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Heffalump 1st Birthday party

23 Dec

My baby boy turned one this year!  I had been planning his party for quite a while, since I had found the plates quite unexpectedly, and on sale too!!!  I only paid R8 per set of plates and they were licenced Disney ones!  The theme was Heffalump, one of the characters from Winnie the Pooh.  Not too much around in this theme, so I went about creating it using colours, print outs, etc.


To create the theme, I chose to focus on the colour of Heffalump (purple/lilac).  Easy to find gingham material from a local fabric shop (R30 per meter) and cheap lilac and white balloons were the starting point.

Our graphic designer created a wonderful invitation (costing R65) in which she coincidently used purple gingham pattern but she also chose to use kids building blocks in the design.  That gave me the idea to bring in the building blocks when designing his cake which the fabulous Nikki made in a red velvet flavour!  The cake had his first and second names written on two sides and the character of Heffalump on top.  Nikki, being so in tune with attention to detail, had noticed the angled strips on the invitation and included those on the design of the cake. (this cake cost R400)


For cupcakes, I just had cheap easy-to-make ones with lilac and white icing and sparkles on top.  To create the theme I bought lilac cupcake wrappers (R20) and then made my own Heffalump cake toppers that I printed and stuck on toothpicks. And the effect worked.


One of the things the kids loved at the party was the chocolate milkshakes.  I had bought small glass milk bottles from Consol glass (R8 each) and made up some chocolate Nesquick for them.  I bought the lilac striped straws (R35) to bring in the theme.


Because it was a One Year Old party, I didn’t want to fuss too much about entertainment, but I did want something for the older kids… I hired the perfectly themed jumping castle from one of our suppliers with Heffalump as the main image on the side!  The cost of hiring was R450.


So now that that party is over, I can start planning my daughter’s 4th birthday, a Peppa Pig princess party!

Dora the Explorer Rainbow party for a 3 year old

18 Apr

I realise I haven’t posted in a while – I guess that is what being a mum of a busy toddler plus having a newborn baby will do to you!  Yes, we have a baby in the house, a boy!  So will be sure to add his party plans onto our blog in months to come :)

ImageOur little girl was SO excited for her birthday this year.  Turning 3 was the first real party where there was much anticipation in the months preceding the event.  She loves Dora the Explorer, a character that until about a year or so ago, I had never heard of!  Dora is a Latino girl seeking out Adventures, solving puzzles, counting, getting through obstacles and unravelling clues as she embarks on her quests.  She has a talking backpack and a friendly monkey named Boots as her companion :)

Because of the Adventure aspect of this theme, I decided to incorporate an additional theme for the party to make it interesting… that of a RAINBOW. And with the help of Pinterest got loads of ideas!


rainbow cakeMy daughter has realised that a birthday is not a birthday without a cake.  Our fantastic cake makerDora cake made a delicious vanilla cake with each tier a different colour of the rainbow.  The decor on the outside had Dora and Boots sliding down a rainbow.  She also made my daughter her very own cupcake with Dora, complete with detail of the backpack on her back!


decorThe ceiling was covered in rainbow coloured balloons, it also had the effect of making the ceiling lower and feeling like you were under a rainbow. We hired tables and chairs and I used cheap fabric I had bought at a fabric shop with rainbow coloured polka dots as table cloths.  We hired chair covers in each colour of the rainbow from one of our party suppliers. We bought discounted fabric in each rainbow colour that we draped down the back wall of the entertainment area. The table was covered in a black tablecloth to offset all the rainbow colours and we stuck a huge picture of Dora against the wall.



Apart from the amazing rainbow cake, we also had the rest of the food rainbow themed.

The cupcakes also had rainbow sponge with a rainbow ribbon sweet on top.  Fruit platters had rainbow coloured fruit: strawberry, melon,

cupcakes fruit

pineapple, green grapes and purple grapes (blue berries were unfortunately out of stock). Lots of sweet jars on the table had brightly rainbow coloured sweets and marshmallows.  We made rainbow jelly in clear cups which the kids loved.  Also found cute rainbow coloured boxes that we put popcorn in.


bucketsThe main party activity was an Adventure as any good Dora party should have!  And of course an accompanying MAP!  Instead of a backpack, all explorers were issued a bucket and sunglasses. We had “stations” such as a giant shape sorter, a tent filled with newspaper where they had to search for Dora stickers, glow in the dark stars that were hidden in the tree, a chair bridge to cross, a jelly (gelli baff) pool to wade through and a fishing pool to fish out their floating party jars filled with yummy treats.

Great fun was had, and now our little girl is already planning next year’s party!  At the moment it is a Peppa Pig Princess party (note the double theme again!) although anything could change between now and March 2014!

Under the Sea themed party

17 Oct

Under The Sea is a fun party theme and suits both boys and girls.  The ideas are limitless and can also be used in planning a Little Mermaid, Finding Nemo, Sponge Bob Square pants…  Here are a few of my ideas on planning an Under The Sea themed party:

FOOD – fish and chips, sushi, marshmallow fish, sour worms (eels), jelly boats, fish shaped sandwiches (I love the ideas on

TABLEWARE – fish/sea themed plates and serviettes that are available at most toy/party outlets. I recently found some lovely 3D dolphin placemats that would also be a lovely keepsake/party favour for the kids to take home.

