We celebrated Pip’s 6th birthday this weekend with a flower themed tea party for Pip, her cousins and 12 of her new school friends. Pip and I both love making things and flowers so I knew this year I wanted to do something with flowers for her. She has always loved washi tape and Santa usually puts a couple of rolls of the good stuff in her stocking. I had in the back of my mind I’d seen a Babyccino post on a flower themed party, so I dug out this one, showed Pip the photos, and she was sold.
As Esther notes in her post, parties along a theme are great, as you can do as much or as little as you have time for. This one took a reasonable amount of organisation in terms of making decisions and ordering things, as I was keen to keep the costs to £15 per head. This meant I spent a fair bit of time comparing prices, ordering things from different shops and keeping track of my costs in a spreadsheet – but you could easily achieve the same thing much quicker if you were prepared to spend a little more, or have fewer children attend. Also, unlike in the Netherlands in Esther’s post, flowers are not as cheap or easy to come by here, particularly in the spring, so I ordered the flowers wholesale, which did add a bit of a logistical dimension to the whole thing. Still, I thought it was worth it.
We started the party with some games and handed out head wear for those who desired it. I bought paper flower tiaras and paper crowns.
We then moved into the main room where we’d laid out glass jars for each guest. I’d cut out some tags with the tag maker we had for our wedding and Pip wrote all their names on, which we then tied to recycled jam jars that we’d saved, plus a couple of jars left over from the chocolates Pip made her teachers for Christmas. We had used garden twine to tie on the labels so that each child had one.
The children used washi tape and stickers on clear backgrounds to decorate their jars and then each in turn came up to Pip’s flower shop when they’d finished to choose flowers for their jars. My sister-in-law and I played florist, helping them select 6 or 7 flowers, choose the arrangement and height and then we tied and cut the stems.
I bought all the flowers wholesale and it was recommended that they arrived three days prior to the event for conditioning. I am not going to lie, this bit was a bit tricky and stressful. I was going to use Cornish flowers and, knowing what I do now, I would have maybe done it a bit differently, but I ended up buying anenomes and gerberini at auction from an online wholesale nursery to get the mixture of colours and variety. I wasn’t sure what to expect, and I was pretty sad that out of the 50 anenomes I bought only 25 were really any good by Sunday. The gerberini fared much better, with only 5 out of 120 casualties. I bought florists buckets too for both practical reasons and to make it look more like a florist shop for Pip – they were excellent at £1.20 each. I also got a florists knife for 50p which is excellent for not squashing the stems. Still, after I’d added daffodils and forget-me-nots from the hedgerow and supplemented our fake flower decorations with the gerberinis, anenomes I didn’t feel we could use in the ‘shop’ and bluebells from the lane, the place looked really nice.
I had thought that the flower shop might occupy them for a bit longer but it was over in a flash and so we played old fashioned party games including ‘Nana Says’ and musical statues. Finally we played pass the parcel where each kid got a flower or fruit ring and a small packet of sweets – we did this in another room so that I was able to start laying out the cake and party tea.
I’d decorated the room with our wedding bunting and paper tissue flowers, some of which I’d bought, others we’d made at Blooms and Babes last year. I have also a great stash of vintage tableclothes from various family members and so on, which I rolled out and used to cover up the bookcases and table for a more neutral backdrop.
The cake was another thing that took me more time and organisation and where you could definitely save if you opted to buy one in some form. Pip and I are both mad fans of a plain vanilla cake but as I love baking so much I wanted to up my game a little this year. The last two years I’ve made my tried and tested version of the Hummingbird Bakery vanilla one but was inspired to up my game and try out Christina Tosi’s Momofuku Milk Bar Birthday Cake after watching Chef’s Table on Netflix last week. I adapted the recipe somewhat – if anyone is interested, I can do a separate post on the cake, as I was super pleased with how it turned out – creating a more British version of the all-American birthday cake that patisserie wonder Christina dreamt up. Pip’s face when she saw it was worth all the prep and planning, and I can’t wait to try out the original version on our trip to New York next weekend.
We served a pretty classic party tea: cake, crisps, party rings and both cucumber and smoked salmon sandwiches, which are Pip’s favourites. Drinks wise, I bought mini mason jars with floral lids and Liberty print Meri-Meri straws and served pink rose and elderflower cordial mixed with sparkling water, or apple juice. The kids behaved beautifully and the edible flowers went down a treat with all of the kids trying them as they ate their cake.
When it was time to go, each child took home their own flowers and a little party bag. Pip and I decided sending each person home with some edible flower seeds would be nice so they could grow their own edible flowers. I priced up getting them printed up – which would cost £1.20 each. Not bad at all, but I decided to try and create our own. Using little envelopes and creating artwork on Canva, I printed them out (after a lot of trial and error I eventually taped them to a guide sheet of A4) and we filled them with nasturtium seeds I bought in bulk and sealed them with a floral sticker. At 34p each, that worked out better for my pocket at least, if not my sanity! We popped in a couple of pots for growing seeds and a sweetie necklace for the journey home and Pip handed them out as she said goodbye to her guests.
If you’re interested, here is where I got the things: