Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Dad's the word.

I really wanted my Dad to fit in with the wedding party but not be too matchy with the best man and ushers as I saw it as he was on my 'side' rather than Kieran's.

We decided to stick with the pale blue as this fitted in well but went for a slightly different tie to the ushers.

His tie was also from Paul Smith but has a floral design rather than spots. As we have a Cath Kidston theme, it seemed perfectly fine to have both polka dots and florals working together - this is the essence of Cath Kidston really!

My Dad has also recently gotten into cycling and completed 46 miles for Marie Curie at the weekend. He has been the butt of many jokes in the family as he dons his lycra and cycling helmet but the fact is he is now fitter than most of us and has lost 3 stone in 6 months!

Paul Smith is also a big cycling fan and often incorporates this theme into his designs. It seemed like fate when we came across these cufflinks in Bicester...

A big tick for being blue and also being a personal touch for my Dad! Here's hoping he looks more stylish on the day than when he is in his cycling wear!!

Raising money for Marie Curie Cancer Care.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Finishing touches.

So with the suits and ties sorted for the boys, we began to look for the extra little touches that would complete their outfits. Originally, this was one of Kieran's jobs to sort for the day but in the end it was something we did together (as in it's 3 months to go and you've not even looked yet so shall we do this together?!)

Firstly, we got these Paul Smith socks in the ASOS sale (plus an extra 20% off thanks to Kieran's sister and her NUS card!)

We then went to the Paul Smith outlet in Bicester to see if we could find some cufflinks. The selection wasn't as good as online but the price difference was huge (we're talking £65 down to £33)! We narrowed it down to a couple of pairs that we really liked but in the end they only had 4 pairs of one set - luckily it was a set we both loved.

So, that's the boys sorted and another thing off the list! After spoiling the girls it only seemed right that Kieran could present his boys with a token on the day too.

This seems like the perfect selection and they all fit together so nicely. We also sweet talked the lovely assistant at the outlet in to giving us some extra bags so we can present them to the boys in the fancy Paul Smith packaging!

Monday, 27 February 2012

The best boys.

Since I dedicated last week to my bridesmaids, it seemed only right that the boys get a look in this week.

Kieran's best man is a friend he has known since school who is not only his best friend but also one of mine. His other three ushers are also close friends of us both. We wanted to use the wedding as an opportunity not just to thank them for their support on the day but to thank them generally for being such good friends.

We will be hiring grey three piece suits for the boys from The Wedding Hire Co. of Oadby in Leicestershire. We had a really hard time finding anywhere that hired wedding suits that fitted with what we wanted. Lots of places had a great selection of colourful and patterned waistcoats, but as I have said, this wasn't for us.

The Wedding Hire Co were really helpful and had just what we were looking for. We also managed to negotiate the price down to £62 per suit which was one of the best prices we could find.

We decided not to hire the ties as we wanted to find something that would fit into our wedding theme and use it as a way to treat the boys.

We ended up buying the ties from Paul Smith. They are similar to Kieran's but there is a slight difference (more of that to come) so Kieran will stand out but still complement the wedding party.

The baby blue fits in perfectly with our pastel theme and the polka dots are spot on (terrible pun) for the Cath Kidston theme.

Kieran will be leading the double windsor knot masterclass on the big day I'm sure!

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Sunday Shoes.

To round off bridesmaid week, it only seems right to share my bridesmaids shoes with you for this week's Sunday Shoes.

Now, I imagine I am in the same situation as most brides in that my bridesmaids are all very different. By this I mean they have different personalities, interests, hair colour, dress sizes, heights and shoes sizes.

The different colour dresses have worked well to complement their different skin tones and hair colours but I was still having trouble with shoes.

By bridesmaids range from my sister at just 5'2" to my best friend at 5'10" with a 5'6" and 5'8" in between. My sister knew from the outset that she wanted skyscrapers so she wasn't dwarfed by the other girls. My taller bridesmaid avoids heels most of the time to avoid looking too tall. Another bridesmaid doesn't mind the height issue but just isn't confident in heels and the fourth wanted 'quite high but not too high'. I could see this wasn't going to be easy.

I wasn't bothered about the girls all having the same shoes as I wanted them to be comfortable and also knew that the floor length dresses would be you would hardly see the shoes. However, I wanted them to complement each other and so we opted for a silver shoe. And I am pleased to say that as of last Wednesday, a 6 month hunt for shoes has been completed.

We came across my sister's shoes (second from left) by chance in Next. They were silver, super high and nice and sparkly. They were also very reasonable at £32. Sold!

