Tag: honeymoon inspiration

Patchwork Couple: Chris & Kirsty’s Scenic Scottish Wedding

wedding party throwing confetti over man and woman

Chris and Kirsty first met each other in 2009, when Kirsty responded to a room advert in London and moved into a flat share with Chris and his mate Phil. Kirsty says they were very much functional flatmates during they time living together – rarely speaking as they passed in the hallways. It wasn’t until a few years later – when they found themselves single and training for a triathlon – that the bonding experience of trudging through boggy lakes finally brought them together.

newlywed couple walking down steps and laughing

How did you get engaged?

It turns out Chris had asked my Dad for permission back in February whilst we were up in Scotland – they were sitting with Ben Nevis in the background, roaring fire and whisky in hand – so it was the perfect setting! I think my Dad was beginning to think he changed his mind as it was 3 months until he eventually popped the question! We got engaged in May 2016 in the New Forest. We’ve spent several weekends there in the past and always loved it. Chris chose a beautiful ring after a few months of secret plotting.

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What kind of wedding did you plan?

We knew that we wanted to make a full weekend of our wedding celebrations, have somewhere the whole family could stay, which was informal, relaxed and had lots of personal touches.  Chris stumbled across the Lodge of Loch Goil whilst we were searching for venues online – despite the rainy, grey day when we visited we knew it would be perfect for us – we knew we wanted a Scottish wedding and a unique setting.

laughing-couple walking through doors in wedding clothes

As it turns out, we got married on one of the warmest days of the year in Scotland – we ended up changing out plans last minute, and got married outside, the guests needed their sunglasses on and I got burnt! Chris and the groom party all wore kilts too – which was particularly novel for them as they are all English!

We both loved the whole day from start to finish – we couldn’t have asked for it to go better. We had written most of the ceremony ourselves so it told the story of us and our friend wrote a beautiful speech from songs of our favourite bands. My mum made a beautiful cake and Chris’s parents made the table plan. We also loved the little personal touches like the gin bar, cake topper and smore station over the fire pit which went down a treat – and the band were also awesome so there was plenty dancing!

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What was your first dance?

We both already knew what our first dance would be – Birds of Prey by Editors – so that was really easy! We’re pretty aligned in terms of approach and what we like – which made the whole planning process fun and stress free.

Why did you choose Patchwork for your honeymoon fund?

We chose Patchwork as we wanted a site where our guests could contribute to our honeymoon in South Africa. The best thing is really being able to personalise the content and build the patchwork yourselves. It also seemed really easy for our guests to use which was important to us. We had a number of people comment on how great the site was!

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Would you recommend your trip to other honeymooners?

Yes definitely. We went to South Africa 5 months after we got married – everyone had been so generous and we knew we had a trip of a lifetime ahead of us. We had a great variety of experiences to enjoy including safari, wine tasting, kayaking and lots of delicious food. Our trip started off with safari which instantly immersed us in a completely different world – and over 4 game drives we saw all of the Big 5 which was amazing! Then we ventured to Camps Bay in Cape Town, took in amazing views from Table Mountain, enjoyed the beaches and incredible food. Then we moved to Franschhoek and the winelands. From there we then drove along the Garden Route, exploring different towns along the coast.

South Africa is a beautiful country, with hugely diverse landscapes, amazing experiences and gave us a great mixture of experience and relaxation time during our honeymoon!

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Thank you Kirsty & Chris for sharing your Patchwork story with us. And a big congratulations from Team Patchwork!

If this has inspired you to make your own patchwork, just customise one of our readymade patchworks or create one from scratch.

Patchwork Couple: Chris & Harriet’s Manchester Wedding and Californian Road Trip

manchester warehouse wedding

Harriet and Chris met six years ago in a chip shop at the end of a night out in Sheffield, where Chris was studying. They overheard each other’s Brummy accents, started chatting and hit it off instantly. They’ve since moved to Manchester together and married this summer in a humanist ceremony. We asked Harriet all about their wedding day and the road trip honeymoon that followed.

How did you get engaged?

We got engaged in New York, it was always very important for me to get married, but for Chris it was never really a big thing. When Chris bought me a holiday in New York for Christmas I honestly thought it was his way of buying himself more time! We’d been away for 4 days before he popped the question in the most beautiful candlelit bar in the East Village, with a ring made by one of my best friends, Naomi Jago – we decided not to tell anyone until we got home which meant we were in the most perfect love bubble – it was really lovely.

What kind of wedding did you plan?

We planned a city centre party, with our friends and family as the main focus – we really just wanted everyone to have the nicest of days, lots of booze, great food and dancing. We had a very personal humanist wedding ceremony in the People’s History Museum in Manchester, followed by a party in an old cotton mill in Ancoats – it was important for us to get married in the city we live in and both the venues were so laid back, so we really could do anything we wanted.

What was your first dance?

