Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Ruby's adventures in Wonderland

I cannot believe it! My darling daughter (aka, The Little Lady) celebrated her 10th birthday today. Where does the time go? One whole decade of fun and laughter....oh and of course those rather famous tantrums!
In our house it seems that birthdays are definitely occasions to look forwards to. Planning of parties begins often immediately after the previous birthday has passed. It's a little dull for me as I cringe at the passing of the years in my own life, but as a child, I can see the sheer pleasure and joy of being the centre of attention, planning and attending parties and of course receiving birthday gifts.
So about six months ago or so, The Little Lady began to plan her birthday party. This years theme:- Alice in Wonderland. Wowzers!

Many years ago in a previous life, I used to have time to think about and carefully plan birthday parties, I actually built up quite a reputation for the level of excitement raised as a result of my efforts. It's not like that now. I have VERY good intentions but some how time just seems to whizz on by and I pass from having huge amounts of time to being caught up amidst a mad rush!

It wasn't quite as daunting as it seems, I did get some early ideas together (well in my head anyway).
The costume has been bubbling away in my thoughts for quite some weeks and warranted a trip to my favourite fabric store Mason's! Arrr that store.....I lose myself in there amongst the rolls of fabric and bits and bobs, it really is any creative persons dream place.
So I found the fabrics and trimmings I thought I needed and popped them in a safe little place back home ready for when the moment arose. Of course the time passed and I didn't actually get around to starting it until Thursday last week (with only three days to go) and of course The Little Lady didn't choose a simple design. Oh no! She chose a rather lovely little lacy ballet number. It was rather beautiful. We took inspiration from a picture on Pinterest. However, what I hadn't anticipated was the lack of stretch in my bargain lace fabric. So of course whilst fiddling away (as I do) last week and attempting to craft my masterpiece, we encountered a few minor problems actually squeezing my costume on. With life's busy schedule and a severe lack of time I made a last minute decision to go for plan B. (Well actually there wasn't a plan B but I quickly thought one up!)
A few years back, the girls took part in a rather lovely dance show and one of the costumes I made for the pair of them were beautiful romantic style leotards and skirts. I was really proud back then. So   yesterday I made the decision to use them again. Of course The Little Lady had to wear Miss P's stuff as she's grown quite considerably over the past few years (must be over feeding her!). The only technical hitch was the fact that her knickers were to be visible (now that won't do), the only thing for it was to whip up an over skirt to cover the tutu and create a rather mmmmm pouffy skirt. I'm so glad I saved my last old worn out duvet cover, it worked just perfectly.
Oooops! Almost forgot to say that the costume was indeed for the White Queen. I cannot ever recall there being a White Queen, but I am assured that there is one!

Look! There she is smiling at the camera :-)

A rather empty cake stand...although look at that tea plate!

The other element that we've been planning for a while was a the Mad Hatter's Tea Party. It simply has to be done. I thought it would be rather fitting to use vintage china tea cups for the occasion. I'm in ownership of a couple of sets myself but I rather like them and didn't want to risk breaking them so we set about trawling the local charity stores in search. It's really rather fun shopping for a themed party and looking for vintage china is right up my street I've decided. Having looked on Ebay, sets are really rather expensive (£12 or so for a cup saucer and tea plate), some of the charity shops try charging the same but mostly you can pick up a pretty cup and saucer for under two pounds. Much as would have loved to have kept them all, I figured they could be used for the party and then given as gifts to the children to take home at the end. It worked a treat.

Theming games around Alice in Wonderland was no problem at all. If you have a little imagination you really could go to town and create the most amazing environment and fun menu of past times. When I set about looking for inspiration my mind itself was set into a flurry at the sheer extent of the endless possibilities. In someways for me as a creative person I found that bit the hardest as I am so limited by time and energy these days. I'm not really one to settle for second best but sometimes I realise that I don't have a choice and have to go with it.
So we played croquet in the kitchen......'Play your cards right'- in the sitting room, Alice's game (my take on Kim's game - the memory game where you look at the items on the tray, cover them up and then try and remember them) and pass the parcel with forfeits. My little little house seemed fit to burst with 13 children and four adults occupying the downstairs (note to self - 'This house is not suitable for parties'). The situation reminded me of the book titled 'The Little Little house' did you ever read it? Mama May thinks her house is too small so her wonderful wise aunt suggests that one by one she bring in all her animals and then reverse the process. After much chaos, Mama May realises that her house is just fine :-)

The party went down a storm (in a tea cup - sorry late in the day!), the children rather enjoyed supping lemonade from teacups and nibbling on homemade biscuits :-)
A very generous friend of mine jumped on the waggon and volunteered to make the birthday cake. Now I do actually relish the opportunity to do this myself I have to say, even though I have made some rather disastrous birthday cakes over the years, but the thought of one less job to do was incredibly appealing so I willingly accepted her offer and what a delightful and delicious cake it turned out to be. It seems that it was quite a family affair, with all members contributing their efforts to the decoration. I even managed to get it home in one piece (just) and didn't drop it despite its heaviness.

So all in all a good day - no wait, a good weekend. It seems that virtually the entire weekend has been consumed with one child's birthday and the preparations. Giddy aunt! How glad am I that these marathon events only come around once a year. (Times by three of course in my case!).
With regards to my house......when everyone left (some an hour and a half after everyone else) and the temptation to crash had passed and all  the cleaning up complete, I am proud to announce my house is really rather lovely and just perfect for us :-)

Lily Loula - our very own Cheshire Cat :-)

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