Category Archives: Wedding

On 4 weeks to go til the wedding


I feel slightly sick just writing that, but it’s been such a crappy day I felt the need to put fingers to keyboard, just to download.

This weekend coming up is the Hen night which seems to have slightly horrifically turned into my worst nightmare: a fancy dress session. I had imagined me and my closest friends all dressed gorgeously sipping bubbly somewhere sophisticated; instead there’s a high chance we’ll be ending up in wigs and deely-boppers, swerving through Soho, while I just die of mortification at the back of the crowd, only staying because a revived adolescent fear of ducking out and being labelled not ‘fun’ is a worse option.

Anyway I shall trust in my Best Friends knowing me well and pulling the situation back if it looks like I’m going to cry. At the age of 41!!!

Re the wedding generally, I feel as if I have peaked too soon, as I currently feel pretty tired and ambivalent about the whole thing. Basically the pre-wedding experience has fallen into 3 eras:

  1. The calendar year before. Most of 2012. Engaged but wedding not imminent, so endless browsing through bridal magazines, cutting out ideas, daydreaming of details that’ll make the day.
  2. Turn of 2013. Total panic that it means it’s about to happen. With 4 months to go, all the smaller decisions suddenly have to be made. Spend evenings transferring colossal sums of money to various people and writing lists.
  3. 6 weeks to go. Exhausted. Give away magazines which I’ll never have time to read to a newly engaged bride friend (whom I regard with a degree of pity). Have wedding dress fitting. Fitter pleased with weight loss (‘Ooh that zip now just zooms up’) but in hand stitching the waist now leaves little stitch marks all around. Can’t think of a solution so can’t be bothered to mention it. Will just smooth them out in Photoshop after the day. See other friends’ wedding photos appear on Facebook as they marry. Find it somewhat astonishing that they have gone back to what seems total normality afterwards. Order a million massive balloons from America that I’ll probably forget to take up to the reception. Flapping about purchasing new hiking trousseau for honeymoon. Spend HOURS online searching for a) the killer sophisticated hen night outfit (which also has to serve various other functions between now and wedding) (so far have managed to get a pair of white (?) sarong trousers from Zara, but have no top and no shoes) b) sexy but practical hiking gear that’ll mean in our honeymoon photos I look like someone who’s actually at home on a mountain rather than someone who’s just ambled Mr Benn-like through the wrong door from a library c) magic pants that’ll cinch (pron. Kinch or Sinch?) in my waist, thereby highlighting my new handsewn pattern without leaving a massive VPL round my bum. Bizarrely the thinner I get (and lets face it I’m not that thin, but 11kgs less than I was when got engaged) the fatter I feel. These pants crush in my flesh so tightly that the rest of my body just pillows out around them, displaying unique patterns of cellulite where I didn’t think you could get them. Am thinking of having ‘I’ve borne your children’ tattooed across my tummy for just such moments.

Anyway, that’s about it. Somehow I’m going to have to reinvigorate myself to get through the final push. Am thinking I need a new notebook, with room for lots of lists: clothes for hen night; jobs pre wedding; jobs day before wedding; packing for honeymoon; jobs round the house pre wedding (it’d be so nice not to have to come back to the current pigsty we’re living in); jobs in the garden; work jobs; life-fulfilling jobs.

Probably my humour is not helped by every paper I open being full of Sheryl Sandberg leaning in one direction or another, leaving me in a dizzy spin of indecision about who I am or what I want. Though I do think today* has highlighted that Majority Part Time Mother is not for me the path to delight and fulfillment.

