very constrained by expectations when planning my wedding, and wasn’t aware of what other options were available.  

I wish I knew what was available when I was planning my wedding. If I had, would have done a lot of things differently. 

With this in mind, my focus with wedding stationery is to work with a couple using our bespoke design service to create something which really represents you. You can then use this personal branding throughout your wedding design.

If you’d like to arrange a free consultation over the phone or Skype to discuss your wedding stationery, and talk about how Giftast can help you realise what you really want out of your big day, just call 07949 910101 or email info@giftast.com.

 

What next?

If you’d like to chat about your wedding stationery options, you can contact me here, email me on info(at)giftast.com to arrange a free consultation call. 

Looking for something extra special?

Check out our Bespoke Design page for more information on how I can help you realise your wedding-stationery dreams!

Hannah Larkin Photography – Emma Pink Floral Wedding Stationery

If you weren’t already persuaded that Hannah Larkin is my favourite photographer, then perhaps this gallery will convince you!

Images by Hannah Larkin Photography

Hannah was kind enough to photograph my pretty floral Emma range. In spite of the bright pink back, this is a delicate range with a lot of fine detail. I’ve struggled to photograph it, so was excited to see what Hannah would make of it.

And she didn’t disappoint! Aren’t they gorgeous? 

Images by Hannah Larkin Photography

Your stationery is a long-lasting way to link your wedding together, from Save the Dates all the way through to Thank You Cards. One thing I love about the Emma range is the monogram, which can be used almost as a logo for you and your partner, into your married life. 

Images by Hannah Larkin Photography

I’m going to be talking about this idea a lot more in the future, so watch out for that! But if you get your wedding stationery design right, it can really streamline your wedding planning. You’ve got the theme, colours and feeling of your ceremony, all easy to reference. Then you can use those design elements to tie everything together. 

Images by Hannah Larkin Photography

If that’s made you as happy as it made me, then you can see more of Hannah on her website and social media links below!

www.hannahlarkinphotography.com
www.facebook.com/hannahlarkinphotography
www.instagram.com/hannahlarkinphotography
www.twitter.com/hannahlarkin

What next?

If you’d like to chat about your wedding stationery options, you can contact me here, email me on info(at)giftast.com to arrange a free consultation call. 

Looking for something extra special?

Check out our Bespoke Design page for more information on how I can help you realise your wedding-stationery dreams!

Talking Wedding Photography with Hannah Larkin Photography

A couple of weeks ago I had the absolute pleasure of talking wedding photography with Hannah Larkin, of Hannah Larkin Photography. We covered bespoke, and tips for looking your best on your wedding day, as well as her how-to for finding the right photographer for you.

You can tell I had a “lovely” time talking to Hannah, because that’s how I responded to everyone of her answers! And it was awkward typing up the transcript, but I stand by my declarations of loveliness. Check out the video below (subtitles available) or you can read the chat below.

You can see more of Hannah on her website and her Instagram. She also has an excellent Pinterest board on pets at weddings which I cannot recommend highly enough!

Katherine: Hi, it’s Katherine from Giftast, and I’m here with Hannah Larkin, wedding photographer. Lovely to see you, Hannah.

Hannah: Hi, nice to see you Katherine.

K: And if you wouldn’t mind just introducing yourself?

H: Yeah, sure. So I’m Hannah, from Hannah Larkin Photography. I’m a London-based wedding photographer, with a second base up in Northumberland, in the North East, and

I travel across the UK and also overseas, photographing beautiful weddings, and also families.

I have a sort of “Lifestyle” style to my photos, just natural, relaxed, and with a real focus on capturing emotions as they happen on your wedding day, so I can create a story of the day as it happens.

K: Oh, lovely. Now, do you have any tips for brides and grooms who might be a bit more uncomfortable with being photographed, for how they can look their best in their wedding photographs?

H: Yeah – that’s a really common concern, and actually most of the brides and grooms who get in touch with me will say that at least one of them either hates having their photograph taken and is camera shy, or feels very awkward.

So what I always recommend is to have an engagement shoot as a chance to practice.

