Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Dear 2015 Brides,

It feels almost surreal writing this. I know a few bloggers are preparing for their 2015 weddings and a close friend is also preparing to get 'hitched' this summer, so I thought only fair to share a few of my own experiences. You know, it’s only the biggest day of your life to prepare for.
This time last year we were on the final countdown towards our May wedding, which had been booked two years in advance soon after our engagement in Paris.
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 This was one of the last photographs taken of me, before leaving for the church - I remember this moment very clearly. I was petrified, but so gracious - that the time was finally here. The day of our wedding had arrived, and our lives were going to change forever. This is what I wish someone had told me in the lead up to mine...

Time
Now let me tell you, at the time it seemed like forever away. It was painful knowing we had YEARS to wait. But, in essence, two years is not long enough! I’m going to be straight; no amount of time (months/years) can allow you to be prepared. We ran out of time.
In this eventuality you just have to go with it. Yes – you might have dreamt up this incredible table decoration, convinced yourself you could bake your own wedding cake, but it didn’t quite happen. So be it, live it, and find solace in knowing you did what you could.

Nerves
However confident you may seem, they will get you. You might have played out the wedding scene in your mind one hundred times, but one day (for me it was a fortnight before our wedding, whilst driving to my parents house, I suddenly began sobbing at the wheel) it’s going to hit you like a ton of bricks just how big this is. How many people are attending your wedding, waiting, anticipating seeing you enter the church, what it’s going to be like literally being the centre of attention and how it’s going to feel walking down the aisle and becoming ‘Mrs…’ for real. Get the tissues at the ready.

Support
Be grateful to your Husband-to-Be.
He’s the one single person who is going through the exact same scenario and feeling as you are. Love him today, love him tomorrow and remember he’s the one who took a chance on you and wanted you the most.
 
Body, Diet and Willpower
This is the BIG ONE. Because you’ve got the dress, and you know exactly how you want/need it to feel and look on the big day. Nothing will convince you enough that you look okay right now. The scales will petrify you and eating will be difficult – especially if you have occasions such as Easter, birthdays etc. looming.
Don’t lose faith – the final push is always the hardest (especially when you want to stuff your face full of chocolate), but maintain that healthy lifestyle, and allow yourself to exercise. Think of the reward at the end. I don’t quite know how to put it, but the ‘wedding diet’ is one of those infamous ones, and sadly we as women feel obliged to follow one. Because, we all want to look our best on our wedding day – it’s just a fact of life and it's okay to feel like this.
My journey was life-changing and wasn’t solely wedding related, I was overweight and desperately unhappy, but my initial goal was to be happy with the way I looked on my wedding day. And that, I achieved.
I am not going to lie – an impending wedding can be soul destroying on your appetite. Food is hard to appreciate, because all you want to do is look your best and you will not let anything jeopardise that.
Try not to be too hard on yourself, you need to be healthy and sensible, but remember without a question of doubt the willpower now will pay off. And your Honeymoon is for EATING everything (even the chocolate, in my case mine and my husbands chocolate mousse pudding on the plane).
I get it.

Cherish
Cherish every single moment of your last months of being ‘single’ – yes you’ve been in a relationship for a long time now, but on the actual census records you are SINGLE. So these last few months of signing as Miss and in your maiden name (that belongs to your parents) are actually precious.  

Anticipate
Finally, anticipate what is coming, because it is life-changing. It is so huge that you will not realise until you are right in the midst of it. This is ultimately the day you have dreamt of your entire life and weddings (however small or big) all amount to one thing: LOVE.
Enjoy every single moment between now, the wedding and ever after.
I hope, if anything this helped and reassured you – that it’s going to be okay.
 ♥
Yours Sincerely
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Sunday, 22 February 2015

All You Need is Love... in Liverpool

Last weekend for Valentines we descended upon Liverpool – a city we had never visited before, but much curiosity brought us here. 
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My good friend Alex, whom lives in Liverpool, gave me some brilliant recommendations – this girl has got excellent taste. 

We woke early, six am and exchanged Valentines cards (our first as husband and wife), and then set off into a very foggy mist across the Woodhead Pass. We arrived at ten to nine, which was no better timing for a wander to Moose Coffee on Dale Street. There were queues outside; the promise of a wholesome American breakfast enticed us.
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I opted for the Vegi Liberty Moose – a pesto infused scrambled egg bagel – yum! We excitedly bonded over breakfast, and then set off in search of Albert Dock, passing the Liver Building and feeling pretty mesmerised. Now there is something so endearing about a city without people – you know the early mornings, when everybody else is still in bed, and you’re alone in the big city.

