Dat Bar Newcastle

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Dat Bar, attached to the Theatre Royal, used to be known as Pasqualinos, but the De Giorgi family have transformed it entirely. I popped in for a drink about a month ago with a friend who’d wanted to go for ages. We instantly loved it, so went back for lunch yesterday.

Dat Bar has a huge variety of craft beers to choose from. If like me, you’re not really into beer, you can keep yourself refreshed with coffee, wine and/or cocktails. Phew! Yesterday we headed straight for the lovely dining area, I had my eye on one of the cosy leather booths but wasn’t hopeful when I saw how many people were dining. We waited a few minutes and the very smiley waitress showed us to a booth (yessss!).

It was super busy so I didn’t take many photos, but the place is really cool with comic book style wallpaper, an open front kitchen (is that what you call it?!) and the kind of lighting I am a bit obsessed with photographing.

It did take a while for our food to arrive but it’s to be expected on a Saturday afternoon, especially as the place was packed, so I wasn’t bothered (but I was hungry). Our waitress did apologise for the delay which is always appreciated.

After looking at the menu and pretending we might both order a pizza, obviously we ordered burgers with fat, hand cut chips (yum). Both burgers were a bit over-cooked but this made very little difference to me because of how delicious it was! You know what else was delicious, the tomato sauce – I wish I’d bought a bottle to take away (£3 I think). Fresh and tomatoey with a bit of a kick to it. I’ll definitely be buying some the next time I’m in.

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After we’d finished eaten we had to just sit there for a while, we were so full and in the midsts of a food-coma. Luckily, the waitress who brought over our bill chatted to us for a bit which forced me out of my zombie state! We paid 12 quid each, including drinks, which I think is really reasonable.

Here are a few photos I took. I tried my hardest not to get unsuspecting diners in the shots.

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I love that Dat Bar is open in the centre of town, I can tell it’s going to be added to my list of favourites thanks to the relaxed atmosphere. My favourite part – it’s not trying to be cool, it just IS cool.

Have you been yet?

Ooh and (just had a chat on Twitter about this, totally forgot even though I saw this on the menu) they are currently offering an amazing deal,  two burgers and chips for £12 on a Monday! Great price for deliciousness.

RE Corbridge

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The sun was shining today, so after quite a lazy morning (the best kind of Sunday morning) we decided to have a drive to Corbridge. First stop was RE. I checked with the staff that it was okay for me to take photos and was given the go-ahead straight away… off I went with my camera. I took far too many photos so will try to pick my absolute favourites… not an easy task. Everything in RE is a photo opportunity.

RE is an amazing shop in Corbridge (just behind the petrol station next the The Angel Inn) which I’ve loved for years despite only having visited the actual shop a few times. I used to spend hours slowly perusing the website, picking out things to buy for the house we hadn’t even started looking for!

RE has been open for almost 11 years now, this scares me because I remember being told about this treasure trove by a friend in 2005 and it seems like yesterday. Owners Jenny Vaughan and Simon Young set-up-shop in an old converted workshop and have filled it to the brim with amazing home accessories. RE stands for Re-found Objects, but as the sign outside states, it has a few other meanings too.

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There is so much to see , I remember thinking the first time I visited, that the shop was much bigger than I had imagined. I can’t begin to tell you what treasures you can find in RE but I think my photos will give you a good idea of the variety of amazingness on offer.

Ready, steady… RE!

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Oh hey JC

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I NEED THESE IN MY LIFE. I have remorse about not buying them today.

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French soap… my favourite. I amassed a collection on my last trip to RE.

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REcycle!

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Before leaving I spent ages chatting to the lovely girls working, about RE and the wonderful things on offer… showing them my henna, talking about India, light fixtures and the RE-design (see what I did there?) of the RE website (to celebrate their 10th anniversary).

If you haven’t been to RE before, it’s definitely worth a trip to Corbridge to have a look. Or you can visit their shiny new website here.

