Sunday, 10 November 2013

Dressing Table Delights: A Tour of my Vanity

A dressing table is a girl's kingdom, where images are made and broken. They are intimate spaces, places of transformation and recreation, and I adore them.

Some of my earliest make-up memories are of being fascinated with my mother's dressing table, loving to rummage through the drawers and see her get ready to go out. So when we first moved into our house, a dressing table was almost one of the first pieces of furniture I bought!

Before that, the flat we lived in didn't have a proper space for getting ready. All my cosmetics were just kept in a storage box, and when I wanted to get ready I would have to lean a mirror up against the wall and sit cross-legged in the living room - but having a dedicated space to keep everything is so much better.

I've always been fascinated by how other people organise their dressing tables, so here's my little tour of mine.

It's a cream painted wooden one from Laura Ashley. I love their furniture, its so elegant and timeless. Check out my gold-painted wall as well! There are three deep drawers in the console, and then a shallow drawer under the oval looking glass.

On this side, I keep my perfumes on this cute china cakestand.I love the idea of using pretty cake stands as storage, its something I picked up from Pinterest and thought I would try. I was using an ornate, clear glass one, but it had a dip in the middle, so the bottles all tilted at different angles- and I had to swap it out for one with a flat top. This is just from a little homewares and gift shop near me called 'Rainbows and Lemondrops'.

There are all my favourites - Chanel Coco Mademoiselle, which I've worn since I was 16 and my dad bought me my first bottle. It reminds me of high days and holidays, and I wore it on my wedding day.
There's also Paul Smith Floral, which is lovely and light for during the day, it sort of smells like Refresher sweets.

Demeter Baby Powder cologne- smells exactly that, really sweet and fresh! Lancome Miracle, a sort of sweet, pink peppercorn scent - another one I've worn for years, since I had a saturday job in a department store and we used to keep some on the counter.

And Lady Gaga Fame, which is my 'night' perfume if I'm going out. I love the orchid and honey notes in it -  really unique and seductive!
On this side, I keep some products that are handy to grab when you're making finishing touches.

There is a hair glossing mist and straightening glaze from the Toni & Guy Insights range, my Naked Truth moisturiser, Mythic Oil - which is a holy grail product for overprocessed locks and adds a lovely perfume. Then there's No7 Perfect Light finishing powder and my Clinique Repairware Laser Focus Serum, which I'm using day and night.

To the side is my jewellery chest, and a drawer set that holds some more make-up -mainly palettes and things.

In the first drawer, you'll find packets and packets of false eyelashes! I wear them everytime I go out, and like to be well stocked! I love Eyelure lashes the best -  Ultra Naturals and Naturalites, which are a bit fuller for the evening, but still subtle. I also really like SalonSystem Boholash, so I have a few pairs of those!

Then there are some unopened tubes of Stila Tinted Moisturiser, and a couple of spares of Zara Wild Orchid scent, which comes in a little rollerball and is really handy to carry around at night. What you can't see -  more mini perfumes - DKNY Be Delicious in travel size, and Herve Leger travel atomiser refills.

In the pink bag is a spare Benefit Brow-Zings Palette. I'm a bit obsessed with keeping spares of the products I really love!

The centre drawer is packed with all my facial skincare products and some tanning stuff -  you can see items from the NSpa range, which I love -  their Vitamin Toning Mist and White Musk & Jojoba Oil spray. There's some Ted Baker Bodywear wash off tan, as well as a St Moriz spray for my legs. Almay Bare It All Legs, which are basically tights in a can! There's a big bottle of contact lens solution, for when I wear my coloured lenses. Nivea factor 50 facial sunscreen, Olay Definity BB Cream, Garnier Perfect Blur primer. Balance Active Formula moisurisers and eyecream, some Vaseline and some little Vitamin E serum pads from Simple that are great for taking on holiday with you.

To the side I have a little box that holds some hair stuff - a headband to hold my hair back while I'm doing my make-up, hair ties, Bumpits, a bun shaper -  and then the cute little tin holds kirby grips. It originally had little violet sweets in from Galeries Lafayette in Paris, and the tin was so cute, I had to put it to use afterwards.

