Sunday, 22 November 2015

A Rustic Christmas

It's coming! The adverts have started, the weather's got colder and there seems to be an influx of Christmas jumpers appearing in the shops!  With this in mind, it's got me thinking about changing up our Christmas decorations.  When we first moved in together 5 years ago we went for a 'more is more' approach on our silver and purple colour theme.

Obviously my tastes have totally changed in those 5 years and I kind of want a more rustic, Nordic type of Christmas theme this year so it got me thinking about starting again with some new decorations. Here's some of my inspiration:

I definitely want a new christmas tree as well and I think the one above looks really natural.

What theme are you going for with your decorations this year? Do you like the rustic Christmas look?

Friday, 20 November 2015

Madam Glam Nail Polish Review and EXCLUSIVE Black Friday Discount

I was recently sent these gorgeous polishes by Madam Glam to review. The colours I was sent were:

All of these polishes were really easy to work with and dried pretty quickly. Obviously with the confetti ones there needed to be a bit of placement for the confetti but that's always the case. The bottles and brushes were great to use.I was massively impressed with these polishes and will definitely look into buying more in future - they were actually really well packaged too, great for a gift (hint hint).

I'm also pleased to let you know that Madam Glam have given me a code which will entitle the first 10 buyers who use it with 40% off and then 30% off for the buyers after that. It can be used up until the 27th November 2015.  To take advantage of the discount just click here and use the coupon code BFbeautyandtheblogger at checkout.

Let me know if you buy anything and don't forget to send some pics!

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Winter Wedding Make Up Look

If it wasn't for my husbands work schedule, I would definitely have got married in winter - I love the thought of a really crisp winters day, a nice fur bolero and some nice glam crystal touches in the day. I know my wedding day has been and gone but I did my make up earlier and thought it would look lovely as a winter bridal look, you don't want to look washed out or too made up for the day.

I decided to create a winter wedding look here:

I went for a natural contour, netural metallic eyes with a touch of liner and some white to highlight the inner corners of my eye. I have lash extensions on at the moment but I think false lashes are a must for wedding make up as they look great in photos (remember, those photos will be around for a LONG time) - I'd probably use quite a fluffy style like Ardell Demi Wispies. Rather than using gold highlighters, I used ones with a pinky tone as I feel like that works a bit better in harsh winter light and looks a little bit softer. I've also finished off with a pink lip as I think it works better than a nude one in winter.

Here's a little out-take of me mid-contouring (I used normal Rimmel Concealer and Illamasqua Gel Sculpt) too ha ha:

Here's what I used:



I think this type of winter wedding look is really easy to recreate and would look gorgeous with a statement hairpiece/tiara, something crystal and ice-like maybe. I love these beautiful hairpieces from Rosie Willett Designs:

Rosie Willett Designs - Zara 1 - £388

Rosie Willett Designs - Amaris - £195

I spotted a bridal make up tutorial on her website too from Carley Musleh from Beauty Sauce which is fab.

For more of my wedding related posts (including my actual wedding make up) click here.

Monday, 9 November 2015

Blossoming Gifts Autumn Sunset Bouquet Review and 33% discount code!

You must know by now how much I love cut flowers right? Here's the latest bouquet I've kindly been sent from Blossoming Gifts - it's their Autumn Sunset bouquet that consists of cerise germini, pink sweet avalanche roses (my faves!), orange lilies (another fave) and sugar flair hypericum berries.

I absolutely love how bright this bouquet is! When it first arrived the lilies were closed but over a week they've all opened up and the delicate pink roses are still looking good. It doesn't smell overpowering or anything, I know some people who don't like roses or lilies because they find them too scented....not me.

The bouquet was well packaged, the flower delivery arrived on time and even came with a little box of chocolates which was a lovely touch - especially as they were my favourite chocolates...pralines!

The lovely people at Blossoming Gifts have kindly given my readers a 33% off discount code to enter at checkout, so if you're looking for flowers by post or some nice Cheap Flowers, just enter: BGIFTS33

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Xen Tan Luminous Gold Gel False Tan Review

I was sent this to review a while ago and finally got round to using it before I went to November wedding on a bit of a grey day where I definitely felt like tan was a must!

