Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Wedding Day Countdown - Skincare

I thought I would combine the two things I'm most interested in at the moment -and the two things I seem to write about most... Weddings and Beauty. 

With my wedding day getting closer and closer I wanted to share another little countdown with you that might be helpful. It's pretty common for brides to be on a health kick  to get in the best shape before the day but how many take their skin care into consideration? With photographers around pretty much all day and cameras picking up every little detail these days you want to look your best. 


There is a great way to get started and give your skin the boost it needs. Of course rule number one is to up the hydration, come January we'll all be adding it to our New Years Resolutions but to take care of your skin you need to stick to it.

Starting early is the best way to prepare. You can give yourself enough time to make it second nature.

6 Months to go
On your big day it's likely your arms are going to be on show, with the increase in shorter wedding dresses possibly even your legs too. Boost circulation with some dry body brushing once or twice a week. I swear by dry body brushing! Use long sweeping movements, always working towards the heart before showering, it helps release toxins while exfoliating. It should leave your skin a little pink afterwards (not red) and your circulation will be really improved. If your dress is strapless them don't forget the chest and shoulders, hey, give it all a scrub, it's good for you! 

Afterwards apply some Firming Body Cream which reduces the appearance of skin dimples and improves the skin texture and firmness.  

For the face try my favourite product ever, the Wild Rose Beauty Balm - it has so many uses so it's the one product I recommend to everyone! It's great for decongesting the skin and gently exfoliating while nourishing any dehydrated areas. It's won loads of awards so don't just take my word for it!

Another great product for this (and a little kinder on the bank balance) is the  Rose Facial Polish which smells devine! 

You basically want to start making sure you're giving your skin a good cleanse and get into a routine of scrubbing away impurities and dead cells. The Honey and Orange Facial Scrub gently exfoliates and really brightens the skin while toning and giving you a great base to work with. 

Using a face mask every couple of weeks is a lovely treat, you're bound to be stressed with the wedding plans so it's a great excuse to take some time to switch off. Pop on the White Tea Facial Mask for ten minutes and you'll notice a huge difference. - I really love it! It is so SO nourishing and the scent is really soothing. 
White tea is an antioxidant which helps maintain healthy skin. This mask is full of goodness such a s frankincense, evening primrose oil and aloe vera and will help with the appearance of fine lines while plumping the skin. 


You might want to consider taking some supplements. It's not all about what you put on your body but what you put into it too. The Beauty Boost Capsules support the underlying structures of the skin, hair and nails just by taking two a day. Of course you should make sure you're drinking plenty of water and eating well too. 

Applying the Beauty Sleep Concentrate each night under your moisturiser helps replenish skin while you sleep. It actually increases the skin's moisture levels by 98% over 12 hours -pretty damn impressive! Hydrated skin is happy skin! It can even be used alone in place of your usual moisturiser if you wish. This is another one of Neal's Yard's wonder products with several awards under it's belt. 

Each month put aside some time for a pamper evening and give yourself a monthly facial. There's no need to visit an expensive spa when you have the products at home! 


Apply a mask, 

and follow with the Beauty Sleep concentrate and a good moisturiser.

3 months to go
You want to get some calm. Time is ticking, suppliers want their final payments and you have all the fiddly bits left to do. Your skin will be looking radiant after taking care of it so well over the past 3 months but the stresses might be getting to you. Take time to burn some oils, geranium oil helps with anxiety and lavender promotes a good nights sleep and is very calming. 

If burning oils aren't your thing you can apply Remedies to Roll Relaxation on your pulse points which is a good alternative and brilliant to have in your handbag after stressful meeting with suppliers, bridesmaids or in-laws! 

Up that monthly facial to a weekly facial and start to include a facial oil like the Rose Facial Oil or Orange Flower Facial Oil for drier skin. These balance moisture levels and leave the skin looking radiant. It's really nice to apply oils with a light facial massage to wind down in the evening. 


Also start using a serum like the Wild Rose Beauty Elixir which boosts radiance and elasticity. The moisturising hyaluronic acid and brightening turmeric really help to improve the skins appearance and work down on the layer beneath the skin we see to plump out skin and reduce lines. 

On The Day

Make sure you use a serum under your moisturiser, this will give your make-up artist a great base to work with. Definitely drink a couple of glasses of water when getting ready, you're going to be celebrating and drinking champagne most of the day so you want to make sure you're hydrated and you don't end up with a headache by lunchtime. 

I absolutely love the White Tea range. The White Tea Hydrating Facial Mist is great to spritz throughout the day to keep you fresh -it's absolutely fine to use over make up and it perks you up and soothe the skin. Get one of your bridesmaids to carry a bottle in their bag for you all to use. They'll be thankful for the lovely pick me up.

Yore likely to be a bag of emotions, it's an exciting yet nerve wracking day. Apply the remedies to roll relaxation to your wrists to control the nerves and keep you calm. 

Even without a wedding to prepare for these are great ways to keep your skin healthy while using natural organic products.

