16 February, 2011

Special Someones by Victoria at www.perfectgiftboxes.co.uk

They can be men, women, or even your pet!

Often the hardest people to buy gifts for are the ones closest to you. So much pressure. Am I spending enough? Will they like it? Is it their style? Your head could explode with what they will think of your gift.

Personalised Lips & Cherry Cocktail Glass

People often ask me, what do you think about when choosing what products to put on your website? My main answer is that I don’t have anything that my friends and family wouldn’t want for themselves. I take a lot of my friends and family’s thoughts on what they would like when deciding what other people want for their friends and family. I also think that the stereotypical gifts should stay too such as personalised glasses and baby bouquets for new babies. Traditional gifts are still so very very popular and most people love them! Everyone has that silver Money Box for the Christening gift or silver picture frame. These are simplistic, stylish and beautiful gifts that are timeless classics.

Mum and Baby Twins Tin
 Gadgets and toys are pushing through now for the men in our lives and I know my man would quite happily have every techy gadget under the sun in our house. These make great quirky gifts for men!

Shots Gun
 So the next time you don’t know what to get for that ‘special someone’ pop over to my website and see what my friends and family love!

See you soon. Love, Victoria x

Victoria is a mum of 2 boys age 7 and 2 and lives with her husband, David, in Cheshire.
She runs her business http://www.perfectgiftboxes.co.uk/ fulltime from her office in Crewe town centre.
Victoria loves a good natter especially about gifty things so if you are looking for ideas for your next gift give her a call or visit her website http://www.perfectgiftboxes.co.uk/ for lots of inspiration (and fabulous customer service too!)

Current offers - Free delivery on everything PLUS 5% discount in February! "FEB2011" is the code you will need at check out for this offer.

01 February, 2011

To RSVP or not RSVP

In the past five years of children's entertaining I have been asked many many questions. By far the most popular questions my clients ask me are about invitation etiquette. What to write, how to address the sibling issue and of course what the heck does RSVP mean anyway?

So here's my advice for all the things you may think of for writing out invitations for children's parties.

Personalised Invitations
 The invitation

The invitation can prove to be a minefield of individual ideas and perceptions of invitation etiquette, particularly when it comes to RSVP's (I will come back to that later!).

All invitations should have the following information:

Type of event and the name of birthday guest of honor: 
RSVP details: (Your name and telephone number).

For instance:

Jodie's 6th birthday party
on Sunday 6th February, 2011
From 3pm-5pm
at Chorley Village Hall
RSVP Angela 01625 838102

If you are holding the party in a public venue such as a park or play barn you might like to consider adding information about your location eg:

Venue: Alderley Edge Park, meet at the bandstand


R.S.V.P is a french phrase, répondez s'il vous plaît. This means 'respond please'.

There are lots of variations available (just to confuse matters). Some people think that RSVP means 'respond if you please' or 'respond only if you can attend' when it actually means 'respond either way'.

RSVP regrets only

This means 'respond with regrets only please' eg 'I regret that I cannot attend your party'. This removes the need for people to get in touch as if you don't hear otherwise you can assume they will attend.

When you need to know the number of guests at your party

Occasionally you might need to let the venue know how many guests will be attending in advance so they can provide food etc so you may wish to add a date with your RSVP for example: RSVP by 3rd February, 2011

This also means that if you don't hear back from anyone after this date you can reliably assume they wont be able to attend.

The Sibling Issue

Some venues and entertainment providers will charge per child attending so a polite way of mentioning this might be to have wording on the invitation something like 'Jodie invites Claire to her 6th Birthday party' instead of 'no siblings please'.

Alternatively, if your party is in a soft play centre ask the centre if they have any special offers for siblings of children attending parties. Some offer a play and eat offer which includes admission and a kids meal at a reduced price. If they have a special offer and you are expecting lots of uninvited siblings you could add words to the effect of eg 'You are welcome to stay at The Play Barn during the party. They have a special siblings meal offer for £5.99 which includes admission'.

Allergies and dietary requirements

Parents of children with severe allergies, of very fussy eaters and those with religious observances will tell you when they RSVP if they have any concerns about the food served at the party so there is no need to ask about dietary requirements on invites.

