Friday, 30 October 2015

Happy Halloween

I know Halloween isn't until tomorrow but as this is the last day in October I'll be blogging, today seemed as good a day as any to post something Halloween themed. 

It's a celebration that is increasing in popularity here in the UK which I'm pleased about.  I doubt it will ever be as big as it is in the States and Canada but it is an improvement of how things were when I was a kid.  It was never really celebrated at all.  I have never been trick or treating, that actually makes me feel a little sad.  I'm hoping I'll get my chance one day, when we have kids of our own.  It won't be quite the same I know but hopefully I'll get just as much joy out of it seeing the kids happy and enjoying themselves, that's what it's all about after all.  

I'm a sucker for all the decorations and Halloween themed treats, or Halloween themed anything for that matter.  I'm a consumers dream, I just can't resist temptation.

Since having our own home I've really enjoyed decorating for the seasons and embracing it, Halloween has been no exception.  I've not gone too mad this year and have kept it ll pretty low key.  I'm not a fan of the ghoulish decorations either, I like to try and keep things pretty if I can.

Happy Halloween

~ Gem x

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

A Cosy Autumn

For me, Autumn is all about getting cosy and hunkering down for the colder months of the year.

It's all about snuggling under blankets with a good book and a big mug of tea, or hot chocolate or even a pumpkin spiced latte with lots of cream.

This Autumn I've been settling down with Jenny Colgan's The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris and I'm in love, and have been since page 1.  Don't you just love books like that, you just can't put them down.

It's about hot candlelit bubble baths and trying out the latest seasonal LUSH products.

In fact it's all about candlelight and fairy lights all the time, not just at bath time.  Lighting plays a huge part on setting the scene and making a home feel warm and cosy.

And creating little Autumn displays, bringing the outdoors in.

These are definitely the reasons why I love Autumn so much.

~ Gem x

Monday, 26 October 2015

The Pumpkin Patch

I was able to cross something off my October List on Saturday and along with my partner in crime and best friend Marie paid a visit to The Foxes Farm Produce Pumpkin Patch in Upminster.

Living in the UK this is definitely a novelty.  Halloween has never really been a huge celebration here, but it is certainly getting bigger and that makes me very happy.  I love Halloween, even though I am a huge wimp.  

Having seen peoples visits to the pumpkin patch in the States and Canada on social media, I was pleased to finally visit one myself, not too far from home.

The weather wasn't fantastic but it didn't dampen our spirits and I have to say the owner had a smile on his face the whole time we were there, something that is lovely to see, I really do like that personal service you get from people who run their own business. 

We had our cameras poised and ready and both enjoyed snapping away at all the pumpkins on offer. 

It made a real change to see families out together picking their pumpkin somewhere like this as opposed to just popping into their local supermarket.  It just seems to add to the whole excitement of the celebration, creating memories for the kids to cherish in years to come, quite magical really.

I don;t think I have ever seen so many pumpkins in one place, there were literally hundreds to choose from, although sadly, no white ones.  I'm yet to see one of those this year.

So as my thoughts are already turning to November, I'm pleased to have crossed something else off this months list, I'm almost there with just under a week to go, 

~ Gem x

Friday, 23 October 2015

Primark Pretties

I'm no stranger to Primark.  There have been times in the past that I've had to refrain from visiting because I just can't help myself from buying things that I really don't need.  But every once in a while I allow myself a treat and in through those doors I go.  
I'm so pleased with my latest haul, I wanted to share it with you.

I really liked this tea towel.  We didn't need another one but it was only £1 so in the basket it went.

I've seen these style of candle holders on Instagram before and have really admired them.  Spotting them in the shop I wasn't too sure as when they are not lit they don't look half as nice but I'm glad I took the risk.  I bought 2 of these.  I really like how the light shines through the sides of them, so pretty.

PJ's I love them, although I'm not one of those people who walks through the front door and puts them on straight away.  I may reconsider that after buying these two lots though.

And they are both sooooo comfy and warm.

As the temperature is dropping it only seems right to be buying jumpers.  This one is lovely too as it's quite plain but the neck line bling jazzes it up a bit making it perfect for both a casual or smart/casual look.

I couldn't resist buying this advent chalk board.  It was only £5 and I figured it was a good investment as we can bring it out year after year.

And these Santa earrings, £1! Bargain! Isn't he cute.

It could of been a lot worse but I resisted.  I can't promise I won't head back in there though.

What have you been buying recently?

~ Gem x

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Tips for Styling Photos

I'm no photographer, nor am I an expert at styling photos but I have learnt a few things over the past couple of months and it's amazing what a difference a few changes can make.

Always try and take your photos with natural light, it's surprising how much of an affect lighting can have on your photos.  Your background is also really important.  Plain white backgrounds can work really well but if you've not got that luxury why not experiment with different textures and surroundings.  Fabrics are always good, whether it be bedding or just a piece of fabric laid out on the floor or table.  I quite like wooden backgrounds for that rustic feel so either a wooden floor or table both can work well.  Failing that wallpaper samples can be great and the possibilities with this option really are limitless.

Take the photo above for instance.  The main subject of the image is laid out, but it doesn't look all that inspiring. 

Add some fairy lights and the image has a bit more depth to it, but it's still not quite at it's fullest potential.

By simply adding in some pretty petal confetti, it really brings the image to life.  The pop of colour complements the main subject.  Much better than the original image, wouldn't you agree?

~ Gem x

Monday, 19 October 2015

A Forest Walk

I'd wanted to go for a country autumn walk this month but I managed to do one better, a walk in the forest, something we very rarely do.

