Of course there was the impromptu birthday cake at the Rainforest Cafe whilst in London.
That's when the celebrations really started. I worse a large sticky 'It's my birthday' sticker, which found its way to the back of my iPhone case. So for two weeks after returning to Thalwil I was reminded it was my birthday (or thereabouts). I'd forgotten it was there until I realised why I was getting 'the stare' even with the noisy kids not being present.
Johan blew me away by organising a surprise gathering at our flat. I had two hours notice. Just enough to panic and frantically run around cleaning. He'd even been to wonderful Kolli Beck and bought cake, to Coop and bought tons of food and drink, and even more surprising - to Sedartis Hotel and begged them for some of their very good finger food (it's not like London here - there's not a delivery place and the frozen options are so seriously limited). That was a very un-Swiss thing to do and he told me after that despite their very frosty initial reaction to his request they very kindly let him borrow one of their huge stainless steel serving trays (now that wouldn't happen in London).
It was a really good fun evening and my tiredness, gained from a week of not sleeping thanks to wide-awake-at-night-Patrik and the serious, getting worse, pains in my right leg did not matter. Of course Emily and Patrik were super excited and stayed up a little later than what we wanted. Then after they'd gone to bed (well fell asleep on the sofa) and us adults had consumed pretty much most of the food we finished the evening by playing one of my favourite games: Cranium.
As usual it was great fun to play despite us completely playing it wrong for the first half an hour.
Then there was the birthday brunch at the Belvoir Hotel in Ruschlikon. We'd been before and had a thoroughly enjoyable and relaxing time. This time however Patrik was a little more over excited and Emily was keen to encourage him. The food though is still good and we took it very easy, staying there for at least three hours. We'd missed the serious downpours yet enjoyed the stunning views when the sun shone. The weather was so unpredictable you could have assumed you were in England minus the view.
It was stunning and one of the best features of the hotel, including the little play area outside to keep the kids amused.
But of course, with all of that fun, I had to still organise my very own birthday celebration. It seemed appropriate to invite my good fellow Mummy friends and their children for what was to be a picnic in the park. However I opted for an Afternoon Tea due to the dire weather conditions which were so miserable and grey. It seemed appropriate to have a rather English day given I'd chosen for my fourth celebration (well I am in my fourth decade - and some) to take place on St George's Day.
I made enough scones to go round, courtesy of the classic scone recipe on the BBC Good Food site, and the obligatory sandwiches. It's important to cut off the crusts and to butter ever so lightly and with there being so many little people I decided to cut the sandwiches in to little squares. My choice of fillings:
- salmon and cream cheese
- ham and wholegrain mustard
- egg mayonnaise
- cucumber (slice them thinly)
A friend made a birthday cake too. I wanted something feminine and large enough to feed the crowd of just under 30. I was delighted with the results.
It was important to remember that whilst the kids needed to be entertained, after all it was my 'grown up' party. So there were an equal amount of games for the adults as there were for the kids. Whilst the children had a colouring competition, the adults - keeping on the England theme - had an England general knowledge quiz. See if you know the answers to the following:
- At its mouth the River Thames flows in to which sea? North Sea some 215 miles from its source in Gloucestershire
- Who was the first British sovereign to take up residence in Buckingham Palace? Queen Victoria in 1837
- What is the Bank of England’s nickname? The Old Lady of Threadneedle Street
- How far is England from mainland Europe in kms? 35km from France
- What is the national tree of England? The Oak tree
- What is the biggest selling Beatles single of all time? She Loves You
- What is the longest running English children’s TV show? Blue Peter from 1958 – present
- Who is the longest running soap actor? Bill Roach in Coronation Street (over 50 years)
- How many letters does the longest English word contain? pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis 45 letters
- How many breeds of English horses are there? 32
So the kids could join in, there was a guess the number of sweeties in the jar competition and to really put on the pressure I'd stuck on the wall 30 different words each on a separate post it note. The winner - the one to make the longest, most coherent sentence. It was quite funny reading through the efforts and I'm just glad I was just choosing!
Every party needs music so at the adult end we had the Rock genius list and at the other end, the Childrens music list. I've downloaded a number of kids music albums and one of the most successful is My Very First Album - The C.R.S. Players.
With over 60 kids songs playing back to back it was an opportunity to play musical bumps. The great thing about that game is that all children get to win a prize. As someone is out (the last one standing when the music stops) they simply get to choose something from a bag of goodies. The last one in gets a bigger prize.
It was a really fun time and as for the cake, after my wish was made and everybody got to eat a decent sized piece I even managed to have some for breakfast, lunch and dinner the next day!