The inspiration for Aiden's First Birthday Party was the Tales of Beatrix Potter. A perfect theme for my beautiful boy who loves the outdoors and relishes eating all kinds of food including plenty of vegetables. Our garden picnic may have been rained out but we still had a lovely gathering of family and friends to celebrate the first year of life for my son who has given me so much joy.
I had a lot of fun designing and styling all the elements of the party and taking my inspiration all the time from the books as I read them to my son.
The set of Beatrix Potter books that Aiden received for his First Christmas are lovely as they are all different shades of soft pastels. I picked the creamy lemons and greens as the main colours for the party as I thought they represented the tales nicely. I wanted it to be clear too that it wasn’t just a blue Peter Rabbit party for a boy.
The invitations I created were double-sided. The front piece was a watercolour illustration I created of our front garden with the various Beatrix Potter characters nestled beneath the trees and front fence line. On the back I had all the party details with small illustrations I did based on Beatrix Potters books. As a graphic designer and illustrator I loved creating the invites myself and setting the theme and style for the party with them. I printed the invites myself and also created my own matching envelopes for them with a liner pattern inspired by the beautiful patterns on the endpapers of the Beatrix Potter books.
All the food for the party was directly inspired by quotes from the tales; i.e. Minted Pea Crostinis were inspired by Timmy Willie who fell asleep in a garden hamper after nibbling some peas in the Tale of Johnny Town-Mouse. All the food was presented with labels with the matching quote and an illustration from the books. All the guests thought it was fun to read the quotes as they were selecting the food they wanted to eat.
We put all the food together ourselves with the grandmothers both helping out, my Mum made rabbit pies and honey cakes whilst Geoff’s Mum brought roast duck and jellies. My best friend also helped out by making the poppyseed cakes. I think some of the older kids struggled with many of the healthier foods on offer but the majority of guests were our family and adult friends who appreciated a change from the standard party foods.
For the cake I wanted to create something that was decadent yet healthy enough for a one-year-old to eat. A Queen Pudding with blackberry jam was perfect for the occasion as it looked beautiful with a puff of meringue and it fitted with a line from the end of The Tale of Peter Rabbit – “But Flopsy, Mopsy, and Cotton-tail had bread and milk and blackberries for supper.”
I commissioned a beautiful cake-topper from local designer Zilvi and it really helped make the Queen Pudding a centre-piece. Aiden enjoyed pulling it out of the cake – a great alternative to trying to ask a one-year-old to blow out a candle!
One of the favourite things I enjoyed planning and putting together was the thank you bags for each of the families attending. The little jute bags from The Paper Lantern were a perfect match for the rustic English cottage garden theme and I tied them off with a hand-painted, hand-cut carrot motif I designed. They were filled with lindt chocolate carrots, babybel cheeses and some wooden vegetable toys. We also had rabbit shaped gingerbread biscuits that my mum baked wrapped in cello bags with a jelly carrot that everyone could take home.
Alongside gathering baskets and rustic garden dishes I also created my own custom bunting based on the books. Strings of acorns and radishes were hand-painted with watercolours and cut to form the decorative bunting. Radishes for Peter Rabbit and acorns for Squirrel Nutkin. I love that each one has a different texture and I really enjoyed making the bunting.
You can read more about Aiden's Beatrix Potter Party and our story in Issue 16 of Little One Magazine.
Photographer: Kristy Ressel Photography
Styling: ELK Prints
Invites, Bunting and Paperie: ELK Prints