And just like that, it’s officially one year until my wedding day – ONE WHOLE YEAR!

I feel like I’ve blinked and the past 4 months have just disappeared. I can’t quite get my head around how fast the time is flying by, but I’m loving every second of being engaged and planning a wedding, so much so that I’m going to be really sad when it comes to an end. Anyone want to hire me to plan theirs next?

I thought I would use today’s post to update you all on how the planning is going, what we’ve done so far, the good, the bad and all the things that are cropping up all over the place that I never even thought about.

The BIG News

I’ve finally found my dress! It’s something my Mum found online but I’ve tried it and I really like it, which is a massive weight off my shoulders as it was really starting to play on my mind that I hadn’t made any more appointments or been very proactive. I’ve mentioned before that the dress isn’t the most important thing to me, but I’m really happy with it which makes the decision even easier.

It’s similar to some of the high-street ones that I got, but also fits me in a different way which makes me feel much more comfortable. It’s going to need quite a lot of altering as I’m only 5’4 but I’m not going to think about that until later in the year.

I’ve also ordered some shoes off ASOS to go with it which arrived this week. I tried a couple of pairs, but I went with ones that had a slightly smaller heel as the last thing I want is my feet hurting on the big day.

The Good News

The main news to update you on is that we have booked our photographer and videographer.

We have gone with Sarah Horton Photography as her shots were so light and dreamy and she came very highly recommended, and Digital Filmmakers for the video. To me, the memories are probably the most important thing of the day, and as I am quite into photography myself through this blog, I really wanted to go with people that I know I can trust and who have a really good reputation, which both of these do.

Since being engaged we’ve also been to our fair share of wedding fairs (some great, some not so great) which have given us lots of inspiration for what we want on our big day. There are things that we didn’t even think about that we’ve been given information on (such as wedding insurance – a very big deal!) which has been a massive help amidst everything else we’ve been trying to do.

The Bad News

The main bad news I can think of is that the costs are really starting to mount up.

We’re trying to set aside a set amount each month to put towards the wedding, but there are always other things we end up spending the money on such as vet bills or house insurance. We’re lucky that the big things are out of the way, such as booking the venue, but the price of things is starting to add up.

The Exciting News

Although it’s still a year away, I’ve been finding myself checking the weather app at the moment to see what the temperature is in some of the places we’ve said would be nice to visit in April for our honeymoon, and I just hope there isn’t another Beast From The East next year as that would really throw a spanner in the works.

I’ve also been looking at potential places for my hen do (I know I shouldn’t but I am painfully organised and anal about things like this) which has been really enjoyable too. I’ve been speaking to a people from work about the ones they’ve been on too and trying to get ideas here and there.

The Crazy News

We will be starting to send our ‘Save The Dates’ out soon, which I’ll be designing with a friend from work, and I’m really excited to see the final product. I’ve seen a few different designs that I like so it’ll be interesting to try and put something together that reflects the rest of the day – it’s such early days that we’re only starting to look into colours now.

We’re also having our engagement shoot in the next couple of weeks, so I’ve been pinning lots of ideas for where we can go and some of the shots I’d like to get as I can already feel how awkward I’ll be in front of the camera and want to be as prepared as possible!

And last but not least, we are giving our notice of marriage this month, which means we can legally get married next year.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this wedding update and before we know it, I’m sure the big day will be here – how crazy!

If you have any wedding related blogs that you think I’d enjoy or Pinterest boards (my new obsession) then please send them my way as I’d love to have a little browse.

xx

Can anyone in the country believe that it’s April and our wedding is officially ONE YEAR AWAY this month!? It feels like yesterday that we got engaged and I’m sure the next year will fly by faster than I ever expected.

I had a brilliant March! I went on my first ever ski trip, caught up with friends old and new and spent lots of time with my family – it was a great month. And now I’m excited for some, hopefully, warmer weather and spending more time outdoors.

1. Discover Eindhoven

Next weekend, I’ll be jetting off to Eindhoven with my two blogging friends Lily and Erin for a weekend of exploring a new city. We’ve never been away before, but we all love travelling so much so it seemed like the perfect excuse. We booked the trip in the January sales and I can’t believe how fast it’s come round! I’ve been to Holland once before and loved it so I’ve got high hopes.

2. Try Something New At Vegan Fest

I’m all up for eating vegan where possible, so when I heard about the Manchester vegan festival, I asked my Mum straight away if she wanted to come with me (she’s also a veggie). It’s this Saturday and I’m really excited to try some new flavours dishes!

3. Enjoy The Next Come Dine With Me

This weekend will be the second Alphabet Come Dine With Me, which you must have heard me talk about by now. The letter is S and the country is Switzerland, which works well for me and chocolate and cheese are two of my favourite things. It’s also a great chance to catch up with my lovely friends.

4. Try Not To Be So Awkward In Front Of The Camera

This month, Jordan and I will be having our engagement photos done. We’re not having our wedding photographer for these ones, but instead, it will be my friend’s boyfriend who is trying to build his portfolio. I’m an awkward mess in front of the camera, so I hope that doesn’t come across in the pictures and we get some nice shots that I can share on here.

