May 21

May 21st is National Letter Writing Day and because happiness is most definitely handwritten, it’s
time to celebrate. If you can’t make it to the Make Me Joyful Letter Writing Salon in London, why
not host your own? Gather your friends, stir some drinks and indulge in the pleasures and
prettiness of all things paper.
If you’re hosting a letter writing event, it would be lovely to send your guests paper invitations.
But if you need to gather people quickly and don’t have time for the mail, try Paperless Post.
I’m of the opinion that a party isn’t really a party without at least one all-nighter crafting things
out of tissue paper, swearing like a sailor and lamenting my insistence on a ‘creative vision’.
Perhaps you’re more relaxed. But if you do like the idea of pom-poms or crepe paper fringing,
here are two of my favourite tutorials:
Pom-poms and fringe.
Flowers are always a good idea. This is pretty much my rule for life, but even more so for parties.
Local markets are great, but supermarkets can have a decent selection too. Split up bouquets and
re-arrange in your vase/jam jar of choice. If the assortment isn’t amazing, choose blooms of one
colour to hide the quality with a slightly more luxurious feel.
Don’t forget the music. Now might be a good time for The Carpenter’s ‘Please Mr Postman’ and
The Proclaimer’s ‘Letter to America’. Or maybe don’t be ruled by the theme and choose your
favourite non-letter related tunes instead.
Choose a selection of your loveliest stationery for people to use at your event. You can stick with
a theme or choose an assortment. At the Make Me Joyful Salon there’ll be a mix of designers so
that people can be inspired by different looks.
You can also add extras like rubber stamps (I’ve just designed some very joyful ones to use),
stickers, sealing wax and any other adornments that suit your theme.
If you have a particularly creative crowd, you can also encourage them to decorate their own
cards. A little arts and crafts is always a good thing.
My favourite places to buy supplies include:
Etsy Search for ‘stationery’ then be prepared to lose a few hours as you browse all things paper.
The Green Gables For a more vintage, illustrative style, Gabrielle’s postcards are a treat.
Alice Gabb Love the splendiferous style of these decedent notelets.
Present and Correct If you’re paper inclinations are slightly more quirky, this is the place for you.
Studio Sarah This new studio is a recent discovery. Sarah’s glossy, luxe cards are super stylish.
Of course, you can also find great blank paper at places like Paperchase and Paper Source.
Alternatively, ask guests to bring a selection of their own supplies so you get to mix and match.
I’m still finalising the cake choice for the 21st, but if you want an easy but delicious chocolate fix,
here’s one of my failsafe recipes. It’s even better the day after you make it which makes it easy to
prepare ahead:
Flourless Chocolate Cake
200 grams dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa solids)
200 grams unsalted butter cut into 1cm cubes
250 grams caster sugar
5 large eggs
1 table spoon cocoa powder or plain flour
1 table spoon of fresh coffee or coffee extract like Camp (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 190 degrees Celsius.
2. Butter an 8-inch round cake pan. For extra non-stick, line the base with buttered
3. Finely chop the chocolate and melt it together with the butter in a bowl above a pan of
simmering water. Keep stirring the mixture to combine.
4. Add the sugar to the chocolate mixture and stir it in well. Leave to cool for a few
5. Add the eggs one at a time and stir well after each one. Then add the coffee if you’re
using it.
6. Finally, fold in the cocoa/flour. You should have an unctuous, chocolatey batter. Try to
resist eating it all at this stage.
7. Pour the mixture into the cake tin and bake for approximately 25 minutes or until the top
is slightly crackled and there’s still a slight jiggle in the centre. Jiggle is good.
8. Allow the cake to cool in its pan on a cooling rack for around 10 minutes and then turn it
out. You then want to flip it upright so the crackly side is on top. Allow it to cool
completely and don’t get worried if it starts to deflate. This is entirely normal.
9. Share it with your guests. Or eat it alone. I won’t judge.
I’m planning on serving my special Elderflower cocktail at the Make Me Joyful event. It’s a very
joyful mixture of elderflower cordial, vodka, limoncello and lemonade muddled together with ice
and fresh lemons. You may want to do the same. If so, just mix the quantities to taste and
remember that it may seem dangerously booze free, but it’s most definitely not.
If you’re concerned about letter writing under the influence (and the secrets you may reveal),
consider hosting an afternoon tea event.
Share snippets of your favourite famous letters in the invitations or send guests home with
Have Google at the ready to check forgotten post/zip codes.
Have postage stamps on hand and volunteer to post all of the letters at the end of the night
so that mail doesn’t languish in the bottom of the guests’ bags for the next month.
If you have time for more than one letter, write a spare to be hidden on the way home for a
stranger to be surprised by.
Realise you love writing letters? Email me ([email protected]) with your address to
be matched with a joyful pen pal.
If you’ve been invited to the party, remember to send a proper thank you card afterwards.
If you do host your own Salon, I’d love to hear all about it. Tell me what happened at
[email protected] or on the Facebook page at Be sure
to include any pictures too. Enjoy!
//Photos courtesy of The Pom Pom Factory and Betsy Dunlap.