Monday, 16 December 2013

The Party Challenge............. The Results

My original challenge was to hold a complete party for 30 children for the cost of a month's family allowance (2 children = £134.80)

The Total spend was
Room Hire              £30
DJ                            £70
Party Bags              £ 20.62
Pizza x3                   £1.80
Sausage Rolls x2   £1.00
Plates                      £1.50
Napkins                   £0.50
Cups                        £1.00
Bread x2                  £0.96
Cheese                    £2.00
Ham                         £0.75
Juice x2                   £0.92
Crisps x3                £1.98
Balloon                    £1.00

Total                      £134.03

I managed to cater for the whole party (minus the cake, that mum kindly made) for 77p less than the budget

The most important thing was that Scarlett and all her friends thoroughly enjoyed themselves, and all slept very well last night.

Mum's cake as predicted was the star of the show, and I am fortunate that I have mum to call on, but you can buy shop bought birthday cakes for about £3, so just by not buying the balloons, one less bag of crisps, you wouldn't be much over the budget.

The whole cost worked out to be £4.47/child 

Thursday, 5 December 2013

The Party Challenge

As most of you know by now, my Daughter Scarlett turns 5 on the 23rd December.

 I have set myself a challenge of holding her a birthday Party for her whole school class, plus a few extra kids, approx 30, for the total of £134.80 (this is the monthly family allowance I get for having 2 children) 

I want to firstly see if it is actually possible and secondly how far this much money will stretch to in today's climate.

So far I have hired a room in the local church, this has cost me £30 for 3 hours, so 2 hour party, and half an hour each way to set up and clear up.

I have hired a specialist kids disco company, to come and play One Direction (Scarlett's Favourite) and friends at all the children for 2 hours. This has cost me £70.

I have bought all the party bags supplies for £20.62, of, and have spent £2.80 on 3 pizzas and 2 large bags of Sausage rolls.

I have asked my mum to make the cake, nothing to fancy, but she is wonderful, so no doubt it will be a masterpiece.

This leaves me a budget of £11.38 to get paper plates, napkins and cups, Bread, Sandwich fillers, Squash, crisps and anything else I will need.

I think it will be tight, but I will let you know..........................

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Hectic times both personally and professionally

The last few months have been eventful, to say the least, on the 4th October my Daughter went into hospital for a tonsillectomy, which under normal circumstances is a very straight forward procedure, but of course not in our case.
She had been diagnosed with sleep apnia which meant an over night stay on HDU, when they finally let us come home, she spend the first few days waking every few hours, but was refusing to take pain relief unless it was pink. 4 days post op she wasn't eating and her mouth smelt like something had died, so off to the GP's we went, to discover we have a lovely post op infection, a weeks worth of antibiotics were prescribed, and we thought that this would be the end of it, but oh no!
The antibiotics removed the lining of my daughters intestines meaning she was incapable of absorbing all the food as it passed through her bowel, meaning she was suffering from very loose motions (sorry if you are eating) We were advised this would take time to heal.
The 2 weeks she was advised to have off school turned into 3, and luckily, we managed to get her back to school 3 weeks and 2 days after the operation.
She turns 5 on the 23rd of December, has grown 3 inches since the operation, no longer snores, or stops breathing in the night, and now eats me out of house and home. I don't regret pushing for her to have the operation, now that it is all over.

The same time my daughter was ill, I was in the midst of organising a Halloween expo for The Network and also was starting the preparations for the annual South Yorkshire Business Awards ceremony, put on by The Network every year.

Both events did go ahead as planned, and were a great success (or I hope they were), I am not sure if my insanity is intact now. but I am back to fighting weight again and raring to go in 2014.

I just have the small matter of the birthday party, she has invited her whole class, plus a few extras. I will then hopefully be able to relax a bit and think about Christmas

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Christmas is coming............

Its been a while since I have had time to blog, I have had a very busy few months, organising business exhibitions and business dinners, as well as trying to keep the family home ticking over and the kids fed.
This time of year is hectic for everyone, but I didn't make my life easy, my wedding anniversary is the 14th December and my darling Daughter turns 5 on the 23rd December. Of course this means we are having a birthday party, but being me, not just any birthday party!!!

We have invited the whole class to a disco party, so I expect I will be needing a very large glass (or 2 of wine) come 5pm on the 15th December.

As well as all this chaos going off I also have the Rovers birthday parties that are still going on, plus my other clients, and all the work for my other company The Network.

I won't be relaxing Christmas Day either as I have my parents for Christmas Dinner, so will be running around all day.

