Finding a wedding dress has always felt like one of the most daunting parts of a wedding to me. Not to sound like a right old tight arse, but they really are ridiculously priced considering you're only going to wear them for one day of your life and I've just always felt like I wouldn't be able to justify that amount of money as I'd end up thinking 'but we could spend that money on the honeymoon.' I always knew I'd get my dress from the high-street as my budget was really quite low (I'll never forget a conversation I had with a customer at work where we were discussing how expensive weddings are and she commented on how they'd had to find "a real budget option" for her daughters wedding dress and it turned out to have cost £5000!!! I nearly fainted when she said it) Me and James have been engaged for nearly 2 years now, so even though we only booked our wedding a few months ago I've had quite a lot of time to browse around and get an idea of the kind of dress I'd like. I really can't recommend Pinterest and wedding magazines (as you can probably tell from the above picture my favourite is Perfect Wedding) enough; although most of the dresses featured were totally out of my price range, it really helped me to decide what length/style/colour/detail etc I wanted.

To begin with I was quite set on having a knee length, prom style dress and I completely fell in love with one from Phase Eight. I sent a photo of it to my sister and we were both pretty sure it was the one, but after a couple of weeks I kept getting a niggling feeling that it wasn't *quite* right. I'm really pale and the thought of having my legs on show was starting to make me feel a bit nervous as I'd have to decide whether to attempt fake tan and all that jazz, and then I started looking around for some shoes to go with it and I just knew it wasn't going to work for me at all. Being a chronically ill gal, I really don't get on well with high heels and James is only a smidge taller than me so I hated the thought of being taller than him in heels. A prom-style dress means there would be a lot of focus on the shoes, so I just completely went off this idea and I felt a little bit disheartened and lost with what I was going to go for.

I was then browsing at dresses online one day I promise this isn't what I've been doing with 99% of my time since getting engaged #oops and I ended up on a website I hadn't even considered before (I'm going to be a right old tease and not share where I bought it from until after the big day) and the minute I spotted it I just knew. I sent the link to my sister straight away and she really loved it too; I just couldn't stop thinking about it and *may* have ended up revisiting the website every day to swoon at it. We'd planned to go to Westfield in London so that I could try it on in real life along with a few others as I was determined not to pin all my hopes on this one just incase I didn't love it as much in real life or it didn't suit me or whatever. But then I was making my daily visit to the website one evening and I noticed that it had gone out of stock in every size apart from an 8 and I swear my heart literally dropped out of butt; I was devastated. I'd always thought I'd need a size 10 as I tend to be somewhere between the two, but with a little convincing from my sister and one of my friends at work I decided to scurry off to the local store on my lunch break to order the size 8 *just* to try it so I could at least rule it out if it didn't fit, rather than always wondering (it was certainly the most exciting Monday lunch break I've ever had!! *insert monkey covering his mouth emoji*)

After a *slight* drama with finding a tiny mark on it (cue heart falling out of my butt again and me having to seriously control myself not to cry and be a right old drama queen) and me having to hastily reorder it and pay next day delivery to have it arrive today, I have finally got my dream wedding dress, and oh my goodness me, it is perfect and it fits me like a glove; I honestly can't believe my luck :) I swear it's going to kill me not being able to talk about it and I almost give something away about 1794378742980 million times a day because I'm just so in love with it and want to talk about it all the time pinky promise I'm not turning into a bridezilla I've already got an idea of the kind of shoes I'm going to wear with it and I've seen a couple of options that I really love and it was luckily a really amazing price too, so I basically haven't stopped grinning since I tried it on :) :) :) :)

It feels super surreal to think I actually have my wedding dress hanging in my wardrobe now (in a protective garment bag of course so James can't have a snoop hehe!) after many many months of searching and dreaming about what it would be like. I'd be lying if I said I didn't have a tiny panic about whether it's definitely the right one, especially considering it's the only wedding dress I've ever actually tried on. But finding the mark on it made me realise even more how much I absolutely love it and that it is 100% the dress for me; I swear to god I felt like I was holding my breath the whole time waiting for the new one to be delivered today!! So my biggest piece of advice to anyone looking for their wedding dress is just go with your gut instinct; you know when it's the one and it doesn't matter where you get it from, whether you try it on in a shop or in the comfort of your own home or how much it is (obviously as long as you're happy with the price and it's within your budget) - when you know, you know.

I'm definitely not off to spend the evening staring at the photo my sister took of me wearing it #sorrynotsorry

Love Holly xo
Twitter / Instagram / Bloglovin


Wednesday, 18 May 2016

If you follow me on Twitter you may have already seen that me and James have finally booked our wedding!! :) We've been engaged for nearly two years now, but to be honest trying to find somewhere that we liked and which wasn't going to cost more than our house deposit has ended up being a lot more difficult than we anticipated. The venue we've gone for is actually one of the first I found online and it's the only one we ended up visiting; we just knew it was the one from the moment we stepped inside and honestly, we just can't get over how perfect it is *swoons*
We're going to be getting married at 3.30pm on Thursday 13th April 2017 in a beautiful, small hotel in the old-town of where we live. It has vintage inspired decoration throughout and the most beautiful garden which we are keeping all of our fingers and toes crossed we will be able to have our ceremony in if the sun decides to put his hat on! The people who run it are absolutely lovely and I have complete confidence that they're going to do everything exactly how we want it, and seriously just look how pretty that fireplace is *insert all of the heart eyed emojis*
Once we got everything officially booked with our venue and registrar it was time for me to pop a very important question to my sister and thankfully she said yes!! I wanted to do something special for her and we'd already planned to have a meal out together to our favourite Simply Italian restaurant which has kind of become 'our' place over the years, so it gave me the perfect opportunity to give her this little Maid of Honour goodie bag which I'd put together :) I've also been spending quite a lot of time on Pinterest looking for wedding inspiration (it would basically be illegal not to be doing this as a bride to be, right?!) and I've come to the realisation that I'm going to need a little more hair to work with for my wedding 'do' than my graduated bob, so operation 'grow my hair down to my shoulders' has begun! I've heard so many good things about the Lee Stafford 'For Hair That Never Grows Past A Certain Length' Treatment, and I managed to get it on offer 3 for £15 in Boots. I've only been using it for a week but I've noticed a bit of a difference already :)

