Long time no speak pals! Things have been crazy busy over the past few weeks, with lots of majorly exciting things happening, which didn't leave much time for blogging. It was refreshing to take a break, just to really appreciate what was happening and soaking everything up. I'm now a Mrs(!) having married my wonderful boy, I've spent lots of time with our amazing family and friends and had the adventure of a lifetime on honeymoon to Kenya and Zanzibar. Life has been good and I feel so lucky and incredibly grateful. Things have been pretty special and I have treasured those unrepeatable moments and am looking forward to sharing them with you all, over the coming weeks.
So to start with the wedding updates, a few weeks ago I and thirteen of my best pals headed away on my hen weekend. My second hen event...lucky bride to be! My bridesmaids were complete secret squirrels and so I had no idea where we were going or what we were doing, which was so exciting. I love surprises and knew I was in the best of hands, but as quite an organised person in life and work who loves making plans, it was strange knowing nothing at all. I had been lucky enough to have a bigger hen a few weeks before which was so much fun (think fancy dress, drinks, lots of dancing and so many laughs!) so I knew whatever we were doing would be awesome. I was given a vague packing list of old trainers, a sexy bikini, a less sexy swimming costume and a towel...cryptic huh?
So, two of my bridesmaids and I set off one sunny friday morning, with the tunes blaring...roadtrip! We made a surprise stop off to collect another friend from the train station and continued on driving for a couple of hours, heading south, ending up at a beautiful converted barn in Cumbria. Some of the other girls had arrived already and had decorated the barn with bunting, funny hen things and so many bottles of prosecco, ready and chilling in the fridge.
My amazing chief bridesmaid Kim had also made up hen party survival packs with sweets, resolve for any upset tums, a map for our activities on the Sunday, fun foam crowns to decorate and awesome hen party tshirts. I had been sent an exciting email a few weeks before, offering some tshirts for the hen which Kim organised so as not to give away any surprises...see, secret squirrel! The tshirts were in two colours, to split us into two teams, white and blue and personalised with some of the places we would be visiting, all in really bright and vibrant colours. So fun!
While the other girls were arriving, friday afternoon and evening were spent chilling and chatting in the hot tub, playing silly games like the classic never have I ever, drinking lots of prosecco and laughing loads. Just the perfect start to the weekend.
On Saturday morning, I was up so early, the first one awake in fact which is so unlike me! Must have been all those bubbles the night before. It was nice and relaxing, sitting reading a magazine with a large cup of tea with my back to the warm AGA, gearing myself up for an action packed, surprised filled, fun day.
Our first stop was to Comiston Water for a spot of canoeing. I had never been canoeing before and it was a lot of fun being out on the water. We were split into two teams of six based on the colour of our awesome vests, with each team split over two canoes latched together and spent time getting our strokes on and trying to go in unison. It was so windy though and quite hard to get going - quite a few times we ended up stuck or beached, especially my team haha. It seemed that however much effort we put in, when we looked back we were always closer to the shore than when we started. This just made us laugh even more and drift further away from where we were meant to be going, while the other team seemed to glide through the water. I think they had been practicing! Once we had all managed to get going, we started playing some games and racing, which was so funny, especially when chasing each others canoes for a sponge!
After our canoeing escapades, we all jumped into the water in our wetsuits from the pier. It was bloody freezing and as the hen I had to jump in first, be the guinea pig haha. What a shock to the system but it was great to do and we all felt invincible afterwards. What an amazing memory to have! Once we were all dried and changed, we then had a picnic by the side of the lake and like true Brits abroad, stayed put even when it started hailstoning(!) and just put our hoods up.
We headed back to the Barn for the rest of the afternoon and again, cracked open more prosecco and sweets and headed into the hot tub for chats. Then we started getting glammed up for dinner, heels and dresses on and got taxis to a nearby restaurant which had set out a private room, just for us. The restaurant was quite little, but beautiful and felt really cozy, like someones house, which was nice and relaxed. The food was delicious especially the sticky toffee pudding (my fav!) and we were truly spoiled. It was such a nice treat being all dressed up, out for a lovely leisurely meal with your best friends.
After dinner, we headed back to the Barn for more drinks, silly games including a pinyata (which I hit open with a fire shovel - standard) and Ring of Fire and tipsy dancing around the living room. The perfect end to a lovely day.
Before we knew it, it was Sunday and the final day of hen. Sad times. We spent some time chilling out in our PJs with big mugs of tea and sweets, before packing everything up into the cars and heading to a lovely cafe called The Byre for afternoon tea. Now the girls know me so well, I love an afternoon tea and this one was so delicious making me an even happier bunny than I already was. The scones were huge and we layered them with heaped spoons of jam and clotted cream making us all hyper with the sugar. Unfortunately the chutney looked very like jam on the tables, so some of the girls got a bit of a nasty surprise with their scones! Oooops. There was so much cake left that we all got to take some home as a doggy bag for our journeys back. I know I was so happy about that.
After some team photos sadly it was time to head home. It was totally my perfect weekend and I wouldn't change a thing. Prosecco, sugar and friend filled fun. My bridesmaids are truly special ladies and I felt so spoiled the whole time, they did such a good job of organising such an amazing weekend. It was so wonderful having my best pals around me for a full weekend and it all felt really surreal. I kept thinking, wow, this is my hen do and couldn't quite get my head around that was why we were all together and that this would never happen again. My friends are from all over the country and travelled to be there and they all got on so well with each other, even though they are from different friendship groups. I would love to get that same group of incredible ladies together for another weekend, although the chances of that happening are quite slim, but hey, there are always henniversaries! haha Shotgun! I have some amazing memories and photos to cherish of my last big weekend as a single lady and have the best friends in the world.
Thank you so much to Anna at Stagandhentshirts.com for the tshirts. They were such a fun addition to the weekend and went down a storm with the girls. They were good quality, made from 100% cotton and as our style was unisex they were slightly oversized which was perfect for layering up in the slightly chilly Lake District. The colours were so vibrant and it was easy to personalise them for the weekend too. The company have a wide range of different designs, that will suit all tastes and can be customised but you can also design your own as well, if you wanted something a bit different so the options are endless. Prices are also really competitive, with a single tshirt starting from £10.99 if you order in bulk and there are no minimum orders, which is fab. Kim found the whole ordering process really simple and said that the team were quick to respond with any queries and turnaround time was short. All the girls and I thought that the tshirts were great and it was a lot of fun to wear them during the weekend. I would definately recommend the company to any other brides to be considering tshirts for their hen do.
What a fun weekend that was! I want to do it all over again.
**Disclaimer - I was invited to design some tshirts for my hen do in return for a review. Whilst the tshirts were complimentary, I was under no obligation to write a positive review and the post above reflects my true and honest opinion of my and my friends experiences.