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Things I Learnt Whilst Wedding Dress Shopping (and some photos)

So - first off, I feel as though I must apologise for the quality of the photos in this post - all have been taken on iffy phone cameras in dodgy lighting and you will get more than one glimpse of the most boring and tatty bra I own, but a bunch of you said on Twitter that you'd like to get a bit of a peek at some of the wedding dresses I tried on and my experience with it all, so here you are!

Also disclaimer, Sean has already seen all of these photos. Well, I say seen, I kind of waved them in front of his face whilst he was busy doing other stuff so I doubt he was paying much attention, but none of THESE dresses are similar to what I've actually ended up going with so I feel safe sharing them with the world. I did have a couple of other dresses I tried on, but they're much more like THE dress, so I've left them languishing in my saved files for now.

So - dress shopping. The experience that most bride-to-bes will probably be at least a teensy bit excited for slash have been dreaming of the day they can legitimately try one on for at least four years now, hypothetically. One thing you realise very quickly though is that wedding dress shopping is a whole different ballgame from shopping for anything else.

Things you might not expect from wedding dress shopping:

  • You can't just prance into any old shop or give them a casual ring expecting to go in that weekend - most of the shops I contacted were booked up for appointments weeks in advance - especially if you want to go on a weekend.

  • Don't bring your entire family plus your childhood friends plus your uni pals. Most shops will actually limit the number of people you go with, and also you will get hella confused when everyone has conflicting opinions on what dress looks best on you and yet SOMEHOW nobody else has picked the one that you think might be your favourite(?!?!)

  • On that note - YES it is lovely to do a few separate trips with your closest ladies - I did one trip with my mum, sister and 2 of my bridesmaids, one trip with my mother in law and sister in law,  and one trip with my closest pals in Edinburgh. It was great fun to prance around and have them pick ones for me to try on and sip tea (and sometimes prosecco). HOWEVER - remember that this is your day and your dress, so take on board everyone's opinions but if you really do love that one dress that your aunt wasn't sure about, well - you're the one who's gonna be wearing it and looking back at photos for years to come.

  • Be prepared to get very close very quickly with the wedding dress assistant/attendant who's helping you - she will be sticking her head up your skirt to try and sort out the lining and tugging dresses over your head and adjusting your bra and all that jazz. This is not one of those situations where you head into a changing room on your own and just stick your head out if you need something, ladies. 

  • Do remember that wedding dress samples are not one size fits all, and whilst some of the ones you try on will feel like they fit perfectly, others will not even fit over your arse. To be honest, when that happened to me I just kind of assumed that me and that dress weren't meant to be. 

  • You might not necessarily have THE MOMENT that everyone seems to talk about in hushed voices. I tried on a whole bunch of different dresses, and there were at least three of them that I thought might be my dress, until I tried on the dress I went for in the end. I'm sure that if I kept going to dress shops, I'd probably find another three that I loved as well. Sometimes you have to consider the less romantic but equally important factors like 1) How much is this dress 2) Is it appropriate for my venue 3) Will I even be able to sit in this thing OMG I can't breathe etc etc. 

  • If you like a dress - say yes to trying it with a veil. There's something weirdly magical and transforming about shoving a length of tulle on your head, for some reason. Although just bear in mind that the veil they shove on your head is probably almost as expensive as your dress for some reason so don't get too attached - shop around online for a similar (cheaper) one instead.

So - I guess it's time to show you some of the dresses I tried on huh? I had absolutely no idea what kind of style I wanted before I started trying some on, so there's quite a variety of styles here - you can tell by my face that I was happier with some of them than others...!

The Strapless Ball Gown Wedding Dresses

Before I started trying dresses on I was pretty certain that I was going to hate all things strapless. In fact, I was sure that I'd go for a dress with long sleeves a la Kate Middleton, but I tried one of those on and felt like I was being suffocated, hence why you won't see any of that type on this post. If I could be wrong about that, I figured I could be wrong about the strapless thing, so I gave a couple a try.

