As July approached I asked Daisy the usual - 'what do you fancy doing this year for your birthday?" I was hoping that she would opt to take a few of her closest friends down the beach for a mess around as she'd already had quite a few larger parties in the past (I was told that was how it went when they got older.) Wrong! Daisy, who never really asks for anything much said that she would like a big party for all her friends - at least 12 of them! OK, so I'd toyed with a few ideas but being one of the youngest in the year, she'd already been to some great parties - Laser Quest three times this year and Parkour twice (admittedly both amazing) so I knew it had to be something a bit different.
After much deliberation, we decided on a party with Rockley Watersports at Poole Park Lake. This would consist of 2 hours of stand up paddleboarding (other activities were available - kayaking, windsurfing, sailing) and a go on their large 15 metre inflatable. It sounded like it would be amazing fun - all we needed was for the weather to hold up (that part was more for the parents). I knew the kids were going to get wet anyway so they wouldn't bother about a few drops of rain but I like to get the pimms and cakes out for the grown ups!
Somehow, Daisy's party of 12 grew to 14 (how could she invite Harri without inviting twin brother Dylan) - you know how it goes, but I felt that the team at Rockley would be more than capable of handling them, a small group pf 14 is nothing compared to the thousands of school groups and holiday campers they take each year.
So on Friday 14th July, I picked up an excited Daisy for her after-school birthday party. As her friends trickled in we got them changed into their wetsuits and buoyancy aids which were provided for us. While we waited for the rest, the kids had a great time playing table tennis on the outside tables.
With everyone ready, suitably excited and raring to go, they took to the waters on the paddleboards while I poured the pimms and handed out the lemon drizzle! After alot of laughter and jumping/falling in, it was time to take on the inflatable.
As they got in to two teams, each child had a first go at the obstacle course. They were surprisingly tentative for such an excitable group but that soon changed as the challenge for the first team to complete the course was set! They were all super competitive but also had an absolute ball with half of them falling in and hardly being able to get back on, despite help from the instructors because they were laughing so much.
It was hard to get them all off the water but with their two hours up, it was time to get changed. This was followed by a picnic on the grass by the lake and a game of football which meant our 4pm - 6pm party carried on until 730pm!
Everyone had a fantastic time. The staff were absolutely amazing - they certainly know how to relate to kids and the activities were great. Daisy absolutely loved her 8th birthday party and as a Mum, it was great to see her having so much fun with some of her closest friends! Monday at pick up there were murmurings of the best party ever (I'll take that) and even the best cake ever - (I'll definitely take that) - they can definitely come again but trust me it was nothing fancy. Always a round eight inch chocolate cake, always a Mary Berry mix it all in (no sieveing required) and always covered with maltesers/smarties/minstrels (varies year on year). It's worked for the past eight years and long may it continue!
So apparently organising such a cool party makes me a cool Mum - we'll see how long that lasts!