Ethical Girl London Turns 27!
Biodegradable & Eco-Friendly Party Ideas
Here’s the thing about birthday parties – there’s often a lot of mess, isn’t there? A lot of lovely mess to be sure, but mess all the same. I turned 27 this year and I was lucky enough to have an absolutely scrumdumptious party; live music with musicians, yellow and pink flowers adorning the tables, bunting and glitter strewn from room to room for every guest to enjoy. Short of having your ultimate eco-birthday party in a forest glade surrounded by naturally-occurring flowers, food and liqueurs, with friends singing and dancing sans glitter, flower crowns, or recorded music… (I mean, who doesn’t want this?!) – one needs to have some environmentally-friendly alternatives. So that’s what I’ve found! They’re all here, along with some of the ideas we used for this birthday party as well!
First of all, the flowers. Flowers brighten every room and a birthday party in spring, summer, autumn or winter will have seasonal flowers relevant to its time of year. However, this sometimes means gathering flowers from a disgruntled neighbour’s garden, picking from a woodland nearby that’s best you shouldn’t or buying cut flowers from companies with questionable or untraceable growing methods. May I recommend Flowers From The Farm as a membership organisation for artisan and smallholder florists and growers which circumnavigates these pitfalls. This is a platform where you can search for your preferred British seasonal flowers –
“Although the majority of British flowers are sold during the summer months: flowers can be grown in Britain all year round. Scented Narcissi start to come out of Cornwall and the Scillies in October: tulips from Lincolnshire are in the shops for Christmas. Many of our members are skilled at forming gorgeous winter foliage, scented shrubs and the winter flowers into amazing displays during the shortest days.”
Patchwork and Lace, Shabby Chic Spring / Summer Bunting, £7.95+ – Available here
Next, the bunting. Beautiful patchwork or printed floral bunting is an investment piece that can be used for generations to decorate the rooms or garden and festoon them with that signature ‘Alice in Wonderland’ tea party feel. The bunting we ordered was handmade by Patchwork and Lace and The Bunting Bar, who we found on Etsy. Pack it away in a drawer to keep for next time, or lend it to a friend! I always try to choose craftspeople based in the same country so that items don’t incur any air miles to get to me.
The Bunting Bar, Tea Party Fabric Bunting, £2.95+ – Available here
Cut out the electronics and invite live performances. I am very lucky to have friends who are musical and don’t mind performing at random, but you can recreate this festival feeling too. If you’re looking to ramp up the energy and introduce guests to music and dance that invites participation, I recommend spending a little extra on the party and booking a ceilidh caller (someone who knows all the moves to Scottish or Irish traditional dances for groups) and a fiddler to accompany your playing. Two of our guests were Rosie Hodgson and Rowan Piggott, both of whom regularly dance English traditional such as Morris Dancing and Lancashire Clogging, but also know many Scottish and Irish dances. It wasn’t planned, but we ended up having a ceilidh dance in the living room with Rowan accompanying and Rosie calling the moves. It was a lot of fun, everyone who wants to join in can, and those who don’t can sit back and enjoy the dance!
Both Rosie and Rowan are folk musicians and have full-length albums available here:
Glitterlution have the widest and most impressive range of biodegradable glitter on the market today, and their experience in crafting these gorgeous colours and cuts is second to none – they are the longest-standing biodegradable glitter company out there, having inspired many others to use the same supplier in subsequent years. I always turn to them to offer my guests the full eco-glitter effect at parties so they can either glitter up themselves or ask another guest to do it for them! Handy tip: choose a lip balm to rub onto the skin prior to applying the glitter – it sticks better!
A lot of party-goers, myself included, have often turned to stick-on plastic face gems to bedazzle themselves for the big day. However, these are very difficult forms of face decorations to find a sustainable alternative for – one that is either biodegradable, recyclable or produced using environmentally-friendly practices (i.e. probably not plastic) by small businesses rather than colossal companies. I haven’t been able to find any up until now, although the search goes on! Enter Face Florals, who I found on Etsy and immediately made one of my favourite go-to festival-wear shops. These are real flowers that are dried and pressed, packaged beautifully and applicable to the face in any way you wish. These botanicals are gathered seasonably by artisan Hanna Webb in Glastonbury. When I asked whether a certain design I had seen was in stock for my party, Hanna came back to me to explain that it wouldn’t be because those flowers are only available in a certain season, hence all designs were gathered and sold seasonally, in keeping with the pace of Nature – just the way I like it.
Festival Flower Tattoos / Mixed Small Flowers – £6.50 – Available here
Mixed Eco Wrapping Paper by Blank Inside – Available here
I have a system with my birthday cards whereby I keep every one that I receive (I really do – I have boxes for them) and then make a collage with them. I intend to frame each year and then one day adorn my house. I came across Blank Inside when searching for eco-friendly wrapping paper and birthday stationery made from recycled materials. They specialise in 100% recycled paper printed with vegetable inks. Each one is designed in East Sussex.
Briars Designs is another favourite of mine – ‘textile art inspired by Nature’. All handmade in Godalming, England using recycled materials and embroidery onto fabric.
Honeysuckle Greetings Card, £2.95 – Available here
Vintage Pastels Dried Flower Crown by Pixiewood Flowers, £17 – Available here
Flower crowns – my absolute favourites. I always try to buy handmade in England ones that will last forever. My current flower crown has been with me since 2011 and it shows no signs of wear and tear if you look after it!
Violet Retro Crown by Sophie & Luna, £240 – available here
Flower crowns by Love From Paris, £5.95 – available here
Large Gold Ivory & Rose Flower Crown by Starcrossed Beauty, £16.95 – available here
If you would like to learn how to make your own flower crown, check out this handy guide!
For biodegradable and recycled tableware I recommend:
For biodegradable, plant-based glassware I recommend:
As you can see, we have already chosen the e-boutiques and craftspeople we would like to buy from for our next festivities! Now to decide on the occasion…