Can’t Sleep? Try…

So Ed’s been away for almost 6 weeks now, and with a funky sleep pattern anyway, trying to get off to sleep every night is still a struggle for me (it just feels weird and I can’t settle). Which is just plain annoying. Different things work for different people, but whatever your reason is for being unable to drift off, here are some techniques that I’ve tried – maybe they could help you too.

Take a Break (App)

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This is my first go to, and actually something that happens a lot even when Ed IS here. A meditation app. You have lots of options for what you want to listen to and for how long, but this is a screen shot of the options I choose. The 7 minute meditation (a calming voice directing your thoughts), the sound of rain in the background, and I set it on a loop so that when she shuts up, the rain continues. Sometimes I opt out of listening to the meditation lady and stick with the rain – I have it on a loop so it’ll keep playing away to itself for a couple of hours (I think)…I’m always fast asleep by the time it goes off so I don’t know for certain! I’ve always struggled to sleep without white noise, but especially more so now that I’m sleeping in a big empty house. So, if you’re struggling, give it a try.

Colouring In

This is another go to to calm down and unwind – which is particularly handy when I’ve been working or rehearsing late, it’s gone midnight and I’m still wired!

Reading

I’ve spent many occasions googling tips on how to get off to sleep faster, and an idea that’s always there is reading. Personally, it has the opposite effect as it’s waking up my brain and stimulating my imagination, but I know it works for others.

Water Spray

If the heat isn’t helping (like in quite a few instances over this warm summer we just had!), invest in a spray bottle and keep it next to your bed. Give yourself a spritz if you’re feeling overheated, paying particular attention to the backs of the knees, wrists and neck (these are the best places for cooling you down quickly). If you happen to have a fan, this is a bonus, as the two coupled together can feel like an icy breeze from the arctic!

Keep Your Curtains Shut

Linked to the above point if your bedroom is too hot – keep your curtains closed during the day to stop the sun coming in and heating it up.

Jasmine Tea

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Jasmine green tea has the most incredible aroma, which really helps calm you down and alleviate stress. I’ve found it particularly useful on those evenings when I’ve got in extra late and I’m struggling to wind down.

Keep a Notebook by Your Bed

One of my girls suggested this yearsss ago, because it’s a good idea to have one there for any late night thoughts about work or to do lists. We’ve been told so many times that staring at a screen late on a night isn’t good for our sleep, so clear your head by jotting your thoughts down in a notebook instead.

A warm shower

(One for the cooler months)…Get nice and toasty whilst you wash the cares of the day away, then bundle down in a duvet cocoon. You’ll soon feel yourself drifting off when you’re all snuggly and warm.

Breathing

One thing my over-active brain loves to do, is just think about ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING when I switch off the light. Whether it’s work or personal, it’s like pressing⏪▶️⏩ on my mind/memory – whether it’s reliving something that’s happened, or cooking up potential scenarios in my head – it does it FOR ABSOLUTELY NO REASON and it’s bloomin’ annoying. To catch myself and stop my brain running away with itself, I focus on my breathing. Long, slow breaths to help me unwind, AND to give me an excuse to focus on something that isn’t going to wake me up more (like what should come after the circular spring, pas de bouree in PA4’s travelling routine, for example)… 🙃

We’re all different, we all have our own ways of drifting off when we’re not ready to sleep…what are some of yours? If you haven’t tried some of mine and are struggling, give them a go! Happy sleeping… 😴

Lynette x (3)

Wedding Planning Tips Part II

Planning your wedding is life encompassing. (As well as there being so much to do), I think it’s because despite the months and months of energy that goes into it, you’re never finished. There’s always something else to do, something else to plan – you manage to get one thing ticked off your checklist and there’s ALWAYS going to be something else that needs your attention, right up until the wedding is over! You’re planning the most magical day of your life and you want it to be absolutely perfect – so naturally, it’s stressful too.

I wrote a planning tips post before our wedding, but I needed to add some more – so here I am! You can check out Wedding Planning Tips Part I here.

