2nd Wedding Anniversary – Looking for opinion and ideas

What do you get your Husband for your 2nd anniversary_

Today is exactly 8 weeks until my 2nd wedding anniversary. You may remember when I posted last year about us choosing to try and follow the traditional wedding anniversary gifts. Last year was paper. That was quite easy… easier than this year anyway!

This year, the gift should be cotton.

So, what makes a good cotton anniversary gift? Some ideas I’ve considered are:

  • A quality cotton shirt from somewhere a cut above where we’d normally shop
  • Beautiful cotton bedding set
  • A cushion with some romantic wording on it
  • Some form of a cotton print. There seems to be quite a few types of prints on cotton out there.
  • Or I could cheat and get him a ‘cotton’ scented candle.

That’s as far as I’ve got. If you have a good suggestions please let me know as it is getting closer and I’m just not sure!

Our anniversary is on a Monday and I’ve booked the day off work thinking it would be 2nd wedding anniversary cotton giftnice to plan something special, or do something nice for my Husband. He doesn’t have the day off work. I know I could cook a nice dinner, decorate the house with some candles and the such. But we may still be living with my sister at the time, so some ideas I would normally do, such as putting candles round the house, cooking dinner, running and bath and then retiring to the bedroom is very unlikely to happen.

And that leaves me a total loss as to what I could do. I know I’ve already asked for ideas, but if you’ve got any ideas for what I can I could plan to make our anniversary evening nice I’d be really pleased to have them.

Doing this post about my 2nd anniversary coming up soon reminds me, that I didn’t ever share with you what the Husband and I got each other for our 1st anniversary. The last post I published about my first anniversary was two weeks beforehand, when I had bought his gift but didn’t want to share what it was on the blog in case he saw.

Last year our anniversary was on a Sunday, but we didn’t do all that much. We swapped gifts in the morning then popped into town to have a walk around with a posh ice-cream. I had decided to buy Steven a photo album of photos from our whole relationship together. In our relationship to date we only have TWO photo albums, our wedding album and the album I made for him last year. My gift from him was a framed print with some of the music lines and lyrics from our first dance song which you can see on the wall behind us.

Even if I do say so myself, I think we did quite well with the gifts we got each other last year, and I’m hoping to be able to get him something really good this year too. But WHHATTT? 


Bunting by Jen: the bunting service you need to know about

Bunting Hire

Jen, who is based in Wiltshire, is a wedding supplier I connected with during a wedding Twitter chat hour a few weeks ago. I was very intrigued about Jen’s business and asked her about her story of how she came to create Bunting by Jen. After a bit of chat with Jen and then me scoping out her website, not to mention, a bit of stalking on Instagram, I decided I just had to share her with all of you. 

Decorations for your wedding can really stack up, which is why I often blog about creating DIY decorations and buying second hand items, plus I often post pictures of bargain items I find on the high-street to Twitter and Instagram. However, amongst all the posts on this blog featuring budget friendly suppliers, I’ve not featured many who create and supply decorations for the frugal conscious engaged.  So, what more perfect reason did I need for featuring the fabulous Jen and her bunting hire business. 


Bunting by Jen

Jen was asked to make bunting for her sisters’ wedding back in 2014; she ended up making 150 meters of the stuff, and was then left wandering what to do with all of it when the festivities of the day were over.

Researching into bunting hire services in her area, Jen realised there was a gap in the market, and then after more research she discovered there was a demand for a bunting hire service. Et Voila – Bunting by Jen was born.

Jen is a lady after my own heart, in that she understands frugality.
“I have worked in the hospitality industry for over 20 years and understand how expensive weddings can be. I wanted to make my products available to anyone no matter how big or small their budget. This is why I have chosen to keep my prices as low as possible to help you plan your perfect day.” – Jen

So now you know about Jen and how she started her business, how does the bunting hire work? 

If you opt for the ‘Bunting in a Box’ option, you choose which bunting from the ready made range you want and how much of it you want. Jen then boxes the bunting with everything you need to put it up at your venue and sends it to you. When you’re done, you take the bunting down and send everything back. New designs and colour combinations are being added all the time to the ready to go options available. 

