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The thought of choosing your wedding dress can be very daunting – it’s THE dress, the one you’ve been thinking about since you were small, the one you’ll remember for the rest of your life and that will adorn many a mantel piece for years to come.

Needless to say, there’s a lot of pressure when it comes to choosing the right dress and having recently gone through the process I wanted to share some of my top tips and piece of advice I wish i’d known along the way.

  1. TAKE IT SLOWLY:  Take your time and make sure not to rush into any hasty decisions. You may find that you change your mind a few times over the course of trying on the dresses and thats totally normal – don’t be put off by this and don’t let pushy sales assistants push you into making a decision you’re not sure about. I had one tell me that if I tried on any more dresses outside of her shop, i’ll end up being more confused and that I must buy from her or I won’t be able to find THE ONE.
  2. TRY MULTIPLE BEFORE YOU BUY: Go to at least three or four different stores – by the time you’ve gone to the fourth you’ll have a clear idea of what you like and which store you had the best experience in. You often here of people trying on a dress and immediately knowing its right for them but this doesn’t happen to everyone (especially not the more indecisive of us). I probably tried on 20 before I found my dress.
  3. DONT LET INSTAGRAM SWAY YOU: It’s very easy to get addicted to looking at countless accounts on Instagram of stunning models swathed in beautiful tulle dresses and then be disappointed when you try the same one on. One of the best pieces of advice I was given is that each dress looks completely different on every person so just because it looks good on the model doesn’t mean it will translate in real life. I found that so many times the image on Instagram doesn’t even look like the same dress in real life! Once you’ve got the dress, be strict with yourself and stop looking.
  4. ITS OK TO HAVE A WOBBLE: It’s totally normal when you’re surrounded by so many images of stunning gowns to have a wobble about the dress – remember the reason why you chose it and have another try on. You’ll soon be reassured that you made the right decision.
  5. HAVE FUN: Trying on dresses is one of the things I have enjoyed most about wedding planning – enjoy it! Have fun trying on dresses with your friends and family.

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Trying on dresses in Pronovias with my bridesmaids.

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Black Friday is back and bigger than ever!

This year stores are starting promotional sales and discounts across the whole week of black friday and into the week after with ‘Cyber Monday’ now becoming a firm fixture on the calendar.

I have scoured the website to bring you the best of the sales so far – this list will be updated as the sales come through. Ready, Set, Shop!

What will you be buying this Black Friday?

John Lewis already has deals – up to 20-30% off.

M&S deals go live from the 24 November. Discounts are to be found in stores and online across all departements wit huge savings off M&S fashion collection and homewares.

Urban Outfitters will have up to 50% off selected lines from Thursday 23rd November – Sunday 26th November (midnight) with £1 standard delivery.

Very Exclusive is offering 25% off for Black Friday across 2000+ items, from brands such as Anna Sui, Marc Jacobs & Karl Lagerfeld to name a few. The offer starts on Thursday 23rd at 5pm and runs until 9am on Tuesday 28th November.

All Saints has 30% off everything! This promo will run from the 22nd November to the 28th November.

Sweaty Betty is giving 20% off everything for black Friday from Wednesday 22nd November – Monday 27th November. And be sure to check out its new retro feel ski collection – it’s gorgeous!

Farfetch will be 10% off between 24th and 28th November.

Hobbs will have 20% off EVERYTHING and in addition, there will be a daily deal every day from the 22nd-27th, offering further discount on a different category each day.

Happy Shopping!

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Florence has always been on my long wish list of places to visit along with so many other city breaks in Europe. An approaching five year anniversary gave us the perfect opportunity to book a romantic getaway. Leaving on the first flight on Friday morning, we had three days to explore the city. It’s undoubtedly one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever visited, Florence offers stunning architecture, amazing sights and some of the best food I’ve ever had! It’s an extra special place for me now as it’s where I got engaged! Here is a taste of what we got up to in pictures.

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The Danish term ‘hygge’ has quickly been adopted as the perfect phrase to describe all things cosy – the elements of every day life that make you happy, calm and fulfilled. The term encourages you to embrace these simple pleasures and amplify them where possible.

It’s become so widely used that ‘hygge’ has been listed as a ‘word of the year’ by both the Collins and Oxford dictionaries. Caroline Sanderson, a writer for ‘Bookseller’ magazine says it is the most striking publishing trend in recent times, in terms of the sheer number of titles published at once.

Hygge has gone BIG on social media: on Instagram there are almost 1.5m #hygge posts of falling leaves, roaring fires, thick knit blankets and hot chocolate with marshmallows – the list goes on! On Pinterest, there has been a year-on-year rise of 285% in hygge-themed pinning.

In a year that’s set to feel the full repercussions of Brexit, making the most of every day moments that present happiness seems to make sense, if anything it’s a requirement. The notion that it is possible to feel genuinely happier by embracing these moments is surely worth investing in if it can improve quality of life. Hygge is no flash in the pan trend, it’s predicted to stick around and who knows, it could totally rub off on us Brits for the better!

So how can we adopt a hygge lifestyle and put this theory to the test? It doesn’t need to cost a lot of money or take up all your time. There are simple and easy changes you can make to make the most of every day and promote a happy lifestyle.

