Blog Archive

Our Wedding

We got our official wedding photos from the photographer a couple of days ago and are really pleased with them.  Our photographer was lovely and really captured, I think, the relaxed and gentle nature of the day, as well as the fun we had. 

To respect our guests' privacy I will only add photos here of my new husband and I (ooh! I've just had a thought that I should change Patient Other Half to Darling Husband!) as well as little shots of inanimate objects.

DH (!) and I made a lot of our 'extras' ourselves, and spent months making boxes, making soap, sewing napkin wraps, and making bouquets.  My sewing room became Wedding Central, which is why I wasn't able to do any dressmaking for so long!  

Our theme was silver and lavender, which we based on my dress, which was silver Guipure lace with a subtle lavender hint to the lining.  I was originally going to make my dress but tried on some to get some ideas and DD really liked this one, so I bought it!  DH had a grey suit with lavender lining, and silver tie etc.

Our wedding party wore varying shades of silvery grey and lavender and looked a picture in themselves!

The flowers were a big challenge as I had never done anything like this before!  I read loads about making bouquets and asked questions of friends who had done this.  I started with my bouquet and DD's and we had silk peonies with dried lavender, gypsophila and 'feather grass', which I had never heard of but absolutely loved!  I ordered all my dried flowers and confetti from Daisy Shop and was delighted with everything I ordered and the speedy and secure delivery.  I had a lucky find with the peonies, discovering them quite by chance at TK Maxx, so bought the lot!

Armed with florists wire, florists tape and a mirror, I assembled our two bouquets finishing them off with a 'collar' of the feather grass to disguise the artificial stems.  I then wrapped them in ribbon and secured with a pin.  Mine was slightly larger than DD's but to tell them apart I added a silver heart charm to mine.

The little bridesmaids would have been overwhelmed with the huge peonies to I bought some Gerberas and constructed theirs in much the same way but on a smaller scale.  (I thought I had taken photos of the bouquets, but I can't find them anywhere!)

I needed some smaller flowers for the men's buttonholes so found some small silk roses, that I put together with the dried lavender - three roses for DH and 2 for the groomsmen.

I made a miniature bouquet to go on top of the cake, and also bought a blingy 'Happily Ever After' silver topper, as I felt we needed a tiny touch of bling!  All of the remaining flowers were arranged in a white china jug and used as a decoration in the hotel.

Next were our wedding favours, and we had decided a while ago to make soap with lavender essential oils.  We then decided to make boxes to put the soap in and they took ages! We were pleased with the finished results though, and the soap seemed popular with our guests (most of whom had been given soap previously as a Christmas or birthday gift, so were probably half expecting it!)  

The hotel provided crisp, white tablecloths and a choice of colours for the napkins, so we chose lavender.  The chair covers were white, with lavender organza sashes.  I wanted to add some more colour to the table so after much discussion with some friends at Cooper's Creative in Skipton, came up with a pattern for relatively simple tubes of floral fabric, pressed flat, with 1" white organza ribbon stitched on, with a 1/8" inch lavender ribbon on top of that.  I felt it needed something in the centre, so I found some pretty Tibetan silver heart charms on eBay, so stitched one of those in the centre.  To make it easy for the hotel staff to put them on I stitched a narrow strip of velcro on each edge so they could be quickly put on.  After they were in position in the table the hotel added a single stem of lavender, that I had pre-cut to size.  

When the photographer greeted me in the hotel room, she commented on how fabulously the dining room smelt, with the scent of English Lavender on the air, which is exactly what we had hoped for.

Our ceremony was at 3.30pm, and I enjoyed every single second.  I had been worried about being too nervous and/or emotional, but when it came to it sailed down the aisle on the arm of my son, and delighted in it all. My son and two close friends did readings, and they were so special. The registrar was lovely and put us all at our ease.  I wanted the ceremony to last forever but all too soon it was over.  The best bit, of course, was at the end of it being pronounced 'Legally Married' and all our loved ones clapping and smiling.  That was brilliant.

We had Pimm's and canapés afterwards, followed by the official photos. We had purchased a range of garden games for entertainment and it was lovely to see people joining in and enjoying themselves. 

Next was our wedding breakfast, which was a four course sit down meal, and we had given our guests menu choices beforehand, plus choices for the people with dietary requirements. To help the hotel staff, and to speed up service, we printed each guest's choice on the back of the name card, which was just as well as several people had forgotten what they ordered!

After dinner we cut the cake and then people were free to either stay in the dining room, go out onto the lawn for more games, or visit the private bar, which was all part of the ceremony suite.  When darkness fell we moved some of the games inside to one end of the room and little groups of guests played giant dominoes, giant Jenga, and the very popular putting game!

We had chosen not to have a disco, as it is not something either of us are mad keen on, plus we had quite a small gathering.  We occasionally had concerns if there would be enough for people to do, but we looked around during the evening and saw groups of friends and family laughing and chatting, playing games, sitting in the bar,  relaxing on the verandah, and it was perfect - just what we had wanted.  The last guests left at midnight, and I think that is always a good sign!

It was a lovely and very magical day, and one that we shall always remember. 

Donna xx

Foraging and Frozen Yogurt

Hello again, on a rather cloudy and humid day!

There is something very satisfying about going blackberrying, and very reminiscent of  childhood school holidays, and we are fortunate enough to have a good crop of wild blackberries in the fields behind our road.  We also have wild raspberries, but they are pretty much finished now.

