For someone who writes about weddings for a living, it seems odd that I get some sort of random stage-fright when anyone tries to bring up my own engagement/wedding.

I guess I’m not the gushy, undying love in public type. I would say “sorry, Brian”, but he’s not either. Not that there’s anything wrong with that if you are, but I’ve felt so awkward hyping up my own engagement story to people that I just reply “Malta” and “No, I didn’t know when it would happen, but we had spoken about it,” when people ask the standard engagement questions, finished by smiling and nodding as they look at my ring.

It’s like the engagement equivalent of someone being nice and complimenting your shoes and you quickly replying “oh, they were just £5 from Primark!” Why am I always so eager to play things down?!

The thing is, I loved our engagement. I love being engaged and – even though I had a bit of a anxiety-ridden time when we got back from Malta – I’m excited to plan a wedding with Brian, surrounded by those who mean the most to us.

I just don’t seem to very good at being the centre of attention with something so personal; I find it much easier to write it all down and share it that way instead, so that’s exactly what I’m doing.

I really want to share lots of wedding planning fun with you on the blog, so where better to start than the proposal?



Brian and I had decided to go to Malta when looking for holiday spots earlier this year. After Susie from Sincerely Yours, Susie recommended we go (she is a Malta holidaying pro!), we found some good flights and a gorgeous hotel (more on that here).

As I said above, I wasn’t sure when we’d get engaged. I thought it would be this year, but I also wanted to be surprised. After arriving on the Thursday and exploring Sliema and beyond on the Friday, Brian had planned our day on Saturday.

After a nice breakfast together at the hotel, we got the water taxi over to Valetta. Even this worked out well as we ended up the first on the boat so got the most amazing view of the city and harbour.

Taking a walk through the pretty streets of Valetta, Brian had a few places he said he’d read about any wanted to see. First up, we headed to the Lower Barrakka Gardens. As it was still early, it was lovely and quiet, with beautiful views out over the sea. It just felt such a special place and I’ll never forget how serene everything seemed that morning.

We then walked back to the main square, before stopping for a drink. Although we were planning on having lunch there too, it felt so busy and we decided to take a walk and see if we spotted anywhere quieter.

Randomly, we ended up walking past Marks and Spencer and saw they had a food hall! We got some baguettes, crisps and some drinks (mine, a pink gin and Brian’s, a beer) and sat in the gorgeous square at the Grandmaster’s Palace. Forget fine dining, it was a pretty perfect lunch.

Deciding to save our drinks (seriously, it was so hot in the sunshine that  we were about to melt), we continued our little tour of Valetta and embarked on the hilly walk to the Upper Barrakka Gardens.

Unbeknown to me at the time, this was one of Brian’s proposal spot ideas, but when we got there it was mobbed! Honestly, every tourist in the vicinity must have flocked to the gardens at that time of day. Under the guise of finding ‘a nice place to have our drinks’, Brian suggested we go somewhere else and I asked if we could go back to the lower gardens, where I hoped it would be quieter.

When we got there, we saw that the one bench at the very corner, which overlooked the harbour, was empty so we made our way over. Of course, it wouldn’t be me without some sort of mishap and I had headed to the one single toilet in the park as soon as we arrived. All fine, until I got the lock stuck and had such a struggle with it that I caught my finger in the latch!

Not thinking anything of it, I went back to find Brian at our ideal little bench and felt so content, just sitting taking in the scenery. After a few moments of silence enjoying the views, Brian said he had something to ask me before we had our drinks. Right there, he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him! Everything is a bit of a happy blur of me taking the ring out the box (not entirely sure what the etiquette is here, whether you’re meant to wait for your new fiance to place your ring lovingly on your finger, but I was too excited!) and feeling like I was in a dream.

During this fairy tale moment, we soon realised my finger which I’d trapped in the door was actually bleeding a lot and we ended up having to go find a pharmacy soon after to get antiseptic wipes! The things you don’t see on Instagram!

After calling our close families, we finally opened our drinks and, quite manically, laughed together at how unbelievable it was that we were actually engaged.



So many people ask me if I chose my engagement ring, but it was all a bit different than finding one we liked in a shop. I’ve known and previously worked with Glasgow engagement ring designer, Darren at Bejouled and always knew I wanted him to make my ring when the time came.

