m i n d f u l m o n d a y s
I wrote my original wavy haircare routine back in 2018 and after two years+, constant chops and colour changes I wanted to write this post to show you how my hair is looking post-CGM, almost two and a half years (29 months) on.
In my opinion the Curly Girl Method is quite a lengthy hair journey to follow and if you follow it strictly, it can be very difficult. It’s also incredibly varied when it comes to results – some people start CGM and see beautiful transformations as little as three months into it. For others, it takes them a year plus – then there’s others like me that are still on the journey of discovering what works. I started off following it so strictly – no hair brushing, no clarifying but I eventually ended up with stringy waves and product build-up on my roots.
After a year, I started getting used to the products more. Then by 18 months I kind of figured out that gel really works for my hair and the styling technique also makes a big difference. However I started bleaching my hair and my 2A waves regressed to 1C straight-but-bendy hair. Here are some photos of my hair back in July & August 2019. I used a strong-hold gel, applied with lots of scrunching and wet plopping then scrunched out the crunch (SOTC) after fully air dried:
You can see July’s hair looks more straighter but by August, the waves tried to come back. It looks wavy but also more stringy as I put in more colours. Sometimes chemical processing can bring out the hair’s curl pattern but at the expense of drying out the hair. The result is stringy waves like mine but I loved my unicorn colours too much to care! I was able to salvage my hair with regular deep conditioning and cutting out all heat styling. 🙂
So what’s changed with my routine since then? A few things. My hair is back to being 2A most days and if I’m really lucky, a few strands of swirly 2B dotted around my head. I really need to stop the damage from colouring. It’s like an addiction, seriously. My hair was its healthiest 1 year post-CGM (minimal hair colouring) and the waves were well-defined. You can see a photo in my previous posts. I need to get my hair health back to then! I’m still using the same brands; Shea Moisture and Noughty but introduced a few new ones too. I also realised that my hair responds well to both low-poos and co-wash and I need to clarify my hair every now and then.
I mentioned in a recent blog post about sulfate-free cleansers that wavy hair will experience build-up more quickly than type 3+ curly-haired girls. For me, my hair needs to be clarified with a sulfate-based shampoo to ‘reset’ as a sulfate-free cleanser just doesn’t cut it. However, when I use a sulfate-based shampoo I always follow with deep conditioner for 20-30 mins straight after and apply a leave-in conditioner or curl cream as my final styling products. I only do this type of clarifying when my hair really feels like it needs it (usually after 3 months). The last time I clarified my hair was in March 2020.
Note: Only think about clarifying with a sulfate-based shampoo if you’re NOT strictly following CGM. If you are then try looking into rinse techniques ie. Rice Water Rinse (coloured-hair friendly) or Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse.
[I will make sure I update this routine section whenever I change up my routine instead of creating a new post unless it’s really necessary.]
Cleanser: I wash with a low-poo cleanser once or twice (max!) a week. I swap my low-poo for a co-wash every three weeks or whenever my hair feels like it’s lacking moisture. I apply the product in my hands and concentrate on the roots, massaging firmly onto the scalp, I don’t dig in or scratch the scalp then with any left-over residue I try to scrunch it into the mid-lengths and ends. Currently using Shea Moisture’s JBCO Strengthen and Restore Shampoo (low poo) and Noughty’s One- Hit Wonder conditioning co-wash (wasn’t sure with this one at first but it has helped my hair to clump better)
Conditioner: I always use conditioner after cleansing and apply with the ‘squish to condish’ technique. I apply the product when my hair is dripping wet using prayer hands. I de-tangle my hair with my fingers and rake hair away from my head to ensure my hair doesn’t stick to my head for when I apply my leave-in and stylers. Currently using: Noughty Colour Bomb conditioner
Leave-in Conditioner: I’ve been skipping this step as I’ve not bought myself a new leave-in cream and my daughter’s leave-in is too heavy for my hair. My previous go-to choices were As I Am leave-in conditioner for more hydration (very lightweight) or Shea Moisture JBCO leave-in cream for more moisture. Currently using: Noughty Thirst Aid conditioning & detangling spray which I recently purchased to try out – it seems to work nicely on wet/damp hair and I guess it counts as a leave-in conditioner in a spray form.
