Jennie & Andy: Unnecessary Panicking and Necessary Beautifying


The past few weeks have been up and down on the wedding planning rollercoaster. It’s seen a wedding dress wobble- do I really love it as much as I thought I did? Am I completely sure this is the ONE out of all the many out there? Should I book a couple more bridal appointments, just to be sure…? A budget panic when I realised I haven’t actually factored in the cost of my flight back to the UK. Andy’s is booked, but mine isn’t – am I even going to be able to go to my own wedding?! I’ve had a heart fluttering moment when I realised Prosecco-on-tap vans are actually a thing, and a heart sinking moment of falling completely in love with a completely out of our budget videographer. The videographer I never knew I wanted, but turned out to be the videographer of my dreams. There’s even been the odd “why on earth are we doing all this, why don’t we just elope” wine-fueled chat too!

Luckily I’ve had my married bridesmaid Lucy, and one of my best friends who is getting married the week before me and going through so many of the same debates, questions and panics, to talk me through each and every wobble. I resisted the urge to go and try on more wedding dresses and fallen back in love with my own, remembered all the reasons we’re planning our wedding the way we are, and come to terms with the sad reality that the dream videographer is going to have to stay just that, a dream.

Despite these ups and downs these weeks have been quite productive, ticking a few more bits off the wedding planning to do list. After several months of dithering and indecision I’ve booked professional hair and make up for the day. I started out thinking that I’d do my own make up. It’s a pretty pricey addition to the budget, and I’d been scared off professional make up by those horrific make over photo shoots where you leave with about 3 inches of make up on your face, and eyes so ‘smokey’ you look like you’ve been punched. I want to look like myself on my wedding day, not a scary plastic bride. I was worried too, that being away from the UK I wouldn’t be able to fit in a trial, and the thought of someone else doing my make up for the very first time, on my wedding morning was quite a scary one.

With this in mind I had a couple of department store trips for product demo looks to attempt to recreate at home. It was after a few of these sessions I realised a truth about myself: I’m actually quite rubbish with make up. I can do a day-to-day mascara and concealer look, and throw on a bit of eye-liner for a night out, but other than that I’m clueless. I don’t actually own half the products that I would need to recreate any of the looks the lovely make up counter ladies did for me, and the list of products I would need would add up to a fair amount on their own. I considered the fact that by buying products I would actually be making an investment, that I’d be able to use them again but in reality, I don’t think I would. They’d just sit in my bathroom cupboard going slowly dry and past their best.

I decided, for me, professional hair and make up was the best option. I’ve booked The Wedding Hair Company, found through  the Little Book For Brides. After a scroll through their website I fell in love with the romantic, relaxed hair styles. It’s all very loose and pretty. Perfect for a summer day in the garden. I shared some ideas with them and they came back saying what I wanted was ‘them’ to a tee! They’ve promised me too, that we’ll be able to squeeze in a trial on my flying visit back to the UK in February so there won’t be any unpleasant wedding day surprises.

wedding hair inspiration

Relaxed, wavy, floral-entwined gorgeousness!

the wedding hair company looks

I’ve booked hair and make up for me and my Mum, and hair for my bridesmaids. Now it’s booked I’m completely happy with the decision. Mum is thrilled too – I think I get my inability to put on make up from her! I love the idea that I’ll have some body that can give me advice on how to get my fairly thin, fly-away hair into something that looks thick and glossy. I’m pondering extensions too, more for body than length. I’m excited to treat my bridesmaids to professional hair, too. They’ve been sending me ideas of things they like, which luckily are so very similar to the style of The Wedding Hair Company. As they’re all in matching dresses, I’m keen to them to pick individual styles for their hair. When it comes to make up, I’m hoping for a natural, pretty, glowing look that will stay in place all day. I want to look like me, but on a really, really good day!

Does anyone have any tips for wedding day hair and make up? Has anyone gone for wedding day hair extensions?

