Friday, 23 March 2012

Ab Fab!

Absolutely fabulous was, in my opinion, the cocktail party I threw last night for my family and friends. The occasion? My 44th birthday. The location? My living room, kitchen and Third Room.
In German, numbers such as 11, 22, 33, 44, 55 etc. are called Schnapszahl, meaning schnaps number. And since I was 44 on the 22nd, I had the double Schnapszahl this year. However, I do not like schnaps, but since I really like cocktails, I decided to throw a cocktail party - the complete works, outfits and all.

The invitation I emailed to my family and friends some time before had this picture as its header:

The same picture appeared on the drinks menu that I had printed out and placed strategically all over the flat:

Preparations were easy - because I left most of the hard work to my parents, I'm afraid! (Yes, I truly am a lazy, spoiled brat sometimes.) What I did apart from writing and sending out the invitation and putting together the drinks I intended to offer, was this:


On Monday, my sister went with me to the biggest supermarket in our town. Usually, I do my grocieries shopping on foot - but with drinks, it is nearly impossible to do that without a car; they are simply too heavy to carry, especially when you need enough for 18 people.
Never before in my life have I spent so much money on drinks, and never before has my flat contained so much alcohol as in the few days between Monday and Thursday night :-) A glimpse of the inside of my fridge gives you an incling of what I mean - and there was plenty more in the cellar:
I bought these potted plants of mint. Mint is needed for a variety of drinks, such as Mojito. 
I also bought lemons, limes and two carambola (star fruit), the latter to decorate the drinks with (funnily enough, on Thursday night when we made and served the drinks, we never used the fruit - I still have almost all of it left as it was when I took the picture!). Kay, are you going to stick that one to your kitchen cabinet? :-)
Normally, my living room (double-functioning as my office during work hours) looks like this:
Not exactly party-like, I hear you say. But wait and see!


When I am on my own during the week, I need exactly one plate per meal, one coffee mug in the morning and one muesli bowl, and maybe one knife to butter my sandwich. On weekends, when RJ is here, I need a bit more china and cutlery, but I simply do not own enough to cater for 18, and so I asked my parents to bring more plates, glasses, forks and so on - as well as the food.
My parents being the most generous people I know, did just that. They brought this delicious cooking pot full of spuds, chick peas, meat, carrots, zucchini and peppers:
Months ago, my Dad made this dish (a much smaller amount of it, of course) and I had some when I went to my parents' for lunch, as has become my habit once a week ever since I started working from home. He had taken the recipe from the calendar he got as a freebie from the pharmacy; they called it "Morroccan Fry-Up". I liked it so much that I said to my Dad I wanted him to make this for my birthday. He replied, "I will, as long as it won't have to be for 20." So I invited only 18 :-D
My parents worked on this huge amount together, and even prepared a slightly smaller pot full of the vegetarian version for those of my guests who do not eat meat.


When they had dropped off all the food, plates, glasses and so on and left, I set about getting things ready for the party.
First of all, I put up this garland in the tiny hallway:
Then, I strung garlands across the ceiling in the living room and carried some extra chairs up from the cellar.
Next was the "bar" - the kitchen was the obvious place for that. One of my friends had agreed to bring his bartender equipment and mix the drinks for us. Yes, I have some very kind friends!
In the Third Room, I set up the dessert buffet. The Cold Dog (you can find the recipe for that under the label "Recipes" here on my blog) and the (savoury, not sweet) pastry bits were also made by my Mum - she spent hours and hours in the kitchen for my sake! The Tiramisu is the only edible contribution I made to the whole evening... that recipe is also here on my blog, if you are interested.
When I had finished, it was time to get dressed. I had been in two minds (actually, in three or four) about which dress to wear, and in the end went for this one:
From just before 7.00 pm onwards, the guests arrived. Instead of the 17 (+ myself = 18), there were only 12 of us in the end, but it was still a great party, and it only meant that there was more left of the food and drinks.

