Gift guide for your paper anniversary.

Gift guide for your paper anniversary.

Now that we have officially celebrated our first anniversary I can officially put together a gift guide. Why paper? Well I have only been married a year and that’s the token gift for a year. Not very glamorous but you know, you can make it work!

So first of all if you’re sticking to theme obviously you want the gift to be some kind of paper gift. So here’s a few ideas on what you could get on theme.

I got my husband a print. I got a illustrator, the lovely novell_designs to design me a print for our anniversary which was to bring a photo of the three of us together in a photo alone. On our wedding day nobody took a picture of our family of three so me and James absolutely love what she’s done. If you enter quick I have a giveaway with her at the moment that ends at 9pm tonight so hurry up to my Instagram if you want to win!

That’s not to say it has to be something like this. I got this as previously me and James have got each other quite a lot of similar gifts. We’ve had prints made and photos printed and I even a few years ago got James a print of the words of his favourite song in the shape of a cd which he loved! so I wanted to try and be different. I have recently brought for a family members anniversary a star and they got a certificate and everything which I thought was cute! We have also designed a star map which makes the perfect anniversary gift seeing the nights sky of your wedding night for all of eternity!

Keeping on theme with paper you could make some little notes on why you love them and even write them a letter. Aswell as that you can even make some vouchers for things like household jobs and letting them pick the movie for once.It’s free and nice. You can also get some photos printed or make a collage of your favourite photos together! My husband shocked me with the cutest gift he has ever gotten me which was a little box filled with notes he had made telling me reasons why he loves me. This may be the sweetest thing I’ve ever received and it’s not just a gift for the day it’s something I’ll read over and over again especially if I am sad.

None paper gifts are also a easy one too. Not everyone is into lovey dovey stuff and that’s okay! You can always buy them their favourite sweets or a bottle of gin. Whatever you know they like get it. Following somewhat tradition of anniversary’s (we got married on five years of us being together) I have always received flowers from James. This year he completely outdone himself and they are the most beautiful flowers I have ever seen. I think this isn’t just a gift for me but everyone in the house as I really think flowers boost everyone’s mood. If you’ve got hayfever get fake ones! I still have my wedding bouquet in my living room because it was artificial and I smile at it everyday.

Whatever your thinking of getting don’t put too much pressure on yourself. It’s your anniversary enjoy it. Congrats on being married a year and enjoy a life time of happiness! Charlie x

Six months married!

Six months married!

Six months of being married today. Time goes by so fast and I can say although things don’t change in big ways I have felt a change in our relationship. I am insanely proud to refer to James as my husband and not my partner like previously. I always feel my heart skip a beat whenever James refers to me as his wife to other people. I’m always like oh hi I’m the wife! He chose me and we’re totally grown up because we’re married. I feel closer then before, I don’t know how but something just shifted. For us we spoke about marriage since we first got together and when we got engaged I wanted nothing more than to become married to each other. When we got married I remember crying walking down the isle as I was so proud and full of love and I kind of worried James had ran off but he hadn’t. He was there handsome as ever and both our hands where shaking and tears fallowing we were so nervous and happy. Marriage was never about the ceromony for me it was always about us becoming husband and wife and making a life long commitment to each other becoming equals. I am happy whenever I look at my rings or whenever I look at James. Maybe one day I’ll get bored of our rings and the words husband and wife but for now I will continue to adore it. Today we’ve been together 5 and a half years aswell which is such a long time. It feels like it’s gone by in a heart beat and no measure of time with James will ever be enough. Here’s to always being more in love each and everyday. May we make each other smile and laugh at the most pointless things and forever be as happy as we are now.

Let us give each other chins from laughing for life.

Wedding talk: Part three – Entertainment.

Wedding talk: Part three – Entertainment.

Entertainment is something really important for a wedding. When you’re having a reception you don’t want you guests stood around staring at the walls bored out of their mind so this is something I focused on quite a lot. Having children coming it was essential they wouldn’t get bored and have things to do and play with at all times.

