Sunday, 28 March 2010

It's five faves time again

I enjoyed listing my five faves last week so here we are again. Read more at Meet Me at Mikes.
  1. London - I don't go down to the big smoke very often but this week it was definitely one of my favourite places in the world.
  2. This week's favourite book: Julia Child, My Life in France. I loved the film Julie and Julia so I hoped I'd enjoy Julia Child's story. And I did.
  3. This song: Corner by Allie Moss
  4. Favourite shop - no contest, had to be Anthropologie this week.
  5. I have just discovered chickpea and coriander hummus by purely pesto - so good!

Saturday, 27 March 2010

London day out

Had a lovely day out in London today with one of my best friends - Kate. We went to the Quilt exhibition at the V&A - very inspiring; I'm expecting a hexagon-licous quilt from Kate any day now.

We also went for a lovely lunch at ping pong, a wander up Carnaby Street and a meander around Liberty.
The day was rounded off with the amazingness that is Anthropologie.

I'll post photos of my many purchases soon but now I need rest my aching limbs from all the walking. 

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Meme: Five Faves

Head over to Meet Me at Mikes to join in the five faves fun and see what everyone else has listed. Here are my five faves for the week:
  1. I finished reading this book - I love the escapism to another age that you get with Philippa Gregory books.
  2. I made my favourite cake in the world for my hubby's birthday: Lemon drizzle cake
  3. Favourite TV show of the week (and every week): Glee
  4. Current favourite blog full of beautiful photos and amazing work: dottie angel
  5. And finally, my favourite thing to do this week is sewing - I'm finishing up a skirt from this book.

    Saturday, 20 March 2010

    A 101 in 1001 update...

    So I'm quite a way into my 1001 days - 202 days to be precise and I have achieved some of my list but to be honest there are plenty I haven't made a dent in yet. Here's the latest list:

