Aashni & Co Wedding Show

20th February 2015

I’m ridiculously late with this post…!!!

Last month the Grand Ballroom of London’s luxury hotel, the Dorchester played host to the first ever Aashni & Co Wedding Show with the crème de la crème of Indian designers and new gen talent. Aashni & Co’s Notting Hill boutique opened in 2012 and is already the leading store in London for luxe Indian designer wear. The wedding show provided an opportunity to showcase the store’s designers on a larger scale and to a larger audience.

I was lucky enough to join Aashni the store’s owner on BBC 94.9- Jo Good show that week to talk about Indian weddings and the wedding show. It was the first time I’ve been on the radio and the fifteen odd minutes we were on air seemed to fly by. It was a great experience and a big thanks to Jo, Nishy and Gurpreet @ the BBC for making the experience enjoyable. Ok back to the wedding show….

The line up at the show was pretty damn impressive with A-list design talent including Sabyasachi, Manish Malhotra, Tarun Tahliani, Anamika Khanna, Varun Bahl and talented new gen designers Sonali Gupta, Shehlaa and Arpita Mehta.

Image Credit: Adnan Qazi

Image Credit: Adnan Qazi

Aashni Anshul Doshi the founder of Aashni & Co had this to say about the show

“ I am so, so, so humbled that these designers have taken that leap of faith and have actually come down here to be in one room with each other and be part of Aashni & Co. It is time people stopped travelling all the way to India to find their wedding outfits- we wanted to bring the best of India’s bridal to our doorstep.”

I got married last year and the exhibition was a perfect opportunity to connect (translate to get star struck) with some of the designers who I wore for my wedding which included Manish Malhotra, Sabyasachi, Varun Bahl and Arpita Mehta.

_DSC0016L-R: Anushree Reddy, Anamika Khanna & Arpita Mehta: Image Credit: Shahid Malik

_DSC0017

_DSC0021L-R: Sabyasachi & Shehla Khan: Image Credit: Shahid Malik

_DSC0023L-R: Sonail Gupta, Tarun Tahilani & Varun Bahl: Image Credit: Shahid Malik

I caught up with Sabayasachi and asked him…

with Sabya photo credit Nina Patel

You already have a connection with London. How does the U.K bride differ to the brides back home?

“Yes, I do. I did a short stint at London Fashion Week and before I came to London with my Bridal wear. I used to also cater to the western audience here through Browns and Selfridges. So, I do have a good idea about what the girls in London want from us. They like being traditional and every single bride whether conservative, whether democratic, whether eccentric actually fantasises about looking like a princess on their wedding day. So we try and keep the fantasy in mind but make sure we keep ethnicity in mind too because of course she is an Indian Bride.”

I also asked him what tips he would give a bride when shopping for her trousseau.

“I’d tell her to do some yoga before you come shopping and get a little introspective because I think it is very easy to get swayed by other people’s opinion on what you should wear but at the end of the day its your wedding so just wear what you want to wear which means if you want to wear a GAP t-shirt and get married just do it.”

I love his answer because it’s so true wedding shopping can become stressful with everyone having an opinion on what you should and should not wear!

Tarun TahilianiTarun Tahiliani: Image Credit: Shahid Malik

Manish MalhotraManish Malhotra: Image Credit: Shahid Malik

Varun BahlVarun Bahl: Image Credit: Shahid Malik

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESYummy florals by Zita Elise Image Credit: Raj Dharar

photo boothPhoto Booth at the entrance

_DSC0027Cakes by Krishanthi- these pics don’t do the cakes justice. The designs were sooo detailed and intricate. Image Credit: Shahid Malik

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Getting a lesson on how to take a selfie by Kay from the Desi Dossier and Raj from The Secret Wedding Blog. Was good catching up with other bloggers at the event. Image Credit: Raj Dharar

The event was a first for London and it was lovely to see such a wealth of Indian craftsmanship and talent in one place. With U.K brides following the trends in India (albeit sometimes a little latter) weddings are becoming longer with more and more events to shop for. I really hope it becomes a regular event…are you reading Aashni?

Fab post event video by Aashni & Co.

