This blog post comes quite late this week, after a really lovely Easter break and now back to the whirlwind that is 1 week and counting until my first ever styled shoot that I am not only photographing, I am also the creative stylist. It all began with a dream of trend and far away lands during the cold winter weather. From there I’ve created styling briefs and drawn sketches on exactly how I want things to look and be styled.
As a first time around, I have to say it’s been quite stressful to sort but I’ve learned a lot. I think whenever you work with a huge team of people, it can be hard to manage sometimes, especially when everyone likes to work so differently. But we are nearly there and so close!!
I’m super excited about the shoot, which is on Monday at my favourite place, Hampton Court House, which is where James and I had our wedding! So it’s a really special place for me and I hope the familiar surroundings will help ease my butterflies!
I’m working with some incredible suppliers on the day, including my fave Caroline from Cherfold Cottage Flowers. We have stunning dresses from Luealla’s Boudoir, ribbon from the fab Kate Cullen, and luxury table wear from Duchess & Butler. All with The Wedding Spark’s co-ordination and help, it’s going to be DREAMY!
I cannot reveal too much at these early stages but I just wanted to give you an update on what’s happening here at Philippa Sian HQ!
More fab blog content coming soon!
SO – how many bags of mini eggs have you had? I am not even going to ask myself this question as Mini Eggs are my downfall BUT I am very excited for Easter and the long weekend.
Easter is a time, similar to Christmas (minus the expense and present) where family get together for a meal – my favourite thing EVER.
So, a little off piste but this week I’d love to share with you an amazing dish that my husband and I have been making when the family all come over for lunch. It’s pretty easy, but more importantly it’s super tasty.
This is comfort food at it’s best, Gordon Ramsey’s Sausage and Red Onion Hot Pot… I know, a little more effort than bangers and mash but well worth it I assure you! Yummmmm.
Ingredients (serves 3-4)
Olive oil, for frying
8 best-quality pork
s (I got GF ones)
2 red onions, peeled and finely sliced
2 knobs of butter
1 tbsp soft brown sugar
3 thyme sprigs, leaves only (I used rosemary)
150g button mushrooms, cleaned and quartered
2 tbsp aged balsamic vinegar
200ml red wine (I used port)
200ml beef stock
Small handful of parsley, roughly chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground black
1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/gas mark 4. Place a large hob-proof casserole dish over a medium heat. Add a dash of oil and fry the sausages until coloured all over. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
2. Add the onions and a couple of knobs of butter to the empty casserole dish. Stir in the sugar and thyme (or rosemary), then cook for 10–15 minutes over a medium heat, stirring now and again until the onions are completely caramelised.
3. Add the mushrooms, stir, and continue to cook for 5 minutes. Pour in the vinegar and cook for a further 5 minutes.
4. Add the cooked sausages and red wine (or Port) to the dish, bring to the boil and bubble for 4–5 minutes to burn off the alcohol and reduce slightly. Add the stock, bring to the boil, then transfer to the oven for 18–20 minutes uncovered until the sausages are cooked through and the sauce is thick.
5. Sprinkle the finished dish with parsley and serve.
It may be March but it is still freezing out there so this dish will definitely do the stick if you want to break from the norm of a roast lamb (although I do LOVE a roast!).
Anyway, enjoy and let me know how it tastes if you do try it 🙂
Here is part two of my mini blog series on ‘accepting that not everything will go to plan’ focussing on people.
This has been really quite tough to write as I personally dealt with quite a few different and difficult situations involving people during the planning of the wedding and on the wedding day itself… You can’t plan for people’s feelings and you can’t plan their actions or how those will affect you. All you can do is try to focus your energy on positive things.
If you are anything like me, you are strong minded but feel hurt easily when people let you down or behave in a way that’s just not in your nature. You can’t comprehend their behaviour because ‘I could never do that to someone’. Sound familiar?
More often than not, the majority of difficult situations involving people that do not go as you thought they would ALWAYS involve those closest to you… your family!
I followed a lot of wedding forums (like Confetti) where brides would ask advice and people would comment to help – so I have heard it ALL! From Father’s refusing to come to the wedding if X Y or Z is invited, to a cousin turning up with their new boyfriend expecting him to be worked into the table plan. Other examples include family members kicking their toys out of the pram for not being a bridesmaid to even family LEAVING the wedding half way through the day (before food is served). Outrageous and hurtful, I know, but unfortunately I don’t think you can ever be prepared or plan for these things.
