Friday, 3 May 2019

April Life Lately

April has been a strange month because everything has either been BW (Before Wedding) or After Wedding (BW) and I think I've already written enough about our wedding for now (catch up with part 1, part 2 and part 3), so this post might be a bit shorter and more disjointed than usual!

Here's what I got up to in April and here is my One Second Every Day for the month!

What I've been doing

Phil and I had 3 days off before the wedding which was perfect and completely necessary. We'd thought 3 days would be too long and it was, but in a good way. We had a few errands to run in the few days leading up, including picking up suits, meeting with our wedding co-ordinator to finalise the last details and our rehearsal, but we also chilled out a bit, cleaned the house and car (it was sooooo good coming home to a spotless house on Sunday!) and gave us enough time for anything last minute. I think it definitely contributed to how relaxed I felt on the day!

Oh and then I got married, did I mention that?

On the Sunday after our wedding, once we'd cleared all our stuff from the hotel (our back bedroom is now full of centrepieces yet again!) we had a few jobs to do and then we headed to my Mum's for a little party. We'd been really looking forward to this as a chance to catch up with people we might have missed on the day and to hear all the stories and see all the photos from the night before! We also opened some of our amazing presents, including a personalised drawing of the church we were married in from my parents, a signed Liverpool shirt and an amazing print of the Royal Exchange Theatre, which is a really special place to us. I also got to show off the watch Phil bought me as a wedding present, and wear my new Liverpool shirt with Cantillon 19 on the back!

This month also meant the 21st Birthday one one of my favourite people, my new little sister! I am incredibly grateful that not only have I married the best person, I've also inherited the best family, and I'm so lucky to have two amazing new siblings. As an only child I can't explain what it's like to gain the best little sister I could have asked for.

Where I've been

On the Monday after our wedding we had a few jobs to do (and Game of Thrones to watch....) - taking back suits, dropping off vases at the florist and taking my bouquet to my Mum's so it could be sent off to be freeze-dried. So at about 3pm we were finally ready to head onto our minimoon!

We had booked 2 nights at the amazing Lygon Arms in Broadway - the most amazing spa hotel I've ever seen. We were upgraded to a junior suite for our minimoon and we were in what looked like a converted stable. We had a four poster bed, a roll top bath and the both beautiful surroundings, honestly, it looks like Game of Thrones.

We had dinner in the incredible restaurant ("It's booked under Mr and Mrs Cantillon?") and then we were absolutely exhausted!

On Tuesday we had some time in the morning to look around Broadway before our message at 11am, so we went around the little shops and I discovered my dream shop - selling nick nacks, board games, books, homeware and gin!

We had an amazing massage and then had some time in the pool before we headed out to walk up to explore more of Broadway.

Broadway is like toy town. It is all cute little stone buildings and shops selling chocolates or tweed, cutesy cafes with cakes in the window and an amazing two-storey deli. It doesn't look real.

I browsed both the bookshop and the deli before we decided to grab some cake before going for a walk. We popped into the Market Pantry and settled on a chocolate brownie and some sticky ginger cake. The brownie was honestly one of the best brownies I've ever had!

Once we were fuelled up we decided to walk up to Broadway T0werThis was a decent walk and maybe more of an ascent than we had expected, but it was a lovely cool day and the walk was amazing. It was a little foggy so we didn't get the full view, but we met some sprightly lambs on the way up! Broadway Tower was well worth a visit even though it was a bit overcast for us to experience the amazing views it boasts!

There isn't loads to do in Broadway, but it was perfect for two nights when we wanted to relax without feeling the pressure of trying to squeeze everything in. The Lygon Arms is one of the nicest hotels I've stayed in, and was perfect for our minimoon but I don't think we'll be staying anywhere that lavish any time soon!

On Wednesday we left Broadway and decided to visit some of the little chocolate box villages we'd been told to see in the Cotswolds. We bought cheese and went to two bookshops in Stow-on-the-wold, drove through Upper Slaughter and found a parking space in Lower Slaughter.

From there we walked through to Bourton-on-the-water which was my favourite place on the trip. It reminds me of the villages in the Lake District - lots of little shops, tiny niche museums, ice cream shops and cafes. We also sampled some Cotswolds gin but unfortunately we couldn't get on a distillery tour (maybe next time!).

On our walk back we were looking for the Cotswolds Brewing Company. We'd seen a sign for it, but Google Maps seemed to show it in the middle of a field which erm, it was! The bar wasn't open so we got a cider for the road and walked back to the car with a cider in hand in the sunshine. It was one of my favourite parts.

