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Wedding Decisions

Wedding talk has started to seriously step up over the last few days.  I don't know whether it was trying on dresses (such a surreal experience) or chatting to our wedding coordinator, but over the last week or so I've started to get this feeling of 'this is actually happening' and rather than just pinning and chatting about ideas, the focus has changed to 'how can we make that happen'.  Although we haven't really booked anything further, we've made a few decisions as to things we'd definitely like to be a part of our big day.  Here are a few things on our must-have list... (Okay, the first is more my choice than Tom's!)

001. Peonies
img credit: stylemepretty.com 
002. Messy, yummy food, the sort of thing we eat every day!

img credit: intimateweddings.com
003. We've picked our colour scheme...

found on pinterest with no link {contact for removal }
004. Stripy straws... of course!

img credit: 100 Layer Cake
005. Bodhi - I need to check with the wedding venue but I hope he can come!

img credit: rocknrollbride
It's been really fun chatting through ideas with friends and family - it's definitely made it feel more real, and so many people have great suggestions, or are happy to share the best things they've seen at weddings they've been to.  My parents came round last weekend and asked us lots of questions on things we hadn't even thought of (we definitely haven't quite nailed where everyone will be at what time) which was actually really helpful as it got us thinking about more things we needed to plan.  My Mum is determined not to be 'pushy Mother of the Bride' and has come up with some brilliant ideas so far and not turned up her nose at any of mine which is nice!  I read some stats about Mother of the Brides and wedding planning recently - 40% of MOTBs asked said they felt they ought to be involved in choosing the dress so luckily my Mum came along when we went to London dress shopping! She is of course thinking about what dress she might get for the occasion - luckily a lot of places like Marisota have Mother of the Bride sections on their websites, as do a few of the bridal shops I've looked at.  I know it's weighing on her mind though, the MOTB is such a big part of the day that she naturally wants to look nice!

The one thing leaving us slightly stumped at the moment is what to do to fill any gaps we might have - have you been to any weddings where there's been fun activities? I have a few ideas but so many things are weather dependent and we are getting married in April - eek!


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Garden Festival

I am sad to say that I am not actually going to any festivals this year - I am really keen to go to Wilderness festival but that falls over my birthday this year and Tom's taking me away for a surprise weekend! We often go to End of The Road but we're off to America a few days afterwards this year so we've dipped out on that one too (such a busy year this year!).  That doesn't mean I can't flounce around in festival attire however - as soon as the sun comes out I basically live in my cutoff denim shorts, t-shirts and floaty cardigans and kimonos. New Look have absolutely nailed festival wear this season - check out their accessories section for chunky necklaces, stackable bracelets and satchels and shoulder bags.  I'm in love with huge, tribal style necklaces at the moment, I think they really jazz up a slouchy tee and jeans combo.

New Look festival
New Look festival New Look festival New Look festival New Look festival New Look festival

kimono: new look, £24.99* // t-shirt: asos {old} // necklace: new look, £14.99
bag: new look, £9.99* // sunglasses: the little deer, £10 // shorts: vintage levi's DIYed
hat: vintage {via oxfam} // sandals: boohoo £18

I'm definitely going to have to get some more denim cutoffs - these are old Levi's jeans that I cut off and took up but I put pyramid studs in the pockets and I'm forever catching my fingers and nails on them and hurting myself! I think I need to make another slightly safer pair!

Hope you've all had lovely weekends - we've been entertaining Katy and her lovely boyfriend all weekend so I'll be sure to share all my photos over the next few days, it's so fun having people to stay and playing tourist in your own town!


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Three days in Shropshire

Another blog post, another opportunity to crack out that old cliché of 'where has the time gone', 'this feels like ages ago now' etc etc.  This was our May bank holiday weekend (and now it's almost July, how did that happen?) - three days in slightly rainy Shropshire spent in a cottage to celebrate Tom's Mum's 60th birthday. We travelled up on the Saturday in the van, Bodhi gently snoozing on the floor and trying to avoid the bank holiday traffic!

The cottage we were staying in was lovely - a big open fire, a beautiful garden, and the piece de resistance, a big hot tub on the patio.  There were stunning views from the back garden, and lots of good old countryside fresh air.

Shropshire

It wasn't long after we arrived before we cracked open the champagne and had a glass of bubbly in the hot tub.  This is me and Tom's Mum toasting her birthday.

