dollymix goes to Hollywood…



We were recently asked by Sassy of Assassynation Photography to be part of her latest project, Sassterclass. Our role was to help design and build a set as the finale of a two day photgraphers workshop.IMG_20140310_125653Planning went into overdrive and what we needed was either fabricated, begged or borrowed.

20140311_141121 The set was assembled in an amazing old warehouse.20140312_160614Victorian iron girders added a bleak, industrial feel.20140312_134938Sassy wanted to create a post apocalyptic outpost. This was to include elements of survival and hope but also the ever present danger from invaders. 20140312_135452Sugar glass and ash were used to create a distressed look. Special lightweight walls were fabricated to give the appearance of a bomb damaged building. An amazing back drop was painted by a local graffiti artist.  With all of this in place, the keen photography students were let loose to capture this incredible scene.20140311_14093820140313_172227

20140312_111538   20140313_123038   20140313_151023   What’s an apocalypse without smoke?20140313_151455     20140313_130425   20140313_152618  20140313_125843  20140313_150828  20140313_172537  20140312_111509

The whole experience was amazing as were all the photographers who attended the Sassterclass. Thank you to Sassy and Matt Willis photography

Models Nessa Ellis and James Leverton

Hair and make up –

Nessa’s outfit – Corset –
Nessa’s outfit – Headpiece and wrist cuff –
Set design – Assassynation and Timmy from Grafitti –

Put your wedding on the map by making these envelopes

You could use any comic, magazine or favourite book to make these envelopes.  I used an old atlas past its best to make these mini sized ones.

Firstly, take an envelope to use as a template.  Carefully prise it apart and draw around it onto a piece of card ( a cereal box works well).  Cut this out and you have the template.

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Draw round the template onto the map and cut out. You can use a few pages at once to save time and effort.
Use the original envelope folded back to its proper shape as a guide inside the map envelope. Carefully fold the map around it, you only want to fold each crease with one line for neatness, so try to get it right first time.
Stick the middle bottom flap over the two side pieces and there you have it. These are great to use as RSVP envelopes or as favour bags to fill with gifts. You can use a sticker or the Pritt to seal the flap.


Wedding Planner.. Why bother?

So, you are on a limited budget, what exactly can a planner do for you? image

Establish a budget:

Hopefully you have talked honestly about the budget and are clear on what you can afford.  A planner can help finalise the details of the budget and is likely to be able to suggest ways to get better value for money bringing that dream wedding within reach. They can keep an eye on plans to avoid the costs spiralling out of control and may be able to find discounts.  This should mean that their role almost pays for itself in savings for the couple.


Timing and Venue:

One of the first things to consider is where and when you want the wedding.  Do you want a small personal wedding, or are you a couple that like to go big and bold hiring out the local circus tent, complete with jugglers and clowns? The key to these arrangements is deciding the direction  together with your partner and to have fun doing it. A planner can help you decide on the best and, sometimes, most cost effective times to hold the event. They can work with you on the pro’s and con’s of different types of venue and on the all important guest list and its implications.

Visualising your day:

Couples are seldom alike when it comes to weddings, there can be an amazing amount of creativity flowing, this can sometimes be confusing.  It can also add unwanted tension due to the potential of clashing ideas  if it is not handled properly.  This where a planner can step in to work with you both to formulate a vision of the day and the important elements for each of you. The services they offer range from the basics, such as finding a venue, sourcing florists, caterers or other suppliers (often with a discount). They can offer a more inclusive service overseeing the whole event leaving you with little more to do than arrive and enjoy your special day.


Sourcing Items and Ideas.

One of the great things about a wedding planner is they take all the stress off your shoulders and do the running around to source all that you need, maybe you need a giant mushroom or a grizzly bear hat stand,this is something they will be able to acquire through their numerous sources.  It is not uncommon to work with  a couple with no idea for a theme (which is of course ok as not everyone wants a particular style) who just want to be able to have a great day.   When there is a shortage of ideas a good planner will discover their interests and what drives and motivates them in order to create a day that reflects them as a couple.

Capturing the memories:


Photography is an area which should not be overlooked, there are some fantastic photographers around who will ensure that you, your friends and your family enjoy those memories long after the day has passed. A good planner will help you find the right photography package at a price to suit each individual budget. 


The day itself:

A good planner has military precision, ensuring the day goes smoothly. They can oversee as much or as little of the day as the couple want.  The couple may want to enjoy setting up the venue themselves or decide to leave this to the planner.  With emergency repair kit in hand, the planner can deal with any mishaps that might happen on the day, keeping everyone focussed and calm as possible.  (Some nerves are to be expected as it’s a big day!).

The above are some pointers about wedding planners.  If you decide to go it alone without a planner, read as much as you can in blogs and articles and don’t forget the value of the Pinterest board for collecting thoughts and ideas.  If money is tight, marrying at off peak times may be cost effective, always try to shop around for discounts and most importantly, know when to stop before you go over budget. image

Five tips for engaged couples


” The world will always welcome lovers”, or so the song goes, but grumpy stressed ones are a tall order for any world to handle. How do you keep sane and enjoy planning your wedding?

1.   Enjoy the moment

This is good advice for anyone, don’t get so caught up in wanting the wedding day to arrive that you forget to enjoy that you are a couple in love.   Sometimes it can feel like all that you talk about are wedding plans. How about scheduling in some date nights each month where talk of weddings is off limits for at least an hour or so?

2.   Establish your budget

Do you want to save over a period of time for the wedding or are you looking for a budget wedding option?  Can you sit and frankly discuss finances with your partner?  Are you going to borrow money and if so will this put you in debt that might put a strain on you both in the lead up to and the start of married life?   Establish what you can AFFORD and try not to go over this budget.

