It is hard to believe that my youngest is already 11 years. Time really does fly and I realise now it is a slippery slope to 18! We actually celebrated Bailey’s birthday a little earlier this week as Liam is travelling for work at the moment, so we did all fun birthday traditions albeit a two days early. Over the years we have built up a few traditions that you may wish to include too:

1. I always set the table in a new fun theme, some years I go way over the top and other years it is just a few fun accessories: but there are always pretty napkins and bunting! This year my theme was rainbows as I am seeing them everywhere at the moment and it so suits Bailey’s sunny nature as well. Party rainbow supplies included goodies from Meri Meri and Sostrene Grene.

2. I always buy the birthday girl a bunch of flowers. Usually I use them on the table for decoration but then afterwards I place them in her bedroom. This year I picked dahlias from a local field and arranged them in all the colours of the rainbow.

3. We buy the girls the same number of gifts as the age she is turning. And eventhough it is a bit of wrapping now that they are in the teens (I wrapped in plain colours all the colours of the rainbow), the gifts themselves are not all big and expensive. Some are not even “real” gifts as the girls insist “underwear is not a present, Mom!” But other things include new PJs, maybe some cool new stationery or often it is a simple baking set or in the case of this year: I found Bailey a Make Your Own Gummi Bears box from Lollipop.

4. The gifts are numbered and hidden around the house and the birthday girl has to go hunting for them with us cheering her on with cries of hot (the gift is close) or cold (the gift is not that way)! This is a a great party activity if you want to keep kids busy and entertained.

5. Every year in the girls card we write things we love about her: so 11 Things We Love abot You. We try to be specific as possible with examples from the current year to make it more memorable. How amazing is the bid house card made by Liam’s Mom!

5. Naturally, we have cake! Some years I bake it (I even did a rainbow cake the one year – but I will only ever do that once, even if the theme is rainbows!). This year I found this chocolate Gugelhopf from Nussbaumer. I was worried it would be a bit dry or not that “special” for a birthday. But it was so fresh and tasted just delicious! It is the perfect mix of chocolate but not too sweet! We all agreed, so much so that we didn’t even argue when everyone wanted a second slice!

6. We typically light the candles and sing both Happy Birthday in English and in German – and add the traditional Hip Hip Hooray, Hip Hip Hooray, “nog ‘n piep!” at the end of the songs which I only realied is a South African tradition and always find myself shouting this out at other people’s celebrations – all alone! Then another little thing we believe is that the birthday girl must cut into the cake first and make a wish and it will come true if you scream when the knife hits the bottom of the cake. I guess, also a bit strange if you don’t know it!