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

First Family love

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I’m a big fan of the Obama’s, as you know and the White House Photo Office have released the official Obama family portrait.

Beautiful Family!

President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, and their daughters, Malia and Sasha, sit for a  family portrait in the Green Room of the White House, Sept. 1, 2009. (Official White House Photo)

Photo by Annie Leibovitz/Released by White House Photo Office

This official White House photograph is being made available only for publication by news organizations and/or for personal use printing by the subject(s) of the photograph. The photograph may not be manipulated in any way and may not be used in commercial or political materials, advertisements, emails, products, promotions that in any way suggests approval or endorsement of the President, the First Family, or the White House.

Taken by Annie Leibovitz in the White House Green Room.

Visible Women meets…Banking

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On Wednesday evening I was given the privilege to be on a panel for an event at Birmingham University.

Taken from their site…Visible Women (VW) is a women in leadership campaign. It aims to allow female students from over 110 universities across the UK to be the driving force in challenging the under-representation of women in the workplace. The campaign is run by the Student Action Team (SAT) made up of 16 students and recent graduates from across the UK making sure that the Visible Women campaign caters for the needs and aspirations of female students today.

The three-pronged campaign will look at ways in which to Motivate, Develop and Prepare female students across the UK; to reinforce equality of opportunity between men and women and to overcome the barriers of discrimination faced by women because of their sex or other external factors such as ethnicity or disability.

The campaign will:
> Showcase companies/organisations that encourage diversity
> Recognise senior female role models
> Create networking opportunities for students and recent graduates to successfully enter into the labour market.

The Visible Women Campaign is managed and delivered by Elevation Networks. EN is an independent charity and social enterprise which aims to bridge the gap between under-represented groups and industries.

Visible women meet

Visible Women meets…are networking events which ‘provide a platform for the exchange of ideas, knowledge and advice about industries and the unique mix of graduate employees to senior managers under one roof provides a varied and broad perspective of career paths.’

Blurb from their site:

This will be an exclusive opportunity for a select number of our student network to meet with leading professionals in the field of banking.
It will give participants the chance to gain insight, one to one advice and a platform to share knowledge and learn new skills in an intimate networking environment.
The VW Campaign is run by the Student Action Team to cater for the needs of students and it is this point of difference that we seek to use as a means of being more accessible to our network and bridging the gap between them and potential employers.

I was on their panel for banking and had to talk about my career history and my experiences being a woman in the industry, as well as answer questions. I felt very honoured to be classed as a ‘leading professional’ and really enjoyed talking to the girls who attended. It seems ages ago since I was a student, but I can remember attending similar events and know the positive benefit they have.

I hope the girls who came found it useful!

*Update – here is a link to the article that was published about the event.

It’s been a while…

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Aloha readers, hope you’re well.

Just recovering from a bad bout of food poisoning which has had me bed bound for the past 24 hours. Feeling much better now, but it was not good!

So I went to check out the K by Beverley Knight range at Selfridges on Tuesday and to summarise I wasn’t really impressed. All the foundations are oil free, so what’s a girl to do if you have dry skin. Plus I thought, for what was available; eye shadows, blushers and lipsticks etc, you can get better products from other brands.

I don’t know about you but I’m not one to spend loads of money on the peripherals (eye shadow, lip gloss and blush) because a lot of cheaper brands do good quality versions {check out Sleek MakeUP for some fab blushers and eye shadow palettes, all less than £5}. don’t mind spending money on a good foundation because apart from Maybelline's Dream Satin, there isn’t a budget range on the market that I personally have found to be good. skeek-original-palette-01

Sleek Eyeshadow Palette ‘Original’ 

So back to ‘K’ – she did have a nice blusher I saw, ‘Flame’ which is very similar to M.A.C. ‘Ambering Rose’ and ‘Her Name is Rio’ from MYFACE Cosmetics, but more expensive at £14, in terms of what you get. Ladies feel free to check the range out and let me know your thoughts!

Started back on Weight Watchers and I’ve lost 4lbs in two weeks. May not sound like loads but I’m on track for reaching my year end of goal of losing 10% of my current weight. I’m writing down what I’m eating {most days}, having soups for lunch and I’m following through the routine in Buff Brides as well as fitting in a run at weekends. I’m looking forward to fitting back into my clothes as well as getting fitter.