Full list of exhibitors for Aashni & Co wedding show in association with Zouch & Lamare

– Anamika Khanna
– Anushree Reddy
– Arpita Mehta
– Ashima-Leena
– Elisha W
– Jaipur Gems
– Kotwara by Meera Muzaffar Ali
– Manish Malhotra
– Monisha Thahryamal
– Nikasha,
– Pallavi Jaikishan
– Rajesh Pratap Singh
– Rimple and Harpreet Narula
– Sabyasachi
– Shehlaa
– Sonali Gupta
– Tarun Tahiliani
– Varun Bahl

I have interviews with Shehla Khan, Arpita Mehta and Anushree Reddy coming up on the blog in the following weeks- so keep a look out!

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My Top 10 Asian Bridal Shopping Tips

6th February 2015

I’m sure regular readers and my twitter followers will be expecting today’s post to be on the recent AH-MAZING Aashni & Co wedding show + my guest appearance on BBC London’s Jo Good show. But as I’m still suffering from a dirty ole cold- it’s this bridal post that’s been in my pending box that’s going out today!

Vogue india bridalImage Credit: Vogue India…still love this editorial!

Bridal shopping can be exciting and fun but on the flip side it can be overwhelming and confusing too. So here’s a few tips that might help…

budget

I’d say the first thing to do is to set a budget for all your bridal outfits. And make a list of how many pieces you need. Be flexible within your budget. It’s tempting to break down your budget-allocating certain amounts to different occasion outfits but it doesn’t always work like that. I had in mind that I’d spend around £2k for my reception gown and I ended up buying a gorgeous Varun Bahl gown for £750.

RESEARCH

Wherever you decide to do your shopping do your research. I did my wedding shopping in Mumbai and yep I already had a heads up on where to go because my blog is all about Indian fashion and I’m an avid reader of Indian fashion magazines. So getting a basic list was easy enough but I still carried on asking family and friends for recommendations. I also read a lot of Indian wedding blogs and that’s how my list doubled. I made sure I had each store’s address, telephone number, opening times and price range. Even when we were in India we’d ask for further recommendations. We bought a couple of gowns from Sonaakshi Raaj (I heart her work) and she told us to visit Tamanna Punjabi Kapoor’s store as we were still looking for my sister’s mehndi outfit. And bingo that’s where we got my sis STUNNING lengha from.

OPEN

It’s great to have an idea of what you’d like to wear. I know so many brides who create a scrap book or pinterest boards on outfits they like. BUT does it mean those styles suit you? For both my Sabyasachi and Manish Malhotra  lenghas – I had to be made to try them on by my mum and my sister. I wasn’t keen on either of them on the hanger – neither were what I had imagined I’d wear. but when I wore them it was a different story- I loved them both. So be open minded and try different styles & colours.

SMALL

Take your bridal shopping seriously. There may be hangers on that want to join you- because for them its a fun day out! but for you its another opinion that you might not necessarily want. I shopped with my mum and sister and they know me and I trust them- that’s why when they made try on styles I wasn’t sure of I did!

ADV

Right so I know alot of brides leave their wedding shopping till the last minute in order to shop once they’ve got down to their ideal weight. But the biggest disadvantage to this is that it reduces your options when shopping. You may have to buy off the rack designs that are than adjusted to fit you or may have a nail biting time hoping your ordered piece comes in time. Remember custom orders can take between 1-6 months (and maybe even longer) to make. I personally would recommend brides have all their pieces with them at least a month before their wedding. This allows time to get any adjustments done as well as hair and make up trials done with the outfits and of course any last min accessory shopping.

RAMP

This is a goldilocks kinda tip- You’ve got to ramp up your usual look so there’s no mistaking who the bride is but on the other hand don’t go so out there that you end up looking like someone else entirely. No Renee Zellwegers please! I remember my mum insisting I try a bright fuschia lipstick at my wedding make up trial- I hadn’t been a lippy girl till then and I was ummming and ahhing. Anyway, Gini the mua said try it, if you don’t like it we won’t use it on the day and again my Mum was right. It completed the look- its just because I wasn’t used to seeing myself all glammed up!

MIX

Asian weddings have so many different events. Make sure you mix up your looks so you look different on each occasion. A friend (quite rightly) told me off at a recent wedding because on each occasion I was wearing either a cream or white based outfit! And make sure you go for looks that suit the event- if you’re having a beach party wearing a heavy lengha that you can’t move in just isn’t going to work.