5. Catch Up With My Blogging Friends

Later in the month, I’ve got a brunch planned with some of my friends I’ve made through blogging. The place hasn’t been set yet, but I haven’t’ seen a lot of them since January so it will be a great way time to catch up with them all.

6. Cook More At Home

This last month we’ve been so good with coming up with new vegetarian recipes a few times a week. I’m getting more into cooking at home, especially when we’ve already invested in the ingredients, so I’m hoping we can come up with some more interesting creations for the next few weeks – maybe we can even take advantage of the warmer weather and eat in the garden!

7. Surprise

I can’t say too much about this one as it’s a bit of surprise, but let’s just say that there is something in the month that I’m really looking forward to around the theme of a new arrival (not mine – this is not my pregnancy reveal!)

8. Celebrate Jordan’s New Job

Jordan starts his new job on the last day of April, and we’ve both got free calendars the weekend before he starts. I’d love to spend some quality time with him and get all excited about his new beginning.

9. Read More

I don’t know what it is about the lighter evenings making me want to cram more in, but at the moment I’ve been going to bed a bit later than usual which means I haven’t had the chance to read as much before bed. I’d like to try and finish two books by the end of the month, which doesn’t seem like a lot, but definitely doable.

10. Start Our Wedding Countdown

Next Friday (Friday 13th… take from that what you will) will be officially one month until I walk down the aisle and marry my best friend. I’ve got a couple of things I’d like to do to remember the weeks leading up to the wedding, and this month I want to get them kickstarted.

And there you have my April wishlist! Let’s hope I can achieve all of them by May!

What are you wishing for this month?

xx

Today marks the one-year anniversary of Jordan and I picking up the keys to our own little home. ONE WHOLE YEAR! I can’t quite believe how fast the year has gone and all the memories we’ve made in the past 12 months.

Buying a house was by no means a stress-free experience. There were tears, arguments and endless email chains where you feel as though you are going in circles, but the reality is, all those things are completely normal.

Although there are still bits and pieces I’d like to do with our little home, and furniture still to buy, I’ve absolutely loved every minute of the last year and the little pangs of excitement I get when I sit on the sofa thinking, this house is all ours.

Today I thought I would share all of the little tips I’ve found during the process of buying our house and afterwards to help any of you that might be going through the process yourselves.

1. Try not to worry if things take a little bit longer than expected. It’s easier said than done, and I always thought the worst when we were waiting to hear from solicitors, mortgage advisors and estate agents, but the reality is, buying a house does take time and there are lots of steps involved, some that you might not even know about, but try to relax as much as possible, because it’s completely normal.

2. Take all the advice you can get. Buying a house is a complete minefield, so much so that we used a mortgage advisor to buy ours and he helped us SO MUCH. I would highly recommend going to see one because they can give you a much better view of the different options out there and all the fees that come with getting a mortgage.

3. Take advantage of furniture sales, January sales and mid-season sales where you can as you can get yourself some much cheaper items. Also, sign up for newsletters galore as you might hear of the best deals first by doing so, no matter how annoying they might be. And don’t be afraid to pick bits up here and there along the way even before it’s gone through.

4. You’ll see kitchens, bathrooms and lounge inspiration all over Pinterest and think you could never do that – WRONG, you totally can have the house of your dreams, but it might just take a little bit longer than expected. Write yourself a realistic timeline of when you would want things done by and dedicate a few weekends here and there to do the jobs. And if it’s going to cost you a bit to get started then having a few months grace will let you save up the pennies.

5. Don’t be afraid to get your hands messy. One of the first things I did when we picked up the keys was paint the lounge myself (one of my biggest achievements…) and take down a couple of curtain rails. We also put up all the IKEA furniture ourselves, and although there were cuts and bruises, it felt much better knowing that we hadn’t had to pay for anyone else to do it.

And there you have my five quick tips for buying your first home. It’s an incredible experience and one that I’m sure you’ll never forget!

What are your tips for buying a house? 

xx

When people ask me what the most important part of my wedding is, I think the majority are expecting me to say the dress – but to me, it is one of the lesser significant parts of the day.

I know to some girls, the dress is one of the best reasons about getting married, and I totally get that – it is probably the most important things you’ll ever wear and you’ll look like a complete angel, but to me, it is something I’m not too fussed about and I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on.

One of the things that people said to me as soon as we got engaged was that getting the dress should be one of the first things I do as it determines a lot about the rest of the day – the flowers, the bridesmaid’s dresses and the less important groomsmen suits (I kid, I kid…)

And once I started looking on Pinterest, I got an idea of what I wanted so the only thing left to do was to start looking. I started asking a few friends who have been married where they would recommend and I did some research about these places online. I did find that because my budget wasn’t huge, a lot of the places I was looking at had starting prices which were a bit more than I was hoping to pay, but I thought the best thing to find something I liked and suited me would be to try some on in real life.

In all honesty, my experience of finding the ‘perfect’ dress has been varied – I’m a bit of a rubbish bride really because this whole process hasn’t been the fairytale that everyone made it out to be. I had in my head that the whole thing would be just like you see on TV – glasses on champagne on arrival, all your bridesmaids and the tears flowing, but in reality, it’s a lot of standing round in just your knickers whilst a stranger dresses you (except the tears – my Mums a blubberer!)

