Things I have learned about myself

Advice, Personal Experience

I was never going to write this post. I didn’t really believe in looking back that far but then I got a notification. Facebook shared a post from over ten years ago. It was a brief message to the world sharing how much pain I was in.

Dana:

It flashed up and I allowed my self a small smile at the pain that you can only feel when someone you love stops loving you. It was such a long time ago but I had decided to share it so publicly.

I don’t remember writing it but I am sure I wrote it hoping that the one it was aimed at would also feel pain or regret or at least guilt. At the end of the day it was my choice to emigrate to the other side of the world. It was also my choice to return back to the UK. To London where I had lived as a student and rebuild my life. Because except for my friends I really had nothing in London.

No home, no job and no family. London can be a very lonely place.

I allowed myself self reflection and thought about how much I had grown and all the things that would not be as they are now if that question had never been asked. The outcome would have been the same but maybe it would have been another six months of a bad feeling. 6 months of knowing it was over but refusing to let it go without a fight.

I had to ask.

Because I already knew.

“You don’t love me any more do you?”

I wanted to take them back the minute I said them. I wanted to fill my mouth and cram them back in. Each painful word piling on top of the other.But it was too late and they were true.

It was over.

It didn’t end as quickly as that, it dragged out and it doesn’t need repeating. There was no hate just hurt. No mean words but lots of sadness and confusion.

After Thailand, Seychelles and France I flew home.

I returned to London with a few hundred pounds and overstuffed suitcases. Just two pieces of luggage .

That was my life.

There were trials and tribulations and Becky and Charlotte looked after me. Offering me a roof over my head, helping me find work and a place to live.

I sorted myself out, my life out. It took time and a lot of dark moments. There were also a lot of wonderful moments too. Lots of laughter and possibilities.

I found myself again.

And then I found Gavin.

I needed time to heal so I waited before I put myself out there for love and trust.

So what I have learned about myself is that I am stronger than I ever thought. That building yourself up takes time and effort.

I am happy and lucky.

But most of all social media remembers everything. So if you don’t want people to know then keep it to yourself or Facebook will haunt you forever.

D

Our wedding day set up!

Advice, Cricut, Flowers, Planning, Wedding, Wedding Budget

We got up at 7.30 and we were both mentally exhausted from the week. Planning a wedding where you have to bring in absolutely everything is so hard. Our wedding day set up was a labour of love, blood sweat and tears. Except on the Tuesday when we legally tied the knot we didn’t really have any time for ourselves. I stayed up each night making bits and bobs. Gav was on the computer sorting out music and checking off lists.

It was more than a full time job.

The night before I was cutting out the name cards on my Cricut, it made it easier but I still had to cut out 140 name cards 6 to a sheet. I ran out of the house at 8.30 to get to the shops when they opened and picked up a few more bits or the toilet boxes. ( I will explain in a later blog)

Then my brother arrived at 10.30 with the van he had to hire because we had so much stuff. The cake was a bit of an after thought so we precariously sat it on top and it fared well.

The last thing we packed was my wedding dress and though all the mad packing we almost left It behind. We had paid for our cleaner to clean for us so we came home to a nice clean house. She was already there when we left and promised to bring anything if we forgot it.

I hadn’t packed the top table tablecloth but we just got on with it!

Dysfunctional planner strikes again

Chris drove to the venue with me Gav and Frank on board plus the majority of the props and bits we needed for the day. When we arrived we unloaded the van. This bit was a bit disorganised and people came to me asking what they wanted to do. We piled it all on the grass and tried to get started from there.

I had dreams of clipboards and lists but none of that happened!

My brother in law set to work hanging our Mexican wedding flags which looked truely beautiful! We still have some left which I am excited to keep for a party! And also he and my dad hung some streamers behind us so the top table had a pretty back drop.

I changed the seating arrangement at the last minute so we had one kind top table and then six lines of 2 which worked out beautifully.

