Lauren’s Parisian Hen Weekend – Part 2

We began the day with a delicious breakfast at the hotel, where the croissants were fresh from the patisserie next door! Yum!

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Then made our way to the banks of the River Seine, as we had booked an hour-long sightseeing cruise. It may have been freezing, but we kept ourselves warm with hot drinks and it was a great way of seeing all the sights when short on time.

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After the tour we made our way to The Eiffel Tower ready for our trip to the top. We had pre-booked our tickets with an allocated time slot, which I would highly recommend doing, otherwise you are stuck waiting in a very long queue!

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We went up by lift but you can walk it if you are feeling fit and brave! As you can see it was a bit breezy, but such a good way of taking in the whole city and the views were amazing. At the top they also have a few souvenir shops and a macaron shop, my favourite!

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We grabbed a late snack/lunch on our walk back to the hotel. Where we then had some time to leisurely get ready for the evening.

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We started the night with drinks at the hotel and then jumped into taxis to Le Sanglier Bleu restaurant where we had dinner reservations.

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We gave Lauren some presents and a memory book with photos and notes from all the hen’s and played a few games whilst enjoying a delicious dinner of sea bass and traditional tart tatin and Crème brûlée’s. Yum!

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Finally finishing off with some traditional drinks!

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We then had a short walk to the infamous Moulin Rouge, where we had tickets for the evening show, which we were all so excited for. The queue to get in was a bit crazy even though we had tickets but once inside it was pretty iconic and magical.

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We had a private table and were given so many bottles of champagne. Apparently it came included with the tickets!

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The show was a mixture of burlesque, circus acts, singing and dancing. Some acts were really good but unfortunately some were quite dated and not as slick as we all imagined it would be. I’m glad I can say I visited though as it had been on the bucket list for a long time but I wouldn’t rush to go back. Fun night out with the girls though!

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The next morning we couldn’t believe how quickly the trip had flown by and that it was our last day in the beautiful city. So we had yet another leisurely breakfast at the hotel, had a little look around the local shops and eventually got the train back to the airport.

Such a lovely girls weekend away and hopefully a trip Lauren will never forget!

Love, Chloe xx

Lauren’s Parisian Hen Weekend – Part 1

When Lauren asked me to be one of her bridesmaids I was so happy and excited. Even though we had a whole year to plan the wedding, the first thing that came into my mind was hen do!

Lauren had 2 other bridesmaids, her friend Lucie and her sister Cathy and they all live near each other in Southampton. But living a couple of hours away, I felt like I wasn’t a lot of help to begin with, when it came to the wedding. However when it came to the hen do, I knew distance wouldn’t matter and that I could put a lot of effort into the planning process.

Lauren is a pretty classy lady so we knew she wouldn’t want anything too full on or tacky, so after a bit of research we decided on a weekend in Paris at the beginning of December.

Paris offered a mixture of Christmas festivities, culture, good food and fun and we all managed to keep it a secret from Lauren, along with the rest of the hens.

Lucie made Lauren a beautiful goodie box filled with lots of Parisian/French themed items to help her work out where she was going. Shocked and excited after eventually working out where she was going 😉 Lauren couldn’t wait to celebrate with everyone.

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I flew out from Gatwick a few hours earlier than the rest of the group, who were flying from Bournemouth. But that gave me time to decorate Lauren’s hotel room! We tried to keep the theme Parisian Chic and tried to match colours as best as possible to Lauren’s wedding theme of golds, creams and neutral/wood tones. So pretty. I think she liked it.

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After settling into the hotel, we headed out into the local area for a spot of late lunch, finding a place big enough to fit us all in. I think almost all of us chose croque-monsieur’s and tea to help us warm up, Paris was pretty chilly!

It was nice to have no set plan for this first day. We just walked and talked, passing through the Louvre and eventually ending up at the main Christmas Market also known as Village de Noel des Champs Elysees. You can’t miss it, it is stunning!