We had the Villagers cover of Elvis The Wonder of You – the words said everything that we felt about each other.

What advice would you give to other couples on their wedding day?

The one thing I’d say is to do whatever you want – weddings are great when they reflect you as a couple. We love having people round to our house for dinner so really wanted it to feel like a big dinner party. That’s how I ended up serving our guests my home made desserts and since the wedding so many of our guests have commented how nice that was – so just do whatever reflects you as a couple!

Why did you choose Patchwork for your honeymoon fund?

Of all our wedding decisions Patchwork is up there as one of the best ones – for us it was a no brainer. We have lived together for 5 years and have recently renovated our first home, so we have everything we need. All we wanted were lots of memories that we would treasure forever, and with Patchwork our guests could help us have the BEST summer.

Everything about using Patchwork was incredibly easy – from making the Patchwork to the gift giving itself. It also made it very exciting as we planned our honeymoon so far in advance, so people could buy us very specific things.

We were originally worried about how the older members of our family would feel about us asking for money as well as the technology side of Patchwork – but they all loved it – they loved knowing what they were buying for us and loved how simple it was. Our friends loved it – a few of them are now planning on using it for their weddings next year.

What did you ask your wedding guests to contribute towards?

Our Patchwork funded our Californian road trip from San Francisco to LA. We picked this as although we have had many brilliant holidays before, we really wanted our honeymoon to be the dream holiday – and we would never have been able to fund a holiday like that on our own. We started in San Francisco for 5 days, then travelled down the Pacific Coast Highway stopping at Monterey, Santa Barbara and then we arrived in LA, stayed in Santa Monica and then finished off in West Hollywood.

Knowing that all of our friends and family had paid for us to do certain things made me so much more emotional about everything. We took pictures of ourselves cycling down Venice Beach and eating posh dinners and sent them to the friends that had bought us that gift. It was so lovely to thank everyone in that way.

Harriet and Chris’s top 5 tips for a Californian road trip: 

  1. Spend a day at a winery
  2. Walk the Golden Gate Bridge
  3. Head to Jon and Vinny’s in West Hollywood for pizza
  4. Go shopping in Santa Barbara
  5. Hire bikes and go for a picnic on Santa Monica Pier

Would you recommend your Californian road trip to other honeymooners?

Our trip was the perfect mix of busy city life and dreamy hotel relaxation – one day we were celebrating with a posh dinner and champagne after a day of sightseeing – the next we were having room service in a lovely comfy hotel after lying by the pool. Also – if you love wine it’s the most perfect trip for beautiful vineyards!

Babb Photo – www.babbphoto.com


 

Thank you Harriet & Chris for sharing your patchwork story with us. And a big congratulations from Team Patchwork!

If this has inspired you to make your own patchwork, just customise one of our readymade patchworks or create one from scratch.

All wedding photography by the brilliant Babb Photo – www.babbphoto.com

P.s Listen to Harriet & Chris’s first dance song in our new Spotify playlist, made up of lots of Patchwork Couple’s first dances.

Patchwork Couple: Stace & Rosie’s Super Colourful Wedding Day

Stace and Rosie met twelve and a half years ago in secondary school when they both studied music for GCSE. Rosie had switched class to be with her friends – lucky she did, or the couple may never have met. It was fate! Since then they’ve been to University, lived in other countries and travelled the world together, and as Stace says, ‘it just works’. We asked Stace about their wedding day and what they decided to patchwork.

How did you and Rosie get engaged?

We went travelling a few years ago and by this point had been together around ten years, so I decided that it was finally the right time to propose. I had a bit of a hard time deciding where to do it (Peru, Brazil, Mexico etc.) but eventually settled on Machu Picchu. I waited until most of the crowds had gone at the end of the day and proposed on the edge of an Incan Terrace overlooking the main part of the site. I carried the ring around in my belt for 3 months!

When it came to the wedding day, what did you plan?

We wanted a wedding with a traditional structure but a relaxed, familiar and fun feel. The “theme” of the wedding was Latin America inspired by our engagement and travels. We used very vibrant colours for the flowers, decoration and ties. Our venue was actually a walled garden, as we both wanted an outdoor ceremony, and the garden was really great for our guests to enjoy into the evening on a warm summer’s day. The food was on sharing platters, because we wanted to try and avoid awkward moments on those tables where people had never met one another before.

What piece of advice would you give to other couples?

Be a team, take your time, don’t sweat the small stuff. Something will always go wrong but it will still be the best day of your life. Don’t worry too much about everyone else’s opinions – do what feels right for you.

What was your first dance?

Our first dance was “Sunday Morning” by Maroon 5. We chose it because it’s a song that we’ve both been listening to together for a long time. We actually got a lesson in to funk the dancing up a little, but unfortunately when it came down to it, Rosie’s dress was too big to do it!  

What was your favourite part of the day?

