Tag: honeymoon planning

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: Ange & Steph’s Winter Honeymoon Adventure

Ange and Steph met in 2011 at work in Birmingham, and Ange says it was ‘friendship at first sight’. They both needed flatmates so they moved in together with another work pal. They soon found out they had loads in common and shared a bond only Celts living away from home amongst the English can share! A year later, Ange got a promotion and moved to London, and it was then they realised their true feelings. After 9 months of living apart and getting trains up and down, Steph decided to move to London so they could be together. Fast forward five and a half years and the couple are joined at the hip, still working and living together, and they wouldn’t have it any other way. We asked Ange all about their beautiful wedding day and found out how Patchwork helped give them the honeymoon of their dreams.

How did you two get engaged?

Steph organised a wonderful day of treats to celebrate our anniversary, including a spa day, lunch in our fave cafe, a stroll via ‘Love Lane’ (in London) before heading to a rooftop overlooking St Paul’s Cathedral, where Steph popped the question under the stars. It was a very surreal moment and one we will never forget. We took the next hour to ourselves sipping on champagne before we called the family to tell them the good news.

What kind of wedding did you plan?

We were very much inspired by our family and friends.  We are both really close to our family and have a tight knit group of pals. We wanted it to be as much about them as it was us. That’s what inspired a lot of the personal touches and the location itself allowed for that, since the barn we chose pretty much comes as an empty shell with all the potential!

We wanted there to be music at all times and every song was chosen by us, from the pre-ceremony playlist right through to the party tunes. Music evokes memories and says a lot about a person. There were Irish jigs interwoven with Scottish tunes throughout the drinks reception and songs from the early days of us, giving our guests a little insight into our life through music.

Did you have a first dance? What was it?

The idea of a first dance had never really appealed to us. Our wedding weekend was very much about bringing our families together so we decided to share our first dance with the whole wedding party and cheekily selected to dance to ‘The Gay Gordons’ to kick off the ceilidh. I’m not sure anyone got the irony in the song choice, but we did so that’s all that mattered.

What was your favourite part of your wedding day?

It’s really hard to choose just one so we are going to be a bit greedy. We often recall when reminiscing about the day the moment we entered the barn together. We decided to walk each other down the aisle, to symbolise the fact that this marriage was equal and we were in it together. This was met with a thunderous round of applause from our guests which actually made us stop in our tracks. We were overwhelmed by this ‘wall’ of love greeting us and it really set the tone for the rest of the day and night.

We can’t not mention that our Our ‘Pals of Honour’ rewrote the lyrics to Beauty and The Beast ‘Something there that wasn’t there before’ as part of their speech and toast, which was incredibly personal, memorable, hilarious and special.

Why did you choose Patchwork for your wedding registry?

We knew we didn’t want a traditional gift list so went in search of something we could personalise. We had our dream honeymoon in mind, full of experiences and culinary adventures instead of material gifts. Patchwork made that so easy for us to do.  

We wanted a winter honeymoon full of romance, fairy lights, mulled wine and christmas markets, as well as history and culture to fulfil our inner geeks. Since trains featured quite highly in the early days of our relationship and they’re just so old school and romantic, we decided to ‘winter-rail’ across Western Europe. We left on the 5th December from Edinburgh Airport and travelled across Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, France and Belgium on first class trains before returning home to London just in time for the Fireworks of New Year.  

We spent Christmas in Paris and visited fairytale castles in Bavaria, tasted numerous gluhwein the length and breadth of Western Europe, explored ancient Rome and got lost in the cobbled streets of Brugge.

How did you feel when you set off on your travels knowing all of your loved ones had chipped in?

So grateful! We wouldn’t have been able to do everything on our wish list if it hadn’t have been for our friends and family funding our trip. Things we could only dream of doing like travelling 1st class across Europe, our 7 course christmas dinner in the legendary Le Train Bleu in Paris, sipping coffee from the same cups as poets Keats and Shelley at Caffe Greco in Rome, champagne and macarons at Ladurée on the Champs-Élysées, geeking it up on the original Sound of Music tour in Salzburg and a night at the Moulin Rouge. And that’s just scratching the surface.  

Would you recommend your winter adventure to other honeymooners?

Yes we would recommend our honeymoon, especially around Christmas time, just so magical. It was definitely just as much about the journey as it was the destinations and countries we went to. Some of our most treasured memories are whilst getting from one country to another, like the time we almost missed the train because of a very heavy overnight snowfall which meant we had to tobogan our way to the station on our cases. It was a true adventure and a way to discover hidden treasures in big cities and off the beaten track towns and villages.