Give me a job

My sister took charge of the tables. She said she was going to set up one and we can work from there. The theme for the seating was snowboarding. The tables were supposed to be slopes

  • Green
  • Blue
  • Pink ( no blood and bandages at my wedding)
  • Black ( the one I forgot)

I left the top tables table clothes at home still not found! Great. So I just used the ends of the longer ones to make our top table. It didn’t bother me!

I had so many good people come up to me and say give me a job! We dressed the first table then the second then the third.

Charlotte and my mum were busy making the table flowers. We used a lot of gin bottles to use instead of vases and they looked so pretty!! I asked Charlotte for bright happy flowers with lots of colour, Dahlias, sweet Williams and daisies but what she did was so incredible they were perfect. I will do a whole blog on how amazing she was later!

I didn’t want a matchy matchy wedding. Lots of colour lots textures and silly things.

Napkins and table cloths

I bought the Table cloth fabric of eBay and dyed all the napkins myself. I didn’t want black napkins so I used a yellow dye to brighten things up. I had 120 guests and made sure I had a spare 30 napkins. I was so proud of them they looked great. I had a vision of how I wanted it to look and everyone who was there helped me achieve it.

After Vicky laid out the table Becky went through and straightend the edges. Sorting out the napkins ( Vicky folded them beautifully ina loopy way) and we had to repeat it 120 times. I didn’t want too many flowers on the table because of the food going in the middle of the table.

More Cricut crafts

I bought wooden discs and made slope markers from all our favourite places, Val Disere, Chamonix , Le Duce Alps it was so hard finding photos of the markers that I had to make a few from scratch but they came out so well! We tied them the bottles.

I was going to make a seating chart but in the end I just let people find their names. It was an open venue so after the ceremony people could go in and out while they waited so it wasn’t a big deal. Also because a quarter of the wedding helped set up they found where they were sitting.

The name cards were all cut out on my Cricut. I drew a silly mountainscape and cut out that shape on the card. Charlotte being a super star made badges for everyone. We had 3 themes for our badges, Star Wars, Harry Potter and Snowboarding. We attached the badges at the top with foam squares.

Whilst we were dressing the tables my brother and his wife where folding and hand writing our peoples names!

I told you it was a team effort!

Gavs mum was in the chiller van organising the food and booze. Rosco (papa smurf) was setting up the signs helping gav with the beer. I don’t want to miss anyone out. But there was a lot of hands on deck.

Hayley arrived later with another car full of bits! We had flags of all the countries where our family’s live to semi cover the bales of hay. Charlotte used the excess bottles and flowers and put them at the end of the hay bales.

My dad cooked dinner for everyone! All the men gathered round the fire and had to test the booze while the rest of us soldiered on. I stopped when I realised I was tired and wanted to enjoy myself. It was about 8pm at this point!

So it was all sorted with just a few tweaks to do the next day! We enjoyed the evening, had a few cheeky drinks and went to bed early!

That was the set up. A massive thank you to everyone involved you have no idea how great full we both are.

It was a mission but it was worth it.

It looked perfect!

Morning of my first half Marathon

Fitness, running

Woke at 6am

Ate a banana and hopped in the shower!

My clothes were all laid out the night before but I still did a last minute panic. It’s torrential rain outside and although an Uber is picking me up I don’t want to get too wet too soon.

I have Vaselined everywhere that my skin will rub. Paying more attention to my feet. My trainers are just a few days old so I am going to destroy my feet today. Rookie mistake I know.

I have had a pint of water and I am ready to go. There will be water on the way so I am not worried about dehydration. I don’t want to Pee to much on the routes but I know I may.

The nerves are kicking in.

If I struggle I am not going to punish myself I will push myself to run the first two hours straight and walk if I have to.

I will trust my body and energise with the gels!

Wish me good luck!

I brought plastic ponchos for the wait in the rain. I have my world zombie day hoodie on to keep me warm and a rain mac which I don’t want to through away.

My hair is tied back already and I am wearing a peaked cap, this is something I can also throw away. I feel very wasteful right now.

I have eaten a granola bar for energy and the pockets of my running top have my gels in them. As well as a few tissues and my phone.

