Saturday, 21 February 2009

Here Comes the Sun

Missed the sun today.

Ironically, I've been writing about Sun storage solutions instead.

Still, mustn't grumble as I'll get plenty of sunshine in Thailand. Only a few weeks left until I fly there with my new hubby.

My workload has gone ballistic. I did ask for more work. I'm very grateful to the universe/Powers that Be/The Great Mother and all her Little Pixies for answering my request.

However, next time I gaze skyward and mutter my request, I will be making it SMARTer. Paying special attention to the Timing part.

After dossing around for the best part of December and January, new contracts aplenty have been rolling in. Fabulous. Apart from the fact that they rushed towards me just before half-term, and with only a few weeks until my wedding & honeymoon.

Luckily, El loves her holiday club. And I still managed to make time to take her ice skating.

Must crack on with more fascinating insights into the world of IT storage solutions. I'm rather enjoying it actually.

I have guests coming over soon for a Nigella-inspired Mexican feast. Including homemade margarita ice cream  - made with Tequila and Cointreau.  

I think it'll be a fun night...

Thursday, 12 February 2009

2 Cocks and 18 Hens

Photo credit: Chicken and a hen

I had my hen night last Friday. I am still recovering. Yes, it was that good!

Unusually, I invited two honorary male hens, or cocks as I prefer to think of them.

Even more unusually, after we had eaten at the wonderful (and very good value)
Thai Corner we met up with J and his stags at Plug n Play  - where J and I had first met. Oh, and where I subsequently have enjoyed many a wild night.

Did I mention that I danced on the table in the restaurant? No? Good. I shudder now, but it seemed appropriate at the time.

After some brilliant dance music and a few interesting incidents, including a good (married) friend of mine being propositioned by a very sexy hunk of a man to come back with him and his wife (!!!), we wobbled into a taxi at about 5am.

My wonderful foresight had led me to make a blueberry pancake batter before I went out so I could rustle up breakfast for all my guests. Unfortunately, most of them had snuck off before I dragged myself out of bed - at around 5pm. I'm no good with late nights/early mornings. I have to sleep them off straight away.

El's dad was kindly looking after both El and her cousin until Sunday lunchtime, so Jules (my sis) and I had enough time to be fully compus mentis before having to switch into mummy mode.

I had the best time, but I'm glad I don't have to party that hard on a regular basis. I'm still feeling a little delicate nearly a week later.

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

My Credit Crunch Wedding

I'm not usually known to be frugal, but when a part-time marketing consultant/copywriter and a full-time heating engineer decide to tie the knot they have to take into account a distinct lack of funds. For J and I, you can also include a distinct lack of willing benefactors. 

A little internet resarch revealed the fact that my dream wedding - a marquee on Temple Island for 150 guests, free flowing booze, fine dining, loads of flowers etc would only be a reality for me if I robbed a bank, sold a kidney or reconciled myself to 5-10 years worth of paying off a loan. For just one day (albeit a very special one)? No way, Jose. 

Our limited resources haven't been too restrictive though. We've just had to focus more on what's really important for us. Which is: a fab honeymoon and a great party. Oh, and I expanded that criteria recently to include a Red-Carpet-Oscar-Winner-Dress. A girl has got to be a goddess on her wedding day, naturellement.

So, we're going halves on a two week honeymoon in Thailand. I'll be raiding my recently-started ISA for that one. Actually, depleting it would be a more accurate description.

My dress is a Mireia Bisbe (Spanish designer) raspberry red and was way over my budget. That is, until I bargained the Back Room Girls down by £200 and my lovely friend, Anton offered to put £250 towards it as a wedding present. Bless his cotton socks.

Did I mention my sweet, silver shoes were on sale at New Look? I spend per week more on cappucinnos than I did on them. They look great.

My lovely flower girls will be in Monsoon dresses.So pretty. Their posies are from Ebay.

My arty friend is doing my make-up, both for the ceremony and for the party. I'm eschewing the Aston Martin for my clapped out Golf.

The wedding invitations were free to do - we set up a Facebook event page and invited everyone via that. Our guests can use the page to upload photos and videos after the event. For those resisting signing up to Facebook, we just emailed them the info.

We have no official photographer, but have invited the Henley Standard photographer to come - they've agreed.

Our ceremony will be just one witness each plus Els and my niece, Sulis, at Henley Registry Office. We'll then all go to Michelin-starred The Hand In Flowers for lunch which we'll go dutch on. J and I will spend our wedding night in their Angus Suite. Our night of decadence.

As for the party. Well, the Village Hall at Nettlebed is a real find. Yes it is a Village Hall but no it isn't lacking in atmosphere. It's wood panelled and has a bar. Better still, it's only £200 to hire for the evening. Bargain.

Instead of a wedding present, we're asking friends to bring a 'pot luck' buffet dish and money to spend on themselves at the bar. Sarada, who is a wonderful cook, has offered to make the cake. I've asked for carrot cake. Not a traditional choice, but then I'm not really a traditional kinda gal.

For decorations, I'm planning on red and white helium balloon clusters - bunched together with ribbon and weighted a bit like the ones here. We'll get a kit and create them ourselves. Candleson the tables for a twinkly effect, but these ones so we don't burn the place down.

Music will either be our friends DJ-ing (one of them is happy to lend us her decks, another has some booming speakers, and at least 3 of our friends are fairly good DJs), or playlists we'll line up on J's Ipod.

Entertainment? Well, that's the best bit. 

My good friend does a Burlesque Fire Hoola-Hooping show (for festivals and corporate gigs) and she's willing to perform for free on the huge, secluded lawn at the back of the venue. We're keeping that one a secret - apart from warning friends with kids in case they want to shield the little dears from nipple tassles and suspenders - so shhh..don't tell ;-)

I also fancy getting some of these and asking guests to launch them after the Hoola-Hoop show, as a nice finale.

Total cost? Way, way, way less than the traditional wedding. With rings, excluding honeymoon, I reckon about £1,500. Good eh?

Monday, 2 February 2009

Slumdog Millionaire

I saw Slumdog Millionaire recently and loved it.

Don't be put off by the advertising, as I was initially. It isn't as schmaltzy as it looks.

Instead, it is a visual feast that reveals the colour and chaos, splendour and squalor of India. It lays bare the gritty life of slum children in Mombai, complete with a
Fagin-esque exploitation of orphans, without descending into pathos or sentimentality (well, not too much).

Slumdog is about love and love of money, tenacity and karma (fate). Despite a few unnecessarily formulaic bits (of course her rich boyfriend beats her up, of course true love prevails despite the odds, of course the hero triumphs) it is a beautiful, affecting film.

Go and see it on the big screen while you can.