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It was so pretty all lit up with the twinkly lights and had a bit of something for everyone. Little market stalls for browsing, mulled wine for drinking and crazy fun fair rides for riding.

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You can’t take us anywhere!

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A few of us ended up on the ice skating rink, whilst the others took great pleasure in watching us slowly making our way around and sometimes falling over! All while enjoying their hot drinks. I’m a terrible ice skater and ended up coming off within about 15 minutes!

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We decided to end the night by buying some wine and snacks on the walk back to the hotel and enjoyed a girls night in.

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Love, Chloe xx

Kat’s Nottingham Hen Weekend!

Another weekend..Another Hen Party! See I told you they were taking over 😉

For this hen weekend, a trip to Nottingham was in order. Somewhere I had never been before, so I was a bit excited to visit somewhere new.

I left work early on the Friday and began my journey from South London to North London dragging my jam packed suitcase with me. For those who don’t know London very well getting from one place to another can be a bit of a nightmare, especially on a Friday afternoon and a very hot afternoon at that!

Two train changes, One Tube journey, a quick pit stop to grab bottles of bubbles and asking a stranger for directions (I don’t know North London at all) and I had finally made it to Emma’s house.

Emma is one of Kat’s bridesmaid’s and other than communicating over email about the hen party I hadn’t actually met her in person before. But she was lovely, she must have taken pity on me and my bedraggled look and offered me a large glass of water before we spent the rest of the afternoon decorating the car with pink ribbon, getting all the hen bits together and chatting about how we knew Kat and what was in store for the hen weekend.

I actually met Kat, through Matt. Her then boyfriend now fiancé Ant, works with Matt and so ever since I have been with Matt I have known Kat. Wow that all sounds a bit of a tongue twister ha I apologise but hopefully it makes sense! We bonded over bubbles at the boys work do and have been great friends ever since. Kat and Ant got engaged in April 2014 and I must admit she has been one chilled bride to be! The hen weekend was organised by her 4 bridesmaids and was a total surprise for Kat.

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^^ Kat & Ant

With the car packed up and ready to go, Emma and I drove to the station to pick up Kat, ready for the weekend to begin! Kat was super excited but also a bit nervous considering she had no idea where she was going or what we had in-store for her.

We knew it was going to be a bit of a drive, especially with Friday traffic. So Emma had stocked the car with goodies including chocolate and can’s of Pimms, something Kat and I might have gotten stuck into a little bit quickly! 😉 Unfortunately the weather decided to take a turn for the worst when we hit The Midlands and so we didn’t see the sunshine again until Sunday! But it didn’t matter the good tunes, Summery drinks and company were more than making up for it.

We were staying in a quaint area in the Derwent Valley, in the Derbyshire countryside for the weekend and Emma had found a lovely house to fit all of us in for the weekend.

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We were actually the last to arrive at the house! But that was nice for Kat, as all her friends and family were there ready to surprise her. Plus they had done a great job of decorating the house, the walls were filled with photos of Kat, balloons had been blown, banners and streamers were everywhere and a goody bag had been left for everyone at their place setting. It was cosy, friendly and everyone was super excited for the weekend ahead.

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^^ My lovely goody bag, made by Miranda, one of the Bridesmaids

We had a quick explore and were shown our bedrooms and then headed back down to help with dinner. Well that was my intention, what really happened.. I was given a large glass of bubbles which was constantly topped up and mingled with some of the other girls in the lounge area. Oops! The bridesmaids all did a great job of looking after everyone and making sure everyone was fed and watered though, they couldn’t have done a better job.

For dinner we all sat around the large table and ate a feast of pizzas, salads, dips, doritos etc. Drinking lots of bubbles and hearing how everyone had met Kat and our favourite memories with her. Lots of gossip and girlie giggles just what hen weekends should be about!

