Posts in Parties
Royal Wedding Preparations featuring Amazon Handmade

It's finally Friday 18th May! I may not have had an invitation to the wedding of the year but I need absolutely no excuse to dig out all the balloons, bunting and paper straws stashed in the garage. We LOVE a celebration in this house and this weekend is a double whammy. We have half the house decorated for the Hogwarts extravangaza (well there's only Sammy, Ollie and their little cousins Yasmin and Logan coming but Grandad is dressing up as Dumbledore so that's worthy of the word extravaganza in my book) and half is covered in red, white, blue and pink.

Because I've decided pink is for everything not just for the back door ;)

I've made tassels and sprayed all sorts (including the grass... who doesn't love a DIY twister?!) and when I had the opportunity to work with the lovely people at Amazon Handmade to sample some of the gorgeous products in their wedding shop I jumped at the chance.

I love the ethos behind it, promoting makers and crafters but with the power of the Amazon family behind them. The wedding shop is beautifully curated, full of inspiring products, from personalised cake toppers to intricate hair accessories. I'm not getting married but I so want this for my birthday on the beach at Southbourne in August! 

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Nothing beats handmade bunting and by a professional I should add. I've tried and failed miserably! It looks ok from a distance but when you compare my version to the attention to detail on these beautiful pastel flags it makes me want to throw mine straight in the bin.

I am a big believer in both handmade and buying the things you can't or don't want to do yourself. So my boys probably won't ever get a hand baked birthday cake but they will get the most wonderful creation, cake pops or biscuits made by someone talented in that field. People who are skilled and want customers!

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We have one car load of family arriving tonight, a small Princess niece who already has her eye on the wire tiara after I showed it to her on FaceTime and we will be chinking glasses tomorrow like so many others who feel so joyful for a couple we probably will never actually meet.

I have this incredible sense of patriotic spirit washing over me and I have loved seeing all the photos online of the tiny ones off to nursery picnics in their paper crown and pom pom jewels dripping with glue. It's magic. 

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The boys gave me a hand with the window decoration, so if the newlyweds decide to swing the carriage through deepest Somerset we have a Royal welcome waiting for them! 

Wishing you a wonderful weekend in the sunshine. Can you believe it?! For everything they must have to worry about tomorrow, the processions and the pageboys, the weather won't be one of them. Hooray for Great Britain and hip hip hooray to Mr and Mrs... what do you think? Will it be Sussex?! 

In collaboration with Amazon Handmade.

Moana Birthday Party - A Fourth Birthday

Make way, make way! Yasmin lu it's time you knew, how we love you, we love you so much we do!

After months of playing the Moana soundtrack, trips to the cinema and watching the trailer over and over on YouTube there was no doubt the party theme for my little niece's 4th Birthday this year. 

It's fair to say our family really get on board with a party theme. Even with just 5 children and 2 babies the village of Motunui came to town! For Yasmin, Sammy and Ollie the build up and the preparations to their birthday parties are as much fun as the party itself. The weeks of FaceTime calls showing each other their costume ideas, exchanging parcel openings of bits and bobs for party bags and group performances of "Your Welcome!" - my sister and I squeeze every bit of enjoyment out of the celebrations.

A very well timed trip over to see Uncle Pat in America meant that I could scoot into the Disney store in New Jersey and pick up a few extras, including a Maui hook for Rich which gets played with everyday since, Moana truly came to Maidenhead on a bonus sunny weekend in April! We borrowed/took over my sister's in laws' garden and in a couple of hours had set up a sweet table, a makeshift coconut shy under the swing and dragged a cardboard boat that my brother in law had made into position! 

We were blessed with blue skies (which was lucky for those who braved just a grass skirt!) and we played simple party games, musical statues, races with balloons and a blow up limbo stick wedged in between the garden chairs. Spot the difference between my two...!

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The thing with having a party from 2pm-4pm is that it's not really lunch or party tea time and that means you can serve your guests all the naughty treats and not worry about carrot sticks! We set out a dessert table, complete with a Hawaiian-last-minute-table-skirt with Yasmin's cake as the centrepiece. 

Now I am all for the wow factor but with the minimal effort. I can't bake, one day I am going to crack it but for now I will settle for mediocre icing skills and a polystyrene tower. At a lot of the boys' parties the cake goes untouched. It's a big moment when we sing but if I forgot to slice it up for the party bags it ends up wrapped in foil and squashed into the plastic storage box to get left unloved on the kitchen worktop. I wanted all the beautiful cookies and cupcakes I had ordered from Sugar Plum Bakes to be a eaten instead so our false cake was absolutely perfect. 

I don't know how Vaani does it. The painting in icing - it's spectacular. Not to mention delicious. Just look at the detail on the boat!

I used a glue gun to stick the polystyrene false cakes together then simply used ready made tubs of icing mixed with a drop or two of food colouring and a palette knife to make wave like patterns around the cake. We raided Yazzy's Moana figures collection and I pushed a bouquet of faux flowers from a pound shop into a backwards S shape. That and I threw a handful of turquoise sprinkles at it. I think it possibly looked better in the photos than up close in the flesh!