Alternatively, you could commission Jen to create custom bunting for which Jen would quote you based on your specification. I love the idea of having the bunting from your wedding day decorate the baby nursery afterwards. It is also nice to get your wedding bunting back out when you have anniversary parties years later. Bunting isn’t hard to store and doesn’t take up much space, but if buying bunting for your wedding just isn’t for you then Jen’s hire service is absolutely perfect. 

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If you fancy having a crack at making your own bunting you can see one of my posts from the archive of when I created some. My sister and I created bunting using the colour scheme or green, bronze and cream. At the time, back in 2012 this was the budget option available to me. After buying everything I needed, all the fabric and supplies, not to mention the sewing machine! I would have been much better off had a hire service been available. 

To connect with Jen and do some stalking of your own…
Bunting by Jen
on Twitter 
on Facebook 
on Instagram 

Finding Suppliers

Header - bid services

The hunt for wedding suppliers can be a complex, confusing and overwhelming mine field. Yes, you could just book in with the first you meet at a wedding fair, or with the photographer that was used at the last wedding you attended as a guest. But what if that isn’t what you want to do, or what if those photographers just don’t fall within your budget/ aren’t available on your date / you just didn’t really like them?

Thankfully, there is a way to get the photographers to come to you. You will still need to research them to make sure they are right for you, but it can make your search easier and less stressful, as you will know quickly if they are available on your date, are happy to work at your venue and if they are within your budget. 

Find A Wedding Photographer .co.uk

Request quotes from photographers in your area by filling in the little quote application form on findaweddingphotographer.co.uk/ or you can browse the listings of photographers in your area. I didn’t submit a quote as I don’t currently have a genuine requirement for a photographer, but the quote request form is very quick and easy to fill in with just 7 fields. After submitting the quote request you will have photographers respond straight to your email inbox. Within 2 minutes of looking through the listings for photographers in my area I found a listing for a father and daughter photography team who advertise themselves as affordable with a price range of £500-£800.

Your Perfect Wedding Photographer .co.uk

is another site where you can search the directory of wedding photographers in your area and request a quote. This site is a bit more aesthetically pleasing than the previous Wedding Supplier Bid Servicesone and, I would say seems easier to navigate too. There is 8 fields to fill in when requesting a quote, one of which is for you to give a link to some Pinterest inspiration you have found for the style of photos you’d like to achieve. Your Perfect Wedding Photographer.co.uk will then request quotes from photographers they think would be ideal for you. You will then get the quotes emailed straight to you. When using the search function I managed to find Zak, based in Berkshire who offers 8 hours of coverage for less than £1000.

But what if you want a similar services for other wedding trades and suppliers too? 

Bidvine .com

Bidvine enables you to request bids from a rangeviting.  of people in your area for everything from plumbing to wedding floristry. You start by entering the ‘trade’ you’re looking for and your location. As soon as you’ve done this you’re asked to answer questions to enable them to bring you the right suppliers. It did feel like quite a few questions to be honest, some of which you may feel like you don’t know the answer for right now, but rest assured, it does let you select more than one option. When I had finished filling in the questions I was informed I should expect up to 7 bids within 4 days delivered straight to my inbox.

I used a site similar to these when searching for my wedding photographer. I ended up booking one of the people that emailed me with a quote based on my submitting a request. The website I registered on was… 

Trusted Local .com 

This website looks proper old and uninviting admittedly, but it helped me find my photographer Natalie so it can’t be too bad. Although, I did use this website in 2015, so there is a chance that this website might not be as good as it was. I’d still say it is worth submitting a request on though as it is another site where you can find and obtain quotes from a range of wedding professionals. Once you’re on Trusted Local, click on “Get Quotes: Find a Supplier” the use the search bar to find the category of supplier you need. Once it comes up click ‘Next’ and enter your postcode. you then get a message saying your job will be posted on their marketplace for suppliers in your area to find and reply to you. Once you’ve registered you complete your ‘job’ by advising for your wedding date, when you’d like replies by and you can give a good description of what you are looking for, think style wise etc, if you wish you can attached images of your inspiration, similar to yourperectweddingphotographer.co.uk. When a supplier responds to your bid request you get an email, then view the bid response on the website.



Career Highs & Motoring Lows

Making my way in my 20's

Career High

In April I started a new job doing what I have wanted to do for years!

