Afternoon all! Rebecca and I had both wanted to do a Q&A for a while but we were both very worried that no one would want to ask us anything! We decided to just go for it and here we are! I got sick half way through writing so I am sorry for the delay in getting this out. I have covered all questions asked from my biggest fear to how much our kitchen renovation cost.
What is Atticus’s favourite treat?
Atticus was told he was overweight after having his ‘bits’ done, so he is actually on diet food all the time with the occasional treat. If he had to choose one I would think chicken, that boy goes crazy when he realises we are cooking it.
When and where did you get Atticus? Would you recommend a schnauzer?
He was born to a breeder in Doncaster on the 10th November 2011. Michael and his mum went to choose him, he was the biggest and friendliest of the litter and Michael fell in love with him. He came to live with us on the 5th of January 2012. I can’t imagine having any dog other than a schnauzer. We got our first one called Jasper when we were about 12 years old and I knew when I left home that I wanted one too. My sister also has a miniature schnauzer called Geoff. To this date Atticus has influenced 3 people to have their own, they are such lovely breeds. Friendly and kind temperaments with a little bit of terrier cheekiness, they don’t smell or moult and they are a wonderful with children.
How long have you had anxiety and agoraphobia?
Oooo tricky question!! I wouldn’t say I have always been an anxious person, but I have always been an over thinker. Anxiety has notably affected my life probably for the last 10 years. The agoraphobia kicked in around 2006, was manageable whilst going between Scotland and Stamford for uni but got worse after moving to Leeds in 2010. It has now started to get better. People often misunderstand agoraphobia as meaning a fear of open spaces, which it isn’t (though it can be). It is a fear of having a panic attack in a space you can’t escape from or being too far from your safe place. My trigger is traffic/cars/travel.
What are your tried & tested strategies that help with your anxiety and How do you help your anxiety?
Firstly, I would talk to your GP for a referral for CBT. A therapist is like a personal trainer for your mind. They help you out and keep you in check. I would also discuss medication. Those are the two things that help me mentally and physically but I have little things I do when I feel anxious, that aren’t classified as coping mechanisms (because I have a shit load of them, which I am trying to drop because they are bad and feed your fears).
Know what makes you happy – this is so important. If I am feeling anxious about something coming up I often try and do more of what makes me happy to distract my brain. This for me involves baths, harry potter, drinks with friends and pottering. I love a good potter around. I also write down whats troubling me on my phone. Often writing it down can make it seem a lot less of an issue. I will often look back on what was troubling me and be like “jeez Phoebe, that really wasn’t worth all the stress”.
Take time out – whether this is one hour or one day. You know when you need it.
Talk to people – I wish wish wish with all my heart I had started to tell people about my mental health yearsssss ago. I only told my best friend a year or so ago. I am not sure why, I just felt people would think of me differently, less capable perhaps. But I have realised that whilst getting in a car or on a train is my kryptonite, I can do things other people can’t (you can stick a million needles in my body and draw blood and I wouldn’t bat an eye lid). We all have our strengths and weaknesses, just sometimes our weaknesses can latch on a little harder than we would like.
Choose just one lipstick for the rest of your life.
Ahhh!! I don’t know if I can. I should choose a nude but I think it would have to be Chanel Rouge Allure in Pirate. It was one of the first lipsticks I bought and the texture and colour is gorgeous.
What is your skincare routine?
It changes every few months to help my skin with the changing seasons. At the moment I am using quite a lot as my skin goes crazy at this time of year with cold air/central heating:
Rodial – Bee Venom Cleansing Balm
Kiehls – Blue Herbal Moisturiser
What is your favourite perfume?
Where do you get your home inspiration from?
Surprisingly, not Pinterest. I really hate Pinterest. I would say instagram and home mags. I also just buy things I like, without intending for anything to match. My favourite shops are Cox and Cox, John Lewis, Anthropologie and Oliver Bonas.
Decorating question (first time buyer) what colour would you go for when painting dado rails and skirtings in a neutral living room?
Ahhh I am a fan of painting woodwork the same colour as the walls, I think white can look timeless but for a more up to date look def paint the same colour as wall choice.
How much did your kitchen renovation cost?
In total it cost about £20k. About £12k was spent on the actual units/work surfaces, the rest was labour, white goods and frippery. We know we probably aren’t going to make the money back on the house when we sell it but we love it and will enjoy it whilst we are here!
Ladies, what colour should I paint my metal front door?
I have major love for pink or blue doors. But you can never go wrong with black.
Do you do a mammoth weekly house clean or room by room as the week goes on? And what are your top 5 housework jobs for keeping on top on things?
Our house is over 4 floors so I try and keep the bottom 2 floors (kitchen, dining living room and guest WC) clean and tidy throughout the week. As this is what guests see, and also what I see whilst working from home. The 3rd floor can become a mid week dumping ground of clean laundry, bits that need putting away etc. And I try and keep our bedroom (top floor) always clean and tidy. I would say I properly blitz the house top to toe once a fortnight. I am definitely a lazy cleaner and will only properly clean if we have guests.
