The Austenland DVD Is Amazing, And This Is The Hill I Will Die On

Oh yeah, Austenland! One of those rare cases where I, a book snob, prefer the film to the book. 

Socially awkward Jane Hayes (Keri Russell) is obsessed with the works of Jane Austen and fantasizes about the character of Mr. Darcy. She scrapes together as much money as she can and takes off for Austenland, a British theme resort where guests immerse themselves in a romantic fantasy worthy of Austen herself. However, because Jane’s limited funds do not allow as many privileges as other guests, her chance at a fling with her very own Mr. Darcy may be limited as well.

Synopsis courtesy of Google

Sure, it’s not for everyone, but here’s a brief rundown of things I love, and why I think Austenland is a great companion to reading Austen.

Austen In-Jokes

I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to say that, even if you’ve not read the books, you’re aware of certain aspects of Austen’s work as a cultural tour de force. My favourite in-jokes are the actors who’ve appeared in Austen Adaptations – notably JJ Field, fresh from a turn in Northanger Abbey, and super-excitingly, the actor who played Mr Hurst in the Colin Firth adaptation of Pride and Prejudice.

via GIPHY

The Casting is Spot On

Jennifer Coolidge is the star of everything she graces with her presence, and she has all the best one-liners here.

"I am Aphrodite, the godess. Often fickle in my large arse" - Quote from Jennifer Coolidge in Austenland

Keri Russell is similarly a joy (I just love her face) and JJ Field is, IMO, the best Austen hero.
The cherry on top, however, is Ricky Whittle. I love Ricky Whittle, purely because he was in Hollyoaks, which I didn’t even watch. I like seeing him do well.

It’s just Fun

From little touches like an abundance of fake animals, to an unexpected and wonderful homage to Nelly’s “Hot in Herre”, Austenland is one of those delightful films which doesn’t take itself too seriously. It’s escapism, pure and simple, and that’s what I love about it. 

I did my dissertation on Jane Austen adaptations, (in an early example of my ability to relate anything to Jane) and came away from it pretty jaded and Austen-ed out. 

I watched Austenland for the first time earlier this year. Afterwards, I remember going to sit on my back doorstep with a glass of white wine to think about it. There’s no surprise that I related very strongly to the 30-something Austenite, Jane Hayes, but it was more than that. I was feeling that joy again, that I always used to, when I watched or read an Austen. I’ve always loved romance, and I just felt… happy. So I started watching the adaptations, and re-reading all the books. And that love grew, and I wanted to share it.

So that’s the main reason I started planning Bridal Book Club. I hope that you can discover a similar joy, if you’re new to Austen, or reignite those old loves, if you’ve not revisited her for a while. 

But What About the Book?

If books are more your bag and you’re looking for some easy reading to ease you in to Bridal Book Club, and give you  a peek behind the Regency Romance curtain, then the book is definitely worth a read. The film made some (to me) pretty key changes in the character of Henry Nobley, which I think worked better.

Worth mentioning that Austenland in the book is a GDPR nightmare. They’re spreading personal details left, right and centre. There’s also a glaring gaffe that I, a West Yorkshirewoman, cannot get over, involving someone from Sheffield supporting Man Utd football club. I told DH about this and he was appalled.

But that said, it’s nice, and it’s a relatively quick read if you just fancy something cosy after Christmas dinner. There’s a sequel too, which is somewhat darker a la Northanger Abbey, but still worth a read.

via GIPHY

 

Have you seen the film or read the book? What did you think? Which did you prefer? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

Bridal Book Club – January – Persuasion

Meet The Elliots.

Persuasion bu Jane Austen - Giftast Bridal Book Club Month 1

Ah, Persuasion.

With perhaps the second most memorable opening of an Austen book, it’s not immediately clear who our heroine will be, nor our hero.

Are we looking at the redemption of Mr Elliot and his journey to being the husband of Elizabeth?

Shall we witness the sweet love story of the vain Sir Walter who, through a journey of self exploration realises his place in the world and earns the love as well as the esteem of his late wife’s best friend, Lady Russell?

Is it of Anne, and the clergyman she knew many summers earlier, the one who got away?