There are so many wedding tips out there, but based on my experience, these are the biggest and most important ones that I felt needed sharing.

1. Write a checklist

There are honestly more things involved with planning a wedding than you think – I had no idea until I made our list, which I still kept adding to up to a week before the wedding! There’s no point trying to remember it all, so get it written down, and tick things off as and when they’re sorted (this’ll make you feel happy too!). Although not everything is on there (for example, I didn’t need to state obvious facts like ‘Mum take dress to venue’ or ‘have favours delivered’) you can see My Checklist Here.

2. Keep track of your spending

Firstly, you need to decide on your budget, a point I included in Part I. Once you have, stick to it and keep track of what you’re spending. Not gonna lie, it’s easier said than done, especially when you start getting magpied (yep, I’m turning that into a verb!) by gorgeous venues/decor/stationery/accessories (I’ve got a post about Things You Don’t Need But Want). I made a spreadsheet of all our expenditures as and when they got booked. It lists the vendor and/or product, the total amount, deposit amount, remaining balance, and a tick box for when the full payment had been made. And I’m so glad I did – it was quite sobering to write it all down and realise how quickly it was adding up!

Lynette & Ed

3. Make a priority list

Linked to the point above, I think it’s important to sit down with your fiance and decide which elements of the wedding you want to throw money at, and where you want to save. Some may want to splurge on the venue, some may want to save. Some may want to splurge on the decor, some may want to save. And this applies to every single thing you’ll organise, because there are so many options for every aspect of a wedding. We’re all different, all our ‘dream wedding’s are different, so make your own list. And an easy way of saving some pennies if your budget’s starting to weep…

4. …chop the Guest List

Ruthless, but it feels less so when you’re faced with a long list of names, each of which costing you a gazillion pounds per head. 

5. Invite who, and do what YOU want

I can’t stress enough, that you must remember this is YOUR day, and no one else’s. (Weddings work very differently now to 30 years ago, which some people may not realise – it may be worth just getting them, and yourself, clued in to these changes so there’s no confusion/unintentional ill feelings). YOU are the ones in charge, not anyone else, so don’t feel bullied into anything. And I only stress this so strongly, because after talking to other brides, this seems to be the biggest problem in 21st Century Wedding Planning, and the area that causes the most upset. 

6. Make a list of questions before meetings

Whoever you’re meeting with, whether it’s your wedding coordinator, favour vendor, dress seamstress (the list is endless), make a list of all the questions you want to ask – the ones you’ll want to know the answers to before signing on the dotted line. I’ve got lists of questions for your venue, photographer, and baker if you’re curious.

Lynette & Ed

7. Don’t be afraid of buying/booking early

In fact, the sooner the better! Particularly with bigger things like your venue and photographer which can get booked up years in advance – get booking to avoid disappointment! With all the craziness of moving house, and then life and work getting hectic, I’m so glad that I cracked on with a lot of things, despite worrying that I was doing it too soon. It meant a lot less stress later on, and trust me, you’ll want to have as little of that as possible close to the big day – there’ll be plenty of other things to be worrying about!

8. Ask for help when you need it

During the planning, the truth is, you and/or your fiance may feel like you want to tell everyone to back off and let you get on with planning your day by yourselves. But there will be plenty of family and friends offering their help, because it’s exciting for them too, and there will be occasions (however stubborn you are, or happy you are to be in control), that you WILL need that help. Take them up on their offer. Then it’s up to you how much instruction you give (depending on how much control you want to hand over/hang on to)! Just saying it as it kids. No planning articles tell you the truth about these things.

9. Write a separate checklist for your the wedding party of who’s doing what

From who’s attending what appointments, to who’s in charge of taking what to the venue, it’s not only peace of mind for you to have a note of this, but the family will feel happy to be kept in the loop, and clued in with what is/isn’t required of them.

Last, and most importantly…

Lynette & Ed

10. Work as a team with your fiance

I’ve spoken about how much of a stressful time it can be – mainly because that’s the bit no one tells you! But it will also be the most wonderful. It’s such a special time, and for me, it was made even more special by Ed and I doing a lot of it together – I have so many fond memories that I’ll cherish for the rest of my life. Make time for each other, share the work load, and enjoy every minute.