It was a little chilly, but there was just enough warmth to capture our hearts (Imagine this place in the Summer). We arrived at our first stop – The Beatles Story.
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Packed with tourists, we were in for a real treat. I’m quite accustomed to headset tours now, and soon became captured in some Beatles nostalgia. I fell in love with the Yellow Submarine and its various sea life! The sets and props, were pretty incredible and touching.  I felt so welled up seeing original instruments, clothing and John Lennon’s infamous rimmed glasses – wow. Great start to our day.

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We then had a wander over to Bold Street – thanks both Char and Alex for the recommendations. I was so thrilled with the diversity – thrift, vintage, second-hand, modern & every cuisine you could wish. This street rocks.
Because of the heavily presence of Valentines – Liverpool was booming. It felt like an exclusive city – there were girls carrying roses (We spied girls in rollers too – yes this is a thing), there was one creature I was keen to get my hands on…

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A Love Bug Hug! From Krispy Kreme. I excitedly jumped up and down in the queue awaiting my Love Bug. We sat and ate our cheeky doughnuts, with a hot chocolate on a bench in Liverpool One (Shopping paradise in a nutshell).

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Next stop… The Cavern Club. This was one on the top our list and it’s easy to see why. As we eagerly paid our two pound entry fee around 3pm in the afternoon, and took the long walk down the many stairs into an underground cavern… we joined what can only be described as a common love and bond for music. The club was full – but not rowdy. Instead calm, and full of love.
Granted there were a lot of couples, but I’m guessing this club is full of love every day of the year. We found room on a bench, sat, listened to the live music and drank a few beers. It was the most romantic way to spend an afternoon.

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The evening began at Byron Burger – we opted for casual, rather than a three-course affair. I’m so glad we did, because again the atmosphere was brilliant. The seating, layout, and setting were spot on. And the food… I chose the grilled Portobello mushroom, whilst Simon went for the Smoky one. G-O-R-G-E-O-U-S.  

I decided to wear my skeleton dress – which could be confused as Halloween attire, but that’s the beauty of it. When I wear this dress I feel a whole different me! And yes, I’ve worn it many a Halloween, on my honeymoon in San Francisco and now in Liverpool.   
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There was a little method in my madness, as we highly anticipated a secret bar later in the night … named Berry & Rye. Well, the beauty of secrets is, they are best kept secret. All I can say is mystery is a must.

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Dear Liverpool,

This was truly the best Valentines yet – we can’t thank you enough .


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Sunday, 8 February 2015

An Asian Adventure

This year… we are going to Thailand!
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Whilst nearing the end of our honeymoon last year - which took us across the world to Fiji, New Zealand and America, we drew up essentially a bucket list of places and destinations which we would plan and work on making happen.
There are lots of places we hope to visit in our lifetime, which we may not get to see for decades or sadly ever. But, we have a shared dream to fulfil our hearts and passion for travel whilst we are still relatively young.  And the big one – married, just us two.
We have never visited Asia before, but what drew us in where the tropical beaches, rich culture, diverse food, and sense of adventure.  We are such big foodies – and I can’t wait to sample some authentic Pad Thai and Thai Yam salad. Not to mention a fresh supply of coconut water. 
Of course, my holiday shopping commenced late August, (shopping out of season is always the winner), picking up 50p bikinis on clearance and every faux tropical flower in existence.

What am I most looking forward to about this trip? 
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The preparation, planning and lead up!
I was so caught up in wedding mania last year, by the time we were mid-air on our way to beloved Fiji, I was so exhausted and overcome with emotion that I felt I’d missed out on something. I typically over packed – and ended up donating half of my suitcase to a local Op shop in New Zealand. So this time I’m determined to only take the bare essentials, leaving room to bring a few authentic textiles home with me.
Our honeymoon was truly magical, and full of pure love, devotion, and once in a lifetime moments which will stay in our hearts forever. But rightly so - we are ready for the next chapter as husband and wife.
Let the adventure and self discovery begin.

