I went to a children's party yesterday, which is why I look like this. This time, the hosts got it right - lots of adults, abundant booze, children of similar ages, and a raffle in which I won a bottle of home-brewed gin which could remove a stubborn Ben 10 sticker from a wardrobe door. But oh, it could have so easily gone the other way. That's why before you throw a kids party, you need to observe these simple rules.
1. DON'T DO IT FOR THE KIDS
Children's parties are not about kids. They're about parents needing to Get Out Of The House. (Unless you hold the party, in which case they're about Totally Destroying Your House). When you're a parent, you'll do ANYTHING to get out of the house. ANYTHING to avoid that deadening, crushing feeling of being inside at 2 in the afternoon doing a Zingzillas jigsaw. So don't expend too much energy on entertaining the kids. Pass the Parcel is genocide with added sellotape, musical statues are boring as fuck (oh, look, Finn moved! Zzzz) and nobody gives a flying one about where the donkey's tail is. We just want our kids to go and play in another room so we can strap the wine box to our faces like a horse's nosebag.
2. SAY NO TO SELF CONSCIOUS HOMESPUN BUFFETS
Did you make these biscuits? They're delicious...where did you get the recipe? Oh, I just found it on the internet. Really? Wow, I just made Nigella's Scrummy Yumptious Smuggle cake - hope I don't poison anyone- HAR! Oh, I'm sure it's wonderful. Everyone's made such an effort. Have you seen this swan carved out of aspic and these cupcakes decorated with angel spit and this homemade vegan onion bhaji in the shape of the birthday girl's face?
Remember, party thrower - before you get all red in the face and start 'making' the buffet - it's not 1953 anymore. Nobody has time for this shit. Go to Asda, buy 60 packs of salt and vinegar cartwheels and stick em in a bucket. Job's a good un.
3. GET THE GUEST LIST RIGHT
Remember that dreary cow at your NCT class? Don't invite her. Or anyone who says things like 'Oh, Mordecai can't have anything with eggs, chocolate or joy in it.' Instead, invite loads of hot dads and drunken mums with low self esteem, and maybe the guy in the Co-Op, just to mix things up a bit.
4. DON'T TALK ABOUT PARENTING
Whenever someone starts to say 'Amelie has been teething' or 'We're having a terrible time with Amstrad - his tantrums are awful', get an air horn and let it off inches from their face. Then, pass around conversation flash cards with the words 'Sex', 'What I Really Think of The Father Of My Child' and 'Weird Perversions' written on them. Pour vodka shots into their eyes and then watch the fun begin.
5. IT'S CALLED A 'GOODIE' BAG FOR A REASON
Goodie bags need to be packed to the gills with a) dangerously bouncy rubber balls b) arse-achingly annoying squeaky things and c) enough sweets to cause diabetes in rats. There also needs to be a warm, squashy shop-bought piece of cake in there, wrapped within an inch of its life in cling film - a piece of dirty, dirty cake you can steal from your child while he/she is getting busy with a packet of Haribo. The goodie bag is no place for rice cakes, Organix snacks, Ella's smoothies or FRUIT. Put fruit in my (I mean, my son's) goodie bag and I will punch you in the canteloupe. OK? OK.
MOST MISGUIDED FAKE TV SPIN OFF MERCHANDISE EVER
I was passing dusty old lady department store Watt Brothers in Glasgow last week, when I chanced upon this.
I mean, where do I start? Perhaps 'Sex 'IN' The City' is the tale of Kerry Bagshaw, who lives on a council estate in Rotherham and is really looking forward to watching Dancing On Ice on her cheap brown dralon sofa. What other deeply inappropriate merchandise lurks out there? The Sex On The City Haemorrhoid cushion? The Sex Of The City Walk In-Bath? The Carrie Breadshaw Bread Maker? (Actually, the amount of yeast infections she probably got, that's maybe not so outlandish.) Proof, if needed, that Sex And The City has jumped the shark, while wearing a faux Slanket.