Tag Archives: weddings

Outfit of the week #65

Over the weekend I was lucky enough to attend the wedding of my good friends Jen and Rob. The wedding took place in Rob’s parents amazing garden in Bristol (it has a stream and a cliff!!) and had a sort of enchanted fairytale feeling to it as the marquis tent was set up with some elements of the beautiful garden inside it.

Usually I would wear a dress to a wedding but I decided to branch out a little and go for an elegant jumpsuit, which proved to be stylish, warm enough for the somewhat rainy evening and great for dancing in. Success!

I am wearing a one shoulder black and floral print jumpsuit from Red Herring with peep-toe nude patent heels from Next and a gold and white beaded necklace from H&M.

wpid-20150425_172554.jpg Read more…

Today it has been one whole year since Mr Osbiston and I got married

One year ago today, we were saying our vows swathed in polka dots.

It has not been the easiest year in the world but everything we have faced we have faced together. I love being married.

On Saturday Mr Osbiston disappeared for 7 hours to hunt down my anniversary present, which he had spotted and failed to buy. This is what I got.

It is exactly the right length, the right colour and the right style. I am a very spoilt girl.

Thank-you to my wonderful husband for just being, Here’s to lots more years together. I love you.

A return… and two weddings

After almost a month Mr Osbiston and I are back on British soil. Despite the fact that it’s rather a lot colder here than it was in South Africa and that we very much miss our friends and family that we left behind, it’s rather nice to be back in our little flat.

There is no way to describe our trip other than awesome… despite the fact that on the way to Johannesburg we got stuck in Frankfurt for 14 hours. Damn you, Lufthansa!

While all the time we spent hanging out in Joburg and exploring Stellenbosch, there were two major highlights to the trip. The first highlight was Lauren and Beert’s amazing wedding at which I got to be a bridesmaid.  The “flame of love” themed ceremony took place at Kaapsehoop near Nelspruit, a stunning small town resort surrounded by wild horses. Although the beautiful bride was impressively zen I can’t help but think that I must have caused some stress since the Lufthansa debacle meant we only arrived three hours before the wedding!

The other highlight was Paul and my second wedding. From my perspective it was quite different from the first wedding. In one way it was much more relaxed but I might have over relaxed since I woke up four days before the wedding and realised that I had done almost nothing. Fortunately I had Maid-Of-Honour Extraordinaire, Bronwyn Costine, at my side… without whom there might not have been a wedding at all.

This time the wedding took place at my old high school, which might sound a bit random, but the building is incredibly beautiful. We exchanged our vows under the trees in the front garden, with Lauren as our chief ceremoniser and then danced the night away in the hall. This time we went the whole hog and had our first dance to the slightly unusual choice of I Got Love by The King Blues. I think the show might have been stolen somewhat by Nolan and his seven month old daughter, Aiden, joining us for the father-daughter/mother-son dance.

I can’t thank everyone who helped us with the preparations enough. It was such a special day. Below are just a few photos from the day… and no you do not want to know what it took to get my hair that big…

Why you should hire Jodi Redhouse…

Most of you are probably friends with me on facebook and so you have probably seen the selection of professional pictures I’ve put up of our wedding. What you might not know is who took them. We were lucky enough to have the fabouous Jodi Redhouse behind the lens and boy was it worth the wait to get them back. Just in case you don’t believe me, I’m including a few of my favourite pics below. So far all I’ve had is compliments about just how “us” all the pictures are, which I think is about the most awesome thing you can say about wedding pictures.  Jodi has managed to capture perfectly the asthetic I was trying to achieve, as well as Paul and my quirky sense of fun. After seeing these photos I am assuming you’re going to immediately want to hire Jodi for all of your photography needs… so you can find all her details here.

And my favourite, favourite picture of all of them…

Minimooning

Since Mr Osbiston and I will be spending almost a month in South Africa for our second wedding, we decided just to take a short break after our UK wedding. We have decided to call it a “minimoon”, which is a word I have borrowed from Bronwyn.

On Sunday morning we set off for our beloved Brighton. I know we’ve been there three times in the last year… but if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. We even revisited the uber-kitcsh Hotel Pelirocco and stayed in The Ophelia Fancy room.

A much needed bloody Mary in the Hotel Pelirocco bar

Of course, it being our minimoon and all, my husband made a special effort to spoil me. We had champagne waiting for us in our room and I was whisked away to the gorgeous Englishes Oyster Bar where we couldn’t decide who had the best meal out of the two of us.

Champers!

You might remember on one of our previous trips, Paul liberated Spider Pig from one of the machines at the pier. Not to be outdone, he was adamant that it was time for Spider Pig to have a sibling… and so I present to you… Angry Bird. Freed from Brighton Pier on 12 September 2012.

Angry Bird!

