Tying The Knot During The Festive Season? How To Look Amazing For Your Wedding


What better time to get married than during Christmas? We all love to look great every day, especially on our wedding! This is a time which is dedicated to you and your partner, so you want to look your very best as all eyes will be on you. With a few helpful tips and thought-out preparations, you’ll be a beauty for those wedding photos.

Plan your outfit…carefully

Not thinking through their wedding outfit is a flaw which most brides make and regret. Buying the first dress you see just because the deal was good is not always the way to go. Have a couple of wedding gowns in mind and use the helpful input from friends and family. When you eventually find your dream dress, store it in a zippered garment bag after purchasing it. If you’re stuck on the what shoes or accessories to get, look at a few bridal magazines, they’re jam-packed with loads of festive ideas and different styles which might interest you! If you’re still planning your wedding, make use of your time to find a dress which will suit you.

Stay healthy and active

Being active and eating better during the months before your wedding, is the key rule to look fabulous on your big day. By finding a workout routine, a fitness-related hobby or a healthier diet which suits you, you’ll not only look fitter but feel more confident in yourself. You could even get your partner involved in your fitness regime and make them lose a bit of tummy fat too! You might even enjoy it so much, that you continue doing it after the wedding day and schedule it into everyday life.

Makeup and hair trials are a must


You’ve probably heard the phrase ‘being prepared is half the victory’, well this applies to everything. If you want a relaxed and successful wedding, it’s essential to have all the preparations in order. This involves beauty treatments too! Get all of your girls together and let them do a few hair and makeup trials on you. If you’re struggling for space in your house to accommodate them, see these 6 Style Ideas to Get Your Guest Room Ready for the Holidays. By doing this, you’re preparing yourself and avoiding any hiccups which may occur on the day.

Look yourself, not someone else

One of the worst things you can do while getting ready is making yourself look completely different. Yes, you could try makeup you’ve never used before or go for that hairstyle you’ve always wanted, but don’t have any drastic makeovers on your wedding day. This is just asking for a disaster! Be proud of your original features and let everyone admire your natural beauty.

Prepare a ‘Wedding Day Survival Kit’


You may or may not have heard about this, but it can be a lifesaver on your wedding day. Typically referred to as the ‘just in case’ items, this survival kit comprises of beauty essentials such as tweezers, toothpicks, extra undergarments, breath mints and deodorant. During the dinner/reception, your bridesmaid can keep hold of this little bag of goodies and always be there with the supplies which keep you looking fresh.

Stationery To Celebrate: Wedding Planning The Write Way


When you start to plan a wedding, it doesn’t take that much time for you to realise that you’ve got a big task at hand. Because every bride soon sees that there is a lot for her to get done. From setting the date to choosing her shoes, most of the planning comes with a lot of decisions to make. And as you start to work on the list of things you have to do, you’ll notice that a few themes arise – as many of the decisions you need to make will involve one bigger area, such as flowers, music, and even the one we’re going to go into more detail with today, stationery.

At first, you may think that you’re looking at some invitations and thank you card, but when you get down to it, you’ve got a wealth of different options and decisions to make when it comes to all things stationery. So much so, that it can feel quite daunting when you realise just how much you need to take on. But the best way to work with this is to tackle it all head-on, and all at the same time! So, we’re going to walk through what you might want to do to ensure it’s all perfect.

Jump On It

As we said, you’re going to want to get yourself into the ‘I can do this’ frame of mind. Because when you picture that perfect future dream of planning your wedding and buying your first home, you know that you’re going to be taking on a lot of work, but you do it anyway. And now the time has come. So you’re going to want to just forget about everything else for a while and focus solely on the stationery side of things to get it done.

Decide On The Theme

So the very first thing you need to do after getting yourself into the mindset of being able to tackle this, is to figure out the theme that’s right for you. More often than not, you might want to make sure that the choices of stationery you go for are in keeping with your overall wedding theme. However, you may want to do something slightly different, but still keep all of your stationery within the same kind of theme itself. Either way, it’s often a good idea to decide which you’d like to do before you start shopping.

Start With Your Save The Dates

When you’ve decided on your theme, it’s then time to work on exactly what you’re going to get for each piece of stationery that you need. And it’s always a great idea to have a starting point. So, you’re going to want to start off with your save the dates, as there often the item that needs to be ready (and sent out) first. You need to decide if they are going to set the tone for the rest of your stationery, or whether you’re even going to use stationery for this at all.

