Wedding Flowers Budget

Wedding planning is in full swing! I was having a major bridezilla moment because the florist I always use was already booked on my wedding day and I couldn't find anyone else local to me that I trusted enough to arrange my flowers.

Luckily my florist has agreed to squeeze me in as we told her we don't need any venue arrangements, just bouquets and buttonholes etc so there's no time needed to set up, just a quick delivery to our venue on the morning then on to their next wedding!

So many people were telling me to get artificial flowers as you're able to keep them as memories, they look real and they're a fraction of the cost but I was so against this idea. I've always got fresh flowers in my home and I'd feel a little cheated if I walked down the aisle with a plastic bouquet. I've got nothing against artificial flowers at all, some of them are beautiful but I just prefer real.

Nice flowers aren't cheap but I done my research!

Your wedding flower quote could definitely be cheaper if you check out which flowers are in season when you get married, otherwise they have to be imported in and are usually more expensive when they're no in season.

I've picked a few of my favourite flowers and thought I'd share my finds with you!

Roses - They're available all year round and come in so many colours from different shades of pink, red, white, orange and yellow. You can even get multi-coloured ones! A rose
Meaning - Depending on colour - Love, beauty, grace, joy and unity.

Peony - Peonies are spring flowers and come in peach, white and pink
Meaning - Beauty, bashfulness and welcome.
 
Gerbera Daisy - They're available all year round and come in pink, orange, white and yellow
Meaning - Friendship.
 

Freesia - They're available all year round and come in most colours apart from blue.
Meaning - Innocence.
 

Dutch Tulip - They're available November-May and come in white, pink, red, yellow, purple and orange.
Meaning - Declaration of love, honesty and memories.
 
Daisy - They're available in Summer and early Autumn and come in classic white.
Meaning - Innocence and simplicity.

Cosmos - They're available in Summer and Autumn and come in white, pink and chocolate.
Meaning - Modesty.

Anemone - They're available November-May but primarily during Spring and come in white, purple, burgundy and magenta.
Meaning - Expectation.

Alstroemeria - They're available all year round and come in white, yellow, orange, pink, red, purple and lavender.

Camellia - They're available late Winter, Spring and early Autumn. They come in white, cream, pink and red.
Meaning - Beauty and contentment.

I've chosen roses, gypsophila, alstroemeria, astilbe, hypericum, waxflower, eucalyptus and foliage. I absolutely love fresh flowers and I've went quite a bulky, garden style hand tied bouquet. I'm sure I'll be bombarding social media with my beautiful flowers after the big day!

I'd love to hear about your favourite flowers and why!

My most favourite flowers are gerbera daisies, I think they're so bold and beautiful. I've always got some in my home, my mum loves them too and I think that's where I get it from.

I love flowers because I don't have to water them daily, I did buy myself a house plant but it sadly only lasted one week! Where as flowers just sit looking pretty in a vase!







               

5 Wedding Mistakes To Avoid

Now, as most of you will know, planning a wedding is not easy! It's not all about trying on pretty dresses and tasting samples of delicious wedding cake. It's months (sometimes years) of brainstorming, planning, saving, worrying, researching and losing sleep.

I've compiled a list of the 5 most popular blunders that brides wish they had of avoided!

1 - Skipping a wedding videographer. I know videographers can be pricey and you have photographs to last forever but in my opinion, nothing beats a videographer. Most videographers will film all of the important parts of the day and put together some beautiful videos. There's usually a 4-5 minute video for you to share on social media and then a longer 30 (ish) minute video which highlights your best bits. Videographers often capture the bits you missed or forgot about. They're lovely to have for memories and I for one will definitely be hiring a videographer next year for our wedding.

2 - Picking the bridal party too early. I see so many complaints about this. People get engaged, set a date and then ask people to be their best man/bridesmaid etc. They later regret this decision when they realise the person in question isn't interested in their wedding, they show no support and they usually just drift away and avoid all wedding talk. The bridal party need to be reliable and trustworthy. It's all well and good making new friends but your bridal party should be people you've known a while, someone you know you can trust. Always think twice before rushing in and popping the question. I started with 5 bridesmaids, I now only have 2!

3 - Lack of entertainment. Lots of people try and cut corners when planning and that's fine. I understand most of us are on a budget and need to cover the essentials first but you need to realistically organise your day. I've known brides not think about this and then have to deal with 50 guests who got bored and went into town drinking because the bride and groom didn't provide any kind of entertainment during the daytime and evening turnaround. This is usually 2-3 hours so always make sure there's somewhere for your guests to sit with access to drinks. You don't have to break the bank to create a nice atmosphere.

4 - Under catering is a huge issue. Many people assume that not everyone invited will turn up. People then over invite and cater for less. They're in a pretty awkward situation when most guests turn up and not enough food is available. It's not a good impression to give out on your or your chosen venue. My advice is to get RSVP's back first and then final the numbers for the catering. Weddings are not the time for guessing games.

5 - Trying to please everyone. I rant on about this a lot because it really annoys me. People are so opinionated when it comes to weddings and often try and have their way and influence your plans. Remember that it's a wedding, a celebration of commitment and love. Not a people pleasing party.

I hope you found these tips helpful for any upcoming events you're planning I'd love to hear some tips from you below.

Choosing A Wedding Photographer

The first thing to do when choosing a photographer is decide on the style of photography you want for your big day. Until I started planning our wedding, I had no idea of the different. I assumed someone turned up with a camera and asked everyone to say cheese. Oh no! There's so much more to it than that.

