Our Honeymoon Cruise

It’s been nearly 2 months since we jetted off on our honeymoon and I still can’t believe it’s been and gone. I can honestly say we had the best time, and I have the most amazing memories. If you missed all my insta-stories, we chose to go on a Mediterranean/Greek Island cruise, which we’d decided would be the most relaxed way to explore lots of different places, whilst also getting to chill out in luxury.

Honeymoon selfieCelebrity ReflectionHoneymoon cruiseHoneymoon champagneHoneymoon cakeShip jacuzzi

It was our second ever cruise and our first with Celebrity, but we have only positive things to say about both Celebrity and their (current) largest ship, the Reflection, which was beautiful. It had lovely spaces, bars and eating spots both in the open air and on the opulent lower decks. We also had a balcony cabin, and it was lovely to wake up to sea views each day!

As with all Celebrity cruises, food is included (excluding certain speciality restaurants), but we were also able to get a drinks package when booking too, so we enjoyed (and I mean really enjoyed!) plenty of “free” food and drink. One of our favourite things to do was visit the Mast Grill on the pool deck for a freshly grilled burger and a beer at lunchtime. And then at set sail time (usually 6-7pm) visit the Sunset Bar at very back of the ship, to enjoy a few drinks in the early evening sun whilst watching the day’s destination disappear into the distance. We also really loved dining in the main restaurant every evening. The food there was amazing and the service just unbeatable!

Exploring a new place every day was probably less relaxing than we’d anticipated – we certainly clocked up a lot of steps– but we made up for it with plenty of relaxing in the Jacuzzi and then the bars later on in the day.

Here are some of our amazing destinations:

Rome

Rome 1Rome 2

Rome 3Rome 4Rome 5Rome 6

Malta

Malta 1Malta 2Malta 3Malta 4Malta 5

Mykonos

Mykonos 1Mykonos 2Mykonos 3Mykonos 4Mykonos 5

Rhodes

Rhodes 1Rhodes 2Rhodes 3Rhodes 4Rhodes 5Rhodes 6Rhodes 7Rhodes 8

Santorini

Santorini 1Santorini 2Santorini 3Santorini 4

Athens

Athens 1Athens 2Athens 3Athens 4Athens 5Athens 6

And now it’s back to married life!

Our Wedding: All the Details

For the last 6 months we’ve been planning our wedding, and then finally, on 8th April the day actually arrived! I have the most amazing memories of our wedding day – everything from not sleeping the night before and shaking with nerves before walking down the aisle, to the beautiful ceremony itself and then spending the day with my favourite people. It was genuinely the best day of my life and although I was careful not to post anything about wedding planning on here before the event, it’s now time to share all the details!

Bridal beauty

Wedding day Eaves Hall

Wedding Eaves Hall

Venue:

When we first started looking for our wedding venue I thought we’d find it in Manchester, where there are so many to choose from. But as we searched it became clear that we weren’t going to find what we wanted. Then after speaking to a colleague we decided to view Eaves Hall in Clitheroe and oh my goodness, it was just perfect for us! It was further afield than we’d planned, but otherwise it ticked every single box! It’s a stunning venue, with beautiful rooms and gorgeous grounds for photographs. We loved the idea of an exclusive use venue and this one had so many spaces for people to chill and chat. Also the price was within our budget thanks to a late availability deal. Of course, this gave us just 6 months to plan the whole thing, but it was worth it!

Invites:

I wanted something pretty yet simple and in the end our invites were a DIY project, designed and printed by us, and featuring calligraphy by me. Creating our own invites was just one of the ways that we made sure our wedding didn’t cost the earth! Take a look at my previous post to read all about our DIY wedding calligraphy.

DIY calligraphy wedding invitation

(This image was taken by me, not our photographer)

What we wore:

I was so worried about finding a dress that I loved just 6 months before the wedding date, so my first port of call was off-the-peg bridal retailer Wed2b, and what do you know – I found “the one” on my first visit! I can’t explain my joy at finding this beautiful tulle and lace dress (at a decent price), and then being able to take it home with me that same day!

