Another morning after pick-me-up of leftover cake before tackling the aftermath.
I always find that after months of planning, weeks of preparation and days of baking, sticking and stringing, the party passes all too quickly. I end up with a deflated feeling after every event, usually lamenting the lack of photos taken and wondering if I should have spent more money in pursuit of 'wow' factor. I guess I'm too much of a perfectionist to completely enjoy the results of my planning.
I designed the invites myself and then printed them using Optimal Print. We only used them for Lily's nursery friends as the majority of guests were invited using Facebook. I'm not snobby when it comes to social media and I love how easy it is to contact guests and track RSVPs using the Facebook Events function.
We had a blank canvas to use for the venue as we hired out a room at our local library. For the bargain price of £20 for the whole afternoon we had the use of the large room, a breakout space and the kitchen. There were some restrictions on sticking decorations to the walls and ceilings which was a bit tricky to work around but I would definitely hire the space again. Especially now I feel like I have more of a feel for the space and how it works in reality. Maybe next time we'll work out how to get the music to play through the ceiling speakers...
I spent my balloon budget on stunning rainbow jewel balloons from Bubblegum Balloons and created a mini balloon arch for the main table. I can't tell you how much I love this arch, I did doubt my ability to do it myself but can confirm that it's actually really easy! After struggling to find a decent space we decided to fix the arch to a noticeboard in order to hide as much of the grey as possible.
I will admit to missing having helium balloons though, you can never have enough balloons!
Most of the rainbow decor came from Sainsburys or Party Pieces and I picked up a sparkling gold 'Happy Birthday' banner from the Original Party Bag company.
The party hats were also from Party Pieces and I decorated them using some pompoms, ribbons and buttons picked up in Hobbycraft.
The cake gave me nightmares. Literally. I always have grand ideas, but despite being able to bake a tasty cake, I lack the ability to make them look stunning. That doesn't stop me trying though and I was really pleased with the outcome this time. For me to say that is a miracle, I'd like to think that I'm getting better...
It did go through a couple of versions, I woke up on Sunday morning to discover that nearly all of the butterflies had fallen off the cake overnight. I'm proud of myself for not picking the cake up and flinging it at the wall and instead I had to do a quick fixing job at 6am and hope for the best.
I kept the rest of the food simple (good job really). The children had some cute jigsaw shaped sandwiches from M&S, some crudites and colourful rainbow kebabs. I'm becoming a big fan of the M&S party selection - the time and stress saved on prepping my own sandwiches was well worth every penny. With some sausage rolls, cocktail sausages and crisps it was more than enough for a birthday tea. I didn't cater properly for adults but did provide some cake and some crisps for them to nibble on as well as tea, coffee and cold drinks.
My favourite part of the whole party was the arrival of Princess Sofia from the Fairydust Entertainment's team. I love these guys and have seen them at a load of events so was keen to have them attend Lily's birthday. We booked their standard package which included one princess who read a story, sang, played a game of capture the pirate, helped present the cake and then at the end crowned 'Princess Lily' with a beautiful tiara and pinky promise ceremony. They even gave Lily a gift and it was magical having them there.
We also played some traditional party games - musical bumps and statues, musical chairs and pass the parcel. I borrowed a bubble machine and Sofia spent time blowing bubbles and dancing with the children. Towards the end they all went a little crazy and there was a mini mosh pit, with bubbles and loud music!
Each child went home with a cello rainbow party bag filled with some bubbles, sweets, chocolate coins and cake. I didn't want to go overboard on party bag favours because in my experience, no matter how good they are, sooner or later they end up in the bin. That said, I wouldn't do without them altogether and I hope they children enjoyed them.
After planning stress (do as I say, not as I do), very little sleep and the butterfly-calamity I managed to get through the whole event running on adrenaline but I couldn't have done it without help. My Mum was on the other end of the phone for valuable cake decorating advice. My friend Lindsay was amazing throughout - helping me set up and doing all the odd jobs throughout the party and my party-planning extraordinaire bestie Nola worked her magic whenever it was needed. I'm so grateful to have friends like these, like Marina who took tons of photos and like Laura who shoved me out of the kitchen to enjoy the party whilst she made tea for the grown ups.
Lily had an amazing time. I asked her what her favourite part was, expecting her to say cake or Princess Sofia but she shouted "everything! Just everything!" and it made my day.
If you're planning a Rainbow party then check out my Pinterest board for inspiration!