Issue 9 launches!

We’re launching issue 9 TODAY (!) at The Happily Ever After Creative Wedding Fair in Brighton. All attendees will receive a copy of the issue, hot off the press, and we’re also giving away 50 copies of our special ‘gold’ issue in the VIP bags.

Issue 9 is the second issue of our ‘new look’ – new design and new uncoated paper stock – so I feel like we’re really ‘settling in’. The logo’s finally been updated on the website too and issue 9 is available (for anyone and everyone, all over the world!), to read online.

I’m going to spend the next couple of weeks spreading Doily Days cheer… pounding the pavement with my trolley (or pram!) leaving stacks of mags here and there and saying hi to some familiar faces. If you’re a venue/bridal shop or the like and would like some free copies please get in touch and I’ll be happy to arrange delivery. Lovely Dani from The Icing on the Cake is distributing for me in Surrey, she’s in Reigate, so give her a shout if you’re near her and want some mags.

We’ve got boxes earmarked for plenty of wedding fairs coming up in the next few weeks. I’m especially excited for next weekend because I’ll be going up to London for Most Curious and I’ll also be at Slindon College Wedding Open Day (on Sunday 19th) to support my partner in crime Alex. We work together on The Wonderous Wedding Fair in Southsea in November. She works really hard to put on a unique/alternative event (believe me, I know… she’s a slave driver!).

2nd April seems like the last big spring date for fairs but there’s also the Southend Barns fair on 7th May; they’re having a garden party to mark their fifth anniversary… we’ll be there with bells on! Did someone say Pimms? And of course there’s Sussex Wed Fest at Two Woods on 4th June. We’re really looking forward to that one too, fingers crossed for blazing sunshine.

In between those dates I’m squeezing in a couple of holidays! On 14th May I’m jetting off to Ibiza on a Holy Mama yoga retreat with my son Rupert. He’ll be 17 months then, I can’t wait to take him to the beach and play with him in the pool everyday. I also can’t wait for the yoga, sunbathing, evening meditations and yummy food! Not to mention meeting all the other mummies and bambinos.

Then, at the end of May, I’m off to Mad Dogs and Vintage Vans in the Wye Valley. I’m reviewing it for issue 10 as it’s a fab place for a Doily Days-esque hen do… and I’m taking Rupert and my friend Louise along for the ride! Louise is my best friend, she runs a bar in France so I barely hear from her all winter (coz she’s up to her eyeballs in Jägerbombs). We try to do something fun together in the summer and do all our catching up.

Oh and in between distributing and holidaying I’m also moving house… and going to my uncle’s wedding! Goodness me it’s going to be a busy year.

In June I’ll be starting on issue 10. It’s going to be a real celebratory issue… TEN! Wowsers.

Somebody Shoot Me – UPDATED PRICE

Please note: the package details below, and the price, have been altered. Feedback told us that the original package (which included transfers, catering, evening meal, cocktails and a magazine advert) was just too much to spend at this time of year. So we’ve stripped it right back and we’re able to offer it at a much more affordable price.

Doily Days are hitting the ground running in 2017! We’re putting on a supplier event on Thursday 26th January on THE WHITE ISLE!!! And yes, we do of course mean The Isle of Wight…

We have space for just EIGHT awesome suppliers on this photo shoot/promo/networking extravaganza. It’s an action packed day and overnight stay and it includes the following:

– One night accommodation at The Mission/The Scout Hall at Vintage Vacations. Shared bedrooms and bathrooms.

– Product inclusion in professional photo shoot at The Mission (photos by Jessica Milberg)

– Opportunity to input into professional photo shoot (direct models etc)

– A professional makeover for suppliers (hair and makeup)

– Professional head shots for all suppliers, for promotional purposes (photos by Sarah London) (plus shots of general day/evening ambience and ‘behind the scenes’ on the shoot)

– Professional short videos for all attendees, for promotional purposes (videography by Irene Piera)

– Styled shoot to be featured in Doily Days issue nine (out March) with credits for all suppliers

– Possible feature opportunities for  participants in Doily Days issue nine

– Shoot images to be used freely for your own promotional purposes

The full package price is £199

Please note: this package is only open to those advertising with Doily Days in issue nine.

