A Party Fit for a Queen

On Saturday Maggie Jane Mary Murray turned one and in honour of that and also in celebration of her ma and da having survived the last year in one piece as new parents, we had a party.

It was a Mad Hatter’s tea party and had been due to take place outdoors on Barnes Green. But the weather wasn’t forecast to be fit for an outdoors gathering so at the last moment we changed plans and hosted the tea party in the house.

We laid the long tables with colourful plates and decorated it with flowers and sweetie jars. Bottles of pink and white lemonade invited people to ‘Drink Me’, while a plate of jam tarts looked so appetising they would have tempted a passing Knave of Hearts to steal a few. Sweetie jars, cake pops and breadsticks with chocolate spread were just some of the naughty food served at this royal tea party, while sandwich plates overflowed with savoury treats. The ‘Eat Me’ stickers were hardly necessary, as the food looked fit for a King.
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The piece de resistance was Maggie’s birthday cake, baked in the shape of a Mad Hatter’s hat, 3 tiers high and decorated with all the fantastic Alice in Wonderland characters. It was a masterpiece created by our talented friend Carmen as a birthday present and excelled all our expectations. All future cake orders contact me and I’ll pass them on to Carmen’s Cakes!

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At 1pm the party began with the birthday girl dressed as the little Queen of Hearts in her red tutu. Her friend the White Rabbit – never one to be on time – kept looking at her watch as if she were late for some important party elsewhere. Two very glamourous Cheshire cats arrived and the birthday girl’s mama – an older and wiser Queen of Hearts – poured large glasses of Prosecco and Pimms from a teapot for the adult guests.

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The sun came out in the afternoon so the kiddies wrecked about in ball pool and sand pit outside and filled themselves full of cookies and juice. Then while the babas slept in the late afternoon the sing-song began.

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It was another Queen’s birthday recently too, but we had not planned to celebrate it with the same vigour. In fact, as most of my neighbours and friends in London were planning Jubilee street parties and trips to watch the festivities, Maggie and I headed home to Norn Iron. Bean Boutique – our little fashion stall – was due to take part in the ‘Frock around the Clock’ vintage fair in Bangor over the Jubilee Bank Holiday. For the last few weeks Mairead has been sourcing a beautiful range of vintage dresses and the collection for the fair was simply stunning. I was excited about going home for a longer time than usual but a little disappointed to be missing out on the neighbourly festivities while John was staying behind and joining our friend Barry at his Jubilee party in Chiswick. Imagine their surprise as they watched the Jubilee coverage on TV. For, not only was I NOT missing the celebrations, myself and Mairead were on national TV as part of Huw Edwards’ four and a half hour Jubilee special on BBC1.

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Back at the Mad Hatter’s tea party, the festivities spilled out onto Railway Side where we had our own street party with a difference, one week after the official day. Maggie happily sauntered up and down our little lane with her new birthday pram while the rest of the party soaked up the last of the evening sun.

What a celebration! God knows what we are going to do for the next birthday. I may start planning now….

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A Happy Queen on her Happy Birthday

Sizzling Heat, a Shoreditch Haircut and a 99

As a lover of high summer, the scorching heat of the last week which arrived out of the blue has been welcomed with open arms. But it has left the Muzza household completely unprepared. I have been despairing about having NOTHING to wear, which is almost true as I spent last summer in a variety of oversized tents. Maggie hasn’t fared much better. She has little t-shirts and leggings but no appropriate ‘baking hot’ summer clothing like playsuits or vest tops. All week she has been collected from nursery wearing nothing but a vest! And her toys aren’t blistering-heat-friendly either. They’re a bit indoor-sy: all cuddly toys, books and flashing plastic things. No sandpits, no slides and no paddling pools. So until we got time to do a spot of emergency shopping we improvised by wearing nothing but a size 4+ nappy and bringing the bath outside for a splash about.

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Exactly this day last year Maggie was due to make an appearance but held off on the big event for another 2 weeks. It was a strange time as it turned out to be the hardest days of my pregnancy thus far- those 13 long days after Maggie was due but before she arrived. I had waited very patiently for my precious bundle to arrive, over three years in fact, but now it seemed my patience had finally run out. I had two membrane sweeps hoping they would show that the baby was ready to come (or that I was ready to be induced). But no – on both occasions I was told that I had an ‘unfavourable cervix’ which would suggest I just keep waiting. Unfavourable? The worst score I’d ever had in my life was ‘satisfactory’ so I wasn’t too pleased about being ‘unfavourable’ to start with. But joking aside I surprised myself by getting so worked up that I was a quivering mess for most of that time. I found myself becoming so jealous of mothers on the street with their little babies and wondering, completely irrationally, if I would ever get to see mine. Of course, everything changed on the 9th of June but that good news is for another day and another blog post.

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It’s easy to think that I still have a newborn baby as sometimes I’m sure Maggie has only just come into our life. But she’s definitely growing up. This weekend – along with a new summer wardrobe – Missy got her first haircut at Toni & Guy. Her da insisted on it; I had suggested I give her the same DIY bowl cut we all had growing up but he was having none of it. I wasn’t convinced that she would sit still for long enough but she surprised all of us by indulging the hairdresser for long enough to allow her to cut a fringe and trim the rest of her hair. The hairdresser told us that Maggie is blessed with not one but two cows’ licks, and proceeded to give her a hairstyle that wouldn’t look out of place in trendy Shoreditch. It also makes her look about six months older which in baby terms is a long, long time. Afterwards, we took a walk along the river at Kingston and celebrated with a 99, another first for Maggie.

Now the planning starts in earnest for baby’s first birthday party. It’s going to be a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party on Barnes Green with her best cousin Nancy and all her friends. We can’t wait !

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