Last month we celebrate Oliver’s FIRST birthday with a party!
Initially, I was enthusiastic about going ahead with the husband’s suggestion and try something new – celebrating Ollie’s birthday with a family getaway which would allow us uninterrupted and alone with the kids – that I even applied a passport for Oliver right after our discussion and checked out every travel eDM that landed in my inbox for the next few weeks!
But being the party trooper mama that I am, and realising that most of our family & friends (and their kids) were looking forward to our next party; I couldn’t bear to disappoint. After all it was Ollie’s FIRST birthday, and it wouldn’t be as special not celebrating it with people who mattered and have been showering us with so much love and support with our fun birthday tradition. Plus a dear aunt could coincide her visit to Singapore during O’s birthday weekend! It was the perfect opportunity to meet and mingle with everyone we hadn’t see since Oliver’s one month party, and missed dearly.
The Party Venue
The first thing I did was to set a party budget so that I wouldn’t get too carried away with the spending like I did with Liam’s first birthday (well in my defence, I thought Liam might be our only child since we had quite a challenging ttc journey). It made the shortlisting of venues easier.
There was the snazzy idea of having a poolside party and the corny idea of having it at the stables since Ollie was born in the year of the horse. We decided on an indoor playground in the end since not only was it weather-proof, we saw how well-received it was with both the adults and kids during Liam’s 3rd Birthday. I also liked that we could book the entire indoor playground exclusively, with enough room to sit the kids and adults comfortably even after allocating space for the various party activities.
The Party Theme
With the Very Hungry Caterpillar being one of the most fun and meangingful theme I’ve ever worked on for so many reasons, I was a little stuck when it came to deciding one for Ollie. And then one day while working on a business pitch and having to brainstorm of ways to bring the upcoming Peanuts movie to life across the various media platforms, I had an epiphany. The cheery-coloured and eye-catching visuals from the movie started to make me nostalgic about my childhood. I really liked the movie’s tagline: Dream Big, and knew it would make for a perfect theme for Ollie’s First Birthday Celebration.
The Cake Table
For the first time, I decided to outsource as much as I could for the party set-up. After frustrating myself with party-set ups for the last 5 parties, I’ve come to acknowledge that sometimes it’s better to let go.
I’ve always wanted to work with Sprinkie Parties. So when I saw that they had a huge discount on their ‘Blessed Table’ package, I confirmed it immediately without realizing that I had already confirmed a dessert table package with Cupplets. Thank goodness lli from Sprinkie suggested the brilliant idea of creating a separate cake table on the day itself, so that the cake could be a highlight on its own.
lli decorated the table with other personalized stuff that I brought along such as bottled water and push pops (personalised labels were designed by my good friend Geri from BG Specials) along with super adorable Peanuts plushies (which some kids wanted to take home!) and colourful tableware!
The Dessert Table
I’m a huge fan when it comes to tarts, and was head over heels in love with the tarts from Cupplets when I first tried it at Public Garden. There was no doubt that I wanted to feature their spread of desserts at Ollie’s birthday party and share their super delicious baked goodness with our party guests. I was pleasantly surprised to know that every single item was not only well-received, everything that was prepared for Ollie’s dessert table (about 3-4 items per pax was buffered) was finished! Even the ‘not-a-desserts-person’ husband enjoyed the only bite off the butter cookie tart because I wasn’t willing to share the rest with him!
Here’s where I got carried away. Yet if I could do it all over again, I would still do the same.
As if having a big indoor playground structure exclusively to our party wasn’t enough to cater to most of our party guests’ needs, I went ahead to bring in a very talented balloon twister – this guy does detailed, fancy balloon sculptures WITH helium! (by recommendation and present from my great grand aunt who had another engagement), a face painter (happy that most of the kids were gamed to let their cheeks be painted), a photo booth ..because mum talked about how we had to be fair and how Liam’s first birthday party had one, and my favourite activity of them all – an art jamming workshop conducted by the very cool, fun people at Smudge
While balloon twisting, face painting, photo booths are nothing new when it comes to kids parties, although I did hear comments about how the skills of both balloon twisters and face painters can make a vast difference, I was really excited to have an art jamming workshop because this meant our little guests could create their very own art piece (and leave the mess at the party venue) and bring it back home. Plus it will definitely not be one of those party favours that will be chucked away by parents as quickly as some, in a long time to come.