There are plenty more tips I can give, but these are my top 10 based on our experience. Not enough? Stay tuned, I’ve got a ‘Post Wedding Pointers’ post coming to you soon! 

Lynette x (3)

Questions To Ask: Your Venue

Okay, WELCOME to a subcategory of ‘The Wedding Series’ – ‘Questions To Ask…’!

Viewing venues and doing your research is really fun, but what about when you get to your meetings? What are the important questions to ask before signing that contract? Same applies for your photographer, baker, florist…hence this new little category!

Our venue coordinator is amazing, and a lot of these questions were actually answered during our initial show around/sit down (that level of efficiency gave me real peace of mind moving forward!), but here’s the list I compiled last March!

And let me just point out too, that this is the list for the initial meeting, when you and your fiance are in the midst of venue viewings and trying to get a feel for which venue fits you best. There will be PLENTY more questions you’ll want to ask during the planning process, but these are the ones you want to know before booking.

Questions To Ask: Your Venue

  1. Is wedding insurance included in the price?
  2. How long can you hold the date we want?
  3. Chair decor – is it included in the package/options/prices?
  4. Vendors – do you have suppliers you recommend/work with regularly?
  5. Can we have lit candles?
  6. Do you have any rules about confetti, fireworks or other decorations?
  7. Will we have to hire/pay extra for chairs, glassware, table cloths etc?
  8. What are our lighting options for the reception?
  9. Is there a safe place for gifts?
  10. Is VAT included in the final price?
  11. Accommodation – do guests pay us, or the venue directly?
  12. Do you provide mics for speeches?
  13. Will we need to vacate any rooms for setting up (at any time during the day)? If so, what are our options during that time?
  14. Does the bar take cash or card?
  15. Is there a schedule for; initial deposit, final payment, charges for staff.
  16. Will the venue clear everything away afterwards?
  17. When can we start setting up?
  18. Do you have public liability insurance?
  19. What are your usual timings for the day (ceremony, food etc)?
  20. Can we move things around to decorate?
  21. Can we have a written confirmation email and contract?
  22. Diameter of circular tables (how much room will we have for centre pieces)?
  23. Does the DJ provide their own decorations (star cloths, uplights etc)?
  24. Do you provide easels for signs?
  25. Do you provide a cake stand and knife?
  26. Do you host more than one event at a time?
  27. Do you allow sparklers?
  28. How many guests can you accommodate in the day/evening?
  29. Which rooms are licensed for civil ceremonies?
  30. Do you/how do you cater for food allergies/vegetarians/vegans?

As I said, there will be LOADSSSS more questions that will come up during the planning process, these are just the ones to get you going before you sign on the dotted line. There are (of course) more questions that you can ask (questions that will be on wedding sites and other articles), but a lot of these will actually be answered on the venue’s website/in the brochure, before you even go for a viewing!

Things like:
Do you offer a complimentary menu tasting?
How much wine is included per person?
What evening food do you offer?

…which is why they haven’t been included in my list. These are all the questions we asked, got firm answers right there on the spot, and we came back feeling very well informed – and in a good place to move forward with the booking!

ONLY 3 WEEKS TO GO NOW!

Lynette x (3)

Wedding Planning Tips Part I

Wedding Planning is a mammoth task. 

There’s so much to do, more than you’ll realise until you actually start doing it! I’m still adding things to my checklist and I’ve been planning for 12 months! So I wanted to take this opportunity to share some tips for the planning experience with you – whether you’re deep into wedding planning, only just starting out – or just curious! Some of these are discoveries/thoughts I made and some came from advice from friends/family. There’s lots of advice out there, but I wanted to note some tips I discovered from my own experiences. So! Here we go:

1. Decide on your budget

Whether you’re spending a lot, a little, or somewhere in the middle, it really doesn’t matter – but sticking to your budget is so important. The cost can quite quickly add up, and you want to make sure you’re not spending on unnecessary things at the detriment of things you want. So keep a note of everything you’re spending and make sure you have enough left in the kitty for everything you need.