FIT

I am so ridiculously fussy when it comes to the fit of my Indian clothes because no matter how stunning the outfit is if the fit isn’t right it won’t look as wow as it could.

AGE

Work with what you’ve got. And remember you’re young and beautiful so don’t hide away the body that in 30 years time you’d wished you’d showed off more. My belly is always hanging out! I just think while I’ve still got a small waist and only a mini muffin top I may as well work it while I can. LOL!

HAPPY

Lastly and importantly- you’ve got to be happy in what you’re wearing! If everyone loves an outfit but you don’t- don’t get it! It’s your wedding, your choice!

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SONAM KAPOOR: DOLLY KI DOLI

23rd January 2015

I’m sooooo looking forward to seeing Sonam Kapoor’s Dolly Ki Doli this month. Her character in the film is a con artist who marries different men and then runs away with their money- So that’s a whole lot of weddings outfits in one film- fash overload!!! not that I’m complaining, it’ll be the main reason I go to see the film. The posters show her in a stunning blue Anita Dongre lengha as well as a mint and coral Jade lengha but the outfits in the Babaji Ka Thullu are OMG. She looks Amazeballs in Manish Arora and her male co-stars look pretty good too.

Dolly Ki Dolli Anita Anita Dongre Lengha

Dolly Ki Doli Jade Lengha Jade Lengha

Dolly ki Doli Babaji Ka Thullu Manish Arora

Manish Arora Indian Couture Week 2014 via Bridal AsiaAdore this Manish Arora lengha- in fact the whole Indian by Manish Arora @ India Couture Week 2014 were all stunning.

I’m sure I’ll be back with a Dolly Ki Doli Promo watch post soon…

Image Credit: Youtube & Dolly Ki Doli Facebook

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GLOWWBOX review part 2

10th January 2015

Here’s part two of the Glowwbox December Box review- this time its all about how the Brown Girl aka Moi got on. For a start regular readers will know I’m a self confessed make-up dunce. So I like the idea of a beauty box service that provides an edit of the best products that work for my skin tone. I had given the Motions hair products and the Bellapierre shimmer to Tess and was left with Mehron Mascara, Inlight-Super Food Face Mask and Lord & Berry lipsticks.

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I loved the Lord & Berry lipstick and the Mehron Mascara. The lippy is a really flattering glossy nude and the mascara was a really deep intense black. The face mask is still untouched but I’m saving it for when I get a window of pamper time!

FullSizeRender (4) Copying what the BBloggers do- the holding of the lipstick shot!

Lord & BerryScreenshot of the pic I tweeted with the lippy on. The reply I got from a follower is quite possibly the funniest tweet I’ve ever got! LOLLL!

The picture isn’t that clear and it looks more subtle than the lipstick actually was- it’s a deeper pinky brown nude than the pic shows. I’m thinking its time I get a proper camera instead of my camera phone.

I do think the Glowwbox service is fab. For £15 a month there’s an array of products in each box and its great to be introduced to products that I don’t normally hear of. Suggestions for the Glowwbox team would be to aim products depending on subscriber. The Afro- Caribbean Motions product were great for Tess but not me. And I’d really like to see videos or blog posts that show how to use some of the products. Tess and I didn’t really know the best way to apply the shimmer and a tutorial would have been great.

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GLOWWBOX Review Part 1

9th January 2015

I’m kicking off the new year with a beauty post reviewing Glowwbox! Glowwbox is a beauty box subscription service that describes itself as…

a luxury beauty package of some of the best in beauty suitable for women with darker skin tones.

Opening the beautifully packaged box I found an array of gorgeous goodies! After having a read of the products I decided to enlist the help of my friend Tess from afrotee_tee. I thought seeing as the two full sized products- The Motions hair product is aimed at Afro- Carribean women. It would be good to get Tess to review them. I also gave her the Bellapierre- Mineral Eye Shadow, Celebration to check out too.

Here’s how she got on with the products. Full details on how to subscribe to Glowwbox are below.