I first got to know about Smudge’s art workshops through a fellow mum blogger whose blog I’m a big fan of. Evelyn and I were chatting about our kids’ upcoming birthday parties then, and how she enlisted a cousin to conduct an art lesson for her daughter’s 9th birthday celebration which I thought was really cool. Liam’s been into painting ever since he won a free class with heArt Studio last December and I thought it would be pretty super to have most of our party guests dabble in some arty fun too. I knew having Smudge was a good decision when they suggested teaching the kids how to draw Charlie Brown in a simple, fun and creative way; which was in line with the Peanuts party theme! How I wished Liam did a piece of artwork for me to display in his room instead of focusing all his energy on the playground! I will definitely be hiring them again for Liam’s art jamming party. Thank you Evelyn and Jess for conducting a very fun session at Oliver’s first birthday.
The ONE-derful Birthday Cake and Brown Sugar Cookies!
We ordered Ollie’s first birthday cake from the same lovely and talented baker which did Liam’s 3rd birthday cake! I was utterly thankful that we managed to secure an available slot with Susanne for Oliver’s cake especially after hearing how many of our party guests from Liam’s 3rd birthday and friends had booked her quickly.
Susanne and Phay Shing, as always, were such a joy to work with. They’re probably the 2 most down-to-earth, nicest bakers I’ve ever met! They were so patient in listening to what I had in mind, while giving suggestions and checking if I was okay with what they proposed. Susanne even went the extra step of bouncing off her ideas with me (even though I told her how much I trust her work), and I’m happy that she was very gamed to take up the challenge of creating one of her biggest chiffon cake, carving out Snoopy and Woodstock entirely from chiffon cake (!!!), while still being able to incorporate the Peanuts theme so succinctly that it blended with my party decor so well. The cake, as expected, was such a hit that the husband & I had to share half a slice between us…not because we under-ordered, but because most of our guests had 2 slices…and Liam…2.5 slices. I really love the adorable Snoopy paws touch on the tier which had Oliver’s name!
Phay Shing wowed me and our party guests with her hand-piped brown sugar cookies yet again. she hand pipe ALL the Peanuts characters as requested! Her cookies were such a hit that they were all gone by the first hour that I couldn’t get a ‘complete’ shot of all the characters!
Thank you Susanne and Phay Shing for your very delicious and creative work. It was so, so good that I’ve had guests (who weren’t at the last party) asking for your contact right after the party. I sure hope I can secure another slot for the kids’ birthday next year!
For party favours, I did my best to keep to the no-sweets rule by giving the 0-2 year olds a board book and a Charlie Brown Cafe voucher while the 3 year olds and up got a Snoopy tote, Mickey Mouse Markers (only because I did think we might have a Mickey Clubhouse theme much earlier on), Snoopy Hotwheels Car, Snoopy highlighters and a Charlie Brown Cafe voucher. I wished I had more time to source for more goodies, but with 55 bags to pack for; I reckon the art canvas that the older kids got to do more than made up for it. BTW, those cute stickers on ’em paper bags and the adorbs Snoopy cut-out were designed by my party fairy godmother, Geri, from BG Specials!
Because we booked the last party slot for the day, the venue folks were kind to let us stay on for longer. We had guests happy to overstay for more than an hour…just to wait for their turn and hands on their custom request balloon sculptures!
Party Highlights…and the most important bit
The best bits and highlight of this party was definitely Oliver. Not because he was the birthday boy, but because everyone could tell that he was having such a great time enjoying himself. He was returning smiles to everyone who wished him and still went on strong, crawling his way to the ball pit for the nth time even when we were about to leave and climbing all over the indoor playground structure; I’m so glad that we held his first birthday party here.
I think it also helped that the party started after his major nap time (LTN: 12-2pm), leaving a little buffer for him to “warm up” too. He was in such a jolly mood, I was surprised to see him smiling so widely and getting so excited during the cake cutting, seeing how his older brother bawled on his first birthday… so well done Ollie bear!
Good grief Ollie, still can’t believe you’re one. Here’s to always Dreaming Big, Believing Big and Doing Big. We love you so much!