Monday, 24 June 2019

Celebrating The Guests At Your Wedding

As it's now June, I think it's safe to say that Summer is officially here, which means that weddings are going to be happening left, right, and centre. We often think of a wedding as something only centralized around us and our experience. It’s not hard to see why this feeling is the norm. It’s us or our parents who will contribute financially to the wedding. We’re there to get married - no one else is. We are the heads of the procession. We are the ones who will find the dress or the suit, and arrange our bridal chains around that. Of course, a wedding is a very focused event, usually focused on only two people.

But sometimes, it can be nice to celebrate your guests at a wedding, too. It’s important to let your family know that you truly appreciate them, and that the event is better for their presence. If you can do this, you will find that goodwill abounds. Not only that, but you’ll be able to shift some of the attention away from yourself, as this can sometimes be uncompromisingly nerve-inducing when we’re just trying to have a good time. Sometimes, sharing the love can go a long way.

Let us consider what that might look like, without forgetting how the wedding is primarily for confirming union with our partner.

Employ A Little Showmanship:

We might say that the wedding we hope to enjoy could be for ourselves and ourselves only. But, we all know that’s not the case. Otherwise you wouldn’t fork out on catering and other entertainment to ensure everyone has a good time. You would likely not even invite others. You would head to the registry office, and then go on your honeymoon for a month, or whatever time frame you had available.

This means that you are in fact most likely hoping to share the love of the day with those you invite. Employing a little showmanship can help you enjoy that, at least in your planning. This might seem like curating the entertainment such as choosing a band ahead of time, ensuring that there are some activities at the wedding, or perhaps something more understood by your family as a whole could be worthwhile. However, it needn’t be so complex, and you needn’t run before you can walk.

Simply starting with the first element of the guest’s experience, namely the invites, can be a great idea. For example, designing luxury wedding invites from Pure Invitation can help you find phenomenal and unique invitation cards that truly feel like an honour to receive. This can help your guests understand the attention to detail you hope to apply when inviting others. But more importantly, arranging this can be incredible fun. Sometimes, that’s all you need.


Ensuring that there’s music everyone can enjoy being played can certainly help when you have the entire family congregating around a dancefloor after your union. You and your partner might be heavily into metal or hip-hop, but it’s not always the case that your Grandma will be. A safe bet is to hire a dedicated wedding band, those that can provide some fun genre-based tunes and also cover a few hits you can dance to. They usually know how to play it safe and remain non-offensive. Remember, you can always attend a concert or some other affair with friends to celebrate your marriage if you’re into the harder stuff. But for now, consider how your family might bond over this music.

This isn’t a compromise. You’re certain to have fun hiring a big swing brass band, or perhaps an upbeat jazz outfit. Everyone can appreciate that. It might also be that your brother or other sibling is part of their own band, and you can simply ask them to provide some approved songs. A little music goes a long way in bringing people together, so this could be the first successful step you arrange perfectly. We’d recommend you do so.

Make The Feast Sociable:

A wedding feast can often be something that splits people up. For example, multiple small tables dotted around the room with an approved seating list can often help those members of your family bond and enjoy something to eat. It’s often where the speeches will commence, and where you’ll cut the cake if you’re going for a traditional wedding. But that doesn’t mean you can’t make the feast a little more sociable. For example, having said music playing throughout can lighten the mood. Trying to seperate people so easily through your seating plan and table arrangement can be worthwhile.

It could also be that the catering option you go for could provide a little flair. For example, those catering options that are presented in front of you, such as flambe’s or salad mixing can often be an interesting visual marker, and helps take some of the stuffiness out of the occasion. A prevalence of alcohol can often help of course, but don’t feel pressured to provide this if you would rather everyone behaves themselves.

A Little Entertainment:

A little entertainment can actually go a very long way in ensuring everyone feels provided for and excited within the festivities. It’s not hard to see how this could be the case. But of course, you might not want to go for a wedding magician or anything so obvious and trite.

Perhaps the venue you’re at is a historical listed building, and they have services to allow historical re-enactors come and help celebrate the wedding with you as actors. Perhaps something more akin to your lifelong passion could be worthwhile. For example, see this jaw-dropping photograph of a wedding taking place on top of a secured netting. That’s not particularly for us, and we mean at all, but a little entertainment and novelty can go a long way in helping your family bond and to find the day memorable. Think about what your family might be interested in, and try to make arrangements around that. But of course - this is your wedding, so be sure to take your own needs into important account.

With these tips, we’re certain that you’ll be better able to celebrate your guests at your wedding. We wish you nothing but the best.

*This is a collaborative post*

Wednesday, 19 June 2019

Children Love Scary Stories, But Why?

Image source

We all have an idea in our heads about what is a story that’s appropriate for a child, and what isn’t. Sex is, generally, off the table. But there are many instances in which children’s books go that are, frankly, downright terrifying.

Take the classic Roald Dahl novel, The BFG, recently portrayed in a film on the big screen. The major themes of the BFG are murder and kidnapping. The BFG is the kidnapper, and the other giants, including the lucidly-named Bloodbottler, are the murderers. Worse still, only children are the targets of the giants’ malice - not grownups.