Some of the most popular styles available:

Reportage (photo journalistic) - This is where the photographer will capture special moments and create a narrative story through images as apposed to have staged poses. Many reportage photographers are happy to capture staged shots too but it's much less obtrusive and the shots are much more relaxed and honest.

Traditional - Also known as classic or posed. The photographer will focus mainly on the traditional photos of the wedding party, lots of staged poses and saying cheese. traditional photographers will often ask you to write a list of any shots you want captured. I have a list as long as my arm!

Most photographers are more than willing to adapt their techniques to the style of photography you want. After all, that's what we're paying them for.

I'm opting for mixed photography as I want lots of different styles and shots. I want some portrait images, aerial images, close ups, unexpected, group shots, poses and staged shots as well as some fine art photography, a few black and white and some editorial shots.

Choosing a photographer is one of the most important decisions you'll have to make when planning a wedding. When the dress is put away and the suits are returned, the only memories you'll have forever are your photographers.

Photographers can be quite pricey but the work they put in amazing. Not just photographing the day but the editing until perfections weeks after the wedding, the finishing touches and making sure their clients are 100% satisfied with the finished product.

My advice is definitely not to scrimp on a photographer. Check out locals and ask to see their portfolio. Meet with them and make sure you feel comfortable around them. Many photographers offer a pre wedding shoot so you can get a feel of how they work and it makes the big day a little less daunting.

If you have any tips about choosing a photographer for a special occasion then I'd love to hear your comments below.

Casual Dating

I done a post a last week covering my first date with my husband to be and I touched a little bit on the dating game. I thought I'd share my opinions and views online dating/casual dating in a little more detail.

I've never been a dater to be honest. I've always concentrated on friendships more than relationships. In my younger days I had a few casual relationships and partners but nothing serious until I met my current partner and husband to be.

I was chatting with a friend last week and she was saying how sick of casual dates she is. We had a laugh and I was trying to brighten things up by giving her the pro's to casual dating.

No commitment
Your own money
Your own plans
The bed to yourself most nights
Freedom to do whatever you want, whenever with whoever

She argued that although that's fun, it does become boring after a while. I later seen her post a quote on Instagram saying ''I'd rather be wine and dined by the same man every night than a different man every week'' and I kind of agreed. There's so much effort required for casual dating. Now, I'm not saying you don't need to make an effort with a long term partner, of course you do! But you don't have the worries of being seen without makeup, the arguments about who washing up or the rows at 3am because they've snored all night every night for the last 3 years and you're so damn tired.

I'm a home girl. I like plans, organisation, commitment, trust, loyalty, routine and security. I don't think you truly have any of those when you're casually dating. So I guess it depends what makes you happy. That's the most important thing isn't it? Don't rush into a relationship if you're not ready. They do say you've gotta kiss a few frogs. It's personal preference and if you want to enjoy yourself, meet new people and experience the excitement of those first few dates on a regular basis then do it! Live it large as they say.

I'm not saying I don't agree with casual dating. I appreciate it's fun, thrilling and exciting but I guess my friend was right, it will get boring and there'll come a time where you stop and think. The effort you put in to impress a man/woman for a few dates, you could use that effort to blossom a beautiful long term relationship. Every relationship takes effort. Lots of it. Constantly. Consistently.

I suppose there's pro's and con's to both. It's never too late and it doesn't matter where you are, whether that be somewhere remote like the Shetlands you can check out Shetland Dating, if you're further south you have Norwich dating and Hereford dating or even if you're at the other end of the country you have Dumfries dating and over 50's dating Fife which is targeted at more mature people. There's always someone who can the tic to your tac, whatever your tac may be.

Maybe casual dating will lead to something more serious and steady? Isn't that what everyone is hoping for? Even the ones who are scared of commitment. They're maybe just scared because they've never experienced it before?

The dating game is tough! And a bit of a mystery. I'm glad I'm no longer a part of it. LOL.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on casual dating vs long term relationships.

This is a sponsored post however all words, opinions and views are my own

Monday Motivation Meal Planning

I had so many emails last week after my post about Meal Planning. I'm going to try and do this every Monday as it really does help me to keep focused and it may inspire others who are following a similar plan to me.

As you probably know I'm shredding for the wedding next year and I follow the Slimming World plan so all recipes will be adapted to be Slimming World friendly. I've tried several ''diets'' and have found Slimming World to be the best for me, currently at 6 stone weight loss.

So here we go.. the week ahead!

Monday - BBQ pulled pork done in the slow cooker served with a wholemeal pitta bread and salad

Tuesday - Steak served with vegetable rice and lots of salad

Wednesday - Macaroni cheese with leeks and bacon

Friday - Big Mac in a bowl served on a bed of crunchy salad

Saturday - Chicken and mediterranean vegetable pasta bake

Sunday - Roast pork lunch with rich gravy and seasonal veg

That's me all planned for the week ahead! I'd love to hear what you've got planned, I'm always open to new recipes and ideas or tips that help you stay on a plan!

To join the menu planning link up please visit Laura's blog.

Our First Date

I've rambled on about our upcoming wedding enough, I thought it might be beneficial to let you know a little bit about what lead up to the big day..

It all started with a friend request. Good old Facebook. Darren added me about 5 years prior to actually chatting. He was in a long term relationship and we never chatted or communicated. We lived near each other and had a few mutual friends but nothing ever sparked between us until one night, I was scrolling through Facebook and I updated one of those ''can't sleep'' status'.

