Thursday, 31 March 2011

Skin!

I don't have bad skin, neither do I have good skin.  It's OK and I definitely don't look after it like I should!  I moisturise when I remember, I exfoliate my face once a week and it gets a splash in the shower.  I take my eye make up off with a face wipe every day (not always the night before bed!)  There you have all my shameful skincare secrets, same as the shocked Clarins Spa Lady today!  I did warn her that she would tell me off!

I don't wear foundation and never have, I only wear eye make up.  I do have some 'fine lines' (as they say in the magical cream adverts with all their made up scientific names) and large pores on my nose but I generally think it's not too bad, I have the occasional outbreak of a few spots but nothing major.  I did, however, decide that it could do with some better looking after in the run up to the big day.

This in mind, having read very few of the beauty features on blogs and in magazines (wedding and otherwise - I tend to focus more on the fashion side of things) I am not very knowledgeable about skincare and make up.  I did remember one article that recommended going to a Clarins Skin Spa in one of the department stores and having once facial a month form 4 months in the lead up to the wedding and following their advice to get the best results.  I don't always believe in all of the creams and potions and find most of the adverts for such things quite amusing as so much of it is clearly made up to sound scientific (pentapeptides anyone? - just common chemicals!)  HOWEVER, the thought of having an excuse to lay in a peaceful room for an hour while someone pampers my face every 4 weeks during all of the wedding frenzy, BLISS!



I happened to be in House of Fraser last Saturday night and popped over to Clarins to have a snoop, knowing full well I would probably end up being sucked into buying the above magical lotions and potions.  I found a card offering 6 treatments for the price of 4 - I do love a bargain - so I booked them.  I was told that after 6 treatments I would also qualify for a 7th free one as you get points per spend, bonus!

I had my first treatment today and Oh. My. God.  It was soooooo relaxing!  She not only gently massaged my face and scalp, but my feet and hands as well while the creams did their work, pure bliss indeed - for an hour and 20 minutes!  I was so relaxed after a very busy and stressful week, I almost fell asleep at the end!  I have already noticed a difference in my skin too and - an even better testament - so did Nik!  I absolutely cannot wait 'til the next one in 3 weeks!

(And yes, I did buy some of the products to carry on the work at home, after feeling the difference instantly in the softness of my face, I decided it couldn't hurt to try and actually look after my skin for a change!  I'll let you know if I think it is worth it!)

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

The Ring Bowl

I never liked ring cushions.  I was thinking of making one but decided I just don't like them.  I thought we would probably end up using a nice ring box instead but then I found Paloma's Nest!

She makes the most adorable little ring bearer bowls...


I can also still tie it in with our theme by adding a piece of my green ribbon to tie the rings on instead of the string.  And it's a lovely heirloom I can keep and use as a ring/earring holder on my dressing table as well!

I have ordered a custom bowl with our own choice of words and our wedding date so it is also personalised which is great!  I have been waiting for a free worldwide shipping offer as the bowls are all handmade and so not cheap and shipping from the US is $16 standard.  I had seen on another bride's blog (can't remember which one or I'd link to it!) ages ago about the shipping offer - I think it was last year and have been patiently waiting and checking similar blogs for hints and signed up for the newsletter.  It was getting a bit close to order as they take 3 weeks to make the custom ones and shipping/customs might take a while too so was almost ready to give up when a lovely coupon code dropped into my inbox offering 20% off!  Yay!

If anyone else is interested, the code is SPRINGHASSPRUNG and lasts til the end of April!  ;)

Post Wedding Update:



Monday, 28 March 2011

The Honeymoon Wardrobe!

Completely impractical as we haven't even booked anything other than our flights for the honeymoon yet, but I am starting to think about all the stunning clothes I want need for this holiday of a lifetime!  I've had a lovely weekend doing a spot of 'normal' shopping again as opposed to buying things for the wedding!

I spotted this in the window at Hobbs (not a shop I have ever shopped in I have to admit) which I absolutely love with the little cute hearts all over for £149...


Unfortunately when I tried it on, the fit is just wrong for me, the 12 was too tight under the arms and the 14 way too big and baggy even with the belt pulled in at the waist.  Ah well, saved me a fortune as it was a bit pricey, especially compared to the bargains below!

