Pimping Your Hen

Join us for the third and final instalment of the electric three-part Alternative Hen series by Mistress of Mayhem Siobhan Scanlon, founder of The Peacock Bride. In part three Siobhan explores the art of Peacocking with party accessories.

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Hencessories

So you’ve picked the date, chosen the location and pestered the hens, the only thing left to do is to choose the hencessories (aka accessories for hens). Now this can open up a can of worms; Do we choose a theme? Do we dress the bride as a 6ft c*ck (it being a hen and all)? Will granny wear a leopard-print tail? In truth these these are just minor blips along the journey. With so much to consider choosing the right accessories need not be a worry if you follow our tips for choosing the right accessories for the big do.

Peacock the Bride

Peacock the Bride: Peacocking means dressing flamboyantly and for attention. Rule number 1: the bride must stand out. Whether that be with a flashing veil, a sequinned hairband or a ‘drama queen’ emblazoned tiara, it must mark her role at the party. The good news is thank to fluffy wands and metallic wings there’s more choice than ever and trust us any bird worth her salt has a pair of these. In short, pimping the bride need never be a chore.

 

Hens who play together

Hens who play together, stay together: An often underestimated factor in the creation of a great ‘night out’ are what we call ‘fun fuellers’. These are anything to unite a group of unknowns in a light hearted way. Our favourites include inflatable instruments, glitter top microphones, photo props, fake tattoos and of course piñatas… There is nothing quite like watching a blindfolded chick aimlessly beat a half bashed unicorn.

Faust's Potions Pic

Look after your broad: So the big night has been and gone, and has most likely left a thumping sensation behind for the majority of hens. I’ve been to enough hens to know that foreseeing a grim aftermath can often be enough to tame a hen in her tracks which is not what anyone wants. But there is a cure, and they come in the form of 2 x 25ml health shots known as Faust’s Potions. These are pure magic. After a few too many G&Ts take the Asleep Potion before hitting the hay and the Awake Potion when you rise. Overnight they will work their way round your insides delivering all kind of goodness to your vitamin depleted carcass and come morning you’ll have more gusto than Miley Cyrus on speed.

Connect with The Peacock Bride’s whimsical world of poultry cool via FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

Thank you for joining us for The Peacock Bride // Bane + Antidote Alternative Hen series!

Keep your eyes on The Peacock Bride for our next collaboration this Autumn. When the nights draw in, the parties get longer. More room for depravity and the sublime we say… Bring it on. #alifelessordinary #badlybehavedbalance






How to Throw a Kick Ass Hen Party

Join us for the second instalment of the electric three-part Alternative Hen series, penned by Mistress of Mayhem Siobhan Scanlon, founder of The Peacock Bride. In part two Siobhan proffers poultry pearls of wisdom, explaining how you can throw a sizzling bash for even the most disgruntled of hens.

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Anyone who has had the pain, I mean pleasure, of organising a hen party knows all too well the challenges sometimes faced. Trying to please 20 ladies can be difficult at the best of times but throw location, cost, food, activities and sleeping arrangements into the mix and unless you carefully manage this you’re likely to end up with hen’s egg on your face. Below are a couple of simple tips that can really make the difference between a ‘MEH’ party and an ‘Sha-mazing’ bash.

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1. Save money on the RIGHT things

In the last few years, the price of hen parties has sky rocketed. But there are some clever ways to save money so you don’t have to sacrifice a month’s salary on pleasing the bridezilla.

– Consider self-serve options for accommodation, such as glamping or renting a house. You can pre-load the place with bubbles and breakfast, saving you a fortune on sleeps and eats.

– Call restaurants/cafés in advance for any group deals. You’d be surprised how often they are willing to create a set menu for group bookings. That way the cost is set, everyone is clear and you don’t have Greedy Gertrude at the top of the table ordering steak to get her money’s worth.

– Fish around for any BYOB (bring your own booze) options in the area. These are becoming more and more popular, and are a massive relief to the budget without actually sacrificing anything.

