Sunday, 4 August 2013

a princess tea party // lily's 5th birthday

Little Lily turned five and so we held a Princess Tea Party to celebrate half a decade of our darling girl!

I had a whole lot of fun putting it all together (maybe too much!?). Partly because of how eagerly Lily helped and contributed. I was so impressed with how keen she was to take part in the prep, even though that was not something I expected at all. It was fun to work on it as a team - she wanted to know every detail and even planned the games and schedule, haha! 

In the age of Pinterest, there is a whole lot of 'pressure' around Birthday Parties these days. I started to feel it initially, but much like my approach to Christmas, I decided to stick to just the stuff that either meant a lot to Lily or was enjoyable to me. I committed to ignoring whatever else 'should' be done and not get stressed about anything... and I also didn't want to go crazy on the spending either, for a little shindig that would be over in two hours! I knew it didn't need to take too much money, stress or effort to make it a magical day (for Lily) and I wanted the whole family to enjoy it so I tried to keep things relaxed. 

Once I put that pressure aside, I have to say I just had soooo much fun putting it all together! I tried to do as much in advance as possible so I didn't get flustered in the lead up. I made and froze quite a bit of food a week in advance and even (thanks Amber for the tip!) iced the cake and cupcakes the night before the party too which really took the stress off.... phew! 

One trip to the shops was enough to get any items I didn't already have (my plastic tubs of party decor are getting quite built up!). For party favours (figuring the kids would get their sugar fix at the party already!) I wrapped up a storybook for each guest to take home. For decorations, I have a bit of an addiction to making bunting... it is such a relaxing, monontonous activity, I always have to stop myself from making 500 metres of it!! :) 

Knowing how kids love to just roam and play, we only planned for two games at the party that Lily chose - Pass the Parcel and 'Pin the Tiara on the Princess' :) - that was Lily's idea too!. We did a little craft of princess-wand-making, and with the tea party and Birthday cake, that was enough to keep the kids busy with some free play time too. 

Some of the sweetest memories for me was setting up all the decorations while Lily was in school on Friday and bringing her home to see them. She gasped in surprise and just was so in love with them, and told me 'You did all this, Mummy? This is so beautiful!! I love it!'. Then the night before the party, as I tucked one very excited little girl into bed and began to leave the room, she sat up again, eyes gleaming and said seriously 'I think you've done a really good job on my party, Mum.' *melt* Her appreciation made every second of effort feel so worthwhile :)

Ok, now the photo overload... be warned, there is plenty. I just want to record all the little details for Lily to look back on in years to come. I won't be offended if you just quickly scroll though ;)

the invite

The Cake

Lily requested a 'Princess Tiara Cake'... and I was grateful for such an easy assignment :) I get sooooo much cake-paranoia - it's the 'big' central birthday/party item and I always worry I am going to totally botch it - so I always try to aim LOW and then feel pleased if it goes a little better, haha! I am thankful for cakes that can be done just by popping a decorative item on top - phew! Oh yes, my sneaky little secret (shhhh) is that I didn't want to stress about baking 4 even tiers for the cake, so decided to just buy unfilled sponge cakes from the Woolies Bakery!! Yeah, see, I outsource the bit neither I or Lily care about (the actual cake) so I can go to town and have fun with the bit we both love - the decorating!!! I filled it with layers of raspberry jam and whipped cream and had so much fun decorating it with buttercream icing and various sparkly things. Oh, my other secret is if you can't go fancy... go high instead and hopefully that impresses a bit too ;)

Princess Castle cupcakes made by Lily, Eli and I :)

HRH Princess Lily and HRH Prince Eli... 
dressed of course in a royal blue with a bit of medieval flare :)

My angelic little girl. Oh - her dress was not quite 'sparkly' enough so I bought a
little pack of stick-on gems and she decorated it herself and loved it :)

I mean seriously?! The cutest Prince ever. His adorable cape was a lovingly hand-made
gift from his Perth grandma :) It is THE CUTEST, huh?!

So very excited about her cakes....

...and dying to tuck in!! (haha at Eli!!)

Feeding my bunting addiction...

I thought it would be fun for the kids to sit at their own little tea party table, so I set a little mix-matched mini tea party table with (thanks to my wonderful Mum's amazing collection!!) a gorgeous assortment of mini vintage china tea cups, plates and teeny little jugs. 

My plan was to make up a 'pink tea' and fill all the jugs so the kids could have fun pouring and mixing to their hearts content. I would just like to add that we had ten kids aged 3 to 5 attending. They had free rein of the table and I did not even 'caution' them to be careful with the china. I expected at least one breakage but you know what? Not a thing was broken!! Not only that, not even one spill, even with all the pouring... except for a little one by Eli (of course!!). I was pretty impressed by this little posse of party guests :)


a place for a princess 

The buffet table for the morning tea...

Banner I made for her 1st birthday - each kid gets one to reuse every year :)
(This is just the beginning of the food!)

Super cute (and wildly popular) 'fairy wands' kindly made by Amber - marshmallows dipped in white chocolate and
pink sprinkles. Clever, huh?!

