Marriage | When did my name become somehow attached to my identity?

Marriage | When did my name become somehow attached to my identity?

Wedding 2016 c/o Lauren Dewar  Sung Blue Photography

Photo by Lauren Dewar (Sung Blue Photography)

As a kid I loathed the fact that when presented with more than one Jessica in the room that I would always get stuck with the full name. Cooler girls with my name became Jess’s or Jessie’s and although I’m only gonna let Josh, my parents and grandparents get away with Jessie (it’s almost too personal). I began to associate Jessica with my younger self. The me who had zero confidence, or who would just willingly flatten herself into corners for everyone else.

In fact, it wasn’t until I got into university that I got bulshy with insisting I’m Jess, giving my best mortally offended face to anyone even thinking about uttering Jessica in my general direction. It was then that I began differentiating my first name to different occasions (formal occasions always Jessica, even when mostly I trip over my own tongue trying to say it).

However, when we decided that we wanted to be traditional post marriage I didn’t think twice about my surname.

I don’t view changing your name to not being a feminist because changing my name is not attached to being a woman but to screaming at the world, this man and I? We are a team! We are one!

I also couldn’t imagine our future kids having to suffer with a clunky double barrel or being confused by one is a Hawkins, one a Low. We took vows to be one another’s person and I could scream that from the rooftops everyday and night.

I didn’t blink, I scoffed at the bear idea of it staying, goodbye Low! It’s been a pleasure but when the time came to change it, I stalled.

We made trips in the name Hawkins and Low, two mini moons and I can only equate my stalling with my identity being wrapped up into three little letters. What happens to Jessica Low, when it’s Jessica Hawkins?

I’ve never scrawled it like a teenager over my notebooks however much I wanna hide Josh away from the world just so I can selfishly keep him for myself. I even planned my new signature so it looks basically the same. My world didn’t change at the alter either, my heart had already decided on Josh long before, this was the paperwork, technicality, but changing my name was the last hurdle I never saw coming.

I can only assume that this change was heightened because having grown up in a crazy close family who are almost on top of each other all the time in both space and similarities to now, living hours away from them all had created a divide in my identity somewhere as well.

Maybe in three parts, a scared kid, the one who grew up at university and lived with Josh almost straight from school and this new Jessica.

If I’m honest, I was afraid. My connection to my family has always been my biggest source of pride. I never needed famous idols when they were all real and lived a simple walk away. If I changed my name and cut that cord it was like severing something. Am I less a Low without the title? Will people no longer associate me with my family as much, with my mum? We share a smile but would that be enough for the world to notice I belong somewhere? For as much as I adore Joshes family to absolute bits and would chose them in a heartbeat there was still a worrying, nagging thought, am I no longer a Low?

All these years women have been losing their identities and I wonder now whether actually it is harder to take a partners name. Most men are against it and now women who previously didn’t have a choice are against it to. We view it like being claimed as someone’s property, but I was more afraid of not belonging to my birthright more than I was afraid of being tied to someone else. I’d made my choice, or my heart had, he has me but my family does as well. Who could understand me better than the people who made me… well, me?

From not understanding why you would keep your name I was posed with a problem, could I now get rid of mine? The real answer is yes I can. For me it was the insecurity of belonging pulling on my name heartstrings. After all, I consider myself a Philpott, a Jones, having plenty of traits from my grandparents than even they may realise but I’ve never carried these names, Low might actually be a state of mind. After all, I will always be logically minded, quiet in unfamiliar surroundings, able to talk to strangers about anything at the drop of a hat like my grandma … Changing my name ultimately doesn’t change me.

It’s just a name, just paper, so this past weekend I changed my name. Here’s to the next chapter, the next page, Jessica Low? Please meet Jess Hawkins. She’s the same chick I promise but here’s the thing, she has a husband now, her own team and she’s not so scared anymore.

therealjlow got married | Cake tasting


In honour of the end of The Great British Bake Off in the UK I thought I would rewind the time a little and share some photos of Josh and mines cake tasting back this Summer.

I’ll admit this is not us but those Gilmore Girls but to be honest we took cake tasting and the whole wedding process in the same way that both Lorelai and Rory would.. with a whole lot of humor and a whole lot of cake….

