A Gentleman’s Tea

Ladies. Think we are the only ones that care about our appearance on the big day? Think again.

Today we are heading west from Cwtch HQ to Llanelli where on the back of the success of afternoon teas and hen parties The Stradey Park Hotel have spotted a gap in the market for our grooms to be and introduced a Gentleman’s Tea and grooming package.

Gentlemans tea

Daniel Bayliss, Design and Marketing manager told us how they are finding men are more prepared to try something new and are definitely looking after themselves more.  A third of all spa goers are now men.

With this in mind, they have started putting together Bachelor parties to match up with the bridal showers they currently offer. They have teamed up with local business, 6 Men’s Hub Grooming and offer a package including a hot towel shave/beard trim, haircut and nasal wax with complimentary drinks.  “These are proving really popular as a gift from the groom to his best man, ushers and fathers of the bride and groom” Damian Hart, Managing Director told us.

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IMG_05186 HUB44 Now let’s get to the most important bit, the food. Gentleman’s tea has shaken up the traditional dainty sandwiches and cakes to a heartier focused menu sending their chefs out to the wilds of Carmarthenshire to assemble the finest ingredients in selection of manly treats, both savoury and sweet served on a slate board – all  washed down with a cup of tea or coffee in a moustachio’d cup and saucers.

The savoury heartiness includes

~ Chargrilled beef burger topped with Welsh cheese, rocket and apple chutney served in a crusty roll

~ Corned beef rissole served on sweet red onion marmalade

~ Coronation scotch egg with mango salsa

~ Cumberland sausage roll

Gentlemans Tea Close

And Sweet treats

~ Warm caramelised apple tart

~ Lemon sponge cake

Yum!!

Gentlemans Tea 2Moustache Cup

For more information please email marketing@stradeyparkhotel.com and Daniel will be more than happy to help

Best Man: Numpty Proof Stag Do Guide Lanyards

How do you keep a group of stags in order? According to our expert (well he has done it quite a few times!) Best Man Baz you make them all wear lanyards! Sounds simple enough, here is Baz to tell the boys how it’s done.

Best Man Baz (left) with his best friend- The Groom

Best Man Baz (left) with his best friend- The Groom

‘Numpty Proof’ Stag Do Guide Lanyards to keep the Away Stag Do as smooth as Arthur Fonzarelli.

I’ve been on a few Stag Do’s where mass confusion has ensued purely because of a lack of information sharing. You can be as organised as a farmer successfully taxi-ing their Fox, Chicken and Chicken Feed across a river; if you don’t keep the group in the loop then expect confused carnage.

I came across the Stag Programme lanyard idea on an Edinburgh Stag Do many moons ago and loved it. Not only does it fill you in on the itinerary/rendezvous, it also provides the opportunity to slate the Stag with more gusto than you can during the Best man speech when his Great Aunty Ethyl and Gam-Gam are present. “What did that young man say about feeding a pony Ethyl?” Awkward times.

There were two ‘Loose Cannons’ in the Stag group concerning the following ‘Stag Do Guide Lanyard’. Amazing, unique individuals whose sheer presence have put ‘two fingers up’ to Charles Darwin. One of which is harder than a Beaver’s bottom lip and the other is as random as a Sandal on a Cheese Board. The first gent can jump up in the air and spin-kick ‘Van Damme styley’ and accurately brush your fringe with his shoe. The second hero literally gave road side ‘mouth to mouth’ resuscitation to a Badger (unsuccessfully I might add). 10590449_10153427508559625_4955230519718810704_n

The programme kept decorum for the group as a whole and kept these two heroes singing from the same collective hymn sheet as the rest of the crew from start to finish. Amen.

 

The Fabulous amigos sharing Rich Tales and fables of Will Owen Price on his farewell tour.

‘Courtship is as old as the early days of fire and the wheel my friend.’

