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Monday, 25 November 2013

Wedding Hair and Makeup Trial

On Friday I had my hair and makeup trial for the wedding. It was something I had been looking forward to since I booked my wedding hairdresser Blushing Brides Bournemouth back in Spring!

I was still unsure of which hairstyle to go with right up until the morning of the trial but I needn't have worried. I showed Sally the type of things I had been looking at and she got to work on two styles for me to choose from. One half up and half down with curls and the other, curled and pinned up at the back of my head in a loose bun.

Although I loved my hair half up and half down, I did look a lot younger, and I am also aware that having our wedding in February means that the weather may not be kind to my poor hair. I love the hair up style Sally went for. It makes me look elegant and feminine and I think it should withstand the elements.

After we had finished with my hair, we moved onto makeup. I have been umming and ahhing over whether to have my makeup professionally done or whether to just do it myself as I do a full face of makeup daily and have got it down to a fine art by now.

However, after having Sally very kindly do me a no obligation trial along with my hair trial, I am really happy I gave her a chance! She really put me at ease and I am really pleased with how she did my bridal makeup.

The only pointers I gave her were that I wanted to have a subtle smoky eye and pink lips, and Sally really delivered exactly what I wanted. She promised me the makeup would stay put and, even after a walk in the freezing cold local park and then a couple of cheeky wines in the evening, the makeup was still perfect by the time I went to bed!

I am really excited to have Sally doing mine and my bridesmaids hair and makeup for the wedding and would recommend her to everyone!

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Why I'm Excited for My First Cervical Screening

For a lot of women, a cervical screening (otherwise known as a smear test, but that doesn't sound nice) is reason for worry, fear, dread... For me, the invitation to come for my first screening marked the end of my campaign to have one given to me before my 25th birthday.

What scared me the most was that my mum has had to have more frequent screening over the past ten years due to finding precancerous cells during a routine smear. Now, to be fair, I didn't actually win my battle. I have been informed before that I would most likely get the invitation 6 months or so before my actual birthday. But, as soon as I received my letter I got on the phone and had myself booked in for this week, the earliest appointment I could get.

My invitation to have my first cervical screening

Maybe some of you reading think I am crazy. I promise you I am not. Although there have been a lot of women who come out with horror stories of smear tests, I believe these experiences to be of the minority. Having had two children, I am already at a slightly higher risk of cervical cancer. I would rather endure a few minutes of discomfort, even pain, just to ensure that I won't be leaving my kids without a mother.

Other things that can increase your risk of cervical cancer include smoking, having the HPV, Herpes or Chlamydia sexually transmitted infections, not using condoms, having had sex from a young age, your ethnicity, social class and, worryingly, if you are on the pill. Having been on the pill since the age of 15 (therefore, for more than 5 years), my chances of cervical cancer are apparently already doubled.

The fact that I have had two children means I feel rather invincible about the apparent discomfort of having a smear test. I have had both children, naturally, as well as a total of 3 stretch and sweeps towards the end of my pregnancies. I am also a safety first kind of girl and in the past I have had tests at GUM clinics which the nurses said would be similar to a smear test. Well, back then I hadn't had one of those, but it comforts me to know whatever this screening will bring, it should be no worse than something I have been through before. Even if it were a horrible experience, like I say, I would much rather go through it than the alternative.

With statistics showing that many women are refusing to attend routine screenings, and some having never been, I am hoping that if my post on my 'excitement' for my first smear at least helps one more woman pick up that phone and book herself in,  I will have done some good. The death of Jade Goody a few years ago when she was just 27 and with two young sons shocked the nation, but there are still women dying from cervical cancer. At the time of her death, the UK government had promised to review the current age with a view to lowering it from 25. To this date, four years on, this has not been done. In fact, in Scotland and Wales, where cervical screening is done routinely from 20 years of age, this will actually INCREASE to 25 in 2015!

Taken from Cancer Research UK Website:

"Almost 3,400 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer in the UK each year. Overall, 2 out of every 100 cancers diagnosed in women (2%) are cervical cancers. But it is the most common cancer in women under 35 years old.

Around 4 million women are invited for cervical screening each year in England. About 1 out of every 100 women screened have a moderate or high grade abnormality (1%). Early treatment can prevent these cervical changes developing into cancer."

