Wednesday, 28 October 2009

BAMBAKO Headpieces



Easy DIY project for you bridesmaids hair. Make with left over fabric from the dresses or a matching length of ribbon and sequins, feathers, gems, beads lying around the house. This fine example is from Bambako who have a wide range of sophisticated hairwear. Beautiful.

Eating to Feel Your Best


Eating to Feel Your Best

Follow these nutrition tips now to be slim, glowing and serene at your wedding.

reception food
Eat breakfast. "It jump-starts your metabolism," says trainer Tracy Effinger, co-author of The Wedding Workout. "And if you blow it off, you're more likely to reach for potato chips at 11:30 A.M." 

Drink water. NYC dermatologist Lisa Airan recommends about four liters a day. To keep track, she says, "buy liter bottles of water and mark them 1, 2, 3 and 4."

Choose wisely. L.A. lifestyle coach and nutritionist Jackie Keller recommends a diet of fruits and vegetables; high-fiber grains, such as whole wheat and barley; and small amounts of lean protein, especially fish. "Your skin will be fed, your eyes will be bright, your nails will be healthy."

Sleep well. "Sleep deprivation is a scenario for losing control of eating," says Stephen Gullo, a diet psychologist and author of The Thin Commandments Diet. "It can particularly increase a craving for carbs."

Pack a snack. To avoid a drop in blood sugar and a craving for candy bars, keep a nutritious snack in your purse. Snack options include soy crisps, a small amount of nuts, all-natural peanut butter on a celery stick, or a container of fat-free yogurt.



Tips & Advice from Instyle Weddings

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Project Management - The Nitty Gritty (Pointers for Wedding Planning)


rosie_the_riveter1
today’s biz ladies post comes from tiffani jones of second and park. tiffani runs a copywriting and content strategy business as well as a web design agency and is here today to share the ins and outs of successful project management. since i’m currently facing a pretty intense project deadline myself i will be soaking up every last bit of her advice- and there’s a lot of it. tiffani will walk you through how to organize projects, break them into tasks, assign work and- my favorite part- handle some of the pitfalls that can stand in the way of a happy project ending. thanks so much to tiffani for her great advice!

Easy Peasy Project Management
I own a copywriting business (Second and Park) and co-own a web design agency (thingsthatarebrown) with my husband. This means that on a typical day, I’m up to my ears in projects of all shapes and sizes. Juggling it all can be tricky, to say the least.
If face-planting into near chaos daily has taught me one thing, it’s how to manage projects. What I’ve learned? When I stick to the basics, use common sense, and focus on building strong relationships with my clients, I get it right most the time. Below are a few of my secrets.
Whether you are a designer, art director, or copywriter and manager like I am—these simple tricks work. Strap in.

