Blog Every Day in May: Fantasy Dinner Party

“Dinner party time – Who would you invite? What music is playing? What are you eating? Is there entertainment? Let your imagination go wild!”

This is (unsurprisingly as an Event Producer and dinner party hostess addict) something I think about all the time. I fuss over what the table centres would be, who sits next to who, and what to serve. I think though, as it’s all meant to be fantasy, I can allow myself some fantastical indulgences….

The dinner would take place I think in my dream home, because there could be no place dreamier. If it’s summer we’d eat out in my Xanadu-like gardens, or in Winter we’d eat inside in my grand dining hall. I’d prepare the meal myself in my dream kitchen, but as it’s a fantasy I’d have staff hired in specially to help serve (all the better for my Hostessing bit). Dinner would be made from all the very best Organic, seasonal ingredients, and would probably be along the lines of a huge sharing roast dinner (all the better for everyone to get to know each other and break the ice by passing the dishes around). The table centres would be made myself that morning using some of the fantastical flowers from my fantastical garden, with lots of taper candles of course. I find live music a little imposing for small gatherings, so I’d create a playlist based on my mood and the season to play just as guests arrive…thereafter giving over to the sound of chatter.

For a proper dinner party, where everyone gets to enjoy the company of each other, I don’t think numbers should be more than twelve in total. So, that leaves me the tricky task of who to invite (using hand-illustrated cards written out individually)….especially as this is a fantasy, which as far as I’m concerned gives me free reign to choose anyone from any point in time or from fiction.

Anyway, bearing in mind that I’d like my guests to have interesting discussions with each other as well as with me, I’ve come up with this table plan…..

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I’d definitely want my amazing fiance Adam to be there to share the experience with me, then clockwise from him….Grayson Perry, who I find massively inspiring, although would probably be too shy to talk to….Katy Perry, who I think would have fun chatting to Grayson, and bring lots of fun chat….Elvis I’m positive would love Katy, and he’d be close enough in this position for me to stare at lovingly, whilst not so close he could see my blushes….Fox Mulder would be just as excited as me to be at a dinner party with Elvis, and he *is* my second favourite Special Agent….first favourite though is Special Agent Dale Cooper who I would just love to spend the evening chatting with, especially with Mulder right next to him so they could share their stories with me….

My favourite British Agent would have to go to my left, and because it’s what happens in all the books, as a woman, he’d have to flirt with me all night….I think Joseph Gordon Levitt would have good chat with Bond, but he’s really there because I want to match-make him with the guest to his left….Zooey Deschanel is about my favouritest girl celebrity at the moment and I would love for her to get together with JGL to make babies and save the world….another inspiring woman is next, star of one of my favourite films and just all round awesome Tilda Swinton….and for intelligent banter, whit and trivia, the last seat goes to the wonderful Stephen Fry.

Writing all this down has made me think what a wonderful reality TV show this would make…..win your Fantasy Dinner Party by competing against other people in a sort of Come Dine With Me style, then the TV show arranges for all your dream guests to come along to your house for sups. I’d go on THAT TV show for sure!

Ems x

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Blog Every Day in May: Dream Job

“If you could do anything in the world to make a living what would it be?”

Wow. This is quite exciting to think about. I mean, there are so many possibilities!

My first thoughts ran to things like ballerina, zookeeper, pop singer, balloon artist, personal shopper and gallery curator. However, not being any good at these things means that I’d be better to dream about being *able* to do these jobs rather than just dreaming about the job itself though!

So, to something a little more realistic, but still dreamy….

I’ve been professionally producing weddings and other events now for over six years, and I really love it. I get such a thrill from planning all the little details, conveying a personality through a brilliantly fun party, and making people really happy.

 

My favourites have been the most creative and unusual events….a Peter Pan themed wedding….a charity gala where the tables turned into a stage and people like Benedict Cumberbatch, Douglas Hodge, Toby Jones, and Matthew Macfadyen jumped up to perform a specially written play….turning an underground venue into a secret forest, complete with waiting staff dressed as fairies, fauns, ballerina hippos and clockwork frogs….having the Comedy Store Players perform a special improvisation on the stage at Shakespeare’s Globe for someone’s birthday….hiding an Opera singer amongst the guests at a wedding ceremony so that she could surprise the Groom with his favourite aria….

I’ve been super lucky to work on some amazing projects, from brand launches to unique weddings, and at incredible places from the V&A to a private pool house….in some ways you could argue that I already have my dream job in fact!

If I was to further dreamify this already awesome job though, I know what I’d want to do….I’d just go crazy to produce a wedding or party for someone like Katy Perry, Zooey Deschanel or Tilda Swinton. I love to do things differently, to open peoples’ eyes and wow them, and so one of these amazing women as a client (and a pretty good budget to boot!) would be a dream.