Jennie x

Paris & Joe: Tales From The Production Line


I hate to say it but I have really let the “wedmin” slip this month. As much as I envisaged having the Save the Dates made and sent out for the one-year-until-the-wedding countdown, it just hasn’t happened that way. The good news is that we did finally get around to making the ruddy things. The bad news is that I still have around 25 of them sitting on my shelf ready to be sent/hand delivered. I could give a thousand excuses including work, friends and moving, but in reality the wedding had just slowly slipped down the priority list. However, I did absolutely ADORE making the Save the Dates and I am so pleased with the finished result. There is something so satisfying about setting up a crafty production line and churning out card after pretty card.

So here is the final version:


Not quite the postcard style I had planned and the one and only reason for this is cost! Turns out that Save the Date post cards (or any post cards for that matter) are blooming expensive. We took a trip to Whitstable to find some vintage style Whitstable postcards, thinking we would use these and then stamp our message on the back. I fell in love with some screen printed corrugated postcards in a little artists shop, but at £2.50 a pop Joe dragged me away to be consoled with cod and chips. Then, one lunchtime I was browsing through Paperchase when I came across some really pretty foiled cards in all sorts of bright and whacky patterns. So Paperchase came to the rescue with their lovely embellished numbers and at £4 for 8 cards, all was well in the world again.

The English Stamp Company provided our lovely lobster stamp and Save the Date stamp, and I really cannot recommend them enough. I know that Jenny also used them for her Save the Dates and they are just so helpful and the stamps arrived within a few days. I also purchased some gold embossing powder and an embossing gun from them, which gives that raised finish. After continuing to fail miserably at getting the stamping juuuuust right (did I mention that crafts turn Joe into some kind of mental person?) I was demoted from stamping duties to permanently sit with the embossing gun, which is essentially a teeny tiny hairdryer.

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All in all it took three and a half people (my flower girl Belle popped along for the ride), 6 hours and approximately £80 to make 50 x Save the Dates. People have been wondering whether the cards are a hint to the colour scheme but I am sorry to disappoint, although I suppose they do fit with the “bright” theme. The colour scheme is still up in the air with no sign of coming down just yet and I am quite happy with that. I like to change my mind and the closer to the wedding that I actually make a final decision the better, I say.

I have been rather decisive about hair and makeup however! Originally I wanted to do my own makeup as I hate that trowelled on look that I see on so many brides at the moment. I know every bride says they want to look “natural” but I really do! Then I had my makeup done as a bridesmaid for my dad’s wedding last week and I absolutely loved it and it’s always nice to feel a bit pampered too. Two days later I booked both the hairdresser and makeup artist and ta-dah! another thing can be ticked off the list.



Speaking of ticking things of the list I may have ticked another teeny tiny thing off the list last week… the dress! But I think I will save that for next time.

Paris xx

The Frank Diaries: His Arrival

I have given birth.

The majority of you will know this already due to my social media updates, but if you’re an occasional blog reader, you may have been wondering why it’s all gone a bit quiet about these parts of late.

Life has changed.


Meet Frank.

Four weeks old today, Master Frank William Hemsley is entirely responsible for my radio silence. I’ve been attempting to write this blog post since the week after his arrival but have just managed a paragraph here and there before he’s required my attention again, or I’ve chosen sleep instead, or more visitors have arrived, or I’ve just decided to stare at his face in total and utter shell shock.

I want to talk and talk. I want to go in to vivid detail about the first few days, about our feeding dramas, the baby blues, the devastation that is severe sleep deprivation, the endless googling, and, of course, the moments of stupendous awe and wonder that wash over me when he’s asleep on my chest, or clasping my finger, or gurgling away happily in his daddy’s arms. And I will… in time. Hence why I’ve started The Frank Diaries. Entries might be super short- just a little snippet of life with Frank I feel compelled to share in a spare moment. Or they might be a little longer, written over a few days or weeks as this post has.

Many of you may not be interested in baby stuff, but life with a newborn is all-consuming so I’m afraid I’m finding it rather hard to focus on anything else at the moment! I have wedding updates from Jennie and Paris to share, as well as Part 2 of my Utterly Wow 2015 Season post… but I’m hoping for now you will indulge me and my need to talk baby.