First of all you want a dj. A good one, you want them to be able to take over your entire disco. I looked around at reviews I didn’t care about prices I just wanted a good one and then met with them. I didn’t tell them what to play I just said give me a good mix and shove in some Kanye, iggy azalea and queen. What’s a wedding without queen. Other than my first dance I didn’t request any specifics I said no black lace (party tunes)and under no circumstances would baby shark be played or their dj set would be thrown out the nearest window. The only thing I didn’t want is to feel like I was at a kids party, it was me and James wedding day and we love anything we can sing too and dance and said let the guests request it’s a party! I even got little dj requests made on Etsy and shipped to me for the wedding. I feel the dj really made a difference and EVERYONE got up and danced at some point even if the dance floor wasn’t huge and to my surprise I basically danced all night. And i may or may not of been dropping to floor and rapping like a mad woman but i was killing it!

Secondly we wanted a photo booth. We looked at lots of places on line and when we went to pick dj had a look on their website and they just so happened to do a photo booth too. I looked through the photos they had and the props and loved them. I booked straight away. Photo booths are a bit expensive but I don’t care everyone absolutely loved the entertainment and even the quiet ones went in. The package came with photos put online only I could access, a usb with them all, photos for all the guests (as many as they wanted) and a photo book the staff would print a extra of each photo and put them in and make guests write a comment next to it like a guest book. I’m so glad they did as the guests forgot to write in my guest book and I had like three pages! It was full to the brim and was such a precious memory keep sake and makes me chuckle watching how people get more drunk and the naughty drawings and words appeared. The props where amazing and they had two massive boxes filled with hats, masks, accessories, signs, wigs you name it they had them! The guests could also choose how many photos to take in one and choose everything down to the background. Perhaps the funniest was cousin completely wasted doing some sort of gangster pose with spider man in the background writing in the book “cogratumilations wagwan”. Everyone loved it and it was nice to see couples and family’s taking photos and when I go to my family and friends houses now and see them hanging on the wall it just fills me with joy. It also meant we had some immediate wedding photos which I loved. When we went home we took them back to the hotel and that night went through laughing.

Activities for the older guests. As previously mentioned I got some dj requests made to start conversations and let my guests choose what they had playing to dance too. I also put out some little activity sheets which came back absolutely halerious especially when people got drunk and filled them with fake people such as the rock and some other guy from fast and furious. Apparently I have very famous friends. I got adult games of giant naughts and crosses, lido and snakes and ladders which I donated to a primary school after the big day. Adults like to eat too so I got a doughnut wall filled with doughnuts and I got pick n mix which guests could help them self’s to which also entertained them. Also the bar defiantly helped entertain everyone!

Children where quite hard as he’s a lot of baby’s and toddlers, but I got children all colouring books (big ones to take home) , crayons, bubbles and some activity sheets from Poundland. When kids got bored of them it entertained the adults. I also brought toys from Elijahs home like cars, figures and my friend brought some too. These went down a big hit with the younger children and they where entertained for so long! They also loved the pick n mix. When the music came on they loved having a boogy on the dance floor and chasing the lights. The kids clearly enjoyed the photo booth too as there’s lots of photos of them with different hats and masks on and they walked around all night wearing different things!

Other than normal entertainment big things like first dance and speeches where put closely together before the dj started so that everyone could have cake and eat and do what they wanted and so that children could go when tired or bored!

Overall I think I entertained everyone pretty well and there’s things I could of done to entertain people a bit more but you do what you can! But it was a fantastic day!

Wedding talk: Part two-Invitations.

Wedding talk:  Part two-Invitations.

