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Top 10 Creative Hen Party Ideas

Now that the royal wedding is out of the way, it’s time to focus on how to make yours even bigger and better. And what better way to do that than a creative hen party?

Ceramic Painting

Wedding’s can be a stressful time, so why not kick back with something truly relaxing, like painting? There are tons of cafes across the country dedicated to not only supplying you with the best cakes and coffees, but also giving you the chance to paint something special onto a plate, mug, or a simple tile. For your hens this could give them the chance to get those wedding gifts in early, or for the bride it might be a chance to cement your love for your partner to be in pottery form.

Upcycling

Getting married marks the beginning of your life as a couple, and what better way to begin that journey than by giving your most old and battered furniture a new lease of life? This also gives the hens the chance to get cracking on the ‘Something Old’ and maybe even the ‘Something Blue’, and all without spending too much money, because you’re using things you already own!

Flowers

Obviously, flowers are an integral part of the wedding ceremony. But what do you really know about them? Having your hen party revolve around flower arranging, or even making flower crowns, is the perfect way to get green fingered, and get more info on that beautiful bouquet you’ll be clutching as you make your way down the aisle. It’s also info that you can all carry with you, as you get those gardens blooming, so they’re ready to be the site of all those post honeymoon catch ups.

Life Drawing

As well as the standard life drawing fare, bringing you all closer together through art, there’s also a whole wealth of themed life drawing classes you can head to, featuring everything from bowls of fruit to burlesque acts. Art is the perfect way to spend some quality time with your hens, and bring you all closer together through your creativity. Get your pencils at the ready, it’s time to get sketching.

Jewellery Making

The perfect way to top off that beautiful wedding dress is with jewellery hand made by your closest family and friends. From hammering rings to glass bead making there are plenty of ways to incorporate some hand-made jewellery into your outfit on your special day, and something out there for all abilities.

Cocktail Masterclass

We all love a martini from time to time, and who can blame us?! But rather than having to rely on seeking out a skilled bartender, a cocktail masterclass will provide you with all the skills to make your favourite drinks from the comfort of your own home, and even impress guests with your shaker moves. For the non-drinkers it’s also a chance to discover a wealth of drink possibilities in bars other than water!

Pottery

Channel those Ghost vibes and have a go behind a potter’s wheel with your hens. Learn all about the clay and the best ways to shape it, whilst getting creative with your design ideas. Perhaps a vase for the bouquet to sit in? A dish, for all your wedding jewellery to sit in? The possibilities are endless.

Glass Blowing

If you really want to learn a new skill this hen party then glass blowing is the way to go. This glass forming technique has been around since the 1st century AD, and will see you transforming molten glass into a bubble with your breath. If that’s not impressive then we don’t know what is.

Perfume Making

Perfume is an incredibly personal thing; one scent might be lovely to one person, and not to another. So why not craft your very own perfume, made up all the smells you truly love, and discover more about your hens as they do the same?

Chocolate!

Now, we may be biased, but we can’t think of a better way to spend your hen do than surrounded by chocolate. Our luxury chocolate making workshops not only give you the chance to learn more about those delectable delights, but also to make your own and get a cheeky cocktail as well. And after all, if there’s a wedding involved, it should be luxury all the way!

The Ingredients for the Perfect Hen Party

The bride is no doubt working away hard planning the big day, so it’s up to you, the ‘hens’ to give her the fun hen party that she deserves! We’ve put together a list of the ingredients for the perfect hen party, so that you can send your bride off into marriage, secure in the knowledge you gave her the best send off ever.

Ice breakers

Chances are, not everyone at a hen party is going to know each other already – university friends and work friends, ex-flatmates and aunties, all might not have had much cause to hang out together before. But you don’t want it to get awkward. Ice breaker games to kick start the party are the perfect way to make sure everyone knows who everyone is and to get some laughs going early doors. Wedding themed drinking games are a great way to kick start this, or a Mr & Mrs style quiz about the bride to be to get everyone reminiscing and sharing stories about her!

Something for everyone

Just like everyone might not know each other already, they might also have different ideas of fun. There might be guests of all ages, or some guests who don’t drink, or eat certain foods. One solution to this, and a good way to please everybody, is to divide the party up into different kinds of activities, so that people can be flexible, and not feel any pressure. Something more casual like food to start with before heading off for drinks means everyone can enjoy a piece of the special party.

