Sunday, 19 January 2020

WLL WEDDING DIARIES: WHERE TO START PLANNING YOUR WEDDING.




Welcome to the WLL Wedding Diaries. As previously mentioned I really wanted to do some dedicated posts on my blog all about wedding planning and any helpful hints and tips I have learnt along the way. Throughout my wedding planning process so far I have asked many different questions and resorted to google about lots of things I have been unsure about, so I guess I wanted to write some content about the questions I have asked to google myself, so that future brides (and grooms) who have similar questions know where they can come to get their questions answered. Questions like; Do I need to get married in a church? How do I pick a theme? Do I NEED transport for my wedding day? How do I ask my bride squad? etc. I am going to do my absolute best to write as many posts as possible answering these types of questions to help any other confused brides and grooms out there. 




So far on my own wedding planning journey I honestly can say, I have only felt that awful stressed feeling once. And to be honest I think that probably has got a lot to do with the fact that I have had so long to plan everything and put everything together (3 WHOLE YEARS IN TOTAL!). Another reason is because everyone has literally left me to it, so I have had nobody sticking their oar in and giving me any unnecessary opinions. I actually asked my Mum that question a little while back "we actually haven't done any wedding planning together, why is that?", and her response was "you are so set in what you want that I haven't needed to intervene - you have everything under control" - and she is so right, I have my own vision of how I want everything to be and in my own mind it looks absolutely perfect and luckily enough everyone has kind of just left me alone to get on with it - Simon included! 






So, to kick off my WLL wedding diaries I thought I would start from the top. How to start planning your wedding. Well if I look back to starting planning, the first thing I immediately decided was that I wanted a Summer wedding and that's where I would begin - but actually the fact I decided Summer, meant that from there on wards I learnt an awful lot about wedding budgets and their importance, because for Summer Weddings can come astronomical prices! So scrap the idea of starting with when you want your wedding and start with a budget. Sit down with your partner, and discuss your budget - how much you are willing to spend on your big day and whether you really want it to be a BIG day or whether you just want a smaller more intimate affair. This is super important because from deciding a wedding budget you can then start looking at the venues you are interested in and doing your research online to start requesting wedding brochures and emailing the appropriate people to ask for prices. This is the part where you should probably start thinking of a date you'd like to think about getting married - because once you know the kind of prices a venue is charging then you know what kind of time of year you can realistically afford. Honestly, this is the part where our whole wedding went from being a Summer one, to a Winter one. I had my heart set on a venue and wanted to get married in June 2020 because I just LOVE Summer, its my favorite season. However, I did not love Summer enough to spend another £6000 on it. Yes that's right, £6000 more! When I spotted an incredible Winter deal for Walworth Castle I was absolutely sold - and this is when I went on to inquire about whether they had a specific date and from then on that Summer wedding that I thought I wanted became that of just an initial thought. 






In terms of order of priorities I would 100% start with your budget because this will then lead you in the right direction of realistic venues you can afford and then help you decide what time of year to do it. 




Other questions you should ask when choosing your wedding venue - if you have your heart set on a location but the price tag just currently seems too high ;



- Consider pricing up for a weekday (particularly a Friday). Especially if you desperately want to get married in the Summer. As this will make it slightly cheaper for you and also if you have guests that are children, then you don't need to worry about them taking time away from school to attend - because they will already be off school! Something that completely didn't even cross my mind when we started planning! 
- Look for any set wedding packages the venue may have. We got an amazing deal for our wedding which included food for all guests, drinks for all guests and also a DJ and various other things! 
- Consider a Winter wedding - its honestly never been something I thought I ever wanted. But after finding our amazing Winter wedding package and then inquiring about whether had our anniversary date available (which is also a Saturday), the Summer wedding idea literally crossed my mind no more! Are there any sentimental Winter dates which could work for you? 
- Amount of guests - make a rough draft of your guest list at the time of starting your planning. Obviously this may very well change over the course of your wedding planning! but its handy to have a rough amount of guests to cater for so that you know what size room you may need - as having a room that's too big may unnecessarily bump up your price!







Once you have booked your venue, decided on your date and your budget then that will determine the length of time you have got to plan the rest of the details. I am so relieved that myself and Simon have had a long engagement because it really has given me the opportunity to properly research what we want our day to be like and to not just book the first thing I see! 




