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