Participants will need to make their own way to the venue and we’re looking at an early start on Thursday morning (approx 9.30am but can be staggered as only 4 people can have hair/makeup at one time). Car ferry (inc 4 passengers) from Portsmouth (return) is £75. Once we know who’s coming we can liaise with each other and car share. In order to keep this package price down, we’ve stripped back on food/drink so again, we’ll liaise with each other and everyone will need to chip in. I’d like to get a good team in place for this and work on it as a collaborative project. I hope you’ll agree it’s amazing value for everything that’s included.

To book/enquire please email (full payment is due upon booking).

Click on images to enlarge

Read on for more information about our fabulous location/accommodation…

The Mission and The Scout Hall are a 10 minute walk from each other and sleep 12 in total. They are both curated by the team at Vintage Vacations (the UK’s original Airstream holidays)

The Mission:

This amazing ‘tin tabernacle’ was built in 1895 and has been converted to a truly unique place to stay, and the perfect base for an alternative bridal shoot.

Externally the building has been restored and remains the same as it always has, internally there is a stunning ‘building within a building’ that gives two mezzanine bedrooms floating in the roof space. Below is a large living space with masses of seating and a huge wood burning stove. There is a luxuriously large bathroom with a sunken bath nestled into what was the baptismal font. At the back of the main hall is the kitchen and dining area that contains a beautiful ‘English Rose’ 1950s kitchen. Leading from the kitchen is the ‘Sunday school’ annexe with two bedrooms plus a further WC and lovely big shower.

Outside there is a decked courtyard area, a raised ‘wilderness garden’, tree seat and an Indian Summer inspired area.

The Scout Hall:

The old Chale Scout Hall was converted in 2012 to create another unique place to stay. Situated on Church Place, just outside the village of Chale, The Scout Hall has stunning and far-reaching coastal views over to The Needles. Externally the unique building has been restored using traditional materials and paint colours, Internally the space has been converted to ‘upside-down’ to make the most of the views. The four generous downstairs bedrooms and 2 bathrooms are enclosed but the rest is open-plan, revealing original details of the space. The ‘Elvis’ bedroom has a small outside terrace.

Upstairs there is a living and dining space with doors opening onto the deck and a quirky ships-galley style kitchen. The eclectic interior design uses many 20th century classics and a hefty dose of twee-free humour.

Private off-road parking, central heating, WiFi, Blue tooth speakers and fresh white linens and towels all add comfort to your stay.



Commer Camper/van Opportunity

So… after buying out the ex I am now the proud sole-owner of a very beautiful, charming 1968 Commer camper/van. This van was purchased two years ago for nostalgic/sentimental reasons as my grandparents owned a very similar vehicle back in the day and spent many happy weekends in the ‘passion wagon’ on the beach in Lyme Regis and the like. It’s a rare van, a British van that was previously used by British Telecoms and The Post Office as delivery vans. You don’t see many of these on eBay… VWs a-plenty! The American company Dodge bought out Commer in the 70s and they continued to produce similar looking models before moving onto the more American-looking trucks.

A lot of money has been spent on this van, although you wouldn’t think that to look at it!… It’s looking a bit sad, it has to be said, it’s crying out for some love but the engine is brilliant, it has a brand-new MOT and it’s just had it’s welding done so it’s solid and ready to be painted. It needs a full new interior because all the wood was rotting on the original interior, but we have salvaged the gas cooker and there is an awning too that I believe is in relatively good condition. It’s a blank canvas for either a business opportunity or a personal project.

So here’s the thing. I would let this van go for £4k (no less) OR I would enter into negotiations re giving this vehicle the pampering it needs and getting it up and running for commercial purposes (a bar? I do hold a personal license and have a shit-load of alcohol), or perhaps revamping it for wedding transport? Open to offers! All to be promoted under the Doily Days umbrella. Any interested parties would need to have £4k available (for a 50/50 share), ideas, perhaps carpentry/mechanical expertise… It could be very exciting? I don’t have the funds to take this van onto the next level but I do have a great platform from which to promote wedding-related services, a personal licence (as mentioned previously) and lots of hospitality experience.