Choosing a bridesmaid dress was also quite easy because I had just one bridesmaid, giving us a lot of flexibility to choose the perfect dress for her. I was determined that the dress would be found on the high street, and so ordered about 20 for her to try on in various shades of pale green and blush pink. The one we settled on was a pale green Jenny Packham dress from Debenhams because the fit and colour were just lovely. As a bonus, it was on sale, and just so happens it was the last one in stock!

Wedding dress still life shot

Tulle wedding dress

Lace back wedding dress

Bride and bridesmaid dresses

Hair and makeup:

Oh our hair! I can’t even explain how much I loved our gorgeous boho braided styles. I had a Pinterest board dedicated to wedding hair (of course) and it was full of all sorts of flowery braids, and I’m so impressed at how our ideas were brought to life. I would highly recommend our hair and makeup team Ashley (hair) and Kate (makeup).

Wedding braid

Bridesmaid halo braid

(These hair images were taken by Ashley, not our photographer)

Flowers and decorations:

This leads nicely onto our beautiful flowers by Victoria at Lancashire Floristry who captured my “ivory and blush pink with plenty of greenery” vision perfectly!

Beautiful bridal bouquet

Leafy wedding bouquet

Jam jar wedding tables

Wedding portrait shoot

Wedding bicycle with flower baskets

She also provided the flower arrangements for this pretty wedding bike, which ended up being quite the feature! The bike itself was provided by my dad who restores vintage bikes. Isn’t it cute?!

We chose our venue partly because it is so beautiful that it doesn’t need dressing up in any way. This saved us a lot of budget and stress, but we did decide have a couple of feature “décor” pieces in the end. As well as the vintage flower bike we also had these large light-up LOVE letters that are so popular at weddings right now. They are pretty cool, and Craig was very keen to have them, so we did!

LOVE lights

Music:

Music is a big decision for weddings as it’s so personal and you have to get it right for both of you.

I chose to walk down the aisle to Pas de Deux from The Nutcracker, which was lovely for a small, intimate wedding ceremony room. It’s from my favourite ballet and is such a romantic piece!

During the ceremony we also had two further pieces of music. My friend sang for us, which was lovely! She sang Promise, the Closing Music from Epcot, because the lyrics are perfect for a wedding (and it was also a subtle nod to my love of Disney!) And we also had You Belong To Me sung by Jason Wade. Finally walked out to You’re So Cool, the instrumental music from the end of True Romance, which I love because it sounds cute and joyful.

Following the ceremony and throughout the breakfast we had a lovely pianist playing, because Eaves Hall has an amazing grand piano that would have been a shame to waste! And in case you’re wondering about the first dance, we finally settled on Can’t Take My Eyes Off You by Andy Williams.

Wedding Cake:

And our cake, which we’d decided to have very simple in design, had a different flavour for each tier. Chocolate and salted caramel for the largest tier, lemon for the middle tier, and a top tier of carrot cake – all of which tasted delicious.

Simple wedding cake

Wedding Photographer:

The photos used in this post were taken by Claire Fromm of The Fromm Shoppe. She was so amazing and we couldn’t be happier with our gorgeous photos from our day!

Confetti shot

Eaves Hall swing

Eaves Hall grounds

Eaves Hall grounds wedding

Eaves Hall at dusk

My Very Chilled Hen Weekend

Not being one for typical hen celebrations, we’d decided that my hen weekend should be a quite low-key and relaxing with a small group of some of my favourite people, and that’s exactly what it turned out to be. I had the most amazing and memorable hen weekend with good friends and plenty of fun and fizz, and here are some of the details:

Fairytale cupcake

Venue and Location

We chose the town of Matlock purely because we wanted somewhere within 2 hours drive of Manchester, and then we found our ideal house there. We could have ended up anywhere really, but Matlock Holiday House turned out to be the perfect place to stay. Matlock is also a great base for visits to the Peak District, if you get the time (we didn’t!)

The house itself was a lovely old town house, expensively furnished and decorated with space to sleep 13, a games room and sauna, an amazing covered hot tub in the garden and a huge kitchen which would be perfect for our planned activities. It was also situated right in the middle of pretty Matlock and within walking distance of shops, cafes and bars.

