Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Pumpkin Patches in the UK

 When you think of a Pumpkin Patch, you might think of America and their fall traditions and their ability to go full out for every holiday. Well turns out Britain wants in on some of the action and now it seems quite easy to make these new traditions with your family. 

I have cousins in California and I've always been jealous of all the fun traditions they have for the holidays and taking their kids to see amazing Santa Claus or the easter bunny or going to the pumpkin patch. I'm all about making memories with my kids, I want them to talk fondly of their childhood when they are adults and be able to do the same traditions with their kids (although maybe a lot less photos involved because they will be sworn off cameras by this time!)

When Logan was two years old (Nov 2015) I managed to find a farm that had a pumpkin patch event. I got my mum and Auntie + cousin involved and suggested we all go. 

The farm was called Marsh Farm and it started our love affair with the place for its themed events, especially Christmas (I'll write more about that later).

I dressed Logan up in his skeleton onesie and some halloween headgear and we had a great time on the farm and then went to pick out a pumpkin on their field and take it home. 

We had a really amazing day and lots of fun but I couldn't help feel it wasn't the American Dream I had expected it to be. 

(I can't get over how tiny he looks on this photo!) - I also remember how hard it was to get this photo.

So the next year (2016) I set out to find another local pumpkin patch we could try out. I found two, an hour drive in either direction from us. I browsed different photos online and decided on Undley Farm Pumpkin Patch

What I fell in love with about this location was that the sea of orange looked amazing and it had a natural feel about it being in the middle of nowhere. All the pumpkins looked great quality and it was free entry too!

See what I mean about that sea of orange? Logan (3 at the time) was amazed! He loved that he could walk through them all and we had a wheelbarrow and we must have swapped the 3 we wanted about 10 times but he was loving it.

He took his role very seriously and was scouting out the best pumpkins. It's right next to the air base and so we were surrounded by American's to bring that true American experience to us! 

We also got one of my favourite all time photos of me, Logi and Evie bump! 

I know a lot of people local to me (Suffolk) went and visited the same pumpkin patch shortly after we did! It's open from the 30th September to the end of October, so you still have plenty of time to visit! 

We went back this year and clearly they did well last year as so many improvements had been made for this year. The space the pumpkins were in was about 5 times bigger and the maize maze was huge!

They had to give you a map this year to make it round and even then it took us 45 mins - 1 hour! It didn't help that Logan seems to lose his ability to walk as soon as we enter any maze.

The maze was lots of fun, they give you a sheet with multiple choose answers and the aim is to find the boards with the information to help you answer your question. An added feature this year was you could 'stamp' your answers. Anyone who has been anywhere with a young child knows it's double the fun if there is a stamp involved!

We had lots of fun together in the maze and we let Logan choose some of the directions and that boy loves being 'in charge'. Evie slept in her pram, I think the gentle noise of the corn swaying sent her off! 

This year they had the pre picked pumpkins all together at the front of the field and then lots of field space to pick pumpkins off the vine. Some of these pumpkins were HUGE! I think the cost of the largest size pumpkin was £6. They also had crates of white and grey pumpkins(great for any Insta home) and also 5 for £2 of little unique pumpkins in all sorts of colours.

As you can see there are some really funky (does anyone still use that word?!) pumpkins! I picked up 10 of these in various sizes. 

A highlight of the kids fun was getting to sit in the wheelbarrow for a photo! I noticed lots of kids having fun being pushed about in the wheelbarrows by their parents. Evie was amazed with everything that I don't think she looked up once. I was happy with this photo though for my kids at the pumpkin patch shot!

Logan had lots of fun picking pumpkins out to put in front of Evie. The straw had her attention a bit more, but overall I think she enjoyed her first experience. 

I think this patch will always be our family tradition to visit in October. Logan had been talking about it all week before we visited on the Saturday. There was lots of other things to do there as well. They had a bouncy castle for the under 5s, a huge bouncy castle for the over 5s and a bouncy game for the over 11s. They were all reasonably priced at £2 for 10 minutes. 

There was a craft tent with stalls selling beautiful halloween goods and chocolate treats. There was a craft table at the end for kids to decorate their own witches hats or crave pumpkins. Upon entrance you got a sheet that allowed you to collect stamps as you went round the patch (another hit with Logan!) and you got a sticker at the end. The maize maze also has an entry into a draw to win cash prizes as well as when you purchase pumpkins. 

