Life

How costs are spiralling out of control for a child's birthday party

Children's birthday parties are getting more and more extravagant

PASS the chequebook darling. And make sure there's plenty of money in the bank account as it's our child's birthday.

That's exactly what Amir Khan's wife must have said to him when she started to plan their daughter's birthday celebrations.

With Peppa Pig, a real life ballerina and Disney princesses all gathered along with 250 specially invited guests, the Khans celebrated their daughter's birthday in style.

Held at the home of Bolton Wanderers football club, Khan splashed out a staggering £100,000 for his little girl's big day.

Amir and his wife Faryal Makhdoom decided to push the boat out for Lamaisah's party, which took Mrs Khan three months to plan and also featured a giant cake and a carousel.

It was a milestone age after all - she turned TWO.

In an interview with Hello! magazine, Khan talked about the lavish bash for his only child.

"When I walked in, the first thing I said was, 'Wow!' My wife did an amazing job," he told the magazine.

"I was busy training when she was planning this, but every day I was getting crazy bills and thinking, 'What's this for?'

"Every penny spent on my daughter is worth it, though. After all, all this hard work I do is for her, for my kid."

Khan's not on his own though, many other celebrities have spent a small fortune celebrating their offspring's birthday.

Take Tamara Ecclestone as another example. The heir to the Formula One empire created a farmyard in the garden of her mansion with an array of animals to celebrate daughter Sophia's first birthday.

Zebras, sheep, puppies and ponies were among the animals brought to the party, which had been kitted out with pink balloons crafted into 'S' shapes in honour of the little girl.

Each animal had its own station complete with a gazebo and pink name sign and a balloon artist and don't forget the four-foot cake.

Then there was Manchester United footballer Wayne Rooney who installed a golf course into his garden for his son's sixth birthday.

The Khans' massive expenditure has unsurprisingly sparked a huge reaction online.

Messages swamped social media with many people commenting it was a "disgusting waste of money for a child that may not even remember it".

One said Khan had "more money than brains", while another added: "I bet the little girl really appreciates all that money being spent on her".

While Khan shouldn't have to justify his spending, what's wrong with a party in the local community centre or a trip bowling?

Here's me thinking that a bouncy castle and pass the parcel is still fun.

But it seems the days of soggy sandwiches, dad dressing up in a clown costume and a tiny party bag for guests are a thing of the past.

We all want the best for our kids, but to spend extortionate sums of money on a birthday party that our children won't even remember is hard to fathom.

Research has shown that parents spend more more than £19,000 over a lifetime on children's birthday parties.

Nearly half of mothers and fathers spend up to £500 on their child's birthday each year, with 15 per cent of parents feeling under pressure to spend more than they can afford.

At the end of the day, it's up to parents how they spend their money on their children.

But ultimately, the motivation to make a big deal out of relatively minor milestones all stems from the parents. It's when parties get into competition mode that it hits a whole new level.

Organising a child's birthday has become comparable with planning a big event.

If parents are trying to outdo each other, hoping that their party will be bigger and better than the one before, then that's where the problem starts.

There are certainly worse things to spend your money on than making your child happy, but spending colossal amounts is not needed.

Realistically, all my kids want is to play football with their friends and a slice of birthday cake.

Let's not lose sight of the little people we're throwing the parties for, go easy on yourself and cut costs where you can.

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Competition

Distress Signals is the debut fiction by Co Cork author Catherine Ryan Howard.

Described as a "deeply compelling, cleverly plotted thriller", it tells the story of Adam Dunne whose girlfriend Sarah fails to return from a Barcelona business trip and his perfect life begins to fall apart.

Days later, the arrival of her passport and a note that reads 'I'm sorry - S' sets off real alarm bells. He vows to do whatever it takes to find her.

Adam is puzzled when he connects Sarah to a cruise ship called the Celebrate and to a woman Estelle, who disappeared from the same ship in eerily similar circumstances almost a year before.

I have three copies of Distress Signals to give away. To be in with a chance to win, simply email your name, address and telephone number – along with the answer to the question below - to competitions@irishnews.com

Closing date for entries is Tuesday June 14 at noon.

(Q) Which county in Ireland is the author Catherine Ryan Howard from?

Normal Irish News Rules Apply

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What's Hot!

Date for your diary: The world-famous Hillsborough International Oyster Festival is back. The spectacular showcase of the best in hospitality, local produce, arts and entertainment returns from August 30 to September 4. Visit www.hillsboroughoysterfestival.com for further information.

Gift ideas - With Father's Day fast approaching, check out the gifts at Marks and Spencer. There's lots available, from the novelty 'Greatest Dad' dressing gown and Star Wars pyjamas to a classic leather briefcase.

What's Not!

Fashion fail - Holly Willoughby normally leads the style stakes, but her red carpet outfit at an awards bash this week failed to impress. The TV presenter wore an unusual jumpsuit with a theatrical cape at the rear which trailed the floor as she walked.

Smash - A $15,000 Lego statue, which took three days to build, was destroyed by a child in China in a matter of seconds. The youngster managed to break the human-sized figurine of a character from the film Zootopia an hour after the exhibition opened.

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Competition winner

The winner of last week's Elemis competition is Patricia Boylen from Maghera.

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Easy Peasy Recipe

This week's Easy Peasy Recipe is Honey Chilli Chicken Fillets with grilled corn salsa, courtesy of chef Paula McIntyre, who has created the recipe for SPAR.

You will need:

4 enjoy local Honey Chilli Chicken Fillets

2 corn on the cob pieces

1 tbsp cooking oil

1 tsp red chilli, chopped

1 red onion, finely chopped

Juice from 1 lemon

1 scallions, chopped

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp caster sugar

To make:

Placing the honey chilli chicken fillets on the grill and ensure the chicken is cooked through.

For the grilled corn salsa, brush the corn with oil and cook on the barbeque or grill ensuring all sides are cooked.

Place the chopped red chili, chopped red onion, lemon juice, chopped scallions, oil and castor sugar in a bowl and mix well.

Cut the corn to remove niblets and add to the mixture.

Serve alongside the chicken.

Do you have an Easy Peasy recipe you would like to share?

Are you the queen of quiches, magnificent at muffins or can you turn out some nice scones?

If so, then we want to hear from you.

You can send your name, address, contact number and recipe (plus photo if possible) to:

Easy Peasy Recipes,

Suzanne McGonagle,

Irish News

113-117 Donegall Street,

Belfast,

BT1 2GE

or

s.mcgonagle@irishnews.com

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