How to pull off a birthday party on a budget.
So I have finally recovered enough after the first week back at school to tell you all about Charlotte’s birthday party. If you follow me on Instagram you will have seen a bit of the prelude but I’ve been saving most of the photos of the day because it was so bloody brilliant!
I know, I’m shocked too! I said last year that I wouldn’t be throwing a birthday party again for a long time (in fact I say that every year), mainly because I thought I would have to take out a second mortgage. I had also said that I wasn’t making a cake for Charlotte again, especially if I was organising the party because it costs as much as buying one plus all the stress. But, because I don’t listen to the rational side of my brain most of the time I did those exact two things…and much much more. But without spending much much more.
Now, I shall admit early on that I may have steered Charlotte away from yet another Princess party. And I may have steered her away from anything which would entail any sort of soft play. So after much discussion we landed on a festival theme. Mainly because I was having serious FOMO about another year not going to a festival and also that I could probably get away with all sorts of things and call it ‘festival theme’.
And so the planning began.
First the invitations. These had to be sent out mega early because I cleverly had my daughter right on the cusp of school starting. I did love designing these on Canva though. Even Charlotte was happy with them and she’s my toughest critic
Then to try and plan a great birthday party on a tiny budget.
So I begged and borrowed and pulled in the favours as much as I could. I got an awesome bell tent for the weekend for a days worth of de-cluttering. I got the longest string of bunting from a colleague. I got a huge garden from my parents because they were away (I did ask them I promise), Their garage also came with a range of gazebo’s, tables and chairs. I asked for volunteers to help and be bossed around on the day. I roped in a friend who is awesome at face painting who would give me mates rates and I even got my brother to dredge up his circus skills from many moons ago.
I came up with some crafts that could be done fairly easily by small children including making dream catchers (see here for a ‘how to’ video by yours truly) and juggling balls. I bought some hair chalks and tattoo transfers and I planned the menu. Hot Dogs and Mac ‘n’ Cheese both with a gluten and dairy free option. Sounded ‘festival’ enough for me and wouldn’t take too much effort.
Then there was the cake.
Which I sort of forgot about until I walked into HobbyCraft and saw a perfect (fake) Unicorn Cake. So after much Pinteresting and after one cake went in the bin, I ended up with this. A gluten free, dairy free sponge with raspberry ‘buttercream’ filling…and a penis for a horn. Nailed it.
And do you know what?
Despite the horny unicorn, it all went well! Yes, there were around 60 people who turned up which I may not have quite accounted for. Yes, it rained on and off throughout the day. Yes, I ran out of paper cups. Yes, I maybe didn’t quite cater enough for 26 hungry 5 and 6 year olds, but also yes, all the parents were awesome and helped out. Yes, all the children enjoyed it and yes, I am not having to eat birthday party left overs for the next three weeks. I wasn’t stressed. I wasn’t worried. I actually managed to keep my shit together during the prep (bar one incident we wont mention) and I think I enjoyed it as much as Charlotte did. And that’s what counts really right?