Once I was told not to be a statistic in relation to my first pregnancy, not relative, but I have taken that advice on board in other areas of my life and I will be making sure I am not at risk right now and have my screening. I urge other women to put aside any fears they might  have and take the plunge.

Meanwhile, even though I have now reached the age where I am able to have a smear, I will be continuing to fight for the right to have screenings at a younger age, especially where there has been a history of precancerous or cancerous cells in female relatives, or being more at risk.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

What Would You Like to Be When You Grow Up?

"What would you like to be when you grow up?" It's a question often asked when you are a child and you don't often really know what you really want to be and most of the time, when answering, you will have chosen something that looks the most fun. Perhaps a fireman or a doctor. Most people don't go on to become what they 'wanted' to be as a child, whether it was an unrealistic dream or just because their likes and ambitions changed as they grew up.

My 18th Birthday party- theme was
 'what you wanted to be when you were seven'

For my 18th birthday party I held a fancy dress party with the theme 'what you wanted to be when you were seven'. The outfits ranged from serious to hilarious (somehow we had two girls who wanted to be ladybirds)! I went as a celebrity. I wanted to be lots of things when I was that age. One being a teacher, another a secretary and being famous was also quite high up there.

I think my main issue, which I have realised recently through counselling for PND, is that whereas most people leave this indecisiveness behind when they reach adulthood, I still want to do lots of things, to be lots of things and this makes it hard to focus on any one thing I set my hand to.

I love working, but right now I am unable to put the time and effort I need to into my business

Last week I had to make the difficult decision of taking a break from my events business. I was already finding it increasingly difficult to work around a very mobile Carly, but when Cameron's childcare also fell through, I realised that working around both kids week in, week out, would be near impossible and not fair on me or the kids to put us under that pressure. It has been hard as I want to be able to work, but at the same time, I am unable to afford childcare for them both in order for me to put in the time and effort the business needs. It's almost like having three kids, and unfortunately it has meant having to put the needs of the business to the back of my mind for the time being.

In the past, blogging has led to opportunities such as writing for More Magazine
and taking part in their Superfan issue

The positives to have come out of this is that I have been freed up to have a think about what my other passions are, apart from events. I have rediscovered my love of blogging, and when talking to my counsellor, I have realised that writing is what makes me happiest. I have been looking into freelance journalism and also rethinking about books that I have started writing in the past. Writing is something I love and can be slotted in to my life with relative ease.

Modelling has always been something I have loved

I have also set up a modelling page. As a natural born poser, I love being in front of the camera and I have really enjoyed taking part in photo shoots in the past. I wouldn't want to model full time as a career, but this is definitely something I am looking into doing in my spare time.

Ultimately, being a mum and doing things that make me happy
are what's important right now when battling with PND

As someone who has struggled in the past to come up with hobbies on my CV I am determined to understand what makes me happy outside of work and the kids, and I think these two things are definitely a good start. Ultimately being happy is most important right now in battling my PND so I am going to enjoy my break from the business by spending time with my kids, writing and modelling as well as looking at the positives in life. Life is too short not to spend it doing what makes you happy!

And who knows, this break might even help me finally come up with the answer to that all important question- "What do I want to be when I grow up?"

Carly Turns One!

Last weekend was an extra special one for me as my baby daughter turned one on Saturday! I cannot believe how fast the past year has gone!

We celebrated her big day with friends and family at my mum's house. It was a pretty traditional children's birthday party, complete with a, rather silly as the babies are so young still, game of pass the parcel and lots of yummy party food finished off with a Forever Friends Birthday cake and bowls of jelly.

Carly didn't really understand what was going on and didn't really get what opening presents was all about, but that didn't matter as she had her big brother on board to help her. Cameron didn't really like it being all about Carly and he kept saying it was his birthday and his party! Luckily my cousin Spencer came along and they kept each other occupied.

We had a brilliant day and Carly was very spoilt and now has lots of lovely clothes and a huge amount of very pink and girly toys we need to find homes for!

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

The Rise of the Minimoon

If you go back a few decades, most people getting married were yet to start a family, were generally relatively young and didn't have very much in the way of commitments. Most people also still followed the tradition of the bride's parents paying for at least the majority of the wedding. This meant that a honeymoon was something relatively easy to afford. Couples would take a week or two, maybe even longer in the sun as a way to relax immediately after the wedding.

