Monday Morning Coffee Break

I must be in a bit of a philosophical mood this morning…It’s first thing Monday morning (well not exactly first thing as before this I have changed and fed lily, tweeted, checked out the Rock and Roll Bride’s party report and sent my dad a link to the new Vivienne Westwood shoe range as a BIG hint for christmas!) and I am enjoying a coffee break (its a very weak latte with two sugars btw).

It may seem a bit strange that I am blogging about my coffee but this early morning coffee break is something that really effects the whole day I have ahead of me – for example at the moment I’m sitting in a little coffee shop and art gallery near Tower Bridge typing and looking out at the sunshine, Lily is chilling out playing with some stacking cups, and the waiter gave us free biscuits so this coffee break makes me feel ready for the day and puts me in a great mood for the day ahead 🙂

Rewind to this time last week and I was at home with a teething, temperamental baby who screamed every time I put her down, my coffee was too strong and it was cold by the time I got to drink it – so of course I spent most of the rest of that day feeling pretty down and that fifteen minutes affected my whole day!

So why, you ask, is a post about coffee breaks being featured on a bridal blog? Well I meet so many brides who don’t make time for a coffee break and that is really not good. Planning a wedding is so stressful, there is so much that seems to get heaped up on your shoulders when you have a million decisions to make and a list as long as your arm of tasks that still need to be finished. And so I think that everyone should understand the importance of the coffee break.

Before we were engaged and had Lily, me and Mr I spent a lot of our time relaxing, talking and just enjoying each other’s company in a coffee shop. Sometimes we would have books with us to read, or we’d share a slab of cake, othertimes it’d be a quick pitstop in starbucks whilst perusing our way around Oxford Street. Sometimes it wouldn’t even be a break for coffee, just a break, sitting in the park enjoying the sun, talking and laughing and taking photos. The point is that daily life sometimes gets in the way of living – and a break is a chance to reconnect with your partner or just with yourself.

And so the coffee break is of great importance – try making the time to sit down and take a break at least once a week, enjoy a leisurely walk, sip a latte, share some cake, read a book… whatever you do for your coffee break make the most of just relaxing. It really does make a hell of a difference 🙂

xxx

Advertisements

Rock and Roll Bride party!

I was lucky enough to get one of the 200 tickets for the ‘Rock and Roll Bride party’ aka ‘Party of the Year!’, and I mean LUCKY as there were over 500 people applying for the tickets!

Now for those of you who don’t know who Kat of Rock and Roll Bride is (those of you who have been living under a rock in the dessert perhaps?) she is the amazing pink haired *well rainbow haired for the party* alternative wedding blogger – the byline for her blog says it all ‘Your Big Day, the Rock and Roll Way’ and boy is she one hell of a party hostess!

This is Kat and she is fantastic 🙂 (Picture borrowed from the Rock and Roll Bride site and taken by Jayne of Sacco and Sacco Photography)^^)

So on the 14th April I ironed my jeans – you know its something special when I willingly do the ironing! – put on some cute red vintage pumps and a navy blazer, packed up my masquerade ball mask (more on that later) and headed off to Graphic Bar in London’s Golden Square. I have to admit that I was sooo nervous to finally meet Kat – she is such an inspiration to me on a daily basis and it’s always a little intimidating to meet someone you admire online in the flesh!

I arrived at the bar at 6:45 after getting lost and chatted up by some builders working nearby – go me! Was still super nervous which was not helped by big baldy bouncer who couldn’t find my name on his list, I practically snatched his clipboard off of him and found it myself oops :-s 

The first person I saw as I stepped through the door and headed towards the bar was none other than Kat herself who was even more amazing in real life – she gave me a big hug, allowed me to admire her gorgeous Fur Coat No Knickers dress and we had a little chat before I wandered off to get myself a Rock and Roll Bride paint tin cocktail! I think even if I had needed to leave right then I would have gone home a very happy bunny 🙂 but of course I didn’t have to leave and so I got stuck in meeting so many great new people – from photographers and bloggers to the likes of make up artist Elbie who styles Kat’s makeup and is a real Rock and Roll Bride herself *her wedding is stunning* and she was very sweet.