Finding the flat shoes for the tall and heel averse bridesmaids was much harder. I googled everything from 'flat ballerina' to 'silver pumps' and was coming up with nothing. I thought these would have been the easier ones to find but it took literally months. And then, last week, Next came up on top again and we got some super comfy but super stylish flat ballerinas with a sparkle detail on the front. Another bargain at only £25 too!

Finally, I struck gold in Next for a third time when I found the exact same shoes as my sister but in a low heel version. Unfortunately, they weren't online so I frantically drove back to the store to buy what I believed were the only pair anywhere!! I am pleased they match my sisters but are still comfortable enough for my bridesmaid.

So there we have all 4 pairs which are individual to each bridesmaid's request but also look nice together. I think the important thing to remember when picking shoes (or any part of a bridesmaid's outfit) is that they are your friends and you need to make sure they are happy and comfortable. Of course, there has to be give and take and you probably don't want them walking down the aisle in slippers or requesting you buy them Louboutins but if you can come up with something you all agree on then everyone's a winner!

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Duty free delights.

Monday morning started off badly for me with a 5.30am alarm. I am not a morning person by any stretch of the imagination (as in 8am is still a struggle) so this just about killed me. As I was catching a train to catch a flight I had no choice but to actually get out of bed when the alarm went off. Snooze was not abused on this occasion!

After successfully catching the right train, checking in and enjoying an 8am Whopper Meal (shameful but very satisfying!) I killed some time with some duty free shopping. For some reason I didn't think you could shop duty free on an internal flight (I was just off to Edinburgh for a work trip) but you can!

Obviously, no-one needs anything that is available in duty free. But they so clearly mark up how much you're saving that you can't resist - well I can't resist anyway!

I thought my bridesmaids goody bags were complete with the jewellery, sweets, chocs and candles but the perfect little bonus gift caught my eye.

Now, there are several reasons why these were absolutely, completely and utterly necessary and are in no way over the top, one step too far or an extra we could have done without and I shall explain this!

1. They came in a set of 4. I have 4 bridesmaids. Totes fate.

2. The colours are practically the same as the bridesmaids dresses (well blue and green are but dark pink is close to red and light pink is bascially white).

3. I am wearing Marc Jacobs Oh Lola and these are also Marc Jacobs. It's good to be consistent.

4. They are miniture! This is the same excuse I use when I eat a whole pack of mini donuts too.

5. They cost just over £30 for the set.

So, as you can see, I was left with little choice than to add them to the bridemaids' goody bags.

Is it bad that I sort of want to be my own bridesmaid now?!

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Love is in the air.

No bridesmaids goody bag would be complete without a sweet treat (in my opinion) and mine are no exception with 2 treats for the girls.

Firstly they have some delicious hand decorated chocolates that my mum bought in York.

They have a range of designs and my girls have yellow stars, pink flowers and love hearts. Too good to eat!!

Talking of love hearts, I couldn't resist these limited edition tins that were going cheap after Valentine's Day...

Good job the goody bags go out after the wedding or they wouldn't be getting into their dresses!! 

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Hair accessories.

As I have mentioned before, I have bought each of my bridesmaids hair accessories to match their dresses in a 'same but different' kind of way.

My sister had a hair trial on Saturday and we opted for a side bun. It looked great but we may need to reconsider as she has so much hair that the weight of it meant it didn't last long once we had left the salon.

We may change it to a side pony style with more tumbling waves as the 30 grips didn't keep it up. All of the girls have such long hair that this could be a general problem!

However, the style will incorporate these bargain accessories I got at a wedding fayre...

Each has a colour to match their dress plus a silver one to go with it. They look great in and bring the bridesmaids together nicely. Can't wait to see them all on the day!

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

A special gift.

As is tradition, I wanted to give my girls a special gift and jewellery always seems to be the obvious choice for most brides.

I wanted something with a bit of sparkle and for it to be the same for each girl to tie them together (not literally) as their dresses will be different.

I decided on a Swarovski bow charm necklace for each of them (the photo does not do the sparkliness justice). I bought the charms and chains seperately and assembled later (plus a charm for myself to add to a bracelet I already have!)

I plan to give each of the girls their goody bag on the morning of the wedding so their necklaces will be a nice surprise. I've kept them secret so far and have only told them they don't need to worry about jewellery.

Monday, 20 February 2012

Bridesmaid's Goodies.

When choosing my bridesmaids I was very careful to choose people who had always been part of my life and always would be. I have a few good friends but when it came to the decision of bridemaids, there were only ever 4 contenders; my little sister, Kieran's little sister and my two best friends from school who I have known for 15 years.

They are all very different; loud and quiet, short and tall, blonde and brunette but all have been such good friends to me.

