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St Helens Headlines

Jo Coates
  Updated Sat, 30 Dec 2017 19:35:29 +0000
Description Talking shit on IBS, fugly shoes, midi skirts and the quest for gut health
Generator http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.18
Language en-GB
30 Things That Have Happened in the First Year of My 30?s
Category Life, highlights, memories
Description: As I write this it’s my last day in my first year of my thirties. […]  more...

As I write this it’s my last day in my first year of my thirties. It’s been an extraordinary year – we got married, wahhhh! – full of family, friends and a shit-tonne of laughter.

1. I became an honorary auntie twice over, in January and February.

2. Two besties got married in Thailand.

3. I successfully completed the low-FODMAP diet, pin pointing exactly what triggers my IBS.

4. I got my dream Anya Hindmarch bag.

5. I started filming YouTube videos about IBS which have been slowly clocking up the views and comments. Watch them here.

6. I’ve listened to my body and rested when I’ve needed it.

7. Took a whirlwind trip to Milan for a big launch event with work.

8. We’ve had the pleasure of our Dwarf Lop, Lilly’s company for over a year now, which has massively helped my anxiety.

9. I’ve blogged a whole heap on IBS – you can expect even more next year as I change my focus.

10. I learnt to embrace my body in all it’s flawed glory and feel pretty fucking fabulous for it.

11. I busted my seventies flares out of the back of my wardrobe and am in love with them again.

12. I joined forces with Barry from Symprove to talk all things IBS on BBC Radio Surrey, which was a mix of bloody terrifying and exciting all in one.

13. We started work on our garden, bathroom and bedroom. 2018 will be the year we actually finish all the bloody DIY we’ve started.

14. I’ve filled in the highlight of every single day since I received the journal and have loved the way it makes me feel each evening, ending the day on a positive note.

15. I started having LV lash lifts and am obsessed with how they make my sad, straight lashes look all curly.

16. I think I ended up having about 3 hen dos and was thoroughly spoilt at each one.

17. I became Mrs Coates after a whopper of an eventful wedding.

18. Which was basically a giant holiday with our nearest and dearest.

19. We had a very boozy party in the UK to celebrate with all of our friends and family. I’m told it was an epic night, I can’t quite remember it all.

20. We booked a honeymoon to Mauritius for 2018.

21. And became the proud owner of Flammy, the flamingo lampshade.

22. I also became the proud owner of a pair of sequin socks.

23. I’ve had a super successful year at work and feel proud of what I’ve achieved.

24. We filmed some super exciting content for work.

25. I’ve investigated buying a Dyson hoover.

26. I’ve spent an amazing amount of time with my family and friends.

27. I made a cheeky order for this pom-pom trimmed bag from Loeffler Randall.

28. We managed to celebrate Christmas over 4 days this year which I think is our best yet.

29. I’ve found a new love for shopping in M&S and will continue to do so in 2018.

30. I’ve spent the entire day (27th December) in my pjs, only moving once to have a magical bubble bath.

Hello 31, I’m excited to see what you have in store.

The Wedding Rings, the Sentimental Garter and the Groom?s Pants
Category Beach Wedding, antigua, beach wedding, bride, garter, groom, mamora bay, tilbrook jewellery, wedding rings
Description: I’ve saved three of what I would call the little treasures for my last post […]  more...

I’ve saved three of what I would call the little treasures for my last post about our big day. These items individually made me laugh, cry and turned me into a Mrs.

The Rings
I have to say, I had no real involvement when it came to the rings, they were all down to Al. We went back to Tilbrook Jewellery, who alongside Al, designed and made my engagement ring. When planning they’d already spoken about the wedding ring, which would be a band made with curves so that it would slot around the engagement ring. All I had to do was try the ring on for size. Simple!


Al went for a simple white gold band as he’s not one for wearing jewellery. Gary, the brains behind the business is a genius and we couldn’t be happier with his handiwork.


The Garter
When my gorgeous cousin Gem got married a few years ago she handmade her own garter, which my auntie then had our grannie’s wedding ring sewn on to. Obviously this had us all in tears at the time. For my wedding, Gem leant me her garter as my something borrowed, with the addition of a super special pin.


The pin was made by a jeweller in Cornwall, a place we used to visit for childhood holidays with our beloved grandad and has a tonne of sentimental charms hanging from it. These include a bucket, fish, crab, starfish and sea shells, again, all items that conjure up some magical memories of beach-time fun with him.

