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2019 has so far been a year of travel and I am LOVING every second of it! In March, Jordan and I took our first big trip of the year and finally visited beautiful Iceland.

If I’m honest, I’d always been put off going on a ‘cold’ holiday, and this trip was definitely more Jordan’s choice than mine. Nonetheless, I was completely proven wrong and I wouldn’t hesitate to get my snow boots back on and visit another cold country soon.

There was something about Iceland that completely captivated me. It is like no country I’ve every visited (on the drive from the airport to our cabin I couldn’t stop squealing “I feel like I’m living in a water bottle label!”) and if you go to the right places, Iceland offers a total sense of serenity that has to be experienced to be believed.

I got TOTALLY carried away writing this post and quickly realised that I was going to have to split it into two posts, so stay tuned for my ultimate 4 day itinerary for a holiday in Iceland, which will be coming soon!

Today however, I’m sharing my top tips for travelling to Iceland, so keep scrolling to read everything I learned about visiting this incredible country.

Iceland | Tips for Travelling to Iceland | The Ivory Book


Iceland: At a glance

Currency: Icelandic Króna, however cards are widely accepted.

Language: Icelandic, although you will find that most people speak English. I would usually suggest learning some basic phrases out of courtesy (especially because the locals are so polite and friendly) but Icelandic was exceptionally difficult to read and pronounce, so stick to English if you’re not sure.

Getting there: There is a common misconception that Iceland is far away but you can actually expect to get from London Gatwick to Keflavík (the main airport in Iceland) in just over 3 hours! If you can, fly with Icelandair – we were very impressed by their planes for a short haul flight.

Getting around: Although you will find tours aplenty in Iceland, I would highly recommend hiring a car and finding your own routes around. You’ll find more on this below.

Where to Stay: We stayed in a lovely cabin just outside Selfoss, which suited us perfectly. Again, I’ve included some more details on why we chose Selfoss below.


 

TOP TIPS

Find your own way around

You will find so many tours and excursions available in Iceland but I would HIGHLY recommend hiring a car and finding your own way around. It will give you so much more freedom and, as you will quickly realise once you’ve visited Iceland, there are SO many photo opportunities available that you won’t be able to resists pulling over to take in the scenery. We hired our car from Geysir and we experienced no problems. Although the main roads are relatively clear, you can expect snowy driving conditions on some of the smaller roads during the winter, so I would recommend hiring a 4×4 if possible, and make sure that your hire car has winter tyres.

Iceland | Tips for Travelling to Iceland | The Ivory Book

Research, research, research

This goes without saying for any new country you visit, but do your research! We based our itinerary each day on some of the biggest sights in Iceland, but then spent a generous amount of time googling to find any lesser-know sights to stop at along our route, which ended up being some of the trip highlights for us. Icelanders are very proud to show off the hidden gems of their country, so look for blogs specifically written by Icelanders to find some sights that you might not have considered.

Visit in the winter

From what I’ve researched, there doesn’t seem to be a bad time of year to visit Iceland, however to be in with the best chance of catching the Northern Lights, visit between September to March. Don’t be disheartened if you don’t see them during your trip (I naively thought they would be much more common to see than they actually were), however the Northern Lights truly were a magical sight to see and I would DEFINITELY recommend that you try to view them at least once in your life.

The Northern Lights | Tips for Travelling to Iceland | The Ivory Book

Set A Budget

One of the things you will hear most when you tell people you are visiting Iceland is how expensive this country is, and they’re not wrong – Iceland is relatively pricey compared to most other European countries. Don’t let this put you off, however. Iceland is perfectly doable on a budget, just be prepared to be a little strict with your spending. My biggest recommendation would be to choose accommodation which allows you to self-cater. We cooked for ourselves or packed lunch supplies in the car for almost every meal, which really kept costs down.

Embrace the adventure, but be cautious

Iceland was, for us, the ultimate place for an adventure BUT that shouldn’t stop you from being cautious where necessary. Be respectful of any roads or paths that have been closed off due to dangerous conditions, take care when driving in snow or ice and always have emergency road assistance numbers to hand just in case you need them.

 Hruanfossar Waterfall | Tips for Travelling to Iceland | The Ivory Book

Stay outside of Reykavik

We chose to stay in Selfoss (around 50 minutes outside of Reykjavik) and I think it was one of the best decisions we made for this trip. Although a very pretty city, Reykjavik definitely wasn’t our favourite place that we visited (it is also very expensive) and Selfoss was much more centrally located for the other parts of Iceland that we travelled to. Our cabin was conveniently located close to route 1, the main ring road around Iceland, and it provided a beautiful, secluded and cosy place to relax between our busy days of exploring.

Invest in some snow boots

Of all the pairs of shoes that I own, I never thought that it would be a pair of winter snow boots that would steal my heart but I am SO glad that I invested in these before our trip. My snow boots were the only pair of shoes that I packed (this is officially the only holiday we’ve been on where Jordan has taken more pairs of shoes than me!) but they kept my feet warm and dry all holiday so I would definitely recommend!

Gljúfrabúi Waterfall | Tips for Travelling to Iceland | The Ivory Book

 

Pop back to The Ivory Book next week to read my ultimate 4 day itinerary for Iceland, and be sure to follow me on Instagram to keep up with my daily going’s on.

May 6, 2019

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Many wedding suppliers will tell you – inspiration for the styling of your big day can come from just about anywhere. And for me, one of the best places to look for some of the best styling inspo can come straight from the high street!

With many high street shops now having branched out into homeware (and many of them totally nailing it!), why not take a look at them for some one-off decor pieces that can provide the perfect finishing touches to your day.

Now, I’m of course not suggesting that you go and purchase 120 of those dreamy-but-could-never-justify-it glassware sets for your guests on the day (there are so many incredible companies with gorgeous tableware available to hire), however I would definitely take a look at what’s available on the high street for specific decorations or the perfect styling props for those detail shots that you are desperate for your photographer to capture.

It’s also worth noting, for any of my fellow planners or stylists that are reading this, that I often use pieces from the high street for styled shoots – as I did with the tableware in the images on this post.

Below you’ll find some of my favourite places on the high street for wedding props and decorations, I hope it provides some inspiration for the styling of your big day!

TK Maxx

You never quite know what you’re going to find when you venture into TK Maxx, but it can be such a great place to find some one-of-a-kind decor pieces – think interesting trays, unusual bowls and decorative baskets, which can all be great for wedding styling! You’re also pretty much guaranteed a great price at TK Maxx, which is perfect when you’re close to maxing out your wedding decor budget.

Ikea

Another wonderful and affordable option on the high street, Ikea is a good place to look for any decorative pieces that you are looking to buy rather than hire. I have previously used Ikea tableware for a photoshoot, however one of the things they are best for is candles and candle holders. It works out fairly affordable to buy a bulk-load of your favourite candlesticks / tea light holders from here, you can then either look into selling them on after the wedding or use them around the house as a reminder of your big day.

H&M Home

If you ever lose me, there’s a high chance you’ll find me browsing through the H&M Home in Westfield shopping centre. The H&M Home line is SO dreamy – always on trend whilst still being effortlessly timeless. For your wedding day, check them out for vases, decorative trays and candle holders, and if you are having a chill-out lounge area at your wedding, definitely take a look at their cushions.

Anthropologie

I will never get tired of the Anthropologie home section. It is much more on the pricey side, but it is definitely worth a look for any unique or alternative decor items and a few minutes on their website will leave you feeling seriously inspired! Some of my favourite pieces? Their intricate trays (perfect for stationery flatlays!), unusual vases and tableware and some gorgeously twee cake stands! At the very least, treat yourself to a couple of pieces to spruce up your marital home.

Matalan

I’ll be honest, I think I was in my twenties when I first shopped in a Matalan. I’ve always been skeptical of the quality of their products but definitely don’t let this put you off – Matalan shops are HUGE, their products are very affordable and they have a really great homeware section. Take a look at their vases and planters; they also have a wedding collection which includes some fairly cliché but incredibly fun hen party games and decorations.

Zara Home

The Zara Home collection is choc-full of all kinds of interior inspiration. Again, it’s a little more on the pricey side so I’d recommend selecting a few pieces that will really enhance your styling on the day – think pretty linens, interesting bowls and table accessories that you’ll continue to use long after your wedding day.

Tesco

Yep, you read that right! Tesco have a lovely homeware section called Fox & Ivy with some great quality yet very affordable pieces. It’s where I picked up the holographic glassware for this photoshoot, which I now continue to use at home for special occasions. You are only able to view their pieces in larger Tesco stores rather than online, but I would definitely recommend checking them out!

Oliver Bonas

Oliver Bonas is another store that is on the more pricey side but their pieces are SO gorgeous! They are wonderful for unique table accessories and vases, but they are also my go-to store for gifting so take a look if you are after an alternative yet thoughtful gift for somebody special.

IN THIS POST

Florals: Arcade Flowers

Stationery: Smitten With Ink

Plates & Linen: Matalan

Glassware & Cutlery: Fox & Ivy at Tesco

Napkins: TK Maxx

Candlesticks: H&M Home

Candles: Ester & Erik

Images by Charlotte Bryer-Ash Photography

 

For more wedding planning inspiration, visit my Rachel Dalton Weddings website.

