I have been to, and seen pictures of, kids birthday parties where tables are laid out with everything colour co-ordinated …even the food! I have seen amazing cakes in the shape of Peppa Pig, Thomas the Tank Engine or a fairy-tale princess. Whilst I totally appreciate the effort someone has gone to in order to achieve this, it’s not something I’m too obsessed with myself. To be honest there are too many other things for my little head to worry about:
- What should we do?
- Where should we have it?
- Who should we invite?
- What food should we provide?
- How much food should we provide?
- How healthy should the food be?
How much sweet stuff should we have on offer?Will the parents leave hating us for sending the kids loopy on too much sugar?
- Should we have alcohol?
- Should we provide entertainment?
- Should we provide party bags?
- What should we include in the party bags?
- What cake should I do?
- What if the cake looks awful? Worse – what if the cake tastes awful?
- What if we’ve ordered too much food? Worse -What if we don’t have enough food?
- What decorations should we have?
- Should we have a theme?
- Do we have a backup plan in case it rains?
- The biggest fear by far – WHAT IF NO-ONE COMES?
When my first child turned one we invited every single person we knew, bought way too much food and booze, heaps of party decorations and cups, plates and napkins all in the same colour. We held the party in our back yard which is sea facing and on that day it was gale force conditions. After spending the best part of an hour fighting with banners and balloons and pink pompoms whilst simultaneously trying to stop the matching pink plastic table cloth blowing away – I admitted defeat. Most of the banners ripped within 30 seconds and all except one balloon popped before anyone arrived.
For her second party I still hadn’t learnt my lesson and did exactly the same – same location, same issues.
My second child’s first birthday party was cancelled as we were all sick.
When my eldest turned three we opted for a joint (5 months late) 1st and 3rd birthday party for both. On this occasion I wasn’t taking any chances with wind so the location was a nearby park. Entertainment was sorted thanks to the playground and cycle track. I still battled with balloons and banners. It wasn’t so windy but several balloons popped as they blew against the tree branches. At this party I was late arriving (my husband had gone ahead of me). A friend and my mother-in-law kindly helped set up however they had to contend with mine and her children demolishing everything and trying to ‘help’. I didn’t care. As long as the food was enjoyed, I was grateful for the help.
My three-year-old had requested a dinosaur cake. I messaged my friend who makes amazing cakes. She suggested I make a chocolate mud cake with green buttercream icing and then knock together some fondant dinosaurs. Easy! She even sent me a picture of fondant dinosaurs to copy. It was the peak of summer and a particularly hot few days leading up to the party. I bought green, pink and blue fondant and enthusiastically set out to make these cute dinosaurs. Did I mention it was nearly 40 degrees? My friend did inform me afterwards that even she doesn’t attempt to make fondant decorations in the summer months. The first one wasn’t too bad. It bore absolutely zero resemblance to the picture however it did look semi-dinosaur like. I then made a couple more but my creative flare must have been a fluke as quite frankly my children could have done a better job than my other attempts. After several hours spent sweating in the kitchen I showed them to my daughter. She smiled and agreed when I told her they were dinosaurs. We said good night to them, popped them into a Tupperware container and I poured myself a huge glass of wine. The next day when I opened the Tupperware my little dinosaur trio were all sick. They were cracked, one had fallen apart entirely and one had lost all of his spikes. As there was no Dr for fondant dinosaurs nearby, I took a trip to Kmart and grabbed a heap of plastic dinosaurs. In the end the cake was a mixture of my sad looking fondant dinosaurs and their better looking plastic counterparts. The good thing was the cake tasted good (apparently) so all was not lost.
I’m writing this now the day after my youngest child’s 2nd birthday party. This was technically her first proper birthday party. I found myself in a new predicament – who do I invite? Should I invite all of my 3-year-olds’ friends too? My 2-year-old doesn’t really have any friends. She is still at the age where she plays independently of most other children except her sister. After a great deal of procrastinating I decided to open it up to most of the people who know the youngest too.
This was the first party I had done that wasn’t in the peak of the summer. As it is now spring I was hopeful the weather would be perfect. Not too hot that we need shade, if we have it down at the beach, not too windy and fingers crossed no rain. The day before was the worst rain we have had in weeks. I was a little concerned given I didn’t have a plan B. At least I’d ordered an online shop to be delivered with all the party food. On this particular day our delivery driver decided to go AWOL. The store couldn’t track down the driver so after waiting nearly 2 hours for the delivery to turn up, lots of swearing and tears by me and my 2 girls who were climbing the walls to go out, I took the girls to our friends house for the play date we had planned. Not long after arriving there I received a phone call to say that the driver was at our house. I drove home to see what state the shopping was in after being left outside in the rain. Luckily it survived.
