I hate party bags!

I have a very strong aversion to kid’s party bags; I don’t know where the fear comes from or where the tradition originated. Can we blame the yanks again? I’m doing my best to keep my daughters birthdays under control, as an ex-teacher I know how it can all get carried away. I’ve heard stories of kids having to pay to attend parties.

My daughter’s birthday will be one of the first in her year, being mid September, and I’m determined to set the bar low, hoping that other parents will appreciate the gesture. I have friends with normally very well-behaved kids and they have thrown themselves on the floor in a strop when not given a party bag and they died of embarrassment.

However, today when buying party supplies I found myself wavering near the matching party bags and tempted to follow the status quo, but I put my foot down.

So, what’s the alternative? As usual I asked on twitter and got loads of amazing suggestions. Sorry if I haven’t credited everyone but copying and pasting them all was enough for me. I hope this helps you in some way!

  • Mosquito nets (charity)
  • Craft sets from Poundland
  • Biscuits with names on instructions
  • Helium balloon filled with sweets
  • Vouchers for Smiths or ELC
  • Measure out Flapjack mix with instructions
  • Lucky bags! Or a balloon with sweets in, they love popping them for the sweets!
  • Bucket and spade sets – £1 each online
  • ‘grow your own beanstalk’ kit. Small pot, compost, ‘magic’ beans and instructions all in a plastic bag.
  • A book and stuck a small bar of chocolate on to it. Try The Book People for cheap good books. You can separate the book sets and could stick to a theme if you have one.
  • Personalized gift wrapped cup cake that cost a quid!
  • Colouring book. Mini craft packs. Little pots and Seeds. Buns.
  • Well anything but bloody bubbles!
  • Children’s magazine or comic
  • Packet of seeds to grow
  • Card saying you donated to charity on their behalf…. Then go and get yourself a nice bottle of wine (this is my favourite!)
  • We had lots of gingerbread men & icing pens/decorations & kids got creative & took those home
  • We baked & decorated cupcakes for friends, handed out in boxes
  • We used to make a donation to a kids’ charity instead then thank kids and parents, rather spend money on that than more tat.
  • Sunflower seedlings
  • Usually do one Lego minifig or mini book instead (£1.50)
  • A little cup cake with child’s initial on it.
  • Helium balloons
  • We did a pool party and they each got a cheap rubber ring.

Do you have any other suggestions?

Our Royal Wedding Street Party

I don’t live on one of the prettiest streets but it’s one of the friendliest by far.  The mums have a Facebook Group, we often meet for drinks and a take-away in the evenings, when a new baby arrives on the street everyone swarms to give them a warm welcome, you can often see people chatting in the street and we do have a street party every year.  However, this year was even more special.

The men on the street, started to filter out onto the street at 8 am to help hang the 350m of bunting, erect the bandstand and sort out the tables.  The party kicked off around 1pm.  We had a band, a cake baking competition, which a couple of woman who have lived on the street for 50 years judged, a hat decorating contest for the kids, a giant ‘flip-flop’ piñata, pin the tail on the Corgi and a burly ex navy officer painted the children’s faces along with a few of the young at heart adults!  But for the most part the kids just loved running loose in the street, it took me back to the 70s.

It was an absolutely brilliant day, a great chance to catch up with everyone and meet a few new people.  I can’t wait till the Jubilee next year!

I’m a Freak! I’m scared of Birthday parties!

I’m not afraid of clowns or balloons but today I realised I have a fear of birthday parties (I’m a Fragapene)??? My daughter turns three in 3 weeks.  I have always been adamant that I’m not going to get swept up in the madness of having the perfect birthday party, spending hundreds, organising venues, hand-made fairy cake tiers, hiring paedophile clowns, inviting 60 zillion kids and the dreaded party bags.  I quietly promised myself that I would keep them small and intimate as long as I could get away with it.  Last year we took two of her 2 best friends to a theme park, Gulliver’s World in Milton Keynes, catered by Costco and we had a brilliant time.

However, this morning, I was talking to a good mate and we were trying to think of what I could do this year.  She reckons I could use the same model but choose another venue.  This is when it dawned on me.  It’s not the expense; it’s the whole idea of organising the perfect party that completely freaks me out.  Bottom line is I’m shit at organising parties.  My hubby’s 40th was a complete flop.  You could see the tumbleweed rolling by.  For my own 40th, in 18 months time, my only request is no party as I’d rather use the money to go away with good friends (@chickenruby I hope).  Don’t feel sorry for me but whenever I throw a party either no one shows up or I end up in a room full of people I don’t really like.

I’m not child friendly so the idea of organising party games etc….scares the hell out of me…Do bear in mind that I have skydived, bungee jumped and travelled the world solo.  I have faced packs of wild dogs and have been attacked more than once but the prospect of a birthday party scares me even more.  This is probably why I opted for a small wedding (16 people only friends and family).  It may surprise you but I hate being the centre of attention.

So, with all this, what do you think I should do?  I’m tempted to bugger off and take her to Disneyland Paris??  I think it will be money better spent.