Kids Parties: Garden Glamping + Movie Night

Kids Parties: Garden Glamping + Movie Night

Ethan turned the BIG 13 at the end of November and though we celebrated at the time with a Breaker’s game and burgers with his friends, we really wanted to do something a little more special at home to mark the occasion.  The end of the school year is a super busy time for everyone with summer quickly approaching here in New Zealand and Christmas around the corner so, we waited a couple of weeks until Ethan’s two basketball leagues had finished and planned a wee surprise.

Ethan loves sleepovers but sleepovers do not love him back.  The child basically can’t deal with lack of sleep, plus his sport schedule is so ridic with rugby over the winter and basketball taking up six days per week recently, opportune weekend nights to have friends stay over are few and far between.  Saturday night was  w i d e  open however, and happened to coincide with a rare, vacant booking for the awesome husband and wife team at www.partyinabox.nz.  So, we locked it in, called it a Movie Night and I (secretly) gathered the troops.

I think when I (and Ethan) were younger, I wanted complete control over his birthday parties and spent days and weeks meticulously planning and agonizing over every detail.  One year I handmade fish-shaped chocolates to decorate his homemade cheesecake birthday cake after I had hand stamped the goody bags with a beautiful fish-shaped motif I carved from a freaking potato!

I honestly don’t even know who that person was lol.  Suffice to say, these days I’m all about outsourcing and simplifying birthday parties.  I say HELLO to $5 Pizza Hut pizzas (1 each!) and YES to a tub of Tip Top ice cream for dessert.  And, if the outsourcing results in the 5 teenaged boys (and his girl bestie) sleeping in the front yard, then a birthday blessing was just bestowed upon ME.

Party in a Box Glamping Packages

We decided on a Night Out Package for Ethan and 5 friends which included setup and overnight hire of a gorgeous bell tent, 6 x mattresses, bunting, fairy lights, rugs, floor cushions, tray tables, super cool decor items, popcorn, huge tv and DVD/BluRay player.  All delivered set-up and then packed away again the following day. 

It was spectacular, roomy and totally picture perfect.  Dave and I loved it so much we almost considered handing the house over to the 13-year-olds and treating ourselves to a night glamping in the garden!

 The best way to describe how utterly amazing the bell tent and set-up was on Saturday night is to let the pictures speak for themselves.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family yarns Kiwi Kids Glamping Party Bell Tent New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family yarns Kiwi Kids Glamping Party Bell Tent New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family yarns Kiwi Kids Glamping Party Bell Tent New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family yarns Kiwi Kids Glamping Party Bell Tent New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family yarns Kiwi Kids Glamping Party Bell Tent

The kids had a blast, we had a quiet (ish) night and a clean (ish) house thanks to the kids being in the tent lol and I know we celebrated Ethan’s very special birthday with an event to remember.

Get in touch with husband and wife team Christian and Wencke at Party in a Box to make a booking enquiry.  They have a range of options and themes available – if they can make a glamping experience work perfectly as a Movie Night for a 13-year-old boy and his mates, then trust me, you will be blown away by how stunning this experience is!



Christmas | Hosting a Gingerbread House Decorating Party

Christmas | Hosting a Gingerbread House Decorating Party

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Hosting a Gingerbread House Decorating Party was not part of my Christmas Agenda this year (I don’t actually have one, BELIEVE ME!).  But, Someone shared a Pinterest Perfect Pin of such a party on Pop Roc Parties super special Facebook Group and many of us oohed and ahhhed …………………. and I ended up saying “I’ll host it!  No worries, leave it in my capable hands”.

Now that statement is hilarious and couldn’t actually be any further from the truth.  I’m a really, really bad hostess, honestly, there was plenty of wine at the party but the only food served was what the guests brought themselves!

But, I was pretty pumped on the whole Gingerbread House concept so called in the big guns to help make the morning a success.

Penny from Little Housewife took one for the team and made the most beautiful Gingerbread House pieces for us to assemble and Gingerbread men for Ethan to decorate (both my kids were there as Dave was out of town on business), as well as whipping up her fail-safe icing to stick everything together on the day.  You can find the recipe for her Gingerbread here.


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Top Mummy Blog new Zealand

Spotlight was my natural go-to for baking supplies and Christmas decor for this event.  I previewed their gorgeous Christmas range earlier in the year and haven’t stopped thinking about it since!  When I first hit the Albany store for supplies I was completely overwhelmed but found that once I had decided on a colour scheme – white and silver with red accents –  everything seemed to fall into place – or into my basket lol.

Party Decor

Considering I only had a few rudimentary ideas floating around at the outset, I’m so happy with how the table turned out.

Key pieces were definitely the foil balloons spelling XMAS.  I has purchased the huge helium numbers before but wasn’t aware that they also came in a 30cm size that you can air fill.  The best part?  They have tabs with holes pre-punched ready to hang!  Seven days later and our gorgeous foil garland is still looking amaze.  RRP $3.99 ea.

