Without a doubt, one of the biggest struggles for us as parents this past year has been watching the effect social deprivation has had on our kids. Had the pandemic not turned our lives upside down last March, our weeks would have been filled with indoor playdates, after-school programs and trips away with other families. Both our boys are really feeling the effects, and I know all of us have become a bit co-dependant. Even though I know they need to start going back out into the world a bit more (whenever that will be), the thought of it definitely gives me anxiety!
Time to play with other kids is a crucial part of childhood development and emotional learning. Within their friendships, children learn valuable life lessons about trust, loyalty, and caring for others. And sending them off to a slumber party at a trusted friend's house can also increase their feelings of independence and confidence outside of their own homes. Something that we're definitely going to have to build on after the past year of togetherness! Lisa Artis, head of The Sleep Council in the UK says 'As parents, we should be building up little chunks of independence that enable our children to manage without us for short stretches of time – and sleepovers are a good way of achieving this in a safe and controlled environment,' she says, adding that sleepovers can also enable children to learn new skills – for example, packing clothes, getting ready for bed without their parents being around, and overcoming separation anxiety.
Sleepovers are such a great bonding activity for children. Even though they see each other at school and on regular playdates, but there's something about being with friends in a home environment and the excitement of a night-time spent together that makes this bonding a deeper experience. And they also build on their social skills and confidence by having to ask their friend's parents for drinks, snacks and where the bathroom is without you there to help them - great for their personal development!
So how do we make children feel confident about going to a slumber party once we all start making our way back out into the world?
- Reassure them that there will be a set plan. A schedule of a craft, a fun dinner and a movie with snacks before bed gives them a routine to focus on.
- Set the scene! All of our slumber party themes have twinkling lights, cozy blankets, soft pillows and lots of fun little touches to give every sleepover a magical feel.
- If your child is going to sleepover at a friend's house, send them with a comforter such as a teddy of their own pillow. Anything with a scent that makes them feel at home.
- Make it a 'sleep-under'! We can set up our tents for a full sleepover, but the kids can head home at 9pm after dinner and a movie. Or, have all the kids come in their pjs and give them the option to stay over if they are fully into it once 9pm rolls around!
I still remember the exact moment 3 years ago that I had the beginnings of an idea to start this business of mine. It was after we'd returned home from a HUGE trampoline park party. As much as my kids always enjoyed the bouncing and the cake, they never did well with the noise and the crowds and the intensity of it all, and tbh neither did I!
I've always felt at my happiest in small social groups, with people I know well and feel comfortable being completely myself around. Anything else gives me low-key anxiety, and I've finally got to an age and a stage where I feel at ease admitting that to myself and others. Shouting to be heard? Done. Walking on eggshells around people I've never clicked with? Nope! And I know I'm not the only person, grown-up or not, who feels this way.
So I decided to create the kind of small, intimate parties that I knew my kids would love, never imagining that 3 years later we'd find ourselves in a world where small gatherings with people in our small safety bubble would be the new normal!
For the foreseeable future, these kinds of celebrations are here to stay, and I want to make my version of them as fun and as stress-free as I possibly can! That's why I'll be rolling out many different party options over the next few weeks and months. New sleepover themes (Minecrafters get ready...), sleep under parties where everyone watches a movie, does some yoga and then heads home to bed, themed mini picnic tables for some indoor and outdoor meal time fun (my High Tea party is coming back!). It's all here for those sweet, small, true friend get-togethers. Because once you find your people, you don't need all the noise and the crowds and the craziness.You just need you, them, and some quality time.
There's no two ways about it - the snacks are a seriously important part of any slumber party! Sure, you've got the popcorn for the movie and the candy for the late night chats, but what else can you rustle up that is super easy, delicious and sure to wow your friends?
Here, I've rounded up 6 of my favorite slumber party snack recipes that are fun to make with your kids and take no time at all to put together:
1. Oreo Ice Cream Bites
Image: Somewhat Simple
This bite-sized take on the classic ice cream sandwich is perfect for a fun party activity! Lay out a large baking tray for the kids and take the tops off the Oreos. My kids prefer to leave the cream in the cookies, but you can scrape it out if you prefer. Next, put a generous blob of ice cream on each half and replace the tops. Smooth off the edges and then roll your Oreo sandwich in any kind of sprinkle. Then eat quickly and messily!
