Monday, 30 January 2012

Breakthrough Breast Cancer

Last year I became aware of a lovely blogger through Twitter, and other fantastic #groovymums (#groovingmums). Sometimes we all struggle to cope with life on a day to day basis and the #groovymums are a great bunch to connect with - some days it's possible to offer support to someone who's not having a great day, other days someone might offer you support, or a blog post from one of them might cheer you up and make you realise that you're not alone. Each week Kate suggests things that you might do or think about to help you to get your groove back - some weeks you might not be able to join in, or it's not for you, or you might find she inspires you to do something you've never before considered. I haven't been particularly great at joining in as I'm often up to my eyeballs in work, but I do try to read the blog posts of others as often as I can. 

Last week Kate asked for  support for raising awareness of Breakthrough Breast Cancer by  getting other bloggers to write about a woman who matters to them, which I am more than happy to do.

My relationship with my mother has not always been an easy one and as a teenager I didn't fully appreciate everything that she did and went through to keep the fabric of family life together. She married a widower with four sons when I was six, and they ranged in age from six to eighteen - which as a mother myself now with two sons of eighteen and nearly sixteen I can see was a mammoth task! I doubt that any of us made life easy for her and I know that I resented the time and effort she put into the boys. We were never the sort of mother/daughter partnership who played with make up and hair - mum never really had the time to spend on herself with five kids, a husband and a house to look after!

I see now that she did an incredible job under very difficult circumstances and although we don't always see eye to eye even now, she is very much a good friend to me, and I hope I am to her. Women of my parents generation don't seem to have had the kind of friendships and support networks that we do, that they could turn to to have a bit of a gripe now and then or to receive an encouraging few words from to help them through the bad days. I am very grateful to all my friends, both long standing from childhood and newer through blogging and social media such as Twitter, as well as my mother who continues to hold the fabric of our family life together!

Pink Ribbon Bingo have pledged to support BreakthroughBreast Cancer all year round with 15% of the gross revenue accrued through online play on the site being donated to the charity.  Visitors also have the opportunity to donate a percentage of their winnings directly to the charity.  Along with the fundraising element, Pink Ribbon Bingo and The Daily Mail online will be helping the charity to raise awareness by promoting their vital health messages such as TLC (Touch, Look, Check).

Celebrity supporter videos on the Pink Ribbon Bingo website including Jessie J, Melanie C, Tom Ellis, Macy Gray, Sharon Corr and Kelly Hoopen - .  
If you click on these YouTube links, you can hear Kate Thornton and Tamzin Outwaite's support.


Thursday, 26 January 2012

Sailing/Beach Theme Board

Last Monday I went to a trade fair to source new items and inspiration, one theme seemed very strong in particular, and that was a nautical theme. If you and your partner are looking to have a nautical themed wedding perhaps this mood board will give you some ideas.
Your ceremony and reception venue can be decorated relatively cheaply with all sorts of sailing and beach themed items, from shell and driftwood hearts, shell and leaf wreaths, flag bunting and buoys, perhaps with a few photographs dotted around of the happy couple in these pale blue distressed wooden frames.

Why not use beach hut coat hooks to hang table cards from or display them in these long photo frames - then afterwards use them in your home!

Instead of flowers as centrepieces maybe have different tall wooden lighthouses, life buoy tealight holders and instead of table diamonds or confetti scatter a mixture of shells over the tables.

For favours how about beach hut money boxes, glass starfish tealight holders, buckets filled with seashell chocolates, shell topped tins or nautical chests filled with confectionery.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Sussex Love Bug

This week it's my pleasure to introduce a company close to us geographically in West Sussex and brings back some memories for me. Many years ago I had a boyfriend who drove an old yellow Beetle which was so noisy you could hear it for miles! More recently when I married nearly four years ago one of my best friends drove me to Horsham Town Hall in her new and pristine bright red Beetle. There's a zebra crossing on the way to the Town Hall which on a Saturday morning is rarely free of pedestrians crossing from the car park to the shopping area, so after waiting for around five minutes for countless pedestrians and with just minutes to spare, Kate finally leant out of the car window and yelled that she  was coming through so that the bride wasn't late for the wedding! 

Every now and again life changes for the better. Kelly was made redundant in 2011 and rather than letting it get her down, she and her husband, web developer, Joss, decided to embark on a new chapter. During her friends wedding in the Sussex countryside she got chatting to some fellow guests about getting into the wedding business and so the idea of becoming a wedding chauffeur with a difference was born. They wanted something different, a car that would capture hearts.

