Monday, 29 December 2014

2014 was...


The year I got married!
♥ 
Alice and Simon (146 of 366)
There is no doubt in my heart that this was the best year of my life. It was the toughest, most anticipated year of both mine and my husband's life, and with it delivered emotion that I had never experienced in my entire 25 years.
 Nothing could have ever prepared me for what was ahead... a few weeks before the wedding I suddenly burst into tears whilst driving home. I was so scared, anxious, excited, and completely overcome with emotion. 
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But that little cry got me to the church on time, and that moment will stay with me forever just like - Dad giving me away, finally saying 'I do', signing the wedding register, having our first dance (Heroes by David Bowie), arriving in Fiji, all these once in a lifetime moments captured in my heart.
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This Christmas Simon's Grandad looked at me and said "That was the best wedding I have ever been to - I didn't think you had it in you" and those words summed up the entire year for me. Because he was completely right. For so long, I was the girl who nobody took much notice of - the girl who got bullied for having frizzy hair and being a bit fat. I was the girl who didn't have a boyfriend, I was the 'Goth' girl, and ultimately I was the shy one, the girl who could barely speak a single word to a stranger.
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This year has taught me that quite literally anything is possible. I overcame all of my insecurities and weaknesses to become the person that I am today - and I am proud of what I have, because I did it all by myself, and I'm not going to for a second let anyone take that from me.
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This year was so extraordinary, and I'm not going to for a second stop believing, dreaming and above all loving.

 I'm Alice Taylor, and I'm finally proud to be me.
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See you in 2015!



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Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Our First Married Christmas

It’s no secret I’ve always loved Christmas. I still find it impossible to sleep Christmas Eve and squeal with absolute delight when I know Father Christmas is on his way. I love getting the house decorated (Far too early, the 29th November this year) and I love spending time at home feeling festive and cosy. 
 
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I have so many treasured memories of my childhood Christmas's at home with my parents and brother, but inevitably over time, things changed. I met Simon and we had twice the amount of family to visit. I’m not going to lie I found this part of Christmas stressful, I actually felt our Christmas Day was very much like the film Four Christmas’s (we have three sets of parents between us), it was all a very organised event, in which we would awake early, open presents and then be out the door at our first appointment and not arrive home until late in the evening.

Spending our final unmarried Christmas last year rushing around, we made a decision to spend THIS Christmas together at home – just us two. Call us mad, but this is the best gift we could have ever wished for. No rush, no pressure, no thrills, no driving, just a simple Christmas Day with the most important person in the world.

I have learnt to love and cherish every moment of joy and happiness this year. We have experienced the most incredible journey together, and I am so proud to be Simon’s wife. It’s our 6th Christmas together, and our first married – which is sure enough reason to call for a celebration!
 
I love you Mr Taylor

Merry Christmas
♥ 
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Monday, 24 November 2014

Our Wedding.

6 months ago I said: I do.

Alice and Simon (229 of 366) (2) 

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Words could not have prepared me for a day of such incredible emotion and giving and receiving the token of true and everlasting love. I felt pure joy, happiness, devotion and above all trust not only in love, but in life.
 
This day changed me, I did the impossible – I beat my crippling shyness, every day I need to remember just how far I’ve come. 
 
I wholeheartedly love my husband.


All photograph credit to our amazing photographer Melissa With Love.
 
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Friday, 21 November 2014

My Cinderella Shoe: Ice Cream Shoes

When choosing my wedding shoes I was underwhelmed – I just couldn’t decide on a style. I had considered wearing my Hunter wellingtons, but still dreamed of something more ‘Cinderella.’

I wanted magic and sparkle, and by pure chance and excellent savviness in the form of Gemma
- I had found my dream Ice Cream shoes!

Scouring the Internet one day I spotted a photograph of a celebrity wearing these shoes (the black version) and instantly knew they had to be mine! After months of stalking and hoping, Gemma gave me the ultimate tip off when they hit ASOS. 

Alice and Simon (228 of 366)
Wow!  
The moment they arrived I was smitten. I have never been a ‘shoegal’ (like my heroes Carrie Bradshaw and Alex and Char), but this shoe changed my life! The fact I wore them on my wedding day obviously gives them royalty status among my shoddy counterparts. 

