Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Planning a wedding your own way

Great news, three of my closest friends are engaged! One of the weddings is next week, I am so excited, not only as I am super happy for my friend, but also because I get to wear my gorgeous 50s style dress that I MADE (will post pictures in due course).

So anyway, it got me thinking and reminiscing about my own wedding last year and what lessons I learned... read on if you're interested...

1. What sort of wedding do you want?
I wasn't the kind of girl who grew up picturing her wedding so I knew I didn't want a big day. Once we established that, the rest kind of fell into place by process of elimination...Where is close to the registry office? Pettigrew's!... Beautiful building in the bay? Norwegian church!....Easy way to transport people there?....Boat!
Tea cup and saucer at Pettigrew Tea Room

2. Call in favours from talented (willing!) friends and family
I am lucky to have a very skilled professional wedding photographer as a step-father and an amazingly talented baker as a close friend. This meant we didn't have to spend money on these. Of course a gesture of thanks will go a long way and you don't want your guests to feel like staff. More often than not, however, you'll find people want to help. I myself have been called up to crochet various things for a hen do in September and am thrilled to be able to help!

Our delicious wedding cake
3. Accept you don't know everything
I gave our florist completely free reign to do what she wanted as my knowledge of flowers is shamefully lacking. I gave her the vases we were using and muttered something along the lines of "wild flowers, purplish" and left her to it. The finished product was just perfect.

4. The internet is a wonderful thing!
Etsy and Not on the High Street were some of my most frequented sites in the run up to the wedding. Such cute, personalised items can be bought for very little money.
The Norwegian Church in Cardiff Bay- our evening venue

5. Relax!
It is so easy to get caught up in the whole thing but when I told myself it was just a day in a new dress, with the people I love the most I tended to calm down.

6. Things will go wrong- embrace it
My ride (an awesome vintage VW camper) didn't turn up to take me and my friends to the wedding. It was a bit of a hairy moment but we eventually called a taxi. Instead of it being a complete disaster it is one of my favourite memories as the driver plugged in my friend's Ipod and played the Beach Boys at full volume, us singing along merrily!
Arriving in style- albeit not the planned way

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Learning Cymraeg

This September will mark 10 years of me living in Wales. Way back in 2002 when filling out my dreaded UCAS form I must admit I had very little knowledge of the Welsh language, Dorset girl that I am, and how important it is. But it is important; language and culture make up so much of a person's identity and expression.  Last year I married a Welshman who uses the Welsh language a lot both professionally and socially. Consequently our group of friends includes many a proud native Welsh speaker. Sometimes, in fact, I am the only non Welsh speaker in the room, not that anyone has ever made me feel excluded. However, I have felt for a while that I should make an attempt to learn. I once tried to learn when in my final year. A patronising teacher, slow class and the fact that I was in my final year made me give up after only a few lessons (I also seem to remember some guys from Rhyl trying to teach us Welsh at Glastonbury festival 2003 but needless to stay it didn't stick).

Tafwyl at Cardiff Castle
Recently, a few friends and I went to see American Interior, the film that accompanies The Gruff Rhys album of the same name. In the film, Gruff follows the trail of one of his ancestors on the quest for a mythical Welsh speaking tribe in America. Check it out btw, it's great. The Welsh language is prominent throughout and at one point Gruff states that there are only 1 millions speakers.

At the weekend, Hywel and I went to Tafwyl festival at Cardiff Castle. It was so interesting to see, and hear, Welsh being spoken by so many people and to listen to musicians singing in Welsh. It made me jealous. I want to speak Welsh! One person shown in Gruff's film mention the website "Say Something in Welsh" so I decided to check it out. It is a series of online Welsh lessons which can be downloaded and listened to as and when you want. Each lesson is only about 35 minutes long so it is easy to fit one in. I honestly cannot praise it enough. I have only done 5 lessons so far and already I can say loads! It teaches you to construct sentences rather than learning by rote. The only slight downside is that it requires a lot of speaking on the learner's part so I cannot really do it at work but then speaking is the only real way to learn! I can even do my crochet at the same time. Win.

Sorry quite a wordy one

Friday, 11 July 2014

R.I.P sewing machine

This post was originally supposed to be me boasting about my amazing sewing skills making Tilly and the buttons' pyjama trousers from her book, "Love at First Stitch". BUT my sewing machine broke half way through making them so now I have 2 unattached pyjama legs which will have to be hand stitched (not happening) or will have to wait until I can borrow my mum's spare machine. Quel dommage.

Instead, let's look at the amazing things I have made with my pretty, but not so durable, machine. Farewell old friend.....

My most favourite skirt. It also matches my friends' curtains and I made a matching cushion. Good old Cath Kidston Ikea fabric. Super cheap and super lovely. 

Flower print and pockets! Magnifique

Matching cushion

I loved the skirt so much I made in two more fabrics, polka dot and Brighton Pavilion. Both bought from the Aladdin's cave of fabrics, Hanson's in Sturminster Newton.  

The most difficult garment I have made to date was this dress. It is a beautiful ditsy print and really fun to wear but it wasn't half fiddly. My mum has made a few more in the same style but I need to gather a bit more confidence before I tackle it again. 
It did alright my little machine but now I need a more sturdy model for future projects. I don't suppose anyone want to sell me a cheapish sewing machine??

Monday, 7 July 2014

My First Blog

How exciting. Welcome to my little world. I have been meaning to start a blog for a while mainly to document what I get up to be it gigs, craft, day trips or new purchases. Let's begin. This weekend was one of those lovely sunny Cardiff weekends where we float from place to place in a happy cloud. On Saturday my husband Hywel and I went for a walk at Forest Farm and firmly cemented our desire to move from Splott to Whitchurch. We could have spent longer there as it was so peaceful and full of nature. We even saw a heron.

The beautiful river at Forest Farm
 Being in the outdoorsy mood put me in the frame of mind to sort the garden out. We took 2 car loads of ivy to the dump and planted some lavender, roses and herbs. Hopefully they will flourish.

New plants in my garden

 Later that evening a friend and I went to local favourite Chapter to watch Casse-Tete Chinois (Chinese puzzles), the 3rd film in the Auberge Espagnole triology. I highly recommend this to anyone with an interest in French cinema. It was funny and witty and the French is easy to follow (it does have subtitles for non French speakers). It made me want to move to Paris. But that happens on a weekly basis.

G&Ts with basil, lemon and strawberry
Sunday saw the first Pop Up Boutique on Womanby Street. Although I was hoping for more stalls, the amazing food and drink made up for it. Hywel and I have been Hang Fire Smoke house enthusiasts since our fist bite of pulled pork back in the Canadian so we were sure to be first in the queue for their street food style menu on Sunday. Man, it was good! I had the pulled pork bap and Hywel had the ribs. Their homemade sauces are truly mouthwatering. I can't wait to find out where their next venue will be.

The just perfect Hang Fire smokehouse pulled pork baps
 The day and weekend was rounded off by an ice cream from Pettigrew Tea room (we couldn't get a table for cake- curse their popularity!) and a wander through Bute Park. Perfect