The Teeny Wedding Chronicles: Our Engagement Photos.

London Engagement Photo ShootThere’s less than three weeks until the wedding and serendipity seems to be playing a big part in our wedding planning.

Little discoveries and chance findings are falling in to place to create a really special day.

With a budget of only £2000, we’re having to use lots of creativity to pull things together and just go without some pieces all together. But seeing as we’re forgoing many traditions and just doing what feels right for us, that really hasn’t been a problem.

I was worried about photos though. I wasn’t sure how we could possibly afford them and it felt so important to have images that captured such a momentous day. I’d resigned myself to making do with whatever family and friends managed to snap in between merrymaking but then I stumbled on an ad on Gumtree of all places, which led me to Luminis Photography.

Carmen and Warren are a husband and wife duo who are just starting out in wedding photography. While their business is new, they have plenty of experience behind the camera and they’re building their brand around capturing untraditional, alternative weddings – how perfect for us!

They enthusiastically responded to our email saying that they were free to shoot our big day. We’d been corresponding via email for the past several months but finally got to meet up two Saturdays ago to chat wedding logistics and for a fun engagement shoot on the streets of London.

We wandered from Soho through central London and finally to the British Museum, stopping wherever we saw a beautiful backdrop. After getting my first peek at the photos yesterday, I’m even more excited that we have Carmen and Warren as our wedding photographers. They’ve created bold, beautiful images that our distinctly us. I hope you won’t mind a more image-heavy post than usual, as I couldn’t wait to share some of them with you.

London Engagement Photo ShootLondon Engagement Photo ShootLondon Engagement Photo ShootLondon Engagement Photo ShootLondon Engagement Photo ShootLondon Engagement Photo ShootLondon Engagement Photo ShootLondon Engagement Photo ShootLondon Engagement Photo ShootLondon Engagement Photo ShootLondon Engagement Photo ShootLondon Engagement Photo ShootLondon Engagement Photo ShootI’m wearing a VooDoo Vixen Dress c/o Corset Story, hair accessories c/o Crown & Glory, a Marc Jacobs bangle c/o Harvey Nichols, Fly London shoes, a Les Nereides Paris ring, Crown & Glory shoe clips, and my hair was styled by the lovely Kelsie at Rockalily Cuts.

When Corset Story offered to send me an item from their website to review, I had a hard time picking something out. There were so many choices! Their shop is chockablock full of beautiful dresses, skirts, and corsets inspired by rockabilly style, burlesque performers, and steampunk culture. I finally settled on this elegant, vintage-inspired number and knew it was the perfect thing to wear for our engagement photos. Fit and flair dresses are my go-to style, and I love how my tattoo peeks out through the teardrop cutouts. It has the perfect amount of stretch to be really comfortable and the fabric has a nice weight to it, so the skirt twirls beautifully. I loved styling it for a really retro look with a glittery, modern twist.

Thank you so much to Carmen and Warren for making these beautiful photos for us, and to Corset Story for giving me something beautiful to pose in.

You can see more images from our engagement shoot on the Luminis Photography blog.

Love, victory rolls, & pink peonies,
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Photography by Warren Burke.

Get Out of the Bath & Put Your Hand on Your Heart!

Get Out of the Bath & Put Your Hand on Your Heart!The other night I was lying in a piping hot bath watching an episode of Gilmore Girls when I started to get restless. I was about to hop out and do something else when I said to myself, “I’ll stay in for 20 more minutes to really make the most of this.”

Hold on a second, was I trying to have a bath “right”?

I didn’t want to be in there anymore but I was caught up in some stereotype of what self-care looks like instead of actually taking care of myself.

Don’t get me wrong: I love long, luxurious bubble baths. If they include decadent beauty products and lots of bubbles, all the better.

But self-care isn’t one thing for all situations.

There are the usual ways we’re told to take care of ourselves: having a bath. Going to bed early. Exercising. Taking a walk. Painting our nails. Eating healthy.

But ultimately, self-care is about tuning into our own needs and taking care of them.

People tell me I work too hard and push myself too much. That I need to take care of myself more.

It’s true, life is full steam ahead right now. But in my mind, there’s a time to ease up and a time push through. Both can be ways of taking care of myself.

I’ve figured out what it’s going to take to make my dreams come true this year and I’m not playing around. Which means my diary is filled to bursting with to-do lists and action plans.

Many of my friends have urged me to take a time off. To make time for myself.

But this is time for myself. This is me bringing my best self and my biggest dreams to life. That’s what feels good right now.

There are days when I’m too tired to write another word and my creative spirit feels tapped out. That’s when I need to be gentle with myself. Even if I want to be productive and tick something else off my to-do list, I ask myself what I need and I listen.

Sometimes self-care might look like staying up all night, scribbling down thoughts, tweaking my website, and working on my ebook. Others, it might be going to bed right after dinner, reading for an hour, and having a really early night.

Sometimes self-care might look like a takeaway on the couch watching crappy TV. Others it might be a nice dinner out and too much Prosecco while chatting with a girlfriend until the wee hours of the morning.

Sometimes self-care might look like a perfectly curated outfit, fancy hair, and red lips that make me feel like my best self. Others it might be curling up in an oversized sweater and leggings so that I feel utterly comfortable.

Try this: put your hand on your heart and take a few deep breaths in through the nose and out through the mouth. Quiet your mind and ask yourself, “What do I need?” And then just listen. Sit with the question for as long as you need to get an answer.

Take care of yourself by attending to that need.

Ask yourself this whenever you need to. When you’re feeling lost or sad. When you’re faced with a decision you’re uncertain about. When your heart says one thing but your brain says another.

But make a ritual out of it as well. Schedule time for yourself each week and actually put it in your diary. Make it non-negotiable, uninterrupted you time. And take care of yourself. Whatever that means for you on that particular day.

Do you have any self-care routines? How could you take better care of yourself?

Love, rainbow bath bombs, & kickass dance parties,
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Photograph by Melancoly.

This is London: Lo’s Noodle Factory.

los-noodle-factoryLondon has that ever sought after quality: mystery. I love discovering her best kept secrets and hidden gems. Those truly local spots that make me feel like a real Londoner.

I want to share more of these with you. My favourite haunts. My daily life here. The adventures I go on. You’ve been asking for more of these posts and I’m committed to writing them.

One of my favourite places that feels like a real secret is Lo’s Noodle Factory.

Nestled along one of the back alleys in Chinatown, from the outside it just looks like a grotty back door, with nothing but a tiny sign jutting from the wall to announce its presence.

Many afternoons there’s a line up of patrons waiting patiently for their bounty. But when it’s quiet, you might have to pluck up a bit of courage to step into what seems like an abandoned entranceway.

Inside you’ll find a smiling man, churning out bag after bag of fresh rice noodles that he’ll sell to you for a pound apiece.

And I know what you’re thinking: how spectacular can rice noodles really be? I had my doubts as well, but let yourself be surprised.

These soft, pillowy tendrils will transform any stir fry or Asian noodle dish you want to whip up. Those in the know say they’re absolutely authentic Ho Fun noodles. I love using them to make vegan pad thai or my favourite spicy noodles.

Buying them feels like a mini adventure in and of itself, and you’ll feel like a true blue Londoner knowing about these back alley noodles. Plus, I think you’ll have a hard time going back to packaged noodles after trying these fresh ones. Just be sure to cook them the day you buy your noodles or else they’ll dry out and get stuck together.

Lo’s Noodle Facory is located at 6 Dansey Place (W1D 6EZ). Have you ever checked it out? What are your favourite hidden gems in London, or your own home town?

Love, spicy noodle bowls, and lemonade cocktails,
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