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First product I tried out was what we both described as the “glitter stuff”. It’s a little pot of gold dust by Bellàpierre cosmetics, and to be honest with you I was skeptical of trying this out as it was “glitter stuff” and I didn’t want to look like a black Pat Butcher on bad day, not only that, unless I was having a ditzy moment ( and I do have a few) I didn’t know if this was eye shadow or highlighter or a body shimmer! None the less I gave it a go. Making sure I applied this stuff in the bathroom so my cream carpets were not marked gold, I was pleasantly surprised at how much power was on my eye brush but not a lot on my eyes. I found the more I blended the product in the less I saw of it. For something so shimmery I thought the opposite would have happened. As I was going to work I only applied to the tear ducts, subtle yet effective and off to work I went.

tess 1

The next time I decided to wear Bellàpierre cosmetics “glitter stuff” was on my 12th year anniversary with hubby (we have only been married for 4months, but together for 12) anyway I piled it on my eyes. Same effect happened the more I blended it in the more I felt it disappeared slightly, and the more glitter I found on my face rather than eyelids. I decided this time to apply it all over the lid with a black liner which I found helped protrude the colour a bit. In my bathroom light it looked too much but I rolled with it and went out. In the bathroom light of the restaurant it doesn’t look as bright but I liked the look. Overall as a choice of eyeshadow I’m not sure I like this colour as it didn’t give the pop that I thought it would, whether it being the way I applied it or due to my complexion! I wouldn’t mind trying out something brighter – I may just Ms Butcher a run for her money bless her fully covered lids!

tess 2

The other products I tried were two hair products from the Motions range. Since deciding to go natural in 2012 (that’s no chemicals to permanently straighten) I have become what’s known in the natural hair community as a “product junkie”. So to say I was excited to try these hair products, was an understatement.
The first was the naturals textures moisturizing cleanser. I had been wearing my hair in a weave (a protective style, less stress on my hair and easier to maintain) and decided to take it out during the xmas period to give my scalp a breather… Amen!

tess 4

Cleansers are less harsher than shampoos as they don’t usually contain sulfates that can strip hair of its oils, but do the same thing as a shampoo. There are many blogs and sites that speak about the difference between shampoos and cleansers so you can have a read in your spare time. Anywho – I found this cleanser great for my hair! If my hair hadn’t been in a weave for so long yuck, one lather would have been enough, I ended up washing my hair twice. My hair felt clean and my scalp was rid of all the build- up! Scalp and hair freee yay!!!

I then followed up with the natural textures deep conditioning masque! As a deep conditioner goes this was very runny and not as thick or creamy as other conditioners I have used before. Smelled nice and not to heavy so I wasn’t worried about my hair smelling like tutti fruity chewits! My hair didn’t feel covered like it does with others and I found that I was applying more and more of the conditioner onto my hair, by the time I looked in the container I realised that I could have potentially finished the lot in one go… not good. I left the conditioner in for half an hour with no heat . Once I washed it out my hair was soft and manageable and I was impressed. Still wasn’t sure if this was down to the amount I put in or just the fact the product did its thing. I still have some left so ill be applying it again but sparingly.

Look out for me on instagram: afrotee_tee where you can see my length check progress styles… my journey basically. Hopefully if I’m good I may be here again!
See ya’s laters!!

Subscribe to Glowwbox for £15 a month + P&P www.glowwbox.com

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Thanks Tess aka the black Pat Butcher! Ohhh Tess you know that’s going to be your new nickname lol!

Part 2: Will be out tomorrow!!

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Aashni + Co Wedding Show in association with Zouch & Lamare

19th December 2014

Aashni & Co, (yep that Indian designer boutique in Notting Hill that I constantly blog about!) is hosting what can only be described as the LARGEST and most EXCITING Bridal show London has ever seen!

Why is the show going to be more amaze balls than the dozen or so Asian wedding shows that have been announced for 2015? Well, its down to the huge variety of luxury Indian designer labels that are going to be showcased. I always get asked how Indian designer prices compare to the UK Indian designers prices and most people are surprised when I say that the cost of many of the designer pieces are actually on par with UK designers like Ekta Solanki & Mona Vora. The designer list includes Anamika Khanna, Anushree Reddy, Arpita Mehta, Ashima-Leena, Elisha W, Jaipur Gems, Kotwara by Meera and Mufazzar Ali, Manish Malhotra, Monisha Thahryamal, Nikasha, Pallavi Jaikishan, Rajesh Pratap Singh, Rimple and Harpreet Narula, Sabyasachi, Shehlaa, Sonali Gupta and Varun Bahl.

