Planning a kid’s party?

Nell is 10 – there is so much to say about this – but first the birthday party needs attention, in the style of all my own tips in the book Homemade Kids: thrifty, creative and eco friendly ways to raise children. The plan is that tomorrow eight girls will party for around three and a half hours. They will play together, try out some games (eg, hunt the silly band, musical cushions, etc) and then after some spaghetti create the most original, most sickly or most tasty knickerbocker glory.

To the not so normal shops
So, today Nell and I visited four secondhand shops and several stalls on an antiques market in a bid to find some long spoons to make eating a knickerbocker glory a glorious knicker-bocker experience!

We did well
In a vintagey type secondhand shop we found a shiney long spoon for £1. On the first of many stalls we spotted a common as muck spoon that even I baulked at handing over £1 for – and managed to negotiate it down to 50p. Nell looked impressed. That got us two, six to go. Then into Freo for our first ever frozen yoghurt with pricey toppings experience. It was good (possibly healthy and Kate Middleton is apparently serving this for her post wedding pud) and we came out with two more longish spoons. Four to go.  Quick zip into Starbucks and grabbed 16 sticks (this is too many but Nell insists everyone needs two) which can be used to make twizzle poles especially if the party guests decorate them.

Then I saw the most perfect spoon – began to think we’d have enough cutlery at about a pound to be able to give every guest a going home present. But the antique’s dealer, guffawfing into his stock, told me I wouldn’t be able to afford this spoon. It’s 1783 he said with authority – well I had noticed it had an unusual silver marking on the reverse – but clearly this wasn’t for a party bag, let alone to be touched by an amateur shopper without museum gloves.

Final stall we hit gold: well a set of six French coffee stirring spoons (just imagine the silverware shouting je n’aime pas at the beans). They cost £15 which was obviously over budget, but ensures every guest will get that special feeling as they eat the knickerbockerglory they’ve created themselves. Or at least that’s the plan… As I handed over the £15, deeply regretting that I’d forgotten to bargain, I asked the stallholder what his top life tip was – and his reply, said with a kind-natured smile as if to an imbecile was, “Never forget to bargain for what you want…” Oops!

Nell’s verdict: “Getting spoons was interesting. Some are really expensive and I think they should be cheaper.”

Quite so, perhaps I’ve helped her learn something, even if I haven’t we’ve got the spoons and next time I’m going to make sure both of us negotiate for what we want, especially vintage and antique type purchases. I suspect my readers know that already. Let me know how you teach it to your offspring.

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