Weddings are such an exciting event! As a previous bride I absolutely adore other people's weddings. It’s one big celebration of love and devotion and if you’re an invited guest and get to be a part of that, well, you better get your hankies ready for the sobfest that awaits. Attending a wedding as a guest is a privilege and you get the chance to spoil the lucky couple with a gift of your choice. Most couples say that they don’t need a gift on their wedding day, as your presence is enough, but everyone knows that turning up to a celebration empty handed is a big no-no.

The thing is, this is the modern world! Roll the times back fifty years or so and a wedding was the bridge between living with parents and living with a new spouse. This meant that most gifts were housewares and pretty trinkets to display for the couple in their very first home. That is a rarity these days, with most couples living together long before engagement rings are given and wedding vows are exchanged, which means that a couple generally has it all before getting hitched. I know I'm our case we already had everything for our house, so we found compiling a gift list tricky!
 
So, the dilemma left to you as the wedding guest is what on earth you could buy for a couple that seems to already have it all? Here are five unique gifts that you won’t necessarily find on a registry, nor would anyone else have thought of it!
 

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Kitchen Gift
Okay, so the happy couple may be living in pre-marital bliss, but that doesn’t mean they have everything they need for their kitchen. Everyone loves a gadget! Check out the wedding gifts on Cuckooland.com and see the genius that is this Smart Bacon Express The Bacon Toaster. No more frying pans or grills, but the perfect toaster for those lazy Sunday morning bacon sandwiches. Fun kitchen gadgets are always a loved gift!
 

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Travel Gift
Forget the honeymoon, if your wedding couple are ones who love to trek and travel across the world, why not go for one of these travel gifts? Add in a ‘where have you been’ scratch map and you have the perfect, personal gift for the couple who love to conquer the world together. I personally would adore this gift.


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Land Gift
This is an totally unique idea! We’re not talking a patch on the local allotment for the newlyweds, but why not give them the amusing gift of a small piece of unclaimed land? They can therefore be claimed Lord and Lady of the land you give them, which should raise a smile or two!


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Honeymoon Gift
Wedding gifts that are personalised are those that go down well with newlyweds, as they get a keepsake from their day. These personalised Mr & Mrs passport covers are an exceptional gift that they will love to use on their honeymoon together. Pair it with a polaroid camera for snaps of a vintage feel. Honeymoons are almost as exciting the wedding day itself so any gift for the honeymoon will go down very well.


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Romantic Gift
I love this idea! Notebooks like this that encourage a newlywed couple to write a line about their life together each day for the first year of marriage is a wonderful keepsake, and a way to look back at how their first year of marriage went in the years to come.

With this gift ideas you will never run dry for inspiration for the wedding season – no last minute panic! Enjoy all the weddings!

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Hey lovelies!

If you follow my Instagram you will know that I recently got back from the most amazing 3 weeks away in Greece and Portugal! When we go away I tend to like to keep things casual and natural – in fact, we usually only take hand luggage so I couldn’t take loads of outfit changes with me even if I wanted to! However, I always make sure I take a couple of lovely dresses with me to wear in the evenings because I absolutely love holiday fashion. Here are a few of my favourite looks from our trip!


Every girl needs a short, white, floaty dress for a holiday right?! It’s such a staple piece and I feel like it looks amazing with a beach backdrop, especially with a bit of a tan! I love this dress because it can be styled casually or more dressy. It’s also super flattering as it’s a beautiful floaty shape and is layered in all the right places. This dress is from New Look a few seasons ago but you can shop a similar look here.

This is my absolute favourite maxi dress in the whole world! Not only because it is super comfortable; you can literally throw it on and it hangs so nicely, but also because it colours and patterns are so beautiful! The material is really nice and thin which makes it really cool in a warm country and I just feel like it looks amazing and so summery. A floral print is one of my favourite styles for holiday and although I usually go for more pastel colours I like the boldness of this dress and it really stands out and makes an impact. Shop similar styles with this floaty maxi , this bright printed number, or this pretty floral dress.


I saved my favourite until last. I adore this cream and pastel co ord set so much! I bought this last year again, from New Look, for our post-wedding boat cruise event which took place the day after our wedding. I’ve loved it ever since and I tend to save it for special occasions on holiday. The floral pattern is gorgeous and I love the big flowers and well as the peachy colour. The wrap-around style also makes it flattering and helps give me a waist. I always get compliments on this outfit! You can shop similar with this wrap-around dress or this beautiful co-ord set.

Big thanks to my gorgeous husband for snapping these outfit shots for me!

