What I loved this month: July 2018

I’m not quite sure where July went, its absolutely stormed by. Amazed that it is already time for me to right this blog, and to be honest struggling to remember what I did this month apart from masses of editing! I was shooting Rosie & Davide’s wedding last weekend and now have a 6 week break before the next – I’m not quite sure what I’ll do on my Saturdays now!

Here is what I loved in July:

  1. My bike

With the heatwave sweeping the UK, by the middle of June, and after 4 years of sweating it out, I decided enough was enough on the central line. I had been deliberating buying a bike to cycle into work for a few months but always put it straight out of mind thinking it was too far/dangerous. But I was fed up of dreading my commute home so went ahead and bit the bullet. I did a few test runs on an OFO bike and after the first run was in love with cycling. I bought myself a Dawes Duchess and it is my new baby! This was my first full week cycling everyday and its been so great – my commute now feels like a little adventure and I appreciate London so much more – being able to cycle through Victoria and the Olympic Park every day is a real joy. Admittedly.. my opinion may change when the colder, wet weather creeps in but I’m determined that my central line days are over.

My Duchess Dawes blue bike in Victoria Park

2. How Not To Die

In my last post I had just started reading this but raved about how interesting it was. The book is essentially a list of the worse diseases and how your diet can help to prevent/cure them – your diet being a plant based one. It’s really eye opening and I can recommend it to anyone.

How Not to Die review

3. Buddha bowls

Influenced by the book above I’ve been trying to eat more of the ‘Daily Dozen’, which are the 12 ideal foods to eat everyday to fight off disease. With the summer heat as well, my fav dinner has become a buddha bowl where I can just chuck in all sorts of veggies, protein and some grain. Topped with hummus, always.

4. The Staircase

Our show of the month on Netflix was definitely The Staircase. For any Making a Murderer fans.. this is for you! Following the story of a man who found his wife lying at the bottom of their stairs dead and the subsequent police investigation, this will be your next binge. I’m not going to give much away so just go watch.

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Reading wise this month, apart from How Not To Die, I’ve been limited – normally I would read for about an hour everyday on the tube but thats now gone! So the only other book I read this month:

The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks: This was part of Amazon’s 100 books to read in your Lifetime so I decided to tick that one off. It was a very dark read, and as a vegan, with the numerous cases of animal cruelty in it, I had to remember this was just a book. I really enjoyed it though and the ending was a huge twist! 3/5

Caroline x

What I loved this month: June 2018

Hello all! Hope you have been enjoyed the wondrous summer we seem to be having! This blog is a little bit late as June was the craziest month of the year for me. I had 3 weddings, and ended up doing a 10 day trip to Tokyo with my day job as a video producer! The month has flown by, and I can’t believe I am over the hump of my 2018 weddings season already. So here’s a round up of what I loved in June:

  1. Tokyo

I was in Tokyo directing a video shoot for 5 days and then took 5 days to myself to explore the city, as this was my first time in Japan – and my first time travelling alone.  I will be doing a separate blog on this, but will just round up by saying it is the best place. I felt so at home, and whilst everyone says Tokyo is this crazy, busy place, I actually found it very relaxing. My highlights were strolling the Imperial Palace Gardens on a Sunday, spending Saturday night playing old Sega video games in Akihabara, and vintage shopping in Shimo-Kitazawa

Akihabara skyscrapers at night in Tokyo

2. Japanese Wellness

Having visited Japan, I am so intrigued by their approach to food and wellness. I can tell you I didn’t see any overweight Japanese people while in Tokyo. On the weekend it felt like everyone was being active – so many cyclists and people out for strolls in the parks. I loved the way of eating as well – lots of smaller dishes with plenty of variety. I did struggle slightly finding vegan food places, but managed to battle on through and ate like an absolute queen while there. Below is one of my more beige meals.. but I loved the vegetable dishes I tried. I definitely want to read up more about the general Japanese approach to wellness, so if anyone can recommend any books or websites, drop me a comment below!

