Fashion & Beauty

Prague Wedding Guest: Outfit Of The Day

July 26, 2017

Wedding season is in full swing and so I thought I would share with you what I wore to our friends’ wedding in Prague.

Our friends Vanja and Rob got married at the beautiful Pachtuv Palace in Prague and it was the most romantic wedding that I have ever seen. There was an abundance of blooms, trailing ivy and eucalyptus framing the Palace as the string quartet played. Vanja’s dress was a fishtail of layered organza. She took my breath away. Nick has been best friends with Rob since school and was a groomsman. Our wedding (which takes place in a month) will be the last stop of their honeymoon, so it was a really special day for us.

Both of the newlyweds are absolutely fabulous which made their wedding the perfect opportunity to wear a bright prom dress and gold shoes! My dress is the Embroidered Salon Dress from ASOS , which is perfect for dancing and twirling in. My shoes are the Rio by Maguba. I have always wanted a pair of gold clogs, I actually bought these for my honeymoon but couldn’t resist wearing them for the wedding.

Suggested Post: Botanical Gardens Berlin

Lifestyle and Interviews

Top Tips For Organising A Hen Party

July 19, 2017

My hen party was organised entirely by my Maid of Honour and sister, Rachael, with the help of my bridesmaids, as a surprise for me. I didn’t lift a single finger! I was completely blown away by it all. Everyone that attended commented on not only how much fun they had at the party, but also how well organised and thoughtful Rachael was. That girl possesses party planning skills to rival a professional.

So this week I thought I would hand over to Rachael and get her top tips on organising a hen party…

Gather The Key Info: If you are doing a surprise then get the guest list, date and budget from the bride first plus any important requests, then keep her out of the loop completely. Lucy had no idea about any of our plans. She just asked that it was in the UK because her guests would be traveling for the wedding.

Set The Date In Good Time: Get the guests to save the date well in advance, even if you don’t know the finer details or have a set plan. That can all be done at a later date. But getting a big group of busy girls together on the same date can be tricky if you don’t leave enough time. Lucy’s hen party was in June but we set the date way back in October, which meant almost everyone invited was able to attend.

Plan Via E-mail: Whatsapp groups or FB events just mean every guest has to see the comments from everyone else. This can just be annoying and information can get lost in a long thread. Keep people informed but don’t send hundreds of short emails. Just a small number of emails including the facts and important info. Everyone is busy…if you have been tasked with planning the hen be prepared to be very busy but take responsibility. The guests just want it to be planned for them!

Break The Ice– Try and arrange an “ice breaker” activity early on in the day/weekend. This is a great way of making everyone feel at ease, ready to relax and have fun. We played pin the junk on the hunk while our Grandma was there and it had everyone in stitches.

Pace The Drinks – Plan a non- alcohol activity for the daytime. If you start day drinking too early some people are not used to it, get excited, end up too drunk, and can’t handle the evening activity. We went quad biking during the day then opened up the bottomless tiki-bar in the evening, which worked nicely.

Food– Plan LOTS OF FOOD and check dietary requirements in advance to make everyone feel well looked after and welcome. If there are leftovers people can always take it home with them after the weekend, but there is nothing worse than being hungry when you want lots of energy to celebrate!

You can find out more about my hen party in this blog post here: My Luau Hen Party

Lifestyle and Interviews

Interview With Manchester’s ‘Bee Love’ and ‘#WeStandTogether’ Artist Amy Coney

July 3, 2017

In the aftermath of the tragic events at Manchester Arena, like everyone within the local community, Artist Amy Coney just wanted to help. The horrendous attack had taken place just minutes from her house.

The very next morning Amy did what knew best: she picked up a paintbrush and started to create a giant worker-bee mural in central Manchester a symbol of the city’s hard-working past, during the Industrial Revolution. When I saw the photo of Amy and her friend hugging in front of the painting I cried. It really conveyed the grief of the community and how everyone was trying their best to support each other in the aftermath.

