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.

From The Jumble To eBay – How To Buy To Sell

Firstly, I’m not one of those mad nutty spammers talking about how to make money online… But I do have some tips on how to make money via eBay and it all starts at your local jumble sales, bootfairs and the odd charity shop.

Its all about shopping to sell, not on the high street (well that is unless there is a great little charity shop there). Jumble sales are your best bet though, whether held at the local church hall or in the school playground, these babies house a treasure trove of bargains. Every jumble sale i’ve ever been to, I’ve never left with no less than a few black bags that are normally bursting at the seams. You can bet your life on it that I’ve also spent no more than a fiver. I recently filled a huge black bag for £3 and I’ve almost ebayed the lot. Items from this bag that instantly spring to mind that sold well on eBay are that of a Boden dress (women’s) £16, river island jeans £12, tweed girls coat from monsoon £22, Jane Norman jeans £10 and a pair of infant converse that sold for £18. Look at the statistics here… This is all from my £3 bag of jumble sale finds.

Of course you have to know what your looking for. I suggest you scan eBay to find whats selling well at the time. But there are always certain items and brands that never seem to let you down. Here’s some I suggest…

Children’s Clothing…
Next (I’ve found that girls items do particularly well as do boys coats and knits).
Mini Boden (kids jeans are a winner as are girls dresses)
Brand Tracksuits (Nike and Adidas, especially in baby and toddler sizes)
Monsoon dresses & coats
Ralph Lauren (especially baby and toddler sizes)
Converse ( mainly high tops and rare pairs).
John Rocha and other designers for Debenhams
Popular Character wear (whatever is big at the time, example… Peppa pig, bob the builder, Thomas the tank engine, mike the knight).

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Women’s clothing…
Boden (again especially jeans)
Donna Karen
Zara
Jane Norman (I’ve done well with coats and jeans)
River island (jeans do well)
Coast (dresses)
Lipsy (dresses)
Onesies are currently selling well (even those from Primark)
Levi’s (vintage, cut offs)
Vintage & Retro items of clothing (examples… denim, retro printed tees, Sequinned tops)
Festive wear in the summer time (includes vintage finds, floor sweeping dresses, boohoo inspired fashion)

Men’s clothing…
Levi’s (Vintage Red label 501 are a winner)
Ralph Lauren (especially the tops with the big logo)
Vintage leather beats
Rare converse

Accessories…
Vintage leather bags
Oversized vintage weekend bags
Cath Kidston bags and purses
Vintage costume jewellery
Shoes (Dune and Office do great)
Ralph Lauren Green Holdall (the one I’m actually referring to was given away with aftershave from the fragrance store back in June. It can fetch between £70-£100 on eBay)

20130110-223653.jpgRalph Lauren Bag given away free with fragrance.

Toys…

Vintage toys… Old matchbox car, Barbie, Sindy, Lego sets (rare) Play Mobile, Dr Who, He Man, Thunder Cats, My Little Pony, Care Bears, Lucky Trolls, Toy Dummies on necklace… 80’s toys (All boxed and unboxed)

Current Toys…
Whatever is Highly popular at the time of selling… Currently I’ve found these toys to bring in good money… First edition monster high dolls especially that of Holt Hyde. Others include… Gillington Gil Webber (Skull Shores) Torelei (first edition) Jinafire Long (hard to find new character) Jackson Jekyll and Deuce (Scaris). I have witnessed all make a good amount of money on eBay, Holt Hyde more so than any.

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I’ve not personally sold any monster high dolls, my daughter is a huge fan and I just seem to be buying them hence the reason I know.

The differences when buying items to sell on eBay at Jumble Sales, Bootfairs and Charity Shops

Jumble Sales… Its in my opinion that Jumbles are the best places to find great selling items at very little spendage (yes, I’m aware that isn’t a real word). Vintage clothing and accessories are relatively easy to find at car boots and jumbles as are well known high street and even designer brands. Jumble sales normally sell items of clothing for around 20p-50p an item with a lot of the time that sum often being less. This is regardless of the brand name or condition. You will often find that sellers at the jumble sale will do you a great deal on filling a bag or two (example £1 a large bag of clothes). Most jumble sales are made up of donations, often given by those wishing to get rid of items quickly for lack of storage or those who have more money than sense (I only say this as I’ve picked up newly tagged expensive items that eBayers have snapped off me in a heartbeat). Its not just clothing that jumble sales are great for but toys, brick a brac and pretty bone china.

