Following last year's mini disaster, when Tommy refused to sit at the table and eat anything other than chocolate, Mark and I decided to hold this year's mother's day lunch at our home.
Far more relaxing, I told myself, than Mark and I taking it in turns to eat our meal, coax Tommy out from under the table, and escort him around the restaurant.
Cheaper too. Not that I'm a penny pincher. Alas, prices do escalate on special occasions and sometimes it can be a little hard to justify.
So we invited my mum, dad, and father-in-law, to join us at our humble abode, for roast lamb and all the trimmings.
Father-in-law graciously accepted our invite, and then admitted he declined a second invite to sister-in-law's grandmothers. "It's much more formal at their house," said he, as he commented on their three course meals. "You'll get crisps and chocolates for starters here," said I, as I handed out, erm, crisps and chocolates in the garden.
I do not pretend to be a master chef. I think I am an acceptable standard in the kitchen, but what I hope is abundantly clear is the ambiance I create for my guests.
Prior to mother's day 2017, I researched ideas on Pinterest, then created a mood board. Next I set about making stuff - homemade sweet jars with name tags for the table, homemade cards, gift tags and gift bag.
Tommy joined in too. As he is not great at sitting still it took a few sessions for him to complete his nanny's card, with paint, glitter, feathers and sticky things. Luckily I realised this would be the case for him, and started well in advance. As a result, my mum loved the card, and when I told her how long it had taken to complete, she nodded sympathetically.
I'd like to think everyone enjoyed the meal. Despite Tommy, again, refusing to sit with us and eat a well balanced lunch. "Let him watch Spider-Man!" I tried not to scream to Mark, determined not to let anything ruin the day.
We entertained ourselves throughout and after the roast dinner with Alexa. Alexa was kindly passed down to us from father-in-law. I quote, she is an intelligent personal assistant. She's not that intelligent if you do not speak clearly. We learnt this after numerous amusing failures to answer our requests. Yet she did play some pleasant jazz for my dad and told us a joke or two.
Dessert, you might be relived to hear, was not more crisps and chocolate. There was a choice of vanilla cheesecake, or apple strudel with custard. Or both.
This was the part of the day where Tommy took a nasty tumble. Whilst I was waiting for dinners to digest and strudel to cool, the men decided to play football in the garden. Unfortunately, Tommy ran back in the kitchen crying, with a bloody nose and lip.
It took ages for him to calm down (and myself, after seeing all the blood and therefore panicking). The strudel well and truly cooled.
I decided to complete the afternoon with coffee. Most people like coffee as a perk at the end of a heavy meal, wouldn't you agree?
That's what I thought, as I chose pretty cups and saucers for my family, humming away to myself. Also wincing at Tommy's face, and trying to ignore the piles of dirty plates.
It wasn't until my father-in-law presented a concerned face and questioned the contents of his cup, that I did in fact realise, instead of a nice cup of coffee, I had actually served everyone a cup of gravy.
Hands up if you think father-in-law is wise to dine elsewhere next year. I wouldn't blame him.
My lovely card from Tommy.
For the place settings.
For my mummy.
Starters. Come on, who doesn't like chocolate, especially when it looks this pretty?
For the table.