On the day of the party the weather cleared. It was so hot we moved the location to a different part of the beach in search of shade. I spent 30 minutes fighting the wind with banners and balloons and after nearly decking it off the wheelie bin – to which my 3 year old had already said “mummy you really shouldn’t be climbing on there” I gave up. She then fell off the bench she was perched on. Meanwhile her younger sister who had climbed on top of the picnic table, was pulling all of the plastic cups out and laughing hysterically as she watched them blow away.
This party was different. The serviettes, plates, cups balloons and banners were more of an eclectic collection of the remnants of previous parties so there was no specific theme or colour scheme as such. The cake was baked by my friend’s mum. All I had to do was decorate it (easier said than done for someone who is severely lacking in the artistic department). I opted for pink buttercream and sprinkles in the shape of a number two. The wind prevented a candle blow out but all in all it was a good party and my husband and I only had one row the morning of the party.
Whilst the parties I have done may not look exactly look good enough to share on Pinterest or Instagram, they have always turned out ok in the end. I have come to the conclusion that as long as there is a cake of some description and that a few children turn up….it’s a success!
This morning was the first day of spring, the day began (early as usual) but full of birdsong and promise and 1 hour later, the sun was shining. Having recently started a job in the city 2 days a week, I was looking forward to spending a fun morning with my girls – the beach was calling and we had a playdate with new friends (Anna of Mummymuckups). FUN, FUN, FUN!
The phrase ‘being present’ seems to have become increasingly popular lately. I’ve read numerous articles about how mums and dads need to be more ‘present’ when they are with their children, a partner not being ‘present’ in a relationship. It is certainly easy to get distracted with mobile phones, laptops, iPads, social media addiction, daily chores and work pressures on your mind.
Whilst I try to limit the amount of time I’m spending doing all of these things when I’m with my children, I have to be realistic, I have chores that need to be done, emails that need responding to, appointments that need to be made etc. I try to have a balance, however there are times when I’m with the girls, I find myself getting sucked into Facebook a little longer than I expected, or emails or housework, repeating “just a minute”, “hang on”, “I’m coming”, “I just need to do this and then I’ll be with you”. To which they either shout, “Look mummy”, “now mummy”, louder and louder until I get annoyed with them and give in or if they aren’t getting a reaction from me, they eventually retreat and go off to play.
When dressing my two girls,
I need clothes that can cope –
With the food spills and playing,
And all the washes with soap.
I often think they look cute
(I’m a tad biased I know)
And like them to wear clothes,
That will allow that to show.
So the things of importance,
When I buy them such things –
Are how long they will last for?
And what look they will bring?
With all of that in mind,
It’s then time to assess –
If the price that is asked for,
Is fair – more or less?
Who are Plum Collections?
Plum Collections is one of Australia’s most loved and trusted brands for children and babies clothing, swimwear and sleeping bags and has won many awards. It is a small family business run by Genie Pepper and her husband, Shane. The business was started by Shane’s grandfather. Genie and Shane took over in 2011 which is when they revitalised the brand, introduced sleep bags and swimwear and a new more contemporary look as well as initiating a partnership with SIDS and Kids.
Denim Trousers – Size 2
Look/design – I love the pale denim look and the soft stretchy fabric means they are comfortable. The little turn-ups at the bottom of each leg are a cute feature.
Fit – they fit my daughter well (especially as she is in the top percentile for her weight). The thick elasticated waist didn’t seem to dig into her like some other leggings do.
Durability/quality – whilst they looked good quality initially after the first wash they looked a little tired and worn and the elastic waist shifted so it was no longer flat.
Jacket – size 2
Look/design – the pale peach colour with the white fluffy collar on the hood is adorable and my daughter looked lovely in it. I liked the gold zip and fastens which is a nice contrast with the peach.
Fit – the fit was great for now and I could see I would definitely get another winter out of it for her size wise. It’s a generous size 2. The elasticated wrists are great to stop her hands disappearing and getting it wet when she needed to wash her hands – so it’s practical too!
Durability/quality – the thick padded material and collar feels and looks good quality. I was concerned that I would end up washing it every day given the pale colour but it seems to be easy to wipe lots of things off rather than needing to put it in the machine.
Flowery Tunic – size 2
Look – at first I didn’t think I would like this. I’m not a huge fan of flowery clothes. However, when I matched it up with the denim leggings it looked gorgeous. I love the gathered neck and wrists and the little buttons at the back. Very 60’s and a step back to more traditional girls’ clothing (I’m sure I’ve seen photos of me wearing similar style clothes when I was a little girl).
Fit – the fit was perfect and there is room for her to grow into it so she will get good use from it.
Durability/ quality – she has worn this particular item several times since we received it. It’s been through the wash at least 3 times and hasn’t faded or worn at all. The thick cotton material is great for this colder weather and feels good quality.
Cost – $34.95
Navy and White Dress – size 2
Look – this dress is very cute. I’m a huge fan of navy and white and love the nautical look. The waist is slightly gathered so helps the skirt puff out and the thinner material means it is a great choice for the next few months as the weather is heating up.
