It was around a fortnight before my wedding that I decided to try a facial.

I had never had a facial before and didn’t want to risk trying one with lots of products or invasive technology in case it broke my sensitive skin out before the day. (Especially when I had just managed to get my breakout-prone skin under control with this skincare routine for sensitive skin).

However, I was recommended Face Gym by an old colleague as it is more of a ‘face workout’ that uses various hand movements to help lift, tone and tighten the face.

The idea is that by knuckling, massaging and using high energy whipping strokes, it will stimulate the 40+ muscles in the face, encouraging blood circulation and collagen production. As one of my main areas of concern was my flabby jowels and non-existent jawline, I thought I would try out their Signature Facial and see whether it could help give me any definition between my face and neck.

FACE GYM SALON – KING’S ROAD, CHELSEA, LONDON

Firstly, the Face Gym salon on Chelsea’s King’s Road was such a beautiful spot to visit, complete with copper ‘skin bar’, apothecary cabinet and plenty of Instagrammable touches:

Face Gym Copper BarFace Gym LondonFace Gym Signature FacialFace Gym ChelseaFace Gym bloggerDo it for the selfie

THE SIGNATURE FACIAL

The Signature Facial, designed to naturally help lift and contour the face, lasted around 30-40 minutes and the best way I can describe the experience was like being in a (not unpleasant) human carwash!

The facialist massaged, knuckled and ‘whipped’ my skin with her hands and fingers and also used a handheld electrical muscle stimulation (EMS) device that emits mild electrical waves to stimulate the muscles and restore skin’s elasticity. This was a fairly strange sensation as it caused different parts of my face to twitch involuntarily but it didn’t hurt.

Face Gym blogger review

The trainer began by doing half of my face so that I could see the difference. I have put the pictures below for you to guess which side of the face it was but I won’t lie, the brightness was too high on my camera so it doesn’t reflect the difference as much as in real life!

Face Gym Before and AfterFace Gym half face

Congratulations if you guessed correctly – it was the right hand side of this picture that had the treatment! The changes are generally subtle but like I say, more noticeable in real life.

The treatment made my face looked more lifted, tauter, fresher and amazingly, it had really reduced the dark circles underneath my eyes. My flabby jowls were still there but did look a little firmer than before.

The effects of this treatment probably lasted 3 days maximum, so would be ideal before a big event or party. Face Gym do recommend visiting regularly to help train your facial muscles (the same way that you would go to the gym regularly and not see long-lasting results after just one session) so if you have the bank balance, I would say go for it!

I’m already feeling the need to revisit after the amount of Hotel Chocolat I put away this Christmas…. that did no one’s jowls any favours.

Most of the things that changed when we got married were admin-related.

Clearing up all the post-wedding decorations. Writing thank-you notes (which we are still yet to send, sorry everyone). And figuring out how to change all of my documentation with my new surname.

This actually ended up being the weirdest part for me. Though I was generally sad that all of the wedding excitement and honeymoon were over, it was the surname change in particular that was getting to me.

Steph Style wedding

It was a strange feeling as I had of course known that it was coming. Marc and I have been together nearly 10 years so naturally throughout that time I had imagined myself with his surname (which incidentally is Easton and not too dissimilar from my maiden name Marston). I was happy to be joining his family and my family were excited for that too. So I was surprised at my sadness and resistance to it (it took me two weeks to change it on Facebook, which as we know, is the biggest deal of them all).

Love

For me I think it was because of two main reasons. Firstly, because it is a symbolic distancing from my family, who I love and cherish. Secondly, I was scared of my identity changing. For 27 years I had been known as Stephanie Marston (sometimes just Marston at school), had made my friends as Stephanie Marston and built my professional career as a Marston, so to suddenly be known with a new name felt a little saddening and unnerving.

Now I know in this day and age you don’t really have to change your surname, husbands can choose their wives’ surnames and you can even pick out a new surname together. Marc even said to me that I didn’t have to change it if I didn’t want to. But I knew I would change it as it couldn’t be double-barreled (Marston-Easton is a lot of S’s for someone with a lisp and just sounds, well, stupid) and if we do decide to start a family then I’d like us to be all known as the same thing.

