Wednesday, 21 July 2010

It's overload

So many of our friends took really wonderful photos of our wedding which they've sent us on CDs or posted on Flickr and Facebook. Plus we have our fabulous, terrific, handsome and sweet photographer Peter's photos (almost a thousand!)

It's wonderful to relive all the special moments and see all these people's different points of view on the day (or rather weekend). It's also pretty overwhelming in such huge numbers. I feel a bit like Mama did when she looked at all our flowers in buckets the day before the wedding - how on earth do we arrange all of this into something manageable and pretty and worth looking at?

(she totally did of course - with the help of some pretty special flower faeries!)

Sunday, 11 July 2010

We're married!

and back from honeymooning.
Still trying to come back down to earth - I'm sure I'll have more to tell you very soon. Suffice to say it was beyond the most wonderful wonderfulness we could possibly have hoped for.

Thursday, 10 June 2010

cluck cluck

It's my Hen weekend!

I have no idea what's ahead. My only stipulation was that we stay in London (getting everyone to come out to Italy is a big enough ask), there is little chance of bruising and, at some point, we're dancing.

I've taking the day off tomorrow to potter about; pick up our wedding rings; tidy the house - and myself - up a bit (I'm thinking bright orange toe nails - what do you recon?)

Then I'm having dinner with my old uni friends, some of whom have come quite far for the weekend, and popping out to see a friend's band.

Saturday - I have no idea.
Sixteen of my friends and siblings are meeting up to do .... something.

I'm a flutter with anticipation.
However, as my very bestest friend has organised it, and she knows me so well, I'm pretty sure it won't be too embarrassing or strenuous!
Just good fun with my favourite ladies.

[a little selection of my favourite ladies]

Thursday, 3 June 2010

under ... where?

Time is running out and, as I am sure you can imagine, I have a million and one things to do (most of which should have been done ages ago, of course) that I almost feel guilty for sitting and chilling even for a moment.

However, a friend of mine, who got engaged not long after me, and is getting married a few months after, asked me for some important advice. And since it is really very important advice I thought I should pass what I told her on to any other prospective brides out there.

Now I realise that these interwebbed days, the chances of us betrothed ones getting great, sane, thought provoking advice, if you just go out and look, is improving by the minute.

But this isn't a big issue thing - it's a very small one.

But a vitally important one...


Now I do like good underwear (and yes, that can mean sexy as long it's pretty, not slutty sexy). And everywhere I looked I was presented with prettily presented wedding garments, coyly photographed and usually with fairly hefty price tags attached. So I thought I'd splash out, save up and go superficially lovely with what's underneath. I was thinking Fraya, La Perla, perhaps some cheeky Myla, or maybe that traditional bride stalwart Rigby and Peller. I ooh-ed and ahh-ed in anticipation.

But here's the thing - my dress. My dress is so beautiful and as much as I love pretty little lacy things, I did not want the beauty of my dress ruined by the the dreaded VPL. Oh no.

When I mentioned this to Rachel at my first fitting I was shocked how quickly she answered me.

"Debenhams Invisible Underwear."

Now I know it's not the prettiest - and probably not what your husband to be is hoping to find underneath your petticoats on your first night. But trust me, if your dress is even a little bit form fitting, don't even think about anything else. I mean it - there is nothing more invisible.

And maybe get the saucy stuff out on honeymoon.

first photo from Gilly Hicks. Second via La Perla.
Oh and this is a pretty handy piece of kit too.

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

A Month and a Ring.

Yup, (thanks Knot for bloody reminding me) it is one month to the day until blast off.
I'm half excited, can't-wait, try-wiping-that-grin-off-my-face; and half blind panic about how much there is still to do. (I daren't tell you how many things - it makes me sort of blink a lot!)

