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I remember the 24 hours before my grandad died so very vividly. The night before, Craig and I spent the evening belting out singstar whilst I wore my ugly green pj’s. He kept beating me at ‘Friday I’m In Love’ by The Cure. On my way home from uni, I walked via the garage to pick up BBQ doritos and I sat in Beckie’s room nattering. I remember my phone ringing when I was sat there moaning about something or another. I ignored it thinking it wouldn’t be important. I was wrong. Three years ago, the perfect mundane life I had stopped, and the sheltered existence without grief and loss came to an end.

I'm very aware everyone will die eventually, but it doesn't make it feel okay. It's not okay people can just die. Young or old, aware the end is near or quick and sudden. It will never just feel alright. Death highlights how bizarrely fragile our whole existence is.

There are reasons why my grandad’s death hit me far harder than I could’ve ever imagined. It left me numb. There’s no amounts of tablets, counselling or ‘time to heal’, that fixes the void left by a person not being there anymore and the what could have been’s being unanswered. The last three years saw me lose both my grandads, whom I loved so very much, and my uncle so suddenly too, but the last three years were where I’ve achieved the most. Never did my grandad see me graduate from uni, neither got to see me get engaged, and none of them will be sat there beaming back at me on my wedding day. How is the pain of that ever going to be alright?

Losing someone you love and coming to terms with knowing you can never hear their voice, hear their laugh, feel their hugs or see their face is exceptionally painful. No one can tell you how to fix the pain, there is no 'right' way to grieve, there no checklist of what is normal to feel and it can leave you feeling hopeless, especially when you’re someone who needs to feel in control.
J

Good Morning!  Wednesday's will be wedding post days moving forward! Today’s ramblings are on the topic of telling people they’re invited to the wedding, before you actually invite them, aka- save the dates. There is nothing wrong with those who want to spend every penny they have on a wedding, but personally, that's far from what I want. Love is free, after all. So i'm rather chuffed with these super affordable save the date magnets from Vistaprint.

(The venue was also printed on the magnet, but thanks to the wonders of photoshop, I removed it for the purpose of posting all over the internet, sorry wannabe gatecrashers.)

My main concern with save the dates was they would be a lot of money for something that would be cast aside and forgotten about. Realistically, paying for a piece of card to say were getting married, finding everyone’s addresses and buying a million stamps for everyone to just bin it was not something I have time or the money for. Especially as invites provide all the information you need, and you could just send those out early if you were having a wedding some might find difficult to get to or one where people might need to book time off work.

I decided early on, if we were going to have save the dates, they would be more for the purpose of being keepsakes, and they’d need to be practical or something that wouldn’t just be opened and put to one side. Which led me to a choice of two options, a business card type save the date, which people could just slide in their purses. Practical, yes, but not so much a keepsake and you still run the risk of people not realising they should put it in their wallet. They would also be far too tiny to post. My other option was fridge magnets. Highly practical, as you can whack them on the fridge and they’re there as a daily reminder, and something that can be kept there long past the wedding as a soul-warming reminder.

After swooning over the idea of having magnet save the dates, my next issue was finding a fridge magnets which was budget friendly. Etsy was full of beautiful and cute designs but spending £3-5 per save the date was not for us. You soon realise when planning a wedding that having pinterest dreams and wanting to save all your pennies does not go hand in hand. 

Then I stumbled across the vistaprint black-Friday deal, and managed to order 40 for around £20! The best part about the vistaprint site is they always have deals on all year round and they have so many designs, which are also customisable. There are pages and pages of save the dates, invites, programs, rsvps etc. They have so many different designs too, with the option to change the colours on some designs. I'm a bit gutted I couldn't change the pink font to another colour, but it sort of matches our theme. Who will notice anyway?! They all come with free envelopes too which was amazing. The magnets are also decent size too which I didn't expect, they're roughly the size of a 6x4 photo.  I even had to cancel my order at one point as I had a major flap over the original design I picked, and they allowed me too without any fuss. Something tells me they're highly skilled in hormonal bridezilla's changing their minds.

