Aimee Horton

When it’s the party of the year.

Aug
13

Let’s get the disclaimer out of the way.  YES I KNOW this is about a child’s  birthday party, YES I KNOW Marks and Sparks do bloody amazing cakes and nobody cares, and YES I KNOW I go through this EVERY SINGLE YEAR, but I just can’t help myself.

Why? I got asked when I say I’m cried over the birthday cake for the 4th year in a row.

Why? I got asked as I desperately tried to encourage Mr Aimee to redecorate the entire three storey house in three weeks.

WHY? I got asked, when I went to the supermarket and came out with enough food that a) doesn’t fit in my fridge b) could feed 100 children not 8.

Just BECAUSE ok?  That’s just who I am.  As a teenager, while my friends where gazing longingly at the “Rachel” cut I was desperately wondering what went in Monica’s super homemade cleaning spray.  Just because as an adult I have been known to watch Desperate Housewives wishing I could get my wine glasses as sparkling as Bree. Because I wanted to be the hostess. (Yes, I know that’s another Monica reference :().

But over the years, I’ve been beaten down by my children as they  trash my house grown as a person, and have become a lot more relaxed about these things.  This year it was going to be different. 

This year, I decided to play it cool, just a small gathering of friends in the garden.  Then I made the stupid mistake of asking The Beast who he’d like to come to his party, and during the course of a week he added about forty-five names to “the list”.  On visiting the supermarket “Mummy…can I ask him to my party?” “who?” “That man…the man in the Spider-Man socks at the door” “The man who was putting the trolleys away?” “Yes. Him, he seemed nice”. 

In the end, we managed to cross it off to about twenty names including siblings.  I didn’t have to do any underhanded “yeah, but this person is on holiday” or “Yes, but they’ve moved to another country” at all.  I also had to break it to the family that there physically wasn’t enough room in my house, after all, WHAT if it rained? I HAVE CREAM CARPETS GODDAMN IT.

So with this in mind I made a plan.  I booked some amazing entertainment.  You see, in case you hadn’t guessed, I’m not that great with kids, and the thought of entertaining and keeping control of twenty in front of their parents filled me with a fear I had only ever felt when I thought Office had sold out of my Red Joules wellies (they had them in navy, but that so would not have gone with my kitchen).  Therefore, I called the wonderful Wow Factor Parties.  I’d been to one of their parties before, and we all know about how our family feels about superheroes so with a chance of Spider-Man visiting, we were ON IT.

After we booked it Mr Aimee and I were sitting out in the garden drinking some booze and planning the month. “So relaxed, I’m just going to buy a load of pizza and make the cake, and I’ll be sorted”.

“Sorry What? I thought we had talked about the cake this year, you’re not making it.”

OHHH, don’t worry, it’s easypeaseylemonsqueezy” I said, showing him the picture on Pinterest.

kitkatsinglelayer

He grudgingly agreed to let me do it.

Then I saw this.

kitkat3layer

Thanks Pinterest.

I didn’t tell him about the 3 layer change of plan, he’d have gone mad.  But I knew it would be easy.  Especially when the fantastic PartyDelights.co.uk sent me some wicked superhero supplies , which included a cake topper which I KNEW would just make it look AH-MAZE-ING.

So I trotted on, I went to my new favourite supermarket (Aldi), and swept the shelves of Pizza, Dough Balls, Ice Cream, Garlic Bread, Fruity Shoots and their version of Pimms.  I played fridge Tetris with little trouble, noting that considering it’s the favourite thing in my house, it was pissing water all over the floor for a FOURTH time this year.  I made Mr. Aimee take the day off on the day of the party so we could clean and he could wash the decking. WE WERE SET.

On Wednesday I started to make the cake.  Thank god I left two days before the party. It consumed nearly the entire time between Wednesday and Friday morning where I finally added my eighth (ninth just don’t tell Mr Aimee) bag of M&Ms.

After a day where my cake tin broke, my other cake sunk, and I had to bake whilst wearing a Ninja turtle face mask using golf clubs as my weapons, he walked in on Wednesday night after work and could and I quote “sense the atmosphere”.  Before he could turn around and leave I sent him for extra supplies “I NEED MORE KITKATS – OWN AND BRANDED, M&Ms AND I NEED YOU TO POUR ME A GLASS OF WINE…NO DON’T  EAT THAT BIT OF CAKE, YOU DON’T KNOW WHETHER I’LL NEED IT OR NOT” I *may* have screamed before frantically shoving extra bits of cake under the bottom layer in a desperate attempt to stop it leaning dramatically on one side.

I then tied it with wool, and collapsed into a heap of melted cheese and wine, and gave in for the night planning to go out and buy extra M&Ms and ribbon to tie it together the following day.  It stayed in the fridge, and I managed to make it look reasonably acceptable, and it made my day when he walked in saw it and said “WOW IS THAT MY CAKE?”.

birthdaycake

On Friday I did worry that my house looked like it could make you catch the plague so I tidied up, cleaned a lot bit and then watched as the children tore it all about ensuring extra ground in mud and orange crisps.

Then, as if by magic Jools from Wow Factor turned up, and calm descended on the house.  They set their stuff up, the children began to turn up and I hid in the kitchen while this happened.  It’s worth watching just to see Spider-Man doing Gangman style.