One thing I had known for a long time (amid many wedding shows) was that I loved yellow diamonds and the pear shaped cut has always been a favourite. It’s hard not to have a little idea on what you like when you work in the wedding industry! I’d seen a few nice yellow diamond rings in various boutiques when we’d looked together, but nothing was ‘just right’.

We went to see Darren together in spring and chatted through what I liked and how to make it a bit unique and different. It was clear to see that I – shockingly – really love diamonds and, after trying various styles on and discussing ideas, I left it in Darren (and Brian’s!) capable hands to create something amazing.

I still can’t really get over how ‘me’ my engagement ring is. A pear-shaped yellow diamond centre stone with a halo of diamonds is the dream for me, so to then add to that a diamond twisted band was just perfection. I’m still in awe of how something so pretty can be mine (and also legit terrified I’ll ever lose it – the ring fear is real, people!)

Every engagement ring is perfect for their bride or groom-to-be, but I cannot recommend Bejouled enough. It really is lovely to have a ring that has been designed totally for you. Going bespoke just gives you so much control over every aspect of your design and I know we’ll go bespoke for our wedding rings too.



Er, nothing… haha! Seriously though, I don’t know if I’m being a bad bride-to-be but I have not done a thing to start wedding planning yet! Last weekend was the first time I had even started a (secret) Pinterest board for myself to start putting ideas in.

It’s weird, everyone thinks that, because of my job, I’d know exactly what I want, but it actually makes it harder! We’re not planning on getting married until 2021 so I feel I’m giving myself plenty of time and know I’ll have a whole lot of help. I’m looking at you, Team SWD!

This weekend, I’m actually heading to The Scottish Wedding Show at SEC Glasgow. It will be my first time attending the show as a bride-to-be, which still feels so funny as I’ve went to the show so many times for work! I’m really excited to experience it in a different way and it’s always been my favourite show to go to, so I know it’ll be a really nice day.

I’m going to be sharing loads from the show on my Instagram (@tenderlovingstyle), so I’d love if you came along with me via Insta Stories. The first of my real life wedding chat is out – eek!



Oh, I do enjoy a little bit of luxury so I was seriously excited to for a stay at 5 star luxury apartments, The Edinburgh Grand. Located on St Andrew’s Square, I’ve been following the venue on Facebook since the renovation of the grand building was announced, so I could not wait!

A really short walk from Edinburgh Waverley train station, I arrived at the gorgeous classical sandstone setting, greeted by the very friendly and helpful team in the impressive reception area (think marble chequered floors, plush velvet and plenty of lush greenery).

Forget the standard hotel room key card, even the room entry system here is exclusive, with each suite accessed by your own unique code. Meeting my roomie – Victoria, of course – in the bar, we agreed we could definitely get used to this life. I mean, surely The Edinburgh Grand wouldn’t notice if we hid in one of the 50 individually designed apartments…?


Anyway, planning to secretly move in to one of the apartments aside,  we were staying in one of the Capital Apartments and I couldn’t get over how spacious the two-storey setting was. With high ceilings, a mezzanine level (complete with an amazing roll-top bath) and Insta-worthy interiors, it has a serious NYC vibe.

Upon arrival, we were even treated to some goodies from the Lateral City Apartments team (alongside The Edinburgh Grand, Lateral City also have two other Edinburgh luxury apartment buildings, FYI). Among some sweet treats were Malin + Goetz miniatures, including one of their popular detox face masks that I cannot wait to use.

For any lovers of Malin + Goetz, it’s worth mentioning that all of the bathrooms are stocked with their products! The luxury doesn’t end there beauty-wise, either, as we were delighted to discover a ghd hairdryer in our room, plus there’s ghd straighteners available on request if you forget yours. No bad hair days over here, thanks.


If there’s one thing this apartment is made for, it’s getting ready for a glam night out! We took full advantage of the Bose sound system to live our best life with Ariana Grande providing the soundtrack to our getting ready prep.

Suitably dressed up, it was time for the main event: the Instameet Dinner. To start the evening, we headed to the Directors’ Suite, a seriously lavish one-bedroom apartment, which served as the perfect space for our champagne reception.

