INSPIRATION

  • TK MAXX – A BARGAIN BASEMENT

    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: Cardiff, Inspiration, Places I've been

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    I can’t seem to keep away from TK Maxx. In fact, I reckon I venture into that shop at least once a week and I’d urge you to do the same… There’s always something you’ll find that you won’t be able to resist. If, like me, you love a bargain, and even more so if it’s a bargain that no-one else is likely to have, then you can be sure to find some little treasures in the basement of TK Maxx.

    It’s my first port of call for presents – think quirky bakeware like moustache shaped cookie cutters, notebooks with pretty birds on the cover, retro-inspired cake tins – and my first port of call for lovely things to buy for my new home. Picture frames, lanterns and candles – you name it, they’ve got it.

    I’d love to hear about stuff you’ve magpied in TK Maxx too so let me know about any of your exciting finds.

  • SEW EXCITED!

    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: Cardiff, Inspiration, places of interest

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    As we were enjoying a family dinner together on Monday evening, my lovely husband handed me a white envelope and a brown paper package tied with a stripy red and white ribbon.

    Intrigued and pleasantly surprised (it wasn’t my birthday or any special occasion), I opened them up to reveal I’d be starting a course at Venn Tailoring in Canton, Cardiff on February 14th. An early Valentiine’s Day present. How exciting!

    My mum bought me a sewing machine for Christmas a couple of years ago and since then I’ve built up a stash of fabric from projects I’ve planned to start, but have struggled to find the time to.

    I am ashamed to admit it but I studied A Level Textiles in sixth form but since then I’ve only accomplished a few minor projects as I’m still a little bit scared of the sewing machine. Especially threading the bobbin – it always seems to go wrong no matter which way I wind it and insert the case into the machine.

    Now a mother to a busy 18-month-old who loves joining in with anything I’m doing, I really value any time I can manage to myself. There never seems to be an ideal moment to get the machine out and start a project. Eating and sleeping seem to take priority most of the time!

    But this is about to change…Thanks to my darling husband (who’s probably heard me whine one too many times about not having any time to do anything anymore) I’m really looking forward to spending the next few Saturday mornings dedicating just a few hours reigniting my passion for all things fabric and sewing.

    For inspiration, he also bought me Cath Kidston’s Sewing Book which is jam-packed full of lovely projects including bags, decorations, kids’ toys and home decor, all designed to build your sewing techniques.

    The ‘Sew Your Own Project’ course is every Saturday for six weeks at Venn in Canton. The next challenge for me is deciding on just one thing I want to make….

  • CARDIFF INDOOR FLEA MARKET

    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: Cardiff, Inspiration, places of interest

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    I’ve just read about Cardiff Flea Market on We Are Cardiff and have decided it’s a must-visit this Christmas! I’m tempted by the late night opening this Thursday as there is mulled wine and music – it sounds brilliant. Saying that, I’m usually house-bound post 7pm with my one year old, so I’ll have to find some time on a weekend to stop by instead!

    The stall that immediately caught my eye from reading more about it was the Art of Vintage Souk – a beautiful looking collection of vintage inspired wares with a Moroccan theme. I went to Marrakesh with one of my best friends two years ago for a New Year break and we had so much fun wandering around the souks and looking at millions of lanterns, textiles and sparkly trinkets. Having a Moroccan-inspired rug in my new home would definitely brighten up the room and be a reminder of all the colours, textures and scents we experienced during our little holiday.

    When I get around to visiting the indoor flea market I’ll do a more detailed post about the other stalls I encounter there and if I’m really organised, share some pics of the highlights too.

     

     

  • LET YOUR IMAGINATION RUN WILD…

    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: Inspiration, Uncategorized

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    Sorry for the radio silence, I’ve not updated my blog in a while. I hope it’s worth the wait though as Chloe from Pure Imagination has kindly given us a guide to planning your big day… Read on for more…

    Planning your big day can be a daunting task for any couple. Having to juggle budgets, decisions about music, colours, dress, suits, themes and food can be time consuming and stressful if you don’t know where to start. Chloe from Pure Imagination Wedding & Events Management gives us 10 reasons why hiring a wedding planner can help take the burden out of your big day…

    1) Budget
    Wedding planners are experienced and equipped with knowledge of the wedding industry. We are able to create a budget and stick to it, no sneaky costs the day before to ruin your beautiful day. We have access to exclusive discounts, know who to go to and who not to go to (!) and can help make your pennies go further. I worked with one couple who wanted a New York wedding cake for their big day. After being quoted £450 which was way over their budget I helped them find one that was just as good for just £199.

    2) Personal touch
    Wedding planners work with you personally, establishing a comfortable and trustworthy relationship which will ensure your wedding day is not just traditional and that it has more of a special personal meaning to you both. It’s the little details that count!

    3) Excellent Listeners
    The main part of a wedding planners’ job role is to listen, even if it is at 3 o’clock in the morning! We take on board all of your dreams, imagination and ideas and help turn them into reality in accordance with your budget.

