Thursday, 24 May 2012

Madam Meko's All Time Best Hens Party Games!

So following my blog on my Hens Party tips last week I seemed to get a lot of interest in some of my all-time best Hens Party games! So by popular demand, here they are! 

Now there are millions of pretty lame Hens party games on the Internet and some of them have a good basis, but need you to put in the extra effort to make them funny and memorable.

So firstly here are my top three games/challenges for all your Hens to participate in. These are great icebreakers (but then again so are a few champagnes, so make sure you’ve had a couple before getting too game serious!):

1# How well do you know the Bride Quiz?
An easy and predictable game, it involves preparing a quiz on how well the Hens know the Bride, her current relationship and the history of her past! Now this can be done one of two ways – you can hand out individual quizzes and pens to each of the guests for them to answer the questions or you can go for a more interactive version where the Bridesmaids can read the questions out and the Hens can buzz in with the answers. I prefer the latter as it gives an opportunity for everyone to get involved without the pressure of having to answer every question. I’ve sat at many a Hens party in silence answering quizzes on paper which can be a bit tedious to say the least.

What you’ll need:
Buzzers (these could be bells, whistles, tambourines etc)
Quiz questions
A shot glass and a bottle of something (for those that answer incorrectly – only if you choose)
Prizes for those who answer correctly (chocolates or even some of those novelty ‘sexy’ lollies can be good)

Some good examples of questions might be:
1. When and how did the Bride and Groom meet?
2. Who was the Bride’s longest relationship prior to the Groom?
3. Who did the Bride first lose her virginity to?
4. If the Bride had one night off and her pick to be with any celebrity, who would she chose?
5. How did the Groom propose?
Etc etc

#2 Post it Note Game
Now this game is easy and requires little or no preparation. There are two versions of this game – ‘The post-it-note marriage advice’ game or ‘The post-it note memory’ game. Basically hand out post it notes or some nice coloured card (themed in your Hens Party colours of course) to your guests with a pen and ask them to write either a piece of advice on staying/being married OR a funny memory/story they had with the Bride. The cards/post it notes are then collected and read out and it’s up to the Bride to determine who wrote what!
The Marriage advice cards are my favourite though as they are a nice keep sake for the Bride that she can perhaps refer to in the future!

What you’ll need:
Post it notes/ coloured card

#3 Pin the Tail
This one is one of my favourites. A twist on an old school kids game, I still call it ‘Pin the tail’ but you can basically pin whatever you like! Again this one can be as raunchy or as tame as you like. Most people do pin the bouquet on the Bride but I like to personalise this game and try and find a really funny picture of the Bride (and/or Groom) to use. Get it printed out on AO poster paper at your local printing shop (shouldn’t cost you more than $50) and then get as imaginative (or as naughty) as you like with what you are going to use to pin! For one Hens Party I did I found this great photo of the Bride and the Groom where the Groom was going in for a full on grope of the Bride’s boob! So we called it – ‘Pin the hand on the boob’ game and used hand cut outs to do the pinning. To make it a bit trickier though we gave each Hen a shot and then spun them 3 times before they did their pinning. Now this was very funny to watch!

What you’ll need:
A poster print out of the Bride/Groom or both
Cut outs of something to do the pinning and bluetak to stick them on with
A marker (to write the individuals names on their pins)
A shot glass and bottle of something (if you want to do this bit)
A prize for the winner

#4 The Ultimate Housewives Challenge
The ultimate test to see if the Bride is up for the challenge of being a housewife! Basically a series of challenges is set that the Bride must participate in and compete against her fellow Hens (usually just one or two other Hens at a time). This one is a good game for the older Hens and those that are married (or at least those that boast the years of experience!). Now you can get as creative as you like with this game, but these are my best challenges:
First to sew a button back on a shirt
First to finish peeling 3 potatoes
First to finish darning a hole in a sock
First to finish folding half a dozen shirts (properly!)
First to tie and man’s business tie (properly!)
First to finish matching and pairing a bundle of socks
First to verbally list all ingredients required in baking a batch of scones

What you’ll need:
Any of the above listed props (x 2/ 3, depending on how many challengers you have at a time)
Prizes for the winners
Stop watch

Now the last two games are specifically for the Bride and are just good entertainment for the Hens once they have become a bit over the whole game thing:

5# How well does the Bride know the Groom Quiz?

