Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Saying Goodbye to 2014

2014 has been an interesting year. I've been lucky again and am grateful for everything I have experienced. It's nice to feel so positive on the last day of a year.

There have been ups and downs, dramatic change of plans, and some upsetting news stories. In my own life, I got married in Greece, continued to improve my house and have really been appreciating my lovely family. I've been counting my blessings as a family member was taken ill in October, but has made a fabulous start to recovery. 

Now that me and my sister are older, I feel that we have really become best friends! It's lovely to have a sister who is your best friend - the most loyal type who will always be around :) What more could you need?

Every one of us has had tough times this year - that's just standard in life! Looking forward and concentrating on all the good things in my life (no matter how small) has really helped me get stronger this year. It's so important to appreciate the little things if you are feeling a bit down.

I'm really looking forward to a family night in at my mum's for NYE tonight, lots of positive thoughts to start 2015!

Happy New Year :) x


Thursday, 27 November 2014

High Street Bridesmaid Dresses #2

I really enjoyed writing my last post on high street bridesmaid dresses, and although my wedding is over now I thought I would put together an updated version :)

The other day I was chatting with a colleague at work and she was telling me all about the bridesmaid dresses that she has ordered for her wedding next year. They are plain but pretty maxi dresses with one flowered strap.   

When she told me that they were £300 each and she had bought six I had to hide my shock - I'd never be able to afford to pay that for dresses that would never be worn again.

My sister's bridesmaid dress for my wedding was a simple but pretty maxi and cost less than £40 in Debenhams. She looked gorgeous :)

So I wanted to share some new high street bridesmaid ideas with you. Links from left to right:

The navy maxi is less than £40 at House of Fraser. Gorgeous and total bargain.

This cute short dress is such a gorgeous colour. I love the combination of bright pinks with grey and silver shades in weddings. Also just £40 reduced from £80 at BHS!

The pretty pink pearl and diamante maxi is by Quiz clothing, and is currently reduced to £39.99 on Debenhams' website. It is also available on the Quiz clothing site. 

I wasn't looking to only find dresses at less than £40, but as it goes this green maxi is also down to £33 on House of Fraser. It seems like now is the time to buy your bridesmaid dresses! :)    

What do you think?
Would you splash out just because it's your wedding day, or have your girls in high street dresses?

Friday, 21 November 2014

Wishlist: Pink Princess

Love these pretty things :-)
I'm still on the hunt for some cute battery-run fairy lights and these look perfect.
The Asos coat was £80 last week and is now in the sale - bonus!  
This Barry M nail polish is a gorgeous girly colour - I love shiny & girly nails :-)

Saturday, 8 November 2014

My New Love of Pinterest

When planning my wedding a few months ago I started a Pinterest account so that I could search for inspiration.

I have to say I was happy with what I found. What a beautiful website :)

You can totally escape the real world and enjoy spending hours admiring pretty things, getting ideas for your own home/wedding/recipe file and saving them to look back on at any time. I've pinned wedding dresses, cake recipes and gorgeous living room inspiration, garden seating areas and clever storage ideas.

It's like storing all of your favourite parts of a magazine without taking up space in your home. I really enjoy browsing, pinning pretty pictures and good ideas. It's like a fabulous space-saving scrapbook!

I will look back at my pins when considering redecorating a room or moving house. It's so useful!

I don't really get the whole following thing - I don't follow anybody and nobody follows me (lol). I think Pinterest is different to Instagram and things, I just see it as something useful for me. 

Here are a few of my favourite pins... 

All photos are from Pinterest. Not my own.
That last picture is on my travel board as a hotel to stay at if we ever win the lottery ;)
Do you love Pinterest?

Saturday, 1 November 2014

When Wearing Glasses gets Boring...

Ohh glasses glasses glasses. Love them? Hate them? Lots of us have to wear them...

For those of us who do have to wear them, I think most would agree that at some point we've all considered that it would be nice to not need them.  

When sticking a contact lense into your eye isn't an option for you, it can sometimes feel like your whole outfit has had to change so that you can see properly...

I wear distance glasses and my eyesight isn't too awful, but because I need them to drive I therefore feel the need to wear them at work, which makes it harder to be confident without them when you would really like to ditch them for a few hours.

Surely we all get bored of them now and again?

Don't get me wrong, I don't hate them or hold a grudge that my eyesight isn't perfect - there are far worse problems to have. But it does bug me that we unfortunately are taught by friends and peers from a very young age that glasses are geeky and uncool. 

