Monday, 31 October 2011

Fetcham Park

This siren that will charm Rome's Saturnine.*
Titus Andronicus 

Oh Fetcham Park, first may I apologise for my terrible iPhotographic skills. There are far prettier pictures elsewhere.

Secondly, gosh thank you for such a lovely afternoon. I must admit a Sunday afternoon is not the easiest of times to try and glam oneself up. Yet fabulousness prevailed.

Well where does one begin. I was rather surprised when the wonderful Parallel Venues invited me to the launch of their new venues. Me?! Little me! Then I heard more about the event it really was going to be and wild horses couldn't have dragged me away. Indeed from the moment I received my Cutture invite in the post I was hooked.

Fetcham Park is a gorgeous venue. Our hostess Laura (more on her in a second!) was impeccable. I hope she enjoyed a long deserved lie-in this morning.

From the moment you arrive, perhaps by the pretty Yorkshire Heritage Bus Company** you realise you are somewhere special. Can you see the sneaky amazing Aston Martin in the background. Swoon. I digress.

To enter a candlelit world of beautifully restored frescos and murals is spellbinding. 

The elegant staircase awrapped with the whitest phalaenopsis orchids which became the catwalk for beautiful models in even more beautiful dresses including Stepahnie Allin, Jenny Packham and Suzanne Neville from Miss Bush Bridal choreographed by the lady oozing with style - Penny of Tigerlily. You could not ask for a more talented lady to be in charge of your wedding. J'adore. Her music choices were just spot on. Sia, yes. Nick Cave and Kylie, very yes. (yes I am a little fan girl - shush!) The models really worked the #fetchamsiren angle and walked like panthers emitting decadence from every pore. I apologise for no runway photographs but my attempts were truly abysmal. 

The make up and hair for the models was created by Carolanne Armstrong (who made me feel exceptionally pretty last weekend), Wonderful Wedding Hair (a secret Nolan sister), Mariam Jensen, and many more. This is a talented gaggle. Hmm what is the collective noun for make-up artists - a palette? and for hair stylists? - a salon? You wouldn't go wrong asking any of them to be part of your day. I cannot emphasise it enough. If you are not confident with make-up or your make your hair looks wonderful you must think about hiring someone.

Wild About Flowers created the most fabulous floral catwalk. The orchids were just perfect.

From the prettiest toes of a certain Laura Caudery our hostess with the mostest. I don't know how she does it? She certainly has the ability to make you feel like you are the only person in the room and despite you knowing she only has a moment to speak with you it feels like she offers you her world. This is one very special lady. To choose to have her as part of you wedding day will be one of the best decisions you could ever make, save perhaps your intended. (I promise no-one is paying me to say this - she is one in 7 billion).

Shocking I see nothing else save these precious Miu Mius - don't forget Laura - they fit my feet too!

To the tastiest food created by at home. I could have eaten the morsels of mushrooms all day. Bean tells me I missed out not trying the amazing minted pea soup. Oh the treats were abundant.

I am completely in love with this chandelier. It is even more stunning in real life. I just want to steal it and make it into a bath which I could suspend from the ceiling and one could climb bejewelled steps to immerse oneself. The perfect decadent bathroom. Umm Laura, if you happen to think it doesn't work with your deliciously decadent ballroom perhaps you could send it my way?

That's not to say the Fetcham cloakrooms aren't fabulous. Villeroy and Boch porcelain ware- oh gosh yes. (Please don't think I'm too weird - I just notice certain things!)

On to one of the lovely ladies I bumped into the wonderful Aisling of Any Other Wedding modelling the amazing, no seriously, amazing be-petaled  (of course it's a word) skull created by the cleverness that is Bloomin'gayles. The skull and all her flowers were epic.

Finally I mustn't, well I just can't, forget the wonderfully verbose Emma, everyone's favourite Wedding Reporter. The gorgeous, talented, modest Emma. She be wonderful and was in charge of writing some very pretty words for the speeches. I wish she could be my personal wordsmith. However she most certainly can be yours as she is now Fetcham Park's writer in residence. Adore.

Oh and I did I forget to say a certain Bean joined me on his first wedding blogger engagement. What did he wear I hear you ask? His delicious wedding suit with velvet braces. He did look rather dapper. Ladies, if your men are willing to listen, the Bean will be writing a sage few posts in the near future. Huzzah! 

I very much love this headpiece that the wonderfully generous Victoria Mary Vintage lent me to wear for the afternoon. Would it be so very bad if I fled the country with it now? Please do look on her website for far prettier photographs.

He he he - it's me with very green eyelashes and one of my favourite maps. Two Anna pictures? Blimey - I must have thought I looked pretty.

In conclusion, how would I describe Fetcham Park? 

The perfect intimate venue. The pinnacle of understated British elegance. You could not ask for a more devoted team. Some venues just see their clients as cash. The Fetcham Park team is certainly a carefully curated group of talented people and certainly cares and wants to go that extra mile. If I were a bride I would most definitely be going to take a much closer look.