A few gin based cocktails later and I was posing in the photobooth (with my red sparkly masquerade balll mask of course) with two of the other guests and heading over to check out the out of this world cupcakes by Restoration Cake and eventually set the ball rolling by being the first guest to take one out of the display – I chose the red velvet cake and have literally never tasted anything like it – I could easily sit here and eat them for dinner, followed by the peanut butter ones for dessert!

I was having so much fun that I didn’t even think to take any photographs *bad alex* but there will be plenty on the Rock and Roll Bride site tomorrow so do check in 🙂

Highlights of the night:

  • Fashion = Annabel of Love My Dress Blog looked ah-mazing in a custom made dress by Dana Bolton, she was simply stunning!
  • People = It’s strange to meet so many people who you stalk follow online but my favourite meets of the night were (aside from Kat!) were Sassy of Assassynation who will hopefully be our wedding photographer (she is great!), Alice of Alice in Weddingland fame (the RandR Bride Intern) and Joanne Fleming who is a fantastic Brighton based dress maker and is also wonderful!
  • Photobooth – Just watching other people posing was enough entertainment in itself – some hilarious pictures…

The event was a great chance to meet so many wonderful people from the wedding industry as well as plenty of brides to be like myself , the room was buzzing with wonderful creative people and I can’t wait for the next one, which will be bigger and better I’m sure! Thanks Kat 🙂

xxx

Our lovely love story

Ok so I thought I’d let you all in on mine and Scott’s love story as you could call it – we are no romeo and juliet but it still makes me feel all slushy inside!
 
We met when I had just turned seventeen and scott had just turned 18. It was autumn, I was studying at college and Scott had just started university. At the time I was working in a little known place called East Street market in south east london, its far from glamourous (in fact its a real crappy place) but money is money and I worked in a great shop selling leather and sheepskin jackets with a great team including my mum. I’d worked in the same shop as a saturday assistant every year from the age of 12 (the perks of your mum being the boss) and had always started in the September and finished in the January as this was their busiest time. Right outside the shop is a busy market with hundreds of stalls and hundreds of ‘stall boys’ (young guys working for pennies to give the stallholders a break!) and so as you can imagine my teenage crushey self could see the perks of working in such an environment – particularly when you’re the one sent out on the tea and sandwich run throughout the day!
 
Anyway this particular September morning I started work for the winter again and had just got into the shop, taken off my awful (in hindsight) grey puffa jacket and was standing underneath the door heater with a cup of peppermint tea trying to keep warm! The two stalls outside our shop had been, for as long as I can remember, the stalls of Lawrence and Maurice – one of whom sold t-shirts and tracksuits and the other towels and bedding. I had known these two all of my life and they were great fun, crazy and cheeky and loud like a good market trader can be but really nice guys (not to mention old enough to be my dad and acting like my dad sometimes telling me my kilt skirts were too short hehe!) and somebody at work was telling me about how Lawrence had a new young guy working on his stall with him when I looked out the window and saw the (very perky) backside of a grey-jumpered and conversed boy leaning over the stall. ‘Is that the new boy?’ I asked my mum, ‘That’s definately not lawrence’s bum’ and that was my first sighting of the guy that I am now marrying!
 
In the course of the morning we got introduced by about fifty different people, all of whom said ‘oh alex you have to meet scott, i think you two will get along’ or ‘oh scott have you met alex yet, she’s a great girl, just the sort of girl you need eh?’ and by that afternoon it had become a running joke that we had met! Scott made me laugh when I came out of the shop for about the 100th time that day and he said ‘Oh you must be alex, please to meet you’ and that was it. Head over heels, teenage crush, completely besotted with his gorgeous blue eyes!
 
