Ever feel totally stuck in a rut? Like no matter what you do, nothing is ever going to change so you just kind of go from day to day on autopilot and just accept that low vibe?

I’ve been like this for a while. It’s hard to get yourself motivated when you’re in a cycle of negativity, so I knew when Victoria mentioned the BossBabe London retreat, it was like a sign from the universe to get my shit together.

Brian and I have just bought a house, have a wedding to plan, I don’t have a million pounds in the bank, so a trip to London didn’t seem the best financial move, but – weirdly – 10 minutes after I booked my ticket, I was reimbursed for a bill I didn’t realise had been incorrectly paid and it was nearly the exact amount of my trip! Thanks again, universe for confirming I’d made the right choice!

I’ll chat more about the BossBabe London retreat later, but I wanted to share a few of the things that it’s helped me see and focus on.

 

1 // SELF CARE IS KEY

I’ve been so busy recently that I’ve made a lot of excuses for eating badly, not exercising and only meditating when I actually remember about it once every few weeks.

I know now I’m really setting myself up for a bad work week if I’m not taking care of myself, so I’ve spent this week (I was already off on annual leave this week, so good timing) trying to put things in place so that self care is top of my priorities, whether that means saying ‘no’ more to after work events or meal prepping at night.

No more excuses.

 

2 // TICK OFF THE TO-DO LIST

I love a good list, but I’ve got a bad habit of writing a daily to-do list, but not actually getting through it and feeling so disappointed in myself.

This week, I’ve been writing lists and sticking to them and it feels so good. I’ve still enjoyed some time just chilling, but I’ve loved working through what I really want to do business-wise.

I’ve also bought the one journal notebook so all my lists are in one place.

 

3 // BELIEVE IN YOURSELF

Probably the biggest takeaway I had from the BossBabe retreat was that you can do anything you put your mind to.

I’ve been trying to be so much more positive and kind to myself and it’s already made a difference, both in my personal and business life, right down to some really exciting opportunities coming up that I’d never even considered before this week.

 

4 // SPEND MONEY

Okay, so I’m still getting my head around this one, but I’m trying to worry about money less and invest in things that will make my life easier and better, from paying more for parking to be closer to an appointment rather than battling the elements to taking myself out for a coffee.

I’m really working on this, especially after spending quite a lot of my life feeling guilty about spending and worrying how long it is until pay day, when realistically I’ve never had real money worries.

Invest in yourself – it will pay off for us all.

5 // GET CREATIVE

Something I’ve been meaning to do for ages is make a beautiful vision board for my office/dressing room and I finally created it!

It felt so nice to get creative and have a visual representation of all the things I want for the weeks, months and years ahead. I’ve got so much still to do, but this feels a step in the right direction of a fulfilled life.

Last weekend might have been my first wedding show as a bride-to-be, but this certainly wasn’t my first Scottish Wedding Show.

Here’s the tips and tricks I’ve picked up from many a wedding show to make it the best day out possible. Spoiler: it may (100% does) contain prosecco.

1 // WEAR SOMETHING COMFORTABLE (AND STYLISH)

I’ve seen many brides/bridesmaids/mums strut into a wedding fair in 5 inch heels looking so glamorous, but do remember that there’s a lot of walking around involved in a wedding show. That’s not to say you need to go casual, but wear something comfortable and stylish.

I wore my trusty flat studded boots, but glammed up my look by wearing a faux leather mini, studded bag and one of my fave hats. If possible, I’d also try and leave your jacket at home: for big shows like The Scottish Wedding Show, there is usually a cloakroom, but I just find it easier to only go with the things I need to save time (and money).

WHAT I WORE //

H&M knitwear [similar here] // Topshop leather mini skirt [£25] //

Kurt Geiger Kensington bag [new season version here] // Deichmann studded boots [£34.99] //

Black fedora hat [similar here]

2 // PLAN AHEAD

Most shows will have a list of exhibitors prior to the show on their social media channels or website so plan accordingly. If there’s a dress boutique you’ve been loving on Instagram who are going to be attending the show, make a note of where they are and make sure to visit.

