• Emma

The Last Hurrah!

On what would've been 6 weeks before my Wedding, but turned out to be 9 days before lockdown was announced, I had my Hen Do.

My fabby maid of honour knows my aversion for the super boozy, falling over in the street of some city in a foreign country style hen-dos and knows how much I like the finer things in life. With a guest list stretching from London to Aberdeen, she had her work cut out at coordinating everyones movements but did an amazing job.

Somewhere central seemed like the best shout, and actually pretty local for some, York was the obvious choice. Despite attempts to keep it all a secret, when I found out the location prior to the trip it was a great surprise. Having never visited before, the only guidance I then gave was that I'd love to make sure we saw some of the city.

With only a vague inclination as to the activities and armed with an epic train picnic courtesy of Jill, we jumped on the train after work on Friday, excited for the weekend ahead. Arriving into York at around 9pm we found our way to the accommodation where others were waiting for us.

We were staying really close to York Minster, so it was the perfect, central location. We had a few drinks and a catch up but after a long week most of us were pretty keen to get to sleep ready for a great day ahead.

Saturday morning came and we fuelled up with croissants, yoghurts, bread, fruit and of course mimosas ready for our first task of the day. A scavenger Hunt.

Frances had planned it all; clues taking us around York, pushing us out our comfort zone to ask strangers for advice and picking up some goodies on the way.

We had to ask someone local for their advice on the city. So we went into a local sweet shop, picked up a snack for our journey and asked the assistant their top tip. "look up". York is a beautiful, old town and as you're wandering around, make sure you don't just look at your feet, look up to really appreciate the buildings and scenery.

Convinced I was done with asking strangers questions, we managed to convince Natalie to ask a couple for marriage advice. A grey haired couple were walking down the street, in the opposite direction, holding hands and smiling as they chatted away. We made her jump in, and I'm so glad she did. their advice:

"always hold hands and have different hobbies and interests"

I will always remember this and its probably the first thing I told my other half about when we spoke.

More clues led us round the city and eventually to our final destination: The Railway Museum.

Seems a bit random right? Has Emma been hiding some weird love of trains (I mean my fiancee occasionally compares me to Sheldon from Big Bang, so you never know), but actually no, I don't. I do love a good museum though no matter the subject. But we were not here for the trains; it was something even better.

Afternoon Tea on a train!!

Now you probably know how much I love an afternoon tea, but you can have those at home if you really want, this was something totally different and pretty private.

As a group of 10 we took up a little carriage to ourselves so it felt pretty exclusive. If you're looking for something a little different I highly recommend the Countess of York.

With a wide selection of teas and no problems for the vegetarian, vegan or pescatarian, everyone was pretty excited about their options.

Starting with a wee soup and mini tart was perfect, before moving onto the main event with sandwiches, scones and of course a selection of cakes.

I definitely had my fair share, I was not leaving anything on that plate. It would've been rude, right?

Perfectly satisfied but not overly full it was time to move on to the next event.

Another one of my favourite things; a gin tasting at the botanist.

With a selection of 5 gins to try, I think we were all grateful we had gone for the standard afternoon tea and not the champagne option. I think the firm favourite of the gin tasting was the tanqueray no. ten. They were all drinkable, I rarely say no to gin, but that definitely seemed to go down very easily.

A short walk home to get changed for dinner then we returned to the botanist as their food is incredible! I don't think anyone managed their dessert as we were just so full. But I think it's fair to say they have a cracking selection of gin, food and cocktails.

We had such an amazing day, my favourite people and my favourite activities. I couldn't of asked for anything more....

Well maybe just one more; Sunday brunch.

After a good sleep, we packed up and went on a short walk to fuel up for our journeys home. The Press kitchen was a great shout, a slightly different take on a classic brunch menu and happy to accommodate any slight changes in a dish.

I opted for the avocado on toast with poached eggs (minus the bacon) with rhubarb and beetroot ketchup. Sounds a little unusual I know, but it was delicious. All washed down with a couple of cappuccinos.

After brunch we said our goodbyes and split up, some heading straight home, others with a little extra time to kill, but more on that another time.

I couldn't have asked for more for what turned out to be the last social event for who knows how long. I'm so grateful I got to catch up with my favourite people before we were all confined to our homes. I can't wait to give you all a huge squeeze when I next see you, hopefully at our wedding.

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