Weekend Wanderings ~ Tea With Grace, Betty And The Great Gatsby

Hello Sunday lovers, what have you been up to?  Has your family been knocked down and almost wiped out completely by the charming Rotavirus, leaving you the only person in the household who can still think of eating without having to run to the lavatory to be violently sick?  Yes? Oh wonderbar, you're in good company then! This blog post is comin' at you loud and proud from chez Chinese Laundry – where the washing machine spins non-stop night and day, working it's magic on towels, bed sheets, duvet covers, pyjamas, blankets, bed linen, wardrobe items, teddy bears and anything else that might have been the victim of our delightful new house guest – Monsieur projectile vomit! Say hello to my new BFFs.

I'm telling you, if I never hear the word 'Rotavirus' again in my life, it will be too soon! Never have I seen my husband look and sound so miserably in pain! And we're not a guy who has regular 'man-flu' here either – my husband is a fit, strong, healthy man so for a virus to come and render him completely bed-ridden in less than 12 hours is quite a thing. My Twitter travels this weekend suggest we're not alone however, so I hope any one else who has been poorly is much better now – please tell me it ends soon. Please please please let me body swerve this one!

So, this week has mostly been about endless cups of tea (always
It seems I've developed a new obsession with tea (well isn't it good for you? antioxidants and all that?).  Tea for breakfast, tea for lunch, tea for dinner, tea at bedtime and
copious amounts of tea in between, rounded off with five cups of tea at my
daughters primary school, where I was invited
to join other parents from 2pm onwards on Friday afternoon for 'tea and
cake' and to get into the spirit of red nose day.

All Imagery taken by me except where marked

Weekend wanderings on Love My Dress

Five cups of tea because I knocked back the first three as if it were actually gin in a china tea-cup as I think I might have been a teensy bit nervous about meeting the other parents.  We've not long moved in to the area see, and I wanted to make a good
impression; get there nice and early, don a nice
frock, take some business cards along and be ready to do the chit chat
thing. Or something like that. So I arrived 25 minutes late,  having had about 90
seconds to whip myself in to something resembling ship shape and casually
passing off my hastily assembled up do as a bit of a happy wind swept
accident by the time I arrived. 

Thankfully, none of that mattered a jot – the Mums were so lovely! Several of them local business owners (a butchers, a bakers, a restaurant in town) and one of them a dance class teacher who has even managed to persuade me to join her and about 20  of the other Mums every Thursday evening at the village hall to do a jazz dance work out. I can't wait to start!!! Liza Minnelli eat your heart out.

Aside from tea drinking, I've been working hard this week on the promotional aspects of my book.  I was so touched this week to read this post by the wonderful Joanna Brown, the photographer for Style Me Vintage: Weddings.  I read the feature again yesterday – it really has made me stop and consider the notion of how other people see the same thing from a different perspective, and reminded me how the spirit of collaboration can produce beautiful, beautiful things…


Image taken by the unbelievably talented Joanna Brown, for my book, 'Style Me Vintage: Weddings'
Copyright (c) 2013, Anova Books

I'm working with the equally wonderful and talented  Melanie Helen of Cranberry Blue Weddings on
the launch event itself, which is proving very rewarding so far.  I love working with people who are supremely organised.  Talking of my book, I've been creating a few lovely parcels to deliver next week to people who are going to review the book for me, and as gifts to close friends and family…


Pale green satin ribbon via NotOntheHighStreet, Gold Bakers Twine
Gold Tissue Paper, Laser Cut Business Cards

I think it looks pretty nice don't you? I wouldn't mind receiving this package in the post 🙂

Friday saw the delivery of my new business cards.  Posh laser cut business cards with a charming deco-inspired gold motif on I hasten to add, a pretty little design that will be weaving it's way throughout my branding in the coming weeks. I truly luurrrrrrvve them – and they are much prettier in real life too  – these photographers do them no justice!

I commissioned the brilliant laser cut stationery and paper products specialists Cutture to design my new business cards and I want to tell the world what an absolute pleasure it has been to work with them.  The cards weren't cheap (in all honesty, I could have got the same amount from Moo.com for less than half the price) but I wasn't interested in average business cards.  I wanted something beautiful, something of exceptional quality to reflect the way I try to manage my blog and business – something that would stand out and make people look twice. I couldn't be more delighted with them.

Weekend wanderings on Love My Dress

Green glass dish – an antique store find (in Kendal, Cumbria) for £15

I've also been busy writing thank you's to people and really, really want to tell you about a lovely little Stationery company that I've purchased some pretty thank you cards from; Lucy Says I Do provides thoughtful, original design services for those looking for bespoke stationery.  Designer Lucy is super lovely too!  I discovered her design talent after I featured her wedding on Love My Dress.