1. Know What You’re Doing (the dirty version)

First things first. Before you’ve got a contract and check in-hand, you must know what your client wants, what they expect from you, and what you’ll actually be doing. Seem painfully obvious? I can’t count how many times I’ve seen people enter into agreements without a clear picture of who’s doing what, russian roulette style. Start by asking a few simple questions:
* What do you want me to do? Be specific.
* What business problem are you trying to solve?
* In general, what’s your goal for this project?
* Who’s your audience? How do they use your product / service?
* Who are your main competitors?
* What’s your budget?
* What’s your deadline, and is anything specific driving it?
* Who will be my main point of contact?
If any part of your potential client’s answer vexes you, take time to clarify.
This is also a good time to give your opinions on what a good solution might be. Maybe this project would be best divided into two phases, for example. Or maybe the client really needs something she doesn’t know she needs (copywriting help, for example). Now is your chance to suggest an (ahem) ‘upsell’ option.
2. Define Roles. Set Expectations. Schedule It.
By now you know what the project entails and how you want to organize the work. Now it’s time to fully communicate the plan to your client and team. You can do this before kick-off in an informal phone call, but remember to reiterate everything in the actual kick-off meeting, where all stakeholders are sure to be present. Here are the main points to cover:
Who on your team will be working on this project? Who is the project manager? The designer? The writer? If it’s just you, say so.
Who on your client’s team will be working on this project? Who is your main point of contact? Will you have access to key stakeholders?
Who is responsible for what? This is where expectations come in. Tell your clients if you need someone to dedicate 5 hours per week for meetings, reviews, etc. Let them know if/when they should gather resources for you. And be clear about what they can expect from you, by outlining:
What specific steps or phases involved in this project? My projects usually involve Discovery & Strategy, Copywriting, & Project Management. I break each of these phases down into its component parts, listing tools I’ll use, how long each will take, how much each costs, what deliverables are involved, and how many rounds of revision my client gets. This ensures that everyone is on the same page throughout the project.
What AREN’T you doing? Every client is different. Every one has a set of unspoken assumptions about what you’ll do and how you’ll do it. You can draw out these assumptions by clearly indicating what you won’t be doing.
What are the unknowns? Face it—there are always unknowns. Airing these out early on will help set your clients’ expectations and keep them from being shocked two stages in, when you have questions about this or that portion of the project.
What’s our schedule? I find that creating a very general, high-level schedule is best. I usually list kick-offs, when each phase begins and ends, and when the project will be officially over. At the beginning of each phase, I let my clients know when they can expect key deliverables and how many days they have to give me their feedback (typically one). I also let them know that if their feedback is late, it might affect our completion date.

3. Put It In Writing.

As a project manager you might help create or facilitate many types of documents. The most important of these is the contract, which contains all the details about the project, along with legal language.
Contracts are all over the map. I’ve seen contracts that are 20-pages long. Contracts with thickets of old-fashioned legalese. Contracts with spikes around their necks. But for my small businesses a short, humane, simple, & legally viable document works just fine.
A good contract:
* Lists the name of the project (such as “Acme.com Redesign”), your client, and your main contact
* Lists what you will be doing in specific detail
* Shows how much each phase costs
* Defines payment terms (Such as 1/2 pre-payment. 1/2 at the end. Net 15. Fixed Fee.)
* Outlines what happens if your client doesn’t pay or pays late
* Defines what you are not responsible for
* Includes termination language (When can your client quit? When can you quit? What happens if someone breaks the contract?)
* States that you are allowed to use the work in your portfolio
If you’re a really good writer or have lots of experience, you might be able to write the legal language yourself. If not, it’s a good idea to have a lawyer review your handywork, to ensure there aren’t any gaping holes.
I’ve also seen a couple very good contract samples on the web. My favorite of these is Andy Clark’s Contract Killer.
4. Get Approval On the Plan.
This too is an achingly simple, but oft-overlooked, part of project management. You’ve put in a lot of hard work defining roles, setting expectations, and generating a contract—whatever you do, don’t forget to get approval on these plans. And not just from your main point of contact. Be sure to ask whether key stakeholders on your client’s end have read and agree to your contract. Then, be sure that everyone on your team has read and understands his or her part of the contract. Time consuming? Yes. Indispensable? Indeed.
This process of gaining approval is not just for the contract phase. Every time you have a major milestone in your project, every time something changes, or every time there’s a document up for review, be sure to check in with your client and team. Be sure they understand what you’re saying. When in doubt, encourage them to repeat what you’ve said in their own words (y’know, not in a weird way). Then, get approval on the updated plan and move forward.
5. Break the Work Into Versions.
Rather than disappearing into a hole for two weeks and popping out with a fully completed project, try breaking your work into versions. This works very well for my businesses. When I’m copywriting a website, for instance, I will start by presenting just one page. I choose a page with a variety of content types, so my clients get a wide sense of the tone, different types of writing, etc. If they don’t like it, I go back and edit that one page until I get it right. This typically takes less than two revisions.
Once I’ve gotten the general direction down pat, I write a few more pages (anywhere from 2-20) and get approval on those. I continue this versioning process until I’ve built up a strong foundation of communication and approval with my client. By the time I enter the last phases of the project, my clients don’t have much feedback left to give. All because I gave them a lot of buy-in from the beginning.
A note: if you work in this way, it’s important to specify how many rounds of revision you will do in your contract. You may occasionally go over your allotted revisions, but specifying rounds will keep those extremely picky clients in check.