So all my wedding photography packages include and engagement shoot, and it’s just a couple of hours for us to go somewhere where you feel relaxed and comfortable, and we can practice taking the pictures. You can get used to being in front of my camera, I can get used to working with you, and we get to know each other as well, because I think if you know the person who’s taking the pictures and you feel that you can kind of trust them, that you can relax and be yourself and have a bit of fun with it as well, then that will show in your photos.

Images by Hannah Larkin Photography

K: Lovely. What are your favourite sort of images to take in both wedding and engagement shoots?

H: Well, I think the beauty of weddings is that you get to take all sorts of different photos throughout the day, so I get to start off with catching all the special details that you’ve chosen for your day, so I’m – yeah, I love seeing the kind of thought and effort that people have put in to finding exactly the right accessories or rings, you know, shoes, jewellery, the stationery, of course as well, and capturing all those pretty details before the start of the day. Ceremonies are always special, as that time where where everybody is just sort of stopping and watching, so being able to document that, sort of quietly and unobtrusively, but really seeing all those emotions as they happen is so special.

I think probably my favourite bit though is the portraits,

so being able to take the bride and groom away from their guests, give them a little bit of time together to sort of take note of what’s happening and have that space to think “wow, we did it! We got married!” And yeah, having that sort of quiet time just to create romantic portraits.

K: Aw, that’s lovely, I suppose that it’s sort of –

if you do them straight after the ceremony as well, it’s the first time they spend together as a married couple, which is really special.

Thanks for that, that’s lovely.

H: Yeah, and I think that as part of that, I’ll get them to walk around a little bit, so I’m not going to be with them or in their face for the whole time, so they do have a bit of time just to kind of chat and have some private moments, and then of course I’ll be interacting with them to get kind of more close up pictures too, but yeah, I think a lot of my couples appreciate that bit of time where they haven’t got guests coming up to them all the time saying “Congratulations!”, so it is a little moment just to celebrate with their partner.

Images by Hannah Larkin Photography

K: Aw, that’s lovely. I know you like doing very bespoke, personalised weddings and things like that, so do you have any – if you’ve got a wedding with a strong theme, of how to get that into your photos?

H: So yeah, I really love it when a wedding kind of displays either different cultures or traditions that the families bring, or kind of personalised elements that reflect the couple themselves rather than just a kind of generic wedding, so I always sort of spend time getting to know my couples.

I take on only a limited number of weddings each year, so I do dedicate time to chatting with them, getting to know them, so I’ll be asking all about their decisions and choices for the wedding, what are the things they’re most excited for, what are the things they’ve spent the most time looking for and were the happiest when they found, and in that way I can make sure that all of those special details, important people – things that I know they really, really wanted or they put a lot of effort into getting, all of those details are captured for them on the day.

K: That’s lovely.

H: Yeah, and also I sometimes offer a slideshow – a wedding slideshow – of the day and that can be set to music that – so sometimes to the first dance song, or sometimes if there’s a particular song in a ceremony that means a lot to the couple, then I might use that to help kind of also carry that theme on through their wedding pictures.

Images by Hannah Larkin Photography

K: Aw, that’s so lovely. With all that in mind, how much sort of work you do with couples ahead of time, how far in advance do you recommend people try and book their photographer?

H: Well, it depends how long your engagement is obviously, what options you’ve got. I’ve got some couples who’ve been booked in for two and a half years in advance, other couples will contact me with a  few months to go. I’d say ideally you’d want to be booking at least six months in advance, and that’s to give a time to get to know each other, to schedule any engagement shoots, and to think through the timings for the day and the group shots, and just make sure that there’s no rush. But of course, if you’re planning a last minute wedding, especially elopements tend to be shorter time scales, and that’s something that I can work to too, but yeah – so something that fits you,

but if you’ve got the option then I’d go for it at least six months before.

How does that work for you in terms of ordering for somebody’s Save the Dates and then Invitations are some of the first things that people are going to be sending out. What the sort of time scale for doing that?

