Naomi Parker’s Send Off – The Hen Weekend

Ciao Ciao London

It started off with The Sicilian saying goodbye and pre warning me of my behaviour as I hauled my powder pink suitcase and Sicilian biscuit package onto the bus to Victoria. Accompanying me was one of my roommates for the weekend, Gi Gi Live – who was making a huge statement with royal blue nails and oversized Victoria Beckham style glasses. ‘I tried to buy some wine,’ Gi Gi says, her nails highlighting her sentences as she waves her hands about, ‘The woman in the shop looked at me as though I was crazy. We don’t sell wine before eight thirty the she told me – don’t you know that – she asked me. Why would I know that?’ Gi Gi laughed, ‘Everyone in the shop looked at me as though I was an alcoholic.’

Purchasing wine at eight thirty AM – this is a hen weekend with good intentions.

McDonalds Calls

Victoria station with an hour to kill, there was only one way to start the weekend. Mc Donald’s! En route to McDonalds I stop in Claire’s Accessories to buy myself one of those plaited hair bands. Then myself and Gi Gi sit down to two Big Breakfasts – man, how I forgot how good a McDonald’s sausage is! In fact the last time I had one I was also headed to Leeds.

Mid gossip, in floats the hen herself, with a suitcase maybe not as bright but as large as mine (this makes me happy). Naomi has attired her long body with a Spanish red floating maxi dress, to accompany her long flowing mane. Behind her is Kimmie Parker, chugging along a rather large Paul Frank bag, Canterbury Parker, mother of Kimmie and the hen and friend, Louise. Like a moth to a flame we have all coincidentally been drawn to the evil lure of McDonald’s breakfast.
‘Thought we might see you bitches here!’ Kimmie, with her affectionate Bitch calling settles down with a Mc Muffin. In her bag are bottles of wine, Cava and Vodka!
‘Can’t believe we’re all early,’ Naomi says, I feel all eyes shootng me knowing looks.
‘When it’s important I can be fashionably punctual,’ I say, between mouthfuls of Mc Donald’s goodness.

The Coach

On the coach, before we hit the road we are informed of how to flush the toilet, we are told not to consume any hot foods, take any hard drugs or consume any alcohol. Of course the alcohol rule irks us, Canterbury has come fully kitted out with plastic cups and screw top bottles of rose.

AC – Why can’t we drink alcohol?
Canterbury – This is public transport, of course we can’t drink alcohol.
AC – Are you sure this is public transport?
Kimmie – Of course it is.
Canterbury – What kind of public transport are you (AC) used to?
AC – I’m just saying, as far as I’m concerned if I can’t use my Oyster card to travel – it’s not public transport.


There’s only so much talking about Argentine lovers, the Sicilian, fiancés, boyfriends and fashion we can do to pass the time …so we pop the rose. And with great discretion, fear of getting kicked off the coach and left for the hard shoulder and a good love for alcohol intoxication we consume two bottles in no time.

Now – we are ready for Leeds.


We arrive at the Jury’s Inn, just near the Royal Armouries, let’s call it the Leeds equivalent to Canary Wharf. We are located amongst, the river beautiful bridges, new build apartments and shiny hotels. We are pleasantly surprised at how plush our hotel is.

Readying for The First Night

All gathered in the Hen’s room we drink warm Cava and Champagne, we toast the hen and then indulge in what seems to be a rather long conversation about our bums – or for Kimmie – the lack thereof! We shake our booties for a while, acting like confused Carnival dancing video veterans – then we yet again engage in some more male concerned conversation whilst painting our nails and intermittently swapping nail tips.

The First Evening
We head to Sicilian Salumeria for a six course food tasting meal.
For our Digestivo we go to the Epernay Champagne bar, which is situated in a glass ceilinged court yard called, The Electric Press. Here we meet hair colouring obsessed, dinner party hostess expert, Genevieve Winona Eckhart, who has joined us later due to work.
Once the whole cohort has consumed enough champagne for the bubbles to tingle our feet we head to The Living Room where we dance the night away. Naomi abuses us with her somewhat violent drunken dancing and once we are defeated we walk through Leeds City Centre and make our way back to the hotel.The Drunken Walk Home

We discover a twenty four hour Greggs – yes Greggs! The bakery! Like school kids let out for lunch we bound into Greggs thrilled by this phenomenon. Why don’t we have a twenty four hour Greggs London? I grab a stake bake and relish every last bite of it.

