Friday, November 28, 2008

Suri Cruise on Thanksgiving Day in NYC with the Beckhams

Ah yes, New York City in November...I was there this time last year and seeing these pictures of the Cruises out with the Beckhams in Central Park makes me want to go back again...And getting prettier each time we see her, little Suri was all rugged up in her Burberry coat and Splendid Littles Cherry Dot Dress. I thought these two photographs of Suri were delightful. By the way, Happy Thanksgiving to our US friends : )

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Gigi & Lulu HEARTS Janie & Jack on Sale!

In an earlier post featuring the lovely little Suri Cruise, one of our favourite celeb toddlers (and apparently every one's favourite, according to Forbes magazine) - we blogged about a delightful smocked pink dress from Janie & Jack. I am always looking in their online boutique for new and beautiful fashions for little princesses - they have the loveliest garments, using soft and delicate fabrics. This little set caught my eye from the Janie & Jack Luxe Collection which is currently on sale, with limited sizes. In silk charmeuse, which may not be the most practical fabric for a toddler, this little Ruffle Top is so pretty and the matching tulle skirt is fit for a princess. You simply must check out their new Penguin Winter collection - I LOVE LOVE LOVE pink & green together for my little strawberry blondes and all the pieces in this story are mix and match - I can't decide which ones I love the best so visit their online boutique and decide for yourself

Baby Spidey in Baby Converse - Gorgeous!

How gorgeous are these mini Converse Chuck Taylor All Star High Top sneakers? Super-tot Ruby Sweetheart Maguire, daughter of Spiderman himself, Tobey Maguire, out and about in LA over the weekend in her groovy red pair - love the purple beanie too : )

Disney Princess Birthday Party - Top Tips & Suggestions

Here is a recap - Top Tips for hosting a Disney Princess Party:
  1. Invitations & Guest List - Kids LOVE to dress up so opt for a theme - it allows for great photo opportunities and you can incorporate the theme right through all aspects of the party. Be creative with your invitations - try your hand at a little rhyme - you will be surprised at what you can come up with. If you have older children, ask for their help - imagine how fantastic they would feel knowing they wrote a poem for their own invites
  2. Costumes & Theming - If you have the time, sew/make your own costumes or alternatively, try ebay first - you may grab a bargain at half the price of a costume place. Don't hire a costume - for what you pay to hire something that is likely stained and/or worn in places, you can buy a costume outright. Try Costume City - a US based online retailer - they have reasonable shipping costs, but make sure you allow extra time for overseas destinations. Simple theme ideas include balloons (all kids love helium filled balloons), re-usable stickers in your theme (reasonably cheap and can be used again for another party or to decorate a kids room) and a personalised sign to welcome your guests at the front door. For your party music, download from ITunes any music relevant to your theme eg a soundtrack from a movie, and create a party playlist in your Ipod so that all you need do on the day is press play and you are away. Try coordinating your table wear - plates, napkins/serviettes, party blowers, cups, goody bags - you can get heaps and heaps of themed party goods online, even on ebay, or alternatively from a party supply warehouse.
  3. Food, Drinks & the Birthday Cake - For kids, you can't go wrong with basic party food - cocktail frankfurters, mini sausage rolls, fairy bread, chocolate crackles, just to name a few. There is so much going on, they tend to float around grazing on whatever is on the table. For the adults, why stress yourself out with cooking and preparation - save that for the cake ha ha! We arrange for our local chicken shop to cut up 6 or 7 chooks and they are pretty much ready to go. With fresh bread rolls, a few dressings and a couple of simple salads, the adults are happy too. Drinks you supply are at your own discretion - you know your family & friends' preferences. For kids, keep it simple. Most kids will drink water or cordial (not red!) but to save spillages, I opt for mini pop top apple juice - most kids will drink apple juice plus it will not stain carpet if spilt like Ribena would. Everyone has a different opinion of arranging their child's cake - some don't want the pressure of making a good cake, some opt for ice cream cake, others bake all day to get the perfect cake for their child. I would suggest a happy medium. Personally, I made a pact that I would make & decorate all my children's birthday cakes, which I bake the night before and decorate the morning of the party. It really is a personal preference but may I suggest the Women's Weekly Kids Cakes Book - my mum has a copy dated from the 80's and I have the new one - it has been a family favourite for decades. Goody bags need only be simple and inexpensive. I try to cut down on the lollies, instead I get practical little thank you gifts like hair clips and accessories for little girls and matchbox cars or trucks for little boys. Baby guests will receive a rusk and some bath toys in their goody bags. I usually stick to mini lollipops, a pack of mini m&ms and sometimes a pack of mini sultanas
  4. Fun & Games - Again, the ideas are endless however my system is simple - we have a craft session (for something the children can take home with them), a few team games (to help with socialisation of the kids and encourage good sportsmanship, even though my philosophy with the games is to not have one winner but everyone wins in one way or another) and finally, my signature Daddy's Activity - the highlight of the afternoon, just prior to cutting the cake. With the craft, the kids will make something in line with the theme, my favourite team games include pin the tail on something, scavenger hunts or some form of musical chairs where the kids who get eliminated then get to chose what everyone has to do eg. instead of walking around the chairs, we have spots on the ground that the kids must hop around or silly dance around before jumping on a spot when the music stops. By letting the eliminated child choose how the kids continue in the game, it removes their sadness in being out. If all else fails, I recommend a jumping castle - all kids love it! My philosophy for the Daddy activity is simple too - the sillier you make your adult male guests look, the more fun & laughter the women & kids will have. Fun ideas include making the guys dress up in funny outfits and complete a relay, anything involving water is great too as they always end up drenching each other or a simple charades activity can be entertaining. I am sure your imagination could come up with something related to your theme. An example we did last year for our clown party was to have a clown wig, red nose, silly bow tie & big clown shoes in a bucket and the daddy's formed two teams and one at a time they had to run to the bucket of clown clothes, dress up in all 4 items, pose for a photo, undress and run back and tag the next team member. Not only did the kids get a laugh, we have some great bribery photos ha ha!
  5. Thank You Cards - I can appreciate that not everyone has time to make elaborate thank you cards but a simple little thank you note is a nice way to teach your child gratitude and good manners. I just mock something up in Microsoft Word and I include photographs from the party in my cards as it is more personal and also a nice memento from the event. If the child is able, get them to write something on the cards, even if it is only their name a a couple of kisses and hugs, as this is more thoughtful.
I hope you have enjoyed my series on planning a Disney Princess Party - I look forward to covering some other theme parties for little girls in future posts - I would love to hear your suggestions or requests so please feel free to leave them in the comments section. Enjoy x

