Saturday, 10 March 2012

Love Actually

Somehow, unbeknownst to me, it's reached just past noon on a Saturday. I'm not too sure where the morning's gone, but I think it can partly be blamed on too much snuggling on the couch with my lovely husband to be, while taking in the culinary delights of Saturday Kitchen (how yummy did that Baked Alaska look!).

Feeling in a bit of a loved up mood, I thought I would share with you my absolute all time favourite film moment. It makes me smile every time I watch it so I hope it brightens up your day as much as it does mine.


Thanks for reading,

P.S. If you're a member of bloglovin, I've just joined today!

Friday, 9 March 2012

The Sweetest Thing

Every now and then I stumble across a shop that's fantastic and wonderful in every way, shape and form. Pumpkin and Poppet is one of these. It encompasses all things bright, beautiful and lovely, with a plethora of home accessories, gorgeous gifts and whimsical wedding decorations. Run by Pumpkin and Poppet themselves (I'm not sure which one is which, but I've met one of them and I can confirm that she is as lovely as her products), it's personal and sweet in a way that chain stores never will be. The best bit is, even though they're not a mega super chain, the prices are still so very reasonable and fantastic value for money.

I love every one of their carefully and thoughtfully chosen products and had to physically stop myself from ordering one of each. With everything from english rose printed bunting to homemade jam scented candles, I'm a little bit in love.

Here are a few of my favourite things that were just so perfectly perfect I couldn't help but share:

These charming homemade jam scented candles are so sweet I might just want to eat them (symbolically speaking...I wouldn't actually eat wax!). I love the cheery summer colours and the pretty display jars. At £2.95 they make the perfect wedding favour for a country kitsch wedding or a delectable accessory for any home.

I also adore these wonderful compact mirrors. They're whimsical and pretty and would make perfect bridesmaid gifts. Prices range from £3.95 to £6.95 which is a steal for an accessory so faultlessly pretty. The little birdies are my fave and I might just need to scoop one of these up for myself!

I'm slightly obsessed with anything heart shaped at the moment and love the idea of having dozens of these beautiful little shabby chic hearts hanging from a tree in the garden where I'm having my drinks reception. They're just so wonderfully pretty and at £1.95 you just can't go wrong.

I'm also a little head over heels for these ditsy floral Mr and Mrs decorations. I love the thought of having these prettily printed wooden letters either as a feature at the wedding itself, or lovingly displayed in my home once we've tied the knot. They're just £6.95 and to top it off there's a sweet 'Love' version as well.

Last but definitely not least, is the cheerful and charming english rose bunting. I'm putting together my own sweets table for the day and think these would be a fantastic addition. With fifteen perfectly printed pennants it's just too lovely to pass up. Again, the pricing is superb at just £9.95. I might just need to think of a reason to throw some sort of summer fete as well just so I can display these little beauties again.

There's so many more delightful and original products on their lovely site so definitely have a look (or two, or three):

Thanks for reading,

Thursday, 8 March 2012

My New Shoe Crush

After yesterdays slightly wordy post (837 to be exact!) I thought that today I should write about something pretty and easy on the eyes. Being an avid reader of quite a large selection of Wedding Magazines (much to my husband to be’s dismay), I’ve come across the name ‘Rachel Simpson’ in conjunction with adoration worthy shoes more times than I can count. Her designs are always beautiful, understated and completely elegant. She somehow combines stunning classic looks with utter practicality. With an Ivory collection spanning over a couple of dozen perfectly designed heels, she’s the ultimate bridal shoe destination and I just couldn't help but share my faves from her amazing collection.

I love Mimi. Like really love Mimi (Mimi is the name of the shoe - don't worry, my husband to be is safe!). As a shoe, she's sophisticated, glamorous and classic all rolled up into the loveliness pictured below. I love the 1920's inspired t-bar and ballroom-esque shape. She's £150 but worth every last penny. I would definitely find an occasion to wear these again after my big day (and again, and again, and again...). If there is shoe perfection, these are it. *Sigh*

Venetia is also an absolute beauty. I love the interlocking heart detail so perfectly positioned on the peep toe and the double seam at the back. They're romantic, feminine and oh so pretty. For £135 they're a bit of a splurge for my budget but for wedding day bliss, are more than worthy of my hard earned dolla. 

