Wedding 101: Things to research and discuss with your fiancé before you plan anything!

Welcome to another instalment of The House of Lotz Wedding Planning Series!

For those of you that are new: Welcome and Congratulations on getting engaged!! This is a little series that I wanted to create that kind of filled in all the gaps that I found in resource material when I was planning my own wedding.

Today I wanted to go through the 5 things you need to research and decide with your fiancé before you even think of spending any money or agree to any suggestions from friends and family.

Budget:

I know that this may be obvious to everyone, but i really do think this is something that is overlooked! Before you look at anything, you need to sit down with both families and your fiancé to find out what your bottom line is. Make it very clear that there is no obligation for anyone to help you financially, but you would like to know if there is anything they would like to help with before your get your heart set on something. We were very lucky in that my Mum paid for my dress (a story for another day), my Dad and Mama where able to do all my accessories, so this saved us a fortune and allowed us to pay for our bridal party’s outfits.

Don’t forget to go through your family for resources! If your Aunt makes cakes, talk to here for either a contact that can cut you a deal, if your friend is a floris do the same! Every little helps!!

This all sounds so crass, but this is the most expensive day of your life and you do not want to be caught short and not be able to feed your guests on the day!

Home or Away?

Do you want to get married in the UK or opt for a destination wedding? This is a question only you can answer as a couple! There is a massive bonus to getting married abroad in that what you pay for it what you get. Your hotel coordinator will do everything for you so all you have to do is show up.

Getting married at home can also offer this, but it is completely up to you. You need to get this 100% agreed between you before one starts going off and looking at Greece whilst the other is looking at Gloucester!

Save the Season:

Going on from the Home vs Away argument, it’s time to pick a time of year. This sounds daft, but this is a fun conversation to have. We were super lucky in that we both proffer the colder months and love the colours of Autumn, so October was perfect for us! Others may not have this joy, so it is worth having this conversation.

Some people will even go so far as picking their season to match their colour schemes! If you are set on having a pastel coloured day, don’t set your wedding in December!

I even went so far as plotting out the year with all our celebrations on it to make sure we were not clashing with anything. Added bonus, this means that our wedding anniversary is equally spaced out from our birthdays and Christmas so this allows us to spoil each other even more!

It’s All Legal:

This is probably the worst part of the pre-planning/researching process……it’s time to call your local council….and the council in the district you want to get married in!

I know this is a sucky call to make but: did you know that in some districts you can only book your rejestra 12 months before you want to get married? Did you also know that if you are getting married in a district you do not live in, you need to meet with your local council (and pay for that meeting) as well as booking your officiant?

Make sure you get this all set before you set your heart on this spring, but everything is booked until next summer!

Venue:

Now you have done all of these things, it’s time to pick your venue! I would recommend seeing as many venues as you can,,,,but make sure you go in with an action plan!

The Boy and I made a deal……as he hates appointments like this in general, I picked out all the venues, went to all the appointments and then came to him with the top 3. In my usual over prepared way, I gave him a break down of room prices, package inclusions and price per head on both sit down meal and reception buffet for the evening.

If you and your partner want to do all the appointments together that is great! I would recommend having a little score card system so you can make a decision easily. If you both can’t agree, then it’s not the venue for you.

I hope this has helped you in your pre-planning stage!

Next Time in Wedding 101: Top 5 all round resource materials!

Have a great weekend xXx

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March Favourites

Happy Easter Weekend Everyone! I hope you are all enjoying your 4 day weekend so far!! (Sorry US guests, I know you don’t have this joy, but for us this 4 day weekend is a rare joy!)

I am so sorry that I have not had an open door the last few weeks, things have been a wee bit busy with post wedding admin, Daddy’s Birthday and being very very ill!

So…let’s see what has been keeping me going over the last month:

In The Kitchen:

I think this a sign that I am getting old…or crazy…or both…but I’m just in love with my collection of dinner plates at the moment.