I noticed Darren was awake too, he had been out with his friends. He was single by this point and had been for several months. We swapped a few messages then fell asleep. This was in the October. Over the next few months we continued to chat as friends. I loved chatting with him, we had a right laugh. He even started to take his phone to work with him during the day (something he had never done before) just so we could keep in contact. I thought that was cute.

It was January 2014 and I was celebrating my 21st birthday with some friends. I was chatting away to Darren and he asked if he could take me out for my birthday. I was gobsmacked. I never thought anything would ever come of it and the thought of meeting someone I didn't really know just filled me with dread! But something told me to say yes!

I somehow plucked up the courage and wee met on 11th January 2014 in a bar in town. I was 3 hours late due to nerves and Darren turned up drunk! He had been sitting in a bar with his friends waiting for me. Apparently the lager he consumed was to pass the time! He told me he bought me flowers but left them in the bar.. we both know there were no flowers!

I remember feeling so nervous but so giddy. I felt like a teenager all over again. It was so exciting.

Everything was going great, we were having a few drinks and getting to know each other then I turned to the side and spotted my best friend with her face pressed against the glass of the window where we were sitting. She was steaming drunk, spotted me and of course had to come and make her presence known! I was mortified so I rushed up out of my seat, ran outside and politely asked her to go away! LOL. We still laugh about this now. Darren calls her the crazy friend.

Our date continued with no further interruptions. Thankfully.

Darren was the least romantic person (and still is). I remember him saying the tattoo on my foot looked like a slug (it's a vine of flowers and I'll admit it's a bit of a mistake but come on.. first date?!) and then he pointed out a lovely big spot I had on my chin! LOL. We often joke now and say that was my queue to run.

We had a few more drinks and Darren walked me to the taxi rank, before getting in a taxi he asked if we could go back out the following week. Of course I said yes! I had a lovely evening and went home with a smile on my face.

When I got home we continued to chat and plan the next date. I knew then something special was brewing. When people say they have a ''feeling'', I definitely had that.

Darren lived at home with his parents and I had my own place about 20 minutes away from him. We had a few more dates out and then I invited him over to mine. He used to come everyday after work and then sleep over on the weekends. Things were going great between us.

We officially moved in together not long after and Darren popped the question in May 2015! We set a date and I can honestly say I've never looked back.

My family love him and he's the best uncle to my twin nephews and niece. He's the most loyal, understanding and caring man I have ever come across and as corny as it sounds, I can't wait to be his wife.

I never believed in love at first sight but I just knew there was something special between us. I had prayed and hoped to meet someone like him and I count my blessings every single day.

I have Facebook to thank! Without Facebook, I may not have ever met Darren. I know people can be a bit judgemental about online dating but I think it's becoming much more acceptable. The amount of dating sites nowadays is mass! Even down to specific locations like Somerset dating,Norwich dating and even rural area's like the Shetlands then you have Shetlands dating so it doesn't really matter you are, love is for everyone! So it seems.

Everyone deserves to experience true love and happiness at some point in their life. I think it's true what they say, we have to kiss a lot of frogs... you're never too old to find love or to let love find you, even if you're over 50 and live in smalls towns like Fife, you can check out over 50's dating Fife or for those further south there's over 50's dating Devon so never give up!

I've often read stories in magazines about couples who meet on the likes of POF (Plenty Of Fish) and end up getting married and having kids. I honestly don't think it matters about how you meet your loved ones, I'm just grateful that I was able to.

I'd love to know your thoughts on first dates and meeting people from dating sites/Facebook etc. Are you a yay or nay to online dating?

This is a sponsored post however all words and opinions are my own.

Beauty Giveaway

I'm no expert when it comes to beauty and I could definitely do with a few tips when it comes to skincare but I still do enjoy nice products.

I'm not really one for following trends and running out to buy the latest Instagram sensation but there's a brand I've used and loved for years.

More recently I've been working closely with them and I'm thrilled to be able to offer a giveaway!

Neal's Yard opened their doors on 4th December 1981 in Covent Gardens. They're a passionate company and believe that beauty should be natural. They believe in nature and honesty which I think is amazing. They're such a ethical company and firmly stand by their beliefs and morals.

This company is a bit of a hidden gem despite their many awards:

Ethical Consumer Best Buy 2017
Mama And Baby Award Winner 2017
Beauty Shortlist Award Winner 2017
Janey Loves Platinum Awards 2017
Green Parent Award Silver 2017
Veggie Award
Natural Health Magazine Beauty Award 2016
Best Organic Skincare Brand 2016
Best Bridal Beauty Award 2015
Earth Day Beauty award 2015

Pretty impressive!

I've been enjoying so many of their products lately.

The award winning Wild Rose Beauty Balm, it smells amazing and leaves my skin feeling silky smooth. The balm is so moisturising. It also comes with an organic cotton muslin cloth. I love the feel and smell of my skin when I've used this. I highly recommend it after the chore of shaving your legs if like me you're too much of a wimp for waxing.

White Tea Facial Mist has been a lifesaver during these hot days. My skin isn't in great condition at the minute and these changes in weather are definitely no help. If either really oily and my makeup goes patchy or I'm dry and flakey with lots of breakouts. The mist has been perfect for the warmer days to help keep my skin hydrated. Smells amazing too! I'm yet to find a Neal's Yard product that doesn't smell good!

Close Shave Oil - My partner has been using the Neal's Yard Men's Range. He was quite dubious at first as I'm always getting him to try products and have face masks but he went ahead and agreed to be my puppet for the day. He only shaves once a week and he usually suffers with little red shaving spots that irritate him even though he using pre and post shave balm and moisturises often. The Close Shave Oil smelt amazing! And he said the razor glided much easier, he only used a few drops on his face and said his skin felt so smooth afterwards. He didn't have any shaving either. It was a yes from him!

