New Years Resolutions

This week I have been thinking a lot about my New Years Resolutions. I know as we get older a lot of people eye roll at the thought of setting New Years Resolutions but being honest, I eye roll at the eye rollers!

Why is setting goals and aspirations for the year ahead something to snigger at? Yes I appreciate many will set unrealistic, pointless New Years Resolutions but if they are used right, I think they are a really useful.

Each year around Christmas, I really try to use my time off to think over the past year; what went well, what didn’t go so well, what I loved and what I didn’t like so much. It is from this that I set my New Years Resolutions. From personal goals to work related targets, I think of it all.

Personal New Years Resolutions

Last year I set myself the resolution to plan one activity a month for me. Being a new mum it is easy to forget about you and very often no one else will think to drag you from your sick covered pj’s. Each month I planned something I wanted to do for me whether it was to relax or spend time with friends. I headed to Galgorm Resort and Spa with the girls one month and booked a day trip to Dublin with Carl for another. I really loved that I had something planned to look forward to each month and as it was planned in advance it was easy to organise childcare too! I’ll definitely be keeping this New Years Resolution in play this year!

This year however I want to do something I haven’t done in years; the arts. Recently I went along to Aly Hartes workshop in Boden Coffee Co and it really reignited my love for art. Honestly, since leaving school I think I have forgotten the things I used to love; music, art, drama, reading, writing. We are so wrapped up in our busy lives that we can often forget to take time for us to do something we enjoy just for the fun of it! So thanks to Aly, I’m setting myself the resolution of getting back into the arts! My paints & pencils are purchased, I asked family for some books that caught my eye and I’m looking at how I can work the others into hectic mum life!

Work Related New Years Resolutions

This has become so normal for me to think of aims and targets in work and with our home business. I truly believe in personal development and always striving for better, so much so that I do this every month!

This year though I am setting myself the goal to blog more about business. In work I manage a domiciliary business and at home I manage my husbands business. We both are crazy busy and juggling it all is hectic but both Carl and I love the chaos. I love encouraging others to try something new and to be the best them so I hope you’ll enjoy this new part of the blog.

Carl and I have set our targets for the year for the business for the new year and I have set mine for my job and for me in work – these are two totally different things and should be viewed individually. My goals for what courses I want to do or how I want to develop myself are different to the company goals.

I always keep these totally under wraps but I keep a dream board at home which lets me read my goals everyday and reminds me why I want to hit them. Nothing annoys me more than missing a goal so seeing these everyday is a massive driving force for me.

What are your thoughts on New Years Resolutions? Do you stick to them? Do you try? Are they realistic? Or do you just see them as a pointless activity?

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The Glitz & Glam of Belfast’s Cabaret Supper Club

If you have followed me for a while, you will know I love the weird and wonderful or out of the ordinary. Give me a paintballing party over a night out in a bar anytime (although if a close friend of mine is reading this I will never forgive you for paintballing – the bruises!!)

So when a friend decided to go to the Cabaret Supper Club in AM:PM for her birthday this year I couldn’t wait! Now to be honest, it definitely was not what I expected but if you want great craic, a girly night out and some nudity then this is for you. Here are my top four reasons you should check out this explosive concotion of comedy, singing, burlesque and creative genius.

(Image from cabaretbelfast.com)

It is the perfect night out for everyone!

AM:PM was filled with hen parties, birthday parties, staff nights out and those just after a great nights fun, flip there was even a couple on a date when we were there! The groups were filled with all ages giggling, enjoying the flurry of fun in front of them proving it is perfect for everyone.

The staff are great craic!

From the bar staff to the burlesque dancers everyone is there for a good time and it shows. Warning: your face will hurt for laughing the next day and your muscles from dancing.

(Image from cabaretbelfast.com)

The singing = wow!

Now lets be honest, sometimes at these things the singing isn’t great but last night it was unreal! The music ranged from old school classics to R’n’B hits that you are guaranteed to know the words to.

Food, glorious good!

It is a supper club so of course there was food. We were treated to a main course as part of our package and the food was beautiful. I had the pork – definitely try it!

So what do you need to go along to Caberet Supper Club?

1. A good sense of humor

2. Not being afraid of a little bit of nudity

3. A great singing voice for belting out a bit of Whitney Houston.

AM:PM’s Cabaret Supper Club truly brought some 1920’s glitz and glam to the heart of Belfast last night and we loved it. Hats off to the Creative Director Ross Anderson-Doherty, you have the best job in the world so I’ll leave the last word to him…

You’re in the Caberet Supper Club, you’re getting some culture b**tches!

