Learn how to make wedding cookies, cupcakes and cake toppers or find out the secrets of perfect piping at Kent Cake School, Sweetie Darling.
March courses include making couture cookies, which can be used as favours for guests, or learn how to stack your own wedding cake for a chance to DIY some of those wedding jobs.
Day courses start from around £65 per person and include icings, buttercream, edible materials and the use of all the equipment needed. You only need to bring an apron (and sometimes a cake!). Billie Loveland, who runs the school, limits each course to only eight places, which means you will get all the one-to-one tuition you need from their lovely teaching rooms near Canterbury.
Visit their website to find out more and book your place.
Getting in shape for your wedding is one of the best motivators. EVER.
The thought of squeezing into your wedding dress and having all eyes on you for the day is enough to see brides joining a gym before you can say “you need a pair of trainers”. But a gym membership can be expensive and actually going is practically impossible for most of us.
This year though you won’t be alone as the Wedding Dolls are getting down and shaping up. We have signed up for the Moonwalk in May so we will be dragging ourselves (I mean briskly walking) 26.2 miles around the mean streets of London. Alcohol is strictly forbidden so we are going to have to do it the traditional way and actually get fit, minus the gym membership. Here’s how we are going to do it.
Get your heart pumping and improve your muscle strength by taking up running. The local parks are a great place to start – just make sure you have proper running shoes. The Wedding Dolls friend and fitness gal, Mina Lawrence, took up running in July and can now run over 10k in under an hour. Mina says ‘running is just fantastic if you have a busy life. You can fit it in when convenient and it costs next to nothing – you can also start slowly and build up as you go – I never thought I could get this fit and can’t ever imagine not running now”. If you don’t want to run on your own join a local group, like Sarah’s Runners or get a Bridesmaid involved for added motivation!
Yes we all know that swimming is probably the best thing for a complete body workout but we just find it dull dull dull. However for a more interesting splash about, during the summer months head to the Serpentine Lido and Paddling Pool, Hyde Park. It’s just the ticket for topping up the tan whilst doing those lengths. Best of all you are a stone’s throw from some fantastic bars and restaurants for a post swim snack (just saying).
The phrase pole dancing is usually associated with the Stag do, but this form of fitness has become huge over the last few years. Lots of our brides are raving about it so we spoke to Emma of Pussycat Poles to find out why more of us then ever are giving it a go. She says “brides just seem to love pole dancing. It’s such a great form of exercise for toning up the whole body and having fun at the same time – it completely takes the stress out of an exercise routine. Lots of brides say their confidence increases as well as their fitness levels and they usually end up bringing friends to a session as part of their hen do”.
Anything with the words fun and toning up in the same sentence is fine by us.
From ballet to ballroom there’s something for everyone with dancing. Zumba is the latest craze to hit the UK and for this one we have mixed reviews. One of us (and I’m not saying which) can’t keep up and jumps around like a complete idiot whilst the other has rhythm and can shake their booty perfectly. Stomach muscles were aching the next day, which would have been from the howling with laughter, but it has to be said that with a mix of fast beats, loud music and quick dance moves you’ll be feeling the Zumba heat in no time.
If you prefer to leap about in the comfort of your own home then why not do it with a celeb or two and their annual offering of fitness DVD’s. Our favourite is Davina McCall’s, Davina Fit. The easy to follow exercises leave you feeling like you’ve had a great workout in half the time it takes to get to the gym and back. You can rotate the routines so you don’t get bored doing the same thing. Fabulous results if you can stick to working out three times a week. Davina also has a new DVD Ultimate Target out for 2012 so if you’ve tried it and like it let us know.
Sir Yes Sir. Sound of 1 2 sound of 3 4. Yes if you really need someone to shout at you and like the idea of digging out your combats then this might be just the thing. Natasha Harding, journalist and owner of The Village Yoga, took up the challenge of the five-day boot camp and told us all about it.
