Wedding 101: Vendor Tips

We all know that weddings are a big money business. There is a joke that if you add the word ‘Wedding’ to anything, just add two zeros on the end. I would love to tell you that this is nonsense….but it’s not!! I have spoken to some people who were quoted for the exact same flowers we had for our big day and the sum they gave me looked like a phone number!! Thank goodness for having a creative parents!!

Vendors can also be one of two things: fabulous and a dream to work with, or a pain in the butt, so this is the perfect time to do your research and pick who you really want to work with!

So, here are some tips for picking good vendors that you will be happy to work with:

Do they leave you waiting?

The best way to judge a vendor is how long they take to reply to your initial meeting request or query.

A good vendor will have an automated email to say how long you may have to wait for a response. Anyone who leaves your standing for longer than a week with no follow up is not worth your time, let alone your money…no matter who it is or what service they are providing!

Good Reviews?

I have found this amazing feature inside google that I wish I had known about sooner!! If you type in the companies name (not the name of the service they are providing) google will pull all the reviews it can find on the company so you can see the good, the bad and everything in between!

I must admit this is a new level of stalking, but I even entered a few vendors onto Companies House to make sure they filed their taxes the previous financial year. You hear these horrible stories of companies going bust a week before a wedding, and Lord knows I didn’t want to take that chance!!

Don’t be afraid to meetings!

Meetings and calls are a great way to get to know your vendors. It’s also a great way to see what they are all about and weather you want to work with them or not!

In planning a wedding we go and see several venues, why not meet with the same amount of photographers, florists and bakeries!

Read ALL the fine print:

Any time you think of working with a vendor, ask to see their contract and full cost breakdown. I am a little bit lucky in that I work with figures, terms and conditions all day, so I am use to weeding out the cost information that might be hidden.

Make sure you read everything carefully and do not sign on the dotted line until you and your Hubby to be are 100% happy with the cost and service promised!

Talk to your venue:

Your venue and coordination staff are the best resource you will ever have. They know all the inside stories from other weddings so they can give you first hand information on every little detail! Just remember to be a little cautious: a venue I went to see would only let you use the vendors on their list for everything! Cake, cars, everything it was horrible! Make sure they offer you a good mix of price ranges.

So, those are my little tips on picking vendors! Happy Picking!!

Have a great weekend xXx hugs and love xXx

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Summer Skincare Essentials

First off, sorry there was no post last week and that this one is late! I took a little mental health break to hang out with some beautiful friends and their families. Also today is a sad day for my family so things have been a little on the back burner!

Anyway, this is not why you all stopped in today! We are here to talk about the summer and how it’s important to look after your skin.

As we all know, sun damage can not be reversed….once you have been out in the sunshine with no SPF on your skin will start creating damaged little pockets with dark spots! This is not going to be an advantage to you in any type of anti-aging process you are undertaking. Anti-aging is not always the aim of the game when it comes to skincare, but does anyone really want to look like an uncared for leather jacket!

So….here are my top 5 things I use to feed my skin in the summer:

SPF!!!!!

Ok this is a no-brainer but it is very important to have a good SPF in your skincare arsenal. In the Summer I move my usual SPF20 to a SPF50. This is not just on my face! I use a SPF50 all over every morning and top up as needed.

I pay special attention to my face, arms and the backs of my hands. This is mainly because I spend the first hour of my morning in the car and the sun does like to shine brightly through those windows!

Dry Brushing:

Summer time is lovely and all, but it does mean that I get my legs out! Shorts, skirts, bikinis…..it’s all out there for the world to see!

What comes with that is the very obvious view of skin that has not been loved since last summer! To bring it is a bit of TLC I dry brush for 5 minutes every day just before I get in the shower.

This burst of exfoliation helps remove any dry patches I might have, as well as invigorating the skin making it glow and look more alive! Just remember to brush towards the heart to promote lymphatic drainage and remove ingrown hairs!

