"" From Now Till 'I Do'...: February 2009

First DIY Project: Monograms

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I consider myself rather IT literate and I'm hoping to embark on a lot of DIY projects myself (certainly know my Word from my Excel, my Publisher from my Powerpoint). So last weekend I attempted to design my own monograms. Monograms are great - they can jazz up your invites, personalise your aisle runners or just be a decorative feature as part of your wedding. 

Normally when designing things I use Publisher, (which most printers hate!), particularly since I am yet to master Photoshop or InDesign. This time round however I decided to use PowerPoint - yes you heard correctly! Powerpoint is a design software in disguise. Albeit it's not as all-singing-and-dancing as Photoshop, but it does what you need it to do. In this case, putting together a monogram. Below is my first effort with step-by-step instructions of how I did it.

Step 1.

I drew a text box which would have my name and FI name. I chose a standard font - Book Antiqua and change the colour to my wedding colour and increased the size to 36.

Step 2.

I drew another text box for the initial, which in our case is 'E' and I chose a script font (Edwardian Script) and increase the point to around 200. As this was going to sit in the background, I changed the colour to a light grey.

Step 3.

I moved the text boxes so that the 'E' would sit in the middle.

Step 4.

I drew another text box and position that under my name, which I used for the date. Again same purple colour, but smaller font size (18).

Step 5. 

Highlight all the text boxes and paste into Microsoft Office Picture Manager. This then saves the file as png (picture file) and voila!

The great thing about a png file as I learnt today is that all the white area is transparent so you can put the image on any background and the colour will come through.

In the words of Blue Peter...here's a couple I made earlier.


In my quest for monograms I originally contacted Nicole from Pink Event Designs as I had seen her work on Project Wedding. She was fantastic and came back with 6 designs:

Think I'm preferring hers!

If you have a spare 5 mins...

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I love reading and try to read a new book every month. I even got an award at school, when I was 12 for taking the most books out of the school library! Lately I have found myself really busy and it has been taking me AGES to finish one book. But with reclaiming back time, I'm really hoping to get back to my 'one book a month' routine very soon.

When I have the chance to read, I am reading a lot of books that help with courtship and the prepartion for marriage. Two books I have read recently, that I would highly recommend are: 

I really enjoyed this book as it essentially got you to think like a man and see things from their perspective. It also made me realise the massive role that we women have in supporting our men through all things and if they are the head of the home, then we are the neck. It talks about how the words we speak can bring your man down or raise him up and we should always hold him in high regard in front of others, no matter what. Really great book for all people in relationships, married or not. 

Mr E bought this book and gave it to me to read, once he had finished. This book talks about everything that goes on before you reach marriage in terms of friendship, serious dating, courtship etc. Then it moves on to what happens when you are married and the different aspects and areas you should consider from a social, psycological, physical and sexual perpsective. Very insightful and whilst written by a Christian writer it appeals to all. 

Both books are available from all good bookstores or online.

Dude where's my car?

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One of the biggest changes that has happened recently is that I no longer have a car. My car was a company car but I recently had to give it back and people who know me, know that I don't particularly like to walk. I drive EVERYWHERE even for the shortest of journeys, even to my local corner shop which is I know is super lazy. So you can imagine my concern when the reality hit that I was soon going to be car-less.

Many questions were going through my head, like 'I'm planning a wedding, how am I going to get about?'', 'how am I going to do my weekly shop?' and 'how will I get to church?'

A week before I gave the car back, I made some enquires to Whizz Go, a City Centre car club. For those of you who don't know, Whizz Go is a car club based across cities in the UK and you join to be a member. You essentially hire a car by the hour, which is quite handy for getting out and about. The only downside, is that the car 'lives' in the City Centre and you would always have to collect and return it back to the City Centre, which would actually be a little inconvenient should you live far out from town. I really liked the principal of it especially the environmental impact but thinking about it practically it just wouldn't work for me.  So I kinda ruled that one out. 