She loved it and that's all that mattered! 

We had popping Volcano candy and sticks of sugar "Lava" rock for Taka, Hibiscus and pineapple lollipops, palm leaf boats filled with sweeties and multi coloured fortune cookies. My sister's mother in law makes the world's best chicken chow mein and we all dived into bowlfuls with a few hand rolled spring rolls on the side!

Games Ideas

We found a handful of games kept them all entertained for a couple of hours and it was much more fun when the adults joined in too.

  • "Consider the Co-co-nut" Shy! My brother in law made the stakes himself and we used a heavy cricket ball to knock the coconuts off their perches. The Dad's contest was the best. Let's just say there was more than a slight competitive edge between them all!
  • "How Far I'll...drink!" The Long Straw games is so simple but they loved it. Stick a paper cup to a piece of card wide enough for the children to stand on. Then use extra long straws to see who can drink the cup of water (we only filled them a little bit not a full cup!) the quickest.
  • Limbo is always a hit. We made it last about ten rounds by making it lower, higher, who could jump over and who could commando crawl under.
  • "We know the Way Round Granny" Take it in turns between the adults, men and women and children to make a conga line holding a balloon in between you. You have to shimmy together round an obstacle (Granny!) without the balloons falling down. A test of teamwork!

It was a hoot. 3 generations all chasing each other around the garden with balloons between their chests! Poor Yazzy was on day 4 of chicken pox but she soldiered on, the party really lifted her and while we cleared up after her two best friends left, we settled the cousins onto the sofa with their party bags. 

I LOVED how much everyone got into the spirit of the theme, (My mum looked insanely good as the Grandma) all for the love of a four year old sweet girl who lights up our lives. 

We've saved so many of the party decorations Talking Tables kindly sent us so we need an excuse to have another luau party soon! Logan couldn't quite work out how to twist his lei off from around his tummy!

Yasmin couldn't have been more grateful, before, during and after the party.

"You're Welcome" my darling girl. 

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We are still as much in love with Moana as we were last month and hats off to Rich for donning a skin suit. That's uncle love!

I didn't think we could adore another as much as her Pony Party last year complete with a miniature hairy guest but yes, life with this girl just gets better and better. 

Next up in the family calendar is another green get together! Sammy's turns eight this week and I have 19 boys heading back to our garden after school for a... wait for it... tortoise themed party. If ever I was hoping the weather was on our side this week is it. 

Ok Sammy, I'll do my best! 

Thank you so much to Talking Tables for all the beautiful table ware & decorations.

45 Pick n Mix Easy Halloween Food Ideas

Without doubt the way I've got my boys to try different flavours, textures and tastes is by presenting little portions of new foods among food they know and love in a picky lunch or tea. 

When you mix and match a host of new foods with their favourites I find empty plates and a whole new set of foods to bring fun into after school snack dinners.

We LOVE any excuse to get out our bento supplies, pop a plastic snake or three onto a plate full of tempting goodies. At 7 and 5 their taste buds are developing and I want them to keep experimenting with food. I don't ever mind if they don't like a particular flavour but I always encourage them to try it. And I am so proud that they do.

Here are 5 ideas with a total of 45 different combinations to inspire your Halloween feast. Mine loved the sausage web whirl option the best!

We had a lovely little friend of Ollie's over for a play date and he is gluten free. Ollie took great delight in walking up and down the free from aisle in the supermarket and everything you see in the snakey snack lunch is suitable for someone on a gluten free diet as they are all labelled as GF.

Naked strawberries snacks • GF pretzels • dried strawberry flakes • GF scotch pancakes • GF marshmallows and cut up apple • carrot stick crisp snacks • GF raspberry jam tart • GF worm jelly sweets

Candy floss web • cheese crackers • baby sweetcorn • walnuts • raspberries • carrot slice crisps • blackberries • cumberland sausage whirl • edible ghost cake toppers

The star of the show is the marshmallow shortcake biscuit but surrounding this treat island is coconut • a satsuma • breadsticks • beetroot slice crisps • wholemeal flatbread • beetroot and yoghurt dip • cheddar cheese • mint sponge cake

We made green poison! A smoothy of kiwi, pineapple and apple juice in a pretend party syringe • red grapes • vegetable and falafel parcels • cous cous topped with pomegranate seeds • cherries • halloween candy • raspberry yoghurt • grated carrot • chocolate mousse grave with crushed oreo biscuit and marshmallow grave stone

Salami • Pepperami • Cheese string skewer • pesto pasta salad • cheese and tomato bread • dried tropical fruit • green grapes • blueberries • red peppers • boiled egg • chocolate balls • gingerbread skeleton

Thanks to Party Delights for the edible decorations and fabulous party ware. You can have a peek at our Neon theme party over on the Party Delights blog