It was Calum's Birthday this weekend just gone; to celebrate we hosted a Tiki themed party in my folks' garden. Calum hasn't had a proper party since he was a kid so we decided to go all out and we set about planning our slice of Polynesia in Surrey, England. I thought I'd share some of what we got up to:
First things first, you cant have a party without guests so I quickly got on with designing some invites (I will seize on any excuse to do proper invites)! After a bit of research into Tiki design, I chose bright tropical colours, tiki god graphics and 1950s style typefaces to give a mid century tiki bar vibe.
To match the invites I designed a bar menu, food menu and a 'tiki bar' sign. In for a penny......
What would a tiki party be without a tiki bar? After a bit of searching we found a source of free used pallets (thanks Dad), we then spent an afternoon pulling them apart and reusing the wood to make our bar, the centerpiece for our garden decorations. Not bad for the price of a few nails and a couple of hours?
Essentially the bar is made up of three pallets, one across the front, and two half pallets on either side, with the extra wood used where needed. We made sure the bar was sturdy enough and even had the forethought to put in a shelf under the bar to hide all the extra bottle and juice cartons out of sight.
How do you turn an English country garden into a slice of Polynesia? Well Pineapples are a must, and we searched local charity shops for anything that was remotely tropical! We then added in some brightly coloured ceramics (including these awesome tiki mugs we found on amazon). I found some paper honeycomb pineapples, and some paper garlands from Tiger - a brilliant source for party supplies and low cost homewares - finally adding in some other bits and pieces we already had to complete the look.
One thing that can really add atmosphere in a evening party is the right lighting. We found some cool Tiki Lanterns to place around the garden for that Luau feel, and hung some low cost paper lanterns with LED lights for the trees and around the bar. For a tropical scent we placed a dozen of Yankee Candles' Pineapple Cilantro scented tea lights around the garden in jam jars. We recently invested in some festoon lighting from Lights4Fun, and finished off with getting some Christmas lights out of storage and stringing these across the garden. Once the sun set the whole effect was something quite magical!
For me it isn't a party if you don’t have a signature cocktails or two (or in this case 4). We had a couple of drinks dispensers to make life easier, who wants to spend the whole evening mixing cocktails? But I did get to use my cool new mason jar style cocktail mixer for Hema (a bargain at just £3) to mix a couple of Blue Hawaiians just to get the party started!
Calum came up with a Polynesian Punch of his own invention (I'll get him to write down the recipe and will share it soon) we also found a recipe for an appropriately tiki sounding cocktail 'The Voodoo" - Dark rum, red vermouth, fresh lime and apple juice. We severed Pineapple Lemonade as a non-alcoholic option.
As much as I love a cocktails or two, they are not for everyone. To make sure the beer drinkers amongst our friends didn't feel left out we got in some Kona Brewing Company beers all the way from Hawaii. We had Fire Rock Pale Ale, Big Wave Golden Ale and Longboard Island Lager to choose from.
The menu was Calum's doing, and what a good job he did! We had plenty of Sushi (bought in, we're not stupid!), Hawaiian sliders (mini burger with a pineapple on top), a prawn platter, cheese and pineapple and his pièce de résistance - 24 hour cooked Pulled Pork in a BBQ sauce - I am trying to convince him to share the recipe for this, I'll let you know how I get on!
Lastly it wouldn’t be a birthday party if there wasn’t cake, we are very grateful to our friend and Neighbour MJ for his Tiki cake extravaganza (there are not other words for it apart from extravaganza) The cake was ridiculously awesome and tasted delicious too! Thanks MJ!
We had an amazing evening and thank you to all our friends that came along, it was great to catch up. A couple of sore heads the next day, but we are already planning our next party!