Forward planning

It may seem obvious to suggest planning the hen party, but you’d be surprised! Making specific bookings at specific things for specific times will help the party to move along nicely and give the festivities a sense of direction. Similarly, thinking carefully about the bride and what she will want from the party when you’re doing your planning is of the utmost importance – it is her party after all.

Treating the bride to be… and yourselves

One of the most important things is to treat yourselves. You’re here to celebrate the woman who’s about to get hitched, but also to celebrate your friendships. Female friendship is one of the most powerful forces out there so be sure to celebrate it in style and to honour it in luxury. Make sure you do all of your favourite things, whether that be that indulging in some gorgeous chocolate or drinking some fancy cocktails.

Celebrate!

Now that all the planning is done and the ingredients are mixed together nicely… it’s time to get your partying on. Enjoy!

The Origins of the Chocolate Easter Egg

Easter is the most important chocolate event of the year, but that hasn’t always been the case. Throughout the history of spring and Easter, eggs have always been a symbol of fertility, new life and the new beginnings of spring, long before chocolate even came to Europe.

For many years, hard boiled eggs were painted and decorated and hung from branches. Often, egg shaped toys were given to children at Easter filled with sweets and treats, without no chocolate in sight – shocking, we know.

But then, in Europe in the 19th century, chocolate Easter eggs became increasingly popular, as the availability of chocolate grew. Most likely the trend started in France and Germany before coming to England in 1873 when confectionary company JS Fry & Sons started making early versions of what we now consider a staple of holy week. The first incarnations of Easter eggs were made from dark chocolate and were most likely grainy and bitter. Eating chocolate was relatively new and was hard to mould into shapes, so the eggs were normally completely solid.

But then, two things happened that changed the face (and taste) of Easter eggs. Dutch inventor Van Houten created a press that separated cocoa butter from the cocoa bean, and the Cadbury brothers introduced a pure cocoa. These changes in manufacturing created a kind of chocolate that was not only less grainy and bitter but also easier to mould into an egg shape.

These eggs quickly became popular and by 1893 Cadbury’s had 19 different Easter patents on Easter Eggs – that’s loads for the 1800’s. These eggs were often decorated with Marzipan or filled with sugared almonds, and as the 20th century arrived, they only became more popular.

These days, there’s every variety of Easter egg you could imagine lining shops, with loads to choose from whatever your chocolate taste.

Fun fact! 43% of kids say they can’t wait until Easter Sunday, and eat their Easter Eggs before then.

Top 10 Gift Ideas for Mother’s Day

We may be a little biased and think that nothing could beat the gift of chocolate or – even better – a chocolate making experience for Mother’s Day, here’s a little list of our favourite ideas for Mother’s Day gifts and treats.

  1. Flowers

    What better way to brighten not only your mum’s day but her house too? A bunch of flowers hanging about your house is not only good for mental wellbeing, but they will also put you in your mum’s good books for sure! Flowers in season mid-march include the hyacinth, which is symbolic of love and sincerity, and the daffodil, the ultimate sign that spring has sprung!

  2. Cook a Meal

    It was, most likely, your mum who made sure you were fed and watered every day when you were little, so why not return the favour? A three course slap up meal that you’ve put the time and effort of making into will make your mum feel treasured as anything – as long as you do the washing up too.

  3. Cocktails

    To go alongside that scrumptious meal why not treat your mum with the fanciest of fancy drinks, and take her out for some cocktails? From espresso martini’s to mojito’s now being served in most bars, you can take your pick of where to take her out and treat her. If you fancy ramping up your cocktails to a whole other level, look at our luxury chocolate making experience where you can make your own cocktails and your own chocolates!

  4. Spa Day

    Of all people, your mum deserves some TLC. Book in a spa day so that she can get the rest, relaxation and pampering that she deserves. Spa’s get their name from the town in Belgium, named after the Latin word Spargere, which means to scatter, sprinkle, or moisten. In more modern times, spa’s offer everything from massages to facials. There’s an endless supply of relaxing treats perfect for your mum out there, just waiting to be enjoyed.

  5. Photo Album

    For the well thought out, homemade approach, a photo album is the way to go. Your mum loves nothing more than to show off photos of you and your achievements, and this way you can include her and hers in the album too. For a bigger photo gesture, you could even get a family photo printed onto a canvas, so she can hang it in her house, and remember how much you love her every time she looks at it.