But first… his birth story.

A couple of days before...

A couple of days before…

At my 39 week midwife appointment I asked for a membrane sweep. I wasn’t desperate to have him then and there but I really didn’t want to be two weeks late and hoped the sweep would just move things along a little bit. After 2 minutes of painful prodding and poking up there, my nice midwife peeled off her gloves with a shake of her head. My cervix was high and to the side- which meant it didn’t look like labour was imminent. I thanked her anyway for inflicting such pain upon me unnecessarily (although I had noone to blame but myself), and gingerly went about my day.

At 1.30am that night I woke up in some discomfort. After going for a wee, I got back in to bed and the back ache began. Two hours of ouch ouch OUCH surges that felt almost on top of each other and had me lying awake wondering if this was the start of something. At 3.30am I downloaded a contractions app, crept downstairs to a dark living room and began timing. They were roughly every 8 or 9 minutes lasting about 40 seconds each. Painful, but bearable. At around 6.45am I took my oblivious husband a coffee and informed him that I believed I was in early labour. Ever the gallant knight, he leapt out of bed to get me some paracetamol, propped me up in bed with supportive pillows, and finished packing the hospital bag in preparation for our imminent departure.

Ah, who am I kidding? Bleary-eyed and just a little bit dubious, he questioned my claims, thanked me sarcastically for having an early sweep when he’d wanted me to wait it out, and asked if he could go in to work still as he had an important meeting. Of course, I knew from friends’ experiences and reading too many online birth stories that early labour can take hours and even days, so I allowed him to leave me on the condition that he’d come home immediately if things ramped up. As such he didn’t need to. The contractions continued steadily all day and he arrived home at 5pm to find me bent over the birthing ball with a TENS machine attached to my back like a total cliché. By this point the contractions were every 2-4 minutes lasting a minute each, so on my third pleading phone call to the hospital, they allowed us to make our way in to be assessed.

After a lengthy wait in triage due to a lady giving birth in the corridor toilet outside our room (!), a nice but somewhat distracted midwife told me I was 2-3cm dilated- not enough to stay at the hospital, much to my despair. Back home we went in a car journey from hell, with the instruction to have some dinner and a bath and they would see me back at the hospital later on that night, they were sure. Contractions had really ramped up by this point, and after managing a couple of mouthfuls of rice whilst bent over the birthing ball (I avoided the chilli as really didn’t want to see it make an unwelcome reappearance later on), I waddled to the loo only to discover I had begun bleeding quite heavily. We were back at the hospital within an hour and a half.

The bleeding was a concern so at 3-4cm dilated they allowed me to stay, this time hooked up to a machine so they could monitor baby’s heart rate and the contractions which, by now, were excruciating. It’s worth pointing out that Paul had truly stepped into his gallant knight shoes by this point and upon my very un lady-like commands was leaping up to furiously knead my lower back as each surge swept in. Birth partner brownie points to him.

About 9.30pm we were told a room was ready for me in Delivery Suite and I waddled round, clinging on to Paul for dear life. “And this is the room you’ll be having your baby”, declared a young, smiley midwife, as she showed us in to a vast, clinical and totally unremarkable hospital room. I thanked her anyway (I was half expecting her to reveal the ‘room rate’ next, Four In A Bed stylee), and veered straight for the nearest piece of furniture I could bend over.

My birthing midwife arrived and introduced herself at this point, and I found myself begging for pain relief, to which she completely flummoxed me by saying “Sure, what would you like? Epidural? Pethadine? Gas and air?”. For some reason I thought an epidural would only be offered when I was in the throes of active labour or when I’d exhausted every other possibility, but my ability to think rationally or decisively had, by this point, completely vanished. I looked bewilderedly at Paul who suggested I start with gas and air which the midwife proceeded to get ready for me.

Still standing (I think- it all becomes a bit of a blur at this point), with the next contraction came an extreme pressure down below. Having watched way too many episodes of One Born Every Minute, I knew this was something I should make the midwife aware of, who seemed intrigued by this announcement and told me to get on the bed so she could assess me. “Do you want the good news?” she asked, after a few seconds of poking and stretching, “you’re 10cm dilated.”

