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  1. A wedding in our own backyard

    Ben and I tied the knot in August this year (2015) and I've meant to devote a whole blog post to the event for a while now.  I'll share a snippet so you get a feel of the day and perhaps some inspiration from some of the ideas we had for our Wedfest. 

    We decided to have a Wedfest style wedding in our own garden.  I originally wanted to wed in Las Vegas, but we decided this dream would be quite a way off as we wouldn't want to leave our children, and go so far, for several years.  But, we didn't want to wait any longer to wed.  Reuben, our second and last child, was born in March this year and I was keen to complete our family by getting married and sharing the same name as Ben and our children.  We'd been engaged for three years, so a wedding was already on the cards, but it still felt all very sudden somehow!  The idea of a garden Wedfest began in April and within four months the big day arrived.  We wed in a basic registration ceremony a few days before, and our Wedfest came and passed by in a flash.

    For us, it was the perfect day.  It suited us both down to the ground.  I've never been one to dream of a big wedding day; the thought of a lot of people looking at me all at once terrifies me!  I detest having my photo taken as I'm so self-conscious of how I look.  What would be most people's dream wedding day, would actually be my nightmare wedding day.  I do absolutely love a more traditional wedding day, but purely as a guest only!  Hopefully we will still go to Vegas one day.  I've been four times before, but would love to show Ben and have a good mooch around.  There is still so much I haven't seen or experienced.

    I thought about hiring a venue for our Wedfest, but Ben actually said, why spend the money when we have a perfectly good venue ourselves.  It was the best venue.  Everyone was relaxed and Bella and Reuben felt comfortable in their own home, surrounded by everyone important to us.  The only worry was if it rained and 80 people had to squeeze indoors!  We purchased a couple of pop up gazebos and a marquee to give some extra shelter outside just incase.  We needn't have worried though as it was absolutely scorching! 

    If you live in the South West you may remember the day well.  I think we'd had a pretty good summer, then it started turning in August.  The whole week looked a bit iffy and we couldn't tell if it would be a washout or not.  Then the forecast promised sun.  And boy oh boy, did it deliver.  It was scorchio.  It was so hot we were dripping just by standing still outside, everyone had to go indoors just to cool down!  We may have prayed for the sun just a little too much, but at least it was dry and we could make full use of our garden and everything we had set up for the day.  By the evening it absolutely chucked it down!  It was strong winds, torrential downpours and thunder.  A full blown storm.  The wind actually took our parasol right out of the table, it flew into the window and snapped.  We were so amazingly lucky to have the final best 'day' of the summer!

    Garden Wedfest Homemade DIY Wedding Photos Blog

    Garden Wedfest Homemade DIY Wedding Photos Blog

    We set up the marquee and gazebos the day before, once we knew we were safe from any rain! We then got up super early to decorate and add all the finishing touches.  I'd set up the three tables inside the night before, so we had to just carefully carry them out.  We'd made the paper pompoms over several nights before - I'd ordered ready cut ones, but they still took a few minutes to make each one!  We did a few each evening, whenever we found we had a spare 20 minutes. 

    On the morning of Wedfest, I ran around carrying Reuben in a carrier on my back (in which he fell asleep and didn't mind at all) setting it all up.  My Mum, sister and Ben's Mum came mid morning to help set up and keep the children occupied.  We finished just in time and I didn't even have a five minute sit down before the first guests arrived - we were just in the nick of time!  I think a half hour sit down would have made it even better though, just to absorb it all and to prep my head for the overwhelming day!

    Garden Wedfest Homemade DIY Wedding Photos Blog

    Garden Wedfest Homemade DIY Wedding Photos Blog

    There were around 20 children on the day, most under five years old.  I popped a box of dress up outside Bella's playhouse which they had great fun dressing up in all day.  I also left out some patio chalks, which were used to decorate the inside of the play house instead!  We thought some of them had paint on their clothes and couldn't work out where it was from, but then realised it was chalk as soon as we looked in the house!  Oops!  I purchased this Garden Games aztec children's teepee which the children loved.  It seemed perfect for the festival theme.

    For extra seating we hired straw bales from a local farmer.  They dropped them the day before, then bought them back the day after Wedfest as they were still useable.  They were such a fun idea to use for seating.  The large floor cushions are from Homesense.  I'd always wanted some and finally had an excuse to buy some!

     

    Garden Wedfest Homemade DIY Wedding Photos Blog

    We strung up bunting everywhere, a must have for a garden wedding if you ask me!  We also had some giant balloons for fun, which mostly ended up in the neighbours gardens before the day had even begun, oh dear!  A Wedfest sign with an arrow pointing down our garden path welcomed guests - this was simply Bella's chalk board!  As guests reached the garden, they were welcomed by a welcome drinks table.  Right at the back there, by the house, you may notice a pizza oven!  We hired Cotswold Pizza Co who served wood fired fresh pizzas to all the guests for lunch.  They walked around handing out slices or made a whole pizza per guest if requested.  They were the best tasting pizzas ever! 