When we where wedding planning we knew full well we wanted an intimate wedding only with our nearest and dearest friends and family. No acquaintances just people who we where the closest too and people who didn’t just want a free meal and excuse to dress up. Choosing who to invite to your wedding can be VERY stressfull. They say that getting married, having children and buying a house are three of the biggest stressfull life events you can ever do and we choose to do all three in the space of a 2 years. FUN! Nonetheless we enjoyed wedding planning all the same. When it comes to inviting people you really need to decide who you are the closest too and if you want them involved in your special day. Do you want a massive event everyone will talk about or just a special day you will cherish…

You will get a lot of people wanting to invite their friends and dictate who can come and who cannot, it gets rather stressful and tiring when people think they have any say in your day whatsoever. Also the more people you invite the more expensive it gets not just the meal but the decorations to cater and chairs and sashes.

When you invite people you want to give well enough notice so when you have found somewhere i found that i benefited from save the dates. A save the date is a slip you send in the post which states the day of your wedding well in advance so people can take the day off work. I had a lot of medical staff and self employed people attending my wedding day so i wanted to get them out as early as possible. I sent these off 9 months before our wedding day. This gave people ampule chance to say if they could or could not come. We only received one person telling us they couldn’t come because they where on holiday but lucky for us they got pregnant and couldn’t fly that close to their due date (She was one of my bridesmaids so i was thrilled she got to be in my special day).

A few months after when i had started to finalise times and meal times i decided to then create wedding invites. I quite enjoyed the proceess of handmaking our own online. We put every relevent detail we could think needed to be noted. As i chose a local venue alot didn;t need saying but with my guests from outside of town i though important to state where to stay in the area near by. It is a good idea when making a invite to include a few details. i will list bellow

  • Time to arrive. Not the time of ceremony as guests who are late will end up missing your day. You also want your guests to relax.
  • Time of ceremony. So guests can roughly know how smoothly the day is going to go and if they are that late they arent coming in.
  • Time of food. So guests can know what time to eat before leaving and decide if they need too. People then wont be complaining about waiting and not knowing when they are going to eat.
  • Time of reception. To let guests know there will be a reception and that they are invited so they can plan their day and where it is if not in same place.
  • Time to leave. So you don’t have to kick people out and taxis can be pre-booked.
  • Local places to stay overnight. For out of town guests wanting to get wasted pretty much.
  • The venues address including postcode.Guests have to know where to go and don’t want to be chasing you up.
  • The date. Clearly so people don’t get confused.
  • Food options. So you can cater to allergens and needs.
  • The names of who are getting married. So people don’t get confused if they go to a few weddings or think whos wedding have they been invited too.
  • State plus ones or not. Name who is invited and if they can bring a plus one or not so people do not assume and you can have numbers before the day.
  • RSVP day. A day for everyone to reply to with contact details.

Where to buy your invites. You can get a lot of invites from shops such as paper chase and hobby craft as well as etsy. However i wanted to make my own online as i cannot write all that neatly. So i used vista print, i didn’t know until we looked online. I looked on their website and they have lots of templates and everything is completely customisation from material made on to the text and fonts. You can even add envelopes so all you have to do is write the names and addresses. They where also pretty cheep. I brought my save the dates with magnets so could be stuck to fridge so guests could keep the date clearly displayed in their home from here too. Both sets and envelopes for both with postage to my house cost 50 which was so cheep and my invites where double sided and made with linen. So have a good look around and choose what you want and only what you love!

Running a house with a toddler

Keeping a house tidy is so hard with a toddler. Whenever you get the chance to clean you’re exhausted from running around all day and you just want to avoid it as much as you can. I find utilising naps when he has them is helpful. If he naps I’ll normally do a quick job e.g cleaning the bathroom as harsher chemicals so can open window and shut door and take the monitor in with me and clean.

My favourite products to use are flash bathroom spray, minky sponge, bloo toilet cleaner, bleach, zoflora and antibacterial spray. I spray the whole rooms basins, and toilet basically with the the flash then I start cleaning the sink then the bath and toilet with minky (toilet I use a single bit or kitchen roll to not spread germs). I put zoflora down the drains after I’ve rinsed everything away to make it smell good. I put bleach toilet with brush then I put bloo down. I then spray everywhere with antibacterial spray the detol spray.

