Food Friday #1 – Homemade Bread

2lb White Loaf It is time to start another new blog series and this time it is my Food Friday blog. So at the weekend I decided to try and make bread, call me stupid but since we moved house and I now have an Aga I thought it was about time I did a bit more cooking and baking, after all I had to learn how to cook again after only ever using gas and electric previously. I followed a simple recipe and thought I would share it with you. I have adapted the recipe slightly but I have listed the ingredients that I used below, the method is still the same as the original. I have a 2lb loaf tin and this recipe can make either one 2lb loaf or it can be split into two and make two 1lb loaves. It did take a while to make as it needs to prove for 2hrs but I have to say as it was my first time making homemade bread I was quite impressed with the result – and it tasted great as well.

Ingredients:

675g strong white bread flour
20g unsalted butter
2tsp salt
10g dried yeast
450ml tepid water

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 Method:

1.) Pour the flour into a large bowl, add the salt and rub in the butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs
2.) Once mixed make a well in the centre, mix in the yeast and then pour in the water
3.) Mix by hand and knead into a ball in the bowl and then turn out onto a clean dry floured surface and knead for about 4 minutes adding flour to the surface when needed to stop the dough sticking
4.) Once mixed return the dough to the bowl and cover with loosely oiled clingfilm leaving it to rise near any warm place, I usually put mine next to  the Aga, for 1–1½ hours until double in size

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5.) Grease the loaf tins or tin and put the greased tins near a warm place, again I usually put mine next to the Aga, but you can put the tin in the top oven for a few minutes to warm.
6.) Knock back the dough and knead again for 2–3 minutes. Put in the loaf tin and cover with oiled clingfilm (I usually reuse the bit that I used to prove the bread for the first time) and leave to prove for about 30 minutes.
7.) Preheat a fan oven to 200°C
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8.) Remove clingfilm from the loaf tin and place it in the oven for 35–40 minutes until evenly browned, I usually check it half way through
9.) Remove the bread from the tin and check if it is done, you can do this by tapping the bottom of the loaf and if it makes a hollow sound it is ready.
10.) Place the bread onto a wire rack to cool.

Let me know if you try this recipe and how your bread turns out.

The International Wedding Trend Report 2015 – Part Four

I can’t believe that we are now up to week four of the International Wedding Trend Report 2015 by The UK Academy of Wedding and Event Planning (UKAWEP). For only one more week Kylie Carlson, director of the UKAWEP will take you through what the big trends will be in weddings around the world covering topics including colours, themes, florals, styling, décor, catering, cakes, stationery, entertainment, venues and much more.

The UKAWEP official Wedding Trend Report is accompanied by this series of video reports and this is the fourth of five videos that form part of their Wedding Trend Report for 2015. We all love the pretty things and wedding styling is all about the aesthetics of the wedding and that is exactly what this weeks report looks at. Including tablescapes and linens, bouquets and centrepieces, photo backdrops, favour ideas, ceremony programs, floor plans, decor and lighting, all of these things are details that make up the look and vibe of a wedding and are components that a stylist will know just how to perfect.

With special thanks to:
Ceci Johnson from Ceci New York
Sara Burnett from Burnetts Boards
Wayne Gurnick from Moments By Wayne
Nick and Aleah Valley from Valley and Co
Jane Riddell from Planned for Perfection
Emma Hla from CoCo Wedding Venues
Pam Dunn from Pamella Dunn Events
Lewis Early from Ivy Ellen
Tracey Warren from Warble Entertainment
Bann Al-Jelawi (Bee) from Gilded Linens
Jaclyn Campbell from Ivory & Rose
Elizabeth Muhmood Kane from Bridal Musings
Susanna Young from Knot and Pop
Megan Norris from Hansel and Gretel Cakes
Kathy Apostolidis from Nightingales
Denise Fouracre from The Wedding Zone
Eddie Zaratsian from Tic Tock Florals
Lisa Macale from Willow Tree Creative

Kylie Carlson is the director of a group of companies specialising in training and certification for the wedding and special events industry and as an international training company that encompasses the UK Academy (UKAWEP), the Australian Academy (AAWEP) and the New Zealand Academy (NZAWEP) of Wedding and Event Planning and The Wedding and Event Institute (WEI) and they are in the unique position that they are able to compile a report of this type using their own research combined with the knowledge of top wedding experts from around the world to give the reports a truly global feel.

