Wednesday, 15 October 2014

How to Survive Wedding Fever - The Book

Hi team, today I am in need of your help.

If you have followed my blog recently, you might just have noticed that in May I got married!  If not you can take a peek at the parts of the day I have already blogged about here.

I learnt SO much from planning my wedding, but at times it all felt completely overwhelming!   There were sleepless nights, sometimes I was so nervous I felt sick, and occasionally I'd break out into a cold sweat. Thats right, I had contracted wedding fever!

The stereotype is that all women LOVE to talk about weddings, especially their own. And to begin with I will admit it is certainly exciting. But what happens when the novelty of the idea wears off, and you are faced with tackling this mountain of a task? There is a huge amount of pressure these days for everything to be perfect, and I know that many women can end up feeling resentful and stressed out, and thats just not what planning a wedding should be about! IT SHOULD BE FUN!

When I looked back at all the things I had learnt on my journey, I realised that I didn't want it all to go to waste.  I wanted to impart my new found knowledge on other brides to be, and make their journey as easy and enjoyable as possible. So I decided I would write a book!

The working title at the moment is 'How to Survive Wedding Fever'. Here's a mock up of my front cover, it's still a work in progress but I'm getting there!
how to survive wedding fever book
There is more information out there about weddings than I could shake a stick at, but what I found that I really needed was logical, chronological and detailed advice, and that seemed hard to come by.  This book is based on my experience of wedding planning, as well as what I have learnt working in the industry. The aim is to guide the reader through each stage in bite size chunks, meaning that each day they can pick the book up and complete another piece of 'homework' in a short amount of time. I'll help make sure you pick quality suppliers, but will also let you in on some secrets to save money.  The idea is to make sure you don't become overwhelmed on your journey to wedded bliss

I've tried to encompass everything a bride will need to know in the book, but of course every bride, and every wedding is different. So here's where you come in. I'm looking for wedding tips from brides to be, previous brides, or suppliers. If thats sounds like you then I'd love your help.  All you need to do is comment on this post, send me an email at or send a message on twitter to @laura_boutique. 

Let me know any tips that you know from experience and found particularly useful. It could literally be anything. I will have a chapter dedicated to these tips,  and if I choose to include yours I will of course credit you in the book, and I will also include you in a thank you blog post with links to any websites you may have.

Also, if you have any feedback on the title and cover, that would be greatly appreciated. Like I say, it is  still a work in progress, but it'd be good to get an idea if i'm going in the right sort of direction.

Laura xXx
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Monday, 13 October 2014

A Welsh Adventure in Pip

pretty tenbyLast week we took a spur of the moment trip to Wales in Pip.  We met up with my parents who were
holidaying there for the week, and camped at a lovely site. We were the only ones there!

Unfortunately, as seems to be usual for our camping trips now, it rained. In fact, not only did it rain, but there was also a ton of thunder and lightning, especially at night!
Anyway, we managed to make the most of it. On our first full day we went to Tenby, which is a really pretty seaside town.  Nearly all of the houses and buildings are painted in pastel colours. We managed to catch a break in the rain and took a stroll on the beach, finding some caves which Chris decided to explore. The rain then caught up with us, so we ran for cover in a nearby eatery, and despite the weather I decided to have my favourite, a mint choc chip ice cream!
pastel tenby
mint door
tenby harbour
During our break we picked up some leaflets for nearby attractions, trying to decide what could be done in the rain.  We came across a climbing wall which didn't look that far away, so we planed to hunt it down.  The hunt didn't take very long though, as when we walked out of the cafe we noticed it was straight opposite!  We spent about an hour climbing the wall, which is a lot harder than it looks! I definitely need to work on my upper body strength!
rock climbing
In the evening we went to an old fashioned, traditional pub. As we got there we realised that the the nearby river was rising dangerously close to the front door, and about 5 minutes after we entered we found that we were stranded! Unless we wanted to get wet feet! It was very funny watching all of the locals come in with their trousers rolled up. About an hour or so later the tide went back in, and we were able to get back to our car, but it was a bit of an adventure!
carmarthern castle
The next day (after a very noisy thunderous night!) we ventured into Carmarthen for some Castle hunting and shopping.  There is a really nice little street of shops with products from local artists, but the rest of it was a bit of a bust.  Carmarthen Castle is pretty much on the high street, and there's not much to it, but its free to get in so I can't really complain!
Next we went to Narberth, and found a lovely little Tapas restaurant for lunch, it was delicious!  Narberth high street is pretty in pastels too, it must be a Welsh thing!
narberth high street
There were some nice shops here, one in particular called The Golden Sheaf Gallery where I managed to get a head start on my Christmas present shopping!
We visited Narberth Castle, but there weren't many photo opportunities there as there were fences preventing you going near it.  Our last stop was at Llawhaden Castle, which was by far the prettiest one we had seen.
Llawhaden castleLlawhaden castleLlawhaden castle
That concludes another of our adventures in Pip. It's getting chilly out now so that might be the last one for a while. Have you visited anywhere good in Wales that we should have checked out?

