Valentine’s Restaurant: Take Two

Do you remember this post from 2013? It was the one about the time my children (or at least the three older ones) opened up a restaurant for Gary and I to have a ‘romantic’ night in on St Valentine’s Day of the same year.

I had been perusing through some of my posts and forcing offering them to Ads as a means of embarrassing my youngest twin (favourite pastime, don’t you know), and low and behold, I came across this one! My birthday was coming up, and there had been murmuring, asking me what I wanted. Literally it was a colander. A large one. Yes, my dream present was a piece of hole-y metal! They were less than impressed with the idea of giving some money towards a colander. I found it hard to think of anything else that I really wanted. When you are cooking for at least eight on a daily basis, a large enough colander to hold all the pasta/rice/potatoes you need to feed the hoards is honestly a God-send. I was resolute. I wanted a colander. Really, really badly. So, after ruminating on how they could make my birthday slightly more special than they believed a colander could (believe me, no more burnt hands from overly filled small colanders was plenty special to me) I asked them to reopen Valentine’s Restaurant just one more time. Which they enthusiastically did.

I should know, being almost newly 46, that one shouldn’t ever attempt to recreate ultra special memories by trying to repeat them. That which is super exciting when you are 10 or 11 and there are only three of you to organise, becomes exponentially harder once you add a ginger nine year old, a tween and another teen to the already splitting-at-the-seams tiny kitchen containing the now fully grown original three-some.

Gary and I were due to spend the day together celebrating my birthday in a nearby town, eating out breakfast and lunch and then perusing all the charity shops (something we love to do together). Unfortunately, the day before I’d hurt my back so badly I almost cried each time I took a step. This meant the two of us spent the day together in our bedroom. A day with Gary is always Heaven sent, so we settled in to relax and enjoy the Peace together.

Meanwhile, everyone else busied themselves, recreating the original ambiance of the Valentine Restaurant. Gary and I overheard everything! I believe the saying maybe that there were too many leaders and not enough followers applied here 😜

Determined to squeeze every minute of enjoyment out of this birthday treat, I chose, much to the chagrin of the children, to find the funny side of each and every spat they had…

Anyway, I’m getting ahead of myself. We were to attend the restaurant at five o’clock, so at about five to five we both threw on some clothes (still in our pjs on account of being in bed with bad back). We then hobbled walked sedately through our door to the table approximately 50 cms away:

They had done such a lovely job!

Lillie and Becca had been in charge of the decorations, and had both put their usual amount of flair and creativity to the job.

Becca had made some place settings and heart place mats:

And Lil had made a beautiful sign (which I am keeping and hanging in our dining room for posterity):

And at the end of the table, sitting on its very own seat, was our wedding photo, making it feel like both Gary and I were present at the table as well as, ermm, Gary and I…

I loved all the thoughtful little touches, like the bottle of non alcoholic fizzy drink on ice, and the dried freeze raspberries they had in our glasses:

Thomas was our drinks’ waiter, and whilst not reluctant as such, was definitely not as enthusiastic as his youngest twin sister:

He was sacked within twenty minutes on account of I’m not sure what, and am not sure he knew what, but it was all done in good humour, and I am fairly certain he didn’t mind not having to wait on his mother and father!

Our other servers were enthusiasm personified! Well, the ginger one was definitely excited, and did a lot of twirling. The twin one was enjoying herself waaaay too much as the Maître D’, and therefore self-appointed boss over her boyfriend, Ads, who was (comparatively) a lowly waiter. She spent the entire evening bossing everyone (mainly Ads) around and gesticulating alarmingly:

So cute and enthusiastic!

We were given some time to look at the menu, which we didn’t need, on account of it being exactly the same as the one seven years ago and only having one option for each course 😍

Ads and Becca were taking our orders with Charlotte ‘overseeing‘ the whole process:

Lillie, who had planned and carried out most of the arty stuff, was also helping Abs with the cooking. She was a little stressed because she was also trying to read a book about advertising which she needed to read before Monday for uni. She was our first child to succumb to tears on account, I believe, of the baked potatoes…

I thought maybe she was feeling a little lonely in the kitchen so asked both her and Abs to come out of the kitchen for photos:

She did a pose, whilst Abigail watched on bemused. They went back to the kitchen, only for Abs to burst into tears, on account of feeling overwhelmed…

However, we were doing well, having eaten a first course of pate and toast with a salad garnish, which being just two slices of cucumber each, was hilariously (and with a rather exaggerated amount of attention to detail) placed carefully on our plates, one cucumber slice at a time, with a knife, by Charlotte!

Our main course was equally delicious:

Becca, who had taken Harvey (puppy) for two walks already, let him into the kitchen as he was barking outside to come in. At this point, any remnants of sanity left all those in the kitchen, as Harvey got under feet whilst dessert was being served; Thomas yelled at Harvey and by proxy at Becs (who had let Harvey in), who then ran into the garden in floods of tears. Charlotte and Lillie rushed out after her and Gary and I looked at each other and did what any self respecting parent would do under those circumstances, and laughed!

Ads kept us all updated about all the dramas, with a big grin on his face:

Enumerating just how many of them were down and out!

Charlotte quickly pulled him into shape:

And we received our dessert, which was well worth the wait (and all the drama!):

The last thing I wanted to do was to recreate some of the photos from the last time. Of course they are all much bigger now, so some manoeuvring needed to be done to fit in:

By the end of it all, after many giggles from the parents and tears from the children, we left the Valentine Restaurant for the second time, seven years older than the first, with double the amount of children than before, marvelling how we managed to get through those passing seven years without too many nervous breakdowns…!

Thank you gorgeous children for giving me the memory in the first place and then attempting to recreate in again seven years later. I love you all more than you’ll ever know ❤️


  1. A really enjoyable meal with great company. Thank you to our wonderful children for all the hard work they put in on Saturday and for being pretty awesome too!

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