We wanted to make sure that our cockapoo, Leo, could be a part of our big day. It was great when Carla from Dogvision brought him in to mingle with everyone and have photos taken – he was very well-behaved. It’s as though he knew! Exchanging our vows – we kept our vows a secret from one another and it was worth the wait to hear each other’s promises. Walking out of the garden after the ceremony and coming back through the wrong door – it gave us a long walk all the way round the venue and some time to ourselves between the ceremony and the drinks reception. We came back in through the back doorway. With all the guests waiting to throw confetti – everyone was very confused, but it all worked out!

What made you choose Patchwork rather than a traditional gift list?

We chose Patchwork because we were already living together in a little cottage, and had everything that we need, but it seemed like a nice and personal way for people to contribute towards a shared present, that was an experience rather than anything material. It also meant that we could afford to have some extra luxuries while we were away, that we may not have been able to otherwise.

The best bit about Patchwork was how easy it was to set up and use. We really liked the visual aspect as well – like piecing together your holiday. Once it was complete, it was really nice to look at.

Where did you go on your honeymoon?

We planned a mini-moon to Andalucia in the south of Spain. We’d been to Andalucia in 2011 but had a bit of an accident with our hire car, which meant that we missed out Cordoba, one of the most important cities that we’d planned to visit. Despite this, we’d both really enjoyed our trip there and wanted to go back and finish it. This time we went to Malaga, Ronda, Cordoba and Cadíz. We drove again this time and thankfully everything went to plan!

Would you recommend your trip to other honeymooners?

We both really enjoyed our time away in Andalucia, partly because each place that we stayed was so different, but the drive times weren’t that long – it was the perfect balance between relaxing and seeing new places. It’s also a great area to combine beach with city sightseeing.

We started in Malaga – due to the flights, it made sense for us to stay there for the first night. We had our doubts about Malaga, because of its reputation, but the city is actually very charming and when we checked out, we walked up the old fort and castle that overlook the city and coastline, before heading to Cordoba in the afternoon.

We stayed at the most amazing little boutique posada in Cordoba (Patio del Posadero), inspired by the Moors. There were just 4 rooms, each with a different style – ours was styled around the colour blue (Laceur). The breakfast was handmade by the owner – Jose, every day and each day was slightly different and almost like a tasting menu with a shot of kefir to start, followed by a trio of desserts and then the traditional bread with the family’s very own olive oil, fresh tomato puree and sea salt.

Although it was really hot in Cordoba, it was great because we could split our day up, so we would go out in the morning and visit the sites, come back in the afternoon to our cool room, or hang out by the pool on the terrace and go back out in the evening when it had cooled down. Cordoba is a beautiful city, with so much to see and lots of great places to eat.

Ronda was next on the itinerary and had some amazing scenery – we stayed at the Mirador, which had a very impressive view over the valleys below.

We went to Jerez on our way to Cadiz, which is the home of sherry, if that’s your thing.  

Cadiz is a lovely old city – great for sunsets, seafood and long walks on the beach. We enjoyed the junior suite at Hotel Argantonio which even had his and hers showers!

It was really great to be able to think of each experience or dinner we had while we were away as a gift, and in a way, this made the joy of the gifts last longer.

What did your wedding guests think of your honeymoon fund?

They really liked that they could contribute towards something, and that it gave them an insight into what we might be visiting or doing whilst we were away. A lot of people commented on how sweet it was that they could buy our dog, Leo, a ball and bone, to keep him busy during our time away.


 

Thank you Stace & Rosie for sharing your patchwork story with us. And a huge congratulations from Team Patchwork!

If this has inspired you to make your own patchwork, just customise one of our readymade patchworks or create one from scratch.

Wedding photography: jennifersmithphotography.co.uk

Sofia’s Photo Diary: Bolivia Bound

Sofia has been exploring the world and has kindly taken us along with her on her travels. So far she’s showed us RajasthanSouth IndiaNepalMyanmar, the PhilippinesJapan, Cuba, and Peru. Now it’s over to Sofia to share her photos and tips from the final stop on her epic journey – Bolivia.

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At times Bolivia feels like it’s in a bubble, separated from the rest of the world. The country has such a strong culture and traditional dress that speaks of years gone by. And the landscapes seem to belong to another planet.

Throughout Bolivia you will find cholitas – women with long dark hair in plaits with beaded tassels attached to the ends. They wear black hats and large petticoats with huge Cinderella-style skirts, and on their feet they have schoolgirl-style socks and sandals. Unlike in parts of India, where things seem to be evolving to adopt western ways, Bolivia feels like it still very much embraces its culture, through the local dress, the food or the many band parades. There is an authenticity to the country even throughout the big cities.

