Thursday, 26 May 2011

And the venue is......

So after my little apology in the previous post, I thought I should bring everyone up to date with the plans (and remind myself what we've done by writing it all down!)

My last few posts were dedicated to finding the venue.  This was such good fun, travelling around, searching for that little feeling of 'this is it!' and we found it!  After 2 visits to make sure, we chose to get married and have our reception in The Stone Barn in Aldsworth.  This venue had everything we were looking for and suited the relaxed, rustic American Barn feel that we were after.  The place is huge and a blank canvas for us to decorate just as we wish!

The picture (left) is of the converted cattle shed that's linked onto the beautiful stone barn.  This is the reception area and the ceremony will be done in the barn itself.  This means that we have two areas and don't have to wait around for the staff to organise tables etc!

We have also booked our registrar from Gloucester.  Our main problem with this is because we live in Scotland, we have to live in England for 9 days to establish residency!  How crazy?!  We live in the UK and were both born in England, but still have to do this!  I'm hoping to do it by myself (it has to be within 3 months of the wedding if only one of us is doing it) and tie-in dress fittings, hair and make-up trials and as many hen parties as I can fit in all at the same time.  I'm sure it'll keep me busy!

Above is the beautiful barn where we will be saying our vows.  It'll also be the area for our evening entertainment.  We haven't looked into whether we want a band or not yet, but the acoustics in this place are going to be amazing!

Anyway....  can't spoil you all with too many blogs in one day... will fill you all in on everything else tomorrow!

Sorry for my absence....

To all my lovely readers!.....

Sorry for my long period of absence from writing!  There is no excuse for it (apart from flying to Bristol lots and partying with friends in Edinburgh).  My neglect to this blog will only disapoint myself in the future as this is supposed to be a reminder of all the planning I have done for my upcoming wedding!

To be honest, I don't know how all the bloggers out there do it!  I barely have enough time to read them all, let alone write!!

For those out there wanting to check out some truely fabulous wedding blogs, then check out :

These are my wedding style bibles!! 

Also check out for any of you out there looking for a wedding dress on any budget!  It one of the only articles I've written in 2 months!...  whoops!

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Venue Review 5

Venue Five:  Thyme at Southrop

I used a lot in my search for a barn in Gloucestershire.  I didn't spot Southrop Manor on my first look, but I'm so glad I checked back!
If exclusive is what you're looking for in a wedding venue, then this is the one for you.  Priced at roughly twice the amount of the previous 4 wedding venues and only holding one wedding a month, this is a secret, albeit pricey gem for those looking for a wow-venue!

When you first drive up to this beautiful barn in the grounds of Southrop Manor, you can't help but take in the beauty of the Cotswolds around you.  The barn has been refurbished to an amazing standard, and has so much charm.  Anthony who showed us around matched that charm and was so accommodating I wanted to book it there and then (despite it being out of our price range!)

This place has the added excellence of an on site cookery school.  You can also have an alfresco meal in the herb garden too which also backs on to the stables with the most beautiful horses.
There is also an on site cottage, along with a farm house that is just being finished up to provide even more accommodation.  By the summer another building that has just been purchased will become a spa!  What more could you ask for!  They also own the local pub, The Swan.  Give it another 2 years and I'm sure they'll own the whole village!

There is no way we could go for something as extravagant as this, but we wanted to have a nose around to see what a larger budget would get us.  And this place really didn't disappoint.
If you are looking for an exclusive venue with character, charm and beauty then this is the place for you!
For us poorer folk, we'll have to stick to going to the Southrop Summer Fete just so we can grace this stunning venue with our presence again!

Friday, 4 March 2011

Venue Review 4

Venue Four:  Winkworth Farm

For our second round of visits, we wanted to head back to our favourite venue so far, Stone Barn.  I thought it was sensible to look at another venue on the same day too just to see the differences and to see whether we got the same feeling from it as we did the first time.
This is why we booked a viewing of Winkworth Farm in Malmsbury.

We had thought about it before, but cancelled it out as Andy has previous photographed a wedding in the grounds of Winkworth (before the barn was refurbished last year) and he wasn't sure whether he wanted our wedding to be there as it may not be unique to us.