The event prefers no headphones as the course loops back on itself. So my longest run ( also in the rain) I tried without headphones. I was so worried about slipping that it was fine to run without music. So hopefully today will be fine.

It’s raining

Massive drops of water, even if it does clear up it is still going to be a muddy run.

I am nervous now.

I am layered for the cold and the wet but the chill is creeping in.

My Uber should be pulling in now. I will be one of the first in my group to arrive and I wish I wasn’t. I wish they would all be there as I have no idea what to expect.

Today is miserable.

I will keep you updated!

Pinterest made me do it! The welcome sign of my dreams and how I made it!

Wedding, Wedding Budget

Okay from the tittle that this is something that I definitely didn’t need but really wanted to make for me and for my guests!

A welcome sign that is definitely not relevant so I didn’t want to spend any money on it, or at least not a lot!

This is the image that started it. It’s nice and rustic and pretty. I just imagine having fresh foliage and flowers on it.

So I asked my step father in law to whip me one up. Let’s call him Papa Smurf as it makes it easier! He used an old palette and attached two planks across the back to secure them.

To paint or to stain

I had already painted a palette white to use as my order of the day but I was thinking maybe I had made a mistake. That it actually didn’t look that great. We had a discussion about painting them but I felt that the wood stain was better.

Then he got his blow torch out and scorched some detail into the wood. I think this was his favourite part.

It was already to stain and then decorate.

How beautiful does it look? I friggin love it.

Cricut time

Papa Smurf dropped it off so now I have a chance to decorate it. I have been practicing my hand writing and initially decided to hand paint it but I have a very clever Cricut machine that can cut it out in two minutes and then I just have to apply it.

So first I wrote it out using a font called November Easy! I down loaded it to my computer and typed it all out in word in a large font. Then I placed all the words so they would fit on a 12 by 12 square!

I then loaded this to my beloved Cricut and cut it out to check the placement and it fit perfectly. With limited waste of vinyl.

Cut it out in paper first so I could make sure that the placements were all in the right place!

Then I bought some premium gloss white permanent vinyl and cut that out. This didn’t take long although because the sign wasn’t perfectly smooth their were a few issues but I am so proud of it. I bought some longer cutting matts as an investment and I have used them a lot!

The final make

So with all this done it was time to put it all together. I was supposed to paint some flowers on it but I ran out of time. After speaking to Charlotte my talented friend and florist she planned on dressing it up with fresh flowers.

I had no idea she was going to use my favourite Cafe au Lait Dahlias on it and my other signs were all so dressed to their best shape!

So what do you think?

We loved it and judging by our friends photos of it they loved it too! It cost a few pounds to make only because I had everything all ready. We didn’t need this. It wasn’t important or necessary but it was pretty and I would make another in a heartbeat!

Gym Day 3 ended in drink and bubbles

body confidence, confidence, weight loss

Day 3 this may be the end of a friendship

So todays workout has left me sore and feeling muscles I am pretty sure I don’t actually need.

Abs a hoy

Today was abs day. The day that would transform what I fondly call my keg rather than my stomach to tone it up. I am not after a muscly stomach at all I just want it flatter. The main way I will do this will be my diet, as I shove a slice of dominos in my mouth. But exercise will help

Today we did

Bicep curls. Where I went from a 3 to an 8-kilogram dumb bell. Yay me!

Then we did a similar one but I had to rest my knee on a bench and pull it up. That was seird. I really do have to work on my posture as a lot of the time you have to focus on pulling your stomach in, straighten your back and stick your bum out.

For me this is all too confusing.

Then we hit the floor

I hate the floor. I had a real ad version to anything where my spine touches the floor. Unless I am in bed or the sofa I don’t really like anything touching my spine. I find sit ups legs up curls you name it so uncomfortable.

We had to plank for a minute- which I failed twice

I had to lay down and lift my legs. I must have really heavy feet because I really struggled to get to twenty, I guess as my body gets stronger, I will find these things easier but for now they felt near on impossible.

Impossible

Then he asked me to suspend my legs and using an 8-kilogram weight touch it on either side of my body. Suspension and co-ordination not so good.

