Cardiff: Clucking Great!

This bank holiday weekend, I have been a hen. It was my first hen do and I was very pleased to say that it was fantastic and I loved the fact that it was to celebrate the upcoming marriage of a close friend. (see previous post Two hearts, Two rings to see how the engagement started 😉 https://samanthagray9.wordpress.com/2012/08/09/two-hearts-two-rings/) We went to Cardiff for 3 days and it was fantastic, varied and mainly just filled with girly fun!

I’ve always thought the term ‘hen’ is odd. And men get ‘stag’ – I won’t go on my feminist rant and say that we get the timid, feathered, two-legged bird that people eat on regular basis and men get a four-legged, strong beast of animal. I do wonder about the origin though. And if women are called ‘hens’ then why aren’t men called cockerels?! That is way more fitting for me 😉 ………just googled it quick and the term ‘hen’ has been used since the 1800s to talk about a female gathering of ‘chit-chat’. It doesn’t say why a hen; I am getting an idea from the cluck clucking of chatter perhaps? ‘Stag’ comes from the 1930s apparently when short pornographic films called ‘stag movies’ were shown to men when one of them was about to be married. Odd. There is also a term ‘hag’ parties,’ where both ‘hens’ and ‘stags’ attend. Messy. We got into enough mischief just us hens.

We spent the weekend in personalised black and pink T-shirts with the details on the hen do and our own nickname. Mine was ‘Samubuca!’ Pink sashes completed the look and I must say now I’m home, my clothes feel boring 😉 We had Grease dances lessons where we learnt a dance routine to Grease mega mix. That was fun and I was the hen getting picked on for my lack of coordination and rhythm 😉  We then had cocktails making lessons (cocktails is another work I’ve always pondered about but I’ll leave that for another day!) and to our delight the ‘Dream boys’ were practising for a routine at the same time. Dancing, alcohol and er ‘hunky’ men – what more could we have asked for?

A spa day perhaps, which was secretly my favourite bit. I had never been to one before and I thought it was great! You walk round in a robe and slippers and dip in and out of the pool, Jacuzzi, steam room, sauna and then lie in a relaxation room! I also got my nails done, whilst the other hens mainly had massages. The place was so relaxing and it was the calm before the storm of our night out – but it did remind me a little of an insane asylum (not that I am familiar with them or anything)  but think about it. The place is full of this calm air, people walk round in white robes and everyone in smiling insanely and whispering! And I don’t think I have ever eaten a posh two course meal with pink champagne in a dressing-gown before and still managed to feel glamorous and like royalty! Crazy place and I can’t wait to go to another one!

The evening consisted of a limo ride – this time we had all clothes on – more champagne, games and dares! The limo then dropped us at a lovely Italian restaurant and our dares were to be completed within the first hour of being in the first bar. I didn’t ‘chicken’ out of mine 😉 and I proudly and drunkenly stood on a chair in the crowded bar and did the ‘robot’ dance’ haha! The two ‘pain killer’ cocktails I had helped with this! My friend also did a dare and successfully got a man’s underwear and put them on herself! But that’s all you’re getting….. anything else is wrapped up in the term ‘What happened in Cardiff, stays in Cardiff!’ 😉

I fully recommend Cardiff for a stag or hen do – or hag do! We stayed at a travel lodge on Mary Street. It was on the busiest street and it was like we had a club in our room – which didn’t really work when we wanted some sleep the first eve before our big night out the 2nd night! But the double-glazed windows did us proud and I was out like a light and had a clucking good sleep 😉 Don’t stay at this hotel if you want a nice, quiet weekend of sight-seeing though 😉 Because the only sights you will see and hear are gangs of hens and stags out in full force with pink sashes or dressed as Tony the Tiger – you decide which is which!

Here is a poem I wrote for the occasion too:

Cardiff Chaos

Lou’s hen do is upon us,

We’re meeting at half 8,

A weekend of surprises,

But where the hell is Kate?

Sarah’s got her T-shirt,

Sian’s got her willy straw,

Tore and Karen all aboard,

For laughs and drinks galore!

We’re ready for the first bit,

Lou’s got her dancing shoes,

Grease lightening time ahead,

But all Sam wants is booze!