Related Posts: Part 1 - Invitations, Part 2 - Themes & Costumes, Part 3 - Food & The Cake, Part 4 - Fun & Games Part 5 - Thank You Cards

Content in this post is for the most part created by gigi+lulu - Copyright 2008

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Disney Princess Birthday Party - Part 5 - Thank You Cards

Party Planning Tip #5 - Thoughtful Thank You Cards

One thing about the aftermath of having a party that is important to me is to make sure I say thank you to our guests, not only for their gifts, but for coming along and celebrating with us. I also enjoy creating thank you cards that include photos to remind everyone of the fun they had. This year it was even more special because Gigi was at the age where she understood why we were sending the cards, and she loved the photos with her friends and family. As you have seen from my invitations, I enjoy writing little poems and I continued this theme with my thank you cards. I want to again stress that I don't fancy myself as a budding Shakespeare, however I just enjoy the fun & silliness of coming up with a unique thank you card. My friends will tell you, I have always been the creative type and having children has been the best way for me to explore this long suppressed part of my personality - lucky for you ha ha! So getting back to the thank you card - I included a cute photo of Gigi with her cake then each invitation was personalized with another photo, this time of the child recipient of the card. The verse I wrote is as follows:


On Sept 28, at the fair castle of White*

Princess Gigi summonsed her family and friends

For a very special night

Twas to celebrate her birthday, the princess turned four

What a beautiful day, she couldn’t have asked for more

All the tiny subjects of the kingdom,

feasted on fairy bread and cake

Fairy wands and beaded bracelets they certainly did make

All came dressed in their royal finery,

bearing gifts and gigantic smiles

Definitely the hottest ticket in town,

In our kingdom and surrounding miles!

The princess wishes to thank one and all for their part,

for their gift and good wishes, from the bottom of her heart

* name can be changed to reflect your own surname and line 3 of verse revised accordingly to rhyme with your name

Overall, the party was a brilliant success from the moment the invitations went out until the last thank you card went out in the mail. Hopefully you now have some new ideas for your little princesses' birthday party, and in tomorrow's post I will be doing a quick summary & checklist, along with tips & suggestions, so you too can plan a fantastic little girl's party that your little princess will never forget.

Related Posts: Part 1 - Invitations, Part 2 - Themes & Costumes, Part 3 - Food & The Cake, Part 4 - Fun & Games
Content in this post is for the most part created by gigi+lulu - Copyright 2008

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Disney Princess Birthday Party - Part 4 - Fun & Games