3.  Establish your wedding priorities


Both of you can make a list of up to five things in priority order that are most important to you for the wedding.   For example your list might look something like this:

Venue – must be the church that my grandparents married in

Guests – must invite my auntie Betty who is 92

Photographer – mr ace sure shot weddings and videos by moving pictures weddings

Theme – 1920s Art Deco

Briidesmaids – all 20 of my friends

Now compare this list with your partners and look back at number 2, your budget.

Are the same things important to you? What can you agree on and what can you make compromises on?

At the end of this process you should be aware of and have agreed what is important to each of you, along with a way to try and accommodate this.  In the list above it may be, for example , that you decide that the wedding venue is important but that some of those bridesmaids will have to go In order to save money for the venue and the photographer.

4.  Agree responsibilities


Does one partner prefer to let the other take over the planning, is it a joint responsibility, or would it be preferable to have a planner for some of the elements?  What are your strengths and weaknesses?  Do you like organising things or does it cause stress or friction?  Do you love the idea of a handmade wedding?  Have you thought about how you will find the time to make things, plan, hunt down venues and suppliers and still manage the day job? If you have a date for the wedding, can you start to pencil in some slots in your calendar to do these things?

5.  Accept that there will be some disagreements

It is meant to be a happy time, there will be some tensions and disagreements, that’s ok as you are working through how you deal with conflict.    Stick to your principles but remember that the wedding is one day in your life together (o.k it is an important day), it will fly by so make the most of your planning and date nights on the way.


Top Vintage and quirky places to visit when in Bruges

Bruges has to be one of the prettiest cities we have ever visited.  It is compact enough to wander without the need for Transport.  We visited using the Eurostar to Brussels and then by train to Bruges.   On arrival at the station there is probably no need to book a taxi if your hotel is in town as you only need to head towards the spires you can see from the station.  Travel light as you want to save room to fill your bags with chocolate for the return journey.


There are maps placed around Bruges which makes navigation easy, although they are deceiving as the scale makes the city seem much bigger than it is.  You think somewhere is quite a distance only to stumble upon it easily. The belfry, the huge spire in the middle of town where you can climb the 366 steps for a view of the city, makes a good focal point to get your bearings.  (we would suggest climbing it before you start on the chocolate, beer or waffles). Our top places in no particular order were:

1.   Madam Mim, Hoogstraat 29.


This little shop is filled with vintage treasures beautifully displayed by Madam Mim.  It is in a street which has other shops with vintage items but those shops just do not seem to have the same eye for display.  The shop is a lesson in how to make vintage look inviting.  The carefully curated store includes vintage alongside hand crafted items.  We loved browsing the shelves and bought some vintage matchboxes and pretty hand painted handkerchiefs for a euro apiece.

2.  The basilica of the Holy Blood.


The 12th-century basilica is tucked away in the corner of Burg square and consists of a lower and upper chapel. The lower chapel is a dark structure that remains virtually unchanged. The venerated relic, a phial said to contain the blood of Christ  is in the upper chapel, which was rebuilt in the Gothic style during the 16th century and renovated multiple times during the 19th century.   it is not to everyone’s taste but we loved that every surface was decorated and full on OTT.   The phial of blood is brought out at cetrain times only and can be viewed by approaching the altar and paying a donation.

3.  In Bruges


Despite Colin Farrell’s character hating Bruges in the film, “In Bruges”, the town has taken the film to heart.   We spent some time trying to find locations before we realised that if you visit the tourist information centre in the main Markt square, they have a brochure with a map of some of the main locations of the film listed.   You can visit these and tick them off on the map.   And Instagram away… Every photo is a winner with such quaint houses and streets.


4. Vintage books and paper ephemera at The Old curiosity shop


we stumbled upon a tiny shop in one of the side streets, a real treasure trove of vintage postcards, books and papers.   The shopkeeper was lovely and offered to search for a vintage photo album for us from his collection at home if we returned the following day.   The shop was stacked to the rafters with old books and cards from victorian era upwards.   Sadly the shop seemed badly heated and damp so a lot of the items are getting ruined,  this shop appears to be the result of a private collection getting out of hand (we know the feeling).   I do hope people buy a lot of this stuff before the damp and cold renders it useless.   There are some great paper items for scrap booking or crafts and photographs that deserve to be saved.

 5 Nightlife
we searched the internet for ideas for nightlife and came across Retsins lucifernum.  A museum and art gallery by day, home to a “self proclaimed vampire artist “according to some reviews.
We rang the bell with trepidation as we stood outside the scaffolded crumbling grandiose building. We were greeted by a sombre dapper mr retsin dressed in his finery On entering we were encouraged to browse the house which was dimly lit and filled with creative and colourful but disconcerting paintings. The grand building had obviously seen better days but is testament to a lovingly curated collection of strange objects. I don’t think I have ever been quite so scared at an art exhibition. Warning my husband against splitting up at any cost, we descended the cold dark stairs with our breath visible in front of us in the bitter cold of the unheated house with classical music blazing out. I am not going to reveal anymore but suffice to say that I don’t think I will ever have a similar experience to this ever again….. I can’t wait to return.   (ghostly laughs ring out…)
in the day time there are plenty of tea rooms and cake shops to make use of, if you don’t mind being filled with cakes as well as beer and chocolate…
in summary, Bruges is quaint, amazing, tiny enough to wander and big enough to keep you entertained.  Look carefully at the buildings for quirky details such as the Virgin Mary in alcoves on houses and railings and door knockers with swan heads and the mascot bear.  Beers galore (try the cherry flavoured Kriek beer) And stop in any of the tiny bars that are small and cosy as if people have opened their front rooms to visItors, Bruges makes you feel like a local.