In 2007 I went to Winchester University to study Primary Teaching, it was a 4 year course, and I would have come out with a BA Hons in Primary Education with QTS, however in the first semester of the third year I left. The reasons why could be a whole other post, so I won’t go into now, but if you are interested in why, let me know and I might do a post about it.

I love training, teaching and coaching people and it seems that any role I have taken on i have gravitated towards and somehow always been utilised for training and coaching colleagues. At my first office job, for a big mobile communications company, after just 6 months I became one of the people that would training new starters. Then when I worked in a sales office for a utility company I coached new starters and existing employees on their telephone manner and the sales cycle as well as coaching them on how to stay focused and motivated. My passion and abilities in training and leading people gave me a lot of opportunities at that company.

Then my role previous to now, was working as a Customer Account Manager for an LED lighting company. I was there 4.5 years, and from being there less than a year I was used to create training plans for all new starters into the Customer Service department and to deliver the four week training plan to each new starter. I also became the product trainer. It was during this time that I decided I no longer wanted training and teaching to be a PART of my job, but wanted to take the plunge into a full time training role.

So I took the plunge and I am incredibly glad I did. It feels utterly amazing to think I am now a ‘Training Consultant’! Especially when I consider how many training jobs I applied for without hearing back at all before I got my chance.

I work for a not for profit provider of apprenticeships delivering training and conducting progress reviews with the learners. Not only have this company taken me on as a trainer but they are putting me though some NVQs too so I have will appropriate qualifications for the job!

A GIF representing me after finding out I got the job

Motoring Low

However, this new new job means I have to drive a lot of miles in my own car. The company I now work for is a charitable organisation, so a company car was not included. I have to visit my learners in their workplaces to conduct progress reviews, and they can be as far away as a 2 hour drive. My 55 plate Civic was the first car I chose myself. I’ve had Rosie (my car) 5 1/2 years and Rosie has been a good car. Been being the operative word. She makes strange noises, seems to loose power, stalls regularly (irrelevant of who the driver is) and has broken down twice in the past 6 months.

But I can’t afford to get a new car 😦 because the Husband and I are saving for a deposit on a house. We can’t buy a car outright, and even getting a car on finance or lease is not an option because the monthly payout will reduce the amount we are able to save each month. Plus it would reduce the amount a mortgage provider would lend us as it would impact our “affordability”.

So little Rosie will just have to carrying on limping through for a while yet. It’s just one of the many sacrifices that are being made in our bid to try and get on the property ladder.

Please tell me I’m not alone? Do you have a car that is barely hanging on?
Have you recently made a career change, or, are you like I was a few months ago, plugging away trying to get into a role you really want?

Life might be quite hard in some ways at the moment, but I feel optimistic and continue to look on the bright side whenever I can.

highs and lows of trying to make it through my 20's

My Ex Old Man and my Ex Best Girlfriend

Ex old MAN

‘My Ex Old Man and my Ex Best Girl Friend’, may be the name of a song by country singer Kristen Kelly, but is also the title of this blog post, because yesterday my ex Fiance married an ex Best Friend of mine. 

Emma was my best friend all the way through secondary school and into A Levels, although at some point around GCSE years Emma left the school we went to together and went to a different school designed for those who had been failed by the education system. Emma and I spent a lot of time together, usually at her house, watching F.R.I.E.N.D.S, playing video games and eating Chinese takeaways. Often Emma’s parents would go on Holiday, leaving her at home alone (her grandparents would keep an eye on her), and during these weeks I would spend a lot of time at her house. We would buy cigarettes and smoke them in her garden, and drink vodka neat out the bottle and end laughing because I managed to fall over in her tiny, under stairs toilet. It was with Emma that I smoked Cannabis with for the first time. We even kept a scrap book of our exploits, printing out pictures to stick in the scrap books and sticking in emails or little hand written messages to each other. I wish I knew what happened to that scrap book! We would have little fall outs, like teenage girls do, but never for too long.

When I was 16 I started a relationship with Adrian. We got rather serious quite quickly considering our age. My parents weren’t sure about him at first because he seemed to come from no where to them and because he was 3 years older than me. But I managed to convince my parent round, and over the years they bonded with him. We would spend as many weekends as we could together, because he lived an hours drive away we didn’t see each other Monday-Friday.