At first glance it may seem an eternity from central London but if Bean's driving is anything to go by it is far closer than I imagined. Yes let's embrace the gorgeousness on our doorstep. Hmm a certain young lady quite fancies the most decadent of 30th birthday parties at this most remarkable venue.

Thank you for such a wonderful afternoon.

Thank you for being to inviting and generous.

Were you there? Did you have fun?

*I'm not so self absorbed to think I am truly Saturnine.
**I will be mostly talking about the fabulous suppliers who I met yesterday.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

willing wallpaper

And so my one day series continues.

Wallpaper features quite heavily in my wants. Having only ever lived in rented accommodation I have never enjoyed the thrill of virgin wallpaper. Don't get me wrong I love a splash of a deep matte or gloss paint but there always seems to be something so deliciously decadent about wallpaper.

This may also seem like a strange confession but I already have a secret stash of a few pretty rolls which I can't wait to break out at the right opportunity. I've secretly squirreled away odd rolls which I've found on ebay, etsy and wallpaper sales. They won't ever cover more than an alcove but I cannot wait to use them. I had wanted to incorporate one roll into the wedding but that's another idea I shall share with you on another day. I still think it is a great idea!

So how about this for a fine hand printed wallpaper by the immensely talented Georgia Horton

Hello delicious pale grey feathers - you would live so nicely in my fabulous decadent overly pink dressing room.

Or how about a quadrille of lobster in your kitchen? A risk of lobsters if you will (you learn something new everyday - and how I love to learn new collective nouns - yes I'm a geek!)

Finally how about a Hyde Park panorama? One and a half metres of perfection. I can't even begin to explain how much I want this scene in my life. It makes me feel nostalgic and optimistic in one fell swoop. Who knew wallpaper could make you feel so wonderful? Although I shall admit this is no ordinary wallpaper!

Do not fret nesters - although I don't love that word as it very much implies you are only thinking about babies so perhaps "homers" is more appropriate - I shall be revealing my secret wallpaper lusts slowly over the next few months.

Are you a wallpaper fiend? Please say you are! Tell me about your favourite prints. Let me live vicariously through your walls!

Friday, 28 October 2011

for every groom

Wedding days are days of love and pomp. I love that about them. I love that they are to be taken seriously and thought of as special because they should. It is a day to be cherished.

However that did not stop Bean and I having fun. Humour is an integral part of our love and I just would have loved for him to have had a secret little button on his shirt or trousers. Just because you are a black tie groom does not mean you have to surrender your personality entirely. Black tie is wonderful (if it works) but a little nod to the funny never hurts. Solemnity can be somewhat overwhelming. I know a few grooms would like to know there is something a little silly to idly fondle to remind them it's just not that scary.

I'm not going to lie. I don't usually love buttons. I don't get the love of buttons some of you lovelies observe. But some buttons I do like!

So hello Mr Button!

Mr Button by John Casewell Designs
A mere £5 for 10 buttons!

Can I be greedy and wish there could be a little mother of pearl action too?

Do you like?

luxe loves

Hello my name is Anna and I adore luxury. 

I'm not sure I've been able to keep it a secret have I?

I'm not ashamed to say that one of the watchwords for the wedding was decadence. (Not sure it quite happened but it is still part of the dream.)

Although I would say I view quality over price and I understand worth is completely different from price. 

For me this is one of those pieces. A piece which caught my eye a few weeks back and I have been dying  to share with you and so here be a little decadence to start your weekend. Expensive yes but worth far much more. 

Welcome to the joy that is RabLabs.*

$420 of what I desperately want to use as the top of my future hideously decadent drinks table. A beautiful polished slab of rose quartz with a golden edge.

Rose Quartz

*I can't whether it is a genius or awful name.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Anna and the Ring Bash!

Well gosh. I'm rather excited because it is time to reveal the details of the Ring Bash!


An unstuffy night of giggles, deep conversation, cocktails and debauchery and Bean debut. (If we're lucky?)

Are you in?

Everyone is invited (although I may have to limit the numbers eventually!) whether you be a bride, groom, old married (like me), newlywed, blogger, supplier, random onlooker or general blurker. I want to build a community and without you, it's just me!

So here are the deets - in case you are just overwhelmed by the awesomeness of Love Illustrated*'s fabulous invitation!

Date ~ 25th November
Venue ~ The London Cocktail Club in Fitzrovia
It's one of my favourite underground London bars. Their cocktails are lethally delicious. Hello Soda Syphon - all for me!
Time ~ 6pm 'til late 
Dress ~ Whatever your heart desires 
(or perhaps just, you know, like you would for funsies - no pressure but feel free to glam it up)
RSVP to annaandtheringlondon{at} please.

(If you've already dropped me an email saying yes, please, me please - then you're in!)

I hope to offer you a few surprises on the night but we'll get to that later! 

So what are you waiting for? Don't be shy - I'm crazy nice and want to say hello.

Come, come, come to the Ring Bash!

P.S. If you are lovely supplier and want to get in on the Ring Bash action just drop me a line too. I'd love to hear from you.