On Wednesday afternoon we drove to Cheltenham to our airbnb where we spent the rest of the week. 

On Thursday we went for brunch and explored the city, walking through Montpellier Gardens and to Pitville Park. We knew Pitville Park was where we'd be going for parkrun but didn't realise it was so huge! It's a good job we checked where the start was! 

We'd spotted the Everyman Theatre on Wednesday night and seen they had a Thursday matinee of Avenue Q which we'd never seen, so we spent the afternoon in the theatre which was great fun!

When we'd been out for brunch we'd spotted the most amazing restaurant in a converted cinema and we earmarked it for dinner. The Daffodil does a pre-theatre menu (which for us for post-theatre!) which made it quite reasonable for an amazing meal in the most incredible setting!

On Friday we took a day trip to Gloucester on the bus which took about 45 minutes (hey you can take the girl away from work but she'll still find a Stagecoach bus!) and was a lovely journey. It was Good Friday so there was a service on at Gloucester Cathedral but they still let us walk around as long as we were quiet! The Cathedral was absolutely amazing and I'm so glad we went. 

We also had a walk around Gloucester Docks which were beautiful on a sunny day, and around the outlet mall before we headed back to Cheltenham.

We decided we wanted to buy a bottle of the Cotswolds gin as a memento, so when we got back I searched for where to buy it, and that was when I found the best bar in Cheltenham! John Gordon's is half a gin bar and half a whisky bar, and they will help you find something perfect to your tastes. As we'd already had the Cotswolds gin and really liked it, I asked for something similar, and was given a Garden Swift gin which I absolutely loved, and we promptly bought a bottle to take home!

We decided to spend our last night in, and had spotted a pizza place called Fat Toni's that we realllllly wanted to try, so we had another few drinks and ordered a pizza to collect. Their pizzas are 20" in diameter so you definitely don't need more than one, but luckily they can do it in thirds, which was perfect for us. We got a third meat for Phil, a third veg for me and a third margherita. It was the crispest sourdough base in a woodfired oven and it was amazing (and huge!).

On Saturday we headed over to Pitville Park again for parkrun, and it was one of my favourite parkruns I've done! It was a beautiful park, the sun was shining and I really enjoyed my run!

The plan was to go to Stratford-Upon-Avon on the way back home, but once we'd got back and showered and checked out after parkrun, it was gone 12.30 by the time we got to Stratford. We drove around for 45 minutes (it looked lovely!) but on a beautifully sunny Saturday, there was nowhere to park! Oh well! I'm looking forward to going again and properly spending some time in Stratford in the future.

So what to do on our way home? I had a look on my phone and found a few National Trust sights nearby, so we decided to just head home and see if we saw any signs for anywhere we could visit on the way back. About 15 minutes into our drive home we saw a sign for Charlcote House and we decided it would be perfect.

Phil and I have been talking about National Trust membership for years (in fact, we nearly signed up in Lyme Park the day Phil proposed!) and with the wedding planning done, we decided now would be a good time to actually sign up. I was absolutely buzzing! We have definitely hit peak old married couple now!

Charlcote House was amazing and the grounds were even more amazing. We had a lovely walk around in the sunshine and it was the perfect end to our amazing minimoon!

Phil and I also got our money's worth of our National Trust membership this weekend with a trip to Quarry Bank Mill. I'd not been for absolutely years and I'd forgotten how beautiful it is (not something you really appreciate as a child!). We only walked around the grounds (and a bit beyond, okay we got completely lost!) on this trip, but I can't wait to go back in the Mill for the first time in about 20 years!

What I've bought
Bosh! was pretty much my favourite new recipe book of 2018 (besides The Green Roasting Tin, of course!) so I was thrilled when I found out the Bosh boys were creating a 
sequel! Keep your eye out for a review of Bish Bash Bosh over the next few weeks.

The nice weather also got me thinking about my summer wardrobe, so I treated myself to some cool trainers, and finally replaced my denim jacket I got for my 20th Birthday (no, seriously).

Whatb I've been reading
Ooooh some bangers this month. Like everyone else in the universe I fell hard for Daisy Jones and the Six and straight after I read Taylor Jenkins-Reid's previous book The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo which I also absolutely adored!

Not a high reading month with the wedding and a pretty busy minimoon, but I also read The Summer that Melted EverythingA Ladder to the Sky and Bitter Orange, and listened to American Kingpin on audio.

