Archive for the ‘Love & Marriage’ Category

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Lovely Photographs

June 20, 2012

I love photos. I also love having them around the house but find it increasingly difficult to find the motivation to print them now the responsibility lies with the photographer and not Boots the Chemist! Maybe that’s just me. However, when we got married last year (groan – here I go again about my wedding…), Mr lovelybyhanna and I were so excited to get our professional photos back and the printer was at the ready.

We were extremely lucky with our wedding photographer – we didn’t have to search at all because my brother and sister-in-law had found this amazing guy to do their wedding 2 years earlier and we were so impressed with both the quality of his work and how he “worked the crowd” on the day, it was a bit of a no brainer. Simon has since gone on to do the weddings of a few of our friends and we all consider him a bit of a legend – we love going to weddings where we know he’s the photographer as it’s a great chance to catch up with him and have a giggle.

They say a picture says a thousand words so rather than gush about how amazing he is and tell you if you’re looking for a wedding photographer in Hampshire (specifically) or further afield you’d be foolish not to pick this man, I’ll leave you with some of his work. Make sure you check out his website too – simply gorgeous!

Love, lovelybyhanna xxx

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Lovely Wedding Dresses

May 19, 2012

The wedding dress. Quite possibly, one of the things you’ve dreamed about since you were little but not always consciously. After Mrlovelybyhanna’s proposal had sunk in (Christmas time in New York – just perfect for me!), I started to think long and hard about the wedding dress. What would I wear? What colour would I go for? How much would it cost? Like a lot of women, I had always envisaged myself getting married in a certain style of dress. For me, that was strapless and very simple – a classic A-Line dress with little detail and a long veil. However, after spending probably hundreds of pounds on wedding magazines (which all have the same stuff in them so with hindsight might have been a slight waste of money), I found myself even more confused over the type of dress I wanted to wear. There was only one thing for it – to make a million appointments at wedding dress shops to try and find “the one”.

I decided to make the most of this and made an appointment at a rather posh designer’s shop in London and was told I didn’t need to make an appointment as they were having a sale and they would fit me in at some point on the day, providing i was happy to wait. OK I said and I trundled off with my Mum and my bridesmaids to see if they were going to come up trumps with the dress of my dreams. To cut a long story short, they didn’t. It was horrifying. As it was a sale, they didn’t believe in using changing rooms so there I was, sandwiched in between 2 disgustingly perfect petite brides-to-be, resplendent in tiny g-strings and with golden tans. I had very foolishly worn mismatching underwear and was as pale as a ghost (it was January) and had my entire entourage surrounding me, as well as the aforementioned skinny brides complete with their friends and family too. Needless to say I came out feeling very sad and had a little weep whilst berating myself for eating so much over the Christmas period. This particular shop was not going to get my custom. I was pretty humiliated.

So, the search went on and on each bridal shop excursion, I wore matching undies and remembered to preen before stripping off.

As a special treat, my gorgeous bridesmaids took me on another London trip complete with lunch at the Oxo Tower and then surprised me with an appointment at Brown’s Bride. Now let me start by saying the dresses here were very expensive and completely out of price range (I was looking at the equivalent of 6 months of mortgage payments to get one of their less expensive selections) but what an amazing experience. I tried on all sorts and when I picked up a lace backless number, I never, for one minute, thought I would like it on. I LOVED it. So much so that when I came out, we all cried. It was just so beautiful and so simple. But, it came with a £4500 price tag and if I wanted a veil, another £1200 on top of that. Ouchy.

Luckily, my sister-in-law and bridesmaid had got married the year before and had got her dress made by a lovely lady in Southampton – Shay Harris. If I could replicate the one I saw and tweak it to be perfect for my body (and also at a fraction of the price of the one at Brown’s), it was worth a try so I made an appointment and headed off to see if Shay could work her magic. As well as stocking some beautiful ready made dresses by the likes of Jenny Packham and Cymbeline, Shay is also a dab hand at making beautiful creations herself and saw no problem in trying to replicate the dress I had seen on that wonderful day in London. The time from then up until my wedding was so exciting. I loved going to see Shay and looking at all the beautiful fabric samples she had got in. Every appointment meant a more beautiful dress as new things were added or tweaked and she genuinely was the nicest lady to go through this process with.

On the day of our wedding, like most Brides I’m sure, I felt a million dollars and her attention to detail was exquisite – from the beautiful fabric to sewing in a little blue bow, I was in dress heaven. I still love my wedding dress – it’s something I will keep forever in the hope that one day, a granddaughter or great-granddaughter will want to wear it for her own wedding and feel as beautiful as I felt on that May day in 2011.

If you want your own wedding dress made – please visit Shay. She is a very lovely and talented lady!

