Friday, 30 July 2010

a traitor to the cause?

You may have noticed that there have been no diet updates for a while. This is not because I've fallen off the wagon - I definitely haven't. But because I felt like a bit of a traitor to the cause.

Non traditional wedding blog land - which I think I can safely say, is where we pretty much all live - is all about being searingly honest and practicing love and self acceptance. I keep reading blogs where people talk about how they've accepted their weight in the run up to their wedding, and blogs that make a point of celebrating deliciously curvy brides.

These are great things. I love that it's this way. Self-acceptance = effing brilliant.

But I felt like that by posting my weight loss up here, I was somehow being a bit of a traitor to all that. Shouldn't I be practicing being happy as I am?

(You should all know, by the way, that I'm talking about more than a few kilos here. I still have much weight to lose.)

I don't think it has to be this way. Self acceptance is good, but then so is self-awareness and knowing what matters to you.

We all know that weddings are a stake stuck in the ground of life: a markerpost, an important point that we want to remember. That's why we spend money on them and spend so long thinking about the ritual of it all, even if we're going against the tide. Rituals they still are.

I had decided long ago to lose some weight. I was sick of feeling like I wasn't myself, and like my body was an impediment to my life. The knowledge of the wedding added to that: the stake in the ground held a post saying: 'this is the start of a new phase in your life. How do you want it to begin?'

Yes, I'm a dieting bride-to-be. What a terrible cliche. But we're all going on, or have been on journeys here (ugh, I sound like I'm on some sort of reality TV show) and here I am, on two.

We make a big point of being accepting of curves and of people of all shapes and sizes. I certainly know I do. Happiness, not size, is what matters.

But dieting is the big shame, implying judgement of people who aren't dieting and of people who accept their shape. It's neither of these things. But considered, sensible dieting - a change in the shape you accept - should be as celebrated and accepted as any blog post on why you love yourself, and everyone else, just as they/you are.

I love that I'm losing weight.

(For those of you wondering: just over two stones (12.7kg) lost, four or five (25-31kg) more to go)

Thursday, 29 July 2010

on asking your friend to marry you

So at the weekend (you may have seen the drunken tweet), we asked our friend to marry us. Not as in put rings on our fingers (duh!), but as in conduct our ceremony.

A friend who's never done anything like this before. For two people who dont' really know what they're doing but just have an inclination that this could be fun and mean something good.

But to begin the story proper, let's go back a few steps.

When we first got engagaed, J joked and said we should ask this friend to marry us. He's got the right sort of personality to manage a crowd, and once, years ago, as a sort of joke, got ordained on the internet (not that we're religious, it just seemed like a relevant daft detail to add in here). I agreed that he would be brilliant.

But I didn't like to ask a friend, and as you may have seen from previous posts, I thought we should get a humanist as a sort of middingly official option.

So we went and met the humanist. She was very nice. But J was not keen. Not keen at all.

"Why would we have a stranger do it? We might as well go to a church and have a vicar that doesn't know us as have someone else who doesn't know us."

Also, humanists weddings aren't cheap.

J was set on asking the friend from the start. I wanted to as well, but part of me felt bad asking a friend and thought a more formal option would go down better with our families.

As it turned out, I was wrong. We would ask our amazing friend.

So we met our friend at the pub. I'd asked J to let me be the one to ask him. We started drinking.

We drank some more.

Then we squeezed in another before going to the restaurant.

Then we tootled off for dinner. We drank an entire bottle of wine over starters. Then we got a second

J kept looking at me. I couldn't honestly conceive of how to broach the subject. So the second the friend mentioned the wedding (in passing, I may add), J leapt in.

"Actually, we needed to ask you something about that."

Cue me. Everyong looking at me.

"Ummm... Well. Umm."

Then altogether in a rush:

"Wellwhenwefirstgotengaged, Jsaidweshouldaskyoutomarryus, half-joking"

Then calmer:

"But then we thought about it, and it didn't seem like such a joke. We went to meet a humanist but it's not for us. We thought a friend could do it, maybe - but the only friend who we know could do the most amazing job, is you."

If I didn't know how to ask, then he didn't really know how to answer. He said yes immediately, though flustered and he kept saying it was the most amazing thing to ask and a complete honour."

We all hugged many times. By this time, however, we were red wine-happy, muddling our words, knocking bits of food on the floor and very nearly causing a red wine lake across the table. I think there might have been some slightly misty eyes. There were certainly some brilliant hangovers.

Monday, 26 July 2010

congratulations... My Spare Thoughts', who is now betrothed!

Hope you had an amazing day - and continue to have them for evermore.

