The Story of a Wedding Dress

Ages ago, before our wedding last year and just after we got engaged, I started the process of looking for a wedding dress. There is SO much choice out there, and I really dreaded the whole process because trying on dresses in a shop for me can often feel like playing dress-up. I'm quite little, and putting on a dress off the rails was never going to work for me... or so I thought.

Women who work in bridal shops really know what they're doing. Before I even got a glimpse of myself in the mirror they had pinned a size 12 dress to my size 4/6/8 body and I did not at all look or feel like I was dressing up in my mother's clothing. 

Unfortunately for me I have expensive taste. If you give me a catalog of clothes with no prices I can guarantee you I will pick out the most expensive item. I first fell in love with a £3000 dress and I was not prepared to spend that much on one outfit for one day - no matter how special the day!

 

So a few months later, when I was in India last year, my mum and I set off on an epic mission to have a wedding dress made. Spoiler alert: it didn't work out, not as we planned anyway.

I'm a little sad when I think of all the work we both, but mostly my mum, put into trying to make it happen. The fabric we chose was kind of alright but not exactly, the tailor we chose had good recommendations and the best intentions but had little experience in wedding dresses, and also deadlines in India are negotiable - always. I think we were just a bit unlucky. But we had so much fun in the process, choosing fabric in Delhi and tracking down a tailor in Jaipur.

We didn't end up with a dress for me to get married in, but we did end up with a beautiful reception dress which I will love forever, and it will always remind me of our wedding dress adventures in India. I don't have the best picture of it from the wedding because from the point I changed into it I did not stop dancing, but it's silk and has the pattern of mangoes on it.

Incidentally, I ordered my dress from BHLDN - they do all the sizes!

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The Wedding and the Hurricane :: When the Storm Hit

If you're just catching up on our wedding story, you can start from the beginning here.

So by this point you will know that we had to move our wedding on the day to a different location because tropical storm Fay was heading our way. In the morning, before wedding party preparations got underway, our bridesmaids and groomsmen packed all the decorations into garbage bags and took them on the back of scooters to the Four Ways Inn, our new venue. When Adam and I arrived and walked into the reception, it was the first time that we had seen the tables and the venue decorated, and it looked so amazing! Everyone did such a wonderful job. No one told our wedding party what to do or where things should go, they just improvised and the result was a dream. My godmother had brought lots of decorations over from the US, our paper tassels were lovingly hand-made, my mum gold-leafed hundreds of shells, and our florist showed her amazing talent for making what I dreamed up, a reality.

Looking back, moving the venue was such a blessing. I mean, aside from the fact that we didn't have tents and tables blow through the windows of the house, it took a lot of pressure off Adam and I, as well as our family. It took the stress of hosting off our shoulders, we didn't have to worry about anything like cleaning up or the safety of our guests because it was all taken care of by our venue!

And how amazing is that wedding cake?!? My wonderfully talented brother made it himself. It took two days and several hours during the reception to pull it off. While everyone else was eating, he was in the kitchen slaving away with sponge and flowers and blueberry jam. You can't even imagine what a catastrophe the venue change could have been for the cake, but Dominic pulled it out of the bag by putting the cake and everything he needed to assemble it into a taxi and rushing it to the venue almost as soon as the ceremony was finished. And also, it was absolutely delicious. We served it for dessert after dinner and it was a hit! 

We had speeches during dinner, which was a random assortment of sushi, oysters, BBQ, pasta, and all sorts of things. The idea was that people would be able to eat what they wanted, whenever they wanted. A sit down dinner with table service is lovely, but we wanted something very informal and that's just the way it turned out. Speeches from family made us tear up with their kind words, while speeches from friends had us laughing from start to finish. If you haven't read Morgan's maid of honour speech you can see it here, and the groomsmen sang a wonderfully hilarious and humiliating song about Adam that had everyone in stitches. I think that's a groomsmen/best man speech that will be very hard to top.

