Tuesday, 1 March 2011

The Announcement

B2b here. With the initial excitement subsiding, the reality dawning and the chiming of ‘I’m getting married in the morning’ finally easing off in my head, it became all too apparent that the next step for the fiancées would be the grand announcement. Whilst still in the icy, snowy bubble of Prague, amongst strangers and tourists, goulash and dumplings, nothing seemed quite real; but not to be fooled by this dreamlike world, a flash of my sparkly diamonds usually served as a handy reminder keep us grounded. It was with this glint in my eye and weight on my finger that I hesitatingly picked up my mobile phone and reached for my first speed dial...my mum.  
Having been told that my dad already knew the news, I was flabbergasted firstly that he agreed and secondly that he managed not to blurt it out as I was departing the house and keep me tied to the banister. As far as father daughter relationships go, I am definitely daddy’s little girl and I have been told on numerous occasions that I will not be leaving the family unit until I am at least 50, so it was a daunting prospect to face his reactions. Nonetheless it was my mum who I contacted first, as my dad is usually extremely busy and important. The international dial tone rang in my ear, H2b was finally turning a healthier shade of pink and we began our slippery descent down the snow covered rolling hills of Prague’s most romantic park. My mum answered the phone and as I told her the news, her reply was, “Ah, so he’s done it then?” Not quite the euphoric response I was seeking but I took it as a positive one nonetheless!
Upon telling my sister, her screams reverberated in my ears, as her excitement seemed to outweigh mine and when ringing my nan, thoughts turned to my granddad who will be sorely missed at our wedding, so the conversation ended with her “going to have a little cry.” H2B’s dad declared his intention to buy a new spotty bow tie in preparation for the big day and his mum a new hat. All in all, the responses seemed to be encouraging and my initial nerves about telling people were subsiding as I was touched by everyone’s kindness. Now being in a different country, it was obviously impossible to call everyone without racking up a phone bill the size of Wales, so we dubiously turned to the convenience of the social network. Unwilling to be one of those couples who tweets their way down the aisle, or relationship updates ‘Melanie Stead is now married to Shaughan Hawks’, the minute they say ‘I do’, I was sceptical about announcing my dreamy proposal online. However, with a few taps of the keys, a press of the return bar and a click on the ‘post’ button, we both broadcast our upcoming nuptials into cyber space. Responses were immense and overwhelming. We were touched. Thank you.
With everyone informed and our engagement finally made public, I can now concentrate on becoming a real fiancée, with real fiancée type responsibilities and lots of things to plan! First of all, an engagement party. That’s right...I want a party to celebrate me and him, in fact I think I might need three, one for southern family, one for friends and one for the northerners. And I’ll need cakes. Oh and champagne. Oh and a new dress for each. I think I’m going to like being engaged...