Raising a glass of bubbly with some lovely influencers, we even had a quick photoshoot with the evening’s photographer, James Gourlay, which resulted in probably the best group shot ever (see below). Made In The Edinburgh Grand/The Real Housewives of Edinburgh, coming to a TV screen near you soon…


Of course, a visit to The Edinburgh Grand would not be complete without cocktails at The Register Club. Located on the fourth floor, the club is open daily serving up exquisite food and drink in a gorgeous setting.

Plus, if you fancy something a little different, there’s even the Games Room, which I hear has become quite the luxe location for table tennis tournaments in the city!


As if things couldn’t get more opulent, we then made our way up to the Penthouse. Utterly unique, the beautifully-designed space combines elegant interiors with epic 360-degree views over Edinburgh and beyond – it is amazing and was our setting for the intimate dinner party.

Serving up the most dreamy meal (we’re still talking about how perfectly cooked that venison was) all prepared right there in the Penthouse’s marble kitchen, I could just imagine how good a location this would be to hire for your and your friends or family to celebrate a big occasion.

Following our Made In Edinburgh family portrait earlier, we each were able to use the talents of James to capture a shot of us individually. I, of course, just had to get my pic in the penthouse kitchen of dreams. I do love a good kitchen!

Following some time enjoying the Penthouse and it’s magnificent terrace (seriously, look at those views!), we had an espresso martini masterclass with one of the venue’s mixologists. The perfect end to the perfect evening.


Would it even be a luxury hotel stay without lounging around in a fluffy white robe? Unfortunately I didn’t quite get time to take a dip in the bath because, for once, I actually slept in. A comfy bed is always on my overnight stay wish list and I’m happy to say The Edinburgh Grand ticked every box.

For those who need a good coffee ASAP in the mornings, there’s a Nespresso machine in the kitchen, so have no fear in getting your caffeine fix.


Being a serial over-packer, I was so glad to see my many clothes had space to, y’know, breathe. In fact, we might have turned the entire apartment into one big walk-in wardrobe! The wardrobes in the bedroom area even light up when you open them, which I now want for my house.

If you didn’t bring quite enough outfit options, The Edinburgh Grand could not be more central to Edinburgh’s shopping, either. There’s luxury with Harvey Nichols and Multrees Walk, then high street faves, like Topshop and H&M.


With our temporary dressing room packed up (sob), we both had some emails to catch up on and the apartment is work space goals.

Plenty of natural light and a fabulous marble table are what I need to be motivated to do any sort of work from now on.


Although The Edinburgh Grand doesn’t yet serve breakfast, you are at prime position of some of Edinburgh’s finest brunching spots. The venue also has an exclusive discount with The Refinery for all residents, with 15% off your bill.

Practically on the doorstep of The Edinburgh Grand, we decided to use the discount and tucked into some well-needed eggs and plenty of coffee. The staff were so lovely and the setting is perfect for a relaxed and stylish morning, especially after indulging in perhaps one cocktail more than recommended…

Until next time, Edinburgh.

For more information on The Edinburgh Grand and to book your stay, visit their website here.

With thanks to The Edinburgh Grand, SKAPA PR and Indigo PR for an amazing stay. All opinions my own.

How exactly do you wear flares without looking like you’re going to start belting out Dancing Queen, I hear you ask?

Sometimes when I tell people one of my go-to garments at the moment are flares, I can see the slight look of horror on their faces and, until last year, I would have steered clear of the style too.

Yet, the flared trouser is actually a really versatile piece in your wardrobe for day to night and has been one of my most worn.

The pair I have are the Topshop ribbed jersey flared trousers (which are a total bargain for £20).  They are as comfortable as wearing pyjamas, super flattering on and don’t crease, making them perfect for travelling.

When I wore them to London for an event, I just wore a black lace body underneath my Calvin Klein sweatshirt, complete with my Gucci belt to define my waist a bit more. Take off the sweatshirt, add some earrings and a leather jacket and you’re night out ready.

For an autumnal smart/casual look to go to the Margaret Dabbs event in Glasgow last week, I teamed up my trusty black flares with an oversized black ruffle knit, black sock boots (a pointed toe is the way to go with flares to really elongate your legs) and – to break up the all-black look – a denim jacket.

