The night before the fundraising party I was ready apart from: 1. creating butterfly cakes from cakes which had been cooked and icing which had been made, 2. tidying then cleaning the sitting room, 3. tidying then cleaning other parts of the house, but not the hall and shower room which had miraculously been tackled already, 3. making all the rest of the cakes I had planned, 4. setting up the kitchen ready for an invasion of kids and mums ready for juice, tea and cake after school. And I had to get a mothers' day gift in the post for mum.
Not ready at all then.
Inviting people round is a good excuse to get some housework done. I'm pretty rubbish at getting anywhere near on top of it, but yesterday saw me with the dyson vacuuming under the sofa cushions and the like. I even dusted. A little. The rooms still looked somewhat cluttered, but I consoled myself with the fact that people were coming to socialise and help raise some money for Macmillan. They weren't coming to inspect the house.
Onto the baking. I'm getting better even if I do say so myself - a long way off the professionalism shown by other mums in the region, but better - and I am now aided by the Great British Book of Baking which was a birthday gift this year. The butterfly cakes were assembled while the heart-shaped shortbreads were in the oven. A quick trip to the post office and then the chocolate fairy cakes were next. By the time I got onto the lemon drizzle, Jackie was there to set up the Phoenix cards.
It nearly went horribly wrong. My first guest arrived (early by arrangement) while I was still decorating the chocolate cakes. I was doing and chatting and serving tea, generally creating a little whirlwind of chaos. I had forgotten to put the timer on the lemon cake and for a while even forgot it was in the oven. Fortunately I remembered in time and it even had a little while to finish. Second guest arrived as the drizzle was being drizzled. I was still in scruffy clothes and pinny and that's the way it was for the rest of the afternoon.
The invasion hit at about ten past three. About three mums and forty-five children. OK, not quite that ratio, but once the kids had demolished the chocolate cakes and downed some ribena it didn't take long for them to go off into the girls' bedroom to shout at each other and throw things to make their presence known. Occasionally one of them would reappear to let us know who was being mean to who. The pre-schoolers changed into ballet leotards.
All in all it was a success. More people came. Cards were bought and order forms taken away for further purchases. Donations went into the Macmillan pyramid collecting box. Half way through I realised the washing was still hanging on the pulley in the kitchen, but no-one held it against me! The event has raised about 45 pounds so far, but there are a number of order forms to come in which will boost the commission back from Phoenix.
I was pleased but absolutely shattered. What joy, then, as I was just thinking about going to bed when we could hear that the girls had got out of bed. Evening wanderings are not a common occurrence, but when we got to the top of the stairs it quickly became apparent what was going on. Susannah had been sick on the landing. Too much cake?
Well, it probably wasn't too much cake as she continued to be poorly through the night. Not the best ending to what had otherwise been a very fruitful day.
I have a new role now too. I am a 'Phoenix Phairy' which means I can carry on raising money for Macmillan Cancer Support by selling Phoenix cards and stationery. So, if you like the products, order them from me next time I see you (I'll pass the orders onto our local trader) and some money will go back to the charity. I'll probably carry on until the end of my fundraising year (www.justgiving.com/year-for-macmillan). Cool, eh?!