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 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.

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 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

Giftast Loves… DIY Cement Stuff

If my review of Big Magic (or the book itself) has inspired you to to try something a bit more creative for your wedding, and you fancy something a bit more heavy duty, this could be the one for you!

I haven’t tried this myself yet, but it’s on the list – I’m thinking those little pots with succulents or cacti as a table centre, wedding favour, bridesmaid/groomsman gift? I love the idea of spray painting these in bold colours to fit your theme, and those bottle-shaped vases half-painted with a pastel colour? Gorgeous centrepiece. There are loads of possibilities here, and it’s amazing what you can do with some cement!

How about this for a cute little planter? You could even use these instead of place cards and table favours if you personalised them with guest names… Yeah, that would be a lot of candle holders, even at a small wedding. Maybe just stick with these for gifts for the in laws;)

This video is really great though, as it gives you more safety tips for working with cement, which seem pretty important.

And finally… my Spanish isn’t great, but you get the idea! There lacy little pots look so pretty, and would be really nice painted white and then stippled with copper coloured pain to bring out the pattern…

If you try any of these, I’d love to see the results! Tag me in your photos @giftast, and I’ll share! And if I ever get round to trying them, I’ll show you my results xx

Giftast Loves… Elsie’s Attic

Finally, some wedding stuff, amirite?!

Let’s talk about tulle!

Nottinghamshire-based Elsie’s Attic is a cute vintage-inspired fashion store with an absolute wealth of gorgeous dresses. They’re a wedding-planner’s paradise, with pages and pages of beautiful, flattering and affordable dresses which could look oh-so-lovely on your bridesmaids.

Isn’t this just the most beautiful confection you’ve ever seen? Photo courtesy of Elsie’s Attic – click the picture to view on their site.

But my personal favourite is their collection of tulle tutus.

Available in a rainbow of wedding-friendly colours, these skirts are what my younger, secretly princess-obsessed, and current, openly princess-obsessed self wants to skip around the garden in, talking to the animals, or dancing with the cat.

Photo courtesy of Elsie’s Attic – click the picture to view on their site.

You know what my favourite thing about Elsie’s Attic is? It’s that so many of their product photos are mirror selfies. It makes me so happy. It’s like your friend is WhatsApping you saying “Hey, found this for your wedding, what do you think?” and me replying “YES OMG PERFECT” and adding six to my basket.

Heart eyes <3 Photo courtesy of Elsie’s Attic – click the picture to view on their site.

So I guess what I’m saying here is, check them out? And also keep an eye on their Facebook page, because they occasionally hold photoshoots with followers, and they always look really fun!

Giftast Loves… Big Magic, by Elizabeth Gilbert

This isn’t always going to be books. Just mostly books, because books are literally the best things. I grew up on a steady diet of fiction, discovered Mills and Boon at 18, then diversified into mystery and thriller in my 20s. One genre I’ve never really got into until the past year or 2 is Self Help.

I was always quite dismissive of self help, because sometimes, when we are younger, we’re assholes. But as I got older and realised just how much my Self could do with Help, I decided to go for it. I think it was spurred on by starting my own business – nothing shows you how little you know than starting a business. But we digress.

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I guess most people will know Elizabeth Gilbert from Eat, Pray, Love, but I am not one of those people. Was it a historical romance? No? Then Katherine wasn’t interested. I first heard about Big Magic on the Marie Forleo podcast (see, I am 100% embracing the self help, and I love, love, love Marie). You can see the Marie TV episode below, and I’d highly recommend it.

So, Big Magic.

About 7 years ago I completed an illustration degree, and in the process had completely fallen out of love with drawing. I’d been slowly getting back into creating art over the past couple of years, as you can probably tell by this whole “Giftast” thing, but there was still this cloud of doubt in the back of my mind. I feared that I was wasting my time and wasn’t good enough.

There are lots of things I want to do, to make, to create. Fun things, big paintings, tiny, detailed drawings. I want to make a pack of cards, entirely hand painted. I want to make massive posters and experiment with gold leaf finishing on one-off portraits. But I haven’t. Why?

Fear. If you don’t do it, you don’t fail. This mentality has held me back in a lot of things in my life. But now… Big Magic.

I read chapters of this and was moved to start creating – this has reaffirmed my love and helped me remember why I drew in the first place. It’s all about the joy.

The book is written in easy to digest chunks that you can dip in and out of, and Glibert’s style is like that of an old friend who deeply cares about you. I’d recommend this to anyone considering taking up a creative pursuit, returning to one, or who finds the process of creating difficult. Gilbert’s insights about the trickster/martyr were particularly useful to me, and I’m sure I’ll revisit this book many times in the future.

Fear and doubt don’t go away, just like that, just because you read a book. But what this did for me was to put those fears and doubts into perspective. Creativity is a gift, it’s fun, and when you’re practising drawing and you just can’t get the eyes right because you keep forgetting to check them in a mirror, it can be easy to misplace that feeling of fun.

How does this relate to your wedding, you may be asking? Well, if you’re planning a wedding, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed. There may be things you want to do yourself – table centres, the cake, the dress, the invitations – but if you’re out of the creative habit, it’s easy to assume you won’t be able to do what you want, or it won’t look as good as it does on Pinterest… If it is something you’re unsure about, maybe give Big Magic a read, see if it helps?

Check out Big Magic here, and don’t forget to watch Elizabeth Gilbert on Marie TV!

Giftast Loves… Beneath The Dead Oak Tree, by Emily Carroll

I’ve decided to do a series of blog posts called Giftast loves, because there’s loads of cool stuff I get so see in the wedding and art community, and I wanted the opportunity to share that with you guys, in the hope it would be helpful with inspiration for your wedding planning.

With that in mind, this first blog post… does not really fit the brief. Let me introduce you to Beneath the Dead Oak Tree, by Emily Carroll. See, being best friends with one of the best people who writes about comics in the world means that I get to see a lot of cool stuff which would otherwise pass me by.

Be still, my goth heart.

Beneath the Dead Oak Tree is, in short, made especially for me, and containing all of the things I love. Thank you, Emily Carroll, lady I have never met!

Close up of this beauty: Foxes in frockses

You want anthropomorphic foxes in period frocks?

You want gorgeous, rich artwork, filled with detail that you can stare at for hours?

You want intrigue and mystery?

You want Gatsby parties meets Marie Antoinette costume?

You want *SPOILER*, *SPOILER* and *SPOILER*??

Well, you got it.

Beneath the… shadow of the tomato plant.

It’s dark, it’s beautiful, it’s chilling. At 28 pages, it’s a short read but the wealth of detail keeps you there and pulls you back for multiple rereads.

It’s just beautiful, and the dresses are *chef’s finger kiss*. You can get it from ShortBox Comics, a steal at £7 for that gorgeous quality printing and incredible artwork.