Pick The Perfect Invitations

At the same time, you may also want to consider the invitations that you’re going to choose. Because if you are sending out save the date cards, then you may want them to be in a similar style. To do that, you’re going to want to find a stationery store that you like, such as Pure Invitation, and see what they offer. You should consider the different styles you can work with, and pick out things like information and RSVP cards too.

Consider The Order Of Service

From here, you’ve then also think about the pieces of stationery that you may need for the wedding day itself, and there’s quite a few. You may not want to work with them all, but one thing that you might like to consider the is the order of service or ceremony plan. This can be handy to give to guests and share information they may need to have.


Work Out The Table Plan

Another key piece is the table plan. This is something that will always be written out, but you will want to decide on a few things. The first is whether you’re going to get it made via a supplier or do it yourself, as it can be quite fun to create things yourself. Your second is to actually work the seating plan out too so that the chart can be written or drawn up.

Choose Your Place Cards

While you’re working on the table chart, you’re also going to want to think about your place cards too. Because if you are writing up the seating plan as a kind of list, or at least using a type font within your plan, then you may want to use the same for your place cards, regardless of the type you go for.

Decide On Table Names

Another part that will go into this particular area of the stationery section is the table names themselves. Because not only do you need to figure out how you’re going to display them, but you also need to come up with the names too. Definitely think about having some fun here, especially if it goes with your overall wedding theme.

Write Up The Menus

While we’re on the topic of tables, the final thing you may want to consider including would be a menu. Whether you’re giving menu choices or not, it’s nice to write up the food and drink to either remind guests of what they chose, or inform them of what’s to come.

Finish With Thank You Cards

Finally, you’ve also got thank you cards to choose too. Although this is the last piece of stationery that you’ll need, you may also want to think about picking these out when you choose your save the saves and invitations. That way, you can make sure that everything is within the same sort of theme if that’s what you’re looking to do. Plus, by ordering ahead, you can be prepared and not have to worry about ordering them when the wedding is over.

Warmer and Wealthier this Winter


It’s starting to get cold and for many of us in this country, that means a lot more time spent feeling chilly and much bigger fuel bills than at the rest of the year. It doesn’t have to!

Here are some simple things you can do to ensure that you’re warmer and wealthier this winter:

Feathers are Your Friend

If you can, investing in goose feather duvets for every member of your family is a good idea. Although they might be a little more expensive than your average duvet, they are many times warmer, and they will enable you to use your heating less, at night, at least. They’ll also last you for a few winters, so they will pay for themselves and more, and more importantly, you will be cosy when you retire for the evening.    

Become a Curtain King or Queen

You might think that curtains are there for nothing more than privacy and show, but they are actually a very useful tool in regulating room temperature. During winter, you should open all of your curtains and blinds during the day, to make the most of the free warmth provided by the sun. In the evenings you should close them to add some extra insulation around the windows, which are, of course, one of the biggest areas for heat loss.

Turn on a Timer

If you have a boiler with a timer (you probably do), the Centre for Sustainable Energy says that it is a good idea to set the boiler to turn on around half an hour before you wake, but at a lower temperature than you would usually set it. They say that this is a more affordable way of heating your home to a standard that keeps you cosy.

Move Your Furniture


If you have furniture resting up against your radiator, even if it’s your sofa, you’ll feel warmer and pay less money for your heating, if you move it away. Why Because your furniture will absorb a lot of the available heat, meaning it never reaches you or the rest of the room – you’ll literally be wasting money if you leave your furniture in the way!

Layer Up

Of course, one of the most cost-effective ways to warm yourself up is by dressing for the weather. The best way to dress for cold weather is undoubtedly by layering up. Why? Not only because the more layers you have, the warmer you’ll naturally be, but because layers trap air and air is a natural insulator – it’s a no-brainer!

Block Draughts

It’s obvious, but it’s worth mentioning because many people don’t bother to use draught excluders or fill in cracks in their home before winter sets in, but doing so is a simple way to increase warmth and cut down on energy usage within any home.

With these tips in your arsenal, you can beat winter at its own game by staying warm and keeping your utility bills down, which means more money in the bank come spring sprucing time!