April 10, 2019

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Happy April lovelies! And WOW do I feel happy to say that after what felt like the busiest March ever!

Today’s post is a very impromptu one (as I’m currently writing this it’s twenty past midnight and I’ve just put on a sheet mask) however I felt like it was a very necessary post. Grab a cuppa, it might become a long one.

I’ve had this blog for just over four months now and I’ve tried hard to post content that is intentionally thought out and which comfortably sits under the umbrella of wedding and lifestyle. But today, in a moment of calm after a very crazy month, I wanted to post something with a little more heart. An honest chat about how I’m really feeling about my blog and a catch up about what’s been going on around here.

Starting my blog was always part of the plan for me. If you’re a small business owner, you’ll likely be inundated with advice to blog as much as possible (which strikes total dread in some people) however when I set out on this venture, The Ivory Book was never designed to simply be a marketing tool or an SEO driver.

It was designed to be it’s own entity. An accompaniment to my wedding planning business but also an outlet for my own thoughts and, ultimately, a familiar corner of the internet for brides to be, business owners or simply my fellow twenty-somethings who are trying their best to navigate their way through life.

Let’s be real now though – blogging is tough. Sure, anyone can put together some words, add some nice pictures and click upload, but when we’re immersed in an industry that is inundated with incredible bloggers, can anybody really blame us for feeling under pressure to nail it from day one?

It also boils down to quality and consistency. Before my business launched, I confidently said that I would blog twice a week. Now, four months in, I’m quietly chuckling at my naivety as I scroll through the Instagram feed that I’ve neglected and the blog that hasn’t seen any action in a month.

Putting your written voice out there for the world to see is SO hard, especially when you’re not sure if anyone is reading it yet. I’ve designed my business to be an extension of me – it’s my name, my face and, let’s face it, you won’t have to scroll too far down my Instagram feed to find out a personal fact about my journey into the wedding industry or my addiction to diet coke. But there is nothing more exposing than posting something that you’ve written and opening yourself up to the potential scrutiny of your peers (or, even more terrifyingly, that girl you used to go to school with or the woman who stands across from you at Zumba).

The truth that I am skirting around here is that I started to get the fear. Fear of posting, fear of sharing, fear of judgement and fear of aiming big whilst The Ivory Book was still small. Time to put a stop to that, don’t you think?

Spring is, and always has been, my favourite season. It’s a transitional time, an optimistic time and, personally, I like to think of it as an opportunity for a fresh start. So, with that in mind, I’m quashing the fear and focusing much more of my energy on this little blog of mine this month. I’ll stop making promises about how frequently you’ll see me posting, but there will be more posts on the way – with the same thought and intention, just with a bit of added heart.

March was a busy but incredibly exciting month for me – I coordinated an incredible Masterclass Event, arranged a beautiful Photoshoot, attended London Bridal Fashion Week, met with some wonderful couples and suppliers and I even managed to fit in an amazing holiday to Iceland (more on all of that soon!). Now, I am enjoying a brief moment of quiet before a SUPER exciting adventure next week!

So, as we enter the new season and a beautifully transitional period of the year, I invite you to join me in suppressing the fear (be it about blogging, business or any other area of your life) and persevere with the things you care about most. Grasp every opportunity that comes your way, don’t be afraid to shout about it and definitely don’t worry about who hears it.

 

To keep up with my daily goings on, follow me on Instagram.

April 5, 2019

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Oh Italy, with your incredible food, exquisite architecture and undeniable charm, you are undoubtedly one of my favourite countries in the world. I’ve been lucky enough to visit Italy a few times now but in February of last year, to celebrate a big birthday of my mum’s, we travelled to Rome for the first time and it’s safe to say it left an amazing impression on us.

Rome is a bustling yet charming city. We spent two nights there which gave us three days to see all that the city has to offer – and it definitely didn’t take long for it to steal a place in our hearts. Keep reading to hear how we spent 72 hours in Rome!


Rome: At a glance

Currency: Euro – cards are widely accepted, although I would recommend carrying a small amount of cash on you for smaller purchases.

Language: Italian. Learn some basic phrases out of courtesy, but the majority of people will speak good English.

Getting there: To make the most of a long weekend, take the 6.45am flight out of London Gatwick on a Friday, which will land in Rome just after 10am. Return on the 8.55pm flight on Sunday to give you 3 full days of exploring.