Unfortunately the weather was not what we’re used to. Apparently the end of the Hurricane Katia was sweeping the coast, which meant that walking anywhere from place to place was a bit of a nightmare. The upside was that we ended up spending time in a different part of Brighton than we normally do and discovered a whole bunch of cute little pubs that we hadn’t been to before. Seriously if you’re ever in Brighton you can’t miss The Spotted Dog (formerly The Hop Poles). The food is gorgeous.

Turns out size does count when it comes to weaponry

Now back in London, I can’t believe it’s all over but even though the minimoon has been and gone I get to keep my husband forever.

A wedding retrospective from Mrs Osbiston

So I am now officially only answering to Mrs Osbiston (even though it’s not my real name… has anyone seen the paperwork and expense involved in changing your name from abroad with a foreign marriage certificate??) On Saturday I said I do (well not really because in UK civil ceremonies you don’t actually say I do) to my best friend and became a wife for life.

The morning started with breakfast baguettes before the hair and make-up artists and long-suffering photographer, Jodi, arrived at Dawn’s house to beautify us and document the beautification. Poor Bobby was put in charge of everyone’s comfort and did a sterling job of ferrying drinks while surrounded by heaps of hairspray, mountains of mascara and fountains of false eyelashes. I have to give massive props to Barb, La and Ron for the half an hour they spent putting me into my dress. Corsets are not easy to put on and yanking me into mine was a several person job.

Before we knew it the bus had arrived and it was time to head to Wandsworth Town registry office. Just in case you were wondering if I just jumped into the 156, we hired a vintage Routemaster for the day and the bridal party travelled in it, to much applause and waving from the passing traffic.

My family was not at the wedding because we’re having a second ceremony in South Africa, so my wonderful friend, Hilton walked me down the aisle, cutting a dashing figure all the way. After a small glitch with the music I walked down the aisle to There Is A Light That Never Goes Out, and I have to admit that my groom’s facial expression when he saw me for the first time is something I’ll never forget.

Our ceremony was special in many ways, one of which being that it was streamed by live webcast for family and friends abroad and the UK to watch. I particularly liked the fact that Josh, Dom, Grace, Saoirse, Rob, Niamh and Tash got together for a little wedding party to watch it.

Post ceremony, we rounded up the guests and popped them back on the bus for champers and a bit of a tour of the city as we headed to The Trafalgar Club in Greenwich. It was honestly my favourite part of the wedding since I got to spend some time with Paul, just sitting and chilling and the photos on arrival are just too cool.

I have to admit that most of the rest of the wedding is an absolute blur. We had an amazing meal and some very special speeches. I didn’t cry much… okay I cried constantly. I even cried in my own speech. Thank god Dawn and Barb took turns making me stand still and redo my make-up. Before we knew it the evening guests had arrived and the dance floor was set upon with gusto.

From what I can tell everyone had a wonderful time, I know it was one of the most exciting, fun days of my life.

Thank-you to everyone who came and shared it with us. Every single one of you was an essential, special part of the day… and to show you just how much it meant to us we’re handing out a couple of little awards…

Most missed
While we weren’t expecting my family, we were expecting Paul’s nan, Kathleen. Unfortunately she wasn’t well enough to come and she was very much missed.

Glorious glutton
Alan, Paul’s dad, who ate his food as well as Paul’s nan’s.

Best dressed
Saoirse, who really got into the polka dots and even had a petticoat.

Murder on the dance floor
Rob… who was, as always, infine form on the dance floor

Incredible emo
Dawn… who started crying about two weeks before the wedding and never really stopped.

Invincible imbiber
Matt, who probably doesn’t remember much past about 4pm but still managed to walk to the hotel afterwards

Awesome orator
Hilton, whose speech could be used as an official guide to wedding oratory and managed to inspire tears, laughter and a lot of love.

Terrific travellers
La and Barb, who came all the way from South Africa to be by my side

Lovable lush
David, who hugged me about 200 times and told me how happy he was to have a sister.

Bride for a day… wife for life

So it’s three days before my wedding and I realise I have barely blogged about the planning process or all my DIY projects. I suppose it’s partly out of wanting to keep some parts of my wedding private before it actually happens… and partly because I kind of think it’s a bit boring unless it’s your own wedding.

Possibly this is just another symptom of me lacking the “bridal” gene to some extent. This last week has been kind of weird. People keep asking me if I’m either excited or worried. I know all of the wedding hype is telling me that this is supposed to be the biggest and most important day of my entire existence and that once I reach this pinnacle, it’s all downhill but I find it really hard to buy into that.

It’s exceptionally cool to have a party with all of our friends but I have my entire life to spend with Paul so one day is just one day and like with most parties, it’s more fun to go to someone else’s where you haven’t had to do all the planning. And anything where Fun (with a capital letter) is prescribed, like New Years Eve, is invariably a bigger let down the more you hype it up.

Don’t get me wrong… I’m looking forward to my wedding and the amount of love, support and care our friends and family have put into making the day as memorable as I’m sure it’s going to be has been amazing. I know I would have massively regretted the elopment I occasionally fantisise about.  I’m just not at the level of psychotic frenzied frothing jubilation that seems to be expected of me. I’m saving that setting for starting a family and building a life together. I will be a bride for one day but a wife for the rest of my life and I’m so much more in love with the second role than the first.

