Party Planning - Science Tea Party

2020 has been a funny old year, you all know why. All planning went out of the window months ago, as did all blogging and anything which resembled an 'old' or 'pre-COVID' routine.

With that, we, like many other families, have found that we had to make adjustments when it came to birthdays and celebrations. We were relatively lucky, in that Ollie's 5th birthday was just before we went into a nationwide lockdown in March. But by the time Lily's birthday was approaching, I had some serious decisions to make.

I like to plan many months ahead when it comes to picking and planning a themed party or combined treat/birthday tea for the children. I do this partly because I like to be organised, partly to spread the cost of purchases and really because I genuinely love and enjoy the process.

This year, Lily had her heart set on a science themed trip and cake. We'd decided early on to visit the Science Museum in London with a small birthday tea for her and a few friends after school. This is similar to the format Ollie had earlier this year when he visited Warwick Castle and then had a couple of friends over for a Knight themed lunch on his actual birthday. The problem was, with Lily's treat day, that we were in between lockdown measures and there was still a lot of social distancing and red tape to go through.

As this was the case, and with COVID numbers rising throughout the summer, I decided that we should do the trip into London whilst we still could. Another lockdown was looming on the horizon and there were so many caveats in place for travelling on the tube and visiting museums that I found myself just wanting to get that bit out of the way. I was scared of waiting too long and missing the opportunity.

So we booked a slot online and spent a lovely day in London. I must admit, it fell short of my original hopes because of the many restrictions but I honestly don't think Lily minded and she seemed to have a fabulous day all round. Even if it was a whole month before her actual birthday.

And then, after being back at school for just a week, the suggestion of stricter rules was mentioned and sent me into a second panic. Once again, I decided to bring my plans forward, so that Lily would actually be able to have friends in the house for tea after school one day, rather than risk having to cancel.

I won't lie, it was rushed and the cake didn't turn out quite as expected. It just goes to show that sometimes you just have to go with it and hope for the best!

For the science theme, I wanted something that was still girly, bright and colourful. I found these pastel, chrome effect balloons on ebay and then tried to order other products to tie in with that colour scheme. The other items I bought were a more traditional pastel colour but I felt that it still went well, all things considered! I did like the iridescent pink plates and the pastel napkins with iridescent 'happy birthday' design.

Obviously, we had to have the event at home, with a limited number of guests in line with the law and government guidelines. It meant that I could keep catering very simple with just a few sandwiches, crudites and crisps. For sweet treats, I made the cake, cupcakes and bought some delicious meringues.

I've previously spoke about my dislike for party bags filled with plastic tat, so for favours, I bought some small plastic test tubes from Amazon to fit with the science theme and filled these with sweets. I was amazed at how well this went down with the kids and they looked really fun on the table too!

Really though, no matter how much I tried to make this party stand out and still be special, it was a bit of a weird set up and I think the only thing that really saved it was the cake. It wasn't quite as I wanted due to using the wrong kind of butter for the butter icing but I loved planning this cake and putting it all together.

My favourite part was the gelatine bubbles overflowing from the conical flask. Technically, these bubbles were edible but I wouldn't recommend it! Making them was a precarious task but it was a messy and fun skill to learn. 

With the limited number of guests, we kept things simple, returning after school and having a quick party tea with a bit of cake before saying goodbye and snuggling in. Just a few days later we ended up with tighter restrictions, which meant that Lily's actual birthday was quieter still but I like to think she still enjoyed spreading her birthday out over a month! I really felt sorry for all the people who missed out on the chance to celebrate with their families and really hope they get the chance to make up for it soon.

What do you have planned for birthdays during COVID? Are you going with something simple or are you waiting until 'all this is over' so you can really splash out? Let me know in the comments!

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