My Second Cousin’s First Birthday Party: A Review

On Sunday my second cousin, Carter, turned one. My cousin and her partner went to extraordinary efforts to make it a day to be remembered, and remembered it will be by all but the birthday girl, whose youth ensures that her recollection of the extravagant day will be basically non-existent.

So how did the party stack up, and how will everyone else remember it? 

The Entertainment: 8 out of 10 

Face painters, a jumping castle, the horse races on the living room’s TV and an old bloke actually yelling ‘Go you good thing!’ – there was entertainment for all at Carter’s birthday party. I was told that I was too old for the jumping castle, which was disappointing, however, I would be able to have my face painted if I wanted. In the end I couldn’t decide between the butterfly design and the lion, so I stuck with my normal face. The music was mostly suitable for the event, though Kendrick Lamar’s new album DAMN. did have a brief stint on the Bluetooth speaker at one point. While enjoyable for some, it was a peculiar choice for the party’s young demographic.


The Food: 9 out of 10

There was quite the spread for Carter’s big day. Roast meats were the hot ticket item – the pork was particularly popular – but, as the family’s difficult vegetarian, I stayed well away. Instead I was served a cheese and spinach gozleme that my aunty, beaming, told me was from Aldi. It was twice cooked, in the oven then the frypan, giving the pastry a beautiful golden crunch, the cheese oozing out from between its layers. Unfortunately, I’d been to a 30th birthday party the night before and was rather hungover, and the delicious, salty gozleme was not an optimal meal in my state of dehydration. I could not finish it, though the effort was sincerely appreciated nonetheless. Other highlights included the salads and the bakery fresh bread rolls, which did wonders for my nausea, as well as the cake, a layered sponge festooned with flowers and purple macaroons.



The Speeches: 6 out of 10

The speeches were short, and one of them, made by the birthday girl herself, was almost entirely (perhaps avant-garde-ishly) wordless. Her father thanked guests on her behalf, and she looked away as he did, focusing her attention instead on the lolly bags perched on the table. Both speeches on the whole unfortunately failed to captivate the partygoers, who were mostly too busy playing with their toy cars and soft toys to listen. Many did appreciate the speeches’ brevity, however, particularly those parents who had forgotten to grab a fresh beer for the toast.

Apparently, the birthday girl was a little more vocal once the party was over.

Screen Shot 2017-05-08 at 4.24.51 PM

The Decorations: 7 out of 10

Purple was the colour theme for the party, with the balloons, tablecloths and cake all conforming. Pom poms doubled as a cheap form of entertainment for the less discerning of the crowd, as did the streamers, and many partygoers set out to prove that the purple swirly lollipops weren’t the only edible decorations. It was a considerable task to coordinate so many decorative elements, and I commend my cousin for her efforts.


Overall Party Rating: B

All in all, Carter’s first birthday was a success. The food and entertainment were the real talking points, while the speeches left a little to be desired. I wouldn’t hesitate in recommending Carter’s first birthday to others, and I look forward to her second.


13 thoughts on “My Second Cousin’s First Birthday Party: A Review

  1. What a jolly time in spite of the obligatory second cousin/uncle hangover, exacerbated by the salty nature of many forms of vegetarian food. Well done on all fronts. We veterans of such events advise against first birthday parties. They are purely for the benefit of the adults in the birthday child’s life. A wise woman once said: Birthdays are great/Birthdays are fun/ But you wouldn’t know/Cos you’re only one. I think there’s something there for all of us.


  2. Great engaging review James. I look forward to reading your review of Carter’s 21st! As a matter of fact, your review for her 1st birthday should be read on her 21st as one of the speeches. I am sure Carter would appreciate it. Hopefully, at the next party there will be more for you to eat than Aldi gozleme.


  3. Wow Carter’s birthday has put any of my past party planning ventures to shame! Outdone by a one year old yet again. Super impressed with the child’s grasp on the avant-garde, how gifted.
    The only thing I would question is your indecision re face paint, always go lion! Always! The answer is clear.
    Definitely inspired to go make some fairy bread and lament my own forgotten 1st birthday. Great read!


  4. I found this review incredibly thorough, while sufficiently tongue-in-cheek. I am personally most impressed by the fact that you even managed to attend a young child’s birthday party while hungover in the first place. Such bright colours, much screaming children. I thought your photography of the event was outstanding, and regardless of age, it is my opinion that it is never a mistake to throw some Kendrick Lamar in the mix. Overall, I’d give this review a solid 9/10 screaming children.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I read this review listening to DAMN. and think it was a great choice for a 1st birthday, kids are never to young to listen to some great tunes. A fair effort in your state to actually make it to the birthday to review. I’m sure Carter will appreciate the ‘B’ rating.


  6. I often wonder at these extravagant parties for toddlers that won’t remember them. Will the parents’ enthusiasm fade as they get older or will they simply up their game? The cynic in me thinks that this kid might have a 15th that involves a mud cake from Safeway and a few friends over to watch Netflix (or future equivalent).
    Excellent review, I give you 10/10 for effort for even considering attending whilst hungover. That’s some next level dedication.


  7. An intriguing and comprehensive review that leaves the reader aching for more. Luscious food photography bring the prose to life, and the analysis of the party in question evokes some of history’s greatest party reviews – from Virginia Woolf’s chilling “Review Of An Office Christmas Party At The AMF Bowling Ally At Knox” to “Nan’s Ninetieth – 4 Stars” by Hunter S. Thompson.

    Alas, I have to be “that guy” and deduct a point for a common but nevertheless wrong use of kinship terms. One’s first cousin’s children are NOT one’s second cousins, they’re one’s first cousins once removed. Second cousins are of the same generation, they have same great-grandparents. So if you have a child, they and the birthday girl will be second cousins in exactly the same way that your parent’s cousins children are your second cousins; but each generation gap is described as a “remove.” So my grandparent’s first cousins are my first cousins twice removed, their children are my second cousins once removed and their children are my third cousins. Perfectly straightforward.

    But nah, me being a dick aside, this hilarious. Thanks for the great read!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. This review brought back recent memories of my nephew’s first birthday party where at the community hall we inherited the decorations from the previous day’s birthday – luckily that was also for a one year old boy! I laughed at Carter’s gaze being captured by the lolly bags, clearly not a reflection on the speeches.


  9. I don’t know if it was intended but this review reads like a written transcript of Four Weddings– if not slighter wittier– and for that I loved it! And with such great communicative skills I’m sure this kid will be rapping along with Kendrick by birthday number 2!


  10. This is the cutest review I have ever read. Thank you for this experience.
    The food and decorations look amazing! I guess the quality of speeches are only going to go up from here.
    A note: you are never too old for jumping castles. You can get jumping castles that are a suitable size for adults. I’ve done the research.


  11. Was so lovely to get some insight on the social event of the year, still miffed I didn’t make the guest list but I guess I have a whole year to work on an invite to the big 2. Speaking of I think 2 Chainz would be a great addition to the playlist next year.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Still good a year later 🙂 Next time get your face painted, you won’t regret it! Your review reminded me one of the reasons I want to have kids is so I can have a legit excuse to throw extravagant parties with themed candy bars x


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