Thursday, 27 March 2014

we all love a bit of cheese… right?

Today I was planning on showing you something else that I won, but it will have to wait for another post! I'll let you in on the secret though! I recently won an engagement shoot with a local Photograher (Jonathan Ryder) on Facebook! We had planned on doing the shoot last saturday but Jonathan and his Wife had a baby Girl on the Thursday (congrats to the whole Ryder Family!!!). We have rescheduled and we will get the pictures up as soon as we have them.

I have to admit I am not usually the biggest fan of engagement shoots. They can be so cheesy. I know people will be calling out that James and I are all about the cheese, but some just take the biscuit, or should that be cracker?

We have all seen them...

Love the matching jumper for the cat...

Two pets means you definitely need two scrunchies

Really… portapotties...

… I have nothing to say...

But when I saw Jonathan's competition appear on my feed in facebook I was instantly drawn to his photos! They just seemed so natural, nothing too staged and not too much work done to them. Jonathan had asked for us to tell him our story and he would be selecting the winner in a few weeks! No our story is special and as you know, I can't help but share it! So two weeks later I received this email!

I was on my way to London to visit Ciara and Nuala and received the email whilst in the airport!

We are planning to have the engagement shoot next week so will tell you all the ins and outs then!

So exciting!!

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Boys will be Boys

It was my good fortune and highest honour to be a groomsman for Neil Dynes back in September 2013. One of the duties I had been gifted was to organise was the stag do. The interesting thing is that now it is him and Jason the best man organising mine. It is a very stressful time when organising a stag do. You are responsible for ensuring the stag has a good time, making sure a large group of guys sign up and are taken care of.

For Dinky’s stag me and his best man sat him down and simply asked where he would like to go. Getting the location is half the battle. After a bit of convincing we settled him on Liverpool. He always talked about having a mad stag across the water.

Next we had to choose a date. For this we checked out the Easyjet app and looked at flights to Liverpool from Belfast international. The cheapest flights are what you are looking for. Keeping in mind that it should be at least a month before the wedding and most likely over a weekend. A top tip for choosing a stag in England from Ireland is to wait until the premiership is over for the summer as flights automatically get cheaper. In our situation we were able to get flights for around £80-90 return.
The next step is that we needed to set up a headquarters for when we get there. Since the stag do was spanning an entire weekend we needed to get accommodation so we could hang out as a group and not feel that we are missing out on Liverpool. Somewhere we could have a few beers and a bit of a laugh. I booked our accommodation on a website called this site finds great accommodation in several different cities and at a great price. I ended up booking the penthouse apartment on Duke Street as well as another room since the party was so large. This room was amazing. It gave us our own slice of Liverpool and we all felt pretty cool out having a beer on the balcony.

The stressful bit about the organising came now. With the number of guys coming to the stag do the accommodation worked out to be £50 per person for two nights. Add that to the flights and we were looking at £140-150. It would be insane for any one of us to book everything ourselves and let the guys pay us back, since there was no idea of how many were actually able to make it. We decided that we could pay for the apartments ourselves and get everyone to book their own flights that way they could choose for come for 1 night, 2 nights, at a later time or not at all. This was great for all the guests as they had paid their flights well in advance and the only thing left to pay was the £50 for the accommodation, payable before or on arrival.

My top tip for organising a stag do, do not forgot that most hotels or apartments will charge a security deposit that you will get back. I did not remember this and ended up fronting the £250 deposit of one of the rooms. Needless to say bad idea! I was so stressed about getting my deposit back that every time I seen some roughhousing all I could think was “DONT BREAK ANYTHING”. The biggest thing is that nobody else felt responsible for it as they didn’t have to pay anything towards it.

We all had a great weekend. I had gone the extra mile and made up stag shirts, all the boys in white and the stag in yellow. They were designed like the Liverpool football jerseys with the stags picture in the crest and the sponsors logo was “Neilsstag – probably the best stag in the world” a play on the Carlsberg sponsors. On top of this all the shirts had funny names on the back personalised. To do this I checked out the sports direct website and get an eye out for cheap polo shirts, they worked out to be £4 per shirt. I also got some Iron on transfer printable paper from ebay. All that had to be done was make the designs, print them out, and iron them on the shirts.