Images by Hannah Larkin Photography

K: Well, again, it depends entirely on how long your engagement is. Personally, I had a very short engagement, so we didn’t do save the dates at all, we did it far too short to be honest, for any of that, so yeah, we just did straight to invitations. But it really depends on like how personal you want it, because I think there’s this idea that you have to do save the dates, invitations and RSVPs, but at the moment, again, depending on how long their engagement is, and whether you’re going abroad, save the dates might not be the right thing for you, and it’s the same with RSVPs – if you’re inviting a lot of younger people, you might not want to send out paper RSVPs to everybody,

so it’s really mix and match, making it to what fits best with how you’re doing your wedding and how you’re planning your ceremony.

So yeah, it’s so personal. Absolutely. Do you have any tips for couples on choosing the right wedding photographer for them, so for style and things like that, that they want for their photos?

H: Yeah, I guess first it’s about looking at pictures and trying to work out what sort of style appeals to you, what sort of style fits with how you imagine your wedding. Generally there seems to be a range to this one, from super-posed – and all the way through to more paparazzi-style, documentary style images.

I’m somewhere in the middle, so I’ll make small adjustments so everyone is looking their best, but I won’t pose people too much, because I want them to have that natural and relaxed feel.

So I think it’s about finding that style that you think “yes, that’s what relates to me”, and then I’d really encourage you to contact some photographers and start talking to them, and making sure that you really get on with them. Because as a photographer I spend most of the wedding day with the couple, so I’ll be with either the bride or groom in the morning, capturing them getting ready, all the way through the ceremony, that intimate time for portraits, speeches, and the celebrations going on into the evening.

So you want to feel comfortable with that person, that you can trust them, that you can get on with them, and I’m lucky that a lot of the clients that I end up with actually become friends, that you know, we’ve got on so well over that process, so that’s something we can continue beyond the wedding, which is lovely.

Images by Hannah Larkin Photography

K: That’s really lovely. Yeah I think the ideas about really doing your homework, and checking on whether someone’s style is right for you. And it’s the same with invitations as well. Especially if you’re going bespoke, erm, looking at the other work someone does, and checking that it’s in line with your vision. Like, I do a lot of water colour-y, quite soft, pared back ones, rather than the really strong, graphic style. So, it’s not for everybody, and there are going to be other people that, if you want that particular style, are going to be a lot more suited to it than me. So really it’s finding that right person.

H: Yeah, and I guess because you can also make sort of subtle changes, can’t you? So you’ve got your overall style and within that you can make things to be bespoke, and that’s the same with photography,

I think you pick an overall style and then work with them to make sure they capture it. Capture what you want from your day.

K: Lovely, well thank you so much for taking the time to talk to me, Hannah, it’s been lovely.

H: Well it’s been lovely chatting, thanks Katherine.

K: I’ll see you again soon.

H: Take care, bye bye.

 

 

What next?

If you’d like to chat about your wedding stationery options, you can contact me here, email me on info(at)giftast.com to arrange a free consultation call. 

Looking for something extra special?

Check out our Bespoke Design page for more information on how I can help you realise your wedding-stationery dreams!

Chatting Vegan Skin Care and Sustainable Stationery with Chrys Chapman MUA

A couple of weeks ago, I had the absolute pleasure of chatting skincare and sustainability with the brilliant Chrys Chapman, MUA. Chrys is based in Harrogate, just up the road from me, and really knows her stuff when it comes to skin science. You can check out our chat in the video below, or there’s a transcript further down the page. 

You can see more of Chrys on her website, or any of her social links below.

Facebook

Instagram

Transcript

Katherine: Hi there, I’m Katherine from Giftast Wedding and Event Stationery based in Batley, and I’m here today with the brilliant Chrys Chapman, a make up artist based just up the road from me in Harrogate, in North Yorkshire. Hi Chrys!

Chrys: Hello, hello!

K: Thank you for coming, lovely to see you. Please will you tell me all about yourself!

C: Yes, so as you said, I’m Chrys, I’m a hair and make up artist and stylist based in Harrogate. I’m clearly not native to Yorkshire, I moved over here from the States, from California, gosh, about 14 years ago, and yeah. Sort of balancing life with two getting very grown up children and lots of makeup and hair fun basically. So that’s what I do.

