When I asked Riley what sort of birthday party he wanted, the last thing I thought he would say is an Army themed party! I remember my husband turning to look at me with his head shaking side to side as if to say, not a chance! However, after much consideration, we decided to roll with this theme and give Riley an action-packed Army themed garden party.
The day was very much structured as an outdoor party so we were praying for good weather as otherwise, we would have ended up with 12 very energetic army boys running around inside the house… OMG, that was just not going to work!
Thankfully, luck was on our side. The party was in the afternoon and the rain clouds had blown over by lunchtime with the sun trying to shine through at 2 pm. To give the boys a full army experience, Matt created an assault obstacle course equipped with under and over logs, balance beams, cargo net crawls and hay bale mounds.
The boys created their own shooting targets for the nerf gun range. We attached them to two large pieces of cardboard and hung them from the football goal post (to reduce the number of lost nerf bullets, we placed a few old dust sheets over the back of the goal post).
The party bags were naturally army themed as well. I bought camouflaged paper loot bags and filled each one with;
- x1 Army dog tag
- x1 Toy soldiers (1 tub was £1 from Poundland, click here to see a crafty post from them using the soldiers)
- x1 Packet of Haribo sweets
- x1 Cadbury’s bar of chocolate
- x1 Mini bubbles
- x2 Sticker sheets
To ensure the children’s eyes were not hurt from any flying nerf bullets, I bought some safety glasses from Amazon. I would definitely recommend these to anyone thinking about doing a similar party!
I decided to make Riley’s camouflage birthday cake and opted for a chocolate cake recipe with chocolate fudge and fondant icing. I have to say, I was pretty darn pleased with the results! The cake tasted amazing and is one I would definitely recommend you to recreate – it was really soft and moist. I think the use of golden caster sugar certainly helped with the flavour and moistness.
- 225g/8oz unsalted butter, softened
- 225g/8oz golden caster sugar (I used Billington’s natural unrefined cane sugar)
- 4 free-range eggs
- 220g/7¾oz self-raising flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 50g/1¾oz cocoa powder
- Filling & covering: I cheated and went with a ready-made fudge icing from Betty Crocker!
- Camouflage Icing: Green, Black and Chocolate flavoured ready to roll icing
1. Preheat the oven to 160C Fan. Lightly butter two loose-bottomed 20cm/8in sandwich tins and line the bases with baking paper.
7. Create a circle with the plait and then roll it out to be a flat smooth layer of icing, ready to place over the cake. Use greaseproof baking paper to roll your icing out onto as this will allow you to lift it easily and will not get stuck.
8. Once placed over the cake smooth the edges and neaten. I used some ribbon to tie around the bottom of the cake to hide any loose ends.
9. Lastly, decorate the cake. I used a personalised name topper from Bearcub and Co Designs, toys soldiers, an army truck and a hand cut fondant icing number 6.
With the party in full swing, the boys had a fantastic time getting into true army spirit!
To feed my little soldiers I laid on a spread of pizzas, vegetable sticks (carrot, cucumber and red pepper), hummus and breadsticks. Followed by grapes, chocolate fingers and party rings – all the classics! We finished the day with the lighting of the candles on the cake and singing Happy Birthday to Riley.
Hope you enjoyed taking a look into how our army party unfolded!