WE DID IT!!

WE GOT MARRIED!! 

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Well I have certainly been quiet on the blog front recently, mainly because I was consumed with wedding prep right up until the big day! I had plans to document it up until the night before but you very quickly get consumed in trying to get everything just so, and even then I still don’t think we got everything done that we had originally planned! 

We had THE MOST FABULOUS TIME!! Seriously the best time of our lives. I’ll give you a quick run down of the run up and then i’ve picked a few of my favourite photos to give you an idea of what happened on the day.

So I finished work the Friday a week before the wedding, my mum drove down to London to pick me up and we stacked the car full of bits and pieces; alcohol, the dress, a trunk full of wedding day ‘bits’ and so on, then from Saturday it was all go go go, finishing off clearing out the barn, making decorations and favours etc and getting ready for all our suppliers to start turning up!

The Wednesday, mum treated herself, me and sister Harry to a spa day at Stapleford park, and that was lovely, we had worked hard for 4 days, had a spa day to rejuvenate, had a couple of treatments, then we were ready for the final 2 days of work on the Thursday and Friday.

Family also began to arrive from Wednesday, so we had a lot of fun and roped in everyone to help as there was so much to do! 

We had a rehearsal Friday night and drinks at the local pub (coincidentally the pub where we met 8 and a half years ago!) with friends to kick off the celebrations which was a perfect way to start the weekend! Afterwards, my bridesmaids came home with me and we had an old school sleepover to get excited. The Saturday morning I woke up the least nervous/anxious I had all week and said to myself to enjoy every moment, and I did just that. Rich had left a surprise bottle of Moët in the fridge for me and the girls, so we popped that about 9am and started with hair and make up.

The church service was lovely and I was a lot less nervous than I thought I would be to say my vows in front of everyone, Rich said he thought he was going to faint when I started walking down the aisle!

Afterwards we headed to the reception where we were greeted with saucers of champagne and from there it was just magical; photos, afternoon tea, mingling then an absolute party in the evening where I didn’t leave the dance floor all night, I even missed the hog roast. We partied all night with our nearest and dearest and it was absolutely amazing! 

I could go on forever about it, but i’ll leave you with these pics, a few of my favourites….

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We had to cut the cake on Sunday because we were having too much fun of the day. Really the best day ever x

L+R (Mr & Mrs Henderson)

The Hen Do

I have been so overwhelmed by the love and support through this whole process and there are these milestones that are part of the process but when you’re going through it you realise they are so much more than that.

My hen do plans had been a secret since the beginning and I had no idea at all what to expect, the girls did an amazing job keeping it all quiet, the only direction I had was to arrive at one of the bridesmaids houses at 1pm on the Friday and we would go from there.

Now being a group of 15, made it hard to book something as renters aren’t that keen to rent their places to a large group of girls so the girls mentioned they had been let down on the first place they booked and they were left with only 4 weeks to sort a replacement. They did an incredible job. The first night we stayed at my parents house as they were away for the weekend, the girls were nervous about telling me this but I thought it was perfect and it also acted as a little stop gap to get everyone together before we headed off on the Saturday.

Friday was full of games and laughter and an amazing paella was cooked by bridesmaid Levanah, then Saturday we headed up to Derbyshire to a cottage and in the evening we had a private dinner and night out in Derby. I had the best time ever!

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One of the most special parts of it, was on the Saturday morning I was presented with a book with a picture of me on the front and it was a memoir book and the girls had a page each to give a memory of me and them and a personal note for the big day…needless to say I got emotional.

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It’s the times like these when you reflect on what amazing friends you have and the huge part they play in your life. To my girls, I love you all dearly!

L+R

Hair Trials

If you are hiring someone to do your hair, make sure you get chance to have a consultation/hair trial prior to the big day, this is generally included in the price. I know I have DIY’d a lot of the styling details for the big day but anything to do with us (dress/suit/my hair etc.) we have spent a bit of money on, if you are confident to do hair/make up yourself I say go for it, will save you an absolute heap of money! I just know my hair, it is total fluke on the days where I think it looks half decent and don’t fancy the worry the morning of the wedding so I am in the more than capable hands of James White.

**For anyone getting wed in the midlands, James’ studio is based in Nottingham and he is nothing short of a hair genius! Definitely look him up!**

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Photo Credit: Rachael Connerton Photography

I went to James a couple of weekends ago, armed with my Pinterest board to have a trial and immediately he put me at ease with explaining that I didn’t have to absolutely decide what I was having, this was just to get ideas of what I liked. Phew, it’s a lot of pressure to decide in a few hours. James made me feel real comfortable to say what I did and didn’t like and within half an hour we had already tried at least 5 styles.

