It’s hard to believe that I’ve made it to my late 30’s and I’ve never had a weekend away with The Girls. It’s not by choice, I don’t have a large group of friends, but it doesn’t mean that I can’t dream about my perfect girl’s weekend away, right? So it got me hitting that faithful google search engine to find, what makes the perfect girl’s weekend getaway? Perfect city hotel? A luxury cabin in the woods? Glamping or travelling around Cornwall in a campervan? Please keep reading for planning a perfect girl’s weekend in the UK with my top five tips!
When was your last girl’s weekend?
Being a Mum, I am very guilty of taking no time for me. If I have any time away, it’s because it involves a family occasion or a wedding. It’s hard as a parent to allow ourselves to consider just getting away for even a night with a friend and chilling out. It’s a tough balance; you feel that as a parent, your children need you whether they are five or 15.
When a Girl’s Weekend is Mentioned!
So when over a chat the prospect of a weekend away to celebrate Bridget’s 40th birthday hangs in the air, you consider the usual bowing out altogether, you’ll pop in for a drink, or you find yourself trying to make it just a quick drink down the typical pub. Still, then you are reminded that it’s Bridget’s 40th the big Four Zero. How does it look when your longest friend is willing you to say yes! I have those friends, the ones who never turn up, pop in or cancel minutes before the taxi arrives. It hasn’t always been this way, but with age comes social anxiety.
I asked a few of my friends what they feel about spending time with friends.
“I know if I go out, the kids won’t go to sleep”
“My partying days are well behind me! I’m now a coffee and cake kind of girl!”
“Weekend? I can barely manage a night out!”
Talking of social anxiety, is it just me or does being a parent just make you want to stay in wrapped in a duvet? A girl’s weekend is probably the last thing on your mind but maybe it is what you need?
I want to touch on this subject a little as it is something that never really affected me in my 20’s but very much so in my 30’s. So I’ve been that girl who cancels minutes before the taxi arrives or cries sickness when the thought of meeting up fills me with dread. Even as recent as my works Christmas party, I had to will myself to attend and I guess with that in mind. If the thought of spending a weekend with a group of girls you barely know turns your insides in knots or you know every one of them, but you don’t want them asking you about your divorce then that’s okay too. In either scenario, I have two suggestions.
- Suggest a pre-planning meetup – you meet up in a neutral place, have a drink and can get to know each other before spending two days with them.
- If there are subjects you don’t want them to discuss, tell your closest friend that maybe they should keep clear of such discussions.
It Doesn’t Have to be a Bad thing!
Having anxiety surrounding social occasions is natural. I’m very much aware that the older I become, the more I stressed about worst-case scenarios. From being left out, people not liking me, not having enough money, my children not settling at home, my husband ringing me at 3am because the baby has been sick all over the bed (yes, this did happen), my mind is an overthinking mess.
What I’ve Learnt about Spending Time with the Girls.
It’s not easy, I’m not going to pretend that there is an easy fix, but I have a few little things that have helped me.
- Get ready early – It sounds simple but if you’re getting picked up at 7pm, allow two or even three hours to have a shower, add a special skin routine and pick an outfit (come on, we all know it was picked out a week ago) even if you do consider an alternative! If you find you have time, stay in your dressing gown, listen to some music, have a cold drink (wine is optional but allowed if not driving).
- Turn up the Tunes – Now, I’m a 90’s girl (boybands rule), so when I’m getting ready for a night out, I like to get ready with some good old 90’s tunes, and yes, I sing along at the top of my voice (sorry, neighbours). It helps me get in the mood.
- Have a Plan – If like me you often find yourself the designated driver or you live nowhere near the others, have a plan so you know you will meet at least one friend on route or know where you will be going. I’ve driven miles before on my own, and at 12 midnight, the world can seem ‘different’ but if your friends expect you at 7.30 pm, message them if you run late and when you leave, message your partner/husband/baby sitter and let them know you are leaving.
This would work whether a weekend break, one night stay over or an extended day out. Do a few little things to calm you down, it’s all in the planning!
