Hello, me again… It has been around 8 months since I’ve taken pen to paper (fingers to keyboard…) and written a blog post. To be honest, this year has been crazy (actually in a good way for the most part) and I haven’t felt like blogging much. But since the well-anticipated wedding did go ahead (despite the odds), I thought I’d come on and write about it.
Saturday the 12th of September, 2020. Our date. Set back in spring 2018, not knowing what would come along 2 whole years down the line. I thought I’d explain a little more about our journey from March – September of this year, the decisions we had to make, and how we managed to have the most magical wedding beyond our wildest dreams (cliche, but true).
March & April – The Optimistic Days
Through the early stages of the 2020 lockdown, I think we can all agree optimism was in the air and we truly had no idea how long this pandemic would last… In any case, Euan & I were very optimistic when it came to our wedding. I personally like to think of it as determined optimism. It would’ve been a lot easier to go down the route of considering postponement, but I was totally NOT willing to do this. As far as I was concerned, a lot could change in 6 months. And a lot did change (just not quite as much as we thought would). I actually semi-refused to even think about our wedding, because it really was so far away. Planning came to a halt and I focussed on other things. Namely, my expanding Arbonne business.
May & June – The Realistic Days
When May rolled around, I was still as determined as ever that we would be going ahead with our wedding on Saturday 12th of September, 2020 as originally planned. No matter what it might look like. In fact, I was pro-actively determined and emailed all of our suppliers letting them know we would still be going ahead no matter what, we were just keeping an eye on the situation as to what would actually be possible for us. There was one point during the lockdown, I can’t remember when exactly. But Northern Ireland were still allowing weddings when the rest of the UK wasn’t, and we said that if all else fails we will fly there to get married instead.
Towards the middle of June, things started to feel a little different. It was then only 3 months until our wedding, and the realisation that our day really probably wasn’t going to look how we thought it would, began to set in. I’m the sort of person who likes to face things, deal with them, and move on. And I did exactly this. I had around a 2-week period when I was – what I can only describe as – mourning the wedding I originally thought I would have. This sounds dramatic, but it wasn’t. Not really. I just had to go through a period of coming to terms with the 100+ people wedding I assumed would happen back when we got engaged, almost definitely was not going to happen. I did have a few crying episodes about it, but I think I would be a robot if I didn’t. At the end of the day, what felt right in our hearts was to get married. We felt ready – more than ready – to be married and start the next chapter of our lives. So, we mourned the wedding we thought we’d have and moved onto the next phase.
July & Early August – The ‘New Plan’ Days
My birthday falls in mid-July, and despite having come to terms with the current wedding situation, I wanted to wait until after my birthday until we made any final decisions. We were in touch with our guests and told them we would have a final update for them 6 weeks before our wedding. This is when we said we’d make the final decision, and also fell just before our hen & stag weekends. Which was perfect because it meant we got all the hard stuff out of the way beforehand, and could actually enjoy our weekends without worrying about having to deal with reducing our guestlist afterwards.
During July, we put plans together for different numbers of guests, depending on what the guidelines might be by the point of making a decision. In July, wedding ceremonies were allowed to go ahead but at that point not receptions. However, by the end of July we knew the Government would be changing the rules and so we started to set our hearts on a plan of 30 people. We started to plan for what a wedding of 30 people would look like, and – in all honesty – I was really quite excited. I think because I spent time actually processing my ‘old’ wedding and dealing with the emotions surrounding that, I could then move forward with my new one.
Reducing the guestlist was the hardest part of it all. We had to ask people not to bring their partners or the rest of their families, and had to leave a huge portion of our extended families & friends out. In the end, our guestlist roughly looked like immediate family, bridal party, god parents, and a few very close friends. It’s not a decision we ever would have been able to make if we weren’t forced to. I.e. there is no way we would’ve been able to reduce our guestlist to 30 if we had had the choice not to. However, I’m a firm believer in things happening for a reason. And I truly do believe our wedding was always meant to turn out the way it did. I know that sounds crazy because who could have predicted this year! But it really really did just feel right. And I honestly couldn’t imagine it being any different! Anyway, I’m getting side tracked!
At the very beginning of August, around 6 weeks before our wedding, we contacted everyone on our guestlist (I had a spreadsheet and allocated guests for Euan, my mum, and my dad to contact. There’s no way I could’ve coped with speaking to everyone!). The support and understanding from those we couldn’t have as our final 30, and the joy from those we could, was overwhelming. In the best way. After the rollercoaster of a planning journey we had been on since March, it finally felt like we had some closure and could start getting excited for our big day. And that’s exactly what we did!
