Featured Post: Ladies Who Lodge at The Celtic Manor

Hello you lovely lot!

Well, not so long ago, Maria and I had the pleasure of being invited to sample some of the loveliness that is the Hunter Lodges for an event; #ladieswholodge. We went along to see how they could fit into a perfect girlie getaway, namely, your luxurious hen party! And boy it did not disappoint!

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We arrived and were whisked away to the beautiful lodges, nestled amongst the trees of the stunning landscape that surrounds the 2010 Ryder Cup Course of the Celtic Manor in the Usk Valley.

Entering the room felt like we were entering the home of Father Christmas himself. It was decked out absolutely beautifully, showcasing the lodge in all its ‘Classy, Comfortable and Cwtchy‘ wonder.

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The living area of the lodge itself is open plan with vaulted ceilings, and high end kitchen and is the perfect space for entertaining, but with a gorgeously cosy feel to it around a burning fire and cwtchy sofas.

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With four double en suite bedrooms, an indoor sauna and a hot tub with incredible views, you and your girls could live in complete lavishness .

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After a lovely introduction from Marketing and Glenn Lewis who designed the interiors, we had a fabulous welcome in the form of the most delectable cocktails, made in front of us by the very talented Mixologist, Jan Kosler. A little taster of what we were going to be treated to later in the evening.

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In the kitchen, casual as you like, was the amazing Executive Head Chef Michael Bates, surrounded by canapés and prepping for Christmas puddings!

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I was roped in to help (ok ok, I volunteered!) and loved it.  The smell of the orange, lemon, cinnamon, dark rum and treacle (to name but a few ingredients) was just Christmas personified!

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It was thirsty work, but we got through it and thankfully Maria was on hand behind the camera with one of Jan’s “Vanilla Snowball’ cocktails.

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We were all treated to our own little pudding to take home!

Following the pudding fun, we continued to drink and moved into the living room area to cosy up for a moment with our own fondue.  Who doesn’t love fondue!?

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And then onto the fabulous cocktail class with Jan! So brilliant, and so much fun to do with your girls! Admittedly, when making your own, you always tend to be slightly more generous with the portion control!ladies_lodge-15-of-38 ladies_lodge-16-of-38 ladies_lodge-17-of-38

I want Jan to me my new best friend.  I think he was a little alarmed by me.ladies_lodge-30-of-38

In the morning we all headed to The Forum, The Celtic Manor’s in house Health Club and Spa, for a massage, a swim and generally feel awfully special! Then to top it off, we were sent home with a gorgeous goody bag!

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All in all, it is just a fabulous place. For a group of girls, celebrating in a luxurious manner for a hen party, you just cannot beat this place! I want to go over and over and over!

Thank you so much for having us! x

Images by Maria Farrelly Photography

 

FEATURED POST- St Fagan’s Hen Afternoons

Hi Cwtchers!

Today on the blog we wanted to draw your attention to our fabulous Lush Listers St Fagan’s National History Museum who do something a bit different when it comes to hen party’s.  

We love the idea of having a hen afternoon with your ladies before the hen night allowing young and old to join in your pre-nuptial celebrations.

St Fagan’s Hen afternoons offer the chance for your Hens to choose from a range of activities from their chosen era, including learning how to do the Charleston dance or getting creative with classic crafts and making pom poms, bunting and garlands, and ceramic workshops.

With food and drinks being an important part of any hen party, the afternoon tea dining experience has been carefully prepared by St Fagans’ award winning catering team, Elior. It includes finger sandwiches and a variety of miniature homemade cakes and scones, served with brewed coffee and Welsh brew tea followed by a celebratory glassof fizz.

Great idea and we love to see our Welsh businesses doing something so well!!

Look below and should you wish to find out more click here

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Emma’s Hen Party!

On the blog today we have the gorgeous Emma from Emma Philips Bridal Studio. Yes…Bridal boutique owners get married too! and they have rather awesome hen parties hahaha 

Wedding-66All images in the post by: Maria Farrelly Photography

I’ve known Emma for a number of years and was thrilled when she asked if I could come along and photograph part of her Hen do.

In all honesty, It was the first hen do i’ve ever photographed. Amongst the numerous weddings, pre-wedding shoots and family portraits I am commissioned for, this was a refreshing change and one I knew would be hilarious. I’ll hand you over to Emma and she can tell you all about it. But before I do… Ladies, if you’d like your hen party photographed, give me a shout, I had great fun with this one and would love to do more :) ~ Maria x 

Hello Cwtchers!

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To be fair, my Hendo was kept pretty much like a secret military operation by my sister Lucy!

Wedding-64I was only allowed to know that it was Cardiff, and that was it! Even the other girls didn’t know (Apart from the bridesmaids – and some of my friends hate surprises!) so it was great fun just jumping in the car & heading off….once we had met at my house, dressed head to toe in “Geek Chic”!

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We actually started the day off in my favourite way – EATING! We were booked into the brilliantly fun, Mexican street -food restaurant Wahaca’s, where we munched on crickets (yes crickets!), taco’s, churros & lots of Mexican beers & cocktails (mocktails for my two, yes TWO pregnant bridesmaids!).

Wedding-63After plenty of amusement there, we then headed to the utterly fabulous Lab 22 on Mill Lane for a superb cocktail masterclass!

