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Sunday 14 April 2013

Girls' Night In Book Launch Party at Hannah's house

Hannah Read-Baldrey is so beautiful in real life I couldn't believe I was in the same room as her, let along her house! She looks amazing in her previous books Everything Oz and Everything Alice, but real life? She lit up the place with her vibrant aura and confidence making me and the other guests feel very welcome at the launch party of her new book Girls' Night In. (GNI)

GNI is filled with 'Crafts, Cakes and Cocktails for The Ultimate Party' and to celebrate it, that's exactly what Hannah did. She invited all sorts of amazing women to attend her do including friends, family, bloggers and crafters; treating us all to a very special evening.
On the menu were these two scrumptious cakes...
...and on the guestlist, lots of girls to enjoy them, including Zoe from Craft Candy and colleagues from Hannah's publishers Quadrille. Behind them is the actual art work of the book cover which Hannah collaged from paper.
Decorations included Leggy Bunting, as featured in the book.
And flavoured popcorn: the perfect snack to accompany girlie movie nights.
Cakes were dotted throughout the house. In whichever room you were in, you were never far from a sponge!
My kind of party is one with activities - and despite being the host, Hannah made time to run workshops during the night including showing us how to give each other a flower manicure which she demonstrated.
I had mine done in a rather lovely light blue by a girl who thankfully was very understanding that the nails I did for her in return didn't quite turn into flowers...
...but stars instead. I've never had a problem painting my own nails but painting someone else's is such a different experience, very nerve racking as it requires so much concentration.
Here are my finished nails along with the page in the book from which they were inspired.
Two more designs from the night - I really love the Art Deco coloured French tips on the left.
Pampering is an important part of a girlie get together, but there isn't just ideas for nail decor in the GNI book; you can also try out a recipe for your own face mask.
And get make-up application tips.
There are also party games which are great for breaking the ice. Hannah mentions in the book that GNIs don't just need to be for groups of friends who know eachother, but are an ideal way to make new acquaintances.
Craft activities to keep you occupied are aplenty in the book including knicker-making, hair fascinators, a clutch bag and fabric dolls, but my favourite project is these gorgeous bejewelled tights. I swear by tights and I love bling, plus they are really easy to do so have my name written all over them!
This is one of those photos that really doesn't do the subject any justice as you can't tell the proportions but this is the biggest slice of brie to have ever been baked! 
Or at least it seemed that way! It was gigantic - about the average size of a chair seat. Warm and googey inside it was drizzled with honey and caramlised nuts and was the edible talking point of the evening.
My favourite however was this. I'm not normally a fan of quiche but this flan was so scrumptious I had two slices. The pastry and base were delicious.
And to think the sweet stuff was just as incredible as the savoury dishes! 
Fresh cream filled, soft choux buns...these profiteroles were so heavenly...
All manor of cocktail recipes feature in the book too so at the party there was a whole cocktail tent, filled with drinks so you could make your own tipple, enter the cocktail making competition or create fish bowls to share.
Oh and those cakes I showed at the beginning? I got to taste them both and they were yummazing!

The front cake was peach and cream flavour  - it had several layers, all that were perfectly moist, then your taste buds were treated to surprise mouthfuls of peach which added a fruitiness that balanced out the sweetness of the perfectly piped pink icing.

There's a great line in the press release for the GNI book that says 'in these cash-strapped times, this book offers ideas for the perfect alternative to costly bars and restaurants.' 

I really like this sentiment, that instead of going out, you can stay in and still have fun. Obviously you do need to spend a few pounds to supply food, drink etc but there's always  cheap alternatives and you can ask everyone to contribute or bring donations to share the cost.

I'm not sure if I'll be hosting any GNIs of my own too soon. I'm not the most active of hosts, in fact it's been over two years since I've cooked for anyone at my flat let alone had more than one person over. 'Hosting' and having to tidy up for people freaks me out but I will definately incorporate lots of Hannah's ideas: perhaps I can persuade a friend to host a party around theirs instead and I can help with the planning!

Girls' Night In 
Craft, cakes and cocktails for the ultimate party
by Hannah Read-Baldrey is published by Quadrille Publishing (£16.99) and is available now!
You should also check out the accompanying website.