* Mess around coralling boys to get dressed before leaving at 9 to take them to 2 different nurseries. Arrive home to see DH(2B) failed AGAIN to put away his breakfast stuff. Start to put it away, stop, put it back out again to Make A Point. I am not wasting my paid for child-free time to tidy up after other people. Consequently kitchen remains a mess all day which makes me even more grumpy. After a fast day yesterday spend 20 minutes prowling around looking for nice food. End up eating cooking chocolate chips, and then after finding a scone having a cream tea at 10am. Work (interspersed with clothes browsing. Netaporter. outnet. julesb. boden. jaeger. john lewis. the list goes on. and on. and then I go through them all again) until 1 (obviously do not bill client the clothes browsing time). Go to collect DS2 from nursery only to find him asleep in his nappy in a room full of 20 other sleeping 2 year olds (touches even my heart strings). They were not supposed to give him a nap, but I can’t bear to wake him so go to the shops for food (crisps, not good), home, lunch, squint at The Good Wife with the sun shining on the TV screen, then get a call from nursery to say DS2 is now up so do a couple of emails to Make Another Point then go back to get him. Drive to JLP to collect Magic Pants ordered online. Intending to spend the hour there but massive influx of food and refined sugar all morning has given me v upset tummy so have to rush home. 20 minutes pause then have to lever DS2 back in car to go to get DS1. Take him to local Clarks to return his shoes which are coming apart. Massive queue of other mothers and schoolchildren. No other shoes available so eventually get 10% off. Can’t be bothered to argue. Am also suffering from unexpected heat as the sun is out. Lever children back into car, DS2 squirming so much I bash shin, just where it will be seeable at the weekend below my new white trousers. Nearly freak out. Need to go to garden centre to get food for plants, new rose for watering can etc. DS1 finds this a totally traumatic suggestion and cries so much at the thought give up and drive home. Make them share a Mini-Milk. Which obvs isn’t enough for 2 growing boys so spend the next hour rowing with them about what else they can eat. Finally freak out when DS1 stuffs so much dried apple in his mouth he can’t talk. He looks like august gloop (though I have just weighed him and his percentile is normal…). Eventually we go upstairs for a change of scene. I’m trying to read Plato to choose a wedding reading but in 40 minutes get through 1 page. They bounce madly on all the beds, throw themselves around and generally go a bit mental. I go downstairs to get tea ready, hearing one of them throw the box of lego all over our bedroom. Ignore it. Give them tea on a table on the decking. All going well until the end when DS1 throws water and yoghurt everywhere, blaming DS2. Howls hysterically when I ask him to clean it up, to the extent I have to drag him inside and shut the patio doors before someone calls the police. Finally we sit on the sofa and watch 10 minutes of Madagascar 2 while I count down the seconds until DH2B’s key is in the garage door. He was about 7 minutes later than usual tonight, somewhat alarming, due to taking a phonecall and riding back along the riverside. Never have I been so glad to see him. Resolution to avoid wine in run up to wedding abandoned.

On the plus side I did make an nice trout and beetroot salad for our tea, which was only interrupted about 10 times by calls from the boys regarding allocations of trains and cars in their bed.

So that’s about it.

I was also going to write about my recent 10k run and the collapse of my pelvic floor but you can use your imagination.

Over and out.

Roaring Kate.

On 4 months to go til the wedding…


… and about 4 days off a nervous breakdown.

  • I have a one year old who refuses to go to sleep and consequently I am having to break off between writing other word to stuff my face with a mouthful of chocolate
  • I have a four year old who’ll need to be picked up from nursery in about an hour’s time despite having only been there about an hour, which means I have to type very fast to avoid ANOTHER month going by without any record (so much for this blog being my diary)
  • I have a desk littered with stationery samples as I try – totally in vain – to convince myself that if I search far and wide enough I can find a printers to supply invitations built as solidly as Friend Who Got Married In St Pauls despite me only having 10th of the stationery budget.
  • I have a mother due to arrive to babysit in a few hours time who’ll want a typed minute by minute guide of the children’s tea and bedtime and how to work the TV (only 3 separate controls required; can’t see the problem)
  • I have friends who populate Facebook with Love! Joy! Laughter! Tears! Funny Quips!, which when I’m in this mood make me devoid of any good humour at all, and yet I masochistically still log-on to make my humour even blacker.
  • I have a one year old STILL YELLING despite being knackered after being taken for a run around Tesco by the four year old this morning, requiring me to have to ask people to help search for them.
  • I have acquired a total control-freak personality which means my blood pressure rises exponentially when people don’t reply to my emails IMMEDIATELY, or wedding ring websites don’t work FAST ENOUGH, or someone suggests I need to make ANOTHER DECISION about something (and yet can I delegate? No..)
  • I tell everyone that I’m quite relaxed about the wedding and am sure some things will go wrong and we’ll all cope, while inside I’m panicking because I haven’t done a final run through all the blinking wedding magazines I bought last year to pull out the things that I was interested in, and Oh My God what if I miss something?
  • I have a kitchen covered with porridge thrown around by the one year old this morning. It sets like cement and it’s just so tiresome cleaning it all up when you know it’s going to happen all over again the next morning.