  6. Afternoon tea

    It’s the quintessentially British way to while away an afternoon, and is perfect for mums and grandmas alike. Tea, cake, coffee, scones… and maybe Prosecco if you’re lucky. Afternoon Tea has been going in England since about 1840 when it was introduced by the seventh Duchess of Bedford, so it’s a time old tradition. Be sure to choose your venue wisely; why not go for an afternoon tea with a view, to make it an extra special treat.

  7. Breakfast in Bed

    The ultimate in treating your ma like the queen that she is, fresh coffee and carefully selected pastries delivered as she lingers in her lie in is the perfect start to mothering Sunday. Why not put one of her favourite flowers on the tray too, to make it tailor made just to her.

  8. CD Mix

    Another homemade, sure fire winner, burning your mum a CD playlist of her favourite songs that she loves to bop along to will show just how much you care. Making sure there’s a mix of the songs she liked when she was younger, the ones she likes now, and the ones you’ve listened to together, will show how much her music choices have influenced yours!

  9. Smellies

    A calming, relaxing, sweet smelling treat for your hard working mum will help her unwind and allow her to treat herself whenever she wants and needs. Be it a candle, bath bomb or even perfume, these gifts will not only show your mum that you care, but allow her some well-deserved me-time.

  10. Chocolate Making Experience

    And finally, our favourite, why not treat you and your mum to one of our chocolate making experiences? It’s a fun, informative and exciting way to spend time together, and you get to eat loads of chocolate together – what more could you want?

Why is Chocolate an Aphrodisiac?

There’s nothing that gets us more in the mood for romance than a chocolate experience. But is there a reason why heart shaped chocolates get our actual hearts pumping?

The science

In the 1980’s scientists in New York discovered a chemical in chocolate called Phenylethylamine (or PEA), which triggers the release of dopamine. This same chemical is released in our brains when we’re in love, and so scientists theorised that chocolate also gives us that heart-pounding, sweaty palmed feeling of true love. Although the amount of PEA in chocolate is incredibly small by the time it gets to our brains, it does make sense that we feel happy when we’re having a chocolate experience – it is chocolate after all. And what’s a better aphrodisiac than feeling happy?

The history

Long before chocolate was served in bar form it was a drink mixed with honey and spices that was greatly enjoyed by Aztec emperor Montezuma. It is said that he would drink it from golden goblets, before throwing them away, never using the same one twice for his beloved ‘chocolatl’ drink. When Montezuma needed something to fuel his long romantic nights he would drink a goblet of chocolatl before entering his harem, claiming it made his tongue dance, and pulse quicken. It’s certainly the same feeling we get when we’re sneaking leftover chocolate after one of our chocolate experience workshops.

The culture

Our go to chocolate related film is of course the creamy delight that is Chocolat. Based on the book by Joanne Harris, Chocolat follows Vianne as she moves to the small french village of Lansquenet-sous-Tannes and sets up a chocolaterie, upsetting the repressed locals. One person she doesn’t upset, however, is the woman who is gifted some very special chocolate, to spice up her marriage and help her husband fall back in love with her. If Vianne believes it, then we think we do too. And if you’re single, proud, and having a you-en-tines day, why not follow in Bridget Jones’s footsteps and enjoy a relationship with two men simultaneously – “one named Ben, the other Jerry.”

Whilst it may not be scientifically proven that chocolate is an aphrodisiac, it will certainly improve your life and your libido. Chocolate makes you feel good, gives you a handy sugar rush, a kick of caffeine, and the added bonus of knowing that someone loves you enough to buy you some chocolatey goodness. And if that’s not enough, you can treat yourself to a visit to our luxury chocolate making class and really spice up your valentine’s day.

The Chocolate Show 2017

What is The Chocolate Show?

The Chocolate Show is an annual showcasing of some of the finest of the UK’s chocolate experts and professionals – the perfect event for the sworn chocoholic.

Professional Chocolate Making

The show is one of our favourite places to go to get inspiration on the latest in chocolate making tips, trends, tools and techniques. Last year we were blown away by some of the ‘Desert of the Year’ entries, which got our Chocolatiers’ heads in a bit of a spin!

Mini Chocolatiers

Designed as a family day out, The Chocolate Show has lots of entertainment for the littlies including a demos, a children’s area, chocolate sculptures and workshops. If they get the chocolate making bug, you can bribe them away at the end of the day with the promise of one of our Mini Chocolatiers children’s parties!

Our Hot Tip

Tickets are discounted if you book in advance (even the day before), so it’s worth getting online before you visit.