Lauren Loves Blog

A blog for fashion, beauty, hair, cosmetics and lifestyle

24 May 2019

A Unique date in Bournemouth

I was asked recently about unique experiences which make Bournemouth special, why it's worth a visit and reasons to be googling hotels in Bournemouth ASAP for your visit. We're still exploring the area and finding out what's local, but we've found a few gems I can share with you.

I thought I'd share some of the delights we'd go to on a perfect day out


We LOVE a coffee shop in Boscombe called Boscanova. They do yummy coffee and their food is delicious. I love their veggie breakfast with avocado, hummus, garlic mushrooms and the most delicious, thick, buttery toast. Sam's a real coffee lover and their range is fantastic, plus you can buy beans to take home.

Recently, a vegan restaurant called Dirty Vegans has been opened nearby. It's the next place on our list of places to go

After this, you could go for a wander down the main street in Boscombe towards Pokesdown station. It's a really unique area and there are some amazing vintage and junk shops containing wonderful little treasures and quirky things.


If you fancied doing something more cultural, you could walk down the seafront (get an iceceam on the way) down to the Russel-Cotes museum. This beautiful house is perched on the cliffs behind the seafront near the Sealife Centre and contains paintings, sculptures and artifacts.

Nearby we also have the Bournemouth Natural Science Society and Museum which has our own Bournemouth mummy. We haven't been yet but it's next on our list for the next free weekend we have.

If you're here on the weekend in the summer, you'll be lucky enough to be able to join beach yoga, or park yoga. Beach yoga is £5 and park yoga is free!

Once you're in town, there are a few places to go. 60 Million Postcards is great for a drink in their outdoor beach huts and for some early dinner.

Night life
There is so much to do here in the evenings - which has been terrible for our bank balance! If you want a unique cinema experience, Viewrassic Park is a tiny microcinema in Bournemouth. We went to watch Bill and Ted!

Or there is the Bournemouth Colosseum which is the smallest cinema in the UK.

If you fancy a unique drink, the Duck has lovely cocktails including frozen slushie margaritas and others. If you're more of a craft cider and beer person, the Firkin Shed is a CAMRA awarded bar which sells a huge range of them from small breweries. I really recommend Rhubarb Bob which is delicious!

I'd love to hear of your favorite places in Bournemouth. I'm still exploring and would love your recommendations please!

Disclaimer - this is kind of a sponsored post. offered us spending money to have an amazing day out but we ended up only claiming £12! All the photos and stories are genuine and ours from the last 12 months of exploring the area. With all the wedding planning madness we've not had a chance to go out recently.

15 May 2019

Tips for preparing for an engagement photo shoot

Most wedding photography packages these days come with a complimentary engagement photo shoot, or prep shoot for the big day. It's to help us to meet our photographers and learn to feel comfortable in front of the camera. We had ours at Hengistbury Head with Emma and Ian from Big Bouquet Photography, a Dorset-based photographers, 4 weeks before the big day. We agreed to walk there together, sit on our blankets and discuss the plans for the wedding and then have photos during the lovely golden light at sunset. It was fun to make it a different type of date night! 

Firstly, we thought about where we wanted our photos. For us, the Mudeford beach huts are something really special for Sam's family and we love walking the dog there so it was a clear winner for us

Being me, my first thought was "what do I wear?" Emma suggested something which makes  us feel comfortable and good about ourselves, it doesn't have to be too smart but it's nice to not be wearing trainers or a hoodie. I was really stuck so I went on Pinterest (obviously) and got the idea for a gingham dress. I found this one on Lindy Bop. Sam wore his favourite jeans and a checked shirt from ASOS which makes him feel comfortable. We didn't really think about it, but we were lucky that our outfits went together. 

It looks like a gorgeous day, but it was super cold that evening! I would recommend wrapping up warm for between the shots! Also think about bringing something special you'd like in your photos - I brought my temperature blanket to sit on. We considered bringing Teddy dog but we thought it wouldn't be a good walk for him or planning time for us!

I used the shoot as an opportunity to practice my wedding makeup because I'm doing my own on the wedding day. It was a great chance to see if I was wearing too much/not enough and how it photographs. I went a little heavier than I normally do and wore big false lashes but I think it came out ok and I've learnt what to change or add for the wedding? I also learnt that I need lots of hairspray in my fringe if we're having photos outdoors!

Initially we were pretty stilted and nervous. It's a really alien thing having your photo taken like you're being snapped by the paparazzi! We were helped to feel calmer by Emma and Ian chatting to us and giving posing suggestions or telling us where to put our hands when we were being awkward! What I loved was they didn't mind us chatting and being normal with each other with some direction for how or where to stand. Despite us chatting away and laughing constantly, Emma got some lovely photos and I feel like they capture how we are when we hang out alone.