Powered by Taggled Taggled  (note from Catherine - sorry its in portrait!)

I had a bunch of drinking games organised, trophy’s for the last man standing and the first man down. All in all it was a good time and a good send off for any man. Now the tables have turned and I am the stag and have to take a back seat.

Friday, 21 March 2014

Been keeping this one in "Reserve"

So its been another awesome week in wedding prep, invites well on their way and I won another Two Competitions (need a little help with something attached to one of them, but i'll ask for that at the end!).

But what today's post - which is late again! sorry folks - may well leave our guests with a bit of a headache!


For James and I, there was only ever going to be one wine that we could ever have at our wedding. I found the wine before I had even met James when on a weekend at a friends in Liverpool. I introduced James to it on our third date, when I made him a very fancy dinner* in my place (*may have been a dine in for two for £10). I bought the wine separately because it is the yummiest ever!
Neither James nor I are wine connoisseurs, but like most people from our end of the country, we know what we like! No matter what type of wine we get from this brand we know its going to be an enjoyable drink. So what is this magical wine that we can give to anyone and they will like it?


Like I said, I have been a fan of this wine for a while. So much of a fan that I have actually had conversations with the founders of the company and authors of The Barefoot Spirit, a book about the story of Barefoot - from a laundry room wine to the company sale. I am yet to read the book but really want to!

I think what I love most about Barefoot, other than just how it tastes, is how amazing their community is around the wine. They have a fantastic website that even gives you recipes on what to use their wine in - I really want to try and make their Merlot Brownies!!!

Their online presence is awesome.

Anyway! Luckily Lusty Beg allow us to have our own wine! So every table at our wedding will have Barefoot wine at it! And in true How geeks get married fashion, we already have all of our wine bought! In fact, we had it all bought before Christmas! Everyone finds it hilarious that we have so much wine and haven't been tempted to open one of the crates. To be honest, I have been soooooooo tempted to open them, but it wouldn't be worth the stress of trying to buy more nearer the time! We got a great deal on them, and one less thing for us to worry about down the line!

So folks get excited to taste the yumminess, and bring some painkillers for the morning after, or be prepared to dance it off!

Now to ask for some help! At the start of this post I mentioned I had won two more competitions (yey!)! One was the fab accessories comp ran by Life of LaLa via her Facebook. I can't wait to receive my prizes!!! The second was one that I'll be talking about next week, but I need some help with it! Can anyone recommend a hairdresser who might be available tomorrow (saturday 22nd March)? If you do give me a shout on Facebook, via email or twitter.

*This is NOT a sponsored post - that would be the dream! We really do just love this wine!

Want to get in touch? email us on

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Two crafty devils

At home it is a funny sight. The two of us are deeply concentrating on different secret projects. These projects are the product of chatting about what would be cool to have at our wedding, what we have seen at wedding fairs and crazy ideas we believe we can pull off in the short space of time we have.

We are both very creative and crafty people. In this post I will go through the steps to create the Pride and Prejudice book clutch. A little bit of background information first. One of Catherine’s favourite books of all time is Jane Austin’s Pride and Prejudice. She has recently got me started on reading the book for the first time. I am reading it on my lunch breaks on my Iphone Kindle App. It is really good(like an old timey TOWIE). Most days I will regale Catherine with my interpretation of what I had read that day, so that I don’t get lost or uninterested. It normally goes along the line of “Oooohhh it’s all kick’in off!!!!” followed by a broad Tyrone slang of what actually happened. Let’s just say I got quite wrapped up in it. Catherine had shown me around 8 months ago a picture of a book turned into a handbag and said that she would love one.

Now was the time. I did the research and found an outline of how to do it also I found the retail versions very expensive. First of all I ordered the hardback Barnes and Noble edition of Pride and Prejudice from Amazon.

Other things you will need

1 small paint brush

1 exacto knife or Stanley blade

Loads of PVA glue.

A ruler

Loads if time and patience

Once you have everything together it’s time to start. Open your chosen book and skip a few pages. With the book open cover the sides of the book in PVA glue also between the last page and the back cover. Still with it open set a weight on top and let it dry (I left it overnight). The PVA glue will dry hard and clear.

