How I threw a birthday party under $200

To some people $200 is still a bit much to spend on a party.
To others $200 is just loose change…
Kids parties come in all different shapes and sizes, so I thought I would share with you what I put together for Judes 3rd birthday and how I kept to my budget.

Amazing parties don’t come cheap.
I am talking the Pinterest, aesthetically beautiful parties. The ones with the neon signs, the balloon arbours, the array of entertainment, photo booths, the 4 tiered cake etc ( the list could really go on).
They are absolutely drool worthy!! Heck I want to throw myself one every second weekend! But sometimes that kind of party is just not do – able.
Whether it be budgets, time frames, or the fact you have family rules restricting parties to milestone birthdays only, every family is different ( or like me, who just had a baby and just really wanted to take things easy this year).
According to experts in the biz Party With Lenzo, the average minimum cost for a party is $300.
In a recent study in the UK, it seems the average min spend for British parents is $450.
So I thought with a budget of $200 I was doing alright!

When I asked Jude what he wanted to do for his birthday this year he said –
‘Mum I want a Spiderman cake, and a picnic with Archie, Isaac and Jabez ( cousin and 2 friends).
The party entertainer in me was like – ‘WHAT!!!! That is NOT a party!!!!!’
but of course, he is 3, so I didn’t say that…
Selfishly though, I would love to have a theme that is not a super hero, because seriously, that stuff can be so tacky! ( last year I threw a non tacky Batman themed party for him. I should really share that one day!) But kids love the bright super hero themes so I relaxed this year and this is how it rolled. ( Sorry I forgot to get some photos of the decorations details but I am sure your imagination can paint the picture)

Little guests –  5
Adults – 7

Food
For the kids…
I made a fruit platter for when they arrived and then they had my favourite lunch packs ( see pics below)
Fruit I purchased – 2 apples, 2 oranges, 1 punnet blueberries, 1 punnet strawberries, grapes.
Lunch packs contained –
Cheese stick
Cookie
Vegemite sandwich star
Popcorn cup
3 chicken nuggets
I got all my fruit from the fruit shop and all the rest from Aldi.
Total cost for the kids food was – $15.25 ( $3.05 per head)

For the adults…
I served a small cheese platter which cost $17 to create.
Followed by burgers. I love to use the brioche buns from Aldi and the Angus beef patties. I just divide each patty into two as they are super thick.
Then I add, cheese, tomato, lettuce and mayo. Delish!!
They came in at $19.80 total.
So total cost of food per head for the adults was around $5.25

Drink
I used my drink dispensers and filled them with ice and added water to one, and apple juice to the other.
The juice was – $1.75

Decorations
These were all purchased from Choice discount store, except for the Spiderman balloons which were from eBay.
Plastic cups for popcorn and drinking – $2
Red and white lunch packs – $2 pack of 8
Red balloons with Spiderman – $4 with plastic sticks $2 ( I used these as decorations on a stick and then handed out to the kids as favours at the end)
Mixed balloons on the floor – $2.50 bag
Backdrop behind Cake – $1.20
Serviettes $1
Paper straws – $2
Paper plates $1
White table cloths – Already owned
Picnic rug – Already owned

Favours
Bags – $2
Plastic dinosaurs from kmart- $3 ( Judes favourite things and they come in a tube of about 20)
Bubbles – $2
Take home balloons ( mentioned previously and below on the stick)

Cake 
This was my biggest expense as it was something I wanted to outsource.
Cakes stress me out and Jude specifically wanted a Spiderman themed cake whenever I asked him. I knew I would fail at making that. He also said that he wanted cake as a present. So I guess it was kind of a present too ( shut up, I’m not a tight ass. He got some actual presents too).
The amazing cake was made by Deni Bakes on the Gold Coast and came in at $120.
It was absolutely delicious and I highly recommend her! ( You should check out her Facebook- Here

Fun
The kids played in the backyard and we had some running races.
I obviously have access to some fun party entertainment ( being a party entertainer and all) so we played a few games, danced and used the colourful parachute.
I also made my husband dress up as Spiderman and surprise the kids which was super fun! But I know not everyone can do that, and if you did, you would need to add the costs of the costume to your budget.