Below are a few non celeb pics of some of the designers work.

?????????????????????????????????????????????????? Pic of a bride and groom wearing Sabyasachi from Band Bajaa Bride show. Image Credit: The Purple Window. I actually got to meet Sabyasachi briefly. We’d gone in to his store to look at wedding lenghas for my sister and he was filming for Band Bajaa Bride’s new series.

band bajaa bride via wed me goodPic of a bride wearing Sabyasachi from the show Band Bajaa Bride. Image Credit: Wed Me Good.

The Aashni & co store is fab and stocks many of the designers listed above but as fab as the store is- it is small and carries maybe 100 pieces at a time. They do constantly have trunk shows and I bought my Sabyasachi wedding lengha after a show. Unfortunately I didn’t find anything else I liked and decided to do the rest of my wedding shopping in Mumbai. This show though will be giving brides to be way more choice. I’ve been told designers are bringing an average of 80 pieces each over. Yep, all bridal shopping can be done in London! and in one place! Details of the show and how to get tickets are below.

manish malhotra real brideReal Bride wearing Manish Malhotra. Image Credit: Manish Malhotra Facebook I wore a Manish Lengha for my Civil Ceremony- more details here and my Mum has ordered a couple of tilla work outfits from his store during our recent trip to Mumbai

Arpita Mehta clientsArpita Mehta via Arpita Mehta Facebook. I LOVE Arpita’s work. I wore one of her lenghas for my Mehndi and both me and my sis picked up pieces by her on our recent trip to Mumbai.

wedding sutra blogAnushree Reddy Image Credit: Wedding Sutra Blog. Anushree’s work is real girly girl. think florals and pastels- I bought two pieces of hers from Aza recently.

Here’s the all important details for the show! And follow the links to purchase tickets.

And just to let you know Manish Malhotra & Varun Bahl have both confirmed attendance. I will post any updates as and when I get the info! This truly is a show not to be missed.

Sunday 25th Jan 2015

The Dorchester
53 Park Lane
Mayfair
London
W1K 1QA

Tickets: £30 – General Admission*

Ticket purchase via:

Websites: www.aashniandco.com, www.wslondon.com

Store: Aashni + Co, 47 Ledbury Road, London W11 2AA

Via Email: weddingshow@aashniandco.com

Via Tel: +44 207 985 0155

Also via Anand Pan Centre:

229 Green St, London E7 8LL. Tel: +44 20 8472 4425

116 Ilford Lane, Ilford, Essex, IG1 2LE. Tel: +44 208 514 3800

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Think Pink Cancer Charity Ball @ Newland Manor

11th December 2014

A couple of weeks ago I attended the Think Pink Charity Ball at Newland Manor. I’d never been to the venue before but presumed since it was kinda near my old school I’d get there ok. Umm nope with an eerie fog descending I followed my tom tom round in circles through country roads or should I say tracks. I had to fall back on the classic – follow the car with Indian people to get to the venue!. So I rocked up an hour late because of my off road experience.

As soon as I entered the think pink magic was sprinkled all through the venue. The lighting, candles, flowers and decor set the tone for the evening. After cocktails and canapes guests were ushered into the main marquee for dinner and the catwalk show. Here are some pics from the evening…

photo (81)My blurry camera phone pic

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photo (82)Dinner is served!

photo (83)The view from my table.

shyamal and bhumika think pink 2 Shyamal & Bhumika I loved all the Tinaya jewellery and will update the post with their contact link when I get it.

Shyamal and bhumika think pink 1Shyamal & Bhumika

Shyamal and bhumika think pink3Shyamal & Bhumika

Umar Sayeed think pink1 Umar Sayeed

_DSC1015 Umar Sayeed

The money raised was donated across three charities- Cancer Research UK, Shaukat Khanum Memorial Hospital Pakistan and Indian Cancer Society, India.

Media partners were ARY & Sony Sab.