    Start date: 30 August 2009
    Finish date: 27 May 2012

    1. Research family tree - haven't made any more progress since my last update.
    2. After doing family history, visit some of the places my family lived - ditto above
    3. Make my first quilt - bought the fabric for this - next stage is cutting it up!
    4. Build a website from scratch
    5. Get married!
    6. Have a go at geocaching
    7. Write a book
    8. Write menu plans- seasonal and cheap- every week for a month (0/4)
    9. Grow potatoes - made a start - I am chitting seed potatoes as we speak!
    10. Join a screenprinting class
    11. Go on safari
    12. Move house
    13. Do something creative every day for a week (7/7) - I did this at the beginning of the year with a series of little sketches. I'll have to scan them in and show you soon.
    14. Do something creative every day for a month (0/30)
    15. Run 5K (run the whole thing) - this won't be happening this year thanks to sciatica :(
    16. Eat 5 things I've never tried before (4/5) - accomplished most of this on honeymoon: Crocodile, Kudu, Warthog and Ostrich
    17. Cook 5 things I've never cooked before (3/5)- Liver, rice pudding and Christmas pudding
    18. Make a scrapbook of my 30th birthday
    19. Make a scrapbook of my hen do
    20. Make a scrapbook of our wedding
    21. Try waxing (at a salon, not eyebrows)
    22. Write a routine for cleaning/house management
    23. Go to opera for the first time
    24. Go to the ballet again - went to see the Nutcracker last month
    25. Donate blood
    26. Volunteer 101 hours (3/101) - I've just volunteered to do some web work for a local charity so this should increase soon.
    27. Make & write thank you cards for Amanda & Kate
    28. Perform 101 random acts of kindness (1/101) - I need to get cracking on this one.
    29. Read the ones I haven't already from this list - ( only 3 so far: Hitchikers Guide to the Galaxy & To kill a mockingbird, The Great Gatsby)
    30. Participate in a craft fair
    31. Blog daily for a week (7/7) - I did this, did you notice ???
    32. Blog daily for a month (0/30)
    33. Finish the charity shop quilt I bought
    34. Make a zine
    35. Learn to make clip frame purses
    36. Learn to knit
    37. Learn to crochet granny squares
    38. Organise and tidy craft room - ummm it's a disaster again!
    39. Go to an auction
    40. Document my tea cup collection
    41. Get a promotion
    42. Climb Snowdonia - will be on hold 'til back better
    43. Have another horse riding lesson - will be on hold 'til back better
    44. Select & take part in a “big” charity event like the Moonwalk - will be on hold 'til back better
    45. Take part in a beach cleaning event - yes, September 2009
    46. Get up at 7am every day for a week (7/7) - yes out of necessity thanks to work!
    47. Get up at 7am every day for a month (0/30)
    48. Learn another craft I haven't already done
    49. Set up bi-monthly craft nights/afternoons
    50. Set up a water butt
    51. And a compost bin
    52. Take part in illustration friday, once a week for a month (0/4)
    53. Visit a farmers' market or farm shop once a month- this is a habit now, I go probably once a week
    54. Continue to run the Christmas giving tree at work every year (1/2) - see recent post about this year's tree.
    55. Treat myself to a 'treatment', either in a salon or DIY, once a month - I need to spend more time looking after myself, I just don't!
    56. Go to yoga once a week for a month (0/4) will be on hold til back better
    57. Make lunch to take to work every day for a week (0/5)
    58. Make lunch to take to work every day for a month (0/20)
    59. Write a love letter to Ben every month (6/33) - have missed a couple of months so will need to make up for it
    60. Start a new collection- perfume bottles? Vintage clothes?
    61. Go on a picnic - yes, whilst on safari, up in a tree house!
    62. Visit a local attraction once a month e.g. beach, park, museum etc. (3/33) - slacking on this one too
    63. Update my blog template - yes, today!
    64. Make a skirt - in progress
    65. Make a dress
    66. Go to a classical music concert
    67. Polish up my French before next holiday in France
    68. Buy a Diane von Furstenberg dress
    69. Buy a vintage dress
    70. Donate something to freecycle, or a charity shop, once a month, on average- this is a habit now, give things to freecycle, charity, jumble on a regular basis
    71. Turn down plastic bags for a month (0/30)
    72. Make some reusable shopping bags to fit in my handbag
    73. Visit five countries (3/5) - South Africa, Mauritius and Dubai
    74. Write a letter to myself to be opened on my 35th birthday
    75. Find a photo of myself that I like and frame it - an easy one really as we're now surrounded by wedding photos.
    76. Make a cake for Ben's 36th birthday - yes I did and it was yesterday!
    77. Have a session with a personal shopper
    78. Learn about a historical period (Tudors?)
    79. Read 10 biographies (0/10)
    80. Have a boudoir photo session
    81. Make something from each of my craft books- donate to charity any books I don't make anything from
    82. Finish working through the book, “ The Creative License: Giving Yourself Permission to be the Artist You Truly Are”
    83. At least once a month, go to sleep without reading first (it drives Ben mad!)- might change this one as I do this most of the time now
    84. Buy new glasses
    85. Go to New York again (with Ben)
    86. Re-stock etsy shop
    87. Find a new band/singer every month and listen to their album (2/33)
    88. Get my hair cut every 8 weeks (I hate having my hair cut) (1/17) - managed to get it cut last month and have another appointment booked for April
    89. Go to motocross or fishing with Ben once every 2 months without complaining (on average, season permitting!) (0/17)
    90. Eat a piece of fruit every day for a month (0/30)
    91. Pay my naughty library fine and don't get any more fines! - I did pay it off but just got another fine the other week, whoops!
    92. Make something and give it to a friend for no reason
    93. Make 100 handmade presents (10/100)
    94. Plant a tree
    95. Have a spa day, just because
    96. Give snowboarding another try
    97. Watch 20 of the Times top 100 films (1/20)
    98. Read a newspaper every day for a week (0/7)
    99. Learn how to use my mac (I really need to learn the shortcuts I'm so used to with Windows!)
    100. Start an art journal
    101. Sleep outside 

    How we chose our wedding suppliers...

    Photo by Olga Becker
    I realised the other day that I haven't told you about all of our wedding suppliers so I thought it might be useful if I told you about them - and how we picked them.

    I've told you lots about our venue before but I probably haven't told you how we chose it. To be honest, it was the only venue we looked at in person although I did do a lot of online research on other venues in our area and compared prices. It ticked lots of boxes for us: gorgeous setting, one location for the ceremony and reception, we could stay there for the whole weekend (and so could the main wedding party), it was exclusively ours and did I mention the gorgeous setting? We went and had a good look around, got on well with the wedding planner, and put down a deposit. And that was that!
    Butley Priory

    I tried on so many dresses I lost count but the one I fell in love with was the 2nd dress in the 2nd shop I visited: Pronuptia in Ipswich.
    Picking the dress is worthy of a post in its own right but the main thing to remember is to try on loads of different styles - what you think you like might not suit you and you can't tell what dresses will look like until you put them on.