I read Pet Sematary last month and made the mistake of reading the book way too close to seeing the film. I'm usually terrible at remembering details from the book when I see a film but I adored the book and it was so fresh in my mind that I couldn't stand all the changes they'd made for the film, and how thematically different it was. Pet Sematary is a book about loss and mourning, and this was a straightforward horror with the same title. And I think if I'd known that I would have enjoyed it more, but wanting a straightforward adaptation of one of my new favourite books, this was disappointing,

I did completely love Eighth Grade which I'd wanted to see for absolutely ages. It was exactly what I wanted it to be.

At home we've watched Tropic Thunder and finally finished Fargo season 3. Fargo is pretty much my all-time favourite TV drama and this article summed up perfectly how I felt.

And also, obviously, Game of Thrones.

What I read online
Yes and Yes - How to live within your means

April was the best month ever but I'm excited for what May will bring!

I hope you enjoy your long weekend!

Charlotte x

Saturday, 27 April 2019

Our Wedding - Part 3

This is part 3 of my wedding posts. Part 1 is here, and Part 2 is here.  As I started to write I realised I had wayyyy too much to say for one post, so I've split the day into 3 posts (4000 words!). I wanted to get as much down as possible to share with you guys (and for future me!) while it’s all still fresh in my mind, but I’m sure over time I’ll do more posts on the details of the day (I mean, let’s face it I have nothing better to do now!) when we get more of our “official” photos back. But for now enjoy a few of our amazing official photos (taken by the incredible Amy Louise Photography) and a few family snapshots. 

During the meal, Amy, our photographer, came over to me and asked “what is happening at 7.30pm?”.
Nothing, I said, but the evening guests are arriving then.
“It looks like there’s going to be a sunset around then. If we’re quick we can get some more photos.”
This was perfect. For what most people didn’t know was that I had a change to my dress for the evening. The lace top and sleeves of my dress were actually a separate little jacket, and once removed I could pull a pair of diamante straps which had been hidden in my bodice. The actual dress was backless, which perfectly showed off the beautiful bow I’d had attached to the back. This meant I had the chance for photos in both “versions” of my dress.
These photos are incredible. I’ve only seen a handful so far, but what I have seen are stunning and I’m so incredibly grateful that we had a chance to capture them.

We were taken in to see the “evening” room as the rest of the guests arrived, and then the cake was wheeled into the dancefloor ready for us to cut.

We went for a 3 tier naked cake from Cherry Blossom Bakery – one tier lemon, one tier vanilla and one layer lemon and raspberry, decorated with fruit. It looked absolutely stunning.

James, our DJ had arrived too and ushered us to the dancefloor for our first dance.
Our first dance song was My, My Love by Joshua Radin. Two years ago, for Phil’s birthday, I surprised him with a trip to Berlin to see Joshua Radin, who Phil had introduced me to. As soon as he started playing this song, I burst into tears, and we knew then, over 6 months before we got engaged, that that would be our first dance.
We sang the words and I cried and Phil span me around. It was perfect.
Then James played our “second dance” – My Girl, by the Temptations and everyone joined us on the dancefloor.
Then I had one last dance before the party started – my dance with my Dad. Once my dad was located (!) he came onto the dancefloor and the opening of I Hope You Dance started and honestly, we  both basically sobbed in each other’s arms for 3 minutes. It was the most lovely and beautiful moment for my Dad and I.

I wiped my tears and positioned myself firmly on the dancefloor for the rest of the night – one my bustle was in place and I could stop worrying about people standing on my dress!

Phil and I had spent a lot of time working on the perfect playlist and I might be biased, but we absolutely smashed it. I couldn’t stop dancing, and ended up asking my Mum to tell people to come to the dancefloor if they wanted to speak to me!
A big thing for Phil and I was the inclusion of LOTS of power ballads as we love the Ultimate Power night we used to go to in Manchester when we lived in town. So halfway through the night, the DJ announced that the next half an hour were going to be power ballads only, and threw out the inflatable instruments we had bought as a surprise!
I danced all night long and had the best night of my life. My feet were soooooo sore in my heels but my dress was too long to take them off!

Towards the end of the night, our two best friends said they had to go, but I wasn’t letting them go until we gave them a final surprise. And the opening drums of I’ll Make a Man out of You from Mulan started to play...
About  10 of us lost our minds while 100+ people stared back wondering what on earth was going on.  It was one of my favourite moments.

At 1am, it was time for the last song. I choose my favourite song, Wagon Wheel by Old Crowe Medicine Show and we all stood arm in arm on the dancefloor while I cried that it was over.

