Florence was born on New Year’s Eve which is fantastic for lots of reasons! One is that everyone is always in party mode but the down side is that everyone is in party mode for something else… At least everyone is happy and jovial but instead of saying happy birthday they say Happy New Year so really and truly she has to stretch her birthday out a bit! I always give her a couple of her presents in the summer on my birthday but it would be silly to have a party that far away from her day so this year we decided to do it in January. The weekend after everyone was back at school and work and that way it was something to really look forward to!
I’ve always been big on birthdays so this year we decided to have a fun party doing something she really likes with some of her favourite friends. She knew exactly who she wanted to invite and although we didn’t get to invite EVERYONE on her list, it became apparent that having a party at home was not going to be an option because 14 three-year olds in my house would have been a nightmare! I started looking round East London at venues and to be honest, when I added up the cost of venue hire, food and some sort of entertainment it was looking pretty pricey indeed not to mention a LOT of work. I then started looking at places that do everything for you and most of them came out at an even more astronomical price. Mostly I had to immediately dismiss them for this fact alone which is a shame – I’m sure they’d get more business if they only made the cost of a children’s party something affordable. Then I found the Craft Cabin in E4 and when I had a look at their price, which on first glance is similar to some of the others, I noticed on further inspection that unlike the others, lots of the extras are included in the price! So, for £12.50 a head each child gets to do the activity (I’ll come to that), have party food and drinks, meet Crafty Bear and play traditional party games with him like pass the parcel! Even the goody bags came with the package! All I had to do was bring the cake!
Other places I’d looked at and the basic cost was this then food and games were more! Even a party bag was thrown in with the Craft Cabin so we popped along for a visit. Well actually Jonny took the children. It was the day before we went on holiday and I needed to pack so he took them down there for a spot of what they offer which is ceramic painting and craft work. Each child (if you go on your own without a party) pays a studio fee and then the price of the item/s they decorate. Nothing needs to be thrown in a kiln and you take home on the day what you paint. They can choose from ceramic items like bowls and pots or canvasses, wooden sculptures and other treasures. There are really small things which are cheap as chips or more expensive ones so it can be as big or as little a day out as you like. Florence loved it and the decision was made – we booked, invited our friends and that was it. Quite literally ALL I had to do… Apart from the cake of course!
There are extras you can add if you want to, a face painter, balloons and personalised chocolate bars. They even offer a buffet for any adults who stay at just £2 per head (there has to be a fifteen person minimum). Again everything is quite affordable so for 60p each we opted for the adult buffet and personalised choccy bars with ladybirds and Florence’s picture including a message thanking her friend’s for coming to go in the goody bags. I decided to not go for anything else in order to keep the cost down but they kindly offered me some free balloons in return for writing them a review…
The personalised chocolate bars were really sweet – a lovely touch!
Florence had an absolutely terrific day! It was much looked forward to and much built up so could have easily been a disappointment but it absolutely wasn’t! Not in the slightest! At quarter to 1 we rocked up with our cake (I still didn’t have to do anything, my Mum made it and it was wonderful – a house with some of Florence’s fave characters around it) and we waited for the party to start!
The amazing cake was all I (my Mum) had to do! Isn’t it amazing by the way! My Mum hand-made ALL those characters out of icing!
The girls at the Craft cabin were really kind and even though some of the party were a little bit late they waited and then took over for me when everyone was there! It was wonderful standing back and watching my girl and her pals have fun choosing what to decorate (a ceramic football pot for Florence ??) and then spend ages diligently painting! I thought at three they might finish the craft super quickly but all of them paid real attention to detail and took their time. When they did finish they were given their empty party bags to decorate while others finished. I’d also taken with me a big canvas for everyone’s hand prints. It wasn’t a service they offered at that time (although it may change) but they kindly let me bring my own and helped get all the children’s hands painted, printed and cleaned up again! They all had a fabby time doing the craft which was washed down with a glass of juice!
Florence and pals get crafty with their decorating choices and print their hands on the canvas for me all helped by the Craft Cabin ladies!
Isn’t this a wonderful keep sake! They didn’t offer it as part of their package (although they might soon) but gladly helped me get all the prints for my idea!
When they were finally done the children moved into the back room of the Craft Cabin where there are lots of toys and a play pen (which Jimmy also had fun in) and they played a few party games including Florence’s favourite, pass the parcel! After that it was back to the table which had been cleaned and transformed with party food! The adult buffet came then too and I have to say, for £2 a head, it was pretty darn good! Sandwiches, sausage rolls, crudite with dips and cakes amongst other things – yum! Again the girls were really attentive and helping the children with their choices of similar food. I had forgotten to tell them one of Florence’s friend’s is dairy intolerant – I am a very bad person because the friend in question is someone we spend most of our time with! They didn’t flap at all but went to get packets for my friend to check the ingredients and made her a ham sandwich without butter quick as a flash! Phew, that was lucky!
A few games then on to the food!
Food finished, everyone happy, cake brought out for a round of ‘Happy Birthday’ and then who should come out to lead the party people back to the other room for some dancing and more games? None other than Crafty Bear, the Craft Cabin’s very own mascot! Florence absolutely loves that sort of thing and knowing more pass the parcel was in the offing and she was off like a shot!
Crafty Bear leads the party gang off for more dancing and games!
Then as the party drew to a close and Florence handed out the goody bags we reflected on what a great party it had been. I started to help clear up and was shooed away by the staff who were busy helping cut the giant cake up to give more pieces to friends. What a wonderful party we had for Florence who absolutely loved every second. You know when you spend a lot of money and come away thinking ‘what on earth just happened, that so wasn’t worth it’? Well for the party we spent a fair bit of money but not anywhere near as much as we could have done and we came away feeling like we’d had value for it, having enjoyed it and not regretting the decision to choose the Craft Cabin at all! If you live in east London and have children then you have to go – it’s simply superb!