Late August & Early September – The Excitement Days
Hen & stag weekends completed, the guestlist finalised. Time to put the new plan into action and start getting excited! We invited all of our local friends to come to the church on our wedding day, and arranged for the church to have speakers in the church yard so our friends could hear our service. And my brother organised streaming the service on zoom for those who couldn’t be there in person. It was absolutely incredible. So many people tuned into zoom, and even more were there to greet me as I arrived at the church, and afterwards to throw confetti and see us as ‘just married’. I will forever treasure the memory of walking out of the church as a married couple and seeing SO MANY faces lining up either side of the path for our confetti throw. There were people from our town who we barely knew, but were just so happy to see a wedding going ahead. Truly it was one of the most magical moments of my life.
Getting side tracked again! (If you’re familiar with my Instagram stories that won’t surprise you… lol). Because we had smaller guest numbers, there were loads of finishing touches I was able to do that I wouldn’t have been able to do with larger numbers. I made our favour boxes bigger and included sweeties, homemade apple juice (my parents’ make it), and a tea light & holder with a personalised wedding sticker that I designed. We also did individual bottles of limoncello to go with pudding, and I created menus for everyone.
We also decided to add an extra two courses to our wedding breakfast (5 courses in total), to make more of the meal as the evening wasn’t going to be as long (we postponed our band for our big celebration next year). I decided we would also have a ‘cocktail hour’ instead of a bar after the meal – such a hit & I highly recommend. Especially for a smaller wedding!
With more space in the barn now that we had less guests, I could spread everyone out on the tables more and decided to also hire marble charger plates which finished off the place settings beautifully. I had so much fun putting together the finishing touches, especially so close to the day itself! I even hand-made all the signs and our table plan.
The Week Before
In the build up to our wedding, covid cases were rising in the UK and there were murmurs of tighter restrictions coming into force. You might remember that back in August, wedding receptions being allowed was pushed back by 2 weeks. I’d be lying if deep down I wasn’t shit scared that something would happen a matter of days before our wedding. And I wasn’t wrong… At around 10pm on the Tuesday before our wedding, I had a BBC notification pop up saying tighter restrictions were coming into force. The universe must have been on our side, though. The restrictions weren’t coming into force until Monday 14th September, two days after our wedding and the day after our post-wedding brunch (also with 30 people, such were the rules until the following day).
I cannot tell you how relieved I was. Not only because the restrictions missed our wedding weekend, but also because I knew they wouldn’t announce anything additional, so I could relax safely in the knowledge that nothing was going to stop my wedding now. With 4 days to go, I slept wonderfully every night after that. Everything was ready. We’d literally made the universe part for our wedding day. Magic was in the air. Time to get hitched!
7 months to go… eeek! So, as promised, I’m doing monthly planning update posts (have a read of last month’s post here). How is time passing so fast?! I blinked and now we’re on the 12th of Feb… So where am I up to with our wedding planning?
I set myself a couple of goals for things to get sorted last month, and I’ve done some (but not all…).
Last Month’s Agenda
With 8 months to go, I wanted to focus on the boys’ outfits and booking our mini-moon. And I’d say I achieved 60%… The good news is that we paid the deposits on the kilts and we booked our mini-moon (yay!!). The bad news is that we haven’t got any further with the suits. That being said, we’re off to Bristol on Monday to get those sorted. And I am determined to make a decision!!
Also since my last update post, we have met with the vicar finalise our order of service. And I met with our florist last week to sort the flowers! We haven’t quite finalised the flowers yet, but the wheels are in motion. Which is the main thing!
I also finalised our wedding gift list, and sent the text for the invitations over to our stationer… It’s all starting to get very real!
7 Months to Go – The Agenda
Okay, so, 7 months to go. What am I focussing on this month? Well, the suits of course (I am not getting to 6 months having not sorted the suits, that’s for sure!!). We’re also choosing our wedding rings on Monday which is very exciting!
I spoke on Instagram last night about a wedding day ‘scent’, i.e. having a particular perfume that you’ve never worn before to splurge on for your wedding day. I also like the idea of having a candle burning with the same scent, so I’m thinking a trip to Jo Malone is needed! Since we are going to Bath on Monday anyway, I’m probably going to try and sort my wedding perfume in the Jo Malone store there. A busy day indeed – be sure to keep an eye on my Instagram page for updates!
That’s quite an agenda for one day, and there’s still the rest of the month! I’m aiming to get the invitations out before the 12th of March. Hopefully in my next post they too will be ticked off the list! Finalising flowers is also likely to happen this month, and I’m trying on my wedding dress calico for the second time at the end of Feb. Which means my actual wedding dress is going to be made very soon – omgggg!!
