Spreading the cost of being a wedding guest

Summer 2015 has been one of my favourite years for attending weddings. I have watched lots of my family and friends tie the knot over the summer months – it’s been so much fun!

But what hasn’t been fun is the rather large hole it has left in my savings account… I have always put money aside for special events and occasions but this year has hit my finances hard. After all, like many ladies, the thought of being seen in the same outfit twice fills me with dread!

And, this year in particular, my eyes were opened to the fact that it’s no longer the case that weddings are costly for just the bride and groom, they are also super costly for guests too! So much so, that many of us are finding ourselves in a position where we have had to polity decline invitations. After all, from finding the perfect outfit, to overnight travel costs, wedding gifts and everything else that comes hand in hand with being a wedding guest, attending your loved one’s big day is a pricey affair, with costs sometimes running into over £2000 per couple each year!

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Pippa Middleton always seems to be at a wedding!

However, there’s lots of ways that you can bring down the costs when it comes to purchasing the perfect wedding guest outfit!

Spread the cost

Occasion wear is not cheap, and sometimes it can cost up to £200 or more to kit yourself out for a wedding. If your monthly income doesn’t cover this type of splurge all at once, there’s always the option of looking at taking out credit to spread the cost over a few months (always look for a 0% interest credit card).

And, as long as you’re responsible, this can relieve a lot of financial pressure and domestic strife. Of course, to save disappointment, it’s always worthwhile checking out your Experian credit report online to make sure that you are actually eligible to apply before relying on credit to finance your needs.

Plan in advance

When it comes to weddings and special occasions, many of us know months, if not years in advance when they are going to take place, so it shouldn’t really be a surprise when they come around.

If you know that you have a lot of wedding plans in the pipeline, why not set up an outfit fund as soon as you get your invitation. Putting as little as £10 a month a way (£2.50 per week) means that, when the big day comes around, buying that dress you’ve had your eye on won’t be that much of a shock to your finances. You can always stock up on occasion wear in the sales too, even if you are prepared months in advance!

And remember ladies – invest wisely

When it comes to picking out your wedding guest attire, try to stick to buying staple pieces that you can re-style year on year by changing up your accessories. You might end up paying a little bit more for a timeless pieces but in the long run, it will work out being a worthwhile investment.

Kate wears the same dress, just with different styling

Kate wears the same dress, just with different styling

An afternoon of Luxury at Harvey Nichols

On Saturday I was part of a small group of bloggers who were treated to an incredible afternoon in the stunning ultra modern Harvey Nichols store in Birmingham’s Mailbox. Brunch, beauty, hair and a tour of the very special store were all included in a busy afternoon, one which gave a real insight into what an absolute jewel in Birmingham’s glittering crown Harvey Nicks really is.

Food

We started the afternoon with brunch in the new restaurant, sitting at the chef’s table overlooking the open kitchen.  The brunch offering was a sneak preview of a new menu that will be available in October. With dishes ranging from Ulster Fry to Homemade Corned Beef Hash served with a fried Duck Egg, this menu is sure to be a real crowd pleaser, but I opted for the sweetest dish on the menu. This was the pancakes with maple syrup and berry compote, and a dollop of cream for good measure. I have to say this was absolutely delicious, the American style pancakes were fluffy and buttery, the compote was just the right side of sweet, the berries not being tart as they can often be, and as for the cream – the word yum was created for this. It was just divine, and washed down nicely with a pot of English Breakfast tea.

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Tour of the store

With changing rooms more akin to movie star dressing rooms, with cameras that allow you to take a 360 degrees photograph that can then be sent to a friend through social media to garner their opinions, Harvey Nichols Birmingham is quite a store. Adding in features such as a sofa based on Mae West’s lips a la Salvador Dali, and incredibly eclectic ranges that include vintage Chanel jewellery, and a very special capsule collection by Roksanda Ilincic comprises 10 of the designers most memorable pieces, you can see that Harvey Nichols is truly a destination when it comes to shopping with style.

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Shavata

I’m a little ashamed to say that, before Saturday, I’d been too frightened to have my eyebrows threaded. But when I was asked to choose a treatment, I decided to take the plunge and have my eyebrows threaded by the best – the team from Shavata. I have to say I was astonished at just how quick the whole process takes – about 15 minutes, that it was mainly tingly rather than painful, and the difference it makes to the definition and appearance of your face.

The threading costs just £17 and this can last for up to 6 weeks depending on the rate of growth, an affordable treat that can make a huge difference.

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Hershesons Blow Dry Bar

Hersheshons is hair styling with a difference. The concept is a hair bar that concentrates on blow drys, offering a menu of 10 different sorts of blow dry that can be done quickly – in your lunch break, after the gym, before or after work. I was treated to a 30minute blow dry and style with stylist Drew. This left me with a full head of curls that lasted until the next morning. This is such a great idea for anyone wanting a quick hair fix, or a new, temporary style for a special occasion.

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Langleys Gin Pop Up Bar

No afternoon is complete without a cocktail, and the Red Sole, a mix of Langleys gin (produced locally in Birmingham), elderflower and rose was just delicious, and much needed after a hard day being pampered and looked after…

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I had the most wonderful afternoon at Harvey Nichols, and if you haven’t yet popped into the new store, you need to do it now.

*With thanks to Lisa Piddington and Harvey Nichols for the invitation and treats.

 

Recovering Yourself after Becoming a Mum

Mommy-Makeover

Having children, whether naturally, by adoption or blending a family, is a trying period. With any of these options chances are you are becoming a mother for the first time. There’s a huge learning curve period and you’re apt to lose yourself in the bliss of new-parenthood. If there are step-children involved figuring out what your new role is and where these children fit in to your family can be exhausting. It’s important to remember that you are a person and that you have your own thoughts and needs.

One of the many things women forget about when they become mums is their own sense of self. Our lives get so wrapped up in our children and our families that we forget about what we want and need. There are so many aspects of our existence that change when we have children. What makes us tick, what makes us a human being. If children come into your life at a young age one of the first things to go for any mum is her style. Trendy clothes are replaced with comfortable clothes that are allowed to be stained. High-heeled shoes hit the back of the closet in exchange for flats and trainers.

Our bodies go through many changes after having children. If you have children naturally there are a whole host of hormones that run rampant through your body. Your cycle is thrown off; your breasts grow, shrink and sometimes grow again. Skin sags that never used to sag before. You’ve got stretch marks in places you didn’t even know you could get stretch marks. You should always love your body just the way it is, but this is a time when many mothers start to question their bodies. Even the parts of us that aren’t affected by childbirth get scrutinized. Your body has undergone an intense change and that’s okay.

Receiving plastic surgery after childbirth is not uncommon. Many women get breast enhancements or reductions after the hormones have finally found their way out of the blood. Some women get tummy tucks. Some women go so far as to undergo rhinoplasty because maybe they’ve always hated their nose. This is a great time to change those things and help them re-identify themselves.

When considering plastic surgery you need to look at the entire picture. Recovery time, finding a reputable doctor, how the procedure works, which medications may be involved. Especially if you are considering a nose job, you should investigate rhinoplasty before and after and make sure that it is for you. This is your face; you will see it every day.

The important thing is to be happy with your decision, regardless of what it is. Be happy that you opted for surgery. Be happy that you opted out. This is the time to love your body and enjoy the way it looks. Love your scars and stretch marks or laser them away. While this is more costly than a new wardrobe, it definitely will last much longer.