Wedding Wednesday…Photography

Once our venue had been booked, our next step was to get a photographer booked too! As with venues, your photographer can get, and more than likely will get booked well in advance of the day, and as your everlasting keepsake of the wedding, choosing the right one for you is really important.

So, what should you consider when choosing your photographer? One of the invaluable steps to take is to have a really good look through their body of work. Each photographer has different styles, approaches, themes and techniques that they will use for your day. It also shows their ability and skills as a photographer, and apart from a personal recommendation, there is no better way of ensuring they will meet with your expectations.

Be wary of any photographer that doesn’t have a comprehensive collection of images that they are more than happy to show you. Any reluctance on this should set alarm bells ringing.

It is so easy to get overwhelmed with the options of wedding suppliers available for you at the planning stage, and we found that photographers who are quite open and upfront about their prices and packages (even guideline prices) from the beginning made a better impression on us.  We were looking for the right photographer, not just the cheapest, but before you even set a meeting you must have a rough idea of whether they are in your price range or not!  I also felt it showed the photographer knew their worth within the industry, and this also demonstrated confidence and pride in their work.

When meeting potential photographers, I’d also recommend getting a detailed quote of what is included (particularly if there is a package option you are going with). An understanding of what is included is very important, and having prices for anything extra you may later choose to add is also a good idea. We went with a package but upgraded it slightly after the wedding, and it was easy because we already had an idea of what the extra cost should be. Also agree the times the photographer will attend during the day for the fee quoted.

The next tip may seem a bit silly, but you really need to LIKE your photographer on a personal level. Yes, they are providing a service, and yes, they should do whatever you ask of them for your day, but they will be spending the WHOLE day with you, and a rapport is vital. You as a couple, or any of your guests, don’t want to spend your day whinging about the photographer. Believe me, I’ve been to weddings where I thought the photographer was a bit of an idiot, and it can have a negative impact on your enjoyment of the day (as much as it shouldn’t).

Communication between the couple and the photographer is so key, to ensure you get the balance of taking photos and spending time with your guests, as well as ticking off everything on that all important shot list. A lot of this will be covered in the pre-wedding prep, but on the day you need to know you can speak with your photographer about anything you want doing differently, and vice versa. If you came away from the day feeling you hadn’t got that perfect shot, or that the photographer got in the way of your enjoyment in any way it would be disastrous, and should have been totally avoidable.

One of our other considerations was how well the photographer knew the venue and it’s surroundings. We got married at the beautiful Dunsley Hall, and as it’s an 13th Century Grade II listed building, it’s interior and exterior are very different to other venues. Our photographer, Maxine from Emotive Imagery, came recommended from the venue, and they even had an agreement of some extra discount if you booked with her. She had shot at the venue on numerous occasions previously, and when we met with her at their wedding fayre, she showed us her beautiful images of the weddings at Dunsley Hall. Because of this past experience, we knew she would be able to get all the best shots using as little time as possible. We also bonded really well with her early on, and in the end, she was the only photographer we sat down to discuss our ideas with. I’d collected a pinterest board (obvs), of some of my ideas for shots, and Bobby pitched in some of his ideas too, and I was so chuffed how well she understood our ideas and gave us her thoughts on how these would work at Dunsley.

Needless to say we were overwhelmed with Maxine’s input and professionalism on our wedding day, and our guests had nothing but positive comments about her and how hard she worked to capture our wonderful day. When the shots came through, they were beautiful, and have given us such joy to be able to share them with our friends and family since the wedding.

A slideshow of our wedding can be found here, hope you like it.

Suzy xx

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Cheesy Twists

Delightfully easy to make nibbles perfect for any party or appetizer!

Cheesy Straws

Makes 12-14 Cheesy Twists 

Required equipment: 1 large baking sheet, lightly oiled; large rolling pin

Ingredients

325g quick puff pastry (shop bought for beginners like me!)

150g mature cheddar cheese finely grated – or similar hard cheese such as Red Leicester or parmesan for a different flavour

2-3 tbsp of coarse ground mustard

1 beaten egg

To make the cheesy straws

Roll out the block of pastry on a well floured board in a rectangular shape to around 5mm thick.

Rolled out pastry

Trim the edges to a neat rectangular shape.

Trimmed Pastry

On one half, spread the mustard over, leaving a little room around the edges.

Filling

Repeat the above for most of the grated cheese, keeping a small amount back for sprinkling later.

Fold the mustard half of the pastry over the cheesy half, and roll out again back to its original size. Be careful not to tear the pastry when rolling, use light motions to gently spread out. The larger you roll out to, the more straws you will make. Try and maintain the rectangular shape as neatly as you can.

Rolled straws

Slice the pastry into strips approx 2.5cm across, and place one end on the baking tray you will be using. From here carefully twist each strip and place along the baking sheet, making sure to leave a small gap between each twist ready for baking.

Strips Twists

Use all strips and then brush with the beaten egg and sprinkle the remaining grated cheese over all the twists. Rest in the fridge for 30 minutes and pre heat the oven to 180° fan/200° electric/Gas Mark 6 before baking for around 15 minutes until golden and crispy.

I found this foray into handling pastry a quick and easy one, and I thought the end result not only looked fantastic but they tasted superb! I will attempt this again but will try making my own puff pastry once I’ve improved my pastry skills, looking forward to the challenge!

