Tuesday, 19 March 2019

Wedding Chat: Where Are We Up To With Planning?

Wedding Chat Where Are We Up To With Planning ItsHollieAnn.com
I knew our wedding would come around fast but as of today, it's 94 days until we get married. Where has the time gone? Since it's coming around so quickly I wanted to let you in on where we're up to with the planning and what we've still got left to arrange. 

I've mentioned previously that we're planning to elope and marry in Las Vegas whilst we're there in the summer - We booked the trip months before getting engaged but it seemed perfect to tie the knot whilst we're there since it's one of our favourite destinations. 

In terms of planning for the actual day in Vegas, our lovely planner Angelica is taking care of the bookings and logistics which takes a huge weight off our shoulders. I found our photographer through Instagram and she's now been confirmed along with the venue and officiant. Angelica has sent our flower requests over to the florist and is also taking care of our dinner reservations for the evening - She's a dream. We've yet to arrange transport from our hotel to the photo locations then on to the venue but Angelica has assured me that it's all in hand and  so I'm expecting an email about it any day now. We both know what we'll be wearing and so we just need to have some alterations taken care of and we're good to go. Of course, we'll need to sort a licence when we get there which should be easy enough after filling in a pre-application online. 

I've been pleasantly surprised by how stress-free organising a destination wedding has been. Angelica has been on hand whenever we've had questions and our photographer - who I'm keeping a secret because I can't wait for you to see the photos - has been equally wonderful in helping us with everything we've needed. 

In terms of the party or Wedding Celebration when we come home, again, I'm surprised at how stress-free the planning has been. Since we were planning this wedding in less than six months, the date and venue were chosen almost straight away with us securing the only available Saturday until the end of the year. This meant the Save The Dates were sent out less than three weeks after us getting engaged and I've got the invitation template ready to follow as soon as we've confirmed the guest list. 

Our food and drinks are being taken care of by the venue as is the lighting, we just need to select some additional decorations to make the venue come together. We picked a DJ after his bio read 'Not your usual cheesy DJ' which was perfect and he's also an aspiring photographer so he'll be taking some very candid shots when he's not playing the best of our mostly 80s playlist. We're undecided as to whether to do favours as it's not a sit-down meal or an actual wedding so to me, it doesn't seem necessary. Oh, I almost forgot to mention that we've also chosen our cake after going tasting a few weeks ago - I'm so excited for it, you wouldn't even believe. In terms of what to wear, my other half is sorted. I'm undecided as to whether to wear the same outfit I get married in or something completely different - Truthfully it depends on whether I ruin it in Vegas which is highly likely unfortunately. 

Rings! How did I almost forget? We're still deciding when is best to get our rings because we don't want to get them too early and our finger sizes change for whatever reason. I also need to have my engagement ring resized, yes again, so we're trying to work out when is best. We have Rob at Tiffany on hand so he's ready to go when we are - We'll probably leave it until late April or May I imagine. 

Hen parties, a very apt question for two ladies getting married - We've decided to have one together. We weren't going to have one at all but one of our good friends insisted it'd be a good laugh and something us girls can all do together. We have the same friends so it didn't make sense to have separate parties. I'm forever hoping they're keeping it casual and so far I've heard Liverpool and pub-golf being thrown around which works perfect for me. Fuss free and so chill - Like our entire wedding. 

I didn't think I'd have a lot to update you on but boy, here you go. To be honest, we're very nearly done as we have been since the end of January. There's just a few little things to confirm/organise and then we'll be done. I thought this process would be a lot more stressful since people throw the term Bridezilla around like it's this mythical creature every bride-to-be becomes but truthfully we've enjoyed it so much and haven't been stressed once. It's been good. 
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I'd still love to hear your best wedding planning tips since we still have a few things to do. Oh, one more thing, I'm double-barreling my name. How very 2019.

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Sunday, 17 March 2019

Our Easy Chili Con Carne Recipe

Our Easy Chili Con Carne Recipe - ItsHollieAnn
We make a chili every other week in the colder months and last week was no different. When I was tucking into leftovers, I asked over on my Instagram if anyone would like me to share the recipe and since everyone said yes, here it comes.  