6. Use the Right Tools.

Note that I didn’t say, “use the most popular tools” or “use the cheapest tools.” Though there’s a cranky luddite somewhere deep inside me screaming “less is more!!!”, I have to admit that much of being a successful project manager revolves around the equipment.
If you’re bogged down with too many shiny productivity apps you’ll spend time managing those. If you’re keeping all your records on paper, you’ll want to stab yourself through the eyeball by the time the project ends. A healthy mix of low and hi-fi tools work perfectly for me. My arsenal includes:
Basecamp for collaborating with clients and my team, creating a schedule and managing milestones, sharing documents, etc. I’m not sure it’s possible to love a non-human entity more than I love basecamp. It works better than any other project management tool I’ve seen. And it’s cheap ($24/mo).
Harvest for tracking my time and invoicing. Even though it’s just my husband and me, we log all our time in harvest—from sales & biz dev, to billable hours for specific projects, to taking walks, to the time I spent writing this article. Whenever I want a snapshot of how our business really works, I can generate a report on the spot. And Harvest makes invoicing easy.
A piece of paper for daily to-do’s. I’ve seen a lot of task management software out there (things is a great one for Mac) but in my opinion, nothing works better than a big, juicy piece of paper. Scratch off completed items as you go. Easy peasy.
A MacBook. Call me west-coasty, but I won’t work on anything but a mac. My husband works on an iMac. They don’t break. They’re easy to use. Apple’s got great customer service.
7. Prepare For Fire.
Inside every project, there’s a fire waiting for someone to light it. These fires come in all shapes and sizes. Best case scenario? They keep your job interesting. Worst case scenario? They destroy a project. Here are some common fires and tips for dealing with them.
Bad Clients
We’ve all had our fair share. Bad clients insult your work. They don’t know anything about the kind of work you do, but act like experts. They disappear for days on end and then blame you for being late on the project. They just wanna add “this one extra thing!”—for no extra money. They don’t know what they want, but expect you to. You get the picture.
Each type of bad client requires a different type of management. In general, your best bet is to step back, figure out what they’re actually upset about, and address it. If you need to, revisit the contract and restate your respective roles. Be flexible where you can, but do not negotiate on price or bend the contract unless you have done something wrong. If things get really bad through no fault of your own, take steps to negotiate out of the contract. A sour relationship won’t work for you or them.
For those of you who work in the web industry: Jeffrey Zeldman has a great post that offers advice for pinpointing a bad client right off the bat.
Seagulls.
Seagulls (often CEO’s or high-level stakeholders) swoop in at the last possible moment and crap on your work. Typically, this happens after you’ve gone through all sorts of revisions and edits. Seagulls might not know anything about the project, really—like its goals, or how you plan to meet them—but they feel their input is needed. Maybe they simply hate the color orange. Perhaps they’re in a bad mood that day. Either way, Seagulls are a force of nature.
If you’ve played your cards right in earlier stages, the client knows 1) what the contract says, 2) how many revisions they get, and 3) what happens if in phase 4 you are required to return to phase 1. This is the best possible time to declare “scope creep” and suggest a change order. If said seagull really wants you to make those changes, it’ll cost.
Hapless teammates.
Sometimes even the best teammates have an off day. They get lazy, show up late, or turn in subpar work. It’s important to be patient when this is a rare occurrence, but if it starts to happen frequently you’ll have to take action.
The best way to navigate this sticky situation is to be fair, calm, and direct. State exactly what your teammate did wrong, when he or she did it, and how you hope he or she will fix the matter. Do not be passive aggressive or vague, and do not expect the person to read your mind. Cut right to the chase. This usually works after one time.
If you have to go through this process more than a couple of times, it’s probably time for a warning or review.
Scope Creep.
