Category Archives: Party

Getting ready for tomorrow

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I didn’t realise it is Friday 13th until almost the end of the day. I was trying to justify why things weren’t going as smoothly as they should. Just excuses, it’s easier than say I’m exhausted, lost my focus, ran out of patience and can’t do a lot of things I am trying to do.

The girls’ party is tomorrow. It’s all sorted in my head, but truth is, I don’t know if I can put it all together in an hour. It’s how long we have in the hall before kids start arriving. And this is the UK, people do arrive on time. 

I’ve been working on everything individually, not thinking how things will look good together. I do have a rough sketch of how the main table should look like, just to help on the day. 

It will all be good, it will all be great, but I can’t wait for it to be over.

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How can we be in May already?

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It seemed not long ago that I read all the May the force be with you  / May the 4th be with your posts on Instagram. And this week they were all back. We are in May… goodness.

And with May comes the girls’ birthdays. Beatrice is turning 3 years old next week and Laura turns 6 at the end of the month. In between we have a birthday party that I am trying to organise. With the trip to Florida in April, I got timings wrong and everything got delayed. Nothing to panic about… yet. Not that things are under control, they are and they are not. Things are completely… messed up. Let’s say that there will be a party and kids will have fun, but the OCD mum here is kinda freaking out because, due to the lack of planning, it’s all a bit random. We have a theme, which is important, and it is Ariel-Mermaids (like… different styles)-under the sea. The designs are all mixed up, got some designs from Etsy, some from party websites, from Little Mermaid stuff and that is the typical kids birthday party. Because, let’s face it, kids are… random. Get a 5 years old to pick up her outfit and you will see. It will look great, but not always will match.

One of the reasons for the delay in planning (I’m not a quick executer, I must confess, so I need extra time) was that Laura couldn’t decide on the theme. Princesses,  fairies, My Little Pony – no! Equestria Girls, a spin off MLP – Rapunzel, Ariel… she set her mind (not quite) on Ariel/Mermaid just after we got back from Florida, so I couldn’t even check out what are the latest party stuff in the US. Not that the prices are better there, they were not, but they have more options. More physical options, as opposed to online stuff. Although I get everything online these days, there is a lot of shopping in the dark and getting something slightly different than I thought.

I’m also a bad planner… I did some research online (thanks Pinterest and all party blogs) and wanted to get and do everything! And started shopping for random stuff. Now I’m not even sure what I’ve got – most of them didn’t even arrive yet. Food-wise, there is very little I can do before next week. I mean, I don’t think I can bake a cake and leave it for a whole week, right?

One of the fun stuff about it all is sharing little things I do on Instagram. It makes it feel a bit more special for me. It’s just too much work and too much effort (and money) for just a 2 hour party for 20-something kids. Don’t get me wrong, it’s totally worth it, they will be happy, but I feel like I need to share the behind the scenes with more people. I love how some of my friends give their opinion and help me along the way. My “comadre” (Beatrice’s godmother) is also my consultant – thanks to Whatsup – and provides me with instant feedback when needed. Not to mention that I have an “ear” (an eye, more likely) to listen to my insecurities, and and someone to tell me “it’s great!” or “maybe try this”.

Being at home is being great to get this party organised in the little time I’ve got – I would be pulling my hair off if I was on a full time job now. It is also very lonely, if it wasn’t for the online community. When hubby comes home, we talk about other things (I’m working for him too), and the girls are super excited about the party and I do welcome their feedback, but sometimes it’s not enough.

Mini wooden treasure chest that I spray painted in gold and Laura decorated with stickers. I have loads of washi tapes at home, so experimented with them – I don’t love how it looks with them on, but Laura does, so she wins.

 

The fun part: spray paint 30 mini chest in a few minutes.

 

It’s a bit of a messy job and I ended wearing gloves (not a big fan), but no far, my favourite part.

 

Little bracelets that will go in the mini chest… I was going to put each one together, but friends on Instagram voted to keep them in bags and let the kids do it at home. Got myself a few hours back here.

 

Ballon filler in training. We have a lot of balloons to blow, missy B, you better practice. (If I don’t give up the day before, which is what normally happens)

 

Who cares about planning anyway?

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In my mind, England (the UK?) is the land of planning. I remember being overwhelmed with all the planning required to meet friends, go to a concert or a play and travel. There was no such thing as “what are you doing now? Nothing? fancy a cinema/coffee/walk in the park?”

The reasons are various: firstly, most of my friends don’t leave close to me and takes about one to two hours (TFL permitting) to get anywhere. Secondly, people are just so eager to do stuff that tickets to shows and famous plays start selling a year before (or more) and are sold out in minutes. So there you have it – an event planned a year in advance and it’s not even a Christmas one. Then I think it has to do with the culture. People are so used to plan ahead that if you say “let’s do something tomorrow, they will probably say “tomorrow? errrrrr… let me check (my diary/with the other half/what phase of the moon we are now) and get back to you; I’m pretty sure we have something booked”. Sometimes you don’t even invite people for anything last minute because you are sure they can’t make it or you are not ready for such impromptu commitment.

