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Archive for February, 2011

Are you a to-do-lists girl? Maybe you like to cut and stick pictures to make mood boards? Or do you creatively doodle ideas in a wedding notebook?

Do you have a thick wedding planning notebook that goes with you everywhere, or have you got some excel spreadsheets on a memory stick that make an appearance when you are planning together at the weekend?

Photos this week of Kate Middleton’s lunch with Camilla at the Berkley Hotel show Prince Williams bride-to-be making notes in a slim red notebook. As an Art History student and aspiring photographer I imagine Kate to be very creative – lets hope that royal protocol doesn’t stifle some innovative ideas that she may be sketching out…

When I was planning my (sorry, OUR) wedding, I loved browsing magazines and websites for ideas. I was never going to buy into the high-society wedding projected in many of the bridal glossies, but every-so-often there was a little something I thought I could recreate within our budget, or make it myself. The page was duly ripped out and stuck in the pages of my wedding notebook…

The notebook came with me at weekends to my fiances house so we could get on with bits of planning. There were also guests lists, information on suppliers etc saved on my memory stick… If we have done bits of wedding planning from our respective bases during the week this was then collated so we could have all the up-to-date stuff together… phew! (We did make sure we had weekends off – where talk of the wedding planning was banned to concentrate on US!)

Browsing websites in my lunch hour was fun, but tricky to get the images and info into my book as it involved printing and getting them home. The interactive online wedding planner Wedding Notebook came from this conundrum – I loved the idea of an online version of the traditional wedding notebook where you can make moodboards with images from websites and have a central place to tick off your wedding to-do-list that bride and groom-to-be can access from their respective workplaces or homes.

Keeping you organised, without reducing the creativity and fun, Wedding Notebook is a handy place to plan and create your wedding, including a personal wedding website to communicate all your wedding info to your guests, and an online gift list organiser to have gifts from anywhere – no restriction to one department store – and can include honeymoon vouchers, charity giving and gift experiences.

Register free for Wedding Notebook

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If you work well under pressure you may well have left thinking of a Valentines gift till the last minute.

Your choice is either to go for something that can be delivered on the day, or to get creative, which may depend on how much time you have available to make a gift or devise a romantic surprise… Sometimes the simplest ideas are the best – eg. filling a little box with ‘reasons I love you’ written on bits of paper, breakfast in bed on Monday morning will make the week much more bearable, or turn up at your partners workplace at lunchtime with a picnic basket to take to the local green space. Here are some more ideas for an evening in.

However, if you are going for the last minute puchase, here are some classics and other ideas…

Get flowers delivered to work
For the classic floral display, Marks & Spencer have a dozen fairtrade red roses for £19.99 including p&p.

For a more bohemian and in season arrangement, Wiggly Wigglers Valentine bouquets are fabulous arrangements of locally grown flowers and foliage starting from £31.50, with the added advantage that they are currently offering 3 bars of Divine fairtrade chocolate with orders over £30, so you get flowers and chocolate in one!

Flowers are not just for Valentines
A twist on the classic floral gift and your loved one has growing space, you could give a grow-your-own lasting gift, such as a Love Grobox from Nigels Eco Store, a box of perennial bulbs of red flowers that will bring colour year after year either in the flower bed, planter or window box.
On a slightly larger scale you could send a love tree from Tree2mydoor – both the cherry tree and crab apple tree with their beautiful blossom have been known through the ages as a ‘tree of love’ – the delivery will be a young tree which will grow year on yearand far outlast a bunch of flowers…just check it is the right size for your garden!


The food of love

If flowers aint her thing, then Able & Cole, the organic veg box people, offer a range of valentine foodie gifts, including locally produced heart-shaped cheddar, varieties of chocolate and organic fizz, and the delivery of a breakfast for two…mmm!

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I’m sure it hasn’t escaped your notice that Monday is Valentines Day. The shops are all plastered with big glittery hearts and we are encouraged to spend big on our partners.

I am definately on the side of spending big – but not necessarily money – time is a massively precious comodity, and one it is worth putting in the right place.

This week is National Marriage Week, and in the 7 days leading up to Valentines we are encouraged by the organisers to Eat, Talk, Play. Not difficult things, but simple ones that can get lost in the busyness of our lives, especially when holding down a full time job, keeping a home and trying to plan a wedding! So try to do each of the following at least once this week and you’ll feel the benefits, and much more intimate when Monday rolls around, without the need for a massive display of roses…

EAT – we all need to eat sometime – usually 3 times a day. Spend time this week eating with each other – whether it is a take-away, in a restaurant, pasta & pesto or the morning weetabix… You could even share the preparations and washing up, instead of taking it in turns.