2. Create a priority list

Linked to the last point…make an ordered list from the things that are important, down to the things that would be nice, but not necessary. This makes it easier when trying to stick to your budget. The order of the list doesn’t really matter, and we’re all different, so there’s no point in me sharing ours with you – but sit down with your significant other and decide where you want to spend, and where you’re happy to pay less.

3. Notice of Marriage

Don’t forget about it! I know it’s the legal side so should be blindingly obvious, but when you’re distracted by pretty dresses and venues and cakes and flowers…going to the registry office with appropriate documents to prove you are who you say you are, and that you know the person you’re getting married to, just kind of gets lost! Also, a lot of checklists you see online have you doing that in the ‘3 Months Before’ section. Nooooooo! Unless you’re planning a last minute wedding, you have to give notice of marriage A YEAR BEFORE! So make sure you read the emails and small print about this once you’ve booked your minister/registrar.

4. Don’t wear makeup to your dress fitting

I saw this suggested online somewhere, and it’s an amazing idea! You want your wedding day to feel as special as possible, so you don’t want to see yourself in your dress, all made up, BEFORE then! If you’re having your hair up, wear it down (and vice versa), don’t wear any makeup, and pop your glasses on (if you have them but won’t be wearing them on the day). I did this for both of my dress fittings, and honestly, I’m so glad I did.

5. Make a spreadsheet for vendor information

Or if you have a specific page laid out in your wedding planner like mine, great! Note the company name, the name of the person you dealt with, what they’re providing, their email, and phone number. When emails are so accessible on phones these days you don’t HAVE to, but having it all in one place is great. This set up of information is so handy, I found this particularly when we met with our venue coordinator a few weeks back who needed all of these details! It was a swift 30 second exchange of info rather than me having to riffle through emails and bits of paper for half an hour.

6. Appoint a family/wedding party member to ‘wrangle’ guests for the formal photos

Suggested by our lovely photographer, and we’re definitely doing this! Though I’m not sure if we’ve told him yet… 😂 Your photographer doesn’t know who’s who, so it’s a good idea to use someone who DOES to organise who’s in what photo. On your wedding day, you don’t want to be worrying about doing the job yourself, so appoint a friendly helper, and the time for family shots will run super smoothly.

7. DIY to save money

Soooo many articles suggest doing this to save money, and I suppose it depends on what you’re wanting, as to whether it’s doable. We’re doing the centre pieces ourselves: it’s working out more cost effective than hiring, AND it means we have total freedom to play around with ideas/do what we want. And everything we’re buying will be put to use after the wedding too!

8. Write a DO NOT Playlist

This is a page in one of (I have two!) wedding planners – BRILLIANT idea! As part of our RSVPs, we asked guests for a song ‘to get them on the dancefloor’, but I wouldn’t have thought of a DO NOT PLAY list had it not been for my planner! There’s not much music we don’t enjoy, but I feel safe in the knowledge that we won’t be subject to The Beatles or Cyndi Lauper on our big day, should people request songs from the DJ. 

9. Utilise the knowledge of your vendors

They do this for a living, so if you have a question/problem/are looking for advice – ask! For example, there’s lots of theories about freezing your wedding cake – when, how long for etc – whilst Google can be a brilliant tool, why not just ask your baker! A quick email and you’ll get a reliable answer. We also got advice from our photographer about confetti, something we wouldn’t have thought of – but as a seasoned pro, he knows what works and doesn’t work!

10. Try not to stress

It’s easier said than done, honestly, I know. But it’s true. A couple of months back, I really struggled with wedding stress, but I wrote a post about it here, took some of my own advice as well as that of family and friends, and I felt much better. It’s such a special time, and it’s really not worth getting yourself worked up over it.

These 10 not enough? Check out Wedding Planning Tips Part II for another 10 tips!

Lynette x (3)