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Life

Seven Spring Fashion Finds

April 5, 2019
spring fashion
spring fashion

Hello – I’ve been so MIA recently, well only on here and Instagram, I’ve absolutely been showing up to all the mummy duties I’ve landed myself in! 

If you follow me on Instagram a few weeks back I shared my new little venture, tobi & ro, a pop up floral studio. Yes, in amongst family and freelance life I have been training with the fabulous Jil from Flower School NI to learn (the very beginnings) of the wonderful world of floristry. I hosted my very first pop up shop last weekend in R.Nook in the Linen Green. I sold out by 2pm so as you can imagine I was thrilled and I’m super excited to do it all over again very soon. 

Anyway, back to blogging. I’ve been doing my own head in recently reading about the world of blogging and where it’s going. No one knows for sure, but I don’t remember starting this whole thing off to do anything more than share my knowledge and insights on the NI wedding industry, as well as gorgeous real weddings, so for the foreseeable that’s exactly what I intend to do! Today though I’ve been having a little online hunt for some spring wardrobe essentials that will see me through to summer – it’s my birthday next week so you know, planning ahead 😉 

Have a great weekend and see you next week, I’ll be back with a fab Dublin wedding! Em x

Dungarees | Yellow bag |Cloud jumper | Raincoat | Breton top |Headband | Trainers

Life

Life: The Perfect Tea Drinking Mug

February 27, 2019
tea drinking mugs

As a serial tea drinker – 6 mugs a day and I’m not even sorry about it – I have quite a fondness for a good tea drinking mug. Recently, thanks to my clumsy tendencies my mug shelf is looking a little bare, so I’ve been hunting for some really good ones to replace them. Great mug = Happy Emma!

I hope you don’t mind me firing a little touch of lifestyle content in here now and again, sometimes it’s nice to take a little break from bridal and what could be better than some tea drinking vessels – that’s about as exciting as my life gets, I’m sure yours is much wilder! 😉 

tea drinking mugs

Locally crafted

Left: Handmade sandy mugs by Zara Ceremics.

Top right: Grey with olive interior mugs produced by Derek Wilson exclusively for Maven, Belfast.

Bottom right: Yellow wheel thrown earthenware cup by Kilkenny master potter, Caroline Dolan via Irish Design Shop.

Neutral

Top left: White geometric shaped, Asda.

Bottom left: Natural striped effect large cup, Marks & Spencer.

Right: Hand-throw natural spot mugs by Senay Yildiran from In Klover.

Slogan

Left: Merci mug, Anthropologie.

Top right: Winning at life mug, Oliver Bonas.

Bottom right: The time is now mug, Dunnes Stores.


Bright

Left: Colour block speckle mugs, West Elm.

Right: Blue marble effect mug, Anthropologie.

(Featured image: Anthropologie)

Life

New Year Ramblings + My Homely Habits

January 4, 2019
musings Emma Smith
musings Emma Smith

Happy Friday! How was your first week of 2019?

I always wonder if this type of content has a place here, amongst the pretty weddings and stories of love, but you know more times than not I decide, it’s my blog so I will create the content I want to, warts and all! I’m a busy mum of four, a wife and a freelance creative so of course sometimes I will want to churn out a few words on life, my life. If it’s only wedding pretty you’re after maybe skip back to the homepage and take it from there. 

This morning (yesterday when you’re reading this!) it took five alarms and two phone calls from my husband to waken me! The eldest was back to school and it was bloody hard work to get her (and the other three) up and out, dear help us all on Monday! Whilst I have been working over the Christmas holidays, joy of being freelance and all that, today feels like it’s back to proper work so I thought it a good time to share my New Year habits – habits, not resolutions. 

I’m not a resolutions type girl. Never have been, I’m just not that bothered about holding myself accountable if I fail at a. not running enough, b.not eating enough green stuff, or c. insert New Year resolution of your choice here! I take the New Year as the kick up the butt I need to get back to basics and make life easier. Here’s a few habits – all home/kids based – that I’m working on to make the wheels run smoother… 

musings Emma Smith

– Get up before the kids. Even ten minutes of peace and pottering before the hillbillies join me sets my day up in the right way.

– Never leave dishes on the drainer at night. I don’t own a dishwasher (I know,I should get an MBE or something for that fun fact!!), I am the dish washer and nothing annoys me more than getting up and finding the dishes from the night before waiting to be dried and cleared away. 

– One load of laundry a day – four kids, all big swimmers need I say more?

– Save £20 every week for holiday grocery shopping. We’re heading to France again this year and our ‘big’ shop always costs more than we budget for. This year I’ll be prepared with a list and the Euro. 

– Meal plan weekly & online food shop  – after years of faffing back and fourth with online grocery shopping I’ve Janine Walker to thank for laying it out plain and simple! 