The little popcorn cups were a last minute addition (the night before a party I always add something last minute as
I always think I don't have enough!) and the pink sprinkle biscuits to the right Lily has been eyeing off at Aldi for weeks and begging to have at her party so how could we say no?! Oh, the 'doily' under the left popcorn platter was made
by Lily ;)

Had a bit too much fun decorating these little wooden spoons I already had with washi tape :) 

Jelly Cups - they are actually 3 layers (purple, green, pink) but sadly the pink/purple were so similar you could hardly
see the layers! Oh well, the kids still loved them :)

Most of the food set up (except for all the hot stuff)

Fairy Bread with Nutella instead of butter - a delicious alteration! Oh, and because we did the cut outs I could not
bear to throw out all the bread scraps so later in the week I made Nutella Bread and Butter Pudding w them :)

My beautiful Mum was so excited about the party too - she loves this kind of thing. She not only contributed all the little tea cups and jugs, but she made home-made sausage rolls and these cuuuuuuuute little tea cups - how perfect are they!?

The Pink and Purple 'tea' I made with mineral water and natural pink cordial and water :) I just added a little blue food
colouring to one to make purple (extra fun for kids to mix two colours!)

Sprung with a bit of icing on his finger.

Those last minutes when everything is ready and the guests are yet to arrive... what to do??
The kids attempt to burn up their excitement by dancing and running around!

silly songs

waiting, waiting, waiting to get into that yummy party food....

It's party time...

The party guests arrive... and dig in!

Eli was soooo intent on consuming that jelly post-haste! (Note Lily holding court in the background!!)

She was beaming the whole party. Like, sunshine bursting from every
inch of her. Just so, so happy to celebrate her special day with friends - this girl
looooooves a party, and this was her very own and first that she remembered!

Princess Harper and Sir Finn

Prince Miles slept through most of the party but made a late appearance :)

Because, as Mark said, I 'just can't help myself', before Pass the Parcel commenced, I read the kids the wonderful story
'The Paperbag Princess' - about a princess who rescues her prince but doesn't put up with him being rude to her ;)
The kids listened so intently!

Spinning Miss Harper for 'Pin the Tiara on the Princess'

that magical moment...

'happy birthday to youuuuuuuuuuuuuuu' (Eli was so excited for his sister!)

Mark managed to capture the moment when Eli reached for the just-burnt-out sparkler. Note everyone's gasps!
Nothing quite like finishing singing with a round of screaming, haha (he was fine after some running cold water and
some jelly!)

Making Princess Fairy Wands with stickers and gems

It was a wonderful day. Lily had the time of her life (I think, literally, she would call it the best day of her life so far, such was her joy!), and I did too. It was just such a fun and sweet day for all the family, and hopefully the little guests too! As hard as it was, I am glad we stuck to our decision to keep the party small - just made it so enjoyable and not chaotic at all. It felt like Lily got to really enjoy hanging out with each of her guests and enjoy celebrating without being overwhelmed, and they all seemed to have a blast too. It was lovely to celebrate our beloved girl, and honour this little birthday milestone in such a way :) I loved that she loved it!

All Partied Out.
Minutes after the last guest departed, I walked into my room to discover this scene. ;)


  1. Overwhelmingly lovely in every way. The cakes are just WOW!!! And Lily shines in her total happiness. Gorgeous photographs just brimming with joy. I adore this post.

    1. oh julia thank you so much!! :) i am glad the fun and happiness of the day shone through!xx

  2. Wow Kate! You did an amazing job! That TOWER of cake is really something. Love all the pictures but my favourite would have to be the one before the picture of Miles. I love how Lily is framed by all her little friends engaged in their tea-partying. And the picture of her passed out on the bed with her tiara askew...awwww....

    Great job Kate. I know who to call to do T's party next year :)

    1. thank you lovely Tarnya!!! but i dont think you ned my help w T's party, i saw the lego awesomeness you did this year?!?!!? that said - i will take any excuse to come to his party :) heehee yeah i love the one of her in the midst of the crowd too. she was the Belle of the Ball and loving it ;)

  3. Kate there was a lot of love in this party. I really love your approach to this party and look it all paid off as everyone had a fabulous time, it looked AMAZING and you remained stress -free!
    It is so great to see all the photos together and I just adore all the 'just before' shot of Eli and Lily - the anticipation just killing them! ;)
    Oh and that one of Eli while everyone is singing Happy Birthday - that is one little brother who loves his big sister!
    Last photo - priceless and beautiful!
    Well done Kate xx

    1. thanks Amber :) your suppport (especially emotionally haha) was sooooo vital, thanks for letting me brainstorm all my ideas and all your tips helped so much too! the only thing wrong w the day was YOU NOT BEING THERE!!! your knight and princess were the sweetest little guests :) yeah the before shots were some of my faves - they were just SO excited heeheee!

  4. Looks like my comment didn't print yesterday :( WOW what a fabulous party You and Lily (and I am sure Mark contributed in some way :)need to TAKE A BOW!!. It looked fantastic. I am sure it filled all Lily's dreams.
    Love the pic of them hugging each other and Lily - pure joy written all over her face :)WELL DONE. Loved the storytelling too and pin the tiara on the princess. Looked like great fun. Thanks for sharing. LOVED it all.
    Nanna Jennings. PS Glad the cape was a success too :)

  5. WOnderful pics Kate and congratulations on a fabulous party for Lily - I especially like your 'don't go overboard' philosophy...they really don't need all the bells and whistles to make it memorable do they?? Lily looks absolutely delighted with all of it! I love the picture of her looking at the candles before she blows them out - she's practically bursting with excitement!

  6. Beautiful party. I love that the Lily was clearly having a ball :-)

  7. How amazing princess tea 5th birthday bash!! I had great time watching these photos. Your color scheme was too amazing. Our son’s birthday is coming and we are also planning an outdoor bash for him. Have just booked prettiest San Francisco event venues for that.


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