Loz is in there getting pics,

as Sadie and Chris dance away,

The shots then keep on coming,

‘Down it’ …we all obey!

Feeling rough the next morning,

Camilla slurps her tea,

But we’re all out early again,

For Princess Lou’s next activity.

Then Monday is now here,

Fantastic hen weekend done,

Nic’s done a brilliant job,

Hope the wedding is as fun!

Writing this ahead of time was a bit of a jinx. But it did all happen and go to plan. Brilliant weekend!

XSXS

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A Dry Month

Well, it has been a dry month for me. I know, you are thinking: ‘What?! It’s rained loads and now snow is on the way! It is nothing but dry!’ Yes, indeed the weather had been full of fluid, wet precipitation. My mouth has only seen liquid of the non-alcoholic kind though 😦 . I mentioned in a previous post that  I am doing a Dry-athlon. This means that I can’t touch alcohol for the whole of January. It also means that I am helping to drink all the extra water that we have upon our hands; as normally I would be drinking wine instead 😉

I’ve managed the first week OK. When I say ‘OK’, I mean that I have eaten more chocolate and cake than usual in order to have an alternative ‘treat’ and every time we have a nice dinner, I have cranberry juice in a wine glass  – just so I can pretend ;-). It also turns out that I can be ‘drunk’ without alcohol. I am silly due to my personality apparently!

But in all seriousness, I am managing and as much as it sounds like it, I am NOT an alcoholic! If I was, you would be the first to know 😉 It is quite nice actually to  not have hangovers. Being the designated driver, too, means that you know how and when you are getting home! Luckily though, I don’t have any big nights out this month because I don’t think I could do the whole dancing without a big drink. I just feel too aware of myself and like I’m all limbs! So, I’ll save the dancing for inside my living room, curtains firmly closed with a wine glass of  juice in my hand. 🙂

Now, here comes the predictive and annoying bit. The Dry-athlon is in aid of Cancer Research. I have not registered myself but I am doing the deed as part of a team with my sister and uncle’s wife so I would appreciate it if any of you could spare the odd ÂŁ1 – like when you don’t have that shot before leaving the bar – of if you go for that single rather than the double – or you just like giving to a good cause! Then click the links below and Cancer Research will benefit from my dry, dry month! 😀

http://www.justgiving.com/dryathlete-emily-gray2013

http://www.justgiving.com/dryathlete-cheryl-tagg

Also take a look at the crazy people doing this challenge and more info about it:https://www.facebook.com/#!/Dryathlon

Are any of you out there doing it? Finding it hard?

Thanks to any of you that do give and Good Luck to anyone doing it! Only 22 days to go 😉

XSXS

Decluttering those January blues…..

January is always a month for decluttering. I would go as far as saying that we all declutter, in some way. I am a huge fan of the declutter and of the new year as a whole. It is like everything is wiped clean. A new start. A blank canvas. Even if you had a great year the previous year (as I did), it is still nice to reset the clock and see what can happen in the New Year. Bye bye to Christmas and hello to resolutions, cutting back on food and money and the thought of bad weather. Very depressing when you think of it like that. I like to put my whole positive spin it, though. It can be a chilled month if we choose.  No crazy Christmas meals and parties every weekend that we feel obliged to attend. Yes, we have to go back to work but I think that, in some form, we all need a routine too. I begin to crave the normality of a working day – because chilling in front of the TV with a cuppa just isn’t special when you’ve done it for a week is it? After a working day, you feel you have earned it. Also, you don’t need to scrap and save for Christmas presents and you hopefully have enough food and drink to live off for a while, so leave the pennies in your pocket. No rushing around the shops either to get Christmas goodies – unless you are like me and actually like sale shopping!

But the best part about January is, as my first point states, is the decluttering. I said we all do it in some way – you may just physically put the Christmas rubbish out and load the empties into the recycling bin after New Year’s Eve 😉 but doesn’t it feel great when you get rid of something you don’t need? I am a huuuge fan of the declutter. I have spent my day doing it today. Decluttering the house at first. As much as I love having my Christmas trees and decs up, (and I must admit I had a pang of disappointment just as I realised I couldn’t put my tree lights on in the looming darkness) I do love it when the house is, once again, de-christmased. Last night, after spending the day hungover, I suddenly had the urge to take everything santa related down. The cards, the tinsel, the trees. And I did. I figured, I may not get the ‘urge’ again until I am back at work so I did it all. Then today, I have had a clear out of clothes, underwear, toiletries, make-up and present packaging (what is with all the plastic?!). I also got onto enviro-phone.com and sold my old mobile phone – I got ÂŁ27 (which will now buy me a new mp3 player that I lost in: https://samanthagray9.wordpress.com/2012/12/27/a-stupid-free-christmas-day/. It felt good to remove unwanted things to make space for the new, wanted things.

