Monthly Round Up | May 2017

Hi All! I hope you've had a great May, and have enjoyed the few Summers days that this month has (reluctantly!) offered us! Here's what I've been up to this month:

Business

The end of April saw a fabulous weekend for Grace & Dan's wedding celebrations at a private residence in Buckinghamshire, and the Mother of the Bride left me such a lovely review on my Facebook page:

"Having organised my son and daughter-in-laws wedding 8 years ago I was confident to do my daughters. However after booking all the suppliers I started worrying about all the last minute organisation and how I was going to get everything done and still enjoy the actual day. 
I found Jeni after doing a search, I think I had an image of horrendously bossy wedding planner taking over the day......nothing could have been further from the truth.
I met Jeni about three weeks before the wedding when she came to our home (where we were holding the reception) she was so lovely and calm, putting me completely at ease and filling me with confidence right from the start. I handed over all the relevant information on suppliers to her and discussed our vision for the reception, and she took all the worry and anxiety away from me. 
All my suppliers have said to me that she was an absolute pleasure to deal with.
On the day before the wedding she was amazing, styling and decorating our home and marquee, it was literally breathtaking .
On the day of the wedding Jeni seemed to float around us all like an angel, sorting any queries or problems out without me even knowing about them, she liased with the caterers ,band, florist and photographers effortlessly; leaving myself,bride and bridesmaids to relax and enjoy our special time.
I could go on and on about how wonderful she was.... 
Put simply, Jeni made what was always going to be a special day into a truely wonderful day!
I have no hesitation in recommending her to anyone who is planning a wedding,she is one of the nicest people you will ever meet. Thank you Jeni!"

I absolutely love hearing feedback like this following a wedding day, as it truly means everything to hear that I've ensured each and every couple have had the best possible celebration they could have imagined, and it re-affirms my love and passion for what I work so hard for in my business :-)

Buckinghamshire Wedding Planner
Buckinghamshire Wedding Planner
Buckinghamshire Wedding Planner
Buckinghamshire Wedding Planner
Buckinghamshire Wedding Planner

All images by Green Antlers Photography

I've had a number of enquiries this month for weddings later this year, and have been busy with consultations and proposals for lovely new couples. I still have some select dates available in the Autumn and Winter, so if you're struggling with those last few months of planning, or feel you might like a Wedding Day Co-ordinator, then I'd love to hear from you!

Last weekend was a wedding that has been long awaited! I've been working with Jamie & Christian since July 2015 to plan their nuptials at the simply stunning Voewood in Norfolk. I have absolutely loved every moment of working with them to guide them through their wedding planning journey, and I've been so excited about seeing everything come together since the beginning of the year! It certainly didn't disappoint; it was a fabulous weekend, everything looked incredible, and I had just the best team by my side! Thank you especially to the lovely Annabelle at Florentina who made everything possible! Here are a couple of sneak peek images from their beautiful outdoor Ceremony:

Images by Julie Michaelsen Photography

Home

I've spent a lot of time catching up in the garden this month; potting up lots of new Lavenders and Cosmos for the front of the house and my plant stand, cutting back some of the wild Eucalyptus that seems to grow at an outstanding rate(!), and keeping everything watered during a super dry spell at the beginning of the month. I think we even had a couple of days of frost towards the end of April/beginning of May, which took effect on some of my hydrangea, the fig tree, and tomato plants. I was mistaken for thinking it was the tail end of Spring, but the weather had it's own ideas, and it's taken me all month to get them back to being healthy again! We had a pizza evening in the garden with our neighbours, which was super lovely, and great to be able to use our pizza oven again. I can't wait to use it every week throughout the Summer (or am I wishfully thinking with the awful weather we had a couple of weeks ago...?!)

Garden Wood Fired Pizza Oven
home grown Lavender
Garden Wood Fired Pizza Oven

Images by Julie Michaelsen Photography

Family

In between a few London days and evening industry events, I enjoyed a rare date night with my husband halfway through the month for a trip to the theatre in Oxford. I've missed being able to go to the theatre spontaneously since we moved out of London 5 years ago, so this was especially exciting for me!  