It will all be worth it in the end!!! (I hope)

A few tips I have picked up from friends and families over the year for celebrations of what ever kind over the festive period.

Christmas Day- Keep one small gift back from the present unwrapping session, and leave it on the chairs around the table, gives that extra unexpected surprise

Christmas Period- Buy the cheapest crackers from the supermarket, usually £1 for 12, take them to pieces and replace the cheap rubbish gift with a personalised present for each guest, adding a gift tag for each person, this then can double up as a place setting

Birthday over the Christmas break- instead of each party guest leaving with a party bag full of bits, have a large sack of small gifts and let them luck dip for a gift as they leave.

Hope these few hints help you get through the festive season

I know its early, but Merry Christmas :)

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Summer birthday party ideas

It can be very difficult coming up with ideas for kids parties and when you have school holidays and every changing weather to contend with it can make it all the more difficult.

My Birthday is 24th August, so falls in the middle of the school 6 weeks holidays, my mum always had great ideas for my parties, but the majority of them were outside under shelter.

There is a running joke in my family that I am the one with a summer birthday, but usually the one who encounters the rain.

I have a few ideas for parties that won't break the bank, and will keep you sheltered from whatever mother nature wants to throw at you.

1. Party in the Park (if you don't have a large enough back garden)
Hire or borrow a couple of gazebos, and head down to the local green space. Blankets on the floor, and an outdoor theme (sport or mini creatures) can be a great setting.
Food can either be a buffet, or a bbq (but check you are allowed to use one in the park)
Sports theme Activities

  • Design your own Football shirt, this can be on biscuits, using icing, or on paper using colouring pens
  • A game of sport, football/rounders (this would be age dependant)
Mini Creatures
  • Decorate stones to look like bugs using pens or paint
  • Bug hunt, have a wander around the park looking for bugs in the grass/trees/undergrowth
2. Party in the garden (if your garden is large enough)

There are many different things you can do in your own garden, my back garden has a large raised decking area, which would look really good as a pirate ship, I did this for my sons birthday a few years ago, bought a couple of inflatable palm trees and skull and cross bone flags, and created a safe play area for him and his friends to play pirates.

My parents have a very large back garden and as a child I remember the big green tent coming out every year for my parties.

They would put the family tent used for camping up in the garden, and we would use it for shade from the sun, or shelter from the rain.
My parties would involve general party games, to this day I won't play musical chairs, as I was rubbish at it, and general running around.

You don't have to theme a party I personally find it easier to work towards a theme.

3. The get wet party

If we continue to have this glorious weather, you could have a paddling pool/sprinkler party, just make sure everyone brings their costumes and plenty of sun cream, and there is plenty of adult supervision

I wouldn't worry too much about the food, a BBQ is always good, a few sausages and burgers, and a bit of pasta and salad.

4. The out and about Party

There are loads of local attractions that have birthday party packages. Local farms/Zoo's are fantastic places for younger kids, and the venues usually provided a tour, and food and access to the attraction for a set price.

Hope these ideas help, for my birthday this year I am planning a bbq, you can guarantee it will rain at some point though out the day, so I will work on plan B just in case

Friday, 19 July 2013

Long Hot Summer ahead

I am lucky in a way that I work for myself and from a home office, it gives me the opportunity to spend as much time as possible with my 2 little angels (monsters).
I have a change fast approaching. In September my eldest starts primary school and my youngest starts state nursery, (up till now they have attended a private nursery 2 days a week to allow me to hold meetings etc)

I am having both kids at home full time from the 15th August, until they start the new faze of their lives, so have been trying to think of ways to entertain them.

I am lucky I have loads of bits and bobs about the house (i am a terrible hoarder and never through anything away) I have off cuts of material, paper, card, egg boxes, and will be getting the PVA glue out and letting the kids get creative, they also love baking, so over the next few weeks I am sure I will be gaining at least half a stone eating their creations.

As the weather is so nice, I have been trying to think of activities that they can do outside, I think I will hide sweets in the garden and sent them on treasure hunts, and I will be using old sheets, to build them a den in the garden, as a kid I used to spend hours playing in my den in the garden, and even used to eat out there.

I am sure several paddling pools and water fights will feature, and also lots of fun in the sand pit.

I hope this long summer break stays hot, as I love this weather, but it is also going to be my first proper test of entertaining the kids for a long period of time, so please wish me luck.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Two years on........ What a week!!!!

It has just occured to me that last week (10/7) was the 2nd anniversary of my #SBS win.

For those of you who don't know what I am talking about, #SBS stands for Small Business Sunday, and is a competition run on twitter every Sunday by the lovely Theo Paphitis (ex dragon from the den).