2. Banana Sushi
This banana sushi recipe also doubles up as another slumber party activity, and the kids can eat it with chopsticks for a fun twist!
Chop several bananas into sushi-sized chunks. Line up small bowls of various sticky spreads to smear around each piece. Almond butter, honey and nutella are perfect. Next, lay out some fun toppings on a baking tray! My kids love sprinkles, chocolate flakes, cinnamon sugar and crushed up cereal. Roll each sushi piece through the toppings and there you have it! A fun snack and activity rolled into one. Plus, bananas help you sleep so you're basically winning in every way.
3. Eton Mess
Image and full recipe: Annabel Karmel
A nostalgic throwback to my English childhood, this quick and easy pudding tastes like summer evenings hanging out in my backyard. Fun fact: this dish is served at Eton College on June 4th to mark the start of summer!
Mix together whipped cream and greek yogurt in a large bowl. Next, break several meringues into small chunks and fold in to the mixture. Them add in some chopped fruit. We love raspberries, strawberries and peaches. Spoon into small bowls and chill in the refrigerator for 15 minutes, then enjoy!
4. Froyo Bites
Image and recipe: skinnyms.com
Healthy and delicious, these are a guilt-free option for any midnight snack! Because they need freezing, you'll need to make them earlier in the day before your sleepover guests arrive.
Line a muffin tin with silicon cupcake liners. Next, spoon a small amount of granola into each one. Mix together greek yogurt and honey in a bowl, and spoon 2 tablespoons on top of the granola mix. Then, top with fresh berries and pop in the freezer for about 6 hours. Allow them to set at room temperature for about 10 minutes before serving.
5. Three Ingredient Breakfast Cookies
Image and recipe: pintsizedtreasures.com
These cookies are a perfect morning treat at a sleepover party, as they are packed with healthy vitamins and contain no added sugar! Plus the clue is in the title - they are super easy to put together. All you need is 2 cups of rolled oats, 2 large bananas and 3/4 cup of chocolate chips.
Frist, preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Next, mash the bananas and stir into the oats until thoroughly combined. Gently stir in the chocolate chips, and then roll into 2 inch balls and flatten to make the perfect cookie shape. Bake on parchment sheet for 12 minutes and then serve to your hungry breakfast guests!
I've definitely got a thing for lights. String lights, candles, salt lamps...you name it, it's either in my living room, my parties, or both! The right lighting can create a super relaxing atmosphere, perfect for producing those cozy feelings of happiness and wellbeing. And perfect for getting children settled and down for a good night's sleep!
One of the main questions I get asked when organising a slumber party is "Will the kids actually sleep?" And my answer is yes, eventually! But don't worry, there are steps you can take to make that happen sooner than midnight.
When I first had the idea for a Glow in the Dark slumber party theme, I bought an LED star projector for my boys to test out. They loved the aurora light effect so much that I decided to build the whole theme around it. I wanted the neon lights and bright colors of a dance party, but then the glowing and relaxing effects of the star projector. Because no matter how good the party, these kids (and parents!) need to get some sleep.
My Glow Crazy theme is the best of both worlds and so much fun! When the kids first arrive it's a total party atmosphere. Think neon star lights, LED foam light sticks, and the star projector is bluetooth enabled, so you can set up a playlist, turn the lighting to party colors and let the dancing begin! But after a night of partying, everyone is ready to chill out eventually...
The tents, sheets, pillows and blankets are all a calming white and covered in glow in the dark stars, which give off a gorgeous glowing effect once the lights are out. The star ceiling projector can be turned to red, to get everyone chilling out and ready for sleep. Researchers have recently discovered that red color light is the most conducive to sleep, and can significantly reduce worries and anxieties. Perfectly for settling down in bed away from home.
And before you know it they'll be waking up, well rested and ready for a big post-party breakfast! Just wake sure you've got the waffles ready, you know they're going to be STARVING ;)
Harry Potter is definitely having a moment here on the East Coast, with a huge new store of products opening in the Flatiron District of NYC this summer. I've always loved the books and movies, and can remember staying up all night when I was at University back in England (not studying or partying!) because I had to finish The Goblet of Fire before I went to sleep! My 8 year old has just started reading the first instalment and is really getting into it, so it felt like the perfect time to launch this magical slumber party theme.