It happens to the best of us. The project you thought would take 30 hours is going to take 100 hours because of something you didn’t anticipate. When this legitimately not your fault (the scope creep doesn’t result from negligence on your part), no need to panic. Simply explain the situation to your client. Outline why you think it happened and what you can do within budget to fix it. Then, explain how much it would cost to do all the work in question. If you need to, create a change order request and fix the problem in the next phase.
8. Manage For the People.
I’ve spent all this time talking about contracts and tools. But the most real-deal, immeasurably necessary part of project management is understanding and empathizing with actual people. How do you manage people and come out unscathed? Here’s what helps me:
Communicate clearly & fully. When you’re busy, you might be tempted to sling off one of those terse, barely comprehensible one-line emails. Don’t do that. When you need to communicate with your client or teammates, take time to fully develop your thoughts and write in a way they can understand. In a way that helps them get something done or makes them feel good. And remember to check in frequently and consistently. Don’t let huge chunks of time go without checking in, or swoop in from out of nowhere with feedback. This way, everyone knows what to expect.
Be accessible. As manager, you are the hub of the project. More than anyone else, you should be quick to respond to emails, and quick to help people get stuff done. Try to respond to every email within an hour. If this is impossible, let folks know you won’t be sally-on-the-spot that day.
Be disciplined. If you want your team to deliver on time and under budget, you have to be disciplined, too. Do what you say you’ll do, when you say you’ll do it. Communicate clearly and swiftly when you’re not able to fulfill a promise.
Admit mistakes. This one is HUGE. Nothing breeds mistrust and frustration more than a manager who won’t admit when he or she is wrong. You want your team and clients to be honest and straightforward with you? Start by modeling that behavior. No need, of course, to spill your guts every time you screw up. Simply say, “You know, I think I was wrong about X. Sorry about that.” Then fix the problem and move on.
Be nice. This one is even more important. Even in the worst of situations, it is possible to be nice. Do not take your personal frustrations out on your clients. Except when they are truly being disruptive or disrespectful, give people the benefit of the doubt. And do not, under any circumstances, belittle or demean your team’s work. Being nice and learning the delicate art of constructive criticism is key.
Do not freak out. Most of us in the design world are not saving lives. We are not at war. Therefore, every time you start to freak out on a client or teammate, do not. Go get some fresh air and find your perspective. Good project managers do not bristle at the slightest provocation; they are stable and even.
Do what works. No two projects—just like no two people—are alike. If you are involved in heavy client work, get used to constantly shifting requirements and scenarios. In this environment, it’s important that you move beyond simply “learning and following the system to a T” to a more creative perspective: learning how to solve problems on a case-by-case basis. This will require quick thinking and hard work, but good managers know how to do it. Don’t be so attached to your process that you forget to let what works be your guide.
The bottom line? Respect your clients. Love your team. Attend to the basics. It will not always be easy, but learning these tricks will go a long way toward making projects enjoyable—and rendering you a more effective manager.
Michael Lopp, a former manager of Software Engineers, wrote a great book calledManaging Humans on this exact topic. It’s short and to the point. Pick it up.
In Summary
Management horror stories might lead you to believe that project management is rocket science. In some fields, perhaps it is. But for smaller businesses like mine, great project management amounts to hard work, respect for others, and thorough, clear communication—more common sense than rocket science.
If you want to get better at managing projects, try the following:
1. Know what you’re doing.
2. Define roles. Set expectations. Schedule it.
3. Put it in writing.
4. Get approval on the plan.
5. Break the work into versions.
6. Use the right tools.
7. Prepare for fire.
8. Manage for the people.
About the Author
Tiffani Jones owns a copywriting and content strategy business, Second and Park. She also runs a web design agency, thingsthatarebrown, with her husband. Tiffani enjoys roasted chickens, bluegrass, and books. She tweets as @ticjones.