When I first opened this up to use it I was really surprised - I know it's called luminous gold but it literally is a gold, glittery gel that out of context you'd never guess was a fake tan, especially as it doesn't have that biscuity smell at all.

I actually felt quite worried applying this, usually I prefer a guide colour so I can work out if I've missed any spots, and I found it a bit difficult to work out where I'd put it but you can kind of see it, glossy and glittery. There's no colour to it at all so I was just hoping it actually developed overnight - when I came downstairs from applying it my husband was like "I thought you were doing your tan?" as you couldn't tell at all. It dries pretty quickly too, so not hanging around in your pants for hours.

I was so happy when I got up and it had developed into a proper tan, not orange at all, more olive-y.  Unfortunately there were a couple of areas that I'd missed as suspected (all on my feet and ankles) but as it only takes 3 hours to develop I just filled in the blanks as I had about 5 hours until I needed to be ready and it sorted out.

I actually preferred the colour the day after, after I'd had another shower, as it was a bit more subtle for November. I liked this tan and found it really easy to use for the most part, it would be perfect if you were going somewhere and didn't want to have that streaky/dirty "just-in-the-middle-of-tanning" look. Saying that though I'd probably prefer to buy a tan with a guide colour next time as I usually do it just before bed anyway.

Find out more about Xen Tan Luminous Gold Gel self tanner here.

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Want some customised Tweezerman tweezers engraved with a message of your choice? Head to the Trafford Centre tomorrow!

Who doesn't love a bit of customisation?

Beauty tools experts Tweezerman are going to be in store in Selfridges Manchester Trafford Centre tomorrow ready to engrave any purchased Tweezerman make up brush or tweezer with a message of your choice.

Head down to Selfridges tomorrow (4th November 2015) between 10am-10pm to get your message on any Tweezerman purchase. I've actually lost my trusty zebra print tweezers (they're about 10 years old from Boots and to be honest they were a bit worse for wear) - I'm going to pop down tomorrow as I feel like there's a set of pink Tweezerman tweezers literally with my name on them.

Microdermabrasion Facial at Pure Clinic Manchester Review

I recently visited Pure Clinic Manchester for a microdermabrasion facial at their salon just off Albert Square in Manchester City Centre. I'm having typical winter skin problems at the moment - dry, tired looking with some congestion. Sorry for TMI as well but I am absolute terrible for not leaving blemishes alone which doesn't help my skin at all.

The clinic is in a fairly anonymous office building in Manchester up a few flights of stairs, it didn't wow me from the outside but on the inside it was much better - light, airy, relaxing and fresh feeling. There isn't any signage on the ground floor so just keep going until you see the clinic!

I was introduced to my therapist Nadia (BeautyGuruNadia) who did an analysis of my skin and lifestyle. She was absolutely spot on with her observations and customised the microdermabrasion treatment to match what my skin needed, giving me plenty of tips. She was even really careful to work around my lash extensions which she mentioned before I even asked.

In my head I expected microdermabrasion to be quite intense and not that relaxing but actually I was totally wrong! I thought I would effectively have my face sanded but that wasn't right at all.  It was basically a really relaxing and refreshing facial using Dermaquest products, the main difference being that they use very light suction (again, not unpleasant) to remove dead skin cells from the exfoliation - again, this is a chemical exfoliation rather than a scrub which I prefer as it feels a bit less harsh.

My skin felt amazing afterwards, it looked really smooth and hydrated, I actually felt like my skin was glowing. I didn't have any redness or discomfort after the treatment at all and actually left my make up off for the rest of the weekend which isn't the norm at all.

Here's a before and after (the after is the next day at my in-laws house and in all fairness is probably in more flattering lighting but there was still a huge improvement in my skin) - please excuse the absolute state of me on the first one, that's my make up free skin in all its glory usually.
I really enjoyed my visit to Pure Clinic and would happily return in future, I found Nadia really professional and definitely saw the benefits of microdermabrasion to my skin (I'll be having it again). They do a lot of different treatments so I might check some of those out. For more information please visit the Pure Clinic website.