    Garden Wedfest Homemade DIY Wedding Photos Blog photobooth

    Garden Wedfest Homemade DIY Wedding Photos Blog wooden engraved personalised guestbook stags

    Originally I was going to hire a photo booth for a couple of hours, but then decided to do my own.  I made up some props and placed them in jars for display.  I purchased a Fuji Instax Mini 8 and loads of film.  I left these out for guests to take their own photo booth style photos.  There were glue sticks for these to be stuck into our guest book next to their messages.  I found the guest book on eBay and it came all the way from Greece.  It was exactly what I was looking for and I couldn't find anything in the UK.  I love wood and our house has lots of wooden furniture, wood style floors, wooden blinds, a rustic oak fireplace beam and so on.  We stayed in a log cabin once and I loved it so much, it really inspired me!  Ben also loves woodwork and dreams of making his own furniture one day.  It seemed so perfect to have a wooden guest book.  I'm becoming a little obsessed with stags too.  We have an amazing canvas of a stag by Paper Panda in our living room which I love.  So the stag theme continues!  I'm so pleased we did our 'homemade photo booth' as we really do have the best guest book filled with wonderful messages and photos of everyone enjoying themselves.

    Garden Wedfest Homemade DIY Wedding Photos Blog box albums

    I don't know about you, but I love looking at photos.  I left a big basket of our albums out so people could look at 'Our Story So Far...' if they wanted to.  There were baby albums of both our children, our family album and our new home album.  We moved home just over a year before our wedding and have almost totally changed every room.  It was a great chance for those new to our home to see everything we had done so far.

    Garden Wedfest Homemade DIY Wedding Photos Blog

    Garden Wedfest Homemade DIY Wedding Photos Blog

    Mmmmm, the cake table!  It wouldn't have been complete without some sort of wedding cake.  We didn't go for a traditional tiered wedding cake, but cupcakes which the guests could help themselves to throughout the day.  I had a little bet with Ben on the day.  He was certain I had purchased way too many, but I disagreed.  We had around 80 cakes, so enough for each guest.  By the end of the day only 2 or 3 remained, so I think I won?!  Here you can see Bella before the guests arrived absolutely dying to have a cake and hovering for ages around the table!

    Garden Wedfest Homemade DIY Wedding Photos Blog

    Two sets of neighbours gave us a beautiful bunch of flowers each.  They made a great centrepiece for our garden table and I used this photo to create our thank you cards after the event.

    As well as taking lots of our own photos throughout the day, we also hired a professional photographer to document the first three hours.  Pix Photographic from Gloucester captured the enjoyment of all our guests and provided us with around 200 amazing photos on a wooden USB stick!  Yep, it's wooden too! 

    Here are a few of our professional photos:

    Pix Photographic Gloucester Wedding Documentary Photographers Blog

    Pix Photographic Gloucester Wedding Documentary Photographers Blog

    Pix Photographic Gloucester Wedding Documentary Photographers Blog

    Pix Photographic Gloucester Wedding Documentary Photographers Blog

    Pix Photographic Gloucester Wedding Documentary Photographers Blog

    Pix Photographic Gloucester Wedding Documentary Photographers Blog

    Pix Photographic Gloucester Wedding Documentary Photographers Blog

    Pix Photographic Gloucester Wedding Documentary Photographers Blog

    Pix Photographic Gloucester Wedding Documentary Photographers Blog

    Pix Photographic Gloucester Wedding Documentary Photographers Blog

    Darren Campbell Magic Close Up Magician Pix Photographic Gloucester Wedding Documentary Photographers Blog

    Darren Campbell Magic Close Up Magician Pix Photographic Gloucester Wedding Documentary Photographers Blog

    Aside from the pizza (of course) the best thing about the day just had to be the incredible close up magician, Darren Campbell.  Darren spent time going around to all guests and amazing them with his spectacular magic tricks.  Even though he was often surrounded by people, we still had no idea how he did it.  We were all absolutely gobsmacked and he was the highlight of the day.  I have no idea how he did the tricks he showed to me and Ben.  Perhaps he really is magic.  I didn't know what to say.  I was so stunned by what had just happened, I was trying to think about what my eyes had just unbelievably witnessed, in which time he had completed even more baffling tricks. 

    I honestly have no idea how he does it.  We have kept one souvenir from Darren.  A small sealed tonic bottle with a card inside which we signed our names on.  We signed this card and inserted in into the pack, then Darren would pull it from his different pockets.  Next it was in his waistcoat pocket sealed in the bottle.  Perhaps he froze time to put it there!  He took rings off people and then pulled a set of keys from his pocket to which these rings were attached, by an actual keyring.  I find these keyrings a nightmare to take keys off at the best of times, so how he managed to slyly pop it on one, without being seen, I have no idea.  He also read our guests minds.  Guests were to hold a cube (which had a different symbol on each side) in between their palms, and Darren guessed the upwards facing symbol.  He was correct every time! 