Restorative Night Creams:

After spending the day in the sunshine, it is important to feed your skin with nourishing ingredients. SPF is so important but that and the sunshine can really dry out your skin!

In the evening, I cover myself in so much cream that it feels like a mask and then get into my nice warm bed. Overnight it soaks in and stops all the horrid dry patches!

So, these are the skincare essentials I can not do without this time of year!

Hope you all had a wonderful weekend xXx

Hugs and love xXx

July Favourites

That’s another month that has melted away…..this is so true for everyone in the UK, we are all melting from this heatwave and it is not fun!

I know…I know….typical English Girl moaning about the weather. I can’t help myself…It’s hot and I’m grumpy!

Anyway, moaning aside, it has been a wonderful month filled with family fun, ice, sunshine and a bit of stress (the joys of the 9 to 5 and picking up my new car).

Anyway…….let’s get into what I have been loving this month!

In The Kitchen:

You all know how much I love coffee, but this time of year it is just too warm for my usual morning Almond Milk Cappuccino.

To keep me cool, I have switched over to an Iced Almond Milk Latte to accompany me in my morning commute. The added bonus of using my travel cup means that I don’t have to worry about disposable cups or plastic straws.

In The Bathroom:

In my bid to keep my plastic waste down I have taken a hard look at everything I use. Unfortunately I am a hairy lady so I needed to tackle hair removal quickly!

After doing some YouTube stalking and research, I came to the conclusion that epilating was the way to go! It’s less messy than waxing and a little easier to do. It’s just switch on and go! I appreciate that it hurts to begin with, but for the tattooed person it is nothing more than a little outlining!

In the Bedroom:

With this new love of epilating has come a renewed need to moisturise my legs! I must admit I’m not the best at remembering to do this, particularly in the summer, but I’m trying to do better!!

I’m also trying to use up old products so this last little bit of body oil has come in handy! I think it’s bio-oil, or it might be Nuxe….no idea! Either way it’s making my legs super soft and it’s getting used up!

In The House of Lotz Spa and Retreat (aka In The Living Room):

My Dadums and Uncle are being amazing and redoing our garden for us as a wedding gift! It’s taken them so much time and hard work, which I will never be able to thank them for fully!

With all of this garden love has come a few new plants and a new lease of life in some old ones! These amazing roses grew in our garden and I could let them just fade away outside! So I snipped them off and brought them in! They lasted a good week inside and they smell amazing!

In the Portable House of Lotz (aka in my Handbag):

Sunny weather + driving in a glass roofed car + being pale……we can only get one result…..Sunburn!!!!!

To avoid this I have cracked out and old favourite in this SPF! I repurchase it every summer and it never lets me get burnt! Brilliant stuff!

Well, that was July everyone!!! What will August bring??

Sending hugs and love xXx

Wedding 101: Everything you need to know about Stationery

Stationery is one of my favourite things in the world! I love a good pen and an amazing set of notebooks. I even plan specific trips for special occasions when i want to go further afield for something unique!

Wedding stationery is a whole new kettle of fish!! It was probably the easiest and most annoying task that we had to undertake. Who knew that there was so much stuff to think about!!

Before we get into tips, for the benefit of those you who do not know what Wedding Stationery includes (I didn’t to be fair) here is a list:

Save the date cards

All Day Invitations

Evening Invitations

Information Cards

Instruction Cards

RSVPs

Place Cards

Signs

Seating Plan

Thank You Cards

So…..now you have been terrified by the amount of paper that you might need to use, let’s get into my 5 tips on Stationery!

Ask Your Venue:

A lot of venues throw in some of your stationery as part of their packages, so check in with them before you starting mooching around the internet!

If this is included for you, there is no harm in reaching out to the same company to see if they offer any sort of discount for using them for the rest of your stationery.

We looked into using the same one for ours (to give it a bit of consistency) but they were unable to accommodate our strange request for a black invitation, but they did throw in our signs for free instead.

DIY?

Let’s be honest, some people are so creative and completely able to create some amazing invitations, but do you have the time and is it in your budget?