So with all of that said, do any of my friends who have already been brides have any tips for the “big day”? (Other than not spilling red wine on my dress or falling over walking down the aisle).

One week with the #failwhale

I consider myself to be a very organised person and so I plan everything as far in advance as I can, keeping meticulous lists of what needs to be done. This week has taught me that this is a complete waste of time and really the best thing to do is just to fly by the seat of my pants. As I describe to you what has happened please keep three dates in your head: 20 August -we move, 25 August – we hand our old flat back to the landlord, 10 September – wedding.

About a month ago I bought a Groupon deal for an end of tenancy cleaning, thinking I had made a massive score in terms of organisation and money saving. I filled in the booking form immediately after and waited for a confirmation. On the ninth I received one arbitrary email from the cleaning company claiming that they would do the booking for whenever I had said I wanted it and confirm a time closer to that date. Today, with four days to go until my booking I started to worry. I attempted to ring the company but there was no answer and the voicemail was full. I then sent a professional but strongly worded email insinuating that I intended to make a complaint to Groupon. I got an email back a few minutes later telling me I was being unreasonable and that they were not going to honour my booking because they feared for the safety of their staff in my presence after my threatening behaviour. Fabulous! So now I’m £30 out for the Groupon voucher, which I will be raising hell about no doubt, but I’ve also had to pay £100 to book another (more professional) cleaning company.

If that wasn’t enough, despite the fact that I paid the deposit on our new flat 2 weeks in advance, we only received our contracts on Tuesday. We duly signed these within an hour. This morning the genius Townends employee, who has the intensely challenging role of typing contracts, rung me to tell me she had spelled the landlord’s name incorrectly in the contract. So everything has to be re-signed because it was longer legally binding. For this obviously excellent level of service we are paying a £360 admin fee.

On top of this the company that we hired to do some of our wedding transport let me know that one of the essential things we wanted for the transport was not actually available and that they aren’t generally able to provide it anyway. When I emailed them a section from their own website stating that this is what they do, they  replied back that the website is out of date. I replied back with, don’t make your problems my problems… especially three weeks before the wedding. He is supposed to be sorting it out. You do that buddy, I can summon bridezilla with a snap of my fingers.

And finally to top it all off, through absolutely no fault of his own, our wedding photographer is no longer available. Fortunately the fabulous, Jodi Redhouse, is available and able to give us a brilliant deal but our plan to pay the original photographer in beer and hugs is out of the window.

I am Jake’s haemorrhaging wallet…

Anyone got any spare calmettes I can take intravenously?

 

What happens at the hen-do stays at the hen-do

Weddings come with all kinds of interesting traditions attached to them and one of the most interesting is the hen-do (AKA bachelorette party) and its manly foil, the stag-do (AKA bachelor party) both of which happened on Saturday for Paul and I. The events of both showed just how much the sexes differ in their interactions with each other.

I was treated to cocktails and canapés at Dawn’s house, where she went to the trouble of serving a smorgasbord of homemade snacks along with a lethal punch. We had decided on a 70’s theme so I finally got to wear my one-shouldered jumpsuit… along with a fabulous hat, which my future  mum-in-law was kind enough to donate me from her own outfit. I then got to open a pile of presents ranging from the hilarious to the downright filthy, while everyone told me how fabulous I was.

The rest of the evening is going to have to be summed up by the phrase, “what happens at the hen-do, stays at the hen-do”. But let’s just say we had a fabulous girls night out and we may or may not have seen one or two men who may or may not have removed some or all of their clothes.

I returned to Dawn’s house where I was staying over in a happy but tipsy state and woke up in the morning feeling tired but able to function and mostly hangover free.

Paul spent his playing paintball, before drinking all manner of things and only has partial memory of the actual festivities. He received no presents and was a bruised wreck of a human being until the early evening yesterday, when I managed to lure him out of bed with the promise of Nandos.

All I can say is, it’s good to be a girl.

Massive thanks to all the hen-party attendees! Dawn, Emma, Emily, Ann, Karen, Niamh, Ron and Sue, you guys are the best. And a very special thanks to Dawn who did a spectacular job of organising everything and making me feel like a princess! I also have to mention that my future mum-in-law, who is in her fifties, partied the night away and was still going at 1am! Ann, you are a legend!

I leave you with a few of my favourite pics of the pre-carnage… enjoy!

P.S. I have to admit that I am utterly exhausted today. I swear I remember a time when I used to go out two nights a weekend and be absolutely fine. In fact I remember a weekend where Bronwyn and I went to Bourbon Street three nights in a row on Easter weekend when we were students.  My 30’s are definitely catching up with me!