Enjoy!

Suzy xx

This recipe has been adapted from my subscription to Baked & Delicious magazine.

Throwback Thursday….Track 6

The Christmas theme is now gone from the blog and onto the New Year we go! I also changed my ringtone on my phone over Christmas, rocking ‘Blue Christmas’ by Elvis, so I needed to get a normal tune back on the go.

Could I be bothered to hook my phone up to iTunes and get my beloved hubby to edit me a new one this year? Nope! So I picked for one already stored on my phone, and as soon as I played it I remembered why I love this song so much!

‘Cassius’ by Foals is my throwback track of the day, and it’s a great stomper of a record. I played it last night and was instantly shaking my head about and wiggling my body like a loon. This song was my first introduction to the band, leading to an obsession with their first album, Antidotes. This is the first time I’ve seen the video, and well, it ain’t great, but it’s the music that matters, right?

This song makes me just wanna BOUNCE! My fondest memory of our old flat in Leicester is of me being home alone, doing some mundane chores about the flat, this song coming on the stereo and me going absolutely nuts dancing and singing around the flat. Ahhhh, happy days!

My only disappointment with this song is that the one time I went to see them live (rowdiest gig I’ve ever been to, at the Kasbah in Coventry), was that they never performed it in the set! Come on guys!!! When you tour, play the hits, for the love of god!

Hope you enjoy as much as me…and check out their other stuff too.

Suzy xx

Confession: I have an eyebrow obsession

In early 2014 I decided I needed to jump on the bushier eyebrow bandwagon. This did coincide ever so slightly with my burgeoning Cara Delevingne obsession, so it was no surprise when I announced to my husband ‘I’m gonna grow my eyebrows!’.

I’d noticed the distinct lack of eyebrows initially on my wedding photos, and after years of plucking them to within an inch of their life it was time for a change.

I did a bit of research, and the honest advice I received was….you want bigger eyebrows? Put down the tweezers.

So I did, I stopped plucking my eyebrows in January 2014 and tried to let them grow as much as I could. In the following months, I noticed myself excusing my eyebrows whenever I met with friends, or had my hair done. As much as I wanted the look, I needed help. I looked into HD Brows after seeing a ton of posts about them on Instagram and found my local HD Brow specialist – Zena Fox. I got an appointment after a couple of weeks wait – these treatments are in demand!

Here’s my before and after – it does have to be said I was pulling a ridiculously surprised expression in the top picture!

Before & After

I met with Zena and she explained the treatment to me in detail. HD Brows follows a 7 step process of:

Consultation – Zena talked through what kind of look I wanted to achieve and how she thought I would be able to achieve it. She was pleased I’d already started on growing my brows and stopped plucking, so she recommended I purchase the Lash & Brow Booster to help stimulate more growth in my brows. Because of overplucking, the follicles close and stop producing new hairs, and the serum would help with that. I was to apply it every day, and the cost was £35. (RRP is now £39.50).

Tinting – Zena then set about tinting my fair brows to achieve an overall depth of colour which would help my brows look thicker more naturally.

She then aligned by brows and tails with my face and pencilled in the shape we wanted to achieve, checking I was happy with what she was suggesting. Then followed the next steps of waxing, trimming, threading and tweezing.

After care and makeup application – Zena then used an printed eyebrow aftercare sheet to show me where I needed to focus on applying my brow liner to ensure even coverage and shape. She showed me how to apply the brow liner and to use light feathery motions, to imitate the brow hairs as much as I could.

Before & After

You can see how much thicker my brows look already without looking like a Crayola Face!

She recommended I leave the next treatment for 8 weeks to give the serum a good chance to start working – she said it would take 6 weeks before I saw any real results. Off I went, and I did as she asked applying the serum daily and staying away from those tweezers. I bought a new brow pencil and practised my application till I had it perfected. And perfect it I did….not a day went by without me asking my husband how my brows were looking!

For my second session, she was very pleased with the change in my natural brows, as was I.

2nd HD session

This time, Zena had just received a new product, the Brow Colourfix. She was raving about it and as I’d mentioned I’d been getting through my brow pencils quite a bit, she recommended I get some as it was much more longer lasting. We decided on the darker colour, 003 Vamp as the lighter colours seemed to show my brow hairs more, rather than blending in. The cost was £22. She showed me how to apply again, suggesting I buy a thin slant edged make up brush to apply it with. I bought this one from Mac.

3rd HD session

I was so pleased with the outcome! The serum and the colourfix were working so well for me! I found the colourfix easy to apply, and 2 months down the line it’s still going strong.

So my obsession was paying off, and even my dear husband had grasped what I was trying to achieve with this…his response to my endless brow questions was always…’They look big and bushy babes’!

Between the second and third sessions I plucked a measly 3 hairs from my brows, just unruly ones and sadly one grey hair *sob*.

Natural & Made Up

Here’s my brows looking natural and after I’ve applied my make up, I don’t use the colourfix every day but I have definitely mastered the art of eyebrows! If only I’d listened to my mum……she told me not to overpluck my eyebrows, when I was just 16 *sigh*.

It’s safe to say, 2014 has been the year of the BROW.

Suzy xx

HD Brows