Before you set your heart on the amazing pop up card complete with doves that you found on Pinterest take a trip to Amazon and Hobby Craft to see how much this is going to cost you.

If this will sit in your budget, make 1 as a mock up to see how long it will take you to make them. Don’t forget, these things can be time expensive as well!

Keeping in the theme:

Wedding themes are amazing! Once you have one you can apply it to everything! Make sure that the company you choose can fulfill what you are looking for. If you want something a little bit out of the ordinary, I would recommend Papier! This is a company that popped up on Facebook that I checked out on a whim and they where everything we wanted in the end!

They managed to produce a black save the date and invitation that did not look ashy or transfer colour everywhere!

Don’t be afraid:

This is something I have mentioned before, but don’t be afraid to list out your request for no children and money as a gift on your invitations. There is no need for a poem or to dance around the subject, just be polite and to the point.

Make sure you list EVERYTHING so your guests are prepared and ready for your special day.

Check, Check and Check a bit more:

When ordering anything, double check EVERYTHING that is being printed. We asked for proof prints of everything, and I asked The Boy to check all the spellings so we did not have the final order come through with mistakes all over it!

Bonus tip: bundle some of your invitations together! My Dadums is amazing and delivered all the invitations to family in his area, same for The Boy’s parents too!

So, that is a quick tip filled walk through Wedding Stationery! I hope you all enjoyed and happy ordering…or DIY-ing!

Have a great weekend xXx Hugs and love xXx

Book Club – Mid Year Catch Up!

One of my 2018 Goals was to spend some more time doing “nothing”. I like to call this very special time of the day “Zone Out” time. It means so much to me because it is time that I truly dedicate to me and letting my very over active brain switch off for a while.

There are times in the week where I pair this “Zone Out” time with the time that I get my body moving. This sounds very odd, but over the years I have developed the knack of walking and reading at the same time….so reading and walking on the treadmill or cycling on the gym bikes is no different.

This very odd skill has allowed me to fit in more reading (one book a month…yay), and more cardio….so it is a win-win situation.

So…what have I read so far this year?

January: ‘A is for Alibi’ by Sue Grafton

I do love a crime novel and this one didn’t disappoint! It is the first in the series written by this author that follows a female insurance investigator/private investigator. I won’t reveal too much but basically it is a page turner and not for the faint of heart. There was one point where I was reading on the bike, someone wanted my attention in the gym and I nearly fell off! Slightly embarrassing to say the least!

Totally recommend as an any point in the year read, so pick up a copy before you head on your holidays!

February: ‘High Fidelity’ by Nick Hornby

A classic! I think I have read this book and watched the movie upwards of 50 times over the years. I like to think of this as the coming of age story that keeps on giving. It’s the story of a guy going through a breakup….and a quarter life crisis…and working on a struggling business with 2 oddballs he hired for ‘2 days a week and just starting turning up every day’.

It has an amazing soundtrack (check out Spotify for some amazing playlists) and it always gets me in the mood for a trip down memory lane! It also inspired me to write this blog. I am the queen of the top 5….and it’s this books fault!

March: ‘Expo 58’ by Jonathan Coe

This book is AWFUL! I was hoping this would be a beautiful post-war story of a time where the world was hopeful and full of spies. In the end it was slow to start and even half way through it hadn’t gotten anywhere!

I abandoned it at page 100 of 263 so I can’t even comment on the ending.

April: ‘The F Word’ by Lily Pebbles

I can say nothing but good things about this amazing book written by one of my favourite bloggers of all time.

This is a social commentary on Female Friendship. It prompted me to reflect on my own friendships and how much I really do value the ladies in my life!

If you are having a bad time, or feel like you need a positive read…I would 100% recommend it! I may have purchased a couple of copies to give to these girlfriends so they can share in the joy!

May: ‘Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine’ by Gail Honeymann

An overall ‘meh’ read! It was great in places, and covers the very sad topics of loneliness, loss and mental health but it was another slow one for me.