Gel: Gel works a real treat on my hair, it always gives me the best definition and hold if I get the right one. I apply my gel when my hair is still wet and rub a big amount into my hands (if it’s a thick gel, I add extra water in my hands) and apply using the prayer hands method and gently scrunch in. I scrunch enough to squeeze out a a little excess water but not too much. I tend to use A LOT of gel to get a super solid cast which I scrunch out when it’s fully dried. I’ve found that when I add a small amount of gel I don’t really get a cast and then my waves don’t hold past the first day. Currently using: Twisted Sistas amazing dream curl gel or ECO Styler black castor & flaxseed gel. I refresh my waves using Boucleme’s curl defining gel and water. I apply using prayer hands but gently
Styling finish: I usually leave my hair to air dry however I recently tried using a diffuser again and it really brought out my waves. I diffused until my hair was 80% dry but I think I could get away with just diffusing 50% dry then leave to air dry. I really don’t like adding heat to my hair but it seems to work really well. I diffuse by alternating the hot and cold settings and will continue to style this way when I’m short for time.
Here’s a list of my favourite products that I’ve used over the years. The ones I’m currently using are listed in my haircare routine above but I’ll put an asterisk (*) beside so you can see here too. I’ve used a fair amount of other products from same or similar ranges too but as I didn’t enjoy them as much as I thought I would, they haven’t made it onto this list. I will also add to this list as I find more products I enjoy using and find works. Enjoy!
Curl Enhancers & Leave-in Creams:
It’s been so long since I last reviewed a beauty box. I still subscribe every now and then but either I have been too lazy/busy/not great enough to publish a review or I just lost interest in writing it. However since the lockdown, I have had more time to myself and able to show some love on the blog again… especially now that I have had a big influx of people passing by since quarantine, it’s nice to keep busy whilst I’m off work. I also purchased March’s Birchbox which you can read here.
First of all, I have to give a huge kudos points for Birchbox’s packaging for April’s box. It’s stunning. Photos actually do not do it any justice, it’s really amazing. This May’s box packaging is also fantastic and totally unique so check that out too.
The design was created in collaboration with Anthropologie – a lifestyle-fashion brand that sells everything from clothing and jewellery to homeware, beauty and gifts. Their designs are funky, unique and fun. I’m a big fan of their homeware and gifts section, I really like their fun and colourful prints. It’s one of the reasons why I really wanted to try out this April’s box.
Can I just say… I am really excited to try all of the products in this box! Apart from This Works and Percy & Reed, I’ve not heard of the other brands before. It might just be because I’ve been away from beauty boxes for a while but it’s a nice treat for me.
KNDR Mood Balm
I received this lip balm in Positivity Pink which is actually a bright purple colour. Once you apply the lip balm, the colour changes according to your lip’s natural pH level and adjusts to your very own tone of pink. Mine came out a light, bright pink. When Little Miss put hers on more, she came out with a subtle fuchsia colour. Very pretty and fun to use. It glides on smoothly and left my lips feeling soft. It’s also very hydrating, I got a few hour’s wear out of it before needing to re-apply.
I really love the packaging of the mood balm – the feminine design is super cute! The outer packaging is made from card and the inside packaging is card with a plastic applicator. It seems like a good idea but if water gets onto the balm, I’m not sure it’ll last! I’m also not the neatest with lip colours and you can see from the image, I already smudged the colour onto the white bit of the packaging already! I also chipped the top of the lip balm but let’s pretend you don’t see that. 🙂
Huygens Infusion Blanche Purifying Face Wash
During summer my skin tends to produce a little more oil than normal so I usually swap out my creamy cleanser for a gel cleanser or wash. I will be trying this one out and let you know how it goes. The face wash states that cleanses effectively without stripping essential moisture from the skin and is suitable for all skin types. Containing a blend of tea-tree (anti-bacterial), aloe vera (skin repairing) and glycerine (hydrating), this purifying face wash looks like it will re-balance skin types and leaves skin cleansed and clear. It does remove makeup but I’m not sure if it’s suitable for eyes.
