May 30, 2011

Berlin: A honeymooner's guide

Berlin is a city that thrives on change and has managed to reinvent itself as one of Europe’s finest capitals. And while it may have a somewhat checkered past, Berlin has emerged as a unique and dynamic city since its reunification in 1989.

One of the best ways to see the city is by bicycle. Hire a two-wheeler from the Fat Tire Bike Rentals and start your tour pedalling along Unter den Linden ("under the linden trees"), the main boulevard in the Mitte district of Berlin.

“As long as the lime trees still blossom in Unter den Linden, Berlin will always be Berlin,” Marlene Dietrich once sang about this magnificent avenue.

Today, the trees still blossom and the old buildings along Unter den Linden have been extensively restored and modern architecture has created new highlights.

Historical standouts include the National Opera House and the Deutsches Historisches Museum, as well as Frederick the Great’s Statue, an ode to the king of Prussia from 1740 to 1786 who had a defining hand in shaping Berlin’s cultural, political and military might.

At the end of this decadent drive is the Brandenburg Gate – the divide between East and West during the Cold War, which is a popular photo stop for tourists.

From there, take in the Reichstag building; the 100-year-old sandstone shell that housed the first Parliament of the German Empire which has been rebuilt into a modern building and tourist attraction.

Inside, take a lift up to the sleek steel-and-glass cupola to a platform that offers 360-degree views of the Berlin cityscape, where a free audio guide will help you locate major landmarks from your vantage point.

Berlin is also renowned for its diverse nightlife – from its trendy and luxe bars to its thriving club scene.

One of the city’s stalwarts is the Rum Trader. This tiny bar specialises in impeccably crafted rum-based drinks and is overseen by Gregor Scholl, the dapper waist-coated and bow tie-sporting proprietor.

At the Rum Trader you don’t select a cocktail from the drinks menu – there isn’t one. Scholl prefers instead to conduct a preliminary consultation with each patron prior to suggesting a particular drink.

When to visit: For relatively warm weather and to avoid the tourist crowds visit from late spring to early autumn (May/June or September/October).

Stay at: Brandenburger Hof, Berlin.

May 24, 2011

Calling all brides: Your beauty blunders sorted

Nobody's skin, hair and nails are flawless, but we all want them to look that way on our wedding day. Our resident beauty blogger Laura Curtis shares her tips for brides who want to look picture perfect in time for their day in the spotlight.


Adult acne is more common than you may think – not even beautiful Katy Perry is immune! Don't despair, there are effective ways to eradicate acne and its after-effects. First of all, find a product containing salicylic acid. Salicylic acid is a gentle chemical exfoliant that is able to penetrate through the upper layer of the skin into the pores, dissolving congestion and preventing further break-outs.

Alpha-H Age Delay Anti-Wrinkle Night Treatment
is ultra-effective, combining 2% salicylic acid with anti-aging ingredients Vitamin A, Vitamin E and green tea extract. Secondly, incorporate a sulfur-based product into your evening regime, like Eve Lom Dynapot. It will reduce inflammation and heal your acne faster. Finally, use an oil-free moisturiser with hyaluronic acid. The hyaluronic acid will replenish your skin with moisture, without feeling heavy or exacerbating your acne. Kiehl's Sodium PCA Oil-Free Moisturiser is a lovely option, leaving the skin feeling soft and smooth.

Lacklustre hair

If there is one day of our lives we deserve to have Victoria's Secret model hair, it should be our wedding day. Split ends, dry locks and a dull hue can all be rectified with the right products. To add shine, try Kerastase Elixir Ultime, a light, nourishing oil-based serum. A rich hair mask will achieve a soft, silky texture; Aveda Dry Remedy Moisturising Treatment Mask uses natural ingredients and smells divine. For a glistening sheen, ask your hairdresser to spritz Bumble & bumble Shine as a finishing touch on the day.