It was better then I hoped for.  They did everything (SHE EVEN ASKED FOR A BIN BAG AND CLEARED UP PAPER PLATES AND CUPS!!) which meant that (I *think*) I even got away with looking like a perfectly calm hostess “oh I do this every day”.  There was just enough food to feed everyone, just enough Pimms to keep me sane, and because the plates and cups were so awesome, I only needed balloons to add to the decorations.  The only slight disaster was that I nearly fell over holding the cake, and when it came to cutting it the top and bottom layer had so many sweets on top that it had been squished down to barely 1cm of cake.  YOU LEARN SOMETHING NEW EVERY DAY.

Looks like everyone had  fun.

bitofdancing bunting drinks jumping icecreampots givingoutpartybags

The only problem now is that The Beast keeps asking when Spider-Man is coming around next, and can he come for tea and perhaps a sleep over. How did I not see that one coming.

Thanks to Wow Factor, Spider-Man and Party Delights for helping keep the party relatively calm.  It’s taught me that all kids need is pizza, somebody to entertain them, and the parents need booze.

Next year the cake is apparently coming from Sainsbogs, but what he doesn’t know is that I still have to make The Chunky Monkeys cake until his 5th birthday otherwise it wouldn’t be “fair”.

 

Thank you to Party Delights for sending us the fantastic stuff, they were all great, although the party bag handles did break very easily, perhaps that was because of the cake containing about 10 tones of sweets.

Wow Factors were paid in full, but they made the day so thank you.

When you have a photo shoot.

May
18

So. Did you get The Guardian today then?

You know where you flick to the life-style page, and there’s that harassed round faced woman and two children being photographed talking about “Sharents”?  Yeah..that’s me. I KNOW!  You’ve finally seen a photograph of me that hasn’t been doctored by one of the many flattering filters on Instagram, and it’s not pretty.

I spoke to Nione just over a month ago, in the Easter holidays, and it actually turned out to be a really interesting exercise reminding me why I enjoy my blog so much, and what I want to get out of it – laughter.  It’s also what I wanted to achieve when I wrote my book.  But that’s another story all together.  During the conversation Nione asked if I’d be up for having a photograph done, and whilst I hate having my photo taken, I thought “why not”.  So I agreed wondering if there was a way of finding some cheek bones before the photographer came ’round.

As you can see there wasn’t.

On the Thursday I got the call asking if they were ok to come and take my picture on the Tuesday..“of course” I gulped…then they uttered those immortal words “and the children”.  I quickly responded with “are you sure” and they were quite sure.  After all, the piece is about THEM really, everything is.

On the Friday a parcel arrived from PartyDelights.co.uk containing a Captain America costume for The Beast.  Unfortunately due to an answering back incident and a strop which included throwing a cherry tomato across the room at tea time (him not me), his rocket went down to earth with a lecture, and the surprise was put away until the next time he got onto the star…which happened to be Monday.

To say he was happy was an understatement, and we were all very happy.  I mean, look at his face.

Captain America

The next day was THE SHOOT.  I think I cleaned more than when my mother comes to visit, ensuring that the laundry was shoved into the wardrobe in our bedroom so I looked like I was at least slightly in control.  I demanded Mr Aimee come home to help assert some authority over the children, after all, the photographer had called the night before to confirm times and my address, this would have been fine if he hadn’t heard the screaming of “NOOOOOO MUMMMAYYYYYYY NOOOOOOOOOOOOO” followed by the sound of a bowl of soup being flung to the floor in rage because I’d put the bread in it instead of next to it, so I had a feeling he was probably dreading the situation more than I was.

He turned up just as I parked the car from the school run, and witnessed The Chunky Monkey attempting to break into a neighbours car, and The Beast tearing inside, removing his school uniform and promptly appearing in his Captain America suit…not the Ava and Luc top I’d laid out ready.  After a few quietly uttered words we agreed he could wear the suit, just not the mask.  In my mind, I was relieved that The Chunky Monkey was wearing his Bat-Man top and regretting that I wasn’t wearing my cool superhero leggings.

We decided on the location of the shoot (sofa in the kitchen), and he set up his lights, I could tell whilst he mentioned he was worried for the safety of the kids and them tripping over the wires, he was worried for the safety of his equipment – I was too.

It was over in a fifteen minutes, however, in that time Captain America mainly looked dumb, Fat-Man kept licking my face, and I was sitting their thinking “there is no way he is getting my good side”.  Mr Aimee tried his hardest to entertain The Chunky Monkey with counting and pretending to throw a football.

Then he was gone.

The children went into the garden and I leant against the kitchen counter and poured myself a gin.

Just over three weeks later and it feels like a distant dream, and as I look back at that alien face in the paper (I DO NOT LOOK LIKE THAT IN THE MIRROR I SWEAR), all I can help thinking is “I wish they’d used photoshop”.

Pass The Gin.

p.s. If you’re from The Guardian and DID use Photoshop on the photo, please don’t tell me, because that’s even more depressing.

PartyDelights.co.uk were kind enough to send The Beast a Captain America costume after reading my recent Superhero blog post.  He loves it, it washes really well (3 times so far), and is often carried about in my car for emergencies.