Party Planning Tip #4 - Fun & Games

The fun thing about children's birthday parties are the games & activities that go on - after all, when you think back to your childhood, the most memorable parties are the ones that had a theme and you can remember what you wore and what fun you had. Maybe thinking back to age 4 is a stretch for 30 something's but in this age of technology, at least our kids will be able to re-live everything on video/DVD as if they were actually back there on that very day. My mum says I missed my calling and I should be a pre-school teacher because of some of the ideas I have but like all good ideas, they come from lots of research ie reading and web surfing. For starters, at my parties I always have 3 areas in the entertainment department - a craft making session (so the kids have something to take home), a te
am building game (to encourage participation and self esteem) and of course, the annual Daddy activity - quite simply just for the entertainment of the women & kids, the sillier the better. For the Disney Princess theme, I decided to do 6 activities, all named after each of the Disney Princesses. I got a beautiful idea off one of my party sites to give each little girl a lovely keepsake from the party. You will need beading wire, 6 different coloured beads and one initial bead for all the little girls attending. They are given the beading wire with the initial bead already attached in the centre before we start the games and after each game, a new bead is given to be threaded onto the wire. The idea is that instead of giving prizes only to the winner of games (and I am not a fan of Pass the Parcel for this reason as most kids miss out), the little girls leave with a necklace of 6 pretty beads plus one with their initial on it. If they are anything like my Gigi which most of our little friends are, they LOVE jewellery and because they helped make it, it is even more special. Now you might ask, what about the little boys who attend? Well, in my experience, and I have created similar piece-by-piece keepsakes for boys, most of the little boys lose interest really quickly and prefer to run around or play in our toy room so I usually just have on hand a few little party favour things eg blowers and toy cars etc to give to the boys so they don't feel left out. So, without further ado, my six activities were as follows:
  1. Cinderella - Take me to the Ball - Put simply, I played the theme for Cinderella ("A Dream is a Wish your Heart Makes") and introduced all the children one by one, as mentioned in Part 2 on theming & costumes, and took a photograph of each child. The idea was also to use this photograph on personalised thank you cards (refer Part 5 in my series). It was also a good way of introducing families that were new to our circle of friends, for example new pre-school friends of Gigi. Each little girl was also given their first bead - a BLUE one for Cinderella. Top Tip: download all the relevant music for your theme party to your Ipod and create a new folder so that music is in order and at the ready so you can just press PLAY and off you go!
  2. Aurora Magic Wand - Since the story of Sleeping Beauty involves Fairy Godmothers casting special spells to reverse bad spells, our objective was to create our own fairy magic wands out of wooden spoons and glitter pens & stars. Each little girl was then given their second bead - a PINK bead for Aurora. What do you think about our efforts:
  3. Snow White Pass the Poison Apple Game - I am not a fan of Pass the Parcel, having seen how upset kids can get when they miss out (ahh, yeah that is usually my child ha ha) however this is a variation on it using an apple. As the story of Snow White goes, she bites into the poison apple and falls into her deep sleep, awaiting her prince. Using a lovely Andre Rieu version of "Heigh Ho", the kids passed the apple around and when the music stopped, the child with the apple took an imaginary bite and then pretended to fall asleep. When there was eventually only one child left, that child had the job of handing around the third bead - a RED one for Snow White
  4. Ariel Pin the Fin on the Mermaid - A game I am a fan of is pin the tail on something. We don't make a big deal of the winner in our version, instead the laughter this game generates when someone pins a red nose on a clown's foot or a tutu on a ballerina's head is priceless. I had planned to make my own Ariel but ran out of time - instead we had one of those mega colouring-in books so Gigi & Lulu (and Daddy!) helped colour-in the picture of Ariel and then I bought some lovely frangipani stickers and the kids had to pin the flower on Ariel's hair. Most kids get close to the mark so it looks really cute and we still have the poster stuck to the toy room door where we actually did the game on the day. Of course they also got bead number 4 - GREEN for Ariel
  5. Belle - Make your Own Edible Tea Cups - In "Beauty & The Beast", Belle befriends the Beast's servants - Lumière, a maître d' turned into a candelabra, Cogsworth, the head of house turned into a clock, and Mrs. Potts, the head of the kitchen turned into a tea pot. Related to this kitchen/tea theme, I saw this gorgeous recipe on one of my favourite websites - Kidpsot - and I had a trial run tea party with my lovely next door neighbour, Pat and of course with Gigi & Lulu and decided it would be a great idea for the kids to make (and eat!) at the party. The kids had a great time making their own tea cups out of lollies (a marshmallow, half a musk Life Saver, a Tic Toc biscuit and a chocolate Freckle) and though the preparation of the icing mixture (to stick everything in place) was a little bit fiddly, the outcome was worth it. The 5th bead for Belle was YELLOW
  6. Jasmine's Musical Carpets - This game is run like musical chairs (of course using "A Whole New World" from the movie Aladdin) but instead of chairs, use tea towels or something similar as "magic carpets", as in the story of Aladdin. Sometimes this can be a bit unfair, as someone misses out but the way to turn things around if you have a child that gets upset if they are out (ahem, yes, my kid again!) turn it into a dance game - still stop & start the music but give everyone a magic carpet and when the music stops, ask one of the kids where they want to take their magic carpet this trip and for example, if they say Australia, get everyone up and hopping like a kangaroo. You can make up your own rules - the kids are just happy to role-play. After this game, the children receive their final bead - PURPLE - for Jasmine and this competes their necklace keepsake from the party (the kids then proceed to mum to tie off the ends). Top Tip - if you have the time and the budget, buy proper necklace clasps from a beading shop and have them secured to the ends prior to the party. The kids were just as happy otherwise to have a necklace tied together and popped over their head.
So there you have it - 6 fantastic activities themed to the Disney Princesses and a keepsake & craft item to take home as well. Our parties of course are not complete without the annual Daddy activity. And this year was a beauty! In keeping with the 6 stage, Disney Princess related games, the Daddy's split into 2 equal teams and then had an obstacle course (receiving a point at each stage if you were the winning team) to partake in as follows:
  1. Cinderella Pumpkin Run - We all know the story of Cinderella and the relevance of the pumpkin - I made the Dad's put a butternut pumpkin between their legs and ran a relay so everyone had a turn - the first team to finish got the first point. Check out out photo below - how funny do they look? Just to give you a perspective, our front yard is around 10m wide by 10m deep so we are not talking about a particularly large area..
  2. Aurora Slay the Dragon Egg & Spoon Race - using toy swords, and real eggs, a traditional egg and spoon relay - a recipe for disaster when you drop eggs, as they often did!
  3. Snow White Charades - I gave each Dad a piece of paper with a name of one of the 7 dwarfs on it. They had to act out for the name on their piece of paper so the women and kids could guess who they were. One classic example - one of the Dad's yelled "when are you gonna stop making the Dad's play stupid games every year!". if you didn't guess, he was Grumpy! And he was also not kidding - he is a regular participant, but one who always hides to get out of it first ha ha. We still love you Uncle Ian!
  4. Ariel Fish Tail Relay - each Dad had to jump with both feet together - as if they had a fish tail on - to complete their relay
  5. Belle - Pass the Tea Cup - The Dad's had to stand in a line, equally spaced out - and starting at one end of the line, hold a tea cup under their chin and then pass it along the line, also under chins. There were many close kissing moments ha ha!
  6. Jasmine Magic Carpet - this was the best ending to a fun relay. Each team had to choose their heaviest Dad. They were given a blanket and told that on my go, the heavy Dad had to drop to the ground, be rolled in the blanket and then carried across to the finish line by the rest of the team. Let's just say, Uncle Greg & Uncle Paul are not little! One ripped blanket and a few bumps and lumps later, both teams tied and it was a fitting ending to a fun day of activities. We are so lucky to have fun male friends who were happy to play the games to the delight of the children. It is now a highlight of our parties and our guests always wonder what I have in store for them next year
Alot of people ask me why I don't have a pinata at my parties. The simple answer is I don't like them - I think they can be dangerous to the children as sometimes you just cannot anticipate what a child is going to do ie the stick could slip from their hands, they could go for another hit as the next child runs forward to claim their go - the opportunity for injury is endless. Having said that, we went to a party recently and they had a pinata with a difference. All the kids got to hold onto a streamer hanging from the pinata - kind of like a maypole - and on the count of three, all the children pulled their streamer which in turn released all the lollies from the pinata. Awesome idea - no bashing or swinging sticks and a fair distribution of rewards. If I can get my hands on one of those, I will change my stance on pinatas for my next party.

I hope you have enjoyed reading my party games & ideas - we certainly had a ball at Gigi's party this year and if you can't tell, I had a great time hosting. In the final part of my series tomorrow I will be showing you how to create a lovely personalised thank you card as well as summarizing some helpful tips for planning a successful party ; )

Related Posts: Part 1 - Invitations, Part 2 - Costumes & Themes, Part 3 - Food & The Cake
Content in this post is for the most part created by gigi+lulu - Copyright 2008

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Disney Princess Birthday Party - Part 3 - Fun Food, Delicious Drinks & A Memorable Birthday Cake