Living Room Lovin’

It’s scary to think we have been living in our little country cottage for 4 years in September. We moved here temporarily until we could build our first home but 4 years on we are still here and surprisingly I now wouldn’t change it.

If you don’t know the story behind it. Carl and I lived in Belfast for the our first two years. I was still in university and Carl was brought up in the city so it made sense, but two years in and coming up to our wedding day I was dying to go home. I had always lived in the country and there is something about fields for miles that makes you feel calm and at home – although Carl will still say it’s creepy without street lights. It was then that we decided to build. With no chance of that happening before the wedding we decided to renovate the cottage that had always sat on my familys farm.

We spent the first 3 years just “getting by.” I hated the cottage and was always embaraamssed to bring people over. We had pretty much just made it habitable until we could get our house built but when we found out Annie was on her way it was time to suck it up and make it pretty since we knew our house wouldn’t be built any time soon.

The living room definitely took the most work, in fact it is a miracle there wasn’t a divorce over it. Every wall had to be replastered as the stone walls showing through, the floor had to he levelled, fireplace ripped out – it was chaos but now it is my little happy place.

On another decor note, I am over the moon to now be a Brand Rep for Very Vez who sell personalised and custom prints. I love prints in my home making it unique to us and they have a massive collection to choose from. You can use 10% off on the Very Vez Etsy store using code “JENNA10”. 

Who is she?! Who is she?!

A huge thank you to all of the people who have liked my blog recently. I don’t know how you found me but I’m glad you did! It is for that reason I thought I would do a new post introducing myself or re-introducing myself for those of you who have been here a while. I haven’t done one of these posts in a long time so it is probably long overdue.

I initially started my blog (then called The Belfast Bride) in 2013 as a creative outlet to share images and content that inspired me in the lead up to my wedding. Four years later, the blog has grown into something much, much more. Whilst developing the blog I grew as a person and as a wife, so it was time for a change. A change in content and a change in name!

Jenna Annie Hill – The Blog emerged in 2015. Jenna, the person is twenty five, a farmers daughter, currently in the process of building her first home, three years married, the manager of a domiciliary agency and managing life as a new mum with newborn baby Annie. In school and university, we digest textbooks to get through exams but no one teaches us how to get through life. Hence the blog. We can learn to get through it together. I blog about what I love and know. Be it hotel stays, beauty, my country home, cooking and baking, learning how to be a mum to little Annie and of course weddings!

In 2016, after working in weddings for 3 years Jenna Annie Hill – The Wedding Planner emerged. After blogging about weddings for three years and being obsessed with everything wedding related, I took the plunge and established my own Wedding Planning service. I adore what I do and believe that truly shows in the work I complete with brides and grooms in N.I. (You can read more about my wedding planning service here.)

It has been a crazy four years but I have loved it!

I have been blessed to work with amazing local companies and attend some amazing events. If you would like to collaborate with me then feel free to drop me an email (jennaanniehill@gmail.com). I hope you enjoy an insight into my little world.

Don’t forget to sign up to the newsletter Here!

Love,

Jenna Annie Hill x

Champagne Lifestyle on Coca Cola Wages

Saving for a Wedding but still trying to maintain any form of a reasonable lifestyle is not fun! Especially if your friends aren’t saving and they still insist on their weekly night out and three weekly nail appointment. Meanwhile you are counting every penny, be it for your new house, hen party, honeymoon or Wedding Day. I’ve been there, done that and bought the t-shirt… it isn’t fun! However, having a life and saving simultaneously is possible!

Carl and I are saving non-stop at the minute to build our first home but the thought of not getting another break until Christmas is slightly depressing, so this week I went on a mission to find a trip away that I could justify whilst saving and I booked two!

Top tip number one. Sky Scanner is your new best friend.

The first trip we booked was to Alicante. My family were already heading out in September so Carl and I sneakily booked on to gatecrash them. To get to where they are staying I googled it and found we could fly to Alicante or Murcia as both were the same distance to the apartment. We tried from both Belfast and Dublin and got our flights return for £84! (See similar below). As we have been there before, we know that the taxi journey to and from the airport is £80 return and with family staying in the villa and us tagging along the accommodation is costing £0! 

 

Total cost? £164 for a week in the sun! See you in two weeks Alicante!

