I really had very little to do with how pretty Mabel’s party turned out, in true O’Shea style we left lots of the important aspects to the last minute and I changed my mind what felt like 25 times on a theme and colour scheme – seriously, it felt like planning a wedding (!). I think I got a bit carried away with Pinterest and ever so slightly intimidated in equal measure, some of these first birthday parties (especially those over the pond) are rather spectacular aren’t they? like a full on styled shoot……Please don’t expect a styled shoot folks. I wanted to make it lovely for for guests and make some memories for James, Mabel and I but essentially I was going to have a house full (40 ish adults and 12 children) so space was a priority – this didn’t leave a lot of scope for a whole heap of froth and fancy.

About the space thing, I do not by any means live in a large house and as Mabel’s party was the end of March you certainly couldn’t guarantee the weather. The good thing about our home is it is tiled thoroughout the downstairs and there is an open archway from the living room to the kitchen diner and patio doors straight onto the garden. A real “party” abode if you will. Not quite for that many though, especially taking into account littles requiring the ability to crawl/walk/run (!) around. We made the decision to move the vast majority of the furniture into the garage, bar the kitchen table, a few chairs and some old oak benches that were bought back in from the garage as additional seating.

One of our newest Rock My Wedding sponsors Vintage Marquees very kindly loaned us one of their small original canvas tents (I say small, it covered the entire lawn!) that the little people in particular loved. I had my fingers crossed that actually, given the party time of 2pm until 4.30pm folks would come and go (it was after all a tea, cake and have-a-chat kind of affair rather than overflowing Prosecco and a um…disco?). This absolutely went to plan and meant there was, at least most of the time!, some room to manoeuvre Victoria Sponge and tiny biscuit covered fingers.

The theme was “Twinkle Twinkle” as it’s Mabel’s favourite nursery rhyme – we’ve sang it to her since she was born. I chose pretty yet neutral shades of grey and pale pink and made sure any significant “investment” decor would work in her nursery after the event. I included a few pieces of theme-led decorations on the walls and set up a small dessert bar as well as a “tea and cake station” (no idea what it should be called but I’m going with that.)

As you probably already know the nature of my job means I have access to all sorts of wonderfully talented suppliers, not least those in my own team – Becky from Studio Sappor made the absolutely beautiful sequin bunting and Lottie of Buttercream and Dreams fame did so much I hope I remember it all in order to give her proper credit. She made the naked birthday cake for a start, star wands, cute pointy party hats, star-shaped cookies, brought all of the tea cups, tea pots and milk jugs, iced a gazillion cup cakes…arrived at 10am to help me set up….honestly the lady is a MACHINE.

I have already warned her that this feature may result in her having to set up her own children’s party styling and planning business due to demand.

Jenny from HipHipHooray Studio created the super cute “Mabel’s Favourites” typography print, the “12 months of Mabel” star wall hanging/bunting and all of the goody bag name labels. I was quite possibly the most annoying client ever “can I have mint green? no hmmm maybe peach?…..um, actually, can I have gold?!”. Jenny had to change everything more than once. And was extremely gracious and polite in doing so – especially considering I was such a massive pain in the arse.

Karen from Passion For Flowers provided all of the amazing blooms, an extraordinarily feminine array of O’Hara and Quicksand roses and simple white lilacs. I placed them in various bud vases, old chemist bottles and colour co-ordinated mason jars (you know what I was saying about a wedding….)

The straws, paper goody bags and magic you-can’t-even-see-it washi tape was from Peach Blossom. The hand-painted chalk board sign was from The Chalkspot (they do all sorts of lovely bespoke requests) and a special mention to my Mum (Nanny), my mother-in-law Dene (Granny), Mabel’s aunty Kirsten and aunty Melissa who all baked their socks off to ensure all those wonderful people who came along to celebrate Mabel’s first 12 months on the planet didn’t go hungry (they didn’t, James and I had enough red velvet left over to last a week.)

Last but not least my good friend Lisa from Little Beanies brought along her gorgeous son Louis, her husband Will and of course her camera – she really captured everything perfectly and I am so grateful for all of the wonderful memories we’ll have to treasure forever.

Mabel mostly enjoyed the cake. Ahem. I have no idea where on earth she gets her sweet tooth from. NO IDEA.

There are a few more images in the gallery below should you fancy a butchers folks, you can also take a look at my pinterest board for the inspiration behind the theme (and lots of other cute ideas for first birthdays!). As always, please feel free to ask me any questions (I’m sure I’ve forgotten to include all sorts) in the comments box.

From Lisa Jordan the photographer: “Little Beanies Photography only uses natural light to preserve those precious moments that can be treasured forever. What this means is that you are more relaxed at a session, and I’ll be able to snap away whilst in your natural environment, whether that be at home or a location of to your choice. My style is very much about being real, capturing everyday life and most importantly you’ll have lots of fun along the way.”