Thursday, 22 August 2013

Creating a mini Hawaii

Chloe and Elisha were both summer born babies so as a result we get to enjoy celebrating two Birthdays during the middle of the school summer holiday. This has to be planned carefully because so many people go away for a vacation at this time and its no good holding a party when all their friends are away.  Over the years we have tried bringing their parties forward to the start of the summer and we have also stuck to their actual Birthdays.

 This year we decided to hold both parties at home in the garden consecutively on the weekend  which fell between their special days. To keep things simple we decided to stick to the same theme for both parties which meant that we only had to buy one set of decorations. Before you all think I am sounding like a tightwad this meant that we could afford to spend a bit more on setting the scene. Chloe chose Hawaii as her theme and happily for us in practical terms it was easy to convince Elisha to have the same for her party the following day. Time was of the essence with only hours between the two parties if you discount those we would spend asleep.

Chloe decided she wanted to have a miniature version of Hawaii which would be a sort of tongue in cheek arrangement, mini pool, mini beach, fun fizzy cocktails and so on......
We set to work on the basics but as usual we had not banked on my Dad's genius creative vision making things extra special. He decided to build a Hawaiian beach bar in our back garden!

The plaque with Chloe's name on was removable so that it could be swapped with one with Elisha's name on the following day.

The bar under construction. The base was two workbenches with the bar placed on top and a lower shelf (not pictured) which would be hidden behind a table skirt. The doors which already had handy bottle holders  were culled from an old caravan. The green mesh either side of the bar was from old onion bags. I had the task of sewing on the seashells and flowers from leis to decorate it.
With five children vying for my attention jobs like this are not always easy to do without distraction so the night before the party I was to be found in the garden sewing until it was too dark to see properly. I then got up early the next morning to continue long before everyone else even lifted their sleepy little heads from their pillows. Still in my pyjama's with a cardigan over the top to ward off the early morning chill and the obligatory cup of tea, I enjoyed a peaceful hour with only the birds for company.......I admit I did feel like an extra in an Alfred Hitchcock movie they were very, very noisy - that is what you get when you live by the sea!

The finished bar ready for the drinks to be created. We decorated the garden with plastic scene setters to disguise the fencing. The gazebo was in place to provide both shade from the sun and protection from rain given the unpredictability of our Welsh weather. This was decorated with flower garlands and inflatable monkeys and parrots.

To create the mini beach we placed a large blue tarpaulin sheet down on the decking under the gazebo. On top of this we added four bags of play sand, some buckets and spades and fantastic inflatable palm tree.  The blue colour of the tarpaulin resembled the sea around the sand and we used our small paddling pool as the mini pool.

With donations of some bright plastic cocktail glasses from my Mum, lots of leis, a limbo game built by my dad, a chocolate fountain, lots of food, some extra long straws (very funny)  and a brilliant seaside picture painted by my sister for the girls to have their pictures taken behind we were all set to go.

Both the girls had a fantastic time at their parties and we all had lots of creative fun too. If you think my mum got away with it this time you would be mistaken. Both girls requested she make their birthday cakes but they both insisted they be allowed to help her. So their fabulous finished creations are pictured below. For Chloe a replica of our garden as set up for her party and for Elisha lots of chocolate with her name on.

When the parties were both over the kids were able to spend the next few days making the most of the return of the sunshine. I think there is now more sand inside the house than there is left outside. Lucy is happy to stand in it but only when she has shoes on!

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