So to distract me from that, let me tell you a little story. A story about my future husband - Nick - and the ring trilogy.

chapter 1 - a borrowed ring
It was late 2008, and Nick was looking at rings.
He looked but couldn’t picture any of the millions of platinum solitaires before him upon the hand of his best lady-friend. So he stopped looking and instead he borrowed his late grandmother's old emerald ring, polished it up and, surreptitiously procuring a needle and thread, sewed into the pocket of his trousers (so it wouldn’t get lost or pinched on the journey ahead.*)After a quick word with his best lady-friend's father about his plans, Nick hopped on a plane to Brazil, lady-friend by his side. They celebrated Christmas, and they celebrated their friends wedding, and then, just before they celebrated New Year, he unpicked his careful stitching and gave the emerald ring to his best lady-friend, asking if she wouldn't mind being his lady-wife. He hastily added that this ring was just a temporary place holder but of course she was too happy, tearful, jumping over waves and dancing to really care**.

[Blurry but happy on a Brazilian beach]
(Because the question he asked and the answer she gave were what really made them so happy and a ring is just a pretty symbol.)

Chapter 2 - no ring, no pressure
On their return to cold, wintery England, they took themselves down Hatton Garden and tried on lots of rings***. Then the future lady-wife said to Nick that now he knew what suited her, the final choice should be his alone.
Well then, as you know, businesses started tightening their belts because of Crunchy Crash and Nick and his lady-friend had to do the same. So she told him not to worry about rings and things - food and bills were more important for now - remember; his question and her answer were what really made them happy.
Seventeen months went by and lots of exciting plans were made and every now and then Nick's lady-friend had to remind herself not to grow too attached to the emerald ring on her finger that was just a temporary symbolic thing for what really made them happy.

Chapter 3 - Ring-a-ding-aling
Then one sunny Monday night, while his lady-friend poached haddock in milk and butter, Nick felt a bit restless and excited. He told himself he should be waiting for a really special moment but he just couldn't. So he told his lady-friend to wash the fish scales and greasy butter off her hands right now because he was too excited and couldn't wait a moment longer!!
So she washed her hands and then held them out and closed her eyes and when she'd done that he took his Grandmother’s ring off her finger and replaced it with a new one. And his lady-friend suddenly couldn't open her eyes - seventeen months was just too long a build up and she felt a bit queasy. But open them she eventually did and was astonished to find the most beautiful, most sparkliest, glitteriest thing she had ever seen attached to the third finger of her left hand - and it was hers to keep forever!

And because she couldn't stop staring at it, nor stop being amazed that he had designed it all by himself in total secret and couldn't stop telling Nick that it was so so worth the wait, and because neither of them could stop reminiscing about the question asked and the answer given on a beach in Brazil, and how really happy they were, the milk boiled and the fish over cooked.

But, for once, I didn't care.

[just can't seem to take a picture that does it justice
and I'm aware that this looks like I have a lightsaber attached to my hand
but hopefully you get the idea - sparkly!]

*This might seem an odd thing to do - but it's very Nick, so there you are.
**Not just randomly jumping – in Brazil on NY eve you have to jump over seven waves at midnight for good luck – as if I needed any more!
***This is when I discovered that most rings, particularly platinum ones, or ones with the stones in a row, or square cut, or too standy-up, make my hands look like spiky whitchy claws. Nick has managed to design one of the only rings I’ve ever worn that give my hands anything even vaguely approaching elegance.

all pictures mine (apologies for the quality)

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

40 days and 40 nights

that's all there is to go ... holy crap!**

Although thinking about it, when I give up chocolate for lent, forty days seems like ages.

And with that tenuous link I thought I'd mention a few things about our church wedding...

[our little church where we are getting wedded]

I've mentioned before that we're getting married in the little church in our local village in Italy and because I am a Catholic we can do the whole ceremony, including all the legal bits, right there in church on the day.*

The Deacon there has been so sweet and helpful and he found us an English speaking priest based nearby who would perform the service for us.

