Wedding readings

 

We wanted to share our wedding reading with you as we love this piece of writing. I have also included some extras that we did not chose but loved as well.

XV. “Two bubbles in a crystal bowl appear”

Two bubbles in a crystal bowl appear
Born separately: round the opposing rims
Each for awhile in a charmed circle swims,
And shuns the other’s touch, as if in fear.
A gold-fish rising breaks the mimic mere;
A thwart tide, traversing the surface, dims
The placid water: from the distant brims
The bubbles swept together are one sphere!
They might have perished singly; might have known
Life but not love, and living separate
Have ceased imperfect, sundered mate from mate;
And thou and I have walked the world alone,
And died so, if the strong storm had not blown
That swept us hither on the tides of fate.

 

Other lovely readings that we also love.

Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte

“I have for the first time found what I can truly love – I have found you. You are my sympathy – my better self – my good angel; I am bound to you with a strong attachment. I think you good, gifted, lovely: a fervent, a solemn passion is conceived in my heart; it leans to you, draws you to my center and spring of life, wraps my existence about you – and, kindling in pure, powerful flame, fuses you and me in one.”

Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis de Bernières

“Love is a temporary madness, it erupts like volcanoes and then subsides. And when it subsides, you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion, it is not the desire to mate every second minute of the day, it is not lying awake at night imagining that he is kissing every cranny of your body. No, don’t blush, I am telling you some truths. That is just being ‘in love’, which any fool can do. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident.”

The Portrait of a Lady – Henry James

“It has made me better loving you… it has made me wiser, and easier, and — I won’t pretend to deny — brighter and nicer and even stronger. I used to want a great many things before, and to be angry that I didn’t have them. Theoretically I was satisfied, as I once told you. I flattered myself I had limited my wants. But I was subject to irritation; I used to have morbid, sterile, hateful fits of hunger, of desire. Now I really am satisfied, because I can’t think of anything better.”

We would love you to suggest your favorites or recommendations.

xx

 

Advertisements

Bread!

Inspired by Bake Off?  Bubbling with anger over the changes that are to come?  Or just fancy a bit of a bake… why not have a try at this super simple bread recipe.

I’m feeling a little heart ache that my favourites are no longer going to be part of Bake Off… so to plug that gap I am trying to bake myself some bread.  I’ve never done this without the aid of a machine or sourdough starter.  After a little research I come up with what seems to be an easy to follow simple recipe for a white loaf and given it a little tweak.


Ingredients

500g plain white flour (you will need a little bit extra for dusting)

1 tsp salt

7g fast-action yeast

3 tbsp olive oil

300ml warm water

1.5 tbsp poppy seeds

 

Method

Mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.

Create a small well in the centre and add the oil and the water, make sure the water is warm not hot.

imag2153

Tip onto a floured bench.  Knead the dough until it is smooth and soft.  Flour a proofing basket, or place in a lightly oiled mixing bowl.  Leave to rise for about an hour or until it has doubled in size.

imag2154

Knock back the dough.  If you haven’t done this before, the aim is to remove the larger air bubbles, I like to gently pull the edges of the dough into the middle and press in.  Line a baking tray with baking paper, shape the dough into a ball and place on the tray.  Leave to rise for a further hour or until doubled in size.

imag2155

Heat your oven to 220c or gas mark 7.  Make sure the oven is hot before you put the dough into the oven.

Bake for about 30 minutes or until a nice golden crust and the bread sounds hollow when you tap it.

Cool on a wire rack…or cut right in!

imag2156

My favourite place for recipes is the BBC Good Food site, have a look and get inspired.

http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes

 

I love the smell of proofing bread!  It is homely, warm and almost as good as the finished thing!  Take a moment to enjoy this moment, it’s a thing of beauty that we have managed to create this wonderful reaction.

I spread butter and vegemite on my bread whilst it is warm and…it….is…. wonderful.  even if I am blowing my own trumpet.

imag2157

Don’t feel you have to stick to poppy seeds, you could sprinkle pumpkin seeds on the top before you bake, or mix in some dried tomatoes and basil.  Or try a sweet option, maybe some honey or dried cherries.  Delicious!

 

7 Destination Wedding tips

We have had a few questions following our blog about the wedding so thought it would be easiest to answer them here.