After they have been handed out

Have a list of names ready to tick off the child's name as their parents RSVP. Also make sure you get a name and contact number for the parent just in case something happens and there is a change in venue with little notice. This list can also be used at the party to keep track of the guests as they arrive and call any parents who have RSVP but may be lost or their child has been sick at the last minute.
You may also want to follow this up with a text to the parents mobile phones if you have the numbers. Or try to be early to drop off or collect your child from school and ask outright if they got the invite and if they can attend. Some people are busy and may have been meaning to get around to RSVP and will probably be quite grateful of being asked!

Find out more about our party entertainment services for parties in Cheshire and Manchester at www.myfunkyparty.com.
For personalised invites, party wares toys and gifts visit us at www.funkypartysupplies.co.uk.

Thanks for reading, please comment if you have any further invitation questions.

Have a funky party :)

24 September, 2010

Fastpost: Party Games

Worried about party games excluding younger or shy children at your parties?

Simply say at the beginning of the game that you will give prizes to 3 of the best players.

This way you can also engineer the games so that everyone wins a prize!

Try this:

Musical Statues - play the game and when the music stops or you yell freeze pick the 3 best princess poses for girls or scary faces for boys.

Larger Parties

If you have a bigger party or are short on time you can adjust the number of winners accordingly :)


29 August, 2010

The importance of play by Armineh from Tup Tup Toys

This months guest blog is by Armineh from Tup Tup Toys. Thanks Armineh for a great blog post that really illustrates the importance of play based learning. Hope you enjoy reading it, please comment below :)

The importance of play

I heard someone complain the other day that pre-school was too play based. This made me think about play and what it means. How much play should there be at pre-school, and didn’t it used to be called play-school? Why is play important?

Today’s world can be very competitive and there are ever increasing pressures on our children – at pre school, school, extra curricular activities, TV etc. Shouldn’t they be putting their time to better use? But the importance of play shouldn’t be underestimated. It is apparently critical for children to play in order to reach their full potential in life. Through it, children develop their ability to communicate, understand and imagine – as well as other essential life skills. These are just a few:

• It helps children learn about the world in which they live – playing school, fire engines, hospitals.
• It allows a young child to be in charge.
• It builds self esteem – children often play at something they know they can do well.
• It gives children a chance to work out their feelings – dolly was naughty because she scribbled on the wall. She had to go in time out, just like I did.
• It helps to build social skills – taking turns (children whose parents play with them apparently ultimately develop better social skills)
• It helps children grow beyond their years – they can be anything they want, doctor, fireman, bridge builder (engineer)
• It helps with language development – a new word learnt, will be repeated to teddy later.
• It stimulates creativity and imagination.

So play is important, it is what children do and it’s likely to be better quality play when children know it is valued by adults. One of the ways to do this is by playing with your child. This is something I have to be reminded of from time to time but it is great to spend some time each day, just playing with your child (just remember not to dominate or prescribe the play, a gentle nudge in the right direction and try not to intervene too much unless safety is an issue).

Armineh is founder and co-director of Tup Tup Toys. They have a great range of toys, chosen with care, from brands you can trust. To find out more about their toys, who makes them and what’s new, check out the “Watch Our Video” section on their homepage. You can also find out more about play, top tips and new ideas on their blog.

09 August, 2010

Preschool Pirate Party

Avast, Me hearties!
Jack, had his 3rd birthday this weekend and his mum asked me to do some entertaining and make some cupcakes.

So I hopped onto google images to find some cake toppers to print out and put in the top to dress them up.

After looking at plenty of suitable printables websites I found the lovely site Cottage Industrialist...lovely craft ideas which the site owner is generous enough to publish lots of printables for free.

When I found out Jack's Auntie Louise had made a big pirate ship cake I wanted to create its own mini armada to go with it so these printables hit the spot. The sails are fantastic with the faux high seas.

The cupcakes were made using a vanilla cupcake recipe from 'The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook' which, I might add, never fails to turn out perfectly. Topping the cakes is a basic chocolate butter icing piped on using a large star shaped icing nozzle from Lakeland.

These are the pictures of my attempts...
Cupcake 'boats'
Cottage Industrialist has a few different printables to match the ingenious cupcake wrappers, bunting, envelopes, invites and thankyou notes all with the nautical theme.

To go with the cupcakes, which are huge, I also made some smaller toddler friendly sized cakes for little mouthes.