I've got lots more products to try out so I'll keep you all updated but I thought it would be nice to run a little giveaway and give others the chance to sample some of these beautiful products.

Winner will be picked at random using Rafflecopter, all entries will be checked and verified. UK entrants only.

This is not a sponsored post. 1 winner will receive a goodie bag of NYR products with a minimum value of £30.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday Motivation Meal Planning

It's that time again where I get a little boost of Monday Motivation.

As you may or may not know, I'm getting married next year and I'm shredding for the wedding. I've lost an amazing amount of weight (don't mean to blow my own trumpet but I've done so well and all will be revealed next week!) and one of the things that's helped me stay on track is menu planning. If it gets to 6pm, I'm tired, hungry and have no idea what I'm eating then chances are it won't be salad, vegetables or anything remotely healthy to pass my lips.

So to stay in control and keep focused I decided to menu plan! I'm not the most adventurous of eaters, in fact I'm a bit of a fuss pot but here we go!

I'm currently following the Slimming World plan so all meals will be adapted to Slimming World friendly recipes.

Monday 26th June -  Homemade burgers stuffed with cheese and garlic served with salad and garlic mayo.
                               
Tuesday 27th June -  Diet Coke chicken served with rice.

Wednesday 28th June -  Pizza topped gammon (you can change this to chicken) served with vegetables, coleslaw and jersey potato's.

Thursday 29th June -  Spaghetti Bolognese with Slimming World style garlic bread.

Friday 30th June - Chicken breast stuffed with garlic butter and wrapped in bacon served with salad.

Saturday 1st July - Slimming World style buffet - pease pudding wrapped in ham, seasoned chicken skewers, tuna stuffed cucumber, crustless quiche, salad, coleslaw, wedges, carrot sticks with dips and a fruit platter.

Sunday 2nd July - Slow cooked roast beef with vegetables, Yorkshire pudding, roasties done in the halogen oven and meaty gravy.

I feel so focused about the week ahead now I have a plan. I feel confident for a good week. Onwards and downwards!

I'd love to hear from anyone else who meal plans or any yummy Slimming World friendly recipes you may have.

If you'd like to link up, please visit Laura's Blog.

5 Things I Loved About Spring

It's no secret that Autumn is definitely my favourite season but I do enjoy Spring too. Everything changes and people seem much happier. Maybe because Summer is on it's way?

I thought I'd share my 5 favourite things I enjoyed during Spring.

 
1. My most favourite thing is definitely the scenery and flowers. We have such a beautiful view to the front of where we live. I love opening my balcony door and seeing all of the pretty flowers and plants in full bloom. The trees begin to flower and blossom and everything looks so pretty and colourful. I love my home filled with gorgeous flowers. Especially Gebera's, Tulips and Gyp. They can lift your mood instantly and make the place look so fresh.

                                        

2. Sleeping with the windows open. I love changing my bed sheets, opening my window and climbing into bed. There's nothing more satisfying than a cool breeze coming in during a warm night. The smell of the freshly cut grass and the pitter patter rain drops during the April showers. It's definitely a sense of comfort and I always have such a good nights sleep.

 
3. Ducklings. We have a large pond just outside our home. We often feed the ducks and swans, it's so cute watching them waddle over with their families. During Spring we always get new fluffy friends who stay with their parents until the end of Winter, she then chases them away and starts the process again. I absolutely love seeing them and always look forward to it during May.

                                     

4. Hanging my washing on the line. I honestly don't think there's anything better than clothes that have been dried on the washing line. The smell, the feel, everything! I was so excited when we had our first ''good drying day''. Now I feel really old and boring but like they say, it's the simple things in life.

5. Last but not least... I find it much easier to ''diet'' or eat healthy during Spring and Summer. The warmer months I tend to comfort eat and pile my plate up with yummy get warm dishes like casseroles and stews. I'm often cold, wet and miserable to often visit the takeaway. During the warmer months I find it much easier to stay motivated and grab a piece of fruit or knock up a salad. I never want something too big or heavy when it's warmer.




A bonus love of mine is fragrance. Everyone knows my huge love of candles. Come Spring/Summer I always have a big candle haul and stock up of clean, fresh and fruity scents rather than the warm and cosy ones I enjoy the colder months.

I've recently been enjoying Sweet Cucumber, Apple Custard and Fresh linen from Crystal Cole Candles - her wax melts are amazing and last so long.

I hope you enjoyed reading about my loves of Spring, I'd love to hear what you enjoyed during Spring.

Save The Dates

As you all know! I get married August 2018 and I'm super organised. I'm planning on having everything sorted by the beginning of 2018 so I can have a stress free 6 months.

We're getting married in prime holiday season and during the kids school holidays so I thought I best get my save the dates out early!

However, during the process of ordering my save the dates, I also decided to get a puppy. Minnie. She loved my save the dates so much that she ate the ones we had left to send out!

An excuse to buy more maybe?

I searched Pinterest and just couldn't find anything I loved enough.

I came across these on Ebay and fell in love. They're so different and pretty. I hadn't seen anyone with them before and they were a real bargain (£1.25 each) so I decided to order them.


They arrived within 1 weeks and the seller was lovely. She sent me a proof copy to make sure I was happy with them before they arrived. They came securely packaged with the cards, envelopes, pencils and twine. They took 2 minutes to put together and my guests loved them. Lots of people commented on how unique they were.