At this time of year, I also declutter my mind. I try and let go of things that have bothered me and I try to get a positive mind about returning to work. I also make resolutions. I do this every year and make quite a few. I think we can always self-improve. I don’t mean this in a way that if we keep doing this then in a few years we will be perfect. No. I just think there is always something we can do to increase our quality of life. But there are two BUTs to this. My boyfriend’s brother just said one on his Facebook update: You have to know how you can achieve it. And secondly, you have to want to do it.

This year, mine are:

  • To continue with this blog (whoop, so far so good)
  • To finish my book ( this has now been one for two years  – so I must do this)
  • Write more poems/short stories
  • Read more and use Book Lover’s Diary (https://samanthagray9.wordpress.com/2012/12/30/a-book-lovers-post/)
  • Give alcohol up for January
  • Give up chocolate for Lent ( I do this every year)
  • Walk/swim/gym three times a week
  • See friends I haven’t seen for a while (friend in France and University friends)
  • Remember all birthdays! (I’m normally pretty good but occasionally one sneaks up on me and I feel awful)
  • Not get so impatient and annoyed by trivial things (my boyfriend is very excited by this one!)

Yes, there are a lot but I think they all very achievable. And look at it this way, by making a list of them then you have a higher hope of doing at least one 😉

So yes, there are a couple of resolutions that will aid with the decluttering process. Giving up alcohol is my main one. My uncle’s wife said she was doing a Dryathalon. I was intrigued and, at first, I must admit I thought it was something related to the recent floods we have had! But no, it is to not drink alcohol for January. (I will share more details in a future post.) I thought this would be a good way to give my body a break after all the indulgence. I can’t do food yet as there are still too many goodies in the house! Alcohol, I will do though and I even poured some open wine away earlier as a weird, cleansing ceremony! 😉 I have 7 birthdays this month, my anniversary and my sister’s graduation – so all the more challenging! It’s all in aid of Cancer research and I am going to do it! All in aid of the delcuttering, too, of course 😉

The regular readers with an eye for detail will also notice I have decluttered my blog slightly – I changed my tag line to ‘Life: the serious and the silly…’ I wanted something minimalistic, simple and that reflects all the random topics I talk about. Everything comes under silly and serious in some way I feel 😉

So January is good because I have/or I am going to declutter:

  1. the house
  2. my mind
  3. my body
  4. my blog
  5. and my life!

I imagine by March things will all be cluttered again because even though I have these mad clear outs, deep down I am a secret hoarder 😉 but shhhhh….

Happy decluttering!

XSXS

 

 

It’s a Party and I’ll Analyse if I want to….

It is the party season, as we call it. We celebrate with work parties, christmas parties, family parties and it got me thinking of all the meanings of the word ‘party’. Of course there is the political party – which really is no fun, but like a social party could probably be improved with some alcohol! In this case, it is just a gathering of people then. Is this loosely what a party is?

This weekend, I am going to two parties. Both christmas parties, but one is at a rowing club and one is at an old people’s home. I thought to myself, ‘When did my life get this odd?!’ The rowing one is an annual one and we celebrate with all the rowers and partners at my boyfriend’s rowing club. To look a little more closely at the party it is actually 40 odd local sports men and women sitting eating buffet food in a small wooden building! It is fun though and luckily so many people come and generously, in addition to food, give body heat so it isn’t too cold! As for the party at the old people’s home, I am not sure yet! It will be my first but since my Grandad is now at one, we are going to it. I’ve heard there is food and raffle so should be similar to the rowing one but just with a different party of people!