Another thing I would completely recommend about starting to plan your wedding is deciding on what you want to make a priority - for example for myself and Simon it was all about finding that PERFECT photographer. We made sure we shopped around and did our research for photographers who would be willing to travel to our venue on the day. Also getting to know your venue and the kind of lighting it has is super important to deciding a photographer. We are getting married in church but having our reception in a castle therefore the lighting will be quite dim and cosy throughout the whole day, so we really wanted to seek out a photographer who works very well with darker tones and we certainly found the perfect guy for it!! We knew we wanted something and someone so specific for our wedding photography we decided that this would be the first thing that we would focus on once all the fundamental things were done (venue, budget and date) and so therefore this was something we booked about 6 months into the wedding planning process so we could be reassured that we were 100% happy with our choice! and we SO are!



Obviously every couple if different and for you and your partner it might be the flowers, or the dress, or the transport - anything! But if this is the case I would say that this is the place you should start next! 



If you are similar to me and very organised in general then you may also benefit from purchasing a wedding planning book or journal. I will link some recommended ones at the bottom of this post. 



Overall I really hope my first post in WLL wedding diaries has been of some help to you! Let me know what you have found the most useful and if there is anything else you would like me to go into more detail about in my future wedding diaries posts! I have so many planned so hopefully there will be something useful that everyone can take away with them. 


Mentioned in this post:

Our chosen Venue : Walworth Castle

Recommended Wedding Journals


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Tuesday, 17 December 2019

A WHATLAURENLOVESS 2 YEAR ROUNDUP



I really did think I would open this page and not have a clue what to write... as its honestly been so so long. Over 2 years in fact! And you might be thinking, why now? Why start blogging again now? Well, in actual fact I am not really sure where the spark for it has come from but I just know its back! 

Over the last 2 years an awful lot of exciting things have happened, and of course there has been some not very good things going on too, but why would I want to bring any of that up on here? So I am going to start this post by doing a roundup of all of the goings on of the last couple of years. The last blog post I brought to you was in Summer 2017 so we are going to work forward from there... 



Autumn/Winter 2017: So, lets start with Nuremberg in the October. Simon took us on a little trip which was a birthday present to me and it was a complete and total surprise where we were going, and I never in a million years would have guessed Nuremberg, it had never really been a place at the top of my list to visit but my gosh it was such a shock and such a lovely surprise all at the same time. The thing about Simon is... he does not do anything predictable, and if people can guess what hes going to do and when hes going to do it - then he wont do it. Me and Simon are truly obsessed with city breaks and thats no secret, you should see our schedules whenever we go anywhere - we literally have every single minute planned from the moment we open our eyes in the morning to the moment we go to sleep at night! We truly cram every single thing we can into everywhere we go! So Nuremberg was no different of course! We had every single day planned, and Sunday October 14th was no different. We got up, got ready, and headed out for breakfast to a little cafe in the market square and then planned to walk up to the castle for the rest of the morning for a look around. We got to the castle, and of course it had a tall tower that OF COURSE I wanted to go up so that we could see views over the entire city... but you had to pay. I suggested this to Simon and he started acting really strange about going up the tower - which I thought was really odd because as I said previously, we LOVE to experience everything that there is to do in a place. I managed to persuade him anyway, so we went up and had a wander around and we kind of didn't really walk around together - we just did our own thing. And then we came down from the tower and started to head out of the castle grounds and back down into the main town centre. Simon then suggested we go up these steps to look over the city from that section of the city - to which I obviously said "yeah ok then". There was already an older couple standing at the part where we were heading to look out over the city - so we just slowly walked towards them and they headed off. Simon and I, being our true silly selves were having alsorts of strange conversations whilst standing overlooking the city, and the last one that sticks in my mind was about water slides (very random I know), Simon went into his bag to get something and I asked if he could put my cardigan in there because it was SO warm that day, he started rummaging in his bag for way longer than required, but we were still having our daft conversation about water slides (HA) and then bam, the next thing I knew is that he was down on one knee (in the mud bless him) asking me to marry him?!? Of course I said Yes! And he presented me with the most beautiful engagement ring I could have ever wished for (better than the ones I imagined in my head for years and years)! So yes, October 14th 2017 was the day I gained a Fiance! And then suddenly our conversations changed to that of weddings and marriage! One question literally meant that suddenly it was now ok for us to talk about it, instead of feeling like weddings were a complete taboo subject.





 I want to go into Weddings SO much more on my blog now that this is a whole other topic we can discuss on here. So I will save all of the details around things I have chosen and people we have chosen for certain roles in a later post! Because honestly, there is SO much I want to share. 




2018: So much exciting stuff happened in 2018! We kicked off the year with our engagement party with all of our amazing friends and family. Then just a few short days after this we headed off to Budapest with a group of friends where I honestly just fell head over heels for the city itself, we managed to do so many amazing things whilst we were there and that's why I chose to go back there for my hen doo - which is happening in 2020 also!!





