For their 4th birthday party Lile and Sábha were very clear on what they wanted. They each have a favourite animal - Lile loves cats and Sábha loves Foxes - and really, nothing else would do for a theme. I knew it wasn't going to be the easiest one to pull together. Well, a cat party is easy enough I suppose - but Foxes? That's a bit tougher let me tell you!
Last year they wanted a bunny rabbit party and at this time of year it is so, so easy to make that happen. With Easter just around the corner there is an abundance of bunny related treats and decorations available and, while I was working on this year's theme, all I kept seeing was things that would have worked really well last year. That didn't really help when I was trying to put together this years plan.
Then, one day, Sábha happened to do a really cute drawing of a fox and Lile also happened to draw a really sweet picture of a cat - and all at once the inspiration for the party came together.
I printed out their drawings onto cream card stock, cut them out, punched holes in the top and strung them on cream coloured yarn to make bunting.
I also used some of their Cat and Fox toys on the treat table. Although, Lile would only donate her least-loved cats to the cause - the ugliest cats in the house!
We also filled the living room floor with balloons - because you can't have a party without balloons!
I decided this year not to bother with catering for both adult and children's tastes. When I was a child, children's parties meant sweets, rice crispy cakes and a slice of birthday cake and so I went back to basics and provided just that!
I did, however, try to choose treats that cats and foxes might approve of - such as Chocolate Frogs, White Chocolate Mice, Jelly Worms and 'Cat Food', which were actually mini cheese crackers in assorted shapes.
I baked the birthday cakes (see above) to the girls' specifications. Lemon Sponge with lemon curd filling for Sábha and chocolate sponge with a toffee filling for Lile. Both were smothered in butter cream icing and decorated with the girls' designs and some small toys they got as a birthday gift from my sister.
This was the first year that the girls were excited for proper birthday activities. They were really, really looking forward to pass the parcel and musical statues the most, but I also wanted to play some games that fitted with the cat and fox theme.
When the children arrived I sat them in a circle and got them each in turn to do their best miaows. Then Sábha demonstrated how a fox yelps and they all had a try of that too. Next they decided which animal they would like to be - a cat or a fox. Each child made a pair of very simple card ears, which I had cut out the night before, and I helped attach them to cheap hairbands (€1.50 for three!) for them to wear.
Once they had their ears on, my talented sister Saorla painted each child's face to correspond with their chosen animals. She did a wonderful job and the children looked adorable all dressed up as lovely little critters.
When they were all ready the cats and foxes were all rounded up and told that they were going on a 'Fox Hunt'. I had hidden little chocolate Easter chicks around the garden. I told the children that I was a farmer and had lots of chickens outside and that the cunning little foxes (and cats) had to go and catch them. They were very good at catching them - as you can imagine!
We also played pass the parcel (the prizes were sticker sheets of cats which cost €1 each) and at the very end of the party we had a hilarious round of Musical Statues.
I also had a little table set up with cat and fox colouring-in sheets, for anyone that wanted a little quiet time.
I was really struggling to come up with favour ideas for this party. I had sort of exhausted the themed treats idea at the actual party and I hadn't really found any bits and bobs that were suitable except for a plastic wind-up mouse that was only ok-not-great. Then, I happened upon some really cute stuffed cats and foxes, in Penney's (Primark) for an incredibly reasonable €2.00 each and I had to get them!
I would have spent almost that anyway filling a party bag with junk-food and crappy plastic, but at least these little guys might get a chance to be loved! My girls' ones have been added to their gangs of sleeping buddies, so they were a hit here anyway!
All in all, it was a really fun party. The children really got into the spirit of the theme and kept their ears on the whole time - which really surprised me!
I found Lile's leotard in H&M recently and knew she would adore it. I knew I would never be able to find something similar for Sábha with a fox on it, but I remembered an Irish company called Tee & Toast had a fox t-shirt in their range and decided to get one for her. Paired with a cute tutu from Claire's it really worked well. They both loved their outfits and I know I'm biased, but think they looked really gorgeous.
|Picture by Mamó|