A TOPP WEDDING: The Accessories

After I made the decision about the dress, it meant I was able to move forward with all the other little bit’s and pieces that is part of a brides day – including shoes, jewellery, veil and other accessories. I had maxed out my budget on my dress – it wasn’t technically over budget, but let’s just say I didn’t have much change from what I had planned to spend – so it meant I couldn’t be too lavish on my accessories. Turns out some creativity and middle-of-the-night-eBay-bids go a long way!

Topp Wedding The Accessories

Tip: If your dress is complicated to get in to/ do up, or your bridesmaids aren’t there with you – ask the shop assistant to record a video of how to do it up for you. Luckily mine was easy!

Shoes

I had a bit of a nightmare with shoes. I thought I wanted some gold ones (my favourite colour) but I also didn’t want to pay huge amounts for shoes I might never wear again. Let’s face it, I spend most of my life in trainers and so high heels aren’t exactly my thing!

I found gorgeous Dune shoes on eBay (planning a wedding made me an eBay queen!), so grabbed them up. When they arrived I very quickly realised they were much too high for me – my feet started aching in them just minutes after I put them on. Once we decided that we were going to have dance lessons for our first dance (more on this soon!) I knew I couldn’t wear these shoes – I needed something that would keep my feet more secure and have less of a stiletto heel. Also – what was I thinking? I was getting married on GRASS, stilettos would never work.

Topp Wedding The Accessories

Luckily my friend Anna came to the rescue. She had ordered her wedding shoes online from JJ’s House and assured me it was totally legit. We spent an evening (and a bottle of wine) pouring over the site together, and taking my list of specifics (not too high, peep toe, ankle strap) and eventually finding the shoes below. For £30 I thought it was worth a shot, so ordered them.

View More: http://coraleestone.pass.us/leah-and-jason-wedding

They arrived and were perfect! And you know what, through dance lessons and sinking into the grass on the day (mud/ grass stains), scratches from walking on gravel and trekking through fields for photos – they took an absolute hammering. But for £30 who cares?

I also bought pretty little coral ballet flats from Primark for £3, which I slipped in to on the dance floor. No one even noticed!

Jewellery

I have an obsession with Kate Spade, and I really wanted to wear some of her earrings – but with my dress having so much detail to it, I didn’t want to buy some and then discover they just weren’t right for the dress. I figured simple was best, and I liked the look of pearls too.

Topp Wedding The Accessories

Cue eBay again! I found some Kate Spade fakes (for 6 quid, they HAD to be fake) and thought it was worth a try, and you know what – they looked awesome and I loved them.

I had also bought a pearl-look bracelet, but when I tried it next to my dress it wasn’t the right shade of white and ended up looking muted and off-grey, so I decided that simple was better and kept my fingers and wrists bare.

Hair clip

Topp Wedding Wedding Accessories

I wasn’t sure what would work with my dress, so I turned to eBay to buy a few hair accessories. I ended up buying 2 silver/ diamante/ pearl hair clips which were too much, but this simple gold one worked perfectly. I kept the other two and sold them on a wedding website in New Zealand afterwards for 4 x what I paid for them!

Veil

I knew I wanted a veil (when else do you get to wear one?) and Anna again gave me some very good advice – ALWAYS buy a full length one. She pointed out that if I had gone for finger length or shorter that it would have cut me off at that point, and it draws the eye away. A full length veil allows the eye to see the entire dress through it without distracting with a mid-cut off point.

Topp Wedding The Accessories

My bridesmaid Natalie had ordered a veil from a wedding veil wholesale shop online and so I did the same. Bridal stores were close to the £200 mark for veils, but mine was a steal at £45. You can order a sample sheet of the different colours of tulle (seriously there are many MANY shades of white!) before you make your choice which is worth it too.

Tip: order the clip hanger from amazon to save a few quid.

Topp Wedding The Accessories

Tip: after the ceremony, when people go to hug you – dip your head as you hug them. Otherwise their arms tug on your veil and you find your head being yanked back. I was happy to be told this tip before the day – it very much came in handy!

Garter

Topp Wedding The Accessories

I bought a blue and white one off eBay – it was a last minute decision as I felt I really should have one. Even though I only paid a few quid for it, it was a total waste of money. It was hot and scratchy and annoying and I made Jase yank it off my leg when we were having photos (not FOR the photos, just to get rid of it). My advice? Don’t bother with one unless you are making a “thing” of throwing it etc (we weren’t).