Important Questions To Ask Before You Buy Your Dream Home

When you’re house hunting, you usually check out plenty of places that are either total duds or just aren’t quite right. Of course, every so often that one property comes along that is, for lack of a better word, perfect. It’s got all of the charm and style that you want in a home, and it seems to fulfil all of your needs. Of course, just because a house seems perfect doesn’t mean that it’s going to be right for you in the long run. A home is simply too big a purchase for you to be making your decisions based on your emotions and not rational choices. With that in mind, here are a few questions that you have to ask before you decide to buy your “perfect” home.

Can you afford the maintenance?


For a lot of people, the idea of a home having charm, character, personality, whatever you want to call is, is one of the most important factors to consider. This usually means that you’ll end up looking for an older property that’s a little more distinct from the others on the market. However, if you do decide to go that route, you need to think about the expenses that can come with it. Older houses often mean that you have to deal with things like oil tanks for the heating systems, or even a coal burner as your only source of heat. Not only that but you may end up having to do more repair work on the property because it’s so much older. It’s crucial that you make sure that you’re ready for that kind of financial responsibility.   

What’s the location like?

Just because the property is perfect doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s in the perfect place. The truth is that the location of your home should be as much of a factor as anything else. Make sure that you not only check out and research the area that the property is in but that you visit at different times of the day. That way you can get a better idea of what living there would actually be like. Plenty of places seem incredibly peaceful during the day but can have serious noise problems at night.

Can you actually afford to buy it?


Of course, the one thing that you must never do is let your desire for a particular property blind you to the financial realities of trying to actually buy it. Ask yourself, can you really afford to buy this house? And that doesn’t just mean that you’re able to take out the mortgage to buy it, you also need to think about whether or not the resulting repayments are something that you’re able to budget for. Your perfect home isn’t going to be quite so perfect if you have to starve yourself to be able to afford to live there.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should only be practical when looking for a home. There are plenty of places that you’ll visit that will be ideal on paper but just won’t feel quite right. There’s nothing wrong with going with your gut, just don’t don’t let your heart do all of the decision making without consulting your head first!

Going Away For Christmas? Some Things To Consider Before You Go

As magical as a traditional Christmas can be, it’s even more magical to get away every now and then. The image of an extended family gathering around an expertly roasted turkey, bathed in the light of a roaring fire is as ubiquitous as it is misleading. Few Christmas cards feature the images of distressed dads launching strings of profanity at a turkey that refuses to cook evenly or of exhausted mothers desperately scrubbing red wine stains out of the sofa. With so many logistical plates to spin, it’s little wonder that the idea of Christmas dinner in a far flung land where someone else gets to cook for them is incredibly appealing.


As romantic as the notion of getting away for Christmas can be, it brings with it certain logistical considerations. The last thing you want is to come home to an unpleasant surprise after new year. Here are some considerations for you to bear in mind to ensure that your Christmas overseas is as stress free and enjoyable as possible.

Make sure everyone knows you’re going away

Unless you have the budget to take everyone you love away with you, it’s pertinent to let everyone know where you’ll be over the festive season so that they’re not sending you texts and phone calls that will eat into your international data allowance or cost you money to answer. It will also prevent them from sending any packages that will sit waiting (or potentially spoiling) in the sorting office until you get back.

Since Christmas can be a difficult time for some people, some friends or family may worry about you if they’re unable to contact you over the Christmas period and assume the worst, that you’re upset and not receptive to human contact.  

Check your boiler

Your boiler is the beating heart of your home’s central heating system. It’s one of those things that you forget is even there when it’s doing it’s job right. If it stops doing its job right, however, it can prove disastrous (especially if you’re not at home to respond promptly to it). If your boiler is more than 15 years old it may be worth upgrading your boiler before the weather starts to get really cold. Even if your boiler is not quite that old, it still may be worth clicking here http://ecosafe.co/boiler-services-in-poole/ to schedule a service. If you’re unable to schedule a service before you leave, here are some things that you should check the boiler for before you go…

  • Make sure that the pilot light burns blue and not yellow.
  • Make sure that the radiators heat to a reasonable standard within an hour.
  • Watch out for any suspicious sounds or smells that may be coming from the boiler.