Vegan dining in Tokyo

3. The World Cup 

I wasn’t particularly excited about the World Cup before it started – I normally love the atmosphere but let’s face it, it’s also normally a bit depressing for England fans. I missed some of the first matches because I was in Tokyo, although did watch a Japanese game amongst the locals while I was there. Since getting back I’ve caught up a lot and the whole buzz around the England team at the moment is amazing. I haven’t enjoyed a World Cup this much since I was an early teen! It also feels like Gareth Southgate is going to be a national hero by the end of the tournament.

4. Yoga downtime 

In the peak of yoga season, it is very easy to 1) get super stressed and 2) be super achey from carrying heavy cameras around for 14 hours a day. I have been trying to do Yoga With Adriene religiously this month around my regular workouts, and it helps so much. Any photographers out there, I can suggest doing one the day after a wedding to loosen up your back and shoulders! I typically do a session right before bed and it helps send me right to sleep 🙂 After each of my long haul flights to Tokyo and back I also did this session, which I tell you – it was divine after being cramped up on a plane!

5. George Ezra 

‘Staying at Tamara’s’ really is the album of summer 2018, isn’t it? I listen to it most mornings – it’s the perfect uplift to get you in the mood for the day! I’ve also been enjoying the new Panic! at the Disco album, and Penguin Prison who I discovered the other day during a Spotify explore 🙂

Vinyl shopping in Brighton

My reading this month took a big hit – after spending most of my evenings editing, I do yoga then fall straight asleep. However, two 12 hour flights and several dinners alone in Tokyo meant I still ploughed my way through a few books:

  1. ‘Salems Lot – Stephen King. I did say in my last post how Stephen King has probably been my fav author since I was a teenager, and his books really got me through lots of travel this month! I could not put down ‘Salems Lot – the plot was definitely not what I expected but it was a terrific and chilling read. 5/5
  2. Bag of Bones – Stephen King. After finishing ‘Salem’s Lot, I chose this as the book to get my through my 12 hour flight to Tokyo. I read it on there until my eyes hurt! I’m not going to give anything away but it is another fab book and one you won’t be able to put down. 4/5

Having gone for two novels, I wanted to read a factual book next, and was researching Japanese wellness guides when I stumbled across ‘How Not To Die’. A few people have recommended this book to me, so I figured I would give it a try. I’m only about 30% of the way through but it is so fascinating! Written by a Doctor/Nutritionalist, the book goes through 15 of the major causes of premature death in humans, including the big ones like Heart Disease, and most types of cancer.  He goes on to explain the science behind each disease, and how nutrition and diet can hugely help to prevent or off set each. At so many times I have stopped and just been wow-ed by the facts he reels off. Don’t get me wrong, it is also a slightly scary book! The final section, which I haven’t got to yet, outlines how using scientific knowledge you can practically use your diet to stay healthy.  I get asked all the time why I went vegan – if anyone asks me again, I’m just going to direct them to read this book.

How Not To Die review

Hope you all enjoy July, and let me know what you’ve been enjoying! xx

Hertfordshire Wedding Photographer: Jonny & Jay’s spring engagement in Harpenden

I met these two on a drizzly Saturday night for their Harpenden engagement shoot. They had chosen the Nickey Line as the location – a fab disused railway line turned scenic walk.

Couple holding hands in woods with bluebells

Unbelievably, although it rained for my whole drive there, and my whole drive back, some how it stopped for the duration of our shoot, so thank you to the rain gods!

We ventured into the bluebell woods off the main track, and took some shots there. You wouldn’t really have believed it was nearly May – we were all wearing winter coats and the fallen leaves in the woods made it feel very autumnal. It was so muddy we did nearly take a tumble down a steep bank, so thank you Jonny & Jay for being happy to have a bit of an adventure!

Everyone should have someone in their life who makes them laugh as much as these two make each other laugh.

Couple stood in yellow rapeseed field smiling at each other

Engaged couple stood in middle of yellow rapeseed flowers

Our shoot was exactly 6 weeks before their big day, which I can’t wait for! Also super excited to find out what their honeymoon destination after is as it’s a surprise for Jay (romantic or what?)..

 

Get in touch now to book your 2019 wedding or an engagement shoot!

