Friday, 30 September 2011

Healthy Party Snacks

For most children a party promises sugary treats that they may not be allowed very often at home.  However more parents are now offering healthier party food alongside a small selection of sugary treats.  This weekend my youngest daughter is having a joint birthday party with her best friend and my friend and I have chosen to reward game winners with stickers rather than sweets.  We are hoping the children will not be too disappointed, but are thankfully at an age when they still love getting stickers! 


Offering healthy snacks does not have to mean boring.  Fruit and vegetables offer an array of colours.  Perhaps you could create a fruit rainbow? A chocolate fondue with fruit to dip is fun and by choosing a darker chocolate will mean less sugar content.  Or maybe serve a Knickerbocker Glory with a small scoop of ice cream on top of the fruit and you could even add an extra treat at the bottom of the glass to encourage the children to eat all the fruit.  The treat could be a couple of jelly strawberry sweets or a few chocolate chips. 



Perhaps you want to offer something more substanial for the party food than sandwiches.  These homemade fish fingers from Annabel Karmel are delicious. I have also used cornflakes to make homemade chicken nuggets. My children prefer them made with Crunchy Nut Cornflakes but I woldn't recommend at a party due to nuts being in the cornflakes.




Most children love ice cream or ice lollies.  Homemade lollies are delicious and can be full of fruit.  Try freezing smoothie mix in ice lolly moulds.  These Bananna, Berry and Buttermilk lollies from Martha Stewart look colourful and are full of fruit, perfect for children and parents too!



Do you have a perfect recipe for a childrens party or have you created a fun yet healthy party snack?  Please share in the comments or send me an email and I may feature it here on the blog.

Have a fantastic weekend,
Zoe
x







Wednesday, 28 September 2011

DIY Decorations - Tissue Paper Pom-Poms

Tissue paper is available to buy in a variety of shops, I think even Tesco sell it in packs near the gift wrap.  This delicate paper is suitable for a multitude of crafts and one of those that is very popular in the party and wedding industry is tissue paper pom-poms.  These beautiful decorations look fabulous in an array of colours and you can make them in similar shades to fit with your theme.  Whilst they look fabulous they are actually not that difficult to make.  Today I want to share with you this easy tutorial from Martha Stewart so that you can create your own tissue paper pom-poms for your next party or even just to hang in your childrens bedroom, nursery or playroom. Just remember not to hang them where little mischiefs can reach them, I'm sure the pretty colours would make them look very tasty!


Whilst it may seem these pom-poms float they are hung from the ceiling using monafilament.  This is often used by jewellery makers to string beads.  However thin sewing cotton/thread would also look almost invisable.



Stack eight 20-by-30-inch sheets of tissue. Make 1 1/2-inch-wide accordion folds, creasing with each fold.


Fold an 18-inch piece of floral wire in half, and slip over center of folded tissue; twist. With scissors, trim ends of tissue into rounded or pointy shapes.



 
Separate layers, pulling away from center one at a time.

Bend wire into a loop to fit around napkin, and twist end around loop to secure.

And now you should have a lovley tissue paper pom-pom! Don't worry my first attempt was not perfect, but I love the idea of also trying to mix shades of tissue paper in the same pom-pom. Or what about spotty or stripy tissue paper?!

Have fun and be sure to share your attempts with me,

Zoe
x


Monday, 26 September 2011

Monster Party Inspiration

With Halloween fast approaching our thoughts turn to witches and ghosts. Yet if your child has a birthday near this spooky day in October, like my youngest child, I am sure you don't necessarily want to have a spooky party. I have found a solution to give a hint of scary but alot of fun and not a witch or ghost in sight.  Monsters make a perfect party theme whatever month of the year and today I am looking forward to sharing some ideas that will make your little children smile.

There are lots of fantastic party decorations and invitations available for your monster party.  Alternatively you could buy a pack of brightly coloured card, cut out some interesting shapes, add a few googly eyes and you haev your very own monster party invites!
e


Monster party food can be lots of fun, with strange coloured drinks and crazy monster cakes. 




I absolutley love this idea for a build your own monster cupcake game from Snowy Bliss. Based on Mr Potato Head this fun idea is a fantastic way to have chidlren use their imaginations.


For full details on creating your own build a monster cupcake game visit


Wall stickers or decals as they are sometimes called, can really add to your party decorations at an affordable price. Also you could always use the decals in your childs bedroom or playroom after the party.  Here are a few monster wall stickers I found whilst researching this theme.





The craze of creating sock monsters would be a perfect activity for older children.  With a selection of socks, some felt, buttons and different coloured thread your party guests could have great fun creating their very own sock monster to take home.  Felt is also a fab fabric for creating strangley shaped monsters that can be glued or stiched together which could then be decorated with more felt or buttons to complete your monster.



