Post-wedding planning Cheltenham treats & eats

I'm aware I should be sharing my wedding-planning breakdown here, but I have to say it's going swimmingly (queue disastrous event/supplier dropout). Early on I discovered the Bridebook app, which helps keep tabs on your guestlist/spending/suppliers - very useful. The geek in me hasn't been able to avoid creating a 'spending spreadsheet' though. Weddings require a hella lot of planning, starting with the invites...thankfully I happen to know a very good wedding stationery designer which helps (read: shameless plug).

Safe in the knowledge that wedding plans are under control, I've been sampling more Cheltenham delights. We started on a trip to the food festival, with it's pricey entrance fee, and massive queues - we made the smart decision to eat elsewhere - venturing to Grid Iron which is always good and probably a little bit underrated. The future bride in me went for the 'healthier' chicken burger (but couldn't say no to onion rings), whilst Wes had a massive American burger. Another gluttonous trip was to an oldy-but-a-goody - The Boston Tea Party for baked cheesecake (no self control when it comes to cake), before some more gluttonous behaviour in the form of purchasing Peonies (my favourites). 

A more successful event for us was 'Montpellier Day', in, you've guessed it...Montpellier. Full of classic cars, food/craft stalls and even a fortune teller (!). With it's beautiful parks and Cotswold bunting decorating the streets, good ol' Cirencester is also worth a visit when the sun is out....

Winter breakfasts, red red wine & a trip to the Wilson.


As soon as I felt the first cold gust of wind on opening the door, I knew I wouldn't be leaving the house much this winter. Apart from special occasions like a birthday or a pre-arranged visit somewhere within a 2 mile radius. Or to eat.

After making this realisation, I also discovered how much I love red wine and listening to UB40 on the turntable ('there's a rat in me kitchen...'). The man has also upped his game with mackerel breakfasts and home-made 'tomato sauce' (I might bottle it up to sell). I've also been trying to read more books and scour less pointless websites... 'The woman who went to bed for a year' by Sue Townsend (inspiration for my new lifestyle) and 'Love' by Angela Carter are recent reads.

If you live in Cheltenham and are thinking of going a small distance, take a look at 'The Last Word in Art?' at the Wilson Gallery. With artists like Tracey Emin, David Hockney and the opportunity to create your own work of art - it's one not to miss. 

Tea-drinking day jollies local and afar

After a few jollies away I've been staying in my home 'tan. There is actually lots to do in Cheltenham and the shire, including drinking tea and carbooting. No really... some of the tea drinking took place at the Scandinavian Coffee Pod (I don't drink coffee). After walking past it's new location at the Edge Studios each day and Instagram-ing their funky bright yellow 'stick out' building I learnt there was cake. They've done a good job with the limited space, making it a cosy spot to have a cuppa.

I also got taken on a surprise visit by the man to the Well Walk Tea Rooms, where I sampled their bake-off inspired jaffa cake, macaroons and home-made sandwiches. Lots of food between two, ok three of us (dogs were welcome). They seemed pretty busy, so recommend booking in advance.

A mini jolly was needed so we went to Upton upon Severn. A village that feels like it's stuck in time with it's old shop signage, retro fire stations and 50's garages. It did lack decent places to eat on a bank holiday but hey ho. Talking of retro, we also visited the posh carboot in Birdlip where I picked up a vintage gem of a handbag. Black leather with detailed gold edging, mini purse inside and haggled down price. The perfect accessory for weddings/cocktail/more tea drinking...

From garden pancakes to posh #chelteats grill diners

It has been brought to my attention that I've eaten out a lot recently, I mean I knew this already but maybe I need to stop 'checking-in' so much and also...doing more cooking at home. Breakfast is one weekend meal that we usually do cook at home (albeit that's usually because we can't agree on where to go...), you also can't go wrong with pancakes. And as 'Project Garden' is underway, it also means we can make the most of our new garden seating - including some inspired chevron furniture (found cheaper at homesense), garden lights and potted plants.

Another reason I keep venturing out for dinner is because so many new places keep opening up, including the new Firestation. My frequent dinner chum, Nicola, and I were quite excited about paying this place a visit (especially when we saw cocktails were a large feature of the dinner menu). The dinner was nice, and the cocktails were also pretty special - sat in a bar area decorated with hints of copper decor and a ladder to reach the 'higher' spirits. But the rather large price tag means I plan to keep this place for special occasions, or just the one cocktail.

Another grill place that is actually quite underrated is GridIron, I've been there recently for dinner and 'just drinks'. Staff are attentive and the food is indulgently good (American BBQ ribs, chicken burgers with avocado and smore dessert!) - with two cocktails for £12 I feel it's also a bit nicer on the wallet. 

To end this blog with something sweet...thanks to SoGlos for helping me discover Cheltenham's newest 'Freakshake' spot. Incase you've missed this Instagram trend - Freakshakes are over-the-top ice creams (quite literally) which look like they've come from Frankenstein's Sundae shop. Not quite there, but Blue Dogs Kitchen, are the Cheltenham-based creators. 

Enjoy these recommendations... and if you fancy a good eating out/eating in compromise try Siena Pizza on the Bath Road (Thursdays from 5-8pm) for some amazing stone baked Italian takeaway pizza. 

A 2016 trend inspired retro blue wedding invitation

You may have noticed a new addition to our wedding invitations - The Retro Blue Rose Invite. Taking inspiration from next year's retro blue trend, this invite is brought together with vintage roses, diamond shapes and hints of spring yellow. 

With the main invitation, information cards and mini RSVPs - this invite sits together with the help of a belly band. The black rose aligns with the rose on the main invitation and is printed on vintage kraft card.

We recommend using a similar kraft texture for your envelopes. The RSVPs would also benefit from their own mini envelope which you could include in the set. We chose black to 'tie in' with the black tie on the back of the main envelope. 

All these little touches were inspired by one picture of a retro blue suit. If you also feel inspired, take a look at the invite and place your order...


A wedding fair reveal...

You may have heard me mention it on Facebook, Twitter etc (just a few times)... but on the 23rd of March, Cupcakes & Bakes and I are sharing a stand at the Cotswold Style Wedding Fair in Cheltenham. Find out more about it here

Of course, a big part of this is drawing the bride-to-be's attention to our table in what is bound to be quite a competitive space. It's important we stand out - and whilst I love the vintage 'floral' theme in my house I feel we might need something else at a wedding fair. So, our theme colours are white, purple and blue (brand colours) - and the style will be 'chic' craft - with a reappearance of the paper pom poms, white paper bunting and some elegant gypsophila in white jugs - hopefully it will be quite an elegant look...

To push our marketing at this event I have also designed us both some 'mini-leaflets' to take along. Consistent in style as we're sharing the same table, but relevant to each of us - this fold out leaflet reveals pictures of our products gradually - giving the recipient a bit more information about us along the way. Printed on vintage gesso paper and cut by me to save costs, it should round things off nicely and be something the brides can take away with them. See my step-by-step pictures below...