Brushworks Silicone Cleansing Pad
This is a Birchbox exclusive product and one of the products I was really looking forward to use. Made from ultra-hygienic, flexible silicone with tiny bristles, it’s designed to lift away impurities and makeup whilst gently exfoliate the skin. Definitely gentle enough to use every day. Again, another product great for all skin types especially dull and dehydrated skin. I’ll be using this in conjunction with my Huygens face wash but also with my Aromatherapy Associations creamy rose cleanser.
This Works Deep Sleep Pillow Spray
This stuff smells super calming. The relaxing scent of lavender, chamomile and vetivert will definitely help to soothe your senses. It’s also been clinically proven to help you sleep quicker than usual and wake up feeling more refreshed. I’ll try it and let you know as I already have a product which I use when I’m feeling restless (Aromatherapy Associates Deep Relax roller ball). It’s the sedative aroma of vetivert that sends you off to sleep and it’ll take a lot to sway me from my AA roller ball, however I will say that a spray is definitely easier to dispense.
Percy & Reed Eau My Goodness No-Fuss Fabulousness Dry Shampoo
This product is not CG-friendly as it contains alcohol denat but I might give it a try near to the next time I’m doing a clarifying wash just to see how it works on my hair. I’m not usually a fan of dry shampoo but they do come in handy if you’re spending a night out or away from home ie on a city break, camping, glamping or on a trip where you aren’t able to take all your haircare with you.
Definitely YAY! I am so glad that Birchbox’s April beauty box was a hit with me. I remember a time when I loved beauty boxes so much but then what happens is the products start accumulating and I also end up receiving a lot of doubles from the boxes.
I love the fact that with the beauty boxes you can subscribe and un-subscribe whenever you want. There’s no contract to tie you down and if you want to save even more on your boxes, you can choose to pay for 3, 6 or 12 boxes in advance. If you’ve never given Birchbox a try but have tried other brands, let me know what you think of the box. Would you ever give it a try or do you think they’re all too samey-samey?
I hope you enjoyed this review, if you’d like to see more please do leave me a comment or click the like button if you’re also on WordPress! 🙂
Want to give Birchbox a try?
You can subscribe online or find out more here: https://www.birchbox.co.uk/subscribe
p i n t h i s p o s t
Since London went into lockdown, a lot of us have been able to slow down in our busy lives and take things at a slower pace. For me that means being able to jump back onto this blog and show it some good love! I’ve missed writing and it has been a while since I could sit down and type it all out, especially where we’ve been needing the PC for Little Man to do his home school work.
I’ve been able to FINALLY review my Birchbox boxes for March and April 2020. You can find a link to the April box review at the end of this post. March’s beauty box design was inspired by International Women’s Day, which falls on March 8th this year. Women around the world celebrated, empowered and paid homage to each other.
This was my first re-subscribed box of 2020 and the main reason why I had to get it was because of the cute packaging AND the beautiful Elizabeth Scarlett palm beauty bag. It was too beautiful to be without it.
The box packaging is super sweet! I love the diversity of women on the cover – a perfect theme for IWD; it encompasses all ages, ethnicity, hair type and even fashion styles. My Birchbox arrived on time as it was slightly just before COVID-19 had everything on lockdown. My April box was late and I’m sure subsequent boxes will also be slightly delayed as the BB team are hard at work making sure that all boxes are packed safely and arrive to us safely.
So without further ado…
Forgive Me Suzie Liquid Eyeshadow **fave product**
This creamy, lightweight eyeshadow out easily with a brush or fingers (I use fingers!) and stays put without creasing or smudging. I got the shade ‘Fairy Dust’ which is a bright colour colour that looks fabulous on my skin tone, which is light olive/medium colour. In the summer I usually get a bit of a glow and I’m sure I’ll still be able to carry this colour off well on tanned skin. It’s a beautiful matte-shimmer tone. With a dewy makeup face, this eyeshadow will stand out nicely.