Getting around: The roads in Rome are notoriously hectic, but you’ll be grateful not to have a car when you realise how much more you’ll see getting around on foot. Public transport in Rome is also very good – I would recommend taking the train into central Rome from the airport; they also have an easy to follow Metro system.

Where to Stay: We stayed at the 4 star River Palace Hotel, which is conveniently located just a stone’s throw from the enchanting Piazza del Popolo and made the perfect place for us to rest our heads between three busy days of exploring. Oh, and be sure to take advantage of their five (yes, five!) hour long happy hour!


 

Day 1

Once you’ve arrived in Rome and dropped off your bags, set off on foot to discover all that the city has to offer. We spent our first day strolling through the charming side streets and stumbling upon some of Rome’s most famous sights. 

Sit people-watching on the Spanish Steps, throw a coin in the Trevi Fountain, immerse yourself in the history of the Pantheon and enjoy the fountains of the Piazza Navona (with some gelato in hand, of course). All of these sights are within walking distance of one another and you’ll find plenty of little shops and café’s to duck in and out of on your way.

After an afternoon of exploring, meander back along the Tiber River and find the perfect spot for dinner. Italian food and drink is my absolute favourite and, by the time this 3 day trip was over, I pretty much had to be rolled onto the plane after consuming so much pasta, pizza, wine and gelato. And personally, I say embrace the carbs because nowhere else in the world will you find food quite so good!

Day 2

Of course, no visit to Rome would be complete without a trip to The Vatican City. I would recommend allowing the best part of a day to explore The Vatican Museum and St Peter’s Basilica, which is what we did on our second day in Rome. 

You will most likely have to queue during your visit and be prepared for crowds of people, but you will be grateful for the slow moving lines because there is quite literally SO much to see. Learn about the incredible artwork and sculptures, witness Michelangelo’s work in the Sistine Chapel and experience the grandeur of St Peter’s Basilica – The Vatican was definitely an unexpected highlight for me and I can’t wait to go back one day.

Oh, and for the best view of Rome, I would definitely recommend climbing the 551 steps of the St Peter’s Basilica Dome. With unparalleled sights of both the inside of the dome and a magical view of the city, it is not to be missed.

Once we’d absorbed all of the art, history and architecture we could manage for one day, we wandered back to Piazza del Popolo and spent a lazy hour or so enjoying a cannoli in the square as the sun went down.

Day 3

On our final day in Rome we paid a visit to the famous Colosseum. We were met with a cloudy and drizzly day (which had turned into a definite downpour by lunchtime!) but this didn’t spoil our visit one bit – just be prepared to pack a waterproof coat if you’re travelling to Rome in February!

The Colosseum is an incredible sight to see from the outside. Many people visit without going inside, however we booked a tour around the inside which I would really highly recommend. It was so interesting learning about the history of the Colosseum (I also unashamedly had a Lizzie McGuire moment when I first stepped inside!).

Whilst we were in the area, we also visited the Roman Forum, which is located directly opposite the Colosseum. Again, I would recommend booking on to a tour of the Forum because there are so many interesting snippets of information which we wouldn’t have known had we not been told by a local.

Rome Colloseum | 72 Hours in Rome | The Ivory Book

 

We boarded the plane home feeling exhausted, full to the brim with pasta and overloaded with culture but with a new place in our hearts for this beautiful city. Rome is romantic, charming and perfect for history fanatics, art lovers and foodies alike.

Although I could have happily spent weeks exploring this enchanting city, 3 days was definitely long enough to see lots of what Rome has to offer. I hope this post inspires many of you to do the same! 

 

March 4, 2019

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Last night’s Oscars brought the 2019 Awards Season to a very glamorous close, and with a host-less ceremony, a controversial duet from Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper and an utterly adorable acceptance speech from Olivia Colman, it certainly gave people plenty to talk about.

But with Awards Season being Hollywood’s biggest chance to dress to impress, I want to talk about the gowns that ruled the red carpet this year and, in particular, the bridal-inspired looks which would look equally as stunning walking down the aisle.

From ruffles and tulle to beaded beauties and structured gowns – it has all been happening on the red carpet over the past few weeks and I’m rounding up all my favourite looks in this post. Brides to be, take note!