I was pleasantly surprised when they arrived as I was expecting them to be quite small but they weren't. They're a decent size and everything is so clear to see. I love them.

I'm really happy with my purchase and it's made me more excited to shop for wedding invitations!

Click here to visit the link for the seller I used. Very reputable, efficient and gorgeous work! She offers many different designs for all of your stationery needs!

Big Day Print

 
 
In case you didn't know... I'm planning a wedding! And have been for a while. The big day is next year and I'm planning obsessed!

One of the things I've been struggling with is finding something different.

I find myself scrolling through Pinterest and Etsy looking for wedding favours, thank you card, invitations etc but everything seem so generic or ridiculously expensive.

I actually gave up on my search and decided to put my creative streak to good use and make my own invitations! I'll be keeping you all updated with the finish product.

If only I found Big Day Print earlier!

I was chatting with Frankie (she and husband Mark own the company) and we were putting the world to rights! We both agreed that there isn't enough choice and we want to have our own personal touch to the day. From the minute we send the invitations until the guests go home on the evening, we want the day to be remembered as different and personal.

Frankie faced the same troubles as me when she and Mark were planning their big day. That's when Big Day Print was born! They worked together on their own wedding stationary and perfected it to their tastes. Their passion grew and they wanted to help other brides like me, to make their day as special and as unique as possible.

Mark is a graphic designer with over 10 years experience so I know I'll be in safe hands when I finally decide what I'm going to purchase from Big Day Print. I've got my eye on the cutest little memory frame which I can personalise with my own letters and words. Something I can showcase on my wedding day and then have in my home for the happy years after.

Over at Big Day Print they cater for everything from weddings, birthdays, signs, business cards, leaflets and christenings. They offer a personal service and no job is too big. Feel free to contact them for a no obligation quote, they're both so lovely and friendly.

I visited their website and was in my element. It's really easy to navigate and everything is laid out in sections. I had a mooch about and felt so at ease knowing someone else had experienced the frustrations of wedding planning and we're able to offer exactly what I was looking for.

The process is so easy too, you simply let Frankie and Mark know what you want and they work their magic! I found their prices to be really fair too considering it's completely bespoke and up to you what you want your stationary to turn out like depending on the look and impression you're trying to achieve. They also offer some amazing price crunching prices if you're looking for more than one thing.



If you're in need of stationary or business supplies then check these guys out! Finally, congratulations to Mark and Frankie and I wish you the best of luck with your new business! I'll be back soon with my stationary wish list.

*I was not compensated for this post however I did receive a discount code in exchange for an honest review of www.bigdayprint.co.uk*

Minnie at 10 weeks old

 
I can't believe we've had our little cutie for 3 weeks now! If you don't now who Minnie is, you can meet her here first.

She has settled in so well!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              
The first few nights were a bit daunting for both of us, she cried a lot but by the 3rd night she was fine, she now sleeps all night in her cage in the living room and doesn't wake up until 6am. It's like having a new born baby without the night feeds.

She's had her first vet check up and they were really pleased with her progress. She's a fit and healthy little fluff ball of utter joy and love.

She's met most of the family and loves them.

Another 3 weeks and we can go and explore the world together! I can't wait to take her for nice walks to the beach and through the park. She'll love being outdoors.

She's mastered the command of sit and occasionally gives a paw. She's 80% pad trained for doing her business, this will be a lot easier when she can go outdoors!

She's been bathed and absolutely hated it! She was so scared of the water but loved her hairdryer, she thought it was a game. Her little tail was wagging away and she ended up all nice and clean with a very fluffy blowdry!

She has sooo many toys and loves them all, she's at the chewing stage now so I'm constantly following her around and telling her to stop chewing my walls and wires!

So yeah, she's absolutely perfect and we're loving every minute with her. She brings so much love, laughter and joy to our home and we couldn't be without her.



*Minnie is fed on Walfcol Salmon & Potato dry food as I believe it helps keep her happy and healthy and is great for her little body. Grain free and less likely to cause sensitivity or upset. It also helps to keep her beautiful coat so white and clean*

The Benefits Of Being Grateful

 
Gratitude doesn't mean saying thank you for receiving a luxurious gift or someone doing something for you. Being grateful is much more simple than we often think and so much deeper.

Being grateful can be anything you are thankful for. I recently got sent a Gratitude Journal and I've agreed to take part in #100DaysOfGratitude. Each page has a little quote on, I love reading them! I'm a sucker for a quote.

Some of the things I've been including in my journal are:

My partner being offered a new job, better hours, more money and closer to home.

Having a good day at work and meeting all of my targets.

Minnie being happy and healthy.

Spending time with my family.

My partner helping me clean the house and eventually doing odd jobs I've been waiting for forever!

                      Treating myself to some lovely new candles and wax melts.


                                                                         

So yeah, being grateful doesn't have to be anything huge, I've been journaling 5 things every day I am grateful for. I'm so excited to see the benefits! I'm a big believer in positive vibes and as a sufferer with anxiety, I love trying different (and natural) ways to feel happier within.

''The quality of being thankful is the readiness to show and return kindness''

Being grateful has so many benefits

Emotional benefits:
1. More relaxed
2. Less envious
3. More resilient

Social benefits:
1. More friendships
2. Healthier relationships
3. Kinder

Career benefits:
1. Better management
2. Improved decision making skills
3. Increased productivity

Health benefits:
1. Improved sleep
2. Less sick
3. Increased energy levels

Personality benefits:
1.  Increased self esteem
2. Less materialistic
3. More optimistic

I'm really looking forward to completing my challenge and hopefully reaping the rewards. If you're taking part I'd love to hear from you!

