Monday, 19 May 2014

Picking our wedding venue...

How to pick your venue… Now this was a tricky one. Initially, I thought getting married in France would be very complicated. The vast majority of our guests are not based in France, but in the UK. So surely, it would make more sense to have the wedding near Bristol for the convenience of our guests? Could I really ask our guests to pay extra and make more effort to come all the way to France for us?

Real Bride - Fiona

And then what about the logistics of getting everything over the France before the big day? Barry on the other hand, really wished to get married in France. Mainly because there was more of a chance of having good weather. But also because he said it would be the perfect opportunity to show off to his friends and family where I’m from and why we like going there so much.

We thought we would look at venues in both countries to see what was on offer. There are some stunning places near Bristol which we considered, but I failed to get excited over any of them. Worse, I felt really stressed! We then looked at venues in France, initially in the Provence area. But Provence, being the main area French and tourists alike go on holiday during July/August, proved far too expensive for us.
We then started looking closer to my home, as we felt it would help if it was somewhere near my parents, and having our wedding there would be the perfect opportunity for us to share with friends and family where I come from, from the food, the wine, the cheese, but also the stunning scenery that the Alps provide.

By this point, I still felt undecided about where to have our wedding. I felt so overwhelmed, and really felt pressurised (by no one else but myself) to pick our perfect wedding venue. One night, when Barry came home from work, I had a mini meltdown and he sat me down to talk things through. It was then we decided to stop looking at venues in the UK, and to concentrate on France instead. This would start making things a little easier in our geographical search.
Once decided, I felt like a huge weight had been lifted from my shoulders, so I knew it was the right decision for us to make. France it was. From there, it didn’t take long for us to choose our venue in the Rhone Alpes. We had seen Le Couvent des Carmes a long time ago, when Siena was only a few months old. It is located just minutes’ drive away from my parents’ house. You only drive up the mountains for a few minutes, so the guests won't need to drive up tiny mountain roads, yet we still have the benefit of being a little up in the mountain with all the glorious views around us.
I had always wondered what the site was, and when I went with Barry it was the first time I had actually seen it. It was a beautiful day. The site is located on the way up to the Vercors, not too high up the mountain, but high enough to have amazing views. Whilst walking around, Barry actually said to me at the time that it would be an amazing venue for a wedding.
Le Couvent des Carmes
Three years later, we found a fair amount of wedding venues in the area, but we kept coming back to that one. We therefore decided to focus on getting a date there. We had not seen the inside of the building, but found some useful links by searching the site’s name via google. We even found a photographer’s blog with loads of photos of a wedding held there the previous summer! This convinced us that it was definitely the place for us.

wedding venue france
The venue when we saw it in March 2011

The venue also has a room there that they are happy for us to use as a “creche” on the night of the wedding. This was a definite bonus for us as as much as we want children to be part of our wedding , having two of our own, knowing we can arrange a babysitter and a room for them to play/sleep while we enjoy the evening/dance the night away is great.  It means we don’t have to ask family and friends to babysit. We will also offer this service to our friends, as there will be numerous toddlers, babies etc on the day! (they will constitute almost a third of our guest list!!).
rhone alpes
We have often made decisions based on instinct, and this was definitely one of them! We nevertheless waited for my dad to go and have a look to make sure there was nothing to worry about. This has now been done, and he assures us that the toilets are lovely and will not scare away our English guests! He seemed really impressed by the venue overall and so as a result, the booking has been made… August 2015 it is!
The Mairie in my parent’s village has also confirmed that they are happy for us to get married there (provided we bring with us the mountain of paperwork required!), which we are very excited about.
Cartes Postales Photos La Poste et la Mairie 38160 IZERON isère (38)
Mairie D'Izeron

We both feel that we can really get excited about the wedding now, as it feels a lot more real!
As a result of now knowing the date, we have also found and sent out our Save the Dates cards. So. Excited!
PS: Original article found here on French Style Wedding, where I write on a  monthly basis as one of the four French Belle Brides.
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*All images unless otherwise noted are my own, so please do not use them without my permission.*

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Silent Sunday

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*All images unless otherwise noted are my own, so please do not use them without my permission.

