Planning a wedding isn't as easy as Don't Tell the Bride makes it look

I've been feeling pretty overwhelmed by wedding planning the last week or so. I've started referring to it as 'wedding shit', which speaks volumes really.

I'm not sure whether it was guest list traumas, our venue asking for another £1,000 deposit, or the realisation that this is one expensive party; but it just began proper stressing me out for the first time.

We're silly organised, so I'm not stressing that we have loads to do and no time. But the magnitude of the whole thing just hit me hard.

Anyone who has ever planned/is planning a wedding will know how bloody stressful it is. You watch Don't Tell the Bride and think it looks a piece of cake. These fellas get it done in three weeks, no problem.

But holy hell, that is not the case. By the time we get married, we'll have been planning it for over two years. And even that I don't think will have been long enough.

There is literally SO much to think about. Colour schemes, flowers, favours, seating plans, menus, stuff with the registrar, who we want pictures with, first dance song, music for the video... The list is literally endless.

Just when we think we've made progress with it, we realise how much more we still have to do.

And all for just one day!! All this money and effort and time planning for not even 12 hours. Gosh, putting it like that is depressing.

As I continued to get stressed out with 'wedding shit', my future sister and mother-in-law surprised me with a bag of 'bride goodies'. And, my god, did I cry when I opened it and saw all the thought they'd put into it.

I sat on the bedroom floor looking through the bits blubbering like a baby. There's literally no hope for me on my wedding day. The person doing my make-up better have some industrial strength stuff!

Inside the bag (which I've wanted for ages, absolutely love it!) was a pair of snazzy glasses which I will most definitely be wearing the whoooole of my hen weekend.

There was also a gorgeous hanger, which I cannot wait to hang my wedding dress on.

Then, cutest of all, a little bride essentials tin. Inside, wrapped neatly in tissue paper with little petals and hearts, was something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue. Oh and, of course, something alcoholic. Cos, y'know.

They say when you marry a guy you also marry his family and boy did I strike it lucky when I found Tom. His family are amazing, so cute and thoughtful and welcoming of me.

I could literally not ask for better in-laws.

This cute, thoughtful gift made me realise, too, that it really isn't worth me getting stressed over wedding planning. (Yep, it's back to being planning again, not shit).

All that matters is that Tom and I have the best day, with the best people, and we start our married lives together in the most fun, loving way. Which I have absolutely no doubt we will.

Just 280 days to go until the big day (yeah, the countdown is back on!!) and we can't wait!


Meerkat Movies membership is easier & cheaper to get than you think

When Orange stopped doing Orange Wednesdays, I was devastated.  I love going to the cinema, but I find it really expensive without a 2 for 1 deal.

So when Compare the Market started their 2 for 1 cinema deal for a Tuesday or a Wednesday, I couldn't wait to get on board.  Not having anything that needed insuring, though, was a bit of a stumbling block .  That was, until, I discovered that you could qualify for Meerkat Movies membership for travel insurance.

This may not be exactly how Compare the Market expect people to obtain membership for Meerkat Movies, but it's worked for me for two years so I feel I should share it with you and spread the money saving love.

I took out travel insurance for one day, in this country, just for myself.  I think I was going to York for the day shopping, so took out travel insurance.  Just incase, you never know...  It cost me about £2.50.

As a result, I got a year of 2 for 1 cinema - literally saving myself so much money.

Times are hard for many of us at the moment, and we all love a way to save money; whether it's a voucher for Pizza Express or a free dessert at Bella Italia.  So, if you enjoy a trip to the cinema, I would highly recommend getting on this.

I'm no Martin Lewis, you only need to look at the state of my bank halfway through the month to learn that, but I like to try and be savvy with the pennies where I can.

This works even better for us as Tom has an unlimited card for Cineworld, meaning he pays a subscription each month of around £13 and can go to the cinema as many times as he wants.  This, with a Meerkat Movies code, means we both go to the cinema for free.