We were pretty nervous about meeting him. The service is after all the most important part of the whole shebang and the officiating priest can make a huge difference. For example, it’s up to him whether we have communion during the service or not (we really didn’t want it as it would make the service so long). We also had another unorthodox request - we really wanted my mother’s cousin, who is a priest and knows us both well, to have a part in the service, preferably doing the sermon. Thing is, he’s a Lutheran priest not RC. Would this priest be ok with that? I couldn’t see why not since it’s all the same God after-all, but you never know. Nick managed to convince himself that our guy would turn out to be a real fire and brimstone ‘you’re all going to hell’ kind of dude, would speak with a incomprehensible drawl and generally steamroll his way over everything ... and we had no alternative!

So yes, we were nervous about meeting him.

Father Brian turned out to be an Augustinian friar based in San Gimignano. Originally from Boston but living in Italy for nearly forty years, he has a really calm and easy going demeanour - we both immediately felt we were in the safest pair of hands. He loved the idea of Mama’s cousin being involved and gave us a pretty free reign with the order of service. And my parents liked him because he was an academic and chatted about history and architecture - as we left his Cloisters my mother said ‘never mind him being your priest, I want him as friend!’

So nerves all gone and sighs of relief sighed (or excited jumping up and down in my case.) And a bit of quirkiness for our guests: an American Catholic priest doing all the weird and wonderful bells and smells stuff we do, and a German Lutheran priest, with his funny ruff collar and a very personal homily.

So now we’ve chosen our readings and our readers. We’re doing traditional vows. We’ve chosen our entrance music. We've picked a few hymns which we need to narrow down to three. Just need to find some recessional music (all suggestions welcome!)

*(Unfortunately Italian state doesn't recognise weddings of other denominations hence most English people marrying in Italy have to do a registry office ceremony beforehand.)

**OK - now it's 39. I wrote this yesterday but didn't get around to publishing as something rather exciting happened yesterday. Will fill you in anon.

Friday, 14 May 2010


Nick's off on his Stag Do. He doesn't know where he's going - it's a surprise - but knowing his best-men, a weekend of hedonism and shenanigans that I would rather not know about, lie ahead. Ah well, as long as he's having a good time and comes home in one piece!

Speaking of Stags - does everyone already know about It's that shockingly rare thing - a good wedding website for boys - woh! And not only that - it's British (double rarity!) Everything I've seen before, if not just a condescending 'corner' on very female orientated sites, is either "how to put up with the crazy Bridezilla" or has "we're Crrrrazy! beer! tits!, polyester suits!" features. Charming...

But iamstaggared is grownup without being bland, just the right side of metrosexual, has some pretty good advice, like on confident speech giving, some stuff for bestmen and fathers, and most pertinently, stag-do damage limitation control. Nick likes the site but I can't be sure he's read that last one...

Meanwhile I'm watching Audrey in a Givenchy wedding dress (she, not me) and painting my toe nails, trying to resist the chocolate pudding in the fridge* and sort of relishing having the flat to my girly self just for a little bit.

*I failed, of course
** suddenly realised this comes off as a bit of sales pitch - it isn't, I promise.

Monday, 10 May 2010

The last ten days ... achievements of a skatter-brained Bride-to-be

Friday 30-APR-10
Wake hung-over. Nick immured by food-poisoning. Fail to mop his brow or administer sympathy.
Bad future-wife.
Take train Clapham to collect invitation
. Wrong proof has been printed.
Unable to argue due to hangover.
Bad bride-to-be.
Curse heavy bag of wrong invitations, s
ick boyfriend, the chemist and Clapham station.
Bad Bad Bad.
Cause Mother’s tears when I call about wr
ong invitations. Leave message with Father begging him to dry mother’s tears and remonstrate with printers.
Bad daughter.
Provide chicken soup and some haphazard brow mopping for boyfriend.
Plan to at least address all envelopes for
Reward myself for being a bit less bad b
y watching Julie/Julia. (Possible new favourite film.)