In the third drawer, I keep my hair products and tools -  you can see a bunch of plastic sectioning clips, and in the corner my dressing brush (essential for backcombing and styling), a paddle brush and some pintail combs. There's also my Tangle Teezer. Product wise, I keep L'Oreal Matte and Messy Salt Spray, Lee Stafford Messed Up Spray Wax, some Insette blossom dry shampoo and Oz Botanicals heat protection spray. At the bottoms, there's also Umberto Giannini Old School Setting Spary (good for curls and updos), some L'Oreal Elvive Collagen mousse, which I use when blowdrying to get big hair. Likewise, some John Frieda Frizz-Ease Thermal Protect Serum, Percy and Reed No Oil Hair Oil, and the best hairspray in the world, Got2Be Happy Hour. Holds hair for hours and smells of pina coladas!

Across the top drawer, I have these little votive candles to keep it girlie. In the top drawer, I cut up a box to make some little containers. They hold all those little lash glue tubes you get with strip lashes, and in the other one is my teeth whitening stuff! A little bottle of Tea Tree Oil, which I use on blemishes. My Omega 3 capsules and vitamins, some blotting papers, gel cushions for high heels (a secret weapon) and my Urban Decay Naked 2 Palette, which doesn't fit anywhere else!

The Venetian glass jewellery box was a present from my Dad, and inside are all my costume jewellery pieces. I love anything with pearls on, or a flash of neon. I have a bunch of bracelets, which are probably my most worn accessory and I'm into a statement necklace. There aren't many earrings -  don't know why, but I usually don't bother with them, so I only have a few pairs.

Another tip I picked up from YouTube/Pinterest, is using these cool acrylic drawers to store and organise your make-up. These are from Muji (which, if you've never come across it, is a Japanese homewares company that would be a wet dream for anyone with OCD). I've had them for years, but I used to keep them in the study to hold post-its and pens. They're much better suited to holding palettes! In the bottom drawer, I have three palettes -  the Urban Decay Sustainable Shadow box (lots of super-brights) and the Nude and 'Oh So Special' Sleek mineral palettes. You can also see an Astor shadow, a couple of singles from Mac ('Shale' and 'Satin Taupe'), and my Mac Fluidline pot.

In this drawer, more palettes - a couple of NYX palettes, both from the Runway Collection, a W7 Naked Nudes palette, Dainty Doll eyeshadow base, CK black cream eyeshadow base/liner, and my MeMeMe Dew Pot cream shadow in 'Hollow Haze', which I tend to use as a highlighter.

Then we have some of my current most-used lip products -  these smaller drawers are the perfect size for it.There's my Chanel Rouge Allure Extrait de Gloss - this is the best lipgloss ever made- a Mac lipstick in 'Costa Chic', a Lipchrome from Ultima II, my go-to red, Chanel Rouge Coco Shine. In the next drawer, Benefit Full Service lipstick, a Famous by Sue Moxley clear gloss, a Clinique Chubby Stick in a dark berry red, Topshop lip shine and of course a Baby Lips balm, which I use on 'no make-up days' or to prep my lips. These are the shades I'm using most at the moment.

On top, some more products currently being most used! Chanel Lift Lumiere foundation, Mac Strobe Cream, Mac Studio Sculpt foundation. At the back are a couple more small eyeshadow palettes from Chanel and Bobbi Brown, a Mac Skinsheen bronzing stick, and my Daniel Sandler Watercolour blush, which I love. At the back is a pot which holds my favourite brushes -  mainly a mix of Mac and Real Techniques, Shu Uemura lash curlers, a Sephora kabuki and my cute little geisha-girl slanted tweezers.

At the side, I have this little frosted sliding unit (also from Muji), and this is wear I keep the make-up that I'm not really using at the moment (but can't quite get rid of!). On top are a couple of my Benefit bags -  the smaller one I use for my everyday face, while the larger one holds the other products I use fairly regularly.

Inside the drawer of not currently used much products -  the black cosmetics bag at the bag holds eyeshadows, then I have two little tubs of lip products, some cream blushes, tinted moisturiser and one final Mac palette!

Hope you enjoyed my little dressing table tour.

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Oops I ombré-d again...