But also the fact I only get them out on V.Special occasions (like seeing Lady Gaga last night Live.)  And the way I carefully and precisely pack them away in their allocated dust bag and shoe box, means I have finally found my one shoe love.

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Monday, 10 November 2014

Water For Elephants

Sometimes you catch a film by pure chance, and it suddenly captures your whole heart and entire imagination. Water For Elephants is this in a nutshell. 

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Robert Pattinson and Reese Witherspoon play firm leads, and both equally sparkle. I love the kind nature of this film, it reminds me so much of The Notebook – how the story of true everlasting love is told in such a nostalgic and magical way.  

The undeniable star of the film is Rosie – the elephant, seeing such a towering animal on screen made my heart skip a beat. I became so enticed by her presence, and grand entrance, I felt a great urge to research elephant history. 

Discovering this film, coincides with planning a very exciting travel adventure for 2015. I’m absolutely saddened to learn that so many elephants are unfairly treated in the world. With this thought it mind it has made me more determined to visit a dedicated sanctuary which cares for elephants in a positive way and give them the gratitude and respect they truly deserve.

I absolutely adore this film. Go watch.
 
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Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Hey, Baby

I’ve reached a point in my life where segments fit together, I’m no longer the lost teenage adolescent or the fresh faced early twenties girl. I’m a married woman, with a loving husband and beautifully crafted home. I still have some challenges to face, and my own personal and professional goals, but there is one BIG question ahead...

When are you having a baby?
 
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I always knew I wanted to be a Mum – this was never out of the question, but timing is key.  I have always lived by the rule that I want to be able to provide my child with opportunities I never had.  I’ve learnt some incredibly tough lessons in life, and believe me I still consider myself to be ‘learning’.
I want to be able to teach my child to be confident, proud, and optimistic in all aspects of their life – all areas myself I struggle with. Would it be fair to expect somebody else to be something I am not?
 
Emotionally, I love with all of my heart. My husband is the single most important individual in my life. I’ve always wondered if I could love a child – I have a complicated and sometimes distant relationship with my own Mum, and have told myself so many times that I don’t want history to repeat itself.
  
I also know that my husband’s love is borrowed, for a daughter would consume a large chunk and ultimately become his apple. I know of this rare, unbreakable love, because of the love of my own Father. When I wake up in the middle of the night scared, I still unknowingly shout for him. When I get really upset and cry, it is always for him. Because, he was the first man to care for me. Am I ready to share my husband's love and affection?
 
When we planned our wedding, we always were set on having a significant gap between starting a family.  It might seem unusual to some, but we both feel there are certain things, and most significantly places; we still want to see.
 
Of course comes the question of fertility, I guess nobody is quite sure whether they will be able to have a child. My body has seen some big changes, and when at my lowest weight, my best friend quietly mentioned whether I had considered the damage it could have on my fertility. I was so grateful she had been brave enough to question me, because up until that moment I hadn’t really forseen the future.

I’m not scared of having a baby; I’ve grown to welcome the idea. I even sometimes, occasionally find myself wandering into the baby section, and at occasions such as Halloween and Christmas I do often wonder how wonderful it would be to have a little someone with us.

But right now I’m just not ready.  And I am more than certain, that that is completely okay.
 


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Friday, 24 October 2014

When I Met The Hairy Dieters

When I started my weight loss journey at the beginning of 2013 I was so oblivious to how ‘diets’ worked. They were like a foreign language to me and counting calories gave me a headache. I needed some guidance and the best diet cookbook I ever found, used, loved, lived by was The Hairy Bikers ‘Hairy Dieters’ How To Love Food and Lose Weight.

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This book served as a Bible in my first 6 months of dieting. We found our firm favourites – roasted cod with parma ham and peppers, spanish style chicken bake and the glorious chilli con carne. This book produced real food, with great kick and taste, but crucially without the guilt and added calories.