Things I learned this weekend

Working from home is both good and bad

I worked from home all of last week because of my eye surgery. Of course working from home has some serious benefits: you can work in your dressing gown, you can sleep through your usual commute, you can watch 16 And Pregnant in your lunch hour (looks away shiftily)… but there are also some major downsides. Being at home most of the day on your own is a bit lonely and it didn’t take me long to miss the office banter. Also if it’s school holidays your upstairs neighbours may invite their children’s friends around for play dates and then you might have to attempt statistical calculations with the sound of elephants stampeding coming from above. Here’s hoping our neighbours in our new flat sleep a lot…

It’s time to adjust

On Saturday Mr Osbiston and I went for a roam around our new area and to get an idea of how long our new station walk will take us when we move in 2 weeks. I sometimes find change a bit difficult to manage so I will admit to a bit of grumping as we tried to find the best route and it made me realise how spoilt we’ve become living so close to the station. When we made our way to East Putney though and had a look at how lovely all the pubs and restaurants are, I realised how cool our new area will be and how close we are to all the amenities. Now if I just didn’t have to pack, I’d actually be excited.

Stay off the wedding boards

I am a member of a wedding site called The Knot.  In some ways it’s a great site. It lets you set up a wedding website where you can share all of your wedding info with your guests and it gives you a planning checklist where you can tick off things you are supposed to do. It also has a community where members can ask each other questions and share their dilemmas, ideas, etc. Unable to resist I decided to go and have a poke around the different topics and discovered that I have most likely breached all manner of wedding etiquette rules already… I sent out my invitations too early, I asked people to make speeches, I told people where to find our registry (apparently you’re not supposed to mention it and people are supposed to find it by word of mouth)… the list goes on… Maybe it’s because it’s an American site but does anyone care about half this stuff anymore? Have any of our wedding guests who are reading this been offended by my lack of grace?

Arts and crafts are fun

Dawn and I have been working on the paper stuff for the wedding… now that it is only 33 days away… EEK.! We have made the menus, favours, place cards and table plans. I have to admit that the arts and crafts portion has been my favourite part of all the wedding preparations. I’ve liked it more than deciding on the dress, choosing the venue or the music or the food. I even liked it more than adding things to the registry (I’m not mentioning it… it’s a figment of your imagination… lalalalala). I think making all the wedding stuff, rather than buying it, has added a little bit of me into everything and I like that. A big thanks to Dawn for all her ideas and putting up with my nitpicking. I think we make a great team! So what does it all look like? Well for now it’s a secret. You’ll have to wait for the post wedding round-up. Trust me though… there are a whole lot of polka dots! And if you ever decide to make any wedding stuff, this is the best place for supplies!

Things I learned this weekend…

I don’t want to be home after Paul’s stag do

Paul had his birthday party at Project Orange in Clapham on Friday night. Many of his male friends came sans WAGs and made the mistake of wandering off for half an hour to talk to some other guests. When I came back I got a relatively good impression of the level of drunkenness that might take place at Paul’s stag do. I will not be going into details about the shenanigans that happened but I think I’d rather be watching Made In Chelsea on the sofa than dealing with the aftermath. I also realised that chilli beer and patron are not for the faint of heart.

 

Never again

South West London is a hotbed of inbreeding

On Saturday Paul and I went to “give notice to marry” at the Wandsworth Town Hall where we are getting married. Despite Paul’s intense hangover he proved to be dedicated to the cause and faithfully trundled along in the horrendous weather.

It was an interesting experience. The registrar is obviously supposed to be the first boundary to dodgy marriages and interviewed us separately asking questions like “when is your partner’s birthday?” and “what is their job? The question that initially surprised me though was, “are you related to each other in any way by blood or adoption?”  I laughed and said, “oh I’m sure no one says yes to that!” She suddenly got serious and told me that a surprising number of people who come to give notice of their marriage are related to each other. Ah inbreeding, not just for the Deep South then.

Weather is no deterrent to a picnic if you are determined

On Sunday Dominic hosted a picnic for his birthday in Hampstead Heath. Those of you who live in London will know that it rained rather spectacularly on Sunday. Despite the deluge we were not willing to give up without a fight and in true British style we ended up sitting on the grass in a circle with our brollies up. The downside was a series of middle class problems and I do remember someone shouting, “Quick, the paté is getting wet!”

I say Tabitha, I think the champagne is taking on water!

There is a fine line between determined and deranged

Around about the second major precipitation incident my South African sensibilities kicked in and I threw a little strop, which got everyone off the grass into the pub. I am not sure this is what Dominic wanted so if it wasn’t, I apologise retrospectively but the pub was surprisingly laid back about us eating our picnic food at their tables.

Nothing beats a good Sunday dinner

Using nothing but my wits and what I could scavenge from our fridge we had a Sunday night dinner of veggie sausages, mash, roast carrots and mini Yorkshire puddings, followed by Eton Mess. It was delicious. And we went to bed happy and content after what proved to be a very active weekend.

Food of the gods!

Wedding support group wanted… brides anonymous anyone?