Pasty skin

As Cate Blanchett demonstrates, pale skin can be stunning. Pasty, however, is not so desirable, and presents itself with dullness and blotchiness. To give your skin an even, luminous tone, try using Cate's favourite radiance-boosting product SK-II Facial Treatment Essence, in place of your toner. A light-reflecting eye cream, such as Philosophy Eye Hope, will help to revive and refresh your eye area. On the day, ask your make-up artist to use an illuminator underneath your foundation. I love Mecca Luminous Skin Perfector.

Brittle nails

Too embarrassed to let the beauty therapist see your nails? Whipping them into shape will take a little time and effort, but it is super easy. Manicare's 3-Step Nail Buffer will strengthen your nails and add shine, while OPI Avoplex Cuticle Oil will keep your cuticles healthy and hydrated. Try to use them both at least a few times a week leading up to your wedding day. If your nails are weak and brittle, visit your local health food store and pick up some supplemental silica. It will do wonders for cracking or peeling nails.

My final tip: don't worry too much about looking perfect. Just smile and enjoy yourself! Remember, nobody will notice your pimple or chipped nail polish if you are having the time of your life. (And there is always photoshopping!)

Laura Curtis is a beauty writer and make-up artist. To see more of her writing and beauty advice, you can visit her blogs One April Morning and Pretty Poesy, and follow her on Twitter (@laura_valerie).

May 18, 2011

Will Naomi Campbell be a bridesmaid for Kate Moss?

Now that Prince William and Kate Middleton have tied the knot, Britain’s (and the world’s) attention has turned to another Kate set to be married. Perennial supermodel Kate Moss.

Long-time friend and fellow model Naomi Campbell is said to be accompanying Kate down the aisle as a bridesmaid, though she is being uncharacteristically coy.

"Now that would be telling," Campbell says. "But I am so proud of Kate. I love Jamie and I can't wait for the wedding. Jamie's such a nice guy, he's the one for her. It's going to be an amazing day and I'm on the phone with her all the time."

The London-based models have had a long history of partying and generally causing a raucous, but Campbell is quick to assert that Kate's nuptials won't mark the start of a quieter party-free lifestyle.

"It's going to be really nostalgic because we have grown up together and Kate getting married is an amazing moment.”
"It shows we've all grown up but we are still the original supermodels. We'll still party, even though Kate's getting married, I don't think that will change us."

Moss is set to marry The Kills' Jamie Hince in a ceremony in Oxfordshire, South East England, on July 2 amidst several days of "no expense" spared celebrations.

Queenstown, New Zealand: A honeymooner's guide

Queenstown hasn’t earned its moniker of “adventure capital of the world” without good reason. This mountain town is the epicentre for thrill seekers of all levels and offers a veritable playground for intrepid newlyweds opting for a bit of adventure, as well as the opportunity to relax and unwind.

For water sport adventurers, hop aboard the Shotover Jet for a white-knuckle joy ride down the aptly named Shotover River, or opt for a cruise with Dart River Safaris, which lets you explore the natural beauty of the world heritage-listed Mount Aspiring National Park from the comfort of the boat, which has heated seats and plenty of warm blankets.

In town there are designer boutiques, quaint cafes to warm up with a hot chocolate and for some deep relaxation visit the Onsen Hot Pools, where you’ll be greeted with breathtaking views of the mountains from your own private cedar-lined hot tub.

In the evenings, slow down the pace with a romantic ride aboard the Skyline Gondola. Touted as the steepest lift in the Southern Hemisphere, the gondola carries visitors high above the town and, once at the top of Bob's Peak, there are numerous observations decks to take in the twinkling nighttime lights of Queenstown below.

Before heading down, enjoy a feast of fresh, local produce and wines from the Queenstown and Central Otago regions at the Skyline Restaurant.

When to visit: Primarily a ski town, visit when the snow levels are at their best (June to August).

Must-do: The ski fields are undoubtedly the town’s biggest drawcard, but for the ultimate alpine experience, take things up a notch with Harris Mountains Heli-Ski Tours. The view of the Southern Alps from the helicopter is staggering enough, but the outlook from the top as you’re ready to ski or board your way down the untracked powder fields is truly spectacular.

