Children being pampered at Mini Spa For A Girl Child.
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It's not your birthday until you pose with those number balloons on social media - or so it seems.

In recent years, there's been a shift in how people celebrate their birthdays, many choose elaborate dinners that rival wedding receptions. Who can forget Bonang Matheba's pink soiree of two years ago?

The demand for unique and elegant celebrations is very high. So it only makes sense that this decadence would filter through to even children's parties.

Gone is the one-size-fits-all recipe of just balloons, a cake and a clown. Children's parties have gone from just buy anything Mickey Mouse to pamper parties. These parties often provide a spa experience for your little angel and her friends.

They get to be primped and everyone feels like a princess for a day. It's proven to be a burgeoning business and individuals such as Zanele Rambau, the owner of Mini Spa For A Girl Child, are filling the gap in the market.

The mother of one started her business in December 2016 after realising that her daughter, who was four at the time, enjoyed getting her nails done.

"Lately if you can notice, us parents we want everything for our children and another thing what I see other parents doing, they are having a different way of birthday for umtwana unlike back then when we had jumping castles.

Zanele Rambau, the owner of Mini Spa For A Girl Child.
Image: Supplied
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"Now it's something that the child can enjoy and talk about. I realised that if you can just decorate nicely and have the kids eat it doesn't mean that much to them. but if you do something with them or to them they'll be like, 'ooh mummy, I got my nails done'. It's something that they are able to talk about, parents want the best for their kids and I see it's something different," Rambau says.

Her clients are between the ages of three and 16 years old. You do the party and she supplies all the spa equipment - the foot spa, towels and robes.

She offers a foot and hand massage, a neck and shoulder massage, manicure and pedicure and they also provide the little ladies with fruit cocktails and goodie bags to round off the experience.

Rambautakes on a minimum of five children, the maximum depends on the parent. She charges R80 per child, depending on location.

"Business has been very good and you know when it's quiet I appreciate it because I get to spend time with my family. But when it gets busy it does get to the point where Saturday and Sundays I am working.

"I'm getting positive feedback from clients via social media and word of mouth." 

Cake making now a form of art 

Just as party themes and celebrations have evolved, so have the cakes.

And what's a party without cake? Gone are the days of rushing to the convenience store to get mass-produced cake to celebrate. Nowadays, cakes are serious business.

Naked cakes are popular too.
Image: Supplied
Lucia Molefe, co-owner of Mokgalaka Creation, a confectionery business, said the current trend is for cakes "with chocolate, caramel, royal icing or chocolate ganache dripping on the sides of the cake, with some fresh flowers and maybe chocolates and strawberries - almost like a buttercream type of cake with those drippings. People love that at the moment."

"This is trending for birthdays and even weddings. We didn't have that type of cake in the past. I mean, times are changing. There'll be a cake that is in the market that people like and over a year or two it will fade away; something else will come up."

Molefe said there was also a trend for semi-naked cakes that are not covered in fondant .

Molefe has been in the cake making business for 13 years.

She left her job as a social worker at the department of social development and says she fell in love with the artistry of it all.

Dripping cakes are all the rage.
Image: Supplied
"I love art, it's the love of artwork more than anything. I've always been good with my hands, I believe...
"I remember in one of the organisations that we were funding from the department they were doing icing flowers so to me it was just something else to see a flower that looked so real. It looked like a fresh flower and it was something that was made by hand.

"It's a love of artwork, the love of creating things with my hands that drove me away from my full-time employment to what I'm doing right now" she said.

In her former job Molefe dealt with a lot of social issues and even counselled couples. She still sees couples now, albeit for a far happier reason.

"Now I'm dealing with the same people - couples - but in a different way. Now I'm serving them to create their dream cake, their dream wedding.

"We are part of creating their dream wedding journey through a cake," she said.

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