What do you think? Would you wear the flare? Let me know!




It has been quite a time recently. From the holidays of dreams, an engagement, moving house, unpacking boxes, working full time and trying to keep my mental health, well, healthy, it’s been all-go.


You might have noticed my lack of Instagram posts and the absence of any outfit or style content over the last few weeks, but truth be told, it’s because I’ve spent most of my time recently in gym leggings with minimal make-up!

It was nice to get ‘me’ back a little last week. I pulled on my favourite leather leggings, dusted off one of my trusty hats and embraced autumn with my new NA-KD sweater.

It was the first time probably since Malta that I felt that desire to create content; the passion to put together an outfit that made me feel the best version of myself and go somewhere nice for a latte and a good old chat with my mum.

The slogan of the sweater in question summed up the vibe. When NA-KD got in touch for me to pick a few pieces from their collections, this slogan sweater really spoke to me.

A ‘passionate person’ is a pretty good definition of me. I’m not someone who can hide their enthusiasm and excitement, nor my distress and outrage. When I feel something, I really feel it; good or bad.

Finding my passion for life is something that has really changed me in the last few months. I realise my passion and creativity are a big part of my contentment and that passion doesn’t need to be anything life-changing.

It can simply be that feeling of fully embracing life and appreciating the little things. Of setting time aside to do something we really love and enjoy instead of letting the day-to-day routine drag us down into thinking we simply don’t have time to find our passion.

What do you think? I’d love to know what you’re passionate about and if you make time for whatever it is!



Following an amazing trip to Malta, I wanted to share some of the best things to see and do if you’re planning your own trip to the beautiful country.


The Victoria Hotel Malta review


After looking at loads of accommodation options, it was The Victoria Hotel in Sliema, Malta that stood out.

Part of the AX Hotels group, I really couldn’t fault anything about this gorgeous hotel. We booked through and upgraded to a Junior Suite.

We paid approximately £1,300 for a week stay with breakfast included, which I think was a really great price for what we got.

One thing I would recommend to any ladies (or gents, of course) with long hair – take your own hair dryer! There is one in the room, but it was no match for my unruly locks and I ended up buying a hairdryer in one of the shops.

Book your stay at The Victoria Hotel, Sliema here


The hotel is ideally situated just a few minutes walk to the main Sliema strip, which has great bars, restaurants and shops, as well as a beautiful walk along the marina.

The hotel is actually joined to its sister hotel, The Palace Hotel, which has a great dining offer for guests of both hotels.

One of the offers was pizza and pasta evenings, letting you pick a set starter, a pizza or pasta and unlimited drinks for three hours for just 16.95 Euro each!

There are plenty of dining options in the hotel outwith this too, so you never needed to go too far.



The Victoria Hotel was the top of our list due to many factors, but one of the main aspects was that it had its own rooftop pool, perfect for relaxing after a day of seeing the sights.

At night, the rooftop turned into the 360Bar with chilled music, good cocktails and a nice atmosphere, with views out across Sliema.

We ended up here every night – it just seemed the best place to be.



This was one thing I really could not fault. From the moment we arrived, every member of staff was polite and welcoming, ensuring our stay was as perfect as possible.

The staff on reception were always helpful with suggestions of the best routes to take and travel recommendations.

Special thanks has to go to Danielo from the 360bar, who by the end of the week knew our drinks order before we’d even sat down!




Best for… steak and cocktails with a view

Okay, so I was always going to be a little biased about this recommendation as it was where we went for the most perfect dinner on the night we got engaged!

Brian and I both love a good steak so he had done his research and booked a table with an incredible view of Valetta at this beautiful steak restaurant. As soon as we arrived, we were greeted by Matthew and given the option of going straight to our table or having a drink in the plush bar area (already a plus in my book).

I opted for a bramble, which was hands down the best I’ve ever tasted. Plus, look at that presentation! I’m going to have to buy all my drinks their own palette from now on.

Post-bramble, we were shown to our table, with a gorgeous look out across the water. In terms of the food, I cannot recommend it enough! We’re still talking about that amazing steak and loved it so much, we went back on our last night too.

I’d recommend booking a table in advance too, especially to try and get a table with a view.

