AUTHOR ARCHIVES:
Jenny@rockmywedding

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The Things We Do For Marriage.

My Marriage.

I had a moment today. We’ve been living in Discovery Bay in Hong Kong for almost a month now, William is a magnet for kindness and I have made a few friends. Life is becoming something that almost resembles normal! I say that because it’s been a hectic year. After we got married I didn’t get a chance to reflect on the wedding because I had Baby O to plan for, then Baby O arrived and we moved house and started to renovate. Which was, what can only be described as, a ball ache. Then when Mr O accepted the job here it was all hands on deck to get the place finished so we could rent it out. My feet didn’t really touch the ground before we left, and I didn’t really get a chance to become good at being a wife. I barely saw Mr O and family time was non existent. I often wondered when we were going to put down roots somewhere and just be a married couple with a young baby, and do things that young marrieds do, like go to the zoo, and have picnics, and relax with family.

Well that time has come, and we find ourselves doing stuff together at the weekends, and I love it. What has this got to do with planning a wedding I hear you ponder? Well I’m getting there, so bear with me.

When Matt came home and told me he had been offered a job abroad, I felt fear. William had just been born, I’d had a tough time with the breastfeeding and my motherly instinct told me I just needed to live in a stable home, get into a good routine of being a mother and a wife, and enjoy having a baby, in my own surroundings. The thought of moving to a country I had never even been to before petrified me. Initially I hope it was something that wouldn’t actually happen. So I went along with it, I could see how the prospect of living abroad filled my husband with immense joy, it was always a dream of his, so there was no way I was going to burst his bubble of hope of living the dream.

In typical Jen style I thought if it’s meant to be, I will get a sign. Something to indicate if it is the right thing to do. One day I got talking to a random french lady in my local coffee shop. William attracted her to come over with her little boy and we got talking about things like labour, and carpel tunnel, and bad backs (like you do).

French lady: “So will you have any more babies do you think?”
Me: “Oh yes I’d love to, quite soon, but we are moving abroad and so I think it’s out of the question until we are home”
French lady: “Pah, no problem, I am from Paris but live in Hong Kong with my husband, we had our son there”
Me: “Erm, did you just say Hong Kong?? SHUT.UP.” (I sounded very like Alan Carr)

She lives in Kowloon, where Mr O’s new job is. And was in that little coffee shop in Hertfordshire visiting her husbands family. He is also called Matthew.

And that was my sign.

I had a similar moment today too, chatting to another random lady whilst feeding William his lunch. She is a midwife, who trained the girl who delivered my little Willy, in Harlow Hospital. What are the fricking chances? I love stuff like this. I think they call it the six degrees of seperation, or perhaps it’s just a coincidence? Whatever it is, it warms my cockles, and put a spring in my step the whole way home. The sun is shining here, my baby is happy and Mr O is doing well in his new job. I made a great decision in following my husband here, it’s clear to me I am on the right path.

So my point is that when your wedding is over, don’t feel blue because this is when the fun really starts. You have the wonderful memory of your wedding to share together, and a whole future ahead of you as husband and wife. Who knows where life will take you, just remember to stick together for better or worse, and know that whenever times feel hard you will come through the other side, stronger and tighter than ever. I know Mr O wouldn’t have held it against me had I decided that coming here wasn’t the right thing to do, but how glad am I that I made the decision to come, and took that risk.

Just look how beautiful it is.

This time two years ago I was stressing about table plans, and guest lists, and how to say ‘no’, now I am a Mrs, and a Mama, and living it up Hong Kong style. I feel incredibly lucky, and immensely grateful.

Lots of love,

Jenny x

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Going Back To The Start.

I very nearly almost wrote a blog post entitled ‘The Wedding I might have had….’. And it would have mostly been about indecision, about how I would have worn a different dress, or had my hair different, or had been braver with my decisions full stop.

This came about shortly after my wedding halo wore off, and I became a wife and expectant mother. (I almost said ‘just a wife’ a la Monica Bing from Friends…).

I decided not to write about the wedding I might have had, and to just come to terms with the choices I made instead. This might sound rather odd to brides to be, but it’s not uncommon to look back and wonder why you had your hair like that, or why didn’t I invite so and so, or why I bothered inviting so and so, and so on. When we arrived at our new home in Hong Kong, one of the first boxes I unpacked contained our wedding album, so I sat down and looked at it for the first time in yonks. I didn’t get much done that day because I found our wedding dvd too, I had myself a bit of a wedding fest!

