This post has taken me a little longer to get out than I wanted to – life has suddenly felt even busier!
After months of waiting and wondering what my girls had planned, I was surprised with 4 glorious days filled with laughter, sunshine and memories to cherish.
The adventure started early with my Dad and Brother picking me up and taking Mum, Becky and I over to my MoH,Viki’s, house ready to make the trip to airport. Although I knew we were going to an airport, I didn’t know where the plane would be taking us. I got to the airport to find my wonderful girls waiting for us. Unfortunately one of our girls couldn’t make it because she is a teacher – I feel sad she missed out on such a fun filled weekend. I was presented with some earphones and an iPad, and told to watch – Ryan’s face was looking up at me from the screen and as he started to speak, I screeched with excitement… “You’re going to Valencia” he said!
The flight was smooth and everyone was super excited. Becky quizzed Ellie and I on destinations on the most ‘hot’ places to be in the 2017 Summer as written in the Easy Jet in flight magazine. After a short journey we landed in Valencia, looking out the plane windows to glorious blue skies and a haziness along the runway that you only see when its hawwwwwt! We breezed through the airport and after a little delay met our transfer driver. A few pics outside the airport and we were off, cruising the streets of Valenica, buzzing – chatting about bucket lists and deciding what things we should tick off this weekend!
Our accommodation wasn’t available until 11.30 so we set up temporary camp in a café at the end of the road, it had seats outdoors under umbrellas, which was a relief as it was already extremely hot. 2 of my friends speak Spanish, its very sexy! We had some food, ice creams and drinks while we waited to check in. The girls were getting to know each other, Mum, Becky and Karen hadn’t met all of my friends before and it was really nice to see everyone together chatting. Once checked in, we all walked down to the accommodation with our suitcases… I felt like I was on a film set! It was years since my last girls holiday and life just felt even more magical than usual!
As the gate was opened a charming, spacious, authentically Spanish villa greeted us, with a hot tub calling our names. We eagerly swept through the villa, choosing rooms and marveling at how nice it was. The girls let me choose my room; it had an en suite and a balcony, although in my excitement I completely overlooked the balcony originally. In no time at all, we were all in our bikinis and sprawled out soaking up our first sunbathing opportunity.
Mum, Vik, Bec and Karen went to the local supermarket, leaving the rest of us to enjoy the sunshine. They came back with a trolley filled with alcohol, fruit and snacks ready for the night ahead and following days. When they got back they already had a funny story to tell us that I wish I’d been there for. Mum managed to lose her hat crossing the road and ran back to get, as she bent down, her skirt fell down to her ankles – poor Jules! Ellie had bought a couple of magazines to practice her Spanish and was reading the articles out loud to me – it made wish I could speak another language!
Music was playing and the sun was still beating down as the afternoon drew to a close. We all headed up to get ready for our first evening together in Valencia. Everyone looked gorgeous for the night ahead, and i’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy all of the photos 😉
After way too much humous, cous cous and cheese, the music was turned down and I was presented with a book. I opened up and saw the first page “Happy Hen Do, Love Your Hens” … instantly I knew things were about to get very emosh! I thought it would be emosh just flicking through the pages and reading it to myself but then the girls announced everyone would be reading their own message, I wasn’t sure I could handle it!
Not sure why Mum provided a baby photo where it looks like I have thrush around my mouth?!
Mum was the first to start. As soon as she spoke her first word, I had welled up. Luckily, her new contact lenses meant she couldn’t quuuuuuite see and made a few mistakes, so the tears turned to giggles. Vik sobbed like a baby, Skelts tried to fight back the tears and be well wise – it was such a special moment hearing the kind words and memories of all my girls. They really are all such wonderful ladies and I am so lucky to have shared so many memories with them already, and knowing how many more exciting times we have to come fills me with giddiness.