My car was returned three weeks ago and it hasn't been that bad, life goes on. Dare I say it, I actually enjoy walking about everywhere and hopping on the bus now and then. Don't get me wrong, it does FORCE you to be extra organised and plan your time, because you need at least a half hour window on either side to ensure you get to places on time but I think the pros are definitely starting to outweigh the cons.

You start to appreciate your surroundings and every journey a lot more,  now that you're no longer whizzing past in a car. I've noticed a lot more things recently that I was oblivious to before and I now have the opportunity to catch up on my reading or emails (using my Blackberry) sat on the bus. 

My new best friend - my weekly bus pass.

I enjoy the freedom walking brings, no longer having to look for a parking space or being restricted down a one way street. I can think and reflect as I go about my day and in terms of my health it can only be a positive thing, with lots of daily fresh air, raising my heart rate (running to catch the bus) and toning up my calf muscles! 

It's not been as bad as I thought it would be. My friends have been great taking me to church and places I need to go and for my biggest worry, getting my weekly shop home, there's always Tesco.com!

Operation Esther - Food

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So I've joined WeightWatchers again.

Now while I'm not going to broadcast my current weight across the blogsphere, I will tell you that I am 5'10 and want to get my BMI into the normal/ healthy range. So at the upper limit that is 170lbs or just over 12st. 

I don't think I've been 12 stone since I was like, 16! But hey ho, it's all in the name of good health and a healthy heart.

So on the Weightwatchers plan I have 23 points to work with each day, which is not too bad once you start to plan ahead. The worse thing is discovering how many points some of your favourite foods have. For example I love ASDA's white chocolate and strawberry muffins, but at 9 points a pop, it's just not worth it. A 'healthier' alternative is a blueberry muffin from Tesco, which is only 4 points.

I tried a 'low fat' blueberry muffin the other day and it just wasn't the same. I've always had the rational that if I'm going to have a cake or chocolate, I would much prefer to have the real thing (in a smaller portion) and enjoy it, rather than the low fat alternative. Plus it tastes so much better!

Operation Esther is (re)launched!

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So in the Bible it tells us that Esther spent a year preparing herself before she went before the King , 'six months with oil of myrrh and six with perfumes and cosmetics' Esther 2:12.

My wedding is in September, which leaves me precisely 203 days or 6 months to whip myself into shape. My Chief Bridesmaid of Honour (as she likes to be known) has come up with a plan. Well actually she came up with it around Christmas time, but we've both been a bit lazy with the application of it.

Presenting 'OPERATION ESTHER' where I will be spending the next few months looking after my 'temple' in preparation for the wedding and beyond. This regime purely focuses on the physical and considers, but is not limited to the following areas:

Food and what we eat (F)
  • Five pieces of fruit and veg a day
  • 8 glasses of water a day
  • Cut down on my chocolate intake (those who know me, know that Mr. Chocolate and I are very close, but with Lent coming up, who knows, I might have to dump him)
  • More balanced diet and watch portion sizes - cue Weightwatchers
Exercise (E)
  • Increasing my heart rate regularly
  • Walking more - taking the stairs instead of lifts
  • Exercising more (need to do this without joining a gym  - have done this too many times and found it to be a waste of money, as I never go)
  • Start running

Health inside and out (H)
  • Check cholestrol, blood pressure etc
  • Taking my multivitamins, particularly iron as I have low iron levels
  • Regularly seeing my dentist and optician (which I do anyway)
  • Getting enough hours sleep each night

Hair and Beauty (HB)
  • Looking after my hair, wrapping it at night, conditioning treatments
  • Looking after my skin, cleaning make up off at night (very poor at this one), using SPF (yes black people still need to use SPF)
  • Treating myself to the odd facial, massage, manicure and pedicure

Anything that I try that I think is worth reviewing I will post on here as well.

You guys think of anymore things to add?

'Confessions of a Shopaholic'

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Saw this yesterday - what a great film! Isla Fisher played the part of Rebecca Bloomwood fantastically. For those of you who haven't read the book, it is based on 'The Secret Dreamworld of a Shopaholic' by Sophie Kinsella.

I have read the book (and all the others in the series) and after watching the trailer I was slightly concerned that the film wouldn't do the book justice. But I was pleasantly surprised and sis and I really enjoyed the film, laughing throughout.