Stay at: The Spire, 3-5 Church Lane, Queenstown, New Zealand.

May 15, 2011

64th Annual Cannes Film Festival: Red carpet inspiration

As the stars converge on Cannes for the 64th Annual Cannes Film Festival we showcase some wedding gown inspiration straight from the red carpet.

Uma Thurman

Rachel McAdams

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan

Diane Kruger

Selma Hayek

Emily Browning

Alexa Chung

Elizabeth Olsen

May 10, 2011

Achieve a wedding day golden glow

Choose from one of our top tanning recommendations to give your skin a safe and healthy sun-kissed glow.

Every bride wants a beautiful bronzed glow on her big day, but what do you do when your skin is best described as “various shades of pale” rather than “golden brown”? You fake it.

But with so many tanning options available on the beauty market today it can be hard to determine which one will provide the most natural looking tan. Should you do-it-yourself or visit a tanning booth? Professional airbrushing or tan in a can?

Though the dangers of solariums and sun baking have made many of us embrace at home self-tanning, if you’re a beginner, the possibility of a botched application and being left orange-hued, streaky and smelly, on your wedding day of all days can be quite a turn off.

The good news for novices is that many of today’s self-tanners contain two key ingredients – Erythrulose and Dihydroxyacetone (DHA) – that their more tangerine-tinged predecessors didn’t.

Erythrulose works with DHA by reacting with the amino acids in the keratin protein on the outer layers of the skin. It encourages a deeper shade of brown, rather than an orange shade that DHA alone tends to produce. It’s also odourless, so no nasty smell factor.

The secret to successful tanning lies in the preparation. Regular exfoliating ensures a polished canvas for your tan to settle on. Moisturising twice every day, and not just when you’ve applied fake tan, keeps your skin hydrated, and as a dry dermis is the main culprit for uneven fading and an unnatural looking tan, the moisturising ritual is a must.

A word of caution though – whichever tanning option you choose, tread lightly – your wedding photos want to capture a happily glowing bride with just a hint of colour – not a tragic tanorexic!

Airbrushed to perfection
Having your tan applied by a professional is one of the best ways to ensure a flawless finish without streaks or uneven patches.

Even Nicole Kidman, famous for her porcelain skin, succumbs to the odd tanning session. She prefers St Tropez, which she has applied at Sydney’s Venustus Beauty and Body Lab in Paddington.

Airbrush tanning is applied with an airbrush spray gun that emits a fine mist of tan, applied by a qualified beautician.

Before your appointment make sure you shower, exfoliate and avoid moisturizing, as moisturisers leave a film on the skin which will give your tan an uneven coating when applied

We recommend: St Tropez and Sun FX.

Expert tip: Avoid using soap-based body washes which will strip your tan prematurely. Instead, use a body oil such as L’Occitane Grape Shower Oil.

Booth fake baking

If the idea of standing stark naked in front of a stranger is not your idea of a good time, then booth tanning is a good option. This method is so popular Victoria Beckham has her own booth installed in her home, ensuring her bronzed appearance all year round.

Quick and easy, it takes just a few minutes to strip off, apply barrier cream to hands and feet to prevent colour gathering in these areas where skin is thicker, and once in the booth, with a press of a button you are coated with a fine tanning mist.

Exiting the booth, quickly dry off and as with most tan applications avoid showering for at least four hours to maximise the development of your colour.

We recommend: Magic Tan (priced from $45).

Expert tip: Ensure you apply enough barrier cream to hands and feet otherwise you’ll end up with an uneven application.

Tan in a can

While you might think it would take a brave bride to self-fake tan before her big day, if you’re a regular self-tanner then today’s can and bottled tans are relatively fuss free and foolproof.

Kate Moss, Jade Jagger and Kylie Minogue are just some of the celebrities who are fans of at home spray tans, touting Model Co as the best product when trying to achieve a streak-free bronzed glow.