We want to hear all about it!

quick repositioning

Sooo. Last week, I may or may not have been thinking that I wasn't so fussed about the little details - that they seemed like a lot of work and that maybe they weren't important.

Well, in the grand scheme of things, they aren't important - not compared to basically joining myself to another person. But after spending two full hours on the amazing iDiY last night, I sure as hell want some of these nice bits of stuff.

That's why it's good to have a blog, see. So all you lovely people can share in my stupid circular thought processes and fickleness.

(All photos from iDiY)

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

the details

I love looking at wedding pics. On Facebook (hello friends of friends - do you know I'm stalking your wedding?), on blogs, in magazines.

I find myself cooing over all the little details. OoOOOOoooh. Look at those lovely little things on the tables. Look at the favours. Look at those cute letters and the arty craftness of it all.

And then I think: Hmm. I am not sure about this.

If you look at our wedding, from a distance, I like to think you'd see a big group of tipsy people all acting daft.

If you look at the photos, I think you'll see people. And then more people. Maybe us. And then maybe a nice view.

In years to come, I'm going to want to look back at the pictures of people, and us. Maybe one or two of the view.

I'm not sure I will ever want to look at an artfully arranged table displays or other bits of crafty ephemera or photos of my shoes looking arty in the grass with the wedding rings around the heel? Or will I?

If there are details, I think they need to be edible. Sweets are good. Letters are horrendously expensive. Bunting is good - it can be made in large volumes and at low cost. Massive jars of sweets are good. Tasty.

But what else will people remember? Do these things matter?

Monday, 19 July 2010

washing up

So we were trying to have a serious conversation about the act of marriage.

Or rather I was.

J was trying to wash up while I cooked so that we could both sit down and drink beer/gin. I like to do this sometimes – try and have serious chats about marriage at inopportune times – because I’m an idiot, and I worry that we’re not thinking hard enough about it. When of course, that’s not true at all.

This particular conversation centred around the fact that marriage isn’t passive: J had said something about getting married just confirming our relationship and I disagreed. I said that it was something active, something we were making a statement about and a break from our families in order to create something new*. (Note: J didn’t say it wasn’t any of these things. I KNOW he understands this too. But you know, I am an idiot and felt that the point needed reiterating.)

*I may have been reading a few wedding blogs along these lines.

Me: [Very serious] It’s not passive. We’re not just blindly following a path that leads to marriage. We’re actively creating something new. I’m going to be your family, your immediate family. We’re creating a new unit...

Him: [Robotic voice] Unit 5718 has been created. Former units: IRRELEVANT.

And then I started laughing, and told him that if he could just carry on like that, we’d be fine.


Total number of wedding things achieved this weekend:

1. Buy card for trying out invitations.

That's it.

Ta daa!

I need to get better at this.

Friday, 16 July 2010

lovely thing #4

I realised I haven't done one of these for a while. This is my occasional series of lovely things I find and decide I'd quite like to have at the wedding.

Here is lovely thing number four: sparklers. I bloody love fireworks and sparklers are part of that. I'd really like fireworks at the wedding, but they may be a bit pricey - need to investigate.

Here is a brilliant pic (from Love and Lavender)

Thursday, 15 July 2010


Today shall henceforth be known as the day of the lists.

During my journey to work, I had no less than three moments of 'oh shit I can't forget that' wedding panic. On arriving at my desk, I started three separate lists ('add to guest list', 'buy for wedding' (list includes 'straws - yes, insane) and 'invitations') and started to plan what I would be buying in my lunch hour.

Is this what every day for the next year and a bit will be like? Damn. I'm going to be making a lot of lists.

Monday, 12 July 2010


I realised, after reading a few other blog posts about engagements, that I've never written here about mine/ours.

The reason it took so long is basically because it contains a rather unique detail that would mean I would be instantly unmasked if anyone I know were ever to stumble on this blog.

So here's a disclaimer. If you read the story below and think you know me in real life, please do not mention it to me. Just read on, chuckle to yourself and don't tell me. I don't mind you reading my blog, but don't let me know.

Insane disclaimer over. Now for the story.

I've been with Mr Bunting for nearly nine years now. When we got engaged, it was during a weekend away for our ninth anniversary.

We'd talked so often about getting married, and he'd never wanted to. There had been a time when I desperately, passionately, wanted to be his Mrs. He was away a lot for work: I wanted to be something legally; his next of kin. I wanted to be official.

But he didn't see the point, and I completely came round to his view. It's ok: we were a modern couple and I a modern woman. We didn't need it. In fact, I started to embrace this mindset a little too eagerly, I think, for when it came, I was in this completely 'other' state of mind.

