Tuesday 25 October 2011


Hen parties! All those women from different areas of your life, joining together to do a load of ludicrous activities and probably get quite drunk. What a bizarre rite of passage. And all that plastic willy-related paraphenalia! Why don't stags have vagina-related paraphenalia? Doesn't seem quite fair.

My name is Penny and I will bring really nasty Morrison's ready-made Bucks Fizz on your hen do. Yes I will.

Hen nights have a bad rep, but this weekend I went on a very civilised weekend in honour of my friend Ellie's forthcoming nuptials. She had gone on a fair bit about not wanting any hen tack, but I was pleased to see her furnished with a beautiful sash anyway (which she paraded around in with pride) and a deluge of glow-in-the-dark willy straws (which her sister thought were chopsticks). There is immense satisfaction in seeing your friend looking a bit ridiculous, and I was delighted to find not even the ever-stylish Ellie could get away without a bit of henning up.

We trained down to London, where we had afternoon tea at Drink, Shop, Do in King's Cross. It's a very cute, kitsch little cafe with amazing cakes, tea and cocktails. Their selling point is a menu of craft activities, to give you something to do as you while away the afternoon. It's a clever concept, and it's clearly a popular place. I'd love to see somewhere like it in the North (is there anywhere like this that I'm unaware of?)
Me with co-hens Claire "Supercrafts!" Smith and Rachel "Sod that, where's the wine list!" Carlton

Ellie had chosen for us to make pearl bracelets. Pleasant! Unless you, hilariously, make the nylon quite thick, and the holes in the pearls quite small. It was impossible. I had managed to sit next to Claire (a fellow Little Miss Competitive) and we were so stubbornly going to DO THIS COME HELL OR HIGH WATER that we both ended up with bracelets too big for our wrists as we raced to get the most BLOODY AWAWKARD pearls on. It was like being back in Home Ec - everyone reverted to their 14 year old selves. Only with tea, and then wine. I suspect I would have enjoyed most school lessons a bit more if I'd had a bottle of pinot grigio on hand. After four hours, 16 frazzled girls with knotted back muscles and squinty eyes held up their wonky bracelets in triumph. And all swore we would never make a pearl bracelet again.
 This is somebody else's much neater bracelet.

A bucket of booze and some (more) food and we rolled on to Proud Cabaret. I've always been a bit squeamish about burlesque, but this place is AMAZING. It was like walking into a 1920s gangster film, with smoky, low lights and red velvet drapes. The performances were slick and professional, there were girls AND boys performing, and the most amazingly charismatic singing compere I have ever seen. I think we need to create a similar role for the Leeds burlesque - I'm ever so good at wearing a nice frock and getting a bit gobby with the punters.

Sunday was the V&A (however I was far too sleepy and hungover to fully absorb any culture), the Hummingbird bakery (wanted to put my whole head in all of the cakes) and home.

How's about that for a hen?

The best bit was getting to meet all of Ellie's old school friends and everyone being so bloody lovely. I remember that fuzzy, happy feeling from my own hen - looking round and mates from all areas of your life just getting on and having a laugh. Sort of reaffirms your awesomeness as a person - having such good taste in friends.
 Ellie M - she has good taste in friends, who have good taste in willy-related paraphenalia

Only four weeks to the wedding now... and I'm already looking forward to seeing everyone again. And their pearl bracelets (mine will be around my thigh).

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