Charlie’s First Birthday Party

And just like that… she turned one-years-old!

Charlotte is one and what better theme to choose for our mouse than just that… a mouse theme!

I was super fortunate enough to have the incredibly talented and passionate team at Polka Dot Company on board to not only conceptualise the celebration but to handle the complete set up of the birthday party. Owner Nicky and I had chatted almost two-years-ago for Maddie’s fourth birthday. We were a week away from her birthday party and we sadly had to cancel due to the lockdown so Nicky and I were unable to go ahead with our planned party. Almost two years later, it was great to team up again and this time go through with the planned celebration!

THE VENUE
The chosen venue for the party was Revive Cafe in Umhlanga. This beautiful venue is a gem of a spot. Not only do they have the most beautiful grounds equipped with a jungle gym for bigger kids and smaller ones for little kids, they also have a beautiful large covered deck where you can set up. There is also an onsite coffee shop where you can order drinks and food. You are given exclusive use of the deck and lawns for a two hour slot which is incredible!


DECOR & SET UP

Chances are, you’ve come across Polka Dot Company here in KZN, they are a boutique event design and styling company based in Durban. My brief to Nicky was simply – a mouse party but more of a country / traditional mouse rather than Minnie Mouse… Shortly after our conversation Nicky sent me her inspiration board… Claris the Mouse… a popular children’s literature of an infectious rhyming tale about courage, compassion and a stylish little mouse, from international fashion illustrator Megan Hess. I absolutely fell in love and gave Nicky and her team the thumbs up to run wild!

Having planned a few parties over the last few years for Maddie, this was the first party I didn’t physically do any set up or organising – which was absolutely incredible as it can get super overwhelming, stressful and expensive. Knowing Nicky was handling it all took a load off my shoulders and I knew it would be top class… and I wasn’t disappointed!

Everything from the overload of pink to the touches of gold, the furniture, the beautifully set up kiddies table with paper plates and cups to theme to the milkshakes, the flowers, the Eiffel Towers, the cake stands, cookie stands and the smallest of details like the tutus and tags on the chairs… nothing wasn’t thought of!

Nicky and her team arrived two hours before the party started and handled the complete set up and assisted me with cake placement, cookies, food and drinks. Her team were incredibly helpful without being invasive. It was the easiest, smoothest party I have every hosted! Post event breakdown – within 30 minutes everything was broken down and cleared!

Aside from design and decor which was taken care of, I had a few things to organise to add to Nicky’s setup; the girl’s dresses, the cake, the themed iced cookies, the food and the entertainment.

THE INVITE

Dear Ariah Stationery created me a digital invite after I sent her Nicky’s inspiration board.

THE DRESSES

I called on the incredible Princess Gabi to create custom made dresses for the girls according to theme. We decided to not have the girls match but rather have them wear different dresses but fitting in with theme. Charlotte – big puffy sleeves and a ruffled skirt with the touch of a gold bow on her dress – like Claris. While Maddie chose her dress – a super ‘fashionista’ dress with lots of tulle and puff! They both looked absolutely beautiful and true to Princess Gabi – they were exceptionally well made and fitted beautifully!

I knew I wanted Charlie to wear mouse ears but I knew realistically that an Alice band would never work. I got in touch with Georgie Sue Boutique who create stunning handmade accessories and well, they knocked this one out of the park… Charlie’s mouse headband ears were perfect and she happily wore them!

THE CAKE

True to Claris the Mouse theme and an also replica to the inspiration board, the incredible Vanessa at Glenore SPAR over delivered on the most beautiful cake! I handmade the cake topper with my Cricut Maker.

THEMED ICED COOKIES

My incredibly talented friend, Kirst Strydom of Hustle & Heart Cookie Studio created the most beautiful assortment of themed iced cookies for Charlotte which in itself shone on display…

As part of the entertainment, Kirst created DIY cookie decorating boxes – something we absolutely love and it really is such fun for the kiddies! Each kit includes four un-iced themed cookies with three pre-pipped icing bags and a bag of sprinkles.