What are you most thankful for today? Let me know below.




How To Budget For A Wedding

Guess what...

It's wedding season time! Now, people get married all 12 months of the year but the ''peak'' time in the wedding world is between May-August.


Many people often worry about the expense of a wedding and assume the word budget equals to pennies. They're wrong. A budget can be as tight or as extravagant as you want but its so important to have one. There are so many ''must have'' ideas when you're trolling the internet for ideas and scanning Pinterest.

My advice is to write a list of every single thing you want/need for your day, of course starting with the most vital and important and then working out the maximum you'd be willing or can afford to spend on each item. If you find things cheaper than originally planning then put that money in a pot and put it towards your honeymoon or use it to buy the things you couldn't quite justify before the budget.

So... You're now wondering how you can save money when planning a wedding? Here at my 10 top tips!

1. Decide on a venue. I opted for a hotel in the city center meaning it's easy for my guests to travel to and I don't need to provide transport. I'm also staying there the night before so no need to hire a wedding car to transport me. Also don't be afraid to ask for a discount. My sister in law got married 3 years ago and said to her venue ''If I pay a deposit today, what can you offer me for free?'' and she ended up getting 10 free places for the wedding meal. Don't be shy, the worse they can say is no.

2. Opt to hire a suit rather than buy one. Chances are the men already have a suit for other occasions and will never wear the wedding suit again so you can easy save money here and go for the option of hiring.

3. Cut down on bridesmaids. Do you really need 15 girls by your side? You can still invite friends to your wedding without giving them a status and you'll save a fortune as well as the stress of trying to keep so many women happy because we all know that's not an easy job!

4. Swap your honeymoon for a minimoon. A honeymoon doesn't have to be 2 weeks in the Bahamas, it can be a nice little getaway in the UK or even a short trip abroad. As long as you're there with your new husband/wife, I don't really think it matters where you go!

5. Reconsider the small things that mount up. Do you really need save the date cards or can you just let everyone know your chosen day by telling them or send your official invites a little earlier than planned. Do you really need lavish wedding favours? The majority of them get left on the tables and people never say ''Oh remember that wedding, the favours were amazing'' so don't be too hard on your self.

6. The latest craze is a sweet table. I've done a bit of research and found it much cheaper to DIY it and buy the jars online and then visit a wholesaler for the sweeties. The kids will be happy and I will save £££. Smiles all round.

7. The dress! Now I'm not saying scrimp on your dress, not at all! It's one of the most important bits of the day! But don't be shy. Shop around, ask for a discount, ask if there is an upcoming sale or visit a store like WED2BE who specialise is on the rack dresses, brand new and gorgeous! You can often save £1000 easily by doing this.

8. Gifts! I see people go way overboard buying gifts for the wedding party. Now don't get me wrong, I will be buying gifts for the people who play a special part in our day but it'll be a small token gist/thank you gesture to show our appreciation. Not a big lavish gift that costs more than a meal at the wedding! People don't expect much so don't go overboard. Be realistic.

9. Photographer.. one of the most important parts of your day and a big chunk out of your budget. My advice is to shop around. Look at people work who have just started out or only have a few years of experience because these are the people who will be offering discounts to build their portfolio and still offer an outstanding service. You could even contact a college and ask to borrow of their students and help them build a portfolio and gain experience.

10. The cake. If you have a guest list of 100 people then do you really need a 4 tier lavish wedding cake? Not at all. Size isn't everything and sometimes less is more.

I hope you found these 10 budget saving tips helpful, I have lots more but I found these have helped me out the most.

I'd love to know if you have any budgeting tips of your own.

10 Things To Remember When Wedding Planning

Unless you've been hiding under a rock or had no social media for the last 18 months then you'll know I'm planning our wedding! The big day is fast approaching, we still have some time left but it's flying by.

I've loved most of the planning but it can get stressful and become very overwhelming. I thought with setting our date and initially having 3 years to plan the whole swaray, it would be plain sailing and stress free. I was wrong! Wedding planning is a bumpy road, it's about learning to overcome them and move on.
 
Here's the 10 things I've realised since our wedding planning began:

1. You can't please everyone and that's okay. It's a wedding, a time to celebrate the marriage and love for each other with your nearest and dearest. It's not a people pleasing party and others opinions shouldn't matter. As long as you and your soon to be husband/wife are happy, nothing else really matters on the day. We can stress over guest lists and overthink the judgement of others but in the end does that really matter? Not at all. If you want pink candy floss draped off the ceiling then have it, if you don't want to provide entertainment then don't. It's your day, one of the rare times all attention will be on you and you have full control of how the day goes. Make the most of it!

2. You'll know when you find THE ONE. I was dreading wedding dress shopping. I knew the style I had in mind but I was worried about going and actually trying them on. Being a plus size bride to be can be very daunting! I've lost 6 stone during our planning, still more to go but my confidence is growing slowly but surely. I tried a couple of dresses on and liked them. I then tried the final dress and I felt sick with excitement and nerves. I was so emotional and didn't want to take it off. I ordered it there and then and paid the deposit. I see so many people posting in wedding groups on social media asking for opinions and sharing pictures of them in wedding dresses. I don't understand why these brides do this, the opinion of a stranger should not matter. If you feel confident, beautiful and comfortable then why torture yourself by asking for feedback online? Go with your gut. If you feel fabulous if layers of ruffles and a 10 layer underskirt then go for it. It's YOUR wedding dress! You only get one shot and wearing it. Hopefully.

