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Mila’s 3rd Gluten-, Sugar- & Dairy-Free Birthday Party

sugar-free birthday party 3

Mila’s Rainbow Flower Fairy Party


By the time Mila turned 3 we had been thrown into the world of Tinkerbelle (besides Peppa Pig, this was all she had seen on TV) and so it was that Mila chose to have a ‘fairy party’. I was keen to avoid a Disney themed and branded party and since Mila absolutely LOVES flowers and nature, and already had a rainbow coloured fairy dress – I made it a Rainbow Flower Fairy Party’. (I had made her a fairy garden in one corner of our very little garden – it is still, to this day, where she spends most of her time.)



The expense of a birthday party


I must say – this is something that caught me by surprise – birthday parties are EXPENSIVE! Especially when your little one is so young – ALL the friends come as well as their parents, they love having a theme and decorations to go with it. I do realize there are ways to scale them down – cheaper and less food, invite less people, less décor etc. The thing is… I wanted Mila to have decorated parties, with gifts and entertainment and with all her friends in attendance because I believe in the following…


Celebrate, because life should be celebrated!

I strongly believe that the day that you entered the world should be celebrated and have ritual around it. For Mila and I at this point in time, life had knocked us over the head quite hard a couple of times already and celebrations were in short supply (I had gotten divorced and my sister-in-law had been diagnosed with stage 4 cancer). I wanted to show Mila that no matter what is going on, there is always reason to celebrate.


Make the circle bigger.

Since Mila is an only child it is very important to me that she is surrounded by a large circle of friends and family. As an only child I want her to know that she has many people who love her and who she can count on in life.


Imagination, Creativity & Togetherness.

I have a strong belief that Imagination and Creativity are the assets that will get you through life, enable you to solve its problems, rise to meet its challenges, allow you to succeed in whatever you choose to do and, connect you to ‘The Source’/God and yourself. It’s also just so much fun!



As Einstein said


“Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.”




“Imagination is more important than knowledge.”


It is very important to me that Mila explores and develops her creativity and so for two months every year, I prioritise craft when Mila and I make the décor for her birthday party. She loves the dedicated time together, she sees an idea materialize into something tangible, and I thoroughly enjoy the time spent being creative with my hands in a way other than cooking.


Cost savings.


Some ways I tried to limit the costs of the party are to have it at home or in nature (to avoid venue costs) and to make my own décor and gifts.


Making the money go further.

As organic free-from food tends to be more expensive than the alternatives, and since I tend to go overboard on the décor I always try create decoration and gifts that can be re-used after the party. (See below for how I did it this year).


At the end of the day Mila’s parties are expensive. But I have to say, that I really feel it is money well spent for the value they add to our lives on so many levels.


Back to the Fairy Party…



As we live in an incredible part of South Africa called The Garden Route which is known for its semi-tropical forests, it was a no-brainer to have the party in the forest. There is an absolutely idyllic place called Jubilee Creak – deep in the forest, with dense vegetation of ferns and hundred-year-old trees, a large open picnic area with a little bubbling stream running though it – just perfect. Entertainment would be taken care of by nature.


Ah…. No!


This part of the world is also known for its unpredictable weather! The week leading up to her party (set for the Saturday) saw us having very uncharacteristic torrential rain storms! Even though the weather forecast was for the Saturday was partly cloudy, the dirt roads into the forest would have been unusable.


Last minute venue to change to our house – with very limited outside under cover options, a very small garden for energetic 3 year olds, and a very small inside area for energetic 3 years olds AND their parents… oooooh just what an anxious mom needs!


[note to self: for Mila’s 4th party find a venue bigger than our home that has inside and outside areas to cater for energetic kids AND their parents come rain or sun.]



I had loved the silhouette from her second birthday party so much so I decided to do another for these invitations. I also really wanted another life size one to stick on my wall next to her 2 year old one (as it happens I never got that far!).


At first I thought I would do a watercolour painting for the invite… mmm that didn’t turn out too well!

We had so much fun taking the photos from which I drew the silhouettes!

The line drawing I did from the photos.

The Invitation

The invitation was sent out digitally via WhatsApp and email.


You can download the blank invitation PDF here if you would like to customize it for your little one’s party.




What was it I said after Mila’s second party? Ah yes – note to self: make something easier for Mila’s 3rd birthday party! Nope… Mama took it up a level! I made wands for gifts AND fairies for décor.


As I have mentioned in my post on Mila’s Second Birthday party


“I love gifts – both giving and receiving them and while I don’t completely understand why kids are given gift bags when they leave a party, since I love giving gifts so much I did want to have something for Mila to give to her friends as they left. What I definitely do not understand at all, is why children (after spending a few hours eating party food) are then given a gift bag full of more ‘party food’ to take home! So to avoid that lunacy, I decided to make something – something that didn’t result in temper tantrums and would last for longer than a few bites. I got my ‘craft’ on…”


This year I was bitten by the craft bug again and made these fairy wands for each of Mila’s friends – because every fairy needs a wand and some fairy dust! I got the idea from a wand I had seen in a shop some months before.

