Epic wedding post – we’re married!

Full warning – this is massively long and crammed with about a million pictures. I’ve put it all in one post so it’s easy to skip if weddings bore you senseless.

We did it! We got married! After 9 years together we finally took the plunge. And it was the best party ever.

wedding 1

The Dress

Okay, so your marriage is the most important thing about your wedding, but the dress comes pretty close, don’t you think? I really didn’t want your typical white strapless number and initially thought I’d buy vintage or make one myself. But, as you can see, that didn’t exactly happen.

I ended up with this:

flowers wedding

Although part of me is sad I didn’t make my own dress, as soon as I put this one on I felt like Ginger Rogers or Carole Lombard. It’s so glamorous, in an old-school Hollywood way. It was perfect.

So how did it happen?

During the planning process, I tried on this fabulous Alice Temperley gold lace dress. It was love at first sight except for one thing – the price. I started feverishly researching ways to recreate it, even buying a hideous 80s fishtail prom dress pattern on Etsy.

Then one happy day I was browsing the Issa website, and saw this very similar dress, reduced from over a grand to just £500. After dithering for weeks until there was only one size 12 left, I bit the bullet and ordered it, sight unseen. I figured I could always return it.

But as soon as I tried it on, the decision was made. Surprisingly fast for me. It’s the most expensive dress I’ve ever owned, but at least I can wear it again. Not sure where – possibly just to Tescos?

wedding 4

It’s a very simple shape. There are two bust darts, two hip darts, a midriff band, and a skirt in two pieces. The armholes and neckline are finished with a flesh coloured silk binding, and there are tiny buttons on the sleeves so you can get your hands through.

The top layer is gold lace, and it’s lined with two layers of silk – a beige chiffon and a buttercup yellow charmeuse. The lining forms a strapless bodice, which is tacked to the overlayer of gold lace. It’s very well made. The only damage after three hours of strenuous ceilidh dancing was the tacking which came away slightly on one side.

The front may be demure and long sleeved, but the back has a surprise:

wedding 5

It fit nearly perfectly, but I took it to a London tailors to have about 2 cm taken out of the waistline, and the bust darts curved in.  I could have done it myself, but I was nervous about all that lace unravelling, so for £50 I thought it was worth the peace of mind.

It was ridiculously comfortable to wear and took me about 10 seconds to get into. I just needed some help with the hook and eye at the back.

wedding 6

Hair, shoes, etc

One of the best decisions I made was getting the lovely Alexis Miller to come and do my hair and make-up, as well as make-up for my bridesmaids, sisters, and mum. I really don’t have that much hair, but somehow she magically coaxed it into a Swedish style plait with a side bun, and gave me beautiful smokey eyes.

wedding makeup

A few people advised me not to hire a make-up artist as I wouldn’t end up looking like myself, but I think that really depends on whether you usually wear make-up, and also who you get. I was worried about hiring someone who would slap on a trowelful of foundation and give me 80s bridal ringlets, but Alexis was the total opposite of that.

I wish I could get her to do my hair and face for every special occasion. If I was rich I would definitely have her on retainer.

Shoes-wise, at the last minute I bought these gold leather numbers by Rachel Simpson after eyeing them up for months. They only arrived two days before the wedding. Again, they are more expensive than any shoes I have ever bought, so I plan on wearing them for housework, food shopping, yoga classes, etc etc.

wedding 7

shoes times two

I do love this picture of me showing them off to Alex though.


The Flowers and Decoration

Another amazing decision I made (so modest) was hiring Pyrus as our florists. I love flowers but I’m not that keen on typical wedding arrangements. But Pyrus are local, seasonal florists who grow all their own flowers and plants.