And here is the blurb, to immediately ruin all the drama I just created… I don’t want to do spoilers in blog post one, so feel free to skip the blurb if you’re new to the book and want to keep guessing. (Although fair warning that spoilers will follow in later posts, and on twitter and instagram. Keep an eye on those for discussion, liberal use of gifs, and artwork progress shots.)

The story concerns Anne Elliot, a young Englishwoman of 27 years, whose family is moving to lower their expenses and get out of debt. They rent their home to an Admiral and his wife. The wife’s brother, Navy Captain Frederick Wentworth, had been engaged to Anne in 1806, and now they meet again, both single and unattached, after no contact in more than seven years. This sets the scene for many humorous encounters as well as a second, well-considered chance at love and marriage for Anne in her second “bloom”.

Wikipedia – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persuasion_(novel)

Whether or not you’ve read Persuasion before, I’d love you to join me in reading. One of the great things about Austen’s work is that it’s all out of copyright, meaning it’s really easy to find free versions. I’ve compiled a list of links below which should sort you out, regardless of how you choose to read.

Free downloads:

https://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/search/?query=jane+austen

https://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_4_15?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=jane+austen+kindle+free&sprefix=jane+austen+kin%2Caps%2C153&crid=1O2BC2UXNRG97

Audio:

https://librivox.org/author/155?primary_key=155&search_category=author&search_page=1&search_form=get_results

This is a lovely reading, which is also available as a LoyalBooks podcast, if that’s your jam.

Paperback:

 

Click to view on Amazon. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Just a note that the new Wordsworth edition covers really annoy me.

What doesn’t, Katherine?

Fair, but they’re completely unrelated to the books! It’s like someone went “Ah, we need something to stick on these women’s books, but I’m not prepared to read them and neither is the illustrator! They’re historical, right? Something about love? Stick a corset on it! Now, I’m going to clock off early and go to the pub.”

OK, perhaps not, but still. These covers are pretty but… completely irrelevant.

Rant over.

What next?

Here’s a schedule for what to look out for in terms of watch-alongs – all will be held at 7pm GMT.

  • Thursday 17th January 2018 – Persuasion Watch-Along (2007 version)
  • Friday 25th January 2018 – Wine Night Book Club Discussion 
  • Tuesday 29th January 2018 – Persuasion Watch-Along (1995 version)

Don’t forget to keep and eye on twitter and instagram for Bridal Book Club chat and pics.

I’d love to hear from you – have you read Persuasion before? What do you love about it? Is *SPOILER REDACTED* your favourite Austen hero?

Bridal Book Club Jane Austen Bookmarks – Free Printable!

jane austen free printable bookmarks bridal book club

Bridal Book Club:

Jane Austen Bookmarks – Free printable!

“The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.”

– Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey

Personally, I don’t mind folding down the corner of a page. It depends on the book, really. I’ll do it on my £1.99 Wordsworth Classics, but not on anything old and pretty. But with a print and a snip, you can have a book-appropriate bookmark as you read along with Bridal Book Club

I’m going to be giving away pre-printed Jane Austen bookmarks (pictured) at the various wedding fayres I’m attending early 2019. I’m also slipping them in orders, while stocks last. 

Get your free download here, and happy reading!

Introducing Bridal Book Club

Giftast Bridal Book Club

I’m really excited to be launching Giftast’s Bridal Book Club in Jan 2019! I’d love you to join – take a look at the details below and see what you think:)

What’s it all about then?

Giftast Bridal Book Club is a place where lovers of romance from anywhere in the world can get together and talk about the books they love. We can share recommendations, explore new angles to work we thought we knew. There will be watch-alongs of adaptations, and hopefully we can make some new friends! Whether you’re a big romance reader or you just fancy trying something new, everyone is welcome.

Book Club membership is absolutely free, and I have no intention of ever taking this to a paid platform. Being part of the group means you will receive special discount offers on wedding stationery and access to freebies such as printable bookmarks and colouring sheets. If you’re not planning a wedding, that’s fine too!

Why a Book Club?

I’ve started this book club for a couple of reasons  –

Firstly, I want to read more.

I also wanted to meet new people with similar interests – and if there’s one thing I’m interested in, it’s romance books!

