My Wedding in a Week: Part 4. Bridesmaids

Choose your bridesmaids carefully as they will become an integral part of your wedding planning process.   Of course it would be lovely to ask all of your best girlfriends, but eight bridesmaids really is one too many!  Just remember that you will need to pay for dresses, shoes, accessories, flowers, hair and makeup, which can accumulate to a huge cost.  This shouldn’t be the main reason why you don’t ask someone, but bear it in mind.

Tip 1: Your maid of honour will organise your hen/bachelorette party and be your main helper on your wedding day. Choose carefully!

Depending on how many bridesmaids you have, you may want to make finding the bridesmaids dresses a group effort, or hunt for them alone.  Everyone has different tastes and we all come in different shapes and sizes, so finding something to suit everyone can be tricky.  I spotted some great dress options before I went shopping with my two bridesmaids, which meant they could pick from a selection that I loved.

bridesmaid dresses

Tip 2: Remember it’s your wedding.  Don’t let the bridesmaids pressure you into a dress that you don’t like, can’t afford or doesn’t match you colour scheme.  Respectively, make sure that everyone feels happy and comfortable in the dress you choose.

I originally planned to choose red dresses for my bridesmaids, but struggled to find something modern and non traditional.  In the end I came across a black and white satin striped number from Ben De Lisi at Debenhams, which the bridesmaids and I loved.  I think black was a bit of a risky choice for a bridesmaid dress, but the girls looked gorgeous, and the look was softened by the pink and red bouquets.

Tip 3: Don’t dismiss the high street! Look carefully and you can find some great dresses suitable for bridesmaids.



My Wedding in a Week: Part 3. Photographer vs. Videographer

After booking your venue, the first thing you should do is find a wedding photographer.  All the best ones get booked up early and you don’t want to fall in love with photos you can’t have.

Search for wedding photographers in your area, and shortlist the ones whose photos you lust over.  I found four that I absolutely loved, then dismissed the ones that I couldn’t afford.  I only ended up meeting one photographer, as I had researched her photos so thoroughly and she was just in my budget.

Tip 1: If your dream wedding photographer is out of your budget, try negotiating with them to cover less of the day for a smaller cost.  You could even ask for images on a disk only and make your own album.

Photographer booked.  Now do you think about a wedding videographer?  Many people see this as a luxury (as we did), but I can’t emphasize how great it is to have a film of your day.  We weren’t that bothered about having a video as we couldn’t really afford it on top of the photographer, and who likes hearing and seeing themselves on film?

What made me change my mind was seeing a Facebook status of a friend that said something like “my little girl is watching our wedding video AGAIN, I can’t convince her to watch anything else”.  This completely pulled on my heart strings and we decided stuff it, we will never have this day again, let’s get a videographer.

Tip 2: If you can afford a videographer, do not hesitate to book one.  Like the photographers, all the good ones get booked up fast.

wedding video

We had our wedding video about 6 weeks after the wedding, which was such a treat as we knew we would have to wait a while to get the photos.  After you get over the awful sound of your own voice, and seeing faces you never knew you pulled, it gives you a true representation of your wedding day.  Something a photo just can’t do.  The speeches on the day were epic, and without a video we would never be able to re-live these moments again.

Tip 3: If you don’t decide on a videographer, get a friend or family member to film your speeches, even if it’s on a smart phone.  You never know what might be pulled out of the bag and you will surely want to watch them again!

So, photographer vs. videographer.  I would say they are equally as important.  I have beautiful photos in frames all around my home, which I look at every day. But once in a while it’s magical to put on your wedding video and be part of the day again.


Wedding photographer: Aga Tomaszek

Wedding videographer: Accesi

My Wedding in a Week: Part 2. The Other Dress

The wedding dress is probably the most exciting and expensive dress you will ever buy, and the reason my blog is named ‘The Other Dress’.

bride getting ready

This is something that you need to get right the first time (not like me).  Unfortunately my wedding dress buying experience didn’t start out great.  I have never been an impulse buyer, but jumped and threw money at the first dress I saw.  Online.

The dress was totally beautiful and princess like, and as soon as it arrived I was dying to try it on.

Tip 1: Do not buy a wedding dress intending to slim into it.  If you are planning to lose weight before your big day, do it well in advance, then go and try on dresses.

By the time I had lost enough weight to try on the dress properly, it just didn’t feel right.  Not in the fitting sense, but in the ‘this just isn’t me’ sense.  It felt too glamorous (yes there is such a thing!) and I wished I had something simple.

