Tag Archives: Family

Hire or buy your wedding suit?

Your beautiful wife to be has found the dress, the shoes and even the jewellery to match, but you still haven’t even Googled wedding suits.

So where do you start?
It’s your day too so you want to look and feel as dapper as possible yet you are still unsure whether to hire or buy your wedding suit.

First things first,ask yourself these 3 questions below, and you’ll be on the path towards making a decision.
1. What’s my Budget? If you are on a limited budget then you’ll most likely need to opt for hiring a suit.
2. How much time do I have? Tailoring a made-to-measure suit takes time so make sure you ask all the necessary questions before deciding.
3. Do I want to keep the suit? Keeping your suit is not like keeping a wedding gown. You will no doubt find many instances in which you will be able to wear it again. If this appeals to you then having a suit made to measure may be an option.

By now you may have an idea but just encase, I’ve put together a handy list of the pros and cons of hiring or buying your wedding suit.

Hiring your wedding suit.
Pros:

  •  If you’re on a tight budget it’s a great way to get a smart suit that won’t burn a hole in your pocket. Hiring your wedding suit is a popular option because you can wear designer brands without paying the hefty price tag.
  • If you’re getting married abroad and will have no use for a white linen suit when you get home it may be the sensible option.
  • If you are opting for a morning suit, it is unlikely you’ll have the chance to wear it again, so save your pennies and put it towards your honeymoon fund.
  • If you want to match your ushers, hiring all of your suits together can usually be done at a reduced cost.
  • If you lose or gain weight before the big day and your suit isn’t sitting right you can return it and get one that fits better with little to no fuss.
  • Dry cleaning fees are part of your hiring cost so you don’t have to spend extra money after the wedding getting it cleaned before you return it.

    Cons:

  • Your wife will keep her dress, but if you hire your suit, you will have no keepsake to look back on in 20 years.
  • If you are the sentimental type, you cannot pass down your suit to future generations.
  • You cannot guarantee that your grooms party will fit the select sizes in hiring suit shops.
  • Someone has to be in charge of returning all the suits after the big day, usually this is just a day or 2 after the wedding itself, you don’t want to be thinking of returning everything when you’re a hungover mess.
  • If the suit is damaged you will have to pay for it unless you have paid a damage waiver.

Buying a wedding suit
Pros:

  • You’ll get to own a fab smart suit you can wear time and again, at weddings, christenings and even funerals. Totally worth the money compared to your wife’s ornament. 😉
  • Having a suit made specially to fit is a total luxury, and if you can’t afford to splash out on your big day, when can you?
  • A tailored suit can be made to hide any areas you are self-conscious of such as wide shoulders or a large belly and can even make you look taller and slimmer.
  • You can try your suit on 10-15 years down the line and laugh at how married life has made you blissfully unaware of your expanding waistline! 😉
  • High street brands and online stores know that weddings are very expensive so they are now creating wedding wear that is both stylish and affordable.

Cons:

  •  It’s not a cheap option. A bespoke suit – made for you totally from scratch – can set you back at least £1000. A suit that has been tailored to fit can cost anything from £500 upwards.
  • 
It costs you time as well as money, there will be several fittings needed over the course of your suit being made.
  • Unless you buy the same suits for your best man and the ushers you may have to put up with not matching.
  • Accidents can happen and if your suit gets damaged in any way before the big day, you will need to fork out for it to be fixed and in extreme cases to be measured for a new suit.

Gary has decided that he wants a made to measure suit for our wedding. It’s an investment piece as well as a keep sake if nostalgia hits.

We were very lucky to be gifted this gorgeous suit from Dobell, Doesn’t it look sleek and sexy?

Front shot of Gary in the suit from shoulders down

Gary’s thoughts:

The suit fit comfortably the jacket wasn’t tight across the chest or back I felt I could move freely without it feeling too baggy. The style of the suit was excellent it could be used on multiple occasions, not just for a wedding. Possibly for a casual work suit or just a night out. The quality of the fabric and design of the suit makes this possible. The thing I like about suit trousers compared to a normal smart trouser is that they feel lighter and thinner making it easier for my legs to “breathe” and avoid getting too hot, these trousers were perfect for me as they felt super light on my legs and kept me from overheating. For me this was an excellent suit all round it was well made and fit me very well.
As Sassy stated before: I am looking to get a tailored made suit for the wedding but that’s only because I’ve never had one before and want to look my best on our big day and then I get to keep a nice well fitting suit. Depending on the style of suit you are having for an event will determine if you want to buy or rent, I would personally only buy a suit if I could use it more than once as they can be a lot of money.

Forward shot of Gary's suit jacket Full length side view of Gary in his suit

 

I hope this post has given you some useful information about hiring or buying your wedding suit.
Always remember to do your homework and shop around.There may be discounts or sales on, both online and in store, don’t just go for the first place you look at.
Happy hunting! 🙂

*This is a collaborative post with Dobell but all thoughts and opinions are our own.

20 Ways To Save Money on Your Wedding

With the average cost of a British wedding measuring a whopping £25,000 it’s no wonder people are searching for cheaper alternatives or budget tips.

For those savvy savers, or just looking for ideas to help cut costs i’ve compiled a list of tips to help you stretch your money a little further.

Get married on a different time of the week/ year.

If you get married on a weekday, or in Winter you can save anything from 1/3 to 1/2 off your bill.

Create a wedding website.

There are so many great wedding websites out there, which you can completely customise to suit your theme and personality.
This can save you a ton of money as well as being good for the environment.

Don’t get married in the traditional places.

Unless your heart is set on a church or hotel wedding, opt for local places you can hire and make your own.
Hire a farmers field and have an outdoor wedding.

Hold the ceremony and reception in the same place.

This can save you money on transport as well as stress.
Hosting the big day at a hotel or country house means you don’t have to organise transport and sleeping arrangements could also be included in the price.

Ask a friend/ family to be master of ceremonies.

If you want to make your ceremony more unique, ask a person you care for who is not shy with public speaking to say a few words.
This would not make the marriage legal, so you would have to get legally married either before or after your big day, this again could save you money because your are not paying extra for registry / minister fees.



 

Don’t mention the W word.

