How to organise A slumber Party On A Budget (Part 1)

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My daughter turned 10 yesterday and because her birthday fell on a Tuesday we decided she could do something special last weekend.

I guess I thought she’d just want to have a party… Ok its a load of tidying up and a little preparation but I didn’t mind… Honest!

She did opt for a party but one of a different kind… Sleepover AKA… slumber party. I had a little think about it and decided that yes she could, but she was only having a maximum of 5 friends stay over the night.

In the end she opted for just 4 of her friends and as one couldn’t make it just 3 came! Nonetheless, 4 girls in total was actually more than enough… Girls can be bitchy to one another, even sweet little ten year olds ( or so I discovered).

So, they received an invite that stated “Please bring Your Sleeping Bags” and Alice excitedly awaited the weekend.

Me, I wanted my “Not” so little girl to enjoy herself but I still wanted to stay sane during the process, especially given I’d be parenting a demanding 3 year old toddler and a melt down prone almost teenage boy with Aspergers Syndrome on the side. With this I sat down with Alice and we brainstormed on things they could do to make the sleep over exciting and fun but also in a cost efficient way (its January not one of my best months for money).

Here’s a few ideas we came up with…

Home made girly bunting & other decorations for the bedroom
Tattoo bar (temporary of cause)
Nail bar (again temporary)
Hair Bar
Face Painting
Girly chick flicks accompanied by a hot chocolate bar and popcorn cups
Monster High Cupcakes
Few little gifts on the night
Personalised girly gift bags (for when they leave)
Board Games
Karaoke
And more besides… She made a reasonable size list!

We came up with an agreement that was …

Alice could have the sleep over, mum (that’s me) would make the decorations and cakes and bags with Alice’s help. On the night Alice would be provided with all the supplies to have an awesome time but she would then need to use them as she wished… example being that she would not once tell me she was bored! She would organise her hair and nail bar and create her own schedule for the nights event. The only rule being was that all these things were done by 10 pm and then it was time to settle down with hot chocolate and watch the movies provided. I would also be making dinner at a set time so she would need to organise her fun around this time too.

The party Shop…

I decided a trip to PoundLand was in order. It was the perfect place to grab some materials for the nights events.
It was here that I stocked up on treats like crisps, marshmallows, sweets etc. I also grabbed a 20 flag bunting in all different colours as well as balloons, pretty cupcake cases and cake toppers, cupcake stand and decorative tags. Plus I found some pretty little wire butterflies and flowers that I felt would be perfect decorations for the bags. I think I spent around £15, so not to bad at all.

Next stop was Primark… Yes seriously! I was there buying myself some PJs when I noticed the big discount basket that was full off stick on nails. They had these great sparkly metallic gold leopard print design and were reduced to a fab-Tastic 50p each. That was another £2 spent.

Next up was eBay… No queues or heavy bags here. This time I was shopping from the sofa. Here I did very well. I won a bid for a bulk load of 30 girly party bag items. There was 6 different items 5 of each. These include… Temporary tattoo packs, wooden bangles, friendship bands, sticker sheets, packs of 4 hair accessories and mascaras (that they didn’t get). I won the bid at £2.20 with £1.50 postage. The stuff is of excellent quality so I was super happy.

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I also brought a bag of 100 acrylic Alphabet beads (£1.40 free postage) 20 funky plastic rings £1 with 85p postage and 10 heart mobile phone charms (that can also be used on iPods, hand gaming consoles and more) these were 99p with £1.99 postage.

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The last two items I got from eBay were a pack of pretty girly cellophane flower design bags and a pack of 20 monster high rice paper cupcake toppers both items were £2 each with free postage.

Prep…

Given the bunting was rather plain (just brightly coloured flags on a string, we decided to cheer them up with stuff from the craft cupboard.

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We used…

Different size decorative tapes in 5 different designs (pink lace, stripy, Love, skull and cupcake)
Self adhesive buttons
Self adhesive hearts
Mod podge gloss

We cut the 20 flag strip in two halfs of 10.

We used the different tapes in various ways to decorate each flag. Some had multiple strips where others just received a boarder along the top.

We used the different embellishments to decorate. Buttons were applied directly to the tape or in the middle or bottom of our flags. The hearts were sometimes gathered in groups of 2 or 3 giving a bold and girly design.

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The skull tap did look a little pirate theme but we then added a strip of Pink Love tape along with a heart to make it stand out in a girly fashion.

