#FashionFridays

Jane Austen!

This is one I’ve been meaning to do for ages because I think it’s my longest standing favourite dress-up, actually may be apart from medieval – they’re pretty close but I think medieval just pips it to the post because of the magical possibilities it provides which dear Ms Austen, alas, cannot. Although she did win out between the two on my wedding dress choice, so it must be pretty neck and neck.

Homemade Jane Austen Costume

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5 Reasons Why…

…Weddings Are Actually a Good Idea.

Who knew!?

Well not me, thats for sure. In the lead up to my wedding I was a mess, the three days before – a wreck. I was snotty and ill and crying and dreading the ‘big day’ (it makes it worse when people call it that). However, something amazing happened – when I woke up on ‘the morning of’ I was calm, happy, relaxed, still a bit poorly but nothing a lemsip and glass of fizz couldn’t fix. I loved getting ready and then when the actual event got started I actually had the best day of my entire life. It was the opposite of what I expected, but actually exactly what everyone said it would be. I can’t wait to see the wedding video because at the moment it all feels as though it was a really wonderful dream! Yesterday I received these beautiful pictures and they’re really helping it all seem like reality.

We got married!
“We got married!”

Continue reading “5 Reasons Why…”

Musings on…

…Friendship.

What makes a good friend? This weekend I found out! It was my Hen Do, and I don’t mind admitting I was a little bit nervous, I’m always nervous when it comes to parties because it’s like a horrid popularity test – who will come? Do I actually have any friends? Will I get really drunk and cry in front of them? That sort of thing. But I actually had the most amazing time, partly because of those who were in attendance teaching me the real meaning of friendship and because of my sister using her party organisation talents to their fullest effect. She even organised a hat making class, which actually made me burst into tears! I have now formed the opinion that it makes completely no sense that I don’t make a hat every single day of my life, period.

Hen Party Hat Making

So, in case you’re in the mood to test your friends out I’ve come to the conclusion that this is what makes one:

  1. Hilarity. My stomach was killing me by the end of the weekend.
  2. Enthusiasm! Sometimes things like Hen Dos can be scary; you turn up to a place where potentially you only know one other person, you’re probably going to have to share a room with a stranger and more than likely be sick in front of them at some point.  But good friends get stuck in and more often than not end up having a great time!
  3. Leading on from point two – they hold your hair back. You know why.
  4. Life contributions! They contribute something to your life; either with their intelligence, their views, their strength, their experiences – they have some sort of positive effect on you as a person.
  5. Reliance! You know you can rely on them to be there for you, and vice versa.
  6. Hats! They love hats – making hats, wearing hats…sharing hats.

I think that is what makes a good friend in my eyes. It may grow and evolve as I do, for example as well as hold my hair, I might need them to hold my baby instead (…as well as – let’s me honest here). But for the time being, thank you to all the ladies who attended my Hen Party – you are all complete legends and true friends!

Hen Party Friendships

What do you think makes for a good and long-lasting friendship?

Musings on…

…Marriage.

Now I’m not yet married, although come this time in June I will be a full-on married lady and I recently went on a trip where I was surrounded by a lot of people asking me why on earth I was getting married at this age (I’m 25 by the way). Of course I gave the usual (and obvious) “because I love him” answer but I can’t deny that the questions got under my skin; in a world where 42% of marriages currently end in divorce (and in our current “weddings/Disney fairytale/I’m a princess” society, I think that’s only going to get worse), what makes me think that I won’t be part of that statistic one day? And given that marriage doesn’t mean the same things in society that it used to; the ability to live together, have children, etc, what point is there in marriage anyway?

Engagement Shoot

So I’ve been thinking it through and I reckon I can answer the question “why am I getting married at 25?”.

Engagement Shoot

Firstly, and possibly most importantly, I’ve found a man who is fine with me wearing my cloak in public – it’s important to find someone who accepts you for all that you are.

