The politics associated with wedding planning

In October 2017 my boyfriend proposed to me and became my fiancé. Thus started the process of organising a wedding day. For someone who hasn’t kept a wedding book nor has any idea of what they want, this has proved tricky.

Understanding the technicalities

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We set out with the intention of only inviting people we wanted to share our day with. The words ‘it’s your day, you can do whatever you want’ were ringing in our ears thanks to our parents’ kind advice. Due to this advice it was an understandable shock to the system when the same voices expressed concern over certain people who weren’t invited. People who we don’t speak to or even worse even knew existed. ‘You’ve got to invite them, I went to the past two weddings they were at’, well if a good attendance record gets you an invite to the most memorable day of two strangers lives then sign me up!

The problem with inviting the couple who live at number 28 on the street adjoining your grandma’s house, is the cost implications. The day is already expensive and overpriced (thanks to the wedding industry) so adding two extra people on adds up to a lot of extra money. It comes to the point where you have to put your foot down and say no. This leads me on to the term ‘Bridezilla’. Is this really such a bad term? Is it not understandable when you realise how much pressure and hype surrounds a wedding day and for everything to be perfect?

Now I understand some people take this to the extreme – making obscene demands to wedding guests, however I’ve had the term thrown at me a few times when I’ve said no to requests or when I ask for certain things to be in place on the day. It’s not unreasonable to make a few demands, especially when you’re paying over the odds for it anyway. What frustrates me is when people get annoyed with me for wanting what I want. Those reassuring words about it being our day said at the start of the process quickly fade into the distance and are replaced with ‘you need to invite him because it would be unfair not to’.

Remember:

  • You can’t please everyone and more disagreements happen when you try
  • At the end of the day you’re not going to please everyone, if you do upset people due to silly disagreements then try and decide whether they’re worth having in your life anyway
  • It’s the only day you can get away with being demanding so do what you want to do (within reason)
  • Your family and friends should want this to be as special as it can be for you so make sure they rally round and support you

Current stage

We have just finished designing our website with all the details of where to be and how long it will last. This was the easier option for us as it kept the price down (no postage or paper invitations) and keeps everything in one place so is easy to track. We’re currently gathering up email addresses to send the invite to the lucky few people and then we’ll wait for the RSVP’s to come flooding back (hey we can dream!).

Things we have done:

  • Booked the venue
  • Bought THE dress
  • Decided on bridesmaids
  • Bought bridesmaid dresses
  • Chosen our cake
  • Selected our wedding breakfast (Spanish tapas)

Do it your way

To sum up we are getting married in the North East of England in a French/Mediterranean chateau with Spanish food for the wedding breakfast. If that isn’t doing exactly what you want then I don’t know what is!

Feel the fear and do it anyway

Since I was eight years old I have been horse mad and my passion for these elegant animals has only increased over the years. I have owned my own horse, worked in the equestrian industry most of my life and had my fair share of falls that I’ve bounced back from. Horse owners are often seen as fearless due to our gung hoe nature to getting jobs done whatever the circumstances. However one part of the industry I hadn’t delved into until late last year was the racing world. Thanks to a friend who works on a racing yard in the heart of racing (Newmarket for non-equestrians) I was given the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to ride a racehorse.

I was excited to accept this offer but in my heart of hearts I hadn’t really thought about what it would entail until the night before. It suddenly dawned on me how different riding a racehorse would be and boy was I right to be nervous. I arrived at 6am the next day to a bustling yard of jockeys and horses ready to head out to the gallops. Thankfully I was given a hand in tacking up my first ride as each race yard has their own way of displaying their logo on the equipment. I was given a leg-up and told to walk my horse round until it was time to leave. The horse felt like he was dancing on tip toes, which was a completely different experience to the stocky warmbloods I was used to riding.

Disaster strikes

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The racehorse who took me safely round the gallops

All was going well until we rode past a gap in the hedges and due to unlucky timing a loud bang spooked my horse. In a racing saddle I had no chance of staying on as he turned on a sixpence so it was out the side door for me. I landed on the ground with a thump but fortunately it was a soft surface. ‘That’s it’, I thought, ‘I’m not getting back on, this obviously wasn’t to be’. As I was explaining this to a yard hand who had kindly caught my horse I could tell he wasn’t really listening. He told me to get back on and enjoy it.