And actually, I quite liked them! None of them felt particularly 'me', but they were much more flattering than I thought they would be - if I'd been looking for something a bit more classic, I'd have definitely considered one of these. Plus, there's always the option to add little sleeves of some kind, so don't rule out a dress you think you might really like just because you're not sure on the strapless thing!

The Mermaid/Trumpet Wedding Dresses

It may not surprise you to hear that it was a style of dress much like the above that was the aforementioned 'wouldn't fit over my arse' dress. My mum loved this style of dress on me, and yet I was never a huge fan. Part of my apathy may have stemmed from the fact that I love a good ceilidh and didn't want to limit myself from dancing at my own, part of it may have been the worry that I'd never be able to go for a wee on my own in such a tight dress - who knows. 

I did try a couple of these on, some more casual and some much more glitzy and glamorous - but in the end, as I had to do a weird shuffle step off of the pedestal thing they make you stand on, I decided this style wasn't for me.

The Princess Wedding Dresses

I tried on a lot of truly massive dresses when I was wedding dress shopping but the tulle one on the right was one of the MOST massive. This didn't even have a hoop skirt or anything underneath, just so, so many layers. Like ogres, or onions. 

I didn't particularly like the top half of either of these dresses and I felt that they were a bit too plain for me, but the massive princess skirt was not the problem. I LOVED the skirts. 

The A-Line Wedding Dresses (AKA the ones that I would not wear under any circumstances)

Look you guys, I'm sure there are people in the world that these dresses would look amazing on. That person is not me. I felt super uncomfortable in both of these and couldn't wait to get them off, to be honest! You will more than likely have the same experience where there is just one style that you do not feel works on you - don't worry about it, just cast aside and move on to a new style!

The 'Fashion'/Quirky Wedding Dresses

You have to try on at least a couple of dresses that you know realistically are not going to be your dress but you kind of want to see what they look like on anyway. Of course, this backfired on me when I tried on a beautiful Charlotte Balbier floral style that I loved with all my soul but knew wouldn't work for my wedding, but hey - at least I got to wear it around the shop!

The one on the right was the kind of sleek, simple dress that would look amazing on some people but made me look like an angry napkin tbh. The big fluffy one on the left was all kinds of amazing and also kind of bonkers (and expensive) but super fun to try on!

The Traditional/Classic Wedding Dresses

I knew that I probably wasn't going to go for a super classic or traditional style in the end, and in fact the most common phrase uttered whilst I was trying on all sorts of dresses was 'it's lovely Lauren...but it's not very you'. Still, I have to say, I kind of loved the heavy satin style on the top left. But oh boy, was it heavy! If you want a big gown but still want to be able to move easily, tulle is the way to go lovelies. Also I totally couldn't breathe in this one, but I was almost swayed by how amazing it made my boobs look, but then I realised that wasn't typically something that you should necessarily pick your wedding dress based on.

The one on the right was my mother in law's favourite dress I tried on, and whilst I liked it a lot, I didn't get a feeling of excitement when I had it on. Even though I said before that you might not get THE feeling for one particular dress, you should still be feeling excited and overwhelmed and like the prettiest goddamn princess in the land, so don't be swayed by other people if it's just not tugging on your heart strings the way it should.

So! That's my dress extravaganza over. In total I went to three bridal boutiques, with 9 different people on different trips, and I reckon I tried on at least 30 dresses in the end. I reckon that's probably about average, but I know some people take a lot less time (and some people a lot more). What's your wedding dress story? I'd love to hear it!

  • My Current Makeup Bag Must Haves (For Eczema Prone Skin)

    makeup for eczema prone skin

    Ever since I had a really horrendous allergic reaction to a cleanser in 2015, I've suffered fairly badly from eczema. When it gets really bad it can be kept at bay with a steroid cream, but obviously since they can thin the skin and even make you worse with prolonged use, I don't want to rely on that for everything! 

