Where marshmallow pops go to die…

I started blogging in 2013. My children were then one and four years of age. At that point JJ had had a couple of birthday parties but I’d never really put a huge amount of thought, time and effort into making them the picture perfect events which I began to see more and more of on the blogs of apparently domestic goddesses all over the blogosphere.

In 2014 I pulled out the big guns. In an effort to streamline everything I picked themes for both boys. EJ had a circus theme, JJ had a more traditionally ubiquitous pirate party. I sourced loads of relevant bits and bobs and even handmade various stuff like a lion ball toss:

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The Truth about… New Year’s Eve

New Year's Eve

Do people enjoy New Year’s Eve? Is that actually a thing? Even the fun being had by Jools Holland and friends becomes a little hollow when you realise it was pre-recorded. Frankly, I gave up on the 31st December a long time ago. I may be echoing a few memories penned over on Mummy Shambles (albeit her post was all about former Christmas Eves) but my New Years Eves over the decades have gone something like this:

1977 – My sister and I lie in our bunkbeds wide awake listening to the party my parents were throwing in full swing directly below us, wading through a sea of discarded streamers to breakfast the following day.

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On piracy and other party themes…

Pirates of the Caribbean

The other day JJ was invited to a friend’s birthday party. The theme was ‘alien tea party’ and it transpired that, other than the birthday boy himself and another little girl, no one really attempted to dress up. I guess you just don’t see much alien garb on the hangers down at ELC; no pint-sized Borg outfits or cute little tummy poppers courtesy of H.R. Giger.

I got talking to one of the dads and he made a passing comment about the irony of how it has, on the other hand, become so common to dress our children up as pirates (been there, done that!). After all, weren’t pirates historically some of the worst and most vicious, godless criminals ever known? Less Captain Pugwash and more Blackbeard methinks. We briefly pondered future trends in children’s party themes – will our children be sporting the garb of Nazi Germany or the Taliban a century from now?

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Word of the Week: Bedtime

New bunkbeds!

Anyone who read my Flat Pack! post on Wednesday will know it’s been all about the new bunk beds this week! Although it felt like a big move – and frankly, a huge transition particularly for EJ who has now gone straight from his cot to a full size single bottom bunk at the tender age of two, I’m glad that we’ve done it. Having said that it hasn’t all been plain sailing. On night one EJ climbed in and went out like a light no problem, but night two he wasn’t quite so docile and cried when I tried to tuck him in and leave. I climbed in with him, sang a lullaby, let him have his milk, tried to leave again but he was having none of it. JJ tried to take over for me bless him, but EJ just wanted his mummy! Eventually I told him I was going to go and have my shower and come straight back and, to my amazement, he agreed! Needless to say he was sparko by the time I returned and we went through the same thing last night too so I’m hoping a routine of sorts is forming and he’ll be comfortable with his new bedtime views very soon ( especially as I’m on my own with them for the next few nights while the hubster works).

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The big fifth pirate party!

Pirate party spread

So it’s finally happened  – the event that I dreamt up and began planning months ago is over – and my little boy is suddenly a big five-year-old schoolboy!

This is the fourth party I’ve thrown since having children (JJ had a second birthday party and EJ has had a 1st and a second) and with each experience I am learning how to be better and make it more impressive and at the same time stress-free. I spoke about the idea of a ‘kids party life hack‘ when I was preparing for EJ’s big circus party back in July, but even then I hadn’t got it quite right, giving myself the most massive headache of preparing 23 clown cake pops (and me, a complete cake pop virgin!). This time round I opted for marshmallow pops – just as impressive to look at but soooo much easier to make (assuming you have the right tools for the job)! Here’s a shot of my little army:

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Word of the week: Arrrrrgghhhh!

(Said in a Pirate stylee!). Or the word of the week could equally be ‘big’ or ‘school’ or transition as Wednesday was JJ’s first day of Reception class at his new infant school and he loved it!

First day at school!

This has also been a week of ramped up preparations for his *fifth birthday* party which is all happening tomorrow! He asked for a pirate party but his strongest and most insistent desire was that there be a bouncy castle with a slide! I’ve managed to source one with a pirate theme so that should make one little ‘big’ boy very happy!

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Word of the Week: After (and Before…)

If I was writing this post on Monday I might have been tempted to use the word ‘anti-climax’. After a few weeks of frenetic planning and organisation for EJ’s circus themed birthday party (don’t ask me why, he’s unlikely to remember any of it!), and then the party itself on Sunday, it feels like every moment of my spare time has been taken up with thoughts of timings and food choices and entertainment options. Come Monday I was left feeling a little deflated (along with about 20 shrivelled balloons!). Monday afternoon I was alone with both boys with nothing planned and the weather was a bit iffy. I felt a bit bored and fidgety. I allowed JJ to help his brother open up all the presents he’d received at his party which were a great success but left me feeling slightly worried about the knock-on toy clutter effect. I had already neglected any proper cleaning and tidying for at least a week, prioritising party stuff, and something needed to be done.

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Cake pop tutorial (what not to do!)

Clown cake pops pre smudging

Anyone who has been reading my blog lately will know that I’ve been up to my eyeballs in party preparations – possibly to the detriment of all other rational thought, and a big element of my ‘home-made’ circus theme was to be my clown cake pops. I’d never made these before, or even tasted one in real life. In fact the closest I’d ever come to a real one was probably behind the glass counter at Starbucks.

Looking at Pinterest had given me the idea though – they are clearly something a bit different and unique for a beautifully crafted party theme – a bit of a show stopper if you will.

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The Big (Top) Party!

After flinging together a 2nd birthday party for JJ three years ago, with nothing but a hired hall, bouncy castle and some Disney cars themed plates, cups and decorations, I decided this year to attempt to pull off something a little bit more special for EJ’s 2nd. I wanted a theme – something that could be tweaked and customised – and settled on the circus theme because I think it is fun and colourful.

In hindsight, I think I got a little bit too caught up in this, and the idea of making it perfect – picture perfect too. In the event there was so much going on, and so many elements to bring together that I pretty much forgot, or just didn’t have time to get my camera out, and I really didn’t have time to line up every little element to make it into the perfect photo-shoot.

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