It’s been 14 months since our big day, and a mere few months after, I looked at our wedding photo’s and thought that I wished I had my hair different. A rather vain thing to worry about certainly, but all I saw was a big, blonde, frizzy mess. But then I had my hair like that because it looks awful up and off my face. I didn’t wear a big fancy head piece because I hate to draw attention to the size of my bonce (it’s massive). So I made peace with my… big blonde frizzy mess. I also feel, as a larger lady, that I was brave to wear a form fitting dress. Not only was I a larger lady on my day, but I was harbouring a 12 week pregnancy, which is evident at certain angles. Perhaps I should have gone for a dress that was more suitable for someone in my condition (if you can call pregnancy such), but then I made peace with this too. I look at my wedding album now, and I see someone who looks happy, glowing, and confident, and when William is big enough to understand I will take great joy in telling him he was in Mummies tummy when she and Daddy got married!

The issues don’t just stop there, there are people that didn’t make it onto the guest list that I wished I had included. I had to make my peace with that too, especially after receiving an email from my long lost half brother enquiring as to how my big day went…. Yes, that awkward moment when you realise your sister is friends with him on Facebook, and he’s seen the images of the wedding he wasn’t invited to. (It’s a long story). Then there are the people I did include on the guest list who let me down. (also, a long story). The fact is, I had total control over who I surrounded myself with on my wedding day, and generally in life, I surround myself with strong, happy, kind people, so that was my wedding day guest list theory, and subsequently I have made peace with that too.

I’ve gone back to the start. And 14 months since our wedding I finally have a big fat in your face wedding canvas hanging on our wall, and every time I see it I feel all the emotions and excitement of our big day come flooding back, and it puts a spring in my step.

If I could do it all again my choices may differ somewhat. I may have a different dress, different venue, different bridesmaid dresses, but that’s down to being continually inspired by all the weddings and styling I see on Rock My Wedding. The most important thing isn’t how visually pleasing things are, but that that you are embarking upon a life of marriage, with someone who is special enough to want to spend your life with. So who cares about frizzy hair, I would have married Mr O wearing a potato sack and flip flops with Mongolian mountain goats milling around if I had to.

Love

Jenny x

P.S I would love to hear from any marrieds if you have had any look-back-and-I-would-change-moments…

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If Music Be The Food Of Love, Play On.


How important is tradition to you and your wedding?

For me, tradition went by the wayside. My mum died the year before I got engaged, and I never knew my Dad, so I had that big old glaring issue of paying for it myself, and giving myself away. I wanted a wedding that was far from traditional so that the above issue wasn’t as painfully obvious. I wanted a wedding that was small, and intimate, and unique to Mr O and I. This is why I had so many wobbles during the run up to my wedding, I was constantly in a battle with myself over what it was I really wanted. I knew what I wanted in my heart, but I also knew what was expected of us, and I knew that Mr O wanted a big white church wedding.

The whole thing was such a pain in the arse.

I just wanted it to be simple, and it didn’t feel very simple for the most part of the planning process.

This is the reason I didn’t want a ‘traditional’ long top table. It was just too much for me, emotionally I suppose, to have to deal with. So we just had a round table, I’m oblivious as to how this went down with the more traditional members of my guest list, oblivious because I didn’t really care what anyone thought!

And that was the general theme for my wedding. Wobbles and a ‘couldn’t care less what others thought’ mentality. Bit of a contradiction huh? I felt like the most misguided bride in the world and I had to write about my planning here on Rock My Wedding and somehow sound as if I knew what I was doing!

I remember blogging about my wedding planning, and it became increasingly aparent that I knew exactly what I didn’t want. I had list upon list of things I most certainly didn’t fancy, like a tiara, or a Rolls Royce, or Ivory shoes, or cutting the cake, or a receiving line, nor did I want to throw my bouquet. While this is fine for other brides, for me it just didn’t seem ‘me’. And I wanted to put my own stamp of creativity on my big day without going over the top with things that were bang on trend at the time.

There was one tradition I had to uphold though.

And that was the first dance.

