So my darling daughter has turned four and her request was for a mermaid party. She hasn’t shown any particular interest in mermaids until now, so I don’t really know where the idea came from, but it has been Operation Mermaid at our house for the past few weeks since we returned from holiday.

First task was to put my friend Esther from Sugary Goodness to work creating the centrepiece of the party – the magnificent mermaid cake. I gave Esther some rough ideas of the theme and my inspiration, and she came up with this amazing design, crafted entirely by her skilled hands. Isn’t she sensational! And the mermaid even looks like Poppy.



I’m completely in awe of anybody who can bake an edible cupcake, as I’m the worst baker on the planet, but to be able to make this kind of creation is a marvel to me.



Esther’s attention to detail is remarkable. What patience and a steady hand. Plus she has two young children and works from home.


Now as if the cake isn’t enough – here are her exquisite cupcakes. Each one a work of art. Esther made all the delicate little sugar decorations, shells, flowers, pearls, coral herself. I just love how she managed to get the pale pastel shades so right. IMG_4086




And Esther’s treats don’t just look good, they are absolutely deliciously moist, light, flavoursome and delectable. But it’s a sin to eat them.


Here are the gorgeous oyster shell cookies. Again, I can’t actually make a cookie. I have a disability in that department. I just can never get the dough right, it doesn’t roll, I can’t cut the shapes, the icing is rubbish and they never taste good. So to me, these are just a remarkable accomplishment. Notice how she made the shimmery little pearls and hand-dragged the pretty coloured icing in each one. I can’t imagine how time consuming this must be.


Esther’s other great achievement was the beautiful coral stems she created for these cookies and the cupcakes. She hand piped each one, aren’t they divine.


So now to the party. I had planned and designed my dessert table to go outside on the deck, with a fishscale backdrop I had made, a curtain of  crepe paper seaweed, a sea of jellyfish, pom poms and balloons. It was all supposed to hang from the ceiling and have the feeling of an underwater world. Well, it poured most of the day, so the only thing that was underwater was the deck. Literally. So the result is not what I had hoped for, and doesn’t really do Esther’s cake justice, but given we had our first open for inspection on Saturday and I started all this preparation on Saturday afternoon, then it poured, I hope she’ll forgive me.


Unfortunately I held off deciding where to set up the party until the last minute (Sharnel would not approve!), in the hope that the rain would stop miraculously, but it didn’t. So with only ten minutes to go I chucked everything on the dining table inside without much thought (I was still in my trackie pants with no make up at this stage!) and it didn’t present nearly as well as I’d hoped. But Poppy loved it as did her guests and that’s what is most important.IMG_4157

I bought the mermaid costume on Ebay, and it actually came from the UK. But Poppy complained it was too scratchy (the cheap Chinese netting I imagine!), and as it was quite cold she had to wear a long sleeved top underneath. Not the perfect outfit, but she was pleased and managed to keep it on the whole time.


Don’t study the table too closely if you’re a dessert table guru, it was all plonked in a bit of a hurried rush. I made the backdrop by tracing a plate onto 8 different colours of card stock found at Spotlight and Lincraft, some plain, some pearl, some glittery which I then cut out. I bought a sheet of foam core from Bunnings, and placed them in the pattern I wanted before gluing them down. I didn’t take progress shots I’m afraid because I did all this the night before and was a little pressed for time.


In keeping with the sea theme, I found these cute little white buckets at a discount shops and filled them with lollies. I found the cellophane bags in a pack of 20 at Lincraft, they are almost A4 size and the buckets fitted in perfectly. I had the ribbon already, but made the mermaid tails. I just drew the shape on some cardboard to make a template, then traced them on different cardstock that was left over from the backdrop and glued them on.




Ariel the Mermaid was the entertainer for the party. It’s the first time I have had an entertainer for a kids’ party, and I’m so glad she was there. Having 20 kids in the house was a bit of a challenge, but she wrangled them all well and kept them delighted for an hour with songs, games, balloon shapes and face painting. The little girls all thought she was heaven.


My poor sad looking jellyfish, which were supposed to be hanging from the pergola on the deck had to be relegated to the living room curtains when the heavens opened and it was all rushed inside. I made them out of plastic bowls, which I painted and covered in glitter. Then Poppy and I glued the tentacles made out of streamers to the under side.

Amelia is growing up so quickly. She is trying to walk and has managed 41 steps, which Charlie tells me is her new record. He counts them every time!



Her birthday was this morning, and she was delighted with her Marianne doll from Pottery Barn Kids. And insisted on wearing her new party dress to kindy. I told her she wasn’t allowed to do any finger painting today!


All images by Melinda Hartwright.

If you’d like to get in touch with Esther from Sugary Goodness about her stunning cakes, cupcakes and cookie creations you can see more here. Her prices are very reasonable and her work exquisite.
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15 Responses to A mermaid princess party

  1. Faux Fuchsia says:

    Gorgeous all of it. Your kids looks adorable too.

  2. Bonita says:

    Everything looks amazing. I especially love that Poppy wore her new party dress to kindy. She has style! xx

  3. Anastasia says:

    Happy Birthday to sweet Poppy!!! It all looked so cute!!! If only I had a girl…… maybe I could try it with one of my boys 🙂

  4. pretty pink tulips says:

    I’m absolutely in love with the Mermaid party you threw for Poppy!!! I am all about embracing a child’s interest and running with it. I’m planning a Mad Science party right now for my soon-to-be 9 year old son, based on the party Sharnel threw for her son.

    Happy birthday to your sweet little girl!
    xoxo Elizabeth

  5. Absolutely adorable Mel! I remember hiring various Disney characters for my son and daughter’s birthday parties. They helped with kid-crowd management! Your friend is so talented and I’m sure you hesitated just a second when you cut in to that gorgeous cake! Happy Birthday to your daughter:)

  6. Cute idea…love the cake and cupcakes…your daughter looked like she was having a great time…..she is so adorable!

  7. thebuzz says:

    Those cakes were just too pretty to eat! Looks like Poppy had a wonderful time – what a great mom you are!
    C + C

  8. Can I come back as Poppy in my next life? Seriously girl you need to become a party planner extraordinare!!! What can’t you do well? You are SOOOO talented….just beautiful!

  9. Kirsten says:

    You did a fabulous job for Poppy’s party Mel – everything looks brilliant and Esther’s cakes look sublime…..such a pity about the rain – it’s a bummer when you envisage how you want the whole thing to look and something out of your control messes it up!!! ever the stylist though – you managed to pull it all off! Best of luck with the house sale too – can’t believe you are selling that gorgeous home! look forward to see what you do next though – kx

  10. Monica says:

    I adore the theme and the Tiffany blue you used on the cake and those pink shell cookies that is awesome. Happy Birthday to Poppy!! all your work will be the talked and pinned for a long time including Esters Sugary creations.

  11. Sue Fogarty says:

    Everything looks fabulous, shame about the rain. My grandson will be 4 next month and he is having an Octonauts party and I have been tasked with making a Captain Barnacle cake. Thank goodness for pinterest and You Tube!!!

  12. craftydomino says:

    My daughter (same age) has been obsessed with mermaids the last couple of months without a reference I could understand. Turns out Disney are relaunching The Little Mermaid this month and the advertising is everywhere!

  13. OMG – you sure know how to put on the most gorgeous parties. I so want you to adopt me … pretty please xx

  14. OH I love it so much Mel – we would have been in mermaid party zone at the same time! Steph x

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