As I write this blog, I am gazing about like a blinking owl. My left leg hurts and Oliver is still in bed (at two O’clock in the afternoon). The kitchen still looks like a hurricane of food has blown through it and the back garden…the less I say about that the better. I think we can safely say that the party was a ROARING SUCCESS.
I woke up horrifically early yesterday morning with a jolt. The night before had been spent cooking batches of cupcakes and I had completely forgotten to wrap Olly’s presents and so, I started the day in a frenzied search for some sellotape (which by the way, should be featured in Harry Potter books as an example of an amazing disappearing substance. It doesn’t matter how much of it I buy, I can never bloody find ANY OF IT when I need to) which I couldn’t locate and so ended up wrapping his gifts which craft glue. A great start to the day, I’m sure you agree.
The morning was spent icing cupcakes and cornets filled with sweets and decorating the shed/playhouse.
As I had decided that the food was going to comprise of burgers, hotdogs and sausages in buns the food preparation was at a minimum. This left me time to decorate the front garden and to force Tom into blowing up an inflatable banana the size of a lilo.
Time then warped and suddenly people were arriving. Family members dropped by to give cards and presents to the birthday boy in advance of the party, the entertainer arrived and then the guests started flooding in. I realised that I had no idea how many people were going to descend as I hadn’t received many RSVPs (Quick note here – please respond to invitations, it makes life so much easier for the person throwing the party) and was greatly relived that more than 3 children turned up.
The entertainer was just…brilliant. 11 is a difficult age. The disparity between the more knowing and mature girls, and the boys (who spent at least half an hour wrestling and throwing plums from the tree at each other) who are in the main, still children, means that there is awkward balance to strike. Michelle (for that was her name) managed this beautifully and the kids all got really involved in the karaoke and competitions.
So while the kids were doing the limbo, screeching Justin Bieber songs and
throwing plums at each other generally having a good time, I got on with the food.
Deciding on providing hot food was just plain stupid. Why I thought that this would lessen the load on the day is now, with hindsight, completely beyond me. Am I actually mental?
The entertainer had to leave (BOO!) and there was still an hour to go before the party ended.
There was only one option left open to me…
This worked really well until they escaped and run amok with water pistols
This was actually my favourite part of the whole day. To see these kids – some of whom have been coming to our parties since they were 5 – running and laughing and being children again was just…amazing and surprisingly touching.
And so, the time for it all to end was upon us.
Oliver blew out his candles…
The children left, each and every one thanking me for a good time.
Po emerged from his hiding place…
And I put my feet up, drank a glass or two of wine and fell into my bed in a messy mess.
This morning, Olly got a text from one of his friends that simply said:
“Your [sic] party was epic”
Well, I’m back from my holiday. We did NOT die in plane crash, and although I have returned to the UK slightly crispier than before, this is entirely down to the 40 plus degree heat combined with
beer at lunchtime forgetting to put on sunscreen regularly, rather than some sort of fiery fireball.
(I’d like to take this opportunity to thank one of my commenters DillyTante for her comforting words on my last post. Thanks, Dilly. Thanks A LOT)
In Skiathos, I pondered on the cake I would like to make for Oliver’s upcoming Beach/Tropical party (Yes, I am THAT sad) and came to the conclusion that I’d like to make cupcakes which look like ice creams.
So, while going out to restaurants to eat delicious food:
Or watching the sun set over the harbour:
Or just generally hanging out:
The idea grew and grew.
So today I decided to have a trial run. I googled about a bit and found a recipe which actually cooks the cake inside a cornet. Genius! I decided to try a few of the cornet cakes and to also try a traditional cupcake in a case.
I assembled the most important ingredients…
…and got to work. The recipe calls for a pretty standard vanilla cake mixture which should then be distributed between 12 cornets (with flat bases). As this is a trial run I only made four and spooned the rest of the batter into some lovely cases which I bought from the local CakePorn shop.
Oh! Do you remember when I told you of my vast and unending love of the two local party shops Here ? Well, in news just in…one has closed down due to financial difficulties and the other BURNED DOWN. *gasp*. So I am reduced to driving to a party shop that also specialises in cake decorations and tins and cases and cake stands and and and I’ll be bankrupt by Christmas.
So I prepared the batter and shared it between the cones and the cases.
I baked them for 25 minutes and got on with the buttercream ice cream icing.
Again, I used a standard buttercream recipe consisting of:
250g unsalted butter
600g icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp milk
I also added the second half of a vanilla pod’s seeds (the first half went into the cake batter) and whisked the butter and vanilla together until pale and then added the icing sugar slowly. Adding the sugar slowly made NO FUCKING DIFFERENCE WHATSOEVER and I still ended up with a kitchen which wouldn’t have looked out of place in Miss Haversham’s house. I made half of the mixture without colouring paste, and the other half a small smear of “SugarFlair” paste in primrose yellow.
