Tag Archives: Birthday party

Now We Are Six: We Are Adventurers Birthday Party

Over the weekend the small boy (who is not so small these days) turned six. This year his birthday fell on a Saturday, so we decided to throw him a party on his actual birthday, and I’m so glad we did.

Over the years we’ve had a couple of Rhythm & Rhyme parties, a couple of soft play parties and a brilliant party on a Steam Train. We like to try and do things a bit differently if we can, so we defied his instructions and booked him a “We Are Adventurers Pirate Party”. This outdoor party in a forest school was a bit of a gamble for a boy with a November birthday, but it massively paid off.

We Are Adventurers Birthday Party

For the uninitiated, We Are Adventurers is a forest school, they have them dotted about in various locations, but there’s one a few miles from our house. The basic premise is a birthday party (we had 20 kids) would spend a few hours with a couple of leaders in the woods, building a camp fire, going on a treasure hunt, running, screaming and chasing each other through the woods and then building a pirate ship out of sticks they collected from around the camp.

We Are Adventurers Birthday Party

Parents didn’t have to be there, but a few stuck around and we all watched in awe as our kids had the time of their lives. It was brilliant. At the end of the party all the kids sat around the fire eating the picnic lunches I’d made for them, and they toasted marshmallows around the fire. There were lots of children being reluctantly dragged from the woods afterwards, and most of them were top to toe covered in mud, with the biggest smiles on their faces.

We Are Adventurers Birthday Party

It was fantastic. Before we’d even got home, the not so small anymore boy was asking for the same kind of party again next year. I think that’s a birthday wish we can grant him!

We Are Adventurers Birthday Party

We Are Adventurers have a number of different party options including Pirates & Princesses, Bear Hunt, Elves & Fairies, Robin Hood, Creepy Crawlies and Superhero Adventure. They also run holiday clubs and a range of other activities.

Prices for a We Are Adventurers party start from £12 per head and you can pay extra for picnic bags and goody bags (we did our own catering but they did the goody bags). For more information visit their website.

 

We Are Adventurers Birthday Party

We paid for our party in full and have not been compensated for this post. We just had the best time, so I thought I’d share how brilliant it was.

Having a Legoland Manchester birthday party

As the mother of a 5 year old child it’s fair to say that most of his weekends (and consequently our weekends) are taken up with various birthday parties. These days class protocol dictates you find one or two children with birthdays in the same month and throw a joint party. This cuts down party costs for the families of the birthday boy or girl and means that guests only need to buy one present (which will be divided up between the birthday children).

Last year parties tended to be whole class affairs, but this year the boys and the girls have largely split up into smaller friendship groups. Soft play is still very popular, trampoline parks are on the rise, but for the boys in Ben’s class, the big dream is a Legoland Manchester birthday party. 

Having a Legoland Manchester birthday party is what most of the boys in his class want. A few weekends ago we went along to a party to celebrate a couple of his classmates turning 5.

Legoland Manchester birthday party

Each child who attends gets to take an accompanying adult, so it is in many ways like a normal visit to Legoland. You go in and the group has their photo taken and you head up to the “factory tour” which is always entertaining. Once you’re through that it’s onto the Kingdom Quest ride (my favourite bit) and then on into the discovery centre itself. 

When we went, all the kids raced through Miniland (past Blackpool Tower and other attractions made from Lego) and straight through to building the Lego racers. The parents grabbed a coffee (party entry came with a voucher – a godsend!) whilst all the boys got stuck in. After around 45 minutes we were summoned to the party room where the kids tucked into a lunch of sandwiches, crisps, fruit and juice.

Legoland Manchester birthday party

It was time for some party games. There were two hosts from Legoland who were really engaging and professional. They kept the party flowing nicely, an eye out for any health and safety issues the parents might have missed and they were great at getting all the kids up and involved in the party games. Think musical bumps, musical statues that kind of thing – great fun and the boys all had a great time.

Then the cake came out. Legoland provided the cake, though I guess you could bring your own if you wanted. It was one of those rainbow cakes, different coloured layers sandwiched together with buttercream. It was really, really pretty (I now want to bake one) and it was a good cake; light and moist. I liked it a lot, almost as much as the kids.

Legoland Manchester birthday party

After we’d all eaten our colourful cake, everyone queued up to go on the Merlin’s Apprentice Ride and then it was time for everyone to say goodbye.

