A mom who has spent thousands on extravagant birthday parties for her eight-year-old daughter has created a magical movie night for her.
Mom Liyah Londyn, 34, spent £ 500 on Skylar-Rose’s eighth birthday party on Saturday, November 21, after surprising her daughter and their family support bubble with a viewing they would never forget.
The bash included a cascading popcorn cake, movie-inspired decor, and a colorful balloon display, which opened out to a beautiful open-air cinema tent next to the living room, where a special Aladdin screening awaited them.
Liyah, from Croydon, South London, said, “You couldn’t see the marquee from the inside, so when I told everyone to settle in for the movie, they all went to the TV.
“Then I pushed back the sliding doors and went straight into the cinema tent.
“My daughter was absolutely blown away.”
Entrepreneur Liyah, who is no longer with Skylar’s dad even though they are friends, has thrown in everything from a glamorous jungle-themed nightclub event to Minnie Mouse and Wild West bashes.
But she actually went to town for her daughter’s seventh birthday when she threw a Princess Tiana party – which cost around £ 2,500.
The glamorous bash featured carnival-style food, a cotton candy machine, plus a live entertainer and an exotic animal farm, including African frogs, flying sugar gliders, and even a cuddly tarantula.
And Skylar sang the Tiana theme song Almost There, with the Disney entertainer dressed as Princess Tiana.
Liyah said, “Skylar is such a sweet girl. She loves school and loves her friends.
“When there was no school because of the first blockage of the coronavirus, nothing was open and you had nowhere to go or do something, it was quite difficult for her.”
She added: “She was very excited to go back to school, but very disappointed when I told her that due to all the restrictions she was not going to have a party this year.
“She was very sad at first, but I don’t think she wanted to make me feel bad about it. She kept saying, “It’s okay, Mommy.”
“This is a kid who is used to a lot of things and extraordinary birthdays, so I was so impressed with her behavior.”
But Liyah did not let her down and hosted the cinema party, which she said was Skylar’s favorite party so far.
She said, “Because she wasn’t expecting it at all, she responded best.
She was blown away. She buzzed. “
Bringing joy to her daughter’s life is the only reward Liyah wants for her tremendous effort.
“I absolutely love it,” she said. “And her reaction to the cinema party was extra fun, making this my favorite party so far.
“It was a challenge to think outside the box to do something without breaking through the limitations.”
She said, “I felt like I had won. It was a case of ‘mom-one; lockdown-nil! ‘
“And Skylar was truly over the moon.”
Of course, the resourceful Liyah is now thinking of ways to incorporate what she learned from her daughter’s last party into her business.
She explained, “Usually I throw a princess party or have a theme, such as ponies or live animal shows.
“I couldn’t do that for Skylar’s eighth birthday, but I didn’t want to have a base party.
“My daughter loves movies and family time, but I wanted to build on that idea and turn it into something special.”
She added, “Then I came across these open-air cinemas and contacted a few places, but I was worried it would be too cold to use one in the garden in November, as it’s summer stuff.
“But one company said they ordered something suitable and I would be the first to use it.”
It was a leap of faith for Liyah, who normally starts working on an idea months in advance.
“I was on the edge because I had a month to go and nothing was planned,” she said.
“I usually start planning from the beginning of the year and also start paying off early.
“There is a misconception that I splash the money in one go, but it is not like that. I spread it and it’s kind of paid for by the month before her birthday. “
“It’s really the first time that I haven’t done that, so it was strange.”
Still, the weatherproof cover and inflatable marquee, including special cinema seats and a “huge 10-foot screen” were a huge hit.
Liyah said, “It was just my household and my support bubble – so all Covid friendly.
“Because of what I do, we got salespeople to contact us, so I got the party supplies and Skylars outfits for free. Normally such a marquee would cost £ 200, but we had a lockdown discount so it was £ 160.
“The attention to detail was 10 out of 10 – with reels and clapperboards – and I would definitely use this again if I was doing something professional.”
Learning to adapt was very important to ensure the continued success of her business, Once Upon A Party Events, during the Covid-19 pandemic.
She has developed a range of party boxes so that hosts can have all the necessities delivered to set up their own cake tables and custom backdrops.
With contactless cake and balloon deliveries available to the door, her innovations have proved a resounding success with families looking for something to celebrate.
“It’s not exactly the same as our most popular package is the cake table and backdrop, but it’s clear we have nowhere to be on site at the moment,” said Liyah.
“We deliver at home, so that people can get something.
“We get a lot of people asking this for their first birthdays, Zoom parties or just for their household.
“It means that special occasions don’t go completely unnoticed.”
Again, the resourceful businesswoman says her customers’ responses have far exceeded her expectations.
She said, “I didn’t think the packages would do that well because I thought if you can’t have a venue and a lot of guests, you don’t want a party at all.
“In fact, it has been the exact opposite and many people have booked these deliveries.
“I think people just want something to look forward to,” she concluded.
“They have their babies and they want to dress them up and they want to smash cake and stuff.
“People need a little sparkle right now. Skylar definitely finishes it! “