I tried contacts once and just didn't get along with them. It's probably my own confidence issue where just I feel that I personally would look better without my glasses - maybe most people don't feel this way? 

Topshop/Topman have sold clear lense glasses recently, and the trends in glasses frames seems to be changing. But when you have to pay a lot of money for prescription glasses, it can be hard to change frames just to fit in with the latest trend and get a pair of glasses that make you feel confident.

I would love to have a good choice of glasses at home to choose from but unfortunately the prices of prescription glasses just don't allow me to. Lots of bills to pay, etc!

It seems like the only answer is to accept that this is just us, find a pair that makes us feel as good as possible and wear them with pride!

To cheer myself up I decided to share some photos of celebrity ladies looking gorgeous in glasses...

Jennifer Aniston

Kim Kardashian
Emma Watson
Keira Knightley
Victoria Beckham
Do you wear glasses?
Do you get that tied down feeling on certain days, where you just wish you could go without them?


Thursday, 30 October 2014

Wishlist: A Winter Outfit

I am absolutely loving these blanket capes that are all around us! So cosy for winter - this is one of my favourites from River Island.
I actually already have these boots from New Look - they are lovely and comfy and go with so many outfits.
My husband has picked up this bag for me as a Christmas present, so it's safely tucked away in his wardrobe where I can't get to it!
I also really want these earrings. I think they would go with lots of clothes - day or night!
What do you think of this outfit?

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Bargain Bubble Bath plus Yankee Tealights

I don't usually do beauty posts but really wanted to share this delicious bubble bath.

A total steal at just 89p from Home Bargains, this Possibility Strawberry Soufflé is a "rich shower gel, shampoo and bubble bath".

Personally, I just use it as a bubble bath. You don't need much to make lots of bubbles and it smells really good. This bottle will last me a while.

I love to use Yankee candle summer scoop tea lights when taking a strawberry soufflĂ© bath for extra strawberry-ness! They make a whole room smell amazing and cost around £6.70 for 12 tealights.

Have you tried any of these?

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Wishlist: Winter night in

Yankee Candle / Slippers / Cath Kidston PJs / Fairy Lights / Tangled Blu Ray
So winter is definitely on it's way with the nights and mornings both getting darker!
I'm sure that staring at my holiday photos at the beautiful blue sky is as close as I will get to nice weather now until at least next June...
While there's the usual Christmas nights out and meals to look forward to, I think there's nothing better than spending a freezing cold Saturday night at home relaxing.
I absolutely love these Cath Kidston pyjamas that I found on Asos, plus these cosy pink slippers would look lovely with them.
I have one of these BHS microfleece throws myself (but in a different colour without spots) and I find it really soft and cosy. Perfect to keep extra warm.
I'm getting a bit obsessed with fairy lights ...and what little candle doesn't make a room instantly cosier??
And of course a good film is essential - I love Tangled & of course Frozen. And your iPad to keep up with your blog :-)
Perfect winter night in!

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Loving Ourselves: Looks

I'm sure that lots of us are guilty of NOT loving ourselves enough.

I definitely think that I sometimes forget to look after no.1!

Just this week I was wondering if I should go blonde. I'm not pretty enough. Will nice blonde hair make me look better? I hate wearing my glasses - would blonde hair improve that?

I googled famous people who are naturally dark but have gone blonde for ideas. I am pretty dark and that would obviously be an issue - with the amount of time and money it would take to get to the shade I like, very dark roots to keep up with, etc.

Then I realised that my hair colour is really not the issue. I like my brown hair and it's in very good condition - there is nothing wrong with it just how it is... I was just picking on myself unnecessarily!

Aren't we all guilty of doing that sometimes? I look back at photos from last Christmas and think "crap - why did I wear that jumper? It makes me look bigger than I am..."

I'm embarrassed to admit that one as it makes me sound ridiculous. But I think most of us ladies do it at some point!

So how do we learn to love ourselves instead?

I guess this is all learnt behaviour - looking in the mirror and wishing a few things were different - instead of admiring the things that you like about yourself.

Surely we weren't born with an instinct to slag ourselves off - we must have picked it up somewhere along the line.

It could be because of the endless photos of perfect girls in magazines. With perfect style, lovely clothes, a flawless face and perfect body/hair. Of course this isn't how most of them really look on a day-to-day basis...