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Thursday, 5 February 2015

Blissfully Enchanted #1

It’s quite incredible how much my taste has changed in recent years, I am definitely enticed towards different things now, not that this is a bad thing. Quite the opposite really, I’m enjoying making better, wiser and more grown up choices.
I don’t crave a cheap thrill – I enjoy admiring, pursuing and saving for a new kitchen appliance, or a special occasion dress.   
Don’t get me wrong though – bargain hunting is in my blood and sometimes there is always room for surprise. I like to think now I’ve reigned it in – no longer am I stockpiling children’s books (enough to fill a library full), or a wardrobe bursting to the seams. The age old saying – quality over quantity is finally working its virtue.
I’m introducing a new post entitled Blissfully Enchanted – in which I will share a few of my favourite things from the current month – literature, fashion, cookery… whatever takes my fancy!
 
Deliciously Ella
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This book is ALMOST good enough to eat, nourish and enjoy. If a book was edible, then this is it in a heartbeat.
I am still in the experimentation stage with the majority of the recipes, but one thing is for sure this girl is after my own heart. Avocado, healthy snacking and a strong ethos and passion for nutrition and health, I blooming love this book.

Speaking of...Avocados
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I have decided that – if given just one food to live on, forever more, it would have to be avocado. I am absolutely devoted. You know you have it bad, when you have to replenish your supply, as you have somewhat devoured an avocado straight out of the skin!
 
Magazines 
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I’ve always been a magazine junkie for as long as I can remember. I stopped buying magazines for a while – I guess you could call it a break. A few weeks ago I visited an old haunt of mine (i.e. the newsagent) and had a little splurge! I know, silly really that the reintroduction of a magazine can bring so much joy to my life. I have been absolutely enthralled night after night – Women’s Health and Runner’s World are particularly stimulating and full of amazing tips!


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Sunday, 1 February 2015

Simplicity & Positivity

It’s so unusual for me to associate positivity with myself. I have always been a strongly pessimistic person. This has often spiralled into periods of depression - solely due to my own lack of optimism. I have fought my own battles and others too. Unemployment, crippling shyness, weight and body issues, rejection - it hurt.

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But somewhere, completely out of nowhere I am feeling optimistic, and in turn feeling a greater sense of happiness in my life. I have spent the majority of January reflecting, and ultimately discovering a whole new way of life.
 I thought to myself: What truly makes me happy? And from then I reminded myself that I have so many things to be gracious for every single day.  You know life, actually is pretty good.

Marriage.
My marriage is my backbone and marrying relatively young has made me grasp a true sense of belonging. I always wanted to marry, and looking back now I always knew it was going to be to my husband, there was no question of doubt otherwise. I am not ashamed to say that my biggest certainty, priority and ambition is to have a long, everlasting, truthful and fulfilled marriage. 

Work.
At the end of last year I was offered a full-time job working for a local clothing wear manufacturer, which I had previously shown great interest in, but had been unsuccessful. This time, I guess was my time. I’ve gone back to my roots, and joined an embroidery team. Textiles has always been a part of me, and I do feel most at home in this area.
A new year, and new job has given me a new routine and securing a permanent contract has given my life and finances a much needed boost. I’m excited to see where this opportunity takes me. 

Health and Well-being.
When I began my weight loss journey 2 years ago, I was trapped in a body I loathed. I had zero confidence and hated myself. I did the impossible; I lost weight, got fit and gained that confidence I had never had before.
I have come to the conclusion that I will always be ‘a little bit picky’ about what goes into my body. But crucially I have learnt that no matter what influence somebody else can have, the only person responsible for their own health is you.  I have learnt to love and value GOOD food and real nutrition.
On the 1st January I weighed myself for the very first time since returning from Honeymoon last June and the weight wasn’t as scary as anticipated, in fact scary at all. All the excess Christmas food hadn’t harboured me as much as I had thought. There was room for improvement, but my BMI was finally a healthy and positive figure. I was smiling and genuinely pleased that I was finally at a point of healthy.

Running.
Running is still a huge part of my life, it is my favourite hobby and I still get the greatest satisfaction from running. I have managed to tailor my running schedule and added new routes and distances. I’ve let myself have more rest time, but consistently ran at a pace that feels good. I’ve fought through the winter months, but can only anticipate spring/summer. I’ve got a feeling it’s going to be a good year.

So that’s it in a nutshell.
Marriage, work, and a hobby that both occupies and fuels my passion. But that’s simple enough for now, learning to value the small things, and devoting time and effort into them of course outweighs trying to split too many ways and ultimately self-combusting.
Life is as simple as you make it – and from my own experiences I can truly say the key to happiness is a healthy mind, body and outlook on life.


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