I think what made it easier was my friends and family all referring to me with my new name and being super happy about it. By them doing this, it began to feel like an exciting new chapter and extension of my life, rather than negating everything that came before it. And also by realising that names are so arbitrary! No one chooses their name and really your actions in life matter more than a name.

Family shot

So my solution? Have two names! I have decided that legally I will change everything over to Easton but keep my social and blog profile as Marston. (Can’t have all that wasted SEO now, can I?) This way I can remember the old me and embrace the new.

Let’s just hope Stephanie Easton has much better outfits and eats much less chocolate…

 

If You Liked That, You Might Also Like:

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If there is ever a time to pamper yourself rotten, it is before your wedding!

Working in the beauty industry meant that I got to try lots of lovely treatments before my September wedding and so I wanted to share some of the best pre-wedding beauty treatments below:

Facial – Face Gym

I had never had a facial before and didn’t want to risk trying one with lots of products or invasive technology in case it broke my sensitive skin out before the day. (I had just managed to get my sensitive, breakout skin under control with this skincare routine for sensitive skin).

However, I was recommended Face Gym by a colleague as it is more of a ‘face workout’ that uses various hand movements to help lift, tone and tighten the face. The idea is that by knuckling, massaging and using high energy whipping strokes, it will stimulate the 40+ muscles in the face, encouraging blood circulation and collagen production. As one of my main areas of concern was my flabby jowels and non-existent jawline, I thought I would try out their Signature Facial and see whether it could help give me any definition between my face and neck.

Firstly, the Face Gym salon on Chelsea’s King’s Road was such a beautiful spot to visit, complete with copper ‘skin bar’, apothecary cabinet and plenty of Instagrammable touches:

Face Gym Copper BarFace Gym Signature FacialFace Gym London

The Signature Facial, designed to naturally help lift and contour the face, lasted around 30-40 minutes and the best way I can describe the experience was like being in a (not unpleasant) human carwash! The facialist massaged, knuckled and ‘whipped’ my skin with her hands and fingers and also used a handheld electrical muscle stimulation (EMS) device that emits mild electrical waves to stimulate the muscles and restore skin’s elasticity. This was a fairly strange sensation as it caused different parts of my face to twitch involuntarily but it didn’t hurt.

The trainer began by doing half of my face so that I could see the difference. I have put the picture below for you to guess which side of the face it was but I won’t lie, I had the brightness setting turned up too high on my camera so it doesn’t reflect the difference as much as in real life!

Face Gym Before and After

Congratulations if you guessed correctly – it was the right hand side of this picture that had the treatment! The changes are generally subtle but like I say, more noticeable in real life. My whole face looked tauter and more lifted, the whole face looked fresher and amazingly, it had really reduced the dark circles underneath my eyes. My flabby jowls were still there but did look a little firmer than before.

The effects of this treatment probably lasted 3 days maximum, so would be ideal before a big event or party. Face Gym do recommend visiting regularly to help train your facial muscles (the same way that you would go to the gym regularly and not see long-lasting results after just one session) so if you have the bank balance, I would say go for it!

Spray Tan – Perfect 10 Mobile Beauty

I adore spray tans but it can be hard to find the perfect one that doesn’t go patchy/smelly/orange and that is also close enough to your house that you don’t have to spend too long in public looking like a biscuit.

A beauty journalist friend of mine recommended Perfect 10 Mobile Beauty, a mobile hair and beauty service that can do spray tans in the privacy of you own home. I noticed that they used Sienna X for their spray tans and this had been one of my favourite spray tan brands after my great experience getting tanned with celebrity tanner James Harknett at the W Hotel, London. So even though I knew I wouldn’t have time for a trial, I went ahead and booked them – and I’m so glad I did.

The beauty therapist arrived early, was super friendly, very efficient and did such a beautiful job that even Marc (who is not usually a fan of my fake tanning) was impressed, especially that it didn’t really have that fake tan smell to it.

After sleeping in the tan and washing it off the next morning, I loved the natural-but-noticeable golden glow I was left with. It lasted for about 5 days (until I jumped into the pool on our Honeymoon) and faded very evenly. I would totally book Perfect 10 again.