As soon as I saw it I was in tears, which was just after Chez finished doing my makeup.

The Groom’s Pants
Al and I decided that we didn’t want to get each other expensive gifts to swap on the morning of the wedding. Instead, I thought it’d be funny to send a novelty gift to make him laugh and help relax him.


These personalised property of the bride pants from Weasel and Stoat were genius! I had Mr and Mrs Coates added to the waistband to finish them off. They cost £20 and were worth every penny because upon opening them he immediately burst into laughter.

And that folks, is a wrap on our big day.

Check out all of the posts from my outfit to Al’s, here.

Photos taken by Paul Mockford and you can see even more on his blog.

The H&M Jumper That is The Queen of Loungewear
Category Fashion, fashion, h&m, ibs, jumper, knitwear, oversize
Description: When I walked into H&M the other day, I had no intention of buying anything. […]  more...

When I walked into H&M the other day, I had no intention of buying anything. And then I saw this oversized khaki jumper, and that all changed. Dammit.

What with the wedding and saving my ass off to avoid any nasty debts, I’ve been pretty thrifty when it comes to buying things for myself. Choosing only to replace jeans when they are starting to form holes in them, emptying my wardrobes and giving to charity and wearing the crap out of my favourite outfits.

But this jumper felt super soft, looked like you could hide a mince pie or two underneath and was on sale for £15. It would have been rude not to at least try it on.

It’s safe to say I dug it. And I bought it.

As soon as I got home I switched into my comfies and pulled this jumper on. Everything about it is oversized. The sleeves are long and leave your fingers poking out the end, it has a longer back and dropped shoulders. It’s slouched perfection.

You can layer over tops or tuck the front into jeans and know that you’ll be super cosy and super comfy and those two things are high on my list of priorities. Gotta keep that IBS belly happy.

Can we also talk about khaki because this is not a colour that exists in my wardrobe already but is now one I’ll be picking up in the future. I like the deep, earthy colour against my fair skin and blonde hair.

While the jumper may no longer be in the sale, for £24.99 it’s not bad at all.

Now I should probably go wash mine because I haven’t taken it off yet.

The Wedding Flowers, the Stationary and the Steel Drums
Category Beach Wedding, anitgua, beach, bride, flowers, mamora bay, steel drums, wedding, wedding stationary
Description: We were pretty adamant that when it came to having a wedding in Antigua, we […]  more...

We were pretty adamant that when it came to having a wedding in Antigua, we wanted it to feel as authentic to the Caribbean islands as possible. We knew we wanted jerk chicken for dinner, rum punch to toast our ceremony and steel drums for the evening, because those were the reasons we fell in love with the island to begin with.

The Flowers
I’m a fan of bright, clashing colours and I knew I wanted a statement that would pop against all our outfits. We requested flowers native to Antigua, bougainvillea and hibiscus but due to hurricane Irma wiping some of them out at that time, we weren’t entirely sure what we’d get.


In the end it didn’t matter and we had a beautiful combination of lillies (they’re one of my faves), roses and a selection of local in both mine and my bridesmaids bouquets. Al wore an orange rose and the ushers wore pink. It looked bright, bold and tropical, exactly what we were after.


My sister had also gave me a heart weaved from palm leaves which I hung from the bouquet as I walked down the aisle.

The arch of the pergola we were married in front of was also decorated with bundles of native flowers tied to lush greenery, making a pretty backdrop against the sea.

The Stationary
After a bit of inspirational browsing on Pinterest we decided we were after an invite that featured palm leaves and tropical flowers. We were recommended Little Bird on a Branch who took our very short brief and nailed the design first-time round. They created a mix of name cards, order of service, itineraries, words of advice cards and invites for our UK party. All featured a mix of tropical flowers surrounding the edge with our copy in the middle, printed on thick punched card. They looked so beautiful and every time I looked at them a huge grin would appear on my face.


We gave each guest a welcome pack with the itinerary (and I use that in the loosest sense of the word) and an individual thank you note for joining us in Antigua.

We turned the order of service into fans at home by gluing a lolly stick in the middle, which were then handed out by my mum before the ceremony.

The name cards would have looked amazing if Hurricane José hadn’t blown them all off the tables!

The Entertainment
Our evening consisted of a three-piece steel band who I adore. They’re local to the resort and we’d seen them play there before on our last visit. Al and I had our first dance on the beach to Bob Marley, Is This Love, one of our favourite songs.


They played as we danced and conga’d our way along the shore throughout the night, before letting Al and I have a go.