The only thing I need to decide now, is when to give them out! I've hand stamped all the envelopes already, so they are just sat awaiting to be dished out. Most of our close friends and family have theirs already, but i'm itching to give out the rest. I'm trying to wait for Easter/Summer before I give them out, with invites going out around this time next year. If I can wait that long, that is!



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Last year was a weird year. I don’t think anything would have topped the high which was 2014, yet for some reason I still set the expectations high. 

(How cute is this diary, I picked it up at Asda the other week for just £3!)


The year did bring positives, it was a miracle when I passed my driving test in June and booking my wedding last autumn fuelled my excitement to plan a day of celebration of mine and Craig’s love. Yet losing my Uncle in such a sudden and cruel way left the year clouded with hurt. I was so lucky growing up to have never experienced loss but for the past three years, without fail, I’ve had to say goodbye to close loved ones. I want 2016 to be a year where those I love stay close to me.

I slowly feel myself drifting into the awful place I found myself in a few years back and I won’t go back there. This year will be the year I make more time for the things I love. I’ll stop letting work consume the majority of my life and I’ll start writing more. I find something really therapeutic about writing down what’s on my mind, albeit normally a bunch of rambles. Seeing as I can now drive, this year will also be the year of road trips. I want to find a super quaint little log cabin somewhere and spend a weekend there. I also want to make more time for seeing my friends, which goes hand in hand with the road trips given we're all over the place. The worse I feel, the less I want to go out, but actually being outside the house makes me feel so much better, so getting out more is a must. 

 Two smaller aims I have include finding a new job and picking up German again. I've so much love for languages, so using the app I downloaded on my phone to pick up German again is a must. Finding a new job is also on the agenda as i'm pretty sure that is contributing towards my current mood. Preferably somewhere which doesn’t require a stupidly long commute would be brill. 

My biggest aim of the year is Project Wedding Ready. Not only do I want to collate of my Pinterest plans, spreadsheets and lists and turn them into results, but I want to work on feeling amazing on the day. So using Pinterest for slimming world meals instead of birthday cake fudge recipes is now my mission. I’ve shockingly re-joined the gym and have been using my ugly little fitbit. I should probably buy a new bracelet for it so it’s a little less unsightly.

So focusing on happiness, dieting and wedding planning. Not expecting much from myself there am I?!




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Last week something amazing happened- I became a cat mom! Now i've always loved cats and grew up with furry, meowing, bundles of joy, but this beautiful boy is MY first cat baby. It might sound a little weird to non-crazy cat ladies but the love I have for him is unreal. 


Dex is so well behaved for his tiny age. He has a strong interest in the hoover and all it offers him, rather than a desire to run away like most cats! He eats like a little piggy which has me pleased as he was so frail when we got him and he might have been the kitten no one wanted but to me he's nothing but beautiful.  He's got such a personality too, from climbing his scratching pole to get a better view of the tv (he really likes the Simpsons!?!) to us coming  home the other day to find he'd managed to change the tv channel, the little weirdo!

I'm so glad he's going to get to live a life full of cuddles, treats and happiness. Nothing beats a well loved pet. He'll keep me happy and sane and i'll have him walking around the house like he is a furry little prince, and what better than International Cat Day to introduce my kitty to the blog! 

If you already follow me on instagram, I apologise for the stream of kitty snaps, but if you don't and want to subject yourself to daily Dexter updates, you can follow me here; CLICK FOR LOTS OF CAT PHOTOS!! (AKA, my instagram!)



            
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A year ago today I lost my hero. 

My grandad was my favourite person. He had such a selfless, loving, kind heart. He never raised his voice, he'd go out of his way to help others and would stop at nothing to bring happiness to mine and my families lives. His kindness wasn't cause for him to be a push over though, he was the most stubborn strong headed man I know, and would always stand up for good cause. I admire and miss him so much. There's a void in my life which will never be filled.