I genuinely don’t think I have ever been as shocked in my entire life, and my response (something along the lines of: “SHUT THE F**K UP”) I suspect conveyed this. To have gone from 4cm to 10cm in around 40 minutes went some way to explaining why I’d been bleeding so heavily, but having glanced at the clock when we came in the room and thinking I would most likely be labouring all night, I couldn’t believe that it was time to push and that it was very possible I’d be giving birth THAT DAY.

The next and final half an hour is a little more difficult to recollect, as by now I was sucking furiously on the gas and air and speaking mainly gobbledygook. What I do know is as follows:

  • The midwife briefly disappeared (presumably to get ready for the pushing stage) and whilst Paul tried to understand my attempts at gas and air fuelled communication, we became aware of an alarm sound that was coming from the heart rate machine and steadily getting louder.
  • Paul popped his head out in to the corridor to alert someone, and within minutes a swarm of doctors, nurses and whoever else was passing by (or so it felt like) were in the room, wheeling in various bits of machinery and talking at me urgently.
  • I heard “baby’s heart rate” and “forceps delivery”. I also heard my name lots. One woman raised the stirrups next to the bed and put my legs in them; another callously ripped the tube from my mouth that was feeding me the blissful high and told me to hold on to the bed handles instead.
  • I briefly caught glimpse of the ginormous forceps and instantly wished I hadn’t.
  • When it was time to push- “In to your bottom, Sama, like you’re doing a big poo“- I got way too het up about the technicalities. “Like I’m actually trying to push out a poo? What if I do poo? I don’t want to poo!”
  • My fear of unwittingly releasing my bowels in front of an entire medical team meant the first three pushes I did were pathetic. I knew they were pathetic at the time, and yet I did them anyway. I effectively just tensed my stomach and groaned for effect. The doctors weren’t impressed and at this point starting shouting at me.
  • Realising it was actually quite urgent, and with the numbing effects of the gas and air fading away, I pushed properly and I pushed long and hard. With shouts of encouragement from everyone around me, and a doctor pulling on the forceps as hard as she could (I swear she was pushing against the bed with her foot), his head crowned and a baby’s cry filled the air which was simultaneously surreal, terrifying and wonderful.
  • Cue a very surreal minute as we waited for the next and final contraction: me, so grateful and relieved the hard part was over, Paul, glancing down to look at his first borne’s head and seeing a view of his wife he would never be able to unsee.

And with a final push this little purple alien was pulled out of me and plonked on my chest, crying as loud and as hard as he possibly could. Due to the forceps and the speed in which he must have been forced down my birth canal, he looked completely bashed up. I’d like to say I felt instant love but it wasn’t like that. I felt a connection, no doubt about that, but the main feeling I had was that of shock and bewilderment. He was here. This was my son. This was Frank.

Holy shitballs.


Minutes old.

16 hours old and fresh out of the boxing ring.

16 hours old and fresh out of the boxing ring.


‘Til the next time I make it to the laptop…

Sama xxx

Jennie & Andy: Colour Schemes and Bridesmaids Dresses


This is my first real post from long distance wedding planning, and I’m pleased to tell you it’s going surprisingly well! So far most communication with suppliers has been via email, so no change there really. Mostly it’s just really exciting to be doing this wedding planning thing together again. There is something rather lovely too about being back with Andy, and being able to crack open a bottle of wine on a Sunday evening and start searching you tube for the wedding playlist. We inevitably end up stuck in the 80s and it’s all down hill from there!

Today though I’m going back to some of the planning that happened before I left England. First up, the colour scheme.

When I was younger I was never one of those girls who knew exactly what their dream-wedding day would be like. I did, however, always know I was going to have a red colour scheme. It would be a dark red wedding, with bridesmaids dressed head to toe in burgundy (probably inspired by a red velvet party dress I had at the time – oh so very 90s!), and huge arrangements of red roses.

