Friday, 6 November 2015

A Royal High Tea


After the emotional turmoil of saying goodbye to the Thomas train set (finally, the one bidder delightedly drove off with our collection) there was hardly time to turn around before we were hit with birthday season. Due to a lack of forethought, I have three (out of four) children's birthdays to celebrate inbetween mid-October and December 20. And as you may be aware, for enthusiastic Christmas-ophiles like myself, it is VERY Difficult to focus on anything other than the impending Christmas season, after mid-October. And yet, as a parent, what I have to do is pretend to be interested in my kid's birthdays, when really all I want to do is get set up the tree and write Season's Greetings on all of the windows in white removable pen.

So first to my beautiful Eleanore turning eleven. Her last big birthday party was when she turned six, it was really great. So great, I never got around to holding another one. So anyway, it felt like a party was called for. But what to do?
Ever since a certain Easter two years ago, when WE HAPPENED TO MEET PRINCE WILLIAM AND KATE Ellie has been Royal crazy. So a Royal High Tea was the obvious answer to any party theme.

I had teacup invitations, sparkly paper crowns and well, a lot of china and glass to pull this off. All I had to do was cook a few sweet things and hang lanterns and bunting. Sweet!


William and Kate addressing the birthday girl and wishing her the best of birthdays.


Red Velvet Cupcakes decorated and delightful. Edible pearls and royal icing, of course. 

And I finally was brave enough to make and master teacup biscuits. It was so easy I'll probably whip them up most afternoons from now on. Not. 


Party activities included a Royal Quiz (prepared by Ellie), Pass the Parcel and the rather (unroyal) pursuit of eating donuts (sans hands) tied with ribbon to the clothesline. My kids request this game every time a party is suggested. Who am I to say No? 

Prizes for the games were fun to buy. I recalled that cheap Chinese-made Royal memorabilia was stocked at Victoria's Basement and so headed to one of their warehouse shops the week before. I was almost reduced to sobbing in to my handbag when I discovered they stocked a jubilee and Royal Baby range of English Burleigh stoneware. The same range I had gleefully bought a piece of via the UK and EBay for Ellie's birthday. While the mug itself was not expensive, the postage was! And to find multiple mugs and plates for $12 - $20 a piece in Western Sydney... Rather humiliating for a dedicated shopper/bargain hunter like myself. Anyway, I rallied and bought some treasures for the girls' party bags. 


And then there was the cake. Birthday cakes are not my forte. However I had found online a super looking sponge cake decorated with fresh berries that had an easy sounding recipe and was best made and eaten on the day. Cue crazed laughing from all of you who know that easy and sponge don't go together. 

Honestly. How did I not know this?!

I followed the directions. Perhaps my oven is a dud (quite likely). Possibly my baking powder is passed the use-by date (more than likely). The resulting cakes were flat. Wooden. Brown. Like frisbees. 

My husband suggested a Royal trifle, which sounded like a good idea but still required the cake to be edible. 
It wasn't!

Luckily the high tea was in the afternoon, so I still had time to do a mad dash to the local shopping centre. I purchased a ready made vanilla cake with jam and cream and beautiful ombre pink swirly rosette icing. The girls gasped with awe and pleasure.  Ellie was amazed. I was pretty darn amazed too - who knew birthday cakes could be so easy and impressive? And instant. 
I couldn't have been more proud. 
Poorer but proud. 


Here it is half eaten. Happy Birthday topper was $2 from Kmart!

We had fun. A royal high tea is hard to beat. William and Kate agree. 


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