Every single fibre in my body was telling me not to do it. I felt sick at the thought of sitting back in the saddle and couldn’t contemplate galloping on board a horse that was so on edge. However, I’m one of the most stubborn people I know and I had a nagging doubt at the back of my mind telling me that I’d regret it if I didn’t take this chance. Against all the voices in my head I was legged back up on the horse and headed out with the others towards the gallops.

If I said the rest was an easy ride I’d be lying. Unbeknownst to me my horse didn’t like traffic or lorries and spooked every time one passed. Now picture this, we headed out on the horse path running next to a road during rush hour in the middle of Newmarket. It was scary and I was worried sick that something was about to go terribly wrong until the 20 minute ride was over.

Experiencing Britain’s busiest racehorse gallops

We arrived at The Severals where we gave the horses a trot round the oval shaped track to warm up their legs. I was still anxious at this point and nerves were tingling throughout my entire body. There were horses everywhere and the buzz in the air was palpable.

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The famous Warren Hill in Newmarket is 4.5 furlongs

Walking across to Warren Hill is a memory I will hold onto for the rest of my life. It was a conveyor belt of horses lining up to take a run on the famous hill at (what felt to me like) break-neck speed. My turn came and I was partnered up with an experienced jockey who ran his horse just in front of me. His parting words before we started were ‘if he starts to overtake my horse, just shout and I’ll let you pass’. Great, so how the hell would I stop him if I had nothing in front of me?

Making memories

We set off and the exhilaration was out of this world. I can’t describe the power those horses have as it’s something you have to experience. Before I knew it we’d reached the top and my mouth was as dry as sandpaper – little did I know I was in that much awe my mouth had stayed open for the entire experience! I wanted to do it all again but we had to head back to get the next round of horses out. I only rode one that day but that was more than enough for my nerves. Despite the initial hesitation I rode through my fear and made a memory that will last a lifetime. It wasn’t easy to drown out the voices telling me not to do it but I’m so glad I did.

So what are you waiting for, feel the fear and do it anyway, it could turn out to be the best day of your life!

Say yay to a spa day!

Lounging around, sweating out impurities in the steam room and letting it all hang out in the Jacuzzi, what’s not to enjoy about spending the day at a spa? I love a spa day and would snap anyone’s arm off to spend the day chilling out and shutting off from the outside world for a few hours. It’s like going on holiday without the laborious wait at security or frustrating flight delays to contend with. Yes England may not be the warmest country in the world but when you’re in a sauna it doesn’t matter what postcode you’re chilling out in.

Spa 1.jpgWhat’s not to love?

I leave my worries and anxiety at the door and allow myself these precious few hours to completely chill out and forget everything. Those niggling doubts and issues that crop up every day can wait until I’ve had some much needed mental therapy. It’s for this reason I try and book a spa day (or even a half day) every three months so I have something to look forward to on those days when I feel overwhelmed by life.

Go all out

Adding a treatment into your day should also be high on your list as this really helps you unwind. Having a professional massage your body while you drift away lying face down on a comfy bed is pure bliss and always passes too quickly. As soon as the masseuse signals the end of the massage with a chime I wonder why I don’t do this more often. The main reason is spending money, however surely the benefits to your mental health post massage outweigh your bank manager chasing you down the street for booking your fourth one in as many days.

Spa 3.jpgA plethora of benefits to entice you in

To ease my conscience about spending money I wanted to delve deeper into the benefits. This would give me a strong case to defend my decision should my other half find out our funds were being wired directly to the local spa.

  • Mental relaxation
  • Slows your body system down and allows your body to regenerate
  • Allows you to healthily socialise with friends
  • Distraction from the ‘real world’
  • Improves blood circulation so you take in more oxygen and increase the clarity of your thoughts
  • Rids the body of toxins so helps cleanse your system leaving you feeling refreshed
  • Take a book and learn something new while you’re in a relaxing environment
  • Read a travel magazine and discover a new place to visit

There are so many benefits so even if you only go once a year, try and schedule in some chill time. Your mind and body will thank you for it!