And then we come to Iris. In Champagne leather with lovelier than lovely vintage inspired detail it was love at first sight. Not just for weddings these shoes are the perfect accessory for a glam night out. Again, love love love.

 Last but not least, as I love a good bargain I had a quick look on the outlet section of the site. There's not many designs on there currently, but I found the below for the unbelievable price of £20. The best bit is, they had my size! So, as we speak, I have a lovely pair of Coco's making their way to my lucky front door. Hoorah!

There's plenty more stunning and gorgeous shoes from where these came from so have a look for yourselves (just maybe get someone to hide your credit card first...):

Thanks for reading,

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Big Day, Small Bride

*Disclaimer: I apologize that there's no lovely pictures in this post. As it's about dieting, and I'm not willing to share (and wouldn't subject you to) any before pictures at this point, this post will remain picture free (unless I finish writing it and feel it needs something happy or pretty at the end that is completely un-diet related).

So, every bride wants to look their best on their wedding day, and whether they're a size 8 or an 18, they all seem to go on diets in the lead up to their big day. The weirdest advice I've ever read in a wedding magazine was 'don't forget to eat in those crucial days before your wedding, you'd be surprised at how common it is to have brides fainting because they haven't eaten enough'. I didn't know whether to laugh or be concerned...

I'm now just over three months away from my big day, and have joined the 99.9999% of brides who watch what they eat in those last few months.* Christmas may have been a couple of months ago, but I can still feel (and unfortunately see) the remnants of too many quality streets, roses and mince pies. To make sure I look my best and actually fit into my lovely dress (the second love of my life after my husband to be) I'm in need of an eating habit overhaul.

Needing a good kick start, I was inspired but some of the girls at work who had tried the Dukan Diet. If the blurb can be believed, it apparently 'proposes a healthy eating plan that returns to the foods which founded the human species, those eaten by primitive man, the hunter-gatherers, proteins and vegetables, 100 foods including 72 from the animal world and 28 from the plant world. These foods come with the magic words: "AS MUCH AS YOU LIKE".' I like those last 5 words. A lot.

So, it works like this:

It consists of four stages.

The Attack Phase: It lasts 5-10 days (depending on your current and goal weights) and is pretty strict. You can only eat lean meat (poultry, fish, lean ham), dairy that's fat free, a bit of oat bran and a couple of eggs a day. So basically, no carbs and no sugar. Eep! I was very nervous about this as I'm historically a bit of a carb and sugar queen (hence all the quality streets and mince pies at Christmas). However, I'm now just finishing Day 2 and actually feel absolutely fine. I've had some grilled prawns and fish spiced with peri peri flavouring (surprisingly yummy!) for dinner and am feeling nicely full. I don't feel like I'm missing anything yet - although that might change when Friday night rolls around and I can't have my weekly fish and chips! I need to do the attack phase for 6 days so still have another four to go. It's looking promising though as I lost 2 1/2 pounds alone in the first day so am already feeling quite successful. Let's hope that feeling lasts!

The next phase is the Cruise Phase. While I wish it had more to do with sailing through the mediterannean while drinking cocktails on board a luxury cruise liner, it's more to do with adding vegetables back into your diet. During this part of the diet you alternate pure protein days with protein and vegetable days. This phase seems to last for ages. When I calculated it out it said for me it would last 105 days...that's a long cruise! If it's going to work for me I think I'll have to have a free day every week to keep me from going stir crazy. At the end of the cruise phase you should be at your target weight. Hoorah! Celebration time!