Well, here we all are. A weekend away to mark the impending sunset of the single life and times of Will Owen Price. Mother Nature’s impish man child burrowed himself in many a furry warren in the pulling years of 1999 to 2002. I was proud to be your wing man and to mop up the jealous chicas whose hot friend had abandoned them to get silly with Willy. We came across quite a selection of wild cats and Hobbit footed natural disasters over those memorable times.

“If you want to get out of the wedding, treat every day from now on like a prison riot.” Barrington Bear age 31 ½

Prison riots are a lot like getting married. Women look for weakness. Like the annual migration of Wildebeests through Lion town in the Serengeti. The air is tainted with fear and inevitability. Eventually there comes a time when a Wildebeest might as well accept it and embrace the certainty. Some men can’t handle it, they buckle under the fear like a ‘Straw Bridge’ under duress on a Team Building exercise. These are the ones who get taken down by the jugular faster than a pair of pants on Prom Night.

It’s not too late hombre. Options….

  • Play dead. It’s a strategy that will save you in the long game. It requires commitment, a safe house and a counterfeit Passport.
  • Another Prison Riot strategy is to lay with another hombre. This will require a significant lifestyle ‘U turn’ and is a guaranteed banker.
  • Flog your dolphin in public. This is a bold move, not my style, it’s extremely effective at isolating yourself from ‘normal’ society and may restrict future opportunities.

A wise man once said “One day we all end up at the banquet of our own consequences.” Ronald Burgundy.

For many men that banquet is a disturbing and fitting conclusion to a life of ill-advised decisions. As for you my good man, if you ignore the ‘Prison Riot Survival Rules’ and take the icy plunge, your banquet will be fit for Kimye.

Either way we’ll all be there in the good times and the bad to help you carry the load. Tip of the cap to you amigo.

Friday Aug 1st 3 – 5pm ‘Titan Zip-Line’ o’clock.

For the non-flyers there’s a café that serves Fire-water on site.

Blaenau Ffestiniog.  Titan 01248 601 444
Next stop hotel.  (16 minutes. 12 miles away.)

Glan Aber Hotel

Saturday 1.30pm (need to be there by 1pm) White Water Rafting.

National White Water Centre. (19 miles. 41 minute drive taxi).

(Inspired by Mr Ron Burgundy and his stellar musings in his autobiography ‘Let me off at the top.’)

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Coming up.

‘By the power of Grayskull’ Best man speech preparation, drawing board basics, planning, template and execution. www.bestmanbeacon.com

Stag Do: Open Sesame – Journey to the Centre of Morality Part Deux.

Best Man Baz is back with Part 2 of Journey to the Centre of Morality – continuing his series on planning the perfect stag do. You will find Part 1 here. It’s one for the boys today I’m afraid so ladies hand over to the man in your life, over to Baz…  

Best Man Baz (left) with his best friend- The Groom

Best Man Baz (left) with his best friend- The Groom

Etiquette and Drinking Games

I’ve experienced Stag Do’s ranging from relatively sober affairs where we canoed by day, supped away slow and steadily and camped in a Tipi. On other Do’s we were as drunk as Hillbillies in Moonshine season. Alcohol is not the ‘be all and end all’ for a successful Do. As long as you have a laugh and you cater for the Groom and the majority’s tastes then you’re cooking on gas. What alcohol does bring to the table is a vehicle for lowering inhibitions. Old school classic drinking etiquette can be as harsh or as relaxed as the occasion requires. Winners for me have been Left Handed Drinking, a Ban on using first names; allocating a Freeze Master who randomly poses in an obscure manner and the last person to copy has to drink; a Thumb Master who stealthily places his thumb on a surface in plain sight and the last person to place their thumb down sups; naming an imaginary ‘Little man’ who is an inch tall and sits on the rim of your glass. You have to name him, lift him off the glass and place him on the table before you drink and you lift him back up onto his perch post slurp. Other winners include games ‘Fuzzy Duck’, ‘Yeeha, ‘Pimmily’ and ‘Spoof’. For specifics either drop the Google hammer or sit in your local rugby club after a match and take notes. If you want to achieve the group decorum to pull off the drinking games successfully you need to allocate a Snitch and a Weights & Measures man. A Snitch has to keep an ‘Eagle Eye’ out for any discrepancies to the rules and when a culprit has been collared the Weights & Measures man allocates a fine of 1 to 4 fingers width worth of your beverage to be supped away. If you’re not feeling the love for full blown laddish Stag Do and just fancy getting steadily Ale’d up then a ‘Kitty’ will do nicely.

