Monday, 29 July 2013

27/07/2013 - "Look like you like each other!"

A little lie in for us this morning. Well, compared with a normal week day, that is.

We were off to sunny Formby for our pre-wedding shoot, with our wonderful photographer, Lesley Wood!

Our photography was one of the first things we sorted out for the wedding, nearly a year ago I think, so it was really strange to think that we were finally here and doing the pre-wedding shoot. Guess that means we're getting married, huh?!

It took about 45 minutes to get to the beach in Formby where we were meeting Lesley, and then we had to drive again as apparently there are two different parts to the beach and we were at a different place than Lesley was!

The sea is that way. Honest.

Formby Beach is a National Trust site. It has both a forest-y bit as well as the sand dunes and the beach. So we were able to have pictures taken in different areas for different effects!

The shoot went well. I think. I'm sure I'm pulling some hideous faces at certain points as we were running and splashing...I'm also pretty sure I'll have flashed Lesley at some stage as I was wearing a skirt. Ho hum.

Beautiful blue skies and sandy dunes!

We were out for a couple of hours and it was fun! We even had a paddle in the sea and the water was warm! Yes! Here in England the sea wasn't freezing! It was warmer here than it was on holiday!

We celebrated with ice cream and then went our separate ways. Looking forward to seeing the pictures once they are finished!

Paul and I stopped at a nearby pub on the way home for some lunch. Which was nice.

Formby seems like a nice place to live. Expensive. Nice. Maybe one can dream, can't they?!

When we got home we discovered that our wedding venue had sent us loads of information and forms to fill out for them, which then reminded me that we have a wedding coming up soon that everything needs doing for! Instead of packing, I got on with it! Paul had a nap.

I decided to sit in the yard to do my work, as it was slightly cooler out there. Not for long, but for long enough!

I heard noises coming from the open bathroom window next to me...not those sort of noises...and I looked up to discover this!

Maia was walking on the window frame and watching me through the gap! She also wanted to play!

Precious princess!

Not content to be left out, Barney, or 'FOMO' as he is sometimes called (Fear Of Missing Out) got in on the action!

I got some bits done and am quite pleased with my productivity. Paul got up and went and did some shopping, so he was productive too! He also supplied me with drinks and made dinner!

It started to rain quite heavily after dinner so we headed inside and started watching The OC season 2. A fairly relaxing evening.

Oh, and while we were waiting for dinner, two pictures from earlier on appeared on Facebook! So I'll share them with you! These are our sneak-peek and I can't wait to see the rest on Wednesday evening! :)

 Photo © Lesley Wood Photography

 Photo © Lesley Wood Photography

Not bad, eh?

Sunday, 28 July 2013

26/07/2013 - Being a girl

Guess what I did this morning?! Yes, that's right - I went to the gym with Paul. At least it's not a bad thing to be predictable when you're doing good and healthy things!

It was dress down day at work today, and sometimes those are the hardest days! Mostly because in the temperamental weather we are having at the moment, it's warm but at the same time it could be raining at any second. So finding something to wear isn't easy.

Turns out that my pic was almost identical to what colleague T chose to wear!

Everyone was grumpy in the office today, except T. My annoyance was mostly down to the AssHat making contact and causing everything to be more complicated than it actually is, plus lying to my big bosses about things that we could easily prove as inaccurate, which meant more work for us. Really difficult. Stupid man.

I would put in the icon, but it's been the first image on my blog before, and I do like diversity. Maybe later.

Oh, and they used the word AssHat in Franklin and Bash this week too! So it's a cool thing to say! :)

So work happened and was dull as ever. Nothing interesting to say about it except I ate an over-ripe banana and nearly vomited at how sweet it is. I won't be doing that again. Bleugh.

After work I headed straight to the hair dresser! It's a little late but I need a trim before the wedding. My hairdresser is lovely, and when I walked in, even though I don't go very often, she said "you married yet?!" so she clearly remembered me. When I told her that it's 6 weeks away (EEK!) she was asking a LOT of questions.

It was warm in the hairdressers. REALLY warm. When you have as much hair as I have, and it's being blow dried, it's even warmer. To the extent that she had to keep blowing cold air onto my neck!

She took somewhere between 1/2 to a full inch of the ends of my hair and neatened it up a bit. It now has six weeks to grow out a little. She said it was in good condition so didn't really need much more, but it was a bit dry still from holiday. So I'm glad I went.

When I came home, I decided that I needed to be productive again. So I did some sorting of washing and tidying up a bit. It's so easy for the house to become a bomb site! Stupid small houses.

We had chilli for dinner, which was nice, and then relaxed for a while. Then I remembered that I was supposed to be doing my nails for tomorrow, so set to and concentrated on those.

I decided on french tips because my nails are long enough and I thought I'd see if I was any good at it!

I have a kit which had stickers so the tips are nice and neat.

You then paint the tips white and leave them to dry. Once dry, you put a pale pink coat or two on top and you're done! I put an extra coat of my OPI nail strengthener on top of that, hoping that it will help keep them strong and chip-free.

Not bad!

I don't think I'll be doing them myself for the wedding. I'm not good enough at painting neatly with my right hand (I'm left handed) for the close up pictures. After all, the left hand will be the one with the wedding band on it that people will be looking at!

We watched some more TV and then went to get some much needed beauty sleep for tomorrow!

25/07/2013 - It's hard being a Barney

We got up and went to the gym. A regular opening for a post here, isn't it?

Today I did 10 minutes on the treadmill, 10 minutes on the wave machine and...I don't actually remember what else!

We came home to a rather warm Barney.

I was sympathetic. I was rather warm too.

Another day in work. A busy day. Tried to get loads done and got some stuff done. So not a bad result.

Barney got nothing done today except airing his belly dots.

Not a bad way to spend a day.

I came home and we had a healthy dinner. Lots of veg. Aren't we good?

Actually, no we aren't, because we followed our healthy dinner with this:

Very chocolate-y Magnum. Tasty! Naughty. Paul messed about on the internet. I watched Four Weddings and got increasingly more amazed at the weddings that they showed. Serious amounts of food at the 'cocktail hour' (whatever that is) and then even more food at the reception. Dancing while the reception food is being served?!

While I'm sure that it makes sense to the people planning it, it doesn't to us Brits! During what I think 'cocktail hour' is, we will be sipping Bucks Fizz and eating a few canapes. No food stations of various types, just 5 different choices.

People will be sat and will eat during the meal. Sure, get up and talk to others between courses, but how people eat then dance then eat then dance without getting indigestion is beyond me!

Barney's exhausted even thinking about it.

I'm sure if that's what the tradition was here, then I'd embrace it (maybe) and that's what would be done, but that would cost SO much money in the UK. Weddings are expensive. I wonder how much my wedding would cost if it was just a party of the same size without using the 'w' word. It's an interesting thought.

Paul would like that much food though.

I'm yet to see a cheese - cake on there though. No fancy fondant for us! Take that, Four Weddings!

24/07/2013 - Invitation Time again! :) **Picture-heavy Post**

It's Wednesday which means one thing that fills us with joy and happiness: later get up! The alarm doesn't go off until 6:30am instead of 5:40am! We don't get up until after 7am, so it really is a nice lie in! I can't not snooze my alarm. I don't understand these people that can set and alarm and get up straight away!

We had another long day in work. It was a little bit manic and both T and I were falling asleep come 3pm!

Once I came  home, I pretty much got straight to work. I need to utilise my time a little more wisely, with only just over 6 weeks until our wedding.

Tonight I started on the place names for the wedding meal tables. No spoilers, because they're going to be awesome (I hope) and I want to keep them a surprise to EVERYONE. Mum and Dad know a bit, as they are helping with a bit, but the rest, we're keeping schtum!

Some of my materials. Note that double sided tape? It's amazing. Seriously good stuff. Even the liquid glue is better than I thought. The glue stick...not so much!

We then remembered that we had a few more invitations to make as my friend hadn't received hers, and there were a few more people to invite to the evening do.

So here is where I do the big invitation reveal! I said it would come and here it is!

If you don't care, then please stop reading now, as there are a LOT of pictures, and unless you're interested, they are really dull!

I may have already posted some of these pictures in my post back when we made the invitations. I can't remember which and am too lazy to go back and look!


So way back when, we decided that instead of enjoying the nice weather, we decided to make our wedding invitations. It was a long and laboured (and in parts, painful) process, but I am very pleased with the end result.

How nice and neat the table started off. Card. Mouse (to skip tracks on the ipod playlist), glue gun. double sided tape (that we ended up not using here...and it's a good job because it's awesome, as previously mentioned) and a guillotine!

