Birthdays

On this page, we have collected various bits of information; from ideas on what to do for certain ages, venues, entertainers and cake makers.

Some General Thoughts

Throwing your little ones’ birthday party is usually both exciting and exhausting. For Karin’s daughter’s first two birthdays, we held the parties at home. After all, their first birthday in particular really is for the parents, family and close friends.

After Karin’s daughter’s second birthday celebration at home when one of my friends told me she had rescued my playroom wall from a child who was hitting it with a bus and making dents on it she thought it was time to do something outside of the house for the next few years. You will get to a point when you feel it is fine to do it at home again, but until then, here are some tips.

One general thought: Many children become overwhelmed at their own parties and while they might be having an absolute ball at other children’s birthday parties, they might not enjoy their own. This can happen at the party or just when everyone sings Happy Birthday to them. Our nanny always used to practice singing Happy Birthday with our daughter when she was really little. Funnily enough, my daughter who is an absolute social butterfly, who loved all her birthday parties and never had a bad reaction, suddenly got very self-conscious when presented with the cake and being sung happy birthday to for her fourth birthday party. For some reason she didn’t like it and since then she has not wanted to celebrate her birthday. She told me she doesn’t like to be the centre of attention.

Gifts & Invitations

KinderGifts is a great initiative that helps you manage your invitations as well as presents for your child and you can raise money for charities at the same time.

Since Karin’s daughter was 5 years old, we have always asked for a donation to a chosen charity instead of presents. It started when one of her friends at school needed to raise money towards a very specific treatment for neuroblastoma cancer. Karin’s daughter wanted to help ‘buy her medicine’ – it was her idea. It was a touching moment and ever since then Karin’s family has continued doing that with both children. Karin felt it was a good way of introducing her children to the concept of giving back. KinderGifts makes this a very easy thing to do.

If your child is in nursery school or school the custom here is that you invite everyone in your child’s class.

Birthday Party Tips for Various Ages – Some Ideas from Karin’s Own Children and Their Friends

1st Birthday

This is definitely the birthday party for the parents! Karin had theirs at home and we invited our friends as well as our daughter’s and our son’s little friends.

2nd Birthday

The lovely and energetic Anita of Caterpillar Music is a perfect entertainer for this age group.

3rd Birthday

For Karin’s daughter’s third birthday, and for the majority of her friends, this party was celebrated at Rascals Softplay in Swiss Cottage Leisure Centre followed by food and cake in the cafe across from the reception area. We have also been to some parties at Treetops Softplay in Talacre Community Sports Centre in Kentish Town. Doing soft play at this age is popular as children like to run around and are mostly big enough that they can cope with climbing etc themselves. Please note these venues tend to book up months in advance and that you need to book the soft play and cafe separately at Swiss Cottage Leisure Centre.

Another popular softplay centre nearby is Hullabaloo at The Sheriff Centre in West Hampstead where many birthday parties take place.

Karin has also been to birthday parties given by Creative Movements and Amanda’s Action Club and her children always had lots of fun.

cakes from fairy godmother’s cakery

4th & 5th Birthday

Tarka, Sharky & George, Latino Bambino, Playball and Mr Marvel are often great options for these ages

6th & 7th Birthday

For Karin’s daughter’s 6th birthday party, it was all about bowling. We hired the King Pin Suite at Bloomsbury Bowling Lanes and everyone loved it! It was so fantastic that my husband and I threw a big adult party there ourselves.

Some also organise ice skating partiesat Queens or Planet Ice , pottery making parties at Art 4 Fun and art parties at Mini Picassos.

Mad Science, Mother Nature Science and Little House of Science are also great for this age group and up.

Pizza making parties are always successful and fun. Pizza Express offers them in some of their branches as does Franco Manca.

The A Academy do fantastic football parties. Karin’s son had a blast at his football party with The A Academy.

8th Birthday Parties

Many of the above suggestions tend to still be popular with this age group as are rock-climbing, sleep-over and cinema parties. Odeon and Vue do them, but the most popular ones I have come across are by Everyman Cinema.

9th & Up Birthday Parties

From age 9+ it seems children mostly want to do small parties like sleepover ones or taking their closest friends to the cinema. However, bowling, ice skating, horse riding, spa-type events, go-karting, escape rooms, laser tag and paintball are common ones. For this age group, Babylon in Camden is also popular.

Venues

There are quite a few church halls you can hire. Locally, most church halls like St Mark’s Church and Church of Our Lady are available to hire, but worth bearing in mind that noise levels become almost unbearable with just a few children and adults there (and this is before any potential entertainment has started) and especially since some children really don’t do well with noisy environments. Some pubsandrestaurants have function rooms you can hire.

Below are some other local venues.

b_together on St John’s Wood High Street are worth checking with. This eco-conscious venue sets the stage for an unforgettable celebration that harmonises opulence with sustainability. This includes their food and ethically sourced materials to eco-friendly practices; every aspect of the experience aligns with their planet-friendly ethos. Their team of artisans and designers meticulously craft each element of your child’s dream celebration, ensuring every detail exudes luxury and charm, from their in-house entertainment to their amazing soft place space.

The lovely Crocker’s Folly here in St John’s Wood do fabulous food and you can also throw parties there. You would have to get your own entertainer and if you want a specific cake, you have to organise that too, but that is easy. Everything else, they can do for you.

Pizza Express on Abbey Road offers private rooms upstairs and is a popular venue.

Mansergh Hall is located just off Abbey Road.

Primrose Hill Community Association

Food & Cakes

Unico has a variety of food (sweet and savoury) to help you with catering.

Csilla of Fairy Godmother’s Cakery has baked for Karin since 2015. She has created cakes for both adults and children.

One of our mums, Ruchi of Ruchi’s Artisanal Bakes, makes wonderful cakes.

One of our mums, Nour of This Is Nuun, makes beautiful and delicious cakes.

Cake by Nuun

Decorations & Event Planning

Rossa of Rossa Events is one of our mums and she creates beautiful stories and scene for parties.

Bubblegum Balloons

Oscar’s Den

rossa events

Photographer

Jeanette Rauch Photography does a wide array of shoots including birthdays. She has done a lot of work for Karin including many of the official photos for the NW8-mums’ website.

Waldemar Zimny is a London based photographer with 20 years of experience covering all types of photography works from big to small. He has done event photos for NW8-mums too. Please contact Waldemar to discuss a package that best suits you and your budget.

collage of some of jeanette Rauch’s work

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