“Does anyone mind if I have a wee?” asked my mother, as my sister and I put on our make-up in the bathroom.
“Well, I’d rather you didn’t. We are in here.”
“I thought this was a hen do! Aren’t we supposed to be bonding?”
My mother did have a point; there aren’t many things that bond women quite like a gossip in the loo. But at 1pm in the afternoon, before anyone’s even so much as sniffed an alcoholic drink, it did seem a little unnecessary. Anyway, there were plenty of non-toilet based places we could spend hours chatting. An obvious place being The Angel, which is exactly where we were headed.
The boys were all at The Angel already when we arrived – most of them were staying there – and it was fair to say they’d had a head start on the boozing. My betrothed greeted my mother with “Nice top Denise, HASHTAG BANGERZ!”, which was perhaps indicative of alcohol already consumed.
For someone who has never used Twitter, he says “HASHTAG (INSERT OTHER WORDS HERE)” more than you’d expect. “Hashtag make me a sandwich”, “hashtag why aren’t you watching this in HD?”, “hashtag stuffed crust please”. Although it’s fair to say “HASHTAG BANGERZ” is the most overused, the frequency depending of course on whether or not my boobs are out or in.
As the boys donned their brilliantly hideous shirts from The Mutt’s Nuts (thank you Tim, for ensuring maximum style points for all concerned) the women did their apologising to fellow hotel guests (“don’t worry, they’ll be gone soon”) and ushered the men away to their brewery tour so that the important business of EATING ALL THE SCONES and gossiping could commence.
After a couple of lovely hours, we went to an organ recital at the cathedral. Sadly after about five minutes of “he just loves playing his organ” innuendo from the the announcer, we had to make a not-so-subtle escape. It turns out that you can’t leave a cathedral without making a lot of noise. We tried to ‘clap ourselves out’ at an appropriate moment but instead just drew attention to the fact that we couldn’t bear more than five minutes of culture. Everyone stared as we seemingly applauded our own disapproval of a world class musician. In the process, we confirmed that Mother must not be allowed to organise anything for the ‘real hen’ in the Lake District.
We then poodled around the Abbey Gardens…
…mostly so that I could see my birdies 🙂
And then it was time to head for cocktails at Ivory. I was presented with what was supposed to be a humiliating headdress, but naturally I loved wearing it and refused to take it off. I think I slept in it later that night.
More cocktails, more gossip and then dinner at The One Bull. The wine was fabulous but the food was bloody BRILLIANT. I loved my gnocchi main with its oozy pesto, crispy sage leaves and cheerful toasted hazelnuts.
The boys all appeared in the restaurant around midnight, because who wouldn’t want to come crawling back to us ladies? It was fair to say that everyone embarrassed themselves at least a little bit. I dread to think what will happen in Ibiza.
The drinking continued – along with mega serious marriage advice (“don’t look into each others eyes when you should be looking towards the future”?!) – before the stags and hens went their separate ways ahead of being reunited the next day at my parents’ house for more hungover indulgence.
My parents hosted amazingly, as always, and for this I am very grateful. Highlights included piri piri pulled pork shoulder burgers, asian coleslaw, MORE scones (thank you nanny!) and this wonderful cake…
It’s startlingly easy to make this wonderful cake. Shop bought mixes are great when you are time poor/can’t be arsed and this was a red velvet mix (Betty Crocker), layered with passion fruit curd, fresh whipped cream, fresh passion fruit and chocolate buttons. You always need chocolate buttons on a cake.
I begrudgingly whipped the cream by hand (cue: plenty of jokes on wrist action) because my mother didn’t want to wash the mixer (easy to say when you’re not the one whipping by hand, eh?) but you can of course be a normal human and let a machine help you.
Definitely make this cake.
The true highlight though was our first taste of our “Flower of Love” cocktail…
I enjoyed these a little *too* much.
It was a great weekend and it means more to me than I could ever possibly express that our two families gel so well together. I know it’s a rare thing to adore your in-laws and I am excited for our families to become one.
Thanks to everyone who came for making it so special.
Our wedding is going to be fanfrikkintastic.
You can find all my other wedding posts here.