On the plus side it’s now quiet upstairs. So I’ll have just one more chocolate and then get on with life. Or perhaps go and have a lie down for an hour with a cold compress.


On pre-wedding dreams slash nightmares


About 6 weeks ago I had my first wedding nightmare. It involved waking up on the day of the wedding and realising I’d forgotten to send out any invitations.

A few weeks ago, I had wedding dream number 2, again involving timing, though on this occasion everyone was there EXCEPT me, and I was running around central London dithering over whether or not it was too late to actually be worth turning up, then deciding yes, it was only about an hour after it was due to start, so I should take a crack at it, and then pelting through the traffic over Kingsway to pick up my dress from ‘home’ (which of course is not there), putting it on and then spending quite a lot of time applying a lot of kohl eyeliner for a sort of rock bride look, which in my dream I remember feeling quite pleased with.

Toenails courtesy of an interviewee in a hurry

This morning I find that even my bridesmaids are dreaming about it: MoH#J says “you were very tactfully asking if I’d thought about painting my toe nails and when we looked I’d painted one foot a rather grubby bluey brown but forgotten about the other one. We tried to match it with something you had! Your flowers were late, I had a rather crumpled pink suit on and everything was pretty random.” Worryingly, that’s not an entirely unlikely scenario, knowing both of us…

So this blog post is going to be a collection of subconcious wedding thoughts, updated on a rolling basis. It’ll be interesting to note whether it ever includes contributions from DH2B. The wedding is in his diary, but I can safely warrant that it’s not floating around his frontal cortex, whereas it’s permanently stamped through mine…

Dec 12 – MoH#J has her second dream: “Very vivid one just before waking up this morning…it was time for the rehearsal and we were in a very beautiful italian-style church, apparently buried in the middle of a city somewhere – lots of dramatic paintings on the wall, stone carvings, red aisle carpet.

You had the full gear on although the dress was a simpler version of the actual one and your hair was below shoulder length and platinum blonde – in fact you looked a lot like Sindy (!) [I love this!!! Ed.]. There was a gaggle of similarly platinum blonde friends who were like something out of a US teen movie and were making a huge fuss over who was wearing what item of antique jewellery which you had produced from your family collection.  Needless to say I was somewhat exasperated with all this, we were running out of time, indeed a bishop turned up in all his regalia for his rehearsal.  So I’m afraid I told you I had to go and (as before) you were the picture of patience and completely understanding [natch, Ed.].  I headed out into the city and found it to be very Hong Kong-esque.  I wasn’t sure where I was going and in walking realised I’d actually behaved very badly as Steph hadn’t been there and she would need me to tell her what was happening and anyway as bridesmaid I could have pulled rank on the other girls and actually maybe that’s what you needed me to do and I needed to go back and make things better but…I was lost in the city and there was no way I was going to find the church again.”

Jan 13. T-4mths, and counting. Now it’s hit the Year of the Wedding I’ve suddenly embarked on a frenzy of prep, almost with relief that I can finally get on with it. Anyway, last night I dreamed that we were having it in a big house on the outskirts of London. There was a lot of very true-to-life stressful argumentation with my mother in the build up, and then somehow we appeared to segue neatly into a post-ceremony moment when there was a bit of a lull and we were seeing some people off who had to go early. Ever the social creature, I tried to gee everyone up: Cakes! Dancing! Let’s get the music going! and moved off into a large, clear living room with a band and parquet floor. A couple of slightly unattractive MBA types in Black Tie asked me to dance and I was enjoying the attention, before thinking that perhaps I’d better have the first dance with my new husband. I turned to find DH2B, who was standing on the edge of the dance floor rather stubbornly, wearing casual trousers and a sweater [which is what his father has said he’s going to wear], with a corsage clumsily stuffed through his jumper. We were about to start dancing when one of the band members pulled back his hood, and revealed himself to be Jamie Cullum. There we go.