Start with the every day

Try and get the most out of every day by pinpointing the highs and the lows. What was the highlight of your day? Was it chatting to a colleague? Hitting the gym at lunch? Making time to cook a home-made meal for you and your partner? Reading a new book? Whatever it was, noting these little things that make the working day easier can be key to unlocking extra happiness for you. Equally, taking time to think about what wasn’t great about your day can also be helpful in identifying what you should stop doing or take action to resolve a problem.

It’s important to make some time in the evening for yourself to relax – read a magazine, have a bath, get into your favourite PJs, call a friend, watch your favourite film, anything that can help you switch off from work.

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Make simple changes to your home

By creating a home that you feel save, cosy and really enjoy living in, you will feel so much happier in yourself. The saying ‘it’s the simple things in life that count’ really rings true in this respect. You don’t need to spend a fortune to make a difference, shops such as H&M Home, Zara Home, John Lewis, Next Home, Home Sense and Primark have some lovely bits. If you want to splurge then try Anthropology or White Company. Some of the things i’ve invested in include blankets, good quality candles, vases, photo frames, pictures, serving plates, bowls and new PJs. These are all things that you’ll use and enjoy every single day so worth investing in. Another thing that makes me really happy is fresh flowers – there’s something really special about having flowers in your home. These can be expensive and fake flowers these days can look just as nice – Marks and Spencer do some fabulous one’s, I have some in my living room.

Up your exercise game

It’s no secret that sweating it out in the gym produces endorphins, the main function of this chemical is to cause lasting happiness and satisfaction. Experts say that increasing exercise can have just as good a results as anti-depressants which goes to show how important it is to include in our lives. Making simple changes to increase our step count (we should all aim for 10,000 steps a day) such as taking the stairs or going for a walk at lunch can get you on track. There are so many apps and devices for this, there’s no excuse not to be monitoring your step levels – download one today!

Make a conscious effort at the beginning of every week to decide what classes you’ll go to/when you’ll go to the gym. Book them up in advance, add it to your calendar and stick to it. 

Surround yourself with positive people

The older you get the more you realise how important it is to spend time with positive people –  people who support you and have a positive impact on your life. You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with,” says American entrepreneur and motivational speaker Jim Rohn. He recommends that you should think about the people you’re spending time with the same way you think about what you’re eating. Some people are ‘takers’, they aren’t invested in your friendship, it’s all about them and they suck energy and time from your life. Think of this the same way you would as eating junk food. Then think about the people you like spending the time with most, what qualities do they have? Do they support you? Do you feel happy and energised when you’re around them? Once you have decided on this make a conscious effort to reduce or eliminate the people who don’t make you feel good. Remember positive’s attract, people will be drawn to you if you give off positive vibes and are confident in yourself.

Key quote:

“Surround yourself with people who make you happy. People who make you laugh, who help you when you’re in need. People who genuinely care. They are the ones worth keeping in your life. Everyone else is just passing through.” – Karl Marx

What things do you do to make yourself happy? Please leave comments below as i’d love to know!

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Perfume: Jo Malone English Pear & Freesia Cologne| Candle: Diptyque, Tubereuse | Mug: Anthropologie | Coaster: Anthropologie | Camera: Olympus Pen EPL7 | Kindle: Amazon Kindle Paperwhite eReader

Fiction

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the whole of 2016 you will have undoubtably heard of Girl on a Train, recently made into a hit movie, it’s a book that’s got everyone talking. I really enjoyed this book, it’s a classic can’t-put-down type – the kind that even though you’re so sleepy you’re eyes are closing you try and force them open to read some more. I won’t go into detail about the plot so as i’m sure you’ll already know the gist but – suspense, drama, murder, mystery and a great twist, it’s all in there – probably my favourite read from 2017.

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Shortlisted for the Bailey’s women’s prize for fiction, this is an incredible coming of age novel set in both Nigeria and America. It’s a brilliant exploration of being African in America, giving a true reflection of the sort of life this entails.  An educational and well-crafted read while being warm, moving and compassionate. I would never have read this if my friend hadn’t recommended it last summer, and even then I was sceptical as to whether it was for me. I’m so glad I gave it a go as it has become a true favourite and a book i’ve recommended to many of my friends.

I Let You Go by Claire Macintosh

This read is a little more heart wrenching and takes you on a real journey of self discovery as you follow a woman starting a new life after her little boy is run over during the school run. Another great page turner with a killer twist you won’t see coming. It comes highly recommended.

Cookery

Chiltern Firehouse by Nuno Mendes

My new favourite cook book – this was given to me for Christmas and is such a good read. From the signature crab doughnuts to maple-glazed salmon and frozen apple panna cotta, Mendes delivers recipes of reimagined classics and bold new flavours. The book also covers details on what makes the staff tick including a run down of the sommelier’s favourite wine’s. Read it because you love food or because you want to looks smart at your next dinner party!

Jamie’s Superfood Family Classics by Jamie Oliver

Good old Jamie doesn’t disappoint in his most recent book. I happened to stumble upon this one day while browsing in Sainsbury’s and I have to say – I think it’s his best recipe book yet. It’s great for easy, delicious, healthy recipes ideas. This is probably the cookbook that i’ve made the most recipes from. Ever. That’s quite a statement for me as usually I buy a recipe book, flick through it and then up it goes on the shelf, unlikely to be read agin for a long while. This is definitely my go-to book out of my entire collection.