Shapewear

With a low V back of my dress, shapewear was an issue! After a LOT of googling I found what seemed like the perfect bodysuit – with poppers in the crotch for bathroom breaks even! However in the weeks leading up to the wedding, I continued to lose weight (not really intentionally – it just happened) and my bodysuit was suddenly too big and gapey in the chest. The irony of having to buy new shapewear because I had lost too much weight for my original shapewear was kind of hilarious!!

I hit up Farmers a few days before the wedding and managed to buy some lovely nude high waisted shorts. I will spare you a picture (not that I have one!). The shorts gave me a much smoother line through the hip than the “briefs” style which created lumps and bumps, and they weren’t so high in the waist that I risked anyone seeing them at the V in the back.

HOT. NOT. Essential? Yes.

Bridal lingerie

This was a must-purchase because, well, see above “shapewear”. And yes, I went budget bride on this too – buying it from Primark for a tenner, rather than bankrupting myself on something ridiculous that would never be worn again from Victoria’s Secret. Trust me when I said Jase had no idea either way…!

Tip: Think about how you are getting OUT of your dress, and consider asking a bridesmaid to stay for a few minutes to unlace/un-do the tricky bits. In theory my dress wasn’t really that complicated – it had 20+ buttons up the back and a zip for the rest of the way. However, with large man hands and a few drinks under his belt, Jase struggled to workout how to undo the buttons – they had elastic snaps which clipped over the button. For a good 30minutes I thought I was ACTUALLY stuck in my dress, and was frantically thinking who I could call to come and help get me out of it…it was 1am!

Flower

Topp Wedding Wedding Accessories

I loved my dress, but I also loved the idea of jazzing it up even more for the reception. I had seen some amazing huge hot pink and bright coral floral sashes at a wedding show, but I forgot to take the details of the supplier. I searched high and low on etsy but didn’t find quite the same thing.

Topp Wedding The Accessories

My bridal store had a local lady who made floral brooches, and so I took in a sample of my bridesmaids dress and asked for one to be made in a colour similar. It cost me £25, and when I picked it up it was a lot more muted than I had wanted/ expected (for some reason the bridal industry favours pastels and soft tones, and don’t really get it when you say BRIGHT LOUD HOT HOT like I wanted!). But in the end, it was fine – it added a bit of colour, which was the effect I was after.

Clutch

Another 3 quid eBay find – this was originally from New Look (and I’d been eyeing it up so was stoked to find one on eBay) but the one I bought was missing the metal strap. I didn’t need it – it was just a place to store a tissue and my lipstick during the reception really!

Wrap

While I didn’t THINK I would get cold (I always err on the hot side) I knew it was New Zealand so the weather could do any thing. The last thing I wanted was to have to throw a cardigan over my beautiful dress (and Jase wasn’t having a jacket) so I borrowed a gorgeous coral pashmina off my bridesmaid Laura. I didn’t need it, but my mum did later on!

Ultimately I kept things pretty simple, and I am proud of the way I was able to make my budget go further! I initially found accessories to be one of the hardest things to think about, but in the end simple was the easiest and most effective for me.

How did you accessorise your dress? Are you a shoe person – would you go for stunning heels, or keep it simple and practical like me? 

All Photos by Coralee Stone. 

Want more wedding goss? Catch up here with the rest of A TOPP WEDDING posts:

A TOPP WEDDING: The Venue
A TOPP WEDDING: The Engagement
A TOPP WEDDING: My Bridesmaids
A TOPP WEDDING: Asking the Bridesmaids
A TOPP WEDDING: The Photographer
A TOPP WEDDING: The Celebrant
A TOPP WEDDING: The Invites
A TOPP WEDDING: The Wedding Coordinator 
A TOPP WEDDING: Topp Hens – round one
A TOPP WEDDING: Six Years of Selfies
A TOPP WEDDING: We Got Married!
A TOPP WEDDING: The Dress

Staying Fit While Travelling – Week 3

With both of us feeling a thousand times better after two weeks of sweat sessions, we were excited to see what fitness challenges and different ways of exercising we would come across in week 3.

Day 15

Another day of torrential rain and thunderstorms in San Sebastian sadly. Normally rain wouldn’t be a deterrent for us – theres no such thing as bad weather, just bad preparation (or something like that) but I need to point out that we live in a tiny van right now. When things get wet, we have no way of drying them out – I can’t just stick my shoes next to a heater! We also have the added issue that our bed becomes our wardrobe which becomes our kitchen which becomes our dining room – in dry weather we can spread out and do all of this outside, but in rain? Ugh, just ugh.

So I hope you can understand why, when it’s pouring outside, you have to traipse through mud and a small lake to get inside your vehicle, and then try & deal with wet bedding & jackets & umbrellas…adding sports kit to all of that is just a no-go for us!