The story of the BFG follows the antics of a little six-year-old girl Sophie who lives in an orphanage under the tyranny of matron. One night, Sophie is trying to get to sleep and so spends some time watching the city at night. All of a sudden, she sees the BFG - the big friendly giant - who grabs her in the palm of his hand and whisks her off to “Giant Country” - some other-dimensional land where the giants live. Sophie must then contend with the fact that the other giants, besides the BFG, are “gobbling up” children every night - a terrifying prospect.

On face value, the story of the BFG is not a pleasant one. In fact, the horror of it is gratuitous: there are no giant monsters eating children during the night in reality. And yet, the story is one among countless, which depicts children in truly terrifying fantasized positions where their lives are in danger. What’s driving this? And why are these books so popular among children?

Children Have A Fascination With Danger

One of the most controversial theories why children love these horrifyingly scary books is that they are morbidly fascinated with danger.

When you think about it, this makes a lot of sense. Children should want to learn about danger - and its limits - because they are much weaker than the adults around them. Children have a greater incentive to know what is dangerous and what isn’t, simply because they are much more susceptible to danger than a grown person.

Adults, for instance, would have had a good chance of surviving by themselves in our evolutionary past. At the very least, they would have been able to find food for a few days, collect water, and fashion a weapon. Children, on the other hand, would not be able to survive for a long time in the forest by themselves and are much more dependent on the people around them for support and sustenance. They’re not independent.

Scary stories attract children, therefore, because kids want to learn as much as they can about danger so that they can avoid it. Stories about danger and peril teach kids about their precarious existence and, possibly, the steps that they need to take to protect it.

Children Want To Understand Their Place In The World

Another theory holds that children are attracted to scary stories because they help them understand their place in the world.

Young kids are often fascinated by dinosaurs. At first blush, it might seem that scary stories and dinosaurs are unrelated to each other, but both are examples of situations in which the child must confront their own total lack of power.

Learning all about writing for kids is a challenge because children see the world in a fundamentally different way from adults. For a child, scary stories help to induce an adaptive response. Children need to understand how feeble they are so that they can survive until adulthood to have a family of their own. The ever-present dangers in their environment, real or imagined, remind them that they need to prioritize their safety. It’s a matter of personal survival.

Scary Stories Help Children Process The Difficult Realities Of The World

Scary stories serve a final purpose: to help children prepare for life as an adult, fully exposed to the daily horrors of reality. In adult life, there are no age filters: you have to take it as it comes. A scary story allows a child to explore something scary in a safe environment before having to deal with something in reality when they get older.

Again, from the point of view of socialization, this makes a lot of sense. Civilization requires people who can confront and deal with the difficulties of regular adult life: betrayal, bereavement, and fear. Without scary stories, children might be unprepared for what adult life risks inflicting on them. That’s why the work of child writers is so important.

*This is a collaboratively written post*


Sunday, 16 June 2019

For The Heavily Hearted: A Book Review

In November, I became friends via Instagram with the wonderful angel that is Christopher Hugh (@heavilyhearted). He had already published his debut poetry collection titled 'for the heavily hearted', which I requested that my sister buy for me as a Christmas gift, but as I was going through the process of publishing 'Intoxicated Minds' at the time, I knew it was only right that I reach out, and show him some support. 
There are 4 different chapters in this book. Chapter One - losing myself. Chapter Two - heartache. Chapter Three - The numbness. Chapter Four - Finding myself. As it says on the front cover, and as you can tell from the layout of the chapters, the reader is going to be experiencing the cycle through poetry. Although the start focuses on loss, the end focuses on being found - and I LOVE that. As you can tell from my choice of image, my favourite chapter is the second one, which focuses on heartbreak. I can relate to a lot of the pieces on a personal level, because hearbreak has played a significant part of my life so far, and it's therefore a theme which I also tend to primarily write about. 
Chris was literally only 15 years old when he published this incredible debut collection. He spent endless nights puttting it all together, and he also did all of the illustrations himself too. The work of art is literally 100% his own creation, and to have bared his soul at such a young age is admirable to me, as I'm sure many of you will agree once you have had a look at his work. 
It makes my heart so happy to know that modern poetry seems to be getting the recognition that it deserves within today's society. From my own personal experience, the majority of young people never really seemed to enjoy it when we had to study it as part of our English Literature course back in the GCSE days, but that was most probably, because they couldn't relate to the content. It's a blessing for young people to be able to so openly express their emotions, and discuss their experiences with the wider world. Our society is deteriorating what with the rise of crime, hatred, climate change, and constant devastation. 
Writing about our emotions, and experiences isn't a bad thing. It's a beautiful thing, which is exactly what Chris has demonstrated to us all.

Chris, you are an absolute angel. Your soul, and your heart are both incredible, and I love you so very much. Keep on doing your thing. 

If you want to keep up to date with Chris' life, and poetry journey, you can follow him on Instagram @heavilyhearted. If you want to buy this collection, you can do so here. His second collection 'tattooed by the moon' is coming soon, so stay tuned.

Love and light always,

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