What was the best bit about using Patchwork for your honeymoon fund?

Well firstly, it was just so much fun to create! It actually helped us to plan our honeymoon and was really great for us to refer to when planning what to fit in and when. Secondly, it looks really cool and is so user friendly, both to set up and to use even after the Patchwork goes live. There was a couple of times when some of our items sold out and we had to go back in and up the quantity. This was super easy to do.

Our patchwork became such a talking point at our hen dos and the wedding and some of our guests have since got in touch asking for the website, so they could use it too. They seemed just as excited about our honeymoon as we were!


 

Thank you Ange & Steph 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.

 

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.

Top 10 UK Honeymoon Destination Ideas for 2017

Top UK Honeymoon Destinations

Whether you’re honeymooning on a budget, limited for time, need to take the kids or pets, or just want to celebrate your marriage by exploring the beauty of Britain, we’ve got 10 brilliant UK honeymoon destination ideas for summer 2017.

Find laid-back luxury in London

Our first UK honeymoon destination is our cosmopolitan capital. London has much to offer honeymooners, from must-see sites in the Centre to hip bars in the East. But if you want to relax and enjoy a truly luxurious London honeymoon, head West to stay at the Artist Residence between stylish Belgravia and Chelsea. A chic London bolt-hole with an intimate 10 rooms, its own cocktail bar and an all-day restaurant it has a super lux yet laid-back vibe and is perfectly positioned with the whole of the city on your doorstep.

Things to do:

Visit the beautiful V&A Museum of Art & Design to enjoy their summer exhibitions including ‘Shaping Fashion’ showcasing Spanish couturier Balenciaga, where you can drool over decadent silk gowns. Then dine like royalty with their recreation of Queen Victoria’s Afternoon Tea in the exquisite Morris Room. For a budget-conscious alternative (but still in sight of a real palace) take a picnic in to St. James Park. Set in the heart of ceremonial London, the oldest of London’s Royal Parks is an oasis of peace for newlyweds; with a lake, the Tiffany fountain and its own lovebirds – the famous pelicans.

Hopefully summer in the city will mean sunshine, but a rainy day is the perfect excuse to cosy down together in the beautifully restored Electric Cinema in Notting Hill. Spend an afternoon watching arthouse, classic or mainstream flicks from red velvet-covered double beds while a waiter delivers you cocktails. Then step out onto the Portobello Road and head up to The Dock Kitchen for dinner and a pick-me-up. Located in a stylish Victorian Wharf building this experimental restaurant with rooftop bar overlooks the Grand Union Canal. Perfect for people watching on a balmy summer’s evening with a chilled bottle of wine.

Top UK Honeymoon Destinations

source: artistresidencelondon.co.uk

Enjoy family fun in Norfolk

Cooler than the Cotswolds, quieter than Suffolk – cheaper than both. Norfolk, with its thriving independent scene, quirky festivals, big skies and rolling hills, is also one of the driest areas of the UK. So you might not need your umbrellas on the beach.

Where to stay:

The Victoria Inn and Ancient House at the Holkham Estate are nestled in an especially romantic setting in the windswept Norfolk countryside and boast beautifully appointed en suite rooms. After a brisk walk to flush your cheeks on nearby Holkham Beach, guests can enjoy relaxing in the peaceful and private walled rose garden of the Ancient House, or enjoy a modern British menu at the hotel restaurant which uses seasonal and locally produced ingredients. Children are welcome and dogs can stay in the rooms at the Victoria Inn.

Best place to eat:

For lunch head to The White Horse at Brancaster to enjoy the freshest of locally caught seafood including oysters during the season. Take in the spectacular views across the Norfolk Coastal Path and the tidal marshes and if you’re lucky, you might even catch Cyril or Ben, the next door neighbour ‘mussel men’ cleaning and netting their mussels for delivery to the kitchen door.

Getting around:

Exercise kids and dogs as you wander along beautiful sandy beaches to between five star pub stops along the coast. And if you want an even more more leisurely way to enjoy the scenery, you can take a steam train ride along the Wells Walsingham Railway full of old England charm and eccentricity – with five bridges en route for extra excitement.  

Top UK Honeymoon Destinations

source: holkham.co.uk

Discover True Romance in Margate 

Grab your bucket and spade – Margate has recently put itself back on the map as a desirably hip destination, so much so that it has been renamed by some as ‘Shoreditch-on-Sea’. Perfect for couples that long for salty beach-kisses and some good old fashioned fun, with an ironic twist.