    Instead, over the last year or so I have been painstakingly replacing every single thing I put on my face, from skincare to makeup, trying desperately to find things that don't make my eyelids scale up like I'm some kind of weird dragon/human hybrid. It can be a real pain in the arse, I can tell you that! Still, I've just about managed now to collect a small selection of everyday pieces of makeup that don't make my face feel like it's falling off, and I thought I'd share them with you here - a) because they're great products generally and b) because if any of you are suffering from eczema I feel your pain when it comes to finding products you can use!

    busy b makeup bag

    Because I had to throw out almost all of my makeup, I no longer have drawers full of the stuff - you won't see any jaw dropping instagrams from me of a whole IKEA Alexa full of products unfortunately. Still, that doesn't mean my makeup collection can't look pretty, so at the moment I keep it all tucked away in this total beaut of a makeup bag* from Busy B. It's nice and roomy and fits ALL of the above products in, plus a few makeup brushes, so it's pretty much ideal for chucking in my bag when needed, or just leaving it sitting pretty on my dressing table! <3 

    best makeup products for people with eczema

    The Products!

    So, here's what I put on my face on a day to day basis (providing I, y'know, wake up in time to do more than brush my hair and spill toothpaste down myself.) 

    Bare Minerals Complexion Rescue Foundation and Stroke of Light Concealer

    If anything is going to bring me out in a rash, it tends to be foundation - so it took me an absolute age to find one that I could put on my face on a regular basis. The Bare Minerals Complexion Rescue is really more of a tinted moisturiser, so not for people who want lots of coverage, but it's ideal for me - it evens out the skin tone and it just feels so nice when you put it on. It lasts ages as well - I've only just had to repurchase. 

    The Stroke of Light Eye Brightener Concealer is a more recent purchase, and whilst I do quite like it - I'm not going to sing it's praises as much as I do for the Complexion Rescue. It's good in that it doesn't cause me to break out, but neither does the Collection 2000 one I was using before, so I'll probably go back to that once this one is finished!

    Bare Minerals Brow Powder

    I'm pretty fussy when it comes to products for my brows - I have a very specific way I like them to look, which means I don't tend to get on with eyebrow pencils. The Bare Minerals Brow Powder is fantastic - it's a teeny pot but you only need the littlest amount on your brush - the only annoying thing is that because it's a loose powder, it's a pain in the arse getting the right amount without spilling it all over the floor or your face! 

    Rimmel Stay Matte Powder and Bobbi Brown Blusher

    I've put these two together because I haven't got anything too interesting to say about them to be honest - I'm sure everyone in the world has tried the Rimmel powder so you'll either love it like me or have an alternative you prefer - I was so glad that I didn't end up allergic to this, I've never found another powder I like even half as much! 

    Blusher wise, my most used is one from Bobbi Brown - and you guys, they're a bit pricy but holy crap do they last forever - I use this almost everyday and I've only just been able to see a sliver of pan in the middle. Bobbi Brown is another brand I tend to buy a fair amount from - I'm a bit iffy with their skincare as I can use it sometimes but sometimes my face protests, but I've never had a problem with any of the makeup!

    L'Oreal Paris Superliner Perfect Slim and Lancome Hypnose Doll Eyes Mascara

    Eye makeup is another thing I have to be careful with these days, as if my eczema flares up it tends to start on my eyelids first - I especially notice it if I've done a full smoky eye and then applied a ton of product to get it all off at the end of the night. Still, I've managed to track down a liquid liner and mascara combo that doesn't irritate me into scaling up, which is enough for general day to day stuff! 

    The Lancome Hypnose Doll Eyes Mascara is good, but similar to the concealer - I'm not sure if it's loads better than those you can buy for less. I'm thinking of trying out the Bare Minerals Flawless Mascara when this one runs out, as I've heard good things! 

    My favourite ever liquid liner is the Soap & Glory Supercat Liner, but I can never find it in my local Boots when I pop in. Still, this L'Oreal Paris one is a good substitute - it's a pen liner so easy to apply, but not scratchy or smeary like some of the cheaper ones tend to be! (smeary is totally a real word, right?)