Here are the things we think you need to think about before booking your destination wedding.

  1. Think about what you want. It sounds simple but really have a think about what you want as a couple, who do you want to be there, what do you want from the day.  All these things add up, and in the heat of the moment booking that flight to Vegas might seem the perfect way out of table planning or cutlery choices.  Take time to think about what you are choosing.

  1. Destination weddings are perfect if you (and your family) are prepared to step back and let things happen. If you pick a location be aware places like Thailand work on Thai time.  Perfect for some, okay for others and a disaster for those who like to be in control.  Ideally pick a location you have been to before, that way you have more of an idea of the culture and organisation you are likely to experience (this is advice we didn’t listen too).  Also if you have dreamt up your perfect flower arrangements and table decorations as an eight-year-old playing dress up…do reflect carefully before paying the deposit.  You are not likely to be able to get involved in the intricacies of the planning, flowers are normally what is available and in season, table settings are normally chosen from a small list of options, you are unlikely to hear the band play before the actual day…all these things add up!

  1. Give your guests as much notice as you can. Go against tradition, never mind how many weeks you are supposed to give for save the dates, invitations.  We saved money by skipping save the dates and sent out invitations with all the information with a 12 months’ notice.  Even if you have been planning for a while, trips abroad take time to arrange especially if your friends and family are spread out or have children.  The more time you give people the more people are likely to be there.

  1. That being said…be sensible about how many people you invite! If your guests are traveling around the world to be with you, you want to be able to spend time with everyone, before, after and during the big day.  We only invited 55-60 people and 40 made it on the day.  40 is still a big number of people for a destination wedding (big families).  Also remember less people will save money, which means more savings to spend on fun activates with your guests.  We spend a day on a boat, went on scooter rides, had meals out, went to a local dancing, cooking classes which is not possible with a huge guest list.

  1. Think about the dress. I know this seems an early stage to be thinking about this…but if you know what dress you want and it involves a cathedral train or big full skirt…think about the destination and how practical it is to get your dress to your location!

  1. Pick a hotel with good communication. I can’t stress this enough.  The Kala and Fern the wedding planner we had were amazing.  Everything was arranged via email and the replies were swift and well explained.  You don’t want to be waiting a week to hear back with an answer to simple questions.  This will only increase stress levels and decrease the enjoyment running up to the day.

  1. Out of season bookings. We decided to save money by booking in the off season (just outside of the peak tourist season for Koh Samui) which was a calculated risk.  September is the rainy season, although we arrived in August and it was already raining.  This did create some anxiety and there were times that make us consider if this had been a horrible mistake.  However, the actual day had a massive thunderstorm about a two hours before the ceremony but then the sun came out.  I think it was worth the money we saved and the hotel had a contingency plan, however, it certainly raised nerve levels if this is going to ruin your time, the savings might not be worth it.

  1. We were sneaky and chose, booked and paid the deposit on our wedding including the date before we announced to family and friends. It seems mean, but it stopped 100% of the possible arguments about dates, locations ect.  I would recommend this option but it is what worked for us, it might not work for you.

Romantic Elf

We used a section of this lovely children’s poem for our wedding invitations and I thought I would share this with you.  It is simply a lovely bit of writing but holds a very special meaning for us.

 