Whether you are doing your research online, on the phone or in person, do not mention to vendors that it is for a wedding when you are seeking a cost analysis.
Tell them it’s for a celebration or party, and once a price has been given, explain that it is for a wedding,

Only invite immediate family and friends.

This is definitely a tough one, especially if you both have large families,but weddings are expensive and the food per head is usually a large chunk of your budget.
Don’t invite colleagues, neighbours and distant relatives, this can definitely help trim the guest list down.

Ask wedding guests for their time/ talents as wedding gifts.

Does your nan fancy herself as a florist? Ask her to do your centrepieces.
Is your best friend a keen baker? Ask her to make your wedding cake.
A cousin who can keep a crowd laughing? Ask him to do a 15 minute set to entertain your guests?
There are so many possibilities if you tap into a persons’ creative side, plus, more often than not, people love to be involved and help in any way they can.

Use a credit card for payments.

There are plenty of credit cards out there that can give you up to 5% cash back on purchases You need to pay it off in full every month or you’ll get charged massive interest.
Credit cards are also great because under section 75 of the consumers act, if you pay for an item on your credit card and the item is damaged or faulty, the credit card company is jointly liable and protects you as a consumer.

Buy from the high street or rent.

These days there are some beautiful wedding dresses, morning suits and accessories for a fraction a the price.
High streets realised there is a market for good quality but affordable wedding wear, such as  Debenhams and Asos so you will be sure to find something for a fraction of the wedding industry price.

You can choose to hire suits and this can definitely slash the cost instead of buying outright.

There are also great second hand alternatives such as, Preloved and Sell my Dress and in a lot of cases the dress was purchased but never worn.

Alternatively ask for your party to buy/ wear their own.This may make you feel uncomfortable but if you are trying to save money that can be a great option.
Giving your wedding party an outline of what colour scheme you are going for and giving them free reign to choose their own outfit can make the wedding more personal and relaxed.



Use a courier service to transport your goods.

Whether it’s UK based or even further afield, you may not have the time or budget to collect a bespoke ornament or wooden decorations.This is where Shipley comes in handy, they safely deliver your purchase, using already loaded but not full cargo. They use all available space and resources instead of sending drivers to do one drop off.
This saves the environment and can save you a lot of money too!

Buy your own alcohol.

Depending on where you choose to get married, there may be a corkage fee on your venue.
However if you are staying away from traditional norms and holding your wedding in a village hall, alcohol will be up to you to provide.
A booze run to France can certainly save you some pennies.

Make DIY bunting/ confetti/favours.

If you and your significant other are crafty and also wanting to cut costs, creating your own bunting, confetti and favours can save you a lot of money.
Places such as hobby craft are great for inspiration as well as getting all the materials you could need to create your own special touch to the day.

Don’t hire a photographer/ videographer.

If you have a budding photographer in the family, ask them to take snapshots of your special day.
Likewise ask friends and family who are attending the wedding to take photos and upload them to your wedding website after the big day.
Not only will you have a keepsake but you’ll probably have some candid shots that a professional may not catch.

Don’t hire a DJ or a band.

The price of music/ entertainment for a wedding can be enormous, remember the W word?
If you have musically talented friends or family, ask them to perform, it will make the day more intimate and save your bank balance.

Create your own playlists.

If you want to go super savvy, but not lose out on keeping the party going. Creating a playlist on Spotify can get you and your significant other to put together a list of your favourite songs, again making the day become personal and intimate.
Likewise, if you don’t want to do the legwork, or you and your S.O, have different tastes in music ask your guest to pick a song they like, that everyone can dance to.
This will make your guest feel more involved and take some of the strain off of the two of you.

Don’t hire transport.

If you are holding your ceremony and reception in the same place, that alone can save you money, because you don’t have to pay for transport for you and your guests.
If your ceremony and reception are within walking distance, why not take that stroll with your guests to the venue, it’ll give them a chance to mingle and get to know one another, and give you and your other half time to soak up the atmosphere.
Another option is car sharing, if the reception is close by, you could have a bunch of designated drivers to take your wedding party, just make sure to stick some pretty ribbon to the cars so your guests know it’s the right car.

Buy flowers at local markets.

If you want to save money on a florist, and don’t have any green fingered relatives or friends, going to your local flower market a day or 2 before your big day can be a way to give something back to your local community, as well as getting some gorgeous flowers at a very reasonable price.
The only drawbacks would be, needing to arrange the flowers for your party and reception yourself. as well as getting flowers that are in season and at the market at the time.

Serve wedding cake as pudding.

This is a brilliant idea. By the time you have eaten your share of food, guests are generally too full to eat any cake.
Even if you wrap it up, guests can still leave it behind in their tired or drunken state.
Serving it to your guests as pudding ensures it gets eaten and the bakers hard work has not gone to waste.

Create a honeymoon fund and ask guests to donate instead of giving presents.

As we are in the 21st century and most couples live together before they get married, the traditional registry list can be null in void.
Guests want to gift you with something, and if you have everything you need, asking for donations to your honeymoon fund, will mean less for you to save, and your guests feeling happy that they have contributed to something you truly want!



***
Remember your day is about you and your partner joining together in front of your nearest and dearest. Ultimately the decisions are up to you as a couple. Don’t let others influence you or make you feel bad for including, or not including specific things to your day.

Make sure to ask vendors upfront that if the price they are giving you includes VAT, otherwise this can come as a nasty shock looking at your bill.

Always get EVERYTHING in writing. This means you and your vendors have physical evidence of communication and can stop any disputes in their track.

And most importantly remember, have fun! It’s one day, and it’ll only be you that notices the little things.

*This is a sponsored post, but all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Registered Bridezilla: The Proposal

I have an announcement to make… And no doubt judging by the title you have already put 2 and 2 together and come up with wedding bells:

yes that’s right, Gary and I are engaged!!

The proposal was relaxed, romantic and very Gary!

But i’m going to spoil the fantasy of grandure and the ultimate surprise…

I knew it was going to happen, in fact I practically forced Gary into it.

A table with multiple engagement cards

Now let’s just remind you of the title of this post!

So here’s our story: Gary and I, like many couples talked about our future, what we wanted out of life and our plans for that future together.
We have been saving for a house for the last year, and had decided that we would rather get married after we bought our home.

