Archive for February, 2015

Fifty Shades of Romance

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The best way to propose on Valentine’s Day


If you’re planning to go down on one knee on February 14 follow our essential guide and you could be booking your wedding at Manor by the Lake before the clock strikes midnight!

Whether you’re proposing to her or him you have to ensure the night goes with a swing and you have planned ahead making sure you have chosen the perfect place, best bouquet, gorgeous gift and most importantly, the right ring to seal the deal…

According to a recent survey, men should pop the question after exactly two years of dating, preferably on a deserted beach on Valentine’s Day and should not forget to ask the father’s permission.

Of the 2,000 people polled by drinks brand Lambrini, one in four women (22 per cent) said this would be their ideal proposal situation – but if your budget doesn’t quite stretch to a private beach on The Maldives checkout our perfect proposal guide:

Why not follow in the footsteps of actor Tom Sturridge who asked Sienna Miller to marry him by filling a hotel suite with flowers or Justin Theroux who reportedly made former Friends’ star Jennifer Aniston cry when he proposed at their favourite eatery, New York’s Blue Hill, on her 40th birthday.

It’s worth bearing in mind the restaurant or hotel you choose will become a place of special memories and somewhere you will want to re- visit in years to come so try to be selective.

And don’t forget to book early to get the best table as going out for dinner on Valentine’s Day is probably the most popular night of the year!

When it comes to hotels – why not book a mini spa break? Most five-star hotels now have a luxury spa which is the perfect place to relax before popping the question.

One of the most romantic spas is The Scarlet in North Cornwall which boasts hot tubs over-looking the Atlantic Ocean and is offering special two-night breaks for all romantics throughout February.

Once the venue is booked the next big decision is the ring. Today, most couples wait to choose the engagement ring together but there are still some people who like to surprise their other half by producing a box while going down on one knee.

We ask Elaine Whitehouse of Diamond Bespoke if diamonds are still a girl’s best friend?

“My advice for men is focus on getting a good quality diamond rather than too many accent small diamonds on shank on a style that will allow a straight wedding band to sit flush,” said Elaine.

Diamonds are still a girls’ best friend but remember quality over quantity. When choosing your rock there are four features which determine the price: cut, colour, clarity and carat weight. But it is the cut which is the most important factor as this is what affects its brilliance and sparkle.

Get the highest quality you can afford, is the advice from our diamond experts.

And finally you have to say it with flowers.

We ask Florist Donna Beaver, of The Flower Studio, how to get the best bouquets this Valentine’s Day:
Are roses still the best option on Valentine’s Day?

Roses are and will always be a classic choice but whether it’s the best option with regards to cost and durability will always create debate!

Roses will only last for as long as they are cared for and they need a lot of attention. Daily fresh water, stems re-cutting and a cool room and with busy life styles these days we haven’t always got the time to do this.

In my opinion I think a lovely mixed bouquet to include roses is a better option, choosing flowers that have different life spans will help to make your bouquet last that little bit longer.

What other flowers are just as romantic?

Is it a flower that’s romantic or the colour? I think sometimes a bouquet that is shades of pink and red, which has a wispy feel, can be just a romantic. Or, red flowers and black accessories can have the seductive feel about it!

Should you pre-book a bouquet for Valentine’s Day to save money?
Pre booking will possibly only save you money on delivery. I will offer a discount on delivery if booked before February 7 as after this date there will be a £4 local charge and if you book on the day you’ll be paying a premium charge to ensure your delivery makes it on the day of £7.95.

I think customers believe florists hike the price of flowers because it’s Valentine’s Day but unfortunately it’s the growers and wholesalers, so unfortunately we have to put our prices up. Supply and demand I suppose.

What flower has the best perfume?
Cymbidium Orchids has the most amazing sweet smell. Lilies are highly perfumed too and there are the most amazing deep pink varieties available.

What is the best advice for people buying flowers for Valentine’s Day?

My advice would be to book in advance to take advantage of delivery discounts. Also to order a hand tied in deep pinks and reds, seasonal selection with a few roses included. Or if it’s just a token, single rose in a presentation box – says it all!”

So, whether you splash the cash and fly to The Maldives, book into your favourite restaurant or escape for a spa break, we look forward to hosting your forthcoming wedding at Manor by the Lake.

Perfect Valentine Day gift ideas for those who are already married, engaged or just happy to be together…

Music is the food of love

Top of our list is the Fifty Shades of Grey sound track which will be released on February 10 and will feature songs from Beyoncé who puts a fresh spin on her famous track Crazy in Love.

The album also features Ellie Goulding’s single Love Me Like You Do and The Weeknd’s Where You Belong and Put a Spell on You by Annie Lennox.

Fifty Shades of Grey will strategically open in cinemas across the country on Valentine’s Day – so if you want to surprise your partner book early as this will sure to be the hottest ticket in town.

Dakota Johnson stars opposite Jamie Dornan in this adult-themed drama by E L James which was a surprise best-seller around the world and focuses on the handsome, yet tormented, billionaire Christian Grey!

All wrapped up

Wrap your loved-one (or yourself) up in a Mrs embroidered dressing gown from John Lewis (£79), or a silky smooth PJ set from Yolke.

Up close and personal

Check out the beautiful but simple pieces of jewellery from Laura Lee, including this Gold Coin necklace (£295), which can be personalised with initials.

Smell of roses

Treat that special someone to the luxurious rose balm from Aerin or a rose scent candle from Diptique (£44).

It’s in the bag

The red leather bag from DVF (£307) is the perfect gift whatever their age.

A lady of letters

Check out the Smythson Love Letters book (£150) reminiscent of time before emails and texts!

Sweet delights

Who could resist the Charbennel & Walker truffles (£29).