Monday, 10 July 2017

Our Scottish and Cumbrian Minimoon.

This earned us a few honks on the drive up to Scotland! 
After the wedding (catch up on wedding posts here) we took off for our little Scottish 'mini moon' I feel like a bit of a dingbat saying that but we have a proper honeymoon booked in September so it feels a little greedy to say we're having 2!
We stayed in the unbelievable White Tower of Aberfeldy and it really felt like the height of luxury. It was totally secluded up it's own road and every room brought more luxurious surprises.
T H E    T O W E R 
Drunken Boohoo purchase in the weeks leading up to the wedding!
Most of our pictures from the honeymoon are phone pics and even then we didn't get a great deal, we stayed off our phones as much as possible and it was so nice to be off the grid (sort of, there was actually 4g at the tower!). We arrived to a lovely hamper of Scottish goodies, and much to Sam's delight, some whisky from the local distillery that I had booked for us to tour the next day! 
I'm afraid this post may be a bit mismatched as I can't really remember the order of things, but here is a picture of the outside of the tower, and me being v proud of being designated honeymoon fire starter ;)  The top of the tower was the piece de resistance for me. Just wait to see what awaits you up there. 
I had hinted to the view of loch Tay with my earlier picture of my morning coffee (coffee so good it prompted us to buy a Nespresso immediately on return) but the hot tub was just the cherry on top of the cake. It felt like such a luxury and it was amazingly relaxing. Of course we had to have an afternoon up there with champagne (and wedding cake!). 

T H E   G R O U N D S 
We felt so lucky to be so secluded in this area with our private wood lined road leading up to the Tower, it was so lovely to explore and make sure we weren't completely sedentary in the hot tub all the time ;) We were keeping our fingers crossed that we'd see some deer as so many in the guest book had but unfortunately as we later found out on our highland safari the wind was wrong for them to be our way on. Who'd have known?!

I'm not sure you can visit the Highlands without going to a whisky distillery? Sam is a big whisky fan so I knew we'd have to check out the local one on this trip away. Dewars was absolutely amazing, even for someone like me who can't stand whisky. They had a great visitors centre and cafe where we had a delicious afternoon tea. I had booked Sam the connoisseurs tour as a surprise so after we had toured the facilities he got a whole load of whisky to try while I watched and didn't believe him that any of them tasted of anything other than alcohol. The staff were so helpful and even gave him a taste of a completely different whisky that he was interested in getting (and did end up buying) for free. I got a little designated driver gift bag with all the ingredients and the instructions to make a whisky cocktail once we got home, such a nice touch! 
Sam's honeymoon whisky. The bottle had actually only been filled the day before our wedding from a cask that they had on display in the shop! We searched for the perfect one that had been bottled on the wedding day however this was close enough. 

H I G H L A N D   S A F A R I
On one of the days we booked a highland safari which was so much fun. We went off in a land rover with our guide and a bloody annoying couple from Berkshire who thought we were young idiots (lol). It did nothing to ruin our fun and although we didn't actually see any wildlife, like I mentioned earlier, the wind was wrong (unlucky!) it was great to hear of the history of the area from our guide. We stopped in a bothy to enjoy a hot drink (me), whisky (everyone else) and some shortbread. 

E A T 
Most of our minimoon was spent chilling out and spending some quality time and chilling the heck out in the Tower but we went out for a meal and a few drinks (single malt whisky for Sam again!) in the local town, Aberfeldy, which was lovely to put a bit of make up on and get properly dressed nicely for the first time since the wedding! 

A P P L E B Y   M A N O R 
Before we knew it, it was time to pack up and head back to Carlisle! The night we were back we went for a lovely meal at a nice restaurant, David's in Carlisle and then on to an amazing Spa break the day after that at Appleby Manor. 
We had been to Appleby Manor for a spa day before (I booked it without telling Sam thinking he'd have refused) and we both absolutely loved it so knew we wanted to extend our post wedding celebrations with a stay overnight here. We were here one week after the wedding and started our separate massages at exactly the time we were getting married the week before. I had an amazing Elemis rose garden massage while Sam went for a full body one, we both agreed that an hour just flew by! After that we had some time in the private hot tub with prosecco, not sure how we're ever going to be able to stay somewhere without one now ;) 
Then it was time to relax in our room with this lovely view before yet another A la carte restaurant experience. The food throughout our whole minimoon was bloomin' delish, I've never eaten so fancy! We just had some time for more hot tubbing the next day before a quick game of ping pong and pool in the hotel's games room and then heading back to collect our bb Charlie! 

It was an amazing way to spend our first week as a married couple as we just wanted to feel the most chilled out we could. 

Now we just have our real honeymoon to Italy in September to look forward to! Really spread out the celebrations. 