Caroline x

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Travel: Day Trip to Whitstable & First Outing for Fuji X-T2

Colourful row of houses and white picket fences on Whitstable seafront

A few weeks ago, I went to Whitstable for a day trip out of London with one of my best friends. We discussed doing some weekends away to get out the city this summer and see new places, but with busy schedules we ended up making our first attempt a day trip. For me, nothing beats a road trip, even if its a short one! I love the feeling of freedom – being able to jump in a car and go anywhere you want, at any time. 

We chose Whitstable because I know a lot of people living on the Kent coast who love it, and it was within easy driving distance (about an hour and fifteen from Wanstead in East London). Having just bought tickets to the ‘Silent Alarm’ anniversary tour that week, we pretty much listened/sang along to Bloc Party the whole way there.

Old architectural details on red brick building in Whitstable

Arriving at lunch time, we parked up in the centre of town and walked down the high street, towards the coast. The high street was just as you would want – beautifully quaint and with a true sense of being by the seaside, but not in a cheesy way. There were so many trendy boutiques and vintage stores – honestly, without restraint I could have spent a fortune.

Day trip postcard from East Quay Venue, Whitstable

We came out by the Harbour and wandered round the market – there were some really beautiful pieces of art, including some incredible landscape photography. We carried on down the seafront towards West Beach, stopping at the Old Neptune pub on the beach. Down this way, there were endless brightly coloured beach huts along the pebble shores.

Wide shot of Whitstable's west beach and the Old Neptune pub

After walking all the way down the beach, we backed up on ourselves down Island Wall. I loved walking past all the white washed buildings and choosing which home we would like to live in. They were all lovely and there was the real feeling of history. Whitstable is also home to a number of tiny alleyways leading off to who knows where!

Young woman walking past colourful beach huts

We stopped for a very traditional seaside lunch at Elliot’s, No 1 Harbour Street. Can definitely recommend it – we got chatting to our waitress, who also suggested we stop in at the New Inn pub, which we did after another coastal walk. We had headed towards the castle, which has really lovely gardens, and would be a gorgeous wedding venue! If you carry on up the seafront towards Tankerton, you pass loads more coloured beach huts, and can see for miles, out towards Clacton-On-Sea. Once we got back to the harbour, we came across the Oyster Shack. As we had already eaten, we didn’t stop in, but it would make an amazing date location or place for a beachside beer.

Over all, we had a great day on the Kent seaside, and I came home feeling like we’d had a proper break, despite only being there for the afternoon! This was also the first time I took out my new Fuji X-T2. I’ve bought it as a travel camera – it’s around half the size and weight of my Canon 5D, so definitely something more appropriate for just sticking in your handbag and carrying around all day. I can’t tell you how different I found it though – the EVF (electronic view finder) really threw me for the whole day! It’s a bizarre thing to get used to. Also just buttons being in different places, and actual dials for settings meant it took me forever to set up a photo (I always shoot in manual). It’s going to take some used to, and I can’t wait to properly test it out more after wedding season. Any images you see in this blog were taken on it, with a Fujinon XF 18-55mm. I want to gradually invest in some other lenses, but figured this was a good starting point. I’ve also bought an adaptor which means I can use my Canon lenses on it for now (only in manual focus). Photographers amongst you, keep an eye out as I will probably do a more lengthy review of the XT2 once I’ve had a good chance to play with it.

Caroline x

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What I loved this month: April 2018

Speeding through 2018 aren’t we? I’m happily sat writing this at my new desk, absorbing these moments of peace – from now, my diary is completely full booked until August. What madness, but excited for plenty of weddings and fun times.

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This month I’ve been really focusing on trying to balance a crazy work life, with finding time to destress and relax. This has been something I’ve been increasingly working on for the past year – possibly through me getting older(!) and generally getting more mindful about how I spend my time and what makes me happy.

So in line with that, you may see some certain themes popping up in this month’s post of what I’ve been loving:

Happy Place podcast - Fearne Cotton

  1. Happy Place Podcast by Fearne Cotton

I’ve really gotten into my podcasts this year and tried out Fearne Cotton’s ‘Happy Place’ this month. They’re a joyful listen and she has some great speakers on, talking about how they find happiness and peace in their busy schedules. Dawn French was one of my favourites!