They created the most colourful, stunning bouquet I have ever seen. You may notice I am clutching it in every photo – I really didn’t want to let go. It smelt INCREDIBLE. I got yellow pollen all over my nose because I kept sticking it in there.

wedding flowers

They also did gorgeous, wild table arrangements in recycled glass bottles. We had a branch from a fig tree on our table which smelt like heaven.

flowers 1

Alex designed all the table plans, which were named after our favourite places in Edinburgh and London, with corresponding photos.

the river


I generally think favours are a waste of time at weddings. The only good ones are edible, and who really wants more to eat after a three-course dinner? Having said that, we did them anyway. Weddings make you crazy like that.

They were sweetie bags filled with sherbert dib dabs, love hearts, trivia cards, and party poppers. We designed stickers with our faces on to close them, as a joke, rather than because of our massive narcissism (I hope). There were only a few Dib Dabs left at the end of the night so hopefully people enjoyed them.


The Venue

Teviot Row House, where we got married, is actually part of Edinburgh Student Union. It was built in 1899 and is about a million times nicer than any other student union I have ever been to, and the main hall is beautiful, with wooden panelling and balconies. It was also ridiculously cheap compared to most other venues we looked at – they only charged us for catering.

Even so, the terrace bar still has a slight student-y ambience, so we covered it with streamers and paper pompoms. Cheap, cheerful and colourful. Our friends Solii, Bob and Tom helped us out massively, spending hours up ladders the day before the wedding putting them all up.


pom poms

I know you can make these paper pompoms yourself, but again I took the lazy option and ordered them from here. One tip though – fluff them up before the wedding day. It takes bloody ages.

The Day

We wanted it to be a big, fun, happy family party, and it was really was. I have never smiled so much.

laughing 2

I found planning was easy until about a month before, when the logistics start to get pressing and I started to get stressed (who’s going to drop off the wine? Where do people sit? How will they get from church to venue? etc etc).

As I’ve already confessed, I did no DIY at all for our wedding, but we were incredibly lucky to have a huge amount of help from friends and family. The social committee at the church made and served ALL the canapes in the garden after the service – more than 1000 (!).


The Christ Church flower ladies did some beautiful arrangements in church.

church flowers

Alex’s mum Jean made the delicious wedding cake, which was soaked in brandy, and decorated with shimmering white icing feathers.


My beautiful friends (including the lovely Lizzy) acted as bridesmaids and helped me get ready in the morning, bringing champagne and nibbles. Alex, on the other hand, had to go to Greggs for his nuptial breakfast. I think I win.

These ladies are the best, I really can’t thank them enough for being awesome.


My favourite parts

We walked down the aisle together, alone. We wanted to enter married life as a couple, and I’m really glad we did it like this.

I met Alex outside the church in the garden and then we headed in together. I was a bit nervous, and it was lovely to have a quiet moment together before we saw everyone else.



Walking down the aisle is a blur. I was so jumpy I couldn’t smile properly without my mouth starting to shake.

wedding 8

But walking back down the aisle, and out into the church garden with my husband (still keep forgetting to call him that), was brilliant.

Coming out of church

The whole morning I was convinced I was going to catch my dress in my heels and fall over and break my ankle in the middle of the church, but luckily this didn’t happen. I even managed walking up and down steps with no problems. What a pro.

out of church

Another great part was making a speech at the reception. I woke up at 4am worrying about it, but it turned out to be one of my highlights of the day. Why should the men have all the fun?

wedding speech

After that, my friend Bea read out a poem she’d written especially for us, which made me totally lose it and start crying (happy tears).

Another highlight was the ceilidh. The band were called Carrie On Dancing and they were really, really good. I switched to flat shoes for this part of the evening. Ceilidh-dancing in thin heels is a recipe for a broken ankle.


