Tuesday, 20 January 2015

The Hen Party

The next day was the day of the Hen do. I was up early; jet lag was not even allowed a look in. I had a hen do to go to and I literally had nothing suitable to wear. Not even I was willing to go to my best friends hen do in clothes that I had been wearing for the best part of two days. Thank goodness I always carry clean underwear in my hand luggage or I would have really felt awful as I shopped. I was at the shops as the opened and bought the first dress that fitted. I made a quick stop to pick up some necessary toiletries and the Clarins lady was kind enough to supplement my purchases with samples of facial wash & moisturiser etc when she heard my story. As quick as I was I was greeted at the front door with an understandable frazzled bride-to-be with the question are you ready? Thankfully all I needed to do was grab my one and only bag and I was in deed good to go. We rushed to the train station and I thought just made our train on time however it soon transpired we had made the train I originally indented us to get but had missed the previous one which I had decided would be better timing. I found this out when I wondered out loud why it was taking so long as I thought we'd be in London by now....oops. Now my friend likes to be in control and had been very restrained and good in allowing us to organise her hen do so I think she deserves an honourable mention here for not killing me. My new laid back ‘it'll be fine’ approach isn't really suited organised events. So we were a little late and bride-to-be was flustered. On arrival nothing would do but we had to go shopping to buy her a new dress as what she was wearing just wouldn't do. I phoned other bridesmaid to update her and said, amuse yourselves we'll be a little late. Two dress shops later and the assurance that no, she didn't have to wear heels so her flats would go perfectly with her new dress and we were sorted. Thankfully my don’t do anything you don’t want to attitude was perfectly suited to being a bridesmaid.

An hour later that originally planned and we arrived at afternoon tea. Other bridesmaid had been left with the task of providing the decorations which consisted of one sash and one balloon, a perfect compromise between bride-to-be's no silly stuff rule and our duties to do something to show she was special at least when were in the private tea room. Once sat down with tea the bride-to-be seemed to finally relax. We were at her hen do, there was no gaudiness and everyone had dressed appropriately and there was no striper in sight – I would be allowed to live until the wedding. Post afternoon tea we moved to a nearby pub for a private swing dance lesson. Here we faced our next problem. The pub wouldn’t let us in as the instructor wasn't there. Eventually she turned up late but apologetic. Once inside the venue things were not as advertised, the only saving grace is that bride-to-be was unaware of this and got on with the job of enjoying the dance class at face value. It was fun, we all threw ourselves in to learning the moves and made a joke of it. My friend was uncaring that she had been done out of dressing up, an open bar and her free 'champagne' she had fun and that's the main thing. The only real sticking point for us was that we paid for a 1.5 hour class and got a rushed 1hr class as out instructor had to rush off to another booking as of course she couldn't be late, could she?! When I spoke to her of my concerns her defence was she was only the instructor and I had to take the matter up with the organiser. All I can say is I shall definitely not be recommending that company to any one and should anyone ask would say avoid them at all cost, they unapologetically did not deliver what their website promised.

By this point I was understandably pissed off and I will admit probably quite jetlagged. However the show must go on and bride-to-be was handling everything extremely well. At this point other bridesmaid and myself left bride-to-be so we could check in to our accommodation and I could make sure my luggage had finally arrived. Success, it had and we got checked in easily enough. Finding the restaurant we'd booked for dinner proved to be slightly more of a challenge. After a few wrong turns and taking into account the tube closures (do not get me started in the problems that caused me all weekend!) we made it to the restaurant, yay! Everyone was there.....except the bride-to-be.... She had finally snapped and was having her moment. As far as I can tell all bride-to-be's have these on their hen night. I did think she might have done a runner but no she was on the phone to bridegroom-to-be who was calming her down. We were soon joined by one of the hens and the three of us decamped to a pub round the corner for a timeout gin. The rest of the party we instructed to sit down and order and we'd join them soon. At this point I must admit I was at a bit of a loss but thankfully my fellow hen started talking gardening and soon they were deep in reminiscing about their uni garden and various other plant things that sounded like Greek to me. Seeing that bride-to-be was in excellent hands I returned to the restaurant to make sure everyone else was fine. They hadn't receive my message but had sat down and ordered not food but wine. These were my kind of people who had their priorities sorted. Obviously everyone was concerned but with my assurances that it had all gotten a bit too weddingy and that the other two would join us soon everyone soon returned to the question of food. Thankfully it was a tapas restaurant so we ordered a few of their party menu's. I must say that the restaurant was excellent and very understanding. At no point did we feel rushed and they took our extended meal in their stride. The food was excellent and the service not too shabby either. Soon enough the others joined us and I was most amused when bride-to-be's sister presented her with the bride-to-be balloon, not just popped but squashed and trashed as a sign that that part of the night was over. At this point I feel that I should mention that bride-to-be as well as organising her wedding in an extremely short amount of time had also moved house the previous week. The fact she was still going is therefore not just commendable but something of a miracle I think. Therefore at this point I gave her the option of ending the evening but upon hearing that our final destination as to be the London Gin club nothing else would do but we carry on. And so with a hasty speech we sent a forward party of four to secure our table whilst the rest of us settled the restaurant bill and followed at an only slight less hasty speed.

If you like Gin, which most of us did, then the London Gin club is the place for you. Our bill at the end of the night simply said gin which didn’t do justice to the amazing assortment of gins and gin cocktails they had on their menu. It was the highlight of the night and sadly other bridesmaids find so I had to pass all credit on to her. Having said that, despite the dramas and the incidents everyone had fun. I love hen nights, not for the silliness or the drinking but for the fabulous people I've met on the ones I've been to. I'll say this for my friends, they've got some fabulous friends.

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