Three's A'loud

Spoiling yourself with a spa party

Generally I am a very laid back person but sometimes the OCD kicks in at the strangest of times. When my husband and I got married after 7 years we knew we wanted to start with a family very soon, but I convinced him to wait just a couple of months. You see, I wanted a summer baby. Not to make the first few months with baby easier. Not too ensure I spend most of my pregnancy dressed in classy layers during winter. Nope, I wanted her to have lots of summer birthday parties growing up! Shallow, I know. But I did the math and made sure we only got pregnant when summer was 9 months away. It worked too. And I was sure it will work again for baby number two. You just have to be organised. But as any parent can tell you, as soon as you have one child, romance-planning has a way to fly out the window completely. No more calculating the exact dates, in fact for a few months there I counted myself lucky if I even knew what the date was at all. Hence my math with number 2 was a bit less exact and we landed slap-bang in the middle of autumn. That’s okay. I realised autumn babies have a magic all of their own. A bit rainy that time of the year in South Africa but we will work that into the theme. At least the kids can still wear short sleeves to her party every year. We were done, afterall, our little family complete, so no more math-romance for me.

Turns out Life had other plans and shortly before Christmas a few years later I couldn’t shake this nagging feeling that I should get hold of a pregnancy test urgently. I hadn’t done any math or planning, but, as most of us know, some of the best things in the universe happen with no math and very little planning. Nine months later we welcomed our beautiful right-in-the-middle-of-winter baby boy.

I am obviously a very bad example to follow when it comes to romance-planning, but possibly I can help a little with planning a kids’ birthday party… any time of the year. Summer or winter, sunshine or rain.

Enough about romance now and moving swiftly along to our autumny Spa-party last year. Amelie was turning 5 and I wasn’t feeling like a big extravaganza for once in my life. So here are a few tips on doing a super-special party with not too much effort or $$$

Don't…buy new stuff if you can use stuff you already have. I did very little shopping for this party – in fact it was inspired by the birthday girl bringing me nail polish late one evening and wanting me to do a manicure there and then. However, I really wanted her to go to bed so I could watch The Walking Dead so I told her I will give her a manicure for her birthday. Bad mom, I know. But at least I eased my guilt a bit by throwing her an awesome party. Bring all your old nail polish, make-up and of course piles of cotton wool and wipes.

Do…give guests something to wear. It’s fun, it gets people involved and it makes for great pictures. An apron for a Chef party, a scarf, a hat, a badge… the possibilities are endless. In this case I printed eye masks with a pretty picture and the birthday-girls’ details on regular paper. I then cut a few old cloth nappies in long strips and stapled the face mask on the middle. Voila. Cost me 0.03c for the staples. And it keeps gross-homemade facemasks out of your hair for the most part.

Don'tSpeaking about gross facemasks, don’t make them so gross that the birthday girl wants to throw up when she puts it on her face. We decided to make them ourselves. Turns out you have tons of things right there in your kitchen that are really good for your skin. Olive oil. Bananas. Avo. Natural yoghurt. Oats. The list is quite long. Simply pour the above and whatever else you might find in old glass bottles with a pretty bow around it and make sure you have some spatulas and teaspoons for little hands to mix their own facemasks. I gave them each a little bowl and they loved it. That is, until Amelie put a dodgy looking mixture of avo, yoghurt, oats and cocoa on her face and started making gagging noises in the middle of the Happy Birthday song. That almost ended really badly…

Do..involve everyone. Dad loved his mask and his pedicure just as much as the girls enjoyed his funny comments throughout the party.

Don't…forget to treat the grown-ups as well. A vodka fruit smoothy and some snacks does wonders for overworked moms.

Do…try new things. Even if you suck at it. Amelie reaaaally wanted a rainbow cake but I left it too late and then couldn’t convince someone else to bake one on such short notice. Our own effort was completely lopsided and tasted a bit like peanutbutter for some inexplicable reason, but Amelie remembers us baking that cake until today. Tons of fun. And a huge mess in my kitchen. All worth it.

Spa parties are a great idea for grown ups and kids alike. Now kindly excuse me. The next episode of The Walking Dead is starting in a couple of minutes…

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