Nowadays, many couples pay for their own weddings. Even if parents are willing and able to help with costs, the increase in price for a wedding has meant that, for a lot of couples, a honeymoon is an expensive extra which often needs to be delayed until at least a couple of months after the wedding. In addition to this, many people are no longer waiting until marriage to have children, meaning that the relaxing trip away for two isn't always something they want or are able to indulge in. Often couples are looking for trips away with one or more children in tow. Even for those who are yet to have children, the average age of those getting married has increased. This means that
newlyweds are likely to have established careers by the time they get married. Although most people would be able to take holiday for their honeymoon, in some cases a fortnight, or even a week away simply isn't an option.

It is no real surprise, therefore, that a mini break, often referred to in the wedding world as a minimoon, is becoming more and more popular in place of, or in addition to, the traditional honeymoon our parents would have had. Whether you are parents to young children, unable to spare more than a few days away around the wedding, or strapped for cash after creating your big day, a mini moon is often the perfect choice to still be able to have that break away just after your wedding.

Personally, Tim and I fit into two of those categories. We never wanted to go away for a long time without the children (though the plan is to have just a week away in Greece for our 'proper' honeymoon three months or so after the wedding) and, despite a very generous donation from my dad, saving for the wedding has left us pretty broke. As we have been saving hard and unable to do much for months because of this, it was important for us to have one final push to get together enough money to do something just us and the kids a week after the wedding. We are looking into a few days away with them towards the end of February and I am just as excited for our 'mini moon' as our honeymoon! Getting married when you already have children is much more about creating a stable family environment, and what better way to celebrate that than going away with the kids? Sure, I want and need a holiday just as much as the next stressed out bride to be, but I am willing to wait a few months for it, by which time we can hopefully afford our week away in the sun.

If you are thinking of planning a minimoon, for whatever reason, after your wedding, then why not have a look at my top picks for Families or for Romantic gtaways?

Best for Families:


A great base for a UK family friendly break away. There are pools and activities for children as well as family and adult entertainment in the evenings. There are always great deals to be had, and often breaks are featured on sites such as Groupon, for even better bargains!

Disneyland Paris

Probably the ultimate in family getaways. It is no secret that Disney is my favourite place in the World. It is simply magical and somewhere I would definitely suggest taking kids to at least once in their childhood. Often considered an expensive trip, if you shop around there are some fantastic deals to be had, and you can do it on a budget.


One of the top family friendly destinations in Europe, and perfect distance for a shorter break away (though still relatively low cost even for a week). This is a fantastic option if you are wanting the sun but can't leave the kids at home. There are plenty of family friendly hotels and lots of activities for kids of all ages.

Best for Romance:

New Forest:

If you're looking for a short romantic break in the UK, there are tonnes of lovely places in the New Forest. There are some beautiful B&Bs which would be great to escape to after the stress of planning a wedding!


You don't get much more romantic than a moonlit trip down the river in a Gondola. A few days in this romantic location would be just perfect for an alternative to a honeymoon (or even as part of a longer trip away).


Considered one of the most romantic  destinations in the World, this City is fantastic for a short break away just the two of you. Take in the sights, have a meal under the stars and have some fantastic photos in front of the stunning landmarks.

Monday, 11 November 2013

Why Every Bride Needs a Bridezilla Moment

Being a Bridezilla isn't exactly something most brides would want to admit to. The name itself conjures up some sort of monster!

I remember watching a scene in 27 Dresses before I was engaged where the lead character's sister who is about to get married is labelled a bridezilla... The general idea is being one is something you should avoid at all costs and that nobody will like you if you let the bridezilla, which I believe resides in all of us, out in the open.

Perhaps controversially therefore, I actually think it is a good idea to have at least one major bridezilla outburst during the planning of your wedding. Before you label me some sort of freak, let me explain.

During the planning stages of my own wedding, I have so far had around 3 major bridezilla 'episodes', along with several much smaller outbursts. Now, I am sure my family and Tim will tell you that these were neither pleasant nor fun, but I do think they had a purpose and that I actually came out from them having learnt valuable lessons.