We have entered a help to buy scheme, which only allows you to put a certain amount of money in the account per month,although we are not desperate to move from our flat, we realised that it was going to take us a lot longer than we anticipated to physically save and get the extra support from the government.

So over this time the topic of marriage and weddings came about, which was thoroughly encouraged by Gary’s family.
“So when are you 2 going to get engaged?”
“I need anew wedding to look forward to.”

At this time we both explained that we would rather aim for owning our own home, but we probably would be engaged by the time we bought the house.

And the questions kept coming…
“Are you engaged yet.”
“Has Gary popped the question?”

And that was it for me.

I’m an extremely obsessive person, and my depression exacerbates that.
I dropped some, ok a lot of not so subtle hints, even asking Gary outright when he was going to propose.
Everything was met with love and a lot of sarcasm.
“Soon.”
“Soon when?”
“Tuesday.”
This went on for a few months before I demanded that I wanted to be married by the time i was 29, so Gary had 3 years to propose.

Yes, I am crazy!

And when Gary called me crazy, I would just respond with.

“Yes I am. Crazy in love with you!!”

And we carried on in this merry dance for a while longer.

But my depression and obsessive thoughts got the better of me. I started to believe that Gary didn’t want to marry me at all.
I started to ruminate on our previous conversations, fall outs and arguments and convinced myself that I was far too much hard work for Gary and of course he wasn’t going to commit to someone who causes arguments, and over reacts all of the time.

Gary started to notice my drop in communication and introspective attitude and urged me to talk to him.

We talked and I opened up,. Sharing my thoughts of his attitude towards marriage. Or what I thought they might be.

I was truly upset and Gary cuddled and reassured me that all the thoughts I had were my depression talking, and he explained that he wanted to marry me. but there was no rush. He loved me and he was building a life with me and Ida, and he was going nowhere.

I was comforted by his prisons, his words and his love.

It was about a week later when my depressive thoughts started to bombard me again.
They didn’t consume me as before, but I knew for my own piece of mind I had to speak with Gary again about marriage, and the proposal.

I breached the subject as we were laying in bed one night.
Gary was honest but hesitant and I knew there was something he wasn’t telling me.

I asked him out right, that aside from my depressive episodes and continuous chatting about marriage. Was he worried that if he proposed sooner rather than later, was he worry i’ll go into an obsessive frenzy and plan the wedding for as soon as possible?
And that’s what it was all about.
He was concerned that asking me to marry him would result in me obsessing and wanting to be married straight away.

I explained that my obsessive nature was always going to be there, and as I love to plan things, I would rope him into love wedding planning. But for me, it was about the security and knowledge that he wanted to be with me forever.
I explained that I would prefer a long engagement because it meant that I could take my time in organising things and asking for help.

And that’s when he and I fully understood each others thoughts and intentions.
I wanted him to propose for the peace of mind it would give my negative thoughts, not because I wanted to plan a wedding and be married by the next month.
Gary wanted to get married, but not straight away. His biggest concern was doing things wrong, and not getting the proposal right.

So now I’ve beaten him into submission, time to get that ring on my finger!! 🙂

I got a random text one day as i was hanging out with my friend:
“Get bigger fingers”
“I’ll try but I don’t think it’ll work.”

Cue the excited squeals of delight from Ellie and I!!

A few days later the 3 of us went shopping, Ellie and I decided to sit and wait while Gary went into a shop or 2 on his own.

10 minutes later…

“Can you come with me? The lady in the shop needs to talk to you.”
“ok…”
“So the lady in the shop doesn’t believe your ring finger size, she wants to measure it.”

Get’s ring finger measured, lady finally believes Gary.

“I think Gary is buying me an engagement ring!!”
“Exciting!! I thought that was the shop he went off to.”
Lots of smiles and hugs ensued!

“So the gift I bought you has a warranty of 3 years, so if you’re going to break it, do it in the timescale, ok?”

White gold ring,with purple amethyst and diamonds

Ring purchased, now to hint about asking my parents…

“Ok, are you going to ask my parents permission?”
No, what if they say no?”
“Just sing Rude by Magic to them, and run away.”
“Actually, they will probably pack my bags for you!”

This is mine and Gary’s sense of humour…

Time to hint a bit more.

“So, when you ask them, what are you going to say?”
“Do I have to ask them?”
“Yes!!”
“When are you going to do it?”
“The next time we are all going to be together is in a few weeks time. You should ask them then.”

We’re at a family wedding when Gary rushes up to me.

“I did it!”

Mother arrives.

“I hear congratulations are in order!!”
“For what?”
“Don’t play dumb, Gary has told us everything!!”

Lots of hugs, congratulations and champagne ensues!

“So, what did you say?”
“Well I asked them, and they said yes. I told them you forced me into proposing!”
“You did what?!”
“What did you do that for?! Now everyone will know i’m a psycho!”
“They know that anyway Sassy!”
“Plus, when I told your Dad, he just said you are your Mothers’ Daughter!”

We both laugh and drink Champagne.

Gary officially asked THE question just a few weeks later.

And, it was on a Thursday, not a Tuesday!

So there we are, our very unconventional and non romantic proposal story! I’m engaged to my Mr Perfect!

Are you engaged? How did your proposal happen?I’d love to know in the comments.

Much love,
Sassy x




To my first, and forever love

A letter to my first and forever love.

I call myself a blogger and yet here I am at a loss of how to put pen to paper so-to-speak.

There is no-one quite like you; fiercely loyal, utterly stubborn and hungry for knowledge.

It’s you Harry Potter.

You have been in my life for 20 years now and I know we will be friends until my dying day. The story may be about you, but it’s your journey of friendship, family, faith and hope that i’ve fallen in love with.

I’ve been a reader my entire life but no other story can intrigue, enthral and enrage me quite like you.
I remember the day I was introduced to your world.
At first a world of loneliness and resentment, and gradually a world full of warmth, happiness and comfort.
There were dark and terrible times ahead, just like life itself, but through compassion, solidarity, kindness and courage you fought your way through and came out triumphant.
You have taught me to appreciate who I am, and to ignore the negativity that comes with staying true to yourself.
You’ve taught me that looks can be deceiving and to never judge a book by it’s cover.
You’ve taught me that being bookish and brainy is the new beautiful.