There are officially 89 days to go until my wedding. How do I know this? Because my wedding website has a counter emblazoned across the top if it that tells me that. I’m finding it hard to wrap my head around the fact that we’ve gone from triple figures to single figures. I’m sure when I set the website up it said something mad like 200 days until your wedding.

So far the planning is going well and I am mostly keeping my “flapping” under control. As long as I don’t think about actually having to walk down the aisle with everyone staring me I’m okay. I’m keeping that scenario in a box with a lid marked “do not disturb”.

So far the registry office, wedding venue, invitations, wedding registry, flowers, photography, wedding dress, bridesmaid’s dresses, transport, cake, music and half the suits are done.

Next on the list is the marriage license, bridal accessories, attendant gifts, rounding up everyone’s menu preferences and RSVPs, making menus, table plans and favours… and probably about 20 things I still haven’t realised I have to do…

It’s quite cool having a bridesmaid who is also an upcoming bride as well as two other close friends in the planning stages so we can confer and freak out together. If anyone else is in the throes of planning a wedding and wants to meet up over tequila to discuss it, call me, we’ll set up a support group. We can get together and talk about the fact that no matter how helpful your future husband attempts to be, men mostly just do not “get” weddings and all the crazy details that are required to make them work!

It’s not all drama though… some things are really fun. So far my favourite thing was getting personalised stamps made for our UK invitations. I’m not telling you how I did it because my inner bridezilla is convinced everyone is going to copy me… but this is what our stamps looked like. I have my face on a stamp… therefore I am practically the Queen, right?

The rest of the details will have to wait until after the wedding. It wouldn’t be any fun if there weren’t any surprises, would it?

Weddings… what’s the big deal anyway?

Like most girls I have always thought about my wedding. I think we’re born with the inclination to imagine ourselves parading own the aisle surrounded by people aghast at our beauty and so we fantasise and plan and imagine colour schemes and dresses and maybe even the groom… but in the fantasies he’s mostly an afterthought really, after the dress and the cake and the confetti and the flowers… as the years go by the fantasies are altered and refined.. maybe a My Little Pony wedding isn’t as good an idea as you originally thought and possibly you don’t need the train the length of the church but they never go away.

So when I found myself magically engaged to my dream man four months ago I was overtaken with the excitement and joy at not only the idea of spending my life with him but also the concept of planning my wedding “spectacle”.

It took me about a month to realise that none of the things I had ever imagined I wanted at my wedding were things I *actually* wanted and what I really wanted was something very simple… in fact in my heart of hearts the idea of walking down the aisle with a whole bunch of people staring at me while I attempt elegance fills me with the kind of dread normally reserved for dental visits. The little girl inside me is screaming for white silk and cascades of flowers but the logical woman running shit these days keeps reminding her that it’s just a day and a pretty silly one at that.

I also realised quickly that marrying someone whose family is in a different country from mine means having two weddings is a necessity rather than an extravagance and any attempts I would make to turn one of them into a more low key event was going to be met with total disinterest from the families involved. Trust me girls, you might think your wedding is about you but really you’re just the sucker who has to sell your soul into a year of organising while attempting to hold onto your sanity and avoid becoming Bridezilla.

At the same time a wedding is farking expensive. Two weddings are vomit-inducingly expensive and despite generous contributions from both sides, wedding planning is like having a second job you don’t like where you have no idea what you’re doing, you don’t get paid and you’re required all your disposable income to hold onto it.

I have the fortune/misfortune of having a groom who is actually much more excited about the wedding and managing to resist all my attempts to talk him into a swift elopement. Paul wants to talk wedding all day and I want to run screaming from the favours and the flowers and the fanfare…

So I keep having to ask myself, what’s the big deal about weddings? And the conclusion I’ve come to is that weddings aren’t actually a big deal in fact they’re ridiculous but marriage is a big deal and if I have to get through a day (or two) where everyone stares at me like a zoo animal and bankrupt myself in the process to get to be married to Paul, it’ll be worth it. Anything would be worth it. But in the meantime if you find me sitting on the side of the road crying about ribbon, just pat me on the head and remind me that this time next year it will all be over.

The razor sharp claws, scaly hide and pointy teeth stated the obvious... Sarah's transformation into Bridezilla was complete

Highlights from my whistlestop tour of SA

I don’t think that I have ever done more in a visit than I did in my most recent trip to SA… and it was the shortest trip I have ever made. I am not going to bore you with a million details… so think of this as a highlights reel…

 

An appearance in Slaapstad

I spent two out of my first four days in Cape Town catching up with my brother and his lovely girlfriend, Nikki. Although this was the first time I met Nikki, it took me about 10 minutes to fall in love with her and I can completely understand why my brother is crazy about her.  I also managed to have dinner with B, who I have missed desperately since her return to SA and her rugged new man, Heinrich. And if that wasn’t enough I even managed a few beers with my old friend, Rob… who is as funny as ever..