The first was about my dress. I had been somewhat rushed into purchasing a dress at the shop I was sure I wanted to buy my wedding dress from during a 'sale' weekend. The sales lady, looking back, knew exactly what she was doing and she sold me a dress which neither suited me nor was 'the one' for me. It was (in fact, still is as I am still struggling to sell it 9 months later) two sizes too big for me and completely unflattering to my figure. I knew deep down that it wasn't for me. After a big tantrum, I decided to go out and look at other dresses to prove to myself that it was in fact the dress for me, only to inevitably find my dream dress in another shop. As I had bought my first dress as a sample, I was stuck with it, but assured myself I could sell it on and I bought the second dress. As I mentioned, I haven't been able to sell the first one yet (nightmare!) but if I hadn't of had my outburst and gone shopping again, I might not have found my dream dress and I would still be wearing a dress I didn't feel good in for our wedding day.

My second big outburst came after several strained conversations between myself and our wedding coordinator at our initial venue. When first planning our wedding we had a very different plan of what we wanted and when we found a venue offering a great deal we booked to look around and speak to someone. Unfortunately this is where the issues started as the actual wedding coordinator was away at the time and we met with someone else who, it turns out, didn't actually have the authority to be telling us what we could and couldn't have as part of the package. We loved the venue and the price they offered seemed too good to pass up so we arranged to pay the deposit as soon as the coordinator returned. After a conversation with this woman, it was evident  we weren't able to get anywhere near as much for our money as the original man had told us so we immediately got off on the wrong foot with her as she started saying no to basically everything. We still booked with them as I did love the venue but after the coordinator started acting like I was a nuisance for asking questions and avoiding phone and email conversations with me, I decided enough was enough. After having a big meltdown when I thought I wouldn't be able to have the day of my dreams after all, Tim told me to stop worrying about it and we started the hunt for a new venue, finally settling on the Ocean View Hotel in Bournemouth. The coordinator there was so lovely and accommodating and made us feel our day was special. I finally felt excited about our wedding again! If I hadn't of let Tim know how low it was making me feel, I might have stayed with the first venue and not enjoyed my day as much. We were fortunate to get the deposit back from our first venue and get a great deal at the second, but even if we had of ended up losing some money, I would still have changed venue. You should feel excited about your wedding day, not made to dread it.

My third and probably biggest bridezilla moment was a few weeks ago, returning from a break away with my mum the stress of planning the wedding pretty much entirely on my own got to me and I ended up letting everything out to my poor mum who was driving us home at the time. I felt that I was the only one interested in the wedding, the only one excited about it and therefore I should cancel everything and elope (sounds drastic but I am sure about 80% of brides have had at least one moment like this). I was angry at everyone for not 'being helpful' until my mum (very bravely, considering my mood) pointed out that nobody was able to help me as I was so adamant I wanted to do everything for myself. I hadn't let anyone have the chance to help. Even my hen party and bridal shower have been completely planned by myself, despite my sister being willing to help.

Now, I know that this is making me out to be a mega bitch so before I start being hated I would like to explain that when you are a bride to be you tend to escape the real world from time to time and enter the wedding world where everything is about perfect centrepieces and having the day you always dreamt of. It can be easy to get swept up in everything and forget what a wedding is really all about- marrying the one you love, and having friends and family there to celebrate with you. After I had finished my tantrum, my mum calmly explained that people did want to help me, if I would only let them.

I maintain that if it weren't for this outburst, the feelings of resentment that had been steadily building up inside me would have come out at a much worse time, and I needed my mum to bring me back down to earth with a bump to make me appreciate those who love me are excited and will be even more excited when the wedding actually comes around.

So, fellow brides to be, don't be ashamed if you let your inner bridezilla out. Embrace it and learn from the experience. Sometimes it takes an outburst of massive proportions to truly appreciate what's important.

Introducing... My Bridal Party

With my Hen Party and Bridal Shower at the end of the month, I figured it was as good a time as any to introduce my bridal party.

When it comes to choosing those girls you are going to be getting ready with the morning of your wedding, you need to know you have people who truly love and care about you. Choosing my girls wasn't a hard decision as they are family and I couldn't imagine not having them there with me on my big day.

My Maid of Honour:

Megan is my little sister. Although the age gap between us was a bit of an issue when we were younger, I barely notice it anymore and she is a brilliant sister and auntie to Cameron and Carly. I couldn't be without her!