NB – Although my written words describing my love of spas may look like I’m sponsored or supported by one, unfortunately this is not the case. However if any would like to welcome me through their doors anytime soon I will happily oblige!

Born again runner

This time last year I was training for my first marathon in awful conditions thanks to the ‘beast from the east’. Fast-forward 12 months and I’m putting my running shoes back on after an injury that lasted 7-months. Running has never been my forte but I enjoy the exhilarating post-run high you feel after getting your blood pumping and clearing your head. So taking a step back from 18-mile runs to follow a new couch to 5k programme is leaving me feeling excited rather than daunted.

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Regular walking intervals make the run easier

Back to basics

I had my first training session today and found the whole process of following the instructions from an app on my phone extremely easy and satisfying. Walking for 5 minutes to warm up before doing intervals of 60 second runs and 90 second walks felt great and left me feeling refreshed. The session got my blood pumping but didn’t leave me feeling breathless or deflated. I ran to my own pace but still pushed myself to run faster than I normally would as I knew each interval would only last for 60 seconds.

Country life

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Time flies when running through the forest

I’m lucky enough to live next to a forest so I chose to run through the trees and escape the mayhem of daily life. Running on soft ground is a lot easier on my joints and the silence helps clear my thoughts. Previously I have entered a number of road races but the ease of this run has made me consider trail running in the future. Swerving pathways, jumping over logs and running alongside streams and trees makes the time exercising pass by in a flash and means the experience is much more pleasant.

A set beginner programme is a great way to get back into running without putting extra pressure on your body. Motivation is finally crawling back into my life and I’m looking forward to my next run as I know what to expect, and if anything like this one, will leave me wanting more. I’m hoping this gives me a refreshing new approach and outlook to a sport that I’m not naturally good at but do enjoy.

Puppy love

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Dragging the dog along too!

A new plan I’ve made is to rope my dog into more running as ‘canicross’ looks like a great avenue to aim towards. I’m not sure how he’ll feel about that but we’ll soon find out. As well as spending more time with him it also gives me something to aim for, which really helps fuel my ambition to improve.

Has anyone seen my motivation?

Feeling demotivated

When you imagine a person who’s unfit and feeling awful about their health, an image of an overweight, disheveled and downcast human being springs to mind. From the outside I appear to be in shape, I keep myself relatively presentable and I look happy. However this is not how I feel. I spent countless hours training in preparation for the London Marathon in 2018 and even felt fit enough to run three 10k’s consecutively, however after this I developed a hip injury. This has grounded me ever since so for the last 7 months I have done nothing apart from walk the dog.

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Since running the London marathon I have been plagued by a hip injury

It’s amazing how much this affects your mental and physical health as your motivation to do anything drops off almost immediately. After work I find myself sitting on the sofa all evening and watching television until it’s time to go up to bed. Previously this time would have been spent going out for a short run, feeling refreshed after a shower in preparation for getting stuck in to some life admin or household chores. This just hasn’t happened and as well as sitting on the couch, I’ve been consuming a lot more sugar related products. I’m currently keeping the entire chocolate industry in a job with the amount I’m going through.

All this is having a snowball effect and pulling myself out of the avalanche is proving harder than I’d imagined. I’ll wake up in the morning with the motivation of Mr Motivator himself, but by the time my feet hit the floor I’m back in the mindset of I can’t be bothered.

Seeing the light

Regardless of the difficulty I’ve made the decision to start writing a blog. Writing is something I enjoy and is what I do for work so it seemed the easiest and most natural way to clear my mind. Putting my thoughts down on paper really helps and clarifies what’s going on in my head so I can see through the fog. I haven’t got a set theme for my blog, I’m just going to write about whatever is happening in my life at that time, hence the name Life As I Know It (LAIKI).