P.P.S. I can't offer much in the way of free drinks, accommodation and what not but I can offer hugs and say that London isn't as expensive as you think it is and well I could do with lovely hugs from some lovely people? I know I'm selfish, but it's my party and I'll ask for hugs if I want to!

*Check them out already - their hand-drawn work is superb. I'm not kidding. Here click here and check out the awesomeness.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

The Luxury Wedding Show and anna and the ring

So as the rain pours down I thought I would send you a little treat. The beautiful dresses (and people) of the Luxury Wedding Show.

Oh gosh I remember Saturday, beautiful blue skies, a crisp chill in the air, the perfect weather to be wed. So as I skipped along the King's Road towards the Saatchi Gallery I was full of anticipation.

I must admit the £50 entrance fee was a little impressive and I was somewhat sure the day could not live up to the price tag. How wrong was I! I have admitted before that I adore luxe and I was certainly not disappointed. Blame my upbringing but this anna and the ring has taste and isn't afraid to tell you!

The level of exhibitors was outstanding and they had obviously brought out their best PR ladies and gentlemen for the day.* Only to happy to help and showcase their brands. Oh and the brands chosen were exquisite. The Saatchi Gallery really was a blank canvas. Some of the displays were epically grand, just what you want. Seriously luxe. I would have lived in a number of the florists stands. An amazing showcase for their work. I will be mostly talking about dresses today because they are what caught my eye. I was like a magpie!

I'm going to talk in alphabetical order so I do not miss out any of my favourites! All photos are courtesy of the Luxury Wedding Show.

So from Atelier Tamman. Oh my. I have seen her work before but never up close and personal. Such a friendly and interesting lady. I could not be more excited about her new lace (and I am not a lace-y person). I promise you that her new couture laces will be the perfect heirloom. Beyond beautiful.

On to Browns Bride. They showed Marchesa (amongst other giants of the bridal world). I mean just breathe in that dress. The are a big brand but so welcoming. 

Oh Candy Anthony. There were two dresses that caught my eye. One was a delicious silken ballerina length delight and then there was the polkadot tulle. Oh polkadot tulle how you make me happy.

Onto Charlotte Casadejus. 1. She be one of the nicest ladies in wedding industry and 2. she has such a eye for beautifulness. Her designs really are something else. Watching the dress below move on the catwalk. Heaven.

It was so lovely to finally meet Ellie and Charlotte in person. Their dresses are just so sweet and inviting and designed with women in mind. Adore!

Also I got to meet the cleverness behind Illustries. All I have to say is - "I want" and if you go to their website you will too! Their genius little infographics make me smile.

I mustn't forget the wonderful Jane of Jane Taylor Millinery. Where this perfect hat was a purchased. She is so enthusiastic about her work with good reason. It is decadently delicious. Oh and her new clever inventions. J'adore.

Kula Tsurdiu. We like. Her designs work with the most beautiful lace. Just look at the sweetness of the dress below. It helps that she is based in the lace quarter of Nottingham. Lucky lady! I cannot wait to see more from her.

Aww the lovely team at Maids to Measure are lovely. They are just launching now and I think they have a great concept. No more must you fret about hideous bridesmaid dresses. Your ladies can look as fabulous as you want them to look. A great idea, beautiful executed.

Mira Zwillinger. Hello exquisite.  You only need to look at the hand pleating on some of her work to know that her dresses are special. Whilst I do fully support UK brands when you find this level of quality elsewhere it is hard to turn a blind eye. 

It was lovely to see the lovely Catherine Mead of Photography by Catherine. I've spoken about her work before. It's hard to put into words how impressive her work is. As I said on twitter, her work is quiet understated perfection.

T'was also rather lovely to see the lovely Louise of Stewart Parvin at the show. I can't quite find the right words to describe his dresses. Elegant simplicity I think is the perfect description. Although 

Then there is Suzie Turner. Her work is in a league of its own. Her feathered creations. There just are no words. They have to be viewed in person to be believed. 

Oh Temperley. Your creations float down the catwalk so beautifully. This is a quintessential Temperley dress but I have to admit I am seriously crushing on the Goddess dress. The back is divine.

I wish I had heard of State of Grace before the wedding for their eye for style is phenomenal. They can curate your entire bridal look and more. Their taste is unparalleled. If you need help becoming the woman you think you can be this is the place you need to be. Just look at the cape!

Finally and this is a big finale! The red dress by Vivienne Westwood. I can't decide whether I love or loathe. I usually have issues with red dresses and think it might be slightly hypocritical to love this. Then I realise it is not made from cheap ill-fitting material, and although I could never wear it, the corsetry and drapery is fabulous. 

It was also lovely to see some rather talented ladies at the show including Abbey, Alexis, Amma, Annabel**, Charley, Kat, Sian & David oh and so many more. (Forgive me if I've left you off. I'm not sure my memory is what it used to be!)

Lots of other lovely ladies have written their take on the show. I always find it fascinating to hear what they took from an event. It is always so interesting to see things through far more talented eyes. Do take a look here.

