Bloody hell, this has taken an embarrassingly long time to write.
Remember when I proudly said I was going to blog a diary post every day? That really hasn’t gone too well now, has it? I do have a long list of arguably valid excuses and I am going to write a separate post about all that, probably entitled “How you really feel when you realise it’s suddenly the month you are getting married” or “How to plan a wedding when your fiancé is on another continent” or maybe even “Help am I having a mini-breakdown?” but for now…..let’s focus on the good things:
MY RUDDY BRILLIANT HEN WEEKEND.
I loved every second of my hen weekend in the Lake District, I really did, and I cannot thank Katie enough for the work she put into organising it all.
It’s hard work you know, this hen business. I can see why people often resort to willy straws and bridal sashes – it’s easy. Planning anything remotely ‘different’ that will cater for a group of women – often who don’t know each other – is a massive pain in the arse. I don’t envy the bridesmaids who take up Chief Hen Organiser duties, you are wonderful women.
Knowing I’m a control freak, Katie and Heather asked me early on how ‘involved’ I wanted to be in the planning process. I decided I wanted to choose the place and a rough theme, but to leave everything else up to them and let the specifics be a surprise.
When I came back from Iceland earlier this year (blogged here) I was on an ‘outdoors’ high. I had a crate full of Adidas wet weather gear and a new desire to spend 80% of my time on a quad bike or in a harness. (Oooo errr). I would have loved to have gone back to Iceland, but I didn’t want to choose an overseas destination and walk around with a “this was really expensive for everyone” mega guilt cloud all weekend…especially with so many of the hens having partners on my fiancé’s not-exactly-cheap Ibiza weekender. And I knew there was no point trying to replicate a trip which had been funded by Universal Pictures – my budget didn’t really match that of Hollywood’s PR people.
I thought about a few places here in the UK but The Lake District quickly revealed itself as the perfect destination. I’d fallen in love with Windermere during my Great North Swim efforts last summer but I didn’t really get to see much of the surroundings during my swim. The night before the swim I was a nervous wreck and then after the swim we just drove back to Manchester eating chips. I’d enjoyed the glorious views from the water (literally from the water) but not actually mooched about and done the whole pub-walk-pub thing which I could obviously imagine was what the Lakes were so well known for.
There were loads of accommodation options for groups and we ended up booking a house within ‘The Terrace‘ for the ten of us. The Terrace is basically a row of gorgeous large houses and it’s perfect for groups as you can rent more than one property if you need to. I would *love* to do a massive family Christmas there one year. We stayed in White Moss No.2 (which could have slept 12) and it could not have been more idyllic. Consider it highly recommended!
Pics lovingly stolen from TheTerraceWindermere.co.uk as the ‘great pictures’ I took whilst drunk didn’t turn out so great. Quelle surprise.
Of course, Katie and Heather added their own touches. There were inflatable parrots or paper toucans hanging from most surfaces during our stay.
Hopefully the Mrs Taylor-To-Be bunting won’t be stocked by any party shops any time soon, as I don’t make for pretty bunting…
The first evening was all about drinks on the patio and it was – rather miraculously – really sunny up there last weekend…
Thanks to the lovely people at Waitrose we were certainly well catered for bubbles wise. Waitrose Cellar have some uh-may-zing deals on Prosecco at the moment and it’s fair to say that that in itself is worth celebrating, but they had kindly got in touch to ask if I had anything to celebrate as a ‘Prosecco moment’…and if a hen weekend isn’t exactly that then I don’t know what is! So thank you again Waitrose for essentially being the booze sponsor of our Friday night in the Lakes.
I have become pretty addicted to Prosecco actually. It sounds knobbish to say I drink it a lot but there’s no point denying it – I do. If I’ve learnt anything from being engaged and people wanting to ‘raise a glass’ all the time it’s that Prosecco really is GREAT. I’ve decided I like it more than Champagne actually (does that make me very oikish?!) and now regularly order a glass of it in place of wine when we go out. It doesn’t cost more (well, it doesn’t if you’re very snobby about white wine, which I am) and drinking Prosecco with a chippy tea makes me feel like a movie star, so it’s not a habit I plan on ditching once the wedding is out the way.
