Archive for March 2011

Photo Presentation Box

March 30th, 2011 — 9:00am

Our photo presentation box came through the post last week.  We opted not to have an album because we wanted to create our own combining our professional shots with pictures our friends had taken (still have to do that!)

I love that the box itself has our favourite photo on along with our names and wedding date.

We chose 40 prints from the hundreds our wonderful photographer Deborah Stott took, which was so difficult but we’re really pleased with the ones we selected.

A beautiful little keepsake and we love it!

3 comments » | Our Wedding, Photographer

The Honeymoon – Oahu part 2

March 28th, 2011 — 9:00am

I actually really loved the drive to the North Shore, we did attempt to find Dog the Bounty Hunter’s office but our sat nav got confused along the way and I’m not really sure where we ended up but it definitely wasn’t where we wanted to be!  We gave up and carried on along the main road in Oahu, Kamehameha Highway (a bit of a mouth full for the sat nav to say, which made us giggle a lot!)

It was interesting to see the city disappearing behind us as our journey took us past fields of pineapples and gorgeous mountainous backdrops.  We’d read about the North Shore Marketplace in one of our guide books and decided to stop along the way.  I’m so glad we did!  It was a really sweet collection of traditional shops, kooky stores and restaurants.  I fell in love with the nik naks I found in one store.  I bought various different souvenirs including the map that is now hanging in our bathroom.  We enjoyed more shaved ice before setting off again towards our hotel.

We really splashed out with this one!  We were staying in an beach cottage at the Turtle Bay Resort, we were greeted by our own private concierge who arrived with a welcome tray that included tshirts, fresh fruit, ice and what they affectionately call POG juice (Passionfruit, orange and guava juice) which is utterly refreshing.

Our room was amazing.  It had a large bathroom, two beds and a lower living area which lead out on to our private lanai.  From there we could look out to the sea.  We sat out listening to the waves and watched the storm form as it got darker the rain started.  It was actually really relaxing listening to the sounds of the waves and the storm.  We were both so tired that afternoon so we just sat doing nothing which was perfect.  We did manage to visit the main resort for dinner but we didn’t stay out for very long.

The next day we order breakfast on our lanai.  It was pure heaven!  It was relatively early so it was still a little chilly but we sat outside and enjoyed our eggs, bacon and breakfast potatoes.  It had been a little honeymoon wish for me to do this and it really was wonderful.  Whilst we sat outside enjoying the morning we had a little visitor, a very friendly and very fussy cat came to visit.  She followed us everywhere and constantly purred at us for more attention.

That morning we walked to a little secluded cove the other side of the resort and hired snorkelling equipment.  I have to admit despite snorkelling before I was a complete wuss about it.  Has tried to put me at ease but as we only had an hour with the snorkels I sent him off to enjoy the swim whilst I plucked up the courage to put my face in the water and trust that the waves weren’t going to go over the top of my breathing tube.  It wasn’t long before I was swimming out to meet Has who took me to the areas with the most fish.  It was so cool to swim around with the fish, there were so many different types.  Has was in his element where as I was still freaked by the idea of a wave going over my snorkel.  My ears also started to ache a little so I turned in my equipment early and left Has in the sea.

We dried out in the sun, it was relatively windy where we were and quite cloudy, I’d applied lashings of sun cream (I’m a huge advocate of sun cream) but made the most common tourist faux pas and fell asleep.  After a few hours lounging on the beach we went to the hotel’s “Hang Ten” pool bar, where we met a group of Australian guys who had come over for the surfing.  They were really cool but could not fathom the idea neither one of us had ever gotten on a surf board.  We tried to explain that when you live in the centre of England you rarely get to see the sea, let alone get to surf in it.  They were drinking lethal Mai Tai cocktails, as was Has.   I had to drive later that day so it was lemonade all round for me!  It was such a beautiful place to sit, under the shade staring out at the waves and watching baseball on the TV.  I soon started to feel a little uncomfortable, my feet were really sore and hot.  I figured that I had got a touch of prickly heat – as is normal for me and simply rubbed my ankles with cubes of ice from my drink.