Also my feet in sexy flip flop slippers. You're welcome.


First thing we did was print off the invitation wording onto the card, and then cut the card in half.

The wording is on the other side. Honest.

The cards, once at A5 size then needed embellishment. We umm'd and ahh'd over what to do for a while while designing the invites, but then found a cute stamp that would go in the bottom corner, just to make them a little more interesting.

It was quite a therapeutic process! Excuse the editing. As much as I love you guys, I don't really want to be putting full details of our wedding out there on the internet. Not just yet anyway!

Here's a close up!

Simple, yet effective I think!

The Camper Van bauble came to help as a paper weight while the ink dried!

I think they're looking good! But not good enough!

They need something more. So whilst the ink was drying, we started on the next bit - more prettiness!

On the left-hand side, we decided to put a strip of lace ribbon to add some texture and...well...something a bit different than ink on paper!

Yep - strips of lace ribbon. Not that exciting, but cut by my fair hands!

Then it's time for the hot stuff!

Turns out I'm not the best with a glue gun. Paul turns out to be quite handy though, so we got these done in a flash!

A little while prior to the making of the invitations, we had made the bit that was going to put people's name on the invitation. It was a messy job, and again, Paul was better at it than I, but it saved us a lot of work today putting everything together.

Kraft paper luggage tags. I think they're quite common in the wedding industry at the minute, but we liked them. Stamping the names on was tough, as it was quite difficult to keep it neat!

Luckily on our prototype invitation, we used one that would be a little bit easier to re-do if we ballsed it up!

So once the lace was in place and cooled, we attached the tags and voila! The main body of our invitation was complete!

The picture doesn't really show the contrast between the lace and the card. The lace is white and the card is cream.

But that's not enough! It needs more!

I think I've shown you these before. We got to work making the RSVP cards, printing the envelopes and putting it all together to go with the invitation.

Still not enough. We need something to hold it all together.

Waaaaay back in March (I think it was) when we went to Chester to pick our wedding rings, we sat in a bar and designed our invitations. We wanted an envelope to go in the envelope and to fit with the rustic feel for the day, we chose hessian! Nice and flexible. Too flexible, it turns out, but I digress!

We had cut a rhombus shape out of the rest piece of hessian we got and it worked well, so we cut up the rest. But it looked a bit daft and gap-ey, so we needed to iron it down.

It's very easy to iron as well. Hessian is great! Hahahaha, how much do I not mean that statement!

Once cut and ironed, we decided to stick the invitation to the hessian, strung it together and the invite is complete!


That's where we left it for day one. Because we discovered that the bulk load of hessian that I had bought was different to the stuff I had previously bought and used to make Ash's invitation.


It wasn't good, guys. The hessian moved around and wouldn't cut nice and neat.


So we carried on regardless, hoping it would all turn out for the best. Spoiler alert, it didn't.

Paul measuring like a boss. Shame the hessian wasn't playing ball.

Barney playing in the hessian. He loved it. Most fun ever!

Marking on the hessian with chalk and cutting that line. Should have worked. Didn't.

We persevered and cut enough rhombuses (rhombi?) for all the invitations we would need. We kept them on one side ready for when we needed them. They were guarded well.

Ah, the irony of the bag behind the cat on the hessian when he shouldn't be.

The cats LOVED the hessian. They still do. It must be nice for them to lie on for some reason. We have enough of it to make a bed for them so maybe we will!

Just to prove that it wasn't just Barney who was a fan!

The envelopes were severely wonky. The invitation looked awful. We stuck the invitation onto the new stuff and it just didn't work.

We were very grumpy. Serious anger and doubts over the whole thing. Talk of spending more money and buying better quality stuff, even though it's more expensive and we'd be stuck with even more copious amounts of hessian than we already are.

Then inspiration struck. I cut around the invitation, leaving a fringe around the edges. We then fitted an envelope around the backed invite and tied it. Yes, the envelopes are still wonky but they aren't part of the invitation any more and if anyone has any sense, they can discard the messy hessian and keep the invitation on it's own.


So instead of wasting the rhombus' that we've already cut, I set to work cutting rectangles for the invitation to be backed with.

Barney 'helped'.