I finally pulled off my heels and dragged my dress into the cocktail bar where I promptly ordered a cup of tea, and, exactly as I knew I would, sat down in my big poofy dress drinking tea in the early hours of the morning.

I was determined not to let anyone go to bed after me on my wedding night, so Phil and I stayed up til 3.30am with my cousin and his brother, before finally stumbling to our suite.

Our bags hadn’t arrived but we didn’t even care. Phil dutifully, drunkly, unbuttoned the dozens of tiny buttons that had been a nightmare to do and we fell into bed exhausted at 4am.

It was without a doubt, the best day of my life. The most perfect day with everyone I loved, and most importantly, married to the man of my dreams. I loved every single moment and it was even better than I could have imagined!

As I get more photos I’m hoping to do more posts but having written nearly 4000 words on the topic now I think it’s probably time for a break. For a couple of days...

Thank you to everyone who left us a comment or message. It’s been amazing sharing our journey with you.

Charlotte x

Thursday, 25 April 2019

Our Wedding - Part 2

This is part 2 of my wedding posts. Part 1 is here. As I started to write I realised I had wayyyy too much to say for one post, so I've split the day into 3 posts (4000 words!). I wanted to get as much down as possible to share with you guys (and for future me!) while it’s all still fresh in my mind, but I’m sure over time I’ll do more posts on the details of the day (I mean, let’s face it I have nothing better to do now!) when we get more of our “official” photos back. But for now enjoy a few of our amazing official photos (taken by the incredible Amy Louise Photography) and a few family snapshots. 

The church we got married in is my family church. Every Crowley family wedding I've been to has been there, every christening. It was where my parents’ were married and where we had both my grandparents’ funerals.

There was never much I’d planned about my wedding before we got engaged but I always knew it would be at Our Lady’s.

Phil and I are both Catholic so we decided to have a full Catholic mass, and we’d had several meetings with the priest in the months leading up to the wedding.

As I mentioned in my previous post, I’d been really calm all morning (only stressing briefly when we were getting me into my dress!) but when we walked into the church entrance and I heard the opening bars of the bridal chorus, I gasped “Holy shit!” – not ideal to say in a church!

The doors opened and the bridesmaids started to walk down the aisle, and I held my Dad back for a minute while I had a moment. I took everything in, and then I was ready to go.
I’d spent so long practising walking in my dress, but when I came to walking down the aisle, I wasn’t focusing on that at all, and instead was looking around at everyone I loved. I was ecstatic. I couldn’t stop smiling. And then I could see Phil.

It was surreal when I heard “we are gathered here today to celebrate the marriage of Philip James Cantillon and Charlotte Elizabeth Crowley”. I couldn’t stop grinning at Phil, who was being very focused and listening to every word the priest said!

The first hymn and readings which we had so carefully chosen – one from my Maid of Honour and one from Phil’s Dad, went by so fast and suddenly we were about to say our vows.
Guys, I was doing SO WELL seriously, and then in the middle of my vows the enormity of the situation hit me and my lip wobbled and my voice caught. I was marrying Phil! I was making my vows to him! I didn’t properly cry but I definitely had a wobble!

Then James, one of Phil’s best men, presented the rings, and there were those beautiful rings we had spent so long choosing, and I was slipping it onto Phil’s finger and oh my godddddd Phil is wearing a wedding ring. And there was my beautiful platinum ring with the tiny jewels that I adored.

And then, we were married!

The priest beckoned us to a side room to sign the register, and as soon as I started walking... uh oh. My garter was around my ankle! I walked very slowly and carefully to the room, trying not to trip on my dress or veil, then suddenly I couldn’t feel it anymore!

We got into the register room and my Maid of Honour whispered to me “your garter is in my bra”. Somehow, without anyone seeing she’d whipped it up off the floor for me!

Signing the register was one of my favourite parts of the day. It was just Phil and I, our parents, the bridesmaids and best men, and we were all completely giddy. It was such a nice moment with us all. And once we’d signed, we were officially married!

For the first half of the wedding we obviously had our backs to everyone, but for the rest of the mass we were sat at the back of the altar. I loved this because I could properly look around and see everyone! I could see my Dad and Mum and my bridesmaids and my cousins and aunties and Phil’s friends and family. I was looking around taking everything in and feeling so happy to be surrounded by everyone we loved!
We sang our final hymn (with clapping led by myself and the bridesmaids!) and then the wedding march starting playing and I beamed past everyone I loved holding my husband’s hand.