But I did my reps

Nun Slut Machine

I don’t like these names but these are the pet names for them and this is all about toning your legs and thighs. One I had to push in the other out. The push in. The in one was a lot harder and although I don’t really want o focus on my legs its good that your whole body gets involves. Plus all of this helps your core.

I wasn’t as sweaty as I usually am and I didn’t feel like my body worked out as hard but I was wrong

My whole body was alive with awareness. Every muscle ached and when I got home, I needed a gin and tonic (Renegade Gin) and a hot bubble bath filled with Epson salts. I was also in bed just after nine so that I could appreciate the comfort of my bed!

Jon is giving my whole body a lesson in toning and strength I am learning a lot. Although I am not a fan of leaving my bed I am really going to miss these sessions and already I know that I need to change up my routine a lot in order to get maximum results. I do worry that I wont be confident using the weights a lone so I may have to schedule some more weight training with him.

The legal side of getting married, giving notice

Wedding

If you are having a humanist ceromoniy which we are, then it is not a legal marriage. Which means you have to get married legally, either in a registry office or in a church by someone who is legallay able to marry you. In an place that has a perminant roof before 6 Oclock.

These are the laws.

They suck

I have said it many times before.

In Scotland it is totally legal to get married outside and probably by the time you read this they would have changed the laws in England too.

So we had to go to the registry office and declare our love is real and that our marriage will be lawful.

The registry office

There aren’t many forms but you have to go an have a meeting and apparently all the Saturday meetings are booked up till Christmas.

You have to bring two forms of ID? Two, because a passport isn’t good enough. Me and Gav think this is silly. If you are a UK citizen with a valid driver license or passport why do you need two?

You have to answer questions about what your partner does, what his father does for a job etc.

Ensue an mini argument

Gav isn’t happy that I don’t know what his job is. He works in IT testing… seriously he doesn’t talk about his job much. I know a little but apparently not enough and he got really annoyed at me.

I didn’t know exactly where he worked and his job tittle. Pretty sure if you work in IT then no one has an idea about what you do anyway. They just nod and know it’s fairly dull work.

No offence.

So we are all booked in for our meeting and this is the message Gavin sends me. He is so funny not sure we would be allowed to get married.

The day

So we booked the morning off and went to see the registra. We had to have all the information and ID and had a quick chat asking some simple questions.

Gaynor was warm and friendly and for some reason I was nervous. Nervously excited maybe. Perhaps it is because this is the first actual step in getting married.

This is the legal bit. The official bit. It was also in a really pretty place on a lovely day!

We still have to legally get married then have our actual wedding.

But this was the first proper step.

The legal side of getting married and giving notice is done.

One more thing of a very long list of jobs to do!

Next we have to get our rings!

Makeup plan fail! Passport photos trying not to look like a pyscho!

Advice, Beauty, confidence, Travel

So I lost my passport and it’s been stressing me out. First world stress obviously as it’s for my hen do trip in just under 4 weeks.

So I thought hell I know I could write a little blog on what I did to prepare. Like a get ready with me plus prep.

I was so happy with how I looked a little extra mascara a bit more blusher. Umm no still looked like a pyscho.

Pre-care pamper session

So the night before I thought about it. I used the Philip Kingsley Eslastizer on my hair as a treatment rather than just a pre wash treatment.

Frank had a bath first of course. He gets jealous if I spend too much time in the bathroom. He loves a hot bath but I have to cool it down for him incase he cooks.

Any goo back to me!

Skincare

Used my Omorovicza cleanser. It’s gorgeous balancing luxurious and light. At the moments it’s replacing my Elemis, especially in the mornings if I was want to wake up rather than indulge.

So I haven’t used my baby facial in a few weeks. I was using it twice a week and then reduced it to once. I love it. I don’t find it too strong on my skin. I have had a few hormonal breakouts so my skin has been pretty grim.

I used my baby facial.

I love this stuff. It goes on and you feel a slight tingling and leave it as a mask for 20 minutes and wash it off.

