Party Planning for a 6 Year Old (eek)

So this week is my little lady’s 6th birthday, excuse me whilst I fan myself down, knock back a bottle of gin and lay down for a while, but yes, she is growing up (runs away and weeps).  Ok, ok I’m pulling my self together.  I have to say I’m not the biggest fan of these packaged birthday scenes everyone seems so into these days, or is that just Solihull?  I know the kids love them. in fact I have been to some pretty awesome ones this year.  And look life is busy, life is hectic and if it pleases your child and makes your life easier, then go you, in fact, maybe I should have done that, no really *quickly wipes beads of sweat from brow*.  However, I really like that I can, just about, still string a home made, home based party together and M will still have an ace time.  A couple of classic party games, a bit of cheese and pineapple, a bowl of ice cream and a party bag, you can’t fault it can you?  Anyway as always the anxiety has begun, ha ha, I told you I’m not knocking your pre made parties, you seem like fun but I love a struggle!  So I’ve pinned, see here.  I’ve planned, see mad sleepless night’s mind map below, and I think I’m nearly there.

mind mapSo to start with, I had plans of buying invites, of course I forgot and ended up having to make (this aint as glamorous as it sounds) and print them myself. Canva is brilliant for this stuff, fling together a background and some text and it looks like you’ve had the invites designed for you, well I hope it did?

Megan's Birthday

So onto entertainment, party games are where it is at, so the plan is fairly simple:

When they (the small ones, beware) get there, whack on the bubble machine, a little inane music and let them run wild, whilst children assemble offer face painting. a skill you may have picked up on Pinterest and now realise is something you could possibly do as a career should something awful occur at work and you be forced to set up your own business, just saying.

Once all the guests have arrived, commence the schedule (there is precision here, I am a teacher you know).

1.  Activity – Design your own party bags (previously ordered 10x canvas drawstring bags and 3 packets of fabric pens)

2.  Wind it up – musical bumps

3.  Classic, can’t be missed – pin the tail on the donkey

4.  Treasure hunt – preparation well and truly delegated to Grandma, she did them so well when I was a child it would be rude not to

5.  Gather the children for the finale, party would not be a party without, PASS THE freaking PARCEL – it’s always a winner, well it is if you wrap interim presents right?

6.  The FOOD – last year we delegated well, again, to Grandad, it was ace but under appreciated (aka he made so much we wasted half of it) so this year we are pairing down and simplifying, the dinner this year is simply pizza and ice cream.  Slices of warm cheese and tomato doled out to all, a notional offer of crudites and hummus to make me feel ever so slightly virtuous.   And then for pudding, ice cream, I have dreams of going all Pinterest (I know I’m obsessed) and providing individual jars of the stuff with an array of sprinkles but inevitably the paper bowls will be out and the kids will still love it.

7.  Cake – candles burning, wax melting, clanging chorus of  ‘Happy Birthday’.  Cake generously provided by amazeball chef Grandad or bought from local supermarket, equally pleasing birthday girl.  Sliced, packed in party bags with essential bubbles, balloon, toys (Amazon has been a hero here with multi buys of springs and finger puppets for bargain prices) and sweeties/chocolates (of course).

8. Children slowly depart.  Daughter runs round in circles for next hour on sugar high.  Mother collapses, only intravenous drip of wine will revive her now.

Done! Well that’s the plan anyway…

Maybe Mcdonalds wouldn’t be frowned apon for next year?  What do you do for your children’s birthdays?

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Seasons in Tenterden

I just had to quickly tell you about this ace little cafe I found whilst on holiday in Kent and Sussex this week. We took a drive to the very lovely Tenterden to pick up some bits and bobs and grab some lunch and stumbled upon Seasons. This very lovely family run cafe provides an excellent range of gluten free goodies, not only were there plenty of typical gluten free items ie soup and jackets but they also prepare made to order sandwiches and toasties. I had a deliciously simple ham and cheese toastie made with local farmhouse cheddar and yummy thick cut ham.

They also displayed a fair old range of big fat gluten free cakes but I didn’t partake this time however we’ve got a couple of days left and they also do breakfast – the thought if being able to order a gluten free bacon sarnie IN AN ACTUAL CAFE is almost to much for me to comprehend!!! Anyways thought I’d share this little gem with you as it’s not often you find somewhere out I the sticks that caters so well for coeliacs.