Only two hours from London, Margate has burst back to life with a spruced up version of its famous kitsch past thanks to the sleek new Turner Contemporary Gallery and a wave of independent retailers. You’ll still find striped deckchairs and sticks of rock but you’ll now find ultra-cool Margate born brands like Haeckels, alongside vintage furniture shops and new pizza places like the Great British Pizza Co.

What to do:

Get your adrenalin pumping on some heart-stopping rides at the newly reopened Dreamland; spend the day on roller-coasters and eating candy floss against a backdrop of vintage cool and modern design. You can’t visit Margate without sharing a traditional vinegar soaked fish ‘n’ chips (grab a large one from Mario’s) then head down to the beach for frolics at sunset and see why Turner described the skies here as ‘the loveliest in Europe’.

Where to stay:

If you’re looking for somewhere super stylish to stay, The Reading Rooms offer the perfect antidote to Margate’s colourful kitsch. Muted colours complement this beautifully restored Georgian townhouse and make this luxury boutique hotel an oasis of calm for couples seeking pared-back grandeur. Top tip: Make sure you book a room with a roll-top bath to enjoy champagne and bubbles.

Top UK Honeymoon Destinations

source: rhymeandribbons.com

Enjoy an outdoor adventure in Cornwall 

Boasting the best surf in the UK, amazing Michelin star restaurants and as much art and culture as you can shake a stick at you’d be pushed to find a soggy pasty in Cornwall these days. But you will find beautiful villages with vibrant communities that welcome all-comers, tons for kids to do and 50 beaches are dog-friendly too!

Cornwall offers great self-catering options such as Treworgey Cottages in the Looe River Valley, where children and dogs are welcome. With picture perfect cottages covered in honeysuckle, a horse riding centre, heated swimming pool, a small petting farm and an indoor beach for rainy days, this is the perfect place for couples honeymooning with kids in tow. 

Things to do:

Take a day trip by boat to the stunning Looe Island Nature Reserve. A one time haunt for smugglers and a sanctuary for sea and woodland birds, this tiny island has a fascinating history and the waters around it teem with marine wildlife.

Book a family surf lesson with the passionate people at award winning Sennen Surf Centre. Crystal clear waters, golden sands and consistent surf make this place a winner. After working up an appetite on the rollers, check out beach side restaurant Benn Tunnicliffe restaurant that promises ‘Good food and family time in beautiful surroundings’. 

Don’t miss a trip to St. Ives; with its cobbled charm, quaint cottages and literary heritage it’s the perfect place to take in some culture including the Tate Modern GalleryBarbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden. And if you’re near Penzance head to the Jubilee Pool, a recently refurbished Art Deco Lido perfect for an invigorating sea water swim.

10 UK Honeymoon Destinations

source: jubileepool.co.uk

Find a family paradise on the Scilly Isles

Stay close to home on a sub-tropical family honeymoon with a large dollop of Enid Blyton time-warp. Uncrowded, unspoilt, and surrounded by golden-sanded beaches, the Scilly Isles archipelago really are a paradise on your doorstep. Located at the most Southwesterly point of the UK and an area of outstanding natural beauty, these islands are rugged, remote and virtually car-free, making this a great holiday for couples who want to escape it all or families who want the freedom of a get-out-there-and-explore holiday without the long haul flight.

Getting around:

Arrive at your island destination by propellor plane or ferry and experience a simpler way of life. Visit www.islesofscilly-travel.co.uk for travel options. Island hopping by boat is a fantastic way to see marine wildlife and explore some of the uninhabited islands. Check out www.islandseasafaris.co.uk for day trips from St. Mary’s; go on their ‘Shipwrecks, Seals and Seabirds’ excursion for the best of the island sights.

Things to do:

The islands, some with as few as 80 inhabitants, are dotted with small farms and farm shops, walking and cycling routes and boast a wealth of ancient remains, castles and towers as well as amazing local produce and seafood. A sub-tropical microclimate make the Scilly Isles a unique place to see flora and fauna not found on the mainland and the gardens at Tresco Abbey are considered to be the UK’s most outstanding horticultural paradise. You might even spot a red squirrel, now almost extinct on the mainland.

Stay at Tresco Sea Garden Cottages with sailing, a beach cafe, swimming pool, tennis courts and a gym to keep everyone happy. All cottages also have wi-fi and satellite TV for when the kids have had enough of playing Enid Blyton style.

Eat at Juliet’s Garden on St. Mary’s  to enjoy seafood, steak or vegetarian dishes and Artisan Cornish cheeses on the beautiful terrace providing breathtaking views across the harbour and the other islands.

Don’t miss: Troytown Farm on St. Agnes for their spectacular ice-cream made from their small herd of 9 dairy cows.