Outside it was like a celebrity meet and greet with everyone queuing up to congratulate us! The sun was just poking out through the clouds in time for our family photos and confetti! Honestly, I was finding confetti all day – how it got down the bodice of my fitted dress I’ll never know!

We decided to do the big group photo at the reception, so everyone dispersed – some into cars but lots of people onto the bus. Phil had the good thinking to grab him and I a glass of prosecco each for the car journey too!

The journey to the reception in the car with Phil is one of my favourite memories of the day. People on the streets waved at us in our car and we waved back enthusiastically. We were both absolutely buzzing to see each other and couldn’t believe we were married! We laughed at our almost-matching wedding gifts to each other – navy and gold watches – and we caught up on our mornings. Every now and again we just kept saying “we’re married!”.
The bus took a wrong turn, so we actually ended up at our reception before most of our guests, and we were greeted at  Mottram Hall with a glass of prosecco and a red carpet rolled out for us.

This is the one part of the day which is a bit of a blur! We had some group photos outside and photos of Phil and I on the bus, then we were whisked off to see our room for the first time! It was so bizarre seeing the dozens of sunflowers and beer bottles that had sat in our spare bedroom for months transformed into centrepieces on the tables, and we got a first glance at our cake!

As everyone was going into the room for dinner, Phil and I snuck off for our portraits in the beautiful Mottram Hall gardens. It was nice to get a little bit of time together especially as this was the point where I was started to get a bit overwhelmed! My Nan’s vintage white gold Rolex which I wore as my “something borrowed” wasn’t set so I had no idea what time it was and I was worried I was making everyone late!
As everyone sat down to dinner, our wedding co-ordinator Paul directed us where to go and we were announced as Mr and Mrs Cantillon for the first time!

During the meal it was so nice to see those seats we arranged on pieces of paper filled with our friends and family. I kept taking a moment to look around and enjoy the buzz of the chatter. 

And then, suddenly, it was time for the speeches!

We had six speakers at our wedding and we’d done a little sweepstake card per table where people could place a bet on how long the combined speeches would be. Our friends had done something similar at their wedding and we loved the idea! 
First up was my Dad, which I was dreading. In the weeks leading up to the wedding I’d had multiple texts from my Mum about how much my Dad was crying practising his speech! I’m a proper Daddy’s girl and we are so close I swear he cried every time he looked at me on my wedding day! He absolutely smashed it though, crying himself during the speech, and there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.
Which was a problem because... I was up next. I’d always wanted to speak at my wedding. I wanted to ensure it wasn’t just men speaking (there’s enough of that in the world, amirite?) and I also wanted a chance to talk about Phil. I’d only managed to go through it without crying once, and I faltered a couple of times but I’m so glad I did it.

Phil’s speech was lovely, and his toast to absent friends set everyone off crying again. And of course he got a Jurgen Klopp quote in!

Carrying on the theme of women speaking at weddings, my Maid of Honour was next. She absolutely smashed it! She even made a last minute addition to her speech to include the retrieval of my garter earlier in the day! She had me laughing, crying and cringing with her stories of our 18 year friendship.

Finally, Phil’s two best men did a brilliant joint speech. Phil was gently roasted, but it was also a genuine and heartfelt speech. 

The speeches are always one of my favourite part of a wedding so I’m so glad ours were so good – someone even told me they were the best wedding speeches they’d heard!

And then as soon as the speeches were over it was 7.30pm and the evening guests were arriving!

Read Part 3

Wednesday, 24 April 2019

Our Wedding - Part 1

This is part 1 of my wedding posts (part 2 is here, part 3 is here). As I started to write I realised I had wayyyy too much to say for one post, so I've split the day into 3 posts (4000 words!). I wanted to get as much down as possible to share with you guys (and for future me!) while it’s all still fresh in my mind, but I’m sure over time I’ll do more posts on the details of the day (I mean, let’s face it I have nothing better to do now!) when we get more of our “official” photos back. But for now enjoy a few of our amazing official photos (taken by the incredible Amy Louise Photography) and a few family snapshots. 

If there was one thing I kept being told on the days leading up to our wedding, it was “it goes by in a blur.”

And obviously I hated hearing this! I spent 16 months planning this day and I wanted to enjoy it!

Fortunately for us, it didn’t go by in a blur at all.