2. Nobody likes to be dictated to a hen party is NOT a military operation

dictator henI’m all for having set plans, and for a hen party it’s a must – but there are certain ‘rules’ to be considered when it comes to planning. Before bulldozing ahead with a one-size-fits-all approach, it’s worth bearing in mind that people’s expectations of a hen party can vary massively depending on their own situation. Understanding this is the key to a successful hen party!

Let people dip in and out of activities as they wish. I organised my sister’s hen party last year, and we decided to take a jaunt on some electric bikes for a couple of hours. This wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea, so I had arranged a masseuse to come to the venue for anyone who preferred that. There’s little worse than feeling obliged to do something you don’t want to do, especially when you’ve paid good money to be there. Besides, when the pressure is off, people will most likely get involved of their own accord. By setting the tone for a relaxed and flexible weekend early on, the hens will be onside from the get go!

3. Never underestimate the power of FUN FUELERS

‘Fun Fuelers’ are what we like to call any paraphernalia that, in a nutshell, generate fun! Remember, often hens are meeting for the first time or you may be flying solo for the weekend, so having a couple of icebreakers are a great way to quickly unite a group in a natural way.

Things such a photo props, hats, inflatables and piñatas goad people to get involved. There’s full fuelersnothing more unifying that discussing your outlandish costumes or watching the blindfolded bride-to-be beat the living daylights out of a unicorn piñata.

4. Arrange as much as you can advance

Where possible, prebook and pay for as much as you can. The only thing worse than being forced to wear matching pink t-shirts that say ‘Zilla’s Hen Party’ is being landed with another £200 bill at the end of the weekend. The last hen I went to included food for the weekend, taxis, drinks, dinner, club entry, even some champagne caviar! It was such a relief to all the hens at the end of the weekend, and there was no begrudgery over the price tag.

5. Dont be afraid to switch it up

Don’t be afraid to switch up the traditional format of the hen party and stray from the ever popular two-night/one-day activity format. One-nighters are becoming more and more the done thing, and you’ll find that people generally tend to give it socks for the night. Another trend is that of day parties – still life painting, ice cream making, laughter yoga and clay pigeon shooting are all the rage amongst 2015 hens. Do what your little heart heart desires but for pete’s sake consider your hens in the process.

Connect with The Peacock Bride’s whimsical world of poultry cool via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Stay tuned next week for the third and final instalment of the Alternative Hen series, where Siobhan will be exploring the art of Peacocking with party accessories.

We leave you to ponder the words of Charlotte Brontë, ‘I would always rather be happy than dignified,’ she says. Second that Charlotte. Cluck fucking cluck.

#alifelessordinary #badlybehavedbalance






April’s Punch of the Month

The Punch of the Month column canvasses timely contextual cocktails. Welcome to the authority on what you should be drinking and when.

By discerning miscreant Slava T Gordon.

Spring is in full swing! Time to get serious about socialising and merrymaking. That’s why April’s Punch of the Month is the oh so serious Vodka Thyme Lemonade by chef and restauranteur Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichte. Fragrant and spring-like, it’s the perfect cocktail to serve at your inaugural garden party of the season. Discerning palates may wish to skip the sugar-rimmed glass.

Vodka Thyme Lemonade

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Ingredients

3 Lemon Wedges
Granulated Sugar
2 oz Ketel One Citroen Vodka
2 oz Lemon-Thyme Syrup
1 Splash Club Soda
1 Sprig Fresh Thyme, preferably lemon thyme

Recipe

Run 1 lemon wedge over the rim of a 12 oz highball glass; dip the rim into sugar. Reserve the lemon wedge. Put the remaining 2 lemon wedges in a cocktail shaker. Muddle hard, breaking the lemon skins to release their natural oil. Add Syrup, Vodka and Ice. Cover and shake.