But to rewind. I had booked a hotel for our anniversary; the first time we'd ever celebrated it with something other than a steak or a takeaway. Two weekends into the future, we'd be going away for a weekend with both sets of parents. Then a week after that, we'd have a Christmas party with all our friends. Once proposed to, I immediately thought he'd seen an opportunity too good to miss, but he maintains this fortuitous set of future plans never entered his head.

He'd had a few hard weeks at work. We'd spent many days talking quietly, having long walks, helping him feel better.

When we went away after this, he was shifty. We walked around the new Ashmolean and I kept feeling his clammy hands, which he blamed on the air conditioning. I didn't twig.

Later on, he wanted to walk along the canal. I said I wanted to go around the shops and look at the Christmas lights. He acquiesced: unusual for a man who hates shops.

Two hours before we were due to get our train, he dragged me to a pub. We sat outside at a creaky table in the corner, raised on an odd sort of decking pedestal. His behaviour got more odd and his eyes misted up as he reached over to his bag, got down on one knee and produced a beautiful wooden box, and inside...

a hula hoop. Salt and vinegar flavour.

He was down on the floor and I was, I think, hyperventilating. Oh yes, very much the disinterested modern woman. I had thought he didn't want to, and I couldnt' quite understand what had just happened. Then I started laughing. It took me about 20 minutes to say yes while I hyperventilated and he cried and told me that it was the past few weeks that had changed his mind.

I didn't believe it until I asked if we could buy a ring the next day. Until then, I thought he meant 'let's get married at some indeterminate point in the future'.

That night, we went back to the hotel and got amazingly drunk together over a lovely dinner that I can barely remember eating. I found out that morning he'd ordered a bottle of champagne to be sent to our room when we got back, and told the hotel of his plans to make sure he wouldn't bottle it.

I told work colleagues on Monday, but just one friend (the only other engaged one) before telling our parents together two weeks later (a lovely secret), and our friends at the party.

And yes, I still have the hula hoop: ring #1.


Two weekends ago, we went to Cornwall. We went to see Doves and Mumford & Sons at the Eden Project (readers from the early days may remember how much I love Mumford & Sons) and it was goddamned bloody brilliant.

I now don't just love Mumford & Sons, but massively fancy the lead singer. Oh for shame...

I'd sell a kidney to see them on their London tour later this year, but it's sold out already. (I went online the second we got back to try and buy tickets for their London gigs, which had just gone on sale. I was so dismayed to discover they'd sold out that I seriously considered shelling out £70 for one on a ticket exchange).

When we arrived on Friday, we discovered there were still tickets left for Calvin Harris on the Saturday, so we ended up seeing that too.

So this is what that weekend looked like:

Check out that sky. I kept craning my head back to look at it.
There was a bit of this:

And these flowers, which I pointed out to J (oh yes, you get an initial now. I felt stupid referring to him as bf) were the colour I'd had in mind when I'd told him I might want to get married in a blue dress. I'm not sure the picture does them justice.

This weekend was wild swimming and fruit (and veg) picking. We jumped in the river Thames and gorged on broad beans and raspberries. This was my view on Saturday, and what the whole weekend looks like in my head.

Thursday, 8 July 2010

some musings on hen nights

Some years ago, I worked on a boat. One of those boats that trundles up and down a river full of drunk people on Christmas parties, or, more often, drunk women on hen nights. (Stag nights/groups of men weren't allowed, as they too often ended up overboard.)

One night we had no less than seven hen parties on the boat. All small groups of women. All wearing pink sashes and penis deelyboppers and trying to snog the DJ. At one point, one of the women started slagging off the bride in another group. They starting having a bit of an argument.

The evening ended when some more women got involved and a fight broke out, culminating in a headbutt that knocked out three teeth. We had to call the police and send them wait for the boat at the next lock, whereupon an amusing period of time passed where we had to keep the women bodily apart while the boat rose up comedically slowly in the lock. Then we bundled them off into the arms of the law, missing teeth and patches of hair.

The rest of the evening was rather subdued. Another fight happened when we got back, but it was in the car park and so the captain decided to leave them to it.

Other than the ones I served at during my long years of student bar work, I’ve only ever attended one sort of hen night – a meal in a horrendous steak house, followed by drinks in a dodgy bar. It wasn’t great.

The other day I was invited to another one, up north. There are so many activities, bar visits and meals scheduled in that a conservative estimate of cost comes in at around £250. This is for someone I’ve not seen in a decade. I’d like to get to know her again, but I’d like our first meet up in ten years not to cost several hundred pounds.