    4) Mediation
    Any problems with regards to your wedding are no longer your problems, they are the wedding planners’ problems, and they will be dealt with in the most effective manner, leaving you to enjoy the run up to your big day.

    5) Venue
    Wedding planners will do all the hard work in finding the perfect venue for you according to your budget and ideas and even view the venues with you and contribute their expertise to help with your final decision.

    6) Flowers, DJ/Entertainment, Photography and Stationary
    These are the five key elements to the perfect wedding. A wedding planner will have a long list of the best in the business suitable to your wedding and will find everything you need to make your day as perfect as you imagined.

    7) Decorations
    Wedding décor can make or break a wedding. A wedding planner will ensure your theme and style stays on track as they are fully equipped with attention to detail and creativity to make your venue beautiful. This is the part of the wedding where you can save the most money whilst making your venue look fabulous.

    8) From engagement to honeymoon
    Wedding planners will be with you from the beginning to the end. We provide that extra special service and go the extra mile, not only can we create, design and manage your wedding day, we can organise your hen/stag parties and also your honeymoon!

    9) Touch of Imagination
    Pure Imagination creates unique weddings adding special touches to make your day even better than you imagined. A wedding planner can create the extra ‘wow’ factor for your wedding without exceeding your budget.

    10) Last but not least…
    Hiring a wedding planner allows you to actually enjoy not only your wedding day, but the time leading up to it as well.

    Pure Imagination is offering free consultations – contact pureimaginationevents@gmail.com or visit www.facebook.com/pureimaginationevents
    twitter: @pureimagevents or call Chloe Hobbs on 07881278481

  • BE MY GUEST! FROM CALLY AT CARDS BY CALLY

    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: Inspiration

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    Please read on for my second guest blog, this time a note on invitations. From the moment your guest hears the drop of the envelope on the mat, you will have created that first clue as to what your day will hold. Cally Thomas has written some words about how to make that first impression count and how an invitation can get your guests excited about what they can expect from your big day… 

    Whether you’re inviting guests to a wedding, birthday party or afternoon tea, your invitations will be the first impression of what your event will be like. It is also one of the few keepsakes from your event that your guests will have, so it’s definitely worth spending a little time thinking about them.  

     

    What is your style?  Vintage? Fun? Quirky? Formal? Something simple? Which colours, patterns or themes will you include? This may sound basic, but designing your stationery is often one of the hardest things to figure out.  Don’t be afraid to ask someone to help you.  About half of my clients come to me not having the slightest idea what they want.

     

    How much information?   Are you looking for just an invitation, or would you prefer to include information cards too?  The style and shape of the invitation could be influenced by this. Folders and pull-out style invitations often have space for extra information cards. Scrolls and flat card invitations are more suited to invitation-only designs. 

     

    When do I send out invitations?   Traditionally, six to eight weeks before an event. However, usually venues will ask for final numbers six to eight weeks before the event date. Your guests may need a few weeks to plan what they are doing and return your RSVP, and you may want to allow a week or two to chase RSVPs that haven’t been returned.  I would normally suggest sending them no less than three months before the big day, with an RSVP date of eight to ten weeks before the event date.  Save the Date Cards are useful if your wedding is at a busy time of year, or if your guests have a long way to travel, but they are not essential, as you can always send your invitations early.

     

    Can I make the stationery myself?   Absolutely!  Give it a go.  Your guests will appreciate the time and effort involved. Allow extra time in case they don’t turn out quite as you hoped as invitations always take longer to make than you think! 

     

    Finding a stationer   Recommendation is the best way to go, but I’d suggest choosing someone who can make entire ranges, not just invitations and then you have the option of co-ordinating items later. A stationer should offer a free consultation to come and see and feel samples and chat through your options and budget.  Don’t be afraid to state a firm budget and be open to different card types, embellishments and finishes.

     

    Every person is different, and every event is unique.  So why have a generic invitation?  A good stationer should be able to come up with something that is perfect for you, at a price that you can afford.  My final suggestion is to enquire as early as you can. A good stationer will reserve a slot in their diary for a small deposit, even if you haven’t chosen a design yet, so don’t be afraid to ask. You won’t lose this money, it will just be taken off your order when you decide what you are having down the line.

     

    I hope that this little guide is helpful.  Whatever your special event is, I hope that you have a wonderful time!

     

    Based in Cardiff but taking orders from all over the UK, Cally from Cards by Cally has been making bespoke stationery for many years.  Visit http://www.cardsbycally.co.uk/ to see some of her creative designs!

