I'm gonna live like tomorrow doesn't exist

It's probably fair to say that about 86% of the music I listen to was originally introduced to me by Andrew - the man is a big music buff! Mostly the things he recommends aren't mainstream; it'll usually be something really obscure or just very new. One exception to this is Chandelier by Sia. He showed me this video one evening at the start of this month & I instantly fell in love! I was unaware of just how popular this song is and have been hearing it everywhere since, but it's ok because this song and the video are incredible! I must have listened to it about 72 times this month...

D.C.: The National Museum of American History

As part of our one full day in Washington we decided to spend some time in the National Museum of American History. The museum is part of the Smithsonian Institute and collects, preserves and displays the heritage of the United States.
One of the first exhibitions we visited was America on the Move, which explores the role of transportation in American History. This exhibit features 19 historic settings, from the coming of the railroad in 1876 to the suburbs of LA in 1999.
The museum is home to the original Star-Spangled Banner Flag, the flag that flew over Fort McHenry during the Battle of Baltimore in 1812 and inspired the national anthem. Also on display is a part of the lunch counter from the Greensboro, North Carolina Woolworth where a series of non-violent protests in 1960 led to the department store chain reversing its policy of racial segregation.
Another exhibition we made sure to visit was the ongoing American Stories exhibit on the second floor, which features an engaging mix of artefacts to tell stories about the country's history. Despite there being many items that we'd never heard of it was very interesting to learn about them all, and it was fascinating to see so many important pieces of American history on display.
Next we walked through The American Presidency: A Glorious Burden exhibition. This exhibit explores the role of the presidency on American culture and how each president has had an impact on the course of history in some way.

Above is a wall of street signs from the exhibit. In almost every city in the US there is a street named after a former president, with Washington (the 1st president) being the most used, followed closely by Lincoln (the 16th president).
There were many interesting objects in this exhibition, such as an early teddy bear that was created following a 1902 newspaper cartoon of President Theodore Roosevelt, a noted hunter, refusing to shoot a captured bear cub. Another interesting item was the filing cabinet broken in to by President Richard Nixon's administration in 1971 when they were looking for information to use against Daniel Ellsberg. This was the first in a series of break-ins that included the famous incident at the Watergate Hotel.
Sadly we didn't have time to visit The First Ladies exhibition this time but we hope to visit again one day - the museum is full of fascinating objects & gives a very interesting insight in to American history!

Our Homemade Wedding Reception

I can't believe that it's been nearly 4 months since our wedding; boy the time has flown by! I've been meaning to share with you some pictures from our reception, because if we're being honest, after the dress that's really the most important part of a wedding, am I right?!

We decided on our wedding date about an hour before our appointment at the registry office. We were home for Christmas and despite not even being engaged yet, we planned to book a date for "some time in 2014". The date we chose ended up being our anniversary, in March, which gave us a total of 3 months to plan our wedding. Or to be really precise, 13 weeks & 3 days. When we announced this to our family they looked at us, aghast & told us "you won't get it all done in that time!"....so we worked extra hard to prove them wrong! Ha!

The same day we booked the registry office, I bought my dress & before we returned to London we booked the location for our reception and Operation Plan-a-Wedding-in-3-Months had officially begun!
Since joining Pinterest I'd collected quite a lot of wedding ideas, and Andrew, despite his lack of interest before the planning, had some of his own too. Luckily, we were able to merge our visions & agree on (almost) everything - resulting in something we were both very happy with!
Shan Fisher Photography
We knew that we didn't want a colour theme and that we wanted to do a lot of the work ourselves, and thankfully we found the perfect location for our vision - St. Ninian's Parish Centre, a community centre built inside a church. This space was already beautiful, with the original arches and stained glass windows, so there was little effort required on our part.
Shan Fisher Photography
We were able to borrow tables & chairs from the hall, and decided on a long table approach similar to many barn-themed weddings I'd seen on Pinterest. We then covered them in white table cloths & hessian runners found on Ebay. Luckily the red chairs worked perfectly with our no-colour-theme.