Onto the Consolidation Phase. Again this phase lasts quite some time - for me it was 172 days. However, at this point you get to add bits of fruit, cheese, bread and starchy foods like rice and pasta back into your diet. You also get two celebration meals a week so it feels more like just a healthy eating plan. You still have one pure protein day a week at this point.

Once you've passed the consolidation phase, apparently you're cured of blobby mince pie and chocolate bits and get to eat like a normal person, but with just one pure protein day a week. This is the Stabilization Phase and lasts for the rest of your life.

I'm not gonna lie, I have a few reservations that I'll be able to keep up with such strict eating habits for hundreds of days at a time, but I'm going to give it a good go. Reviews tend to be quite positive so there's no harm in trying it out. I'll let you know how I get on and if it's really as good as it says on the tin...

This is the most useful website I found if you want some more info:

Thanks for reading,

*99.9999% is not an actual figure.

Monday, 5 March 2012

A Revealing Conversation...

My husband to be and I went out last night to a friend's birthday dinner at the local curry house. We don't usually venture out on a Sunday evening, but as we had today off from work to go the registrars, we happily went along. When we were taking our seats, somehow, the girls ended up at one end of the table and the boys at the other. As one of the other girls in the party is also in full on wedding planning mode (she's getting married 2 weeks after me) the talk at our end of the table seamlessly turned to weddings - my favourite conversation piece.

Her and her bridesmaids had been out scouring the high street for hours on end on Saturday to find the perfect bridesmaids dresses (much nicer then I was - I just made an executive decision and chose them myself!). However, the perfect dress eluded them as apparently all four of the bridesmaids are quite, well, ahem, well endowed. From Monsoon to Debenhams and the high street to bridal stores, nothing seemed to work. She asked my opinion and after a good think, I recommended Pepperberry - the clothing brand partnered with Bravissimo.

Their philosophy is simple: Clothes designed with your boobs in mind! They have three different options of each high street size - Curvy, Really Curvy or Super Curvy - which makes finding that perfect fit a cinch. No pulling seams, gaping buttons or 'too revealing where it's not supposed to be revealing' necklines.  

Having a look at their current offer they have quite a few dresses that I thought could make that transition from high street buy to wedding day perfection. I found most of the ones I really liked in their sale section (even better) and size wise there still seemed to be quite a bit of choice. The below are my top picks:

The Tiered Frill Dress below was my fave. At £34.50 down from £69.00 it would be the perfect bridesmaid dress for a bright summer wedding. I love the refreshing colour and the tiered chiffon hemline.

I also love this 50's inspired Lace Full Skirt Dress. It's still full price at £79.00 but is definitely one of those bridesmaids dresses that you could actually wear again. The Navy colour is easy to wear and on bang on trend. Love!

If you're going for a monochrome black and white look on the day, then this little black dress is too good to pass up. Also in the sale section it's priced at £39.50 from £79.00. I don't know where else you'd get that kind of value - it has a boned bodice and a net under skit - on such a lovely detailed dress!

I don't think the picture on this one is fantastic, but it definitely has some real potential. Again in the sale section, and at only £22.50 (it was £75!) there's limited sizes so I'd act fast. The online description says it all: 
'This empire line chiffon dress is super flattering and exudes elegance. The asymmetric shoulder with detachable flower corsage adds a stylish touch and the straps have been positioned so you can still wear a bra. The silky lining feels super soft to the touch and the full length skirt drapes beautifully over your curves.'
In fact, whatever's left on the sizing there'll be one less as I think this may also be a perfect honeymoon dress...

There's something about the Rose Print Prom Dress below that kept catching my eye. The purple is beautiful and rich and I love the shape of the A-line skirt. It may not be a typical looking bridesmaid dress but I think that's why I love it a little. It's in the sale too (I love a good bargain!) at £37.50.

The Platinum Shift dress below was one I'd looked at when searching for my own bridesmaids dresses (my colour scheme is gold and ivory), but as it was full price at the time I ruled it out. It's now in the sale at £39.00 and as such a classic style would add a touch of elegance to any wedding day.