We brought back 3 medium size pumpkins to paint, Logan is obsessed with my little pony at the moment so I currently have a pinkie pie and a half finished rainbow dash on my dining room table! 

There is also a big haystack for the kids to play on, Logan spent ages running up and jumping down this. We grabbed a hot dog and burger while he played (reasonably priced at £5 each - and they were good!) then we sat down in the pumpkin vines to feed the kids their packed lunch. 

It's safe to say both kids slept on the way back! It is so lovely to get out in the fresh air in the cooler months and have fun. We have so far been very lucky with the weather on both years - enjoying a slightly milder October and no rain. What I liked best about it the experience though was it didn't feel overly busy. There was clearly a lot of people there but everything was spread out enough that you didn't feel you were all trying to overlap each other memories. It was easy enough to find a patch of pumpkins without anyone else occupying and get some lovely photos and have fun.

Have you got any fun traditions as a family in the winter months? Let me know, we are always looking for fun new things to do. If you haven't already visited a pumpkin patch then I recommend Undley if you are local to us or search on Facebook for your nearest one! They seem to be becoming more popular in Britain now as we take on the American tradition! 

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Planning A Last Minute Wedding: Part 2

So Part 1 brought us up to 8 weeks before my wedding date. It covered finding last minute wedding dates at a venue, checking with the registrar, deciding on main colour schemes and designing invitations.

29/04/2017 - Invitations sent out

We then headed to Norfolk for a week family holiday, we bought all our invitations with us to send out, normally it would be cheaper to drive round and deliver most of them but as we were away, we really needed answers out ASAP. So we bought stamps and spent night one on holiday messaging everyone for their addresses. These were then written out and sent out the next day at Searles Holiday post box!

I made sure I had a list of people in my wedding planning book so I could monitor the responses. I put my e-mail address on the day invitations so people could e-mail me their menu choices. We also wrote 1/2/3 next to the choices to make it easier for people to respond with 1/3/2 for menu choices. 

03/05/2017 - I said YES to the dress

The day I was most looking forward to on holiday was our day trip into Norwich to go dress shopping! I discovered Wed2b online (maybe through Facebook advertising again!). It is the perfect choice for last minute wedding dress shopping as you buy directly from the store and take home the same day! The website is good for browsing for ideas of styles you like but please note that each store doesn't hold all styles in every size. You will also need to browse for a size up from your normal size for the dresses. 

Before I went, I found some ideas for what I liked online and screenshot them, this is handy as your bridal team can search for the name of the dresses! 

I knew I wanted a Princess style dress. I only plan on getting married once and if it's not an excuse to wear a big dress then I don't know what is. I also suit styles that flow from under the bust to hide my tire of a middle, so I knew I didn't want anything tight fitting down my waist or legs. I also struggle with my boobs, especially as I am still feeding Evie and therefore not my normal size, so I didn't want a strapless dress as I knew I would end up hiking it up all day, however I know that straps could be added on, so I didn't eliminate strapless from my searches. They all had a similar style to them though - I wanted to be a Princess. 

When you arrive at the store, you have a member of staff that will stay with you to assist. They ask you to find 4 dresses at a time to take in to try on. I had my mum, sister and one of my bridesmaids Sophie along for the hunt. They quickly got to work on searching for some of my shortlisted dresses. The 'Celeste' was my favourite but they didn't have it in the size I needed but did have it in the size below and above, so we took one of those in. We found a couple of the others on my list and choose one random one too. 

They have the most amazing changing rooms in the stores and it gives you a relaxed and lovely experience. Your bridal party sit outside and you go into the big changing room with the staff member to assist you. I had never tried on a wedding dress in my life and they can be hard work to get into! 

I tried my favourite choice from my online search and it wasn't quite what I expected. The sleeves felt itchy on me and I wasn't getting that 'yes' feeling. We decided we would get the bigger size up one and see if it made a difference to the fit feeling. I tried the other ones on and while they were all lovely, I was starting to think I wouldn't find the dress today. 

We went back out and I needed to find 3 more dresses to take in along with the larger size dress of the celeste style. I found 2 more I liked and then my sister said 'What about this one?' I had actually looked at this style online but wasn't sure if it was a bit too much but I said I'd try it on anyway, you know, for a laugh. 

