Ahhh it is done. We managed to pull off a 'very important because I am in double figures' party with just 3 grown ups with a teething newborn to juggle between us! Hurray! And we have one happy 10 year old.
Holly wanted a vintage tea party. I was grateful for this theme. Elijah would like Lego... in 3 weeks time.
Inspired by the posh ladies in Pippi Longstocking Holly and I wore big hats. Mine is less frilly and i can hopefully wear it again during our 'scorching hot summer'. Holly's was from an ebay shop. We had a game on arrival called the Posh Ladies Name game. Each girl had to pick up a book, close their eyes, select and page and a word at random and then pick an appropriate ending from the list on the instructions. They did the same again (because double barrel names have an air of extra poshness) So you select the words 'what' and 'sock' and you become Mrs Whatingham-Sockley don't-you-know. I framed up these little mini frames I found in hobbycraft with their real initials in the corner (which we used to label their activities, party bags etc) and wrote their posh lady name on their badge for the day.
We always run out of time for games but we do love a good treasure hunt. I downloaded a font called zooland from dafont.com and used it just as it was in capitals to write out a message. So I typed out my message in 'english' and then selected and changed the font to a load of woodland animals. I printed out another copy and Holly printed the alphabet on small bits of card which we stuck the corresponding animal to the back of and I hid these around the house. The girls had a few minutes to run and find the letters and then set to breaking the code which led them to find the treasure. The treasure was a voucher for some dried flowers and poppy seeds from the 'gift shop' (for an activity later) and blott rubbers and rainbow looms in little packs (and the code included the disclaimer that it wasn't a very vintage prize!)
There were 10 girls so we split into 2 groups to do some craft. The girls made 'vintage head bands' in the lounge and soaps in the garden under the gazebo.
For the headbands we provided them with a few sizes of paper flowers, some buttons in ivory and a few pastel shades, scraps of pastel and ivory ribbon, a few gems and gave each of them hair band. I got all these bits and pieces from hobbycraft or ebay and the hair bands were already covered in an ivory ribbon and I bought as a set of 12. Some of the flowers had twisty stems so they could wind them to secure them and some bits needed gluing on so Beth was on duty with a glue gun.
Soap making is one of my favorite kids activities as it is so incredibly easy. Having had so many disasters with candy melts, sweets and foody items, even in silicone, I was scared when I first tried this but its super easy. I'll do a separate post about what we did as we've even been busy with a couple of other soapy projects since the party. The girls used their dried flowers and poppy seed vouchers to choose the bits of texture to add in and I had a range of colours and essential oils from BeeBeautiful for them to choose from. These little baking molds are from Lakeland and are the perfect size. The best bit is that they are all separate so I didn't have to have all the girls crowding round one mold. The soaps set in about 20 mins (even quicker if you are sitting under a gazebo in the rain) so I had some little cellophane bags ready to pop them into to go into party bags and I get to keep hold of all the molds.
I made these giant flowers last year for the Oz party as huge poppies. They are a faff and they fall down when you try to make a field of poppies outside... but inside, where they stay upright, they are fun. We keep them in the loft so I ripped the red poppy heads off and replaced them with these big white tissue paper pom poms which I had dipped the edges into a big bowl full of watery pink paint and left to dry on lots of layers of newspaper. We had fun doing a silly photoshoot here and I'm getting these printed off quick-smart for thank you cards so that each of the girls can have a copy of theirs.
Food: This was a good theme for me. I normally go overboard on food and make 3 sandwiches per person as well as 3 other savory options incase they don't like anything and 2 of each bun, incase someone takes 2 of one kind and someone else doesn't get one. I have leared my lesson from 10 years of having 17 plates of leftovers. The food theme was simple so I stuck with 4 types of sandwiches (white bread with the crusts cut off which my children couldn't believe) salad veggies, mini bread sticks, a bag of skips and some mini pork pies and scotch eggs. For puddings we made classic iced buns with a cherry on top, scones with jam and cream and some fondant fancies (no, Mary Berry, I did not make these - just these were Mr Kipling) Drinks were lemonade and pink lemonade in party bottles with paper straws and hot chocolates served by my 7 year old handsome waiter from tea pots.
The cake always has to be a surprise from Holly - she never wants to see it before the party which is incredibly awkward - cakes are big things to hide! She saw it the night before covered in plain frosting and thought that was it and was a little underwhelmed but by the morning it was covered in its ruffles and she got to cut into it at the party table to find out what colour I'd managed to make the cakes go inside - which was also news to me as I really had no way of knowing it the colurs had worked!
Well we obviously needed peonies. Our peonies haven't grown this year. Really sad face. Still, we had fun decorating with the theme 'pretty'.
The girls were given 'gift vouchers' by their plates to use at the 'gift shop' which was the good old ikea expedit shelves with different items spread through the different sections. I printed of what I expect is a fairly unrealistic vintage price-list. I have no idea if a shilling would buy you a bag of sweets or 100 acres of land... but I'm sure non of the girls did either. Most of the gift bags were homemade. I bought the bon bons and the pencils from Sainsburys and the bags from amazon but I got my children involved in creating the things to go inside. We make hair slides with cobochons and supplies from etsy, bath bombs, which I will post about another day and coconut mice with coconut, condensed milk and icing sugar.
Ahhh...and finally the invitations... which were actually first, not finally, or we would have had no guests... These were made with paper and glue for the background image which I photographed, printed and added printed dates to. I stuck this onto a backing piece of card and cut a slit into the top of the tea cup. The names were printed with stamps on tags with the detail written on the back which were then tucked into the tea cup.
Thanks for reading, and well done if you've actually made it to the end of a crazy long post!