Now this involves preparing a quiz that you will need to give to the Groom ahead of time to pre-answer the questions. You will need to prepare a ‘mask’ for the bride to use of the Grooms face and cut out eye holes and a mouth hole. You can also gather other props that she could use to be like the Groom. For one Hens I made a cap with a pony tail as when the Bride first met her fiance he boasted a very well groomed pony tail out the back of his cap! Another Hens party we gathered a Richmond Tigers scarf and beanie as the Groom was a massive Tigers fan. Basically the Bridesmaids will ask the Bride questions about the Groom and she will be expected to use the mask, talk and answer as the Groom would! Now this one is so funny if it’s done well and even funnier when they attempt to 'talk' like their partners!

What you will need:
A mask of the Grooms face, attached to a stick so the Bride can hold up
Prepared and pre-answered quiz questions by the Groom
Other props relating to the Groom for the Bride to use
A shot glass and bottle of something (for the bride to shot when she answers incorrectly)

Examples of some quiz questions:
1. Where and when did you share your first kiss?
2. What is your fiance's worst habit?
3. Who was your fiance's first girlfriend?
4. What has been your fiance's most embarrassing moment?
5. What is your fiance's all time catch phrase?
Etc etc (I’m keeping these pretty tame – but you get the gist!)

6# Challenge Card Game
Now this is a game for once the party has moved on to the real ‘night’ scene when the oldies have gone home and a few drinks have been consumed (especially by the Bride!). Basically the Bridesmaids will throughout the course of the night hand out specific challenge cards to the Bride that she must read out to the group and then embark on! These are great to work in with your theme of the night. Here are some of the ones I came up with for the Hens I did where we did the Cops and Robber theme, placing the Bride under arrest!

1. When the whistle blows tonight please assume the ‘frisk’ position and have a man frisk you!
2. Being a hardened criminal you must STEAL a kiss from at least one man tonight….the catch is this man MUST have a moustache!
3. Ask a man to take a Line Up Photo of you….front and side! No smiling allowed!
4. This area has been declared a crime scene. Wrap you and the nearest man up together in crime scene tape and ensure there is photographic evidence taken!

What you’ll need:
Challenge cards to give the Bride
Any props you might need to back up your challenges

Lastly, a great ‘keepsake’ for the bride but also a great end to the night that can really generate some laughs is the presentation of the ‘Good Housewives Kit’, the ‘Marriage Survival kit’ or the ‘Honeymooners Kit’. Now this one will depend on how ‘risk-ay’ the Bride is!
For the tamer bride it’s often nice (but funny) to present them with all they will need to be the perfect traditional housewife with their own 'Good Housewives Kit'! This can also be the safer option if you have mothers and mother in laws present. In the past I have presented all the items in a cane laundry basket – as it doubles as a very necessary item! Other items could include:-
A string of pearls
An apron, rubber gloves and maybe a tea towel
A pair of slippers and pipe for your husband (for when he returns home from a hard day at the office)
A wooden spoon and cake tin for all that baking
An old school cook book – Margaret Fulton is always a goer!
Some lipstick (to ensure you always look perfectly presentable when hubby arrives home)
A 1950s housewives manual (you can pick these up at bookshops or online – the tips in them are absolute crackers!)
Some Eucalyptus Oil (because apparently that gets anything and everything out!)
A small hip flask of brandy or gin (just to keep sane!)
Some sexy lingerie (for underneath that apron and rubber gloves of course!)

For a ‘Marriage Survival Kit’ you could use items like:
Some trusty headache pills for when you’re not in the mood!
Some ear plugs (for the relentless snoring!)
A stress ball (no explanation there!)
A vibrator (no explanation there either!)
‘His’ & ‘Hers’ TV remotes
A peg (for all those new smells you will encounter!

If you prefer to go for the naughtier option of the ‘Honeymooners Kit’, just pop into your local adult shop! I don’t think you need me to go into detail with that one! 

With either of the last two options just ensure you get a nice big paper show bag that you can personalise and theme up with a picture of the Bride and Groom…’ll be sure to find some sort of naughty or compromising picture of them both you can use!

To all of you planning Hens parties, I hope this has been helpful! So be good ladies!…..well sort of good anyway! ;)

Lastly a big thank you to my girlies for letting me share their photos from their Hens're the best xx

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Always a bridesmaid......and this might be why!

In my thirty odd years I think I’ve attended and organised more than my fair share of Hens parties. And let me tell you, I’ve attended the great (usually the ones I’ve organised…he he!), the good, and then just the outright bad. And even then I’ve been to worse where they have been so out rightly hideous that the cringe factor for the poor Hen was off the Richter scale!

