Thursday, 3 March 2016

Irregular Choice Wonderland collection - UNBOXING!

When Irregular Choice teamed up with Star Wars, I thought I'd died and gone to shoe heaven. Alas, those babies sold out online within the hour and I didn't get a look-in. Sad times.


If you know me (or backtrack this blog) you know there's something I love above Star Wars... above all else. Alice in Wonderland. I nearly peed when I read there was going to be and IC/Disney collab. So this time I was prepared, alarm set for 15 minutes before they went on sale... laptop, phone AND tablet set up to refresh the page... and oh my was it necessary! Within seconds of the collection going live the webpage had crashed hard but I persevered and finally got a pair of the beautiful shoes into my cart. Paypal rinsed (not gonna lie, they're expensive) and I was beyond excited.

I watched as the rest of the lovely shoes quickly went from available to sold out, again within the hour and cursed not being able to buy more. I really loved these 'Flowers Can't Talk' and 'Cheshire Cat' heels but money talks, and my money says "DENIED!".

Cheshire Cat

Flowers Can't Talk

A few days waiting patiently by the door like a puppy and.... taaa daaah! THEY'RE HERE! So without further ado, here's my unboxing of... IC's 'Card Soldiers' flats!

 Out of the postal cardboard box popped this beauty, it looks like a book! Completely adorable, this is one shoe-box I'll be keeping. Classic Disney images all over and a trad blue and white Alice colourway, I heart the IC design team.

Oh maaaan, even the tissue paper is pretty...

I couldn't love them any more if I tried. They are perfect. Two colour geo embroidery on the sides (yellow on one side and teal on the other) with metallic threads, a glitter encrusted low heel, Alice print on the sole and the shoe lining. Best of all - The Mad Hatter (fave character) and The White Rabbit doing tea and being late things on the sole and on the toes, inside a playing card soldier from The Queen of Hearts' royal guard. I LOVE THEM.

Irregular Choice have always spoken to me, incredible craftmanship and attention to detail, and I've always loved that as a brand they've put as much effort into making super special flats as they do heels. But these really take the (unbirthday) cake. I simultaneously want to wear them everywhere, and am too afraid of hurting them because they are so beautiful.

If I could have designed a pair myself to add to the collection? I think I'd have gone with The Walrus and The Carpenter, the little Oysters with their pearly faces could have been cute.

Did you snag a pair from the Wonderland collection? What would you like to have seen on a Wonderland shoe?

Monday, 30 March 2015

By The Beach Festival: Back to the beginning and One year on

Wow, almost a whole year on from W-Day and I can honestly say it has been the busiest we've ever been. I've had no time to blog but have stored up some fun outfit posts ready to go, before all that though - the last installment of our By The Beach Festival wedding posts. 

Runswick Bay

So the very first thing we decided was the location, and in truth probably the only place I was ever destined to get married - Runswick Bay, North Yorkshire, just along the coast from Whitby and Scarborough. My family have had a cottage there since my Dad was about five years old, and I've been spending Easter, Bank holidays and Summers there my whole life, it's home. My family come together there to celebrate, to holiday and to have fun (we've event spent Christmas there, very magical)  it holds so many incredible memories, it is just my favourite place in the world. Alex was pulled right into the Runswick circle from the beginning and loves it as much as we do, he's desperate to get a boat so he can join in on the fishing competitions. 

Runswick Bay, running down the beach with Deacon Dog
After deciding the 'where' we had to do some research into the actual places we could have a ceremony and a party. We popped to a local restaurant/hotel at the top of the bank which looks right over the bay, but their menu was a bit too fancy and not what we wanted at all, so we cracked on finding contacts for a field on the other side which was *perfect*. Luckily we found the resident farmer who only used it for a couple of horses and he gave us a flat rate for the entire weekend, two fields - one to park in and one to party in! He also sorted us out with bales of hay to line our space hopper race. The field we had the tents on had a stunning view over the bay, down the bankside and our guests loved it, it was great seeing everyone take selfies with the view of Runswick and the sea behind them.

Our first ceremony venue visit was a hair-raising ride around the moorside with my Mum and Dad in the van, where we did a drive-by (and accidental horn tooting during someone elses' wedding...) at Danby Castle, but were later informed that they could only book 'full day' weddings rather than just ceremonies, doh! We chased a few more leads in the countryside but a lot of places had let their licenses lapse, and eventually we found a lovely room at Dunsley Hall and booked it. Unfortunately in Februrary (yep, that close) they went into Administration and we had our plans cancelled - luckily, we didn't decide to have the whole event there so didn't lose out too much! After some hurried calls, it turned out that another couple had booked their wedding and reception at Danby Castle, but for the afternoon/evening so we were able to sneak in early as our wedding was at 11am, bonus! In the end we got the amazing venue that we liked first, and it's such a beautiful place in the middle of a valley, with a gorgeous ceremony room just the right size for our guests. Oh and a bar... a lovely bar, haha! When the day came, the ceremony was awesome, everything was really just relaxed and perfect, with stunning views and a very lucky day of sunshine!