I also have this little number which I hunted high and low for and was constantly being outbid on ebay (it was sold out in Ted Baker) for months as it was selling for WAY over the shop price and I just couldn't justify £300+ for a £199 dress!  (Which in itself is usually a lot more than I would spend but it is just SO gorgeous and floaty and silky and butterfly printy, etc....)  I eventually got one for £156 worn once and dry cleaned - good as new, I would never have known it was previously worn!  It fits PERFECTLY and is very flattering.



While hitting the shops, I also picked up a few more bargains.  First this Ben Di Lisi maxi dress from Debenhams for £37.50...

(Much nicer with black flip flops in my opinion.)
While there I also spotted this STUNNING and very practical mac (also Ben Di Lisi, unfortunately not in the sale but a very reasonable £85.)  Perfect timing as we come into BST and it is starting to get milder, yay!



I also found this lovely satin dress in my fave colour in the Betty Jackson sale for a bargainous £29.50...



Another window spot was this gorgeous green cardigan (much nicer vibrant green in real life!) in Wallis...


Admittedly the bottom three purchases are not really suitable for a honeymoon in Africa, but it's been a long time since I got a clothes fix!  I did however get a fabulous cuff as seen on RMW from Coast...

Totally stunning, looks so pretty on and will look great on honeymoon with all my maxi dresses!  While in Coast I also fell in love with this:

'Foxglove' dress from Coast
It came with a cream belt as well as the black one.  I will also try wearing it with some different coloured ribbons to change the look.  Now it's time to start saving again after this little splurge but it was totally worth it!  :)

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Our Wedding Music

The first and most obvious thing to get booked for us was the band.  We initially tried to book Aurora as we had seen them at 2 previous weddings of our friends and they are amazing!  Unfortunately they were already booked on our date.  Then started the search, a few other bands were recommended, Ernest and Aurora being the main ones repeated by a few friends.  Ernest were also already booked!

We started looking on Music For Scotland, a great website for bands in Scotland with videos and song lists.  We made a shortlist of bands we were interested in and went along to their next showcase.  We had initially thought we would book Franco, a 3 piece male band with great rock samples, but after seeing The Saturns we booked them even before Franco came on.  We decided that although we think Franco are great, The Saturns will have more of a range of music as they are a 5 piece with both a male and female singer and they blew us away compared to the other bands we had already seen.  They did some great rock as well but also a bit of the good old cheese - ABBA!  I love a bit of ABBA!  They will also do a Ceilidh set either from an ipod or if you hire an accordion player they will play along.  They also call the dances which we need as so many of our guests are not Scottish!


We also decided we'd like the traditional piper for when the guests arrive and to pipe us into the meal.  To keep with our 'Fusion' theme and have a bit of Nik's culture in there, we have also booked a Dhol player (Indian drums), which actually sounds amazing along with the bagpipes!  (Seriously, have a search on youtube!)


I have also asked a friend from school who plays the harp professionally to provide some romantic music for my walk down the aisle and during the signing of the register.  I love harp music and it's just perfect for this kind of thing as it's so soft and romantic sounding.  I'm delighted Gwen can do it as I like that it's not all just random people we have hired, it makes our wedding day so much more personal to be able have some of our friends involved as well.  She has also very kindly offered to play as a wedding gift to us which is very generous!  She is absolutely amazing which I discovered when I went to her home with Mum back in October last year to hear her play and listen to some music suggestions.  I can't wait to hear her play in the big hall!  Check out her website here!



Post Wedding Update:

I don't have many pictures of the harp but you can see it below when I am entering the hall.  Gwen did an amazing job and I loved her version of Stairway to Heaven as I walked up to Nik.  She played Pachelbel's Canon in D as we signed the register.







The piper and drummer were also wonderful, they started playing together to surprise everyone as we left the hall after the ceremony, even our venue mentioned how much they loved it in the thank you letter they sent us after the day.


Photo taken by Ruth



Photo by Nazlie




We also ended up booking the Dotted Crotchets String Quartet to play during our champagne reception as we got a special deal since Ruth used to be my neighbour where I grew up :)





And there was some spontaneous bhangra dancing as everyone filed into the hall for dinner...