These were carefully measured and it's much easier to cut horizontal and vertical lines in this stuff. Who'd have thunk it?! Anyone with common sense, that is!

Yup, easy.

So we stuck the invites on the rectangles, neatened the edges, surrounded the same with a hessian envelope, made sure the RSVP cards were in the day invitations, tied up the edges and DONE!

So there we have it! Invites done! And yes, Ash, yours is unique in that yours was how we initially intended the invites to be! Everyone else got the second plan.

We're really pleased with how they turned out in the end! Not that we didn't like them originally, but as we couldn't do that, we have to compromise and they've ended up good! We've had loads of positive feedback!

Ash's finished product.

I don't think we have a picture of the secondary invite. Hmm. Sorry about that.

I'm sure you can imagine...right?!

We'll probably have to make even more, or I'll get a pic from someone who received one and show you then! you like them?!

23/07/2013 - Being proactive

Tuesday morning came, and Paul and I hauled ourselves out of bed and to the gym. We did a '300 workout' which was really mean and difficult and I didn't like it.

Taken from YouTube. Found on FreeFit on Facebook, started by Mark Raynsford, a personal trainer.

The above video is pretty much what we did, although we didn't time ourselves. Maybe next time.

From there, we went to work, and it was a loooooooooooooooooooong day. Why do work days take forever to get through but evenings and weekends fly by in the blink of an eye?!

I don't think I even have much to talk about when it comes to work! Nothing happened. Sorry!

When I got home, I had a delivery waiting for me!

I ordered some light dumbells last week (as the ones in the gym were too heavy!) so I could do some exercise at home and work on my jelly arms! So I did! I researched some exercises to do, and Paul gave me some tips as well, and away I went. It was difficult which I guess is a good thing!

From there, I did a few bits and bobs then settled down to catch up on some blogging and some TV. 

Catching up on Revolution with a nice tonic and gin. Must be Tuesday!

I also realise how messy my house is. Hmm. Probably should stop blogging and clear up!

22/07/2013 - Yep, this is really happening!

We started this day at the gym. Which is very good of us, don't you think?! I went on a rowing machine that didn't want to work properly and I think was a bit broken, then I biked for a little while. I'm not very good on the exercise bike, so hopefully it did all good things.

I then headed into work, but only for a half day today!

Colleague J was back from his holiday down to Cornwall and had brought me a present!

It's Cornish camper van fridge magnet! I love it!

Yes, I love tacky gifts. If anyone wants to send me tat from where they live, feel free! The cheaper and uglier the better! Someone has to buy these things, right?! They wouldn't make them otherwise!

At 12:30pm I left work and headed to the station where I met Paul. We then went on a rail trip to Southport! We're going to the seaside!

Seriously. £4.70 to get there. Absolute bargain. To say it costs closer to £20 to get to Manchester, which takes about the same amount of time, that shows how cheap it is! Yay for MerseyRail!

Sadly our trip to Southport wasn't to make Sandcastles in the Sand (Robin Sparkles, anyone?)...

Taken from YouTube. Sadly I can't find the actual video, which makes me sad.

...we were going to meet with the Registrar's office to finalise our wedding details! Hence us deciding our vows etc on Friday!

We were there a little early so grabbed a sandwich and sat in a park near to the Town Hall to enjoy them.

It was a gorgeous and warm day in Southport so why not sit out and enjoy it!

Our meeting with the Registrar was good. She was completely bonkers, which makes things entertaining. We paid our money and made our choices, subject to a few alterations. I have a feeling our ceremony is going to last for ages! Not quite Catholic Mass proportions, but I hope people like it. They needed far less detail than I thought they would, but it's all sorted now! It's exciting. And scary. I'm just glad we don't need to know the vows off by heart! There are quite a few of them!

We headed straight back to Liverpool as I needed to do a little bit of shopping. We were both shattered as well, so didn't see the point in hanging round.

We just chilled for the rest of the evening, to learn the news that the Royal Baby (yes - capitalised) has been born and it's a boy. Happy for them, but surely there is other news in the world? That poor child is going to have it tough.

21/07/2013 - Parental Visits and Positive Planning

We got a bit of a lie in this morning, which is always welcome. Especially after working so hard yesterday!

We then got up, got dressed and headed out into town. It was incredibly overcast out but not cold, so we walked it. We were going to meet my parents who were going to get Mum's outfit for our wedding fitted.

