Let them eat cake

After all the baking, brandy feeding, marzipanning (if there is such a word) and icing, the wedding cake was assembled. To be honest even though I was a little worried about it tasting ok and the icing not being smooth, it didn’t look that bad in the end. Ok so it didn’t have piping, flowers or chocolate but it was a cake. Mister B went out and bought some chocolate coloured ribbon, I made a little hessian bunting topper and it was placed on the tree trunk slab that Mister B had cut a few months ago. We did a few vines on the way and as you can see, I did get a little despondent. Think at that point, I was just very tired.

We carefully packaged the cake in a huge cake box and cake carriers and assembled it the night before the wedding. We put wooden dowel into it to ensure the cakes could support the tiers. Funny moment was when I tried to stick dowel through the second tier to bottom tier. I pushed and pushed and then stupidly remembered I had put all the cakes on cake boards so there was no way that sucker would go through! Daft idiot! Dad found it extremely funny.

Verdict: The cake was a big hit. Lots of people loved it and one person who doesn’t like marzipan even said it was good. So all in all I was chuffed that the cake was a success.

Quite a few people have asked for the recipe again so here it is. I multipled the amounts below by six to get three tiers. As I am not a fan of peel I left it out and used more cranberries, currants etc to make the weights up. You will need arms of steel and a huge stock pot/pan to create this beast. Good luck!

Ingredients

200g butter
200g dark brown soft sugar
100g dark or milk chocolate broken into chunks
75ml brandy
1 tsp vanilla extract
250g raisins
250g currants
100g dried cranberries
100g dried sour cherries
100g mixed peel
200g self-raising flour
100g ground almonds
3 tbsp cocoa
1 tsp mixed spice
3 eggs, beaten with a fork

Put the butter, sugar, chocolate, brandy, vanilla and dried fruits into a large saucepan. Heat gently, stirring occasionally until everything has melted together. Remove from the heat.

Heat oven to 150C/130C fan/gas 2. Line a deep cake tin, 20cm round or 18cm square, with a double layer of baking parchment. Wrap a few layers of newspaper around the outside and secure with string. (This is essential to stop cake from burning round edges)

Mix the flour, almonds, cocoa and spice together. Stir the eggs into the slightly cooled chocolate mixture in the saucepan, followed by the flour mixture. Scrape into your prepared tin and bake for 1½ hrs- 1 hr 45 mins or until a skewer poked in comes out clean. Cool in the tin

(Our cakes took a lot longer due the depth and size of the cakes but just keep your eyes on it and skewer test and you will be fine!)

Here is the finished cake and topper. Thank you to Lisa Stoppard for the photo of the cake).

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We did it!

Well it has taken a while for the dust to settle and get the energy up to write another blog post following our big day. I am happy to say that we had a wonderful day of what we can remember of it. As everyone says, it goes so quickly. We have both sat and discussed the day and do actually wonder if it happened. Very strange feeling.

It is so weird, it is as if we both have some strange amnesia. We both feel like we need to redo it just to experience it again. Despite this we did have a great time surrounded by our family and friends, had amazing weather and everything went fine (well sort of). I won’t lie, it was extremely hard work for those involved and we were shattered afterwards. Mister B and I didn’t stop from the Tuesday before the wedding until Monday afternoon. We felt like we drifted through everything with a big grin on our faces.Bit surreal but in a fun way. We were very very fortunate to have the support of our family and friends which helped no end. I think if we hadn’t had them helping out over the week before the wedding it wouldn’t have been such a slick affair

We really would like to thank everyone who helped out, came to the wedding, sent us cards, presents and their best wishes. We have received lots of beautiful presents and cards (some hand made which were amazing) but we are waiting for some further presents via John Lewis. We will be sending out thank you cards soon. 🙂

We have had loads of people feeding back about how much they enjoyed the day, which I have to say means a lot especially after all the work Mister B and I have put into it. We tried to make it as relaxed as possible, so people there didn’t feel uncomfortable. I have been to a few wedding where etiquette dictates everything and it can really put a damper on things.

