My mum turned 80 on 14th February and there was no way my family was going to let that day pass without suitable celebration.
With my parents and many of my close family living down in London we wanted to plan a party for Mum that would be close to home, would be a total surprise to her and an occasion for her and her guests to remember for some time to come!
In the 1950s before emigrating to the UK from Barbados my Mum worked in an American style diner called Dougies. I remember as a child mum sharing lots of stories about her fond memories of Dougies - the food, the regular customers and the fabulous tunes on the jukebox. It was obviously a very special time for her so it seemed like a perfect focus and theme for her party.
I wanted the party to be a complete surprise for Mum as well as being full of surprises. The biggest surprise we managed to pull off was one of my sisters and her husband flying in from their home in New York for the party. Lots of planning and plotting, emails, inbox messages and phone calls but it happened!
We teamed up with my Auntie and one of my cousins, who arranged to whisk mum away from her house for the whole day so that "Operation Dougies" could get under way!
The party menu was based on the fabulous Dougies food mum has so often talked about and some of the delights included:-
Hot Sticky BBQ Chicken Wings
Jailhouse Rock Chilli
Traditional Mac 'n' Cheese
Hot spicy jerk drumsticks
Dougies Special Chef's Salad
Homemade Slaw and Potato Salad
Bajan fish cake
Ice Cold Mauby
Iced Cold Beer
Shakes, Malts and Floats
Peggy Sue's Pie
With so many great hits from the 50s I wanted to find a way to incorporate as many as I could, even researching a few of my Mum's favourites and ones that would take her right back to her Dougies days. So I hired a jukebox for the party from Jukebox45.com and provided the lovely Chris from jukebox45.com with a list of tracks to include in this rather fabulous CD Americana Jukebox.
The artists from the 1950s amongst Mum's favourites include:-
Bill Haley and the comets
Jerry Lee Lewis
The Everly Brothers
The Five Satins
Sammy Davis Junior
Well as they say "a party without a cake is just a meeting!" so I approached the lovely Natalie from Yummy Little Cakes to create something very special and of course in keeping with the 1950s American Diner theme. I created this secret Pinterest board with a few ideas
The bottom layer was 'to die for' chocolate with a lemon top tier. We also had some fabulous mini vanilla milkshake cupcakes.
With members of our family and some of my mum's oldest and dearest friends living overseas and not being able to come to the party I wanted to find a way to incorporate them in the party.
So I enlisted the help of my one of my cousins in Barbados and with the help of Whatsupp and Facebook we gathered lots of extra special birthday greetings and created a 'Jar of Hearts' for all the messages presented these to Mum at the party.
For guests at the party we had this mini jukebox guest book card created by the fabulous Sarah Manton. Inside the jukebox were individual record cards for guests to write their birthday messages for mum.
My sister also bought this rather fabulous personalised T Shirt for my Mum.
The moment when everyone shouted "Surprise" was just amazing and mum's reaction captured in these images by MIchael from Picture In Me was priceless!
Wishing my mum and those of you who are mums a truly wonderful Mothers' Day!
Leaving you with a little Flipagram video of a few more of the party images,
Until next time,