I wouldn’t like to say what any of these events might involve….it’s always too much fun having that first meeting and working out how to bring a client’s own ideas to life, and work together to create something truly unique. I know though that ladies like these would make it super fun and incredibly creative!

Ems x

Something from the weekend, the week before, and a good few weeks before that….

Yes, it’s true, I’ve shamelessly neglected you for weeks again. But as usual, I’m going to offer an excuse…..or even a few!

Starting where I left off…..the penultimate weekend in January to be exact…. we had a wonderful Friday night in after I got home early from work due to all the snow. I love feeling all cosy and warm inside the house when it’s all chilly outside! As we were still to finish the final few coats of paint on the Welsh Dresser we’d been transforming, we spent some time on that so that we could well and truly finish it on Saturday!

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Our snowy garden

We got up at a reasonable hour on the Saturday (scoffing Belgian waffles and home made banana ice cream for breakfast) then made our way into town to run some errands. Once back, we set about making the final touches to the dresser, cleaning it and taking off all the masking tape. It looks really good….a total transformation, and well worth all the effort.

Then we got engaged! Adam asked for my hand on Saturday 19th January, which I’ve already posted about in a bit more detail!

We decided initially to keep the news to ourselves, until we’d worked out how we wanted to go about telling everyone. So, we kept quiet and headed as planned to Adam’s Mum’s for dinner. We sat down to watch Gavin and Stacey afterwards with her, giving each other knowing glances and smirking to ourselves when the engagement and wedding bits were happening!

We popped back around there on Sunday morning, as we both had a craving for proper toast, and nothing makes it better than Adam’s Mum’s Aga! We took a walk around town after that, enjoying the fairly deep snow. We enjoyed it so much in fact that we headed straight into the back garden on our return to build a snowman! He was rather marvelous I think, and wore a top hat and mirrored aviators. We made sure the birds had plenty to eat and drink in the snow, then came back indoors to warm up and set about feeding ourselves……we’d bought everything to make Jamie Oliver’s Mountain Meatballs for dinner and they were a fabulous success!

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Our handsome snowman!

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Treats for the birds

Monday continued to be eventful, as we finally got the go ahead to have dogs! Our landlords had been a bit funny about our request, saying we could only have one and that it couldn’t be a rescue dog initially. But sense prevailed in the end, and we were permitted to have up to two dogs of our own choosing! We celebrated with a trip to our local pub for dinner…. A trip which doubled as our first ‘Wedding Summit’! I’d been pretty reserved until then, but it wasn’t long before I’d bought my first wedding magazine and began making notes about guest numbers and budgets with a slightly nervous Adam! Once we’d started to get our ideas sorted though, we decided we’d tell everyone, and so started that task by going to tell Adam’s parents, with a bottle of fizz in hand! They were delighted for us of course, and so were the rest of the family when we called to tell them later!

And not wanting to stop with all the good news and fun goings on, we next arranged for our home check in order to start the process of fostering for the local Greyhound Rescue! The lovely Gulie and her gorgeous hound Frodo came over on Thursday to check we were suitable fosterers, and signed us up right away! I couldn’t believe how fast it had all happened and began to get more excited still about the prospect of our having a dog very soon!

Friday being Burns Night, we used the excuse to invite our friend Hannah over for a Burns Supper, and to tell her our news. She too was delighted and excited, and we had a lovely evening eating haggis, drinking whisky, and chatting.

On Saturday morning we made our way into London and to Hatton Garden, in search of an engagement ring for me. We’d been looking at lots online, especially Art Deco ones on Etsy, but I’d decided I rather wanted to see it in the flesh before deciding! So, we stalked around the jewellery district, snooping in all the jewellery shop windows, and for a long time I thought we were going to leave disappointed. I’d checked before we went that there were some antique jewellery dealers there, but all of the shops seemed to be full of new, more modern stuff. After not too long though we found the most marvelous antique jewellery shop, and once I’d tried on near a dozen rings (all very different!) I quickly narrowed my choice down and decided on a gorgeous diamond cluster ring from the 1950s.

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The ‘bling’

I had to leave it behind unfortunately, to have it reduced down to fit me, but I was consoled by a meet up with dear friends Richard and Tara who live just around the corner from the jewellery quarter. We shared with them our news, and went off for a yummy lunch at the Long Room to celebrate. We enjoyed a rather mammoth sharing board of salt beef with pickles and lovely breads, as well as some of their delicious beers and ciders. We carried on drinking, celebrating further back at their flat, before making our way back to King’s Cross and home.