Over the last year r so I have developed a strange love of blue and white china. I have no idea where it has come from, and why it is slowly taking over our home, but I am very glad it is! It brings a beautiful classic feel to a very mixed era home.

In The Bathroom:

To continue my blue and white obsession into another area of our home, i have switched our clear shower curtain (which I could never get or keep clean no matter what I did) for this beautiful blue and white number.

It makes our little bathroom a little lighter and brighter…..it’s also machine washable to makes my life a lot easier!

In The Bedroom:

A step away from the blue now into something else bright and cheerful! This jumper is my newest obsession given how cold and horrible it has been over the last few weeks.

This little guy is from ASOS Curve, is massively oversized and probably the softest thing I have ever worn! It even gets The Boy’s stamp of approval.

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

After being laid out on the sofa ill for lord knows how long, I have rekindled my love of Sex and The City. I have gone so far as to watch all the episodes and both movies…..and I am currently on the second go round.

In The Portable House of Lotz (aka In The Handbag):

Last month we made a little trip into Bath on our way back from Centre Parcs. On this little trip we went into one of my favourite shops: Anthropology…I have an unhealthy obsession with this shop, but I am waaaay past caring….and in my head I have decorated our home 50 times over…never mind!

Anyway, I needed a new handbag pencil case to stop all my stationary going walkabout. This little number is super cute and I just love it! The leather is hard and sturdy….so it has managed to keep its shape no matter how much I over fill it!

So that was March! Let’s see what April will bring us!!

Have a great week xXx xXx

Telling the Future: Top 5 Things for the next 5 years

“So…..where do you see yourself in 5 years?”

Probably the most hated question ever asked in an interview. It brings terror to the hearts and minds of all who hear it, and power to those who ask it.

“What do I say? I want to be up for your job in that time? Have enough money to buy a house? New car? A family? Depends if you offer me this job or I am stuck where I am for the next few years?”

Either way you feel like you are giving the answer that someone else wants to hear, rather than the answer that is true to you.

I have found the best way to answer this question is in 2 parts….this gives anyone who utters this dreaded phrase an insight into who you are. It also reassures you that you are not a one-dimensional working robot…or a crazed loon…..either way its a bonus!

The people who ask this are usually with you on an interview or a first date…..either way it awkward!

On the flip side, this is a great question! I was asked it the other day by someone I never thought I would hear it from…..so it got me thinking……where do I really see myself in 5 years?

With everything I do, it boils down to a Top 5……so here are my top 5 things I want to achieve in the next 5 years:

The 9 to 5 switch up:

Let’s get this bit over and done with……my 9 to 5 I do really enjoy! Don’t get me wrong, it’s not my dream job but the other day I did realise it has given me everything 15 year old me ever wanted.

That being said, I do want to grow. The odd project here, maybe a promotion/lateral move wouldn’t go a miss!

The big dream is to write a book and never have to work in a corporate office again….but that is in the 10 year plan….not the 5!

Fitness Plans:

A few years ago my fitness plan was “Get Thin Now”….but that has all changed! It is now “Improve Cardio Fitness”. I basically want to be able to walk up the hills at Centre Parcs without wanting to die half way up!

I also want to be able to hold a plank for 60 seconds….but I think that will come in time.

Food Goals:

I have been slowly working out what I should/can eat over the last year or so….I think I have come to a good point with all now, so it is time for a new challenge. In the next 5 years I want to eliminate all processed foods from the house. The main goal is to make everything from scratch so I know that i can eat it without getting sick. My odd little plan will also help to save us some money to save for the next plan…..

Home Sweet Home:

I love our home!! It has been my home for 30 odd years now, but it has been our home for about 8 years now. We want to change all the windows (they are the same ones that were fitted in the house when I was 7), and we want to build an extension……and decorate….I could not imagine this not being our home, so we want to make a grow and evolve the way we do.

Family and Friends First:

I don’t think this one needs any explanation…….