For our first dance we decided to do the Gay Gordons, which is the traditional start to a ceilidh. We began it on our own, then people joined in as the music went on. I just couldn’t see us swaying around the floor for 5 minutes on our own to some cheesy love song, so this was a good compromise, although we did have fun suggesting more and more ridiculous first dance ideas to each other (The Final Countdown! Respectable by Mel and Kim! Vibe by R Kelly!)

ceilidh dancing

Actually, I think my favourite thing about our wedding was looking around and seeing so many of our friends and family together in one room. I have never hugged so many people in one day. It was the best.

ceilidh 3

ceilidh 2

ceilidh 1

Our photos

The absolutely definite BEST decision we made was having Caro Weiss as our photographer.

I was a bit daunted by finding a photographer. There are so many out there. Plus, we got married in Edinburgh but organised everything from London, so we didn’t get a chance to meet with most of the suppliers before the day. But we completely lucked out with Caroline.

I’ve been to a lot of weddings where the bride and groom disappear for 3 hours for a mammoth photo sesssion, while you stand around aimlessly, waiting for them to reappear so you can get your dinner. That was something we definitely wanted to avoid.

Caroline only took us away for 20 minutes, so guests got to stand around aimlessly with us instead. And she still got pictures like these:


caro 1

To be honest, I hardly noticed her on the day. She’s like a photography ninja. She captured so many lovely moments, and got the nicest pictures of us and our friends and family that I’ve ever seen.


The photos in this post are all from her. If you’re a glutton for punishment, you can see even more pictures of our wedding on her blog here.

If you’re getting married in Scotland, hire this woman! She’s a genius.

The end

Did you make it this far? I hope it wasn’t too boring. As a bonus, here’s my one piece of wedding advice:

It will be over in a FLASH, so don’t stress about it too much. It’s just one day of your life. As long as you end up married, it’s all good.

(Just try not to set the legal paperwork on fire, as we nearly did while signing it next to a lit candle. That could really have put a dampener on the day).

caro 4

Thanks for reading!

150 years of style on the Tube

Today is the 150th anniversary of the London Underground!


I hardly ever travel on the Underground. I’m lucky enough to be able to cycle to work, and I live in Hackney which is a tube station desert.

But when I do venture down, my favourite thing to do is people-watching. You have to be sneaky about this (making eye-contact is a huge faux pas), but the entertainment factor is high. I’ve spotted many amazing outfits deep below London.

So in honour of the occasion, here are some stylish tube-dwellers of the past for your enjoyment.

Firstly, she may not actually be on a train, but I love this image of an Underground station painter during WW1, from the London Transport Museum website. Check out the boots, the painting smock, and the guy attempting to photo-bomb in the bottom right.


I can’t work out if this shot from Life was modelled or not – just look how perfect the outfit and hair are on the woman in the front. If you click to view the large version you can see lots of men in uniform joking around (they are definitely not all standing on the right to let people pass, tut tut), and a woman on the left who seems to be hiding her face from the camera.


Everything about this picture is perfect, from the huge plaid coat (home-sewn or bought? The checks don’t quite match up) to the sensible court shoes, neatly rolled umbrella and seamed stockings. Plus the huge surreal hands reaching towards her on the ad poster.


This image is from the Guardian’s gallery of Underground images. Two uncomfortable looking men surrounded by a bevy of mini-skirted ladies. Actually it’s not even a real tube, but a mock-up of the brand new Victoria line at the Design Centre in 1968. You can tell by how clean it is.

Victoria Line Exhibition, 1968

Punks on the tube, back when you could smoke in the Underground (it wasn’t banned until 1984!). I think this hair should come back. We have the technology to make it happen. If you read England’s Dreaming you’ll discover that Sid Vicious made his hair stick up by smearing on Vaseline and lying with his head in the oven. Now we have John Frieda.

punks on the tube

I saved my favourite one until last – it’s the Queen on the tube! Wearing an excellent matching hat/dress combo, and a huge fur coat which is probably stuck deep at the back of a Palace wardrobe nowadays. She looks unamused.


Happy birthday tube! Long may you continue, as long as I never have to travel on the Northern Line at rush hour.