I would 100 million% make a pinterest board - you can instantly show your stylist what you have in mind (I already had quite a strong idea) or even if your ideas are more sporadic at least it lets them know what type of thing you like which they can try and even suggest ideas.

Don’t be afraid to say what you like! James was keen to get me to be really honest with the styles that he was trying, remember, you have to look at these photos for a lifetime!

Make sure you leave feeling confident that you have someone who will make a nice atmosphere on the morning of the wedding and most importantly helps you to look and feel amazing!

These are the fun parts of the wedding planning and help you to get really excited about the big day

L+R

The RSVP

All invites will be sent out with the request of an RSVP, however even with the best intentions some of your party may be under the impression that because in passing you have chatted about how you are going to dance the night away together, they don’t need to formally respond with a yay or nay for attendance.

Anyone who didn’t RSVP as per the invite by the date we added, I just emailed or text politely to get a definite answer. I wanted everything in writing (call me Bridezilla, I say organised!) and don’t feel bad for doing so, you have a lot of things riding on the confirmation of the guest list; numbers for your venue/caterer/seating/church it’s super helpful to have a confirmed number.

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Image credit here

I have updated everything in my nifty guestlist tracker (which I covered right at the beginning of my Lula+Rye venture) as and when people have responded to me. We also asked for song requests so this was an easy way to also document these!

Good luck

L+R

A moment of reflection...

My post this morning comes from a heavy heart. We sadly lost Rich’s dad a week ago now, I still can’t quite believe I’m saying the words. He has been ill for some time but we had no idea that we would lose him this soon. Obviously the family are devastated with the loss but everyone is just trying to come to terms with everything.

There are so many emotions and things for us all to deal with at the moment, some of them for Rich and myself are obviously surrounding the wedding but also for moments in our life where we know he won’t be there to enjoy with us, like when we have children. But I know he will be looking down on us on our special day and be with us in spirit with everything we do. We will miss him dearly 

L+R

Money saving tips - Flowers!

The cost of flowers can easily creep up quickly especially if you are having the wedding and reception in 2 different venues. Even if you have something small planned for the church like pew ends you will easily need at least 10 flower arrangements for each end which all adds up to your overall flower budget.

I started to think about how we could decorate the church without breaking the bank and came up with a simple but really pretty idea and they are easier and cheaper to DIY rather than buying online and you can customise however you like.

Take a wicker heart as below and customise as you please, (these were £1.99 each from Dunelm)

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I intend to remove the white ribbon and replace with jute twine to keep in theme with my other decorations. Then I will be using a light gold felt pen to mark R+L on each of the inner hearts. Depending on how this works and if it looks like something else is needed I may also decorate with gypsophila which is a really pretty (and super cheap!) flower which is also incorporated into mine and my bridesmaids bouquets. Have a look here for couple of pinterest inspirations…

…here’s one I made earlier

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The best thing is, after the church service these can be transported back to the venue to be added to the backs of chairs around the party. They could also be given as presents to your grandmas or any close family that want a piece of the wedding to take home

L+R

For the tall girls

Being nearly 6” and a size UK 9 feet my wedding experience has been somewhat different to the experience most people have in mind when they dream of their wedding scenario, mainly with the wedding dress and wedding shoe shopping. It’s not the best feeling to be trying on wedding dresses when they are a foot too short or asking for your shoe size in 10 different shops and being told ‘sorry that style isn’t sold in your size’…but have faith.

After much research I have a few tips for the tall girls amongst us to help get by during this time, because it is exciting you just have to know what to expect

- Ring ahead - if you find a dress shop that you like the look of and it has styles that catch your eye, ring in advance to check what size their samples come in, I have paid £20 for an appointment before where all the samples were a size UK8 and I couldn’t fit in anything, depressing and complete waste of my time and money

- Check you will be able to order extra length - make sure whichever designer or style you choose you can get extra length added if necessary (this usually comes with a slight surcharge make sure you consider this with your budget)

- Do your shoe research - there are soooo many wedding shoe suppliers and designers it can be quite overwhelming but if there is a designer you like check what sizes they do first, it’s almost worse if you fall in love with a style only to find out they don’t have your size

- See what options are available to you - I found my wedding shoes randomly through a google search for ‘UK size 9 wedding shoes’ and a website for this Marylebone boutique came up. I instantly found a pair I fell in love with and headed to the shop to try on (this is a specialist boutique for ladies with larger feet and I was in absolute heaven, I tried on so many pairs and had so much choice, definitely my new favourite shoe shop!)

