5 Ways to Keep Calm While Planning a Wedding
There aren’t many big events in life that are more stressful than planning a wedding. You have to write up guest lists, arrange menus, find a dress…etc etc. And amongst other things you have to spend a ton of money. A few of my friends are also planning weddings this year, and they’ve commented on how calm I’m remaining about the whole thing. So I thought I’d share my secret on how to keep calm while planning a wedding.
5 Ways to Keep Calm While Planning a Wedding
- Tackle the tough stuff first
- Getting all the time sensitive things (venue, catering, photographer etc) out of the way first; it will take some of the weight off your shoulders. Of course there’s still plenty to do, but it won’t feel as big a burden.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help
- This is one of the most important things to remember. You can’t always do everything by yourself. So whether it’s a family member who makes great cakes, or a friend who’s DIY savvy, don’t be afraid to ask for their help. You’d be surprised at how many people will feel honoured to be a part of your big day.
- Be selfish…kinda
- This is yours, and your partners, wedding day. Don’t let your family and friends take over or try to butt in. Most of it comes from a good place, but it can be overwhelming and stressful. Tell them when it becomes too much, and let them know that you appreciate their help, but sometimes you’ve got to do things for yourself.
- Get wedding insurance
- It might sound boring, but this is one important task you shouldn’t forget. Companies such as John Lewis and Debenhams offer cover on everything from your caterers, right down to the cake.
- Take some time away
- Wedding planning can be extremely stressful, so it’s important to remember that sometimes it’s ok to take a break. In fact it can often help to leave a task and come back to it at another time. Try setting specific dates for planning, but remember to balance them out with free days too.
If you enjoyed my ‘5 ways to keep calm while planning a wedding’ check out the rest of my Wedding Series.
5 Tips for Slow Living in London
Last year I wrote an article discussing the art of slow living and whether it was possible to do whilst living in a busy city such as London. I talked about the difficulties involved, but also the importance of wellbeing. I simultaneously ran a poll on my Instagram, asking my followers whether they thought it was possible. Most people believed it wasn’t, and as optimistic as I am, I can understand why. So I decided to update my slow living series, and bring you all some tips for slow living in London, because I do honestly believe there is the possibility for us all to bring a little bit of calm and wellbeing to our everyday lives.
5 Tips for Slow Living in London
- Make time for your mental wellbeing
- Living in London, a city full of opportunities, it can be easy to just say yes to everything. And before you know it your calendar is heaving with social activities. But it’s important to realise when you can, and should, say no.
- Turn your phone off/say goodbye to social
- Social media and messaging apps can cause a lot of stress, whether it’s intentional or not. Try putting aside a few hours everyday, where you switch your phone off, and put your laptop down.
- Less is more
- Visiting new restaurant openings, or buying the latest on-trend items can be tempting in a city like London. But it’s not always rewarding. Try doing/buying less, and focusing more on the quality of the experience or item. It will help you appreciate it more, and it will save you some money along the way too.
- Make more of your evenings
- Working 9-5 can be draining, and a lot of people cherish their free time in the evening, so why not make more of it? Light some candles, put your favourite music on, have a bath, make a meal from scratch. All little things that when put together can be incredibly satisfying and relaxing.
- Don’t compare yourself to others
- One big underlying problem in most people’s lives is the fear of missing out, or the idea that someone else has a better life than you do. It’s important not to compare yourself to others. After all, the grass isn’t always greener, and the world isn’t going to end if you don’t attend a social event.
If you have any tips of your own, feel free to leave them in the comments.
If you enjoyed my tips for slow living in London, check out more of my wellbeing articles here.
Sexual harassment: How it has changed me
From a young age I’ve had ‘large breasts’; they were there, they were big and they got noticed. My high school years were plagued with comments about them, and how I should show them off more. This kind of attention was mainly from my peers, but it also came from older men. Men in a position of authority. Men who were preying on a young girl. At the time I didn’t think much of it, but looking back on it now, it was clearly sexual harassment. It’s even more infuriating when I think about how it has changed me as a person.
Sexual harassment has changed me
I rarely wear low cut or tight fitting tops, instead I cover up with oversized clothing. And when I do wear them, I feel uncomfortable and self-conscious. Friends, family and even random men have told me that I should ‘be happy that [I] have big breasts’. Because apparently having smaller breasts would make me somehow less satisfied with my life?
