Lifestyle: Our Engagement Party

Despite getting engaged well over eight months ago, we finally, finally celebrated officially with our friends and family at the beginning of August. Perhaps rather riskily we planned a garden party – and what better themed food to go for than floral?! I had the picture in my mind; blue skies, bright sunshine and a relaxed day in the garden with bunting, plenty of Pimms, finger food and friends.

 photo 2016-08-07 13.16.00_zpsxykxmyam.jpg photo 2016-07-03 19.20.10_zpscufrtcwe.jpg photo Engagement Party 2_zpspuotyqzs.jpgAnxiously watching the forecast throughout the slightly grey and very windy preceding week, the day dawned hot, sticky and rather cloudy. Yet by the time we’d finished running around the kitchen, tying up bunting (Will) and curling hair (me), there were no clouds in the sky. Many of our nearest and dearest arrived, virtually all on time having been threatened with a shortage of food if late.

But there was plenty of food. From over-ordering on Waitrose to baking vast quantities of everything, we had plenty leftover, but everything was enjoyed. My homemade quiche (which has sparked a new obsession) was demolished, the macaron tower emptied. Cheeses were virtually polished off, scones (piled high with jam and clotted cream) were devoured in copious amounts.

 photo Engagement Party 22_zpshilauu0x.jpg photo Engagement Party 26_zpswfbqja1z.jpg photo Engagement Party 23_zpstoofayia.jpgOne of the things hosting our engagement party taught us was that we are so glad we aren’t doing a DIY wedding. I’ve spent months reading wedding blogs and always loved the ones where couples did the catering, or all the decorations, but in retrospect it just isn’t feasible for us – particularly as we will be living away from where our wedding will be! Although we had plenty of fun baking in the days leading up to our party, I will admit it got very heated in the kitchen at times.

Stressful though it was, it gave us time to celebrate us, time to catch up with both older and newer friends. There were some people who, through no fault of their own, were definitely missed, and I just cannot wait for our wedding day to have everyone we love all together. Whilst this was never about receiving gifts, we were incredibly touched to receive such thoughtful presents. Several of our guests had handmade some pieces themselves, some had gone to the trouble of hunting down things just utterly perfect for us.

 photo Engagement Party 13_zpspy4smh3c.jpg photo Engagement Party 19_zpsufkoxe6v.jpg photo Engagement Party 9_zpsk4iv1nka.jpg photo Engagement Party 3_zpss4usvrlo.jpg photo Engagement Party 12_zpsbzhg4cb0.jpg photo Engagement Party 8_zpsmgujrajt.jpg photo Engagement Party 14_zpshv6vcnbs.jpgAll too quickly, our day was over, with the quite disappointing realisation that we failed to take a single picture of us together, even lacking pictures of our guests. Whoops. And now our wedding date has been announced to all our nearest and dearest, you guys here can expect some wedding planning updates soon!

Did you take advantage of the short British summer to hold a party? What’s your favourite party-food – I can’t resist a pork pie!

Lifestyle: 2015 Favourites

I can tell you something, it’s been a pretty whirlwind end to 2015! I feel like I’ve barely sat down in the past month or so, what with a hectic end to my university term, a rather big shock, then the buzz of Christmas. Despite this (and even because of this) 2015 has definitely been the best year yet. There’s been ups and downs of course, but over the last few weeks I’ve been reminded just how lucky I am.

 photo 2015 Favourites_zps5wfasgse.jpgThere’s no better way to reflect on such a fabulous year than by putting together a post remembering just some of my favourite bits – if I talked about them all we’d be here all day! There’s been so many highlights it’s impossible to include everything that’s made me smile over the past year. All I can say is a massive “love and thanks” to all those who have been there, family and friends, blogging pals and colleagues – you’re all the best! And now to the favourites…
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Holidays

I’m not the biggest traveler, there’s always something else I’d sooner spend my (few!) pennies on, but this year I’ve managed to  squeeze in a decent amount. I love taking weekends to explore the UK rather than venturing into Europe as there’s so much to see right here, and I kicked off 2015 with a very chilly break in Oxford. I’ve also squeezed in trips to the seaside in Devon, a surprise trip to Edinburgh, and of course my trip to Italy. I absolutely fell in love with Venice, utterly breathtaking and beautiful it’s one of my favourite spots.

Losing Weight

One of my biggest achievements this year has been getting close to being happy with my body – driven partly by weightloss. Whilst I’m in no way saying thin = happy, for a long time I’d been feeling quite hateful towards myself. My gastro consultant gave me the kick-up-the-ass I needed to sort out my diet/exercise and I ended up losing a good few dress sizes rather quickly and easily. My diet still isn’t perfect and I’ve got a long way until I’m completely happy with it, but for the first time since I can remember I’m entering the new year feeling positive about myself.

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December

My favourite month of all, and this year it was extra-special. It kicks off with my birthday right at the beginning of the month – which was a lovely relaxed few days spent with my closest family and friends. Of course, Christmas is always a favourite time and despite feeling exhausted this year it was still rather magical. I always enjoy it more after a stressful end to the university term, and with a lovely two exams and three assessments scheduled in the last week it was definitely full of stress!

Final Year

I’m now in my final year of an Actuarial Science degree, and I’m still loving it just as much as when I first started. Sure, final year is tough and there are times that I’m in tears, times where I’m cursing my decision, but overall I love the things I study, the assignments I do and I’m super-excited to head into the world of work. I was lucky enough to experience a thirteen-month placement over the last academic year, I worked with a great team, got an amazing amount of experience – so even though I don’t want to leave university behind I’m itching to get into the “real” world in 2016. Exciting stuff!
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Countryside Walks & Seaside Strolls

As I mentioned above, I’m a huge fan of making the most of the UK, and being a country-girl at heart I love getting out and about in the fresh air. I don’t get as much chance as I’d like to do this, but when I do I definitely make the most of it. Living so close to Whitstable whilst at university has meant being able to take sunset strolls along the beach too – whilst we only managed it once last term I’m determined to go a bit more often before I graduate! I’m a little gutted that the last few days have been so dull as I’d have loved to have taken Tee-J for a good run – here’s hoping to some bright winter days soon!

Blogging

2015 has been a massive year for my blog, more so than I could have ever hoped for. I started going to events, met some other lovely bloggers, collaborated with some of my favourite brands and pushed myself to achieve as much as possible. I’ve loved it!
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Getting Engaged (!) & An Engagement Weekend

I already announced this over on Instagram last week (thank you for all your congratulations on there and Twitter!) as I just couldn’t keep it to myself any longer, but W proposed right at the start of my Christmas holidays. Eeek! I’m not going to say a great deal about it as I do want to do more of a dedicated proposal post, but it was completely and utterly perfect, entirely ‘us’, romantic but not cliche and he honestly thought of everything – including whisking me away for the weekend immediately afterwards. We spent the next few days alternating between laughing hysterically and crying (me) and eating vast amounts of food (both of us!). I’m typing this still in disbelief that it all happened really…though the sparkles from my left hand are rather distracting!

So, a very exciting end for 2015 for me. I can’t quite believe it! How was your year? What were your 2015 highlights?