Monday, 25 April 2011

From airmail envelopes to Twitter. Penpals to Tweets.

As far back as I can remember I seem to have been corresponding one way or another with complete strangers. I had a list of penfriends from all over the world when I was at school. The more the merrier it seemed! I probably spent a good proportion of my six old pence pocket money on stamps because, of course,this was in the days when snail mail was the only way and the internet was still a far off into the future invention. In fact I don't even think that it was mentioned on Tomorrows World! I would spend hours writing pages to other kids my own age from France, Finland,Norway,Hong Kong and the Isle of Wight and with my letters went cuttings from Jackie magazine and the recipes from mum's Womans Own. I could ramble on for England even then although my spelling has improved some what since, Thank goodness for spellcheck!
Days of having to wait weeks for those red and blue envelopes came to an end when the internet changed pen paling forever. So long penpals, hello email friends! Not that it was easy to find people to become my new pals. Google hadn't been invented then and it wasn't uncommon to find a penpal site online after convuluted searches, only to then find just a snail mail address to write to in order to get a list of potential new friends! Dial up was the only way that you could connect to the internet and it was too expensive to write my emails online, so all of my "letters" had to be written in Word offline then attached to an email. Quite a pallavah but a million times better than before.
After several years of happily tapping long newsy emails with one finger on my keyboard, changes were again afoot and along came Facebook. Suddenly my friends could all be found in one place. I could get by with writing short messages, find out who they were connecting with and discover what a link was.My friend list was, and still is rather skimpy. My son on the other hand has a friends list that runs into the hundreds. I have visions of him going up to anyone in the street and asking if they will be his friend! I still hesitate when asking if someone will consider me as a friend. Somehow it just seems a bit cheeky!
Two things happened at the end of last year which were to again change my love of sharing my thoughts, news and views with anyone and everyone. I discovered blogs, blogging and Twitter. I had already dipped my toes into the world of blogs after reading "La Petite Anglaise" A book based on the blog of an English woman living in Paris. I srarted to look up blogs but they were still in their infancy and there wasn't many to choose from, so my interest quickly waned. I never dreamed of writing a blog myself. What on earth could I write about that was remotely of interest to anyone ? Then I got engaged and suddenly I had something to write about. Here was I, a bride to be not exactly in the first flush of youth who was going to make a second trip up the aisle. Maybe not what your average bride wants to read about, but who knows, someone,somewhere out there might be the slightest bit interested. So, A Fifty Something Bride was born. Now I'll be the first to put my hand up and admit that compared to the majority of blogs, mine is downright amateurish, but I've started from scratch. What I know about computers you could write on a postage stamp. I'm very proud of the fact that I've learnt how to post images and add gadgets.It takes me hours to type each post with my one finger and I cross the remaining fingers that each post will be read by someone.My blog statistics has me wondering if I should bother carrying on as they make pitiful reading, but I'll persevere, because in all honesty I really get a buzz from seeing my ramblings being available to all and sundry.
I have to admit that I am totally addicted to other peoples blogs.They are all wonderful to look at and beautifully presented. So many bloggers are very creative and have an excellent eye for detail. They really are a clever bunch of people who all have one thing in common and that is that they are all passionate about their blogs and the time they dedicate to them amazes me  Who needs magazines when everyday there is something new, exciting and informative to read about. Blogs are personal and you can easily find yourself getting attached to them and getting quite excited when a new post appears. What I really like is that bloggers are part of a community. They support each other and friendships are often formed. Now it's hard to believe that that often happens in the world of magazines and books.
My friends think that it's hilarious that I use Twitter. They think that its odd to connect with people who are complete strangers. I think that they are missing out! It's fun to think that you can read tweets from well known faces, but I would rather read the tweets and connect with ordinary mortals like myself. There are people on Twitter who I would never ordinarily meet but I because of Twitter I  have the oppurtunity to to get to know some very lovely people. I am in awe of the fact that they are all so talented and work hard at what they are good at be it cooking, crafting or offering a service to others.Of course there are people who request to follow you and you ask yourself why? Why on earth would a yoga instructor in California want to follow me? On Twitter you can rant and rave, jump up and down with joy, have a good moan or just say hi.One thing you can't do is ramble on. With a 140 characters restriction, whatever you say has to be brief! And for me that's no bad thing!