This seems a good moment to mention that out of the 9 ladies on my Hen, 4 are called Rebecca; Skelts, Sleap, Becky Rosier and Becky Riley. Becky Riley joined the hen do having only met Skelts but in no time at all she had gelled with everyone and was commenting on how lovely my friends are. I know everyone loves their friends, but our group is really full of the most genuinely friendly, fun and relaxed girls.
After the tears and laughter as everyone read out their memories, advice and wishes for the future, I was told to wait outside while the others went back into the villa. A short while later I could hear cackles and a sudden outburst of ‘uh oh, oh, uh, oh, oh’… one by one they each appeared in pink swimsuits saying “Team Bride” singing ‘Single Ladies’ and busting out some epic moves. It was a moment I will never forget and they all looked AMAZING. Even my Mama got involved! These pictures are some of my favourite pictures, ever.
The night seemed to fly by. A certain someone was extremely drunk, and wouldn’t pose for the number of pictures I wanted to take, others were showing off their twerking moves – I honestly have no idea where the night went, but it was fantaaaaaastic.
We’d all decided to try and get up at 5.45 to watch the sunrise at the beach, Sleap was in charge. I have no idea what time we decided to go up to bed, but the alarm was set and we were ready for another early start. When the alarms rang, most of us got up and got ready to go – Becky, Mum and I would walk, while Sleap, Becky, Ellie and Karen would run. We had limited time to make it and when we left it already seemed quite bright. As the others ran off into the, uuum sunrise, apple maps let us down reporting it would take us 49 minutes to walk to the beach. After 15 mins or so we gave up – certain the others wouldn’t make it to the beach in time. As we walked back and were just a few minutes from the villa, we all received the most beautiful picture of the girls, on the beach, witnessing a stunning sunrise.
Picture stolen from Sleapy!
Saturday was one of the best days of my life. After a quick power nap and some breakfast I was given the iPad and Ryan was there, ready to tell me what we were doing with the day ahead. Speaking in one of his many voices ranging from baby to King Julian from Madagascar, Ryan announced that we were going on a day trip to see waterfalls and hot springs. Vik and Bec were a bit skeptical about what would actually happen on the tour but in no time at all, their minds were put to rest. We met Mike, our tour guide, and all hopped on board our bus, travelling out of Valencia into the mountains. The original plan was scuppered by a kids triathlon taking place in one of the villages, so things were shuffled around. This meant we were driving through the mountains, twisting and turning at some speed, towards our first stop, the Pony Tail Water Jet. The travel sickness was intense, so most of us were quite relieved when we took a quick break to watch the rock climbers and white water rafters engineering their way up and through the mountains. The views were spectacular.
I didn’t have any idea what to expect but it was pretty mesmerising watching so much water blasting out of this small, square hole in the back of the dam. It was also a nice relief from the heat as there was mist in the air which cooled us down. Mike was amazing, not only was he a fountain of knowledge about his beloved Valencia – his home city for the last 12 years – but, he is also a Wedding Photographer and brings his camera along to capture the day for you. I love taking pictures, and although I took some throughout the day, it was nice to be able to step back and enjoy everything, without being concerned about my picture obsession.
We hopped back on board the bus and made our way to a local village, I wish I could remember it’s name. When we first met Mike, Viki probed him for the itinerary. He mentioned that we would be heading into a village for lunch and it happened to coincide with the ‘Running of the Bull’ festivities that are held once a year. The bulls essentially run panicked through the town, with the humans jumping in and out of cages to entice the bull and confuse it. The girls were unsure I’d like it but Mike said we’d still go just for lunch and experience the small village life. We had a little wander around, hopping through the cages and soaking up the authentic Spanish town. After a little while, the bull running was ready to start. It is a real spectacle with a band playing music, kids dancing and everyone gathered around. The band was amazing. I chose to stay at the table with Mum during the Bull Running, eating lunch – a pizza, so Spanish! The girls watched for a while but all gradually returned, feeling sad for the confused and helpless bulls. After my pizza, I was stuffed and bloated … not ideal for an afternoon in my bikini!
