Storybook party table

Another year has flown by and last month was Pippa’s 4th birthday.  I am usually reasonably well prepared when it comes to things like kids parties, but this year after a month of overseas guests, I was left flat-footed when my Mum (who was visiting) excitedly mentioned to Pippa that it was her birthday the following week.  I was driving at the time and almost crashed the car.  I had completely forgotten!   With fingers crossed, I sent off some hurried text messages hoping that her friends would be free and dispatched Pippa to pre-school with some coloured in hand-made invitations.  Professional it was not.

In the end, the party came together with a little creativity and my usual run around to Spotlight and Art Friend.   As with the previous year, it was Pippa’s choice of cake that decided the theme – Princess and the Pea.  Not wanting to alienate her boy friends, I interpreted this into a ‘Storybook’ theme.

Table set up 06

Storybook characters

Book characters on bamboo skewers create a centrepiece for the tables. The Princess and the Pea cake is hiding in the background as it was pretty dodgy, but you get the idea.

Storybook table close up

I found some sweet pink harlequin and turquoise love heart paper cups in Children’s Showcase so I used that as a guide for the party colours.  I served the food in picnic boxes adorned with Meri Meri paper bows and used some artificial grass pots from IKEA dotted with fresh flowers from JM Florist as a centrepiece to hold the book character cut-outs.

Storybook garland

To create some interest in the room, I made these doily garlands and hung them vertically from the ceiling.

Name the Character game

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Plastic frames, IKEA

As anyone who has hosted a four year old birthday party will tell you, there is a small window in which to capture their attention with a game (not having an organised game is not really an option unless you want the party to descend into chaos).  So along with the regular musical statues and pass the parcel, I devised a guessing game around books.  Along the windows I hung these frames and made a pretend book that hung from the frame with the clues.  For ‘Name the Book’ the kids had to guess the book title using an excerpt from the book (…“but who is this creature with terrible claws and terrible teeth in his terrible jaws…” cue squeals of “THE GRUFFALOOOO!”)  I also did ‘Guess Who’, ‘Name the Character’ and ‘Who am I’.

Storybook library bags

Storybook comic bags

Sticking with the book theme, I made some library bags for the take-away (although I realise comics aren’t strictly books, it was either this or Winnie the Pooh fabric for the boys’ bags – I consulted my 7 year old son who left me in no doubt which way I should go on that one).*

The Princess and the Pea cake was relatively easy, although it did require four separate cakes to be baked.  I always do my baking the day before the party, not only because the day of the party is usually pretty chaotic, but more importantly icing a cake is infinitely easier when it has been in the fridge for a few hours, if not a day, and I have little patience for icing.   Baking four cakes is not difficult (I used the same recipe for each cake) but it is time consuming and my goodness there was a lot of butter.  To see how I made the green peas inside the cake take a look at the Princess and the Pea cake tutorial under my Create page.

Birthday cake

Pippa had a lovely time with her friends at the party and I now have a couple of weeks reprieve before I begin planning Finn’s birthday (I have started to plant the seed for a “let’s go to the movies with your friends” party…I think it may have worked.  Let’s hope so otherwise it looks like I might be coming up with a Rockstar party next).**

*If you would like any Winnie the Pooh fabric let me know….I have a fair few metres going spare!
** When I wrote this post Finn hadn’t celebrated his birthday – he has now and I did end up doing a rockstar party at home.  Argghh, I can’t help myself!  It was fun though – karaoke, a lot of 1D and a mums vs boys dance off…we had it all!

Photography, Zoe Hasker and Lottie is Loving