Hot tub Hot tub

The weather was a bit changeable whilst we were there, with some sunny periods but a bit of rain too. Luckily there was enough sunshine whilst we were there for a game of croquet in the garden (which I won - whoop!) and for me to photograph some of the beautiful flowers.

Rose Flowers in the garden Iris

On the Monday we went to Hay on Wye to visit the town and go to the festival.  The Hay on Wye festival of literature and arts is one I've wanted to go to for a long time so I was excited that we were nearby whilst it was on.  Hay itself is such a pretty town (with many, many bookshops and other lovely little shops) and it really came alive during the festival, with food stalls, folk bands playing and generally a really fun atmosphere.

Hay Bookshops Hay Festival Castle Hay Festival Folk Band

We spent a bit of time exploring the festival area itself but we didn't go to any of the talks - I'd like to go back and see some of those sometime.  We visited the festival bookshop and some of the stands and had a pint of cider and some food in the food area (Tom and his Mum shared a very civilised plate of cheese and biscuits - yum!)

Hay on Wye Festiva;

As well as visiting Hay on Wye we also visited Ludlow and spent quite a lot of money on chutneys, cheese, meats and other yummy bits from the Ludlow Food Centre, which was amazing.  We also had a delicious roast dinner in a local pub on the Sunday.  So all in all, lots of good food, good company and a really lovely time.  I would definitely visit Shropshire again - next time I will drop in on you Char, I promise!


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Joss and Main £50 voucher giveaway

I think we all know by now that one of the things that seriously sets my heart a-flutter is a lovely home accessory.  I think you reach a turning point in your twenties when you start to be equally enamoured (if not more) with pretty homewares as you are with dresses and shoes.  And if you are of that persuasion, then Joss and Main are going to be seriously up your street (and eventually, hopping into your shopping basket and into your home).

their current 'seaside retreat' sale
Joss and Main is a members-only site that offers time limited sales with heavy discounts on beautiful homewares, furniture, décor and lifestyle accessories.  The thing that sets them apart from other similar sites is that their items are just so unique, design-led and seriously swoon-worthy.  Here are some of my current favourite items from their sales - hopefully that will give you a hint of just how many items you're going to fall in love with...


I've been a Joss and Main fan since they launched in the UK, so I was super excited when they contacted me to offer a £50 e-voucher to give away to one of my readers.  I could bang on about how much I love this site until the cows come home, but instead I'll cut to the chase and tell you how you could be in with a chance of winning the voucher...

There's one mandatory option and lots of other ways to win extra entries.

1. Mandatory: Sign up to Joss and Main using this link, and then leave me a comment letting me know your favourite item on sale at the moment.
2. Other chances to win can also be obtained using the Rafflecopter widget below. Good luck gang!


Don't forget, the only mandatory option is that you sign up and share your fave item.  The rest is all bonus points for more entries into the hat! The giveaway will close on 7th July and I'll pick a winner at random and you can go shopping!

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ASOS Sale Picks

Tis' the time when bank balances everywhere wince in anticipation of a hefty blow - it is ASOS sale o' clock. I must admit even I had to slightly grimace when I spotted that almost all of the items in my saved list had significant reductions - how could I resist? A few things had actually sold out, proving that the early bird really does catch the neon burlap sandals (that's the phrase, right?)

I thought I'd share the items that are threatening to hop into my shopping basket - as usual I am coveting Nike trainers, massive handbags, cool prints and smock dresses.  You can hover over any of the items to see the prices (yes you are correct, £73 is a bargain for parrot print joggers!)




Will you be picking up anything in the ASOS sale? I'm definitely going to grab a few bikinis, I'm hoping that my little dip in the sea yesterday is the sign of things to come and that British summertime is going to offer up lots more bikini appropriate weather (note to self: do not look at the weather forecast....)

Along with loving everything on ASOS at the moment I've also been eyeing up the beautiful jewellery on George Pragnell - they have some absolutely stunning rings!

What's on your wishlist at the moment?

