A Flower Fairy birthday party for our daughter’s 5th Birthday, inspired by Cicely Mary Barker’s ‘Flower Fairies’ illustrations.
With our daughter’s 5th birthday looming our daughter asked for a ‘Fairy’ Party to celebrate with her friends. However, she didn’t want just any fairy party, she specifically wanted a Flower Fairy birthday party.
As huge fans of Cicely Mary Barker’s ‘Flower Fairies’ I wanted to strike just the right tone; we both have a shared love of beautiful illustrations and Cicely Mary Barker’s work is an example of illustrations you can get completely lost in. Equally, there is nothing brash or cartoon-like; each fairy is delicate and etherial and that was where we started with our planning.
Those who know us as a family know that not only do we love throwing a party, but we are also sticklers for the details. Our wedding was something that we wanted to truly represent ‘us’ as a couple, so once the main planning was done we spent time making sure everything tied in with us, our strong ethical beliefs, as well as making as much as we could.
So, when it comes to our daughter’s parties we feel the same. Our daughter’s birthdays we want to be a true celebration of her reaching a new milestone, as well as creating something special that will not only spark her imagination, but also that of her guests too.
It’s all about the details – Creating a ‘Flower Fairy’ theme
As a graphic designer by ‘trade’, I always like to design my own invitations and this year I simply couldn’t resist making something that looked like it had come from a woodland fairy itself.
Using poor quality images from scans, I set up something that I thought was rather pretty and would appeal to both genders. I had them printed locally and got them out with a few weeks to spare.
Setting the scene for a magical Flower Fairy Birthday Party
We had the theme, we have the ‘venue’, the invites had gone out and RSVPs received, all we had to hope for was good weather and this year didn’t disappoint. The UK’s heatwave came at such a wonderful time; her birthday fell on a Thursday and with an inset day on the Friday we set about planning where things would go in the garden for the party on the Saturday.
‘A’s’ ideas were inspired! She wanted a ‘Fairy Meeting Place’ where they could all eat, as well as a craft table for the craft activity we had come up with together.
I set about searching for some party decorations that would work well in the setting as well as with the theme and went to my favourite party supply shop Party Pieces. With SO many wonderful themes catered for on their website, I didn’t have to search long until I found just what I was looking for.
The morning of the party, tables we had made for the previous year’s ‘Woodland Explorer’ Party were laid out in the spot designated for ‘dining’ and simple oak off-cut posts were staked into the lawn to create posts to hang faux ivy garlands from.
With each Ginger Ray garland at 2m long, I tied two together to hang over the table diagonally and then dressed the oak posts with additional lengths. Once dressed with ivy, we then picked blooms from our ‘Fairy Rose’ (an inspired gift from a friend for our daughter’s Christening 4 years ago!) lavender and bracken and added to the posts to style as we imagined the Flower Fairies would!
The final touch surrounding the table was the ‘I believe in Fairies’ garland, again from Party Pieces and made by Meri Meri which hung from the ivy garland and added a touch of additional fairy magic.
With some trestles from my husband’s workshop and a big length of ply, we created a ‘craft table’ which would be cleared later in the day to have the cake and sweet treats on. Several round wooden cake stands which I have been hoarding for a while now, as well as the oak table name stands we made for our wedding were used as table decoration and sat on hessian table runners I made from offcuts I had, all of which tied in beautifully to the setting, as well as creating a natural look.
To add to party ‘take-aways’ each child had a pair of fairy wings and flower crown that I had sourced online and hung from a willow frame I made and added an additional element of dress-up to the party. Using the purple of the invitation as the colour for the day, the wings and crowns I found worked beautifully and were a huge hit.
An outfit fit for a ‘Flower Fairy’
Once the ‘scene’ was set; we headed inside and got ‘A’ dressed for her party. A few weeks previously I had bought a simply beautiful dress that I had found online via Instagram from Lilly and Bo that just screamed ‘Flower Fairies’. The Maria Party Dress has stunning embroidery, featuring all kinds of flora and a green sash.
I couldn’t hide it from our girl, however we did have a strict rule that it wasn’t to be worn until the day as the woods and brambles wouldn’t be kind on the delicate skirt fabric. Most days in the run up to the party, she would go and visit it handing in my wardrobe and stroke it lovingly, so you can imagine her delight at finally being able to change into it on the day.
We had also given her some silver ‘heeled’ shoes on her birthday; something she has been desperate for for months and months. We point blank refused to ever buy her the plastic ‘princess’ heels that a lot of her friends have, however we felt comfortable with these ones as they only have a slight heel and she just loves walking around on the kitchen tiles and/or decking listening to the ‘clop’ noise they make. Those along with a flower crown and her own unique butterfly style fairy wings were the finishing touch to her birthday outfit.
Face Painting for a magical party activity
Food was prepped and just about ready when the incredible face painter we had booked arrived; as someone who loves having her face painted, we had kept this a complete surprise until she arrived as an extra birthday present.
Once she was set up, she set about painting ‘A’s’ face and created something that complimented the overall look perfectly. Never one to turn down the opportunity to have my face painted, I too had something done… sadly, I have no pictures of me in them (happens every year!!) and as I don’t like to show our daughter’s face online it’s hard to show just what incredible face paint designs were created; but it really was utterly sensational and I’m looking forward to inviting her and her envy inducing kit back to the woods time and time again!
Keeping guest list to a (manageable) minimum
It wasn’t long until all the guests, ‘Fairies and Pixies’ arrived and soon they were having their faces painted, dressing up in wings and flower crowns and generally enjoying the play area in our garden.