It's about 3 years too late, but I finally jumped onto the ombré hair bandwagon. It's a look I've liked for ages, but just never got around to doing, but yesterday I took the plunge and did it- mainly because when I suggested it to my darling husband, he said I was (and I quote) "too old for it". Too freaking old?!? So of course, I then had to try it out!

I used the L'Oreal Preference Home Kit, like everyone else in the known blogosphere, so I won't bother to do a full review on it. There are some really good posts and videos out there for the Googling. Here's the kit:

I will say that it was nice and easy to use, and I'm pleased with the result. It's not too orange (the pictures on the box are a rather alarming shade of tangerine!), and the effect is actually subtle and not some massive neon stripe across the bottom of your hair
I'd like to point out I had ombre hair before it was even 'a thing'. When I began sixth form, waaay back when I was 17, I bleached the bottom three inches of my hair and dyed them pink. It was a look that got extensively copied and probably the only time I've ever felt like a trend-setter. But I'm glad to be doing it again and I'm really pleased with the results. Another victory for home beauty care!


Autumn Haul: Zara, Primark, H&M, Mac, eBay

Hi All!

I went shopping in my local city on Saturday. This is actually quite rare for me, I’m now at the point that I buy most things online, and I haven’t had a day out shopping in quite a while now. I think this is mainly because I usually have such a clear idea of what I want –I get inspiration from magazines and style blogs, and then it’s just easier to type in what I’m searching for and find it online. But with a golden autumn in the air, I suddenly felt the urge to take a browse around the shops in a more casual way. Here’s what I found:


I have such a love/hate relationship with Primarni. On the one hand, it can be undeniably tacky, and I hate when you get that one piece that everyone is wearing that just screams out where its from. On the other hand, I can’t think of a cheaper place to pick up the basics, or those items that you know will be in for about 5 minutes and then look hopelessly dated (peplum tops anyone?). Every so often I swear myself off going in there, but then the siren call will lure me back! As I‘m on a budget at the moment (again!) due to saving up to move house, I decided it was my best bet to cure the itch I had for new clothes, so I ventured in and found some treasures:

Silver snake chain, gems and spikes chain - £5.00

I have resolved to wear more statement necklaces. I think its one of those simple fixes that can really fashion up a plain outfit, and since I’m not the most cutting-edge person with my clothes, it helps bring a bit of edge to my (admittedly rather vanilla) style. I loved this necklace as soon as I laid eyes on it. And at the bargainous price of just £5, its probably a third of what the same item would cost in Topshop. It’s a heavy silver snake-chain collar, with a row of princess cut clear gems with silver spikes underneath them – a really nice mix of punk and pretty. This will look equally as good with a little dress or with a chunky sweater.

Gold link and cream ribbon collar – £3.00

This little treasure caught my eye as well – the design is so intricate and looks really art-deco somehow. The gold-coloured links are interwoven with a pretty cream grosgrain ribbon. I’ve been liking gold jewellery a lot more lately, it seems to have come out of the dark ages and actually now be cooler than silver tones, somehow. They did have this necklace in a pewter colour with black ribbon also, but I thought there was something really nice about the gold.

Embossed silver cuff with turquoise - £1.00

Ok, so it turned into a full blown accessory-buying spree! But this was in the sale section and reduced down to just £1, so there’s no way I could resist. Ethnic looking, boho pieces aren’t really my usual style, but somehow I was drawn to this cuff. I think it would look amazing with a Aztec style skirt, like the one in my last Outfit of the Night posting. It’s a great accessory for summer, so perhaps one to save until next year! I love the fact it looks really authentic and not plasticky like you might expect at the price point.

Pewter spiked ring - £1.00

I have a serious fetish for spikes and studs (it’s the long-suppressed teenage goth in me), so I was drawn like a magpie to this ring, which was also reduced down to just £1. I don’t usually wear rings (apart from my engagement and wedding bands) so this will be something new for me. I think this piece would be great to pair with a really girly outfit to subvert it a little!

Grey and navy striped crew-neck jumper – £7.00

I thought this was a great winter basic, and I’m looking forward to styling it tucked into a leather skater skirt with some ankle boots and one of the necklaces above. It’s cosy and a bit of a looser fit.