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Find out the root cause of why you don’t want to exercise

This leads me on to my first piece of advice for anyone suffering from a lack of motivation and wanting to do something different – find out what it is that’s making you feel like this. You don’t have to start exercising straight away as the circle will just start again when you realise you haven’t tackled the root cause of your motivation. It could be caused by a lack of energy from your diet. Instead of changing everything you eat try adding in a multivitamin each day or if you want to be more specific about what vitamins you are lacking in there are tools online to help you find out what it could be, e.g. Holland & Barrett ask you an array of questions where you can then subscribe to receive a monthly package of vitamins to specifically suit your needs.

Do you remember the Friends episode when Chandler freaks out about getting married to Monica? Ross takes him through the process one step at a time as this is really grounding and stops anxiety. Try taking this approach to your fitness to prevent it from becoming too daunting. All you’re doing is increasing your heart rate slightly which will in turn make you feel better and increase your fitness.

Making achievable goals

Once you’ve tackled the root cause, you can start to look at building up your fitness one step at a time. This is how I’ve set my journey out:

Root cause – hip injury
Solution – Book in a physiotherapy appointment to rectify the issue
Fitness goal – start doing one piece of fitness each week, for me this will be an hour of swimming

Changing Times

Happy New Year and welcome to my blog – Life As I Know It (LAIKI)!

Heading into a New Year normally starts with the motivation to make a substantial change to your life, hence the need for a New Year Resolution. Usually this desire to change fades and you go back to your normal life with the cycle of thought repeating itself the year after, and the one after that etc. However this year I have had change forced upon me due to a job move my other half is making to the opposite end of the country.

Gaining my perspective

This means I’ve had to hand my notice in without another job to go to. Scary, but also thrilling as the world is now my oyster. What should I do next, where shall I go, should I make a big career change even though I’m almost mid-thirty? When I start to panic about which direction to go in I try and ground myself by repeating the phrase ‘you only live once’. YOLO is such an overused term these days that you can forget to actually listen and understand the truth of it. You really only get one chance on this planet, it isn’t a rehearsal so what’s stopping you?

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It’s good to volunteer in an industry before committing to it full-time

Pressure from the media and friends and family means many people stay in jobs they don’t like and never truly explore what they feel like doing. Yes we have bills to pay and food to buy in order to live but there are steps you can take to make yourself feel happier in what you do. While I’m out of work I’m planning on doing some volunteer work in an industry I want to explore further. As I won’t be earning anyway, it’s a great time for me to test the boundaries of whether it could become a sustainable way of life for me. I’m also looking at courses to enroll on, both distance learning and part time so I can fit it around my full time job. I’m not 100% sure of what direction I want to go in but these little advancements make my decision easier.

Vision and goal setting

There are many exercises to help you understand what values are important in your life and how you can improve your happiness. One of these is outlined below:

Start with three circles and label one of them personal, the other career and the third health. Write down what is important to you inside each circle and on the outside of each put down what you’re not happy with. My health example is:

Inner circle:
Horse riding, yoga, pilates, drinking water, running

Outside circle:
Hip injury, neck pain, back pain

This gives me an idea of the things I need to concentrate more time on, so the things that make me happy are keeping fit by taking part in my favourite hobbies. The bad stuff is the pain associated with this so my priority is to book an appointment with a physiotherapist to start the process of reducing the pain. By doing this I’ll give myself more time to concentrate on the positives in this area of my life.

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I enjoy a healthy and active lifestyle but I need to resolve the hip pain that is holding me back

Ten-year plan

If you’re feeling really motivated to set out a longer term plan write out where you see yourself in 10 years’ time. Some of the questions to ask yourself include:

Where do you see yourself living?
With who?
What type of work do you do?
Who does your family unit consist of?
Which hobbies and sports are you enjoying?
Have you purpose?
How do you feel?

It may be hard to start with but try to think without giving yourself any boundaries. Right now 10 years feels like a lifetime away but if you set the goals out now you have something to aim for and keep track of where you are on your path to greatness. Check in with what you’ve written each year, you’ll be surprised how much progress you make in a year. Give yourself praise for this and remember how far you’ve come.