It's a good job we both enjoy going to the cinema, because that's literally the only date nights we can ever really 'afford' to go on.

So there you go kids, if you were holding out for your car insurance to get Meerkat Movies membership, wait no more.  With so many great films out at the cinema at the moment, this could be just what you need to enjoy them all.  And with the summer holidays in full swing, this could save you a fortune if the kids are in tow!

The only downside? Travel insurance doesn't qualify you for a meerkat toy :(


Saving for a wedding doesn't mean no more fun days out

As a child, Brimham Rocks was one of my favourite places to go.  If you're not from Yorkshire, or have never heard of it, it's essentially a large open space filled with huge rocks, all different shapes and sizes.  I've no idea how they got there, I've probably been told but was having too much fun exploring to pay any attention!

It's like the biggest natural playground you will ever come across.

When we were little we used to go for days out there.  We'd take a picnic and explore the rocks; climbing, jumping, scrambling, falling... It was amazing.

It's also a National Trust place, which means parking is free with your membership card (otherwise it's £5 per car).

We went last weekend for a few hours and I just reverted back to being a kid again.  I even came away with a grazed knee and a few bruises!

It's literally appeals to everyone.  A lot of families, with children running round and exploring; walkers; dog walkers; couples; and then there's the proper experienced climbers tackling the really big rocks with ropes and the lot!

We wandered around for a couple of hours before we got caught in the rain and had to dash back to the car.  But there really is something for everyone.

There's smaller rocks, for smaller people, and bigger rocks for those a bit more daring.  There's plenty of places to sit and enjoy a picnic, there's a little refreshments shed selling drinks and ice-creams, there's loads of lovely walking routes, some beautiful views, and, most importantly, there's a gift shop.

There's also a little view point where you can see out across Yorkshire.  We managed to see Drax Power Station, which is right by where we live, all the way from the top.  You can also apparently see York Minster, but unfortunately it wasn't clear enough to make that out.

We love making the most of our weekends off together and always try and do something.  But doing something is hard when we're saving for a wedding because, unfortunately, everything costs money.  That's why we like to make the most of National Trust places.  Tom has a 'young persons' membership so has the parking pass and the little membership card.  He did get me a membership for my birthday a couple of years ago but we never renewed it when it expired.

But it means that, for the majority of places, we get in for free; as all you usually pay for is parking.  Winning.

We went to Clumber Park the weekend before and saved £7 I think on entry/parking, all because of the trusty National Trust pass.

It means that we can still enjoy days out together, especially during the nice weather, without it having to break the bank.  We just chuck some sandwiches and snacks in the car and take a really low-budget 'picnic', carrier bag and all, and we're away.

Obviously we have the petrol cost (I say 'we', Tom always drives hehe), but it's nothing compared to what we'd be spending otherwise.

Don't get me wrong, I'd love to spend a day in Leeds shopping and drinking cocktails at Angelica and having lunch, but those kind of fun activities need to be saved for special occasions/times when I actually have some money left after paying the mortgage/bills/wedding fund.

I'm sure there are many others in the same position as us, not wanting to waste the nice weather sat at home but not wanting to waste money on days out, so hopefully this will give you some inspiration.

There are so, so many nice places you can go and explore for 'free' with a National Trust membership.  Earlier this year we went to Hardcastle Crags which was beautiful.  Again, we didn't have to pay entry or parking because of our little pass.  Fountains Abbey, too, is another place we like to visit.

If you like exploring the outdoors and are looking for some cheap places to go this summer, I'd definitely recommend checking out the National Trust.  Some places, like Fountains Abbey, is in individual entry fee.  So if we went there, Tom would get in for free and I would have to pay.  But many places it's just parking, so just one person would need a membership.

For families, I imagine this could be a lifesaver with a long six weeks of summer holidays staring you in the face at the moment.

We probably don't make as much use out of our membership as we could do, but I'm sure when we eventually start a family it'll become invaluable to us (and our sanity!)