Black jersey vest with chain straps – £5.00

I was drawn to this because I love tops in that kind of slouchy, drapey material that just skim over your body- they’re so elegant. I think there’s something quite 90’s about this top that will work well with the vibe of the season, and this is such a simple piece that looks equally good with a skirt or trousers, I just had to have it. The gold chain shoulder straps just elevate the design a bit and give it a twist. I think I’ll wear this for work and for play –I love items that do double duty.

Black and white dotted jacquard pencil skirt (£8.00) and plum jersey pencil skirt (£5.00)

I love Carine Roitfeld and her iconic style (hands up who’s going to see Mademoiselle C?), and as she is rarely seen out of a pencil skirt, I took the chance to update my closet in homage to her gorgeous style. I’m liking the fact that both these skirts are a longer length pencil, which is tres chic. The first one I picked up was the black skirt – the white pattern is raised up, which gives it a premium touch. I immeadiately thought how well the monochrome would go with all the little boucle jackets I keep buying. It’s one of those pieces that is so easy to wear and yet the pattern makes it a little bit different. On my way to the till to pay, I spotted the plain plum one and thought that would add a shot of autumnal colour as well. These skirts are perfect for work, or also look great with wedge trainers, a t-shirt and a leather jacket at the weekend – win-win!

Black tights 40 denier - £3.00

Okay, boring basics alert, but this is the whole reason I went into Primark in the first place- you can’t beat them for stuff like this, and their tights are thick and good quality for the price. I am trying to resist putting tights on for as long as possible, because I feel like the minute they’re on, you don’t get out of them for six months. Plus, putting black tights on is the spiritual death of summer and I’m bad at letting go! I like my tights to be absolutely opaque, so with Primarni tights, you know what you’re getting. I plan to go through my lingerie draw and weed out all the holey pairs from last winter!

Black suede wedge ankle boots – £15.00

Black ankle boots are a cold-weather wardrobe essential for me, and I have several pairs that are all a variation on a theme. When I saw this pair with a wedge heel, I knew I would wear them to death, so I didn’t hesitate to add them to my basket! I’ve had a wedge revolution and lately, and gone from loathing them to choosing them over every other style. I can’t stand for my feet to feel uncomfortable and I walk like Bambi in stilettos, so I don’t know why I never considered before that wedges are the perfect solution. These are a perfect, plain ‘everything’ shoe and remind me of something from COS (but again, at a fraction of the price!)

Grey angora beanie hat - £2.00

I’m quite fussy about hats, and not a lot suit me, but I do like to wear them when it gets bitterly cold. Consequently, I’ve worn the same black chunky knit beret for several winters now. And of course, the blogger and celeb beanie mega-trend hasn’t escaped my notice, so I was looking for one. I prefer them when they are bit softer and less structured (more forgiving to the face), so this light grey angora number fitted the bill really well. I’m actually almost looking forward to it getting cold enough to wear it!


I only actually bought one thing in H&M (shock horror!). I find their stuff a bit hit and miss sometimes, and there wasn’t much that caught my eye – plus my husband was breathing down my neck to leave at this point!

Slouch jersey Breton top with ruched shoulder panels - £7.99

A Breton top must be one of the most overworn and hardest working items in my wannabe Beatnik wardrobe. They’re just so versatile and great for layering, look good with jeans or skirts…and I liked that this top was a bit of a twist on the usual, because it has the button-down neck and the cream pleated panels on the shoulders. It’s that lovely slouchy fabric as well. I got a small but it seems a little on the large side perhaps, but my husband wisely told me not everything has to be skin-tight ( I need to learn that lesson). I think I prefer it tucked in – I’m a massive fan of tucked in things at the moment.