I was obviously a natural and now we’re moving to Antigua and joining the band. K, bye!

Read more about my beach wedding vibes.

Photos taken by Paul Mockford and you can see even more on his blog.

Why December is My Favourite Month
Category Life, christmas, december, festive, reflections
Description: December has a special place in my heart and it’s not just because it’s my […]  more...

December has a special place in my heart and it’s not just because it’s my birthday month. It’s my favourite time of the year and always makes me feel all warm and tingly. It’s full of festive cheer, sparkly lights and a lot of family time.

Here are a few (read ALL) of the reasons why I love it so. And yes, Christmas is a huge part of it…

Finally being able to wear all the layers, boots, a huge coat, scarf and hat and feeling super snuggly.

My inner Grandma likes the fact that I don’t have to leave the flat in the evenings.

Strictly Come Dancing. AKA the reason I don’t leave the flat on a Saturday evening.

I will never tire of Wham! Last Christmas and could listen to that all year round.

The smell of real Christmas trees.

Mine and Al’s annual tradition of picking up a new Christmas decoration for the tree.

Decorating said tree with all of the baubles – this year we added a pineapple, an avocado and a disco ball into the mix. Obviously.

Watching Miracle on 34th Street which is my favourite Christmas film of all time.

Exploring Christmas at Kew with my mum, auntie, cousins and the kids.

Everything mulled wine.

Roast dinners. In particular, roast potatoes that are crispy on the outside but fluffy on the inside.

PIGS IN BLANKETS. We all know they deserve capital letters.

Searching for special gifts for all my loved ones and then watching their faces as they unwrap them.

Playing with all the kids and their new toys. And beating them.

Feeling grateful that I’m surrounded by the best family and friends a girl could ever ask for.

Taking the time to look back on everything I’ve achieved this year and giving myself a pat on the back.


This is my first Christmas as a Mrs and I couldn’t be more excited to start some new traditions – None of which we’ve decided yet but never mind. Here’s to a December full of twinkly lights.

The Groom, the Ushers and the Floral Bridesmaids
Category Beach Wedding, ASOS, beach, beach wedding, bridesmaids, groom, hugo boss, marks and spencers, outfits, reiss, ushers, wedding
Description: I greedily wrote a whole post harping on whimsically about my sparkly wedding dress and now I’m going […]  more...

I greedily wrote a whole post harping on whimsically about my sparkly wedding dress and now I’m going to bundle the rest of the wedding clan and their outfits together, because I’m selfish like that.

The Groom
Credit where credit is due, Al knew what he wanted. After a gentle shove in the right direction. While he does look super handsome in a suit, he would have not only melted but looked completely out-of-place on the beach in a three-piece. Instead he went for a gorgeous white shirt from Hugo Boss, a very light pinstriped short with navy suede belt, both from Reiss, worn with navy cut-out loafers from Russel and Bromley. He looked relaxed and totally gorgeous.


The Ushers
The ushers followed Al’s lead with patterned navy shorts from Marks and Spencers and white short-sleeved shirts and whichever shoes or flip flops they wanted. We wanted them to look relaxed but still smart.


The Bridesmaids
Finding the right bridesmaid dresses proved to be trickier. I didn’t want traditional dresses, I wanted something bright, colourful and potentially floral. Something that wasn’t too formal and felt natural to the Caribbean. We tried several disastrous dresses before nailing it with these ASOS ones, which I also managed to bag in the sale.


Thin straps, nipped in waists and a voluminous skirt in a gorgeous shade of lime green covered in multicoloured florals. I know it sounds hideous but they all looked beyond gorgeous and got tonnes of compliments. Again, we decided to let them wear whichever shoes they liked and have their hair and makeup as they wished, as long as they felt confident I was happy.170908-joalweb-817

Together, what with all of our guests wearing shorts and palm tree shirts (shout out to my dad), bright colours (shout out to my mum) and a shit-tonne of florals (shout out to my mother-in-law and friends) the pictures look bloody epic.

Read more about my beach wedding vibes.

Photos taken by Paul Mockford and you can see even more on his blog.

The Wedding Dress, the Choos and the Sparkly Headpiece of Dreams
Category Beach Wedding, antigua, ASOS, beach, beach wedding vibes, bride, ivory & co, jimmy choo, maggie sottero, swarovski, wedding
Description: Let’s get straight to business and talk about my wedding dress, which I LOVED. I could […]  more...