Top UK honeymoon destinations

source: smithandfamily.co.uk

Celebrate your love-story on the Yorkshire Moors

Live out your own Gothic love story in our next UK honeymoon destination – the rugged and romantic Yorkshire dales. Take a blustery walk in the Bronte sisters’ footsteps and discover the atmospheric ruins, dramatic skies, and windswept moorland that inspired them. Then look forward to cosy evenings snuggled up with a glass of red in front of a roaring fire.

Things to do:

Embrace your rebellious spirit and stay in a bright red Gypsy van, ‘Carmen’, set in a peaceful glade at historic Markington Hall in North Yorkshire with bountiful welcome hampers, your own campfire, a nearby river to fish and frolic in and the moors at your doorstep.

For long walks, breathtaking scenery and dramatic views, Bronte Falls at Haworth, Sutton Bank on the North York Moors, Aysgarth Falls in the Yorkshire Dales, and Hardcastle Crags at Hebden Bridge are all must-dos. Then for a real treat, book a table at the michelin-starred Black Swan at Oldstead. With a mix of traditional Yorkshire warmth and a dynamic and creative menu, this not-to-be-missed restaurant is perfectly located on the edge of the North York Moors National Park.

Top UK Honeymoon Destinations

source: markingtonhall.co.uk

Go free wheeling in Wales

Be the envy of everyone else on the road behind the wheel of your very own classic original VW Campervan like ‘Lily’ from Pembrokeshire Classic Campers. Lovingly restored and ready to take you on your honeymoon adventure. Then it’s just you two and the open road, with the wind in your hair and Wales at your feet.

With activities in the area ranging from canoeing and surfing, to hang-gliding and golf you’ll find adventure awaits at every stop-off.

Things to do:

Highlights include Caerphilly Castle, the stunning coastlines of the Mumbles and the Gower peninsula. If your honeymooning in May – June you can catch the Literary festival at Hay-on-Wye and if you’re headed to Wales in August don’t miss the annual Jazz festival in the Brecon Beacons National Park. Long drives require constant supplies of Welsh rarebit (the world’s finest cheese on toast) so make sure you’re well stocked up.

10 UK Honeymoon Destinations

source: pembrokeshireclassiccampers.co.uk

Explore Connemara on horseback

Always wished you lived in a castle? Pretend you do for a week at luxurious Ballynahinch Castle in Ireland. Situated in the heart of Connemara, this stunning castle hotel is set in 450 acres so it’s easy to wander through the woodland together imagining it’s all yours.

Things to do:

Located along the wild Atlantic Way, set against the stunning backdrop of the 12 Bens mountain range, Ballynahinch is the perfect base for exploring the area either by car, on foot, or even on horseback.

Riding school Erislannan Manor close to the castle can organise riding and trekking on Connemara ponies for which the region is known. For guided walks, island trips and general advice on exploring this stunning part of Ireland, contact Walk Connemara.

If you’re feeling adventurous, explore the fairytale-like Kylemore Abbey and take a walk hand-in-hand around the woodland and lakes in this1,000 acre estate. And if you’re feeling lazy, enjoy a pint (or two) in a typical Irish village, such as Cong, famous as the location shoot for the 1951 John Wayne film ‘The Quiet Man’.

10 UK Honeymoon Destinations

source: kylemoreabbey.com

Live like kings in a Scottish Castle

Rich in history, with stunning cities, mysterious lochs and delicious whiskey to discover, Scotland is the perfect place for a honeymoon fling. And if you really want a honeymoon fit for Kings why not stay in a real Scottish castle? Just 8 miles from Edinburgh Dalhousie Castle  is a 13th century fortress on the picturesque banks of the river Esk. This castle hotel and spa has traditional decor and uses a lot of tartan so won’t necessarily win any design awards. But it’s interior style is certainly warm and welcoming. And you get to sleep in a four-poster bed, in a castle! 

Things to do:

Once you’ve been properly pampered in the spa, have explored the castle grounds and the water-y wilderness beyond head to Edinburgh. Wander around the Grassmarket and Victoria Street to browse bustling independent shops, artisan stores and take your pick from the excellent range of lunch options in this vibrant al fresco setting. Then visit the magnificent Edinburgh castle for afternoon tea. Spend an elegant evening starting with cocktails at Panda & Sons on Queen Street, then take a stroll back up towards the castle to dine at the lavish and decadent Gothic institution The Witchery by the Castle

Top 10 UK Honeymoon Destinations

source: dalhousiecastle.co.uk

Fall madly in love in Manchester

Our final UK honeymoon destination is Manchester. Whether you were there back in the day – or just wish you had been – go all-out with a love fuelled Manchester weekender. The best bit? Now you’re grown ups you can dance together till dawn, then sink into a luxury king size bed rather than crash on your mate’s saggy sofa.

