Friday, 28 May 2010

Some Things for the Weekend

Another bank holiday weekend!  Has and I are going shopping for our rings tomorrow, we're going to the Jewellery Quarter in Birmingham to find ourselves a deal... hopefully!

Our friends were married in New York earlier this month, as most of their family and friends couldn't attend they are having a party tomorrow night to celebrate.  I hope they have pictures to show us!  They got married in the Empire State Building, I bet it was amazing!

Also, today I ordered myself...... an iPhone!!  Yay!!  It will be arriving tomorrow morning and I.can't.wait

Things I've been loving this week

Have a wonderful weekend xxx

Cupcake Decorating Workshop

Last night me and Suzie joined Sarah in her Blue Door Bakery for a lesson in swirls, sugar shapes and sprinkles. It was pure cupcake heaven!

As well as me and Suzie, 5 other ladies joined us including Louise who writes a food blog Comida yVida.  We all sat round a table full of cutters, gel colourings, spatulas, rollers and sprinkles in every shape, size and colour you could imagine.

We learnt about sugar paste and we able to use different gel colours to create beautiful shapes from the dozens of cutters she had.  (Sarah had made a purple sprinkles section for me to sit next to!)  These were mine and Suzie's creations.

Can you guess which ones were mine!!?

Sarah taught us how to make the best tasting fondant and butter cream icing and then how to create perfect peaks and rose swirls.

We each had 12 cupcakes to decorate with our icing, sugar shapes and sprinkles.  It was so much fun!  We even had the chance to fill our cupcakes with a chocolate ganache Sarah had made earlier, yum!

Look how proud we are!

A closer look at our cupcakes, mine...


You'll see Suzie perfected the rose swirl, a lot better than my attempts!  We had such a fun time and I would definitely recommend a workshop to anyone who loves cupcakes and baking.

Suzie and I also left with a cupcake decorating kit, which includes loads of goodies needed to recreate these decorations at home.  You can buy these online or when you attend one of these workshops.

Thank you Sarah for being a wonderful host and teacher... I want to do it all again!!

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Guess where I'll be tonight?!


Hopefully making gorgeous looking cupcakes at the Blue Door Bakery Decorating Workshop  I can't tell you how excited I am!

I shall post the outcome tomorrow....!

Wedding Weight Loss

I've been sticking to the diet religiously, even when we went out to Stratford I included a 99 ice cream into my points.   I'm very much in the zone and although I have a few wobbles where I would kill for a doughnut or pizza I'm focused on my end goal.

Last week I put on 1/2 pound.  It really upset me, the only thing I can think of that may have caused the gain was because I ate a meal of chicken and spaghetti before being weighed.  (Never again!)

Today is my usual weigh in day, but as I'm going to the Blue Door Bakery cupcake decorating workshop I went last night instead.  I'm happy to report that I lost 2 1/2 pounds. Yay!

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Wedding Wednesday

Another round of suppliers, resources, blogs and websites that I have found invaluable throughout my wedding planning journey

I used to walk into newsagents and shops and casually browse at lifestyle magazines, flick through Cosmopolitan or Ideal Home, whilst eyeing up the glossy covers of the wedding section.  It was silly to be picking those up whilst I didn't have a ring on my finger.  So at the earliest opportunity after Has got down on one knees, I picked up a copy of the first wedding related magazine I could lay my hands on.
I used to spend an absolute fortune on wedding magazines and have quite the collection at home.  My overall favourite has to be Wedding Ideas Magazine.  It comes in handbag size and is packed with real weddings, ideas, advice, beautiful themes, accessories and dresses.  It soon became the only magazine I would buy every month.  I joined the forums and spent ages reading about how other brides were planning their day.  What I like about this magazine is not only is it a great price (£2.99) but it isn't filled with things that are out of reach.  It is aimed at the average bride who doesn't have a never-ending budget like some bridal magazines.  You'll still find it packed full of lovelies but for everything that is on the higher end of the budget scale there will be a bargainous alternative 

Whilst their website maybe a bit clunky you really can't complain about the price.  I have ordered all our pocket folds and extra paper from PDA Card and Craft and I can't find a single bad thing to say about them. Their prices make it cheaper for brides to DIY their own invitations and the quality of the card is great for the price.  You might see a slight difference if you held it up next to a more expensive option but your guests will never know.  I searched high and low for pocket fold cards so I could make our invitations myself, I found using  PDA Card and Craft I would save at least half of what I was expecting to pay.