Activity 1: Hot Tub and Takeaway

One of our main venue requirements was a hot tub, and it turned out to be the best decision! What does a bride need a month before her wedding more than relaxation in a hot tub with friends and a glass (or several) of prosecco? This was the perfect addition to the weekend, and one we made full use of. In fact, because we enjoyed it so much, we ended up scrapping one of our Saturday afternoon activities in favour of more hot tubbing! (Worth it). And as always on the first night of “moving in” somewhere, we ordered takeaway.

Activity 2: Escape Room

We’re an Escape Room type of group, and we added this into our Saturday morning schedule at the last minute when we found out Deception Escape Rooms was right around the corner from the house. I’ve written a separate review of the escape room here.

Escape room success

Activity 3: Fairytale Themed “Crafternoon Tea”

I like crafting and I like afternoon tea, so we combined them into one lovely “crafternoon tea”. It was fairytale themed to tie in with the evening’s big event, with cute storybook cupcakes provided by Little Joy Emporium, and a fairytale photo booth prop making session, which I’ve written about here.

Fairytale themed afternoon tea

Flower cupcake

Crafternoon tea

Activity 4: Games and Pampering

We actually spent a lot of the weekend playing games, and this was the general vibe of the weekend! And of course we found plenty of time to pamper ourselves with facemasks and drink prosecco in the hot tub.

Activty 5: Murder Mystery Dinner

And finally, the weekend’s main event was a fairytale themed murder mystery, with various storybook characters coming together to discuss murders, disappearances and poor book sales(!) in Fairytaleland. My and my sister had decided on a murder mystery night rather than dining out, and then found a range of great themed print-at-home game at printablemysterygames.com. Being a huge Disney fan we decided to go with the fairytale theme, and I was Little Red Riding Hood, in a costume almost entirely made of items I surprisingly already owned!

Fairytale murder mystery

Fairytale dinner party

Chocolate Mousse

Dinner was provided by our amazing chef from Dine Indulge, who cooked us a 3 course meal of French Onion Soup, Coq au Vin with Smokey Bacon Mash, and Chocolate Mousse, all from the kitchen in our house! It felt like real luxury to have a 3 course dinner cooked for us at home, and not dining out also meant that we could go to town on our character costumes! If you have budget available for something like this, I’d definitely recommend hiring a chef to cook for your dinner party!

(Not Forgetting Activity 0: The Treasure Trail that we never got around to doing)

Sometimes you plan to do too much in a weekend, and so it was that the Matlock Treasure Trail that we’d printed out never got played. It’s a shame as the town looked lovely and it would have been nice to explore more. Even so, I’m including it in my post as I’m a big fan of Treasure Trails and I genuinely enjoy them.

 

9 Things You’ll Understand if You’re a Christmas Person

I’m a Christmas person and proud of it. For me it genuinely is the most wonderful time of the year, and I know I’m not alone in this. So if you’re a Christmas person too, this list will sound very familiar…

christmas person

1. Christmas is a season, not a day.

The weeks of build-up are usually better than Christmas Day itself.

2. It’s officially ok to get start getting excited as soon as Halloween is done!

Once November hits there is nothing to stop the excitement building!

Christmas leslie knope

3. December is actually too late to start thinking about Christmas

As I’m realising this year, there’s not enough time to fit everything in! I’ve hardly had time to watch any of my favourite Christmas films or do any Christmas crafting because there are too many Christmas gatherings, parties and lunches. Then there are things that I like to do every year such as visiting the Christmas markets, and on top of that is all the shopping and wrapping! Get started early, people!

4. It’s ok to think about people’s Christmas presents all year round

Drop hints any time you want – I am always listening out for ideas!

elf

5. It’s disappointing that your home still has to be functional

All I want to do is remove all the ugly appliances and general life stuff and replace them with twinkly lights and decorations!

6. You put a lot more thought into your Christmas outfits than the rest of the year

It only comes once a year so you need to make sure you sparkle!

Sabrina

7. Truly terrible films get away with being terrible if they are Christmassy!

(The new Netflix film A Christmas Prince is a perfect example.)

8. Christmas traditions are sacred

It doesn’t matter if you do the same thing every year. Nostaligia is everything and Christmas is not a time for change!