Remove the weight and take out your knife. Leave around 0.5 – 0.75 inches around the page as a wall and start cutting the inside rectangle. This after a long time will leave you with a shallow hole. PVA glue the walls of the hollow and the top and sides again. This time close the book. Since you skipped a few pages to begin with the glue will not stick to the cover. Weight down and let it dry.

When dry cut an X in the top pages and fold down to help cover the sides of the walls PVA glue and let it dry.

That’s it... Just attach a hinge (easily available on ebay and job done.)

For the personal touch I used all the pages I cut out to make wrapping paper for the book clutch bag. Wrapped in brown twine, with a note written on the first page of the book.

This post is not just for me to show off but it is to inspire people to be creative and to think outside the box. The Pride and Prejudice book clutch would have made an amazing wedding gift for the morning of our wedding however I just couldn’t wait that long. I guess I have set the bar pretty high for that gift.

Friday, 14 March 2014

Lucky in Love...

So many of you (well, all of you I'd assume) would probably say that I have lucked out with my other half! He is amazing in every way! He cooks, he cleans, he treats me like a princess.

He makes me awesome gifts;

He Surprises me with trips to Disney World… yeah I am pretty lucky. I could gush on about him all day (and if you ask any of my work mates I really do!), but todays blog post (which is a day late, I know!) is about another sort of luck I have.


So if you are friends with me on Facebook, you may have noticed recently I have been on a bit of a winning streak!
I love competitions and enter quite a few. I am not a massive fan of like and share comps on Facebook, unless it is something I really want - and I have to trust the brand/person running the competition!

Studio D

The first one in my recent wins was the LVL Lashes competition run by Studio D and promoted by the fabulous The Yellowest Diamonds. I am going to steal the photos form Danielle's blog on her experience at Studio D getting her lashes done, as I was too excited to remember to take a before picture.

 I have very fair lashes and love a dark thick lash to go with my usual think eyeliner and tend to wear layers of Benefit's They're Real everyday. Since I got my Lashes done by the wonderful Dee, I've only added a quite swipe over my upper and lower lashes and they are looking great!

It's been over two weeks now since I got my lashes done and they are still fabulously lifted! And people are still asking if I have falsies on!


You may have noticed that I am a massive fan of crafting and DIY - James is a king at all things crafting - bar painting ;). I have love Brides-made  since the moment I found them! This fabulous engaged couple show you how to do all the crafty things you could want to yourself! I entered their recent competition to win some fun props for our wedding day!
We won all this ^(our polaroid frame has our wedding date on it!)

Each of the little brown bags has a how to guide to make even more fun things! (You can buy the how-to bags from the Brides-made site).  Can't wait to incorporate some this into our day!!!

Paint it Personal

I also entered a competition from Paint it Personal. their wall murals and canvases are fab! They can do commission pieces or you can select from their amazing range of previous orders! James and I chose something special for a very special little girl in our lives, but you will have to wait to see that!!!

Hints and Tips

The two tips I can give you are;
1. Check that those running the competition are legit:
There are loads of FB pages you are just looking for lots of likes on their page and never actually give anything away! If it seems too good to be true it probably is!

2. Enter competitions!!!!
The old adage is true; If you aren't in, you can't win! So many people say to me - "how to do you win some many awesome things, I never win anything!" I always ask - "whens the last time you entered a competition?". More times than not they haven't entered any in forever! Its all about playing the odds, the more competitions you enter, the better chance you have of winning! 

Now get out there and enter those competitions - or maybe don't… I want them all for myself!

What are your hints and tips? Leave a comment below!

Monday, 10 March 2014

Play that funky music...

From Catherine’s previous post you will have found out that the we have the church music all booked and are extremely excited to hear them and are overjoyed that they have decide to sing for us, they are of course Orlaith McGinn and Ryan McLaughlin with OuR Music.

Since the church music is all sorted I guess I should mention the receptions entertainers. When choosing the band there are a few things to keep in mind, price, availably and quality.

There are plenty of ways to find the band you want. For us we saw our band performing at another wedding. We were fortunate enough to have attended 4 weddings last year, each band had their merit. It is my opinion that a good band is one that plays a wide variety of songs from Jive music to cheesy pop. But it is crucial that they keep people on the dance floor at all times.