ENTERTAINMENT – So many ideas, but for little kids a jumping castle is always a winner.  Try find one that blends in with the theme like one of our suppliers has. A pinata shaped like a fish/octopus/jelly fish filled with sweets will be great fun for the children to bash. Try think up so water games – like passing a cup of water from one child to the next without spilling and the team that finishes with most water in their bucket wins. Plan a treasure hunt where the children have to hunt for a range of different pictures of sea life (like an octopus, sea horse, stingray, shark, turtle, etc) and the winner will be the child that comes back with a full set of pictures.

PARTY PACKS – keep to the theme, use a blue box to represent the sea, and green raffia to be the sea weed.

PARTY FAVOURS and PRIZES – I recently found some lovely glow in the dark sea creatures that you can stick to the ceiling, cupboard or wall which would make a great party favour.  Also, bubbles are always a winner for little kids to blow. Fish or boat bath toys for toddlers would suit this theme.

(All tableware, party packs, pinata’s, jumping castles and party favours/prizes are available from Party Things Online’s Facebook page alongside)

Things to consider when planning a child’s party

17 Sep

The prospects of planning a child’s party can be daunting, particularly if you are a new mom and you want your child and guests to have a great time.  Many things are often overlooked that can be quite important for the success of the party.  Here are some helpful ideas on what to consider when you plan the party.

Choosing a date – Plan your party in advance and send out the invitations with plenty of notice.  If you want, give each child a “save the date” card prior to sending out the invites as this will build the excitement.  If your child’s birthday falls during the school holidays or over a long weekend, rather plan the party for the week before or after. Otherwise, many families could be away on holiday and many children may not be able to make it.  Try to get a class list with all the children’s birthdays – if your child’s birthday falls in a month when many of the children in her class have a birthday, you may want to consider checking with the other parents when they are planning their child’s party as it would be awful to have a clash in dates.

Guest list – This can be quite tricky if you need to limit the number of guests.  Many children invite their entire class to their party, but this may not always be possible in terms of venue or budget constraints. One thing you could decide to do is have an all girl or all boy party.  You will also need to let your guests know if the parents may attend which is usually the norm for parties aged 5 and below.  Also consider whether you want to invite the guest’s older or younger siblings, as it may not always be appropriate, depending on the type of party you plan.

Budget – Planning your party budget is, in my opinion, the key ingredient to a successful party, and I don’t mean that you need to spend a fortune!  Parties may cost a lot if you start to hire the services of others or get outside catering, so if you want to go this route, plan in advance and start saving for the party expenses.  Make sure that you do your homework well in advance so you know what everything is likely to cost so there are no unpleasant surprises close to the party date.  Everyone wants to give their child the best party experience, but spend wisely so as not to mount up any unnecessary debt in the process.

Venue – If you are wanting to host a large party, but you live in a small dwelling like a townhouse or flat/apartment, you may need to consider hosting it in an alternative venue.  There are many options of children’s party venues, or you could arrange it in a public space like a park or botanical garden.  Remember to consider the season if you want an outdoor party – mid to late summer in the Cape is best for this, and avoid afternoons on the Highveld in summer due to possible thundershowers.

Safety – This is of critical importance. If you have a swimming pool at home, ensure it has a cover, net or fence around it.  If you have a swimming party, make sure that a responsible adult is in charge of supervision and don’t ever leave the children unattended in the pool. If you are hosting a toddler party, make sure that there are safety gates before any staircases, and ensure that all electrical cables and plug points are covered.  Remember that if you have a jumping castle or trampoline, these may not be suitable for younger children to be on together with older children. If you have your party in a outdoor public place, ensure that someone is keeping an eye out that no children go off wandering on their own.

Food – These days there seems to be a lot more food allergies than in the past.  Many children may suffer from things like wheat, gluten or dairy intolerances. Also in our multi-cultural country, some of the guests may have dietary restrictions due to their religion (halaal, kosher, etc).  In order to ensure you cater appropriately, ask for the parents to respond on the RSVP if there are any dietary issues you need to know about.  Also on the subject of food, make sure that you cater correctly for the age groups invited to the party.  You may need two menus, one for the adults, and one for the children.  Even the children’s menus could differ if you have different aged children attending.  You should not serve things that a small child could choke on.

Age appropriate activities – Remember to think of the age group of the children coming to the party when planning the activities.  If you are hosting a movie/dvd party make sure the movie is suitable for family viewing.  Even if your child is allowed to watch age restricted movies like horror movies, this could be unsuitable for the majority of the children attending the party.  Also with physical activities, think of the abilities of the age of the guests.  If your child can swim but many of her friends can’t, hosting a swimming party would not be appropriate.  A jumping castle that may be suitable for smaller children, may not be appropriate for older children, so check up on these things before you hire them.

The best thing is to plan in advance so you can think of all the options well before the day of the party.

(photo’s taken from the Party Times blog)


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