Total party cost $199.25

At the end of the day it was lots of fun and Jude still keeps talking about it.
We had minimal food left over and still have lots of balloons left over to use for other fun things.

The main thing to remember when you plan your party is – What is my budget? and how can I plan ahead to ensure I don’t blow that budget. (Planning ahead is always a good idea no matter what your budget!)
It really is easy to get out of control, so be mindful.
Kids really just want to play and have fun. They want to laugh and blow out candles. The 3 layered, fairy bread truffle, can often go un – noticed.

Anyway I hope this has been helpful to those wanting to throw a small easy party but didn’t really know where to start.
Good luck with your next party and I hope you and your loved ones get to enjoy it, no matter what the budget!

xoxox Nat

 

 

 

Trick or Treat! Halloween treat ideas!

We love Halloween at our house.
Our entire street gets into it and we all get excited to see what each other is going to dress up as. It is so much fun!

My husband and I actually used to dress up and go trick or treating with our friends kids, before we had our own! Pretty funny but true!
I think its interesting considering we were not allowed to go trick or treating as kids.
We both grew up in small towns and it wasn’t really a thing. I think these days our society is so much more multi cultural so it has become much more popular.

Every year we pop on our costumes and head out for some early trick or treating with Jude ( our little boy) and then we are home by 6pm so he can have some actual dinner and not just treats.
We then get lots of door knockers, so we always make sure we have treats ready to go.
I try to mix it up in regards to what treats I hand out, because lots of kids start eating their collection of goodies as they head from house to house.
So this year, I have teamed up with Cobs Popcorn to hand out their multi packs.
They are a healthy treat option and let me tell you – the cheese popcorn flavour is my FAVOURITE!!!! ( And Judes too. I had to fight him for a bag last week.)
Grab some at your local supermarket. ( they are really awesome for kids lunch boxes and party snack too!)

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Other treat inspiration that I am totally loving right now

The Ghost Hi Hat Cone
Go and check out Cindy Rahe. She is amazing!
Here is the link to create this fun recipe 
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Halloween Pretzels
these are a super easy treat to make with the kids!
Check out the recipe here thanks to Garnish and Glaze.

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Personalised Treats
I love to personalise treats too! Even if its creating brown paper bags filled with goodies and a personalised sticker on the outside.
Check out the amazing range of personalised party products from Print and Party!

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Happy Halloween Party Lovers!

xxx
Nat

5 ways to cut the catering costs of your next kids party…

Lets talk food!
I will admit to you straight up – I have always been that person who hovers by the food table at any event or party. I LOVE food! And when I throw a party I hate for anyone to go hungry. But making sure everyone is fed and happy doesn’t mean I need to break the budget.

Something I also see a lot at kids birthday parties is food wastage!
It pains me so much, to see so many over catered parties. Beautifully prepared food, presented so nicely and you know hours of (stressful) grocery shopping, chopping, cooking, frying, baking went into creating the delicious food laid out at the party, only for so much of it to get wasted! (Insert party mums tired, disappointed face here)
There is no need to have copious amounts of food on arrival, plus food platters for lunch, plus sweets, chips, lollies and cake, oh and then there are the parents platters! SLOW DOWN NOW!!!!!

At the end of the day, kids don’t eat much. (Well not in one party anyway.)
Most parties are only in a 2-3 hour time frame and during that time kids are busy running around playing games with their friends and are very distracted. So trust me when I say – DON’T GO OVERBOARD ON FOOD!!!! (Sorry for shouting but I just wanted to make sure you were listening.)
Anyway… Here are my top 5 tips to help you cut back on your party catering costs as well as help you to save on food waste. Enjoy!!

1 – PARTY LUNCH BOX
This is seriously my all time favourite!
Party lunch boxes are great because you can prep in advance.
You individually portion each lunch box and then encourage all the kids to sit down on a rug or at a little table to eat their portions all at once. It helps to create a moment of peace in the madness of parties and gives structure to your party. ( I love a bit of structure and believe it or not so do kids!)
It also stops food wastage because you are making just enough portions. Oh and did I mention it helps cut down on you hanging in the kitchen, so you can actually enjoy the party too?
Here is an example of the party lunch box I use to fill with food for kids under 6 parties. You can buy the boxes online or from most discount stores. Alternately you can use large paper bags from the super market. Or get super creative and use little buckets or anything that can hold some food! Decorating them can be fun too if you are that way inclined!
And don’t forget to make sure you are firm with getting rsvps back for your party so you make the right amount of party lunch boxes.

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Here is a list of food I use in my party lunch boxes

1 x Sandwich – ( Or a wrap or sushi –  the choice is yours).
I often use cookie cutters to make the sandwich into shapes and it looks fun to eat!

1 x cheese stick.

1 x popcorn or pretzels/crackers.
You can use pre packaged or buy the big bags and portion onto paper cups or paper bags to put in the lunch box.

1 x cupcake ( or jelly cup or cookie, muffin or chocolate crackle)1 x fruit cup or fruit stick
I just use the clear drinking cups and fill with chopped fruit .

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2 – JUGS, JUGS, JUGS
Serving drinks in jugs or drink dispensers is much more cost effective than the individual juice or cordial packs. Use throw away cups with the children names written on them to help encourage the kids to re use their cup each time. Alternately, give them keep cups with their names on them so they can take home as a party favour instead of a lolly bag!

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3 – THE 4 PLATTER RULE
Have you heard the 4 platter rule? Well, I made it up so don’t feel bad if this is the first time you heard it!
This is a great way to focus on what you need to buy, create , cook and serve. It keeps you on track, on budget and stops you from going overboard.
This is how it works…

Platter 1 – Fruit – You can make it look as pretty as you like. You can put the fruit on skewers or just make a nice fruit salad. The choice is yours. Don’t buy too much fruit though. Kids will only eat an average of 3- 4 pieces each ( unless your serving strawberries… kids go nuts for strawberries!)
For a party of 10 kids I recommend – 3 apples sliced, 3 oranges cut into quarters, 2 punnets of strawberries cut in half, 1 half water melon sliced into triangles, some grapes, and either some pineapple or 2 bananas sliced. (whichever is cheaper. Also keep in mind banana can go brown when sitting out for a while)

Platter 2 – Sweets and chips – This platter is great for fairy bread, jelly cups, chips, pretzels, popcorn, lollies, crackers and cheese. My tip is to only choose 3 things on this list. You definitely don’t need to serve all! (Remember we are saving money people! Feel free to even skip this platter if you want to really stay on a low budget)

Platter 3 – Main food – This platter can have sausage rolls and pies, pizza, sandwiches, sushi (can be a bit expensive though), bbq sausages on bread, mini hamburgers, fried rice in cups, nuggets and chips, fish fingers and chips hotdogs etc. Just be sure to choose 1 type of  ‘main food’ to be served on this platter.

Platter 4  – Cake!  – Obviously cake does not have to be served on a platter, but cake, cupcakes etc are your 4th ‘platter’ / final serving of food at the party

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4 – ADULTS, SHMADULTS…
I am sure most mums and dads will agree that when we attend our children’s  friends parties, we don’t expect to be fed. Obviously this is a different story if you have been invited to a family event  or if it is a specific lunch/ dinner or bbq event (if this is the case I say go with the 4 platter rule).
There is no need to create a whole seperate menu for the adults. I recommend (especially parties for young kids) to just do a small platter of crackers, dips and chips. And something to drink like soft drink or water. Most mums and dads will usually pick from the kids platters anyway!

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5 – KEEP IT SIMPLE
At the end of the day, a small table of snacks followed by a main serve and end with cake will do the trick. Choose foods that are filling and then you won’t need as many snacks (which add up the $$ and get wasted the most). You will also save money if you make things yourself. And remember… the food doesn’t have to look like a 5 star Pinterest party! Kids will not notice!
Filling foods that I recommend,  (that will actually get eaten) are – pizzas (Aldi and Coles have frozen pizzas for $3 and I just add extra cheese), sandwiches, mini hamburgers, fish fingers or chicken nuggets and chips (can be frozen or hand made), sausages in bread, sausage rolls and mini quiches.
Keeping the party short and sweet is also a handy tip! 1-2 hours is ideal.