Check out The Red Door in Deansgate for cocktails and classic tunes – open till 4.00am on Fridays and Saturdays. For a more chilled out night, get yourselves to the Soup Kitchen, award winning canteen and bar with communal tables, vegan food and a great selection of cask ales. Located in Manchester’s Northern Quarter District, this is your go-to destination for live music, film nights, comedy events and art exhibitions. Or head to Matt & Phred’s Jazz Club in the Northern Quarter. Showcasing the hottest jazz talent, as well as a host of other genres, this place also doubles as a restaurant with great pizzas and sharing plates and has a fantastic selection of wines and a great cocktail list.

Where to stay:

If you want to avoid disapproving glances from hotel receptionists when you rock up at 6am, book yourself an apartment so you can come and go as you please. To experience stunning loft living in an historic 200 year old building a stone’s throw away from the city’s bars and clubs check out the Old Mill on Airbnb.

10 UK Honeymoon Destinations

source: visitmanchester.com

Tips for Creating a Honeymoon Fund with Patchwork

Patchwork Honeymoon Fund

If you’re planning to use Patchwork to ask for money towards your honeymoon, check out our top tips before you get started:

Keep it simple

Although honeymoon funds are increasingly popular, not all of your guests will be familiar with the concept and some may be expecting a traditional gift list. So when welcoming people to your page make sure you’re clear about what you’d like people to contribute towards and why. Including ‘Honeymoon fund’ in your title always helps. Then you can use your description to share your plans and add a simple set of instructions (so even your 90 year old Nan will know what to do). Something like:

“Having lived together for 5 years we’ve already got a toaster and all the crockery we’ll ever need. So instead of traditional gifts we’d really appreciate a contribution towards an amazing honeymoon that we’ll treasure forever. Just click around our patchwork to choose which experience you’d like to treat us to. With love and thanks.”

Patchwork Honeymoon Fund

Make it personal

Your friends and family know and love you and will want to hear about your plans for your first adventure as a married couple. So don’t be afraid to make your honeymoon registry personal. Use your images and words to share not just what you want but also something about you both as a couple.

This doesn’t have to mean creating a patchwork from scratch. If you know where you are going on honeymoon you can customise one of our readymade patchworks of your chosen destination. Or use our ‘Beautiful Island of Somewhere’ patchwork if you haven’t decided yet. Then simply tweak a few words to personalise it and add or delete patches to suit your likes and dislikes.

You can also add a banner image of you both, a profile photo or even include photos of you within your patchwork. So there are lots of opportunities for your friends to see your happy faces, remember how much they love you, and then give generously!

Spread the cost

The best way to raise the most money for your honeymoon fund is to make it possible for everyone to contribute something – no matter how little. If the cost of all your honeymoon experiences are £50 upwards, you’re in danger of excluding people who will then give you nothing. So it makes sense to offer a range of prices across your patchwork – from £1 for a bottle of beer to £500 for a night in a hotel. This way the people who can afford to can add multiple gifts to their cart – to a maximum spend of £1300 per transaction. And those on a budget can still treat to you a meaningful experience for a fiver and leave a message along with their gift.

Remember people are attracted to beautiful things

They just are. And whilst beauty is in the eye of the beholder, no-one likes a pixelated image. We’ve got a gorgeous image gallery, so whether you’re customising one of our honeymoon templates or creating your patchwork from scratch we’ve got lots of high quality photos for you to use. But if you want to use your own images check they don’t pixelate when you add them to your patchwork. It might sound weird, but people will choose to click on quality images (and give more generously) if it looks like you’ve made an effort to make your patchwork appeal to them.

Enjoy playing around

You can customise and publish a readymade honeymoon patchwork in less than 5 minutes by adding a title and linking it to your PayPal account. But if you’ve got half an hour with a cup or tea or a glass of wine it can be fun to play around. Whether you’re creating a patchwork from scratch or using a readymade template it’s easy to crop, rotate and replace images within your patches, add new patches or delete ones you don’t want. And if you’re a Pinterest addict you’ll love the ability to resize patches and move them around your page until you’re happy with your layout. Just drag and drop them wherever you like and use the pink corners to resize and reshape.

Don’t limit the choice of gifts for your guests

You can set a quantity for each item or experience within a patch. So if you want two return flights, seven nights in a hotel and one tandem skydive you can set these quantities once you’ve set your prices. Just click to answer the question ‘How many do you want?’ and enter the number. Then, once this number of items or experiences have been bought, the patches will say ‘Sold out’.

