This month's guest blog on Motherhood and Creativity comes from the very stylish and inventive Sally of Dorothy and Theodore. Here she shares why for her, birthday parties are an annual celebration of mums' incredible creativity:
Birthdays come but once a year, and the years when it truly is magical and enchanting are so few that I believe in making them as special as they possibly can be. They also present me with the perfect opportunity to indulge my creative side to create something truly memorable and wonderful.
Making a good party a great party is easy with two golden rules:
Firstly, theme, theme, theme. Attention to detail makes all the difference. Get creative and follow your theme in every aspect of the party.
I am starting to get a reputation for my sandwiches which are always shaped to the theme. Snails for a bug party, shields or crowns for a knight or princess party or chicks for a farm theme. Yes, I admit it is a waste of bread but if you’re super organised blitz the leftovers into breadcrumbs and freeze for future use (or just feed the ducks with it on a trip to your local park!). I love to rename the food to have ‘slug sausages’ ‘dinosaur scales’ (Doritos) or candyfloss cobwebs from the princess castle.
The invitations set the tone of the party and so I love to try and come up with interesting ways to invite your guests. Scrolls wrapped up with ribbon or cookie cutters with the invite attached look great and seeing the faces of your little one and their guest when the invitations are given out is worth the little bit of effort involved.
My favourite part of the planning is goody bags. This is when you can really get carried away with your creativity. My favourite so far was this year’s bug party for my son Dalton’s 4th Birthday. We sent the children home with a caterpillar in a jam jar (with a holey lid!) with instructions to look after it until it turned into a butterfly.
I admit to being just a little bit horrified when a pot of food, 35 vials and a pot of tiny caterpillars arrived and I had the joyous task of distributing food and caterpillars into each vial, but Dalton got such a kick out of us looking after them all for 2 weeks before the party (so they grew a bit) and learning about them and some patience as the whole process took several weeks. And all of his friends sent him pictures of their butterflies before they were released, which meant he also shared in their joy.
photo credit: Woody Thrower
And rule number 2: Plan and put in the effort. If you are prepared to put in some planning, preparation and effort only your imagination (and budget!) is the limit.
I cannot tell you the joy I felt when I stayed up into the very small hours one night before Dalton’s second birthday to finish his cake, only for him to come downstairs the next morning, look at the cake and say “Wow, mummy it’s a tractor and a farm!” and then give me a huge hug. Not to mention the buzz I got when the fondant through the play-dough machine for my Highland Cow actually worked!!
Like any event, children’s parties can be stressful but if you put in the prep, then not only will you be super organised so won’t be rushing around the entire duration, you will also consciously make yourself stop and take in the reactions and delight to the cake, themed games and any other surprises you have planned.
I love being a mum. I love getting to indulge my creative, fun side and am always coming up with treasure hunts, new games, activities or even just turning mundane tasks into fun on a day to day basis. And parties are the perfect excuse to let your imagination run wild and to make magic happen. My daughter’s first birthday party is not until September, but I have already started planning and picking up cookie cutters, jelly moulds and prizes, and her Belle in Wonderland party is well underway. The delight on my children’s faces is a (huge) added bonus, but I enjoy the planning almost as much. And let’s face it, if you can’t get creative, carried away and indulgent for your own children’s party – when can you be?
Sally Hall is co-owner of www.dorothyandtheodore.com. An online shopping boutique which showcases beautiful, stylish and yet still practical products for parent and child.
Well, you might not have baked the perfect cake (I have to confess to buying mine from an unnamed supermarket at the last minute for both birthdays this year, cough, why not have a go at this instead and give yourself a slice of me time pie) or grown butterflies for your party guests, but every mum is creative in our own way. Come and share your creativity with us at story of mum. We'd love to see your doodles or read the word you'd add to our giant mums' poem...