We might just have thrown the perfect birthday party for a ten-year old girl. It was in the planning for some time and executed on Sunday. A shopping and sipping party. I limited my daughter to 3 guests so she chose them from her classmates. We designed little handbag shaped invites giving the bare details. To begin at 1pm on Sunday 2 March with pizza and bag design. I’d ordered canvas bags and fabric markers from Amazon.
The girls got stuck in to their designs straight away transforming plain canvas bags in to colourful fashion items. I handed out envelopes with their money allocation. Ten being the number of the celebration, the girls had £10 each to spend. My daughter had jazzed up the envelopes with funny shopping slogans and international currency symbols. So off we set. We didn’t have to wait too long for our ride to town. The girls scrambled to the front seats on the top deck. I handed out a shopping extravaganza quiz (with the promise of prizes) to occupy them on the bus rides. Questions such as how many bus stops between our house and the town? See how many words you can make from extravaganza. etc.
I’d class myself as an astute shopper – slow to get ripped off and I always know where to find the best prices. But I had to remember that for the afternoon I was merely their escort and where they went I followed. Sale signs mean nothing to them. I suppressed the urge to lead them to Zara where I knew with their end of season sale a tenner could secure them a fab outfit. They had their own ideas. One of the girls suggested they go to the new frozen yoghurt bar. I think the name was almost as much of a draw as the topping. So they got their SNOGS at £4.45 a hit. We did go to Zara but only so they could try on dresses they had no intention of buying but they had a lot of fun parading around their dressing rooms in their identikit outfits looking like they were part of a tweenie band.
Claire’s provided them with a giggle too (wigs), Paperchase was a draw and they purchased rainbow pencils there. I’d wanted them to start with Tiger where I knew for sure that a tenner would go a long way. Actually even £3 (what most of them were rocking up with) goes far in this store. With only pennies left, we headed for home. Back on the bus the girls completed the quiz. Once indoors they surveyed their purchases while I set out the afternoon tea. They had a choice of cucumber, ham and tuna sandwiches (crusts off of course), meringues, butterfly buns, and mini victoria sponges. I’d baked shortbread biscuits using money cookie cutters so the girls munched on euros, yens, dollars and sterling. The “cake” was the figure 10 in buns laid out on a tray strewn with chocolate coins and edible wafer notes.
I set out my fine bone china tea set. The girls played posh for the entirety of their sitting. Very funny to eavesdrop in my role as waitress. I was handsomely tipped (edible 100 euro notes) though they worked me hard. The tea drinkers took their tipple with plenty of milk and heaped spoonfuls of sugar. They drank this mixture from the china cups throwing back the tea as though it was a shot. “More tea, please”. They talked of their mansions and staff, of their riches and their men. Of their children and their horses. They nibbled on their wafer money. Overheard “Oh the big notes are especially delicious – I’m soooo wealthy I eat money for breakfast, dinner and tea.”
With high tea over, they spent the next hour shooting a video to the backdrop of the Pharrell Williams hit single “Happy.” I was coerced in to a few seconds of a dance performance involving a cup and a saucer. DH struck rock star poses with his parlour guitar. The screen stars were the four girls. Kisses to camera, walking in to shot, choreographed moves and costume changes. Finally I called time. They’d been with us for over 6 hours though the day flew. Instead of a ‘carriages at 8’ I’d added ‘I’ll drop when we’re done”. So they piled in to the car squealing as they watched back the movie recording. There was no need for party bags as they were already heading home laden with their purchases.
Amber loved her party as did her guests. I’ve long been a fan of small birthday parties – simple old-fashioned fun that needn’t cost a fortune. The fun starts at the planning stage so no sooner had we dropped the last child to her door than she and we started throwing ideas around for her eleventh.