Thursday, 21 August 2014

Our wedding: Before the ceremony!

I can't believe that two weeks ago tomorrow I was eagerly waiting to set up our wedding venue. We've since been on a short mini moon, received the official photos, put our house on the market and have gone back down to real life with a thump-I feel a bit lost! We still haven't shown James' parent's the photos but I can't wait any longer, and we are seeing them Saturday anyway!

The wedding eve
The night before the wedding James left me at the venue at 8pm for a meal with his family, I put the boys to bed, wrote a post and sat on my with my own thoughts for the night, the occasional text or message through facebook to tell me to get an early night! 

I tried that early night but it didn't really work, the nerves were already cranking up, I couldn't even get through a piece of toast for dinner that night!

I was pleasantly surprised when James skyped me at midnight, a bit naughty I know, but it calmed us both greatly. 

The wedding day
I woke at 6.45am (not bad really as didn't think I'd sleep at all) and shortly after the boys came bounding in like they normally do. 

Only Alex made me cry happy tears:

"Good morning wedding Mum! You're going to be a Spencer today"

It melted my heart, for today was the day we could finally be a proper family, I could finally write the same surname as my children on school forms, for the first time in nearly 5 years I could really be one of them.

I gave the boys breakfast, and tried to have a  drink myself, I couldn't stomach the food through the nerves, in fact I didn't eat a single thing my whole wedding day! I think that morning I had more rescue remedy than anything else!

I gave the boys a bath and rounded up our things before being picked up by Mum and heading off to theirs. 

My hairdresser (an old friend from school) was already waiting so it was straight into wedding makeover mode!

I had mine done first whilst 2 of the bridesmaid turned up and my brothers got their brekkie in their pjs (classy eh?)!!

I don't think I spoke much, and didn't appreciate the free head space for me to worry-but my bridal party tried their best to calm my nerves and tried and failed to make me eat too!

My hair was perfect, so much better than I ever expected as I felt it looked better than my hair trail a few months previous, the flowers gave it that extra special touch too as I didn't want a veil and I don't really do sparkles/hairpieces!

You can see me nervously biting my lip!
 We actually took the big rose in the middle out after as it kept falling out. 
The bridesmaids and then Mum had their hair done and looked amazing too. 

Beautiful bridesmaids
My lovely Mum
Mum's friend then came around to do my make-up and Mum's, at this point I really felt ill and a bit overcome with emotions. Any time anyone mentioned when we needed to go or asked me anything about the day I would nearly be in tears, of course I didn't-I didn't want to ruin my make-up!

James' sister came just before 2 after having her hair done, and we all got changed shortly after that-it ended up being a bit of a rush that last bit, I think we all could have done with getting ready sooner-mind you the boys we last to change as I didn't want them to ruin their lovely suits!!

Mum's friend dropped out gorgeous bouquets off (which I still feel super guilty about as the peonies really caused a LOT of hassle)!

The cars turned up and then that was it, it was finally happening. 

I was dead quiet in the car, Dad kept trying to talk to me, but I would only answer with yes or no's or as short as I possibly could. Luckily James' Uncle who was driving us had air con on as the nerves were making me so hot! 

We literally got every single red light on the way, my nerves were ok as they could be when travelling but as soon as we stopped at those red lights my heart would race and I felt so sick!

We arrived at the church, the vicars waiting for us, a quick snap from our photographer and I stepped out of the car, had a giggle with everyone about Dad chatting to his friend instead of being by my side! 


And then took my last steps as Danielle Askins.


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Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Scott Cornwall Shine On: review and wedding hair

Aside from the wedding dress on the big day, the hair is the next big thing to worry about.

Every girl wants to look and feel pretty, and sometimes the hair can really make an outfit or tie it all together.

I knew the style I wanted for my big day: a messy updo or curls and flowers in my hair as opposed to a veil or tiara.

So I knew the quality of my hair had to really be good to pull it off.

So when I was contacted to review a professional conditioning hair glaze product from hair expert Scott Cornwall I jumped at the chance.

My hair was feeling a bit sorry for itself, I don't give it the attention I used to, I usually wash and blow dry (if I am lucky) or just stick it up when it's wet. The ends were breaking and splitting, and being a natural blonde I don't dye my hair because I am too chicken to do so.







Before (and after my hair trial)

This product was really easy to use, I made sure to do a tester patch a couple of days before (just in case)!

And then 2 days later I managed to do all the steps in the bathroom without any help from anyone else. Taking no more than 20-30 minutes in total.

The instructions say to blow dry and straighten for best results, and I can say this definitely made a difference. It always seemed much brighter when I'd straighten my hair, this is because it shuts the cuticle and encloses the crystal clear molecules inside the hair.

