Category Archives: birthday

Cat Themed Children’s Party Ideas

IMG_5562.jpgMy daughter wanted a cat party for her eighth birthday.  I hosted a dog themed party for a friend’s daughter a few months ago, so we re-used some of the ideas and added a few new ones.

For their arrival, each child had a pair of cat ears and my eldest drew noses and whiskers on their faces.


The food was simple. My daughter asked if they could have tuna fish sandwiches and I cooked a pizza cut into triangles to look like a mouse.  We had cheese triangles with slices of cheese string for mouse ears and tails and strawberries with strawberry lace tails. My daughter baked cat shaped cookies and cupcakes with paw prints made from M&M’s and Minstrels (British chocolates that are bigger than M&M’s). Goldfish and other snacks completed the ensemble.

Plain, black plates were decorated with cat ears and  faces and whiskers  drawn on black paper cups.



One of the parent’s commented that it was the calmest party they had ever seen, as the group of mostly girls settled down to crafts.

  • First they coloured in wooden cat masks from Michaels, which gave us time to wait for everyone to arrive.


  • Once everybody had arrived, we made cat faces with polymer clay.  At the dog party we made dog faces into necklaces but this time I decided to turn them into fridge magnets by attaching magnetic tape.


  • Finally we made pipe cleaner cats.  The pipe cleaner was coiled around a finger, leaving  a piece for the tail. Pom pom heads were attached and ears and faces added.




The first game was a magnetic fishing game.  I made a fishing rod with a magnet attached and cardboard fish, labelled with numbers and a paperclip attached. Each guest caught a fish and then were handed a package with a corresponding number.  Inside the package was a cuddly cat and a certificate for them to adopt the cat and take it home.

img_5577-2Pass the Parcel

Pass the parcel is a traditional British party game and one of my kids favourites.  A gift is wrapped in multiple layers and passed around a circle.  When the music stops the child holding the parcel unwraps one layer.  Inside each layer was a cat themed action that the children had to perform, if they performed it correctly they received a treat.  The child who unwraps the final layer wins the gift.

pass-the-parcelMusical Cat Beds

Following the same rules as musical chairs but using cushions as cat beds.  When the music stopped, the children had to find a cat bed to sit on. Each time one cushion was removed.  When a chid was out, I let them choose a sweet from the bag and the winner chose a larger prize from our goody bag.

Silly Races

We played this game at the dog party and it was a big success, so decided to use it again.  Two bowls with a small amount of chocolate cereal are placed side by side (the cereal looks like pet food).  Two children race each other to see who can finish the cereal first, by only using their mouths.  The winner received a prize from the goody bag and the runner-up a sweet treat.


The second silly race, was to push a ball of wool/yarn across the floor to the finish line, using their nose.  Some children worked out very quickly that if they gave it a significant nudge, it would roll a long way.

Pass the flea

I found a glow in the dark bug to act as our flea. This was an adaptation of hot potato.  The children pass the flea quickly around the circle to music. When the music stops, the child holding the flea is out.  The last child left in, is the lucky cat not to catch fleas and wins a prize from the goodie bag.

The party was a great success – I think the birthday girl would agree.


The End of an Era – Goodbye Under 5’s

As an early education consultant, today is a momentous day. Tomorrow is my youngest daughter’s 5th birthday and so, after 11 and a half years, this is the last day I will have children under 5.

A few years ago I looked forward to the day when my children would be growing up but today I am a little sad for all the things I will miss.

  1. Their chubby little faces and hands
striped hat

2. Watching them play

3. Cute drawings

child's drawing

4. Messy faces


5. Thumb suckers


6. Kisses, cuddles and holding hands

mother kissing baby

7. Having a constant companion


8. Learning to sing

9. Sleeping babies

Had enough now mum
Had enough now mum

10. Everything about this

Luckily, I have almost a year before she goes to school, so lots of time left as a pre-schooler. Happy Birthday little one and as your t shirt says ‘Never Grow Up’
never grow up

Bristol Zoo 175th Birthday – Big Village Fete

What a fantastic day we had today at Bristol Zoo.  To celebrate their 175th birthday Bristol Zoo organised a Big Village Fete, hosting a multitude of local talent, stalls and crafts.  It could have been a washout looking at the torrential rain first thing this morning but by lunchtime the sun was shining and the children were dancing to the music.  My 2 year old although taken aback when she first saw a gorilla dancing around the lawn, soon became obsessed with following it everywhere.

On the dance stage there was an amazing group of young street dancers and my 2 year old couldn’t wait to get on stage when the Egyptian dancers asked for volunteers to join them.