Even though we have had to make arrangements from afar, everything we had made, collected and bought actually worked and I have to say I was a little bit teary when I saw it all come together especially after all the planning.

It was so hectic that I was unable to make some posts about the prep work including the restoration of the Hillman, the flower arranging and the night before. I would like to think that this blog was/is not just for our family and friends but also for brides/grooms to be. It is helpful to get ideas and recommendations from others especially when in a bit of a tiz about your nuptials.

So I will post more about the prep, the suppliers we used and what happens after the big day soon. In the interim here is a lovely photo that my cousin Ed took when we were stood at the aisle…

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Feeling clucky?

One week to go eeeeeek! The last month has gone so quickly and is a bit of a blur. We have started getting wedding cards arriving at home and notifications of gifts being bought for us from our wedding list which is extremely exciting. Mister B went on his stag weekend which I am sure he will love to tell you about soon. Let’s just say his weekend involved a lot of water, fun, a fire alarm, some gorges, an inflatable sheep and tiredness.

As it was incredibly difficult to get a a suitable activity and time for everyone together for a hen weekend, I decided against it. It would have been lovely but was proving to be a headache to organise and I must admit the last few months I have been fairly exhausted. So at the last minute I invited a few ladies from work for a for some pizza and drinks. I had a lovely time and it was great to do something nice for me instead of worrying about the wedding. I would like to say a massive thank you to everyone who came and treated me to rather intoxicating beverages. Hic! A special thanks to Cath who I share an office with at work, who had arranged lots of willie themed goodies and contacted Mister B about a ‘Mr and Mrs’ question and answer session for me. I had no idea it was going to take place and was cringing as I thought I wouldn’t get any of the questions right. I was rather relieved that in the end I actually knew a lot of rather random and obscure stuff about Mister B. Phew that is a relief! I am waiting for the right moment however to do my forfeit involving a hairy chested man. Ewwww.

Really enjoyed myself even if I felt a little tired the next day. THANKS EVERYONE! xx

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The hens

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Loving the hen bindi

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Hmm interesting cookies these will make

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I look like a fraggle

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Pizzaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah

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My what interesting dough balls Pizza Express have

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Caption please?!

Wedding cake update..yes again!

I am sorry to say that I have decided to change the wedding cake….we are not having carrot and chocolate cake as the two top layers. I am capable of making them but as time draws on, I don’t think I will have enough time to bake them and ice them before heading up to Shropshire. So the decision was made to make three layers of fruit cake instead. So if you dislike fruit cake and cheese well you are a bit stuffed I guess!

We ventured into Swansea to get everything, for this rather big task. We had to time everything by six to fill the three tins, which as it turns out is a lot of ingredients. One mistake I will never make again is going into Swansea on a Saturday afternoon. It was hell. I am not exaggerating when I say this. I could feel my blood pressure increase as I entered the supermarket. I was stood picking up some butter when a lady decided to grab a load of lard from the shelf above. Next thing I know the whole lot came crashing down and narrowly missing my head.

“oh sorry luv, did it hit eww?’ she said

“No, it didn’t thankfully” I said as I stepped back to help pick the stuff up from the floor. Just as I stepped back her friend decided to ram her shopping trolley into my back.

Looking at her friend laughing the woman said ” There’s me nearly braining her with stuff and uwww are now trying to take her out with a shopping trolley”

Let’s just say I walked away with a rather fixed smile on my face and the urge to kill someone. Never ever again.

Back at the safety of home, and after a cup of tea, I set upon making the first tier. I hunted round for the biggest pot to put all the ingredients in and thankfully I had a stock pot just the right size. After mixing together the butter, sugar, brandy, vanilla extract, chocolate and fruit, we added nine eggs, flour, ground almonds and cocoa. I thought my wooden spoon would break, as there was such a lot to mix together. I must admit it took a bit of huffing and puffing to get it all mixed. Great workout for your arms though. After lining the cake tin on the in and outside, the cake was popped in the oven for 3 and a bit hours to cook.