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Lush salt beef board at The Long Room

Adam especially was feeling rather jaded on the Sunday morning, as a result of his trying the entirety of Richard’s whisky collection, so we had a really long lie in (long enough to miss out on the market even!) then decided to head to our local greasy spoon for a very welcome pick-me-up brunch of cheese omelettes. We pottered about town a bit after that, then came home to slob about and start getting excited over wedding ideas on Pinterest, before snuggling up on the sofa to continue watching the X Files.

The following week I spent a couple of days at the office of the not-for-profit I’m working on some events for at the moment, as well as doing some networking at the local ‘Cuppa Connect’ coffee morning, and going back into London to collect my ring. It certainly felt funny wearing it for those first few days, but I soon got used to it, and enjoyed sharing photos of it with everyone as we announced our engagement properly.

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Gorgeous flowers to celebrate our engagement from Hannah P!

On the Wednesday I received a call from the re-homing officer at the Greyhound Rescue, asking us if we could take in a young hound who was due over from Ireland the next day…..he had been found as a stray and had been hit by a car which badly broke his pelvis! He was on the mend enough though to make the journey over, and to get further care from GRWE.

We excitedly accepted, and by Thursday afternoon we were looking after the gorgeous Cooper, a ten month old fawn Lurcher. He very quickly won me over, although I was quite proud of my disciplining skills (as was a surprised Adam!). I’ll write more about Cooper (alongside some of the hundreds of photos I took of him!) as I promised myself I’d write a post to remember each foster dog we have….but suffice to say that by the Saturday I was totally smitten with the adorable hound, and was rather relieved that he had a potential home as of the Sunday, so he’d be gone before I had even more chance to want to keep him!

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Coops settling in

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Out on his first walk with me!

We set off on the Sunday morning with a chipper Cooper, just a few minutes’ walk from us, where we met the Greyhound Rescue gang for a big walk. There were a good dozen or so hounds there, as well as lots of other fosterers and adopters. We also soon met the family who hoped to take Cooper, and they spent time walking with him to see how he liked them and their existing Greyhound, Indi. Cooper of course won them over, although they were concerned at how well he would keep up with Indi and their three young children, owing to his still healing pelvis. So, we invited everyone back to our place so that the dogs and children could play together off leads in our garden. Cooper was wonderful, and so enjoyed playing and running about with Indi, so after we filled in all the adoption paperwork, we said a sad goodbye to Cooper and watched him walk away with his new family (still looking over his shoulder for us!).

No sooner had the front door closed and I was in floods of tears! I had thought I’d stand up much better to the fostering process, but I was so in love with little Cooper that I wanted to keep him for myself! I knew in my heart we’d really helped him out and that he was going to a great forever-home, but the selfish part of me just wanted him to stay with us. I was crying about him for days afterwards in fact, which resulted in our reviewing the idea of fostering. In the end, we decided that we’d look into adopting a dog of our own, then potentially fostering a second further down the line. I was relieved that I wouldn’t have to go through such a dreadful goodbye again and soon became excited about finding our very own pooch!

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Consolation prize….chocolate pick-me-up to help with Cooper’s departure!

So, the following Saturday we drove up to Wood Green Animal Shelter, where Adam’s family had adopted pets from before, to see if there was a dog there who wanted us to take them home. We met the lovely Sandy, a beautiful Bull cross with stacks of energy….she enjoyed her walk with us and with Adam’s Mum’s dogs Newton and Piper, but when it came to ensuring they were ok together off-lead she was just too bouncy and poor Newton especially got rather upset. We next met a rather smaller and less boystous dog called Hugo. A Corgi, Jack Russell cross, he was quite charming, but we didn’t get the ‘fireworks’ we knew we’d feel when the right dog bounded up to us. So, we left without a new house mate, but having learnt a bit more about what we wanted and needed in a dog.

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Beautiful and bouncy little Sandy, on a rare non-bouncy moment

On the Sunday we looked a bit more into other places we could find a dog in need of a home, and started to send out some enquiries. We also painted our pine kitchen table (just the legs) to match our newly painted dresser, as well as painting the door handles on the latter in pretty pastel shades. It’s great to see it all finished now….the next task is for more comfy chairs which we want to paint in matching pastel shades!

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I took a cupcake decorating class a couple of weeks ago too…will share all the proper photos soon!

Last week was filled with more work at the office, as well as my running an event just over the road at the British Schools Museum. I spent some more time working on my new online vintage shop too, as well as my new site for my wedding planning business….I’ll have some proper updates for you on those soon! We also did a little more wedding planning, and actually had a meeting with our caterer to discuss ideas for the menu.