We also went on lots of family trips in the Summer of 2018 - lodge weekends, camping in Cornwall and many more! 
I also got outdoors A LOT more this year! We did a few hikes in the Lake District including Grisedale Pike, Catbells and Blencathra! I absolutely loved doing every single one, even if I spent a lot of the time moaning about how hard they were - for one reasons or another! 
I headed off on a couple of end of Summer holidays - one was to Ibiza with my bestest friends and one was to Turkey with Simon! They were both absolutely amazing! 













The beginning of September began with a brand new house, and this time - it was our own! And we could do whatever we wanted to it! We bought our 3 bedroom detached house with a big garden - and it was just exactly what we both wanted in every single way! This meant that we spent the remainder of 2018 settling into our new home and started decorating the rooms we wanted to focus on first. I want to also write about lots more home related things here on my blog too - because I have already learnt so much since purchasing our home and we have loved every single second of putting our own stamp on it so far! 



In the Autumn/Winter of 2018 I also went on a couple more trips. One to Berlin with Simon which was absolutely amazing once again - and we crammed SO MUCH sightseeing and amazing German food into just one weekend - it was great! And then I went on my annual girls trip to London which was as amazing as always!





Finally, just one day after coming home from London we went and collected our 12 week old miniature Dachshund, Otto. Any of you OG's who have been around reading my blogposts for a long time will know that I have FOREVER been obsessed with sausage dogs and I have always said that the moment it was possible for me to get one - I would! So therefore when we moved into our own home, I literally started looking for a puppy straight away! I found the most amazing, loving, caring breeder who's lovely dachshund had just had 6 beautiful boy puppies and I got 2nd pick of the bunch, but there was just something about this little black and cream dapple that I was so drawn to I just knew he needed to be mine! He was so so content when I held him for the first time and just fell asleep in my hands - I knew he was absolutely the right one! So at the end of 2018 we spent the majority of our time trying to get used to life with a puppy whilst also getting ready for christmas! It was soooo hard but suddenly everything just clicked and we found a routine that worked for us! I will 100% be posting more about him on my blog, and what life was like with a puppy who was EXTREMELY hard to train. I feel like them tips need to be shared!!!



2019: This year started off a little slower than 2018 but still good all the same! 
One of my besties got engaged and asked me to be a bridesmaid for her wedding in 2021, which is super exciting! After all the madness of my own wedding in 2020 it means that it can all continue into 2021 which I am sooo excited about!! 





This year has appeared to be the year of camping! Me and Simon have put our tent up more times this year than I would care to count! Its been so good being more outdoorsy though and seeing lots more places right here in the UK with our sausage dog! Its been great and definitely something I want to continue going into 2020 and beyond. 



This Summer we also spent a week in Tenerife with my amazing family to celebrate one of my brothers turning 18! It was honestly such an amazing, fun trip with my favourite people ever!!




I then finished off the Summer by going to Creamfields festival for the millionth time! I swear it gets better and better every single time though! Already super excited for 2020!





Finally, here we are at the very end of 2019 and I have finished off this year by going to Edinburgh for the annual girls trip, a lodge weekend in Lincolnshire with my best friends and lots of plans for the festivities coming up over the next couple of weeks!! 

....

Hope you all enjoyed to read my roundup of the last couple of years! I hope it has kind of set the scene for what kind of content I intend on bringing to my blog in the future - alongside some of the stuff I used to bring you - pre blogging break! 

So yes, stay tuned for lots more things ; bridal, wedding planning, honeymoon planning, hen planning, puppy training, tips for becomming a dog owner, home and house related posts, nursing posts, beauty and fashion! 

A lot has changed in my life over the last couple of years and I really want that to reflect on the content I bring you here on my blog! My instagram is still absolutely jam packed full of outfit posts and lots of other things I have been enjoying recently to be sure to check that out here. If you have any queries about collaboration or anything else then my email is on my contact page! 

x


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Thursday, 6 July 2017

THE BOTANIST SHEFFIELD, EXCITING NEW MENU!!



I definitely think food reviews are some of my favourite things to ever do for my blog! I love nothing more than being invited to sample incredible restaurants and write about them here on my blog! OH and of course, bring my fellow foodie (and boyfriend) along too! I also love them even more when they are situated in Sheffield! I feel as though, I really have grown to love Sheffield so much over the last 2 years of living here, but in particular I have grown extremely fond of it over the last month or so, and I think that's because I have been trekking into the city much more frequently and it has made me miss it so much!