Next, I think reading is really important as a stress relief. As wedding stationery is currently the main of what I do, I know how stressful wedding planning can be, and I wanted to offer an outlet for people who are planning their big day. A community where they can hang out with people who understand exactly what they’re going through and also just have a break. Reading is scientifically proven to be beneficial to your health, and we could all probably do with being a bit healthier!

All that said, anybody who wants to read a bit more romance is very welcome to join.

So where do we start?

January 2019 – Persuasion, by Jane Austen

The idea for a book club came in part from watching the movie Austenland for the first time. I’ve been a massive fan of Austen for years. Watching the film made me really wish I had some sort of community who I could talk to (read: gush!) about the books and adaptations. 

Austen is the queen of modern romance, and Pride & Prejudice in particular is the template for many modern romance novels.

I decided to start off with the big 6 Austens, because they’re probably the most accessible in terms of media. They’re also out of copyright so you can easily get hold of them for free. I’ll be including links to these in blog posts ahead of each month. There’s also be a schedule of things like watch-alongs which we’ll be holding.

Whether you’re a big Austen fan who fancies a re-read, or you’ve never read her before but want to see what all the fuss is about, I’m really happy you’re here!

How Do I Get Involved?

I was hoping you’d ask! The main base will be the Giftast Bridal Book Club Facebook Group, and links to blog posts and everything else will be posted there. There’ll also be Twitter Chat – follow @giftast for hashtags and chat during watch-alongs. Please do also invite any friends you think would like to join! I’m so excited about getting started!  Thank you for joining us:)

Jane Austen Quote - "I declare after all ther is no enjoyment like reading."

 

6 Steps to Stress Free Wedding Planning

6 Steps to Stress Free Wedding Planning
6 Steps to Stress Free Wedding Planning

If you’re just starting your journey to Dream Wedding™ then here, here and here are some great tick lists of things you need to think about.

What I’m offering here are tips and tricks to help streamline your wedding planning and actually GET SH*T DONE.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, and like there simply aren’t enough hours in the day, hopefully this will help. Don’t let it get you down – you can do it, and it will all be worth it. And don’t forget, you aren’t in this alone. Ask for help, and if you can afford it, hire a professional for some jobs. DIY is great but it isn’t for everyone.

What do I know about all this?

Well, in a former life I was an Exec PA at a FTSE 100 company, and managed the time of some of the most disorganised people you can imagine. I have balanced working full time, planning a wedding, starting a business and writing books. And most importantly, I’m an organising addict. I am addicted to getting things done, so I know what works.

Become Your Own Exec PA -Yes, I have a new letter-board-thing, and I am not afraid to use it 😂

I used to find it really difficult to get as much as I wanted to done – I still do, but that’s because the standards I set for myself are ridiculous. But then I realised that while I was really good at organising other people’s lives, I wasn’t applying those same practices to my own life. I was acting as though my things were so much less important than those of the people I was working for.

I became my own Exec PA, because it might not be important to anyone else if I don’t remember to set up my coffee machine the night before, but it will make a massive difference to my morning.

My jobs – your jobs – which are unpaid and only for our benefit are just as important as those which we are paid to do. You are worth organising your time and treating yourself with the respect you treat those you work for, or those you love.

Disclaimer – this isn’t for everyone. No one size fits all here. But what you might find is that once you start crossing things off your to-do list, you get hooked too;) Some of these things might seem obvious – great! It’s all part of the journey to getting things done.

Get Everything Down on Paper

 

1. Get Everything Down on Paper

You’ve probably started making lists already. You can’t sleep because of things popping into your head that need doing. Get it out of your brain and down onto your notebook app, some scrap paper, or in your gorgeous, shiny and new wedding notebook. What you want is a master list of everything that needs doing. Then, you need to break it down into small, easily achievable tasks.

For example:

  • Wedding Stationery:Check Instagram for stationery ideas
    • Compare stationers x 3Bespoke?
      • Colour scheme?
      • Price Range?
    • Order stationery samples
      • Finalise details:
        • Venue
        • Date/time
        • RSVP date/method
        • Guest list – numbers
        • Day/Evening numbers
        • Send details to stationer
    • Collect addresses from guests
    • Write 50 invitations
    • Write 50 more invitations
    • Post out invitations

Phew!