Hello Facebook, I am on board!

I've finally got round to taking a pro-active step with my blog and have created a Facebook page specifically for that.  It might not seem like a big deal, but I finally feel like I am taking this whole blogging thing seriously now.

It means there's a place I can spam my blog posts, without peeing off my Facebook friends who really don't care about what I have to say.  It also will stop (I hope) so many random people adding me on Facebook.

Don't get me wrong, I love it when people send me nice messages on Facebook after reading my blog.  That really makes me feel like it's all worthwhile.  I got a really nice one once from a lady who'd stumbled across my Slimming World blogs and joined off the back of reading my experience.  That definitely was a nice one to read.

But a friend request is sometimes a bit far.  I hope I don't sound too mean here.  Often when I've had a blog post go viral I find myself getting loads of friend requests from people I have zero mutual friends with.  At least this way, they can like my page and see all my blogging updates without having to see personal things that I only want to share with my friends and family.  Apologies if you now think I'm a massive bitch, I promise you I'm not really!

Anyway, back to my page, I haven't really done a right lot on it so far.  I literally just made the page half an hour ago.  But it's work in progress, and I'm excited!

I really want to make my blog a success, so I'm really going to commit to writing more engaging, interesting content.  It's all well and good me babbling about things in my life, but I'm sure many people don't care about that.

So, if you haven't already, please head over to my page and give it a like.

I'll try and be funny, so it won't be a wasted like.  And I'll try not to spam you all too much.

You'll find me by searching NatalieDerham.co.uk in the search bar or visiting www.facebook.com/wordsbynat.

While I'm on with the begging I may as well go all out... so if you could possibly share my page or invite your friends to like it too, that would be magnificent.

I've had so, so much support from so many people since I started writing my blog, and I really appreciate all the likes and shares and lovely comments I've had to far.  Hopefully this is the start of the next very exciting chapter for me.

So buckle up guys we're off on this ride together!


A little message to the kids who called me fat today

Tonight I just want to share with you what I encountered on my way home from work, and hopefully reach out to some young girls, and boys, in the process to teach them a little something about body image and body shapes.

So, I was walking home, as I do most nights, and came across some school kids. I'd say, roughly, about 14/15. Obviously they were full of the joys, having just broken up today for summer, and I could hear them before I saw them.

They were on the opposite side of the road to me, there was probably about six of them, a mix of boys and girls.

I could hear them shouting stuff, then realised it was at me.

"Woah she's so fat!!"

"Shit, she's got such a fat arse!"

These were the only two comments I could make out, the rest were (thankfully) drowned out by the traffic.

I had a quick look round, to see if they were shouting at/about someone else, but there was just me.

I couldn't believe it. I was, literally, so shocked.

For one, I actually don't think I am fat. Not being big-headed or anything, but I'm not. I'm 10 and a half stone, I'm a size 8-10, my BMI is slap bang in the middle of healthy - I'm definitely not fat.

Granted, I do have a big bum, but it's definitely not a "fat arse".

The opinions of these pre-pubescent pricks are really no concern to me, I'm not upset or angry or bothered at all that they think I'm fat. I know I'm not, and that's all that matters.

What concerns me is that they think my size/shape is 'fat'. That the teenage girls who were with them think that this isn't a healthy body shape. That having curves and a big bum is classed as 'fat'. Sure, I don't have the body of a Victoria's Secret model, but that's not normal. I haven't got time to work out with a personal trainer three times a day. Hell, who could honestly even be arsed?!

I'm probably carrying a little extra weight at the moment - I'm on my period, a bit bloated etc. - but them kids were wrong, I'm not fat. It's just lucky I know that, and they didn't shout it to someone really insecure or someone with a complex about their size.

Those girls shouldn't be striving to look like the girls that magazines tell us are skinny. Who aren't actually real, they're air brushed. They should strive to be normal, curvy, happy.