Applied a wee bit of Matryxal because it’s my favourite product ever I think!

Then you are left with baby plump skin straight away and in the morning!

After I applied that I used my Guerlan night mask just to give it an extra bit of cushioning.

Pre care hair and skin done!

Morning of the photo shoot ha ha

The next day I woke up to lovely skin. Myi was so happy. So I decided as this image has to se me through the next ten years I better look decent.

So I applied makeup.

You can’t wear too much in a photo but just enough to highlight your features.

What I forgot was that passport photo booths wash you out! They strip back all the effort and I was left looking, well, like a psycho.

For the next ten years!

I redid it 6 times.

I looked awful in all of them! So I picked the best of a rotten bunch.

This photo will haunt me for the next ten years but hey ho.

At least I get to keep my European passport if this crappy brexit ever does happen.

I look like a pyscho

I should have applied more makeup!

But I am a proud European!

Sofa so good…… DFS issues

interior design

So this is an old picture of when Manny was still with us so it’s going up! Gone but not forgotten kitty!

We fell in love with a sofa from John Lewis. It was gorgeous battered leather in a beautiful old tan colour. It would look good in an old house or a new one!

Then we read all the reviews.

Although it was a gorgeous comfy couch and every one loved it! The back pillows constantly fell down and it had to be straightened every night. The complaints on this were endless.

So we looked elsewhere.

A DFS sofa

The interior snob in my hadn’t even considered DSF. But we went and had a look and found this battered tan couch that we fell in love with. It probably is too big for the room but we love it. We wanted an arm chair to match but that really was too big.

We had our exchange date in hand and they said it would take 2 months to make. So we signed for it.

They made it in a month and then constantly harassed me to take it even though we hadn’t moved in yet. I was living in Kingston with my friend and vomiting to Hampstead every day.

They suggested that I just get it sent to a friends?

Yes good idea DSF! You said two months we exchanged in 2 more weeks and even though we explained this I was still harassed with phone calls all the time.

It was delivered 1 hour after we moved in and we love it.

It fairly hardy and has survived two fur babies. countless hungover mornings and becoming my laze inducing best friend. Some days I don’t want to leave it!

Some night I think I could just shut my eyes!

Cushions

I live a cushion Gav actually loves them too. I like mix and match some are from homesense, some next and a few from Primark! This is our cozy space and I love it!

Oh and the Prints are Joe Wilson again!

Battle with large pores: skincare

Beauty, skincare

I feel as I have gotten older my pores have also increased. Large pores are not attractive but I cleanse my face twice a day so my pores are treated.

I am trying to look after my skin.

I am going to talk about what has helped my pores and what I am going to invest in to help them further.

Why you have large pores

  • Genetics ( I blame my mother)
  • Sun damage
  • Mistreatment of pores
  • Not washing your make up off

The truth about pores is that they shrink but, and this is a big but , they will never disappear and they can’t shrink completely.

A little TLC will help this.

A few Pore truths

Firstly we need our pores. Like the rest of our body they work hard for us and generally we mistreat them and underestimate their importance.The hair follicle allows the oil created by the oil glands to reach the surface and lubricate our skin. The skin’s natural oil, sebum, helps keep the skin supple, moisturized, and healthy.

So blockages to this skin stop this from happening. Which is why we need to exfoliate especially if you have oily skin like me.

how to help your pores shrink ( slightly)

  • Keep your skin clean
  • Cleanse
  • Exfoliate
  • Moisturise

That’s pretty much it right?

Things I have learned

I don’t wear makeup day to day. I like it to be able to breath and stay cleaner for longer. But let’s face it I live in London and get the bus to work. My face is ensconced with pollution on a daily basis. Perhaps a barrier would help that?

The only exfoliates I use are chemical ones. Those grainy exfoliates with peach seeds or walnut can actually do more harm than good. They can make your pores bigger so don’t waste your money. So don’t use them on your face!! I accidentally bought one so my elbows knees and feet now have a new treatment.