My lovely sister then surprised me the following weekend with this beautiful wedding planning diary and I absolutely love how she chose a vintage inspired one to match our wedding venue; isn't it just beautiful?! I was finding myself having wedding notes literally here, there and everywhere, so it's been a bit of a life saviour having this to keep everything in one place and I'm very OCD about filling it all in perfectly so that we can keep it as a keepsake as it's so special to me :) The sections are really helpful at giving you a kind of guide of everything you need to organise too and I've been trying very hard not to panic at how much I still have to sort out! #oops

I've been thinking of doing a 'things we've learnt from wedding planning so far' type blog post so let me know if you'd like to see that :) The countdown is officially on, eeee!!!

Love Holly xo
Twitter / Instagram / Bloglovin


Sunday, 24 April 2016

"Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass, it's about learning to dance in the rain."

"Comparison is the thief of joy."

"Happiness can be found in even the darkest of places, if one only remembers to turn on the light."

"What if I fall? Oh, but my darling, what if you fly?"

"Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind, always."

"Be an encourager. the world has enough critics already."

"Admire someone else's beauty without questioning your own."

"It's okay to be a glowstick; sometimes we need to break before we can shine."

"Start a revolution. Stop hating your body."

"If you have good thoughts, they will shine out of your face like sun beams and you will always look lovely."

"One of the happiest moments in life is when you find the courage to let go of what you can't change."

"No matter how you feel get up, dress up, show up and never give up."

"Remember you're the one who can fill the world with sunshine."

"Let your smile change the world; don't let the world change your smile."

"Getting over a painful experience is much like crossing monkey bars. You have to let go at some point in order to move forward."

"Whenever you find yourself doubting how far you can go, just remember how far you have come. Remember everything you have faced, all the battles you have won, and all of the fears you have already overcome."

"Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it."

"Happiness is letting go of what you think your life is supposed to look like and celebrating it for everything that it is."

Love Holly xo
Twitter / Instagram / Bloglovin


Sunday, 3 April 2016

1. Snuggle up in a blanket and your cosiest slipper socks with a couple of magazines and some of your Christmas chocolate - January can be really hard with the cold weather, dreary lighting and dark evenings, but it also gives the perfect excuse to have a cosy night in without feeling an ounce of FOMO. When I've been battling the cold weather all day there's nothing I love more than spending the evening curled up in a blanket reading a couple of girly magazines with some of my christmas chocolate #sorrynotsorry I've always viewed January as the month when you need a little chocolate indulgence more than ever, so I like to save my healthy eating plan for March time instead when Spring is just around the corner and I have a little more enthusiasm for salad :)
2. Indulge in a pamper night with a yummy Lush bubble bar - Nothing cheers me up more than a nice long soak in a hot Lush bath, and I try to find time for one a couple of times a week throughout January. I prefer bubble bars to bath bombs as I just love a good old bubbly bath and this Rose Jam Bubbleroon contains rose oil and rose absolute so smells absolutely incredible whilst leaving your skin seriously soft and smooth. It's designed to 'clear the mind and boost your mood' so is a perfect, uplifting choice for January :)
3. Read positivity quotes every morning - One of my 2016 goals is to read the Katie Piper 'Start Your Day With Katie' Daily Affirmations book each morning as it's a great way of giving you motivation and keeping you focused with your goals even if you're having a challenging time or feeling in a bad mood. I also love browsing for positive quotes on Instagram and Pinterest and I like to write them down on my phone or take a screenshot so I can look back on them if I'm needing a bit of a positivity boost.
4. Give yourself an at home manicure - I always feel so much more like 'girl, you got this' when I've got pretty painted nails. Whoever said glitter polish was just for christmas?! With the frosty weather and a chance of snowfall (I'm so jealous of everywhere that's got snow, we haven't even had a sprinkling!) it seems like the perfect time for glitter polish to me and a little bit of sparkle is always so uplifting :) I like to take some time to massage in plenty of my favourite Soap & Glory Hand Food Hand Cream to help stop my hands getting dry and sore in the cold weather and the Essie Cuticle Oil is also brilliant at keeping nails/cuticles strong and healthy.
5. Binge watch one of your favourite TV series - January is the perfect month to hibernate underneath the duvet and watch TV to your hearts content and you just can't beat a good old back to back marathon of your favourite TV series. I'm so excited PLL is back but it kills me that there's only one episode a week and after finishing Making A Murderer this morning (omg - let me know if you've seen it, I can't stop thinking about it!!) I decided it's time to crack out one of my old favourites and dream of New York with xoxo, Gossip Girl.

Do you have any tips on beating the January blues? Let me know how you like to spend your pamper time :)

Love Holly xo
Twitter / Instagram / Bloglovin 


Tuesday, 19 January 2016

© Handmade by Holly. Design by Fearne.