Annabel - Love My Dress
Charley - London Bride
Kat - Rock 'N Roll Bride

So my verdict. I will admit I was worried that the show would not live up to it's claims. £50 is a lot for a goody bag if the exhibitors do not work. Yet in this case it was fabulous. Unintimidating, friendly and above all inspiring. So if you have a spare £50 and are craving luxury I do think it will repay you tenfold by visiting. Anna says yes, the Luxury Wedding Show is fabulous. 

*For the most part. I have to admit that a tiny fraction of the exhibitors really do not understand blogs and aren't always the most polite. No names - I just want to be honest with you. Otherwise I was bowled over by the service.

**Huzzah for the "A's"!!

one day....

I think I want to start a new series which will follow on to my new website.

The series will be called "one day...."

The basic premise being...

One day - things will be different - I will have my own home with Bean and I will be able to to begin to enjoy life and indulge my creative eye more. I may not be the most creatively able but I sure know good style. (Yes - check me out being complimentary about myself - but I'm right, right?)

One of the first ideas will be to do something like this with our wedding photographs.* I love the idea of the frame telling the story. I have to admit I do not like the idea of one picture being blown up but I adore the idea of story boarding the day. I guess I do not love the idea of one photograph of me being blown up and displayed - my sister has a gorgeous canvas wrap of her wedding which is so elegant. If you have "the one" then you really should. It is a wonderful reminder of something so special. I really hope you have "the one." 

I just think this would be one of the most beautiful ways of "discretely" telling the story of your wedding without it languishing in an album. I say discretely because it feels to me that you wouldn't necessarily know it was someone's wedding at glance (oh and in the picture above it's not!). It's not boom pow here we are in our wedding finery this is the only picture we want you to see. It slightly more intriguing than that. Although I sort of get that it does seem a little "look at me, look at me" but I guess one could always change the photographs as life moves on to perhaps, "once a year on our wedding anniversary if we lived for another 120 years" or something a little more frequent.

What do you think? Do you like or think it seems a little too indulgent. A little indulgence is wonderful thing in my rather humble opinion.

*I'm ashamed to say our photographs still languish on my hard drive. I wish I could work out what to do with them. I wish I could love them the way others really love them.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

drink up - russian style

I know the matryoshka trend has been and gone but I still am rather enamoured.

There is just something so enthralling about little Russian dolls.

So how about this for a bedside carafe?

Yes please. Oh homewares you make me happy.

(Don't fret on the new website I will still be loving pretty glassware!)

an asos wedding

I know you've heard it from me before but I do love asos. I talk about luxury a lot but I really do think asos offers great value for money.

So if you are on a budget but still fancy a fabulous exciting dress I say look no further than here!

Look at the clever conturing pleats. The sweet pinky peachy colour. Matching this with sky scraper heels and a pouffy veil and I think you would be good to go.

Image 1 of ASOS BLACK Fan Pleat Dress

I adore the back of this dress. It screams Temperley to me but it could be perfect for your relaxed cool wedding. Could this be the one? And at £42 you could have some serious cash to spend on the statement cuff the dress is crying out for.

Image 2 of ASOS Drop Back Metal Maxi Dress

Plain perfection. Literally edgy. I see dark eyes. A huge bouquet of gypsophila or perhaps a giant carmen rose and huge hair to match. You needn't spend thousands to get the high end look you want.

Image 1 of ASOS Shift Dress with Fold Sleeve

Or perhaps a slightly risque dress (you should probably look at the back) but the beading is rather clever and well it is just rather sweet. Perhaps you want a slightly 20s look but not to be completely overwhelmed by flapperness. This be for you.

Image 1 of ASOS Shift Dress With Beaded Drape Back

and whilst this is an obvious nod towards the delicious designs of Jenny Packham (think Duchess of Cambridge and Gossip Girl) I think we should all bow out heads and say yes to this perfect bridesmaids dress. 

Image 1 of ASOS Dress with Scattered Sequin

What do you think? Do I bang on about asos a little too much?

me me, miu miu

I know everyone has been raving about these shoes, everyone. Yet, as soon as I saw these online I knew I had fallen in love. The colours should be so wrong. They are not very me and whilst there are more subdued colours in the collection they really are wonderful. So when I saw them in the flesh on a field trip with lovely make-up artist Ana, I fell even harder.* I love the pow of the glitter, the fabulous curve of the heel, the use of the negative space. Swoon. However at £555 for the boots they are a little pricey. 

Miu Miu Miu Miu Miu Miu 

(If I have the pictures any bigger I may go and lick the screen - not great)

So can we all just agree that these Topshop knockoffs are the real thing and that I'm blind and Bean can buy them for me and we will all live happily every after? I hate the really obviously knockoffs but I guess this time I may have to make an exception?

Yes, all those in favour say aye. Thank you quorum. You make things good.

*Although Miu Miu at Harrods please know that you separate teams are desperately ill informed or just lie to try and get a sale at their concession. 

Monday, 24 October 2011

gilty as charged

I hope my US readers are aware of Gilt but just in case you are not au fait, Gilt Groupe is a great "secret" place to find fabulous clothing and homeware with amazing discounts. The only problem being in the UK is that you need a US billing address but there is always a way around that!

