I’m writing this on April 2nd – and I’m very thankful. The past few weeks have been utterly lovely on account on of a couple of choice celebrations, the first being my mother’s 50th birthday and, the second, Easter lunch. I’m not religious as such – I just have a belief in human kindness and get excited by life’s opportunities and possibilities. Blogging as a process can be a truly mindful step, a pause even, as you’re committing moments to posterity. My grandmother’s garden is starting to bud, the light which filters through the window is accompanied by chirping and the world just has a freshness.
Last weekend, we surprised my mum with a birthday lunch at The Greyhound in Oxfordshire, a quintessential spot with tables that get booked up especially quickly – I think that it’s something of a local secret. We brought together mother’s nearest and dearest; our close family circle includes my cousin, his husband and their baby, my aunt and another lovely cousin – along with my grandparents. Each and every gathering which brings us together is truly special.
We broke bread around a beautifully crowded table and told fabulously wild stories from our day to day – apparently, my cousin Karen’s new furry companion, Fraggle, has taken well to her miniature doggo carseat. Baby Billie also delights in wearing a bucket atop her head like a fancy hat. We’re an odd bunch. Mum had no idea of the family surprise and, whilst it was orchestrated a little awkwardly (the name the table had been booked under gave away the secret delegation), it was filled with a lot of warmth and a lot of love.
The marvellous thing about goodwill is that it’s contagious. My mum’s birthday cake, which I had ordered through a family friend, was Carol’s first attempt at a full-scale birthday cake and she did such a fantastic job! We’d gone for a Beatrix Potter theme as mum adores the illustrations and we’re heading to the Lake District in June for a family holiday. Apparently, Carol’s windowsill was lined with no less than 14 prototype bunnies before two Peters (complete with blue jackets and brass buttons) made the final cut. Another debate included whether or not to cram the cake itself with 50 candles.
Cut to Easter Sunday and we were celebrating again. If there’s ever any excuse to decorate at my family home then, you best believe that we’ll be decorating. The Easter spread included our tree where we have the little tradition of hanging ornaments from a continental Easter market and many a Great British garden centre.
For Easter lunch, the table was laid with an individual gift for each guest – carefully chosen to raise a smile. Lenny Lamb is such a babe and it really would’ve pained me to poke his eyes out for the sake of a novelty mask.
For dessert we took the lemons that life gives you and made a lemon crunch pie – the definitive family favourite. We also happened to have flowers all over the house from mum’s birthday, so Springtime was felt in vases. That afternoon, we watched Paddington 2 and I love this film for it’s message of inclusion. With an expatriate grandma who came to Hackney in the 50s from Jamaica, I feel that the whole stranger welcomed into a foreign land is especially poignant, so, bless Paddington, his ethos of kindness and, of course, his faultless manners.
It’s possibly a good place to mention here that I’m not the biggest fan of chocolate – unless it’s baked into a cake. Ingenuity with the obligatory Easter gifting really made me smile and I was pleased to receive a beautiful egg from L’Occitane filled with some rather delicious bath time goodies. It’s very easy to be at your happiest this time of year with all the promise and potential for a blossoming Spring which unfolds gently into a much needed long Summer.
Welcome everything and everyone that comes into your life.