Even more giggles erupted when Miranda, presented Kat with this…

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I think it’s pretty amazing and Miranda did such a good job. As you can see she is the creative one of the group! ha. We even lit candles and made Kat blow them out and make a wish of course 😉 The cake was actually a delicious chocolate creation.

After a quick tidy up and top up of bubbles, we all made our way to the lounge area and spent the rest of the evening playing games. A fun tipsy start to the weekend.

Saturday we had to wake up pretty early for the first of the days activities. After a quick breakfast, we all piled into cars and headed to Sherwood Forest for Go Ape! This activity had mixed reactions from the group. Some had done it before, some were super excited and ready for the challenge and the rest were just pretty scared about what was ahead! I was a mixture of the last two!

It was still chucking it down with rain and a little chilly but Go Ape! Still goes ahead, they claim that the weather makes it even more fun. So after our full safety briefing we were left to our own devices. Eek!

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You start off by climbing a rope ladder to the first base and then from there you face a few challenges through the trees until you reach the zip wire at the end. There are 6 areas to cover and the time it takes purely depends on your group size, weather conditions and how fit/brave you are!

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11227529_774664756188_8315093548359799877_n^^ The Bride to Be not looking very happy!

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11401519_774665045608_7990244743648435077_n^^ Yes this is me..the mud will make it fun they said ;-p

It took us about 2.5 hours to complete, but there were a lot of us, plus we had a few freak outs in the beginning but you get quicker/more confident as you move along. Plus the weather made it super slippery so we were being extra cautious and a bit slower!

At the time I said I would never do it again. But I think I probably would, as long as the weather was sunny! By the end we were all wet through, shivering cold and covered in mud. But we completed it! 🙂

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After a very quick change and dry under the hand dryer in the toilets!! We headed to a pub for lunch. I’m sorry I didn’t get the name, but we had our own private room and the food was generous and delicious. I had fish and chips and it was just what I needed to warm up!!

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We then headed back to the house, where the bridesmaid’s set up creative tables for everyone to enjoy and chill out a bit after the excitement of the morning!

First up were DIY Face Masks – We had instructions and all the ingredients we needed and proceeded to chop, whisk and mash until they were ready to use. Who needs a spa?

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^^ Helen (Bridesmaid) enjoying her creation

Next up was the Cupcake station – Pre made cupcakes ready to be decorated with all the icing and glittery bit’s you could ever need. Cute and yummy!!

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And lastly further in the background you may just see that we had photo booth props and masks to use for funny group photos. Unfortunately I had popped upstairs for a shower when these came out to play, so no photos from me I’m afraid.

We spent the rest of the afternoon chilling, chatting, eating, decorating and getting ready for the evenings events.

We were asked to be glam and ready in the lounge for 7.30pm and of course were greeted with more bubbles, vodka jelly and home made buckets of cocktails! We then played a couple more games, ate a few nibbles and then all jumped into the mini bus to take us to Nottingham Town Centre for the evening.

We started off with a table in Pitcher and Piano being civilised with cocktails and bubbles, before heading to Revolution for trays of shots and dirty dancing and then finally ending up in Coco Tang, drinking more cocktails, doing shots of Jäger and dancing until our feet hurt.

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It was such a fun night. When we got back we all sat around the table and ate the nibbles and cakes left over from earlier, laughed about the nights events and finally went to bed around 4am.

The next morning some people *no names mentioned* were suffering ever so slightly, but we all managed to have breakfast and tidied up the house before saying our goodbyes and sharing excitement over the next time we would all be together…The Wedding!

I finally got home about 5pm, crashed out on the sofa and ordered dominos, oops! But what a fun weekend, thanks for inviting me Kat and I can’t wait to see you walk down the aisle in 3.5 weeks time!!

Lots of Love, Chloe xxx

Stag Weekends Vs Hen Weekends!

Apologies if I write a lot about this subject, but Stag and Hen weekends seem to have taken over my life lately.