Would love to hear your RE tales… what caught your eye/what did you buy?

(If you do go to Corbridge, I highly recommend going to artisan bakery Grant’s. We got some delicious cakes to take away) 

Haveli – Ponteland

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Haveli opened in Ponteland last year and it’s been on my list of places to visit since then as it’s not far from where we live now (and about a 3 minute walk from where I used to live many many years ago).

We very rarely go out for indian food (being indian, we eat indian food at home a couple of times a week so when we eat out we usually opt for a different cuisine, much to my husbands disappointment) but when I was invited* along, I asked my friend Ritu if she’d like to come with me. I said indian a lot in that last sentence.

Our table was booked for 7.30, we were shown to our table, offered drinks and handed the menu.

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I drove so sparkling water was my beverage of choice!

As usual it took us forever to even look at the menus as we were too busy chatting and catching up (you’ll notice that this happens a lot with me). While we perused the menu we were brought complimentary poppadoms with a selection of 3 chutneys.

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from left to right, mango, coriander, tamarind

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hello crispy poppadoms

We eventually made our choices. I decided to order the Lamb Chop Burrah Kebab (Lamb rack tenderised with raw papaya and marinated with ginger, garlic, garam masala and yoghurt) and Ritu chose the Murgh Malai Tikka (tandoor roasted chicken breast marinated in soft cheese, cream and yoghurt). Starters range in price from £5.95-10.95.

As we waited for our starters to arrive we got chatting to the couple next to us who were Haveli regulars! They spoke very highly of the food and frankly I couldn’t wait for my order to arrive.

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Murgh Malai Tikka

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Lamb Chop Burrah Kebab

Our dishes were presented wonderfully as you can see, if only you could taste them from the photos above! My lamb chops were so tender and packed full of flavour, definitely the right choice. Ritu enjoyed her dish too.

For our main meal I picked one of the signature dishes, Murgh Makhani (old Delhi style butter chicken in a mild smoky tomato fenugreek sauce) with pilau rice and a tandoori roti. Ritu went for the Laal Maas (Rajasthani braised lamb in a fiery garlic and onion sauce) also from the signature dish section with a plain naan. We also picked a side of Dal Makhani (24 hour cooked black lentils) to share.

In a strange coincidence, my parents were also at Haveli last night, along with lots of their friends who I’ve known my whole life… so throughout the evening we had visitors popping over to see us. Loved this! It was also a good sign to me that my parents were dining here, they know good food!

Ready for main meal pics?

Laal Maas

Laal Maas

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Dal Makhani

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Murgh Makhani

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You know what this is

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Plain naan & tandoori roti

It had been a bit of a wait for our main course to arrive, a member of staff did come and apologise for the time it was taking and let us know that our meals would be out in the next 5 minutes. True to his word, our dishes arrived and they were definitely worth the wait.

Dal Makhani is a Punjabi classic (and my husband’s favourite) and I was not disappointed by Haveli’s offering. The lentils were cooked to perfection and I honestly could have eaten just this dish alone! Obviously I didn’t though, that would be silly. The smoky tomato sauce from the Murgh Makahni was delicious coupled with the tandoori roti. I always pick a tandoori roti instead of naan, a roti is thinner and doesn’t need leavening like a naan does. I had a little taste of Ritu’s dish too, the lamb was so soft… The mains range from £7.50-12.95 which I think is great for the quality of the dishes.

Of course we wanted to look at the dessert menu after our mains were cleared away (the diners we met as we waited for our staters, said the desserts were delicious…) and both liked the look of the same two dishes, so we ordered both and shared.

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Mango and Cardamom Crème Brulée

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Passionfruit & Masala Chai Cheesecake (with rhubarb reduction and gin & tonic sorbet)

The waiting staff were lovely, as was general manager Atul who popped over from time to time to see if he could bring us anything else and answer any questions we had about the menu.