Today I finished the other two tiers after spending the morning with a horrible migraine. Thankfully they came out ok and are now going to be fed each day with a good glug of brandy. Just need to add the marzipan, icing and decoration closer to the wedding.

If you would like the recipe it can be found here.

Let’s drive some miles

Eeek! We now have less than 3 weeks to go and things are starting to pick up pace. Last weekend we drove miles to get a few more items ticked off the list. Firstly Mister B and I went to Oswestry and the Ring Workshop to pick up the wedding rings that we’d had made.  Thank you to Mark and the team there who were really very helpful. Rings are sorted-CHECK!

We then headed over to Shrewsbury to meet up with my mum and Kev, to get the men measured up for their suits at Moss Bros.  Both Mister B and Kev paraded around in various getups until the right ones were found.  Suits are sorted-CHECK!

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This is what trying on suits does to you...

This is what trying on suits does to you…

Mum and I

Mum and I

We had a quick walk round Shrewsbury to look for some earrings for me to wear for the wedding and had a wander round one of the Antique shops in Belmont. As always we got up to mischief and Mister B had to try on a rather big fireman’s helmet. Ooooh missus. Makes you feel old when you realise that some of the antique toys were ones you remember playing with when you were a child!

Shrewsbury silliness

Shrewsbury silliness

We then popped round to see my gran, Ann before bedding down for the night to get up bright and early for the last of our banns being read at Rushbury Church the next morning. There were more people there than I expected and all very friendly. I think we caused a bit of panic though with the name of where we live, as there was a frantic chat about how to pronounce it. The service was lovely and I don’t know if it was intentional or not but the last hymn that was chosen, is actually the first hymn of our wedding. Another weird thing happened too. For once the bank holiday weather was actually quite nice and during the service a ray of sunshine came through one of the church windows straight onto my hymn book. It shone no where else in the church. I looked up and on the stained glass it said St Paul. Strangely enough that is my dad’s name! Well obviously not the Saint bit! Strange coincidence but brought a smile to my face nevertheless.

Running a tad late (sorry Ffion!) we then drove back to Shrewsbury for Sunday lunch at the Armoury with my matron of honor and her family which was a good end to a hectic weekend. A few glasses of wine and a tasty salad left me feeling rather sloshed! I noticed as well that my salad was smiling back at me too…or was I imagining it? Thank you Ffion, Rich, Thomas and Ben for lunch and laughter! xx

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Since then we have been printing off the Order of Service and Menu’s. You would think that this would be a simple task but it has caused a few headaches. Note to anyone who is doing this themselves, check that the thickness of card will go through your printer before you purchase it. I didn’t and as a result Mister B and I spent a few hours sweating buckets and using rather fruity language at printers. We got there in the end and they are looking good.

Feeling flowery

After scouring the internet and dabbling with flowers in the past, I have decided that we are going to do our own flowers for the wedding. Some brides or florists may read this and shake their heads. But seriously, I just cannot justify the inflated prices that are out there. I spoke and emailed a lot of florists for quotes and was amazed. Now I know that you are paying for a florists time and expertise but seriously one florist wanted to charge me ÂŁ20.00 for filling a jam jar with flowers and I was providing the jam jar. What the ???? I am not being tight but I could buy a big bunch of flowers for that.

I looked for recommendations on Money Saving Expert and lots of people recommended Triangle nurseries who are wholesalers. I went through their helpful flower guide, compiled a list of flowers/foliage that I liked and went on Pinterest and created a board of flower arrangements in the colours that we had chosen. I spoke with a lovely lady called Mary at Triangle who helped to create a detailed list of all the flowers we needed for our arrangements, button holes, bouquets etc within our budget. After a few changes, that was it-SORTED!  It was that simple. The flowers for the wedding will be arriving on the Thursday before the wedding and then the Flower Committee will be getting together on the Friday morning to get it all done. For some reason I think we need headscarves for this. Don’t ask, I have no idea why.   I am hoping that with music, bubbles and patience we will prevail. I am not guaranteeing anything like Ikebana but it will look fab.