My top tips are to do little and often, keep on top of the small things then if someone comes round unexpectedly it wont take you long to fluff things up. Surface wipes are a godsend. And to not be ashamed of having a cupboard/space where you shove a tonne of shit regularly.
What are your 3 favourite items in your home?
Ahhh tough question!! My wedding dress (even though it is boxed away), the entire kitchen (does that count?) and some framed cross stitch my mum did for me when I was little.
what would your desert island discs be?
Ahhhh I notoriously have shittly wonderful taste in music. I think I get to choose 8 tracks don’t I? *scrolls through spotify*
Hall and Oates – Out of Touch – all time favourite song.
Coolio – Gangsters Paradise – second favourite song
N Trance – Set You Free – reminds me of a very happy time in my life
A$AP Rocky – F**kin’ Problems – my karaoke song of choice
Pat Benatar – Love is a Battlefield – reminds me of my 21st birthday
Lucenzo – Danza Kuduro – this is my go to happy song. I have no idea what the words are.
O-Zone – Dragostea Din Tei – also a happy song.
Jay Z – Numb/Encore – always enjoy singing along to this one.
As a seasonal bonus: Chris de Burgh – Spaceman came travelling – my fave christmas song.
Can you describe yourself using three adjectives
Loyal, honest and fun.
I also asked Michael, his were vivacious, beautiful and funny.
If you could go anywhere/be someone/do anything, what would it be?
I would love to go to Iceland and see the northern lights. I don’t want to be anybody else, I think I am alright! Ha.
What’s your favourite 5 items?
My phone, Nars Sheer Glow Foundation, my bed, my signet ring, a scrap book of mine and michael’s first few years together.
What are somethings about you we may not know?
Ha, probably not much! I have an antique coin collection and I play a lot of playstation. Mainly Call of Duty. SMGs fo lyfe.
I think someone already asked but what would be the typical daily routine for you both? Also how do you find the time to fit in cooking, cleaning,laundry exercise, blogging etc
My friends joke that I have the life of luxury, and to an extent I do. I can get up whatever time I like, and pretty much plan my day around how I feel. If I am having a usual work day it goes something like this:
10am – wake, feed dog, let him out for a pee. Check emails for the day. Load/unload dishwasher. Load a wash in. Clean kitchen.
10.30 – make breakfast – usually porridge. Watch a little TV and fire up laptop ready to start work.
11 – 2pm – work. This can be emails, admin, blogging, photography etc.
2-3.30 – chores and then a dog walk.
6pm – start to prep dinner
7pm – Michael home, eat watch a bit of TV
8-11pm work then depending on the time have a bath before bed.
11.30-12am is usually my bed time.
What is your idea of a perfect day and how would you spend it?
Michael and I love films so it would definitely involve that. On the weekend I like to get up a little earlier, go for breakfast preferably with the dog in tow. A little dog walk. Then some sofa time watching a good film with a mountain of chocolate. Then dinner and drinks out with friends. I am quite easily pleased!
What is your favourite flower?
I think ranunculus or hellebores, I just wish they were scented.
What are some of your favourite TV shows?
Oh this could be quite a list:
The Walking Dead, Stranger Things, Fargo, Broadchurch, True Detective (1st season only) Band of Brothers, Sherlock, Firefly, Cougar Town, Gilmore Girls, The Office, American Horror Story, Dexter (seasons 1-3), The Night Of, Downton Abbey, Nashville, Vikings, The Affair, Happy Valley, Supernatural, Lost,
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
You never get anything unless you ask.
What is your biggest fear?
I am terrified of loved ones dying.
Where do you see yourself in five years time?
God, I mean 5 years ago I had just started blogging. Pinterest/instagram etc weren’t even a thing so who knows where I will be 5 years from now. I don’t think blogging will last. I actually think it is already on its decline (sorry!) so I have already been thinking I need to get my transferable skills sharpened up. The opportunities that keep coming with SYGM always surprise me so I am going to have to bow out and say I genuinely don’t know! I would love to be living back in Stamford close to family though.
How do you deal with competition as blogging can be very cut throat?
I have never really given a shit what people thought of me, and that has always extended to the blog. As long as I am happy with what I am producing I couldn’t care less what everyone else is up to. I am happy to see some of my peers do well, others I do fathom how they can be happy with the drivel they are churning out. It is very competitive and I am often sad when I ask about blogging a wedding and I am told “oh its already going to XYZ”. I am all “oh thats cool, my blog is better but whatever”. (I don’t actually say that to them…).
How did you find Rebecca and Emily and are they paid?
Yes they are both paid. I really wanted to expand the beauty/well being (now award winning) section of the blog. I had a disaster with the first girl I hired as she was flakey and unprofessional. I had lost hope but decided to advertise again and Emily applied. I chose her soley based on her instagram. I just knew she got it. Whatever ‘it’ may be. She gets it. She also has her own make up artistry business on top of blogging, she is a girl boss.