 The band were great too and there was lots of fun dancing later in the evening after our Ceilidh!



My 1st Panorama!

This post features some more of my photography but this time of the island where we got engaged.

The main jetty taken from the dive centre jetty

I have been asked to do a talk for a camera club who emailed me via my website, Bexphoto.  It is this Wednesday and after having had it in the calendar for about a year I am finally getting round to putting a presentation together!  I have a short 15 minute presentation that I gave to my own camera club last year which I have to extend to an hour and a half!!  Eek!

So last night I spent 4 hours going through all of the images I took while on THE holiday last August - they kind of got looked over on our return as being engaged was rather distracting and editing all my photos has taken a back seat ever since!  I now have plenty of images, including some new ones taken in Borneo as well, and just have to put them into some sort of order and hope for the best!  Here are some of my favourites...









The top six images were taken at Eriyadu, the island in the photo above and the bottom two in Sri Lanka (an example of the sunsets preventing me leaving my camera in our room and preventing Nik from proposing as a result!  Oops!)  While going through the images, I found a set of 5 I had planned to turn into one long panorama to fit the whole island in, taken from the end of the main jetty - not realising at the time that  I would later get engaged under the very hut in the middle of the image :)  This is the first time I have made a panoramic image and it's a lot easier than I thought, my software pretty much does all the hard work as long as the images are taken in the correct way to fit together well and it seemed to work, I am delighted with the result...

My special place panorama!
I'm excited about Wednesday and have been assured they are a friendly bunch but am still a little nervous, I had the same problem when having to give presentations during two years as an SHO in a hospital and tend to talk a bit fast!  I need to remember that this talk has to last an hour and a half and speak SLOWLY!  Fingers crossed it goes well!  :)

Post Wedding Update:

We ended up using a canvas print of this as part of our wedding decor in the fireplace which was also our photo booth backdrop...




It's now hanging in our bathroom :)

Saturday, 26 March 2011

100 days to go!!! (Nik's ring and green wedding shoes!)

OK, it's actually 98 now!  I've been kinda busy since Thursday and forgot to make my quick post that day!  Oops!

Anyway, we have now chosen completely different designs for our wedding rings after a visit from Alison at Smooch wedding rings on Thursday.  Nik had initially thought about Titanium, but there was very little choice and we were put off a little by how SUPER cheap it is.  I mean you do want your wedding band to be special and the only one we could find was £50 from a very run down looking H Samuel.  We do however still like the darker shade of metal and it really suits Nik's skin tone and is more his style than a shiny silvery ring.  In the end we decided that just because it's not rare and therefore mighty pricey shouldn't put us off as it's the nicest looking and just as hard wearing, plus we love a bargain!  This new one we have found (Smooch had a huge choice even of the titanium rings) is £180 and will have a nice brushed finish.

Similar to this one

I am still getting platinum to go with my engagement ring but have chosen a more unusual design than the court shape I had previously seen.  It is more flat but with a rounded edge, still nice and simple but a little different.

The sample only fitted my pinkie.
I have also picked up my shoes today after sending them to get dyed and I LOVE THEM!  I admit I was very nervous on my way to collect them - I had originally paid £15 to get them dyed to one of the shop's catalogue of colours as it was a near enough match to my sample colour and cheaper than sending them away.  However, when she mixed up the colour and dyed a sample swatch (luckily!) she called to let me know the colour wasn't right - when I went to see it, it was a lot lighter and not the right shade of green at all.  She recommended sending them away for the custom dying but also warned me that when she called them to check my shoes were dyable they mentioned there is a potential for the crystals to go wrong and the dye could apparently seep into some of them - not a good look!  She thinks this is why my shoes are now discontinued.  I had to sign a disclaimer in case it went wrong and despite the fact I might not get another pair if it didn't work I went ahead as I REALLY have my heart set on green shoes but still love the design of mine and they're SO comfy!  (I don't want Nik to see them so if you want to, search for 'Benjamin Adams, Marilyn' - except you Nik if you read this!!)

Post Wedding Update:








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