Bootfairs… These are also great places to visit and bargains can be easily obtained. However, sellers normally sell their own personal items rather than donations and therefore ask for more money as a result. I find that by visiting stalls on a cold wet day when sellers are just itching to get in the car and leave (round about packing up time) is the best time to grab bargains. Sealed makeup, good handbags and collectable toys have been some of my greatest finds.

Charity Shops… These can offer great little finds but are likely to offer the least selling profit of all. Charity shop workers are much more on the ball these days when it comes to brands and what people are looking for. However, this does tend to be seen more across the big store chains such as Cancer research or Mind. There are still some great little charity shops out there that are selling children’s clothes for a quid and adults £2 an item…. You just have to find them. Villages and slightly remote places have fabulous little charity shops. Those outside of the big town centres will always offer more for your pennies. My best charity shop buy recently, was infant converse (2 pairs) for my 3 year old. These looked almost new yet I paid only £1 for each pair. I plan to sell these on eBay once Harley has grown out of them and although they will likely sell for less, these will probably fetch more than a quid a pair.

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So… Have you ever spotted anything for a bargain at any of these places and then gone on to sell them on eBay making a tidy profit as a result? If so I’d love to hear what! It might sound crazy but some people are actually making a good income this way.

Would you buy to sell?

Alice wins £750 with her post card from Santa

Christmas Eve, we awoke to some wonderful news. Opening my inbox I couldn’t believe it. Alice had won first prize in the Travel Supermarkets Post Card From Santa Christmas competition. The prize… A very lovely cash sum of £750. Christmas had certainly came a day early in our house.

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I’ve always been proud of my daughters creativity. She has this wonderful imagination when it comes to thinking up ideas and is superb at making her ideas come to life.

I blogged Alice’s entry just before Christmas. The post showcased her prize winning art and we also shared a video of Alice creating her master piece.

If being crowned the winner wasn’t enough, Alice was also sent a card featuring her entry by the guys at travel supermarket. Her grandmother is currently proudly doing the rounds with her card, showing everyone just how talented her granddaughter is. When its returned I will be adding it to our scrapbook of family memories.

So, how did Alice react when she discovered she had won? Well, once she had finally closed her mouth and blinked removing the stunned expression from her face, she danced around the room like a crazy person before phoning and telling everybody & anybody who would listen.

Alice plans to buy herself a tablet (she’s currently deciding on which model) she also wants to buy some more art supplies (though I’ve tried convincing her she already has more than enough already). Lastly she hopes to grab a few monster high dolls in the sales to add to her growing collection and the rest she’s saving as spending money for an upcoming holiday.

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So we would just like to say a big thank you to Travel Supermarket for running such a fabulous competition. Its certainly made my little girls New Year.

A Gathering Of Friends 15/366

I really had fun creating image 14/366 so to my daughters delight i’ve done it all again.

So… what do you make of image 15/366

Girls talk 14/366

IYesterday, as I sat watching my daughter playing with her ever-expanding “Monster High Collection” I suddenly I had a brilliant idea!

In the early hours of this cold Monday morning, as my daughter slept peacefully, I tiptoed into her bedroom and kidnapped a reasonable sized selection of Monster High dolls… Please do not worry, I’m not an evil  mother, I actually wanted the dolls to pose for todays 366 picture.

I was like a small child as I sat and creatively positioned the dolls to how I wanted to photograph them! I took some great ones of all her Monster High dolls together, (she has a least 10) but in the end, I eventually decided upon this image consisting of just two Monsters High dolls!

I really did enjoy setting these wacky dolls up for their fashion shoot, and can see myself doing it more often. It would seem that my daughters collection of freaky divas (known as the “must have” Monsters high dolls) can make an interesting subject for a mum on a daily photo challenge…. Oh, the ways our children inspire us!

So…. What do you think of image 14/366?I’m linking this image to the Linky over on The Boy and Me Why don’t you do the same or just pop along and check out some more amazing images by fab bloggers.