If you want a further look, check out their website:

Thanks for reading,

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Why Spa Days Should be Included in the Wedding Budget...

I started out thinking I was going to write this post about why weddings can be stressful and how lovely it is to be able to take the time out and have a spa day, but I just couldn't whole-heartedly say that weddings are stressful.

Organising the day itself is amazing. I've loved choosing everything from flowers to frocks and being able to put my own personal stamp on each and every little detail. I've spent hours (actually it's probably more like days if you added everything up!) scouring the internet for decorations, suppliers and the like. I've gone to three of the NEC wedding shows, spoken to more photographers than I can count and purchased more wedding magazines than my husband to be has purchased MCN's (some sort of motorcycling newspaper that seems to make its way onto my coffee table every week...). None of that has been stressful. Okay, maybe it was a bit stressful the time I went to the wedding show on a Sunday and it was ridiculously busy (to the point where the aisles were filled with Brides frantically trying on dresses and you could barely move through the crowds) and to top it off I was nursing a teeny bit of a hangover from the girls night before of making wedding mood boards and drinking rose, but that's it on the wedding stress-o-meter scale.

However, saying that, once you pass that ever so important six months to go mark, things do step up a notch or two in the 'omg, I only have five paychecks and 180 days to get everything 100% sorted and done' category. At this point you also start getting RSVP's, random queries and requests from guests, have suppliers you booked six months ago start calling again for wedding day details and info, and all happening while you're still working full time and trying to have some form of a social life. So, while the wedding itself might not be stressful, the people in and around the wedding day tend to cause a bit of stress in the lead up to that all important big day.

Bring on the Spa.

I'm lucky enough to have a fantabulous bridesmaid that treated me as a surprise to a lovely afternoon of pure spa bliss. It was just what the doctor ordered. We took hoards of gossip magazines and put our feet up for a few solid hours of pampering. I came out feeling refreshed and ready to once again take on the wedding world.

I still have a few months to go and have a feeling I'll be needing at least one more trip to the afternoon spa, but now that it's a category in my budget tracker, it's completely justifiable.

Thanks for reading,

Bridesmaid's Survival Kit

As my big day draws nearer, the little details are becoming more and more important. At the start of the planning process, it was things like Venue, Musicians, Photographer and Dress. Now, all the minute details within those sub categories are being decided on and finalized.  

One of my favourite bits so far has been choosing my bridesmaids gifts. Having six of them (I know, slightly crazy) I've had to be quite cautious and cost minded to keep within budget while still making sure they feel spoiled. I love the idea of presenting them each with a 'Bridesmaid Survival Kit' on the day. Whether it comes with a charming clutch bag, a delightful make-up bag or just as is, it makes for a reasonably priced and very useful pressie.

I gave myself a budget of £20 and went down to the local Boots to see what I could squeeze into that budget and into a clutch bag. For £19 I came up with the below:

Survival Kit Contents:

Number 1 and most important - Kleenex. These individual tissue packets are a must for Bridesmaids, Brides, Mother of the Brides, and anyone else that like me, gets a little emotional at weddings. For 39p, it's a no brainer!

Number 2 - Hair grips. If your bridesmaids are having an up do then some extra grips to pin back any bits that aren't behaving are the way forward. At £1.59 for the whole pack, you can give each girl all twenty or split them up between them.

Number 3 - Hair Spray. Definitely a necessity no matter how they're wearing their hair. This mini bottle from Charles Worthington is perfectly sized and priced for the clutch bag at £1.99.

Number 4 - Plasters (or band-aids for any North American readers). Whether they're used for sore feet or paper cuts (those order of service's can be deadly) it's always useful to have a couple just in case. I love these Disney Princess ones. They're £3.19 a box, but I'd split them up between bridesmaids so that they can each have their favourite princess!

Number 5 - Lipbalm. It might just be me, but one of my biggest pet peeves is having dry lips - hence the lightly tinted lip salve. This soft pink one from boots adds a lovely shine to any pout and for £1.00 is an absolute essential.