Tip 2: Don’t be impulsive – shopping online for your wedding dress isn’t a great idea.  You might save some money, but you will never find the best fitting dress.  Mine was non returnable and is still hanging in my spare room waiting for a new home.

So this all happened 4 months before the wedding, which was incredibly stressful as I knew dresses needed to be ordered months and months in advance.  My mum was amazing and as all mothers say ‘don’t worry, we will fix this’.  So the next day we went dress shopping.

Tip 3: Go to the bridal shops and try on as many dresses as you like.  This is what every girl dreams of and you don’t want to miss this opportunity.

So I spent the next two days visiting all the bridal shops in my area trying on gowns, which really was the best shopping experience ever.  I found my dress in a small and modest bridal shop, that had the loveliest staff.  They were so helpful and managed to order my dress just in time for the big day.

A lot of bridal shops will encourage you to try on dresses which are really not your style, but sometimes it is worth a shot.  The amount of brides I’ve talked to that end up with a completely different dress style to what they thought they wanted is countless.

Tip 4: Try everything! You never know! The staff in the bridal shops are pretty good and can normally suss out what will suit you.

So I had found my dress. THE DRESS. And as my friend said ‘you know it’s the one because you feel like a bride’. Ahhh

Tip 5: Go with your gut feeling, and if you feel ‘like a bride’ then it’s the one.


My Wedding in a Week: Part 1. Choosing your venue

So he’s proposed! Then broken his leg days later…. Yes my wedding planning was put on hold for 3 months.  Although a badly timed break (but when is it ever a good time to break your leg?) I was able to prove myself as a good wife-to-be before the wedding commenced.

When he was finally healed, I couldn’t wait to go out searching for our wedding venue.  I’d had plenty of time to research, so knew exactly where we wanted to visit.  After a handful of ‘no that venue just won’t work’, we went back to the drawing board (Google).  We eventually came across a beautiful city centre venue that we had originally dismissed because of price.  It was walking distance from the church and surrounded by greenery.

park house club cardiff
Park House Club, Cardiff


Tip 1: Don’t instantly dismiss a venue because you don’t think you can afford it.  Some venues are very up front about the costs, so you know exactly how much you’re spending.  Some venues can sometimes seem cheaper because they haven’t included all the costs.

When we visited the venue we loved the diversity of it.  It had a courtyard marquee for the drinks reception, a traditional grand room for the wedding breakfast and a city style cocktail bar for the evening party.

Tip 2: Think about how many guests you’re going to invite.  Is the venue to big?  Too small?  Will you need two rooms for the evening party so guests can take a break from the music?

We were sold after our first visit and the venue staff were brilliant from the first moment, right to the end of the wedding day.  The food and drink were fantastic and we couldn’t have asked for better service.

Tip 3: Make a list of every question you have, and get the venue to put it in writing.  This is your special day and you want it to be perfect.

Bride and groom

Venue: The Park House Club, Cardiff


My Wedding in a Week

It’s been over a year since my wedding day, and looking back there is a lot of things I wish I’d know.  Planning everything yourself takes a lot of time and energy, but all your hard work really does pay off in the end.  I would definitely say I had the best day of my life, and would do it all again tomorrow if I could.

bride and groom

So, from experience I am going to try and help and guide you in some of the difficult decisions you have to make when planning your wedding.

From Monday I am going to be posting a 7 day series of planning your wedding tips.

To start you off, my number one tip for planning your wedding would be:

Delegate! You may want to control every aspect of the day yourself, but you are not a super hero and you can’t do everything.  I had the crazy idea that I would be able to go to the venue on the morning of the wedding to check everything looked perfect and help dress the tables.  Reality: you will just about have enough time to get yourself ready and to the church on time! So do ask your friends and family for help.  They will be delighted to be involved.

Coming up:

Part 1. Choosing Your Venue

Part 2. The Other Dress

Part 3. Wedding Photographer vs. Videographer

Part 4. Bridesmaids

Part 5. Beautiful Bouquets

Part 6. Cake Cars and Candy

Part 7. It’s The Little Things


Glossybox August 2013 – highflyers

I’d heard beauty bloggers talking about Glossybox a lot, so looked it up to see what all the fuss was about. I love discovering new products so thought Glossybox was a great concept. I filled in a questionnaire after subscribing, so that the box contents can be tailored to my wants and needs. I am curious to how much effort is put into sending people personalised boxes but we will see!

