Monday, 31 March 2014

My Wedding Scrapbook


Since joining Pinterest well over a year ago, its helped me to get beyond creative with many aspects of life, one of these being my dream wedding. Spoilt for choice is not the word when browsing Pinterest, I sometimes feel so overwhelmed with all the ideas and themes that I want to try each and every one out, but realize that in an ideal world, we should only get married once!

Being a huge lover of shabby chic I thought it would only be right to incorporate this into my wedding day and night. I've loved this style for a few years now, even before it became popular. I remember saying 'shabby chic' to a few people, only to be asked 'what's that?' - Now the shops can't get enough of it.

Lets get things straight first though.. I'm not due to get married anytime soon. I have been with my boyfriend for over 6 years now and we're not engaged, but being a woman, I've had in my head for some time now how I'd love my wedding day to be...

So.. here is my ideal wedding day..

Invitations

I'd hope I'd create my own as I love doing crafts. In this I'd give a hint of the theme to the guests. My invitation would be a little more personal than others; in their RSVP slip I'd ask them to write a song that they would like to be played by the DJ in the evening. I think this is such a fab idea, it helps to involve others, hopefully get them up on the dancefloor (!) as well as adding a touch of uniqueness. I love this little white lace effect envelope and would love for something similar.
Invitations

Invitations by kate1605 on Polyvore
Wedding Venue

Although I'm a fairly shy person and hate being in the spotlight, I would want quite a grand setting and entrance for exchanging our vows because.. I think that's what weddings are all about. I'm not religious however not having a church wedding would just seem... wrong. I've been to registry office weddings before and they're just not for me. If money was no object then getting married in a castle would be quite dreamy too... I'd feel like a proper princess!
The Venue
The Dress, Hair & Beauty

Lets talk dresses. I often either hear others talking or watch certain programmes on TV and women take forever and a day to choose their wedding dress. I am quite a fussy shopper but when it comes to wedding dresses, I do seem easily pleased. I definitely wouldn't want a huge meringue style dress, but something more elegant, floor length and fitted (although I'd have to lose a bit of weight beforehand mind!). I definitely wouldn't want any colour except white, or much 'bling', I'd want to keep it elegant and classic, yet stylish. I'm absolutely loving lace dresses with sleeves like the one below.  I'm rather fussy when it comes to my make-up so I'd probably want to do my own on the big day, keeping it fairly natural, with possibly a smokey eye and nude lip. As for my hair, I'm terrible, so I'd definitely be ordering a hairdresser! I'm still undecided whether I'd have it up or down, either way, I think a small amount of sparkle or a little flower in hair wouldn't go amiss. I love getting my nails done; I would go for natural manicured gel nail with maybe a touch of sparkle on my accent finger. My shoes would have to be a heeled platform as I'm pretty small, and my boyfriend towers over me at 6ft 1 so a little height would be much appreciated, although I can't promise I won't take them off towards the end of the night! As far as a handbag goes, I couldn't go without one. I'd go for a small beaded clutch that would tie in with my dress.
Style

Something Blue...

I really like this unique idea of sewing the inside hem of your dress with the date you got married on in blue cotton... (and a reminder of your wedding date in the later years when the memory begins to fail!). It's hidden but there if people ask..
sew your wedding date into your dress with blue thread...something blue... loved this idea.

Bridesmaids...

I'd have 3 bridesmaids, all my closest friends. Sticking with the shabby chic theme, I'd have to go for something pastel. I think going for pink can often be a little typical and a little too girly so I'd probably opt for something a little more unusual, for example lilac. Either way, I'd ensure that this colour would run throughout the whole of the wedding. My bridesmaids dresses would be floor length maxi dresses as I think they hide a multitude of sins and I know how comfortable these dresses make women feel. I liked the idea of these engraved coat hangers too for when we are all getting ready.. I can imagine the scene now as I type, so labeled coat hangers maybe the way forward! My 3 year old niece would be a flower girl, and she'd wear something very similar to the dress below, and carry a cute white wicker basket with lots of pastel coloured flowers in to sprinkle around..
Bridesmaids
The Main Men...