Friday, 15 April 2011

Primer, concealer, corrector...I need help!

I can't remember how many times I have walked into the fragranced halls of lotions and potions in department stores determined to seek the advice from those immaculately made up ladies from behind  counters laden with goodies claiming to have magical properties and could turn me from a dowdy 50 something into a beauty who couldn't possibly be hitting middled age! But I've never had the confidence to approach anybody as to be honest I've always felt just a bit intimidated and convinced that they are will take one look at me and deem me as a lost cause!

So I've played safe and kept to the serve yourself aisles in Boots where until recently  I've chosen my beauty products by the eeny meeny miny moa method ! I have to admit to being somewhat lazy when it comes to skin care. Thankfully I've grown out of the Lifebouy soap and dettol  routine my mother recommended as a child, but apart from a dab of the cheapest moisturiser once in a blue moon, a quick scrub with soap and flannel sufficed. I had a cupboardful of barely used tubs of night moisturisers,scrubs,eye creams and that liquid that you dab on after cleansing and before moisturising  thats name escapes me! My skin was good in years gone wrinkles,blemish free and not a patch of dryness to be seen. Of course that all changed and those fine lines started to appear in earnest, and heavens forbid, is that jowls I spy replacing my once firm chin line? Time to take skin care seriously. My friend swore by Liz Earle products and gave me a set of trial sized goodies for Christmas. I instantly fell in love with them, and have used them ever since.However, I'm still lazy and am hopeless at removing my make up at the end of the day, and the night time cream has hardly been touched, but I'm getting there.
 source Liz Earle

I know that there is still over a year before The Big Day, but there's a lot of work  to be done here, before I let anyone clap eyes on me in a wedding dress let alone permit a photographer to point his camera at me, so I'd better get started on my transformation asap! The diet is in hand (says she,eating Pringles whilst typing...oops!) An exercise routine will come about someday soon and the hair is growing for a sophisticated up do, although I will have to be strong not to have it all cut off between now and then! Time now to think make up. I would love the luxury of having my make up done professionally on the day, but it's unlikely the budget will stretch that far, so I'm going to need help to get to grips  with learning how to do it myself, aquire a make up bag full of cosmetics and tools and transform myself into an English rose and not a circus clown!

So, there I was yesturday morning mooching around John Lewis in Cambridge when I thought, this is it, time to take control Brigitte and stop being such a wuss.Now was the time to start thinking concealers, correctors and primers.Find out exactly what shade I should be choosing when buying foundation, and how on earth do I apply eyeliner without ending up looking like an anciant Egyptian!
There are so many cosmetic ranges to choose from, but I've always lusted over Bobbi Brown (obviously not her personally, but her range of gorgeous goodies). I've drooled over the products but have always slinked away the moment an assistant spys me taking an interest.It didn't take long before I heard those words that would have had me previously mumbling a quick no thanks...Do you need any help? But this time I answered with an assertive sounding yes! From that point onwards I was taken under the wing of the very lovely Jo and the rest of the wonderful team of Bobbi Brown girls. I duly struggled  onto one of those bar stool type chairs (at 5ft tall, I can never just perch elegantly onto one!) and was magically transformed from tired old me into a younger and glowing me. Maybe it was the cosmetics that did it, or the pampering I was receiving which made me feel special. I think it was a bit of both. The five minutes lesson I started off having ended up lasting an hour. I haven't had so much girlie fun for ages. All that was missing was a cup of tea. But I'm sure that if there was one going I would have been offered one.
 source Bobbi Brown

I came away with my first purchase, walking on air and longing to do it all over again. Sadly, I was only visiting Cambridge so I'll have to get my fix closer to home.But, if Jo and the team ever read this. A big thanks to you all. You made my day and I think that you're stars. .Keep on meeting those celebs. (They'll know what I'm talking about!)
My cleansing and moisturising routine didn't improve last night as I wanted to keep my primed,concealed and corrected face on for as long as possible but. I'll do it tonight...promise!