However, I thought this place was amazing!  It had a really warm feeling and had lots of lovely, quirky details to it.  For starters, we could marry outside in the garden which would be beautiful on a hot, summer's day (pictured left), but obviously this is not a guarantee with our British weather!  
I did love the fact that Winkworth have a farmhouse on site with 4 double bedrooms.  They also have a bridal suite next to the barn that is available to brides from 11am.  That was a big selling point for me as it was a gorgeous little cottage, perfect for your first night as husband and wife as well as for the bridal party to get ready in the morning.
There is also a 28 bedroom Best Western hotel 4 miles away for the rest of your guests!

Winkworth pride themselves on being a green venue.  Everything locally sourced, and every inch of the land used to it's max.  There are two outdoor areas, the one to the rear has a great space for BBQ or Hog Roast.  Catering is usually provided by Relish, William's Kitchen or Manor Events, all of whom are very reasonably priced.

Winkworth are very open to decoration, another thing I am looking for in our venue to help achieve our country fete theme.  I love the archery idea (pictured right)!

Looking at their calender, they are getting pretty booked up, so I better get thinking!!....

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Venue Review 3

Venue Three:  The Stone Barn

Now, what can I say about this place?....  I absolutely love it!  
I found the website and tried so had to get an appointment, and finally nabbed one on New Years Eve.  When I looked at the pictures online, I knew that Andy would love the rustic look of it.

As you can see from the picture, this venue isn't your typically traditional barn!

This venue offers the beauty of the barn, which is licensed for ceremony's and the rustic, relaxed feel from the cow shed!
It was quite refreshing to come across something so different.  It is a fairly new venue and has only been holding weddings since summer 2010.  It is run by the team behind Cripps Barn who have a fantastic reputation for holding great weddings and have a superb catering company.

This is highlighted even more so by Stone Barn's 'God Grilla'!  

Reported in the Telegraph as the largest BBQ in the word!  It can cook 1000 sausages or 7 whole lambs in one go!  If that isn't a wow feature then I don't know what is!

I really want the beauty of a converted barn, but after looking through many blogs from rustic, American, big barn weddings, this barn definitely fits the overall bill!

I can imagine the space (pictured right) would look fantastic bathed in candle light for the ceremony and the acoustics being amazing for a band in the evening.

Will I be able to find another venue that would satisfy both Andy and myself, and bring together all our rustic, vintage ideas and our love of food?

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Venue Review 2

Venue Two:  Pristin Mill & Tythe Barn

After our visit to the very pretty Wick Farm, we drove 25 minutes to potential venue number two.  Before I was even engaged, I knew that this venue would be on my list of places to see after it appeared on the last series of BBC Three's Don't Tell the Bride.  What I didn't know was that there are 2 venues to choose from on site.  The Water Mill and the Tithe Barn.

Sandra Meyer showed us around the Water Mill first.  There's no denying that the venue is beautiful.  They have made a feature of the mill inside, and have really used the space well, placing the ceremony and reception room at the top (with an outdoor terrace looking out onto the stream), the bar area on the middle floor and the toilets at the bottom.  The grounds are stunning too, and on a sunny day would be awesome and will maximise the space. 

I did like the look of the Mill, but my main concern was about access.  My mother is in a wheelchair.  There is access to the ceremony room as there is a hill behind the Mill, but she wouldn't be able to use the bar.  And every time she would need to use the toilet facilities, she would have to go outside and down the hill.  I just think that if our wedding was on a rainy day, this wouldn't be a fair deal for her.  She would also have to go back up the hill, which would have been quite difficult as it was quite muddy and had lots of gravel.

Sandra then showed us the Tithe Barn.  This was more our style anyway, but the minimum number they take is 80, which is exactly the number we are looking at.  I already knew it would be too big for what we were looking for though.

This barn is beautiful, but it is vast!  The ceremony would take place on the mezzanine meaning my mother wouldn't be able to attend.  She would have to be seated in the main hall area below, and although we worked out that we could have about 20 others seated down there with her, it just didn't feel right for me.

These venues are beautiful, and would suit someone wanting a unique venue, great outdoor space and character.  My main problem was the access, but I also felt that it was very corporate.  This is no bad thing, but for my husband to be and I, it's just not what we're looking for.

