Planning a Literary-Themed Wedding

This Saturday (yes, April Fools Day – yes, it was deliberate!), myself and Mr Knox celebrated our 1st wedding anniversary – madness! One year on from the most amazing, fun day. With that in mind, I thought I would put together a short post on integrating a love of books into your big day.

We are both huge bookworms (although I will confess that my shopping habits are making the bookshelves creak a lot more than his!) and so we decided very early on that we wanted this to be one of the ‘themes’ for the wedding. As we are also very into our running, this was the other theme for the day. I was a little bit worried that they might not run very well together (no pun intended) but it actually worked out really well – the invites and table numbers were in the style of running bibs, and the decor and favours were all bookish goodies 🙂

Here are a few tips for bringing the written word to the wedding table.

The Ceremony Reading 

There are so many beautiful passages from all kinds of books which would make perfect readings for during the wedding ceremony. We got married at our venue, and the ceremony itself was pretty short, but this was a lovely interlude. A quick search on Pinterest or Google should yield lots of results; wedding blogs like Love My Dress also offers some good ideas. We went for the below extract from Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, one of the most beautiful pieces in the book; in my opinion… I’d say it made me cry, but I’d already cried so much during the ceremony that I’m not sure it would be 100% accurate 🙂

“Love is a temporary madness, it erupts like volcanoes and then subsides.  And when it subsides you have to make a decision.  You have to work out whether your roots have so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part.  Because this is what love is.

Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion.That is just being in love, which any fool can do.  Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident.

Those that truly love have roots that grow towards each other underground, and, when all the pretty blossoms have fallen from their branches, they find that they are one tree and not two.”

Decorations 

If you grew up in a house that was anything like my childhood home; there are piles of hardback Reader’s Digest books scattered everywhere, with a few other classics for good measure. This was great when it came to planning the table decor, as it meant I could just borrow all of these to make some central table displays, and had minimal need to buy any. Thanks Mam and Dad!

We also had some book bunting left over which the girls had made for my hen do (must have taken forever – there was so much of it!) so we used this to decorate the edges of the room/mantlepieces etc.

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Second Hand Book Favours 

On one of my Pinterest binges looking for wedding inspiration, I came across lots of photos of second-hand books being given as favours for wedding guests. We loved this idea and decided to go for it – for all 120 guests! Thankfully we were very lucky in that the best man’s mam donated lots of books from the library she worked at. For the rest, I scoured the charity bookshop on Gosforth High Street, where I was able to pick up a lot of books in near-perfect condition for £2-£3 each. Result.

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Book Confetti 

Perhaps not suitable for all venues – a lot have rules about the kind of confetti that can be thrown on their grounds – but if you can bring yourself to sit with a heart punch and deface a paperback then this looks lovely scattered on tables, or on display in jars around the hall and corridors.

I hope that gives a few ideas 🙂 There’s so much that could be done to create a ‘bookish’ wedding – I saw one couple who had made a ceremony arch entirely out of books! Now that’s dedication! If you’re planning a wedding currently, good luck and ENJOY! 🙂

P.S. The images in this post are by our lovely wedding photographer Katie Byram.

Reflections on Redundancy

As I write this, I am listening to my neighbour’s decorator warbling the same – very out of tune – line from an 80’s classic (I believe it’s I Think We’re Alone Now), over, and over, and over….. He has been singing the same song for the last 3 days on and off, and has a cracking set of lungs on him.

How do I know this? Because I am currently out of work, and spending most of my days at home in front of my laptop; filling in job applications and sending emails to people who I hope will become key contacts and, ultimately, help me to secure my next job.

I have been thinking about writing this post for quite a while now; but for one reason or another have persisted in putting it off. Redundancy is a very personal thing to talk about; but ultimately is not something to be ashamed of and can, I believe, work out for the best in the long run. So, here are my reflections on redundancy, the effect it can have; and how to make the most out of the situation.

Take Time to Unwind 

Being told that you are being made redundant has most likely come as a huge shock – even if it hasn’t; that doesn’t stop the fear, anger and general disbelief from knocking the breath out of you. When you’re going through the process, it can feel like you’re gliding through it on autopilot. It’s not until you reach the end, have left your old office for the very last time, and are finally home; that the emotional toll really hits. Make sure you take some time to yourself to come to terms with the change, relax and recuperate; before going into anything new – you’ll thank yourself for giving your mind a rest in the long run.

Find the Positive in the Negative

Although at the time it may feel like everything is going wrong; on reflection, you may find that this turn of events is a blessing in disguise. Maybe you were actually feeling undervalued in your previous role; or perhaps you’d been thinking about taking the next step, but were afraid to commit to moving on. Redundancy means that all ties with your previous working life are cut; and you are free to make a fresh start, without the constant worry at the back of your mind that, perhaps, you weren’t doing the right thing after all.

Review, Reflect and Remind

This is a perfect opportunity to look back over your career to date, Continue reading Reflections on Redundancy

There Goes 2015: A Final Month Round-Up

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Happy new year everyone! Well done, you have made it through the first 2 days back at work and have almost reached the hump 🙂

I’ve not really blogged much of late; due to a variety of different reasons and other things taking over my life! Before I start throwing myself into the habitual New Year Resolutions zone, I thought I would spend today doing a bit of a December round up; as it was quite a busy month!

