Birthday Tea Party

I can’t believe I’m 17!

I can legally drive!

This is all too crazy…

Okay, so I am now one year older than the last time we spoke.. weird huh? I have also settled into amazingly quickly into my new school, and am really loving it. The first day I came home with the biggest smile on my face, and knew things could only get even better! I found a lovely group of girls who have really looked after me and welcomed me in, and after only 3 days with them, we already feel like best friends! I am definitely excited for this year ahead now, although the hard work and studies have already studied, so it won’t all be fun and games.

Tuesday was my birthday. And with one extra day off school, I spent the day wisely. I baked! I had invited my three bestest friends over for tea, and I wanted to throw them the prettiest little birthday tea party, (and also just unleash the little girl inside me and have fun with pink and colourful pretties!) I’m not exaggerating when I say that I spent all morning and most of the afternoon in the kitchen. I literally never sat down.. you guys might know how this feels. I just went in circles around the kitchen, busying myself with different components of the evening’s spread.

I only had major disaster.. a rose meringue shaped one. But we’ll just not mention that one!

I successfully made:

  • Mini pink profiteroles
  • Rose Cupcakes
  • Cake Pops
  • Pink Popcorn
  • One enormous birthday cake!

I had the best night, sharing thoughts of our differing first days back at school with my girls, and just having a good catch up. I was overwhelmed with their gorgeous presents, and then left speechless when my Mum presented me with a huge baking themed hamper complete with cake tins and tea towels, when I thought I had received all my presents earlier that morning! I knew I would really miss my three best friends, but I know now that I have made the best decision to spread my wings, and make my own way in a different school. It was however, very poignant this morning, as I waited for the bus on one side of the street, and 15 of my closest friends from my high school were waiting on the other side of the road, in a completely different uniform, waiting to board a bus to take them in the opposite direction…

I hope to share with you over the next little while, separate posts showing each of the sweet treats I created for my tea party, and hopefully show how easily you can create something similar for yourself!

A x

Afternoon Tea at The Merchant Hotel

 

Apparently jeans are discouraged.. oops! Well they still served us.

I’m sure my face was quite a sight when the lady in her little blue uniform carried towards us this beautiful tower of treats. Everything so was perfect and miniature, I was scared to touch anything when it arrived in front of me. Oh and the smell! The little scones were freshly baked and their warm, butter, vanilla scent  soon made me very hungry…

We finally made it here, my Mum and I, after she promised some time ago to take me out to Afternoon Tea to celebrate my birthday, her birthday and also my exam results. For many years we have meant to share it together whilst in London or elsewhere, but sadly it never happened. So now, in this magnificent setting of the Merchant Hotel in Belfast, it felt very special indeed. Not least because this building holds special significance as in fact my Dad used to work here when it was still a bank, and before it became this famous hotel. My mum remembers taking me here many times as a small baby to visit Dad, and so coming here when I am now very nearly 17 must be a strange feeling for her!

The outside of the building has a large grand staircase, before you enter into the moving doors and arrive in the enormous Great Room. The grandeur and decoration everywhere is breathtaking and makes for quite an entrance. It also felt very exciting to be here, as just under a year ago, I spent over 4 hours queuing and patiently waiting outside, opposite the main entrance to catch a glimpse of Justin Bieber arriving at the hotel, back when the MTV EMA’s were being held in Belfast.

I was also on a little high after such a successful and exciting first day at my new school. Thank you all so much for your kind words of support! I was surprisingly more confident than I anticipated and quickly said many ‘Hello’s’ and got acquainted with as many people as I could. By lunchtime I already felt part of things, and soon realised that everyone else was as nervous and apprehensive as me on their first day of term. I now look forward to starting my first proper week and really getting into the swing of things.

This delightful looking dessert above, I believe, was an Apple and Cinnamon Charlotte, although all I was worried about was the gorgeous rich chocolate centre. Oh and the other beautiful mousse in a small little glass was an Orange Blossom Jelly and Peach Coconut Mousse shot glass. It was delicious! We were also served a pretty little raspberry macaron (which I really was not too impressed with as the inside was far too sticky and fell apart!) and a tiny little Mixed berry Tartlet which really was delicious! And as for the scones.. Well you should know that I am a huge fan of scones, and so of course these went down a treat. Enough said.

Having never really tried proper pastries before, or anything of this kind anyway, I was blown away by how you could incorporate so many different flavours, textures and processes into one small bite. The aroma of the Orange Blossom Jelly really was incredible, and me and mum spent ages trying to figure out what it was.. (we thought Jasmine, obviously a little off on our tasting skills!) I had always been fascinated by the pastries and desserts of France, and yet this shows that they are also right on my doorstep. I have vowed to find out how to make these little desserts one day, they are just incredible! However, as mentioned above, the macaron left a little to be desired. It was pretty much hollow, and one whole shell side came off, leaving a gaping, overly sticky hole, with all of the filling attached to the other side. I passed this one to mum, who didn’t mind the praline filling. This made me very much proud of my own macaron attempts.. It wasn’t even smooth on top! (Oh and apologies for the sticky plate!)

However, all in all, I loved this little outing and it was an experience I will treasure for many years to come I’m sure. Once back at school and work we would rarely have time to do things like this together, with a younger sister and another brother to look after too, my mum is a busy lady! After a quick visit to the equally gorgeous Ladies’ Restroom, of course, we were off for a spot of shopping! A day well spent.

A x