We excitedly got back on to the bus and made our way to the Montanejos Blue Lagoon Hot Springs. The springs are set among the mountain range and are utterly breath taking. Mike gave us some tips and as soon as we’d set up camp, we made our way into the springs. It was 32 degrees and the sun was really beating down. As we got into the water, it felt a little cool, not quite what we were expecting, but we soon adjusted and it felt warm. As we swam round we all found the pockets of warmer water but, as quickly as we found them, they’d disappear again. We followed the springs round all the way to their end, marveling at the flowers that have somehow grown from the waters edge right up to the top of the rock face. Swimming through the these giant mountains, I found myself looking up and around in amazement – it was such a unique experience.
After our swim, it was sunbathing, and nap, time. We had to leave at 4 to make it to the waterfalls in time to be back at our Villa for our evening plans. I could have stayed there for hours. Back on the bus everyone was talking about how amazing the springs were – little did we know we were about to experience a new adventure equally, if not more, amazing. We arrived at the Bridal Veil Waterfalls after a short, but steep, downhill walk from a small village, leaving our bus driver parked up. It dawned on us all that the walk back to the bus would be a challenge!
When Mike had said that we were going to see a Waterfall, I was excited, but was in no way prepared for the wonder of Bridal Veil Waterfall. This was the first time I’d seen a waterfall – there was something so magical and enchanting about it. We tentatively climbed over the rocks and through the stream on to the slippery rocks the water hammers down upon. As we got closer the force of the water was unreal… and, it was bloody cold! We were all excitedly giggling, like children, screaming and laughing and Mike was there to capture it all. More amazing pictures to treasure, forever. Some of the girls dried off but I stayed in the freezing water with Skelts and we did a bit of ‘cliff jumping’. At one point, I thought I was going to be responsible for her death. We were both stood on the side of the rock, holding hands, ready to jump and as she leapt off, I froze. Thankfully there were no injuries but I did feel really bad. After getting over my initial fear (I mean, it wasn’t even that high up), we were joined by Mum, Vik and Becky and enjoyed more jumping. Simple things but in that moment I felt so free and so happy, with all my friends, jumping in and out of water, haha!
Everyone was sad the tour was over but were equally thrilled by all of the sights and wonders. As soon as we got back to the Villa it was time to get ready for our night out. This was the night that I had to wear something of colour – I’d found something on my shopping trip with the girls so was very excited to wear it! Getting ready with your girlfriends is always so much fun (in some cases, better than the actual night out haha), music was playing, the sun was still shining, and everyone was excited. There is something about being with a group of girls, singing, putting make up on and getting dressed up – I just love it… oh, and taking loads of photos!
We found taxi’s, causing a traffic jam and upsetting a few locals, and headed to La Pepica where a table on the beachfront awaited us. My brothers best friend, Tom, had lived in Valencia for a year and recommended this restaurant for it’s renowned paella dishes. His recommendation didn’t disappoint. Our table was perfectly placed to enjoy the beauty of the beach as the sun set and the musicians came out to play. One of our signature songs was played on hand pipes, Despacito. We ate the most beautiful paella and drank the smoothest, scrummiest Sangria. When we left it was dark, lights lit the beachfront and we could see a club with strobe lights flashing close-by.
After a 20 minute walk around town, courtesy of apple maps cocking up again, we found our intended destination, Marina Beach Club. These were the flashing strobe lights we had seen from our table at dinner! As we walked into the club, I realised there was no roof! I had never been to an open air club so was ridiculously excited. As I looked around it was rammed with people, fire flames, fireworks and a giant screen, all set under the beautiful clear night sky, with stars sparkling down. Another tick off the bucket list! We danced and danced, working up a sweat despite basically being outside on the beachfront. This was all brand new to Mum but she was amazing, I think Vik gave her a lot of entertainment that night, haha! Becky was hilarious when hit on by random guys, switching a ring over to her ring finger and shoving it anyone’s face when they approached! Vik was on top form, at one point we both got so excited that when I went to pull her in close for a dance I ripped her skirt off 😀
I remember looking around me quite a few times, just to soak it all up, to imprint the memories, my favourite ladies all together, dancing, singing, celebrating. It was so very special.