Once you are happy with a Band, call them as soon as possible to check for dates, there are weddings all the time and its first come first serve.

If you are lucky enough, like us, that they are available then bingo job done. Pay the deposit and sit back and think of a first dance song. If the band you want are unavailable for your date ask them who they would recommend. They are connected to the scene and could save you hours of searching for the same band that they might recommend.

Another great facility for finding your wedding band is social media and youtube. Simply searching for “Wedding Band NI” on youtube will bring up a whole host of bands showing for their lyrical abilities, of course usually followed by a facebook link and contact details.
My top tip when booking a band is two-fold:
  1. Firstly ask is there any discount for the booking i.e. midweek wedding, larger deposit, free publicity.
  2. Secondly check to see if they also do a DJ set. Booking these together will save you time, effort and possibly money.
I guess the main thing to take away from all this is book a band you want to hear and that you like. It is impossible to make everyone happy but as long as my bride to be is happy I am happy.

All that is left to do on the matter of the band is choosing the perfect first dance song…

Thursday, 6 March 2014


So this blog is going up late into the night as I have been doing Wedding related things!!! Obviously I can't tell you what it is, but it's going to take time and precision, but it will be so worth it!

What I can tell you is that we were inspired to do what I am doing by reading other peoples blogs! So I wanted to put up a few of the blogs I love the most so that you can enjoy them too!!!


Offbeat bride has some incredible real stories and tips and hints! Lots of different brides (& grooms) sharing their experiences, with loads of vendors with quirky twists. Which leads me into…

Quirky Weddings is a local site that not only has some incredible vendors, they also have an amazing Fair!

Rock 'n Roll bride has the most amazing advice and the best images! Her photos knock my socks off every time! The amount of inspiration it has given us has been extreme!!! 
From beautifully colour weddings, to vintage glamour - you will find everything on this blog! It is probably the blog that is shared most with me - thanks so much everyone! 

What blog would you recommend? Let me know on Facebook or by leaving a comment on here!

Monday, 3 March 2014

Fake it till you bake it...

The wedding cake was a topic that Catherine and I were stuck on for quite some time and honestly still haven’t come up with a solution.

There are several different choices to pick from:

1. Bake it ourselves. 

Catherine and I are no stranger to baking, it was a past time hobby that the both of us indulged in for a long time. It all began many moons ago when I first met Catherine, two months later it was her birthday so I made up some “Happy Birthday cupcakes” from then on it got a little out of hand. To the point where we would be making three cakes in one week while still working our normal 9-5. From cupcakes to cakes, tray-bakes to cookies we made it all. Originally we wanted to challenge ourselves with new and different creative projects. Sadly however we have hung up our aprons and funny chef hats. That being said I have always maintained that “I could make a wedding cake no worries.” Not that anybody would ask two mad bakers like us to make one. Knowing the time and effort required to produce a wedding cake to a high enough standard that I would accept doesn’t seem possible to me especially if I were to make it a week or days before the wedding. I wouldn’t have enough time. There is already a growing list of secret surprises to be organized for the day.

2. Buy a fake cake.
Now-a-days it is not unheard of for the happy couple to have a fake cake made from polystyrene for their day. The major advantage is that this method allows for a lot more crazy creative thinking. Any gravity defying structure is possible. On top of this the price comes in slightly cheaper. This really wouldn’t be for me. Our friends and family know how good we are at baking. It doesn’t sound like us. We have had too many fun times baking together, for that to be symbolised by a polystyrene cake that will SCREECH like a tom cat once a knife goes near it, is unacceptable.

3. Enlist a professional baker. 
This is the standard choice for most couples and the most hassle free. To find a good baker I have always believed that one should rely on word of mouth. If a cake looks fantastic but tastes like the dogs diner well then it is a failure. If Catherine and I do choose to go down this route I feel sorry of the baker. Catherine will be fine but I know that I will be a complete nightmare, I have high standards and wild ideas and that is the problem.

We have a design in mind. We hope we have a good balance of traditional and quirky. Either way I am looking forward to getting a slice of cake (a real slice!).

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