26 January 2008

ring a ding ding

Dom bought my engagement ring from the jewellery quarter in Birmingham. No particular reason - I found a website, saw a ring I liked and he tracked it down. It was when we went to a high street jewellers to buy our wedding rings that we realised just what a great place the jewellery quarter is - the high street rings are three times the price!

We figured that £30 worth of diesel and a few hours' drive was nothing compared with the savings we'd make on the jewellery. So today, off we went.

I have to recommend J.E. Marlow and Sons for great service, and beautiful quality jewellery. The assitant was so experienced she could size up my finger at a glance and we bought the first ring I tried on. Dom's was re-sized while we popped over the road for a sandwich.

Wedding rings

24 January 2008

belfast

Last week I had to go to Belfast with work. I often have to visit various places in the UK but I'd never been to Belfast before, or indeed the island of Ireland.

I wasn't sure what to expect. I had heard that it has received a lot of investment over the last few years. Well, I thought it was great!

Belfast City Airport is only 10 mins outside of the centre, near the River Lagan. The first things I noticed were the huge yellow H&W cranes in the the shipyards (where the Titanic was built, the taxi driver told me) against the backdrop of some beautiful mountains - I wasn't expecting those. The taxi driver also told me about the tour buses that will take you to the peace lines to see the murals.

The centre of town has some lovely old buildings and down by the riverside are some glamourous new structures.

Unfortunately, I spent most of my time in offices and meetings, but the few people I met really made an impression. It sounds cliched, but I couldn't get over how friendly they were... the taxi drivers, receptionists and hotel staff. They looked me in the eye and spoke to me like they meant every lovely word. I can't remember the last time I was impressed like this (if ever) by such good manners and good service.

I will definitely go back. It would be an ideal weekend break.

20 January 2008

weekend with friends

It's been a while since we cooked for friends, but last night we had our mates Kevin and Caroline for dinner. On the menu was pancetta wrapped mozzarella with fig jam, followed by duck breast and mango salsa, with molten chocolate puddings for dessert.

Of course there was plenty to drink, and our hangovers were cured by a morning walk along the river and a fry-up in the very classy Asda cafe.

Then, Sharon and Andy came over to see us this afternoon with their beautiful baby Callum - he is soooooo cute! At seven months, he's not as floppy as he used to be. He's sitting up on his own and is smiling and kicking so I feel much more confident holding him.

It was a really lovely weekend.

I told everyone to pretend they were enjoying themselves
Molten chocolate puddings
Good old Jenga
Callum gets his belated Christmas prezzie

18 January 2008

the chiefs

Mid-December we went to see the Kaiser Chiefs at Earls Court. They ROCK! We moshed away all night and suffered the pain in our calf muscles for about a week afterwards.

Earl's Court
Ricky Wilson
Kaiser Chiefs crowd

17 January 2008

i do i do i do

Our day of nuptial bliss is fast approaching and there are a bazillion tasks that need doing. My 28MB Excel planner has been superseded by a countdown calendar and not a day goes by where there isn't something that needs doing.

This week I have been mixing and matching ribbon samples, deliberating ties or cravats and mulling over preserved rose petals.

Last week we ordered the mens' suits, my shoes arrived, I booked the florist and made arrangements to meet with her, the piper and the photographer to discuss our requirements.

My mum is adjusting the bridesmaids' dresses and panicking about her outfit. My sister is organising the hen do, and Dom is... pretty chilled out!

Everything is falling into place. It won't be long until the big day. I can't wait!