I’m working hard to teach my daughters that they can be anything they want when they grow up – astronauts (“really?”), footballers (“no way mum, I thought only boys could be footballers”) or business-owners (because they’ve both decided that’s what they want to be – as opposed to my job in an office which they say isn’t really “proper”)
For a long time, they both wanted to be princesses, and without going over-the-top, I explained that being a princess might not be all it’s cracked up to be, doesn’t particularly involve talent, and does not, contrary to their expectations, automatically mean living in a castle.
So far, so 21st century normal.
Therefore it’s with certain amount of defensiveness that I confess to having my seven-year-old’s recent birthday party in a “Princess Parlour“.
Nail-painting, hair-curling, blue-eyeshadow, and many, many Frozen costumes. “Let It Go” playing in the background, and the movie on a big screen. A table for beading, and one for colouring, and a big, pink, fairy-tale castle. Very, very princessy. But there’s also a pirate ship, Ninja Turtle and Superman costumes, and enough swords to keep a class of seven-year-old Elsas battling for hours – without chipping the blue nail varnish of course.
The Princess Parlour is part of Enchancia Party Venue and Play-Café is owned by Naomi Cullen, a business-woman who decided four years ago that this could be a viable enterprise. She started out with a Princess Parlour in Leopardstown Racecourse, but recently moved to a new venue on Merville Road in Stillorgan. She designed and fitted it out over the last few months, transforming the space with a pink fairy-tale castle, chandelier lighting, a dresser with vintage crockery, white picket fencing around the party area, and the all important coffee machine for the attending parents.
And it’s fantastic – Naomi puts huge effort into making sure that the party runs smoothly, and that every child is included in the activities. Her staff are equally enthusiastic, and took time to learn the names of all of the guests at our party last week. They chatted to the kids, made a huge fuss of the birthday girls (ours was a joint party) and were genuinely interested in making sure everyone had a great time.
And when all the pirate-princess battles had been fought, when every nail was painted blue, and when each mini-Elsa was tired from running around, they sat them down at the long, pink-covered table for pizza and chips, followed by popcorn and treats. For our party, the cake option we chose was two separate stands of cupcakes, so that each birthday girl had her own candle-blowing-wish moment. The Princess Parlour also provides goodie bags for each guest to take home. So the only preparation required from parents is to invite the guests, and of course, pay the bill.
In terms of cost, having a joint party works well – depending on the number of guests, it’s pretty much in line with the cost of having a party at home, or at least it is, if like me, you buy far too much food and far too many prizes, for fear of running out on the day. And then there’s the clean-up … This was our first time trying a party in a venue rather than at home, and I could be easily tempted to do it again by the lack of clean-up alone.
I was hugely impressed by the prettiness of the venue, the attention to detail, and the professionalism of the owner. But more than that, I loved Naomi’s enthusiasm for her business – it’s inspiring to meet a woman who has followed through on her vision and made a success of it. Maybe more than anything, that’s a positive influence that my daughters can take away from our day at the Princess Parlour.
This is a review but I didn’t receive any payment or any freebies for it – I just really, really enjoyed the party and wanted to say something nice about it!
Oh, and there were actually guests there, but I’ve picked photos that only show my two daughters 🙂