For years, Miss Mess has been begging me to let her have a sleepover party for her birthday. And, like a kind, caring, sensible mother… I said no!
Finally this year, she somehow managed to grind me down until I caved. I agreed she could invite a few friends to come to a sleepover for her 9th birthday, with the strict warning that if it was a horrible disaster we would never have another!
So, that’s why I spent last weekend desperately trying to survive our first ever birthday party.
Survival Step One : Tidy and Decorate
One major problem with hosting a party in your own home is that it actually has to be tidy. Normally when we have a party at an external venue I completely trash the house while making preparations and worry about the mess later.
Now, my house is a bit (cough) of a mess normally, so it took a substantial amount of tidying to get everything guest ready. I spent a solid 12 hours decluttering, dusting, scrubbing and hoovering as well as decorating the living room, kitchen and bedroom to transform them into “Party Central”.
The decorations were relatively simple, but effective. A balloon cloud and banner from Aldi, a glittery curtain recycled from my sisters hen do and some disco lights turned the living room into our main party room. A gold tablecloth, fairy lights and confetti gave the kitchen table a touch of glamour. More banners and fairy lights helped add a festive touch to the bedroom. If I do say so myself, it looked pretty amazing and Freya certainly seemed impressed. The only downside of having only 2 guests to the party was that not many people got to see the results of all my hard work.
Survival Step Two: Bring on the guests
The invite had suggested an arrival time of 6pm, so when 6.15pm rolled by with nary a guest in sight, Freya started to get a little worried. Luckily there was a knock on the door very soon after and both guests arrived in quick succession.
Rather than tradition post-party goody bags, I had instead decided to make up “Sleepover Kits” for Miss Mess and her guests. With only 3 guests, I could afford to spend a little more than usual on the contents of the bags, so instead of the usual bubbles, balloons and plastic toys there were sleep masks, hairbrushes, lipbalms and, well, bubbles. It was still a party, after all!
Survival Step Three: Feed the beasts!
Everyone knows that a slumber party is only as good as the food. Miss M’s choice for her party was Pizza Hut Delivery, almost entirely due to the fact that she is obsessed with their Cookie Dough.
When the girls arrived, I asked them all to tell me their favourite pizza and then we placed a mammoth order including ham and pineapple pizza, a pizza with no cheese (who knew such a thing existed?), nachos and macaroni cheese.
In all my initial excitement (and hunger), I completely forgot to order the actual cookie dough that inspired the whole thing. Cue a second order with two different varieties of cookie dough and some extra chicken wings (to hit the minimum order value)
The girls thoroughly enjoyed tucking in to their pizzas and dessert and I was more than happy to work my way through the leftovers.
I regret nothing.
After dinner and throughout the evening, the girls could help themselves to a selection of treats from the sweetie table. I may have gone a little over board – we’re still eating some of the sweets now!
For the first time in years, I bought a shop-made birthday cake instead of making my own. (Yes, the mummy guilt is real!) As the day of the party crept nearer, it became increasingly obvious that there was no way I had time to plan the party, tidy the house AND bake and decorate a cake.
Luckily for me, I have a very understanding daughter (usually) and she was happy for me to go to Asda and pick a cake, as long as it wasn’t anything too babyish. I found this fabulous Pinata cake, covered in multi-coloured icing and filled with chocolate beans. On the box it said that it served 24, so it may have been a bit overkill for a party of 3 children, but it just meant there was lots leftover to take to work!
Survivial Step Four: That’s Entertainment
We didn’t really have much in the way of entertainment planned prior to the party. Freya really wanted to do some karaoke and “Just Dance” style videos on Youtube, and I foolishly thought that the 3 hours before bedtime would fly by. I was very wrong. By 8pm the girls were complaining they were bored and semi-falling out about what they each wanted to do.
Thankfully, in swooped our saviour, Aunty Kim with the idea of a homemade beauty parlour, for a late night pampering session. Each of the girls had their hair plaited or styled however they chose. Meanwhile the other girls soaked their feet in preparation for a mini-pedicure, before having their toe nails painted in whichever colour they preferred from my (extensive) nail polish collection.
While the girls were thoroughly pampered, I acted as DJ, letting them each take turns to choose their favourite party hits. There were some interesting choices I can tell you and I even learnt a few new songs.
Once they were all beautified, it was time to change into their PJs, brush their teeth and head upstairs to watch a movie in bed. (Even if it did take half an hour to find the DVD remote control and agree on which film they wanted to watch!)
Survival Step Five: Sleeping Beauties
For sleeping arrangements, I’d cleared off Poppy’s bed (and tidied her room so you could actually see the floor!) and laid out two pull out mattresses so all of the girls could snuggle down near each other for the night.
Have you ever actually tried to get 3 pre-teen girls to sleep? Freya is normally fast on by 10pm, but I could still hear them merrily chatting and giggling away until way past 1am. At 1.30am, I finally decided it was time to step in and be a Mum, so I headed upstairs to give them a “Go To Sleep!” warning.
Thankfully, I didn’t hear them again after that but I was very surprised when they all trotted downstairs at 8am the next morning, looking only a little worse for wear.
Survivial Step Six: Breakfast
While our little sleeping beauties were tucked up in bed, I did a quick tidy of downstairs and set the table for breakfast. I’d made sure we had a variety of different breakfast options, includng cereal, toast with numerous toppings and of course, every child’s favourite, Pop Tarts!
The girls merrily tucked into their breakfast, chatting and listening to more music and then had a little more playtime before it was time for the mums to come and pick them up.
Let’s just say, I was more than ready for a cup of tea and a sit down once they were gone.
Overall, I’d have to say that I think we handled out first sleepover party very well. I’ll definitely put a little more thought into planning actual activites in the future, but I think we can take it as a definite positive that I’m even considering there being another sleepover in the future!
Have you ever hosted a children’s sleepover party? Do you have any tips for me for future parties?