As for Rebecca, I put a call out on social media in 2014 looking for someone to take care of pretty things we get invited to London. I wasn’t willing or able to travel to London for a two hour event on a Thursday afternoon, also the cost would be £££! I chose Rebecca because her application was good, plus I loved that she has just got married and was still in that ” I love weddings” bubble. I also felt we liked the same things. 2 years later and she has grown an incredible honeymoon section on the blog.
Are you a full time blogger? If so, how were you able to make a living from your blog?
I am full time! At the beginning of 2016 I removed main banner advertising on the blog which obviously cut my income. Money has never been my main motivator and without Michael I would have to rethink how I make money through the blog, but I am in a fortunate position where I can choose who I work with and for how much. You can definitely make a living from blogging, but I actually think it is harder now as companies want to work with people who have 100K + on instagram rather than bloggers who may have quality readers. If for whatever reason I had to make more money from the blog I would add advertising back, add in a tonne of affiliate links and maybe do workshops.
What are the best and worst parts of blogging as a living?
Best part is definitely the freedom and creativity. If I have an idea, I can put it in to motion and nurture it in to something wonderful.
The worst part is that is is non stop. Even when I am not working (as in sat at the laptop), I am still working. Whether its emails on phone, social media updates, texting my girls and organising stuff…it is never ending. Whilst off ill these past few weeks I was still doing the odd little bit of work. I don’t think I have ever switched off in 5 years.
How was SYGM conceived?
I remember I was sat in my home in Stamford when I added the domain on Blogger. I have no idea why I chose So You’re Getting Married but thats what I came up with! It wasn’t available so I had soyouregettingmarriedstyle.blogspot.co.uk which eventually become this site. I wanted somewhere to write about my wedding plans. There were only a couple other weddings blogs in the UK at the time so I decided to have a bash. I remember hitting 100 hundred views in a day and thinking I had made it. It then just grew from there until 2013 when I realised I could start making money from it all. And here we are today, thousands of readers, 2 Cosmopolitan awards, 3 Wedding Magazine awards, a range of candles and so many things planned for the coming year.
Would you prefer a cash 💰 gift or a present from your wedding list. As most couple will have being living together for a number of years now and kinda have everything? In Ireland the trend is cash! As I don’t go to many weddings in the Uk 🇬🇧 they are mainly in Ireland.
Ahh I am a present giver. I hate giving cash, no matter the occasion. I don’t like having to put a price on my friendship with whomever it is.
What single aspect of a wedding do you think is the most important to get right.
Aesthetically – definitely the photography. Oh and try and marry the right person.
Who are your favourite wedding suppliers?
You can’t ask a wedding blogger this!! It is like choosing a favourite child. I have so so many favourites. If you want specifics then DM me on twitter or instagram and I will tell you.
Honeymoons (these are from Rebecca)
Love your travel write ups. My question to you would be top 5 UK minimoon hotels you’ve visited? and 5 long haul honeymoon hotels. We really can’t decide.
Longhaul wow I can’t even begin to decide. Umm Baros in The Maldives as I honeymooned there for real. Closely followed by Sandals Emerald Bay in the Bahamas and Constance Le Prince Maurice in Mauritius. Definitely Borgo Santo Pietro in Tuscany. And finally La Valencia in La Jolla. All incredible.
I was wondering where you would recommend for a honeymoon as you have been to lots of lovely places. I’m getting married in August.
Mauritius or The Maldives would be amazing and good weather wise at that time of year. The Caribbean is prone to hurricanes at that time. But that’s only if you want something beachy. If you’d prefer more cultural then look at Italy or South East Asia? Feel free to let us know more and we could write a whole post for you.
Getting married in August 2018. I think we are looking for something relaxing but also cultural. Being a teacher it preferably would be somewhere child free.
Italy would definitely work for both a relaxing and cultural trip. You’ve got so many aspects to it, the Amalfi Coast for somewhere beachy as well as gorgeous towns on the cliffs like Positano and Sorrento, there’s Rome, Venice and Tuscany. Definitely look at our guide to Italy on the honeymoon section. However August in Italy will be pretty crazy as all the Italians will be on holiday and there could be children everywhere, the Italians love a bubba!
Bali would be great at that time of year, a perfect mix of relaxation as well as the culture with all the temples. Look at Ubud for stylish hotels amongst the rice paddies and then maybe head to Seminyak for a spa resort on the coast for a few days. Equally though for something a little more flip and flop, Mauritius is honeymoon heaven and surprisingly good value for really top 5* hotels. We loved Constance Le Prince Maurice but it isn’t 100% child free, maybe search for somewhere adults only there. I would normally recommend the Caribbean but could be hurricane season at that time of year. And The Maldives is a dream but possibly not enough culture there for you.
Best city break destination?
New York is my ultimate favourite but Venice is out of this world in so many different ways. They’re both cities but chalk and cheese. Rome is also v special.
Rebecca has already answered her personal ones.
Thank you so much for reading! I am sure we will do another one at some point!