As the entire Interwebs knows, it was my baby’s second birthday last month!! How even?! Last year I shared Charly’s first birthday party post after the first birthday post, so I decided to split these up too with her birthday post first and the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse party post next. I did not expect it to take me over a month to do it, though!
A lot has been said about how “show-offy” birthday parties for kids have become and always feel so sad when I see that. I LOVE big parties, and I really don’t much care what other people think of my kid’s parties – I really really care what SHE thinks of her parties. Not to mention how excited I get about them. Sorry moms who only have a few friends at the house, that just isn’t who I am and it isn’t who my kid is either. Now that that’s said – I went ALL OUT again this year. And found some amazing businesses to help me make it perfect.
Charly is obsessed with Goofy and all things Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, so it was easy to come up with a theme that would make her bounce and clap and smile – and so the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse birthday party was chosen!
Before even considering all the plans that needed making I had to focus on her outfit!! Goofy has her heart, but she adores Minnie Mouse too and clothing she deems make her “a princess” – any floaty skirts or tutus. So Minnie Mouse it was.
The very sweet Anika Cronje from Vlinders & Feetjies (who made Charly’s favourite Christmas tutu) contacted me and offered to make Charly a special birthday tutu and Minnie Mouse ears! We couldn’t say no and she made this gorgeous outfit that Charly adored (she regularly decides that she needs to be a princess and dance and the only way to accomplish that is with her special dotty tutu).
My incredibly special friend Lindsay, blogger extraordinaire, exclusive columnist and owner of bespoke kids clothing brand Love Made Me, was my first port of call to have a special onesie and belt made according to a picture I fell in love with online. Of course, as she ALWAYS does, Lindsay took it one step further and added the perfect floaty Minnie Mouse skirt as well! Charly was besotted, as were we!
The first booking I make is always going to be a venue, right up to the day that I win the lottery and can afford a house with a big garden or space for 15 kids and as many adults. I considered going with a full party venue again, but every time we have been to a kids party venue everybody who attends gets the plague for weeks. The next option is always the “nature” route; public gardens, forests or parks. I am not a nature girl. And it is February, month of heat waves and, this year, rain. My control issues cannot deal with having to move a party on the day of – a friend of mine did this and ROCKED it, but I am so not that person.
Before I became “mommy”, I used to spend a fair amount of time at The Sharks’ Supporters Club in Claremont, and I suddenly remembered that they rented out that space on occasion. For R1,000, we had full run of the place – inside and outside – from 08h30 to 12h00 (and they cleaned up after). It was perfect and provided me with the huge peace of mind that comes with having an indoor alternative should the weather gods have it in for me.
Choosing a venue that doesn’t specifically cater or provide entertainment for kids meant that I needed to find, well, everything myself. So I did a little online searching and emailing for quotes and I came across 2 amazing party providers. I also had a great idea stemming from a previous job I had, some very Charly-centric activities and a very special baker.
One thing that I never have to worry about is a cake. My dad has a crazy hidden talent when it comes to cake art and art of most kinds, which he only ever uses for family birthdays. Some of his cakes in the last year – all cut and decorated by hand with paint brushes, knives and food colouring – can you even?! The first is Charly’s first birthday cake and the second my cousin’s 17th birthday cake.
Charly utterly adored her very special Mickey Mouse Clubhouse birthday cake made just for her by her Grampy.
As an added extra I also had Mickey Mouse Clubhouse birthday cupcakes made by the amazing Kelsey of Kelsey’s Confectioneries. I used her for my granny and Charly’s birthday cake last year, and then for Charly’s cake smash cake and when I needed vanilla balloon cupcakes made for Charly’s school party she was my first port of call.
You simply cannot believe the lightness of her cakes, even with all the icing she uses to magically transform those cakes into the most incredible creations. I even attended a party where I recognised the lightness of her cake immediately without knowing who had done the baking – she really is that skilled! Anyway, I was so jealous that the school kids got Kelsey’s cupcakes that I had some Mickey Mouse Clubhouse cupcakes made for the party as well. Kids often prefer cupcakes to cake I find, which the adults are fine with because they all devoured the cake
Kelsey is a qualified pastry chef, who has baked her whole life with her dad, gran and aunts. As opposed to going into a restaurant kitchen, she decided to follow her own path and start her business making cakes, cupcakes, biscuits, pastries and confectioneries for weddings, birthday parties, bachelor / bachelorette parties, baby showers, christenings, or any other reason for celebrating.
I personally love her novelty cakes and cupcakes, they are each a gorgeous work of art which you can tell she has poured her whole heart into. And her prices are ridiculously low; I actually queried the first quote I received from her as I was convinced she had left off a zero. She is worth every single cent for the creative aspect of her cakes, never mind that magical lightness that only one of Kelsey’s cakes or cupcakes has.
