The Reality Of Wedding Planning | Just Add Ginger

The wedding planning process for me is nearly coming to an end. And whereas I could ramble on for ages about how I have found it all, but instead, here's the reality of wedding planning presented in a very different way...

First there's,

When you tell your friends that you're engaged...

 When it hits you you can finally make your "Secret" Wedding Pinterest board PUBLIC!!

Then, as the planning REALLY begins,

The look your other half gives you when you want his opinion on another colour scheme/flower/bridesmaid dress/hairstyle...

What you're worried your friends who you haven't asked to be a bridesmaid are secretly thinking ...

The pose you make when you find the dress....

When Christmas stands between you and your wedding dress fitting and you have to eat healthier...

And as the wedding gets closer...

Your inner-reaction (and the one you really wish you could have) when you have to compromise on something that you really don't want to...

Everything wedding-related makes you cry...

Trying to keep an outer veil of calm when stress levels are starting to rise and someone asks how the wedding planning is going...

You really can't wait to let your hair down at the hen do because you have had no involvement whatsoever in the arrangements...

But knowing that at the end of all of this, you get to marry the man of your dreams, and looking forward to that kiss...


Valentine's Gift Ideas For Her | Just Add Ginger

Valentine's Gift Ideas For Her

This year, Boyfriend and I have decided to keep Valentine's Day really low-key. With the wedding coming up, and lots of things we need to do, we are just keeping 14th February really understated. Our plan is to cook a nice meal and just spend some quality time together before things get really crazy.

Valentine's Day is about celebrating all kinds of love, so with that in mind, my gift guide this year is one that can be applied for a special lady in your life - be that a partner, a best friend, a relative, or yourself. Love comes in many forms, and, contrary to what society may tell us, this special day should be about recognising all the different forms of love we have in our lives.

It wouldn't be a gift guide of mine without mentioning something from ESPA Skincare. We all know how much I love this brand. If you are buying for someone who loves to soak in a roasting hot bath and completely pamper themselves, the Bath Oil Collection  would make a perfect little luxurious present, and provide the chance to sample a range of different blends. It's also a great gift to introduce somebody to the brand.

Following on with the pampering theme, you simply cannot go wrong with a bottle of fizz, a box of her favourite chocolates, or bouquet of flowers. I get so excited when Boyfriend surprises me with flowers. It's always such a surprise. If you are like him, and what I like to call "unexpectedly romantic" then any of these gifts will go down a treat. My favourite luxury chocolates are the Charbonnel et Walker Strawberry Truffles. They are rich, and indulgent, and I feel so naughty eating them because they are a little bit on the more expensive side. For fizz,you can't go wrong with prosecco, Asti, or even champagne, and when it comes to flowers, either fresh or artificial blooms look beautiful, and are a great thing to display. Clock on to what her favourite flowers are, and you're definitely on to scoring more points!

If she loves make up, keeping an ear out and picking her up a gift from her favourite brand to add to her collection would be a fantastic present, and something she would really appreciate. Currently I am lusting after so many Too Faced products. I got the Chocolate Bar Palette with some Christmas money, and I am honestly obsessed with it. Next on my list is the Natural Eyes palette because, quite frankly, I have an eyeshadow problem, and the colours in this collection just look so pretty.

I'm not going to lie to you, when I saw those super cute mugs as I was making this board I knew I had to feature them (you can find them here) But for a lover of tea, coffee, hot chocolate, or any warm beverage, a super-cute set of mugs accompanied by their favourite drink would make a great little care package present, especially if they live somewhere cold or are susceptible to feeling the chill easier.

A watch is definitely an awesome accessory, and there are just so many beautiful timepieces out there that you can easily find one to suit your budget. From pretty pinks and rose golds, to watches with big faces, to more classic leather straps or metal links...the options are endless. Spend a little more and get it engraved for extra sentimentality, or go back and buy one you know she's been eyeing up. Watches are one of those things that look good no matter what you wear them with, and never go out of style.

What will you be treating your loved one to this Valentine's Day?

Remember to pamper yourself too!


That Zest For Life* | Just Add Ginger

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I have to admit, when I was sent the Lime & Vanilla Spritzer candle from Scentiment Candle Company, I was a little nervous I am usually one for the intensely fragranced candles, with spicy or floral notes that bring about a level of relaxation and comfort in me. I don't usually like fruity candles, or candles that do not pack one hell of a punch in terms of scent when you light them. 

When I tested the Rose Garden candle, I completely fell in love. It was just a beautiful scent that brought back so many memories for me. The fragrance filled the house and just made it smell gorgeous, and I was keeping my fingers crossed this scent would do the same. 

When it came to burning the Lime & Vanilla Spritzer in the living room, the scent did not carry. It is very light, mellow and creamy, with hints of lime pulling through, making sure the fragrance isn't too sweet. Our house is very old, with high ceilings, and it really needs something super-punchy to fill it. And the notes in this candle were just too light. Sitting on the sofa, we could barely smell it, and although the flame looked very pretty, dancing in front of us, it wasn't just wasn't enough. 