Harry potter books in Order from left to right

You’ve taught me that being courageous doesn’t always mean fighting the biggest battles sometimes it’s about standing up for what is right.
I’ve learned that making mistakes is apart of life, but we have to learn to forgive others as quickly as we forgive ourselves.
I’ve learned that true friendship is worth more than what money could ever buy.
I’ve learnt that heartbreak is torturous and that loss is inevitable. But what i’ve learned the most is that love will always prevail. There is room in our hearts to love as many as we can, yet that love will never be lost just because someone is gone.

Harry's Wand infront of two candles and a wax melter

Harry Potter, you’ve been a source of comfort in the lonely days, a place where I can escape to, and a gentle reminder that hope can always be found.

7 books, 8 films and 20 years of my life that i’ve learnt, grown, adapted and survived:with you by my side.
My first, and forever love.

“Even after all this time?”

“Always,”




Adventures At Butlin’s Bognor Regis Part 2

Butlin’s Bognor Regis Part 2

Day 2.

Breakfast is served between 08:30 and 10:00, we met everyone down at the food court at 08:45, apparently our group had been there from the second it had opened and was already on a second/ third helping!
There is a large selection for breakfast including: typical English breakfast, Yoghurt, porridge, cereal, fruit and toast with a selection of jams and marmalades.
I opted for cereal and a cooked breakfast, with lots of tea and fruit juice… Well why not? I was on my holibobs!

Gary and I both feeling rather tired decided to have a chilled morning and go back to the chalet, we may or may not have had a little snooze… Nope nothing at all to do with the late night and alcohol we had consumed the night before!

The Beach.

As the sun was so utterly beautiful we decided to head down to the beach, not even a 5 minute walk from our door to the beach front!
It was so much fun watching Ida attempting to run on pebbles, and not understanding why she kept skidding everywhere!
She was intrigued and nervous in her new environment: growling at the seaweed and jumping back in surprise…

In typical Ida fashion, 5 minutes later she was trying to eat it, and the many pebbles under her feet!!

A stony beach with the sea in the background

Gary managed to coax her down to the sand and shore; after running away the first few times as the waves came in, she then found her footing and bobbed her little paws in and out of the surf.

After a good few hours on the beach we were a little toasty so treated ourselves to a slushy before meandering back to the chalet.

Ida a Black labrador standing on a stony beach with the sea in the background

Dinner.

With dinner being so early at Butlin’s 16:30 to 18:00, our friends were already heading down for their evening meal.

So we decided to join them.
For every evening meal there is a choice of fish, carvery and whatever is on the menu for that particular evening.
I had sausage casserole, new potatoes, mash, veg and chicken pie. Oh and yummy chocolate cake!

According to our brochures the entertainment for the night was The Rat Pack, starting at 21:45, however after speaking with our friends who had been to see the Whitney Houston act, she started at 21:15.
So Gary and I decided to head back to the chalet to chill and get ready for the evening.

Entertainment.

We left our chalet at 21:00 and went in search for our friends.
The Rat Pack were already playing when we arrived, and we searched in earnest for our friends for a good 15 minutes before getting a hold of them and asking where they were.
Turns out they were back by the entrance … we had managed to walk right past them!

We were sat far enough away from the stage and speakers that if we talked loud enough we could hear each other, , perfect for a bunch of blindy’s like us!

The Rat Pack were truly fantastic. singing as a group as well as doing brilliant solo performances, even staying in character and speaking in a New York accent when addressing the audience.
I loved that they performed as if they were the real Rat Pack, Sammy Davis Jr tap dancing and singing the famous Bo Jangles.
The act finished with a audience participation of New York New York, a firm favorite on our table!

Although there was further entertainment for the last hour of the evening for adults only, none of our group fancied sticking around so we headed back to our chalets to continue our own little party!
Needless to say that it was another night full of laughter and alcohol!




Day 3.

Each day got hotter and hotter, we definitely struck it lucky with the weather.
We had been at Butlin’s over 24 hours and Ida was getting the swing of where she was going.
We got lots of comments from the public, including a lot of parents educating their children on not touching working dogs, and what Guide Dogs were for.
It made my heart melt every time we passed a young child or toddler exclaiming; doggy!

Breakfast.

For breakfast I decided to have a cooked breakfast, and even managed to fit in some boiled egg on toast!

On the way back Gary, Lenny and I discussed how disability friendly the staff and site were for people with disabilities.
The paths although not tarmac smooth were flat as much as they could be allowing those in wheelchairs, or those with impaired walking to get around with as much ease as a person with a disability can manage.
It was also great to see that there were so many families and carers enjoying themselves too.
Butlin’s really does cater for all ages, and fantastically supportive for people with disabilities! 🙂

Beach Fun.

After chilling in the chalet for a few hours we decided to head down to the beach once again, mostly because we wanted doughnuts, did I mention we were on holiday? 😉

A stony beach with the sea in the background

Along the beach front there is a selection of kiosks selling everything from many flavoured ice-creams to slushies to doughnuts.
There was also a dog drink station and a few pieces of gym beach workouts in the form of pull up bars, and tricep dips.
Gary and I both gave the tricep dips a go and failed miserably at life!
There is also a pub at the end of the beach front but we didn’t visit.

Deciding that it was doughnut time we headed back down walking past the shuttle train on the way, Gary and a little boy gave a thumbs up to one another as they passed us.

A long Blue beach train with a quite scary red lipped one tooth smile

The back end of a long blue beach train

Ida and I were sitting down in the seated area when a lady and her son came over to us and asked if they could say hello to Ida.
I made Ida sit and explained that when on harness a Guide Dog is working and I don’t usually let people say hello to her when she is working.
At the same time the lady echoed my little speech and said that she sponsors Guide Dogs.
She said that she and her son wanted to come say hello as they have never met a working guide Dog in all the time she has been sponsoring them.
She asked me how long we have been a partnership and has it made a difference? I started gushing about how much Ida has changed my life for the better and given me my confidence back, at this point the lady turned to her son and kindly said; that’s great to hear, and exactly why we donate.
She was a genuinely lovely lady and I thanked her for sponsoring Guide Dogs. 🙂

After consuming our delicious doughnuts and refreshing slushy we finally headed onto the beach itself, all the while Ida pulling like a mad thing and being very disobedient!
I had to give her a very stern telling off, and she settled down.
Clearly she loves the beach as much as I do!