Love, lovelybyhanna xxx

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Lovely Anniversaries

May 4, 2012

This weekend, my husband and I will be celebrating our first wedding anniversary and it’s made me go all mushy! That means that one year ago, I experienced the best day of my life to date – surrounded by all the people I love most in this world and making the ultimate commitment to Mr lovelybyhanna.


This first year of married life has been, and I’m sorry to come over all sickeningly smug, absolutely wonderful. Not only did we have a magical day at The Walled Gardens at Cowdray, get to experience a month travelling around Australia, become an Aunt and Uncle to the best little nephew in town, but we’re now also expecting our first child together and this has made us deliriously happy.

People say being married doesn’t make a difference but I honestly think it does – we’ve never been closer and when I find myself aimlessly looking through our wedding photos over and over (and over!) again, I count myself very lucky. If anyone’s looking for an amazing wedding photographer by the way, you have to check Simon J Coulson out – utterly brilliant!

So this blog post is dedicated to my hubby – the most wonderful man I have ever met – and all those people about to embark on married life. It really is an exciting and incredibly romantic journey.

Love, lovelybyhanna xxx

PS Beware – my next few posts will all be wedding related! Lovely!

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A Lovely Message in a Bottle

February 12, 2012

It’s that time of year again when love is in the air and those in love are desperately seeking that last minute gift to give their other half (or potential other half) on Valentine’s Day!

I started off with good intentions when my husband and I first got together 10 years ago and was so thrilled I could finally be a part of this love filled day which before I could only watch on and dream of one day being involved in. I’ve crafted scrapbooks, cooked 3 course meals, baked heart shaped cookies and trawled the shops for heart emblazoned gifts in my time but this year, I had left it to the last minute and was in a panic as to what to do.

Then I heard the song “Message in a Bottle” by The Police on the radio and I was suddenly inspired! This was only because just days earlier I’d been killing time on my lunch break in The Hambledon in Winchester and I’d seen some mini milk bottles which went with the mini milk crate I already had and I made a mental note to remember this in case I ever needed any replacements (I can be quite clumsy). So off I traipsed into The Hambledon yesterday afternoon to purchase one of these beauties for just £1.50! A bargain. Once home, I raided my craft box for tracing paper, ribbon and anything with hearts (luckily I had a stash of heart sprinkles!) and set about writing a slushy note to pop in the bottle.

My Own Message in a Bottle

The end result is simple and understated but I know Mr lovelybyhanna will be very touched.

Love, lovelybyhanna xxx

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Lovely Bridesmaids

January 24, 2012

Oh I do love a good wedding and it looks like 2012 is going to be another bumper year! We’ve already received 2 Save the Dates and 1 invitation and it gets me all giddy with excitement (and fear – what will I wear with a growing bump?) and yes, I will admit it, a tiny bit of jealousy too.

I got married in May last year and I know it’s a cliché and horribly coated in fromage, but it really was the best day of my life. Everything was perfect from the venue to the weather (and of course my wonderful Husband who I all but ran down the aisle to). Don’t get me wrong, I don’t miss some of the planning – the family politics, finalising guest lists, getting hold of suppliers (don’t they realise it’s the most important day of your life even if you’re just another bridezilla to them?!) and then there’s the cost. Oh the cost.

What I do miss though are the regular gatherings with your Bridesmaids to plan all the pretty details. I’m sure every Bride thinks this, but I really did have the best bunch of Bridesmaids a girl could ask for. From surprise trips to Browns Bride in London (I couldn’t afford the dresses but what a fabulous experience and I did find “the one” which I got copied at a fraction of the price) to a pair of Louboutin heels for the big day (they organised a mass contribution for my birthday), I couldn’t have asked for more. Which is why I wanted them to look and feel beautiful on the Wedding day. Cue twobirds bridesmaids. What a fantastic concept – one dress, in a huge variety of colours that wrapped in a million different ways (OK, maybe 15 ways but still!) and as I had a pregnant bridesmaid (my sister-in-law who was 7 months pregnant at the wedding), it seemed like the perfect choice.

So off we went to their shop in Notting Hill where we were helped by the wonderful Alexia – possibly one of the nicest ladies I have ever met. She patiently dressed all three of my bridesmaids and twisted and rouched until we all fell in love with the designs. With two tall bridesmaids and one about to grow a big lovely tummy, the dresses were perfect in their long lengths and forgiving fabric. I cannot recommend them enough and Alexia too. The order was made and come the day, they looked absolutely beautiful. See for yourselves.

My lovely Bridesmaids

Yes they were fairly pricey but probably not much more than your standard bridesmaid dress and they get to keep a classic black dress that they can hopefully wear again one day.

My dress dilemma might well be solved – I will no doubt borrow this little beauty and wear it in a different way for each wedding! Nobody will know and my bump will be the most glamorously adorned there. Oh and how can I forget the Louboutin heels? They will undoubtedly feature too!

Love, lovelybyhanna xxx