So many weddings these days are inspired by times gone by and so it was that Belle became a Vintage Wedding Love Bug, Joss and Kelly’s new pride and Joy. Her first outing in April this year will be for a close friend of the couple, Kelly will be bridesmaid, Joss will be driving.

Joss got busy searching for the perfect love bug, when he saw Belle, it was love at first sight. Belle is a 1960’s Chalk White VW Beetle and oozes vintage style. The couple have recently carried out restorations and replaced the interior so she is now ready to carry beautiful brides to their ceremony.

Kelly and Joss Wickson, were married 7 years ago at Brighton registry office, followed by a reception in Kirdford, near Arundel, it was the most magical day, so they know how important it is to you to get everything absolutely perfect.

Belle prides herself in making the journey to your big day, be it a church, civil ceremony, registry office or hotel, as perfect as possible. As long as it’s in Sussex, Belle can take you there.
Visit Belles website, have a peep and you will see one special car. There are details of areas and prices on there and you will see 3 packages, which include champagne and photos. Belle also has a rather lovely vintage leather suitcase with ‘Just Married’ adorned across it which is placed on the back of the bug at your request.
As well as contacting Kelly & Joss through their website  you can find them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Act F.A.S.T.

How many of us have seen and remember the F.A.S.T. campaign on TV on spotting the symptoms of a stroke? 

Facial weakness - Can they smile?
Arm and leg weakness - Have they stumbled or fallen? Can they lift both arms?
Speech problems - Do they sound slurred?
Time to call 999 - The sooner they reach hospital & vital treatment the better chance of recovery.

I do, although I haven't seen them for a while. A week ago on Sunday my father had a stroke. As he used to be a GP he recognised the symptoms although he struggled to call out to my mother. Luckily when she went into the room she saw that he was having difficulties, recognised the symptoms and called for an ambulance. As he reached hospital extremely quickly he was able to receive vital treatment and is now making amazing progress. 

He is probably the most amazing man I know. Last year at 85 he stopped playing tennis once a week as he needed a hip replacement, and this stroke has put the kibosh on his playing 9 holes of golf weekly (well, for the time being at any rate, although at the rate he's recovering who knows for how long!). The fact that  he is fit and active and eats healthily has undoubtedly been in his favour. 

Please do share this simple information with others in case it comes in handy one day to help someone else receive treatment F.A.S.T.!

A huge thank you to the paramedics, staff at Worthing A&E and on Botolph's ward as well as the occupational therapists who are now helping his recovery at home, and the 999 operator who stayed on the line talking to my mother until the ambulance arrived!

Wednesday, 18 January 2012


Today I'm pleased to introduce Chintal from Sweetcreationz who tells us how she started her business creating these stunning cakes.....

My name is Chintal Kakaya, the owner and founder of Sweetcreationz, where we create mouth watering cakes for all occasions. Since a young age I have been very passionate about baking and creating imaginative and stylish cakes which inspired me to turn my hobby into a business. 

Although we offer celebration cakes and cupcakes our main speciality is Wedding cakes. My inspiration for designs comes from different sources such as current colour and style trends, clients, saree prints and various Indian and ethnic designs. Based on these I am able to provide my clients with a wedding cake that suit their needs and budget. At Sweetcreationz we use the finest sourced ingredients and free range eggs to bake our cakes. In addition all cakes are custom made to order and do not consist of any preservatives, we believe in cakes should taste as good as they look. We aim to cater for all markets with a variety of cakes and flavours such as standard chocolate ,vanilla to a variety of egg less flavours such as citrus orange, cardamom, vanilla and chocolate.

As our clients are very important to us, we provide a private consultation service to discuss their requirements, budget, design ideas and offer cake tasting. Clients get the opportunity to go through designs created by Sweetcreationz, however, all cake designs are unique to the couple, their theme, venue and attire. We take great pride in our creations and services to ensure clients and their guests are satisfied with the taste and design of the wedding cake. 
Please do check Chintal's website to see her full portfolio and follow her on Twitter

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Port Out Starboard Home (P-O-S-H)

Isn't it funny how a certain phrase, sight or smell can transport you back years? Port Out Starboard Home is one of those phrases for me. One of my fondest memories from my childhood is of sailing at the Arun Yacht Club in Littlehampton. I was paired with a very good sailor called Trevor and together we won countless dinghy sea races, although the local newspaper could never quite get my name right! The  banks of the river where we went in and out were very close to the river mouth and beaches, but rather than being nice and sandy were rather oily black mud - not exactly glamorous on any scale! Still, it was great fun, but I suspect I'm wearing rose coloured specs to view my rather hazy memories as I kind of recall chattering teeth as well as frozen fingers and feet in the cold weather, not to mention the rather hefty crack on the head I received from the boom as I didn't have a clue what "Jibe'O" meant - a phrase once hit with, never forgotten! Oh, and I never did manage to remember which was port and which was starboard so I would probably have roasted on an upmarket cruise ;-) 