The last step was to apply one coat of mod podge to each flag. Now although the flags and some of the tapes were already ultra glossy due to the material they were made from, I decided to do this as to make the bunting stronger and to give the embellishments and other bits that same glossy look.

Mod Podge applied to this material dries in minutes. Our bunting took less then 20 minutes to make which does include drying time. It was therefore up on the wall in no time.

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Other decorations we made together, were some very pretty hanging butterflies that would not only be fab decorations for a slumber party but a great addition to her bedrooms decor like that of the butterfly canvas we recently created and showed you here on the blog. With this I’ve decided to show you these in a later post (that will include a little tutorial). We also made paper chains from decorative papers and pompom garlands. All items apart from the flag bunting were already housed in our crafts cupboard, so the costs were kept very low

As for the party bags (for when they leave to go home) we created these with the following items…

Clear cellophane bags with flower design.
Wire ties (came with bags)
Self adhesive wire flowers and butterflies
Ribbon (different colours)
Decorative tags
Decorative paper and a balloon and heart craft punch (to make sequins)
Party Bag Contents (the items from eBay, including the rings and mobile charms)

These, were simple to create but the end results were very pretty, much better than your bog standard party bag that normally involves little themed bags that kids tip all over the floor just so they can find what it is they are looking for.

I wanted the bags to be see-through hence the cellophane bags. This allows kids to see whats inside without even opening them. Nonetheless, I still wanted them to be really pretty and girly so opted for the flower design I’ve mentioned above.

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Each bag was filled with the treats mentioned and there was no inclusion of any sweets. I hate it when my kids bring home bags of sticky sweets following a party. 1- They may have siblings (and we all know how kids like to share their sweets) and 2- Sugar highs are not welcomed by all parents. I also decided to hold back the mascaras. I didn’t fancy parents calling me up asking why the hell their 10 year olds were stood in front of the mirror poking themselves in the eye as they stood applying mascara! The contents were however really fun and girlie and included all the other little bits I mentioned earlier within this post.

To add sparkle and that something extra, myself and daughter sat for what felt like ages punching out balloon and heart shapes from decorative papers with the craft punches. We then added a handful of these shapes to each bag before finally tying them shut with the plastic wire ties followed by pretty ribbon tied into a bow.

The last few steps were to apply the self adhesive wire flower and butterfly shapes to the centre of each tied bag (one for each). Finally we used a small piece of our pretty “Love” print tape to attach the pretty decorative tags that we hand wrote the names of each child attending.

Stunning don’t you think…

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So… to find out what food we created, cakes we made and special little gifts we gave, be sure to return to read our second instalment of “How to organise A slumber Party On A Budget” I’ll be sharing tips on how to create fun party food on little money, cocktails appropriate for 10 year old little ladies and an update on just how well Alice’s slumber party played out… Warning Paracetamol intake involved.

Big Brand Makeup On A Budget (Bootfair Finds)

Just before Christmas on the Sunday I visited a car boot sale that took place in a Multistorey carpark in South Croydon.

We got there rather late, So late in fact that people were actually packing up to leave. However, this did mean that we got to grab a few bargains.

This was mainly in the way of cosmetics And I got to grab a whole bunch of new branded make up that hadn’t ever been open. This was expensive stuff, however I grabbed the whole lot for just £2.

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Here’s what I got…

Leighton Denny full size nail polish (12ml) in Pure White

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Leighton Denny full size nail polish (12ml) in Amazing Grey

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Laura Geller Invisible Oil Blotting Powder (Translucent Compact) full size (12m)

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Laura Geller Baked Cake Eyeliner in Plum Pudding/Black Forest (full size)

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Laura Geller Wonder Wand Eye Brightener (full size)

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Models Prefer Brush On Brilliance Aquavit Concealer (full size)

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I.D by Bare Escentuals Peal Lip Gloss (full size)

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Can you believe it? All this… Sealed and new for just a few quid. Anybody who likes their makeup will know these are not cheap brands. I normally buy my Leighton Denny Vanishes for at least £11 each and I’ve had Laura Geller makeup which I’ve brought from QVC and its never been really cheap. Given I’ve not had the luxury of buying good quality makeup in sometime, I was dead pleased with my bootfair finds.

The seller was a really lovely women who had some fantastic bits and bobs from makeup to shoes… I just wished I’d had both more money and more time.

So… Me being me, I got home and searched the Internet to try and discover just how much of a saving I actually made.