Any Other Updates
It feels like as I tick something off my list, something else gets added on! But that’s all part of it, right? I’ve delegated a few jobs to my parents’ because they’re keen to help (and there are a number of things I have no interest in sorting. Like planting the flowerbeds outside the barn, for example…).
Are you getting married soon? Where are you up to with your planning process? Let me know!
I’ve been talking about Arbonne a fair bit on my Instagram recently. And I’ve been chatting to a lot of you about it too. So, I thought I’d do a little blog post to cover the basics, open your eyes to it, and learn why I’m so passionate about it!
Firstly, what is Arbonne? Well, it’s a company with a holistic approach to wellbeing, skincare, beauty, and general health. We value, empowerment, sustainability, and transparency. We have been running for 40 years, and as of 2020 we are a Certified B Corporation (can a get a hell yeah!). It is a legitimate, amazing company that gives anyone & everyone the opportunity to succeed.
Real Talk: I am not an idiot. It’s fair to say I’m a pretty switched on, level-headed person. And I also have a great passion for business. I asked my questions, and I took a chance. A chance that I would not change for the world.
I’m empowered, I’m achieving, I have vision. And the best part? You can too!
How Does it Work?
You might be thinking ‘this all sounds great, but how does it actually work?’. Well, firstly, it’s incredibly simple. We all wash our face everyday, right? We shower, wash our hair, wear make-up. We brush our teeth, put on deodorant, wash our hands. You’re doing these things pretty much every day, am I right?
With the Arbonne Opportunity, we simply use these every day products and, through sharing with others, earn on our personal product sales to clients. When you join Arbonne, you have your own web link and when someone buys through your link, you earn a commission back. Simple, yes? People can be so put off by this idea of ‘spreading the word’, which is silly. Because we are already doing this all the time!
How many times have you bought something online and received an email saying ‘refer a friend and get 15% off your next order’. Arbonne is the same thing, but better! Instead of 15% off, you get a % back in commissions. Money into your bank account instead of a discount code encouraging you to spend more!
It’s a no-brainer.
And if you’re a blogger, or follow the ‘influencer world’ then you’ll either be striving to achieve this way of generating an income (through affiliate marketing), or buying into another blogger who earns through their affiliate link. It’s the same thing!
The Network Marketing Side
So that’s the first way you make an income. The second is the one that can really change your life. And yet, it’s almost always the thing that puts people off most!
Network Marketing is the most powerful way of doing business. It has been described by some of the top business minds as ’21st century business’. Our world is evolving, and business is evolving with it. You’re either going to be riding the wave, or watching as other people do.
With Network Marketing, we are educating those around us about the opportunity. We’re not trying to sell them anything, or force them to sign their life away. We’re simply saying “hey, this is what I’m up to. I think it’s great, and I know you’d love it too. If you’re interested, let’s chat!”. No hard feelings if they’re not – this business definitely isn’t for everyone. But wow – what a journey you can take them on if they are.
You then begin to build a team of people who are all looking to get something more out of life. You work together & support each other to reach & achieve goals, and continue to spread the word about Arbonne, the business model, the products, and the opportunity.
Education. That’s all it is. Education, teaching, nurturing, leading, and empowering. Not sales, not pushy targets, not negative reactions to someone saying no.
If you have been approached by someone in Network Marketing who seemed sales-orientated, pushy, asking you for a huge sign up fee with nothing in return. They are doing it wrong. And their company is quite possibly not legit. This is not Arbonne. Like I said, I’m not stupid and I love business. Y’all gotta trust me on this!
What Has Arbonne Done For Me?
That question should really be what hasn’t Arbonne done for me.
Working in this biz has put me in touch with the most amazing, like-minded women who inspire me every day. I have been pushed out of my comfort zone daily and grown as a person because of it.
My confidence is at a new high, and I couldn’t be more grateful for that. I have a sense of achievement and purpose – a reason to wake up in the morning. I have something to focus on other than what is going on inside my head.
I am motivated, every single day. Motivated to continue achieving and build that life I have always dreamed of. I have passion, determination, and freedom.
I didn’t want to be the person who didn’t take the chance. There was no way I wanted to look back in a few months time, see other people achieving and think, ‘that could have been me’. So I went for it. And I’m not going to look back, nor am I going to stop until I get to where I want to go!
This community is amazing, and I am always welcoming new people onto my team! Keep reading to find out how you can get involved with the Arbonne community.
Is Arbonne For You?