A little tipsy from the sun and alcohol (Has) we strolled back to our cottage to shower and ready ourselves for our evening out.  Once I got into the bathroom and looked at myself in the mirror I couldn’t help but laugh.  Staring back at me was the most ridiculously sun burnt reflection.  I was stupid burnt.  Has had caught a little too much sun on his legs but it was nothing compared to what I looked like.  I had to take a photo immediately because I honestly couldn’t believe how red I was, never before have I burnt that burnt.

My face, chest, stomach and legs, all bright red!  On a side note, I’m not sure if this is right or not but I still have the marks of my bikini bottoms visible 4 months on!

We went out that night to the Polynesian Cultural Centre to watch a show called Ha Breath of Life.  We sat there waiting for the show to begin with bottles of ice cold water placed on our burning skin, it was so painful!  The show was amazing and thoroughly enjoyable.

The next day was our last.  Has had found a film tour we could do that was relatively  close by.  So with our bags packed we set out for Kualoa Ranch Tours.  On our way we made a pit stop at Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck.  There are numerous shrimp trucks that line Kamehameha Highway but Giovanni’s is famous!  It’s actually listed as number 3 (out of 41) on Trip Advisor’s best restaurants in Haleiwa.  I’m not a seafood fan but Has assures me the shrimp were amazing.

We arrived at the Kualoa Ranch and had to wait around a little until our tour time.  We visited the souvenir store and grabbed a couple of ice creams.  The lady at the till looked at me as she took my dollars and exclaimed (rather loudly) “Oh my gosh you’re so burnt!”  erm yes thank you!  I know!  We sat outside and enjoyed our ice creams until it was time to board our tour bus with only 2 other couples.  Our guide was really knowledgeable and showed us various different spots from films and TV shows including Lost, Pearl Harbour, Godzilla, You Me and Dupree and Jurassic Park.  I’ve mentioned it before but Has is a huge film fan… favourite film?  Jurassic Park.

We were shown the log in which the characters Alan Grant and the two children hide behind when the Trex is feeding.  The log is a little worn now but still Has was like a child.  We also stood in one of Godzilla’s footprints.  The guide told us they used to be 6 foot deep but the cows in the field kept falling in them, so they had to fill them in.

We had a few hours to fill before our flight.  We were catching the red eye to Seattle so we didn’t need to get to the airport until late so we visited the Bishops Museum.  A museum of the cultural and natural history of Hawaii.  We learnt so much about Hawaii, how the islands were formed (and how there is actually another island that will surface in about another 100,000 years!)  we also took a tour to learn about the monarchy and some of the traditions that have survived hundreds of years.  It was actually really interesting to learn about the state we were visiting.

We stopped off at a KFC then dropped the hire car off at the airport.  The driving wasn’t as bad as I had thought it would be and to be honest I’m glad we hired one.  It enabled us to see and do so much more.  Has and I completely fell head over heels in love with Hawaii.  The place is not only breathtakingly gorgeous but the people and their whole way of life is something we adored.  Everyone is so incredibly friendly and happy.  It’s somewhere we will definitely be visiting again, we would love to visit the other Hawaiian islands as well our curiosity has definitely been sparked.  Now all we need to do is win a large amount of money and we’ll be sorted!

Comment » | Honeymoon

Vintage Hen House

March 22nd, 2011 — 2:31pm

Have you heard about Tattybojangles Vintage Hen House?  It’s a fab new idea from Abbie that brings brides-to-be an alternative to the L plate and pink feather boa hen party tradition.  Abbie’s own hen party was an amazing 1950′s photo shoot, she had so many questions and compliments about the photographs that she decided to set about helping others achieve their own fun and bespoke hen party.

The Tattybojangles Vintage Hen House brings together some of the best vintage suppliers, including photographers, make up artists, stationers, cupcake bakers and clothing stockists.  Pretty much everything you’d need to create a totally awesome vintage photo shoot.