 

Regina King wearing Oscar de la Renta to the Oscars

 

Brie Larson wearing Celine to the Oscars

 

Amy Adams wearing Versace to the Oscars

 

Kacey Musgraves wearing Giambattista Valli to the Oscars

 

Michelle Yeoh wearing Elie Saab to the Oscars

 

Letitia Wright wearing Dior Haute Couture to the Oscars

 

Kiki Layne wearing Versace to the Oscars

 

Lady Gaga wearing Dior Haute Couture to the SAG Awards

 

Margot Robbie wearing Chanel to the SAG Awards

 

Rachel Weisz wearing Gucci to the BAFTA Awards

 

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge wearing Alexander McQueen to the BAFTA Awards

 

Letitia Wright wearing Stella McCartney to the BAFTA Awards

 

Michelle Rodriguez wearing Jenny Packham to the BAFTA Awards

 

Cynthia Erivo wearing Vera Wang to the BAFTA Awards

 

Kiki Layne wearing Dior Haute Couture to the Golden Globes

 

Dakota Fanning wearing Armani Privé to the Golden Globes

 

Saoirse Ronan wearing Gucci to the Golden Globes

 

Lady Gaga wearing Valentino Couture to the Golden Globes

 

Emma Stone wearing Louis Vuitton to the Golden Globes

 

Constance Wu wearing Vera Wang to the Golden Globes

February 25, 2019

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Valentines Day is just around the corner – and if that sentence makes you clam up and think of couple-filled restaurants or an M&S meal deal for two, keep reading!

Personally, I love Valentine’s Day, but I firmly believe that it doesn’t need to be a day full of cliches and it definitely doesn’t need to cost the earth either. However you are deciding to celebrate this year, or even if you’re deciding not to celebrate at all, it’s so important that you do something that suits both you and your valentine.

Today, I’m thinking outside the dinner-and-a-movie box and giving you four alternative ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day. So, whether you’re planning something special for your special someone or a galentine’s day you’ll never forget, here are a few ideas on how to do February 14th a little differently. And I promise, there’s not an M&S Meal Deal in sight.

 

Take a Trip

Beat the winter blues and use Valentine’s Day as the perfect opportunity to take a trip with your significant other. Cities renowned for romance such as Paris and Rome will likely be busier around Valentine’s Day (although no less charming!), however for many parts of the world February means ‘off-season’ which makes it the perfect time of year for a budget-friendly getaway!

 

Spend it with your Girlfriends

What better way to celebrate a day focussed on love than with your best girlfriends? It doesn’t matter if you’re single, your partner is away (I’ll stick my own hand up to that one!) or if you just fancy spending it with friends – rallying up your girls for a fun-filled Galentine’s day is something I’m fully on board with. For me, this Valentine’s Day will be spent with my bestie, Patrick Swayze and a bottle of wine – perfect!

Go Low-Key

If there’s ever a day of the year that people feel as though they have to put in an effort, it’s Valentine’s Day. Realistically though, some of my most memorable V-day date nights have been spent doing as little as possible. Agree with your partner beforehand, but if neither of you are feeling flashy this year then tone things down and do something low-key which you’ll both really enjoy. Frozen pizza and a Netflix crime documentary? Just tell me where to sign up.

 

Learn Something New

If flowers and chocolates aren’t really your thing, why not treat your significant other to a new activity or experience as your Valentine’s Day gift. Consider trying a cookery course or go for an adventure-packed activity like rock climbing or kayaking. And if you’re spending the day solo this year, see it as the perfect opportunity to try something you’ve always wanted to do – a calligraphy workshop, floristry masterclass or a yoga retreat are all great options if you’re going solo!

 

Image by Nataly J Photography

February 10, 2019

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Happy Friday folks! And, even more excitingly, happy 1st February! January felt long this year (tell me it’s not just me who thought this?) but we made it – and I’m ready to embrace February in all of it’s heart-filled glory.

I’m doubly happy today because I am truly DELIGHTED to have had my first ever styled shoot published on Rock My Wedding! This is such a milestone for me, not only speaking on behalf of Rachel Dalton Weddings, but also for me personally. Rock My Wedding was one of the first blogs I ever read, so to see my own work gracing it’s pages today has me unashamedly squealing with happiness!

Photoshoots are nothing without the right team behind them and it’s safe to say that with this one, I well and truly hit the jackpot. I was lucky enough to bring together suppliers from Dorset, Hampshire, Surrey and London and I couldn’t have been happier with what we created.

On a personal note, I would like to thank each and every supplier involved for working with me, and trusting me with this editorial. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for lending your time, talent and creativity to the shoot – I can’t recommend you all enough!

Lastly, a huge thank you to Rock My Wedding for featuring us! I will leave a few images on this post to give you a peek at what we created, but I would love for you to head over there and read the full feature.