Now though, as much as I do love a red wedding, I much prefer softer colours, especially for the summer. This is the one part of wedding planning so far, except for the dress of course, that Andy has given me complete free reign with. With full permission to do as I choose I got stuck into mood board creation. My initial thoughts were towards a white wedding – Bridesmaids in white, white roses, and enormous bunches of Gypsophila everywhere. A full on white scheme though has quite a sense of elegance about it and, really, we’re not exactly elegant people.

What I’ve finally decided upon is a very English country garden palate. Think blush pinks, soft creams, summery sage greens, and a splash of gold glitter. Does anyone else feel a bit pretentious talking about colour schemes? It’s not pink its blush, don’t you be giving me any Barbie tones. Its sage green, lets be very specific on this one!

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Pretty, summery goodness.

colour scheme 1

Hand in hand with the colour scheme decision, came the bridesmaids’ dresses. The bridesmaids’ dresses were something that had been worrying me from the very start. I’m lucky (or greedy?!) enough to have six lovely friends who have agreed to be my bridesmaids. I’m lucky too, and incredibly thankful, that they’ve all been very relaxed about their dresses. At the moment they’re scattered across the globe: 3 in England, 1 in Scotland, 1 in Hong Kong, and 1 currently on her way between Eastern Europe and New Zealand. It didn’t take too much time comparing diaries to realise that the next time they will all actually be in one place is the wedding itself. There was never going to be a date when we would be able to shop together. With one of the girls away travelling until next summer, asking them to pick there own dresses didn’t seem fair either. The only real option was for me to get the dresses, and cross my fingers they all fitted and suited the girls.

Two Birds Dress - Early bridesmaid ideas

More colour scheme inspiration, plus the Two Birds dresses that didn’t quite make the cut.

colour scheme collage 2

Finding the dresses took a few shopping trips with my UK based maids. At first I had my eye on pink and cream floor length Two Birds gowns. I liked the way they could be wrapped in so many different ways, so they could match without actually being matchy-matchy. As they come in a ‘one size fits all’ style, they seemed like the perfect solution too for the girls that wouldn’t have the chance to try on the dresses until a few days before the wedding. When I actually got two of the girls to try them on though, I was a bit disappointed. When my friend Lucy tried one on, I could tell from her face that she just wasn’t comfortable. With each dress carrying a £250 price tag, I couldn’t justify anything less than amazing. The Two Birds dresses were out of the running.

The dresses that have made the cut are nothing like my original thoughts, but they are ones which the girls are much more comfortable in. They were also considerably more budget friendly, much to Andy’s relief! In fact I found them in the sales, and had a few stressful hours of should we, shouldn’t we, with the only bridesmaid I was with at the time. After going away, and coming back again, we decided to risk it, and bought as many as we could, guessing the sizes and hoping for the best. Luckily a panicked Internet search that night managed to provide the sizes we were missing. So far 4 of the girls have been able to try them, and I’m very relieved to say they fit perfectly, and everyone is happy so far.

Fingers crossed the final two fit…!

Has anyone else bought dresses for absent bridesmaids? How did it turn out on the day?

Jennie x

My Utterly Wow 2015 Season: Part One

If you like real weddings then you’ve come to the right place today. With my Utterly Wow 2015 season done and dusted, I think it’s time for a little jaunt through the generally awesome weddings I’ve planned, designed, styled and coordinated this year. This is an image heavy post, so grab a brew, settle down and enjoy Part 1…

A Laid Back Garden Party

Kicking off the season were Danielle and Lewis who eloped to California last year and wed on a cliff overlooking the Big Sur. Back home, they wanted to do the whole thing again in front of their family and friends, so enlisted me to help them plan a big party in their back garden in Bexley, Kent… handily just a couple of miles down the road from me! They were determined to have a relaxed, happy day without breaking the bank, but with 150 guests some very careful planning, sourcing and budgeting was required.

