When I first considered the possibility of writing a wedding blog, I rejected the idea on the grounds of it being far too narcissistic.  But as I mulled the idea over in my mind, I came to the conclusion that it might not be so self-indulgent if I created a blog that wasn’t solely all about me and my* experience of organising a wedding, but was also about some of the very nice and talented people whom I feel sure we’re bound to meet along the way.

So today’s blog isn’t all about us.  The focus is on Jess who we met in Hampstead back in the summer when choosing our wedding rings.  For those of you who aren’t familiar with Hampstead, divest yourself of all those images of the frantic activity that us non-Londoners tend to associate with the Capital: the herds of tourists, the long queues and those nauseatingly hot, heaving tube journeys.  Hampstead is nothing like that. Admittedly, it is a mere stone’s throw from all the hustle and bustle of the main attractions (great views are to be had of the London skyline from the upper level of Hampstead’s Fenton House, open to the public courtesy of the National Trust) and there is a tube station, and yes, it is buzzingly busy.  But despite all of that, Hampstead still manages to pull off that lovely small town/big village convivial atmosphere that puts me in mind of somewhere like Ludlow.  In fact, we’re so taken with Hampstead that we’ve decided to buy a house there.  Just as soon as we win the lottery that is.  Please, dear reader, note my terminology: when we win the lottery not if.

Fig 1. Flask Walk, summer 2011

At the heart of Hampstead is Flask Walk (Fig. 1), a narrow paved and cobbled walkway lined with all manner of interesting shops and cafes** where chairs and tables spill out onto the pavement.  The moment I saw Flask Walk I liked it.  There’s nothing contrived about it; no one has been employed to engineer its old-fashioned charm, it’s just evolved over time and I guess that’s what gives it such a comforting sense of continuity. No need to employ one’s imagination to see how it might have looked many decades ago – that’s provided by the painting we noticed hanging in the hallway of the aforementioned Fenton House (Fig. 2).

Fig 2. Flask Walk, as depicted in an oil hanging in Fenton House

Anyway, I digress, let’s get back to the star of today’s blog – Jess.  Jess works at Joule (Fig. 3), a small but perfectly formed jewellers which is located on Flask Walk itself.

Fig 3. Joule, Flask Walk, Hampstead

Joule is one of an elite band of retailers that stock Ungar and Ungar’s exquisite floral wedding bands (more about Ungar and Ungar another day) so we arranged to visit the shop back in the summer in order to take a closer look at the different designs.  Going into a shop where you have to ring a bell just to gain entrance, whilst understandable from a security point of view,  can be a little daunting and visiting Joule might have been intimidating had it not been for Jess’ warm welcome.  She was helpful and attentive and smiled a lot which made our visit an absolute pleasure.   It wasn’t until our next meeting, however, that Jess’ commitment to impeccable customer service really shone through.  I wanted to try on a ring that needed to be ordered in from Ungar and Ungar but we were struggling to find time to make the return trip to London during the week or on a Saturday so I ended up shoe-horning our visit to Joule into a Sunday afternoon on the way to another wedding related mission.  That Jess was so willing to open up Joule just for us on a day when the shop would normally be closed and that she showed such enthusiasm, not to mention patience, as I debated the merits of one design over an other and yellow gold vs rose gold is impressive in itself.  How much more impressed you will be though when I tell you that Jess is getting married herself later this month in Australia and is moving house prior to that. She must have had a thousand and one more important things to do that Sunday afternoon and yet she made us feel as if she’d got all the time in the world to spend with us.

I’m not sure whether that’s about providing good customer service or about being a very nice person, but either way, Jess, please step forward – you are the gem in the crown of Joule and my H2B and I wish you and your H2B the most beautiful wedding and a long and happy married life together!

* In view of our near marital status (13 months today!), when I refer to myself, I also speak for my husband-to-be.

** If anyone reading this blog should happen to find him or herself in Hampstead and in need of a refreshment we can most thoroughly recommend a light repast at Ginger and White (gingerandwhite.com). Located in Perrins Court, just off Hampstead High Street, the menu is wholesome and satisfying – packed with ingredients sourced from farmers’ markets and British artisan suppliers.  Connoisseurs of tea, in particular, will surely have their taste buds tickled by ordering a cup of Silver Needle White tea – which is just one of the excellent teas from amongst the Jing range (www.jingtea.com).  Jing teas must surely rank amongst the finest in the Kingdom and, in our albeit limited experience, do indeed live up to their claim of providing the definitive tea experience.