Balance Me Vitamin C Repair Serum **fave product**
Brighten up your beauty routine with a daily dose of vitamin C in the form of this innovative serum. Vitamin C helps to combat signs of ageing and minimise fine lines. My skin feels super hydrated after using this, thanks to the hyaluronic acid ingredient. I love layering my skincare and after cleansing, I’ll always use a toner, serum and moisturiser, oil (sometimes both if skin is really dry) on top. Eye cream is an added step I sometimes do if I’m bothered as I don’t really have bags, dark circles or puffiness. The serum sinks in fast and has a refreshing citrus smell – like orange zest. The serum leaves my skin so smooth I can go without moisturiser or oil on top but because my skin is quite dehydrated I always make sure I layer-up.
Daily Concepts Multi-Functional Soap Sponge Charcoal
This 2-in-1 soap-sponge-hybrid tool combines detoxifying charcoal body wash with a mild, exfoliating scrubber to really cleanse your skin. Slough off those dead skin cells and leave your skin looking brighter and more radiant. The charcoal soap is sooo gorgeous – somewhat reminds me of the African black soap smell which is really nice. This soap does contain SLES but not SLS so not great for really sensitive or very dry skin. I was using it regularly but then stopped as my skin’s a little drier than normal now. You can’t see it in my photo above as I’ve been using it and it’s been well used haha! You can check it out here: https://www.birchbox.co.uk/product/24117/daily-concept-charcoal-soap-sponge
BOD Everyday Body Boosting Sorbet Petite
This hydrating body lotion contains moisturising ingredients such as sweet almond oil and shea butter. It melts into skin quickly and delivers intense hydration. It’s said to have a tightening effect on the body (formulated with natural sugars) but I’m not convinced with the whole skin-tightening effect from a bottle… no matter how great the marketing is. Sure it can ‘feel’ tighter and toned but that feeling is gone once it wears off or you wash it off. IMO, the best way to a tighter and toned body? Exercise, plenty of water and healthy eating.
The Beauty Crop Wing Woman Liquid Eyeliner
No matter the look you’re going for, “the deep black formula will help you define your eyes without flaking or smudging”. I am a big fan of liquid eyeliner since my early twenties and I have not gone back to kohl pencil since. As much as I love the colour intensity of kohl pencils, I could never get the lines neat however I would still prefer to use pencil on my lower eyeline and if I wanted to do smokey eye but for an everyday look, I choose liquid liner all the time. This Beauty Crop one lasts well on my eyes and is easy to use. It’s a medium-thickness brush, not too fat nor thin.
BONUS GIFT: Elizabeth Scarlett Palmier make-up bag **fave product**
I LOVE LOVE this bonus gift from Birchbox. It’s sooo beautiful the photos do not do it any justice. The pink velvet is super soft and a pretty shade of pink. The cute palm tree print is embroidered and finished with glitter-gold thread to make it look really magical. I’d never heard of Elizabeth Scarlett before so it’s really nice to be introduced to a new brand. All of her designs are just as gorgeous as each other, with prices starting from £14 you can treat yourself to a bit of affordable luxury. 🙂
Check them out here: https://elizabethscarlett.com/collections/all
Other beauty posts you might like:
p i n t h i s p o s t
Type 1A hair is classed as poker-straight hair, 1B is straight hair with a few bends and kinks and 1C is straight-ish hair with a slight wave – this used to be called ‘swavy’ at one point. Type 2A hair is the ‘breakthrough start’ of wavy hair – hair looks loosely wavy and/or with a loose but visible S-curl pattern. When I started CGM ‘swavy’ was a curly girl term but it seems to have died out as I guess it’s more recognised as wavy hair now.
If the explanation above doesn’t help, I hope the image below does:
Most people’s wavy hair will be made up of a combination of straight, swavy, wavy, even curly hair so don’t be disheartened if your locks look like mermaid waves one day and then straight with kinks the next day – it’s completely normal.
Over the two years, I’ve now come to terms that my hair falls between type 1C swavy and 2A wavy. When I was following the CGM very strictly I did find that I was getting better wave definition and I was even getting 2B and a few 2C wavy strands. Unfortunately that didn’t last long as I continued to bleach and colour my hair like crazy. 🙂
It is an expensive learning curve as my hair doesn’t have any specific curl direction nor does it clump well. I think that may be due to all the colouring. The only way I would probably get better results is if I stopped the hair processing altogether… I might end up doing so but not yet.