Saturday 1-MAY-10

Sun out and everything much better with the world.
Decide to celebrate our anniversary (it’s around now, can never remember exact date) by taking a trip to Borough Market.
Spend silly money on fancy cheeses and venison and capers.
Try on wedding rings. Decide a plain gold band is "the one".
Once home, make final decisions on wedding rea
dings and hymns and order presents for bridesmaids.
Sunday 2-MAY-10
Torrential rain.
Depart in car for parent’s house (wonder if boat might be better option.)
At parent’s, eat Chicken with home-grown veg, apple charlotte, cold beers and warm fire. Mmmm.

Finally settle down to envelope writing.
Have first argument about how to address envelopes.
Have first fit of uncontrollable laughter about a story regarding one of the addressees.

Have second argument about how to address envelopes.
Decide to stick with convention when addressing envelopes - might not be everyone’s cup of tea but you can’t please everyone and life’s too short to try.
Mother realises she isn’t so sure about Germa
n conventions; Father not totally sure about British ones.
Decide to just make it up as we go along. How long do people look at an envelope anyway? And we can just blame it on being foreign either way...
By 9pm we’ve finally finish writing, laughing, arguing, reminiscing and writing again.

Sleep all the way home in the car. Bad co-pilot.

Monday 3-MAY-10

More rain.
Book ferry to France and back as we're driving to wedding. (Should have been done months ago - oops!)
Smother our living room in maps of Italy and
other miscellaneous bits of Europe as we plan our route/routes.
Cancel previously planned honeymoon - we’re now going to Sardinia instead. (Much better - woop woop!)

Tuesday 4-MAY-10
Courier lots of very important documents to the Deanery in Italy. (Cross our fingers.)
Fax other important documents to British C
onsulate in Florence. (More crossed fingers.)
Email planned order of service to prie
st for approval.
Scan pictures for photobooth project.

Wednesday 5-MAY-10
Mother attends flower arranging course. Applaud her greatness.
Badger sister about drawing us a map to go in with the invitations.
Have what is supposed to be the final dress fitting. Ask for a few more tweaks. Feel sad not to be taking dress home.
Stress about hairstyles. (How should I have
my hair?) Stress about shoes (still haven’t got shoes!)
Relive stress by cooking and dancing with husband-to-be.

Thursday 6-MAY-10
Final and correct invitations delivered to work. Swoon at their beauty.
Ask a friend to film our wedding on Super 8 since he’s pretty professional with a camera. He’d be delighted. Applaud his greatness with some Chablis!
Friday 7-MAY-10

Make plans for wedding cake baking with aunt.
Sister sends map she’s designed. Declare it to be the best map that has ever existed in the history of maps. Nick and family concur and all applaud her greatness.
Stay at work late printing and guillotining
map.Saturday 8-MAY-10
Pick up mother’s 60th birthday surprise.
Blindfold mother - can she guess what it is? It
’s her little brother come all the way over from Berlin for the day! Hooray!!
Head to Selfridges to try on hats and possible outfits for ‘mother of the bride’. Love many hats.
Day ends with a surprise dinner in a crazy Austrian themed restaurant with more of mother’s friends. Lots more hoorays and applause for greatness all ‘round!
Sunday 9-MAY-10Stuff all the ****ing envelopes! Check and recheck.
Put right stamps on for UK, Germany, Italy, USA, Australia, Israel, Singapore, Turkey and India. Decide the taste of Royal Post Office stamps may linger on my tongue forever - yuk! And wonder why our envelopes taste of rice cakes. Hmm?

Hand deliver to all addressees living in West London.
Make more bunting.
Stress about shoes.
Confirm Hen plans with maid-of-honour.
Tweak, finalise and confirm wedding gift list.
Husband-to-be calls time out and orders pizza, movie and cuddle.

First picture found on Peonies and PolaroidsAll others from my phone so sorry if they're a bit crappy.

Friday, 7 May 2010

We took a stroll yesterday, my husband-to-be and I, to our polling station via the laundrette and under the almond trees that grow in what we locals refer to as "dog poo alley" (so twee no?)