While we are on the topic of yummy things, I found the very sweet Nicky from Pretty Buffets on Facebook. I was so besotted with the buffets on her Facebook page that I had to get in touch. She is happily married to her equally sweet hubby who helped her set up the actual buffet, and they have a 5 year old daughter. Nicky works full time as an office manager with a company she loves and decided to launch Pretty Buffets in September 2015 so she could indulge in her passion for creativity.
Nicky creates gorgeous themed buffets with everything you can dream of included. We didn’t get to take full advantage of all the yummies because I mostly needed to cater for the adults by this stage. She worked within my budget to put together a stunning Mickey Mouse Clubhouse table for us so that everything stayed in theme. She provided snack platters for the parents, the most gorgeous jelly and instant pudding cups with chocolate mouse ears. Probably my very favourite thing was the gorgeous themed popcorn boxes she put together; Charly is still using them for crayon boxes and to keep odds and ends in. We bought a lot of the basics ourselves, flings, marshmallows, popcorn, cooldrinks, Kelsey’s adorable cupcakes and daddy’s cake; but she provided bowls, the popcorn boxes, a themed juice dispenser and stunning themed glass bottles that just brought the whole table together.
I loved working with Nicky. She provided such a personal service, even asking for a few photos of Charly to add little touches like adding her to a group pic of the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse – which Charly is utterly enthralled by and now is up on her cupboard, and adding Mouse ears to one of my favourite pics of her (excuse the man thighs in the background). Nicky really puts her heart into making every detail perfect for you, add to that she is affordable and will work with you to make sure you get everything you want. I highly recommend Pretty Buffets and their lovely owner for anyone planning any sort of special event!
My whole idea around entertainment for the party was focused on Charly’s favourite things to do. After attending Knox and Mikayla’s party earlier this year, there was no doubt that we HAD to get her a jumping castle. I nearly died when I saw the prices of some of them!! Anyway, I diligently searched through all the party planners in Cape Town online. I was looking for a jumping castle, but also kiddies tables and chairs and party packs.
I sent out – I kid you not – around 10 emails asking for quotes and information. Half never bothered to respond, while others took over a week to respond – I have a rule about working with people; if they don’t respond to my first email – I follow up – if they don’t respond to that, they are off my list. If I can’t depend on you to send an email, I certainly won’t be entrusting anything of value to me to you. That said I did get very helpful responses from a few of them, and Berry & Flambé went out of their way to try and accommodate me even though they were fully booked – which I really appreciated.
In the end, I really liked what I saw of Margie’s Parties, owned by the lovely mom of two, Margaré Phillips. I liked the variety of what she had on offer and her prices were brilliant. I really loved that she offered the individual items to rent without pushing the prices through the roof or forcing me to buy a package with things I didn’t need. Also that she responded near instantly to a Whatsapp follow up on my initial email.
You see, through very poor decision making on my part, on Charly’s first day of school, I felt so bad about leaving her I rushed down to Osman’s in Lansdowne road and bought all the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse themed odds and ends – paper plates and cups, serviettes, a big plastic tablecloth and 20 bottles of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse bubbles – for her party. It worked to distract me and it was almost time to get her by the time we left there. Why poor decision making? Margie’s Parties provides all of that in their awesome Party-In-A-Box packages, at the same (and in some cases better) prices than I paid. Anyway, it all worked out ok. Margie’s provided the brightly coloured plastic tables and chairs, table cloths, runners, brightly coloured balloons and did the whole set up for us to ensure everything was perfect.
Part of the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse table decor was the party boxes. They had a great variety of options from bags to boxes to buckets, but I particularly love the look of the boxes. She was also lovely enough to use the picture I had chosen and used for Charly’s invite on the boxes, so they were PERFECT. I know, I know, that this is another sensitive topic – so if you are anti-sugar and junk food for kids – skip to the next section. The selling points for me on these packs were firstly that they looked great, secondly I recognised the sweets included as local brands and lastly the price!! The whole lot, sets, box, theme and all cost only R22 each. I was very happy with them, even though I watched some of the other mommies go a little pale as they saw all the sugar. (As an aside, on the main table there was fruit, popcorn, water and fruit juice; so if you really didn’t want your kid indulging, I did provide alternatives.)
As mentioned, Margie’s Parties also do the jumping castles (and soft toys and foam parties). Up until a few days before the party, I had the general open jumping castle booked for R350. When I saw that the weather might turn, I quickly contacted them and asked if they still has the larger closed castle available and they did. For R100 more I got the gigantic one with slide and ball pit with a heap of peace of mind. They arrived, set it all up, disappeared, and returned exactly on time to clear everything up. And as always, every child LOVED it! EVen the littler ones had a go when the big kids were distracted.
