The weekend is finally on the horizon and it’s been a pretty busy and very tough week. You might have been chasing after the kids, working hard at your 9-5 or maybe somehow juggling both! Well, now a well-deserved break is on the way, you’re going to need to fill your weekend with plenty of fun but will also leave you feeling rested, rejuvenated and ready for the week ahead.
Sure a mini break to watch the opera in Florence over the weekend sounds like the perfect way to get some much needed R&R but it might not be logistically or financially possible. So instead I’ve rounded up 5 lovely things to do this weekend when a mini-break it out of reach.
Head out for a family walk
There’s nothing better than feeling the fresh air in your lungs. And although the kids might kick and scream at the idea of it, a family walk is actually lots of fun. Choose a nice walk through woodland, along the beach, around an area of natural beauty or even a ramblers favourite.
It gives everyone an opportunity to move their bodies, reduce stress, lower blood pressure and spend some quality time together. It’s also a great opportunity for the kids to burn off some energy and you not have to worry about them getting into too much trouble!
Have a date night
Many couples worry that they don’t get to spend as much time together as they would like, So, put the kids to bed early and rustle up a romantic meal together. Or order it from your favourite place and enjoy each other’s company.
Catch up on a good book
If the weather isn’t great then don’t worry! If you’re on your own and find yourself at a loose end then pick up that novel you’ve been meaning to finish. Get cosy on the sofa, pull up a blanket and get plenty of snacks. If you have little ones to entertain then let them choose a short story and cuddle up together. Nothing beats family time.
Give yourself a little TLC
When was the last time you had a nice relaxing bath? Well, wait until the kids have gone to bed if you need to, and run yourself a nice hot bath. Drop in a bath bomb or some Epsom salts to help with those aching muscles and make it feel fancy with a candle or two. Pour yourself a glass of something cold and bring a book if you want or put on a relaxing playlist. Shave, exfoliate and buff your skin, then when you’re dry apply lots of moisturisers and a bit of fake tan if you want. Spoil yourself!
Pack a picnic
Wondering what to do for lunch? Why not pack up a bag of all your favourite treats and goodies and head out on a picnic? The kids will love doing something ordinary – a little differently! Don’t worry if it’s raining (it’s forecasted to be rainy in Cornwall), sometimes a picnic in the car is just as fun!
It’s always tough to choose a gift for the couple that seems to have it all. Maybe they’ve lived together for years and have built up a collection of all of the homeware they could ever need. Or perhaps they’re minimalists and are comfortable living with very few possessions.
But don’t worry! Here’s a list of unique wedding gift ideas for inspiration, from DIY to affordable to splurge-worthy splendour. Rather than getting them an item that they may already have, or something they won’t often use, treat them to a thoughtful present that’s truly out of the gift box.
The Tastiest Gift Ever
Buy them a culinary experience they’ll never forget; your favourite couple can never have enough delicious food. Treating them to a unique dining experience will serve as a gift and a post-honeymoon date all wrapped up into one. This is your opportunity to brainstorm what would mean the most them; do they love fine dining?
If so, splash the cash on a luxury culinary experience at Michelin-starred restaurant. If they’re homebodies and enjoy a movie night on the couch, get their favourite takeaway food delivered right to their door after a long workday. Bonus points if you throw in a great bottle of wine!
Make Them a Succulent Arrangement
Add some green, leafy vibrancy to their new lives as husband and wife. This is an easy, fun gift for the couple that wants Instagram-worthy home decor, but doesn’t want another chore to add to their list. It’s great for younger couples, older couples, and everyone in between.
Succulents only require watering about 3 times a month, which means it’s easy to keep this gift for ages. Plants are a long-term gift compared to a bouquet of flowers or a box of fancy chocolates. Visit your local garden centre and arrange one yourself, or order an arrangement from your local florist.
Host a Party For Them
Celebrating never gets old! Host a barbeque or a late-night wine session on the patio. We love this for summer weddings and warm-weather neighbourhoods. If the weather doesn’t permit outdoor celebrations, embrace the cosiness and host an intimate party on your friends’ behalf. Winter parties pair well with string lights, hot chocolate, and yummy comfort food. Spice up any party with unique decorations, photos of the couple, and a party activity like a photo booth.