Matt and I have spent the last 3 weekends apart due to these occasions and as I write he is currently away in Greece on another stag weekend.

But I’m not sad, fed up or annoyed about the fact that we aren’t spending time together. After all, we both know each other’s plans for the year and knew that our Summer was packed with hens, stags, weddings, birthdays, BBQ’s..the list goes on. And it’s not like we need to be joined at the hip all the time 😉 it’s good and healthy to have lives outside each other.

No, what I’m sad, fed up and annoyed about, is the difference in weekend’s we seem to have and in all honesty I’m jealous!

As far as I’m aware Stag and Hen Night’s/Weekends have been around for generations. However what was once a simple night at the pub, with friends, the night before the wedding, now seems to be an elaborate weekend of travelling and entertainment, seeing who can have the best/most outrageous/most decadent weekend there is.

Oh no wait…that would be the men! Stag do’s seem to be getting bigger and bigger as we speak, whereas personally I feel like the hen weekend is getting smaller.

As I say this is just my personal opinion and you may totally disagree with me, but in my experience I am yet to go abroad or do anything elaborate for a hen party. Yet our men, happily spend a lot of money and leave us behind for a long weekend minimum, to go abroad, for their friends. After discussing this with different groups of girlfriends, all us ladies seem to feel the same way.

I have been with Matt nearly 5 years and in that time he has been on MANY Stag do’s. Weirdly, we actually met while he was on a stag weekend in Bournemouth! But that’s another story. And apart from that weekend in Bournemouth, I can’t remember the last time he stayed in the UK for a Stag. He has travelled to most European cities for them and this year he has already been to Iceland, Marbella (Spain) and is now currently in Greece.

He’s not the only one I have to base my (can I call it research) on 😉 I work with a group of guys (I’m the only girl) and again over the past couple of years all of them have been on stag do’s and all in Europe. Whenever I mention a hen do, as soon as I say it’s in the UK, they switch off, they think it’s boring.

While they have all been sunning it up in Marbs, clubbing in Ibiza, gambling in Vegas or drinking steins in Germany. I have been battling the British Elements, while doing Go Ape in Nottingham, gone on a ‘normal’ night out in Bournemouth (where I grew up) or sat and ate chips on Brighton Beach.

Don’t get me wrong I have enjoyed my weekends with my favourite ladies, I wouldn’t have gone on them otherwise. But I just don’t think they are on the same par as the boys weekends. Am I being too miserable about this or ungrateful? I appreciate I do a lot of fun things that other people will never get the chance to do. But, I guess we live in this society where we always want more or are always competing with the next person. And personally, I just want something that little bit better.

I guess I only have myself or my friends haha to blame 😉 But personally I just feel that girls are more considerate about their friends/family and think about all possibilities to ensure that everyone can make their special weekend. I’m sure secretly behind closed doors they would have loved to have gone to a sunny beach in the med and been served cocktails by the pool. But instead, because so and so is pregnant or just had a baby or just brought a house and so is being careful with money. We will just stick to somewhere local instead. This happened to me with the Bournemouth hen do I went on recently. Originally the Bride to Be wanted it to be in Brighton, over the bank holiday weekend, for 3 nights. But once we started to get costs together, some of the ladies started to say it was too expensive for them and would drop out. Because of this the Bride to Be decided to keep it local and more low key so everyone could make it, it was also half the price of Brighton!

But I just don’t think boys work or think like this. As soon as they get engaged, all their friends want to know about is the stag do! Weird and wonderful countries get mentioned, fancy dress gets brought and before they know it they’ve spent £700 each before they’ve even gotten anywhere. You only need to watch Don’t Tell the Bride (One of my favourite programmes) to see what really goes on in their minds! Matt actually got invited on a stag do to Las Vegas later this year, but he has politely declined. Costs just seemed to spiral out of control quickly and the Stag was making crazy requests such as VIP tables at night, pool parties by day and even debating upgrading flights. Many of his friends have dropped out but he doesn’t seem to care as HE is still getting the stag do HE wants. I just don’t think a girl would do or act like this, well none that I know.