When I arrived in La Paz, the first thing that struck me were the women lining the streets between the high rise buildings, each one selling her beautiful wares. Every turn you make reveals a new square and as you look out you can see the valley, scattered with square brick houses in uniform rows. Parades fill the streets with women twirling their skirts and men playing trombones. Everything here feels a little offbeat and everyone moves at their own pace.

The strangest experience I had in Bolivia was the San Pedro prison tour. Our guide walked with us around the prison walls, explaining that the prisoners have their families living with them inside and that they buy their own cell. The more money you have, the better your cell will be. There are no guards, justice is doled out by the criminals themselves. The prisoners run a cocaine operation – producing it, selling it to outsiders and apparently giving a cut to the prison. It was the craziest tour I’ve ever been on, that’s for sure.

Beyond the crazy though, are the beautiful landscapes. Copacabana and Lake Titicaca offer stunning mountain views at altitude – the most tranquil backdrops you can imagine. Take a trip through Uyuni and you’ll come to the world’s largest salt flats, which are an enormous white expanse that reflect like mirrors during the wet season. You’ll see flocks of pink flamingos, and beautifully colourful lagoons in shades of red, blue and green. The hidden marshlands and streams in the middle of the desert feel like something from Lord of the Rings – each new setting transports you somewhere new – somewhere magical and quite surreal.

From the Andean highlands to the Amazonian lowlands, Bolivia is so climatically diverse and incredibly interesting. Take the time to go and explore this beautiful country. Appreciate all of its charms and quirks and allow yourself to be amazed.

Sofia’s Top 5 Tips for Bolivia:

  • Get those layers on and venture to the salt flats of Salar de Uyuni. I would recommend doing one of the longer 3/4 day tours to see all the ‘National Geographic’ landscapes.
  • Go wild at one of the many parties in La Paz.
  • Rummage through the never ending lanes off La Paz’s flea market where you’ll find yourself many a bargain, I picked up an 80s festival swimsuit and ‘spice girls’ style bomber jacket, both under £1!
  • Spend an afternoon at the Mirador Cafe in Sucre. Enjoy the tranquil laid back vibes of the city, whilst indulging in the panoramic view and one or, go on, two bottles of great red wine!
  • Catch a boat across Lake Titicaca to the tranquil island of Isla Rosa. Watch the Cholita women herding goats across the mountains and take in the beautiful scenery of the mountains sat against the sparkling lake.

 


 

Thank you Sofia! Don’t forget to catch up with the rest of Sofia’s journey here.

Sofia’s Photo Diary: True Adventures in Peru

Sofia is travelling the world and has taken us along with her on her incredible trip. So far she’s showed us Rajasthan, South India, NepalMyanmar, the Philippines, Japan and Cuba. Now it’s over to Sofia to share her photos and tips from her latest destination – Peru.

From the tribes who live within the Amazon to the ancient Inca civilisations, Peru is steeped in history. It’s a traditional land and the people in it praise the pachamama (Mother Earth). You can definitely relax and admire the beauty of Mother Earth in this country, but you can also be challenged by it and revel in the new experiences you’re bound to have.

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Throughout Peru there are tons of beautiful spots to hike and explore, like Colca Canyon – the second deepest canyon in South America, just off from Arequipa or Hauraz. Or of course, the most famous of all Peru’s incredible sights – Machu Picchu. I decided to opt for the jungle trek when I booked my trip, which was four days of pure adventure. We mountain biked through the towering mountains, sailing above the clouds. We whitewater-rafted through the valleys and zip-lined through the jungle. We walked the path of the Incas and learned how they built a city that would still be standing 500 years later.

From Cusco you can also discover the layered wonder of the colourful Rainbow Mountain. Or if you’re super brave, you can try your hand at cycling ‘Death Road’. Call me crazy but I wasn’t feeling quite that brave. Cusco itself has a clear Spanish influence, the cobbled streets of San Blas and the churches in San Francisco Square are distinctly colonial. It’s here you’ll find amazing flea markets with retro sports apparel for your inner 90s kid, and street food aplenty!

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In fact ceviche may just be a reason to travel to Peru alone. Peru, and more specifically Lima, is a culinary feast. Earning itself multiple Michelin stars, the city has endless high quality restaurants for you to sample. However, head to the streets for lunch and you’ll be equally impressed.

For a change of scenery, try Huacachina – a natural oasis in the desert. Get out on the dune buggies and explore, or try sandboarding and go sliding head first down the steep slopes, it’s a quick adrenaline rush! By night you can climb the towering dunes and look down across the land. Marvel at the curving structures as the shadows fall across the dunes at sunset.

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For even more jaw-dropping nature, make your way into the Amazon jungle from Iquitos, in the North of Peru. The town itself can’t be reached by cars, so you’ll find plenty of tricycles buzzing around. Around Belem market you can see witch potions, BBQ’d maggots on sticks, furs and animal teeth. You definitely have a feeling that you’re entering somewhere different, of different values and customs. Most restaurants will even offer an ayahuasca menu as this is one of the most popular places to try the traditional healing ceremonies.

