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A Little Mermaid Birthday Party

A Little Mermaid Party_ My Little Bookcase

Originally written by Hans Christian Anderson, The Little Mermaid has been a much-loved story in our home for so many years -as have Three Little Mermaids and The Singling Mermaid. Mermaids have certainly captivated Cammy and her playful imagination, and inspired the underwater theme of her 5th birthday party.

Favourite Mermaid Books_ My Little Bookcase

Cammy’s 5th Birthday- A Little Mermaid Party

The Little Mermaid_My Little Bookcase

Mermaid Party Invitations

The Little Mermaid Party Invitations

Cammy’s request was for an invitation that ‘makes you feel like you are in the sea’. I tried to achieve that by creating guests with a ‘window into the sea’.

  • We started with a piece of folded cardstock, cutting a circle into the front half.
  • We then filled and secured a cellophane bag with mini aqua and purple star sequins, green shredded plastic strips and sea creature loom band charms.
  • Once the cellophane bags were secured, we attached them to the inner side of the circle cut out and the wording for the invitation was secured to the opposite side of the card- effectively creating a ‘window to the sea’.

Mermaid Party Table Setting and Decorations

Cammy’s party was held at our local indoor swimming pool, which provided table cloths and coloured balloons. We added to the atmosphere by adorning the tables with collected shells, colouring sheet placemats and sand pails filled with colouring pencils.

The Little Mermaid Party Table Setting

The Little Mermaid Birthday Party_activity placemats

The Little Mermaid Birthday Party Treasure Box

To make the treasure box I wrapped a box and lid in brown paper and embellished it with black cardboard (e.g. padlock). I filled the treasure box with newspaper before adding bits and bobs you might find in The Little Mermaid’s grotto e.g. jewellery.

Birthday Party Mermaid Skirts

Our easy DIY mermaid skirts doubled as decorations along the fence. (Cammy got the idea for mermaid skirts from Childhood 101 but being completely useless with a needle and thread I had to think of a no-sew alternative)

  • I cut lengths (approx. 1m x1.5m.) of tulle in pink, purple, aqua and blue.
  • I used two separate elastic bands to gather and secure the two bottom corners of the tulle, creating a mermaid fin. I then brought the two elastic bands together and tied small strips of tulle around the elastic bands to cover them.
  • Initially the skirts were going to be no-sew mermaid skirts (because I can’t sew!) but at the last minute I asked my sister to sew lengths of ribbon to the top corners of the skirts for easier tying around the waist.

Note: As it turns out I think the no-sew option would have been better because the strength of the water pulled some of the ribbon away from the delicate tulle as the children played in the water. Otherwise the skirts were beautiful in the water, gliding across the surface as the children played and swam.

Mermaid Birthday Party Food

The sandcastle cake at Paging Fun Mums provided the perfect inspiration for Cammy’s birthday cake. We didn’t follow the instructions exactly; I made cakes according to the size and shape of the cake tins I already had at home. My only piece of advice is to crumb the biscuits as you go. I crumbed all mine at the beginning and could have filled a truck with the leftover crumbs.

Mermaid Sandcastle Cake

The meal boxes I made for our Bear Hunt Picnic were such a success that I decided to borrow the idea for Cammy’s birthday party. Once prepared, meal boxes make food serving easy at a party.

I purchased boxes that looked somewhat like clam shells. Cammy had free-range and enjoyed decorating the tags with stamps and underwater-themed stickers.

The Little Mermaid Birthday Party Meal Boxes

The Little Mermaid Party Food

The meal boxes were filled with:

  • Fish-shaped Sandwiches (I love themed cookie cutters!)
  • Croissant Crabs (I adapted this idea, using cherry tomatoes and mini bocconcini cheese on the toothpicks)
  • Penguin Jelly Slice (using a classic Woman’s Weekly recipe)
  • Cucumber Squid (I had seen squid frankfurts at Frog, Goose and Bear but because I was preparing the boxes in advance and didn’t have access to a stove or microwave I opted for a cook-free alternative and tried using mini cucumbers instead)
  • Starfish and Seaweed Fruit Cups (Watermelon simply cut using a star-shaped cookie cutter and grapes threaded onto a toothpick for a seaweed effect)
  • Oyster and Pearl Shells
    • I really wanted to make the macaron version but chickened out at the last minute and stuck with what I knew- meringues.
    • I tinted my meringue with pink food colouring and dropped dessertspoon quantities onto baking paper to make mini meringues.
    • Two mini meringues were secured together to look like an oyster shell using green butter-cream icing and a mint ball
  • Homemade Smoked Salmon Dip (400 g of chopped smoked salmon, a handful of chopped chives  and a squeeze of lemon stirred through 1/2 cup each of sour cream and cream cheese, topped with a capsicum octopus- A cute idea I borrowed from Denna’s Ideas)