It did make me think about my own shopping habits and whilst I can safely say that I'm not at risk of having to attend 'shopaholics anonymous' anytime soon, the film did touch on some serious issues something that is discussed in this article.

I admit sometimes I have bought things to make myself feel better and whilst you do feel better it is only a temporary feeling. Other times I have bought something because 'I just had to have it' even though at home, I have several variations of the same thing (how many pink lip glosses does a girl really need!). I have found magazines in particular to be a huge influence on my spending habits, which is why I stopped buying a lot of fashion magazines a year ago. One minute you're perfectly happy with the things you own and then half an hour after reading one of these glossies, you start planning your next visit the High Street. Don't get me wrong these magazines are not 'bad' per se, but you have to approach them with your eyes wide open and not feeel we have to 'keep up with the Jones'. 

The ten commandments give us a good indication of how God feels on the whole thing; Commandment number 10: 'No lusting after your neighbour's house—or wife or servant or maid or ox or donkey. Don't set your heart on anything that is your neighbour's' Exodus 20:17

OK, so my neighbour doesn't have a donkey, but you get the idea.

Readers, what can we do practically, to help ourselves not become overly influenced by society's materialistic pressures - answers on a postcard please (or in the comments box below)!

The Colour Purple

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In African culture you choose wedding colours, which will be your theme for the day and also the accent colour which guests can wear also.

Our wedding colour is purple. I've always liked it as colour and there are so many variations on the shades that it comes in. I am attending one other wedding this year and as far as I'm aware, purple is not being used by the other bride. Our bridesmaids and groomsmen will have elements of purple in their outfits to tie everybody in together.

I have already found my wedding dress (top secret until the big day) and now I'm focusing on the dresses for our bridal party. We have seven bridesmaid and six groomsmen, all ranging from family to close friends. For the bridesmaids in particular, it’s about every girl looking and feeling her best on the day, whilst still letting her individual style come through. I'm not about to put them in ugly dresses or enforce particular hair styles for example, as that won't work for everyone. Ultimately I want them to look stylish and be comfortable.

I visited three stores with my sister, chief bridesmaid and one of my bridesmaids. There were a few styles of dresses that we liked but when we asked about colours and fabrics, they didn't come in the ones we needed. After looking at the dresses in store, we have decided to get them made by a seamstress as it will work out more cost effective and we can have more influence on the style and fabric. I sourced the fabric in Bradford {great fabric stores there} and after going back and forth with a few designs, we finally put together a style which I think will suit all the girls.

Here are a few of my favourite styles...





Alfred Angelo

Dessy - love love love this one - it's my fave!

Hello and Welcome!

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Coventry wedding-pola

Hello and welcome to all. This is our blog where we will keep you posted on all things wedding related.

With just over 200 days to go, it's amazing how time flies! I remember talking with Mr E over Christmas about 2009 and how we had so many months which seemed like ages away. We put our timeline together and committed it all to God.

Next weekend marks the end of Feb (!!!) and with March around the corner (turning 25 very soon - don't you just love birthdays) we are fast approaching the 6 month mark. I'm looking at my Wedding Checklist from 'The knot' and it doesn't look like I have made much progress. However with notebook and pen in hand, I'm about to tackle some of these things head-on.

It's amazing how many resources I have found online to do with weddings. I guess you never really notice, when you're not thinking about weddings or are engaged. It's that whole about how you notice things that are on your mind example: you've just got a pair of glasses so you notice everyone with glasses! I didn't purchase a bridal magazine until the beginning of this month, as I found that the internet had so many great resources, at no cost.

There are sites, blogs, wikis, galleries - you name it, there is something for everyone. It's very easy to get sucked into the whole commercial aspect of the wedding rather than the marriage. One thing Mr E and I did right at the beginning was to sit down and say, 'what do we want our wedding to be like, what is important to us and what is a nice to have'. Ultimately we want to be man and wife come September 12th but at the same time have a good wedding.