Who’s interested?

What a Year!..

… I know it’s not over but with The Wonderous Wedding Fair behind us and issue 8 officially ‘out there’ I’m winding down, reflecting on a crazy year and planning for 2017.

2016 started in a new home in a new town with a two week old babe in arms; nappies, feeding, washing and all the craziness that goes with new parenthood. Doily Days special issue was under-way but, to be honest, the business was the last thing on my mind… as was showering, leaving the house and attempting to make a proper meal. Cut to March and I was in London at A Most Curious Wedding Fair, three-month-old baby in tow, launching our special issue which was a culmination (a celebration!) of everything we’ve achieved in three years of the magazine. Cut to the summer and I was working at weddings, working on issue 9 (with a new team and a full-on rebrand added into the mix), oh and I embarked on a project with Alex from The Vintage Parade; The Wonderous Wedding Fair, a wham-bam-thank-you-maam alternative wedding fair in Southsea, Portsmouth. When we decided to work on a wedding fair I didn’t realise what I was getting myself into but it turned into the best thing I could have done. I got to know new suppliers who in-turn became advertisers in the magazine, I went on the radio, Alex and I organised a styled shoot, we hosted a networking event and then, when we were exhausted and scrapping ourselves off the floor, we had the main event itself which was a wonderous event indeed, full of glitz, glamour and a very unglamourous power cut at the end. Read all about the fair here via our photographer, the brilliant Adam Sainte Croix.

I don’t want to give her all the credit but much of the success of the fair was down to the relentless power-house that is Alex Cvijovic of The Vintage Parade. She kept me on my toes, taught me a thing or two about event management and made me realise beyond everything else, it’s all about staying true to your brand and having good people with you for the ride.

So here we are, November, I’m out and about with pram-loads of magazines, distributing like the good old days, tentatively looking at dates for next year’s fair and organising my son’s first birthday party. I’m looking forward to the festivities but above all else I’m looking forward to 2017 being another amazing year and I want to say a massive THANK YOU for all the support and love for Doily Days.


Helen x

Come and network with us this September!

Who’s heard of Dawn Gracie? EVERYONE has right? Well I knew about her when I lived over Brighton way and I got to know her better when I moved closer to her base in Chichester. If you’ve been living under a rock somewhere and haven’t heard of her, Dawn Gracie is a one-woman dynamo; she’s a vintage singer/entertainer/compere, she puts on cabaret shows, she teaches burlesque and she’s organising a ‘camp as Christmas’, kitschtastic vintage weekender at the beginning of September. For more details and to find the link to buy tickets please click here.

In Dawn’s other life (how on earth she has time for everything I will never know) she writes a column for the Chichester Observer and she runs networking events in the local community.

In 2013 Dawn’s Vintage Do and Doily Days joined forces to put on a networking event especially for those in the wedding and event industries. It was a roaring success with a great turn-out and it feels like a lifetime ago! Without really thinking about it, we did it again… and again and it seems to have become an annual event. It’s just an all round good time to be honest. Only £5 to come along, an intro from Dawn, brief talks from industry experts, the opportunity to network and mingle and the chance to win a fantastic raffle prize! The raffle raises money for St Wilfrid’s Hospice, an amazing hospice in Chichester who looked after my mother so brilliantly at the end of her life, and who Dawn works with closely too. We’ve had some fantastic donations, from a weekend glamping to a dove release! It seems to get better every time and attendees have been digging deep and giving generously for such a good cause. It’s always a great laugh too over a few drinks and Dawn’s commentary/banter!

This year we’re following the same format and meeting in Chichester on Wednesday 21st September. You can view more info and join onto the Facebook event page and you can book your ticket here via Eventbrite.

This time all attendees will receive a free copy of Doily Days special issue magazine worth £3.95 and there will be signature event cocktails available from Doilys Mini Bar. We hope to see you there (I was VERY pregnant at the last one but will be clinging onto a beverage this time for sure!