The trees are now a lot less blossomy than they were a week ago.

After a moments silence:

him: Hon, I was just thinking about the, um, er ...

(cue frown and a weird sort of sweeping/batting arm wave motion)

me: election?
chilled west london vibe?
laundrette ticket?

him: no! (a bit annoyed at future wife trying to guess the end of every sentence)

him: you know - the um, stuff you throw ... confetti!

me: confetti? what about it?

him: don't you think we could collect some of this blossom to use at our wedding?

me: it is very confetti like

him: and there is loads of it!

me: (a moments thought - mostly how untypical a groom he is) I'm not really sold on having dogshit scented confetti ... but I like you're thinking.

him: perhaps we should have a tree like this in our garden

me: yes. perhaps we should.

Then we made some democratic Xs and went to the pub.

Thursday, 6 May 2010

The Itchy Year

Seven years ago a boy woke up on a bank holiday Monday, still fully dressed and with a hangover lurking somewhere, unsure of where he was or how exactly he had got there. However, the north London flat he found himself in had freshly brewed coffee so he stuck around and got to know the girl whose flat it was and who he had gallantly escorted home in the early hours.

Seven years later and he’s still drinking my coffee …

Thanks for seven lovely years ... the last time we celebrate this anniversary!

Friday, 9 April 2010

Belated Blog Birthday

I missed my blogging birthday last week as I was in Italy without any internet. One whole year of very sporadic blogging. Not sure if I'm any older or wiser but I've enjoyed it and made some blogsville pals along the way which is cool.

Here's little video here to celebrate friendship and love at first sight ...

Friday, 26 March 2010

Hunting for Dresses part trois

(Three is the magic number!)

So the story so far - after a fairly thorough search (see here) I finally found the perfect dress (see here.)*
But I am not the only one in need of frock .. I have an entourage and they need to look fabulous too!

Of all the decisions I have had to make, I never, ever, thought for a moment that this one would be the most difficult. Why on earth was it so difficult? My bridesmaids (sisters three) were pretty easy going about it, and they are all between a size 8 and 10 and would look good in a bin bag. The problem was me - I just couldn't make up my mind what sort of look we should go for. I fell in love with every idea I came across (I read too many blogs - that may be the problem.)
Back in the early days (a year ago now - eek!) I was pretty sure I didn't want them in matching block colour. I think mainly because I was (still am) resisting having a "wedding colour".
Then I was quite taken by the idea of Liberty print dresses.

Then I got my dress and wondered how much the girls' dresses needed to go with mine ... (answer, obviously: they don't)
Then I saw this picture and thought - I want them in a white or cream dresses of their own choice. How lovely and original!

[via once wed - so cute huh? by the way how lovely are the flowers?]

Then I found this collection of dress
es all available at Portobello so it was off to the market. Possibly a bit optimistically since it was about 2c and trying on dresses in outdoor market stalls wasn't the funnest.

You see what a nightmare I've been? And my stoic sisters stand shivering in the cold hoping I'll make a bloody decision.
We went to defrost in the Westfield (big mall, conveniently near) and thought we might as well have a quick peek in the bridesmaid staples that are Coast, Hobbs and LK Bennet. The latter had a couple of very pretty floaty little numbers. The sisters three tried them on and smiled.
"We like us being all matching" they chorused "We all feel pretty and just like bridesmaids" (well maybe a bit less Madeline) and the lovely lady in the shop who gave us bubbly and cups of tea said "I can give you a discount."
I wish I could say that was that. But is wasn't. For the next two months I vacillated. I thought about these dresses from Fenwicks (wouldn't they look nice in three different colours?)
[taken with my phone - apologies for quality]

but then they weren't really that nice on.

I went to a fabric shop with Mama and she offered to make the dresses**. Great idea - but then what style?

[from sewdirect - i love this website!]
More emails.

Two of the three are deep in their studies by this point. I would want to kill me.

