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Birthday Party – top tips for staying sane

Hard to believe my little Tilly is 3 now.  It’s fair to say her language and vocabulary has developed at a faster pace than her hair. She has gorgeous wispy fairy hair. White blonde. Not a thing like me at all. But she can talk the hind legs of Mabel. She chats away about the trees, the birds, the weather (yes she’s a Brit), what Princesses wear and how big girls don’t wear nappies. Amongst many, many other things.

The party girl, after the party 

She was singing in the car on the way to get Eliza this afternoon, I quickly managed to find the voice recorder on my iPhone and just left it recording her. You forget how quickly their voices go from being baby, squeaky to more like little girls.They start saying very not berry (it’s berry cold in here mummy) and gloves not glubs. It will happen now she’s 3, I remember it with Eliza.  Suddenly they start to talk ‘properly’ and it’s wonderful to hear but it’s a bit sad in a way, particularly if you are chronically sentimental.

Anyway we had the birthday party at the weekend.  Lots of little people getting very excited as Smartie Artie did his thing.  I have to say that Smartie Artie is a genius (whichever one you get, there are about 6).  The lovely people at Party Pieces were kind enough to send us some gorgeous Flower Fairy children’s party table wear for the occasion and some other lovely party things.  Being a bit of a sucker for the traditional things in life I was half inclined not to use them as I just wanted to keep them, the pictures are so pretty.

Flower Fairies cake stand and party table bits from Party Pieces

We had some lovely paper plates, a table cloth, cups and napkins and a really gorgeous Happy Birthday garland to put on the wall as well as a very pretty cake stand.  Tilly rose to the occasion and blew out the candles in one go (well there are only 3 so you’d hope so). Eliza led the singing, becoming very proud of her little sister.

Birthday parties for littllies can become a bit overwhelming and I’ve made lots of mistakes so thought I’d share some of my top tips.

1. Get your invites out early.  Three year olds have a better social life than their parents. Fact. So make sure you invite them at least 4 weeks in advance.  Particularly in the summer when you have holidays to contend with.

2. If they’re at pre-school I don’t think you need to invite the whole class unless you want to.  It depends how big the school is and how many other little ones you know outside of the pre-school.  Tilly’s group is small so I invited them all, mostly because I wanted Tilly to feel like she had her friends (not that she’s likely to remember).

3. If you can afford it book an entertainer. Honestly this is the single most useful thing in my view. Takes all the stress out of it. They keep them occupied and entertained so you can get the birthda tea ready or even have a cup of tea or glass of wine (my preference) with the other mums.

4. At three years old some mums will dump and run, so just make sure you ask if the child is toilet trained to avoid any accidents.  It’s actually not a bad thing because otherwise it can get crowded.

5. So far we’ve done parties in our living room because we can and they are contained but you could consider hiring a venue like the village hall or something if you have more than about 15 kids.

6. The birthday tea is a minefield. Honestly. Have some sandwiches (three different types should satisfy most fussy eating 3 year olds)  fruit and maybe some cucumber and carrot sticks and some cherry tomatoes (if you’re not adverse to them being squashed on the floor) to go with the hula hoops, cake, party rings,  and other random treats that come with birthday parties.  This means you don’t need to worry about being blamed single handedly for little Johnny’s sugar crazed assault on the family cat when he gets home.  But it’s a party right? So let them have something nice.

7. Make sure you reward yourself afterwards. If the kids have had fun then that’s a job well done!

8. Oh and an obvious one but you must do thank you letters – write down the present on the card when you open them so you know who you’re thanking for what. I’ve made this mistake and it’s crap having to write “thanks for your present” rather than naming it, so impersonal.

9. Don’t forget party bags. Party Pieces can take care of all that for you online and it gets delivered to your door – saves you having to keep the kids distracted whilst you grab stuff from the toyshop.

10. Feed the parents. My friend makes brownies for the mums at parties and they go down a treat.  Go on, it’s just a polite thing to do.

There you go. I’m clearly no expert (as is well documented) but I’ve done a few now so as ever thought I’d share.

Thank you to Party Pieces for the lovely things they sent us.  



  1. Thanks for the tips. Pretty table setting. So true that little ones have busy social calendars. My 18 month old had three birthday parties this month. We’re going to have to start disowning cousins.

  2. Some really great tips for what can often be a daunting task. Thanks!

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