It’s clear that the Haveli team know exactly what they’re doing with the great variety of dishes on offer. The flavours of the food, the presentation of each dish and the simple but modern surroundings (with some lovely Indian touches)… it really doesn’t feel like you’re sitting in a restaurant in Darras Hall with a Co-op a few doors away. The ambience was great too, everyone was really relaxed and enjoying their evening out and although we had people sat next to us, we didn’t feel crowded at all.

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This is the beautifully painted ceiling – amazing!

If I was to pick an area that could be improved on slightly, it would be the wait time between ordering and the dishes arriving. By the time we left it was 11pm, the time had flown by as we had so much to chat about and the atmosphere is so relaxed you don’t notice the time – which is definitely a good thing (unless you’re really hungry).

I will definitely go back with my husband as I know he’ll enjoy it as much as I did. If you’re looking for modern indian cuisine in lovely, relaxed surroundings, I’d recommend Haveli. If you fancy modern indian cuisine in the comfort of your own home, Haveli now have a take away menu too (collection only) check it out here.

Would love to know what you think if you’ve been to Haveli or let me know if you decide to give it a try!

* Our meals were provided free of charge for review purposes, but as always my opinions are 100% honest :)

CandyRocks Autumn/Winter Preview

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Last week I attended the #CandyRocksVIP event at The Town Wall to preview the Autumn/Winter collection. Tickets were £3 and all proceeds went to HeadStart4Babies. CandyRocks is run by the lovely Lisa and Andrea who sell gorgeous statement necklaces for really great prices. The jewellery (as you’ll see from all the photos I took) is SO pretty. Bright, bold and sparkly!

I’ve only recently embraced the world of large statement necklaces, I bought my first one a few months ago at Banana Republic in Manchester. I love how they totally transform an outfit. I used to wear really simple necklaces, literally just a thin chain and pendant… things have changed!

Anyway, back to the event! The price of the ticket also included a welcome drink, delicious mini cheesecake, a ticket for the raffle plus a CandyRocks gift & goodie bag. Quite a few blogging friends were also in attendance, Julie, Emma, Chloe (and of course Lisa who in addition to running CandyRocks, blogs here) which was great, love a bit of a catch-up. Missed you Kayleigh! When we got there the event was in full swing, the girls had arranged for a hair stylist (from Glitz & Glamour Hair & Beauty, Wallsend) to style bloggers hair – such a good idea. I didn’t get mine done as I was too busy talking (as is often the case) & looking at sparkly necklaces.

I spotted the CandyRocks piece for me almost immediately & snapped it up without a second thought!

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There was a brilliant quiz organised for everyone to take part in, Emma, Julie and I joined forces to form Les Trois Chipies and ended up winning. It turns out it IS handy to know the names all members of New Kids on The Block, the Raggy Dolls, the principal in Saved by The Bell and the actors who played Brenda & Brandon Walsh (the original Beverly Hills 90210 was discussed a lot over the course of the evening). Don’t know about you, but this is my kind of quiz! We won some sweets (and the pride of winning obviously). Next up was the raffle, there were lots of beauty goodies up on the bar and whoever was picked out could choose whichever item they wanted. Les Trois Chipies had already chosen which prizes we’d like before the first ticket was picked out! Haha. My winning streak continued and I chose the Tangle Teezer Magic Flower Pot. You’ll be seeing that a bit further down too.

We also got to name a necklace from the new collection. It was black and really elegant (stupidly I didn’t take a photo) – Nicola’s suggestion of ‘Liquorice on Ice’ won and she got to keep the necklace as her prize!

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To finish an already great night, we were able to pick our favourite out of three necklaces to take home alongside our goodie bag! Super generous. I haven’t been to many events for my blog, but this was really well planned, at a great venue. Lisa & Andrea chatted to everyone too and weren’t pushy at all about selling their jewellery – REALLY love not getting the hard sell. Brilliant event ladies, I loved it.

Ready for some photos?

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I’m remorseful that I didn’t buy this

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Was really tempted by this one…

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Just a boar, on a wall, wearing a necklace. No big deal.