Can tans apply instant colour so you can see streaks immediately and rectify them. Application is made easier as many cans allow you to apply from any angle, even upside down, so you’re able to get to those hard to reach places. They’re also quick to use, once the spray is applied there’s no need to wait for the tan to develop.

Bottle bronzed

One look at Megan Gale’s envious coffee-coloured complexion and you will realise that the David Jones brand ambassador is definitely doing something right. Her tan is courtesy of her own product, Jet Set Tan, a clear, dye-free, non-staining liquid which delivers a natural looking sunless tan. The non-staining formula prevents against staining sheets, towels and clothing, and has a pleasant caramel scent.

Other bottled options include creams, mousses and gels – all of which are easy to apply and work best when mixed with a small amount of moisturiser for even application.

Creams inject your skin with an extra dose of hydration, mousses are light if your skin is prone to oiliness, while gels are absorbed quickly into skin.

We recommend: Sisley Self-Tanning Lotion, Nutrimetics Bronze Glow Bronzing Gel and Neutrogena Instant Bronze Lotion In One.

Expert tip: Make sure you moisturise twice daily, in the morning and before bed, to extend the life of your tan.

Bride Tasmania's Tanning Tips:

– Always wash hands thoroughly after each self-tan application.
– Moisturise, moisturise, moisture. Colour fades quicker when skin is dry.
– The same goes for exfoliating. Colour can become patchy and fade unevenly when it clings to dead skin cells – especially in areas like ankles, elbows and knees.
– Don’t stray too far from your natural colour. The paler your skin the less natural a really dark tan will look.
– Fake tan two days before your wedding to let colour settle.
– Whether shaving or waxing is your preferred hair removal method, do so the night before a tan application as opened pores can become irritated when tanning products are applied.
– Make sure you modify your make-up to suit your new skin colour. Avoid pastel colours and choose bronze hues to flatter your new golden glow.
– Use dark coloured sheets, towels and clothing after having your application done. Trying to eliminate orange streaks from white Egyptian cotton bed linen is no one’s idea of fun.

Catherine Middleton's 'Grace Kelly' wedding gown

In the lead up to the Royal Wedding the enormous speculation surrounding the wedding gown Catherine Middleton would wear reached fever pitch, and questions abounded over whether the dress would actually live up to all the hype.

But live up to the hype it did, with the Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen gown receiving a rousing reception.

With countless comparisons to the gown Grace Kelly wore for her nuptials to Prince Rainier in 1956, the sweeping train measures just over six feet and according to the official royal wedding website, the dress is made with "ivory and white satin gazar. The skirt echoes an opening flower, with white satin gazar arches and pleats. The ivory satin bodice, which is narrowed at the waist and padded at the hips, draws on the Victorian tradition of corsetry and is a hallmark of Alexander McQueen’s designs."

Bride Tasmania will feature a stunning replica of the dress at the 6th Annual Bride Tasmania Wedding Exhibition so be sure to buy your tickets now for the gala event. See here for further details.

May 05, 2011

2011 Bride Tasmania Wedding Exhibition

The 6th Annual Bride Tasmania Wedding Exhibition promises to be bigger and better than ever!

Come along for your chance to win a blissful honeymoon at Castaway Island, Fiji, courtesy of the Travel Studio, Level 2, 29 Salamanca Square Hobart. There will also be presentations from two of Australia's top bridal gown designers from Hills in Hollywood and Jean Fox Bridal, as well as hair and make-up demonstrations from Imola Hair and Studio E. Spectacular European-style fashion parades begin at 12.00 noon and 3pm.

Hosted by Bride Tasmania Magazine, the event provides contacts, ideas and solutions for couples who are planning for a fantastic wedding celebration. As well as boasting aisles of displays from over 80 leading wedding specialists from across the state – fashion boutiques, reception venues, marriage celebrants, jewellers, cake decorators, hairdressers, make-up artists, photographers... and more. Virtually everything a couple needs to plan their wedding at the one venue, saving both time and money.