My apologies, I have shamelessly copy and pasted this from Design*Sponge blog but as this site is only accessible by me it shouldn't matter... Anyhoo, there are plenty of links to the appropriate blogs and sites. I plan to use this as a direct approach to Project Managing my own wedding in October 2010. Thanks for all the advice!








Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Ultimate Style




lots and lots of style here

Bobbi Brown Make Up TIps for Your Wedding Day




By Bobbi Brown
Beauty expert
You’re in search of the perfect dress, invitation, photographer, music, flowers and more. But there is just one more thing: your face. Wedding day beauty should be a priority.
This is the one day when you are guaranteed to be the star attraction. It’s natural to feel pressure since you know everyone will be looking at you. This is not the moment to try anything tricky or novel, nor is it the moment to experiment with look-of-the-moment makeup. Beauty trends change as quickly as fashion trends, so it’s best to look timelessly beautiful. Those photographs in your wedding album are forever — you don't want to look at them in 20 years and see a hopelessly dated look.
All your makeup should be strong, pretty and incorporate long-wear products that look best in photography. To make sure you use them the right way, consider Bobbi’s top 10 wedding day tips:

1. Flash photography emphasizes pink tones, so be sure to even out skin with a yellow-toned foundation. Start around the nose and mouth where there’s redness, then blend out to the rest of the face.

2. Set concealer and foundation with sheer-finish loose powder to make them longer-lasting and to ensure that skin doesn’t shine in pictures.

3. If your dress has an open neckline, be sure to warm up your neck and chest with a dusting of bronzing powder.

4. Even if you think you won’t cry, chances are you will. Use a water-resistant eyeliner that can withstand tears. Try Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner applied with the Ultra Fine Liner Brush. If you prefer to line with shadow, make it longer-lasting by applying it with a slightly damp eyeliner brush. Finish with a water-resistant mascara like Bobbie Brown Lash Glamour.

5. After applying all your eye makeup, finish with a highlighter shade on the browbone for a bright-eyed effect. Rub your finger in a light matte shade and pat lightly on the outer corner of the browbone.

6. For a pretty flush that lasts, use two shades of blush. First, apply a neutral shade on the apples of cheeks, blending up into the hairline, then downward for a softer look. Then apply a brighter shade just on the apples of the cheeks.

7.  Neutral and pale lip colors look washed out in photographs, so choose a lipstick that’s one to two shades brighter than what you normally wear. Pinks, roses and plums are great choices for brides.

8. To make sure your lip color lasts longer, line and fill in lips with a neutral lip pencil before applying your lipstick.

9. Carry a touch-up kit with concealer, pressed powder, lipstick or gloss, lip liner, tissues and mints. Also, make sure you have a mini sewing kit (for emergency clothing fixes like a dropped hem or popped button), static spray, a lint remover and prewrapped wipes to remove makeup and food stains.

10. It’s your big day. Take a deep breath and have fun!

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Budget Savvy Bride: How to Get Married for Under $5K - Project Wedding

Budget Savvy Bride: How to Get Married for Under $5K - Project Wedding

Shared via AddThis

"I'm thinking... Pink Champagne!"


Apparently this is the good stuff - what I love about it is the colour and that really pretty label.....


Buying and Serving Champagne and Sparkling Wine

7 of 9 in Series: The Essentials of Serving and Storing Wine from For Dummies
If you’re entertaining with Champagne or sparkling wine, you'll want to know how to best serve bubbly and which foods work well with sparkling wines.
Following is some advice for buying and serving Champagne, or any sparkling wine:

  • The ideal bottle size for Champagne is the magnum (equivalent to two bottles). The larger bottle enables the wine to age more gently in the winery’s cellar. Magnums (or sometimes double magnums) are usually the largest bottles in which Champagne is fermented; all really large bottles have had finished Champagne poured into them, and the wine is therefore not as fresh as it is in a magnum or a regular bottle.