I had the privilege about three years ago of organising my three best friends Hens parties all in the space of five months. One of them actually had two Hens parties (my idea), so technically I did four parties in five months. My whole life was consumed with Hens party themes, ideas, games and novelties, trying my best to outdo myself with each one and of course make each one different and unique to suit the personality of the Bride. So I thought I would share with you all my top six tips for organising the BEST Hens party ever. Every woman will have to organise or been involved in organising at least one Hens party in their lifetime and of course you will want it to be one that the Bride will remember forever (in a good way of course!). 
So here are my top six tips!

Tip 1# Always ask the Bride what SHE wants to do!
After all it is her day! It will be her last day/night of singledom and it needs to be a celebration that she feels comfortable with, with a group of Hens that she wants to celebrate with. There is no point inviting a whole heap of ladies that she doesn’t want there, nor feel comfortable enough around to let her hair down with. Now in saying that you should always honour what the Bride wants to a certain degree but there also should always be room too for an element of surprise! And you of course will know the Bride better than anyone and will know how far you can push the boundaries without going too far. But whatever you do though, make sure you plan for all the guests to pace themselves - you don't want everyone to get too drunk too soon, so make sure a meal is accounted for in your preparations. And lastly if you're inviting older friends or mums, choose a venue or activity that everyone feels comfortable with. And if in doubt, split the night into various stages, such as a meal for everyone and then on to the wild clubbing later for the younger ones!

Tip 2# Theme it up!
Every good party should have a theme or a concept and generally Hens will get into the spirit of the party more if there is dressing up involved or activities and games that follow a theme. 
To give you some ideas on what I’ve done in the past, I had a ‘Make the Bride Blush’ theme for my own Hens party (yes I themed my own party, sad I know….I’m a self-confessed control freak!) where everyone was made to wear a touch of pink. All the food and decorations were themed in pink and it was a simple yet fun theme that wasn’t too overbearing for all involved. And yes the girls did make me blush! 

For another girlfriend we did an ‘Oriental’ theme for her Oriental inspired wedding. We all dressed in Chinese silk dresses and themed the restaurant with oriental fans, lanterns and parasols. The guests received favours of oriental fans and chopsticks and we all enjoyed a dumpling feast. During the day we embarked upon a very tame activity of painting ceramic plates to accommodate the oldies, and then moved onto some more 'evening' activities later on to spice things up!

Another party I did we themed it with a 1950s housewife theme, where we all came dressed in our aprons and pearls, played the housewife Olympics of sewing buttons on shirts, peeling potatoes and darning socks which was a real laugh for everyone. At this particular party we surprised the Hen with a surprise 'male guest' which was a laugh.....even for the Hen's Mum! 

Then there was the Hens with the ‘Cops and Robbers’ theme where the bridesmaids dressed as the cops and the bride of course was placed under arrest as the hardened crim! She was then taken to places 'against' her will and made to do things under Police instruction! Needless to say we had a very accommodating Hen on our hands who was up for the fun and the challenge!

My favourite though was a joint Hens and Bucks party that I threw where we gave it a ‘Battle of the Sexes’ theme, making the Groom dress in the Bride’s old school uniform and the Bride dress in the Groom’s old school uniform! All the male guests came dressed as women and of course the women as men! Now this was a theme that everyone got in to with some really great ‘battle of the sexes’ games that followed suit.

Tip 3# Organise every detail, delegate with the other bridesmaids and ensure everything is accounted for well in advance

Depending on what activity you choose, whether it is a winery tour, a day at the spa, a dinner or even a night at the strippers, Hens parties are generally for larger groups of women and popular venues generally need to be booked well in advance, so be organised and plan ahead. Don’t leave your party planning to two weeks before the party as you will never pull it off! My general rule of thumb is to plan eight weeks out, with a save the dates to be sent out at the 7-8 week mark, followed by a formal invitation 5-6 weeks out. Always ensure you allow ample RSVP time too. 2 weeks should be sufficient and allow for those tardy stragglers. It is at that 8 week mark though that you need to make some critical decisions, especially around cost. This leads me to my next tip.

