Party month kicked off in patriotic fashion with a family jubilee tea party. The baking I did for this was a rehearsal for the mountain of cakes that I made to celebrate my daughter Taylor's 18th birthday with a garden party that the weather dictated we move inside.
The following day, my little girl had been invited to a Wacky Warehouse birthday party of one of her nursery friends. This was the first time she had been to a party without me and it felt monumental. She, of course, took it all in her stride
Another cake marked the occasion of Taylor's boyfriend, George, turning 18.
At the weekend, our whole family were invited to George's house for a celebratory barbecue to honour George and his twin sister's birthdays. The weather was determined to sabotage the event, but nobody was going to let it. I had such a good time. My vegetarian resolve was weakened by the selection of succulent animal flesh on offer (I didn't succumb but I did have one of those just remind me why it is I don't eat meat moments)
Taylor is not a party animal by any stretch of the imagination. She rarely drinks alcohol and does suffer from a certain amount of anxiety at the thought of eating out. It was an absolute pleasure, therefore, to see her let her hair down, have a few drinks and relax. I don't generally encourage my kids to drink to excess or applaud displays of drunken behaviour but it was exactly what she needed as an antidote to the exam stress of the previous weeks.
George's mum's Killer Cocktails helped my eldest daughter find her dancing feet and a willing partner in the shape of George's younger sister.
It may have taken me the whole of the next day to recover fully from my own indulgences (and my photographic efforts were all a little blurry and badly framed) but it was well worth it.
The next party was a more sedate affair, being to celebrate my little Dylan's 2nd birthday on the 28th. We had an afternoon out at an Ice Cream Farm (which inevitably involved the consumption of delicious ice cream in a baffling choice of flavours - I went for the Oreo, White Chocolate and Raspberry) Back home, we had water bombs (it was one of those rare hot days) pizza and cake. We were joined by friends and Dylan was particularly pleased by the arrival of two little ones to make trouble with!
We had a big party to attend on the 30th, some 4 hours away in Essex, but before that we had to squeeze in Taylor's college Leavers do. I took her shopping for a dress, waited up until gone midnight to collect her afterwards and had the worry of whether she would enjoy herself or make herself sick with her usual anxiety. She wasn't completely unstressed but she did manage to mostly enjoy the experience.. and she and George looked gorgeous.
The final party in Essex was a combined celebration - my sister-in-law Jan's 50th birthday, my niece's 21st and my nephew's 18th (I do wonder if her family planning was cunningly designed to create this triple excuse for a do). Jan's husband had put together a lovely powerpoint presentation of photographs from the time that Jan was a baby (who bore a strong family resemblance to my own little girl) until present day. It beautifully illustrated the journey they had taken together as a family over the years, with the tagline 'Three Lives, One Thread'. I couldn't help but feel a little sad that my journey with my husband has been so much shorter - but I can't regret all the wasted years when we were not together because to do so would devalue the four amazing children that were the product of my first marriage.
My niece provided some entertainment by performing a selection of songs, mostly from musicals. I do joke that she makes my ears bleed when she belts out the high notes but she was brilliant - the best I've ever heard her.
It was all over too quickly and we were soon making the long trek home.
In fact the whole of June was all over too quickly.
Let's see what July will bring.