Monday, February 24, 2014

81 Days: Hen Party Planning

I’ve been really excited about my Hen Party since we got engaged. I’ve only been to two other Hen Parties; one was a family friend and the other was for one of my best friends Rachael (you can read her blog here, and see some marriage tips she gave us in my post for  Rachael’s Hen Party was so much fun; cocktails, hot tub, games, horse riding, pampering, dinner, more cocktails, dancing and lots of sore heads by the end of the weekend!  My Hen Party is particularly exciting for me as we’ve moved away from a lot of our friends so girlie nights out with my bestfriends don’t happen as often as they used too. 

I was confident that my Bridesmaids would come up with a good plan for the Hen Party, and they haven’t let me down!
Buskers Bar at Temple Bar Hotel, Dublin
Photo from Temple Bar Website
At the end of March a group of lovely ladies will be joining me as we head to Dublin, for a cocktail making class at the Temple Bar Hotel, dinner and a night out at the Wright Venue  for a sort of Sex and the City themed Hen Party.  I’ve heard really good things about the Wright Venue so I’m really looking forward dancing the night away!  A lot of what I miss is getting ready together with my friends, (sometimes Jim comes and sits with me while I do my make-up but it’s not the same) so we’ve booked into a hotel for some girlie pampering before we go out. 

City Themed Rooms at the Wright Venue
Photo from Wright Venue Website
I wanted something chic and not too stereotypically ‘Hen Party’ so the girls are all going in Little Black Dresses and my bridesmaids suggested I wear a different colour so I’ve started looking for a dress but it’s proving almost as difficult as finding a wedding dress!!

My favourites so far are below (Spring/floral theme).
Warehouse - £65 (currently 20% off)

Whistles - £165

Ted Baker - £139

We're going to put together some goodie bags for all the guests which I'm very excited about and I'm going to make some badges/rosettes on the Sex & The City Theme, possibly from old copies of Elle & Vogue - we'll see how that goes...
Very Rough Trial Run


Thursday, February 13, 2014

92 Days: Pre-Weddingmoon - Greece Part 2

After a few days in Athens we traveled north to Volos (Βόλος) a beautiful coastal city backed by mountains - mountains which were topped with snow!! 

Snowy trees

The day that we went exploring up the mountains we hit some pretty icy terrain, on our way to the Ski resort at the top, and decided to turn back and visit a village called Makrynitsa, less high up, less snowy, but still bitterly cold.  

One of the many cats of Makrynitsa 

The view of Volos from Makrynitsa was magnificent and I imagine looks even better on a sunny day. 

Standard Jim in a tree picture

We found the most gorgeous little coffee shop to defrost in and it served the best hot chocolate and chocolate souffle I've ever had - It didn't last long!!

We also had a lovely coastal walk exploring the lengths of the Volos seafront, which ended in some traditional Mezze and locally distilled TsipouroTsipouro is a Greek Spirit and comes flavoured with or without anise. I prefered the Tsipouro with anise and was fascinated watching it change from clear to cloudy when you added ice (still not sure of the science behind this - could be magic).

The thing I think we’ll remember the most from our trip to Greece is the hospitality.  From our hosts, to their friends and the people we met in the bars and taverns, every person we spoke with made us feel so welcome.  We even sat for 6 hours in one tavern having dinner and no one hurried us out, even when we were the last table left.

People seemed genuinely interested in chatting to us and put our very minimal Greek vocabulary to shame with their very impressive conversational English! Our shouts of
'γειά σου' (Helllo)
 'παρακαλώ' (Please) 
ευχαριστώ’ (Thanks)
shouldn’t have impressed anyone but they seem pleased with our attempts.

Giannis and Stefania were so kind and considerate while we were there.  They were fantastic tour guides and I definitely felt that we came away knowing more about Greek culture and history. I just hope we have the opportunity to show them the hospitality of the Irish soon!!

These posts have been a bit different for my blog, I hope you enjoyed them.  We are also visiting Paris at the end of this month, my Christmas present to Jim,  so there may be another.

I’d highly recommend a pre-weddingmoon trip to any couple planning a wedding.  It was so lovely to put our planning and daily life to the back of our minds. Wedding planning can be stressful and with less than 100 days to go (?!) it was nice to take some time out and enjoy just being Jim & Amy.


Wednesday, February 12, 2014

93 Days: Pre-Weddingmoon - Greece Part 1

I feel like I was at the airport a lot last year.  It was mostly wedding planning trips back to Northern Ireland which were lovely since we got to catch up with friends and family.  But it had been a really long time since we had a holiday somewhere, to just relax and explore.

In December, Jim surprised me with a trip to Greece as my Christmas present.

We had never been in mainland Greece before so it was going to be an adventure for both of us. Also, two friends, Giannis and Stefania who we'd met in Leicester had returned to Greece after Stefania had finished university and we'd spent the last year and a half telling them how much we wanted to visit. Greece was the perfect destination.

Greece is beautiful!  As it was January the weather wasn’t exactly cocktails and swimsuits on the beach (hottest we had was 16 degrees, down as far as a brisk 5 degrees at night) but it definitely felt less wintery and was much brighter than the weather we'd left back in England.

Athens was wonderful.  Our friend’s sister and her partner were kind enough to let us stay with them and we quickly learned how to negotiate the 3 line underground system in and out of the city centre.  We spent a lot of our time in an area called Exharia where there were lots of great places to eat (all happy to cater for vegans) and some great bars. It was also full of book shops! We met some lovely new people who were all really interested in chatting with us and recommended places to visit and different local delicacies to try.

We visited the brand new Acropolis Museum on our first full day in Athens (and got told off for taking pictures in a no picture area - the illicit snaps are below...). 

There is a walk way right round the Acropolis (but outside the actual pay-in bit).  After our visit to the museum and some Souvalki (tasty and veggie, of course) we walked the whole way round and up some tiny steep pedestrian streets that wound their way up between little houses.  We kept thinking we’d reached a dead end, and we’d almost get ready to turn round and climb down, only to find another, almost hidden, tiny path.  When we got to the top we climbed up a big piece of rock and admired the view as the sun set.

After being so close to the Acropolis but not inside I was pretty excited to get there the next day.  I thought it was pretty reasonably priced at 12 Euros per person, and Jim got in free as a PHD student.  It was spectacular!! Annoyingly my phone died so I couldn’t take any pictures so all Acropolis pictures are by my lovely friend Stefania and she takes much better pictures than I ever could!! (She did get a bit frustrated by the construction work that was going on, and all the photos feature just a hint of scaffolding - ancient scaffolding of course.)

Odeon of Herodes Atticus



To be continued....