Outfit of the week… 

Sooo I promised myself I’m going to make more effort with updating my blog in general AND my outfit posts it’s just so hard to find the time with two little monkeys. 

My youngest has cut his first two teeth, and I think he has his first bout of seperation anxiety which has resulted in him fussing at every nap and then last night, the worse nights sleep EVER! I don’t remember ever having a night that bad with his brother, but you do blank it out so maybe I am just forgetting.

So anyway, it’s autumn. My favourite season. So yesterday I dressed for autumn but was met with early winter and froze. So from now on I’m taking layers out for me and my boys and will be choosing comfort over fashion.. 

We had a family day at the museum yesterday and this is what I wore… 



I’m still living in high waisted jeans, but the 6 months of terrible eating has finally krept up on me and I need to do something now! For once I didn’t need to worry about a feeding friendly outfit as my monkey has started taking a bottle of expressed milk 🙌🏼, saying that I COULD feed in this top with no trouble 

Happy Monday people 

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My big fat Asian wedding 

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So this week marks THREE years of being married! And we sure have filled a lot into three short years.. moving to London, a month long honeymoon, some fun weekends away,  a month in Indonesia, two pregnancies, two babies, and a move to birmingham later.. here we are celebrating 3 years of being married!

Celebrating our wedding anniversary (not that we do much celebrating with two kids on board) always makes me look back on ALL of the photos and ALL of the videos, and of course Timehop and facebook memories send me daily reminders of what I was doing ‘on this day’ x years ago. So I can’t help but flick through all the memories fondly while I’m stuck under a nursing baby or catching a rare quiet moment while both boys are asleep.

So today when I was doing said above activity,  it occurred to me that I have never updated my blog on my wedding details as I had always intended (I had lots of intentions for this blog when I started it, but that was before any babies popped out and the reality of keeping it up to date and the visions I had in my head have sadly become just that.. ideas in my head).

So here goes.. (I’ll try to keep this as concise as possible). 

My big fat Asian wedding lasted just over a week, with three main events (traditionally a mehndi night occurs before the wedding, then the girls side host a baraat where the bride traditionally leaves her family for her husbands family, followed by the boys side hosting a walima to celebrate the marriage). We also had two dholki nights and a mayoun leading up to the Mehndi. Which are basically held in the homes of the bride and groom and consist of food, dancing, singing, and lots of fun.. Although I’m calling it my ‘big fat Asian wedding’ there’s something to be aware of. My husband is not Asian. So although we had a traditional Asian wedding, we did also have a reception (I guess you could call it the Walima as my husband organised the food as per Asian tradition) which was more of a fusion event of both cultures, and although we adopted many of the usual Asian traditions, the main wedding day especially was more of a mix.

In Asian families, the bride or grooms family very much host the parties, but as this is not tradition for my husbands family, all three events were hosted and organised by my family. So I had 3 big events to plan and prepare for.. (courtesy of my mum).

The Venue’s

The biggest and most stessful part about planning your wedding, is finding the perfect venue and setting a date. We wanted a summer weekend wedding but we were flexible with dates. I started looking for venues in January 2014 for the summer of 2014! Yup, I like a challenge. As we were doing things a little differently than a standard Asian wedding, I knew I wanted a smaller baraat day, and a bigger, more extravagant reception. So, I focused on finding the perfect reception venue, and with the help of my lovely mum and sister, we found the perfect venue and booked it within a week!

My criteria for a venue was:

  1. A country house/ stately home or something pretty with a garden or outdoor space
  2. Must seat 200 guests for a meal (it was a challenge to only have 200 guests as Asian weddings tend to be a lot bigger, but it was a trade off between the perfect enue or more guests.
  3. The venue needed to be licencesed for a civil ceremony (in Asian weddings the civil ceremony is often done as a separate event all together)
  4. Must cater for Asian/halal food or have a preferred Asian caterer.
  5. NOT a marquee.. although marquees can look amazing and are a blank canvas, I did not want to spend thousands to be sat in a marquee. I wanted to enjoy the venue itself, after forking out all that money! A marquee reception was a big no no for me.
  6. Location wise I wanted something within driving distance of birmingham, or between birmingham and Manchester.

Myself and my sister looked at venues online, and called around and any that looked like they met my criteria we arranged a viewing for, but to be honest not many venues did tick all of my boxes so we only ended up viewing 4 or 5. And one of them was PERFECT and had availability in August 2014, which was ideally when we wanted to get married! So we quickly booked the stunning Ragley hall for Sunday 31st August, and hoped we could make the other venues and events work around it.

