Tag Archives: twins

It’s A Jungle Out There…

TWO TURN TWO

CelesteReviews Jungle Safari Photobooth

Jungle/Safari Photobooth

My twins are winter babies, so our household is in full party season, with all their twin friends turning two. BC (before children), I was a busy marketing professional and event organiser, so it gives me great delight to have an excuse to plan a party. Here’s what we created for their birthday party this year…

THEME

The key to any party planning is the THEME. I have boy/girl twins (the best of both worlds), but this can be a challenging problem when deciding on a unisex birthday idea. At the moment, they are really into animals and love to visit the zoo, so this year we chose a jungle/safari theme to celebrate their 2nd birthday.

To narrow the theme down even further, I decided to give each child an animal. Mr E a tiger and Miss H a zebra. Both were similar patterns (orange and black stripes versus white and black stripes), so this would be easy to bring a design together.

INVITE

Usually I’d create a pdf invite, but this year I was pressed for time and found a great graphic designer who was willing to create what I wanted at a reasonable price (cheaper than buying or printing and posting them myself). I sent the invites out via email.

DECORATIONS

BUNTING

Home made bunting (or a string of flags) is an easy, cost effective way to decorate a large space. I painted three separate A4 pages with different animal prints (giraffe, tiger and zebra), took them to Warehouse Stationery and printed them on coloured paper. The tiger print onto orange, the zebra print onto white, and the giraffe onto grey. In hindsight, I should have used yellow for the giraffe, but I was still happy with the outcome. To these three prints, I also added a plain green paper, which I had left over from a previous project.

CelesteReviews Jungle Bunting

You can get 3 triangle flags from a sheet of A4. Each A4 sheet is approx 30cm long. Make a pencil mark along one side at 15cm, and mark the other side at 7.5cm and 22.5cm. Draw a line between each mark and the corners of the page, and that is your cutting line. When you are done cutting, use a hole punch to place two holes evenly along the base of each triangle. Then thread string or ribbon through the holes.

It took the hubby and I one evening in front of the TV to measure and cut, and another to thread.

CelesteReviews Jungle table

Paper grass and plastic wild animals for the table

TABLE DECORATIONS

I have no idea what Mine Craft is, but when looking for ‘fake grass’ to use as a table cloth, I found someone selling Mine Craft paper grass sheets on Trade Me. They arrived flat packed and you pull them into a spiky square shape. They looked awesome, and with a cheap green table cloth underneath and some wild plastic animals placed strategically in the ‘grass’, we had a great base to add the food to.

PHOTO BOOTH

I love the idea of capturing guests in costume at a party. I wasn’t sure how successful we’d be working with two year olds, so I looked for something that would be low to the ground. I found this awesome safari jeep cut out at www.partyparty.co.nz, and created a back drop using a green table cloth, extra bunting and a few animal cut outs. The adults didn’t mind getting down to kiddie level to capture the moment. I also sent some of these images out with my thank you emails, and the guests loved them.

COSTUMES

CelesteReviews Face Painting

Facepainting by Rainbow Rascals

We love any excuse for a dress up party, and a kids party is no exception. To ensure no one had an excuse not to come in theme, I downloaded some printable jungle masks from Etsy and sent them (via email) with the party invitation.

The twins, their grandmother, their oddmother (we don’t have god parents, we have odd parents, but that’s a whole other blog), and myself headed to the talented Jane, from Rainbow Rascals, to be turned into wild creatures for the party. Considering it was the first time either child had been face painted, Jane did a remarkable job creating my little tiger and zebra. I’m pretty sure it was my first face painting too, as I was transformed into a fierce lion. Although the twins’ faces were a bit smeared by cake cutting and presents time (main photo moments), the adults’ lasted until bed time. Note to self: It’s perhaps not the best idea to answer the door to two year old guests by roaring at them while painted as a lion. I did have fun getting into character!

We had lions, tigers, zebras, leopards, a giraffe, chipmunk, panther, safari suits, and where the wild things are as characters.

FOOD

As a helpful gesture to those with allergies, and to keep in theme, I created themed food signs using PicMonkey.com. Food included;

  • Banana, mandarin, kiwifruit slices on a platter, displayed as a tree – Jungle Fruit
  • Chips, carrot sticks and dip – Hungry Hippo Dip
  • Pretzels – Tarzan Twigs
  • Peanuts – Elephant snacks
  • Sausages in pastry (pigs in a blanket) – Wild Boars
  • Ham and egg sandwiches – Safari Sammies

I also made signs saying ‘Don’t Feed the Animals’ and ‘Watering Hole’ for added aesthetics.

