Imagine going to choose the fabric for one’s wedding dress having the worst hair day ever. And yet that’s exactly what I did.
I had a hair appointment after work, there was no point washing it and so with hair like string, I soldiered on bravely although at one point, I confess, I didn’t want to look in the mirror. Surely that’s not how I usually look?
Now at my hair appointment I can breathe a sigh of relief as I know I will leave here with normal or hopefully, fabulous hair again.
I will just add that it’s very hard to eat a salad out of a box with a plastic fork and a headful of foils. Another mouthful of hair…
Bad hair and wedding dress fabric. A busy day and a good decision I hope!
This morning I trotted off to meet Harriet the designer to choose the fabric for my wedding dress.
Harry arrived in a slightly frazzled state and while I’m confident all will be well, she has earned the title of Mad Harry, not entirely reassuring!
Anyway, despite the chaos we looked at some beautiful fabrics, a glorious satin and a whisper of chiffon. The colour, well, without giving everything away, let’s just say it’s reminiscent of one of my favourite drinks, and I don’t mean gin.
And so after being measured and arranging our appointment for the calico fitting (June 7th yikes, I hope she finishes everything in time) I left Harry to sort out the details and hopped on the bus to Camden.
Wedding dress fabric, done.
Apparently I have very short arms.
Being measured for my wedding dress, I was informed by Mad Harry, my designer, that my arms are tiny. Four centimetres shorter than average. The arms of a midget in fact. Who knew?
Of course this explains a lot including my struggle over many years to touch my toes in yoga. It’s amazing, quite frankly that I’ve survived as long as I have!
And now let the jokes begin…
Sunday and a birthday gathering with the family of Letad turned into an impromptu ping pong party.
It doesn’t bode well for the table tennis tournament at the wedding as the competitive spirits emerged and true colours were revealed.
Game on as the little white ball was thrashed at lightning speed back and forth across the table.
Game on as points were questioned and adjudication requested.
And game won. But not by me.
Saturday morning and with an exciting to do list “buy potting soil” we decided to go to Kew Gardens to see if spring had actually arrived.
Arriving at the station we bought an impromptu picnic and after paying an extortionate entry fee (and that’s without the optional donation), we set off to walk around the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
Lush and green from the long, wet winter (and summer last year) we strolled along the paths. The nostalgic scent of childhood; wild garlic and cow parsley surrounded us and the sun desperately tried to break through.
Before long we found meadows of bluebells, the most perfect shade of periwinkle to compliment the fresh spring green around.
We stopped to sit on the grass and enjoy our picnic. Bird song and planes en route to Heathrow filled the air. The only downside to Kew.
After a lazy lunch we continued on, past the rhododendrons, past the azaleas, through the hot house of water lilies and the tropical palm house. The smell of warm soil filled the air.
Leaving Kew, we jumped on the overground train to go and buy the potting soil and after a long walk with a heavy bag, we returned to the little flat where we carefully repotted the plants now living on the roof terrace.
Kew Gardens it’s not, but in London, it’s a garden. We sat on the outdoor sofa, had a cup of tea and enjoyed the view of the city.
After a consultation with a very nice mortgage broker, it appears I could borrow a certain amount of money and perhaps make an offer on La Maison Pierre.
It all sounded perfect until she explained that was only the case if I didn’t live in the little flat in Chalk Farm and didn’t have any expenses.
Apparently the bank wouldn’t take my word for it that I’m very good at frugal living (think quinoa) and so would require me to live with a relative for three months to show no outgoing expenses.
Hmm, it’s all a bit complicated. Perhaps living in a shoe box would solve the problem…
During the week we met with three wedding caterers and talked through menus with each one. We were hoping to create a meal featuring the flavours of France, a Provençal banquet.
All three caterers understood our vision and all three gave us prices. We asked the least experienced if she could give us a taste test of her menu suggestions and so off we went to sample a few delicacies.
Just as well we did as things weren’t quite what we were looking for.
To be fair it wasn’t a bad attempt for home cooking but as we both enjoy food and especially the local regional flavours something was definitely missing.
Wisely we decided this caterer wasn’t going forward to the semi finals but instead, inspired the Canapé Challenge as Letad and I returned to the little house above the Boulangerie and whipped up half a dozen canapés from what we happened to have in the fridge.
Canapés done. After all, how hard can it be?
While perusing the shops in Valbonne, we spotted the perfect armoire for the bathroom.
Some might call it a kitchen cabinet but with three drawers and cupboards and antique brass details, it was, instead, the perfect piece for the bathroom.
Imagine two gleaming white sinks and chrome taps on top, a large antique mirror and a claw foot bathtub. A hexagonal terracotta tiled floor and everything lovely and clean and shiny. The bathroom (formerly known as prison cell number two) is close to being finished.
After some tough negotiating Letad got the price down to something reasonable and the shop owner kindly agreed to deliver and carry (fool) the item up three flights of stairs. Little did he know what he was promising!
Huffing, puffing, a potential heart attack and a fair amount of swearing (and I was only carrying the drawers) the armoire finally made it to the bathroom. Hurray!
On the way down we did a little bargaining while monsieur le proprieteur was still out of breath. We offered a mirror and two picture frames in return for six coffee cups and a glass bottle with a bird stopper. The shop owner definitely got the better deal and I jokingly said we’d come and buy everything back once he’d made it look stylish.
We all shook hands. Deal done. A little glass bottle with a oiseau now sits on the table and there are two less pictures on death row.
Thursday morning and off we went back to Christian Dior’s chateau, La Colle Noire, our wedding venue.
We saw it last in November and loved it despite the austerity of winter. Imagine our joy when we went back and saw it in the glory of Spring! Flowers in bloom, trees in leaf and carp spawning in the reflecting pool. Oh, and a few mosquitoes, guests be warned!
It was perfect but then, even better, we discovered a swimming pool and a tennis court we didn’t know about. And there even maybe a table tennis tournament.
We went to the local Boulangerie, indulged in a most delicious pastry and made sure we could get breakfast and then we went to the lake to check out potential picnic spots.
Things are looking good for a fabulous wedding weekend!
After brocanting and doing a drive-by of la Maison Pierre, we set off to our favourite beach on the Riviera, Cap d’Ail.
It hasn’t been typical Riviera weather as it seems everywhere is having a late spring but as we parked the car and set off down the steps, the sun broke through and blue skies finally appeared.
We were taking the afternoon off from house and wedding planning and as we sat in the sun eating our picnic lunch, we had to agree, things couldn’t be better.
There’s something I love about a picnic. Perhaps it’s carefully packing a bag with all our favourite French foods or perhaps it’s sitting in the sun gazing at the clear, calm Mediterranean sea from underneath a hat.
Either way, it was a glorious afternoon and we returned to the little house refreshed and ready to continue the house and wedding planning. Tomorrow we’re off to Christian Dior’s chateau, our wedding venue.