The chalkboards were all done by my own fair hands, and I’ve got to give a big shout out to Joanne Truby who I’ve wanted to work with for a long time, and who provided the beautiful flowers. This couple and their families were great fun to work with, and by all accounts the party continued long in to the night…

Awesome photography by Chris Deller Photography

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Super Pretty in West Sussex

Next came Sarah and Oli, who introduced me to the fabulous Grittenham Barn in West Sussex. I first met Sarah way back in Autumn 2013 when she was feeling a bit overwhelmed with the prospect of planning a wedding and wanted to chat about how I could potentially assist. In the end this pint-sized beauty was a-ok planning a most splendid day on her own, but she did ask me to coordinate for her, and of course, I was more than happy to oblige.

A gorgeous, relaxed, flexible venue, flowers in tin jars, a stunning bride and a cake table even more heaving than my own, this pretty June wedding was just a delight from start to finish.

Supplier shout-outs to Alexandra’s Kitchen who were great to work with, and Source Images for the beautiful photos.

Photography by Source Images




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A Whimsical and Playful London Wedding

Now I know you shouldn’t have favourites, but I think Natalie and Steve were up there this year. My first London wedding, this gorgeous pair got hitched at the top of the National Theatre, before boarding a boat at Festival Pier for an hour and a half of  drinks and canapés, and finally docking at Westminster Boating Base in Pimlico where they ate and danced the night away. Hired in my favourite capacity of designing, styling and coordinating, Natalie and Steve practically gave me full creative reign and I loved every second.

Working with a colour scheme of mint, peach and gold, I wanted to have fun with this styling, and so made two large paper garland backdrops for both the ceremony and the reception venues, as well as hand-writing the place name cards and vintage mirror table plan. We had a giant ‘bouquet’ of balloons for Natalie and Steve to guide their guests along Southbank to Festival Pier, and at Westminster Boating Base (which is actually a pretty tricky space to style due to the low ceilings and venue limitations) we went all out on the tables, with sparkly, chevron runners from Gilded Linens, mint goblets and mis-matched glass candle sticks from Classic Crockery, and pretty, pretty flowers from Pip Lowe.

Natalie and Steve went with several of my supplier recommendations, with Handmade Food providing the BBQ feast and Kate Ruth Romey creating gorgeous, bespoke stationery and paper goods. The dream team was complete when Flood The Floor (my own wedding band) brought the house down in the evening, and these guys partied hard. A brilliant, brilliant wedding.

Humungous thank yous to Emmie Scott for capturing the day so brilliantly, and to the lovely (and equally pregnant) Bec from Heart Shaped Weddings who assisted me on the day.

Images by Emmie Scott Photography


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Love and Laughter Abound in South London

Ahhhh, Laura and James’ fab wedding had me finally working at Asylum in Peckham- an amazing deconsecrated chapel I’ve wanted to work at for yonks. This fun-loving pair booked me for my hugely popular On The Day Coordination service, and I loved bringing their day to life- despite it being one of the hottest days of the year!

Laura and James kept the decor clean and simple (you really don’t need to do much in that fab venue!), with a fresh colour palette and hugely thoughtful favours from around the world for their lucky guests. In the evening guests hopped on a London bus and headed to The Pepys pub in the city where the partying continued well in to the night.

Marianne Chua was behind the lens, and if you’re after fun, quirky and real reportage photography than she is most definitely your girl!

Images by Marianne Chua Photography

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I’m a lucky wedding planner, right? There are three more weddings to come in Part Two (one of which is going to be on Love My Dress very soon as it features a certain Lovette), and I tells ya, they’re all pretty special.

Sama xx

Maternity Leave: The First 2 Weeks

With nearly two weeks of maternity leave under my belt, I feel compelled to share a little bit about how I’m feeling with the whole ‘not going to work’ thing. Work, of course, being my full time job managing the bridal boutique. I’m only on semi maternity leave from Utterly Wow as you can never fully switch off when you’re self-employed. My 2015 season may be done but of course I am securing next year’s clients, catching up on admin etc etc. I’m virtually work free for the next couple of months though- yippee!