I found this monster make on Pinterest.  You could easily stich or glue the edges.

Photo booths have become a fun addition to weddings this year but I also love using this idea at parties too.  With a box full of bizare headbands with eyes on springs or scarves cut from bright orange fake fur I'm sure your guests would have great fun striking monstorous poses.  Another idea I love is creating a photo scene for the children to poke their head through, pretending to be monsters.





With all this monster fun it would silly not to send your guests home with a monstorous treat.  don't forget to keep the theme with the party bag too.





So practise your monster growl and welcome your guests for a monster mash!


Grrrrrrrr!


Have fun!
Zoe
x


This post has been shared in the Link Party at Birds Party!

Friday, 23 September 2011

Real Parties - We Need You!

At Les Enfants we love to find new ideas and products that make parties even more spectacular.  I know I am always excited by discovering a fabulous new designer or party professional that makes me think wow I love that product or I'm impressed with the way they've found a niche in this market.  I also know that there are some incredibly creative people creating parties for their own children or friends children.  So today I want to ask for your help.  I would love to feature some real parties on the blog to share even more ideas with you. 




Inspiration Board from Living Locurto

Panic not I do not expect you to submit yout party like the above picture! If you would like to have your party considered please email a selection of 5-10 images and a quick description about the party.  I will then email you for further information and photos if required and I will then put it altogether to create a blog post.  Obviously not everybody is happy for images of their chidlren to be used on the internet, so please ensure you have permission for me to use images of your party guests. However you can just send images of the party decorations, food,etc without even showing a guest.  Also if you have had a professional photographer capture the special day I will need their permission to use their images, which will be fully credited to them.

So if you would like to share your childs party here on the Les Enfants blog please send me an email info@lesenfants.co.uk with Real Party in the Subject box.  I look forward to hearing from you.

Have a fab weekend
Zoe
x


Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Party Printables

For a while there has been a growing trend in using party printables to decorate parties.  There is an abundance of choice, especially on Etsy, including the option of having your printables personalised.  I love the idea of party printables as it means you can have a fantastic design for a party but without a hefty price tag.  The designer will email your printables to you which means you do not have to wait on Royal Mail to deliver.  This is also great for the less organised amongst us as the designer is often able to email you the files within 24 hours, if you are buying a standard design that does not require personalisation. But the biggest bonus of all is that you can order your printables from a designer anywhere in the world and not have to worry about postage charges, as your party printables are delivered for free, to your inbox.



Rainbow Birthday Party Printables


Whilst this all may seem really easy I would strongly advise you to purchase good quality paper to do the great designs justice when you print them. A 120gsm weight paper is good for paper bunting or cupcake toppers but 160gsm is even stronger and won't curl so easily.  For printable invitations I would strongly advise a 220gsm or heavier weight cardstock, but this would depend on your home printer as many dislike anything heavier than a 220gsm weight card/paper.  To complete your bunting or banners you could use bakers twine or thin ribbon and double sided sticky tape is always handy as I have found PVA glue can make ink run if you are using a deskjet printer.



Alice in Wonderland Party Printable

After a little bit of effort and time, you will be armed with great invitations, paper decorations and accessories to make your party even more spectacular.

Have fun!
Zoe
x

Monday, 19 September 2011

Very Hungry Caterpillar Party Inspiration

I've noticed over the past few months that childrens story books are proving popular for birthday party themes.  My younger daughters would love a  Gruffalo party and I am sure an Elmer theme would work well for younger children.  However this idea is not so new as Winnie the Pooh has been popular for many years, especially for a first birthday party.

One popular choice at the moment is the fantastic tale of 'The Very Hungry Caterpillar' by Eric Carle.  This story lends itself well to a party theme and a great excuse to get children to eat fruit!  Although I am sure they will also want the ice cream and cake that the caterpillar munches through on Saturday. 

Whilst party companies have a fantastic range of Very Hungry Caterpillar partyware there are also some amazing ideas to make your party even more special with lots of diy details. 





Obviously food is a big feature within this theme and there are lots of ideas you could use from the story when planning your party tea. 





This is such a fun theme to choose for a party.  Just imagine you could have giant fruit shapes made from strong card that chidlren could wriggle through to pretend they are the hungry caterpillar.






Have fun and enjoy your party, but I hope nobody has a tummy ache from all the food!

Zoe
x




Friday, 16 September 2011

Cupcakes

This week is Cupcake Week so I hope you have all been indulging in these little delectable treats!  I thought today  in celebration of this I would put together some eye candy to tease your tastebuds.  There are so many ways to decorate a cupcake. Here are just a few ideas!