Visit The Chophouse Matla’s website to book



Best for… pasta and wine

We found this restaurant on our first night and loved the relaxed vibes; the perfect setting to enjoy spaghetti carbonara and a bottle of prosecco.

It wasn’t as crowded and busy as some of the other restaurants along the strip, which made for an even nicer dining experience.

You can find Portopalo on Facebook here



Best for… a quick bite

If you’re out and about and want a nice, but quick food stop, we really liked Giorgio’s.

It was always busy, but a good location and the staff were good too.




Before we went to Malta, we booked a day cruise on Tip Top One and could not recommend it enough. Leaving from Sliema, the all-day trip takes in some amazing sights, as well as serving up all-day food and drinks included in the price.

I think we paid 100 Euro each and it was so worth it. So many other boat cruises leaving from Sliema are really overcrowded, but Tip Top One take you to the quieter yet just as beautiful (if not more so) stops and the staff are all great.

The food was delicious too and cooked on-board. We loved that you were sat at a designated table, so no worrying where you’re going to sit!

The spaces book up fast, so make sure to secure your place before you go.

More info on the Tip Top One trips here




This was my favourite day as it’s where we got engaged! Take a water taxi across the bay from Sliema and explore Valetta.

I won’t say much more on it just now as I’m going to write a full post about our engagement day in Valetta, but definitely add it to your must-see Malta list!



If you have time, take a trip to Mdina, which was Malta’s old city up until the medieval period. The city is still confined inside the original walls and feels like something out a film.

In fact, Game of Thrones as used the very location to film some scenes! We paid to visit the church, which was amazing, and had a walk round the historic streets.

From Sliema, it is most cost-effective to head to Valetta bus station then get a bus out to Mdina, but Brian and I decided to treat ourselves to a taxi there and back instead, which cost around 50 euro all-in.



After being totally ripped off for a taxi in a previous trip (I’m looking at you, Rome), I’m always a tad apprehensive of getting a taxi from the airport.

We needn’t have worried, though, as Malta’s taxi system is even better than home! You pay a set fee at the airport taxi kiosk, so no scary surprise rates, and you know everything is legit.



Totally unknown to us until we arrived, we were actually in Malta for The Feast of the Assumption celebrations, which was amazing to see.

This takes place on 15th August each year, but it seems the celebrations continue for the weekend, with lots of fireworks, decorations and music.



Malta has a lot of British influence, right down to the Marks and Spencer stores! With Valetta really busy, and wanting a quiet lunch, we opted for good old M&S!

That very pink gin and tonic and beer were the drinks we had straight after the proposal in the gardens and this picture makes me smile every time.


Oh my god – I’m engaged!

The man I love so much proposed on our dream holiday to Malta with the most perfect yellow diamond ring. I didn’t stop smiling the entire day, or the day after. A few days later, it was time to head home – and that’s where the problems started.

Let’s be honest, it’s no secret that I work hard to keep my anxiety at bay, but I thought it might give me a break for the time being (how wrong I was).

Pre-proposal, I wrote a blog post for Scottish Wedding Directory on how important it is to look after your mental health when planning a wedding. I actually wrote the words, ‘if you had a broken leg and got engaged, you wouldn’t wake up the next morning with your leg miraculously fixed’, yet I totally didn’t expect my anxiety to hit full-force just a matter of days after the happiest day of my life. As if getting engaged was going to just magic all negative thoughts away forever.

I write about weddings every day (for work, not just like some sort of wedding-loving lunatic), I excitedly chip in with advice to my friends on their wedding planning and I’ve always dreamed of getting engaged one day, so what the hell is wrong with me?

The day after we got back from Malta, I couldn’t shake the feeling of unease. Of frustration, anger and sadness. Not at being engaged, but at my anxiety for not understanding that this is meant to be a time of happiness, celebration and all things joyful – not doubting everything in my life.

By Friday evening, I got a migraine whilst I was out for a celebratory dinner. Heading to my bed, I couldn’t help but cry. And then I cried a bit more. Then I woke up on Saturday and it was as if I wasn’t ever going to stop crying. Sobbing on FaceTime to my new fiancé, then came the guilt. I don’t deserve him. I’m ungrateful. We can’t get married. If I can’t be happy during this happy time, I’m never going to be happy. The more negative thoughts that popped in my head, the more the tears came.