9. Other people might not get it

Not everyone will share your love of Christmas. They may even think you’re rather odd…

Grinch

10. The January blues hit you hard

By the time it’s all over you’ll definitely feel the comedown. If you truly love Christmas then you might even need to develop coping strategies for the January blues! Check out some of mine…

 

Irresistible Gifts for Your Christmas List

December is right around the corner and if you’re like me you’ll now be busy with your Christmas shopping. You’re probably also thinking about your own Christmas wishlists (it’s hard to go shopping for other people without at least noticing some things you’d love yourself), and that’s where the inspiration for this post came from – a collection of gorgeous things that I could just as easily buy for myself as any of the ladies in my life. Add them to your Christmas list, or treat your loved ones.

Glossier Cloud Paint

Glossier Cloud Paints would be on my Christmas list, if I hadn’t already bought some on Black Friday! I’m so excited to try these natural cheek tints in their seriously cute packaging, and I’ll review them very soon.

Glossier Cloud paint

Disney Bone China Teacup and Saucer

Every lady needs a bone china teacup, and now you can get one for (almost) every Disney Princess! I’ve featured Aurora here because this post seems to have a pink theme, but the one I bought (a while ago) was Belle in yellow. They’re all so pretty though!

Disney Teacup

Sister & Co Gift Set

I really want to try some of the gorgeous skincare products from Sister & Co., so what better way than with a gift set of their top essentials?

sister and co gift set

Rose Bath Shard

Bath bombs and melts are old news – it’s all about the bath shard! This rose one from Miss Patisserie is made with conditioning cocoa and shea butters, and when it melts in the bath it releases gorgeous rose petals. Now that’s a princess bath!

Rose Bath shard

Strawberry Prosecco Candle

I’m a big fan of Flamingo Candles, and love their quirky new designs.

Prosecco Candle

Beauty & the Beast – Illustrated Book

When I visited the MinaLima store in London I got distracted from all the Harry Potter merch by their unbelievably stunning illustrated fairytale books. Seriously, they are so gorgeous inside, with lovely illustrations and magical interactive features! Truthfully, they are probably too beautiful to read, but what a gorgeous gift they’d be!

Illustrated beauty and the beast

Velvet Cami Pyjamas

Cute velvet pyjamas. I don’t need to explain.

Velvet pyjamas

Happiness Planner

Happiness planners are all the rage right now, and since we should all make happiness a priority, I’m all for it! This blush pink one is simple but lovely.

Planner2

What’s on your Christmas list this year, and have you been sidetracked by pretty things whilst shopping for your loved ones?

Note: All the beauty products in this post are cruelty free.

How to feel summery when it’s not sunny

Technically summer is not yet over, but the hot days have all but disappeared. If, like me, you’re not ready to accept the autumn is on its way just yet, what you need is a list of ideas to help you feel summery, even when it’s raining. Lucky for you, that’s exactly what I have right here!…

Summer feelings

Summer scents

If there’s one thing that really gives me the summer feels, it’s the smell of sun cream. And I have been known on occasion to put some on, even if it’s not particularly sunny. Find the scents that make you feel summery and use them! I also have a coconut-scented hand sanitiser that I keep in the office, which is the smell of pure summer.

Have an indoor picnic

Picnics are the essence of summer, so don’t miss out just because the weather isn’t great. Gather some friends and pack up your hamper with all your favourite treats – for me that’s pink lemonade, egg sandwiches, pork pies, veggies and hummus, strawberries, maybe a summer fruit tartlet. And then set up your picnic in someone’s home! Lay out the picnic blankets in exactly the same way you would outdoors, and enjoy the fact that there are no insects to bother you. And here’s a cute idea – if you have a big screen in the room, why not put something summery and outdoorsy (like this) on loop to give the impression you’re outside.

Picnic hamper

Holiday reads

Some books are just too summery to be read at any other time of the year. So even if it’s raining outside, curl up with one of your favourite beach-based reads (and perhaps some ice cream!) and imagine you’re exactly where they are.

Eat ice cream

Eat ice cream in a cone. Or make fruity ice pops to enjoy. Who said it had to be hot before you could do this?

Ice cream

Create a playlist of summer theme tunes

Every summer has a theme tune, and whenever you hear these songs you’ll think of summers past. So put all of them into a playlist which you can stick on whenever you need it. I can’t lie, mine features a lot of J Lo songs which make me feel so summery!

