Show us your party – Leila’s polkadots & pinstripes in the park birthday

First birthdays, by their very nature, are a bitter-sweet affair. On the one hand, the celebration of the first year of a child’s life is an occasion of tremendous joy. But then comes the realisation that the blowing out of that first symbolic birthday candle also marks the beginning of the end of babyhood – it’s a rare mum indeed who doesn’t feel a catch in her throat at that!

Some celebrations are bitter-sweet for other reasons too. A party in the park to mark little Leila’s first birthday earlier this year had to take place without her beloved Poppy, who had died only days before. The family decided to go ahead with Leila’s party as a mark of love and respect to their patriarch, who had doted completely on his darling granddaughter. So as well as the usual farewell to babyhood, this party was a beautiful testament to the family’s feelings of joy and of hope in the midst of sadness as well as a poignant reminder that life indeed goes on.

Mum Kristy loves to bake and threw herself right into it for Leila’s special day. We love the rustic homeliness of this party – the heart shaped cookies with their sweet candy centres might be on the browner side of golden and the icing on the cake might be slightly skewiff – but there’s no doubting they were made with all the love in the world and then some.

Such a beautiful natural setting needed little decoration, so Kristy and husband Matt settled on a simple mix of paper lanterns and bunting from Robert Gordon to decorate the park’s old bandstand, while a pretty pink Oobi bunting hovered over the sweets table.

Lolly jars from Sharnel Dollar Designs held a mix of old-fashioned favourites – milk bottles, strawberries and cream, musk sticks and marshmallows – while cupcake wrappers did double duty as popcorn carriers. Pretty pink party tableware from Sambellina added the requisite polkadots and pinstripes, as did Paper Eskimo party candles.

Kristy baked the layered birthday cake herself to a Donna Hay recipe, but admits cheating on the between-the-layers-bits with shop-bought Betty Crocker icing. She also confesses her birthday cake took on a bit of a lean after the layers were assembled, but shrugged it off as having a cake with character! Kristy, we like your style! We also like the cake bunting that Kristy ordered from Twirling Betty after spotting it right here on Babyology. She plans to use it every year on Leila’s cake as something of a birthday tradition.

Kristy made the invitations and sweet personalised goody bags herself too using the brilliant iPhone app Red Stamp, which allows you to create and self-print or email oodles of different stationery options, from party invites all the way to thank-you cards. (Tip: you can even use this app to make your own stunning birth announcements) She printed the cards at a photo lab and then used simple wooden pegs from Spotlight to attach them to spotted bags bought on the cheap at a local dollar store.

Here’s the adorable birthday girl in her delightful pink Oobi outfit that prompted the party colour scheme. We certainly do agree with Kristy’s thoughts that she’s not the first mum to style a party around her daughter’s outfit!

Want to share your child’s wow-worthy party with us? Then just fill in the form below. While we can’t reply to every email, we’ll certainly let you know if your party is chosen to be showcased on Babyology. We can’t wait to hear from you and look forward to seeing your amazing parties!

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