A Beautiful Birthday

By Alison March 30, 2015 20 Comments 2 Min Read

I turned 43 last week. An impossible age surely? I turned 43 and my family and friends made sure it was a birthday to remember for all the right reasons…
There was frozen cocktails at midday. A whole series of silly photos taken with my new selfie stick (I’m down with the kids thanks to my Barbie). A silly amount of presents including Mister Finch’s beautiful book, “Living In a Fairytale World”, the first issue of The Happy Reader (highly recommended), a scarf I have not unwrapped from my neck, perfume, a collection of scrumptious edibles, Charbonnel et Walker Rose and Violet Creams, and so much more besides…

And then there was the cake. Oh my the cake. I mean really, do take a close look at the cake because it simply couldn’t be more Brocante! Created by Helen’s husband Louie’s sister in law, Emma, through her company L&E Cakecraft, this gluten free delight was a riot of polka dots and roses with a darling message on the top that simply meant the world to me. Emma, who also designed Helen and Louie’s wedding cake, is so very, very talented and my Brocante cake could not have been more perfect. In fact it is so very perfect I have so far refused to sample a slice. I want my cake you see and we all know we cannot have our cake AND eat it don’t we?

When asked what I wanted for my birthday party I had requested vol-au-vents. Oh my word yes: I am a child of the seventies and I do believe in an ironic party buffet on a very special occasion. And so began the great Vol-Au-Vent debacle. For ready-made vol-au-vent cases were nowhere to be found and as my Mum could never have been described as a baker, there wasn’t a pasty cutter in the house and so together we muddled our way to pastry bliss with bottle lids and shampoo tops (we are nothing if not creative) and created quite the little production line cutting our circles, mixing up fillings, and generally baking up a puffy storm!
Darlings the Vol-au-vents were a disaster! Helen and I had enjoyed our frozen cocktails a little too much and hysteria set in as tray after tray of collapsed pastry cases struggled to hold the vast amount of coronation chicken I was trying to stuff into them, until finally Mum’s best friend Carol had to step in and take control of our ridiculous antics and do her very best with a muddle of mushrooms, and a squash of pastry…
And then there we were: all of us sitting around the dining room table, taking terrible selfies and eating terrible vol-au-vents and holding each other up and laughing more than we had ever believed possible a few weeks before.
We are ok Mum. We are doing ok. We really are…


  1. Delores Mcdonald says:

    Wishing you a wonderful birthday and happiness always sounds like it was an enjoyable occasion x

  2. Kimberly says:

    Happy birthday, dear Alison! Your family and friends sure did come through for you. Sounds like a lovely time!

  3. Valerie says:

    Happy Birthday, Alison! I’m glad to see you celebrating the big and little things in life. I can’t imagine how this time has been for you. It’s such a gorrrrrgeous cake. I’d have a hard time cutting into it too. It almost makes me want to learn how to work with fondant. But after reading your story about the vol au vents, I think, maybe I need to stick to my own simple areas of expertise. 😉 Happy Bday. Keep blogging, as a lonnnnng term reader, I still love to read you! And I hope you are writing some other things too?

  4. Dolores Lynn says:

    Such a great post Alison. Love the pictures!

  5. Margaret says:

    Happy birthday, it looks like a riot and such lovely pressies. Speaking as a 63 year old 43 sounds positively juvenile :).

    1. Chrissie says:

      I am same age hun and agree !!

  6. Katherine says:

    Happy Birthday, Alison! ♡

  7. Dawn says:

    Happy Birthday, Alison!

  8. Gillian says:

    Happy Birthday Alison! Your pictures are all utterly scrumptious xxx

  9. Shelanne says:

    Ah yes, when you catch yourself smiling again! Sounds all good, glad you had a good day xxx

  10. Lynn says:

    Happy Belated Birthday! I’m on vacation so I missed this post but it was so good to see your pictures. Your cake is wonderful!! I’m so glad to see you all taking care of each other. Hugs,

  11. Sherri says:

    Happy Birthday! I just had mine on the 14th and turned 43 also 🙂 I am sure you mum was there for it, blowing out the candles with you.

  12. Laura says:

    Happy Be-lated Birthday! 🙂
    I’m glad that you had such a great day. Last year my Mother died and my birthday was a couple of weeks just after as well so I know how tricky it can be. I’m sure that your Mum was there with you all.. laughing and having a great time. 😀

  13. Jacki says:

    Happy birthday Alison. X

  14. Gena says:

    Happy Birthday Beautiful! Doing ok is good,cake looks fab xxx

  15. Joanne says:

    This post made my heart sing, Alison! That cake really IS so you, so Brocante, and what a beautiful sweet message in gorgeous script to top it off. There really is nothing in this world like love, people we love, experiences we love, and ‘things’ we love! I celebrate birthday number 44 in August this year – I’m really looking forward to it now, after reading your post.

  16. Tiffani says:

    I’m glad you had a lovely birthday party. Happy Belated Birthday to you!

  17. Barb B says:

    Happy Birthday Alison ! Love all the photos ! Blessed birthday wishes for you !

  18. Angel Jem says:

    Belated happy birthday! 43 years young is good! And I’m hoping you’ve eaten the cake by now, because like that best hand cream or french perfume if you don’t use it, it will go off and be uselessly thrown away!

  19. Happy belated birthday! Oh, don’t think I didn’t think of you on the first of spring. I’m so happy to read your day was a good one. I’ve never heard of a vol au vent… .???

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