TALK – What does your daily communication usually consist of? A rushed ‘How was your day?’ or just wedding planning? Take a few moments to sit down and concentrate on listening to each other, and asking questions – it doesn’t need to be deep, but it can be intimate to talk about how you are feeling and what it is like to be you.

PLAY – Have some fun – Remember wht it was like when you fist got together and you would go on dates and do anything as long as it meant youwere together. Whether it is a board game, a walk in the park or one of these other creative date night ideas, jsut enjoy being with each other.

It makes great sense to make sure these three aspects are part of your time together every week for the rest of your lives to keep the intimacy and fun in the relationship. It sounds dull, but it is always worth scheduling a ‘date night’ into the calendar to make sure you both prioritise a night together every week.

If you want to really invest in the relationship then maybe you could try out the Marriage Course – It covers topics such as comminication, handling money, sex, families and topics that all couples face, allowing space for couples to chat about these together over a meal – no group discussions! a lot of courses are starting on Valentines evening with a meal for you to go and check it out – so there’s no need to book a meal at a fancy restaurant – just find the closest Valentines dinner to you

If you have any creative ideas for spending time together that you want to share, please do leave a comment below.

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Spa days, wine tasting, river trips, coasteering adventures – A gift experience makes a refreshing change to the usual suspects of physical objects, flowers or chocolates…

I think gift of an experience can be the most thoughful – a timely given pampering treat for someone who needs a break is most appreciated. And when it is an experience that can be shared, the time spent together is treasured and creates memories that will last much longer than a box of confectionary.

that’s why I was excited to hear about Giv’Organic – a brand new concept of ethical gift experiences – from winetasting at organic vineyards to top treatments by hairstylists & beauticians using organic & natural products. Launched just in time for last minute Valentines gifts, everything on the site is organic, natural or eco-friendly, meaning the giver can show love for the recipient AND the planet.  And for the whole month of February to celebrate the launch, Giv’Organic is offering a 10% discount on all gifts and experiences. when you use the code LAUNCHGIVO at checkout.

There are experiences offered nationwide so you can search by region. Prices start at just £10 and the recipient receives a voucher for their experience. Browse the gift experiences on the Giv’Organic website

If you are unsure what to get, then Giv’Organic offer gift vouchers which can be redeemed on experiences on their site, but also at the online eco-stores of their partners offering ethical fashion, cosmetics, baby products and more.

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Eco fashionista Livia Firth has once again teamed up with fair trade jewellers MADE to design a stunning heart creation just in time for Valentines.

Livia designed the necklace to be worn as a choker with the chain and heart tumbling down the spine. And we think it is a perfect as a statement bridal necklace for a backless wedding dress.

Livia says: “I love everything about Made: the country where they produce their products, the community project they’ve set up, the sustainable materials they use to create their collections and the “trade not aid” ethos of the company. The design of this necklace combines a desire to be feminine with a twist of mischief, to tease with elegance. Who could resist the tingling feeling of the heart as it cascades down your spine?”

Materials for the necklace are sustainable and locally sourced. Recycled brass is used for the chain and the soapstone used for the heart pendent is mined locally through a co-operatively run mine that provides jobs and a better standard of living.

Not only is the necklace made with fair trade materials, but it ticks all the boxes for being multi-use – created as a long chain with hook fastening you can wear it as modelled but it gives flexibility to be worn as many ways as your creativity will allow… So there is no need to pack it away in a wedding keepsake box after the ceremony, but wear it in a different way for the evening do and then make sure it goes into your honeymoon packing…

See Livia wearing it on the red carpet at the Critics Choice awards for her green carpet challenge. How many people can say they own a design that has been on the red carpet?

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We are now in the throws of wedding fayre season. There are so many it is hard to know which will be the best for you…

Many hotels host wedding fayes in low season so you can go and look at local venues and meet local vendors (great to know the vendors are close by and so cutting down on those wedding-miles!)

The great thing about these fayres is that you meet lots of vendors all in one fell swoop, saving you time searching the web or the yellow pages – and the services they provide can also save you time, but at a cost.

What about if you want to make the invites, sew the bridemaids dresses, bake the cupcake tower and arrange the flowers? If you have the time (and are well organised) there is nothing stopping you – but you may want some expert advice on how to go about it and get some inspiration.

Well, there is now a wedding fayre dedicated to all things handmade and will be held in Truro this Sunday 6th Feb. Styled as an afternoon tea event, including bubbly, there will be hourly how-to workshops to give you ideas and expert crafting advice, as well as being able to meet lots of local designer-makers with fresh ideas for making your wedding unique. For more details check out the Handmade Wedding Fayre Facebook page.

And if you can’t get to Cornwall then lets hope we can pursuade some creative types to start expanding the idea to other areas of the country. In the meantime check out some DIY wedding ideas and save time by being super organised with an online wedding to-do-list.

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