Our Wedding & A New Start

It’s been over 18 months since I last posted on a regular basis… so, why start up again now? Well, two reasons, really. For one thing, it’s mine and Tom’s 2nd wedding anniversary today, and I’ve been meaning to post our photos (taken by the beyond talented Jodie Chapman) for, well, a very long time. When I was working on the redesign of the blog these past few months, I figured this would a good time to kick things off again. So, go grab a glass of bubbly, because you can be sure that for the majority of today I’ll have one in my hand.
 
The other reason? Well, since scoring a day job as a blog writer back in January last year, the motivation I used to have to come home and write till the wee hours was no longer there. Finally I didn’t have an events job I hated with every fibre of my being, and I didn’t need the creative outlet that {what you fancy} had always been for me. I came home from work and relaxed… but still kept reading my favourite blogs. Then, lately, that fire’s come back. I miss my blog. I miss hearing from you guys (well, whoever’s willing to come back at this point!). I miss being part of the community of which I currently feel like a bit of an outsider. I don’t know how many times a week I’ll be posting and it may not be as regular as it once was. But I feel like I’ve things to say and share, and I very much hope you’ll pop by from time to time to see what’s going on. And, as always, I’ll be on Twitter, Instagram and (most frequently) Pinterest, too, if you want to say hi.
 
Ok… formalities over, let’s get down to business. Let’s journey back to 21st September 2012. Our wedding took place at Shenley Cricket Club in Hertfordshire, chosen mainly because it was pretty much a blank canvas, so I could go to town with decorations – while most brides dream of the perfect dress, I was pinning pictures of flowers in mismatched containers, streamers and festoon lighting. It also meant we could have the ceremony outside, something that’s a bit of a rarity in this country. As our guests journeyed in from around the country – and the world, for that matter – the rain held off, and I thanked our lucky stars we’d not plumped for the wash-out that was July and August.
 
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I got ready at my brother’s house near the venue. Looking back, it was one of my favourite parts of the day. Jo Adams – MUA extraordinaire – worked her magic on my bridesmaids and me, while we listened to Taylor Swift and shovelled down plates of scrambled eggs and smoked salmon. While the kitchen was a hive of activity, there was mostly a feeling of calmness. That everything was how it should be. Apart from one terrifying moment when Tom texted me with this humdinger: “Is now a good time to talk?
 
Sorry, what now?? This is NOT something you want to hear on your wedding day. With shaking hands I called him… turns out he was asking what I wanted him to do with the presents for the wedding party. That’s right.
 
Anywho. Hair and makeup was easy. I’d asked Jo for hair like Elizabeth Olsen (this meant a bit of help from clip-in extensions, since my hair’s not what you call ‘abundant’) and makeup like Kate Bosworth. These were my inspiration pics, along with the resulting look.
 
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I love people who follow briefs to the tee. While we’re on the subject, here’s the hair inspiration my bridesmaids (my two best friends and sister-in-law) sent me and the final looks.
 
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Like I said, Jo’s a genius. If you want to feel like a million bucks on your wedding day, she’s your girl.
 
I designed my wedding dress myself. I’d fallen in love with a Temperley empire-line frock, but had swiftly fallen out of love with it once I’d clocked the price. My mum found a one-shoulder number on sale in a local wedding shop for the bargain price of £100, and while it wasn’t anywhere near what I was looking for, we both knew that with the right seamstress and a bit of imagination we’d get there. It took several metres of fabric from Goldhawk Road in W12 and a few panicked last-minute alterations, but I was over the moon with the result. A one-of-a-kind dress that was exactly what I’d envisaged, down to the last detail. It also probably came to about £350 in total. Gotta love a bargain.
 
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My shoes were Kate Spade (‘Isadora’ sandals – no longer available, but there’s always eBay…) and my earrings were Stella & Dot (available here). I had two wedding necklaces – for the ceremony I wore an antique gold locket (my ‘something borrowed’) my mum had worn at her wedding. Inside was a photo of my beloved dad. For the reception I switched it for a bespoke statement necklace, designed by Doloris Petunia. My finishing touches came to way more than the cost of my dress, but I figured I could always wear the accessories again, so it was definitely worth the extra money.
 
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When we arrived at the venue, all I felt was excitement and happiness. Not a single nerve (and I hate anything that means I have to stand in front of a crowd). My brother walked my down the aisle, with my girls in front of me. My processional song was ‘Dream’ by Priscilla Ahn.
 
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We reached the end of the aisle and I saw this face…
 
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I was coming home. That’s the only way I can describe it.
 