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Gluten Free Nectarine and Raspberry Clafoutis

Well hello there, I’ve been a bit busy recently and as a result some changes are afoot, I’ll be moving sticks shortly and returning to my spiritual homeland, well not really, I’ve been offered a job in Solihull so I’ve got the summer to pack up, sell up and get my self settled back in the Midlands.  Anyone who has any tips on nice areas near Solihull please get in touch, I’m currently looking at Moseley, Kings Heath and Shirley but am open to suggestions.

Anyway consequently blogging hasn’t been my first priority of late however I have managed to do a little something over here at LiveGlutenFree, so check it out… 🙂

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Marks and Spencer’s Gluten Free Chocolate Muffins

Marks and Spencer’s Gluten Free Chocolate Muffin

Marks and Sparks are doing pretty well at this whole gluten-free lark, I happened to be in need of a little respite in the Croydon branch today so decided to have a little nosey at what one might purchase for elevenses in their Cafe Revive and what did I find? Choice, that’s what.  There were not only these pretty damn delicious and intensely chocolatey muffins, there were fruit cakes, sandwiches and the offer of a wrapped gluten-free roll with their soups.  Yes that’s right, you are not hallucinating, as well as the usual standby of jacket potatoes there was quite a selection of both sweet and savoury offerings for us gluten sensitive coeliacs.  So I salute you M&S, well done, and I think I shall be returning around lunch time next week for a taste of one of the more substantial savoury offerings.

I’ll keep you posted dear readers but in the mean time, what about you?  Found any more new and exciting gluten-free morsels on the high street?  Let me know!

New Costa Gluten Free Bakewell Tarts – Review

I’m getting a bit obsessed by new gluten free products in cafes and was most pleased to see a new addition to Costa’s pretty limited selection of gluten free goodies, I mean everyone loves a brownie and fruit cake is good but sometimes you just want a bit more choice, yeah?

Costa Gluten Free Bakewell Tarts

So when I saw these pretty little tarts I quickly placed them on my tray, paid and headed off to snaffle them in a corner.  They are very cute mini tarts and the pastry is good quality and tasty but unfortunately being so small they lack that real almond kick you get from the frangipane in the bigger versions and sadly they were rather swamped in a thick layer of fondant icing.  So the verdict, well, if you dig icing and pastry go for them but I think in future I’ll be sticking to a bit of brownie with my coffee.

Have you sampled any new gluten free goodies?  Have you tried these? Let me know what you think… 🙂

My Instagram Feast

I’ve been between phones this week and am not a happy bunny about the fact I’m still using my old phone over 2 weeks after purchasing my new one but that is something I need to tackle with the dreaded O2 and not bore my lovely readers with, anyways it means I’m a little short on choice of pictures to use but hey ho, it’s still a lil peek into what has fallen into my belly over the last week.

From top left: chicken and chorizo tray bake, my favourite icecream flavour in frozen yoghurt – trying to convince myself I was beeing healthy even though I ate the tub in less than 5 days, amazeball gluten free chinese feast courtesy of my dad on Friday night, beautiful gf afternoon tea from the lovely Tiffen in West Bridgford, a frickin awesome gf double chocolate eclair made again by my most talented father (I’ve only eaten one so far dad, although not sure how long the other one is going to last in the fridge) and these very moreish crisps from Tescos, a rather healthy week no?!

My Instagram Feast

I said it would be a regular, so true to my word here is my recent Instagram feast:

From top left: Veggie Thali from Exmouth Market, Rhubarb and Ginger Crumble featured on LiveGlutenFree, veggies ready for Sunday roast, Chickpea Curry featured earlier in the week, 'oops I ate my dinner before taking a picture' - aka too greedy for own good, gluten free pizza made with Isabel's pizza dough mix, curry no 2 with aubergines and lentils and Isabel's pizza dough made into a garlic flat bread, breakfast of Bakery on Main St gluten free muesli mixed with yoghurt and fruit, and a recent supermarket indulgence of Warburtons Blueberry muffins, mmmm...

Recipe for the Gluten Free Rhubarb and Ginger Crumble can be found here.

Chickpea curry here.

If you’d like to see my last Instagram Feast you can click here.

Thanks for reading 🙂