I have also, this week, had two work parties. They were meals in town though and even though we referred to them as department ‘meals’ they are still classed as the generic ‘work christmas party’. Very nice meals and company. But miles apart from a ‘house’ party full of spilt drinks and fumbled snogging til the early hours. Over the holiday period we will be having an ‘after’ party at ours after our annual pub eve – where everyone we know meets at the same pub and we all get very merry in the name of Christmas. Our ‘after’ party is pretty much a place to go to when the pub is closed and we have boozingly eaten take-away food and are ready to begin drinking again!

We will also have a New Year’s Eve party and in the sense of the word this is what I think of as a typical ‘party’. People will turn up with booze and food (I hope) we will chat, dance, play silly drunken games and eat various food and drink some really weird drinks. Guests will then ‘crash’ and stay over after the party has finally fizzled at 3am (ish). The then next day because it will then be morning it is no longer called a party but we will all have a lovely hungover fry-up breakfast together! To me that is part of the party really and has become part of the tradition just as much as the alcohol and silly antics.

As a final mention there are Tupperware parties (or there were in the 80s) that have now been replaced with Ann Summer’s parties or Body Shop or Avon parties, which let’s face it exist because they combine women’s favourite things of wine, chatting, laughter and shopping (and sex in the Ann Summer’s case!). Maybe any kinds of social gathering that we enjoy, we call a party. It makes it sounds more fun doesn’t it? Would you like to come round for an Ann Summer’s eve? Nah, not the same. It has to be party.

So yes different kinds of parties all make up our party holiday season. They all differ for other reasons too. Like which music we are into, how many friends we have, what food we have in, how much money we have, what mood we are in…. but if friends and family are there and we having a good time, then who cares what kind of party it is?!

So enjoy partying this Christmas and remember ‘Nobody looks back on their life and remembers the nights that they got lots of sleep!’ 😉

XSXS

Christmas Spirit

I do love an old spirit pun at this time of year. I am planning to put up decorations this week so I felt in the spirit to write this poem. It took me 5 mins so it’s a bit sketchy but sometimes I just like to write something straight out without editing.
Christmas Spirit
We only have four weeks to go,
until that special day,
presents to buy and food to get,
’til ‘Merry Christmas’ we say!
It can be a little stressful,
so you need to stay ‘with it’
so get out Baileys or vodka,
and get in the Christmas spirit!
Believe me, with a glass in hand, you feel much more like getting the decorations out or writing those christmas cards!
XSXS

Come Wine with Me

I am very lucky to have not one, but two, groups of very close girly mates.  And guess what? They ply me with wine and cook for me sometimes too! I love having different groups of mates. last friday I had a girly night out with one group and we went to a Rock club (see Not Sloshed enough to Mosh?) Last night, I spent it with my other girly group (who are ex-colleagues and we have stayed close friends). We sort of do a Come Dine with Me evenings… you must have seen the programme Come Dine with Me? Each of us take a turn to cook….. except it doesn’t happen within a week but normally months apart and we don’t particularly score each other but I think we should! I then started doing this with my rocker friends girl group and I am going to one of them next weekend. So yes, all yummy food and wine and chatter… Mmmmmm…

Last night, my friends did tapas and a paella. We try to do a theme each time. No prizes for guessing that last night’s was Spanish. It was yummy and much wine was drank. The chatter focussed around our friend who is engaged (see Two hearts, Two rings). She even tried on our host’s wedding dress from years ago in between the main course and dessert! See, just ike the programme where they nosey round each other’s houses and  try on random outfits!

One of our most memorable Come Dine with Me’s was a few years ago and we went to one friend’s flat and she cooked us a Mexican menu. It was great, we had fajitas, enchiladas, nachos etc. We even had creme caramels and we had a game to see if anyone could suck a whole one up in one go! I failed miserably! We even made our clothes match the food that night and we came dressed Mexican themed! We had plastic toy guns,  a sombrero (borrowed from the Language department at school!), some tequila (for prop use only of course!) and moustaches to add a final touch. We all looked hilarious! Too hilarious to stay in a flat all night. After much wine and few tequilas, we decided that our outfits had to be shared with the world (well in our little town) so we went out to a bar. We got much attention as we were really five women dressed as moustached men! I tell you, I have never had so much male attention on my life!! I think it was the whole ‘up for a laugh’ attitude we clearly had and we clearly couldn’t care less what people thought of us! The alcohol helped with that though. I may have cared a bit if I was sober or in day light! It was a very funny night and one of those nights that are so brilliant just because it wasn’t planned and totally spur of the moment (well the bar bit!)

so don’t just come dine with me. Come and wine with me. Dance with me. And be a drunken Mexican with me!