I picked it up in Winchester on a trip to see one of my besties with another bestie so it will always hold a place for me in my heart, but i don’t think it is one I will be pick up up again.

If you want a good cry, pick it up.

June: ‘The 5 Second Rule’ by Mel Robbins

I started watching this amazing women on YouTube and I very quickly became obsessed!

Mel basically teaches you how to get your life in order, how to stop your brain from screwing you over, and how to be more productive!

She shows you how to use that 5 second window between when you decide to do something and your brain being out to your advantage and move forward on something. It has also been helping me with my anxiety which has been amazing!

If you want a book on productivity and anxiety treatment that actually works: pick this up and watch it change your life!!

So, that is what I have been reading this year! I hope you pick some of these up and you let me know what you think!!!

Have I missed anything that I should be trying??

Hugs and love xXx Have a great weekend xXx

Story Time: 5 Objects That Make Me ‘Me’

For the first time in a long time I sat and read a magazine. I was in a waiting room and it was probably 4 years out of date, and I can’t remember which magazine it was, but still….

During my flip through I found this cool article where someone famous listed 5 objects that made up their life story or their journey to the top. This inspired me to reflect on things that I have with me all day every day, things that I love from when I was little and even things I accumulated on the way and measure how important they are to me.

So here are the 5 Objects That Make Me ‘Me’:

Snoopy:

He has to be my very first and best friend. I know he may look old and a bit beaten up, but to be fair he isn’t too bad for a 40 year old bear.

My Dad gave him to my Mum when they were dating…..to say that was a while before I came along was an understatement!

The story I was told is that he fell into my cot and we have been friends ever since. There is a complementary story that goes with that where my Dadums had to drive all the way back to Centre Parcs in Nottingham where I accidentally left him behind! Snoopy knows my darkest secrets and he has seen me through some very shitty times.

As an adult (sort of) I would love to say I no longer have him in my bed with me, but when times get tough and I need my oldest friend, he’s always there!

My Fountain Pen:

Junior school was a little bit difficult for me. School had been my escape for such a long time, and to all of a sudden have a teacher who was not the most understanding of the dyslexic bunch was really difficult. She told us we were not allowed to have fountain pens yet because ‘we weren’t smart enough to use them’.

At the end of that year, after many complaints about this particular teacher, she left the school and my parents treated me to this beautiful pen as a treat for really sticking it out. My Nan even sat with me to teach me how to write with it. It’s an art form in itself and I have never stopped using it. I wrote my A-Levels with it, my final university exams and even my wedding vows.

I even use it to write all my greetings cards and I like to think it passes on a little love and good luck along its way.

Charlotte:

When I was Christened, my Great Aunty Pat and Great Aunty Gill brought me a very tiny nameplate necklace. Every time there was a special occasion I had it round my neck until one day it just wouldn’t go around me any more.

When I was 19 my Mama and Dadums brought me a replacement and I have worn it no fewer than twice a week ever since. When people in my age group where getting into “Sex in the City” and Carrie’s name necklace, I had been wearing mine for years!

I feel like it’s another of my lucky charm, no matter what occasion I need it for. It even feels like my Mama and Dadums are giving me a hug when I need it the most.

Bangle:

Another piece of jewellery, but with a different little story. I haven’t taken this off since the summer before I went to university.

A distant but very dear friend gave this to me just before he went off to spend a year in the circus. I was always very close to by Brother Friend (as I always called him) and his school friends, they all wore these bangles and to be given one was a big deal….particularly for a girl who hung around with the boys school crowed.

Since then I have never take it off. I even wore it on our wedding day…..much to my Grandmothers horror!

Something Very Special:

Once Upon a Time, in a land not too far away a Boy gave a Girl a ring that was just a Birthday gift. They had only been dating about 8 months and it was something she picked out herself…….11 years later they got engaged, got married and they lived happily ever after.