I had always wanted my mehndi event to be at home, and luckily my mums back garden was a reasonable size to host a good sized marquee, so this was very much my preferred option but we still looked at different options. Dates and availability were proving challenging, not to mention all of the additional costs beginning to stack up. So we made a very bold decision. If we were having a marquee at home for one event anyway, we might as well do the baraat and mehndi both at home and have the marquee set up at home for a longer period, making the most of the cost of the marquee and giving us more flexibility on dates and caterers etc. It was going to take a lot more planning, hard work from me and my extended family, but getting married at home was so personal and I loved the idea.

The weekend before the reception was bank holiday weekend, and so we decided on the Saturday for the Mehndi, and the Monday for the baraat, followed by the reception the Sunday after at Ragley. So, I then called around and asked around and found a company willing to setup a marquee for 200 people in my garden, for the dates I needed… and just like that, by the end of January, our wedding dates and venues were sorted!

 

The Dress (or dresses)

Once dates and venues were all confirmed, the next important thing for me was getting my outfits sorted, as Asian clothes can sometimes take 3-4 months to arrive as they are often made to order. I love traditional Pakistani bridal clothes, which are not easy to get hold of in the UK, so I booked appointments at boutiques in birmingham and London, but being super fussy about the style I wanted I only looked in about five shops in total, and found my outfits super quick. Asian bridals in the U.K. come with a hefty price tag.  Luckily my mum agreed to give me a more than decent budget as it was still cheaper than the cost of a flight to Pakistan and back 😂, but I appreciate that my bridal outfits may not suite every budget, but there are more affordable shops out there and now more and more people are offering Pakistani bridals.

1.My Mehndi outfit..

Traditionally brides wear bright colours on their mehndi, yellow, oranges and greens are common. I wasn’t too fussed on my mehndi outfit, I wanted something nice and simple, as traditionally a bride dresses down on their mehndi with little or no makeup, so that they look even more stunning on the wedding day. In the end, I opted for a dress by Lavelle. Although I had 2 options and didn’t pick what I was actually wearing until the night before.. Story of my life I am super indecisive!

 

2. My baraat outfit

Traditionally Asian brides wear red (I’m not actually sure why), and although I was undecided on whether I would, after trying on a few red outfits I decided I would follow the tradition and found a stunning outfit by Ziggi’s Menswear sister brand Mehzabeen bridal.

 

3. My reception outfit.

I wanted something elegant and timeless and I wanted nudes/pastels.. and when I saw my outfit from Gul’s Style (in ilford), I knew I had to have it.

 

The food 

We worked with one of the approved caterers for Ragley for the main reception and they were amazing. The food was impeccable and they helped to organise the whole day and made sure everything ran smoothly and on time, so basically act as wedding planners also. I would highly recommend Five Rivers, and they work with lovely venues all over the U.K. We had many meetings at their restaurant in Walsall, where we ran over the minute by minute plans of the day, they really were amazing. For the two events at home, my family arranged a local caterer based on recommendations, and we made sure we hired caterers with waiters/waitresses and their own equipment as I didn’t want my family to have to do loads at the events. Although they failed to send the waiters on the mehndi so my family had to step up and do it.. I have the best family! (They also did all the clearing up and washing up for both events we had at home).

The venues, clothes and food are the main things to organise, so once this was done I relaxed a little as the rest were all the finer details that I then had months to organise. I set up some spreadsheets, one to manage my budget and keep track of what I was spending, one to list all of the vendors I was using and their details, one to create a guest list which then become an ‘RSVP’ tracker, and one to create an ‘order of the day’ for all three events.. oh and finally one spreadsheet was a to do list of what was needed with dates/deadlines and requirements. Sounds a bit complicated but it was super simple and helped me keep organised.

The Decor 

I wanted a bright and vibrant backdrop for the mehndi with lots of lighting, and hired events company Dream moments for both the events at home. They spent hours setting up and then turning it all around for the second event, where I wanted something a lot more subtle and elegant. They did an amazing job and were worth every penny. Myself, my sister and cousins made the centre prices for both the mehndi and nikkah and they turned out lovely! We also had a pick and mix stand and dessert table, all home made! For the reception at Ragley, I hired a florist to provide candelabras and flowerballs, to compliment the beautiful grand hall and colour theme. Fresh flowers are pricey, but I didn’t need to dress the room in any other way as the room was simply stunning.

 

 

 

The entertainment 

For me, this was the fun part!

The mehndi is full of lots of traditions and singing/ dancing, so the entertainment is pretty easy. We hired a Dj and I forced my cousins and close friends to practise a couple of dances to perform on the day, I even took part in one and I am a shocking dancer! Once the food has been served, the dance floor is cleared and the rest of the night is lots of dancing. So this was pretty easy to organise.