When I was little he'd come on holiday with all of us and a holiday without him just was never the same. He'd build millions of sandcastles for me because I liked running through them and kicking them over.He never complained once at my weird little obsession, and was the only person to perfect tea and marmite toast just how I liked it.  He would always give me and my brother a bag of coins each christmas from the year which had just passed to show in his every day life, that he had always been thinking about us as he'd saved them from day-to-day. Even thinking about that now makes me well up.

It breaks my heart my Grandad was far too ill to realise I graduated, that he never got to give my my graduation present himself. He'll never know I got engaged. He will never know I passed my driving test. His gummy smile won't greet me on my wedding morning. When I have kids, they'll only know him from the wonderful stories of his life retold by those he left behind and they will never have the chance to make their own. My grandad was proof that there are some things money cannot by in this life; the love and memories you leave behind are priceless.

Words cannot describe just how much I miss my grandad and how much it truly breaks my heart that he suffered. Grief is such a consuming, awful thing. It can ease and things almost seem normal, but when it hits again, it numbs and debilitates you. Life without my grandad will never be the same, the last year were 365 long days of learning to live without him. One thing is for sure though, there will never be a day where I don't miss or think about him...




            
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July, you were a good one for the most part. I feel July definitely was one of those months that was over in what feels like a flash. I do love it creeping closer do my beloved Christmas though.

The month started on a high. I picked up Claude, my first car. It's been a combined effort from family and friends to boost my knowledge and confidence to the point where I'm feeling safe driving it. Even my poor neighbour helped when she found me crying the day I brought the car home as I had locked the wheel and couldn't start the car. Rather embarrassing given we'd not spoken before, but I now know how to put fuel in my car (cheers Tom and Abbie), handle slip lanes like a boss and confidently make my way down the a1 to work each day. Deep down i'm still crapping bricks mind.

Other than my new found love for cruising about the place blasting out One Love by Blue and the super lame cute CD Craig made me and working, life has been uneventful. We got some snazzy new patio furniture. I do love me some patio furniture. We also went to one of our friends christening, well their child. I love being able to force Craig wear a shirt and tie. I dread what he'll turn up wearing on our wedding day as he really hates it.

The month ended on me discovering i'm brilliant at making cocktails, something that is going to have to be developed further into August! Birthdays, wedding decisions and parental visits next month; august, come at me babe. 









            

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Benefit BrowZings. || Review.

First things first, there a zillion brow products out there. Long gone are the days where the Rimmel Brow Pencil was more than sufficient. Gels, pencils, waxes, felt pen, EVERYTHING. I've previous reviewed the MUA Pro-Brow Kit here and couldn't help but draw comparisons between the two, so it's only right I now review the original, it's far superiour but more costly mother.

BrowZings comes in three different shades and I picked it up in Medium upon the recommendation of one of the ladies working there. I did go with the intention of buying the darker offering but she told me it wouldn't suit me. If i'm honest I think i'm between the two as I sometimes find this a tad too gingery.



The product itself comes in a little black compact with a mirror and it was in fact a lot slimmer/smaller than I was expected given how much you get inside alongside the product.




Inside  you get a tiny pair of tweezers and two tiny brushes for application. The Brushes serve their purpose and inside the packaging there is a little instruction booklet explaining how to use the different formulas, perfecting an outline then filling in etc. Handy if you're not too sure what you're doing.



I've fair skin and red hair and the medium shade is an average match. I always find the darkest shades too dark but the medium too light, the woes! The wax is excellent to outline your brow shape with and the powder does a good job and filling in the brows sparse areas. A little goes a long way with this, it is easy to get a natural look despite how heavy the product is, so long as you don't go straight in with loads. Totally talking from experience there.

I was a bit weary of the price, retailing at £24.50, it's on the expensive side, espessially as there are a big flurry of dupes out there for wax and powder kits, available at a fraction of the price! In all fairness though, this product lasts ages so it's not something you'd need to purchase very often so i'm pleased I invested in it. I use it most days a week and have been since I picked it up at the start of the year, and there is still plenty left.


Overall it's a good product. A hefty price tag but expected for a higher end much raved about brow kit. If you're looking to splash some pennies



            
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