However, this candle was lovely when lit in the bathroom. The smaller space really helped the fragrance shine, and it was lovely soaking in the bath, having this burning, because, unlike the stronger, spicier scents that I do love so much for the living spaces, which might have become a bit overwhelming in a smaller room, the Lime & Vanilla was light and zingy and fresh. Beautiful for not only bathrooms but I think would be great burning away in a kitchen too, or where you may want a cleaner-smelling candle. 

If you like fruity, creamier fragrances, then this would be the perfect candle for you. Personally I need to have that spiciness, even in winter, but this candle would make someone who loves the zest of citrus notes very happy. It would also make a pretty gift (just check out that packaging - gorgeous!) 

*I was very kindly gifted the Lime & Vanilla Spritzer candle from Scentiment Candle Company for being a part of their Candle Review Team. This in no way affects my opinions. They are always 100% honest, and true to my personal taste.

From Little Acorns | Just Add Ginger

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Lips: MAC - Dubonnet
Nails: OPI - Lincoln Park After Dark
Eyes: Too Faced - Chocolate Bar Palette

In just a few months, my blog will be turning four....four! I can hardly believe it. From what started as a hobby so that I could maintain my creativity has grown in to such a big passion, and a massive part of my life and who I am. 

Keep an eye out over the next few months for a Just Add Ginger renaissance. I am so excited for the adventures to continue, and can't wait to see where 2016 takes me! 


Tips On Buying Your Wedding Dress | Just Add Ginger

Ta-da! Here's my wedding dress!

....Yes - you're right. Of course it's not. But this is me - in a wedding dress. I wanted to include it in this post as an example of what could have been my wedding dress. You'll have to wait a little while longer before I reveal the actual one. 

For some brides, wedding dress shopping will be the most exciting part of the wedding planning process. For others, it will be the most stressful aspect. But either way, if you have decided you want to buy and wear a wedding dress for your big day, as a bride who has been there myself (for the record, it wasn't my favourite,) I wanted to impart some advice. 

1. DON'T Invite Everyone To Go With You 

Yes, it's exciting having a wedding to plan. And whereas the world and his wife may want to come with you to experience the wedding-dress-picking process, this isn't the best idea. Everyone is going to have their opinion.

Imagine you have found the dress you think is the dress of your dreams. You love it. Mum may love the dress, Great Aunt Bessie might think it makes your eyes shine brighter, and your bridesmaids might unanimously hate it. And Grandma Edna might declare loudly that it makes your bottom look the size of a London bus. With all these opinions floating round your head, are you still going to want to wear that dress? 

Choose to take a few select people you know will support you, give their opinion (in the right way,) and make the experience enjoyable for you. I invited MG and Saunders when I went wedding dress shopping, and I loved having them there because when I needed them to, they told me what they thought, and when I'd made a decision, they didn't try and change my mind. Don't feel like you have to invite everyone along with you because you might find your dress. Bring along a select few you really, really trust. If you find your dress, you can always take friends and family to see it. I must've gone back to try on my dress at least three times and I haven't had my first fitting yet. Some wedding shops can be really accommodating like that. 

2. DO Take A Camera 

Now I don't know if this is allowed in all bridal shops, but the shop I bought my dress did allow photos to be taken. Which really, really helped. Of course there are mirrors for you to look in, but bear in mind that a camera may capture the dress differently to the way you see it. That's how I ruled out the dress above. On the hanger, it looked lovely, but when I saw it in a photo, I realised the fabric and cut just didn't suit me at all. Taking pictures will let you see the dress from all angles, and will be the most unbiased way for you to look at yourself in a dress. Having a photo to hand will also be extremely handy for planning out accessories, additional attire for your partner, and coming up with a theme for the wedding too. 

3. DON'T Feel You Have To Make A Decision 

Tried on a dress you love but aren't 100% sure about it? That's okay. 

On the Big Day all eyes are going to be on you and you want to wear something you love. Don't feel like you have to buy your dress right then and there. Sleep on it if you need to, or, like I did, try on a few dresses again and then try the dress you are considering again. Doing this made me realise I had found my dream dress, and this is when the tears started. Now every time I think about wearing my dress, I get so excited. Just thinking about it now is making me tear up. And that's how it should be.

4. DO Ask For Help

Unsure how to tie the corset? What the best underwear to have is? What accessories you should consider? It's okay to ask the sales assistants. They are the experts and will be able to advise or recommend different things to you. And unlike others who may want to drape you in all the veils, tiaras, headbands, jewellery, the sales assistants should be there to give their honest and informed opinion. I wasn't going to have a veil for the day, but Boyfriend wanted the ceremony to be really quite traditional, so together with the staff at the bridal shops, I worked out what made me feel most comfortable, and worked best with the dress. They have really been amazing, offering advice on the right bra to get, to how to wee without ending up in a pickle! And it has been so reassuring to know there is always someone who will be able to answer all my weird and wonderful questions. 

5. DO What Makes You Happy 

At the end of the day, buying a "traditional" wedding dress might not be for you. The choice is yours, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise. If you want to wear something a bit more low-key, do it. If you want to buy online or from your favourite shop, do it. It's your day, and you want to wear something that will make you feel comfortable, confident, and most importantly, be true to who you are. 

Wishing you a beautiful wedding day! 


Montagne Jeunesse Hot Chocolate Masque | Just Add Ginger

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When you hear the words Montagne Jeunesse does it take you back to being on the cusp of your adolescent years, and venturing in to the world of beauty products other than those you got free with "Shout" and "Girl Talk" magazine? I know that that;s where it immediately takes me. 

It's a brand that always brings back the nostalgia. And one that I never tire of cheekily indulging in from time to time. So when I saw the chocolate-themed bumper pack of face masks on Feel Unique I knew I had to invest. Chocolate + Beauty Products = Jackie is in heaven. 

I pulled out the Hot Chocolate Masque at random. With everything in the pack of five having a cocoa theme, I knew any would satisfy my inner chocoholic. As soon as I cut open the packet, I was hit with the fragrance. To be honest, I was expecting it to be more chocolate-y, it being a hot chocolate mask and all, but it was the orange oil that came through the most. This wasn't a bad thing. However much I love chocolate, I think a really intense fragrance sat on my face for 15 minutes might have given me a headache. 

The masque instantly turned warm as soon as it hit my skin. It was a lovely sensation, especially after a little time out in the cold during my evening commute. The consistency was a little on the runny side, and I found myself unable to use the whole pack on my face because there was just so much. Looking back, I could have probably saved the second half for another time, but there was no real way to store it without everything getting coated in chocolate-y mess. 

I sat back and relaxed as 15 minutes ticked. As usual, I got distracted watching YouTube videos and went over the time when I needed to wash my face. The reminder was the slight tingly, itchy sensation on my nose. Taking that as a sign, I rinsed the masque off with warm water, and patted my face dry. Any longer, and I think my skin would have just found the masque formula too irritating (I have a very sensetive visage!) 

The hot chocolate masque claims to cleanse the skin, leaving it feeling "soft and refreshed." Was my skin clean after using it? Yes. Was it smooth? Kind of. To be honest my skin felt borderline smooth and dry. Although the masque is suitable for all skin types, I don't think it was quite right for me. I need something really hydrating, and this, although fun to use, wouldn't give me the long-term results I look for in a face mask. 

Having said that, I am really looking forward to trying the other masks in the Chocoholic Delight Pamper Pack. It's going to be a novel element to my skincare routine to use when complete girly escapism is needed. 


Vintage Dreams | Just Add Ginger

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If there's ever any excuse to dress up and be a complete Glamour Puss, you'll always find me first in line. I enjoy nothing more than getting dressed up. It's no secret - vanity is my biggest sin. 

In my opinion, every girl needs at least one staple LBD in her wardrobe that she can turn to again and again and it will never go out of style. At first, I was really apprehensive about biting the bullet and investing in a pencil dress number, but I'm a great believer that it does us good to get out of our comfort zone every once in a while and do something that scares us. And when that leap of faith pays off, it can be oh-so rewarding. 

Clutch: A gift
Lipstick: MAC - 'Dubonnet' 
Eyeshadow: Too Faced - Chocolate Bar Palette 
Nail Varnish: OPI - 'Lincoln Park After Dark.'

New Year Resolutions 2016 | Just Add Ginger


2016 is officially here. Where did the past twelve months go? Looking back seems like such a blur, and I just know that 2016 is going to be the same. 

Now that it is January 1st, the time has come again to think about New Year Resolutions. I'm not planning on "giving up chocolate" or "only having a glass of prosecco on on a special occasion" (we all know I'll break those by tomorrow! So what do I really want to achieve this year? 

1. Be A Better Blogger

Blogging this year has been so on and off that in 2016 I really want to make more time for it. I love blogging. I love all the amazing opportunities it has given me, and how it is just mine. My little place to go where I can sit for hours and get whisked away by my thoughts and see the results manifest themselves on screen. And with an exciting year ahead, there is going to be so much I want to share. 

2. Smile More

And try not to let the littler things get to me. I can be a right worry-wart, and it's a difficult trap to get out of. I really need to acknowledge when I'm feeling stressed, embrace it, and move on, taking time to appreciate all the moments, people and things that d bring me so much joy, and keep them in my pocket for when times get a little trickier.

3. Be A MRS. 

I'm getting married in April. Exactly 3 months and 1 day from now. This year I really want to spend time setting up our marital home, making time for Boyfriend, and generally enjoy being a Mrs. Oh, and not to turn in to a Bridezilla along the way! 

Happy New Year everyone - I hope this year brings you love, joy, happiness, and lots of adventures along the way!

What will your resolutions be for 2016?