I would recommend it, and it looked fantastic all dressed up on Don't Tell the Bride (series 4, episode 5) but it just didn't have the relaxed feel that we wanted.


Thursday, 17 February 2011

Venue Review

Venue one: Wick Farm

On December 29th, Andy and I decided that whilst we had a car and free time, we should go and have a nose around some wedding venues.  Neither of us are religious or traditional, so we cancelled out a church straight away.  We wanted something relaxed and rustic that would match our personalities.  That's when we decided to start looking at barns.

First up on the list was Wick Farm, just south of Bath.  And we weren't disappointed!

This beautiful barn has been a wedding venue for less than a year, and is simply stunning.  I loved the relaxed feel it had, and the owner, Julian Janes was fantastic.  He was the perfect mix of relaxed ease, and professional businessman.  (I loved the added detail of his young son roaming around on his quad bike in a Barbour jacket!)

The grounds provide easy access, and although bare from winter, I can imagine to be beautiful in full bloom.  The outdoor area overlooks the pond, filled with geese and ducks, and the field where they keep the sheep.  You can't miss the pigs on the ride up the driveway either!

Inside, the barn is simple and stunning.  There is an upper and lower barn that are linked.  The Upper is used as the main function room, and can hold wedding ceremonies and seat up to 130 guests for the wedding breakfast.  The Lower Barn is the bar area.  There is also a bridal dressing room upstairs that you can use to get ready.  I think it's a wonderful little touch!

This venue works hard without having to even try and provides lots of little extras in clay pigeon shooting, pony riding and archery.  

The prices shocked us too as I think this is a steal at £2800 for venue hire on a Saturday during peak times!  That includes all tables and chairs too!  Strawberry Field Catering are the recommended local caters who are also reasonably priced.

I really loved this venue and thought that anything else I saw wouldn't live up to it....

.... look out for my other wedding venue reviews to see whether we chose Wick Farm!

Hummingbird Bakery

For those of you who haven't experienced Hummingbird Bakery, you are missing out!
I used to be a regular, what with working in Notting Hill 4 days a week!  It definitely didn't do my waistline any good, but who cares when food tastes as good as that!

After trying every variety of cake on offer, carrot, vanilla, lemon curd, and my favourite red velvet and black bottom ones, Hummingbird bought out an amazing cookery book!  A best seller with insights into their world of cakes!  I now regularly use this book and bake a range of goodies from it!
Here's a little teaser from it thanks to the Hummingbird Bakery website:

For those of you with special requirements, Hummingbird have also just bought out a new range of Gluten free cakes!  I'm hoping that they may do some lactose free soon too!
Along with their three stores in London (Portobello Road, Wardour Street and Old Brompton Road), they have a 24 hour online ordering service for London too.  They are also releasing a new cook book on 17th March 2011 containing 100 new, never been seen recipes!  I cannot wait!

And for those of you looking for occasion cakes, book a consultation and see what fancies these wonderful cake makers can produce for you.  I am loving the look of their giant cupcakes, and their wedding cupcake towers.  I am very tempted myself for my upcoming wedding as this is by far my favourite bakery in the UK!

For any enquiries, check out

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

My Love of Fashion

I regularly write blog posts for
I got into this a few months ago via a gumtree advert.  I love having the freedom to write about what I love and enjoy.
Here are some links to previous posts!

Vintage Inspiration:

2011 Celebrity Weddings:

First Impressions:  What to wear to that all important interview!

In with the pink!  Breast Cancer Awareness

Budget Beauty Buys (under £5!)

DIY Christmas (although some ideas for all year round DIY)

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Cake Bake!

I am a huge fan of baking.  I would happily spend hours in the kitchen creating baked goods that are so good to eat.

There are a few problems with this though...  We shouldn't really eat that many cakes and biscuits, and unfortunately for me, I'm also lactose intolerant.  This got me thinking about some healthy, dairy-free recipes!

I love Harry Eastwood's book 'Red Velvet, Chocolate Heartache'.  Just looking at the cake pictured on the front.  It makes you want to indulge in the naughty-ness of cake!

Luckily for me, Harry Eastwood is the 'Eat Yourself Thin' chef who watches our waistlines in her recipes!  A lot of the cake recipes in this book feature vegetables instead of butter, milk or extra sugar!  Healthy and dairy free?!  Surely these cakes can't be edible!  

