My babies are a year older. One “terrible-two” year has finished, another just around the corner and the joy of the “wonder-threes” (whereby 400 million questions are asked and stubbornness takes a whole new level) has commenced.
So to mark the occasion I threw a ‘small’ party.
Ok, it was ridiculous! I went overboard.
I can’t help but throw huge parties. I pretend to everyone around me that it’s a small gathering or maybe to convince myself that it will be ok. 50 adults and approximately 30 (hmmmm, ok, ok, 35) kids later, we had a ‘small’ party at home.
It does not help that I am a self-confessed Pinterest junkie…..I am obsessed with the details and wanted to make everything! I will do a blog post one day on the many failed attempts.
I bet most parents will admit that if they have to hear the theme song to a Peppa Pig episode again they may actually jump off a bridge! I can only imagine what parents of Frozen-obsessed kids have to go through.
You may have guessed it, but I didn’t chose the theme. It chose me. More accurately, my son flipped and flopped between themes until I started ordering the party ware and he had no further choice or say in the matter.
Muddy puddles and snorting pigs are not my thing and I would have loved a Threechella party or any other cool and sophisticated theme, but the kids had spoken. I have to be honest, I will probably use that Coachella theme for my own birthday party!
Choosing a theme that works for both a baby girl and a big brother was difficult. I wanted something that could be fun for both. So a Peppa Pig party it was. The theme worked perfectly.
Warning and downside to the theme: I had no idea how hard this theme would be in the UAE! Let’s just say that Amazon and Shop and Ship have become my new best friends (and my credit card’s enemy).
I love cake as much as any kid loves cake. For my son’s first birthday I made the cake but there was no way in hell I was doing that again! As it was Maya’s first birthday I felt ‘obliged’ to have a showstopper (yes, I was feeling a tad bit guilty).
I got in touch with the cake maker of the year – Rasha Rmeily (aka cake designer, sugar artist and perfectionist extraordinaire). I fell in love with her Instagram page when I stumbled upon it one day and will let the pictures speak for themselves. Let me just say that Peppa and George’s picnic on top of the cake was, and still is, the talk of the party. Matching Oreo bites and the most amazingly detailed cookies completed the styled centre table look I was trying to achieve: no effort at all! You can place absolute design trust in Rasha and in turn you will have a designed masterpiece.
I am still blown away by the cake…
No party is complete or any fun without matching themed balloons. The ‘Peppa Pig’ balloons were shipped from Amazon. However, I am totally obsessed with this little boutique company called the Happy Bubble Balloons (HBB) company. They make these trendy, modern and on-point confetti balloons with matching garlands and provide the sweetest service (they even made me little mini balloons in the colour theme and surprised me!).
I also wanted some drama so I ordered a couple of their specialty 3 ft. balloons! The kids were in awe (it as the “biggest balloon in the world” according to many). I love how HBB just knew what I wanted and were absolutely patient with my indecisiveness re colours!
The Party Planner
That would be me. I had the best intention of hiring a party planner so I could just relax. Instead I spent the week before up till midnight putting favours together, making a felt muddy puddle, designing labels and stickers (yes; I spent hours on YouTube learning how to use Photoshop), styling the main table and running around in Deira to find various elements. I had my bestie buy out Daiso’s stash of baskets for the giveaways! I even made the tissue paper tassels with my cousin!
The Party Prop Prints shop on Etsy did an amazing job personalising the main banner and signs for me which I had printed in Dubai. My father (who had just flown in the day before) was tasked with creating a wooden frame for the banner. Thanks to ACE Hardware for helping supply and cut wood for us at 10 pm!
A close friend purchased artificial grass from Dragonmart (and had them cut into place-mat size) and I purchased a few crate boxes from IKEA (painted white with the help of my amazing super duper nanny) to create the ‘picnic’ effect I was looking for.
You just need to remember this name “Frog and Thistle Photography”. Two patient, kind, caring and amazingly talented mamma’s that document every detail, expression and game played and do it so well. Angela and Julie are amazing! The photos speak for themselves and these are just a ‘few’.
The advantage of using Frog and Thistle is that you don’t have to choose your ‘top 25 images’. You can have them all!
My two besties stepped up in a way I could never have imagined. Between the stress of work, the birthday party, planning my sister’s engagement party (which was the following week and more stressful than planning my wedding) I had no time to consider food and would just have a meltdown at the thought of it.
The hostess with the mostess (Heba) made the most amazing lunch for the adults whilst Wasen (my blogging partner-in-crime) ordered some of the yummiest additions from Book Munch. She also made muddy chocolate puddle desserts and pink colored custard sweets to match the theme. Calories were of no concern.
Whilst judgment may entail the following decision I made, I can only say that the kids loved every minute of it: I ordered 35 McDonald Happy Meals that couldn’t have come or been eaten quick enough.
Fun & entertainment
When you have so many kids at a party it’s a blessing that you have an entertainer. I didn’t want to spend hundreds of dirhams and wanted to stick to my budget (in case ‘daddy’ is reading this I REALLY did have a budget and the intention was to stick to it). Charlene, a freelance entertainer, brought the biggest smile to the kid’s little faces; the fact that she managed to entertain 35 kids on her own brought a smile to mine lol. I loved the games she chose, such as racing in potato bags (the simplicity of that game brought back so many memories of parties when I grew up) and designing ‘mummy’s hair’.
For tables, chairs and the bouncy castle (because no party is complete without this stuff, in Dubai anyway), Rent-A-Party came to the rescue. I have used their services twice to date and they don’t disappoint!
The end result?
Lots and lots of fun was had by the kids. Sugar highs were prevalent. One tired mummy that has vowed to never ever do that again will most likely throw the next birthday party too….
FYI no ‘freebies’ were thrown in the making of this post so rest assured that the people mentioned above were amazing.
Feel free to leave a comment or email me should you require any details. I would love to hear how your ‘small’ parties went and how many Pinterest junkies are out there!