  • A WORD ABOUT PLANNING.. FROM BETH AT FORBESFIELD FLOWERS

    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: Inspiration

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    It’s a difficult thing to write a blog post to you brides, about your weddings. They are after all your weddings, and who am I to tell you what you should or shouldn’t have, what’s hot and what’s not, what’s on trend and what’s stone cold. As far as I am concerned, now and always, my job is to listen, extract and interpret. That sounds rather clinical put like that I know. But seriously, I have never put my work out there as a beacon or paragon of what your wedding flowers should be. All I can do is be true and honest with my own style and tastes and hope that it translates and that there are people out there whose imaginations are captured by it, get excited by it and want part of it. It’s about being true to yourself to do both yourself and your client justice. I am so very lucky that as a rule my brides trust me implicitly having seen my style and give me the creative freedom to get the very best out of me for their weddings. Brides, if you hold onto this ethos when planning your wedding then it’ll see you to the most wonderful, personal, personality filled day you could have dreamed of. The wedding industry is huge. Huge! And, I for one am most certainly guilty of gorging on all things wedding from table-settings, to lighting, to flowers, to favours, to ……..you name it, it’s there. Brides, don’t get carried away on the tide, stay focused and keep it simple and everything will fall into place. Simplicity will outclass an over-wrought wedding with bells on. Believe me, I’ve seen it…….

    I guess what I am trying to say are these two simple things. For me, I am good at what I do and if you like it then trust it and trust me. A wedding team you put your faith in wholeheartedly will never let you down. Choose your team wisely and you cannot fail. And for you, most importantly, your wedding is not a competition. It’s about pure, simple, real love. Keep that in your heart and in your head through planning to fruition and your day will win out in every and any way you care to count. Remember, just because we girls can have it all, doesn’t mean we should……

     

    Beth runs Forbesfield Flowers, based in the beautiful Castle Arcade, Cardiff.  In her words, Forbesfield is a gorgeous florist, specialising in a modern, classic style. Offering bespoke floristry, the studio is packed with all sorts of weird and wonderful things ranging from gorgeous fresh flowers to Victorian curiosities to vintage and antique furniture. We are a studio rather than retail shop so each item is made totally to your specification. Well worth a visit!

  • BE MY GUEST!

    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: Inspiration

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    Rather than read about solely about my ramblings on this site, I thought it would be interesting to invite a select few people I know and trust from the wedding and events industry to draft some guest posts about what they do. I’ll be adding these posts alongside my own and I hope they will inspire, excite and interest you!

  • CALLING ALL BRIDES TO BE…

    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: Inspiration

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    Wedding season is definitely upon us and for those lucky brides who have already tied the knot this summer, what glorious sunshine you’ve had! There’s nothing quite like the British sunshine and I think that’s because it’s genuinely unexpected and so we feel grateful for those little rays when they decide to shine upon us for more than two consecutive days in a month.

    There’s no doubt about it, summer is a great time to get married and to be planning a wedding. The sun makes everything look, feel and taste better, it makes people want to get out more and spend time with the people they love and it definitely gets us in the mood for a big celebration.

    So, if you are a bride to be and you’re currently looking for inspiration for your wedding, I wanted to give a shout out to Weddings by Elizabeth. Elizabeth Tomala is a wedding planner based in Monmouth and works with a number of local suppliers from venues, photographers, cake designers and bakers, florists, jewellers, wedding stationers, bridal wear shops and venue stylists across south Wales and the Forest of Dean. She’s a walking, talking contacts book and can help you save money on your wedding. Elizabeth offers a range of wedding packages including hourly consultations, on the day support and an invitation and guest list service. Have a look at her facebook and twitter pages too.

    Enjoy the sun while it lasts!

  • TIME FOR TEA?

    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: Inspiration

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    Recently my husband and I went to a lovely wedding in Mayfair and I was really touched by the reading in the ceremony that was delivered by the bride’s mum. She read a poem from Carol Ann Duffy’s Love Poems collection directly from the book rather than from a piece of paper, which I thought was a lovely idea – especially because the cover is pink with beautiful black illustrations swirled across the front.

    When we sat down for dinner, I then that noticed that all the female guests were given their own copy of the book as a wedding favour. What a lovely idea! So I had my own Carol Ann Duffy collection to take home. I was especially chuffed as the first poem that the book opened out to was Tea (from Rapture  – a collection from 2005).

    I love the way it celebrates the ceremony of making tea and how it touches all the senses before you take the first sip. Drinking tea is a pleasurable experience that’s not just about the taste, but about the sounds the tea makes as it’s poured, the scent of the tea leaves as they’re brewing in the pot and the way in which it can take your mind to places when you finally get to drink it.

    I thought I’d share it with you as it makes a really delicious read and definitely makes you want to put the kettle on and enjoy a brew. Don’t you think?

    TEA

    I like pouring your tea, lifting
    the heavy pot, and tipping it up,
    so the fragrant liquid streams in your china cup.

    Or when you’re away, or at work,
    I like to think of your cupped hands as you sip,
    as you sip, of the faint half-smile of your lips.

    I like the questions – sugar? – milk? –
    and the answers I don’t know by heart, yet,
    for I see your soul in your eyes, and I forget.

    Jasmine, Gunpowder, Assam, Earl Grey, Ceylon,
    I love tea’s names. Which tea would you like? I say
    but it’s any tea for you, please, any time of day,

    as the women harvest the slopes
    for the sweetest leaves, on Mount Wu-Yi,
    and I am your lover, smitten, straining your tea.