K: So, I have a couple of questions about preparing for your big day with your makeup in particular. Do you have any pre-wedding skin care tips to get you looking your best ahead of the big day?

C: Yes – so basically when I do I trial with one of my brides, I always recommend that we build in some extra time to go through a skin care routine, even if we haven’t built in extra time, it comes up anyway, because I’m quite a skincare obsessive – probably because I’m quite a science nerd, actually, so

I tend to think that if the skin isn’t right, the make up can be beautiful but it probably won’t stick as well as it could.

So yeah, there’s lots of skin tips, but they’re all very skin type and condition specific, so getting a makeup artist who does have a background in skin. I think that’s the first step, because we can then really speak to what products are best for you, what’s gonna sit really nicely on the day. So yeah, but the rule of thumb for me, you definitely need a really good cleanser, and commit to taking your makeup off every day.

K: We’ve all done that!

C: People are like, “do I really have to?”, and I’m like “yeah, you really do !” So that one, and a really good moisturiser, something with an SPF. That’s it, that’s kind of the capsule, really important stuff.

K: So, does that help with making your makeup last longer on the day, and

are there any other tips you have to help your makeup last longer?

C: Absolutely. So yeah,

the more prepped your skin is, the less makeup you’ll need.

The less makeup we use, the longer it will last. So all if these things really work together and equally, you know. Where we start at the very beginning, with a makeup consultation is trying to figure out if a bride wants her skin to look matt or dewy. I mean, that’s the very basic choice that we have to get to, and we can achieve those things mostly through our skin care, actually.

So the more we can prep the skin for giving the overall effect, the less heavy lifting we have to do with make up products. Then skin tends to look more like skin, which we like, and it always photographs nicer when there are fewer products on, so yeah, that’s kind of the long and short of that, and in terms of making your makeup last longer. I mean, I could probably do a whole 20-30 minutes talking just about primer, because I’m that passionate about it. *Laughs* I won’t, but I will say,

get yourself a good primer, without any silicone in it.

There is one exception to that rule, but that’s the rule.

K: Alright, brilliant. For your wedding make up, I guess you’ll need less time if you’ve got your skin care routine down, but

how long would you suggest people leave to have their makeup done on the day?

C: Yeah, so I do get this one a lot, so rule of thumb is 45 minutes is the industry standard that we would allow for a wedding make up. For a bridal make up, I would definitely allow a little bit more time, because we are going to probably be using more skin care products as well. I always prep a bride’s skin – I wouldn’t necessarily say differently to a bridesmaid, because if a bridesmaid needed more skin care to make the make up stick correctly, I would do it, but a bride I would absolutely be putting that time in to an application.

So yeah, that’s not to say that we can’t do a make up faster than 45 minutes, but to allow for everything to run really smoothly, and I want to be calm, because that’s a really important element, actually.

That when you’re choosing your make up artist, you want the chemistry to be right, because that getting ready time, that’s a massive part of your special day.

You don’t want that to be messed around because we’re frantically trying to get curls put in, and curls are falling, or we haven’t had enough time to set your makeup properly, so, yes, always give a little bit of extra time.

K: Ah, brilliant. So, another question I had is, I’m vegan, so one thing that, when I was looking for – considering a makeup artist for our wedding, something that put me off was not necessarily knowing about whether they’d be using the right products for me, so is that something you can cater for?

C: Yes, absolutely. And I think more and more we are seeing in the industry the brands are getting savvy to this, that consumers – it’s something that’s really really important to them, so while I can’t say that my entire kit is vegan-friendly yet, that is the direction that I’m moving in, and I have got to a stage now where I’m only adding new products that fit that particular bill, because my clients want it, so it’s no good me having, sort of, a non vegan and a vegan kit, like –

I aim to find things that are only cruelty friendly and vegan friendly.

A lot of products, even looking towards like, gluten free, so it is a lot to do with sort of knowing your brands, and knowing your customer, so actually the flip side of that argument, is that I’ve got a couple of customers with very sensitive skin, and we’ve had to work really closely to figure out which ingredients it is that they can’t use, and sometimes those aren’t necessarily vegan friendly.