Zara is, hands down, my favourite high-street shop. In fact, I often say that if I was only allowed to shop in one place, that would be it. It’s elegant and yet still current, and the quality is amazing for the price. I actually went in there wanting some of their sharp, skinny trousers in a navy or a camel colour, but my luck wasn’t in. As usual, I saw a million things I wanted to buy but I was quite restrained and really limited myself. They had a small sale selection and I chanced upon this:

Drape leopard print dress - £7.99

This is one of those pieces that didn’t look great on the hanger, but I knew it would be flattering on. It’s a sort of raw silk feel material, and has that lovely billowy top and ¾ sleeves to it. The reason I was drawn to this piece was its versatility. Something about the fit and fabric makes it the perfect item to dress up or down. While I think it will look killer with black tights and riding boots, there’s something sweatshirt-y and sporty about the neckline that means it would work dressed down with trainers as well. I also think it would be just as good on the beach as with a winter coat. I couldn’t pass it up, particularly at the price – sometimes the sale rack yields a gem!

Wild Orchid rollerball perfume - £3.99

I don’t normally bother with the perfumes in clothes stores, but I was bored waiting at the till at ended up testing this. The scent of orchid is one that’s really growing on me lately. There’s something intense and unusual about it that’s taken me a while to embrace, but now I love how different and unique it is. I’ve always loved the flowers (although they don’t smell of much), and there’s something darkly sensual about the scent that’s grown on me. It’s also a strong note of Lady Gaga’s Fame, which I wear a lot. The slim glass tube and rollerball applicator make this so ideal for carrying around in your bag or on a night out as well. Although this was totally an impulse buy, I am now planning to go back to Zara and buy a couple more, because you never know how long they have these things for! They also had Wild Rose, but I’m not so keen on that.


No trip to town is complete without a visit to the Mac store! Obviously, its like a playground for big girls and obviously I wanted to buy everything in site and really had to restrain myself. Think I did so well to only come out with two items!

Matte Eyeshadow in Charcoal Brown - £12.50

A make-up bag essential for me, because it’s the perfect shade for filling in my eyebrows. I like to use the Maybelline Brow Drama mascara on them first, and then fill in the gaps with this. Powder gives a much softer and more convincing finish than a pencil in my experience, and its also easier to shape your arches, provided you have the right brush. This is also a great shade for doing a gorgeous, bitter chocolate smokey eye, which would go much better than black with the new lip colour I purchased…

Sheen Supreme Lipstick in Full Speed - £15.50

I went into the shop actually wanting to pick up a sort of neon pink shade, but I ended up emerging with this instead. It’s just such a pretty shade that I couldn’t resist. Sort of a hot coral pink I guess? It’s certainly bright, and I love bright lips during the winter, when you wear so many dark colours. I’ve been doing red or orange lips to death lately, so it will be nice to have something a bit different.


I rounded off my foray into town with a visit to the Poundshop. As I’ve spoken about before, even though the teenage me would have never set foot in one, the grown-up me can’t resist it. I’ve unearthed some ridiculously good things in there, like Stila tinted moisturiser, Urban Decay lipgloss (seriously!) …it would be rude not to have a look when going past!

Famous by Sue Moxley

They seemed to have a lot of this range in (has it done into liquidation?) and I know its decent quality, so I picked up this pressed eyeshadow in a gorgeous metallic midnight blue, and this loose shadow pot which is an unusual shade that’s kind of grey-purplish-copper as well. Both are really nicely pigmented. I also picked up a clear lipgloss from the range, because you can never have too many clear lipglosses, obviously!

CK Calvin Klein

Goes to show what great brands can be lurking in their shelves, semi-anonymously (these were packaged so you couldn’t see the brand until you opened the outer packaging). This is a black cream shadow which is really useful for layering under a metallic powder when doing smokey eyes to really make them pop and can also be used as a liner with a flat angled brush, so its win-win!


I have also ordered a couple of items from sellers on eBay that I thought I would include in this posting.

Rose gold Screwdriver bangle (£1.70) and rose gold ‘Juste Un Cloue’ (£8.48)

Ok, these clearly aren’t actual rose gold but it’s the colour. They are both based on hugely expensive Cartier designs that I could never hope to own. The ‘Juste Un Cloue’ braclet is like an industrial nail, twisted around and the real deal has been spotted on plenty of stars, like Miranda Kerr and Kristen Stewart. But depending on the metal, this bracelet can cost £25,000! That is absolutely gobsmacking…but luckily, eBay has a few sneaky copies. Look magazine alerted me to this fact, so I had a quick search and found that style, and an ‘homage’ to their style with the rivets as well, so I had to get them both. I love accessories that are a bit quirky but also refined, and seeing as I can’t afford the real thing, this is a great way to get the look on the cheap. Look magazine is full of brilliant little ‘designer cheat’ tips like that!