  • Be wary of half-bottles (375 ml) and splits (187 ml). Champagne in these small bottles is often not fresh. If you’re given a small bottle of Champagne or any sparkling wine as a wedding favor, for example, open it at the first excuse; do not keep it around for a year waiting for the right occasion!


  • Sparkling wine is best served cold, about 45°F (7° to 8°C). Some people prefer it less cold (52°F; 11°C). Because older Champagnes and Vintage Champagnes are more complex, you can chill them less than young, non-vintage Champagne or sparkling wine.


  • Don't leave an open bottle of sparkling wine on the table; it will warm up quickly. If you want to keep the sparkling wine handy, you can place it in an ice bucket (half cold water, half ice). Use a sparkling wine stopper to keep leftover bubbly fresh for a couple of days—in the fridge, of course.

Champagne and other good, dry sparkling wines are extremely versatile with food — and they are the essential wine for certain kinds of foods. Following are some suggestions for pairing sparkling wine with food:

  • No wine goes better with egg dishes than Champagne. Indulge yourself next time that you have brunch. And when you’re having spicy Asian cuisine, try sparkling wine.


  • Fish, seafood, pasta (but not with tomato sauce), risotto, and poultry are excellent with Champagne and sparkling wine.


  • If you’re having lamb (pink, not well-done) or ham, pair rosé Champagne with it.


  • Chunks of aged Asiago, aged Gouda, or Parmesan cheese go extremely well with aged Champagne.


  • Don’t serve a dry brut (or extra dry) sparkling wine with dessert. These styles are just too dry. With fresh fruit and desserts that are not too sweet, try a demi-sec Champagne. With sweeter desserts (or wedding cake!), go with Asti.

Friday, 16 October 2009

Pie in a Jar

 As Pie is almost a tradition in our family, I would love to have a Pie & Peas Break towards the end of the evening or even traditional Apple Pie as favours to give away at the end of the night. Either way, pricing these stout, bites of yumtiousness is proving rather costly at £4.50 a pop so this is the easy, cost effective way of making adorable favours or a snack at the end of the night. Easy.




Image and wonderful idea courtesy of Our Best Bites

Cake Cutting Songs courtesy of Project Wedding

Cake Cutting Songs - Project Wedding

Shared via AddThis

Bridal Entrance Music from Project Wedding

Bridal Entrance - Project Wedding

Shared via AddThis

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

The Perfect Wedding: Behind the Scenes

Beltane Ranch - Behind the Scenes from andrew msv on Vimeo.


Thanks to Style Me Pretty - a never ending source of inspiration for brides-to-be

Saturday, 10 October 2009

The Ultimate Bridal Workout FROM INSTYLE BRIDE

The Ultimate Bridal Workout: 6 Months Before


Repeat this routine each week for a total of four weeks.

Monday to Friday: Cardio Begin with a five-minute warm-up, followed by stretching. Then choose one of these: power walking, jogging, spinning or any cardio class or machine. Alternate activities each day, and do what you enjoy so you'll stick with it. Beginners should continue moving at their target heart rate for 20 minutes; intermediates, for 45 minutes; and advanced exercisers, for up to 60 minutes. End with a five-minute walk and more stretches.

Saturday: Yoga You can take a class or do it at home with DVDs such as Jenkins's The Hollywood Trainer Yoga ($20;thehollywoodtrainer.com).

Sunday: Spa day Reward yourself with a manicure, a massage, a facial or a bubble bath. Really! A day of rest lets your muscles get stronger and helps prevent injuries that might throw you off schedule later.

Heart Smarts Your target heart rate is the number of times your heart should beat per minute during exercise. To calculate it, subtract your age from 220. If you're a beginner, your target rate is 65 to 75 percent of the resulting figure. Intermediates should aim for 70 to 80 percent, and advanced exercisers, for 75 to 85 percent. So if you're 30 years old, subtract 30 from 220 to get 190, then multiply that by .7, .75 or .8, depending on your fitness level.