This sale is only on for for another day and many sizes are sold out but just in case, you never know!?

I can't link to the pages because you need to sign in but go and find the pretty.

But these are my top picks from the runway bride selection.

Such a hot little number perfect for a chic city wedding. Although short needn't always mean city. Rock it in hot boots in the country ladies!

Short Vera Wang
$799 down from $1595

Or perhaps this incredibly chic number from J. Mendel. I love how this drapes so beautifully. Huzzah for a V neck.

J. Mendel
$1499 down from $3980

And finally how about the ultimate extravagance a lace overcoat by Valentino. How about just wearing this over a nude (or perhaps neon pink) slip.

$1699 down from $4980

What are you tops picks? Have you used Gilt before?

mental health monday - hello my name is Anna

To affect the change, I must be the change (perhaps?)

See the difference in the title?

No? Check again.

I wrote my name with a capital letter. Not a big thing I guess. However what started as a grammatically incorrect but aesthetically pleasing lowercase a almost embodied my thoughts towards myself (although perhaps in completely the opposite way - I do try to be somewhat correct grammatically but I am certainly not aesthetically pleasing). I don't love myself, maybe I never will however in the past few weeks things in my brain have changed.

I'm not a monster. I'm not a great person but I am a good person. I make mistakes and I do and say stupid things. I also realise I have incredibly strong views on certain emotive subjects which can cause offence. (They are not meant to - your opinion is just as important to me.)Yet in the same day I can do good things. I want to help people. I really do. I want to help you if you need it?! Whether it be finding the "perfect" wedding dress or the answer to a wedding woe or something completely unrelated. I'm your girl.

I am curious, you only have to look at my internet history to see how voracious my appetite is for knowledge. Want to know which animal has their testicles hang in front of the penis? I'm your girl. (Although I will freely admit I am a little weird.) Curious as to which country has the power to bestow the "Order of the Elephant"? One of my favourite bits of trivia! Yes, this is one of my bow strings, I love to search far and wide for the answer. I love it when you hit me up for advice because I know I can find you the answer. 

Yet I guess it's never clicked that I'm a good person. I'm intelligent and excitable. I want to thrill. So I think it's about time I believed in myself. No-one else will until I do.

I've heard the same piece of advice from so many people for many a year about confidence and ignored it. It's not for me - they don't know how useless I am. I'm pathetic, I'll get found out if I pretend to know more that I do. Yet, I do know my stuff, I want to know more and I am the person I think I can be.

I'm not sure why I've now chosen to listen. Perhaps hearing the words from someone I respect and look up to whilst knowing that they* are not free of their own demons in private.

So thank you not so anonymous. I very much appreciate that little push.

Yes - today Anna is good.

How was your weekend?

*I hate grammar for not letting me use they instead of he/she. Also as a non-grammar nerd I still probably don't understand why it's not allowed. I get that it's plural but in a time where people use data instead of datum and so forth is it such a big deal? Does it grind your gears as I oft feel with datum? Forgive me, I am but a mere science geek.

Friday, 21 October 2011

an eye for detail

Hallowe'en isn't something I usually get excited about.

It's just not cricket!

However since spying these bad boys on the Paperself website I need to find me a Hallowe'en party! (Oh and £12.50 to spend on exquisitely fabulous fake eyelashes.) Seriously how much fun are these!!

Although not invited to any Hallowe'en dos per se. I am off to a rather exciting launch party on the 30th at the magnificent Fetcham Park hmm perhaps I could have a little fun?!

Paperself lashes are a dream to wear. I am so glad I was brave enough to wear these ones on my wedding day. The just made it a little more exciting that the usual bridal style!

Elbie's little picture. Just look at them. They make me smile even now. I even ignore my not so pretty eyebrow scar in the picture.

Honestly I didn't feel like I was wearing fake eyelashes at all (I had already had individual lashes put on and then the Paperself ones on in the evening - the joy of your make-up artist being snowed in with you!*) and I slept in them and wore them for a significant portion of the next day! I wore them again for my little party in February and if I could find them (ack moving) I would wear them again and again!

Are you a false lash fan? Do we share the Paperself love? If we don't it's probably because you've never tried them! One try and you'll be hooked!

Not a sponsored post - just serious love.

*Although the snowed in bit is not really recommended in some aspects it worked out really well!

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Harping on

My lovely (now friend) Lula not only makes the most wonderful cakes and has the most wonderful vintage crockery but is an accomplished harpist. She played so beautifully on my wedding day. I asked her to play some normal traditional pieces which sound exquisite but I also challenged her to play a few extra exciting more contemporary tunes. Oh how she handled them with ease. They pretty much made my wedding day. Seriously. They epitomised Bean and me.

I very much want to tell you what she played as I walked down the aisle but it's a little secret to be revealed very soon. Eeek the new website is coming and so I thought I'd save my wedding story for them. But enough about me.

Yes she plays the classics - obviously. Her nimble fingers bring joy to Canon in D which led my lovely ladies down the aisle but the harp is so much more versatile than people think. It is certainly not just about inducing a sense of nostalgia as we so often see in films! It can be so much more and bring a slightly quirky edge to more modern favourites.