I made a batch of vanilla cupcakes using the same recipe as the cupcake boats in Skulls cupcake cases then iced them with Baby Blue coloured water icing and topped with a sprinkle of hundreds and thousands and a chocolate coin.
Buried treasure cupcakes
So even though the party was a toddler party I brought along some additional items just to make the table look abit more "piratey" as Jack said when he sat down :)

I used some knarly 'old' black cloth that I originally bought from Toys 'r' Us last halloween but you can find this in any party or costume shop. Added to that is a foam skull, an old brass candlestick found in a charity shop and the treasure chest from the pirates treasure hunt. A good helping of pirates pieces of eight were added as table confetti.

The tableware is all from the Skulls theme to co-ordinate with the cupcake cases.

We ran the usual pass the parcel which had the obligatory too many layers and a jelly baby in each layer.
A twist to the usual pass the parcel is to place a piece of paper in each layer with a fun command such as 'clap 3 times', 'shout ahoy!' etc instead of sweets.
A pirate themed bouncy castle was also hired for the little ones to bounce around to their hearts content. As there was a mixed age range of kids it was great because the littleones were too young to concentrate on playing games continuously for the whole party.

Make a wish!
All in all a great time was had by all and the little finishing touches really made things even more special. All very little details that anyone could do, especially when armed with google, you never know what you might come up with!

21 July, 2010

Booking a venue

When you decide to throw a party you could have the party at home or at a hired venue.

Your decision is probably based on 3 things:
  1. How many children you are having at the party
  2. What entertainment and activities you will be doing
  3. How good your nerves are!
When I am out and about hosting parties I find that for most people having a small group of children around 10-12 kids having a party at home is perfectly fine. There are always parents who, like me, would book a venue even if they had 5 guests at the party!

Photo courtesy of www.stthomasmoorside.org.uk
There's lots of different types of venues available. There's the obvious community centres and church halls and then theres other places such as function rooms attached to a local pub, meeting rooms at hotels, leisure centres and health clubs. Some schools have their hall to hire too.

A church in my town has their main hall which is huge, 30 kids could easily get lost in the space but they have several smaller rooms which are much better for smaller parties of less than 15 children. So when you enquire about the larger rooms and find they are booked do ask if they have other rooms available.

What about other facilities?

Photo courtesy of www.braidhillshotel.co.uk
Most church halls and community centres are fairly similar with the option of hiring a small kitchen in addition to the hall. The contents of the kitchen are usually stocked with the same standard of items. Cups, plates, dishes, chopping board and knife amongst other things.

"One thing about church halls is that most have a policy of take your rubbish home so dont forget to pack some bin liners with you."

So do I book an entertainer before or after the venue?

Its always best to book an entertainer before your venue. Most venues are similar, they offer the same space, facilities, tables and chairs etc.

If you have in mind a specific entertainer for instance you may want a specific facepainter or clown to entertain at your childs party and therefore plan the venue around their diary.

It is quick and easy to find another hall but very difficult and time consuming to find another entertainer.

Decoration tips!

With church halls and hired venues you can really go to town with the decoration.

Theres no need to accomodate sofas, tv sets and tables etc you really do have a blank canvas.

Go crazy hang coloured fabric for a back ground and decorate with balloons. Hang ribbons of crepe paper from the ceiling. Bring props from home.

Heres a couple of our favourites:
Thanks to www.designismine.blogspot.com
thanks to www.picsdigger.com

Hope these tips help with organising your party. Please do let us know if its helped!
Function rooms and other venues are supplied with tables and chairs only.

10 July, 2010

Why choose a party theme?

Choosing a theme for your party can help when choosing games, activities or which professional children's entertainer to hire.

A theme doesn't have to be complicated or tied into a popular character from films and television. You could find inspiration in all sorts of ways.

Does your child like to dress up? You could use a theme for the costumes - prince and princess, occupations and animals are all great choices.

You could ask the children to arrive at the party dressed up and either DIY some face painting or hire a professional face painter to paint the kids faces to match their costume.

Arty crafty children might like a party around a simple concept such as their favourite colour. This can easily be applied to the party food, particularly cupcakes.

Sporty children might like a party that has lots of activity, sports, races and parachute games.

Once a theme has been decided it makes choosing activities, food, entertainment and party bags much easier as you can focus your research.

The earlier you can choose a theme the more organised you can be and a greater number of venue, entertainment and food options would be available to you.