I Like You by Sandol Stoddard Warburg

I like you because you are a good person to like.
I like you because when I tell you something special,
you know it’s special.
And you remember it a long, long time.
You say, Remember when you told me something special
And both of us remember?
When I think something is important
you think it’s important too.
We have good ideas.
When I say something funny,
you laugh. I think I’m funny
and you think I’m funny too. Hah-hah!
I like you because you know where I’m ticklish.
And you don’t tickle me there,
except just a little tiny bit sometimes.
But if you do, then I know where to tickle you too.
You know how to be silly
That’s why I like you.
Boy are you ever silly.
I never met anybody sillier than me
till I met you. I like you because
you know when it’s time to stop being silly.
Maybe day after tomorrow.
Maybe never.
Too late, it’s a quarter past silly.
Sometimes we don’t say a word.
We snurkle under fences.
We spy secret places.
If I am a goofus on the roofus hollering my head off,
You are one too.
If I pretend I am drowning,
you pretend you are saving me.
If I am getting ready to pop a paper bag,
then you are getting ready to jump.
HOORAY!
That’s because you really like me.
You really like me, don’t you?
And I really like you back.
And you like me back and I like you back.
And that’s the way we keep on going every day.
If you go away, then I go away too;
or if I stay home, you send me a postcard.
You don’t just say,
Well see you around sometime, bye!
I like you a lot because of that.
If I go away, I send you a postcard too.
And I like you because
if we go away together,
And if we are in Grand Central Station,
And if I get lost
Then you are the one that is yelling for me.
And I like you because
when I am feeling sad
You don’t always cheer me up right away.
Sometimes it is better to be sad.
You can’t stand the others
being so googly and gaggly every single minute.
You want to think about things.
It takes time.
I like you because if I am mad at you,
Then you are mad at me too.
It’s awful when the other person isn’t.
They are so nice and hoo-hoo
you could just about punch them in the nose.
I like you because if I think I
am going to throw up,
then you are really sorry.
You don’t just pretend you are busy
looking at the birdies and all that.
You say, maybe it was something you ate.
You say, the same thing happened to me one time.
And the same thing did.
If you find two four-leaf clovers,you give me one.
If I find four, I give you two.
If we only find three, we keep on looking.
Sometimes we have good luck,
and sometimes we don’t. If I break my arm,
and if you break your arm too,
Then it’s fun to have a broken arm.
I tell you about mine, you tell me about yours.
We are both sorry.
We write our names and draw pictures.
We show everybody
and they wish they had a broken arm too.
I like you because
I don’t know why
but Everything that happens is nicer with you.
I can’t remember when I didn’t like you.
It must have been lonesome then.
I like you because because because
I forget why I like you, but I do.
So many reasons.
On the 4th of July
I like you because it’s the 4th of July. On the fifth of July,
I like you too. If you and I had some drums
and some horns and some horses,
If we had some hats and some flags
and some fire engines,
We could be a HOLIDAY.
We could be a CELEBRATION.
We could be a WHOLE PARADE.
See what I mean?
Even if it was the 999th of July,
Even if it was August,
Even if it was way down at the bottom of November,
Even if it was no place particular in January,
I would go on choosing you.
And you would go on choosing me.
Over and over again.
That’s how it would happen every time.
I don’t know why.
I guess I don’t know why I really like you.
Why do I like you.
I guess I just like you.
I guess I just like you.
because I like you.

Becoming the Elf

Weddings!  the beginning of an adventure for two.

Exciting… it’s been a whole 12 months since I married Mr Elf.  Mr Elf and I decided to celebrate our 10-year anniversary by getting married.  But with family and friends spread all over the world, our first issue is where to undertake this hitching!  We briefly think about a UK based wedding but we opt for a “Destination Wedding”.

There are lots of reasons to choose a destination wedding, ours are probably the common ones, wanting to make it easier for everyone to be able to get to the big day.  Aside from this we also research the costs and the kind of experience that you are able to get overseas just takes your breath away.  Also…planning, I very much understand for some people the planning and the adventure that takes you on is very important, colour schemes, cake tasting…but us Elves…not so much.  In fact, the idea of the planning is possibly why it’s taken 10 years for us to do this!  For us it was more important to spend the money on maximising the amount of time that we got with friends and family rather than the planning process.  We look at a few different locations, Bali, Italy, Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand.

We narrow it down to Cambodia and Thailand, but choose Thailand in the end mostly just because there seemed to be a lack of options for Cambodia, aside from a couple of top end hotels there really were not that many choices.

Once we settled on Thailand we had to arrow down the options again.  We spent a lot of time looking though blogs and websites filled with different locations.  We found http://www.thailand-wedding.com/ a very helpful website for looking at the different types of weddings that available.  Ultimately we decide on Koh Samui.

We created our wedding list so we had an idea of what sized venue we would need.  Considering that we did all the planning for the wedding remotely without visiting Koh Samui we also placed a lot of importance on the communication and connection with the wedding planner.