Lashes – SVS Lash Extensions by Nouveau Lashes

I had tried about three different lash enhancing treatments in my quest to get long, fluttery, dark lashes for my wedding day and by far my favourite were the SVS Lash Extensions by Nouveau Lashes.

I found that they looked impactful without looking too fake and I loved waking up with lashes that were ready to go, no mascara necessary. They were also great at making me look more ‘put together’ on honeymoon where I didn’t wear much – if any – makeup and lasted for about five weeks in total.

The treatment usually lasts 1.5 hours and if I could afford it, I would have them done all the time! You can read my full review of the lash treatments that I tried here.

SVS Nouveau LashesBest lash extensions for a weddingLash extensions review

Brows – Shavata Brows

I have tried many a brow bar in my time as I have very blonde (i.e. invisible) and very bushy brows! My favourite brow bar is Shavata Brows and now I don’t go anywhere else.

I visit the Shavata counter in House of Fraser on Oxford St for brow threading and tinting (you can either just turn up or pre-book an appointment) and love that they get the tint colour spot on, something that is dark and ashy whilst still being natural. (Weirdly, the colour that most other brow bars use always seems to make my brows go ginger!)

The threading is still a little painful (after all, it is threading) but I do have to say that it seems quicker here and I don’t experience quite as much eye watering as some other brow companies that I have been to.

My top tip is to get your brows done at least 7 days before your event or wedding, to give the tint colour time to settle.

Fitness – Reformer Pilates at Ten Pilates

One of my favourite fitness classes for toning and ‘sucking in’ my body before the wedding was reformer pilates, specifically at the Ten Pilates studios.

Reformer pilates takes traditional pilates moves (think yoga but with more strengthening and body-weight toning work) and maximises the moves by having you do them on a moving machine. By having an unreliable base to balance on, it is engaging your core and muscles much more which means quicker results (and usually more aches and pains the next day)!

I love reformer pilates, especially at Ten, because it feels controlled and calm and sometimes not always that hard for certain moves but yet always yields results. I did one class a week for two months and then 2 classes a week for one month and saw a huge difference in my body – I even got abs for the first time in my life!

Ten Pilates City

Has anyone else got any other amazing pre-wedding beauty treatments that they would recommend?

If you want to see what the wedding looked like, you can visit the posts below!

Our Wedding Day – The Ceremony

Our Wedding Day – The Reception

Our Wedding Video

Our very talented wedding photographers – Joe Galvin and Liv Purvis – not only managed to get some fabulous photos from our wedding ceremony and wedding reception but also managed to create a wedding video for us too!

As it’s quite a large file, it won’t upload here so I have made a YouTube account where you can watch it if you wish:

Wedding video Northbrook Park

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cgnJ2stgQzg

If you are interested in hearing more about any other parts of the wedding, I have popped a link to all of the wedding posts below. Enjoy!

Our Wedding Day! The Ceremony

Our Wedding Day! The Reception

Love

My Honest Wedding Dress Story

My Wedding Hair and Makeup

Lillian West 6422

Our Country Wedding Invitations

How We Created 100 Rustic Save the Dates for £7

Steph Marston wedding

Pictures from Our Pre-Wedding Photoshoot

A Peek Inside Our Wedding Venue

Best Country House Wedding Venues in the UK

English wedding

Favourite Country Wedding Inspiration

My 5 Favourite Rustic Prop Hire Companies

My Wedding Dress Inspiration

 

Steph Style wedding invitationsSteph Marston weddingGrey envelope wedding invitations

It feels like a very long time ago that I was talking about how we created our rustic Save the Dates (what a long engagement we had!) but as they went down so well and were very cost effective, we decided to do the same thing again and create our own country wedding invitations.

As there was going to be lots of eucalyptus and elegant greenery at our wedding, we had wanted to incorporate that into the invitations. We went on a website called freepik.com where you can find free vector images (a vector image means you can edit parts of it in programs like Photoshop and InDesign, unlike a traditional JPEG image which sits on a white square background that can’t be removed) and saved down all of the watercolour style leaf images that we liked.