We have always said to ourselves, that whilst the wedding is important (and it is - most girls have been dreaming about their special day, since they were like 5), it is just ONE day. It is one day which will officially mark the start of married life and we don't want that meaning to be lost or to become bankrupt in the process.

Holding onto this perspective has been really helpful with the whole planning process and deciding what is important and what is not.

Some many wedding guides will say, 'you must have this or you must have that' and I think to myself 'why?’ If it's not going to add any value to the day, except in decreasing the value of my wallet, I would rather leave it. We want our family and friends to come and celebrate with us, giving thanks to God for the great things He has done in our lives. Now don't get me wrong, I still love me some Photobooth or a Candy Buffet, but I will see how everything pans out over the coming months.

However I must say not all sites are bad! I've listed a few of my favourites at the end of the post, which have been and continue to be invaluable for advice, tips and guidance in making the day the best it can be but without breaking the bank. I love a bit of DIY so I will be utilising a lot of my IT skills to do a lot of things myself.

In this blog I hope to give you a little insight into the whole wedding planning experience as well as give a fresh perspective on what typically can be one of the most expensive days of your life!

Stay tuned!


Favourite wedding sites:


Project Wedding

The Knot



Contact Me

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Some of my work...coming soon!


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If you like the look of the blog and would like to personalise your own or if you're looking for design for an invite, flyer, business cards et al, please drop me a line.

I work with all budgets both personal and business. 

Click here to see some of my work.

Meet Chichi...

christian. wife. daughter. sister. friend. blogger. singer. creative. planner. happy. giver. thankful.

{welcome to my blog!}

chichi 2 nov 2011

From Now Till I Do is a space to chronicle the journey through Matrimony Boulevard, sharing along my discoveries and insights along the way. I got married last year and I’m learning lots about love, relationships, God and life. We’re also expecting our first child in January 2012, so will be documenting that journey as well!

chifam 2 nov 2011

In the spirit of the blog, I write about anything and everything {depending on where the Lord leads} and always try to make sure it is relevant, open and honest. I hope you will be encouraged. For more about the posts on this site, check out this link.

When I’m not working, I love to write, design and read. I also have an increasing passion for cooking, spending more time in my kitchen, where I am learning how to make all sorts of culinary delights!

I also run an event management business Matrimony Boulevard where I specialise in the coordination of events {mainly weddings but not limited to} and creative design {stationery, fliers, blogsites etc}. I have been planning events for over 6 years and I’m delighted to be able to combine my passions of design and event coordination together. If you need help planning or coordinating an event, do get in touch!

You'll see a post from me 2-3 times a week and if you’re inspired and want to read more, please subscribe for regular updates.

I also enjoy connecting with my readers and you will find my door is always open if you have any questions or comments. Please feel to drop me a line. You can also follow me on Twitter, Facebook or Youtube.

In the meantime please kick back, look around and enjoy!

Mi Casa, Su Casa!

Every blessing…


p.s. if you're new to the site and want to go back to the beginning click here to read the blog from Day 1.

Other quick links:

The Proposal

Our Engagement

Wedding Planning Journey

Road to Marriage

Wedding Recaps


Matrimony Boulevard - Event Management & Creative Design

Site Policy

This blog is a warm and welcoming place, where people can share their ideas, thoughts, opinions and questions. I love hearing from my readers and read every wonderful comment that comes in.

Your comments bless and encourage me and if you ask a question I will do my very best to answer you either in the comments section {so that others will similar questions can see the answer} or by personal email {if you leave your email address}.

Please note that comments of a racial, sexual, discriminatory, or promotional nature will be deleted automatically.

If you see an image that I have used that has not been given the proper credit, please let me know so that it can be put right. If an image has been used that belongs to you and you would prefer it not used, please email me and I will remove it asap.

Finally, I love connecting with new bloggers and fellow writers, so if you would like to be a guest poster for this blog or you’re looking for a guest poster for your site, please get in touch.

Thank you!


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      Daily Reads

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      Here are some of my favourite websites and blogs:


      Listed in a reverse chronological order and sorted by dates, this table of contents displays all the posts that I have ever written, for easy access.

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      These are books that I have read that have inspired and encouraged.
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