People brought such beautiful flowers and great presents, and we all had fun, plenty to eat and drink (well, not THAT plenty - most of my guests were driving, and/or working the next day), lots to talk and laugh about; in short: it was a great party! I wish I could show you the lovely dresses the female guests were wearing; one of my friends wore the exact copy of a 50s cocktail dress, and the men were all looking very smart, too.
The drink I preferred for most of the evening: Vodka Cooler, consisting of Vodka (surprise!), sugar syrup, lime juice, ginger ale and ice.
At about midnight, the last ones left; RJ and I filled the dishwasher and cleared up most of the party "mess", and at 1.15 am it was lights out at the Librarian's home.
All my presents are wonderful and generous! The dancing shoes RJ gave me (I wore them to the ball already), the running shoes and the kindle from my parents, gift coupons for Amazon, for a massage or some other treatment at the nearby spa, for a cover for my kindle, the sweets, the seeds to grow kitchen herbs, not to mention the contributions in the shape of food and drinks (my sister paid for the vodka and the rum).


It was a party I much enjoyed, from the preparation to the clearing up afterwards, and I am determined to have another party soon - it does not necessarily have to be my birthday, does it?

PS: I have now added the picture of my Mum and I, upon her permission :-)

34 comments:

  1. Happy Belated Birthday, dear Meike! It looks as though you and your family and friends know how to celebrate good times! The pictures make me feel as if I were there....Well, they don't exactly because I don't see your guests there, but I can imagine. I love the way you look in the dress you chose! I wonder what the 50's cocktail dress was like....I was there in the 50s, just a child, but I remember my mother and father dressing up for cocktail parties........

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    1. Thank you, Kristi! Just imagine the room filled with 12 people, drinks in hand, chatting away, smiling faces :-)
      My friend's dress was of green taffetta overlaid with black lace, a tight bodice and narrow waist and wide skirt.

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  2. With a party as good as that I don't think your guests will worry about an excuse for having it! If it weren't so far I'd request an invite. I didn't know Star Fruit was known as Carambola - I love learning things on blogs.

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    1. John, I would have thought you of all people would have known Carambola - it is usually me learning from your blogs, not the other way round :-) And if you and all of my blog readers were closer, you'd be sure I'd be constantly throwing parties for you!

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  3. Happy belated birthday!
    I love your party and wish I could have been there with you. I remember the 50s and cocktail parties where people 'dressed'...good memories.
    Happy you had a good time and happy you are surrounded by such good friends and loving family.

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    1. Thank you, Jill! Happy indeed, I love being able to carry the happy mood well into the next day(s).

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  4. Dear Meike,
    Your plate of fruit is absolutely kitchen cabinet-worthy, just like a piece of art.
    I also love your mint on the window-sill. Your party dress was perfect. That fry up that your Dad looks really good. It reminded me of something...Mezgaldi from a blogger named Kay from Kayotic Kitchen, her blog is www.kayotic.nl/blog I think that is right. She has other Morroccan recipes too (along with many others!) but I had forgotten all about her until I read your post!
    Thanks for showing us your party! Are you sure you really had people there with you? :-) Just kidding!
    Love,
    Kay

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    1. Kay, I'd love to see a picture of your kitchen dabinets - maybe one day you'll show us on your blog? There were indeed people there, and I took pictures, but of course I am not allowed to put them on here. I have asked my Mum whether I can show the picture one of my friends took of the two of us together; since her picture has been on here before, maybe she won't say no :-)

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    2. Dear Meike,
      Just teasing you, I know you can't show people on your blog but if my comment made you put you & your Mum on here, then it was worth it!
      What a pretty dress she is wearing too! :-) Looking forward to another post from her!

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    3. My Mum is always dressed so prettily, and even if she is just at home making strawberry jam, she will wear a t-shirt with cherries printed on it and earrings with little cherries on them or something like that, and I think I have my love of clothes and dressing up for an occasion from her :-)

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  5. It sounds like a wonderful party! And a very happy belated birthday to you on your special day. Your lavender dress looks fabulous by the way! Enjoy the weekend! xoxo

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    1. Thank you, Carol! You too have a great weekend :-)

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  6. Yes, it was really a great party, we enjoyed it very much. The cocktails were excellent, the dresses gorgeous.
    But I want to mention, that your dad used a bit too much Harissa with the Marroccan-Fry-Up, so it was very hot!! ;-)

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    1. We still loved the food, Mum, thank you so much to you and Dad for preparing it all! The hot food was a good excuse to have more drinks ;-)

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  7. Happy birthday! Wish I coulda been there!

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    1. Thanks, Sonia! Yes, I think you would have enjoyed yourself, and I bet you have just the perfect (vintage?) cocktail dress in your wardrobe!

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  8. Hello Meike:

    This does sound to have been such fun! We have toyed before with the idea of a cocktail party but have never gone ahead, you have now refreshed our interest although we shall have to do some serious research about how to make a cocktail. Your invitation looked perfect for the occasion and how wonderful that your guests took the time and trouble to enter into the spirit of it all.....both practically and metaphorically!!!

    Happy Birthday....and yes, do not wait a year for the next!!

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    1. Hello Jane and Lance,
      thank you!
      And you should not wait much longer, either :-)
      What I found very useful was a website with cocktail recipes. They also have something called "cocktail generator" where you can type in up to three ingredients you either have at home anyway or intend to use, and then it shows you all the recipes with that particular ingredient. That made it possible for me to offer so many different drinks in spite of not having to buy too many different ingredients.

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    2. hello! just done a live search for cocktail generator and stumbled across your blog couldn't help but notice you've found an cocktail generator. Just wondering if you'd like to test our new website @ www.shakenmake.co and pass it on to your friends if you have any more future cocktail parties :] glad you had a ball :}

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    3. Thanks, I've just had a look at your website :-)

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  9. Happy Belated Birthday Meike!!! Your party looks like it was a good time! I'm sure everyone had a blast! I think you can have a cocktail party for any reason! How about the throwing one to celebrate the 1st day of Summer! Wish I lived closer, I would have come!

    Love the photo of you and your mom (love her floral dress), and you look stunning in your lavender dress!

    Have a wonderful week!

    Mary

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    1. Thank you, Mary!
      I am already thinking about throwing a "Make Up For It" party for those who had been invited but were unable to attend. There are still so many unopened bottles...

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  10. This sounds like the most wonderful party, I would have loved to attend (assuming some of the people spoke English, haha - but then so many Germans are so brilliant at speaking English) I liked the transformation pictures of your flat. It looks like a very nice living room in the normal way of things, with the sun coming in, but the transformation to a party space was very successful.

    And you are so lucky with your wonderful parents!
    All the lovely presents and the flowers too - I'm not surprised you are planning on another one before too long.

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  11. Yes, Jenny, I loved every bit of it - even the clearing up afterwards! I left the garlands over the weekend and only took them down this morning, now all that's left are the flowers, they are still beautiful.

    Almost everyone would have been able to talk to you, Jenny; in fact, two of the people invited who were unable to attend are native speakers, and they wouldn't have had any trouble in finging people to talk to.

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  12. Hello Librarian, I'm sorry I missed your post on your birthday. Better late then never, Happy Birthday and Healthy years ahead. You looked fabulous in your lavender dress. It seems like everybody enjoyed themselves.

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    1. Hello, and thank you! Good wishes are always welcome, no matter when :-) Indeed, as far as I could tell, everybody was enjoying themselves.

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  13. Happy Belated Birthday!! I'm sorry I missed it but it looks like it was a wonderful party!!! Wishing you a fab year ahead!! Hugs, Silke

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    1. Thank you, Silke! You're right, it was indeed a wonderful party.
      Hugs back, Meike.

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  14. Oh my gosh. I'm away from Blogland for 10 days and you have had a birthday and a party to celebrate it and I missed it all! So sorry but I wish for you a wonderful year ahead.

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    1. Thank you, Graham! So far, I can't complain - my new year has been off to a good start :-)

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  15. Your party food and drink look enticing. I've never had a mojito, but the name makes me think I would like it. You received gifts like I would enjoy even though we are far apart in age. (My mental age is yours or even younger because I do enjoy life!) Belated birthday greetings. You could say that you're having a birthday that's lasting months. That would be fun, right?

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    1. Thank you! A birthday lasting months... sounds fun, yes, but really any "excuse" is good enough to have another party :-)

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  16. Happy (way belated) birthday Meike! :) Loved the post. Found it while searching for cocktail parties. Was so good I had to post a link to it from my own blog. Very informative and loved the pics too. Hope you will have another cocktail party too come next birthday.

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    1. Hello! Thank you for linking to my post on your blog. I had another cocktail party after that one, for all of those who had not been able to be there on the original date, and I am certain to have another one next year.

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