A little while ago, I was sent a gorgeous book to review here on the blog. It's called Naturally Fun Parties For Kids. Written by Anni Daulter, it's about "creating handmade, earth-friendly celebrations for all seasons and occasions."
As you know, we had a birthday in this house recently. Lola has enjoyed a party for each of her birthdays so I know how much work is involved - you can check out last year's spectacular rainbow pirate party here. I had every intention of dipping into this new book for ideas and recipes for her fifth birthday party, but in the end she elected to have a day in Sydney catching up with her old friends, enjoying yum cha and bouncing about in an indoor gym in lieu of a party here at home. We were allowed a birthday party every second year as kids - my sensible mother of four knew how to set limits. Looks like the "every second year" policy might kick in here now too.
Anyway, all of that aside, how lovely to come across a book that moves away from the sort of parties we've become used to throwing and attending - hire-a-fairy, jumpy castles, McDonald's, bowling, lollies galore. I'm all for outsourcing, but it's the mass consumption of sugar and plastic that I find a bit depressing. While I'm not convinced every kid will go for some of the recipes and ideas in the book, I would be thrilled to serve up roasted corn on the cob, homemade donuts and ginger spiced cookies in lieu of chips and lollipops. At any rate I'd enjoy the leftovers!
The book is broken up into seasons with three party ideas for each. And even though it's targeted at the Northern Hemisphere, ie Easter in spring, Christmas in winter, there's still plenty of inspiration for us Southern folk.
Each theme is broken up into a list of projects and materials, as well as a timeline to help you get organised. This will be especially helpful for people like me who find themselves frantically baking cupcakes and making costumes at midnight the night before the big day. There are suggestions for everything from the invitations right through to the decorations, activities and food.
So if you fancy a summer beach party with grilled flatbread pizza and herbed chicken, and creating necklaces out of sea glass, or an upcycled art party with thyme potato chips and pumpkin bread, making recycled crayons and sewing pillows out of wool jumpers, it's all here.
And better yet, many of the ideas and recipes would be equally great for a rainy day or lazy afternoon at home. I'm not going to wait for the next birthday party to try the egg dyeing or upcycled sweater aprons with my girls.
I've enjoyed Naturally Fun Parties For Kids thoroughly, and I'd love to pass it on to someone else. If you'd like a chance to win my copy, just leave me a comment and your email and I'll draw a winner randomly later in the week. (Australian and New Zealanders only, sorry. It would go against the eco ethos of the book to send it on a second long-haul flight...)