At the end of a birthday weekend, I am thinking back of previous birthday celebrations. We tried to do something different each year.

Up until the age of five, the girls had family parties, with days out to the seaside, or to a zoo or castle or local historic house with an outdoor adventure playground. The weather was always favourable with pleasant autumn days.

Whilst at junior school we had parties with friends, at home with games, bouncy castles, at an indoor adventure play centre, a trip to the circus, a swimming party.

Once at secondary school and in the early teenage years, there were sleepover parties, trips to the cinema, Quasar laser tag game centre, McDonald’s, ice skating, ten pin bowling., recumbent bike hire in the park. As older teens they did trips to London, meals out, theatre shows, evenings in quirky pubs.

Although we can remember each party, some are more memorable than others. C~M had a party at Pizzas Express where the kids sat round one huge table and made their own pizza’s with a chef to help them. Aussie Mate and I sat at a separate table across the restaurant with a glass of wine, well away from the proceedings and very relaxed. Until the group of seven year olds started playing a dare game whilst waiting for the pizzas to cook. One dare ended up with tops being taken off……”No girls! Stop that!!!!”

Why are sleepovers called that? The kids don’t actually sleep! There was many a time that I read the riot act at 3am.

Whilst on skype yesterday, I asked the girls what they remember as favourite parties. They both stated the circus where the lady on the horse had purple knickers. Pizza Express was also a fond memory!

The one constant through most of these years has been “Marks and Spencer” caterpillar cake. The girls chose this same cake, year after year. Even for their Great Grandad’s 90th birthday tea, when I disappointed them by refusing to put the correct number of candles on the cake.

I know my girls are adults now because this weekend’s cake was a regular chocolate fudge cake with swirls on top. No caterpillars in sight.