– Friday is to remain pizza and ice cream day for the kids. No explanation needed.

That’s it for now. I’m sure over the next while I will add more to my little habit list, things that I do to keep me sane. 

Today on Instagram stories I asked if you had any questions to ask me – thanks to the two lovely people who did – seriously guys I need more love over there!! 

So, Denver in answer to your question, Do you know what a mule is?, and without Googling the answer a mule is either a type of shoe, like the slip on type or is it some kind of horse/donkey/ass/cow hybrid?! 

And Frankie (Love Audrey) asked my biggest lesson learnt from 2018 – wow, lots and lots, including remembering how crazy a one year old is, that I just can’t work if I don’t have my ducks in a row or if I’m overly stressed, that my ultimate, ultimate why is my husband and kids, that we need to travel more and that it’s ok to take a step back if you need to.

Thanks Frankie that made me think! 

If you’ve reached the end, thanks for reading my ramble! Who knows where 2019 will take us all but fingers crossed it’s somewhere nice, now back to wedding pretty for a while! Happy Friday, Em xx

Life

A Big Birthday, A Giveaway & An Exciting Launch!

December 28, 2018
birthday blog
birthday blog

Hello, welcome and hello again!

I hope you all had a fabulous Christmas and are enjoying this wee random bit between the big event and New Year? 

Today The Promise turns five – I can’t quite believe it, I have been hanging around here for five whole years! On Saturday 28th December 2013 I hit publish on my first ever blog post, Style Saturday. The site looked nothing like this and I didn’t even tell anyone about it for three months. I’m glad I found the courage to speak up and would like to take this perfect opportunity to say a huge thank you for all those supporters who have been here from the beginning and still come back now, I’m really touched and grateful. 

blog birthday,
Image by Honey and the Moon 

By way of a thank you to the beautiful brides who currently follow The Promise here, on our Instagram and Facebook accounts this evening at 8pm we’ll be launching a giveaway in association with Sinead Smith, Maid By Sinead Bridal Makeup. Make sure you hop over and enter, all details will be on each post. 

Now, today I’m being brave, I’m going with my inner courage and I’m launching the latest string to my bow – Emma Smith Wedding Consultant. Yikes, I’m excited and nervous in equal measure but it’s something I’ve been thinking about for a long time now. 

Emma Smith Wedding Consultant

Back in the days when I worked for a bridal magazine my favourite parts of the job were planning the content, working out a plan to create that content and plan the cover and bridal photoshoots. I am the ultimate planner and love nothing more than a project to manage. Add in my clear love of weddings, my 13 years (wow, that makes me feel old!) experience of the NI wedding scene and suppliers and I have a great package to help couples who need a little help, who don’t have the time or are seriously scared of the whole dam thing!! 

To read more about this new venture visit here

I’m SO excited for 2019 – I declared to my bestie a few weeks ago that ‘it will be my year!’ and I really believe it will be. Once again, thanks for hanging out here & here’s to the New Year, have a good one and see you soon, Emma xx 

Life

The Real Mama #4 – Lauren McGee

December 21, 2018
The Real Mama, Lauren McGee, LIT Photography

Hey, happy Friday! Hopefully it’s your last working day before Christmas? 

I’ve a real treat of a mama to share today! Over the last five years of blogging I have met (both online and in real life) a lot of lovely and very interesting people, many of them mums who, just like me, are doing their best to provide happy homes and lives for their families. One of those people is Lauren McGee, North Coast photographer who runs under the name of LIT Photography. Lauren was one of our suppliers at the last Love at the Linen Green event, and a nicer wee doll you couldn’t wish to meet! Thanks Lauren for taking part in this series. 

The Real Mama, Lauren McGee, LIT Photography

Who are you?

I’m Lauren, wedding and lifestyle photographer also known as LIT photography NI. 

Instagram handle?   

@litphotographyni for my work photos but personal stories or @lauren_lit_ for more personal photos. 

Love it or Loathe it?

I absolutely love Instagram and the wonderful community we have in Northern Ireland. When I was suffering from Postnatal Depression after I had my daughter, following honest open accounts such as @TobyandRoo @Mother_pukka and @motherofdaughters really made me feel less alone. 

What is your family set up?  

My partner (impatiently waiting on the ring) Jason and I have two children. Tyler who is 7 and Isla who is 3. We also have our dog Yogi who we rescued. 

Where do you live?

I live in Portrush. The most amazing place to raise kids. People think Portrush is best in summer, but we love it in winter when we have it to ourselves. There’s nothing better than getting wrapped up and exploring an empty beach.

What do you do for work? 