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Cryotherapy Treatment at Nicky Clarke Manchester

I recently had a beauty treatment which I was really excited about - celeb fave cryotherapy! Most people I've told about it are like "er, what's cryotherapy?" so I'll try and explain it here.

It basically exposes selected body parts (or your face) to extreme cold temperatures using liquid nitrogen to tighten, firm and lift. It also burns between 500-800 calories per 40 minute session which is a nice bonus. The treatment gives instant results and it's recommended that you have a course for better results. Cryotherapy UK focus on individual areas for treatment rather than the full body and it can have really good effects on sports injuries too.

As my stomach is my total problem area I chose to have cryotherapy on it in the hope of inch reduction and just a general firming. Even when I've been skinny in the past (er, I'm not now at all) I've still always had a little tummy which is annoying.

I was a bit nervous but Kelly, the cryotherapist(?) who carried out my treatment was lovely. She was really friendly, knew the treatment inside out and made me feel really comfortable - no mean feat when I'm hanging around in my pants waiting to freeze. I expected it to be uncomfortable but far from it, it was actually pretty relaxing.  You lay down on the bed and one side at a time, cold air is drifted over your stomach from a tube attached to this fairly industrial-looking, impressive piece of kit.

You feel the air getting colder but at no point did it feel too cold or I felt like I couldn't handle it. The time passed really quickly as I chatted to Kelly about this and that. She did my right side first and you can actually see the difference between the side that has been done and the side that hasn't.

Afterwards I felt like I was holding my stomach in all the time (I wasn't) which actually felt a bit odd but it definitely felt firmer. I found it quite funny that my tummy stayed cold to the touch for a few hours afterwards but I suppose that's to be expected when the temperature on it's been -160 degrees! Kelly measured me before and after and I lost two inches overall from my stomach.  I actually can't believe I'm posting photos of my stomach online but the results are pretty impressive so here we go, these pics were taken 40 minutes apart:
I actually really want to try this on my face as I think the results would be amazing and would really lift your face. I'd definitely have this on my stomach again, probably before an event (maybe Christmas parties?) or something so that the results were visible.  I wish I'd had this before my wedding and I've actually recommended it to my husband as he's had some ongoing issues with his shoulder for the last couple of years. I just had one treatment but a course is more beneficial.

The Manchester clinic is located above Nicky Clarke in Spinningfields, just off Deansgate and is really easy to find. For more information visit Cryotherapy UK.

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Elegant Touch House of Holland Nails - Bloodthirsty

This was another House of Holland Nails impulse buy - as I've said before I love the look of long, pointy (or tapered) nails but I can never be bothered to keep up maintenance on them. I'll get them done once and then remove them...really don't know why.

So, when I want fancy hands, it's much easier (and cheaper) for me to pop some nails on myself. Behold, Bloodthirsty:

I don't really have much else to say other than love the packaging, love the nails, easy to apply, they last well and come with glue. My fave part is that the underside of the black nails have red glitter on them, kind of like the Loub nails that were everywhere a couple of years ago with a twist.

I had loads of comments on them, including the fact that they're very Halloween-y which I suppose they are (just around the corner remember....)

You can buy House of Holland nails from Boots.

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Illamasqua Gel Sculpt in Silhouette - an easy way to contour!

I absolutely love wearing make up but it's quite rare I do a full face unless it's for a big night out or special occasion and because of this I don't feel like my make up skills are that great. I can throw a pair of false lashes on or do a nice straight eyeliner flick like a pro but stuff like a decent smoky eye or serious contouring just mystifies me - so annoying because I'd love to be able to do this stuff, even following YouTube tutorials and stuff it just ends up really meh on me. I need to practice more but I just don't have time to perfect it the way I'd want.

Step in Illamasqua Gel Sculpt in Silhouette. I'd noticed this recommended as an easy way to contour without needing a million different products. Gel Sculpt is a water based product.

It looks a little bit scary in the tube, a bit too dark and almost like a wine coloured lipstick (you can use it on lips or cheeks and some of the other colours would probably be pretty nice on eyes too) but it's actually really light, cooling product that goes on pretty sheer.