I'm a sucker for a man in a suit, so I know my suits! I'd want the men to wear light grey suits with white shirts and a lilac flower for their pinhole!

The Ring...

I love silver jewellery so I'd have to have a silver ring that's fairly dainty looking, but with a diamond or two in for extra sparkle!

The Confetti...

Instead of expecting people to turn up with boxes of cheap confetti that gets stuck everywhere, I'd have these floral cones handed to them as they arrived for the ceremony. They would be filled with lavender to throw over us instead (which would smell much nicer and kinda' tie in with the colour theme!).
Lavender to toss - What vivid scent memories this would bring back, every time you smell lavender for the rest of your life.
The photographer...

The photographer would have to have some quirky ideas up his sleeve in order to entice me because I'm pretty picky when it comes to this stuff. I'd want someone who would get the guests doing all sorts of silly things from star jumps in the air to comical ones with the groom and best man. Traditional loved-up ones are nice, but I don't want my album full of them.
Quirky Wedding
Transport...

Transport to and from the reception would again, have to be something vintage-y. I'm not really into cars so I think this wouldn't be a huge issue for me when booking, something open topped (providing its not raining... I don't do weddings on rainy days!) with all the flower and ribbon trimmings would suit me fine. A horse and carriage would be nice! On the way to the reception both myself and the groom would indulge in a glass of champagne, of course.

horse and carriage wedding, dream transport!

The Reception Venue...

Now this is where I'd be beyond fussy. The room has to look perfect. The dancefloor has to be the right size. The lighting has got to be right. The tables and chairs can't look cheap. There has to be a bar INSIDE the room. The list goes on...
Always wanted my wedding in some form of white draped tent, with lots of fairy lights twinkling everywhere!
The Décor/Accessories...

As the guests arrive they will face the 'seating plan' table. Here, not only will you find your seats, but a timeline of our life together, from the date it began, right up to the present day, and all the little events in between. Usually guests only know either the bride or the groom, and not both, so it will help give them an insight into our lives as they celebrate with us. On the same table will lay a vintage decorated old suitcase that will house all the cards and gifts that guests may wish to give.

I'd love the head table to be draped in white lace to the floor, with little white fairy lights tucked behind it, so they twinkle through the lace. Each guest chair would have a huge ruffled lilac flower on the back.

The table settings is another thing that I would struggle with. I've got so much inspiration in my head that yet again, I'm spoilt for choice! I love how the napkins below have been designed to look like bows, with pearl detailing. I really like this idea so I'd probably go for something similar (but lilac!). Each table would be full of DIY mason jars that would be covered in lace and flowers, with a tea light candle flickering inside. Knives and forks would be wrapped up in a doilie, similar to the photo below, but with lilac ribbon as opposed to brown rustic rope. Gestures are always hard because finding something to suit everyone can be tricky. I think I'd give everyone a rolled up lottery ticket with 1 line of (hopefully!) winning numbers! I'd have some sort of small activity pack for the kids to keep themselves occupied whilst waiting in-between courses!

Outside on the lawn there would be a few trees. I'd save old glass bottles (which I would have already painted lilac and white with acrylic paint). I'd pop flowers of the alternate colour in each bottle and hang them to the branches.
Decor

The Food...

As the food begins to get served, I'd have a grand piano in the corner with a pianist playing some nice 'tunes' in the background as all my guests natter.

Food wise, I'd go for something traditional that involves meat and vegetables, you can't really grumble at that (unless you're vegetarian!). For dessert I'd make sure there were a few to chose from as I can (just!) appreciate that not everyone is a lover of chocolate.

The evening food would consist of a hog roast on the lawn outside. There would be cake stands full of yummy cupcakes and a treats table (mainly for the kids), full of sweets, ready to fill their pic'n'mix cups! (just don't blame me for their sweet-highs!). As the sun goes down, mini bottles of champagne on ice would be available for the adults and an old-fashioned retro lemonade stand would be waiting for the children. There would also be a chocolate fountain trickling away, ready for fresh strawberries and marshmallows to be dipped in. Yummy!
Food

 

The wedding cake would look a little something like this.. I'm hoping those beads are edible too!
Love the top. Pearl Cake!
 
