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Mini Mossfest v2.0 (Baby Edition)…

Luke and I had a tiny wedding (30 people in total) on February 8th 2014, followed by what was meant to be a MASSIVE festival-style wedding celebration in the summer on August 16th. As it turned out, we had to have a much smaller party than we’d planned, so Mossfest (as it was going to be called) became Mini Mossfest.

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Throughout my pregnancy we have been calling my bump “Mini Moss”, and so when we decided to hold a pre-baby party on August 15th, it seemed logical to call it Mini Mossfest v2.0. It was originally going to be a baby shower, but I wanted all of our friends included (not just the ladies) and I didn’t want people to feel like they had to ‘shower’ us in gifts.

We held it at my Mom’s house like last year’s celebration, but this time we decided to buy a marquee from eBay rather than hiring one from an events company.  In the end we got a basic 3m x 9m white waterproof one with 6 windows and two doors (although we ended up leaving most of it open) for £70, which fitted really nicely alongside the house on the patio. Luke put most of it up by himself (I helped with the canopy and the legs) and it went up really quickly. The only problem we had with it was that the roof was a little bit too small (or the frame was a little bit bit too big) so it’s a little lopsided and you can’t quite get all the Velcro straps to go around the poles. It’s a really minor problem…

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…our lovely marquee, filled with just some of our lovely guests…

We had about 25 people coming for afternoon tea and a barbeque, so we did end up hiring a few bits and pieces to add onto the stuff we already had, like:

Tables…we got two 6ft trestle tables (one for the sound system and one for drinks) and four 3ft round wooden tables (for people to sit around) from Plato Catering Hire. I rang them twice to enquire and both times got the same price of £31.20, which seemed really reasonable. Unfortunately, I think the man I spoke to must have been getting confused by the “3ft” part as there were only three tables waiting when my brother-in-law went to pick them up…and apparently the price I’d been given (twice) wasn’t for the four I’d asked for (twice). Luckily the lady who was there to meet the bro-in-law let him have four for the price we’d agreed, which was really good of her.

We had lots of stuff left over from Mini Mossfest the year before, so I decorated the tables in a similar fashion with mismatched jars of straws and cutlery, as well as some paper cups for those who didn’t want tea. Last year I used cream metal buckets filled with ivy as a table decoration, but this year it was sunny flower arrangements in metal jugs…

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…one of my decorated tables…

China…like last year, we went to Constance Wallace to hire a few vintage tea cups and saucers, tea pots, a coffee pot, cake stands and servers, teaspoons and flower jugs. We also hired 20 folding wooden chairs from them, which were £1.75 each (about 25p more per chair than other furniture hire places but they were FAR nicer than anything we could have gotten elsewhere) It can get a bit pricey when you order so much from them (our order came to £83) but, once again, the things we hired from Constance Wallace really made our party special. The ladies who run the tea shop and the china hire are lovely too, and such a pleasure to deal with. I can’t recommend them enough.

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We (well, Luke) spent days and days getting the house and garden ready for the party, and then on the morning of the 15th we had everyone rallying round to do the last bits and pieces, decorate the place and make sandwiches. I don’t know what we’d have done without my mom, sister, bro-in-law, mother-in-law and sister-in-law…they worked SO hard to make everything come together at the last minute.

Luke and I did a bit of baking in the morning (scones and 24 cupcakes) but we had lots of gifts of cake too…an AMAZING belly cake, coffee and walnut cake and cupcakes from my sister-in-law (who is a wonderful baker), a sponge cake and a lemon drizzle cake from my mother-in-law (queen of the wonderful bakers), mini Victoria sponges from my friend Liz, and a HUGE baked vanilla cheesecake from my best-friend’s other half…and as well as all that, my sister had ordered a red-velvet cake from a local bakers that also turned out to be ginormous.

We had ALL the cake.

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…just some of the cakes…

...belly cake...

…belly cake…

We didn’t make it through all the cake (I am still eating cake a week later), but once we’d had our fill of tea, coffee and cake, our friends Rob and Jade took Luke out shopping for barbecue food to feed everyone who wanted to stay for the evening.

We spent the end of the evening sat around a big fire, full of good food, and enjoying the company of our closest friends. Jade downloaded a baby-naming app and somehow we managed to spend a good couple of hours shrieking ridiculous baby names at each other between gales of laughter.

