Wednesday, 15 January 2014

A Party fit for Knights and Princesses

When we lived in Yorkshire, Seren's birthday parties consisted of tea parties, and the most amazing friend- a stupendous baker- made her a cake.
When we moved to Wales we decided to have a 'big' 1st birthday party for the boys, finally being able to invite friends and family to share a day with us.
After that experience I decided a party every other year would be more than enough.

And so the boys turned 3 at the weekend.
I decided on a Knight's themed party. Admittedly not the boys first choice (that would of course be Fireman Sam) but Mike the Knight is a close second with lots of options for party fun.

A To-Do List when organising a party is a great place to start... along with Pinterest:
Community Centre booked, we could start with the invitations, we decided on scrolls.
I used parchment paper, a template created, and after they were printed I added names and stamped the seal.
This didn't last, I don't know how hands coped with wax seals, I gained so many burns I decided a tie was a much better idea.
We decided to hire a bouncy castle, provide lots of balloons, and play pass the parcel.
I like to think attending lots of parties means you get a good idea of what you can cope with.
There are so many parties you can choose: Loud DJ and party games, DJ, face painting, balloon modelling, lively host who gets involved, entertainers who cater for a designated number, hiring a soft play centre.
We knew we wanted to cater for anyone who wanted to celebrate the boys day, and across age ranges. 
We decided on what the boys most enjoyed and then added a craft table for older children.

Thanks to a friend, I discovered Baker Ross, with Knight Party Packs and Tiaras, I threw in some added bits and pieces to help decorate, and the table was set. It turned out that this table was constantly busy throughout the party, regardless of age, and definitely something I'd incorporate in future.

Mr J's input would turn out to be in balloon modelling. We agreed balloon swords would be a good idea... Mr J's skills developed throughout the party!
For the party food, I decided to focus on Knights, Dragons and Princesses.
After finding a great idea for Goblets, we went to Wilkinsons and the 99p store (another great tip off!):
For the goody bags I decided to create shield badges, to complement the invitations and theme.
I used Crayola air-dry clay as it is lighter than salt dough and I figured would work well for a badge.
I used our stamps to embed names as thought this would be safer than free hand (it transpired both are perfectly fine).
Used acrylic paint to create the shield.
And after a bit of trial and error used a white acrylic paint and pen nib to add names.
I had painted the backs yellow in advance, and used a glue gun to add a safety pin.
During the Christmas period I bought a large canvas from Home Bargains for about £2. I had planned a craft with never came to fruition.
Feeling inspired from a shield craft on Red Ted Art I decided to replicate the shield on a canvas.

And was really pleased with how this turned out.

Goody bags
I think goody bags are the most controversial of party items, they have gone from something quite trivial to what can be an expense of 'tat'. So many choices, plying children with sweets to go home, adding a small gift rather than sweets, and then there's trying to find a suitable goody bag for a theme you've managed to get hung up on. I decided on paper bags, originally after ones I could add a print to. I then acknowledged my limitations and just went with blue and pink paper bags.
I went for chocolate coins (treasure), balloons and bubbles (as chosen as must-have's by Tom and Seb) and of course... Cake.

 The cake
A seperate post will follow. Whilst the travel and warmth of the room did it no favours- I BAKED AND DECORATED A CAKE FOR A BIRTHDAY PARTY. For this I am most proud.

The party food
Realising we went very OTT for Seren's 4th birthday party (our first 'proper' party) we were more restricted with the volume and assortment of food for this party.
For savoury food, we went with:
Dragon Dinosaur sandwiches with jam, ham and cheese fillings. Sandwiches are the thing most frequently left at the parties Seren attends, so we hoped by making them fun it would appeal.
Dragon Dinosaur turkey in breadcrumbs nuggets- always a massive hit at parties, these more so because of their shape it seems.
Sausages on sword picks.
Dragon scales Tortillas.
For sweet, we went with treasure chests and gold coins.
Princess hat cupcakes.
Fairy cakes with rolled icing shields and castles.
Shield and castle biscuits using a fab receipe from Mummy Makes Cakes (I still think the biscuits should have been iced, Mr J recommended that something plain against so much decorated would be a good balance).
Dragon nests using Shreddies (never send a man out for shredded wheat), melted chocolate, golden syrup and marshmallows along with mini eggs).
And just for the purposes of ensuring we contributed to each child's 5-a-day, we did grapes and strawberries on swords.

My gorgeous boys.
They've turned three!
My heart runneth over.

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