Parties: Mermaid Fantasy

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

I have a real problem with 'over-processed' and 'matchypoopoo' parties. I like to make a lot of the decorations and always design fresh ideas myself. Sure, sometimes it's fun to get inspiration from other clever people, and I must admit I do dip into the illustrious Martha Stewart and other fabulous sites for a peek, but part of the fun of parties for me is starting with a palette inspired only by my imagination.


For Ella's sixth birthday, we had a mermaid party in our apartment in Beijing. I designed the invitations on our computer and printed them out onto opaque plastic card stock, cutting the edges with decorative scissors. I slipped these cards into cello bags (my fave thing in the world) and added a little 'sand' - which was really glitter - and some seashells which I'd printed out, mounted on card stock and cut out.


Unless I have a huge crowd of guests, I make things easy by only decorating one section of the house, as was done here. Fabric is a really effective way to cordon off a party scene, and in this instance I also used long strips of crepe paper (you could also use strips of fabric).

I let the balloons tumble loose on the floor to create an 'ocean' feel, and hung fish and seahorses on invisible line from the ceiling. Strings of beads (or faux pearls) give things that extra pretty, feminine touch.


We started the party with a 'photo shoot'. Laid out on a table surrounded by cushions were makeup palettes for each of the girls. Mums helped them glam up their face and nails...

...then we had a photo shoot with a scenic backdrop. The girls went crazy - it was so much fun.

We also played old time classics like pass-the-parcel, but our favourite was a treasure hunt with clues leading the girls from place to place to find the treasure (party favours - which were hidden in a real wooden treasure chest).


I love prepping thematic food. The girls enjoyed blue cupcakes with starfish cookies on top, Guylian sea-shaped chocolates and candy presented in shell-shaped glass bowls. They had crackers in the shape of sea creatures, seafood croquettes, sandwhiches cut with fish and star cookie cutters and blue lemonade.

I've said before that I'm not a great believer in going all-out with the food. The kids just don't need much at all (they're too busy having fun!), and unless adults are going to eat, you really don't need to waste your time on goodies that will just go to waste. So long as there's cake and ice cream and lots of drinks between fun activities, you can't go wrong.


This cake was the easiest, yet, to make. I absolutely refused to do another Barbie cake (in this case, in a tail and on rocks!) so it was sandcastles.

My only problem was the scorching Beijing summer heat (in Australia, Ella's birthday is in the height of winter). Despite the airconditioning on full blast, covering these upturned vanilla ice cream forms with crushed cookies was an absolute landsliding feat.

I decorated the sides with little shell-shaped madeleine cakes and Guylian shell chocolates, then stuck flags in the top. I printed Ella's name and age on paper and cut them out, wedging skewers between. Use long candles to keep the flame away from melting ice cream!

Kids Parties A-Z


Tiny Concept said...

Are you kidding me!! Why aren't you a party planner!!!! You are really putting all other parties to shame. This is magical!!

smileybella said...

I'm not a party planner, because like being an author, you can never be paid enough - it's a true labour of love!!

ninaribena said...

OMG you rock!!!! What a cool party mum!!! I want to be 6 again!!!

Melly said...

Oh my gosh wow! I'm so suggesting this for my niece's next birthday party - she has a few mermaid outifts and is a little obsessed with Disney's little mermaid (but who isn't).


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