Pour the mixture into the sugar-rimmed highball glass, lemon wedges and all. Top off with club soda, and squeeze the reserved lemon wedge into the mix before dropping it into the glass. Garnish with a thyme sprig and serve immediately.

Lemon-Thyme Syrup

Ingredients

(Makes 1 cup)
¾ cup sugar
1 small bunch fresh thyme, preferably lemon thyme

Recipe

In a small saucepan, boil 1 cup of water and add the sugar, stirring until dissolved. Add the thyme, remove from the heat, and let stand until cool. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve, pressing to extract as much liquid as possible. Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.

Reprinted from Home Cooking with Jean-Georges by Jean-Georges Vongerichten. Copyright © 2011. Published by Clarkson Potter, a division of Random House, Inc

All of our favourite contextual cocktails are best accompanied by Faust’s Potions natural hangover cures. Where there’s a bane, antidote must follow. #badlybehavedbalance





Can Reflexology Cure a Hangover?

Bane + Antidote review alternative hangover cures for you to add to your wound-licking arsenal. Does reflexology work? Find out here. 

Before we get started, there is something I must admit. I got hideously over-involved with the research for this piece. I went deep cover. Four glasses of champagne, six glasses of wine and two cocktails later I was in the zone… in the zone of clutching my head and wishing the ground would open up and swallow me whole. Cycling in the rain the next morning was no fun at all. Every bitching bump was like a cattle prod to the back of my head. I was kicking myself, metaphorically (I was in no state for feats of two-wheeled acrobatics), for making such an early (12 noon) Saturday morning commitment. I finally arrived at Netil House panting and sweaty with clouds of alcohol fumes trailing me like a swarm of midges. Poor Rachel Morgan I thought as I shuffled inside.

Rachel MorganRachel practices out of a sound-proofed cave of softness on the first floor of Netil House in East London. Her first encounter with reflexology was in 2008, when she started training in drug-free alternatives that encourage the body’s natural healing processes.

The first thing I noticed was the music. I have a very low tolerance for spa jangling. To my delight Rachel was playing some wonderfully mind bending tracks. Strange ethereal, industrial noises (if that’s not a contradiction in terms) filled the room. Subtle enough to be barely noticeable, but interesting enough to carry your mind on a meditative journey for over an hour.

As I lay back on the supremely comfortable treatment table, swaddled in blankets, with my jeans pulled up to my knees, my heart started to race. I am extraordinarily ticklish. So much so that I have never had a pedicure. And in arranging to submit myself to this treatment for this piece, I had somehow failed to acknowledge the fact that reflexology focusses almost entirely on the feet. I think I had confused it kinesiology. Oh well. I was past the point of no return.

I can’t speak for all reflexologists, but Rachel’s touch was everything a ticklish individual could hope for. Firm, confident, self-assured and yet soft at the same time. To my amazement I didn’t squirm once. Rachel Morgan uses incredible hot basalt rocks to massage the relevant pressure points in the feet and lower legs. As the rocks cool Rachel swaps them for newly heated ones. Sometimes the heat is so intense it feels as if they might burn, but I found that going into the pain and embracing the heat was a very cleansing, reviving experience. At times Rachel really focussed on particular points, applying a lot of pressure and really working on a particular spot. It was a strangely satisfying sort of pain, like that of a well executed back massage.

I think what really got me was the simple act of someone massaging my feet with the care of a mothers touch. I can’t think of anything more attuned to that self-pitying hungover state, than to lie swaddled in blankets listening to dreamy music while some lovely individual gives your feet an hour long hug. It’s totally brilliant. My spinning head was brought back into my body, and it was a joy to drift along in a deep trance like state for an hour. I was surprised at how deep I went. There was a ‘switch-it-off-and-switch-it-on-again’ genius to the whole process… If you can trick the mind into relaxation, when you come back to reality nothing seems quite so bad.

feetI also firmly believe in the liver cleansing properties of reflexology, now that I have experienced first hand what it can do. After being treated by Rachel Morgan, my headache was gone, my eyes felt clearer, reality made sense again and I no longer wanted to vomit. I can’t vouch for all reflexologists, but Rachel is a supremely talented individual. I quaffed a Faust’s Potions Awake Potion natural hangover cure on my way out just to make sure.