Another “rain check” day to make up!

Day 16

Staying fit while travelling

We said farewell to San Sebastian (which, even with the rain, has taken our top spot of our favourite place yet!) and drove west across the top of Spain to Gijon. Our campground was right on the edge of the most beautiful promenade – which we can’t wait to run!

For today though, after another big drive I was straight on to my mat outside the van. I did a 15min full stretch guide from the Nike Training Club app, and finished up with my own yoga flow sequence.

Day 17

Staying fit while travelling

After a couple of days of no exercise, we were itching to get a good sweat on! The answer was right outside our door – we were at one end of a 4km promenade around Playa de San Lorenzo de Gijon. The sun was shining, there were plenty of runners and walkers out, and I loved every minute of it.

Staying fit while travelling

At 8km, it was a bit further than we usually go (and Jase was feeling the extra distance as he’s not really a big runner) but we really wanted to have a big blowout and stretch our legs. This run certainly satisfied!

Day 17 – Double Day! 

IMG_2806

To make up for the couple of days where we couldn’t exercise, we threw our kit on again and headed out to a local park, which had one of those outdoor fitness circuits in it. We had spotted it on our run earlier and decided why not? I joined the locals who were working out on cross trainers, ab machines, chest press machines and bars for dips. What a bonus to find this!

Day 18

Staying fit while travelling

We were driving on to our next location, but wanted to squeeze in a bit more of the Gijon promenade before we left. We set the alarm nice and early and went for an easy 3km shake out run as the sun came up. The waves were crashing, the water was sparkling and it was magic to soak it all up.

Staying fit while travelling

Day 18 – Double Day!

Staying fit while travelling

Spotting this kids playground in a park, we quickly decided to do some reps. Push ups and tricep dips against the seesaw, leg/ butt lifts on the bottom of the slide, and dips on the wobbly pirate ship bridge. Jase also did some burpees, while I squatted and lunged beside him. Kid’s playgrounds are a great place for having fun and exercising (when no kids are around!) – I hope we come across some more!

Day 19

Staying fit while travellingWe left Gijon and headed to Santiago de Compostela, and immediately spotted the pool at our campground. We were baking hot, and the pool was deliciously cold – so we were in it in a flash. Normally I’m a bit of a paddler/ soaker/ floater, but because of this challenge I made sure to get in 20 lengths of freestyle. I’ve gotta say, in a bikini makes it a bit more of a challenge!

Day 20

Staying fit while travelling The other thing our campground has was a basketball court (another thing I wouldn’t normally touch!) so we borrowed a ball from reception and starting playing around. With only two of us (and one had a clear advantage!) we decided to design a shoot out game. One person had to run the length of the court twice, and during that time – the other had to shoot as many hoops as possible from an x marks the spot. Most baskets wins the round, and it was best of 5 rounds.

Staying fit while travelling

Guess who won? Turns out my netball days may have given me a bit of shooting skill after all… that, and the serious advantage I was given (shooting pretty close to the hoop) thanks to our height difference!

Day 21

Staying fit while travellingWe’d planned to do some hiking in the Peneda-Geres National Park (in the North of Portugal) but when we arrived we decided…why hike, when we can run?! We donned our trail shoes and set off early to beat the heat – running along the old Roman road which was very cool.

Staying fit while travelling

We worked up a HUGE sweat, and clocked 6.5km in total – a great way to start the day!

Week 3 was awesome! I loved mixing it up with some swimming and basketball – which I probably wouldn’t have done without this challenge. Hopefully Week 4 will include lots of beach time too.

How’s your week of exercise been? 

Hiking to Lac Blanc in Chamonix, France 

After enjoying some gorgeous hiking in Switzerland, we were keen for a hike in Chamonix. Ashley had recommended hiking to Lac Blanc, a glacier lake located at 2,352m above sea level. After reading about her last visit which had some unexpected turns, we decided to visit the tourist information centre and the alpine information centre to find out exactly where to go and what to expect.

Hiking to Lac Blanc, Chamonix

We had arrived in Chamonix a week before the gondolas and cable cars were due to open for the summer season, which meant the Le Flegere (which normally you can catch to 1877m) wasn’t yet running. We could still get to Lac Blanc, but it would mean taking another trail and hiking the entire way up – AND back down again.

We also checked the status of the cafe at Lac Blanc, and found that it was also closed. Therefore we needed to be completely self sufficient with food and water supplies – something we are used to in New Zealand as there most definitely aren’t cafe’s half way along any hikes we have done!