I wanted to find a way to say thank you to my girls and wanted a more personal gift than a voucher handed out during the speeches. I decided to make them each a goody bag...

I used Vistaprint to make them each their own canvas bag with their name to match the colour of their dress. I also added 'Chief' to my sister's as there are not many places she can really be identfied as Chief so this was a nice way to acknowledge it.

The bags are filled with a range of treats...

There are a few essentials for the day, a few stocking fillers and some extra special gifts which I shall be telling you about this week so keep checking...

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Sunday Shoes.

I don't know about you guys but I have not been enjoying this cold weather! It's been all about the layers and the boots recently.

However, that's not totally a bad thing as I am a big fan of a good winter coat and boot combo! This year, I have dug out some purple Dorothy Perkins shoe boots to brighten up the grey winter.

Shoe boots are a wardrobe staple for me and I have them in a range of colours but these are definitely the brightest. They're also pretty comfy and despite the heel are quite easy to walk in - even in the snow and ice.

Unfortunately, Lola did have a little nibble of the heel and so I have had to use the old felt tip filler trick but I loved them too much to give up on them completely!

I'm off to enjoy a hot chocolate in my pjs now - one of the better things about winter!

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Hair trials.

Today me and my sister went to my regular hairdresser to have a hair trial for the wedding.

I have been so indecisive over how I wanted my hair; up/down, fringe/no fringe, blonde/brown...

When deciding how to have your wedding hair, I think you can go one of two ways:

1. Go for a more special version of what you would normally have. So if you have your hair up a lot, wear it up but in an extra special way

2. Go for something completely different so it feels like a change and even more special. If you always wear it down, maybe go up.

I decided to go for option 1 and have a more special version of my normal hair. I wanted to feel like me which is a bit messy/boho laid back with plenty of volume.

I watched countless youtube videos and googled loads of images so I could go to my hairdresser with a good idea of what I wanted. I am pleased to say she pulled if off a treat...

She added a cute little fish tail plait to one side to make it a little bit different. I love plaits (especially fish tails) so really like this random detail. She used GHDs (what did we ever do before hair straighteners??) to create waves rather than curls as I wanted to keep it natural looking.

A fair amount of backcombing and my beautiful hairband finished the look. The hairband is from the shop where I purchased my dress and was handmade by the lady who owns it. It is unbelievably sparkly!

I know it's not a traditional 'done' wedding style but it suits me and I really like it. What's more, 10 hours later and the waves are still wavy and the height is still high!

My bridesmaids are having messy side buns and the hairdresser managed to tame my sister's thick hair into a lovely one. They also have really cute accessories to finish the look. Can't wait!

Monday, 13 February 2012

Common scents.

Something I've noticed a lot on bridal forums is that a lot of brides want not just a great smelling perfume for the day but a great looking bottle to be photographed for the album. I was one of these brides!

There are a couple of dilemmas with this thought process. Lots of people have a 'signature scent' (Marc Jacobs Lola for me) and want to smell like themselves on the day. I know when I walk past a guy in the street wearing my future husband's scent it always reminds me of him so I want him to smell me on the day and know it's me and not a random woman in a white dress who's just shown up!

Secondly, not all great bottles contain a great smell inside. Vera Wang Princess comes in a beautiful heart bottle and I used to love wearing it (and did for a couple of years) but now I find the smell just too sweet for me. Jean Paul Gaultier do a great bottle but again, I'm not a fan of the scent.

So then I went back to my original point of wanting to smell nice and smell like me. Marc Jacobs Lola comes in a beautiful purple bottle with a decorative flower lid. However, I also felt it wasn't special enough as I wear it every day.

In the end, I found the perfect compromise - Marc Jacobs - Oh, Lola! This was a newer version of the original Lola so was the same but different. Luckily, after sniffing several testers right up my nose, I also found I loved the smell.

I know it will look beautiful being photographed next to my heart shoes too!

What I also liked about it, and I appreciate this is probably not a concern for anyone else in the world, is that it has the same name as my dog. And not just Lola but 'Oh, Lola!' - a phrase I utter at least 100 times a day!

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Sunday Shoes.

Sunday Shoes has been missing for a few weeks and so I thought I would treat you all with two pairs of shoes today and a very long story about my total indecision over wedding shoes.

I bought my FIRST pair of wedding shoes around 12 months ago. I had seen a beautiful wedding on a blog where the bride had a quirky paid of Vivienne Westwood for Melissa Ladydragon shoes on. The big love heart on the front fitted my theme, the colour fitted my love of pink, they were 20% off, reasonable heel and smelt delicious (smell is not normally a factor I consider when purchasing shoes but I made an exception here!)