So we have to find a balance, but you know, as well, if you do have specific concerns like that, you can get the makeup artist to use your own – say, your own foundation, or your own specific products that you feel really strongly like that this is the one that I use, and I have to have it. They’ll advise you if it’s one that’ll photograph well or not, but you can definitely insist upon that. So yeah.

K: Oh that’s so – I had no idea about gluten free in makeup at all, no idea whatsoever. That’s really interesting.

C: Yeah, but it all ties in with a question that I have for you, actually, so I’m gonna take reins. So, in terms of your business, because obviously we’re all very eco sort of centric at the moment, making sure that we’re doing good things for the environment. Obviously, you work with paper, so

what are we doing that’s good for the environment?

K: OK, well it’s a couple of things, because I love paper, I love the feel of it, like I love books, I love holding them in my hand, and I think there is something about wedding stationery – like, we always give out sample packs, because holding it in your hand is just so different from seeing it online, so I am very pro-paper. However, also pro environment, so we do that in a couple of ways.

So in house, we recycle everything we possibly can.

One of the reasons we don’t do a lot of foiling, and we certainly don’t have foil samples, although it is something we can get for you, is just because it’s not so environmentally friendly. It’s more difficult to dispose of, things like that. So it’s not something we like to keep and hold. We also – we do offer recycled papers, although it isn’t our standard, just because of print quality, so that is an issue that the industry as a whole has, but we do make sure we always use vegetable inks, we use a printer that has a really good recycling policy, they plant trees, they recycle 100% of their waste, so it’s just doing what we can within the limited sphere of what we have to the best, really.

So there are always ways we can get better, like we are cutting back on paper we do with a gloss finish, just because that’s more difficult to recycle, and it’s a bit plastic-y. So just to try and trim where we can, just to make it as eco as possible, but we can always do better and that’s something we’re always looking at.

C: Cool. Very good.

And from a design point of view, do you ever coordinate with other wedding suppliers?

So, I don’t know, are there things that, like, you can – cake, say. Could you have the same design on your cake as you did on your stationery.

K: That isn’t something we’ve done, but I would absolutely love to do that. That would be so nice. Because I design everything, all bespoke stuff from scratch, so it’s never going to be elements you’ll find anywhere else, on any other websites or anything like that, so it would be wonderful to carry it through to your cake – that would be amazing, yeah, definitely. Maybe your makeup, can we do some sort of exciting face painting would be incredible.

C: Flowers, and things like that. But even things like, you do see a lot of brides opting for gifting their bridesmaids, like dressing gowns.

K: Oh yes.

C: For the morning of- something like the pattern on your dressing gown, so it all ties in together, and then it’s in your photos, that kind of thing.

K: Oh, lovely, yeah, definitely. I’ve got loads of ideas to take forward, thank you so much, Chrys! And really lovely to talk to you! Thank you so much for your time.

 

What next?

If you’d like to chat about your wedding stationery options, you can contact me here, email me on info(at)giftast.com to arrange a free consultation call. 

Looking for something extra special?

Check out our Bespoke Design page for more information on how I can help you realise your wedding-stationery dreams!

Brides Magazine Feature

Did I mention our teeny little feature in the September/October 2018 issue of Brides Magazine?? 😍👰❤️🥂 

Brides Magazine Sept/Oct 2018
Brides Magazine Sept/Oct 2018

Because that’s the kind of thing you should probably mention on your website! You can find Giftast and my super popular Victorian Wedding Style Estella range in the Eat Your Heart Out section in the back 😘 xx

 

What next?

If you’d like to chat about your wedding stationery options, you can contact me here, email me on info(at)giftast.com to arrange a free consultation call. 

Looking for something extra special?

Check out our Bespoke Design page for more information on how I can help you realise your wedding-stationery dreams!

Reduce Wedding Stress with Giftast Loves… Chilling the H*ck Out – Part 2

Want to reduce wedding stress? Let’s talk about relaxing! Continuing from my first post about letting go and Nolite te bastardes carborundorum, here are three more things which help me chill the h*ck out and which I, a person with more anxiety than I know what to do with, definitely need. 