Drink rum cocktails

Pay a visit to your local Tiki bar or Caribbean-themed restaurant (hello Turtle Bay) for some holiday cocktail vibes. Or why not experiment with some rum cocktail recipes at home?

Plan day trips

Day trips are the memories you’ll have of this summer, so don’t put your plans on hold because it’s not sunny. Do them anyway! Or find new things to do that can’t be rained off.

DSCN2605

Cook up some summer recipes

Use Pinterest to find some new summery recipes to try. I’m currently being inspired by colourful non-basic salads, grilled fish and Greek and Mediterranean dishes. Check out my Food and Recipes Board here.

Summer movies

What films make you think of summer? In the run up to my holidays I like to watch these movies to get me in the mood, because they are full of sunshine, beach locations, holiday romances and general happy feelings:

  • The Beach
  • Dirty Dancing
  • Moana
  • Mamma Mia
  • Six Days Seven Nights
  • Cocktail

Pin for later!

How to feel summery when it's not sunny

Tips for a Great Day Out on a Canal Boat

If you’re looking for a great day out with a difference then I would absolutely recommend hiring a canal boat for a day. I recently did this with 9 of my friends, hiring a boat from Ellerbeck Narrowboats for 8 hours. It’s completely different to a party boat experience, as you get full control of the boat. You can steer it along a 12 mile stretch of the Leeds Liverpool canal in whichever direction and at whatever pace you fancy, moor when you feel like it, and it’s a no-stress situation because you aren’t allowed to pass through any of the locks (which would make things more technical). It’s as simple as steering your boat along the canal at a leisurely pace, whilst enjoying a party atmosphere with whatever food, drinks and games you bring along.

Canal boat day hire

We had such fun on our canal boat and I think it’s the perfect day trip for a birthday or celebration, so I’ve decided to share these 10 tips for making sure you have the most fun on your narrowboat day trip.

1. Go with a fun crew

Everything is fun when you’re with the right people, so choose your crew wisely! It helps when at least one of your group is great at driving, but it’s a low pressure environment and it wouldn’t really matter if you were all rubbish at it. Our boat capacity was 10 people and although it is quite a squeeze, it is worth having all the extra hands on board so that a few people can drive whilst others prepare food.

Canal boat friends

2. Have a nautical dress code (just for fun)

We decided to embrace a nautical theme for the day, which was pretty fun and makes our photos look extra special. A dress code is obviously optional.

3. Have a go at steering

Everyone on board should give it a go at the helm. Canal boats travel at a low speed so there’s really nothing to be worried about, although turning them around is slightly trickier.

Canal boat at the helm

4. Cook up a tasty breakfast

The first priority after setting sail has to be a delicious breakfast. Our boat had a hob and grill on board, and sausage sandwiches and bucks fizz were a welcome morning treat.

5. Enjoy the views

Take some time to enjoy the picturesque scenery and, at certain points, gaze enviously at luxurious waterside houses that you can’t possibly afford. Make the most of the scenic photo opportunities so you’ll always have reminders of your memorable day.

Canal boat day trip

Canal boat day hire 2

Canal boat day hire 3

6. Play games

No day of fun is complete without a few games, and it’s simple enough to moor up the boat so that everyone on board can join in.

7. Serve Pimms and afternoon tea

Once breakfast is done you’ll need to consider other meals, and I think something typically English like Pimms and afternoon tea would be perfect. We had a kettle on board for making hot drinks.

8. Moor up for a break

We moored up once for games and a second time to pay a call to a waterside ice cream parlour. I’m sure there are plenty of other stops we could have made too, if we’d fancied visiting a pub or having a short stroll.

Fredericks Ice Cream

9. Prepare for the weather

It’s England and impossible to predict the weather. We prepared for everything, with blankets for the chilly morning, wet weather wear in case of rain, and (luckily, because it turned out glorious!) sun cream.

10. Take it easy

This is not a fast paced day by anyone’s standards. It’s a leisurely, casual, fun-filled, fun one, so enjoy the slow pace and take the chance to relax with friends.

Canal boat day hire 4