Talking of planning…
My Top Five Tips
- It’s in the Planning
Whether you decide on a city shopping trip, a London theatre trip or a spa retreat in Dorset make sure it’s something you are all happy to do. There can’t be anything worse than everyone agreeing to a spa weekend to find that Evie doesn’t like or want to go and feels uncomfortable and miserable the whole time.
It’s also best noting that only one or two people plan the trip or you split different tasks to a different girl. So one accommodation, one trips out, food and drink etc. You don’t want three girls looking at accommodation and no one looking at restaurant reservations or excursions.
- Setting a budget
It can be a little overwhelming when everyone brings their ideas to the discussion. If it’s for a special birthday, it might be worth it being a surprise to the birthday girl. Now, budgets are going to have a significant impact on the type of accommodation, activities and the length of the trip. Forward planning is usually a must, so other’s can save.
A hen weekend in Morocco is going to cost considerably more than a camping weekend in Dorset, and the last thing anybody wants is to get to the airport and realise that Becky has less than six months left on her passport (yes, this happened to a friend). So if a weekend in Morocco is the goal, set a reasonable budget that suits all the girls.
- Alternative’s to getting away
Sometimes with all the best intentions, it’s just not that easy to pack off for the weekend and head down to the west country, but with garden parties on the rise, it’s never been easier to do something a little closer to home. Hire a tipi style tent, and you’ve got a night or two glamping. Fancy a pamper without the budget, there are day spa packages on Groupon or directly with some hotels which includes a treatment and use of the facilities and it won’t break the bank. If it’s a summertime event, pack a beach bag and head to your local beach (if commutable distance), or your local lido if you have one.
Another favourite within my friends is a day at a local festival. It doesn’t have to be miles away, lots of villages, towns and cities do music, food, wine, car, surfing, kite festivals to name just a few and have reasonable priced day tickets.
Perhaps you have some pregnant ladies attending, or Mum is tagging along with the mother in law to be, activities should consider all ages. Maybe an afternoon tea at a hotel you’d never normally visit.
A thing that is often overlooked is the activities or things to do aspect of a trip that has no main focus like ‘theatre’ or ‘beach’. You want to have a few activities across the weekend. A place to eat, stroll around a beautiful village, toasting marshmallows, depending on the trip.
Google and local guides are your best friend, with lots of apps at your finger tips for booking most things.
- Top Destinations
A list wouldn’t feel complete without a cool destination guide.
- Bath – Shopping, sightseeing and culture.
- Newquay – Beach, surfing, bars and an average nightlife
- London – Shopping, theatre, sightseeing, museums and a great nightlife.
- Brighton – Shopping (The Lanes), beach, bars, nightlife and general party atmosphere.
- Cotswolds (I say it in a generic way) – Walks, tours, sightseeing, forests, retreats.
These are just a few of my favourites, there are plenty more like Dublin, Edinburgh, Norfolk, Cambridge, Manchester, Liverpool, just to name a few. We visit Cornwall on a yearly basis so I wrote a mini travel guide. Explaining why we should all be having weekend breaks there.
Ultimately, the decision is what sort of things do you enjoy as friends or as individuals. It has been said that often ladies of a certain age use their weekend of freedom to consume the contents of a bar and sleep all day on the beach, while this may still happen, lots of girls are looking for a relaxing break away from the cooking, cleaning and to talk about anything other than the shape, size and colour of their child’s poo (believe me).
When are you Booking your next Girl’s Weekend?
I know that a weekend shopping trip sounds stressful with my friends but a day at a festival taking in some local bands until the sun goes down is totally me now! Believe me, it wasn’t when I was younger!
Remember the aim, to have fun, to maybe celebrating a birthday, pending marriage, divorce or just for the fun of it! Because guys seem to do it all the time, right? Take 100’s of photos for the gram and make the best memories!
Have I inspired you? Have you never been on a girl’s weekend? Does it feel you with dread or do you love the idea? Please comment and let me below?
EDIT: I wrote this post back in March before the Coronavirus hit the UK, I understand that travelling within the UK and aboard will be different for some time to come. I decided that it felt the right to time to share this post.