We narrowed it down to:

http://samui.anantara.com/wedding.aspx

http://www.chawengregent.com/thai-wedding-resort.php

http://www.rockyresort.com/en/weddings/koh-samui-weddings/

http://www.norabeachresort.com/beach-wedding-samui-thailand.php

http://www.thekalasamui.com/wedding.php

All of these hotels offered graduated packages, our biggest tip is to have a look on trip advisor at the hotels, but in particular look at the traveller photos.  These will give you a much more honest idea of what the hotel actually looks like.  In the end because of a combination of communication, price, location and look we chose The Kala. http://www.thekalasamui.com/wedding.php

Its small, breathtakingly beautiful, Fern the resident wedding planner is wonderful from the start, and everything is very reasonably priced.

imag1111

We give ourselves and guests 12 months planning time. The more time you can give people, the more likely people will be able to plan to be with you.  We try to make the experience the easiest we can for our guests, we ask them not to get us gifts because of the cost of coming all the way to be with us.  We get my sister to design the invitations and print them up ourselves.  Also, we opt out of the RSVPs and set up an email for people to reply to so all the RSPVs all go to the same place and are easy to collect with no extra mail costs for anyone!  Some people might find this tacky, but it really saved a lot of trouble and hassle for everyone, and you can have a lot of fun with the email name its self.

In the end 40 people join us, we arrive 8 days before the big day and lots of people join us for this as well.  Honestly, the best fun!  It’s ends up as a huge holiday filled with all our friends and family.  We organise days out, communal meals, activity days.  We trip about and hire bikes and enjoy the food and partying.  Then for the big day…

Some helpful websites:

UK Government site, lots of information on here about the rules, regulations and realities of getting married abroad.

https://www.gov.uk/marriage-abroad

Very helpful sites for the ins and outs of making your marriage in Thailand legal!

http://www.legallymarriedinthailand.com/

http://thailandtravelbag.com/destination-weddings-thailand-how-to-legalise-your-marriage-under-thai-law/

Thailand Embassy website

http://www.thaiembassy.com/marriage/marriage.php

Helpful websites for for USA citizens getting married abroad

https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/abroad/events-and-records/marriage.html

http://apostille-legalization.com/marriage.html

 

 

 

 

Elf at the Farmers’ Market

Brixton Farmers’ Market, has recently become its own organisation and is technically the Brixton Market Traders Federation.  The market runs on Sundays by the railway bridge.  It’s a small but perfectly formed market, the stalls vary slightly each week, but the general staples are butchers, cheese stalls, bakery goods, fresh vegetables and fruit, wonderful coffee and cakes.

We head down on a beautiful sun filled weekend and wonder amongst the stalls, picking up some wonderful looking quiches, pastries and sausages.  The stalls are an eclectic mix but all the stall holders know what they are talking about and everyone was happy to chat and enthusiastic about their produce.  This made me so happy.  Everything tastes better when you know where it has come from.

imag2144-1We sit outside at the craft beer bar.  The sun is shining, everyone is happy and chatting away in a wonderfully neighbourly way.  Everything is bright and shiny and somehow new.  The market small though it is, is wonderful.  This week there is a burrito stand that smells amazing a couple buy a massive, amazing looking burrito and stroll along munching together.

The craft beer is delish, we choose summery pale ales and enjoy watching the wold go by.

There was some talk recently that the market was going to close, I have to say I am so happy that the Federation was created and they have managed to bring it back.

If you want to get your hands on the magical lamb shanks sold at the Borstal stand you will positively have to be there at opening time.  But otherwise it was a lovely morning that stretched into the afternoon.

Head along and sample the deliciousness.

A bit more Pilates

Delving into the philosophy of Pilates and its creator, I have come across some beautiful quotes from Joseph Pilates.   I thought I would share these here with you.

 

“A body free from nervous tension and fatigue is the ideal shelter provided by nature for housing a well balanced mind, fully capable of successfully meeting all the complex problems of modern living.”

Joseph Pilates

 

“Patience and persistence are vital qualities in the ultimate successful accomplishment of any worthwhile endeavor.”

Joseph Pilates

 

“To achieve the highest accomplishments within the scope of our capabilities in all walks of life we must constantly strive to acquire strong, healthy bodies and develop our minds to the limits of our ability.”

Joseph Pilates

 

I hope you enjoy these, I particularly like the second one and certainly believe patience and persistence are necessary for achieving what ever goals you are aiming for.