Monday, June 08, 2009

A rather civilised evening…

I have realised that what with the flurry of activity around the wedding itself and the build up to it, I didn’t really have a chance to go into detail on any of the components. I thought you may be interested in our hen preparations (beyond this rather meagre post)and how one goes about NOT wearing phallic plastic earrings all day and a sparkly tiara. Don’t get me wrong, each to his own and all that, but clubbing was never my idea of a good time really and my friends would not appreciate my taking them to a stripper, nor vice versa.

We originally started with vague intentions to do something ‘crafty’ or ‘relaxing’ and then going on to having cocktails or dinner or something like…

As the group of girls developed from about 5 to about 20, it became very clear very quickly that something ‘relaxing’ was either going to cost us all a fortune or was going to ostracise a good number of the crowd. If, however, your wallets are rather fatter than ours, options we investigated (in Central London) centred on…

The Sanctuary (of course!) … where you can get a day pass (but no treatments) with access to the atrium pool (with waterfall and swing!), the Koi Carp Lounge, Jacuzzi, and steam room for between £45 and £69 each (depending when in the day and week you want to go)

Other thoughts included the Angel Therapy Rooms in Islington and the Spa London in Bethnal Green.

We did realise, however, that that would then require people to go from fresh-faced and pampered to dolled-up and tipsy… We feared the turn-around would play havoc with our skin and our senses, so we turned to the idea of a crafty activity…

The Make Lounge is the only place that I have found that regularly offers the sort of light-touch, object focused workshop that we had in mind for our hen. I run similar workshops on a regular basis at my work, but unfortunately, we didn’t have any festivals on that my hens and I could hijack. The not-unreasonable £45 per person for three hours could see you making jewellery, bath and body products or for £55 each, fascinators or tiaras in four hours. You can bring your own food and booze to drink and nibble on while you’re crafting and with the tuition, product and materials included, it really is a great way to unwind and allow your possibly disparate set of friends to get to know one another in a relaxed environment.

Again, however, wallets got the better of us.

IMG_1198Having already put together my mum’s fascinator for the day, based on the shape and scale of one we had tried on, I was feeling pretty confident that I could teach the method (of sorts) to my friends…

(click on the images below for larger pics – it’s very easy to make your own fascinator and I may even bring on a tutorial if you’re up for details!)

IMG_1190IMG_1192   IMG_1189

I did what I usually do in such instances… I raided ebay…

I bulk bought feathers (search for ‘coque’ and ‘hackle’ for the interesting looking ones usually gracing fascinators and go for a range of colours too) and a range of hairbands (for bases) in gold and silver. I managed to find a job lot of silk flowers in a variety of colours to use as centre pieces.

I brought along some beads I had kicking around at home, along with a hot glue gun and a range of wire and ribbon for attaching the options.

IMG_2273 IMG_2280

My best friend hosted a crafty tea-party at her house for the afternoon of the hen. Cake, tea, champagne and frocks were required, along with the roses, the glue and the fun.

We then made our way to Malmaison Brasserie for cocktails and scrumptious dinner in their private dining room, which we had chosen both for the fact that it was an enclosed, though still vibrant space, and for the fact that bookings over 15 were able to make use of a reasonable set menu (although we didn’t use that system in the end…). With wine, cocktails and utterly full bellies, the bill came to £60 each, which considering we were in a 4* London hotel and had had an utterly decadent day, did not feel unreasonable.

IMG_2289 IMG_2286

As a fortuitous by-product, the fascinators became our more civilised equivalent of the pink banner/stretch limo, identifying us as a group on a silly girlie mission, but not mortifying us beyond all recognition.

All in all, the day came in at less than £75 each for tea and dinner in London, with crafty activities and entertainment for 8 hours!

I can’t recommend this style of hen enough. For other ideas of the like, check out this thread on Time Out which glorifies in the unusual and chic rather than expensive and naff!!

A longer post than most, but just to say thanks to the girls for a gorgeous day, that just felt like the epitome of our tastes and fun! 

On an aside, I bought these for my two bridesmaids, which went down a storm! Retro, pink and not too far down the tacky route! I bought mine from the National Portrait Gallery shop, but check out ebay and the like for similar.

No comments: