Name: Emily, 6
Location: Adelaide, South Australia
My daughter is a real girly girl - she insisted on 'no boys' for her party, bar her beloved toddler brother. So I went for bright and cheerful colours and patterns and a menu designed to whet the appetite of the fussiest of kids.
Here's what was on the menu: mini vietnamese pork buns; ham & pineapple pizzas; fairy wands; cheerio necklaces; berry & kiwi ice cream; mango lassis; fruit plate; cake pops, an adaption of my Red Velvet Cake Balls; chocolate and raspberry meringue buttercream cake; and fruit juice boxes.
Decoration-wise, we went with: helium balloons and home-made tissue-paper weights; silver plates, spotty napkins and wooden cutlery customised with Japanese washi tape; homemade wooden jewelery trees to hold the Cheerio necklaces; fresh flowers from my parents' garden; blue milk glasses to hold the fairy wands; glass pots for serving the ice-cream and lassis, borrowed from a friend; styrfoam bricks wrapped with bright spotty paper to present the cake pops on; pink plastic straws - not as cool as paper ones but these had a little spoon on the end; and silver and white tablecloths covering two trestle tables, mounted on boxes (photo sans chairs).
For games we Pass the Parcel; Musical Chairs; and Hide & Seek.
Birthday parties are about celebrating your loved ones and creating happy memories. There's no point throwing a big party at home if you're going to be tense and miserable during the lead-up and execution - it's better to scale back the festivities or pay to have it somewhere else. My daughter's party took a bit of planning and prep but, just like last year, it was relatively stress-free and we all enjoyed ourselves. And that's what my daughter will remember.
(Images: Christina Soong-Kroeger)