It was a wonderful day…

…and although I asked people not to bring presents, we were very lucky to get some really cute things for the baby, and some pampering bath stuff for me (joy!)…

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…and then the next day one of my best friends who hadn’t been able to make it to the party dropped round a present of EPIC proportions…

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…ALL the things…

Thank you so much to everyone who came and helped and made it so good…we couldn’t have hoped for a better party!

 
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Posted by on August 22, 2015 in Baby, Food, Life, Pregnancy

 

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Tea and Cake Date…

Today I had my 28 week whooping cough vaccine. The needle was quite sharp and the injection itself was quite achey. The nurse (who was lovely) told me that it’d probably ache for a few days but I spent the rest of the day blissfully painfree…until I rubbed my arm after having a bath this evening…

Ouch.

Now it’s aching a LOT.

Tomorrow, I not only have to go back to the hospital in the morning for my glucose tolerance test after my epic fail on Tuesday (which involves two blood tests…hoo-bloody-ray), but I also have to go to an afternoon appointment for an anti-d injection to stop my rhesus negative blood from creating antibodies against my baby.

Four needles in two days?…I’m feeling a bit like the NHS’s pincushion. All of these things are necessary, so I’m not bewailing them TOO much, but I did feel like I was deserving of a mid-stabbing pick me up….so Luke took me to The Constance Wallace Tea Shop to feed me tea and cake, and to cheer me up.

I’ve blogged about The Tea Shop before, but we had such a lovely time today that I thought it couldn’t hurt to sing their praises another time.

I had their afternoon tea (again) and it didn’t disappoint (again)…although my eyes were FAR too big for my belly this time round,

At the start of my pregnancy I could eat til I was stuffed and then eat some more…and once I was done, I could probably handle a dessert or two. Now I’m in my third trimester I can’t manage a lot of food in one sitting, no matter how hungry I feel when I start eating. I have to eat slowly too, otherwise I overeat before I realise that I’m full and then I’m in for PAIN (and then all I want to do is lie down and feel sorry for myself)…

Despite knowing this I still wanted to eat all of this

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…needless to say, I didn’t manage it all and had to take the little cakes home with me. It was all delicious…so delicious that I ate it all far too quickly and managed to eat more of it than I should have. Luke doesn’t love cake as much as I do, so he turned down my offer of sharing and almost had to roll me back to the car…

Last time I went, the others all had toasted sandwiches (which looked very good indeed) and Luke almost went for one of those today, but decided to have a salmon quiche at the last minute…

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It came with salad, crisps and coleslaw and was also delicious. I know this because I did NOT turn down his offer of sharing!

Just like last time, the service was as good as the food, and we both had a fantastic time. It was very nice to have a relaxing (and decadent) hour together amidst all these hospital appointments, and our little boy joined in too, with plenty of kicks and wriggles…I think he loves cake as much as me.

I’m on my 12-hour fast now, so I’ve not been able to have anything except for tap water since 9pm. I saved my cakes right until the last moment and had them with a massive mug of tea at about quarter to nine…I keep wanting to go and get a glass of milk (one of my current cravings) but I’m being a good girl and sipping on water…*sigh*

 
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Posted by on June 18, 2015 in Food, Life, Pregnancy, Reviews

 

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The Constance Wallace Tea Shop…

So, yesterday my sister Steph took me, my Mom and my Great-Aunt out for lunch as a belated Mother’s Day present. I asked if we could go to the Constance Wallace Tea Shop as I was desperate go and sit in and try their food. Luke and I had hired a HUGE amount of vintage china from them for our summer wedding party last August (more about that after the food…) and I’d fallen in love with their cute little shop, but so far I hadn’t had the chance to eat there.

The shop is tucked away in Barnt Green Village amongst the other shops, and looks amazingly inviting from the outside…

The Tea Shop - 91 Hewell Road, Barnt Green, B45 8NL

The Tea Shop – 91 Hewell Road, Barnt Green, B45 8NL

It can be quite difficult to park sometimes, but it’s well worth a short walk from anywhere you can find a parking spot. It’s also very close to Barnt Green train station so is nice and easy to get to by public transport too.

Inside, the shop is even more beautiful, and has been so lovingly decorated with vintage china, bunting, birdcages and the like. They’ve also got lots of lovely, desirable things for sale, as well as china and party decorations for hire. If you can think of it, I’m pretty sure they have it there…

...there's seating by the cosy fireplace...

…there’s seating by the cosy fireplace…

...the lovely ladies who served us working away behind the till...

…the lovely ladies who served us working away behind the till…

...walls of beautiful china...

