Wednesday 26 September 2012 by By Jill Sikkens

In 1879 …when I was a wee girl…a children’s party consisted of a very dusty village hall, a trestle table laden with cheese sandwiches, bowls of crisps, 2 bottles of very bright orange Orangeade and a jam sponge cake made by my Aunty. Entertainment came in the form of my bright pink ghetto blaster and the latest Chart Top 20 laboriously recorded from the radio the Sunday before.

So – things have changed somewhat... With back to school comes back to the party circuit. Admittedly, my son is not really at an age where the quality of entertainment concerns him that much but I am starting to feel the pressure of expectation and he is only turning 4.

To my rather old fashioned mind things can get out of hand at these shindigs - I fully expect Elton John to turn up one day. Now, we can all get out of hand when it comes to pleasing our children as my toy purchasing last Christmas will confirm. So, what’s the balance? What makes a great party?

My children and I have had the pleasure of being invited to some really original, fun and innovative parties since moving to our lovely village. However, I have one real favourite which has been one of the most magical days I’ve spent with my children. The party goers all met in the woods very near to the village on a bright and warm May day (lucky I know for England). The small clearing was decked in bunting – pirates and princesses roamed the land and mums and dads provided stories and games. When everyone had eaten their fill of a pre packed lunches and the last story was told – a particularly chocolatey Princess led the way to our waiting carriages (cars) and we sang Happy Birthday all the way!

There are many routes you can take when planning a party for your child but the key I truly believe is to keep it simple, keep it personal to your child and most importantly HAVE GREAT PARTY BAGS!!!!!

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