The party I've created has a monochrome twist, with tents and sheets emblazoned with the house sorting hat and Harry's famous lightning scar and glasses. Golden snitches hang from the front of the tents, with lots of glowing candles, fluffy owls, birdcages and spell books scattered around as the general decor. The overall feel is of snuggling down in Hogwart's Great Hall for a house slumber party!
As well as putting on their favourite HP movie instalment and providing the butterbeer, there are so many easy activities and little extra touches you can put together to make this a sleepover they'll never forget:
1. Send out a Hogwarts Acceptance Letter
Kid love to get mail! Send out a Hogwarts acceptance letter as the party invitation. There are many templates online and it sets the scene perfectly for what is to come.
2. Creating a Wand Making Station
Set up a craft station with paint, glitter, gems...anything the kids can use to make their own magical wand. You can buy wand making kits online, but disposable chopsticks work just as well! For older kids, a hot glue gun can make a cool string effect, like I created here with my own wands.
3. Have you Seen This Wizard? Photo Creation Station
Each of my slumber party packages comes with an Instax Mini Camera and sheets of film. Purchase some Harry Potter photo props online and have some fun by taking photos of the kids for them to print out and clip to their tents! They can also take them home in their favor bags as a fun memory of the night.
4. Snacks, snacks and more snacks
Barnes & Noble in Westport stock a great selection of Harry Potter goodies. Set out some chocolate frogs and Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans. I've tried my own kids with these and it's so funny watching them taste all the different crazy flavors! For a really special touch, Confections by Crystal in Southport can create the cutest Harry Potter themed cake pops in chocolate or vanilla sponge. They look great and are seriously delicious too.
This was such a fun slumber party to put together, and I can't wait to create one for your little wizards and witches soon!
Visit our Harry Potter Slumber Party page
You could say there's been a lot of change in my life recently. Looking back, I still can't quite believe that we've moved house, welcomed another bouncing baby boy and completely changed the direction of this little party box business of mine, all within the space of 12 months!
This time last year I had just decided that I was going to add a couple of themed slumber party packages to Rosebud Boxes. I half thought I was crazy deciding to introduce a whole new range of parties at 5 months pregnant, but I just couldn't get the concept out of my head and I knew I had to go for it. And since then my feet have barely touched the ground!
I quickly fell head over heels for these slumber parties, and it seems you all did too. And so at the end of one of the busiest (and best) summers of my life, I knew that it was time to close my party box chapter and focus fully on the sleepovers. And with that, Rosebud Slumber Parties was born.
The website has relaunched today with a whole new look and vibe, which I hope you love as much as I do! The Beverly Hills Experience is already one of my favourite themes; it just makes me feel like I've been transported to sunny LA, even as I sit here typing and freezing in the middle of a wet and windy Connecticut fall day! This theme includes lots of little tropical touches, with the option of adding pink silk robes and slippers to your package for an ultra-luxe spa feel.
I'll be introducing several new themes over the next few months, including a very special one at the end of November that I think will be perfect for the upcoming season :). And I'm ALWAYS open to suggestions for themes, so if you have one that you'd love to see then please get in touch and let me know!
Thanks for following along, and I can't wait to put together a slumber party for you in the near future!
Have a great week,
Since launching my new sleepover party packages late last year I’ve had so much fun putting together some dreamy birthday celebrations. One of the best parts is seeing the reactions of the children when they walk in to see their bedroom or playroom transformed for the night – I wish I could bottle it up!
I don't know about you, but every April I look forward to seeing my Instagram feed fill up with hazy shots of people in the desert at Coachella, hanging out with their friends, listening to amazing bands and just soaking in the atmosphere. It is pure escapism, and who doesn't love all the outfits, the sunshine, the music and, of course, the flower crowns?!
Afternoon Tea: What comes first – the cream or the jam?
Afternoon tea is a very serious business in my home country of England. Often referred to as a ‘Cream Tea’, it’s a much-loved tradition amongst both young and old to sit down to a pot of hot tea and a scone served with jam and clotted cream. With the Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle now just a few days away, homes and gardens across the UK are getting ready for the tea party of the year! I myself will be hosting a little celebration with friends here in Connecticut, and I’m so looking forward to styling my deck up with décor from my High Tea Party Box and serving everyone this traditional afternoon treat.