The weather was perfect, and the trees so beautiful and golden.

Hearing the leaves crunching under foot and searching out fallen conkers on the ground, it felt great being a part of the outdoors.  

If only we had the time to do it more often, but then I suppose we wouldn't appreciate it so much.

~ Gem x

Friday, 16 October 2015

Winging the Wedding and Praying on the Day - A Guest Post by Naz

Today's guest post is brought to you by Naz who blogs over at Odd Socks N All Sorts.

I don't believe I am the best person to give anyone advice on planning their wedding or even tips as to the little things that may help. To be honest most of my wedding day and the planning prior to it was a whirlwind and a blur. You may be able to relate to that aspect of the planning but trust me when I say the rest was definitely not a 'normal' wedding day. 

To give a bit of background I come from a very academic Asian family, by the time I was able to speak I knew what I wanted to be and what I needed to do to get there. Priority was studying and achieving the grades required to get there. Basically I wanted to be a Consultant Paediatrician I even  knew what  University I wanted to go too. Safe to say I was very career minded and so were my siblings, it was how we were brought up. Don't get me wrong we did have fun as well but studying came first. 

Lets jump a few years and explain that my dreams did not come true.  I was one grade away from getting into my desired University and studying medicine.  So I wanted to take a gap year, but that was a big NO!!. So instead of doing medicine I ended up studying law and going to a University that I didn't know …. that's another story for another blog. 

The relevant bit is during studying law I met a guy who was the guy I wanted to spend the rest of my life with.. you know that warm gushy feeling that you get when you see someone, or you miss them when they are not around. Your constantly texting, talking to them or staying over at theirs, well that was me a few years ago (a couple of decades now) wow that makes me feel old!! 

The problem was that I knew my parents wouldn't a) like him b) accept that I was in love 
c) entertain the idea of marriage. 

So after discussing the problems that I had with my future husband lets call him John the only option available to us was to elope and get married. Even that sounded romantic at the time. The whole secrecy just added to the intensity of our feelings and the future that was ours for the taking. 

Since I was not able to discuss the proposed marriage with my family, we needed some help. John wrote to his parents and spoke to them and explained the situation I spoke with them too- they seemed lovely and genuinely happy for us. They lived overseas and only came to the UK on holidays so I wasn't able to meet them. However John had a lot of family in the UK – uncles, aunties, cousins and a brother. 

By now I had got my law degree and needed to do the training and went up north to Yorkshire for this part of it. John came too when he could but it was difficult as my siblings would come and stay over at the weekends and drop in. 

Basically I had lied to them, as I was in love.  They would ask me questions about boyfriends etc. but I would say "I don't have time" as I'm career minded. Don't get me wrong I felt horrible lying to them, I was living a lie every time I was with them, it was tearing me up inside. 

I was in love, it was the only way and once we were married, then I would introduce them to him and they will love him just like me. 

I digress so we had limited funds for this wedding so it had to be a registry office. It seemed ideal that the registry office should be in the town that we both went to University and met. So we started  making inquiries about dates and prices. I had to take time off work which was hard and it had to fit in with John's family hosting the after party. 

Honestly once we had a date and ironically their was only one date left the in registrars books everything had to revolve around that. Johns parents knew it was in November but coming from a hot climate they were not coming over and catching their death of cold in November- funny really. 

John liased with his brother for me to spend the night there and I invited a handful of my best mates as it was and had to be a small event. John's cousin was amazing she told us to focus on the wedding and she will deal with the catering and hosting of the after party. That took a load off my mind. As far as I was concerned all I had to do was find a frock and turn up. 

One minor detail I have missed out and may be important I was and still am a major tomboy. Jeans and tops was what I lived in and still do to a point. 

Its so bad that my mates even had to ask that I was sure that I was wearing a white dress (as I usually live in blue or black)- the cheek of them!! but I knew that they were just making sure. 

Ok so in my noddy guide to the DIY wedding the following points had been checked:- 

1. Potential Husband 
2. Date 
3. Venue 
4. After Party (and all that comes with it) 
5. Guests 
6. Outfits 
7. Transport 
8. Vows 
9. Married 
You see all of the above had been dealt with except number 9. 

We came to Johns brothers from Yorkshire and I became ill I don't know if it was nerves, not telling my parents or just what I had eaten but I was ill!! John refused to leave me ( the whole not seeing the bride before blah de blah went out the window). 

We awoke to hear that Lady Diana had been killed, not a good start to the day…. 

We were running late and had to get from one end of London to the other and the car wasn't starting, so we took the train and tube. 

It wasn't until we got the registry office and met with the registrar, me truthfully sweating like a pig, not very graceful, and going through our vows, that anyone had ever mentioned the fact that rings were important and that we needed them!!!. 

Luckily we knew the area and ran to H Samuels, bought the cheapest wedding bands as we were officially skint now and ran back to the registry office to meet with family and friends. 
In all the madness I hadn't noticed I'd forgot to bring a change of shoes and was wearing a beautiful white dress with black court shoes- trust me not a good look!! 

However it was too late… we were called in… 

We came out married!!!! 

We were then driven to Hubbys cousin's to have a good old fashioned knees up – the company was great the food was wicked the toasts were apt, then we all danced the night away. 

Truthfully all the stress lies and deception building up to the marriage was at that point worth it- everything was perfect, I had married into a loving caring fun loving family and I was being spoilt rotten. Accepted for who I was and no judgement being passed about why my family wasn't there- I felt so lucky and humbled by their love. 

I had married into a fun loving mad family and I couldn't have been happier…..