We did some posing, some walking and talking and some sitting all around the lovely beach huts on Mudeford Spit. My other tip is wear comfortable shoes in case you are walking a long way or you decide to scramble onto some rocks!

My other tip would be experiment with poses! We don't normally do cheesy poses or PDAs but agreed to give it a go. It gave us some sweet photos which I can embarrass Sam with!

Finally we enjoyed a lovely walk back with the sunset. We got the photos the next day and now we're really looking forward to our wedding day!


24 Apr 2019

Making a flower crown with Crafts and Giggles #BournemouthBloggers

Last weekend, I was lucky enough to be invited to Crafts and Giggles in Poole with Bournemouth Bloggers to learn how to make our own flower crowns.

It was a challenging process - definitely a good one for hen dos if you are sober and don't have any kids! It requires a lot of concentration, but with guidance like we had from Katie it's definitely manageable to make something lovely.

We started with a selection of lovely faux flowers. I chose a creamy colour scheme and greenery because it's my hen do at the weekend and I wanted to make something I could potentially wear on the weekend! 

We then had to wrap a piece of wire around our heads to measure it. It was floristry wire and had brown fabric wrapped around. We had to leave a little on either end to wrap the crown up. 

We then chose our flowers and popped them into groups or 2 or 3 and wrapped together with fine floristry wire and placed them around the crown shape.

Maria from Mrs Enchanting World concentrating hard

When we had them all positioned as we wanted them, we had to use the wire to tie them to the headband. this was again quite hard on the fingers! We then used a sticky green florist tape to wrap neatly around the band, pulling in the wire and ends of the flowers as we went so you couldn't see anything 

Look at us! Fab crowns! Top row Emma from Emma's Favourite Things, Maria from Mrs Enchanting World, me, Magda from My Life in Bournemouth
Bottom row: Emma from Even Angels Fall, Ali from Ali's Upside Down World and Ciara from Tea Time with Ciara

The session was really fun! Plus we got lots of cookies and cups of tea while we did it. I found it a really fun way of passing the morning, with chat, treats and crafts. It was also great to come away with something which I made myself and was really proud of! It would be a great hen do thing to do, or something to do with groups.


14 Mar 2019

Sponsored: doggy day trip diary to the Isle of Wight + voucher code

Last weekend, we were lucky enough to be taken to the Isle of Wight by Wightlink with our little doggy Teddy. We had a brilliant day trip exploring the west side of the island, finding great dog walks and a lovely dog friendly cafe. 

We travelled from Lymington in the New Forest to Yarmouth on the Isle of Wight

We were in the queue for the ferry and let on really quickly. Ted seemed to enjoy the journey and looking out the window despite being a really anxious dog. He loved looking out the windows. 

We drove down to Brook beach to walk Ted. It was right on the south coast and about a 15-20 minute drive from Yarmouth. It was a wild, windy but sunny day and we had a good explore. It is apparently a great place for fossils so we did some fossil hunting. The cliffs to the side of the sand were amazing colours of blue, turquoise and purple and you could see the white cliffs in the background. 

We found a beautiful, cold waterfall halfway down the beach which Sam started throwing Teddy's ball into, to make him go in the water! 

We then found a big section of rockpools and had a good look in loads of them for little fishies and crabs. We found some anemones and seagulls but that was all. I also didn't find any fossils sadly. 

After a good walk, we were pretty tired and hungry so we went to The Piano Cafe in Freshwater. It was a dog friendly cafe so Teddy could sit in with us while we had a lovely lunch. I had a fish finger sandwich 

And Sam had the Piano burger which was also really lovely. (He won the best choice competition)

We also ordered a fried halloumi salad on the side - yum!

Afterwards we had coffee and puddings. I had one of these melty looking millionaire's shortbreads which was delicious. 

We were then ready for going home in the late afternoon. Teddy was tired out and slept the whole journey home so I can recommend the IOW if you have a hyperactive dog who never stops. 

If you'd like to go to the Isle of Wight with your pup with 30% off, go to and use the code LAUREN which is active until 31st March so get booking!

1 Mar 2019

Picking my Wedding Dress

I got engaged in March 2018 and booked the venue almost straight away for June 2019 (so soon!). I was advised to start shopping for my wedding dress as soon as possible. I have a few friends who chose their dress from Anya Bridal Couture in Wickham, Hampshire - they said it's a huge barn full of every dress you could imagine, and as you could imagine that grabbed my attention. I had previously looked in two small boutiques, but found their range was too limited so I was excited to be able to have a lot of choice. 