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Last set of pics, I promise… the CandyRocks gift I chose, goodie bag contents & the Tangle Teezer Magic Flower Pot which I won in the raffle!

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Eating the Love Hearts right now. Jel?

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Yowza, I’ve talked a lot. SORRY.

If you’re in the market for some really pretty, affordable statement necklaces, check out CandyRocks on FB to find out how to order! I’ve already picked out a few things I need to purchase :)

Jam Jar Jesmond

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Another place that has been on my list for a long time, Jam Jar on Osborne Road has been open since early September 2013. I was meeting friends for brunch and couldn’t decide where to go, Sarah who works with me suggested Jam Jar and I couldn’t believe I hadn’t thought of it myself. (Great recommendation Sarah, thanks!)

We arrived just before 11 and were told that food wasn’t served until 11, so we ordered some coffee and totally ignored the menus for ages as we were too busy talking.

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Hello latte

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Bonjour Flat White

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Shot glasses full of sugar

I knew I wanted to order a breakfasty item, but wasn’t sure what to pick between Eggs Benedict and Pancakes. Tough decision I know. The decision-making process was difficult, I’m not going to lie. The pancakes were served with vanilla ice-cream – this was the deciding factor at the very last minute while the waitress was taking our order, I went for eggs benedict instead.

Yet again we were talking so much that I didn’t even notice that our food hadn’t arrived yet… the waitress came over to apologise and said our orders would be coming out next. This gave me time to walk around the place and take some photos! Such a cute little place (it’s not actually little, it’s loads bigger than I expected inside), but as there were people dotted about everywhere I felt didn’t take as many photos as usual… turns out I did.

Loved the eggs benedict, just the right amount of Hollandaise sauce, the bacon was crispy without being hard and the sautéed leeks were a great addition. My friends enjoyed their meals too, pulled pork bun and a fish finger sandwich (if my heart hadn’t been set on breakfast, I would have had the fish finger sarnie too).

Food pics first, then the snaps I took of the place itself.

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Eggs Benedict

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… and again from a different angle

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Fish Finger Sandwich with Sweet Potato Fries

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Pulled Pork Bun & Sweet Potato Fries (should have taken this from the other side)

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LOVE

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Was quite tempted to pick this phone up… I didn’t though.

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Was a bit transfixed by the neon jam jar… Kind of want one in my house.

I love places like this popping up around Newcastle and it’s always nice to visit Jesmond once you’ve managed to find a parking space (thanks Sav for the parking advice). I’ll definitely be back for food & perhaps even a few drinks in the near future. Loved the interior, especially the jam jar wallpaper – SO CUTE. Great lighting too. Would be harder to take pics in the evening without the natural light coming in though. (Blogger problems). I also liked that the tables weren’t super close to each other, I barely noticed the other diners. Staff were friendly and attentive, checking back now and again to make sure we had drinks, asking how the food was. If you’re looking for somewhere reasonably priced, cool and a bit quirky for a bite to eat, I’d recommend making a trip to Jam Jar.

If you’ve already been, would love to hear what you thought of it.

Thanks for reading!

Lane7 Newcastle

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I love bowling. It’s actually sad because I’m SO bad at it, even though I try really hard. We’ve had this team night out planned for a while, so thought it would be a good opportunity to take some photos and sample the food I’ve heard so much about!

Lane7 has been open for about a year now and it’s a bit embarrassing that it’s taken me this long to visit. It’s pretty different to any other bowling alley I’ve been to. In other words, Lane7 is much better than any other bowling alley I’ve been to. I love the dimly lit, stylish, spacious interior.  I wore a checked shirt and looked like I was turning up to work there. I was just trying to be a serious bowler, what’s wrong with that?!