But then, sometimes you want to plan thing ahead but people just won’t let you. Kids. Kids don’t let you plan anything ahead. Laura has been banging on for months and months (since her birthdays, really) that she wants a Frozen party. I ignore it for a while in the hopes that there will be another Disney princess taking over and she will change her mind. But until Christmas, it was all about “can I have a Frozen party?”.

So I started thinking about finding little Frozen items here and there and start gathering ideas to, for a change, don’t do anything so last minute (which will happen anyway, no matter how far I plan – but it’s more for the sake of getting anything on ebay from China that takes a month to be delivered).

And guess what has happened today? When asked what theme she wanted for her party, the answer was Hello Kitty!

So she will end up having a Frozen-Princess-Fairy-Lego-Hello Kitty-Pony-whatever crap is in fashion next Spring and everyone will be happy. Except me.

(I was thinking about ignoring the birthday party and going somewhere nice for a week in May, but I don’t think I can get away with it).

My very first (UK) hen do

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Last month I went to my very first hen do in the UK. I got married here, but I didn’t have one. My friend L (Bea’s Godmother) is getting married end of July and a group of girls went to Oxford to have a girls only weekend. It was Beatrice’s birthday and my first time away from her. Should I feel guilty for sleeping so well on a king size bed only for me? If I should, let me know now and I will pretend I am.

The theme of the weekend was Alice in Wonderland. It started with an afternoon tea on a boat cruise in the Thames river, following the route taken by Lewis Carrol in 1862, when he conceived the adventures of Alice. The cruise took about two hours and we passed by stunning locations, but we were too busy drinking tea (and coffee and bubblies), chatting and playing games to pay much attention. We went to a pub afterwards and in the evening we head off to a comedy club. In between, L had to do all sort of things and take photos and I must say that I was impressed that she took everything in such good spirits. I don’t think I would have done half of what she did. After the comedy show, half of us (mostly the Brazilians) went back to the hotel, while the other half (mostly the British) stayed another couple of hours, drinking and dancing. I was very tired and sleepy and by breasts were exploding (still breastfeeding, remember?) and I was so looking forward a great night of sleep… I knew L would understand. hehe

It was a lovely weekend, with great girls, fun activities and laughter. I had forgotten how a comedy show can be a great evening programme (as an alternative to night clubs or pubs), I should do this more often.

 

 

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Party food

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I got the recipe for the cheese bread from here, after researching on Brazilian websites. The recipe is all in English, so I won’t write it here, but it is worth mentioning that I changed it slightly. Instead of either using tapioca flour or sour cassava flour, I used half of each, after reading a comment somewhere from a girl saying that the original recipe uses both. And because I don’t use vegetable oil at home anymore, I replaced it with coconut oil. If you read the recipe, you will see that they say that pão de queijo should be crunchy on the outside and hollow on the inside. Well, I disagree – I like it chewy on the inside, and this is exactly like it!

Now… I made pão de queijo using this recipe twice. The first time, I could shape it into balls and it was alright. The second time, I tripled the ingredients and the result was a liquid dough, which I couldn’t shape at all. So I put it in cupcake cases. The result was yummy, but I was very stressed.

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Cheese bread – not as round and beautiful as they should be, but as yummy as they can be

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Cheese bread

The recipe of the hot dog bun came from this video; I just shaped it differently:

I don’t have a bread machine, so everything was done by hand. And I kneaded it for about 15 minutes or more. Oh, and I doubled the ingredients as well.

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Mini hot dog – they were delicious just after baked, but also quite yummy the following day

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I baked about 50 buns

The pie is very simple and quick to make and it’s great for a last minute lunch or party food. The original recipe was taken from here (Portuguese) and the translation is below.

Pastry:

3 eggs

13 tablespoons of flour

1 and 1/2 cup of milk

1 tablespoon of baking powder

3 tablespoons of cheese (option)

A little less than 1/2 cup of oil (I used coconut oil)

Salt to taste

Filling:

You can use your creativity here. We cooked chicken tights with onion, garlic, tomatoes, tomato passata, salt and other stuff, removed bones and that’s it. You can also use tuna, cheese and ham, pork… Great to use leftovers.

Mix all ingredients in a blender – add baking powder at the end. It will be a very runny mixture. Pour half of it in a tray, then add the filling (make sure you spread it very well) and finally cover with the remaining of the pastry. You can sprinkle cheese on top (some people like to put sliced boiled egg or olives), but it’s totally optional. Bake for about 40 minutes (at 180 degree celsius) and eat it.

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This pie was the next day’s lunch

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For the party, we had two chicken pies and they were all gone. Hubby didn’t even get to try it.

Party season

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I only celebrate birthdays when I’m on maternity leave. We had a party for Laura’s first birthday, then nothing until her 4th, which coincided with Beatrice’s first birthday and the last month of my maternity leave. So either this is the last celebration until they can organise their own parties or I’m having a 3rd child in a few years time. More likely it’s going to be the first option.