It ended up being THE ONE. It was 'Electra' and I added in the gold belt to emphasise the waist. As soon as I was getting into it I had a huge smile on my face. I had that feeling, it's true what they say, you know when you've found your dress. It was all very exciting, everyone else loved it too and I felt like a Disney Princess - objective completed! We also ordered the bridesmaid dresses from in store - they were due to be in, in 2 weeks time. They only stock a dress in each size in the various different colours in store. Sophie tried on the size she needed in a different colour and we ordered from there. In the flesh the bridesmaid dress was a different colour to what it looked like online - I still loved it though, so we ordered.

Sophie capturing my 'Said YES to the dress face', trying not to let on how HEAVY that bag was! We took it back to the holiday lodge and hid it in the other room, we then had my grandparents take it home with them until the wedding.

I then sent Mart a text to say I had also sorted wedding transport...

We then celebrated with a Jamie's Italian lunch and a spot of shopping!

07/05/2017 - Centrepieces

Now if you know me (or know me through Instagram) then I will be known for entering a good competition. A while back I entered a Disney loop competition, now as well as being lucky to win a Disney garland with Evie's name on, I also discovered some other amazing Disney themed shops with beautiful creations. This is where I found Instagram page. Grace makes the most beautiful quality roses in jars (Beauty and the Beast Style) and can do various colour combos and they come in small or large jars. 

I'm a huge Disney fan, but we had already been to lots of weddings with Disney themes, so we wanted something different but I still wanted a nod towards Disney. We decided we would order a rose jar for each table to be our centrepiece. 

I had been doing research into wooden log cuts and small jars with wildflowers in, but it was all costing up and going to cost quite a bit to hire or buy the logs and then I would need to source the flowers etc. If I was learning anything from my last minute wedding planning it was simple can be beautiful and cost effective and easier.

So I messaged Grace and enquired whether she would be able to do me 6 jars in a short timeframe. She was fantastic and replied quickly to confirm she could make them and we finalised colours and sizing. I went for the large jars as they were to be my main centrepiece and I wanted to ensure they didn't get lost on the table space. I couldn't get a match for colour of rose to my bridesmaid dresses so I decided to go for a really nice pink that would match one of the chair bow colour choices with the venue. 

They were with me by the 23rd May!

09/05/2017 - The Favours! 

I suddenly got the inspiration for our favours when I was tidying up something in our room and found our Disney pins from our Paris trip.  When I was reading up about going to Disney, I had found a tip that a lot of people sell bundles of the pins on eBay and this is a much cheaper way of collecting the trading pins than buying them individually at Disney. We had found a trader and bought a bundle before we went to Disney and I had the idea that this could be our favours! They would go with my other idea for place cards/favours of the Polaroid pictures. 

[note a Pinterest pin I actually completed - make your own Micky cork board]

We found eBay seller pixiedust.66 who was selling bundles of 50 and 25 random Disney pins. We ordered 75 as we needed 56 but figured there might be a few ones not appropriate for use at a wedding. So we ordered these ready for delivery and they were one of our only secret surprises towards the end that people didn't know about. 

My other idea I really wanted to include to give my wedding that personal touch was photos. Now I have always been known for my photos, I just love them, I was always the one with the camera taking snaps. I had the idea that we would find an old photo of us with our guest and print them on polaroid style photos and use these along with the favours for people to locate their seats.

We set about at both our family homes to find a photo of us as a young child with a family member. It involved a few nights with a huge box full of family photos to find one for each person. It was hard because I couldn't ask the person themselves if they had any pictures as we wanted it to be a surprise for each person on the day to see what photo we had choose for them.

Once we had a photo for each person, I used the website Cheerz to print Retro Prints for 21p each. You are able to edit the writing under the photo, so I typed in everyones names to save a job the other side. They also do larger retro prints, we therefore decided to print one for each table. As I previously mentioned, we didn't want to do Disney named tables as this has been done many times before, therefore we thought we would use our trip to Paris for inspiration. Therefore every table was named after a place we visited in Paris, it would also link back to my idea for the seating plan display - but that comes later. 

This would be the finished product. What I'd learnt from other weddings is people bring small bags with them - if you want your favours to go home with your guests then make them small enough to pop in a clutch bag. 

10/05/2017 - Planning meeting

Woodhall invited us in for a planning meeting to go through the details of the wedding day and note down our requirements and make the plan a bit more solid. I was thankful for this as I was starting to get nervous that we were nearly a month away and I didn't really understand how the day would play out and what happens when. 