There was quite a few occasions when Emma, Adrian and I would all hang out together. One weekend Adrian and I stayed over at Emma’s house. We all got on well.

Then when Emma and I went to university we started to drift apart, and this time our friendship stayed broken. I regret that I let our friendship fall apart, because we always had such fun together, we always had each others back, and never judged each other. We could tell each other anything and know the other would stay true.

Adrian I stayed together for 6.5 years. We stuck it out together, even throughout our university years, which is often when couples break up. Just before my 19th birthday he proposed, then in 2010, when we had both finished university, we moved into our first rented place together, a little run down flat. And we were planning our wedding for 2012. We were mostly happy, but once we moved in together the cracks started to show. We were two rather different people. The arguments became more frequent, and I started to fall out of love with him. So after 6.5 years together, and 5 months before our wedding day, we broke up. Our break up was amicable, and we asked our friends and family to keep any negativity to themselves. I still liked him, and he still liked me, we just realised we didn’t want to marry each other, and we had become more friends than lovers.

We were still good friends, that after breaking up, we carried on living together for 7 months until our tenancy contract ended. But soon after I moved out, we came to thexoldmane conclusion that for both our sakes it was best if we broke all contact so that we could both move on in a healthy way.

Fast forward a couple of years and I’m happily in a relationship with someone else and engaged to be married. That person is my husband. 

Adrian, much to my own discomfort and great upset, stayed friends with my Sister and Brother-In-Law and continued to see the two of them as friends. Over the years following Emma and I falling out of friendship, I’m not sure exactly how, Emma and my Sister became friends. often my Sister held gatherings for friends at her house and Adrian and Emma would both be invited. And when Adrian and Emma were both single they got together. At the time, although we had drifted apart in ‘the real world’ I was still friends on Facebook with Emma, but when I saw her relationship status update, to show she was in a relationship with Adrian, I deleted her as a friend. The idea of them being in a relationship was just too weird for me! And I didn’t want to watch their relationship play out online.

Fast forward another couple of years and my husband and I got married in the October of 2016 and the very next month Adrian proposed to Emma. How do I know this? Because a mutual friend of Emma and I, an old school friend, told me. The old school friend was shocked about their engagement, and understood why I felt it was weird.

Yesterday they got married. My Sister was a Bridesmaid, and my Brother-In-Law was an Usher.  I find this odd. To me, it seems that Adrian can’t/hasn’t moved on from when he was with me. Yes, my sister and bro-in-law are friends with them both, but if I was Emma, I would feel as though Adrian was using a friendship with them to cling onto me some how. Especially when you add in to this he still has my parents and other family members of mine as friends on Facebook. But it isn’t for me to pry into their relationship. If they are happy, then that is good. And we all look at things differently. But I wouldn’t want my husband to still have contact with his ex’s family, because it would make me feel like he can’t or hasn’t moved on.

I have no hard feelings over their relationship, and I think they probably do make a pretty good couple. Everyone deserves to be happy and I wish them all the luck for their future. If I see them, which is quite likely, seeing as they’ve stayed friends with family members of mine, and the four of us are all invited to my Brother-In-laws 30th Birthday bash later this year. If/When I see them I will smile and say hello. I won’t be rude, and I hope they give my Husband and I the same courtesy.


A Thrifty Wedding at the Eden Project


Thrifty Eden Project

Two school friends of mine got married in 2016 and had some beautiful, quirky and inexpensive details as part of their wedding. I went to school with both of them, they were in the same year as me and they were both in my extended friendship group.

Logan and Steph (not their real names) started their relationship years after leaving school, Logan had joined the army and Steph was working in journalism. I don’t remember the two of them ever being in a relationship whilst we were at school, and thinking about it now, it seems odd that they weren’t. The two of them together are fantastic, and they are so well suited as a couple.

In 2016 they got married at the Eden Project in Cornwall (England). I don’t have any details as to what the cost to hire out a section of the Eden project for their wedding was, or as to what the catering cost was, but I do know they had frugality in mind when planning. So here are some of my favourite inexpensive details from their beautiful wedding.

