Salesi turns one

And just like that, my baby is one.
I still remember the day he arrived so vividly; the overwhelming joy, my relief, David's perplexed 'another boy?!' reaction and Salesi's angelic little face. Even fourth time around, knowing how fleeting those first precious months are, the big one still manages to creep up on you!
One thing I was determined to do is celebrate Salesi's first year of life like I would any of my other boys (regardless of pecking order) - and that's with a big bang!
A first birthday celebration is something you'll never EVER get to revisit. 
It's a precious milestone, a big pat on the back for mum and dad and a chance to celebrate the wonderful little person who has provided so much joy over the past 12 months.

Themed first birthdays (in full costume) have always been 'our thing'. 
Tevita dressed as a little Island Boy for his 1st Beach/Tropicana celebration, Maikeli made an adorable moo-cow at his Farm themed party and Tomasi switched between giraffe and zebra for his Jungle themed bash. Nautical was the obvious choice for 'Salesi the Sailor'... plus I've secretly always wanted to dress my boys in matching sailor suits, just like my mum did to my sister and I in the 80's.

I'm going to share with you ALL the details and a 'behind the scenes look' of Salesi's first birthday. A self styled affair, drawing on a few trusty suppliers and eight years (or 18 parties) experience and many lessons learnt! 

The sweet stuff

My cake lady (miracle worker) is a godsend. Before Instagram (BI), I came across Janene of Sugar Top Cakes via word of mouth (how outrageous, I know!) 
As a new mum, I was incredibly overwhelmed by the task of planning my little angels first birthday party and heavily relied on advice from close family members. Fast forward eight years and I'm still calling on Janene (more often than ever!) to create magnificent masterpieces for my boy's birthdays. She is a true perfectionist; no detail is too minor or too difficult - trust me, my boys have requested some beauties in the past! 
Salesi's nautical cake exceeded all my expectations. From the monogram anchor to the rope cord and perfect little sailboat, her creation was truly a work of art.
The cake topper bear (which doubles as a keepsake) was moulded in an identical outfit to our birthday boy - right down to the pleats in his trousers! I told you she's amazing!
** If keen to have Janene create a cake for your next occasion, I suggest touching base early (months in advance) as she's is in high demand.

Now onto all the delicious sweets which graced our dessert cart and were almost too pretty to eat! Lisa from Burnt Butter cakes was my the mastermind behind Salesi's Christening sweets and is always my first point of call. She's a wealth of knowledge and after briefly discussing my theme, rattled off a dozen possible dessert ideas - from crab croissant's to anchor biscuits to fisherman floater pops. After much deliberation (and budget cross checks!) we decided on anchor stamped cupcakes, sailboat jelly cups and customised no 1. biscuits. Lisa worked closely with Emma Smith Stationary to create the anchors and sails to enhance her desserts.  

Displaying the scrumptious desserts was also made easy thanks to Burnt Butter's hire service. All stands shown on the dessert table - wooden, white, short, tall and tier cupcake - were hired from the Burnt butter online store. Piece of cake really. 

** For additional mouth watering sweets try your local bakery. We source our yoyo's and mini cinnamon donuts - a hit with the kids and steal at $2 a dozen - from Woodland Street Bakery. Preorder is essential as they sell out daily.


Entertainment or lack of, can really make or break a kids birthday party, so I recommend prioritising funds to maximising fun. 
First birthdays can be particularly tricky when it comes to sourcing the right type of entertainment/child wrangler/occupier/distraction as the age group of partygoers can vary significantly. At Salesi's Sailor Soirée we had a small contingency of crawlers, a handful of toddlers, a large number of primary aged kids and the odd teen!

 I decided on two separate forms of entertainment; for the youngsters I brought in local legends The Toy Tent. These guys specialise in soft play furniture and will ensure your tiniest guests are full of smiles... and well contained! We hired the 26 piece soft play set, ball pit and soft animal ride/climb ons. The Toy Tent arrive early, lay a safe foundation, set up soft play items and then return to pack it all up again. Fantastic service and a brilliant, safe entertainment solution for under 5s.  

For the older kids, Amazing Ashley lived up to his title and had the entire room mesmerised by his incredible magic tricks. Not only is Ashley amazing, he's also incredibly reliable and an all round fantastic human! You see, Ashley wasn't actually booked to perform at Salesi's party, his magic mate Tricky Nick was! But Tricky Nick's wife had a few tricks of her own and went into labour (3 weeks early) on the morning of Salesi's party!
Never fear ... Tricky Nick phoned Amazing Ash and 5 hours later, Ash arrived at our venue, with his furry friends in tow, ready to wow our audience! We'll definitely be hiring Amazing Ashley for future parties and highly recommend his services.
** A picture really is worth a thousand word, big smiles + happy eyes = A+ entertainment. 