The Hang Over

We force ourselves out of bed at 8.30, having gone to bed only hours ago. On arrival at breakfast we are all impressed with the spread of the buffet breakfast. I greedily and with no consideration to diet, calorie counting or bridesmaid pictures indulge in a three course breakfast.

Breakfast chit chat consists of replaying the night before, we cackle with laughter and to be fair are probably the loudest group of all the young inhabitants breakfasting, henning and staging in the hotel! We laugh until tears are in our eyes and decide we need to get out of London more often.The Burlesque Class

Well … the teacher was a short haired, tiny pole and burlesque dancer who strutted about the class room in nothing but a black vest top and frilly knickers. There is nothing too complimentary to say about my fellow Burlesque dancers – we rolled about the floor like sea lions whilst nursing delicate bellies and thumping headaches!

To make ourselves feel better where better to head to other than Primark? We shopped for an hour or so, bought more food and alcohol and headed back to the hotel.

Four in a Bed

Kimmie infiltrates me, Gi Gi and Genevieve’s room. She climbs into the bed with us where we make jokes, take the complete piss out of each other, reminisce on old boyfriends and contemplate the future. We laugh ourselves to tears and perfect six packs! (We wish).

Sailors – The Second Evening

Dressed as sailors, we head out for the big night! In Leeds City Centre we are one of many Hen crew. ‘Oi Oi sailors!’ a Leeds man shouts to us and we all respond with a salute. We look at each other enthused and like little school girls, we laugh and giggle excitedly!
We enjoy our Tapas and Cava sangria, with great luck our bill arrives without the last two bottles of wine charged to the bill. No wonder Gi Gi and me are the last sat at the table – completely oblivious. We knock back the last of our wine and head out ASAP!

Chilli Whites

Love London exclusive clubs? Then Chilli Whites is the Leeds equivalent – only ten times less expensive than our good old capital raving scene. We spent most of the night dancing to funky house and posing as sailors! Chris Brown’s Forever comes on, when the song hits the bridge we miraculously and completely unchoreographed manage to fall into a dance routine we copied off YouTube!

My shoes slowly but surely defeat me and for the first time in years I find myself sitting in a nightclub nursing swollen feet! It’s all getting too much for me now!Back at the hotel Kimmie pours two glasses of Vodka and pineapple juice? We sit outside and watch the last of the Leeds ravers play fight drunkenly in the street, we voice a few disgusted opinions at their behaviour and then finally head off to bed.

Not so Bright Eyed or Bushy Tailed

Me, Gi Gi and Genevieve manage to force ourselves out of bed for the final breakfast. Nobody else joins us, obviously K.O’d from the previous night. Genevieve decides that we are the true hardened ravers – I couldn’t agree more. My feet are swollen, my head is spinning and I look ghastly but here I am, 10.00 in the morning, drinking a black coffee and eating hash browns. Still no concern of how I’ll fit into my bridesmaid dress and at this minute really not caring.

My Lobby is your Lobby (or front room)
Our last day in Leeds is spent in the hotel lobby, where we stay for the WHOLE day. The Hen, Canterbury and Louise head to the spa. Gi Gi Live, Kimmie Parker, Genevieve and myself set up camp in the lobby, I charge my Blackberry, we buy herbal teas and hot chocolates and put our feet up. We pass the time discussing our ideal three course meals, recent films we have seen and of course how hung over we are. Kimmie is in and out of the bathroom with self proclaimed food poisoning – she moans and groans at the mention of food. However secretly the rest of us can’t help thinking that alcohol poisoning may have been a more apt diagnosis!5 hours later

We’re still in the lobby, having popped out for Burger King and Nandos (did I ever mention that we were fabulous?). I sink a double whopper and cheese burger with chips –somebody say “bridesmaid dress!!!”Back in London

As tired as hell and feeling ten pounds heavier, we are back in London and we’re all feeling slightly deflated. Pretty little Leeds seems like a lifetime ago.
As soon as I get home I head to my bathroom and jump on my scales to confirm that I am the heaviest I have been in two years!!!! OMG – what about my bridesmaid dress???
To bed I go, depressed as hell!
We will always have Leeds. X x x


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