That handsome photo of Scroggi up there serves to highlight our wedding favours! Adam dedicated about six weekends before our wedding to hand-making and painting sugar bowls for our guests. My uncle Julian designs ceramics for all sorts of fancy brands, but he has a small studio in south London where he and Adam slaved for weeks on end to make 70 miniature bowls. We put them in little hand-made cloth bags my mum designed herself and had made in India. Everyone put so much work into making this day special, I think we could have had to relocate to the moon and it wouldn't have mattered - it would have been just perfect either way because of all the effort that so may people put into it. 

Our first dance was to Everywhere I Go by Caitlin Rose. It's always been one of our favourite songs, and considering how much we jet around the world (together and apart), it seemed the perfect fit for our first dance. Also, you can see on the windows in the background that the rain was just beginning....

^^^^ That up there, is what I like to think of as Taylor Swift face - when people are mingling around and suddenly 'Shake it Off' comes on everyone loses their sh*t on the dance floor. We danced for hours as the rain came down and because we just had an ipod and speakers, people could play DJ and put on whatever they wanted. 

The only downside to having a wedding at a hired venue however, is the closing time. By 12:30 they were switching on the lights and we had to head home. But at that point, I don't know who made the decision, but somehow the pool party was back on! When we were planning on having the wedding at the house we asked guests to bring their swimming costumes and a towel so that we could all jump in the pool at the end of the night. Because the venue change was a day-of decision, many guests were still carrying their swimming stuff - so off we went back to the house to continue the party! By this point, the rain had stopped, and everyone was ready for a change of location...

When we got home people were more interested in swimming in the ocean than the pool because it was so much warmer. We swam, drank some more, ate leftover potato salad from the rehearsal dinner the night before, and kept the party going until the wee hours when the rain picked up again. We ordered another fleet of taxis and everyone headed home - by the time the last couple left it was absolutely chucking it down.

Adam and I fell into bed, absolutely exhausted but so happy with the way everything had turned out, but only a couple hours later we woke up to this and a waterfall running through the house.

As it happens, when tropical storm Fay hit Bermuda, it turned into a category two hurricane. The rain that caused everyone to get out of the water was the beginning of the storm hitting the island and escalating into a full blown hurricane. And as you can see from the photos below, it caused some pretty serious damage. 

When Adam and I went back to our venue the next day, roof was completely gone. All of our decorations had blown away and where we had been dancing only a few hours before was flooded. The fans had snapped off and flown away, and miraculously the only thing to survive were our mason jars!

The photo on the left is the areal view of the hurricane over Bermuda, the one on the top right and bottom left is our venue the day after. It's now being torn down and rebuilt!

The funny thing about the hurricane is that it kind of made our wedding more special. The night before we had arranged to meet everyone for brunch, and miraculously it was the only place open and able to serve food the day after the storm - until the roof caved in and flooded the place. But when Adam and I first arrived expecting the restaurant to be empty, everyone was already there, chatting away about how amazing the storm was. Despite the fact that most people were without power, mobile reception and any news on their canceled flights (there was a hole in the roof of the airport) - the storm had brought people together in a way that nothing else could. None of us could believe that, only a few hours before, we had been swimming in the ocean as a hurricane was moving in! Some peoples doors blew off, others had trees in their swimming pool, but everyone had a story to tell.

Adam and I spent the rest of the day driving around the island checking on people and trying to locate others, which was made all the more difficult because all the traffic lights were down and many of the roads were blocked. It all felt a bit post-apocalyptic. That night we met up at The Pickled Onion on Front Street for one last drink with friends and family. It was the only place we could find wifi and it was so wonderful to see all of our friends form different countries adding each other on facebook, promising to keep in touch and swapping hurricane stories.

Hurricane Fay made our wedding special in a way that nothing else could, it changed our plans and made the whole day so much better than it would have been if we'd planned it ourselves. I think Adam and I are living proof that it really doesn't matter how much you stress over the planning and the little things, what will happen is going to happen and on the day you just have to let it all go and lean into all the fun that's happening around you. 

 

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The Wedding and the Hurricane :: Portraits and Cocktails

Have you read part two of our wedding story? Now let's get on with part three.