CelesteReviews Jungle Food

Jungle Fruit


CAKE

Last year I paid someone else to take care of the cake, but we really wanted to give it a go this year. The hubby did the baking – one round chocolate mud cake and one round banana cake. Keeping with the twins’ characters, I kept the cake design simple – Mr E’s was orange with black stripes and a plastic tiger on top, while Miss H was white with black strips and a plastic zebra on top. I used a bit of green butter icing and green coconut to create ‘grass’ to tidy up the bottom of the cakes. Thank you YouTube for the tutorials on how to put fondant (including zebra stripes) onto a cake.CelesteReviews Jungle Cakes

MUSIC

My husband loves the challenge of creating a playlist for every party we hold, and this was no exception (although I’m not sure if many people even noticed all the wild/jungle music over the noise of 20 toddlers). The rules for our selection were that they had to be wild animals/jungle lyrics or titles, and he had to like the songs. Not sure how I managed to sneak Katie Perry in the list, but most were of the rock genre and included:

  • Welcome to the Jungle – Guns N Roses
  • Monkey Wrench – Foo Fighters
  • Eye of the Tiger – Survivor
  • Wild Thing – The Troggs
  • Run through the Jungle – Creedence Clearwater Revival
  • Roar – Katie Perry
  • Born to be Wild
  • Bare Necessities – from the Jungle Book
  • Baby Elephant Walk

OTHER IDEAS

PHOTO DISPLAY

Like most living rooms, the TV is a focal point in the room. So, to take advantage of that, we put together a slide show of photos of the twins from the past year (including as many of the guests as we could) and had that on a continuous loop.

THANK YOUS

Call me old fashioned, but I think every present giver should be thanked. It was a big day for the kids and they were slightly overwhelmed with the task of present opening, so over the next week, as they played with new toys or we read new books together, I tried to take a quick photo of them enjoying their gifts, so I could email the images with a thank you note.

A roaring good time was had by all. Now, only 11 months to plan their 3rd Birthday. Any ideas for a unisex twin theme?


Cockadoodle-Doo You Know It’s 2am?

Rarotonga

Our recent trip to Rarotonga provided some ‘fantastic’ new wildlife experiences, both for both the adults, as well as our 14 month old twins.

CelesteReviews Rarotonga Rooster

For the older members of our group, it was getting used to roosters crowing throughout the night. None of this mythical only-at-dawn business, apparently 2am is a fabulous time to partake in a crowing session. These birds run on island time.

For the kids, it was getting up close and personal with the bird life. Three or four times a day we’d have up to four roosters, a handful of hens and sometimes even a few cute fluffy chicks, parading around the lawn at our holiday home.

CelesteReviews Rarotonga Chicks

A sign of things to come – our son chasing chicks…

Our daughter was especially taken by the roosters, egged on by Nana crowing “Cockadoodle-doo” each time they made an appearance. Being very verbal (babbly) at the moment, it didn’t take her long to begin imitating this crow, though unfortunately, only managing the first syllable. What a wonderful souvenir  to take home!

Once we realised the impact, Nana changed the crow to “Cackadoodle-doo”, so here’s hoping the fowl vowel change is picked up by little miss before too long…


Fun in the Sun

Rarotonga

Kia Orana. I’ve just returned from holidaying in Rarotonga (Cook Islands). This was our first international family adventure, and certainly a very different holiday experience than the overseas vacations we’ve had in the past. With 14 month old twins in tow, there was a lot less ‘relaxing’ and a lot more ‘non-stop-full-on-go-go-go’.

We stayed in a private two bedroom holiday home (Tupe’s Beach House), Titikaveka, which was managed by the Palm Grove Resort. This meant that we had our own space with laundry and kitchen, but also had complementary breakfast 100m down the beach each morning, access to the resort pool and bar (including free drinks at Friday Night Happy Hour), and the room was serviced regularly by resort staff.

CelesteReviews Tupe's Beach House Rarotonga

Tupe’s Beach House

The beach house was only several steps away from a lovely white sand beach, which opened up into coral pockets teeming with marine life and ideal for snorkeling. We couldn’t have asked for a better location.

CelesteReviews Tupe's Beach House Rarotonga

Looking clockwise from the beach outside Tupe’s Beach House

The property is not quite in the same state as the website photos, as it’s not quite as new or clean, and has some different furniture. However, it has everything you would expect at a basic NZ bach. Our biggest problem was childproofing, as the twins are on the go now and into everything. With some creative furniture moving to block off the kitchen, using the sun loungers to fence off the patio so the kids couldn’t escape, and some creative weaving of dishcloths and tea towels through drawers and cupboard doors to stop fingers being jammed, we managed. It was the tile floors that did the most damage during our 10 day stay.

Along with the great fun we had at the beach, we also explored the island; dined at many cafes/restaurants, wandered through the Saturday markets, took in a cultural show, and even attended a local school gala. Over the next few weeks, I’m hoping to add several more in-depth posts to tell you all about stay in Rarotonga.

Stay tuned … I hope you enjoy them.


Where have I been?

Hello readers. Long time, no see! It’s great to be back in the blogasphere.

Celeste Reviews Twins

Where have I been? ‘Busy’ is the first word that comes to mind. I’m now the proud mother of 4.5 month old twins – one of each flavour. Yep, ‘double trouble’, or as I prefer, ‘twice as nice’.

So, between pregnancy (where I didn’t feel like going out or doing too much), a short stay hospital with premature and very little babies (you don’t want me to review the food there), and then mastering motherhood of two little munchkins (barely ever leaving the house), I haven’t had too much to write about. Life has definitely changed!

The good news is that I’m back, and ready to post a few words on the restaurants, events and products that have crossed my path over the past few months. You’ll notice a few new categories pop up that include ‘mum stuff’ and ‘twin stuff’, but my focus will still be on reviewing my experiences. I promise not to share every goo and gaa with you!

Enjoy.