Two of our close friends performed the readings – ‘Love’ by Roy Croft, and the lyrics from the song ‘All I Want is You’ by Barry Louis Polisar. One a conventional choice, the other… not so much. Both of them said exactly what we wanted to say.
 
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That was followed by vows we’d written ourselves – the tears nearly came, but adrenaline was on my side – and then the crowd-pleaser…
 
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We signed the register, posed for the snap happy…
 
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… and walked back up the aisle to the tune of ‘Wouldn’t It Be Nice’ by The Beach Boys, the happiest-sounding song ever made. And then I kissed my handsome new husband again…
 
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Because, well, how could I not.
 
With the drinks and canapés doing the rounds, and my cousin playing Rat Pack tunes on her saxophone, we drifted off on our own with Jodie to get our pose on…
 
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… before heading back to the crowds to get a few group shots. One of my favourite pics is this one of the mums looking beautiful in their finery (mine in mint, Tom’s in pink)…
 
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Let’s just have a close-up, cos they look so lovely…
 
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I don’t think their smiles could’ve got any bigger, quite frankly. Speaking of smiles, the second mine slipped when I was wishing more than anything that my dad was here to see me on my big day, I felt someone take my hand in theirs…
 
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That’s why she’s my best friend.
 
(And on a side note, from behind can you even tell she was 8.5 months pregnant at that point? Thought not.)
 
We headed into the marquee at the perfect time – 2 minutes later the heavens opened.
 
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We took our seats as man and wife…
 
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[The glitter letters were created by Erin Hung of BerinMade, who I’d also worked with to design our confetti-inspired invitations.]
 
Then it was time for my absolute favourite part of weddings. The speeches. And when it’s your own, it’s even better. Every speech was heartfelt, funny, moving, and perfectly delivered.
 
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The best men’s speech had everyone in stitches…
 
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… apart from Tom, who clearly thought if he covered his eyes, the stories would stop. They didn’t.
 
After a BBQ-style wedding breakfast was the cutting of the cake, made expertly by my sister-in-law’s sister (who’d be on GBBO if I had my way).
 
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And on to the first dance (‘18th Floor Balcony’ by Blue October). We hadn’t practised our moves, and it probably showed… but regardless, I’ll never forget it.
 
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Yup, we were pretty damn happy at that exact moment.
 
Others – including Tom’s parents – joined us on the dancefloor, while the whole marquee glowed under the lanterns.
 
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And a single candle flickered for all our loved ones who couldn’t be there to join in the fun.
 
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Finally, it was time to let loose on the dancefloor. But that’s a whole other story.
 
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Happy anniversary, TB. Thank you for making me the luckiest.
 

pinterest’s pin it forward uk

So, I’m back for a one-off post… because guess who got in touch with me? Pinterest. Only my favourite ever website. The website that showed me that there’s a whole community, nay, movement, that loves pinning and stalking dreamy pictures as much as I do. It’s my virtual happy place. A glass of red, a whole evening free of any kind of admin or decent telly, and a spot of Pinterest, and you won’t find me more content. If you’re not sure what it’s all about, in a nutshell it’s an online pinboard and tool for collecting, organising and sharing beautiful ideas and images from all over the web. An online scrapbook, really.

Pin It Forward UK 2013

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Pinterest has changed me in so many ways, and I’m not even being dramatic. I now have a passion for tinkering around the kitchen… cooking, if you will. Whereas, pre-Pinterest recipe ideas, I felt adventurous if I added herbs to a spag bol. I’m bolder with my fashion choices… I’ve actually got items in my wardrobe that aren’t a shade of black, which would have been unheard of a few years ago. My home has never looked prettier – it used to be all cottage-shabby-”chic”, but now I’ve embraced a classic modern look, geometric prints, and a metallic infusion. Put plainly, I have an obsession with gold. I’ve discovered beauty blogs that have completely changed my skincare regime for the better, I’ve found daily inspirational quotes that I now live by, and which have shifted my outlook on life, and – this has been a biggie – because of Pinterest, my readership has risen massively. As in, a huge proportion of my traffic comes from the site… hopefully, because people trust my taste and style, and believe it’ll translate on my blog.
 

Or something.
 

One of my favourite boards out the 28 I lovingly tend to, is the one entitled Made Me Smile. Basically it’s a collection of things that make my heart squeeze and sing… the things that make me happy. They don’t really fit in anywhere else, so they get a board of their own. Why not go take a look? If you like every single one of the pins, then you never know… we could be sisters from another mister. It’s possible.