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Holland and Barrett Buddies - what I received

A few weeks ago I showed you what I sent to Annie Bean as part of a Holland and Barrett campaign to pair us up with a buddy and share our favourite Holland and Barrett products.  A few excited tweets from both of us on receiving our packages seemed to show that Annie loved everything she received just as much as I was over the moon with my package of goodies! From a chocolate egg, to Argan Oil (which is a favourite of mine), to breakfast cereal to even some vitamins for Bodhi to keep his coat looking shiny - Annie certainly nailed several of my favourites as well as sending lots of new things for me to try.

Holland and Barrett

Here were a few highlights for me:

Bounce Energy Balls

I hadn't tried these previously but now I'm a little bit addicted! I loved the Spirulina and Ginseng ball, it was so tasty and chewy and gave me enough energy to go for a run on a Saturday morning without having to eat something heavy.  It's packed with superfoods and vitamins and is the perfect snack for a quick energy boost.

Slim Noodles

The Slim Noodles were another item that I'd been keen to try for a while.  Made from Konjac flour and oat fibre they are gluten free, carb free, wheat free and have less than 15 calories per packet.  They are naturally quite tasteless so you have to use a flavouring to make them more palatable, but they're useful for padding out a stir fry or in a miso soup.  They were really useful when I was doing the 5:2 diet as they're so low calorie, so if you're calorie counting they would definitely be a useful addition to your shopping basket.

Meridian Peanut Butter

You all know by now I think that I'm a complete peanut butter addict, and the Meridian PBs are great as they're made 100% from peanuts with no added salt or sugar.  I add this to smoothies, use it in baking and dollop it onto desserts!

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is a vitamin I take regularly anyway so I was chuffed to spot this in my package.  Vitamin B12 helps with energy levels, looking after your skin and hair, helps regulate the nervous system and helps maintain a healthy digestive system.

Tisserand Focus Roller Ball

This neat, handbag size mini roller ball is called 'Focus' as it helps you think more clearly via its added aromatherapy oils.  It has rosemary oil, grapefruit oil and coriander oil and you can roll it onto pulse points to help feel refreshed, stimulated and energised.

Nakd Bars

Another product I'm always banging on about - Annie sent me a selection of Nakd bars including my favourite, Cashew Cookie.  These are the perfect healthy snack and taste heavenly - I've always got one of these stashed in my handbag for those sweet cravings!

What are your favourite Holland and Barrett products? I'm a huge Holland and Barrett fun and am always ordering online or nipping instore to pick up bits - so do tell me your tips for anything I should be grabbing next time I'm in there! And if you're interested, here's my favourite H&B products that I sent Annie.

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Fishfinger Party (and the perfect Sunday tea)

We once had a debate at work about the finest Sunday tea.  The tradition of having a Sunday roast or a bigger lunch on a Sunday and then having a lighter meal in the evening is certainly one we embraced through my childhood - with Sunday tea typically involving things like crumpets, teacakes, toast or sandwiches from roast leftovers.  But there's one Sunday tea that came up trumps for all of us, and that is the humble fishfinger sandwich.

A chunky doorstop loaf or ciabatta, a heap of Birds Eye fish fingers and a good dollop of tomato sauce or mayonnaise and you've got yourself a dinner fit for a king (or queen).  So when Birds Eye got in contact to see if I wanted to throw a fishfinger sandwich party it was a bit of a no-brainer.  I was pretty excited when a box of treats arrived to accompany my perfect Sunday tea - the only thing better than a fishfinger sandwich is a fishfinger sandwich served with a mojito (I have now discovered!)

Fishfinger pack Fishfinger pack

I started hungrily leafing through the fishfinger sandwich book (there are so many combinations that I never would have dreamed of but now want to try!) but Tom as usual decided to go rogue and make his own fishfinger tower.  He made potato rostis and sandwiched them between Warburton thins and then layered it with avocado and mayo - I'm not going to lie they were pretty blimmin' tasty!

Fishfinger tower Fishfinger tower

Prepared indoors but served outside with mojitos of course - well, it would have been rude not to try out the cocktail mixes right?

Mojitos

I really am a fishfinger addict so I'm sure lots more combos will end up popping up on the blog, there is a fishfinger pizza toastie in the recipe book that sounds like the sort of thing dreams are made of - you can't beat a good ol' carb-fest every now and then (and if you agree, there's even a fishfinger chip butty - sounds like the perfect hangover cure to me!) Check out Birds Eye's own ultimate fishfinger creation here.

Are you a fishfinger sandwich lover?