If you are in business you tweet him between 5.30 and 7 on a sunday evening, telling him about your company, and he picks 6 of the best to retweet, and effectively promotes your business for a week.

My win 2 years ago change my business in so may ways, it doubled my followers on twitter, I was asked to write several articles and guest blog posts and of course more importantly gained me a shed load of new clients.

I was also extremely lucky in the same week to be featured in an article in the Sunday Times.
The Article was about public sector workers who had made the move to self employment, and I think the link is on a previous blog if you are interested in reading the article.

Two years on my business is going from strength to strength, I have several repeat customers and several contracts.

I thank Theo for picking me, and would encourage every one out there in business to give it a go. Other than frustration at not being chosen, What do you have to loose?

Friday, 12 July 2013

My Story.............. so far

I am always being asked how I came to be doing Events, and how I set up in business, I have been really lucky over the last 4 years, I have met a lot of people who have helped me, but also a few that have taught me very valuable lessons about being in business.

I worked as a scientist in the NHS for may years, and had the idea of setting up a part time business on the side for many years, the plan was slowly coming together when I found out I was pregnant with my first child, thoughout the maternity leave I dabbled with the idea, organising a few family functions to test the water.
During my second maternity leave I invested more time in my idea, and when I discovered there was redundancy on the cards I decided this was my time to make the step.

I contacted the local enterprise centre, and they talked through my ideas, helped me write my business plan and were with me every step of the way till I was ready to register with the inland revenue.

Through the Enterprise Centre I met a group of ladies, who were all in a similar position to myself, Mums trying to set up in business, I have kept in touch with several of these ladies and have even gone into business (The Network) with one of them.

We formed a support network to help each other and to use to bounce ideas off, I found the ladies support invaluable, as I have had dark days as well as sunny days

My business was registered with HMRC on 31st December 2010, so I have now been in business just over 2 1/2 years.

I won't lie to you, it hasn't all been plain sailing, and there have been many occasions when I have asked myself if I have done the right thing, but I am a stay at home mum, to 2 gorgeous children, and I also run 2 businesses.

Scarlett Parties has evolved into an Event Management and Party company, that now doesn't just do children's parties, but also the corporate side to events.

Would I recommend self employment to others?

Yes, but I am lucky that my husband is very supportive, and also has a regular wage to cover mortgage and bills etc.
I would recommend you have a solid business plan and that you know which direction you want to head in before you start.

Would I go back to employed work, if our circumstances change and we needed extra cash for some reason I may seek a part time job, but I wouldn't give up on my Companies now

I am in this for the long term, no matter how bumpy the road ahead

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Cutting out the middle man

We have been running the non match day birthday parties at Doncaster Rovers for 3 months now, and have come to the end of the 3 month trial period.

We have reviewed the practice and have decided that the best course of action is the parties should be booked directly through us here at Scarlett Parties cutting out the middle man (lady). I will then arrange the room hire, staff, and the party bags, along with any other requirements you have for the day.

If you are interested in this fantastic parties, it is now as simple as picking up the phone, tweeting/facebooking, or emailing me to book the perfect party

For full information of the party package please lokk at the website below

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Busy old month

As most of you know as well as running Scarlett Parties, I am also co-owner of The Network, This is a B2B networking group with a difference, as well as offering networking meetings, we also offer business course, mentoring, workshops and also hold regular exhibitions. The two businesses work really well along side each other, and complement themselves in a lot of ways.


What a busy last few weeks, all the preparations have been put in place for The Network South Yorkshire Business Awards, that are happening this Friday, we have had a few glitches along the way, but seem to be all ready to go.

I also have done, what I hope to be the first of many Birthday Parties at Doncaster Rovers, I loved watching the group of boys so excited at seeing the mascot arrive, and taking so much fun out of running and dancing about.

Other exciting things I have been sorting out include, booking the venue for the Yorkshire Day celebrations on the 1st August, and also arranging The Networks International Womens Day event.

Information about the IWD, and the yorkshire Day events can be found at

For information about Scarlett Parties, you can find us on facebook ( on twitter @scarlettparties, or our website is

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Happy New Year

Hope you have all had a fantastic time over the festive break, working for myself, I found it very hard to switch off completely, and have had loads of ideas bouncing around.

Scarlett Parties had a birthday in the last week, We have now officially been in business for 2 years.

I will not lie to you, some days have been very hard, but all in all, I am so glad I took the plunge when I did.

I will be organising a competition over the next few weeks so keep you eyes out on facebook and twitter

2013 is going to be a fantastic year, I just know it