2. Exploring Scotland – The North Coast 500

So this technically was only this month, and it already feels forever a go, but our trip to Scotland at the start of April was so needed! We drove the North Coast 500, billed as the UK’s version of Highway 1.. and boy, I can see why. Driving through, there were several bits which reminded of Big Sur. It was so scenic, with ever changing landscapes – lochs, snow covered mountains, plains, the seaside.. everything you could want. I’ll write a separate blog on this as there was just so much to talk about, but I can definitely recommend this as a trip.

Wide image of Kylesku Bridge and surrounding mountains

3. Engagement season kicking off

Well, wedding season has well and truly started, with pre-wedding shoots galore this month. My first was Hollie & Jon’s Brick Lane shoot. I’ve never done a proper urban shoot like this before, so really enjoyed doing something a bit different, and these two were super lovely. Check out my blog post to see the shoot in full.

4. Throwing myself into plenty of books

I’ve read so much this month! It’s been completely blissful 🙂 This month I made it through:

  1.  The Mountain Shadow –  Gregory David Roberts. The sequel to Shantaram, I bought this immediately after I finished the first book. I have to say, I was so disappointed! The plot was just terrible, and it had all the feeling of ‘I have to write this as a follow up, but I’m not really sure where I’m going’. It had lost all the magic of the first book. Sorry, Shantaram.  2/5
  2. The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood. Set in a dystopian future, I’m sure loads of people have heard about this book through the TV series. For something written in 1985, it was so ahead of it’s time in picking up on challenges the future may hold if we don’t change our way. Obviously, it took it to an extreme, but the concept was fascinating. I ploughed through this in just a week! 3.5/5
  3. Bossypants – Tina Fey. I figured I would go for something a bit lighter after the last two books, so went for Tina Fey’s autobiography. A short read, it had me laughing out loud on the tube and is worth reading if only for her responses to internet trolls. 3.5/5 

I’ve now gone old school and am reading ‘Murder on the Orient Express’ – my first ever Agatha Christie novel!

5.  Whitstable

A few weeks ago, I took a random road trip with my bestie to Whitstable. It was the perfect distance away for a day trip from London, and we had a blast driving down there singing loudly to Bloc Party the whole way. Whitstable itself was gorgeous – so quaint and  relaxed, it was exactly what I wanted from a British seaside town! We walked along West Beach and stopped at the Neptune Pub, saw a ridiculous amount of coloured huts, roamed the back streets of white washed buildings, and had a traditional seaside lunch before heading home. I came back feeling like the weekend had been really well spent, even if we had only been there a few hours! We definitely want to do more day trips, so if anyone has suggestions of places within easy reach of London, comment below 🙂

Wide shot of Whitstable's west beach and the Old Neptune pub

Let me know what you’ve been loving this month! Caroline x

London Wedding Photographer: Hollie & Jon’s Colourful Brick Lane Engagement Shoot

Engaged couple cuddling in front of Whitby Street graffiti

At the start of April, I met Hollie and Jon by the the historic Ten Bells pub, ready for our Shoreditch street art engagement shoot. It was the start of the *good weather (*temporary), and by the photos you would think we were in mid summer thanks to Hollie’s gorgeous dress.

We set off down Brick Lane, with the first stop being one of my favourite street art locations – a small mews opposite The Monsoon restaurant, which is covered in large art works.

Working our way down to Shoreditch High Street and Box Park, we stopped at Hanbury Street, home to the wonderful Blitz vintage store, The Canvas Cafe.. and at the moment this huge sumo wrestler art. This is one of my favourite roads coming off Brick Lane – at the end of the road there are two huge murals, both of which we made use of for this shoot.

Couple walking past sumo wrestler street art in Shoreditch

I have never done a truly urban pre wedding shoot before – I normally tend to shoot at locations with plenty of greenery and natural settings, so this was completely different! However, working around the area everyday, I’ve always wanted to do a Brick Lane engagement shoot so really glad Hollie and Jon chose this as their spot. The sheer number of people about was a challenge but the colours, graffiti designs, and of course lovely Hollie & Jon made the whole thing super easy and enjoyable! It’s definitely one of the most vibrant engagement

Couple stood in front of love street art

The sun was just starting to set as we came to our final locations around Redchurch Street / Chance Street. Jimmy C’s art on Whitby Street have always been some of my favourite pieces here, so I was really glad to get his portrait of a woman included in the shoot.