Number 6 - Deodorant. I'm not saying that I have funny smelling bridesmaids, but having a bit of deodorant in their bag on a very long and active day is always a bonus, especially when it smells this nice! For £2.05 they can smell fresh and lovely all day long. 

Number 7 - Hairbrush/Mirror. I love these. They're small, compact and multifunctioning. What's not to like. I found this Denman one at boots for £2.89 and think it's perfect for any little brush ups that are needed on the day.

Number 8 - Love Hearts Perfume. You could go more extravagant with the perfume, but I kind of love this £5.00 option. It comes in a variety of different scents, and if the blurb on the packaging can be believed, you can mix and match to create your own sweet scent. Why not buy one bridesmaid Strawberry Cream, another Vanilla Bomb, so that together they can make a Strawberry Sundae?

Number 9 - Elastic Bands. These are probably more applicable if your bridesmaids are having their hair down, but are a definite must for those that do. I can't even count the number of times I've been desperate to put my hair up later in the evening when all that dancing requires a more practical hair style. They're £1.75 for 12 so you can easily split these out between girls.

Last but not least, Number 10 - Hand Cream. There's nothing worse than dry hands and this mini of Johnson's 24 hour moisture cream is perfectly made for handbags. At £2.09 it's the perfect final addition.

And if you don't want to spend the full £20, or don't have a clutch to fit it all, here's the cost breakdown by type:

The Hair Essentials:

Pretty and Fun:

Handbag Staples:

Hope you've enjoyed reading this as much as I've enjoyed buying and writing it.

Thanks for reading,

He Never Leaves the Seat Up

It's a bit of an overcast, rainy and slightly miserable day in old blighty today, but luckily, I've got a few lovely wedding bits to sort out. My husband to be and I are down to the last day in terms of choosing our wedding readings, music and other ceremony details. We've probably left it a tiny bit late to make the final decisions considering our meeting with the registrar is tomorrow (oops!)....

We've decided to have two readings and have chosen one for definite, and still have one to decide on. I've been researching, googling and reading dozens of wedding readings this morning and in the last week to try and come up with a second reading that is perfect for us. Every couple is different and trying to find something that we both love as well as feels reflects us, is not an easy task.  

Pam Ayres seems to come up quite often in other blogs, wedding websites and google searches. She has a brilliant writing style that is humorous but sincere and very genuine. I read a few of her other poems before stumbling upon 'He Never Leaves the Seat Up'. It may not have the title of a romantic wedding reading, but it epitomises my husband to be and I to the letter. The last paragraph leaves me in tears every time I read it, so please enjoy:

He Never Leaves the Seat Up - By Pam Ayres

He never leaves the seat up
Or wet towels upon the floor
The toothpaste has the lid on
And he always shuts the door!

She’s very clean and tidy
Though she may sometimes delude
Leave your things out at your peril
In a second they’ll have moved!

He’s a very active person
As are all his next of kin
Where as she likes lazy days
He’ll still drag her to the gym!

He romances her and dines her
Home cooked dinners and the like
He even knows her favourite food
And spoils her day and night!

She’s thoughtful when he looks at her
A smile upon his face
Will he look that good in 50 years
When his dentures aren’t in place?!

He says he loves her figure
And her mental prowess too
But when gravity takes her over
Will she charm with her IQ?

She says she loves his kindness
And his patience is a must
And of course she thinks he’s handsome
Which in her eyes is a plus!

They’re both not wholly perfect
But who are we to judge
He can be pig headed
Where as she won’t even budge!

All that said and done
They love the time they spent together
And I hope as I’m sure you do
That this fine day will last forever.

He’ll be more than just her husband
He’ll also be her friend
And she’ll be more than just his wife
She’s be his soul mate ‘till the end.

If you want to check out any more brilliant poems by the lovely Pam Ayres then check out her website below. She has a few other humorous wedding poems that would make for fantastic readings:

Thanks for reading,