Most of my new Laura Geller Products are not currently on the QVC site but I found the blotting powder going on eBay for no less than £30 and that wasn’t even sealed (even though it states unused). The Laura Geller collection is highly available in the states but QVC UK does have quiet an extensive range on their site. There are some beautiful products listed and although being QVC you can spot a good deal or two, the prices are of course considerable more than I paid! Check it out for yourself Here.

As for my two Leighton Denny nail polishes I found these both listed on the official Leighton Denny Signature UK site. Both Amazing Grey and Pure White are listed at £11 each. I should mention I also discovered the most gorgeous blue vanish while I was searching and its seriously calling my name (I just might have to pay full price and order that one)! Naughty I know!

My Models Prefer Concealer pen maybe discontinued as this was hard to find. However I did unearth it on eBay at a buy it now price of £9.99 without postage. The Bare Escentuals Lip Gloss will normally set you back £11.99 as sold by Martyn Maxey UK.

Well… Looking at the evidence it would seem that I had a brilliant result. I’m keeping all the products as I like them all. However, seeing the prices some of these items and brands fetch on eBay it may be worth baring this in mind and keeping your eyes wide open next time you hit your local bootfair. I know I will be!

A Thrifty Toy Auction

I always get a bit overexcited when I hear an auction is coming to town, especially one with big lots of toys.

Last week I attend a jumble sale and auction. Both running via the same organisers on the same site, just different rooms.

Boy, did I have my eye on a lot of treasure… Some I won, others… Sadly not!

I bagged a fantastic lot of toys. These were in one lot and included…

Two limited edition bears ( one called Hayley and the other named Bailey). These are in mint condition and I’ve seen them fetch a few quid on eBay recently.

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A very cute but cool Noddy that speaks a few words when his tummy is pressed.

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A large Upsy Daisy from “In The Night Garden”

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A soft bodied “Bob The Builder” rucksack.

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As mentioned all the toys came together as one single lot. However, during the course of the auction, there was some mix up with the toys located next to those up above. The guy had announced the two separate lots as one. I actually won the biding at £6 and it was only following my win did a buyer point out the mistake. I was asked what lot I thought I was bidding on and I explained that I thought that I was bidding on both as one.

Because of the mix up I was asked if it would be ok to sell the other lot and I could keep the above for FREE… Yes, FREE!

What a result that was.

The other items were not really of interest and I would have only passed them on and kept these anyhow.

Nonetheless, I did spend a little money as I also brought a beautiful bike for the toddler which I won for £7, a whole box full of lamps and shades (including vintage and crystal) for just £1, and lastly, a stunning shabby chic vintage tea set, that I’m in love with.

I’ll be sure to share some pictures of those over the coming weeks.

#homemadehalloween – Crafty Creations

Being a bit savvy and liking a challenge meant this Halloween was full of crafty fun..

Hearing about the MoneySupermarket homemade halloween competition I knew instantly that I wanted to have a whirl at.

Halloween costumes can be expensive, especially when your dressing more than the one child. Is there a solution? Yes… DIY job!

Creating costumes is a great way to unleash your creativity while letting the imagination run wild. Halloween costumes are one of the best.You can really pull together some wacky inventions that are unique, a true one of a kind.

Having a homemade Halloween is not only cost efficient but great enjoyable too. If you do have children along with some crafty bones in your body creating homemade costumes is a great family activity that can be enjoyed together.

So, on to my creation that falls into the category of kids costumes. Note… The competition consists of 3 categories, which are kids, adults and groups. My creation was for my daughter, ‘Alice-Sara’ and was one of two costumes I pulled together for her. She informs me that 2 parties = 2 costumes, so wasn’t I pleased that I’d be making her costumes rather than buying them this year!

Now, like me you may assume that by creating your own costumes, you’ll be required to do things such as having to sew! I hate sewing… If truth be known, I’ve never really learnt such skills and have therefore remained pretty poor at such a task. For this reason I have to think outside the box when it comes to costumes and with my daughter demanding that my creation is spooky but glam the pressure was on.

We didn’t want to go with your everyday wicked witch or blood thirsty vampire… So, taking inspiration from her beloved interest in Monsters High Dolls, here’s what I came up with.

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I think it looks pretty Spook-Tastic and was therefore left feeling pretty pleased with spooky creation and of course myself… especially given how little money I spent on materials!

Here’s a run through of how I did it and how much it costs to me to create.