Friday, 7 July 2017

A new tradition: Alphabet dating. A!

Alphabet dating is not something we have come up with ourselves. We booked a 'we've been married for 2 months and don't have kids yet and can do stuff without too much planning!' date night to a local italian we've wanted to try for ages called Amato's and soon after I heard about alphabet dating so figured it was something we could have a go at!
Basically each month (or week or however often you want a date night) you find some kind of activity to match the letter of the alphabet. Simple.

Outfit shot courtesy of my real life instagram husband.
Dress and shoes are from ASOS and I would like to applaud Sam for his iPhone photography. Save for our wedding photos the few pics he took as we were on our way out are some of the pictures I like the most of myself. What a bae :)
I have to apologise for these grainy pictures from inside Amato's, it's such a lovely place with twinkly lights all over the ceiling but it is in a lower level building. I've always walked past and admired it and how cosy the atmosphere looked, it didn't disappoint! I didn't get any pics of the food as after this we ordered and popped our phones away to actually talk to each other, ew I know.
Sam had the largest portion of calamari I've ever seen to start and I had amazing mozzarella filled risotto balls. Mmm cheese. Then we both had penne with different additions for main and canoli for pud! I wasn't so fussed about the canoli as it was a little too sweet but the entire meal otherwise was just cooked to perfection.
After our meal despite already being tipsy on a few glasses of prosecco (I am a lightweight) we decided to extend our night with a cocktail at The Lane Bar. Again, it's a basement bar so not great photos! (what is the point of this blog post again? soz) I  love the vibe in here, I've heard rumours that its owned by some millionaire who basically just does what he wants and doesn't open if he doesn't want to. Someone tell me if thats true. It's the kind of eclectic, decoration wise, that other places try and fail to be. The cocktails are seasonal and delicious and they played the whole first album of the 1975. All winning points for little old "we're not hipsters" us.
Team tipsy Barnes. 

Ideas for the next couple of letters!
B - bowling, barbecue and (if we had the spare dollars, it will only be a few weeks to honeymoon when this rolls around) a trip to Bath! We'll just do the first 2 though.
C - cinema. (I can not think of anything else to go here!)
D - drive(??) dance.

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Our wedding, the partayyyy.

The final instalment of our wedding series! Catch up with one, two, and three here. 

T H E S E   A R M S   O F   M I N E 
I'm not going to lie, we originally had the idea to use Otis Reading's 'These Arms of Mine' as we googled 'short first dance songs'. Neither of us are great at being the centre of attention and particularly dancing in such a manner that didn't involve much booty shaking on my part was unheard of ;) The more we listened to the song the more we loved it though, and I went back to one of the first mix CDs that Sam used to make for my drive home from Derby while he was at uni, and there it was! On the CD! Fate.

S T A R T   T H E   P A R T Y 
Straight after our first dance we had the DJ play 'one step beyond' by Madness which kicked off the dancing big style, it soon dissipated as the staff started bringing out the evening buffet, sliders and tacos and pizza, oh my! 
I now know that my friend's husband, Dave, is famous for his dances with brides and we kicked off the second round of dancing to 'Baby got back' that old classic wedding song. It was a very special first dance that we shared. 


I bought sparklers from amazon on a bit of a whim just a few weeks before the wedding, with that and £10 worth of lighters from the pound shop we were onto the winner. People enjoyed being kids again and we got some cracking pictures. We have lots of pictures from Henry of our guests enjoying them too :)

C I G A R S 
Lads, lads, lads! Sam took this time with the dudes from his stag do to enjoy some cigars he'd bought, I was inside eating chips, pizza and just the sausages and onions out of the miniature toad in the holes so I don't know what went down here. ;)

F I N A L    D A N C E S 
We played a song for each of our parents and I love this picture of my in laws after their song, sometimes its worth embarrassing your family a little by giving them a shout out and making them dance. We joined in so it wasn't like ours where every one was watching!!
This is the signature (and he states only) move of Colin so of course we had to partake, I didn't even notice Henry taking these pictures as we were in a circle of Barnes dancing with our elbows. 
I don't know exactly what songs these were we were dancing to but if the hen party was anything to go by it was either Taylor Swift, The Killers or some other song to do with butts. We are very sophisticated like that. 
T H E   E N D 
Before we knew it the day had come to an end and we were heading off to our cottage as husband and wife! It really was the most amazing day, if you're currently in the throws of wedding planning and not enjoying it, don't worry. I didn't enjoy planning at all and it really was the best day of my life. 
Thank you so much for reading these posts, particularly if you've made it through all 4! I really didn't want to leave anything out as these posts are mostly for our memories to look back on. 

Friday, 2 June 2017

Our wedding, the reception.

