As a child, the birthday parties which my parents threw for me were always a highlight of my year! I have a summer birthday and we were lucky enough to have a large garden (a benefit of being a clergy child), so my parties always consisted of lots of fun games, good friends and a brilliant birthday tea. And the cake – Mum always did the same cake for me (chocolate biscuit cake – yum!) but always sculpted it into something amazing!
I loved my parties, and so I try to throw a similar party for T each year. For her first birthday, we kept it reasonably simple with a picnic in the park (not like she knew what was going on anyway, right?!); the year after we did a farm theme; and this year we decided to theme her party around one of her favourite books – The Tiger Who Came To Tea!
First off, the invitations. With a little help from my computer I made a few amendments to the front cover and sent these out to her friends. Of course, I did actually include her name, instead of just ‘T’!
Next on the list was the birthday tea. This was reasonably straightforward – the book mentions lots of food, after all! So we had sandwiches and buns (savoury cheese and spinach muffins, since there was also cake); crudités and houmous; and cheese puffs. I was planning on serving some of the food in empty tin cans, with ‘Tiger Food’ labels – but since the kids weren’t eating around the table, and are so young still, I decided it wasn’t quite worth the effort! Rather than giving them tea to drink, I served squash from a teapot, which I think was probably more for my enjoyment than theirs!
And of course, I made a cake. I decided to make a simple Victoria Sponge, but made it into a ‘zebra’ cake by adding cocoa to half the cake mix and layering the plain and chocolate batter to give a striped effect. I then used shop bought icing, to cover the cake orange and used strips of black icing to give it a striped ‘tiger’ effect. This was finished off with a mini cup and saucer from T’s teaset!
Due to her age, we don’t really do many party games yet, just let the children play. However, I couldn’t resist setting up a few themed activities! On one table we had a simple set up of paper plates, strips of orange and black paper, and googly eyes for the children to make their own tigers. I had also set up a jungle themed small-world with jungle animals, sticks, and some foliage from the garden. Finally we set up our Duplo dolls house, with a visit from a Tiger, of course!
We invited all the children to come dressed as their favourite jungle animal, and had some pretty great costumes! For T and myself I used coloured t-shirts and added spots and stripes of duct tape to create a tiger and leopard effect! T also had a tail made from felt, and some cute clip on ears that she refused to wear! Mr T decided to come dressed as an elephant and made a grand effort with some goggles and lagging – not bad for a man who hates dressing up!
T is already thinking about themes for her 2017 party. What favourite themes have you done for your kids?