A TOPP WEDDING: The Invites

With the “big things” booked (venue, photographer, celebrant) I knew we needed to nut out the guest list. Don’t ever let anyone tell you this is easy – it’s been the hardest list to write (and re-write, and re-write) EVER. Our venue is restricted to 100 guests which makes things really difficult!

Because our wedding is a “destination wedding” as such (ie. no one lives in the area and everyone will need to travel/ stay there) we wanted to get the word out quick smart. I was already fending off emails asking about times and places for accommodation and flights, so we decided to do an electronic save the date – and follow this up with a printed invite.

Kaylee from Emma Creative

Kaylee Donald from Emma Creative

I’m once again lucky to be surrounded by amazing talented friends – and so I enlisted the help of graphic design whiz and my dear friend Kaylee to help us with the invites. Kaylee owns and runs Emma Creative, a wedding design and photography company – so she knows exactly what is required and when. Fun fact: Kaylee also did the original design work for this blog nearly three years ago!

We all had a skype session where Kaylee asked us questions like “is it colourful? is it pastel? is it romantic? is it fun? is it floral? is it modern?” which really helped drill down into what we wanted (which we didn’t even know!). One thing Jason was adamant on was not using a photo of ourselves – we couldn’t agree on one we both liked, so we decided to go for a pure design instead.

Wedding Invite Example

One of the invite designs I liked

I created a pinterest board with some ideas of invites that I liked – and then Kaylee had me rate them from most to least. This enabled her to see where my tastes were leading – even though I wasn’t able to articulate it in words. After a few weeks, Kaylee came back with some initial thoughts, and I was able to give her some direction as to what we were liking and what we weren’t. Two more rounds of concepts later – a few colour tweaks – and we had our perfect save the date design sorted!

Topp Wedding

I uploaded the save the date jpeg to Mailchimp (or MailKimp if you are a fellow Serial fan!) and sent it out like I would a newsletter. This way I could see stats and reports on who had and hadn’t opened the email – which was actually helpful when we realised a few people had changed email addresses!

After researching “invite wording” on various blogs and website, I drafted the copy for the printed invite, details card and RSVP cards. Kaylee worked her magic, tweaking our design a bit for the content. For cost and ease of printing we made the invite double sided – with the invite wording on one side, and the details on the other.

Topp Wedding Invites

Note: I’ve cropped out some of the key information for privacy sake ;) 

Topp Wedding InvitesOn our “Details” we had information on our website, transport to the venue, and about gifts. 

A few weeks later I held the printed copies in my hands with excitement. I used Gelato Cloud for the printing – they were fabulous as you could upload your design files, pick your print quantity, and they were delivered to you 48hours later! A very affordable and easy to use service, I would highly recommend them. My only tip would be to select matt printing (I didn’t and I ended up with one side gloss and one side matt – not a biggie, and I am sure it was only me who noticed!) – although we have since realised that people have struggled to write on the gloss RSVP card with ink.

Topp Wedding Invites

I spent a bit of time choosing envelopes – I wanted a certain shade of antique gold to go with our colour scheme. In the end I found a fabulous envelope supplier on ebay who sent me samples of all their different golds. I ordered the main envelopes and the RSVP (white linen) envelopes from them – and get this – was even able to pay for all of them using my nectar points I had earnt from my weekly Sainsburys grocery shopping. How’s that for wedding budgeting? I was pretty proud of myself for that one!

Topp Wedding Invites

I spent a few nights addressing and stuffing envelopes (this is where wedding crazy started to set in – it’s a bit mind numbing!), before I posted them in batches back to NZ for our parents to distribute. Currently our invites are being slipped through letterboxes around the world, and (hopefully) opened with delight by the recipients. I was over the moon with the way they looked – it was very “me” in the end I think!

There are some fabulous DIY websites out there like Wedding Paper Divas that you can customise and print your own invites from easily. I’m glad that I was able to use a friends services for our design work though – it made it all the more personal and special, knowing Kaylee had given us her time, love and care to help to create our vision. Second fun fact: Kaylee is also going to be our MC at the wedding!

If anyone is looking for some fab design – I can highly recommend working with Kaylee from Emma Creative!

Who have you used for invites to special functions? DIY or Custom Design? Do you care as much as I do about envelopes (seriously, so much time on the envelopes haha!)?

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

Training for London Winter Run

Last week I had the opportunity to do something pretty darn awesome – a training session UP the London Eye!

London Winter Run

I’ve not yet made it up the London Eye in my 3 years in London, so I was super excited to be invited along the a special class taken by Elle. The class focused on running focused drills – meaning plenty of squats, lunges, high knees and butt kicks. I was a little nervous about the pod shaking and moving – but I needn’t of worried, that thing was solid AS!

