Monthly Round Up | January 2017

Happy New Year! I know I'm a little late to the party, but I recently realised that my last blog post was in July last year, and I've had a number of requests for the return of my monthly round up posts, so I've decided to start again this year with the aim of writing one for every month! January is such an odd month, and I spent the first half still feeling in the Christmas Holiday mindset, and the second half starting to feel really quite excited for the year to come and back to normal life routines! I always end each year re-visiting my goals for the year and feeling a sense of achievement in seeing just how far I have come in the last 12 months (and of course feeling disappointment at the fact that I still haven't lost that bloody stone that has now been on my list for 3 years running). 

How has your January been, have you made any resolutions or goals for the upcoming year? Here's what I have been up to this month...

Business

Of course, I've been working on my 2017 weddings with my clients, and we're almost getting to more of the detailed design stage for each of my couples. I LOVE this part of the planning process, and is something I get most excited about when working with my clients. I create a lengthy bespoke design plan when I begin working with each couple, but it's a little later down the line when I break those elements down and really get to grips with sourcing the beautiful linens, silk ribbons, textured papers and calligraphy touches which will bring everything together and really become that gorgeous wedding setting my clients dream of. 

Design Details for Vanilla Rose Clients

I'm so excited about each and every one of my 2017 weddings. I will be working at some of my favourite venues, and still have lots of enquiries rolling in for couples who feel they need some additional support with Wedding Day Co-ordination. I do still have some select availability for this year, so if you are considering hiring a professional Planner for your wedding this year, I'd love to hear from you and see how I'm able to help! 

I've also started putting together some plans for a select number of styled shoots for this year. I only did one shoot (right at the end of) last year, because it was just such a busy year for me, but it made me realise that I actually really missed doing them. It's such a great opportunity to be even more creative, and to collaborate with some amazing vendors to curate something truly beautiful as an inspiration for couples planning their big day. 

I know I touched on this a little earlier, but I've always been a lover of lists, so I begun the month by compiling a list of my business specific goals for 2017 in addition to my personal ones (yes, shifting that stone is still on there....!). 2016 was such a milestone year, and when I definitely turned a corner in my business, so I really would like to build on that success for this year and I have set myself a number of challenges which I would like to achieve success in before the year is out. I feel so lucky to be able to do what I do every single day, and feel it's important not to get too comfortable along the way. I never take any of my clients for granted, and I work super hard for each of them to exceed expectations and ensure they have not just the best day ever, but also an amazing planning experience with me! 

2017 Business Goals

One of those goals for this year is to spend at least one day a month in London, to meet with other industry suppliers; whether that be someone I have known and worked with for years, or someone who is completely new to the industry, to inspire and motivate each other. It can often be a lonely industry to work in outside of peak season, especially when many of us work from home or a studio alone, so it's great to be able to get together with other like-minded professionals and chat about the industry! So if you're based in London, or plan to travel there over the next couple of months, please do get in touch as I'd love to meet with you! 

During my January trip to London, between client meetings, I caught up with the lovely Julie Michaelsen for lunch at The Arts Club in Mayfair, and met Louise from Taylor & Porter at Daylesford in Marylebone. I find both ladies truly inspiring, lovely to be around, and both incredible photographers in their own right (seriously - go and check out their work. I promise you'll be swooning!). 

I have also begun 2017 as a Writer for a top wedding blog B.LOVED, so do make sure you look out for more features by me each month. I'm super excited to become part of the writing team, and I'm really looking forward to collaborating with even more amazing vendors! 

