High Tea in West Footscray

A lovely birthday, Food stuff, Interesting people

This post has been delayed because I am still catching up from my technical difficulties a few weeks ago… there’s still a few to follow in a non-linear fashion.

We decided to have a high tea with my family to conclude the festivities of my birthday week. It gets more and more difficult to get everyone in my family together (especially as some live overseas), and so it was wonderful that so many were able to come.  It was only right and proper that there be plentiful tea, sandwiches and cake. It was quite a success, even if I do say so myself!

Greg used the interweb to learn how to turn plates from the op shop into glamorous tiered displays. Easy to take apart and store as well, although the drill bit is very blunt now. His handiwork was much admired and he is a man-for-all-seasons (or something).

I was able to put my new KitchenAid pleasingly through its paces. We had mud cake, scones, savoury puffs and pikelets, sandwiches, flourless orange cupcakes, vegan flapjacks, and biscuits. I’m probably forgetting something, and then people also brought more food. Including some yummy, but quite frankly quite confronting, age-appropriate biscuits made by Nat and Josh (no elegant obfuscation of my real age!).

Len and Judy came down early to help make crustless sandwiches and other organisational support. Judy had made a wonderful fruitcake (she is known for this in our family), iced with stylish minimalism.

We had the immediate Taylors (besides Matt and Suzanné in England who had held a parallel tea party in my honour on my actual birthday), Taylor/Strijder Aunts and Uncles, cousins and a group of Iretons as well.  Greg and I did observe that it is on occasions such as these we see the opposite nature of our families. The Taylors are very loud, eat a lot and could be confused with the Paparazzi. The Iretons are not loud, don’t eat as much, and never seem to take photos. Having said that, we all get on famously! This is a large number of people to cosy (cram!) into our little house (I think around 24), but fit we did (people are happy to be cosy in if not for too many hours, there is a point at which it shifts most noticeably to crammed).

Rather excitingly, it was also the first party that baby Isabelle has attended – so I am quite honoured. She certainly provided the Taylors with more reason to get snapping with their cameras. In addition to several nieces and nephews running around and having adventures and who are very used to ignoring adults with camersa. Josh brought a Polaroid camera along which added further interest to the afternoon.

Another tradition in the Taylor family is over-catering. We eat a lot, and you don’t want to under-cater (disaster!). So many of my guests took goody bags away with them and my workplace also enjoyed left over cake for a number of days.


With thanks to her majesty, the Queen (Part one)

A lovely birthday, Food stuff

My birthday generally falls on, or near, the Queen’s Birthday Long Weekend. This is a good thing. The long weekend aspect, rather than the Queen’s birthday.

Of course, the Queen’s birthday is actually in April (I think) and Australia should be a republic. They don’t get a long weekend for her birthday in England, or at least they didn’t when I used to live there. Anyway, I think it’s pretty great to always have a long weekend for one’s birthday each year and so I give thanks to her majesty (or more accurately, I give thanks to the Victorian Public Servants who long ago enacted a public holiday in the King’s honour). I have digressed…

Here follows a short overview of ‘Kate’s birthday long weekend’ (as we call it in our house).

SATURDAY (my actual birthday)

We didn’t have anything particular planned, mainly due to the stressful work-week I’d had. Lots of just hanging about and feeling loved (birthday phone calls, coffee in bed, pottering about).

We had lunch at one of our favourite cafes in Melbourne – the Famous Blue Raincoat in South Kingsville. We hadn’t been for ages as it is actually nearer to where we used to live in Newport. It was as good as I remembered, and is a really friendly establishment. They have a lot of live music, a great courtyard (although we sat inside on this chilly day), artwork on the walls and good food. I guess you might describe the decor as ‘shabby chic’ but I note that James and Kaz (the owners) describe it as “An eclectic mix of Parisian bohemia, contemporary flavours and New Orleans grooves” on their website.

We did some further pottering about in the afternoon (getting caught in a massive downpour at one stage making my blowdried hair decidedly frizzy). This included an op shop and the wonderful furniture shop in Northcote Grandfather’s Axe. I fell in love with many items without any purchase and Greg was very patient (knowing I have a bit of a thing for a beautiful chair).

We made scones with home-made clotted cream (I will do a separate post about this experiment) before rushing off to the movies in Yarraville to see Maleficent at the beautiful Sun Theatre. We were lucky to get the last two seats, but one seat was in front of the other. I then proceeded to be extremely uncoordinated (uncoordinatedness being a particular skill of mine) by spilling our bottle of wine all over my seat (before I’d sat down, in the juggle of coat and bag). This was most inconvenient as the theatre was full! However, it turned out that there were two ‘house seats’ not taken and the ushers let us sit there, together. Phew! After the film we had a browse at the Sun Bookshop (this is a post-film tradition) – it is a very fine bookshop – and returned home with a few items… The film was fun, and made me a remember a time when Sammy D and I dressed up for a party – actually as the wicked witch from Snow White rather than Sleeping Beauty  and I fished out this photo when we got home.

I also got to unwrap a beautiful present from my family (both sides together). Yay!

Part two to follow…







It’s still my birthday in England – cake from afar

A lovely birthday

My brother, sister-in-law and their kids live in England. We Skyped last night (for me) before they went for their Saturday morning swimming lessons. The time difference extended my birthday for nine hours!

As they couldn’t be here in person, they made me a birthday cake and had a tea party in my honour in the backyard. Lovely!

Here are some photos that my sister-in-law sent through… It looks like it was a great party and I wish I had been able to attend!

Cake decorating is taken very seriously in my family.

Cake decorating is taken very seriously in my family.

An English masterpiece - looks yum!

An English masterpiece – looks yum!

A perfect day for a tea party.

A perfect day for a tea party.

Still wearing our bathers from swimming in the morning

Still wearing our bathers from swimming in the morning (it’s summer over there…)