As I alluded to in my last post, I’ve been looking forward to this period ever since I even started thinking about babies. Not because I don’t like my job at the boutique- I really love working at Blackburn Bridal and have been checking in regularly to see how they’re doing without me. (Absolutely fine, incidentally. And there was me thinking they’d fall apart without my insane management skillz. I’m not going to lie, I am disappointed.) No, I’d simply been looking forward to some ‘me’ time. I’ve worked hard for the last few years. Building a business around a full time job takes serious time and effort, and with a busy summer of weddings combined with making sure the running of the boutique was ‘handover-ready’, I was positively chomping at the bit to put my feet up and chill the hell out come the end of August.

Or at least I thought I was. Two weeks in and evidently I seem to be struggling with the whole ‘putting my feet up and chilling the hell out’ concept.

My problem is I like to be busy. I like to be active. I like structure and I like to be productive. A day off for me is seen as precious time to get things done, and is rarely spent lying around the house or taking a spontaneous jaunt to the seaside. I will often have some sort of ‘plan’ for the day (even on the most precious of days off, a Sunday) and come the evening I will sub-consciously look back and mentally tick off all the things I’ve done to make sure I’ve achieved enough to warrant not feeling like a bad person. It’s the same with activity. (Note I use the word ‘activity’ and not ‘exercise’.) I haven’t exercised regularly for a loooong time, but I do like to spend a large portion of my day on my feet and moving around. If I don’t I get restless legs and struggle to sleep, so spending a day on the sofa watching crappy films just isn’t going to cut it for me. I know, I’M WEIRD.

The first thing I did on Day 1 of ‘The Leave’ was write an epically long Shit I Want To Do Whilst On Maternity Leave list which is currently washi-taped to my office wall. I’d been compiling a list on my phone for the last couple of months and so transferring this list to an official colour-coded, category-divided spreadsheet seemed a great way to spend an hour. I know you want me to talk you through said list so here we go…

There are three main categories: Home Improvements, Work Life and For Fun.

Home Improvements consists of little jobs around the house that I’ve wanted to do for ages and just not had the time nor inclination for. There are the more appealing jobs such as putting together a gallery wall of family photos in my hallway, organising storage and finally making the wedding/honeymoon photo albums. And then there are the not-so appealing jobs like painting the bathroom ceiling, weeding the garden and cleaning the kitchen cupboards inside and out. (The latter gallantly bestowed upon me by my adoring husband.)

In my Work Life there is so much I want to do, from re-doing/updating my website and writing a book proposal, to the dreaded tax return, getting back to regular blogging, and research/prep for a new Utterly Wow endeavour (ooh, cryptic).

Finally there’s the For Fun category (are you still with me?). This comprises the more typical maternity leave activities such as packing my hospital bag, washing baby clothes, preparing freezer meals, baking, day time cinema trips etc. All the things that I should want to do but I know will inevitably make me feel like a lazy shitehawk.

As my Mum said bemusedly when she popped over earlier in the week and I showed her my list: “You’re not planning on doing this all now, are you?”

And here we come to the crux of the maternity leave quandary I find myself in, two weeks in. I want to get things done, now, before baby comes and reduces me to a sleep-deprived, sofa-dwelling crying mess with a boob permanently out. But equally I know I should take the time to relax, to nest, to read my hypno-birthing book and to spend a day baking a cake and then eating it all because… well, because I am 37 weeks pregnant and soon I’m going to be responsible for a tiny person, and these are the last few weeks of ‘just me’ time I’m ever going to have. Ever.

And I’ve literally only just realised the enormity of that sentence as I typed it. Wow.

So what have I been doing for the last fortnight other than procrastinating? Well, you can dress it up as ‘nesting’, I guess, but the real answer is shopping. Yes, I have spent the last two weeks BUYING THINGS. Not clothes shopping- although I did impulsively treat myself to a necklace and new autumn cardigan on a quick dash to Bluewater the other day. No, I’ve been thing shopping; things for my hospital bag, things for the baby’s room, things for the house, things that will actually enable me to tick certain jobs off my To Do list such as storage boxes, picture frames and weed killer. I can’t seem to let a day go by without spending money… and yet I also don’t seem to be getting a huge amount done. PROCRASTINATION OVERLOAD.