Our Invitations

After seeing a handful of photographers we didn't click with I was beginning to get a little frustrated.  I spent hours online trying to find a photographer who would deliver exactly what we wanted.  I found Deborah Stott and loved what I saw and asked her for a sample of her work.  She sent us a brochure with prices and a DVD with photos from a wedding she had not long done.  We met the lovely Deborah for a chat and she was so interested in our wedding.  She wanted to know every little detail and it didn't seem at all false.  I loved that she took so much interest and shortly after we confirmed her for our wedding day.  Deborah is based in Trentham, Stoke on Trent but is available to travel throughout the UK.

Know of an amazing blog or website that has offered you with invaluable advice or inspiration throughout your planning? Or are you a supplier who believe your service is tip top? If you want to be featured on Wedding Wednesday please send me an email.

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

As I was saying...

Following on from my earlier post today, this article popped up in my Google Reader and I knew I had to share.


Being ill for your wedding day

Without going in to too much detail I haven't really been feeling myself lately.  I have a reoccurring problem which is really getting me down.  It's nothing serious, but the doctors can't tell me what it is.  I have sore blisters on my toe which stop me from wearing shoes and walking properly. Ouch :(
I had it last year and after several rounds of antibiotics and antiviral tablets, combined with a cocktail of creams it finally went away after it plagued me for about 3 months.

Obviously with our wedding only 5 months away I'm worried about this cropping up again.  I'm being referred to a dermatologist so hopefully they can shed some light on what it is!

It got me thinking.  What if I do get it again for the wedding or come down with another sickness? What can we do to prevent or minimise our chances of being ill?  I wrote this post a little while ago about how to boost your immune system with different foods but I have since found a few bits of advice on how to stay in tip-top condition for your wedding day.

Pre-Wedding day wonders
  • Don't skip meals - It's important to keep your body nourished, if you want to lose a few extra pounds before your wedding day do so sensibly, your body needs food to maintain it's energy and skipping on meals will leave you feeling lethargic . Try eating a diet rich in lean protein such as fish, chicken, turkey, eggs, beans, peas and lentils.  They will help you feel fuller for longer, so you can slim down in a healthier way.
  • Catch plenty of Zzz's - However tempting it is to stay up and just finish off the last few favours or table plan, remember research shows that sleep helps boost your immune system, plus you'll feel extra refreshed after a good nights sleep to face the day.
  • Scrub-a-dub-dub! - Many infections spread from person to person, germs are picked up easily through keyboards, hand rails and door handles to name but a few. (Eeeww!)  It's a good idea to carry around antibacterial gel and getting into the habit of wash your hand regularly for at least 20 seconds with warm water and soap.
  • Take your vitamins - Even if you do have a healthy diet you can give your body extra help by adding vitamins to your daily routine.  Vitamins A and C have been proven to prevent colds whilst research suggests people who took a garlic supplement were less likely to have a cold. 
  • Relax! - Stress can make you ill.  Planning a wedding can be very stressful so you need to allow yourself time to relax and do something unrelated.  It is said exercise is very good at beating stress, failing that treat yourself to a massage or an hour in the bath with a good book.

Uh-Oh! On the day offenders.