This makes sense for one-off items or experiences, so that the people who choose to give these gifts know that they have paid for a particular trip or treat. But overall we recommend you leave most patch items ‘unlimited’. Particularly things you plan to have a lot of – like meals, ice-creams, cocktails or glasses of wine! If someone buys you 100 beers it doesn’t mean you have to drink them all – you can just use the excess money towards something more wholesome like a massage. And if six people chose to fund a single boat trip that’s also okay. When you’re on the boat you can take a photo and upload it to your Patchwork account. Then just choose to ‘Thank by patch’ to send the photo along with a message to all of the individuals who contributed to the trip.

Leaving the majority of your patch items ‘unlimited’ enables you to collect the maximum funds and also ensures latecomers don’t try to buy you a gift on the morning of your wedding to find that all the options have ‘sold out’.

Don’t forget to say thank you

You can prepare an automatic thank you before you publish your patchwork so that your friends and family can see your message (and a photo if you’d like to add one) as soon as they’ve contributed. This is this easiest way to immediately show appreciation of your guest’s gifts. But with details of contributors’ names and emails (postal addresses are optional) in your account, along with a record of what they bought, how much they spent and the message they left, it’s easy to thank friends properly on return from your honeymoon, with photos of you enjoying your experience.

You can thank friends via your Patchwork account (individually, by patch or as a group) with an image and a message in an email. And if you’d like to post thank you cards you can download a CSV spreadsheet of everyone’s details from your account, then send thank you cards using our 20% discount with Patchwork print partner MOO.

Ready to start your patchwork? Browse our customisable honeymoon fund templates here.

Tanya & Stephen’s Dream Honeymoon

honeymoon fund mauritius

Tanya and Stephen met online three and a half years ago and had a beautiful countryside wedding last year with all of their friends and family. They were planning the honeymoon of a lifetime when they found out they were expecting another little member of the family (who’s on her way next month!) so their plans had to change. We asked Tanya all about what they decided to do for their honeymoon and how their big day went.

How did you get engaged?

We got engaged on the rooftop terrace of our hotel in Venice. It was freezing as it was November, but the sunset was electric pink and it couldn’t have been more perfect. Steve did very well!

Tanya & Stephen by Catherine Mead – photographybycatherine.co.uk

What kind of wedding did you plan?

We wanted an informal, personal countryside wedding. We wrote our ceremony ourselves, had a big sharing-style meal, and lots of cocktails to keep the party going.

What was your first dance?

We did the Jewish Hora with all our guests – neither of us could face doing a dance just the two of us!

What made you choose Patchwork for your wedding registry?

A friend had used it for their wedding and I’d thought it was a great idea when I gave them a gift. Plus we knew there was nothing we really needed for our home, and that we couldn’t really afford a honeymoon ourselves.

honeymoon fund mauritius

So you decided to create a honeymoon fund?

Yes, for our dream honeymoon – a trip to the Maldives and Sri Lanka. We had the whole thing planned out and were so excited, but then I fell pregnant and couldn’t go to the Maldives due to the Zika virus or to Sri Lanka due to vaccines. So we had to scrap it last minute and rebook to go to Mauritius – which we figured was next best from the Maldives. We really liked knowing that all of our friends had helped to give us an amazing experience, rather than a set of towels or saucepans. And they were happy to contribute towards something fun.

honeymoon fund mauritius

Would you recommend your trip to other honeymooners?  

Yes. Mauritius was a fantastic holiday – direct flight, hardly any jet-lag, stunning lush greenery with amazing beaches, delicious food, peace and quiet, and our accommodation was all we could have hoped for – total luxury.


Thank you Tanya and Stephen for sharing your lovely 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 by Catherine Mead – photographybycatherine.co.uk

News: The Lonely Planet Honeymoon Handbook

Last year Patchwork founder Olivia was asked if she would contribute to Lonely Planet’s new Honeymoon Handbook. Having become something of a honeymoon expert through Patchwork and being a huge fan of Lonely Planet guide books, she jumped at the chance. And after a lot of hard work, the Handbook is finally here. It’s a brilliant resource for anyone planning their honeymoon. And we couldn’t be more excited about it being released. This guide to honeymoon planning can be purchased on Lonely Planet’s website or you can find it in the shops.