So Lula wants your help. 

She wants to know what more contemporary music you would love to her her play?

Lady Gaga?
Gloria Estefan?*

What would you love to walk down the aisle to but feel needs a more regal edge?

Oh yes, I felt pretty regal walking down the aisle to......

...................................(sorry still a secret!)

*Hmm perhaps I need to work on my music collection!

Not a sponsored post- just genuine love.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

The Luxury Wedding Show

You all know how I like to talk about the nitty gritty.

But I have to admit I do have a slight penchant for the finer things in life. I can't help it.I am inspired by exquisite things. So I've got to admit I was slightly excited when I received a press ticket to the Luxury Wedding Show this weekend.


I am popping along on Sunday (or perhaps Saturday if I can be speedy!) to the fabulous Saatchi Gallery on the King's Road (ahh my old stomping ground - oh the memories)

I have to say I am a little inappropriately excited about these "little" numbers by the fabulous Vivienne Westwood. I may not be completely sold on the colour (in pictures) but I am in love with the delicate, feminine corsetry. What more do you want from a wedding dress?

Vivienne Westwood
And I'm not even sure I have the right words for this number. Obviously the styling is exquisite. I want that hair. But I want to see how it moves. Oh my.

So will I be seeing you there? What are you looking forward to seeing? Do come and say hi!

I do believe there are a few last minute tickets available. 

(Don't forget about the goody bag!)

*I have received a free ticket to this event but happy to be rather excited about it anyway!

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

tuesday shoesday

Oh yes.

I could wear these - Pre-Nopes. I could wear these hard.

Yes please.

Before I read the blurb - I was very much feeling the vintage Dior style.

I adore the understated t-bar. Just my style.

$320 well spent me thinks.

Monday, 17 October 2011

mental health monday

This week has been amazing. Seriously.

We are making strides again. We are knocking down the trees of stigma! 
(Just after the October storm of 1987)

I knew there must be a few of you who understood depression and anxiety but I am so overwhelmed by the number of you really are with me. As horrible as it is to know so many of you are suffering isn't it nice to know you aren't alone? It is incredibly isolating. (I did start to write "can be isolating" but it just is and I am doing you a disservice by suggesting you aren't the one who is isolated.) No matter how caring your support network is or how similar a person's experience at some point you will feel alone. I just need you to know you aren't. I don't understand everything you are going through but I have a fair idea. Please talk to me. I know how hard it is to put those thoughts onto paper but if you find yourself in need I promise it will be one of the best and positive things you do. To share my experience is akin to others writing down their dreams and setting them alight in the hope they will come true. It sounds like my group therapy has turned me into a hippy but the sharing does feel like I am slowly dispersing my burdens into the miasma to be diluted by the vast expanse of the universe. (I promise I'm not a hippy - not that there would actually be anything wrong with that!). It feels good.

I know your natural defenses are screaming do not tell anyone. They will see you as a failure, they will think you are lazy, they will judge you. Yes some people will, and as hard as it is to see past that (we are so very good at catastrophising) they are not correct. Depression, anxiety, schizophrenia and myriad of other stigmatised illnesses are diseases. You don't choose to be that person. It is because you are ill. If someone does not accept that, they are wrong not you. You deserve to be heard. Please remember that. It has taken me at least 4 years to almost understand that. It is a constant struggle both internally with my judgmental self and those external forces who appear to be invincible but are in fact just cruel and misinformed.

And then onto the delicious 46 of you left a comment I am trying to respond to all of you personally but it will take me sometime. Your words mean so much to me. You are so kind. I know I can't say it enough. I hope that you know your outpouring of caring words is going to help so many others. Those who are too nervous to comment in such a public space. Thank you. 

I also must  thank you for the many emails I've received. Gosh you are such a wise caring bunch. I wish you could each see how similar all our stories are. Of course there are differences, we each come with our own history (some more benign than others) but there is a common thread. We want to get better. Even if you cannot see it right now, I see it. The fact that you reached out to someone else means that you want more. You want not to be crippled by your overpowering feelings of numbness or pain or anxiety. I see it. I am by far not well yet but I am getting there. I never thought I would be able to say that. Being in the depths of depression is almost comforting you can't feel anything so there is no expectation that life can be any different. As you make progress away or fall back towards the abyss you start to remember the happiness or just life you used to feel. Everything feels so far from your grasp it just compounds your thoughts of worthlessness. When I was numb I had no thoughts of suicide. I already felt I was dead almost inhabiting a husk or shell. However when I moved away from that, that's when I started to seriously consider suicide. It was evident that my life was pointless, there was nothing to live for and if I could have just have never been born it would have been perfect. As much as Bean doesn't like to think this, he is the only reason I have not met a incredibly violent end. 

