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!
Happy January lovely people! 2020 is a really big year for me, what with a wedding and all!! So I wanted to focus on putting some changes in place to ensure I’m happy & healthy in 2020. New year, new routine is a common thing amongst us humans, but it’s not always easy to stick to.
Back in November I mentioned on my Instagram stories that I wanted to start putting plans in place for the new year, to give myself time to adjust. New routines don’t happen overnight, and I didn’t want to start a fresh in the new year, I wanted to go into the new year having already started.
Well, I’m not one to blow my own trumpet but what a beyond brilliant idea that was. Honestly, it’s the best decision I made in 2019! Instead of putting pressure on myself with the whole new year, new routine business, I’m simply carrying on with what I started a couple of months ago. Which has meant I’ve also got more headspace to focus on some other goals for the new year…
New Year, New Routine – The Low Down
So this routine of mine; what am I actually talking about? Mainly it’s my morning routine, but I guess a few ‘life’ adjustments too. The main aim is to keep me feeling my best and keep my head in a good place. As well as increasing motivation & productivity!
Most days (usually week days) I will get up at 6.30am, and go straight downstairs to wash my face. This not only wakes me up but also stops me from looking at my phone first thing and wasting 10 minutes lying in bed.
Next up I do a very short workout. Usually nothing more that 15 minutes, but often a lot less. The type of workout I do varies, but I like to focus on toning exercises that will put my mind & body in a good place to tackle the day ahead. *Note* this is not a weight-loss thing. Too often exercise is linked with wanting to lose weight (for obvious reasons). But, what we forget is we should be exercising to feel good and keep our bodies moving as much as anything else!
Then it’s time for my shiny new skincare routine (more on that later). I find that if I get my face ready at this time in the morning, it’s not a chore. I’m doing it to look after my skin, rather than because I’m getting ready to go out. If that makes sense… Whilst I’m getting my face ready, I’ve been listening to a number of motivational/educational podcasts. They’re amazing and I would highly recommend fitting some into your day wherever you can!
I then will sit down for 30 mins or so and do some work. Whether that’s blog writing, content planning, replying to messages/emails, goal setting… It varies each day! Having an extra 30 mins or so is super helpful and really sets you up for the day.
At this point, Euan will usually emerge and it’s time for breakfast & getting on with whatever lies ahead for that day!
Other Day-to-Day Changes
A few other bits I’ve been slotting in are:
Evening yoga, anywhere between 20-40 minutes depending on the day I’ve had. I won’t do this every evening, but it really helps me to unwind if I’ve had a particularly stressful/bad day.
Weekly meal planning, 3 meals a day. This is a relatively new change but one I’m really hoping to stick to. Over the past couple of weeks I’ve rediscovered my love for cooking, and I’m determined that it’s here to stay!
Just doing it! Finding excuses to not do something is so easy. Staying in bed past your alarm is easy. Not going for a run is easy. Not getting ahead of tomorrow’s workload is easy. But I am sick to death of easy. Instead, I have been making a conscious effort to fight through those feelings of ‘I’ll do it later/tomorrow’ and Just.Getting.On.With.It!
As this post is already long enough, I’ll chat through some of my 2020 goals in another post. I’ve got lots of content planned for January & already some of February, so make sure you’re checking in regularly. And don’t forget, you can also subscribe!
Earlier this month I chatted a bit about having an eco-conscious Christmas & sustainable gift buying. I wanted to build on that with a bit about my goal for keeping my Christmas shopping as local as possible, and how it has gone this year!
*I live in a lovely market town with many super-cute independent shops. Not everyone is as fortunate to have so much on their doorstep, so this really is for the people who are able to shop locally! Everyone & their situations are different, and I’d never want to make anyone feel bad for not shopping locally this Christmas. So – as always – if you’re able to implement what I’m chatting about into your life, please do! But if you aren’t able to, then don’t feel like I’m preachin’ (’cause I ain’t!).*
Christmas Shopping Locally – How did it go?
So, y’all know I love shopping locally & using independent companies as much as possible. And with so much literally outside my front door, I thought it’d be a sin to not make the most of it this year!
I made a pact with myself that I would only shop in my highstreet shops this year (or as much as possible), and do you know what? I’ve done pretty bloomin’ well. All the gifts I’ve bought for my parents & brothers (apart from one little thing for my youngest brother) I bought in Tavistock. My other brother will be especially pleased about that as he’s very eco-conscious. I’ve also bought everything for our friends (and children of friends!) in Tavistock as well – yay!