There were some fun activities and stalls in the family area and the girls loved making masks.

My personal choice of the day, had I have been on my own would have been to sit in the beautiful flower garden listening to the acoustic music sipping a glass or 2 of wine – oh well, maybe in another life.

As members of Bristol Zoo we go there a lot and today made a refreshing change not to see the animals (though we did check out the new meerkat house which is a vast improvement on the small space they had previously).    There are a number of new sculptures dotted around too – we spotted a kangaroo (you can sit in its pocket) 2 new gorillas and a lion but I’m sure there are more. There are also a number of historical photographs dotted about and film footage of the zoo in past decades. 

To mark the 175th Anniversary of the Zoo  life-sized gorilla sculptures are dotted all around the city of Bristol. A map is available to download from the zoo’s website.   That’s another few days to kill during the school holidays.

Turning 40 Part 2 – Is Eeyore in his 40’s?…. and more thoughts about Eeyore.


I picked up a book in my doctor’s surgery , ‘Forty-fied – How to be a Fortysomething’ by Malcolm Burgess.

I loved this quote

Eeyore is probably 40, seeing that his stuffing is falling out, he’s terminally depressed and surrounded by annoying energetic younger things who know that the only way to cheer him up is to give him a nice jam jar with a burst balloon for his birthday, about which he is expected to be sadly euphoric

I don’t feel like my stuffing is falling out but after having 3 kids,  I look at pictures of myself when I turned 30 and compare it to the tired woman with grey roots, developing wrinkles and a post baby tummy and wonder if we are the same person.  I love the stuff about presents which are also discussed elsewhere in the book.  I keep getting asked what I would like for my birthday but I don’t really want or need anything.  I’d quite like a boob job but at £5,000 that’s a bit above most budgets, permanent hair removal,  decent hair cut, a trip somewhere?  I’m doing quite well with presents from my husband, I have a spa day, haircut and photo shoot and tickets to see Rufus Wainwright and my neighbour has bought me tickets for the ballet – so I’m far from Eeyore’s realm.

To be honest I’m actually not that depressed about turning 40 – it’s a turning point for me.  The end of my childbearing days hence a chance to get my figure , career and social life back on track.  Maybe not straight away (I still have 2 children under 5) but there is light at the end of the tunnel.

I hope I’m not an Eeyore.  In Benjamin Hoff’s wonderful book ‘The Te of Piglet’ ( a follow up to the’ Tao of Pooh’), he describes the Eeyore effect.  Those in life who enjoy being unhappy, who are so obsessed with the bad things in life that the good things pass them by.  The most poignant part of his Eeyore discussion  is that of the Eeyore educators.  These try to force too much inappropriate information on children too soon, so that children get stuck.  An Eeyore educator’s answer to failing test results would be to send them to school earlier,  taking away their creativity and play .


picked a large bunch and trotted along, smelling them, and feeling very happy, until he came to the place where Eeyore was.

‘Oh Eeyore’, began Piglet a little nervously, because Eeyore was busy.

Eeyore put out a paw and waved him away.

‘Tomorrow’ said Eeyore. ‘Or the next day’.

I think we all recognise this in our busy lives, how we often say ‘In a minute’ but for the child who lives in the moment, that moment becomes lost. Hopefully turning 40 doesn’t mean turning into Eeyore, but rather being a Piglet or a Pooh.  As Piglet says in the closing line of ‘The Te of Piglet’

For me, it also seems like a beginning.

Turning 40


As my 40th birthday approaches, my plans for celebrating it with all my friends in a large house together have been thwarted.  I had booked a beautiful manor house in Monmouthshire , and was looking forward to partying in the huge rooms, playing their grand piano and celebrating with all my friends together.  However, a number of people have had to drop out (for valid reasons) and as it wouldn’t be quite what I had envisaged without them, I have decided to cancel.

So back to the drawing board – how should I spend my 40th birthday?  I have a lot to live up to since I spent my 30th birthday in Paris, was proposed to on the top of the Eiffel Tower, spent the day at the opera house and the evening listening to Mozart’s Requiem .

I asked the children this morning what I should do. My 6 year old suggested I go on holiday ‘ somewhere near here – maybe Wales …. or Japan?’  My 2 year old said ‘ eat biscuits’.  Hmm… Japan sounds good , but not quite in the budget.

So what to do?  Will I be whisked away somewhere romantic?  Could I do that study tour to Reggio Emilia I have always wanted to do?  Or shall I just treat it like a normal day and postpone the celebrations till a later date? 

Maybe I’ll just eat biscuits!