…walls of beautiful china…

We walked in to find the shop busy and were pretty lucky to find a table for the four of us (I would highly recommend booking a table, especially if you plan to visit at lunchtime), but the ladies in there couldn’t have been more welcoming. We had menus as soon as we sat down and were served in double-quick time.

...Mom was very happy to be there...

…Mom was very happy to be there…

...Steph enjoying her Earl Grey (and wearing a Gryffindor scarf even though she's a Hufflepuff!)...

…Steph enjoying her Earl Grey (and wearing a Gryffindor scarf even though she’s a Hufflepuff!)…

...me and my sister being dubious of Mom's photography skills...

…me and my sister being dubious of Mom’s photography skills…

It took me a while to decide what I wanted…no, that’s a complete lie. I knew exactly what I wanted before I went in. I wanted afternoon tea (£14.95pp) but I took my time committing to it as everyone else was being “good” and just ordering toasted sandwiches and tea. In the end I gave in to myself, announced that I was eating for two and ordered exactly what I wanted. Huzzah!

I had to smile when the teapot and teacups were brought to the table as I got the teapot – so I could be “Mother” – and a pretty pink patterned teacup because I “might be having a girl”…lending yet more cosmic weight to my feeling that our bubs is a girl

...pretty teacup and cute teaspoon...

…pretty teacup and cute teaspoon…

…and then the food arrived…

…and OH MY GOODNESS was it good…

...my afternoon tea in all its glory...

…my afternoon tea in all its glory…

...and in close up...

…and in close up…

…knowing that I was pregnant, the waitresses did everything they could to make sure my lunch was suitable for me. Normally the selection of sandwiches includes brie (which I can’t have) and smoked salmon (which I wasn’t sure I could have) so they took it away and it came back instead with extras of the things I could eat. I had cheese and cucumber, ham, beef and caramelised onion marmalade, and egg mayonnaise, all of which were delicious, and all accompanied with salad, crisps and a pot of coleslaw. 

A really lovely touch was that I got two plates, so when I’d covered one in coleslaw and mayo I had a clean one hiding underneath for the cakes…

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Moving up a level were two lovely warm scones with mini pots of jam and cream. At first I was convinced that there wouldn’t be enough of either for two scones (greedy cow that I am)…

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…but the portion size was perfect…

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…and finally on the top layer I had a mini éclair (lovely), an orange cupcake (which I gave to Steph as I’m not a fan of orange flavoured things…but she LOVED it), a blueberry and cream meringue (delicious) and fruit kebabs (very refreshing after lots of cake and cream…they were KEBABULOUS!)

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My food was so good that I honestly didn’t care what anyone else was eating, but they all said that their ham, cheese and tomato toasties were fabulous. Made with lovely bread, they came with a huge portion of salad and my Aunt said that it was the best sandwich she’d had in a long time. High praise indeed…

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As a pregnant lady, I obviously have to visit the toilets in EVERY establishment that I visit, and even that was a joy. The washroom was gorgeously decorated, with a beautiful feature wall made of hundreds of pieces of broken crockery, and there were some really thoughtful little touches to make it just a special as the tearoom itself…

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When it came time for us to leave the ladies at the tea shop wished me all the best with my pregnancy and encouraged us to come back soon…and to bring the baby too when he or she arrives. It was lovely to be made to feel so welcome and I absolutely cannot wait to go back again. It’ll be lovely to be able to visit a baby-friendly teashop with my little one, but I’m pretty sure I’ll find a good reason to go back there even sooner than that.

Thank you to the ladies of the teashop for a warm welcome, fabulous service and fantastic food…and thank you to my lovely little sister for a wonderful lunch!


ADDITIONAL – CHINA HIRE

I can HIGHLY recommend not only The Tea Shop, but also their Vintage China Hire. They did us proud last year when we hired enough cups, saucers, teapots, coffee pots, milk jugs and sugar bowls (oh…and sugar tongs, tea spoons, cake stands and vintage picnic blankets!) for sixty people…they did us a fantastic deal at VERY VERY short notice and couldn’t have been more helpful.

We had a summer wedding party so that our friends and family could celebrate our marriage in the sunshine. Constance Wallace helped to make our party really special and all our guests commented on how wonderfully the afternoon tea we served was presented. I would definitely hire china and party supplies from them again, and after eating there I would also be VERY keen to use their catering and party planning services too!

 
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Posted by on March 20, 2015 in Days Out, Food, Places, Reviews

 

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