Country wedding invitationsFree fonts for wedding invitations

We then went onto the free font website DaFont and downloaded the calligraphy style Velessa Script font for the headings and Aracne Regular font for the main body of text (I found this font pairing guide on Pinterest quite helpful when deciding which fonts to choose).

How to make your own free wedding invitationsEucalyptus greenery wedding invitations

A former colleague in the Visual Merchandising team at work kindly helped me to get started by creating an A5 template on InDesign, getting the text aligned and layering a selection of the leaves around the border. I then went home to tweak it by downloading a free trial of Adobe InDesign. It was at this point where I was getting cocky with the program that I decided to mix things up for the evening invitations by swapping the greenery for a gold dot design that I had found in one of our design folders at work!

Gold wedding invitation DIYGold bokeh wedding invitations

There had been so many wedding invitation designs that I had liked on Pinterest (which you can find on my Wedding Invitation Ideas board) that I was really happy that we got to have two different styles. I was also very lucky that the boys at Page – the printing company we used regularly at work – offered to print the invitations for us complimentary as a wedding gift, saving us lots of time and money. Thank you Page!

Whilst I was working on these designs, Marc was busy printing pages of the leaves and gold dots on translucent paper, which we wanted to overlay on top of the invitations to give some texture (thanks again to my VM colleague Emmanuelle for that idea)!

Gold dot wedding invitation

To bind all of the pages together, we ordered ‘belly bands’ from Printed.com which we personalised with our name. We expected these to arrive as pre-made sleeves but they ended up just being strips of paper, so we dashed to Ryman’s to pick up some clear sticky dots and stuck them together ourselves.

After assembling all the pages, we put them into dove grey envelopes that we ordered online and used a gold pen to address them. I had wanted to write each address in a calligraphy style but after my disaster calligraphy class last year, I knew that wasn’t going to happen!

Then it was a case of posting them all out which ended up being the most costly part. Where possible we tried to give them by hand, either by leaving them with family to hand out amongst themselves or arranging catch ups with friends, which is something that worked well for us with the save the dates. A good excuse to continue the celebrations!

DIY wedding invitations

If you liked this, you might also like:

Our Wedding Day! The Ceremony

Our Wedding Day! The Reception

How We Created 100 Rustic Save the Dates for £7

Modern Calligraphy Class with Quill London

Pictures from Our Pre-Wedding Photoshoot

A Peek Inside Our Wedding Venue

Best Country House Wedding Venues in the UK

Favourite Country Wedding Inspiration

My 5 Favourite Rustic Prop Hire Companies

My Wedding Dress Inspiration

The drinks reception was one of my favourite parts of our wedding day.

The nerves from the ceremony had gone, we had taken all of the family pictures and I was excited to properly chat to our friends and family (and drink a glass of fizz)!

I remember being filled with so much happiness when I walked through to the little walled garden and could see everyone playing the lawn games, drinking Pimms and laughing in the sun. The String Duo were playing Oasis’ ‘Whatever’  and suddenly our friends were rushing over for hugs and pictures.

Grey bridesmaid dress ASOSSteph Style wedding receptionWedding day reception Northbrook ParkLawn games weddingConnect 4 lawn game SurreyKilner jars crate barrel barPopcorn tubsChalkboard order of the day weddingManor House String Duo Northbrook Park weddingSeptember wedding Northbrook ParkCroquet lawn game hire SurreyAlex and LauraBridesmaids and partners

THE RECEPTION ROOM

After what felt like no time at all, we were being ushered into the Orangery for our wedding breakfast. It was lucky that Marc and I chose to do a receiving line, where you welcome guests into the next room as a couple, as we hadn’t had much chance to be together at this point. (I’m going to echo the advice of many married couples who advise you to take 10 minutes to yourselves on your wedding day, as it goes so quickly and there are so many guests to speak to!)

Marc, his father and the groomsmen had been busy decorating the room that morning with plenty of bunting, lights, tassel balloons and a polaroid guestbook station. We also had a ‘message in a bottle’ where we asked guests to write down their suggestions for how we should celebrate each anniversary, which we will open on the 2nd September each year. Judging by what was written in the guestbook, I am a little worried as to what the answers will be..!