This is hard for me to say, but we dealt with truly hurtful issues in the run up to our wedding. I suffered from anxiety from it for months and really took it all to heart. My husband also suffered – It was awful. I felt down for a really long time and it began to affect everything, from my weight to my performance at work. The trick that I learned, (and it took me months to get there) was to let it go.
Sounds obvious and cliché I KNOW, but even if ‘I say’ I’ve let something go I’ll still be thinking about it or still be trying to make things better. Sometimes you just have to stop involving yourself in a way that keeps that feeling and that hurt going. It’s easier sometimes to just get on with focussing on the wedding and your partner. Planning a wedding is meant to be SO EXCITING so whenever someone tries to put a dampener on that happiness, deal with it quickly, sensibly, and then MOVE FORWARD. Forgive, let go, and distance yourself from the situation as quickly as possible; do not let it consume you.
Take time out from planning the wedding. Book a last minute weekend away with your partner. Seek solace from friends and family. Do whatever it is you need to do to get back to you, so that when you start focussing on the wedding again, that chapter that you had definitely NOT expected or planned for, is over and you can start afresh.
On the wedding day itself another situation happened involving different people that was also hurtful, as I had to look at an empty chair on the table in front of us where a family member LEFT before dinner. A really good friends husband was waiting outside the venue with their baby and if I’d only know I could have either invited him to the whole day or at least sent all this wasted food out to him. Anyway, what’s done is done, and somehow we managed to not let that affect us until after we were back from our honeymoon. Shocking I KNOW! But it happens! It really does happen!
James and I have the most WONDERFUL families so all of this came as quite a shock to us as we just never expected it in a million years. This was our downfall because weddings do strange things to people, especially those closest to you. Expecting and understanding that not everyone will be happy with something that you do will definitely help. Accepting that this WILL happen will help you let it go if it does.
Just remember, that although it may be ‘your wedding day’, try to be as open minded as possible and keep family updated (if they seem to be keen to know everything). Your family are excited too, and I think, particularly for us, had we kept people in the loop at all times from day one, some issues may not have occurred in the way that they did. We didn’t do anything wrong, however as advice from me to you, and to plan for the unexpected, the more they know, the easier it will be to manage people as best as possible.
Final bit of advice – tea and a good cry heal everything!!! 🙂
Look out for next weeks part three on how to accept that not all things will go to plan…. On the Wedding Day
WOW – this week has been a big week for me! *Mini celebration dance* here at PS HQ!.
On Monday I officially joined the Rock My Wedding
Team as a preferred vendor with a fab post going live on their site on Wednesday. Lots of my past brides will spot themselves so do take a look at the feature
I was also interviewed by House of Coco
magazine last month and my interview went live this week! The reach on social has been fantastic, as well as the feedback and comments – thank you all so much.
I also, *drum roll* have started to stretch my photography wider. I absolutely ADORE weddings, but more than anything, I adore photographing people. So this week I photographed this gorgeous lady, Jaye, who is a FAB performer In the West End, and refreshed her current headshots for her.
Photographing headshots is certainly another area of photography that I want to take further, alongside lifestyle and wedding photography. So thank you Jaye for giving me that opportunity and proving to me how enjoyable it can be.
I am officially telling myself, ‘well done’, which leads nicely onto my motivational post for the week….
I’m not writing a huge blog post this week, but after a busy and immensely positive week for me, I’d like to leave you with something Jaye said to me, which can be looked at in two ways…
“It doesn’t get easier, YOU just get stronger”.
Of course, she was relating more to dance, but this is SO TRUE in all areas of life and work. As something begins clicking and falling into place, whether that’s a new job, or a new hobby, people’s immediate reaction is usually to say that ‘they’re just used to it now’ or ‘the works getting easier”. Everyone is SO BAD at self-praise!
It’s not getting ‘easier, in fact, YOU have just got better, stronger and wiser! When things start to click into place, it’s SO EASY to just plod along, doing that thing REALLY well, and perhaps getting slightly bored. Remember that WE create our own boredom!! So why can’t we create new challenges!?
