As mentioned earlier, this month our beloved Tiny Overlord turned one year old. And, quite frankly, we felt we all deserved a good knees up. So we held a birthday party for family and some of his baby friends at our house, based on his favourite book – Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar.
Thanks to Pinterest, I found free printable labels, so we could all eat our way through all the things the Hungry Caterpillar ate (the sandwiches were displayed on a ‘great big green leaf’ platter. Water wipes and disposible bibs (eco ones from Naty) were also on hand for our younger guests.
Being a little wary of how much sugar my Hungry Caterpillar eats, I made plain cupcakes for everyone and then provided decorating materials so the ‘big kids’ could have some fun. The popping candy was a particular hit…
In the front room we had a ball pool (inspired by all the colourful dots in the VHC book). I simply filled our paddling pool with ball acquired from charity shops and end of summer sales. We also put our these free Hungry Caterpillar colouring and activity sheets for the older children
Though my proudest creation, is possibly the Hungry Caterpillar I made from large honeycomb paper balls (inspired by this). I hung it the day before and the Tiny Overlord squealed with delight when he saw it. We really haven’t had the heart to take it down yet, so the caterpillar is still hanging over our dining room table. We wave at it every morning when we are eating breakfast.
Not pictured are our ‘party bags’, which were colourful reusable snack tubs (8 for £1 in our local pound shop!), filled with glittery homemade playdough and finished with a green leaf shaped parcel tag.
I won’t lie about being slightly apprehensive about holding a child’s birthday party, especially after reading this post from Free Our Kids. But the entire cost of the Tiny Overlord’s party came in at about £80 for over 30 people. And it created a lot of joy, personally for me doing my making and having a creative outlet, for our wider families getting together and celebrating and for our little family having something to mark this significant milestone in our life.
If you want to see the Tiny Overlord’s upcycled party outfit, you can do so just here.
After what felt like weeks of constant rain, the sun broke through and we made our way across the other side of the Thames Valley to feel the warmth on our faces and to visit Tolhurst Organic Produce’s annual Squash and Pumpkin Festival, set in their farm in the Victorian Walled Gardens of the Hardwick Estate.
We sat in the sun on the valley sides and drank locally brewed beer, ate locally grown foods, admired the most magnificent array of squashes and enjoyed some local bands.
The Tiny Overlord practiced some serious toddling.
And we explored the farm. I often underestimate how much food is frown locally. Maybe I often mistakenly (or lazily) assume that we must rely on big supermarkets for our food. But these fields were bustling with tasty things to eat. I really want us to try to eat more seasonally, at least, and support more local growers like Tolhurst. Fresh, tasty and surely better for all of us? I am inspired.
The festival was a real joy. I’m not too fond of commercial Halloween, but this festival felt like a proper celebration of the seasons – of truly appreciating what comes from the ground and the passing of that growing season to the winter. Do I sound like a hippy? Maybe. But good food, beer and music in a beautiful setting floats my boat far more than ‘trick or treat’.
And then the Tiny Overlord turned One. So to celebrate what has been equally the greatest, but also the hardest and most chaotic, year of our lives, we decided to celebrate. And naturally, my first thought when it comes to any celebration is ‘what to wear…
But it isn’t always as easy as that. I struggle with baby clothes, I really struggle with them. I don’t want to dress my little boy up as a tiny man, I want him to look like a baby, in baby clothes, wearing baby clothes that he can easily play in. However, sometimes this seems to be too much to ask. And having baulked at rails of tiny suits, shirts and bow ties, I decided to take matters in to my own hands and make him something special to wear myself.
The Tiny Overlord’s birthday jumper cost me a whole 50p in my local charity shop. I can not resist a good stripe. And armed with a fat quarter of Hungry Caterpillar print cotton from Etsy, I set about personalising it for him.
It really was rather simple – I traced the backwards shape of the ‘Ones’ on to some bondaweb, ironed it on to the ‘wrong side’ of the cotton and cut out the shapes. I then removed the back of the bondaweb and ironed the Ones in to position. Then, during an episode of Strictly, I secured them by stitching around the edges with a little embroidery thread. Above, is the front and here is the back…
And here is it worn by my cooperative model…
The bondaweb and cotton was already in my stash, but the jumper and fat quarter came to about £4.10. A bargain for a special and unique celebration outfit, if you ask me. And the result was something bold, bright and beautiful. A bit like the birthday boy himself.