This isn’t an exhaustive list, and depending on how you want your wedding to work, your stationery to-do list might look very different! But have a good think about every little job which makes up all your big jobs. Think about what you’d be likely to achieve in, say, 15 or 30 minutes. Having bite-size jobs makes it easier to complete – you’re more likely to find 15 minutes than an hour, and can slot your tasks in throughout the day.

Once you’re done, take a look at your undoubtedly massive list. Feel a wave of overwhelm and panic wash over you. Let it pass. Breathe. You got this. Remember – you don’t have to do everything yourself. Write initials next to the jobs you can delegate. You know almost everything that needs doing, and you know how long you have.

You have the POWER.

Decide what’s a priority

2. Decide What is a Priority, and Make it Non-Negotiable.

Every day this year (it’s almost November), I have done at least 10 minutes of yoga. I’m not telling you that to brag (much!;p), but I’m sharing it as an example of what can happen when you make something non-negotiable. You find the time in your schedule to make it work. I’ve got up half an hour early to do yoga before I had to go out all day. I’ve travelled to and from London in a day and got home at 8pm, and done yoga before I ate my dinner so I could crack on with the wine.

I never thought I was the sort of person that could do that, but it’s the sort of person I want to be.

As soon as something is non-negotiable, you’re spending your time thinking about how to make it work, rather than how to get out of it. So for wedding planning, it might be non-negotiable that you and your partner need to sit down at some point during the week to discuss – and decide – your guest list. Eat the frog, and plan it in so you can open the wine after, or if you get it all done, you can get a takeaway as a reward. But regardless, it has to be done.

Get yourself a planner
Get Yourself a Planner

3. Get Yourself a Planner

I use a week-to-view diary for my planning. Because I have my master list of little jobs – which I can keep adding to, I don’t need to plan for, say, a month, 3 months, or 6 months at a time. I can be a lot more flexible when unexpected things arise. If you don’t want to buy a diary, or it isn’t the time of year for it, you can download loads of free, blank, weekly planners, draw one in your notebook in a couple of minutes, stick it on a whiteboard, or whatever you prefer.

Working one week at a time, pick your priorities from your master list, and slot the little jobs into your diary. I’d recommend adding in your day-to-day jobs too, like *clean bathroom*, *buy season ticket* and *go to Tesco*. You’re doing them anyway, and they get you into the habit of crossing things off. Once a task is completed, just cross it off. I score through with a line so I can still read it, but that’s because I like to be able to look back and see the things I’ve done.

Don’t forget to add in things you did that weren’t in your planner – and immediately cross them off!

I like to do my planning on a Sunday – be sure to write *plan for next week* on the following Sunday when you’re planning!

You will also have the satisfaction of crossing things off your master list, done in the previous week when you’re planning the next.

Sometimes, if I’m not sure how a job will turn out, or I’m not sure of what I’ve got on all week, I’ll only plan for a couple of days at a time, rather than the full week. It’s about making it work for you, and allowing yourself some flexibility.

I like to go easy on what I put in my planner on weekends. This means I can add in more if I’ve got time, go back to things I didn’t get to, or I can use my free time to do other tasks and get ahead of myself.

But then again, I am a planner addict whose only idea of fun is strictly organised fun.

I have a Pusheen diary for this year, which is just DARLING, and the little pictures of cats make using it more fun. Next years’ is a bit more boring, but I needed it in July, when limited diaries were available. It’s still really pretty, and it has larger spaces so I can write in more little jobs.

Challenge Yourself
Challenge Yourself

4. Challenge Yourself

Once you’ve started, you might be surprised by how much you can get done. By making your master list, the most difficult part is over. Thinking about what you need to do can take longer than actually doing one or two of your little jobs. You can crack a couple of these out in a lunch break, if you’ve planned ahead.

If one wedding task a day is working out, maybe knock it up to two some days! If you’ve a really busy day coming up, find one of the more fun or quick tasks (eg looking at instagram for inspo/texting your third cousin for her address) and pop it in on that day.

