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#laurenellaweddingmonth Day Two | Hen Party Ideas - an Edinburgh Afternoon Tea and DIY

Afternoon Tea Hen Party Ideas

Hello lovelies! Ready for day two of #laurenellaweddingmonth? Today Sean headed off on his stag do, so I thought it would be the perfect time for me to talk a little about hen parties! I was a bit of a princess and demanded two hen parties - one in Bristol and a smaller one in Edinburgh for people that couldn't come away for a full weekend. I'm not going to post loads of images on here of my actual hen parties as some of my pals probably don't want to be splashed all over my blog, but I might see if my sister wants to contribute a little something on planning a hen do for someone, since she did all the hard work!

What I can do is give a little bit of inspiration for those of you who, like me, think that afternoon tea is the best invention that there has ever been. Afternoon tea is the perfect option for getting a hen do going, it's ideal for mums and grandmas and even pregnant pals to attend as well as all your besties and you can find some really luxurious options these days! Or if, like me, you're heading off somewhere for the weekend, why not create your own DIY afternoon tea?

For my hen party I managed to have both - my sister made some amazing cupcakes and dressed the outside table ready for a proper little tea party when we went away, and I headed to Casa Angelina in Edinburgh with 10 or so of my pals for an amazing vegan friendly option for my mini hen do. 

Afternoon tea at the Waldorf Astoria in Edinburgh

Looking for a luxury afternoon tea experience in the centre of Edinburgh? You can't get more luxurious than a couple of hours at the Waldorf Astoria in their Peacock Alley Lobby Lounge. Earlier in the year I was invited along to try out one of their seasonal afternoon tea menus (you might have spotted a glimpse on my social media) and I was so impressed with how special it was compared to others I've tried that I couldn't not recommend it to you guys now.

Too often you find that with afternoon teas places tend to focus on the cakes and pastries, ignoring the savoury options. While I'd never say no to a nice cucumber finger sandwich, if you're celebrating a special occasion you want something a little bit more show-stopping. 

At the moment the options on offer include roasted pine nut and goat's cheese tarts and orange and star anise salmon rillettes - and that's before you even get to the huge freshly baked scones and beautiful little cakes and sweet treats. How do you like the sound of Edinburgh gin soaked sultana scones and lemon and mint macarons? 

For a hen party afternoon tea you definitely want to celebrate with a glass or two of fizz - luckily, the Waldorf Astoria offer an option for a champagne afternoon tea. You can pop along any day of the week for £35 per person or £45 to include a glass of bubbles each. 

DIY Afternoon Tea with Eteaket

Got a nice living room, dining room or outside space that you can decorate with bunting, sprinkle with sparkles and fill with candles and fairy lights? Then you've got the perfect opportunity to host your own hen party afternoon tea! Well - hint to your wonderful Maid of Honour and your bridesmaids that they should host one for you anyway. 

Earlier in the year I hosted a mini afternoon tea for my wonderful blogger pals Gillian, Louise and Laura to try out some fantastic teas that were sent over to me by Edinburgh's leaf tea experts Eteaket*. What's fantastic about hosting your own afternoon tea is that you can make it BYOB - bring your own bakes (and booze as well though, lets be honest). 

When I had the girls over, I baked some scones, Louise baked a cake to bring over and Laura and Gillian provided the all important prosecco - another reason an at home tea party is a good idea for a hen do, nobody is going to complain if you happen to get a teeny bit rowdy! Perfect for those cheeky games that no doubt your bridesmaids have plotted for you. 

Fancy hosting your own? Why not try out the Eteaket Isle of Harris Gin Tea? Start off with a cuppa - then later on in the day, you can turn it into a gorgeous gin cocktail (check out Gillian's recipe here!)
  • #laurenellaweddingmonth Day One | 10 thoughts I've had planning my wedding

    laurenella getting married planning a wedding

    Guys! I'm getting married one month today, can you believe it? I've got lots of bits and pieces that I want to share with you all, since I know I've always really loved delving into other people's wedding planning process. I've decided to have a bit of a 'Wedding Month' on the blog, covering my thoughts while planning, any DIYs, tips and tricks and some sneaky peeks at the day itself. I'm excited to share everything with you all! Today I thought I'd do a quick (slightly tongue in cheek) run through of the ten main thoughts I've had while planning a wedding - I'm sure if you've planned a wedding you'll recognise a few of them!

