Kid's birthday parties. How mad do you go? Brae is a January baby and being one myself, you soon realise that everyone is over partying/celebrating and usually skint. There's no chance of an outdoor party or BBQ so already it's quite limiting on what you can do. For his first birthday last year we literally decided the week before to have a little gathering at home, invited family and a few friends, ordered some M&S food and cake and did a tonne of balloons. Easy but still somehow cost almost £300....crazy!
This year it was pretty obvious that another national lockdown was looming before Bozza even announced it so we decided to book an entertainer for a zoom party. A couple of friends had used and recommended Spellbound Parties, so I contacted them and spoke to Clare who was really helpful. She asked me what Brae liked, how old he was, age of the other kids, recommended some options and we went for a Mickey Mouse Club House themed party. This cost £40, much cheaper than having an entertainer come to your house or a hall where you're looking around £200 usually.
The 'party' is started 15 minutes earlier than the time you book so that the kids (and adults) can jump on before and say hello. The entertainer, the lovely Clare, bounces on at 3pm and after some house keeping and saying hello to each child the fun begins. What followed next was games, dancing, singing and cakes. The kids loved it. It didn't matter that they weren't in the same room at all. Clare awarded them points each throughout the games and always referred to the kids by name and made sure everyone was included.
Brae is obsessed with Mickey, or 'MickNey' as he calls him so we took the opportunity to dress him up while he's at an age where he can't argue and his cousins joined in too also providing great photos to embarrass them all with later in life.
Costumes were £10.99 from Amazon. His cousins go to the same childminder so luckily are in our childcare bubble meaning he wasn't dancing alone on the call.
We wanted to support as many small and local businesses as possible this time round rather than going to the larger, more predictable options as we've done previously for the other elements. Our local bakers - Bakers of Bexley, created this beaut after I messaged them on Facebook with some images from google and did these 15 cupcakes too. I asked for a small cake as obviously there's only us eating it and even though I'm eating for 2 a 3 tiered creation is a tad OTT I feel.
Last year we decided to do the balloons ourselves which was a disaster and not the cheap solution we thought it would be. Dan and I fought doing the balloon arch so Shannon came to the rescue to help finish it off just before everyone else arrived but for the cost of the helium (there was a shortage at the time if I remember) and the amount of time it took we decided to again look local this time. Sam and Jenny at Inflatabakes sent some Mickey Mouse options and we spent a much smaller £44 on two fab creations/columns which Brae is obsessed with. They also created personalised cookies for £1 each. The cookies went in personalised cake boxes from The Party Box Shop on Etsy with the cupcakes and some Mickey and Minnie (£1 each on Amazon) ears to Brae's buddies who lived locally. Lucky for me, daddy lost the coin toss and acted as delivery driver the day before so that most of kids joining in on zoom had a goody bag too.
The result? A very happy 2 year old, 30 minutes of mayhem and even suggestions that we take it in turns to do something similar every week lol!
Best of all, no stress for me, no frantic cleaning and tidying of the house before and after the event, just sending a few emails. Perfect! I'm sure it's trickier the older kids get to work out how to throw them a party or celebrate during lockdown but it's good to see how many smaller businesses have quickly adapted to offer alternatives to their usual packages.
What have you guys done or what plans do you have for any upcoming celebrations?
Inflatabakes - www.facebook.com/inflatabakes
Bakers of Bexley - www.bakersofbexley.co.uk
Spellbound Parties - www.spellboundparties.co.uk