Saturday, 12 December 2009

Penmere Perfection...

Although I've not mentioned any details on my blog up until now, I have been working diligently behind the scenes since the beginning of September, to organise a Christmas Dinner Dance party night for my favourite work friends and I.
I am a huge fan of Christmas and can't get enough of the whole love, joy and being with friends at this time of year. Unfortunately the meaning of Christmas seems to have got more and more diluted over the years, and even since I was a child things have become more and more commercial.

Christmas to me in 2009 is being able to spend some time with my favourite people, and not necessarily the giving of gifts.... that's not to say that I have not been out and bought gifts, so don't panic too much dearies, but to know that I can get a hug of a BFF is more than enough for me.

Anyway, I digress. The Christmas Party Night.... In the past we have just booked a meal at the local carvery and turned up 15 minutes before, chomped down the chow, and headed off home after an hour and half.

This year I had plans for glitter, dancing and being able to spend time with aforementioned BFF's.

We did the whole search for decent hotels within a 20 to 30 minute drive of all of our homes, and I contacted them for details of party nights if any, and the menu's they were offering.

We narrowed it down to 3 hotels, and then, finally, down to the Penmere Manor in Falmouth. The girls on their reception were so very helpful, and offered details for any questions, swiftly and concisely by return email. So this was the hotel we booked.

Having arranged the Burns Night for the 5 owners club back in January, I had a fair idea as to how to make things easier, both for the hotel and myself.

I generated food order forms for each person, so that I could advise the hotel of the orders in advance, as they had requested, and having made everyone part with their deposit, I headed over to the hotel one afternoon, to pay up and give them the menu choices.

As the hotel was offering a very very reduced bedroom rate for anyone attending a party night, I had promised to check one out and report back. OMG the hotel, bedroom and event room was gorgeous. An old 18th century manor house, with a gym, sauna, jacuzzi, indoor and outdoor swimming pool, and all situated in beautiful beautiful grounds.

Needless to say I booked a room for Liza, who had asked me to keep it quiet from her other half, and also for us. We originally were not going to stop, as we have had an awful lot of expenditure recently and this would just be an indulgence, but hey, I could not turn this opportunity down. It was a chance for Fred to stop in a posh hotel for only £8..... I could not possibly deny my poor little doggy this could I, LOL.

I knew that having ordered their meals so far in advance, that no-one would remember what they wanted, and so, I made little name cards for the table, and inside I inserted a label with their menu choice, therefore alleviating the need for my big red folder containing all of my information and co-ordination details.

The next question was how was I to do this. Give them the place card on arrival and let it be every man for himself to the table, or place them ready on the table so that all they had to do was arrive and sit.

One afternoon, in the office, it was decided that we would pull names from a hat to decide where to place people. I started with Alison and her husband David in the middle of the table and worked out from them. I wanted to ensure that they had a good spot, as Alison has had a pretty grot year with recovering from all of her chemo etc.

Finally, we arrived at a seating plan, with partners opposite each other, and now all that was needed was to panic that the meal and hotel would meet expectations.... I have to say I was pretty stressed over it all, as this was out of my hands and I could do no more to make it a great night for us.

Out of 16 people attending our little gathering, 10 of us were stopping at the hotel for the night, and I felt very responsible for the fact that they had all spent a lot of money, and I just wanted it to go well.

I needn't have panicked. Everyone arrived at the allotted time, and we had a few drinks in the bar, while I took each couple off to one of the lovely side rooms for a special photo to commemorate the evening. Bless them all for agreeing to this. They know that I am a camera maniac, and they also know that it will all end up on here, but what good sports they all were!

Then I had a huge SHOCK!

I turned around and Alison was stood there with the most beautiful, and huge bouquet of flowers, and they were for me! WHY? Because I had done all of the organising of the evening they said, and they wanted to show their appreciation! How I did not cry on the spot I'll never know.... talk about unexpected!

Not long after this shocker, we headed off to our table, which I managed to snap before we destroyed it

After the most divine meal ever, the dance floor seemed far too empty, so we helped out a little, as you do!

A thoroughly enjoyable evening was had by all, and the following Monday, as they all started to arrive at work, it was all we could talk about.

We emailed Sally at the Hotel to say what a fab time we had had, and then booked again for December 2010.

A wonderful evening - What was I worrying about? LOL!

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