Feature photo: Moodboard by The Wedding and Event Institute (WEI)

Tip Tuesday #41

Today we feature another of our Tip Tuesday blogs after kick starting the blog features last week where we revisited one of our articles that has been featured in Attire Bridal Magazine. So this week we have decided to take a look back at another article that I have written over the past 18 months for Attire and this week we feature our second  article featured in Attire Bridal November and December 2013 issue ‘Social Media’

tip tuesday

By this time most people and businesses have now accepted that social media is key and is a necessary part of the marketing mix whether you are a big or small business. But it can be a bit of a mine field out there and with more sites popping up all the time there is even more confusion surrounding them all. They all offer different experiences and they all have different functions that they can offer you and your business.

Most people have heard about Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+ and LinkedIn but there are lots more different social media platforms out. There are some that are becoming really popular with more and more people joining in and there are some that are just starting to emerge and are just waiting for the surge of people to join in. But before you start using these new social media platforms you have to define your goals so whether you want to increase brand awareness, engage in conversation with future potential customers or even increase traffic to your website or blog if you have a goal in mind it helps when choosing the type and style of social media you want to use and also working out which ones work best for you and your business.

I have chosen two photo sharing, two pinning and three video sharing platforms some of which have recently become increasingly popular by the day and ones that are relatively unknown in the UK but are easily as beneficial as the others.

PHOTOSHARING SOCIAL MEIDA PLATFORMS

INSTAGRAM – here is our Instagram account
Instagram is a fun and quirky way to share your life with friends, family and customers through a series of pictures and recently added feature of short videos. Snap a photo with your mobile phone, iPad or Android device then choose a filter to transform the image into a memory to keep around forever. Instagram is designed to allow you to experience moments in your friends’ lives through pictures as they happen. For those of you, who are unaware of Instagram it is basically an online photo sharing and social networking site that let people take images, add filters, text and effects to them before sharing them with people on other social media sites including twitter and Facebook. Instagram also recently added a video feature which now means that you can also record between 3 and 15 seconds of footage and then share it the same way as a photo was previously shared.

URTURN
Urturn about is relevantly new to the UK and is a social platform designed for self-expression that lets people interact with others online and it is the first of its kind when it comes to offering users the chance to use captions and expressions including quotes, #tags footnotes, V’s, Hot or Not, This or That and more. Urturn can be used on mobiles devices as well as on desktops and laptops. You can search for posts by looking for and you can categorise your posts and make it easier for others to find your posts. You can also tag people to posts the same way that you do on Twitter by using the @ sign.

MOOD BOARD & PIN BOARD SHARING PLATFORMS

PINTEREST – ere is our Pinterest account
For those of you who are unaware of Pinterest it is basically a mood board site or as Pinterest call it a pin board style photo sharing tool that helps you discovering new images and collecting images that you love. You then create and name a board and pin the images you have found and love into that board. You can pin it, bookmark them and you can even upload new images into boards which in turn other people can then discover and re-pin into their boards. If you find someone maybe a wedding magazine that has a lot of boards you can follow them and their boards and then their new images will appear on your home feed offering you more inspiration. You can create as many boards as you want and you can pin as many images as you want into your different boards and create ideas for different themes. So where you are planning a wedding or you just want to share inspiration with your customers this is a great way of sharing with people.