Becky is my soon to be sister in law as she is engaged to my brother James and will be marrying him in 2015! I am so happy to be gaining Becky as a sister as she is the loveliest person I have met. James chose well!

Flower Girl

My Flower Girl was always going to be Carly. Even before she was born I was imagining her walking down the aisle before me and I picked out her outfit at the start of the year (hopefully she'll fit into it!). She is totally going to steal the show!

A special mention also goes to my two close friends Aimee and Sealy. Although they aren't bridesmaids, they are both doing readings at the wedding. I am so happy they get to share my special day with me as life and babies have gotten in the way over the past couple of years.

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Secret Santa Shopping Tips

I personally absolutely love Secret Santa. One of the main things I miss about having a 'proper' job now I have the business is the secret santa (closely followed by not having a work Christmas party). Luckily for me I have been able to take part in two this year. One has been arranged through a bridal page I am part of on Facebook, the other is amongst the group of mums (who have become close friends) I met during my antenatal relaxation classes last Autumn.

I thought a little blog on top tips for buying a secret Santa gift would be a nice idea to get into the Christmas spirit (not that I necessarily need this as I have already bought ALL of my Christmas presents!)

*Firstly, if a questionnaire has been used for the secret Santa and you have some information on the person you are buying from always refer to it! Don't think it will be a nice idea to get them a total surprise or something they wouldn't normally go for as there is a strong chance they would hate it and that wouldn't be a good idea. Questionnaires are usually used for larger secret Santas or those where you wouldn't necessarily know the recipient (such as my brides one).

*If it is a friend you are buying for, take some time to think about what your friend likes, dislikes, what their hobbies are, what is going on in their lives at the moment etc. It may seem obvious, but often a quick recap will allow you to come up with a present they would really love rather than just going for something generic from the Boots Christmas aisle.

*If your secret Santa happens to be a novelty one, still think outside the box. When it comes to opening the gifts there are bound to be many of the same thing, try to think of something a little different!

*Sometimes having a smaller budget just makes the whole thing more exciting. I am a total bargain hunter so I love finding gifts for less than £10. If your budget is less than £5 then this does make things a little more difficult but again, by thinking outside of the box you can come up with something brilliant. Visit little gift shops that you wouldn't normally visit, go to small gifts in places like Next, Debenhams and Supermarkets such as Sainsbury's and Asda as they often have gifts for this price range that are actually quite good.

*Don't rule out shopping online for gifts. As long as you leave enough time for delivery, there are some great bargains to be had from shopping online. My favourite go to place at the moment is Amazon and you can find almost anything you want on there. Have a browse for ideas first and see if you can get items you find in the shops cheaper online.

*I am a sucker for the finishing touches. If you can afford it, don't include things like packaging and postage in the amount set and add in a Christmas card, some chocolate coins or a candy cane as an extra little something for your recipient. Christmas is a time for giving and making someone smile is a great way to spread the Christmas cheer.

*Finally, an obvious one but something many overlook. To keep the suspense going, make sure you don't write your name on the gift tag! Try and write using your opposite hand, don't use the same gift paper as all your other gifts and try not to tell anyone who you are buying for.

If you are still stuck on what to buy I have gathered together some great gift ideas for £5, £10 and novelty!

£5 and Under:

Diary £5 Next



Love Heart Tea Lights £5 Debenhams

Baking Book £5 Sainsbury's
Shoe Fund Piggy Bank £4 Asda,default,pd.html
Heart Slogan Pegs £3 Asda,default,pd.html
Two Ceramic Tea light Holders £5 Asda,default,pd.html

£10 and Under:

Set of 2 Knitted Hand warmers £6 Next

Festive Spice Oil Burner £8 Next

Yankee Candle Fireside Treats Small Jar £8.39 Clinton's

Baileys Hot Chocolate Mug £9.50 Debenhams

Set of 3 Ceramic Heart Bowls £9.99 Sainsbury's


Beer Money Tin £5 Next (perfect if buying for a man!)

Penis Pasta £4 Ann Summers

Fortune Cookies £5 Ann Summers

Thirst Mug £8 Next

Dairy Milk Money Box £8 Next

Mood Duck £8 Debenhams

Man Flu Mug £9.50 Debenhams (great gift for a male colleague!)

I'm Stressed Phone £3 Asda,default,pd.html

Happy Shopping!!

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