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High tea birthday party on a budget

high tea party on a budget

My eldest daughter turned 6 last year and asked for a high tea with a few of her friends from school. While this sounds like a super cute idea, we didn’t want to spend 100s and 100s of dollars on her party. So, we set out to turn this high tea party into a super memorable one for her… without breaking the bank. So here’s how we had a high tea birthday party on a budget.

1. Invitations that Spark Excitement

We created anticipation for the celebration by sending out charming invitations. I designed these ones up in Canva and then just printed them on my home printer. Don’t forget to include all the essential details like the date, time, location, and any special dress code or instructions that will add to the party’s magic.

2. Tea cups and party favours

I have quite a few fine china cups at home that I inherited from both my Grandmothers. No way did I want to use these for a bunch of 5 and 6 year olds though, so I had to come up with another savvy way to make this work. I started browsing the op shops in Dunedin and found that a set of a cup and saucer was about $3.50 each. This was a little more than I had intended to spend, so I kept looking.

I got a little lucky when I stumbled across a box of 40 cups and saucers for $10! FORTY! Okay, this was a little more than I needed, but WOW, I couldn’t pass up this bargain. They were only ceramic ones, but they were painted with a cute floral design which totally tied into my theme. The girls would never know the difference either, so I very quickly snapped up that box. I only ended up using 10 of them for the party, so I gave a few away to a friend and some more to my daughter’s kindy. The others are now stashed away in the garage for when I might need them again.

Those tea cups were such a score that I decided to use them as my party favours for the guests to take home. I went one step further and used my cricut to cut vinyl to personalise their names on them. The girls absolutely adored this!

2. DIY cake

I’m no cake decorator by any means, but I’ve always made my own kids birthday cakes. Each year I gain a little more knowledge on cake decorating and am slowly able to put those skills to practice. Doing the cake yourself is such a money saver.

To fit in with the high tea theme, I attempted to make a lambeth style cake. This was a lot harder than I thought it was going to be, but it was a fun challenge and I learnt a lot. I absolutely adore the colours that my daughter chose. I finished the cake off with a handmade cake topper.

3. Scrumptious Treats (Cucumber sandwiches anyone?)

The highlight of any tea party is, of course, the delectable treats and it’s not a high tea without cucumber sandwiches. I simply cut the crusts off some bread (which I saved to turn into breadcrumbs later to avoid waste). I then mixed together cream cheese, mayo, dill and lemon juice and spread that over each piece of bread before topping with the cucumber and another piece of bread. Every single sandwich disappeared very quickly! I call that a win when I can feed children vegetables with zero effort at a birthday party.

I also spruced up some wafer biscuits to give them a little wow factor. Wafer biscuits cost $1.50 in NZ and I semi-dipped them in a pink white chocolate ganache and topped with some sprinkles. They definitely looked the part of a children’s high tea.

We served child-friendly tea (AKA warm Ribena) in cute little teapots. To avoid spillage, my husband and I poured each cup of tea.

4. Cupcake Decorating activity/party favours

During the party we also took time to do cupcake decorating. This was a hit! I had made a few different colours of buttercream in advance and they happily added sprinkles and decorations. I made some fun little teapot cupcake toppers to finish them off with. The girls placed their finished masterpieces inside their personalised cups at the end of the party and were able to take these home as a fun keepsake. I know some girls are still using their teacups 6 months on!

5. Tea Party Games

We then tried to engage the young guests with interactive activities that tied into the theme. Pass the parcel is one of my least favourite party games, so I wasn’t keen on incorporating that. But we did have a game of “Pin the lid on the teapot”. I printed out a large teapot on an A3 piece of paper and then printed out some matching teapot lids. I just used my own template, but I’ve seen posters and downloads on Etsy if you wanted a little shortcut.

We finished off with a game of “Freeze” to the “I’m a little teapot” song. Kids love this game as it just ends up being a dance party, so we played this for quite some time.

My 6 year old had an absolute blast and loved how we themed her high tea party to make it that little bit extra special.

Hope that helps as you plan your next high tea birthday party on a budget.


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Best Buttercream Recipe

I’ve made quite a few cakes for my daughters’ birthdays now and each year I get asked about my buttercream recipe.

This recipe was given to me from my mother-in-law in the States and it is life changing. It’s easy to make and works beautifully every time. It gives a beautiful smooth finish and tastes DELICIOUS!

