It was a thing of beauty. A class of six year old girls, who only minutes before had been hanging off fixed surfaces and shrieking like fish-wives were suddenly silenced, intently working on decorating their own paper parasol. It was like someone pressed the mute button.
Tricia handed me her card. One side, a small child in a smock decorates an umbrella in simple, bright (and childish flowers). 'I wish I could do one,' I sighed. She merely nodded and when I flicked over the card, the reverse had an obviously adult hand holding a much more intricately painted umbrella.
Tricia explained 'We also do hens nights and shower teas. Adults love painting them.' What a beautiful idea, I thought. I could imagine how much fun it would be to have a hen's party decorating beautiful parasols, which could then be used during the ceremony in a garden wedding.
But this was a kids' party, and it was going unusually well. Tricia and her colleague bring along all the supplies needed for the umbrellas, including smocks for the kids. As a qualified art teacher, Tricia has been developing her own range of products to ensure the end product will look fabulous. The colours are beautiful.
The beautiful colours make your creative juices start flowing
They bring along a range of painted umbrellas to show to children, to give them ideas of what is possible. I was rather hoping my five year old would copy the Mount Fuji and Japanese cherry blossom design, but maybe it was a little advanced for her.
Eventually it was time for cake and the ubiquitous birthday song and then everyone was sent home. What would you prefer your child came home with: a plastic bag full of sugar and cheap plastic toys or a beautiful umbrella they painted themselves? This has to be one of the best 'party favours' around.
Admittedly, it's not the cheapest kids party option around, but it's worth calling for prices because it is definitely comparable to having one of the top notch face painters or party entertainers come, only with the obvious bonus of sending your guests home with a unique gift.