Behind the top table we put one of my first, and possibly favourite, purchases - three huge gold balloons. V&A is something I love to use - heck my blog is even named after it! - and we knew right away that they would have to feature somewhere on the day. Ampersand balloons are like gold dust but it was definitely worth the hunt! We also had some cardboard V&A letters to sit with our cards hamper.
Left image: Shan Fisher Photography
We already planned to have Manx Tartan napkins & Andrew suggested we have Manx Tartan bunting too. An "Andrew's idea but Vicky's project", obviously. In the week leading up to the wedding I made SO MUCH BUNTING!! I still have a scar* on my finger from a disagreement with a pin...

As well as not wanting a colour theme, we also didn't want to give favours (another tradition we decided not to follow), deciding instead to give everyone a Marie Curie daffodil pin & donate to a good cause on their behalf instead.
Right image: Shan Fisher Photography
Another of "Andrew's idea but Vicky's project" was the place settings. Whilst I intended to write on parcel tags, he found a font he liked (called Canter) and I then spent hours making them in Photoshop while my lovely Mum cut out & folded each individual one. I used the same design for our seating chart & menu too - how perfect is sage green & gold as a colour combo?!
I loved the idea of displaying old photos, especially old wedding photos. And it was extra special to have the pictures of our grandparents on show as sadly they aren't all with us anymore. On the left are my parents & grandparents, and on the right are Andrew's.
Left image: Shan Fisher Photography
When we were planning the table decorations I knew I wanted jars filled with flowers as the centrepiece, and as my wonderful Mumma had been saving jars for me for the last few months anyway, this was fortunately not a problem. We then purchased a selection of supermarket flowers (that were conveniently reduced) and she set to work arranging them beautifully! And as we are both avid readers with an affection for old books we wanted to feature some of those in the decor too. Again, my Mum was a huge help in finding plain cover hardback books in some local charity shops - she's an angel!
We then had a pretty awesome cake table in the corner with my handmade cake toppers & mini bunting. We never envisaged a huge multi-tiered cake, that just wasn't us, instead we wanted a table of all sorts of cakes, that way we could have all our favourites! We had: a vegan chocolate cake made by Andrew's auntie, fruit cake made by Andrew, a giant Battenberg, cake pops made by Andrew's mum, macarons, iced fingers from Pat-a-Cake (our favourite bakery), carrot & walnut cake, cherry & coconut cake and a Victoria Sponge made by my sister. It was a thing of beauty!
We spent the night before setting everything up and thanks to an awesome team it went swimmingly! Despite making more work for ourselves, it was totally worth it and our vision came together better than we could have ever expected! For us a DIY wedding reception was the only way to go, both as a way of saving money and because it made it more personal to us as a couple. Entrusting such a big part of our day to strangers just wouldn't have felt right.

Did you/would you have a DIY wedding reception? I'd love to hear your thoughts on this!

*wedding keepsake

D.C: The White House, Lincoln Memorial & Washington Monument

The next day was our one full day in Washington and we were very lucky with the weather (hellooo sunshine!) so we hopped on a bus to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue for the most obvious tourist destination in D.C. - Obama's house! The White House has been the residence of every U.S. President since John Adams in 1800 and was designed by James Hoban, an Irish-born architect.
After seeing The White House from the back we headed round to the front where we were swiftly asked to move along because the main man himself was coming outside. So, technically, we saw a tiny speck that was almost definitely the President!
From The White House we walked towards The Washington Monument - an obelisk completed in 1884 to commemorate George Washington, the first American President. We then continued on to the National World War II Memorial - a memorial dedicated to all Americans that served in the war.
From the World War II Memorial we walked alongside the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool up to the Lincoln Memorial itself - a monument built to honour Abraham Lincoln, the 16th U.S. President. It was on the steps of the memorial that Martin Luther King Jr. gave his "I Have a Dream" speech to 250,000 people during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom on August 28th 1963.
Next we headed to the Museum of American History (but I'll post about that separately), via the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden. There were some incredible artworks in the garden, one of my favourites was Thinker on a Rock by Barry Flanagan (below). Flanagan, a Welsh sculptor, was best known for his bronze statues of hares.
On our way back to our Airbnb accommodation for the night we walked past the J. Edgar Hoover Building - the headquarters of the FBI - which has the evolution of the U.S. flag on display outside, this goes from before there was a United States up to the present day, though not all were "official".
Next up on our U.S. adventure (that I am beyond late posting about) is Boston, Massachusetts!


Other posts from Washington:

D.C: The United States Capitol and the National Air & Space Museum