    Ten thoughts I've had while planning my wedding:

    1. "HOW much?" OMG guys - I know, I know, you're sitting there thinking that you already know that weddings are super expensive, it's not exactly a secret is it? Well I'm here to tell you - until you've been quoted NINE THOUSAND BRITISH POUNDS for a two course family style wedding breakfast, you can't understand the pain. We've tried to do our wedding on a bit of a budget but it's still costing around £15,000 for the day itself - there comes a point where you just have to whip out your credit card and wince a bit. 

    2. "Are you sure we can't just elope?" No matter how excited you are to have a big ol' wedding with all your friends and family, a gorgeous princess gown and a cake the size of a toddler, at some point in your wedding planning you are probably going to click off your emails, or hang up the phone, or storm out of a room and shriek in your head (or out loud) about why you should just head to Gretna Green or Las Vegas and get the whole thing over and done with. 

    3. "Are you excited for this wedding at all?" Let me preface this by saying that I love Sean, Sean loves me and I know that he wants to marry me. HOWEVER - sometimes, when i'm a bit hormonal and overwrought, I have found myself pouting and questioning why he isn't more excited about colour schemes, gift lists or invitation designs. It's normal to have a few disagreements during the wedding planning process - it's a stressful time! 

    4. "Am I being a shit friend?" At some point, whether it's three months or a year into your engagement, you're going to be struck by the realisation that you've not spoken to any of your friends and family without shoehorning your upcoming wedding into every single anecdote. The closer you get to the big day, the less time you have for anything that isn't making tissue paper pompoms or stressing over the table plan. Don't worry - your friends will understand!

    5. "Should I be losing weight?" I cannot remember the last time I went on Facebook without being confronted by adverts for a personal trainer or gym leggings emblazoned with 'SLIMMING DOWN FOR THE GOWN'. It seems to be taken as read that of course you'll be losing weight for your wedding day. That's total bullshit by the way - I have been going to the gym more because I've found it helps with my mental health, but I'm not aiming to get down to a size 10 or some arbitrary weight. Sean loves me as I am and I love myself as I am, so why would me getting married be a reason to go on some crazy diet?

    wedding blogger Edinburgh

    6. "Why are they being such a pain?" You probably have great friends and family - I know I do! However, at some point, somebody is going to do something to piss you off. You've heard the stories from married friends I'm sure, people who ask for a plus one for someone you've never met, family who don't bother to RSVP in time, someone letting you know a week after you've finalised numbers with the caterer that they can't make it any more. Breathe and keep calm - remember that you've invited these people for a reason and you love them! 

    7. "Wait - there's paperwork to do?" Yeah yeah, nobody is surprised that I cut it pretty fine to send in our marriage notification forms, right? I just misjudged exactly how much of a form I would have to fill in...then I had to get Sean to fill one in, then I worked out that we needed to provide our passport, birth certificate, proof of address and a contract written in blood. Okay, maybe not the last one - but there was much more to it than I had thought there would be!

    8. "Have I made a mistake?" Sean just read this over my shoulder and looked a bit offended - I don't mean in getting married! Whoops, should have clarified that. What I mean is - at some point you're gonna second guess your decisions. Maybe you'll wonder if you've picked the right dress, or you'll be  worried about opting for a band over a DJ or vice versa. There's a lot of hype around a wedding, so doubts are normal. Just trust your instincts and try not to get sucked into a Pinterest envy spiral. 

    9. "Is this what we want?" Everyone is going to have an opinion on your wedding. Also, weirdly, people aren't concerned about sharing that opinion with you every step of the way - even when it's actually a little bit offensive. Once I said I was considering a Victoria Sponge wedding cake and the person I was talking to said it was the most boring cake ever - erm...awkward. At the end of the day, it's your wedding, it's your partner's wedding and if you're both happy (and you're the ones paying for the majority of it) - that's all that matters. 

    10. "Oh my gosh, how has it come up so quickly?" I'M GETTING MARRIED IN ONE MONTH YOU GUYS. ONE. FREAKING. MONTH.