Let’s get straight to business and talk about my wedding dress, which I LOVED. I could harp on about this glitzy bad boy forever.

The Dress
In my mind, I was super sure that I’d go for a boho bridal look. I was imagining spaghetti straps, low back, slits up the side and an easy, breezy feel! But when I tried on Grecian or strapless dresses I looked dumpy. I hated what they did to my figure and didn’t feel comfortable at all. I’m pretty sure they say most brides go in with expectations of what they want and end up falling in love with the opposite. Which is exactly what happened to me.

I’m going to leave out the horror stories of one particular local bridal shop and several London department stores and instead focus on Windsor and Eton Brides, who were all kinds of amazing and nailed it.


The shop itself was beautiful with racks of gorgeous dresses, all organised by price range. Each bride has her own floor with ample space to get ready, a heavy curtain to hide my modesty and a gorgeous chaise lounge for guests.

We were served by Eva, who I will never forget. We told her our price range, she pointed to a rack and we each pulled a couple of dresses to start with. I tried on two which weren’t right and then the third was a dress my mum had pulled and once I’d got it on, despite it being nothing like I thought I wanted, I didn’t want to take it off.

If you know your wedding dress designers I fell for the Jade by Maggie Sottero. If not, just take in the bead embroidered lace covering the bodice and Swarovski crystal neckline.


I felt all tingly as soon as I slipped it on. Even though the fact that it was so fitted was very out of my comfort zone. It was also fairly heavy and I had worried about sweating and turning into a puddle under the sun.

I’ll be honest, it was the back that sold me on this one with the stunning double keyhole back with all the sparkle. I mean come on! It’s killer. And soon made me forget about my worries.


I obviously immediately burst in tears, as did my mum, as did Eva. It was the one.

The Shoes
And now for the shoes. I think we’ll remember that I originally had my sights set on Manolos. In this instance practicality won (sort of) and I went for these gorgeous gold Lana 120 Jimmy Choos. I bagged them in the sale which made them even better. And yep, I had my toenails painted metallic turquoise.


The Headpiece
Not content that I looked glitzy enough I ended up going for a beautifully intricate Hermione headpiece from Ivory & Co. and a short veil, again trimmed with more sparkles. Both of these made me feel like the bride I didn’t know I wanted to be.


I kept my jewellery simple – as to not overwhelm the bling I already had going on – wearing my beloved star necklace my mum got me for my 30th and a pair of star earrings gifted by my mum in the build up. Stars have a special meaning to our family and it felt like I had my grandparents there with me in spirit.


Luckily, we had mixed weather with a generous breeze (hello hurricane José) so I didn’t sweat to death in the end! Wahoo! However the train picked up ALL the sand and ultimately transformed into a sandbag by the end of the night. Hence the dress change into this ASOS midi backless number.

Now this dress had the spaghetti straps, very low back, slits and thin material I originally thought I wanted. I could cut loose and throw my best moves. Or whatever move that is I’m attempting in the photo above.

I felt more confident, sexy and beautiful than I ever have and I’ll never forget that.

Photos taken by Paul Mockford and you can see even more on his blog.

A Few of My Favourite Wedding Photos
Category Beach Wedding, antigua, beach, beach wedding vibes, bride, family, groom, mamora bay, memories, wedding
Description: I figured, nearly three months later, it was about time I pulled some wedding posts […]  more...

I figured, nearly three months later, it was about time I pulled some wedding posts together as I have so much I want to share. From the all-important outfits to advice I’d give future brides but for now, a selection of my favourite photos from the day itself. Because as cheesy as it sounds, it really was the best day ever.

Even now sat on the sofa, drinking a rum and coke, burning our Antigua-scented candle, I still get tingles every time I look through our photos. All 1,593 of them. Massive kudos to our incredible photographer, Paul Mockford, who documented everything and captured a shit-tonne of laughter and some very cheesy grins.

The Morning
After a lazy breakfast with my two besties, surrounded by family members at other tables, my bridesmaids and I spent the morning slowly getting ready. Hello matchy-matchy robes. We were joined by visitors throughout the morning including two besties, my mum, my auntie, my flower girl and of course finally, my dad.

170908-joalweb-385 170908-joalweb-409 170908-joalweb-488 170908-joalweb-491 170908-joalweb-517170908-joalweb-520

The Ceremony
Having my dad walk me down the aisle on the jetty, seeing Al waiting for me at the end and having the coolest registrar on the planet made this a moment I’ll never forget. As did waiting at the end of the aisle for what felt like 10 minutes as the saxophonist got his shit together.

