Then we were full-on planning mode for Ollie's first birthday party. It was yesterday, and it never ceases to amaze me how quickly a party or event goes after all those months of planning. I guess it is lucky for me that I enjoy the planning and ideas process more than the actual party because yesterday passed in a haze of noise and mess!
My inspiration for Ollie's party originally came from the book 'How to Catch a Star' by Oliver Jeffers and various 'Twinkle Twinkle' themed parties on Pinterest. It wasn't until I sat down to design my own invites from scratch that the finished product began to emerge.
Once again, we were working to a tight budget. This wasn't a huge party for all our friends and family, like Ollie's baptism last summer but a relatively small affair with just Grandparents and some local friends.
I designed invites myself and then printed them via Zazzle which I've used a number of times now and can highly recommend. This time I chose a square layout and a textured 'felt' finish.
I decided to hold the party at home. It made sense with a small number of guests and kept costs to a minimum. Matt advised against a full on backdrop draped on the chimney breast in the dining room a la Pinterest but I still hung some Star garlands and ordered some balloon displays from Flora Special Occasion, a local company who I've found to provide a great service at a reasonable price. I can't have a party without some balloons!
Unlike Lily's first birthday party, where I decided to do everything myself and was stood in the kitchen making choux buns at 9:00 in the morning, I decided that this time I would outsource the catering. Our yummy sandwiches and huge selection of crudites were provided by our family favourites, Lilymae's Play Cafe and the fruit kebabs and pastries were purchased from the M&S food ordering service. I balked at the price first, but I'm glad that we spent that little bit extra to save me extra stress on the day.
Instead of buttering bread and cutting sandwiches into perfectly formed triangles, I concentrated my efforts on the cake. It really tested me. I'm a perfectionist and although I think I'm slowly getting better at cake decorating, I just wasn't pleased with the outcome. I've spoken before about how I'd love to be as good as my Mum when it comes to cakes, but although I seem to have got the knack of baking a yummy sponge, the decorating always breaks me.
For entertainment, I turned to traditional musical statues and musical bumps, although, due to a couple of non-attendees we didn't have many competitors! I also bought a rocket wand making kit from Yellow Moon and the children were able to make their own to take home in their party bag. I also got these great little star key rings but by that point my sister was running around the house playing hide and seek and encouraging the kids to pull all the toys out. Who needs an entertainer when you have a 29-year-old big kid?
And so, by mid-afternoon Ollie's big day was over and my head was pounding. I have the post-party blues now and am left with bittersweet feelings about my baby boy turning one on Tuesday. The last year has seemed very much like a bigger version of his party - so much passing by in a blur. Knowing all the exciting things yet to come - walking, talking, growing, I am excited and can't wait to cheer him on in his milestones but a tiny part of me just wants to grab at this moment in time and hold it still. Clearly, I can't, but I want to hold on to these memories forever.
Happy Birthday my darling boy.