The Broome Park Hotel and Golf Club has quite an interesting history and it’s worth looking up. I extracted this from Wikipedia:
“Broome Park is a Grade I listed building in Barham, within the City of Canterbury, Kent, England. Once a stately home, it is now a country club.” Source Wikipedia
I found out through the same source that :
“In or before 1979 the Park was acquired by Gulf Shipping, for the purposes of developing a timeshare and leisure complex. The development was the subject of litigation, which went all the way to the UK Supreme Court in 2018.”
I received a save the date for the above venue and I did exactly just that, saved the date. Then the invitation a few weeks later, with a request to RSVP and I did just that as well. For a few years now and due mostly to my Nomadic Lifestyle I had unfortunately been absent at her annual celebrations. 3 strikes? Well, I certainly was not going to attempt adding a fourth to it.
I’m going to put on my planner hat here and explain why it’s important that you respond immediately or as soon as possible and definitely ... by the deadline given.
RSVP responses, helps celebrants and planners, know how many guests to accommodate for, seating and table plans as well as being able to cater for any dietary requirements. Guests who sit on their invites like a cushion, may find themselves removed from the said cushion or in reality, the guest list. If you intend to attend, respond immediately, if you aren’t sure or are in the process of rearranging your schedule to accommodate the event and can not give an immediate response, it’s respectful to make contact with the celebrant and not ignore the RSVP.
A birthday party.
One of my oldest buddies 50th and I changed travel plans to make sure I’d be there to celebrate her.
Dates: 28/2/20 to 01/3/20
Guests had the option of staying over at the estate and I chose that option, sadly too late to book two nights as the second night was sold out quickly. So I went ahead and booked my first night at Broome Park, deciding to wing the next night.
A lot of the suitable hotels found online were either fully booked or too far away. I did find a Best Western Hotel and held on to that booking but at 16 miles away, I had a feeling I wouldn’t be laying my head down there and called it my back up.
The dress code? 70’s Glam.
Guests also had options of booking any of the second day’s events from Pool and Spa sessions, tennis, squash, golf or clay pigeon shooting. You can guess what I chose, clay pigeon of course. I’m all for new experiences.
So I got ready for what I knew would be an awesome event but it certainly surpassed that.
Dinner with the celebrant. Dress code: Simple Elegance.
I set off with my plus one who had to go into work that day and leave early to join me on the long drive.
It would take a three hour and some minutes drive through the wonderful traffic at the Dartmoor crossing, fabulous music from no other than DJ Ladi, getting us in the groove and a satnav with a mind of it's own that had us in despair before we arrived at the gorgeous grounds of the estate.
It was dark but I was looking forward to laying my head down after a long day of creating a new website for my other business.
On arrival, some guests were already seated for dinner but we were assured that we could check in and join them. Checking in was fast and we had Abi show us to our “room”. I put the quote marks because what we got in our room Charles II was more than a room.
Entrance in was via a coded door rather than the usual key card system and we were assured by staff members that this was changed with each check in. We made our way into a kitchen area, yup! Then a gorgeous room large enough to accommodate a family but booked for two with a very comfortable sitting area, dressing table, large beds and then a bathroom with a corner sunken bath tub.
We loved it!
Quick change of clothes and it was back downstairs for dinner. We had previously booked our dinner options and I went for the homemade chicken liver parfait with toasted brioche fig and blueberry chutney as my starter, pan fried sea bream with buttered new potatoes sauteed greens, and lemon butter sauce for my main course and for dessert I chose the Eton Mess with strawberries and passion fruit.
My "plus one", went for the tomato and mozzarella salad with aged balsamic, the pan fried chicken breast on a bed of creamy mash potatoes mixed greens and forest mushroom cream. warm sticky toffee pudding with vanilla and toffee sauce.
All the courses were well presented, perfect portions and very tasty. The waiters were able to deal with the late guest arrivals as a few were caught in the same traffic that we had been.
The speeches anchored by the celebrant's younger sister who had us in stitches with her introductions.
The atmosphere was filled with a lot of love and joy. Guests spoke about the celebrant and what she meant to them, a running vein was her kindness. They spoke about her strength of character, her culinary skills, her supportive role, her live for life but above all this was her love for family and friends. Speeches that left all who knew her nodding because she was all that they said and more. The camaraderie running through the guests was awesome. The speeches are what anyone should hope people say about them on such a memorable event as this.
Then came the cake cutting and after party. One of the lovely cakes was baked by her younger brother. Another was ferried over from across the continent and there was a third one, I never did get round to getting the history of that.
To be honest, had I left after the dinner, I would’ve been entirely satisfied as it was a fun and enjoyable evening.
However my friend “ain’t” regular. I call her the traveller, and groove control specialist, I’ve always known her for her sense of adventure, her brilliance, her love of "living life", music and dance sooo.. . the after party!
AFTER PARTY, MUSIC AND MORE FOOD
Guests were asked to join the celebrant at her Lodge after dinner. Lodge? Yes ... the estate has lodges situated in the landscaped woods and off to Lodge we all trooped. In two’s, three’s or large groups.