I couldn’t rattle any wedding dress designers off without really having to think about it and I didn’t have something in mind that I’ve been dreaming of since I was a little girl but saying that, it has been fun trying on all these beautiful designs and I’ve got a better understanding of what suits me and what doesn’t.

I’ve decided to share my experiences with you for any brides to be out there, or anyone who is just curious about the whole process and to shed some light on the whole process.

1. The Sample Sale

One of my married friends tagged me in a post on Facebook at the start of the year to say that a local shop was having a sample sale that Saturday, so I booked myself an appointment straight away. My only thought when I heard the word sample sale was the scene in Friends when Rachel is found blowing the whistle – but it wasn’t like that at all!

We (me and my Mum) arrived about 10 minutes before my appointment on a very cold and rainy afternoon in January, and were seated and told about how the sale worked – there was only one of each dress and once it was gone it was gone – you couldn’t reserve anything or get it altered at the shop (which is a service they usually offer if you were to buy a full price one) so you basically had to pick one and take it away on the day.

I chose four dresses and a couple of separates and the owner of the shop came with me into the changing rooms. At first, I was a little apprehensive to just strip off in front of a stranger, but I realised that they see hundreds of women a month and there was nothing to be embarrassed about.

I tried on the ones I wouldn’t have usually picked first and showed my Mum (which is when the tears started) but none of the dresses felt right. I did find one that stood out the most, but I felt that the only reason I was close to buying it was because it was in the sale, so I refrained and we left empty handed – looking back though I am so happy I didn’t make the rash decision because I definitely would have changed my mind.

2. The Outlet

I went to a bridal outlet on a Saturday afternoon with my Mum and my Nan, and it was manic. Firstly it took them a good 10 minutes to open the door to me and another lady who were stood outside in the freezing temperatures so I knew it was going to be busy once we were in.

The outlet was split by size and type of dress, and because I knew roughly what I wanted by this point, I thought it would be easy to find, but it was crazy in there. You were given 5 tags and were allowed to put them on any dresses you wanted to try on: If the dress already had a tag on, you were still allowed to leave yours, but the girl who got in there first would have the preference.

There were 14 brides all in at the same time, and a two-hour wait for the changing rooms so we didn’t stay long. Unfortunately, none of the dresses was what I was looking for either as they were a little too poofy for me.

3. The Bridal Boutique

This boutique shop was by far my favourite. It was one I used to live around the corner from, and I’ve only ever heard really good things about it, so I felt I was in for a treat – I’ve also heard that girls from all over the country travel here to find their dresses, so I knew it had to be good.

There were completely different styles to what I’d tried on before, and some that were ‘build your own’ which was a concept I completely loved – you start with a basic white dress and can add layers of silk, sleeves, over the top bodices, belts, lace – all sorts, which means that every dress is completely different.

Although the dresses were a little out of my price range, my Mum encouraged me to go to see if I did find anything and also to try something new. This shop also had some great accessories in, and it has definitely given me some inspiration for my hair and veil.

4. High Street

When I was a bridesmaid last year for one of my close friends, we spent a lot of time searching the high street and online for our dresses before we found them on ASOS. With that in mind, I thought I would have a go looking for a wedding dress, and I found three that I liked.

They all came within the week, and there was one that was a clear favourite. I showed my friends from work and they all agreed that it was the nicest of the three but when I showed my Mum she noticed that the zip wasn’t sown in right and unfortunately it was the only one.

I ended up sending all three back, but I’m really glad I had that experience because it’s shown me that there are really lovely styles for a fraction of the price online, and the best thing is that you can buy them and send them back if they’re not right.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about my experience so far, and I really hope it’s given you some insight if you are a bride to be or just wanted to know more about the different avenues of finding the perfect dress – fingers crossed!

xx

Because sometimes, it’s easy for us to get wrapped up in our everyday lives, that we forget to stop and reflect on the little things that keep us ticking over.

The leaves starting to grow back again as we reach Spring

When the cats jump on the bed in the morning for cuddles

Looking forward to warmer, brighter days

Receiving pictures of my best friend enjoying her travels

The sun shining in through the shutters at golden hour

When I get a message from a reader saying they enjoy my blog

My parents texting me to tell me they love me

Laughing with the girls at work over nothing in particular

Reminiscing on some of the beautiful places I’ve been over the years

The days starting to get longer

Getting excited for all the wedding planning this year

My other half surprising me with my favourite chocolate

Wrapping up in layers and getting outside

Waking up before the sunrise and seeing the changing colours of the sky

Getting all my blankets down and snuggling on the sofa

Cooking lots of home-cooked meals

Finding motivation to keep coming back to this blog

The group message I have with all my closest friends

Spending more time with my family and watching the kids grow up

Driving in my car, listening to newly downloaded podcasts

Getting excited about all the blogging events coming up this year

Receiving emails that make me smile

Brunching with my lovely girls

Walking down the river near our house

Making plans over the next few weeks to look forward to

Starting to think about my wedding dress

xx