After that If he hasn’t woken up I’ll clean the kitchen wash up breakfast items and clean the surfaces. I’ll tidy up the toys quickly and wait for him to wake up. I dust while he’s awake as he doesn’t mind and hoover with him he enjoys fake sweeping and hoovering with us. I feel it’s important to clean around him so that he learns a house doesn’t run itself and that it’s ok to help. When he goes to bed at night I try to teach him to tidy away his toys and that’s when I normally wash up after dinner and clean everywhere down with febreeze and odour neutralising sprays. The bins get emptied too and sprayed down.

Deep cleaning can be pure hell. With a toddler they don’t want you to leave the room much and if you do they turn into gremlins and destroy whatever room they’re in. Things like cleaning oven and the fridge out is hard to do and I can never do it as much as I want to but a quick spray of oven cleaner or anti bacterial spray and fairy liquid is the way to do it quickly. I mop as often as I can but again when he’s in bed as he gets in the way and wet floor and toddler is not a good mix for success.

Shopping. I often get a food shop in for ease but sometimes I’m sent the wrong thing and the dates are terrible so some days I go shopping but it’s so hard with a toddler who needs entertaining the whole time or a snack so we choose supermarkets that give free fruit sometimes which is great! Obviously a house doesn’t run itself so shopping is unavoidable.

It’s all about finding your own pattern and what works and sometimes the housework doesn’t matter and you should just enjoy the mess as it means you have a happy home.

Making time for your other half after a child.

Making time for your other half after a child.

Once you have a child it is so difficult to have any me time let alone we time as a couple. The offers of childcare dry up and sometimes your waiting months for time to just leave the house just the two of you and I know better than anyone finding childcare can be hard sometimes.

But something I’ve really concentrated on recently since I’ve stopped working is to spend more time as a we than a me when I’m tired from a busy day chasing after our child. Every night once the child’s in bed we both tidy up and I now try to be present. We’ll watch a tv series together and have a chat or a film. We’ll play games together or if we both want to do our own thing James will play on his phone and I will blog or I will watch tv and he’ll play on a game on his laptop while being in the same room and just enjoying the comfort of being next to each other. On weekends we don’t have ridiculous lay ins now so we can join the other two members of the household and have family time.

Don’t be afraid to ask others for childcare if you have in-laws or parents don’t be afraid to ask th to watch your kid or sometimes to sit round while your kid sleeps so you can go to the movies. Today we had an unexpected offer of childcare from family so we jumped at the chance. We where going to slob around the house but I decided no we would get dressed up and have a date day for a change. Be Charlie and James again. We went for a lovely Italian in the sunshine and then after we drove to the beach. We sat on the sand and had ice cream and then we went and wasted 7 quid trying to win a toy pumba and I’m very angry I didn’t win! We just enjoyed being in each other company without noses to wipe, tantrums to tackle and food to share. It was nice to go where we wanted when we wanted and not have to plan ahead (even if I had to pack a bag for my sons day out with his grandparents without us). So please just remember why you choose to be parents with your other half and remember why you fell in love as there’s no stronger team then you two. It’s important and your love is still as important as your Little one.

Wedding talk: Part one – venue choice.

Wedding talk: Part one – venue choice.

As my photos are primarily all of our wedding day I thought it would be a good topic to explore with you all. So here we go sit back and relax and if you have any questions at all please do comment or directly email me and I will be more than happy to help as much as I can. This wedding talk will be in several parts so lots of information is to follow which may help if you love wedding planning or just all things weddings!