After Dark...

The suns' gone down, the stars as up but there's still a warm breeze in the air. The music's playing, the drinks are flowing. Guests can grab a complimentary sparkler as they watch a firework display. This would be part of the evenings entertainment as we take part in our first dance (song yet to be decided!). I love photography so I can imagine this to be the perfect backdrop to any first dance. I'd have a photo-booth overflowing with props that guests can go wild with and create some fantastic photos with. I'd purposely open this in the evening though once the drinks were flowing, just for comedy effect for the photos. There would be a polaroid camera nearby for the guests to use whilst in the photo-booth. They would then be instructed to take the instant photo that they've just created to a small line with cute little lilac pegs. Once they've found their name pegged up, they replace it with their photo. These photo's will be taken home by us for memories.
Ents
Once the guests have all gone, we'd resort to the hotel honeymoon suite at the venue, ready to jet off the next day.

The Honeymoon.

I have this thing where the honeymoon timing would have to be perfect. I think everyone should get married one day, spend the night in the hotel and jet off the next day. I hear of people getting married then going on honeymoon months later... I couldn't do that! The Honeymoon destination has already been decided between me and my boyfriend - Florida. Florida is somewhere close to my heart as I went there quite a lot as a child. I went back there for the first time in 13 years last year, and brought my boyfriend along, which was his first time. He fell in love with it and I absolutely love it too. We're big kids at heart when it comes to theme parks etc, and as you can imagine, Florida have some of the best in the world, so we'd spend a week there being adrenalin junkies, and then jet off to Cuba for a remaining week for some relaxation beach time to recharge our batteries before the dreaded trip home. I'd definitely have to seek out a honeymoon suite with a private Jacuzzi and sea view.. I have a love for the ocean so I'd have my head in the clouds waking up to this every morning....
Honeymoon
The End (To a perfect wedding!)

This is a competition entry. If you would like to enter then please read below.

My Wedding Scrapbook – How To Enter

Create your own ‘Wedding Scrapbook’ post and you could win a 2 Night Luxury Break for Two in a Suite at the stunning Ox Pasture Hall Hotel in North Yorkshire, including Dinner, Bed & Breakfast, Cream Tea on arrival & other little treats - worth up to £800!

Excludes Christmas & New Year - available any other time, subject to availability

All you have to do to enter is write a post entitled ‘My Wedding Scrapbook’. Your post should include all the aspects you believe make a dream wedding and can feature words, images, photos and sketches - in fact anything you would put in a real life scrap book.

Once you’ve written your post, make sure you add these ‘how to enter’ instructions as they appear here at the foot of your post and then tweet a link to it from your Twitter profile including the hashtag #myweddingscrapbook.

Two runners up prizes of a £100 and a £50 Love2shop gift vouchers will also be given to the 2nd place & 3rd place post respectively. The winner will be the most inspirational post, as chosen by the judges. Competition closes midnight 31 March 2014. Winners will be chosen and notified by email using the contact details on their blog within 10 working days of the competition closing.
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Sunday, 23 March 2014

Travel: A day in York

A few weeks ago I booked a day off work either side of the weekend to give me a bit of a longer break. As part of the break, my boyfriend and I took a trip to York. I had been toying with the idea for a while whether to stay over or not, because if you know me by now, you'll know I like staying over and sampling hotels! However the sensible side of me told me to save my money and just go for the day to sample the city, which is exactly what we did.

Normally I do a bit of planning when visiting somewhere for the first time, but apart from booking afternoon tea at The Cedar Grand Hotel (see review **here**) I kind of went in blind.





We arrived at 10.30ish and upon leaving the car park, discovered the famous wall, so we walked part way across that and got a nice view of the city and lake. We made a pit-stop at Starbucks and had a nice wander round the city. I felt overwhelmed with all the little nooks and crannies, and felt like I was missing out on too much because I never knew which way to turn next (I hate that feeling!). At around 12, we started to head back to see if we could find our afternoon tea venue. It was a lot closer than we thought, arriving half an hour early. Luckily they directed us to the lobby where we enjoyed a drink, but again, there's more of that in my review though (see above link).