I am now far from the grubby nailed teenager who loved boats and horses (still love horses but always regret helping my son out with his when I see the state of my hands afterwards!) - my nails are long and filed even if I forgo the nail polish because it marks paper and card. The company I am very pleased to introduce you to this week are as far from the less glam side of sailing and cruising as you can get! 

 Port Out Starboard Home
We were delighted to be asked to feature in Kim’s blog. As our Business is newly formed and we are relatively unknown, we hope you will enjoy finding out about us and how we came up with our name!  

We are Jill and Georgie: a mother and daughter team who appreciate the importance of having everything just right and of the highest quality. We handcraft glamorous and unique hair accessories for weddings and special occasions using components from a bygone era. The rhinestone, paste and pearls used in these pieces have an amazing lustre, sparkle and luxurious feel.  We offer a bespoke service and enjoy making to order, perhaps using an article with family sentimental value.  

We are constantly searching for special items we feel will make a beautiful and unique headband or comb. We often incorporate raw silk, brocade, satin, lace and feathers in our designs. We love all things vintage! We gain our inspiration from the pieces we find and from studying historical hair accessories, jewellery and fashion. We have family connections in France, Germany and Austria and like nothing more than searching in markets and shops for that extra special jewellery item when we are visiting.

We were inspired to launch Port Out Starboard Home (P-O-S-H) after Georgie’s wedding. We had an idea of the special hair accessories we wanted for that occasion, but found that the choice was very limited.  Georgie decided to design and make her own headband from items in granny’s jewellery box.
Georgie's Headband
 The headband was a huge success and the business idea was born! We started in a very small way as we both had full time jobs, but when Jill took early retirement in July 2011, it seemed an ideal opportunity to launch our business. P-O-S-H has blossomed from there and we have been busy making special items for weddings, balls, proms and other occasions since our official launch in September 2011. 

Life has been very hectic since September and we love every minute! We have met some amazing people and have had some interesting commissions. Our favourite moments have been, designing a bespoke headband for a film premiere, a wedding in Las Vegas and experiencing the thrill when one of our headbands was used in a TV show which will be aired in the spring (details top secret at the moment!). We are currently planning our spring/summer collection when we will be expanding our fabric head dress range, using 1940s and 1950s as inspiration for our designs.  

People often ask how we got our name! We thought long and hard about our name and wanted something unique to convey times gone by when well-to-do people would dress beautifully in hats and gloves and spend their time cruising on luxury liners and visiting ports of the world! We believe our unique and glamorous accessories are perfectly suited to this wonderful lifestyle and era.   

P-O-S-H (Port Out Starboard Home) was coined in the days before air-conditioning. On the outward voyage to India, the cabins on the Port side got the early morning sun and had the rest of the day to cool off. Conversely, the Starboard cabins were intensely hot in the afternoon and were like ovens at bed time. On the homeward journey the situation was reversed and it was the unfortunate passengers on the Port side who roasted.  VIPs travelling were given preference of the cooler side of the ship in each direction and were given cabins which were Port-Out-Starboard-Home. Their tickets and baggage were marked POSH! We felt this name conveyed the First Class VIP image we would like to portray with our collections! 

We hope you have enjoyed finding out a little about us. Please visit our website to view our collection. If you would like to chat about any of the pieces or discuss your ideas for a unique hair accessory, please contact us by telephone or email to arrange a consultation. We look forward to hearing from you.

Contact Jill & Georgie on their email, via their website, support them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter. You can also call them on 07703544345

Photos by Martin Wise Studio Wise Photography -

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Chez Bec 2012 Collection

I am delighted to be kick-starting this New Year with a post on the new collection from Chez Bec. So if you're feeling a little flat after the Christmas and New Year festivities, feast your eyes on just a few of the gorgeous items from the Chez Bec 2012 Collection, put a little sparkle in your day and start planning your wedding accessories!
December saw the eagerly-anticipated launch of Chez Bec's 2012 Collection. Ultra feminine, romantic pieces with a gentle vintage twist form the body of the latest collection.  A plethora of headbands, hair combs and hair pins, along with a delicious collection of jewellery, make up the 50-piece 2012 Collection from Chez Bec.
Eva Hair Flower £68.00