After the ceremony was complete, we invited guests out onto the balcony for some cocktails and a chance to mingle. The sky was getting darker and we knew we wouldn't have much time, but thankfully luck was on our side in so many ways. Especially when I had the foresight to make a bestie out of someone who has built a career around the theater - so when I said to Morgan the day before the wedding, "hey, would you mind being MC? I don't really know what to tell you to say. You don't mind, do you?". Whether she minded or not, she totally nailed it! She's such a pro.

I feel like we only chatted to guests for about three minutes before I felt a little drop of rain. We had such grand plans for our reception, there was even a snowcone machine where people could make their own boozy snowcones! But I knew that if we didn't get our pictures done and capture the memories around my grandparents property, I would never forgive myself. 

I asked Olivia what she thought and she reckoned it was a good idea to get going, so though I never got to finish my bubbly I think the pictures we got were totally worth it. And really, stormy skies are way better for photos than brilliant sunshine any day - yet another reason that the approaching storm was actually a blessing. 

Let's face it, taking our wedding photos was always going to be a bit of a silly affair, wasn't it?

See that photo up there, the one of Adam and I dancing on the lawn? Only a few hours before that lawn was set up for a dinner for 68 people. Tents, lights, a dance floor, the tables and chairs were up... everything was ready. But tropical storm Fay had other ideas. 

Ok, I know this is super embarrassing, but I used to sit on this dock when I was little, blasting Backstreet Boys "The One" and dreaming of the man I would one day marry. I think I'm a lot more sentimental than I would like to admit sometimes.

By the time we got back up to the house, most of our guests were gone. Many of them said if they hadn't known we had planned on a different sort of wedding day, they would have assumed it was always meant to be like this - but many of them were still carrying bathing suits, as we were meant to have a post-wedding midnight pool party. But instead of ushering guests down to the lawn, they all had to hop into taxis and drive across the island to a new venue. 

Tomorrow is the final part of the story. There's lots of dancing to Taylor Swift, midnight adventures and all the destruction that occurs when an island prepares for a tropical storm when what is actually heading their way is a hurricane. 

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The Wedding and the Hurricane :: the Ceremony

Did you read part one of this story? You did? Ok good. On to the rest...

By the time the actual ceremony came around, Adam and I had already been through the most stressful part of the day. With a last minute venue change and all the organisation that required, getting married seemed like kind of no big deal. 

We were so lucky in that the storm stayed off the island long enough for Adam and I to actually get married at my grandfathers house - the whole reason why we wanted to get married in Bermuda in the first place! The area we had chosen for our ceremony is a little outdoor courtyard, and if it had started raining we all would have been soaked. I didn't think about the fact that it could start pouring at any minute, I just kind of went with it.

I was pretty nervous walking down the aisle. Months of work and preparation, the events of the day, everyone's hard work - all of it was going into this one moment and while I wasn't freaking out, my mind was buzzing.

But I had to concentrate on not falling down the stairs, and by the time I got to Adam and saw how nervous he was, I calmed down. I made sure I took time to look at everyone who was there, and really remember the moment. Sylvia, a family friend from when we lived in Bermuda all those years ago, married Adam and I and it was such a comfort to have someone there who we were comfortable with and who knew us. 

I love that last photo of Eve, Sara Jane and Katie looking all emotional! The skies continued to darken all day, but I'm happy to say that our ceremony and cocktails afterwards weren't rained out. And we managed to have our wedding photos taken before the storm came through! They're the best part too, and I can't wait to share them tomorrow!

Oh and also, my mum did this reading, and Sara Jane read a passage from Lemony Snicket :)

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The Wedding and the Hurricane :: Before the Ceremony

The day of the wedding I was too nervous to stomach anything but a mint chocolate chip milkshake. Probably because I hadn't yet finished writing our table settings!!

I am beyond excited to start sharing the photos from our wedding!! I hope you don't mind photo overload because I find it impossible to commit to being subtle and selecting just a few. And also, our wedding day comes with a long story, so I feel like I need to paint you a full picture. 

