Wow! When did that happen? My beautiful little girl is now 8, and when I looked at her this morning in her uniform and the biggest badge you have ever seen, I didn’t see my baby, I saw a glimpse of the woman she will become, and my god, it scared me! It also made me a little sad. I spent so much time when she was little wishing she could do things herself, and that she would leave me alone every so often, and now that shift has happened, I find myself already regretting it. We are always told to appreciate every moment with our kids, and I really do try to inbetween all that real stuff which prevents it, but all the tiny changes still bash you in the face every so often.
My girl now has opinions all of her own. She used to let me choose her clothes, but recently she cleared her wardrobe of anything she considered ‘babyish’, anything with a logo, pink or frilly was chucked on the floor, which made my heart constrict a little. She doesn’t follow trends in her class or school, but chooses what she thinks is cool. Thankfully she still loves playing outside and with her sister! She came out of school the other day and looked like she had the weight of the world on her shoulders, and although it turned out it wasn’t anything terrible, when we talked later I realised how much she is now processing and sorting out herself without needing me to help her.
Eight feels like some turning point. She is becoming her own person and it thrills and terrifies me equally! Gosh, I’m feeling it today! I could go on and on, but I should return to today’s topic, Lily’s sleepover party! A suitably grown up choice for a party I thought!
Lily never asks for anything, she is my oldest and is therefore fantastic at sharing and giving to her sister. She is used to not being the centre of attention, so I always love to spoil her when I can. I have to say, after two years where she has had proper full on parties, I was hoping to get away without one this year, but her daddy accidentally made a comment at a party that had her thinking she was getting a trampolining party! With no car at the moment, it just wasn’t practical, so this sleep over party was actually borne as a way of disappointing her the least!
Normally, I get a bit obsessed with a theme for a party and put loads of pressure on myself to make every aspect perfect! It’s the Virgo in me! In many ways, the fact that this party was a bit of a surprise and on a very limited timescale was much better for me because I couldn’t go too mad, and I had to prioritise!
So, I broke it down to invitees (obviously, or no party!), food, room, theme, and party favours. Due to the fact it was last minute, we stuck to two invitees, with mums who were good friends and wouldn’t mind it being last minute! The girls room is not too small, but I couldn’t imagine many more than three excited girls in there! We also made it the same night as a school disco, so the evening would already be broken up with something to focus on for the girls. This was great because the girls came back exhausted and happily sat and had food, and then settled to watch a film.
Food is normally a huge focus for me. At one party I spent days making a sweet table like you would get at a wedding, with fruit wands and sweet trees. I always make a birthday cake too, I love art, but I really struggle with icing for some reason and they always take frustrating hours to get right. This year I felt completely liberated and produced shop brought pizza, sausage rolls and crisps! We had supermarket cupcakes with candles in for the cake, and the kids loved it! It made me realise it really is just me putting pressure on me to make everything perfect. So much so, I ve forced myself to not make a cake for today. I got her a Tesco unicorn cake instead!
I decided to concentrate on what I do best this time. It was so nice only having two kids (well, four if I count my two) to provide party favours for. I could spend a bit more money and a bit more time on the gifts. Well, I say a bit more money, but I have to say, the pound shop was still my first port of call! Then I turned to my craft room! It was time to make use of some of the things sitting in my room! This is what I came up with.
The beauty of this is that it looks great (I think!) but it really only cost a few pounds and the girls LOVED it! Those lovely wooden crates to hold all the bits I brought for them to take them home were from Poundland! All I did was paint the writing on with white acrylic paint to personalise them. The contents were a combination of my own ideas and ideas from Pinterest.
I already had the cute white buckets which I had brought from hobbycraft. I used glass paints and nail varnishes to write ‘lily’s Sleepover kit’ and to decorate the cut out heart. This was done with a variety of tiny dots in different colours. The wash cloth, nail file, toothbrush and bath bomb were all from the pound shop. They conveniently came in sets of three, so I could split them up to make little kits for each girl. On Pinterest, the number one thing all the kits had was an eye mask. I thought I might find some in the pound shop, but they didn’t have any. After a fruitless search of shops, I almost gave up. I wasn’t sure the girls would even know what they were anyway to be honest, but eventually I found them in Tiger, a store in Croydon. Thank goodness I did! The girls were obsessed with them! They even ended up playing blind chase with them, and went to bed wearing them!
I wrapped all these bits together with curling ribbon, and pushed it into the bucket. The glow in the dark bracelets were another great buy from the poundshop, perfect for when they went to bed! Lily had said she wanted a film night, so I got popcorn buckets. We recently got a popcorn maker so made the fantastic chocolate and toffee popcorn you can see on my board on Pinterest. I wasn’t sure it would work, but it was great! Chocolate chips stirred in whilst the popcorn was still hot (you do need to keep stirring and stirring to make it work) and the toffee sauce squeezed on and stirred in.
I added a little frame each to their pots with ‘lily s sleepover party’ and the date written on in posca pen so they each had a little keepsake and used some little butterfly pots I had left over from a sale to write their names into. Finally, I added a little pink bag of sweet things for them to eat as their midnight feast (biscuits and things rather than sweets so they didn’t get too hyper!) and a book and pen so they could write notes to each other. The buckets were great because they collected up all their bits to go to bed, and they even managed to stay relatively quiet!
Which brings me on to the room! Gosh, did I underestimate this one! I figured it would take an hour to get ready, it took me all day whilst lily was at school, and I was pushing to finish!!
This is where following Pinterest can be a bit of a nightmare. Everything always looks so bloody easy!! I wanted to go with a floaty, other Worldy effect with twinkly lights and lots of draping. I started by moving out the girls furniture and dragging my step sons mattresses onto the floor of my girls room. That alone took an age! Then I put up the girls tipi I had made for Megan’s 2nd birthday. (That was a whole other level of stupid when I made that thing, it took weeks! Pinterest again of course!). I resurrected the drapes that I made to hang in the corners of the girls beds which they had pulled down and had to add new fairy lights because they had cut the original ones with scissors! (Sometimes I think my girls are made to destroy stuff!) then I set about putting fairy lights in every possible space! The beautiful long vase in the corner with the butterfly lights was made by my husband for the girls. Isn’t it beautiful? See, he’s crafty too!
The ceiling looked lovely but took so long!! Who knew blowing up balloons could take so long!? The beauty was that all the bits on the ceiling where also from the pound shop! Even the confetti balloons, which I love and want for all future events!
Needless to say, I was quite knackered when I went to get lily but she was so sweet when she saw her room. She said that it was ‘so much more than she had been expecting’, those words! Christ, she is growing up!
Those little buggers make it all worth it in the end, don’t they?