Amy didn’t stop there. In a bid to help raise money for the victims and their families she set up a collaboration with poet Tony Walsh who delivered the now iconic poem entitled ’This Is The Place’ at the official vigil outside Manchester Town Hall. This piece is called ‘Bee Love’ and has captured the hearts of musicians across the world including Elbow, the 1975 and George Ezra who have flocked to sign her canvas in support. In this interview I catch up with Amy about the process.

You created your beautifully moving street art piece #WeStandTogether featuring Manchester’s worker bee the morning after Manchester’s tragic bomb, can you tell us what you were thinking when you picked up your paintbrush and set out on that journey?

Two of my friends at Social Chain contacted me that morning with the idea that they wanted to do a mural, something positive in reaction to the heartbreak. I jumped at the suggestion having spent the last 12 hours mainly pacing and feeling helpless as we watched everything unfold on the news and Twitter.

A few phone calls to Outhouse MCR (they provided the wall) and by 1pm we were painting. Social Chain’s team helped me with the base and I managed to get most of the detail finished before running off to the vigil at Albert’s Square, I then came back to do final touches a day later.

The whole thing was quite surreal and adrenaline-filled, feeling the most intense need to do something as well as be around people. There was comfort in the comradery of creating something positive publicly – something for others, not just ourselves, something unifying. The #WeStandTogether was and is a powerful message and so relevant. When I put the brushes down and paused to see what we’d created, all of the emotion that had been numbed in the shock came over me like a wave. Sad and grateful tears all at once.

The Charlatans with Amy as they sign Bee Love

What has the reaction to your street-art piece been from the local community in Manchester?

Whilst painting several people gave their appreciation, including many from offices whose windows overlooked the piece. The lovely people at BooHoo actually gave us a round of applause from their window when we finished on the day which was incredible.

From then there has been so much positive feedback especially on social media – people are still photographing it and leaving the loveliest comments.

You are working on another Manchester Bee piece featuring the words of ‘Longfella’ Tony Walsh’s inspirational ode to Manchester at terror attack vigil. Tell us a little more about this project and how people can get involved.

Bee Love is a giant worker bee painting with the words from Tony Walsh’s famous poem entitled ’This Is The Place’ written in the wings with all proceeds going to the We Love Manchester Emergency Fund and Forever Manchester.

The canvas has been signed by a number of celebrities baking the cause including Elbow, the 1975, George Ezra and Jonny Marr. The auction will be resuming on the 1st August after we’ve gained more signatures. Prints will be available shortly. If people want to donate or purchase a print they can, alternatively people can help make noise by sharing it on social and telling as many people about it as possible.

Johnny Marr is one of the many musicians that have signed Bee Love

In what way did the words of the poem influence your piece?

I listened to the poem every day following the attack, there was something comforting about it, powerful, raw and strong. Tony’s poems are fantastic, but this one resonated with everyone, and it was also his delivery that made it so and his ability to stand in front of that crowd at a time when not many could have done the same. It gave a lot of people strength. It is Manchester.

‘Some born here, some drawn here, but all call it home.’ I was drawn here and this is my home.

 Art has always been your passion and you have turned this dream into your career. What advice would you give to other people that want to follow in your footsteps?

Keep persisting, and surround yourself with people that support you. Work with others that are better than you and listen to them, they speak from experience, be appreciative of their time and don’t undervalue your own. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there or fail, you can always go back to your office job but what a waste if you never tried. Enjoy learning.

For those of you that are new to LedByLucy you may want to have a nosy at the People and Projects section of my blog where I regularly feature interviews with inspirational women working within the creative field. You may also like the Travel and Places section.

Lifestyle and Interviews

My Luau Hen Party!

June 18, 2017

Last weekend my bridesmaids threw me a hen party and I’ve been bursting with gratitude and happiness ever since. The whole thing was a complete surprise and turned out better than anything I could have imagined or dreamed of.

Right after Nick and I booked our wedding, my super organised and thoughtful bridesmaids asked if I would like them to take care of the hen. I LOVE surprises and of course agreed and so off they went, led by my Maid of Honour and sister Rachael- who just happens to have the planning skills to rival a professional event planner. My one request was that costs for the hens were kept to a minimum, as our wedding is taking place in a land far away and I wanted them to enjoy everything without needing to spend much. And apart from that, I didn’t know a single thing.

On the week of the hen I flew into the UK from Germany and was picked up by a car full of excited bridesmaids. We drove to my Mum’s house in Chester. Her house is perfect for parties as she has a big garden and lot’s of room for guests. We put on the Practical Magic soundtrack (my favourite) whilst dancing around the island in the kitchen and preparing for our guests arrival. We cooked up huge batches of cookies, chilli, soups and all-sorts. They are all fantastic cooks and so thoughtful, they made sure that there were lots of options for our vegan and vegetarian guests. I still had no idea what was happening and could’t really sleep that night as I was so excited to see the rest of my friends the next day.

In the morning I was told to put on scruffy clothes and not to bother doing my hair or make-up. My hens began to arrive, along with my gorgeous Grandma who joined us for a delicious brunch and some hilarious games supplied by my younger sister Josie before the ‘top secret activity’. Everyone was looking super casual and I was trying to guess what we might be doing?

We all piled into cars and set off driving into the countryside. My friend LuLu told me to close my eyes towards the end of the journey and when I opened them we were in the middle of a muddy field…that explained the scruffy clothes then. We went into a little shed and were given camouflage overalls and helmets…Quad Biking! My sister explained to us that growing up I’ve never really been confident with driving or extreme sports. I just didn’t think I could do it and would watch my sisters but avoid it myself. Until last year when we went to Florida and my sister encouraged me to try jet skiing and then driving a jeep though the swamps in the country- both of which I ended up loving. Quad biking was another thing I would usually shy away from, but she knew I could do it and would enjoy it if I tried.

So off we went. Zooming through the mud and splattering it all over each other, we zipped through sunny fields of wheat (lot’s of Theresa May jokes) and bounced over/under obstacles along the way. We were all laughing so much as we got stuck in ditches or crashed into each other. It was amazing and it’s such a great feeling to go out of your comfort zone. Oh, and then Lola made the farmer hose me down with a power washer, another delightful suprise. Cheers for that, Lola.

We got back to the house and everyone began to shower and get ready for the Luau party.  I put my canary yellow prom dress on, after getting preened and pampered by two of my talented friends Sophie and Lulu (that just happen to be hair and beauty professionals), then my sister Rachael presented me with a stunning daisy veil which matched perfectly. She made it herself and my heart nearly bust at how much effort and love she’d put into it for me. I felt like Pricilla Presley and Lana Del Rey’s love child and didn’t take it off all night.

The hen party began. The garden was beautifully decorated with flamingos, everyone was drinking out of coconuts and we even had a tiki bar! We played some games which made me laugh so much my abs hurt the next day, the funniest was when we played the memory game. It was hilarious to remember some of the wild and ridiculous times that we’ve shared together over the years.

I was looking around at everyone and thinking how lucky I am to have acquired such beautiful, interesting and special women in my life.

We then went to Church, a beautiful old church which has been converted into a live music venue. The band played all of my favourite songs and changed all of the names in the songs to ‘Lucy’ while we danced the night away- I totally felt like we were in an American film. When we got back home we put more music on and ate the rest of the food that was left over!

The next morning we had a huge breakfast and some of the girls put on face-masks as we de-briefed, reminding each other of our funny antics from the night before. Such as Josie strumming the bass while Vanisha took over the mic. Everyone gave me presents too, they were so thoughtful: water from Glastonbury’s Chalice well (which is believed to have healing powers) and a mix tape of all of my favourite songs to dance to when I was 17.

I couldn’t ask for better friends and family, I was feeling pretty teary by the end of it all. They made me feel so loved and special. Thank you to everyone involved in making those memories that will last forever.

Suggested Post: Engagement Party Decorating