Organise a Trip for Them
From a lovely road trip to a grand world tour, celebrate their love by creating their latest travel itinerary. Adventurous couples will appreciate a tour of a national park, and culture vultures will love museum tickets. Think long and hard about this one- is there a place your friend has always wanted to visit? A gallery they’ve been waiting to see? Buy them a pair of train or plane tickets and send them on their way. If you’re feeling extra generous, treat them to premium seats!
Buy Them a Piece of Art
The beautiful couple needs beautiful artwork to match! Visit a local art print shop or gallery and pick something that strikes your fancy, keeping their taste and home style in mind. Frame the piece, and make sure to include all of the materials necessary for hanging it in their home.
Matchy-matchy: Robes, Slippers and PJs!
It’s cheesy. But it’s so damn cute. “His and hers” outfits and accessories are always a great way to celebrate married life. Personalized items like robes or slippers will fit anyone that loves to be cosy and cute.
Stock Their Bar Cart
For the duo that likes to entertain; supply them with all of the trendiest bar cart essentials! Put together a gift basket with liquors, mixers, and garnishes. Add classic mixology tools like a shaker, strainer, and bottle opener to the basket. Keep a consistent colour theme throughout the bottles, packaging, and tools so that your gift basket looks twice as nice. If you just want to give your newlywed friends some classic bar cart tools, throw in a bottle of champagne to keep the celebratory vibes going.
Buy Them a Museum Tour
If they’re itching to learn something new, set them up with an exciting museum tour. This gift is perfect for teachers, historians, or any twosome that loves to learn. Don’t forget to add that extra cherry-on-top: book transportation to and from the museum to charm them from beginning to end. You could even treat them to a souvenir from the museum so they have a way to remember their fun, experiential gift!
Get Them Ready for Adventure with Luggage
A high quality, modern luggage set is an unusual but useful gift. The newlyweds can use it on their honeymoon, on business trips, or anywhere else they decide to venture. After all, the couple that packs together, stays together.
Gussy Up Their Powder Room
Make a gift basket with all things spa-like: candles, luxurious towels, and bubble bath. Soothing scents like lavender and jasmine pair well with post-wedding joy! Allowing the newlyweds to unwind in their home makes for a great gift. The candles, bubble bath, and cosy necessities will make their bathroom feel like a real, luxurious spa.
Book or Buy Them a Date Night
New couples are much more likely to embrace date night. After the wedding, your friends are going to want another way to enjoy their time together, instead of planning or going on their usual dates. This gift could even be as simple as calling an incredible restaurant on their behalf. Buy them a fun date night and keep it lighthearted- they’re going to love any excuse to go out and have fun!
Gift giving for newlyweds can be loads of fun. Some may seem to have everything, but when it comes to marriage, all that matters is finding a way to celebrate the love that they have for each other. Whether it’s a gift basket or a dinner reservation, personalize it depending on your friends’ tastes, hobbies, and passions. Even the picky pair that seems to have everything will appreciate these unique presents and experiences.
Over the last couple of weeks, we’ve been deep cleaning the house and preparing the garden for summer. Okay, okay, yes it’s a little bit crazy that when business is booming and the wedding is literally days away we’ve decided to give ourselves all this extra work… But it’s really important that our house is lovely and clean when we leave it for our honeymoon, so when we come back we’re not coming back to lots of jobs to do.
We’ve had astroturf in the garden since I moved in 4 years ago, and I’ve never truly been happy with it. It never looked real and it was always wet and horrible (we live in England, why didn’t I think of this before!). The garden became a dumping ground in the winter and it ended up getting so out of control. One wet soggy day I decided just to rip the whole thing up and replace it with decorative stones. Little did I know how much of a job it was going to be but we’re FINALLY✨ getting there (not finished!).
Why we chose gravel
Decorative stones can come in all different shapes, sizes and colours and they can play a variety of different roles in a garden from providing driveways to creating a unique garden border.