I hope you enjoyed seeing my favourite holiday fashion guys! What are your go-to holiday looks? Let me know!

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Want your home to have the wow factor? Maybe you want to impress guests, or perhaps you just want a stunning, opulent space to enjoy in your own time. Most of us would love to live in a huge mansion, kitted out with the most beautiful decor if we had the choice, but that’s not to say you can’t have a lovely home if you’re not a millionaire. You can bring a touch of luxury to any space, and if you go about it in the right way, you’ll spend far less than you might think. Even if you live in a small city apartment like me, it is possible to get the home you love without it costing the earth. Here are some ideas to consider:


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Shop Sales
One of the best ways to snag great quality items at discounted prices is wait until sales are being run. End of line furniture is often massively reduced meaning you can save hundreds if you buy at the right time. This chesterfield leather sofa sale for example has up to thirty percent off which can mean over £500 savings on some pieces. If you know you’re in the market for a new piece of furniture, don’t just run out and buy the first thing that catches your eye. Follow your favourite furniture shops on social media, so you’ll be the first to hear about any sales, and keep an eye out for discounts. This allows you to fill your home with beautiful things but spending a fraction of what they originally cost.


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Scour Second Hand Finds
Furniture tends to be sturdily built, and a lot of pieces can last many lifetimes especially those made from solid wood. But people of course replace them far sooner than this. For this reason, it means you can often get hold of fantastic second hand pieces for next to nothing. Sure, some might need updating with a coat of paint and some new handles, but up-cycling can be good fun! Charity shops and car boot fairs are amazing for finding furniture and household decor gems. You might even get lucky and find someone selling designer or high-end furniture that’s nearly new for reduced costs; perhaps due to moving house and no longer having the space, or just because they fancied a change. Either way, it’s far cheaper than buying new. Plus recycling like this is good for the environment, and you get a beautiful piece for your home without breaking the bank.


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Mix and Match High and Low End
You can still achieve a luxurious looking home without spending a fortune on every item. You could buy an expensive sofa and accessorise with inexpensive cushions and rugs- that way they could be replaced easily later down the line if you want to switch up your room. You could buy an expensive dining table but with inexpensive, on- trend chairs. You could save on your bed frame but invest in a great mattress and beautiful bedding. There is literally so much choice on the high street in terms of home accessories, decor and bedding. Don’t be afraid to search places like Etsy and eBay for unique yet inexpensive items. You will find that sometimes you can find pieces that look like they cost far more than they did if you search carefully. Price is not always a reflection of good quality.


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How would you go about adding a touch of luxury to your home without breaking the bank?

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I'm a firm believer that a beautiful wedding can be achieved even with a tight budget. And no, you don’t have to sacrifice important features to make it work. Shopping around and taking more calculated approaches to everything could help to keep you out of debt and still have a gorgeous day. Here are a few tips and tricks for keeping your wedding spectacular when strapped for cash.

The Venue

Church weddings are expensive, but other venues aren’t far behind. You can save costs in all cases by timing your wedding right – particularly the ceremony. The summer is when prices for venues are highest. An off-season wedding could save you a lot of money. September and May are usually classed as off-season and you could still get amazing weather. Mid-week weddings, especially a morning wedding, meanwhile can save you thousands compared to weekend weddings.

Another solution could be to get married outdoors like we did! In most cases, a beach wedding or a forest wedding may only need permission from a local landowner. Some may charge a fee, but it’s unlikely to be a lot. You’ll be able to get married in the height of summer to up the chance of good weather. That said, it’s still worth hiring a marquee or two just in case the heavens do decide to open. Getting married abroad can tends to be cheaper too, so if you're happy to have a smaller guest list, it may be worth consideration.

Food and drink

A big chunk of your catering cost will go towards paying for staff. However, you may be able to cut out a lot of this.  Have drinks already put on the tables in ice buckets (you could have a spare table in case drinks run low). Meanwhile, consider hiring chefs to cook at the table. This could add extra entertainment whilst cutting out the need for waiting staff. Of course, there’s also the option of a buffet which saves on staff and also tends to have lower costs per head. It also gives the wedding a more casual, 'family feel' which we loved.

Photography

It’s worth having a professional photographer to take those memorable snaps that will stay with you for the rest of your life. That said you may know a friend or family member that’s into photography that could shoot your wedding for a cheaper rate. There’s also the option to hire photographers for a set period instead of the entire day. A wedding shoot just after the ceremony could be all you need – you may then be able to get guest to take snaps throughout the rest of the evening, which was fine for us.