 

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And if you haven’t signed up to Pinterest already, you’re truly missing out, my friends. It’s a whole new world out there. With Facebook filled with kids-supposedly-doing-the-funniest-things and people moaning about the weather, I can’t think of a better place to escape to for peace, quiet and a plethora of beautiful things.
 

While we’re at it, take a peak at the shamazeballs boards of Jenny and Beth – all in the name of pinning the love forward.
 

I’ll be back soon… thanks for sticking with me, lots of love xx
 

shiny and new

Where to start?! Firstly belated Happy New Year (we’re way beyond Christmas wishes!)… I hope you all had a lovely, relaxing break, and are refreshed and ready for everything that 2013 will bring. It was an incredibly hectic end of the year for us, as Tom and I finally got the keys to our very own home! I’m so excited. It’s something we’ve been dreaming about for so long, to have a place to put down some roots and to make our own; it’s in a tiny Hertfordshire village with a real sense of community that we can’t wait to become part of.

{image via flickr}

Not our house, obvs. I just have a Nancy Meyers fixation.

So the first thing we did was whitewash 90% of the house (no more MAGNOLIA… best. feeling. ever) and rip up the old carpet, so it has that ‘new’ smell rather than the feeling that you’re living in someone else’s home. I’m looking forward to updating you with the progress of our new digs once we start to get furniture in – one of my goals for 2013 (if I call them resolutions, they’re more likely to fail) is to make this blog more personal by featuring more photographs taken by me and fewer credited images.

Speaking of my blog, the redesign I’ve been wanting to do for months has been delayed by house-buying shenanigans, but it’s definitely going to happen as soon as I get ensconced in my new home office… seeing as that is the only place that I’m going to be able to sit, since our sofa is taking 6 looong weeks to arrive. She is pretty special though and will be well worth the wait. I’m also excited to show you our wedding photos (which captured the day so perfectly, thanks to the amazing Jodie Chapman) when the blog is all shiny and new.

Finally, I’ve made the decision to just stick with a lifestyle blog rather than starting a wedding one as well – I don’t want to sacrifice the time and effort that goes into blogging on a regular basis (which I will be doing again!) by stretching myself across two blogs. Especially since I also have a new day job to get stuck into as well – I’m going to be writing full-time and I feel incredibly lucky to have finally found a job doing exactly what I love. More details will no doubt follow.

So there you have it, my friends, a long overdue update! I just wanted to let you know what’s in store for {what you fancy} this year, to thank you for sticking with me and for your continued patience. This blogging community has become such a big part of my life, and I wouldn’t be without it. Lots of love and stay tuned!

december wish list

I’m a huge fan of a gift list, but like the never-ending Halloween celebrations, I’ve felt a bit inundated this season. So instead of telling you that your mum would probably quite fancy some Cath Kidston hand cream and your brother could probably do with a comedy moustache mug, I’m going to post an addition to my ‘Currently Craving’ series (previously seen here, here, here, here & here). These are items that I’m lusting after, and if you happen to have the same taste as me (geometric prints, why can’t I quit you?) then boom! I hope I’ve given you some ideas of how to spend that Christmas cheque from Great Aunt Doris in the New Year. Also, apologies for the erratic blogging schedule at the moment, I’ll be able to update you on behind-the-scenes-goings-on very soon. Exciting times, my friends.

{1. Oliver Bonas Kelly clutch – £29 / 2. Oliver Bonas Miss Etoile ceramic gold striped plate – £15 / 3. CoupleHome ikat cushion cover – £16 / 4. SheInside geometric sweater – $43.28 / 5. J.Crew Wild Side wide bangle – £56.27 / 6. John Lewis Biggins drinks trolley – £599 / 7. Tory Burch leather riding boots – £425 / 8. Plumo Supernova wrap – £75 / 9. Design Darling aqua trellis tray – $40 / 10. Anthropologie New York Times 36 Hours: 150 Weekends in Europe – £24.99}

spotlight on: pattern & press

For Christmas, what do you give the person who has everything? Easy… something that couldn’t possibly be for anyone but them. Enter Pattern & Press. Not only do they specialise in personalising gifts and homeware, they do it in the most beautiful way – their touch is subtle and understated, and shows someone that you’re willing to go the extra mile when choosing their present. I love their gold-rimmed tumblers (not least because they could have been made for my husband and I…E&T), and how perfect is the monogrammed luggage label for the frequent flyer? So if you’re struggling to think of what to get that particularly particular family member or friend that everyone always has, then I would recommend hopping over to P&P’s online store. Also worth remembering that P&P aren’t just for Christmas, so if you’re stuck for wedding or birthday gift ideas, this gem of a company could be your new best friend.

{all products available at Pattern & Press}