Make sure that your home is secure

Security is especially important in the winter months. Unfortunately, since homes tend to be stuffed full of expensive presents around this time of year, this makes them prime targets for burglars especially if it’s evident that their owners are away. If possible, get a friend or neighbour to check in on the house every now and then to give an impression of the home being lived in and to check that doors and windows are securely locked.

By carrying out these simple tasks you can ensure yourself a fun and worry-free Christmas abroad.

I Wish I Knew That Before Buying My First House in My 20’s…


A lot of people today worry about when they are going to be able to buy their first property. The UK housing market is something that has received a lot of attention lately, with mortgages seemingly more difficult to attain than ever before. With that in mind, if you are lucky enough to be purchasing a house in your 20’s or you are thinking of doing so, read on to discover some of the important things you need to know first:

  • Don’t let your emotions choose your first home – A lot of people make the mistake of letting their emotions take over, rather than choosing a home that matches their lifestyle needs.
  • There is no rush – For some reason, there seems to be this almighty rush to buy a house. There is no time limit. There is no right or wrong time to buy a house. If you think you’d be able to purchase a house more comfortably within the next year or two, wait.
  • You can shop around for your mortgage lender – Many first-time buyers simply go for the first mortgage offer they are made. However, there are many different finance options available, and companies like Belgravia Property Finance explain them in full. Remember, it is all about finding the best deal for you – something that you can comfortably afford to repay.
  • It will feel like it is never going to happen – Buying a property is a long journey. Firstly, you will probably go through endless property searches until you find the right one for you. Once you have found a house you love, this is only the beginning. You may get outbid, or even if your offer is accepted, the process after this can be a long one. It can feel like it is never going to happen, so be patient.
  • You will feel like you are broke – You are going to have heaps of money going out your account. Not only do you need to put the deposit down, but also you will need to pay legal fees, as well as fund the removal process, property inspections, and such like. When all of this comes out of your account, it can feel like you’re poor!
  • Choose a comfortable number and stick with it – You need to determine your comfortable figure, and make sure you stick with it, no matter how much you fall in love with a specific property. Getting caught in a bidding war can be a nightmare. Not only will overbidding cost you more money, but also you may find that you have to contribute more money to the property upfront from your own pocket. This is because banks demand an appraisal of all properties, and you may need to pay the difference if both figures do not align.

Get pre-approved first – Last but not least, get pre-approved for a mortgage before you start the process. You don’t want to fall in love with a property when you are not in a position to put a serious offer in.

The Bathroom: How to Upgrade Without Splashing Out

Now, the bathroom might be arguably one of the most important rooms in the house. It may not have the same level importance as the front room at first glance, after all, it’s not like you get the guests to sit around in the bathroom while you fetch them tea. But just think about it for a second, chances are, they are also all going to use the bathroom at one point too. At that point leaving you with the rest of the guests, waiting in anticipation, hoping there will be no comment on the state of the bathroom upon their return, knowing damn well you should have fixed it up ages ago. Not to mention, a more beautiful bathroom wouldn’t hurt any of the actual residents of the house either, everyone would like a change of scenery while showering or sitting on the toilet. Without further ado, let’s look at a few ways in which you could refresh your bathroom without having to redo the whole thing!


Repainting the walls

When painting the kitchen, people often go for some red or maybe orangey colours, then the living room is usually either neutral, like white or vanilla or something a bit warmer. But then what colour should the bathroom be? Unless literally all the bathroom walls are covered in tiles, you probably have some space to work with when it comes to repainting. Bathrooms tend to be a bit more flexible when it comes to colours, so you have quite the array to choose from, but the most usual and common, tested, colours are tranquil and aquatic. Pale blues for your marine interior, soft greens for a spa-like appeal, maybe some ash-grey for a refreshing take on the idea.

Default white never fails either, but keep in mind that it can look a bit worn after being exposed to constant humidity and moisture in the bathroom compared to other colours. If you want to go for something warmer, some dark colours fit the bill surprisingly well. Charcoal and other softer greys prove to be an excellent contrasting colour to the usually-white tiles of the average bathroom, creating a more homely atmosphere rather than feeling sterile and hospital-esque.