Wedding Invites

Invites and other wedding stationary can be surprisingly pricey. There are companies out there that do budget wedding invitations ,many of which still look professional and stylish. Consider whether you need to send an invite to everyone or just the close guests going to your ceremony. A free digital invite could be all you need to invite those reception guests, of which there may be hundreds in some cases. It's also super tempting to go overboard with other stationary; menus, thank you card, order of service, the choice is endless! Think about whether it's all really necessary for your big day before shelling out.

Decorations

It’s easy to go overboard on the décor and blow your budget. Getting creative and knowing a few of the tricks of the trade might allow you to save costs. Lots of electric lights outdoors could be expensive. We made a lot of our decorations ourselves. Candles, or indeed Chinese lanterns, could give a more ambient and warm feel whilst costing less.

Florists meanwhile will often try to persuade you to buy the most expensive flowers. Don’t be pressured into doing this. Also consider how many flowers you realistically need. A big fancy flower feature may cost less than having flowers all over the place and is likely to stand out more.

Your cake can also be used decoratively. Consider having only a top layer of cake and lots of fake tiers beneath. It will still make a visual impact whilst costing less.

Wedding vehicle

Hiring a chauffeur and a vintage car won’t be cheap (a carriage will be even more expensive). Consider whether this needs to be a big spectacle – often dressing up your own car and getting someone else to drive it can have a cute and charming factor. You may even know a friend with an antique car who may be willing to let you borrow theirs for the day.

The dress

Every bride should be able to have a beautiful dress for their special day. If your dream dress is too much to purchase, consider hiring options. This will allow you to have a more extravagant dress for a fraction of the cost. Yes, owning the dress can sometimes feel better, but consider the fact that most people who buy dresses simply let them gather dust for years to come.

Of course, an alternative could be to buy a dress and then sell it after. There are lots of sites where you can sell your wedding dress. Photographs will provide all the memories you need.

 

A beautiful wedding doesn't need to cost the earth and, from someone who has been married just over a year, the main thing is that you are getting married to the one you love. Of course, it will be a wonderful and memorable day, but remember it's only one day out of the rest of your lives!

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I always get so excited when I have a new city to write about because I absolutely adore these kinds of posts – writing them and reading them. Whenever we go to a new, exciting city we make it our mission to pack as much in as possible to our short time there, and Lisbon was no exception! In the last few years I have heard seemingly endless glowing reports of the Portuguese capital from travel savvy friends and, as regular holidayers in the Algarve, I was pretty ashamed it had taken us this long to get there! So, this year on our way to our regular holiday spot we decided to book a whirlwind 48hour stop-over in Lisbon. I feel like we did the city proud, so here is a run down of our itinerary as inspiration for your visit!

 

The basics
Flight: EasyJet London Gatwick -> Lisbon
Just over 2 hours and we found the price to be very reasonable even in holiday time! Lisbon airport is fairly close to the city centre and guess what?? Uber works like a dream there! And it's much cheaper than London – perfect for getting from the airport to our accommodation which only cost around 7 euros.

 

Accommodation:

As we were on a budget we booked a double room in a hostel and stayed in the lovely Hostel Graca 28 which was fantastic value and perfectly fine as a base for all of our adventures! We were located on the Rua da Graca which is a cool area with a buzzing vibe and only 20 min walk from most of the main attractions. I would really recommend staying around this area or the nearby Alfama area for a fantastic vibe and some amazing bars and restaurants which are slightly less expensive than the ones in the city centre.

 

Our Itinerary
Day One – walking, walking and more walking…

Having arrived late the night before we decided to make the most of our first full day in Lisbon and tried to get around all the main city centre attractions in one day! Lisbon is a hilly place and at 35 degrees and very little wind it was not the best conditions for trekking around the place – but we pushed on regardless! We always love to explore cities on foot, as you see much more. There are trams and buses in Lisbon but on the first day we got around by walking only, and covered 28,000 steps (not even joking)!! If you don't fancy walking we would recommend the local tram to get around as the buses don't tend to get up some of the more steep and skinny roads.

 

First: Miradouro da Senhora do Monte
We headed up here first thing to get some stunning views of the city before the crowds descended. This view point is only a few minutes for the area which we stayed in, being slightly outside the main city centre it can mean that it is slightly quieter. This viewpoint is hailed as the best place to take in the whole of Lisbon from above, and I'm inclined to agree.


Next: Exploring!

