We have internet, yay! So obviously I should catch up a bit and talk about the two subjects I promised to mention:
- My sister's hen night(s) in Newcastle, March 9th-11th
- Our house move, March 17th, and settling in thereafter.
I'm not even a month late (just).
So, Steph's getting married the week after Easter, and she decided to have her hen night nice and early, as is much the tradition these days. Emily and Steph were both students in Newcastle, and Em lived there quite a while afterwards, and I think this paid a part in choosing the location. And going so far we decided to make two nights of it, and all arranged to arrive on Friday.
I got there first, despite coming nearly the furthest, by the simple expedient of taking the whole day off to get the train up. Natalie had done all the organising, and had booked us into a hotel some way out of town, which meant we spent quite a bit on taxis, but it was pretty cheap, and it did have a pool. So when most of the others arrived late afternoon we unpacked and then realised there was time for a swim. It was rather nice really, although admittedly we spent more time in the steam room and spa pool than actually swimming. A good place to chat and catch up on the gossip. Then we all got ready and headed into town, where we met up with Emily and Hilary who were the last arrivals. We just had time for a quick drink in the pub opposite the station before heading round the corner to a rather good indian restaurant, which Emily had recommended. We had a lovely meal anyway, but by the end of it we were rather tired, what with long days and long journeys, and we headed back to the hotel for bed.
On Saturday Emily and I needed to go shoe shopping, for our bridesmaids outfits, so we headed into Newcastle and hit the shops, joined by Steph, Hilary and Heidi. By the time we emerged from Clarks I'd spent 85 quid on 3 pairs of shoes: one for the ceremony, a flatter pair for in the evening since I'm not used to heels, and a pair of black pumps-style things for me, to replace the ones that were worn out at home. I've not spent so much on shoes in years! We dropped them back at the car, then met up with Kathryn and Natalie, who'd stayed back near the hotel, for lunch. This was at a little Italian place called Pani's, which is just off the road heading down from the monument towards the quayside, and I definitely recommend it if you're passing. Friendly, nice atmosphere, good food. We finished the afternoon by wandering the rest of the way down the hill and crossing the winking bridge (which was wobbling a little alarmingly) to wander round the Baltic - which was fab.
Back to the hotel to shower and change and straighten our hair for the evening out which was to be the hen night proper we all gathered in Kathryn and Natalie's room to surprise Steph with some presents (a photo album with contributions and notes from all of us, and a pair of flip flops which emboss the words "just married" in the sand as you walk), and drink some pink bubbly. I even made an exception for lent for the purposes of the celebration and had one glass myself - the rest of the weekend I stuck to soft drinks. Managed to get some pictures of this part of the proceedings, if nothing else. The group photo was rather fun to do with the camera on a timer and balanced on top of the standard issue telly, but it came out pretty well. (Click through for rest).
Anyway we supped up and headed back into town, in search of our dinner, which was booked at a teriyaki restaurant. The trouble was it didn't seem to be either of the ones that we'd thought it was. We eventually found it though, with the help of groom Dave on the internet relayed by Steph's mobile. It turned out to be very nice, though we didn't get to sit around the hot plate and have our dinner cooked in front of us. Very good value too. Anyway next stop was The Light - sort of like a posh shopping centre but full of bars and clubs instead of shops, and with a casino upstairs apparently. We spent the evening mostly outside one bar watching the world go by, then inside the same bar with some cheesy music to dance to, and then across the road at Tiger Tiger: a club on 3 floors, which we ended up in a rather crowded bar of, dancing in not really enough space, but had a good time anyway. Though Heidi and Emily both spent some time strategically trying to put one of the rest of us between them and the strange foreign boys who were trying rather too persistently to chat them up. We left around 2:30, knackered but having had fun.
The only trouble with late nights and staying in hotels is the checkout time the next morning. I woke and looked at the clock and was about to roll over and go back to sleep when I realsied that actually we only had about an hour and we'd best get up if we wanted showers first. Still, eventually we all got packed and gathered in the foyer. It seemed a shame to split up just yet though, so we all squeezed into Em and Nat's cars and headed out to Tynemouth to look at the sea and find some lunch. There was a minor disaster trying to get parked, but not harm done to anything but nerves, and mostly it was just because we were too tired. We managed to find a local bakery with a seated area anyway, and tucked into stotties and toasted sandwiches with bacon and egg and so on, and had a nice cuppa, before Emily dropped me and Hil back at Newcastle station for the train home.
It was a lovely weekend anyway, even if several things didn't go quite as planned, and Steph enjoyed herself, which was the whole point. No balloons, no ribbons, no L-plates and comedy tshirts, no dares and no making idiots of ourselves, just a good weekend out with good company. Just what we all needed. And here I'm going to stop for now, since a) this is v long and b) my arms ache, as we still have no desk - of which more anon.