    Lord & Berry Lip Liner, Lipstick and Lip Gloss*

    I'd never really come across Lord & Berry before I was sent some of their products to try out, but they've all been a staple in my makeup bag ever since - the products are amazingly pigmented and last for ages (a big deal for someone who drinks as much tea at work as I do) and they're really very reasonable price wise! 

    I tend to mostly go for a nude lip during the day, so I use a combination of the Ultimate Lip Liner in Natural*, the Matte Crayon Lipstick in Prelude* and the Skin Lip Gloss in (I think - it's in the bottom of my handbag at the moment) Sparkle Taupe*

    So that's the contents of my makeup bag right now! If anyone with sensitive skin has any recommendations for things I should try, send them my way! I need to start building up my collection again...maybe the Alexa drawer dream will come true one day eh?
  • Sapporo Teppanyaki | Glasgow

    sushi and japanese restaurants in Glasgow
    sapporo teppanyaki glasgow

    Recently, I have decided that pretty much my favourite type of food in the world is Japanese food. There's some pretty amazing Japanese restaurants in Edinburgh that conveniently offer takeaway via Deliveroo, which means that I've actually ordered from some of them an embarrassing amount of times in the last 6 months or so...from sushi to bento boxes and miso soup to yakitori - I'm obsessed!

    Unfortunately for this Edinburgh dweller, I recently discovered what I think must be THE best sushi that I've had in a long time, if ever...and it's in Glasgow, not Edinburgh. Still, it's not the end of the world - now we're getting married there I reckon I'll be able to sneakily coordinate some lunchtime return visits over the next 9 months or so...

    glasgow cocktails
    scottish food and lifestyle blogger laurenella
    best sushi in glasgow

    Sean and I headed over to Sapporo Teppanyaki in Glasgow one Saturday before Christmas (they also have restaurants in Liverpool and Manchester if you live nearby) and were quickly shown to a table by the loveliest waitress ever. The restaurant is huge, much bigger than I thought it would be, so it's an ideal place to head to if you're part of a larger group, although we didn't at all feel like it was too loud or crowded for just the two of us.

    We started with some yummy cocktails with a Japanese twist - a Senji Caiprina for Sean and a Sake'tini for me, both of which went down dangerously quickly! We decided to share a few sushi dishes between us to ensure that we both got to try as much as possible, and on the recommendation of the waitress we went for a Dragon Roll with grilled eel (the most delicious sushi ever), a Spider Roll with soft shell crab (quite salty but still yummy) and a Caterpillar Roll with salmon (pretty AND delicious). Those particular options range in price from £8.25 to £11 so they aren't the cheapest on the menu, but Sean and I would both agree that they're more than worth it! 

    edinburgh lifestyle blogger laurenella

    When it came to choosing from the new dessert menu we were less adventurous, with both of us sticking to our usual dessert of choice when eating at a Japanese restaurant - Banana Tempura. The banoffee ice-cream perfectly complemented the battered banana, and the chilli honey added just the right amount of heat to each mouthful. I'm practically drooling just remembering it! 

    By the time we finished we were absolutely stuffed and VERY happy - it really was one of the best meals I've had out in a long time and I will 100% be going back (also guys, if you ever wanted to open up in Edinburgh as well...) Overall our meal would have cost just over £50 between the two of us, but as well as the food being phenomenal, the service and presentation were amazing as well so I'd say it's more than worth treating yourself! 

    Next time Sean and I are going to try out the Teppanyaki menu as there's nothing like it in Edinburgh and we've heard great things about how entertaining it is - as well as delicious! We might even try and fit it in the next few weeks, since Sapporo are offering an amazing 20% off food until the end of January! 

    *We were kindly offered a complimentary selection of sushi, desserts and cocktails to review, however as always - all views are my own and I was not paid for this post - the sushi really is that blooming delicious!