We put the map away and basically went for a long old walk! We knew we were heading in the direction of the city centre and just kind of walked to see what we could discover. Lisbon is all about the beautiful terraced building and general kind of rustic charm so exploring on foot brought us through so many gorgeous cobbled streets and just general beautiful architecture. Pretty much all the streets are like this and it's what makes the city so gorgeous! Taking photographs of the coloured houses was one of my favourite things. We wandered up to the old castle and had a coffee and cake (when in Lisbon how can you not??) but decided not to go into the castle as the queue was intense and … ya know – budget and all that. But it was still lovely to see the setting and take it in from the outside. We then wandered down towards the main square and found some other stunning viewpoints. Walking is also the best way to grab some photo opportunities of the old trams in action! I wasn't so bothered about riding the tram as getting a photograph of it!! As you are walking around you can't help but find some amazing street art too.

Lunch – Alfama

For lunch we decided to find somewhere in the old town part of Lisbon – Alfama. Alfama is a gorgeous district as I mentioned, and is amazing for totally instagrammable streets and buildings! It's also buzzing in the evening for drinks or to find some live music. For lunch, we stopped in the tiny hole-in-the-wall restaurant Tu Eu where we enjoyed gorgeous, freshly prepared in front of our eyes food. We went for a typical Mediterranean platter with seafood, cheese, meats and other tapas which was absolutely delicious. I'd really recommend this neighbourhood for food and drink.

 

Afternoon and evening – Central Lisbon and viewpoint again!

We spent the rest of the day wandering around the central part of Lisbon, the main square and the shops (and of course the ice cream parlour!) This area is obviously busy and full of tourism so it wasn't my favourite part. There are many attractions in the city centre such as the elevator which takes tourists up for a view of the city but to be honest I always find these things a bit overpriced. We prefer to just wander around see what we can see.  We also came across a street paved in pink, coined originally 'The Pink Street' which was cute! The town square is an attractive area with lots of restaurants but we decided to eat close to our hostel for a more authentic meal. By the time we made it back we were so exhausted after all the walking we had a light meal in a local café and then headed up to the same viewpoint again to see the city skyline at night! It was beautiful and there was even a jazz band busking so the atmosphere was wonderful.

 

Day Two – Belem and West of the City

 

Morning – Pasteis de Belem

Out of all the amazing things I had heard about Lisbon, this place was probably what got me the most excited! For those of you who have been to Portugal you may be familiar with the traditional pastel de nata, or egg custard tart, which is absolutely divine.  They are one of my favourite cakes in the world! Well, Pasteis de Belem is a 400 seat café in the West of Lisbon which claims to serve the best pastel de nata's in the whole of Portugal! We took a bus to Belem and it was easy to find the place – the queue was huge! Due to the sheer number of tables however we were seated quickly and served efficiently. The atmosphere was fantastic and the food was great. By the time we arrived it was nearly lunch time so we had sandwiches, coffee and of course two pastel de nata's. It was all delicious but I have to say, I can't speak for the whole of Portugal but they were definitely the best I've ever had! I'd love to get my hands on that secret recipe! An absolute must-visit.

 

Afternoon – River Walk

After lunch we headed for yet more walking along the river back towards the city. It's a long way, so we walked about an hour and then took the bus the rest of the way. The walk was so pretty and it was lovely to be on the water and see lots of sailing boats, which we adore. We also saw some lovely museums along the way and got some great pictures of the huge bridge – Golden Gate Bridge eat your heart out!

 

Dinner and drinks – Time Out Market

Another fabulous recommendation from friends, the Time Out Market is situated to the West of the city centre and is a huge covered market which sells food, produce, flowers and gifts from independent retailers. The market is amazing and has a fantastic vibe, as well as seriously stunning food! Foodies must come here! It's packed full of some of Portugal's best chefs who want to serve world food in a casual setting. We ate in the seafood restaurant Marisqueira Azul which was by far our best food of the trip. We ordered a selection of delicious seafood including their specials; crab, octopus salad and locally caught razor clams which was all seriously divine. After dinner we also enjoyed a couple of G&T's at the Time Out Bar in the market and soaked up the atmosphere. The food and drink here was on the pricier side but it was definitely worth it for the quality and atmosphere.

We had such a fabulous whirlwind two days in Lisbon and we absolutely loved it. The city lived up to it's expectations in every way! The architecture, food, drink, nightlife and history is all amazing, but the thing I love most about Lisbon is how beautiful it is. Even the residential streets which have essentially nothing to see are seriously beautiful and the houses are so pretty! It's the perfect city to grab a coffee and just city bag and people watch, the vibe is awesome there. I would recommend it for a city break without a doubt! I hope you find this useful if you are planning a trip to Lisbon.

Have you been to Lisbon before? Is it on your bucket list?

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