Kangaroo Court

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All you will require is an appropriate, private space that can accommodate your group number. The mock court set-up requires an area for all the Stag Doers to sit/stand; ideally with a bar/access to alcohol; an area at the front where the ‘Judge’ sits with a record of ‘Away Stag Do’ discrepancies and he keeps order. You will also need a ‘Defence’ and a ‘Prosecutor’ to represent individuals who are called up to answer the alleged offences. Examples I have witnessed include lateness, pulling an attractively challenged lady, splintering off from the group and the heinous act of disobeying the Social Media Blackout #UhOh. The best punishments involve forfeits of embarrassment and ridicule.

Taking one for the team

The finest example I’ve seen of a Best man taking one for the team came on a Magaluf Stag Do where the Stag was escorted up onto the bar, posed on all fours while a sexy, yet masochistic senorita spanked his bare arse with a studded paddle. After the first strike the Stag was as startled as a sneezing Panda and hopped off the bar. Like a drunken Knight in shining Board Shorts the Best man stepped up as the Groom tearfully tapped out. Several paddle strikes later the Best man received a standing ovation and minced away. His arse resembled the Elephant man’s face for days. ‘Taking one for the team’ also occurs when a Best man hangs back on the drinking so that he can keep his wits about him should any mischiefs go awry. Some great pieces of advice are keep hydrated, book a day off following the Stag Dos return to reimburse the inevitable sleep debt, befriend all Bar Keeps and accommodation gaffas like long lost friends and guard the ‘Kitty’ like it’s a new-born.

Being Best Man isn't all about the speech

Being Best Man isn’t all about the speech

To Lap Dance or not to Lap Dance? That is the question

Firstly, see ‘Omerta’ in earlier blog. Secondly if you find yourself in an exotic dancing establishment it is customary to chip in for the Stag to have the first ‘No Pants Dance’. If you’ve never frequented these establishments. The drink prices are as extortionate as car insurance for a 17 year old Boy Racer. Never go into one when very drunk. Never leave your card behind the bar, not only will you end up getting rinsed, you will also have to explain any awkward questions regarding future bank statements. Always sit on your hands during a dance. On every visit I’ve had bar-none, a member of the group has inevitably fallen in love with a dancer and spent a small fortune on them. The prima ballerina’s alluring charms, their complimentary patter and the fact that their nipples rub your nose like an Eskimo’s ‘Hello’ could well be behind the Stag member falling for them like a blind roofer. I would recommend an hour tops in there (otherwise your bank account will get smashed open like a $1 Piñata). Pay with cash and don’t drink more than your fill.

Coming up.

An example of a ‘Numpty Proof’ Stag Do Guide Lanyard to keep the Stag Do as smooth as Arthur Fonzarello. www.bestmanbeacon.com

Stag Do: Open Sesame-Journey to the Centre of Morality Part 1

Best Man Baz is back again this week to continue his series on planning the perfect Stag Do. We have had Part 1 and Part 2 of How to Plan the Perfect Stag Do from the voice of experience and today Baz imparts some more of his wisdom. If you know someone who is planning a Stag Do then make sure you point them in this direction! 

Acknowledging the golden rule of the ‘Seven Ps’ is a great way to kick off. Prior planning & preparation prevents p*ss poor performance. You can get the Stag Do ball rolling by taking a pew with the Stag and Ushers and throw some ideas of possible destinations and activities around. I would recommend at least one activity a day to be ‘the filling’ in an alcohol fuelled sandwich. The next job is to write a list of revellers (See Loose Cannon in previous blog) as I mentioned ‘15’ is the magic group number from my experience. I’ve been on Stag Do’s with up to 30 guys before and its utter carnage when trying to keep the group together. Particularly when on the ramble between watering holes and a ‘Kitty’ (collection of money from each member to buy all the bevies together) is so big that it becomes slow, unpractical and inevitably leads to smaller groups forming within the party. Therefore with over 15 people, splintering off is as inevitable as a Nanna falling asleep after saying “I’ll just rest my eyes for a few seconds” whilst sat in her armchair next to an open fire after consuming a roast dinner.