Secondly, I’m not sure age has much to do with it, if I was 18 then may be I’d understand that question more but whilst I don’t always feel all grown-up, technically I am, I mean my body is only going to age and fail from here on out (positive thinking), so I may as well get married while my breasts still look good without the assistance of a bra because I’m sure as hell not wearing one of those torturous things on my wedding day (comfort first, all the way). I also don’t see getting married as settling down. Chris and I aren’t in our 30s and getting married because we want to have babies in quick succession and forget what it feels like to go to cocktails bars and have sex on the stairs (although I am aware that this will eventually happen – but it’s not that comfy anyway). I see this as the start of our adventure together, we still want to travel and experience new things and get really pissed in gross bars sometimes; getting married doesn’t mean I’m suddenly going to stop harbouring dreams and ambitions and all of a sudden get excited about kitchen appliances, and to be honest it’s proper weird that quite a few people seem to assume that! I’m really not seeing getting married as our end game, it’s the first pass in our match (…of rugby, obvs, I would’t be bringing football into this).

Engagement Shoot

Which brings me nicely onto thirdly, I know marriage isn’t going to be plain sailing, but then I don’t think any relationship worth having is; people are complicated, evil, funny, selfish, wonderous creatures and I think our world history proves that we do somewhat struggle to live in harmony. Plus if you look at all the best relationships in your life they will have been tested at some point and the fact that it has made it through that test only means it’s a stronger, better relationship. I obviously wouldn’t be marrying Chris if I thought every day was going to be a struggle, but I’m under no illusions that some will be, in that way I think I have a realistic vision of what I’m getting myself into (a life-time of watching a 6ft5 man bang his head on things).

Dot and Lucy Engagement Photoshoot

And fourthly (is that a thing?), I’m not a fortune teller (although I have tried – got a crystal ball and everything), of course I can’t say that Chris and I will 100% stand the test of time, no one can ever say that because life has a way of curve balling one through it’s already twisted path. My parents are divorced, and they’re both married to divorced people (funnily enough) so I’m pretty familiar with marital breakdown and to be completely honest I did think I would stay away from the married state for this very reason, but then I met someone who changed my mind. I can’t promise anyone that I’ll know and love them forever, they can’t either, what I can promise is that I will always give the relationship my very best shot; the best chance at forever that I can give.

I know that we don’t technically need to be married but it’s bloody nice! I want to be a team; a family; a little Kelly Clan. I think that in this way marriage means more than it ever has done, it’s no longer a necessity, it’s a choice, it’s more about love than it ever has been. And I take that choice quite seriously, not every woman is as fortunate as I to have it.

Engagement ShootAnd FINALLY: because I love him.

#Soppy

How To…

…Plan a wedding when you couldn’t give a shit about weddings.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for two people celebrating their love in the traditional way of getting  married and most weddings I’ve been to I’ve balled my eyes out and had a great time with everyone else but in today’s “Which Disney Princess Are You?” society, I feel that weddings have kind of lost all sincerity about them. People seem to get married because they want a wedding not because they want a marriage, which is why the wedding industry has become worth a huge £10 billion in the UK alone and why the average wedding costs around £21k, because who cares about a deposit for a house, I want to wear a Cinderella dress!?

I’m digressing…and also getting married. It’s nearly two months away now and I really haven’t had that much to do with the planning, so far I’ve felt like my wedding is happening to me instead of me feeling like I’m actively participating in it, but that is nobodies fault but my own. I’ve wanted to marry Chris since our fourth date and I always just thought we’d decide the time was right, call up our immediate loved ones and say something like “are you free next Wednesday? We’re getting married” but then when we actually did get engaged (and that’s a whole story in itself) it turned out that actually what everyone else wanted (I must say including Chris) was a big, family wedding. So here we are with two months to go, a day-time guest list of 80 and having to come up with a table plan so that the ones who don’t like each other don’t have to look at each other, and the ones who are really fussy are sat exactly next to the people they want to be.

A couple of weeks ago I realised that I was so un-excited by this prospect that it was genuinely depressing, I was excited to be married, just not to get married, so I’ve decided to take control, I’m getting my wedding-on.

In case anyone else is feeling disillusioned about their forthcoming nuptials, I’ve put together 5 top tips for planning a wedding when you actually couldn’t give a shit. Enjoy:

  1. Realise that your wedding is not for you. People will constantly tell you that what you want for your “big day” is the most important thing, they’re lying to you. You’re getting married for you, you’re having a wedding for those who want to celebrate with you, and actually the more people you have in your life who want to celebrate your love with you, the luckier you are, so embrace it, do it for them, it’s a hella better reason than doing it because you’d like to be an animated “princess” for a day.
  2. Delegate. I’m really lucky because I have a sister and a mother who are AMAZING at this sort of thing. The amount of times when they’ve asked me a question like “what about favours?”, seen my blank and blinking expression and said “don’t worry, I’ll sort that out.” Literally would be having a reception in a completely blank room with no decorations or seating plan without them to help me.
  3. Choose good music. Now this is where I would say to anyone to really go for what YOU want. So many couples’ relationship and memories of each other and of special points in their lives together, are based around a love of certain songs. Use those songs, tell the relative who’s telling you to walk down the aisle to Pachelbel’s Canon to shove it and walk down to whatever means the most to you as a couple. Those moments really are just for you two, so make sure you stick to your bridal guns.
  4. Make things! Emotionally invest in the things you would never normally care about by making them yourself, that way when you see them hanging somewhere in your venue or on your tables you’ll feel really good about them, instead of thinking of them as the useless little touches that no-one cares about anyway. Plus it’s WAY CHEAPER. All the invitations for our wedding have been handmade (although, alas it would be an untruth to tell you that I did them – I provided comedy and alcoholic support).How to plan a wedding when you don't care about weddings Now I’m on to bunting and attaching vintage chandelier crystals to things (too many things probably). Getting into it.
  5. Try. Even if table plans make you roll your eyes and you’re quickly loosing all respect for the guests who instead of having thanked you for the invite, have gotten their knickers in a twist because you haven’t invited their other half (who you’ve NEVER MET before), just try to be excited. Focus on the stuff you are excited about; seeing the person you’re marrying standing at the end of the aisle waiting for you, having a glass of fizz and getting ready with your nearest and dearest, having a good old dance with your mates. Forget about the people who have pissed you off, you don’t have to spend any time with them on the day if you don’t want to anyway. Bridal prerogative.Handmade wedding invitations

I hope these have helped! Let’s go get hitched (not you and me…that would be weird)!

#FashionFridays…

…got resourceful!

So, bit of an announcement: off the back of my 2014 “stuff” epiphany I have made a very important decision about this the year 2015; I have decided not to buy any new clothes for a whole year…I know.

I can buy second-hand clothing, I can make any clothes I need, but I cannot buy any new items of clothing. Now there are two ‘genres’  of clothing that are exempt from the rule, but only because I have neither the machinery, expertise or equipment to produce them, these are shoes and underwear – but I’m only allowed to buy these if I need them, which is unlikely because I believe that bras are the work of the devil and I have really awkwardly shaped feet.

I made this decision for two reasons:

  1. I have way too many clothes already. I go shopping to buy black jeans (which I actually do need) and come back with 3 occasion dresses (I do not go out often enough to warrant these – can’t stand club crowds). So now I have a wardrobe full of beautiful dresses and nowhere to bloody wear them. In the meantime they clog up my wardrobe and I spend most mornings and evenings trying to force the clothes I actually do wear into tiny spaces in-between slowly rotting chiffon and a strange neoprene dress with fluorescent orange and turquoise flowers on (this always gets a laugh from my nearest and dearest but I bought it when Chris was in Thailand during the military coup so I claimed temporary insanity when I bought it and now whenever I put it on my mental illness provides the perfect excuse – get in!).
  2. I’ve decided that I should be as environmentally conscious as I can possibly manage, which means (among many other things) staying away from the disposable fashion items that fill every high street shop – arriving at the store wrapped in copious amounts of packaging (which is rarely made from recyclable materials), as well as the clothes themselves which can be produced in either environmentally harmful ways, or in morally questionable working conditions. And it seems that what were once cheap disposable fashion items are now cheap expensive disposable fashion items. Have you been into Primark recently? I actually I haven’t because I’m trying to avoid locations that induce panic attacks but the last time I went there I was pretty shocked that the quality of the clothing (stitching, materials, finishings) seemed to have dropped but the prices seem to have sky rocketed. And don’t even get me started on H&M which stocks what appears to be exactly the same clothing made from exactly the same materials and exactly the same standards for twice the price. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve bought some clothes from both these shops in the past that I love and wear often, but I’ve gotten to the stage in my life where I don’t want eight nylon mix, highly flammable, made in Bangladesh and mass-produced jumpers; I want one or two organic fabric, handmade, less flammable, unique jumpers – which is surely the better option? Luckily for me I’m not a follower of trends and fashions so I won’t be in the position where I see something I like and then by the time I’ve managed to find a pattern and some reasonably priced fabric and made the item myself, the damn thing will be out of fashion again, although I don’t believe that anything that could go out of fashion in that amount of time could possibly have been worth buying and wearing in the first place. So there.