I'd love to hear about your favourite Neal's Yard products or if you are in the middle of your own wedding planning!


Tuesday, 13 September 2016

TIPS- How to Save Money on your Wedding

Planning our wedding hasn't been stressful (so far). Luckily we've both been on the same page from day one and have pretty much exactly the same end result. We are both really family oriented so bringing our families together for a really great day means the most to us. After a lot of stress with people over the years we've ended up surrounding ourselves with the kindest, most beautiful people and having them with us to spend such a special days mean a lot. 

Weddings are expensive, there's no secret there. It's a big day in your life so it's natural you're going to want to splash out a little bit but there are ways to make sure you don't go overboard. 

Whether you want to make the day as cheap as possible or you just want to save money on the things you find least important I think there's a way to do it. There's no reason you have to end up in thousands of pounds worth of debt just because the wedding magazines tell you how a traditional wedding should be. 

I wanted to share a few things I've learnt so far that have helped us make some decisions about the big day. These are a few things you might want to think about...


What are you willing to SPEND on?
There are some things that you might feel is important enough to you to spend more of your budget on. Having a good photographer means a lot to Sam and I so we're happy to pay for the right one. I'm my own worst critic so I want to feel comfortable and know I'm not going to look back at our wedding pictures and cringe. Shoes are obviously my thing so if I find the perfect designer pair then they will be a lovely treat that I'll keep forever and remember as the shoes I wore when I married Sam. If you're saving money in other areas I think it's fine to spend a bit more on a couple of things that make you happy.

There's nothing worse than being at a wedding and waiting around being absolutely starving, so personally I wouldn't want to skimp on food. In most cases your friends and family have travelled to be there and if you want them up and dancing all night you want to give them some energy! Well fed people are happy people. However....

When it comes to food...
You can keep costs down a little by having a buffet, it works out cheaper than a four course meal and your guests can control how much they have to eat until they are satisfied. 

If it's possible sort out your own catering from a separate company so you can hunt around to find the best deal. It might even get family and friends to help by making food for you. Most venues we've seen like to use their own caterers so this might not always be an option but it's something worth considering.

If a venue lets you bring your own drink you can head to a wholesalers or supermarket and get a great deal on a couple of cases of wine. 

Skip the traditions
You don't have to have a wedding cake if you don't want one, or if you do you can serve it as dessert and kill two birds with one stone. There are cheaper alternatives to the cake that might be more personal to you such as brownies, cheese, macaroons, cupcakes or even donuts! 

You don't have to toss a bouquet which could save you money on an expensive bunch of flowers that end up on the floor! Come to think of it I can't remember at wedding I've been to where the bride tossed a bouquet - is it still a thing? Answers on a postcard.

Getting married on a weekend isn't the done-thing anymore. You can save hundreds (even a couple of thousand in some cases!) by having your wedding midweek. Chasing a date out of season will save the pennies too, in the UK we can never guarantee the weather so at least with a winter wedding you know what you're getting!

Think of other options for your reception drinks. Pimms, Cider, or adding some fruit juice to something sparkly are fun alternative that work out much cheaper than champagne.

Having a beautiful vintage wedding car might be lovely but when the bride and bridesmaids arrive last nobody will even see the car that you've paid hundreds for. If you can have your ceremony and reception in one venue you won't need any wedding transport at all -bonus. 

Do you really need an expensive guest book (or one at all?). I've seen some cost up to £30 but there are loads of beautiful big notebooks around if you really want something to keep. Some places will let you personalise a book for free to make it really unique - just make sure everyone writes in it so it's worthwhile. 

Get your DIY on
If neither of you have a creative bone in your body this might not be an option but you can save loads (and I mean LOADS) if you make your own stationery. Invites alone can work out at £7 each so if you are able to come up with something on photoshop then you can cut the cost in half. There are even websites with downloadable invites that you can print yourself. You're generally paying more for the cost of the card it's printed on and 90% end up in the bin anyway -sorry it's true!

When it comes to stationery there is a lot more than the invites to think about - Save the dates, menus, maps, accommodation information, table numbers, order of service, place cards, seating plans. It all adds up.


Instead of giving everyone a separate Order of Service put the information on a chalk board rather than printing them - again, they end up  in the bin or left behind anyway and all the information is right there where everyone needs it.

Get your friends together to make some decorations and favours. It can be a fun way to get the wedding party together. Making bunting is easy, you could make pom poms, pop candles in painted jam jars, and hole punch some pretty table confetti. Using old photos adds a personal touch too so get your thinking caps on.

Don't go too overboard with favours, a lot of them are usually left behind (I wonder if there is a statistic there..?) Have you ever been at a wedding and thought 'well this favour is awful, I feel CHEATED!' .... no... I hope(!) There is really no need to spend a big chunk of the budget on something nobody will even care about. 