Has anyone else had a different experience than they expected because of their height?

L+R

Wedding Shoes

Long gone are the days when the only choice of wedding footwear was an ivory satin pair of courts (not that there is anything wrong with that!) it just means a bride can be a little more expressive in their footwear choices.

It also opens up the choices for the bride, as there might be a certain style you particularly want but you can’t find in white or ivory.

Below are my top 5 favourite shoe trends for the modern bride

Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue

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Dreamy flats

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His & her converse

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Pretty sandals

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Bold colours

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The possibilities are really endless…are you going to try something a little different to the traditional white or ivory shoe?

L+R

Alternative Gifts - The Bottom Drawer

In addition to the guest list, I firmly believe that deciding on how to execute a gift list is one of the most stressful parts of planning a wedding, to the point where we were close to not adding anything about it on our invites.

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Picture here

Only 2 things made me change my mind. The first, was a friend who sent me an article on a couple that received 27 toasters and the second was advise that some people really want to get you a gift. We have heavily outlined that our guests presence is what matters to us, not their presents.

A great alternative to the generally restrictive gift lists from a department store is a gift site called 'The Bottom Drawer' where their gifts can range from the following and can be sourced from any supplier

  • a Grand Piano - where each key of the piano being a separate gift on the list
  • original art - where the art is divided into a virtual grid and each square of the grid is a separate virtual gift
  • garden makeovers - where each new plant and each square metre of patio become individual gifts
  • and similarly for VW Campervans, house deposits, new cars, hot-tubs, mountaineering equipment, and many more

A great one to check out if you are stuck for wedding gift ideas!

L+R

July...The 2 Month Countdown

Just 2 months left to go and every month we manage to get a few more jobs ticked off. The Barn is fully starting to take shape now, the Yorkshire boarding is the finishing touch and my mum and brother are about a quarter of the way round with this. The field is also looking lovely, mum has been mowing and trimming the grass and I think it really will be the perfect setting for our wedding celebration.

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I have just been on holiday for a week with a couple of my closest girlfriends and I have had such a nice week off to reflect on this last year and completely relax as planning a wedding is stressful, even if you are organised it is in the background of everything we’ve done this past year particularly because we have been saving, I know it will be worth it but I have loved having a break with my besties! Also nothing better than a golden tan for summer….

L+R

Decorations

If you are struggling for decoration inspiration and you fancy collecting some of the décor yourself, try and look into bric-a-brac or second hand market stalls. I went to one this weekend at a garden centre whilst visiting family in the midlands and they are the greatest source of inspiration and you can often pick up items at a great price (especially with a little barter as they are generally cash only). You can find everything from napkins/table cloths to glasses to tea pots and even props like milk churns, old suitcases, jukeboxes and wooden crates.

These little additions can be added to give character to a blank canvas marquee or tipi, village hall or outdoor wedding; they really help carry the theme throughout the day.

Wooden or tin boxes -Great vases for flowers or central table decorations

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Tea pots -Great to serve your tea in at the end of the wedding breakfast or equally cool for cocktails

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Tablecloths -Add a bit of character to a plain table with a crocheted or lace cloth

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Place mats - Perfect underneath plates or could even be used at intervals along the table in place of table runners

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Crates -Perfect for storing drinks or keeping favours together

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Tea sets -These can be used as a feature on your table as side dishes/tea cups & saucers or great for an afternoon tea wedding breakfast

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Check out your local papers or churches/garden centres on the weekends to see if they have anything like this going on

Have you sourced any of your own props?

L+R

Wedding Cake Alternatives – Naked Cakes

A simple cake lends itself beautifully to a rustic/homemade/DIY wedding, you could even give it a go yourself! A huge trend has emerged for these rustic looking beauties and is totally adaptable to your colour and/or flower theme with your chosen flavouring inside.

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Original pictures here

Nice flavour combinations include the classic Victoria sponge with vanilla butter cream and Strawberry jam, lemon curd filling with fresh raspberries, or a forest fruits decorated version. I tried to create this myself just to see if it was something I could potentially do for the big day (was a little harder than I thought hence there being no pictures attached). The one thing I would say is make sure you have plenty of mixture to bake as the idea is you cut through the middle of the cake to fill with whatever you choose so you need a big cake to begin with! Alternatively you could always sandwich 2 cakes together.

Are you tempted to make your own wedding cake?

L+R

Your Guests

Our invites are going out this week; it will be nice to tick another job off the list but will also mean I can start working on the seating plan and also finalise those all important menu choices (Our favourite bit).