Event Managed & Produced by: Hajira Ahmad @ EBH

Fashion Show Credits:
Designer: Shyamal Bhumika
Jewelry: Tinaya

Designer: Umar Sayeed
Jewelry By: Opulence
Styling by: Nyla Ramji

Make up & hair by: Jawaad Ashraf & Team
Photography by: Shahid Malik
Fashion Against Cancer Credits:
Jewellery: Amishi London
Shoes: Kari C
Make up & hair by: Zaynab Mirza @ Provoke Cosmetics
Nails by: Nazila
Styling by: Nyla Ramji
Photography by: Shahid Malik

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Mani J : Lady in Red

5th November 2014

I’ve got mega love for designer & stylist Mani J. I’ve posted her work previously and I am crushing so hard on this recent gorg editorial she worked on for PRESS THE FASHION. The images speak for themselves- ENJOY!

Lady in Red Mani J

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Lady in Red Mani J 4 My fav image from the editorial and I loved Mani’s caption to this pic on instagram – The Lady in Red says “I don’t give a F**k. Imma walk in my lengha on the street like a BAAUSSS”

Lady in Red Mani J 3

Photographed by: Jane and Jane Photography (http://janeandjane.allyou.net/453669http://janeandjane.allyou.net/453669)
Fashion Stylist: Mani Jassal (www.manijassal.com)
Model: Alex Lowe of Elmer Olsen Models
Make up and Hair: Tami El Sombati

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Images from Mani J & PRESS THE FASHION

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Asian dating Q and A for @ Match.com

3rd Nov 2014

I got my cupid on for my latest guest blog post for Match.Com. Am I am dating guru/know it all??! Hell no! but I def enjoyed answering the dating questions below. Let me know what you think. And if you didn’t read my first post for Match.com read it here…

Nina pic

Question 1 – cultural differences

Hi Nina,

I’m Scottish and have recently started dating an Indian guy. He’s very kind and I enjoy his company but I’m a little worried about the differences in cultures and wondered if you had any advice on dating an Asian guy?

Anna

Hey Anna,

Thanks for your email. I could give you a really unhelpful list of stereotyped tips like….

1) Enjoy curry, the hotter the better (a bottle of Tabasco should become a handbag staple)
2) Learn how to wrap yourself in a 7 yard piece of fabric (aka The Sari)
3) Learn how to walk in the above without looking like a penguin
4) Work on your Bollywood moves (screwing a light bulb is a classic)
5) Watch Bend it Like Beckham and East is East on repeat

But the best advice I can give you is to try not to stereotype because every single guy out there is different. It’s understandable to be slightly nervous of the unknown and the best way of overcoming this feeling is to get to know each other more- ask questions/learn about his culture and likewise talk about your background. From what you’ve said in your email – you’ve met a great guy- have fun!

Question 2 – how to find the right girl?

Hi Nina,

I’m a 30 year old Muslim guy. For the last three years I’ve been looking for a long term partner and I’m just fed up. I go on two or three dates a week whether it’s through internet dates or family set ups but nothing seems to happen. I met a couple of girls that I liked but after a few dates things just fizzled. My friends say I’m a catch- alright looking, good job, down to earth etc…so I just don’t know why I’m struggling to meet the right girl.

Asif

Hi Asif,

Thanks for getting in touch. It’s great to hear from a male dating perspective. It sounds like you have a major case of ‘dating fatigue’. I’ll give you a pat on the back for being pro-active but think you may have taken it too far the other way. You might be going on too many dates, so take your time, and think about what you’re really looking for in a date. You’ve said that you’re fed up and that jaded outlook is probably coming across on your dates. Also going into a date with the mind set that you are looking for a serious relationship can put pressure on the date and you may find yourself making snap decisions about people. Dating should be fun and you’re definitely not having any fun at the moment.

Take up a new hobby, spend time with your friends & family or join a sports team! Basically, use some of the time you were previously using to date on just you. And when you do feel like starting to date again- slow it down a little and go into the date with the mind set that you’re meeting a new friend- take the pressure off and in the words of John Legend- Take it Slowwwww!

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Marbella : Sept 2014

15th Nov 2014

Way back in Sept Mum, Sis and I went for a long week in Marbella. Not just a chance for some R&R and family time-we were actually there to look at wedding venues for my sis. Her Civil will be in Blighty but the big fat Indian wedding bit is going to be abroad. Here are some pics from the trip. My sis actually decided against Marbs for the Indian wedding. So the search continues…

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photo (79)I LOVE the pic above. This guy was posing all around the pool and his poor mum had to take pic after pic.

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