On the plus side, shopping of any description does make me insanely happy so I am having a rather pleasant time whilst I spend all my money and try to adjust to life on The Leave. And phase 1 of The Nursery Reveal is nearly ready to share, once a couple of rugs arrive next week. For now though, here’s a sneaky peek of a corner…


So talk to me, those of you who have babies. Did it take you a while to adjust to maternity leave or are you a natural at maxing and relaxing? How did you spend your time waiting for your tiny person to arrive, and if you could impart to me a word or two of wisdom, what would it be?

Sama xx

Paris & Joe: One Year (and Three Days) To Go

Morning Uttersons! Paris has a short but sweet wedding update for us today, but before I hand over I just wanted to pop on to share the news that I am ON MATERNITY LEAVE. Holy cheeseballs! With my last wedding of the summer completed a week ago, and my last day at the boutique on Saturday, I am now a free woman. Well, until the baby comes and enslaves me once again of course.  With this point being on my long distance forecast since finding out I was pregnant seven months ago, I can’t quite believe I’m here, but it is a very lovely feeling indeed. Paul is insanely jealous of course. Despite him having had the last six weeks off for the school holidays, he’s very bitter he has to go back to work just as I finish a whole month before my due date. Decadent Dennis indeed. 

I shall be blogging as regularly as I can. There is much to catch up on- pregnancy, his nursery, the wondrous weddings I’ve been involved in this summer… I need and want to reconnect with this blog o’ mine, so do stay tuned. 

In the meantime, shall we hear from Paris?


Things on the wedding front have gone a bit quiet again, mainly because we are attending so many that we have no time to even think of our own. An upside of attending so many weddings while planning one yourself is you get to see what works, what doesn’t, things you had never even thought of and experience the whole thing as a guest. The downside is all those reunions inevitably leading to our guest list growing by another sixteen people. I don’t think it can take another wedding!

On top of all our weekend shenanigans the rest of our lives are pretty hectic right now. I will be changing position in a few weeks time and moving offices and Joe has just found out that he will be becoming a police recruit! If two job changes wasn’t enough we are also smack bang in the middle of the flat buying process. I am lucky in that one of my close colleagues is running our file but this has also meant that all the one million things we have already done and will need to do have fallen firmly on my shoulders. I feel like this would be a suitable time to add in that I have fallen off the Slimming World band wagon – oh and the gym too… I am completely unashamed to admit that today I have eaten two kitkat chunkies. Consecutively.

One thing that gives absolutely no responsibility to me and all the responsibility to somebody else is my hen, which is why I am both super excited and super terrified about it. It is a running joke being me and Joe that when it comes to neuroticism, I’m at the top end of that scale. I like to think I am chilled (and with lots of things I am) but when it comes to organising it’s my way or the highway. Luckily for me and everyone else involved my Maid of Honour (Stacie) is my best friend of thirteen years and the yin to my yang so I have absolutely no qualms about passing over the reins. Maybe. Kind of. Well maybe I can help a little?

Iceland or Valencia for the Hen, perhaps..?

Iceland or Valencia for the Hen, perhaps..?

Over the past few months we have gone from a foreign hen do, a city hen do, a beach hen do to no hen do and back again (depending on my stress levels and whim at the time). Given my now notorious decision making skills we have both decided that Stace will do the whole thing and I will know nothing, god bless her. That said, it hasn’t stopped me relentlessly pinning her hen do related ideas at every opportunity. To say this woman is a gem is an understatement.

Save The Date inspiration

Save The Date inspiration

In other wedding related news we are quickly approaching the one-year mark. I hadn’t really considered save the dates until Joe brought it up. Quite a few of his relatives and friends live around the country and abroad so it makes sense to give these guys a heads up. Not wanting to sell a kidney just to let our loved ones know we are tying the knot, we decided that a postcard style save the date with a bit of yarn and some rubber stamps was a good way to go.  Post to follow with all the production line antics that Joe has planned (I’m just supplying the wine).

Paris x