dear diary :: forty years young

I am still finding it hard to believe I have a daughter who is forty. I can still remember the day she was born and the joy that I felt holding her in my arms for the very first time. She was nicknamed Peaches from the start, as she was quite jaundiced for a while, and looking back over the last forty years we have had so many delightful moments together and so many parties and so many cakes. Now she is a mother herself about to travel along the same path but in quite different times.

Of all the parties I have ever organised, or attended, this must have been the strangest – but it was also great fun and thanks to all my family who somehow against all the odds managed to make it a special day for my daughter’s fortieth birthday. We even had family members join in the video link up from the car on their way to the supermarket.

Of course not everything went to plan…it reminded me of an amateur dramatics society’s first night where blunders often abound….. but all add to the fun.

I had decided to make a naked fresh cream and fruit cake for my daughter with strawberries and blueberries – and what a challenge that proved to be, certainly not as easy as the pictures on pinterest would suggest! The baking part went without mishap but, just like the buttercream on the cake I made for little Freddie’s first birthday earlier in the year, I couldn’t get a smooth finish with the double cream on this one either – although to my relief it tasted just fine. I only had 8″ sandwich tins so had to cut each cake down to just under 7″ as there would only be the two of them (daughter and her husband) to eat it. I am keeping the off cuts to make a trifle, when I can get to the shops for some fresh raspberries.

The cake, card and flowers were delivered on the day to my daughter’s doorstep as we passed on our way to the supermarket for some fresh milk. My daughter had no idea of what we were planning for her in the afternoon. We all connected in to Zoom at 2 o’clock so that we could surprise her when her DH logged in at ten past two.

Each guest was asked to make a party hat to wear and a bun with a candle in so we could all light them together and sing happy birthday. I baked enough buns to use the happy birthday candles I found in my pantry and decorated them with my favourite sprinkles, though not enough fudgy bits for my liking. DH and I are still wading our way through these – such hardship! So far we have had them with afternoon tea in the garden and with a little of the leftover fresh cream and then when that ran out some ice cream – I am dreading getting onto the scales on Friday as I am sure I will have gained weight during this lock down.

The whole family got into the spirit of the day and produced hats, balloons and banners – even some disco lighting. The only balloons I could find were ‘Happy 3rd Birthday’ but I blew them up anyway – improvising in these strange times seems quite normal now.

My daughter was both surprised and delighted especially when Little L painstakingly did a solo tune of happy birthday with one finger on her piano followed by me on the handbells. And isn’t Zoom marvellous, DH managed to share on screen a few photos of our dear daughter’s earlier life to entertain everyone and Little L drew her a very sweet Happy Birthday picture. We drank a toast (I managed to find a bottle of ginger beer in the garage from a past party – and it was rather scrummy) and then played the ‘Daughter Quiz’ I had prepared. DH tried hard to keep up with the scoring on the score board though I am sure through all the rabble it wasn’t at all accurate and we ended up with a tie breaker question – it was amazing how much knowledge my family had – but in the end it was Aunty P that won. Then everyone did the very British thing that we all do in difficult times – made a cup of tea.

We all had a marvellous time thanks to technology, but how exhausting to be linked into Zoom chatting and partying for over 2 hours – and we all said how tired we were afterwards… but it was a day of making memories and will be a birthday we will never forget.

Stay safe everyone – hoping you are all well. x

27 thoughts on “dear diary :: forty years young

  1. Well done Viv – what an excellent organiser you are – it clearly takes more than a pandemic to put you off! It looks like a very happy occasion.


  2. It sounds quite wonderful, Vivien. You went to so much trouble to make your daughter’s day special, and as a result you all looked to have really enjoyed the afternoon – all those smiling faces! It will certainly be a birthday to remember.
    The cake looks delicious too. X


  3. oh how wonderful that you all got to celebrate “together”. tis a different way but one as you said, will be remembered. such memories at such a time as ours, priceless.


  4. It sounds like great fun was had! And you’re, right, it’ll be a memorable party. So different. Even if you had a great in person party, you’ve had plenty of those. This is one that stands out. And your daughter will remember how you made so many come together in these difficult times.

    I often think birthdays should be a celebration of the mother, in recognition of her giving birth. Rather than about the one born. So happy birthing day anniversary to you, Viv.


  5. Such a memorable celebration – what a lovely family celebrating someone who sounds like a lovely person. No wonder you were exhausted afterwards tho! Picking up Lucinda’s comment about birthdays being a celebration of the mother – my son always says this on his birthday and sends me a big bouquet of flowers for bringing him into the world. He was upset this year not to be able to do that because of the virus.


  6. What a lovely celebration you have had despite the lockdown. I am glad that you all had fun and enjoyed the day. I agree with Lucinda that birthdays are about the mother too. I always send my friends birthday messages on the day of their children’s birthdays.


    1. Like Lucinda and occasional scotland it is lovely that you both celebrate the mum as well as the child. I still send my mum a card on her Wedding Anniversary day even though my dad passed away in 2006 just before they would have celebrated their Diamond Wedding. She always looks forward to receiving it as in her eyes she is still married to dad and wants to acknowledge the occasion.


  7. Bravo for throwing an excellent virtual (and not so virtual…cake, flowers) birthday party for your daughter. I’m betting you pretty much collapsed of exhaustion on Monday. x


  8. Bravo, Viv. You are so creative and to create a party as wonderful as this during these times is not an easy task. I hope you are enjoying a restful day today.


  9. The birthday party looks great fun and it will definitely be one to remember. Wonderful that everybody got into the spirit of things and the improvisations make it all the more special in my opinion. It’s a reminder that these events are about the person, family and friends coming together, and not about whether the balloons have the right number on them or not. The cake looks gorgeous, I do love fresh fruit as a topping. You’d definitely not have needed to cut it down for me though! xx


    1. My daughter is still trying to shed those post baby pounds so decided against a big cake so she didn’t feel obliged to eat it all! I can’t wait for the day when we can have one of our big family get togethers – a real in person one – maybe a picnic – hopefully this summer. xx


  10. I’m so impressed – what a wonderful celebration! I like everyone’s hats and candles and puppets. Your organizational skills, decor and photography are top-rate (and the food too, although not everyone got to share). They are all lucky to have you!


    1. Thank you Dar – it was a good party – though in the end it took as much organising as a real one – not everyone that joined in was tech savvy. My younger daughter was the one who volunteered to get everyone connected for the right time – I just made the cake and gave out instructions!


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