Party Planning Tip #3 - Fun Food, Delicious Drinks and a Memorable Cake

I have covered invitations, costumes and themes for a Disney Princess Party and it is now time to feed the hungry little party animals. My formula for parties is simple - feed the kids first, get them started on an activity and then feed the parents. For now anyway, our parties are big affairs. We don't mean them to be but we have lots of friends with kids and our parties are for adults and kids alike. Maybe when the kids get older we will do the "drop off the kids only" party but for now, because they are all mostly under 5 years old, I much prefer the parents be there anyway, from a supervision point of view, so I can concentrate on the fun & games (refer Part 4 tomorrow). Back to food. Depending on how much time I have left in the morning after icing the cake, I try to make healthy alternatives to bowls of chips and Smarties. One such snack that was a hit with adults and kids were plain Jatz biscuits, topped with a slice of tomato and cheese stars - made simply using cheese slices and a star shaped cookie cutter. I have also made cheese and Vegemite scrolls - again, an easy recipe. Brush pastry sheets with a bit of melted butter then spread with Vegemite and top with cheese. Roll the sheets into a sausage shape, brushing the end with the leftover butter to hold in place. Cut the roll into lots of little swirls, line on a baking tray and cook for 10-15 mins or until golden brown. You can even substitute the Vegemite and cheese with ham, cheese and pineapple. I am not silly though - I know the average kid loves their junk, party food and mini sausage rolls (store bought, although Kiki's mother makes some really good home made options) and cocktail franks tend to fill that void quite nicely. My mum is on hand to help in the kitchen and these two options are quick and easy. Add some mini bread rolls and the kids can make their own hot dogs. Aunty Lala always brings her chocolate crackles and Gigi is now at the age where she helps make the fairy bread - always a hit! I also get some savoury vol-u-vants from the party shop, as well as Spinach & Cheese triangles for the adults and have a variety of dips and cheeses etc on hand to nibble on until lunch is served. Lunch for the big kids is usually always chicken & salads, the chicken I pre-order from our local chicken shop (asking them to cut them up for me to save me the time) and the salads are usually home made, usually by my mum who makes the best Caesar salad and also a pumpkin & rocket salad. I always have a plain Greek salad as well for those who prefer no dressing and complete with fresh bread rolls, everyone is happy. For the adults drinks we have beer, wine, soft drinks and we have a chilled water machine year round for those who would prefer. I used to make a fruit punch for the kids but found they were happy just to drink poppas of juice or water. Apple juice is very kid friendly - easy on the tummy and the carpet - one year I had apple blackcurrant juice - bad move on beige coloured carpet. For the adults for dessert with coffee or tea I usually get mini chocolate eclairs and though I find the kids don't usually expect dessert, I sometimes have ice blocks in the freezer just in case. This year I found some really cute mini gelatos at Harris Farm Markets which were a hit. Of course the best dessert is the birthday cake. Now I am not the world's best cook - my friends and husband will attest to that - but I have been known to make a killer chocolate cake over the years and I made a promise to myself that regardless, I will always make the effort to make my children's birthday cakes, preferably from the Women's Weekly Kids Cake book, as my mother did for me as a kid. For this cake, I actually found a really cool cake topper set on ebay (refer above right). The cake is simply 2 square cakes of varying sizes, one of top of the other to make the castle, and it is all in the decorating to give it the full effect. I am not a big fan of piping, as they have done in the picture, choosing to stick with plain white chocolate icing (with a few drops of red food colouring to get it a shade of pink) on a marble, vanilla cake (Gigi helped with the marbling before we put it in the oven). Each year I try to get into the routine of making the cake the night before but leaving the icing until the morning of the party. Sometimes this proves challenging time wise (especially when the fish tank decided to shatter just as I finished this cake this year, cutting things very fine!) but I find the icing is nicer if it hasn't been set in the fridge overnight. So what do you think about my attempt at the castle? I am very happy with the final product - it looks like it is alot more work than it is - but the main thing is the birthday girl was absolutely delighted with it. The final food item to discuss is the goody bags. I have always separated the bags into 3 kinds - boys, girls and babies. The babies goody bags come with rusks, baby bikkies and sometimes a little bath toy. I may even throw in a couple of Fantales for the parents. The boys & girls bags are the same food wise - usually mini boxes of Smarties, a few mixed lollies and one of my friends introduced me to Mini Chuppa Chups this year. I then find knick knacky little toys to include instead of too many lollies. Usually a toy car for the boys and princess jewellery or hair accessories for the little girls. Besides being more practical and something to keep, I am trying to save their teeth. I can't wait to share with you tomorrow's post - Part 4 in the series - fun & games! We have an annual Dad's game which is always a hit at our parties so make sure you check back here to see what we got up to this year ; )
Related Posts: Part 1 - Invitations, Part 2 - Costumes & Themes, Part 4 - Fun & Games
Content in this post is for the most part created by gigi+lulu - Copyright 2008

Friday, November 21, 2008

We told you so a month ago Suri - Burberry all the way...

Out with Mummy, Katie Holmes at the Rockefeller Centre in NYC yesterday, little Suri Cruise was clearly thrilled to see the Christmas lights. We were there this time last year and it is truly a beautiful (albeit cold) time of year to visit New York. We mentioned that Suri might be interested in a Burberry poncho in an earlier post and she must have taken notes - here she wears their Fur Trimmed Parka, along with the beautiful Bonpoint Brown Check Dress. With thanks to our friends at Suri Cruise Fashion Blog, Suri also wears Grey Patent Shoes by Polder