I thought I was going to have some convincing to do when I showed my mum as I didn't think she was going to go for the idea of wearing what were, essentially, jelly shoes on my wedding day. However, she loved them! She said they were very me (I'm sure she meant it in a good way!) and the shoes were ticked off the list.

And then... I decided I might want something a bit fancier since I was being a spoilt princess over my sister's bridesmaids shoes. I had told her she could have any shoes as long as they were silver. She found THESE super high, super sparkly, super bargain shoes from Next. I was ok with it until she tried them on with her dress which seemed to make them even more sparkly! I WANTED SPARKLY SHOES!

So, I bought these amazing shoes from a seller on ebay for quite a lot (but not quite as much as a brand new pair would set me back).

Christian Louboutin sparkly skyscrapers in sapphire blue to match my engagement ring. High - check. Sparkles - check. Something blue - check. When they arrived they were about half a size too small! Gutted! They are peep toe and I can fit into them but I'm worried that it's obvious they're too small so have decided not to wear them. The original seller won't refund and so these beautiful babies will end up back on ebay. Sad times! (I keep looking at them in their pretty brown box and start to seriously consider some sort of foot reduction op!)

So, back to the original heart shoes. I do love them but they just weren't sparkly. I decided to explain my dilemma to my future husband as A. He is super stylish and would know what to do B. He would tell me if I was just being spoilt C. Would deffo agree to another pair of shoes!

Luckily for me, he felt my pain and decided I should have sparkly shoes. I found the perfect pair on a shopping trip to Selfridge's and am literally soooooo excited about them. I'll still wear my heart shoes for dancing in the evening but have the longed after sparkle for the day! I will be sure to share them closer to the date - 15 weeks to go!!

Saturday, 11 February 2012

A rose by any other name.

As the wedding creeps closer, I am often asked what my new name will be. No-one asks IF I plan to change my name or not, they simply assume I will be. Maybe if I was, I would not notice this presumption and would just answer the question but since I am not sure it really stands out to me that people think it strange not to change your name.

The reason I am unsure is because I like my name. It sounds nice with my first name, it's a little bit unusual (Shelley) and I have had it for 26 years. I am kinda attached to it.

However, I know my future husband would feel slightly offended if I didn't take his name. He is very traditional and just assumed I would. There is nothing wrong with his name - it's a very normal name - but it's just not my name.

I am not personally a fan of double barrelling. It can work with shorter names but it doesn't work for my new name. Too many sssssssssss. I know some people like to do a Brangelina and merge the two names - if I were to merge my new surname would be Smelley - not a good move!

Lots of people point out that if I were to have children they would have a different name to me and this is true. Maybe at this point I might to change it but I guess I am just not ready to say goodbye to my old name just yet.

Friday, 10 February 2012

Snow Day.

Sadly, despite the snow here in the Midlands, I still had to go into work. However, it's Friday and the working day is done and I am now looking forward to a meal with friends tonight and no work for two days (not strictly true as I have a uni assignment due in on Sunday but I'm doing my best to ignore it).

Anyway, just thought I would share this cute picture of Lola enjoying the snow:

Good job she has her headlights on or we may not find her!

Happy weekend everyone!

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Home Sweet Home


I have been very much absent from blogging as I have been ridiculously busy of late! Work is super crazy, there's so much to do for the wedding, uni deadlines are building up! We are also in the process of finalising our new house so it's been paperwork central (not to mention about 100 trips to the giant Next Home store as Fosse Park where I wish I lived!)

I never used to undertand why people would rather spend money on home furnishings instead of clothes. But this was before I had my own house (well, I almost have it). Now, I am addicted to browsing websites such as Next, Homebase and DFS!

It's been so hard to decide how to decorate and what to buy as I struggle to contain my overly girly style and am instantly attracted to anything pink and heart shaped. I need to remember 2 things: 1. I'm not a 6 year old girl and 2. I'm going to live with a boy. That means a lot of compromising and we've found the best way to do this is just to split the rooms!

Our house is going to be a real mish mash of us both and I like that. He's had a stainless steel kitchen (killed me not to buy every item in the Next kitchen heart range!) and I've had a shabby chic bedroom. We compromised on purple for the dining room (well it's not pink!) and our two fave colours for the living room (pink and green).

(Sneaking into Next and re-arranging displays to check they'll go in the new house!)

I then sneak variations of 'not pink' into every other room e.g. coral towels in the bathroom and Cath Kidston wallpaper in the spare room.

And then of course there are all my 'love' accessories!

Next 'love' cushion for the bedroom

Heart love sign from Dunelm

I'm now just looking forward to getting the keys and seeing how it all looks in the new house!