I used this on my cheekbones, nose and jawline then blended it with my foundation. I got so many compliments on my make up when I did this to the point where I actually want to do this every day! I watched this YouTube video by Jamie Genevieve which talks more about how to use gel sculpt.

I just need to master an easy smoky eye now...

You can buy Illamasqua Gel Sculpt here.

Friday, 9 October 2015

Godiva Speculoos Sablés Biscuits Review

In our house, the level of biscuit-eating is ridiculous. It's at the point where generally we just don't buy them as the speed at which we get through a packet is just embarrassing so yeah, if you come to our house we probably won't be able to offer you a biscuit with your tea, either because we've eaten them all or because we can't be trusted to buy any in the first place.

Anyway, excessive biscuit consumption aside, I was recently sent some Godiva Speculoos Sablés Biscuits to try.   Described as "Rich, buttery biscuits dipped in the finest Godiva milk chocolate, Sablés are the perfect treat with your cup of tea or coffee.  The Almond Speculoos biscuit combines a sprinkling of aromatic cinnamon with crunchy almonds, to create that sweet almond speculoos taste that is so loved in Belgium."

At first I couldn't remember what speculoos was (Ben & Jerry Cookie Core fans might know this) but as soon as I opened them I remember, it's kind of like a really mild ginger biscuits. I don't really like ginger biscuits so I was a bit like "damn" but I REALLY like these. The taste is really subtle and it all works well together, they're a decent size but I actually only got to eat one and a half as my husband polished them all off!

There's a little bit of nuttiness to and the chocolate on them adds an extra bit of richness/sweetness to it. They were ideal with a cup of tea. I really did enjoy this and I might actually buy some more to have in for Christmas as otherwise we would probably get through a packet a day.

You can buy them here.

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Impulse beauty buys - Sleek Make Up Face Form Contouring & Blush Palette in Light and H&M Precision Eye Marker in Black

Both of these were two total impulse buys - I bought the palette solely because I wanted the darker pink colour as a blush colour (and it reminded me a bit of Nars blush). And I bought the eye liner because I've been using a normal liquid eyeliner but I actually prefer to use a pen type of liner, I find it much much easier.

I've actually fallen in love with the palette and would definitely recommend it/buy it again. It's really nice in terms of quality, especially for the price. I haven't really used the darkest shade but the two pinks are beautiful and look really great on the skin. Considering it cost a tenner for three shades I really think it looks way more expensive than it is.

The eyeliner is a decent one - nice firm nib, very wet, very black, lasts well without bleeding. Not much else I can say about it other than I'm happy with it and would definitely buy it again.

Links to buy:

Sleek Make Up Face Form Contouring & Blush Palette in Light

H&M Precision Eye Market in Black

Have you made any impulse buys lately that you'd recommend (y'know not that I need an excuse to spend any more money)?

Monday, 5 October 2015

TooFaced Born This Way Foundation Review

I've been looking for a new foundation as the one I've been wearing probably isn't quite the right colour now that we're getting into autumn/winter. I wanted something medium to full coverage as my skin is acting up a bit at the moment, long lasting and not drying. In winter I get a bit of dry skin around my nose and I want to make sure that my foundation works with this.

I did a bit of research and saw quite a few recommendations for the new TooFaced Born This Way Foundation for a full coverage foundation suitable for dry skin. The shade I got is Nude and it's the right colour for my winter skin once it's been warmed up a little with some bronzer.

It has a nozzle already on the bottle so it's much cleaner and hygenic than dipping into it. One pump of foundation is more than enough to cover my face.

The foundation itself is really nice to use - it blends well, feels cooling on my skin and covers everything I want it to without my face looking like a mask.  It's quite a dewy, natural finish especially for a full coverage foundation, it's not overly matte or flat. I find it lasts really well too - it still looks great at the end of the day and I just need to add a little bit of powder part way through the day to reduce any shine.

The first time I wore this I had a night out with some friends I haven't seen for a while and quite a few of them commented on how my skin/make up looked. One actually commented that I looked like I was glowing and raised her eyebrows. I was You know what I mean.