Hopefully these charming little cards will be adding a touch of the pretty to desks and work spaces of some of my friends next week…

Weekend wanderings on Love My Dress

Thank you cards by Lucy Says I Do

One other matter I've been paying much attention to lately in my capacity as professional blogger (by that, I mean, I earn a living from blogging) and business owner, is learning to work smarter.   You've all that saying 'work smarter, not harder'?  It's a mildly annoying slogan if I'm honest, but it's really assisted me in focusing on how I do things.   Right now, I'm quietly (but busily) working my way through a business plan (an actually written down plan with deadlines and targets and everything) to work more productively, to streamline procedures (submissions, admin, time I spend on all the aspects of my role as blogger etc).  And it's really beginning to pay off; the by product of all of this is that I now have a little more time in my daily and weekly schedule.  And I so want to use that time to start reading again.

It seems shocking that the last time I enjoyed reading on a regular basis, was when I was pregnant with my eldest daughter.  That was eight years ago!  Life has been a crazy whirlwind of becoming a Mother (twice), work, leaving work to become self employed, moving house, developing a business, writing a book and generally having very little time for me to even think about reading. 

And then Franky said something on Twitter the other week, which went something, but not exactly like this; 'I think we need to make time to read, don't we? Reading regularly will also make you a better writer.

She was so right, and although I've know it all along, it sometimes takes for someone to come and spell out the obvious before your realise you need to start making changes…


A pretty gift card I picked up form Whitby Book Shop yesterday

And so yesterday, I paid another weekend visit to the delight that is The Whitby Book Shop. I went with the sole intention of purchasing just one book; The Great Gatsby that classic piece of American literature written by one of the most celebrated writers (and famous alcoholics) of the 20th century, F. Scott Fitzgerald

It's a book I feel almost ridiculous to say I've never read before now and yet' it's a book I've been yearning to read for years.   I've had a beautiful hard-copy languishing in my Amazon shopping basket for months now, and I'm fascinated by the life of F. Scott Fitzgerald.  In the end, the copy I purchased yesterday cost just £1.99 (thank you Wordsworth Classics) and today, along with a lovely cup of Yorkshire's finest (and possibly a slice of cake), I'm going to slip into a 1920s style reverie and visit Jay Gatsby in his mansion, whilst I sip on a martini cocktail and listen to the raucous sounds of jazz music streaming from somewhere – pretty flapper girls in all their fancy finery doing their thing.  My idea of Sunday afternoon heaven.

I love visiting book shops. Its one of my all time life pleasures.  The notion of visiting book shops rather than ordering from Amazon got me thinking yesterday too, after I read this post on the Any Other Woman blog.  When was the last time you visited a book shop?

And talking of F. Scott Fitzgerald, did you see this beautiful classic American literature inspired wedding I featured last week? The bride is smart and intelligent as well as beautiful – she has a clear message for all readers stressing about losing weight and reaching an image of perfection in time for their wedding day.

Next book on my list to read will be Grace – the autobiography of Grace Coddington, Fashion Editor at Vogue and someone I've been fascinated by ever since I first saw The September Issue.  I love to collect old Vogue magazines, and I'm fascinated by Vogue fashion photography and the creative processes behind achieving such imagery…

'For more than four decades, Coddington—a onetime model turned master
stylist—has collaborated with the best photographers and hair and makeup
artists in the business to create what amount to moving pictures on the
Ref: Vogue Magazine Online


The Great Gatsby, Grace, Crochet Blanket from EBay

So it's been a booky kind of week, and because I'm a self-confessed geek, I've just ordered this book too (thank you Kirsty from 'A Safe Mooring'!).

One thing I do read through regularly are magazines. I just love a
beautifully crafted and visually inspirational magazine with
thoughtfully curated content.  Some of my favourites include Elle Decoration, Oh Comely, Pretty Nostalgic, and, I think I might just have found myself a new favourite – Betty Magazine (thank you for the recommendation Joanna Brown!).

Weekend wanderings on Love My Dress

Betty Magazine

Do you have time to enjoy reading? What are you reading lately and what are some of your favourite books ever?  Do you have any favourite magazines?

Heading off now to make more tea and spend a little time with my family – Husband is still rubbish but at least my eldest daughter is no longer talking dehydration induced gobbledeygook and sat comfortably in bed watching a movie on the ipad.

I hope you've all had a lovely weekend, see you tomorrow morning with a wedding like you have never seen before and will probably never see again and, brides, an amazing wedding photography competition will be upon the blog on Tuesday – make sure you tune in then if you haven't yet booked your wedding photographer.




For anyone interested, I document a lot of what I'm up to via Instagram – you can follow me here.


Annabel View all Annabel's articles

Founder of Love My Dress. Passionate Podcaster and Editor. Annabel lives in rural North Yorkshire with her husband and business partner Philip, their two daughters and menagerie of furry hounds. She loves photography, meditation, walking, being outdoors and star gazing. She is fierce when it comes to championing talent within the wedding industry and when she's not working on Love My Dress, she supports her husband Philip in the running of the family's sustainable flower farm and floral design business, Moonwind Flowers. In 2013, she became a published author.