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!

Monday, 9 September 2013

What's in my holiday make-up bag?

I love a good 'What's in my bag?'. Watching the videos on YouTube is still my guilty pleasure, and I love magazine features where they go through a celebrity's bag!

So, any excuse really! I'm about to jet off to Ibiza on Friday for 8 days of much needed relaxation. I can't wait, but I have been trying to streamline and simplify my packing. I always end up taking far too much stuff with me because I hate feeling like I don't have choices, but there's always so much stuff I don't use- so I've vowed to pack lighter this year.

Although I've tried to strip down my kit, I still like to have options, so below really is the bare minimum of acceptable product to take with me!

Here's what I'm taking!

This is very low-key for me! It's only one small bag of warpaint!

I always travel using my (ancient) Glamorous Gabbi case from Benefit. I have this case in a few different sizes, but this is the smallest one I own, so I'm doing well! I've had this for literally years (since I had a summer job as a student working on the Benefit counter), but it's never needed replacing. It's so sturdy, with a tough zip that takes so much abuse. It's all wipe clean and very practical for traveling. And I still think the retro design is cute.

So, what products are tucked in the case?


L to R:

Lacura Beauty Concealer Pen

I'll be using this to do Kim K-style extreme highlighting for any big nights out on the White Isle. It's a highlighter concealer from Aldi's cosmetics range that has blind tested really well against the famous YSL Touche Eclat. The very sleek mirrored pen packaging looks expensive- you'd never guess it was a total budget buy!

Famous by Sue Moxley Translucent Pressed Powder

To set my make-up and take down any shine from sun-baked skin -  a pressed powder is easier to travel with. This one is light, compact and great quality - it doesn't make skin appear ashy or caked with product, which I like.

Maybelline Fit Me! Anti-Shine Stick

This is a recent purchase for me. I wasn't impressed at first, and didn't think it was as good as their Dream Matte Mousse but it's grown on me. It gives a very nice even finish and it lasts well when paired with a BB cream. It's portable stick format is a great idea -  perfect for popping in your bag for a night out.

Mac Skinsheen Stick Bronzer in Gilty Bronze

This dark bronzer is really good for doing contouring work, and the cream texture gives it a more natural appearance than a powder bronzer. This has a tiny amount of gold shimmer, but its very fine, so it still works for contouring.

Garnier BB Cream Miracle Skin Perfector

This is one of my holy grail skin products, so I wouldn't be jetting off without it! I love the formula for Oily Skin in the long, slim tube- I was using the regular one before, but this one is so different and so much better. It's much more of a liquid texture, but it gives a lot better coverage and a finish that I really like. I'll wear it on its own during the daytime, and as a hydrating, mattifying primer under my foundation for evening.


NYX The Runway Collection Eyeshadow Palette 'Caviar & Bubbles'

I've spoken before about how this palette is my ideal travelling companion. The shades in it are quite similar to Urban Decay's Naked palette, but the compact size of this makes it far easier to take with you. There's also a big, clear mirror inside the slimline compact, which will be really useful for doing all my make-up in. The shades inside are a mixture of nude and gold tones, some shimmery, some matte. There's also a white, a dark brown and a black to cover all the bases for smoky eyes at night time too.

Topshop Eye Crayon 'Marble'

I bought this recently and love it. Crayons are the ultimate travel product as they don't take up much space and are so low-maintenance - scribble onto your eyelids, blend with a finger, and you're good to go! This shade is a lovely shimmery champagne colour that will look amazing with a tan and packs a highly pigmented punch.

Benefit High Brow

Another thing I couldn't be with out, this creamy jumbo pencil is an essential for highlighting brows and cupid's bows and giving a natural effect.
Rimmel Scandaleyes Waterproof Kohl Pencils 'Black' and 'Nude'

Such a bargain product, these pencils have a gel texture that glides on and lasts beautifully. The nude is for wide-awake looking eyes, while the black is for vamping up my eyes at night.

Avon Glimmerstick Brow Definer 

I really rate these pencils from Avon, they're great value and come in a tonne of different colours. This one is for filling in brows, but also acts as a brown eyeliner pencil if need be.

Eyeko Skinny Mini Liquid Eyeliner 

Such a great eyeliner, this is blacker than black and gives a precise line, perfect for achieving a feline flick or two. It's a felt-tip format, which again makes it super-easy to travel with and apply. I love this product.

Bare Minerals Loose Powder Shadow 'Gold Medal'

This shimmery gold eyeshadow can also double up as a highlight for cheekbones, decolletage and other places in a pinch. It has a spring loaded, built-in applicator that makes it easy breezy to apply - perfect for a laid back break.

L'Oreal False Lash Telescopic Mascara Waterproof

This is my holy grail mascara, and I'm on to my millionth  tube now -  I keep trying new ones but nothing can topple the crown! I picked up the waterproof formula as I do plan on wearing this during the day to the beach - I can't go fully bare-faced or I'd look like a potato!