LOVER.LY
Lover.ly started in the US and is the first search engine for weddings where you can search, save, shop and share all things wedding. It can help customers discover the latest trends, search by colour or theme and explore specific wedding categories for example decorations, flowers, cakes, wedding dresses, bridesmaid dresses to grooms wear and more. Similar to Pinterest, Lover.ly has a continuous feed of images that you can love or you can save the images that you have found and put them onto pin boards which Lover.ly call bundles and once you have completed your bundles you can then share these with other people. One added feature on this is that if a customer saves an image that they love they can then shop and find out where they can get the product that they love from.

VIDEO SHARING PLATFORMS

KEEK
Keek is a free video sharing platform that allows you to upload video status updates up to 36 seconds long which are called “keeks”. You can then post ‘keeks’ to the Keek website using a webcam or via the Keek mobile apps for iPhone, Android, BlackBerry, or Windows Phone. These can then be either just posted on the Keek website or they can be shared with other people via email, SMS or other social media sites and there is also an embed option which allows you to embed your keeks into a blog or website. You can also reply back to other peoples ‘keeks’ with text or video comments which are known as “keekbacks”.  As with some of the other sites you can follow and subscribe to other people on Keek as well so you can see their latest videos on your home page as soon as you log on and you can also select the most popular, featured, Top 100 and more.

VINE
Vine is a mobile sharing service that enables its users to create and share short video looping clips of a maximum 7 seconds long which can be public or private and once posted they will not only appear on your personal Vine profile but you can also post them on Twitter and Facebook.

VIMEO
Vimeo is a US based video sharing platform which is very similar to YouTube where users can upload, share and view videos. Vimeo makes it easy for you to upload videos, connect with people, share your videos with customers, family friends and more and also explore other people’s videos. Vimeo even have a Vimeo Video School which can help anyone pick up new skills or sharpen existing ones that you may already have.

Mood Board Monday #60 – Nautical Theme Weddings

Another week means it is time to revisit our Pinterest love for another Mood Board Monday, we love these blog posts and this week we have decided to looking at Nautical Themed Weddings. This style of wedding can have a very chic and sophisticated feel to it and it is also a way for couples that either have a nautical link or passion to incorporate elements of it into their special day so whether you are simply a boat lover or you love to reminisce in childhood seaside nostalgia then we believe a nautical wedding could be the perfect choice for you.

The dictionary defines nautical as relating to or involving ships, navigation or sailors so a nautical themed wedding has items throughout the event that fits this definition. Adding sailor knots, anchors, maritime flags, lifesaver buoys, boats and more are perfect for this type of wedding. The most popular colours you will usually see are shades of blue, white, yellow and red.

So here is our Nautical Themed Weddings Mood Board with everything from décor to tablescapes and boat shoes to sailors knots this board has everything.

Mood Board Monday #60 - Nautical Themed Wedding

Photo credit:1, 2, 3 and 4
Feature image Nautical Photo Shoot www.mywedding.com

The International Wedding Trend Report 2015 – Part Three

For the past two weeks we have brought you part one and part two of the International Wedding Trend report 2015 by The UK Academy of Wedding and Event Planning (UKAWEP). For the next couple of weeks Kylie Carlson, director of the UKAWEP will take you through what the big trends will be in weddings around the world covering topics including colours, themes, florals, styling, décor, catering, cakes, stationery, entertainment, venues and much more.

The UKAWEP official Wedding Trend Report is accompanied by this series of video reports and this is the third of five videos that form part of their Wedding Trend Report for 2015. In this video Kylie talks about the 3 C’s of Weddings – Catering, Cocktails and Cakes.

