A Beautiful Birthday

I turned 43 last week. An impossible age surely? I turned 43 and my family and friends made sure it was a birthday to remember for all the right reasons... There was frozen cocktails at midday. A whole series of silly photos taken with my new selfie stick (I'm down with the kids thanks to my Barbie). A silly amount of presents including Mister Finch's beautiful book, "Living In a Fairytale World", the first issue of The Happy Reader (highly recommended), a scarf I have not unwrapped from my neck, perfume, a collection of scrumptious edibles, Charbonnel et Walker Rose and Violet Creams, and so much more besides...

And then there was the cake. Oh my the cake. I mean really, do take a close look at the cake because it simply couldn't be more Brocante! Created by Helen's husband Louie's sister in law, Emma, through her company L&E Cakecraft, this gluten free delight was a riot of polka dots and roses with a darling message on the top that simply meant the world to me. Emma, who also designed Helen and Louie's wedding cake, is so very, very talented and my Brocante cake could not have been more perfect. In fact it is so very perfect I have so far refused to sample a slice. I want my cake you see and we all know we cannot have our cake AND eat it don't we?

When asked what I wanted for my birthday party I had requested vol-au-vents. Oh my word yes: I am a child of the seventies and I do believe in an ironic party buffet on a very special occasion. And so began the great Vol-Au-Vent debacle. For ready-made vol-au-vent cases were nowhere to be found and as my Mum could never have been described as a baker, there wasn't a pasty cutter in the house and so together we muddled our way to pastry bliss with bottle lids and shampoo tops (we are nothing if not creative) and created quite the little production line cutting our circles, mixing up fillings, and generally baking up a puffy storm!

Darlings the Vol-au-vents were a disaster! Helen and I had enjoyed our frozen cocktails a little too much and hysteria set in as tray after tray of collapsed pastry cases struggled to hold the vast amount of coronation chicken I was trying to stuff into them, until finally Mum's best friend Carol had to step in and take control of our ridiculous antics and do her very best with a muddle of mushrooms, and a squash of pastry...

And then there we were: all of us sitting around the dining room table, taking terrible selfies and eating terrible vol-au-vents and holding each other up and laughing more than we had ever believed possible a few weeks before.

We are ok Mum. We are doing ok. We really are...