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!

Festive Friday: The Party Look

It might only be November, but I am freely admitting that there’s just a hint of festive feeling now. My walk home is brightened by Christmas lights, and Wilkos have been playing “Stop the Cavalry” for four whole weeks. With this in mind I thought I’d start a little cheery feature to celebrate my favourite time of the year.  First up is what I’m guessing will be my party look this festive season.

 photo 2014-11-05174249_zpsfde9fe88.jpgMakeup wise it’s a pretty classic combination, made perhaps a little bit ‘on-trend’ by the brown-toned lipstick. Flawless base, courtesy of Rimmel Lasting Finish, with a combination of concealers and a powdering of Java Rice Powder. An added glow and sculpting from my current two favourite products, and my base is looking pretty good and ready to dance the night away. Or attend university awards, like the night I took these photos. Yep, no staging here, I was actually getting ready! Base done, it’s time to wriggle into my tights. Once I’ve got them on unladdered (with the two laddered pairs thrown across the room in despair), it’s time to dance around the room curling my hair and burning my fingers. I must be the only girl my age who is so drastically unskilled in hair styling. I can’t put it up, I can’t straighten it nicely, and adding proper curls seriously risks my fingers. I’m hoping for some heated rollers this year, but failing that? A new set of hair please!

 photo 2014-11-05174502_zpsf3cd59ae.jpgOnto the eyes, and my go-to party look is far heavier than usual. Smudged eyeliner (brown or grey seems far more flattering on me than black), and a selection of the darker tones from Naked 2. I love this palette, buying it discounted from Cohorted was definitely a wise decision! So easy to blend, and everything goes well together making it pretty damn foolproof. Well, I can apply it anyway. Some heavy duty mascara, and I’m almost good to go…just need to add a dress!

 photo 2014-11-05174106_zps431de1dc.jpg photo 2014-11-05174114_zpsc816d41a.jpgI’ve had a nightmare finding a party dress this year, and this is the only one I’ve found that looks half decent. I’ve had to go up two sizes and down a length (Next really do know how to make a girl feel attractive) but eventually I’ve found a figure hugging dress, a little daring without being revealing. I can’t say red would be my first pick of colour, but it’s not horrifically bright. And bright is better than sequins (that will come off before I’ve left the house) any day. Bonus – this is still available to buy online at£50, but it was in a local discount store as a ‘second’ for £25. And I get a company discount in the discount store. So yep, pretty cheap dress right there.

 photo 2014-11-05174311_zpsbc123802.jpgA quick spray of L’Oreal Elnett (I don’t think you can get a better hairspray) and black accessories later, it’s time for the finishing touch. A good lipstick is something I hardly ever go without. Now, either I have a dodgy skintone, or I’m wearing the wrong colours, but I never seem to like the ‘popular’ MAC lipsticks. Velvet Teddy? I went to buy it and despised it. Creme in Your Coffee was what I went for instead and I haven’t been disappointed. Creamy and pigmented, this has just enough dark brown to look a little vampy, without seeming like I don’t own a mirror. It’s neutral enough to be pulled off alongside smoky eyes, and long lasting so I don’t need to top up constantly.

 photo 2014-11-05174746_zps9c580073.jpgI’m gutted I don’t have any photographs of the finished look. I put off taking my own as I was running late and knew they would be an official photographer at the dinner. And typically, we missed him. But I’m probably wearing this exact same thing (unless I can find a dress on Saturday…any suggestions?!) for my twenty-first next week so I’m sure it won’t be long before you get a glimpse!

Are you feeling festive yet? Brought a new dress for the party season – I need inspiration?! Have a lovely weekend!