Seaside photos

I was in Scotland over Christmas and New Year, and I took these photos in Stonehaven, which is a small town south of Aberdeen. Sometimes you get really nice light up North in the winter.



I have a strange obsession with old flaky paint. When I went to Greece last year I took more pictures of an old blue garage door than you would believe possible. I probably have enough photos to publish an extremely niche coffee table book (“Watching Paint Dry: A world tour”)





It’s nice to get out of London and smell some fresh air sometimes.

Does anyone know what those fishing cages are for? Lobsters? Crabs? Prawns??

Roses in December (nearly)

The visibility outside today is about 10 feet. It’s misty and grey, Winter’s arrived very suddenly, and I just found these photos I took at the Geffrye Museum garden in July. They remind me of sunshine, flowers, and the best garden in London to eat your lunch.

White rose

White and pink roses

Geffrye museum garden with Hoxton station behind

The petals look exactly like beautiful silk fabric

Plants on display

Fruit tree

Orchid close up

Rose heart

Geffrye museum

The garden doesn’t open again until April (it shuts in October) but as soon as it does, I’ll be down there looking for the first signs of spring.

But don’t wait until then to visit the museum, which has 11 rooms showing furniture and objects from different historical eras. At Christmas they deck out each room with the appropriate period decorations and it’s lovely. One of my favourite places in London.

V&A Museum of Childhood

Museum of childhood sign

I love this museum.

It has a big Victorian entrance hall, a lot like the one at the Museum of Scotland.

It’s so fun to wander round – compact, nicely laid out, and stuffed to the gills with old toys that will give you sudden nostalgic flashbacks.

We totally had one of these!

It’s not all 80s moulded plastic, though. They have some amazing dollhouses that date back hundreds of years, and plenty of creepy dolls to stock them.

Victorian dolls house

Dolls house living room

I liked this old flyer for a music hall show, part of their current ‘Magic Worlds’ exhibition.

Not quite so keen on this terrifying beardy man. This is a children’s museum, right?

There’s some interesting vintage sewing bits and pieces – including these toy sewing machines (also a tiny washing machine and mangle!) Get the domestic servitude started early, that’s the ticket.

My favourite bit was a small exhibition in the front entrance, called The Stuff of Nightmares. It’s based on The Brothers Grimm’s Fundevogel, which apparently is “a tale of abduction, fear, evil old women, revenge and ultimately, friendship”.

Just ignore that lame ‘friendship’ part, which has clearly been added by a overly PC curator, because this is a delightful reminder of how twisted, scary, and bizarre the Grimm folk tales are.

Sorry for the multitude of photos but I couldn’t resist. The baby stealing bird! The strange, glowing, big eyed dogs! The AGM of weird creatures on a toadstool! The Victorian pram!

I strongly urge you to go and see this exhibition before it ends in February next year (it’s already been there since Jan 2011). It’s small but exceedingly odd and I loved it.

Also, the museum has a pleasingly geometric floor, which (true fact), was made by Victorian women prisoners at Woking prison.

Brighten the corners

I love taking photos of corners of buildings going up into the sky, or nice triangular roof shapes. I think I’m just fascinated by perspective, probably due to being entirely unable to draw it convincingly. Here are some photos I’ve taken of different roof angles (wow, could that be the dullest sentence ever? Imagine sitting next to someone on a plane and that’s their opening gambit. You’d have to feign sleep)

This is a building near London Fields.

This is the roof of the Strand Building in Clapton.

Somewhere in Italy.

Spitalfields/Liverpool Street.

Stoke Newington houses.

Various unidentifiable roofs I have known and loved.

I’ve made a flickr group of all of my building corner photos so you can enthrall yourself further. There’s an enlightening wikipedia article about perspective drawing here. I like this quote:

“European Medieval artists were aware of the general principle of varying the relative size of elements according to distance, but even more than classical art was perfectly ready to override it for other reasons. “

I side with the European Medieval artists on this.