From there we went to a tapas restaurant where there was far too much sangria, I nearly KO’d in the street at the embarrassingly early time of 8pm (pretty sure my future Mother-In-Law was questioning her son’s decision at that point) and it wasn’t until I was posing with a bouncer that looked like Mr T that I remembered ‘young me’ and quickly got my act together so a night of dancing could commence. Poppy-Is-Not-Sick-On-Her-Shoes-In-Public.
There were lots of horribly coloured shots and I allowed myself a WKD Blue ‘as a treat’ (real classy) and yet we still found groups of men applauding us on being a relatively well-to-do group of ladies. I think as long as you don’t have an inflatable penis on your person then you’re seen as a pretty chic hen these days, so that’s nice.
I did learn that wearing a veil in public brings a LOT of attention, which I obviously thoroughly relished. The main piece of advice? “IT’S NOT TOO LATE TO BACK OUT. DON’T DO IT!”. I think I had this shouted at me at least twenty hundred times over the course of the evening.
We went to a terrible club where even my aunt was tempted to pole dance before heading home to discuss IMPORTANT things over my favourite late night rambling tipple: Disaronnnnnnno on the rocks. (Which you have to say in a sexy accent like the old telly ads).
I am marrying into a family which is part fuelled by this almondy nectar so it’s a good job we’re all on the same page about how much of it is necessary on any given evening.
Cointreau was on hand for the orange addicts. Mmmmmm.
The next day was all about the water – yey!
There’s not much photo evidence sadly as we went old skool and used real cameras WITH FILM IN THEM so expect some better pictures in seven years or so when we finally finish the film.
Mother tells me our canoe and picnic escapades was booked through Mere Mountains and it was a fab fab day, so again – recommended!
We spent our Saturday night in and had fajitas (yeeeeeeeeyyyyyyy!) and played some hilaire games (NUTS IS AMAZING) as well as an expertly planned out sesh of Mr and Mrs which saw my hubby-to-be on the massive widescreen telly giving away far too many secrets bearing in mind he knew who would be in attendance. (Thank you Lukas for making that technically possible!).
Nola had kindly sent a rather amazing box of goodies for the hen, I had never heard of Nola but I was the only one who hadn’t as it seemed plenty of the girls there were already Nola converts. If you’re not familiar, it’s basically a low calorie vodka spritzer that comes in cans and bottles in elderflower & raspberry and watermelon & strawberry flavours. It’s only 81 calories a glass and it was a relief to feel marginally less guilty on a weekend which was otherwise stuffed full of wine and cream cakes. If you haven’t tried it it’s pretty sweet – like squash – but I love squash so that’s fine by me. We’ve started drinking it at home in place of squash (after 5pm, ahem) which may not be a great idea but it’s a much lower ABV than wine. So stop judging.
The next day we had beauticians come to the house (yeeyyyyyyyyy!) for massages, body treatments, nails and pedis – I highly recommend this sort of activity! Then there were all sorts of sandwiches, pies and the biggest cake ever cooked by Momma (another reason to book a house with a proper kitchen!) before most of the girls headed home for work the next day.
Those of us who stayed for the Sunday night did a nice walk up to Orrest Head before snuggling under blankets with X Factor and fish and chips 🙂
The mammoth drive home to London was suitably ridiculous and I ended up covered in egg mayo which wasn’t ideal for a 7 hour car journey, but it was worth it for the lovely weekend.
I am going to make it my mission to spend a lot more time exploring the Lakes.
To all the girls – thank you so much for coming. Sorry for the lack of pics, most were taken on the disposables and haven’t been developed yet. I also didn’t want to blog pics of everyone as I am aware you’re not mental ‘SHARE EVERYTHING ONLINE’ people like I am. You’re amazing brilliant ladies.
The wedding is this month, people. THIS MONTH.
You can find all my other wedding posts here.