Firstly, Arbonne is for everyone. That might just be switching to better products, or it could be taking a leap of faith with me on this business journey.
If you’re interested in hearing more about the non-toxic, vegan, gluten-free, better quality, non-GMO, cruelty-free products, have a read of my previous blog post.
But, see if you can also relate to any of the below statements:
I have an entrepreneurial spirit and I’d love to be making more use of it
I’m a blogger and I want to earn more from my hard work
I currently work a job that pays the bills, but doesn’t bring me any passion
I’d love to travel more but I don’t have the holiday days
I’d love to travel more but I don’t have the extra money
I have a family so can’t work full time, but would like to be earning a little more money
I love my career but don’t know if I can do this forever
I have a vision for my life but I don’t know how to get there
I don’t want to be the one who didn’t take the chance
I need something else to focus on, other than my struggles
I don’t want to see others achieving knowing I could’ve been up there with them
I want more flexibility for myself and/or my family life
I want a sense of achievement
I want to feel passionate & inspired
I want to know that my hard work will pay off
I believe that everyone should have more choices in their life
I want to connect with other likeminded people and build relationships
I want to inspire others to create a better future for themselves
I believe that no-one should be trapped in a job they hate or a relationship they can’t escape from due to lack of choices
I want to educate others and be someone to look up to
I want to be a leader and develop my skills in this area
I believe in time flexibility & freedom
I want to work on myself and become the best version of ‘me’
I want to feel more confident in my own skin
I believe in equal opportunity
I believe in an effort based workplace
I want to believe in myself and my capability
If one of those applies to you. Just one. This is for you.
How Can I Get Involved with Arbonne?
There are 3 main ways you can get involved…
Become an Independent Consultant and start your very own Arbonne business (eek!).
Become a Preferred Client and get access to 20-40% off all the amazing, results-driven, vegan & cruelty free products (no business!).
Be a connector – you might know someone who would be perfect for Arbonne. And I’d love to hear from them!
There is no harm in finding out a bit more info – no strings attached. Drop me a message on Instagram or send me an email, I’d love to hear from you. And I absolutely will not mind if you decide the business and/or the products are not for you! In life, it’s better to ask the questions and make an educated decision, than to never ask at all!
Please note that this is an effort based business, and results will vary depending on the effort you put in. For more info visit earnings.arbonne.com.
It’s a good question, isn’t it? Why should you switch to non-toxic skincare? Everything you’ve been using so far works for you, and you haven’t caught any nasty diseases yet. So what’s the big deal?
I’m about to tell you.
Harmful Ingredients – Let’s Explore
I – like many people I’m sure – knew about potential toxins in skincare & makeup. From Parabens to BHT (I always remember this one because it’s my initials!!), Formaldehyde (yes, really) to lead (yes, really). But I always thought “they wouldn’t be allowed to make the products if they were that harmful”. Fair enough, right?
Now I realise how stupid that is. I like to buy organic food where possible. Why? Because it’s free from toxins. When it comes to the things I put in my body, I’m hot on it. And I never think “oh, non-organic is fine because they wouldn’t be allowed to sell it if it wasn’t”. I think “I don’t want to be ingesting pesticides with everything I eat“.
Skincare is exactly the same. In fact, it’s worse!
So why are companies allowed to include these ingredients in their products? Well, firstly it depends when you are in the world. In the USA, for example, they have only banned eleven potentially harmful ingredients. That’s pretty shocking! Luckily for us in the UK, the European Union (who control products of cosmetics) have banned around 1,000. However, there are still thousands more that are used in our everyday products, including those I mentioned above.
And – more importantly – the toxins that are found in products are only in allowed very small amounts. That’s good, right? Wrong. What that means is that they are harmful. The regulation authorities have decided that very small amounts of lead (for example) can be present because it’s only a small amount. But, it’s a small amount every single day, possibly twice a day, for 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60 years. Maybe longer!
If you only ever put products on your skin once every 10 years then – yes – you wouldn’t be harmed by the ingredients at all (or at least very unlikely to). However, if you are putting products on your skin every single day, those toxins are being released into your bloodstream every single day. True story! And over time there is a build up. I’m also not just talking about skincare & makeup. This applies to everything: body lotions, shampoo, conditioner, hair styling products, deodorant, lip balm, toothpaste. Everything.
A bit of Biology
A lot of the toxins in skincare & makeup are carcinogens (have the potential to cause cancer). They have also been linked to things like liver failure and infertility. You might be thinking, how is that even possible? It’s simple.