So, this little ring was the first birthday gift The Boy ever gave me. It was my 20th and I had a £20 budget to spend (the joys of being a student and skint all the time). This little guy cost around £15 so there was some changed left over for a little cake as well. The day after he brought it for me we had ‘Faux Birthday’ as I was going home for the actual day, so I could wear it straight away. From that day up until the day we got engaged it resided on my left hand on my middle finger. Now it sits at the top of my wedding ring and engagement ring stack. This ring is nothing expensive, and looks unimportant to most, but it means everything to me. It represents the first time The Boy said ‘I love you’ and the moment that we both realised we would be together…..’Always’.

So those are 5 things that make me ‘me’ I guess.

What items are special to you? Do you have anything that you usually overlook that you might see differently now?

Hugs and love xXx Have a wonderful weekend xXx

June Favorites

Happy End of June everyone!!

We have reached that magical time of year where the days start to get a little shorter but they get exponentially hotter!

You all know I am not very good with the heat, but this summer I am actually kind of excited to get a bit of a tan and spend some time in the sunshine!!

This month, as all of them, has gone passed in a flash and I feel like I have spent it chasing my tail!

At one point we had no hot water (thank you Dadums for fixing it), the house has had a deep clean and the food processor went bang! To top it all, the 9-5 has been giving me a crazy amount of anxiety, so I have been doing my best to keep it all together and work on my trigger points (but that is a story for another time).

Let’s let that all go to one side, and get into the things that I have loved this month!!

In the Kitchen:

With the temperature rising and air condition being turned up to the max, I feel like I am turning into the seasonal prune! To keep hydrated from the inside out, I have been doing my best to drink at least one of these when I get home in the few hours before I go to bed.

I love this bottle so so much for its size, and message! We should all be reminded to be in the moment and not distracted so much!

Side note: I keep a full one of these by my bed so I can grab it in the morning and drink it before I head out the door. This sounds so lazy, but if my water is not in one place and ready for me to drink I just wont drink it.

In the Bathroom:

A french skin care item in my favourites should be no shock to anyone! I have a very real obsession with it…..and to be honest I do not see it going anywhere any time soon! They are just the best!!

I have been applying this cream underneath my SPF to give that added hydration. There is an added bonus with this little guy as it is formulated to reduce redness. I so much as have to think about being warm or sunburnt to go bright red, so this has been helping out loads!

In the Bedroom:

I had to add this favourite in, but I couldn’t find a space…so I thought: “My other earrings live in the bedroom, so I will just bung them here!”

Over the last 9 months I have been slowly finishing off my curated ear. This sounds so poncy but this is the only way I can describe it.

During the piercing stage I have been feeling so miffed that the rest of my ear looks so boring….so I added these little beauties to my ear to give it a bit of flair! These are all from SeolGold on Etsy so please go check them out! Super affordable and AMAZING quality!

In The House of Lotz Spa and Retreat (aka the Living Room):

For the last year or two I have been using the poof that came with our sofa as my desk…..which has been killing me back! Hunching over is not a good look for me!

The final straw came in the form of my back spasming so badly I had to take a bath….and muscle relaxant….and apply muscle gel!

After this The Boy made me look at desk options for the living room!

This little guy is from Home Sense and it is meant to be a garden table, but it really suits our living room perfectly!

In the Portable House of Lotz (aka In My Handbag):

Once upon a time, way back when I was at Senior School, there was a teacher that I just adored! Everything about her was amazing and all I wanted to do was be like her! From her hair, nail polish and shoes, I just loved her! She reminded me a little of Charlotte from Sex and the City….so if any of my lovely readers went to my old school around the same time as me this will be a massive give away!

In her stationery arsenal she had a full set of Parker pens. The fountain pen, ballpoint and the pencil. Over the years I have collected the fountain pen and ballpoint, but the pencil has always just that little bit out of reach!

This year I decided it has to be mine, so I now have a full set!! I have been using it non-stop….so my 12 year old self would be so proud!

So that is what has been keeping me going this month!

What have you all been loving? Is there anything I should be trying next month?

Have a great weekend xXx Hugs and love xXx