Tour de Lauder started in 2012 as a simple conversation between friends , Jerry Cooke and Gary Cameron, who decided to get a few of their cycling obsessed friends together for a day on their bikes. Jokingly they gave the ‘event’ the lofty title of Tour de Lauder, since they would be starting and finishing from Jerry’s house in Lauder.

To make the day as ‘enjoyable’ as possible Jerry planned the hilliest route he could think of, over 86 miles and finishing over ‘ Col de Stow ‘ – a 15% plus final climb back into Lauder. The date was set and a few emails were sent out inviting friends along. However, having arranged the day they then decided they should put their physical efforts to good use and raise a few pounds in sponsorship for charity. The Chest Heart and Stroke Steve Cully tribute fund was a fitting beneficiary – Steve was a Lauder resident and keen cyclist. So ?250 was set as a target and Steve’s wife offered her best wishes and support.

Within a day of the emails being sent 15 people had signed up, in a week it was 25 and interest was growing. The local Lauder community got behind Tour de Lauder in an amazing way and there was no shortage of local participants and volunteers. As the event snowballed so did the level of organisation required.

Thirlestane Castle, a beautiful historic house in Lauder, offered to host the ‘ Grand Depart ‘,by now there were 50 cyclists and significant space was need to fit everyone comfortably – Jerry’s driveway would no longer suffice! There was also interest in a shorter , 50 mile , route so the event could be opened up to people with less cycling experience. So a Nouveau 50 mile option was added to the now Classic 86 mile route , but 2 routes meant more volunteers were required. However, once again the local community stepped up.

Fast forward to 21st April and the Grand Depart, Tour de Lauder had become more than anyone ever thought possible. Almost 100 cyclists from across the country took to the local roads, among them World Record breaker Mark Beaumont. The money raised absolutely smashed the original ?250 target, totalling almost ?17,000. What made Tour de Lauder so successful and feel special was the level of support from everyone involved – from taking part in the cycling, raising sponsorship, helping with the organisation, servicing bikes, cheering, baking for and manning the food stalls the list goes on and on. It has to be said that the home baking on the refreshment stops was a particular highlight and mentioned by nearly every cyclist! Needless to say we were quick to agree that Tour de Lauder 2013 was a must.

Tour de Lauder is a cycling event that raises money for the Steve Cully tribute fund and CHSS. Everyone involved gives their time, expertise and effort for free and every single penny raised, other than very minimal expenses incurred for running the event, goes to the charity. Hope you can make it along in 2013 please click here to register your interest.

Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland improves the quality of life for people in Scotland affected by chest, heart and stroke illness, through medical research, influencing public policy, advice and information and support in the community.

* Every minute of every day 100,000 people in Scotland struggle to breathe because of chronic chest illness.
* Every half hour someone in Scotland will have a heart attack.
* Every 45 minutes someone in Scotland will have a stroke.


All funds raised in Scotland stay in Scotland.

I am, over the next few weeks,  going to be padding out my own inane and obtuse blogged thoughts with some posts which you will actually find interesting and possibly quite useful.   You see I meet a lot of rather clever and talented people doing what I do.  Not just the brides and grooms who of course are among the most dazzlingly brilliant people to walk the planet yadda yadda,  but also many suppliers.   From folk who make invitations to pipers, from firework companies to bridal designers and from florists to wedding planners.  These are all people with a wealth of knowledge and an abundance of skill all focused on making your wedding run smoothly, look beautiful, go with a bang, taste amazing and live long in the memory.

I have asked a few friends who’s work I admire to answer a few questions about themselves and their work.  I hope you find these interviews interesting and informative.

We start with local artisan florist Lucie.

Introduce yourself Lucie. 

Hi,  My name is Lucie Murray, I am a freelance florist based in the Scottish Borders Town of Lauder.

Please tell us a little about your background and how you developed your business.

My business is called Silver Fern. The name comes from fond memories of my time in New Zealand when I was still a nurse. Beautiful country with lots of inspiration! Returning to Britain I had my first child and it was then I decided to leave nursing and try working with flowers. It is a passion I have had all my life but had never considered as a career. I trained at the North Tyneside College in Northumberland and gained a distinction in level 2 floristry. I particularly love wedding work and so initially worked solely in this field but since moving to Lauder I have started to expand into general floristry and now offer cut flowers etc…  at ‘The Garden Room‘ in Lauder on a Wednesday and Friday.

Do floral fashions change as rapidly as clothing?  How do you keep “on trend” or one step ahead?

 There are floral trends and they are definitely influenced by clothing and other industries but take a while to filter through. London fashion surprisingly take a few years to become popular up in Scotland. For example the shower and tear drop styles of bouquet are now becoming really quite popular but I remember taking note of a sudden return of them back when I was at college and they are only now starting to be selected by brides north of the  Borders more frequently. Colour of course changes more quickly. I think we tend to be more traditional up here, primrose yellows were featuring a lot last year in London but no sign up here yet. The most popular colours remain the pallets of purple and white. I think that demonstrates the strength of mind that Scottish brides have because no doubt they are aware of what is in fashion but are not swayed by it and prefer to have what they personally love, not what fashion dictates.

Tell us about you typical dealings with a couple. Do you meet couples prior to them booking you?  Do brides tend to have very fixed ideas about what they want?  Do you guide them through the process. 