Friday, 11 February 2011

The Proposal

Armed with all of the essentials, a big sparkly diamond, a bulging wedding planner, a devoted fiancé and a whole array of wedding related dilemmas, I want to share with you all of the trials and tribulations, for better or worse, ‘til death do us part (etc!), of becoming a fiancée in 2011. Ladies and Gentlemen, please be upstanding and raise your glasses, I give you the bride (to be)...
2011 brought with it not only a new series of Dancing on Ice, a whopping VAT increase and the announcement of a new baby Beckham but the 5th January also saw ‘that’ finger of my left hand, lovingly adorned with a sparkling rock. Unbeknown to me, my other half who I’ll refer to as H2B (you guessed it, hubby to be) had been saving up behind my back for the past two years and had actually had the ring in his possession for 6 months prior to popping the question. It’s amazing how much lying and deceit one person can actually accomplish in the pursuit of the ideal proposal and I’m not someone you can easily hide things from, let me tell you! I don’t want to sound cliché but it is almost impossible to not summon the magic of the movies when describing this life changing event and so in the words of Sandra Bullock’s character Margaret and Ryan Reynolds’s Andrew in The Proposal,
“Aren’t you supposed to get down on your knee or something?”
“I’ll take that as a yes.”
Now, we’ve been together for 6 years, so I don’t suppose you could really consider the proposal a total shock. We have been through university together (separate ones), saw loved ones come and go together, travelled to destinations around the world together, been unemployed together and generally done most things you could expect to do with a partner after 6 years together! However, it was a shock and that’s why my proposal was perfect. There was no candlelight, violins or serenading but instead there were rolling hills, snowy fields and passers-by! I never knew what my ideal proposal would consist of. Whether my no frills Mr Big would casually drop into everyday conversation, “Did you wanna get married. I wouldn’t mind being married to you,” or at a second attempt win me over with a jewel encrusted blue Manolo Blahnik heel; or like Monica I’d attempt the question myself (but yes there is a reason why girls don’t do this). The thought of Colin Firth’s proposal to Aurelia, in Love Actually is enough to make you weak at the knees but I am from Wigan, not Portugal, so this was always unlikely to happen. But I did know one thing, and this definitely is cheesy, I knew that however and whenever it happened, I would know the answer and H2B would know too!
So let’s get down to the nitty gritty details and set the scene. The year was 2011, the month January and the date the 5th. The country was the Czech Republic, the city Prague and the temperatures around -8 degrees! We had planned a city break for some post Christmas relaxation and to simply get away for a few days, as like with most young couples we both still live at home and privacy is strictly kept to a minimum! It was day two of our Bridget Jones-esque city break and a mini break means true love. Suddenly feel like screen goddess...in manner of Grace Kelly...ahem. We’d already done a whole bunch of cultural things and the fifth of January looked to be no different, as we set out to visit Petrin Hill and observe what we were told, were the best views of the city from up high. Wandering through the park, side by side like Mr Darcy and Lizzie Bennett, albeit minus our top hat and bonnet, favouring instead a woolly bobble hat and ear warmers, in a picturesque setting, the wind battering our bare faces and our digits slowly freezing, Prague at our feet, I was oblivious to what was about to happen.  

The particulars of the event make for a very uninteresting read and are, I’m sure, only captivatingly emotional to me and my Nan, so I will spare you the details and just say that H2B got down on one knee in the snow, said some smushy things and popped the question whilst brandishing a gold, three stone diamond ring. As the tears froze to my face and I clumsily struggled to remove my cream, teddy bear mittens, H2B placed the ring on my finger and I, of course, accepted his gracious offer. And that was, as they say, a wrap! Without a fluff of his lines, a stumble or barely a quiver (he is only human), he had succeeded in doing what he set out to do. And I received a proposal fit for the silver screen. Well in my eyes anyway.
x B2B x

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

**Winter Ponderland**

With the freezing temperatures firmly frozen and refusing to thaw , my daily routine has become an icy challenge of arctic proportions and this has led me to question, is it too much to ask to simply dress appropriately for the conditions we’re facing and how are we actually expected to stay one foot ahead of the weather? Especially when the weather seems to be tripping over its Hunter wellies to keep up with itself!
I’m a regular commuter now. That is to say, I am well and truly wedged under the sweaty armpit that is the London rat race. Far be it for me to complain about this, as I day after day willingly place my 5 foot self into said armpit crevice and toddle off to work, however it’s not without its challenges. And yes, you guessed it; most of them are definitely outfit related (although Southeastern Rail is not without its fair share). What is a girl to do I hear you cry?
From sweltering summer evenings, to showery spring mornings, and wicked winter chills to average autumn days, ones 6am outfit choice is never going to be easy, or let’s face it, very inspired. At first glance, major outfit mistakes can be made. At second glance, even more gargantuan mistakes can be made. If I have learnt anything from my time trying to beat the UK weather, it is to go with your instincts as over thinking an outfit choice can often be catastrophic and to definitely plan the night before.
Top 5 Winter fashion faux pas.
1.       Welcome to my layer- It sounds obvious but a common mistake when it comes to dressing for the weather is wearing too many layers. True, we can always take them off, shed each layer like a snake losing its skin but realistically, when you have worked that hard to formulate an outfit that consists of ten elements (and that’s just on your top half), why would you want to ruin it by removing crucial layer number ten or nine or eight or….? And even worse still, after belting yourself in to said ten layers, suitably working up an almighty sweat and not to mention heat rash and a look to rival the Michelin man, it’s fair to say that layers two to ten definitely act as a barrier, a protection from the pushes and shoves of other fellow commuters.
Main problems accompanied by too many layers=
·         Hair stuck to neck sweat
·         Fringe stuck to forehead sweat
·         Bulkiness a hindrance when boarding overcrowded public transport
·         Extra washing created
·         Potential to cause fainting/nausea
To be honest, sweat patches are never going to penetrate this many layers so if you commit to the layer, it’s definitely a stayer!

