Elma Family Kitty Milestones



I once heard a theory of parenting that when you have the first baby they come home on a velvet cushion, all milestones are documented and celebrated to the tiniest degree.  If you get to a third baby they come home with the shopping!

It’s fairly tongue-in-cheek but I am determined that Elma’s milestones will not be any the less than her sister’s simply by accident of birth, and that meant that if she was turning one, we were having a party.

We did wonder whether it was a good idea two weeks before Christmas, with our not terribly enormous house already slightly smaller by reason of the Christmas tree, and little to no chance of getting out in the squelchy wet garden.  But, nothing ventured, nothing gained, and as these things so often do, it all worked out on the day.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade life

Kitty’s first birthday party had a butterfly theme, an echo of my earlier baby shower, but for Elma something wintery, and just as dear to my heart, seemed appropriate: snow.  Well, snowflakes and stars, all the loveliness of the winter for my little winter baby, even if the requisite frost and cold didn’t exactly make an appearance.

But in some ways, mild weather was no bad thing. The London branch of the family braved the M25 to come north for the day, and Grandpa made a herculean effort, leaving home at 6am and spending four hours each way on the train (not arriving home until well after midnight) to come and celebrate his smallest granddaughter.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade life

And from closer to hand, some of my dearest Mama-friends and their families came to help us celebrate.  We ended up with three 3-year olds causing blissful disarray, particularly when they all tried to pile into the ball pool,

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and three babies; Elma, my tiny nephew, and another tiny miss, a couple of weeks younger than him.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade life

And so our home was filled with chatter, peals of laughter from the children (especially when H pulled out his disappearing handkerchief trick), twinkly lights streaming from every plug, and the joy of celebrating together.

I’d spent much of Friday cooking while the girls helped, napped, and watched a bit too much CBeebies; but it was worth it, we had snowflake and star topped mince pies, little star-shaped smoked salmon pate sandwiches (described to me by Kitty as “these delicious cheese sandwiches”), nibble and dips and for the piece de resistance, Elma’s birthday cake.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade life

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade life

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade life

Lemon sponge, filled with lemon buttercream and homemade lemon curd (home made on a whim on Saturday morning when I realised that (a) the cake would be better with lemon curd in it, (b) we didn’t have any in the house, and (c) it was far less effort to make some than dress both children and wrangle them around a shop – God bless Nigella’s recipes), and covered in a buttercream crumb coating, and fondant icing.  It’s the first time I’ve ever crumb coated or successfully fondanted a cake, and is entirely due to having my sister on hand to pass on the wisdom accumulated over a number of cake decorating classes.

The snowflakes are cut from fondant and dusted in blue lustre and Elma’s real name is written across the front (which is of course why this is a picture of the back).

The young lady herself smiled happily at everyone from the safety of my arms while everyone sang to her, and then mostly watched while she and Kitty blew out her candle together.  But she wasn’t going to let Kit eat her portion of cake, not a bit of it!

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade life

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade life

She was given some beautiful cards and presents which we and she love, but even more than that, we got to share the heart-full-to-bursting-with-joy feeling that she brings to our lives with some of our nearest and dearest friends and family.  It was a wonderful day.

And of course, before they all went their ways, we had to take just one (*cough 70-something cough*) photo of my half of the family, all come together to celebrate our one year old.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade life

One day I’ll persuade the children to smile – one day!



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  • lucy 16/12/2013 at 8:24 am

    Ahhh, what a lovely party, the cake looks and sounds amazing!
    I feel the same about making sure that my little lady is documented exactly as her big brother before her. We always tease my parents about their being a hundred photos of me and hardly any of my brother without me in them too, and I was determined not to fall prey to second child syndrome.
    I think it’s lovely to make a celebration of that first year, which is why my two both had parties. It’s important for mummy and daddy as much as the baby if you ask me. A first birthday is a big deal! x

    • Carie 16/12/2013 at 8:32 am

      Thank you 🙂 I’m an eldest child too – I think my parents did a pretty good job avoiding second child syndrome so I’m keen to keep it up!

  • Mandycharlie 17/12/2013 at 1:46 am

    It must be the season for lemony cakes, biscuits and best of all curd – well done on that, it is surprisingly easy to make lemon curd, but Sssshh, don’t tell everyone. I Need, really Need those snowflake cutters, I love your use of them on the mince pies. Looks like everyone had the best of times, would love a piece of cake and a how to post on buttercream crumb coating, intrigued.

    • Carie 17/12/2013 at 11:29 pm

      I’ll have to get the small sister to guest post on cake decorating – the cake itself I’m afraid was all eaten up at the party! As for the cutters, they are icing cutters sold in cake decorating shops (I think mine came from Oxford, or possibly Hobbycraft) and whilst beautiful it is a pain in the neck to clean the pastry out of the little bobbly bits afterwards!

  • Katie @mummydaddyme 17/12/2013 at 3:12 pm

    It looks like it was a wonderful party for your one year old. I feel the same way, in fact in some ways with LL, I want to make more of an effort to celebrate and capture the milestones as I know how soon they grow up.

    • Carie 17/12/2013 at 11:29 pm

      I think that’s definitely part of it – I know just how fleeting these moments are, so I’m even more determined to live in them!