So, what if the worst happens and you wake up on the morning of your wedding feeling more like a monster than the blushing bride?   There are a few tips you can follow to help you feel and look better.
  • Red or puffy eyes - Your beautician should be able to hide any dark circles with a good concealer but you can reduce swelling with a cold wash cloth or if you can get hold of it, cucumber works wonders.  Sit with your eyes closed for around 10 minutes and it should help reduce any puffiness by constricting the blood vessels
  • Diarrhoea - It could be the nerves!  However keeping a supply of Imodium in your survival kit isn't such a bad idea.  Remember to keep yourself hydrated otherwise you could end up feeling worse.
  • Bloating -  Again it could just be those nerves kicking in but Peppermint tea or oil is a quick fix for bloating and abdominal pains.
  • Upset Stomachs - Keep a handy bottle of Pepto Bismol in your survival kit.  I've also found that a glass of flat fizzy pop can help settle a tummy.  Place a metal spoon in the glass to remove some of the bubbles.
  • Sore Throat - Sip a hot drink like honey and lemon or ginger tea.  Any hot thin drink is good for helping sooth a sore throat.  You may also want to keep a pack of throat soothers in your survival kit.
  • Colds, coughs and sneezes - Unfortunately there isn't a quick fix.  Take paracetamol or a decongestant to help with any pain.  I have always found the Sudafed Nasal Spray to be pretty effective for blocked noses.  Remember to dab moisturiser around your nose to stop it becoming red and dry.
  • Spots - Today of all days you wake up with what looks like the start of a new nose.  Don't panic and whatever you do... do NOT squeeze, you'll only make it worse.  Any good beautician will be able to cover it but you can help reduce the swelling by applying a cold wash cloth over the offending pimple.  Toothpaste, tea tree oil and cucumber are also good at helping to reduce the red and swollen spot.
The chances are you'll wake up feeling as fresh as a daisy on your wedding day, but if you don't, as hard as it may be... relax.  If you panic and start to get yourself upset you'll only make yourself feel worse.  Enjoy the day, trust me as long as I can walk I'm getting myself down that aisle!

Monday, 24 May 2010

Stratford Upon Avon

It's been such a lovely weekend and we really have made the most of it!

It was 24°c and glorious

Yesterday we went to visit with my parents my god parents who live in Stratford.  I'm really close to my god parents, Trevor is doing a reading at our wedding and their daughter Harriet (my parents god daughter) has kindly offered to do my make up.

They live a 5 minute walk from the town centre so after sitting in the garden for a while we walked in for a late lunch/early dinner.  But as the weather was so nice we decided to have an ice cream first!

Daddy with the ice creams!
Busy, busy, busy!

We sat around by the river for a while watching the boats and the insane teenagers swimming in it!  It was really very busy, we had thought about hiring a boat but the queue was so long and the sun was so hot we moved on to a lovely pub/
restaurant and sat outside in the shade.

Has, Daw, Harriet, Mom, Trevor and Dad strolling to the pub

Unfortunately due to a blockage (!?!) in the kitchen, we were unable to order any food so moved on in the centre of the town.  Stratford is such a gorgeous place despite living only an hour away I haven't visited in years.


The town is so pretty, with loads of cute and quirky shops, I love the old style buildings and of course no trip to Stratford would be complete without a picture of this place...

Shakespeare's Birthplace

Shakespeare's Birthplace!

I've had such a lovely weekend, even if I did over indulge a little. It's been nice to enjoy the warm weather especially since it's suppose to be miserable again by the end of the week!

We have bridesmaid's dresses!!

Saturday was such a lovely day.  I had planned for Suzie and Hayley to come round in the morning and we had lunch in the garden.  We weather has been beautiful, so it was really nice to sit outside and enjoy our weight watcher friendly lunch of low fat pizza, quiche and salad followed by strawberries, jelly, meringue and cream all washed down with squash and a pot of tea.

We then picked up Natalie and Sophie and went to Wedding Belles to order the dresses! Yay!

Hayley hadn't seen the dress in the flesh so I was really excited to see her in it.  She looked beautiful of course!

We've ordered them in Amethyst for the two older bridesmaids Suzie and Hayley and the younger girls Natalie and Sophie are wearing them in Plum.  It's very difficult choosing the colours from tiny swatches but we managed to find similar colours from other dresses the store had to make our decision.

The ladies in the store have been absolutely wonderful.  The first time we went they both dedicated all their time to us and made suggestions when we needed them but stood back to let us make our own decisions and didn't give us the hard sell which I have found some shop assistants to do.  They are ordering me some swatches to keep of the colours we have picked which will be a huge help when it comes to matching shoes, plus it's nice to have something to keep until the dresses arrive.

Another big tick off the list!

Saturday, 22 May 2010

Some Things for the Weekend

Sorry this is little late, I was feeling under the weather yesterday so spent most of the day curled up on the chair in the lounge.