Mac Matte Eyeshadow 'Charcoal Brown'

I actually use this soft powder shadow with an angled brush to fill in my rather sparse eyebrows and it does wonders!

Mac Fluidline 'Dipdown'

The creamy gel eyeliner is a soft brown and so perfect for day trips where you want your look to be a bit more dialled down.

Maybelline Brow Drama Sculpting Brow Mascara 'Medium Brown'

I was desperate to get my hands on some of this, and literally stalked the drugstores until it appeared. It will help me groom and control my arches in the sunshine.

Bobbi Brown Tinted Eye Brightener

A holy grail concealer for those with dark circles. This is salmon-coloured, which looks a bit alarming in the pot, but really cancels out the bluish shadows and leaves your eye area looking bright and refreshed. It's also great as a shadow primer.


Maybelline Baby Lips 'Peach Kiss' and 'Pink Punch'

As the blogosphere exploded over these, of course I wanted to get my hands on some. I do like them a lot, especially the Pink Punch shade which gives a really pretty tint. These will be the perfect finish to my lips during the day.

Chanel Rouge Coco Shine 'Rebelle'

My trademark red in case I want to amp up the glamour at night, this is a warm orangey toned red that should look killer with a tan.

Chanel Extrait de Gloss 'Imaginaire' 

This is one of the best lipglosses that money can by- its a heavy gel that isn't sticky and really stays on. Plus the black glass packaging is to die for! Imaginaire is a pretty soft pink that will work well will darker eye makeup.

And that's it!I am so looking forward to going away.


Sunday, 8 September 2013

The 5:2 Diet Review: Off the Wagon

As I've written about it a lot when I first started it, I wanted to give an update on the current state of my trial of the 5:2 Diet.

Unfortunately, I've really fallen off the wagon with it and haven't been doing the diet for several weeks now. I had a couple of unsettled weeks, where I was out of my usual routine due to going down to Cornwall to visit my mum, and have also been a little bit stressed with selling our house at the moment, and the house we were hoping to buy falling through. I am an emotional eater, and I didn't manage to stop myself from taking comfort in food.

When I got back home, I tried re-starting the diet, but I found it too difficult. The hunger seemed much harder to bear. I'm also one of these all-or-nothing people, so as soon as I'd failed, I became a bit self-sabotaging.

However, I still believe in the long-term health and well being benefits of intermittent fasting and I want to give the diet another try. I go on holiday in a week, so it feels a bit late to pick it up before then, but I will be coming back fresh after holidays and wanting to give it a go to drop some weight in time for all the Christmas parties!

In a bit to pick my campaign back up, I also recognised that I was getting really bored of the gym and making excuses not to go, so I met with one of the trainers, and he devised me a new programme based around intervals that I'm really excited to start. So, I'm going to give it a good go after my holiday.

I also met a man this week who's been doing the 5:2 Diet for a year and it really made me want to give it another good. He spoke very highly of the positive effects its had on his life and gave me more interest in picking it back up.

It's still the longest I've ever done a diet and I'm proud I lasted that long- long enough to know it made me feel lots better.  Bring on autumn and round two!

Saturday, 7 September 2013

OOTN: Aztec Summer Nights

Hi gorgeous people!

Another attempt at doing an Outfit of the Night posting.

I'd fallen in love with these gorgeous Aztec-pattern sequin miniskirts that All Saints were doing, but wasn't so in love with the price tag! So I did a little research online and found these two dupes:

The orange one is from Gorgeous Couture, and the black and gold one is from Boohoo.com (and was in the sale!). These skirts are designed to be very short and very tight, and believe it or not, I actually found it better to wear the skirt upside down with the zip at the back!

I broke all the style rules that night and went for the forbidden option of a short skirt, and a little bit of cleavage! It's not my usual style, but I was in a carefree-last days of summer mood.

I paired the skirt with a buttoned black vest from Wallis, which is really nice because it has a bit of a looser fit, which is key to balancing out a tight skirt.

I piled on a bunch of random bracelets, and on my feet I wore these cream snakeskin platforms with an ankle tie, from Topshop.

I did my make-up around a bronze and bright blue eyeshadow and a coral lip, but unfortunately, I ended up in a bit of a rush to get ready and I didn't manage to take any photos on the night -  I might do a recreation of the look later though!

We had a tapas and cocktails night at home before heading out a local venue for a special party they had on. I love making cocktails, and this time I made: Oriental Violet Martinis (spiced apple and ginger Absolut vodka, St Germain elderflower liqueur, fresh lime, and violet jelly pearls) and Inamouratas (passionfruit syrup, fresh mint from the garden, and champagne).

 I really enjoyed it but I think I slightly over-indulged with three shots in a row at the bar, and had to go home not long after (oops!). I felt like death the next day! However, I did have a fun night and I loved my bright orange sequin skirt, which I felt great in. Proves that doing a little research can save you lots of money!

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