This is by Elliott Erwitt of his first wife Lucienne and their first child in their tiny Manhattan apartment in 1953. Elliott has been a big source of inspiration to my work as well as Henri Cartier-Bresson. These photographers both have a very sensitive and unobtrusive approach to their subjects.

I particularly love this shot as it captures the raw moment. It depicts a mundane setting and yet I find it so beautiful at the same time. This image teaches me to be observant and envision the moment, step back and give the subject the space it needs to be itself.

Ms Polka Dot says: Lucy from Lucy Leonardi Photography says it so beautifully. This image really captures my heart!

Lucy Leonardi is a Sydney-based wedding photojournalist.  Her attention to detail make her photographs unique and personal, and her solid design sense and beautiful compositions create works that are elegant and stylish.

Paper is a very big love of mine, so I am over joyed to welcome today’s expert Fi Foott of Fi Fy Fo Fum Stationery to Polka Dot Wisdom! Fi creates beautiful stationery for any occasion- including weddings and can design beautiful little items for the whole celebration (my current favourite is her bluebird place cards). Today Fi lets us in on a little about her life as a stationery designer!

Please tell me about yourself and your background?

I live on the beautiful Mornington Peninsula with my husband and my little boy Oliver. I studied graphic design at university and have worked as a trend forecaster, greeting card designer, toy designer as well as a traditional graphic designer.

Beautiful design including patterns and uses of colour excite and inspire me. Catching up with friends and family are important and I have a love of travel, good food and wine.

I have built up Fi Fy Fo Fum Designs to offer beautiful stationery as well as graphic design services and now have the help of the lovely Courtney.

What inspired you to get into the stationery industry?

I have always loved stationery, but as a business, I sort of fell into it. I created the invitations for my own wedding, and then I designed stationery for a friend’s wedding, then a friend of a friend’s, etc… so it started to snowball from there.

What sets you apart from other stationery gurus?

We try to create pieces that are different from what else is out there. I want people to say “wow” when they open an invitation that we have designed. We aim to create pieces that have a simple elegance.

Where is your company name from?

I wanted to have something that was really fun. I have always been known as Fi and when I was little, people would always say the rhyme from Jack and the Beanstalk to me…Fi Fy Fo Fum, I smell the blood of an Englishman.

What is your favourite part of your job?

I love creating new designs. It is so exciting seeing a design come together. The feedback from customers is fantastic too, it’s great to be able to have a positive impact on their special day.

Do you get a lot of paper cuts?

Sure do! I have decided that they are a part of the job.

Where do you look for stimulation when making a new design?

For our standard range I love looking at interior magazines for patterns and different uses of colour. I also have some favorite design blogs that I look at to see what is happening overseas.
For custom designs I like to see if there is a theme for the wedding or something that represents the couple’s relationship and then try an weave that into the stationery design.

How do you keep your product new and different?

I like to watch what is in the market and see what is missing. I also like to challenge standard finishing and printing techniques to see if we can create something that is different.

Do you offer the ability to customize stationery designs?

Absolutely! This is a big part of our business. Courtney and I are both graphic designers so we can create anything that the customers dream up.

Do you offer your graphic design services for other mediums?

Yes, we offer packaging design, logo creation and brochure design.

Basically anything that needs to be designed or printed…we can do!

Do you think the gesture of the thank you note is going out of style?

I hope not. In the last few years there has been a really big revival of all things hand made, and there is nothing nicer than receiving a hand written note in the mail. Manners should never go out of style!

What sorts of applications could stationery play in a wedding aside from the invitations and thank you notes?

Stationery is very important! It is the first thing that the guests see that dictate the look and feel of the wedding.

The stationery is the key item for linking a theme of the day together.

It is present before the day (save the dates, invitations etc) during the ceremony (order of service booklets) through to the reception (menus and placecards) and after the event (thank you cards).

What are 5 things a couple must consider when in the market for a wedding stationary?

1) What style you would like it to be (fun, modern, traditional, etc).
2) What colours you would like to use… these can come from flowers being used on the day, bridesmaid’s dresses or even a favourite colour.
3) What items do you need? Invitation, RSVP card, information card?
If it is a destination wedding you might like to consider a save the date card to give guests plenty of warning.
4) It can be good idea to keep the sizing of everything to the post office preferred standards as it means that it will be a lot cheaper to post.
5) Start compiling your spreadsheet with guests names and addresses early…if you give yourself lots of time it won’t seem like such a huge job at the end.

Where do you see your business evolving to in the next few years?

I would love to develop a retail range, as well as keep developing our other event stationery such as party invitations and birth announcements.

I would like Fi Fy Fo Fum Designs to become a well known brand.

Thank you for joining us today Fi! You can visit and see more of Fi’s work on the Fi Fy Fo Fum Stationery website here!

“When you are happy in love, the whole world is a prettier, happier place”…

Ask any bride and they will most likely tell you that they have never felt more beautiful than the day they were married.  There is a sense of ‘Princess Perfection’ or ‘Hollywood X-factor’ – it’s hard to say exactly what makes you feel that, but it’s there.  The hard work and planning is done, and all there is left to do is bask in love.  But how do you hold onto this inner beauty so that it continues to project outwardly through your honeymoon period and beyond???

