*ducks and runs for cover*
I don't have any photographs.
I know, but they don't allow cameras in the centre and they're very strict about it even going so far as to check handbags.
I only realised once we were in that they didn't check any husbands. Apparently only women are minded to break the rules in their quest for
I really wish I had a camera with me because more than once I found my mum playing in the ball pit. I caught the husband on the third floor of the play frame using the zip line. And when a good friend of mine (and the awesomest man in the whole widest world ever) put money into one of the go carts for his daughter only for her to climb out and run off 15 seconds later, not to waste the money he climbed in himself. All 6ft or so of him. He managed to get one foot in the cart, his backside hanging off the back of the go cart and his other leg draped around the front of the cart.
The staff were less than amused when they caught sight of him and I was convinced they would ask him to leave, but I explained that he really should be taking medication but we were trying to control his condition through diet alone.
Thank god she laughed, but that could have been something to do with the fact that when she turned again to look at him he had his third piece of cake in one hand and a hotdog in the other.
The kids had a blast and were a real credit to all the parents. We had a couple of really little ones there, brothers of Toot's friends and the older kids were brilliant with them, making sure they were well looked after and that they were playing with things for their age group.
I was also happy that one of Toots best friends came with his mum, I hadn't received an RSVP but I still hoped they would arrive. They are Latvian, and his mum came here while she was pregnant. We managed to get something of a conversation going. She isn't completely fluent in English yet, but she speaks 100% more English than I speak Latvian so kudos to the woman. She explained that this was the first party her son was invited to which is a great shame because he's one of the loveliest little boys I've ever met.
By the time the party was over she was getting along really well with all the other mothers and I'm sure this won't be her last invitation.
Giftwise it worked out really well this year.
My mum managed to restrain herself to some extent, opting to buy a few items of clothing and a couple of small toys. She also bought a crayola set and some new lego which I don't mind. My brother bought her two new pairs of converse trainers (which she loves) and a new game for her V smile (which she still isn't fussed on). He also bought her a handful of learning books to help teach her how to tell the time and a Letts handing writing book.
All the parents at the party managed to stick to the budget. I had asked that no more than £5 or £6 was spent on gifts and she received a load of books, a make your own beaded photo frame, a paint your own piggy bank, some new play dough and two huge mega craft boxes filled with googly eyes and pipe cleaners and card stock and glitter and you name its in there.
Only one person couldn't bring herself to stick to the budget and I wasn't surprised. Every year on Toots birthday she has received a large rag doll from a close friend of mine. The dolls are quite expensive as dolls go, but beautifully made and each one is named. So far the first one she received had the same name as her, the second bore my name, the third her Nana and the fourth is named Freda after my Mother-in-Law. I have told my friend that she shouldn't feel obligated to keep buying the dolls. I don't want her to feel like she's started something and now she has to follow through with it every year. Aside from the cost, the dolls stand 3ft tall. I'll have to get Toots a house of her own by the time she's 16.
All in all the day went well. Of course the celebrations spilled over into the surrounding days and the birthday come down was a little harsh but didn't last long.
And on another note, the birthday cake went down so well that I now have seven orders for birthday cakes and one wedding cake of all things to date. The order for the wedding cake is quite specific. She has a cupcake tree. Its a bit difficult to explain but it is very fine with a lot of swirly, curly little silver tendrilly bits around the outside, which means it looks gorgeous completely void of cupcakes. She is having a relatively small ceremony and has asked for fifty french fancies. She wants the cake part of the fancy to contain crushed raspberries, topped with marscapone and covered in chocolate (25 white and 25 dark), so we'll see how that turns out.
Her wedding isn't until September, so please let it rain and be pickling cold here in Ireland the week before her wedding so that I can temper white chocolate. Please, please, please.