One word of warning – chuffed with my new found ability to handle reality and all that, I bounded out of Netil House and straight to Borough Market where I consumed a massive fry up. Bad idea. System overload. I struggled to keep it down. The nausea soon passed but the message was very clear – give your body, and this experience, the respect that it deserves. It felt as though something quite major had shifted in my body, a real hard-drive rejigging if you like. My modus operandi for the rest of the day was giant cushions and herbal tea, an inclination I should’ve acknowledged pre fry up. I became very cat like for the next 24 hours. But my feet felt GREAT, as did my head.

VERDICT: Reflexology CAN cure a hangover. We hereby proclaim it to be Bane + Antidote Quick Fix #1.

For a full list of Rachel’s treatments and prices please visit Rachel Morgan Therapies.

Keep up to date with Rachel’s work on Facebook and Twitter.

 

March’s Punch of the Month

March is the month of St. Patrick’s, but that’s no excuse for green beer & crème-de-menthe we say. Try this sophisticated concoction instead. 

Words by Slava T Gordon. Image courtesy of Food with Legs – check out their post on this David Wondrich tipple.

emeraldBefore parading and drinking, St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland begins with a Church mass to honour the national patron saint. The tradition of wearing green is relatively recent, and is purported to help the wearer avoid being seen by leprechauns, who have a nasty habit of pinching.

St. Patrick’s Day is renowned for raucous and rowdy celebrations all around the globe, making it one of our favourite national holidays here at Bane + Antidote… parades and all night drinking are never a bad thing. Chicago once went as far as dying thier river green. But for a celebration so marked by the voracity of its jubilant troops there is a marked absence of tasteful celebratory consumption on offer. Green beer, green bagels and crème-de-menthe cocktails are the norm. That is why we are bringing you this sophisticated gem of a cocktail.

Applaud your good-taste and coopted Irish heritage this March by adding The Emerald to your repertoire. This mature and spirit-forward cocktail by David Wondrich for Esquire deserves to take its place as the rightful Irish cousin of the Manhattan.

Recipe:

  • 2 ounces Irish whiskey
  • 1 ounce Italian vermouth
  • 1 dash orange bitters

Stir well with cracked ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

You’re going to need to stock up on hangover cures this month friends.

 

Cold Brew Tea – A Health Kick That the Brits Will Love

We seem to be a nation of sceptics when it comes to the latest global health trend, but what could be more approachable than a nice cup of char?

kenkoMove over cold pressed juices, we are entering the age of cold brew tea. The latest health trend to take America and Hong Hong by storm, cold brew tea is valued for it’s increased nutritional content and reduced caffeine content as compared to its steaming, steeped counterparts.

Kenko Tea Bar, an independent startup currently doing well at their Old Street Station popup in London, told us that their tea leaves are soaked for at least eight hours at 7 degrees celsius, allowing the flavours, antioxidants and nutrients to infuse, while the bitterness and much of the caffeine gets left behind.

kenoKenko‘s teas contain ‘more of antioxidants than a serving of ANY fruit or vegetables’ (!) are high in vitamins and mineral, and extremely low in calories. Green tea has been shown to improve brain function, boost the immune system, reduce the risk or heart attacks and stroke, and increase metabolism. We’re sold.

Our favourite is the Pure Matcha. What better accompaniment than a Faust’s Potions Awake Potion natural health shot? After such an intense nutrition burst it will quite literally be time for #WorldDomination, so watch out world!

Good intentions aside, we are already musing on the potential for a ‘Long Island’ line, of course.

 

How to Create a Romantic Atmosphere with Decor and Styling

Katherine Hudson of The Arabian Tent Company, the Queen of aesthetics, explains how you can stimulate the sensual with styling and decor.