Disney Princess Birthday Party - Part 2 - Cute Costumes & Theme Ideas

Party Planning Tip #2 - Cute Costumes & Theme Ideas

So the invitations have gone out and now it is time to get organised! When I have a theme party, I expect all the guests to dress up - after all, the kids love to see Mummy & Daddy looking silly. We are also the party family in that we always dress up for a theme party - even if the other guests do not. You may remember the rock star party costume idea featuring Lulu from a while back - that was an example where my hubby and I dressed up - he, like Alice Cooper & me like an 80's Bon Jovi groupie - only to find when we arrived that mainly the kids were dressed up, and only a couple of the adults. Not to worry, we still had a great time, as we always do. But getting back to the Disney Princess theme - for the adult costumes I found some beautiful Belle & Snow White costumes from Costume City, a US based online store. I did pay extra for express shipping as I am in Sydney, Australia but I was happy to say they arrived well before the party date, in record time. Having said that, you can save some $$$ by ordering with more time up your sleeve - express shipping is pretty pricey. As you can see from the photo the costumes are authentic and look great. As for Gigi's mermaid ball gown, I found this on ebay for around $30 AUD - a bargain for a brand-new-with-tags child's costume. The tiara was a last minute addition - she got this on the day from her other Nonna and it matched perfectly. Same for the cute Tinkerbell outfit for Lulu - around the same price, including the wings and a matching fairy wand, on ebay. Costume City do have children's costumes but the price on ebay was much better. Kiki's traditional Ariel costume was from Kmart, where you can get lots of the Disney Princess signature costumes.
All the children dressed up for the occasion too - we had a handsome prince, a dashing king and a beautiful baby ballerina, amongst others...
Also, we had a brother & sister Lord & Lady of the Manor, an Aladdin prince, Woody from Toy Story & even Peter Pan made an appearance. It was lovely to see all the kids dressed up and they had a wonderful time.
Daddy is a bit camera shy but I wanted to show you how we improvised with his Eric costume (Ariel, the Little Mermaid's prince). Gigi insisted that Daddy be her prince so we Googled Eric images to see what he wore. We liked the casual Eric outfit the best, as opposed to the wedding/formal Eric but it was going to cost too much to buy and/or hire an outfit. You are going to laugh but all I did was buy a yellow duster mop head, cut it in half and voila - the shoulder pads fit for a prince! With a bit of double sided taped onto a plain white shirt, I also used some yellow fluorescent safety tape, a black texta and there we go. Added to a pair of my black jodhpurs, a red sash and calf high motorcycle boots, there we have it - Prince Eric on a budget!

As far as theming goes, I made a poster for the front door, with pictures of all the Disney princesses on it, and lettering that read "Welcome to Your Surname Castle, Princes and Princesses most welcome". Inside, all guests were greeted formally and when everyone had arrived, I announced all the children individually as you would be announced at a royal function, to applause and with a photograph. We had a jumping castle ready but on the day decided we wouldn't need it with all the other activities going on (of which I will be going into detail in Part 4 of my series). At our local party goods store I came across some great re-usable Disney Princess stickers which we plastered all around the house - on windows, walls, anywhere that the kids were going to be playing. They are still up on our toy room walls as we speak and Gigi loves to move them around. I also purchased the Disney Princess party favours pack - party plates, serviettes/napkins, cups & straws (which to be honest, I didn't really need because the kids had poppa drinks anyway), party blowers, party hats and loot bags. I also ordered the Disney Princess Castle cake kit off ebay (more on that in Part 3). For all our parties we hire a helium tank and have lots and lots of balloons - the kids love them and the signature Disney Princess Happy Birthday Banner completed the room. Tomorrow in Part 3 of my series I will discuss party food, drinks, loot bag tips and the all important birthday cake
Related Posts: Part 1 - Invitations, Part 3 - Food & The Cake, Part 4 - Fun & Games
Content in this post is for the most part created by gigi+lulu - Copyright 2008

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Disney Princess Birthday Party - Part 1 - Eye Catching Invitations

Party Planning Tip #1 - Creating an Eye Catching Invitation

I love to surf the web for ideas for my party invitations, while at the same time I play around with my own creativity to come up with original little poems & verses, layouts and colour schemes. This year for Gigi's 4th birthday, I combined a little of everything. The idea was to create an invitation of royal proportions. I had some Disney princess colour A4 sheets which I used as one side of the invitation then printed the verse on yellow A4 paper, which I cropped then pasted on the other side, leaving a 5mm white border. I folded the invitation into 3 to send in a regular envelope with the verse folded to the inside and the princesses facing out. I tried to go with verse that sounded regal, all the while personalising it to each child/family. The complete verse, which I printed using Lucinda Calligraphy font, reads as follows:

“Once upon a time…..

A little princess wished for the

most enchanting 4th birthday party……”

Princess Annemarie & Prince Thomas of Black

You are cordially invited to attend the

Fourth Birthday Celebration of

Princess Gigi

Festivities to be held at

White Castle

in the Kingdom of Sydney

This celebration will commence on

September 28, 2008 at 12pm

King Daddy respectfully requests that

all attendees of this Royal Event,

dress in appropriate attire ** or else

off to the “Tower” they will be sent!

Princess Gigi & Princess Lulu

Look forward to seeing you at the ball,

An event we hope will definitely be

a delightful time for all!

RSVP: Queen Mummy

** Admittance to the castle will be granted to any of the

Disney Characters, especially the Disney Prince & Princesses

All the invited children were addressed as either Prince or Princess of their own Kingdom (ie their surname). The party location also personalizes the event to incorporate the host's surname & suburb eg Your Surname Castle, in the Kingdom of Your Suburb. The following King Daddy & Princess verses (just after the event date) came from my own imagination and though I am no Lord Tennyson, I am happy with the result, as it stays with the theme of the party. Tomorrow in Part 2 of the series, I will be discussing costumes & theming your Disney Princess Party
Related Links: Amazing Moms - Great Ideas for Family Fun, Birthday Party Ideas - The World's Largest Collection, Parties Online
Related Posts: Part 2 - Costumes & Themes, Part 3 - Food & The Cake Part 4 - Fun & Games
Content in this post is for the most part created by gigi+lulu - Copyright 2008

Here it is - finally - How To Plan a Successful Little Girls Birthday Party

I know, I know, you have been waiting for this - finally, starting today - the first in a series of "How To" posts on running a successful themed birthday party for your little princess. We hosted a Disney Princess Party this year for Gigi's 4th Birthday so this is a great place to start. In future posts I will be featuring ideas for a Mermaid Princess Party (Gigi's 1st), a Garden Tea Party (Gigi 2nd), a Jojo's Circus Party (Gigi 3rd) and a Ballerina Princess Party (Lulu 1st). To look forward to in early 2009 - Lulu's 2nd Birthday Party - A Tinkerbell Fairy Princess Party. All our party ideas start with eye catching invitations, fun theming and party favours, dress up costumes, party food & drink suggestions, great party games (including our annual Daddy's Game - lots and lots of fun!), birthday cakes that don't require an inner Martha Stewart, goody bags with a difference and afterwards, thoughtful, personalised thank you cards. Feel free to leave your own party stories in the comments section - I love to hear what other people do for their parties - I am the kid's party queen! Enjoy x

