What a fabulous weekend! One of my favourites of all time. It started well on Friday night as I had my lovely nephew Harry with us for a sleepover and I popped out for a drink with Lucy in the Black Pig. We then we had 2 days of celebrating a special person’s 70th birthday.
Knowing I had such a food and drink filled weekend ahead of me I decided to start off with a nutritious smoothie starring raspberries and cashews.
Raspberries, cashews (which I soaked for a couple of hours in water first), coconut water and natural yogurt. Deelish!
Our destination for Saturday was Whitstable, a lovely fishing town on the North Kent coast. We were meeting up with everyone at 2:15pm so we booked an early table at the Pearson’s Arms. The chef is Richard Phillips and Lara used to work at another of his restaurants, Chapel Down, which served lovely food so we were all looking forward to it.
It is right beside the sea which on a sunny day would look lovely. I still enjoy a sea view, even on a grey day.
Knowing we were being treated to an dinner in the evening we just chose one course.
I liked the decor and ambience of this place. It was very cosy and relaxing.
The complimentary olive ciabatta and whipped butter was really good.
I chose the chicken, gammon and leek pie with potatoes dauphinoise with Kentish blue cheese. The portions were quite modest which is just as well as both my dishes were very rich. They were also absolutely superb. My sister Lucy and her family joined us too and we all enjoyed everything we ate. It is quite pricey (mains were about £15) but really good so worth the money.
This weekend was all about celebrating Aunty Marion’s 70th birthday. Aunty Marion is my Mother’s little sister and a very special and wonderful lady. She is extremely special to us all.
Here’s the birthday girl, with my sister Lucy.
Our first destination was Ten Pin Bowling which was a excellent choice of activity because everyone could join in, even the youngest of the group. There were 50 of us and we ranged in age from 4 to 83. We were all put in teams of mixed ages and sporting ability and all had a really fun time.
It was great looking along the lanes and seeing them all filled with my family.
It was quite tricky getting photos in focus because people kept laughing and moving 🙂
The next activity was going to be swimming, but much to the relief of all the Mummys and Daddys, the pool was closed to the public. So we ventured off for walks, relaxing in the hotel or the nearest pub.
Aunty Marion booked us all in to the same hotel and we were all on the same corridor which was extremely sociable. Children could run up and down the corridor and in and out of each others rooms and no one minded. Tea parties were hosted and there was endless chatting and laughing.
At 6:45 we all boarded a coach and went to the restaurant for dinner. It is a very long time since I was on a coach and what fun it was !
Aunty Marion had booked Jo Jo’s Restaurant in Tankerton near Whitstable. Apparently it used to be a supermarket but it is now a really good restaurant. We had the entire restaurant to ourselves 🙂
Jo Jo’s specialises in meze and fish. When we arrived the tables were all laid out with the mixed meze sharing plate.
Boys will be boys – making wax fingertips from the candles! Until they were told not to – how boring grown-ups can be to a young boy.
We began the evening with a glass of fizz. Twig’s apple juice for the children.
There was no seating plan. We sorted it out ourselves. I definitely had the best table :-). I had the very great pleasure and privilege of eating dinner with my daughter, 3 sisters and female cousins.
The children all sat together which they really enjoyed. They were fascinated by the magician.
After our mixed mezze starter we had a delicious salad with feta, a grain (possibly quinoa) with veggies and fish goujons which were exceptionally good. We also had calamari (excellent) and huge plates of slow cooked lamb with roast potatoes (also excellent). By then the wine and loveliness of the evening had overtaken me and photographing food was the last thing I was thinking about.
Well, that is until the dessert came out. A tower of quite possibly the best meringue I have ever had, with cream and berries. I didn’t get round to the cheese board which is a shame as it looked wonderful too.
After the meal we had some wonderful, loving speeches from Aunty Marion’s eldest, my cousin Bruce.
And then another speech from her little brother, my Uncle Clive. A wonderful and very loving ending to an amazing evening.
We all breakfasted together in the hotel. I started with cereal, fruit and yogurt and then a full English cooked breakfast.
We then headed over to cousin Katie’s for a coffee, brisk walk and lunch.
The children soon found the Wii! They were amazingly well behaved and good about waiting for their turn.
The rest of us somehow still had plenty to continue talking and laughing about.
Of all the many relationships we each have, I do think cousins are one of my favourites. With your cousins, you have that long shared history of having known each other most of your life. You grow up with each other and get to attend most of life’s special occasions together. Every time you meet up (apart from funerals) tends to be a happy occasion so your memories of each other are happy ones. I have 6 cousins and I love being with each and every one of them.
This is Aunty Hillary with her 2 gorgeous girls, Miranda and Edwina, who are 2 of my cousins.
I was so happy Grandpa Ian and Helen came along too.
Despite the bitterly cold wintery weather, most of us headed out for a walk. Katie lives on a farm which conveniently has a walking/cycling trail nearby so we were able to keep relatively mud free.
My 2 dear and special Aunties.
Back at the ranch, so to speak, it was time to eat again. I really do think I have eaten and drunk non stop all weekend. So not a healthy weekend but a very uplifting and happy one and I am sure I have laughed away many of those calories.
Cousin Hannah had made many vats of delicious vegetable soup which was served with raw vegetable crudites, guacamole, humous, bread and cheese.
It was delicious and hit the spot perfectly.
Of course, every birthday needs a cake and what a cake we had. Cousin Hannah, pictured here, arranged for this spectacular cake to be made.
We dimmed the lights the best we could in the bright kitchen and in came the birthday girl for a very enthusiastic and rousing rendition of Happy Birthday, with a great deal of cheering.I am very lucky to be part of such a large, loving and happy family. We all enjoy spending time together and we were sad that Sam, Mark, Jack and Chris couldn’t be with us on this occasion. It was lovely to be joined by Marion and Brian. Brian is Aunty Marion’s cousin. He has been married to his Marion for 60 years this summer which is an achievement so many congratulations to you both.
Thank you to my cousins for organising and hosting such a splendid celebration. Thank you to Aunty Marion for inviting us and treating us all to such an amazing weekend. As a member of my big and beautiful family, all I had to do was turn up and enjoy myself, which I did, very much.
Happy birthday, to my very special Aunty.
Well that really does look like a splendid weekend! What a beautiful family (and a kitchen to die for!)…Happy Birthday Aunty Marion! xxx
It was wonderful _ I want to do it again. And yes, I want that kitchen too!