With special thanks to:
Ceci Johnson from Ceci New York
Sara Burnett from Burnetts Boards
Wayne Gurnick from Moments By Wayne
Nick and Aleah Valley from Valley and Co
Jane Riddell from Planned for Perfection
Emma Hla from CoCo Wedding Venues
Pam Dunn from Pamella Dunn Events
Lewis Early from Ivy Ellen
Tracey Warren from Warble Entertainment
Bann Al-Jelawi (Bee) from Gilded Linens
Jaclyn Campbell from Ivory & Rose
Elizabeth Muhmood Kane from Bridal Musings
Susanna Young from Knot and Pop
Megan Norris from Hansel and Gretel Cakes
Kathy Apostolidis from Nightingales
Denise Fouracre from The Wedding Zone
Eddie Zaratsian from Tic Tock Florals
Lisa Macale from Willow Tree Creative

Kylie Carlson is the director of a group of companies specialising in training and certification for the wedding and special events industry and as an international training company that encompasses the UK Academy (UKAWEP), the Australian Academy (AAWEP) and the New Zealand Academy (NZAWEP) of Wedding and Event Planning and The Wedding and Event Institute (WEI) and they are in the unique position that they are able to compile a report of this type using their own research combined with the knowledge of top wedding experts from around the world to give the reports a truly global feel.

Feature photo: Chef Station by Pure Joy Catering

Tip Tuesday #40

It has been a while since we last did a Tip Tuesday Blog and it is about time that we restart them. So to kick start us off I  have decided to do a bit of a recap on some of the blogs that I have already done but instead of doing one tip per week (which will resume in a few weeks time)  I have decided to feature our bridal trade articles. For the past 18months I have had the pleasure of writing PR and Marketing articles for Attire Bridal Magazine and this was my first ever article featured in Attire Bridal July & August 2013 issue – I hope you enjoy our ‘Top Tips To Improve Your PR & Marketing’ feature

tip tuesday

Top Tips to Improve Your PR & Marketing

KNOW YOUR CUSTOMER
The first thing that you need to do as a business is identify who your customers are and exactly who you are trying to reach. Look at who you are wanting to target or who your existing customers are. Who are they? Where do they live? How old are they? What are they looking for? Once you have all these details you will be able to effectively target your PR and marketing to the right areas.

GET A WEBSITE
Some businesses have limited budgets but one thing that is worth investing in is a website, potential customers will be able to search for you on the internet with various key search words on your website and the more content the better.

START A BLOG
If you don’t have enough budget for a website then start a blog there are plenty out there that you can get for free. It’s a great way to showcase your knowledge, services or products and Google loves content so it will help you get found online.

KEEP IT FRESH
Whether you have a website or a blog try and keep it up to date, keep it fresh so whether you are launching a new collection coming out or you are offering some new services add these to your website or blog.

GET SOCIAL
There are so many different social media platforms out there to choose from including Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest or YouTube to name a few. They are all very effective ways to make new contacts within the industry and also potential clients.

Join in on conversations like #weddinghour on Twitter which takes place every Wednesday evening and get talking with other business and brides, not only in your area but across the country. These sorts of conversations will increase other companies and bride’s awareness of your business and this will also help to boost traffic to your website or blog. But whichever one you choose whether its Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, or YouTube – learn how to do one well, then move onto another, test what works for your business and what doesn’t.

RELEATIONSHIPS WITH THE MEDIA
Build good relationships with journalists you speak to. Having good contacts in the media is key to any successful PR strategy. Always be polite to journalists as they have the power to decide what your customers read or hear about you – if anything at all. A phone call, e-mail and text all within five minutes are overkill. Be timely and keep it simple, but don’t be a stalker. The way you follow up will depend on the situation, and the relationship you have with your contact.

PRESS RELEASES
Newspapers receive hundreds of press releases every week, and only the ones that stand out will ever make it into print. Step into the shoes of the particular publication and its readers and ask the question ‘What is interesting and newsworthy about this announcement?’

IMAGES
Magazines use different formats make sure that your images are suitable to be used in the magazines you are targeting. Make sure that they are named correctly and they are of a good quality, the last thing you want is your products images not being used just because the resolutions aren’t high enough. Always have images ready so that if a request comes in from the media you can get the image back to them straight away.

SHOUT ABOUT IT
Any coverage that you gain add it to your website or blog so that your customers can see where your products or services have been featured. If the coverage has been published online you can link it to the media website and if it’s in print get a copy of the magazine, scan the image and add it to your website, you can even build up a press page and add it to your site.