Now I’m a trained dancer, classically trained that is, I danced all through my youth and stopped when I left college – jacking it all in for a ‘proper job’ to pay my rent (boring snoring…).

Mr O, he isn’t a trained dancer. In fact his moves tend rival that of Stavros Flatley… So our first dance wasn’t exactly like watching Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire, but that wasn’t what it was about for me. We’d chosen ‘Unforgettable‘ by Nat King Cole , a song which I had always absolutely loved, and these lyrics are just timeless;

Like a song of love that clings to me, 

How the thought of you does things to me. 

Never before 
Has someone been more… 

Unforgettable 
In every way,

And forever more 
That’s how you’ll stay.


That’s why, darling, it’s incredible 
That someone so unforgettable 
Thinks that I am 
Unforgettable, too.

I always imagined that if Matt and I were to get married, that this would be our first dance. And when we were travelling India he splurged and took me to The Zodiac restaurant in The Taj Hotel, despite the grand jesture, I didn’t think he would propose, I didn’t give it much thought to be honest, I was just enjoying the experience of being in a posh restaurant with clean linen and cutlery, after my previous day had been spent sitting with a goat known as ‘Gupta the goat’ on a night train!

After our meal, the pianist with tails on his jacket asked the Maitre d’ if we had any special requests, so I asked for Unforgettable, by the gorgeous Nat King Cole. And he played it, beautifully so, it made the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end and gave me that lump in my throat!

Mr O didn’t propose. He waited until we were at the Taj Mahal before doing the deed. Which knocked me completely bandy. I can honestly say I did.not.expect.it.

He told me he had the ring in his pocket, and was going to ask me at the restaurant the previous week – just as the maitre d’ came over to ask for a request.

But I guess he decided to wait.

Which is fine by me, because my GHD’s had broken that day, and I looked like Dog The Bounty Hunter

So our first dance meant so much to me, because it reminded me of our time in India, of our engagement, it meant we got some time together (albeit on the dancefloor with everyone watching), and now whenever I hear our song, I get that lovely feeling inside again. Now whenever I am a guest at a wedding, and watch the first dance, i’m the soppy cow at the side with a tear in her eye (honestly, I always wondered why women cried at first dances, now I know!).


*images courtesy of Kim Hawkins

It was a tradition I was happy to uphold, because I could relate to it.

Am I the only one who boked at the thought of a completely traditional day?

Because whatever you do, it’s fine, just do whatever you want. It’s your day.

Love,

Jenny x

*skips off to listen to Nat King Cole and have cuddles with Baby O**

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Readers…Shhh I Met Him On The Internet.


Do you keep it a secret that you met him on-line?

…About 6 or 7 years ago, (pre Mr O) I embarked on a little ‘online adventure’. How it came about? I met a guy, in a bar, who was a little out of my league (or so I thought), who then opened up to tell me that he was 38, sick of being messed around and just wanted to find his true love.

A little odd hearing that come from a man, when in my experience all men wanted was to play games and be annoying tw*ts. A little off putting too, for someone who at the time was in her early twenties, and really not looking for anything too serious. He then admitted to being on an online dating site, at which I judged him as being a bit of a desperate nut-job and never spoke to him again!

Yes I know, what a judgmental cow. I chastised myself for being so awful and judgmental about him, he was a genuinely nice guy, he was good looking (at least an 8 out of 10) and had alot going for him who am I to say that he was a desperate nut-job, just because he was going out to get what he wanted in life? If anything that made him quite appealing to me, his open view on life and his go get’em attitude was all the more endearing. The fact that he was, as I said, at least an ‘8’, made me feel a little baffled as to why on earth a man like this couldn’t find himself someone suitable in real life (as apposed to online).

So I looked on the dating site, browsing profiles, laughing (alot) at some who’s personalities really did bounce off the page. I checked out the competition in my area too, recognised a few local faces, and so I secretly joined up, hiding my man browsing from my housemates for fear of jibes and much rib poking.

I made my profile as mysterious and aloof sounding as possible – none of this ’24, seeks like minded with a gsoh’ clap trap, I spoke of how I loved cheese, and laughter, and watching Spaced dvds. Surprisingly I received a few nods in my direction from some matches. I wasn’t expecting anything to happen really – I was new to this game, the whole notion of meeting people online was still very taboo back then. We didn’t yet have Myspace, or Facebook, people didn’t really know how to network on the dating site so it was a strange place to be.