In case you did not know, I now do not live in Sheffield anymore. I in fact like in Chesterfield which is roughly a 10 minute drive from Sheffield but still sometimes feels so so far away when you never really have any reason to head into the city centre. I come to Sheffield almost every single day for work, but that is always at silly o'clock in the morning and I drive around the ring round on the outskirts of the city, and so therefore this means I never really truly feel I am in Sheffield. Recently though, I have been heading into the city centre much more often and whether this has been for social things like drinks with friends, or for blogger opportunities like reviewing menus or what not - I have really fallen head over heels in love with the city all over again, and it really has made me realise just how many incredible places to eat and drink there are in Sheffield!

Today, I wanted to talk to you about the Botanist in Sheffield which is situated in Leopold Square, which I would probably say is my favourite place to go for food and drinks on an evening in the city centre. The Botanist as I am sure you are all very well aware, is a very popular cocktail bar but also has an incredible restaurant as well. I had the opportunity to head over and check out their newly launched menu of both food and cocktails - and WOW, was it incredible?!

Firstly I though I would just mention the general d├ęcor of the Sheffield, Botanist! It really is something else! The restaurant is situated on the top floor of the building and what they have done with the space is just incredible! In fact, I think the botanist just suits the authentic features of this building to a tee, and I am not entirely sure that anything else would quite fit the bill like it!







Next, the cocktails. Obviously I was super excited about trying these - because essentially this was why I was invited along in the first place!! I had seen some images on other peoples instagrams of the new cocktails and so I was super excited to try them out! The new cocktails are a section of the menu called 'pots and planters' because essentially all of them come in pots and planters, very botanical ey?! Not only that, but presentation really is key here, as the cocktails also come with dry ice which makes them look even more cool! Everyone loves getting that instagram snap or boomerang of an aesthetically pleasing cocktail right? The botanist is just ticking all the boxes yet again with their new cocktails. Also, another pretty important factor is that they also taste A-MAZING! I tried the peach and apple pot and the pimms tea cup, and both of these were literally incredible! The pimms tea cup arrived in a tea pot and a cup, and the peach and apple pot was the show stopper for me, a orange plant pot filled with beautiful tasting cocktail, herbal garnish and dry ice! I mean, just look at the snaps to see how good it looked! And I'll be honest, it tasted INCREDIBLE TOO!

Even if you decide to head to the botanist and you aren't a cocktail fan, there is still something for everyone in terms of drinks! Soft drinks, mocktails, beers and ales, spirits, wines - you name it, they have it!




Now onto the food...
Me and Simon never normally go for starters but on this occasion we decided to! To start off, I went for the Green Olives, because they taste incredible and I have genuinely never seen a greener olive that these before?! I don't know what they've done to them or where they came from but trust me, they really did not last long! We also decided to share the crispy calamari - which again, was a very good choice! Just the right amount, very tasty and also great as a little bit of a light bite before a big meal! I have to say though, I have had the baked camembert before it is to die for! But unfortunately I could not persuade Simon to share that one with me! (PARTY POOPER)




The came the mains! The best bit lets be honest! Simon decided to go for the lamb kofta hanging kebab, which I have to say - tasted bloomin' gorgeous! You really cannot go wrong with the hanging kebabs! They are a winner if you have never been to the botanist and you are wanting to have something really tasty! You can tell how popular they are simply by looking around the room, as most of the people eating will be having one! I have to say, I usually go for the chicken kebab when I come to the botanist, but on this occasion I decided to go for something a little bit different from my ordinary. I went for the flattened rump because I had had this previously in a different restaurant and remembered just how good it tasted, and to be honest wanted to relive that again, ha! I was definitely not wrong in making the decision I did, it too was incredible! Very tasty, brilliant portion size, great side dishes - and just a fantastic option to change things up from my usual chicken kebab (trust me, I would have been very upset if I had swayed away from my norm and it had turned out to be a bad decision). I never ever have any complaints about the food at the botanist, it is always beautiful! And as I am sitting here now writing this, I could eat everything I have just talked about (which is quite weird considering it is currently 04:20am and I am on night shift).

We decided not to go for puddings in this instance because we were SO full off the starters and mains, but usually I would go for the cookie dough because it is literally to die for! 

I cannot even tell you how much I am already excited for our next visit to the Botanist, I just love the experience as a whole and I really do look forward to visiting every single time! I really do recommend you head down and check out their brand new menu, including the awesome cocktails, and after you have ordered be sure to have your camera ready so you can take some snaps of the dry ice - it doesn't last TOO long! 

I would love to hear what your favourite cocktails and dishes from The botanist are! I would love to try out some new things! Also, I would love to hear in general where you favourite places to eat and drink in Sheffield are! I am planning some new content focussed around Sheffield and I would love to try out some new places to include in my content!

If you want to see what the peach and apple pot looked like in the flesh, dry ice n all - then head over and check out my vlog on my channel which I managed to get some footage of it in action! 

The Botanist Website

VLOG HERE.
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