Carousel

The title of this post sums up the last few months nicely and I’m feeling a little dizzy as I’ve only just stopped spinning (ok, who am I kidding? Sophia is now a toddler… I’m still spinning). It also perfectly describes the theme of Sophia’s first birthday party.

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The big ONE. I’m glad I can look back on it fondly even if the weeks leading up to it were a little stressful. Just a little. Her party was, as most events in our household have come to be, a labour of love but I’m so glad we went all in.

As you might know by now, I do love a good D.I.Y so most of my party planning starts with something I’d quite like to make and on it spurs from there. In this case, I decided I wanted to make Sophia a carousel cake!

I found a fantastic tutorial on Paul Bradford Sugarcraft online school which took me through it step by step (thankfully!) Probably one of the most challenging cakes I’ve made but also the most rewarding. I used sugar moulds for the horses and all the little details and gilded them all in edible gold paint and glitter – so chuffed with how it turned out!

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Now cake aside, there were a fair few other DIY details too. It’s lucky I have my very own Handy Andy as it definitely saved us a penny! My mister is a dab hand at DIY and helped bring the theme to life. He made two wooden structures for our funfair themed games (Tin Can Alley and Hoopla) and a Photo Booth out of a palette which went down a treat!

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He also made and wired the LED letters that spelt SOPHIA and it looked great as a centrepiece on the cake table.2016-02-21_0026

The cake table was finished with a fabric banner that I made – (surprisingly easy to do and much cheaper than buying one!) and these super cute ferris wheel cupcake holders – thank you Wilko’s, you gem of bargains!

Hub also painted a scrap of MDF in chalkboard paint for me to draw a milestone chart on – just like my previous posts on this blog. It took me ALL night but it was worth it and has served as a nice keepsake since. We hung her monthly photos on 11 helium balloons and had them hanging from the ceiling above the chalkboard. It was especially nice to set this up as it was a rather sweet trip down memory lane.

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As most of Sophia’s little buddies were babies and toddlers, we hired and set up a soft play area next to their little picnic tables.  Each little person had a lunchbox, a milk bottle with chocolate milk, chips in newspaper cones,  a mini pinwheel that we made and a pretty pastel balloon tied to their chair – not going to lie, I wanted to sit there!

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Considering my very sweet tooth, it’s not surprising that I frequented my favourite spot – the dessert table! Lovely Jade, of Jade’s Balloons delivered a perfect array of helium filled balloons for the party and I especially loved the arch she made for this area.2016-02-21_0020

A bit of home baking and a trip to Costco’s sorted this in no time. My mum made a whopping 80 cupcakes (they are better than Lolas) and I dipped some mini donuts in edible glitter for good measure. IMG_49782016-02-21_00302016-02-21_0029

For party favours, we homemade caramel toffee apples covered in nuts and sprinkles for the kids and put together some popcorn and candy floss. It was definitely a high sugar zone – oops!
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Phew! All in all, it was a lot of fun and we enjoyed a lovely day with our closest friends and family. A big thank you to our parents and siblings for all their help and to my pretty talented husband for creating a lovely day for our dear little Sophia!

If anyone is looking for a party venue in the Essex area, I cannot recommend Little Channels enough – a great space for littles with an enclosed courtyard to use if weather permits and the loveliest staff who went over and above to help facilitate everything we wanted.

The super talented Slawa Walczak (http://www.slawawalczak.com) took these precious photos I’ve shared here and below and we are so grateful for these memories!
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Some might say that the effort was wasted – I mean what’s a 12 month old going to remember? Yes, you’re right – she probably won’t remember all of the above but I will.  We will.

You see, to me, Sophia’s first birthday was much bigger than just a party – it was a celebration of 365 days of change, of chaos, of perfection, of imperfection, of challenges, and of accomplishment, and I’m not just talking about Sophia. It was also a congratulation to each other on surviving our first year of parenthood and most of all, a thank you to our family and friends for supporting us for every one of those days.

The above applies however you choose to celebrate, big or small. It really doesn’t matter as long as you celebrate it the way you want. So when your tiny human reaches this milestone, go forth and plan, or don’t, and enjoy it – whatever it is that works for you!

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