Your little one's first birthday is one you will never forget; it's right up there with some of their other famous first, like their first wobbly steps and funny toddler words. The big 1 is also your first chance to prove your awesome kiddie party planning skills and show that even though you may be new at this game, you can totally ace it! To help you do just that, I've put together a highly detailed list of recommendations (venues, entertainers, cakes, party bags etc) that have been passed to me by local mums. 

Best Venues for Kids Parties in East London:

If you've decided to hire a venue for your little one's first birthday, my advice is to go for a place that has plenty of good recommendations from other local mums. Here is a list of highly trusted places in East London for your baby's first party. 

1. Victoria Park Hub Building or VA Building

2. Tredegar Community Centre

3. St Anne's Limehouse

4. Mudchute Farm

5. Hackney City Farm

6. Stepney City Farm

7. Half Moon Theatre

8. Museum of Docklands

9. Mile End Leisure Centre

10. Discover Children's Story Centre

11. Zap Space


Fun Themes & Decorations

First Birthday Theme

If you're overwhelmed by the choice of themes and decorations for first birthdays, check out some of my favourites below. My advice is to go for something that 1-year-olds will recognise and enjoy, as it will make the celebration even more special.    

1. The Hungry Caterpillar 

2. Peter Rabbit

3. Strawberry party ideas

4. Dinosaur 

5. Little Monster 

6. Ladybird  


Fun and Comfy Birthday Outfits

First Birthday Outfits.jpg

This is your chance to buy that fluffy tutu or a stylish bow-tie! Make sure you coordinate their outfits with the chosen birthday theme and always go for something comfortable, so you're not chasing after a baby who is trying to take off their clothes. Here are some of my favourite outfits from previous cake smash sessions and birthday parties I've attended and captured. 

For girls:

1. Tutu Onesie Dress with Headband 

2. Ballerina Party Dress in Black

3. Floral Princess Dress

4. Mint Green Tutu Dress

5. Rose Flower Crown

For Boys:

1. Pirate First Birthday T-shirt

2. Little Gentleman Birthday Outfit

3. Giraffe Birthday Age T-shirt

4. One Piece Romper with Bow Tie and Suspenders

5. First Birthday Hat


Easy Food Ideas

First Birthday Party Food

Food is just as important for baby parties, as it is for grown-up ones. Make sure to check dietary requirements with guest and if you need to include snacks that are gluten free / dairy free / egg free etc and, of course, have some vegetarian options available. My best advice here is to go all out on presentation. Make a fruit rainbow pizza (image source), build a cookie tower, decorate the cups with stick-on eyes, in short, make it fun! Here are some DIY suggestions followed by a few East London Caterers that come highly recommended by local mums.  You'll also find loads more ideas on my Party Food Pinterst Board.

1. Rainbow Fruit Platter 

2. Orange Octopusses 

3. Parmesan and Spinach Cheese Twists 

4. Mac and Cheese Bites 

5. Lion Veggie Tray 

East London Caterers for Kids Parties

If you have decided to use a caterer for this special occasion, but don't yet know which way to go, my advice is to pop into a couple of cafes/restaurants in your area and see if they could help you out. If you're short for time, simply chose one of the two below and you won't be disappointed. Here's what some local mum had to say about their service. 

1. Lemans "We used Lemans in Leman Street for Sandwhich Platters and they were fantastic. You have so much choice and flexibility and meant that we were not stuck with the odd ones that people don’t want from the usual platters. They worked out cheaper than M&S and a little more expensive than Sainsbury’s."

2. Marks and Spencer Party Food  ''Ya can't fault their kiddie platters and they are so reasonable.''


Fun Games and Activities

 Child Park The Park Soap Bubbles Kid Ku Shin Play

One-year-olds are easy to please if you know the magic word... ''Bubbles!'' which makes this the must-try activity on your party list. Other games and activities that are a clear hit with little ones are finger painting, bowling, a tunnel crawl-through and even a baby race, fun for both crawlers and walkers. If you prefer hiring a local entertainer to keep the party going, here are some great suggestions sent in by local mums. 

Kids Entertainers in East London

Stratford Baby Sensory

Canary Wharf Baby Sensory

AJ's The Party People

Nosila Face Painting

Frog Prince

Happy Kinder Parties

Once Upon a Time (Wapping) Soft Play


Cake Inspiration

cake smash session.jpg

There's no party without cake, and with the exception of for your cake smash, this is usually the first time baby will have tasted cake. It's a bit full of trepidation - will they hate it? Or will they love it so much they'll develop a taste for it? I find that at this age babies don't really remember it for long enough for it to form any long term habit, and in fact in preparation for my cakesmashes, I ask that you give baby a cup cake no more than two days before the session, as otherwise they are unlikely to remember it at their shoot. 

Here are some of my favourite cake ideas, local cake makers and my personal favourite cake baking kit

Airplane Cake 

Balloon Birthday cake

The Tutu Cake 

Rocket Cake 

Circus cake  

East London Cake Bakers

Marina's Cake World 

L'orchidee at Westfield Startford

Lola's Cupcakes at Westfield Stratford 

Violet Cakes


Party Bag Ideas

Party Bag Ideas For First Birthdays

This is the last element of a glorious first birthday and it's one that will surely bring a smile on your guests' faces. My advice is to mix it up and, of course, keep in mind the safety regulations on toys for under 3s. Here are some of my top picks for party bag ideas.  Image source.

 Superhero Masks 

Stretchy Smiley Men 

Dinosaur Gliders 

Mini Smiley Maracas 

Fairy Gliders

Mini Smiley Springs

Animal Head Balloons


First Birthday Musts

1. Immortalise this moment. Plan a Cake Smash Session with your local photographer and watch your little one feast on cake in an adorable, bespoke setting. This is one of my favourite sessions to shoot and the pictures are always gorgeous, from the pre-smash portraits through to the smash itself and then the bathtub & bubbles afterwards. I have a multitude of decorations, backdrops, outfits and props which you can choose from at my East London studio. Please don't hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions.

2. Family Time. Get everyone involved in the preparations for this special first party. Grandparents, Aunties and Uncles are usually delighted to be asked to contribute, even if in a small way, to the success of this event. Make sure you take plenty of family pictures on the day and make everyone feel a part of this special moment.  If you can, book a photographer, so you don't end up responsible for logistics, trying to catch up with guests and being photographer on the day. If you can't book a local photographer, don't be shy to ask other guests to share their phone photos with you - they're never the same as the real thing - but you will still get a range of memories you may have otherwise missed.  

3. Create a Time Capsule. This is such an awesome thing to do for a little one and it's something they'll cherish forever. You'll want to include items that are important to your family and your little one, such as a couple of beautiful birthday cards they've received on their first birthday (make sure to include the one from their grandparents), family pictures from the day, one of their favourite toys, a video recording of family members and their messages for your baby's 18th birthday, some coins and banknotes, stamps and a national newspaper. A nice idea is to get your family members to imagine what the world would look like on your child's 18th birthday and put their thoughts down on small notes which you can then include in your time capsule. 

4. Start a birthday tradition. A family birthday tradition is a great way to keep track of your little one's journey through life. Write them a letter each year on their birthday and tell them about that year's funny moments, milestones, include a picture or two and let them know what you, as parents, learned from that year together.


I hope my list of suggestions above will help you plan a fantastic day. You have so much to be proud of and to celebrate. May your day be filled with the memories of your baby, and the friends and family you've shared these past 12 months with.


P.S. If you have any comments, suggestions or recommendations of your own, please do add them below and share this blog with friends and family whom you think would find it useful.