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.

This Weeks Charity Shop Finds

This week I visited a local charity shop not far from where I live. I found a few nice bits and bobs but there was one item I particularly fell in love with and its that I want to share today.

This shabby chic wooden box.

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This is a really pretty box! It has lovely detail with rustic hinges and beautiful hand painted pink roses. The base colour on the box is that of a pretty light almost mint green and cream which works beautifully with the rose pattern design.

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The box is really sturdy and well made. It has plenty of room inside to store jewellery or other items. I’ve decided it will make a brilliant storage box for all of my little odds and ends, the kind you struggle to know where to store … Hair clips, brooches etc.

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The box was priced up for an amazing 50p so I must say that, yes… I came out of there smiling.

Anyone else found any charity shop treasure this weekend?

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!

Savvy Teacher Treats

So, as the end of term was fast approaching, I needed to pull together some teacher gifts on a budget.

Little man is in a independent special school that currently only caters for around 20 or so children. The teacher to pupil ratio is much greater meaning little man is receiving a high level of support when needed. He has great respect and fondness for all the teaching staff and I’ve gotta admit… I can see why! His progress has been amazing, especially considering that educational Psychologist, teachers and other various professionals openly predicted that little man was a child who’ll never be able to fully reintegrate back into a classroom setting. They stated he stood little chance off making friendships or maintaining those he did make.

Well… They were wrong… Totally wrong.

So… With so many teachers in his school the idea of creating teacher gifts on a budget was challenging.

But… Come on we love a challenge and I’m pleased to announce that we passed by coming up with the cutest little gift to thank the staff for all their wonderful work.

Ours was intended for Christmas but this idea can be used at the end of the school year when children move on or just to say thanks every once in a while.

So here’s what we made…

Pretty Cellophane chocolate bags, tired with pretty red ribbon.

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Our bags were perfect for Christmas with a red and white theme, but you could make these for Easter and other occasions just by changing the colours to suit the season or occasion.

What we used to make 10 chocolate bags…

10 cellophane clear presentation bags
10 red ribbon ties

Contents….
Large bag of chocolate Christmas mix (or whatever you prefer)
20 homemade chocolate acorns (that we made from acorn moulds)
Large bag of chocolate peanuts

Optional extras…
Vintage gift tags ( one for each bag)

These are really very simple to make. Just line up and open all ten bags.

Share the contents of sweets between the bags (you should have some left as you don’t want to over fill, just fill 1/4 of the way).

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To finish tie off each bag with the pretty red ribbon. If using gift tags then add message and attach to ribbon before tying.

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The cellophane presentation bags came together with the ribbon in a pack of 20 for just £1 from the wonderful PoundLand… Total bargain.

The acorns were made with one large bar of cadburys diary milk costing £1.

Chocolate peanuts cost £1 per large bag.

Christmas chocolate mix cost £2.49

We didn’t use gift tags but these are easily brought for no more than a £1.

To make 10 bags it cost me £5.49 making each Individual bag cost less than 55p each.

Other ideas…

For Easter fill with mini eggs or chocolate eggs.

Christmas time, use gold coins or chocolate tree decorations.

For the summer use fruit jelly sweets.

For kids parties fill with Haribo or penny mix up.

For weddings fill with sugar almonds.

This Weeks Charity Shop Finds

I love it when the charity shop is housing some little gems for me to purchase and then shout about!

Charity shops have become pretty clever places when it comes to pricing. What I mean is what you used to be able to pick up for 10p is now £10. I’m not stating its wrong that they’ve done their research I’m just stating that for us it tends to be a tad harder to find them hidden gems.

Nonetheless, they do still exist and I have evidence within my latest buy…

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Your eyes do not deceive you, this is two pairs of converse in a child’s size 9. One blue and one white pair of ‘Converse All Stars’ priced at the remarkably low price of just £1 each… Yes, thats… One serious bargain!

I’m yet to wash these, but anyone who own a pair of converse will know how amazingly well they wash up. I recently washed the toddlers and my daughters ‘High Tops’ that as a result look brand new again. I actually brought the toddlers lime green high tops from eBay for 99p. They had been worn just the once but I guess the fact the listing title contained a typo as well as it ridiculous ending time of the very small hours meant luck was on my side! Oh, and if your wondering how on earth I managed to find it then check out the fat fingers app which is simply genius.

Well, the toddler is currently wearing a comfy size 7 so I can even make a profit on eBay or keep them for the toddler. I could even spilt them keeping one for Harley and selling the other. I think he will most definitely keep one pair and given his a boy the second is a big possibility.

Did I find anything else? Well I did get a new pretty saucer which I’ve added to the collection. I’m planing on making a pretty vintage inspired jewellery holder with these and some pretty miniature vintage style sherry and shoot glasses. This was a steal at 20p especially given its bone china too. I won’t show you all as I’m planning to crack on with the jewellery stand In the coming days so I’ll just show you then.

Would love to hear of any readers charity shop finds…. Have you found any hidden gems lately?