Martha Hair Comb £84.00
Florence Necklace £68.00
Florence Earrings £30.00
Beautiful bows, vintage-inspired lace and lashings of chiffon combined with divine appliqu├ęs and a delicate dusting of sparkle makes Chez Bec’s 2012 Collection their very best offering yet.  Featuring an abundance of shimmering freshwater pearls, sparkling Swarovski crystals and diamantes, Chez Bec’s 2012 Collection is a sure delight for even the most discerning bride.
Alexandria Hair Comb £68.00
Florence Necklace £68.00

Beau Headband £65.00
Harriet Earrings £36.00

In November, Chez Bec pulled together a team of wedding industry professionals for a fabulous collaborative shoot at Gosfield Hall to showcase their latest collection.

Photographer: Claudine Hartzel has been working with Chez Bec on various shoots for the last couple of years and with a great knowledge of the venue, Claudine was the most perfect photographer for the job. Claudine is a wedding photographer with a fine art background and over 20 years' experience. 

Claudine is always influenced by the light when she works and for this shoot we were blessed was a crisp bright November day, so Claudine took the opportunity to shoot outside as much as possible. This helped create a wonderful vintage look which fitted perfectly with the Chez Bec Jewellery and beautiful IsabellaGrace dresses. The back-lit images really do give you a dream-like feel, but Claudine also decided to shoot with the light face on as this allows you to build a more dramatic effect.
Lily Hair Comb £64.00
Bella Pendant £38.00
Bella Earrings £32.00

Harriet Earrings £36.00

Venue: We wanted to do a very feminine, vintage shoot and we needed a venue to reflect this. Having worked at the stunning Gosfield Hall together in the past on shoots, this seemed the most natural choice. And what a venue Gosfield Hall is. Winner of Wedding Ideas Magazine ‘Best Wedding Venue’ 2011, Gosfield Hall is a stunning Georgian manor house offering exclusive-use weddings. Formerly a Royal residence, the Queen Charlotte's Oak panelled gallery with a 120 ft long aisle is perfect for wedding ceremonies and the newly licensed carriageway is the perfect location for outdoor ceremonies on sunny days. 
Sienna II Headband £122.00

Daniella Headband £128.00

Model: The utterly stunning professional model and actress, AliceChristian, has been the face of Chez Bec since the year dot and there is no one else who can model the brand as well as she can. We just had to have Alice

Hair:  When it came to hair for the shoot, we were lucky enough to have the super duper Jo Irving at Lovehair  on board. Since Lovehair was established in 2003 by Jo, they have worked with over 1,000 brides. Lovehair’s stylists are some of the best in the business. Working as full time freelance stylists means they spend their weeks styling celebrities, models and lovely brides for photo shoots, television, film and music videos. This means that you can benefit from professional reliable and experienced hairdressers with the ability to make you look like a star on your wedding day.

Make Up: I was so thrilled when the delightful LaraCrudgington approached me and suggested we work together. Lara works with brides, celebrities and private clients all over London and the Home Counties. For this bridal shoot we wanted two different looks: the first a very natural glowing look for the day and the second a little more dramatic and sultry for the evening.
Sienna I Headband £72.00
Katie Hair Flower £68.00

Sienna I Headband £72.00
Katie Hair Flower £68.00

Dresses: With my very own bridal boutique in Tunbridge Wells, IsabellaGrace, it was only natural to take a selection of our stunning Paloma Blanca dresses along for the shoot. It would have been rude not to. 

The Shoot: The day was fantastic from start to finish. The day and night before has been torrential rain but on the morning of the shoot I awoke to the clearest of blue skies. We took full advantage of the fabulously low autumnal sunshine and natural daylight which flooded the rooms at Gosfield Hall so beautifully. Everyone in the team worked incredibly hard and, the results speak volumes for themselves. I am absolutely over the moon. Claudine is not only a great photographer but she has also become a very good friend of mine. So much so that she now photographs all family occasions for us, from family weddings to christenings and special birthday shoots.  

The wonderful and highly-talented Adrian from The Dreamcatchers came along to film us all in action on the day of the shoot. With our team much preferring to be behind the camera than in front of it, we were all a little nervous, but the results are great, even if we do say so ourselves. And luckily for you, there's not too much of me on the film!

Since starting his career as a wedding videographer in 2003, Adrian has filmed over 400 weddings and special events. A gorgeous film, a ravishing set and a magnificent cast. Allow The Dreamcatchers to capture the dream that is your wedding day, in all its exquisite passion and intimacy.

