Bride to Be Diaries: Victoria has her Amazing Hen Do!

I’ve said it so many times- hen do’s really are the best! Our bride to be Victoria found that out for herself when she found herself on an epic, emotional weekend recently. Here she is to tell you all about it. New-Bride-To-Be-Diary

Google hen do and there’s about as many decisions to make/destinations to choose from as there is a wedding!  Oh how times have changed- quote my Dad….“Back in my day we had a stag NIGHT, where you went for a few pints with all your mates down the local pub, got tanked up and potentially got tied naked to a lamppost or lost an eyebrow.” Thankfully us girls are not all about the humiliation and more about the giggles, fun and love- so I was lucky enough to have THE MOST AMAZING weekend which consisted of just that (not a Borat mankini in sight- phew!)!

I haven’t ever organised a Hen do solo so really I guess I had no concept of the colossal task I had inflicted on my lovely little sis and Maid of Honour, Kady.

An unforgettable weekend all thanks to this little one! Love her!

An unforgettable weekend all thanks to this little one! Love her!

My list was over 20 girls long and I just specified no karaoke and no strippers…but apart from that it was down to her very capable self to organise. The planning of the event began well over a year ago- lots of secret group messages and chats that I wasn’t a part of- now obviously that was driving me crazy given how I like to be in control of EVERYTHING. I’m not going to deny that knowing NOTHING- not even the location didn’t get to me. It did. I think that everyone enjoyed the fact they had to keep everything from me but actually, I didn’t get my knickers in a twist about it too much because of the simple fact that I trust Kady wholeheartedly.  BUT…..as the months turned in to weeks and I was getting a bit antsy , there was a little slip on Facebook with a comment which in avertedly  revealed where we were all heading…..NEWCASTLE, pet! Woohoo I was so excited!!!!

A few days later came my ‘invitation, itinerary and kit list’ – all beautifully personalised. I now knew that we were heading to Newcastle, that there were two nights out planned, some games and also a rather mysterious activity that I would need ‘clothes that are old/don’t mind getting wrecked’ as well as trainers for-  OMG was I so excited!!  I definitely drove two of my friends mad the whole journey up to Newcastle as we were heading straight for the ‘activity’- I was nattering away and pondering about what it could possibly be. At one point I was freaking out, palms sweating and ended up googling gorge walking/coasteering/white water rafting in Newcastle, basically to prepare myself for the worst ahead of meeting everyone!

Having driven up with all the ‘Welshies’ (sorry Layla, I know you’re not actually Welsh!) and the rest of the girls coming up from Kent, with both contingents stopping in ‘half way hotels’ on the Friday night, I hadn’t seen Kady until I got out the car at the mysterious activity. We got there, pulled up and I was still none the wiser! I jumped out the car and felt a wave of such excitement and emotion! We ran towards each other and hugged and cried! This was the culmination of over a year’s worth of hard work for her and I know that she wanted it to be absolutely perfect in every way. Well….girl did good! Everyone then bundled in for a huge group hug and so it began!

The emotional moment when I met Kady and Amy at the activity

The emotional moment when I met Kady and Amy at the activity

The activity was ‘It’s A Knockout’- an outdoor course with inflatables, water, challenges and general craziness. I couldn’t wait to get going! Initially I was thinking some people will hate this and it will be like a hellish PE lesson……but as we were doing it, everyone was beaming – irrespective of age, shape, size, fitness levels- it was hilarious! Seeing my mum launch herself over giant inflatable rods, my friend Anna toddle around in a massive penguin suit and also my bridesmaid Gemma totally rugby tackle the hell out of our friend, Nicola on a giant inflatable with foam/bubbles (they were on the same team…..it was definitely long overdue payback for a prank!) are memories that I’ll treasure forever!

Antics at It's a Knockout. Soo much fun!

Antics at It’s a Knockout. Soo much fun!

Obviously the competitive side of me came out (it’s never far below the surface anyway!) and both myself and Kady got really in to it- so much so that there was a moment during a challenge when walking across the course as a team on giant skis resulted in absolute fury (sorry Mum!)- but we all went off and bought the light-hearted vibe back by making giant human pyramids in the fields!

Rocking the Human Pyramid....!

Rocking the Human Pyramid….!