It's not what you know, it's who you know
You don't always have to hire expensive wedding suppliers. Look around for student bands who can play for a fraction of the cost. 
If you know any friends who are handy with a camera you could arrange for a couple to take pictures for you throughout the day so there's no need to hire a photographer. Ask friends and family if they know anyone who DJ's or if someone knows their way around a pa system and can get a playlist set up for you. Enlist the help of any creatives who could help with invites or even a friend who is great with a make-up brush and can do your make-up for you. It's  definitely worth asking around.

Keep the bridal party small
You don't HAVE to have anyone as a bridesmaid or groomsmen. If you think someone will be offended if they don't get asked that's not a good reason to include them in the wedding party. Dresses, make-up artists, suit hire, bouquets, gifts etc all add up so you will be adding unnecessary cost just to save on an awkward discussion (that probably would be fine in the end anyway). Keep the bridal party small and get people involved in the wedding in other ways like being a witness or doing a reading for you.

Think about the venue
We went to a wedding recently which was on the groom's parent's farm and it was beautiful. As there was no wedding license they got married the week before and had a blessing followed by a great reception. It's a brilliant way to make the most of a unique venue and not get sucked into a large wedding package that  a lot of hotels have. 

Keep an eye out for hidden costs (cake cutter, linen cloakroom, corkage, storage) and make sure you are aware of exactly what you are paying for. Take note of the size of the tables, bigger tables seat more people so you save on decorations. Even one-or-two less tables is one-or-two less centre pieces. 

Think about your guest list
The guest list is a tough one, you don't want to offend people but remember the cost. 

Inviting people you haven't seen in years, old work colleagues, relatives you don't really talk to or peoples girlfriends you haven't met (and probably don't even want to be there!) can mean spending a huge chunk of the budget. 

For example if the food is about £75 per person you might want to give your wedding guest list a little jig around. Paying for 100 people's food would be £7500 and knocking off 20 people takes it down to £6000 -that's a hefty £1500 saving!

Weddings can be expensive for a guest so a lot might actually be relieved if you only invite them to the evening reception

Depending on how many children there are in your family it could be an option to make the wedding child free. It will save on children's entertainment, separate kids food and treats.

Say No to the Dress

I don't know why your wedding is the one day where it's acceptable to wear a dress that costs the same as an all inclusive holiday! We need to get rid of this idea, I think a lot of the time we're just looking at dresses that cost an obscene amount because it's the 'done thing'. Take a look on the high street, ASOS, Debenhams and Misguided do beautiful dresses. Even look into buying one seconds hand, let's face it, it will only have been worn once! 

You could also opt to do your own hair and make up if you're confident with your capabilities. 

The most important thing is to have the day how you (as a couple) want it, not your Mum, your in-laws, or your friends.  Ignore the to-do lists on Pinterest and all of the things you 'just have to have' in the wedding mags. You only do it once so make the most of it and enjoy it! 

I'd love to hear any money saving tips you might have and if you're in the middle of planning a wedding too come and say hi!


Friday, 9 September 2016

The Incredible Intergalactic Journey Home Book Review

Mason starts school  soon, time has flown by ridiculously fast. Having an August birthday means he's one of the youngest in the year so with there being people in his class almost a year older I feel like there is a bit of pressure to make sure he doesn't seem really behind the older children. 


Luckily he's always been into reading and loves to sit down and have story time with me. I know that the more he reads the easier the transition to 'big school' is going to be. The key to keeping him interested is not only a good story but something he can relate to. I reviewed the fabulous The Little Boy Who Lost His Name which Mason adored as it was a story of a boy finding is his name and *spoiler alert* once the boy found his name he found out he was called Mason. A personalised book made it far more exciting for him. I was really pleased to hear that they have released another unique book 'The Incredible Intergalactic Journey Home' and they've taken the personalisation a little further.


When ordering the book you enter your child's first name, select whether the book is for a boy or girl and pick a hair colour for the main character. Next is the interesting bit - you enter your address.

Wait for it....

The story takes the child through space meeting a few friends along the way. As the title suggests they are finding their  way back home. The repetition of Mason's name really got him smiling and he was so engaged in the story, the little characters are really cute too. 

The story gets more exciting as the child gets closer to home. From entering your address when ordering the book there is a page with a photograph 'from space' where you can see your street.


 Mason loved being able to see our car parked on the drive and even pointed out where 'little Tesco' was! It was a really nice touch and unlike nothing I'd seen in a child's book before.

As an added bonus the front cover glows in the dark which impressed the both of us! It really ties-in with the space theme.


There's a part to add a dedication so it's lovely to have a personal message printed inside too. 


For Mason's age it was the perfect length but for younger children you might want to read it over two nights.

The book is £19.99 which includes full personalisation and postage.  Although it seems pricey you are getting something truly unique that you will keep forever. It makes a perfect gift so I would really recommend ordering one for Christmas -anyone with kids is bound to appreciate how thoughtful  it is and it's certainly not only enjoyed by the children!

*I was kindly sent this for a review purposes but all thoughts are 100% my own