This picture from the last event was taken by Gemma AKA Lady with a Camera

(click on images to enlarge)

Getting Hitched in a Field

What a scorcher of a bank holiday weekend! And what a lovely one we had. Me, Fred and Rupert packed our bags and took Rupert off on his first ‘glamping’ trip. A mere 15 miles up the A3 from our home in Southsea and we were at Wriggly Tin campsite in Hambledon. I know the site well because I actually worked there for a bit last year. That was before I realised how bad (and slow) I was at cleaning and just before I found out I was pregnant! But I loved the peaceful, secluded site and the shepherd’s huts that have been so carefully designed by owner Alex Evans.

(Click on images to enlarge)

There are just six huts on the site and they’re all strategically placed to ensure maximum privacy and tranquillity. Each hut has very comfy beds with luxury linen, lovely fluffy towels, a wood-burning stove and all the equipment you need i.e. enamel plates, cutlery, kettle etc. Alex really has thought of everything and you’re provided with teabags, ground coffee, porridge oats, pasta and marshmallows. In the huts you’ll also find logs and kindling for your campfire and there’s a box of campfire cooking equipment too.

There’s no electricity at Wriggly Tin so, at night, you need to use hurricane lamps or torches to find your way to the water tap or the composting toilets!

We were lucky enough to stay in ‘Barrow’ hut. It’s the newest hut on site and one that I never cleaned! Alex was still building the interior last year so I didn’t get any flash backs of changing beds and scrubbing floors! The interior of Barrow has a yellow and grey colour scheme and a distinct 50s feel with the curtain fabric, plates on the wall and retro kitchen unit. Alex was a graphic designer in a previous life so he has a great sense of style, all the huts have a Farrow & Ball/country cottage theme with just the right amount of vintage/retro. Battered copies of Enid Blyton books adorn the shelves along with old fashioned games such as Cribbage and Buckaroo.

‘Old Winchester’ is the honeymoon suite if you will, it’s tucked away in it’s own woodland glade and it even has its own wood-fired hot tub outside! Bliss…

We had a couple of friends come and visit on our first night and we had such a lovely evening. The sunset was beautiful and it was a very balmy evening. We cracked a few beers and a bottle of Prosecco and enjoyed a perfect barbecue followed by some marshmallow toasting.

On day two we didn’t go very far. It was such a hot day and we wanted to make the most of the campsite. As we live locally we can go on the walks etc anytime, we wanted to chill and sunbathe! So we popped the sunshade and paddling pool up for Rupert and had a few Pimms! If you do wish to go out exploring you’ve got plenty of tips in the visitors guide, and from reading the comments in the visitors book, there’s also a local map in each hut with the best walks, pubs etc marked.

Although not directly wedding related Wriggly Tin is the perfect place for a girly hen party or civilised stag. You’ve got Hambledon Vineyard just down the road for a spot of wine tasting too.

Alex did host a very beautiful wedding last year, you can read all about Victoria and Toby’s big day, and see the fantastic photos over on the We Wine blog (the groom was a tree surgeon so there’s plenty of wood-themed decor ideas!)

We’re organising The Wonderous Wedding Fair in Southsea!

We have some exciting news to share with you! We’re delighted to be collaborating with the Pyramids, Portsmouth and Vintage Parade to bring you The Wonderous Wedding Fair on Sunday 6th November 2016.

(please click images to enlarge)

It’s set to be a day full of unique/vintage inspiration with around 40 suppliers showcasing their products and services. There will be a fashion show in the afternoon and there’s a retro tearoom to enjoy ‘a proper brew’ whilst taking in live entertainment from the likes of jazz singer Amy Baker. The Pyramids will be dressing The Glass House so, if you’re considering having your wedding reception against the stunning backdrop of Southsea seafront, you can get some great ideas and advice. You’ll receive complementary wedding magazines with the £3 entry fee (including our special issue which has a cover price of £3.95!)

