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Ashleigh's London Hen Do

Last weekend, the 20th / 21st November, I was down in London for the Hen Do for my sister Ashleigh, who is getting married on the 18th December. I am the only bridesmaid, or maid of honour, so it was up to me to arrange the weekend of events and keep it a complete surprise from Ashleigh. The only thing she knew was that it was to be held in London, where she lives {since the wedding is up in Edinburgh}, and that we were going to stay over somewhere for one night. It was a fantastic weekend and Ashleigh loved everything I had planned, from start to finish!

Since both me, mum, my aunt and Ashleigh's friend Claire had all come down from Edinburgh on the 6.25am flight on Saturday, we had to get up at 4.30am and me, Claire & Ashleigh didn't go to bed until 4.30am on the Sunday morning. We started drinking at Ashleigh's at 11.30am and probably didn't stop until the club closed at 3am, so I was probably drinking for almost 16 of those 24 hours!

L-R: Ashleigh, Claire, aunt Janice, mum & me

Once we had arrived at Gatwick, we got the train to Ashleigh's and arrived there around 9am. Ashleigh was at her last wedding dress fitting and getting her makeup done, so we used the time to see my nephew Enzo, all get ready and sort out the goody bags I had posted down earlier in the week. When Ashleigh got home around 11am, we were all dressed up, complete with fascinators on our heads! Ashleigh quickly got changed and did her hair, before we presented her with a tacky plastic flashing tiara! Her face was a picture and she didn't look impressed, especially since we all had lovely things on our heads! Since me and Claire couldn't stop laughing, we quickly presented her with her actual head wear, a lovely white flower & feather fascinator with a birdcage veil, which I found at Lily Bella Bridal. She loved it and once she had put it on it was time for a glass of champagne and a cupcake to start the day! I presented her with the first of her surprises, the usual bride to be sash & garter, then a couple of other little bits including a bride old school badge, a don't for wives book, a London Christmas decoration and the first of her clues. I had made wine glass charms which each had a part of the day on them so at first she got a horseshoe and her initial then the word London which was of course our destination!

Complete with bride to be accessories!

Once we finished our champagne and got all of our stuff together, we got the train to Shepherds Bush station and made it to our hotel for the night, the K West Hotel & Spa, which was lovely and we would definitely go back again. We were quite early so we could only get one of our 3 rooms, so we dumped everything there before having some lunch. Here Ashleigh was presented with the second of her wine glass charm clues, a piece of cake.

The second wine glass charm clue, a piece of cake!

We were running a little behind schedule so we booked a taxi to take us to our first destination; the Oxo Tower. We had only told Ashleigh we were going south of the river so she was looking for clues all the way, until the taxi driver helpfully said, oh there is the tower there! We arrived and met everyone else at the Brasserie. One of the girls was running late so we ordered a cocktail while we waited for her before giving out the goody bags and doing a quiz about London in teams. Since I had made up the quiz, I didn't take part, but apparently it was quite hard! Inside the goody bags were two wine charms for everyone of a champagne bottle and a wine glass; which were also the next clues for Ashleigh! Eventually we couldn't wait any longer so ordered our Not Afternoon Tea.

I chose the Citrus Plate which was gorgeous and consisted of an orange meringue cake, a pink grapefruit grantia, lime shortbread and a lemon mousse, paired with a Citrus Sour cocktail with citrus flavours, gin, velvet falernum, lemon mix & grapefruit bitters. Ashleigh had the Tea and Coffee, which also looked wonderful and consisted of coffee macaroons, a jasmine tea parfait, a camomile tea mousse and a green tea panna cotta, paired with a Tea for Grownups cocktail with beefeater 24 Gin & aperol, sweetened with camomile, honey and peach, topped up with champagne! The other one our party tried was the Chocolate Indulgence, which looked fabulous and consisted of a cocoa nib parfait, a bitter chocolate tart with walnuts, a chocolate brownie with caramelized white chocolate mousse & a caraway chocolate truffle, paired with an Indian Summer cocktail with cinnamon infused vodka, sweetened with chocolate liqueur & cinnamon sugar, shaken with fresh orange juice! We all loved it and the view from the 8th floor is spectacular, so we are also planning to go back again sometime.

L-R: Citrus Plate; Tea and Coffee; Chocolate Indulgence

We had a bit of a nightmare trying to get to our second destination, since we were running late from the first which put our timings off a bit, and of course we couldn't find taxi's when we needed them, but finally we arrived at Vinopolis. They were totally fine with us being a bit late and I guess they must get that all the time with hen parties! We were there for the Champagne Hen Party, which was excellent and we all agreed we would go back again. The party started with our guide, Diego, giving us a private how to taste wine session, where we had a bottle of vintage champagne, a bottle of white wine & a bottle of red wine, along with some tapas too. Since there was only 8 of us, it was quite a lot of wine to get through.

Once we had polished off the 3 bottles, we headed into the main tasting area, towards the Bombay Sapphire cocktail bar. First, Ashleigh had to do a blind tasting in black glasses, of what turned out to be a malt whisky and a golden rum. It was very hard to tell the difference without seeing them. Then our guide, Diego, showed Ashleigh how to make a gin cocktail, which she then had to make herself afterwards for all of us to drink. The cocktail was really nice but then he brought out an absinthe spray to go on the top and everyone had to get a spray in their mouth, yuck! Then Ashleigh was given a girls guide to wine book as a memento of the day as well as the wine tasting vouchers we could then use around the rest of the venue. We were all also given a quarter bottle of rose champagne each to take away with us.