And they really should think about the consequences of their words. Because their words could've had a detrimental effect on me. I'm almost 25, I'm a grown woman now. I don't care what silly little children or snotty nosed teenagers who are on a high about breaking up from school say or think. But others may not be in the same head space as me.

So please, always think before you say unkind words to others. Even if you think someone is a bit chubby, you don't need to say it. They may be totally happy as they are. You don't know what anyone is going through in their private lives. The battles anyone is fighting behind closed doors. There's no need to shout and humiliate anyone in any situation. About anything: their looks, their size, their dress sense, their hair... Anything.

And, FYI, I ain't fat. I took these photos when I got home. Yep, I'm hippy and have a big bum, but I am not fat. I'm happy, healthy and actually pretty hungry right now cos I've not had my tea yet.


Whoever said "planning your wedding is best time in your life" was on some serious drugs.

Whoever said "planning your wedding is best time in your life" was on some serious drugs.

I could not agree with that sentiment any more right now.

I haven't written a wedding blog for a while and, although I'm not feeling the wedding love/excitement right now, I'm going to do my best!

Tom and I have been having an absolute ball planning everything up until now.  We're pretty organised, all things considered, and have our videographer, photographer, favours ordered, little page boy suit taken care of, venue styling sorted, my dress chosen - everything was falling into place.

A month or so ago we decided to look into booking our honeymoon.  Mainly to get an idea of the cost and a feel for where we could feasibly afford to go given that we would have just paid over £100 a head for 80-odd of our family and friends to have dinner and drinks.

As we found our dream location (Dubai and the Seychelles) was within our budget, we decided we would go ahead and book it.  The deposit wasn't much and we wouldn't have to pay the balance until July.  Fabulous.

What we didn't realise was that we almost booked the damn thing for this September instead of next.  Cue a panic and meltdown of epic proportions from myself as I imagined us going on this huge, extravagant 'holiday' this September, and ending up in bloody Brid for our actual 'honeymoon'.

Thankfully, though, our amazing travel lady sorted it all out for us and we didn't actually end up booking anything for this September.  We're now just waiting for the flights to be released for next September then we can go ahead and get that all booked.  So exiting!

Although, now, I wish we had just booked to go this year to escape from the hell-hole that is wedding planning/general life at present.  Never ever have Tom and I needed a holiday so bad.

As a child, I always imagined that planning my wedding would be a magical, happy, exciting time.  No stress and just happy tears.


I mean, before I was engaged, I had the whole thing planned on Pinterest and that was fine.  But add actual people into the mix and that's where shit goes west; like Kayne style.

Before I started planning our wedding I could never understand how/why people could elope and get married.  Now, on the other hand, I wish that's exactly what we'd done.  I mean, had we accidentally booked our honeymoon for this September we could have just got married there, saved all the hassle.

I'm still in a rotten mood about it all and feel totally unexcited about the whole thing at the moment.  I haven't even updated our countdown since Sunday, that's how bad it is.

I realise this is a very depressing post about what is supposed to be a very happy topic, but I'm really not feeling the joy at the moment.  Absolutely kills me to say that.  I'm usually like the most irritating excited bride-to-be going.  Hopefully the next time I bring you a wedding update I'll have found my way out of this black hole and will be back to being annoyingly excited, counting down the days/hours/minutes until I become Mrs Kershaw.

I've officially hit adulthood - I had to unblock my own hair from the plughole

I realised the other night as I stood ankle-deep in water in the shower that sometimes I still really need my mum and dad.

Yep, I was 99% sure there was a huge hairball of mine clogging the plug hole.  Now, if I still lived at mum and dad's I'd just drop it into conversation with my dad and, being the hero he is, he would swoop in a unblock it.  Not before bringing the huge offending hairball into my bedroom to show me what I'd done, of course.  I never understood how my blonde hair could become so dark and gross.

But there's none of that now.  I could text him and ask him to come unblock it, but I'm pretty sure the response would only be two words, one of them being 'off'.