Overall I really, really like this foundation and it's definitely one that I'll repurchase in future. It makes me feel way more confident than what I was using previously and I'd totally recommend it for anyone looking for a new foundation.

Find out more at 

Saturday, 12 September 2015

Hair Heroes - Ojon Damage Reverse Thickening Shampoo and Conditioner

I think I got given them as a gift from my Mum who has so much hair the thought of using a thickening/volumising product made her panic a bit ha! I'd had them for a little while as I was being loyal to my Joico shampoo and conditioners while I tried to repair my hair.  I ended up taking these on holiday with me, simply because the bottles are a bit less bulky than other shampoos I had - I always mean to be prepared and decant into little bottles but I never actually do it. I didn't really think anything of taking these to be honest it was more about convenience than what they could do for my hair (sorry Ojon!)

I'm SO GLAD I actually ended up trying these, they've become my favourite shampoo and conditioner duo.  I've posted enough times about my damaged hair due to overprocessing last year, it's still much shorter on top but thankfully it's at a point where I can pretend it's just layered that way rather than having a mini fringe all around the top of my head (argh).

My hair priorities now are growth, thickness and making sure my hair stays healthy/doesn't get any more damaged. I've cut my blow drying and heat styling right down, reduced the amount I wash my hair (FYI: dry shampoo) and it's all about hair masks and oils.

Anyway, I digress. These are amazing - they both smell fresh and packaging's totally fine. The shampoo lathers well and the conditioner does its conditioning thing well. The conditioner is actually really thick and heavy (and bright green!) so you don't need to use a lot - it actually lasted the same amount of time as my shampoo bottle which is unheard of.

This made my hair look fuller, feel thicker and just look better without the need for loads of styling afterwards. And that's with swimming in the sea and sunbathing every day when I was on holiday.  

I actually had people commenting on how much thicker/better my hair was looking, even my husband said this and he isn't really the type to notice unless its something really obvious.  I actually brought the last little tiny bits of this that were left in the bottle home with me just to squeeze out a couple more washes with these as I loved them so much - again, unheard of, I usually just leave anything nearly-empty at the hotel when I'm away...not these!

I've hinted heavily for my birthday next month about these but if that fails I will definitely be repurchasing. You can buy Ojon here.

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Leicester Warren Hall Wedding Review

I found that when I was looking at potential wedding venues and came across Leicester Warren Hall - the venue where we eventually ended up getting married - there isn't that much online about in in terms of reviews, couples experiences etc so I thought I'd put together something that might be helpful to others. I'd literally mention it to people who had lived/worked in Knutsford or in the local wedding industry for years and they'd be like... "um, no haven't heard of it?" eek.

As I couldn't find much information about it I had fairly low expectations (after visiting a few other more budget friendly venues and being a bit disappointed) which were blown out of the water when we arrived there in person and found a really cute little barn-style venue with an added bonus of a pretty unusual ceremony room that looked like a church inside.

As I've said the main room is barn style with exposed brick, wooden floors and heavy doors. It looks really cute inside. It's definitely one that you can dress up really well and perfect if you're having a rustic type wedding (apparently bunting works particularly well here!) and they're not really strict about how the room needs to look. Where it actually is in Knutsford is lovely too, down some pretty peaceful roads and with fields to most sides.

You can just have your wedding reception here if you'd prefer to get married in a church or at the local registry office. Which brings me onto the ceremony room.

We originally visited LWH as a reception venue only but when we went into the ceremony room I fell in love. It looks churchy without actually being a church and the seating is laid out in such a way that your guests are facing you which is a nice change from not being able to hear/see what's going on during a ceremony. It has wooden beans throughout, a checked floor and just feels very peaceful.  It obviously costs extra to hire this room but they fill it with candles and for us it was way more special than the registry office.

There's parking on site for guests, a well stocked bar that's reasonably priced (important), space for a DJ/band (the venue booked our DJ thankfully, he was great and listened to what we wanted and what our guests wanted), plenty of places to stay near by and Knutsford centre, which has a train station, is about 5-10 minutes away if people want to make a weekend of it or just wander into town at some point. It's near the motorway - but not too near - for any guests travelling in from further afield.