The baraat day is traditionally sad for the brides family as they ‘lose their daughter’ to their husbands family. This is not really the case in this day and age, but it still symbolises the change in dynamic as you leave with your husband and his family. So, there’s usually a sombre mood and not much singing/ dancing. We did have a Dj to provide nice background music for the event.

So basically, all of the entertainment was saved for the main reception. We had:

  • A harpist for the civil ceremony and drinks reception
  • A live singer during dinner
  •  Dhol players
  • A photo booth
  • DJ for the after dinner fun
  • Fire throwers in the beautiful gardens
  • And finally a lovely fireworks display to end the night

 

We managed to squeeze ALOT into the day as it really was such a lovely day. In fact, I loved all of my events so much. The months of planning, ALL of the spreadsheets and the stress all paid off and our guests enjoyed it as much as us (so I’ve been told repeatedly). I could not have done it without my mum and sister, and of course my husband! I think I was a relaxed and organised bride, which came down to my attitude, my spreadsheets, an the help of my family. I absolutely loved my wedding events, and loved this little trip down memory lane.. I hope you enjoyed reading, and just in case you arent already sick of our faces, I’ll leave you with some more images below..

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Outfit of the week 

So I’ve been sooo bad at posting outfit posts, mainly for a few reasons. Firstly I’ve been living in leggings, t shirts & pj’s. Secondly, as I’ve mentioned so many times, breastfeeding makes me SUPER DUPER hungry, so I just feel fat and frumpy! And thirdly 6 months into maternity leave the ££ has drastically reduced and if feel bad spending on clothes when the husband is paying. 

But anyway, here are a few to make up for the extreme lack of posts. And all are breastfeeding friendly 👍🏼

Cold shoulder jacket: Asos. On sale for £15, get it here

Leather look leggings: £16 by converse, available from asos Here

White flared t shirt: £15 by ellesse, available here here

Black furry slides: £6 from Primark

Peach double collared shirt now only £10 from Asos

Mom fit jeans by Monki, £40 from Asos

Suede effect sandals £8 from primark

White flared sleeves t shirt from Zara 

Mom got jeans by Monki 

Rose gold sandals from New Look now £8.50 at Asos

Denim flared top from Zara 

Monki mom fit jeans 

Rose gold sandals from New Look


Jumpsuit from Warehouse 

Brown crossed sandals from New look 

Breastfeeding in pregnancy 

Disclaimer.. this is ANOTHER post about breastfeeding, so if you have no interest in the topic feel free to skim past this one! 

Yes you read it right, breastfeeding and pregnancy can go hand in hand. Before being a mum, I wouldn’t have had a clue about whether it was possible to breastfeed when pregnant. And it’s unsurprising as so many people believe this myth to be true, even health professionals! In fact, even my mum thought this to be true, as advised by her midwife at the time. So, when she fell pregnant with me when my sister was 3 months old, she too stopped breastfeeding. 

It’s widely assumed that your body cannot provide the right nutrients for both baby in utero alongside your breastmilk. This is infact false, and many women feed their babies throughout their pregnancies and beyond and eventually tandem feed. 

Tandem feeding didn’t appeal to me whatsoever. And so when I fell pregnant with his brother when he was just under 1, I had to reassess my aim to feed him until he was 2. I just knew it wasn’t for me. Perhaps this was due to the mental and physical demands breastfeeding required, but also I just couldn’t imagine having two babies so dependant on me, and the logistics! 

And so I knew I wanted to stop feeding my eldest before his brother arrived, but I didn’t put a time limit on it and I wasn’t ready to stop to begin with, and neither was my food refusing nearly 1 year old. Yes that’s right, at 1 he was still yet to eat a full meal of anything, so had been relying on me 100%.. (see what I mean about it being demanding)! 

So I decided to just go with the flow. And my baby decided more and more that he would feed more and more than ever before which made no sense to me as he had previously only been feeding at naptimes (twice daily), bedtime, and for night feeds. But I kept at it nervously as it seemed like I would actually end up tandem feeding after all! My monkey just showed no signs of stopping, and it felt cruel to take away his only nourishment as he still wasn’t eating or drinking anything else. 

But then it started to get painful. REALLY painful, sore, cracked and bleeding nipples. But I still soldiered on, sometimes crying through the pain. For anyone that’s ever experienced the pain of early breastfeeding whilst your milk supply and babies latch is being established will know how bad this is. Only there was no end to this. Then, at around 20 weeks pregnant, my baby wanted to feed EVEN more, sometimes 3 or 4 times an hour and all night. It had become unbearable. But at 14 months old he had finally started to eat some solids. 