Gary and I were keen to dip our feet in the sea, and encouraged Ida to join us… Gary threw a stone into the water and Ida chased it! She’s such a daft dog!

Ida running towards the sea on a stony beach

It was so relaxing standing in the surf and having the surf crash at our feet, what made the moment even more special was Ida running in and out of the water, splashing and kicking up sand as she ran along the waters edge.

Evening.

On our way to dinner there were a lot more “doggy” comments, and this time it was followed up by “yes, that’s a very special doggy. It’s a blind dog!”
Gary and I couldn’t help but laugh, I don’t think Ida would be much use to me if she was blind also!

Dinner.

You can tell it’s buffet style because when Gary brought my plate to me I had a selection of different foods: hunters chicken, chicken wrapped in cheese, meatballs with pasta, veg and new potatoes… Seriously what is up with this boy and getting me new potatoes everyday? I don’t even really like them that much!

Entertainment.

The evening entertainment on the centre stage was soul night; this was the night I was most looking forward to.
I am a huge fan of soul and mouton, that if they weren’t mostly about break ups and heartbreak I would have to have them play at my wedding!

The guy’s’ voice was brilliant, and no wonder; he was the voice coach for the X Factor, and now The Voice.After a bit of name dropping he carried on with the set.
One of the women vocalists did a beautiful rendition of a Jackson 5 song.It was truly amazing.
Apart from sitting in silence and absorbing that particular song, our entire table were dancing in our seats and singing away merrily to every song they performed.
For entertainment purposes I just wished their set was longer than 45 minutes!

You could definitely tell that the partying and late nights were catching up on us because we all headed back to our respective chalets and crashed out for the evening.
It was nice to have a night in cuddled up on the sofa watching TV with Gary.

You can find part 3 here.




Adventures at Butlin’s Bognor Regis

Butlin’s

Billy Butlin’s was an entrepreneur who created the British iconic holiday parks for family’s to have an affordable UK break, now commonly known as a staycation .
Butlin’s Skegness opened on the 11th April 1936 and was officially opened by Amy Johnson; the first woman to fly solo from England to Australia.
Billy’s dream was to create a place for family’s to eat, sleep and be entertained which was also situated close to a beach.
There are now 3 sites: Skegness, Bognor Regis and Minehead, welcoming millions of families each year.
Some of the most widely known comedians, actors, singers, dancers and double acts have found fame because of Butlin’s.
Laurel and Hardy, The Drifters, The Foundations,Dez o’Connor, Cliff Richard and Ringo Star to name but a few!

A group of us had booked our 4 night stay months in advance, and having never been to Butlin’s before I was really keen to go.

A few days before we left I went on the website to see what we could do when we were there.
Clearly geared towards family I was blown over by the sheer amount of activities there were to do, which were all included as part of your holiday costs!
I was also happy with the accessibility of the website. The mobile version is not very compatible with screen readers, but after switching to desktop mode, I had no further issues. I flicked through page after page with ease and eager anticipation for the Butlin’s holiday ahead!

Our destination was Bognor Regis in West Sussex, situated between Brighton and Portsmouth. This was ideal for us as it was only a 2 and 1/2 hour drive.

Arrival.

The first thing Gary noticed was the giant millennium dome, meaning everything was under cover. Perfect for the unpredictable British weather!
The majority of our friends were there already and had checked in, so we headed to the Oyster Bay reception to ask for directions.
The staff were friendly and extremely helpful, and ended up giving us verbal directions to our chalet as they had run out of maps.

Our Chalet.

Being visually impaired and having a Guide Dog, we were given a ground floor chalet which conveniently had a large grass area, and bins right outside our door.
The chalet itself had a living room area complete with two sofas, a television and coffee table.
A dinning table and chairs were immediately on our right as we entered.

4 person table, two leather two seater sofas and a small tv

The kitchen was fitted with a fridge freezer, cooker, microwave and kettle.
I was pleasantly surprised to find that tea, coffee and sugar had been provided along with cutlery and crockery; perfect for a group who wanted to self cater.

Kitchen with microwave, kettle, toaster and cooker

Our bedroom was a decent size; homing a double bed, 2 bedside tables, a set of drawers, wardrobe and a desk and chair with a mirror above it.
The only criticism i would have would be for the bathroom, the toilet cistern took about 10 minutes to fill up, the shower cubicle was quite small, and didn’t drain quick enough so your feet would be in a bath of water, and having no window meant that the bathroom would be completely steamed up. On day 3 Gary found an extractor fan but it didn’t really live up to it’s name.
Possibly the most annoying of all was that there was no bathmat, meaning that the floor became soaked as you exited the shower or you had to use your own towel to mop up the mess.

A double Bed with white bed sheets and green feature wall

Wardrobe and window with the bed at the bottom

Dressing table and the door

Food.

As we wanted our holiday to be as easy-going as possible we paid for breakfast and dinner buffet style as part of our package.

After dropping our bags off we headed down to dinner to meet up with the rest of the party.
Not before going to the wrong restaurant and getting turned away because we hadn’t paid for that meal package!

We opted for the cheap and cheerful option and we dinned in the Coral Beach restaurant for the entirety of our stay.

As it is a buffet style food court you can go up as many times as you wanted.
I was very happy to find out that hot and cold drinks were part of the package and unlimited, the only drinks you would have to pay for would be fizzy drinks or alcohol.
Because the food court was so busy Gary offered to go up and get me an assortment of foods : chicken, new potatoes, veg, gammon and minted beef, not forgetting the lovely slice of cake for pudding.

Entertainment.

There are 2 main stages at Bognor Regis Butlin’s:Reds and Center Stage.
On our first evening the entertainment on the center stage would be Whitney Houston in concert, Ive always loved Whitney Houston so I was keen to go along. According to our brochure we got with our check n details it said that the performer would not be on stage until 21:45 meaning we had plenty of time to have a wander around.

We went into the local shop which was full of everything you could need for a self catered holiday.
However having the luxury of Gary driving we decided to head off to the local supermarket, less than a mile away.
We stocked up on the essentials; alcohol and coconut scented toilet roll!