I love my family and wish I could be with all of them all the time….but as we all have lives and things to do, I want to make a conscious effort to make more time…and then spend it with them, just because i can!

So where do you really see yourself in 5 years?

Have a great week lovelies xXx Hugs and Love xXx

February Favourites

Another month has been and gone…….I think it might be just me, but the month seemed to go so quickly and so slowly all at the same time!

February saw the Husband and I go to Center Parcs for our birthdays (beautiful, cold and full of squirrels….as it should be), we celebrate my birthday, cry on Mama’s Birthday and smile again on Husbands Birthday. February is the Birthday month, as you can tell, so it has been full of cake and naughty foods.

This has also been the month of snow: as I write this, I am watching our garden peek through the white blanket. Today was our first day leaving the house after 3 days of being stuck inside……I even has to bring my 9 to 5 into The House of Lotz office and work from home…..not impressed!!

So anyway…..let’s get into what has been keeping me going through this cold festive month:

In The Kitchen:

The push for a better world with more recycling and reusable products, I have decided to do my bit. A while ago I made the conscious effort to ask for no straw when we go out anywhere as well as making sure I either have my coffee in the cafe or bring my own travel mug.

Now to take this a little bit further I have been taking these metal straws with me. This was I can have enjoy my beverage through a straw, but not contribute to a pile of plastic.

In The Bathroom:

As a beautiful birthday present, my wonderful Husband brought me a new Jo Malone shower gel to replace one that I just finished.

As an extra romantic step, he picked out one of the matching fragrances on our wedding day.

English Pear and Freesia is something that is delicate, fresh and uplifting. Even though it is a shower gel, the scent lingers all day and makes me smile without fail.

In The Bedroom:

As you all know it has been freaking freezing! According to my Dad (who is my weather expert, and is never wrong) it has been “feels like minus 12” in our area……and living in a house that does not currently have central heating fitted I have been feeling the cold!

To help keep me warm, I have been obsessed with my Yuyu hot water bottle. Yes I know this is the kids cover, however I could not stretch to a cashmere cover!

This little guy stays warm for quite a while, and given him being so long, my entire body gets warm!

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

As part of our shared birthday gift from my Mum, The Husband and I were treated to a new living room lamp. Our last one bit the dust at the end of January as a result of being a million years old and not screwing together properly.

This amazing spot lamp illuminates our living room independently of all other lights, but not in a garish way. We have fitted it with a warm toned bulb so we get a lovely warm glow.

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

I love to be organised…..we all know this….however like most very organised people, there are a few areas of my world that are messy…..One of these places is my handbag. You would all be appalled at how much of a state it is at the bottom of my bag……

In a last ditch effort to tackle this part of my world, I invested in this beautiful leather clutch from a fabulous seller on Etsy. It is expertly handcrafted, and can really take a lot of stuff!!

Added bonus: it now makes running out the door for coffee or a quick trip somewhere, I can just take this little guy filled with all my essentials and be on my way!

So…..that was February!

I hope you all had a good month, and that you have started to defrost!

Have a great week xXx hugs and love xXx

How to plan a wedding: You’re Engaged Now What?

Congratulations you lovely people! Your engaged and I’m sure you could not be happier! It is the most incredible feeling to have the person you love confirm that they want to be with you forever and declare all the things that comes with it.

Once this beautifully intimate declaration has passed, and you have to make the announcement to all you know and love, you are now bombarded with questions and pressure and…..well…far to many things that will bring on anxiety attack!

I found that everyone wants to know the date, where the wedding is, how many people are coming, what your dress looks like…..but it has only been a few days since you became engaged! Between us, Husband and I kept saying “We don’t know, we haven’t decided yet”, but in the back of our heads we are screaming “We got engaged yesterday, how are we meant to know”.

I have spoken to a lovely newly engaged friend of mine who is havening the same problem, so sweetie this is for you. These are my top 3 tips for the newly engaged.