INGREDIENTS 

500g 5% Fat Mince
400g Chopped Tomatoes
415g/1 Can of Baked Beans
405g/1 Can of Kidney Beans
300ml Beef Stock
1 Onion
1tbsp Tomato Puree 
2tsp Cumin
1tsp Ground Coriander
1tsp Lazy Chili/1 Chopped Chili 
2 Garlic Cloves

METHOD

Fry the mince and onions together until the mince browns, breaking down the mince with a spoon if necessary. Add the garlic and chili and stir in until distributed then add the cumin and ground coriander. Once the mince is coated, add in the tomato puree and beef stock and let everything reduce.

When reduced almost entirely add the chopped tomatoes and stir in before adding the kidney beans and baked beans. Bring to the boil and then let simmer to the consistency of your choice - We like plenty of sauce if we're eating it with rice but not as much when eating with tortilla chips.

This recipe makes 4-6 servings depending on size. We'll often store leftovers in the fridge and eat it a day or two later. 
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This is honestly one of our favourite meals, I'd love to know if you make it too. 

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Sunday, 10 March 2019

Turning 24 & Reflecting On The Past Year

Turning 24
I turned twenty-four on Wednesday and after just getting over a two day hangover (my friends are the worst influence) I'm finally ready to have a little chat and reflect on the past year and what's coming up. 

Twenty-three was very fun and, dare I say, it was the first year I really felt like I had my life together. I started the year making more effort with friends, finally parted ways with others and  throughout the year reconnected with people I'd lost touch with years before which felt great. 

We took another trip to Las Vegas and this was probably our favourite trip yet. We hung out, just the two of us, ate lots of amazing food and just spent the week being us. 

In the summer, I talked about selling your skills and the tips I shared helped me land a two month secondment in my company's US office, something I never even thought was in reach. I left my girlfriend behind to spend eight weeks in Charleston, a city I'd always wanted to visit, and became friends with people I couldn't imagine my life without. 

It was great experience and whilst I'd already decided I didn't need a five-year plan,  it really put things into perspective in terms of what I wanted out of my relationship, my job and life in general - It also made me realise things I didn't need. What I got out of that trip was more than I'd ever expected and I'm so glad I took the plunge and did it - Even if I did have a minor breakdown in Philadelphia airport en route.

I got home just before Christmas and to my surprise on New Years Eve, my girlfriend asked me to marry her. Of course, I said yes and so we've spent the last two months planning our wedding and that's just one reason why this year is going to be so exciting. 

Not only are we taking a trip to San Francisco and Las Vegas in June but we're also getting married whilst we're there.  We're then planning a party with our nearest and dearest when we come home before honeymooning in Rome, Paris and Kos later in the year which we're both over the moon about.

There's something about twenty-four that just feels right. I feel like I'm exactly where I'm meant to be. This last year was absolutely incredible and though the hangovers are already worse, I feel like twenty-four is going to be my favourite year yet.

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Sunday, 3 March 2019

This Years Travel Plans & Our Honeymoon Destinations

This Years Travel Plans & Our Honeymoon Destinations
It's taken us about a month to finalise our plans but we've now marked our calendars with the trips we're taking in 2019. We're packing a lot more than usual into this year but it's going to be ridiculously exciting. So where are we heading?

SAN FRANCISCO & LAS VEGAS

The first trip in our diaries this year takes us back to the US. We'll be heading to San Fran for the weekend before heading to Vegas for a week. I'm super excited for San Francisco having not visited before but we're only in the city for a few days so we're trying to be selective about what we do. We'll then take a short flight over to Vegas for a week where we'll get married and relax.

ROME & PARIS

The first of our honeymoons, Rome and Paris. Two cities I can't believe we haven't visited. We actually planned on taking these trips separately so we could spread them out over the rest of the year but the price of flying to Rome, Paris and then home was far less than one trip to Rome and one trip to Paris so we're doing it all in one. Plus, since we weren't able to make it to Paris last year, there's no way we're missing this year. We're going to spend three days in each which will hopefully be enough time to see the sights, drink lots of wine and eat great food. 

KOS 

I've talked about how much we loved Kos previously and our first trip is one we still reminisce about now which made it the perfect place for us to honeymoon. We loved everything from the scenery and the people to the town and the food and so I'm really excited to be heading back later in the year. We decided to treat ourselves to 10 nights so we're really able to unwind and conclude the year we got married. 
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I'm so happy that we've finalised our plans and that I can now share them with you. I honestly feel like this is going to be one of the most exciting years not and not just for travel. I'm excited to see what else it will bring. What are you travelling to this year?

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