  • Edinburgh's Best Sunday Roast at Kyloe Steak Restaurant

    best roast dinner edinburgh

    Like most Brits, one of my favourite ever meals has got to be the roast dinner. I mean a proper roast dinner as well, not like some pretend version with steamed vegetables or only two side dishes going. I was totally spoiled as a kid because my dad's roast dinners are pretty much the best going and we had them almost every weekend, so I think I became a little spoilt. 

    Not much can beat a fantastic home cooked roast, but now Sean and I live on our own we don't tend to go to the effort of cooking one for ourselves that often as it's such a lot of work for two people and we don't want to half-arse it! So instead we resign ourselves to waiting eagerly for invites from Sean's parents to head round on a Sunday, or the rare occasions we treat ourselves to lunch out.

    HOWEVER, not all restaurant roast dinners are created equally. I'm sure you know the drill - maybe the gravy is too watery, the meat has too much gristle or maybe they've decided to just serve fondant potatoes instead of roast potatoes because they're trying to be 'hip'...NO. I want a roast the way it was intended to be, thanks very much.

    Luckily, I was invited to try out the roast dinner at Kyloe recently and now I will never need to look elsewhere again. It was phenomenal you guys - really, I'm sad looking through these photos now knowing that I don't have a roast dinner like that waiting for me at this very moment.

    kyloe edinburgh
    kyloe restaurant edinburgh scotland

    The Restaurant

    Kyloe itself is known for being a pretty darn swanky steak restaurant - it gets great reviews for exactly that, and the service and environment match the great Trip Advisor score. As I was escorted to my table I was already giddy with excitement over the fact that each table had its own individual wall coat hooks (is this a common thing? it should be!) and sitting by the window with the view down Princes Street was a dream. 

    The decor is quite similar to Gaucho if you've ever been - lots of wood and trendy cowhide, maybe predictable for a steak place but it's a good kind of predictable - it feels like a cool place to spend a few hours.

    The Sunday Roast Experience*

    Kyloe calls the Sunday roast it offers an experience and cor blimey, they are not wrong. Officially the best roast dinner in Scotland of 2016, you can opt to serve 2, 4 or 6 people family style - £25 per person for the group options or £65 for two of you (you're getting a roast fillet of beef to share after all). 

    The aim is to provide a 'home' roast dinner experience in a restaurant environment and that's exactly what you get - and exactly what you want. 

    The Food

    No slices of beef sitting out on a warm plate for ten minutes in this place, no way! Instead your delicious hunk o' meat is brought out to your table and carved and served right in front of you (and it's the dreamiest amount of rare - perfectly cooked!) 

    Family style sides are dished out onto the table so you help yourself to duck fat roasted potatoes, pan gravy, roasted organic root vegetables, creamed cabbage and horseradish cream. When I say help yourself I mean help yourself - I took Sean along as well as his dad and step-mum and Sean can put it away, but we still had huge spoonfuls of everything left once everyone had served up their ideal portions! 

    The biggest compliment when out for food is that there is blissful silence at the table and, trust me, we did not talk for about twenty minutes other than to say things along the lines of "Oh my gawwwwd this is so delicious!" and "best roast dinner I've had in ages!" You can really tell that Kyloe is a steak restaurant - they know their beef and it is good beef. Like, really good.

    The Sunday roast 'experience' doesn't miss a trick, which means that those of you who would always clear your plate and still have room for a nice stodgy pudding made by your mum, grandma (or possibly just the supermarket in town) won't be disappointed! Each roast dinner is followed up with a traditionally British pud to share and we were delighted when a steaming fruit crumble and scoops of ice-cream were brought out to us at the end of our meal. 

    I'm not always a crumble fan as sometimes it reminds me a little too much of horrendous primary school dinners back in the day, but this one was a revelation - the fruit filling was tart and sweet and hot (like me, wink wink) and the crumble on top was buttery and crunchy and delicious. Plus proper vanilla ice-cream - what more could a gal want on a Sunday afternoon?

    Would I go again?