We all had the best time and decided the night could not end there. At 4.30 as the club was shutting, and our feet were throbbing, it was time to tick another item off the bucket list – skinny dipping. After a brief distraction trying to ride a strangers bike across the sane and singing Slow Hands with Vik, attempting to tweet it to Niall Horan, we joined the others. Mum was not so keen on this idea! We stripped off and ran into the warm, glistening Balearic Sea… some quicker than others. I can’t remember whose idea it was, probably Karen’s, but we all joined together and shared a naked hug in the sea! As we made our way to shore, in usual Vik style she face planted… twice! Waiting for us with Mum and Rosh were 2 random strangers, enjoying the view – “Get dressed, Hayley”, Mum wasn’t too happy with them joining us but drunken Hayley was significantly less bothered.
It was time to head back to the villa and the skies were getting lighter. It was hot the whole night. Even the water was still warm. I can see why Mike, our tour guide, loves Valencia and made it his home. Finding at taxi at 5am was surprisingly hard, particularly when you’re walking the streets, bare foot, a little damp, and singing Whitney Houston at the top of your lungs. Eventually, we all found taxi’s, though at different times. Vik, Rosh and I were in one and before I’d even sat down in the front, I was asking for the aux, ready to plug my phone in and singalong to our Hen Do theme tune, Slow Hands – our driver was not impressed. At one extremely exciting point in the journey home we caught up with the girls in the other taxi and were all singing Slow Hands for the Valencia residents to enjoy … ! Check out our happy drivers face …
After devouring the last of the crisps and brie, we went up to bed for a few hours’ sleep before another day in the glorious Valencia sunshine. Sunday was supposed to be a little overcast but Valencia didn’t disappoint and we had a third day of beautiful clear skies. I didn’t know what the plan was but as everyone woke, feeling a little tired and hungover, Skelts was upbeat and ready to go. It was decided that instead of going with the original plan we’d spend another day chilling around the villa and sunbathing, trying to catch up on a little sleep – I love sleep and cannot believe I survived 3 days on only 7 hours! I found out later in the day that Vik and Bec had planned a treasure hunt around the Old Town, giving us an opportunity to explore. They really did go to so much effort, looking back it seems like a shame we missed out on the hunt but I think everyone was too tired! By this point, everyone was very familiar, boobs and bums were out for all to see any time we were in the sunshine – full tan coverage was a priority! Karen commented that she had never seen so many boobs, haha!
For dinner that night we headed into the Old Town (about 10 minutes walk from our villa) towards another restaurant Tom had recommended. The Old Town is stunning with a mix of contemporary and baroque / gothic architecture – also some amazing Gelateria’s (my eyes were a little bigger than belly when I ordered the ‘gigante’ on our way home). After wandering down a very long road we came to our destination to find it no longer existed and had closed down – good recommendation, Tom! We spotted a lot of beans (dogs), beans feature prominently in any and every trip, anywhere, with Bec. We stopped off at a pretty little courtyard restaurant that we’d passed earlier and ordered drinks and food. Vik and Becky had fallen in love with a strawberry gin they’d had in Marina Beach Club before and were super happy to find it on the menu here!
The food was yummy, although mine was a little small so I was hunnnngry – hence ordering the massive tub of ice cream! We headed back to the villa and played games – Mum had brought this game where you hum a song through a whistle type thing so we split into 3 teams and sat outside playing for a few hours. Everyone was pretty tired so at about midnight we headed to bed, sad that tomorrow would be our last day and we’d be packing up and heading home. We were all very pleased with our tans though… well, maybe not Becky and Ellie who applied more sun tan lotion than I’ve used in my entire life, haha!