The thing is, they are!  I regularly use recipes from here, and 'forget' to tell my fiancee that there is courgette in them, and he eats them up, compliments them and is none-the-wiser!  When he does find out, he feels as though he has been tricked!  And hates to admit that he actually enjoyed them!

Here is on of the finished items:  Carrot cake!

For the icing, I chose not to use butter, and used lacto-free cream cheese instead of philadelphia!

There is a fabulous blog that shares lots of amazing lacto-free recipes.  They even featured a banana cake I made from one of Harry Eastwood's recipes:

Happy baking!

Antique Wedding Shopping!

So today was the Edinburgh Antique fair at the Highland Centre.  I went to one last year and spent most of the day searching for a cloche that would fit my child-sized head!

Today however, was all about our upcoming wedding!
We are heading for a country fete theme with jam jars and bottles as centre pieces with a mix of spring flowers.  We have been saving jars from our everyday food (Lloyd Grossman, Mango chutney and pesto being the main ones), but we also wanted some cool, vintage bottles and jugs so we could have a miss-matched finish.

We found 19 in total today!  And all for £20!  Bargain!  

Take a look!...

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Valentines Cupcakes

I look after 2 year old twin girls 3 days a week.  They're good fun and enjoy any messy activity!  

As valentines day is upon us yet again, I thought I would do something fun with them!  Lucky for me Lorraine was on the kitchen TV and chef James was making some gorgeous looking valentines cupcakes!  I thought 'why not'!

Luckily we had all the ingredients (always the biggest problems with baking!) so we got started straight away!
I washed the girls hands and reminded them not to put them in their mouths, or their noses, or their ears!  (kids!)  And they helped me measure out all the ingredients, crack the eggs, juice the lemon and mix it all together!  
I can highly recommend this recipe if you're a first time baker or baking with children as it was so quick and easy!

Here's the link:

And here's our finished items (along with some valentines day cards we also made!)

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

The Proposal!

Ok, I thought I should start off with something fun!  What better way to start my blog posts than to share my proposal!

Andy and I have been together for almost 6 years.  We met doing a ski season together in Val D'Isere all those years ago.  We moved in together after just 6 months and really made a go of things in London!
After making a big move to Edinburgh in April 2010 for Andy's job, we settled back into our life together very quickly!

Andy & I (with dodgy tan lines & looking very young!)
at the end of our ski season in Val D'Isere, May 2005

As a thank you for moving to a strange city, Andy planned a trip to Berlin for us to check out the Christmas markets (something we've wanted to do for years).  I've only recently started thinking about marriage, and although the signs were there, I didn't think he'd actually propose!

The signs were small (stressed at the airport as our flight was delayed and almost cancelled.  If it was going to be cancelled he said we would just get on another plane anywhere!), but they were there if I look back.
On Saturday (11th December) we explored Berlin's sights, and drank plenty of mulled wine at the numerous markets we attended.  I can't deny that I thought it would be perfect if he would propose at some point that day!  But I put it to the back of my mind thinking it wouldn't happen just yet.
After an amazing day out, back at the hotel room, we chatted about everything and anything.  It was all so perfect and I was really happy at that moment.  He then came out and asked if I'd marry him!  I, being me didn't give him a straight answer, I was more concerned with whether he was actually asking me or not!

Obviously I said 'yes' once he had to ask me again, and he produced a raccoon finger puppet he had spotted at the christmas market to help 'keep my finger warm' until we went ring shopping!

At the Christmas Market drinking mulled wine from 'boot' mugs!

Thursday, 27 January 2011


Hello to my new blog, and hello to anyone out there following!
I've decided to start my own blog as I have been contributing fashion blogs to and for the last 5 months and thought it was about time I had a place I could write my own ideas down and share links to my other blogs.

I am passionate about fashion and beauty.  I take a keen interest in all the latest trends as well as classic, vintage pieces.  I like to write and share my ideas, and love how blogs let you freely do so.
I have recently become engaged too and am so impressed by the many wedding blogs out there.  I'd like to keep track of all my planning and share any ideas I come across in time too as it's starting to take up a large amount of my time and my mind!  Plus there are so many ideas out there and I know I can't have them all!!

I'd better get some ideas together and this blog off the ground then!....