I’m a self employed photographer, but I’ve done it all. When my son Tyler was diagnosed with Autism when he was 2, I was a stay at home mum while I navigated getting him support and therapy. After I had Isla, I really wanted to get back to work and started my business. By chance I then got, what I thought was my dream job in politics, so I juggled a job, a business and being a mum. I soon realised that wasn’t sustainable so now being self employed allows me the flexibility my family life needs. 

The Real Mama, Lauren McGee, LIT Photography

Three words that describe your household?

Chaotic, strong and loved.

Do you think you have a good work/life balance?

Definitely not, but I don’t think there is any such thing, in fact I believe it’s another unnecessary pressure we put on ourselves. Some weeks will be all work, other weeks will be all about the kids and family time. It’s just how it goes. It’s taken me a while to accept that it’s ok that I love my work and that I want to work. I used to feel like that made me a bad mother because I didn’t want to spend every moment with them. Now I realise that I’m actually setting them a great example of work ethic and my balance is that the work I’m doing allows me to give them wonderful experiences.

How do you manage to work/run a creative business around your kids? 

I am so lucky to have the most amazing family support. My son can’t go to childcare, and he struggles with school, so my mum is so vital for helping me with Tyler. Isla goes to childcare and has a wonderful Nanny who is a great help. I do tend to work best in the evenings though when they go to bed so a lot of my work gets done then. 

Any hard rules you stick to both in work & family life?

Your mental health is the most important, and I live by a firm ethos that it takes priority over everything. As someone who has struggled with depression, and now my son is struggling with his mental health, I make a point of taking mental health days whenever they are necessary. 

How do you relax? 

Weirdly, even though it’s my job, taking photos is how I relax. I love taking personal photos and letting my creativity run free. I also love getting a massage whenever I can.

Best book you’ve read recently?

‘Start With Why’ – Simon Sinek (this changed my life).

Any other books you need to share?

‘You’re a Badass at Making Money’ – Jen Sincero. This was amazing at changing how we look at money – a must for anyone who is self employed. 

Music choices?

The Greatest Showman soundtrack is my anthem and has been for the last 6 months. I’m also pretty obsessed with A Star Is Born and its soundtrack (bit of a theme here). 

Favourite podcasts? 

I haven’t really got into podcasts. I do love a good audiobook though. 

How do you and your partner stay connected?

We try to get nights away as often as possible. Getting away from the house and the kids and just being us is so needed. 

The Real Mama, Lauren McGee, LIT Photography

Style – do you feel you have a signature style? 

I wish I did. I have a ‘whatever mood I’m in’ style. Most days when I juggling the mayhem of life you’ll find me in jeans and a hoody, but when I’m feeling a bit more together my clothes reflect that and I’d say I can look pretty smart. 

Shops you love?

Marks and Spencer is amazing this year. I also love New Look for a bargain. 

Did your style change since becoming a mum? 

Completely. I look back at what I wore before and can’t believe I ever went out in anything so short. But considering I had Tyler when I was 21 it wasn’t really inappropriate. 

Beauty products you love? 

Mario Bidescu face spray and Simple moisturiser. I also swear by Revlon’s Uniq One for your hair – it’s a miracle worker for blondes. 

What family meal is guaranteed to be eaten by everyone?

Spaghetti bolognese.

Rainy day survival tactic?

Movies on the sofa with lots of popcorn. 

Any mum hacks you couldn’t live without? 

iPads. I know that they can be really frowned upon, but I’ve found them so useful and there are some incredible educational apps for the kids. Tyler really struggles with reading, but I was able to get him the Biff, Chip and Kipper books and games on his iPad and that’s how he learned to read. 

What one piece of advice would you give to your 18 year old self? 

You are good enough. You might not see it yet, but there is a place for you in this world and you will find it. Keep your head up, keep going and know that every challenge is helping you become the person you want to be. 

Once again, thanks Lauren for the insight into your life and career! 

Well, that’s me until next Friday when I have something VERY exciting to share, so I’d love to wish you all a merry Christmas – see you back her in a week! Em x

Life

The Real Mama #3 – Emma Martin

December 14, 2018
Emma Martin The Real Mama | The Promise NI

Hello and a very happy Friday! 

So, how are your Christmas preparations going? I am so nearly set with gifts but having ‘all-the-bad-foods-of-the-world’ stockpiled hasn’t happened yet. Next week for sure, before the kids break up for the holidays. 

Today we have the very beautiful and sweet mum of three, Emma Martin from Amble & Ash on board to share her wisdom. 

Emma has one of the prettiest Instagram feeds and an incredible home that I could literally move into tomorrow if she let me! She also enjoys sharing the South of France with her kids as do I, so you know, we’re practically besties! 

Thanks Emma (Martin- wow, lots of Emma’s!) for sharing your real moments. 