As well as contacting Chez Bec via their website  you can find them on Facebook and Twitter.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Happy New Year!

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Happy New Year to everyone! I hope it's been a lovely festive season for you all and that it's been everything you wanted it to be.

Last year I joined a blog hop/linky/meme started by the inspirational Kate for mums everywhere trying to get their groove back or continue grooving! I am the first to admit that although I am a big fan of her blog and others that I'm not very good at contributing regularly as a #groovingmum, I do try to read as many posts as I can and I comment occasionally. We all have ups and downs in life and it is great to have a support network to help you through and who you can help when you are able to.

Each week Kate poses questions/challenges which even if you don't actively reply to them can get you thinking and perhaps acting upon. These are today's, my answers are in blue:

1. Did you over-indulge over the festive season? What can you do to prepare for the life-changing journey ahead in terms of improving your health?
Not particularly, with the exception of Christmas pudding and homemade brandy butter. I haven't been drinking so much wine in the evenings recently so when I do have a glass or two it affects me rather more than it used to! I went to a Christmas Eve party, gave a lift to friends and missed out on the free flowing champagne all evening - didn't miss feeling less than 100% the following day however!
Regarding the pud & brandy butter, I refuse to feel guilty for either as I only have them once a year. My sister-in-law said to me "blimey, the brandy butter packs a punch!" - this was because when I thought it was good enough my eldest son tested it and declared that it needed more brandy, have to say he was right ;-)
2. What do you need to change your mind about? Have you written yourself off in some way? How can you shift negative thinking patterns?
Having had a last minute rush order of wedding invitations to do in the week before Christmas as well as trying to get the house straight and clean I was very glad to switch my computer off and have a break from work. Mr LG came home from working in Malta on the 23rd and was absolutely exhausted and run down as he works 12 hour days there. I think he spent the first 24 hours home sleeping, struggled through Christmas day and then we both went down with colds so spent last week either feeling grotty and/or recovering! Since Christmas I have to say that I've been feeling rather disconnected and have found this rather worrying as I love what I do.
However, yesterday and today Mr LG has very kindly tidied up my website for me and sorted out a couple of glitches with the analytics and I've felt the cogs of my brain and enthusiasm click and grind (albeit a trifle rustily!) and start turning again.
I find it difficult to get going at the beginning of each year. New Years resolutions for cutting down on food/drink are useless until January 4th - my birthday is today so I refuse to be on a diet or the wagon till the 4th! In fact I can't say that I'm a big fan of New Years Resolutions as I think changes should be made when you want to make them and for the right reasons, not just because it's the first day of a new year. Make changes because they benefit you and your life whenever you need to make them and you're far more likely to succeed than if you make loads of changes for the sake of it just because you think you ought to.
One of the changes I vowed to make was to walk more often. I have 3 dogs who all love romping around the fields on the farm, but with work commitments it's not always easy to fit it in. We have a  garden with a large wooded bank which contains a rabbit warren  so they don't exactly miss out if I don't make it for a walk, but I always feel much better for doing it both for myself and for them. And every time I get out there, even if it's only for 15 minutes, I always think of the #grooving mums!
3. This week, Christians celebrate the Epiphany. Here is one dictionary definition for the word epiphany "a sudden, intuitive perception of or insight into the reality or essential meaning of something, usually initiated by some simple, homely, or commonplace occurrence or experience." What does this mean to you?
In November I went to Malta to visit Mr LG for a few days. I was feeling bloated and unattractive and my jeans didn't fit well. This was a kind of epiphany for me - I've always struggled with my weight but have never bought larger than a size 16 except at the very end of my first pregnancy! After a lymphatic drainage massage (which was not the lie back and relax kind of massage!) I felt the benefits a few days later. This with the lower wine intake has helped greatly and I intend to continue losing weight now that the jolly season is over!
4. Are you aware of all the blogging networks you can get involved with? Is it worth you checking them out and promoting your efforts to sparkle to a wider audience?
I've recently discovered and hope that as I enjoy finding new articles to read through it on the web that others will find my little blog and enjoy it too!
It is the start of a New Year. Whatever "it" is that you are thinking about can be done with a little support.
If you have written a post about your intentions for 2012, feel free to link up below. Let us have your thoughts about the challenges above and leave a comment or link up a blog post.

I've just come home from dinner out with my boys (hubby & teenagers) and have enjoyed garlic bread, pasta and banoffee pie with 2 large glasses of wine - feelings of guilt on a scale of 1-10? -10, it's my birthday and I'll pig out if I want to!