Now, I spent years working for Revolution cocktail bars, so I knew a thing or two myself but this blew us away….smoke filled teapots, trickery & tom foolery, and heavenly cocktails made by us! And to top it all off….the beautiful (& talented!) Maria Farrelly was there to catch us in the action, right in the thick of it! For me, having these pictures from my Hen Party was invaluable. You always get the beautiful wedding day pictures, but its rare to have a fab photographer to capture all the giggles and mishaps of a fun girls night out!

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After consuming all the cocktails…I’m struggling to remember where we went next! I do know it involved pretending to watch the rugby whilst drinking more beers & then checking into the gorgeous Park Plaza for the evening, getting dolled up & out once again. Sunday was a fabulous wind down, with Gentlemans Afternoon Tea in the Park Plaza hotel which (as a complete foodie!) was EPIC!

Thank you so much to all my beautiful bridesmaids, and friends who made it a brilliant weekend…and of course to Maria for capturing us in such hilarious style, Emma xx

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If you would like Maria Farrelly to photograph your Hen Party, you can contact her here

Planning a Hen Do by Homemade Bride Kate

The beautiful Christy featured as our Cwtch of the Week yesterday and we will be showcasing the full wedding this Friday. In the meantime here is big sister, our Homemade Bride Kate, to tell you all about planning the hen do!

When my little sister managed to organise a perfect hen party, she set the bar extremely high. Not only had she managed to make sure all of my favourite people were there, she had thought of all my favourite things to do, eat, drink and some how all of these were included in my amazing weekend. The thing is, I had an ace up my sleeve that she didn’t realise. I had been listening to all the little ideas from all of my brides over the years and cherry picking the ones that I thought that she would love. For anyone who has ever organised a hen you will quickly work out that not only is it a whole heap of work but you want to make it one of the most memorable experiences of the hen’s life.

The beautiful bride

The beautiful bride

I was very lucky that I was able to have a partner in crime, Rhian. She has been Christy’s best friend since school and she knows her better than anyone. Now for anyone who knows the pair of us we are both very organised in our professional lives. Personal life, not so much. We both had to look at this as a job. We couldn’t let her down. So we had many hen organising meetings. I will admit a couple of them were more coffee and a catch up but we did eventually get the job done!

Since we had decided we wanted a girly soirée rather than a chavtastic night out… we booked Ascot! It was a great excuse to put on a posh frock. Not to mention wear a fancy hat! And our ladies did us proud. They really pulled out all the stops when it came time to choosing their hats and everyone looked stunning.

As I said it was the little things, from my brides, that I had remembered to make it memorable for her. We needed an ice breaker. This is where Rhian did an amazing job and organised a leaflet with a picture of everyone attending the hen on it and how they knew the bride. Perfect! The other thing that she had got printed was a little business card of the hotels name and some contact numbers, just in case anyone got lost.

The next thing I did was ask each hen for a song that reminded them of the bride. With a 2 hour bus ride I wanted to make sure we had some good tunes. Basically each time a new song came on she had to work out who had chosen it and then tell everyone the memory or the reason it was chosen. Once again helping to break the ice between people as we heard some brilliant stories of nights out, singing in school or epic gym sessions. This also triggered spontaneous dancing in the aisles and at times everyone singing at the top of their lungs! The numerous bottles of champagne donated by the groom may have helped with this.

Now a hen is not a hen without her paraphernalia. As her fiancés nickname is Horse we bought her an inflatable stallion. My mum made her the most amazing sash out of burlap, lace and bling and the fanciest “L” plate you have ever seen. Definitely a labour of love and definitely worth each and every minute.

Christy and Mum

Christy and Mum

The other thing I did as a surprise for her was instead of taking photos of the hen, I took little video clips. Then using a movie making app, I put it all together and gave it to her the night before the wedding. Why not on the morning of her wedding? As a make up artist I knew it might make her cry so I didn’t want to ruin any make up on the day. You will be surprised how many times I have to touch up make up after reading cards and receiving gifts! It was definitely not something she was expecting from me as I am the least technical person that I know and I shocked myself at how easy it was to do, but it was worth every minute seeing how much she loved it.  Now for any of you who know my sister you will know she doesn’t cry easily. I was very happy I managed to break the ice queen as she squeezed out a couple of tears.

Sister love! Kate and Christy.

Sister love! Kate and Christy.

Now where would a hen party be without some toilet roll wedding dresses, some pin the tail on the donkey and one hunky butler in the buff. It was honestly on of the best shopping experiences ever, as Rhian wrote down all the things we wanted in a man. Clean cut, good body…if only it was as easy as that in real life!  I will never forget her face as he walked through the door. This handsome semi naked man bringing her dinner as she starts choking on her bread roll. The best part of it is none of the other hens knew either so their were a few of them who choked on their wine before it erupted into applause.

I can only hope that I did her half as proud as she did me. Even with all the stress of organising 25 people for the weekend the money hassles, the bookings, the phone calls, the logistics, the food orders, I would do it all over again to just see her having the time of her life. 4dd12e298a04df13810f1361e884b235

This all sounds amazing, we would love to hear from you if you have planned a hen, have amazing hen party ideas or if you just want to say thanks for your amazing hen do, leave a comment in the box! Now we can’t wait to see the full wedding on Friday!

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!!!