Each place setting comprised;



  • Joy Marquee Light RRP$34.99
  • Ceramic Tree RRP$19.99
  • Paper Mache Reindeer RRP$7.99
  • Snowy Invite Glitter Reindeer – Check in store
  • Snowy Invite Nutcracker 35cm  – Check in store
  • Red Copenhagen Cement Candle -Check in Store


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Decorating 101

It’s a fact that you can’t decorate Gingerbread Houses without pretty, pretty candy.  Sweet Scoop are our family’s favourite; a range of delicious, traditional lollies that are available to Pick ‘N Mix at selected PAK ‘n SAVE and New World stores nationwide.  To decorate our houses we used; Fairy Mushrooms, Licorice Mix, Sour Fruit Dots, Rosie Apples, Tutti Fruitti Belts, Love Hearts, Blue Mouth Painters, Raspberry Sours, Fizzy Bricks, Tangy Sticks, Spin Tops and Cupid Hearts.  

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Those gorgeous serving trays can be found for hire here at Pop Roc Parties.

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Top Mummy Blog new Zealand

Because I have no idea what I’m doing, I was planning on buying an icing bag and attachments for each guest.  Thankfully I called Penny whilst I was in Spotlight and she directed me to the Party department which is where you find all of the icing equipment.  One box of Wilton Disposable Piping Bags and we were all set!  Cutting off the end on an angle is perfect for decorating these little houses.  I picked up quite a range of sparkles, sprinkles, Frozen-coloured snowflakes, and gel pens from Spotlight and Julie from Pop Roc supplied the Christmas Pearl Sprinkles (red, white & green) plus the cutest little reindeer and tree topper figurines.

I also grabbed these very cute 3d Christmas Cookie Cutters which were perfect for cutting out fondant shapes to add a little extra dimension to our decorating.

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The Finishing Touches

This is where I let Julie from Pop roc Parties go crazy!  Decorating the table for an event like this is totally her forte and she had no end of amazing party products to flesh out my concept and make it look ‘finished’.  I’ll include a full ‘Shop the Look’ links section at the end for you.

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You can’t host a Christmas party without crackers and these Jolly & Joy Poinsettia Bon Bons were a gorgeous addition to the table.  I’d never considered gold serving-ware before but how amazing do the berries look on that gold hexagon plate????  I love it, the subtle pop of metallic adds a little luxe feeling to the nibbles table.

With SO much that needed to be on the table Julie was keen to create some height.  I had the decorating sprinkles on a cakestand some upended wooden crates worked well to get the decorations out of the way when it was time to get down to the ‘hard work’ of decorating our beautiful little houses.  Mason jars were used to keep our icing bags upright and ready to go and tying the bags off with festive ribbon from Spotlight just added to the cohesive theme.

Top Mummy Blog new Zealand
Top Mummy Blog new Zealand

Not going to lie.  It was a crazy, hectic morning due to the fact that everyone pitched in and pulled the party together in situ!  But it was so much fun and the finished Gingerbread Houses looked amazing!  I cannot believe I had the foresight to pick up a large roll of cellophane from Spotlight (so not like me to think ahead!), but I did and it was perfect for wrapping up the finished products to ensure they made it home safely to the little people who were eagerly awaiting them!

Thank you so much to the beautiful ladies who came and enjoyed the First Annual Best Nest Gingerbread House Decorating Party!  Aimee from My Beloved Style, Penny from Little Housewife, Megan from Thread and Julie from Pop Roc Parties.

Also a huge thank you to Spotlight, Sweet Scoop and Pop Roc Parties for your generous contributions to this event xx

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Megan Robinson from www.thread.co.nz with her beautiful Gingerbread House

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Shop the Look from Pop Roc Parties


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Just because you can, doesn’t mean you have to.

Sunday morning, post-sleepover party.  It was sunny, I flung open the doors,  I vacuumed and lit lovely smelling candles, the bebe was sleeping and the 10th birthday party was over {for me at least, Dave was on duty with 5 boys at the hot pools – where’s that laughing-so-hard-i’m-crying emoticon?}.  How jaded do I sound?  Very, I know.  Here’s the deal, we have gone big on birthday parties for so many years, and I can definitely pull them off.  Remember Big Foot hunting in the forest when Dave hired a costume and was actually Big Foot?  Yes, I think our work here is done.

So, I’ve got a few tricks up my sleeve, a few skills you know; I can take some pretty snaps, sometimes people pay me to do this.  I can produce large and small scale graphics and run Illustrator, InDesign and Photoshop with my eyes closed, sometimes people pay me to do this too.  One thing I can definately do is make awesome birthday invitations and get all crafty with party stuff.  But this year I didn’t.  No mummy-guilt here, just knocked out a Minecraft invite 5 days before the party {oops} in literally, 6 minutes.  Ethan was pretty much in raptures.  Check.