London Winter Run

We were all there as a pre-workout for the upcoming Cancer Research UK London Winter Run, which is taking place on Sunday 1st of Feb. The 10k around the centre of London not only takes in all the main sights, but there will also be winter themed zones and attractions along the way – including POLAR BEAR HUGS! I can’t wait!

London Winter Run

London Winter RunI love the little red buses on the bridge

The London Winter Run is also my “official last race in London” (apart from that Marathon thing) – while I don’t fly out until the start of March, I knew I needed to draw a line in the sand and say “this is the last time I will be racing. If you want to come and celebrate with me – I’ll be here!”. I’m excited to see so many friends and twitter pals/ blog readers who are already signed up to the race!

London Winter Run

London Winter Run

So back to the Eye – we jumped on board, and the pod we were in was a special Frozen themed pod. Very fitting! There was a strange peppermint chocolate scent in the pod, which was different, but also kind of odd. It wasn’t long before we were working up a sweat – Elle had done a great job of incorporating strategic photo breaks so that we could take in the sights too.

London Winter Run

London Winter Run

As our pod started nearing the top of the eye, we realised that the pod below us were now able to see us – and suddenly we had tourists cameras taking snaps of us exercising rather than of the view! Haha!

London Winter Run

London Winter Run

The whole ride on the Eye lasted 30 minutes, and we were well warmed up – so headed off on a brisk short run around the Thames to finish off.  It seemed that the cold snap has finally hit London, and so this was a great way to ring in December, work up a sweat, and tick off something on my tourist list!

London Winter Run

Thanks so much to Cancer Research UK London Winter Run, and Elle for inviting me!

Places are still available for the London Winter Run – sign up here. Standard Entry of £39 closes on 15th December, so get in quick. Use the code KISDISCOUNT for a £3 discount!

Who else is signed up to run the London Winter Run? See you there! 

The Run Down – November

First off – it’s totally not November any more. I don’t even know where that month went! Life has been mentally busy- the weeks filled with work and activities, the weekends with travelling. We hit up Edinburgh and Cardiff for the rugby, and Birmingham for the (not so great) Christmas Markets. We celebrated a year of being engaged, and I feel like I have made some good progress with wedding planning (more on that soon). 

In amongst all of that, I have most definitely got some hot things on my radar, which is what the monthly Run Down is all about!

TRYING NEW THINGS
I was sent some samples from Stur Drinks to try out – these little pocket rockets of natural flavour are designed to squirt into glasses of water to enhance their taste. I sometimes struggle to drink plain water (which is why I love my sparkling water so much!) so I was interested to try these out. The small packaging is handy to throw in a handbag or backpack and have on hand, and all you need is one squirt per glass.

Stur Drinks

Flavour wise, I wasn’t 100% convinced. One squirt left my drink a bit wishy washy – which actually  might appeal to a lot of people! However I was expecting the Stur Drinks to be a lot stronger. The flavours are all natural and made without any artificial flavours, colours or sweeteners though – so that is a definite bonus. I can’t honestly say it was something that became a must have for me, or helped my water intake – but maybe once I adjust to the flavouring I will end up using them more.

You can read more about Stur at http://www.sturdrinks.com.

I nabbed a deal on Living Social for 3 medium organic vege boxes from Riverford Organics last month. I was really excited to have fresh, seasonal and organic veges delivered and be forced to be a bit more creative in the kitchen. Over the three weeks I received all sorts – from staples like potatoes, carrots and parsnips, through to more odd and interesting things like raddicchio, kale and watercress. I was a bit stumped as to what to do with the leeks and savoy cabbage – but after a bit of googling I came up with a fabulous chicken, bacon, mushroom, leek and cabbage pie – it was DELICIOUS.

Riverford Organics

I really enjoyed the challenge of having to cook new vegetables that I might not necessarily buy in my regular grocery shop. I liked receiving the recipes in the weekly box, and loved that all the packaging was completely recyclable (the delivery guys would take the box back with them to reuse again). In the end the medium sized box was a bit big for the two of us, and I probably would change to a box that included more salad goods rather than root vegetables. Overall I loved the weekly deliveries and if we were staying it definitely would be something I would continue!

You can check out the range of delivery boxes at http://www.riverford.co.uk

GEARING UP
It’s SO COLD! Getting motivated to get outside is really hard at the moment, but new kit has been helping. I was offered the chance to order one item of my choice from sportsshoes.com recently – and while I was tempted by the pretty, the jazzy, and the funky (honestly, their range online is huge and it was so hard to choose!) – I decided I should really go for something practical, something that would help with marathon training. I have memories of being soaked to the bone during one training run when it hailed on us last year, so I selected this Puma Gore Jacket.

