Everybody kept on commenting on how relaxed I seemed, hinting at the fact that, as a rather attentive bride, they presumed that I would, or should be, displaying a few bridezilla-like characteristics by this point in the proceedings. What can I say?! Doing all your stressing early on obviously pays off!
As such, I was able to seriously kick back and enjoy a bit of much-needed chill time in the lead up to the day itself. Here are some highlights from a rather enjoyable week back home.
Meeting the wonderful Angie, Lauren, Jaime and AndreaAll bloggers will understand that feeling of excitement that you get when you finally get to meet other bloggers that you have been interacting with for a long time on social media. All four of these girls have inspired me in various ways along my blogging journey and not only are they a super talented bunch (seriously, check out their blogs if you are not already familiar with them at the links above), but they are also rather lovely people to boot. Needless to say, I was incredibly happy to discover that they are just as brilliant in ‘real life’ as they are online.
We headed to Oka in Kingly Court for sushi, prosecco and gossip (pretty much my favourite combination of things), and I was blown away at how miniscule our bill was compared to the quantity and quality of the food ordered. This is a must-try restaurant if you live in London, and if you would like to read a full review then head over to Angie, Andrea and Lauren’s blogs for the lowdown.
Andrea proving that she is a saucy lady, just as I suspected from her blog
After eating and doing what us bloggers do best (taking hundreds of photos of our food), Angie, Lauren and I weren’t quite ready for the night to end, and so we headed downstairs to the awesome Cahoots, a secretive little place which is tucked away enough from the crowds to feel exclusive, and quirky enough in its concept to still be heaps of fun. It’s designed like a 1940s tube station and we loved the newspaper menus, tube station seating and delicious cocktails.
Catching up with one of my chief bridesmaids
It was great to meet up with Tania in London a couple of days before we made the trip up to the Peak District for the wedding. She very kindly took me to lunch at Medlar in Chelsea. A charming, comfortable and very popular restaurant from two alumni of one of my favourite restaurants, Chez Bruce, the menu is both elegant and elaborate, as well as mouth-wateringly tasty.
Stand-out dishes for us were the salad of confit quail legs, iberico ham, sairass ricotta, baby green peaches and ice salad.
The under blade fillet with shin and pickled walnut croquettes, salad, triple cooked chips and gravy.
We chatted about last minute wedding bits and pieces and the first real buzz that accompanied the knowledge that I was really actually definitely getting married began!
Pottering around London
The day before Mr Sunshine-to-be joined me in London after finishing work back in Doha, I had a few errands to run around the city. Important chores were carried out like getting my hair cut and coloured at my favourite salon, Brooks & Brooks…
And, you know, buying juice and wandering through parks and stuff…
Having some couple time
After picking Mr Sunshine-to-be up from the airport, it was really nice to be able to have one last proper night together at our favourite home away from home, The Montcalm London City before we headed up to the Peak District for the real fun and games to begin.
We had Sunday lunch at an old favourite, The Jugged Hare…
Getting the last minute bits and pieces sorted
And then, before we knew it, we were on the train up to my mum’s house, prosecco in hand and huge grins on our faces.
Here, we tied labels to favours, compiled boxes to go to Chatsworth…
Transported flowers from mum’s garden to the Church…
Discussed last minute arrangements with the venue…
And made a little time to open and read a few cards and soak in the views from the balcony.
I want to say a huge thank you to all of our family and friends that assisted during this time – especially the two mummies who worked tirelessly to produce favours and flowers that we could be proud of, as well as my second chief bridesmaid Lottie who got up at 5am one morning to drive up to The Peak District to lend a hand. We could not have done any of this without you!
Enjoying some relaxation and
While Rich headed off for his stag do (I had been super-organised and decided to hold my first one well in advance of the big day…and then to have another in Qatar several months later!), my mum and I took the opportunity to take ourselves off to a spa for the day so that I could get a wedding mani and pedi, and we could both enjoy a relaxing hot stone massage. We chose Spa 1877 in the heart of Sheffield, which is built around Victorian Turkish baths, making it a really authentic experience.
Spending our final evening before the wedding with our favourite people
Following a successful rehearsal at the Church, Rich and I headed to The George Hotel in Hathersage to meet all of our closest family for a final rehearsal dinner. Having decided to stick to the traditional father, groom and best man triumvirate of speeches the next day, this was my opportunity to say a few words to thank those around the table and my lovely future husband for making it this far!
Then it was time to say our goodbyes, head to bed and try desperately hard to catch a few winks before the biggest day of our lives in the morning.
I had a sneaky suspicion that I wouldn’t be sleeping much that night.