For brides and grooms-to-be who live outside Hobart, why not make a weekend of it? Mention the Bride Tasmania Wedding Exhibition when you book at either Mercure Hobart, Grand Mercure Hadleys Hotel, The Old Woolstore Apartment Hotel or Lenna of Hobart and Salamanca Terraces to receive a bottle of bubbly on arrival, as well as the best available room rates.

Sunday May 15, 2011 • Derwent Entertainment Centre • 10.00am – 4.00pm • 
Entry – $8.50 • Fashion parades begin at 12.00 noon and 3.00pm.

Should you take your husband's name?

Always wanted to be the one who sends out the correction email to work colleagues: “From now on, you may refer to me as Mrs Jane Somebody instead of Miss Jane Nobody”?

Or are you happy enough with your own name?

Taking the surname of your partner has changed from being the status quo to being a highly subjective and personal matter.

Ultimately, it’s a personal choice. Whether you keep, change or hyphenate, there’s no right or wrong answer. The only rule is to discuss it with your husband-to-be before you make a decision – especially if you're thinking about not taking his name.

A recent study by Florida University found that just 18% of women kept their original name after marriage. On the flipside, how many celebrities can you think of who've changed their name?

Victoria Beckham, yes. But Nicole Kidman, Cate Blanchett. Renee Zeilweger, Jennifer Lopez and Elizabeth Taylor (eight times, no less) all kept their own surnames.

May 02, 2011

The Royal Wedding: The best bits!

Fine-tune your skincare regime for a bride-worthy glow

Our resident beauty blogger Laura Curtis gives her top tips to achieving picture perfect skin on your wedding day.

1. Invest in a top-quality cleanser. Unbeknown to most people, cleanser is one of the most important products in a skincare regime. Using the wrong cleanser can disrupt the delicate pH balance of the skin, causing dehydration, irritation and congestion. Look for a cleanser that doesn't contain sulphates (foaming agents used in soaps and detergents); they are far too harsh for most skin, yet can be found in the majority of face cleansers on the market. SK-II Facial Cleansing Gel is an oil-based cleanser that leaves skin looking and feeling clean, soft, nourished and radiant. 

2. Find a moisturiser to suit your skin type. A moisturiser simply hydrates and replenishes the uppermost layer of the skin. You don't have to splurge on a moisturiser, but it is vital that you find one that suits your skin type. There are three skin types: dry (dry, sometimes flakky), normal/combination (slightly oily T-zone, slightly dry cheeks) and oily (oily T-zone, no dryness). Dry skin types should use a rich cream or lotion, such as Jurlique Moisture Replenishing Day Cream. Combination and oily skin types should avoid occlusives – mineral oils, silicones, shea butter – as they may clog the pores and cause break-outs. Darphin Hydraskin Light is a lovely choice for combination skin, while Ren Matte Balancing Fluid is perfect for those who suffer from oiliness.

3. Treat your concerns with a serum. Take a look at your skin in the mirror. Is there anything you would like to change? If not, you can skip this step (lucky duck!) If so, try to find a serum that addresses each of the changes you would like to see; they may include dehydration, uneven pigmentation and dullness. Cult favourite Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair, a beautiful cocktail of skin-boosting vitamins and minerals, will resolve all of these and more. 

4. Exfoliate. Your moisturiser will help to soften rough and flaky skin, but only an exfoliant will remove the dead skin cells and bring new ones to the surface, smoothing and brightening the skin instantly. Dr Brandt Microdermabrasion in a Jar gives incredible results; however sensitive skin will prefer the gentle Darphin Aromatic Peel.

5. Stay calm. Stress can wreak terrible havoc on the skin; it makes your cells tired and stimulates hormones that cause break-outs. So when things start to feel all too much – finding that perfect dress, invites, flowers, the list goes on – just take a deep breath and smile. Everything will turn out just fine.

Laura Curtis is a beauty writer and make-up artist. To see more of her writing and beauty advice, you can visit her blogs One April Morning and Pretty Poesy, and follow her on twitter (@laura_valerie).