Dowel sticks painted.

Ribbons made from tulle.

Ribbons bows and bells added.

The final touch… an essential bottle of fairy dust!



Besides making the wands this year I got very busy making décor: Fairy rings and flower fairies!


Flower Fairies


As the crafting did the year before, the decor took me a couple of months – but I have to say, I find it very relaxing spending an evening making something with my hands. I found out how to make make these fairies online – click here if you are interested in making some too.


The makings of a flower fairy.

We even bought stockings and dyed them to make the wings!

The fairies were a BIG hit with the kids!


Since I loved them so much and wanted to keep them for décor in Mila’s bedroom after the party was done I had some difficult conversations with 3-year-olds about why they couldn’t take one home with them :0 (I did sneak one each to her besties and cousins!)

Fairy Rings


Since Mila’s party was meant to be in the forest, I wanted to make some décor that could show the way for people – it had to be colourful and big to be noticeable against the tall forest trees. This is what I came up with. So easy to make: simply get some coloured hoola hoops (which can be re-used as hoola hoops after the party); some different coloured ribbons (again, these can be re-used for gift wrapping or crafts after the party); and fairies cut out of wood (and yes, they too can be re-used as décor or toys after the party).


They were quite effective as décor at our home too!



I have noticed that often, for kids, the main anticipation and excitement around a birthday party tends to be the food. And since many of Mila’s friends are used to ‘conventional’ party food, and are not going get that at her party I always try to keep the kids as busy as possible with lots of surprises along the way – that way, the focus isn’t on “how much junk food can I eat” or in the case of Mila’s parties “where is the junk food?!”


If you have a small garden or home to use as a venue for the party, bubbles and tattoos are great entertainment options!



Cost effective and thoroughly entertaining for the little ones! A party isn’t a party for Mila without bubbles! I designed and printed stickers and wrapped them round the bottles of bubbles so they matched our party theme.

You can download the sticker labels here.


I found temporary fairy tattoos at a local fairy shop – the kids always love getting a tattoo!



There were some favourites from the year before, and some new creations – by far my favourite… homemade marshmallow!



On the menu:


  1. Cake (because I had learned the year before that icing 30 cupcakes is VERY time consuming!) – recipe in my cookbook.
  2. Marshmallows (get the recipe here)
  3. Sour Gummy Sweets (a hit from last year’s party – get the recipe here.)
  4. Popcorn (make sure it’s non-GMO corn!)
  5. Fairy Chocolates (get the recipe here)
  6. Date Balls recipe in my cookbook.
  7. Fruit Wands
  8. Watermelon Juice recipe in my cookbook.


As Mila was now at play school, she had two cakes – one at her party and another for Birthday Ring at School.

The mushrooms bases on the second cake are made from marshmallow – insert a toothpick and a strawberry on top and voila – edible fairy mushrooms!

Berries and edible flowers are ideal cake decorations – colourful and tasty! There are more cake decoration ideas in my book Mila’s Meals: The Beginning & The Basics

You can find this recipe in my book Mila’s Meals: The Beginning & The Basics

It doesn’t get much better than this! Gluten-free, sugar-free, dairy-free raw chocolate!

Get the recipe here.

You can find this recipe in my book Mila’s Meals: The Beginning & The Basics

Simply blend chunks of watermelon (seeds and all), pour through a sieve and serve!

Get the recipe here! (These sweets are delicious – and good for the gut too!)

mila's meals homemade marshmallow recipe

Oh these Marshmallows! They are sooo good! You know the flavour a braaied marshmallow has? Well these have that flavour without the black crust 🙂 They are also a medicinal food thanks to the gelatine… yes marshmallow that is delicious AND nutritious! Get the recipe here!

Simply blend chunks of watermelon (seeds and all),
pour through a sieve and serve!

The Birthday Food Table (squashed in under the little bit roof cover and next to Mila’s Fairy Garden.)

The Result?


All in all – what a great day!


When its raining outside – come inside, turn the music on… and dance!

Mila was so sad when it was all over 🙁

Up next… Mila’s 4th birthday party – a Frozen Party (of course!).

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1 thought on “Mila’s 3rd Gluten-, Sugar- & Dairy-Free Birthday Party”

  1. Avatar
    Brigit Harris

    Thank you so much for sharing this! I just recently found your website and am fairly new to this journey with a dairy-free little girl, and I am dairy and gluten free myself. One thing I have been so worried about is birthday parties… because once you start on this journey, you quickly learn that there is so much rubbish in the food we eat so I’ve been on a mission to change that for my family! Just yesterday she told me she wanted a Flower Party and I turned around and said ‘What about a Flower & Fairy party?’ 🙂 So I am so excited to find this blog page today and all this wonderful info.. thank you! My first stab at a gluten free, dairy free cake just came out the oven and it smells good!

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