If finding your wedding rings is on your to-do list, check out which jewellers will be at the show and do a little research prior to the event so you can go chat to the company at the show. Use this as an opportunity to get meeting the suppliers you love, all in the one place.

One of the suppliers I knew I wanted to see on the catwalk was Opus Atelier, so I kept an eye out on the fashion show programme so I didn’t miss a thing.

 

3 // BE FIRM

And polite! I’m not going to lie: these shows, especially the bigger wedding fairs and exhibitions, can be overwhelming for a bride or groom-to-be. The exhibitors want to get their brand out there and help make your dream day come true, but it can be a lot when every company is trying to speak to you and hand you a leaflet.

Honesty is the best policy. A lot of wedding exhibitors are small, independent businesses who count on word of mouth recommendations and meeting potential customers face-to-face for their company to survive and thrive, so don’t just go over to a stand for a free prosecco/goodie bag/other when you have no interest in ever booking them for your wedding.

That’s not to say not to use these type of events to get talking to loads of different suppliers, but it saves a lot of time for you and them if you’re upfront and a simple ‘no thank you’ is totally fine.

 

4 // PACK LIGHT

You’re going to want to take a closer look at some of the lovely companies and their work. Plus, the less you’re carrying in your hands = the more prosecco glasses you can carry (jokes…kind of). A smaller bag with a long strap is your best friend when it comes to wedding shows.

Also, my top tip would be to take some sort of tote bag, just so you’re not having to try and cram leaflets, product samples and business cards into that one carrier bag one of the exhibitors were giving away.

 

5 // SET UP A WEDDING EMAIL ADDRESS

Refer to point 3 in the whole ‘don’t waste businesses’ time, etc, but for the suppliers you are really interested in, it’s a good idea to set up a wedding-specific email address to use for contact. This can be setting up a free gmail or outlook email to keep all wedding-related emails in the one account.

 

6 // MAKE A DAY OF IT

Loads of the bigger shows are more than just some wedding suppliers showcasing their products and services. For The Scottish Wedding Show, we made sure to make a full day of it. This included booking in for one of the catwalk shows, going for brunch at their all-day brunch set up and having some (well-deserved after walking around, of course) proseccos in the VIP bar.

Post-show, we also couldn’t help a little prosecco stop at Glasgow’s Radisson Red Sky Bar (all this wedding show stuff is thirsty work) – just look at those views!

7 // TAKE A NOTE

Keep your phone handy to take quick notes of suppliers or ideas you love, follow businesses on social media there and then if you like what they’re doing and you don’t want to forget and take pics make sure to ask suppliers’ permission first, of course).

You’ll leave with a whole lot of info, so make sure and keep track of suppliers and ideas you definitely want to revisit post-show.

 

8 // KEEP YOUR BRIDE TRIBE SMALL

Take a few friends, but try not take twenty three of your closest acquaintances unless you really, really (really) have to. Too many people will just create a logistical nightmare of trying to traipse round all the suppliers you want to see.

Keep it small and it’ll be so much less stressful (and you’ll also be able to get a closer look at things like these a-ma-zing alpacas from Caledonia Alpacas!)

Are you heading to any Scottish wedding shows? I’d love to hear your recommendations!

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?

 

WHERE WE GOT ENGAGED

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.

 

MY ENGAGEMENT RING DESIGN

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.

 

WHAT I’VE PLANNED SO FAR

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!

 

THE EDINBURGH GRAND // A LUXURY LOCATION

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…?

THE EDINBURGH GRAND // THE APARTMENT

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.

THE EDINBURGH GRAND // THE EVENT

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…

THE EDINBURGH GRAND // THE REGISTER CLUB

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!

THE EDINBURGH GRAND // THE PENTHOUSE

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.

THE EDINBURGH GRAND // MORNING RITUALS

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.

THE EDINBURGH GRAND // DRESSING ROOM

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.

THE EDINBURGH GRAND // THE PERFECT WORK SPACE

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.

THE EDINBURGH GRAND // BREAKFAST MEETINGS

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!

 

SHOP THE LOOK

 

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.

A PASSIONATE PERSON

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!

SHOP THE LOOK