The second trip we booked was London for some Christmas shopping (don’t hate me for mentioning Christmas!). Back to Skyscanner and we got return flights for £36 flying from Belfast to Stansted (see similar below). The flights to London fluctuate so much so make sure you watch them. We have got them for£25 return before (bargain!). We always stay in the St Giles when we go to London. The hotel is in the best location being just of Oxford St & Tottenham Court tube stations is right outside – really handy you want to do some sightseeing. For £100 each for two nights its really inexpensive and a bargain. However, if you wanted something fancier, watch ut on Travel Zoo & Secret Escapes as they always have really good London deals. The Stansted Express is really handy for jumping on from the airport and it was only £30 each. 

   
Total cost? £76 each for a weekend break. Christmas shopping is organised!

It’s so important to not let your saving take over your life and if you are anything like me you watch bloggers have the most amazing holidays and wish it was you. Saving & living isn’t impossible! 

 

Getting back to basics…..

We all know how easy it is to fall off the bandwagon and how much harder it is to jump back on it again. I have been so busy this summer, as it was my first as a Wedding Planner and it has been hard trying to juggle the other aspects of life something I think all brides can relate to in the run up to their big day. As things calm down this week, I am counting my blessings and going back to basics. I am an avid lover of Joanne Larby aka The Make Up Fairy and even more at her determination and her results! On Snap Chat this week she said how she writes down weekly goals she wants to accomplish… so here goes! 

 Joanne Larby aka The Make Up Fairy

I always say to the brides I work with, that a wedding is massive and can be extremely overwhelming when you look at it as one big day, so break it down. Personally, I am going to set myself a few weekly goals that I want to accomplish each day this week. For you, these can be lifestyle, fitness, wedding goals or maybe a little mixture of both, that you want to achieve this week. 

 So this week, lets take a different take on things. Lets calm down, breath, reach our goals and go right back to basics, enjoying the last of the beautiful Summer weather.

My Top 6 Favourite Snap Chatters

I am obsessed with Snap Chat. I love that it lets you get to know someone or a business on a more personal level. 

I think we all use it to let followers get to know us as a person rather than what our job etc may be. I love that followers feel more able to ask me a question on it than if they are asking it publicly on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. I have been a little quiet on Snap Chat recently – as its wedding season there is little going on in the world of wedding events so it is definitely more of my life on their at the minute. From renovating my home to building my first home, cooking and baking, fitness and make up you are guaranteed a big variation of snaps reflecting my own life and day to day goings on. If you want to follow me it’s @thebelfastbride. 

 Those that I follow on Snap Chat are just as varied as the snaps I put up. For that reason, here are my Top Six Snap Chatters.

1. Lydia Millen

Lydia is a beauty and fashion blogger based in the UK. I absolutely love her style and always click on her snaps first. She has a beautiful home, goes on amazing holidays and shares her “big” purchases! 

   

2. McElhinneys Bridal Rooms

From New York Bridal Fashion Week to their new collections, McElhinneys Snap Chat showcases their amazing collections & makes me so jealous that I do not work for them! Perfect for any bride considering her wedding dress. 

   

3. So Sue Me

Suzanne Jackson is my ultimate girl crush. Dylan (her BF) recently proposed in the Maldives so Sue is just beginning her wedding planning journey. As a blogger, she features her favourite fashion & beauty products including her own So Su range as well as her fab holidays. 

   

4. Spoilt Belle Boutique

Spoilt Belle Boutique is based in Magherafelt. I first heard of the boutique at Belfast Fashion Week and I am now obsessed and have travelled up a few times for outfits. The girls are a lot of fun so as well as seeing some fab outfits, including the Olivia Burton watches, you also get a giggle.  

   

5. The Body Coach

If you haven’t heard of Joe Wicks then you must have been living under a stone the past year. Joe initially started posting pictures of his own food online as a PT and now has a best selling book and another due to launch in a few days! He is the ultimate fitness encouragement #winnersocclock #midgettrees 

   

6. Rosie Connolly

Hearts, Heels and Handbags blogger Rosie is the ultimate MILF. She regularly features her day to day goings on as mummy to Harry as well as being a fiancée, MUA & all round stylish babe!

   

 
Who are your favourite Snap Chatters?! 

Jenna x

Fertility: Anger & Fear

I’m 23. 23 years of age and for some God knows what reason my body won’t allow me to get pregnant. Yet people ask “what’s wrong?” Seriously?! 

