How to have a stress-free kid’s birthday partyJanuary 30, 2017
I hate to break it to you, but there’s no such thing a stress-free kid’s birthday party – but please keep reading, because there ARE things you do, and people you can contact, who can make it considerably less painful. Even if you’re on a budget.
At the weekend we celebrated Phoebe’s second birthday (last year we went to Sri Lanka on her first birthday to avoid having a party, which seems a bit melodramatic in hindsight, but worked very well). However, with her little sister due in a matter of weeks we wanted to have a day just for her. A toddler party at 36 weeks pregnant. I must be mad…
Here’s my party planning wish list:
- Outside (the weather is too nice to suffer soft play)
- Not silly money
- Timings to work with toddler naps
- Entertainment that doesn’t involve my waters breaking while doing The Birdie Song. Do kids still dance to that…?
- Good food that kids AND grown-ups will enjoy
- No Peppa Pig theme.
After doing a quick survey amongst friends, it was decided that two-year-olds are just happy to run around and play some games, so I didn’t need to worry about Elsa impersonators, David Blaine wannabes etc, especially if we were going to have it in the park on a Saturday morning (which we were, because it’s free). Also, trying to get toddlers to sit on chairs at a table to eat is like herding feral cats, so we decided on blankets and a picnic style, which saved money too.
So who did I call?
Food by Lime Tree Café
I’ve been to events catered by this Dubai institution and have always lingered at the buffet table far longer than necessary. With offerings for both little ones and adult taste buds, we ordered mini pizzas, chicken and cheddar pinwheels, mini baked potatoes, fruit skewers and colourful cupcakes for the children, which were placed on the ground within easy reach of tiny hands, then Coronation chicken club sandwiches, tomato and mozzarella mini rolls, spinach blinis and mini Stilton toasties with caramelised onion for the grown-ups, which we had on a trestle table. Everything was seriously delicious, and more than enough for 12 kids and their parents (eg I merrily took home some leftovers).
Ordering the food was really easy, and we picked up everything at 9am from their Al Quoz kitchen. For menus and more information visit the website here.
Entertainment and décor by Cheeky Little Events
These guys came highly recommended, and were SO helpful, with Head of Bookings Sophie cheerfully and patiently answering my endless silly questions. Once we’d established that dining table and tiny chairs were going to be a waste of time she suggested blankets and cushions for lounging on the grass, in colours to match the (very loose) rainbow theme. We also ordered 30 helium balloons from them, and she was able to advise on suitable entertainment. The lovely Emma joined the party for an hour, armed with a music system, balloons for creating dogs, flowers and swords, and child-friendly glitter tattoos. She was an instant hit with the kids, who clamoured for her attention (and prizes she gave out during games).
Logistically it was really straightforward, with us paying 50% upfront and the rest on the day, the décor team was punctual, turning up at the park bang on time happily setting up everything we needed, and Emma was fab. We’d definitely use them again as other entertainment options range from petting zoos to an inflatable outdoor cinema, and the service from start to finish was outstanding.
Cake by Frosted
I’ve known Jennifer for years, so she was my go-to girl for Phoebe’s birthday cake, no questions asked. My only issue was knowing what we wanted… She was full of suggestions and inspiration, so we came up with the final design of colourful balloons, and Phoebe was totally awestruck (as were the other children who each had a slice of the chocolate sponge with vanilla buttercream and their choice of fondant balloon on the side). Jennifer also works with Dubai-based company The Party, who kindly provided the P cake topper. As for the taste? Unreal. I’m thrilled to say we brought a few slices home, and the sponge can be frozen, so unless I eat it in the next day (could happen) we’ll have some stashed away for the future.
Details by Party Camel
I LOVE this online store, and bought everything I needed in terms of plates, napkins, tablecloth, party favours and more, from the easy to use website. We went for the rainbow theme, with some unicorn details, plus fun sunglasses for the kids to wear and some paper bunting for the trees, but were really spoilt for choice as they have countless combinations, from sophisticated colours to the characters that children love (Paw Patrol party, anyone?).
They also offer gift bags, gorgeous wrapping paper and ribbons, cards, games and décor, with literally a one-stop shop for baby showers, birthdays, hen dos, Halloween and Christmas. The best bit? It all arrived the next day, and was really well-priced.
Photography by Soul Photography
I knew that I’d be too busy chatting/eating/trying to avoid meltdowns to take any proper photos of the party so enlisted Nabin from Soul Photography (whose adorable daughter was on the guestlist anyway) to assist with capturing some special moments. And I’m so glad he did. As you can see from the images, Nabin’s style is so natural and fun, which was perfect for our party in the park. He is also available for weddings, corporate shoots, food photography and more. Unfortunately for Nabin we might have to rope him in for every party we ever have!
While I think I might be a little bit mad/hormonal to host a second birthday party just before giving birth, I’m so glad we did. No expensive venue hire, just a lovely bunch of people enjoying themselves in the sun. Then naptime for the kids (and me).
I’d love to hear who’s in your little black book of kid’s parties. Any recommendations?