A delightful Ruby Red Shoes Parisian afternoon tea party

My lovely friend, early years teacher and mum-of-two Erin Cody threw a book-inspired party for her little girl recently. She shares all the delightful details with us.

received_10154355715879747Hello there! For those of you who don’t know me, I love parties. Mostly all parties, but in particular children’s parties. I love everything about them. The frivolity, wonder and excitement and, of course, the cake. The cake must be over the top, made with love and incorporate as many lollies, fillings and extras that it can possibly hold.

Recently my daughter turned five and I was overjoyed when she announced she would like to have a party based on one of her favourite books, Ruby Red Shoes goes to Paris – with only French food! She then began counting on her fingers what was to be created for this so-called Parisian event: croissant smiles, baguettes and cheese, macarons (purple like in the story) cookies, jam, red fruit (by this stage she had the book out for reference), eclairs, of course, and some tarts. Well this was quite a list, but I was up for the challenge.

You see, the Ruby Red Shoes series has made quite an impression on our family. Brisbane author and illustrator Kate Knapp has published two beautifully written and illustrated stories called Ruby Red Shoes and Ruby Red Shoes goes to Paris – and we are personally very excited about the coming release of the third book in the series, Ruby Red Shoes goes to London.They are about a kind, caring and adventurous little hare who lives with her kindly grandmother. The characters and illustrations exude love and understanding and lull the reader into a peaceful, happy place.

Ruby has made it into the heart of my dear little girl and we have enjoyed many a reading, taken to being called an ‘aware hare’ on occasion and Edelia has even requested a visit to Paris to see the Eiffel Tower when she is bigger. She has also taken to wearing mostly red shoes (she has two pairs). So when her favourite books were inspiration for her party, my mind went wild.

For the party, I started with the menu items and decided to make: purple macarons, crème patisserie tartlets, chocolate eclairs, sugar cookies in the shape of the Eiffel Tower and the number five, mini bunny cookies filled with raspberry crème, popcorn and, of course, the cake. I bought mini croissants, baguettes, bread sticks and crackers, a selection of yummy cheeses and chocolates. Edelia and I went to the markets the day before and chose a variety of berries and vegetables for the vege plater she thought Ruby would like. It turned out to be quite a spread. The added bonus of a Parisian afternoon tea is that the mummies get yummy Champagne to enjoy with the party treats – win win!

received_10154355714514747The cake was quite the effort, but well worth it. Edelia pretty much didn’t care as long as Ruby and the Eiffel Tower were on top. So I did a bit of Pinterest pinning and found the new-look ‘naked cake’ with some floral accessories would fit quite well into the theme. I bought a gold Eiffel Tower from the cheapie shop (nice find Master Three) and cut out Ruby from one of Kate’s beautiful cards. I was quite happy with my efforts and the combination of coconut mud cake with a cream raspberry filling – delightful if I do say so myself!

I always like to offer some sort of a craft or creative experience at my children’s parties. There are two reasons for this. One, kids love craft and I love making it with them. As an early years teacher I see the many benefits of creative endeavors. And two, I rather like the idea of children taking home something they have created or used as part of their “thank you for coming” party bag.

Due to the age differences of our guests, I went for something easy. We recently attended a workshop with the wonderful librarian Megan Daley from Children’s Books Daily where the children made chatterboxes that matched another sweet children’s book, The Fairy Dancers, by Natalie Jane Prior, illustrated by Cheryl Orsini. Edelia loved these so I thought they would be a lovely paper folding activity. I also found a fun way to make corner bookmarks on the net and adapted them to fit into our theme. Both were fun, easy and not too messy.

You can’t have a party without party games now can you?! The birthday girl requested pass-the-parcel as usual and I introduced her to three legged races, which she thought were hilarious. I was thinking this may end in tragedy knowing some of the big brothers who were coming, however we went ahead and ended up doing heats. Of course myself and a lovely friend demonstrated this ol’ school game, which was quite comical let me tell you!

By the end of the afternoon, the kids went home well-fed, full of laughs and with party bags brimming with crafts and treats. Edelia had personally printed the party bags and filled them herself (takes after her hyper-organised mother I think!). It was a lovely day for our gorgeous girl. We are now already talking about the theme that will be next year’s extravaganza. Wizard of Oz is at the forefront of our discussions currently, but… we’ll see!

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