Let’s talk about birthday parties…

So there have been quite a few stressful events over the past few days – an aptitude test for promotion in work, a visit to the dentist for a crown, the possible sighting of chicken pox on the toddler but none of them held a candle to The Birthday Party.  My little girl celebrated 6 years on the planet last weekend, and a party was planned.

As she’s in Junior Infants friendships are still forming the all-inclusive class party is a regular feature in her social calendar.  She could do with her own social secretary – there’s that many parties.  There are 30 little girls in her class in school and then also a smattering of girls from her after-school care and outside friends.

The party day dawned, and the sun was shining.  Which would be fantastic if we were having a party outdoors!  But of course, this is Ireland and nobody can rely on the sun to make an appearance so no, the party was to be held indoors.  In a play-centre where we had the sole use of a party room which was dominated by a 40ft bouncing castle/obstacle course affair, slides, ball pits and other colourful pieces of equipment.  A party room with no air conditioning.  On the hottest day of the year so far.  Two little wall mounted fans valiantly did their best but they were no match for the wall of heat that greeted anyone who entered.

Picture the scene – 33 girls aged 5 and 6 years old, a face-painter, 3 frazzled adults and 1 dare-devil, tantrum throwing toddler in an inflatable sauna for want of a better description.

I’m still not the better for it.  I hear my husband shout from nightmares as if he was back in the trenches.

The girls all appeared to have a blast, fuelled by sugar and the delight at seeing one another after the week’s mid-term.  The birthday girl loved every minute of it and the toddler alternated between being the life and soul of the party (tearing around like a headless chicken in just a chocolate covered vest and his socks) and pitching an outright fit at the sheer indignation of the world.

As much as I can shake my head and say “Never Again”, I love the ritual of a birthday party for small kids.  It’s fantastic to see my shy butterfly blossom and take centre stage amongst friends.  I remember having a 7th birthday party myself, so I know that the memories can last.

Are you a birthday party planner extraordinaire or do you avoid them like the plague?  At what age can you begin to curtail the numbers and invite only the child’s closer circle of friends?  Do you agree with the “invite the whole class” policy?





Tell me on a Sunday – A review

I’m on a roll!  Two dinner-and-theater nights out in one week!

The good people over at Bord Gáis Energy Rewards made me an offer I couldn’t refuse on Thursday (well not just me, all their members I imagine but still).  Tickets to the opening night of Tell Me On A Sunday in the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre for an amazing price of just €15 each.  I enlisted the company of another good friend, booked another table in Milano and the plan was set.

I love musicals, and while I was familiar with some of the songs from Tell Me On A Sunday thanks to an Andrew Lloyd Webber CD, I didn’t know much else.  It was refreshing to take a seat in the auditorium and not really know what to expect, and the fantastically priced ticket made taking that risk all the easier.

What I didn’t know was that Tell Me On A Sunday is a one-act, one woman show.  And what a woman!  Jodie Prenger owned that stage with her voice and her presence.  She filled the theatre, our minds and hearts for that hour or so where she embodied Emma, the English girl looking for love in New York.

I could really see and hear the other characters she was engaging with, such was her ability to paint a picture all alone.  Jodie belted out the numbers with gusto and had me willing each relationship to be “the one”.  I will admit that had I known it was a one-act one-woman show I might have been a bit reluctant, but I thoroughly enjoyed the show and am very glad I didn’t miss out on the production.

After the interval, there was a questions and answers session with Jodie and Francis Goodhand (at least that’s who I think he was) the musical director.  Jodie sang a song or two and was then joined by her alternate (another Jodie!) for a fantastic duet.  Jodie’s enthusiasm and personality were uplifting and infectious.

I think tonight is the last night the tour is in Dublin so this review mightn’t have enough influence to encourage people to go see it, but at least take the message that it’s worth trying new things away!