Here’s what Lonely Planet have to say about the book:

“Getting married is the best excuse to take the romantic getaway you and your partner have always dreamed about. The Honeymoon Handbook is an essential planning tool for making it come true. Lonely Planet’s first and only travel guide for newlyweds, The Honeymoon Handbook features over 25 of the most exciting locations for couples – from Andalusia to Zambia. It starts with a quiz to determine what kind of trip to take based on what you two love the most, whether it’s backpacking in Borneo, touring Tuscany or cruising around Cuba.

Beyond the destination sections, The Honeymoon Handbook also offers safari, luxury, island and family-themed getaway ideas – even how-to’s on ‘minimoons’ and getting married abroad. Other features include budget breakdowns and alternative destinations (Can’t afford Italy? Try Croatia) and an LGBT-friendly indicator for same-sex couples.”

Liv had so much fun contributing to this brilliant book (and has fulfilled her teenage dream of becoming a Lonely Planet travel writer) and we may be biased but we think it’s a super useful resource. So make sure you pick it up when you see it on the shelves.

Want to plan a honeymoon on a budget? Why not ask friends and family to help fund it? Check out all of our customisable honeymoon templates on our honeymoon fund collection page.

5 Reasons to go on a Great British Road Trip

Couples use patchwork to collect cash wedding gifts towards honeymoons all over the world. But in summer 2016 we noticed a new trend – adventurous newlyweds using our site to fund honeymoons around the UK. If you’re planning your honeymoon but aren’t sure you’re ready for the long-haul, why not organise something a little closer to home? Far-flung beaches and exotic sights, sounds and cultures are wonderful. But there’s a lot to be said for honeymooning at home.

What could be a better way of seeing these beautiful isles than a Great British road trip? Just pack up a trusty VW camper, bring some blankets and go wherever the mood takes you. Just you and your new husband/wife for life. Here are five reasons we love the idea:

No long haul flights. And most importantly, no jet lag. Those super long flights to destinations like Australia, Hawaii, or Madagascar will have you feeling like you’re on another planet, never mind another country. With no dreaded jet lag to contend with, you can get the most out of every single minute of this amazing honeymoon you’ve been planning for so long.

beach-dogs-copy

You don’t need to stress about the weather. Yes, it might rain, but you may also get some days of beautiful blue skies. To be honest you’ll probably get everything in between. If you splash out thousands of pounds on a beach holiday, you’re going to be pretty upset if you end up sheltering from a storm. With a British holiday, you know what you’re getting. Or rather, you never know what you’re getting, and that’s okay.

You can bring Rover. Or any dog with a less obvious dog-name. If your dog is the most important thing in your life (aside from your partner) you won’t be too keen on the idea of leaving them at home while you go off on your jollies. So pack them up too, bring their bed and a bone and stop off at beautiful parks/fields/beaches where you can let them run free.

country-path-dts-copy

It won’t cost the earth. You’ll need to shell out for the campervan hire and pay for all things like food and drink, but the cost compared to a long haul trip to a five star resort will be minimal. Weddings are expensive times and there’s no need to put extra pressure on yourselves to be able to afford the holiday-to-end-all-holidays. Plus, if you’re saving on accommodation and flights, you can spend a little more on luxuries; a dinner at a lovely restaurant, cashmere socks to keep your toes cosy in bed and a really posh bottle of wine.

You’re the masters of your own destiny. Don’t really like the look of the place you were planning on staying the night? Just keep going. Your van is your home. If you book 14 nights at an ‘exclusive’ hotel on the other side of the world, you’ll be heartbroken to arrive and find a problem. A campervan road trip is the ultimate freedom.

If you like the sound of a honeymoon at home and want your wedding guests to help make it happen, just customise our readymade honeymoon fund for a British road trip then let friends and family choose which part of the adventure to treat you to. 

Cash vs. Wedding Gifts

If you’re currently planning your big day, you’ve probably been asked a few times by now what you’re planning to do about your wedding gift list. Do you want to register at a retailer and ask your wedding guests to buy toasters, kettles, and new bedsheets? Would you like your friends and family to give you cash in an envelope? Put your bank details on your invitations and ask them to send a bank transfer? Or would you like your wedding guests to contribute cash towards your honeymoon? There are many options to think about and it’s time to figure out which is the right one for you.

cash-vs-wedding-gifts

What if we don’t want any wedding gifts?

Of course, you could say ‘no gifts’, but beware, as the majority of your guests will still bring you a present. People are generous and love picking something for the newlyweds. But they may not share your taste. So unless you want to end up with a watering can (despite your lack of garden) and a floral vase (when you can’t stand chintz), it’s best to specify. This doesn’t make you greedy, it just means that you’d rather your friends spent their money wisely, and that you don’t want to end up with wedding presents that you don’t need. At best these unwanted gifts will go to a charity shop, and at worst they’ll end up in landfill.