So know that the road to health is more difficult once you start. You become aware of all you have missed out on and all that you could have achieved. For me that is far worse than being numb and in the thickest of fogs. I want to tell you this not to scare you into not seeking treatment but to forewarn you that getting better is not easy. There is no magic pill that will make everything better overnight. Indeed even the best anti-depressants take at least 4 weeks to kick in. I never used to think I would take medication. I like many other thought they were for the weak. Yet if you are an insulin dependent diabetic would you refuse insulin? Of course not, the biochemical imbalance will kill you so you take your medicine. Mental illness is no different. Yet you need to find the right medication I am on my sixth different tablet. That is a lot of trial and error. But you get there and then you find you can talk about it. The right medication and right therapy is the gold standard. Fight for it. You may not feel like fighting but you have to. I love the NHS but I do feel somewhat failed by it. I knew how to lie to appear better just so I could work but it was ultimately a foolish thing to do. However the doctors should have seen through my mask. It's what they are trained to do. I was ill and they should have seen that. Although I will add a caveat, we can be very deceptive. Someone trained to deal with people with mental illness should be able to find the right question to show us that we are not well but you should never think you are to blame if a friend as deceived you. We want to protect people around us. No-one wants their nearest and dearest to see how ill they really are. We are the consummate liars. It will never be your fault that you didn't notice how ill someone close to you is. Indeed if they take their own life and it feels like you should have known, it's just not true. 

My final note would be if you do suspect someone is suicidal please try and take them to see a doctor or just talk to them yourself. I assure you talking about suicide is not a trigger for the act. It's the first thing they teach you about suicide at medical school. I know it feels like it's the completely wrong thing to be doing but you being brave and talking about it will help them. It helped me.

So thank you. You make me happy. And that my lovelies, is a very good thing to feel.

P.S. Also in non blog news I got some really rather exciting news (I'm not pregnant) yesterday - things are looking up for anna. Huzzah.

Also this should have been posted yesterday but there be dragons ahead aka hard drive failures. Sad face.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

stalled (again)

Hello Saturday morning. This is a long one perhaps grab a coffee and a croissant and settle in.

Bro and a bearded Papa with Dold (gold) car circa 1988 (maybe) - I told you dear brother I had many a photo of you.

Today is going to be busy but I wanted to get my thoughts about driving out of the way otherwise I will surely ruminate all night.

I wanted to keep this journal for me but if the emails and tweets I am getting are anything to go by there are so many other men and women (admittedly mostly women) in my position who are just as scared as me. This is definitely not about me showing off. How could it be, when I think I'm a idiot for not doing all of this at 17. I can't do something most of you do without thinking.

I guess I have no real reason for being so scared of driving. Many of you have very good reasons not to drive. I am not going to try and force you drive. I know how ill it makes me feel. (So perhaps you could donate blood). However I am not understating it when I tell you how deep my fight or flight response is. But I have climbed behind the wheel twice. For me this is epic. I honestly never thought it would be possible. I'm not kidding, if I you had said I would have spent 3 and 1/2 hours behind the wheel 2 weeks ago I would have laughed. It was inconceivable.

The key (to starting) appears to be finding the right instructor. I've told him how scared I am and today on my second lesson he twigged that one of my issues was I like to be good at things. I berate myself when I can't do something the first time. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, this instructor has me sussed. I am a psychological open book. 

Perhaps the route (ha root) of my anxiety is the anxiety itself. I've had 29 years to worry about driving. I'm not saying learning to drive is easy - it's not. I am not even close to understanding the clutch but I am close to thinking I might actually be able to learn. Again for me this is epic. It is knowing that even though I'm not getting things right on my first go, I am not a failure. I'm learning - it's the whole point. They don't stick a giant sign on top of the car and have dual control of nothing. The fact I am trying and facing one of my greatest fears is what I should try to be proud of.* It is an irrational fear to some extent but the symptoms of my fear are very real.

So the lesson. We started from basics once again. Perhaps I should be talking more about the physical aspects of driving? But I am well aware I have no clue so don't listen to my actual driving advice.

I think this week I stalled less (maybe?) although I actually don't mind stalling. I thought it would be the most epic of fails but I am still only on tiny roads. Perhaps when all eyes are on me I may feel somewhat different! I just need to learn to work the accelerator a little more. I fear the accelerator because it's the one that I think can kill.

Also I think I've released the clutch far before it actually is released - must learn to take things more slowly. There is no hurry. Also I need to work out how much brake to apply. I'm fine if the road is flat but we twist and turn, up and down in my practice area and so that's another learning "curve" all in itself.

I had my lesson slightly later in the day and was acutely aware of school children gaily frolicking in the roads. Indeed as I was waiting (yes I'm slow - but I'm a learner so it's okay) to make a right turn a lorry overtook me and almost took out a child on a bike. Seriously is your destination that important? 

So on today's list of "achievements" are left turns, right turns, tiny hill starts, one set of traffic lights and a mini roundabout. Said lights were at a main road crossroads. That was a scary moment. I was actually on a proper road with actual people. 

I certainly wasn't looking forward to the lesson but I didn't have the ominous symptoms save a little light nausea and an almost tachycardia. I didn't enjoy adjusting the seat and trying to remember to check my blind spot. However, I'm pretty sure I didn't hate every second. Indeed, I notice I've actually talked about the driving far more than the fear and my feelings. I am making progress. Do not fret, I shan't be getting cocky.