A couple of weekends ago I had the complete honour to help Abbie with her Hen House Shoot.  Along with wedding bloggers Gemma and Emma we wore dresses generously loaned by Second Hand Rose, were transformed by the ever-so-lovely Emily Jayne and pouted and posed in front of the very talented Lee Allen.  It was such a fun day and I enjoyed every second – especially as I got to rock a beehive!!  You can see the “Behind the Scenes” post on the Vintage Hen House blog now!

I hear the full shoot will be posted tomorrow… you HAVE to check it out!

Update: The shoot is now live!

Comment » | Hen Party

Pre wedding phone snaps

March 17th, 2011 — 8:33pm

I must have spent a good 20 minutes today going through the photos on my phone today.  In the run up to the wedding I snapped everything and anything and so many of these pictures had me laughing today.

Making favour boxes at Suzie’s house eating buttons and making up names like “Stringy von Stringypants” when strands of hot glue flew around the room

A very happy Sophie trying on her bridesmaid dress for the first time at her fitting.

Sleepy Hayley on the way home from the hen weekend in London.

Mom having her hair trial, after which we went and had a lovely lunch together.

I found Hayley’s nail tips hilarious – obviously they were cut down but before they were I had to take a picture at Hayley’s claw!

The day we picked up the suits (obsessed with taking photos at this point!)

Waving the men goodbye the morning before the wedding as they set off to play golf at Nailcote

After the men had finished their round of golf, they joined us at the Nailcote bar for a couple of drinks to relax.

Checking in on the marquee, as the staff were setting up the room ready for the wedding.  We caught them dancing around the room.  Ha!

Suzie and Hayley showing off our pre-wedding dinner menu because they had our names on!

Day of the wedding: Speeding to the hair dressers.

Hair done.  Jokes about no head banging from Hayley so her hair stayed in place

Ready to go.  The photo I sent to Twitter just moments before I went off to get married!

(All looking a little shaky I might add!)

Comment » | Laura's Life

The Honeymoon – Oahu part 1

March 9th, 2011 — 10:44pm

The flight from San Francisco to Oahu was less than enjoyable.  The girl in front of me insisted on reclining her seat from the moment the plane was in the air, then fidget and wriggle constantly so my knees were regularly bashed.  I was also fretting about driving.  I’d never driven anywhere out side of the UK and I was nervous about operating an automatic car on the wrong side of the road!  I shouldn’t have worried though, once I was in the car (despite turning the wrong way out of the car park) we had no problems for our entire trip.  Unless you count the astronomical car parking fees we incurred.

It took us about half an hour to get to our hotel, after a few wrong turns.  Our room wasn’t quite ready so we sat on the terrace with a guava juice and enjoyed our surroundings.  We were staying at the Moana Surfrider hotel Waikiki.  An absolutely stunning hotel that sits right on the beach front.   We really scored with our room too, we had previously decided to save a few pennies on this hotel and splash out on our North Shore room.  When we opened the door to our room we were more than surprised to find we had a balcony over looking the elegant courtyard where the huge Banyan tree sat, just beyond that was Waikiki Beach and the Pacific Ocean.  From our room we could hear the sound of the waves and traditional Hawaiian songs being played on the ukulele.  From the moment we arrived in Hawaii we knew it was something special.

That afternoon we had a walk along the beach front and got our first real glimpse of Diamond Head.  Waikiki isn’t exactly the most beautiful of beaches, but just standing there looking up at the volcano with the hotels to my back I got goosebumps.

We spent the evening on the hotels terrace watching the sun go down, drinking cocktails, eating delicious food and listening to beautiful traditional music.  A little later a few hula dancers performed to some of the songs.  It was at this point that Has leaned over to me and said “Can you believe we’re actually here?!”

We went back to our room and sat on our balcony for a little while until I fell asleep in my lounger, by this time we were 10 hours behind UK and the different time zones had really confused my sleeping patterns.