After using shine on

Now this isn't a treatment that will get a response from other people like when you dye your hair, however it is a product that you notice the difference yourself. And in fairness I did get a couple of comments on my hen night (when I'd straightened my hair) asking if I had dyed my hair as it was looking really blonde.

I felt like my hair just felt much more healthy after using the product which last for approx 24 washes.

I would certainly recommend to any bride to be (or any other lady for that matter) whose hair needs a bit of a 'pick me up'!



I loved my hair on the day, and think that the Shine On product really helped with that too, as my hair really shines in the photos. I was worried the product might make hair look greasy but it really doesn't, it just adds that little shimmer and spark!

Professional Hair Expert, Scott Cornwall says:
"Restore lustre, vitality, and shine to hair before the big day with my Shine On Conditioning Hair Glaze. Shine On is a collagen rich formula which works brilliantly on curly, frizzy or unruly hair, however it's actually suitable for any hair type or texture and won't alter the colour. It contains no ammonia or harsh chemicals so it's very kind and gentle, leaving the hair feeling in great condition"

Shine On is easy to use at home, takes just 20 minutes to apply and develop and lasts for up to 24 washes. It's priced at £12.99 from selected Boots stores nationwide and online at boots.com

I received one box of Shine On original to review all views and opinions are my own.

And to regular readers there will be many wedding posts to follow!


Friday, 8 August 2014

The last night as Miss Askins

The wedding venue is decorated, all the hard work has paid off.

James has left the house, bag packed, and meal out with his family. 

Both boys tucked up in bed (Sam with a big bump on the head-typical)!

The house feels empty. 

And I'm not sure sure I like the quiet and space to think about the day ahead. 

This will be the last night as Miss Askins. 

I know it's only a name. 

But it's my name, it's all I have known. 

Tomorrow our family is united. 

I can share the same name as the boys and James.

And although weird, and odd, I cannot wait to be a proper family unit. 

I can finally tick that married box on surveys. 

I can finally fill out school forms and not look like an apparent single Mum. 

I just need to kick these nerves, and survive and get through tomorrow and hopefully enjoy the day, taking it all in!

I can't wait to show some photos of things I have made, my dress and everything about the day :)

Monday, 4 August 2014

My handmade wedding dress

Despite my nerves and anxieties I got a bit giddy with excitement yesterday when my handmade dress was finally finished.

It was the first time I had seen it complete.

It was better than I imagined and remembered.

The lace is beautiful, it looks so elegant, so expensive (when really it was a bargain at £210 for material and having it made)!

It fits like a glove, far removed from the dress I had originally bought. The one I had bought because I didn't think there was any other option.

So although my original idea came from this dress, the one I have now is so, so much nicer.

It is beautiful and I can't wait to show everyone it. Not even my Mum has seen it yet as she has been busy any time my dress maker could make it over to mine.

I even have a small train-one thing I said I would have!!

I love it, and it's the only thing that's truly given me a real bubble of excitement in this whole wedding fiasco!

I can't wait to post a photo of it here afterwards!

More than just wedding jitters

This past week or so I have been an emotional wreck. Well more of one than I usually am anyway!

I've tried to keep myself busy with lots of makes, I still have a fair bit to do but I feel I have flat lined.

My nerves are taking control of me taking a hold of everything I do.

I wake in the mornings with that twisted stomach feeling, a mix of butterflies, I can't eat.

Thanks to the advice of others I went to by some rescue remedy from Boots the day of my hen do.

I'd been anxious of it from the day before, I sprayed the remedy onto my tongue and for that afternoon up until half an hour before the party I was fine, hurrah it worked!

But then the party got closer, my nerves cranked up, I paced the floors, numerous trips to the bathroom, I regretted eating dinner as I could feel it in my stomach. Deep breathes.

The party wasn't even anything too elaborate, it was a party with a group of friends at my parent's house, so why was I so nervous?!

Once the guests arrived I was fine, but I made sure not to eat much or drink much, I even managed to keep ok when all eyes were on me in a slightly embarrassing Mr and Mrs quiz my mum had done!!



I was ok. it was fun, everyone was having a laugh, particularly making wedding dresses out of toilet roll! I was so thankful to mum for all the effort she had put in.

I never drink alcohol when out, it always makes me feel a bit ill, but I thought I would be fine with a weak wine and lemonade combo, half an hour later when everyone was starting to leave I just had this wave of nerves come over me.

I just wanted to get home, I was pacing Mum's house, I tried to help tidy but the smell of any food made my stomach curl.

Then when my brother finally came back from our house to take me home, within minutes I was ok again, as soon as I was home I back to being me and feeling normal.

So I slightly absolutely petrified about how I will be come wedding day.

I hate going in other people's cars, so getting to the church is going to be my worst nightmare, especially with my Dad who doesn't get that my nerves are more anxiety. (in fairness no one really knows but James).