And then it hit me. The constant feeding but him never being satisfied, the pain, and the frequency, led me to the realisation that my milk had turned back to colostrum. And as he wasn’t established onto solid food or any other liquid, he was getting more and more frustrated as even though he was feeding more, he wasn’t getting what he needed. 

I managed 3 months of feeding him through the worse pain ever and and I was now 5 months pregnant. It all become too much, I needed my body back for a few short months before it all started again, and I needed a rest, and definetly some sleep. And so when my monkey was 15 months old I decided to stop breastfeeding him. It took 3 days of offering cuddles and snacks instead of milk, no tears and no fuss. I was shocked! But I also truly think it was a lot easier as he had not been getting any milk for weeks, maybe months and was actually just getting frustrated and fed up by this. 

I hadn’t actual decided to night wean straight away, I was still going to continue with one night feed until I was ready to tackle it, but I was shocked further when after day 2 he stopped waking for his night feed and slept right through.. which was of course a bonus! 

So yes, breastfeeding and pregnancy can go hand in hand, but just like breastfeeding in general, it will not be an easy ride and it takes a lot of effort and dedication. I was proud to feed my baby for as long as I did during my pregnancy but I was also so thankful for the few months break I got in between, and the sleep! 

I’d love to hear other mums experiences of feeding whilst pregnant, or if any of you were fabulous enough to tandem feed. Was it worth the pain and preserving or like me are you glad you stopped when you did? 

10 Tried and tested ways to get your newborn to sleep

I think almost every new mum has a few moments of madness where they just CANNOT get their baby to sleep despite trying everything in the world. And when they finally do sleep you run to the loo, put the kettle on, put some laundry on, then sit down to drink your cup of tea.. and just like magic they wake up! A whole twenty four minutes later! This ordeal is repeated multiple times a day until you are literally ready to tear you hair out.

So here I my tried and tested ways of getting a baby to sleep..

  1. Feed to sleep. This is the simplest, easiest method out of them all. Feed your baby until they fall asleep. Simple? Although many books, experts and other mums will tell you that you must absolutely NOT do this and you will ‘make a rod for your own back’ which is why I spent the first 9 months or so with my first little monkey avoiding feeding him to sleep but had an even worse ordeal in doing so. And now, my new little cutie will not feed to sleep and I so wish he would! Typical!
  2. Go for a stroll. This is a win win all round, baby gets fresh air and so do you (and a chance to burn some calories in an attempt to lose some baby weight.. only to go home and destroy a whole pack of chocolate biccys after 😂), and they will peacefully nod off. The only problem is if you have cheeky monkeys like me you have to keep walking the entire time you want them to stay asleep, otherwise they wake up the minute you stop!
  3. Take a drive. This is perfect if your feeling  to lazy to go for a walk or the weather is rubbish or your so shattered from trying everything else. But again, my monkeys will wake the moment the car stops!
  4. Wrap your baby. This worked like a dream when my baby was first born. I could pop him in my ring sling, carry on with chores and he would be asleep in minutes. But now he’s older he screams and screams when I attempt to put him in and my toddler is sat in the pram ready to go and gets impatient so when we attempt this we end up in a full blown disaster.
  5. Rocking.. This is another one that the ‘mum police’ will tell you to avoid unless you want to be rocking your child until they get married! But if it works you’ll do anything to get them to sleep when you so desperately want them too! You could also add in some humming and singing for quicker results.
  6. Humming or singing. Some babies will sleep to just music with no rocking involved.. worth a try!
  7. A bouncer/ swing. Your baby may weell fall asleep in these, perhaps with some encouragement (meaning rocking/ bouncing it so much it never stops). Mine very rarely did or do.
  8. Swaddling. This apparently works like a dream, if only you can figure how to swaddle without annoying your baby so much they are no longer tired from all the crying!
  9. White noise.. such a good way to calm down a screaming and overtired baby. You tube has many noises to choice from, or you can even just switch the tap on :). My baby seems to know the difference between ‘real’ white noise (the rap running) and ‘fake’ sounds on you tube, which my husband is rather unimpressed with as we have a water meter.. hmm.
  10. A combination of 1 or more, or ALL.. if your desperate like me, you might need to attempt more than one of the above. I rock, and sing AND use white noise all at the same time, until he finally nods off 🙂

You’ll be pleased to know, this mainly applies to the fourth trimester, after that, its easier to predict when you baby will be tired, and therefore easier to get them to sleep in a more ‘normal’ manner. So hang in there mama’s those first three months go quickly, and then you move on to new challenges!