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I spent 4 days at a retreat, La Luna del Amazonas, learning the ways of the shaman and having a total out of body experience. You can jump in a boat for several hours, float down the river and stay in one of jungle cabins, listen to the orchestra of creatures as they sing the songs of the jungle. There are birds calling, frogs ribbiting and insects buzzing. The fireflies flicker as little fish leap in and out of the water. You’ll see sloths, monkeys and dolphins. If you want you can even hold a tarantula or catch some piranhas for lunch!

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I spent 4 weeks in Peru, but only just scratched the surface. I’d love to see the surf and beaches in the north, do plenty more treks and explore many more small cultural treasures.

Sofia’s Top 5 Peru Tips:

  • Learn how to make ceviche. I did a lesson with in Lima, which I would very much recommend, Lima Gourmet.Whilst I didn’t find Colca Canyon the most rewarding trek, the town of Cabanaconde where you finish is really interesting to see. We were there over a festival weekend and watched women swirling in local dresses, whilst the men marched in the band with drums and trombones. Taking the time to see a village, slightly off the beaten track is well worthwhile to see how the Peruvians live outside of the modern cities.
  • Challenge yourself to the 2,500 steps to get to Machu Picchu. Be there to see the sunrise over the impressive ruins.
  • Try sandboarding in Huacachina, find yourself screaming as you fly through the dunes on the buggies!
  • If you are open to new experiences, head to an ayahuasca retreat in either the Amazon or Sacred Valley

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Thank you Sofia! Don’t forget to catch up with the rest of Sofia’s journey here. 

Patchwork Couple: Josh & Victoria’s South Africa Honeymoon Fund

Victoria and Josh have had a modern-day romance – they met on Tinder, no less! Victoria had just about given up when she finally swiped right for Josh one day in 2014. They’re a low-key couple and planned a wedding to match, then, with a bit of help from Patchwork and their wedding guests, jetted off to South Africa on an incredible adventure. We asked Victoria all about it.

How did you get engaged?

Josh actually proposed to be on my Birthday the year after we met. I kind of ruined it – he had a lovely day planned, and was planning on proposing on a bridge in our favourite park near our house, but I’d been to an interview in York and got back late! He ended up proposing to me on the sofa. It was still the most amazing proposal ever – I don’t think it needs to be fancy, or over the top. It’s a special moment no matter where/when/how.

Agreed! What kind of wedding did you want?

We knew we wanted something low key. We don’t have huge families, and we didn’t want to spend a lot. We also didn’t want the “traditional” wedding. We didn’t spend money on favours or flowers – me and mum actually went to M&S on the morning of the wedding to pick up some white roses, and then my friend Katherine arranged them with Lavender from her garden, and feathers that had been donated to us. They looked stunning! For the decor, we bought Terrariums from Etsy, and filled them with white stones, candles from The White Company and some green vine leaves. It was all very simple, but beautiful. It was a really cosy autumnal vibe.

Sounds amazing. What kind of music did you have?

We added a real personal touch with my sister Lex, brother-in-law Moss and friend Craig (who are all musicians) play on the day. We chose a few really special songs for the day including ‘When The Stars Go Blue’ by Ryan Adams to walk down the aisle to, and then ‘All I Want Is You’ by Barry Louis Polisar (including an epic harmonica performance from my sister) and then ‘Breathless’ by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds as we left. We also didn’t want a typical wedding photographer with staged photos taking up most of the day, so my friend Liam Henry came along for part of the day to take some shots, and they turned out beautiful! Because we didn’t have a wedding photographer, we hired a Photobooth which was a great laugh and relatively inexpensive.

What was your venue like?

After going to see a few venues and deciding they were all too ‘weddingy’ we decided on Hotel Du Vin in Harrogate. We decided to get married at Harrogate Registry Office late afternoon and then have dinner and a party at Hotel Du Vin. We also planned it for Bonfire Night (the night before my birthday) so that we could have free firework displays across the town!

Did you have a first dance?

We didn’t! We didn’t want to be the centre of attention. We wanted to have dinner and a party with our closest friends and family, and not make the whole day be centred around us.  Me and my sister sang after dinner as a  bit of a surprise. I suppose that could be classed as our alternative ‘first dance’.

What was your favourite part of the day?

Honestly, I don’t know! Seeing Josh as I walked down the aisle was probably my favourite.  But the whole day was just amazing – it was so intimate and special, and was just loads of fun. I think the music throughout the day really made it though – so many people commented on how amazing and special it was. Having musicians as friends and family is definitely a bonus! It has to be said that my sister Lex arranged an amazing playlist for the party after dinner – everyone was up dancing until the early hours and it was just such a laugh.

So why did you choose Patchwork for your wedding registry?

