Winter Ballin'

Let's start this off my saying that I am NOT a partygoer. You're more likely to find me hidden away in my bedroom with a book on a Friday night than living it up in a nightclub, dancing on top of a bar, or whatever it is that people do to humilate themselves have fun these days. But there is one occasion when I can totally advocate dancing 'til dawn. And that occasion is a ball!

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This November, Merton College, where I have been studying for the past four years, hosted its triennial Winter Ball. The entire college was decked out in fairy lights, and transformed into a giant adult playground for all to enjoy! Included in your ticket were (unlimited!) food and drink, music, dancing, and all manner of entertainments, lasting until 4am! Keep scrolling to see some photos from the amazing night and read about my experience!

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Setting:
It's not very often that you get to have a massive knees-up in an Oxford college that's over 750 years old. The old buildings were beautifully lit up and tastefully decorated, with Christmas trees and fake snow everywhere giving a really festive vibe! There were loads of tents for drinks and food dotted around everywhere, so you were never without a glass in your hand. A cute bandstand was erected for the live jazz music, and a huge dance tent could be found in the gardens!

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Entertainment:
Some of the highlights from the ball included the opulent shisha tent, which also served coffee, cupcakes, and red bull mocktails to keep you going in the wee hours! There was also a casino with blackjack, poker, and a roulette wheel! Our common room was transformed into a games room, complete with dance-mats and a skalextric set up for the competitive ones! This was also the venue for the all-important alcoholic ice-cream milkshake stand, which I frequented throughout the night!

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Food and Drinks:
You could purchase a dining ticket for the ball, which entitled you to a three course meal in the dining tent before the rest of the ball began, but my friends and I opted for the non-dining option, as with this you still got to make the most of the numerous food stalls that were pitched all over the college. These included paella, pizza, curry, mac and cheese (a personal favourite of mine) and churros! In terms of drinks, there was a cocktail bar, martinis in the casino, your usual spirits and mixers, wine, beer, and pretty much anything else you could ask for!

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Fairground Fun:
One of my favourite parts of the ball was the fairground! Swingboats and dodgems were set up in the college gardens which were a real blast! I still have a huge bruise on my knee after some rather questionable dodgem driving from my friends Adam and Glenn! As well as the rides, there was a coconut shy, shooting games, and various other stalls. I even won a cuddly toy for my prowess at the coconut shy!

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What I wore:
The dress code for the ball was white tie. For the lads this is fairly straightforward: a black tailcoat worn over a white shirt and a white bow tie. For the ladies, it's open to more interpretation! Floor length gowns are typically expected for women, so I wore a floor-length black dress (originally from Coast) which I bought in a charity shop for a pittance! To keep warm, I donned a big grey fluffy coat (originally from Next) which again, I got from a charity shop for just £7. I also wore a pair of smart black heeled boots, which along with the long dress cleverly kept hidden the thick pair of Primark themal leggings I had on underneath! You can see a picture of me at the ball below with a couple of my friends!

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Music:
It wouldn't be a ball without some dancing! As well as live jazz to kick off the night and various DJs in the disco tent, the ball also had a headline act, the indie rock band Everything Everything. You might know them from this song! I hadn't actually heard of the band before the ball (sorry any die-hard fans out there!) but I did enjoy listening to them on the night! The silent disco kicked in until 4am and rounded off the night with the classic 'Angels' by Robbie Williams, after which we all stumbled home to bed!

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I hope that this little insight into my Winter Ball fun was interesting for you! Have you ever been to a ball? Let me know in the comments!

Until next time,

A x
© Abbey Louisa Rose. Design by Fearne.