Cut Yourself Some Slack
Cut Yourself Some Slack

5. Cut Yourself some Slack

Unexpected things happen. Sometimes you have a bad day, there’s a traffic jam, you just need to sleep. Other people need your time, you have to work late, or what you thought was a little job turns into a big one.

Don’t stress. You got this, remember?

That’s the beauty of working through these little, little jobs, and only planning up to a week at a time. You can cross it off another day. Or you can push it back to next week. Maybe you can give it to someone else to do. The important thing is that you’re in control of everything that needs doing, and you can move things around. You know what’s non-negotiable and what there’s some flexibility with.

There are days – and weeks – where the best thing for me has been to ignore my planner, or not plan at all. If it’s all too much, give yourself a break. You deserve it. Planning a wedding should be fun for you, not just the day itself.

You are allowed to go at your own pace.

And here’s another thing – plan in some fun. Yes, I love organised fun, but that’s not what I mean here. Plan doing nice things. Schedule in a long bath for yourself, or to read a couple of chapters of a romance novel. Schedule in some time with your partner where you don’t talk about the wedding, perhaps over a romantic dinner. Be nice to yourself.

Bask in Your Own Brilliance
Bask in Your Own Brilliance

6. Bask in Your Own Brilliance.

As you work through your week, and then go back to your master list, you’re going to start to be pleasantly surprised by how much you’ve got done. Suddenly, big jobs are completed and you barely broke a sweat.

Using a planner and crossing things off works best for me because I can look back at a week and see everything I achieved. There’s no way I can remember everything I’ve done each day, but when I look back at what I’ve crossed out, I’m genuinely always surprised by how much I’ve done.

I do find that putting something in the planner means it has a higher chance of getting done. Little things I’d otherwise forget, like *take dinner out of the freezer*, *brush the cat* or *soak beans for tomorrow’s tea*. They all get done because I don’t even have to think about it.

I just look in my planner.

So them’s the tips. I know it’s not for everyone but I really hope it helps. The most important thing I can suggest it writing that big list. Seeing exactly what needs doing, physically in front of you, gives you so much more control over what you can get done and how and when you do it.

Don't Worry, You've Got This.
Don’t Worry, You’ve Got This.

What do you find helps you get stuff done? Are you a planner devotee? Or if you’re struggling, what do you find your biggest obstacles are? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

Corporate Event Stationery – ✨It’s Party Time!✨

festive corporate event stationery
Festive Range – click the image to visit the gallery!

Christmas Party Season is approaching, but we’ve got you covered with our Festive Corporate Event Stationery Range!

If you’re looking for that little something to take your events to the next level, then Giftast may have the solution for you.

From Christmas parties to black-tie dinners, we offer something for almost every occasion. There’s also a bespoke design service for those once-in-a-lifetime events. We offer free colour changes and logo placement to enhance your brand.

You can view our range here, or download our brochure. We also offer free samples on request.

Brides Magazine Feature

Did I mention our teeny little feature in the September/October 2018 issue of Brides Magazine?? 😍👰❤️🥂 

Brides Magazine Sept/Oct 2018
Brides Magazine Sept/Oct 2018

Because that’s the kind of thing you should probably mention on your website! You can find Giftast and my super popular Victorian Wedding Style Estella range in the Eat Your Heart Out section in the back 😘 xx

Giftast Loves… The Improbability of Love, by Hannah Rothschild

Review: The Improbability of Love, by Hannah Rothschild, Knopf.

Now, it’s about love and it’s about art. That’s all the justification I need for having this on my wedding blog. 

I like books with paintings in. Every book I’ve written to date features at least one artist, (yeah, I do that sometimes too…) and some of my favourite books centre around either particular paintings or the art world. There’s Jilly Cooper’s Pandora, A. S. Byatt’s The Children’s Book and now, Hannah Rothschild’s The Improbability of Love.

When I left university (having studied Illustration), I was entirely disillusioned and determined never to pick up a pencil again. I hated everything I had created, and had lost all sense of pride in my work. Now, I could say something extremely bitter here about the quality of teaching I received, but frankly, if you choose a university based only on how close it is to your home and nothing else, you’ve only got yourself to blame.

As the years went by I dabbled here and there, but I had forgotten how it used to be.

