I can remember it like it was yesterday. I had been so convinced that I would go in to labour earlier than my due date (I now recognize that was “hope”). I desperately wanted to meet him and the 30th May always felt a million years away. It’s funny because in my head it was so scheduled. I even had my “labour” clothes laid out. I thought of everything, down to a bobbin for my hair. You do that kind of thing while you are indefinitely waiting for the biggest thing in your life to happen but not quite knowing when it will happen. One day “over-due” rolled around and for the next ten days I started to feel like I needed to be rolled around. I was booked in for an induction on Monday 9th June. A lot of people had told me that it’s quite common to go in to labour right before your scheduled induction and that is exactly what happened to me. In the early hours of the morning my waters went and at 13.34pm our wonderful baby boy was born. Baby Byrne became Billy Byrne. If you want to read our birth story the post is here.
Fast forward four years and life has never been the same. It’s never been better. He is the absolute light of our lives and we genuinely can’t remember a world that didn’t involve him. He is the most amazing little boy. Full of chat and curiosities about the world around him. I’ll do a post next week about what life with a four year old looks like but for now I wanted to share with you how we celebrated his 4th birthday at Celbridge Playzone.
I am incredibly grateful to have been gifted this party from Celbridge Playzone. They got in touch with me last year to ask if I would like to collaborate with them to show people what they have to offer for their parties and at their play centre in general. This is not an Ad and no payment was exchanged but I did not pay for the party and I am delighted to be sharing our experience with you.
The whole experience of having a party at a play centre is completely new to me. Billy’s first birthday was in our house when we had the space. His second birthday was at another house we lived at and then his third birthday was a tea party in my aunt’s house because we didn’t have the space. We are in the same situation this year so a play centre was the perfect solution. It also happens to be the first year that Billy actually attended a birthday party at a play centre. He’s attended two of them and now he knows that they are a “thing”.
Let’s start with location. Celbridge Playzone is actually so accessible. I’ll admit that when I seen the word Celbridge I immediately thought that the location would be an issue. Like, why Celbridge? Well – why not? I couldn’t believe how easy it was to reach. We live in Dublin 12 and it took us 21 minutes to drive there. It’s a really straight forward drive and Google Maps brought us there really easily. The more I thought about it the more I considered that actually the people we were inviting were coming from all over. We had friends from Tallaght, Clontarf and Blanchardstown to name but a few. You’ll never find a location that suits everyone and everyone got to our party with relative ease. There was ample parking outside the venue too which makes all the difference when you have children.
When we arrived at Celbridge Playzone we were immediately impressed. Some play centres are awkward to park at and often involve a lift and can feel like a bit of a maze to get in to. This was literally a case of opening the door and everything being right in front of you. We arrived and were immediately met by a little “party check in” desk. They had a big bucket with Billy’s name on it ready to collect the shoes of all of his friends as they arrived. They also had a big bag to collect presents. By the time you go to your party table or room they have the bucket of shoes and the bag of presents ready and waiting for you which is just so convenient and efficient. Billy’s party was booked in from 2pm and it was going to be taking place in the Pirate Ship. When I heard that you could have a party on a pirate ship I was immediately sold. They also have a Princess Castle and a number of themed party tables.
As soon as we all arrived the kids could immediately go and play in the play area. There is a separate area for small children and toddlers and then a bigger area which our lot gravitated towards. It has everything you could want in a play centre and one of the most attractive things, for me, was just how safe and clean it all felt. The lay out is really brilliant because the cafe part is right in front of this main play area so I feel like you could actually relax and have a coffee while your child played safely right in front of you. There is also a really cool car track which Billy kept going back to time and time again. I was so impressed with this!
There are some extras at this play centre that make it really special. The climbing wall was a huge hit. It’s just €2 to have a go on it and quite a few from our party happily parted ways with that amount of money. It was a proper climbing wall with harnesses and it was just such an exciting experience for the kids. Billy loved it!
After the kids were sufficiently shattered from the running around there was an announcement for Billy’s party to come to the Pirates Ship. They sat down and every single one of them got a Pirate Hat and eye patch to wear. I just thought this was a great touch and the kids were so excited. The Pirate Ship itself is so impressive. It’s spotless and has everything a kid could ever want. The attention to detail is unreal and will no doubt leave a lasting impression for all that attended. Within minutes the kids were given their little plates of chips, chicken nuggets and sausages. There were also large jugs of juice (orange and blackcurrant) as well as ketchup for those that wanted it. The kids filled up on their grub and the adults had a nice tea or coffee and a couple of sandwiches which came in a platter (you can add these on as an extra for €23). It was really lovely.