Once we were all relatively dry and changed we all headed to the hotel. Kady called me into her room and nothing could have prepared me for what I was about to see. Growing up I was always the creative one. I loved painting, drawing, reading and writing.  Kady- well, valued art work and stuff like that as much as Simon Cowell would value a quid! She was more logical, practical and loved football. I was faced with two rows of cute little bags named ‘before’ and ‘after’ all adorned with individually stamped name labels on and photos! Everyone’s ‘before’ bag had a picture of me from my childhood- including the naked on a beach at 2 one, to the horrendous goofy ones, through to the “Mum, why did you make me wear a two piece checked lime green and purple Minnie mouse themed outfit with  a matching headband” one?! The ‘after’ bags featured a photograph of me and whoever’s bag it was, which they carefully selected and sent to my sister. I cried like a baby! I was astounded by the effort and the thought she had gone to. (Cassie and Samie I know you girls helped immensely with this too! xx) The bags contained standard kit for a hen do- sashes, shot glasses, shots, willy straws, chewing gum….and for the ‘after’- water, paracetamol, crisps etc. Amazing- and a real hit with the rest of the Hen party.

Entering Kady's room and seeing the bags she'd made!

Entering Kady’s room and seeing the bags she’d made!

The Amazing 'Before' and 'After' bags

The Amazing ‘Before’ and ‘After’ bags

The weekend continued to just be filled with laughter, embraces and countless photos! We all went out in force of Saturday night in our sashes (and me a tiara too- such a princess!) for a lovely meal. Kady had brought with her some (hard to explain) images that clipped on to your nose and hung over your mouth…..(see the pics for a visual representation!) and it was the funniest thing seeing everyone trying them on! Some people got rather attached (Layla and Amy) and decided to take them with us to the follow on bar, where they whacked them on on the dancefloor or when buying a drink. They caused quite a reaction!

Posing before going out for our meal on Saturday

Posing before going out for our meal on Saturday

Sunday was a lovely chilled start to the morning after a breakfast that was fit for a King. My mum did her standard 4 courses given that she was on holiday haha and really got her money’s worth! Obviously with there being so many of us, I found the dynamics a little overwhelming at times because I was conscious that I didn’t want to spend too much time with some people and not others etc.  I really wanted a balance as after all, everyone had come because of me hadn’t they? However, people were really understanding of this and despite actually having different pockets of friends/family who came, everyone really seemed to just bond and chat to one another. (I think that having been to ‘It’s A Knockout’ and screamed, shouted and cheered, it had a really positive impact on the group as a whole!) Sunday morning/lunch time was a time for people to take things at their leisure, meander around Newcastle and take in the tooooon! I flitted between groups of people as we walked next to the Quays and around a cool little market where all of us bought too  many candles and matching lunchbags?!

Exploring Newcastle- standing in front of the Millennium Bridge

Exploring Newcastle- standing in front of the Millennium Bridge

More tears were to come- tears of laughter first as we played a series of games on Sunday afternoon in an area of a big bar that had been cordoned off. Mr and Mrs…..well let’s just say my Fiance’s ever growing fanatic tendencies towards One Direction are significantly worse than I had thought! “If Dan could be anyone famous, who would it be?” …..I got the answer no sweat- “Anyone of the One Direction boys” (and yes, before you ask, he was absolutely devastated when Zayn left the band!) “Name Dan’s Celebrity Crush” said Kady.  “Alicia Keys” I shouted, confident as anything- because it literally has been for the last 6 years…….! Wrong. That boy band who were formally a 5 piece and are now a 4 piece are apparently his ‘Celebrity Crush’?! We were all in stitches!

