Sunday, 24 April 2016

Outfit post - Polka Dot Dress - House of Fraser

Dress:c/o Wallis House of Fraser - Shoes:Clarks found here - Bag:Zatchels 



It feels like I haven't done much recently because my focus (and money) has all gone on the new house but I went to see the American Idiot musical on Friday, visited friends in Eastleigh yesterday and I've got a early 40th birthday trip to Liverpool planned for Martyn and a Manics gig both coming up next month so lots to look forward to.

A meal out and going to watch the musical was a bit of a date night for me and Martyn so I made an effort and put my glad rags on. You have to look smart if you're going to the theatre dahling, right? The cast of the show were great (including Amelia Lily) and it made a nice change to the more traditional musicals I'm a fan of but was a bit more in keeping with Martyn's musical taste. Really looking forward to the next show that I have booked which is Billy Elliot.

All of my time online is spent looking at wedding venues and pinning bedroom inspiration so I've not done any online shopping for dresses for aaaages and I've been wearing the same ten dresses on rotation which can get a little dull so I was super excited then this polka dot number was delivered. I've worn this Wallis dress from House of Fraser a handful of times including on my date night and I've only had it for just over a week. It is definitely my new favourite and a nice summery addition to my wardrobe. I'll be wearing this in the summer with sandals and a denim jacket and to work with a cardigan. 

Are you a polka dot fan? I must have at least 5 polka dot dresses, one more can't hurt ;)
      

Gemma
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Sunday, 17 April 2016

Our First House - Upstairs

Bedding: Joules - Curtains: Dunelm - Furniture: Ikea

Vase: Sainsburys - Dressing table set: charity shop - Mirror:Wilko
lightshade: John Lewis - Storage boxes: Matalan - Wardrobe:Very

Lamp: TK Maxx

The first post about my new home featured the hallway and living room which were the rooms we focussed on getting ready first. The upstairs is now starting to look like home but there is still lots to do. All the rooms upstairs have had a coat of white paint and the front bedroom has some grey on the feature walls. The previous owners had recently painted the bathroom but the coverage was so patchy and messy we had to give it a few coats of paint to tidy it up. 

Apart from the wooden furniture, a new bed and some new bedding in one of the rooms pretty much everything you see comes from the old house. The rooms are lacking in personality at the moment and we haven't hung all of our artwork so I'm currently searching for the right colour paints to lift the rooms and will invest in some new soft furnishings to give the rooms a little more impact. I love the original fireplaces and picture rails in both of the bedrooms, the old features definitely drew me to this house.

There is a third bedroom which isn't featured. It is currently full of boxes and has stairs leading to the attic room. Eventually we hope to have the box room as a study leading up to the attic room where all of our books, records and Martyn's drum kit will live. It will make a nice chill out space and there's room for a bed or sofa bed for when we have visitors. The attic needs a little work, the roof and lighting need some attention and I would love to get the eaves insulates properly before we move furniture up there. 

As you can see there's still some way to go before the house is just right but I'm happy with the progress that has been made. 

If you've posted about a bedroom makeover or want to share some bedroom ideas/pinterest boards please leave some links in the comments section so I can get a little inspiration. 

Gemma
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Monday, 11 April 2016

The National Wedding Show









With inspiration and advice from over 250 wedding specialists, thousands of dresses to suit all budgets and a show-stopping catwalk, The National Wedding Show is a fun day out and a great place to start planning your perfect wedding.

I attended the show in Birmingham NEC with my mum and made a real day of it. It was the first time I had done any real wedding planning and tried on dresses. No High Street stores stocks wedding dresses in Cardiff, you have to order them in specially. This is a bit tricky for a bride on a budget as I don't have a credit card to put the dresses on and I would want to order a few sizes and shapes to try on. Most bridal boutiques are completely out of my price range so I was really excited to attend the show and actually get to try some dresses on and take a look at some designer dresses with Wedding Show discounts and offers that would fit my small budget. 

I was a guest of Debenhams for the day and headed straight to their beautifully presented stand. Their entire bridal collection was there to view along with their bridesmaid, bridal lingerie and bridal accessories collections, as well as the Mother of the Bride and kids collections.  Staff at the stand and in-store can offer style advice for the big day and make suggestions for a gift list, it can be a one stop shop for all of your weeding needs. I fell in love with a Coast two piece outfit for my bridal party at the Debenhams stand and my mum was particularly taken with a grey and pink dress that featured in the catwalk (photo above). 


Being a size 18 it wasn't possible to try on all the dresses I liked but there was a pretty, budget friendly one from Berketex I was able to try on and it was useful to see some of the detail up close and be able to compare what you get for your money when you opt for budget or splash the cash on designer (not a huge deal more in my opinion, some more beads ands a extra tailoring). I was a little worried that attending the show would be a bit disheartening for a budget bride but there was plenty of options in my price range and it was useful in terms getting ideas for my own wedding day even if I would have to recreate things with a bit of DIY and crafting and help from wiling friends. 