Activity

One activity a day is the “filling” in an alcohol fuelled sandwich

Of the numerous Stag Do’s I’ve had the pleasure of attending there has been a smorgasbord of family members, school friends, university mates and work colleagues. Including all members upon the same ‘Party Bus’ is manageable as long as you prepare well in advance. Group bonding relies on ‘Forming, Norming, Storming and Performing’ (Tuckman) Therefore going testicles deep into a V.I.P Night Club package on the first night is the worst possible start (Storming). Cliques will form and you won’t have enough time to turn that bad boy around over the course of one weekend. Ideally on all planned activities it’s best to mix up the group. It may be awkward at first (Forming). Throw in a few giggles and a few jars and you’re well on your way to ‘Norming’ and ‘Performing’. A great way of establishing banter, commonality and an ownership for all is to create a Facebook ‘save-the-date group’. This saves the hassle of contacting everyone individually. It’s the lazy man’s dream. God bless the internet.

Stag Do – Home Leg

There are several benefits of a Home Leg. You can tend to the egos and ‘Boo-Boos’ of people who didn’t make it onto the Away Leg. It’s close to home so your other mates and family members can get involved. It’s cheaper, your job is far easier as you don’t have to organise transport, activities, accommodation and everyone gets to be a part of the tomfoolery.

A few words of advice “Don’t scheize on your own doorstep”. There’s two ‘Hopes’ of a ‘Social Media Blackout’. ‘Bob Hope’ and ‘No Hope’. Rest in peace Bob. I was on a Stag Do recently where the Best man took one for the team and finished off the Stag’s pint as he had hit his ‘Alcohol Wall’. Fast forward two minutes and the Best man was turtled over outside the pub heaving like a Moggy with a Fur Ball while four Smart phones were all up in his grill recording every gurgle and lighting his clammy, regretful face up like a Christmas tree. There’s nowhere to hide…

All you’re going to need is an establishment which can accommodate your group size. A pub crawl with a large group is always a mission so I wouldn’t bother with a Kitty if you have more than 15 people. A gimmick or a fancy dress is great at establishing unity. (See forming, norming, storming, performing)

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Fancy Dress is great for bonding

An old classic is ‘Pub Golf’. All you will require is a scorecard, each with a specific drink named at each hole (Pub) each with its own individual Par and each reveller dresses up as a caricature of a Golfer. Partnering people up also creates good banter between drunkards and it almost always concludes in buffoonery and comedy gold. Another gem is for there to be a golf ball in your pocket. If you can get that into someone’s drink without them realising then they are challenged to see their drink away.

Coming up

Etiquette and drinking games, Kangaroo Court, taking one for the team and ‘To lap-dance or not to lap-dance? That is the question. www.bestmanbeacon.com

Planning the Perfect Stag Do. Part 2 by Best Man Baz

Best Man Baz is back with Part 2 of how to plan a perfect stag do, if you missed Part 1 then catch up here. Baz has some brilliant tips that will not only keep the boys happy but that (if followed) will also give the bride some piece of mind! 

Best Man Baz (left) with his best friend- The Groom

Best Man Baz (left) with his best friend- The Groom

Preparation for the Stag Do. Part 2. 

Itinerary

Sounds boring, however the itinerary is the back bone to welding the whole Stag Do together. In the early years I was a little wet behind and free-styled planning. 4 Stag Do’s later I allocated a ‘Gum Ball Rally’ pack for each car leaving from home to Snowdonia which consisted of a route planner, a contact number for the Hotel, Stag Programme for each reveller which had a passage taking the Mickey out of the Stag; the cast of the Stag Do with famous look-a-like pictures; rendezvous; route planner; contact number for the Zip Line and the White Water Rafting. It was as stressful a Hawaiian Yoga Retreat. As the Best Man I used the back of my lanyard as the drinks order for everyone. That way everyone put money into a ‘Kitty’ which I looked after and I could literally hand my lanyard over to the Bar Keep and you could stick a metaphorical prong in me as my job was done.

Destination

As the list of destinations is so long I’ve listed the Top 10 best Stag Do destinations I’ve experienced purely based on how good the craic was, what we did there, stress levels when on the move between watering holes, how friendly the ladies were and on how expensive it was generally. I have used a scale of 0 = Rubbish and 10 = Ace.

Where? Craic Activities Stress/drama Chicas Moneys TOTAL
Edinburgh 8 8 8 7 5 36
Magaluf 9 6 7 7 5 34
Cardiff 8 8 6 7 5 34
Benidorm 8 6 8 2 9 33
Newcastle 8 6 8 5 5 33
Leeds 7 7 6 7 6 33
Liverpool 7 7 6 5 6 31
Snowdonia 5 9 7 1 6 28
Barcelona 5 4 7 4 4 24
Forrest of Dean 5 3 7 1 7 23

The above judgements are purely based on my experiences and personal tastes obviously play a part. I’m sure there are other impressive destinations and I hope I enjoy future Stag Dos elsewhere too.

Media blackout

There are no sinister undertones regarding this. It’s purely to prevent any partners at home getting the wrong idea if they see a picture which could be misconstrued as being naughty. It’s important that an ‘Omerta’ (Mafioso honourable code of silence) is respected by everyone. The Kangaroo Court provides a kibosh for anyone who fails to adhere to the media blackout. Another reason why 15 is the best number is that you can keep you’re core, trusted friends and family on your away trip. Phone and social media bans are a great idea. See ‘Loose Cannons’ in Part 1… If there are responsibilities at home then designated times are a winner.

Cost

I organise a Stag Do by four main rules. 1) Ask people if they are interested when they are of sober mind and body. 2) Confirm places on the Do with a substantial deposit at least. 3) Either use a reputable Stag Do company who take care of individual payments and activities or 4) Take care of the wonga developments yourself with the use of a spreadsheet so that all costs are covered and you don’t end up paying out of your back pocket. A nice touch is if you collectively cover the Stag’s cost so that he goes for free.

Bride’s input

A positive relationship with the Bride will stand you in great stead as to having a less stressful experience on your journey of being a Best man. If the Bride is adamant that if you have a Stripper or go to a Lap Dancing establishment she will boil the nearest bunny, Bic her head and call off the wedding, it’s best to play the game and keep her sweet (See ‘Omerta’ and ‘Loose Cannon’) Trust me, you don’t want that kind of blood on your hands. A great way to involve the Bridal party and vice versa is to do a Mr & Mrs Quiz.

In a nut-shell

Keep the Bride sweet, get deposits well in advance, tailor activities to the Stag’s tastes, random activities break up the drinking, keep tight lipped of any nonsense, gauge your Loose Cannons, 15 is the magic number of revellers to keep the group together and gain entry into pubs/bars, if you’re a majority single crew head to a University City (Edinburgh, Newcastle, Cardiff), go on a Bank Holiday (First Bank Holiday in May falls in Uni term time if there are singletons – August Bank Holiday if you’ve settled down as a group collective. Don’t have to take an extra day’s annual leave that way and it will be busier) and use the impending ‘Home Stag Do’ leg’s Kangaroo Court as a tool for justice to keep any scoundrels in line.

Coming up.’ Stag Do – Journey to the centre of morality’. Away Stag Do. Home Stag Do. Etiquette. Drinking Games. Kangaroo Court. Pit falls, successes and “To Lap-dance or not to Lap-dance. That is the question” Keeping your head while everyone else around you don’t #Takeonefortheteam Hangover cures… bestmanbeacon.com