3. The minor things don't really matter. I stressed for months over wedding favours and centrepieces. I spent hours on Pinterest looking for ideas and nothing was jumping out at me. I finally realised that none of these minor things actually mattered. Yes they make the tables look pretty and give a book background for photographs but no one will remember what was in the middle of the table. It's the conversations, atmosphere and excitement that makes memories. Not favours and napkins.

4. You will need a budget. I made the mistake of not setting a budget and just paying/buying things when I seen something I liked. Big mistake! I've spent a small fortune and still have a way to go. I'd highly recommend setting a budget, even if you're not limited to a budget, it's good to have some figures in mind otherwise it can get ridiculous and you'll just spend spend spend! Everything wedding related is pricey and the more you look, the more you find! Pinterest is amazing but very dangerous! There's so many ideas you just NEED on your day. Be wise and have a budget!

5. The guest list is about the people you want to share your day with. Not the people you feel like you have to invite. Unfortunately we couldn't have everyone we hoped at the daytime reception due to numbers and seating arrangements and yes some people have taken huge offence at this but at the end of the day they aren't funding our wedding and we certainly won't lose any sleep about not inviting our old next door neighbours who we haven't seen for 7 years.

6. Don't expect people to be interested in your plans. You'll be mega excitement, maybe even slightly obsessed but others won't feel the same. Yes they'll be happy for you and yes they'll ask how the plans are going from time to time but don't expect people to always be asking and don't expect people to be involved. Even bridesmaids! Luckily my bridesmaids/maid of honour is really helpful and supportive but I've cut 2 others who just weren't! You'll definitely start to question your friendships and realise who's important to you and who/what really matters. You'll be surprised who is and isn't there when you need them most.

7. Book in advance! I had my heart set on a florist, I use them all the time! I approached them 2 years before our wedding date only to find our they were already booked! Same happened with my preferred makeup artist. So definitely remember to book the important bit's (especially the church/registrar) well in advance to avoid disappoint. Leave all the small things like suits and invites until closer to the day. You may think you have ages but you really don't. Good suppliers get snapped up quickly.

8. You will change your mind. ALOT! One month you'll love pastel pinks and the next you'll want something vibrant and funky. Don't rush out buying things to match a particular colour scheme or theme because new trends and ideas will always be catching your eye and it can end up a big fat waste of money if you go out on a whim and buy everything pink and later decide you want yellow with blue stripes! Before making any official and final decisions, make sure you're sure!

9. Don't compare your day or plans to others. We have 7 friends getting married in the same year as us. I'm so excited to be attending all of these weddings because I know each and every one of them will be different and personal to each couple. Make your day special to you and don't compare your day to others. Everyone has different tasted and it's not a competition.

10. Stressing about it won't make it easier! Like I've said before, wedding planning is stressful and overwhelming. If you're getting frustrated with your plans simply take a break! Log out of Pinterest, stop searching for pretty venue décor and forget about bridesmaid dresses for a while. Recharge and go back to your plans with a clear head. You'll feel much better for it and you'll be much more productive.

Most of all remember to have fun with it! We spend so much time and effort in the build up and the day is over with no quickly! Remember to relax and take it all in... hopefully we only get to do this once!

If you've got any top tips or helpful hints for planning a wedding, I'd love to hear about them!

20 Throwbacks From The 90's

I was born in 1993 so I'm 100% a child of the noughties. What a good era that was eh!

I was chatting with friends recently and we were discussing throwbacks. It really got me thinking about how much things change.


I'm going to sound really old here! But when I was younger I remember the only meltdown I had was when the streetlights came on and I knew I had to go home. Hide and seek had to end and I couldn't build anymore dens or treehouses until the following day. Now, kids have meltdowns because the Ipad isn't charged or they can't find their ps4 controller!
I thought I'd share my 20 favourite throwbacks to remind myself how great the 90's were!

1. Inflatable chairs and bags. These were a must and you needed one in every colour possible.
2. Nokia 3210/3310. The battery lasted a week and snake kept you entertained for hours. Candy crush didn't have a look in back then.
3. MSN Messenger. You'd of course have your boyfriends name surrounded by hearts of BFF somewhere in your screen name. If you weren't on MSN then you weren't able to communicate with the world!
4. Bebo and Piczo. You'd only give your crush or your current BFF your love, limited to 3 per day. What a struggle that was!
5. The Sims. A very unrealistic way to prepare for adulthood and independence.
6. Zoe Slater and Fred Elliot. Soap opera icons! I say I say.
7. Brookside, Bad Girls, Footballers Wives and Family Affairs. Bring them back!
8. Dance mats. No weekend was complete without at least 3 goes on a dance mat!

9. Jane Norman. This was the shop you needed to shop at, just to keep the bag to use for your PE kit.
10. Nikelodeon. Keenan & Kel, Sister Sister, Two Of A Kind, My Parents Are Aliens and Sabrina The Teenage Witch - must watches of the 90's!
11. Groovy Chick. Everyone loved this purple doll with her flicky bob.
12. Woolworths. What a shop this was! Toys, clothes, sweets, gifts, media. You name it! Wooly's had it.
13. Chocolate bars that didn't make it. Mars Delight, Dream Bars and Flake Snow. The best chocolate bars EVER.
14. Pop groups. The Spicegirls, Backstreet Boys, Atomic Kitten and Busted. You knew every word!
15. Scented gel pens were a must for returning back to school.
16. Jelly shoes. Those bad boys tried to make a comeback but they just weren't the same.
17. Cabbage Patch dolls. The only doll that was ugly but smelt beautiful!
18. ''Talk To The Hand Cos The Face Aint Listening'' was the cool and polite way of saying do one!
19. If you didn't have a Gameboy to play tetris then you lived a sheltered life.
20. Stick on earrings. They lasted for about 45 seconds but you felt like such a chick for the very short time.