    Darren Campbell Magic is truly amazing and highly recommended.  As us and all our guests thought on the day, and have continued to comment since, Darren is super talented and a natural entertainer.

    I was a little sad when the day was over.  I feel like I need to repeat the day, but as a guest to really take it all in.  I'm dying to see Cotswold Pizza Co at a festival so I can try one of their pizzas again and really enjoy it without distraction!   We had such a wonderful time and hope all our guests did too. 

    We already know what we'll be doing for each ten year anniversary -  ANNIVERSAFEST!

     

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  2. braces at 30 lylia rose blog blogging experience documenting journey journa

    [Stock photo - definitely not my teeth, but soon, I hope]

    Braces at 30 – Post Consultation Thoughts

    It’s been 8 weeks since my consultation with the orthodontist and I’ve certainly been giving braces a lot of thought.

    The first thing I did was book an appointment at my dentist to talk about my options after having braces.  I wanted to know aftercare for these options and of course costs.  Veneers, restorative work and bridges are not permanent, so I also wanted to know how long they could last and ongoing costs.  To me this seems like a sensible thing to do, right?  Understanding everything I’m letting myself in for, especially costs, before taking the plunge and having two teeth removed and fixed appliances fitted.  Well, I don’t know if it’s just my dentists, but they never seem to want to tell me anything. 

    The dentist was a little flustered as the receptionist had mistakenly booked me in for a check-up instead of a consultation.  She was about to lean the chair back and take a look at my teeth, when I asked if she really needed to and she asked why she wouldn’t… So after a little confusion we realised she was told it was a check-up and my orthodontist notes hadn’t been passed to her before my appointment.  This meant I had to try and explain as quickly as I could the proposed plans.  At first she said she can’t really suggest anything until the gaps are actually there and she has something to work with.  I said I can’t possibly go ahead with two years of braces and gaps without fully understanding what will happen in my mouth after and the costs, etc, so she told me as best she could.  It wasn’t the most informative or reassuring appointment I was expecting, but I did find out some facts and make some decisions.

    I’d had a little look on the internet beforehand and read veneers and bridges last around 5 years.  This didn’t sound long, so I was pleased the dentist said they should last ten years plus, if looked after properly.  They are basically like real teeth and will last longer if cared for.  Phew.  This sounds much more reasonable than having to replace every five years.  She also confirmed a veneer would look much better over the peg tooth instead of restorative work.  Restorative work made from the same filling material, will discolour over time – no thanks, not right at the front of my mouth!

    I’d also been freaking out looking up bridge work on the internet.  I watched something where they basically make peg teeth out of the two teeth either side of the false teeth so there’s something to stick the bridge to.  So you would technically lose three natural looking teeth.  The dentist said they would be able to fix a bridge to the back of my two surrounding teeth and would need to etch away some tooth a little, for the adhesive to bond better I guess, meaning my surrounding teeth will still be totally natural from the front.  Phew.

    The veneer will cost about £350 and the bridge with false tooth attached approximately £500.  If I look after them really well I’ll only need them replaced every 10 years, or even less.  This was much better than the five years I was expecting them to say, so I felt quite relieved.

    The total quote for the fixed appliances (braces) was £2800 for both sets of teeth.  For one set it’s £1800.  So there’s a bit of a saving if both are done at the same time.  I only have a gap at the bottom in the middle which I’d like closed (I swear it’s appeared/got much larger since starting all this), so I had decided to get just the top set done.  It seemed excessive to spend £1000 closing one gap (but also they’d pull my teeth more upright to improve my bite).  I was totally set on just having my top teeth fixed with a brace, until the past week.

    Now I’ve decided, again, to go for the whole lot, top and bottom.  I can just imagine getting to the end of two long years, having just the top done, and wishing I had the bottom done too!  Wouldn’t that be typical?  It would be very typical of me too.  Then I’d have another two years of braces if this was the case!  So I’m going to just go for it and have both sets done at once.  Luckily they’ll let me spread the cost over the whole time, so I’ve got some time to magic up the money!  

    Two years (hopefully) and I’ll have perfect teeth, top and bottom.  I’m still really anxious about having the two teeth removed and gaps for such a long time, but I’m just going to have to deal with it (or hide away in solitude for the duration!).  I’m worried I’ll lose my confidence too.  I’ve grown so much and developed so much more confidence in myself (obviously not with my looks yet), since having children, and I worry I’m going to shatter it by doing this.  It’s the only way I can get the teeth I would like and hopefully gain more confidence overall, so I’ve made my decision and I’m going for it.  Eek! 

    I’ll be having my moulds taken next week, so I’ll be blogging about this experience very soon.  I’ve also thought about posting pictures of my teeth. I’m not brave enough yet, but will show before/after/time lapse photos at the end of the whole experience.