Well we were good friends for a couple of months, laughing and talking, me getting in trouble with the boss (who loved being matchmaker really) for spending more time outside talking to scott than inside doing any work! As I mentioned before it was my job to run and get teas for everyone, well lets just say that it gave me a great excuse to speak to scott when I went out – Scott had never drunk so much tea in his life and I had never been so happy to get up on a Saturday morning! There were several embaressing incidents during this time of flirty friendship – once I was watching (discreetly not stalker like) scott out of the window of the shop, he noticed me watching and, deciding to be a bit of a flash git jumped off of the stall onto a cardboard box which he thought was full… it wasn’t and he went right through it, skidded about five foot and landed on his butt = hilarious moment where i had to duck down behind the clothes rails to hide my laughter! Another was when scott came into the shop to use our bathroom and I locked him out the back without realising – he was banging on the door for 20 minutes before anyone heard him and rescued him, to this day he is adamant that I did it on purpose! Oh and the worst was when i went on my tea run and the guy in the cafe drew kisses all over scott’s cup and wouldn’t give me another cup so I had to present scott a polystyrene cup covered in kisses and his name, not good when your 17 and trying to look cool!
 
Fast forward to christmas eve and we were all in a festive mood, i’d hung mistletoe at the shop door hoping to get that elusive kiss, had worn ‘fun’ light-up earrings in the shape of christmas trees and we had spent the whole day laughing, swapping stories and debating over which christmas songs were the worst. At the end of the day I hung around hoping to get a christmas kiss before he left when someone came into the shop and mentioned that he had gone home, i was devastated – until I heard my name being called outside and scott was leaning out the side of the van to give me a peck on the cheek before christmas! A couple of days later and we were back at work and Scott finally (after lots of prompting from friends and just about everyone who worked in East street) got up the guts to ask me for my number, at which point i nearly ruined my chances by insulting his ‘remote control’ style phone oops! We spent the next few nights and days texting constantly, even texting each other all night on new years eve despite both being at parties. And we had our first date on 3rd January.
 
The date in itself was quite funny, and what some might call a disaster but we both had a great time. It started with Scott taking me to ‘an amazing place i’ve never been before where theres this really cool milkshake shop’ which turned out to be greenwich where i went every week with friends from college, and the milkshake shack that I spent half my wages in – poor guy must have been thrilled when i ruined the excitement! Then it was a walk in greenwich park, sitting on the bench drinking our shakes and watching a fox in the green, then to the cinema to see Pan’s labyrinth, the first ever movie i had agreed to watch that had subtitles – I was dreading it but its now one of my favourite movies and I love subtitled films now too! We went for dinner afterwards at a lovely little italian restaurant, where scott managed to flick his fork and a forkful of lasagne over the room, and in my rush to pay the bill whilst he went to the toilet I knocked over our table with empty plates and glasses on it. It was made a little less embaressing by the waitress concluding that ‘you’re meant to be together!’. Clearly clumsy people attract :-)We had our first kiss that night at the bus stop, and, like a gentleman he dropped me home.

 
So fast forward two brilliant years, filled with trips to Brighton and Birmingham, a fantastic caravan holiday, lots of nights snuggled up together, watching movies (he introduced me to casablanca and I got him to watch Love actually about a million times), walks along the southbank at night, karaoke with my college friends, dropping out of uni for scott, starting uni for me and generally just being so in love it made people make vomiting noises at us we started talking about getting engaged. We chose the ring together just before christmas and it was ordered in for the week after christmas. Scott was working on the day it arrived in store so I took a sneaky trip up to the west end and picked it up from the jewellers, went home (I had moved into his mums house with him) made a romantic spaghetti meal with candles and chocolate dessert and spent the evening in one of those lovey-dovey moods. When it got late I suggested going for a walk down to our favourite spot on the southbank, and so we walked out past tower bridge and through back streets and up and down riverwalk stairs until we got to this gorgeous spot in the shadow of the oxo tower where the trees are lit up with blue fairylights at night. ‘If you were going to propose to me where would you do it?’ I asked Scott, thankfully his reply was ‘Here’. ‘You can if you want the ring is in my handbag’ – i don’t think he believed me until he got it out of the box, dropped to one knee in a puddle and proposed!
 