I'd love to know if you remember any of these throwbacks! Feel free to share your own below too.

Meet Minnie

For about 2 years we've thinking of brining a 4 legged friend into our home but we wanted to be sure it's what we wanted.

Having a dog is a lot of responsibility and we wanted to feel confident that we could offer a dog the best life possible. We didn't want to rush into it as we'd probably face problems later on.

We both work but I'm lucky enough to work from home, we rarely go away for any length of time and I have family and friends close by to dog sit if we ever need them so we decided now was the perfect time to find a fury friend.

I had my heart set on the Bichon Frise breed but my partner wasn't really a fan, he wanted something more masculine! But we had to think logical and choose a breed we knew we could manager and give a good home to.

After months of research we finally agreed a Bichon Frise would be best for us. Then it was time to find a reputable breeder.

I began searching and came across some very untrustworthy adverts! Then a friend recommended searching the Kennel Club website. I seen a breeder in our local area and gave her a call. She had one puppy left, we made arrangements to go and see her and fell in love instantly.

On 13th April at 7 weeks and 4 days old Minnie came to her forever home. She's settled in really well and is already a big part of the family. We adore her and her cheeky little personality. She fills our home with love and laughter and we can't imagine our lives without her, even after such a short time!

                                                                                                                                                                  
I'm sure you'll see lots more of Minnie, especially if you follow me on social media. She has taken over my Instagram!

I'm so glad we made the big decision! And definitely the right one. If you're thinking of getting a puppy then please do your research and choose a breed which suits you best. I found this website really helpful when we were first decision which breed would suit us best and which breed we could offer a good life to.

Here's why we chose a Bichon Frise:

Good for novice owners. We've both had dogs growing up but never had the sole responsibility for one so choosing a breed which didn't require extensive training and wasn't high maintenance was definitely a good step for us.

Happy living in small spaces. Although we have a very large flat, it's still a flat and doesn't have a big garden. Luckily we have lots of beautiful walks, fields and parks close by but it's nice to know our puppy will be comfortable is smaller spaces. It would be really silly and unfair of us to get a great dane!

Extremely friends. Bichons love to be socialised and get on great with adults, kids and other animals. They're very playful but also very gentle. They love attention and often just want a cuddle. We always have people in and out of our home especially small children so this was very important to us.

General Health. Bichons don't have a history of any major health issues. They are prone to a few things but nothing that we need to worry about, they're quite cheap to get insured too which was a big bonus!

Easy to train. Bichons can be very stubborn and independent but if they know who's boss from a young age then training is a walk in the park. They love to please people and are very obedient.

Quiet... this was a biggie for me! As I work from home I need a quiet and calm space to work from. We didn't want a big that would yap and bark all day at the slightest noise. Bichons are not very mouthy at all.

No mess. We've recently redecorated and bought everything new for our home, we just need to renovate the bathroom and then add a few finishing touches but we didn't want our home to be full of hair. Especially white hair! Luckily Bichons don't cast so there is minimal mess! They need to be brushed everyday and groomed every 6-8 weeks so they're pretty easy to maintain.

There's so much more we love about Bichons but these are the main points we considered when deciding who we would suit most. We made the best decision ever and I'd recommend a Bichon to anyone!







Giveaway

 
 To kick off my comeback I thought I'd host a little giveaway!

A few months ago I discovered a candle/wax melt company (CandleBelle) and fell in LOVE!

Their melts are amazing and last sooo long. I'm giving 1 lucky reader the chance to win 5 wax melts in my choice of scent.
 
 
 

My chosen scents are:

1. Clean Cotton Sheets - This scent is so fresh and is perfect for Spring/Summer

2. Baby Powder - No explanation needed!

3. Squeaky Clean - This is one of my favourites, it smells just like dove soap. I love the clean smell it fills my home with.

4. Key Lime Pie - Again, it smells just like the real thing and the fresh citrus scent is gorgeous!

5. Raspberry Ripple - Remember drumstick lollies, the sweet chewy sticks of yumminess... yep, smells just like those treats!

UK entrants only, winner will be picked at random and announced on 30th April 2017 a Rafflecopter giveaway .

This giveaway is not endorsed by anyone other than www.Chelsea-Elizabeth.co.uk

What's New?

 
Chelsea Elizabeth (recently known as Life In The North) is 3 years old now! WOW, it seems like just yesterday I decided to go public! For my old readers... welcome back! I've missed you all! We've undergone a makeover and must admit, I love it! I've had my little break but I'm back and raring to go.


If you're new then welcome!

Been here before and wondering what happened?

I lost my way with Life In The North, I felt I didn't know where I was heading and I had no structure. I worked with some fantastic brands and enjoyed every minute but I knew it wasn't fair on my readers, everything was a little bit all over and you know that's not me! I had no focus or motivation.

I like to be organised and can be a little bit of a perfectionist at times. So here we are, all fresh and excited! My posts will still be around the same things, mainly weddings, beauty and lifestyle related but I've decided to no longer do blogging as a job, it always has been and always will be my hobby and I think I can produce much better content that I'm happy with that way, without the pressure of it all.

I've still got some great posts coming and I'm so excited to be working with some amazing brands and sharing my life with you again!

So a big thank you for your understanding and welcome to Chelsea Elizabeth.

Let's have some fun!