Wedding guestbook polaroid tableWedding sign light boxTassle balloons Surrey HampshireBunting Northbrook ParkPub light up letters

THE TABLES

For the tables, we had centrepieces full of greenery surrounded by mercury candlesticks (that we hired from the fab Nerissa Eve) with grey table runners and napkins. We had also created menus to tuck into each person’s napkin, that we laid sprigs of rosemary and thistle on, before tying their luggage label name tags around with twine. (I had attempted to write in a calligraphy style after my modern calligraphy class at Quill London but some names were definitely easier than others…)

We displayed the table names on pieces of brown card slotted into corks, in wine bottles that we had spray painted gold. As we have moved around the country together and as Marc is often travelling with work, we decided to choose meaningful locations for our table names, with a funny/memorable polaroid picture from each place.

Green wreath centrepieceGold wine bottles wedding table namesGold wine bottles table numbersLuggage tag table namesNorthbrook Park OrangeryCountry garden wedding englandfestoon lights Northbrook Park

THE SPEECHES

We chose to do speeches first, so that the gents could relax and enjoy the meal. They all did so well and there wasn’t anything too embarassing that cropped up, although my Dad got close!

Father of the bride speechSurrey Hampshire country wedding venueFather of the groom and best man pictureGroom speechToasting Northbrook Park

THE FOOD

We had chosen the caterers at White Truffle to do our food as they are one of the main partners of Northbrook Park and were one of the few Surrey caterers that were flexible in price.

We had chosen to have family style sharing boards of chicken salad, with chunky roasted sweet potatoes, lemon and herb chicken and bowls of salads, coleslaw, olives and breads, with veggie skewers for the vegetarian option. Dessert was a deconstructed Eton Mess (or ‘Easton Mess’ as a clever guest suggested. We are not so clever).

Sharing boards wedding foodSharing board chicken wedding food

The sweet potatoes and boards were great but we were a little disappointed with some of the food  – e.g a bowl that was meant to come with roasted Mediterranean veg, like peppers and aubergines, actually came with chunks of carrot and brocolli. Having had this experience, I would definitely recommend any future brides and grooms to have a tasting with your caterers beforehand and to be super specific on the details.

After food, it was time to mingle and welcome the evening guests. Even though our wedding was fairly small, with about 90 guests, it was still difficult to get quality time with everyone and I felt like I had just 10 mins with each person. So for future couples getting married, try and mingle as much as possible!

Marc EastonNan and Grandad

Steph and Rosie

THE CAKE

After the evening guests had arrived around 7pm, it was time to cut the cake.

On the advice of one of my friends Lucy who got married herself this year, we actually got our wedding cake from Waitrose. It was the 5 tier naked wedding cake that we decorated ourselves with berries, icing sugar, a gold wedding cake topper and sprigs of gypsophelia. We presented it on a log slice (also hired from Nerissa Eve) and all of this ended up being much cheaper than ordering from an independent bakery (who were usually charging upwards of £400!) and looked just as good. As Lucy mentioned, the cake is only on show for about 10 minutes and when people come to eating it later that evening, they are normally too drunk to care what it is!

Naked wedding cake Just Married gold topperCutting cakeNaked wedding cake Waitrose

FIRST DANCE

After the cake, it was time for the first dance. We don’t really have ‘a song’ but we chose Ellie Goulding’s ‘How Long Will I Love You’ as this was what was playing when Marc proposed. We also love Oasis so made sure Wonderwall was the last song played of the night.

We booked our DJ through local company Farnham Light and Sound as they do weddings at Northbrook Park almost weekly. I’m not sure if I would fully recommend them though as the DJ tripped the sound limiter fuse box three times (which turned off the lights as well as the music) and at one point, didn’t take a request from me!

All in all though, we had such a fun night and carried on with an after-party in one of the on-site cottages until 1am, before a driver came to transport our weary bodies to the bridal lodge on the nearby lake.

First dance Northbrook ParkNorthbrook Park DJModern first dance songReal weddings Northbrook ParkNorthbrook Park eveningDancefloor Northbrook Park

I will be doing some more wedding-related posts, so do let me know if there is anything in particular you would be interested in hearing more about!