The next morning we woke up and grabbed breakfast in a small coffee shop next to the hotel. We wanted to visit Pearl Harbour and had heard that it can get very busy.  Tickets to visit the USS Arizona memorial are free but limited, so we left early to ensure we’d get to see it.  When we arrived we were given tickets and had a little wait until we were due for our tour.  We watched a historical film about the events leading up to the attack then made our way to board the boat that took us to the memorial.  It was a surreal place to visit, knowing that the USS Arizona had gone down with so many men still trapped on board.  The ship, after all these years, is still leaking oil.  The guide had told us that it’s such a minimal amount that they do nothing about it, only monitor it.  There were plenty of fish swimming around and they didn’t seem to mind too much.  Standing on the memorial platform looking out, parts of the ship are visible above the water like the gun turret, vents and funnel.

At one end of the memorial platform is a wall dedicated to all the men who lost their lives.  It was chilling to see how many brothers, fathers and sons went down with the ship.  We spent about an hour on the platform before returning to the land and then leaving the museum.

Even though neither of us are huge fans of sunbathing, we couldn’t resist the chance of spending the rest of the afternoon lounging on one of the World’s most famous beaches.  Has admittedly spent most of his time floating about in the Pacific, with me constantly keeping an eye on him as he swam further and further out to sea.  I’d wave my hands frantically at him motioning him to come closer and he’d just wave!  I knew he’d be ok, but I knew the tide was strong and I’m a worrier.  Not being a strong swimmer myself it made me nervous to see him drift away.

Once the sun had started to set and the temperature dropped slightly we went back to dress for the evening.   We’d enjoyed the hotel’s terrace entertainment and food so much the previous night we decided to go back there.  We spent another lovely evening listening to the music, devouring the delicious food and sipping drinks.

We then took a stroll along the beach front, you can only walk so far in the one direction but it was fun to see what entertainment the other hotels had on offer.  Most of them lit fire torches which looked amazing, we walked back the other way and out on to the main road.  The main Kalakaua Avenue runs behind Waikiki Beach, and is peppered with souvenir shops, restaurants, designer boutiques and hotels.  Among the fire torches stands the statue of Duke Kahanamoku, a Hawaiian Olympic winner credited as the Father of Surfing.  People honour the statue by placing lei’s around his arms and neck.  Numerous tourists were posing and having their picture taken as we walked past.  We’d heard a lot of negative comments about Waikiki before we left about it being too touristy and not the “real Hawaii” but we honestly loved it.  The whole place is clean, beautiful and very welcoming.  Yes it’s touristy but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.  We left the lively street and headed back to our room, another early morning was on the cards.

From the very beginning of honeymoon planning I had a bee in my bonnet about climbing Diamond Head.  Has was worried.  He’d got a bad neck and I had a bad ankle.  He was concerned we’d be pushing ourselves too much, neither of us had proper shoes for the occasion but I didn’t actually care.  I knew I HAD to climb that volcano.  So Has gave in reluctantly and we drove early(ish) to the Diamond Head National Park.  With our back pack of water, Mountain Dew, sun cream and our camera we headed up the trail.

It starts off relatively easy.  Cement path, small incline – nothing too challenging.  Then the paved trail gives way to the uneven, rock covered slightly steeper path.  I’d read on the Internet that the trail does get more and more difficult towards the end and not even half way there I was sweating and my breathing was heavy.  I was a few steps behind Has and there was no way I was going to admit to finding it hard.  Every now and again I’d call out that I wanted to take a photograph and he’d say “Come on let’s just get to the top, we can take pictures on the way down”  By now the trail was hard going, rather than just walking it you had to climb over rocks, up steep steps and all the while the sun was relentless.  Another thing I’d read about the trail on the Internet was the steps.  Oh the steps!!  First a series of 76, with people behind you, there was no chance of stopping.  One thing I should probably mention, the way you go up is the same way you come down.  So whilst you’re huffing and puffing looking a little red in the face, other hikers are steadily making their way down the same narrow staircase.  After the steps is a dimly lit tunnel,  I’m pretty sure the incline in this tunnel is minimal but it felt huge!