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The lovely Boo, Aka Rebecca Fiedler cake-baking extraordinaire! She may hate me for including a photo of herself but shes beyond awesome and lovely and somehow made the most amazing four tier wedding cake in the entire world! If you follow the link above (there is a strange photo of me there, don’t judge.) but then most importantly the cake! Soon I will hopefully get to share the wedding cake in all its professional photo’d glory!

So I wish I could tell you exactly all I learnt but primarily, I learnt I love cake, a lot! Our final choices were chocolate (I want to say on the bottom layer), the middle was Lemon and the top Carrot and finally a regular Victoria sponge.

Becky, who is crazy talented offered us several options during the tasting including different sponges and icings, all created separately I believe its actually practiced to try the icing first but we were pretty happy mixing and trying different combinations!

The final cake turned out perfect! Becky spent a crazy amount of time perfecting it even waking up at about half four in the morning to make the cream cheese frosting and assembling some of the cakes. She was a complete super star and I have had the most amazing comments from the day as to how wonderful the cake was!

Have you all ever attended a caked tasting? And stay tuned for more cake photos soon!


Its Wedding Week!


Photography by Lauren at Sung Blue Photography

Guess what? Its Wedding Week!

Yup, that means this one (above) is gonna be stuck with me for an awful long time! Its funny, prior to the wedding I thought I would post so much stuff about wedding planning, the joys, the horrors but in actual fact when you’re in it, you’re in it and writing about it? So not appealing.

What this week means for you guys? Well soon I’ll be a misses (but still therealjlow – albeit with a different name.) but it might mean that I actually have regular posting again (my older readers . . . remember the days?) In fact I already feel a weight has lifted a little – the planning is done!

If you want to know how I’m feeling right now? Equal parts uber excited (making sure Josh is stuck with me, seeing my entire family) and petrified of walking down an aisle with everyone staring at me. If you should know anything about me, I’m terrible with lots of attention, and excepting surprise gifts, so the whole shindig shull be a breeze I’m sure.

We are off on mini-moon number one straight after (Berlin) so the blog will be a little quiet for a while, but soon we will be back on track! A massive thank you also goes to my amazing Photographer, Lauren from Sung Blue Photography, if you need an amazing photographer in the UK then this is the girl! I’m still in awe . . .




The problem with wedding hair.

Found on Mon Cheri Brides

The problem with wedding hair

Like most women I decided to grow my hair out. I have come to conclusion in my twenties that I am a girl who likes short hair. Long hair is work; effort and I have zero patience for spending what feels like hours drying it either.

However I knew my wedding vision and it required long or at least longer hair. So over the last year as you can see documented I have grown out my funky bob and let my blonde fade into non-existence.

That’s a whole other story but here’s the thing. When we got engaged and I envisioned my hair I realised one thing, I wanted my natural hair colour. At 25 I realise that actually (potentially) your hair with zeros greys is a limited time period, you don’t get forever and wasting that time bleaching and dying seems like a shame. You miss your natural hair in all its finest glory! I was also aware that I would probably fiddle with my hair colour a lot during my lifetime and I knew that I wanted both my children and my grandchildren eventually to at least know what the real, brunette me looks like.

So back to the hair I grew it out for a year, no hair cuts no intervention and then I took a deep breathe, freaked out and went to a new hairdressers to get it on its way to perfect. Just as I expected, Lisa my hairdresser thought that equalling out my haircut was the first step and even scarier a blunt cut was the cut of the day.

For further hair knowledge it turns out I have actually very thin hair (I just have a decent amount of it) because of this as it gets longer without cuts it gets lankier and looses its fullness so to build this up we cut it short-ish and blunt to rebuild that body that I desired.

Now however is the tricky part, waiting for it to grow out of this tricky stage. It’s a strange feeling have a long all over blunt bob. I have never thought about it but a good hair cut for me is one which has enough of its own structure that I can leave it to dry naturally or at least do its own thing without much intervention from me, this cut however requires work to not make me feel about six and that, has been tortuous.

Just like my make up I like my hair simple, I’m not interested in teasing and fussing I just want it to look good after brushing (or not) and allow me to get on with my day whilst feeling good.

So I am putting the floor over to you guys, what should I do? How can I make my hair look interesting and flattering with the least amount of work? If you have any ideas or suggestions please leave them below as I would love to hear more!