Apr13 4 weeks to go and the wedding dreams thankfully have died off, mostly because my days are turning into one big wedding nightmare. I did dream once that we were about to start the wedding only to remember that we hadn’t seen the registrar in advance. So we had to persuade her that we’d go through the ceremony as a formality, and promise that we’d beetle down to her office the next day to get the legals done. Random other dreams have tended to involve not having enough time to do my make up – a situation that might still arise as I’ve got to go driving around on the M4 on the wedding day to have my hair done. I’m pleased to report that Best Woman #2 has also been dreaming (about forgetting her shoes) and even DH2B has had a nightmare – bizarrely on the same topic. I think he’d remembered his suit but only at the last minute realised he didn’t have any footwear. Interesting that all these anxieties are about forgetting… despite the endless number of lists we have lying around in paper and electronic form. The trouble with dreams is that you wake up after this stressful wedding event in your subconscious only to think ‘oh well at least it’s over now’ to suddenly realise IT’S NOT, WE STILL HAVE TO GO THROUGH IT.

Dear god!

On choosing a wedding dress: any thoughts?


5 months have past since we got engaged; I’ve read every single bridal magazine published since then, have spent endless hours online pouring through almost uniformly unhelpful designer websites (all music, Flash vids (which don’t play on the iPad) and no search facilities); have been to four wedding dress shops, and have tried on over 20 dresses.

You’d have thought, bearing in mind I have – girl-stereotype-warning-despite-calling-myself-a-feminist coming up – been dreaming about my W-day in idle moments for about 30 years,  I’d already have a pretty clear idea about the vision I wanted to convey. But basically I haven’t got a clue. I want to look sexy (for my fiance), demure (for my father), chic (for my mother), appropriately weddingy (for the two DS’s, who can now recognise a Bride at a 1,000 paces, and think anyone in a tie is a Groom), and basically like a fully optimised version of me (you can tell I work on websites..).

If I put all my wants together, I get something like this (see left; I would really like pockets). But in practice I’ve found that CHEAP is also a key criterion; although I’m not usually a bargain-basement kind of girl, I simply cannot bear to spend multi-thousands of pounds on a dress – not least because I’ll spend the whole day worrying about it – especially if reselling was part of the original proposal. And yet I do want quality.

Image of Kevin the TeenagerAnd that is why I found myself standing on top of a box in a local, very well renowned, bridal shop, yesterday afternoon, with a face like Kevin (see right), dressed in a lovely white A-line Sassi Holford dress, worth about £3k, muttering ‘s’alright’.

One of my long-suffering girlfriends was in attendance, with a dual role of trying to get me to snap out of my monk, and get my mother to shut up whenever she started asking if dressmaking details could be changed.

After an hour of dutiful trying on, parading, and dismissing, though, things did finally perk up when I noticed that they had a dress by Lusan Mandongus that I’d noticed many time in magazines and had really liked. It hadn’t been picked out for me because it didn’t fulfil any of my criteria at all (which is why the ‘ideal’ sketch is not worth the paper it was drawn on), and it was COMPLETELY different to all the previous ones I’d tried which had inbuilt corsets and created waists etc; but it was sophisticated and elegant, and my mother thought it was totally inappropriate (which helped) (though sadly now she’s now warmed to it).

