Hen-Dos and Don’ts: Planning The Perfect Pre-Wedding Party

You’re delighted to have been chosen as the maid of honour for your best friend’s big day. It’s what both of you have been talking about for the majority of your lives. But is it selfish to think that it also come with too much work and responsibility? After all, you’ve already spent months helping her husband-to-be choose her perfect engagement ring before he popped the question and you had to keep it quiet for what felt like a lifetime! You’ve now been put in charge of the all important hen-do, which adds another notch of pressure. Try not to enter panic mode just yet and follow a few simple do’s and don’ts which will make the hen-do go off without a hitch.


-Choose a fabulous location

When it comes to momentous occasions like a hen party, the location is key. You need to decide on a place which the bride-to-be will truly appreciate and enjoy. Don’t be afraid to ask her outright if she has any specific locations in mind or any that are off limits. This conversation could come in handy, and avoid you all awkwardly bumping into her ex at a place you really should’ve avoided!

Remember to book stuff in advance

Spontaneity can be excellent fun, but when it comes to large group gatherings organisation is key. Avoid mood-killing encounters by booking tables and restaurants beforehand. It’s always a struggle trying to find a huge table for twenty people when they haven’t been prewarned.

-Organise a fun activity

Think of an enjoyable hen party activity, like a dancing party or a photobooth session. Your goal is to make it memorable for the entire group and allow everybody to let loose.


Make it too obvious

Hen-dos don’t always have to be about those stereotypical things we see in the movies. Keep it classy ladies. Think of something innovative, like a prosecco themed afternoon tea in a fancy coffee shop or an evening out to a toe-tapping musical. You’re bound to please more people by thinking outside the box.

-Spend a fortune

It’s not your responsibility to fork out your life savings for this party. Make sure you recruit other people to help you out and share the financial load. Everyone is usually happy to pay their fair share, so don’t be afraid to ask for assistance when you need it. Think of some thrifty money-saving ideas too. There are plenty of cheap and cheerful ways to deck out a venue for a do!

-Forget to invite everybody

Make sure you don’t misplace anybody from your mind. The guestlist for a hen party is a make or break deal when it comes to planning a successful shindig. Double check with the bride-to-be and ensure she gives the list of names the nod before you go ahead and the send invites out. The worst moment would be forgetting her mother and then getting the cold shoulder from her for the rest of your life!

Follow these points and you’ll effortlessly breeze through your hen-do organising responsibilities without even looking back.


How to Cook a Whole Chicken in a Halogen Oven

When you first buy a halogen oven, you’ll probably be amazed at how many things you can cook in it.  One food that many people don’t realise they can cook is a whole chicken.  However, it’s super easy to do, and you’ll also be left with a really tender and juicy piece of meat, that is still crisp on the outside.  If you’ve been looking for a recipe that will guide you, fear not as below is a recipe that will have your chicken cooked to perfection.


  • Chicken
  • Stuffing (optional)
  • Seasoning (salt, black pepper and any herbs)
  • Halogen oven


  1. Defrost your chicken before cooking.  Avoid washing it.
  2. Prepare your chicken in the same way as you would when cooking it in a conventional oven.  If it has giblets inside, remove these and season the skin.  You can add black pepper and salt for a basic seasoning, or feel free to rub some dry herbs into the skin.  If you usually stuff your chicken, this is the time to add it in.  For a fresh flavour, you can use a lemon instead of the traditional stuffing.
  3. Tip your chicken upside down and place it on the bottom rack.  If your halogen oven comes with an extension ring, it’s a good idea to use this as it will stop the sides of the chicken from burning.
  4. Set the oven temperature to 200oc, and the timer to 35-40 minutes.  Turn the oven on and leave to cook.
  5. After 35-40 minutes, see how cooked your chicken is to determine how much longer it needs.  You will know when it is fully cooked when the juices begin to run clear.  At this point, flip your chicken over so that it is sitting the right way up on the baking tray.
  6. Cook the chicken for a further 20-25 minutes.  If the juices run clear, it is time to remove it.  If they are still looking a bit pink, leave for a further 10 minutes and check again.
  7. Check the temperature of the chicken with a meat thermometer, and remove it from the oven.  Remove the stuffing and let the chicken rest for 15-20 minutes.
  8. Slice and serve.

Alternative Style of Cooking

You may be able to get away with not turning your chicken during the cooking process.  Instead, you will need to set your cooker to a lower temperature – 180oc – and cook for around one hour.  Again, make sure to check that the juices are running clear and that the chicken is properly cooked with a meat thermometer.

Halogen ovens are really versatile pieces of kitchen equipment. If you don’t already own one, you can take a look at the reviews on the best halogen oven by Vonshef to see what people are saying about them. You really can cook almost anything in halogen ovens.  A whole chicken will be tender and juicy on the inside and crisp on the outside, making it perfect for Sunday dinners, as well as chicken and chips for the kids!


Fancy Dress That Works For Everyday Wear

We all love the chance to dress up because it gives it an excuse to wear clothes that we wouldn’t otherwise get to from day to day. We love the colors that are vibrant and so cool and classic and not shy away from being admired. It’s not just the fact that you get to look a different way that you normally do, it’s that people look at you differently too. You’re able to venture out and really find a style that you like, and since there isn’t a critical point to them, you don’t feel like you’re going to be judged for being too outlandish. It allows you get out of your shell and feel how you want to with no added pressure. Fancy dress is one of the cultural aspects where this is the complete ethos. Anyone can adorn a fashion sense they want to and have it be quite impressive. But what if you could dress this type of way, every day and make it a part of your brash new look?