LOVE YOUR BRAND
Remember this is your product or service and this is your future, if you don’t believe in it then you can’t expect others to. The way you speak both verbal and written, along with your attitude and your love for your product, this should clearly shine through when communicating with the media.

Friday Favourites #1 – Golden Globe Favourites 2015

Today marks the start of a brand new Friday Favourites feature for the blog where I will be featuring some of my favourite things that I have come across or that have been of key focus in the press recently. I am excited to start this feature as I love reading them on other blogs!

So to kick start things off what better way to launch the Friday Favourites than to look back at all the fabulous fashion that was spotted on the red carpet at the 72nd Golden Globes Awards, that took place on Sunday the 11th January 2015 at the prestigious Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverley Hills, California.

As usual like previous years the stars came out in force and made sure that the awards season started the way that it should. With the red carpet full of the men suited and booted in tuxedos and suits it was once again the women that led the way with several trends emerging. From dazzling whites to muted yellows and show-stopping metallic’s to silver-embellished gowns…..but with this only being the start of the awards season will we see these trends continue throughout the rest of the season or will the next awards see more trends coming out?

Its now time to share our favourites with you all…..I have trawled my way through all the dresses that the stars were wearing and I have managed to narrow it down and I have selected 10 of my personal favourite dresses from the red carpet. But I would love to hear what your favourite dresses were from the Golden Globes.

But back to my selection and starting the top 10 off | Opting for the trend of white gowns is Kate Hudson who went for a white cut-out Versace dress whilst Salma Hayek wore a beautiful brocade dress by Alexander McQueen

Kate Hudson|Photo Jordan Strauss/AP & Salma Hayek|Photo Jordan Strauss/AP

Reese Witherspoon looked stunning in a silver strapless Calvin Klein dress as did Kate Beckinsale who wore a sparkling Elie Saab dress

Reese Witherspoon|Photo Jason Meritt/Getty Images & Kate Beckinsale|Photo John Shearer/AP

Sienna Miller opted for a ivory plunging gown complete with floral embellishments whilst Leslie Mann wore a colourful yellow gown

Sienna Milller|Photo George Pimente/Wireimage & Leslie Mann |Photo Danny Moloshok

Another actress adding some colour to the red carpet was Katie Holmes who went for a plum coloured gown and Amy Adams who wore this beautiful lilac/blue Versace Dress

Leslie Mann|Photo Danny Moloshok & Amy Adams|Photo Jordan Strauss/AP

Continuing with the silver and metallic theme Julianne Moore wore an ombre effect silver metallic gown and finishing off our top ten is Dakota Johnson who sparkled in this Chanel Couture Dress

Julianne Moore|Photo Jordan Strauss/AP &  Dakota Johnson|Photo Steve Granitz/Wireimage

Images from NY Daily News

Introducing The UK Academy of Wedding and Event Planning’s Advisory Panel for 2015

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After a successful first year with a dedicated Advisory Board the UK Academy of Wedding & Event Planning (UKAWEP) are delighted to announce some valuable additions to their 2015 line up. All members of the board are wedding experts within their field and offer guidance to students, and fellow wedding professionals, along with giving feedback on specific course material to ensure that the courses contain all the required knowledge and are on top of the current trends.

Director of the UKAWEP Kylie Carlson said: ‘After a fantastic year working with some of the UK’s leading professionals on some great new initiatives I am really excited to announce the 2015 UKAWEP Advisory Board. The board has grown from last year with some great new additions. Each member brings a different area of expertise and I am looking forward to working with them to continue to develop our courses and grow our wonderful community of wedding professionals.’

