I’ve referred to my ‘hen do’ on occasion for clarity’s sake, but really it was always going to be a stag do. Plump, feathery, pecking, egging hens are not something I feel any affinity with, I’m afraid. Stags though, well; stags are cool aren’t they. Then a couple of my female friends had to pull out at the last minute so, not exactly reluctantly, I invited Tom and a load of boys along.
I know, I know, we were supposed to be trying the girl-gang thing, but it just didn’t work out!
And we had the BEST time.
I was careful not to try and fit too much in over the weekend, or we’d have ended up rushing everywhere and exhausted by the end of it. We still managed to do a lot though, so I’ll split the weekend into separate posts.
We got the train from Kings Cross to Edinburgh Friday morning, and arrived late Friday afternoon (Scotland is very far away). James was waiting outside Edinburgh Waverley for us with our Landrover, which was very, very exciting. I have a little bit of an obsession with Landrovers, and could think of no better excuse to hire one than a weekend in Scotland. James was very professional and friendly, and I’d recommend his company (link here) wholeheartedly. Poor Hannah was our designated driver, which she regretted rather when she caught sight of the bridge she’d have to manoeuvre across every day.
First glimpse… looks fine to you?
Aaah, now you see! Hannah did the most amazing job driving over a frankly alarmingly high and narrow bridge in a vehicle built like a massive rhino, so the tiny wheel-guard scrape we incurred (which James was very nice about) can definitely be forgiven.
Such a bridge must be guarding something pretty special though, I bet you’re thinking, and you’d be right. Welcome to Rosslyn Castle! It was mainly built around 1450, and is located on a tree-covered spine of rock rising steeply from the River Esk, which surrounds it on three sides. Apart from the surrounding ruins the central building looks fairly ordinary from the outside, but is truly spectacular once you walk through the front door. It really was the most amazing place I’ve ever stayed – decorated not in the usual anodyne style, but like a real country house. Wood panelling, tapestries, open fires… heaven.
The entrance hall
The drawing room. It’s even more impressive than it appears in this photo, as it’s a large square space so difficult to do justice to. Very atmospheric, and very beautiful.
There’s also a stunning dining room, private walled garden, a whole floor of bedrooms above (it sleeps seven, one double, two twins and a single room) and multiple levels of dungeons below! After running around squealing in delight for a bit we unpacked, had a nice cup of tea, then got out the stage make-up and prosthetics.
The plan for the evening was fancy dress, of course. I went for literary heroes as a theme, authors or characters, and my wonderful friends took to it with gusto. We had Virginia Woolf, Titania, a cross-dressing Poirot, Dr Jekyll, a confused-magician David Copperfield, Hunter. S Thompson and, er, Victor (who went as a famous Norweigan bard/duellist, from memory, but I can’t spell it). My cousin Bekky hadn’t got the email about fancy dress so we found her a Snow White outfit in Sainsburys for children, which she somehow managed to fit into.
My Titania outfit was fairly simple, but I’d happily wear it every day if I was allowed to. The dress is from Leon Max, the feather collar was made for me by V V Rouleaux (a Christmas present from Tom), and I got the black contact lenses online. To complete the look I put a serious amount of super-strong hairspray in my hair, and blow-dried it upside down for that authentic dragged-through-a-hedge-fairy look. I was going to make a headdress using some antlers I bought online, but they didn’t arrive in time unfortunately.
Still, I was pleased by the end result!
The dress is on sale online, but isn’t available in Leon’s Notting Hill store (as Katya and I discovered when we popped in the other day). It’s very easy to wear – both flattering and comfortable. (I come up as a UK size 8 on the online size-guide, but having tried another dress on in-store decided to gamble and order a 6, which fitted perfectly.)
I also asked everyone to come up with a cocktail each, though I think a few had to missed out in the end! I made strawberry and rhubarb margaritas, as I thought tequila would be a good addition to the evening, which seemed to go down pretty well (recipe to follow in another post). We played charades for the rest of the evening, boys versus girls of course, and the girls definitely won. Avatar nearly stumped us, but The Importance of Being Earnest nearly did for the boys, and had the rest of us in hysterics.
David Copperfield added photographer to his many skills
Virginia Woolf and her Strawberry Bellinis
Dr Jekyll and his Dirty Russians
Poirot and his Whisky Macs
My gorgeous Australian cousin Bekky, who travelled all the way to Scotland even though she could only spare 24 hours before flying off to give an academic paper at a conference, and got glitter in places glitter is not meant to go.
Titania and Dr Jekyll. A good match, non?!
Titania and the boys
… and, er, Titania falling over. Ahem.
Tales of horses, guns, dungeons and dinner parties to follow soon.
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