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When Book 2 came out last year we rushed out to buy it, and again the book was well loved and used in our household almost daily. The fast chicken fajita recipe conviced us to finally ditch the Old El Paso sachets, proof is in the state of the page after a few too many spice explosions...

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So when Book 3 was released a few weeks ago I was eager to add it to our collection, it was by chance I spotted a book signing poster, Si and Dave where coming along to my supermarket to sign copies of the book.

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Of course, I had to go. Something inside of me owed a lot to these two humble guys.
When I got to the front of the queue I nervously giggled, but proudly showed them my ‘before and after’ photos, Si looked at me and asked how I felt now to have lost the weight. They both looked at my husband and said he must be so proud of me.

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That was the first time in my life, bar passing my driving test and walking out of church with Simon on our wedding day, that I genuinely felt proud to be me.
Big Thank You Si & Dave 

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Sunday, 19 October 2014

My Bikini Body

I initially wanted to write this post a while ago, a bikini body is something we as women countlessly stress about, and up until I reached 24 years old I had never owned a two piece bikini before – purely because I was so ashamed of my body. 
I lost a lot of weight in the lead up to my wedding and when I look at photos of myself on Honeymoon I see a very slim figure - with little way of curves or a bust. The smile on my face is real, but the body confidence is gone. I see the slimmest version of me, and a much younger looking body - of almost a teenager.

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In Dubai, I finally found that confidence I had been looking for again - I walked out in my bikini and felt both happy and healthy. I wasn't the slimmest person on the beach, but for once it didn't matter. Since getting married, I have allowed myself to enjoy food again - and not live with such tight rules. I've realised that my body isn’t naturally ‘slim or slender’ but real. I run, I work out, and I think my body reflects that - I would find it incredibly hard not to keep fit.  
I still have a small bust, and skinny arms, but my legs, my stomach and my general physique is much more well-balanced now. I don’t look at the photos anymore and see a little girl, I see a woman and that is what I am and want to be.
Exercise, diet and running will always remain a part of my life – but I want to live a long term healthy lifestyle. Having experienced being both overweight and almost 'underweight' I've learnt that the only person that you need to please is yourself. You have to find the balance in life.
Being a woman is hard, but learning to love yourself is far more harder than I ever imagined.

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Friday, 17 October 2014

Dreams & Dubai

This year has undoubtedly been the greatest year of my life – our dream wedding, Honeymoon, my 25th birthday and this October my husband’s 30th birthday… which led to a very big surprise.
I have never been one for organising or planning ‘trips’ – to be honest I never thought I was capable of planning a holiday, but somehow, and with a very lot of thought and research I planned a secret escape for Simon’s 30th Birthday.

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Destination: Dubai.
Surprising him at work, and leaving straight for the airport (bags packed) was all part of the fun and mischief.
We had the most (inexpensive) window shop at Duty Free, and boarded our flight with our hearts firmly intertwined.

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I can only describe Dubai as truly luxurious - it’s clear to see that wealth is a common theme in Dubai. With its amazing sky scrapers, landmarks and golden beaches - it’s truly beautiful. I am so glad I chose Dubai as the chosen destination, because it was a complete surprise in every sense and will remain a birthday to remember.  
I am so proud of Simon – he’s achieved so much, and has worked so hard to establish a career, not to mention the time, effort, love and devotion he has put into our relationship and marriage.


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I wanted Dubai to be special for us both – and it was by far spectacular in every sense. I never dreamed that I would be celebrating in the middle of the desert and watching the sunset, but that’s the beauty of life… there is always room for surprise. When we arrived home from Honeymoon in late June – I felt a deep pain and longing for Fiji. I was scared I would never feel the same way I did whilst there – but Dubai you confirmed that those feelings - as rare, beautiful and sparkling they are, are always there deep down and can return in an instance.   
Four days away in paradise, in such a diverse and modern city has taught me that dreams are most certainly for living.


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Friday, 22 August 2014

Bloggers Do It Best

One day I started writing a blog, for months I was writing to nobody – I didn’t know who was out there, but I dared to carry on – just to see.
I never imagined that I would go onto meet three of the most intelligent, creative, whimsical and sincere girls I know. 
Wedding Penpals
Alex, myself, Gemma & Sophie.