Cleansing Rose balm

I use a balm cleanser and so far Elemis Rose balm cleanser is my favourite I feel like I am having a facial everytime I used it. I couldn’t get on with Drunk Elephants Jelly cleanser but I take it when I am on holidays as it is nice and small.

Indie Lee

I use Indie Lee toner or my peach Elemis one. Both of which are gentle and my skin doesn’t feel dry afterwards. everyones skin is different and if these two don’t work for you then find something that does.

Skincare is personal

It is really important to try things before you invest in. I went out and bought Clinique which is such a popular brand but on me it stripped my skin and dried it out.

Dry skin means flakiness which is generally a lid to trap your pores. Dry skin is your enemy. We want out pores to hydrate our skin naturally and with a little help from us!

Matryxal

Okay I bought this because I wanted it to help with my skin. I visibly notice a difference in my timelines ( ha ha this is a spelling error but it suits! Fine lines) and my pores. I stopped using it for a few weeks and wondered why I wasn’t happy with my skin. I am almost running out so Cult Beauty will be getting my money on pay day!

I love this product.

Exfoliation Alpha H

Exfoliating is key to healthy skin. It literally makes it shine. It removes all the dead skin cells and declogs those pores. Scrubbing physically at those black heads and white heads isn’t going to help.

Don’t be afraid of this because it’s chemical. Acids are natural and they aid the skin.

My top products are… alpha H yup. This stuff is called gold for a reason it tingles when you put it on but in a refreshing way!

I have never had dry or patchy skin when using it!

future care

My skin isn’t finished though I still have things I should add to it. I am looking for products that contain nicinamide and azeliac acid. These two products are great for blemishes and the general conditioning of your skin.

I can wait to try the Paula’s choice serums they will be my next investment. The prices aren’t too bad but I may try some Ordinary products first!

I want to introduce nicinamide and Azelaic acid into my skincare. Apparently these are dermatologist secret weapons!. My battle with my skin continues but I am seeing improvements!

Guilt behind the diet: confessions of a chubby bride

body confidence, Fitness, health, weight loss

Everyone who has ever started a diet, cleanse or trying to be healthier is always struck by guilt. Guilt of want bad foods. Guilt of eating bad foods. Guilt of the scales for tipping over when we know we have been a bit naughty.

So as you can guess I really really didn’t want to put this picture up! But guess what this is me. Fat going over my running leggings and a belly over hanging. Now before you say I don’t look too bad you need to remember. I have excess fat over my vital organs. This is bad and unhealthy and frankly needs to go.

Being over weight isn’t about looking good or bad it’s actually just bad for you and if I don’t get fit now, then when. Plus I am unhappy so I need to do this!

Guilt is your enemy

It makes you feel like you have failed and so don’t want to try when actually you should just keep going.

Cheat days, treats these are negative words that can make you want to give up when you have been trying so hard.

Working out what your relationship with food is so important! I am emotional eater if I am upset or angry then I crave chocolate. And a little chocolate isn’t bad but I am a compulsive eater who isn’t good with portion control.

Stuck in a rut

The other problem with diets is getting stuck in a rut and convenience. There are no healthy option take always where I live. So you start off well. Putting healthy veg in your fridge. Looking at fat percentage in your mince etc.

But then you start eating the same thing all the time.

I have my go to meals that are no brainers but it’s the snacking that causes issues I love fruit but shouldn’t it be sliced and put in my gin and tonic?

An apple is delicious but it is not, nor will ever be, a bar of chocolate!

So when you fill up your fridge make sure you put things in it that you actually want to eat rather than because someone told you too.

Kale will never be my friend

Chocolate will always be my wayward friend, I will never let go of them completely. We have to much history, too many good times!

But I need to get real and focus.

Running is helping, I am more proactive to eat better after a run or long walk

But I am not giving up

I am not going to make myself feel bad if I eat 4 Bakewell tarts. I am a compulsive eater. I keep telling you this. I would have eaten all 6 but I gave 2 away.

Being negative is never going to help. Being self deprecating doesn’t motivate you to lose weight. Guilt doesn’t make you feel better.

I want to do this

I am going to do this!