When Adam and I started organising our wedding, the one and only decision I made with absolute certainty throughout the entire process was who I wanted to be our photographer. Olivia Rae James is pretty much my dream photographer! She's always been such an inspiration to me and she shoots weddings so beautifully - it had to be her. If only I could have been so decisive with everything else... 

The entire week and a half that I had been in Bermuda before the wedding, the weather had been so beautiful. Bright and breezy days, clear nights with a full moon, stars as far as the eye could see, exactly the kind of weather you would want for your wedding. My mum and I kept on saying, "if the wedding was tonight, this weather would be perfect" - who knows, maybe we jinxed it. 

A few days before the wedding, our caterers came over for a last minute look around and planning session. They said they had been tracking the weather and there was a 90% chance of rain the evening of our wedding, we should probably go ahead and put up tents. I was sad because I had pictured a beautiful, open-air dinner with lights strung between the palm trees and the tree frogs peeping away in the background. I find it funny now to look back and think about how I was a little sad about the tents, because in the end we didn't actually need them!

The morning of the wedding I woke up, saw how grey the sky was, and declared I wasn't getting out of bed until the weather had improved it's attitude. Adam went off to have coffee with his parents and came back at around 8:30 and sat on the bed next to me. I rolled over and honestly by the look on his face I thought someone had died - it was one of those "just tell me!!!" moments because he couldn't get the words out. As it happens, we didn't need the tents because our caterers had to take them down. There was a tropical storm heading for Bermuda and they weren't insured to have tents up in such high winds. Because of the placement of the tents, there was a good chance that the wind could pick them up and blow them straight through the windows of my grandfathers house. The location we had been planning and decorating for months was just not an option anymore. We needed to change venue...

Suddenly everything went crazy. Our caterer was on his way to pick us up and take us to a venue he could offer us on short notice. My mum was on the phone to Morgan, my maid of honor, and Eve, Sara Jane and Kate, my other bridesmaids, to come over as quickly as possible. Groomsmen arrived on an army of scooters and started to stuff decorations into plastic bags to move them. The alcohol that was taking up most of the garage had to be sent back. The tents were being taken down along with the lights and speakers. It was all organised chaos and I was just in shock, I didn't know what to make of it!

When we saw our new venue, I didn't really take any of it in. Thank goodness we had hired a wedding planner to help with coordination on the day because she was already at the venue when we arrived and immediately jumped in and started negotiating for all the extra benefits she could get from the manager. 

Looking at these photos, you would never be able to tell, would you? We all look so happy and stress free, like we had planned on the tropical storm all along! As I was getting ready and putting my dress on, I completely let go of everything. I wasn't in control of anything anymore and there wasn't anything I could do. Every time I thought of something and said, "MUM!!! WHAT ABOUT THE....", she just said "it's already done". What a superwoman. 

Adam and I decided to have a "first look" before the ceremony. Neither of us could take any more emotion than we had already had to deal with that day. If we had to see each other for the first time walking down the aisle I don't think either of us could have held it together. As it is, I think we did pretty well! I'll carry on with the story tomorrow...

Wedding Dress and Bridesmaid Dresses :: BHLDN, Gold Orchid Hair Ornaments :: Twigs & Honey, My Shoes :: Kurt Geiger, Wedding Rings :: WeAreArrow, Adams Suit :: Suit Supply, Adams Tie :: The Bay

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The Wedding and the Hurricane

We're married!!!!

It was a wild and crazy adventure trying to pull off a wedding in Bermuda, and it didn't unfold as we thought it would - Mother Nature had other plans. With a hurricane on its way we had to improvise and for so many reasons, it all turned out so much better. I can't wait to share the story in full, because it's a good one, but for now we're honeymooning in New York and trying to organise new flights home thanks to ANOTHER hurricane. But we're married, and no matter how crazy all the other stories are turning out to be, that really is the most exciting news I can tell you. 

Photo by Rory Wylie  

Keeping My Head

I arrived a few days ago in Bermuda and have slowly been adjusting to the heat and the time difference. It's been lovely so far and it's always nice to be back on the island, and to finally be getting ready for the wedding. It feels like we've been waiting for this forever!