Margaré runs a small home based playschool when she isn’t indulging her creativity by planning and organising perfect parties for kiddies. I loved that she arrived with hubby and both kids (6 and 4 years old) and that they all worked together to set everything up and take everything down. You can see how much they love making everything special and how much they just love parties in general! They are a wonderful family and provide an excellent, professional and really affordable service!! I have been sharing her information a fair amount online already.
Along with the jumping castle, I also mentioned the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse themed bubbles I got the kids which were at each table setting. I have yet to meet a kid that wasn’t entertained by bubbles. Another “most favourite” Charly thing to do is colour in. Being a planner, I was prepared for an “indoor” party and thought up things to keep them busy if they couldn’t be outside. I went online and found free Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Colouring sheets and printed each child 4 different ones. I popped back down to Osmon’s and bought a few boxes of really affordable double sided crayons, which we popped into the themed cups on the table too. The kids LOVED them and between running and bouncing and eating and bubbles, most of them say and coloured for at least one picture before bounding off again.
And then, a last Charly favourite is balloons. As seen above, Margie’s provided bright balloons on sticks for the little ones; but I decided to take it one step further. Not many of you will know that as a PR intern many years ago, I worked at The College of Magic in Lansdown Road in Cape Town. It was the most remarkable, inspiring and exciting place to be and I have stayed in touch over the years. I cannot WAIT til Charly is old enough for a magician.
Anyway, what she is at the perfect age for is balloon animals. While there are plenty of “expert” balloon animal magic doers out there that will be able to make you elaborate castles and the like; I had something a little different in mind. Having worked there, I know that once the College of Magic kids get further along in their training, they often look for opportunities to practice their craft and engage with audiences big and small – great for them to build their confidence and repertoire, but to my mind also great for kids parties because the magicians are kids too – though early teens aren’t really “kids”, but you get what I mean.
So I called up the College and chatted to the incredible Director, David Gore, and he gave me the contact information for a 5th year student who he highly recommended. I called up his mom Leanne (email@example.com / 082 553 3090) and chatted about the when, where and how, and voila – booked the amazing Grant Best, just 14 years old, to come and make balloon animals for our littles. Grant is available on Saturdays and does great 20-30 minute magic shows as well as the balloon animals. His preferred age group is 3 – 8 as they really understand the wonder of it all.
That said, all our kids LOVED it! They were enthralled by Grant and he had to make them each multiple animals in every colour. He was really good with them, even though some were a little skittish of the balloon shaping noises (moms as much as kids), and they quickly settled and were coming back for more. We paid the really worthwhile R250 and he stayed until each child had their own balloon collection essentially. SUCH a great idea for kids, and the 6 year olds enjoyed it as much as the 2 year olds did!
Overall, it was an awesome perfectly themed Mickey Mouse Clubhouse birthday party and Charly had the best time, squealing in joy every time she foundnanother Goofy-related item. Everybody, kids and parents, ate until they were stuffed, indulging in all the sugary deliciousness on offer, tempered by popcorn and fruit. The kids had an absolute ball and I didn’t feel like anything was “wasted effort” like you sometimes do after a party. Everybody arrived by 9:30 and left shortly after 11:30. And there were quite a lot of leftovers on all fronts, so everybody got stuff to take away as well.
Down to the last detail, the most important to most of us sadly, is costings. This is how it broke down :
Venue (Including clean up before and after)
The Sharks’ Supporters Club ~ R1,000
Kelsey’s Confectioneries ~ R200
Pretty Buffets ~ R1,500
Themed table set up
Themed juice dispenser
Themed popcorn boxes (20)
Themed bottles (20)
Themed sweet cup (20)
Themed jelly & pudding cups (20)
Additional bowls & jars for our own chips and marshmallows
“Extras” – including Charly into images, Minnie & Mickey Mouse ears for bowls, etc.
Set up, collection
Margie’s Parties ~ R 1076 (excl. jumping castle)
Kids Tables (2)
Party Packs (17)
Balloons on sticks (16)
Delivery, collection, set-up & Pack away
Jumping castle : Margies Parties ~ R450
Balloon Magic : Grant Best ~ R250
Mickey Mouse Clubhouse birthday party Decor
Osman’s ~ R533.40
I personally enjoyed working with everybody on this and highly recommend each and every one of them. If you know of ANYONE looking to throw a Mickey Mouse Clubhouse birthday party who might need their services, please SHARE THIS POST!! It only takes a second and makes such a difference to these incredibly special businesses
That’s it for me, I’m not going too far this time I promise. I will update you on everything going on this side soon.
Have an amazing long weekend with your loved ones and PLEASE be safe on the roads!!
Sending all the love xx