The lovely afternoon in the bar was drawing to a close but talk about saving the best until last. I was presented with a box. (Beautifully wrapped of course because Kady is the ultimate wrapper!) Inside, a gorgeous Pandora charm which is in a ‘knot’ sort of design to symbolise the fact I’m ‘tying the knot’ – as Cassie proudly told me! Underneath this then, a large flat thing was wrapped up- like a book? I was puzzled. OH MY GOODNESS, the bags on the Saturday got me, but this?! Words cannot describe how I felt! It was a scrapbook! Kady had sent everyone a piece of card and instructions to decorate it with words/pictures/a message etc to me and had them send it back to her so she could bind them all together! I was completely overwhelmed at the sentiment. Page after page of kind words, old photos with dodgy haircuts (Nicola’s was a shocker when we were 17!), old drawings/amazing masterpieces my Mum had kept and presented! Haha! My good friend Janine even did one from her gorgeous Daughter, Holly, who I love to bits! And Amy- we were born 4 days apart and have grown up together- she had actually collaged a picture for every single year of our lives together! I was a dribbling wreck! It felt like I was on ‘This is Your Life’! There are too many things to mention about the scrapbook but I have read it over and over and cannot get enough of it! I am such a lucky girl to have so many good friends and amazing family! One of the questions during Mr and Mrs was “what object would Vic rush to save in a fire” – well now, the answer would be this!

Pure scrapbook emotion!

Pure scrapbook emotion!

Sunday night ensued and we went ‘out out’ in the words of Micky Flannigan. The bar crawl began and my feet had wanted to give up the ghost from the moment we arrived- god damn new shoes! Top tip- remember to invest in some good blister plasters like compeeds- I sat down, whacked those on where they were pinching and honestly it was sweet relief immediately! I did get a few funny looks from just sitting down on the floor but needs must and all that!! Well we went from bar to bar, all in our sashes and this time I was wearing a veil and the drinks were flowing as well as the complimentary jager bombs. “Mum have you had one of these yet?”- her reply?…”Yeah I’ve had about 4 or 5 because some people didn’t want theirs”!!!! But she’s a tough one- still to this day I have never seen her drunk in my whole life! Everyone was having a good boogie (no hen do would be complete without that, right?- Although Caren was insistent on pulling a few rather ‘interesting’ back bends?!) and those who wanted to headed back to the hotel as time passed.

My Amazing Mummy who got involved with everything!

My Amazing Mummy who got involved with everything!

The night drew to a close and there were about 9 of us left standing! We celebrated with a group picture (got to love a selfie stick!) and headed back to the hotel where we chatted to a group of lovely Irish people, wore the clip on mouths, ate random fried chicken and on my part once again (it had happened in a club the night before too!) felt it appropriate to take the Geordie statement of “tash on” literally and used the poor bloke’s long locks as a fake moustache. I awoke the next morning to pictures of my ‘Welshies’ doing roly polys down the corridor at 3am with Kady and Cassie! Needless to say everyone seemed to enjoy themselves!

Getting back home was a massive comedown after all that! Having all those girls who mean so much to me all in one place and giggling the hours away! Seeing how much attention to detail Kady had paid and the lengths that she had gone to to ensure that I really had the most insurmountably fantastic weekend to remember really moved me. I love her unconditionally but this, well, it surpassed any expectations I had and I can never thank her enough for her time, thought and effort. I sent her some flowers but that doesn’t even scratch the surface! Maybe one day I will get to repay her? Karaoke and a stripper it is! Haha!

5 of my lovely 6 bridesmaids! Can't wait to see them all together in their dresses..

5 of my lovely 6 bridesmaids! Can’t wait to see them all together in their dresses..

Being together with all of those girls who I love to the moon and back, knowing that they had all come wayyyyyy up North (and it genuinely felt like the never ending journey) to celebrate with/for me- it makes me smile like a Cheshire cat every time I think about it! I loved every second and I cannot wait until the wedding weekend in France! Bring your human pyramid A game girls- we’ll nail it this time! To those few who couldn’t make it unfortunately- have no fear, we can make up for it in August! Now the hen has been and gone (cue sad face, crying face, laughing face!) there’s just one thing for it…….now to get married! EEK!

Wow Victoria’s hen party definitely looked AMAZING! The scrapbook would have been the end of me I think! I would love to hear from our readers, what was the best part of your hen?

Bride to be Diaries: The Night Before the Wedding by Claire

Bride to be Claire is getting really close to her big day now, today she talks about tradition and their plans for the night before the Big Day.

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‘Twas the night before… The wedding!

You may recognise the first part of the title to this month’s post as being from a renowned Christmas poem  which builds all the excitement of Christmas Eve and all the excitement it brings… Stay with me cwtchers, in my wedding build up haze, I haven’t completely lost the plot and started rambling aimlessly about Christmas!