After leaving The Grand Cedar a few hours later feeling a few pound heavier, we wandered back into the centre and attempted to do a little shopping (we were going out that night back home and I was on the look out for a pretty dress!). I found a few cute cobbled type streets that reminded me a little of Lincoln. They had a few quirky shops with some gorgeous window displays and pretty fairy lights. Its the type of place I'd love to wander round at Christmas time!

Before we knew it, the sun was slowly setting so we headed back to the car for our drive home.

From what I saw of it, York is a gorgeous place. Unfortunately we were a little tight on time so have decided to revisit in summer and do some of the more historic cultural activities that the city has to offer, and maybe, just maybe, stay overnight too ;-)

Have you ever been to York? What were your favourite bits?



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Sunday, 16 March 2014

Afternoon Tea at The Cedar Court Grand, York

So a few days ago I accomplished another New Year aim and ventured to York. Surprisingly, to my knowledge, even though I live only 1.5hr drive from York, I've never actually been. I may have gone as a child but I can't remember it.

We had a lovely day, although the time went SO quickly so we didn't get to do what I had planned but I'm sure we'll be back soon.

Although York is famous for it's Betty's afternoon tea, my colleague recommended going to Cedar Court Grand instead as there was only a few quid difference between the two and Cedar Grand was apparently better quality, so I took her word and booked a table.



Cedar Grand is a 5* hotel and Spa, and rated No4 in the best hotels in York, although unfortunately I didn't get the pleasure of sampling one of the rooms out this time!

Needless to say, its 5* rating lived up to its name. Suited and booted doormen, waitresses that put your napkin on your lap for you and waiters that offer to pour your tea/coffee.

We were a little early so were directed to the lobby were we both enjoyed a drink. A while later we were ushered into the Hall where the afternoon tea takes place. Our coats were taken off us and we were provided a ticket number to go and collect them once finished.

We went for the 'Grand Afternoon Tea' (which, although the name sounds otherwise, this was the basic!). I was boring and chose English Breakfast Tea (I've been adventurous in the past and this always comes out tops!). Mike went for a 'Lazy Coffee' to wake himself up! (No pun intended, he really was sleepy!). Drink top-ups were included in the price.



The food arrived shortly afterwards, which is always the best bit. The exciting part of Afternoon Tea for me is seeing what interesting looking cakes lay on the tiers! The grander the venue, the grander the cake usually. The sandwiches were gorgeous, a mixture of cucumber and cheese, ham with mustard, salmon (I left these to Mike!) and egg mayo. Moving up a tier were gorgeous warm handbaked scones. These tasted delicious and I liked the fact that they were wrapped in a thick cotton cloth to keep warm. There were a number of different flavoured jams on the table for you to help yourself also. The top layer consisted of a strawberry macaroon with a chocolate filling, an almost gateau type cake, a pastry with the most peculiar lilac cream filling (which we both agreed tasted a little like cinnamon, sounds awful but worked well!), and a shortbread type biscuit filled with purple cream (of some sort!), a blackberry and some form of dried but moist fruit. The shortbread was gorgeous and was a melt in your mouth moment...




As always, I struggled to eat it all, and left almost half of every pudding (which is unlike me!). I think afternoon tea's are so deceiving. When they first arrive, you truly believe that its not going to satisfy your hunger in the slightest, but this is my 3rd Afternoon Tea now and each one I've had to leave something due to feeling like I'm about to pop!

I love having afternoon tea, its a real treat and although it can sometimes be a little expensive, it makes a change from your usual pub/bar meal. I'm on a mission to have afternoon tea in every city I visit now!

Where's the best afternoon tea you've ever had? I'd love to know!

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Thursday, 6 March 2014

Leighton Denny 'Coconutty'

New nail polish always excites me, so when I received this in a recent beauty box (Birchbox I believe?) I couldn't wait to try it out!



Pale brown in colour, 'Coconutty' has an obvious gold shimmer running through it, which brings a more golden tone to the colour once applied on the nail.