You see Alex’s blog was one I came across a very long time ago – I was fascinated by her stunning collection of frocks (not to mention her shoes). In March 2013 she invited me along to the most unassuming, wonderful and cosy trip to Norbury Manor. Whilst here – I went onto discover a whole new me. 

Gemma had the initiative to set up a pen pal exchange – it was through this we bonded over cakes, boys, music, film, literature and life. We then went on a seaside trip to Blackpool in August 2013 - in which she introduced me to the song I chose to dance with my Father. (And she tracked down my wedding shoes … massive kudos.)

And the final piece – Sophie.
Sophie has every quality that makes a friendship real. We met through blogging and mutual pen-palling, and then met for the very first time in person at Norbury Manor – which saw us have unbelievable all night girly chats – we exhausted each other’s thoughts and emotions, but something clicked deep inside. We had so much in common. It was like meeting the best friend you never knew you had. 

I knew - that on my wedding day I had to have my closest and dearest in my life to witness my marriage and join us in celebration.  It was one night, I turned to my husband-to-be and said "If I have one wish, it is to have my pen pals at my wedding."
And that wish came true.

A heartfelt thank you goes to Alex, Gemma & Sophie for changing my life forever and standing by me on the most special day of my life.  
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Sunday, 17 August 2014

Jam.

When I was little I ate jam sandwiches every day in my lunchbox. But then one day, I didn’t eat jam sandwiches anymore.
Blue Jam
I strongly believe that food has that magical quality of being able to instantly transport you back to a moment in time, predominantly childhood.  Jam is most certainly that food for me (along with Jaffa Cakes and Fish Fingers...yes.).
A couple of weeks ago, we picked some home-grown strawberries from the allotment and I hastily decided to make some strawberry jam on spur of the moment – but I was much unprepared. It was a very chaotic couple of hours in the kitchen. I didn’t measure out my quantities, I struggled sterilising my equipment and the final result ended in a burnt hob.  The jam however, was very scrumptious.  (The test is always in the taste.)
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A few weeks and jam observing later I decided to get properly prepared, I sterilised my jars, chose my fruit, measured out my sugar … and voila…
I made blueberry jam!
Yum yum yum.
The problem with home-made jam – like anything home-made, is that once you’ve made your own there is simply no going back. I’m awfully sorry Sir William Pickles Hartley.


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Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Fiji – The Most Beautiful Place in the World

I have always dreamt of visiting a tropical island, when researching destinations for our honeymoon we couldn’t help but fall in love with Fiji.
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It took almost twenty-four hours to get there (We flew from London Heathrow to LAX and then onto Fiji), but the moment we arrived we were greeted by the most fabulous welcome, bellows of ‘BULA’ and singing in the airport and gifts of string beads! We had truly arrived in paradise and there was no going back.
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We stayed at the Radisson BLU Hotel in Denarau, it was truly luxurious in every sense, the staff were so welcoming, we had no worries or qualms whilst staying there. We were gifted some complimentary ‘Honeymoon’ champagne, which we saved until our very last night.
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Newleywed Mr and Mrs Taylor
For the first time ever we ordered room service (The most delicious lamb kofta for me) – and we didn’t even feel guilty doing so!
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We have so many unbelievable memories, moments and experiences. I can truly say our honeymoon was the best time of my entire life – long wholesome days spent doing very little, basking in the sun, exploring the culture, dressing in my favourite bikinis, wearing as many flowers in my hair all at once, feasting on amazing fish dishes (The best ever calamari and chips), drinking fresh coconut juice straight from the tree, trying every tropical fruit in the land, snorkelling with amazing sea life, witnessing the most intimate wedding ceremony on remote coastland and watching the glorious sunset - we were truly spoilt.
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We both had a clear vision of tropical, romance and magic – I knew our honeymoon was going to contain these elements, but Fiji was breathtakingly amazing, it was everything I had dreamed, ached, and longed for, - and so MUCH more.
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This is most definitely, in every instance, a heartfelt ode to the most beautiful place in the world.
Our hearts will always belong in Fiji forever.  

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