Lily at four months ^^
Six months later we found out that I was pregnant – this was completely unexpected as I had been told when I was sixteen that because of my endometriosis I would likely be unable to have children. We were thrilled and couldn’t wait to become parents, it did however mean putting our November 5th wedding on hold as there was no way I was getting married looking like a hippo OR with people whispering about ‘shotgun weddings’. And so now here we are, with our gorgeous one year old daughter (I attached the snaps because i’m one of those crazy proud mummys!), happier than ever and excited for the big things that are happening for us – me starting my own wedding planning business, scott taking an open degree and planning our small, very budget conscious wedding 🙂 and above all just completely utterly in love!
xxx

Gift Lists (1) :-)

Ok so there are a million different things to plan for a wedding before you start thinking about gift lists, however as its one of the more enjoyable and stress free (hopefully) parts of the planning process I thought i’d share a little insight into Gift lists.

Years ago couples did not usually live together before they were married and so a gift list was the way in which couples could get all of the basic household goods they needed to set up home together. Nowadays however the vast majority of couples live together before embarking on the big to-do of marriage and so already have all of those household basics. It is becoming more and more popular to have ‘alternative’ gift lists because of this.

Here are a few different alternative gift lists for those in this situation.

Oxfam Unwrapped. Fancy helping out people in third world countries all over the world by asking guests to contribute gifts such as ‘clean water’ and ‘goats’ then this is the ideal gift list for you. The gift prices vary from just £5 to some over £100 so there would be something in everyone’s budget.

For those who aren’t feeling quite as charitable (not that theres anything wrong with that!) then a gift list where guests can contribute to the honeymoon or little honeymoon presents can be a great idea. Can’t afford that dream trip to Australia with what you have left from the wedding budget? Then try Honeymiles.net or one of the similiar websites available where guests can pay for your holiday! Plus if guests aren’t keen on just putting money towards your honeymoon as a whole they also have the option of buying you an activity such as a balloon flight, spa treatment, catamaran cruise, game drive or making a contribution specifically for your honeymoon suite.

The Bottom drawer is great for the indesicive amongst you as it combines the alternative gift list with options for contributing to honeymoons and charities with the traditional gift list. It is voucher based so rather than guests giving you a specific gift they could choose from options on your list such as: John Lewis, B&Q, Argos vouchers, Honeymoon contributions or money.

 Traditional gift lists are still popular – even with those couples who have been living together. Many couples would see this as a chance to upgrade from their ordinary household goods to something of better quality or brand. Most department stores offer their own gift list options – Debenhams, BHS, John Lewis and House of Fraser are all popular choices. Some of these are even joined with honeymoon gift list companies and so can offer you a similar service to The Bottom Drawer but without the voucher based gift options.

Some gift lists such as notonthehighstreet.com are solely online which can be good and convenient for those guests with computer access but not so convenient for those people who don’t know how to access the internet and make internet transactions (and yes those people do exist!) The great thing about this particular company is that there are so many different options – they specialise in more alternative gifts – you won’t find household appliances here but you will find unique art. cool household accessories and lots of handmade and ec0-friendly objects.

Another option popular with couples is to ask for cash donations, however be warned although this may be convenient for the couple it can upset some more traditional guests, and even some non-traditional guests would prefer not to give cash gifts. However for some cultures cash is the traditional gift so it really does depend on the couple and the wedding itself as to whether or not this is suitable.

For myself and Scott getting presents from our guests really isn’t a priority, in fact we weren’t even going to have a gift list until some helpful friends pointed out that if we didn’t people would still get us a gift and we could end up with a collection of crystal champagne flutes and four toasters… so yeah a gift list there will be – although we will be making it VERY clear to guests that a present is not expected. We have decided (for now) to have two gift lists – one with a department store such as John Lewis or M&S and the other with online shop notonthehighstreet.com. That way we hope everyone will find something they want to give to us and we won’t be alienating any of our guests.

I think the most important thing to consider when compiling your gift list, whichever option you choose, is to make sure there is a good price range of presents – it would make your guests feel horrible if they don’t have the budget to get you anything off of your gift list as it is all above the £50 mark and their budget is £10. You should always think about your guests when choosing your options, somehow I doubt even my crazy nan would want to buy us a willy shaped cotton candy maker! Not that I want one of those anyway but you get the point…

Here are a few John Lewis items i’d love to see on our guest list… although maybe the smeg fridge is a little bit dreamland!

xxx

%d bloggers like this: