Children’s Birthday Parties: The Fantasy v The Reality

It was my daughter’s fourth birthday last week (sob! Where is the time going! Etc Etc) and as I was planning her birthday celebrations, it occurred to me that my idea of a dream party for her is somewhat different to the reality she’d be getting.

Obviously, she had a fantastic time (birthday parties are her FAVOURITE thing ever – seriously, she’d go to one every day if she could) but as someone who regularly pins stylish kids’ party images on Pinterest and sighs in delight when I see bloggers sharing their beautifully decorated (and themed) celebrations, I feel the need to confess how I do things in actual real life…

Decorations – the fantasy

Gorgeous paper honeycomb balls and trendy black letter banners spelling out ‘Happy birthday’.

honeycomb balls garland from Oh Happy day

Decorations – the reality

A Clinton’s Cards ‘Happy 4th Birthday’ banner.

Screen Shot 2014-10-01 at 20.28.17


Cake – the fantasy

My Frozen obsessed girl would LOVE this beautiful Elsa doll cake

Elsa doll cake by Yummy Mummy Kitchen

Cake – the reality

£10 from Tesco? Job done.

Frozen birthday cake - tenner from Tesco

Party bags – the fantasy

Beautiful mismatched paper bags, chosen to carefully contrast each other,  filled with stylish little wooden toys and trinkets

Gorgeous party bags from Petra Boase

Party bags – the reality

Plain bags – all one colour. Sticker slapped on. Filled with plastic tat.

Party Pieces blue party bags with star sticker

But do you know what? I’m OK with not throwing her a ‘beautiful’ birthday party, because the grin on her face as she ran around her super-fun party (some of the time in her Elsa costume, some of the time in her Anna costume.. honestly she had more outfit changes than J.Lo) and danced with an inflatable guitar around the bubbles blowing everywhere said it all. She doesn’t need honeycomb balls and elaborate cakes. She was just fine with all her friends, Let It Go blasting from the stereo and cocktail sausages to munch on.



  1. October 1, 2014 / 8:56 pm

    Love it. My two years old party with 13 friends (what was I thinking) mostly consisted of sand being trekked through the house from the garden. He loved it but it wouldn’t have graced the pages of a magazine 😉 but that’s not the point is it.

  2. October 1, 2014 / 9:13 pm

    I am exactly the same as you! But I think all kids are like yours – as long as they are having fun with their friends they really don’t care about anything else!! 🙂

  3. October 1, 2014 / 10:28 pm

    Haha! Love this post, I’m the same, Pinterest has a lot to answer for! Glad she had a lovely birthday party x

  4. October 2, 2014 / 7:34 am

    Fab post! I think it is more than kids’ parties. It’s trying to make our lives pretty as a picture. The great thing about young kids is that even though they have huge fantasy lives, they are so content with reality. I make my kids the crappiest cakes and they think they are amazing. 🙂

    • Alison Perry
      October 2, 2014 / 7:44 am

      See you MAKE cakes though!! I bought this one from Tesco! 😉 you get more mum points.

  5. October 2, 2014 / 10:12 am

    My 4 year olds birthday today and my 1 year old tomo. I too had ideas of beautiful hand made bunting etc but have ended up with plastic bunting and mismatched pirate plates and batman cake and princess plates and caterpillar cake!
    Hopefully his friends and my bambino a won’t notice it care

  6. October 2, 2014 / 10:59 am

    Haha! Love it! It sounds like your daughter had the best birthday party ever. Job done. Pinterest worthy parties make me smile, they are soooo for the grownups benefit not the child’s 😉

  7. October 2, 2014 / 12:11 pm

    LOVE that! And I bought my daughters birthday cake a few weeks ago. Cost me 8 whole english pounds from Tescos but wow did they wolf that thing down. Unlike my home-made attempt last year which they barely dented! ;-/

  8. October 2, 2014 / 12:53 pm

    Hehehe, Sausages for party food? I bet *someone* was very happy, tehehe. Love this post A…..It’s shocking the amount of stress some mums i know put themselves under to throw the ‘perfect looking’ birthday party for their littles, when the reality is the kiddos are far less materialistic & it’s all about the simple things, chasing around like loons, & making fun memories 🙂 x

  9. October 2, 2014 / 4:03 pm

    You see? Kids absolutely do not care! Isn’t that funny how we composed pretty much the same post on the same day?! Yay to cutting us mums some slack! I feel pretty liberated actually. Do you?

  10. October 2, 2014 / 9:11 pm

    Haha love this post Ali- I totally blame pinterest for us thinking we have to throw the most AMAZING parties. I bet she had a brilliant time and to be fair your party looks great fun! xx

  11. October 4, 2014 / 7:44 am

    This is sooooo true! I’m planning O’s parties (yes she’s having two!) and what I’m imagining, to what actually will happen are two totally different things.

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