So with luck I might be transformed from someone who needs a little work........

To a beautiful 50 something bride!

Wish me luck! xx

Monday, 4 April 2011

Choosing our venue.

I really am itching to get the wheels in motion and doing something concrete after several months of just dreaming and talking about our big day.How exciting it will be when we can actually book a venue and the registrar and get the Save the Date cards safely in the post. But I have to be patient. The wheels of the legal system turn at their own pace and cannot be hurried, but there are only two more hurdles to jump and then I should be at the finishing line and we can legally get our wedding plans off the ground. Roll on that day!

We have an idea when our Big Day will take place. Early summer next year would be perfect. Working in a school means that we are tied to school holidays. It seems to rain most of August and there's a good chance that many of our guests would be off on their hols, so the Spring half term would make much better sense.

Trying to find a venue has been much harder than I anticipated. A few months ago we thought that we had found a "maybe". An Edwardian boathouse on the River Avon that had been converted into a restaurant. The location was idyllic, the food yummy and most importantly, well within our budget. But, Mr R had reservations. It was too rustic...all scrubbed pine and mismatched chairs. He wanted somewhere a little grander. There was only the one room  in the restaurant and we would fill it to the point that space might be a bit tight. I had visions of our guests spilling out onto the riverbanks, but Mr R, who has his head well and truly screwed on, pointed out that our English climate is a bit unpredictable and the heavens may well decide to open.If that happened there would be nowhere for our guests to escape to when they require a much needed breather from the celebrations! Of course all this made sense. We haven't ruled it out totally but it made sense to carry on looking.

How difficult is it to find the perfect venue in the Bristol/Bath/Wiltshire area for an informal wedding of around 45 guests, that doesn't cost the earth and is a little different. We don't want a hotel that's part of a chain, a golf club, barn or conference centre. Country houses tend to be too grand or require you to take over the whole building for a couple of nights. We don't want the hassle of hiring a hall and sorting everything out ourselves from the cutlery to the tables and chairs,tea urn to the loo paper! I find venues that look lovely from the outside but then don't like the colour of the carpets, the curtains or the light fittings! Maybe we are  being too picky. But why shouldn't we. This isn't any old day we are talking about, this is our wedding day. Second best, or making do, just won't do!

I have got rather excited about one possibility. It's called Goldbrick House and it's in the centre of Bristol. It is more than just a restaurant. There are an array of rooms that you can hire of all shapes and sizes and there is a terrace so that guests aren't confined to being indoors. The decor is hopefully grand enough for Mr R without it being over the top.The pictures on the website certainly looked good and there would be plenty of room for everyone.
So I dragged Mr R to Bristol again and bought him lunch there. We had to eat in the cafe bar as there was a wedding going on in the other rooms, but the food we ate was delicious and I liked the eclectic decor. Mr R ran his critical eye over the place and thought it looked a little worn in places. I rather thought this added to the charm , but we can't really make a proper judgment without a seeing the other rooms and discuss what they have to offer with their events coordinator.
You can hold the ceremony there as well, but I would rather like to say my vows in somewhere rather special. And I know a place that fits the bill perfectly. Blaise Castle museum is a beautiful mansion in parkland not far from the centre of Bristol. The ceremony can be held in a suitably grand and rather sumptuous room.Mr R would definitely approve!
Time to make a couple of appointments and another trip along the M4 I think! Mr R will be there to ask all the right questions and to make sure that I don't, as I'm prone to do, let my heart rule my head.
Fingers crossed and watch this space!
Goldbrick House

Blaise Castle