When the kids had eaten they all naturally wanted to play some more so they ran back out to the play areas for another while. This gave the parents a chance to chat and it worked out really well. After some time there was another announcement to come back to the pirate ship for Billy’s Birthday Cake. This is the ONLY thing we had to provide. Celbridge Playzone even provided Party Bags which I think is just brilliant. We had given them the cake when we arrived and they brought it in to us with candles on it and plates and forks to serve it. Billy sat on the big chair at the Pirate Table and we all sang happy birthday to him. He was absolutely over the moon and it brings a tear to my eyes even now. It makes me so happy that he felt so special. A staff member cut up the cake and we started to pass it around to all the kids and adults.
I have to mention the cake because it really turned out AMAZING. I made Jolene’s Chocolate Biscuit Cake. Jolene runs the lovely blog One Yummy Mummy and has a Facebook Page for great recipes for the whole family. I had tasted her cake at a birthday party a few months ago and I just knew I had to make it. I followed the exact recipe but I doubled it so that I got a nice big 10 inch cake, a smaller 8 inch one for his school and a little left over for 3 mini cupcakes so that we could do a taste test the next day without interfering with the actual cakes. I highly recommend using the Cadbury’s Caramel Spread because it seriously made the cake. I then decorated the outside of the cake with Aldi’s Giant Caramel Buttons and a cake topper from www.edibleimages.ie. We have ordered a cake topper from this website every single year and it is such good value. The personalized cake topper comes in a variety of sizes and with every character you could possibly imagine. And all for just €7.99 (with free delivery anywhere in Ireland). Oh and before I forget – use the good stuff when it comes to the chocolate. I used two 200g bars of Cadbury’s Dairy Milk (so 4 when I doubled the recipe) and I would also recommend crushing the digestive biscuits in to a fine powder with just a few larger bits rather than a lot of large pieces. The consistency is what makes this cake. I genuinely can’t wait to make it again. Thanks Jolene!
After the cake it was time for the Pinata. Yes an actual Pinata. I think I was more excited than the kids. A really lovely member of staff helped us encourage the children to form a line and starting with the birthday boy they all had a go at trying to break the Pinata with a big bat. They LOVED it and it was such a quirky extra. Eventually the Pinata spilled bags of sweets on the floor and all of the kids excitedly gathered up their stash. The buzz of it all was just brilliant.
By this stage everyone was ready for home. We put the bucket of shoes outside the pirate ship and Peter and some of the lads put the presents out in to the car. It was stress free and the whole thing just seemed to run so smoothly.
Billy had the time of his life at his birthday party at Celbridge Playzone. I 100% from the bottom of my heart cannot recommend it enough. It had everything and the only complaint of the day was the heat which was mother nature’s fault as the weather was gloriously hot on Saturday. The staff, the venue and the little extras made for such a special birthday experience and I will genuinely genuinely consider booking his 5th birthday here.
The entire party would have cost us €294 and I can truly say that would be worth every Penny. This included 15 children (€17 a head) at the party on their Pirate Ship and included all food and drink for the kids as well as a party bag for all and the pinata. Every child got a pirate’s hat, an eye patch and unlimited juice. Every child got their plate of food and a large amount of time at the play centre so it really was good value for what was included. I had no idea of prices for parties but having done my research I realize there are a number of different avenues. Many of my friends paid in or around the €300 mark for their children’s parties but agreed that this was great value considering all you had to do was show up with a birthday cake. There is also a LOT to be said for not having to get your house “party read” and deal with the massive clean up after. My own friend made the comment that she will be spending more than that on a party at home when you include all the entertainment extras and food/drinks. She’ll also have a mammoth clean up after. I loved that tea, coffee and sandwiches could be provided for the adults too. As a parent I would really appreciate this little extra.
Thank you sincerely to all the staff at Celbridge Playzone for working with us on this and for giving my little boy an unforgettable 4th birthday party.
I’d also like to add that in general as a play centre I will DEFINITELY be visiting. The cafe is lovely and there is so much to do. It takes me 25 minutes to get to a play centre in Dundrum. This is a 20 minute drive away and it has totally put things in perspective for me!
If you would like to see my videos from the day, you can check out my Instastories highlight here