I woke up early, which I had to as hair and makeup were arriving at 7am. I woke my parents (who are normally super early risers!) up jumping on the bed like it was Christmas, shouting “I’m getting married today!”. I had a cup of tea with my Dad (who at this point, was not crying, more on this later) and text Phil who had been up even longer than me.

Another thing I heard and worried about was it not feeling real, but from the moment I heard my bridesmaids arrive downstairs, it was completely real to me. It was my wedding day! 

You probably already know this, but I am the least chill person ever, so it was a surprise to everyone, especially me!, how relaxed I was on the morning of my wedding. I was just walking around, taking everything in. I knew that there was nothing I could do at this point to change anything and that I’d planned everything I could, so now I had to enjoy it.
Phil and I had agreed at embargo where we couldn’t text after 7.30am. Luckily, he opened his present before we had to stop so I was thrilled he loved his Fossil watch which I also had engraved with our names and the date. Then I sent a “see you in church!” text and that was it!

Because my makeup was being done last, I spent the morning making tea and coffee and snacks for the bridesmaids and hair and makeup ladies! It was so nice to get ready with everyone and see their hair and makeup one by one. 

While we were getting ready, flowers arrived for The Mother of the Bride from my Mum’s friends, and soon after surprise balloons and banners for the house arrived too! 

Then it got super real when the flowers came! Funnily enough, we almost forgot them! I had my bouquet, the bridesmaids’ bouquets, and corsages for my Mum, Dad and Nan delivered to my parents’ house where I was getting ready and we were told to keep them somewhere cool so we kept them in the porch. It was only when the bridesmaids were leaving and my maid of honour said “are our flowers at the church?” that I realised we hadn’t given them out! 

(More on flowers later, or another post if this gets too long!).

We decided to “film our own” wedding with Friends Film It, as we wanted a relaxed video of the day that felt real and like us, so during the morning I did some filming and my bridesmaids helped me out with some filming in the morning.

Before I had my hair and makeup done, I opened my card and presents from Phil. My card was beautiful and I’ve reread it so many times (the front says “It would have been cheaper to elope” haha) and I got the best presents! Phil got me a Liverpool shirt with “Cantillon 19” on the back which I completely love and, coincidentally, a navy and gold watch – very similar to the one I had  bought for him! My sister-in-law Suzie told me after she’d been involved in the choosing of them both, and we’d both sent her a photo when we’d bought them within minutes of each other!
Once everyone (well, not me!) had had a bacon butty, it was time for my hair and makeup.
I had my hair and makeup trials in January so I knew what I was going to have on the day, but it was super exciting to see it all come together. I went for a gold smokey eye and a neutral lip, and my hair curled (of course) and half up, half down to flatter the neckline of the dress.
All morning had been super chill and suddenly I made the mistake of checking the hairdresser’s phone for the time and arghhhhh, it was 12pm! I should have been in my dress by now!

While the last of the bridesmaids had their hair and makeup finished, I rushed upstairs with my Mum and maid of honour to get into my dress. 
My dress was the most beautiful Mora Lee princess dress, but it did come with a LOT of tiny buttons down the back! I’d had loads of fittings (more on this later!) but we weren’t able to try doing all the buttons up before the day as the buttons would stretch out. All I could do was stand there and breathe in while my Mum, Maid of Honour and in the end, photographer, tried to fasten me in, all the while trying to stay calm and not worry about being late!
Fortunately, I’d given everything plenty of time in the morning, with the bus for the bridesmaids and my Mum coming at 12.20pm and the car for my Dad and I coming at 12.30pm with the church only 10 minutes away we didn’t need to panic!

Eventually, my dress was on, my shoes were on, my jewellery was on (and my perfume was not on, one thing that I forgot which has been driving me mad ever since), Amy, my photographer, cleared the room so I could have a first look with my Dad.

It’s been an on-going joke in my family about how much my Dad would cry at my wedding, and it’s not even been a joke. I think we’d both already cried in the morning but as soon as he came into the room and saw me in my dress his face completely crumpled.  It was such a lovely moment just the two of us, and one of my favourite memories of the day.
Then, while my Mum was quickly throwing on her dress and hat, we did a first look with my bridesmaids. I’d tried to ensure that only my Mum and Maid of Honour had seen my dress – even my bridesmaids didn’t know any details, so it was so nice to show them my dress for the first time, and see them all dressed up in their bridesmaids dresses!

And then it was time to go! I could see the vintage routemaster bus outside ready to take my Mum and bridesmaids which looked amazing, and the vintage car for my Dad and I was waiting outside too. My Dad dropped off a crate of beer and bottles of prosecco on the bus for after the ceremony, my Maid of Honour grabbed the flowers out of the porch and handed me my bouquet and they were off!