Consistency wise, I found it fairly thin, which I was surprised about as I have another Leighton Denny polish which I recall being rather the opposite. Due to this, I much prefer it with two coats as one was too opaque, for me personally anyway, although if you are after subtle, then one would be perfect.

This photo is a perfect example of what different 'natural' lighting can do to a picture! In both pictures, the nail on the right is with just 1 coat, the left nail having 2 coats.

Although pretty to look at in the bottle, this polish didn't overwhelm me once applied to the nail.

In terms of price, Leighton Denny is at the medium - high range in regards to nail polish, retailing at £11 a bottle.

What is your favourite polish from Leighton Denny?

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Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Pretty Positives #9

Just believe


This week I feel like I've accomplished a lot, even though they may not sound big from outsiders.

* Home interior - Me & Mike really cracked on with the hallway at the weekend. I was getting stressed because I felt like the weeks were ticking away with nothing being done, so I made sure we did something this weekend. We've glossed pretty much all the stairs, which actually took a lot longer than I originally thought! There's so many nooks and crannies that often go unnoticed till you start doing such jobs! The whole glossing malarkey is going to take longer than expected too, because we're painting gloss on gloss, which in areas isn't going too well! So we're having to revisit it once its dry to re-paint over the bits that didn't take the first time. I'm glad we're finally getting somewhere though. We also went to look at carpets to get some rough quotes, which are more expensive than I anticipated! But its still nice to have a figure in my head to work off.

* In regards to my diet, I think I've finally hit a turning point. I'm not sure what pushed me to do it, I think its been little things over the last few months that have mounted up. Basically I got into really bad eating habits (and I mean really bad!) to the point where I didn't even think about what I was putting in my mouth, but more dangerously, the lack of guilt I had about it. Over the last few months, I've noticed my body starting to change in different ways, things are becoming more of a struggle, and I genuinely feel ugly all round now. A while ago I began sticking to wearing skater dresses to hide my horrible thighs and stomach, and now I even feel ugly in one of those. Anyway, getting to the positive! A turning point happened on Friday where I had this huge wave of determination hit me, and since Saturday, I've been making more, lets just say 'wise choices'. I'm not going to say I'm on a diet, because I'm not, I'm just cutting out a lot of the crap I eat, and replacing it with a healthy choice. I'm not going to refrain from having anything sweet (my weakness), I'll just try and have it in moderation instead of overload. I have been working with a client who is seeing a health trainer at work, and they've been focusing on the Eat Well plate, which made me really think about my diet. So - the healthy choices I've made in the last 3 days are:
 - On Saturday I almost grabbed a bag of crisps for breakfast. I told myself off for this, and opted for granola and yogurt instead.
 - On Sunday I was asked on two different occasions if I wanted anything from the shop as Mike was popping into town. Normally I would has asked him to bring me chocolate back, but this time I said no, twice!
 - I had a drink in a café today with a client - Usually I'm naughty and opt for a luxury hot chocolate which consists of either hot chocolate, whipped cream and marshmallows, or the chocolate ladle/dipper. However I opted for a cup of tea.
 - I walked round 2 supermarkets with a client - Here I wouldn't have thought twice on popping a chocolate bar in my basket to go with my lunch.. However, guess what.. I never!

I know these are only small steps but these are big for me because of the amount of crap I usually eat! I have a figure in my head of what I want to get to weight wise, by the time the month is out. It is more than achievable if I work at it. All fingers and toes crossed!

* I feel like spring is slowly springing! I've noticed we've had a few sunny mornings this past week, which I love because it really motivates me to crack on with housework and bizarrely helps me feel more inspired. I love these kinda moods!

* This isn't so much my positive, but a close friend of mine had her baby last week. I haven't yet met her but I'm sure I'll be doing that very soon!

* I visited Lincoln on Friday with a client. It's always nice to get out of your hometown and venture somewhere different. I like change. We had a nice meal in Nando's (I think this was just before my wave of diet determination happened!) and I managed to pick up some cute bits from Primark. I always love a decent Primark store.

Those are my positives for the past week! What are yours?

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