Arriving back on to the parks premises Gary noticed that there was a closer entrance to our chalet, so we politely asked if he could drop myself, Ida, Lenny and Dillon off and then park the car back in the Oyster Bay car park.
The man on the gate was very accommodating, letting us through and saying he would give the heads up to his colleague on the other gate.

2 blind people, 2 Guide Dogs, a crate of beer, box of wine and a carrier bag full of other things made the much shorter walk a whole lot easier… See having a disability has it’s perks! 😉




By the time we got back to the chalet it was time to head off for the evening entertainment.
By this point neither Gary nor Lenny fancied it, so we headed next door to Lenny’s chalet for a quiet night.
Phyllis, Lenny’s chalet mate had returned from the entertainment saying she wasn’t in the mood.
The 4 of us stayed in chatting, drinking and laughing until 2Am in the morning!

You can find part 2 here.

Friendship, Relationship, Love

Gary and Sassy cuddling together on a bench. photo taken from behind with a lighthouse off to the left.

I never thought i’d end up with Gary, in fact, neither of us ever thought it would happen…

We met at University when he joined in 2012, both my Uni housemates met him on nights out during Freshers week, at separate times, and before long he joined our friendship group.

He and I clicked straight away, and it was nice to have another male within the group. Gary wasn’t like a lot of the other Freshers, he wasn’t the biggest party goer and was mature for his age, which I think is why our friendship blossomed and the group felt so relaxed around him.

We hung out, texted, stayed at each others houses and gave each other relationship/ dating advice, it was plutonic. Our friends all joked and said if we ever lived together, we would get together, but we laughed it off and ignored their comments; we didn’t see each other like that.

And this is where the story gets interesting…

It was my housemates’ last year at Uni (it would have been mine too, but that is for another story), our lease was due to run out and I was frantically searching for a place to live as a singular student that I could afford, with no luck whatsoever, Gary and 3 of my other Uni friends had all agreed I could stay at theirs until I found a place, it’ll only be about a week I said, so i’ll be out of your hair in no time!

Gary and Sassy both laughing. Sassy with her hands covering her face and Gary stood behind her grinning

3 months went by before I finally found somewhere ! Needless to say Gary and I grew closer, spending more time together: hanging out, eating together, and because of my sight loss he even helped me go shopping. Being blind and moving to a new area takes a lot of mobility and energy to get where you want to be. I was most grateful for his support, friendship and sense of humour at that time!

It literally came from nowhere, one night we were playing drinking games, and when the others had left the room he randomly just kissed me.
I was in total shock, but for the strangest reason it just felt right…

Gary and I moved in together as a couple after his student lease ran out, and we’ve been attached at the hip ever since.

He’s been my rock, confidant and my best friend for as long as i’ve known him, it’s just intensified since being together. He has been at my side through the toughest 5 years of my life, 3 of which has been as my partner.

We are a very happy family unit, spending the majority of our weekends rambling and chasing our gorgeous pup Ida!
Currently we are saving for our first house and plan to move where his family live, although, we have made a happy life four ourselves here.
I can’t wait to start the next chapter of our relationship and eventually be his Wife! ❤

sassy touching noes with Ida the guide dog

Understanding M.e. (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis)

Hi, I’m Ellen! Sassy has kindly given me the opportunity to write a bit about ME, (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis), and my mum’s experience of suffering from it. I think it is so important to raise awareness and I have included some tips for anyone who wants to help somebody suffering from the illness.

In 2011 my mum was diagnosed with ME after many months of feeling very ill and numerous doctor and hospital appointments.




What is ME?

It’s not easy to define what ME is due to many different symptoms and theories as to what causes it. Some say it is a neurological disorder, others an immune dysfunction, but much research is still needed.

How ME effects my Mum:
ME effects people differently and can vary in its severity. For my mum, in addition to an overwhelming tiredness she gets body aches, pains, dizziness and nausea. And I’m talking 24/7. It’s like having bad flu every single day to the point where you can’t get out of bed.
One of the hardest things for suffers is the lack of understanding. You can look well on the surface or perhaps be having a good day but that doesn’t mean you’re cured. The next day might be a very different story. It’s much more than just feeling ‘a bit tired’ and can’t be made better by a good night’s sleep!
The stigma around ME:
Many doctors, (though not all!), don’t understand ME, probably due to not knowing the cause of it. Some can be unsympathetic and dismissive. It’s important to find a doctor who understands and supports you as this is the first step in being diagnosed and feeling better.
How to support someone who is suffering with ME:
Depending on the severity, developing ME can completely change your life, in some cases leaving you bed ridden. If you know someone suffering here are some ways you can help:
• Don’t tell them that they just need ‘a good night sleep’ or to take ‘a refreshing walk in the countryside’ to feel better. The only way to manage ME is to allow your body to rest and pace your activities every day.
• My mum can’t easily plan ahead as she never knows whether she will be having a good or bad day so be flexible and understanding. Plans may need to be adapted to include less walking for example.
• Encourage them to take time out each day to rest. This is the main way my mum can manage her illness. If it means having a Spanish style siesta each day, go for it! And don’t let them feel guilty for missing out on things!
• Offer to help with the more mundane life chores e.g cleaning/walking the dog. It means they can save more energy for the fun things!
But it’s not all bad news! When first diagnosed my mum couldn’t even walk from her bedroom to the kitchen and had to spend months in bed. But now she leads a normal yet slower paced life by building in time each day to rest! Most people improve over time and are even cured after 5-10 years. It’s all about balance and staying positive!
In a funny way I think my mums ME has actually bought some positives to her life. She takes a lot more time for herself and has rediscovered hobbies and interests that she’d given up during the usual frenetic pace of life. Now I’m older I look back and realise how hard it must have been, even at her worst she was always there to pick me up from school and cook me dinner and never complained about how ill she was. She’s an amazing mum!
If you have any questions or would like to find out more, come and say hi at www.ohhelloellen.com or on Twitter




The Joys of A&E

Gary and I headed off to A&E on Friday morning as previously discussed by the Doctors and ourselves in Malta.
We are extremely grateful to our friends for picking us up from the airport, and then kindly carrying me to the sofa! As I had been in a foreign hospital I had no wheelchair or crutches to aid me; only the people around me!