Have a fab weekend!
Zoe
x

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Review - Everything Alice - The Wonderland Book of Makes

Alice In Wonderland is still very much a strong theme for parties and weddings with the whimsical ideas from the Lewis Carroll novel lending themselves well to such occassions that allow our imaginations to run riot.  The idea of a Mad Hatters Tea Party is itself a very enchanting notion for a party, however old the guests are, complete with 'Queen of Heart' jam tarts and White Rabbit clock decorated cookies.



'Everything Alice' by Hannah Read-Baldrey and Christine Leech is a delightful book filled to the brim with ideas and projects to make your Alice In Wonderland themed party even more spectacular.  The pages of this book take us down a crafty rabbit hole and let us indulge in our love of the story I am sure many of us remember from our own childhoods.  This enchanting collection is filled with 50 projects for you to try and will make your guests gaze in wonderment at the details throughout your party.



'Wonderland Cookies'


Firstly we get to meet the two designers behind the book and are also taken on a historical tour into Lewis Carrolls past at Oxford University as the authors head off 'On The Trail of Alice'.  We are then quickly given a list of essential items in the form of a 'Craft Kit' and a 'Cookery Kit'.  The first few projects probably don't lend themselves well to your party planning but do not worry as we delve deeper there are plenty of projects suitable for a party.



'Crown Placecards'


From teaset invitations to crown placecards or fabric covered teapots or giant rose lights the scene can be set to delight your guests and help them believe they are in Wonderland.  Also in 'Everything Alice' there are fabulous ideas for 'Topiary Cupcakes', 'Cheshire Cat Sandwiches' and even instructions for making cookie cutters and then the cookies, in shapes of pocket watches, rabbits, tea cups and toadstools, for your very own teaparty.  The 'Shadow Puppet' project would make great entertainment for young and old, with ideas for party games also in 'Everything Alice'.  Perhaps a game of Musial Chairs or Croquet or maybe you would prefer to run a 'Caucus Race'? 



'Playing Card Bunting'

This book also contains great projects to make 'Playing Card Bunting' and a 'Wonderland Mobile' which would be fantastic decorations for your dessert table and then your guests could take home their cupcakes in 'Mad Hatter Cupcake Boxes'.  Of course not leaving before enjoying a 'Drink Me Cordial'!



'Madhatter Cupcake Box'


As you can see there are numerous projects in 'Everything Alice' that are the perfect accompaniment to helping you create a truly magical Wonderland of your very own. 

Enjoy!
Zoe
x

Everything Alice - The Wonderland Book of Makes
By Hannah Read-Baldrey & Christine Leech
ISBN 978-1-84400-972-5

Monday, 12 September 2011

Robot Party Inspiration

There's something about robots that strangely makes me think of growing up in the 80's, in between Rubik Cubes and roller boots these little versions of Metal Mickey were popular in toy shops.  I think a robot themed party would be fab for a boys or even a girls party.  It is easy to set the mood from the moment your guests arrive at the front door, by turning it into a control panel or have a large robot, made from cardboard boxes & other bits and bobs, to greet guests as they arrive at the party entrance. Then let your little guests create their own robots from old boxes, bottle tops, scraps of tin foil or have your own robot building laboratory and let the children build robots from Lego or Mecanno. 




Robot party food could include your own mix of nuts and bolts, small pots of mixed crisps or sweets. The birthday cake could be a robot, made by putting together different sized rectangular pieces of sponge, then iced in primary colours or even silver. Cupcakes can have robot themed toppers or even ice individual cakes with different parts of a robot.  For a sweet treat the children could build robots from marshmallows and a little glace icing or use cocktail sticks to ensure the robots arms and legs stay on! 



Robot dancing would be great fun and you could even play robot musical statues. For quieter activities your could find some robot themed printables for the children to colour in or make fun robot themed wordsearches. 
 
 

 

Robot building could become large scale if the weather permits and party guests could build robots from cardboard boxes in the garden. Maybe have teams to build the biggest or strongest robot and you could also allow paints and a collection of items from the recycling box to decorate your robots. Party bags or favours could be robot toys, paper robot kits, robot shaped crayons or even little boxes of Lego. 

Just remember a little imagination goes a long way! Have fun planning your party and we would love to see your own robot parties.

Have fun!
Zoe

Friday, 9 September 2011

Fairy Party Games

I thought we would fiinish the week with some ideas for games at your fairy party.  Alot of traditional games, like pass the parcel or musical statues work well with a little imagination in renaming them to fit your fairy theme.  Perhaps your fairy guests could play Fairy Freeze instead of Musical Statues. Another twist on an old idea is 'Pin The Star On The Fairy' with the blindfolded guests trying to pin the star on the fairy's wand. 