We had 2 champagne tasting & 3 wine tasting vouchers each so we headed to the champagne bar first, to make sure we didn't miss out on those! I tried a rose champagne as well as non vintage, all by Nicolas Feuillatte. Then we had a quick wander around different tasting stations to use the rest of our vouchers. Since we were running out of time, I asked for all 3 of my white wine tastings to be put into one glass, which wasn't really the point but it was a lovely wine! By then the taxi's had arrived to take us to our third destination, the restaurant for dinner, Piccolino's. We met another 4 girls at the restaurant, and had a lovely Italian meal. The clue for dinner was a charm of the Colosseum in Rome! During dinner it was time for Ashleigh to answer some Mr & Mrs questions that I had got her fiance Patrick to answer the week before. There were 39 questions in total so I had brought two 20 sided dice for her to throw either one or both of them to get her question. It was really funny and there were definitely a few wrong answers so we kept that in mind for the dares later on! After dinner it was time for the fourth and final destination {well, the final planned one}, ICEBAR London.

L-R: Ashleigh, mum & me

The restaurant was on the same street as the icebar, a little pedestrianised street off Regent Street, so I went on ahead to get our tickets while everyone packed up after dinner. Your ticket is for a 40 minute slot in the bar so they have it really well organised. We all went inside then we got our blue thermal capes put on before we could go into the actual icebar. It was so cool inside, and freezing too! Included in the entrance fee is one drink so you exchange your ticket for your own glass made of ice, with a cocktail of your choice inside; I went for a cosmopolitan. You needed the gloves that were attached to the end of your cape to hold the ice glass but I always had my other hand out so I could take photos!

They only let 60 people in at a time to the icebar so although it was full it didn't feel totally cramped, and 40 minutes was long enough. I think it actually helped sober us up a little since it was -5°C inside! I don't think anyone bothered buying any more drinks either as we were too busy taking photos to worry about it; my glass was starting to melt at one side where I was drinking out of by the end too! We all said we would love to go back too although you definitely need to book especially at the weekends, as girls we saw who turned up were told there was only space available on the Sunday afternoon. I forgot to give Ashleigh her icebar clue till the next day but it was a snowflake!

There is a clock on the wall which counts down your time, so once it was time to leave we went downstairs to the Below Zero bar for another cocktail. Most of the girls, including my mum and aunt, called it a night then, as it was after 11pm, but the 6 of us who remained decided to go dancing, to Strawberry Moons which was also on the same street. After a bit of queue to get in, thankfully we managed to grab a booth where we stationed ourselves all night. The club was very cheesy but fab for a hen night; they have a fancy dress party on a Saturday night so there seemed to be some people dressed up and they played a mixture of music from the 60's to today. There was lots of dancing, some more drinking, and of course some dares for Ashleigh! I think me & Claire intended to leave after an hour or so but we ended up staying until it shut. Luckily we managed to quickly get a taxi back to our hotel where we ordered room service pizza before calling it a night at 4.30am!

The next morning we all met for a continental breakfast which was lovely before we checked out and made our way down to the K Spa. They have just redone the spa at the hotel and its lovely. It was great to be able to just relax and laze about after our busy day on Saturday. They even have a room called a snow paradise which is kept at between -10°C to -15°C, with powdered snow all around the room. It was so so cold but great for a few secs to take some pics! You were supposed to rub it all over yourself then only stay in for 2-3 minutes at the most, unsurprisingly, in a bikini I don't think we would have managed that! Afterwards we got ready then got some lunch before going back to Ashleigh's flat to see Enzo again before we left. We had time to drink our quarter bottles of champagne, since we couldn't fly with them in our hand luggage, before we headed to the airport.

Time to go home!

It was a fantastic weekend and I would totally recommend the hotel, the Oxo Tower, Vinopolis and the Icebar! I think Ashleigh was surprised at the amount of stuff we managed to fit in to the weekend and I think the only thing she did have an idea of beforehand, but wasn't sure of, was that we were going to the Icebar. I had got the idea from Purple & Pearls a while ago and when Ashleigh saw Laura's post about it, I think she guessed might be going there too!

The boys had the stag do this weekend just past {I requested that the hen do was first since we are going on holiday this Friday} so Ashleigh came up to Edinburgh with my nephew Enzo to sort the last wedding bits & pieces and have her hair trial. Her flight home was cancelled because of the snow on Sunday and again this morning, so not sure when she will get to go home. Graham, my dad, uncle & cousin went down to London to join in the stag events since both Graham and my cousin are going to be Ushers at the wedding but their flight was delayed and then diverted to Glasgow so they finally got back at 1.30am on Monday morning!

I can't believe the wedding is now just 18 days away!

p.s I will do another post later on about the different DIY wine charms and the goody bags I made up for everyone.


  1. Totally jealous. My b-party was a definite let down and this looks SO MUCH FUN!

  2. Looks like a ton of fun! I love everyone's cute outfits!

  3. Wow! You're the best sister ever! What an awesome weekend! I especially love the story of your tricking her with the tacky tiara. That's too funny!

  4. wow, you did an amazing job organising all of that from so far away. Love the glass charms, looking forward to seeing how you made them.

  5. You are one awesome sister! What a weekend of fun!


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