Where we are. So I’m now spending every minute of downtime cogitating yesterday’s dress, and weighing it up against the previous front-runner (also totally unexpected); as follows (I appreciate this analysis will be of limited interest):


Ian Stuart dressIMG_1421

  • Pro: available second hand in at least two places, in the £600-£850 level
  • Pro: supercomfortable when tried on, making a waist and a bust, with a bit of cleavage
  • Pro: none of this train business; can actually walk and move around it it
  • Pro: ruching affair means it’s all a bit messy, basically, which means that I won’t panic as much if DS2 lurches towards it with chocolatey hands (I would LOVE but be too scared to wear anything by Jesus Peiro for exactly that reason)
  • Pro: opportunity for long earrings and some eccentric headgear
  • Con: didn’t photograph well, though the snaps were taken by my sister in law, sitting down (so emphasising my hips), on my blurred iPhone
  • Con: looks totally unlike anything I’d like, and as if I’m about to bring out a pair of castanets (but nevertheless, feeling comfortable and unworried is a big pro which might outweigh this)
  • Con: the dropped sleeve affair feels just a bit too 80’s university ballgown style

Lusan Mandongus dress885792cb015c515d83bd61c4b5cc8a4a

  • Pro: totally love the thought of looking like their model above (sucker for advertising, moi?)
  • Pro: lovely dress; different from standard strapless ones, falls beautifully
  • Con: totally impractical for walking around barn & field environment (where reception is)
  • Con: need MAJOR diet/underwear/modesty investment as shows every slight bulge, plus random bits of flesh (not sure what my father would think)
  • Con: can’t seem to find second hand ones anywhere
  • Con: satin drape at front looks a bit like a bib (handy when cake eating, perhaps; less so with a dollop of curry); would have to be stitched down slightly
  • Con (or Pro): it’s a more distinct look – if that can be – than Flamenco dress above, and it would be nice to reflect that in flowers, invos etc (ie they’d need to be rethought a bit), as well as DH’s outfit (which would be shorts if he had his way)
  • Pro: made by a design team in Hong Kong, bringing back memories…
  • Pro: the Sassi Holford (classic, white, virginal) made me look younger, said my mother (clearly thinking that was a good thing). But I’m gone 40 with 2 children; I’m not going to be a princess: I want to look elegant and sophisticated (and as I write this, actually, I see the Ian Stuart one falling far behind into second place, despite all its pros)…

Any thoughts anyone? Do I only like it because it was different from all the other ones in the shop? DH prob wouldn’t like either on paper as they’re ‘too fussy’, but I’ve given up worrying about that at this stage..

I had intended when this engagement business started to make sure I tried on every dress in Britain, Just In Case, but actually I’m realising that the absence of free weekends and childcare alone mean that this is getting tricky. In a few weeks time, I’m off to the David Fielden shop – the one designer I’d actually earmarked as liking – but based on my performance so far I’ve no idea if that will come to anything or not (plus their samples tend to be small, and I have noted that there’s nothing less conducive to liking a dress than having to be squeezed into it with a shoehorn and several elastic bands)…

And after that I’ll really have to try to sort myself out; particularly if I choose something that impacts on the look of the rest of the event, because I can tell that after Christmas time will fly. But should I wait for the New Year sales? Will there be a rush of people flogging their dresses just before Christmas? Or should I just wait til the week before the wedding, log on to eBay and trust to Fate? That’d give my mother kittens…

What do you think? Which is the front-runner?

On edible art. In cake form.


One of the loveliest things about this wedding business is that it means you start talking to all sorts of local people offering various goods and services of the nuptial variety. At the barn we’re having our reception at, I picked up a postcard with some beautiful photos of sugar flowers that were actually good enough to eat. Short and Sweet’s stuff looked fab – but there was no website.

As I’ve got lots of spare time with just two young children, I got in touch with the cake maker extraordinaire, artist and baker Terry Wilson, and we’ve done a lovely deal: I’ve put together a WordPress site for her (, and she’s going to make me some flowery cupcakes for the wedding. Today I officially handed the blog over, with instructions as to how to post new blog entries, update photos etc. So Terry’s it is, and I hope that it’ll evolve and grow as she bakes, paints and blogs. In the meantime if you’re looking for some gorgeous cakes, or are just surfing over coffee, do have a browse. Yummylicious!