Thankfully A&e wasn’t too packed, so we didn’t have to wait too long to be seen. I was given a set of crutches and an appointment to the fracture clinic for Monday morning to discuss surgery.

And we were sent on our merry way.

*****
Around 5 AM Sunday morning I woke up in considerable pain, my leg felt like it was having the life squeezed out of it, I took some painkillers and by 06:30 things hadn’t improved, I was starting to seriously worry; I had no DVT injection since Thursday and I was beginning to worry there might be something sinister going on.

(Fondaparinux injection is used to prevent deep vein thrombosis (DVT; a blood clot, usually in the leg. It is given to those who have had a recent leg operation or have severely restricted movement in the legs from an accident.)
Gary and I went straight to A&E; I wasn’t seen by a doctor until 10:00.

I explained everything from my accident, handing over my discharge letter along with x-ray and CT scan, to the fracture clinic appointment, to the pain I was feeling, the Doctor did all the checks and said that I did have circulation flowing and there wasn’t anything to be concerned about. It wasn’t until I stressed that this pain had become increasingly worse daily that he decided to keep me monitored until I could speak to an orthopaedic doctor.
Gary and I made it clear that I was blind, but I don’t think this was passed onto the HCA taking my OBs; he just stood their silently waiting for me to hold my arm out and then finger so he could take my blood pressure and pulse…
Regardless of my sight loss I thought it was almost rude that he came into the cubicle without a word, moved about quietly and then expected to take my OBs in silence and stalk off again… There has been a change in the law that people with extra needs who attend NHS centres should be given notes/ leaflets/ medical information in a format preferred by the patient. So for me that would be; verbal communication as to who they are, what they are doing in the room, talking openly about my care, and any medical information to be given to me via email.
This was never discussed with me, but as it wasn’t exactly high on my priority list I decided not to mention it.

When my 4 hours in A&E were up; a nurse explained that I had filled my quota of A&E hours and I had to go elsewhere for monitoring and waiting to see the Doctor in charge of Orthopaedics.
Discussing with the nurse as she moved us elsewhere in the hospital it’s clear that the medical professionals are aggravated by the government putting this in place.
If I were to stay longer than my quota she would get it in the neck from her bosses!
How ridiculous is it that the government are more bothered about number crunching than patients and their welfare!

My family and I were put on a ward and told that they couldn’t give us a time, but the Doctor would be with us when he could.
We laughed and joked, and waited around for at least an hour and half before we began getting impatient. My Dad and Gary were giving us hangry eyes; so Mother and i sent them off to make us some breakfast sandwiches 🙂
Thankfully for us Gary and I live around the corner from the hospital so it was easy enough for Gary and Dad to pop home, make brunch and bring it back.
Sausage and bacon sandwiches with a cup of tea was just what we all needed! Thinking back now, it was very tasty and I was extremely grateful to the boys, even if it was more for their benefit than either mine or my Mum’s 😉

We waited for at least another hour before my Mother decided to go and investigate as to what was going on, she came across a bunch of nurses just sitting on their phones not doing any work!
Upon enquiring she was given an “we don’t know what’s going on”comment.
Mother didn’t take no for an answer and eventually we were told that the Doctor we were waiting on was in surgery and would see us when he was out…
Although annoying that we hadn’t been given this information before, at least we finally knew what all the waiting around was for!

Eventually we saw the Doctor. From the x-rays he had seen the fracture was severe and definitely needed surgery, but as the hospital couldn’t access the CT scans that i had brought over with me from Malta, he couldn’t make an informed decision of how to repair the leg properly.

CT scan give for more detailed information than an x-ray. I was told that I could possibly have the surgery as early as the next morning, so I was to prepare myself by eating and drinking nothing after midnight and I would get a phone call in the morning to let me know if I would be having surgery.
It was a long day; we didn’t leave the hospital until around 14:30 but at least we had cut out the middle man of going through this all the following day at the fracture clinic.:)
** * * *
I hope you haven’t had to attend A&e, but if you have, what were your experiences with it?



Disability Q&A #8 Emily Davison

Welcome back to my #Disability Q&A series! 🙂

Today’s interview is brought to you by the lovely Emily Davison, before I started blogging I had come across her YouTube channel and loved what she had to say. She has pazazz and an obvious love for fashion and beauty.
When I started this Disability Q&A I knew from the get go I wanted to have her on board! So I was extremely happy when she agreed to participate! 🙂

Without sounding too much like a fan girl i’l hand you over to the lady herself…
Tell me about yourself:
Hello i’m Emily Davison, i’m 21
and I live in London, England. I’m a

MA Student, Journalist, Public Speaker, Podcast Presenter and Writer.
I love writing, reading, swimming, astronomy, blogging and nature photography.

Now we know the basics, can we learn a bit more about you?

I’m just your average kind of girl, I’m at University studying for an MA in Children’s Literature. I love to write and read books,

What is the medical reason you have a disability?
I was born with a condition known as Septo Optic Dysplasia, a congenital condition which affects the endocrine system, hormone production system and in some cases, vision.

Have you had your Visual impairment / disability from birth?
I have, yes.

Which terminology do you prefer: Partially Sighted, Visually Impaired, Sight Impaired, Severely Sight Impaired or Blind?

I prefer to be called Severely sight impaired.

Do you have a cane, Guide Dog or neither?
I have both, but my guide dog is my number one choice of course!

If you could extinguish your disability, would you? – If not, please explain why.
I wouldn’t, it’s how nature intended me to be. I was born with my disability so I don’t know life any other way. I’ve grown to accept the person I am, disability included and I couldn’t imagine life without it.

For those who do not know much about your VI what can you see?
I have no vision in my right eye and restricted vision in my left. I have only central vision in my left eye and can only see things that are relatively close by.

How has your disability effected you?
Its more a physical kind of thing, it affects my sight as well as my immune system and I suffer with low blood sugar. So it can be very debilitating at times, but it can sometimes affect me mentally in so far that in the passed I have suffered with Depression and Anorexia as a result of it.

Do you think your disability has made you who you are today?