Then last week Nick and I were back in the Westfield (we were buying maps) and we passed LK Bennet.

"Look Nick - that's the dress the sisters three quite liked and I didn't get."

"Show me"

So I tried it on for him and even held two more on hangers next to me so he could image the three of them together.

"And they liked them?"

"Yes. They said they felt pretty"

"and what don't you like about them?"

"umm - they are all matching and they are from an obvious shop"

"so you wanted to be more original?"

"um, yes"

"don't you think the sisters three have pretty individual styles and will make these lovely dresses look original anyway?"

"well, yes ..."

"the dress is gorgeous - get three now and make everyone happy"

Damn - I so should have brought him along ages ago.

So I slightly sheepishly asked the lovely manager (she really was very lovely) if could still have that discount. And now we have three of this dress and everyone has sighed a huge sigh of relief.

Hooray! - now what can I be a right pain about next ....

PS - I would like to thank the sisters three for lots of things but especially for their patience with this. Also - I actually only have two sisters, one is a doctor and the other is setting up her own business. The third is my sister-in-law-to-be who is doing her finals at Oxford a fortnight before the wedding. Saints I tell you!

*Well actually you don't get to "see here" because I'm not showing it anyone until the day. I'm crap at keeping secrets and very much want to show everyone but just this once I'm going to try.

** she really is that handy and has made our flowergirl's dresses in a jiffy including smocking them. Amazing. However, making dresses, if you choose nice fabric, is actually not at all cheaper than buying them off the rack. Ironic but sadly true.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Versus ....

So how likely do you think England are to win their group this summer? Pretty likely? Even without Beckham playing? Are they really likely to win every game against Algeria, Slovenia and the USA?

And how likely are Germany to come second in their group? Will either Serbia, Ghana or Australia beat them?

Yes, this summer I will be paying very close attention
to the Football World Cup in South Africa. I love watching international football as much as anyone and a World Cup summer is usually something I look forward to a lot. After all I have not one but two teams to support (not counting my soft spot for the boys in blue). And if they end up playing each other, brilliant! Or even better, if they both get through to the finals and face each other at Soccer City on 11th July I couldn't wish or hope for better.

However, this year I have a slightly different reason for paying special attention to the group stages ....

Because on 26th June, at about 8.30pm (about half way through the speeches and just before we sit down to dinner) the first game of the knock-out stage will be played; the winner of group C versus the runner up of group D.

I think you see where I'm going with this.

There is a strong possibility that either one half our guests, or the other, or even all of our them, will be very distracted that evening.


All I can say is thank goodness there is no chance of Italy playing that day otherwise I don't think any of our vendors would even show up!

Monday, 1 March 2010

Hunting for Dresses part deux

(And that's 'deux' not look any further for you Nick!)

So in my last post on this subject I dwelt rather heavily on the negative brain-melting putting-way-too-much-pressure-on-myself side of my dress hunting experience. I will now skip over to a much sunnier side of
the street.

A complete abjuration of wedding dress shops wasn't really a workable option so I decided instead to rip off the plaster. I would take a Monday off work and have one whole day's try-on-athon, and I would do it with my mother. I was a little nervous. Mother and daughter stuff can be famously tricky - mothers don't just push your buttons, they made your buttons! I'm very close to my Mama but she influences me in ways friends can't or don't and has almost as strong an opinion on what suits me as I do. But I needn't have worried - she ain't no slouch in the style stakes and all she really ever looked at was the expression on my face so in the end the day pretty much rocked.

Of all the places I ended up going to these are the ones I recommend for those still hunting...

The Designer Wedding Dress Exchange - run from a really nice (and normal!) lady's front room in Weybridge. She has tons of designer dresses, including Vera Wang, Caroline Castigliano, Sassi Holford and on and on plus veils and shoes and other trappings. And everything is a lot cheaper than in the shops - I mean A LOT! I found a dress there that I liked - the David Fielden number below; all floaty and romantic - which I nearly got until we decided it looked a bit maternity on me. I really recommend this place though.

