On a side note, as well as being my hen weekend, it's the weekend I finally mastered the art of applying eyeliner (subtly). It only took me 28 years!
I decided to stay in Cardiff for my hen weekend as it's somewhere we all know and, very importantly, we know all the good places to eat. Amy, Kirsty, Laura and Liz arrived on Friday evening so we went to the Gatekeeper for some food and a few cocktail pitchers. Can't go wrong with a good old Wetherspoons panini! The cocktail pitchers were also of a surprisingly high quality and much better than I remember, particularly the Mojito.
After finishing our food and drinks and chatting for a few hours, we walked back to our hotel. We stayed in the Nos Da budget hotel/hostel near the Millennium Stadium and I'd highly recommend it if you're planning a group trip to Cardiff. It was very reasonable, immaculate, spacious and in a fantastic central location. It was certainly much cleaner than any Travelodge I've ever stayed in, and even nicer than some higher end chain hotels I've been to. We had two rooms next to each other between the seven of us. How's this for a hotel room view...?
Nos Da serves a free breakfast every morning until 10am so we made the most of that before walking in to town. Again, the breakfast was much better than I expected with toast, a vast choice of spreads, lots of different cereals, tea, coffee and orange juice. We were all already extremely impressed, and the weekend had hardly started by this point!
We walked into town and went to a few shops to finish off our fancy dress costumes for the evening before meeting Fee, Jenna, Nicola, Sian and Sarah for the next leg of the weekend. Liz had booked afternoon tea at Pettigrew Tea Rooms for 3pm and I was VERY excited about this, to put it mildly. Believe it or not, I've never been for a proper afternoon tea! Very civilized for a hen weekend, but it's something I really wanted to do.
We all got a bit dressed up before walking over the tea rooms, and I was given a personalised pink hen weekend sash with 'Beth's Disney Hen Do' emblazoned on it. Perfect!
I'll be writing a separate blog post on Pettigrew Tea Rooms so I won't go into too much detail in this post, but let it be known that it was AMAZING. Liz had bought lots of Disney princess goodies such as tiaras, wands and confetti which meant the experience was extra personal and special, and the staff made us all feel very welcome. Does anyone else feel like a real Disney princess when they're wearing a pretty dress and a tiara? No? Just me?
Here are a few photos to whet your appetite before the more detailed blog post on our experience at Pettigrew Tea Rooms... my hot chocolate felt like a meal in itself!
We stayed in the tea rooms for three hours and had such a lovely time. I really thought I'd have to be rolled out because I'd eaten so much, but I somehow managed to get myself down the stairs and out of the building. Even in my (small) heels!
We had a quick drink at the Nos Da bar before going upstairs to get ready for the evening celebrations. Their bar has an outdoor seating area which was perfect for such a sunny day.
The theme for the evening was... you guessed it, Disney fancy dress! I decided to go as Minnie Mouse as I thought she was a very appropriate character for the bride-to-be. We also had a few princesses in the group (Belle, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and Snow White), Russell from Up (best costume ever), Esmerelda, Neytiri from Avatar and a character from the Incredibles. Again, everyone put in lots of effort and I genuinely loved being Minnie Mouse for a few hours. My only regret is that I didn't take enough photos!
We'd booked a table in Bella Italia for 8pm... in hindsight, we should either have booked the table for much later or just had something light. Although I never thought I'd be too full for an evening meal, I was still pretty full from the colossal afternoon tea so I didn't manage to finish my spaghetti meatballs. It was still a very tasty meal and my two glasses of Prosecco also went down very nicely!
Before we left Bella Italia, we played a game of 'Mr and Mrs' which Fee had prepared by secretly asking Neil to answer a few questions in the lead-up to the weekend. I loved this idea! I also did quite well with the questions and didn't get too many wrong, so I think this definitely proves that Neil and I are a good match. Obviously I'd have had to re-think everything if the game had gone badly. To ensure continuation of the Disney theme, I was given a Disney tattoo for every question I got wrong...
Bella Italia is always a great place to eat and this time was no exception. The staff were accommodating as always and the food was up to its usual high standard. A great meal (and drinks) was had by all!
After leaving Bella Italia, we got accosted by a few overly enthusiastic people who seemed extremely desperate to get us into their tiny and/or dodgy clubs... I started to get fed up of hearing 'free fish bowl for the hen!' I didn't want to go somewhere too loud and cramped where we couldn't sit down and have a chat (how old am I?), so we went to Charlie Browns for a few hours and played a lengthy game of 'I have never', among other things. A classic drinking game, I think you'll agree. I don't see my university friends very often and it was also the first time this particular group of people had all been together so I wanted to make sure we made the most of the opportunity to catch up (and embarrass each other during the drinking game).
We were back at the hotel by 1:30am so it wasn't a wild night by any means, but I don't think it's important what time you stay out until on your hen night as long as you have a good time, make the most of the opportunity to catch up with people and laugh a lot. I did all these things so I was very happy!
We all had breakfast again on Sunday morning, checked out of our rooms, then sat outside the hotel bar until it was time for people to catch their various modes of transport. I had such a lovely weekend and just wish it hadn't flown by so quickly. Thank you to everyone for coming to Cardiff and for making it such a fantastic weekend (I hope you're all reading this)... see you all at the wedding!
I'm now mentally preparing for round two... my work hen night. Watch this space!