Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Champagne & Chocolate Evening with Henshaws

Last night I attended a champagne and chocolate evening, organised by Playhouse Events and held at Libby's Bread and Wine in Cheshire, supporting Henshaws Society for Blind People.

Canapes and champagne were to be served first, and then I would be giving a speech about my sight loss journey and how the Henshaws charity have made a difference to my life. Then, The Naked Chocolatier team would be making an appearance with a chocolate workshop; making truffles and having us guess the mystery flavours, as well as blindfolded chocolate lolly decorating!

When Jo and I arrived, we said hello to the ladies at Playhouse Events and were then seated. The table was decorated with lots of lovely things including flowers, candles, perfume samples, Henshaws cupcakes and nibbles! We had our first glass of bubbly (everyone was given a pouch with two gems inside, and each gem would allow you to have a free drink - a lovely idea!) and then the room began to fill up with guests.

Canapes were served first, and then it was time for me to give my speech! Jo guided me to the middle of the room, and I was introduced to everyone before then speaking about my sight loss journey, how I discovered Henshaws, how they have helped to dramatically improve my quality of life over the past 7 months since I started using the service, and my aspirations for the future. I was extremely nervous as this was my first ever speech in front of a considerable amount of people, but I think it went rather well and I kindly received a large round of applause when I'd finished!

Champagne and canapes continued to go around the room, and raffle tickets were sold with some amazing prizes which included massage and facial treatments, hair and beauty products, makeovers, reflexology sessions, flower arrangements, champagne and wine gift sets, a hamper, and a chance to have a session with a personal trainer.

It was then time for the Naked Chocolatiers and their workshop! Oliver Dunn introduced his company and gave a bit of background into how it was set up and the sort of events that they do. He then had his chocolatiers introduce themselves - and the room got considerably louder and giddier - so I'm guessing the guests were enjoying the topless men on show!

The chocolatiers began to prepare their ingredients for making the truffles and needed volunteers to help them. I thought I would give it a go when more volunteers were requested, and helped to pipe out the dark chocolate truffles. It was nice to meet the chocolatiers and have a chat with them whilst they helped me with the piping bag, and I joked that I must be the only girl in the room not ogling them!

When the truffles had set, the naked chocolatiers then went around the room handing out the mystery flavours for us to guess. I thought I was going to be quite good at this experiment, as my taste sense is much better than my sight and hearing combined, but I didn't get either correct! Admittedly, I've never had chilli chocolate or Jägermeister before, so I didn't recognise the flavours too well.

It was then time for blindfolded chocolate lolly decorating! The chocolatiers prepared the lollies and icing, and everyone had to put a blindfold on in order to write their name on their assigned lolly to demonstrate how hard it is to do something when you have impaired vision.

Obviously I didn't need to be blindfolded for the task, and achieved the feat of making even more of a mess than anybody that actually was! It was lots of fun though. I've never had the opportunity to decorate with chocolate before, so this was a new and exciting experience!

The chocolatiers' decorating versus mine. I don't think they'll be hiring me any time soon!

When everyone in the room had had a go of blindfolded decorating and the chocolate icing had set, the winner of the best lolly was announced and awarded a YSL makeover. Very well done to Linda!

At the end of the evening, the winning raffle tickets were drawn and the prizes were handed out. Before leaving, some of the guests approached me and congratulated me on my speech - with one lady saying that she absolutely loved my voice (something I've never heard before!) and another lady who said that she had no idea how I coped with daily tasks, especially after she'd had a go of the blindfolded decorating experiment and saw just how difficult it can be.

I had my photo taken with Oliver, and then it was then time to say our goodbyes to everyone before journeying home.

I want to say a massive thank you to Playhouse Events for such a wonderful evening, the Naked Chocolatier team for the yummy truffles, chocolate lollies and entertainment, Barefoot Wines for the bubbly throughout the evening and to Henshaws for inviting me along to the event. Thank you all so much!