Catching up: July

I can’t believe it’s August already….it seems the summer is going by in a flash! July was just as much fun as June though, and it finally felt as though the real summer weather had arrived….

It all started with a most amazing wedding weekend up in Yorkshire. Two of our friends were getting hitched and rather than settle for just one day of frivolities, had planned an epic Wild West Weekend! We drove up on the Friday and dressed up Western style for the pre-wedding party, ate fish and chips for dinner and then went to bed in our very own Tipi!!!

Breakfast next morning was a lush barbecue, then we set about some sun bathing and a few jobs to set things up before we donned wedding attire and the lovely humanist ceremony took place. The whole thing was outside, which was made even more splendid by the astonishingly good weather. It was another barbecue for supper, as well as a bouncy castle, sumo wrestling, gladiator jousting and a live band to dance to. It has to have been one of the most thoughtful, personal and unique weddings I’ve ever been to (which is A LOT) and I just loved every minute of it.

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July was the month for DIY and gardening…..I wanted everywhere to be as pretty as I could manage in time for our Engagement Party, and built two picnic tables (which also got painted white and had chintzy covers and cushions made specially for them) as well as getting the garden as colourful as possible! The party went wonderfully and it was gorgeous to have so many friends visit us to celebrate….even if it was a whole six months on from the actual engagement!

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With the warmer weather came lots of lovely long dog walks, with lots of lovely wildlife to be found along the way too…..

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The Hitchin Duck race took place in town and we went down to see them off…..it was a slow race though so we listened to the ending from the garden some twenty minutes later!

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Above all else, July was for spending time outdoors and enjoying the lush weather……

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Hope you’ve enjoyed the summer so far too!

Ems x

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Blog Every Day in May: Compliments

“Tell us about the best compliment you have ever received.”

Although I do truly love a compliment, I’m not all that good at accepting them! I often get shy and try to brush it off with a silliness or joke, and I know lots of my friends get frustrated when I can’t accept their compliments! I do hope they don’t stop giving me compliments though, as they are rather wonderful! People have been kind enough to say lots of nice things about me, but I feel a little big headed in honesty sharing them or listing them.

There is one rather big compliment I am proud to share with you though. It’s not a usual type of compliment, such as ‘your hair looks great’ or ‘you really are very good at shopping’…..but I think it must be the biggest compliment I’ve ever been paid….

A few months ago, love of my life Adam, asked me to be his wife, and I was only too excited and delighted to accept. To me this meant that he loves me, wants to spend the rest of his life with me, and is making a commitment towards our relationship. Now I can’t think of a bigger compliment than that! It’s just a big bonus that on top of that I get to plan a splendid wedding (one of my favourite things to do!), have an excuse for a special holiday (loving thinking about honeymoons!) and got given a stunning vintage diamond ring to boot!

So yeah, this compliment stuff is rather grand!

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

Some pretty big news….

So…… I got engaged!

 

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Me, my ring, a milkshake manicure and a big smile!

 

Adam asked me just over a week ago, and we’ve spent the time since telling family and close friends, in person where possible.

We hopped into town on Saturday to shop for the ring in Hatton Garden, and found the perfect one, in the only shop we went into….. it was rather different than all the others, with a window jammed full of mis-matching, jumbled up antique pieces of all kinds.

 

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My very sparkly ring!

 

I tried on LOTS, all very different (including ones with opals, peridot, and in Art Deco, Victorian and Georgian designs) but there was no real competition…. My 1950s diamond cluster ring is just the most sparkly and wonderful ring in the world, and I picked it up today after they altered it from a size S down to my tiny size H!

 

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I so prefer antique rings….they are always so pretty even from the side!

 

So now I can wear my ring proudly, there’s no stopping us from telling all and sundry! We’re not sure when we’ll actually tie the knot, but it’s likely to be next year some time…..we don’t want to leave it too long (too excited!) but we also want to be able to plan the most wonderful celebration!

I’m obviously in my element now….. I’m exceptionally excitable about weddings, even for a professional wedding planner, and we’re already well on our way to deciding what we want from our big day!

I don’t expect this to become a totally wedding-saturated blog, but I will warn you now that there will be plenty of planning and craft project posts coming up over the next year as a result of my news!….so apologies in advance as I’m likely to get even more over-excited!

Ems x