Daisy Dog and I have been foraging in the fields a couple of times over the past week and have returned home with stained fingers, a few stinging nettle stings (that's just me - Daisy returned unscathed) but a good haul of plump, juicy berries.

I made blackberry and apple crumble, and some blackberry frozen yogurt, which is probably my favourite, and is so easy and cheap to make.  There are loads of ways to make it, but here is my cheat's quick and easy way:

Start with roughly the same volume (not weight) of berries and low fat natural yogurt.  You could use any type of natural yogurt but I buy big tubs of local Lancashire yogurt, which are often on sale for a pound and are very good indeed.  You can vary the ratio of berries to yogurt, depending on what you have picked and what you have to hand.  On this occasion I had rather more berries than yogurt, but that was perfectly OK for me!

Place the berries in a colander and wash well under running water to get rid of all the dust and bits you don't want.  Pat gently in kitchen roll to dry them and then place them in a freezer container.  I have a brilliant container for this which I bought from Tupperware many years ago, and it is wide and shallow, so things freeze very rapidly and it is easy to slide into the freezer drawer.

Using a potato masher, crush the berries until they are broken up but not pulverised as it's nice to have some texture.  It should look something like this:

You can see the juice is already starting to flow out as they were such juicy blackberries!  

Next, sprinkle over some caster sugar.  I don't like things overly sweet, so used a generously heaped tablespoon for about a pint jug full of blackberries.  Mix the sugar in well.

Then add the yogurt.  I used just under a pint of yogurt.  Whisk it in with a large fork or a hand whisk.  You may have a lot of juice appearing but don't worry, just keep mixing and mixing until it is all amalgamated.

Then put on the lid and pop the whole thing into the freezer.  Now comes the important bit!  Every hour (or so) take it out of the freezer and using a large fork, whisk it up a bit, and mix the frozen edges into the middle.  This will help prevent large ice crystals forming and keep the mixture smoother.  Do this every hour and your frozen yogurt will be ready to use in about 4 to 5 hours.  If you have a deeper container it will be 5 or 6 hours.  This is obviously something to make when you are planning to be home for a good chunk of time!

I think this is nicer served slightly softer, but you can make it firmer if you wish.  If you don't want to serve it straight away,  leave it in the freezer until 20 minutes or so before you want to use it and then take it out to soften up a little and give it a good mixing with the large fork.

Absolutely delicious!  Just look at that colour!   With nature this amazing, who needs artificial colours??

Donna x 

A Whirlwind!

Well, hello my Friends!

I can't begin to tell what a whirlwind of a time I've had!  First of all,  Very Early Retirement, which was emotional, exhilarating, humbling from all the good wishes, cards and gifts, and above all just plain Weird!

We then went straight into final wedding preparations, and were married just over a week later!  What a wonderfully happy day we had, with our nearest and dearest in a country house hotel.  I wanted to write about that first, but we haven't got the official photos yet, so will do things in a back to front order and tell you a bit about our honeymoon.

We travelled down to Cornwall, and set up our temporary cosy nest in a beautifully secluded cottage not far from Fowey.  It was so quiet and restful, just what we wanted.  The only noise at night was the hooting of the owl in the garden.  By day we had fabulous views from our enclosed terrace - ideal for Daisy Dog, who had joined us, of course!

The nearest seaside town, Fowey (pronounced to rhyme with Joy) was a delight. We had been there before but never in such good weather. We spent a long time just sitting by the harbour, watching the little boats and ferries coming and going, and just enjoying the holiday atmosphere of the place.

One of our favourite National Trust properties was close by, Lanhydrock, and we visited twice during the week.  Although Daisy isn't allowed in the house and garden, there are acres upon acres of parkland for her to run around in and she had a wonderful time!  Lanhydrock also allow dogs into the ground floor of the café and so we whiled away a pleasant hour with pasties and pots of tea.

Cornwall, of course, is renowned for its beaches and we visited several.  One of our favourites was Lansallos, which was an adventurous half mile walk from the National Trust car park in the village. It was like a hidden, secret cove and despite being the middle of the school holidays it was very peaceful.  We packed a picnic and spent a few hours there, chatting, relaxing, paddling and I also did some Beach Knitting!  

Maybe less well known is how many beautiful gardens there are to visit in Cornwall.  The most famous of which is the Eden Project, a magical place created from a barren landscape, now comprising of two biodomes (a tropical rainforest dome and a Mediterranean dome) as well as lovely gardens to walk around.  They promote good stewardship of the earth and its resources, as well as preserving the rainforests, recycling and living in a more 'green' way.  We had a lovely day and wore out feet out!

We also visited a couple of smaller gardens, privately owned, which were a delight to explore.  Our favourite was Marsh Valley Garden. It was a really hot day when we visited, and I had fortunately thought when we were packing to put in the wedding umbrella I had bought 'just in case', as I used it very successfully as a parasol!  It was so successful I may launch a one-woman campaign to bring back parasols, as I for one can't bear being in the sun for very long at all, probably due in part to being so fair!  Anyway, I got a lot of use from my parasol, and even a few compliments!

All too soon our honeymoon in Cornwall was over and it was time to come home and start married life in all its domesticity, which I  must say is pretty wonderful.  I did read somewhere, however, that any holiday taken in the first year of marriage is considered a honeymoon, so we are already planning our next 'honeymoon' adventure!

Now that I am officially retired, I will have so much more time for my creative life and that extends to my blog too!  I'll be back soon!!  

Donna x