I booked in to see the team in late June 2018 and went on a boiling hot Saturday morning with my lovely Mum. I was met by lovely Jayne who looked after me throughout the process. I had no idea what kind of dress I wanted, so I went in with an open mind. Jayne gave me a basket full of pegs to pop on the dresses I liked, and away I went, clip clip clip! After I was done, I sat down with a cuppa and Mum and I had an excited gossip while we waited for Jayne to grab all the dresses and bring them through into my private changing area. This was basically a whole room with a curtained off changing area, and then an area for standing in front of a mirror on a pouffe with sofas all around for guests. 

This was just the no lace ballgown range! 

I was taken into the changing room, and Jayne handed me the first dress, all unbuttoned and ready to go. The lovely thing about the dresses they stock is they are so beautifully made you don't need a bra so you can really see the effect of a strapless or backless dress without having to pack the perfect bra! I was zipped in and walked through the curtains to stand on the little pouffe. All the dresses are very long so this was necessary. Jayne then clipped the dress to make it my size so I could see what the real one would look like. I'd have a little twirl around, stare at the mirror and say yes or no. If it was a yes or maybe, Jayne grabbed a bunch of accessories like veils and belts to help me see how it would look on the day. 

I was given all the time I wanted to be indecisive, try on every veil and accessory in the shop and the best thing was I was allowed to take photos of me in the dresses! I discovered that lots of shops didn't allow this, which made no sense to me. It's such a big decision of course I wanted to trawl through photos to see how I looked from all the angles! 

In the end, I chose my dress - the one - from Anya Bridal. Obviously I'm not going to share it on this post though. All I can say is it's stunning. I absolutely adore it! Strangely, it's the total opposite of what I thought I'd want when I first started shopping, so I'm pleased I tried on lots of styles. It's classic and very "me".

Once I had chosen my dress, I got measured so Jayne could order the right size. It turns out wedding dress sizes are very odd - I was a size 4 bust and 10 waist and hips! (normally I'm just a plain old 8). Despite taking a long time to order, they don't come in custom sizes so we had to pick one. I ordered a size 10 because I was advised to go with the bigger size as it was easier to have parts taken in to fit me. My dress was then ordered and Mum paid half to order, and the other half on collection. 

Fast forward to January 2019 and I received a call saying that my dress had been delivered. It felt like a lifetime to wait, and I was so anxious that it wouldn't fit me, or that it wouldn't suit me. Thank goodness Mum took lots of photos of me in the sample dress so I could repeatedly check that I still loved it! I was again shown into a private changing area where my lovely dress was waiting for me, like an old friend! I was helped into the dress and got to try on lots of accessories again to help me pick how I was going to accessorise on the day. I ended up choosing a belt and veil at Anya which was ordered in for me (they take about 2 weeks so less of a rush to order). 

I now have my dress home. Well, it's at Mum's house because I know if I had it at mine I would be wearing it every day and I'd get foundation on it or something! We've got the seamstress booked for later this month to have it altered to fit like a glove and I can't wait! Of course I'll share photos (@laurenlovesblog on Instagram) and a blog post when I get married so you can see what I picked.

Things I learnt: 
- Start by following local wedding dress shops on Instagram to see what they all have in, and what their styles are like. @anyabridalcoutureuk is full of lots of lovely inspiration and real wedding photos.
- Dresses take about 6 months to arrive after you have ordered them. Make sure you go with plenty of time
- The dresses in the shop are all sample sizes so you're unlikely to try on the size you want. This means you need to have a little imagination. They'll do their best to make it look fitted from each angle, but the sizes can be way off.
- Take someone who is totally honest and don't take too many people. For me, only my Mum can say something critical without me taking it the wrong way but that's just me! I also didn't want to bring friends because I really believe that too many opinions are confusing. 
- Try on one of every style of dress. You may be surprised about what suits you. Once you know what silhouette you like, you can try on all the ones in that style to find "the one".
- It's ok if you don't cry, and it's ok if you do cry! Crying does not mean it's the one. My Mum cried at the first dress I tried on, yet when I tried on the one I chose, we both agreed it was the best dress and she didn't cry! I never cried at all because I'm a stone cold, heartless chic! 
- Take photos! 
- Don't feel you have to say yes to the dress on the day - there was no pressure from Jayne or the team to buy anything.
- Once you've chosen your dress, don't carry on looking at dresses. Your dress is perfect and you picked it for a reason. Dress doubt is horrible. 

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