Fluro dress, cats, recycling clothes, fashions, dress-upI have quite a few important events and weddings coming up in 2015 (including my own ‘big day’) but I have a wardrobe full of lovely dresses and can make anything new if I feel I don’t already have the right outfit somewhere in my house (unlikely). I’m actually a bridesmaid in September and have obtained permission from the beautiful bride to make my own bridesmaid dress (we could both end up regretting that one). I haven’t bought a new wedding dress, a lovely and very talented lady who I know is making it instead. I do need a new pair of wedding shoes although I am considering dying a pair of shoes that I already own purple and sticking gold stars on them instead of going out and buying a new pair (I’m coming up against some opposition on this particular style point but they’re my feet and it’s my wedding – I reserve the right to dress them in the way I see fit, and purple starry shoes are fit).

Anyhoo I shall be documenting this year of No New for your reading pleasure, as I’m sure I’m going to come up against challenges and temptations as well as exciting discoveries and style ideas.

If anyone has any helpful tips on the above, whether it be sourcing organic sewing materials or just living a life of less rubbish please let me know!

#FashionFridays…

…got shamelessly self-promotional.

So in a previous blog I mentioned that I’d started making clothes with my trusty teenage sewing machine. The clothing thing is still going pretty well and with Christmas on the Horizon and with my newly acquired unemployment status I turned once again to my trusty sewing machine to furnish my loved ones with lovingly homemade, handmade gifts. Which gave me an idea. What if I tried to sell them to people who I don’t love? (I will of course love these people if they buy my wares, in fact when the first one goes I’m hoping its to a person in lands foreign because otherwise I’m going to have to strongly resist the urge to go to their house and kiss them on the lips.) So in the name of shameless self-promotion I thought I’d write a blog post about it – with of course helpful links to the selling items…

I came across some really beautifully Christmasy fabrics in an Aladdin’s Cave of a fabric shop in Cardiff but being the tight-fisted, or more pleasingly termed thrifty (lovely word) gal that I am, I’m not too keen on things that can only be used at Christmas; spending money on something you’re only going to use for one month of the 12 that are on offer seems a little silly. So when I found the below fabric I thought it simply perfect for Christmas as well as the rest of the year or indeed any pending nuptials that are on the horizon of 2015.

shabby chic hearts and lace table runner, perfect for weddings

shabby chic hearts and lace table runner, perfect for weddings

So I made a few table runners and they turned out really well but I couldn’t for the life of me find the right beaded, tasselly nonsense to stick on the pointy bits until my mum said, “why don’t you use lace?” – genius.

shabby chic hearts and lace table runner, perfect for weddings

And thus this rather festive yet romantic shabby chic (when I proof read this I realised that auto-correct had changed that to chubby chic – just had to share that with you) number was born…

shabby chic hearts and lace table runner, perfect for weddings and Christmas

shabby chic hearts and lace table runner, perfect for weddings

Handmade shabby chic hearts and lace table runner, perfect for weddings and Christmas

You should probably buy one – in fact you can do so here: https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/214917034/a-beautiful-handmade-hearts-and-lace? Convenient.

But if hearts and Christmas aren’t your thing I have another option going on as well…

Handmade shabby chic polka dots and lace table runner, perfect for weddings

Handmade shabby chic polka dots and lace table runner, perfect for weddings

IMG_1657Handmade shabby chic polka dots and lace table runner, perfect for weddings

I think you should probably buy this one too, buy it here: https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/214922338/a-beautiful-handmade-shabby-chic-blue? Equally as convenient.

Of course anything can be made to order; if you need something to match a pair of curtains, or your plates, or the colour of your eyes, or whatever, just get in touch and I’ll see what I can do.

Other designs on the horizon are: too sparkly to resist…

Handmade sparkly table runner, perfect for weddings and Christmas

…and über nautical:

Handmade nautical table runner

Lengthy advertisement over… well not quite – if none of this is quite wooly enough for you then I’m right there with you, stay tuned for the next Arts and Crafts blog which will involve knitted hats, tea cosies and egg cosies (such a thing does exist – and they’re really quite cute)! If you think tea cosies are boring and only for old ladies, then quite clearly you’ve never seen a sparkly tea cosy…