My first Glossybox is the August highflyers box, and when it arrived I couldn’t wait to open it. I love the baby pink box and will use it to store all my nail polishes that are scattered all around my home. The contents of the Glossybox were tied neatly with a pink ribbon which was a pretty touch to the presentation.

I love the highflyers concept for the August box with brands from all over the world.

Glossybox august welcome

Glossybox august packaging

Glossybox august leaflet

Glossybox august contents

So here’s what I got…..

Sweden – Emite Make Up

Eyelash Curler, £20

I was delighted to get a new eyelash curler as my current one is looking worse for wear. This one seems like it is built well and was very comfortable when I tested it.

USA – Tresemmé

Keratin smooth concentrated treatment shot, £1.49 for full size

With the heat wave we have had in the UK, my hair has really dried out so am looking forward to trying this. It claims to turn your hair into summer goddess glory!

UK – Jelly Pong Pong

2 in 1 shadow liner, £10.50

I have never heard of Jelly Pong Pong so am curious to where you can buy this. At £10.50 RRP its gearing towards the price of Mac/Urban Decay/Benefit so I expect the quality to be good. I got the dark green shadow which is nice and shimmery and blends well.

Brazil – Oceane

Makeup remover pen, not yet available in the UK

I have never thought about purchasing a makeup remover pen before. I normally dab a bit of makeup remover on a cotton bud when I mess up, but this seems great. Really handy to keep in your makeup bag , especially if you sneeze just after applying mascara!

India – Urban Veda

Radiance day cream, £7.99 for full size

Urban Veda is a brand new skincare range founded on ancient Indian principles. It says it has been formulated to naturally combat pollution. The texture is nice and light but the smell is very strong and fragrant. Not sure if I would be brave enough to put this on my face due to the smell.

I will give all the products a good try and let you know if any of them are worth purchasing. Overall I love the August Glossybox and think the value for money on this one is good. Looking forward to the next one!

Glossybox – £10 plus £2.95 p&p

Urban Decay – Naked Basics Palette

I always tend to steer towards Mac Cosmetics  when I want a new eye shadow, but as I had heard such great things about Urban Decay’s palettes I decided to treat myself.  The Urban Decay Naked Basics palette looked perfect for my needs, as for everyday wear I love a matte neutral shade.

Urban Decay naked basics palette

Urban Decay naked basics palette

Urban Decay naked basics palette

I love ‘Orb’ by Mac, which I use daily for a base and found that Urban Decay’s ‘Walk of Shame’ was a good match for this.  I also love ‘Naked Lunch’ by Mac which I have also run out of, and Urban Decay’s ‘Venus’ is a good match for this.

Some of the colours in the swatch below are hard to see, but this is the beauty of this palette.  The light neutral shades are perfect as eye shadow bases.

Urban decay naked basics palette swatch

This little palette is great value for money in comparison to buying single eye shadows and has a handy mirror in the lid.  I can see myself using all of the colours regularly, but my favourite has to be the light shimmery Venus.

Urban Decay – Naked Basics Palette £20 from Debenhams

Benefit Cosmetics – Benefayre: Give & get gorgeous!

On this bright Sunday afternoon in Cardiff, I got to enjoy the fun of Benefits Benefare – a pop-up fayre, in aid of the charity Refuge.  It was very pink, very girly and took me right back to my childhood!

Benefit Benefayre

Benefit Benefayre

Benefit they're real booth

Benefit hello flawless booth

Benefit pore fessional booth

Benefit photo booth

Benefit hook a duck

Benefit hook a duck

Benefits Benefare included a photo booth, shooting gallery, tin-can alley and my favourite – hook a duck!  I had a go and won a sample of Benefit’s Cha Cha Tint, which I am looking forward to trying as the mango colour is really summery.

Benefit cha cha tint

Benefit cha cha tint

Great event for a great cause.  Thanks Benefit!

Top 10 beauty products I could not live without

top 10 products I could not live without

Most of the products below I have been using for years and years, and I really could not live without them! Well… I just wouldn’t leave the house without using them!

top 10 products I could not live without

1. Tangle Teaser (£10.20)

The tangle teaser brush was recommended to me by my hairdresser. It looks like something you would brush an animal with, but it really is great. It brushes through your hair with ease, and doesn’t pull on any knots. This is great if you suffer from tangles and can be used on wet or dry hair.

2. Real Techniques Powder Brush (£12.99)

I love all of the Real Techniques brushes and would also recommend the ‘expert face brush’. The large powder brush is super soft and great for applying my Mac studio fix powder quickly. I clean this regularly using the Mac brush cleaner and it still looks and feels as good as the day I bought it.