Bright tights

Indeed, Christmas is coming, and soon the fashionable color will be red with green following close behind. Women can wear rose red and forest green tights at this time of the year and have it be a part of their natural outfit. But you should be able to wear vibrant stocking as and when you want to. Bright yellows and pink are quite fetching during the springtime, but you shouldn’t hold yourself to only seasonal shifts. Wearing blues and orange tights as part of your work clothes or when you’re going to a party will allow you to stick out and be noticed. Many women wear stocking when they don’t feel like going bare legged due to the cold or issues with their body image. So tights with a pastel range add something different than the usual beige and see-through styles.

Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash

Vintage is back

Vintage dresses began to take off literally during wartime. When pilots were thinking of home and lost in the clouds missing their loved ones, they used the lure of a beautiful woman to help them fight harder and remember their families depended on them. This is why the pin up dress gathered so much popularity not just among men but women also. The classic and traditional styles accentuated the natural curves of the female body and did so in a dignified and beautiful manner. The slim lines that rolled down from the shoulders and chest were the splayed out by a ruffled and twirling skirt. Floral prints, deep gorgeous reds, and of course the polka dot styles were so popular. In truth this style of dress never has gone out of fashion is revered with a classic and natural beauty that you can wear as you for a night out or at a party.

Fancy dress may be an excuse to venture and try on something daring. However certain styles shouldn’t be locked away in your wardrobe and only brought out once a year. Enjoying how great you look in bright tights and a classic dress is something you should revel in more often.


Why We Want A Conservatory Or An Orangery In Our New House

I’ve mentioned before that the house we live in is quite small and we need a bigger house for our needs. We have a list of things we require from a new place such as bigger bedrooms, a decent sized kitchen and plenty of storage but something we have always considered and always wanted is a conservatory or orangery.

But why do we want one? Simply put we need the space and I think a conservatory would be a great addition to a house. Many of our friends who have one use them as a playroom and I believe that is what we would use one for too. Right now Jack only has a tiny bedroom so plays downstairs most of the time. However our living room and dining area isn’t the biggest either and we all seem to be always falling all over each other, trying to do our own thing. With Olivia crawling, it just isn’t a great situation to be in.

Orangeries are also a great idea too – combining the brickwork of the house and a traditional conservatory, these look great. But don’t just quote me on why I want a conservatory or orangery. There are plenty of reasons why they are great.

  • They restore space. As I mentioned, space is a big issue for us so anything that gives us more is fine by me!
  • Can be used for many purposes. We would use one for a playroom but others will use them for something different. Some use them as office spaces, others use them as a simple place to relax.
  • You can look out onto your beautiful garden. If you’ve got a lovely garden, then why wouldn’t you want to look out on it?
  • They improve the resale value. Whilst we currently rent, we definitely will be looking for a property with a conservatory or orangery when we buy, not least because we know that they increase the resale value. Everyone is looking for them on a property. They can add about 7% in value to the property – why wouldn’t you want one on your property?

When the children have gone to bed and the toys are tidied away, I may even use it as a place to go and relax and read a book with a nice cup of tea or hot chocolate. Just having a place that I can sneak away to when I want some time to myself is just what I need.

These are my reasons for wanting one – do you have one on your property?

Throwing A Fantastic Surprise Party For Your Teenager

If your teenager has a birthday coming up, and you would like to ensure that they celebrate it as well as possible, you might want to throw them a party. Not only that, but you should consider throwing them a surprise party, as this can be an especially wonderful way of showing them that you care and letting them have a great time on their birthday. But this kind of event can often be hard to put together, and it might well take more planning than you had initially expected. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the things you might want to consider in order to throw the best possible surprise party.

Pick A Memorable Venue

If there is one thing that everyone is likely to remember, it is the venue. You will want to think hard about what kind of venue is likely to please your teenager, as this can be one of the hardest decisions of all the ones you will need to make. As you choose it, you will also need to think about the practicality of the venue for the surprise element. For this reason, throwing the party at home is often the best way to go, as it is much easier to control the event, and you won’t raise any suspicions by having to take your teenager to a different location. The home is often best for the actual surprise element, and for that reason might be the best way to go. But wherever you choose, be sure that it is something they will truly enjoy.

Me as a teen at a friend’s party!

Include Something Original

It goes without saying that you want the day to stand out as best as it can. There are many ways to do that, and the best is arguably to just try and include something which is a little original in the day in question. This can be anything you think will go down well, and there is plenty to choose from out there. A great example is the use of a photo booth. Hiring photo booths for your event is great because it enables guests to take photographs that will really stand out, and it will for a central point of entertainment for the night as well. Alternatively, you might choose to have something ironically birthday-esque, such as a pinata, for a more humorous option.

Keep The Secret

Arguably the hardest element of this is keeping the secret about the party itself. This can be especially hard because you need to let all of the teenage friends know and encourage them not to let slip. Of Course, there is only so much control that you really have over this, so you should let it go to a certain extent. But for your own part, you can at least do whatever you possibly can to keep the secret as best as possible. This will ensure that it is much more enjoyable on the day, and that your teenager is surprised genuinely – and not just for show.