At the moment, nothing fills me with more excitement than thinking about mine and Mr Double L’s wedding day and also, the final build up to the oh so special day it’s going to be. Every time I think about it, I feel a flood of emotions and I just can’t wait for us to be Mr and Mrs Double L! I’m also super excited for the night before our wedding and it does feel a little bit like Christmas is approaching – You all know the feeling, either from when you were babes in arms, or whether you’ve always been like an excited child at the thought of Christmas weeeeeell into your adulthood and waited with bated breath every year since 2011 for the now all famous John Lewis ad to have its first airing!

That night before Christmas is special and the night before the C&C wedding is certain to top any Christmas Eve’s I’ve had. I’ve also just realised that the night before is going to be, pretty much, the only “traditional” part to our wedding – I’ll be spending the night at my parents while Mr Double L will stay at ours with his best man. My plan is, once all the day before prep has been completed at the Norwegian Church, I’ll head to my parents for an evening of bubbles and nibbles where my excitement will undoubtedly be, it’s safe to say, uncontrollable!

I’m very lucky to have a best friend who is the world’s greatest hairdresser so on the morning of the wedding, she’ll be tipping up to my parents to work her magic on me, my sister and mother… Rewind two years ago and my lovely best friend did exactly the same for my sister’s wedding.

There has also been some talk of Mr Double L squeezing in an extremely early hair appointment on the morning of the wedding at said best friend’s house to be coiffed and styled for the big day!

Make up wise, I’m again, very lucky to have been a customer of Soul Beauty salon in Ystrad Mynach (which is all of about ten minutes drive to my parents house) for quite a few years. Tina, who’s the owner, is honestly the nicest lady you’ll ever meet and she was responsible for making my mother, sister and I look radiant beauties (yep, I’m bigging us up here!) at my sister’s wedding.

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You’ll know, from my last blog post, that I’m not a huge make up wearer and the last thing I’d want is a dramatic transformation on the day of the wedding from me, to a person with a full face of make up that Mr Double L is squinting at to check that it really is me under all that war paint! The only person I want coming anywhere near me with a make up set on the day of the wedding is the lovely Tina who I trust a million percent.  So, Tina will also be making an appearance at my parents’ house on the morning of the wedding to wave her magic make up wands and turn me from bare faced Claire to subtly made up bride to be!

Once the celebrations have ended *sob* we’ll spend our first night together as Mr and Mrs Llewellyn at Jolyons at Number 10 on Cathedral Road in Cardiff.

My parents, sister and family friends also have rooms booked at Jolyons so, the plan is, that we all get together the following morning for a tasty breakfast then, me and Mr Double L will head off into the sun (come on British summertime, be kind to us!) to start our married life together… With, by then, our little Baby Double L to join us for the journey!

Bride to Be Diaries: Claire ‘s Beauty Secrets!

Bride to be Claire has written lots for us in the run up to her wedding to Mr Double L this summer, today she talks about how she plans to look her absolute radiant best on the big day! Over to Claire.

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Beauty treatments… every girl’s favourite thing, am I right cwtchers?

I’m a bit of a beauty treatment fanatic as it is – having been a part time Clinique consultant for the whole of my uni years, (and for a couple of years after finishing uni as I couldn’t bear to part myself from the products and the fab girls I had the pleasure of working with!) without an impending wedding to get my skin into condition for!

In recent years, I’ve taken a bit of a detour from the wonderful world of Clinique and ventured over to Clarins for my daily cleansing, exfoliating and moisturising routine… I can honestly say that I can never see myself using anything else and, after trying out one of their facials and body treatments a year or so ago, I am most definitely, very expensively, hooked!

I’m  a true believer in the whole “your makeup only looks as good as the skin underneath” philosophy and, not being a huge make up wearer, I think this is even more important when you’re not intending to walk down the aisle rocking a completely different look than you’re used to. On our wedding day, I want Mr Double L to 1. Recognise me and 2. Not be completely taken aback by a completely different version of me, so I intend to get my skin into the best condition I possibly can pre-wedding and then have just a little helping hand from the make-up box on the wedding day!