It’s worth noting that once the party is over you can stay for as long as you’d like afterwards. We stayed for a little while, enjoyed the Fire Academy (soft play area), headed to the brand new Lego City Builder area for a while and then for an obligatory turn around the shop (I might have bought MYSELF some Lego).

Legoland Manchester birthday party

As something of a kids party veteran I can say that I thought the Legoland Manchester birthday party was well run, efficient and the boys had lots of fun. I think it is a nice touch to offer parents a coffee and leftover cake and sandwiches. I like the fact that once you’re in you can stay for as long as you want afterwards too. The food was good, the cake was great and there is very little organisation and input required for the parents throwing the party. 

Prices per child are £17.50/£22.50 depending on when you go. Whilst this is not cheap, I do think that is does represent good value for money, especially as you can stay until it closes if you want and enjoy all of the attractions in Legoland Manchester.

Packages for a Legoland Manchester birthday party currently start from £17.50 per person (£22.50 at weekends) and more details can be found on their website.

Note: We were attending a party of a classmate and I thought I’d write up the party experience. 

The In The Night Garden Ride 1st Birthday Party at Alton Towers

As party invitations go the invitation to the first birthday of the In The Night Garden Magical Boat Ride at Alton Towers was pretty much up there as one of the best yet! The small boy (and his parents) were invited to Alton Towers to meet Daisy, Iggle Piggle and co and to party like only they can In The Night Garden.

It seems strange to me that Cbeebies Land and the In The Night Garden magical boat ride is only one year old, it feels like it has been there forever. We went last year when it hadn’t been open for very long and we had the best time, so we were excited to be returning to Alton Towers.

We arrived and the party was already in full swing, with the chance to actually meet Daisy and Iggle Piggle as well as join in learning a dance routine, try your hand at some In The Night Garden themed crafts, get your face painted or get a balloon model of anything you wanted (he went for a magpie – no idea why).

Alton Towers

There was lots to see and do and the staff were amazing, the small boy loved colouring in a stone for Makka Pakka and covering it with glittery gems and he liked putting the beads in a bauble which you made into a rattle, he was very careful to pick out beads with the letters of his name on, which made it a bit special for him.

Alton Towers

After a few hours of partying we were ready to go and explore Cbeebies Land – he couldn’t wait to get back in Postman Pat’s van and was keen to explore the brand new Octonauts Ride, and we couldn’t possibly leave without having a go on the In The Night Garden Magical Boat Ride!

Alton Towers

We went on as many rides as we could manage before we had to set off home. I like Cbeebies Land because I’m not a lover of huge scary roller-coasters and the smaller, calmer rides of Cbeebies Land are about as much as I can cope with, the boys however do enjoy the thrills and spills of a theme park.

A particular favourite is (and I’m not just saying this) the In The Night Garden magical boat ride, it’s a lovely restful boat ride around the night garden where the characters appear around corners and sing to you from the trees, it’s a lovely bit of serenity for the adults and for the children it’s a chance to spot their favourite characters.

As part of the birthday celebrations the Cbeebies Land team with the help of Dreamtex Ltd managed to break the world record for the world’s biggest polar fleece blanket, the blanket was an exact (but giant) replica of Iggle Piggle’s blanket and it is adorable! Well done Iggle Piggle!

Alton Towers

For more information about Cbeebies Land at Alton Towers, visit their website.

Note: We were invited guests of Cbeebies Land, we were not asked to pay for our tickets and all opinions are our own.

Happy Birthday to my little big man

My, how you’ve grown my little big man. You’re four years old today and absolutely, 100% the love of our lives. Don’t get me wrong kiddo, you can be a stubborn little handful (just like your Dad), but you are our most favourite child, our best friend, our reason for everything we do and we quite like having you around the place, despite all the mess, fuss and snotty cuddles.

Your birthday is always a time of reflection for me, about the year which has passed and all the years before then. I can’t help but think about our difficult start, but as the years go by that is vastly overshadowed by all our love, adventures and mischief we get up to as a family.

4th birthday

I still find it hard to believe we made such a beautiful creature. It was love at first sight. You were all dimples, squeezy cheeks and long eye lashes. You were and still are a pretty peaceful chap.