When I came outside all my parents’ neighbours were out to see me with cameras and it was like being a celebrity! The day was light and bright and I was so happy that it was my wedding day, I couldn’t stop grinning.

And then it was time to head to the church!

Those vintage cars look nice but when you are wearing a huge dress there is no elegant way to get in, so you kind of have to bundle in in a very unladylike way! There was just enough room for my Dad next to me! It was such a lovely ride with my Dad in the car and I’m pretty sure we both cried. 
As we arrived at the church we were actually a bit early and beat the bus, so we ended up going around the block so I didn’t arrive too early! Once we’d gone around the block I could see people waiting outside and one of Phil’s best men waiting outside the church, and then it felt completely real! (I did ask him too “Phil is here right?” haha)

I bundled back out of the car with help from my Dad and then walked up into the church...

Read Part 2

Monday, 1 April 2019

March Life Lately

So, erm, we get married this month.
This month! 
As in, the week after next.
As in, a week on Saturday.
As in, there's only one weekend left and then it's our wedding day.

I have finally reached a point where I am just excited. Well, I am 90% excited, and still 10% stressed and worried and checking the weather every hour.

But it has meant that March has been a bit of a quiet one than usual. March is usually our busiest and best month of the year, with Phil's Birthday on the 1st and mine on the 30th, but we intentionally tried to keep the month fairly quiet (except for Birthdays and our second hen and stag dos of course!). We wanted to make sure a) we got some time to relax before April hit and b) we had free time in case of any unexpected trauma!

So March has been lovely and bookended with both our Birthdays but I am so excited for April! 

Here's what I got up this month, and here's my One Second Every Day for the month:

What I've been doing
So 1st March wasn't only Phil's Birthday, it was Phil's big Birthday! We normally have a £60 budget for presents for Birthdays and Christmas, but with it being his 30th, there'd been a Nintendo Switch under the bed for 3 weeks. I was so excited to finally get to give it to him! I also got him a framed print of his favourite Lowry painting and Mariokart - which we ended up playing at 7am on his Birthday! 

We had such a good day going into Manchester, having brunch, going shopping and going out for dinner with his family and my parents. Plus he got his final surprise of a cake with a personalised Virgil van Dijk cake topper!

Now as a result this, I am now obsessed with Phil's Nintendo Switch, especially Overcooked 2, which we cannot stop playing! I've not played a lot of two-player games, and I haven't played games since The Sims as a teenager, but it's been so much fun to wind down in the evening by playing together. What I loved about Overcooked 2 is that you play as a team, not against each other, so you really have to communicate and work together to finish the game. I keep joking our relationship has definitely improved since we started playing!

Last month I talked about my big away weekend hen do, and this month I had my second hen in Manchester. It was on one of my bridesmaid's birthdays, so my maid of honour and I met up with her and we had our nails done in preparation and got ready together, then we headed to a bar for predrinks. They'd organised some brilliant games, with a bingo game as an ice breaker where everyone had to find someone with the same colour car as them, or the same Birthday month, or someone with the same hobby as them, which was great to introduce everyone, and then, my favourite, everyone had to write down a memory of me and I had to guess whose memory it was. I loved this and I've kept all the memories! Finally, we had another game of Mr and Mrs and everyone had to vote whether the answer was me or Phil.

Then we headed to Crazy Wendy's. Everyone in Manchester has heard of Crazy Wendy's, but we didn't seem to know many people who had actually been. The only way I can describe it as is Thai food with... entertainment. After dinner, they started playing music and passed around a microphone, and then as everyone had more drinks they got more bold with their singing, and then we were all up on our seats dancing! Then around 10.30pm, Wendy herself came out and sang with us. You can see her audition for X Factor if you want an idea of what it was like! It was so so much fun to have all my aunties and cousins and my Mum and family friends and Phil's Mum and sister there to celebrate and we were all dancing and having so much fun! I had such a good night!

I've been in London this month for the dotdigital summit for work which was really fun and interesting. Plus I got to go to a talk from Nile Rogers which was really cool!

I'd not really been that excited for my Birthday with the wedding so close, but my colleagues did an excellent job with presents on Friday, from tickets to see The Guilty Feminist, to a Leslie Knope print and an avocado recipe book to name but a few, plus lemon and white chocolate blondies (yes they're as good as they sound!). Then on Friday we went to Foodie Friday with my friend and her boyfriend and had excellent pizza and halloumi fries.