Personally, from May onwards, I’ll be treating myself to monthly tri-active facials at Clarins… I’d love to be able to do this with body treatments too but, with the arrival of baby Double L in June, I may have to hang fire on this bit until the weeks leading up to the wedding, while I concentrate my body sculpting efforts on losing my post baby weight… scary times! I have, however, booked myself in for one of Clarins’ self-tan treatments two days before the wedding – I’m not a huge self-tan wearer these days but, from my past experience, any self-tan always looks best two days after application. I’ve had the Clarins self-tan treatment twice before and for anyone who wants just a subtle, sun kissed glow, it’s ideal… Everyone remembers the episode of Friends where Ross gets a self-tan, right? That is not a look I want to be rocking on any day, let alone our wedding day! Also, the pre-application body exfoliation is to die for and my skin is positively glowing after it!

Not a good look! Image Source.

Not a good look! Image Source.

Skin care, facials and body treatments I could talk about for hours so I’d love to know what everyone’s views are on treatments leading up to the wedding… whether bride to be’s consider them a wasted expense or whether anyone can suggest any treatments they’ve had which they can possibly (just possibly I said!) recommend to deter me away from my beloved Clarins.
Until next time cwtchers…

Bride to Be Diaries: Victoria books The Honeymoon!

Bride to Be Victoria is back to talk about that thing every couple looks forward to – The Honeymoon!

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‘Honeymoon.’ The dictionary definition of this noun (and I opted for the Oxford version rather than the one given in the urban dictionary in light of the fact my mum will be reading this……!) is three fold-

1. A vacation or trip taken by a newly married couple.

2. The month or so following a marriage.

3. Any period of blissful harmony (which I massively like the sound of!

So the time came for Dan and I to make a decision about where we wanted to take a trip to as an aforementioned newly married couple to bask in our post French getaway ‘blissful harmony’. Bask is contextually appropriate too given that after a two year engagement involving an inordinate amount of emails, lists, DIY projects and event coordinating, this is the extent of what I want to be doing for the main of our getaway- preferably in the sort of sunshine that we are only lucky enough to get about 4 days of the year in lovely Wales

Obviously there’s not just me to consider here- whilst I would be happy laying on a sunbed, affording myself the luxury of actually having time to read a book, Dan isn’t one for sitting or lying still. Our previous summer holidays have left me pondering whether he is in fact the only adult ever to be accused of having ‘ants in his pants’?! For a start he doesn’t read books(this is the man who wrote a book review on the children’s novel ‘Pongwiffy’ for his GCSE English assignment!) and his attention span is so short that remaining horizontal and listening to a couple of songs soon bores him (we couldn’t be more different!). He wants to be snorkelling, diving, swimming, kayaking, jet-skiing, water-skiing- you name it, he wants to be involved– and for me to be tooI am a self-confessed sun worshipper.  I love the sun, love feeling carefree and knowing that the biggest decision that  I will need to make that day is “ooh do I wear the navy bikini or the floral one?” and adore the feeling of being ‘off timetable/schedule’- literally. That said we both love exploring new places and experiencing the culture of a destination, hence why we often go on city breaks (in Belgium’s case it’s essentially all about the beer and waffles though!). 

Roped into kayaking.....this is me joining in!

Roped into kayaking…..this is me joining in!

So firstly we put together a list of ‘musts’- specifications if you like. What did we want out of our honeymoon….? This is something to be really certain of as a couple- I mean if you don’t establish your criteria then the travel agent has an impossible task ahead of them- as well as potentially becoming a mediator as you two bicker about budgets, not wanting a long flight to avoid those constricting stockings and whether it’s absolutely necessary to have a rose petal filled bath. We didn’t have any heated debates over it. I have always wanted to go to Asia- India, Nepal, Cambodia-they fascinate me. August is not a good time for this part of the world in relation to weather (year 8 Geography, courtesy of Mr Ash, thank you!) – and so Dan threw the idea of a ‘mini moon’ into the pot to get us started – e.g. we go away for a few days following the wedding but have our longer trip to somewhere in Asia next Easter.  

After pondering it for all of two minutes I said No as I am anticipating that our (fingers crossed) amazing wedding weekend would have been so busy with all of our fab guests that having the opportunity to simply just ‘be’ with my husband (eeek!) for a couple of weeks afterwards (especially as we would have been living apart for most of the year!) seems just as important to me as the wedding itself. Case closed- we moved on. Though in retrospect I think I may have inadvertently done myself out of an additional trip away?!  Damn it!