We sent out save the dates back in April just to give everyone a heads up of the date, I always thought this was quite an American thing but the trend seems to have translated across the pond! We also did it because there are a few friends and family that live abroad and we wanted to make sure we gave everyone as much notice as possible.

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We had an amazing response, including people booking flights to come from Canada, Italy and Australia especially for our wedding. Our friends and family mean the world to us and we have been overwhelmed at how many people are so excited to come to our big day…we have all been through so much over the last few years and I can’t imagine how I will be feeling on the day to have all my loved ones there, seeing me wed my loved one.

To us this is what life is all about 

L+R

Barn Update - June

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As we edge closer to the big day, I had to share this picture that my mum sent me a couple of weeks ago of the barn construction. My little (big) brother is working away at this whilst he is home for the summer and I think they are doing such an amazing job!

She said the wall is nearly done around the bottom and they have ordered the Yorkshire boarding for the sides, I just hope this nice weather holds out while they try and get it finished before the big day!

Big love to my family that are working so hard on this

x

L+R

Catering Alternatives - Pies!

A great alternative to the traditional wedding breakfast is having a pie and mash feast. Who doesn’t love a comforting Great British Pie? Now granted this may not be the best option on a warm summer’s day so they may be more suitable for an autumnal or winter wedding. The great thing about something like this is it’s fairly fuss free; you could have 2 meat options and 2 vegetarian options with standard sides for each table.

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A cute serving idea is to put the different flavoured pies into separate picnic baskets and get each of your servers to approach the tables to serve the pies straight out of the basket. It would certainly be a talking point for the table!

One of my favourite companies currently leading the way for Pie wedding feasts is Pieminister, their website is fantastic and they have a huge range of pies to choose from including lighter choices without the lid, and they are all super pretty!

I must admit I am very particular about supplier websites, I think they instantly have to register with how you feel about the look of your big day, and Pieminister really hits the spot with theirs…they would fit in perfectly with so many different types of a weddings, festival, vintage, DIY (just check out their picture gallery to see for yourself).

As ever on Lula & Rye this is also about being purse friendly, and I have seen menus starting at as little as £9.95 per person.

L+R

Mini-Moons

If you are putting all your savings in for your wedding, you may not want to splurge on an extravagant honeymoon straight away (also, if you book for later on you have another thing to get you through the post wedding blues), so a mini-moon may be perfect for you. It also gives you and your partner chance to digest everything post wedding and enjoy each other alone for a few days.

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Image from Pinterest

Even if you may be doing this to save money, there is no need to compromise on your stay…Here are my top tips to save money on your mini-moon

1. Consider your destination

Touristy European cities like Paris may be cheap to get to but hotels and spending when you’re there is likely to be expensive. Look at alternative options like UK mini breaks and inexpensive cities that still have lots to offer like Krakow or Florence

2. Compare flight prices

Once you have your destination in mind use comparative search engines like Skyscanner to search for the best flight deal, they are commission free

3. Find a good hotel deal

Use websites like booking.com to find hotels in your chosen destination, they are detailed with customer ratings, offer competitive prices and often you can book without any charges to your card so it gives you an extra few months to save!

4. Look for package deals

If you are flexible on dates and/or places, keep an eye out for deals from internet sites like Groupon, Wowcher or Secret Escapes for 4* & 5* breaks with seriously good discounts

5. Let them know you’re on your honeymoon

Let your hotel or airline know that your booking is a bit special, it’s worth a try to see if you can get a free bottle of champagne or an upgrade!

L+R

Gym Motivation

I recently posted about the changes I have made to my wedding skin routine and how it will help to make me feel the best I possibly can on the wedding day. Further to this I thought I’d post a little something on fitness to. I have always enjoyed exercising; I think it has helped when I’ve had a stressful day at work, improve my general fitness in day to day life and also makes me feel happier (generally once I’ve finished!) but sometimes I find it hard to fit in to my busy schedule.

I decided on Saturday to treat myself to some new gym kit to try and motivate me to make the effort to head down to the gym, as I know it makes me feel great which is important especially because my dress arrives in a little over 2 months! I already feel like it’s making a difference now I have my luminous Nike feet (I love buying trainers that are a little different! My favourite were a gold pair I had a few years ago, Rich used to call me Michael Johnson when I wore them)

Exercising will also be a great way to de stress during the wedding planning stages, you could even exercise with your partner which I find really fun.

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Do you think new gym kit or accessories would help motivate you to get to the gym before your big day?

