10 steps to the perfect first birthday party

1. Reflect on the past year
As your baby’s first birthday approaches, look back on how far you’ve come, how utterly, utterly changed you are, and how you know instinctively that there will never be a time when your baby doesn’t come first.

2. Be flexible with your plans
Accidentally arrange to go shopping with the delightful Susie Verrill on what turns out to be your baby’s actual birthday, because lack of sleep has stopped you from understanding calendars, or the basic concept of time. Still actually go shopping, though, because his birthday’s on a weekday when no one’s free for full-on baby stuff, and besides, babies love shopping, right? Erm.

3. Knives
Meet the delightful Susie Verrill and her wonderful son Milo in town while the universe throws Storm Jonas at you for being so selfish. Spend most of your trip hiding out in Prezzo, wringing out your wet hair while the staff frown at you for letting your children play with knives.

4. Choose your venue wisely
Decide to throw a birthday party at the weekend, but to keep it small by only inviting family. When the RSVPs come in, realise your family’s too big to fit in your house. Eventually settle on hiring a back room up some rickety stairs in your local pub. Ask the publican about accessible entrances and baby-changing facilities, only for him to look at you like this:

giphy5. Keep the theme consistent
As the party approaches, walk around with a vague party shopping list in your head containing items like “goody bags” and “party hats”. Then look at Pinterest and have a heart attack. Rush into Wilkinson’s and panic-buy bunting, balloons, face-paints, and piñatas until you have a party theme, and that theme is pirate-Frozen-Mexican wrestler-murderous clown.

7. Cater for all diets
Leave the baking to your husband, who creates three cakes – one gluten-free option, one “cake for the adults”, and one magnificent M&M-filled rainbow cake that’s covered in e-numbers; delicious e-numbers that you absolutely cannot eat because you’re super-allergic to them. Eat some, obviously, because you have no willpower, then run around town trying to find industrial-strength antihistamines as your face gently swells like an inflating balloon.

The inside of Herbie's birthday cake, and also the reason why I can currently see through time

A photo posted by Stuart Heritage (@stuheritage) on

8. Be on top of the party prep
On the morning of the party, head to the venue with your list, decorations, and triple-checked party goods. Arrive and immediately realise that you’ve forgotten the changing bag. Come home to fetch it. Return to the venue and discover there is no music in the room. Return home to fetch a BlueTooth speaker. Fail to find a BlueTooth speaker. Return to venue resolving to play Musical Chairs by beatboxing your-fucking-self. Grimly put up bunting and pick at the catering.

9. Be on top of party games
After a single glass of wine, get distracted by guests, and completely forget how to play Pin the Tail on the Donkey. Do your best, but then find your shirt being tugged by one of the younger party guests. “Robyn, will there be any good games at any point?” He asks you. Your baby then falls asleep for the duration of the party. Give up, scatter face-paints among the children, and drink more wine.

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10. Keep a note of who gave which gift
Come home after the party, at which point your baby wakes up and wants to play. Pour yourself a) more wine, and b) the contents of your handbag, which happens to contain the considerable leftover catering. Eat curly fries and allergy-cake while your baby rampages through his birthday presents and you swear never to throw another birthday party again.

Herbie vs presents

A photo posted by Robyn Wilder Heritage (@orbyn) on

Happy first birthday, Herbie. Sorry your mum’s an idiot.

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