Emma Martin The Real Mama | The Promise NI

Who are you?

Emma Martin. I’m a blogger and freelance writer and mum of three.

Instagram handle? 

@littlewoodlife

Love it or Loathe it? 

I have phases with IG. I love the community and the chat amongst likeminded people. It can be a pretty dark place at times too though. I always try to focus on the positive where possible and it’s the individual people that keep me coming back!

What is your family set up?

I have one husband 😉 and my children are 9, 11 and 13 – Annie, Noah and Eva.

Where you live?

In the Co.Down countryside.

What do you do for work? 

I’m self employed and I write for various brands and businesses as well as styling for interiors photo shoots.

Three words that describe your household?

Manic, Loud, Happy. 

Do you think you have a good work/life balance?

I like to think I have but then sometimes it all catches up with me and I’m inevitably trying to keep all the plates spinning. The self employed life is one where you have to accept that routine often isn’t possible. I’m constantly squeezing things in where I can, between ballet and school runs, homework and putting a wash on.  It’s a constant juggle.

How do you manage to work/run a creative business around your kids? 

I try to work while the kids are in school, but sometimes 9-3 won’t always suffice. I don’t have any childcare and am a full time stay at home mum too, so there is a fair bit of answering emails from the car and catching up after they (eventually!) go to bed. They are older now, and have lots of evening clubs and activities, so I’m often burning the midnight oil.

Any hard rules you stick to both in work & family life?

If you are going to do something, then do it wholeheartedly. I think that applies to both work and family really! I never commit to anything that I might begrudge doing, and always want to bring enthusiasm to everything I do. I hope that has rubbed off on the kids a little too. 

How do you relax? 

I don’t think I’ve properly relaxed since 2003, ha! I love an evening bath though, and a flick through an interiors magazine. I’ve a stack of unread ones that I keep meaning to get to!

Best book you’ve read recently?

I’ve not long finished The Keeper of Lost Things which I really enjoyed. I’m a huge fan of Kate Morton and can’t wait to read The Clockmaker’s Daughter.

Any other books you need to share?

The House at Riverton by Kate Morton is my all time favourite. I’d really recommend!

Music choices?

I’m not a big music person. I’ll always choose silence over noise. 😉

Favourite podcasts?

As above!

How do you and your husband stay connected?

Lately we’ve been trying to take little breaks away together more regularly. Now that the kids are a bit older, it is easier to escape on our own and we really see the benefit every time we do.

Style – do you feel you have a signature style?

I’m really influenced by French style, both in interiors and my personal style too. In my opinion, French girls do everything perfectly – from undone hair to their beautiful clothes and minimal makeup.

Shops you love?

Zara, Mango and my wish list is a mile long at Sezane!

Did your style change since becoming a mum? 

I actually think I honed it a lot more after. There was less time for experimenting and wearing fussy, impractical clothing. I was never glamorous before, but everything just became so much simpler after!

Beauty products you love? 

I’m a huge fan of Origins products, and they just seem to work so well on my skin. My holy grail is Becca highlight though. It gives you glow on the days when you definitely don’t have any!

What family meal is guaranteed to be eaten by everyone?

Sunday Roast! Specifically, chicken. My kids are classically fussy eaters and I’m tearing my hair out most evenings. Everyone loves a chicken dinner though!

Rainy day survival tactic?

IKEA! Ha! Andrew absolutely hates it but I bribe him with a milkshake and hot dog at the end. 😉

Any mum hacks you couldn’t live without? 

We’ve recently just put a chalkboard up in our kitchen and I’m writing important messages and things for the kids to remember up there. I spent many years racing about organising everyone but I’m trying to give ownership over to them a little more now. So far so good! 

What one piece of advice would you give to your 18 year old self? 

Don’t be so concerned with what others’ think. Will it matter to you in five years time? If it will then it’s worth worrying over, if not then let it go.

Life

Christmas Gift Ideas: Chic Stationery

December 7, 2018
stationery

Evening all!
I hope you’re either tucked up warm in front of the fire or out enjoying some Christmas cheer!
Friday night for us is zone out night. The kids get to stay up late and we take it very easy, just what we all need after a hectic week and an even busier weekend ahead.
Tonight I’m being a little indulgent with this post of nine stylish stationery (and home decor) pieces, I’d happily give and receive them all.
Have a fab weekend! x

stationery

Planner diary, Busy B | Glitter pom pom pencil case, Oh Squirrel | Fun print, Hello Geronimo

Jolly good pencils, Oh Squirrel | Pink charging cable, Paperchase | Desktop calendar, Kate Spade 

Gratitude journal, Kikki K | Blah blah blah notebook, Hello Geronimo | Busy agenda, Magpie Decor