Getting married in paradise is wonderful, but a wedding is stressful no matter what the location. I'm trying to make sure I do a few things each day that are helping me keep my head.

My Grandparent's house has some pretty amazing views over the creek so I'm making sure to get in some yoga by the ocean whenever I can - followed by a swim in the creek to cool off. 

My mum also has me hooked on this smoothie she's been drinking lately, it's absolutely delicious:

- blueberries

- spinach

- greek yogurt

- flax seed

- a splash of water

- a splash of milk

It may not sound that exciting, but it sets you up for the day like nothing else. That, an apple and a couple of coffees and I've had enough energy for all the admin that needs doing.  

Daily trips to the beach! That's a must. Even if it's just a quick visit between appointments with the florists and the caterers, taking just a moment to play in the waves is wonderful. I swear the ocean had healing powers.  

Taking some time to get my camera out. I've figured out that the two things that make me happiest and keep me calm are yoga, and taking some photos. It seems like an odd combination even to me, but whatever works, right?

These are the thinks keeping me calm in the days running up to the wedding - I just hope I can keep making the time for them!  

An Engagement Shoot With Rory Wylie

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Today is finally the day where I feel like it's all about to start. I'm sitting in Gatwick, clutching my Pret coffee and waiting to board my flight. Once I land in Bermuda it's going to be non-stop wedding party time until a week on Saturday, then it'll be just one big wedding party! Adam arrives this Saturday and after that it's going to be hard not to get swept up in the whole thing, and before we know it it'll be over. 

Some weeks ago I realised that when I look back to the short time when Adam and I were engaged, I wouldn't want to remember it as just the time where we were planning, managing a budget, and trying really hard to get ready for a wedding. It's been so much more than that. 

Preparing yourself to commit the rest of your life to someone isn't something to be overlooked. It's kind if a big deal, you know? This year has been full of conversations about our future. What we want out of life, where those wants match up and where we both need to make compromises. We both know that plans don't always go the way you expect, but it's been fun to daydream about what kind of future we want together. And of course we talked about that before we even got engaged, but it seems a whole lot more real when you're about to get married.  

To remember this time we decided to book an engagement shoot with Rory Wylie, a really amazing photographer who has shot some beautiful weddings. Acting all loved up while someone points a camera at you isn't easy. Not at all. But Rory made it seem like no big deal. In the time from when you first meet her to the point at which she begins taking pictures, without you even realising it, she makes you feel like you're being photographed by an old friend. She is so friendly and so relaxed herself that it's almost contagious. It's evident her priority is getting a good shoot, and she works really hard to achieve that no matter what silly positions she needs to get herself into. Having spent many hours rolling around in the dirt in some far flung place to get a good shot - it's a mark of a good photographer in my opinion, but I am most definitely biased ;-)

Now that I'm about to board my flight, I look back on these photos and I am so glad we made the effort to do this. It's been hard to find a spare moment lately, but I'm glad we found the time to capture the essence of this past year.  

Ok, gotta go get married. See you soon! 

Dreaming up a Wedding, Part Two: the Dress

One hundred and ten days, that's all that's left until Adam and I get married! Yikes! It seems like there is just so much to do! We've made all of the big decisions and paid most of the deposits, but one of the problems with organising a wedding overseas is that it's hard to get a vision of what it's all going to look like. I don't have much of a talent for visualising things, which would really come in handy for planning this whole thing.

But at least I've got my dress sorted. FINALLY!! I can't tell you the issues I had with finding a dress, it did not come easily to me. Don't get me wrong, I found lots of dresses I loved, but I found it really hard to come to terms with spending so much on a dress that I'm going to wear for roughly six hours. I wanted something that I really loved, but that didn't break the bank. It didn't help that the first dress I tried on was a Jenny Packham - it was a bad idea to let a three thousand pound dress set the standard.

I have found one now, and it's such a relief. After I made a decision on the dress everything else started to fall into place - I don't know why it worked out that way but it did. And luckily enough I managed to get some beautiful bridesmaid dresses from the same place! Fingers crossed they fit though - yet another issue with having an international bridal party!