Mum and Dad just tell me to get on with it, stop being so silly, but they just don't get it...

I think I will spend the 15 minute journey trying to gag or physically be sick, and I am not joking, the amount of nerves for the day + being in someone else's car is going to be a bad combination!

Waiting behind those church doors, waiting to go in and see all eyes on me, on me in a nervous state, on me trying to be ill in panic, fills me with dread.

I am hoping I will be ok once being my James' side, he truly is the only person who has a calming affect on me in these situations.

I am also not looking forward to the speeches, I don't do well with eating when out, so doubt I will eat much at all knowing the speeches are on their way. And the speeches themselves, I hope I don't get that overwhelming sensation of just getting out of there.

If it all gets too much, perhaps I can hide in our hotel room which is a 5 minute walk away...

Any tips of how I can overcome any of these thoughts and feelings over the next 5 days?? I have rescue remedy but to be honest I don't think it did a great deal the other day, so doubting it will come Saturday.

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Wedding Nightmare

It's official I woke early this morning after having a wedding nightmare. 

To be fair I am quite surprised I've gone on this long without having one!

And in some ways it was good I did as James' alarm hadn't gone off an hour before like it should have done so at least got to work sort of on time, at least more than he would had we both been asleep!!

So back to the nightmare...

We were in a rush so didn't get to do everything we needed to outfit-wise, I was fine however the boys only had the top half of their suits on and rubbish old trousers. 

For some reason I didn't have James' uncle pick me up in his car (like we have planned), and we all bundled into my Mum's twingo...a 4 seater car so I was just balancing in the middle of the boy's car seat seats whilst Mum and Dad were in the front. 

We then couldn't park in the field (we don't have parking in a field for ours), so drove near the church to discover the wedding before us was still on. 

For some reason James came out to tell me this so I then I bashed him round the head so lovingly with my bouquet calling him a d**k for coming out to see me!

Hours passed with guests arriving late and not really caring. 

Then it was time to go in, the order of service's hadn't been printed out so some lady was handing out really bad single hymn sheets with party invite style backgrounds on them (perhaps this is due to me needing to print these out still)!

I got in and my dad was in a dressing gown not suit, my Mum had her dress but had awful shoes with it not the lovely deep pink ones to match her bag!

It wasn't our vicar, it was this fat man on his phone, in some old dirty top. 

My Nan sat next to me talking and doodling on paper (this is probably because I was doing this yesterday with her organising the flowers for the tables).

And to top it all off it was really dark so our photographer was really annoyed he couldn't get the shots he wanted in the garden.

... 

I then woke up!

I think I have too much wedding on the brain!!

It's been all stations go this week, Mum and I marzipanned and iced the fruit cake ready (as our cake maker messed us about!!). I have decorated over 20 jars and bottles for table decorations, I've made the bulk of the table plan, a card sign, sorted the table flowers out and chased up my wedding dress maker (who I haven't heard from in 2 weeks so was getting a little worried)! Alas it is made and I should be getting it this week. 

Song lyrics, Hessian and washi tape!

Hand painted bottles wrapped with twine with air dried clay hearts

Sorry it's the wrong way around but you get the idea! All names hand stamped and tags made to match our invites
Hand painted card sign

Mock up of wedding table centre pieces, with some of the wrong colour flowers-was just for a rough idea using flowers we already had

Deep breaths, it will all be ok, it has to be! I NEED my nerves and anxieties to stay at bay on the day getting quite worried about that! Any tips or remedies!?

Friday, 18 July 2014

Teacher Thank you gift: Smartie cookies

So we had already made a flower pot for Alex's preschool key worker, but I wanted to get a little thank you gift for the other teachers that work there too.

So that in mind I made some cookies, because who doesn't like cookies?!

This cookie recipe actually comes from an Annabell Karmel baby book from years ago, but it is my fail safe recipe for cookies.

Everyone loves them, the original recipe is for white chocolate buttons but I have tried with many different combinations!

This time I decided on smarties!

Cookie recipe

100g/4 oz margarine
100g/4 oz caster sugar
100g/ 4 oz brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla essence
175g/6 oz plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
175g chocolate (for this I used one 140g bag of smarties and the rest was milk chocolate)

Preheat the oven to 180c. Basically mix/beat/stir all the ingredients together in that order. Using teaspoons, place walnut size rough balls of dough onto a baking sheet with baking parchment on. They take 10-12 minutes depending on how doughy you want them.

Take out the oven and cool on a wire rack.


As you can see I packaged them up in a clear cellophane bag once cooled and I had made a stamped tag "thanks for making me a smart cookie". And yes you may have seen a similar tag in my wedding makes the other day!


Find our how we made this thank you flower pot too.