Because it enabled us to create something easily for people to gift as little or as much as they wanted. We don’t need things for the house, or anything like that, and giving money felt a bit too ‘transactional’ and impersonal. We knew that using Patchwork would enable our guests to donate towards something that we would hold as special memories, rather than material things.  

What did you ask for contributions towards?

We wanted to fund our honeymoon to South Africa. It was an amazing way of doing it as we got to do some amazing things, like Safari! And stay in a stunning hotel on the beach in Camps Bay.

It was just really special and we are so grateful to everyone who made it happen for us – we were really humbled. It really was a once in a lifetime trip for us. We aren’t fancy people, but we wanted a fancy honeymoon and it was amazing to know our family and friends were part of that experience for us. And they thought it was great! It was so easy and meant that people didn’t have to worry about bringing cash or presents with them on the day.

Using Patchwork was just so easy. And you can make it your own and put your personality into it.

Would you recommend your South Africa trip to other honeymooners?

Absolutely! South Africa is an amazing country. It’s so beautiful – waking up every morning to the sea on one side, and Table Mountain on the other was honestly breathtaking! The people are so friendly, and the fact you can drive 2 hours inland and be on safari with the Big 5 is just awesome. And then the Vineyards! Babylonstoren was the most amazing place I’ve ever stayed. I wish we could go every year!


 

Thank you Victoria & Josh for sharing your patchwork story with us. And a huge congratulations from Team Patchwork!

If this has inspired you to make your own patchwork, just customise one of our readymade patchworks or create one from scratch.

Sofia’s Photo Diary: New Experiences in Japan

Sofia is travelling the world (lucky thing!) and has been sharing her journey with us here on the Patchwork blog. So far she’s showed us bustling Rajasthan, South IndiaNepalMyanmar and the Philippines. Now it’s over to Sofia to share her photos and tips from her latest destination – Japan.

Japan, the land of the future, technology, efficiency. From the hustle and bustle of Tokyo to the quaint picturesque landscapes of Kyoto, Japan has many a hidden treasure.

Starting in Tokyo, one of the first things you notice is the sense of order. People queuing patiently to board the metro. Everything is on time. Everything is slick and clean. The people are well dressed, reserved. Though despite their private nature, you will come across many an oddity – maid cafes, ready to serve you, sir. Manga shops. A clone factory. Love hotels. Onsens where being naked is the norm. One area of Tokyo – Akihabara – in fact feels like it’s been designed by a teenage boy – a gaming shop, next to a sex shop, next to a yoyo store, next to a gadget store followed by comic books and back to a maid cafe! Amongst this though was a realisation that the Japanese had considered how to fulfill your every need in the city. It has everything from amazing shopping districts, to captivating exhibitions, to cat cafes, to capsule hotels for a quick power nap. You name it, you can find it!

One of things I was most excited about for Japan was the food, and boy did it deliver. With an array of options there was always something new to try; the vending machine snacks are on another level – we’re not just talking chocolate bars and crisps – everything you can think of is inside these machines. There are amazing sushi joints for a quick lunchtime bite, Korean BBQs for socialising, all you can eat and drink Japanese tapas for the pre-nightclub fuel up! There are street food vendors often with various iterations of octopus and pancake. And cakes! All of the cakes, light, fluffy, delicious, a culinary treat I hadn’t associated with the country before. Hell, they even have a restaurant where you can fish for your own dinner within the restaurant! Overall the standard of quality of food in Japan is exceptional. Incredible fresh fish and tender meats. Hard to be disappointed even if you’re just grabbing a bite at a train station.

Talking of train stations. Whilst the Japanese rail pass may be expensive, it is well worth the money. The bullet trains are as the name suggests – fast and efficient. Whilst based in Osaka, you can easily get to Naoshima, the stunning art island, pop to Kobe for dinner or be moved by the heartbreaking stories of those who lived through devastating atomic bomb of 1945 in Hiroshima.

Japan, whilst modern and super advanced is a country with a long history of traditions and cultures, which it has not only held onto but is very much proud of. There seems to be a great deal of respect for these values, reflected in their courteous manner and in how the presence of geisha girls, sumos, Onsen houses, tea ceremonies and ryokans remain both relevant and iconic. And with a landscape punctuated by traditional architecture, shrines, temples and castles, Japan manages to feel both old and new all at the same time, always with something to experience and discover.

Sofia’s Top 5 Japan Tips:

Get intimate at a local Onsen. Natural hot springs, where everyone is naked. The interesting part is the cleaning ritual as opposed to the nudity! Very relaxing and quite an experience.

Try Shabu Shabu restaurants serving hot broth, which you can quickly dip raw meat and vegetables in to cook. Delicious and lots of fun.

Spend some time at Naoshima. A tranquil, beautiful island dedicated to art.

Sing your heart out at karaoke, try warming up with some pre-drinks in the Golden Gai in Tokyo first.