Then Saturday was my actual Birthday so Phil woke me up with presents (a "Phil-sized" super soft zip up hoodie so I stop stealing his, this book, "Daring to dream: England's Story at the World Cup 2018" and tickets to a double bill of The Godfather and The Godfather II (The Godfather is one of my absolute favourite films) at our local old cinema) and of course, a cup of tea. I opened my other presents and cards and then we played Overcooked before we got ready for parkrun. I wanted to go to Heaton Park parkrun like I always do for parkrun milestones to wear one of their bibs, as I knew they had a Birthday one, so I had to go for that with my Birthday falling on a Saturday! I had such a great run and everyone was saying Happy Birthday to me, and I ended up running not only a PB at Heaton Park, but my best parkrun time at any park since September 2016!

Next up was a trip to IKEA for my last present from Phil. I've wanted a toy shark from IKEA for absolutely years, and we agreed that I would get one for my Birthday. But of course, there was no way Phil could go to IKEA without me, so we made a plan to go after parkrun. And that's where we met Bruce. And it was love at first sight. I love him so much!

After a quick turnaround at home we went to the Trafford Centre for some shopping and lunch, and then to my Mum's for more presents (yay!). However, when I arrived, it turned out my Birthday had a dress code - both my Mum and I were wearing high necked, leopard skater dresses, black tights, black shoes, leather jackets and a Ted Baker bag! For dinner we went to the Indian Tiffin Room, which is where I had my Birthday two years ago. It was amazing!

Then the next day for Mother's Day went out for a carvery lunch with my Mum, Dad and Nan which was an excellent end to the weekend!

What I've been reading
March has been a good reading month, with 8 books and 2 audiobooks completed.

Here's what I read this month:
The Thirteenth Tale
You Know You Want This
The Flower Girls
Invisible Women
I want to show you more
Pet Sematary
The Sisterhood

And on audio:
The Happiness Advantage

I read The Flower Girls in 24 hours and really recommend it as a quick, pacey read. Both You Know You Want This and I Want to Show You More are short story collections, and Invisible Women and The Sisterhood are non-fiction, so it's been a bit of a mix this month.

Invisible Women should be recommended reading to everyone. It made me so angry, but I couldn't put it down. If you don't know anything about it, be sure to read this article.

I really loved Pet Sematary, which I've wanted to read for ages but I've been too scared! I love Stephen King but loads of people had said this is his scariest book! But when I found out there was an early screening of the new film adaptation on the 1st April I knew I'd better get cracking! I read it in a couple of days and it's one of my favourite Stephen King books now.

In audio, The Happiness Advantage is absolutely brilliant. So much so that I bought a copy of it for on my desk too to remind me of the principles. It's all about the importance of happiness and how it brings success, and not the other way around. Give this TED talk a watch for a bit of an intro.

I also read Disrupted which I found really interesting at first... til he described online marketing aka, my job, as "almost as bad as internet porn". I finished it just to have finished it, but I was hoping it would be more like Bad Blood, but instead it seemed more like a grumpy old man complaining about "kids today".

What I've seen
The day after Phil's Birthday Cineworld were showing Into The Spider-verse again, in IMAX so we HAD to go see it again. I loved it even more second time around.

This month we also saw Captain Marvel, and really loved Us.

What I've read online
Refinery 29 - I thought I had a good relationship with food, then I got pregnant
New Statesman - How veganism became a billion dollar industry (edit: she reads this as she drinks her oat milk coffee...)
A Rosie Outlook - 40 days and 40 tasks
Cupcakes and Cashmere - The best things you can do for yourself before a trip
Biscuits and Blisters - 25 things I do unapologetically care about

Erm, so, I guess that's it? I can't see me managing to get a post up before we get married in 12 days, so I guess I'll see you when I'm Mrs Cantillon?!

I rarely post on Instagram anymore, and I'm annoyingly secretive about every detail of my wedding but in case I have a change of heart you can follow me there (I say this, I'm not evening bringing my phone with me on the day). BUT if you are interested in our wedding photos, I'm still trying to make #CantillonCrowleyWedding happen (it was Phil's stag and my hen hashtag so I'm hoping it will catch on for the wedding, even though Phil won't let us have an "official" wedding hashtag).

Or, I would definitely recommend following our photographer! I don't know if she'll be posting on the day but that's probably the best place for our photos.

So I guess I'll see you on the other side!

Charlotte xxx