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!