National Adoption Awareness Week - Nov 17-23

This week is National Adoption Awareness Week - a time to create the opportunity for all families affected by adoption to get together and communicate their experiences. There are hundreds of millions of children around the world in need of a loving home, just as there are countless loving homes missing the sound of a child's laughter. National Adoption Awareness Week assists in creating the opportunity to satisfy both needs and in doing so, giving a greater understanding of the adoption processes around the world. Actress Deborra Lee Furness, wife of superstar Hugh Jackman, themselves parents to two adopted children, spoke of the frustration about the time it takes for the process of adoption, particularly in Australia - in some cases several years - as she and Hugh attended the launch of the initiative in Sydney this week. Added to this, adoption laws have stood unchanged in Australia since 1964, and she expressed the need for new provisions and international cooperation to ensure that these children can be placed in loving homes more quickly and readily. For more information, please follow the link

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Charlie's Cherubs in Cherry Print

Following on from my love of all things red, there is nothing cuter than a cherry print - Gigi & Lulu both had bibs in cherry prints (great for pasta sauce mishaps) and Gigi currently has a cute little Esprit cherry logo tshirt. Over the weekend, actress Denise Richards attended the P.S Arts Express Yourself Gala 11th Anniversary bash in Santa Monica, California with her two gorgeous little girls - Lola Rose (3) and 4 year old Sam. This is a lovely photo of the cute little princesses, daughters of actor Charlie Sheen, and we especially love Lola's cherry print top. We found two cute cherry print dresses you might like - one for our northern hemisphere friends - the Good Lad Cherry Print Jumper Set, available through and the other for our local readers from Melbourne based Ruby & Spike - the Cherry All Seasons A-Line Dress

Sunday, November 16, 2008

More Wonderful Wall Art - Cold Coffee at Babylush

If you are looking for something bright and vibrant for a baby's nursery, instead of just plain & boring pastel painted walls, I came across this beautifully animated wall art by Forwalls by Cold Coffee, available in Australia through one of my favourite online boutiques, Babylush. They are easily removable, made from high quality vinyl so why stop at one - buy a few and alternate them from season to season - anytime you feel like a change. I can't decide which one I like the best anyway - they are all so adorable - so take a look at the entire collection available through Babylush here and decide for yourself

We HEART Family Fun Day!

As I have done in the past, today I have attended an event that I have recommended in my blog, with the intention of giving my feedback on my experience there. What can I say - today we have had an absolute ball! The last time we really flew by the seat of our pants and had a fun, no stress day was probably when we went on holidays in March. Needless to say, it was well overdue. We started the day at Matilda's Market - a fantastic market of handmade wares from several talented local designers & artists. I met many new contacts, several of which I will be blogging about in the near future, and at the same time, caught up with Melissa of 4 Little Ducks, who I have recently raved about, and saw her new summer & Christmas ranges of kids wear. Wait till you see Gigi & Lulu in their new 4 Little Ducks Tees. We then moved on to the Touched by Olivia charity Family Fun Day. This was a great event, with lots of families enjoying the market stalls, amusement rides, face painting, celebrity appearances, pony rides and much much more. Gigi even got to have her first pony ride - and she loved it! After a turn with Daddy in the teacups ride, we even put Lulu in the swing ride, next to Gigi, and she was beside herself - she laughed the whole time she was on there. Besides the ladies toilets at one end of the park being out of order (a council issue, not the event organisers), we had such a lovely family day. The delight in your children's faces when they get a simple balloon just melts your heart, let alone squeals of delight when they see Dorothy the Dinosaur. To top it all off, we passed an awesome Christmas shop on the way home so Daddy stocked up on more Christmas lights. Did somebody say Griswalds?

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Top to Toe Style - Stella McDermott in Baby Gap & me-in-mind

What a little cherub! Little 5 month old Stella McDermott, seen here with mummy Tori Spelling, rugged up in her Baby Gap Ruffled Bib Bodysuit, Corduroy Patch Pocket Skirt & Fair Isle Knit Tights. To finish her look, Tori added me-in-mind Skull Leather Sandals. We likey

Friday, November 14, 2008

40 Days until Christmas......argghhh!

I was in a coffee shop today and they had one of those little Christmas chalk board decorations on the counter near the register - you know the one - you change the days till Christmas every day with the chalk and it sits next to a goofy looking little elf until Christmas Eve. 40 Days to go. Sounds so near yet so far. Better get my list ready - I promise Santa I have been nice ; )

Today is McHappy Day!

Today is McHappy Day! When you buy a Big Mac from any McDonalds, $1 from the sale of every Big Mac today will go directly to helping seriously ill children and their families. Plus, you never know who might serve you on the drive-through window as many celebrities offer their time on McHappy Day. Dig deep

Francesca Bateman (with Daddy) in Baby Gap for Vanity Fair

How adorable! Actor Jason Bateman and toddler daughter Francesca Nora in this months Vanity Fair. Little Francesca wears the cutest poncho from the Baby Gap winter collection and we just LOOOVVEE the matching tassel hat. She has the most gorgeous smile on her face : )

Buy the clothes off Dannielynn's back for a good cause

If you are a fan of Anna Nicole Smith and want to purchase some of her beautiful daughter Dannilynn Birkhead's clothing and accessories, baby daddy Larry Birkhead is auctioning them off on ebay, with all proceeds going to US charity, Camp Kindle. The mission of Camp Kindle is to improve the quality of life for children infected or affected by HIV / AIDS. Some of the items are brand new, others pre-loved. Some you may recognise, others just a cute collection of baby girls clothing and accessories. Unfortunately they do not ship outside the US but thought I would post about it anyway as it is a nice thing for Larry Birkhead to do, in his daughter's name, in memory of her late mother

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Mathilda's Market - Sunday November 16 - Sydney

I am a very big fan of handmade, beautifully crafted children's wear & accessories and Mathilda's Market is where I hope to be on Sunday before heading to the Touched by Olivia Family Fun Day in Drummoyne. The market runs from 9am to 1pm at St Ignatius College, Riverview in Lane Cove and the stall holders are hand picked to provide only the most high quality in handmade children's items. If you are looking for a truly unique gift for a little princess, you might want to come along and see for yourself. One of the stall holders is mentioned in one of my earlier posts - 4 Little Ducks - and you can have a sneak peak on the Mathilda's Market website for the other fantastically talented children's wear designers/artists that will be on display. As this is a niche market, you are guaranteed to find something unique and affordable that you may not necessarily find in the big department stores. Well worth a look

Touched By Olivia - Sunday November 16 - Drummoyne, Sydney - Family Fun Fair 08

A friend of mine introduced me to Touched by Olivia - a foundation formed by the parents of little Olivia Perkins who tragically passed away at just 8 months old from a rare illness. Olivia's legacy provides financial assistance in many areas involving children and you can find out more about this wonderful charity through their website. This Sunday, November 16 in Sydney, the Touched by Olivia foundation is hosting the Family Fun Fair 08, which features a free Dorothy the Dinosaur show, a free Jay Laga'aia (from Play School) Show, a Live Walkabout Reptile Show, amusement rides, market stalls, face painting and special appearances from players from the Balmain Tigers and Sydney FC Soccer Team. If you are looking for something fun to do with the family on Sunday, come out and support the Touched by Olivia foundation

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

My love for a beautiful red dress is shared by the new First-Lady Elect..