I have made my blessed first born an awesome cake every year for every party.  He wanted a cheesecake this year which was no problem as I can knock one of those up in a flash  {Cheesecake Recipe here}.  Totally purchased all the ingredients and didn’t have time to make it.  No mummy-guilt here, Dave ran up to The Cheesecake Shop and got them to write “Happy 10th Birthday Ethan” on his store bought cake – in really crappy looking writing – and it was just the best thing ever!  “Look at this”,  E exclaimed to his friends, “my DAD got this custom made!”  “you don’t just buy them like that, DAD hooked it up”.  Yes, DAD totally “hooked it up”.  Obviously I hadn’t been hooking it up enough for the past 9 years to deserve that enthusiastic reaction to cake, but whatevs, there was cake!  Check.

Afternoon tea – Ethan planned the menu; cocktail sausages, grapes, frozen savouries, chips and soda.  Healthy?  No way.  Easy, yes!  24 hours of party food won’t kill anyone and will also help this mummy not kill anyone – everybody wins!

Dinner – Pizza Hut $5 takeout pizzas – still winning!

Breakfast – Pancakes, cheers Dad.  Our amaze Pancake Recipe here

So, to summarize, this is NOT my idea of an epic birthday party.  No perfectly planned menu, no crafts and decor, no Pinterest worthy pics, in fact no pics at all aside from this gem  – can’t see the cake or the birthday boy, the lighting is shit, image quality worse than shit and I have 7 chins!  

Birthday Party - New Zealand Mummy Blog 

But for all of its failings in the ‘Perfect Party’ department, Ethan had an amazing weekend with his friends and enjoyed the unstructured, un-fancy-no photo-opp nature of his celebration and it was a good lesson for me; my expectations can be lowered without the world falling off its axis!

Nixon’s First Birthday Party


Bunting Stickers for cake topper from Typo

So initially when I realised that Nixon was indeed going to turn one against my wishes, I was planning on having a “small, easy party”.

Maybe we would just invite friends and no extended family?  Or just family and no friends?  Trying to decide who to invite eventually saw Dave and I drinking too much wine and deciding “we will invite EVERYONE!”.  Problem solved.

I actually really enjoyed planning this party, and I pulled off most things on my wish list with only two exceptions.  {View my Pinterest Board here}

Nix’s fave things are diggers so the colour scheme was pretty easy; yellow, black, white and silver.  I shopped for all of the decor items plus plates, cutlery, cups, tablecloths etc from Pop Roc Parties and the Look Sharp store in Albany – that place is amazing when you are working to a colour theme!

To make things easier we kept the menu really simple, I mean really simple.  I have no pics of the food, but Dave had the great idea to create a mini Subway sandwich station.  All that was required was a selection of cold meat, sliced cheese, a variety of bread, salad items and condiments.  We served coleslaw and potato salad with potato chip mini packs on the side.  Drinks on offer were bottled water, lemonade, beer and wine, and the desert table was also pared right back to cake, cupcakes, cookies, fruit kebabs and a slice.  Having no hot dishes meant there was no fussing in the kitchen during the party which made being able to chat with our 40 guests actually possible!


Large Blackboard Bunting $21 from Pop Roc Parties


Mini Flourish Blackboard Stand $3.50 Pop Roc Parties

Cupcake cases and yellow road cones from Look Sharp


I LOVE Origrami prints so decided to showcase the first year of Nixon’s life by hanging my prints on some little clotheslines with mini wooden pegs from The Warehouse.


I pre-ordered some helium balloons from Look Sharp so Dave just had to whip out and pick them up on the morning of the party.


Tassel garlands are fab, but this DID take longer than I anticipated {it could have been that I just really don’t enjoy paper based craft!}.  There are heaps of tutorials online so just find one that you can make sense of and have a go.


Oh the cake!  I have a go-to, never fail cake recipe that a neighbour gave me years ago.  It is more caramel than chocolate and it rises beautifully.  I went a bit OTT and layered two cakes with milk chocolate black forest ganache and iced with buttercream.  A bit TOO rich!  I will post the recipe soon.IMG_8996






Party Planning is GO!

Party Planning is GO!


We have a very special birthday around the corner, my baby Nixon is turning one way too soon!

I have been imagining a scandi black and white theme with pops of colour and fun decorations so was beyond excited to win this fruity, fun party pack from Pop Roc Parties and Megan at Mousehouse.  Thank you both so much!

Of course I have a Pinterest board for some inspiration and can’t wait to begin editing down ideas and getting into party planning mode, your baby only turns once after all x

Shop the look

Toot Sweet Plates $11.50

Toot Sweet Napkins $12.50

Mini Chevron Paper Bags $.45ea

Neon Latex Balloons $4

Polka Dot Candles $3

Striped Paper Straws $4 {on sale now for $2!}

Confetti Washi Tape $5

Rainbow Hail Sprinkles $5 {on sale now for $2.50!}

Washi bunting made by Megan