If you really don’t feel you want for anything, you could ask for donations towards a charity close to your heart. Charities such as Cancer Research UK, The Alzheimers Society and Action Aid all have wedding lists of their own that you can register for, and your guests will be able to easily help those in more need than yourselves. Your friends and family will be grateful for the opportunity.

cash-vs-gift-list-wedding

What wedding presents do we need?

If you haven’t lived together for very long (if at all) and are setting up home together then it’s great idea to set up a conventional wedding list with all the household items you need. Large retailers like John Lewis, Debenhams and House of Fraser provide a traditional wedding list service where you can choose to register for items from their stock. So if you need a toaster, a set of dinnerware, or a Magimix, just head to their store and pick out the items you want to register for.

Of course, times are changing, and with something like 80% of couples living together before marriage, the majority of people have most of the household items they need prior to their wedding day. In this case, perhaps a conventional gift list isn’t the best option. If you feel like you have all of the homeware items you need, you might be better off taking the route of the cash gift list. This way you can put the money towards something that you both really need. Whether that’s a contribution towards your flat deposit, help doing up your kitchen, or a longed-for new sofa, it’s up to you.

wedding gifts cash vs registry

What gifts do we actually want?

If you’ve established that you’re not interested in conventional wedding gifts, it’s time to figure out what it is that you really want. More than anything. Is it time together as a couple? Fantastic, why not ask your wedding guests to contribute cash gifts towards your honeymoon fund? With a Patchwork honeymoon fund your friends and family can buy you a cocktail on the beach, a night in a hotel, or even shell out for your first flights together as a married couple.

Perhaps you do want homeware, but you don’t want to be tied to a particular retailer. Set up a cash gift list and you can collect the money to spend in all of your favourite shops, with no restrictions.

Or how about asking your wedding guests to contribute towards a piece of art? You will finally be able to buy that piece that you’ve had your eye on for years. You could even commission a completely bespoke work of art. You’ll be able to treasure it for years to come, and it will always remind you of your wedding day, and all the people that were there to celebrate with you. There are endless possibilities if you’re thinking about asking your friends and family for something a little more unconventional.

what will our wedding guests think of asking for cash

What will our wedding guests think?

If you decide to go for the traditional wedding list, it’s fair to say there will be no adverse reactions. Your family, especially the older generation, will have seen this many times. Of course, it’s always annoying when the only item left to buy on the list is a hand towel or a chopping board. Other than that, your wedding guests probably wont complain about your gift list, but they probably wont mention how much they loved it either.

In the current climate and with weddings becoming more expensive, asking for cash gifts is becoming more popular. In fact, in a survey of 2,167 newlyweds by discount website VoucherCodesPro.co.uk, 26% of couples said they asked for a cash contribution for their big day instead of a gift. 37% said that they asked for money for their honeymoon, and only 21% opted for a conventional gift list. So if you are planning on asking for cash be reassured that more couples are starting to go down this route.

cash vs wedding gifts

How should we ask for cash for our wedding?

This is the tricky bit, and the bit where some wedding guests can end up feeling a little offended by your request for cash, so it’s best to tread lightly. If you’ve decided cash contributions are the right option for you, the next step is to figure out how to go about it. Asking for cash can be awkward, and your guests may feel affronted if faced with your bank account number in their invitation, or asked to bring cash in an envelope. It’s best to be honest, personal and clear about what their money will go towards. Choose your words carefully and make sure your guests know the reasons you would appreciate money rather than gifts, whatever they can afford – no one wants to feel pressured into stumping up £50 as a minimum amount. And above all, make sure they know that their presence on the day is the most important thing to both of you.

If you cringe at the idea of asking for money directly, an online cash gift registry could be the answer. We started Patchwork to eliminate the awkwardness of asking for cash for your wedding, and as a way for you to show everyone the one thing you want to fund – in a way that’s personal, creative and fun. Our registry allows you to show your wedding guests exactly what their money will be going towards, whether that’s the honeymoon of your dreams, or a much needed new sofa. You show them what it is you want as a ‘patchwork’ of images, each with a price attached, and they choose which bit to treat you to. You collect the money in your PayPal account and can spend it when and where you wish. Plus, you can keep track of all contributions in your account, so it’s easy to send your thank-yous.

Whatever you choose, whether it’s cash or gifts, your friends and family will accept your choice. And if your great aunt does get offended by your request for cash and would rather bring you a trinket, of course she can. Just make sure you put it on the shelf when she pops over for tea.

Browse our readymade wedding patchworks for inspiration, or create your own from scratch now.

 

 

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