Gravel is easy to maintain, by topping up with extra aggregate if needed or if the area becomes dirty. There is also a range of colours and shapes to suit your home and outdoor space from traditional or creating a modern flair. Crushed gravel is ideal for pathways or driveways as the stones fit and come together.
It is a cost-effective and low maintenance way to decorate your outdoor space. Other than being cheap and low maintenance, there were two other reasons we opted for gravel, as opposed to alternatives such as patio:
Drainage – The use of decorative stone can be an ideal solution for drainage in your garden, pea gravel which contains small round stones are available in different sizes and colours. Pea gravel can provide decorative drainage for flower pots and beds.
Weed Control – Placing stones on a rockery or border can help prevent unwanted weed growth. It is ideal to remove any pre-grown weeds and roots before placing the stones, the stones will then create a barrier and prevent any regrowth of weeds or unwanted plants.
It’s pretty versatile, too. The use of decorative stones on a driveway is becoming increasingly popular and is a great way to add a personalised touch to your home. With an aggregate driveway, no matter how heavy your vehicle is you do not need to worry about damaging the material underneath the wheel, stones for driveways and paths are extremely durable and do not chip and crack with excessive wear.
We received this shed c/o Wayfair a couple of months ago, which was great because it’s something we really needed. We always wanted to put some type of storage underneath the decking but struggled to find something that would fit. Luckily we found this one, and with a bit of DIY, we managed to get it underneath the decking. The great thing is, we also have tons of room behind the shed to store bits and bobs, too without it being an eyesore.
As you can see, it’s still not finished. This is where we still need to do a ton of work like pressure washing the walls and floors, cleaning the kayaks and organising the shed a little bit more (perhaps put some shelving in there). But for now, it does the job and it’s had a decent clear out. These are always things we can do another time and at least now we know it’s only an afternoon job, rather than a mammoth task.
Honestly, who would know that going to garden centres and filling your garden with luscious plants and shrubs would be oh so satisfying? I love shopping but I never thought I’d care about getting my hands dirty in the garden to plant some flowers. It’s pretty addictive and there’s so much to learn about when it comes to gardening and it’s pretty cool to see them flourishing. My fiancée says I’m old before my time because I like to bake fresh bread instead of buying it at the shop and I get excited about going to the garden centre to get new bedding plants 😂
Buying plants can be mega expensive, so we’ve started with some plug plants and small bushes, as opposed to buying mature trees etc. It’s slow progress, even our Jasmine tree is almost 4 years old and it feels like it’s barely grown, but it isn’t in the best spot. We might end up investing in some more plants but for the meantime, this will do (especially as we’ll be on our honeymoon this summer and barely be able to properly enjoy it!).
Borders and Planters
Another good thing about decorative gravel can create an appealing border and can help protect plants from the attack of weeds. Using an aggregate with plants can help keep moisture into the soil the summer months. Depending which gravel you choose you can create different effects, whether it is natural or sand effect to blend in with other natural elements such as stonework and paving or black gravel to add a dramatic modern effect to your outdoor space, there is a large range that will suit any project.
Gravel is also a good way of adding extra drainage to your outdoor space and can protect excess water from building up and damaging foundations. Our hydrangea bush and border flowers are only just beginning to flower (and some haven’t even got that far), so I’m going to leave it a few more leaks until layering our pea gravel over these. We’ve started to do it for our rose bush and jasmine in the corner though, as these are a little bit more mature and I figure they’d be able to handle it.
We had the decking put in when the house was built and although it requires a little bit of upkeep, I do love it. I’m always so surprised how much better it looks when it’s been pressure washed and been stained. This year we decided to go for a slightly deeper colour, teak. Every year we seem to opt to go a little darker to cover a multitude of sins but I actually prefer it being dark like this. We’re planning on pressure washing and staining the fencing and decking surrounding the gravel area, too which will bring it all together.
When we were talking to our friends and family about re-doing our garden lots of people said about getting more decking at the bottom of the garden, but there are a few reasons that turned us off it. Firstly, it’s waaaay more expensive and time-consuming to install, especially when you have a wonky shape garden like ours. Secondly, we liked the contrast that the gravel gives to the garden, instead of it all being one colour.