Once we’d made it through the tunnel, we looked up and saw what we feared most.  More steps.  Thankfully just off the the left is a small rest area, we sat for no more than a minute just to get our breath and take a few sips from our water.  Then we faced the 99 stepped staircase.  My legs were shaking and I’m pretty sure Has was cursing me under his breath at this point.  I have to point out we weren’t the only unfit ones, everyone around us seemed to be heavy breathing and sporting a face the charming shade of lobster.  With those stairs out of our way, there was another short tunnel then, yup you’ve guessed it more stairs.  This time in the form of a 3 storey spiral staircase.  I’d given up thinking at this point and my legs just seemed to move without instruction from me.  Once the climbing was over we walked in to the Fire Control Station Lookout, from there you have to crawl outside under a very narrow exit.  The wind up there was incredibly welcome, just another 54 steps and we had reached the top.  Hallelujah!

Honestly I thought I was going to cry, the view from the top was incredible and although I couldn’t ignore the wobble of my knees and my aching thighs it was all completely worth it.  (That’s not to say I would do it again in a hurry!)  On one side the crystal clear Pacific licked at the shore line, the high rise hotels of Waikiki stood tall over the beach and the other showed the crater of the extinct volcano.  It was a truly remarkable view, one even Has appreciated the climb for.  We took a few photographs, then made our way back down.

We stopped in the look out room where a very jolly man sat selling “I climbed Diamond Head” certificates, they were a few dollars and the proceeds went to the park so we paid and marvelled at the man when I asked him if he climbed the mountain every day.  ”Of course, it keeps me fit.  It’s easy when you’ve done it a few times”  We then had the smug pleasure of passing those making their way up, knowing they’d have to climb all those stairs!

Absolutely exhausted and with mouths as dry as sand we headed straight for the refreshments van and ordered probably the best invention ever thought up.  Shaved Ice.  Yes, crushed ice drizzled with fruit syrup.  (Kind of like a slush puppy by far nicer)  We sat in the shade and enjoyed our icy treats until it was time to make our way to the lovely air conditioned car.  We had planned to visit Hanauma Bay, but when we arrived we found it was closed for the day due to the maximum number of visitors reached.  We drove on a little further and parked the car at a rest stop whilst we re-thought our plans.  Whilst there we hopped out of the car and found a gorgeous area where the sea crashed against the rocks.  Several people had made their way out on to the rocks so we climbed down a little for the chance to snap a few photographs.  It really was a beautiful spot, one we wouldn’t have found if Hanauma Bay had been open.  When we left we decided to check out the Mall, which didn’t result in us buying very much so we headed back to out hotel and the beach to rest our weary muscles.

That evening we walked down Kalakaua Avenue to Jimmy Buffet’s restaurant.  Regrettably neither one of us ordered the cheeseburger in paradise but we did nickname our waiter “Voice Over Guy”  - seriously, he could have sold you anything over radio.   Has ordered a Lava Flow which, we soon realised was the worst drink ever.  Kind of like alcoholic ice cream, and not in a good way. Later that evening we visited the Cheesecake Factory.  Neither one of us were hungry but we simply couldn’t resist the cakey-goodness.  We took our slabs of calories back to our hotel, where we sat on the rocking chairs on the front porch of the hotel.  We watched a group of street performers opposite as they danced, flipped and jumped over each other.  They were pretty impressive and gathered a rather large crowd.  Once they had finished their act we went up to our room,  sat on the balcony and devoured our delicious cheesecakes.

We were sad to leave Honolulu, we had both fallen completely in love with everything about the city.  At the same time we were also really excited to see what the North Shore had to offer.  The next day we checked out of the Moana Surfrider and loaded up the car ready for the next stage of our Hawaiian adventure…

Comment » | Honeymoon

Hen Party Photo Book

March 1st, 2011 — 3:59pm

I was recently sent an offer for a free 30 page Photo Book from Photobox, seemed too good to ignore so I uploaded all my hen party photos and set about creating the book.

Due to the nature of the offer I had a limited amount of time to actually complete the book before the code became invalid so I don’t think it’s any where near perfect but I still love that I have a book of memories from two fantastic parties.

I’m quite pleased considering I only had to pay £3.99 for the postage and now I’ll always have a little reminder of how fabulous my friends and family are for giving me too amazing hen parties.

1 comment » | Hen Party

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