If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook you’ll have seen a few posts about Operation Double Digit Darcey. My little daughterling Darcey turned 10 on 1st August and it was to be the very first time she was away from home on her birthday. She was at cub camp. This I found was a bigger problem for me than for her. She thought it was totally amusing that I was upset and that I wouldn’t see her at all on her birthday – taking great pleasure in telling me that the first thing she would see when she woke up was one of her besties Esme’s face. They knew they’d be sharing a tent at camp and couldn’t wait.
Now not being a pushy mum or even that over protective – quite the opposite if I’m completely honest – I was having none of it so I hatched a plan.
The cunning plan: Operation Double Digit Darcey
I asked the Cub leaders if I could come up and surprise Darcey with a party on her birthday and they all thought it was great idea. The only problem- she was going to be in Dorset – a long 3 ½ hour journey away from Kent. For just one night! Not a problem at all I thought.
My thinking was to take Beau and my nephew, Asher (Darcey and Asher are inseparable to the extent that we call them Dasher!) but my sister wanted to come along too. Instant party in a car!
Decorating a mess tent
When the cub leaders told me to get to the Cub campsite at 4.30 as the cubs would all be out on activities and the coast would be clear to set up the mess tent I admit I didn’t really know what to expect. As it turns out the Mess tent is where the cub leaders set up tables for all the cooking burners and tables with benches. It was basically a marquee/dining room.
As I shoot for Talking Tables I thought this would be a great time to make use of their tropical decorations. They very kindly provided me with enough bunting, plates, cups and honeycomb pineapples to create a riot of colour in an otherwise plain tent. Darcey loves a splash of bright colours and these ranges seemed perfect
Styling it out – cub style
Being an interior stylist I had big ideas on how the space would look once I’d decorated it. Beautiful bunting filling the roof, fan decorations hanging at every possible point. Pineapple decorations filling the tables. But in reality I was faced with a massively wide tent with a very damp atmosphere. From about an hour away from Dorset on our drive up it started to drizzle which very quickly turned into a downpour that just wouldn’t stop. The front of the marque was open and it was cold and wet.
We all got to work hanging decorations – all the time expecting the cubs to return at any moment. Half the cubs were doing archery and half – including Darcey were kayaking- in the rain. They could have finished early at any point. We needed to be quick.
I did a quick Facebook live video of what the mess tent looked like to share with the other cub mums who hadn’t seen their kids in days.
Once the tables had been set with crisps and sweets and all the decs had been hung we hid in the gazebo next door. It had sides and the cubs weren’t going anywhere near it. They headed straight into the mess tent – ready for dinner without a clue that we were right there!
As soon as Darcey arrived we pounced! “Surprise” we yelled. She was completely gobsmacked! She couldn’t believe we were there. It was only then she realised why the cub leaders had kept her birthday so low key – so that this moment would be all the more special. It took her a moment or two to realise what was going on and once she was over the sheer embarrassment of your mum being on camp she was thrilled and got totally over excited. One of the cub leaders had arranged for everyone to sign a card for her without her even noticing.
When Beau asked her what the best part of camp was she replied “My party” and that was magic to my ears.
The Birthday cake
As always, I made her a birthday cake (I have a cake blog incase you didn’t already know that) and I wanted to make something quick and easy. When will I ever learn that cakes are NEVER quick and easy.
To start with I forgot to add the baking powder! The deep, light and fluffy cake became a bit of a dense chocolate pancake. I filled and smothered it with chocolate buttercream thinking that at least the cubs would enjoy it and went for a tie dye effect with the royal icing.
If you meet Darcey she will always say “Namaste” with hands together as she bows her head. I don’t know where she got it from but she does it all the time. If you ask her a question “Namaste” . If you ask her to get her shoes on or brush her teeth “Namaste” . It’s really funny. She is also permanently upside down. She is the cartwheel queen. In the supermarket, in any car park, on the pavement on the way home from school. Anywhere there’s a bit of open space she’ll be there twirling around upside down. So I made a cartwheeling Darcey model for the cake. Lastly, I put her name and a nice big ’10’ on the board and cake.
I think it was a winner by the look on her face!
So in all after a very wet night (we stayed overnight in our pop up tent at a campsite nearby in the continuously pouring rain) we left a very happy Darcey and some well fed campers
Disclaimer: Massive thanks go to Talking Tables for providing me with enough party decorations to transform a boring old mess tent into a Darcey worthy party marque. She loved it and so did the rest of the cubs. x