In the ceremony room, which had a big castle crest on the wall and lovely white pillar candles on all the window-sills
Bubbles instead of confetti!
In the castle for some photos
The gang! How amazing is that view? <3 Danby Castle!
Back to the party part... we knew we wanted a festival style day, and from working in music journalism over the years had come across a few great companies. We visited a few different events run by Tipi companies, we knew a traditional marquee just wasn't going to have the feel we were looking for, and PeakTipi's stunnnig tents just blew us away. They were vast but cosy and we knew they were going to look amazing along the Runswick Bay skyline. PeakTipi's were fantastic from start to finish, they had no end of consulatations with us about the layout of the tents, catering tents, dance floors, fairy lights and furniture to get everything just right. On the Wednesday we had a special moment whilst we were waiting for the tents to arrive, it was so misty and cold and we were standing at the top of the hill looking out to the sea and heard a little noise near us. A beautiful grey-brown Roe Deer popped up from the thicket and looked at us! We both held our breaths and watched it graze for a little while before it popped off the side of the hill and ran down into the woods.

I think Aslan sent him to tell us we'd have a great weekend...
After a couple of bacon sandwiches, a whole gang of guys turned up early in the morning for set up and it was a cold misty day, so we headed off for pastries and juice packs to keep them going, and the tents went up remarkably fast - I think it was down to my expert hammering in of the first peg personally...

PeakTipi set up... beanbag chairs!

A group of lads also stayed the entire weekend in a local guest house so that they were on hand to open the tents up, light the fire pits and generally be there in case we needed anything - it was really nice that they accepted our invite to come to the party later on as well! I couldn't be more pleased with Peak's service, they were amazing. Here's a whole load of Tipi photos - thanks to the various amateur photogs (Nigel, Charlie, Mum...) and our Official tog Rob Ball  for the pics!

Deacon checking out the tipi's

Fire pits lit :)
Ermergerrrrd glerrrsterrks
Little shot of the fish and chips van on the left there!
After dinner, pre-dancing rest

Some other great companies we used were The Yorkshire Vintage Crockery Co. who supplied all our mismatched vintage plates, cups, saucers and cutlery (very kitsch, very cute) 

and Elite Hire who supplied our on-site toilets, which were incredibly posh (mints in a bowl, fresh white roses, fancy hand creams... very nice) and an extra special shout out to the fact that they had a CD drive attached to it so we could play our own music in there. For all those wondering, it was The Cuban Brothers 'Yo Bonita' - unfortunately we accidentally left the CD in there when it left, sad times.

So that's it! Whilst this has been more of a 'how to' view of our Wedding, I'm going to be doing a written diary of events as there were just too many funny stories from the weekend... like my friend Jub flashing Al's Dad... Jack's Awesomeness... Hamish climbing up the Tipi's... Faye falling down the bank... Jack's Awesomeness... Uncle Roger swimming in the sea in his pants... Fran's Koala hug... Trigger's wrong venue... Emily and I drinking champagne in the car... Jack's Awesomeness... Pete's breakdancing... The Chalice...

I know everyone says their Wedding day is the best day ever, but truthfully I loved everything about it and think our guests had a great time too. One year on and I'm sort of still mourning the fact that we'll never have enough money/reason to throw another event like it, hahaha! Unless we start our own festival...

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

By The Beach Festival: Eat Me, Drink Me (omnomnomables)

Food was always going to be a big part of our Wedding day, we both have families who have generations worth of celebration recipes and we ourselves make a big deal of fresh produce and seasonal food. The same goes for drinks, so we decided on bottles of chilled Corona with lime wedges for our welcome drink at the reception - they always remind me of hanging out with my sister, or uni summer BBQ's with my best mate Dave... I think taste really has a way of bringing happy memories right back to you in an instant, and so much of our menu was designed around amazing memories that are special to us.

Our Welcome drink was Corona with a slice of lime served from tin buckets full of ice! It was lush in the sunshine with a cold beer!
We had Victorian cloudy lemonade and ginger beer for non-alcoholic drinks, and a tin bath full of fruit shoots for the kids

Food glorious foooooood! One thing we were sure of: no 3 course fancy dinners for us. It would be profoundly weird to me to sit in a tent in a field wearing sneakers and listening to Richard Cheese cover Snoop Dogg songs - and eat consomme, or wild this that or the others with veloute and other french frumpery. Don't get me wrong, I love a madly perfect dinner when I'm out somewhere posh but it just wasn't going to fit with what we were planning. 