# Tip 4 Be mindful of costs to your guests
Now the initial meeting of the Bridesmaids to discuss ideas for the Hens party can often see lavish ideas being thrown around of hummers, topless waiters, fancy restaurants and the like. It is at this point you need to set your budget and set some ground rules. Will you be expecting your guests to pay entirely for themselves? Will the bridesmaids be covering part or all of the costs? And will you be expecting your guests to prepay in advance? These can all be sensitive questions that need to be detailed delicately on the invitations and in situations where you require prepayment prior to the party you need to make it as easy and as convenient for the guests as possible. You also need to keep in mind that not everyone is comfortable forking out huge amounts of money for lavish activities, so if it means getting a mini bus instead of a hummer, then be creative and theme that bus to within an inch of its life….it will be just as fun! Most guests feel comfortable enough to pay between $50-$100 for a Hens celebration, but remember guests will often want to get their monies worth. You must remember one thing however, no Bride should be paying for anything at her Hens party (unless the Bride of course is a control freak, as I was, organising the whole thing myself!) 

Tip 5# Always ensure you have ample activities or games to ensure good guest interaction!
Activities are always a great way to get the party started and also for girls to get to know each other especially when there is a mixed bunch of guests. But always make sure you chose something that everyone will actually want to participate in! There is nothing worse than attending a party and being forced to do something that is way out of your comfort zone. And additionally it wouldn’t be a Hens party without some games. Now the Internet is crawling with great Hens party games, but my biggest tip here is to ensure you chose ones that your Bride will be comfortable doing. Games and quizzes can always be a laugh, but make sure your Bride is laughing too and not just being laughed at! And finally on this point, don't make the whole event about games. 3-4 games at the very most is ok, but keep them to a minimum as although they may seem fun to you, to others they can seem tedious and somewhat boring.

Tip 6# Ensure you leave the Bride and the guests with some mementos from the night!
In all the Hens parties I have organised I have always arranged a photo book for the Bride in advance, collecting pictures of all those invited to the party and collating them together for all the ladies to write their own personal note to the Bride in on the night. This is always a nice keep sake for the Bride to look back on after the party.
Obviously there is also always the traditional garb that goes along with Hens parties too – the veil and obviously some of the crass Hens party novelties you can pick up in ‘those novelty sex shops’. Now depending on your Bride she may or may not want to go down that path. But generally if you chose a good enough theme you can create your own novelties that are a little more classy and creative but yet still make the bride stand out as the Hen! For example for my girlfriend’s oriental Hens I picked up a traditional Vietnamese hat and attached some sparkly red tulle from the tip which she wore all night – and boy oh boy did she stand out! 

Lastly, always ensure you have the all-important favour for your ladies to take home. Now if you’ve chosen the right theme this can be simple. A show bag handed out at the start of the day/night though can always be fun that can hold favours, lollies and essentials that might be required for games etc. Again, theme these up with a picture of the bride and make them as naughty or as classy as you like!

Anyway, I hope my six top tips have been helpful in organising your next Hens Celebration!

Cluck Cluck! x

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Made with love.....oh and maybe a whole heap of butter and sugar!

With Mothers Day less than a week away now, I thought I'd share with you some very pretty Mothers Day cookies that Matt prepared yesterday. Although with Matt's mum all the way over in New Zealand she's just going to have to enjoy the pictures and trust that they taste as pretty as they look! And as for my Mum, she may need to be satisfied with some flowers as she is more partial to the biscuits that would hold a piece of cheese than the ones covered in sweet yummy fondant! Perhaps we would be better off sharing these around with all our new mummy friends instead!

It's easy enough to make your own Mothers Day cookies for that special Mum in your life though. First you'll need to make your cookies with a basic shortbread recipe. You'll need:

250g softened butter
1 cup icing sugar
1 cup cornflour
2 cups plain flour
(will make 30 small or 15 large cookies)

First cream the butter and sugar together  until light and fluffy. In another bowl sift together the cornflour and flour. Then mix the flour mixture into the creamed butter and sugar. Using your hands, knead the mixture together to form the dough. On a lightly floured board roll the dough out to a 0.5cm thickness. Then using some different shaped cutters, cut your cookies and place carefully on a tray lined with baking paper. Prick each cookie in the middle once with a fork. Bake at 150C for 30 minutes or until pale and lightly golden. Depending on your oven you made need to spin the tray half way through cooking to ensure even colour. Cool completely on a wire rack.

Next comes the fun and creative  bit......the decorating! Now Matt has covered his cookies in fondant and piped the detail in royal icing, but depending on your skill and confidence level you could just decorate them in your standard run-of-the-mill home made icing (remember its the thought that counts!) Decorate them as boldly or as beautifully as you like. You could even use some sugar flowers for some extra detail if you want.

So to all the Mummy's out there, we hope you all have a lovely Mothers Day next Sunday and get spoilt beyond belief as you all truly deserve! 

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