 

Family

Many of you will have seen on my Instagram feed that we spent a couple of days at Soho Farmhouse at the beginning of January (If you haven't, where have you been?! Even my Chiropractor knows all about it!).  I have been trying to persuade Chris since before the Farmhouse opened that we should have membership, as it's just the perfect place to meet clients and friends/family for coffee, lunch and gatherings (oh and of course monthly spa treatments!). I'm still yet to convince him, so in the meantime, I surprised him with a couple of days there for his Christmas present. I know, it was probably just as much for me as it was for him, but I also once bought him Elton John tickets which were definitely really for me, so he's used to this by now (Sorry Chris....!). We had just the best time, and really didn't want to leave by the end of our trip. My parents had Bella overnight (which was a 3:45am wake-up call type of catastrophe - Sorry Mum....!), which meant we enjoyed all of the child-free activities that we don't get to do most of the year. We each had 3 spa treatments; a facial, pedicure (reflexology for Chris!) and a massage, all of which were amazing and we felt completely zen afterwards with a dip in the pool and lazy half hour in the hot tub. It's the perfect destination for a weekend retreat either with or without the kids, and there's so much to do there to keep everyone happy. Now, for that membership.....! 

One of my best friends came to stay for the weekend last week, which was super lovely as we haven't managed to catch up properly since October last year (partly because she was galavanting in Australia for most of December!). Last year I didn't get to spend much time with friends (apart from at my 30th bohemian garden party, which you can read more about here) as many of my weekends were taken up with weddings and work meetings, so I've promised myself to make much more of an effort to spend quality time with friends and family this year. I've even booked a short trip to Ibiza with two of my closest friends for the end of wedding season - something lovely to look forward to, and will be well deserved by the time it comes around! 

If you follow my Instastories you may have seen that on Saturday we spent a wonderful afternoon with friends strolling along the Thames in Richmond, before settling down for a late lunch at Petersham Nurseries. If you haven't yet taken an opportunity to visit the "Garden Centre", you should absolutely add it to your list. It's a lovely place to spend a few hours, with plenty of eye catching home and garden wares, and the food is simply delicious too! 

Home

It hasn't particularly been a productive month for this, but we did put together a list (yes, another one - are you starting to realise my love for them yet?!) of tasks we would like to achieve for the house this year. We did so much on the house and garden last year, that there aren't too many more tasks for this year, but a couple of things left for the garden - including having our pizza oven rebuilt as it had a crack in it at the end of Summer last year, which we didn't do anything about, and the frost/water has crept in and blown the clay apart on the top layer of the oven. Luckily the craftsman who built the oven for us is going to rebuild it again so that it's ready in time for the warmer weather when we'll start using it again. 

We thought about having some more fitted wardrobes built into our Master bedroom, as we have some already but you know, we have too many clothes (and Chris has way more pairs of shoes than me!), so thought it would be a good idea to have another set built in! We had an initial quote back of £9,500, which I almost choked on my tea at (!), so I think we'll hold off on those for the moment and concentrate on having a clear out this Spring instead!! 

 

I hope you've had a great month, and I look forward to catching up again in February!

Love,

Jeni x

Monthly Round Up | March 2016

At the start of this year, I made a promise to myself to blog more often and felt inspired to blog weekly. However, I've been a whole lot busier with work and family than I anticipated and so it's fallen by the wayside slightly over the last couple of months. BUT, March has been the kickstart of my blogging journey for 2016, so I felt it appropriate to start a monthly round up post of what I have been up to each month! So here's what I have been up to in March:

 

Business

It was a cold and wet start to the month, so a lot of time has been spent in my office catching up on emails, planning admin, and creating design plans for my 2017 clients. I have some truly beautiful weddings coming up this summer too, which have been months (and some years!) in the planning, so it's really exciting to see those coming to life as we have been finalising more detailed plans over the last few months. I love discussing floral design with my clients and their florists, and designing the look and feel of their wedding day. 

A teeny tiny snapshot of a Design Plan I have been working on for a May 2017 wedding in Norfolk.

A teeny tiny snapshot of a Design Plan I have been working on for a May 2017 wedding in Norfolk.

I was lucky enough to be invited to an exclusive pamper day in the most beautiful home in Holland Park by Julie Michaelsen a couple of weeks ago. I had such a wonderful day with a handful of other Planners, and we were treated to a photography session with Julie after we had been madeover by the lovely Zara and Anni at Portraits Bridal, and Beth from Elizabeth Carter Design created a stunning bouquet and floral crown especially for me, which paired perfectly with my style and business branding. That's all I can say for the moment, but I can't wait to share some of the images with you soon! 

Being pampered by the lovely ladies from Portraits Bridal

Being pampered by the lovely ladies from Portraits Bridal

Earlier this week I met with one of my 2016 Brides to have a walk through of her Oxfordshire wedding venue and finalise details with her marquee and security companies, as well as meeting the new Wedding Co-ordinator at the venue, whom I hadn't yet met. I'm super excited about this wedding; a festival style celebration, set in a 15 acre field; where there will be a girls vanity tent and a chill out tent in addition to the main tent, with a vintage caravan, especially for the Bride to take a few moments to compose herself in throughout the day! There are a few surprises too, so I won't share too much with you now - but it's promising to be amazing! 

I've also been planning exciting stationery details for a Spring 2017 wedding, with Julie at Hollyhock Lane, and I literally cannot wait to see what she creates for my lovely couple! 

Amidst the plans, I have had a number of Skype and telephone catch-ups with my international couples to talk through their plans to date, and set an action plan for the coming month as their wedding date is nearing! 

 

Family

Over Mothers Day weekend, we met up with some friends at Legoland which my two year old daughter Bella absolutely adored! As it wasn't open to the public yet (it was a friends and family pre-opening day), it was wonderfully quiet with no queues for the rides or restaurants! On the Sunday we had brunch with my parents at their home, followed by an afternoon wander around one of my favourite Cotswolds villages; Broadway. We had a spot of Afternoon Tea at the Market Pantry and stopped off at Batsford Arboretum on the way back home.

One weekend we visited The Pig nr Bath for a cocktail or two, and a wander around the gardens. I haven't had the opportunity to visit The Pig before, and it's been on my list for a long time and it was definitely worth waiting for. It is a beautiful venue for a country luxe wedding!

The Pig nr Bath in the sunshine

The Pig nr Bath in the sunshine

We have been spending a few months visiting possible schools for Bella, and have finally found the perfect school for her in nearby Abingdon. Registration form submitted, we have our fingers and toes crossed that she will be offered a place for September 2017!

Some friends of ours were staying at Soho Farmhouse for a special birthday, so we visited them one Sunday afternoon for a wander round and a coffee, as I haven't been to the Farmhouse since it was finished. Last time I went, it was super muddy and lots of the buildings weren't yet finished, so it was a real treat to see everything finished. It looks absolutely gorgeous, and is just what Oxfordshire has needed for a long time! The cinema and kitchen gardens were my favourite spots, and it's easy to sink into one of the deliciously cosy armchairs in the restaurant and dream away the afternoon! 

The Kitchen Garden at Soho Farmhouse, ready for planting!

The Kitchen Garden at Soho Farmhouse, ready for planting!

We spent the Easter weekend with my parents in Dorset, and celebrated my parents 40th wedding anniversary with a delicious lunch at Limewood in the New Forest. It's such a beautiful setting, with some gorgeous buildings and architecture, and the spa is to die for - with my favourite Bamford products! It was the perfect end to a busy March, and lovely to spend some quality time in Dorset where I grew up, as I don't get to go back anywhere near often enough. 

The beautiful Limewood in the New Forest

The beautiful Limewood in the New Forest

Weymouth Beach, Dorset

Weymouth Beach, Dorset

Home

At home, we have renovated our en-suite bathroom, which has been possibly about 8 months of planning. Who knew changing a bathroom would be such a challenge?! We had the builders, plumbers and electricians in for just over three weeks, which was a challenge in itself, but I'm delighted with the contemporary spa-like results and having a shower in our new bathroom is a luxurious experience every morning now! 

I'll be celebrating my 30th birthday this year with a bohemian garden party, so we've been busy making plans for our garden improvements in time for July. Nothing like a little bit of pressure to kickstart the motivation to get cracking.... We bought a summerhouse for us and a playhouse for Bella last year, which have both been painted but have remained unfurnished since then, so I've been searching for some suitable furniture to fill them this month too. 

 

I hope everyone has had a wonderful and productive March, and I'll catch up with you again in April! Hopefully April will bring a little more sunshine, and now that the clocks have been put forwards, I for one am most definitely enjoying the lighter evenings! 

Jeni xx