There's an outside area with grass, benches and trees that would be perfect for lawn games - a lot of our guests spent time outside as it was such nice weather and we got our group photos taken outside on the lawn. They have to shut at 12 midnight. I'd say the venue would comfortably hold about 100 guests - you could have more but it might be a squeeze, especially when the party gets going at night.

We dealt with Kate who runs the venue, she's really nice and well experienced in hospitality. On the day, her and her staff were absolutely amazing! Service was fab and they were all really friendly. Kate's really relaxed and calm about things which can be a godsend as a jittery bride but sometimes I found it better to pop up and see her to run through things rather than calling or emailing her, it felt a bit more productive that way. If you're a bridezilla this probably isn't quite the venue for you. Generally I found them all really accommodating and helpful (especially to co-ordinate suppliers), I think they're all genuinely nice people who want to put on the best event for you.

Food and drink
The options are really varied - they have in house chefs and you do need to use them, there isn't an option for outside catering (fine by us, less work). We had arrival drinks, a 3 course meal, drinks at the speeches and an evening buffet style bacon sandwich and chips type of affair which worked for us. I can't comment too much on the food, what I did have was lovely but I felt a bit too nervous and laced into my dress to eat properly and really enjoy it. The feedback from everyone else was great though! They do everything from afternoon tea to multi-course swanky stuff.  I found the food reasonably prices as well, no excessive cost per head.

There is no venue cost to use this venue! Yes, that's right to hire the main room costs nothing!!! You pay extra if you want the ceremony room and you obviously pay for food/drink etc. for your guests - this is really really unusual, some places we enquired at were £4k just for room hire before you even thought about feeding people, buying dresses or paying for a wedding cake etc. Crazy! The costs were really reasonable too, I didn't feel like it was "oh we heard it was a wedding so we added an extra zero to everything" that is way too common in the wedding industry.

If you've got any questions or you just want a chat about Leicester Warren Hall just drop me a line on Twitter or by email - best bet is to give them a call or pop in to actually see it in person, you'll be really pleasantly surprised.  Our guests all absolutely loved the venue which I was so pleased about - I didn't want to have the same wedding I'd seen 10 other people have too.

Sunday, 6 September 2015

How to save money on your wedding without compromising on style

I've said before I always envisaged myself getting hitched on the beach or in jeans in Vegas or something, just me and my husband. I always thought that the cost of weddings was ridiculous and was money that could be much better spent elsewhere - plus being the centre of attention isn't really either of our sort of thing. I blame Pinterest for the fact I ended up having an actual wedding day!

We were both determined that we would keep to a reasonable budget (a quarter of the average UK wedding), even though just that in itself seems like a ridiculous amount of money to spend on a day, and we managed to stick to it by making a few compromises without making the day look 'budget'. This meant we could spend more on the honeymoon - we spent more on the honeymoon than the wedding - and not start married life with a ton of debt. Sorry this is a LONG post!

I knew that a big hotel type of wedding probably wouldn't be for me in terms of style or numbers. I wanted something smaller and more intimate, in a barn type of setting but most that I could find in the area were way outside of our price range or not in the prettiest setting . Some of the prices were astounding but remember you can always haggle (try for extras thrown in rather than money off if you're not getting anywhere) and winter weddings/weddings in the week and even later weddings can work out cheaper.

We got married at Leicester Warren Hall in Knutsford, a venue which I could find very little about online, but fell in love with in person. It's in a lovely setting, barn-style and has a little ceremony room on site which is very Church-esque and kind of unusual. I'm planning a review on this shortly to help others who might be thinking of getting married there - I'll update with a link when this is live

I didn't want a big wedding but in total we had about 40 day guests and 80 evening guests - we could easily have had more even though neither of us has huge families but we prioritised spending the day with our nearest and dearest. For the venue we had, it was the right sort of amount I think.

Invitations and wedding stationery printing
All of this was done online using PaperShaker - absolute godsend!

