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






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.