“A kids’ party raised to adult level”

During some extended internet pootling I’d been utterly enchanted and more than a little inspired by the many examples of gorgeously styled dessert tables; so, when it came to Big Sis’s 2014 birthday, I pounced on the opportunity to try my hand at one.
IMG_6050Roses, ribbons, hydrangea and pearls adorned the welcome sign on the door.IMG_6028

Desserts Menu (made by me):
Centrepiece birdcage birthday cake
White chocolate & pistachio cheesecake served in dark chocolate cups
Fresh raspberry mousse served in dark chocolate shot ‘glasses’
Raspberry lemonade cupcakes – mini & regular
Chai cupcakes – mini & regular
Strawberry Belgian chocolate rose shaped lollipops

Also on the table (not made by me):
Pink Champagne truffles
Bon-bons (cherry; chocolate; apple)
Assorted flavours pink & green jelly beans

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Haunted House

Apart from pretending to be freaked out by the mini vampires and hobgoblins at the door, and distributing sweets to the neighbourhood kids whilst we’re about it, we’re not doing anything for Halloween this year.  In fact, now that Petit Man is less petit, we rarely bother any more, so there are no cleverly carved pumpkins or spooky costumes to photograph and show you.

Once upon a time though, we had a ridiculously over-the-top party involving invitations designed like ancient spell books, the entirety of the ground floor of the house being ‘papered’ in printed vinyl sheets, and the front garden being turned into a cemetery, complete with tombstones and an open grave.

Sadly, some six years and two computer crashes later, I’ve lost most of the photos.  Here are a few of the ones I could find…3177028105_382acb8e71_o3177031533_27ee8d9527_o3177872580_4de9eeaffc_o3177887202_ecc979886f_o

3177889582_b2ae074fbb_o3177029689_3e3e705db5_o3177862620_ebe3826991_o (1)This is Betty.  She wants to be your friend.
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This is Cedric, the Real Spiderman.  He doesn’t want to be your friend.

3177037871_ee2d4ef784_oThis is Fred.  He’s sick of being mistaken for Yorick.

3177041327_7c726abacd_o 3177042479_48a03eec82_oThere were rats in the toilet…

3177869308_2785565c2b_o3177880076_aa8c59dab0_o…skeletons in the bathroom…

3177890982_4ecc7fdfcc_o…ghosts in the mirrors…3177048805_e155d07697_oand spiders on the walls.

Everyone dressed up, the cocktails flowed and very merry time was had.

If you’re celebrating this Halloween, I hope you have a fantastic time…take care of each other and stay safe!

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Cake and Pimms, Dahling?

I started to get a clue that my cakes and family birthdays were becoming a synonymous thing when I received a telephone call from my mother, which went something like this:

Mum:  “Your sister and I have been discussing my upcoming birthday.  I’d really like to have a Pimms and cake party, but there’s a problem.”

(Pause to allow me to make appropriate querying noises)

Mum: “Yes.  You see, we have the Pimms side of things sorted.  We have the ingredients for Pimms cocktails.  We know how to make Pimms cocktails.  The problem is the cake.  We have such a severe shortage of it.  In fact, we have none!”

(Slight pause for dramatic deep breath…continues, in tones of faux distress…)

“This is such a huge problem, we don’t know how to get ’round it.  And I do SO want a Pimms and cake party for my birthday.  I don’t suppose you have any ideas, do you?”

(Pause, filled with expectant waiting and the sound of Big Sis giggling in the background.)

Me: “Would you like me to make you some cakes for your birthday party?”

Mum (in totally feigned surprise): “Oh, would you?  How incredible of you to offer!”

And so, this is how it came about that I made four fresh cakes for my Mum’s 2013 birthday party, including my third fondant covered and decorated cake.

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1940s

In 2012 Big Sis and I decided to throw Mum a 1940s themed party for her birthday.

Paper Invitation

Most of the invitations were sent electronically – to set the tone we created a video in the style of a Pathe Newsreel…making that was great fun.  For those who needed a paper invitation I edited a wartime ‘Careless Talk’ poster and printed them onto postcards with the information on the back (they were sent in envelopes…I didn’t think we really needed the entire mailing system knowing where the party would be 😉 )

We kept the decorations simple with home made bunting; we encouraged guests to dress up and played music from the era.Baz, James & Francesca B&W PhotoDevilled eggsNicole and MikeOld fashioned buffetDressing up the clothes and dressing down the food:

With a make do and mend’ attitude, guests sourced outfits from charity shops and made creative alterations to existing clothes.

The food was kept low key and old fashioned, served on mismatched plates and trays – devilled eggs, sandwiches, coronation chicken, potato salad, pickles and pies…not strictly 1940s food, but I couldn’t bring myself to serve up Woolton pie and spam fritters.Mum's 70th birthday cake collageFor Mum’s birthday cake I used my ever improving chocolate cake recipe to create this chocolate and strawberry box cake.  The panels were made from tempered chocolate spread onto transfer sheets.  The cake was filled with fresh cream and strawberries and covered with lightly whipped chocolate ganache.  The panels were then (very carefully) applied and the whole thing topped off with a heap of fresh strawberries and the all important birthday candles.

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