So we were getting somewhere– we wanted a two week trip, somewhere we hadn’t been, preferably long haul and exotic yet with things to see/do as well as it having sun, lavish food, cocktails and activities to keep Dan occupied. Too much to ask?Nope….especially if you go to KuoniThis is a company that I have never had anything to do with. My friend, Laura booked her honeymoon to Mauritius with them two years ago and raved about their service (or was it the glasses of champagne they got when booking in store?!) as well as the quality of their resorts. They are specialists in luxurious accommodation and premium offers for honeymooners (and Destination Bride Jemma works for them!)The friendly advisor went through some options with us. 

Some places were ruled out as I had been lucky enough to visit them already. Others (Peru) because neither of us fancied sweating it up hiking along the Inca trail, camping and enduring each other’s’ constant whiff of b.o. (we definitely wouldn’t be doing a lot of the urban dictionary’s definition of a honeymoon!) 

Hiking along the Inca Trail... just isn't for us

Hiking along the Inca Trail… just isn’t for us

I felt quite bad actually just making split decisions about countries/destinations as she listed some more options….. Hong Kong, California, Santorini, Sardinia….all were declined. To me this isn’t any ordinary summer holiday. We would be ‘honeymooners’ not just ‘holiday makers’. I guess I just had a picture in my mind- you hear the word ‘honeymoon’ and visualise crisp, clear waters and idyllic scenes of waiters bringing you pina coladas in coconuts as you hold hands with your partner. Romance romance romance. Or maybe that’s just me?! Paradise.  

The 'paradise' vision

The ‘paradise’ vision

A bit like the bounty advert from the 90’s which I remember like it was yesterday rather than (gulp!) 20 years ago! It turns out Dan had been harbouring the same sort of visualisation in his mind. He even went as far to say “I’d like to stay in one of those little huts, you know like ones out on the ocean, something like you’d get in the Maldives.”  Bingo. And there began our more specific search. 

The Maldives it was. I didn’t need my arm twisting…….water villa, Indian Ocean, peace and quiet….why would I?! Oh and yes…….we were able to find a resort within our budget (decided upon before going to Kuoni) which seems to have every water sport under the sun included (that’s Dan happy), as well as a free laundry service (therefore I may have a small chance of being able to stick within baggage allowance for once- for all those that know me, this is an ongoing problem of mine!).  It seemed to tick all the boxes. Well, apart from the ‘lots of things to see and do if we want’ part. 

This is the sort of activity I am happy to get off the sunbed for! Bring on the Maldives!

This is the sort of activity I am happy to get off the sunbed for! Bring on the Maldives!

Don’t get me wrong-the Maldives is a once in a lifetime experience, a real kick back, watching sunsets while embracing and getting a couples massage on the stunning white beach kind of break- but- we love meandering about, finding our way around cities, going to bars, dancing, haggling and visiting landmarks too. Our travel advisor suggested we twin our Maldives honeymoon with a short break in Dubai before coming home. Perfect! 

Glitzy Dubai- it's like the Emerald City and will be the complete antithesis of our kicked back Maldivian break!

Glitzy Dubai- it’s like the Emerald City and will be the complete antithesis of our kicked back Maldivian break!

With this playground of old and new sights, shops and sizzling sunshine (not sure how poor Dan will fair in these sorts of temperatures!) what’s not to love?   So after some research into various hotels (aka scrupulously trawling through trip advisor!) our honeymoon was booked! All parts of our specifications seemed to be catered for! 

Dubai- not everyone drives around in a porsche. We are looking forward to going on a few day trips.

Dubai- not everyone drives around in a porsche. We are looking forward to going on a few day trips.

I know that my predisposition to write lists in order to establish focus is met with eye rolling and giggles from family and friends but honestly, in this case, fellow cwtchers, it’s a must. Sitting down and having a chat about how you picture that special time- be it leopard spotting on a safari, huffing and puffing your way up Mount Fuji, or twirling around the strip in Vegas highly intoxicated, it’s paramount to get your couple criteria together so that a travel advisor can do their best for you. A honeymoon or mini-moon, whatever sort of moon you’re looking to have, it’s special and so you need to make sure it’s perfect for the both of youAfter all- you only get one

I may even go on the jetskis again.....if he lets me drive of course!

I may even go on the jetskis again…..if he lets me drive of course!