Having said all that, sometimes I wish us girls would be a little more like the boys!

I’m not even engaged, but I have already told all my girlfriends that, when the time comes, my hen do will be abroad. But they have already mentioned their concerns, ‘I’m saving for a house’, ‘what if I have a baby?’, ‘I doubt I can afford it’. I’M NOT EVEN ENGAGED. Boy’s would never think of these things, they would never even consider them.

Of course I’m not saying act like a diva, ditch all your friends and run off to Vegas to max out your credit cards, for your next hen do. Or am I 😉 No, all I’m saying is do what you want to do, if that is just a night in Brighton, then of course that’s fine. Do whatever makes you happy. But if it is secretly that weekend to Marbs or a fancy spa hotel in the countryside, then tell your friends, give them lots of time to plan and save and work out the logistics and then just go for it. After all you only live once! and hopefully will only get married once! So this is your time to have fun and let lose with your best girlfriends.

So here’s to the next Hen weekend, whatever it may be, I just hope it’s fun! 🙂

Love, Chloe xxx

P.s Matt just sent me this picture of his view in Greece

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and this is me on a hen do last weekend

20150613_133946(0)See what I’m talking about 😉

Sophie’s Bournemouth Hen Weekend!

I first met Sophie four and a half years ago, at my old job. We both joined on the same day, so being the newbies and working in such a small office, with only 3 other people, meant we spent a lot of time talking! She was also the person who would drive me to the train station after work on a Friday, nearly every other week, so I could travel up to London to see Matt for the weekend 🙂 Wow that seems like a long time ago now!!

I only worked at the company for a year and a half, before moving up to London for good. So even though I hadn’t known Sophie very long, working together everyday in such a close environment, meant that we got to know each other pretty well. The day I left was a bit of a sad one as I knew I was leaving Sophie alone and they didn’t end up replacing me. However at the same time I couldn’t wait to start my new life in London!

Sophie and I kept in contact weekly, along with attending each other’s birthday parties, concerts, night’s out, new home’s etc and in Summer 2013 celebrating the news that Sophie had gotten engaged to John, her childhood sweetheart. Matt and I attended their engagement party back in Bournemouth, and she asked me to be her bridesmaid that night. I was pleasantly surprised that she had asked me and happily agreed.

Ever since that moment though it has been all systems go on the wedding planning! And last Summer she asked if I would plan her hen party. I love organising parties (my old job was event planning) and I love a good spreadsheet. So I agreed to take on the task, after all I did have a year to plan it! She gave me a list of ideas that she liked and didn’t like and suggested that it would be easier to keep it in Bournemouth, the rest was up to me.

So finally after a long year of planning, organising and getting people together, Sophie’s Hen Weekend had arrived…..

I travelled back to my parent’s house late Thursday night and then spent Friday frantically putting last minute bits together for the hen party. Blowing up balloons, writing name place cards for the table, cutting out pictures to stick on the walls ..just to name a few! As well as managing to squeeze in a catch up with both of my nan’s and an old school friend of mine in the afternoon. Mum treated me to an amazing roast dinner that night, oh how I miss those! and then we spent the rest of the evening gossiping over wine..bliss!

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^^ Everyone’s bottle of fizz (I used these as place cards for the table)

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^^ Just some of the decorations, booze and added extra’s I brought – As you can see Sophie LOVES pink!

Saturday morning seemed to pass by in a second and then myself, mum and dad headed to the hotel in Bournemouth to set up. I am soo grateful that they helped me set up, along with my old boss, Jo. I really underestimated how long it would all take!

I had booked a private room for the whole day, and decided to decorate the whole thing myself. We laid pink table cloths, sprinkled with lots of hen themed confetti. Each Hen got their own bottle of fizz, along with chocolates, sweets, a bottle of bubbles, pink champagne flute, pink shot glass and a test tube shot.