The lovely Nikki

I said smile!

Family times

The first leg of my holiday also afforded me some time to hang out with my mom, aunt, uncle and grandmother… all of whom are real characters. Between my grandmother’s refusal to wear her hearing aid (nothing better than listening to the Afrikaans news at roof lifting volume), her continuous forays into the guava plantation, my uncle’s claims that Bronwyn’s wedding had been called off and could now stay forever and my mother’s continuous foraging for hot water bottles, it was like being wrapped up in a warm blanket. There’s nothing like family.

Would you belief my grandmother is 84... how good are the genes in this family!!

Going to the chapel and we’re going to get married…

My arrival in Johannesburg presented me with the most Zen bride I have ever encountered. If I ever have to mount a military operation I want Bronwyn to be my general… the girl could plan a missile launch and make NASA look bad. There was much bonding and scurrying around, I got motor boated by Lauren’s four month old son, Callum ( who I might kidnap) and found just enough spare time to get manicures and pedicures while drinking champagne.

KIDNAP!!!

The wedding was gorgeous, the bride was beautiful and the shoes stayed on till at least 10pm… and I have never been flung around the dancefloor by so many friends with such abandon… it’s a miracle I had the energy to catch the bouquet*.

The blushing bride

Bron and David really are the perfect couple and I know they’re going to be together forever!

 

Escape to the dadside

I spent my last two days with “teenage excitable superdad” as my colleagues call my father… mostly being lethargic, listening to the endless details of his latest financial investments and eating too much… which is what we do best.

 

Would you know I’m already counting the days till I go back in March, fiancé in tow.

 

*Contrary to popular belief I did not elbow anyone in the head to catch the bouquet it just landed perfectly in my hands… strangely prophetic. Especially when you consider that my horoscope in the Metro said this yesterday:

 

“You seem to be running late with your work and this may well be due to the new and improved air that your love life has taken on of late. Proposals await some of your sign.”

 

Some news from the future Mrs Osbiston…

I know that I owe you all a run down of my visit to SA, particularly the beautiful wedding of a certain Mr and Mrs Costine… and I promise I will get to that within the next couple of days.. but first I have some news about me…

When I got off the plane at Heathrow yesterday morning, tired, sweaty and having dealt with as many coughing pensioners as one person can ever be expected to deal with in one life time, a certain Mr Osbiston was waiting for me.

He was holding this sign…

And when he turned it over, it said this…

After I got over my initial disbelief, it took absolute zero thought to say yes and so… we are officially engaged and I am on top of the world!!! It was so romantic and so us… and I couldn’t have asked for a better story to tell our kids one day.

For those who want to know, there will be two weddings, an informal UK-based reception and a more traditional South African formal wedding. All that awaits now is the resizing of my family heirloom ring as well as a mountain of planning…

Adventures in the motherland

As some of you will know, I am heading off to South Africa on Saturday until 5 October for a very exciting reason. My lovely, lifelong friend, Bronwyn will be getting married on the second and I get to be a bridesmaid. I have never been a bridesmaid before so I am very excited. I have been practising my interpretive dance as well as my opera singing… hopefully though I won’t be as bad as Karen from Outnumbered…

Also very exciting is that I will finally get to see my brother after TWO AND A HALF YEARS. Long-term readers of this blog will know how close we are and how hard it’s been for me to be away from him for so long. I even get to meet his long-term girlfriend, Nikki and then have a big party with my mum, aunt and grandmother.

The only sad thing is that I don’t get to take Paul with me this time. After almost eight months of barely spending any time apart it’s going be kind of odd being off on my own and there is no question that we’re going to miss each other… although I have a sneaking suspicion that he might actually quite enjoy 10 days of leaving up the toilet seat, eating kebabs and not having to make the bed.

It will probably be radio silence for most of the time I’m away but if I do get a chance for a sneaky blog you’ll be the first to know!

Wedded blishhh… hic…

You know you’ve been to a successful wedding when three days later you still can’t stand the sight of alcohol. On Friday Paul’s best friend, Greg married the lovely Tara in her hometown of Wisbech.  Paul was up there from the night before but as Wisbech doesn’t have a train station (??) I had to catch a lift with Paul’s family who had been invited to the reception. (To the non-Brits, like me, the British have their weddings in two parts. Close friends and family are invited to the ceremony and meal and then the riff raff get to come to the piss up in the evening…  and in this case camp in a tent across from the marquee afterwards ).

Not that I have any complaints. Paul’s family are like my family and by the time I arrived in good old Chelmo things were already pretty lively. Alan, the Osbiston patriarch had decided the wedding was an excuse to buy every bit of camping equipment he had ever dreamed of owning. So much so that we had to like two cars.

David and I were in the “kids car” and had a whale of a time on our journey. In between the car dancing (very difficult to avoid swerving if you’re listening to ska) and yelling at the satnav lady we marveled at the amazing place names you get just as you leave the confines of the “city”… Pidley, Wimblington, Godmanchester, Rings End (??) and how the signs become more and more difficult to decipher if you’re a “townie”.  All game shops and “world famous” car boots.