A feast fit for a sailor 

Time to talk grazing tables. They're the latest catering trend to take the event world by storm, and while they look absolutely fabulous, can be extremely pricey to outsource!  I contacted 5 catering companies to gather quotes for our party and was taken aback to hear they quotes from $1700.00. Next best option, DIY. With the help of my resourceful Italian mother, we created our very own grazing table to feed 120 guests with change from $450! Did I mention we had left overs? (Italians always over cater!) 

Here's our grazing table shopping list ...

Bucket of Bocconcini
Black Pitted + Green Stuffed Olives
Sun Dried Tomatoes
Capsicum with Stuffed feta
4 x Variaties of Cheese
4 x Variaties of Dip
Sopressa Salami
Pancetta +/or Prosciutto
Mortedella + Ham + Mild Salami (kids)

Fresh Figs + Strawberries
Dried Apricots
Green + Red Grapes

Mixed Salted or raw nuts + Almonds
Wafer Crackers + Savoy Crackers
Mini Toasts + Pretzels

Breadsticks + French Sticks
Ciabatta + Dinner Rolls


Lets move onto decorations! First up balloons.
Leading up to Salesi's birthday I had seen so many breathtaking installations on social media, however keeping to our modest balloon budget (entertainment and catering took priority!) we decided to utilise balloons to frame our dessert table rather than as a stand alone piece.
I was recommend to touch base with Tina from Shivoo Balloons and she suggested the set up as shown; 2 confetti balloons with iridescent tassels plus 4 large solid coloured balloons in colour ways to compliment the theme. The balloons exceeded my expectations and were the perfect choice for an 'under the sea' feel.

It ain't a Rodan 1st birthday party without costumes! Our boys absolutely love seeing their extended family get in the spirit of their themed parties and I'm 99% sure our family love it too - judging by the lengths they go to! *Except for that one time Uncle Gordy showed up as a Lion to Maikeli's 1st Farm Party! (miscommunication, he flew in from Brisbane and was told to dress "animal".... we still laugh about the 'lost lion' to this day!) 
We sourced our Sailor Costumes were from two different websites - for G rated adult sailor suits and for the boys two-piece outfits. 
The birthday boy was dressed in a Sailor Shortie by Sarah Louise from Childrensalon and Early Days navy leather 'Robin' pre walkers, also from Childrensalon

Lastly I decided to pay a visit to The Prop Shop in Spotswood for some oceanic props. There are literately aisles upon aisles of props for every theme imaginable. I walked away with a couple of weathered crates, 2 fishing nets, a seagull, a long chunky wharf rope and ring bouy. For a week's hire, most items cost around the $10 mark (or less), making it a cost effective way to self style an event.


Party stationary, including our A3 welcome sign, name bunting, favour bag tags and labeled water bottles were sourced from the clever Jen at Love JK Australia. The design chosen was one of her stock nautical templates (she has hundreds on hand or you can supply your own artwork.) Themed stationary ensured everything tied in beautifully and provided the perfect finishing touch.

Party Favours (aka fishermen tackle boxes) were a huge hit with our little guests.
The idea came from a Pinterest (of course) and with a few small modifications they came up a treat and complimented our theme perfectly. Tackle boxes and floaters were sourced from Anaconda, twine from Spotlight, tags from Love JK and blue "bait" from The Biggest Lollies Shop in the World

Our centrepiece, a stunning white Dessert Cart from Styled by Coco was the perfect addition to our spaceI had originally planned to use an old wooden trestle as our dessert table (rustic oceanic feel) however by chance my girlfriend (who happens to be one half of Styled by Coco) had last minute cancelation and kindly offered the cart our way! Yay! 

Lastly, the venue! We decided to keep it close to home - given we were dealing with a potentially overtired baby! The PACE function room adjoins to our local church, is modern, fresh, clean and large enough to host 100+ guests. It's indoor and outdoor undercover spaces are ideal for year round gatherings and active toddlers! To enquire, head here.

Thank you to the talented Lisa Frieling for beautifully capturing Salesi's 1st birthday.
 Images and memories we'll treasure for a lifetime x