Our most magical day…

Time seems to be disappearing before my very eyes. I can’t believe that Christmas is around the corner, a new year beckons and my blog lies abandoned. But what better point to bring it back than to talk about one of the most magical days of my life?

That it took me over three months since the wedding to write this post feels crazy. And yet, and yet – there was a honeymoon leg injury to recover from (a post for another time), The Potion Diaries to edit edit edit, the busiest period of my day job and we moved out of our flat in Battersea to a house in Winchester! Plus, a trip to Granada and Eurodisney… there has been no resting on any laurels around here!

Okay, there’s another motive, too. Early on in our wedding planning process, my sister’s wonderful boyfriend, Evan George, offered to be our videographer on our big day. Having seen some of the amazing videos he’s produced, we jumped all over that offer!! He’d never done a wedding video before, but that didn’t faze us (or, clearly, him). And the results have just come in and they’re… well, I’ll let you see for yourself but for me, he captured every single emotion of the day. It’s pretty special. It was just the reminder I needed to share my thoughts about the day on the blog.

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We also had the lovely Melanie Woodward of One Life Studio as our official wedding photographer. She’s seen us through thick and thin, good and bad – quite literally, as she had to photograph our engagement photos while Lofty had his broken ankle in a cast! I thoroughly recommend her to anyone out there looking for a wedding photographer. All the photos in this post were taken by her. You can imagine it was pretty difficult to pick ones to use!

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We tried not to come into the wedding process with too many preconceptions. We knew we wanted it to be a big day, a chance to bring our friends and family together from across the world to celebrate with us. More than anything, we really wanted the day to be a reflection of us. And it ended up being so much better than we could have imagined. It started with the venue. As soon as we heard that we could have our wedding breakfast/reception at the Great Hall in Winchester – a place we visited together very early on in our relationship and many times since – we were sold. It brought together my love (bordering on obsession) for all things medieval, with a city Lofty had worked in ever since we met. It gave us somewhere special to show our guests who were coming from Canada and beyond. And it had King Arthur’s round table. What more could you ask for?

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As a result, when the day came, I felt incredibly relaxed. This was definitely aided by having my lovely bridesmaids around me, my mum and dad, and my amazing hair and make-up artist Annabel Hornsby! (Seriously, if you’re looking for a MUA, you can’t go wrong with Annabel). I also luckily still loved my dress, which was the very first thing I bought for the wedding! It was by Essense of Australia, and I had found it in NYC, tried it on in Wimbledon and bought it in Ottawa so it was a kind of global purchase. It was everything I had always wanted in a wedding dress – romantic, fitted, structured, with a lovely lace bolero that gave me the option of sleeves, which I could remove in the evening. The veil and headpiece were gifts from my mum, and came from the treasure trove that is the Gillion Million store in Teddington. (I recommend every bride to go there, just to feel beautiful). The bridesmaids dresses were Vera Wang White collection from David’s Bridal.

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Our ceremony, at the beautiful St Peter’s RC Church in Winchester, was so much fun – and I really have to thank Deacon Gerard for making the ceremony so personal and memorable. It was filled with laughter – much like the rest of our day (as I’m sure you can tell by the photographs!). I don’t think the grin slipped from my face for a moment. Our flowers were by Jane Reidy, and I loved my bouquet so much I had it preserved! After the ceremony, we walked up to the Great Hall through the cobbled streets of Winchester. Saving on transport made for some really great memories – it was like having our own parade through the city.

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The Great Hall was perfect, and all credit to the amazing Winchester Council catering team as the food was amazing! I also still dream about our wedding cake, which we cut with a replica of Jon Snow’s sword from GAME OF THRONES (natch). The delicious croquembouche and wedding cake was by the amazing Le Papillion Patisserie in Woking, whom we met at the National Wedding Fair in Earl’s Court. After we went for a tasting there, we gorged ourselves on cake all the way home – it definitely confirmed we made the right choice!

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We danced our first dance to ‘One Day’ by Kiwi band OpShop, a reminder of just how far we’ve come in the six years since we met in a hostel kitchen in Christchurch, New Zealand. It was the perfect end to a perfect day.

And now, for the main event, our wedding video by Evan George…

The Wedding of Amy and David from Evan George on Vimeo.