I had lost all the joy in creating.

Then, quite by chance, two events collided. I started to read The Improbability of Love, and I saw my old artwork from school for the first time in almost 10 years. I realised just how much I had lost. Looking through my portfolio from AS Level to the end of Uni, I saw how the pleasure had gone out of creating and how my education, rather than pulling me forward, had pushed me back to a level of such deep insecurity that I was unable to paint. I will say one thing for my art education – it’s taught me how to be extremely critical.

I’ve since gone on to start drawing again, and creating, and in the process started Giftast. Is it down to this book? No. Did this book help give me a little push in the right direction? Undoubtedly.

The Improbability of Love reminded me of a feeling I had completely forgotten – of being entirely captivated by a painting. Of having the process of creating something with your hands be the first and last thing in your mind. Of being all-consumed.

Click to view on Amazon. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

What’s The Book About?

The story centres around one painting, The Improbability of Love, and chronicles the effect that art can have on the lives of those it touches. From the just-not-bothered to the obsessed, from those who want to bask in reflected glory to those who feel a deep attachment, Rothschild skilfully answers the question of what makes art, art, and what makes one picture more valuable than another.

Rothschild presents a broad cast of characters, from exiled Russian billionaires to struggling tour-guides, through the impoverished British aristocracy and dusty scholars. She opens up a world of sleaze, intrigue and high integrity. She contrasts the life of the artist, both idealised and not, and the gravitational pull that mysterious world has on those who surround themselves in it. There is a great deal of difference between, for example, Damien Hirst, and Watteau, painter of the story’s central masterpiece. There is a greater distance still between the work of those who create and those who deal in high art, and Rothschild illustrates this perfectly.

For me the real beauty of The Improbability of Love is that it makes me want to go to museums and galleries. It makes my hands stretch out to paint, it reminds me of the way I feel when I create something meaningful.

Have you read The Improbability of LoveI’d love to hear what you thought!

A version of this post first appeared on Murder and Manners on May 9th 2016

Reduce Wedding Stress with Giftast Loves… Chilling the H*ck Out – Part 2

Want to reduce wedding stress? Let’s talk about relaxing! Continuing from my first post about letting go and Nolite te bastardes carborundorum, here are three more things which help me chill the h*ck out and which I, a person with more anxiety than I know what to do with, definitely need. 

As always, still not a doctor, and please don’t use this advice in lieu of consulting with a medical professional.

Down Dog

Click the picture to visit their site. So much battery life <3

Yes, but have you tried yoga?

I don’t want to be that person. I mean, really. But, as with everything in this list, it’s stuff that works for me. Down Dog is an app which plays you video yoga routines of your choice of length, style and difficulty. It’s really simple to use and you get loads of functionality on the free version.

One of my New Year’s resolutions was to do at least 10 minutes of yoga a day, and so far, I’ve stuck to that. Having this non-negotiable routine I have to work around means that I accomplish something for my own well-being and health every day, and now have tiny muscles in my arms which I refer to as my guns and will flex at the least provocation. The routines are just the right side of difficult meaning I can do them without injuring myself, but that I do have to concentrate to do them correctly, thus making my internal monologue shut the hell up for at least 10 minutes. If you’ve been fancying yoga, I’d really recommend giving it a try. There’s a dog, as well, which you sometimes see a picture of. It’s pretty fluffy.

:’)

Yogi Tea

Urgh, Katherine. First yoga and essential oils, and now yogi tea? Next you’ll be telling me you’re a vegan!?

*cough cough*

Not remotely unnerving. >_< Click to view on Amazon – As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

In some cases, some stereotypes are true. I’m also British, so of course I love tea. The chocolate one helps me sleep. It’s really nice. The little phrase cards on the tea bags are like opening a fortune cookie, so there’s a tiny bit of joy in that.  

Brendan Burchard – Release Meditation.

Under different circumstances I’d highly recommend High Performance Habits by Brendon Burchard, another Marie Forleo guided find and another self-help thing which I have found really beneficial. But in the context of this blog about chilling the h*ck out, I will instead recommend Brendan’s release meditation. 