Couple holding hands next to graffitied wall

Couple holding hands against colourful wall with street art

Natural photo of couple smiling at camera against street art graffiti

Get in touch to book a shoot here, or check out my blog post on why I think pre wedding shoots are so important. For more engagement shoot ideas, head to my Pinterest board

Caroline x

A couple stood in front of a red, yellow and blue mural on Chance Street, Shoreditch

Travel: 5 days in Malta

Last month, I travelled to Malta for a short holiday. I went mainly to support my sister who was playing in the Women’s World Snooker Championships, but I’m also not one to pass up the opportunity to see somewhere new.

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As part of my ‘wedding bucket list’, I’ve always wanted to shoot a beach wedding so I decided I would also plan a styled shoot while there. I’ll writing a seperate blog on that, so keep your eyes peeled. Amongst all of that snooker watching and having wedding cakes/flowers etc arrive at my hotel, I’m glad to say we did manage to explore Malta 🙂

Loving a good road trip, we hired a car – always my favourite way to explore somewhere!

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On our first day, we headed to the north of the island and found a gorgeous secret bay, off a back road somewhere. This was probably my highlight of the holiday – the place was so secluded and peaceful. While there, we drove round another back road and came out in Imgiebah Bay, where we met a retired man walking. He was telling us he spent every winter in Malta, walking most days around the coast of the island. Sounds like my retirement dream! This coast line was so incredible, I can definitely recommend making time to walk there.

The west of the Island

Another day, we headed more to the West of the island. On our way to Dingly Cliffs, we stopped at Mdina, the ‘silent city’. We had a quick walk around the fortified town, exploring the narrow lanes within the city wall. It was seriously beautiful – very quaint, with gorgeous architecture and plenty of interesting nooks and crannies to find.

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Carrying on past Mdina, our sat nav sent us on what seemed the most random route – the track took us between farm fields, and then into narrow lanes which we barely fitted through (despite only being in a small car). Great fun though, and we eventually reached Dingly Cliffs. This side of the island is stunning – very dramatic coastline, and you can see for miles out to sea!

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We took the coast road further south and found the Blue Grotto, a natural cave formation in the cliffs. We stopped off at the small seaside resort next to it, Il-Qrendi, and had a stunning outdoor lunch by the sea. It couldn’t have been more perfect, as it was also the hottest day on the island since we’d been there.

Valletta

One evening, we drove into Valletta, the culture capital of Europe for 2018. We needed to cheer up my sister who had been knocked out the snooker, so stopped for cocktails at the Hard Rock Cafe in the harbour, before wandering up to the old town for sunset. And what a sunset we had! The skyline was absolutely stunning and I really enjoyed walking through the old streets as it got dark. We dined al fresco in a lovely square covered in fairylights, before heading back to the hotel. It’s a truly stunning city.

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Gozo

On our final day in Malta, we decided to catch the ferry to Gozo, having had recommendations we should see The Azure Window, a natural door formation which recently collapsed into the sea. It was such a windy day we thought we were going to get blown over the edge when looking into the Blue Hole, a natural swimming pool in the rocks next to the collapsed window. I can imagine what a gorgeous spot it must be for a swim in the summer.

As it was the final of the snooker that day, we decided we would squeeze in one more bit of sightseeing before rushing back to the hotel to watch it. We drove north to the Wied Il-Mielah, another natural door forming in the cliffs of Gozo. It was a lovely spot to see, although I stumbled up the steps and dented my wide lens… massive fail.

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Before heading back to the airport for our flight home, we were meant to visit the small fishing town of Marsaxlokk, but thanks to it being the closing ceremony of the snooker, and St Patrick’s Day the evening before, our heads were a bit sore! Cue napping before a slow journey to the airport. However, there is always next time! Would love to go back to Malta in the summer and make the most of the coast and secluded bays 🙂

Caroline x

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London Wedding Photographer: Why Is An Engagement Shoot Important?