4th birthday

This was you on your first birthday. See, you’re still ALL dimples and cheeks. You loved opening your presents and we loved helping you. You were and still are a really happy little chappie. We still couldn’t believe our luck, we are so lucky to have you in our lives.

4th birthday

This is you on your second birthday. You’re all rosy cheeked because we’d been to a soft play centre for the afternoon, then stopped at TGI Fridays on the way home. You weren’t that keen on eating, but you enjoyed doing lots of drawing and stealing our chips.

4th birthday

Here you are, all dressed up for your third birthday party. You’re so grown up looking here, we’d had a really tough year as a family but your birthday was a real highlight for us. You even had a huge Thomas the Tank Engine cake.

4th birthday

This is you just a couple of days shy of your 4th birthday. We threw a train party at a local miniature railway. I think you had an amazing time, all your friends liked it too. What a year it’s been, you’ve started nursery at the big school and you’re growing into a proper boy and you’re no longer our woddling toddler.

Little Bee, my little big man, Happy Birthday, you are the love of our lives, the apple of our eye and you’ll always be our best friend. We love you, always have, always will xxx

How to make a really easy Train Birthday Cake

Children’s birthday parties can be fairly hard work, with lots to remember, from party food, party bags, games, music, costumes and cake. I’m all for making life easy (and on a budget), so this year instead of buying an expensive cake we opted to make our own. The small boy wanted a train birthday cake to go with his train birthday party and who am I to argue?

Train birthday cake

To make this easy train birthday cake you will need:
Three rounds of sponge cake (as described below)
Half a jar of raspberry jam (approx), or strawberry if you prefer
Two tubs of Betty Crocker Vanilla Buttercream icing
Three tubes of smarties
Bigjigs trains (see below)
One cake board (or big enough plate)

Hubs is the baker of the household, so I asked him to make three layers of sponge cake. Use your favourite and foolproof sponge cake recipe (his used 8 eggs to give you an idea of the amount of sponge we made) you want to make three round sponge cakes baked in a 25cm tin. Once baked they need to be around an inch tall.

Once the cakes are cool, put a blob of the buttercream on the cake board and place the first layer of sponge on top of that, this helps to anchor the cake to the board and stops it sliding about. Spread a layer of jam on top of the first layer. Carefully turn the second layer upside down and gently spread the flat bottom with the buttercream and sandwich in top of the jam layer.

On the top of the second layer, spread evenly with more jam and then spread buttercream on the upturned bottom of the top layer of sponge, put that on top. You should have a three layered cake in front of you which from the bottom goes…
Blob of buttercream
Cake
Jam
Buttercream
Cake
Jam
Buttercream
Cake

With me so far? Good. Now you’ve got all your layers stacked carefully, spread the remaining buttercream over the top and sides of the cake. Don’t worry about it being prefect, if you aim for the rustic look it’ll be fine. I created a wavy effect with a palette knife and the sides were rough but fully covered. If you want you can make the buttercream smooth.

Bigjigs make a sort of pick and mix name train set, I bought mine from my local toy shop Giddy Goat Toys. I bought the carriage and the letters of his name for £2.25 each, which cost me just £9 in total. This was much cheaper than buying a proper train and carriages and much more personal.

I gave them a little wash, though they’d been in a sealed box, then using a little blob of the buttercream “glued” the removable letters onto the carriages and pressed the train into the thick buttercream in the top of the cake.

Tipping the smarties into a bowl I then wrote his age in smarties on the top of the cake, then I used the remaining smarties to edge around the bottom of the cake. I was pretty pleased with my efforts.

If you do this the night before the party and leave it out uncovered overnight, the buttercream should firm up slightly and make it easier to transport. On the morning of the party I wrapped it loosely in foil and it sat in my knee in the car on the way to the party. On arrival we unwrapped it and there were no buttercream smears on the foil and it still looked good. Phew.

The cake tasted really good, but hubs does make beautiful cakes. We had lots of lovely compliments about it. It sliced into approx 24 slices, which was more than enough for a kids party.

Our lovely and quite huge train birthday cake was a really big hit, a few people thought we’d bought it (ha, always a compliment) and the small boy was really, really pleased with it and proudly showed it off to his friends. It’s a really easy way to make a simple sponge birthday cake a little bit special.

Train birthday cake