Bulk bag 800kg grey 20mm gravel £40 delivered from a local supplier
Colours teak matt decking stain 2.5L £20 from B&Q
Bedding plants, planters and shrubs £39 from a local hardware store
The thing that really transformed our garden here (other than blood, sweat and tears), was the gravel. So, if you are looking for a healthy-looking garden with low maintenance the use of decorative aggregate may be for you, it is easy to manage throughout summer and can create some stunning features in a garden adding colour and character. For landscaping projects, it allows you to keep the cost down as a decorative aggregate are cheaper than paving or other more extensive projects and you can enjoy your garden rather than maintaining it.
It was April Fool’s the other day, and it was no drill when I said: “we’re getting married this month!”. It feels like only yesterday we were talking about how the wedding was 2 years away, and now it’s a couple of weeks away. There’s a couple of bits we still need to organise but we’re pretty much there. I’m sure there’s something important I’ve forgotten to do… Turns out, people worry a lot when it comes to choosing something to wear to a wedding.
We’ve had so many people ask us if what they’ve chosen is OK. Honestly, we don’t care what people wear to our wedding, as long as they’re there and they’re comfortable. I completely understand why people find it stressful though, there’s nothing worse than turning up somewhere and feeling under or overdressed. There’s also etiquette around what is allowed and what isn’t allowed, which quite frankly, is silly.
Shopping for a special occasion outfit should be fun (shopping should NEVER be stressful!). Here are some helpful little tips from a real-bride if you’re on the hunt for something to wear to a wedding.
Consider the time of year
Are you heading to an A/W or S/S wedding? If it’s going to be cool, consider darker colours such as navy, deep red or emerald green. Alternatively, if it’s warm then you might want to opt for a lighter colour like pale pink, powder blue or nude. Pinterest is a great place to begin if you’re completely lost for ideas.
Think about comfort
If you’re going to a wedding, chances are, it’s going to be a long day. Choose something you’re comfortable in. There’s nothing worse than wearing an outfit and constantly worrying if your hair clips are falling out or if you’ve got sweat patches. No, no, no. These shouldn’t be things you should be worrying about at a wedding.
Don’t break the bank
Lots of our guests have asked us what they should wear, and as I mentioned, we’re very laid back about this. There’s no need to bankrupt yourself just because you’re going to a wedding. Dig something out from the back of your wardrobe and pair it with some cheap high heels from Uppersole. If you don’t think you’ve got anything suitable, get down the charity shop!
Check the weather
Should you pack a raincoat or a pashmina? It’s difficult to predict the weather in the UK but usually, you can get an idea of what the weather is going to be like. Consider the wedding venue, too. If it’s going to be in a field, you might want to be mindful of the weather a bit more so than if it’s an indoor affair at a manor house.
If you’re unsure or you’ve got a couple of potential outfits in mind but don’t know what to order, put your mind at ease and double-check with the bride. If she’s anything like me, she’ll love it! It’s so exciting receiving pictures from my friends taking selfies in the mirror saying “Omg! Which one do you like? I’ve ordered 5 dresses 😂”.
Strawberry Squeeze is a UK lifestyle blog written by me, Sam Charles! Ranked as Up and Coming on Bloglovin’, Strawberry Squeeze publishes content from health and beauty to travel and adventure.
I aim to updated the blog at least once a week (usually much more often!) with guides, inspiration and reviews. Don’t forget to follow me on Facebook to keep up to date with all my posts 💕
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Strawberry Squeeze is a UK lifestyle blog but what exactly does that mean? Mediakix defines a lifestyle blog as “digital content representation of its author’s everyday life and interests”. This is perfect for fickle little me, that changes what they’re doing every 5 minutes.
Whilst my career, my fiancée and my home is consistent, my hobbies and interest are all over the place. Life is too short and I want to experience EVERYTHING. One weekend I’ll be climbing a mountain, another I’ll be surfing, then the next week I’ll be watching learning how to create macrame wall hangings.
I always wonder how successful I could make the blog if it was in a niche with a focus but alas, it just wouldn’t be me.
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