Where I fell down was with presents for Euan – why are men so hard to buy for?! The shops we have in Tavistock are wonderful, but they do lack a bit when it comes to Euan’s taste. However, his entire stocking are gifts from shops on my highstreet, and I’d say 40% of his presents. That’s pretty good, right?!
The Importance of Shopping Locally
So why is it actually important to shop locally? There are many reasons, but these are the ones which resonate the most for me.
Firstly, the environment. In the grand scheme of things, Christmas shopping locally won’t make a huge impact on the crisis. But every little helps! Items in highstreet shops are already there. They have already been shipped, so you’re not adding to your carbon footprint by having things delivered! And if – like me – you live within walking distance of shops, that’s even better! No need to drive to get your Christmas shopping done.
Secondly, supporting local businesses. This is done by both shopping in their stores and shopping along the highstreet, even if that’s a chain. How? Well, a highstreet only thrives if it’s desirable. It’s only desirable if it has a wide range of shops, and shops that people have heard of. If we don’t shop in our highstreets (chains, independents, or otherwise) then shops will close – including the big ones! Highstreet chains are equally as important as independent shops, because without the chains you wouldn’t have the footfall for the independent shops!
In turn, that also means more jobs for the town. The more shops we have, the more employment there is. The more employment, the more people stay living here. The more people living here, the more money gets spent in the town… and so on. You get the picture anyway!
Lastly… It’s fun! And festive. Nothing gets me in the mood for Christmas more than a stroll down a christmassy highstreet, popping in & out of shops, and eventually stopping for a coffee (or maybe even something stronger…!).
Let me know if you did any local Christmas shopping this year! What is your favourite thing to do to get you in the festive mood?!
If you’re needing a bit of festive inspo to help get you in the mood, check out some of my previous posts…
So, part 1 of Euan’s birthday celebrations was a weekend exploring cocktail bars in London (you can read more about it here). Part two is all about drinking champers in Épernay!
I’ve come to realise I don’t like doing things in half. Such is the case for birthday celebrations nonetheless! My aim was to completely, utterly, and wholly surprise Euan with a trip away for his 30th. Mission = accomplished. He genuinely thought we were going back to Tavistock over his birthday (as if!). No siree, I had other things in mind…
But instead of a step-by-step of our time in France, I thought a bit of a ‘pointers’ blog post would be more useful. Amongst some pictures and anecdotes of our trip, obvs…!
There are no words to express how wonderful our stay was here. From the moment I booked, they were so attentive via email. Answering my many questions about the area & what to do, plus organising a birthday cake for Euan on my behalf and letting me decorate the breakfast table! (And – more to the point – clearing up afterwards!). Whilst at the hotel, the staff were incredibly friendly and asked lots of questions about what we were up to etc, taking a genuine interest in our time in Épernay.
They even gave us a glass of champagne each on Euan’s birthday as a celebration – simply fabulous.
Our room was stunning – modern but comfortable and we felt very, very fancy! (Always find myself judging a hotel on whether they provide Nespresso machines in the rooms… Yes, I’m a loser. But what a brilliant touch!).
An absolute must if you are staying in Épernay – I couldn’t find a single fault!
Food & Drink in Épernay
France did not disappoint on the restaurant front. Searching online was tricky as nothing looked any good, but I asked our hotel for some recommendations and trusted what they had to say. And I was right to do so! We had a wonderful spontaneous meal on our first night in beautiful restaurant in the centre of Épernay. Not drinking with your meal is most definitely not an option in France, so champagne for two it was!
The next day was Euan’s actual 30th birthday and (amongst champagne tours) I had booked lunch at a restaurant which came highly recommended (though didn’t look like much online) called Le Théâtre. I bit the bullet and said no to any alcohol with my meal (we had just been to a champagne house after all!), but Euan enjoyed even more champers in Épernay…
In the evening we dined at the ‘hot spot’ of Épernay’s cuisine scene, La Grillade Gourmande. It. Was. Amazing. A family run restaurant where you were greeted by the head chef upon arrival, introduced to the wine bible (it probably weighed more than a baby elephant – it was enormous), and treated like royalty throughout.
Their sommelier took our wine order which is always the sign of a sophisticated establishment. And the food was absolutely divine. I didn’t feel like eating much, but I still managed to because it was just too bloody good to not! From start to finish, it was the perfect evening. And – more importantly – the perfect way to end Euan’s 30th birthday.