On getting engaged


Last summer my brother, who emigrated to New Zealand about 10 years ago, said he and his family were thinking of a trip (his first) back to Blighty in 2013. As I cogitated this announcement, it occurred to me that the likelihood of him coming over once for a holiday, and then again a year or so later for a wedding, was very slim. So on a hot sunny day, after a lovely swim in the Thames, I mentioned to DH (who of course isn’t DH, but father of my children so a bit more than just a BF) that if we were to get married, it would be very nice to have brother and family there, and 2013 was probably the only time they’d be in the northern hemisphere this decade.

DH acknowledged that he had received the information and had stored it. I swear I only mentioned 2-3 more times, honest, over the rest of the year. We had my 40th birthday. We had Christmas & New Year. We had his birthday. We had Valentine’s Day. All passed very nicely but with No Action on the Proposal front*. There was the odd perusal of jewellers’ windows, and the magazine with the ad containing my dream ring was left open for days at a time in the bathroom. Finally, on 25th March, we’d arranged to go into London to celebrate exactly 5 years since our First (blind) Date. As this had been my idea I wasn’t thinking much of it, and indeed it very nearly didn’t happen at all as

  • DH had a work crisis, which he ended by saying very sternly ‘No more calls after 6pm’
  • Babysitting cover went wrong, resulting in us having to cajole my sick mother over once the DS’s were in bed (which meant in turn that we only had about 2 hours in London to revisit a pub, have dinner, and have a ceremonial snog).
  • I announced that if I didn’t go for a run that morning the whole evening was going to be off.

Thankfully I managed to stir my limbs and stagger out for my inaugural joggette; made ultra meaningful in retrospect when I saw two great-crested grebes engaged in their wedding dance as the mist lifted from the river.

So off we trotted into town that evening, not feeling HUGELY gorgeous; in the rush to get the boys to bed I’d forgotten to put any mascara on, and in my lardy, nothing-to-wear state I was wearing a denim maternity skirt. I hadn’t given the proposal a moment’s thought, until as we were going up an escalator at Oxford Circus, I put my arm round DH and felt something square in his jacket pocket.

Oh f**k.

The next 20 minutes passed in a haze of me swearing to myself (not sure why, I was hardly going to say ‘no’), trying to convince myself he had a hard corner on his wallet or phone, and trying to act normally (but I couldn’t think of anything at all to say). We walked past Debenhams’ wedding window, and where usually I would have dawdled, we marched past in absolute silence, eyes firmly ahead. At the pub where we first met, we were once again only the 2nd and 3rd people in it (and yet it’s Saturday night, 3 minutes’ walk from Oxford Street. Bizarre), but we had a massive glass of wine each and that sorted the nerves out. And anyway nothing happened.

Dinner, bottle of bubbly (nice). Nothing happened.

Walk past my old flat (again instigated by me). By this point we were both a bit drunk, and when we stopped on the pavement for a quick kissette, I couldn’t believe it when DH suddenly disappeared onto one knee, and said something lovely (not repeated here, partly as it’s private, and partly because I can’t remember the exact wording) and asked me to marry him. Once again I messed up by saying “Are you sure?” which I had sworn to myself I would NEVER EVER say if I was lucky enough to be asked, as it just smacks of insecurity and desperation, but out it came. Thankfully, DH was sobbing so much I don’t think he heard me. I do remember him blubbing out ‘I didn’t think this would happen to me’, which at the time I interpreted as not lucky enough to marry a mascara-less, fat tummied gorgeous woman such as you, but actually meant crying like a baby.

And then we beetled off to get the last train home. With The Ring on my finger.

The next two weeks were very weird; almost all of my friends are married and I have been party to many conversations about proposals, weddings, guest lists, and plans – but it was exceedingly odd to be on the other side. Thankfully things have now calmed down, and a few months on, Being Engaged feels like a totally natural and lovely state of affairs.

Although my mother-in-law-to-be having already bought her dress is freaking me out a little bit… The Dress. Ahh, that’s another story.

* Of course I could have asked him. But I didn’t want to.