Spend a night at 9 Hours hotel, Kyoto. The sleeping capsules will make you feel like you’ve been transported into the future.

 


 

Thank you Sofia. Next up, Sofia’s heading to Cuba!

Sofia’s Photo Diary: Pure Beauty in the Philippines

Sofia is taking a career break, exploring parts of the world she’s never seen before, and has been sharing her journey with us here on the Patchwork blog. So far she’s showed us bustling Rajasthan, the beautiful landscapes of South India, the tranquility of Nepal, and the mystery of Myanmar. Now it’s over to Sofia to share her photos and tips from her latest destination – the Philippines.

  

Luscious green vegetation and sparkling blue seas contrast with the pristine white sands of the Philippines – a place of natural beauty, paradise on earth. Once you’ve entered the home of the blue lagoon and discovered its many hidden treasures, you may never want to leave.

The mainland of Manila has a familiar vibe to many south Asian cities. An abundance of street food, busy roads, lots of noise. But don’t be fooled – it’s filled with plenty of its own unique quirks. From the Wacky Races-style tricycles, to obscure coffee shops (like the Harry Potter bar that I stumbled upon), or over-the-top karaoke, there’s plenty to keep you entertained. But the main event are the islands – island hopping is an absolute must. Just be aware when planning your trip that flights and boats are often delayed, so do account for a full day of travel when getting from one island to the next.

With so much to see and do in the Philippines, you can really feel your surroundings and ‘holiday mode’ change as you jump from one island to the next. One minute you’re chilling out in the luxury resort of Bohol, with infinity pools and cocktails aplenty. Then you’re in full adventure mode – canyoneering in Cebu or diving in Coron, or partying the night away in Boracay on its famous white beaches, lined with bars and clubs.

Whichever island you go to, you’re sure to find many boat trips offering you the chance to snorkel, visit private islands and hidden lagoons and take in everything nature has to offer.

Personally, I could have stayed in El Nido forever – there are several beaches to choose from, each with a different vibe – beach bums chilling to music with a beer, quiet empty spaces or the perfect surf. It has the most serene surroundings and smaller islands and lagoons to visit. At night you can either relax watching the sunset or you can be sure to see some familiar faces at its one and only late night beach club.

Sofia’s Philippines Top 5:

  • Go diving in Coron! Swim through sunken shipwrecks, find Nemo in one of the many beautiful coral reefs
  • Fly yourself to the Birds Nest in El Nido and unravel the love story of Camilla and Mark, who set up this incredible glamping spot at the end of their honeymoon. Wake up to views of the mountains and seas and read a book in their swinging chair, sniffing the sweet aromas of home-baked treats that await you
  • Go to the floating bar at Snake Island in El Nido, sip on a fresh piña colada and dip your toes in the crystal clear water
  • If partying is your thing, shake your hips to the beats of Boracay’s Rasta drum circle on Station 1 beach.
  • Go to the stunning twin lagoon in El Nido. If you’re able to, find a boat tour that sets off a bit later avoid the crowds, so you can make the most of this incredible setting. Crack open a beer, kayak through the narrow passageways of the rocks and enjoy the cool waters

 


 

Thank you Sofia! Next time, Sofia’s in Japan.

Patchwork Loves: SOON THE SUN + Giveaway!

Soon the Sun is a stylish new label designed for women who like to travel far and pack light. Their essential holiday collection is made up of versatile pieces that can be pulled straight out of your hand-luggage, ready-to-wear on the beach during the day, or out for dinner at sunset. We interviewed STS Founder Pusia Chatfield to find out more.

First up, for all the super stylish women using Patchwork as a honeymoon fund, why is Soon the Sun the perfect honeymoon collection?

So much organisation and thought goes into the big day that by the time the honeymoon comes around there isn’t much space left to plan for that “What am I going to wear?!” moment. So I think “Soon the Sun” is the perfect match for the busy bride because she cares how she looks and feels but hasn’t got much time or headspace left to worry about what she’s going to take on her honeymoon, or even start to think about packing it. It’s a capsule collection made up of eight garments that answer all your holiday needs.

Ok let’s back up, why did you start Soon the Sun?

The idea came to me when I was away on holiday. I’d packed for twin boys, aged eight months, myself and half-packed for my husband too. I realised after the holiday how little I had worn, I literally had only worn a few things – my staple favourite pieces that I had always taken on holiday, that were now threadbare but still very much loved. The rest had stayed in the suitcase. This was the starting point for Soon the Sun.

What’s your design process – how do you decide what makes it in the collection?

I guess I just looked at the things in my wardrobe that I had worn over and over. They were the same pieces that came on holiday with me every year and I think this is probably what everybody else does. We tend to buy new things to take on holiday but we don’t really need or want them. These pieces that I love so much were my perfect garments, they answered all of my needs whilst on a sandy beach or in a busy market. They are lightweight, not precious fabrics, just cheesecloth – so no need to iron, easy to dry, timeless, throw on pieces, to wear from beach to bar.