Above are a few styles I had in mind while I was looking for a dress, all taken from Pinterest of course! I think the one I've gone for encompasses the easy-going garden wedding feel we're going for, and I am so excited to share it with you all. Only 110 days to wait!

Dreaming up a Wedding, Part Two: the Honeymoon

When it first sunk in that Adam and I were actually going to get married, a few things emerged out of the chaos of wedding planning to be the things I am most excited about (apart from marrying Adam of course): the photographer, the dress, and the honeymoon.

I started planning our honeymoon pretty much the day we got engaged - any excuse to travel, what can I say? My first thought was Borneo, or Mongolia. Or maybe Tibet? But then I mentally ran through an entire year of wedding planning to-do's in my mind and realised that after all that work, I probably wouldn't want to spend even more time organising a backpacking adventure.

Then I remembered when my cousin got married and posted loads of pictures to facebook of his honeymoon in the Maldives at a luxury hotel, I think it was somewhere like this. It was one of those holidays with a bar by the pool, sea huts that are only accessible by boat, and candlelit dinners on sand bars under the stars.

So now for a honeymoon I'm dreaming of a week or two in a luxury holiday hideaway, where adventures consist of getting up off your personal beach paradise to go in search of a cocktail.

After we've unwound from the wonderful but chaotic wedding weeks, we'll throw on our backpacks on go off in search of a different kind of adventure. But I've never had a holiday dedicated to just relaxation, and right now it sounds about perfect.

This post was written in partnership with Emirates Holidays.

Dreaming up a Wedding, Part One: the Dinner Party

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I thought I would share with you a few bits and pieces about what I'm thinking up for our wedding. We still don't have a date so it's all very much still a daydream, but a few details are confirmed which I will keep under my hat in case I jinx them. But with all the creative brainstorming going on over here about how to make it a wonderful day, it seems a pity not to share some of it with you.

We're hoping to have our wedding in a place where it will be warm enough to spend the evening outside, under the stars, having a long dinner with close family and friends - nothing too formal. We want to make it really casual and not go overboard on the expense, so we will hand make as much as possible, whether it's rosemary sprig napkin rings, or hand printed invitations.

I see a lot of candlelit conversations, a lot of fairy lights, and (fingers crossed) a lot of stars on a warm evening. I'm thinking of some beautiful, natural colours with hints of gold here and there - and I've only just realised that the theme of pink and gold is the same as my blog title, that wasn't on purpose, I promise! 

I want people to be able to mingle and catch up, in beautiful surroundings, and barefoot on the grass if they feel like it. I'm certainly not planning on wearing heels the entire night anyway!

The idea of A Midsummer Night's Dream keeps coming into my head, I don't know where the idea came from, but it sounds beautiful - and a night to remember. 

To read all the wedding themed posts I've done so far, click here.

Weekends and Wedding Dresses

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This past weekend was just so wonderful, so so wonderful. But let me start from the beginning.

Rewind to last Thursday and you would have found me sobbing, not for the first time that week, in the loos at work. This is the spot frequented by most of my colleagues during the run up to Christmas when work just becomes TOO MUCH!

During a particularly tearful conversation with my Mum, she said that I needed a break and that I should take the train up north for the weekend to come and visit her. So that’s what I did. First thing on Saturday morning I rolled out of bed, into a starbucks for a gingerbread latte, and then onto the train bound for Lancashire.

I met my Mum at the station and she immediately whisked me off to a wedding dress shop. I knew we had planned this but I was not really feeling it. I’m only 5’2” and I expected wedding dress shopping to be completely humiliating – with dresses swimming on my little size four frame, dragging along the floor in sample wedding shoes that would inevitably be too big. After such an awful week I expected to look like a pale and exhausted child playing dress up with massive purple rings around my eyes from too many tearful bathroom breaks – so more like a child ghost, which everyone knows is the scariest kind of ghost.