Laura xXx

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Friday, 10 October 2014

Wedding Photos - Arriving at the Venue

wedding photo
Here I am again for another instalment of our wedding! I can't believe how many photos I have!

We left the church in our VW camper Pip, with my Dad at the wheel.  We decided to stop off on the way to the venue and get some photos at one of my parents neighbours houses. (who just happened to also be very helpful wedding guests!)  I had spotted this perfectly shabby chic metal door on one of my earlier visits, and decided it would make a great background!

With the photos, I really wanted to make sure people weren't having to stand around being bored, hence why we only had a few at the church, and then at this point the guests were all arriving at the marquee getting their canapés and drinks. It was a tricky balance as the photos were very important to me, but I also didn't want to be away from our guests for too long. In the end I decided we would have a quick shoot here before we got the the venue, and then one later on after the meal. I think this worked really well and meant that the photos were much more natural and not rushed.

During this shoot chris decided to bite my head and blow a raspberry on my cheek (see below). Standard.
black and white wedding photo

vw wedding
2 tier wedding cake
cascading flowers wedding cake
This beautiful cake was made by my Mum. I told her I wanted a simple cake with lots of flowers cascading down it (ok, not that simple, but she is really good at sugar flowers so I knew she wouldn't find it that difficult!)  I did also specify that I wanted it in 2 tall layers, which turned out to be a bit of a nightmare for her. Apparently it doesn't seem that people really make them like this, or at least there's no information on the internet about how to do it, so she had to work it out herself.  Perhaps we'll share how she did it on a later post in case any of you fancy a tall 2 tiered cake for your wedding!
wedding fieldMy Mum and Dad had sourced loads of awesome vintage style props. We had this 'old bell' sign outside our beer tent, as well as a big signpost which you can see in the background. We also had a tipi and two vintage tea tents.  My dad had bought some old barrels which we used as tables in the beer tent, and he even put a chandelier in it!
welcome drinks. Elderflower and sloe gin fizz
I'm not a huge fan of champagne, but I do have a bit of a sweet tooth, so as our welcome drinks we created elderflower and sloe gin fizz.  The elderflower cordial and the sloe gin were both homemade the year before. In fact, I posted about making the elderflower cordial here.

We also bought some pretty drinks dispensers so that people could help themselves to some non-alcoholic drinks.
pretty wedding drinkscanapes
All of our canapés were wheat free for Chris. We got them from a local caterer.  I only had a couple since I was so busy, but they were tasty!
wedding table plan
For our order of the day my Dad found an old bit of rotten door behind his shed.  He managed to clean it up, and then I painted the words on the day before.

I spent absolutely ages on our table plan.  Each table was named after a fictional place in films and TV series's that we like, so I decided to make it look like a map.  From left to right going downwards you can see; Fhloston Paradise (Fifth Element), Santa Carla (Lost Boys), Neverland (Hook/Peter Pan) , Rivendell (Lord Of The Rings), Nostromo (Alien), Zubrowka (The Grand Budapest Hotel), Winterfell (Game of Thrones), The Goon Docks (The Goonies), Raccoon City (Resident Evil), Woodbury (Walking Dead), Endor (Star Wars), Arrakis (Dune) and Hill Valley (Back to The Future).

I painted images on each one to give people a clue to which film each one was from.  I'll tell you about the actual table place cards in the next wedding post, which will be about the meal and the speeches! 
fictional places wedding table plan
mr and mrs
wedding alpacas
Something which got everyone talking was the Alpaca farm in the field next door! They were also very interested to see us! But more on that later too!