 

CLICK HERE TO READ THE FEATURE

 

Credits

Photography: David Wheeler Photography

Planning & Styling: Rachel Dalton Weddings

Venue: West Horsley Place with Rhubarb

Florist: Emma Soulsby Flowers

Cake: MonAnnie

Makeup: Tara Sanger Makeup

Hair: Sacha-Lilly for EJW Hair

Dresses: Suzanne Neville and Jesus Peiro from Anna Bridal Couture

Linens: Just 4 Linen

Tableware: Couvert

Stationery: Georgina Read Creative

Model: Natasha

 

  

 

February 1, 2019

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January has hit me HARD this year. With chillier days and darker evenings I can’t help but spend these winter months dreaming about sunnier climes. Which is why I thought I would use this post to rewind to last summer when Jordan and I headed to Croatia for a week of sunshine and exploring.

Croatia has always been one of the top countries on my bucket list, so when it came to booking a last minute holiday at the end of September, we both jumped at the chance to spend a week travelling around this beautiful country. Whether you are planning a European honeymoon, your next summer holiday, or simply looking for some travel inspiration, I’ve condensed everything we learned about travelling to Croatia into this post. I hope it inspires you to plan your own getaway!

 

 

Croatia is one of those places where, as soon as you start researching where to go, you will feel well and truly spoilt for choice and will likely find many conflicting opinions on which regions to visit.

We decided to spend the majority of our trip in the northwestern peninsula of Istria, flying in and out of Pula airport. And of course, we couldn’t go to Croatia without paying a visit to the incredible Plitvice Lakes National Park – a real must-see if you are heading to this part of the world!

 

 

Opatija

Our first stop was the coastal town of Opatija on the eastern side of the peninsula. If I’m being completely honest, this was probably our least favourite out of the three places we stayed. Although it wasn’t cold or raining on the two days that we stayed here, we didn’t have the sunny, late summer weather I was hoping for (according to the locals we were just a week too late!) – and the town somewhat lacked the Istrian charm I was hoping to find.

Nonetheless, we had a fun time exploring the area, and we stayed in a beautiful apartment just a short drive from the main town which was the perfect place to relax. I’d recommend taking a meander down the Lungomare Promenade to see the Maiden With the Seagull statue; we also spent a morning at Trsat Castle in nearby Rijeka, which is well worth a visit.

 

Plitvice Lakes National Park

I’ve never visited anywhere quite like Plitvice National Park, it feels worlds away from the Adriatic coast and it’s safe to say it stole a piece of my heart. The park is comprised of 16 crystal clear lakes connected by a series of waterfalls and it truly is incredible.

One thing I feel I should note is that I massively underestimated what the weather would be like. Don’t let that bright blue water and shimmering sunshine fool you – Autumn had well and truly arrived when we visited and it was COLD. When we woke up on our first morning there to find ice on our hire car, I very quickly stowed the pretty playsuit I had planned on wearing that day back into my suitcase and layered up with any warm clothing I could find (which, incidentally, wasn’t anywhere near enough)!

As it turns out, I think early Autumn was the perfect time to visit. Although still very busy, the crowds were significantly less than they appear to be in the busy summer months, and the leaves had just started to turn beautiful shades of orange which made for some truly beautiful photos.

There are two entrances to the Lakes and several routes that you can take around the National Park. It’s definitely possible to see everything in one day, although if you are able to spend two days there I would highly recommend it. We spent our first day exploring the whole park, and on our second day we were able to skip certain parts and go straight back to the areas we wanted to revisit (which predominantly meant beating the crowds there).

Tickets prices vary depending on the time of year you visit, but you can expect to pay between 55-250 Kuna (£6.50-£30) for a one day ticket and 90-400 Kuna for a two day ticket (£10-£50).

I genuinely can’t recommend Plitvice Lakes enough. Not only is it packed with incredible scenery, it offers an indescribable tranquility that’s like nothing I’ve ever felt before. It was without a doubt the highlight of our trip and we both agreed we would return again in a heartbeat. 

 

 

 


Tips for Visiting Plitvice Lakes

Take the road less travelled: We hired a car during our trip, which I would highly recommend for getting around. The drive from Istria to Plitvice National Park was around 3 hours, and we purposely avoided the main roads there, which not only avoided tolls, but also forced us to take a stunning route along the Adratic coast and through the mountains. It was the most beautiful road trip I’ve ever taken – we couldn’t resist stopping to take pictures several times!

Get there early: Plitvice Lakes are open between 7am and 8pm and I can’t recommend enough being there as soon as they open. We did on both days that we visited and agreed it was the best decision we made. The Lakes start to get exceptionally busy around 9am so enjoy a couple of hours of unspoilt tranquility before most visitors arrive.