Although as we move in to cooler days here in the UK, if the weather permits there are a few games you could play in the garden.  My children love playing Duck, Duck, Goose but for a fairy party this could be Fairy, Fairy, Troll.  Children sit in a circle and one person taps the other guests on the shoulder while saying "Fairy".  When they say "Troll" they must run around the circle trying to occupy the spot where the Troll was sitting before being tagged by the Troll. Have the players flutter their arms as if they are flying.


A lovely idea for a fairy party activity

As a parent I have often struggled to have the party tea set out whilst still amusing the party guests, but have found that a treasure hunt or colouring activities can help occupy the children, even the younger guests, whilst you have a few minutes to get everything organised ready to feed the hungry children.  There are some great colouring pages to download and print at home and as long as you avoid felt pens, nobody's costume, carpet or furniture is likely to ruined!  A treasure hunt might simply be searching for images of fairies, maybe every guest has to collect 6 fairy images to complete a set, these could even be colouring pages that they could then start or take home. 



Parties can become quite overwhelming for small children and older ones too, so it's always good to have quieter games to play aswell.  Maybe a game of 'Fairy Whisphers' instead of Chinese Whisphers could be played whilst children sit and calm down.  A game of  'Fairy Tales' with one guest starting with a traditional fairy tale and the children then take turns to add a a couple of lines to the story is a great way for allowing children to use their imaginations.

Just remember to have fun in planning the games and I am sure the children will love playing them!

Have a fantastic weekend,
Zoe



Wednesday, 7 September 2011

DIY Tutorial - Tutu & Fairy Wings

I love making and creating especially for parties.  It's amazing what you can create with the simplest of things, even glue, string & white paint can make amazing globe lanterns, but I'm not sharing that tutorial today!   I thought we would stay in our toadstool patch for todays DIY post and make some fairy wings and a tutu.  Even Woodland Fairies need pretty tutu's and wings and these two tutorials are easy to follow so you will be able to create a costume in an afternoon.  I also think older children would be able to make these with a little help, so a perfect rainy day project.

There are some fabulous tutorials available on the internet I have chosen todays as they are easy to follow, with lots of photos showing you each step.



This tutu can be made to any size.  I would advise making longer 'petals' for a taller child.

Click here for the tutorial from At Second Street.




These wings are for a smaller child, however you can easily make them bigger by adjusting the wire to size.

Click here for the tutorial from Make Baby Stuff



So have fun creating and be sure to share your makes with us!

Take care
Zoe
xx



Monday, 5 September 2011

Woodland Fairy Party Inspiration

Hello and welcome to the Les Enfants blog. I am thrilled to be starting as Editor today and have a head full of ideas to share with you. As a parent of five children I have planned a party or two over the past thirteen years and still love finding new inspiration and ideas. Each week I will be sharing with you inspiration for a theme aswell as DIY decoration ideas, recipes for fab party food or drinks, party games or activities and real parties from the Les Enfants team, aswell as perhaps your own. So let's get started with an inspiration board.

Toadstools are proving very popular in the world of childrens and even grown up interiors this year and they lend themselves well to parties aswell. Pictures of little red and white toadstools conjur up thoughts of fairies at the bottom of the garden and maybe a few pixies too. So for todays theme I am going to share inspiration for a Woodland Fairy theme.

It's always good to start with invitations and there are some fantastic prinatables available from Etsy and other websites.  These can be personalised with all the party details and sent to you as a pdf file for you to print.  So no waiting on the postman to arrive with your parcel!




Most children love to dress up and I still have plenty of fairy costumes and fairy wings in our dressing up box.  Pixies could also join the fairies at your woodland fairy party or even a toadstool, using the fab tutorial from Disney for the toadstool hat below.




Decorations are very important and more and more thought is going in to decorating childrens parties, which is great news.  Let your imagination run riot and see how magical your party could be.  The trick to not overwhelming your small guests is to stick to two or three colours, as seen below red, white and pink work well together for this theme.  Perhaps you prefer the more natural textures and colour palette that a woodland surrounding offers.




Food is probably the most important thing at a party and it is easy to create a beautiful table full of sugary and healthier treats.  Again imagination is key, a simple marshmallow with a large slice of red apple on top can look like a toadstool.




I think many parents stand divided on party bags or favours.  I prefer to give one treat that the child can keep rather than a bag full of plastic mass produced toys that will soon be lost in the hoover or down the side of the sofa.  There are some beautiful gifts that would make perfect party favours as seen below.





So as Autumn starts to arrive and the leaves start to fall there is nothing stopping you having a Woodland Fairy party in your garden. 

Have fun
Zoe
xx