Some new bits and bobs

You don’t have to redo the whole thing to keep things fresh. Maintaining the existing, while adding on top is the next best thing, and a lot cheaper too, not everyone’s a millionaire. A new rug for the bathroom can be an absolute godsend. Fluffy rugs could possibly be the best thing you can feel with your feet when you get out of the shower, nobody wants to make contact with the ice-cold tiles straight away. A new rug can really freshen up the place too, since it probably covers a decent chunk of the floor, giving the whole room a bit of a facelift. If you are out of ideas or don’t know what kind of style you should go for, you can always look at some online stores like http://www.drench.co.uk/ to look for inspiration.


Your existing faucet has probably seen better days in its prime, now showing a bit of rust and a few scratches here and there. Installing a new one is a relatively simple job and could give you that well-deserved upgrade you were after. A new sink might be amazing too, but that often comes with a whole set of tasks which might prove to be a bit costly. Fitting it into a new cabinet, redoing all the piping, the whole song and dance. Remember that keeping it simple will not only prove effective, like it has countless times in the past, but cheaper too!

Keeping The Home Safe During The Winter Months

Winter is now here and with that comes the exciting talk of Christmas and cosy nights in. But, it is also an ideal time to readdress your security measures in your home. The nights are getting darker and with the addition of Christmas shopping to your home, you are possibly more vulnerable to crime such as theft in the home. However, it shouldn’t be anything to worry about, especially if you take into account some of these security measures. I wanted to share with you how you can keep the family safe this winter.


Keep those lights on

As the nights are drawing in earlier, our homes are getting darker by the second, and so it is easy for an opportunist to spot when someone isn’t home. At this time of year especially, you may have more valuable items in your home in the form of Christmas presents, as well as all your other beloved items that have not just a monetary value, but are worth something to you. Keeping the lights on helps to make your home look like someone is in. You could put things like lamps on a timer, to coincide with the evenings getting darker. That way you don’t have to worry about rushing home if you are enjoying the festivities.

Upgrade your security system

Maybe it has been a while since you last upgraded your alarm system, but this can be a huge deterrent in itself.  New system may put someone off even trying to get into your home. There are plenty of Alarm Systems Online to review and a lot of them can be a reasonable value for money. You could also look into upgrading your system entirely and have cameras fitted to the exterior of your home. Again having these visible could be enough to put a burglar off even trying to enter your home. Putting warnings on doors and windows could also help to deter people away.

Maybe a dog could be for Christmas

Many people love dogs and having a pet dog can be an amazing addition to your family. Of course, there is a well-known saying that dog is for life and not just for Christmas, but right now it could be the ideal time to add a pet dog to your family. They make great security tools for your home, as many people are less likely to attempt to rob a house when there is a dog about as they can alert neighbours as to things going on in the home.

Check over the locks on your doors and windows

Finally, you may want to give your home the once over, and now would be an ideal time to do it. Your door locks and even your window locks may have become a little rusty or weakened over time, so it could be a really good act to check them out and replace any dodgy locks. You could also add an additional lock to front and back doors for extra security.

I hope that these suggestions help you to keep your home safe during the winter months.

Working Around Refitting A Cosy Kitchen

Everyone loves a good cosy kitchen; somewhere we can be warmed by the stove, heat up some healthy and hearty soup, and have a good natter in a breakfast nook with our friends and family. Sound picturesque? It should! However, it doesn’t have to be as much of a dream as you think, as some kitchen fittings are a lot cheaper than others, and we can often just switch out some of the decorations to make the whole place look the way we want it to.

Because something is a little past orientated doesn’t mean they can’t look a little luxury! Try out a few of these ideas if you want to make your kitchen seem more enclosed and cosy around you, and have a better time when it comes to serving up the evening meal.


Look Around Charity Shops

Your local heart foundation or Oxfam shop are going to have plenty of furniture pieces for you to invest in, and often at a quarter of the original price. Any pieces you can buy from here, such as tables, chairs, and sideboards, can be repainted to give them more of a glossy look, whilst still being industrial and cozy.

This gives the place a sense of your grandma’s cute and cosy kitchen with her aga, or the industrious, hard working families we see all the time in those period dramas. Use any tables you find as a movable island counter, and places some barstools or chairs around one side to make it more functional whilst still giving yourself manoeuvrability. A sideboard placed against a bare wall can act as a focal point, and is a good place to store the gold plated cutlery ready for the New Year’s Eve meal.