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Katherine founded The Arabian Tent Company in 2004 because of her love of outdoor parties, and a wish to be able to recreate the magic of festivals at events and weddings. Her beautiful, unique designs do just that and so much more. Our favourite are the William Morris and La Rouge. Watch this video on The Life of an Arabian Tent Party to learn more.

1. How did fascination with decor and aesthetics begin?

As a child I lived in an old house, with rooms piled full of furniture my grandparents had collected.  One of my favourite things was climbing through these rooms. I was fascinated by the old faded chaise longues, rattan bed-heads, collections of truncheons, elephant feet and chests filled with tapestries… I’d carry pieces of furniture through into my own room to ‘re-style’ it regularly.  I simply loved the way you could make the space feel so different, depending on what you put in it.

2. In your opinion, what is the connection between aesthetics and mood?

There’s a huge connection between them.  We absorb the atmosphere of our surroundings, which effects the way we feel.  Just imagine standing in a brick tunnel; now lying on the grass in the park staring up at the blue sky; and now sitting at a table in your favourite restaurant… how different do you feel in each of these scenarios?!

3. Can colours and textures be aphrodisiacs?

www.lighttrick.co.ukAlthough I wouldn’t be quite as bold as to claim colours and textures can actually stimulate sexual desire, colours certainly have an effect on our brains…especially male brains!  Several studies both on humans and primates have found that the colour red worn by females makes men find them more attractive (although this doesn’t work the other way around!) and textures can certainly encourage us to be tactile…try wearing a pair of velvet leggings and see how many people ask to stroke your legs!

4. What would you say is the number one mistake people make regarding their physical surroundings when trying to create a romantic atmosphere?

Tuning in to listen to a romantic radio station, but then having to listen to the adverts in-between the music! Major buzz kill.

5. How can one create a romantic setting using aesthetics?

Think of each of the senses and ensure you’ve thoroughly tantalised it! Lighting is very important as www.lighttrick.co.ukit affects cognition and mood.  You just can’t beat candle-light (definitely no LED lighting), but ensure you’ve got enough candles – dim lighting isn’t sexy, but soft lighting is. Scented candles can stimulate senses in one. Women have been found to have a more acute sense of smell than men do. Scents like jasmine (which is said to induce euphoria), and sandalwood (which heightens sexual excitement by stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system dominant during sexual arousal), and rose (an aphrodisiac for women) would all be great choices. Then ensure you’ve got tactile materials like silk or velvet around you.

6. Is a romantic atmosphere just for two or can it be used to stimulate other kinds of love and openness?

A romantic atmosphere certainly doesn’t have to be just for two, although creating one for multiple couples, like for a Valentine’s dinner party, can end up feeling clichéd and cheesy.  It’s about generating a relaxed feeling in people in order to encourage intimacy, but you do need to start with a basic level of trust within the group to begin with. It’s best not have too many people involved. So it would certainly work for a dinner party but not really for a large gathering like a wedding.

7. What is romantic for you?

Thoughtfulness. Although oysters are most definitely aphrodisiacs!

8. What are your predicted decor and styling trends for 2015?

Pops of bright colour on white/clean backgrounds will be big this year both at events and in ourDay of the Dead Shoot - weheartpictures-0113homes, as will metallic finishes and smokey glass!  Rather than large floral displays, we’ll be using statement trees and lots of green to add architectural interest and height at weddings. More herbs, berries and woodland touches such as fir-cones will be appearing instead of traditional floral displays, as ‘rustic’ is going to be a key wedding trend this year. That means lots of exposed wooden tables with benches being used in dining areas.  And lighting will be very important – LEDs are out. Warm white is in, with a revival of old fashioned Edison bulbs accented by mirrors and other eclectic objects eclectically mixed together.

9. If everyone could only have one styling item in their Valentine’s Day tool kit, what would it be?

A sumptuous large red velvet throw!

Check out The Arabian Tent Company Blog or follow them on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest to keep up to date on this innovative company’s news.