Or maybe it was pressure from other girls at school? Being a teenage girl can be tough - some girls are true mean girls, and secondary school can quite frankly leave us comparing ourselves to the over-confident "pretty" girls. Were they really any prettier than us? In most cases, no.

They may have had nicer clothes, but we can buy nicer clothes. They may have had better make up, but we can buy nicer make up. 

I really think that if you're very confident in yourself, others will believe that you are as fabulous as you make out.

Which shows that we should all have a little more confidence in our looks, or our decisions, or our beliefs (or our blogs!!)... and tell ourselves that we are doing very well, instead of wishing we had a different wardrobe to "make us look better".

We should look in the mirror and think about what we like about ourselves. It doesn't mean you have to turn into some loud over-confident person who puts others down...just look after number one. 

For example, my hair looks really nice today, I'm happy with it...

Oops - does that make me sound big-headed? 

We've been taught that it's not good to compliment ourselves. Time to change that right now! 

What's your favourite thing about your looks?
Eyes? Hair? Make up? Smile?...

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Wedding Craft 1: Mr & Mrs Letters

I love art and making things, so I knew that I wanted to work on some pretty things for our wedding party which took place when we got back from our wedding in Greece.

I'm a perfectionist so always fussy with things like this...

I'd noticed that Mr & Mrs signs of some type were all over the wedding magazines as decoration for the reception. At first they didn't stand out to me at all, but when I decided to change the colour scheme of the party to gold and pinks I discovered some pretty Mr & Mrs letters on Pinterest.

They were gold glittered letters and were set around the front of a wedding cake.

I loved them and decided that they would be great as a decoration at our party. They would fit in perfectly.

I wanted to make them myself, and discovered the mache letters that you can buy at Hobbycraft. They sell individual letters and numbers so that you can spell out anything you want. You could write your names, or add your new surname onto the end of the Mr & Mrs letters.

These could be used for any party or special event - I guess it doesn't have to be for a wedding at all!

The Mr & Mrs letters that I bought came in a set for just £5. You can find it here.

They are meant as a mache kit so you can buy pretty papers to cover them with. But I decided to paint & glitter mine instead.

First I painted the back and sides of the letters with a tester pot of magnolia paint that I picked up in Wilkinsons. I had planned to glitter them all over but realised that this would get very messy! It would be harder to transport them to the reception venue without ruining them, and whoever had to touch them to set it up would be covered in glitter!

So a bit of paint to break up the glitter seemed like a good idea...


Once the paint had dried, I painted the front with PVA glue. I then tipped the glitter into the pot that my letters had actually been in when I bought them, and dipped the glued front side into the glitter. 

Done!! Easy as that.

I ran my finger along the edges so that the glitter would look neat. Then waited for it to dry.

These letters are great and could actually be used for anything - maybe a "home" or name sign for your living room or even buy the letters to make a Christmas word and use as a decoration for your house this xmas.

Do you shop at hobbycraft?

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Autumn/Winter Wishlist

Autumn is definitely my favourite time of year for buying clothes. I guess that while it's lovely to buy new summer clothes every year, I know I won't get to wear them that much because of the weather we get in the UK...

Although the weather we've been having this September is crazy! So hot! 
Whenever we have beautiful weather I'm often in work all day which means I can't wear those lovely denim shorts anyway!
That's why I much prefer browsing all the autumn/winter clothes when it gets to this time of year.
I also just love feeling cosy - I'm not good at being cold. Freezing weather means my hands are like ice cubes and my teeth are literally chattering!

I'm the girl who runs as fast as possible to the car to go home on a dark icy evening - I cant wait to get in and shut the door behind me.

I've been searching for new things and now want everything on this wish list...and more!

Think I need to go shopping.


Sunday, 14 September 2014

A beautiful island called Kos

I love love love Greece. I think it has a totally different feel to anywhere else I've been.

I first travelled to the Greek island Kos in 2008 with a group of my friends, aged 18. I was so excited to go on holiday with the girls, and I had the best two weeks!

We stayed in a village called Kardamena - it was quite a party town with lots of groups of boys and girls on holiday after finishing college. We made friends with some boys who lived an hour away from us, met up when we got home and now I've just got married to one of them!

We decided to return to Kos with our family for our wedding last month and it was lovely. I worried that the area may be again filled with 18 year old drunks and that it may not be popular with our grandparents... but Kardamena has changed a lot!