Good question!  To ensure you are maximizing your inner beauty and bringing it to the surface, I have come up with a few helpful hints and trade tricks that you can use throughout your wedding preparation, on the wedding day and beyond!


You’re engaged!!!  And your eyes are sparkling brighter than the rock on your finger!!!  Lap it up honey!  There is nothing nicer for the ego than being able to share your engagement story over and over again.  Just the simple art of engagement story-telling can get your heart racing and your blood pumping which in turn will give you a beautiful healthy complexion.  And don’t under estimate the power of a compliment – show off your new piece of jewelry and remember to say ‘thank you’ when your best friend, co-worker or random stranger tells you that yours is ‘the most beautiful ring they’ve ever seen’!

Aside from starting on developing your confidence, you may also like to start a skincare regime.  This is the PERFECT time to begin (although it is never too late).  However, don’t feel like you’ve got to take out a loan to afford the top of the line products (save that for your wedding dress).  In my experience those high end products that claim to have real gem stones crushed inside to unlock the power of your inner baby skin, don’t always live up to the hype.  Instead, why not treat yourself to a facial to kick things off?  There is nothing nicer than letting someone else take over the reins for a little while.  Discuss any concerns you have about your skin (i.e.: dryness, discolouration or breakouts) with your beauty therapist, as they will be able to determine the best course of action with the treatment they provide.  The salon will most likely sell their own range of skincare, so if you are in the need of top up then this might be a good opportunity.  But always have the therapist write everything down so that you can pick and choose and always add to your skincare collection as your old products run out.

Finally, the easiest and most beneficial addition to looking after your skin during this time is to drink lots and lots of water!  Not a water drinker?  START!  You can jazz it up with slices of lemon or lime or even some crushed mint leaves – but drink it whenever you can – I promise you, your skin and body will thank you for it!  And you will find you have a load more energy to tackle all those wedding plans!

Wedding day:

So after weeks, months or years of planning here you are!  The big day!  Did you get enough sleep the night before?  My guess is not… But don’t worry – that’s why they made concealer!

Rule one of preparing your skin for your wedding day is to remember to relax and breathe!  Whilst we makeup artists can do some amazing things, we hold brushes, not wands, so if you are getting yourself all worked up because you can’t remember how many roses were supposed to be in each bouquet,  you are going to get red and flustered – not very bridal at all!

The planning is done, you have your nearest and dearest around you and you are the centre of attention for the day (what did I say about taking compliments???) – ENJOY IT!

If you are having your makeup professionally done on the day, put your trust in the expert you have selected, and try to keep in mind that you will need to wear slightly more makeup than normal so that your face has some definition in all those photographs that are going to be taken.  It’s amazing how your features can disappear under multiple camera flashes!

Sip some water throughout the morning and avoid the temptation to load your face with moisturiser – even if you suffer from dry skin.  This just makes the makeup application a bit slippery – your professional will have his or her own routine to ensure that you look picture perfect, so go with that!

Whilst the morning of your wedding can be an emotional rollercoaster, at the heart of it, keep in mind that you are about to marry the love of your life!  With that in mind, there is no gleamer in the world that will shine brighter than the beauty on display on your wedding day!

Allow yourself to have a ½ glass or a glass of champers before the photographer arrives, and leave it at that – once you’re in the dress, you will be feeling warm and the addition of alcohol to the mix will just make you flush.  Why not have a cup of tea if you need to relax?  There will be plenty of time to party later…

One final tip, after all is said and done, remember to wash your face!  Don’t wake up Day 1 of being MRS SO-AND-SO with raccoon eyes (it spoils the romance).

The honeymoon and beyond:

If you are lucky enough to go honeymooning after your wedding, please remember to pack some sunscreen.  Even if you are not destined for the sand and surf, this one little product will be the key to maintaining the best skin of your life!

Think about it – you’ve gone to all that trouble with scrubs and creams and treatments, don’t throw it all away now!  But you can certainly tone down your skin regime if you are finding it all a bit much to maintain, pack on the bare essentials!

Other than that, make sure you kiss lots (it gives your lips a beautiful pink-red hue), laugh even more (we’re all going to get wrinkles one day, so they might as well be from smiling) and just enjoy each and every moment with your husband, for the rest of your life.

And there you have it…some quick and easy solutions to maximizing your best skin ever!  Best of luck brides-to-be!!!

Ms Polka Dot says: We always love a great beauty tip or three and Vanessa comes up with some that may surprise even the most savvy of beautiful brides!

Vanessa at Princess Cherry Pie says: Inspired by a peaches and cream complexion, chocolate ice cream, bombshells, girly things, vintage wares, loveliness, sunny days, all that sparkles and feeling free as a bird, Vanessa loves being original and always aims to please.

Princess Cherry Pie offers a range of beauty and pamper services, including drop dead gorgeous make up, scrumptious lashes, fall on the floor massages, fresh facials and splendid skincare products.

Images from Princess Cherry Pie