In my previous reviews you may have clocked onto the fact that my daughters 7th birthday party is fast approaching, as her party is themed and I am not a millionaire I decided a little outside intervention would be required to keep the quality of the decorations at maximum, but the cost minimum!
This is when I remembered purchasing a book that could help with this mammoth task, I have this really bad habit of buying things on the off chance I may actually use them one day!
The book I will now review is "The party book".
I actually bought this book two years ago due to the high level of activities in it, there are also things that my kids could make themselves without too much interaction from me, which is always a bonus when there's a pile of ironing that needs to be seen to, which there always is in my house!
The book is as the title suggests a book of party themes, there are five themes outlined within it.
Wings and wishes,
Fins and fishes,
Ghouls and ghosts,
The first page in the book is a suggestions page, helping the parent and the child decide what party they would like to create, also included is a to do list, ie party invitations, games, party craft for your guests....etc.
There is also a practicality list specifically for the adult with suggestions on how to make the child's party as easy as humanly possible, from the perfect time scale that a party should last for, taking into consideration the arrival of your guests, a period to play the games, time to make their art project, through to eating the birthday tea to giving out the party bags and saying your goodbyes.
As there are many themes in this book I will concentrate on the theme that my daughter is having for her party, as many of the basic ideas are repeated, albeit in a different format, from one theme to another.
Each theme is set over three double page spreads, they are all very colourful and eye catching and have the added bonus of showing children actually playing the suggested games and making the craft projects advised within the book.
The theme I will be talking about is the "Fins and fishes" one, as my daughters party is a beach theme, so was quietly confident that there would be some useful tips within this category, I was not wrong!
As with all party's the first port of call are the invitations, unfortunately for me I had purchased mine before remembering this book.
The invitations are small origami boats, which are incredible easy for an adult to do, but may be a little on the difficult side for the child, you can make them from A4 pieces of paper and the instructions on "how to do", are featured further towards the back of the book, this is so not to take away the continuity of the party pictures.
Next up is the food and drink section, which is displayed in the book as you would expect to see on the party table, the centre piece is a large fish bowl, filled with a nautical blue punch, which is actually just cloudy lemonade with food colouring added for effect, there are also paper drink umbrellas galore and for the final flourish there are blue floating ice bergs. (There is again a section at the back of the book on how to make unusual shaped ice cubes for all occasions, the Halloween themed punch is the best, with the punch being red and the ice cubes being made and frozen in clean latex free rubber gloves, to give the impression there is something trying to escape from the punch!)
Food wise there are your basics with a sea side twist, party cones filled with sweets and snacks, as mentioned in a previous review these are effective and environmentally friendly due to the fact you have no wasted paper plates!
There are desert island cupcakes, which are effectively fairy cakes with yellow butter icing, but with some brown sugar crumbled on the top to look like sand.
There are even fish and starfish shaped biscuits, iced to perfection with the brightest of blue and most vivid of yellows, again there are stencils for all the different shaped biscuits mentioned in this book towards the end, which is a relief as the cost of purchasing cookie cutters to get these shapes would soon make the party price mount up!
There is even a recipe(on a different themed party), on how you can bake the biscuits on lollypop sticks so enabling you to make them part of your decorations.
For an added extra, the book suggests you make some more origami boats, but from much larger pieces of paper, thus making a highly decorative food bowl, ideal to put snacks, crisps and sweets into. These are again very eye catching, and is actually one of the ideas I have taken from this book for Kaitlin's party.
Next are the games, not the traditional ones either, these have definitely been thought up for a home garden party, my daughters is at a local club (courtesy of my brother, who is on the committee there!), so these games would be highly unsuitable!
The first game mentioned involves a large quantity of water bombs and a rubber ring, with the idea of the game being whoever bursts the most bombs in the centre of the ring being the winner, one for the garden I think!
The next is one I played many moons ago at Brownies, you make a large amount of brightly coloured paper fish and sea life and attach a paperclip to the nose end of each one, then you make a "fishing line", ( a stick with a string upon which a magnet is attached), then the person that "hooks" the most fish is the winner.
After the games and the food has been served the books suggests a little quiet time, this being enabled by a craft time, the book suggesting the child can make a delightful octopus from a selection of items, ie a paper bowl, some string, stickers, blue and green tissue paper and some sticky backed plastic......... ok, maybe not the last one, I felt all blue peter than!
These are suggested to only take 10 minutes, but feel may take a bit longer!
Finally its time for the guests to go home, (and mum to have a well deserved drink!), and the book has even got this covered, featured within the book are umpteen ideas on alternative party bags, from tissue paper sacks with tiny dolls sticking out of them (Wings and wishes section), to the one in this section, which are paper drinks cups, decorated to your own taste in blue and yellow, or if you can buy them that colour, even better, with a paper handle secured to the sides with paper fasteners, fill with sweets and away you go!
At the back of the book are various different decoration ideas, all that complement the different themes within the book, but all with same format.
The banners are effectively, pictures to do with the party theme, pasted onto white paper plates and strung together, separated by pieces of coloured straw, sounds terrible don't it, but it actually looks very effective.
The last few pages are recipes, these include fairy cakes, the biscuit ingredients and also the best way to ice them to make them more eye catching, ie the best sweets to put on and the brightest colours that will work with each theme, through to how to decorate your drinks cups to match, one that I will not be attempting due to the fact there are 40 kids coming to our party!
On the last page there is the obligatory index page, not something worth mentioning you may think, but due to the high amount of ideas in the book, you will always find there is one you have overlooked!
~~~~~~ PRICE AND AVAILABILITY ~~~~~~
I purchased this for the price of £3.00 from the book people, but this can be purchased for around the £5.00 region from amazon, for more information on this and other titles visit - www.thebookpeople.co.uk or www.amazon.co.uk
~~~~~~ CONCLUSION ~~~~~~
This is an exceptional book from Jane Bull, she has many "how to do" books out, but this is by far the best, the pages are busy looking but set out cleverly. All the instructions are easy to understand and carry out, the imagination needed to think of some of the suggestions are amazing and am very grateful I did buy this "just in case!"
Thanks for reading x