A few years ago I was openly groped in a public area. A man came up to me in the middle of the street, grabbed my breasts and squeezed them. When I shouted at him, he laughed in my face and walked off. The people around me who saw the incident did nothing. They said nothing. Last year I was sexually assaulted, again in a public place, but this time it was much worse. And again, no one helped me. Not even the authority figure I went to in my time of need. I felt helpless.
Where do we go from here?
I want some good to come from what has happened. I don’t want to change how I dress or act because of what has happened to me. I want to fight for what is right, and stand beside those who need our support.
I don’t care if someone wants to wear a low cut top and a mini skirt, or chooses to cover up entirely – wear whatever makes you happy and comfortable. Women should be able to dress and act how they like without the fear of sexual harassment. I’m tired of women being objectified. I’m tired of how society deals with sexual harassment. It’s time for change!
There is so much more I could say on this topic alone, but maybe that is better left for another time and another place.
Please do feel free to share your personal stories and views on the topic in the comments though.
How Bloggers Can Work with Brands
I’ve been working with brands for over 6 years on my blog and social networks. I’m not a ‘big blogger’ but I’ve been gifted products, experiences and even holidays; all because of my content. Lately I’ve seen certain brands calling bloggers out for contacting them about potential collaborations. Not only is it unprofessional and just downright petty, it’s stupid. Blogger-brand partnerships can be rewarding for both the company and the content creator.
I don’t want to get started on the politics of small or big bloggers being paid, marketing strategies etc. Those are rants for another post. But I do want to give some advice for bloggers who want to work with brands, but maybe feel they can’t reach out to them.
How Bloggers Can Work with Brands
- Contact PRs
- Ask to be put on their mailing lists. This is a great way to get an insight into the brand/industry and how they work. It helps to build a relationship with the PR, and can lead to potential gifting or partnerships.
- Follow brands on social and interact with them
- @ them when you include them in your organic content.
- Be genuine, let them know why you love their brand.
- Blog/Instagram quality content regularly
- Brands want to work with creators who are consistent in both timing and quality.
- Uploading quality content on a regular basis will help grow engagement and following, which is exactly what brands want to see.
- Show brands what you got!
- Pitch them your ideas for content (e.g. ‘Valentines gifts for foodies’).
- Show them stats and link to previous work you’ve done.
- Tell them why you’d be a good fit for each other.
- Don’t expect something for nothing
- Be realistic. If you are brand new to the game it’s unlikely you’re going to be gifted the latest iPhone or be paid big bucks.
- You need to tell the brand what they will get in return. Let them know how you can both help each other out, and what you will bring to their marketing campaign.
Reaching out isn’t a bad thing!
Pitching has been a part of marketing for a long time. This is no different. Don’t be afraid to contact brands. After all, you don’t lose anything by contacting them and the worst thing that can happen is they say no. I’ve been turned down before, and it just inspired me to work harder and do better (“that’ll show ’em!”). That said, most of the time I get a positive response, and so can you!
I hope this has helped any budding bloggers, or the more seasoned ones who are maybe still unsure about how to reach out to brands. If you enjoyed my ‘How Bloggers Can Work with Brands – A Guide’, let me know if you like to see more posts, such as email templates etc.
Read more of my How-to guides.
Slow Living: Is It Possible In London?
Several years ago I decided to up and change the way I looked at my approach to life. Basically I wasn’t happy. I decided that I was moving too fast, and I needed a break. That meant looking at the way I live, and the everyday things I do. A lifestyle and mentality rebrand, if you will. But let’s be honest, nothing is that straight forward. And is it even possible to incorporate slow living into a London lifestyle?
Slow Living in London
Over the past year I set out to try and find a way to bring the lifestyle concept of slow living into…well, my life. Our society is based on fast fashion, fast food, and even fast lifestyles. If you’re not living fast, then you’re not living at all. At least that’s what people say. I soon realised it wasn’t going to be easy, and the hardest part was figuring out what ‘slow living’ even meant to me.
- Stop being so materialistic. I told myself it’s good to have nice things, but it doesn’t mean anything if they have no value, and I don’t mean monetary. I’m talking about objects/experiences that have meaning. Like the expensive pair of sneakers I had wanted for years, which I finally bought myself with the first pay check from my new job.
- Quality over quantity. Whereas before I probably bought myself an item of clothing or went to a new restaurant every week, now I do it about once or twice a month. I put more thought into what I want/need, and the design and quality of the piece. I’d rather spend a little more on something that lasts longer and works better, than buy a bajillion items that don’t.