Your skin takes anywhere between 30 minutes and 30 seconds to absorb whatever you put on your skin. And absorption means straight into your blood stream. If you are putting toxins on your skin, they are going to end up in your bloodstream. They’re going to be running through your organs, latching onto cells, and helping out with whatever it is the blood does to keep you alive. News flash, that’s everything. I may have only done GCSE biology, but I know damn well how important our blood is. So why are we poisoning it?
The best way I can put it is, do you care about what you’re eating? Do you try and eat well, buy fresh (maybe even organic) fruit & veg? Get your 5 a-day? Exercise when you can, drink herbal teas, maybe take vitamin supplements, and just generally make sure your body is running properly? If you said yes to even just one of those things, but you’re still using skincare, makeup, shampoo etc that contain harmful substances, then you are wasting your time. There is no point in nourishing our bodies internally if we are harming it externally.
It’s time to switch things up!
Switching to Non-Toxic Skincare & Products
Okay, enough of the scary facts & reality checks. We’ve established how harmful toxins can be. Now for actually swapping to non-toxic skincare/make-up etc…
You could go through the highstreet stores checking the ingredients list on everything you’re buying and hope you don’t miss anything. (I don’t know if you’ve ever actually read the ingredients labels on beauty products, but they are bloody long!!!). Or, you could swap your entire bathroom cupboard & make-up drawer to a single brand that bans over 2,000 harmful ingredients.
Yep, that’s right. Swapping to one brand that you know is safe, non-toxic, vegan, cruelty-free, organic, paraben free, gluten & dairy free, non-GMO, hypoallergenic (I could go on & on), is the best way to ensure all your products are safe without having to read any labels. And the best part is, they do everything! So you needn’t use another brand again. You can thank me later…
Here is a link to Arbonne’s website, where you can find a huge range of amazing skincare, cruelty-free make-up, non-toxic haircare, and more. Plus they do nutrition products if those are of interest too!
Learn More About Non-Toxic Skincare
I hope this blog post has been helpful and you learnt some things you may not have known before! Enjoy your hopefully new non-toxic skincare journey!
And if you want to learn more about Arbonne, click here.
*Please note, I run a side business using Arbonne products so I do receive an affiliate % when you buy through my link*
Since I am officially getting married THIS YEAR (it’s been almost 2 years since I’ve been able to say that haha) I thought I’d do some monthly planning updates. Starting with 8 months to go!
If you’ve been keeping up with my planning posts, you’ll know that most of the big stuff has been booked. But these next 8 months are still going to be filled with plenty of planning mayhem! Hopefully, if you’re getting married too, these posts will also be helpful!
Just a quick recap for anyone new to the blog! We’re getting married at our local church, and then having the reception at my parents’ house. The barn is currently being renovated (see instagram highlights!) which is stressful to say the least!
I’ve got a maid of honour and two other bridesmaids. Euan has a best man, 2 ushers and a musher (mini-usher – my brother who will be 13). We also have two flower girls and two page boys as well!
We have sorted all the suppliers, apart from live music for the reception. Save the dates have gone out to friends but we haven’t sent the formal invites yet. I have bought my wedding dress (yay!) and we sorted the bridesmaid dresses last month (phew!).
I’ll also link to some other wedding planning blog posts at the end of this one so you can catch-up!
8 Months to Go – On the Agenda this Month
To keep things as stress-free as possible, I’m focussing on one thing each month. This month is all about the boys’ outfits. We’ve chosen Euan’s kilt tartan, but we need to send the company his measurements, and the measurements of his best man & brother in law.
My brothers (his other usher and the musher) will be in tailcoats which we also still need to source, as will our youngest page boy. If you follow on Instagram stories you’ll know that I visited Mos Bros the other day. I did find a suit that I liked, but to be honest they’re incredibly expensive and I wasn’t in love with it. So, my search isn’t quite over just yet.
I also want to get our mini-moon to Venice booked this month (eek!). We booked our honeymoon to Mauritius in October, so at least that is sorted!
Other things we’ve got to sort…
Finalising the flowers
Live music for the reception
Buying our wedding rings
Venue signs & decor
Sending out the invites!
Sorting the pre-wedding meal and post-wedding brunch
Choosing our table wines
And I’m sure plenty else!
With 8 months to go, and the barn still not being finished, my stress levels are high. (I’m sure you can imagine!). We visited the barn today and it is actually coming along beautifully. The men are working in there every day now and a lot has been done even since Christmas. So it’s looking hopeful! Keep checking in with my Insta stories too as I’m sure I’ll be posting plenty on there.
Previous Planning Posts…
If you’re new to the blog, here are my previous planning posts. Starting from when we first got engaged in 2018!