Hiking to Lac Blanc, Chamonix

We drove to Trelechamps which was the start point we had been given, and found a track marker which pointed to Lac Blanc. It had “3 hours” on it, which we assumed as fit and healthy hikers would take us less time than that. The sun was already beating down, and within 100m of the track we discovered just how challenging the hike would be! It was sharp zig zags of exposed and rocky trail which ascended steeply – we were both panting and dripping in sweat almost immediately.

Hiking to Lac Blanc, Chamonix

There was no shade as we were out of the tree line almost immediately. Both of us were carrying 3 litres of water each, which we were careful to preserve as we knew we had to get up and back. We wore trail running shoes (we haven’t brought hiking boots on this trip due to weight/ space) and while my Salomon X-Scream trail shoes were sturdy enough for the rocky climb, I probably would have appreciated the stableness of proper boots!

Hiking to Lac Blanc, Chamonix

After climbing straight up for nearly an hour, we were relieved to see the track kind of flatten off. We scrambled over rocks and up steps, stopping regularly for water and to admire the view. It was absolutely spectacular and made us really appreciate the height we had climbed to!

Hiking to Lac Blanc, Chamonix

We spotted plenty wildlife – the Ibex were curious and didn’t seem to mind the hikers coming past!

Hiking to Lac Blanc, Chamonix

While there were plenty of others on the trail, it wasn’t crowded at all and everyone was quite spread out. While I wouldn’t say the track was clearly marked, it also wasn’t the type of place where you could get too lost – at some points there were yellow and red stripes painted on rock to show the direction, or you could spot a signpost in the far distance and knew you were headed that way.

Hiking to Lac Blanc, Chamonix

My only complaint would be that when you reached the signpost, it very kindly indicated “Lac Blanc”, but failed to list any time or distance estimate from that point. We really had no idea if we were getting close or not!

Hiking to Lac Blanc, Chamonix

Eventually we popped out over a steep climb and saw 3 glacier lakes, with hikers enjoying their packed lunches around the side. “Is this is?” we asked ourselves. We could see a faint line of brightly coloured hikers in the distance, like little ants heading up another climb. We decided that we must be at Lac Cheserys, and to push on following the others.

Hiking to Lac Blanc, Chamonix

The final 30min of the hike involved metal ladders, steep steps, and a few snow crossings! Nothing like a bit of snow down your ankle socks to wake you up!

Hiking to Lac Blanc, Chamonix

Hiking to Lac Blanc, Chamonix

Finally, in front of us was a hut and a icy blue glacier lake – THIS was Lac Blanc! We plonked down on the side of the lake and popped base layers on – while we were hot and sweaty, we knew our bodies could cool down quickly.

Hiking to Lac Blanc, Chamonix

While we inhaled our packed lunches, we kept an eye on the clouds which were gathering on the mountains on the other side. The weather had been very tropical lately – searing hot in the day followed by thunderstorms and heavy rain in the afternoon. We had waterproof jackets in our backpacks in case the weather turned, and as we watched the clouds gathering we decided not to stay too long at the lake and instead get on our way back. It had taken us nearly the full 3 hours (including photo/ snack/ drink/ heavy breathing stops) to get to the lake, so we thought it would be a couple to get back down – especially as we knew the steep downhill could take longer due to the gradient.

Hiking to Lac Blanc, Chamonix

After an hour of meandering and gentle yet rocky descent, we hit the steep parts. This is where I really regretted not having hiking boots for ankle support. I have weak ankles any way, and they were rolling all over the place (I twisted them bad enough to completely fall over TWICE!). Because my ankles were going all over the place, my knees were taking a lot of the shock, and they started aching too. Poles also would have helped I think! With our van looking like a tiny matchbox car in the carpark below, the end was in sight – and both of us were ready to be done! We focused on one foot in front of the other (you did have to be careful, and it was when I lost concentration that I arsed over tit) and on picking our feet up high enough to step over the rocks.

It took us 2.5 hours to get back down to the car. I had my strava app going, which showed us we had spent 3hours 56mins hiking, with a total distance of 12.3km and a elevation gain of 1030m.

I’d highly recommend the hike to Lac Blanc. It was no walk in the park, it was challenging and a great way to get up a good sweat – plus the views are incredible. Go prepared for all weather conditions as the temperatures/ weather can change in a heartbeat, and take plenty of water and food with you.

More information can be found here: http://where2walk.co.uk/chamonix-best-day-walks/

Do you enjoy hiking? Where was your favourite place to hike? We can’t wait to get back to New Zealand and get stuck into some of the Great Walks there, so far we have only ticked off Abel Tasman! 

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