    You bet! I've always had Kyloe down as a pretty pricy dinner option for special occasions only, but the Sunday roast is £25 each for a HUGE portion of DELICIOUS food and that is more than reasonable as far as I'm concerned! 

    If you want an avant-garde Heston style take on a roast dinner this isn't one for you, but if you're like me and you just really want a delicious, fantastic quality, home style roast dinner with your nearest and dearest, you need to hit Kyloe up. ASAP. 

    *We were invited to enjoy a complimentary dinner at Kyloe to review the Sunday Roast experience, but all opinions, photos and mouthwatering is my own!
  • A Wedding Guest Outfit for Under £60 from Boohoo

    edinburgh fashion and lifestyle blogger laurenella
    outdoor wedding outfit ideas

    What to wear to a summer wedding?

    Wedding season is here! With wedding season, comes the inevitable decision that absolutely nothing that already exists in your wardrobe will work for the day, even if you own more occasion dresses than you do basic jeans and t-shirts (guilty as charged, I'm not even sorry). 

    Of course, this year my wedding attendee outfit is pretty set, as I will be the bride and therefore I'm KINDA obligated to buy a new dress, but more and more of my friends are getting engaged at the moment so I have a feeling I'll be attending weddings all over the place over the next year or so. And that means EVEN MORE DRESSES.

    boohoo wedding guest shoes
    wedding guest outfit from boohoo

    However, annoyingly, weddings of your pals tends to happen in that period of your life where you're actually pretty skint. Whether you're saving for a deposit or just bought a house, you're interning for pennies to get your dream job or you're preparing to quit your job to go travelling for a year, chances are you're not exactly rolling in it.

    If that is the case - mate, I feel you. I'd love to pretend I'm the kind of person who pops into Ted Baker or Hobbs for a head to toe look but that's just not the case. If your outfit costs £250, that's £250 that you can't spend on Deliveroo on a Friday night or train tickets home to visit your parents, am I right? 

    Luckily, I can tell you that if you head over to Boohoo right now, you can snap up a dress, a fab new pair of summer shoes and some accessories to go with it for less than you'd usually pay for a haircut. (Is £60 the going rate for a haircut? I haven't had mine cut since 2015, so not the best person to judge...) 

    summer sandals for wedding
    summer wedding guest dresses boohoo

    The garden party wedding look - for under £60:

    1. The Dress* - isn't this dress cute? I love the bright colour, and the lace detail. Spoiler alert, it's actually supposed to have little off the shoulder sleeves, but they fit really weirdly on me so I cut them off. Such a nice look for a summery outdoors wedding - plus the colour blends in really well with any accidental sunburn you might have got (oops!) While cut-out or sheer details would usually be a little bit risky for a wedding, I think it's subtle enough on this dress that you can get away with it - unless you're heading somewhere super formal. 

    2. The Shoes* - let's be honest, stiletto heels at a wedding are a nightmare, more so if you have to be outside in a grassy area at any point whatsoever during the day. Nothing takes away the glamour of a look more than unsteadily tottering through a field, shaking bits of dirt from the heel that inevitable sank into a soft spot. I had to climb a super steep gravel path up to our B&B after shooting these photos, so I can officially say that these sandals are comfy AND practical, as well as being totally gorgeous. 

    3. The Earrings* - the waitress at dinner the other night told me she loved these earrings, and I took great joy in saying that they were less than a tenner from Boohoo. They're statement earrings, but in an elegant way - and they're still plain enough that you can pair them with any outfit. I think these earrings would look amazing with a summery up-do as well, now I just have to figure out how to do one...

    4. The Sunglasses - these rose gold beauties are from Primark and I am OBSESSED. I've been wearing them pretty much non stop over the last couple of days, and whilst sunglasses might not be typical wedding attire, I'd say they're a necessity for a summer wedding if you're going to be spending any length of time outside. Opt for a metallic pair like these and they're basically just another piece of jewellery...for your eyes. 

    5. The Bag - this cute lil sequin clutch bag was a gift a few years back and is from Anthropologie - as far as I'm concerned, all you need at a wedding is cash or a card for the bar, a lipstick and maybe some powder or some blotting sheets, your phone and I guess your house or hotel keys so you can find your bed after an entire bottle of prosecco...