Long biker coat with contrast quilted leather sleeves - £24.99

I’ve wanted a coat with leather sleeves for a while now, and I saw some beautiful designs Zara did, but they’d sold out by the time I saw them (boo!), so the internet stepped in. This coat is a total rip off of a Zara design (the pictures on the listing, I’m pretty sure, were of the Zara coat, as I sadly recognised the font on the tag) but at the price it was at, I decided to risk it on the quality front and was really pleasantly surprised when what turned up was decently made. The main material is sort of a black felt, and then the collar and zips are like a biker jacket. I love the quilted sleeves. Athough I preferred a version I saw from Zara where the main body was camel and the sleeves were black, I thought I’d settle for this all-black version. This will work for the office and for play, so I think it was a good buy!

And that was my splurge this month – what have you been buying as we transition into autumn and have you got the black tights on yet?


Tuesday, 10 September 2013

My Wedding Inspiration: One Year On!

I really can't believe it's been more than a year since I got married. Even the word 'husband' used to freak me out, and took me a while to get used to at first!

I was never one of those girls whose always dreamt of walking down the aisle. In fact, I was pretty sure that I would be a Bridget Jones character, dedicated to my job, having flings with unsuitable men, and spending all my money on shoes.

But when the moment came, I discovered I do have it in me to care about table decorations and seating plans. But more than that, peace, contentment and a joy I'd never known before were all possible...

So, a year on. It hasn't all been roses, but I've been with my Mr long enough prior to getting hitched not to expect that, anyway. It has been a good year with him though, so I don't have any regrets.

I don't think of my wedding day as perfect (a few things I would have changed, and a few mistakes made) but it was a lovely event that I definitely enjoyed planning! At the time I got married, I had pretty much abandoned blogging, so I didn't really capture any of it on here.

So I've decided to do a little posting, a year on, hopefully with the beauty of hindsight!

My Theme

My wedding mood board- feeling inspired!

My theme was a complete mash-up of everything I love, which was the best idea ever, as the day ended up being so personal to us. We were determined that everything about our day should relate to the kind of people we are.

In terms of the general style of the wedding, I love anything art deco, so I wanted a bit of that glamour, with a modern twist. The colours I picked were black, white and nude- inspired by my favourite perfume, Chanel Coco Mademoiselle, which I wore on the day.

Being quite a traditional gal, it was important to me to get married in church. We ended up tying the knot in a church opposite the first apartment we shared together. It's a beautiful and very ancient church and- rumour has it- the church where Robin Hood and Maid Marian got married.

While I'm not sure if that's true, it was a gorgeous and very romantic setting. The reception was at a restaurant near where we live that's right on the banks of a river.

St Mary the Virgin, Lace Market, where we got married

I knew I wanted orchids as the flowers on the tables- partly because they've always been my favourite, and partly because we went to Thailand on our honeymoon, where they grow in abundance.

As we are also both well known for our love of afternoon tea, we decided the reception would take the form of a champagne afternoon tea, with dinner and dancing later in the evening.

I decided I really wanted to get the look of a vintage tea party, and because of that, my husband and I spent a whole year getting up early to trawl round car boot sales and collect individual china cups and saucers for each guest! Friends and family also helped, seeing it as a challenge to help out by collecting as many as they could find.

And I was touched that most guests asked if they could take their cup and saucer home afterwards as a memento, so it was worth all the early cup-hunting starts! I was also determined that I wanted a wishing tree, for guests to tie good wishes too, and ornate white birdcages on the tables.

My husband had plenty of input into the day too- I loved that he wanted to be really involved, and didn't do the usual male thing of leaving it all up to me.

As his idol is Napoleon, we named all the tables at the reception after Napoleonic victories (Marengo, Rivoli etc...). He also helped make all the wedding favours- Earl Grey Bitter Chocolate Truffles and Salted Caramels, and helped me to make our three-tier wedding cake. Yes, we made our own cake.