Winter is definitely on it’s way, the weather has got so cold lately. Need to find where my winter clothes are, its time to start sporting the gloves, hat and scarf combo and bring out the knee boots – yay!

Finally did anyone watch X-factor on Saturday/Sunday? Thought Cheryl and Whitney were ace, although comparing Cheryl’s live voice to her radio voice is interesting! She is a good dancer though.

We’re going into week three - who’s your favourite to win?

Picture source {beautifulwithbrains}

Book review: Buff Brides – Sue Fleming

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I’ve heard about this book on lots of different bridal boards and it has some really good reviews online, so I’m going to check it out.


image {source}

There are lots of different workouts and exercises you can do to get you toned and fit for not only your wedding day, but post wedding too.

Sue advises giving yourself 6 months, but if that is not possible you can do it in 12 weeks. An interesting article which talks about the program makes an interesting observation that as brides-to-be we should pace ourselves and not resort to overtraining:

"The biggest mistakes brides and bridesmaids make is overtraining, trying to do too much, too   soon, and continuing to do too much too close to the wedding day," says Fleming. "Bumping up your activity levels the week before your wedding isn't going to make that much difference, and you could get injured."

or starvation:

"Don't starve yourself in the weeks before the wedding. Not only is it not healthy, but it can also affect the way you will look on the wedding day, including your skin and your hair," she says.


It’s currently 15p on Amazon Marketplace – bargain! Nothing to lose!

K by Beverley Knight

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bknight1image {source}

Beverley Knight, British soul singer, has launched a new cosmetics line, specifically tailored for black skin, called 'K by Beverley Knight'

Haven't seen anything in the flesh yet, but pictures on the website look nice (as they always do!). The line features 15 products in a 78 shades, including oil-free foundations, powders, mascara, eye shadows, liners, lip-gloss and prices start from £10 {they’re around the M.A.C. level}. It’s currently sold at Selfridges and online.

I do need some new foundation, so will be checking the range out on pay day and will report back!

Group shot 1 - knight image {source}

18 Things I wish I knew at 18…

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  1. Life is short. Live it to the full and make every day count for God’s glory.
  2. True friends are hard to come by but when you find them, cherish, cherish, cherish.
  3. Work hard but remember to strike a balance and always put your family first.
  4. Don’t go looking for love, let love find you. You need to be happy with ‘me, myself and I’ before God can bring someone into your life.
  5. Never stop learning. Knowledge is power.
  6. Never stop asking questions, the answer may surprise you.
  7. Just because you can pay the minimum doesn’t mean you can afford the balance.
  8. Emergency funds are a useful thing.
  9. You can’t please everyone…so why try?
  10. Your integrity matters more than you can imagine.
  11. Having clear, measureable goals for your life gives you direction.
  12. Take care of yourself. Eat right. Rest. Exercise. Take time off. No one else can do that for you.
  13. Don’t return emails when you’re angry. Equally don’t put anything in writing you can’t say to someone’s face.
  14. Trust your instincts. They’re usually right.
  15. Don’t ever say anything that may offend someone who is going to be serving you food. You never know what they may stick in it when you’re not looking.
  16. Always do what you say you will do – honour your word.
  17. The times when you don’t feel like praying are usually the times when you should be praying the most.
  18. And finally, don’t worry about life, because ultimately God is in control and all things work together for good!

What advice would you give to your 18 year old self?

Young Married Life

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So my favourite online e-zine Boundless, have launched a new online community called Young Married Life. In their words it’s ‘a kind of virtual young married small group’. I’ve been surfing around the site, particularly the blog and I think it’s great. All the writers are married people ranging from those who have been married over ten years to one who got married just last month! The insight is fresh, insightful but most of all real.

There is not a lot of good online content for Christian couples (at least in my opinion), so I’m very pleased that Boundless have launched this.

Hope over and let me know what you think!

p.s. If you’ve never checked out Boundless – head over there too!

So I tried on my wedding dress…

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I picked up my wedding dress from my sisters over the weekend and decided to try it on when I got home. It had been over two months since I last saw her {the dress} and the same amount of time since I last wore her. Result: it was tight– aaargh!!!

I bought my dress when I was at my thinnest, well at least thinner than I was now and with moving, changing jobs, stress around the wedding not happening I have definitely put weight on. I can see it in my face and feel it in my clothes.