Just five simple ingredients:

  • Icing Sugar
  • Vanilla
  • Butter
  • Kremelta or other vegetable shortening. I know, it sounds weird! But trust me on this!
  • Water


First, I want to touch on my secret ingredient. Vegetable Shortening! GASP! I know!

I will always use Kremelta (or another vegetable shortening) in place of butter in my buttercream for three reasons.

  1. Kremelta is white in colour. This is especially important if you are after a white buttercream. The yellow colour of butter can often taint your buttercream and ends up giving you a french vanilla colour instead of pure white. When you use Kremelta, you can be sure that you’re actually going to get a white buttercream. I often use a 50/50 butter/Kremelta mix which provides the rich flavour of butter, but produces a whiter buttercream.
  2. It’s hard at room temperature. This is also really important in the hot summer months. Nobody wants a beautifully presented cake only to have it droop away in the heat. It’ll hold it’s shape in any weather and also in your hands when using the piping bag.
  3. It helps create a light and fluffy texture.

For a crumb coat, I’d suggest adding a little bit more water until you have a whipped cream consistency. This will help lock in those crumbs.


Don’t skimp out on this step. BEAT IT!! Using an electric beater, it’s important that you beat all the ingredients together for about 10 minutes. This is to ensure that you have a light and fluffy buttercream. I promise you, you wont regret it.


Yes, definitely. I’ll often make mine a few days ahead, add the colour and let it rest for a few days before I use it. Letting it sit for a few days can help intensify the colour too (especially when using rich colours like red). This buttercream will be fine in the fridge for up to a week and can even be frozen for up to 3 months. Nobody wants to throw away leftover buttercream, so you’ll often find my freezer has a few different colours of buttercream all ready to go.

And there you have it – the best buttercream recipe ever! I hope you love it as much as I do.

Please let me know what you think and feel free to ask any questions – I’m always happy to help.

Best buttercream recipe

Best Buttercream Recipe

Total Time 15 minutes
Course Dessert
Servings 1 six inch cake


  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 1/2 cup Vegetable Shortening (such as Kremelta) 96 grams
  • 1/2 cup Butter 113 grams
  • 4 cups Icing Sugar
  • 3 Tbsp Water


  • Add Shortening and Butter and beat together for a minute
  • Add vanilla and beat for a further minute
  • Add 2 cups of icing sugar (one cup at a time) beating in between each cup
  • Add the water
  • Add the remaining icing sugar (one cup at a time) beating in between each cup
  • Beat together on full speed for 10 minutes


For stiffer things, like piping flowers, use all shortening and no butter.
For a crumb coat, add a little more water until it's about a whipped cream consistency.
Keyword buttercream, cake

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Cake Topper Sizing Guide

Cake topper sizing guide

Cake toppers are the key to making your cake shine.  Whether your cake is a homemade one or a professional one, a cake topper is what gives it the gorgeous finishing touch that it needs.

However, if you’re new to the party game, figuring out size can be frustrating and that’s why I’m here to help you nut out that decision and make it easier for you to purchase just what you need.

Below is a cake topper sizing guide to illustrate the suitable different sizes.

Selecting the perfect cake topper size.

One of the most frequent questions I get asked is “how do I know what size to use?” Does it really matter? Yes, it definitely does and it’s not as daunting as it seems.

The size of the cake topper all depends on the size of your cake so make sure you know the diameter of your cake before purchasing a topper.

If your cake is quite busy and you’re wanting a smaller subtle topper to finish it off, then I’d suggest purchasing a cake topper that is 1cm-4cm smaller than the diameter of your cake. The size here mostly comes down to the look you are wanting.

If your cake is a little more on the simple side and you’re wanting the topper to shine, then I’d suggest going for a topper that is exactly the same width as your cake OR a centimeter or two smaller.

No matter how busy or simple your cake is, I’d never suggest going bigger than your cake.

Here’s an example: I made this cake for my daughter’s birthday a couple of years ago and used a 15cm diameter cake and 15cm wide cake topper. The cake itself is quite plain – all the detail was happening on the top. This “one” topper can be purchased here.

If your cake has more than one tier, choose a cake topper that is the same size or slightly below the diameter of the top tier. This general rule of thumb goes for any multi-tiered cake, whether you have two tiers or ten tiers.

Please also note that the height of your cake topper will change depending on the number of characters in the name. For example, a topper that says “Max” and is 15cm wide is going to be taller and have larger letters than a topper that says “Stephanie” and is 15cm wide.

All my cake toppers can be found here.

Drop a comment below if you found this helpful.