Remember, remember, the 5th of November, gunpowder, treason and plot
I remember trying to explain to some American friends what Bonfire Night was. It went very much like this:
“So you set off fireworks…to celebrate an act of terrorism?”
“Failed terrorism. There is a difference!”
Basically, who doesn’t love wrapping up warm, sipping on something hot whilst keep toasty by a big fire, watching pretty colours and going ‘Ooooh, aaaah!’? We always used to go to a big display, but since having smalls, not all of them like the loud bangs. We are lucky that one of our biggest local displays at Abbey Park does to a child friendly display with low bangs, but some times it’s nice to keep it low key with your friends and family. This year, like last year, we are planning on having people over, Mr R’s birthday is on November 4th too, so it’s always nice to tie in having a bit of a Bonfire Night shindig with his celebrations.
We ask people to bring over some low-noise fireworks to contribute to the display, that way we have a nice pile going, although last year everyone went a bit mad and we had so many the display went on for ages! Unless you live in the middle of nowhere and have no pets, if you are planning on having fireworks then don’t be a dick, save the loud bangs with will terrify pets, older people and tiny kiddos for organised displays. You can still have a fun evening and enjoy some fireworks without it sounding like you are entering a war zone!
Most places that sell fireworks have a noise guide on them, lots of roman candles, catherine wheels etc are a good shout. Having an ex-Fire Station Commander for a Father in Law means we have been fully prepped in ensuring we set them off safety! We always have a bucket of water or sand on stand by, use a taper to light them, have a bucket of earth to set them off in, have gloves and protective eye wear, and never go back to a lit firework.
Sparklers – Yay or Nay?
Did you know that sparklers can get 5 times hotter than cooking oil? For that reason, it’s recommended you don’t allow under 5’s to use sparklers and even then, close supervision is needed! I definitely remember loving sparklers as a kid and don’t want to be a Debbie Downer, so now The Biggest is in school and under a very close eye I may try to rein in my anxiety and let him have a go this year. However, last year I got a job lot of bendy UV glow sticks like these and they were just as good fun and the the kids could make all sorts of things with them like necklaces, headbands and bracelets.
I am going to assume you already have a slow cooker, because seriously, everyone has one, right? Well, tonight you are going to need all the slow cookers so now is the time to rally round and source friends who can loan you one for the night as it’s going to make your party planning such much easier as you basically bung everything in a slow cooker and then you’re free to enjoy the evening too! Last year I made a whole heap of jacket potatoes in the oven then wrapped them in foil and stuck them in a slow cooker to keep warm, a filled another one with beans and had some cheese as one food option and then we also had sausages and burger on the BBQ (veggie ones too!).
This year, I am planning on doing hot dogs for the kids which I will keep warm in one and then a big slow cooker veggie curry in another. One of the beauties of living in such a wonderfully diverse and multi-cultural city like Leicester is we have lots of amazing ethic catering options too and samosas are a firm party favourite amongst my gang. We get ours from a place on Welford Road, but if any locals want recommend other places, let us know, as we will be ordering some for this years party.
For dessert, we have a fire pit and everyone had a go at making s’mores! We can’t get graham crackers, so we used chocolate digestives, a piece of chocolate (chocolate coins work amazingly!) and then roast your marshmallow over the fire pit until it’s all gooey then sandwich it all together. Delicious!
I made a wonderfully decadent hot chocolate last year which probably gave you diabetes just by looking at it. I saw a lot of American recipes which used condensed milk, so I used this BBC recipe and adapted it slightly by doubling the quanities of everything apart from the cream and using a tin of condensed milk in place of the extra cream. Again, it all goes in the slow cooker and you just give it the occasional stir.
For adults, I had some amaretto and cointreau to spike it with, just add that to a cup and pour the hot chocolate on. I also had a little station with marshmallows, sprinkles and squirty cream for the tinies. This year I might make it with white chocolate and unicorn it up a little with some food colouring for the kids. I also made some spiced cider in another slow cooker, which was just regular cider warmed with some spice sachets. Very easy!
You have to have a sound track to keep the party going! Some classical musical is always suitably dramatic, or you could go with some classical string quarter crossover, which I personally love (I had dreams of playing the violin, but they got squashed when my Mum heard my attempts and promptly banned it from the house) so maybe something like Bond – Explosive? Or you can go full of puntastic and get playlist together with stuff like Firework – Katy Perry, Relight My Fire by Take That, you know the drill!
So that’s it! Last year I did terrible at taking any decent photos, so I will make sure I remedy that this year and post lots of pictures and stories on my instagram for you to see. How are you planning on celebrating bonfire night this year?