Those of you who have followed my blog from the start will know of my love for little red dresses. As soon as I saw the lovely red dress worn by US President Elect Barack Obama's daughter Malia, I wanted to know where I could get it - she looked absolutely gorgeous and, more importantly, appropriately dressed for a 10 year old girl. It is clear that her mother Michelle, the self confessed new "Mother in Chief" of the White House, is conscious of the extra attention that her daughters will now be receiving and at the same time, I believe, is of the traditional view that little girls should be little girls and dresses her children accordingly. Gigi at 4 is already determined and we argue daily about what she will wear but I, like Michelle Obama, only have options that are tasteful for a little girl and I look forward to seeing the outfits that little Malia & Sasha will be wearing throughout the next presidential term. As for Malia's red dress - it is selling out fast in the US. It is from children's label, Biscotti, called the Precious Jewels Christmas Party Dress with Bubble Hem and is still available in some online boutiques, including one of my favourites, The Best Dressed Child.
You might notice the dress looks a little different to the catalogue shot - Michelle Obama changed the belt and apparently made matching cardis for her daughters like her own - delightful!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Delicately Beautiful - Little Leona by Leona Edmiston

Every now and then I come across something absolutely stunning and here is my latest beautiful find. The Bronte Bib, ivory silk dress in the Little Leona range by designer Leona Edmiston is just divine. From the little finishes like covered buttons and chiffon frill, Leona Edmiston shows why she is one of Australia's most respected fashion designers. You can purchase online through the Leona Edmiston website. This would make a perfect christening dress or flower girl dress and for little red heads like mine, white looks gorgeous. This is a dress that Suri would LOVE in her closet...

Saturday, November 8, 2008

A great find for Gigi & Lulu - Baby Bloch Ballerina's

Oh my goodness, I have found the cutest, most adorable little ballerina shoes for your little princess. For those of you with princesses in ballet class, Bloch, the company from whom we get our kids' ballet and jazz shoes, introduces Baby Bloch, available at online boutique Tiny People and also at David Jones. Inspired by their soft Italian leather adult range, they have pre-walkers, mini taps (so cute), patent ballerinas and many more. Lulu is driving Gigi nuts at the moment, raiding her ballet bag and trying to put Gigi's ballet slippers on so it looks like a pair of Baby Bloch shoes is on Lulu's Santa's list this year...

Cupcake Puzzle by Moppit

I found this delightful toy from one of my favourite websites, Moppit. It is a cupcake stand wooden puzzle, where each little cake is numbered so your princess can not only have a fun tea party, she will also learn her 1-2-3's as well. I have been a fan of Moppit, ever since I bought both Gigi & Lulu little slogan tees - and we all know how much I love them - in hot pink with white writing that says HIGH true at times...just ask Gigi about her tantrum today over what shoes to wear to the shops ..precious, SO precious..

Friday, November 7, 2008

Celebrity Baby in Red Baby Gap - Pretty Little Suri Cruise

Oh Suri, you know how much I do love a pair of red shoes! Almost as much as I love Baby Gap - of which Suri was dressed from top to toe yesterday in New York, again out on the rainy streets with mummy Katie Holmes. Giving her Kidorable lady bug umbrella another run, she was perfectly accessorised with her Baby Gap sparkly red ballet flats, her Baby Gap scallop edged leggings and the gorgeous Baby Gap red party blouse with stunning little accordion pleats on the neckline. And a cute smile & wave to boot - work those papps baby!

Who wore it best - Nahla Ariela or Lulu??

Gorgeous Nahla Ariela Aubry, baby daughter of actress Halle Berry, was all rugged up in a little hooded jacket with ears, on location with mummy in Canada this week. In a similar style, my little Lulu at 4 months old. Who wore it best? I think they are both adorable x x x

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Lovely Little Ladybug by Kidorable & 3.1 Phillip Lim

Dressing more appropriately now that it is coming into winter in New York, Suri Cruise wore a cute little polka dot, ruffled neck dress with leggings by 3.1 Phillip Lim, available at US department store Neiman Marcus. Along with mum Katie Holmes, she braved the wet night with the help of an adorable, Kidorable Lady Bug umbrella, available at Peter's of Kensington for our local friends and at The Best Dressed Child online boutique for those in the US

Cheeky Suri in Splendid Cashmere Dress

Katie Holmes and cheeky daughter Suri, pulling faces for the waiting paparazzi, out and about in New York in a lovely Splendid Cashmere Henley Dress, from online boutique MilkShop. My sister thinks I am obsessed with Suri Cruise because I am always blogging about her. The reality is that even though Tom Cruise may be criticised for OTT PDA's **, like couch jumping and red carpet pashing, or for his religious beliefs, and Katie is always being picked on for something or other in the media, one thing is for certain - Mr & Mrs Cruise always dress their little girl like, well, like a little girl...I think this is lovely although some people say she is being dressed up as a show pony for her famous parents. Little girls are only little girls for so long so why not dress them up - before long, they won't want to have a bar of what you would like them to wear. So many celebrities try to dress their kids too way out there - or not at all in some cases - and it is lovely to see a little girl in a a simple, pretty dress. I get so many comments in shopping centres or on the street about how nice it is to see my little girls all dressed up. The reason I started this blog was because of my quest to find beautiful clothes and accessories for Gigi & Lulu. I love dressing them up and they love to look pretty - it is a win-win situation. Just ask my Gigi - we have such a hard time trying to get her in a pair of pants and she loves frocking up, even if it is just to go out and check the mail. As for my tomboy in the making, Lulu, well, that may be another story in six months time...
** OTT PDA - short for "over the top, public displays of affection" for those not familiar with the jargon : )