The weather this weekend is extremely hot 24 degrees today - we haven't seen the sun in a very long time!  It finally feels like summer is here.

Have a nice weekend, enjoy the weather xxx

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Table Plans

I haven't really thought very much about our table plan, we know what we want to call our tables and are almost sure of where everyone will sit, but I haven't really had any ideas about how to display this to our guests.

I've noticed a few cool ideas whilst mooching through the many blogs I read, these are some of my favourites...

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Wedding Wednesday

On Twitter we have what is known as Wedding Wednesday.  People will recommend suppliers, blogs, and inspirational websites to their followers.  It's a great way for brides like me to discover new resources and like-minded people.

Therefore with the intent of helping out other brides I have decided to share on this blog websites and people who have helped or inspired me thus far on my wedding journey.

I'm sure if you've been engaged for a while or know the wedding industry you will have heard of Snippet and Ink.  I found Kathryn and her inspirational mood boards months before Has asked me to marry him.  It was this site that helped me choose purple for our wedding colours.  I spent hours working my way back through the archives and saw so many elements that I loved and thought I would love to include into my own wedding "one day"

Well that day has now been made official and I still visit Snippet and Ink for daily inspiration.  A must on any brides' blogs to read list.

You've probably heard me mention Blue Door Bakery a number of times before on this blog, but that's only because I think they're wonderful!  I'd always fancied having a cupcake wedding tower but after seeing one at a local wedding fayre I knew we had to have one!  After some rather off customer service from the first supplier I came across Blue Door Bakery and emailed Sarah for more information.  She told me they were exhibiting at a wedding fayre and I made plans to visit.  When I arrived Sarah handed me a little box of cupcakes for me to go home and try!  We've since decided to use Blue Door Bakery for our wedding and more recently for my Nan's 70th Birthday cake.

The cupcakes are no only delicious but they look amazing as well.  Sarah and I often chat over email and Twitter and I will also be joining her for a cupcake decorating workshop, which I am super excited about!
If you want the tastiest, most beautiful cupcakes at your wedding or in fact any other occasion, with a wonderfully sweet supplier to boot - give Sarah a call.

I found Yarwood-White when I was looking for a brooch to adorn my bouquet.  I feel head-over-heels in love with the Modern Heirloom brooch.  I now own the earrings to match (A wonderful Christmas gift from my brother)  The pictures do not do this jewellery any justice.  They can't display just how dainty and perfect each piece is or how much it sparkles.  True bridal jewellery in my opinion.
I intend to add the necklace and bracelet to my collection in the near future and I may have also bought a few gifts from there too...

Know of an amazing blog or website that has offered you with invaluable advice or inspiration throughout your planning?  Or are you a supplier who believe your service is tip top?  If you want to be featured on Wedding Wednesday please send me an email.

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Bridesmaid Gift

Sophie is probably the only bridesmaid who doesn't read this blog, as she's only 8 I'll let her off but it does mean, that I can post about her gifts without spoiling the surprise!

I've already got her a book; When I was a Bridesmaid and a necklace for her to wear on the wedding day.  I wanted to also buy her a bracelet and today I found the perfect one.

It's from Accessorize, made from dainty pearls and a sterling silver heart charm.  I hope she likes it!

Monday, 17 May 2010

Happy Birthday Natalie

My gorgeous cousin and bridesmaid Natalie turns 14 today.

At the risk of sounding old, I remember very clearly the day she was born.  I was in senior school, and knew my Aunt was in labour.  Every chance I got, between classes and lunch breaks, I used the pay phone to ring my Nan for any news.  I was so unbelievably excited about getting a new cousin.  Every morning on my way in to school I passed a baby shop and in the window they had a gorgeous pink dress on display.  I told my Mom that if my Aunt had a girl I would buy it for her to wear.

After lunch on the 17th May as we returned back to our classroom for afternoon registration my tutor Mr Davis read out a note for me.  "Please let Laura know her Aunt has given birth to a baby girl"  I was over the moon!

It turns out Natalie was a rather large baby at 9lbs 13oz so there was no way she was fitting in to that dainty pink dress!

