My nightmare? Kids’ birthday parties, says Inbetweeners star James Buckley


He played the cocky lad Jay who reckons he’s up for anything in Inbetweeners. But actor James Buckley says he is terrified of kids’ birthday bashes.

James, who shares frank admissions about modern parenting with wife Clair on their hit social media channel At Home With The Buckleys, says: “Organising kids birthday parties – it is an absolute nightmare. There is so much to do, so much to remember.”

To which Clair replies: “How would you know?”

In true Jay mode he responds: “Well, I’ve seen you do it and you make it look really hard!”

The couple, who have two children, filmed a video exploring the dilemmas faced when planning birthday parties and featuring horror stories from other parents about when it all goes wrong.

Clair recalls thinking it would be easy to bake a three-tiered birthday cake for one of her sons and admits she was up until four on the morning of the party itself.

James adds: “I think people watch an episode of Bake Off and think ‘Oh, I can do that.’”

Planning a child’s birthday party has in fact emerged as one of the most stressful tasks for parents, and almost three quarters say they find it more taxing than their day job.

Having to navigate the politics of who to invite, catering to endless dietary demands, competing with other parents and the inevitable tantrums of hyped-up children are just some of the reasons why celebrating the birth of their offspring can be so trying.

Despite the party planning minefield, 62% of parents of children aged over five polled by PizzaExpress said seeing the joy on their child’s face on the day made it all worthwhile and 40% said they enjoyed the sense of achievement.

The survey of 1,500 parents was commissioned by PizzaExpress, who teamed up with James and Clair for the video, to celebrate its Kids Pizza Making Parties.

Nearly eight in 10 (78%) parents wished they could simply hand over the task to someone else, 47% dreaded the clean-up operation and 21% hated shopping for party bags. Over a third (36%) were daunted by accommodating a myriad of food preferences and allergies and 32% feared the tears and arguments. A huge 74% said they found the whole process more stressful than going to work.

Jo Vaughton at PizzaExpress, said: “Planning for children’s parties is no party! It’s never quite as plain sailing as you expect it to be. We get it, that’s why at PizzaExpress we’re coming to the aid of parents, with our Kids’ Pizza Making Parties – creating memorable dining experiences for life’s most important moments, whilst allowing parents to put their feet up and enjoy the celebrations.”

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