I decided for my hen do I would prefer to use the money I would blow on a single night out on a weekend away instead. After all a night out with a L plate on my back, a cheap veil, carrying a giant blow up penis whilst some random man flaunts his wares in my face is not my idea of fun.
After many hours of scouring Internet sites for an appropriate location for my hen do, me and my chief bridesmaid stumbled upon somewhere far too good to be true, Stonetrail Cottages. It is made up of three cottages which rented out as one can can sleep up to 16 people. After browsing the site it appeared to be absolutely perfect for us so we went ahead and provisionally booked it. The owners of Stonetrail have you in mind from the offset as you can provisionally make a booking online for one week so if you are a large party this gives you time to collect money together from people and gives you the comfort of knowing its only provisional so your not left with a hefty bill if people decide to drop out. The website advertises for hen parties too so we would be welcomed as most places I looked at seemed a bit dubious about this. They also provided a high chair and travel cot as we took Luca with us so his Daddy could have his stag weekend.
The cottages are in Kirby Stephen, a small town in Cumbria. The cottages themselves, however, are in the middle of nowhere with sheep as your only neighbours. However what made it extra special for us was the 10 minutes walk to the pub and the horse riding on our doorstep. When we drove up the long drive to the cottages on the Friday afternoon, greeted by the bleating sheep and glorious sunshine I instantly felt relaxed. The cottages are built from beautiful stone, and with nothing but amazing green rolling hills behind them they looked like something from a postcard.
Waiting for us in the kitchen were 6 bottles of wine, some beautiful flowers and a huge box of chocolates. We had definitely made the right choice!
My fabulous bridesmaids, Ashleigh & Abbie had also arranged to arrive before us to decorate the place a little and had some lovely little surprises for me too like my favourite sweets, personalised pink champagne flutes (and a cup for Luca), balloons and some very cute, very tasty personalised cupcakes.
With the sun high in the sky it didn't take us long to crack open the alcohol and get in the garden. The weather was so kind to us and allowed us to enjoy a BBQ and soak up the last of the sun playing ridiculous games, wrestling with a boxer dog and generally getting a little merry. We did eventually have to move the party indoors though as we started to get bitten but that didn't dampen our mood we continued to play some games and generally have a good girly natter and giggle.
Saturday morning, after filling our faces with bacon sandwiches and lots of tea to attempt to ward of the hangovers, we pulled on our riding boots and hats and mounted our horses for an early morning ride. The sun had once again put his hat on for us so we were able to ride in just vest tops and t-shirts and enjoy the unspoilt views of our beautiful Great British countryside at its best. As we were all of varying riding abilities from literally never having sat on a horse to riding for years we only went for a gentle plod but it was perfect for blowing the cobwebs away from the night before and getting us all ready and raring for the day ahead. Luca was not impressed he couldn't ride with us so decided to nap the whole time we were out.
Once we were all safely off our horses, out of our riding gear (easier said than done for some of us) and had washed the smell of horse from ourselves, we headed out to Lake Windermere. We decided to visit the Brockhole visitor centre where there are plenty of activities to do or just beautiful sights to see. We had a picnic and ice cream on the grass below the beautiful house and gardens before taking a stroll to the lake edge for an adventure in a rowing boat.
After a our nice relaxing afternoon we set off back to the cottage to begin getting ready for our big night out at the local pub. The poor locals weren't quite sure what had hit them when 10 loud, guffawing ladies took over their usually quite drinking hole telling stories and tales and generally causing a stir. However, they welcomed us with open arms and we were never made to feel uncomfortable. Even better though the food we ate was delicious and the booze reasonable priced. All in all we had another great night.
The final day of our weekend saw us taking a trip to Odin to visit the chocolate factory. I have to say we were all slightly disappointed as it wasn't quite as advertised on the website. It was more of a chocolate & coffee shop with a few windows into the kitchen. However, the chocolates were delicious as I'm sure Luca will tell you all, and as promised my Boppa finally bought me a horse.
We ended the weekend with a visit to Kirby Stephen for a browse around the small but cute shops and a bite of lunch before we all parted ways and headed home.
I had a brilliant weekend and we were relatively well behaved for a hen party, I think mainly because we had Luca with us. We only encountered one slightly 'illegal' activity the whole weekend, I'm looking at you Rainy Banks!! It was lovely to spend it with 9 other ladies and my little boy, all of whom I adore and made it a weekend to remember.
Photos by Stephanie Wetherhill & Little Luca & Me
Photos by Stephanie Wetherhill & Little Luca & Me