The party was last weekend. A beautiful day, very sunny and hot, with occasional clouds to cool us down. It was a bit mental, more because I am too stressed and have high expectations than actual hard work.

We hired an entertainer and I couldn’t be happier with her. Kelly, from Happy Hatters, was super duper. The kids and parents loved her. Laura told me, later in the day, that “Rapunzel was the best thing of her party. It was an amazing surprise!” She “warmed up” 15 minutes before the guests arrived, so Laura and Beatrice got to know her. When the kids arrived, Laura was already friends with the princess and the fun started straight away. Kelly called all the kids by their names and got everybody involved, even the parents. I know as a fact that all kids had fun because none of them wanted to leave.

The youngest ones didn’t get involved as much but they had toys and space to walk around and play. Maybe when Beatrice is 3 and Laura 6, they will have more fun together, but for now, she is quite tiny to follow her big sister’s steps.

Food-wise, I went with a half-healthy, half-trashy menu, but I ran out of time and due to lack of proper planning, I didn’t have any fruits and veggie sticks as I hoped. Yeeks! We did have tofu mousse though. Yes, tofu. And it was yummy. I ordered a few vegan items from my neighbour, who is starting her food business now (and will be at Brick Lane market from June!). We had chocolate, raspberry and mango mousses, mango and passion fruit cheesecake, vanilla and chocolate cupcakes, mushroom tart, chickpea curry, tofu teriyaki wraps and cream cheese and asparagus rolls, all diary/egg free.

I made hot dogs and baked the buns, baked cheese breads and two chicken pies. I had no left overs and all the adults said that the food was delicious. On the sweet side, I made brigadeiro and the birthday cake. No industrialised sweets and candies apart from them Kit Kats and Smarties of the cake.

One of the fathers told me that it was one of the best parties he has been to. We booked it for two hours but I told them they could stay as long as they wanted to.

The decoration was quite simple. When I was still in Brazil, at some point in February, I thought about having a picnic celebration, just because it’s easy and I wouldn’t need to think much about the decor (until you Google images and see how elaborated some stuff can be). Then I thought about adding some flowers , because it is spring, my favourite season. Never mind Laura’s opinion, as you can see. I learned to make fabric tulips and brought some ready made from Brazil. But it wasn’t a priority and my mum and I only looked into it the week of the party and, of course, zero time and patience to make all what I had in mind. Honestly? It wasn’t amazing and magazine-material decoration but Laura, Beatrice and her friends loved it and there’s nothing more honest and valuable than children’s opinion.

Biggest mistake ever: not taking enough pictures and actually making it a priority. Lelei had the cameras and was asking if we wanted to take pictures like this and like that and I didn’t want to interrupt the fun to take pics and I so regret it. Oh, most of the pictures are in her camera, as I forgot to charge mine and the battery drained half way through the party.

P.S.: I’ll share the recipes of the cheese bread, hot dog bun and chicken pie on another post

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Work in progress – although the table was set indoors, the whole thing happened outside

 

 

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The table, with a few bits and pieces. The majority of the food was outside, so the table was pretty bare.

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Party bags: a ‘picnic’ bag with some age-specific goodies inside; and a slice of the cake (which is how they do here)

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Detail of the flowers, including my two favourite ones

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All dishes had a similar label, but I don’t think people really read them

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Cake topper handmade by auntie/dinda Lelei – Laura and Bea Pig. hehe

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Post party clean up – now what do I do with all these? Kids’ bedroom decoration, me thinks

 

Birthday girl

Birthday girl

Photo wall. The idea was to have 12 photos of Bea and 12 of Laura, one for each month, but in the end I just put a bunch of photos I really liked

Photo wall. The idea was to have 12 photos of Bea and 12 of Laura, one for each month, but in the end I just put a bunch of photos I really liked

I {heart} Rapunzel! I want to get an entertainer for my birthday too!

I {heart} Rapunzel! I want to get an entertainer for my birthday too!

Mummy was playing too

Mummy was playing too

Rapunzel getting the kids to play whatever game

Rapunzel getting the kids to play whatever game

Lunch time: the table outdoor and the yummy food!

Lunch time: the table outdoor and the yummy food!

Beatrice between daddy and dindo (Godfather)

Beatrice between daddy and dindo (Godfather)

The cake

The cake

The table

The table

Halloween, before Christmas arrives

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I can’t believe Christmas is just around the corner. I’m not ready for this yet. So, before Christmas comes, I will post some photos of Halloween. Mostly for my mum, who isn’t on Facebook or Instagram. 😉

This year we celebrated Halloween because of Laura. She learned about it at the nursery. We had loads of kids trick or treating in our street and we thought Laura would enjoy the whole thing.

She enjoyed dressing up, coloring bas and sticking them on the window, she loved to see the kids coming to our house with the most amazing costumes and she enjoyed the idea of people giving her sweets. But she was very shy when it came to knocking at people’s door and saying “trick or treat”. :/

I can see she liked the idea, as she plays “trick or treat” with her dolls and she says “happy halloween” from time to time, so high hopes for next year’s holiday!

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