The cost of her alterations were a hell of a lot less than the cost for mine. Hmph. I'm glad I am only doing this once!

We then walked into town and looked in a few shops, then headed to The Hub for a bite to eat.

We went there because there is something to please everyone. Can't really go wrong. Except for dirty wine glasses, which were promptly replaced.

Yup. Two wine glasses. That's how I roll. Actually, Mum and I shared the second one. Because I'm kind and generous like that. :)

I have to admit, I was getting a little flustered at the amount of wedding questions I was getting asked. I think I'm fairly well organised, but when I get asked things that I've either not thought of, or I'm not thinking about or worried about, it stresses me slightly.

I must remember this for when our future children get married. I can imagine that I will do exactly the same thing.

We headed back to our house for a brew, and the annual exchange of tacky holiday presents. We got Mum and Dad a 'lovely' fridge magnet from Monte Carlo. They got us this:

It's a cat. On a pillow. Yep - definitely tacky! Doesn't really say 'I bought this in Cyprus' but it's kinda topical as Dad seemed to make friends with every single stray cat on the island, judging by Mum's holiday pics and video! They had kittens with them in some of them, and then apparently suddenly the kittens disappeared. The Mummy cats were crying for them. Mum thinks that someone came and took them away. Let's hope they went to a nice shelter for adoption by the kindest and most loving Cyprian locals, shall we?

Anyway, after Mum and Dad left, I sat and was grumpy for a while, and then we decided it's about time that we have another go at our table plan for the wedding, now the majority of our RSVPs are in.

We've tried doing it on the computer and it doesn't work for us. We need paper people! So we cut everyone's name out and eventually came up with our seating plan!

Sneak peek for you, wedding guests! What's the point in having an exclusive blog if you can't give your loyal readers a little hint at things to come!

It's a week later that I am writing this (bad Caroline) and I can tell you that people's names have now got everywhere around the house! 

There is still room for change, but I think on the whole we're satisfied with it. Mixing families and friends together so people don't clique and only talk to each other that they already know is the way forward I think. It's only for a few hours. There is also a loud table, which should be interesting...

We still have to make the actual chart, and that will the pretty homemade seating plan looks amazing in my mind's eye. I just hope I'm creative enough to actually make it!

Oh, and I know I still haven't shown you the invitations yet. Fear not. I'll do that in the coming week! 

There's a cliffhanger, huh?!

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

20/07/2013 - Spring cleaning in the height of summer!

Another rather warm day lead to the necessity of lying in bed for a very long time. Longer than we probably should have done. Ah well. We were tired! It was important.

After being lazy and drinking tea for a while, I had to make a decision: do I lie in bed and have a really lazy day, maybe doing some design work for the wedding, or do I go outside and clear my yard, which the cats have been using an as outdoor latrine for the past...ages?

I went with option b. Because I miss my yard. It's nothing special, but it's an extra room when it's used right!

First we had to clear all the furniture out of there so I could have a good go at the floor. What better place than the shower room to keep it?

We had to sacrifice the use of it for the day, but it was worth it. If we had put it in the alleyway, someone would have robbed it all!

Next I cleaned the floor with the hosepipe. Yes, I used that outdoor tap I was cursing the other week when it was installed!

The water was drying really quick! I wet everything then brushed the water out under the gate. I then did it again twice more times.

Then came the bleach. Yes, it's concrete, and I don't know how effective it was, other than to replace the cat-pee smell with bleach smell (not that I know - I can't smell!) and scrubbed the most 'used' areas of the yard.

I rinsed it off and left it to dry for a while to see if the cat pee smell was still there. Apparently it was a little bit, so there was no other option than to get the jet wash out!

My goodness, it didn't half make a difference! I didn't know it had got so grubby in there (other than the stink) but the water made it fly right off!

 We then left it to dry over night. Hopefully tomorrow it will be shiny and clean!

I then went to use the crappy shower we have in the upstairs bathroom that decided that it couldn't find any cold water, so I had to splash myself with the hot water and wait for myself to cool down. It helped.

I think watching us work was as tiring as us actually working!

It's hard being a Barney.

It's also hard being a Maia.

After a couple of refreshing Gin and Tonics (yes, it's my thing now), we went to bed.

I don't actually remember what we did all evening, to be honest! :) Probably watched more of The OC!