Oh wow I was wrong. Wedding dress shopping is just the BEST!!! All that business about feeling like a princess and getting so excited for the big day, it’s all true! We were there for hours, trying on dress after dress – and once I got over the awkwardness of standing in front of a full length mirror in just pants and heels (note to self: next time wear bigger pants, like, Bridget Jones Big) and having the lovely lady pull on and off dresses like I was a doll – I think it turned into one of the best days I’ve had in a very long time.

Once we were finished at the shop, which is located in a sweet little town in the middle of nowhere in the North West, we headed to the pub. I have to be honest and say I have been procrastinating a bit on the wedding front, but my mum hasn’t! Not one bit. She ran me through her ideas, booking options, locations, cakes – she’s handling it all like a pro! I am so much in her debt. We sat there by the fire with a glass of wine and talked it all through, which made the whole thing seem so much less scary. The pub was empty but for us, and beautifully decorated for Christmas. The stress of the week seemed miles away.

The rest of the weekend we spent watching roughly about six hours of cooking programs, both Ottolenghi and Rick Stein, polishing off a bottle of bubbly between us, having a roast dinner, a long sleep in, and a walk along the Fells with some apple pie and hot chocolate to warm us up.

I love weekends like this, and next year I will make sure to plan more of them. Thanks for taking care of me, Mum!

The Tale of Two Rings

When Adam first proposed to me, my ring wasn't quite ready. He had it made for me and it took a little longer to get my size right - my fingers are really little...

He needed something to propose with though, so he decided to make me a ring. Adam has these little bursts of creativity sometimes, and when inspiration strikes he tends to produce something really beautiful.

In the summer he had chopped and collected a few pieces of wood from his cottage which he intended to carve into spoons. Instead he carved one of the pieces into a ring for me, as a temporary substitute until my forever one was ready. 

There is so much sentimentality behind both of these rings. The first one is special because it comes from Adam's family cottage, on a lake in Ontario. The second one is special because Adam designed it himself using an aquamarine that used to belong to my grandmother. It used to sit in the first ring my Grandfather bought for my Grandmother when they moved to India as young twenty-somethings. Her engagement ring, which was also her wedding ring, was a really simple band with a rose carving around it which has mostly worn off now, but I still carry it with me every day. I suppose my Grandfather wanted something special for her now that they were living a new life so far away from England. My mum says she can still remember my Grandfather bringing it home for my Grandmother when she was a little girl, and she can even point out the jewelry shop in Bombay where he bought it.

I remember some months ago when I asked my Grandfather if he would mind if I used the stone which had fallen out of its setting for an engagement ring. He was more emotional in his later years than when I was little but I still half expected a stern lecture about being presumptuous. But I think he was rather touched by the thought, at least he sounded it when he said "yes, I think your Grandmother would have liked that."

Now that he is no longer around, it feels nice to know I'll always carry a bit of both of my grandparents with me - in something so lovingly designed by someone who will care for me always, kind of like they cared for me when I was young. It still amazes me how something so little can contain so much love, and so many memories.

Except it isn't that little really, not for an engagement ring. It's really quite huge actually, which is funny to get used to because I have never worn a ring before. When Adam first gave it to me I was a little afraid to wear it to be honest - but now my days are combination of compliments on my new ring, which make me smile, and full on panics when I think I've lost it for a moment.

The design is Adam's, but it was beautifully put together by the talented Emma Franklin who I am so looking forward to meeting one day. She also has a very beautiful photo of the ring on her Pinterest page which does it better justice than I ever could with my camera.

On Being Engaged

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I'm going to be honest with you. Marriage is not something I ever really planned for. Commitment? Yes. Loyalty? Absolutely. Romance? Always. Being with the same person forever? That is absolutely for me. But I never really felt like I needed to be married to make those things happen. I mean, I love weddings, I love celebrating with people who choose to get married, but I never felt like I needed it for myself. Does that make sense?

But being married matters to Adam. It doesn't matter why, but if it matters to him it matters to me. And as I'm not opposed to marriage exactly, I thought I would just let our relationship progress naturally. We talked about marriage and getting engaged, but I never put any pressure on him to hurry up and ask me. But as things did progress in our relationship I started to get nervous, almost as though I was anticipating a proposal. I thought maybe I was a big commitment-phobe after all!

