My little brother Jack turned 9 this week, so we had a birthday party for him last Saturday. Because today is Fiesta Friday, I have saved my story of this real-life fiesta for today specially, so that I can bring some party to the party!
Jack has just moved schools, so he only had a couple of little friends to invite, but we made sure they had an awesome day. It started early for me – Jack gets up at 7am so Mum and I had to be up earlier to get decorating. Mum had already made the vanilla sponges – one circular, one in a sandwich tin – so all we needed to do was cut it to size, add frosting and decorate it. We always make him a cake in the shape of his age, last year the 8 was decorated with a mini construction set, complete with Lego workers drilling the roads, the year before was a 7 with free-range farm animals on it. Neither Mum nor I has the time to make all the decorations, so we cheat and use whatever is out there. This year I had hoped to do a blue cake with an underwater theme, and decorate it with little plastic fishies and seaweed and maybe a seahorse or two, possibly an evil shark lurking, but try as I might I could not find any ‘sealife’ figures anywhere. This is odd – I am sure this was a thing when I was a kid, but maybe I imagined it. Anyway, something I found in abundance, and which was probably better suited to a 9 year old boy, was dinosaurs. So I got a tub of dinos from a pound shop, and added to Mum’s stash of mini eggs (greatest chocolate known to mankind, around once a year at Easter) and chocolate buttons, we did a pretty decent job of decorating.
We first had to cut a hole in the centre of the round sponge, then cut a finger of the rectangle that was the same width as the circle, and attached it with a little artful carving to the bottom of the circle. Voila – the figure 9. A bit messy though, so we hid the join with lashings of green-tinged buttercream icing (I know, so healthy!). Once the basic cake was made, I went to town with the dinosaurs. An ichthyosaur needed a little pool of blue icing to swim in, the pterodactyl made his home atop the cut out centre of the sponge, in a nest of (thoroughly washed) twigs, filled with mini eggs.
The twigs looked fantastic, but later on I discovered were not the best idea amongst a group of kids trying to out-do each other. My warning they were not edible simply proved a challenge to all of them as to who could eat one. They all managed. I thanked goodness it was Mum who would have to explain things to their parents if this had adverse effects!
Cake made and safely stashed away from prying eyes, we woke Jack and he opened his pressies over a special breakfast I made for him and Ste of banana pancakes. I am not sure who was more excited, Jack or Ste. He loved all the clothes we got him, which is brilliant because he gets through them like nobody’s business. He also re-purposed my new tea cosy which I made last week as a hat.
Eventually it was time for his friends to arrive, and the party started. The completed cake was pretty cool if I do say so myself, and Jack’s face when he saw it was completely worth the early start! This next one was taken after he’d blown out all of the candles, and then miraculously they all re-lit themselves. He obviously realised it was going to take a while!
After tea it was back out to the garden for more playing on the trampoline (apologies for the photos, I forgot my camera, and trying to take pics of fast-moving children at dusk on a phone is not easy), and swinging in the hammock (there is a hammock with children in this picture, honest – you can tell by the discarded wellies in the foreground) until they all felt a little sick from too much tea and bouncing.
At which point their parents all arrived, just in time for Dad to let off a few little fireworks in the garden. We had sparklers first, because, well, sparklers.
Then the boys assembled on the garden wall to stare up into the sky expectantly.
Thanks to the phone camera, I missed catching pretty much all of the fireworks, but I love this silhouette of them all looking heavenwards.
At about 7pm they all headed home, and we headed into the warm house to sit down.
Ste and I were absolutely cream-crackered, having done the majority of running round after some lively little boys, and by 8pm embarrassingly we were ready for bed, with a new appreciation for all of our friends who already have little ones! Both us and the dogs slept like logs that night!