The bar area is super cool with loads of space, bricks walls, brilliant artwork/signage painted on the walls and the kind of lighting that makes everyone look amazing.  There is a vast array of beverages to choose from, I was a bit disappointed that I’d brought the car as I couldn’t have a Cherry Fizz cocktail or my usual G&T! NEXT TIME. Plus, I needed to keep my head straight for the ultimate bowling battle later on…

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It’s nice to pose for a photo outside a photobooth, especially when you look this cute!

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Hi Pepper! Not quite the action shot you planned, but I told you I’d name-check you :)

The dining area is bigger than I was expecting and I really really love how it’s been furnished. The bright turquoise chesterfield sofas, wooden chairs and the lighting… oh and let’s get to the amazing menu… It’s safe to say we were all a bit excited about the food we were about to eat. Shall we all order corn dogs for starters? OK THEN. (We didn’t all order corn dogs for starters. Only 80% of us did). The highlight of the meal for me was my starter, popcorn shrimp – as recommended by our lovely waitress Amy Scott! She was brilliant, so attentive and accommodating as well as hilarious. We were too stuffed to even contemplate dessert. Disappointing effort on our part. The prices are pretty reasonable too, you can check out the menu here. YUM.

It’s time for some photos of food and the dining area!

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Delightful corn dogs

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Hickory smoked pulled pork

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Popcorn shrimp

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Truffle mac & cheese with fries

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Double cheeseburger – open

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Double cheeseburger – closed

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After being really slow at working out who owed what for the bill (sorry Amy), it was time to bowl! There are 4 lanes downstairs and 4 upstairs (upstairs you’ll also find ping pong tables, pool tables and wait for it… KARAOKE) and of course there are bars available both upstairs and downstairs. Handy! I’m a bit gutted I didn’t take a photo of the bowling shoes. Next time! (I’m sure I’ve already said that in this post…)

We were assigned lane 5, upstairs. It was pretty warm upstairs… or maybe it was the heat from the serious competition that was about to get underway! (Ha ha). Like the rest of the place, the bowling alley was dimly lit and just looked really stylish – I keep using this word, but it’s just REALLY cool. Perhaps I should google synonyms of ‘stylish’.

I won’t bore you with the details of our bowling battle, let me just tell you that I came last. Luckily I’m not a bad loser, I enjoy bowling so much that I won’t let it put me off from continually trying. SAD. As a fair sportswoman, it’s only right that I announce first to last place:

  1. Michael
  2. Linden
  3. Julie
  4. Sarah
  5. Ollie
  6. Me

Bowling pics?

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Professional bowler in our midsts. Check out that technique!

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Hi Ollie!

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A Julie style celebration :)

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Michael possesses a lot of bowling prowess. Look at him, he means business.

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On the way out I snapped these pics… oh and we also thought it would be nice if 6 people tried to fit into a photobooth :)

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Don't we look nice!?

Don’t we look nice!?

All in all, it was a great night out. I will most definitely be going back for more bowling, yummy food and a Cherry Fizz cocktail or two! It gets really busy so make sure you book in advance (for food as well as bowling lane/ping pong table/pool table/karaoke room). Each staff member I spoke to (I think I spoke to about 6…) was friendly, super helpful and genuine – it was really busy too so it was greatly appreciated.

If like me, you’re one of the only people left in Newcastle who hasn’t been to Lane7, get yourself there pronto! If you’ve already been, I’d love to hear what you thought and more importantly if you’d like to give me some bowling lessons?

Ritu & Jorin’s Wedding Day – Shortflatt Tower

Part three! I really thought I could do it in two, I couldn’t. Victoria was right.

The civil ceremony was to take place at 3.30pm at Shortflatt Tower in Belsay, just 20 minutes away from where the Sikh ceremony took place (read about that here). We had 2 hours between ceremonies to get ready. I took this time to go home (5 mins away from Ritu’s house), quickly iron the bridesmaid sari and then my mum arrived to dress me in the aforementioned sari. Don’t judge me until you’ve tried to wear a sari! It’s hard for some people (a bit like telling the time). My mum is a sari maestro, a true professional. I basically stand like a tree while she wraps, tucks, folds and pins. (Thanks mum).

