Our daughter turned 5 last week, and for that particular birthday we celebrate with a big party, where we invite all of the children we know inside and outside of school. For a party this size, a larger venue than our house is required (especially since the house is literally a building site!) so we booked a local village hall for a couple of hours. Our budget this time was a little tight as we know that in a few weeks there will be a lot of decorating to do at our house so we didn’t book a party entertainer or anything. Our little one did have a request though-the party was to be unicorn themed!
It was a definite case of Pinterest to the rescue. I began by making invites using my Silhouette software, which I then printed off at home, so this saved a little money on buying them. I then set up a Pinterest board with ideas for party games and so on. (Oh, and that party essential-a cake!)
There were lots of games on there, some of which could be purchased cheaply-thank you eBay, and others which could be made at home. I had grand plans to create a unicorn hoopla game using glowsticks and paper plates, as well as making a selfie frame. Unfortunately, I was not sufficiently organised (or rather, I overestimated what I could achieve in the time frame), so I bought a pin the horn on the unicorn game, and an outdoor hoopla set for £3.99. I also blew up a whole pack of 50 balloons with help from friends, and set up some colouring on a roll of wallpaper. (The children enjoyed choosing from these things, but what most seemed to love best of all was the big open space in the hall to run and play in!) I talked myself out of the selfie frame, it was a 5 year old’s party after all!
The above activities were all for the start of the party, where everyone is just arriving and wants to play. We then had a game of pass the parcel to calm down a little bit. Music was courtesy of Mr C’s phone and bluetooth speaker, again keeping costs down. Good old-fashioned party games resumed after the food, with Mr C’s sister organising a game of musical bumps and musical statues whilst I cut up the cake for the party bags.
For party food, we kept it simple. Bags of crisps, jugs of orange and blackcurrant squash, some chicken nuggets and sausage rolls which Mr C cooked at home just before the party whilst my daughter and I got ready, some token grapes, carrot sticks and cherry tomatoes so it looked a bit healthier and then some party rings, chocolate fingers and cupcakes for dessert. (The party was mid afternoon, so we didn’t feel obliged to produce a full on buffet.) There was enough food for the adults too, and we also provided hot drinks for them. There was an amusing episode where we were all searching high and low in the newly-refurbished kitchen for a kettle. It was only after Mr C was sent home to fetch ours that we spotted the small sign above the boiling water tap! Luckily we all saw the funny side.
We sung happy birthday and cut the cake shortly after they had eaten, ensuring I had time to cut it into individual pieces for taking home (they were wrapped in Avenger’s napkins ledft over from our son;s 5th birthday party!). She had asked for a unicorn cake, so I used Pinterest as a starting point. I also watched part of a tutorial video, but got bored so I made it up a little bit. The cake took two evenings, one to bake the 5 layers of sponge, and one to decorate it. It is a very common style of cake at the moment, and most of the work went into the preparation-I set up 5 piping bags of different coloured butter icing whilst the children ate tea, then popped them into the fridge until after they went to bed. To make the eyes, I made some black fondant and drew the shape of the eyes on the back of some greaseproof paper. I then rolled icing sausages to copy the shapes and left them to dry a little before adding them to the cake. The horn was made of ivory coloured fondant wrapped around a dowel rod and sprayed with edible glitter, and the horns were shaped from fondant and attached with cocktail sticks. I piped the icing details on the unicorn’s mane very gradually, and filled in gaps until I was happy with the overall appearance. I saved the leftover buttercream in the piping bags to take to the party in case the cake got damaged in transit! My daughter was very pleased with it. I would hate to estimate the number of calories per slice, but it did taste good!
At the end of the party, we gave out the usual party bags. I really didn’t want to buy loads of plastic rubbish, but I found some lovely little packs containing a pen, a pencil, a rubber and a notepad so I popped one of those in each party bag. They were a little more than I wanted to spend, but not over expensive (around 50p per child). We also bought some sweets from B&M which we shared between the bags, leaving enough for pass the parcel and prizes for other games.
I didn’t 100% succeed with the unicorn theme for games and so on, but everyone seemed to enjoy it, especially the birthday girl herself. It did show us that you don’t have to spend a fortune to have a lovely time* (though we have thoroughly enjoyed all of the parties with entertainers that we have been to-it just wasn’t something we planned to do). She was exhausted by the end of the two hours, and her hair was a mess despite me having given it a quick spritz of hairspray before we left the house. She also had a big grin on her face, so we were happy too.
*I don’t know the exact cost of the party in total, but I would estimate it at £120-£130 and we had 20 children there, so it didn’t work out too expensive in the end-and it means we have enough in the decorating budget to give her the unicorn themed bedroom she wants too so it’s a win-win situation for her!