The Little Mermaid Seaweed Fruit Cup

Mermaid Party Meringue Oyster Pearls

Mermaid Party Seafood Dip

Mermaid Party Fun and Games

The children had free water play for most of the party, but there were three fun games we organised:

  • An underwater relay: Teams of children had to swim through hoops of seaweed and back to the pool wall.
  • Octopus, Octopus, May I Cross the Sea?: Played like Crocodile, Crocodile May I Cross the River? across the pool.
  • Sea dive: Children were invited to swim to the bottom of the sea to collect weighted treasures.

Little Mermaid Pool Party Games

DIY Mermaid Skirts

Little Mermaid Pool Party Games

Cammy's Mermaid Pool Party

Mermaid Party Thank you Favours

I’m always looking for sugar-free favour alternatives but Cammy fights me tooth and nail on this idea. We came to a compromise and filled a blue organza gift bag with one octopus lollipop (decorated  with tissue paper and pipe cleaners), gold coins and a pearl necklace.

We made the necklaces with faux pearls on thin leather straps and placed them into mini bottles with  mini thank you notes-so adorable!

Mermaid Party Thank you Favours

Mermaid Party Thank you Favours

Huge thanks to my sisters for helping and taking photos on the day of Cammy’s party.

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About Jackie Small of My Little Bookcase

WHERE HAVE ALL THE BOOKSHOPS GONE?-My Favourite Online Bookstores.

Sponsored by StarTrack

There are still quite a few incredible bookshops peppered around Melbourne but sadly there aren’t any close to me. I have to travel at least 20 minutes (which usually means I have to schedule in a day-trip with the kids) to visit a bookstore run by passionate booklovers that stocks beautiful Australian literature.

When I can’t fit in a trip to one of these wonderful bookstores, I turn to some trusty and equally wonderful online book retailers, and I’m proud to say they are local Australian businesses.

Online bookshopping

DID YOU KNOW? Australians spent a record $16.6 billion online in the past year, but sadly the majority of online book sales are being placed through overseas online retailers. Between September 2013 and September 2014, e-books and books were two of only six items more commonly purchased from overseas online retailers than from local ones (Source: Roy Morgan Research)

I can’t even begin to tell you how heartbreaking that is to read, especially because I know and have met such wonderful Australian online retailers in the past six years.  There are some small, local online book retailers doing extraordinary things. They may not be able to provide the discounts that the large overseas booksellers can offer, but they give their customer service a run for their money.

Startrack Online Retail Industry Awards

Which is why I was excited to hear that the StarTrack Online Retail Industry Awards (ORIAs) have launched a brand new award category in 2015:  the StarTrack ORIAS People’s Choice Award , allowing Australians to nominate and vote for their favourite online store.

The StarTrack ORIAS have celebrated excellence in Australia’s online shopping industry since 2010 but with the new StarTrack ORIAS People’s Choice Award, all Australian online shops are eligible regardless of size or experience which means small online shops can go head-to-head with the big guys with an equal chance of winning.  It’s not only about sales but the extraordinary experience they provide that keeps customers coming back for more.

So I’m calling on all of my wonderful readers who support and purchase from local online book retailers. Let’s nominate our favourite Australian online bookstores for this award. Let’s tell Australians why we keep returning to these local online booksellers even though we could buy books more cheaply from larger overseas competitors. Let’s put these little online bookstores in the spotlight and share them with the rest of Australia. You could even win one of ten $1,000 gift cards (T&Cs apply). Voting closes 1 June.

I’ll start by sharing a handful of my favourite Australian online booksellers. The Kids’ Bookshop, Story Mama, The Itty Bitty Book Van and The Little Bookroom get my vote. Operating from small premises and with small staff, they are booksellers with extensive knowledge and a fierce passion for quality literature.

In a world of faceless retail transactions, they work hard to connect in real life with their customers. They provide helpful, friendly, personalised and a speedy online service (and free gift-wrapping) and contribute to literacy-based charities and organisations.  More impressively, they enjoy organising and attending pop-up literature festivals, information nights, book launches, story times and books swaps.

Is there another Australian online bookstore where you purchase your books? Be sure to let me know in a comment below and don’t forget to visit the StarTrack ORIAs website today to vote for your favourite online retailer for this year’s StarTrack ORIAS People’s Choice Award.

Coordinated by Nuffnang. All opinions expressed in this post are my own.