Party Etiquette

Is there a birthday party etiquette one should adhere to?

Are there rules around how soon before the party you should send out the invite?

Must you always rsvp? Some recent news stories would suggest yes — yes you do.

What about the present?  Should you always take one?  Should you open it immediately?

It is a bit of a minefield really and we’ve all been raised slightly differently and attended different parties in different parts of the world.  However, one can hardly help being a bit of a judgey judgey pants………..and here……….I’m going to be one.

At Pickle’s recent party one child brought a card with £5 in it.


Is this odd?

I mean, I understand that keeping on top of parties and the subsequent presents is very tricky.  I have (thankfully) always managed to get hold of something for one of my children to take to a party, but I completely understand and wouldn’t be in any way surprised if a parent apologised for a lack of a present, perhaps suggesting to bring one later, or not, I guess the apology acknowledges the etiquette.

I have taught my children to NOT expect presents. They are a nice to have. So they are always prepared for the likelihood of getting none.  I think in a similar situation I’d probably get my child to make a card and put some effort in.

However, to put £5 in a card?  Maybe from a close relative, but from a child?

I’m judging the pants off this one.  Should I?


NOT losing it

I’m not the most patient of people.

I’m also not very good at hiding my true feelings.

So I struggle with not losing it with my children.  This is especially true when I’m feeling the pressure from work, rushing around, meeting deadlines or just fed up.

Today, however, was my daughter’s 7th Birthday.  It coincided with a particularly tricky day for me as well.

In order to watch her open her presents this morning, I had to go into work late and I decided to mark my calendar as being “at the doctors”.  I dashed in, attended 7 meetings during the day and then had to get away by 3pm.  Mr40 had a casting today and TM had been booked in for an extra day at nursery and Pickle had to go to the nursery after school because I wouldn’t be back in time. I then thought I’d “work from home” for a bit and then take Pickle, TM and one of her school friends out for dinner as a birthday treat.  It meant leaving work at 4.30pm (1 hour early).

I picked them up at 3.30pm though, full of smiles.  I refused to get cross about anything.  I didn’t want to ruin her birthday.

TM fell asleep when we got home, I didn’t get cross.  I bribed him to wake up and stay awake.

His clothes were caked in mud and it dropped all over the floor.  I didn’t get cross.

I needed to log on to work but couldn’t for over 30 minutes. I didn’t get cross.

Pickle and her friend took way to long getting changed to go out. I didn’t get cross.

All of them took too long to get in the car. I didn’t get cross

I ended up going inside about 3 times to get things I’d forgotten.  TM refused to eat the meal at the restaurant.  He cried a lot and had a few hissy fits.  Pickle hurt herself on a straw and cried far too long.

I was like Mary Poppins!

So I thought I’d post on here about how I’d managed to hold it together and why I couldn’t do it more often.

However, whilst writing this, Pickle popped up on the stairs and I told her to go to bed and not mess about because I’d been very good today and hadn’t lost it.

“yes you did” she cried.

“No I didn’t” I replied.

“yes, when you had to do my seatbelt at nursery”.

Sigh.  I had been a teeny weeny bit exasperated, but hadn’t raised my voice or got cross or said anything bad.  I’d just said that it would be nice if she could do it herself.


There is no hope for me.

My Secret Vest

You were a burden at 13

An embarrassment

A pointless piece of fabric.

“No.  No I’m not wearing a vest”.  Red faced replies to mean boys on the bus.

Why mum……….why?vest


It’s all changed though. 33 years later

On a cold morning I calculate my layers

I work out if I could fit you in

Will you be seen?

Shall I tuck you in or leave you out.

You will make me happy.  The extra layer.

The lovely soft warmy layer.

My secret Vest.

Why I Didn’t Blog

I’m sorry I’ve neglected youPoem

I didn’t plan it so

I’ve been so very busy

I haven’t had a mo


I keep having all these great ideas

Usually when I shower

But by the time I get downstairs

I’ve lost my blogging power


I tell myself I’ll remember it

and of course I never do

Even noting on my phone

it fails on its review


I am still getting ranty

As anyone would say

I just lose the ranty message

by the end of any day


So I’ve failed to log a blog post

I’ve failed to make you smile

I’ve failed to teach you something

It has been quite a while


So I promise I will do one

I’ll post something tonight

Oh look I’ve written something

I hope this is alright.



Christmas Eve Baby

Christmas Eve is special for me and my family not just because it’s when the big man delivers all the gifts (no, not my husband) but also because The Monster (TM) turns four this year on Christmas Eve.

We have the tricky task of managing the day by trying to keep a lid on the Christmas festivities and ramping up the excited “It’s your birthday” ones.

TM will wake up in the morning and be given about 3-4 presents to open. His “big” one and a small one and one from his sister. Just enough to keep him going for the day and not to dilute the excitement of opening gifts on Christmas day.

We will then head off after breakfast to a soft play centre. This would usually be my idea of hell, but they are always a little quieter on Christmas eve so this will be the 3rd year we’ve done it with a smile on our face. We’ll spend a few hours here whilst TM offloads a tonne of energy running about with his sister and generally revelling in the excitement of being at a soft play (I’m such a mean mummy). We may have something to eat there and just when it starts to get a bit busier we will head off again.

In previous years we usually head off home for birthday cake and after dinner we officially put an end to birthday celebrations and start ramping up the excitement of Father Christmas. This year I have finally agreed to go and see family in Berkshire who aren’t around on Christmas day so they will get a cake and have a mini afternoon celebration for him before we have a traditional Christmas dinner. Our family is very geared up for festive birthdays as my niece is fifteen on Christmas Day, we’ve had a lot of experience of splitting up that day.

I’ve been quite adamant though, that on Christmas eve we will leave by 7pm to be home for 8pm so they are both in bed ready for the excitement of Christmas morning.

TM will then have the rest of his birthday presents on the morning of his birthday party (the 10th of January this year), effectively experiencing two birthdays and then have the excitement of having friends over for a Pirate party and more cake.

Sharing your birthday with a festive holiday can be brilliant and awful in equal measure but I’m determined to work everything around it to make his birthday as special as I can. In years to come he can dictate what he wants to do on the day and I will have to learn to cope with the loss of my traditional Christmas Eve excitement and bask in the joy of my little boy as he gets older.