One the great things about losing weight is discovering all these new clothes which you can now fit into! It’s those same clothes which now sit at the back of the wardrobe and I’m back to ‘fat’ clothes.

So what’s a girl to do? I am an emotional eater and when things get me down or things are stressing me out I reach for the biscuits {Mcvities Chocolate Caramel Digestives – I can eat a whole packet in one sitting if I not concentrating, kind of like subconscious actions}, chocolate {snickers}, crisps {wotsits} and sweets {fruit pastilles} and this is definitely not in line with Operation Esther!

It was easier to focus when there was an end goal in sight, i.e. getting married in September and once you start losing weight, it really motivates you to lose more and stay on track. I need to get that motivation back.  Any ideas? I know some of you will say 'do it for yourself not your wedding’, as let’s be real most brides who lose weight for their wedding, almost definitely put it back on in the first year of marriage, as one slips back into old ways! So it is better to get into a healthier lifestyle, rather than crash diet.

So here’s my plan:

Diet – I really need to cut out the bad stuff {which is hard! Cos I love it so much}. Maybe I should try Weight Watchers again as I’ve seen it work for other people. It really worked in my old office where we had a challenge that we couldn’t eat any crap during office hours. You won’t believe how much that helped. If the food isn’t there to snack on or eat, most of the time you can’t be bothered to get it and we all lost weight. I also always wanted a vending machine in my office, I now have one and they are B-A-D! ACTION: Cut out snacking at work – resist the urge! Also bring lunch from home so that I am not tempted to visit the canteen. I also had a thought, if I don’t bring my wallet to work or at least not spare change then that might stop me buying chocolate with it – thoughts?

Exercise – need to find something I can do that I enjoy. I have discovered that I am NOT a gym bunny and this is a sure-fire way for  me too lose pounds {£) rather than pounds {lbs}. ACTION: Cancel gym membership and find an alternative way to get fit {dance class, running etc – I will be checking out the sports centre near me this week and see what’s on offer}

I’m also going to get myself a set of scales and do weekly weigh ins at home, Weight Watchers style, to monitor progress.

I will keep you updated!

Prioritising wedding costs

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They say finances are one of the major areas of conflict in relationships, particularly where you have two people with their own ideas about money, how it should be spent, how it should be saved etc. Planning a wedding gives you the first real opportunity to 'pool' resources and get real insight into what is important for people and how they value particular things.

It hasn't been too bad for us, as Mr E and I have similar ideas about how we want the wedding to be and how we will manage our finances going forward, however I have been thinking about some recent purchases and some yet to make.

My wedding dress for instance, it is beautiful, but sometimes I think of other ways I could have spent the money I paid for it. {I'm terrible - I haven't even worn it yet!} Don't get me wrong it's not mega expensive, it's pretty average, cost wise but it's something I know I'm only going to wear for one day, a few hours even, after which it will get relegated to the loft or somewhere, so cost per wear is pretty high.

Flowers are another area. I personally have never understood why you would want to spend so much money on something that will die in a few days time. Sure they look pretty, but they barely last a week and cost a fortune - it never made sense to me.

Then there is the big chair cover debate! Yes they have wow factor and can make some pretty ugly chairs look beautiful, but if there weren't there, once people sit down would they really notice? At £2.50 a pop, a 500 people wedding would set you back £1250! I'm not sure I personally could justify it - although don't hold me to it!

Your wedding is the start of the rest of your life and many people have said to us 'make sure you don't get into debt over your wedding' and that has really struck me... I really don't want us to get into debt for this wedding at all. That mantra always stays at the back of our minds when making purchasing decisions for the big day.

It's all down to about priority. How you choose to spend your money is down to what's important to you and your fiancĂ©. Don't be swayed by what wedding magazines/blogs say you need to spend your money on or even other people's weddings. If it doesn't feel right to you, then it probably isn't right for you. Once the confetti has settled and all the cake is eaten, there will still be bills to be paid and you want to be happy that you spent money on the right things. What's important to one person, may not be important to the next.

What's important us:
- getting married in God's house
- all our family and friends being present to witness it

Aside from that, having a really good photographer to capture the day is important as we'll only do this once and want good pictures and a good caterer, as people always remember the food! Everything else is an added bonus!

Brides to be...what's important to you?

{p.s. Congratulations to my boss, who's daughter got married this weekend!}
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