There were the matches who clearly were only after one thing – didn’t meet up with any of those. I’m not that kind of girl.

There were the matches who I held a healthy email banter with, I met up with those.

There were the matches who clearly had stalker capabilities – nope didn’t meet them.

And there were the matches who were in their twilight years (no I wasn’t browsing ‘sugardaddie.com’)

The ones I met up with were all very nice, perhaps something may have developed if my heart had been in it, but I just enjoyed going out for drinks and meeting them, and learning new things. I had my world opened up to new music, new bands, new bars, new books, and I learnt a lot about myself. There was never any danger involved, I generally took some friends along with me (once I had swallowed my pride and admitted what I was up to!), and so would the guy. It was never a ‘date’ scenario. I effectively made friends with them, and met them as I would meet any other male friend, and enjoyed a good night out. And that was that. I put the experience down to being character building, and that is what life is about!

I had some junk mail sent to me via datingdirect.com, who had clearly got my information from the free dating site, not sure why I did but I clicked on the link – to have a laugh at their suggested ‘matches’ I suppose.

I saw a face smiling off the page at me, and he was hot. We’re talking a ’10’ people. He was so absolutely gorgeous that I concluded he was actually a middle aged balding pervert, who had stolen this gorgeous-looking mans image and was using it to lure women in, for sexting and whatnot… It niggled away at me, and the only way I could view more photo’s was if I joined up. I always figured that actually paying for online dating services was a little… sad? The fact I had been doing it for free for the past year obviously meant I wasn’t in the slightest bit sad….!

I joined for three days only, the minimum time you could join – it was a ‘trial’. I viewed the gorgeous one’s profile, there were more photo’s. He was absolutely knee trembling gorgeous. Nothing remotely middle aged, balding, or perverted about him.

And this people, is how I met Mr O.

The rest, they say, is history.

We didn’t really tell anyone how we met, in fact most people just presumed we had met in a bar. We never bothered to put them straight. That whole taboo issue of online dating being pathetic bothered us a bit, and we didn’t want friends and family judging us, as I had judged the 38 Year Old Love Hunter.

We shared a few emails, shared numbers, spoke on the phone for a month and got to know each other, then we met up (alone this time), then we became close very quickly, we fell in love, we traveled, we moved in together, we got engaged, married, and had Baby O.

I went into our first date thinking that I would make a friend, which is wonderful, one can never have enough friends! I came away from the date with my stomach in knots. I liked him, reallllly like him. Hadn’t felt like this about anyone for a while. What made it worse was the fact that he was, and still is, a ten.

Lucky for me, in his eyes, I am a ten too.

So now whenever a friend has issues with men, my first response is ‘get yourself online!’, there is no shame in it, and when you have a success story like mine there is nothing to be ashamed of.

So ladies, do tell, did you meet yours on the world wide web?

Love,

Jenny x

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Life As A Wife

You spend a long time planning the big event (the wedding that is) that the one thing you look forward to most (in my case anyway) is just being married and making lots of wonderful memories together.

Our first year of marriage has seen an awful lot of change happening, so much so that we haven’t really focused too much on ‘being married’. The arrival of Baby O and moving house has dominated our thoughts, and with so much else to focus on has stood us in good stead. We try and have at least one night a month to go out and do something that isn’t focused on little Wilfred. It’s nice to not be Mummy and Daddy for a few hours, and after our first proper date when baby was 3 months old it felt good to feel Mr O put his arm around me and say ‘There’s my Jen’. (just like to point out he said this whilst I was jumping up and down in a field with beer in my hand, dancing to The Killers in Hyde Park).

I sometimes wonder if the fact we’ve been passing like ships in the night the last few months has done wonders for our marriage, we don’t get time to argue and every moment I get with him is quite pleasant, because we say nice things like ‘your bum looks nice today’ as apposed to ‘how many times have i asked you to pick up that dirty nappy you useless nob’ (which never happens, because he’s like boy wonder when it comes to tidying).

Ultimately the being married aspect hasn’t changed us at all, we are still just as we were before, becoming a Mum is the big life changer! Heck I could write for hours about how becoming a Mum has turned my life upside down (for the better of course).