'london engagement photography', 'wedding photography east london', 'engagement photography hampstead heath'

With all my wedding packages, I offer a free engagement shoot. Not everyone wants one, but I think they are really important, and heres why:

1. Get to know your Wedding Photographer and vice versa!

Engagement shoots are such a great way for me to get to know you, and for you to get to know me! I’m very relaxed, and generally like a good chat and a giggle with my couples while doing a shoot. I think it’s really important you feel comfortable around your wedding photographer, and an engagement shoot is a fantastic way to break the ice, and also for me to find out more about your wedding day!

2. Practice for the Big Day

On an engagement shoot I get to see how you and your fiance are with each other naturally, which guides the way I need to direct you on your big day. Some couples prefer being in front of the camera more than others, and I’ll work to get the best out of you both. By the time your wedding comes around, you’ll know exactly what to expect in terms of the way I work.

wanstead engagement shoot, wanstead wedding photographer, wanstead park bluebells, east london engagement shoot

3. It’s fun!

No but seriously.. it is 🙂 Even if you don’t like having your photograph taken! All of my couples come away saying they really enjoyed their engagement shoots. I try to make it as chilled out and fun as possible, and amongst the stress of wedding planning this can be an opportunity for quality time with your fiance!

4. Get some lovely photos of you together 

It can be rare couples get professional photos done together so this can be a great chance to get some nice shots of you together – No selfies or grainy mobile phone shots here 🙂  You can also then use the photos to create save the dates, table plans or decorations, or use on your wedding site.

If you are interested in booking an engagement shoot with me, or getting a wedding package, drop me a message 

Caroline x

London engagement shoot in front of Queen House in Greenwich

 

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What I loved this month: March 2018

 

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I have been a little quiet on the blogging side this month as this was my month of three styled shoots, so a little bit busy! Because of unexpected snow, it ended up being the month of two styled shoots, which was truly gutting. Still, two is better than none! So that leads me on to..

  1. My first destination styled shoot

I am so proud that I organised and photographed my first destination shoot, which took place in Malta. I couldn’t have done it without Planned by Tara, who managed to find suppliers and co-ordinate everyone – I never realised planning something abroad would be so difficult. We ended up with a fab group of suppliers and I ended myself so much on the day! This is just a small preview – I’ll write a separate blog post on the shoot where I will share all the details and full list of suppliers 🙂

 

2. My cacti inspired shoot

I have always loved cacti and succulents – my house is filled with them. They inspired me so much, I planned a shoot around them. Again, I’ll do a separate blog on this shoot, but heres a little preview.

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3. Malta

This month, I went to Malta for a short holiday with my sister as she was playing in the female World Snooker Championships over there. Around the snooker (and my shoot), we got to explore the island and I loved it! We hired a car as we love to get off the beaten track, and spent days driving around the coast finding hidden bays, little nooks and crannys, and generally admiring the natural beauty.

4. Day trip to the West

Last week, I had a shoot in Bristol, and while I was over that way, decided I should at least make the most of it and explore the Cotswolds a bit/see my family who live in nearby Cheltenham. I took the scenic route from Bristol and stopped off in gorgeous Painswick. The sun was starting to go down, but I fitted in a short stroll around the village – it was so beautiful and quaint.

5. Moo Free Easter Eggs 

I was a bit dubious about vegan chocolate when I first made the switch, but over the past few months I have found some super tasty alternatives. Wanting to spoil myself with an Easter egg, this week I bought Moo Free’s egg with Choccy Drops. It is delicious (I’ve actually been nibbling away on it while I write this). I am definitely going to stock up before they vanish from the shops (although a bit of a treat at £3.50 per egg).

I hope you all have a fantastic Easter! I am taking some time out, and going to Scotland with my other half, where we will be driving the North Coast 500. So excited to get out into insane scenery and explore the upper most parts of the UK! Follow me on Instagram for inevitable travel posts while I’m here 😉

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What have you been enjoying in March?

On a side note, I also took my first booking for 2019 this month. If you are getting married next year, get in touch to save your date!

Caroline x

 

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