Monday, July 22, 2013

A fun filled family weekend.

It seems to be a theme of my summers that they're taken up with continuous weekends of plans, meaning I'm often away from Dublin for 3-4 weekends in a row. Although I hadn't initially planned it that way, this summer is no different.  This weekend was the big family meal for Sarah's 40th. It's become a bit of a tradition that for a big birthday we all gather together and have some food and a few drinks.  We did it 4 years ago for Dad's 60th,  last year for my 30th and our stepmum's 60th and now this year for Sarah's 40th.
But, due to us all having rather hectic lives, it's not always possible to do the meal close to the actual birthday.  Explaining why Sarah's birthday meal happened over a month after the actual event.

A few months back Sophie and I were having a chat in the pub and we'd decided we wanted to get something personal to us for Sarah's birthday. She'd asked for money towards something for a present, which of course we gave her, but we wanted to do something a little extra.  Something really special, just from us.  They did the same with my 30th, turning up to Dublin for the weekend of my birthday, when I had no idea they were coming over. (read more about that here)
Sophie, Sarah and I are incredibly close. We're all very different but then in some ways we're incredibly alike.  Anyone who knows me knows how much my sisters mean to me.  We've all been through a lot, both together and separately. I cannot, and do not want to, imagine life without them.

So back in the pub in April, over a few packets of pork scratchings and a few pints of rather strong Tadcaster beer, we came up with the idea of doing a photo book for her. We said we'd fill it pictures of us and the family members and we'd crack on with it quite soon.
Fast forward to the end of June and no progress having been made on the book, I panicked slightly and so Soph and I pulled pics together and starting collating the book on the Asda photo website. We both underestimated the effort involved, and although it was an enjoyable process, trying to get some semblance of organisation to the pics and weeding out the duplicates took some time. But we managed it, and after ten days of to-ing and fro-ing, we had a 40 page book, containing approx 120 pics. I've added a selection below.
Sophie & Sarah (aren't they cute?!)

Sophie, Sarah & I at Sophie's wedding

Our paternal grandparents

Lesley and the kids on her 60th last year
We'd managed a good mix of everyone; us, the kids, parents and grandparents and were pleased with the results. There was a slight moment when we worried it wouldn't be delivered in time, but it arrived with a few days to spare and Sophie said the final outcome looked good. 

Then there was the subject of the cake. For Sarah's 21st she'd had a cake with dolphins on it, her favourite animal, and she kept the sugar craft dolphins for a good few years.
Sarah's fiancee and Dad had decided to do something similar, something that was personal to Sarah for the cake. But various circumstances meant that it fell to Sophie to organise. Sarah is very spiritual and does Tarot readings. Sophie had the great idea to get a tarot card done for the cake, but was quite right to admit that doing the card decoration herself would be difficult, given the intricacies of the cards. She found a place online the would transfer any image you wanted onto icing, so she found a meaningful card and sent the image off. She then set about making the cake and planning the periphery decoration. When we discussed it she mentioned that we'd tell people she'd had the cake professionally made and see who bought it. 
Sophie is creative, much more so than I, or Sarah to a point. She has a lot of patience and I knew she'd do a great job. The finished article blew me away, it really did look professional and Sarah loved it. The cake itself was delicous, a madeira sponge with a hint of lemon, buttercream and raspberry jam. Nom nom nom nom!
I think she's happy with the cake!

Isn't it awesome?!

Sarah was over the moon with both the cake and the photo book, and was incredibly moved by both. 

There were 16 of us for the meal, and a great time was had by all. The kids were in their element, with new additions to the brood in the form of my step-brothers 2 daughters. Both lovely girls, and I'd say it can't have been easy for them not knowing many of us, but by the end of the night it seemed that firm friendships had been made.
Big family get togethers can be stressful sometimes, especially with my family, but I couldn't have asked for a better evening for Sarah, and I know she had a wonderful time, which was the main thing. 

Next weekend is a get together with college friends, always good fun when we get together, and I'll report back as appropriate!

Much love!



Katrin said...

I love the picture of your grandparents! :)

dontlikeberries said...

Thanks! It was taken about twenty years ago, on the 50th anniversary of V Day I think. We dug some old pics out and I took a picture of some of them last year, glad I did!

Sara Louise said...

You guys are so thoughtful! x

dontlikeberries said...

Thanks, we try our best for each other.
Sophie is 40 in 2015, going to have to sort something for that! x