It’s my niece Ruby’s 4th birthday and we’re celebrating with afternoon tea. This year, she’s crazy about pink. She’s had a pink party with some of her school friends earlier in the week and there will be more pink treats and surprises for her this afternoon.
Ruby’s grandma isn’t well and won’t be coming to afternoon tea. But she calls Ruby on the phone for a special birthday chat.
With their mum’s help, the girls have made and decorated gingerbread people and gingerbread stars. As I photograph the gingerbread, its wonderful spicy-sweet smell gives me an intense urge to bite a gingerbread person’s head off… but I’ve got to wait for the rest of the guests to arrive.
My sister Juji has made mini sausage rolls, which she serves with barbecue sauce. I don’t know which is more torturous – resisting the urge to eat gingerbread or a sausage roll.
My mum’s cooked up a big batch of her saucy hokkien noodles with pork and cabbage. I could eat this every week and not get tired of it. It’s comforting and lip-lickingly delicious.
The kids love their grandma’s noodles. They start off with beautiful table manners, using their forks, but in the end just can’t resist grabbing and eating the noodles by the fistful. Oh, to be a child again.
After noodles, I finally get the childish satisfaction that comes from biting off a gingerbread person’s head. I enjoy eating it too, of course.
After eating, it’s time to climb!
“I am FOUR!” Ruby tells me proudly. “FOUR!!!!!”
It’s time for the birthday girl to open her presents – and they are very exciting! She’s received lots of pink hair accessories from her Aunties Jaded and Juji and two Uncles J. “Look at my hair-clips, Mummy!” she exclaims delightedly. Mummy helps put the pinkest little bow in her hair. Ruby also wears her new glittery pink dinosaur brooch from Auntie CW and Uncle M.
From aunties TFP and Jac, a new rashie and bathers – pink, of course. The birthday girl approves.
From Ruby’s Opa (grandfather), there’s new basket for her bicycle so now Teddy can ride too, in pink-trimmed luxury!
Zoe has been very good, watching her sister opening her presents and happily accepting her discards… an empty box, a piece of ribbon, a crumpled piece of wrapping paper.
But while Ruby and Teddy are off on a bicycle ride, Zoe steals the opportunity to use her sister’s new birthday scooter.
Both girls ask their mum: “Can we please have cake now?”
I want cake now too. I’ve had a sneak peek and can’t wait to taste the strawberry ice cream echidna birthday cake!
Ruby blows out her candles, turns to her mum and asks (just like she did with her 3rd birthday teddy bear cake): “Can I eat his eyes?” She gets the echidna’s eyes and part of his snout too.
I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but ice cream echidnas come in pink too! ;)
The ice cream is homemade with fresh strawberries. Each piece is served with grated white chocolate and sprinkles and a chocolate finger biscuit echidna spine. The girls have pink plates and the adults have white plates, but we all eat with pink spoons. There’s enough for seconds, and I can’t resist. It’s one of the nicest strawberry ice creams I’ve tasted, and I love ice cream cake.
The echidna ice cream cake recipe is from the Australian Women’s Weekly – Party Animals Birthday cakes for kids book. Ruby wanted a pink echidna, so creative licence was taken, with homemade strawberry ice cream and grated white chocolate and pastel sprinkles instead of chocolate ice cream and brown sprinkles.
EDIT: Writing this post reminds me that I went through a pink phase when I was 11 years old. I didn’t go completely pink-crazy, but my favourite clothing items were all pink. I find this quite hilarious now, as I never wear pink now. How about you? Did you have a pink (or any other) phase?
I haven’t forgotten my nephew Caleb! He’s enjoyed his own version of afternoon tea and had lots of cuddles from aunties, uncles, grandparents and friends.
But the party really starts when you shake your maraca! HAAAAPPY BIRTHDAAAAY, RUBY!