I sort-of hate myself for it, but we have totally outsourced the girls’ upcoming birthday party. They have been to 15(!!) parties since January (I know…) and there was no way that we could repeat the very small, homespun parties the girls have had for their last two birthdays (the thought of fifteen pairs of feet stomping around our house, high on sugar didn’t seem particularly appealing)  so we had to look for an alternative venue.

I narrowed it down to two options:

  1. Hire a church hall, install a bouncy castle, organise party games, let chaos ensue
  2. Book a session at a soft play place

I really fancied option 1 until Dh pointed out that he and I would have to set the hall up, do all the food, make sure everyone (both big and small people) was entertained for two hours and clear up afterwards, all while managing two extremely overexcited pre-schoolers.

So, I begrudgingly booked option 2. We’ve been to three parties there already and it’s a great venue but it just feels so…impersonal. The big plus is that they do everything (food, drink, party bags) for you apart from the cake.

Unlike some (really irritating) places, they allow the grown-ups on the apparatus, including the big wiggly slide. There’s nothing worse (it’s a first world problem, but bear with me) than trying to marshal two small people around a series of obstacles only to abandon them at the top of the slide as you’re not allowed to go down it with them. The girls are actually tall enough to master the obstacles unaided now, but where’s the fun in that? In any case, our parent friends now expect me to make a complete arse of myself as I chuck myself through a revolving tube and they positively embrace the opportunity to point and laugh as they sit on the sidelines drinking coffee. I’m braced for the day that I offer to ‘help’ the girls climb up to the tube slide only for them to look at me disdainfully and tell me to go and sit with the grown-ups. I might actually have a little cry.

I digress. There are only two elements of the party that I can control: the invitations and the cakes. The venue provides blank invitations but I really don’t like the design of them. I decided to put my card-making skills to good use and have just finished the invitations. All 19 of them. All totally unique. Yes, I’m THAT much of a nutbag.

When it comes to the cakes, I may be crackers but I’m not totally insane. I’m a reasonably competent Victoria sponge and chocolate cake-maker but my creations wouldn’t pass muster for a birthday party. Also, we have seen the candles blown out on an amazing array of cakes this year – I think my favourite was the Noah’s Ark with fondant animals – and, frankly, I know that any home-make attempts to better them would result in an entry on the CakeWrecks website*. Instead I’m going to speak to our local bakery about making a Hello Kitty cake for R and a Minnie Mouse cake for G.

*Although they only feature professional cakes.

The invitations are going to be circulated on Monday and I’m already getting my annual party fear. WHAT IF NO-ONE COMES? WHY DID I HAVE DECEMBER CHILDREN? WHAT IF WE SIT THERE WITH TWO CAKES, TWO SAD CHILDREN AND NO PEOPLE? WHY AM I WRITING IN CAPITALS? Argh!