I love that I’ve learnt so much about natural hair care and since CGM I am happy to say that sulfate-free shampoos, or low-poo cleansers for curl-talk terms, are really fantastic products and should be the way forward for everyone who wants healthier hair.
Sulfates are lathering agents in shampoos that are responsible for that “squeaky-clean” hair feeling after each use. Sulfates are known as ‘surfactants’ (a detergent-like foaming agents) and removes dirt, oils and debris from the hair surface. However prolonged or excessive use ie. shampooing daily can actually clean the hair too well and end up stripping the hair of its natural oils. What this eventually does is cause your hair to go into overdrive and produce more oils leaving you with greasier hair quicker. So what do you do? You reach for the shampoo again thinking you are making it better but you’re actually making it worse. The scalp needs to re-balance.
This same process happens to our skin, when the skin ie. on our face becomes dehydrated, it produces excess oil as it needs to re-balance – but you think you now have combination or oily skin so you reach for astringent alcohol-based products that strip your skin and leaving it even more dehydrated. The result? A never ending battle of dehydrated skin that leads to excessive oil production and possible acne. It’s a personal battle of mine too and I only found out a couple years ago.
The lingo for the Curly Girl Method takes some getting used to but I’ll break down these curl-talk words in layman’s terms:
Shampoo – lots of lather, contains sulfates (gentle ones, harsh ones, or both)
Low-poo – minimal or little lather, gel or fluid consistency, sulfate-free
No-poo – no lather, rich and creamy, sulfate-free, also known as ‘co-wash’ which is just short for conditioning wash
In addition to sulfate-free shampooing cleansers, I also make sure that my haircare is free from parabens, silicones and any other petrochemicals or nasties. Easiest way I found is to look for vegan-friendly products or botanical products. A lot of ‘natural’ products are not always that natural… always read the ingredients list!
Personally, I think everyone can benefit from a sulfate-free cleanser, especially people who do not use a lot of additional products in their hair. Many of the low-poos (gentle cleansing shampoos) cleanses the hair well. The only downside is that you won’t always get much of a lather but you’ll get used to that. For straight or swavy/wavy (type 1-2A) hair girls, and guys, that do use a lot of product in their hair ie hairspray, gels, creams, hair oil, leave-in treatments, it might be a good idea to still use a sulfate-based shampoo every now and then to thoroughly clarify the hair.
However, make sure your conditioner is silicone free! It’s fine and dandy using a sulfate-free cleansing shampoo but if you’re following that with a silicone-based conditioner you are not achieving anything apart from perhaps greasier-looking hair. The reason for this is because as good as a low-poo is, it will not be enough to remove silicone build-up. So if your other hair products contain silicones, you’ll need to clarify your hair. There are also clarifying methods you can look at ie. Apple Cider Vinegar rinse and Rice Water rinse – the latter is recommended for coloured hair.
I wash my hair once (twice max) a week with a low-poo but when my hair feels a little more dehydrated I like using a conditioning cleanser, also known as a ‘co-wash‘ or ‘no-poo‘ as these shampoo/cleansers have NO LATHER. (As I am co-wash conditioning cleanser is my go-to product). Once every few months, I switch out my low-poo for a sulfate-based shampoo and follow with a deep condition or protein treatment for 15-20 mins. I’ve found that this routine works well for my hair but you can read more about that in my other posts.
If you’re new to the curl game or just want to avoid haircare nasties, here’s a list of what to look out for and avoid: https://www.curlsbot.com/curly-girl-ingredient-list/
You can also take a look at this article on the top 5 mistakes wavies make when starting CGM here on NaturallyCurly.com. It explains more about what I’ve mentioned in this post in regards to clarifying and more.
I have personally used all of the cleansers below so it’s been tried and tested on my type swavy wavy hair. All cleansers are lightweight so I’d say they’d work better on fine to medium density hair. If you have medium-high or high density hair, you might need something richer/moisturising like a co-wash.