L+R

Bridesmaids Dresses

I have enlisted 5 of my closest friends to be my Bridesmaids for my big day, and my 2 youngest cousins who have never been bridesmaids before that were beyond happy when I asked them…this is obviously a large amount of people to dress for the big day with a bridesmaid dress setting you back easily £100 per person.  I know you may be thinking, why not have a smaller bridesmaid group? But the truth is, friends and family are such a massive part of mine and Rich’s life that there were a few people I knew just had to be up there with me when I said ‘I do’.

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My handmade Bridesmaid Invitations, each one with a personalised message inside…

So now to find a solution so that we can have everyone dressed beautifully without breaking the bank. My initial research led me to EBay, which my lovely friend Alice had also used for her Bridesmaid dresses by label Phase Eight, she said “I bought 2 dresses off EBay and one direct from the manufacturer at Phase Eight, it was so much cheaper than if I’d bought them brand new”. 

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Alice and Phil’s beautiful wedding (hubby to be is 2nd from the left as Best Man). Photos by Josie Parr Photography 

I think buying second hand is great for a few reasons; you are being planet friendly but not compromising on quality/style, you’re getting the dress for often under half the original retail price and generally with these things, they have only been worn once so a quick dry clean and it’s as good as new. 

I managed to find my littlest cousins’ dress on EBay for £15 incl. postage and packaging, the lot comprised of 2 of the same dress but one an age 11 and one an age 12 which was even better as we had a choice of fits. I was lucky as this was one of the first dresses I saw and I completely fell in love, it fitted the vintage tea party theme perfectly and the skirt is big enough to make Evie feel like an absolute princess on the day…but if you don’t find what you want immediately, persevere! There are new styles and sizes added every day.

TOP TIP If you find the dress you are looking for but it’s too long/too big in size, could you buy and have altered to make it the perfect fit?

L+R

Barn Update!

Just a quick post on the state of the barn construction, and it is coming on amazingly well!

This is being built by my mum, uncle and brother and I think they are doing the most amazing job….the wall is now being built around the sides, the weather also happened to be amazing on this day to…if we have that weather for the wedding day it will be heavenly!

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L+R

Wedding Cake Alternative – Scrumptious Tarts

The wedding cake may be one of the most exciting parts of the wedding to plan, mainly because it should involve taste testing. However wedding cakes do not come cheap. Bride’s magazine quoted in 2013 that the average amount their readers were spending on cakes was £296 which is a hefty price tag to pay if the budget is tight. Marks and Spencer and Waitrose have started to offer a more affordable ‘off the shelf’ solution but that can still set you back a bit.

If you do have a love for baking or someone in the family could help, there are a few different variations that could be homemade instead of the traditional wedding cake, maybe your favourite desert on a larger scale?

I am following a Mary Berry Recipe to make a Lemon Tart which I think could be a great unconventional wedding treat. This recipe served about 15 people so may be more preferable for a smaller wedding or you could make mini individual versions. The great thing about this is it can be made a couple of days in advance or the case can be frozen.

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INGREDIENTS

PASTRY

  • 225g plain flour
  • 150g cold butter, cut into small cubes
  • 25g icing sugar
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 2 tbsp water

LEMON FILLING

  • 9 large eggs
  • 300ml double cream
  • 350g caster sugar
  • finely grated zest and juice of 6 large lemons

INSTRUCTIONS

SERVES 8

  1. You will need a 28cm deep loose-bottomed tart tin.
  2. To make the pastry, measure the flour, butter and sugar into a processor. Whiz until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs and then add the egg and water. Whiz again until it forms a ball.
  3. Roll out the pastry thinly on a floured work surface until it is just a little bigger than the size of the tin. Line the tart tin with the pastry, letting the extra pastry hang over the sides of the tin. Place on a baking sheet and then chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  4. Peheat the oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. Line the tin with nonstick paper and fill with baking beans. Blind bake for 15 minutes in the preheated oven until pale golden brown.
  5. Take out of the oven and remove the baking beans and paper. Carefully trim the excess pastry from the sides using a sharp knife. Return the empty pastry shell to the oven for another 10-12 minutes or until it is completely dry. Set aside to cool.
  6. Reduce the temperature of the oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 3.
  7. Measure all the filling ingredients into a bowl and whisk until smooth. Carefully pour the filling mixture into the cold baked pastry case.
  8. Transfer the tart and tray carefully to the oven and bake for 35-40 minutes or until just set but still with a slight wobble in the middle. The filling will sink down a bit when it has cooled.
  9. Leave to cool a little, or completely, and then remove it from the tin.

I promise you it will go down a treat…

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L+R