Sleepovers seem to be the kids party that’s never gone out of fashion. I remember having them as a kid back in the 90’s and basically crashing out on the living room floor in sleeping bags, blasting 5ive on my banging kareoke machine whilst inhaling popcorn like we hadn’t eaten for a week. Nobody ever slept and the parents definitely had no fun but for some reason, year in year out, they were game for another. Whether you love them or loathe them, kids and sleepovers are here to stay.
It was our turn to host Evie’s birthday party this year. Her mum has not long had a baby and as Evie wanted a sleepover we offered to have it our house so her new baby brother wasn’t disturbed. Kev and I didn’t plan much really; a few snacks and a sound system. That should see them through!
I received a message on DM from a lady called Clare who owned Little Cotton Tents. She asked if I would ever be interested in one of her sleepover parties and explained how she had been running for a few years now as the first party host of this kind in our area and was keen to try and get her name out there. I took a look and was instantly wowed by what a gorgeous business she had set up. Clare didn’t ask for anything specific in return for the party but I have chosen to post, story and blog about it for her as I know all too well how tough running a small business can be. If you are looking to do something a bit different then this is a great shout. Here is her fab set up….
You begin by selecting a party theme. Clare already has a lovely range to choose from, including her new theme Base Camp which is popular amongst the boys. We went for the blue theme as it seemed the most grown up and stylish. Nine is a funny age between wanting to feel grown up but still secretly being a massive Peppa Pig fan, so we were torn, but I am pleased with the theme me and her mum went for.
For a standard party for 4 the cost is £140 and this includes set up and pack up. Each child gets their own tent with a mattress, duvet and pillow, along with their own mini table. Each theme has it’s own accessories. Evie’s came with bunting, fairy lights, their own electric tea light and a torch. A few fluffy rugs also added to the luxurious feel of this theme. Evie wanted 5 friends so an additional two tents were added. The cost for this is £25 making her party £190. I half expected Clare to give some ridiculously extortionate price for this party as it all felt so high end and luxurious. I was really shocked at the great value.
Before we accepted this wonderful opportunity I did text Evie’s mum to ask what the standard cost for a party was. I was concerned about promoting a party that was unrealistic, and although Kev and I felt this price was great I wanted to check her mum was on the same page. She explained that parties can end up costing the earth once you chuck in food, party bags and the party itself and she too agreed this was good value. We charge £150 for a dance party at my studio so I felt this was in line with that.
You can then add little extras which you select from the website. We opted for a snack hamper (£15), personalised dressing gowns (£8 each) and pamper packs (£7 each). Our theory was that these would double up as party bags which would a) save us the hassle and time of pulling them together and b) be genuinely lovely things to keep rather than party bag tat which often goes in the bin which is essentially wasting money. I paid for the robes and pamper packs and I was concerned of a large financial outlay for Clare, and although hoped to help her gain some exposure, didn’t feel right her being out of pocket. Obviously this is pricier than your average party bag, but I’ve always had an issue with waste. Spending £5/6 on a party bag for it to all go in the bin versus spending £15 on something that will get used and loved is a no brainer to me. The beauty with this party is you are only hosting 4-6 children. There’s no way I’d be spending that on a party with 30 kids, but it felt nice to not waste on this occasion.
It’s safe to say these extras were a hit and the girls spent most the evening and next morning in their dressing gowns (Evie even wore hers home from a swimming party the next day!).
With Evie having such a gorgeous sleepover set up we wanted to keep the rest pretty simple. I took a second stab at Martha’s cake hack which is super cheap and cheerful and ordered these cake toppers from Bowbeaus. The toppers aren’t cheap however both Evie and Freddie have kept theirs on shelves in their rooms so it felt like a long term keepsake and part of their present which as I’ve said above, always prefer to stuff that just gets thrown away, even when it is cheaper. Second to that, I prefer to support small businesses I know and love, especially following my own company closing down due to large corporations.
They scoffed pizzas and sang happy birthday (all letting her little brother join in on the fun) before shutting themselves away in the living room for singing, dancing and dvd galore (they 100% all watched Peppa at one point, so they’re not all grown up just yet!).
Clare’s set up was hassle free. She organised a time to arrive prior to coming and was prompt and seamless during set up whilst Freddie and I played in the kitchen. The next morning she had come and gone as quickly as the girls had said goodbye and normality resumed.
Sleepovers are full on. The kids don’t sleep, they are hyper and excitable and you will always be knackered the next day. But when you think about it, so are soft play parties, or dance parties, or ANY party for that matter. Hosting kids is tiring. The idea that this was all in the comfort of our own home, with a few of her closest pals and in such a memorable and gorgeous setting made it really worthwhile. We were able to watch TV in our bedroom, with a glass of wine in our pjs while the kids let loose downstairs in a safe place.
If you fancy getting in touch with Clare about her parties I’ve linked her website here. She travels around for up to an hour to set up parties and was around 30 minutes from where we live in Swindon. When you support a small business, you help a family put food on the table in a world where giant corporations are dominating the market. Often these small businesses mean a mum being able to work around her children and be home more, so truly know that when someone invests, we dance internally with gratitude that you’ve chosen us.
I’d like to thank Clare for making Evie’s party one she will never forget, and reiterate how grateful we feel to be given such wonderful opportunities like this. Wishing you all the luck in the world as you grow this absolute gem Clare.
For transparency we were gifted this party but chose to pay for the robes and pamper packs as extras.