The cakes came out of the oven looking pretty good…
…but as you can see the cakes in the cornets have risen far too high over the edge of the wafer, when I add the icing this is going to cause a problem.
I got on with decorating the cakes, adding icing, flakes and sprinkles to get an idea of what works best.
And the traditional cupcakes looked pretty good too..
And so onto a taste test..
The cornets, although looking much more authentic as “ice cream” were far, far too sweet (possibly due to the large amount of frosting needed to cover the overspill of cake mixture). They were pronounced “YUCK!” and “TOO MUCH” and ended up..
(they also wouldn’t sit still on my…and I’m embarrassed to confess that I own one..cupcake stand *shame* which will be necessary to make the small fairy cakes into an effective Birthday Cake for the party)
And so we have a winner!
But I’ve now got 40 cornets to use up and a ridiculous amount of icing sitting in the mixing bowl, malevolently.
And so I knocked up a cone dipped in icing, rolled in hundreds and thousands and filled with Marshmallow, M&M’s and smarties:
And Oliver and Tom pronounced it “Good” and ate it, wafer and all.
And so, to a couple of links for you if you would like to make cakes that look like ice cream.
And a link to the blog that inspired the cone filled with sweets (actually, this whole blog is filled with wonderful ideas, I would have tried the cupcakes in ice cream pots if only there had been time)
Thank God for trial runs.
I bow to
one person asking public demand and get back onto the track of the blog MOMENTARILY give you an update on the invitations and preparations for Oliver’s beach party.
I found a brilliant website called Party Packs and found foldable cardboard surfboards and inflatable parrots and straw skirts and and and…
So, I placed an order and it arrived very quickly.
You’ll noticed that I was so excited I didn’t even clear the iron away. Yeah. That’s like, that’s an indicator of my excitement. Iron Clearage. *cough*
So we pretty much got everything out of the box and shouted at each other stuff like “LOOK! AN INFLATABLE BANANA!” “OH MY GOD. GIANT SUNGLASSES!”
And then I made Oliver put all the leis on
And then we packed everything back into the box and put it somewhere. I think down the shed/playhouse. Or maybe in the loft. Or under the stairs. Anyway, WHATEVER, it’ll turn up.
I have started some serious work on the invitations.
I had a small problem with the glue (and not because I’m on it)
And have managed to finish half of them…
See those fabulous little life preservers and sunglasses and palmtrees? We made those. We are totally amazing.
Only another 10 to go and I’m done
We’re getting there!
So. Oliver turns 11 in August, and he moves onto secondary school in September.
All of the parties that I have thrown for him and his primary school friends have been building towards THIS PARTY. (You can read about my angst here)
We’re going on a family holiday at the end of July, so I need to be really on top of my game to get the invitations out and get everything arranged. Bearing this in mind, I called a party entertainer today. I’ve decided that I want to enjoy this party, and the best way to do this is to get
someone else to do it help. Somewhat embarrassingly, when the lovely lady asked me about the details of the party – I burst into wracking sobs. *shocked face*
Me: “It’s hu huuh hh..is eleventh birthday *WAIL* and this is th the the LAST PARTYYYY! *sniff*”
I wouldn’t be surprised if she turns up on the day with a knife tucked into her socks in order to deal with me.
Today was also the day that I went to HobbyCraft and spent a stupid amount of money on crafty crap.
See that pen? I have many, many pens, but when you walk into HobbyCraft they squirt you with an odourless, invisible gas that turns you into a CraftZombie. One minute you’re a normal person who watches DVD’s and The Apprentice in their free time, the next moment you find yourself gazing vacantly at a cardboard mask while gently stroking a pack of feathers. I should never go in HobbyCraft. It makes me want to do knitting, crocheting, painting, jigsaws, jewellery making and..most disturbing of all, SEQUIN ART. FFS.
I also bought some sandpaper. Not from HobbyCraft, but from ASDA – Only a quid! Bargain (also I got three bottles of wine for a tenner *double thumbs up*)
So I started on the invitations..
That’s a little square of sandpaper there in the middle. The card opens up and all the information about the party is on the inside. I’ve gone with a “Beach Hut” thing (Beach Hut = Shed/Playhouse)
The Beach hut at <address>
will open on <date of party> at <start time> until <end time>
Dress Code – Something summery!
There’s something missing though…As I looked through the bags of little sticky on-ny beach stuff I had bought, I realised that it’s just not colourful enough. And so…the madness begins.
On my last trip to HobbyCraft I bought a bunch of FIMO, ostensibly for Oliver, but c’mon, let’s be honest – I became a CraftZombie. I made these with it:
If you don’t know what FIMO is, (and, why would you? Unless you’ve been in HobbyCraft, in which case you’ve probably got your own embarrassing collection of models) then have a click. FIMO is basically a modelling clay which you can harden in the oven.
I wonder if you can guess where I’m going with this?
Yes. I have forced my children into slave labour to help me make our own sticky on-ny things to stick on invitations. I feel shame.
But now we have…