I never had a specific idea of what I wanted for my hen do, bar the fact I knew I wanted it be… how do I put this… loose. I wanted it to be a little wild, a little naughty, a little, what my dear friend Mia would call “litty titty.” In short, the atmosphere I wanted to create was not exactly parent friendly. No mums allowed.
But why should my beloved mother miss out on celebrating her only daughter’s impending nuptials? That’s why I hit upon a (if I say so myself) genius idea: a Mum Do. Once I knew that I wanted a separate celebration with my mother, I realised just how excited I was about it. It would be all the things that my Hen Do wouldn’t- relaxed, cosy, quiet and intimate and, on top of that, it would be quality time with my Mama C.
We decided upon a few days away at Chewton Glen; one of those seminal country house hotels that I have always wanted to visit but never have. With its rural location, historic charm and access to the quietly beautiful Hampshire coast, I knew it would be specifically appealing to my mother, whose university days were spent nearby and who has never met a stretch of English coastline she didn’t love.
We arrived by train from London, where I donned a clip-on veil and forced my mortified mother to wear a ‘Mother of the Bride’ sash. ‘I look ridiculous,’ she said, begging multiple times to take it off. But, part of me felt she loved it. Right?
Chewton Glen is an oft discussed, oft praised hotel, and it was wonderful to see the hype justified. They have recently expanded their already stellar offering within the main house; (where suites and rooms are cosy and luxurious, making a modern nod to the house’s historic past) and invested in the lux treehouse sphere. Here, nestled within the sylvan splendours which surround the estate, are stunning suites with wooden terraces complete with hot tubs and sun loungers and some with multiple floors, kitchens and plunging bathtubs with views of nothing but the leafy green oasis around you. We were lucky to stay in one of these; and on one of this summer’s first blue sky days. The space was magnificent; like a self-contained, multi-floor apartment that felt embraced by nature. It was the rarely achieved thing: truly peaceful.
On our first day the Mum Do, we ate lunch at The Kitchen, which sits just behind Chewton Glen’s small farm. You pass the teddy-bear sheep as you enter which, you are reminded constantly by the staff, never end up as the seasonal lamb on your plate. The Kitchen is the hotel’s more relaxed restaurant, though the fare is just as delicious. I tucked into an exemplary moules marinière and my mother had a beautifully constructed fish and chips, both washed down with glasses of champagne and a chocolate cake to end, which the staff had decorated with a candle and a note of congratulations. It was a precursor to our hospitality that evening. Champagne and special mocktails (for Mama C) in the Marryat Bar, named after Captain Frederick Marryat, who wrote Children of the New Forest while staying at Chewton Glen, then a private home owned by his brother, before a stunning three course meal in The Dining Room.
You cannot visit Chewton Glen without at least popping into their spa. The Art Deco inspired pool is airy and bright and the treatments are exemplary. On offer is the revolutionary Theraface facial which uses microcurrent technology and LED light therapy to firm and tone the skin as well as rejuvenate with myriad anti-ageing benefits. For my ‘Mum Do’ treat I also had, quite simply, the best massage of my entire life. Book with Ellen. She may be an angel descended from heaven.
I walked off my post massage zen in the late afternoon, when Mama C and I embarked upon the hotel’s beach walk. Trusty old school map in hand, provided by the treehouse concierges (“I don’t do apps,” says Mama C) we strolled past waterfalls and through sun-dappled glades before the trees parted and we reached Naish beach. Secluded, beautiful and perfect.
The next morning, a huge breakfast hamper was silently delivered to our door; replete with pastries, fresh milk, fruit, muesli, salmon and pancakes. We greedily unpacked it and ate it in our fluffy white robes on our woodland terrace, watching the birds flutter past and hearing nothing but the wind whistling through the trees. As we headed back to London later that day, giggling about how wonderful our stay had been, I felt relaxed and excited about the wedding. Before my badly-behaved hen, I’m so glad I had a Mum Do to kick off the final month before The Big Day; celebrating the most important woman in my life.
Book your perfect escape at Chewton Glen: www.chewtonglen.com
Related Article: What Our Editors Did For Their Hen Dos