    We met with several photographers but the one who blew us away was Olga Becker. She takes amazing photos as you will have seen here and here. And she also took us on a pre-wedding shoot so we could get used to posing together and I had a boudoir shoot too. Again, I could write an essay on choosing a wedding photographer but here are a few tips:
    1. You must feel comfortable with them - they'll be with you for a lot of your wedding day.
    2. You need to know what style of photos you'd like - do you want lots of formal group shots, mainly reportage or a mix of both?
    3. Look at their portfolio - not just one wedding but several and make sure you can see what the final album will look like.
    Caterer and cake
    Our caterer was recommended by our venue so that was an easy decision - you may find you have to use a particular caterer or the food is all done in-house in which case this decision is easy. Make sure you go for a tasting though regardless to help you pick your menu. Our caterers were Spice Outside.
    We found an amazing cake maker at a wedding fair. We then went for a tasting where she presented us with an array of flavours and choices of shapes and finishes. Amazing! Oh and she gave us a mini-cake to take away. So again, make sure you go for a tasting when you pick your cake maker.
    Vanilla Patisserie

    I hate wedding discos - you know the kind I mean: the birdie song, YMCA and a cheesy DJ. So it was really important to us to find someone who would understand the kind of music we love and that our guests (of all ages) would enjoy.
    We met Dreamwave events at a wedding fair (a rich hunting ground for local suppliers but also full of things you don't need like balloon arches). After a good chat we decided they were exactly who we were looking for - they came to the venue for the whole day and played through the drinks reception, the wedding breakfast and then the evening reception. We gave them a list of "must-plays" and a "do not play under the pain of death" list. And they were brilliant. Not to mention the perfect lighting and atmosphere they created. I danced literally all night (barefoot - my shoes were way to high to wear all day).

    I think that will do for one post - for those of you getting married, I hope it was interesting! And if you're not, one day I might get bored of wedding talk. Maybe!

    Wednesday, 10 March 2010

    Quick and easy Mother's Day card

    It's not too late to make a quick card for your Mum in time for Mother's Day (it's this Sunday in the UK). I had time to make three - for my Mum, Mother-in-law and Step-Mum.

    It's as simple as cutting petal shapes out of pretty paper and sticking them down with whatever sticky stuff you have to hand in a flower shape. I stamped Happy Mother's Day on scrap white card, cut out the words and then used foam squares to stick them on. Easy peasy.

    Sunday, 7 March 2010

    Five tips for brides-to-be

    Photo by Olga Becker
    It's spring and the time of year where new brides-to-be are planning their weddings so I thought I'd write a few words of advice for those of you that are newly engaged and embarking on the wedding planning process. As much as I love being married I'm a teeny bit jealous if I'm honest - you have so much to look forward to - not least the best day of your life.
    So here, in no particular order, are my five tips for wedding planning.
    1. Don't make any promises you can't keep.
      I don't mean to start on a negative but this is very important - especially at the beginning of the planning when your head is full of happiness and you're recounting the proposal story to anyone who will listen: do not promise that your distant cousin's daughter or best friend's child can be a bridesmaid. Or any other promises along those lines. Wait until you've got over the initial high and then...
    2. Sit down with your betrothed and make the major decisions.
      Church or civil? Children or no children? How many bridesmaids? Budget (pretty important that one). Only once you've made the decisions between the two of you should you talk to anyone else about them.
    3. So on to that budget thing: make one.
      Without a budget you have no idea how much you can spend on the venue, the dress, the cake, the food and so on. It's essential to making the decisions about pretty much everything else about the wedding (apart from the person you're marrying - I'm pretty certain you've made that decision by this stage).
    4. Once you know your theme, colours, favours etc. stop looking for ideas.
      There are so many magazines, blogs (see the twenty or so over on the right of this blog for a start) and books out there that whilst they're great for getting you started and helping you choose the look for the wedding - they can overwhelm you if you don't stop once you've made your decisions. You'll keep seeing more great ideas and change your mind about things - potentially costly if you've already made all your invitations.
    5. Just back to budgets for the last tip - work out where you want to splurge (for us, it was the breathtaking venue and a brilliant photographer); and where you want to save (stationery was all home-made and so was my veil).
    So I hope that was interesting and useful - and it gave me a great excuse to show you another wedding photo.


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