Champers in Épernay – the Tours
Now, the reason we went to Épernay in the first place… The champagne tours! We kick-started Euan’s birthday with a 10am private tour of Champagne De Castellane, and it was incredibly informative & interesting. Especially for Euan who loves facts about wine/champagne.
We visited the cellars, private collections, and were shown where the magic happens. At the end of the tour we had three (yes, three!) glasses of champagne each. Two Bruts and one Rosé, all of which were sublime (even at 11am….). Whether you’re a champagne enthusiast or not, I would definitely recommend this tour. After all, you’re surely only going to be in Épernay for the champagne anyway!
After lunch, we visited a slightly smaller family-owned Champagne house and learned a bit more about the variations of champagne making (not that there are many – there are so many rules!). And then drank even more champagne…
There are many champagne houses you can visit in Épernay, including Moet & Chandon. However I wouldn’t necessarily just go for the champagne houses you have heard of. We hadn’t heard of either of the ones we visited and I really enjoyed seeing more of the less commercialised places!
Travelling in France
We flew from Heathrow to Paris which was super fast & easy (plus we love an airport G&T!). The Eurostar is far more eco-friendly, and probably takes less time when you consider the airport malarky. And in normal circumstances I would’ve gone for that option, but as it was a birthday surprise I thought flying to France was more impactful!
We did, however, travel by train a lot when we got to France. Épernay is around 90 miles from Paris and much quicker to get there by train than car. Paris CDG airport is a little way away from Paris centre, so whether you’re thinking of visiting rural France or just sticking to Paris, you’ll still need to get yourself to central Paris either way.
It’s super simple, if you know what you’re doing. But you can’t pre-book tickets, so you’ll need to leave enough time to collect tickets from the airport. Signposts are everywhere, but you’re basically looking for the RER B train which will take you to Paris Gare du Norde.
From Gare du Norde you can get the Metro to where you need to be inside Paris. Or for farther locations you will probably need to get to Gare de l’Est station, which has local and rural trains going to most places. (This is where we got our train to Épernay from).
I make it sound like I’m an expert, but I’m really not! In fact, my cousin’s boyfriend, Nick, recommended an app called Citymapper and it is honestly life changing. Especially in a foreign country! It makes knowing which signs to follow soooooo much easier, and gave me the confidence that we were on the right train (even when I knew we were – always good to have confirmation haha!). If you are travelling anywhere, you absolutely must download this app!!!
The train services in France were generally speaking really smooth & efficient, even when trying to navigate central Paris! Travel is always stressful, but we did amazingly well and luckily absolutely nothing went wrong!
So there you have a slightly long-winded review of drinking champers in Épernay, some recommendations, and a few top tips!
As December is nearly here, I am going to be all over the Christmas content for the next couple of weeks… Watch this space!
A question I’m sure you’re all dying to know the answer to… Truth is, I absolutely love knowing what people have in their handbags/work bags… Is that weird? Anyway, I thought – since I love others doing this so much – I’d write a what’s in my work bag post!
I haven’t written much over the past couple of weeks, so wanted to write something fun & lighthearted today (to help get back into it more than anything else).
So, seriously, what’s in my work bag?
I hate packing my work bag before work, so I try and keep it as simple as possible (as well as not taking too much out of it). Here we go…
My diary. I am stationery obsessed, and a yearly diary is a must have Christmas present for me. In recent years I’ve got the ‘Perfect Planner’ from the Busy B online stationery shop (aka the place of dreams). Although for 2020 I’m thinking about mixing it up, and going for one of their other diaries… #rivetingstuff
Notebooks. My notebooks of choice tend to vary depending on where I’m going/what I’m doing. But this is my blogging/business notebook and I love it. I’d also be totally lost without it as I write all my ideas/plans/goals/etc etc in there.
Lipsticks, naturally. I mean, you’ve always got to have one handy, right!?
Pencil case. Really, I’m still 11 at heart… I bloody love a pencil case! Highlighters, pencils, and an assortment of different colours pens are all must-haves for my work bag.
Perfume – always. Work days are long and I always like being able to freshen up if I need to (especially when I have client meetings!).
I also have various keys, plasters, pain relief, wet wipes, tea bags (herbal, obvs), plus snacks/lunch/water (which always weighs my bag down…). Somehow I never use everything in one given day, but always keep it all with me because you just never know!
Whilst I get caught up on blogging, have a read of some of my previous autumnal posts. May as well make the most of autumn whilst it’s here! And I shall see you soon with some more fascinating blog content…..!