K turned four at the weekend. She'll be one of the youngest - if not the youngest - in her class when she starts school in a few weeks but she also gets something that I, with a November birthday, never got... the chance for an outdoor birthday party.
We took that chance on Saturday with an iffy weather forecast and set up in a local park with blankets, a trestle table for food, a big bucket with ice for drinks and toys and games for the kids. The main benefit of this is not having to tidy your house before or afterwards. The main drawback is that if it pisses down then everyone will have to come back to yours so you'll end up tidying the house 'just in case'.
I really liked these pretty picnic ideas from the Sisters Guild blog; I knew ours would never be a sophisticated affair with a throng of pre-schoolers and babies dashing about but we did find a huge old tree to set up under and pinned bunting, balloons and streamers to it.
I also made a cake for K. Well, I made two really. This was the first one...
Apparently, doubling the mixture quantity means that it's raw in the middle and the edge gets incinerated, yum!
Cake no.2 was a lot better but I misjudged the amount of icing I'd need and made enough to ice 3 cakes. That's what happens when you try to decorate a cake after a few glasses of wine.
K had asked for a Miffy cake. There are so many amazing ones on Pinterest but my cake skills wouldn't stretch to them, and anyway anything tiered or delicate would never had made it to the park in one piece.
I was tempted to make a DIY pinata but I thought it might be better for K when she's a bit older. I could just imagine the carnage of a hoard of kids fighting over a pile of plastic toys and sweets. This tutorial at Fancy Frugally looks straight forward and I like that it uses ribbons rather than beating the thing with a stick like a mentalist.
I stuck to party bags and found it pretty stressful finding fillers that weren't total tat or gender specific - so much party stuff is obviously aimed at 'boys' (pirates, astronauts) or girls (fairies, Hello Kitty). Not ideal when you have a mix of girls and boys.
It was a lovely day, at this age the kids didn't need much entertaining, they were happy to run in the open space, screaming and eating their bodyweight in cake. Who isn't happy being outdoors eating their bodyweight in cake?!
Do you have any tips on doing parties on a budget?