If it’s getting ‘easy’, PRAISE yourself now about how far you’ve come, and have a think about what’s next. What MORE can you be doing to build on that current skill, or are there other projects you’d love to take up? New sports you’d love to learn?!
Having ‘no time’ or ‘being too busy’ or the best one ‘but I don’t need to do something else as I’m already doing this’, is NOT an excuse. Challenge yourself, because in 6 months time, you’ll be thinking, WOW, I’ve achieve that AND then that?!
Life is a constant journey; we are constantly learning. It definitely DOESN’T get any ‘easier’, we simply get STRONGER!
Now go out there and challenge yourselves! 🙂
You want the PERFECT wedding. You are a woman inspired by fashion, home interior, and get over-excited about anything pretty, matching, and sparkly. Being creative and style obsessed also means that we are our own worst enemies… If something doesn’t turn out quite as imagined, you worry it isn’t good enough or feel a bit disheartened. If this sounds like you, then we are THE SAME!
As an absolute perfectionist, lover of style and presentation, and organizational freak, I am going to write you a mini blog series on how to accept that not everything will go to plan not only on your wedding day, but in the run up before hand.
For part one of this mini series, let’s talk about the ‘planning’ stages of the wedding, focusing on the styling and how this doesn’t always go to plan in more ways than one…
So, you are now engaged, and you’ve had that secret Pinterest wedding board for a LONG time. *Ahem* maaaaaybe several months or even longer… You are not alone 😉
Now, Pinterest is an AMAZING tool for inspiration, especially wedding inspiration, but it is so so important to not be SO focused on re-creating everything you see on there, for a couple of reasons:
Unless you have a bottomless purse, it will be too expensive to have EVERYTHING you want at your wedding when hiring stylists or special companies to do things for you.You are creative (as I was) and want to re-create lovely things you’ve seen on Pinterest and are happy to do it DIY. How much DIY crafts are you prepared to do and more importantly, how much time do you have?Copying doesn’t make a wedding unique to YOU. Allowing Pinterest to inspire you may give you other ‘never-seen-before’ ideas for your wedding. If you want to try to get your wedding featured in a blog or magazine, thinking of something new and inspiring will certainly help your chances.Trying to do everything will simply make you go insane!
When designing and planning the styling for my wedding, there were a LOT of ideas that I had. What I learned was to focus on a few things and put all my effort into those. I had a LOT of detail and décor at my wedding which mainly involved collecting things and sorting them into specific boxes so we knew where everything was when it came to setting it up the day before.
I originally wanted a really creative, and almost ‘interactive’ table plan, and was fussing for months over what to do. It was the one thing that I really struggled with and simply couldn’t decided on. Closer to the time, when we’d nearly finished making and collecting everything for the wedding, I realized how much we had actually done and how lovely all of those things were. I realised, that all I wanted was an elegant and well designed table plan, adorned with some flowers for detail. Easy, simple, and nothing too extravagant like the many ideas I had seen on Pinterest. Sometimes, too much can be overkill, and in fact it’s the tiny details that can truly personalize your wedding day.
Here are some of my top tips:
Hire people – We had bought over 25 lanterns to hang up outside which we had planned to do ourselves…. In the end, we hired a company to do it and it was the best decision we made!! I was also convinced that I was going to blow up giant balloons the morning of the wedding… I am so glad my mum talked me out of it and again, hired someone to do it for us.Chose 1-3 things on Pinterest that you LOVE, whether that’s a cluster of decorations as a focal point, an amazingly styled dessert station, or an intricate table plan. Choose a couple of things as your ‘main’ styling pieces and don’t think that you need all of it.Flowers make the best decor! If you love flowers and aren’t afraid to spend money on them, beautiful floral displays that aren’t just your centre pieces can completely transform your wedding, AND takes the pressure off you crafting more DIY projects yourself.Create detail that ties your wedding together (no pun intended!) – We bought personalized ribbon with our names on which we used to tie up the invites and tie around sweet jars and other things. Be you and be unique 😉
Part 2 coming next Monday… Accepting that not everything will go to plan – People!!!!
The image below was taken by Zoe Collyer of my giant flower ball at my wedding…