As well as trying on some dresses the day was also useful in terms of getting inspiration for cakes, invitations, photographers and even the honeymoon. I hadn't really put much thought into how I was going to capture my day on film before going to the show and I'm now seriously considering a photo booth and videographer if I can stretch my budget or discuss only a couple of hours coverage at a reduced price. If you would like to attend the show yourself there will be another chance in the autumn.

This is my first wedding post on the blog, I'm now in full on wedding planning mode so I'm sure there will be a couple more to follow. Can you recommend any South Wales wedding vendors? Have you been to a wedding show as part of your wedding prep or did you you exactly what you wanted right from the start?

Gemma
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Sunday, 3 April 2016

Our First House - A Peek at the Hallway and Living Room











Sofa: DFS - Curtains: Next - Mirror: The Range - Light fitting: B&Q - Lamp: Argos 
Knitted throw: John Lewis - Rabbit cushion: habitat 

Well I guess this is growing up... 

I moved in with Martyn this week two years ago into a rented house and I never thought that my life would change so quickly in such a short space of time. Martyn proposed in December and the new year was a blur of house viewings, making an offer and waiting nervously to find out if we were able to get a mortgage on the house we both loved. With no chain for both myself and Martyn and for the sellers the whole house buying process went very quickly. I would say that the whole process took no longer than 6 weeks and I was very unprepared for the big move, we were packing up the old house a couple of weeks after we got the keys for the new place. 

There was quite a bit of work to do on the house when we moved in as there always is with old houses. My mum and Martyn gave the whole house a lick of white paint and a good clean before we moved in (I make tea and point out bits that have been missed). Some rooms were missing skirting board, lots of things were a bit wonky and previous owners had been a bit slap dash in their approach to painting, tiling and general level of finishing so we have been rectifying some of that. The features like the original doors, picture rails, tiled hallway and fireplaces made me fall in love with this house but old houses are also drafty and need a lot of repairs so the next year will be spent getting the house up to modern standards as far as energy efficiency and safety are concerned and the roof needs some attention.

The hallway has had a relatively small amount of work done. It's had a fresh lick of paint on the walls and woodwork and a new fuse box to make the electrics safe but that's about it. I want to clean the floor tiles properly and restore them to their former glory. This will require some industrial strength cleaner and some sealing wax and a lot of elbow grease. I also want to have a picture gallery going up the stairs and the outside of the house needs some paint and a jet wash.

The living room is probably the most completed room in the house so far. We had a new carpet fitted before we moved all the furniture in, fixed the fireplace to the wall and gave the walls, woodwork and radiators a few coats of brilliant white. The only thing left to do in the living room is find a coffee table and paint the chimney breast a pale grey colour (Maybe F&B cornforth white). You can see a 'before' photo here. I am feeling very proud of the home that Martyn and I are building together and I'm looking forward to relaxing and enjoying the house once it is complete.

I'll share some photos of the dining room, kitchen and the bedrooms later in the week and if anyone would find it useful I may write a simple guide to buying your first house/what you can expect when buying your first house. 



Gemma
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Monday, 28 March 2016

Time to try something new - YO!Sushi Cardiff

this is a picture of sushi katsu curry pork japanese food

Can you believe I've never eaten sushi at a restaurant before? I think I've picked up a pack at M&S for lunch and tried a few bits at an event but I've never been able to try out a variety of dishes so I was really looking forward to my trip to the Cardiff branch of YO!Sushi.  

There are loads of choices which suit a well seasoned sushi aficionado or a sushi newbie like myself. If you are a little put off by the idea of raw fish then you can try some tempura, a salad, soup or vegetable roll. If you were like me before my first visit and aren't too sure how it all works in store I can assure you it is super simple. All dishes are freshly prepared and you can see them being made in front of you. If you want a particular dish on the menu but can’t see it on the belt, just press the call button and a member of staff will pop over and take your order. You can help yourself to water from the taps on the tables and green tea comes with unlimited refills. 


I sampled some new dishes on the menu but was also able to try some old favourites like the katsu curry. I thought of my meal like Japanese tapas, I got to have a little bit of everything rather than being stuck with only one option and being jealous of what my friends were eating or having regrets about my choices.

this is a photo of katsu curry japanese food

The Clam & Enoki Miso Soup - Shiro miso broth with clams in their shell, enoki mushrooms, wakame, spring onion and shichimi powder was light and refreshing after a heavy katsu dish, perfect for someone with more adventurous tastes.

this is a picture of clam miso soup yo!sushi japanese

Okonomiyaki which is a savoury cabbage filled pancake with loads of toppings and smoked bonito tuna flakes was a highlight for me and under 150 calories. I also loved a slow braised pork belly dish with a sweet sauce and rice called Buta No Kakuni. If you're after something spicy I highly recommend the dynamite rolls, they got their name for a reason!

If you want to try one of the new items on the menu now is a really good time to go because there is a free dish on offer if you spend over £10 (voucher here)

I really enjoyed my first trip to YO!Sushi, if you want to visit you can find your local store here.

*I was a guest at YO!Sushi but all views and words are my own


Gemma
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