My dad kindly blew up all the balloons and tied one to each chair. The walls we covered with hen party banners, balloons and photos of Sophie with her friends and family. Finally done, we hid all the extra booze and snacks in the cupboard, got rid of all the rubbish and I hugged and thanked my parents goodbye. I finally felt I was ready to relax and enjoy the day!

Jo and I got to Aruba just in time to meet everyone else for lunch.

If you haven’t been to Aruba you should really try it out. It’s right on Bournemouth Pier with views of the sea and beach and they do amazing cocktails. BOGOF on Friday nights 😉 By day it’s a place to chill with a drink, watch the World go by and eat some yummy food. In the evening it’s a place to come with friends and dance the night away, cocktail in hand. I used to love it when I lived in Bournemouth and it was always my go to place!

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On arrival I greeted everyone with their own personalised sash, which of course were pink and Sophie had a tiara/veil too!

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We then ordered a large round of cocktails and pizza!

After lunch we headed outside, into the gorgeous British sunshine. Bournemouth beach was packed!

Jumped in cabs and headed back to the hotel ready for the afternoon.

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^^ You can’t beat a selfie in the sunshine!

Back at the hotel, we were greeted with a glass of champagne before the Etiquette Class began. Yes we really did an Etiquette Class! and in all honesty I really enjoyed it and learnt a bit from it 😉

We learnt what you would expect from this sort of thing; how to walk with a book on our heads, how to speak properly, how you should treat your husband 😉 Well this was advice from the 1950’s! At the end we were split into teams and had to devise a short play, including all the advice we had learnt from the class. For example someone played the mum, dad, children etc. It was actually really fun and everyone got involved.

To end the class we learnt the history of afternoon tea and indulged in all the goodies and more bubbles of course! 😉 Plus I had put together a quiz of my own which everyone took part in while enjoying the cakes and scones!

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^^ Bride to Be Sophie in housewife training, 50’s style.

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^^ Sophie and Lauren, balancing those books!

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^^ Yummy afternoon tea and Sophie with some of her hens

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^^ Sophie with her 2 Bridesmaids, Sarah on the left and myself on the right.

After we had eaten as many delicious cakes and scones as we possibly could. Some of the older member’s of the group called it a day and headed home.

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^^ Sophie with (From L-R) Nan of the Groom, Gran of the Bride, Mother of the Groom, Mother of the Bride & Aunt of the Groom

We were very lucky with the weather and so for the remainder of the afternoon the mum’s decided to pop out for a bit of a sunbathe, while the rest of us checked out what the hotel spa had to offer.

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Feeling very relaxed after a quick swim and laze in the jacuzzi, we headed to our hotel rooms to get ready for the night ahead.

Glammed up and ready to get the party started, we headed back downstairs to our main room, where buffet food had been laid out for us and Sophie was waiting for her surprise….

A Butler in the Buff! She had banned me from getting a stripper, so this was the next best thing 😉

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He was a lot of fun and soon got us playing a mixture of games and continuously poured us drinks. His rule was 1 shot for the loser and 2 shots for the winner. That seems fair right? Needless to say we were very tipsy after his 2 hour visit!

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^^ We started off with pin the junk on the hunk, then moved on to Willy Bingo. After the shots kicked in, it turned into Never have I ever and finally we ended up with Body Shots! Sorry Mr Butler 😉

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After saying goodbye to our Butler and feeling a little tipsy,we all made our way to Bar So, for the rest of the evening.

We had a private table, with bottle service and danced and sang the night away..

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13 Ladies started on the Saturday and only 6 made it to breakfast the next morning, I think that’s a sign of a good night! 😉

I hope Sophie enjoyed herself and now the countdown is on for the wedding.. 4 weeks to go!

Love, Chloe xx