the final 21

Last Friday brought us the final 21st birthday of the house, Presh. Her birthday was actually a couple of weeks back but it fell in the middle of her exams, so we pushed it backwards, to the day after she finished.

We had planned a pancake brunch, but for some reason our pancake skills (usually impeccable) were NOT working and eventually we had to abandon the plan in favour of a hasty trip to Waitrose. Kate and I pulled it off brilliantly though, if I do say so myself, and we ended up sitting down to a more sophisticated feast of scrambled eggs, smoked salmon, English muffins, strawberries and bacon while the birthday girl opened her presents.

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After much thought, we’d got Presh an Eastenders Quiz Book (which proved fun for all the family), an adorable Urban Outfitters bird-themed jewellery stand and the piece de resistance, a personalised apron.

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After breakfast (and a quick round of Eastenders quiz questions), birthday festivities paused for a while because, terrifyingly, our results were due in. Cue three very scared girls sitting very tensely around the kitchen table awaiting an email. Kate got hers first, leaving Sophie and I with an agonising two hour wait while the English department made their leisurely way through first straight English, then English & Film, and then finally us ESNA students. After what seemed like about five years, they FINALLY came through, and we were all left Β feeling very very pleased with ourselves!

Our next task was to crack coconuts for the secret Caribbean dinner party we were hosting in Presh’s honour. This was way more difficult than we had anticipated – we needed them to be vaguely cup-shaped, which is definitely easier said than done!

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Eventually, we resorted to kind of throwing them at the back doorstep and hoping for the best.

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Luckily, most of the coconuts cracked perfectly and after a bit of hollowing out, some improvisation with some Martini glasses and obviously some novelty accessories, we had five oh-so-authentic Caribbean drinking vessels.

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Next up it was time to prepare a) the kitchen and b) the food. We’d spent the evening before creating an array of decorations, including a paper palm tree and a matching tiki torch, so that our kitchen was well and truly transformed into the Isle of Submarina.

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At 6 on the dot, Presh arrived and with all of us dressed in our best tropical attire, it was time for dinner! First up, we had Caribbean prawn skewers (recipe here).

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Next, we whipped out the themed pirate plates (what’s a party without paper plates?) in order to serve our main course: jerk chicken (recipe here – Jamie never fails us!) with rice & beans and mashed sweet potato. It was SO good – we’ve never done jerk chicken in anything but the slower cooker, but Jamie’s marinate-and-cook method proved a huge hit!

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Obviously, all of this was served with copious amounts of cocktail. We’d gone for two varieties: the Caribbean, and Banana Colada. None of us could decide which we liked best, so obviously we had to drink more and more to make the decision!

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Finally, it was time for dessert. In lieu of something heavy, we decided to go for an ice cream cocktail, a crazy concoction of rum, banana liqueur, mashed bananas, and ice cream. We’d put in a bit of extra ice cream but it was still REALLY strong and could probably have done with another couple of scoops, but still, it tasted really good!

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After dinner we played a new favourite game of ours, The Name Game, and polished off the rest of the cocktails and then the rest of the rum before heading off to Timepiece for a seriously bizarre night amongst Exeter’s locals. Between our results, Presh’s birthday festivities and the medics being (finally) done with their exams, we had a lot to celebrate and we did it in true Submarine style!

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