Monday, 27 February 2012

Oh No.... the Big 4-0

So this blogger reaches the big 4-0 on Friday – seriously how did that happen? Surely it was only yesterday I was 19 creating mischief and mayhem and having a ball. 
Hubby’s 40th last year was a frugal persons nightmare, weekend away with close friends (I paid for it all) a week’s holiday to Rome; a weekend in Lille, plus gifts – the whole thing came in over £5000.  Well that was then and this is now and as I am paying the piper…..  how do you have a frugal 40th?
Well I could just hide under the duvet and forget its existence – my personal choice.  However hubby wants to mark the occasion and as I’ve convinced him that going to Paris is not on the cards until debts are cleared and savings made; I’ve eventually brokered a frugal (ish) deal.
Birthday day is a boozy lunch at Pizza Express with just me and my darling hubby; we have a particularly nice one in an old converted bank with modern art and jazzy music.  The meal itself will come courtesy of my Tesco Reward Vouchers; the booze and taxi will come out of the small pot of money I have managed to squirrel away – I have put £50 aside for this – I would (now) never normally spend this however it is a special day and has been my compromise to my darling hubby who believes you’re a long time dead.
Saturday is a party afternoon with my family – all hosted by us at our home – this has been the biggest quandary for me.  I have and often did throw lavish parties at my home – huge buffet table groaning under the weight of smoked salmon and finest terrines and cheese boards that would cost a small third world countries debt, along with a bar stocked as though I was in the nightclub business.  Again different days. 
So the menu will be:
Nibbles:  Homemade sausage rolls (pastry is made from store cupboard ingredients, pork sausage meat £3.49, onion and sage from the garden, this will make a batch of 30 sausage rolls which really are the best (Delia’s recipe); I will also be making homemade mini cheese and onion scones – again all these ingredients I have in store and again I can make about 30.  In addition I will buy some value range dips and chop up some carrots and make some cheese twists. Hopefully whilst drinks and hellos are ongoing, hunger will be put in abeyance until the…..
The main event - shepherd’s pie, ones with plain mash and ones with champ mash (mash with spring onions and cheese – my dad’s particular favourite) and fish pie (sister pescatarian) along with crusty bread.  Portions will be hearty.
Birthday Cake – Homemade lemon and white chocolate cake – along with some chocolate cupcakes for the kids – I can make all this for less than £3
Booze – Well my favourite cocktail is going to be plentiful – Poinsettia – gran marnier, prosecco (I have substituted this for a cheaper cava which was on offer, (as it’s a cocktail providing its alcoholic, dryish and sparkling it really doesn’t matter) and cranberry juice.  We have lots of beer which was left over from Christmas, that with an array of soft drinks – I hope everyone will be suitably content.
The last Xmas Eve buffet/ soiree I threw in 2010, the cost came in close to £400 my 40th Birthday celebrations, (whilst will take more work as much is homemade) has come in for (on-line shopping list done) £86.  I think to throw a party for 14 including birthday cake and booze for £6 per head isn’t too bad – I know my frugal betters would be able to do better and I hope in years to come I also can – but for me this is a huge step forward. 
I am however nervous and a tad insecure - I really hope my guests, who have been used to my extravagance will enjoy my frugal soiree …….

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