It was lovely visiting our venue again and made it all the more exciting again. We sat down and went through the day and worked out little details like were we going to stand and greet everyone after the wedding (no - too long for us!) and would we like bacon rolls for breakfast while we get ready (a big YES!). It felt good to have a plan written down for the day and also meant we could work out timings for getting ready.

Woodhall have a lovely 'secret room' for the bridal party. You can start getting ready in there from 9am and you are hidden away from everyone else. There is a bathroom and plenty of space for everyone and the most gorgeous big mirrors. The men would be allowed in from 11am and they were to get ready in the best mans room (It was a big no to getting ready in the honeymoon suite!) 

We also decided we would hire out the manor for our immediate family to stay after the wedding. It meant we would all get breakfast together and we could continue the celebrations for a bit longer! 

Deciding on our photo and video

Now this is where everyone differs with wedding planning. To me, having the right photos of my day meant everything. It would be the one thing I didn't want to stress about on the day and therefore I needed to find a photographer with likeminded style to what I would wish for my day. 

I started following Sharon Cudworth on Facebook after my stepdad told me his niece did photos. I had been following her for over a year so I had seen all of her beautiful work and knew I would love if she could photograph our wedding. I loved her natural style and the colouring of the photos. 

Now this is where a Monday wedding date comes in handy - your suppliers and services are more likely to be free on a Monday in the height of wedding season! They may even offer a discount for a last minute booking or a midweek booking. 

Luckily for us, Sharon was available that day and offered us a discount for a last minute booking. We met up to discuss what photos we wanted from our day and exchanged contracts. 

Make sure you read and understand the photographers contract and what you are getting for the price you are paying and if there will be any added extras at the end. I always think its worth going with a photographer that will give you all the photos they have finalised rather than you having to pick and choose a set amount from your special day. 

Different photographers also offer added services like phonebooks at the end - this is personal choice for you, I personally can create and make my own photobook and didn't mind doing it, whereas other less creative people might wish for this to be included as they wouldn't have the time or patience to do it themselves. Decide between you as a couple what you want from the memories of your day.

To me, Photos came top above a cake or other fancy added extras on my wedding day. I would much rather spend more money on a photographer that I would be really happy with the outcome than spend hundreds of pounds on a cake that not everyone might get a slice of at the end of the night. That's personal preference though (and hey my cake still looked amazing and tasted great and it didn't break the bank!)

[Photo by Sharon Cudworth]

It's safe to say I was over the moon with the photos Sharon captured of our day - I'll share more in part 4 of the blog post. 

Sharon recommended to us that we make a small (10) list of formal photos we required of the day and the rest would be natural - this is to ensure that you don't spend half your day waiting to line up for photos. We had to stretch that number to a few more as both Mart and I have separated parents and therefore we doubled a few of the photos. We are also lucky enough to have all our grandparents alive and well and therefore it was important to us we had formal photos with all of them too. In order to fit this all in - we made the worthwhile decision to not have the children in the formal photos with our parents and grandparents. This meant with just adults to work with, the turnaround time could be quicker. We then had big family photos with each side of the family with the children included. This worked out well because try getting a 4 year old to smile for repeated photos is a hard one! 


Having video at weddings has not been as popular as back in the 90s but it certainly is making a comeback. Now it is less traditional in the sense that every moment of the day is filmed and now videographers are getting creative in the moments they capture and how the finished product is put together. 

I knew Josh Potter of J Andrew: Film and Photography from both my hometown and our university town. We did the same course at uni (Media Production) but were a few years apart, we met again through playing Ultimate Frisbee and over the last few years I have had Josh take family photos. 

Obviously Josh is going places with his degree in his career and I had been watching his wedding videos for some time. The way they were filmed and edited would make me cry at complete strangers wedding days and I just knew we wanted our special day captured in the same way. 

Now having video of your wedding is another personal choice but we wanted memories for the children (and us) of the day so we could relive it over and over. I can tell you now, the finished film was AMAZING and so so beautiful! I'll share it in part 4 so you'll have to hold out. 

The video included a 5 minute short for online sharing and then bluray of your ceremony, speeches and first dance. You can check out more of Josh's services on his website here

12/05/2017 - Flowers and Bridesmaid Dresses

Now I don't know a lot about flowers - being mostly allergic to them, I tend to stay and admire from a distance. As big hayfever suffers and now having a summer wedding - we didn't want too many flowers at our wedding. 

