Tuesday 23 August 2016


It is easy to get excited about birthday parties. They are a joyful time, and can be a lot of fun - even in just the envisaging and organising. But after all of the planning and preparation when the clock ticks down and the guests arrive, we try to keep the occasion as low key as possible. 

But there are parameters. Over the years we tend to find that children can get a little restless if there's no structure. So we usually have in the back our minds a run down of how things should go. An activity or two followed by food and cake. Two hours seems to be a good time limit too, and generally we prefer morning get-togethers - from about 10-12 noon. That way the sugar and excitement can abate as the day wears on.

Last year a craft-based fairy-themed birthday party was quite a hit and so this year we continued with this theme but with a twist. After seeing an idea for a potted fairy garden party on Cloistered Away, I thought it would be a great activity for our soon-to-be five-year-old. It also suited our current location as we could set up a table outside and have plenty of space for the children to forage.

In the days leading up to the party, I bought a few craft supplies and also rounded up some of our own, including shells we had found at a local beach and feathers that we've accumulated this past year. We also made some toadstools the day before from air-dried clay, moulding the shape, inserting a skewer and painting with poster paint.

For the party, we carried the supplies in old jam jars (easy to transport with the screw-on lids) and egg carton containers. Everything was placed in the centre of the table. We also bought small strawberry plants for the girls to plant in their fairy garden pot. Each of them was given a terracotta pot filled with soil and were free to decorate the gardens as they chose. There are some amazing creations on Pinterest, but I wanted each child to have the freedom of opportunity to create their own design.

When everyone arrived we gave them all a paper bag to forage in our garden where nothing is precious. The girls picked black-eyed Susan flowers, bamboo leaves, sticks and pebbles. And I had some paper butterfly notes from Poppies For Grace from years ago, which I taped onto skewers, and they inserted into their gardens. Each child also got a little Schleich rabbit to use as a decoration. And along with the potted gardens, this was their party gift.

Food was cobs of corn and organic sausages cooked on our make-shift outdoor fire, and one of our homemade cakes that we make and decorate every year. This year chocolate sprinkles were made to look like a toadstool.

Decorations were kept to a minimum as we are the midst of renovating The Stone Lodge, where we hosted the party. A painter's drop sheet created a neutral backdrop and was adorned with simple white bunting.

Creating the fairy gardens was enjoyed by all and, of course, something you can do at any time of year.

images the indigo crew

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