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Wednesday 9 May 2012

I'm Glamping in the rain....

Wedding time is fast approaching within my friendship circle - everyone is beginning to head off on breaks away and returning looking gloriously happy with diamonds twinkling on their left ring finger! I'm not even vaguely at that stage and I'm generally fine about it but what does worry me is that I'm not at all grown up in any sense of the word! I still go out every weekend with the girls, have no interest in quiet nights in or family get togethers (unless it's a night with my sisters fuelled by cocktails and cava) and planning and saving for a big day of celebrations in a white dress would totally kill me! 

So I think it's safe to say that I give all my engaged girls a hug, congratulate them and get super duper excited (as it is so nice to see your besties ridiculously happy), but secretly know I am still a massive baby who is totally selfish and would rather spend my money on a brand new Mulberry Harriet Satchel! 

Having said that, I'm very much enjoying all the hens...!

I have just returned from a hen weekend for very good friends of mine, Charlie who is marrying the very lovely Chris. Now they're not your standard couple, they are totally in love and deliriously happy but they aren't going to jump into a grown-up house, with a garden and start having babies straight away! Charlie still comes out on all the girls' nights out, gets blind drunk and can always be convinced to do the worm down the bar (even when she's wearing a teeny tiny dress)! Meanwhile Chris goes out with the boys and returns home to Charlie with only one of his favourite winkle picker boots on claiming he lost the other at the gig he was!?  They truly are the most fun couple in the world with the BEST stories...Sheryl Crow ring any bells Charlie...I just can't wait for the wedding and especially the best man's speech!!!

So, back to the hen.  Charlie's sister was given the job of organising the hen and I was asked to help out as she wanted to plan a weekend away and I've recently planned quite a few New Year Getaways as previously blogged! We thought long and hard about what to do with 18 girls and tried to think of what the bride would really enjoy...a villa abroad was in the mix, a big stately house came up, as did a cute country cottage...but we eventually agreed on.....Glamping!!!  

So we set off to Wild Luxury Pigeon Wood in Norfolk - top tip...DO NOT rely on your sat nav as it takes you to a crossroads in a country village and apparently that is your destination...75 minutes later we found our real destination in the pitch black!! Anyway, navigational issues dealt with we arrived and checked out our home for the weekend.  You can either rent out a single lodge (from £225 for 2 nights or from £559 for 7 nights) or like us, for a bigger group, you can hire out the total location, 5 luxury lodges set in a 2000 acre estate.

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If, like me, the word camping scares you senseless then please don't be put off, Pigeon Wood definitely falls more heavily on the glamorous side of glamping with comfort at the forefront of every element of design. The lodges sleep 6 people - 1 king bed, 1 double cabin bed (so cute and lots of fun) and a bunk bed and are surprisingly spacious. For a small fee you can have all your linen and thick duvets provided - nice luxury satin striped white bed linen at that!  

Each lodge has a small Aga for cooking and heat and wood, fire lighters and matches are all provided. It's probably a good point to mention that the site has no electricity... but you'll be surprised how refreshing and fun a weekend of candlelit lanterns, oil lamps and Agas can be! Just make sure that you charge your phone before you arrive and bring laptops and speakers for music! 

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Back to the lodges...electricity aside, each one has all your essential home comforts: a flushing toilet; a boiling hot shower; a big cool box packed with ice to stash all your food and drink in; all necessary utensils, crockery, pantry basics; and of course your all important hot water bottles! 

We spent two evenings and a day drinking, eating, playing inappropriate games, BBQ'ing in the rain on our fire pits (!), and generally being very drunk and having lots of fun! It was a bit on the cold side but I think that may have been down to the fact that we spent the whole weekend in the communal lodge (we only needed 4 of the 5 lodges so used one as a communal area for cooking, eating and games which worked fantastically for us as people could head off to bed and leave mess with no complaints!) and totally forgot to tend to our Agas which meant that our sleeping lodges never fully heated up...

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I can't leave out our Saturday daytime activity, it is definitely one that most us won't forget in a hurry, if ever!!! We packed ourselves off a little worse for wear, most of us in not a scrap of make-up and very unattractive outfits, to the near-by Extreeme Adventure! As Charlie has always been a competitive one who is very sporty, what better way to entertain her?! I'm not a complete wimp but it's safe to say that I have never been so petrified in my life!! I decided not to bring my gym trainers as I didn't want to get them muddy and instead brought my old grey plimsoll trainers with NO grip...a decision I very soon regretted when I saw the 40 foot high cables that I had to balance on! We were all harnessed up and then embarked on a two and half hour course of zip lines, swinging logs, suspended tight-ropes, nets and rickety tubes to climb through, all with 20-40 foot drops below them! We pretty much all completed it somehow and ended up on a swing contraption which was the scariest yet funnest of them all, see video evidence here a few laughs....

A really fun weekend was had by all and definitely one to visit again - big group or not! If high ropes and zip lines aren't quite your thing, there are also tonnes of pubs in the area, perfect for long country walks and cosy drinks to fill your days and evenings! My advice would be to pack wellingtons and a waterproof jacket instead off the Uggs and a fur trimmed parka that I packed - two days of rain and gale force winds and I cared much less about looking good and much more about staying warm and dry!

Now onto the next hen...ideas welcome...!

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