Natalie has been a star bridesmaid, she has been with me to every bridesmaid dress shopping outing I have asked her to, and willingly tried on dress after dress.  Even when I forgot to tell her what time to be ready for giving her 10 minutes to race out of bed!

One of my favourite memories of Natalie was when she was a lot younger, she used to threaten me when I was reluctant to play with her... "Play with me or I won't be your cousin!"  It still makes us smile now and after hearing the story our younger cousin Sophie, uses it jokingly against us.

She's one of my best friends and I love her completely.
Happy Birthday Natalie xxx

At my 21st Birthday Party

Last Christmas

Sophie, Natalie and me during a photo shoot we did for my Nan

Chalkboard Heart Placecards Part 5

Our chalk board place cards needed a second coat of paint. I found when I sprayed them on a surface the underside would also get paint on them and look bumpy.  So the only way to apply the second coat was to let them hang dry.

Cue me and Mom tying fiddly cotton through 90 holes in 90 hearts.  Then hanging them from 2 make shift lines between chairs in the garden.  2 aching backs and 4 sore knees later we had our place card washing line.

I spray painted each heart, whilst Mom stood behind with a massive piece of card so we didn't turn the garden black then left them to dry.

Next step is threading through the string or ribbon (which ever I decide) and waiting for people to RSVP so I can write their names on!

The making of my chalkboard placecards
The experiment, Part 1 - Drilling and mass spraying, Part 2 - Mass spraying the backs, Part 3 - Chalkboard paint, Part 4 - Mock up

Friday, 14 May 2010

Some Things for the Weekend

Is it me or are the weeks flying by?  I can't believe it's Friday again although I'm not complaining!

Tonight I'm meeting with my friend Steven.  I've got big plans for Purple and Pearls and he's going to help me! 

 It's also my beautiful cousin and bridesmaid Natalie's birthday on Monday, so I'm going round to see her this weekend to sing happy birthday and watch her blow out her candles.
I will hopefully be able to get on with a few wedding projects this weekend too - fingers crossed!

Things that have floated my boat this week

~ The funkiest engagement shoot I've seen in a while!

~ Have you seen Disney's Up?  This cute couple obviously have!

~ NYC engagement shoot... picture by the bridge - oh my god!

~ Super elegant wedding - the bride's dress is unbelievably gorgeous

~ So much attention to the little details.. amazing

~ Loving this cute and colourful outdoors wedding - plus the bride accessories with a blue cardigan!

~ Ruffles, look at the gorgeous ruffles!  Part one and two.

~ This wedding gave me goose pimples!  The special moment between mother and daughter, the look on everyone's faces and just look at the groom!  I love this wedding.

~ A post on pearls!

~ I need to make these... and I'd have to try them, just to make sure they were ok!

Have a fab, fab weekend! xxx

Win a Cupcake Decorating Workshop!

Blue Door Bakery are offering a free Cupcake Decorating Workshop voucher to one very lucky winner.  Visit the Blue Door Bakery Facebook page to enter!

Competition closes at midday on the 18th May 2010

I'm booked in to one of these amazing workshops at the end of May and I seriously can.not.wait!

Wedding Weight Loss

I'm not going to lie the first week back on the wagon has been tough.  I was faced with eating out on Monday night, so I chose the healthiest option I could.  Then I was tempted by my  favourite ever meal on Tuesday (Spaghetti Bolognese) but I stayed strong and resisted.

I've also felt really hungry... every time I've felt like throwing in the towel and reaching for a Krispy Kreme I've looked at a picture of my dress.  The best incentive I have.  There is no way I am going to look back at my wedding photos in years to come and wish that I had lost more weight. Nu uh!

So, last night was my first weigh in. Bye bye 3lbs!  Yay! Even though I still have a way to go, it feels good to know I'm on the right track.

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Head Treats

I treated myself today with cute hair accessories from ASOS.  I bought mine to pretty up my head for the festivals I'll be going to in a few weeks, but they could also be used by brides or bridesmaids on a budget.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Picture Guest Book

Most of the weddings I have attended have had some sort of guest book available for friends and family to leave their words of congratulations and advice.  It's a lovely keepsake from the day and we will definitely have one.