The Ultimate Bridal Workout: 5 Months Before

Each week alternate two days of cardio with three days of strength training to help tone your legs, back, abdominals, chest and arms.

Monday
Back, biceps, abs: Warm up with three to five minutes of cardio and stretching. Unless the instructions for an exercise say otherwise (see list below), perform each move 10 to 15 times without stopping, rest one minute, do another set of 10 to 15 reps, rest, and repeat for a final set of 10 to 15 reps. After weight training, do 15 minutes of cardio (choose from last month's list), followed by a cooldown and a few minutes of easy stretching.
Rowing: Stand facing a bench with your left foot forward and your right foot back. Lean over, placing your left hand and knee on the bench. Grasp a 2- or 3-pound dumbbell in your right hand, wrist in, then pull elbow up and back, as if rowing. Switch sides to complete one set.
Bicep curls: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, toes facing forward. Keep arms at sides, palms facing forward. Holding dumbbells (2 or 3 pounds each for beginners, 5 to 7 pounds for intermediates, 7 to 10 pounds for advanced exercisers), bend elbows and raise weights to chest. Return arms to sides.
Standing abs 1: Standing on your left leg, extend right leg slightly to your right side, with toes touching the floor. Extend arms up to the left, forming a straight line with your extended leg. Keeping abs tight, pull hands down and right knee up to meet each other at your torso. Return to start. Do three sets on both sides.
Standing abs 2: Standing on left leg, extend right leg behind you and slightly to the side, toes touching the floor. Extend right arm toward ceiling. With abs tight, lift right knee and pull right elbow down so they touch. Do three sets on both sides.

Tuesday
Skip the weight training today, and choose from last month's list of cardio options.

Wednesday
Chest, triceps, shoulders, abs: See Monday for instructions on stretching time, number of sets and reps, cardio work and cooldown.
Push-ups: Do as many traditional push-ups as you can (aim for three sets of 10 to 15). When it gets tough, do knee push-ups. Keep your back straight and your abdominal muscles pulled in.
Tricep dips: Sit on the edge of a chair or bench, feet on the floor. Hold onto chair and lift buttocks forward and off the edge. Lower yourself toward the ground until your elbows are at a 90-degree angle, then push yourself back up.
Boxing jabs: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart; step one foot slightly forward, holding fists at shoulder height. Alternating arms, punch out without locking your elbow, turning wrist so knuckles face up.
Overhead shoulder press: Stand with arms out to the sides, elbows bent at a 90-degree angle. Holding dumbbells (2 to 3 pounds each for beginners, 5 to 7 pounds for intermediates, 7 to 10 pounds for advanced exercisers), straighten arms toward the ceiling. Return to start.

Thursday
Cardio: See Tuesday.

Friday
Legs, abs: Follow Monday's instructions for stretching, number of sets and reps, cardio and cooldown.
Squats: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, toes facing forward, arms extended in front of you. Squat until thighs are parallel to the floor, while keeping knees directly over ankles. Return to start.
Reverse lunge: Stand with feet together. Extend left leg behind you and drop into a lunge, keeping right knee over ankle. Return to start. Repeat with right leg behind.
Standard abduction: Stand on left leg, toes forward. Lift right leg straight out to side, squeezing right buttock, and return. Repeat with left leg.
Single-leg dead lifts: Holding dumbbells (2 pounds each for beginners, up to 7 pounds for intermediates, up to 10 for advanced exercisers), stand on left leg, weight on heel, and extend right leg behind you with toes pointed. Keep arms at sides. Tip forward until your torso and right leg are parallel to the floor. Return to start. Repeat with left leg raised.
Frog diamond: Lying on your back, extend legs straight into the air. Keep thighs and heels together and feet flexed. Open legs wide, bend knees and bring toes together to make a diamond shape. Extend legs while squeezing inner thighs, and press feet to ceiling.

Saturday
Yoga

Sunday
Spa day

The Ultimate Bridal Workout: 4 Months Before

Now's the time to increase the intensity of your strength training.