Most of my decorations came from Ebay, online or from cheaper retailers. I had sequin tablecloths which I ordered from China (from here) for the same price as it would have cost to hire them, photobooth props from Ebay, candlestick holders from Matalan and photoframes from Poundland ha! I didn't do wedding favours either as they only end up in the bottom of someone's hadbag or kitchen drawer in my opinion, unless you give food, I got some little custom hearts printed from Ebay with our names and wedding date which a lot of people ended up taking home. I was really pleased about this as I'd thought about giving them as favours but didn't think anyone would want them!

Image from Ebay

I had real peony bouquets and buttonholes but my budget just wouldn't stretch to table arrangements etc - and I made the decision only to spend for the wedding on items where I could recoup the spend to some extent - so I made the decision to go for fake peonies in my wedding colours (from Ebay). You can find a centrepiece tutorial here.

Bridal party
I had two bridesmaids, Matt had a best man - no little flowergirls or ushers or extended, convoluted bridal parties. One of my friends had seven bridesmaids because she just couldn't choose and the thought of what she must have spent on our hair, dresses and jewellery alone makes me wince. Her wedding was fab though!

Living Social
My cake was from Vanilla Nova after buying a Living Social deal - the cake was absolutely amazing, we saved money but we didn't have to compromise on buying a bog standard cake from the high street that I've read some disappointed reviews about. We had strawberry, vanilla, lemon and chocolate orange tiers and actually managed to take some home. I had a few people text us after the wedding specifically to say how nice the cake was! Topper is a custom design from

Wedding Car
No wedding car for me - a few hundred pounds for a 20 minute journey (I got married and had the reception etc in the same place) was just not feasible so my bridesmaid's boyfriend drove us all up in his fancy car. It worked out better practically in the end anyway. And only the photographer saw us arrive as everyone was already inside.

My dress was from a wedding warehouse place (this one in Stockport). I spent about half what most people I know paid for their wedding dress and I was really really happy with the one I found, it was exactly what I wanted.   Ok so it's not as glamorous or pampering as getting fawned over in a traditional bridal shop and if they don't have your size that's it but that's where the money's saved. It needed no alterations but I couldn't wear heels with it (boo) so I just wore some Primark flip flops for comfort as you couldn't see them, so classy.

Calling in favours
Matt's a teacher so we had his colleague, who teaches photography, doing our wedding photos and we were so happy with the end results! He normally does arty stuff rather than weddings but he's now is thinking of branching out to do a bit more commercial photography. He even put together a selfie station for our guests which has produced some hilarious photos! Another person who really helped us out was a family friend who sewed my crystal belt to my dress.

I don't feel sentimental about anything I bought for my wedding - I'm a bit anti clutter so at the end of the day it's just stuff that had a purpose and now it doesn't.  I've Ebayed all my decorations and I plan on selling my dress as soon as it's back from the dry cleaners which loads of people are totally aghast at.  I'll keep a couple of bits in my memory box like an invitation, the tablecloth samples, Matt's speech etc. but realistically I won't wear my dress again and there's not much call for a sequin tablecloth in my daily life...

The only spend I'd change
The only thing that I felt like was a bit of a waste of money was the big fancy hotel we stayed in on our wedding night - we got there well after midnight and checked out at about 10:30am, most of which was spent asleep so it's not like we appreciated the room/made full use of all the swanky facilities etc. Matt didn't even get up for breakfast he was so hungover  tired. We could have stayed somewhere nice for half what we spent and had the same experience easily. But if you want a really fancy hotel...then go for it!

In the end...
I loved our wedding day, what we had was perfect for us, all of our guests really enjoyed it and I don't feel like that by making these little tweaks we lost anything in the process or that it felt bland/cheap, our friends and family all had a great time (as did we!). Plus our wedding and honeymoon has now been totally paid for in full, phew, so no debt hanging over us while we move into the next stage of life as Mr and Mrs.

My best advice to brides is to remember it's your wedding day, don't get too caught up in the hype or what other people think you should do.  You'll find a lot of people have a lot of opinions on what's right/what's an absolute wedding MUST, just let it wash over you and have the wedding you want. Oh, and it's ok to have a couple of meltdowns along the way, honest.

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