(I recommend watching it in full screen and with the ‘hd’ button on, but there you go!) It includes footage from a DSLR camera, a go pro in my sister’s bouquet and a drone!!

I can’t thank him enough for capturing it so beautifully! <3

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A Southbank engagement shoot… and feeling not-so-grown-up

The wedding countdown is on… only two months to go.

By all accounts, we are so ready. Everything is on track, all the major bits and pieces bought and paid for, guests preparing to arrive…

But wow, guys. Marriage. For some reason I always thought I would feel older when I got married. I’m 28, and I always thought that by 28 I’d be way more grown up than I feel I am. I thought by now I’d be one of those women with a perfect beauty regime, impeccable diet, and fastidious work-out routine. Instead most of the time I fall asleep with my make-up on, eat too much cake at my desk and flail around at 30-day-shred. But then again, maybe you never really feel properly grown up. Especially when you work in children’s books every day!

Nevertheless, one of the wonderful stops on the wedding train was our engagement session with our brilliant photographer Melanie Woodward, of One Life Studio. She shot my best friend Sarah’s wedding last year, and so we immediately snapped her up for ours almost the moment we got engaged!

As some followers of the blog will know, my fiancé broke his ankle a few weeks ago and had to have surgery on it. We debated moving the shoot until after he had healed up, but decided to go ahead as planned – even with him in a cast! It is definitely ‘of the moment’ and captures this time in our lives with full accuracy!

Engagement shoots are, by their nature, pretty cheesy, but it was great to get to know Mel better and to learn to feel comfortable in front of the camera so that we don’t feel too nervous (at least, about the photography!) on our wedding day. I had been getting very nervous about that aspect of things, but having done this session, I feel so much better about how it will go on the day. We also have some lovely pictures of the two of us, which is also pretty rare, and I’m sure is something we will appreciate later on in life.

Lofty and I got engaged on the Hungerford Bridge between the South and North banks of the Thames, so it was only natural that we wanted to have our engagement shoot there! And just like on the day of our engagement, it rained – nice blow-dried hair went out the window! We started out by meeting at London Waterloo and walking to the London Eye. We also got a glimpse of how disabled unfriendly London can be.

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We stopped for an ice-cream – in the cold and rain! – but it made for a cute and funny photo 🙂

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A little stop by Big Ben – mandatory. At least the rain had driven away a lot of the tourists, so we could get some photos without crowds of people in the background.

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We also got on the carousel on the Southbank for some silly pics! I’m fairly certain Mel got pretty seasick with all the motion and colour. Worth it for these though! 

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And then on to the bridge where we got engaged…


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Ending up on the Northbank 🙂
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Bonus pic: the mandatory cast photo – this is the one we ended up getting a print of.

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Photographer: Melanie Woodward of One Life Studio

 

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A Canadian Tourist in London

Westminster Abbey
Thanne longen folk to goon on pilgrimages
And palmeres for to seken straunge strondes
To ferne halwes, kwothe in sondry londes;
(Geoffrey Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales, Prologue 12-14, “Then folk do long to go on pilgrimage, and palmers to go seeking out strange strands, to distant shrines well known in distant lands.”)

I’ve just returned from a day out as a tourist and I’m quite exhausted. It brings to mind what I’ll be facing over the next few months — and the fact that there won’t always be a relaxing sofa and a nice cup of tea to return to at the end of a strenuous day.  This is going to be an experience like no other. Even though I try to prepare as much as possible for the future by reading other people’s blogs, travel journals and gapyear messageboards, there’s no way to predict what’s going to happen — and that’s part of what is so exciting and nerve-wracking about this whole thing!

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Jolly Old England

It’s been over 48 hours since I left home, but I haven’t updated this blog. And it’s been over 10 years since I’ve left England, but it still feels so much like home to me that I don’t feel I really need to. This blog is supposed to be about my travels – coming to England is the long-distance equivalent of driving back to Ottawa .

Except, of course, that it’s not. These past few days have been so full of fun and exciting travel experiences that not to write about them would be a travesty. The coming week is filled with plans too, to those places I never visited when I lived here. And in order to keep the habit of writing about my travels, there’s no better time to start than the present.

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