For the next two months continue the same pattern of five days of strength training and cardio, followed by a yoga day and a spa day. During the strength training, instead of doing three sets of 15 repetitions, do two sets of 25 repetitions. The switch will get your heart beating faster, increase the number of calories you burn, and create more definition.

You should also increase the amount of weight you lift. For each set of 25, do the first 10 to 15 repetitions with the heaviest dumbbells you can lift (but no more than 15 pounds each) while keeping good form. Then for the rest of each set lower the weight by 5 to 10 pounds.

The Ultimate Bridal Workout: 2 Months Before

Burn more calories by doing mini cardio moves during your strength training.

During the final eight weeks keep up what you've been doing: two days of cardio and three days of strength training, plus the yoga and spa days.

During your strength training, choose one activity from this list of mini cardio moves to perform quickly, for 30 to 60 seconds between each set.
• Jumping rope
• Side shuffles: Shuffle three times to the right (imagine the Electric Slide dance); touch left hand to the ground. Repeat to the left.
• Jogging in place
• Front kicks: Kick right leg forward, put it on the floor, then step your left leg behind you and touch floor with your left hand. Switch legs.

Friday, 9 October 2009

The Discovery of Ornamented Life


Upon the discovery of HORNE I was delighted to find this range by Ornamented Life as they recycle chipped plates and crockery and make them pretty again. It's beautiful artwork, a fantastic DIY idea and it means you don't have to throw the plate away!

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Party Supplies! Partyrama!

Just found this excellent website with endless amounts of party supplies!
Along with squiggly pink straws for the kids, popcorn containers, doilies, pineapple shaped trays and a whole array of balloons, here are some of my favourite finds:

Ice cream cone bubble blower.... 49p

Paper trifle cups - there's nothing that says kitsch like trifle - cute as candy bowls!
£1.35 for 8

Pack of 12 for £1.99
These would be adorable on top of retro pink cupcakes....



Simply Sweet Afternoon Tea

Make goody bags for your guests with personalised badges, favourite flavour of gum or sweets and fun things to pass the afternoon.


Whilst looking for inspiration I often stumble upon the nicest things. Here's a yummy patisserie, miette, in San Francisco. I love the look of their sweetly simple designed cakes.

The blog they run is absolutely hilarious! With no end of homemade sweets with adorable and unconventional wrappers, I love the chocolate moustaches the most! They would make fantastic favours.

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Ring Pillows Retro Tea Party

Another simple DIY project to prepare well in advance are ring pillows. Adorable, vintage, lace hankies - maybe with sentimental value - can be used to decorate the small pillow. Personalise yours by embroidering your initials into it and stitching your favourite shade of silk ribbon to it...

Cake Decoration Topper


This can't be that hard to do! Two birdies, a bundle of fake flowers and a whole bunch of wires and floristry tape and off you go! Found on etsy. Made by HaveandHold

Saturday, 3 October 2009

DIY Bridesmaids Clutch



Great DIY Project as gifts for the bridesmaids

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Oh My Goodness!

Inspired by this wonderful stationary the next wedding theme I am most excited about is FLORAL RETRO KITSCH. Key to making this theme work:
  • Choosing the right vintage-y hues of the colours you want to work with so put an emphasis on a colour from the era you are interested in (
  • Ensuring that the items you are working with are more kitsch than country.
  • Asking yourself, "Would the queen mum feel good doing/wearing/receiving this?" If the answer is yes, you're on the right track!
By choosing this theme I am hoping to use a lot of second hand things which I find in second hand shops close to home thus saving money and gathering inspiration from vintage etsy finds.
Combining retro flowers including dahlias, carnations and daisies and incorporating some of my favourite retro hues of turquoise, aqua and a dirty light blue, hot pink, candyfloss and hints of lemonade yellow and mustard, this is a theme which I think is going to stick.



Speechless... Words cannot describe... find... here....