As always, still not a doctor, and please don’t use this advice in lieu of consulting with a medical professional.

Down Dog

Click the picture to visit their site. So much battery life <3

Yes, but have you tried yoga?

I don’t want to be that person. I mean, really. But, as with everything in this list, it’s stuff that works for me. Down Dog is an app which plays you video yoga routines of your choice of length, style and difficulty. It’s really simple to use and you get loads of functionality on the free version.

One of my New Year’s resolutions was to do at least 10 minutes of yoga a day, and so far, I’ve stuck to that. Having this non-negotiable routine I have to work around means that I accomplish something for my own well-being and health every day, and now have tiny muscles in my arms which I refer to as my guns and will flex at the least provocation. The routines are just the right side of difficult meaning I can do them without injuring myself, but that I do have to concentrate to do them correctly, thus making my internal monologue shut the hell up for at least 10 minutes. If you’ve been fancying yoga, I’d really recommend giving it a try. There’s a dog, as well, which you sometimes see a picture of. It’s pretty fluffy.

:’)

Yogi Tea

Urgh, Katherine. First yoga and essential oils, and now yogi tea? Next you’ll be telling me you’re a vegan!?

*cough cough*

Not remotely unnerving. >_< Click to view on Amazon – As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

In some cases, some stereotypes are true. I’m also British, so of course I love tea. The chocolate one helps me sleep. It’s really nice. The little phrase cards on the tea bags are like opening a fortune cookie, so there’s a tiny bit of joy in that.  

Brendan Burchard – Release Meditation.

Under different circumstances I’d highly recommend High Performance Habits by Brendon Burchard, another Marie Forleo guided find and another self-help thing which I have found really beneficial. But in the context of this blog about chilling the h*ck out, I will instead recommend Brendan’s release meditation. 

It’s a tool to help reset your attitude, and make a break between tasks. If you’re feeling annoyed by your extended family’s insistence that they bring their umpteen kids, but you need to speak to, I don’t know, a vicar next, maybe try the release meditation to help you diffuse that anger and bring your best self to any visits with clergy. Or whatever. This is great if I’ve had a bad day at the side-hustle but really want to recharge and bring something positive to my work on Giftast, or spending some time with OH without spending another 2 hours complaining about how I was deeply, deeply wronged. 

So clear 20 minutes if you can, and I’ll let Brendan explain.

So there you have it, my six tips and tricks to chill the h*ck out. I’d love to know what you think, and what works for you!

For more stress-free Wedding Planning tips, check out our book here:

What next?

If you’d like to chat about your wedding stationery options, you can contact me here, email me on info(at)giftast.com to arrange a free consultation call. 

Looking for something extra special?

Check out our Bespoke Design page for more information on how I can help you realise your wedding-stationery dreams!

Giftast Loves… Chilling the H*ck Out – Part 1

What does this have to do with weddings, Katherine?

Oh, ye of little faith. As I continue in my quest to prove that I can relate almost anything to weddings, I invite you to beat wedding stress and join me in chilling the h*ck out. 

Wedding planning is a stressful business. I know it, you know it, we all know it. It is a truth universally acknowledged that a person engaged in planning a wedding must be in want of chilling the h*ck out. So while I can help take some of that stress away by sorting your wedding stationery (plug, plug), other things out of your control may go a little awry and send you into a stress spiral. As the big day approaches and your guests/family/significant other may be less than cooperative about who sits with who or on how urgent it is that they RSVP, you may find yourself feeling a little… tense.

Even though my wedding is well over, I still, as I always have, find it very difficult to switch off. Sleep is one of those things other people are good at, but it’s just so hard to shut my brain down most of the time. I’ve compiled an arsenal of things which help me, which, if you’re close to the end of your tether with wedding planning, or you just need a few moments of chill, might be helpful.

Not a doctor, obviously, and please do not use this advice in lieu of seeking medical help.

Relax Melodies

Click to visit the Relax Melodies website.

If I’m in a strange place or OH is on night shift, then I am constantly vigilant. Any noise, and I’m not only planning my escape from the (presumably) masked intruders but also speculating on exactly how I’ll be murdered. 