The tent putting up was a bit more of a military operation. Paul’s dad wanted our three individual tents arranged around the meeting tent in a bit of an arch with identifying flags outside them.  It took about five minutes for Dave and I to turn it into Carry-On Camping. “I’m just going to slide my pole into your hole…”, etc, etc.

By the time we actually got to the reception to wish the beautiful bride and groom congratulations we were very, very thirsty and the drinks were very, very cheap. I remember thinking how fit Paul looked in his suit and how lovely Tara looked and I remember dancing to Teenage Kicks like a maniac when the band played and that once again Paul’s dad out danced all of us… and really that’s about the sum of my memories for the entire night.

If you want to know what I felt like in the morning, it might be telling that it took me two hours after surfacing from my tent (with dreadocks… hairspray + hair putty + tent = bad idea) before I actually managed to stand up. Fortunately no one seemed to have fared much better, with most of the groomsman having slept in their suits. Next time I am going to order all my own drinks so I don’t end up “accidentally” drinking doubles all night.

Here comes the bride… shame about the groom

On Saturday, in the South African tradition, we hosted a surprise hen party for Michele.  My contribution to the event was another round of my now infamous “jellied willy” cupcakes. I made these because as an unmarried woman, I was sure Michele had never seen a penis before and I wanted to give her some kind of warning of what to expect on the wedding night. Michele was completely surprised when we all leapt out of the kitchen but even more surprised when we showed her the “beautiful” wedding dress we had bought on eBay for her to wear for the event. Isn’t it lovely?

Added to this was the companion we picked for her night… Roger More, an inflatable gentleman, with luxuriant chest hair and an eye for fun. Fortunately for Michele, a bride needs her bridesmaids and we had prepared by spending last Saturday trolling the charity shops of Kensington looking for fabulous frocks. This little monstrosity that I purchased came from TK Maxx and was an actual bridesmaid’s dress. Its glorious orange tones paired with my vivid hair gave me the appearance of a giant carrot, which I attempted to offset by wearing it with blue cowboy boots. I’m not sure if I succeeded.

After a game of Mr & Mrs that proved that Paul and Michele are psychic, a dare-laden pass the parcel and my now drunken attempts to give everyone dodgy make-up, the crew you see below you headed out to Richmond for dinner and dancing.

The dinner was delicious, although Roger was not welcome and had to be deflated and stowed. Despite Michele’s initial reluctance to be seen dead with Roger, she seemed disappointed when he was retired to a corner and wasted no time in re-inflating him as we went looking for a club. Unfortunately he appeared to have sprung a leak and as he slowly lost his buoyancy as the night went on, the poor “man” ended up being used as a skipping rope and a scarf.

I made my way home relatively early, feeling as if I were to continue drinking I might be found in a ditch somewhere. On my way home I passed a couple arguing near Clapham Junction. He had given her a couple of hearty shoves and a few slaps and no one was doing anything so I decided to intervene and suggested he leave her alone. The last thing I expected was for her to lean over and slap me on the arm. After he told me to fuck off for the second time, I decided to leave them to each other and make peace with the fact that you can only help people who want to be helped.

I surfaced on Sunday with a much smaller hangover than expected and decided to make my way to Chelmsford to visit Band Boy. I suppose now that Band Boy and I have made our relationship “official” on stalkbook, there is little need for an alias. So, I suppose it’s time to reveal that Band Boy’s real name is Paul (obviously not the Paul mentioned before that Michele is marrying… that would just be weird) and so he will be known from now on.

The fact that I chose to embark on my journey to see him, knowing how arduous it would be can only be seen as testament to the strength of my feelings for him. There were no trains running between Liverpool Street and Chelmsford yesterday, so my journey was as follows… train from Earlsfield to Waterloo. Jubilee Line from Waterloo to Stratford. Central Line from Stratford to Newbury Park. Replacement bus from Newbury Park to Ilford. Train from Ilford to Chelmsford.

Fortunately Paul inspires a kind of giddiness in me that hasn’t be seen since my teens, so the minute I launched myself into his arms on arrival in Chelmsford, my journey was forgotten and I was rewarded for my persistence in the face of travel doom with dinner and endless hugs. I brought along Everything Is Illuminated for Paul to watch and I am pleased to say that he loved it… otherwise I would have been forced to reassess his suitability as a companion. It is, after all my favourite film of all time.

When we headed off to work this morning in different directions, I came to the realisation that no matter how much time I spend with him, it feels too short. Hi, my name is Abbi and I’m smitten and completely willing to admit my absolute lameness.

