Thursday, 8 October 2015

The Party

I love a good browse on Pinterest. Whether it be for recipes, beauty tips or even quotes i'm always left feeling inspired, which is why it was my first port of call when planning Eva's first Birthday party. Although many of the party ideas are a little too 'far fetched' for my liking (Think glitter toffee apples.. watermelon carved as tortoise.. what the...) there were plenty of ideas that caught my my eye and I was keen to try out.

We decided to go for a Pink and Gold theme to keep it simple and easy to buy for- there is no shortage of pink party decorations in the shops or online! We picked up the majority of the party tableware from Home Bargains which was absolutely amazing for quirky little bits like the stripey straws, polka dot cupcake stand, sparkly wands and 'honeycomb' style paper garlands. It really surprised me how inexpensive these were in comparison to many online party supply shops. It is without a doubt worth having a browse around- Keeping in mind it is one of those shops you nip in to get one thing and come out with everything you don't need! It is amazing.

We didn't set a budget per say, but were keen to keep costs down, the most expensive decoration being the £7.99 pastel pink and Gold  'Happy Birthday' banner from Ginger Ray which I intend to use year after year. Stuart joked that Eva will be sick of the sight of it by her 21st and so be it!, it's beautiful! - well as beautiful as birthday banners come.
I really wanted to add some personal touches around the house and to the table so I ordered Polaroid-style prints of Eva from the very beginning until now. I placed them on to a pin board with mini wooden pegs (which cost next to nothing on Amazon) across a line of string found in the cupboard!. It cost very little and made a really nice touch- Another Pinterest idea! A quick Google search and you'll find lots of sites that will print your photos in an authentic Polaroid style. Years ago I owned a Polaroid camera but buying the film proved extremely costly so I loved the fact  that I can use a service like this for a one off now and again. If you are wondering, I used photobox!.

A few months after Eva was born I ordered this custom made letter frame from a lady I had came across on Instagram who specializes in little crafty pieces- I love stumbling across these kinds of independent sellers on Instagram- they're usually the best finds! I was able to choose the fabric and design and with help from the seller and we came up with this. It's one of my favourite things in Eva's bedroom and thought it would look perfect on the table keeping with the pink theme. I also used a shabby chic inspired photo frame (a Poundland bargain!) and inserted one of the 3d prints we received at our gender scan.

The majority of the party snacks on the table ran with the pink girly theme! Stuart and I definitely have a sweet tooth and had no problem filling our trolley with the tastiest treats Tesco had to offer. So much so, we completely over bought and spent the weekend in a sugar induced coma. In fact it was the first time in our (almost) four years together that we have declined cake. I suppose there's a first time for everything!
We decided to keep the hot food simple. We served up finger food like the obligatory cocktail sausages, mini pizzas, sausage rolls, spring rolls, chicken goujons, tikka bites as well as savoury snacks like crisps and dip!Stuarts mum made trays of sandwiches and my mum made a pavalova for dessert. We stocked the fridge with beer for the boys, Prosecco for the ladies and fruit shoots for the kids.
I ordered a Wilton nozzle to do the icing on our cupcakes and was extremely impressed with the results, It was completely foolproof  and a bargain at the price of £2.32 with free delivery!
Wilton Icing Nozzle If you're anything like me and struggle with decorating your cupcakes you need this in your life.. and there's always sprinkles to cover up botched attempts!
As the ages of the  kids coming to the party ranged from 10 months-15 years we decided sweet cones would be the best route to go down when it came to party favours. That and the fact that as first time parents we were absolutely clueless to say the least when it came down to the contents of Party bags these days- Safe to say we have a lot to learn. Times like these I am starkly reminded that we are such newbies in the parenting world ( Like our first proper family outing were we came home with wet jeans and spent the guts of £15 on two cups of coffee and shop bought sandwiches - We definitely missed the 'Essential Parenting items' memo which specified that we needed a rug, a thermos and a cooler box for such outings...)
 I purchased the sweets in bulk on Amazon (just as easily picked up in pound shops) as well as the cellophane bags, and spent a Saturday afternoon making them up and trying to refrain from eating any- this was surely the hardest part of the entire process.  Ah well! The kids seemed happy enough with their sweet cones and the littlest member of the family went home with some new stacking cups, Peppa Pig buttons and a bag of biscotti biscuits!

Months before Eva's party we had thought about getting a local baker to bake the cake. The only issue being it was £40. Yes £40. Now I am definitely one for supporting local businesses and I understand how much time, not to mention the costs and effort that goes in to baking and decorating a cake, but in the end we just couldn't justify spending that much on a cake. In fact £40 could have just about covered our food shop for the party! We browsed Marks & Spencers, Tescos and Sainsburys and we both agreed on this white chocolate cake. (We probably would have opted for a Peppa Pig cake but Nana and Grandpa had already purchased one for her party on the Friday night) It was beautiful, tasted delicious and I didn't feel the need to force feed everyone to make sure I got my moneys worth! It reminded me of a girl who I once worked with who got a cake specially made with a photo of her daughter's favourite boyband printed on it. Her story always had me in hysterics as she recalled crying when the cake was cut! The poor girl barely got near her cake as her mum stuck it in the freezer to preserve it for as long as possible! 
We were a little paranoid that the older kids would find the afternoon slightly boring- At the beginning we had thoughts of hiring out a room in a leisure/play centre but  we felt Eva would have been limitted to what she could do and we wanted it to be as enjoyable as possible for her. Luckily we have a park across the road which they ran back and forward to. To be honest there really was no chance to be bored once all the cousins were reunited together, kids really can find fun anywhere.

It felt lovely to have a full house with everyone enjoying each others company, eating, drinking and having a laugh. In the end i'm so glad we decided to have it in the house- not to mention the fact the leftover prosecco made the cleaning up after no hassle at all!

Most of all the Birthday Girl went to bed a very happy little lady (Who wouldn't be if they had a brand new slide in their living room!)
So that pretty much concludes the first of  many Birthday related blog posts! If you would like to know where anything is from, please feel free to ask! 


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