I would love to have a book, or individual cards for people to leave us their messages but what I would also love is for the guests to leave their pictures too!

I came across the Fujifilm Instax Camera a little while ago.  This super cute mini camera is the Poloroid replacement.  It produces credit card sized photos instantly.

How much fun would it be for guests to be able to have their picture taken and then stick it in a book or on a card next to their message!?

A friend of mine did something similar at her wedding.  A few friends were enrolled to take pictures of the guests holding a massive frame.  The pictures were then printed on a printer that plugged straight into the camera and stuck in a book ready for guests to write in.  This was our photo.

I can imagine we'd get quite a few funny photos and messages, it's meant to be informal and silly.  It's a great way to remember the day along with the messages.

I also think the camera would be really fun to take on honeymoon with us.  Obviously the picture quality isn't perfect but I think that is part of it's charm.  This little dude is well and truly on my birthday list!

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Pearl and Willow

One of the things I love most about Twitter is all the new friends you make.  Due to the powers of Twitter I found Pearl and Willow and the very lovely Beth.  A gorgeous collection of hair accessories, necklaces, earrings, bracelets and brooches by fabulous designers such as Chez Bec, Filippa Scott, Polly Edwards and Jo Barnes.

I've been searching for something to wear in my hair for a while, and Pearl and Willow's selection didn't let me down.  Problem is I have too many favourites!

All gorgeous, how can I possibly make up my mind?!

Monday, 10 May 2010

Camouflage Make Up

When I was very young I had an accident which left me with scarring on both arms, hands, chest and neck.  I've never been ashamed of my scars and have never tried to hide them.  Growing up my Mom would always dress me in short sleeved tops and taught me to be confident.

I've never known any different and my scars are part of me.  They have faded dramatically over the years and are now very faint.

Having said that trying on dresses and planning a wedding does something to you.  Since being engaged I've thought about losing weight, having laser eye surgery and getting a brace fixed.  It's like every flaw I've noticed about myself is magnified by 100%.  When I was trying on dresses I couldn't help but notice my scars.  When I shared my concerns with my family and friends, it was suggested I give camouflage make up a go.  I've mentioned this before, but my friend Harriet is going to be doing my make up for the day.  She kindly offered to research the different types and brands of cover up make up and ordered me a few tester samples to have a play with.

Last night me and my Mom had a go at covering the top of arm.  It's an area which is quite bumpy as it's where I had my skin graph.  The make up could ever make the skin look smooth but it does help cover up the skin tone.

Making sure the skin is free of oils you apply the make up using a clean sponge.  It goes on like normal foundation, you have to make sure it's blended in well.  It's better to apply a few thin layers to get an even coverage.  Once you are happy you apply the fixing powder liberally to set the make up.

This was the finished result.

You can still see the scars but the skin tone is more even.  I did like the after look, however I'm still not sold on the idea of covering up for a few reasons.

I'm not convinced the make up won't rub off during the day on to my dress.  I think I'd have to go a whole day wearing the make up to ensure it stays put.  I really don't want to risk having make up marks on my dress!
Also I don't want it to look obvious, I don't want people to know I've used the cover up make up and assume I'm embarrassed or ashamed of my scars because I'm not.
I also don't know whether I can be bothered!  I'm sure it'll probably take a while to apply the make up across my arms and chest on the day... will we even have time?

On the other hand, it really did give me what I wanted.  It made my scars even less noticeable.  I think I'm going to buy the make up and ask Harriet to apply it like she would on my wedding day so I can get a better idea of how it will look and whether it will rub off on my clothes.

Invitation Pocket folds Part 4

How was your weekend?

We had a very lazy weekend, which was very much needed!  Yesterday afternoon me and my Mom spent an hour or so trimming the day invitations and sticking them to the inside of the pocket folds.

The next step is to cut out the hotel information, directions and RSVP's that slot in to the pocket fold,  glue tiny flat backed pearls in to the swirl design, and then create the band that goes around the outside.

It's nice to see them all taking shape and looking a little more like the finished article!

If you're interested you can also read about part 1, part 2 and part 3 of operation pocket fold invitation.

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