I was scared, if I'm honest - not of being with Adam forever though, I knew almost from the first moment that I wanted to be with him. I can't pin down what it is that I was scared of exactly, but when I cottoned on that the proposal was going to happen I was a bundle of nerves.

Then one day I met Lulu at a blogger event and we got to talking about marriage. She had recently had her wedding and explained to me how she felt about the whole business. She said that when you become engaged you start to feel a wonderful kind of security - when you didn't even know you were feeling insecure! She talked all about how being married is just great. And her enthusiasm for it was infectious! (I don't think she even knows how much that conversation helped me - thanks Lulu!)

And now that I'm on the other side, and Adam and I are engaged, I understand what she was talking about. It's not a "thank goodness I finally have a man to take care of me" sense of security. It's a, "ok I was right, he does genuinely does love me and want to be with me forever" kind of feeling. Kind of like a confirmation of what I always believed.

It's all very hard to explain, but it's a lovely to feel settled and secure, and I'm really enjoying it.

We haven't started too much on the wedding planning yet, and I promise this won't turn into a wedding planning blog, but I can share a few bits with you if you like?

A Birthday-Engagement Party

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when I get excited and nervous I do my

Wallace "cheeeeese" hands

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(Every photo was taken by Michelle from My Creative - I am so grateful for her being there and bringing her camera to capture such priceless moments)

I had known for quite a while that Adam was planning a birthday party for me, mostly because he had asked me for a list of invites. But I didn't know that it was also going to be an engagement celebration! I suspected a lot, but I didn't know anything for sure so my imagination was running wild.

But the reality was much better than anything I had dreamed of! I Bought a pretty new dress from asos, had a mini champagne celebration at home with my mum and Adam's parents (who had flown over to celebrate with us!) - and then Adam had me hop into a cab and put on a blindfold.

After driving down a bumpy road, climbing some steps and trying not to fall over, Adam uncovered my eyes and everyone yelled a big "SURPRISE!!!". Adam thanked everyone for coming and then said that he had asked me to marry him and I had said "yes" (the classic Adam double-bluff) - then there was a massive cheer and everyone ran over to hug us. That will go down in my little history as one of the best moments of my life.

My mum and Adam's parents had decorated the place beautifully. Our friend Lauren made the most amazing bunting I have ever ever seen, with pictures of all my favourite things hanging from it: Molly, a horse, a DAVIDsTEA mug, a camera, a tube sign with London Fields on it, a bowl of pho and a picture of Poirot - kind of weird that last one, I know, but I'll explain another time.

We partied at the Redchurch Brewery until the wee hours with all our friends. Blogger friends, uni friends, school friends, work friends, old flat mates, everyone! The brewery is located in a railway arch under the Liverpool Street to London Fields line and the beer they make tastes so good - Adam even bought a keg of beer and named it Freya's Birthday Brew. He also hired a food truck!!!! The amazing Rainbo who make delicious gyoza and donate 20p from every meal they sell towards ending child labor. Amazing!! They gave us a free bottle of sake (my favourite). Oh and they blog. My kind of food van! Adam could not have done better.

And on top of everything else, Adam also arranged skype calls with my best friends in Canada, and one in Korea, as well as my dad, so that I could tell them the amazing news!

The next day we had a family pizza celebration at Sweet Thursday, and the day after we were on a flight to Italy.

I still can't believe it. I really really can't. But I do know how incredibly lucky I am to be so loved by such a wonderful man.

He Said Will You and I Said Yes and Now...

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We're engaged!!!

It happened on Friday night just before a big surprise birthday celebration that Adam organised for me - and we have been celebrating ever since! Friends and family have flown to London to be with us, and we are just so so happy. 

And at this moment we are on a flight to Italy to carry on celebrating even more!

I can't wait to share all the photos with you (taken by the amazingly talented Michelle) and tell you all about it soon. Adam went above and beyond to make it all perfect and such a special evening. 

I still can't believe it!