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Live like that every night

Today has been perfection.  Sunkissed shoulders, freckled noses, paddles in the sea, sand between your toes, cocktails, and strawberries and cream kinda day.  There's no better place to be that Britain in the summertime I think, and we celebrated by spending most of the day at the beach.  First of all we started the day with a run to the beach and a paddle to cool down our hot feet, and then we headed down there with dog features in tow to take him for a stroll (and by stroll I mean excited bound - Bodhi does not stroll!)

I've been living in flip flops for the last week or so, I hate uncomfortable shoes so I embrace the ability to go barefoot or wear my 'flippers' whenever I can! As well as my Little Deer sunglasses, which I've also barely taken off, the other favourite of mine is this Coach clutch.  I can't stand lugging around heavy bags in warm weather so I try and keep it minimal and this little clutch is perfect for phone, cash and keys.

Beach Beach 
clutch: coach, harvey nichols £55* // playsuit: showpo $27*
watch: daniel wellington // flip-flops: gandy's £18
hat: topshop {old} // sunglasses: little deer £10

Beach Tom Barton Beach Beach Beach Tom Bikini Poser

There is a bit of posing going on here isn't there? I feel kinda in my element at the beach with wavy hair, no make-up, lolling around in the sunshine so I think I overdid it with the selfies and outfit snaps, I promise I will go back to my hiding place when this warm weather goes away! Either that or I'm going to run away to Hawaii or something and then it really will be photo overload - imagine that.  Except for we couldn't really, because Bodhi gets too hot even in this weather - and I'll let you in on a little secret, he is scared of the sea! So much for Tom having a little surfer pal eh?

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Life Lately, another catchup

I thought I'd share another quick catchup of things I've been up to over the last week or so - it doesn't seem like that long ago that I wrote a 'what I've been up to' post but I guess that's testament to all the fun things I've been out and about doing! Plus - these are my favourite types of posts to write so I don't need an excuse to sit down and write one really.  My June 2014 photos folder is already overflowing with sunshine and fun days out and I'm so excited for all of our other summer plans.  Can you tell that warm weather puts me in a good mood?

We spent last weekend in Weymouth celebrating Tom's birthday with his friends and family.  Tom lived with his parents in Weymouth before we moved in together in Christchurch three years ago so he always loves going back there and catching up with friends.

It was such beautiful weather that we spent most of the time in his parents' beautiful garden lazing in the sunshine and enjoying some cold ciders and mojitos.  On Saturday night we went out to The Stable - I've mentioned this pizza, pie and cider chain on my blog lots of times; we have one locally in Poole and the Weymouth one is also great.  Tom worked his way through one of their cider tasting boards - five different ciders that vary in taste and strength, ha!

Me and Tom

On the Sunday we had an amazing barbecue in the garden - was such a perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon.  Tom's Mum's pavlova was a sight to behold, and very tasty!

Pavlova

The last few days have been a flurry of more barbecues, sunshine, a bike ride in the forest and good old fresh air.  When the weather's like this I'm not sure there's anywhere I'd rather be.

Apple tree

A lot of people have been asking us how we're getting on with wedding planning lately, which is why I rather cheekily entitled my latest post for Love My Dress 'How's the wedding planning going?' I've shared all of our developments and inspiration in that post - suffice to say we haven't got that much further with it.  We've booked the venue, photographer and caterers but nothing more yet.  I've also been to see some dresses with my Mum last week but not made the final decision quite yet as I want to try on lots of different styles to see if there's anything else that makes me go 'WOW'.  Aside from dress I'm not sure what we need to nail next - maybe Save The Dates as I want to make sure everyone puts next April in their diary so we get all the right people there!
some of my favourite wedding inspiration photos - collage featured on lovemydress.net
We also need to think about wedding rings - as you know I'm clueless about most things wedding so finding this guide to buying wedding rings was helpful; I'd like to get an engraving on both of them too.  I'm not sure of the type I would like, just something sparkly I think (how superficial does that sound?)

img credit: vashi.com (it's a little out of budget...)

This weekend we are off to Christchurch Chilli and Cheese festival, where Tom and my Dad will most likely be pitching up at the Ringwood Brewery stand.  I love that they have fun things like this where I live, fingers crossed the weather gets the memo and it stays lovely and warm (but not so warm that the cheese melts).

What have you been up to this week?

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