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Another ETSY find - Strawberry Farm

I was browsing through some of my fave blogs tonight and I found another great supplier of beautiful dresses on Etsy. My friends at Skout came across Strawberry Farm which, after a quick peek, lead me to so many pretty little dresses, hand made from lovely vintage looking fabrics, and very reasonably priced. The design of their pillowcase dress is very simple yet practical and can last for several seasons, starting as a sun dress and then as your princess gets older, converting to a cute top to wear over pants, jeans or leggings. I loved their peasant dresses as well. The colour contrast on all their dresses is stunning - I especially love brown and pink together. Skout was correct in saying you could spend literally hours looking through Etsy - there are so many talented people on there. I have previously blogged about Joo Sweetie, who makes beautiful dolls, and I have several other items I intend on reviewing in the future so stay tuned..

Gigi & Lulu with Gigi & Lulu!!

One of my friends was Googling me (gigi and lulu) a few months ago and she found these gorgeous dolls, appropriately named Gigi & Lulu by Joo Sweetie, available through Etsy. Etsy is an online market place for buying & selling anything hand made. I had a look through all the beautiful dolls made by Joo Sweetie and there were so many to choose from. I ended up getting the Gigi & Lulu doll (of course!) and my little name sakes just adore their new friends, as you can see. I also ordered them a tooth fairy doll each - which is such a beautiful idea for a present for a little princess, and I got myself a keyring with the cute little Japanese doll on it. Joo Sweetie sent these to me in record time from the US and she explained how she meticulously researches then chooses the names for her gorgeous pillow dolls and how it is such an amazing coincidence that these two names went together, as do my little peas in a pod. Well worth a look at her online store as she has several combinations of pillow dolls and other lovely hand made gifts

Monday, November 3, 2008

Gigi & Lulu - Halloween Party Ideas 2008

Happy Halloween 2008! I have had many people ask me when I will be posting my Disney Party Princess ideas - I know, I know, I have been a bit slack but with so many photos to go through, it is a big job. Watch this space though, they are coming soon... Having said that, I have some great Halloween Party ideas for you after we had a lovely day on Friday with our little mother's group. With just 3 simple ideas, we joined in the Halloween spirit. The first 2 were party food ideas and then we did a little craft project. First up - Red Back Spider Bikkies. Very simple to make, I found this recipe on one of my fave websites - Kidspot - and all you need is some bikkies, some Smarties, Cadbury Rolls & some strap licorice. Admittedly, the kids left the licorice behind and picked off the Smarties and chocolates but they still looked good. A little tip - instead of sticking the legs on individually, keep the inch wide piece of strap in tact and cut the four pieces to almost the end, so that they all stay in one piece and fan them out to make 2 sets of 4 legs on either side of the sweets. Much less fiddly than trying to stick them all on one at a time. Next up, Dracula Fangs made from watermelons and coconut, again from Kidspot. Another tip - don't let the off-cuts of the watermelon go to waste - the tiny triangular pieces you cut out for the teeth can be served separately in a bowl on the side - great for a hot day like it was on Friday. JJ & Coco enjoyed their watermelon fangs as you can see above!
Finally, the kids had fun making their very own origami bat to take home as a memento from the party - very easy to make and great for hand-eye coordination:Gigi was really looking forward to meeting some trick or treaters this year (we decided to wait until next year to take her around the neighbourhood) and we had a jack-o-lantern hanging by our front door to welcome any to our house but this year was a slow year, with just one kid popping by. He was in luck though because Daddy gave him a big handful of lollies because we had plenty ready to go! Here are a couple more pictures from our Halloween preparations and clowning around:
UPDATE: Congratulations to Coco - less than 24 hours after our party, her mummy gave birth to a new baby brother. Maybe it was our Dracula Fangs & Red Back Spider Bikkies that got the ball

Celebrity Baby Halloween Style 2008 - Bumble Bees

Our final celebrity style file for Halloween is the humble, bumble bee, as worn by the gorgeous Federline boys and the Spelling/McDermotts. Tori & husband Dean, were spotted on their way to a Halloween party in coordinating yellow costumes - Dean as Ali G & Tori and 19 month old son Liam dressed as bumble bees, along with their new pet pooch. Tori said she would be dressing 4 month old Stella as a lady bug - maybe she should have checked out the cute lady bug tutus we featured last week. While mum Britney Spears is preparing for the release of her new album in early December, her beautiful boys, Sean Preston & Jayden James were spotted with daddy Kevin Federline, also in matching bumble bee outfits.

Celebrity Baby Halloween Style 2008 - Characters

Another popular theme this Halloween was fantasy characters - from left to right: Actress Jada Pinkett Smith as Supergirl & zombie princess daughter Willow, who turned 8 on Halloween, on a girls night out at the Dream Halloween event in LA, minus superstar daddy Will Smith; mummy & daughter pair, a very pregnant Jennifer Garner and 2 year old Violet Affleck, re-create the storybook characters, Fred & Ted from the Big Dog...Little Dog book series as they trick or treat in New York, where daddy Ben Affleck hosted SNL on the weekend; pop star Christina Aguilera, hubby Jordan Bratman and baby Max pay homage to the Wizard of Oz for Max's first Halloween; and actress Liv Tyler channeled Charlie Chaplin for her Halloween outfit this year as gorgeous son Milo Langdon made a very cute little dinosaur

Celebrity Baby Halloween Style 2008 - Guess Who?

Can you guess the celebrity couple out trick or treating with their son and a young friend? In his career, he has been to a galaxy far away, been in a temple of doom and flew in air force one, not to mention over a waterfall while on the run from the law. In her career, she has recently married a senator, however she is best remembered for her hallucinations of a dancing baby. And she got to pash Jon Bon Jovi - yum! Yes, it is indeed a hippy Calista Flockheart, son Liam & fiance, actor Harrison Ford, dressed up as peas in a pod. Put them both together and what do you get? Hipp-peas of course! I know, I know...don't forget your day job : )
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