 I always offer the bride a free consultation, she will normally bring her mother or a bridesmaid. Sometimes the groom will come too. The consult can take as little as 20 minutes but I have had one which lasted 4 and a half hours!  I always ask the bride to bring along any pictures, ideas, materials linked to the wedding theme. Sometimes she will have a very set idea of what she would like me to create with lots of pictures of flower bouquets etc…and other times she might simply have a colour of a bridesmaid dress. I always have lots of images, magazines and fresh flowers to look at and consider so generally we always manage to draw up a plan of her flowers within that first consultation.

Following the consultation I will draw up a flower summary and a price for each design which is then emailed or sent by post to the bride. Alterations can be made right up until the bridal flower order is made which is generally 2 weeks before the wedding.


Is floristry one of those careers which can bring very early mornings and very late nights?

Gosh yes! Unfortunately a great deal of bridal work requires working as near to the day of the wedding as possible to ensure the flowers are as fresh and beautiful as possible. That often sees me working right through the night, last year I had one episode where I got 4 hours sleep in 48 hours!! It was worth it though, it was a fabulous wedding!


As a photographer I see the joy and excitement that beautiful bridal flowers bring to the morning of the wedding.  You must enjoy that part of the job? 

The hard work is definitely worth it. It really is a terrific feeling creating such an important part of a couples wedding day. It’s such a lovely moment when you hand over a brides bouquet on her special day. I find it a real privilege to be part of it. Being a wedding florist is an amazing job, I love it!


What’s going to be hot in 2012?

My recommended flowers for 2012 would be a country garden style theme using lots of beautiful vintage roses, delicate summer flowers such as nigella and astrantia and lots of pretty eucalyptus greenery. Very elegant, very beautiful and on trend.
Thanks Lucie.
Please visit Lucie’s spanking new website. 



I used to know a girl called Aurora.  She was called Jane but she changed it.   It seems she is now hugely successful.  Not important but I bet I am the only person reading this who knows an Aurora.  Other than my wife (does she read my blog?) or the other folk who shared that Edinburgh flat.


Anyway talking of aurora, how about that Aurora Borealis eh?  Of all the aurora the Borealis is easily my favourite.  That Aurora Australis can’t hold a candle to it.   My affection for AB dragged up Lauder Moor last night with my camera.  I had never tried to photograph AB before and holy crap was it cold but I managed to get a few shots of the Aurora in question.



That green bit, that’s her (i think she is a her).  The orange is the distant glow of Edinburgh.   The wee streaks in the sky are planes. (Boss, De plane! De plane!)  A 30 second exposure makes them look like a streak.



Local wedding this time. Meant I could have somewhat of a lie-in, not in some crappy travellodge either. A Lauder couple, getting married in the Lauder church and holding their reception in a Lauder hotel.

Just got some time before heading out to Debbie and Norm’s wedding to post a few shots from Frocktastic last night.  For more images please click the “Client Galleries” tab on the main website.




Next Friday sees the most glamorous ladies from south east Scotland descend on the Borders for a night of fashion, champagne, shopping, champagne, shopping, gossiping? (possibly sexist) and champagne.

Here’s what’s happening at Frocktastic 2011.

Enjoy a free glass of bubbly on arrival and receive a goody bag packed full of treats

See the fashion show by Joanne Ayling from the Ladies Dress Agency, Kelso.

Some of our finest Lauder ladies will be strutting their stuff along the catwalk in three ranges of Joanne’s dresses – the crucial smart-casual, cocktail/party dress and the finale of ballgowns.

Pick up some invaluable tips from Personal Stylist Veronica Burke from Fried Green Tomatoes on how to look and feel great with clever use of colour, and how to create amazing current looks

Buy from the one-night-only gallery of new and pre-owned dresses for sale at bargain prices (including Karen Millen, Ted Baker, Whistles, Monsoon, LK Bennett, Kookai, Coast, Joules, Hobbs, Boden and more)

Complete your new look with accessories from DaisyBoo and Things Pretty, jewellery from Fiona Luing, and hats/fascinators from Karen Reid at B.i.B. designs.

Discover the best in organic cosmetics and beauty products from UK Organic Retailer of the Year 2011 Whitmuir Organics, as well as Neal’s Yard Remedies.

Record your new glamorous look or create a memory of a fun evening with friends with a portrait by McBeth Photography

Have the opportunity to enter the Grand Draw with lots of fantastic prizes from vouchers for a spot of pampering, styling and shopping, to cases of wine and meals out, and lots lots more.

Sound like a fun night but the real reason its taking place to raise money and awarness for the The Katie Piper Foundation which was set up by a very inspiring and courageous lady to make a real difference to burns survivors, and is working towards the delivery of an advanced rehabilitation and burns clinic in the UK.

Yes that’s right, Friday and Saturday were both scorchers in and around the Edinburgh area.  Great if you’re getting married but bad if you are a baldy wedding photographer.

On Friday I had the pleasure of covering Andrew and Janet’s wedding day at the wonderful Norton House Hotel.  The day was a fusion of cultures and traditions as Andrew is a local lad and Janet hails from Hong Kong.

There were two ceremonies on the day, starting with a traditional Chinese tea ceremony before the regular western wedding ceremony in the afternoon.  Janet looked completely beautiful in all her outfits (three changes for our Janet, she is a girl who loves clothes…. and Christian Louboutin)  especially her wedding gown by Susie McKenzie.  Everyone had a great fun time in the late summer sunshine.  Can’t let you guys see too much until bride and groom have had a good look but will show some of the details of the day.



On Saturday I was a little closer to home for Sinclair and Kay’s big day at the Carfraemill Lodge.  The day began as a pretty quiet affair with just a few close friends and family attending the ceremony but come the evening reception it seemed the whole of Lauder descended to celebrate with the happy couple.

Again, here are a few detail shots from the day.