I know.

So in order to drown out the tiny little noises which are absolutely not worth my time and worry, and to shut off the racing, survival part of my brain which is straining to hear them, I use Relax Melodies.

You can mix and match repetitive sounds from birdsong to womb (!?) and orchestral to oscilating fan. You can then layer over a mix of meditations to help with a range of things from sleeping to tinnitus relief. When wedding stress gets you down, you can tune out to a cat’s purr.

Just LOOK how much battery life I have left. <3

I shelled out for premium for the full range of meditations, but the free version has plenty of sounds and meditations to get you started.

The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down – Haemin Sunim, Penguin.

 

We know the world only through the window of our mind.
When our mind is noisy, the world is as well.
And when our mind is peaceful, the world is, too.
Knowing our minds is just as important as trying to change the world.

– The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down – Haemin Sunim, Penguin

Click to view on Amazon. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

This book is wonderful. I saw a guy reading it over a couple of weeks on my commute to my side hustle, and he looked really chilled. Which could have been because he had a seat, while I was squeezed into the aisle between a rucksack, some guys’ spread out knees and someone who ABSOLUTELY HAD TO read a newspaper at full stretch. Yeah, you know what I mean. Anyhoo, I checked it out, and it’s filled with tiny wisdom to help you get things into perspective. Made for dipping into rather than reading in one sitting, this is great for grabbing a few moments of chill.

Tisserand Essential Oils

Click to view on Amazon. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Now, I don’t know how essential oils work. Do they work? Is it a placebo effect? I have no idea. But what I can tell you is that this little box of Energy from Tisserand does seem to have helped me focus, get more energy and have happy vibes, depending on which I’ve used. I’m writing this now while dotted with the Focus bottle, and not only does it smell lovely, but I am rattling out words like there’s no tomorrow, having just finished designing a stationery suite. 

TREMBLE BENEATH THE POWER OF MY LASER LIKE FOCUS.

*ahem*

They also do a little box of sleep which I’ve not tried yet but, ya know, seems like it’s only a matter of time. 

There’ll be three more things I use to chill the h*ck out (yes, I need six) and which might help if wedding stress is getting you down. They’ll follow in Part 2 next week. In the meantime, what helps you when you’re feeling stressed? I’d love to hear in the comments below <3

 

For more stress-free Wedding Planning tips, check out our book here:

What next?

If you’d like to chat about your wedding stationery options, you can contact me here, email me on info(at)giftast.com to arrange a free consultation call. 

Looking for something extra special?

Check out our Bespoke Design page for more information on how I can help you realise your wedding-stationery dreams!

Giftast Loves… Wedding DIY Cement Stuff

If my review of Big Magic (or the book itself) has inspired you to to try something a bit of wedding DIY, and you fancy something a bit more heavy duty, this could be the one for you!

I haven’t tried this myself yet, but it’s on the list – I’m thinking those little pots with succulents or cacti as a table centre, wedding favour, bridesmaid/groomsman gift? I love the idea of spray painting these in bold colours to fit your theme, and those bottle-shaped vases half-painted with a pastel colour? Gorgeous centrepiece. There are loads of possibilities here, and it’s amazing what you can do with some cement!

How about this for a cute little planter for some wedding DIY? You could even use these instead of place cards and table favours if you personalised them with guest names… Yeah, that would be a lot of candle holders, even at a small wedding. Maybe just stick with these for gifts for the in laws;)

This video is really great though, as it gives you more safety tips for working with cement, which seem pretty important.

And finally… my Spanish isn’t great, but you get the idea! There lacy little pots look so pretty, and would be really nice painted white and then stippled with copper coloured pain to bring out the pattern…

If you try any of this cement wedding DIY, I’d love to see the results! Tag me in your photos @giftast, and I’ll share! And if I ever get round to trying them, I’ll show you my results xx

wedding DIY ideas

What next?

If you’d like to chat about your wedding stationery options, you can contact me here, email me on info(at)giftast.com to arrange a free consultation call. 

Looking for something extra special?

Check out our Bespoke Design page for more information on how I can help you realise your wedding-stationery dreams!