3. E45 Lipcare (£2.49)

E45 offer great products for hydrating the skin. My favourite has to be the E45 Lip Care, which I apply generously every night before I go to sleep, and throughout the day if needed. I have suffered from dry lips since a baby, and applying this daily stops dryness altogether. It doesn’t have a scent and looks great used with lipstick to give a glossier finish.

4. John Frieda Frizz-Ease (£6.29)

As its summer, and hair can get really dry and damaged I am using the extra strength version of John Frieda’s Frizz-Ease. This is a classic product that really works and always leaves me with shiny glossy hair. I apply about 4 pumps after washing and conditioning and I can really notice the difference in the condition of my hair.

5. Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat (£8.08)

I discovered this top coat by Seche Vite a few months ago as it was recommended on so many beauty blogs. I apply it over a clear strengthener and two coats of nail polish, and it’s dry to touch within a minute. I battled for ages with applying nail polish, for it to still smudge or dent after drying it for ages, but this product truly is amazing. It gives a super glossy finish and makes my nail polish last for about a week.

6. Mac Brown Down Veluxe Eye Shadow (£12.50)

Brown Down is one of my favourite shades of eye shadow from Mac, and I picked this one out as a ‘could not live without’ because of its versatility. For my every day makeup I use this colour to contour the eye, line with a Mac 266 brush, and to also fill in my brows. The colour is a beautiful deep brown and would suit any eye colour.

7. Tweezerman Mini Tweezers (£12.50)

These mini slanted tweezers from Tweezerman are great, and pull out the smallest of hairs. I use them daily to get out the odd few re-growth brows out. It takes seconds and means I never have to spend ages grooming my brows. They come in an array of bright colours, so are easy to find when rummaging through your makeup bag.

8. Max Factor Masterpiece Max Mascara (£9.99)

I have used this mascara for many years, and occasionally will try a new one, but nothing works better for me than Max Factor Masterpiece Max Mascara. It separates the lashes and gives a dark, full, lengthening finish. It makes your lashes really defined and never leaves them dry and clumpy.

9. Johnson’s 24hour Moisture Hand Cream (£2.09)

As well as the dry lips, I also suffer with dry hands, which get super bad in the winter. I have tried countless hand creams, but Johnson’s 24hour Moisture Hand Cream is the only one which dries in quickly, and is non greasy. In the winter I apply generously before going to sleep, and in the summer, just using a little can make all the difference to your hands.

10. Mac Studio Fix Powder (£21.50)

I first bought Mac’s Studio Fix powder about 12 years ago and have used the same shade (NW25) ever since. I do occasionally use other more coverage foundations, but always go back to this one. I never use the sponge provided as this gives me too heavy a finish, but dusting it on with the Real Techniques powder brush takes seconds and gives a light coverage. Mac studio fix is great for oily skin, and can also be used over a liquid foundation to set your makeup.

Essie Summer 2013 Collection

Essie summer collection 2013 mini set

I absolutely love Essie nail polishes, and if applied well with a good base and top coat it will last me a week.

My go to Essie colour is ‘Fiji’, a soft pale pretty pink that dries opaque.  I think I love it so much because it reminds me of my wedding day, and really compliments any skin tone.

As it is summer, and we have had an actual summer in the UK! I decided to try out some of Essie’s new summer 2013 collection.  I spotted a mini set which included ‘naughty nautical’ a shimmery blue-green, ‘sunday funday’ a bright orangy pink and ‘full steam ahead’ a pearly lilac purple.  This set was only £9.99, which is amazing value as the brushes are the same size as in a normal size bottle (instead of the mini brushes some brands use, which take much longer to apply).

Essie summer collection 2013 mini set

Essie summer collection 2013

Essie summer collection 2013
(L-R: sunday funday, naughty nautical, full steam ahead)

I love these three colours, and my favourite has to be ‘sunday funday’ which I tried out immediately.  As I said before, I was pleasantly surprised that these mini bottles had a full size brush, so took me a matter of a few minute to apply.  The colour is so strong that I could have got away with one coat, but for optimum colour I always apply two.  I don’t normally wear brights on my nails, but loved the way this shade was almost neon, and such a feel good colour.

essie shade sunday funday on nails
(Essie shade: sunday funday)

The camera didn’t quite pick up the true colour, which isn’t quite pink, orange or red, so definitely go and check it out in the shops if this is your thing.