I contacted a couple of florists but they were fully booked. I then remembered a local florist - Emma's Florist - that my mum had got her wedding flowers from. We popped in to see them and I showed a couple ideas from Pinterest of what I liked and mentioned our colour scheme - pink and gold. I was going into it blind as I had no idea what our bouquets would look like on the day but they were simply gorgeous! 

[Photo by Sharon Cudworth]

I thought the prices were really reasonable and the service was great. We got the 3 bouquets, buttonholes for the men and feminine buttonholes for our mums and step mums. We had a top table flower display made and we also doubled this up for use on our registrar table during the ceremony. 

The lovely finishing touch they made was to add a Thistle to my dads buttonhole to go with his kilt. Adding a touch of my Scottish heritage into my wedding was a lovely addition, and my dad was impressed too!

[Photo by Sharon Cudworth]

Soph also picked up the bridesmaid dresses for me from Norwich and brought them to Ipswich. Both girls tried them on and they fitted great, they just needed a few adjustments in length. 

13/05/2017 - Lets talk about Cake!

We went round to see Laura to finalise the cake details, she had been busy! We decided we would use fake flowers for the top piece with the cake topper and decided on gold casing for the cupcakes. Laura showed us her clear cupcake holder display and we decided we would go with it to display the cakes. The gold drip on the top was misbehaving so instead of risk stress on the day, we decided we would just go with the white drip instead. 

15/05/2017 - Family Holiday no2

As with all last minute plans, you don't know they are happening until last minute! So of course all those other plans you have will just have to fit in around them. 

We had booked our little Butlins getaway back in March, we thought it would be nice to get away just the 4 of us and knew there would be lots on for Logan. Of course after you then plan a last minute wedding, the thought of going away for a week the month before for both time and cost is a little worrying but we made it a good week! Once the kids were asleep we got the wedding planning book out and worked on some to dos!

19/05/17 - Decorations start arriving

So as mentioned in Part 1 - I ordered some wooden table names that came in plain wood. They arrived and I got to work on spraying them gold with a can I got from Hobbycraft. 

It was really quick and easy to do and they just needed one coat. Make sure you do it outside though! Fumes are high. 

It was great to see them all together, these were from Manta Makes.

I also bought the materials to make my favours come together. I got brown card packs from Hobbycraft and a stamp and ink pad. 

The stamping was repetitive but achieved the look I was going for! The little pegs were bought from Paperchase and £2 a packet. 

All there was left to do then was attach a Disney pin to each card and peg the polaroid photo on. I tried to match the Disney pins to certain people - for example - my cousin Chloe loves Stitch - so she just had to have the Stitch pin. 

I was very happy with the end result and the cost was very low as I made part of them on my own and it gave them a unique feel. Everyone loved them when they walked into the venue and spent ages looking at everyones photos and talking about what pins they had. 

When it came to the table numbers, I wasn't sure at first how to display them. I had picked up some clear glass jars in Wilko for £1 each and sprayed them gold too. At first I wanted to attach the photo of the Paris locations to the jar with the number but I couldn't work out an effective way to get them to stay together without breaking. 

I tried superglue to keep the table numbers in the jars but they still were hit and miss. In the end I got some of the same foliage that was in my flowers and popped them in the jars and stuck the numbers in the middle of them. 

21/05/2017 - Planning Showcase

Woodhall invited us to one of their planning showcase events - they will have all the extras set up and you can pick and choose what you want on your day and you get 10% off the cost. It was great to see the venue again and see the outside ceremony set up. We really hoped to have a good day weather wise to have ours outside. We would need it to be at least 14c and dry on the ground. We hoped it would make our wedding that bit different from all the others we had attended this year. 

We also choose things like the LOVE letters because I've always been a big fan of them and fairy lights and lighting for the garden area outside. It was strange to think next time we would be back here (in 35 days!) it would be for our wedding.

23/05/2017 - Centrepieces Arrive

My beautiful centrepieces arrived on the 23rd May and they were just perfect. I decided I would get some candles to go around them to add some soft lighting but other than that they didn't need anything extra to them and were ready to go. 

Around this time my poor Logi had tonsillitis and was off Preschool for a week. It was a lot harder sorting things out around two children so there was a slight break in organising things! We also had Martin's American family over to visit and we were still attempting to do our garden!

If only we could do our garden as quick as we did our wedding! It's been a work in progress since May 2016!

It seems appropriate to finish part 2 here, next up is our last minute hen and stag dos, the finishing touches, dress fittings and a birthday and another weekend away!

S x