In the evenings the village was filled with families and couples - I was hugely surprised at how it had changed - but in a good way. A member of staff explained that a major holiday company was stopping their version of "18-30" in Kos from next year as the gangs of boys & girls all seem to be heading to Malia instead.

I see this as a good thing. There are plenty of great destinations for people to travel for a fun holiday with friends. Kos is a really sweet place and I think that it's prettiness can be better appreciated by the more sober holiday makers that it now seems to attract.

I certainly didn't notice how pretty it was the first time I visited...

I really recommend this island for a holiday in the sun with perfect weather and that lovely Greek feel. The people are so friendly and welcoming. Kardamena has a really pretty harbour and lots of cute little shops and side streets... it really is beautiful!


Are you a fan of Greece?
Have you been to Kos before?

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Pretty Wishlist

I love getting home from work and relaxing in my pyjamas. It's always nice to buy or even make pretty things to surround yourself with!

Here are some of the things I would like at the moment.
Love this Olaf keyring :)

Pegging photos onto a string of fairy lights is so cute. I need to do this asap! x     

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Choosing a Wedding Abroad

Making a decision

When I first got engaged four years ago I went straight to the travel agents and picked up three of the 'Weddings Abroad' brochures.

I looked at the beautiful outdoor settings and thought about how lovely it would be to know that the weather would be amazing on your wedding day.

The brochures were filled with gorgeous hotels that we wouldn't normally stretch to budget wise and I researched different areas of Europe, including Italy, Greece and Cyprus.

Photos like this inspired me. 

For me, places like the Caribbean were a little to far from home. I thought it might be a bit much to expect people to pay lots of money for a long haul holiday just because I was getting married. But I really enjoyed looking at the amazing places that you can get married in America, such as central park in New York, Florida and Las Vegas.

After getting engaged we decided that we wanted to save up and buy our own house before we considered planning a wedding. That took a couple of years of us living at my mum's house, but eventually we had saved enough.

I had never dreamed of a big fussy day where everyone would be looking at me - that's not me at all. We looked at some local venues but we both have quite a big family and the expense just seemed crazy!

The fact that I also couldn't think of anything worse than hundreds of people looking at me pushed me to go ahead and book the wedding abroad. I wanted it to be as fuss free as possible. I couldn't find many people who felt like me but I just wanted to be married! Without the big wedding...

We decided on the Greek island of Kos - the place where we met. I booked through a private wedding planner who is British but lives on the island. This meant we could just go for one week as paper work is completed earlier.

Big holiday companies tell you that you must go for two weeks because of residency. When you look into it this isn't true - not for Greece anyway. They just complete some paper work that takes 7 days as soon as you arrive, when a planner would have done it before hand. That means you get married in the second week of your holiday - fine for most people, but two weeks at a really lovely hotel was a bit too expensive for us. 

If I was going to do it all over again, I would still choose my wedding abroad :) 

Our wedding in Greece

Our ceremony location.

We had a small group of twelve guests which was great. Out of personal choice we decided to stay in our hotel alone, and the guests chose to stay in the sister hotel next door. It was going to be our honeymoon too so this meant a good balance between spending some time alone and time with family. We met up with them every night for drinks and sometimes saw them in the day. My auntie had got married abroad a few years before and had done the same thing, so we followed in her footsteps. 

Everything was how I had imagined - very relaxed, nice photos, gorgeous weather... A hotel worker drove me, my mum, my auntie and my sister through the hotel grounds to the ceremony in a golf buggy. We had the ceremony outside at the hotel chapel courtyard, then went into the village for a very chilled out afternoon reception at a bar called The Garden. We had the back garden area to ourselves and they put out the most gorgeous buffet for us - it was delicious. Later we had an evening meal else where at a restaurant by the harbour. When we walked through the village the locals were so friendly, congratulating us, beeping car horns and some even came out of their house to throw confetti rice. I changed my dress at about 7pm - the wedding was at 1. I never thought I would last that long in my princess dress but I didn't feel as hot as I thought I would. 

Afternoon reception: The Garden

Now that we are back home we are having a party at a hotel soon. I ordered a wedding cake and lots of decorations to make it feel as 'weddingy' as possible for those who didn't come away with us. A family friend will be taking photos.   

For me this was the best way to have my wedding day - I didn't have the pressure of a huge day and it was a little different to your standard wedding. I'm glad I stuck with what I had wanted from when we first got engaged over four years ago.

Would you consider getting married abroad?
Or do you know anyone who has done this?