170908-joalweb-538 170908-joalweb-563 170908-joalweb-569 170908-joalweb-574 170908-joalweb-579 170908-joalweb-608  170908-joalweb-647 170908-joalweb-650 170908-joalweb-651

The Rain and Rum Punch
As we made our way to sign the paperwork the heavens opened for one hell of a tropical shower. Everyone ran for shelter at the bar. Al grabbed my hand and my brother-in-law grabbed the bottom of my dress and we howled with laughter.

170908-joalweb-661 170908-joalweb-664 170908-joalweb-667 170908-joalweb-680 170908-joalweb-692 170908-joalweb-702 170908-joalweb-718 170908-joalweb-752

The Reception
We had our reception on the beach, it was all sandy toes and wet dresses. Our dear friend hurricane José, brought a little tidal surge meaning we had to keep moving the tables up the beach, eventually enjoying the sea lapping at our ankles under the table during dinner. The steel band then played as we danced the night away and conga’d through the sea.

170908-joalweb-804 170908-joalweb-823 170908-joalweb-826 170908-joalweb-845 170908-joalweb-852 170908-joalweb-876 170909-joalweb-941 170909-joalweb-953 170909-joalweb-973 170909-joalweb-981 170909-joalweb-982 170909-joalweb-1043 170909-joalweb-1051 170909-joalweb-1062

And yes, I had an outfit change because my dress had turned into a sandbag and I wanted to cut loose. More on that in the next instalment because I may have found my blogging mojo again.


I cannot stop smiling.

Photos taken by Paul Mockford.

My Custom Adidas Slides Are the Best £40 I Ever Spent
Category Beach Wedding, Fashion, adidas, beach, holiday, slides
Description: Let me tell you about the best forty quid I ever spent. Technically it’s £80 […]  more...

Let me tell you about the best forty quid I ever spent. Technically it’s £80 but stay with me…

But first, the back story.

I have a very soft spot for sliders. I have some classic white puma ones, I have a pair that are covered in sequins and have pow wow written on them and I have admired several fluffy ones in the shops.

And then I found that Adidas let you custom make your own. Hallelujah.

The first test was creating a pair for my dad’s birthday, he’s a fellow fan. I designed him a classic black base, white leather strap and had Raymondo stitched in black. The end result looked the business and I was super jealous that I hadn’t managed to get any for myself.

Fear not. I rectified that problem.

But I was smart about it.

You see, Al’s birthday coincided with the wedding and I wanted to get him something he could use in Antigua as a present. Enter stage left, slides.

I made his with a black sole, khaki strap and had Coates embroidered in gold thread across the top. Amazing.

But I didn’t stop there, because you see, I too was going to become a Coates on said holiday. And I too wanted a pair of slides. So I only went and ordered myself the exact same pair but I kept it a secret from him and everyone other than my mum.

I gave Al’s to him on the first day of the holiday so he’d get maximum wear and he bloody loved them. As did everyone else. In fact, our friends and his family were so impressed they commented that I needed my own pair. Little did they know.

Until, pow, the evening of our wedding, after I officially became a Coates, I busted them out under my wedding dress, on the beach.

It was priceless.

And yes, we were that couple on holiday, wearing matching slides. And no, we didn’t care one little bit.

Photo taken by Paul Mockford.

A Few Thoughts on What Success Means to Me
Category Life, family, goals, ibs, success
Description: A few weeks ago we had a work party, where we sat on a boat, […]  more...

A few weeks ago we had a work party, where we sat on a boat, sipping wine in the sunshine. We got talking about success and what it meant for us and it got me thinking.

If you’d asked me 7 years ago what success looked like, I’d have answered being at the top of my career, earning a certain salary and living the high life, whatever any of that means.

If you ask me today, it’s completely different. My priorities have changed and I like to go at a slower pace, saying no to anything that doesn’t fully float my boat.

So here goes.

Success to me is…

Being happy and fulfilled in both my personal life and at work. Finding the perfect balance and sticking to it like glue.

Spending as much time as I possibly can with my family and friends because they are my everything.

Helping people with IBS by sharing my embarrassing and brutally honest stories so people know they’re not alone. Every comment, Tweet, DM and email telling me that I’ve helped them makes everything worth while.

Praising my friends and family when they do a killer job because everyone needs a pat on the back.

For me, success is that simple.

What does it mean for you?

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