Find the best (secret!) views: Wondering where those epic, postcard-worthy shots of the lakes have been taken from? We happened to stumble upon them by accident but we were SO glad we did! To find the viewpoints, follow signs to ‘Veliki Slap’ (or Big Waterfall), and take the small stepped path up on your left just before you reach the waterfall. There are several viewpoints along the top, the most favourite with photographers being one 200 metres down the road to your right. It’s well worth making a little excursion to get the perfect, uninterrupted view from up high – we only saw around 3 or 4 other people up there. 

Be Patient for the Perfect Photo: Plitvice Lakes is PERFECT for any photography fans, but don’t expect to point your camera and immediately get the perfect, tourist-free shot first time. We took our time and were more than happy waiting 5 or even 10 minutes to get some beautiful (people free!) pictures – be patient!

Don’t expect to go swimming: As tempting as it looks to jump in and go for a dip, swimming isn’t permitted in Plitvice Lakes. However, if you are looking for an alternative Croatian waterfall that you can swim in, try Krka National Park – which is definitely on my bucket list after this trip!


 

 

Rovinj

Our final stop on the trip was the highly charming town of Rovinj, on the western side of the Istrian peninsula. When we visited in September, it was touristic without losing it’s Croatian authenticity. We were also very fortunate with the weather and had beautiful sunshine for the two days we were staying.

If you’re a big foodie, be sure to taste the Istrian cuisine that you’ll find on offer here. Fresh seafood, olive oils and Istrian truffles are all a must in this area. Or why not make a day of it and go wine tasting or truffle hunting?

There aren’t a huge amount of sights to see in Rovinj; instead, I would recommend losing yourself around the winding cobbled streets of the old town, paying a visit to the bell tower of the Church of St. Euphemia which dominates the town, and be sure to return to the harbour in time to watch the sunset in the evenings – it truly is stunning.

 

 

All of the images in this post were taken by Jordan using his Canon 6D, or myself using my Olympus Pen E-PL8.

January 13, 2019

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Confession time – I definitely intended for this blog post to go up earlier than the second week of January! You might have caught this post all about my 2019 bridal style trend predictions at the end of December, but a bout of winter flu between Christmas and New Year meant that sharing my trend predictions for weddings in general got pushed back a week. Better late than never, right?

Nevertheless, I have LOVED putting this together. I’ve had a delve through the trends I’ve seen emerging recently and my predictions for what is going to be huge in 2019, so settle down with a hot drink and get stuck in!

 

Dark Meets Light

This has been my favourite colour styling trend recently and I am firmly hoping will stick around for a little longer. Pastels have been huge in the wedding world for years but in 2019 they’re getting a grown up makeover by being paired with rich, darker tones and I am obsessed!

Some winning combinations? Pale blush with warm lilac and a pop of rich burgundy, or go sleek and modern with a subtle nude and strong black pairing like the tablescape I created below.

 

 

Planning & Styling by Rachel Dalton Weddings, Image by Charlotte Bryer-Ash Photography

 

Weekend Weddings

Weekend-long weddings have soared in popularity over the past 12 months and I think they’ll be even more present in 2019. With many couples now inviting guests from far and wide, it’s no surprise that weddings are being made even more of an occasion.

The most popular schedule for a weekend wedding is an intimate rehearsal dinner the night before the wedding and a relaxed, informal brunch the day after. Looking ahead to next year, I can see couples getting even more creative with ways to extend the celebrations – including activity days in and around the local area and festival-style events the day after the wedding. This also brings me quite nicely onto my next prediction…

 

Wedding Welcome Gifts Over Traditional Favours

Going perfectly in hand with weekend weddings, many couples are now forgoing favours at their wedding, instead supplying their guests with a personalised welcome gift package when they arrive for the festivities.

You can find some tips on what to include in a welcome gift and how to put them together in this previous blog post – but as a guide, think miniature bottles of drink, some snacks to keep your guests going and hangover kits for the morning after. They’ll be sure to be appreciated much more than the forgotten favours that you painstakingly laid out for everybody!

 

Image by Lissa Ryan

 

Sustainable Weddings & Foam – Free Florals

Couples are more conscious than ever about the impact their wedding could have on the environment, and rightly so! Princess Eugenie led the way with her plastic-free wedding earlier this year and I wouldn’t be surprised if many couples opt for a similar approach going into 2019.

Another emerging trend amongst florists which I am fully on board with is the use of foam-free florals – omitting the use of non-biodegradable, plastic Oasis from wedding florals in favour of reusable, environmentally friendly techniques.

 

 

Florals by Moss & Stone Floral Design, Planning by Katrina Otter Weddings, Image by Hannah Duffy Photography

 

Grazing Tables

One for the foodies, grazing tables are styled up tables of cured meats, cheeses, breads, dips (and so much more!) that will be sure to go down a treat with both your guests and your Instagram feed!