The 2015 Advisory Board is made up of twelve top UK wedding professionals:

Bruce Russell from By Bruce Russell www.bybrucerussell.com
Anneli Marinovich from Anneli Marinovich Photography www.annelimarinovich.com
Bann Al-Jelawi (Bee) from Gilded Linens www.gildedlinens.com
Elizabeth Muhmood Kane from Bridal Musings blog www.bridalmusings.com
Heidi Thompson from Evolve Your Wedding Business www.evolveyourweddingbusiness.com
Jane Riddell from Planned for Perfection www.plannedforperfection.co.uk
Liz Marsh from Elizabeth March Floral Design www.emfd.co.uk
Louise Beukes and Jessie Thompson from Flourish & Prosper www.weareflourishandprosper.com
Pamella Dunn from Pamella Dunn Events www.pamelladunn.co.uk
Rachel Morgan from Wedding Ideas Magazine www.weddingideasmag.com
Sara Russell from Wedding Sparrow blog www.weddingsparrow.co.uk
Susie Young from Knot and Pop www.knotandpop.com

For more information on the UKAWEP or to learn more about the advisory panel members please visit www.weddingplanningacademy.co.uk

The International Wedding Trend Report 2015 – Part Two

Last week we brought you part one of the International Wedding Trend Report for 2015 by The UK Academy of Wedding and Event Planning (UKAWEP). For the next few week Kylie Carlson, director of the UKAWEP will take you through what the big trends will be in weddings around the world covering topics including colours, themes, florals, styling, decor, catering, cakes, stationery, entertainment, venues and much more.

The UKAWEP official Wedding Trend Report is accompanied by this series of video reports and this is the second of five videos that form part of their Wedding Trend Report for 2015. In this video Kylie talks all about what wedding colours and themes are going to be the hot topic of conversation in the design of weddings in 2015:

Ceci Johnson from Ceci New York Sara Burnett from Burnetts Boards Wayne Gurnick from Moments By Wayne Nick and Aleah Valley from Valley and Co Jane Riddell from Planned for Perfection Emma Hla from CoCo Wedding Venues Pam Dunn from Pamella Dunn Events Lewis Early from Ivy Ellen Tracey Warren from Warble Entertainment Bann Al-Jelawi (Bee) from Gilded Linens Jaclyn Campbell from Ivory & Rose Elizabeth Muhmood Kane from Bridal Musings Susanna Young from Knot and Pop Megan Norris from Hansel and Gretel Cakes Kathy Apostolidis from Nightingales Denise Fouracre from The Wedding Zone Eddie Zaratsian from Tic Tock Florals Lisa Macale from Willow Tree Creative Kylie Carlson is the director of a group of companies specialising in training and certification for the wedding and special events industry and as an international training company that encompasses the UK Academy (UKAWEP), the Australian Academy (AAWEP) and the New Zealand Academy (NZAWEP) of Wedding and Event Planning and The Wedding and Event Institute (WEI) and they are in the unique position that they are able to compile a report of this type using their own research combined with the knowledge of top wedding experts from around the world to give the reports a truly global feel. Feature photo ‘Bold Colours’ by Levine Fox Events

Mood Board Monday #59 – Beautiful Blush

It has been a while since I last did a Mood Board Monday blog, it has been nearly 6 months in fact. So I thought it was about time I kicked off the new year with another series of blog posts again and what better way to start than with a fabulous Mood Board Monday blog. As you can tell from my previous Mood Board Monday posts I finished our last blog at #58 and instead of starting again I thought I would continue where I left off with todays blog being #59.

As some of you may know from our previous posts I love Pinterest, and if any of you have seen our Pinterest account (to see our account just Click Here) you will have seen that we have nearly 130 boards. I have tried to cover most colours, styles and themes but there is always room for more, I am continually updating the existing board as well as adding more boards.

So, for this weeks Mood Board I have decided to choose something pretty and one of my favourite colours – our Beautiful Blush board. This board has everything from dresses to décor and shoes to flowers and this beautiful colour can be used on its own or you can mix it with other pastel colours to give a truly romantic feel.

So here is our Beautiful Blush mood board Mood Board Monday #59 - Beautiful Blush   Photo credit: 123 and 4