You can even mix and match traditional and contemporary to make your kitchen look good warm and cute at the same time. Designers like that of www.elledecor.com have shown how well these pieces work together!

Do Away with Your Cabinets

Overhead cabinets can be a bit of a problem when you’re of the taller variety. Are you the kind of person who’s constantly banging their head on the doors when they’re open? Maybe you just hate the restricting element of cupboard space? Then maybe this option is for you.

Instead of using cupboards, replace them with some shelving, which you can of course paint, and store all your jars and crockery out in the open. Not only is it an aesthetically pleasing move to make, it also means you’ll never forget about the packet of pasta which you accidentally end up buying double of, and means the plates are kept clean and shiny for use whenever; you can get yourself easily into some better habits this way!

Hang Your Pans Overhead

Having an island space is one thing, but having a hanging island over the top of that is another! It’s a great use of open space that keeps storage out of the way whilst still being reachable and helping the cosy element. Just imagine the sprigs of parsley or lavender you could string down from it, ready to just grab and spice up a few of your homemade creations.

Look for Bronze Sink Fittings

Okay, so the idea of a bronze sink doesn’t fly well with a lot of modern designs, however, it’s cozy and traditional, and just finishes off the perfect look for your old timey cookhouse. It adds plenty of charm to your room, and they’re also incredibly easy to clean without scrubbing away any of the finish.

When we think of 19th century stately homes, and the kitchens that work full time underneath castles, we think of bronze sinks. If you like this picture in your head, it might be time to look into your sink options, and start washing the dishes in style. Search sites such as www.tapwarehouse.com for a full range of taps, sinks, and the like, right at your fingertips. The modern works in our favour when the ease of shopping online comes into it!

So it turns out it’s quite easy! You don’t have to completely fork out for a new kitchen, as a bit of good monochrome wallpaper, or neutral tones on your cabinets and fridge door can go far. Throw a good cotton tablecloth over your island table, paint a bit of white over the backs of those second hand oak chairs, and you’ve got yourself a little throw of luxury in your cosy, functional kitchen.

5 Fun Ways To Get Your Family Fit


When you’re a parent, you’ll know just how difficult it can be to juggle fun with function. Because you want the best for your children, but you don’t always know exactly what that should look like. On the one hand, you want to keep them happy; and sometimes you know that the way to achieving that isn’t always the healthiest route. But at the same time, you want to be a good parent and bring them up with good values and with healthy bodies. It can be a tough balance to find. But, you don’t have to choose when it comes to keeping them fit. Because you can actually have fun while you’re doing it!

Go On A Bike Ride

Kids love their bikes. You probably get tired of having to pick them up off from the driveway and move them from the middle of the garden. But keep in mind that them being on their bikes is keeping them fit. So, why not consider going on regular bike rides as a family? If you want to get a little fitter, and include your husband in that too, this could be a great way to make sure it happens. If that goes down well, you could also consider going on a hike in your local woodland or up into the hills; both of which are great for keeping you fit.

Get-your-family-fit-bike ride

Enjoy A Day Out

Even though bike rides and hikes are a lot of fun, they’re also two activities that you generally know are great for you. But you don’t always have to know that you’re doing something to keep yourself fit and active. Sometimes, some of the best fun family activities keep you fit too. And the best part, you don’t even realize that you’re exercising! So, think about booking a day out for all the family and see how fit you feel after.

Play Sports

Up next, you’ve got another idea that will help you to enjoy exercise a little more, and that’s starting to play sports. But because you want to do this as a family, you should think about trying something like tennis or badminton. Both sports can be a lot of fun to play as a family, and will definitely help to keep you all fit.


Train For A Challenge

Then, you could also consider training for a family fitness challenge. If you’re all quite competitive, this could be a great way to keep you motivated. Whether it’s something like a silly sports day, or a bit more serious like a half marathon, setting your entire family a challenge can be a great way to focus on your fitness levels, and all have fun together.

Try A Fitness Break

Finally, you could also think about going on a fitness related holiday together. If you tend to go on the same kinds of breaks year on year, then you may want to consider making a change that’s more in line with your new fitness mind. A bootcamp or even an activity holiday can be exactly what you need to have fun and still stay fit.