I did what anyone does when they’re in the middle of a crisis: I Googled. And I found so many other people who were the exact same as me. I felt relieved. So me and Brian don’t need to split up and call off the engagement. It’s actually just a really emotional time. But why does no one ever speak about this? I thought – and still think to a certain extent – that I’m a horrible person for not skipping around in some sort of fairytale, but is this just something everyone gets and keeps quiet about?

I had never really thought before how hard it can be to accept a life change for the better. I’m a daughter, sister, friend, writer, blogger, girlfriend – I’ve never been a bride-to-be before. Suddenly, everything feels so real. So grown up. Like everything has changed and, even though I wanted this, it’s surprised me how utterly overwhelmed I feel.

The last time something this life-changing happened was that fateful day, just over three and a half years ago, when I found out my amazing dad had died. When Brian asked me to marry him, I felt the shock hit me like it did that day in January 2015. Isn’t it weird, how your brain reacts to the happiest and the worst news in a similar way? I guess I didn’t realise it at the time, but it was that feeling once again of ‘things are never going to be the same’. Of course, getting engaged is a pretty great thing, but my anxious nature has led to a horrible confusion. Fear is what fuels the anxiety and, unfortunately, my poor brain has experienced so much fear that I don’t think it knows what to do with so much happiness so it reacted in the only way it knows how and that is to try and run and distance myself from what’s causing me the intense fear. Not really ideal when you’re meant to be a smiling bride-to-be whose dreams have all just come true.

I should probably also mention, the day before we got engaged, we also finally got the news that we were waiting on: a move in date for our house. Again, something I’m so excited for, but also a massive change and all in the space of two weeks. Without my dad, everything is bittersweet. It’s time for Brian and I to have our own home, but leaving my mum is one of the hardest parts. Leaving my childhood home for the first time hasn’t really sunk in yet. Not having my dad to help with all the dad things hurts more than I can say. He’d have been there, winding me up about the amount of clothes I was having to pack up and telling me DIY tricks that I would never, ever remember. I know how proud he would be of Brian and I. I know how happy he would be, but that doesn’t take away from that heart-wrenching pain that he’s missing this. Two of the biggest life milestones I’ll ever experience and he’s not there. Some days I can handle that, but others it just feels as raw as when we first found out he was gone.

Today is the first day since we got back that I’ve been able to start looking at the positive future. There’s so much pressure on us to be ‘happy’, but what exactly is happy? How can you truly measure it? I was really honest about how crap I felt on Instagram stories over the weekend and the response was so surprising to me. So many people feeling the same and it made me realise how much emphasis is put on everyone to be happy, be positive and have the best. time. ever.

I wanted to write this for any person, especially any fellow bride-to-be, who is freaking out that you aren’t happy enough following something amazing happening in your life. A few days after I got engaged, a major blogger also posted that she too had said ‘yes’ to the ring and it looked like she was legit the happiest person there ever was. It made me feel even more of a fianceé failure. It was weird to then look back on my own social posts from just after Brian proposed to see that, to the Instagram world, I too was the happiest I’ve ever been, with not a hint of the panic or anxiety I came to face. It really shows that, no matter what is posted on social media, you never really know the full story – you just see the good bits.

I’ve spoken a lot to those closest to me about how I’ve felt this week and it’s made me realise that, actually, this is all incredibly normal. It’s taken me a few days to digest, but I’m starting to rise to the surface again and see that my happiness doesn’t need to be all-singing, all-dancing to be happy. The day I got engaged was an incredibly high, high, but that’s not going to be real life every single day, but it wouldn’t be ‘normal’ if that was life every single day.

One thing I’ve taken away from all my highs and lows is the constant that is always there – the support. Along with my friends and family, it’s Brian who pulls me through the hardest days. It’s him who, no matter how hard everything seems, manages to get a laugh out of me. I showed him this post, which I had originally wrote just for myself to get my thoughts in order, and he told me to post it, in case it could help anyone else. It’s a new chapter for us after some really tough years and, although it is overwhelming, I couldn’t have a more supportive person by my side.