It was Bella's 4th birthday a couple of days ago, and we had made sure she had a special weekend of celebrations! We went to Peppa Pig world on Friday with some friends, which she absolutely loved! We went a couple of years ago for her 2nd birthday, and this year she was able to enjoy so many more of the rides. We all (the adults!) needed a glass of wine after a day surrounded by small people however. It's definitely a special occasion trip! Over the weekend we held a Frozen party for her with a group of friends from pre-school. She had just the best time, and we had a craft company come to do lots of Frozen themed crafty activities with the children, which was much more structured and calming for the (parent!) soul than just letting them all run loose on a bouncy castle! 

We're currently in Ibiza for a few days of 'Vitamin Sea'. It's been a super busy start to the year, and in the midst of our January Blues, we promised ourselves that we would take regular, short breaks throughout the year to continually keep us feeling motivated and energised. We got engaged on the simply idyllic island of Formentera (which is a small island just a short boat trip from Ibiza) almost 5 years ago, so we just love going back there to spend some quality family time together, as it's somewhere very special to us. Here are a couple of my iPhone snaps from Fomentera, as it's just too pretty not to share, and the colour of that water is the stuff of dreams!

Fomentera, Ibiza
Illetes Beach, Fomentera, Ibiza

I'll write more about our trip when I'm back in the June Round Up :-). 

We spent four days in Marrakech back in March, and we're off to Tuscany at the beginning of July for a wedding and a short break. It's so important to me to take these breaks, as we don't get to spend much time as a family throughout wedding season, particularly as 90% of my weddings take place over a weekend. Bella will be starting school in September, so this is also the last year we're able to take advantage of booking trips outside of school holidays!

June will see two super gorgeous weddings, so I'll look forward to sharing those with you next month too.

Until then....

Jeni x

Monthly Round Up | March 2017

Apologies for this post being a little late, but better late than never! 

Business

This month has been an exciting one, taking on two new lovely couples for my Full Planning service, for their weddings later this year, so I've been busy with initial consultations, and bringing together their Design & Budget Plans, and sourcing the first key suppliers for each wedding. I love this part of the planning journey, and it's always so lovely working with new couples; discussing their ideas and inspirations for their wedding day and offering my guidance with their wedding design. 

Earlier in the month I spent an afternoon in Bath meeting with the super talented and ever lovely Evelyn Barkey. Evelyn is such a wonderful destination photographer, and will be travelling to some truly exciting countries to photograph weddings this year. I'm hoping we'll be lucky enough to work together on a destination wedding (for her!) in the UK very soon.

I also had coffee with a couple of my Brides for this summer who have booked my Wedding Day Co-ordination service. I love to get to know my couples, and gain an insight into their personalities and wedding plans before our official handover meeting which usually takes place around a month before their big day.

I spent a (very early!) morning at Sunbury Antiques at Kempton Park Racecourse, on a search for some props for a number of my 2017 weddings. I absolutely love wandering around this market; it's always buzzing, has such a great atmosphere, and almost always offers exactly what I'm looking for! If you haven't been, it's well worth a visit - even if you do have to be there at 6:30am for the best buys! 

Sudbury Antiques Market London

 

Home

We've finally been able to get outside in the garden and start work on some of our plans for this year. The pizza oven has now been rebuilt, and ready for the summer ahead, and we spent a weekend creating a sun-trap gravelled area to link our two summer houses together. I've also been busy painting lots of our wooden garden furniture ready for those pizza garden parties! 

 

Family

We had the best few days in Marrakech towards the end of the month as a family. Due to a family bereavement it couldn't have come at a better time, and we really enjoyed some quality family time in the sunshine exploring all that the beautiful Moroccan city has to offer. Every time we go here, I really struggle to hold myself back when shopping in the markets! There are so many beautiful things that I would just love to bring back, but I'm never organised enough to work out how on earth to ship everything home safely, and for a reasonable cost! If anyone has any tips, I'm all ears! 

Moroccan Riad
Morocco Holiday Palm Trees
Moroccan Market Spices
Moroccan Riad
Moroccan Door
Moroccan Riad
Morocco Swimming Pool
Moroccan Market Straw Bags
Moroccan Riad
Moroccan Riad

Hope you've all had a great month! 

Jeni x

Monthly Round Up | February 2017

Hi Everyone! 