IMG_3198

It arrived promptly and I fell in love with the gorgeous colour. The zips are sealed meaning no water will get in, and the hood has a nice visor on it to stop rain getting in my face. My only gripe is that there are no pockets apart from the chest one – which may pose a problem for storing essentials like gels, money, keys and phone.

puma gore jacket

If you are in the market for some new winter sports gear then definitely check out sportsshoes.com – they have some great sale items and a huge range of kit!

Having recently been through the pain of trying to find/order/design a custom tee for the Team Naturally Run girls, I was really pleased to hear about Rocket Bunny – a full service design and printing company for, you guessed it, bespoke tee’s! The team at Rocket Bunny can not only provide performance kit that is wicking and comfortable (I should know, I sweated BUCKETS in it during my first Project Fit class) – but they can help take your ideas and make them happen in terms of a personalised design. I really like how there are reflective options available, and some super cool t-shirt colours.

Rocket Bunny

For all those who have a marathon coming up, you might want to think about getting your name or logo on your tee – so have a chat to Rocket Bunny. If you use the code NATLEAH15 you will also get 15% off! 

My final piece of new kit is some full length running tights from Mountain Warehouse. While Mountain Warehouse might not be the first place you think of for running gear, when I saw that they had brushed fleecey lined leggings I was all over it. Currently with 50% off, these leggings are only £19.99 and I honestly haven’t taken them off since they arrived. The best part for me is – they fit my short legs perfectly! Most full length leggings I have to fold over at the ankle cuffs, and the zips can often rub when I do that. Not with these snug beauties!

Mountain Warehouse Running tights

They have a pocket at the back, mesh panels behind the knees for breathability, a full drawcord and solid waistband, and zips down the side of the leg. With reflective detailing I think these will be a winner for winter running – warm and safe.

Check out the running collection online at Mountain Warehouse for other bargains here: http://www.mountainwarehouse.com/running-cycling/womens/

RACING TOWARDS 2015

My fingers are itching to sign up to some 2015 races – and I am having to sit on my hands because I won’t actually be in the country any more! I keep reminding myself that there are other adventures waiting for me, and instead of all the amazing European and UK races – soon I will have brilliant New Zealand races to run instead! Silver linings and all that…

Race

In the meantime though, there are a couple of wicked races which have crossed my path and I thought I would share – just in case any of you are starting to plan your 2015 race calendar.

salomonCitytrail

The Salomon Citytrail Richmond Half Marathon is taking place on March 22nd and is the perfect mix of road and trail. The urban adventure starts in Old Deer Park and heads past various landmarks including Kew Gardens, Ham House, Teddington Lock and Richmond Green. The half marathon distance is the perfect training race for Marathon season, or, if you prefer, there’s a lovely 10k race too.

Entries are only £32 for the half, or £22 for the 10k – and there are various combo packages if you sign up for the awesome Summer Breeze race too (read my review here). Check out www.richmondhalf.com for more details.

TIS THE SEASON… 
Last week I headed along to Good Vibes to celebrate the launch of what has to be my favourite online part of December – the Zero Calorie Advent Calendar. The calendar encourages balance at a time of indulgence, by featuring a daily workout, recipe, and business offer. Make sure you check out http://zerocalorieadventcalendar.com/ each day in December to enter competitions, get great class discounts, and take part in a bit of exercise or Christmas cooking!

Zero Calorie Advent Calendar Launch

I think the Zero Calorie Advent Calendar is a brilliant idea, and I thoroughly enjoyed celebrating it’s third launch party with creators Mollie, Becca and Christine. We enjoyed a festive spin class – sweating away to tunes from Mariah Carey and Frozen (yes, I sang) and enjoying a bit of fizz and my first mince pie of the season afterwards.

Make sure you log on daily to http://zerocalorieadventcalendar.com/ to check out the festive delights!

 MARATHON MANIA

Adistar Boosts

This post wouldn’t be complete without the latest marathon update. I’ve chosen my marathon shoes! The Adistar Boosts were what I ended up going for – a supportive shoe, but not toooo supportive. Last marathon I suffered a foot tendon injury, and it’s hard to say whether or not my shoes were to blame for that. Either way, I hated the shoes purely because they were uggggly, so I was pretty happy to put them aside and pick out some new ones. I’m yet to run anything more than 5k in the Adistars, but I really like how light and comfortable they are. I am hoping they will do me well over the next few months…

What’s on your Run Down right now?  

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