Category Archives: Party Planner
Despite all my frownings and pronouncements to the contrary, I have decided to get into the spirit (see what I did there?) of Halloween and we have a small party planned for TOMORROW.
I’m like Ebenezer Scrooge on Halloween, and I have been visited by the ghost of Halloween Past.
As I wrangled the boxes from the loft, one of the lids came free and my “spells” book fell out
The Past showed me this book that I made, back when the children were very small (I think this dates from 2005) and needed some kind of instruction on party throwing. I remember making this book using a few sheets of black tissue paper, a blank book with lined paper and plenty of sloppy glue. I scrunched the paper up, and layered it onto the book and 6 years later it’s still here.
So the book fell open on the loft ladder at this page and reminded of me of my lovely plan to read various rhymes before playing each game. I was to be the Head Witch and would read the games out in rhyme (like some sort of FOOL) and the small children would obey me…
LOOK! I put little time reminder’s in the corner of the pages…how sweet and naive I was back then. *sigh*. Of course I faltered when actually confronted by a group of 5 year olds and although I followed the top tip of dusting a tiny amount of flour on the first sheet of paper and blowing (which makes a brilliant cloud of “dust”) before I started reading, I soon found myself flicking through the book in search of something ever more exciting as the children demolished the table of food and ran a circuit of madness from the front room/kitchen/hall.
Even so, the book reminded me of the effort I have always made for Halloween and shamed me.
AND WE’RE BACK!
So first up. Pumpkin Carving. I got two fab shaped examples. One squat, one long, and part one of tonight’s plan is to carve them:
So first you cut a lid, simple enough. Use a sharp large knife, and I use the same large knife to make an initial cut into the fibrous centre of the squash and to ease the removal of the crappy/seedy innards. I have bothered, in the past, to remove the seeds and toast them – Total. Waste. Of. Time. They just irritated me. Don’t bother.
So, then I scrape the insides with a big metal spoon (serving size if you want to be precise). Oliver got involved and took charge of the smaller, squatter pumpkin. He ended up wearing rubber gloves (THE MASSIVE GIRL) as the scrape and pull method was just not working for him. I’d recommend not being too squeamish and getting right in there.
So once we’d scraped and scraped we could start carving. I decided that the long pumpkin should be inverted to make a more realistic “head” shape. Oliver decided to draw his design in Permanent Marker pen. We’re both idiots.
Ah, but you see, Jack ‘O Lanterns are most effective once lit, and so it was time for our traditional “turn all the lights off, light the pumpkins” moment.
Sod it. Let’s move onto the cakes…
Oh! so I want to make cupcakes with an oreo biscuit in the bottom and I am deeply impressed by these owl cupcakes which also uses Oreo Cookies. SCORE! I can get them in Poundland.
I line a deep muffin tray with
crappy Halloween cases and add half an oreo to each case.
I make a basic chocolate cake batter and then *DUN DEEE DAH!!!!*
I see a cosmic sign. A symbol of the Goddess. A sign of something strong and feminine shining at me from my mixing bowl. Some see Dead People, some see Jesus in a piece of toast, some see Mary in a Tortilla…
I see boobs in batter. Moving on.
So I add the Booby Batter to the cases and bake
And as they bake I make a second batch of smaller cakes – fairy ones. OH YES FAIRY CAKES ARE BACK!
I still had a small amount of batter left, so I crushed up the tops of the Oreo cookies I had left over and added them to the mixture before filling a remaining three cases and baking
I now have many cakes. MANY MANY CAKES. All of which require icing and decorating.
I’ll be back…
My favourite party of the year approaches.
I have three boxes worth of hallowe’en
junk decorations and they are brought down from the shed every year with the same reverence as our Christmas Decorations. Hallowe’en has become a traditional party at our home since Tom first started school.
I haven’t started planning this year’s bash yet, but thought I might write a post on the parties gone by and hopefully kick start some ideas for this year.
So let’s start with the Invitations.
In 2008 we made invitations which appeared to be an old letter written 100 years ago. Our address was printed in the top left hand corner of the page – and the invitation was written as a plea from me for help for my son, Oliver. It read:
Date – 1st November 1908
I write to you to ask for your help. My son, Oliver, has been acting strangely since his birthday in August. He cannot sleep, he hates garlic, he is very pale and his teeth have become very pointed.
I fear that since his eighth birthday he has become…A VAMPIRE! I am sure that he will roam for the next one hundred years, and ask that you answer this call from the past to save him!
I ask you to come to my home to help us.
The Date – 1st November 2008
Time – 5 O’clock to 7 O’Clock
Please wear fancy dress, this may prevent Oliver from sucking your blood!
I humbly ask you to tell me if you can attend either by:
Telegram – mobile number
Telephone – landline
or by tearing off the bottom of this letter and returning by carrier pigeon.
I beg you for your help
Lady Party Spanner (Scared)
Tear off strip
I _________________ will be able to come to save Oliver from a fate worse than death
We soaked the invitations in cold coffee (should have been tea)
And then, I made the boys use a hairdryer to dry the invitations. HA HA HA! I have no idea what the hell was running through my head at this point. Why I didn’t just leave them hanging around until they just dried out, I do not know.
We were then left with some beautiful, if slightly caffeine-y ,old letters
When they were dry *snort*, I rolled the letters into scrolls and sealed them with red sealing wax.
In 2009, I produced a newspaper page as an invitation.
The title was The Daily Spook and the page was set up as Classified Advertisements. Like this:
GHOST INVESTIGATORS WANTED
We are being haunted by a very naughty spirit. It leaves lights on in rooms, it leaves taps running in the bathroom, I find dirty clothes in piles on the landing floor.
PLEASE HELP ME! If you think you can get to the bottom of our haunting please come to <address> on <date> at<time> Please wear fancy dress, this might scare the ghost into behaving itself! Please reply via text <mobile> or direct to the Daily Spook offices <landline> They will pass your messages onto us. All ghostbusters to be collected at <time> by which time I sincerely hope the house will be clean and tidy and free of ghosts.
I filled the rest of the page up with silly adverts such as:
1 vacuum cleaner. The salesman told me I could fly through the cleaning, but the cord was too short. I’m going back to the broomstick.
Reply to: Ms W. Itch
Professional and experienced skeleton has vacancies for music lessons in trom-BONE
Reply to PO Box B0N35
And arranged (by amazing use of the tab key and quite a lot of swearing, backspacing and general pissiness) until I had a page that looked like a section of adverts.
Yes, yes, they may be old jokes, but only to old ears.
Last year we sent out invitations in text speak. Green letters on a black background which warned party comers of an evil computer that had imprisoned us in a Matrix type web.
I had an amazing response via text – lots of parents got right into the swing of the invite and responded in text speak and…
So this year…Well, I’m catering for 14 year olds and 11/12 year olds. I think I can let the cute stuff pass us by now and get into the real ZOMBIE APOCOLYPSE stuff. Or maybe the SERIAL KILLER WITH SCARY KENWOOD CHEF DEVICES.
Or maybe I’ll just point them towards the huge and depressing debts they’ll rack up at university?
(little bit of politics)
So the beach party is over…and my mind turns (as always) to the next party I’d like to throw.
I want to do a Soprano’s dinner party, but without the guns and prostitutes.
Lots of lovely red wine to drink, some grappa maybe? Sicilian lemonade for the non drinkers.
A couple of games of poker with cigars obligatory.
Hmmmm. Yes, I think I can do something with this idea.
As I write this blog, I am gazing about like a blinking owl. My left leg hurts and Oliver is still in bed (at two O’clock in the afternoon). The kitchen still looks like a hurricane of food has blown through it and the back garden…the less I say about that the better. I think we can safely say that the party was a ROARING SUCCESS.
I woke up horrifically early yesterday morning with a jolt. The night before had been spent cooking batches of cupcakes and I had completely forgotten to wrap Olly’s presents and so, I started the day in a frenzied search for some sellotape (which by the way, should be featured in Harry Potter books as an example of an amazing disappearing substance. It doesn’t matter how much of it I buy, I can never bloody find ANY OF IT when I need to) which I couldn’t locate and so ended up wrapping his gifts which craft glue. A great start to the day, I’m sure you agree.
The morning was spent icing cupcakes and cornets filled with sweets and decorating the shed/playhouse.
As I had decided that the food was going to comprise of burgers, hotdogs and sausages in buns the food preparation was at a minimum. This left me time to decorate the front garden and to force Tom into blowing up an inflatable banana the size of a lilo.
Time then warped and suddenly people were arriving. Family members dropped by to give cards and presents to the birthday boy in advance of the party, the entertainer arrived and then the guests started flooding in. I realised that I had no idea how many people were going to descend as I hadn’t received many RSVPs (Quick note here – please respond to invitations, it makes life so much easier for the person throwing the party) and was greatly relived that more than 3 children turned up.
The entertainer was just…brilliant. 11 is a difficult age. The disparity between the more knowing and mature girls, and the boys (who spent at least half an hour wrestling and throwing plums from the tree at each other) who are in the main, still children, means that there is awkward balance to strike. Michelle (for that was her name) managed this beautifully and the kids all got really involved in the karaoke and competitions.
So while the kids were doing the limbo, screeching Justin Bieber songs and
throwing plums at each other generally having a good time, I got on with the food.
Deciding on providing hot food was just plain stupid. Why I thought that this would lessen the load on the day is now, with hindsight, completely beyond me. Am I actually mental?
The entertainer had to leave (BOO!) and there was still an hour to go before the party ended.
There was only one option left open to me…
This worked really well until they escaped and run amok with water pistols
This was actually my favourite part of the whole day. To see these kids – some of whom have been coming to our parties since they were 5 – running and laughing and being children again was just…amazing and surprisingly touching.
And so, the time for it all to end was upon us.
Oliver blew out his candles…
The children left, each and every one thanking me for a good time.
Po emerged from his hiding place…
And I put my feet up, drank a glass or two of wine and fell into my bed in a messy mess.
This morning, Olly got a text from one of his friends that simply said:
“Your [sic] party was epic”
It’s the party tomorrow.
To say that I am not quite ready for it would be a staggering understatement.
Somehow I have failed to arrange:
1) The Food
2) The cakes
3) The decorations
And I’m at work today.
Pray for me.
I bow to
one person asking public demand and get back onto the track of the blog MOMENTARILY give you an update on the invitations and preparations for Oliver’s beach party.
I found a brilliant website called Party Packs and found foldable cardboard surfboards and inflatable parrots and straw skirts and and and…
So, I placed an order and it arrived very quickly.
You’ll noticed that I was so excited I didn’t even clear the iron away. Yeah. That’s like, that’s an indicator of my excitement. Iron Clearage. *cough*
So we pretty much got everything out of the box and shouted at each other stuff like “LOOK! AN INFLATABLE BANANA!” “OH MY GOD. GIANT SUNGLASSES!”
And then I made Oliver put all the leis on
And then we packed everything back into the box and put it somewhere. I think down the shed/playhouse. Or maybe in the loft. Or under the stairs. Anyway, WHATEVER, it’ll turn up.
I have started some serious work on the invitations.
I had a small problem with the glue (and not because I’m on it)
And have managed to finish half of them…
See those fabulous little life preservers and sunglasses and palmtrees? We made those. We are totally amazing.
Only another 10 to go and I’m done
We’re getting there!
So. Oliver turns 11 in August, and he moves onto secondary school in September.
All of the parties that I have thrown for him and his primary school friends have been building towards THIS PARTY. (You can read about my angst here)
We’re going on a family holiday at the end of July, so I need to be really on top of my game to get the invitations out and get everything arranged. Bearing this in mind, I called a party entertainer today. I’ve decided that I want to enjoy this party, and the best way to do this is to get
someone else to do it help. Somewhat embarrassingly, when the lovely lady asked me about the details of the party – I burst into wracking sobs. *shocked face*
Me: “It’s hu huuh hh..is eleventh birthday *WAIL* and this is th the the LAST PARTYYYY! *sniff*”
I wouldn’t be surprised if she turns up on the day with a knife tucked into her socks in order to deal with me.
Today was also the day that I went to HobbyCraft and spent a stupid amount of money on crafty crap.
See that pen? I have many, many pens, but when you walk into HobbyCraft they squirt you with an odourless, invisible gas that turns you into a CraftZombie. One minute you’re a normal person who watches DVD’s and The Apprentice in their free time, the next moment you find yourself gazing vacantly at a cardboard mask while gently stroking a pack of feathers. I should never go in HobbyCraft. It makes me want to do knitting, crocheting, painting, jigsaws, jewellery making and..most disturbing of all, SEQUIN ART. FFS.
I also bought some sandpaper. Not from HobbyCraft, but from ASDA – Only a quid! Bargain (also I got three bottles of wine for a tenner *double thumbs up*)
So I started on the invitations..
That’s a little square of sandpaper there in the middle. The card opens up and all the information about the party is on the inside. I’ve gone with a “Beach Hut” thing (Beach Hut = Shed/Playhouse)
The Beach hut at <address>
will open on <date of party> at <start time> until <end time>
Dress Code – Something summery!
There’s something missing though…As I looked through the bags of little sticky on-ny beach stuff I had bought, I realised that it’s just not colourful enough. And so…the madness begins.
On my last trip to HobbyCraft I bought a bunch of FIMO, ostensibly for Oliver, but c’mon, let’s be honest – I became a CraftZombie. I made these with it:
If you don’t know what FIMO is, (and, why would you? Unless you’ve been in HobbyCraft, in which case you’ve probably got your own embarrassing collection of models) then have a click. FIMO is basically a modelling clay which you can harden in the oven.
I wonder if you can guess where I’m going with this?
Yes. I have forced my children into slave labour to help me make our own sticky on-ny things to stick on invitations. I feel shame.
But now we have…
When my mum’s 60th year rolled around, we decided to throw a party. This time though, we weren’t going to cobble together a bunch of crappy decorations made out of computer printouts and vegetables. This time we were going to be classy.
So, we booked a function room in our local Marriot and arranged for our family to stay overnight.
I ordered a cake from a bakery (no LumpOCake for mum – Oh no..)
Isn’t it pretty? But don’t be fooled – underneath that immaculate icing and edible flower spray is fruit cake. Not only fruit cake, but also marzipan. It’s like seeing a lovely plate of steak and chips only to discover that the steak is made of ear wax and the chips are made from parsnips. (Parsnips being the worse option in this scenario – obviously)
We decorated the function room as best as we could, which to be frank, wasn’t terrific. Why are function rooms in hotels so unremittingly depressing? What is it about them? Is it the ghosts of a thousand work christmas parties, each with it’s own inevitable puddle of regretful snogging? Or maybe it’s the slight whiff of despair which lingers after a hundred Motivational Sales Training Courses. Who knows?
We got dressed in our finest clothes. I was forced into some fairly heavy duty foundation garments, which resulted in an inability to breathe, bend over or dance with any sort of elegance (That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it) and the boys were looking sharp.
Somehow we ended up with a female DJ. I have no idea how this happened as I’m sure they’re about as rare as decent meal in Frankie & Benny’s, but I was obviously striking a blow for gender equality. GO ME! She was fab and kept the party dancing. We ran a free bar, and I seemed to have really got into the “Free Bar” thing – clearly I forgot that I was paying for the “Free Bar” at the end of the night, but my brain seemed to filter out this vital piece of information and just heard “YOU DON’T HAVE TO GIVE MONEY AT THE BAR! DRINK SOMETHING REALLY EXPENSIVE! IT’S FREEEEEEE!!” which resulted in some peculiar combinations and some quite horrendous choices.
The evening went well, everyone had a good time – Nana (of 50′s glass fame )had a boogie and everyone enjoyed the bar.
So. Finally the DJ packed up her equipment and people started heading home. I decided at this point that there was only one way to get back to my room.
I’m at a bit of a loss how to end this post. I guess I could say something trite about “Good Time Had By All” or maybe something like “Wordy word word word” but instead, I think I will ask you to have a look at the new and AMAZING twitter and Facebook buttons. You can now comment from your twitter account or Facebook and I would LOVE to hear from you if you like the blog – if you hate it? Then I’m not so keen – KEEP YOUR BLOODY OPINIONS TO YOURSELF. *winky emoticon* ..No. I actually mean it. *serious face*
I wasn’t very excited about the recent(ish) Royal Wedding. I wasn’t one of those people saying stuff like “BOO! TAX PAYERS MONEY! BLOODY ARISTROCRACY” or anything, I just couldn’t really summon up much enthusiasm.
That was until we decided to invite my Nana to come and stay for the week.
Suddenly, I was effervescent! YAY! ROYAL WEDDING!
I decided that I was going to bake a cake, we were going to have a “spread” and champagne and watch the coverage on the TV and have some champagne and tie up bunting outside and have some champagne.
The cake I decided to bake was from the lovely book by Lorraine Pascale called “Baking Made Easy” which is from her BBC TV series. I really fell a little bit in love with Lorraine while watching her cookery series, and was delighted when I received her book for my birthday (a week before the wedding) There isn’t anything much nicer than a brand new cookery book to flick through, and despite being on a permadiet, I especially love drooling over cake recipes.
Her website is http://www.lorrainepascale.com/ (HOLY SHIT! Did I just make a link? WOW!)
Anyway. The cake I wanted to make is a plain chocolate sponge with inches of buttercream and chocolate cigarillos around the outside. You can fill the top (there’s a gap between the top of the cake and the top of the cigarillos) with anything really…flowers, fruit, sweets…anything, and I decided that I wanted two tone cigarillos, white and milk chocolate and to bring the cake into the patriotic theme, I filled it with fresh strawberries and blueberries.
I got the cigarillos from http://www.chocolatetradingco.com/chocolates/ingredients/cigarellos-curls?gclid=COm_pKqnqakCFQNP4Qod1iIHLA (Getting flash now) and they arrived really quickly.
We put bunting up outside the night before the Big Day (and I must confess that it is still hanging forlornly from one end of our down pipe – *SHAME*) and bought in some nice party food from the high street.
We were up early and settled down to watch the coverage – and thoroughly enjoyed it.
By the way did you see this:
I made that cake. Pretty amazing, yes?
So, we watched the wedding, popped the champagne when they came out of the church and the crowd roared and…ah. It was lovely.
Ma had actually bought special “Celebration” glasses to drink the champagne from
So, we drank some more champagne when they emerged onto the balcony.
And a little bit more when they kissed
And a little bit more when they kissed again
And we laughed when Prince Phillip clearly went “RIGHT! I’ve had enough of all this, let’s go and eat!” (like Frank off Everybody Loves Raymond) and they all shuffled back inside.
And then I made Nana try on my original 50′s glasses
And then I had some pink wine (I think)
And we watched Prince William (um, Duke of Cambridge or whatever his name is now) drive the beautiful Kate back home in that car and it was brilliant…and then I had some more wine.
And then I forced the boys outside to take a photo of them and Nana and the bunting
And then I think we had some more food and we definitely had some more cake. Oh did you see the cake?
And we had a lovely day and it was great.
(And even though we had to call an ambulance for Nana at 1 O’Clock in the morning because she was very poorly and that bit was really shit, but she’s OK now, it was still a Good Day)