I'm back with my Monthly Round Up post for February. I've had a really busy month, so it's hardly surprising we're almost in March now, but I'm definitely welcoming the slightly warmer weather and few lovely sunny days we've been having over the last couple of weeks (minus the storm at the end of last week!). I don't know about you, but I definitely feel brighter, inspired, and so much happier when the skies are blue and there's even just a hint of sunshine! Anyway, here's what I have been up to over the past four weeks:

 

BUSINESS

Some of you may know that I'm now a writer for B.LOVED, and my first post for 2017 last week featured a beautiful Spring inspired moodboard and some top tips for embracing the Spring season in your wedding design. If you missed it, you can read it again HERE

Spring Inspiration Moodboard copy.jpg

I've been planning a number of editorial projects for later this year, and I'm really excited to be collaborating with some of my absolute faves in the industry. I can't share anymore just yet, but stay tuned! 

I've met with all of my couples to catch up with wedding plans and formulate action plans for the next stage in our planning journeys. Invitations have been packaged and sent, and I've been tablescape planning for a couple of my weddings - one of my favourite tasks! 

I have been true to my word from last month, in spending one day in London each month to meet with industry friends, and this month I met with some lovely contacts :-). It's so refreshing to work in an industry where everyone is super friendly, inviting, and inspiring!

HOME

We didn't spend much time on the house in the first couple of weeks this month, but over the last two weeks we've built a home gym and also made plans for some exciting developments which will unfold over the Spring and Summer. I've held so many gym memberships over the years, but never managed to keep one for longer than a year, as I'm always super dedicated for the first couple of months, and then tend to not be able to find the spare few hours to go, or just haven't had the motivation to continue. So we decided to create one at home, as it's so much easier to find an hour of time in the evening, whilst dinner is in the oven, and Bella has gone to bed! So far, so good, and hopefully we'll keep this membership up!! 

FAMILY

February is always quite a busy one for events, as it's Valentines Day and also my husbands Birthday. For Valentines Day, we spent a lovely day in London; starting with Brunch at The Wolseley, which was just fabulous, followed by cocktails with a view at Sky Garden, and a boat trip along the Thames to Westminster, finishing with a stroll through St James' Park. We felt like true tourists for the day, which we didn't mind at all. We lived in Central London for years before moving out to Oxfordshire, but the City changes so often, and often tourist attractions are the first thing to avoid when you actually live in London, so I love going just for the day or a weekend and embracing all those things we didn't get around to doing at the time! 

The Wolseley, London

The Wolseley, London

Tower Bridge, London

Tower Bridge, London

Sky Garden, London

Sky Garden, London

St James Park, London

St James Park, London

For Chris' Birthday, we spent a fun family day at Bucklebury Farm Park before heading over to The Woodspeen for a delicious lunch. The food here is absolutely amazing, and it's such a beautiful venue, so definitely worth a visit if you have a chance! They have a cookery school too, which is definitely on my list for later this year.

The Woodspeen, Berkshire

The Woodspeen, Berkshire

In between, we visited the Oxford Museum of Natural History, which Bella loved. The building is truly magnificent, and well worth visiting outside of school holidays! We also enjoyed a night out in London with my brother and his girlfriend at Dinerama in Shoreditch, followed by cocktails at Nightjar. Both venues are just amazing, and so much fun. They both have a great atmosphere, and if you follow my Instastories, you'll have seen more of both of them when I was there! The cocktail menu at Nightjar is really something else, and you could spend many hours here trying out the different creations which are so intricate and beautifully presented. During the day that weekend, we spent an afternoon on a Land Rover Experience, which was gifted to us by Land Rover when we bought our car last year. It was more an educational experience than I perhaps had thought it would be, but it was a lot of fun, and I got myself stuck in the muddy ruts on more than one occasion - pretty much laughing myself out of it whilst the instructor told me what I needed to do to get the wheels to spin off! The best part was learning the angles at which the cars can get to on their side before they will tip over, and trying to see how close we could get to that, whilst holding on very tightly to our seats! 

Land Rover Experience at Luton Hoo Estate

Land Rover Experience at Luton Hoo Estate

Today is pancake day, and I'm looking forward to making some pancakes with Bella tonight. Our favourites are blueberry pancakes with yoghurt, nutella and maple syrup! What are yours? 

 

Until next month.....

Jeni x

 

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