Thursday, 15 May 2014

In need of sleep/coffee/hug... not necessarily in that order [parent's guilt]

I Need a Hug Tee - Love Culture

Today has definitely been a "I need a hug" kind of day.... which I did get from my friend's lovely mum on the way home, and/or a "i need a glass of wine" day which I did get hand delivered to my door from my friend and neighbour after she saw Siena's face when we walked past her house... apparently it said it all!

Nothing particularly bad happened. I had a long meeting at the bank, which went well, but the whole time I was trying to appear serious and professional while I had Hugo crying/making a mess with his food all over the floor/being sick on me/being needy& unhappy due to teething... as well as Siena constantly talking and asking what the lady was saying, and why was she saying "yeah?" on the phone as well as drawing while pretty much sat on said lady's lap. The contrast from my professional self the day before could not be more extreme!

But really, when it comes down to it, nothing seriously bad has happened. It is most likely down to the fact that I have not slept properly for over a year now due to pregnancy and then Hugo only sleeping approximately 10 full nights since he was born almost ten months ago. The day to day madness doesn't help either. Ten months is a long time to go when waking up every night at least once... and lets not forget that this includes no lie-ins as the baby and the 3 year old take it in turns to ensure that at least one of them is awake from 5.30am everyday... This in turn messes with your mind: I recently forgot my postcode... completely blanked out and had to look it up! slightly awkward as I had to confirm it to someone (can't remember who though...)!

Sleep deprived

I just can't help but wonder... how do other parents manage? I know that every parent faces their own difficulties in one way or another... but surely there must be some sort of answer to this madness? And don't even get me started on the headache that is dealing with Siena starting school (how to working parents sort out drop off/pick up times? what about holidays?? aaaaaaaaaaah!). I can't help but wonder whether there is some magical secret out there that I am not yet privy to.

One of my (childless) friends often says to me when talking of her friends with children how much they love being a mum and they have really embraced the role etc. And every time I hear her say this, it makes me worry that this is not how I come across when I talk about motherhood. My friends often joke that I am a good form of contraception as I say it as it is when I talk to them about it. At first I joined in the joke. But lately, it bothers me, and it makes me feel bad and guilty. I do love being a mum. Honestly, I do! But I just find it so blooming hard!!

It is true I do not often talk about the children at work to my colleagues, or to some of my friends. But that is mainly because they don't have children, and I know that once I start talking about them, I can't stop as I have so many stories and things to share about how amazing I find them (most of the time, you know, when they're not having a tantrum/crying/arguing they're not tired). And then I am worried of becoming that girl who talks 24/7 about her children like some crazy cat lady would of her cats...

I know many mothers talk of how they feel guilty about being at work, rather than at home with their children. But in my case, I think that I feel better at work because I know that the children will be in an amazing environment, full of friends, healthy food, lots of fresh air, activities, games, and many other oh! so wonderful things. Is that really bad?? Because between you and me, I can't help but feel that I am completely making up this whole parenting thing as I go along! 

I know I am not doing a bad job. That I have happy, healthy children who give me the most amazing smiles when they see me. I know that really, this whole sleep deprivation malarkey is messing with my brain and everything will get a little easier when Hugo starts sleeping through the night (and I am hoping that's all there is to it!).

How do you cope with sleep deprivation? Do you worry how you come across when talking about your experience of parenting? Please do share or at least send me a virtual hug... thank you :)

:)  I need a hug
PS: this made me laugh! and who doesn't love dogs dressed up?

ridiculous dogs - Bing Images
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*All images are from Pinterest*

Monday, 12 May 2014

Stuck in a rut.... or a sign as to the new road to be taken?

Has it ever happened to you where, you woke up one day, and you knew exactly what you were meant to be doing next. And by this I mean as in which steps to take next with your life, rather than simply remembering to put the bins out or put food out to defrost so you have something to eat at 


I've been lucky enough to have that feeling several times. The first time, was when i decided to go and study at university in England, rather than my hometown like most French kids do. I remember at the time my parents questioning my decision... Would I stay in Grenoble if I had my own flat? Did I want to go and study in the next town instead? Nope, I said, I can't explain it, but I know I need to go to the UK. I initially looked at Aberdeen (pretty much as far as you can get in my parents' eyes!) but eventually settled for UKC (or University of Kent these days I believe). And I've never looked back since!