As I attempted to yank my manky hair out of the plughole it made me realise that, even though I'm almost 25, there are still things I need my parents for.

I'm a pretty independent person and I always thought I was far more grown up beyond my years when I was growing up.  But when I'm sick I still want my mum there holding my hair back, and when the chain on a necklace breaks I still need my dad to fix it.  My dad could probably start a pretty successful handyman/gardening business after all the hours he's spent at our house hanging things, fixing things, making things and building things.  One week he's fixing a leak in our washing machine pipe, the next he's laying a patio, then he's fixing my car.

I was always a grateful child, teenager and adult when I lived with my mum and dad.  I always pulled my weight around the house and made sure they knew I appreciated all that they did for me.  But I can't help thinking I should have asked to learn to do more for myself.  Like filling my car washer bottles, for example, or checking the oil in my car.  Something my dad would always do when he washed my car each week.  Now I have to pay £5 for it washing and nobody checks those for me. *sob*

Actually, that's a fib, Tom does my washer bottles and hoovers my car out and sorts any other vehicle-related problems for me.  I just need to train him to unclog my hair from the shower plug hole and I'll really be onto a winner!

Don't get me wrong, I'm not completely useless.  I'm a pretty good cook and can make a banging Sunday dinner.  Me and Tom have lived in our own house for over 18 months now and the place is still standing - we've not burnt it to the ground or had any disasters (aside from Tom falling down the stairs one night and smashing a glass ornament!)  But there are just some things I always go straight to my parents for, and probably always will.

It's not all bad, though, I'm quite certain they like it a little bit when I still need them for things.  I'm sure that unblocking my hair from the plughole would not be something they'd appreciate, though!

On a side note, if anyone can tell me how to properly unclog the plughole in the shower I would be eternally grateful.  I've bought that sink and plughole unblocker before but it obviously can't be that great as it's more blocked now than it was before I used it a month or so ago!  It was Home Bargains' own version though, maybe I need to stop being so tight and splash out on Mr Muscle.

Gosh, being a homeowner is hard work!


There's a Love Island shaped hole in my life and I'm not sure what to do.

For the last six weeks, each time 8.55pm has rolled around I've been frantically grabbing a drink and any necessary snacks ready to tune into the best hour of the day: Love Island.

Never had a Saturday night been dreaded so much, with that being the only night that we couldn't get our fix of the Islanders. Sob.

It even got to the stage where our social life (I say that in the loosest possible way, we're hardly social butterflies) took a hit because we didn't want to miss an episode.  After going to Nando's one night for tea, Tom asked if I wanted to go to the cinema after.  I looked at my watch, it was 8.25pm.  "Nah,"  I said.  "If we leave now we'll be home for Love Island."  And we were, just in time.

There is a huge Love Island shaped hole in my life now, to the point where I actually wonder what I did before the show bounded into our lives.

Never did I expect to get so hooked, when my friend recommended I start watching it all those weeks ago.  "I'll give it a go," I said to her, not really thinking it would end up being the highlight of each day.

Tom was just as hooked as me too, which I loved.  I came home from shopping one day to find him sat catching up on the previous night's episode that he'd missed.  He also loved bouncing through the door from work telling me the latest spoilers for that night's episode.  "How do you know that?" I'd ask him.  "Oh, I read it on The Mirror," he'd say.

Guy after my own heart, right there!

He even chose Love Island to be on the TV over the football when the Euros were on.  Granted, when England played, Love Island was on after (although, given their performance, it would have far more entertaining to watch Love Island instead!)

Everyone was talking about it, and everyone had their opinion.

Terry and Emma's sexcapades on top of the covers - was it to get back at Tom?  Or was she trying to stop it being filmed?  Was she playing a game?  Or were they just in the heat of the moment?

Malin's confrontation with Terry - was she right to have a go at him?  Did he cheat on her?  Should he have just said sorry?