We have had all our Banns read at St Cynog’s now and we are going to go to the last one at St Peter’s in Rushbury next weekend. Amazing how quickly they go.

I have been making some more bits and bobs for the day. My father gave me an old cutlery box of my grandmothers and I thought that I would try and upcycle it to include it in the day. Sounds daft and a bit sentimental but I feel by having it there, I am including my gran in the day. I have decided to use it for wedding cards and have decorated it. I have also been drying flowers and herbs for the confetti. Last Summer I cut all the lavender from the garden and dried it and have been adding rose petals, carnations,  rosemary, forget-me-nots and camillia. They are not perfect as they have browned a little but will do the job I am sure.  I have also made some confetti cones and popped them in an old basket I bought a while ago. The cones were very easy to make, by cutting squares, rolling and using good old Pritt stick. Here is a sneak peak…

Sneak peak

Sneak peak

More makes

More makes

I have been umming and arring about making bunting. I tried making some fabric ones a while ago and I found it a faff. I am sure for people who are good at textiles it is very very easy but I found cutting , pinning etc just left me frustrated and bored. I was just about to cheat and buy some when I came across this wonderful article  on The Sweetest Digs blog which shows how to make easy hessian/burlap bunting. As it is only going to be used for one day, it does not have to be industrial strength. No sewing and easy-genius!!!

Using some left over hessian, I set about making triangles, and then using some left over paint I painted on the letters. After drying for a while, I made some holes in each corner and threaded on some string. They may be a little bit rough around the ages and a bit wonky but that is the joy of homemade stuff, it isn’t perfect!

Our wedding gift list is active!

For those who have asked, our wedding list has now gone live, so if you would like to have a browse, the website to go to is:

John Lewis gift list

The giftlist number is: 524042

There is no password 🙂

The website will also allow guests to buy gift vouchers to put towards the more expensive items.

Any problems then please let us know-Thanks!

Keep on running

To tie in with the theme, we purchased some hessian and made some table runners. I realised during making the runner that:

  1. Hessian smells and sheds fibres like hell which can leave you looking like you have lived with a very hairy dog for a very long time.
  2. Long pieces of material can be a headache to measure and this leads you to move a lot of living room furniture around.
  3. My sewing machine is temperamental and has the occasional urge to munch hessian.
  4. Sewing long strips of material can be incredibly dull
  5. Dress pins hurt when you stand on them and they bury deep into your foot
  6. Sewing machines make me swear a lot

The runners are done, and I hope with all my will that they will be long enough. If they aren’t, then they will be quirky…OK??!!

 

keep on running

keep on running

all sewed up

all sewed up

 

Did someone say tea and cake?

I have to say John Lewis really do know about good customer service and make their customers feel special. Mister B and I went to the Cardiff store last week to try and finalise our wedding gift list. We were handed a scanner, given instruction on how to use it and then let loose in the store. More importantly we were given vouchers for tea and cake in the cafe. Now as many of you will know that is one way to keep Mister B and I happy-CAKE!

We have popped together a list and may add a couple of items with Next as well and will pop the web links to them when they become live which should be around the 20th April. We have some expensive items on there so please don’t fall off your seats. There is an option to contribute or buy gift vouchers, we didn’t want people to think we were being cheeky! We will keep you posted as soon as we know. I must admit it took longer than expected to go around the shop. There were so many nice things that we did get a tad distracted. It was so nice to get a nice brew and a custard slice afterwards I can tell you. I also have to say that John Lewis do bloody amazing cake!

Mister B before Billie Jean video remake

Mister B before Billie Jean video remake