Every year I say it: next year, no party! And then, every June and July, here we are, in party mode… I am nothing if not predictable (remind me in about May 2019, would you?!)
Having Winter babies was lovely, snug and warm, hibernating in our cosy farmhouse, but that’s when the honeymoon of Winter babies ended. Now I am well entrenched in the Winter birthday party scene. In Thorpdale. When we live in a shoebox. Ahhhh well, it makes for good dinner party conversation for the next twenty years, right?! Eleanor’s second birthday party I was 38 weeks pregnant and invited every man and his dog. And then it snowed. Good times, gooooood times.
Anyway, over the past four years I have perfected the art of the Winter birthday party at home – we rearrange some furniture, cull the guest list, I’ve learnt not to do lunch for 40 people, and pray it doesn’t rain (or snow!) It’s still freezing, that’s a given, but we squash around a cake on a table and sing happy birthday. That’s the main thing, right? This year it happened to be a unicorn cake and a rainbow cake, for Eleanor and Harriet respectively…
The magical unicorn cake was fairly simple really, just four cakes stacked (I use this white chocolate mud cake recipe for my go-to birthday cake recipe) and then iced with buttercream icing (well whipped to go whiter, here’s that recipe). Some Persian fairy floss, rainbow strap lollies, a gold tapered candle, some fondant eyelashes and ears (using some moulds I bought on eBay) – voila! Unicorn. Truth be told, the Persian fairy floss didn’t work too well – the moisture from the icing made it more of a ‘wet look, just out of the shower’ maned unicorn, but to begin with she was looking swish! The mould set I got for the fondant also had a horn mould but I went with the gold candle instead, after cutting it down to size with a hot knife. The rainbow was dead easy – my kind of cake! I was anticipating that the unicorn would be my undoing (#pessimistic) so the simplicity of a cake cut in half, sandwiched together and some smarties thrown at it sounded pretty good to me!
The party table held the two cakes, as well as rainbow jelly cups with whipped cream (a good week long process, but well worth the effort for the effect, I was so surprised how many kids’ minds were blown by it – ha!), strawberry milk bottles with hundreds and thousands on the rim, fairy bread and some hundreds and thousands biscuits. I also made rainbow fruit kebabs, a fruit rainbow platter and lots of cheese, dip, prosciutto, olives and crackers for the grown up folk. I’ve learnt not to do too much, keep it fairly simple, and not cater for every child (i.e. I think there were 16 children but I did 12 milk bottles and 12 jelly cups, there was plenty left over! Previously I would have done one for each child and always had so much left over). The rainbow backdrop was super simple and easy to make – just some white cardboard which I painted ‘Harriet and Eleanor’ on, blu-tacked to the wall and then 1.5m lengths of satin ribbon sticky-taped to the back of the clouds. Instant rainbow sun-shower!
The party bags I made using white popcorn boxes with rainbow ribbon handles. Inside each party bag was a rainbow mini-slinky, bubble mix, a musk stick, unicorn stickers, a glitter glue pen and some rainbow strap lollies. This was the first year which Eleanor was really excited and involved in her party planning, she helped me rim the milk bottles with the hundreds and thousands, arrange the mane on the cake and fill the party bags for me. She was so excited for all of her friends and cousins to come to her unicorn party! “And rainbows for Hawwi-et.” Poor Hawwi-et missed the start of the party as I put her down for a sleep in the lead up! Little poppet woke up and was thrown into her party outfit and found all of these people in her house who weren’t there when she went to sleep. She was a little under (or over?!) whelmed by the occasion…
She soon got into party mode though, fairy bread and jelly offers will do that! And then Aunty Louise arrived with UNICORN AND RAINBOW BALLOONS! Eleanor requested two things for her birthday in terms of gifts: she was dead keen on having a unicorn piñata, and a unicorn balloon. Deal done, Blossom. And I can attest that they are still going strong two days post-party! Well, the piñata not so much…
With one of the party princesses now out of bed, we got down to business about what we were really here to do: sing and eat cake! Again, this was probably the first year Eleanor has really been into her birthday and what it means to have a cake, sing happy birthday and have all of her family, cousins and friends say hip hip hooray for Eleanor! All of the heart eyes watching her little face light up. One of those mama heart ‘sploding moments. And Harriet? Well, Harriet couldn’t care less. Two year old’s are generally pretty self-absorbed at the best of times! Just give the girl cake. Although, she definitely made an attempt to blow out her birthday candles. Big blow, Peachy!
A break in the weather (yes, it rained on and off all day – welcome to July in Thorpdale, bring your gumboots to our birthday parties!) meant that we could get our piñata on! Nothing like hanging a magical creature from the tree and a heap of sugar high kids whacking it with a stick. As we stood around contemplating a visit to the Warragul hospital emergency with a big wooden weapon to the head of one of these kids, the thought did cross my mind that pass the parcel or musical chairs was looking like a good option! But the bigger cousins got the job done, and thankfully no wayward whacks went awry.
I am pretty sure I remember turning four, so this year is particularly exciting as Eleanor will hopefully have memories of days like these – being celebrated and loved upon by her big cousins, aunties, uncles, grandparents and little friends. All of the kids had fun (I think?!), running around in the freezing cold and not giving two hoots about the Arctic conditions, which Matt had slaved away in to get the cubby 90% finished for the party – well done, Daddy! It didn’t matter that it was freezing, or that we all squashed into our little lounge room, or that the unicorn cake’s mane disintegrated into a soggy mop. All that mattered was that all these rad people who love our little Blossom and our little Peach came to watch a little girl in a rainbow tutu whack a unicorn full of lollies. How fun is being four and two?! Heaps of fun.
Our girls will never be just-turned-four and almost-two again. Ever. Ain’t that something to celebrate?! So party on, rockstars. Why not have a party when it’s 6 degrees and raining sideways?! I couldn’t think of a better way to spend my Sunday, even if it did mean much preparation, actually moving the day the party was going to be held on because I was a late minute addition to going to the footy Friday night. Nothing like a last minute shuffle! Despite all my last minute faffing about and late night cake decorating, my long suffering but agreeable husband would even attest: it was a good day. Thank you, village. For coming to the party, literally, and for appeasing my inner Martha Stewart party planner. It seems I will never learn. In the meantime, there are two very happy little unicorn and rainbow loving lass’s who were pretty chuffed with their lot in life on the weekend. And you know… next year I will for once not have a party for the girls and it will be positively BALMY on the weekend in between their birthdays! You know it.
Eleanor’s skirt: Target, Eleanor’s top: Tootskids, with unicorn iron-on decal from eBay, Eleanor’s unicorn headband: Myer.
Harriet’s skirt: gifted from I don’t know where! Harriet’s top: Tootskids, with ‘two’ glitter decal from eBay.
Persian fairy floss for unicorn cake mane: Stella’s Pantry.
Moulds for fondant ears, horn (not used) and eyelashes: eBay.
Gold tapered candle, used for unicorn horn: eBay.
Milk bottles, Eleanor’s unicorn hair bow and ‘4’ pink glitter candle: from our local discount store.
Rainbow and unicorn helium balloons, satin ribbon for rainbow backdrop and unicorn piñata: Spotlight
Popcorn boxes: Shindigs.