The Top 10 Ingredients for an Awesome Hen Night

I promise you, oh reader, tonnes of people attended this party and drank a mere one glass each.

I promise you, oh reader, tonnes of people attended this party and drank a mere one glass each.

Stick the word ‘hen’ (bachelorette in US/Aussie speak) in front of ‘party’ and certain ideas spring to mind – mainly the lewd, rude and crude.

I am a sophisticated lady of a certain age (what I actually mean is that my idea of a rollickin’ good time is buying delicious magazine and I struggle to stay awake beyond 10pm of an evening) and thus night clubs, cocktails and chocolate shaped to resemble male body parts were never going to appeal for a party which supposedly marks the end of spinsterhood.*

I appealed to middle sister and she leapt at the challenge of a hen party. It was amazing – fizz featured heavily, baking abounded and laughter lingered long into the following day as my mum, sisters and I recounted all that had happened.

So in the spirit of generosity, I’d like to share with you my ideas for the top 10 hen night ideals:

1. Good friends. Obvs! Luckily, I possess witty and interesting chums so that was the easy part. One of the friends whom I met years ago when I moved to a brand new city was generous enough to introduce me to all of her friends so I didn’t need to find any of my own. This excellent tactic of identifying a popular and generous soul and then ingratiating self into that person’s company is one I would advise any of you moving to a new place to adopt.

2. Good bakers. I know a genius baker and she made me my very own Swiss roll, complete with my name on it too. One sister made cheese scones, another Victoria sponge and a friend brought a cupcake bouquet.

3. Silly games. Consequences and charades, namely, and a friend who is an excellent raconteur**. A few glasses of fizz and the hilarity obviously increases ten fold.

4. Prizes. Naff ones. My sisters have small children and therefore any kid’s party needs a prize for each child so no-one feels missed out. Tiger moms may disagree – does competition motivate and create future leaders? – but mum and sisters decided to apply the same principle to my hens and toured charity and pound shops to provide prizes so that every one of us won something. As a result, people won the world’s biggest bra, a Charles and Diana commemorative plate,  a bottle of femfresh (ahem!) and a Katie Price face mask (and others).

5. Oh, fizz obviously from the picture above. We sipped decorously.

6. A fine spread of gorgeous grub in general… Some of us**, ahem, maybe did not sip so decorously, but there was a lot of food to soak up the alcohol units (clean eaters, look away now) – quiche, crisps, dips***, chocolate cake, millionaire’s shortbread and pizzas.

7. Enter the wine tasting element. We used the excellent thirty-fifty company. They came to my house! They were very knowledgeable! They shared excellent wines! They identified super tasters!****

8. Wine tasting also involved cheese tasting. A match made in heaven surely…? Aged cheddar, really squidgy brie and a beautiful blue.

9. Family members who are super organised and can email folks, co-ordinate arrangements and arrange games on top of all that. Me, not so – therefore step forward Brenda, Lucy and Sally and take a bow.

10. Good friends, again! Thank you Pam, Julie, Maryanne, Lucy, Jackie, Josie, Morag, Val, Louise, Lorna, Connie, Jacqui, Helen, Astrid – and Karen, sorry you missed it for the snow!

 

*Oh, here I am being snotty about certain elements of a hen party and a willie water pistol did feature in mine. And a small, blow-up male doll with a large appendage.

**Pam, and er actually all of my friends tell an excellent story…

**Erm, the bride to be might have been one of the over-indulgers in all things fizzy and alcoholic. Yum and regrets.

***Anyone else remember that film? Weird Science… so whenever I hear the phrase ‘chips and dips’, I want to say Kelly LeBrock’s immortal lines ‘chips, dips, chains and whips’.

****I was one (ha ha ha) and then the genetic connection was proved – mum and two sisters proved to be also. Now, what can be done with said skill…?

 

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Writing What Your Readers Want…

This is my end goal...

This is my end goal…

Oh my goodness – Sunday was an exciting day for me. I blogged about my decision to leave work and attempt to carve out a writing career for me and I seemed to strike a chord with fellow bloggers.

In blogging land, I am a teeny-weeny person with a small group of followers (I love you all and am at this very moment blowing you virtual kisses, promise) and therefore when my wordpress app kept bleeping away with new likes, I practically leapt out of my seat in fever-pitched joy. Oh you lovely, lovely likers…*

I recently read a post by igamesmom and she talked about what she has learned from blogging – a most useful piece which urges people to read the blogs they follow and tailor their own writing accordingly. Good point madam!

I initially set out to write a blog about my forthcoming nuptials** and managed to bore myself. I also drifted off topic on a regular basis. A crime surely, if one is trying to establish a loyal fan base with a niche interest?

“Emma,” I said sternly to myself, “loyal follower number 1 and number 2 are cake fans and here you are boring them to tears ranting on about your predilection for expensive skincare. And what about poor loyal follower number two? She’s an excellent exerciser, and she surely does not give two finicky figs that you drink far too much diet coke***?”

From the many wonderful blogs I read, I note that life-changing is often a theme – people giving up jobs, taking up baking, starting their own businesses or charting weight loss/getting fit journeys – which is maybe why the Sunday blog received the number of likes it did? So, I thinks to myself, folks want to read about life changing and how that works out.

On the plus side, getting married is life-changing so I can continue the odd post about that, but my dears I think I shall continue my blog on the theme of how chucking in your office job and giving up financial security and a pension can be, ahem, very good for you…

 

*I think I am tearing up. Losing. It.

**Nuptials – I love that word. Along with splendid, gracious and eloquence – words which deserve much wider usage, surely?

***Crap. Despite the NLP session and regular nagging by concerned fiancé I am a coke addict once more. Bah.

 

Life Changing? Let’s Go the Whole Hog

ImageAnd so…less than ten weeks before I’m due to get married, an event not known for its positive effects on a couple’s finances, I drop a bombshell on beloved.

“I want to give up work.”

I want to write, read, blog and bake – and find a way of making it pay. Blame it on too many years reading women’s magazines (especially the kind that feature all those women jacking in jobs to create their own businesses/work for themselves), blame it on too much time spent on blogs which all promote the idea of Living Your Dream…

…blame it on too many self-help books, but yes I’m Feeling the Fear and Doing it Anyway, Ending the Struggle and Dancing with Life (!) and Stopping Talking Starting Doing*. Leaps of faith aplenty.

Those who urge caution might point out that writing on the side is do-able with a career and a far less risky strategy to take, but with enough savings put by to see me through several months I’ve decided I might as well try this properly.

My initial thoughts are – Yay! No more commute! Yay! I’ll go for a run or walk every morning (and be super fit in time for the wedding hey hey)! Yay! I’ll bake my way through every single cake recipe I own! Yay! I will buy a fitness ball and sit in front of my laptop tapping away on a keyboard and exercising my abs at the same time! Yay! I can see my mum and sisters so often!

You will note, dear reader, the thoughts focus more on not working, than working. Hmm.

The book that is in me may be half-way written, but there are an awful lots of stages between writing a book and seeing it in WH Smith (oh, if only). The path to obscurity (littered with the bodies of many) beckons…but I finally decided that fear of not trying outweighed fear of failure so here goes.

 

*Apologies. I have rendered these titles incorrectly to fit.

**I also apportion blame to Susan Cain. Her book encourages those of an introverted nature to think they can do just about anything, instead of worrying that natural shyness and lack of pushiness will hold them back.

***Re the picture of Freddie above, no reason for it. I just fancied adding a pic of my pampered pet.