We have just opened applications for exhibition space. Please note we are limiting each category (i.e. photography, cakes) so please get in touch as soon as possible if you’d like to receive more information and be considered.

Why exhibit with us?

Alex and I both have an ‘inclusive’ attitude towards like-minded suppliers and believe in opportunities and giving as much as possible with the fee to exhibit. We will be holding a suppliers networking event in central Southsea in October; a chance, after the crazy wedding season, to kick back, have a cocktail or two and connect with fellow suppliers. You never know what opportunities will come up!

There will also be a themed, styled shoot organised prior to the event and all exhibitors will be invited to contribute. A great opportunity to get professional images for your website and to share on social media.

Please contact us for more information re exhibiting or

Main poster photo credit:
Image taken from a shoot organised by

Doily Days are seeking partnerships for company rebrand and restructure

Doily Days is a vintage/alternative wedding business founded (in Sussex) by Helen Ruff in 2009. Starting life as a vintage china hire company, additional services were added and it soon became a one-stop-shop for a vintage-style wedding. Helen launched ‘Doily Days loves Weddings’ magazine in 2013 and has published a total of seven magazines to date (two a year). The magazine is designed to be a refreshing change to the traditional bridal magazine; it’s full of quirky, colourful photography, unique, inspiring ideas and supplier’s adverts (who all fit with the Doily Days ‘ethos’).

Helen moved to Southsea in November 2015 and life changed somewhat with the birth of her first child in December. She contemplated selling Doily Days but has since had a change of heart and would like to rebrand and push forward with the business.

She is looking to form a small team of local talent (in or near Southsea, Hampshire) who can work together in exchange for a profit share. She’s specifically looking for a graphic designer and an enthusiastic advertising sales person but would like to hear from anyone who feels they have relevant skills.

Working hours can be part-time and flexible to fit in with family and other commitments.

Please email your CV and covering letter to

Closing date is 31st May 2016

Beautiful Belle’s Wedding Fairs


I first heard about Belles Events wedding fairs in 2010. I found out that owner/founder Kelly Wickson lived round the corner from me in Shoreham by Sea. We arranged to meet for a festive glass of wine and the rest is history. Kelly and I have a lot in common; a love for vintage/retro/quirky style, a keen interest in weddings and events and brains that don’t really switch off! We’re both Capricorn, our birthdays are two days apart, maybe that’s got something to do with it… Anyway, I exhibited at Belles Events first fair and the working relationship went from there. Kelly and I supported each other’s businesses; Belles always advertised in the magazine (Kelly’s husband Joss designs the magazine!), I always exhibited at their fairs (sometimes I ran the tearoom), Kelly worked at some Doily Days weddings and we ran networking events and industry parties together. Our brands were a good fit because we were all about supporting unique, alternative, local small businesses in the wedding industry.

Last year I was shocked when Kelly said she was putting Belles Events up for sale. The end of an era! But by this point I’d moved into an entirely different county and although still good friends, we weren’t working together so much. Kelly had already sold her first successful wedding business Sussex Love Bug and I knew she wanted to move on and concentrate her efforts on her other wedding business Truly Quirky Wedding Venues. I was on the edge of my seat waiting to find out who would take the reins! And Kelly was keeping it firmly under wraps until everything was finalised. I was thrilled to find out that the new owner was none other than brilliant wedding photographer Sue Kwiatkowska! I knew Sue via the wedding industry; we’d chatted at Belles fairs, she’d come along to industry parties, we’d worked at the same weddings, she’d advertised in the magazine and she took the first professional images of my bar. Sue’s style of photography really fits well with alternative/vintage celebrations and many of her bookings came via Belles Events fairs. “Trying to find a wedding fair to exhibit at five years ago, right for the style of photography I was offering, proved quite the challenge” says Sue. “Until, that is, I found Belle’s Events”. She jumped at the chance to take on the business and the brand. “I want both couples and exhibitors who attend our fairs to have a really enjoyable experience and a nice day out all round. Wedding planning should be fun not fear inducing” explains Sue. Here here! And Belles fairs certainly are fun and a feast for the senses; lots of smiling faces, vintage dresses, fab hairstyles, red lippy, amazing cake samples (and sometimes cocktails and bubbly!), vintage style entertainment, beautiful colourful styling…. Ideas galore! You’ll find the likes of uber-cool Doris Loves with their giant light up letters and temporary tattoo station, the delicate and delightful creations at Bunston Bakes, and the bohemian and romantic bridalwear designs at This Modern Love, to name but a few!

With Sue at the helm you can be sure that Belles Events flagship Brighton fair continues to be the ‘must exhibit at’ event for the unique and fabulous tribe of southern based suppliers. Sue also intends to expand into other areas along the coast to offer smaller boutique fairs.

If you think your wedding business fits the bill and you’d like to exhibit at any upcoming events, then do get in touch with Sue, she’s always got time to chat weddings with new suppliers!

Doily Days is for sale!

Where do I even start with this blog post? If you’d said to me this time last year I’d be preparing to sell Doily Days I wouldn’t have believed you. I started the business in 2009 and since then it really has been an extension of myself. But SO much can change in a year. This time last year I was living alone in Chichester in a fully styled vintage apartment. I spent my time quaffing fizz and cocktails, social networking my arse off, dressing up for parties, and the business was basically my life… and then I fell pregnant. It’s true Fred and I hadn’t been together for long (4 months. Eeek scandal) but as my 36th birthday approached I was delighted by the (somewhat unexpected) news. It was time for me to hang up my party shoes anyway (my friends would tell you I probably should have hung them up a long time ago).

Click images to enlarge

I went on two pre-planned trips last spring; skiing in Val D’Isere and 5 days in New York. Not exactly ideal in the first trimester of pregnancy! Trying to keep it under wraps with some heavy duty apres-skiiers wasn’t exactly easy… we did jump the queue for the Empire State Building though.

Last summer we attended some lovely weddings with the bar but again I probably shouldn’t have been hoofing a heavy fridge into a hire van at 1am. Issue 6 of the magazine came out in September and I distributed it as normal, except I had to ask the printer to put it in smaller boxes because I was seven months pregnant! Whilst pregnant I beavered away on the special issue so I was as prepared as possible to take time off for maternity leave… oh and Fred and I moved to Southsea in November (to a sensible three bedroom house with plenty of room for the ever growing mountain of baby stuff).

At midday on 13th December my water’s broke while watching Saturday Kitchen and we made our way to St Richard’s hospital in Chichester. Midway through the 12 hours of ‘text book’ labour (and delightful epidural) Fred popped out to buy Champagne… Hmmmm a bold move. I certainly didn’t fancy the Champagne after an emergency c section, losing 3 litres of blood, having a transfusion and almost ending up in intensive care. But ANYWAY my little Rupsie Ru (Rupert James Hancock) was finally here and boy did he shake things up!

Rupert is 4 ½ months old now and things have fallen into place nicely. We’ve got used to each other and I love him so much it scares me.

So here I am, it’s April, I have three stone to lose, I’m surrounded by baby gyms, Jumperoos, a whole host of sensory items and I’ve decided to sell my business (you were wondering when I was going to get to that bit weren’t you?). Here’s the plan: I won’t be producing a magazine in the autumn but I will be continuing to promote the special issue (which I’m immensely proud of by the way. In my mind it’s the book I always wanted to produce). I will continue with the blog and online adverts until the end of the year (please click here if you’d like to advertise with us). I am organising a wedding fair in Southsea in November with Vintage Parade (details to follow but please contact us if you’re interested in exhibiting) and then that’s it. It’s time for Doily Days to go to a new home… and it’s time for me to do something new. Something part-time that fits in with my new, lovely, family life. I just don’t know what yet. Ideas on a postcard please! All I know is Doily Days has been THE BEST time. I’ve met some amazing people, worked on some hugely exciting projects and given myself experiences that will hopefully stand me in good stead for whatever’s next.

The sale price and what’s included are not available yet but if you’d like to register your interest please contact me.

And finally, here are some pictures of my most memorable Doily Days moments…

Helen x