Food! More came through.
First were the brand name drinks on the living room table, next came the Nigerian specialties, Nkwobi a beef dish in pepper sauce and stewed peppered snails and of course music. I also had my first taste of the Nigerian made coconut chips and now find myself pinning for them.
Food dished out, guests sated, with drinks on tap but that was not enough. The celebrant went ahead, rolled up her sleeves and started peeling plantains for the “boli”. These are grilled or roasted plaintains and beloved by so many.
Then dancing commenced with a lot of hoots, hailing’s and sing alongs in tow, even the shy ones shrugged off their shyness and got to their feet. At 3.30am we were asked to leave, we had the next days activities to look forward to but no one and that includes myself was interested in doing anything that resembled exiting, so we begged for more time and she obliged.
By 4:00am, we all agreed we were exhausted and made our way back to our rooms and lodges, some guests offering those who walked down a ride back. We weren’t strangers anymore. The celebrant had united us.
Back to our rooms and snooze time, we were meeting for breakfast and to arrange the days activities.
Click on Read More for Day 2 and some of the images from the event.
THE GLAM FEST
50TH BIRTHDAY, 70'S THEMED GLAM-FEST
Full English breakfast was laid out for those in the main hotel but Lodges also had the option of having theirs in their residence. Unfortunately, the weather was atrocious so clay pigeon shooting was shelved and those who made it down spent time chatting, eating and slugging back cups of coffee. A few did not surface, most likely, recovering from the night before. The weather did improve and some went golfing, walking etc but I had bigger fish to fry as in a few hours, I would technically be homeless.
At breakfast more friendships were fostered and I got a chance to meet the lovely event planner Blessing Enakimio of Blessed by Blé. She and her partner were friendly, organised and extremely warm. We were asked to ensure we all returned in time for the main event commencing after 4:00pm.
Blessing also came through referring us to the lovely Leaf Hotel, only a few minutes drive away in Dover.
Checked in, we had a few hours to relax get dressed and return to the estate.
In deference to the theme and 70's Glam drss code, I donned a beaded tassel dress in silver and black with silver wedge Mary Janes and accessories and for the hair, it was an @eddiiezwigs straight afro kinky wig. My plus one wore a silver sequinned jumpsuit, pewter shoes, silver accessories and an @eddiiezwigs KUTI wig and off we went.
Guests turned up on time and were dressed as instructed in 70’s theme. There were a few with afro wigs and some with a touch of the 70’s but it’s warming to note, that every guest in attendance respected the celebrants wish with regards to the dress code.
The celebrant's first outfit was a gorgeous gold evening dress.
Drinks reception; guests were able to mingle and there were flutes of champagne and orange juice laid out on a table, check in was done by the planning team and an hour later guests were walked down to the marquee where the main event was being held.
I don’t know anyone who would’ve walked in and not thought wow! It was a disco themed décor, LED dance floor, and back drop, with a befitting throne for the belle of the ball. Music was by DJ BIGYEM.
The celebrants nick name, was lit up in neon blocks on the edge of dance floor and seats, tables and centre pieces where a themed sequinned black and silver décor. Each table had a nostalgic reminder for most of her guests. The boxes of Cabin biscuits and the coconut chips I’d mentioned previously. For those who went to boarding school in Nigeria, the cabin biscuit was a staple in our diet 40 years ago. For a few guests, it was the first time they had laid eyes on one since they left secondary school.
Brief speeches and next dinner. Buffett style; starter was a lovely fusion light chicken pepper soup with vegetables and bread rolls
There were two stations for the main course which had varied options including rice, yam porridge, stewed beef, chicken, fish but I headed for the one in the corner. I had Amala, a meal made with heat dried yam, ground into a fine powder and cooked, accompanied by Ewedu which is a leafy vegetable also cooked and Gbegiri (bean soup) with mix of meat and fish in stew. For me this was also nostalgic, as it was one of my favourite through high school. Drinks again on Tap and bar efficiently manned.
After dinner, the dance floor was thrown open and for the next 3 hours, it was none stop hit after hit of both Afrobeat and seriously old school sounds and at no time was the dance floor ever empty.
When the DJ called out the last dance, the whole room wailed, it was obvious no one wanted the night to end. Guests sang along to "All Night Long" by Lionel Ritchie and at one point the celebrant in another gorgeous outfit, a shimmery sequinned, bell bottom jump suit with flared sleeves, was lifted high up by her brothers and friends with a lot of cheering from us all.
There was time for final images/video from Fidel Images taken on that dance floor that night, I’m not sure how many of us he would have managed to capture as the numbers grew.
We had an absolutely brilliant time. Some guests made their way back to Lodge 3 again for another after party but I was shattered and with my designated driver and two other guests made our way back to our hotels.
A lot of credit goes to Blessing Enakimio for a well organised event and especially to the celebrant #nklass50 for throwing an awesome party as well as for including me in her celebration, I made a load of new friends and caught up with so many old ones too. I had an awesome weekend too.
Wishing her many more years of celebrations and God’s blessings. Happy Birthday NK!