Materials Needed To Make A No Sew Cobweb Tutu Dress…

1x Halloween cobweb design scarf (£1 PoundLand)

Medium size piece of hot pink Tulle (50p Charity Shop – Barnardos)

Roll of basic elastic (20p Barnardos)

Hot pink & purple mixed ribbon ( 40p Barnardos)

Reused old dolls hair cut & tied together (Free upcycled from home)

Large tube blue acrylic paint (for dying hair) £1 ‘The Works’

1 x Comb hair grip (50p per 3 Pack Bootfair)

2 x Black Sacks (taken from a value roll of 30) 50p Bootfair

Face paint sticks (£1.99 Lidl)

Packet of sticky crystals 50p (Reduced Tesco)

Total Cost £6.60 (The above materials would be enough to make 3 of these costumes) therefore making it even better value.

How I Did It…

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1. With the elastic I measured around my daughters waist, then to secure the fit I tied the elastic into a double knot.

2. I cut both the tulle and scarf which was made of very similar material, into long strips. I did this by cutting down the length of each piece of material as opposed to the width.

3. For the pieces of cobweb scarf I placed each piece over the elastic so that it covered both sides. I then stapled to the elastic. With each stable I used a staple flattening tool to ensure there was no sharp edges. For added effect with every one piece of cobweb material added, I would then add a piece of pink tulle rotating between the two. Now note, I did not staple the tulle. Instead I added to the elastic in the same way only in replacement of staples I securely tied each piece of tulle in place.

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IF YOU MAKE ONE OF THESE TUTU’S BE SURE TO LEAVE NO GAPS BETWEEN MATERIAL, INSTEAD OVERLAP SLIGHTLY AS YOU GO.

4. Once I had completely covered the entire piece of elastic, I took my sticky crystals and added randomly over the tutu (not to close to one another).

5. I then tied some long light pink and dark purple ribbon where the knock is found on the elastic.

To make the top part of the dress…

6. Alice put the tutu on so that I was better able to design the top section to complement that of the completed bottom. I took 2 black sacks cutting each along its sides so that both bags would open out and reveal two large sheets of black plastic.

7. I then cut length ways down the bags to make long strips of plastic. Note… If you decide make one of these dresses you may only need one black back depending on how thick it is (the thicker the better as this way it isn’t see through). Note…. The thicker black sacks do tend to cost a lot more than the thiner type I’m currently using.

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8. I then took strips of plastic bag and wrapped them around Alice tying each into a bow at the back. I did this till I had reached the top of the tutu as if I had just created a Basque. As my black sacks were rather thin I had to be careful not to spilt them during the process of wrapping and tying. I also needed to double some of the layers as to ensure it wasn’t see through.

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9. I then took another strip of black sack and cut it in half. I then folded the strip and secured the fold by tucking it in and sticking it to the top of the dress, taking it around the neck as to create a halter neck.

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10. Lastly, I wrapped another long strip of black sack around my daughters middle, this time tying into a bow at the front of the dress as to give detail.

So… That’s the spooky cobweb tutu complete.

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How I Made The Blue Hair Piece.

1. I remove the hair from a styling head (doll) that Alice had outgrown.

2. I tied all loose hair tightly together with a rubber band.

3. I then half filled a washing up bowl with cold water and added half of the blue paint followed by the hair piece.

4. I left the hairpiece for a few hours, in till the hair had absorbed all the water and its contents.

5. I then shook of the excess water and repeated the process again adding the last of the blue paint.

6. Once complete (a few hours later) I removed from the bowl and left over night to dry without brushing.

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7. The next day I grabbed the hair tying it loosely in a band, as to create a very messy updo.

8. With the use of strong adhesive, I glued the now blue messy hairpiece onto a comb hair glip ready for use.

Then all that was left for me to do was, paint her face, arms and hands. Which I would normally do with the use if Snazaroo but with the low cost element I decided to grab a pack of Face paint sticks from Lidl for the bargain price of £1.99 and actually turned out to be really good.

I then took a moment to think, asking myself what I could paint that reflected her wishes to be spooky yet glam. The monsters high look we were aiming for was brilliant, however, we needed a little extra something for the paintwork in-order to give it that final touch of edginess.

So with this we did our take on the sugar skull… Pretty glam but deadly freakish. A full face paint and twirly spirals of webs and spiders crawling up her arms.

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So… What do you think? Its pretty cool for a homemade creation isn’t it?

Did you have a homemade Halloween? Maybe you make costumes for all different occasions and holidays ? If so please leave a comment and share your thoughts and stories, I’d love to hear from you.

This is my entry into the Moneysupermarket #homemadehalloween competition. Hurry and enter, you still have time.