Fit – it fit perfectly now however as she is a big size 2 this dress doesn’t have as much room for her to grow. That said when buying clothes for her normally I would have gone for the next size up so I have been surprised at the fact she has fitted in Plum’s other size 2 clothing with room to grow.
Durability/ quality –generally it looks good quality and well-made however I did notice the hem has frayed slightly underneath before it had been worn. It doesn’t affect the look of the dress in any way as it is underneath.
Cost – TBC
Pink jumper – size 2
Look – I love this jumper. The speckled pink fabric is bright and funky and the sparkly circles add to the fun look of it. I like the detail of the turn up at the wrists. Both my girls loved it, it fits both of them so they now fight over who it belongs to!
Fit –it’s a generous size 2 as it fits my 3.5 year old too.
Durability/ quality – the material feels nice to touch and good quality. It’s been through the wash a few times (and splattered with food) and it has survived and still looks as new
Cost – $39.95
Peach Top – Size 2
Look – another gorgeous design. I love the peach colour. It really suits my 2 year old’s pale complexion and with 2 girls it was great to deviate from pink and purple. The gathered wrists help make it look a little more special than plain ones and the beautiful sparkly butterfly was a real hit with my daughter who I thought looked gorgeous in it.
Fit – it’s a generous size 2 so I was pleased to see there was room for her to grow into it yet it fit well.
Durability/ quality- the fabric is lovely a soft and feels like good quality. It’s been through the wash a few times and survived.
Cost – TBC
Glitter Tutu – Size 2
Look – This tutu absolutely gorgeous. My daughter wore it to a birthday party teamed up with the peach top and she received compliments from so many people.
Fit – this is a generous size 2 so I’m pleased she will get more wear out of it. It fit her comfortably.
Durability/ quality – with 2 girls I have a few tutus of mixed quality. This was one of the best that we have in terms of quality.
Cost – $39.95
Swimwear (various sizes)
Look – it all looks lovely and again…not pink! Beautiful designs.
I particularly liked the flarey sleeves on the black and white spotted swim suit.
Fit – the swimwear range goes up to age 7. I tried size 2 and 3. The sizes are generous so they fit both girls well with room for growing.
Durability/ quality – the swimwear is thick, feels of high quality and provides 50+ sun protection -this is very important considering how much time we spend at the beach. We braved the sea last week but in a couple of months it will be worn every day.
Cost – various see website
2.5 Tog Sleeping Bag
Look/design – the pattern is simple but has proved a big hit with my 2 year old. She loves identifying what all the cute animals were. I also like the spotty design inside. The double zip is great in case you need to do a nappy change so you don’t have to take the whole sleeping bag off. My daughter actually won’t let me use any of our other sleeping bags anymore she loves this one so much. My only negative is it could possibly do with a flap of material over the top of the zip as I noticed it was rubbing on her neck a little.
Fit – we received the 18-36 months size. It’s huge with lots of room for her to grow (hopefully she will still be up for sleeping in a bag next winter I like the fact she can’t escape from the cot when she is zipped up).
Durability/ quality- it feels lovely and soft and although I’ve only washed it once it certainly looks as though it will survive a good few washes.
Cost – $69.95
When my two girls and I unpacked the box from Plum Collections, I have to confess – we were squealing in delight. Every new item we pulled out looked adorable. I particularly liked the way that so many of the pieces of clothing worked well together and it was great to have a change from pink! Everything fitted well, looked gorgeous on the girls and felt good quality. The only items I had a slight concern with regarding durability were the leggings and the navy and white striped dress. I spoke to Genie, the owner about this. She was concerned and explained it was a manufacturing issue which she would feed back to them immediately. I could tell that she takes a great deal of pride in her business and that customer satisfaction is paramount to her. I have no doubt that these issues will be rectified. Overall I would have no concern recommending Plum Collections as it offers beautiful products which are high quality and good value.
For more info and to purchase any items please visit their website: www.plumcollections.com.au
A Note from Me
I was gifted the items to review. I am not connected to Plum Collections in any way and received no payment for writing this review. I write every review honestly, from my own experience using the products.
If you knew me and my husband you would know that we didn’t exactly meticulously plan out when we were going to have our children. If we had, we may be considerably better off financially (because of visas we were on and working arrangements at the time). At the age of 33, I was diagnosed with PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) and given a rather gloomy prognosis from the specialist. He informed me that it could take as long as 10 years for someone with my condition to conceive and well…it might never happen.
I was devastated and left the clinic in tears. The one thing I’d always been absolute on was my desire to have a family.
So it’s dinner time. My 3.5 year old and 2 year old are sitting at their table whilst I wash up the pile of dishes that has mounted throughout the day in the kitchen. But the truth is, they aren’t actually sitting at the table…not really…there are several get-ups to dance to the wiggles, lots of chair rocking which has already resulted in tears for one of them when she landed on her ‘bum-bum’ on the floor and the constant visits back and forth to the kitchen requesting hands to be wiped despite telling me they haven’t finished eating.