Having only ever hosted a children’s birthday party for her friends for her 4th birthday, I had learnt from last year more than 10 children was overwhelming for the birdie and myself, so this year we stuck to a limited number.
The guest list was then chosen explicitly by the birthday girl, as I often find myself getting so wrapped up in party politics that ultimately I just ending up inviting everyone which as mentioned, simply isn’t workable.
This year we kept it simple, I still think we could whittle the numbers down further, but I do think that comes in time as friendship groups begin to settle.
Fairy Party – Natural Craft Activities for children – Party Games
How to make a natural Pine Cone Fairy
We are a family who loves to make things and craft, so we created a really simple crafting project using bits and pieces we have collected along with a few bits we bought in. Our daughter wanted to send her friends home with fairies, so I bought some craft ball faces and we went collecting pine cones for bodies, sycamore seeds for fairy wings, flowers we had pressed for clothing and acorn cups for hats, all of which I had put together in compostable bags with tags.
These ‘Pine Cone Fairies’ would be glued together using a glue gun by my husband during the day as and when children wanted to make them and then they were glued onto pieces of moss we had carefully selected and cut into rounds to sit on top of soil in terracotta pots that I had in my stash of pots.
This little craft was so lovely, as it gave the children an insight into what you can make using bits you find out in nature and that are so often overlooked. Each finished fairy could then be personalised and decorated with glitter glue and taken home to water in the hope that the moss would stay healthy.
‘Find a Fairy’ Game
As someone who quite honestly gets heart palpitations at the idea of having to run games and activities, I created a very simple activity which was very much enjoyed by children and parents alike, ‘Find a Fairy’.
I had found some beautiful Flower Fairy cake decorations on toothpicks and we hid them around the garden; some up high, others down low. No announcement was made, word simply spread when one child found a fairy, bought it to me, asked what it was and I told her she was able to choose one sweet from a party selection.
It kept the little ones on their toes and meant they would suddenly spot one whilst playing!
As a child we would always have a piñata at the parties my mum would throw for us, so last year and this year we rigged one up on the oak frame that the swings hang from. Filled with all sorts of sweets that I had bought during a recent trip to the wholesalers it honestly didn’t last five minutes in front of frenzied five year olds!
This year we had a Flower Piñata, again from Party Pieces and it was so funny (and equally terrifying!) watching the children take a swing at it. As with previous years as soon as it’s open there is a mad rush to the sweets and in a flash they are collected and squirrelled away!
Sadly, I have no photos of the piñata in-situ as I was too busy making sure noone got too close and hit! It was however, a really beautiful looking piñata.
A feast fit for fairies
As a family, we always welcome parents and siblings to our parties, as we always see it as a wonderful opportunity to get together with friends; the drinks, nibbles, play and face paint flowed and before long it was time for the children to eat.
We had laid the table using more incredible products by Meri Meri from Party Pieces and styled it to look like a feast fit for fairies. I chose a selection of plates; Toadstool Paper Plates and White Daisy Paper Plates to create a contrast on the table and each plate had a Leaf Paper Napkin to make it look like a natural feast. The paper cups I chose were purple to once again match the invitations, as was the string I used to tied the compostable cutlery which laid on top of the plates.
Flower Fairy Birthday Cake – Inspired by Cicely Mary Barker’s ‘Flower Fairies’
Every year the cake making is where I begin unravel and lose my cool; always leaving it to the last minute and putting a lot of pressure on myself in wanting it to be a ‘showstopper’. This year, for various reasons, I decided to be kinder to myself and stick to something simple, yet in-keeping with the theme.
I managed to source some really lovely clay woodland animals and flora and also purchased some edible leaves online rather than modelling my own flower fairies. It was actually the first year in a few where the theme hasn’t been ‘Belle and Boo’, so it was a bit of a turning point in birthday bakes, especially as I wasn’t doing any sugar paste modelling.
I added edible glitter (fairy dust) to a white buttercream and added some flower fairies using the same style toothpicks as the ‘Find a Fairy’ game.
The overall effect was lovely, and even if my husband did accuse me of ‘cheating’ by not doing any sugar paste modelling, I was actually really pleased with the result, as was the birthday girl!
Simple Party Bags & Party take away gifts
Every year I try and avoid filling bags with plastic toys that are played with for all of five minutes then discarded; this year, with most of her friends really enjoying drawing and writing notes, I found a pack of small coloured, glittery notebooks and added them to simple paper bags.
Along with the small notebook was an ‘I believe in fairies’ pencil, a twig pencil, as well as a little pack of party sweets that I put together after a trip to the local food wholesalers. The paper bag was then used to take away the Pine Cone fairy they had made earlier in the day.
Each child also had their faces painted and most I hear didn’t take the incredible face paint off until the following day because they all loved it so much so I think that was the favoured party ‘take-away’!
A magical day to remember
Once all the guests were gone, A’s godparents and their children stayed and we had a lovely ‘unwind’ after the party, it’s always so nice to have them stay on as it gives us the opportunity to have a proper natter while the children continued to play. The particular friends of ours are always very naughty and insist on helping clear up, which I always feel badly for, it is SO appreciated as it makes such an arduous task something much more light hearted and manageable!
As parties go, to date, it was one of my favourites, I’d happily do it just the same next year, but perhaps again with slightly fewer guests. As for ‘A’, well she LOVED every minute of the party; her highlight was the face painter as well as the ‘Fairy Feast’ in her imagined dining space. It was such a collaborative effort this year that it really felt like such a special party to celebrate such a wonderful milestone, her 5th birthday!
As ever, I’d love to hear what you thought of what we put together or if you have any questions about what we got up to and where we purchased any of the bits then do leave me a comment below.