What’s the difference between style and fashion?

Style stands the test of time, it’s fashion but timeless. It’s about knowing what suits you and what makes you feel comfortable – if you’re comfortable in what you’re wearing, you’ll look stylish, confident and sexy. Stylish garments are usually a combination of the right fabric, shape, fit and colour. These elements can transcend fashion trends and decades.

Your garments are all organic, using 100% natural fabrics and dyes. Why is this important to you?

I just feel there is a small but growing amount of women who are starting to think about where the things they wear (like make-up and face creams) are being produced. We worry about what we eat – we are concerned about where it’s from and how it’s produced. There’s a growing conscience. I think every new business should be concerned with the environment and aim to reduce their impact in whichever way we can.

I thought it was time we started thinking about garments, the clothes we wear on our skin. If you’re in a beautiful place then you want to feel close to nature – you’ll feel good that your garments have done as little damage to the planet as possible. Our garments are made in India with a fantastic small factory, which is a start, but we still have to ship them back here – so I’m not totally there yet.

Why should we all consider buying less and buying better?

We are taught that fashion is fast moving, and that you need to keep up with the trends. When in fact a good garment can stand the test of time and transcend eras. My favourite era was the 70s and lots of my garments have been inspired by that time. You know when you own a good piece and it comes out every year and you still love it and wish you could buy it again, that’s what Soon the Sun is about – relaxing in the knowledge that you can come back time and time again and your favourite style will be there so once you’ve loved it ’til it’s threadbare, you can come back to buy the same piece again. Not much will change except maybe a new colour. Buy what suits you and buy what you love. We encourage women to #wearlessmore. It’s much cooler.

Along with the entire STS collection what are your holiday essentials?

+ A good skin cream with 50+ factor – LA ROCHE-POSAY is excellent!
+ Sunglasses – two pairs, big ones and less over the top ones
+ No underwear, waste of packing space. Always in my swimwear anyway
+ A good read or two. Anything set in a warm climate. I love ‘My Family and Other Animals’ by Gerald Durrell
+ Maybe a “sexy book” (as my nan would say)
+ Lots of Coco de Mer
+ Good shawl for cold nights.

What songs are on your holiday playlist?

Oh man this is hard… Any Prince obvs…
Relax Your Mind – New Look (whole album) – For dreaming in the car on the way to the airport or on the beach
Everywhere – Fleetwood Mac – Driving in the car with the roof open, sunnies on, morning sun on your face, first day on the beach
Pennies from Heaven – Inner City – For dancing on the beach, reminiscent of raving days, hands in the air moment
And any jazz for when you’re home cooling off and having a chill with a glass of wine in your hand and salty snacks, looking out at the view (if you have one) or just looking at next door’s towels.


 

Thanks, Pusia! Is anyone else now desperate for a holiday? Well if you’re lucky enough to be off on your travels soon, you’re going to want to enter our Soon the Sun giveaway. Head to our Instagram page to be in with the chance of winning your favourite piece from the new collection. All you have to do is follow @patchwork_it and @soonthesun and comment on the post telling us which item from Soon the Sun you can’t live without before midnight on the 23rd June – good luck.

For full terms and conditions click here.

Is This the Most Useful Honeymoon Planning Tool Out There?

If you were to write a list of requirements for your perfect honeymoon, chances are it would vary wildly from your friends’ – you might want to spend your days lazing on golden beaches while they’d rather white water raft or head to a hectic city. But there will always be one thing on that list that will crop up again and again – good weather. We all want to find that ideal honeymoon weather – hot, but not too hot. No rainy days. A light breeze wouldn’t go amiss.

Until now people have had to rely on that ever-popular Google search ‘What is the best time to visit [insert-destination]?’, which, with general temperature ranges and a few anecdotes, can give you a vague idea of the weather in the area. But it leaves a lot to be desired in terms of specifics. When you’re trying to plan the trip of a lifetime, you’re going to want to know exactly what you can expect.

Decision Data

Now, thanks to this handy tool created by digital data expert Ryan Whitaker, you can find out the temperature in any place in the world on any given week. So whether you’ve got time booked off and need to find out where in the world will give you those blue skies, or if you have a dream destination in mind and want to figure out the best time to go, this tool will help. Hooray.

Just enter your ideal mean temperature, low temperature, and high temperature, as well as a preferred amount of rain (none, surely?). Then little pink dots will pop up showing you where in the world those conditions exist.

To build the map, Ryan downloaded 10 years worth of weather data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, from more than 10,000 weather stations around the world.

So go on – have a go – find your perfect honeymoon weather. And if you’re still looking for honeymoon inspiration, check out the Lonely Planet Honeymoon Handbook, co-written by Patchwork founder Olivia.

Discovered via Lonely Planet.

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