Oxfam - It was Peacocks Feathers' blog that first made me aware that this exists. Brilliant idea but it is luck of the draw. This time we went to the one in Leatherhead where the assistant again was really nice and has since called me when some new dresses came in that she thought I might like - how nice is that?!
Shikasuki - Speaking of the lovely Rachel Peacocks, I got to meet her in the very person when I went to this amazing vintage clothes shop in Primrose Hill. Not really a wedding dress shop but they have a incredible collection of beautiful pieces - one 1950 sequined evening dress I was very tempted by. I didn't go for it in the end as I knew Nick wouldn't like it that much (something about the neckline) but it would have been something wickedly different and fun. Maybe next time (ha ha).
(I did buy my sister some fabulous clip earrings there though.)
Mirror Mirror - verging on the snooty/pushy but they have a great selection of designers and let you take your time and take photos which is more than can be said for some other shops. I had a brief crush on a Cymbeline dress but got over it.
and finally ...
Heirloom Couture - Rachel (a different one) has a tiny little studio on Kensel Road. The first time I went I was alone, soaked from the rain and exhausted from work. It was like walking into an Aladdin's cave of dresses - beautiful pieces from 20's 30's, right through to amazing sequined 80s numbers. And best of all is Rachel herself - she's so sane and sweet you feel as though she is already one of your best friends the moment you walk in. But I was so ashamed of how sweaty and bothered I was and the fight I'd just had with my sister on the phone that I didn't really take any of it in. But back there with my mother I tried on a dress that fitted me as though it had been made for me and we couldn't stop smiling. Then I put on a veil and Mama burst into tears. So now the dress and the veil are mine and best of all, I got to share a very special moment with my dearest mother.

all pictures by friends and relatives except the first which is from here

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

I'm not I'm not I'm not

But in case anyone was wondering how I want to NOT celebrate NOT moving into the early (shh, whisper) 30s this weekend...

It would start with this...

and with warmer toes...
then playing with my kind'a toys ...(don't ask but I really really want/need one)
and doing some important research ...

and finishing with some treats for ears and heart...



via 1. This is Glamorous 2. via Need a Present 3 & 4. via Amazon 5. wish I could remember - sorry!

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Hunting for Dresses part un

(also known as part urrrgh)

It's funny how often the second or third question people ask when hearing of your impending nuptials is "have you found the dress?"
I have to admit it stressed me out somewhat - I totally over thought the whole process of picking a dress and went searching for some deeply esoteric philosophy on the whole thing and just generally tied myself up in knots. Mostly this was because there was a really expensive dress that I really liked and that was just a bummer because I felt stupid about wanting to spend so much on a stupid dress.
But now that I have found a dress I know why people ask that question. Because now I have the dress I smile a sort of secret happy smile when people ask me - because I am picturing the day itself so much more clearly now. And because the dress I found is so much better than anything I could have hoped for. So I guess people ask because they hope to see you pull a happy face (or maybe it's because it's more obvious than asking "have you chosen your font for your place settings yet?".)
As you can maybe tell from the collage above and from my previous posts here, here and here I spent months collecting tons and tons of pictures of dresses from millions of different sights and scrolled through them more often than was healthy. It sometimes felt like deciding who was going to be rather than what I was going to wear. Silly - but also fun in it's own way.
Then eventually I started going to shops which was usually a bit overwhelming. I think it may have been mentioned on a few other blogs before but, damn it, wedding-shop assistants can be annoying as hell! It should be like one of those dressing room montages in a movie - try on some totally wrong but funny dresses, laugh and pose and then find the right one. But those bloody assistants are always there in your face, "helping", commenting, or even looking non-plussed (and in some cases suspicious) - none of which puts you very at ease in my opinion.

Nope - montages don't work in real life and I was finding the amount of brain space this choice was taking up stressful if not say distracting from the things that really matter. It was winter - I was endlessly ill. I was fed up. So I took a break and refused to even look at another dress.