It’s a tool to help reset your attitude, and make a break between tasks. If you’re feeling annoyed by your extended family’s insistence that they bring their umpteen kids, but you need to speak to, I don’t know, a vicar next, maybe try the release meditation to help you diffuse that anger and bring your best self to any visits with clergy. Or whatever. This is great if I’ve had a bad day at the side-hustle but really want to recharge and bring something positive to my work on Giftast, or spending some time with OH without spending another 2 hours complaining about how I was deeply, deeply wronged. 

So clear 20 minutes if you can, and I’ll let Brendan explain.

So there you have it, my six tips and tricks to chill the h*ck out. I’d love to know what you think, and what works for you!

Giftast Loves… Chilling the H*ck Out – Part 1

What does this have to do with weddings, Katherine?

Oh, ye of little faith. As I continue in my quest to prove that I can relate almost anything to weddings, I invite you to beat wedding stress and join me in chilling the h*ck out. 

Wedding planning is a stressful business. I know it, you know it, we all know it. It is a truth universally acknowledged that a person engaged in planning a wedding must be in want of chilling the h*ck out. So while I can help take some of that stress away by sorting your wedding stationery (plug, plug), other things out of your control may go a little awry and send you into a stress spiral. As the big day approaches and your guests/family/significant other may be less than cooperative about who sits with who or on how urgent it is that they RSVP, you may find yourself feeling a little… tense.

Even though my wedding is well over, I still, as I always have, find it very difficult to switch off. Sleep is one of those things other people are good at, but it’s just so hard to shut my brain down most of the time. I’ve complied an arsenal of things which help me, which, if you’re close to the end of your tether with wedding planning, or you just need a few moments of chill, might be helpful.

Not a doctor, obviously, and please do not use this advice in lieu of seeking medical help.

Relax Melodies

Click to visit the Relax Melodies website.

If I’m in a strange place or OH is on night shift, then I am constantly vigilant. Any noise, and I’m not only planning my escape from the (presumably) masked intruders but also speculating on exactly how I’ll be murdered. 

I know.

So in order to drown out the tiny little noises which are absolutely not worth my time and worry, and to shut off the racing, survival part of my brain which is straining to hear them, I use Relax Melodies.

You can mix and match repetitive sounds from birdsong to womb (!?) and orchestral to oscilating fan. You can then layer over a mix of meditations to help with a range of things from sleeping to tinnitus relief. When wedding stress gets you down, you can tune out to a cat’s purr.

Just LOOK how much battery life I have left. <3

I shelled out for premium for the full range of meditations, but the free version has plenty of sounds and meditations to get you started.

The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down – Haemin Sunim, Penguin.

 

We know the world only through the window of our mind.
When our mind is noisy, the world is as well.
And when our mind is peaceful, the world is, too.
Knowing our minds is just as important as trying to change the world.

– The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down – Haemin Sunim, Penguin

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This book is adorable. I saw a guy reading it over a couple of weeks on my commute to my side hustle, and he looked really chilled. Which could have been because he had a seat, while I was squeezed into the aisle between a rucksack, some guys’ spread out knees and someone who ABSOLUTELY HAD TO read a newspaper at full stretch. Yeah, you know what I mean. Anyhoo, I checked it out, and it’s filled with tiny wisdom to help you get things into perspective. Made for dipping into rather than reading in one sitting, this is great for grabbing a few moments of chill.

Tisserand Essential Oils

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Now, I don’t know how essential oils work. Do they work? Is it a placebo effect? I have no idea. But what I can tell you is that this little box of Energy from Tisserand does seem to have helped me focus, get more energy and have happy vibes, depending on which I’ve used. I’m writing this now while dotted with the Focus bottle, and not only does it smell lovely, but I am rattling out words like there’s no tomorrow, having just finished designing a stationery suite. 

TREMBLE BENEATH THE POWER OF MY LASER LIKE FOCUS.

*ahem*

They also do a little box of sleep which I’ve not tried yet but, ya know, seems like it’s only a matter of time. 

There’ll be three more things I use to chill the h*ck out (yes, I need six) and which might help if wedding stress is getting you down. They’ll follow in Part 2 next week. In the meantime, what helps you when you’re feeling stressed? I’d love to hear in the comments below <3