Monday, 9 October 2017

Dining room makeover

Martyn and I purchased our home around 18 months ago and there is still a lot of work to do to get it just right. When we initially moved in we gave everything a coat of fresh white paints and tidied up some of the bad DIY carried out by the previous owners. We haven't really done much to the house since then apart from getting some work done on the roof and the leaning front wall to make the house more structurally sound so it did feel a little bland and didn't really represent us. 

We have started to add a little more personality to the house with colour and fun accessories. The dining room is the favourite room in the house with it's large bay window letting in loads of light, the original picture rail and cabinet. It looked lovely in the grey we originally put up (you can see that here) but I think the navy blue we used to paint the feature wall really ties the room together and fits perfectly with the age of the house. The paint is Dulux Feature wall Sapphire Salute - the coverage was great and one pot did the whole wall with some left over for touch-ups. 

This is a picture of a gold wire fruit bowl

fruit bowl - Red Candy

This is a picture of a navy blue feature wall

Wire fairy lights - eBay
Print - etsy


I had hoped to have a blue velvet snuggle chair for the bay but since ordering it back in August Next have still not fulfilled my order. A two week wait has turned into two months and apparently they can no longer source the blue velvet fabric I want so who knows if I'll ever get it... In the mean time the bay is filled with my eBay bargain cushion cover and charity shop find chair. Both the gold fruit bowl and magazine rack come from Red Candy who have a great selection of modern and funky homeware. Both items came in at under £40 which is a bit of a bargain.  


The retro Royal Ducal coffee set is another charity shop find. The set had been stored in my mums garage for years but they complimented the navy blue wall perfectly so they were dusted off and now take pride of place in my dining room. I would love to replace the ikea bookshelf with a antique dresser at some point so I have somewhere to display my glassware and retro kitchenware - I'm on the lookout for something that fits the space perfectly.

This is a picture of a retro 70s coffee set


My gin cart is another charity shop bargain and a gift from my brother. I'm hoping to do a make over on this and cover the ugly dark wood with some marble effect sticky back sheets or paint it. I'm hoping to have a bit more time for DIY projects now what the wedding and all the planning that came with it is out of the way.

This is a picture of a gold drinks cart


A lot of the walls in our house are pretty bare, most of my prints are leaning against the wall on top of fireplaces or are stacked up in the spare room. I'm looking forward to getting my wedding photos back from the professional photographer and planning out a gallery wall in the hallway and mixing up the prints I've collected over the years with photos from the wedding and honeymoon.  Apart from a freshen up with paint I've not done anything with the hallway so I think that room will be my next project. The neutral cream walls and light fitting are functional but dull so I think I could make a big impact with minimal changes. I can't wait to get stuck in! (with the help of my DIY guru mum)


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Gemma
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Sunday, 1 October 2017

Post-Wedding Blues


This is a picture of a bride and groom outside the national museum wales





I've got a severe case of post-wedding and honeymoon blues.

This time two weeks ago I was heading to the hotel to get my hair and make up done and I was both anxious and excited. Now all all of those feelings have disappeared and I've been left feeling empty. What am I supposed to do now? What did I do before I spent a year pinning wedding hairstyles and labouring over table plans? 

I've spent the weekend packing away all the decorations and wedding supplies that I've been busily collecting for the past few months, sticking photos into albums and small items from the day are all going in a keepsake box. I guess that now that the best day of my life is over I need to start living the rest of my life. Yes, the wedding was amazing - I will never forget the tears in Martyn's eyes at the end of the aisle waiting for me and the feeling of contentment that comes with having all of your loved ones in the same room. But now I have a marriage to look forward to and I know this feeling of sadness will pass. 

There are lots of things I want to focus on now that the frivolity of the wedding is over. Our honeymoon in a camper van has given both of us the desire to travel more, aiming to live a more simplistic life and I'm hoping to start an exciting venture with my driven mother and creative brother. The wedding has taught me to seek out things that make me happy and to focus on those, it's time to figure out what I want to do with the rest of my life with my husband (so weird calling Martyn my husband) and Coco. 


this is a photo of a memory or keepsake box



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Gemma
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Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Life Lately - Summer Update

My last catch up was back in April and I've been a very busy bee over the past few months. Since April I've turned 30, had not one but three hen parties, had a few trips to London and spent many hours preparing for my wedding next week. Apart from a long weekend in West Wales I've not had a holiday this summer so I'm really looking forward to my Scottish honeymoon with Martyn and Coco. It will be a much needed break from a computer screen - blogging and social media seem slightly less fun when your day jobs is managing social media accounts. The Wifi and signal free north coast of Scotland will be bliss.

The summer started with wedding preparations, getting the cake sorted, tasting lots of cheese (hard work but someone has to do it) and having a hair and make up trial. I style my hair in the same way everyday and wear very basic make up so it was great fun to try out different styles and go for a bolder look. I've treated myself to some glittery Charlotte Tilbury eyeshadow for the weeding and I'll be having glitter on my nails too. 

This is a picture of my bridal make up trial

Going to see The Maccabees on their farewell tour in July really was a bittersweet moment. I didn't think it was possible to cry to a song about a wave machine but The Maccabees proved me wrong. Their songs defined my time in university, bring back fond memories of going to festivals in my 20s and singing and dancing until 4am with my friends in Cardiff. The farewell tour felt like a fitting end to my 20s and like a chapter of my life ending before a new adventure starts - married life and being a mother to my fur baby Coco. 

