Tag Archives: Birthday

Birthday Traditions

5 May


It was my birthday yesterday, and a lovely day it was too. There was surprise yummy breakfast arranged by my daughter’s dad, thoughtful presents, posh chocolate , nice cake, I was taken out for afternoon pudding and coffee, and then we had pizza for dinner.

When I was growing up we had a couple of lovely season-specific traditions. My sister’s birthday is the day before mine, and our dad’s birthday is the day after mine, so we always had three great days. This is the time when pansies are blooming in northern Europe, and we always had many different colours in our garden. Every birthday morning before breakfast my mum would pick a few and laid them in a half circle above the birthday person’s plate at mealtimes. Between meals they were put in a vase.

Another tradition we had was that there would always be chocolate ladybirds and may bugs on the birthday table. Since I moved to the UK, my mum has been sending me ladybirds in my birthday parcel, and one year she even pressed some pansies in advance and sent them to me glued onto a card.

Another great tradition we had was the birthday ring , something I really want to continue with my daughter. I ordered one before her birthday this year, but unfortunately it was lost by Royal Mail, which was very sad.

I think birthday traditions are a great way of making children feel valued and tying the family together.

Phew! Survived the Birthday Party. And even quite well.

22 Mar

Birthday Cake

This is the cake I made for my daughter’s birthday party. It is a lemon Madeira cake layered with orange buttercream and apricot jam. I put her name on the other side of the caterpillar, and dotted around the cake are flowers, butterflies, ladybirds, bees, snails, and toadstools.

I wanted the cake to match the general spring/garden theme of the party, and I’m pleased with the outcome as I managed to construct a cake which matched the mental image I had.

Birthday Cake  with sugarpaste letters and grass

I used 'Tappits' for the letters.


The butterflies, flowers and little animals are made from gumpaste.

Garden spring cake with flowers, butterflies, ladybirds, bees, grass and toadstools

As you can probably see, most decorations were glued in place with royal icing.


A bunch of three-year-olds don’t need loads of activities as they’re probably most happy playing with balloons and running around. Nevertheless, I wanted the party to have some kind of structure, so I put out some craft stuff – butterfly and flower stickers, foam ladybirds, paper flowers, glitter glue – to let the children decorate some plant pots. Once they had done this, they filled their pots with compost and planted seeds in them. I made sure to choose seeds which can be planted in spring and won’t take too long to start growing.

The children seemed to have fun with this, and the parents approved too. Thanks to rainy weather we had to do the planting in the dining room, but thanks to some mats on the floor and parents’ effort to keep the compost contained in a big flat cardboard box, the carpet survived.


You can't see it here, obviously, but some seeds have already started sprouting. Major excitement!

All in all it was a fun party. It’s crazy how much time and effort went into a couple of hours though!

Spring Spring Spring

12 Mar

Apologies for the long absence from the blog. I don’t know why, but it’s only when the weather gets brighter and the days get longer that I realise how downtrodden I was feeling over the winter months. Of course at the time I think everything is going well, but now that I’ve put away the big winter coats I feel so much lighter.

My daughter’s birthday is in spring (this week, in fact), and every sunny day reminds me of the day she was born. I feel best when I’m planning something, so plotting to make her birthday lovely and her party entertaining yet free from pink-barbie-plastic type stuff has been fun. Four three-year-olds won’t need many activities as I reckon they’ll be most happy running around and playing with toys, so I’ve decided to let them plant vegetable and flower seeds in plant pots which they can decorate beforehand if they wish. I’ve chosen plants like carrot, sunflowers, beans, so everyday staples they’re probably familiar with which can be planted in spring and only take a few weeks to grow so they stay interested.

On top of this I have been accepted to present at not one, but two academic conferences! The smaller one is a one-day event in London, so I hope (depending on the programme) that I can travel there and back on the day. The bigger one takes place on an exciting Mediterranean island in the middle of July! I’m pleased to have been accepted for these conferences, especially as I haven’t presented anything since the first year of my PhD, in pre-baby times. Having to put these papers together is spurring me on in my work, but I’m just ever so slightly daunted by the financial challenge of going to the big conference. This week, on top of planning The Birthday, I’m going to write my funding application. If my university decides to be generous, that should pay for about half of the trip. We shall see.

Today I got a letter from my letting agent telling me I’ll have a house inspection (they do these every few months to make sure I haven’t turned the house they’re letting me rent despite not having a job and at a less-than-average price into a crack den) – on my daughter’s birthday! But I’m not worried because I have been tidying up and prettifying a little bit every day for a while now to make sure I won’t get too stressed before the party.

Plus we’ll probably be out anyway because we have a hospital appointment to attend. Yes, that’s right, my poor baby (quite big baby, but still) has to have a bloodtest on her birthday! I’ve been worried she might be allergic to fish, and after waiting since before Christmas, this is the one and only say available.

My daughter’s dad will take the day off work, so we’re planning to take her somewhere fun with a yummy picnic.

Then the week after that my mum will be visiting for two weeks, and a few days after she leaves, my best friend is going to visit for a few days! This will keep us nicely busy until after Easter!