The second time it happened, was several months after uni, where I was living at home back in France, temping in a cheese factory (oh la la, so freeeeench!)... definitely in a what on earth should I do with my life kind of moment. One day I decided I was going to go and live in Bristol. Why? I knew there were lots of law firms, I'd been there once or twice, and had my best friend from uni moving there when she returned from travelling. That's all I needed. Again, my mum asked if it wouldn't be better to wait until I successfully obtained a job in Bristol before moving there. And once again, I remember saying to her, Nope, it's all good, it will all sort itself out when I get there. And do you know what, it did. Within several months, I had finally managed to get a foot in the door in a law firm, which led me to the role I am in today. I also worked evenings and weekends in a restaurant/bar and paid off all my uni debts within a year. I met Barry, and all my other Bristol based friends, and don't regret anything. Life has been pretty good.

You May Not Always End Up - Live Life Quotes, Love Life Quotes, Live Life Happy

Then... that feeling was back. Now this time, I have to say it completely caught me off guard! As you may or may not know, I recently turned 30, and took the time to reflect on how good life was right now. Not perfect, but pretty good overall. 

Then all of a sudden, I woke up knowing exactly what I want to do next. However this time, it's not just about me. I have a lovely man to convince that I am not mad or going through a "crazy" phase, and I also have two bambini to think of. I won't go into too much detail just yet as to what I am being called to do next, but suffice to say I know in my heart if we went for it with Barry, it would be amazing. Hard work at times, yes, but amazing and I get really excited thinking about it.

Be Brave with Your Life - So true. It's the only one you've got. The alternative isn't nearly as enticing!
Barry thinks it might simply be because we are sleep deprived (10 month old bambino still not sleeping through the night and I wasn't even sleeping during the pregnancy... so a pretty long time without sleep zzzz), work is stressful at the moment (and I can't see it getting any better), and the weather is, well, pretty bad. And many other factors which would give it away so will keep quiet on those for now ;)

When I think about it, there are many practical questions that should be looked into in more detail before even considering my idea... But deep down, I know. Once again, it is one of those things I simply cannot explain, but I know is the right decision. Everything about it has more positives than negatives... for me, for Barry, and especially the children. But, it would be a life changing step to take. Not irreversible if things didn't work out, but big nevertheless.

All I keep thinking is... why not? What is the worse than can happen?....

Jeff Rogers - hand lettering

Have you ever had such feelings? Did you put them down to being stuck in a rut or did you take the plunge and go for it? I would love to hear from you so please do share, whichever way you went in the end! (anything to help me convince Barry! ;)
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*All images are from Pinterest*

Love! Love! Love! What do you think of tulle skirts?

Absolutely dying, need this skirt right now!!! :: fool for tulle:: white tulle skirt:: black and white fashion:: tulle skirt:: vintage style:: retro fashion

I keep seeing these crop up everywhere I look, and I am completely in love with them! What do you think? 

Would you wear them in the day, a la SJP? or would you keep these as a special going out outfit? 

I think I would wear them all day every day! 

Simply stunning!

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*Images all taken from Pinterest*

I need to order one of these Tulle Skirts  get my Carrie Bradshaw on :-) find more women fashion on

Tulle skirt with neutral sweater and heels. I'd wear a fitted sweater though. Suits my figure more.

Malvern Garden Show... (Yes, more gardens!)

If you read my blog on a regular basis, you may have already guessed what Barry's new passion is... Between all the plants, gardens, botanical gardens etc that we visit, you may say that he is somewhat excited about landscape gardening. To be honest, I don't mind. As we both have careers in law, it's great to have something creative on the side to let our imagination wander. Plus visiting all these places are great with the kids and really pretty to look at. Apart from Malvern Garden Show... stunning displays, as you can see below, but the number of evil looks I received from the grannies and grand-dads there was incredible! Fair enough I had the double buggy but even so... I would consider myself polite and good at making eye contact.. but no, I was simply in the way, no matter where I went! Anyway...

We had another great day looking at absolutely stunning garden displays (most of them made specifically for the show... simply amazing!). We also saw James Martin, and that lady who does lots of gardening shows. It is always very exciting seeing a celebrity that I actually recognise! :)

 Can you see him? at the back? He's from the telly!

 If I was missing France before, this didn't help!

 Don't you want to just make yourself at home?

 Hugo enjoying his first ice cream

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*All images unless otherwise noted are my own, so please do not use them without my permission.*
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