Afrique du Sud… finale

Wedded bliss

On Saturday, the event we were all psyching ourselves up for finally came about… Kirsty and Ian’s wedding. Man, was it a non-stop day. I met up with Kirsten in the morning to go to the hairdresser and be beautified. Oddly enough it turned out the wedding party was at the same hairdresser so it turned into a big bonding session with Dawn and I doing our best to harass the bride. We’re not evil at all us two…

I think Kirsten and I set a land speed record getting all the admin that we needed to get done in the morning. It took us only 45 minutes to buy shoes, a wedding gift, party feet, a stick on bra and a card as well as having sushi for lunch. This is possibly because I was the shopping Nazi and kept barking orders at poor Kirst and forcing her to make a series of snap decisions.

From there we met up with Natalie and Tamarin at the lodge they were staying in so we could get dressed. Considering that Kirst and I had already had our hair done, you would think that almost two hours would be plenty of time for us all to get ready. Ha! We were hopelessly late and skidded into the Vaal Rivera with moments to spare. It being Gauteng in summer the sky smiled at us and disgorged a torrent of rain that would have made the Old Testament floods look tame. Kirsty and the bridesmaids had to walk into the church under gold umbrellas. Of course the deluge took nothing away from the charming ceremony or how incredibly beautiful Kirsty looked.

After the wedding we hung around in the bar (where the Currie Cup final was showing) and waited for the bridal couple to return from the photos. This was where we first encountered “Nice Rack Man” (NRM), so named for reasons that will become clear a little later. NRM was chatting to a “friend” of his and congratulating her on her pregnancy (may I point out that we were not eavesdropping, he was very loud). The problem was that the friend was not actually with child and no matter how much she tried to make this clear, he was insistent that this was what he had heard and therefore it must be true. We took one look at his beige suit and thought… twat.

Arriving at our table for dinner and speeches, etc, we discovered that we were the Hawaiian Barbie table. While most of the rest of the guests were dressed in sedate colours, our table included two purple dresses, one cerise pink, one turquoise and Dawn’s yellow bridesmaid’s dress. Sadly it was also the wardrobe malfunction table. I will not go into detail but we were all struggling to stay in our dresses.

The wedding proceedings were lovely. All of the speeches were very touching as well as the first dances. Ian’s look of concentration while he waltzed his way around the room will become the stuff of legend. From there it just turned into a wild party. While I was milling around in the bar NRM cornered me and told me I had “a nice rack”. I was less than encouraging but he followed me around for the rest of the night restating his appreciation for my “rack” and eventually offering to “motorboat” me. I was disinclined to acquiesce to his request.

Finally the stragglers ended up in the bar for a couple of drinks before Dawn and I decided it was time to retire to our hotel room. Except when we did retire, we decided we were hungry and we missed Barb. So we actually ordered toasted sandwiches from room service and called Barb in London. Felt a bit like being in a film.

It really was a beautiful wedding and I am sure Kirsty and Ian are going to have an amazing future together. They are currently on honeymoon in Mauritius. I would rather not know what they are up to.

The return

I was hoping my return flight would be quietly uneventful. In the lingo of Russell Brand (whose autobiography was on my holiday reading list)… T’were a vain hope. The chaos started at OR Tambo International (formerly Johannesburg International) airport. I was briefly offered a direct flight to London on SAA since my flight was overbooked. I rejoiced. It would have meant freedom from the horror that is Iberia and no connection. However this dream was snatched from me since they had already found enough willing participants and I was condemned back to my original fate.

The plane was jam-packed. Fortunately my lack of sleep caught up with me and I managed to doze off for a lot longer than I usually do. This was pretty fortunate since the completely crap movie screens had failed. The Iberia air stewards and stewardesses are pretty interesting. There was one woman whose job it appeared to be to yell at people and another guy who just meandered up and down the aisles drawling. “caaaaaawffee” in a way that made it sound like a sexual proposition.

When I eventually arrived at Madrid airport (which has bathrooms that are more revolting than the Covent Garden public conveniences), I could not find my flight on the departures board. Then commenced a lot of running around like a headless chicken while a series of hopelessly unfriendly Spanish “information” representatives gave me conflicting information, sent me to incorrect desks, joked about me missing my flight and laughed at me. I am not sure customer service is at the forefront of the Spanish mind… but maybe that’s just my experience. I suppose the most bizarre experience was checking through security with about 20 American nuns and priests in head scarves and fedoras… I wonder where on earth they were going.

I finally did make the flight and on the 10 minute bus ride to the actual aeroplane, chatted to another South African girl (in Afrikaans) who had had exactly the same experience of the customer service. Hmph! Once on the plane I realised I was dying of thirst and ravenous… only to discover that they were CHARGING for refreshments. Please note that this was not a SleazyJet flight… it was fricking Iberia. Oh the cheek. I didn’t have any Euros and the principle infuriated me. So I sat there with a dry mouth, muttering under my breath.

When I did eventually get back to my lair, I felt like I had returned to heaven. After 10 days of living out of a suitcase, sleeping in one’s own bed is the height of luxury!

Thank-you to all my friends and family for your wonderful hospitality and for taking the time to hang out/get into trouble with and entertain me. Until next year…