I’ve always known I wanted to marry James. From when we started dating I knew he was the one and someone I would be honoured to one day call my husband. For me personally I have never thought of getting married as just a need for a party it’s always been something personal for me. It’s been about being his wife being able to have his surname and take the ultimate leap of faith. I remember spending years joking are you gonna ask me to marry you today and both chuckling and smiling away when he would say soon. I’ll leave the engagement story for another day as it’s quite a cute little story. When he asked me I was super happy and The happiest id ever been. At first I didn’t want to rush getting married I wanted to enjoy that short time when you where engaged and we always knew when we where ready we would get married on our anniversary of when we got together.

I felt slightly pressured when pregnant which only happened 4 months after we got engaged to get married so it would be easier on birth certificate exetera but when we started looking at venues we really didn’t feel the time was right, we where supper stressed and looking at places we hated as it needed to be quick and other people got involved and that caused a great deal of stress so we decided to put it off. Around August last year just before our little guy was nearly one we decided to look properly.

We looked at quite a few venues. We looked at big flashy barns and registry offices. We looked for small and big. We saw some venues on hotels where the decor made me want to vomit and venues that made my eyes water at the price for nothing special where all my guests would have to drive too. So after months of research and looking around we decided to look at a venue which was a very old venue and perfect for what we wanted it was very rustic and has character so we booked it that day for our anniversary this year and got to it. This venue was also the place we once went for a desert on the first night James told me he loved me so had a bit of a special place in our heart.

Some tips for finding a venue…

  • Decide where you want to get married. Do you want to get married abroad where a lot of people will not come and can sometimes cause arguments with those who feel left out.
  • Do you want to invite everyone you know or just your closest friends. From that you can look into venues to your size and budget.
  • Budget! Do you need to spend a fortune for one day? Or do you want to show off and have a massive party for everyone you know.
  • Reviews. Check the reviews and speak to people about what they have said about getting married there.
  • Think about your style. When you are choosing a venue you need it to go with your style. If you’re going for a vintage look you need somewhere that matches that. If you’re going for a rustic style you can’t very well get married in a pub as the decorations just won’t go.
  • Look at the good bad and the ugly. This will help you decide what you like and hate and will help make your choice better.
  • Don’t loose your head stay calm. It’s your day and things will happen when they happen there is no rush.

Once we found the venue and we decided it was for us we decided on our style more. We looked into flowers and decorations to dress the area. I hired a florist for artificial flowers as didn’t want real so that I could keep my flowers and my bridesmaids and some guests got them as gifts. I primarily brought table bits from the range, dunelm, hobby craft, Etsy and Amazon. All my friends said how chilled I was about the whole thing. I just decided on things I liked and brought them as I liked them. I didn’t put stress on things and just mixed and matched bits all on a budget and if we liked something more we returned bits and replaced with better bits we liked more.

We brought doughnuts the day before our wedding and made a doughnut wall with boxes underneath to refill them. We made our own pick and mix table with boxes of sweets with tongs and mr and Mrs pick and mix bags to let guests choose more food. We had a low key bbq as it’s something everyone enjoyed and was easy to cater for different needs such as vegetarian and coeliac. We had it at 4pm so it was a early tea and pick and mix later and doughnuts filled the guests up. There was no need to spend another load of money on a buffet where most of the food goes to waste. Our ceremony was at 2 so guests could eat at 12 and arrive from 1 before they came so guests where happy all day. We picked colours we liked for lights in the room and fairy lights. We picked how we wanted the room ordered too. We didn’t want a head table as we are all family and friends and there was no need to put family above other family to have them on a certain table. We put a rough schedule out and allowed parents to come and go as please and plenty of toys and activity’s set ready for them to enjoy all day and adult board games aswell as quiet rooms for mothers to breastfeed or calm down time for children. All together our entire budget was 7k including everything from hair and make up to venue and entertainment and we hit just under budget. All our guests had a fabulous time and it was a day filled with only our nearest and dearest and just a fantastic day.

Some photos of our venue below. Subscribe and follow for more!