Next month Hector turns one. ONE! How is that even possible? It feels like sometimes I’ve been captured by a Time Lord and whizzed away and back again in a Tardis in what feels like a heartbeat and a century all at the same time.
It has definitely been the longest year of my life; I’m exhausted and I have the equivalent of a full suite of Louis Vuitton luggage underneath each eye, I’ve yet to lose the last bit of baby weight (seriously when will the double chin shift itself?!) and I have the opening credits of ’64 Zoo Lane’ constantly whirling around inside my head.
But I wouldn’t change it for anything….well perhaps a week’s worth of sleep 😉
Anyway since Hector reaches the big 1.0 in less than four weeks my thoughts have turned somewhat to planning his first birthday party. I’m not trying to kid myself into thinking that he’s going to remember the celebrations and let’s face it, a first birthday party is for the adults more than it’s for the small pints but I couldn’t not acknowledge the special day in some way. So for those of you planning your own mini parties, I thought I’d share some of my party planning inspiration in the hopes that it might spark off your own creative bonfires. Perhaps you might even share your own birthday themes with us too…
One Focal Point
One of the sagest pieces of advice I was given regarding the planning of Hector’s party arrived when I was pulling my hair out as to ‘how BIG should I go’ when it came to styling and organising the celebrations. I didn’t want to blow our already stretched budget on fripperies that would no doubt be shoved in a black bin bag at the end of the day but I didn’t not want to make an effort either.
Instead a friend of mine suggested that I focus on styling one area of the venue where the party was going to be held – namely the dessert/food table since this would be where most guests would gravitate towards anyway. This would create maximum impact whilst being kind on the purse too. With this plan in mind, I’ve decided to decorate one long table on which the cake will take pride of place complete with banners above (more on this in a moment) and balloons at the side and hopefully heaving with sweet treats and tasty nibbles.
Theme wise I knew that we just had to go down the animal route. Hector adores animals but I wasn’t about to hire the services of a travelling zoo any time soon. Balloons seemed a good way to bring the animals in whilst ticking off the decor box too. They’re big so they fill spaces easily and cheaply to boot.
There are literally hundreds of balloons of all different shapes and sizes out there so the world is pretty much your oyster. If your Princess wants unicorns galloping around her party there’s a balloon for that, if a flamingo themed party is right up your street then there’s some for you too. Palm trees, pandas, polar bears even polaroid balloons – I came across pretty much everything on my travels. In the end, I settled for Zebras and panthers with some animal print balloons too and will be inflating them on the premises using a helium tank purchased via Amazon. Bingo!
Oh and when the party is over I’ll be sending each kid home with one of the balloons from the day – they’ll be happy and it will be one less thing to clear away at the end. Two birds, one stone.
As Julia Child once remarked, ‘A party without cake is just a meeting’ so I’m intending to have cake and LOTS of it. Plus I know that a fair few of our guests have a sweet tooth or ten. I’ve enlisted the help of a family friend who has an awesome bakery in Birmingham to make Hector’s first birthday cake and a few others on the side. Think a single very deep tier covered in white chocolate curls and awesome candles! Whilst I like the idea of making Hector’s first cake, my personal cooking triumphs are few and far between…in this case I’ll leave it to the experts.
Inspired by Rock My Wedding’s recent collaboration with Marks and Spencer, I’ve also invested in a couple of Schleich figurines for the cake topper which I think I’ll make some miniature hats for (like the bear in the slider at the top) – so cute!!
There are so many amazing cakes out there that I just had to add a few extra into the gallery – particular highlights are that rosy hued cake with the coconut dusted outer layer and rose garnish and the sherbet lemon cake with hundreds and thousands and flying saucers. SO PRETTY!
Streamers & Banners
I love a banner. In fact I can’t get enough of them which you probably saw when I showed you around Hector’s nursery so I definitely made the most of the opportunity to indulge this weakness and buy this tasselled beauty from Molly Meg. On a serious note though, banners, tassels, pennants, bunting and streamers are all effective ways of creating a real impact without having to spend too much…even more so when layered up in different colours too.
I particularly adore the bunting mixed with tiny pompoms on a string combined with hanging streamers in the gallery image above – it looks so fun yet would have taken only minutes to hang up and pull together. The tree trunk cake stands are a clever touch too! Now where’s the nearest fallen tree….
Charlotte also shared her super sweet bunting with a sentimental touch – the “12 months of Mabel” from Mabel’s birthday party recently on the blog which I’m thinking of cheekily copying for Hector’s soiree. Such a brilliant idea that can be reused in their nurseries and then packed away for future teenage reminiscing after the event is over.
Lastly it’s the tiny details that really do make all the difference when it comes to really selling a theme. Paper plates in your said colour theme with matching cups, clever cake stands, extravagant candles, sweet mini bunting cake toppers, personalised name tags, miniature milk bottles with witty tags….honestly it’s very VERY easy to get carried away…
Of all the quirky styling touches I came across I loved the birch patterned straws in their very own bark clad container and I fell head over heels for the animal shapes on the sticks. I’m not sure if I’ll have time to put on my DIY hat before the day itself but I reckon I can stretch to the straws for the kids at least….(that’s what I’ll be telling the boy anyway!)
So there we have it – hopefully I’ll be able to share some details from Hector’s birthday on the blog. At the very least I’ll be posting a few sneaky peeks from my Instagram page anyway.
Are any of you planning birthday parties for your little ones? What theme have you gone for? Do any of you have handy tips to pass onto me? Anything I should be aware of?
Image sources | Girl with Crown | Baby With Backdrop | Monochrome Party Table | Black Balloon | Pastel Pompoms | Picnic Balloons | Coconut Cake | Naked Bear Cake | Flying Saucer Cake | Trio Of Cakes | Animal Flags | Straws | Tassel Banner | Star Banner |Giant Balloons | Pretty Pink Party | Bottles of Pop | Animal Cake