Laura xXx
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Wednesday, 8 October 2014

First Attempt at Protein Balls

protein balls
Warning; I am going to be saying 'balls' a lot in this post, so please refrain from giggling, I am being serious people.

I've been trying to get back to the gym recently, and I've been seeing recipes for protein balls everywhere, so I decided to give one a go. I found a really simple recipe which I tweaked slightly, and luckily I had all of the ingredients. They turned out pretty good

Each ball has just over 8 grams of protein in it, which makes them perfect for eating on the go just before or after a work out.

This recipe below should make 8 protein balls.

4 tablespoons natural peanut butter
2 scoops (50g) vanilla protein powder
4 tablespoons coconut milk
Sesame seeds
50g dark chocolate

Mix the peanut butter, protein powder, coconut milk and sesame seeds in a bowl. Once mixed it should form a dough like consistency. I rolled mine out into a snake shape so that I could split the mixture evenly up into 8, then I rolled them into small balls.

Heat the chocolate in a pyrex dish over a pan of boiling water. Once melted dip each of your protein balls in and coat with the chocolate. Place on a plate and pop in the fridge until cool. Et voila! They are done! 
diy protein balls
It was such an easy recipe, I'll definitely be using this as a base to try out lots of different variations! Have you got a good recipe for protein balls you'd like to share?

Laura xXx
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Monday, 6 October 2014

Shopping at The Handmade Fair

1950s dress making pattern
A couple of weeks ago I went to The Handmade Fair at Hampton Court, and I thought you crafty lot might enjoy hearing about it!

When we bought tickets to the fair we had the choice of signing up to loads of different classes. In the end we went for a furniture painting session, a gift wrapping class, and finally a talk in the super theatre about quilting.

I particularly enjoyed the furniture painting class. To be honest I rather thought that I already knew all of the tricks, but Out Of The Dark had tons of fantastic tips for us. My favourite was that you can re-use sand paper again and again if you just hoover it! Who knew!?

Aside from the classes there was a huge amount of awesome food and drinks suppliers. Of course we had to stop off for a glass of prosecco on our travels.

But obviously, the main event had to be the shopping! There were SO many amazing crafty stalls, I ended up spending a small fortune!

First of all I spotted this fantastic dress pattern from Sew Over it, based on Betty Draper from Mad Men.  Unlike normal sewing patterns, this one has a step by step tutorial on the Sew Over It blog, so I thought that it would be a good one to try as a novice dress maker!  I also bought myself some fabric to make the dress out of from a separate stall.  I didn't realise at all until I got home, but the fabric I bought is identical to the fabric they have illustrated on the front of the pattern!  Weird!
designosaur mammoth necklaceI stopped by Designosaur's stand as I follow them on Instagram and I love all of their jewellery. It was great to meet them in person.  I decided to treat myself to a mammoth necklace after much deliberation. Pretty cool huh!?

Whilst in the Etsy tent I also had a nice little chat with Alice Tams from Birds in Hats. Her illustrations are super cute, and as you might have guessed, they all feature different birds in different hats! I am seriously taken with this Walking Dead inspired crow!
walking dead crow
I also said hello to Zoe from Ladybird Likes, who I had met once before at a Southampton Etsy party. I bought my friend one of her lovely butterfly necklaces for her Birthday. I didn't get a chance to photograph it myself so this is the picture from Zoe's Shop on etsy.ladybirdlikes butterfly necklace
I've been looking for prints to go in our new study, and when I found this ice cream print by Ros Shiers I decided it must be mine!  I am a bit of a sucker for ice cream and ice lollies. Mainly twisters, feasts, and Ben and Jerrys mint chocolate chunk.
ice cream print
If you are an avid TV series watcher, and you haven't come across Kate Rowland yet, I seriously urge you to check her work out! From Breaking Bad to Twin Peaks, she has got some amazing pins and jewellery!  I spent an age deciding which one I liked best, but I eventually settled on this Nights Watch badge from Game of Thrones. I could wear every single one of them!
game of thrones nights watch badge
I had such a lovely day, which was made all the better by wonderful company. I even managed to catch up with Claire from  Claireabellemakes , who, by the way has written a great post on the day, and was much better than me at capturing pictures of the actual event! So go and check that out if you want to see some more.

I hope you have enjoyed living vicariously through my shopping experience, if not, go and buy some for yourselves! 

Laura xXx
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