Unique, colourful and bursting with selection, grazing tables are the perfect informal dining option and will provide a great talking point amongst your wedding guests that they’ll remember long after you say ‘I Do’.

 

Grazing Table by Your Platter Matters

 

Hygge

Hygge swept us all up in a comforting hug way back in 2017, but this year I’m predicting it will make it’s way into the wedding world too. If you’re not familiar with the phrase, ‘Hygge’ (pronounce hoo-ga) is a Danish term that loosely translates to a sense of comfort, togetherness and wellbeing. As Meik Wiking, author of The Little Book of Hygge, explains “it is about being with the people we love. A feeling of home. A feeling that we are safe.” Which sounds like the perfect atmosphere for a wedding, don’t you think?

Think intimate, relaxed weddings; atmospheric candlelight; minimal, Scandinavian decor and technology-free ceremonies that are all about family. This is a theme that is all about a feeling of joyfulness and comfort and I am so on board.

 

Images via Rock My Wedding

 

Bright Colours

I had to give a mention to the 2019 Pantone Colour of the Year – Living Coral, which is sure to have a huge influence on the wedding industry over the next 12 months. I can see many couples forgoing the pastel shades that we saw everywhere in 2018, instead opting for brighter, more vibrant hues.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a self-confessed lover of all things blush and if you are too then you MUST choose a colour palette that you love, BUT if you are looking to be a bit more bold with your colour choices then why not consider a bright coral, vibrant fuchsia or even a pop of navy. You can read more about how to style Living Coral here.

 

Image by Luna de Mare Photography

 

Dramatic Florals

Thanks to the two gorgeous royal weddings we had in 2018, we’ve all gone a bit obsessed with statement florals! From Meghan and Harry’s floral archways to Princess Eugenie’s autumnal hued displays, dramatic florals are definitely having their moment.

If you don’t quite have a royal budget for your own florals, invest in one big installation to be the focal point – it will make much more of an impact than several small displays and you can always ask your florist to use individual bud vases or foliage-heavy arrangements elsewhere in your space to keep costs down.

 

January 10, 2019

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Happy New Year! And a very warm welcome to my first blog post of 2019. If you are new here then I am so happy that you’ve stumbled upon my little corner of the internet. I have lots of exciting things planned for The Ivory Book this year so I am delighted to have you along for the ride.

2018 was an incredible year for me but it’s safe to say that in between all of the wonderful things that happened my New Year’s Resolutions got put on the back burner a little bit (I still can’t cook and I definitely could’ve read more books than I did). So, for 2019, I’ve set myself four small, attainable resolutions to focus on – I hope it inspires you to set yourself some goals for the next 12 months too!

 

 

Travel more

I travelled more than ever before last year (you can read about my top 5 travel destinations here) and I definitely want to visit even more places in 2019. This Christmas, Jordan and I agreed not to get each other physical presents and instead put the money we would have spent towards a holiday that we would both enjoy much more. 

Top of my 2019 travel list is to see much more of Europe this year – Tuscany, Amsterdam, Germany and Edinburgh to name just a few!

 

Continue saying ‘yes’ to work opportunities

2018 was a very ‘yes’ year for me when it came to work. Without really realising it, I adopted the mantra of saying yes to any career opportunities that came my way and figuring out how to cope with them later.

Going into this year I definitely want to keep the same attitude towards any work opportunities that I am faced with. It is so easy to spend our time worrying and talking ourselves out of something which we don’t believe we are capable or deserving of, so in 2019 I’m saying a big fat YES to more of the incredible career opportunities that come my way.

 

 

 

Find my feet with my blog

I wasn’t quite sure what to say about my plans for The Ivory Book in 2019 but I think ‘find my feet’ sums it up quite nicely. I had always planned to launch a blog alongside my wedding planning business at the end of last year and over the next 12 months I want to gain more confidence and establish my blog as a place that truly embodies what I love to read and talk about.

I’m not going to set myself any resolutions for how frequently I’ll be posting or limiting the topics I talk about; instead I will be focussing on developing a writing style that sounds like me, remaining authentic both here and on my Instagram, and posting content that I am completely proud of.

 

Allow myself time away from social media

Towards the end of 2018 I took a couple of much-needed breaks from social media and it did wonders for my mental health. It is so easy to get swept up with the notion that we always need to be present on social media (especially when you run a small business) so it was a total revelation that the insta-world was completely fine without me for a few days.

In 2019, I will be much more conscious to schedule in some phone-free time – and I definitely urge everybody reading this to do the same!

 

Images by Charlotte Bryer-Ash Photography.

January 6, 2019

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