Updated: Nov 20

Being a supplier that provides wedding services prior to the day, I very rarely get to meet and work with any of the amazing small businesses that are out there. This is just one of the reasons I enjoy being part of creative styled shoots - and this is exactly how I met the lovely Dorset Flowers.

Our photoshoot was originally meant to take place in April, but obviously that was not meant to be. Fast forward to October and we managed to get everything lined up in between lockdowns for the shoot to take place. I'm not afraid to admit that I was nervous, as I had only worked with three of the suppliers before so there were a lot of new faces. I needn't have worried though as everyone was so welcoming, especially Ellie. The flowers that they had created were simply stunning and, when it came to styling shots for groups and individuals, nothing was too much trouble. Extra foliage, spare flowers, colour matching accessories and adding extra finishing touches to things such as the horses tail was all taken in her stride. If that is the warm and amazing level of service that you get working on a creative event, I can only imagine the levels to which they go to with a customer.

Dorset Flowers' Top Tip:

Our top tip for any couples booking a wedding florist is to make sure you establish a rough budget and any “must have” floral pieces early on. Ask your florist whether any of your floral arrangements can be used at your ceremony as well as your reception, reusing arrangements is the best way to get the maximum use out of your budget. Last but not least, enjoy every moment of the wedding planning process. It really is the most exciting and magical time, the beginning of the rest of your lives together.

Dorset Flowers' Top Three:

1) Styled Shoot A classic country wedding shoot at the beautiful Edmondsham House.

Photography : Jackaldridgephotography.com

As featured on The English Wedding Blog : English-wedding.com

2) Real Couple The gorgeous Aimee and Tom who overcame all the odds and got married despite every Covid postponement hurdle they had to jump. It truly was a pleasure to be a small part of their very special day and it just shows you love really does conquer all.

Photography : Amberbluestudio.com

3) Our latest products Check out our beautiful Nordic and Festive Fresh wreaths that are available to pre-order for just £35 (plus local delivery or collection from our Broadstone studio) until the 27th November 2020. Please email info@dorsetflowers.co.uk to place your order or for more information.

You can find out more by visiting our facebook page or website

Updated: Nov 6

A few months ago I was introduced to Leyla, by my sister, and she is quite possibly one of the nicest people on the planet. The three of us were chatting about our love of crafting and the dream of working for ourselves, and we just clicked. Once home, I checked out the Leyla Creates Facebook page and instantly fell in love with the bags (especially the bee print) and other items that Leyla and her mum Gigi have created.

Remembering that during our discussion I mentioned wanting a new macramé plant hanger, Leyla proposed a trade of the hanger for some of my Christmas cards. Fast forward a week and I have the most beautiful white hanger in my conservatory which I just love. I highly recommend that you check out the Leyla Creates pages - you will not be disappointed.

Leyla Creates is a small independent business based in Bournemouth, Dorset. The business was founded by Leyla (all things crafts and keepsakes) and Gigi (seamstress extraordinaire). Leyla has wanted to launch her own craft business for years and finally in 2020 Gigi gave her the push she needed.

We love creating bespoke handmade gifts and bags

Leyla & Gigi's Tips:

Tis the season of stressful shopping and last minute panic buying so we thought we would give you some tips on how to avoid the madness. One big mistake I always use to make is setting a budget for each family member and if their present was under then buying more to ‘top it up’, all the while feeling the pressure of present guilt. My advice would be set a budget, set the number of items you are going to purchase and break them into categories. For example this year for my close family members I am buying everyone 3 presents, something family focused or sentimental so a desk calendar or photobook of our last family holiday, something handmade by either myself of another small crafting business and then something silly. Last year I brought the adults in my family remote controlled cars and we raced them around the dining room for hours.

This year has been incredibly tough on independent retailers and small businesses and now more than ever they need our help. Whole industries have been put on hold while the creatives who work in that field are forced to diversify. This year I have set myself the challenge of sourcing the majority of my Christmas Presents from small independent businesses and asking friends on social media for recommendations. It has really made me stop and think about the buying power I have as a consumer and also knowing that I am spreading some joy. I have the biggest smile on my face when Leyla Creates receives orders or reviews, it makes all the hard work so worthwhile.

Leyla Creates Top 3:

1. This is a keepsake I made for a bride and groom from their wedding bouquet, this is definitely my favourite make of this year. Knowing that I have made something for them to treasure forever brings me so much joy.

2. Bumblebee Bag – This is one of the first designs Gigi and I put together and has been so popular with sales.

3. Girl Power collection of Enamel Pins – Say it with a pin... My favourite is Fight Like a Girl because anyone who thinks women aren’t tough has obviously never met one! £1 of every sale of these pins is donated to Women’s Aid a fantastic Charity who support women and children who are affected by Domestic Abuse.

Thank you so much Taryn for including us in your Friday Focus, to celebrate our first feature we are giving a 10% discount on any of our products with the code FridayFocus. To use the code you must like both Live Laugh Create's and also Leyla Creates facebook or Instagram pages

Updated: Nov 5

I am not much of a girly girl especially where make up and hair are concerned. I try my best but I just don't know what I'm doing and never really seem to get to grips with it.

Step in Jess! I met Jess through a couple of other wedding suppliers and we just clicked. She is so down to earth and puts you completely at ease. I absolutely love the looks she creates both for brides and commercially.

Jess's Makeup Top Tip:

Good make-up is only ever as good as the skin underneath so prep prep prep! Make sure skin is cleansed, toned, and then apply a moisturiser with SPF in it before applying foundation. I absolutely love the vegan skincare range Ark. They do a moisturiser and primer in one with SPF 30 so it saves you applying separate products. A couple of times a week you should exfoliate or use a mask to rid of any dead skin build-up, especially after the summer when tans fade. Ark Skincare does a “hydration injection mask” that’s amazing! Finally, I recommend using a fixing spray to finish the make-up too such as Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush fixing spray. Clients always say ooh what’s that?! I call it hairspray for the face! It really helps make-up last and refreshes the look.

My staple mascara is DreamWeave as it’s smudge and cry proof for brides and great on hot photoshoots too, without being cloggy.

Finally, if you are looking for lipgloss without the stickiness I love Lanolips lipglosses with SPF in them. They come in so many pretty colours and are easy to keep in your bag to top up.

Jess's Top Tip for Brides:

My top tip for brides which I always say as I am leaving, if you feel like you going to cry then put the tongue in the roof of your mouth! It will help stop any tears and actually nobody will know you are doing it!

2020 Weddings:

Every wedding is a favourite but I absolutely loved being part of the beautiful Jemma’s Covid wedding. Jemma unfortunately had to move her initial wedding date from April to October but that didn’t stop her from having the day of her dreams and making the most of the wedding morning complete with bridesmaids and mother of the bride. I loved Jemma’s determination and positive attitude towards her wedding plans and nothing was going to spoil her special day

Jess's Top Three:

1) Wandering Eve Maternity wear photoshoot published in “OK Celebrity” magazine

2) Rockay Running, online sustainable running wear shop (James Williams Photography)

3) A professional bridal photoshoot photo by (One Thousand Words Photography)

Discount Codes:

20% OFF Ark Skincare: Click here >

DreamWeave mascara £14 from Jess @ Model Makeovers - Quote: 'blog' for £2 off!

You can find out more by visiting: https://modelmakeovers.co.uk/




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