26 August 2008

jenny and hugh's wedding

On Saturday we flew to Edinburgh and then drove to North Berwick for the marriage of our friends Jenny and Hugh at The Marine Hotel. It was a lovely day, (as we are beginning to find out, all weddings are). Jenny looked gorgeous and the setting was wonderful - by the sea.

The evening celebrations took the form of a traditional Scottish ceilidh and it was brilliant. Everyone got involved and danced the Gay Gordons amongst other more complicated formations which Dom and I managed with varying success!

Jenny & HughFlowergirlsView from the hotel reception

22 August 2008

bienvenue a la monde mes petites tomates

Look, look! They have arrived!

Mes petites tomates

21 August 2008

shall I compare thee to a summers day? no, because I can't remember what one is

Really, where is the summer? I must have blinked and missed it. I know British summers have a reputation for being rubbish, but I'd always thought that was a bit unfair as actually, they weren't that bad, but this year definitely feels worse than others.

I know that even if it was sunny we'd be stuck in our offices unable to appreciate it, but even from indoors, just knowing it's sunny outside gives you that reassuring feeling that summer is here and helps to lift the mood.

In the last two weeks there has been one day of blue sky. The rest have suffered from a dull, grey coating of cloud. Here is a photo from that blue sky day. It's the Stella Artois airship flying over our house. A rare occurrence indeed (the summers day that is).

If like me, you have questions like, "Aren't they dangerous?" and "Is an airship the same as a blimp?" you can learn all the technical ins and outs on Wikipedia. You never know when it might come up in a pub quiz!

The Stella Artois AirshipFlying over our house

08 August 2008

you say tomato, i say be patient!

Eight weeks old and look at them now! Pretty big and they have their first yellow flowers appearing.

So, I have been checking out t'internet for what happens next and there seems to be a whole debate about whether tomatoes grown indoors self pollinate, or need help pollinating. I've read a lot of different articles and forum responses but many of them conflict. Wikipedia seems to give the most comprehensive explanation, but I don't understand whether they need pollination to bear fruit or whether that just makes the fruits bigger and better.

Without bees many sites recommend replicating a bee's buzz with an electric toothbrush?! Or gently vibrating the plant at the pace of a bee's buzz. Hmmmm.

Tomatoes - 8 weeks

04 August 2008

waterside weekend

Friday night I was out for a drink with my friend Jill down at Shad Thames. I'd never been there before and thought it was a great outdoor eating and drinking area along the banks of the river. Definitely somewhere to go in the future.

Shad ThamesSaturday, my sister and her boyfriend came to stay. We walked along the Thames at Greenhithe in the afternoon, and sat out for a few pints by the river in the beer garden at our local. I put on a bit of an Italian spread in the evening and we all drank lots of red wine. It was a lovely day

Sunday was Dom's birthday treat. We hadn't been able to celebrate his birthday properly last week because we were at Smita's wedding, so we postponed the fun. I had bought him an hour's helicopter lesson with Polar Helicopters at Manston Airport, so that was our first stop. He's had a couple of lessons before, and he seemed to be thrilled with this one. He's a total flying nut.

Dom after his helicopter lessonAfter that I took him for Sunday lunch at 81 Beach Street in Deal on the Kent coast. I found the restaurant through Top Table. It certainly lived up to expectations and offered a delicious 2-course roast. We both went for the slow roasted duck, and I followed with plum crumble and cream while Dom had bread and butter pudding. Yum!

We had a bracing walk along the beach front and up the pier before heading home to rest.

Deal beach

01 August 2008

tips for a budget wedding

Some thoughts from my experience.

First, decide what's important. Do this long before you start making bookings. For me, it was important that my guests had a good party. It was also important that I had good photos. Throughout your planning, prioritise and spend money on what's important to you and downgrade or remove the unimportant things from your day.

1. Scrap favours. There are countless ideas on the web for making or buying cheap favours. Who needs 'em? Lets face it, they are useless bits of tat that either get left behind and thrown out or sit in someone's junk drawer for years before... being thrown out.

2. Scrap the cake. Really, unless you can do it on the cheap, who needs a wedding cake? Cutting it takes all of 60 seconds, there's a photo opportunity, and no-one remembers what it tastes like.

3. Scrap cars. Have the ceremony and reception in one place. (Obviously you need to be having a civil ceremony for this).

4. Scrap flowers. Yes have a bouquet, but think of alternative decor for the tables and ask yourself if flowers are really necessary for the ceremony room (you are in there for all of 20 mins). Use something else, like candles.

5. Do your own hair and makeup. Look natural, feel natural, feel comfortable and confident.

6. Have a disco instead of a band. Why pay for a band to sing various songs that are not their own? No-one will appreciate it, it will be double the cost of a disco, and you'll still need a disco in between sets.

7. Limit numbers. Bridesmaids, guests, courses, drinks. The more you have, the more it costs, simple.

8. Shop on the high street. For bridesmaids' dresses, shoes, accessories. Check out the sales for bargains.

9. Be sensible about your wedding dress then sell it. Remember, it's a dress you will wear for one day. You will be the only one there wearing a dress like that. You don't need to go overboard. Keep it understated and stylish - it doesn't have to cost the earth.

10. Make it personal. Use your imagination. Do something that costs next to nothing that will make your wedding stand out and be memorable from the other weddings your guests will attend that year. As, believe me, people won't remember what colour your bridesmaids were wearing, what kind of cake you had, what favours you gave out, or whether you had flowers on the tables or not.