We all know my day job is Digital Account Director, and my fantasy job is party planner, right? Well, it’s true. So with Carters first birthday on the horizon I decided to put my hobby to good use and plan him a little farm themed birthday bash at our house this past weekend.
I had the best and worst time making all the decor and baking everything. I say worst because it took forever, and best because, well LOOK AT IT 😉
Thanks Pinterest for the sheep and pig cupcake ideas!
Luckily Im a massive hoarder so I used old formula tins which I wrapped and decorated, bread boards, platters and containers I had lying around. I also bought a lot of stuff from China Town – like paper lanterns, plates, napkins straws and bottles.
The harvest table
9 months of Carter, and as my husband so delicately put it: “Glass bottles for small children, fucking smart”.
The kiddies eating area
They look more like ‘Angry Birds’ than chickens…but I decorated paper lanterns to make farm animals…sort of.
Let’s talk about the cake, shall we. I have never baked more than a vanilla sponge, but was adamant that I would make a 3 tier monstrosity that I found on Pinterest. So I did. It may have taken me close to 20 hours, but the result as SO worth it… and the cake was delicious to boot. I did have some help the day before when two friends came over to help me ice and assemble… and drink several litres of wine in the process.
Boys will be boys. My dad and Carter having a blast on the jumping castle.
Little farm dudes all dressed up
The jumping castle we hired came with a free Granny and her assortment of small children
I scattered hay bales around the garden, and covered them in hessian and checkered fabric.
Bella kept me up all of last night. She’s constipated, so I pretty much spent most of the night letting her in and out the house to drag her sore bottom around on the lawn for 20 minutes at a time. (Bella is a dog, for those wondering why I would assist a small human in using my grass as an arsehole scratcher at 2 am*)
Excellent way to open a story, I realise, but the point I’m trying to make is that last night brought back so many memories of your first few months. Of setting my alarm every 3 hours to breastfeed you, change your bum and clothes and rock you to sleep. I’ve forgotten about just how broken I was in those early days, and just how much you needed me to literally keep you alive during the night.
Fast forward a year and your dad and I had to wake you from your deep slumber at five past seven this morning. Eventually, we roused you with a badly rendered version of ‘Happy Birthday’ to which you responded with bed hair and a skew smile.
You are one today.
One year of memories that I can’t even begin to touch on, but let me try.
The 5th of May 2015 was the happiest day of my life. Those 4 days in hospital passed in a blur of people, photos, tears, laughs, gifts and heart-stopping joy. And then we brought you home and the family engulfed you in their love. Four months of maternity leave meant 24/7 bonding and addiction. I could (and did) watch you for hours on end, took you everywhere with me, to baby massage, baby reflexology, gym, lunches and even a couple of bottomless champagne days with the girls. For 4 months I made hundreds of cups of tea and coffee for the endless stream of visitors, washed a never ending stock of bottles and changed a lifetime of nappies. You smiled at 4 weeks, rolled at 11, lost all your hair and grew some back like Baldy Man. We did a newborn shoot, and 6 week shoot and I broke my Instagram on your sweet, sweet smile. Your eyes stayed blue and your face stayed beautiful and your character grew daily.
Then I went back to work and realised that I was OK with that. You started at crèche and teacher Anne and Akhona loved you like I did. They still do, all your teachers and their (much better) rendition of Happy Birthday when I dropped you off this morning left me grinning but you not quite sure.
At 5 months you popped a tooth, and another one and then you had 4. By then you were sitting and sliding and I knew my days of ‘relaxing’ were limited. You had visited the bush house, the dam and been on your fair share of dinner dates as well.
In December you started crawling and chose a time when the whole family was together to do so. You spent most of your Summer months naked and in water and are still happiest when doing both.
I remember being exhausted when you were about 7 months, it was a hectic time for all of us. Thanks for still loving me even when I was snappy and grumpy.
You’ve been standing for ages now, but unless supported by an object are still too scared to take that first step.
Your curiosity for life amazes me every day. You still startle and then grin when you see your reflection, and still howl like an injured duck when I pluck you from the bath.
Eventually that 5th tooth popped and you started sleeping again.
You’ve been to triathlons and the beach and running races and cycling events. You’ve wormed your way onto guest’s laps at a wedding and drunk their champagne. You still have so much more to explore.
You are cheeky, and fierce and have that second child syndrome, even though you’re my first.
We gave you a chocolate cupcake this morning and you hated it. But I’m sure the Flings I packed for your class party will go down a treat as they always do.
Carter, happy first birthday my magical boy. Keep smiling, keep challenging me and keep being fascinated by the world.
So we all know that one of my favourite things in the word to do is plan a party – and after our wedding my fingers were itching to get crafty and creative again. Luckily my sister in law Bev is very close to popping out a baby girl and so a pink and white themed baby shower was in order!
The theme of “Baby Raisins”(Name to be revealed) room is “Tatty Bear” – so the decision to have the same theme for the baby shower was a no brainer.
I decided to paint her a Tatty Bear for the baby room:
The Baby Shower was scheduled for a Sunday morning – and as with most events I decided to make use of my parents gorgeous garden. I hate being restricted by venues and their rules and food – so this was the perfect choice. The day started out very rainy and overcast but thankfully the sky cleared and the sun came out to play.