I think I got over the upset and hurt part a couple of months back but the anger and fear stage is so much worse. Angry at people who complain about being pregnant, do you realise how lucky you actually are? Angry at those who don’t want the beautiful children they have and even more so at those who are cruel to them. I’m angry at the NHS who show no sympathy, empathy or compassion and who are so God damn ignorant at the amount of us out there. I’m angry at the lack of understanding and the “it will happen when the times right” people. Most of all? I’m angry at myself because I’m the one who can’t bloody do it.

Fear is so much worse however. In a few months time I will have reached the stage that the NHS want to spend their precious money on me. At that point I’m a lost cause so they will consider IVF and this scares me the most. This scares me to death so for now I feel like I only have a few months left. Panic. At 23, I’m married and have a loving husband. We are building our first home, a home I am planning around having children in. Where their bedrooms will be, what their playroom will look like, yet I may never bring a beautiful baby home. 

 I know so many of us feel the same way because I have talked to so many of you. Eventually the hurt subsided and hopefully,  for us, the fear will too. At the minute however hope is definitely dwindling. Maybe it’s just a bad week or maybe I’m coming to terms with it, only time will tell.

Fertility: My top tips for getting pregnant

I am definitely in no way qualified to give out these tips but lately I have been reading every blog, health care website and listening carefully to the experts. We are so lucky to have access to many, many professional sources but sometimes it can become a little overwhelming so I have condensed all the tips I have read about or received to help you get pregnant.

1. Have Sex!

Ok, granted this is a little obvious but the thing I have read the most across all of these sources is to have sex every two or three days. Most places say not to worry about ovulation dates and just to focus on have regular, unprotected sex. Furthermore, regular sex helps produce better quality sperm! 

 2.  Being healthy

Being healthy is the best way to maximise getting pregnant. If you are your partner are healthy you will produce a healthy egg and healthy sperm. No alcohol or smoking, a healthy diet and regular exercise. In producing a healthy egg and sperm you will again have a better chance of getting pregnant. 

3. Reduce stress

For me this is the hardest bit but stress apparently has a direct impact on your fertility so reduce it. I have started listening to sleep hypnosis (Sleep Well is a free app!) and I have found I am sleeping better and therefore more relaxed the next day.

Fertility treatments such as Arvygo Maya Massage are excellent for assisting in getting pregnant but also in reducing stress as they are so relaxing. 

 4. Knowing your cycle

Back to the biology. When an egg is released it only survives for two days and sperm will only survive for, at the most, 7 days. Therefore there is a very small window in which you can get pregnant. Your egg is normally released on day 14 of your cycle, although for some people this will differ slightly. In knowing your cycle you have the opportunity to time things a little better. If you are finding you don’t have a regular cycle then Ovulation tests are your new friend. They will tell you on which day you are ovulating. They can be quite expensive so try online.

5. Folic Acid & Vitamin D

Women who are thinking about getting pregnant should take a 400mcg folic acid supplement each day. – Boots

It is recommended that you take 400mcg of Folic Acid per day ideally three months before conceiving and until you are 12 weeks pregnant – normal multivitamins only have 200mcg. Check with your doctor though as some illnesses including Diabetes may mean you need to take a different dose.

10mg of Vitmain D is also a must. Although some of these nutrients can be quite expsenive, Boots own range is very reasonable!

6. Age & when to get help

Nine out of 10 couples, in which the woman is under 35, will conceive naturally after one year of having regular unprotected sex. – http://www.nhs.co.uk

If you are under 35 and have been trying for over a year to get pregnant then it’s time to speak to your GP. If you are over 35 then it is recommended to speak to your GP before starting to try to conceive.

I hope these help! It can be increasingly stressful when it just isn’t happening. Keep calm, we will all get there!

Top 5 things to do with your fiancé this bank holiday

If you are anything like my husband and I, you are normally counting down the days to the next bank holiday and a Monday of work. Nine times out of ten we start ours with a lie in, breakfast in bed and then we plan our day out.

In the last two years we have learnt to make the most of the places that have been right on our doorstep as there are some amazing views, sights and activities to do. So here are my top 5 things to do with your fiancé this bank holiday.

1. Sunset walk along Seapark, Holywood

Seapark is a beautiful beach in Holywood. With its own carpark, a play park for the kids and a walkway through to Bangor it is perfect for a walk with the kids or with your pets day or night. We love heading here at night time as it is very picturesque and extremely quiet helping to increase its romanticism. 

 2. Cocktails in Ritas and The Perch, Belfast

Ritas and The Perch in Belfast City Centre are my two favourite locations for idealic cocktails. The quirky bars help to make your afternoon or evening more unique. They are the perfect place to relax and unwind with your other half – just enjoy each other’s company. 

 Photos by @ritasbelfast

3. We are Vertigo

Carl and I are a little weird. We love something a little out there and from the minute I enter We are Vertigo to the minute I leave I laugh. As an adult you really aren’t meant to be bouncing on a trampoline but it’s hilarious!

4. Barry’s & Portrush

In the world or work we often become so serious so a bank holiday is the perfect time to relax, unwind and remember your youth. Have you ever went to your favourite childhood place with your other half? Last year, we finally went together to Barry’s and it was fantastic trying out all the rides with my hubby. Big kids at heart!

5. Bake a cake

I love baking and Carl love eating! What better way to spend your holiday baking something together and then enjoying it with a cuppa. Sometimes the best days are those spent at home wrapped up warm eating things we really shouldn’t, so enjoy it together.

Whatever you end up doing I hope you have a fantastic Bank Holiday. Spend it with the ones you love and enjoy their company.

Tag me in any pictures too!

My 2016 Challenge!

Each year, as the new year approaches, I always set myself a target for the year ahead. 2013 I wanted to finish uni and book an adventurous holiday, 2014 I planned to have the wedding of my dreams, 2015 I wanted to find a job I loved but what about 2016?

At the minute I luckily feel like I have it all! We are in the process of building our first home, I have a job I love, I’m done with education (for now!). So what is left? 2015 has definitely not been the best year health wise for me. I’ve been plagued with EVERYTHING and I am determined this won’t happen in 2016. So my 2016 plan is to be happier and healthier in myself! So whose with me? 

 I am so chuffed to say I will be working with Laura McClune to bring about healthy lifestyle changes for all Belfast Bride followers in 2016 and we want you to do it with us! 

Laura is a Personal Trainer, Nutritionist and Fitness Model based in Pure Gym, Belfast. I followed Laura throughout her journey to the WBFF in Denmark and then to The Worlds in Las Vegas so who better to get us fit and healthy in 2016! (Have you seen her abs?!?)

   Each week we are going to bring you a new challenge for the week with the aim of transforming your 2016 into an even fitter and healthier one. Whether you use this to help you fit into a smaller sized wedding dress, to have more glowing skin or just to feel great and be healthier, make sure to keep watching for more info!

Here’s to a happy and healthy 2016!

   

One of those days

Do you ever just have “one of those days?” Well today, that day is in full swing for me. Yano one of those days when you feel like the whole world is against you and nothing is going right?!

Anytime anything goes wrong I’ve always written everything down. Bit odd? Yes, but mum told me to do it once and it always helped to clear my mind when I felt it was going to explode. So here goes. This is why I’m having “one of those days.”

  • I had to come home from work sick and now I’ll have so, so much to do tomorrow. Plus I feel like a major let down abandoning everyone. Reality is they were probably glad I took off so they didn’t have to listen to my moaning and tomorrow I’ll have no more to do than usual.
  • I’m sick. The world is crumbling down around me. What if I’m sick for weeks or over Christmas? Reality is I have a sore throat. Grow up Jenna!
  • Because I was sick I had to cancel my Specsavers appointment and now I can’t get one for another two weeks! TWO WEEKS! Seriously sort it out Specsavers! Reality, stop being a Psycho Jenna it’s only a contact lens check.
  • I haven’t seen my friends in years and now our plans for next week are cancelled. We are the worst friends ever, why are we all drifting apart as we grow older. Reality is I seen them on Sunday and we’re skint. That’s life.
  • My husband has asked me three times what I want for dinner. Honestly if I didn’t know the first time I’m not going to know the third. Make a decision man! Reality is the poor boy is probably afraid to decide because I’m in psycho Jenna mode.
  • I’m too hot. I’m too cold. Why don’t we have a house built yet, I hate this cottage. Reality is I’m lying in front of the fire with my duvet of course I’m hot.
  • Carls getting us pizza for dinner. That’s the second night this week and I’ve only done one spin class this week. I’m going to be the size of a house! I’ll have to eat lettuce for the rest of the week with a side of Avocado (boke!). Reality, wise up Jenna it’s a pizza and it’s Christmas! You’ll devour a box of celebrations to yourself on Christmas Day!

Reality is, it’s not one of those days at all. It’s totally in my head because I don’t feel well. I am officially in psycho Jenna mode. Please tell me I’m not the only one?!

So now I’m off to shout at my husband who still isn’t back with my pizza (that I didn’t originally want but now I do!). 

Happy Thursday everyone!