Commit to the layer

2.       Layer fake- On the other hand, one can often make a critical error when it comes to dressing for the unknown weather by not wearing enough clothing. Ever concerned about the sweat pit that is the London Underground, I am conscious of not over dressing, despite the sub-zero temperatures in the outside world, as I know it will only come back to sweatily bite me on the well wrapped rump. However, at 6am in the middle of November, thoughts of frosty skies, icy pavements and frozen breath lead me in one direction only and that is to my knitted snood, furry ear muffs and woolly mittens. Imagine the scene a mere two hours later…on board a tube train with approximately  100,000 other woolly scarf, bobble hat clad commuters dreaming of frosty skies, icy pavements and if only I could see my hands let alone my icy breath!  So lesson learnt I hear you say…next day I travel minus snood, gloves and snuggly head wear only to be greeted by my friendly Southeastern Rail train that has busted heating. Correction… it has one carriage of heating. Not my carriage. And for those of you who commute you will sympathise with me here, we commuters are loyal to our carriage day in day out and will never betray it. Never. Commence hour and a half journey in a shivery fetal position, attempting to stay warm.

3.       For furs sake- The chilly winter months can only mean one thing for me and that is to wear copious amounts of faux fur. From fluffy scarves to woolly hats and furry coats to shearling lined boots, I have them all and I am not ashamed to say I will happily wear them in one big furry melting pot of an outfit. My current favourite items include a faux fur head warmer from trusty Primark. It sits snuggly and stylishly on my well groomed head and keeps my ears toasty and warm, not to mention looking ski-style chic. I’m also singing the praises of my new leopard print coat from New Look, which never fails to let me down- warm and trendy in equal amounts. However, the faux fur look is not without its pitfalls. Yes, it may be stylishly sought after and snuggly warm but when faced with the great British rain, it leaves a lot to be desired. Just picture… more drowned rat than ravishing diva. Enough said. 

4.       Foot flops- Far be it for anything other than sheer joy and delight to influence my footwear choice but it has to be said that making a winter footwear faux pas can be a total nightmare. Pump/leggings combo is a definite no in our nippy climes, as no one can look chic sporting Smurf-like feet. Knee high boots that look stunning on 6ft models but leave a lot less to be desired on my short stumps are a total blunder as I can assure you, you will spend the entire day trying to pull them up, hold them up and keep them up, probably to no avail. Stylish ankle boots with feathers, tassel's, studs, zips or laces often look the part but rarely keep contact with the icy pavements, leading to attempted auditions for Dancing On Ice. My Uggs are my winter feet savior and although clumpy and pretty unsightly (I’m fully aware that it takes a special type of person to make these boots look good) my feet regularly thank me of an evening when they relax into some comfy slippers, unaffected by the chill and still in one piece.

5.       Hat hair- It may be a myth that as much as 45% of your body heat is lost out of your head but why listen to this when believing it can be so much more fun? In that case, what better way is there to conserve your body heat than to treat yourself to one of numerous hats on the high street right now. Whether you are more of a bobble hat beaut than a faux fur trapper hat fashionista, there is always a style out there to suit you. However, don’t let the simple hat fool you. Once you commit to the hat at the start of the day, you will find it difficult, if not impossible to remove it later on. Accompanied with the perils of hat hair, a harmless looking hat, can play havoc with your hair but is it worth it? The decision is yours.

To hat hair or not to hat hair?

Until next time.xxx

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

I Heart Woolly Socks: VOTE FOR MELANIE STEAD!!!