The guests were also all asked to wear a touch of pink, grey or white.
Here are just a few things I did decor wise. A huge thanks to Bevs bestie Lauren from the UK who brought out a bunch of Tatty Bear themed goodies – as well as pink MnMs (apparently they have a 4 storey MnM store close to them…jellies much?)
I bought tons of pink and white sweets and filled all my old jars and containers (some call me a hoarder, I call it up-cycling) and used these as the centerpiece for the table.
Thanks for the cake pops Welly – YUM!
I looked everywhere for pink and white popcorn boxes with no luck – so eventually settled on those grey toasted sarmie bags – you know the ones you used to get at the school tuckshop? To brighten these up a bit I made small little ‘Ready To Pop’ (get it?) labels which I stuck on – these were then filled with salt and vinegar popcorn. (Side story – the night before as I was making all this popcorn I had a few girlfriends round for drinks… things got pretty out of hand and I think for every bowl of popcorn I made, we ate 3!)
The food was all delicious and a huge thanks to my mom in law and Lauren’s mom in law for the platters as well as Maureen – ‘The Cake Lady’ for the awesome cupcakes and Tatty Bear cake – genius!
For the drinks I filled small glass bottles with berry juice and made little labels which I glued on. Finished with a pink and white straw these were a really cute welcome cocktail for the guests.
Consol Bottle Cocktails
I thought a cute keepsake for the mom-to-be would be a fingerprint from each of the guests. I decided to draw the outline of a Tatty Bear on a canvas square and the fingerprints would then become the balloons. I joined these up and it turned out quite nicely.
To make the photo booth I brought a plastic table cloth and cut out coloured hearts to stick on (Confession – I ‘stole’ some paint colour samples from the hardware store in various pinks and purples and greys – and think it turned out quite well!). I also brought chalk and chalkboard hearts for the guests to write personalised messages on.
To complete the look I strung white lanterns from the trees and roofs and put big clumps of pink and white balloons all over.
We also played ‘The Price is Right” and the gals filled out “Wishes for Baby” cards for Bev and Raisin.
Yesterday marked 5 months until our wedding, which means we have officially been engaged longer than the amount of time left until we say ‘I Do’.
Planning this wedding has been relatively stress free, give or take a few hurdles, and I wanted to share the 12 things I have learnt.
1. Enjoy it – I got engaged and was immediately told by an ex-manager that there would be ‘no wedding planning or talk in the office’. That completely broke me and I found myself avoiding the topic and ignoring the experience all together.
2. Involve your grooms parents – I am very non-traditional when it comes to who wants to get involved and believe that both moms should play an equal part, after all it’s just as much her child’s day as it is mine.
3. Don’t mention the ‘W’ word – Suppliers have literally doubled a quote upon finding out it was for a wedding. That being said, some suppliers do need to know as they will be there setting up on the day. If you can avoid letting someone know (retinue outfits and gifts, non-traditional cake toppers and accommodation/honeymoon) then do so.
4. Don’t expect too much – Sadly, the first few months of wedding planning felt more like a business transaction. Venues treated us like a cash injection and suppliers were more interested in our money than our vision.
That being said…
5. Work with suppliers you love – I bought my dress from a boutique who treated me like a princess from the second I walked in the door (even though I was hanging like a fruit bat and not wearing any makeup). My flower and decor ladies Carey-Anne and Donna from The White List have gone over and above, meeting me after hours (with wine!) and have used their resources to ensure my end vision is achieved. My photographer, Laura Jane, is a gem and every time I see a blog post with her latest images I get goosebumps.
6. Don’t be bullied – at the end of the day it is your wedding. If you mom/gran/mom-in-law or friend insists on a sage green paper for the wedding invite because its just ‘soo dreamy’ you need to Learn.To.Say.No. Appreciate any monetary contributions towards your day, but remember that the decision in most cases should always come down to you and your hubby to be.
7. Accept help – I’m still battling with this one as I hate inconveniencing people, but if someone does offer assistance, grab it with both hands.
8. Shit is gonna hit the proverbial fan – We lost our venue a few months ago and I thought this wedding was never going to happen. Turns out the new venue is even better than the first and I cant wait to get marred there. Often, these things happen for a reason.
10. DIY is King – What’s the biggest joke at a wedding? The Budget. Weddings, my friends, cost a fortune. If there is anything you can make by yourself, or get a friend to make, then do it. We are so blessed to have a friend Kim who has designed all our wedding stationery – she has saved us money, time and made the experience a more personal one. Plus she’s bloody talented and just ‘gets me’.(Blatant flattery and bribery, Kim ;))
11. You will change your mind – Growing up most people dream about their big day and envision the dress, the decor and the groom. I had a very set idea in mind. Then I started planning, and everything changed. Be open minded about trying on different dress styles, looking at different venues and opening your mind up to alternative ideas.
12. It’s too soon to panic – No, really. You can only control the controllable. When in panic mode I suggest a 3 step process:
– Pour a glass of wine
– Phone a friend
– Pour another glass of wine
Here’s to the next 5 months of planning and enjoying every minute!
I would love to hear your feedback on your own wedding planning too and any advice you have for me 🙂