“A typical day’s training with GI Jane’s in Kent, meant getting up at 6am, followed by pretty much non-stop, gruelling exercise on a teeny calorie allowance of 1,200. We did a variety of exercises including hikes, circuits, salsa dancing, netball and paint balling. At the end of the agonising five days, the group were rewarded with a delicious dinner and a well deserved glass of champagne.
However the best reward was at our final assessment and weigh-in. I was delighted to discover I had lost just under 5lb and a total of five inches. It was incredibly hard, but I would definitely go back if I needed to kick-start my fitness levels”.
So there you have it – it won’t be easy and sometimes it will be downright hard but at least its fun, healthy and all in a good cause. What are you still reading this for? GO GO GO.
If you are stuck for ideas and organising something last-minute in the big smoke, here’s a quick round-up of our favourite hen party haunts and special offers available during the festive season.
Shake, Rattle & Bowl at All Star Lanes, Holborn
Shake Rattle and Bowl
is our favourite retro club night with dancing, diner and bowling. Every Saturday night the team of resident DJs play on rotation to bring you a night of unrivalled giggles and fun! Sign up now for free membership and voucher deals which offer cocktails for £3.95.
A Hen Party Gem
If you are after a lively atmosphere and a value for money night out then opt for Latenight London’s Jewel Bar. With a new bar in St Paul’s to add to their venues in Covent Garden and Piccadilly you’ll find deals of up to 50% off hearty food platters, wine and cocktails between 5pm and 7pm. Booths can be reserved and in-house party planners will help take the stress out of any organising.
Carnival comes to town
If you love a good party atmosphere and just want to dance then Guanabara in Covent Garden is hard to beat. Brazilian music pumps out and the DJ and live music mix will get you all on your feet.
It’s free to get in before 9pm and offers a great range of cocktails which use exotic fruits direct from sustainable eco-farms in the Amazon region. Food can be a bit hit and miss though so eat before you go.
If you like a bit of showing off and love to belt out a tune then Lucky Voice in Soho or Islington is for you.
With private rooms that hold from 4 to 15 you can choose from over 8,000 tracks whilst being served gorgeous cocktails and bar drinks. Rooms start from just £5 per hour during December.
Going all out Glamour
If you are thinking of celebrating in style then we would head down to JuJu, Winner of the ‘Best Bar’ at this year’s London Bar & Club Awards. The King’s Road favourite is running a promotion of an hour of complimentary cocktails for all private bookings in the lounge from Sunday to Thursday between 7pm and 8pm. Perfect for a girlie gathering to calm those pre-wedding jitters. You can hire a booth or the VIP area which can hold up to 25 guests.
For an unforgetable way to start your night visit Paramount’s Level 33 Bar. At the top of Centre Point, the viewing gallery has 360 degree views over the capital where you can sip your cocktails and Champagne in a very sophisticated way. Booths can be reserved for groups of 10-60 people.
Or for all out indulgence you can always head over to the iconic Met Bar, who have had a rethink on its members only rules. Although you might be hard pushed getting your pink boas and willy straws past the Armani clad doormen. The new drinks menu offers an extensive wine list, vintage Champagne by the glass and expertly made cocktails. Booking is VERY essential.
If you have been to any of these venues or can offer your own alternative for a great hen night then we’d love to hear about it.
If you are a Mad Men fan and just can’t wait until it returns in 2012 then you are in for a treat. Transport yourself to 1960s New York and mix it up Mad Men style at the Park Plaza Sherlock Holmes London, where they have launched Mad Men-themed private parties, perfect for your hen do.
Prices start from £360 per booking (£36 per person based on the minimum of 10 people) and include music and canapés from the era plus two cocktails per person (which are based on Mad Men characters), courtesy of your own expert bartender.
For all those aspiring Betty’s and Joan’s, you can also book a two-hour make-up lesson with Return to Glory, to learn how to recreate the perfect 1960s look. The lesson costs from £130 per party, or just £13 per person.
There’s always the option to get the Stags involved too – at least that way you can guarantee your very own Don Draper will be in attendance!