Bride to Be Diary: Claire has her Hen Party!

Our lovely bride to be Claire announced to us all last month that she has a bun in the oven so with this in mind she needed to have a bump friendly hen party! She decided to break the rules and go somewhere where no hen’s are allowed… here she is to tell us all about it!

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No boys allowed…

So cwtchers, we’ve got to that point in the wedding planning when the hen party has come around! The countdown to the C&C wedding really is now on! A bit like wedding choices, I think that hen parties are a huge personal choice and each bride to be will have entirely different views on what they want and expect from their hen party. For me, even before baby Double L had been in the picture, I wasn’t entirely convinced that I wanted the whole ‘go away for the weekend, drink as much as you can with a stripper thrown in for good measure” type of party. For one, I knew that I wanted my mother to come on the hen weekend and, as game for a laugh as she is, I just couldn’t picture her enduring a weekend of alcohol induced craziness! Also, I just wanted a weekend when I got to spend time having a laugh and a giggle with girl friends who mean the most to me… In the case of my best girls and me, any sign of a stripper would leave us running for the hills! So, on my hen weekend, the closest we got to a stripper was this virtual beauty…

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My sister got married just under two years ago and her hen weekend was in Center Parcs… Sorry Center Parcs, I know the smallprint says “no hen parties” but we broke the rules! It was a brilliant weekend and was everything I wanted my own hen party to be so after much weighing up of other options, I decided that we would be rule breakers again and get booking to return to what most people would probably view as an unconventional hen party destination… Center Parcs Longleat Forest was going to be hit up by one hen and her ten chicks!

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My hen weekend was originally booked for a weekend in the middle of May but, with Baby Double L due to make an appearance on June the 3rd, I was gently persuaded by my friends who had children of their own to move the weekend forward as I would probably not be feeling completely up to getting in the swing of the party mood at 37ish weeks pregnant! So, upon much deliberation on dates, we decided that the weekend would be moved forward to coincide with my birthday weekend… Double celebrations!

We arrived at Center Parcs on a Friday, I was presented by my girls with a bag of goodies in a “bride to be” bag which consisted of, amongst other things, a “willy whistle,” pink feather boa, veil and bride to be glasses… Obviously, all these have to be worn at the same time for maximum Elton John esque effect!

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In the comfort of our own lodge, we ordered a takeaway and played some hen party games which involved a “Mr and Mrs” quiz and also a “stick the junk on the hunk” game! As I couldn’t down any shots as forfeits, my lovely sister had dreamed up the idea of making me eat food that I absolutely hated in their place – cue cold rice pudding from a tin… Eeeeeewwwwww!

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Saturday coincided with the last Wales six nations game against Italy so we ventured out to the sports bar and plonked our bums on some sofas to watch the game.

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This was followed by an outing on the boating lake in a katakanu… I don’t think Center Parcs had seen anything quite like ours before! Six girls, one who’s pregnant and two wearing  fur coats with life jackets over the top, attempting, badly, to co-ordinate a six person pedalo around the lake!

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We topped off Saturday night with a meal and some more games then spent Sunday morning in the Pancake House followed by a trip to the sub-tropical dome, where we spent most of our time gossiping in the outdoor Jacuzzi. For good measure, just in case we hadn’t consumed our own body weights in food over the weekend, we finished off Sunday night with a pizza… By this point, I was officially in a food coma and was just about able to string a sentence together!

My hen weekend might not have been the wildest in history but it was everything I wanted… a lovely weekend with my mother, sister, best girls and girlfriends and, in view of “my condition,” it’s probably best that I decided on Center Parcs after all… a pregnant hen, dancing on tables in Ibiza, stone cold sober is not a good look!

You’ll know by now from my previous posts that I am a huge believer in gut instinct and sticking to my guns – My advice to any bride to be’s weighing up their options on a hen weekend would be, follow your instinct and do exactly what you want to do – it’s your hen weekend and you have to do what makes you happy and what you’ll actually enjoy – keep that in the back of your mind and you won’t go wrong!

As a final note, I just want to say a huge thanks to my sister for organising my hen whilst heavily pregnant herself and then putting the final touches on it with a newborn baby to contend with… She’s a superwoman! Huge thanks to all my chicks too for a lovely weekend… Bring on the C&C wedding!!!