In the morning I sat in my bed while my roomie snoozed and read through my Memory Book, flicking through pictures on my phone and reminiscing on the fun of the last few days. How could I ever repay all my girls, my people as Rosh assured me, for a weekend so perfect?!
We packed up the house and checked out at 10.30, making our way, suitcases in hand, to the Valencia beach for another sunbathing session… they know me so well, sunbathing is my favourite hobby! There was a shower and changing rooms on the beach so we could relax there up until we decided to go for food before heading to the airport. The beach is a lovely beach, lots of soft (boiling hot) sand and warm, blue water with a few waves. The time went so fast, isn’t that always the way? Just simply chilling on the beach with your family and friends and before you know it, 5 hours have passed. Our biggest entertainment, however, came when we noticed 2 couples intensely dry humping without a care in the world. It was hard not to watch. This went on for the 5 hours we were on the beach, with them occasionally popping into the ocean…!
While I was relaxing on the beach, Ryan had messaged to say that an old lady has crashed into his car and he was, potentially, going to be stuck in Portsmouth and may not make it home. It was his second car incident in less than 48 hours with someone else reversing into him the day before. I was really missing him at this point and can remember feeling so sad that I may not get to see him when I got home after 3 nights away! (Thankfully the tow truck arrived and he was sleepily waiting for me when I got home – I was ready to share my 700+ pics and 18 videos with him but he wasn’t as keen!)
Everyone was pretty hungry so after showers we headed to one of the restaurants on the beach front – after 3 days of tapas, burger and chips was the main order! They also did epic puddings! Taxi’s had been pre-arranged to pick us up at 6 and take us to the airport… and so begins the scariest 23 minutes of my life. Sometimes being in a strange city can be scary but everything we’d experienced in Valencia so far was friendly and positive. That was until we got into these taxis. The drivers had a death wish or were playing some kind of game – we actually had to shout at our driver to slow down as he slammed on the breaks to avoid crashing into the back of a stationary car. My hands reached out and grabbed his headrest in panic more than once. We were lane hopping at 70mph in traffic, Bec, Rosh and I genuinely feared for our lives as we frantically messaged the Hen Do group. Rosh reminded the driver “you have one job, get your passengers from A-B safely” – we were not happy. The others girls messaged and were also having a similar experience, Mum, Viki, Karen and Bec had been chased a lorry that the driver had cut up previously, almost being run off the road. We were all beyond relieved to make it to the airport safely. Somehow, Karen still wanted to give him a tip, haha!
In the run up to my Hen weekend, I’d felt a little anxious and apprehensive but the closer it got, and as soon as I saw my girls in the airport, those feelings vanished and the excitement was immense. We’d had the best time but it was now coming to an end. On the plane Sleapy asked us all what our favourite memory was – we all agreed it was the WHOLE of Saturday, a day that will forever be etched in my memory. After a short flight we landed back in England and it was time to say goodbye. It felt odd to be saying goodbye to everyone after 4 perfect days together. Thankfully we have the excitement of Becky’s Hen to look forward to 🙂
It’s now been well over a week (at the point of writing) since we got home and it’s safe to say we’re all having major withdrawal symptoms, missing #henofthebug2k17 and Valencia. The Whatsapp group I was added into on the first day is still active with photos, memories and #poormichelle memes! I can’t wait for everyone to be reunited in 36 days at our wedding.
I have spent every day since reflecting, feeling beyond blessed to have 2 Best Friends who spent so much time and effort planning what can only be described as my dream hen do. It’s been so long since I’ve spent 4 days with my girls, and I feel so appreciative that they all took time out and spent hard earned moneys to enjoy and celebrate with me. I feel so very lucky and love every single one of them so, so much!
I still can’t quite believe it’s over, I want to relive it again and again – same time, same place next years girls?
36 days to go!