Sophie and Katie's fleeting coupling - was Sophie playing a game?  Was Katie playing a game?  Was the 'kiss' on their date really a proper kiss?  Did Sophie just leave because she panicked about public perception after the tweet game?

Kady and Scott - there were just too many questions there!  Who was mugging who off?  Was Scott right to forgive her for the James thing and the way she spoke to Tina on the infamous Hideaway night?  Were they just sticking together to try and win?  Will they have a future?

Then Zara.  Poor, poor Zara.  Should she have been stripped of her Miss GB title?  (Hell no, in my opinion!)  Should Adam have coupled up with her in the first place?  If she'd stayed would she have ever found love?

SO many questions, the debate was never-ending.

When I heard earlier this week there was to be a spin-off show this weekend, I was literally overjoyed.  I've kept saying I want to see what goes on when they are all out.  How are we to know if they all stay together?  If Sophie and Tom made up?  If Terry and Emma really will last on the outside?  Or if Terry will ever admit he was a complete douchebag?

I've found that incessantly stalking them all on social media goes some way towards filling the void in my life at the moment, but it's just not the same.

Especially not without the incredible wit of the Love Island voiceover guy, who somehow even managed to crack Brexit jokes at a time when everyone else in the country seemed to be having a meltdown.

His witty commentary, well-timed jokes and off-the-cuff remarks were just one of the reasons this has been, possibly, my favourite reality TV show ever.

The 'scandal' that has apparently surrounded it is laughable really.  The show is called Love Island, it's not called 'Convent Island'.  People went in there with the aim of finding love.  Nathan and Cara, for example, clicked from day one.  On the outside world, it would be so rare for couples to wait six weeks before having sex.  Given the fact they were in there in such an intense situation, seeing each other 24/7, it probably felt more like they'd known each other six months.  Something that, these days, is an unfathomable amount of time to wait.

The old-fashioned attitude of not having sex on TV was so apparent in some of the criticism.  Fair enough you wouldn't expect to see Gail Platt or Sally Webster having sex on Coronation Street.  But that's not reality TV (or on after the watershed).

Reality TV is to show reality and, when people have strong romantic and sexual feelings for each other, sex is the reality.

That's why Zara getting stripped of her Miss GB crown was, to me, so ridiculous.

The girl is 20.  Fair enough, she only knew the guy a few hours and that's possibly not the best way to initiate it, but 20-year-old girls do have one night stands.  They do make mistakes.  I get the feeling that even if Zara had been in a Nathan and Cara style relationship, and had sex on TV, she still would have been stripped of her title - which, too, would have been uncalled for.

The old-fashioned outlook of the organisation was almost laughable.  The poor girl had worked so hard to achieve her title.  What do these people expect her to do?  Wear a chastity belt for the entire length of her reign?  Women like sex just as much as men do, and it's unfair that she was penalised for that.

Ooft, got onto a bit of a rant there!

I'm already mega excited for next year's season, but I would have a few suggestions for the producers/makers.

Number one - pleeease make it more than one hour a night.  Or at least give us a proper show on a Sunday.

If that's not possible, number two: Can we have a spin-off show?  X Factor has The Xtra Factor and Big Brother has Bit on the Side - Love Island could have something similar.  It could feature dumped Islanders giving their opinion on things and Islanders from former series coming back, as well as other well-known celebs/personalities on a panel.   I'd be happy to present it, if you're needing someone.  Just saying.

Number three - Ditch the couple who were part of the Superdrug advert, they were more annoying than Zara's constant references to being Miss GB.

Number 4 - Can we have more Caroline Flack please?  I love her, don't get me wrong, but her role this season barely warranted her being called 'the presenter'.  If I'd heard her say 'This summer, it's survival of the fittest' one more time... More Flack next time, ta!

Number 5 - Six weeks went by too quick, next year's should be longer!

All in all, it's safe to say Love Island pulled me in good and proper.  I can't wait to see if the couples stay together.  If Nathan and Cara split, though, I think I will have a meltdown.

Cheers, Love Island, see you next summer!