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We ate LOTS of pancakes for dinner on Shrove Tuesday!

On Friday night, Adam’s mum and I made up another batch of the yummy Mountain Meatballs, which we served up at a dinner with some of her friends. Then on Saturday we drove the little distance to the English Birds of Prey Centre, where we took in the falconry experience. It was a wonderful afternoon out…I’ll post more about it soon when I’ve uploaded all the photos!

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An Eagle Owl we made friends with on Saturday

On Sunday we got up at a reasonable hour for a packed day….we first walked around the car boot sale at our nearby market, then went along to Jolly Brown’s wonderful Rummage Sale, which was full of wonderful vintage treasures. Next, we made our way to The Priory, a local wedding venue, where they were hosting a wedding fair. I’d lured Adam there on the promise of cake and ice cream samples, and he sure yummed up a few! There were some great suppliers there, although because we’ve got such a strong idea of what we want at our wedding, it was most useful just to get some new suppliers for my local wedding planning.

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Choosing silk shades for my wedding dress

In the afternoon we finally managed to get rid of the extra spare bed we ended up with when upgrading ours….we had to wrap up the mattress in plastic and tie it onto the ladders on top of Adam’s Dad’s car, and carry some of the bigger bits of the frame around to their house where they’re going to put it in the spare room. After that we deserved a rest, so the remainder of the afternoon was spent relaxing and on more wedding discussions, before we settled down on the sofa for the evening to watch Jurassic Park.

So, it’s been a busy old few weeks, and despite my unscheduled rest, I’m very keen to get into the swing of my regular posts again. I have a load in my head that I want to tell you about, so watch this space!

Ems x

A little more about me…..

…. I love rainbows and unicorns and fish & chips and crosswords …..

But other than that, well, I thought I’d share with you a bit more about me, as we’re friends now.

  • You’ll find that I have recently updated my About Page to tell you a little bit more about me, what I get up to and what to expect here on my blog.
  • I’ve also added a Shop Page where you can see some of the things I design and make to sell on my Etsy and Folksy shops, and where to find them.
  • And, I’ve added a Weddings and Events Page, where you can learn a bit more about my other day job as a freelance wedding and events producer.

As part of the development of my little site, I’ll be adding new pages and a few more personal posts too, in the coming months. As ever, do let me know if there’s anything you’d like to read about in particular, and do get in touch….I love comments and emails!

Ems x

Living for the weekend….. 11th and 12th of August, all over the UK

Having done lots last weekend, I’m excited about even more adventures this weekend! We have Friday off, so we’re heading to a beer festival in London, then up to Leeds to see family as well as the nearby scarecrow festival!  And as we’re travelling all over this weekend I thought I’d share some ideas for things to do all over the UK…..

The Great British Beer Festival opens its doors this week for five days of boozy fun. You can expect over 800 different real ales, ciders and foreign beers, as well as lots of foods, music and activities.

It’s £8 to get in (£6 for CAMRA members) and runs until Sunday at Olympia.

I am SO excited about going to this! I love a scare crow, and I’ve loved the little festivals I’ve seen before whilst driving through little villages sporting a good collection. The idyllic Dales village of Kettlewell has been hosting fund-raising scare crow events for nearly 20 years, and the residents really do love to get involved. The community works tirelessly to showcase amazing scarecrows and provide fun activities for visitors, as well as arranging refreshments and things. This year there will be a scarecrow trail, with clues and prizes…it’s just £1 for adults and 50p for children. Sounds like a wonderful day out! Can’t wait!

The festival runs until the 19th August and you can find more info here.

Now entering its third year, Strawberry Fields Festival is widely regarded as one of the fastest growing and most exciting new festivals in the UK. Located at the heart of the National Forest in rural Leicestershire, the festival will this year play host to some awesome acts…..including the Charlatans. In fact, that’s what caught my attention….they really are amazing live and it’s well worth a look in with day tickets from just £25.

Still with music….. this weekend also sees the famous Brecon Jazz Festival. There are over 22 concerts programmed, as well as workshops and classes. Legend Dionne Warwick will be performing too, and you can still get hold of tickets for the various events from around £10.

And in Ireland, my pick would have to be the Carlingford Oyster Festival. Featuring competitions, crafts, activities, tastings and entertainment, as well as lots of other yummy foods from Artisan food stalls, there is so much to do beyond scoffing oysters (although that is enough of a  draw in itself). You can expect face painting, sand castle building, kayaking and even a Teddy Bear’s picnic! Lots of events are free, with others costing around €15.  I wish I could go!

Hope you get to enjoy your weekend wherever you are!

Ems x