Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Happy 4th Birthday to Jones {London Garden Party}

We pulled together a last-minute birthday party for my little boy a few days after we returned from a 15 day tour of Norway and Sweden.  It was the most laid-back party I've ever thrown because I didn't have time or energy to do much, but I loved the result.  I made the cake, called around for last-minute bouncy house availability, and ordered some fabulous custom confetti balloons from Meg of Meg-Made (Check out her Etsy shop and fabulous blog), which made the event look magical.  Meg conveniently lives in my town and saved the day by whipping out some fabulous balloons in Jones' requested colors: white, red, and yellow.

For decorations, we used sidewalk chalk to direct our guests to the back garden, and then we put out our little table and chair set for the kids to use while they snacked and ate cake.   I strung up the confetti balloons, and they were pretty magical swaying in the breeze as the confetti swirled inside. I looped strands of ribbon on the branches, which looks beautiful, is extremely inexpensive, and is so easy to clean up at the end of the party.   Just pull!

I made my famous go-to layer cake (with blue and yellow layers, as instructed), watermelon, chocolate-covered pretzels, and peanut butter cookies.  For favors, all the kids received three of Jones' favorite things: a Kinder egg, a dum-dum lollipop, and a little army man with a parachute.  Too bad I don't have any pictures, because they were adorable. My eldest even took charge of writing everyone's names on the tags, which was a particularly nice touch, I thought. For kids' activities, we made homemade bubbles for the kids to experiment with (they loved this!), we had sidewalk chalk, parachute army men for them to throw, and then of course the bouncy castle kept them entertained for the majority of the time.
 
On his actual birthday (scroll to the bottom for pictures), since we'd already consumed an enormous cake at his party, I taped together Kinder eggs to make a cake and recycled the candle.  He is obsessed with Kinder eggs, so he was absolutely elated, and I was particularly proud of this idea that came to me as I was feeling sad about not have a cake for him on his birthday morning. Leftover Kinder eggs to the rescue!

I saved the largest confetti balloon for his birthday, and it was a smash hit with all three of my children, who happily bounced it around the living room all morning.  Even the moment it popped brought giggles and smiles as the confetti fluttered everywhere. 

It was a simple, lovely birthday for our four year old son, and the joy I felt in just celebrating made me realize that simplicity is good. I will always love to throw parties and plan all the little details, but it was wonderful to only do what was most important and forget the rest.

Happy Birthday, little son. 













 
 









  










 









 



Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Regent's Park Roses {London, England}

I'm so far behind with blogging, it's not even funny.  I'm still hopeful that I can get caught up a bit and show you favorite sessions and weddings from last fall (sheesh!), but in the meantime, here are some lovely English roses from one of my favorite places in London: Regent's Park.  It feels as if it's frozen in time, and it's off the beaten path, so I often find that I have the place to myself.   Of the Royal Parks in Central London, you'll find the least amount of tourists here.

The English roses in the gardens are absolutely incredible, and when topped with fresh raindrops, they are perfection. If you visit London, put Regent's Park on your list, and don't miss Queen Mary's Gardens or the Avenue Gardens. It's a tossup, but the Avenue Gardens are my favorite.

To see an evening in Kensington Gardens from 2012, click HERE