Back in early December, when Rich and I received the exciting last minute news that we could fly home for Christmas after all, I had contacted my bridesmaids to ask them if it would be possible to shift my hen party from February to December at very short notice. Being the super friends that they are, their response was an overwhelming "HELL YES!".
Now I may be a bit biased, but I think my 4 oldest bridesmaids (sorry girls, not a very flattering description but when I have 7 bridesmaids, 2 flower girls and 2 page boys to contend with, this is what you're going to be known as!) are the best project managers in the world. Coordinated by my brilliant buddy and ex-housemate Romana, they managed to scoop up some of my oldest and best friends from all corners of the UK and bring them together in one place despite it being only 4 days after Christmas. (Paper) hats off to you girls!
I didn't know a lot about what I was doing, apart from that we were starting at a spa and I was to meet Romana at St Pancras station just after midday when my train arrived.
Here she is, looking beautiful as always.
We caught up over takeaway Gingerbread Lattes as she guided me through the Underground, and onto the Overground, and we eventually popped out at Clapham Junction. A short taxi ride later, and we were at the chic Hotel Verta in Battersea, right on the banks of the Thames.
It was spa time!
The rest of the girls were already waiting down by the pool in their bikinis, and after big hugs all round, they showed me to my seat for the afternoon...
before we entered the darkest jacuzzi pool together for some R&R with our new friend.
At various points throughout the afternoon, we headed off for individual treatments which Romana had organised for us all. I had opted for the "Comfort Zone Tranquility Massage" which I have to say was delightful - if not long enough. Feeling rejuvenated (and a little greasy), I headed back downstairs for more lounging, magazine reading and chats with my favourites.
And this, my friends, is where the tranquility ended.
We showered, changed and headed up to the stunning Terrace Bar, just in time for sunset.
Willy straw, anyone?
I dressed myself up in the beautiful outfit they had provided for me.
And the games commenced. First up was one I would thoroughly recommend if the sole intention of the evening is to get the bride absolutely, completely and utterly bladdered.
Everyone is given a card, with "When?", "Where?" and "What happened?" written on it. The hens fill in the most horrific, unimaginable, never-to-be-told-to-anyone-else-under-any-circumstances-ever kinds of stories on their cards, and the organiser (Lottie) gathers them in. One by one, she reads out the "When?" part, and the bride has to guess the story... Then the "Where?", and the bride has to guess the story again... And finally, the dreaded "What happened?", and the bride has to guess who wrote it before making a mental note to remind themselves of this moment for said person's future hen do. Revenge is sweet, girls!
You are supposed to drink when you get it wrong, so needless to say, there was a lot of this:
But the girls kept pace quite admirably!
When we'd had our fill of scones and cake, and I had been force-fed more than my fair share of alcohol, we hopped in a taxi to Angel where dinner and more games ensued.
We particularly enjoyed the interestingly-spelt title on the menu at this particular little London Italian...
We played the obligatory "Mr and Mrs" game, for which Rich had kindly provided his input to Tania the night before. Unfortunately, he hadn't been quite so kind with his answers!
OK, he may have got a little better as the questions went on...
Things got a little messy after this point.
I woke up next to my best friend Mani in her big double bed the next morning feeling utterly horrendous, but utterly happy. Hen party mission accomplished!
I honestly believe I have the best friends in all the world. Thank you ladies for all of your efforts, I love you all very very much! BRING ON THE WEDDING!!!!!