Sunday 21 April 2013

Soundtrack of a Journey into Marriage: Chickens

Well, hens to be more exact...

Ah. The Hen Do.

I was always quite nervous about having a hen do. I've actually never been to one, as I wasn't able to make it to my friend's when she got married back in 2010 (a sad tale of having to move house the same weekend).

But I've read all the bridal magazines, I've watched Don't Tell the Bride and I've seen enough photos on Facebook to know that the idea of going round bars drunkenly (or even non-drunkedly) bedecked in sashes and rude straws just wasn't for me.

Enter Phillipa, my lovely maid of honour and organiser extraordinaire. As we lived together during our time at law school, she is fully aware of my love of tea and cake, and the fact that a barcrawl complete with stripper would be nothing further from what I wanted. We figured that afternoon tea was the way forward, and Phillipa also suggested a spa day where she and I could spend some time having a catch up. As we currently live at opposite ends of London and I no longer work across Heron Quays from Phillipa, we don't see each other as much as we should, so a spa day together sounded brilliant - I'd never been to a spa so I was particularly excited about this.

We went to the Chesterfield Hotel in Mayfair for afternoon tea (note the coincidental name, although Phillipa confessed that this was completely unintentional. The room had a beautiful garden-like feel to it which, if you've seen the Invitations post, goes well with the general decor of our wedding.

There were 9 of us in total, and it was great to be able to catch up with my cousins and friends from law school who I haven't seen as often as I would like recently (note the general trend - I WILL get better at this after the wedding). Our waiter was hilarious and knew it was my hen party so made a great fuss of me!

  We picked our menus. I had a traditional tea, with plain and fruit scones. There was also an option for a 'chocolate lover's tea',which came with chocolate scones and all the cakes/pastries had chocolate in them. Both looked divine when they arrived!

I had a flowering osmanthus tea which, as the name suggests, had a flower in it which gradually opened out when the hot water was added - so pretty. Juliet had a milkshake which came with a chocolate straw - I was a little bit jealous as it looked gorgeous.

My goodness but the food was TASTY. My favourite sandwich was ham with cheese and a tomato chutney; closely followed by egg and watercress on basil bread and chicken with mustard mayonnaise and toasted almonds. I do love sandwiches, and these were some of the best.

As we hoovered up the last crumbs of the sandwiches, our lovely waiter came over and queried which sandwiches we liked best. He then promptly disappeared and reappeared with a plate of MORE SANDWICHES. My favourite kind of person!

I'm at risk of turning this post into a food love-in, but it's so worth it. The fresh warm scones, with clotted cream and jam, were excellent (and they, erm, brought more of those as well). As for the cakes - WOW. Eclairs, brownies, fruit tarts, cupcakes. The eclairs were my personal favourite - they melted in the mouth.

Phillipa had organised a quiz where I had to guess the answers given by Alan and my brothers to various questions. All the girls had bought me little gifts with memories attached - when I got a quiz answer right, I got to open a gift and had to guess who it was from.

It was harder than it sounds - when asked to name Alan's favourite book, I promptly forgot the title of every single book that's ever been printed. There were enough questions for me to be able to open all the gifts though, although I was embarrassed that I struggled with guessing each gift-giver! Each gift came with a story of why that gift had been picked, which was really fun.

Eventually, food eaten and teapots emptied, it was time to leave. Our waiter presented me with a box containing the leftover cakes (I love this place!) and told us to help ourselves to the pick'n'mix sweets round the corner (more love!) - which of course we duly did.

Some of us then went for a drink in a nearby pub (pink prosecco - YUM!) and grabbed a table which was apparently reserved, but they never turned up so we stayed there for an hour and a half before ambling home. I went back to Phillipa's, and we stayed up very late eating soup, cheese (after tea and cake, one of my favourite foodstuffs!) and biscuits and crisps, and watching films.

I'm going to have to put our spa day in a post of its own I think - well done if you read to the end, and apologies for the inevitable mouthwatering!

Friday 12 April 2013

Soundtrack of a Journey into Marriage: Click

Also known as 'There's one month to go'...

So - we're well into April now and, with one month to go, things are getting busy! There are the last few things to buy, spreadsheets to edit and final details to organise. We've had the menu testing (which mostly seemed to involve various glasses of wine), and the hen/ stag dos are fast approaching - mine is this weekend, eek!

Last weekend we met our photographer, Ross Holkham, for our pre-wedding photoshoot. We met at Trent Country Park, in north London, and really enjoyed walking around in the sunshine. Here's a few of the resulting photos.

All photos courtesy of Ross Holkham Photography

Suffice to say, we're looking forward to our wedding day photos! Thanks Ross, these are beautiful.