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Topiary elephant!

Back to the matter at hand, the wedding of Ritu and Jorin! When I arrived at Shortflatt Tower, the sun was beaming, there was a slight breeze but otherwise the weather was perfect. Ritu was in the most breathtaking room at the top of Shortflatt Tower (named ‘Pretty Nell’) getting her hair done by Rani & having a bit of a breather before the next ceremony. Ritu was getting changed into outfit number 2 (of 3) with the help of Victoria and Gemma (bridesmaids). Wanna see? This delightful outfit was by designer Payal Singhal. So so beautiful! You’ll also see the gorgeous bridesmaid outfits which Ritu bought in India – the sari blouse is made from the Liberty print which features on the invitations. Everything was so well coordinated.

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Ritu checking on the marquee and that everything was running to plan. Yes really.

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Ritu’s lovely sisters and mum arrived, Sean took photos (I didn’t have shoes on and looked about 4ft tall) whilst outside people had started taking their seats for the ceremony! It was almost time…

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I handed my camera over to Ankush at this point. Well after the photo of the window below:

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Each bridesmaid was handed a different coloured hydrangea – matching the Liberty print theme perfectly. Wait until you see Ritu’s bouquet! Before we knew it, it was time for Ritu to walk down the aisle and become a Mrs! Ritu was to be given away by her uncle who was waiting to escort her. I could have burst into tears at this point. Weddings really are emotional.

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*Please don’t fall, please don’t fall, please do NOT fall*

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During the ceremony, there were lovely readings from Ritu’s sister (On Marriage, from The Prophet, by Kahlil Gibran) and one of Jorin’s Groomsmen (A Lovely Love Story, by Edward Monkton).

The couple said their vows, exchanged rings and they were MARRIED!

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Love this photo!

As soon as the ceremony was over, there was a champagne reception, papri chaat was served and it was time for photos. Sean Elliott had us doing all sorts of things – kicking our legs out, Bollywood kissing the person next to us (what does this even mean Sean?!) and blowing the groom kisses! Soon after this the marquee opened for canapés to be served, along with the delicious meringues I posted a photo of in part 1 of wedding week!

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Ritu drew this!

I hope you’re enjoying the photos… there are still more to come.

The flowers arrangements were by the brilliant Helen and her team of florists at Bels Flowers. They were beyond breathtaking. The best flowers I’ve seen at a wedding without a doubt.

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The drinks were flowing, starters were being served and guests invited to the evening reception had arrived, so it was time to make our way into the main part of the marquee and await the entrance of our bride and groom! They were accompanied by Gaurav from Devastasian on the dhol – perfect! Check out dapper Jorin and Ritu’s gorgeous 3rd outfit! The final outfit of the day was Sabyasachi, from Bibi London.

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Isn’t this gorgeous? Provided by Coco Luminaire.

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Beautiful favour boxes – check out the coordination. Ritu drew this elephant!

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Pretty Bels Flowers arrangement

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Entertainment from Punjabi Roots Academy

Dinner was served promptly (catering was by Karma Foods and was delicious) and it was time for speeches. I didnt take photos, too busy laughing at Gary’s (best man) speech, and saying ‘aahhh’ at Jorin’s speech. When it came to Ritu to say a few words, she had lots of people in tears, at our table, Victoria and I couldn’t pull ourselves together until well into the newlyweds first dance!

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I didn’t take too many photos after this point – too busy busting some ridiculous moves on the dance floor to celebrate my best friend’s wedding. Here are a few final snaps:

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Gorgeous sister of the bride and her schoolfriend (and coincidentally, my lovely cousin)

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Mother and daughter :)

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I know this has been long (scarily, I haven’t even mentioned everything I wanted to, like how amazing the venue was for example, and what was inside the favour boxes… it could have been MUCH longer) but I hope you’ve enjoyed reading and looking at the million photos I’ve uploaded!

Would love to know what you think :)