Hair porosity also comes into play – if you have low hair porosity, try a lightweight low-poo cleansers as your hair will be more susceptible to build-up. You can always layer up on moisturising styling products ie leave-in conditioners, creams, mousse or gels after. For high porosity hair, you might want to try a co-wash first or the Shea Moisture JBCO and Manuka Honey shampoos which contains shea butter for that extra moisture boost. Curly Cailín wrote a post on her favourite low-porosity haircare products and listed some really good products that I love too including the As I Am co-wash I mentioned earlier!
I really loved using this low-poo cleanser. It lathers up nicely and a little goes a long way when using it. The coconut water hydrates the hair but as it’s so lightweight it’s cleanses well and doesn’t leave my hair feeling weighed down. I love using it in the summer as I get really hot and sweaty so this is a good one to keep my hair light and fresh. My waves also looked fab from wash day up to three days after – with a little refresh in between but fab nevertheless. It is one of my summer staples. It smells nice and fruity too.
Wash Rating: 5/5
This was one of the first wavy hair products I used and I enjoyed using it. I wasn’t a massive fan at first as it doesn’t lather much for a low-poo cleanser however if you’re already used to non-lather cleansers, you’ll like this one. It smells herbal which I love but some might not be a fan of the scent. As it doesn’t really lather, there’s not much slip so I always ended up using probably a lot more than I needed but I didn’t mind. As it was so gentle, I could do a double cleanse and rinse to really clarify my hair without it feeling stripped. I also love them because they are a British brand!
I wrote a review before on the Noughty Wave Hello collection here if you fancy another read.
Wash Rating: 4/5
Another great British brand that I really love – the packaging is great, it smells delicious like sweet lemons or sherbets and is packed with glycerine. The hydrating cleanser lathers nicely and is very lightweight. It cleanses my hair well.
I usually have to use a refresher or curl cream with water to revive my waves after using this for my wash day as the air at home is really dry and it can leaves my hair feeling so light that I can feel the static – I don’t know if that even makes sense or it’s only me that experiences this static behaviour but it’s something I’ve noticed with my hair. However I still rate it as a good product and I know some others swear by it. They sell travel sized bottles so if you’re keen, give the smaller bottle a go.
Wash Rating: 3/5
I really love this low-poo and think it will always have a space on my bathroom shelf whilst I have my bleached hair. It really helps to nourish my hair but also cleanses deeply at the same time. It smells amazing, the peppermint with shea butter makes it smells like butter mints. Yummy.
Wash Rating: 5/5
I really like the Shea Moisture range (it’s one of the first brands I tried) and decided to give another shampoo from their brand a try. I picked this one originally for my daughter who has fine type 3A/B curls and found that all of the other shampoos I’ve used for her before just didn’t do her curls any justice – even the beloved Shea Moisture JBCO shampoo! I used this on her and it worked a treat! It cleanses well but the lather is so silky smooth, it made her hair feel so soft after rinsing that it felt like it could skip conditioner… obviously we didn’t but you know what I mean.
I used it and it made my hair feel silky smooth too, I really liked using it. It also had a really good lather, more lather than all the other low-poos listed above. A little really goes a long way with this one. It cleanses well too so win-win all around!
Wash Rating: 4/5
This is a product that I am waiting to try out. I got a small tester in my recent Look Fantastic purchase so I will give it a try on my next wash day. I’ve heard nothing but great reviews. All have said it cleanses brilliantly but leaves hair feeling soft and waves in check. The price range is also very affordable so a great product to try if you’re starting out your CGM journey. If your hair is glycerine sensitive, this is the perfect one for you to try as it’s glycerine-free unlike the others listed above.
NB. This post contains some affiliate links
With London in lockdown for five weeks now and counting, the government have said that restrictions are NOT going to be easing up any time soon. As the country tries heavily to control and slow down the risk of more deaths and a second wave, more people will be celebrating their birthdays indoors this year. Last week we celebrated my little girl’s fourth birthday and next week will be Daddy P’s birthday. Little Man’s and mine are in August so hopefully restrictions will have lifted by then.
Firstly, I can’t believe it’s been four years since Little Miss was born! Time really does fly by – with it comes many tears, tantrums, angry moments but also many loving memories, best hugs, lots of laughter and love. These two little monsters really have turned my world upside down but I don’t think my life would be as interesting without them!
It’s been the first time we’ve celebrated the kids’ birthday at home. We don’t usually celebrate their birthday at home simply because there’s so many family relatives and friends to invite so we usually book for an activity venue instead.
We did two birthday calls via Zoom; one with friends and the other with family. It was fantastic! It was quite easy to set up and the video quality was pretty decent. There was a little bit of a lag-time with the audio but it wasn’t a major issue. Little Miss really enjoyed seeing her nursery school friends even though they were all a bit shy on the Zoom call (including us!). It was also my MIL’s birthday and she chose to do her call via Skype which was good but I found the video quality not as good and also couldn’t work out how to get all callers on one screen like I could on the zoom call.
It took me around 2-2.5hrs in total to hang up all the decorations, blow up the balloons and tidy up the living room. Our space is not big as we live in a city flat but it was spacious enough for a little girl’s birthday with just the four of us. Please excuse the broken TV unit cabinet door. That’s what happens when your kids decide to play with the furniture and lose the screws that goes with it. It’s on our long list of things to replace in the house… (¬_¬’)
Birthday parties are as unique as the person celebrating; whether you choose to go all out or just get a few things to add around the house. Here are some helpful points to consider when planning your party…
Seriously, a quarantine birthday party needs a little more planning than you’d think. Mainly because it takes that bit longer to source things for the party and there’s no way you can chance leaving things to the last minute if you want everything to go to plan. I started planning Little Miss’s party a month before, well as soon as London’s lockdown was announced in March I started to plan out what we’ll need for her party.
Things like party decorations, food, presents and birthday cake should be at the top of your list. Try to have a back-up plan in case it doesn’t go to plan or things you order go out of stock. If you’re inviting family and friends to join you online, you can even make party invites online using sites like Canva which you can then send as an image via email, text or whatsapp.
If you’re setting up your decorations on the day, make sure you’re up early enough to get it all done. When I was checking the time, the hanging decorations took just over an hour but it was blowing up the balloons that took me forever. If you have a pump use it, if you have a helium tank, even better! You could potentially put up all the other decorations the night before and leave the balloons for the morning.
Note: make a list of things to do, buy, organise with a checklist so you can tick off the completed tasks as you go along. Get those birthday pressies in advance!
I ordered Little Miss’s party decorations from Amazon. I have Amazon Prime so everything arrives in good time but I ordered early to avoid ordering for next day delivery – just to be considerate for vulnerable or priority customers. I found this fantastic 79-piece birthday decoration set which was excellent value for money. I also bought a smaller set of decorations with hanging lanterns and honeycomb balls to add some variety to the decorations. Confetti balloons are a great touch to any party, even if you can’t get helium to blow it up (we didn’t!) the balloons still look fantastic. We got confetti balloons as part of our 79-piece set.
If you also have any party decorations from previous years that you can use again, bring them out! No-one is going to judge you for having mis-matched party decorations. 🙂 These are the decorations we had for our party: Happy birthday banner, bunting, balloons and confetti balloons, ribbon swirls, tissue paper pom poms, honeycomb balls and lanterns, confetti cannons, party cups, party hats and poppers. You could also include party streamers, birthday crowns, plastic medals (for games), glow sticks, sparklers (use safely outdoors NOT indoors), glitter confetti to sprinkle on the table, party napkins, cups and cutlery.
Note: love sparkles? Get yourself a confetti cannon like this one or a glitter cannon. They’re cheap and you really get loads even in a small cannon – be aware, there’a lot of clean up though! If the glitter cannon is too messy for you, make sure you get a pack of party poppers for a true celebratory feel.
We usually order a traditional Chinese birthday cake but with health and safety regulations, the Chinese bakers are not making any cakes – boo! I know that there are a few bakeries in London still open ie. Cakebox however we don’t drive so we wouldn’t have been able to collect. So we opted for a supermarket unicorn birthday cake instead which cost us £12 and tasted great! Asda do a range of celebratory cakes and birthday cakes from chocolate to vanilla sponge, in popular designs like unicorns, drip cake, Peppa Pig, Marvel superheroes. There’s even an option to create your own design in store. I think other big supermarkets like Sainsburys and Morrisons also have a great birthday cake department.
Note: if you decide to order a supermarket birthday cake, you can make it look extra special by adding a sparkler or number candle, personalised cake toppers, or anything else you’d like to decorate with. These can be also bought in store or online for personalised.
If you’re going all out with party food and have a large family, you might want to prep some of your food the night before. Most party foods can be cooked in the oven which cuts down cooking time, and whilst they’re in the oven you can concentrate on the other party foods you need to get ready.
For us, we’re only a family of four so I decided to make our party food on the day. Little Miss asked for burgers so we had burgers with chips, and crisps, sliced apples and animal cookie bags for snacks. We skipped making dessert as we ate the birthday cake -we still had so much cake left over it took us 2 days to finish it.
Note: whilst you are preparing the food, keep the kids entertained by giving them a game or challenge to keep them occupied. When you’ve finished or can leave the food to cook in the oven, you can join in on the fun!
With apps like Spotify to help you out, you can’t really go wrong with this one. Download Spotify, select a playlist and you can leave it running in the background. Failing that, YouTube playlists are also great. You can select chart toppers or cheesy children’s birthday songs, it’s completely up to you. If you fancy compiling your own, you can do so on both platforms.
Our top songs to include in a children’s birthday playlist:
Happy – Pharrell Williams
Happy Birthday – Stevie Wonder
Move your feet / D.A.N.C.E. – Trolls movie
Girls like you – Maroon 5 ft. Cardi B
Mi Gente – J Balvin ft. Willy Williams
Note: why not have a game of musical statues or musical chairs just to have a bit of silly fun? If your children are older, they might not want to play but perhaps a game of guess who musical version ie. “guess who sang this song?” by playing a snippet of the intro or playing an instrumental version of the song.
Don’t party alone! Let the children enjoy their birthday party with family, friends and school friends. If you created a special playlist on YouTube you could even send a direct link to them so they can party along in their own homes.
We just kept it simple for ours and because our computer speaker isn’t that loud, we had our party with minimal music. We used ZOOM to host our birthday party call which allows up to 60mins of free unlimited calls of up to 20+ people. We only had 8 and that was big enough for us! We used the computer and could see all callers on one screen in the ‘gallery’ viewing mode. The screen is also much bigger than my iPhone 7 screen so I like using ZOOM on the computer for that reason.
Note: host your birthday party call on ZOOM or Sype or another conference calling platform. There’s so many you can choose from that there’s no excuse not to connect with others on your birthday.
If your child’s birthday happens to fall on a Sunday, you can party along with events organiser, Big Fish Little Fish events who host ‘virtual kitchen raves’ with their resident DJs every Sunday at 2-4PM via Facebook LIVE stream. It’s a family rave and has become so popular since the lockdown. I’ve been a fan of them since five years ago and still love the stuff they do.
Just log onto Facebook on their page and join the thousands of other families partying LIVE online. You can even request birthday shout-outs too! Check out their previous virtual raves here: https://www.facebook.com/pg/bigfishlittlefishevents/videos/?ref=page_internal
Once all the fun is over, the clean-up commences. It’s no small task I’ll tell you that, especially if you went crazy with the confetti and glitter cannons like we did. I still manage to find bits of confetti hidden around the room but I don’t mind. It’s a nice little reminder of Little Miss’s special day.
She still wore her party hat and party dress two days after her birthday and we left the birthday decorations up for the whole week because I was too lazy to take them down. Plus… they looked too cool to take down earlier. 🙂
Do you have children celebrating their birthday in quarantine? If so, make sure they have a great time. Having a birthday at home should be just as enjoyable as going out. Sure, it is hard right now as we can’t visit family and friends but with all the technology around us we are even more connected than ever before so utilise it.
p i n t h i s p o s t !
Original post by LondonDucklings
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