See you tomorrow,

XSXS

Not Sloshed enough to Mosh?

Afternoon people, you may have noticed that I didn’t publish anything yesterday. I’ve decided that I am going to fight the guilty feeling from this and not go into this whole ‘apology’ spiel when I don’t manage to post anything. It’s boring for me to write and boring for you to read. Sometimes, I don’t get as much time as I would like and as good as my life is…. I don’t always have something fascinating to write about! So, I would, on occasion, rather write no post than a rubbish post – again better for me and better for you 😉

Anyway, last night I went on a girls’ night out. We had fun with drink, laughter, banter etc and then we ended up in a ‘rock’ club. Not my thing at all and I thought I would share my thoughts with you. I am not opposed to ‘rock’ music as such. I like a lot of the mainstream stuff such as Green Day, Sum 41, Blink 182 and all that. I know some of you out there will be like ‘that’s not Rock but something more specific like …. I dunno… I can’t even think of anything else except Indie and I wouldn’t categorise them as that. That’s the point though isn’t it? All this categorising is a pain…. I just like what I like, no matter what the particular ‘genre’ is. For the sake of this post, I will use the term ‘rock’ loosely depending on how individuals view it.

Why did we end up in this ‘Rock’ place? Well, two of my girl mates are true Rockers at heart. They always come to the mainstream places with me and my other, cheesy pop loving night out, friend. Last night, we had agreed for it to be a belated celebration of the two rockers’ birthdays and when their faces drooped when we went into our usual club, I thought – ‘oh, we need to take one for the team and go to Mosh.’ Mosh is the name of the Rock club you see. So off we went….. to the Dark Side……

I’d had a few drinks but nothing like last weekend (see my post Mixing Drink with More Drink). This was when I thought, ‘I am not sloshed enough for Mosh’ Haha. We walked in and there was a smell. Of sweat mixed with stale sick. Yuk. The music was loud. I know, I know, I sound old. I felt it too at times… as just like we went out for Dirty Thursday (See posts Getting Down and Dirty with the Teenagers part 1 and 2) there was a lot of teenagers out. It was too early for Fresher’s Week but we thought that maybe the 2nd and 3rd year students had come back early to party – or mosh. Anyway, yes the music was ear bleeding, heart pounding loud. The good news was – I knew the first song!!!! Motivation by Sum 41! Oh yes. I thought maybe I would like it in there afterall…… trouble was, I didn’t know the next 20 songs that followed!!!!  I thought maybe if I was drunker, I would have happily danced away anyway. I also wouldn’t have been so conscious of sticking out like a naked person in a sea of appropriately dressed people. Except, I wasn’t feeling under dressed but the opposite. In my little blue and white polka dress, black heels, pretty jewellery, I felt a bit out of place! I felt like I was wearing a huge banner on the back of my dress saying: ‘I don’t belong here – my friends dragged me!’ Haha.

The place had three floors and we seemed to spend the first half an hour walking from one to the other to find the ‘right’ one for us. Quite frankly there was no ‘pop’ floor so I wasn’t really bothered! I knew a few more songs later on but just not enough. It made me think how important music is to a night out. You need to know the songs as they keep you motivated to keep going until the early hours. You get all excited when a song comes on you know and the next few minutes goes by in seconds as you eagerly await your next favourite tune. This is how it was for my two Rocker friends. They have always been into this music since school. They used to dress in real rocker clothes too and one used to have dreadlocks and one had pink hair at one point too! They were called ‘grebs’ or ‘grunges’ back then. They used to drag us to this shop where they could buy their flared, bright coloured corded jeans, skull T-shirts and so on. Me and my other mate joked that this was the closest we had ever come to smoking weed – second hand – because the place stunk of the stuff!! Ha. So yes, last night they had the time of their lives. So it was worth it – I guess 😉

So for a night out, you need good music or if not, more alcohol!! 😉

See you tomorrow (hopefully!)

XSXS

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