The 3rd post in our wedding series! Catch up with parts one and two here! 
I hope no one is getting fed up of them yet but telling the story is just so lovely for me. we have wedding albums ordered but I think the words in this will really mean a lot to look back on. 
T H E   W E D D I N G   B R E A K F A S T 

I was in awe as soon as I saw the room for our wedding breakfast. One of the main things that attracted us to the Millhouse was how neutral their decor was, it felt like we could add anything to it and make it our own. So many venues around us were very corporate and looked like there should be a business conference there, or so mega expensive that getting married there was a dream! 
Our cake was a collaboration between our cake lady, florist and my mum! We wanted to shy away from typical fondant and fruit cake as we both hate it but thought the naked cake trend may be short lived and also maybe make for dry cake?!
We had chocolate, white chocolate and raspberry and lemon, all covered with white chocolate buttercream, it was unbelievable and because we stayed in the UK for our 'minimoon' we took some away with us. YAAAAS! My mum's part in the cake was the stand, she blagged the tree stump from some tree surgeons who were working on the golf course near her house! Sanded it up a bit, treated it and there you go.
I loved the place names from VM bespoke as they almost felt like another little favour, i scouted round at some point and I'm pretty sure most of them were taken home by their owners. Our favours were little seed packets aimed at attracting butterflies and bees! Save the bees y'all! 
 I think I lost that drink about halfway through it and it was delicious, my one regret ;)
Any other marrieds love looking through the candids of their guests? It's amazing to see the people who mean most to you in the world having such an amazing time and mingling together. 
Mum and I made this 'selfie station' with a load of props i'd found on ebay and in TK Maxx. Sam and I decided to use it as we were waiting for everyone to head into the wedding breakfast room! We didn't get chance to use it again and we didnt use the props either. Oops, it did get used through the night though!

S P E E C H E S 
After stuffing ourselves with brie (Sam and my mum had 2 portions!), 12 hour slow roasted beef and cheesecake (we were actually told by 10+ people that our food was the best they have had at the wedding which made me and Sam do a little fist pump, just what we wanted, the portions were EPIC) it was time for the speeches. Here continues the theme of Finley's emotion. He didn't do a long speech as he's 6 years younger than me so he couldn't have done anything Father of the Bride - esque. However, what he did blew me away! The day before the wedding he went and got an 'Ohana' tattoo in secret. My mum and I have this tattoo matching on our feet so now us 3 musketeers are all inked up to match. I lost it at this point my head in my hands in that first picture is a true overflow of tears. What a cutie he is. 

Sam's speech was a little more traditional and structured! I'm crying in nearly all these pictures and I think it was the first point in the day I really let emotion overwhelm me. He did all the thank you's, touched on how we met and mentioned so much of what we've been through together. I asked Laura to record the speeches and I can't wait to watch Sam's back. I know he was incredibly nervous and I think he did an amazing job.
Thankfully because Sam is quite a well behaved lad Colin didnt have much embarrassing fodder from the stag do for his speech but as you can see from that last picture of me giggling and Sam looking slightly exasperated he definitely had some embarrassing material from growing up. None of it will make sense out of context but I was asked by several people whether Colin did speeches for a living so you can tell it was a heck of a good one. 
Saying goodbye to some special guests after the wedding breakfast who had a train back to London to catch! It meant so much that people travelled so far to come to the wedding. The furthest was the South of France! 
This is the last in the theme of 'Finley gets emosh' Sorry Fin!! We had given out our gifts to people during Sam's speech so once they were all done Finley opened the card I had written for him thanking him for giving me away. Yet again I could not believe this emotional response from my 19 year old baby bro, I had expected the response from my Mum so I had given her the card I'd got her in the morning before there were any cameras around! I think this was the catalyst to him getting quite drunk, helped along by the hip flask and single malt included in his groomsman gift ;) 

G O L D E N    H O U R 

We snuck off to get some pictures in this beautiful light that drenched the grounds and I'm so happy with them. At this point full of our delicious wedding breakfast and high on the love we'd felt in the room as everyone mingled and ate we barely even noticed Henry there with us. Other than tiny adjustments he made to where he wanted us positioned it was just like we were taking a walk and chatting together.

C O N F E T T I   T A K E   T W O

When I noticed during the wedding breakfast that some of the cones and half a bag of confetti were left I had made a mental note to ask Henry how the other confetti shots had gone as I had worked out why I felt it was a bit lacklustre!! Haha! Then we rounded up a few people and did them again, we decided against the running through people thing as we'd already struggled with Sam tripping on my dress a couple of times. This didn't bother me by this point but I think Sam was so in love with my dress that it made him feel guilty! 

After this is was a blur of people arriving and a few people leaving. We didn't have much of a gap between the day and the evening which is really what we wanted. I wasn't going to do another post however I really think this one is now long enough, so see you in the next one! 
Onto the party!! 

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