This is a picture of the maccabees farewell tour show in london

My first hen do was very cultural - I headed to Bristol for the day to watch a production of Romeo and Juliet in the Arnos Vale cemetery and enjoy a meal at the Lido.  I highly recommend a visit to the cemetery which has a fantastic programme of events including tours, film screenings and meditation all in a stunning setting. 

This is a picture of arnos vale cemetery in Bristol

My 30th birthday was pretty low key as I'm booze and cake feee in a bid to have glowing skin for my wedding but as a few of my friends also celebrate birthdays in August there was a joint birthday festival in Abergavenny with lots of live music and food. It was nice to have a day off with Martyn and Coco to relax, I don't miss wild birthday nights out. 


A photo of Coco looking cute just because I can. 

This is a photo of my sleepy shih tzu lying down

My role in work has changed slightly over the summer, I'm currently split between the social media team at a train operating company and the communications team. I'm now helping to write articles for our website, publishing a newsletter for company stakeholders and meeting with and corresponding with Members of Parliament and Assembly Members. After two years at the company it is nice to mix things up a bit and this secondment has helped my confidence grow and I'm enjoying meeting new people across the company by visiting sites across out network including the picturesque Machynlleth. 

This is a picture of machynlleth station platform

My second hen party was organised by the lovely Katy and was a super classy affair. We had a wonderful  Mad Hatters Afternoon Tea, at Sanderson Hotel in Soho, London and an overnight stay. Included was a fantastic selection of teas which I think are exclusive to the hotel and wonderland themed treats and savouries. I recommend a seat in the courtyard for a lovely outlook and relaxed surroundings. Kim has written a great review of the experience on her blog Sweet Monday. The hotel suite was beautiful with all the amenities you could wish for, I certainly felt very spoiled and had some beautiful gifts from my friends.

This is a picture of afternoon tea at the sanderson hotel


this is a picture of a champagne toast

This is a picture of a rainbow pride flag

I took Coco to PrideCymru and marched in the parade with colleagues from all across the rail industry in Wales. Coco loved all the attention and I enjoyed taking part and showing pride in my diverse colleagues and showing a commitment to ending discrimination.




My third and final hen celebrations meant another trip to London. I went to see the amazing Dreamgirls production in the Savoy and was treated to a lovely meal (and gin) at Flat Iron in Covent Garden. My friends have kept me very busy this summer and this has meant that I've not had time to get anxious about the wedding this weekend. In typical me style I have left lots of things to the last minute - I haven't even sorted out my ceremony music and a few decorations will hopefully be arriving the day before the wedding. 

I decided early on not to make 100s of decorations and I have a venue who are taking care of pretty much everything for me, I'm hoping this will allow me to have a stress free wedding day and enjoy spending time with all of my favourite people gathered in once place. Lets hope Storm Aileen has passed over the UK by Sunday but I don't think I'll be too worried about rain after a few glasses of bubbly.

This is a picture of a gin cocktail and bride to be badge
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Gemma
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Saturday, 19 August 2017

Travel - One day in Lucca, Tuscany.

I can't believe my trip to Italy with my mates was over 4 months ago! You can read my first post about Italy which focussed on Pisa here - Pisa Photo Diary, but today I'll be sharing my experience of visiting Lucca.

It's easy to see why Lucca endears itself to pretty much everyone who stops to visit. It's hidden behind defensive walls and has charming cobbled streets and bustling piazzas. The city hasn't been involved in major conflict since 1430 so the walls are very well preserved, as are the many Romanesque churches in the city. It was also the birthplace of Giacomo Puccini.

It would be a great place to visit for the day if you are staying in near by Florence as the rail links to the city are excellent and pretty cheap. The city was a short 20 minute train ride from our base of Pisa which is served by budget airlines form the UK - this is a really easy to reach destination but feels much more relaxed and has a lot less tourists compared to Pisa and Florence.

The city is compact enough to be explored by foot and I highly recommend hiring a bike to cycle around the city walls for the best views of the city and the surrounding area - hiring a bike and speeding around the walls was my favourite part of the day.


a picture of the facade of Church of St. Michele in Foro

picture of the facade of Church of St. Michele in Foro


Lucca seems to have Romanesque churches on every corner constructed from white and grey marble in a similar style to Pisa’s duomo. The beautiful Church of St. Michele in Foro was built on the site of the Roman forum in the 11th and 12th centuries.






a picture of the cobbled streets of lucca

The anfiteatro is another of Lucca’s attractions and was built in the second century AD. Between 1830 and 1839 the buildings occupying the ancient arena were pulled down and the inner area became a piazza which is now filled with cafes and shops. We made a pit stop here for a huge gelato and coffee.

This is a picture of the anfiteatro in Lucca




Most of our day was spent wandering the pretty streets, sipping cocktails on the terrace of Caffetteria San Colombano (great salads and wine selection too) and racing around the wall on bikes. After a couple of days of walking for miles and cramming in the sights Lucca was a pleasant and tranquil retreat. I would love to return to Lucca for a long weekend foodie break. I didn't have time to try the local speciality - tortelli lucchese which is bright yellow pasta, stuffed with seasoned meat and topped with a rag├╣ and a weekend sipping Aperol spritz in a sunny piazza sounds like my idea of heaven. 






this is a photo of the botanical garden in lucca


I think most people want to see want to see the “real, untouristy” side of Europe when they travel and I felt like Lucca got pretty close to that. 
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Gemma
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