Absolutely, my disability has taught me so many things about who I am as a person, what I can do, my strengths and how to overcome adversity.
Its taught me to embrace diversity and not to judge people for who they are and the choices they make.
It’s taught me to try and not judge a book by its cover and remember that everyone is going through their own battles.
Its enabled me to look deep inside myself and find the strength I need to get through each day and grow as a person.
Its shown me where my passion lies and what my strengths are, I now know that I want to be an author writing books with characters that represent people with disabilities. It’s shown me that I can channel the power of words to help others like I do with my blogs and articles.
Its taught me to embrace myself for the person I am.

Is there a particular question you get asked often because of your disability? If so, please explain below.

“Are you training that guide dog?”

I get asked this a lot and I think it’s due to the fact that I am a confident person in the way I walk and act. It’s as if people cant accept the idea that someone with a guide dog can also be a confident and outgoing individual. And so anyone who is must therefore be a guide dog trainer.

What are the positives of having a disability?

The humor, being a person with a disability is very comical at times. You get into some very interesting conversations with people and some awkward situations and even though some can be utterly cringe worthy. A lot can be used as some great stories at parties.

It brings me closer to my friends and family because I do a lot of things with them or when I need help with certain things.

The perks, getting discounts on tickets to events, theatres and cinemas, I mean who doesn’t want to get into an event for cheaper?

The people I meet, I get to meet so many amazing people through networking with disability charities and organizations as well as online. I’ve met so many incredible people who have such amazing outlooks on life and stories to tell and that I am truly grateful for.

What are the negatives of having a disability?

When it can hinder the things you want to do or make it that little bit harder. Like when I have to plan a route to a venue based on which tube stations are accessible, that can be frustrating.

Having to deal with remarks about what I can and cannot do and having to deal with negative comments.

What would you say is a difficulty for you being VI / disabled?

People judging you, the hardest part about being disabled I would say is having to hear people’s remarks about your disability and how you should be because of it. It’s so difficult to deal with people who believe that being disabled means you cannot have a quality of life or do anything for yourself. I receive so many remarks from people like “you don’t look blind” or “you don’t seem disabled.” Or when I read comments on my YouTube channel from people who argue that I cannot be visually impaired and that I must be lying because according to their opinion people with sight loss cannot look attractive, wear lipstick or adorn nice clothing.

I can deal with the personal struggles that my disability pits against me, but it’s harder to cope with the stigma that surrounds having a disability that society can create.

As a person with a disability, what are the things you face on a daily / weekly basis that frustrate you?

I think the issues that frustrate me most are when I’m traveling and using public transport. I become most frustrated when I’m on a bus and there’s not enough space for my guide dog. I also find it frustrating when I’m using tubes and other services and the stations are not accessible, such as when they do not have lifts or stairs that I can access.
Using transport, as a disabled person can be extremely stressful at times and I think that is the most challenging aspect, for me, about living with a disability.

Are there any tips or tricks you use in daily life you’d like to pass on to another VI/ disabled person?

There are plenty! I’d need a year to simply write down and divulge my little tricks and tips. But, here are a few.

Organize your clothes in order of the color spectrum, in order of red all the way down to violet. Make sure you have a system to organize your clothes so that you know where everything is and you can plan outfits easier.

With makeup, try and make your life easier by doing little things to help like tinting your eyelashes and threading and tinting your eyebrows. If you struggle to apply brow products or to get the shape of your brows, use stencils, which can be bought for a few pounds on eBay. They are honestly a real life saver when it comes to brows.

If you cant see the print of something like on a package, simply take a photo of it on your iPhone and zoom in on it to see it. Its simply, quick and easy.

Do you use Assistive technology in your daily living?
I use all Apple technology including an iPad, iPhone and a Macbook. I love Apple technology because it has all the accessibility features built in and you can easily customize them to your needs and preferences.
But, I also use an application on my Mac called Claro Read which can read text to me and scan documents into accessible formats such as PDFs and Word documents.
I use a Snow electronic magnifier to read print and magazines.
In the kitchen I use a talking microwave, talking scales, talking jug and liquid level indicator.
I also use the Kindle App, which can be made accessible on an iPhone with the Voiceover features.

What piece of advice would you give to someone newly diagnosed? Or going through a deterioration in vision / or mobility?

Don’t be afraid to ask for help, asking for help is a human need and we all have to at some point or another, disabled or not.
But, the other important thing to remember is to keep an open mind, take on board all the advice you are given and the support you are offered. Do as much as you can to enrich your life and take on whatever opportunities you can to move forward and move on.

Any advice you’d like to give to a person with sight / no disabilities?

Don’t judge a book by its cover. Always keep an open mind and remember that behind each person lies a story. Until we know that story we can never begin to presume anything about who they are.

Did you seek out any specialist services / charities to help you and your family deal with your situation?

When I was 6 I began to use Blind Children UK and RNIB Talking Book Catalogue to access books and to read independently. I also used the RNIB and their services including their helpline and products throughout my school years and still do to this day. I also used the RNIB helpline for advice when applying for DSA and University related advice. When I was 17 I contacted Guide Dogs to apply for a guide dog and when I was 18 I was given a beautiful little four-legged friend by the name of Unity who is my eyes, my confidence and my freedom.

Where can people find you out in the world?
Blog: fashioneyesta.com
YouTube: youtube.com/user/fashioney…
Second YouTube Channel: youtube.com/channel/UCX-t0…
FaceBook: facebook.com/Fashioneyesta
Twitter: twitter.com/DavisonEm
Instagram: instagram.com/fashioneyesta2…
Pintrest: pinterest.com/emilykd94/
Audioboom: audioboom.com/fashioneyesta
Tumblr: fashioneyesta.tumblr.com
Email: fashioneyesta@gmail.com

TtT




Thank you so much Emily! I’m blown away by how much information you’ve shared with us today! I am sure many of us will be taking away a lot of your useful tips to help keep our lives running that bit smoother!
Thank you also for sharing some of your darker times, as you said everyone is human and we all should ask or at least accept help now and again! 🙂

Please don’t forget to follow her links, and why not share the love? Leave her a comment, we would both appreciate it!

If you, or anyone you know, would like to take part in my Campaign, do not hesitate to contact me on the following:
Email:SassysWorld6@gmail.com
Twitter
Facebook

If you enjoyed this interview why not check out the others in the series so far?
Interview 1
Interview 2
Interview 3
Interview 4
Interview 5
Interview 6
Interview 7