Instead we enlisted the services of a family friend from the local area (in fact from a farm about ten minutes from Runswick Bay) called Sally. She, her husband and daughter run a catering business from their home, and bake/roast whole pigs in these huge ovens they have. I don't eat hog roast/pork as such so we settled on Hog roast for everyone else and a bit of roast beef for Trigger (Best Man) and I - as he doesn't eat pork either. Usually with a hog roast, you get the whole traditional bun/apple sauce thing going on, which is lovely, but we wanted to mix things up. We asked Sally if she could go mexican with it and what we ended up with was *stunning*. We had...

Spicy nibbles on arrival (wasabi peas, bombay mix, a selection of crispy things)

Trigger and Beki enjoying some nibbles from Ann!
For mains...
Hog/beef shredded on giant trays
Homemade salsa
Guacamole and sour cream
Spicy bean salad
Leaf salads
Mexican slaw (shredded veg)
Tortilla wraps
Roast pepper salad and hoummus for vegetarians
New potatoes

We put Frank's hot sauce and bowls of Jalapenos on each table too, so that people could spice it up if they wanted to, and so that nothing on the menu was spicy for those who didn't like it. I guess the main thing to note here is that it was a pretty veggie-heavy menu, fresh and vibrant. Coriander and lime to add to everything and the whole place smelt delicious when it came out. I loved making burrito style wraps on our wedding day, it was proper sharing food which meant everyone was talking and passing bowls around to each other - perfect. Sally and Co. did an amazing job and everyone commented on how good the food was. There was so much left - we took it down to the beach the next day so everyone could have hog sandwiches!

One of the tables, with some of the side dishes on it
Some salads and fresh salsa
Shredded slaw, mexican bean salad



Instead of having Sally do our desserts, we asked a few family members to make some cakes for us and we bought squillions of sweeties from Makro and make the most decadent sweet/cake table ever. It looked like a wicked child-eating witch should preside over it. I'm pretty proud of how it turned out, considering the only plan for it was in my head! My Mum made two cakes that looked like flower beds (and matched the table flowers) from Granny Louise's fruitcake recipe, Alex's Mum made her amazing raspberry Sachertorte, my sister made loveheart cookies and Alex's sister Amy (of The White Rabbit Bakery) made some incredible cupcakes that look like/are shaped in Ice Cream cones! They were so perfect for the seaside! My sister also picked us up a couple of extra shop bought cakes to add to the party...

Mum's cakes, made to Granny Louise's fruitcake recipe...
...decorated to look like the table felt flowers!

We decorated the tables with ice-cream sundae runners, paper doilies, Mum's flowers and an array of cake stands picked up from places like Ikea and TK Maxx over the last year or so. We also had a couple of tiny kitschy trays with 'Wedding Day' painted on the side that my Mum found in a charity shop! Oh and some seaside stuff too, like a fishing style net and some glass floats. The jars were a mix from Yorkshire Trading in Whitby, Ikea and also Mum's terrarium jar which was filled with flumps!

Jars of sweets, giant marshmallows and amazing cakes
om nom nom!
We had Giant Strawbs in our sweetie collection (my family always used to get them from Aunty Pat's cafe down by the beach), rock from Whitby and Drumsticks (Al's favourite) as well as heaps of massive American marshmellows on sticks. We did intend to roast these over the fires, but when the tents turned up they had to change the fuel so that the tops of the Tipi's could stay shut, so no roasting. Oh well, they looked awesome and people still ate them!

The tiny lacy baskets you can see were made by my sister, she set lace doilies into a cup shape using glue and a jam jar (I think!) Rach also stamped all our sweetie bags for us

We also popped a candy-necklace on each table place, when we were little we used to bite them in half and ping them at each other (actually they're kinda dangerous when you think about it) and sure enough, halfway through dinner they were whizzing all over the place and people were ducking and diving with grins on their faces! 

Evening Food

Probably the first thing we decided, is that on our wedding day we wanted to have fish & chips. Whitby fish is the best in the country so we went on the hunt for a Fish & Chip van for the evening. We were introduced to Matthew and Vicky of Whitby Seafish Ltd and their amazing van 'Winnie' (huge thanks to our caterer Sally for that!). They served up cod goujons and delicious chips with really interesting array of sauces (I liked lime mayo best) overlooking the bay in the evening. It was brilliant to see everyone munching away on hot fish and chips in the cool night, and there was always a little queue for the van!

Alcomoholic Beverages

After table wine and a lot of bubbly delicious champagne (thanks Mum & Dad, especially so for hiding a bottle of champagne - we've saved it for our Anniversary), it would have been rude not to hit up the amazing bar serving Yorkshire's finest World Top Brewery flavours. We wanted to keep as much as we could local to the Runswick Bay area, and the lovely folk at The Runswick Bay Hotel (Simon and Co.) sorted us out with a bar, glasses for the whole event, ice, beers and spirits and some very fun-loving staff too! They all had a wristband on by the end of the night, and some even had a cheeky trip to the photobooth too ;)

Two of our fantastic bar staff in the photobooth! <3


Sunday, 13 July 2014

By The Beach Festival: Grand Entertainments, Photobooth Madness & Stuff for Squids

One thing we knew when we started this escapade, is that we primarily wanted it to be FUN for everyone. Down with decorum! Huzzah!