The Bridal Look

The Blush Bride wore a princess style strapless gown which she teamed with a skull necklace, dangly skull earing black nail polish and a dark eye look. Her look was finished with a white flower in her hair, and a purple and white paper flower bouquet.

Groom Attire

You can’t get much more inexpensive than not paying for your outfit at all, and as Logan is in the army, he did what many a forces person does, and wore his best uniform as his Groom outfit. His Best Man and his Ushers were his brother and his school friends, none of whom are in the army, so they were all wearing dark suits, white shirts and purple silk ties that looked royal blue in some lights.   Quirky & Thifty Wedding ideas

The Table Centrepieces

One of the best ways to save costs on your wedding is to make things that can dual purpose. And that is exactly what Steph and Logan did with their centrepieces. They couldn’t have been simpler either. They made their table centres using decorative buckets, polystyrene spheres (although you could also use floristry foam) and Chubba Chubb lollies. The buckets they used were purple with candy style skulls on them. The lollies doubled up as the wedding favours for their guests. What could be cheaper and more quirky and fun than that?

The “cake”

Cake is in quote marks above because it wasn’t actually a cake. Instead of a wedding cake, this imaginative couple had four tiers of rice crispie cakes! Each tier was a big square of rice crispie cake with a thick purple ribbon wrapped round.

Getting married at The Eden Project means decorations are pretty much completely unnecessary because the venue is so beautiful as it is, however they did have light string strung around which made the venue even more beautiful one the evening drew in.

Other ways they reduced their costs was by feeding their guests once, with a two course hot buffet and having a DJ rather than a band in the evening.


My last minute Honeymoon

Last Minute Honeymoon

In the evening, after most of our guest had left, and some were left chatting and enjoying their last drink together, my new husband and I said goodbye to the stragglers and snuck off to our hotel room. It was the first time I had seen the room we would be spending our first night as Husband and Wife in. The room we had at Donnington Valley Hotel & Spa was not overly fancy but was nice enough, with a sitting area, the bed and a spacious bathroom complete with His and Hers sinks. It was the best hotel room I had ever stayed in in the UK.

Once I had taken my wedding dress off and we were both comfortable, we took time to open the cards and gifts from our guests whilst sat on the bed. I made a note of what we had got and from whom to make the thank you cards we would send more personal. Many guests had chosen to gift us cash to use to book a honeymoon with. We were very happy to find out we had been given enough for an abroad honeymoon, rather than just a weekend at Bognor Regis.

On the Sunday, after checking out of our hotel, we to Thomas Cook (our chosen holiday booking company) and due to a mix of our small budget and the crazily last minute booking, our choices were very limited. We were hoping to go to Rhodes, but the price had gone up, meaning it was out of our budget. FYI – last minutes does not = cheaper anymore! We looked at the prices of some holidays the week before our wedding to get an idea of where we might be able to go, and then when we were sat in Thomas Cook on the Sunday the exact same holidays (same flights, same hotels) were a couple hundred quid per person more! We ended up booking a holiday to Fuerteventura for week. We were flying the very next day!

Got Married on Saturday > Booked Honeymoon on Sunday > Fly on Monday

Off home we went to pack our suit cases, last minute low cos honeymoonand after a frantic and rather panicked look for our passports we headed off to stay in a hotel with parking for the night. I had never stayed in a hotel the night before going on holiday, but I would definitely do it again. For less than £90 we got our stay for the night (room only, no food included) and parking of our car for the week. Upon checking in we got upgraded to a suite room. sadly, unlike the movies would have you believe, this was our one and only upgrade for our honeymoon.

Our honeymoon was not the location or hotel we would have chosen had we not been booking last minute, but we had a lovely week (after my husb stopped moaning about the location and hotel), we found some great restaurants, and spent many a relaxed day on the beach and even managed to get in a couple of excursions without breaking the bank.

Unfortunately I can’t remember the exact cost of our honeymoon, but I know the flights and the all inclusive accommodation cost us less than 2,000 for the both of us.

I know that, even though we were waiting to see what money we were gifted from our guests, we didn’t have to book a last minute honeymoon. But to me, and in he conventional sense of the word (see definition below), a honeymoon is supposed to be taken right after you get married, not months later.

Definition of a honey as taken from oxforddictionaries.com is a period in time following a couple getting married, or a holiday spent together by a newly married couple.