All those months I spent cacking myself over being a Mrs was futile. Life is no different, life is actually a little more secure, which is nothing but lovely.

I think people should spend a little less time stressing about tying the knot, and just tie the knot already. It’s fantastic being married. My in laws have been married about 89 years, and I love that they have this vast expanse of life behind them, all those memories together just make for a happy and content retirement. Anyone married for that long will tell you it’s not easy, I should imagine they have their fair share of painful memories and testing times, but they still go out on ‘dates’ (they don’t call it such though). They spend time together doing fun things, they share the joy of their grandchildren, and they enjoy time apart when the elder Mr O goes away fishing. Whatever they do, it clearly works, because they are still married after all these years. It is something to be proud of, an achievement in this day and age where divorce is rife. It is something to aspire to.

One day, I will be the elder Mrs O, with my apron on, knocking up a pineapple upside down cake with one immaculately tidy hand, and applying Chanel lipstick with the other.

This might take some practising, I can barely manage to brush my hair in the mornings.

Oh, and here’s a gratuitous shot of Baby O. Just because.

Love Jen x

P.S What are you most looking forward to after the big day?

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Doing What You Love.

I’m not entirely sure when it was that I realised I loved to write.

It sort of happened one day, I was bored at work (mundane office job), and got into some email banter with one of my big clients, and it was mentioned then that I should do something with what I have to say about life.

Then I met Mr O. We shared a few emails, and he was drawn to how my personality came through in my words. He is one of these internet/computer boffins, and although I hadn’t heard of such thing as a ‘blog’ he had, and he encouraged me to start one.

So one day I just bit the bullet, and blogged. I had just gone through the bankruptcy process, and so used that as my subject matter. Then I introduced some true tales, funny things that had happened to me that I felt compelled to write about. Then it sort of evolved into an autobiographical tale of my life.

I never imagined my writing would actually get me anywhere in life, my blog is my hobby, my creative outlet if you will, I don’t earn money from it (nor would I want to) it is true to what I always wanted it to be, and that’s just somewhere for me to let off steam. Now here I am, blogging for Rock My Wedding again, having received praise and encouragement from complete strangers, I am doing a job that I love – not many people can say that about their jobs these days!

The reason I wanted to write about my blog today, isn’t because I am desperately seeking followers, but because I have such a love of the written word, and the main reason I write is because of my Mum. You can tell my Mum and I had an amazing relationship, because I speak of her so often in my pieces. The woman was everything to me.  When growing up she would often tell me she was going to write her book one day, and I would roll my eyes, because I had heard that a million times, and she still hadn’t gotten around to doing anything about it!

Mum loved that I blogged. She used to share the web link with her friends, and I honestly felt I made her so proud with my writing. It’s a nice feeling when you make your Mum proud.

I used to blog pretty much everything in my life, and when Mum became quite ill, with what ended up being terminal lung and bone cancer, I continued to blog.

I blogged through the distress of caring for her.

I blogged through the grief of losing her.

I took a break from blogging because as you can gather, it was quite a dark place in blog land. I knew no one had been reading, so I had been venting freely. It was what I needed to get me through. I have said it before but writing is so cathartic.

Then I gradually found my voice, and carried on writing from my Mums PC.

And do you know what I found whilst saving my word doc?

A folder, entitled ‘Book’.

And it was password protected.

And I couldn’t guess the password for toffee.

So Mum had started her book after all!

I emailed it to my computer boffin big bro (the Chap who kindly walked me up the aisle) and he cracked it open for us.

And she had written one chapter, which was a story loosely based on her life and it finished just before my big sister was born. No juicy gossip.  Hmmm, slightly disappointed. I think we were all hoping for more skeletons to come out the closet!

Looking back over the 4 and a half years of my blogging existence, it reads very honestly, and true to who I am, and as I said earlier it is autobiographical. I look back through it occasionally, and remember moments I ordinarily would have forgotten.  I have almost every milestone in my life recorded forever, and when William is old enough I can sit with him and show him just how excited Mummy and Daddy were to be getting married with him growing in my tummy, and look back at the memories of him growing up.

My blog always reminds me to cherish the memories and live life to the full. And that’s not a bad thing to be reminded of on a daily basis.

Love,

Jen x

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