We’ll start with the crappy part – right at the beginning of December; I was made redundant. It was a bit of a shock, but not completely unexpected; and all things accounted for I think it really was more of a positive thing than a negative thing to have happened. I had been with my previous company since I left university; and although I had been through some great times with them and had learnt a lot from my experience there, I was ready to move on. So, I am taking the opportunity to take stock; gather myself together and get on with finding something new and exciting and fun! This might deserve a bit of a post all of its own at some point, on the list of things I’ve written to do while I’ve got the advantage of not being in work! 🙂

Right, now that is out of the way – on to all of the December festivities that were had!

My mam, sister and I had an afternoon at Kirkley Hall at the beginning of December, for a Christmas Wreath Making Workshop. This is something I’ve wanted to do ever since I read this post on So You’re Getting Married in 2014, and it did not disappoint!

To start with, we were taken through how to make the mossy base and wire it to the copper ring. Watch out for the earwigs! Once that was done, we layered the foliage base using different kinds of branches and leaves. Then, finally, it was time for decoration with pine cones, cinnamon sticks and dried oranges. As the piece de resistance; a beautiful big bow and a generous spraying of glitter to finish it off. I have to admit that I was really pleased with the result; despite a couple of (almost hidden) bald patches and a few scratches where I’d lost a battle with the holly leaves! I think we’ll be making this a yearly event 🙂

That same week, I had the annual Jools Holland its-now-officially-Christmas night out with a few friends. We go along to see his show every year at City Hall, and it officially marks the beginning of our festive season! This year was spectacular as usual. I can’t get my head around how someone can play piano so well, so fast! KT Tunstall and Ruby Turner were there as guests and by the end of the night we were all up on our feet singing along. Sorry about that, unfortunate guy sat next to me. I never said I could sing…..

The following week was my ex-works Christmas party, which I had already booked and paid up for; so I went along for some food, drinks and dancing! Unfortunately, there wasn’t very much food, and the dancing was replaced by more drinks :-/ Needless to say, the day after was messy, painful and emotional; and I would rather not talk about it at all thank you very much! I spent most of the day hiding from the world; moving only to the sofa to take up this position:

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Dark times; dark times indeed.

I spent the week leading up to Christmas catching up with friends and spending some quality time with Mr Knox, in between preparing the house for a McFarlane family invasion – our first year hosting Christmas! Then, on Christmas Eve, it was time for It’s A Wonderful Life at Tyneside Cinema. One of my most favourite fixtures of the holiday season; and guaranteed to bring a tear to the eye of even the most Ebenezer of Scrooges! At the end of the showing; everyone always claps – it’s lovely 🙂

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Christmas Day itself came and went in a blur of cooking, presents and prosecco. The best kind of days! We had a lovely relaxing time with the family. Once the parents had retreated back home and my niece was asleep; myself, James and my sister sat down for my first game of Monopoly in about 3 years. Seems I’ve become a lot more competitive since last time I played! Still didn’t win though….

We spent New Year’s Eve at home with a few friends. The plan had been to head out to a restaurant for some food and a couple of drinks; unfortunately, however, we were a bit messed around and so in the end we decided against it and braved the supermarkets instead for a feast of pulled pork, garlic bread, salad and veg. Mmmmmm!

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Jools Holland’s Hootenanny on the TV, obvs!

P.S. This is what happens when you try to get a ‘nice photo’ with my other half….sigh:

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And that, as they say, was that! Here we are in 2016; year of the wedding. Eeeek! More on that to come…..

Here’s to 2016!

 

 

A Spot of Sunshine

I LOVE fresh flowers. It’s just a small touch but I think they can really make a room look welcoming and feel more like a home.

This is slightly problematic when you factor in my ridiculous hay fever; but I’m willing to overlook some sneezes and sniffles in favour of some fresh roses 🙂 At any rate, my hay fever seems (touch wood) to finally be calming down!

My manager is going off on maternity leave tomorrow, and I popped into Marks & Spencer over lunch to buy her a little parting gift. I spotted some little vases of bright yellow flowers and had to buy one for her…. then bought another one for me too 🙂 I’ve been wanting a little vase for my desk for ages but hadn’t found one; the flowers won’t last long but I figure I will be able to re-use it and fill with flowers from the garden; so it’s an investment really….

They have some gorgeous arrangements; I’m sure I’ll end up buying more before the summer’s out!

Thank You Vase from M&S, £5
Thank You Vase from M&S, £5

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Dipping my toes…..

So…… Hi!

I have been wanting to start a blog for a while now; but it’s taken me a while to pluck up the courage to put pen to paper (or rather; finger to keyboard).

I’m not really sure what you’re supposed to write in your first post (maybe that’s why it’s taken me so long to take the plunge!) so I guess in the absence of a funny joke I’ll tell you a bit about myself instead:

I’m Steph. Pleased to meet you.

I work in marketing.

I also study marketing.

I love to read.

I love to write.

I run. 5k. 10k. Half marathons. 2 full marathons; to date. It’s fun!

I am, however, in a constant battle with myself between wanting to be super-fit and super-healthy; and giving in to my sweet tooth!

My sweet tooth often wins. This makes me sad. Must try harder!

I am on the cusp of tipping from mid-twenties into late-twenties:

quarter life crisis

Thank you, Pinterest; for allowing me to express these thoughts in picture format.

I am very good at procrastinating. Seriously. I thought about writing some tips….but I got distracted.

(Aha, there’s the joke!)

So, that’s me in a nutshell! I’ll be writing about all sorts of things – books, running, races, make-up goodies, clothes, maybe a bit of travel here and there…. hope you’ll stick around 🙂

Steph x