Friday, 19 February 2010

Beetroot lovin' from a slightly random but totally ace little sister...

I wasn't entirely honest about Valentines in my last post because I did get something special in the post. Thing is, it arrived on Friday when I was feeling really down and snuffly and in need of comfort. So I tore it straight open and gobbled up the contents without savouring (or taking a picture).
But it was so beautiful - the envelope was a brown paper heart sewn with blue stitching and inside was an other cellophane heart stiched with blue as well and inside that was a little silver heart and inside that was a pink coloured heart-shaped cake with red cherries in it. I did feel quite a bit better after eating it. And then felt guilty that I hadn't saved it or done anything in return.... what a bad big sister I am!

Told you she was artistic

Monday, 15 February 2010

Real romance

No Valentines stuff for us* - just a weekend away from London and planning to stay with my bestest bud and the beautiful baby boy she's gifted the world (with some help from master cook husband). Frankly I couldn't think of anything more lovely to be doing than watching my godson blow yogurt raspberries across the kitchen! What a charmer!

And on Wednesday I am going with littlest sister (the arty one) to my very first dress fitting. Very very excited and strangely nervous - will it look as nice as I remembered? Oh, I haven't told you yet about the finding of the dress, have I? Well I'll save that up for after the fitting...

(*ok, maybe I accidentally bought some Pierre Hermé macarons and we ate them on Sunday night and maybe I said 'happy valentines' when I let Nick have a crumb or two but the truth is I bought them because everyone in Blogsville has been saying they are better than Laduree and I needed to know (NOW!) if this was true. So not really Valentinesy if the truth be told. I'll even admit that I couldn't make up my mind and will need to conduct a few more tests to reach a conclusion. So there!)

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Absence makes the heart grow fonder*

*and that includes you sunshine!

OK, so I took some unplanned leave from the world of web but I am back now and full of good blogging intentions! Promise!

But we haven't been slacking on the actual wedding organising at all - though an awful lot of it is logistical or official stuff which is maybe why I have been away from the blog for so long. I balked at trying to make signing forms and paying bills sound romantic or exciting.

Having said that - it suddenly does feel rather exciting. We did our Marriage Care course (obligatory but actually recommended); we've had several meetings with Father John from our parish church (he's nice); we filled in all kinds of paperwork and dug out everything that documented our past (birth, baptism, communion, 25m swimming); we met with a solicitor friend to sign our "Declaration of Freedom" (best pronounced in a Braveheart warble I think); we registered a wedding list (although choosing any gifts is as yet too daunting); we created a very homemade website (actually just a blog in disguise); we researched and contacted every hotel in a 10k radius for our guests; we been keeping track on a super spreadsheet all the messages from friends and family about who was arriving and when. And lots lots more stuff, and as we did these little tasks and chores the magical far off unreal feeling about getting married lessened and the real, practical, solid feeling increased - exciting in a whole new way!

And also ... a bit terrifying. Because it seems that with every task we complete another ten pop up in their place. And thrilled though I am about how many of our wonderful loved ones have booked their flights and hotels I'm getting not infrequent anxiety dreams about them all showing up and there being no food, or pissing rain/hail/snow (it could happen, even in Italy!) or the priest being really horrible (we haven't met the one in Italy yet - eek!) or a power-cut, or or or, I get a HUGE spot! (I have a huge spot - grr)

OK - deep breath - it'll be fine - we're in wine country and our friends are ace - surely a recipe for guaranteed fun., yes?

Yeah, most of the time I do take a deep breath, I read this post on APW, and I smile and look forward to hazy fragrant summer days. And dancing ... and dancing ... and dancing ... with my husband....

Shh, don't tell anyone, but we've been learning to dance - it is soooo much fun - yup, it's not all been paperwork and panic attacks; we've done loads of fun stuff too. More of that to come shortly.

photos via Lanalou and A Foxy Wedding (I think)