Knowing that we'd be having Tipi's in a field as our reception location, we crossed our fingers for decent weather and bought... spacehoppers. With a little bunting and some garden canes these became tools for epic inter-couple races/small arguments, a kid war-zone and a great source of mirth and funny photos. We also grabbed a couple of diablos and poi for people to chuck around and a mini rounders kit that we had in the attic. We really should have known better - our families and friends are rather competitive sorts and within an hour of dinner finishing there was the most almighty and raucous game going on and rather funnily - men in suits and women in pretty dresses, shouting mild obscenities at each other and legging it wildly around the field. It was fantastic! We did have a box full of board games for indoors in case the weather turned but luck was on our side for the whole day.

As cheerleaders the world over will know, there is never a time or place where it is definitely inappropriate to stunt. Hell I bet somewhere sometime there will have been stunts at a funeral too. I think my stunt group had been secretly waiting for this day to come for a while - to get me up in the air, when I'm usually a base, firmly attached to the ground (the lovely lovely ground) but I thought hey, I trust them... the nearest hospital is flippin miles away... but I trust them! ;) So this happened... #cheerwedding

Auditory Entertainments

Music makes our world go round! Yeah so everyone was expecting us to have bands I'm sure, but honestly - it was just too much hassle. We'd have had to sort out a stage area and loads of other equipment, it's miles away from anywhere and didn't know any bands in the area. It would have been a headache. Luckily we know some pretty amazing people, and it just so happens that my BFF is also a superstar DJ by night. Dave lent us his mixer and snazzy speakers (and by lent I mean, took all the way there, set up and looked after them for us... thanks dude) and we just plugged in my Kindle, popped on the Spotify playlists I'd spent hours carefully curating, and away we went! With Spotify, you can 'download' playlists to use offline on their Premium service which is perfect. I made one for the daytime and one for the evening, you can wrap your ears around them here:

Daytime Playlist

Evening Playlist

I loved loved loved that so many people enjoyed our music, especially as we have friends and family from all walks of life who might not have liked the same stuff. There's a pretty eclectic mix on there though, take a look! The funniest of all was the guy behind the bar who couldn't believe a wedding had good music, and was dancing and singing the whole night - he may just have *exactly* the same taste in music as me haha! There were a few gems chucked in there that remind me of certain people too, like Reef 'Place Your Hands' which was my cousin Abby & her husband Pete's wedding song, 'The Safety Dance' which is an inside joke for my brother Diefenbaker, relating to a crap film we love called 'Biodome', Muse for DJ Dave, The Prodigy's 'Omen' for the cheerios, Basement Jaxx 'Bingo Bango' for my brother-in-law Ade and loads of others. Music always sparks memories for me, people, places, times, feelings - I think that's probably why it plays such a large part in our lives.

Stuff for Squids (Children for you normos)

We knew that we didn't want to make things difficult for our friends and family with small children, and a long weekend at the seaside is too good an opportunity to pass up right? So we tried to do our best to make sure kids were catered for, from putting as much info in the invitations as we could, making sure they had their own ice bath of fruit shoots for a welcome drink and putting together some activity packs with stuff for them to do. 

There were two babies who got RNLI bears to snuggle as part of their packs, and the bigger kids had floral crowns and pirate hats, sea-safe activity booklets, seaside identity wristbands for use the next day, bubbles, spinners, a bucket and spade each for playing on the beach and the most awesome colouring pages which were hand drawn by my Mum. They had scenes of Runswick beach, rock pools with crabs and even the Tipi tents on, she drew them all then we printed enough copies for everyone! We popped in packs of colouring pencils and some sea-themed stickers, and handed them out at dinner, it was great to see the kids racing around in their floral crowns and pirate hats, getting into the festival spirit!


Is how it shall be known for ever more. If I posted the pictures here, my blog would be quarantined into the soft porn section of the internet. My friends are awesome. So somewhere along the line, a challenge was issued, and more and more uncovered bits of people got papped in the marvellous Picabo VW campervan. Bless them, but bro and sis team Will & Georgie were really brave in the face of so many shrieking cheerleaders! They didn't mind that the photos were coming out lewder and ruder each time, they didn't even mind when 11 people crammed into the tiny van for a photo and they brought a fantastic array of props - some of which have seen things they shouldn't. Here's a couple of the nice ones instead...

Photo from Picabo's facebook page, of their beautiful camper photobooth in front of our Tipi's!
Reviewing some of the naughty photos