We're  from a family that all loves to make cakes (he won me over the first year we were together by baking me a delicious homemade birthday cake), and as his older sister had made her own wedding cake a couple of years previously, luckily we had all the right sized tins and her experience to call on!

We made the cake all about our own favourite flavours. The bottom tier was Fruit, Cherry and Amaretto, the middle tier was Lime,Rosewater and Pistachio and the top tier was Dark Chocolate and Sour Cream (just like the first cake he made me!)

My Dress

Looks far better on the model!
My dress was a complete surprise to me. I was intially determined that I wanted something drapy and made of chiffon- a sort of grecian look.

But when I tried a few dresses like that on, they all looked like bedsheets on me, and really didn't suit either me or the type of wedding we wanted. I was nonplussed. I went to lots of bridal boutiques and tried on so many styles, and nothing seemed just right. I even got a bit discouraged- I could see lots of dresses I didn't like, but none I could picture myself falling in love with!

I didn't want anything big, anything satin or anything that looked like an Oscars dress. But I never would have foreseen in a million years the dress I did get.

My best friend happened to pick it up when we were out dress shopping, and I tried it on 'just in case'...and it was the one! I didn't have that moment where I welled up and 'knew' instantly- it was more that each time I thought about the wedding, I would picture myself in this. So then I knew it had to be this one. I thought it has just enough impact, without being a 'big' dress.

Lace, I wouldn't have chosen in a million years (this was before the Royal Wedding, so it wasn't yet as popular as Kate Middleton made it). And yet the lace made sense, as we were getting married in the Lace Market.

Also, I loved the empire line, and the big ribbon sash made me feel like a princess. Just goes to show you never know what will suit you, so my word of advice to any bride-to-be is to try on as many different styles as possible, even ones you don't think you'll like.

My Bridesmaids

I had three bridesmaids- my best friend, my best friend from school/growing up days, and my husband's little sister (I would have had his older sister as well, but she'd just had a baby and had her hands full adjusting to being a new mum!).

This created an instant dilemma, because all three were so different in terms of looks, height and colouring. I had a blonde, a brunette and a redhead. I had curvy, athletic and skinny. I had petite, average height, and tall. And I had to find one dress that would magically suit them all.

Plus, they all live in different areas around the country, so I couldn't take them all on a shopping trip together. I wanted them to have something they'd like, and want to wear afterwards, and I wanted them quite sophisticated and sleek as they're all adults.

I initially bought black lace shift dresses, but they just looked wrong on. Luckily, I found these absolutely gorgeous draped dresses from Karen Millen.

They had some black on, but not too much. And they had a gorgeous cross over back. Luckily, it suited all of them because its such a forgiving dress- a thick satin pencil skirt that pulls you in, and a lovely draped satin top. Only trouble is, I wanted one of the dresses for myself!


My Hair & Make-Up

I loved the style of the King of Rock n Roll's bride!
Bizarrely, my inspiration for my hair and make-up style was none other than Priscilla Presley! I just think she looked so gorgeous when she married Elvis. And the cats eye make up and big, bouffant hair is my absolute favourite style, so I tried to do it in a slightly more toned down way- less black eyeshadow and slightly smaller hair.

I went half-up-half-down with the hair, because that felt more 'me' that a very formal updo. My hair stylist and make-up artist on the day were both brilliant, and spent a lot of time practicing with me beforehand to make sure the look was right.

I was a little sad that I didn't do my own make-up, seeing as its my passion, but I wanted to make sure I used a professional who knew what would photograph well and last on the day.

The Day

Saying our vows..
So relieved after the ceremony!


A year has gone quickly!
Like I mentioned, my day wasn't 100% perfect....the vicar said the wrong name for my husband when he started the ceremony, and actually used the name of his cousin instead, leading to some hilarious 'Have I married the wrong cousin?' post-wedding banter, the sun shone only sporadically, and I felt sick during my reception and didn't manage to eat any of the beautiful food. 

But you know what? None of it actually mattered. If you'd have told me beforehand, I would have said those things would freak me out and ruin my day. 

But in the actual event, they didn't at all. The most overwhelming feeling I can remember from my wedding day is just thinking that nothing else really mattered apart from me and him, and having our loved ones there to share it all with us. And that was how I knew I'd made the right decision!
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