So progress people, this be good. The instructor thinks I should book my theory test (£31) and get that done so I can book my actual test (up to £75). Ha! One step at a time, crazy man. (Although he has a point. The waiting time for the actual test is about 4 months.)

And you know what, and I really cannot believe I'm about to say this, I may actually be looking forward to next week's lesson. I'm sure I'll take that back on Wednesday morn. Perhaps "looking forward" is too strong a sentiment - perhaps resigned to the fact I need to continue is more appropriate.

Now that first sentence is serious progress. Let's ignore the other bits, let's be positive for a change. Huzzah.

*Indeed the brain man felt I should be proud and I may have misheard him but I am sure he said he was proud of me too. It is hard to face something that scares us so very much. Eek! (Although I probably shouldn't be courting approval)

Friday, 14 October 2011

pocket lovebirds

I used to spend a lot of time away from Bean.

It was hard.

I would have loved a pocket Bean Manfriend to have "fondled" (for a lack of a better word) for a little dose of Bean on those long and lonely nights.

Customized Pocket Manfriend

I would still love a custom Bean Manfriend just to have near me when I feel my mean anxiety building up. I think I need a slightly bristled, spec-wearing Bean.

In fact if your pockets were a little deeper how sweet to give these as individually created wedding favours so that your guests could keep them for themselves or perhaps a little token to give to a loved one. Perhaps a lover, perhaps a child. 

Gift: Pocket Lovebirds- made to order

Or perhaps a Pocket Lovebird a sweet little token for a lovely couple.

Sometimes etsy really does come up all rosy.

P.S. There will be a Ring Bash announcement very soon.

a very good cause aka let's try and beat breast cancer

This week has been about mental health for me* but this month (at least in the UK) and for some every day is about breast cancer.

My mother suffered from breast cancer but was very very very lucky. It was caught very early on and despite a hideous time she is now well. I also know that whilst it was a incredibly hard time for her, it was incredibly hard for all around her. I remember sitting** in an exam and could barely focus because I knew she was half way through a 12 hour operation. It is awful and difficult for everyone involved but I can only imagine how difficult it actually is to be told you have cancer and then try and fight it.***

Cancer is a very emotive disease and for me hits very close to home. I'm not trying to garner sympathy for myself - I can't imagine any of you don't have similar stories. I know that many (most even) people cannot talk about their experiences but if I have learnt anything in the past week, for me talking is good. 

However, in my family all of my first degree deceased relatives have died of cancer. I still find myself close to tears when I think of how I watched my Mamgu and then my Grandpa die in so much pain. My mother's father died in his late forties on her 21st birthday. The story of his diagnosis and death haunts me and possibly my future children. Cancer is a terrible thing but it can be beaten. My mother and her doctors are a testament to that.

However, not everyone is so "lucky" and sadly far too many women (and men up to 1% of breast cancers) are dying. Dying because we just do not know enough.

What can you do? 

I know it often feels like you are helpless to do anything that donating money is just a drop in the ocean (and without wanting to sound trite) but without each drop there is no ocean. 

Every penny counts. It's the ocean which will help us develop better treatments, discover cleverer surveillance programs and perhaps help you in the future. Remember 1 in 9 women will suffer from some form of breast cancer.

I'm not here to scare you with statistics but please check your breasts. Get to know your breasts. They change from week to week. They belong to you and you should know when they feel lumpy or not but feel free to have you husband or wife or lover help you check them too. Don't make it a chore. 

This is a very simple guide to get you started but know if you are still having periods your breasts may feel more lumpy during shark week. I know I am guilty of not checking on a regular basis. However if you do notice any changes please just go and see you GP. They deal with this all the time and are happy to help. It's their job. Also remember if you find a lump it doesn't mean you have cancer. Just make sure you talk to your doctor. Please don't ignore it. 

So really what can you do?

I want you to know about London Bride's amazing campaign. Whilst I can think I want to do something, how great is it that she has gone and done something. We should all get on with the doing and not just the thinking.****

Look at her amazing Heartfelts. Such a clever sweet idea. She makes you a sweet little plump heart for you to wear with pride and in return you donate £4 (with an extra £1 for p&p) to Breakthrough Breast Cancer. A tiny £5 and you can make a difference. A great difference.

Also, wouldn't these would just be the best wedding favour? I know the boys would love them too. I must get Bean and his boys to wear one or two each. You get to donate money to a worthy charity and something super cute which your guests will love and keep for a long time. 

So chop, chop. Let's get to it.

I have put in my little order, have you? I hope we can all send Charley a picture of us wearing them so she can see how much she's achieved. All of us together showing our support for men and women everywhere.

Yay for Heartfelts and Charley.

*I will be talking about it more because I find it very sad that it is often brushed aside and not talked about. I want to talk and try and do something. There be ideas in the pipeline.
**well actually it was a practical for my Obstetrics and Gynaecology (bleurgh) final. 
***I've been taught and I can try to empathise but I will never know until it happens to me.
****Tempted for that to be my new mantra.


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