I Heart Woolly Socks: VOTE FOR MELANIE STEAD!!!


Well it has been a while and by no means think that I have forgotten about you, or that this is all you are going to have to read for the forseeable future! But things have been pretty busy recently and quite exciting too! In fact, so exciting that I have actually been shortlisted for a Fashion Journalism competition in association with Wonderbra called Full Effect Your Life! A.Mazing I hear you say. Well yes! But what is not so amazing, is the process which I (and undoubtably all of you too) have to go through to get myself in a winning position! Basically it involves a voting system whereby each applicant has to drum up as much support and votes as possible in order to win the coverted prize of a week at Cosmopolitan HQ, helping with celebrity interviews, edits and general fashion wonderfulness!

As you can imagine, this has taken over my life. And it shows no signs of stopping! The closing date at the moment is 8th November so I am here, bloggers, asking, seeking and begging you for all the help you can give me. In return I will endeavour to give you a big Cosmo mention, or at least a big blog thank you!

So please click on the link below and then click 'like' on my page and I will be forever in your debt!

Until next time...xox

Monday, 20 September 2010

Highstreet Highlight...Zara

Facing a busy day at work and a banging headache, I apologise for the slightly lazy post but I needed something to distract me and something that I could lose myself in, that wasn't figures and lists! I hope you enjoy as much as I did and I have to say Zara has some real treats in store at the moment, so for all of you girls that are like me and are more Zara window shoppers that buyers, get yourselves down there and hunt out some of the below looks. You will not be disappointed.

Camel Coat

Camel Cape

Chunk Knit

Red Jeans

Slouchy Maxi

Fur Waistcoat

Fur coat

Socks and Boots
I don't know about you but I've got my eye on that chunky knit dress and slouchy maxi skirt. Perfect for cosying up in the coming winter months. What will you be buying?

Until next time...

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Everyone's a little bit geeky...

Friday night saw me donning my finest pair of black rimmed specs and channeling my inner school girl geek as I excitedly prepared to attend my first 18th birthday party in around, well seven years now! Black and white was the sophisticated dress code. A dress code I hear you say. Indeed, this party was already exceeding my expectations as the only requirement to the 18th birthday parties I attended seven years ago was to drink as much Martini as was humanly possible and make sure you drank it from a willy straw! How times have changed!

Wearing my new Topshop playsuit, teamed with black patent New Look wedges, black patent Topshop heart bag and my geeky specs, I was feeling like Ugly Betty's, younger, slightly more fashion savvy sister and I was intrigued as to what the night would hold. With over a hundred 17 and 18 year olds, all out to have a good time, I couldn't help but notice the vanishing hemlines sported by 99% of the girls! Now, I know I'm not old before my time and I definitely am not a prude but since when is it acceptable to wear (if you can call it that) a skirt that just skims the cheeks? Regardless of the dropping temperatures, dozens of girls almost faught it out to become Princess of the Mini , playing hemline limbo and seeing just how low they could go before looking and quite literally becoming, a total ass. I chose my winner, and very well deserved it was too.

A particular highlight of my night took place in the ladies toilets, not suprisingly. As the hub of most female activity in most, if not all, social occasions where alcohol is involved I would expect nothing less than a drunken run in with a total stranger! When conversing about where I bought my outfit and how much I loved her shoes (brown leather, peep toe wedges from Zara), the conversation then switched to how I knew the birthday girl and what school I go to! Full of school girl naivity...and neon blue alcopops, she squealed 'What school are you at, or do you go to college?' Pah! How to let her down gently was my first thought but worringly I also thought I might get away with answering her, 'Oh you know, I'm just at the local grammar school, it's a blast!' Changing my mind, I smiled and shaked my head, to which she responded 'Oh are you at uni then?' Oh. Dear. Silence filled the toilets and with the sound of the flush ringing in my ears, I explained I was old and I worked, in a job, in an office, in London, with other workers. Oh and I'm 25. 'Noooooooo way, I thought you were younger than me, you only look 17!!!' And with that, I pushed my specs up to the bridge of my nose, reapplied my lippy and exited the loo.

Until next time...