- Enjoying the little things. Because sometimes having a G&T by candlelight at home with my friends is much more mentally rewarding than going to the latest ‘on-trend’ bar, and wasting a ton of money on overpriced drinks.
- Slowing down my lifestyle. Admittedly this has been the hardest step out of them all, and it’s something I’m still working on today. A lot of people in London can’t (or won’t) grasp the concept of it, and it’s understandable when you live in a city that pulls you in all directions. After a rather successful end to 2016, the first half of 2017 was pretty rough for me. But I’m now trying to get myself back on track again. It may take some time, but if something is worth doing, it’s worth doing well.
You can follow my attempt at ‘slow living’ and read more of my help posts here.
For a while now it seemed as though Instagram is imploding in on itself. Longtime and new users alike are tired of the new algorithm, bots, hacked accounts, and much more. We’re given pointless updates that no one asked for – a la Facebook – and to top it all off, Instagram don’t seem to be listening to any of it’s users complaints. Yet through it all, I’ve stayed true to Instagram, although it was pretty tough at times. And finally, I’m learning to love Instagram again.
Learning to Love Instagram Again
I recently took a mini break from Instagram. The best way to describe how I felt is disillusioned. I decided that I was tired of creating promo posts, endless flatlays, and worrying about what my next upload would be. So I went away for a few days, I deleted a bunch of old photos that made me unhappy, and I came back with fresh ideas.
- Beating the System Or ‘finding a work around the new algorithm’. It’s not easy, but there are certain things you can do to claw your account back to the realms of the living. Posting once a day, and using a selection of new hashtags (repeat hashtag usage results in posts not being seen) in each post should do it.
- Keep it Unique Easier said than done. But studies have shown that people are bored of overly stylised flatlays taking up their feed. The “big accounts” are all looking the same, and there’s a herd of copycats on their tails. Think about it; why would someone buy a knock-off when they can have the real thing? Creating unique, concise content is one of the best ways to draw in new followers, and keep the ones you have.
- Love What You Do It’s so easy to just give up. But if you’re really not enjoying Instagram, take a break. Basically if it feels like a chore, don’t waste your time on it. Go away and come back when you’re ready – whether that’s after a day, or a month. I did and it helped me come up with a new look for my feed, a new strategy, and it made me a lot happier.
You can follow me on Instagram @bloomzy and read more of my help posts here.
Choosing my bridal party was surprisingly easy compared to deciding on my wedding guestlist. I was never going to have 10 bridesmaids, and an entourage of flower boys/girls following me down the aisle. Much like our actual wedding, I decided on something small. I wanted those closest to me to be a big part of my day, and more than just an invitee.
Bridal Party: Maid of Honour
Obviously the first person I had to think about was my Maid of Honour (aka Head Bridesmaid). I didn’t really need to think too long about it either, because I knew exactly who would be my perfect Maid of Honour. My best friend and partner-in-crime, none other than Chopstickpanorama. It’s a tough job, and I know I personally would freak out if someone asked me to be their MOH. All the organising, the budgeting, the hen party…need I go on? But true to form, after a few tears and hugs, VA reacted exactly how I had hoped – she said yes!
‘Will you be my Maid of Honour?’ Biscuits by Lavish Slice*
‘Will you be my Maid of Honour?’ Card by notonthehighstreet.com
Bridal Party: Bridesmaids
Choosing my bridesmaids took slightly longer. Not because I was unsure of who to choose, but because I was unsure of how many to have. I’ve been to weddings where there are no bridesmaids at all, and others where there are enough to man a small ship. It’s safe to say I had no idea what the ideal number was. But after deliberating symmetry – coz what else would I consider? – and who I wanted to follow me down the aisle, I decided on three people:
- My sister – Whom I love dearly, and could never even begin to think about celebrating my big day without. She also probably thinks I’ve forgotten about the dance pact we’ve made. But she would be wrong.
- Jemi – A woman who has been with me through thick and thin, and who still loves me even after witnessing all of my awkward style choices throughout the years.
- Ffion – My soon-to-be Sister-in-Law, and someone I can rely on when it comes to all the important things in life: good food, style, and telling me how it is.
‘Will you be my bridesmaid?’ Card by Jade Fisher*
This post is in collaboration with notonthehighstreet.com, however all views, photos and words are my own.