Enjoy The Moment:

Becoming engaged is a beautiful thing. It comes with so many emotions that you need a little while to put yourself in order, and to spend time with your fiancé. I recommend just telling your family and closest friends when you are ready, and ask them to keep it to themselves for a few days.

The Husband and I kept it just for us and our little universe for a week, and then did a formal announcement when you are ready. This was you really get to enjoy the moment without a thousand questions.

Make an Engagement Plan:

When you are ready to, have a conversation with your fiancé about the things you want for your engagement/wedding. You need to be able to agree on having a long or short engagement, big or small wedding, whether you are having an engagment party or not. These things are all important but you should not make these decisions alone……your not getting married to yourself!

Set Some Ground Rules:

Girlfriends, Sisters, Mum’s and Mother In Laws to be get very excited about weddings. Some get a little bit too excited! I have a friend who had her now bridal party bombard here with wedding magazines, Pinterest pages and planner notebooks a week after she got engaged. To some that can be a bit overwhelming….and it made this bride to be run away from planning her own wedding.

Something similar happened to us. We kept getting asked about the date when we had not even found a venue.

Before anyone can get in there and scare you off, tell people you want to take your time and think about things with you fiancé first. No back seat planners please!

I hope this gives you lovelies a little insight into what it’s like to be engaged! Next time, I’m going to talk about important resources you need to start the planning process.

Have a great week guys xXx hugs and love xXx

Avocado Cookies

Cookies are one of those things that are always a crowd pleaser! No matter if I am happy, sad or indifferent, cookies are always there to save the day!

In saying that, these little guys are always my downfall…..they are never filling, always full of junk and make you want to eat about 50 of them!!

After watching a Buzzfeed video about something completely different, I came across this recipe from Gwyneth Paltrow’s “Goop” site….and it intrigued me! It falls under the “I’m pretending to be a healthy cookies” bracket, but it could also be an upcoming classic that i crack out again and again……after a few tweaks of course!

Right, let’s get baking!

The original recipe for the cookies is here (https://goop.com/recipes/avocado-chocolate-and-sea-salt-cookies/), but the recipes I have used is below:

4 tablespoons softened unsalted butter

1 ripe avocado (mashed within an inch of its life)

½ cup brown sugar

¾ cup spelt flour

⅓ cup raw cacao powder

1 pinch salt

½ cup of something. Ok, this is not helpful but this is a little something to add some texture to your cookies. It can be chocolate chips, nuts, dried fruits, or a mix of everything.

(Note: if you fancy this, you can have some extra salt to sprinkle on top of your cookies for an extra fancy touch. You can also swap out the butter for coconut oil or a plant based butter to make these little guys vegan)

The method to these is brilliant:

First things first, pop your oven on full blast to get it heated up. These little cookies do not rise, but they need the extra heat to get going!

Blend together you avocado and butter until it is well combined.

Add in the sugar and beat until light and creamy.

Sift in your dry ingredients and then beat again until well combined.

Fold in your “something” of choice! This time I used pecans (this is basically all i had in the cupboard so I just ran with it).

This is the sucky part: leave your mix in the fridge for a minimum of 2 hours. I know I know this sucks, but you will thank me for it!!

In these 2 hours you can either clean your kitchen (blah) or have a cup of tea and take a rest! You can even leave these overnight…the firmer the better!

Once you have left these, it is time to put your quinel skills to the test! You are going to need 2 spoons to create balls of cookie dough.

Once you have these balls, pop them on the tray (you can fit as many as you want as long as they are not touching….these guys do not spread!)

Bake your cookies at 180 degrees for 10 minutes….and taadaaaa…your done!!

Fresh out the oven these are fudgy chocolate balls of goodness!! This is brought to you by the avocado and chocolate mixing to make beautiful magic!

These little guys will keep for 3 days maximum! After that, they start to feel like a lead balloon in your stomach thanks to the spelt flour!

Well, enjoy your cookies guys!!

Have a great week!! Hugs and love xXx