FOOD

A favourite of ours… we got the team at Grazed to create a gourmet snack cup for the adults and a candy cup for the kiddies! Covid friendly and a nice snack option for the adults and kids too, who could also choose to take their candy cup home to enjoy later too.

SOFT PLAY HIRE

An absolute must for a one-year-old’s party… soft play! I remember hiring a full set up for Maddie’s first birthday and it was such a hit. It’s such an awesome form of entertainment for the littlies right up to four-years-old as everything is soft, colourful and so much fun. From the ball pit to the ridable animals to the slides and ladders – its the best! I hired the full set up from Little J’s Soft Play Hire who dropped off, set up and picked up after the party.

MESSY PLAY

The absolute highlight of the party for the kids (and the adults too) was the messy play session BEAUTIFULLY curated and set up by The Play Hive. An awesome mobile art studio for toddlers and kids owned by Christy – a mom and foundation phase and ECD teacher who conceptualises the most beautiful messy play and process workshops, parties and holiday clubs.

I have been following her on Instagram for quite some time and I knew I simply had to get her to set up a themed messy play area at Charlie’s party and wowzers! I was blown away! The Play Hive was the talk of the party and an absolute hit for every single child at the party… from Charlie, the youngest to a seven-year-old – the oldest at the party – they all got absolutely stuck in and had the best fun! The kids of all ages and abilities were completely absorbed in the process, the experimenting in the open ended and self directed activities and loved getting messy… the way kids should!

With a passion for opened ended, child led, experimenting, problem solving and choice driven play, The Play Hive put together the most incredible layout of mixed media, materials, solutions, tools and utensils and textures all keeping within the theme and colour palate of the party. Things like a first ‘birthday cake’ to paint, a tea party, a flower garden… everything was so incredibly thought out and presented to the kiddies.

The play trays included spaghetti, rice, water and ice sculptures, moon sand, Oobleck (maizena and water), frozen bicarb mouse shapes that fizz when sprayed with vinegar and a paint station that includes easels and a giant box ‘cake’ that can be painted – all ingredients were taste safe including the paint!

Seeing the joy and excitement in the kids faces during their hour long play session was incredible! It was the talk of the party as even the parents got stuck in!

The kids got messy and loved every minute of it. The Play Hive also set up a wash pool for the kids to clean off and the best part… they use a giant tarpaulins that covers the floor / lawn ensuring that the floor doesn’t get covered in any messy play and they handle the clean up.

PARTY FAVOUR

Dream Jelly created custom made slime boxes to theme for Charlie’s friends to take home. It was a very special touch to the party and the perfect take home party favour after all the tactile fun of the messy play.

We honestly had the most incredible celebration for Charlie. It will be a day we will forever remember and hold close to our hearts!

A big thank you to the following sponsors for their contribution to Charlie’s party:

Venue: Revive Cafe | @revive_cafe_dbn | revivecafeumhlanga@gmail.com

Decor and set up: The Polka Dot Company | @thepolkadotcompany | nicky@thepolkadotcompany.co.za

Dresses: Princess Gabi | @princess_gabi_clothing | https://princessgabi.co.za/

Charlie’s headpiece: Georgie Sue Boutique | @georgiesueboutique | https://georgiesue.co.za/

Cookies: Hustle & Heart Cookie Studio | @hustleandheart.cookiestudio | 0732900734

Grazing cups and candy cups: Grazed | @grazed_za | hello@grazed.co.za

Soft play hire: Little J’s Soft Play Hire | @little_js_softplay_hire | 082 582 2651

Messy play: The Play Hive | @theplayhive | info@theplayhive.co.za

Slime boxes: Dream Jelly | @dreamjelly_sa | https://dreamjelly.co.za/

Party invitation: Dear Ariah Stationery | @dearariahstationery | dearariahstationery@gmail.com

My earrings: Luxe Leather Earrings | @luxe_leatherearrings | https://www.luxeleather.co.za/

Here’s a video of her special day:

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