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I hope you enjoyed my handy hints! Happy partying!
Oh and happy money/ food wastage saving!
xxx
Nat

Why I dressed up as a princess until 33 weeks pregnant…

I know what you are thinking…
a) She must be crazy.
b) She would have looked ridiculous dressed as a princess at 33 weeks pregnant!
Well calm your farm people… there is more to the story.

It is no secret, I love what I do. I can be corporate Nat by day and princess/ character Nat on the weekend. My hobbies are my passions and I get paid to do what I love.

I chose to take on this crazy character / corporate life and to achieve my goals ( just like everyone else does to strive to live the life they love) And I need to still make money and pay the bills right?
I also built this character life business from scratch and have worked damn hard to build it to the reputation I am proud of. So yes, sometimes I would worry that all my hard work would fall away if I took time out too soon.

It has certainly been physically exhausting at times and I definitely worked those kegal muscles while needing to pee during many a face painting session. But, I figured if old mate Serena Williams can win a grand slam while 20 weeks pregnant, I can damn well host a party as a mermaid at 33 weeks!

This pregnancy ( this is baby number 2) I suffered horrible nausea until 22 weeks pregnant and was on prescribed medication just so I could actually eat and function like a normal human, so there have been some pretty hairy party moments when it has come to entertaining at parties.
Like in the early days of pregnancy, after a particular party, the party mum was chatting away to me when I was ready to dash out the door to the safety of my car. She had no idea I was pregnant of course and I was trying so hard to hold a spew in my mouth and nodded fast and rudely to all her chit chat to try brush her off so I could get out of there!
When I did finally escape, I ran across the road to my car and proceeded to spew next to the front tyre… ( dressed as Moana). I never looked back and have never actually spoke to her about it. So if you are reading, I am so sorry if you thought I was hung over, rude or otherwise. Just preggo.

When I started to show a belly ( which lets face it was pretty early… like 9 weeks!) I would tell the parents when they were booking that I was pregnant so they had the chance to hire one of my other beautiful girls who work casually for me, or just deal with the fact Elsa has a pudgy belly. No one ever cared! DID YOU HEAR – NO ONE CARED!!!!
Is it weird that I was surprised???
Like not once did a parent say – no thanks, no preggo princesses here thanks.
It was very refreshing.

Why is that refreshing you ask? Because in the corporate world, things can play out very differently when you announce your pregnancy.
Not now in my current corporate job ( because they rock and totally champion the world of the working mumma) but in previous work places.

I know of various unfavourable treatments including dismissal, denial of promotion and some women I worked with in the past were put on 6 monthly contracts when they returned from their first maternity leave, due to the employer fearing they would have baby number two soon after! Its awful!
There is this stigma of ones ability to meet deadlines, or to have co workers start using the term ‘baby brain’ or say ‘oh gosh she’s probably at another baby appointment’.
WE ARE GROWING FREAKING HUMANS PEOPLE!!!!!

Occasionally I have had people say to me ‘So do the kids think you look funny as a pregnant fairy/ princess?’
The answer is no.
In fact, my mum is so good at making puffy princess costumes, that you couldn’t even tell I had a bump ( see pics below) Cheers for that mum!
Also I am a professional and wasn’t going to show up looking ridiculous. Right!?

So, in summary, I dressed up until 33 weeks pregnant because I either work at a desk, or I can hide my bump under a puffy gown and get paid to do more of what I love. I am capable and hard working and want the best for my family.
Being pregnant is cool, not a disease.
There are hairdressers, nurses, female miners, council workers, landscapers etc that are on their feet all day long while pregnant. They work longer hours than this chubby princess, so if everyone was happy for me to bring the magic and party fun to their little ones parties, I was willing and ready.

But now its time to hang up those wings and glass slippers until this baby arrives. Yay!!
I will be back and ready to party again soon ( but not too soon because I want to squish this new bubba as much as possible and not leak breast milk all over my costumes).
And I hope that by reading this, we can try to break some of the stigma that being pregnant means you suddenly can’t do your job or that you should stop work and feel guilty ( depending on your circumstances and health of course) And if you do have to stop, don’t beat yourself up either. Do whats right for you.

Shout out to all the mums doing what they do, juggling the shit out of life. You rock.

xxxxxx

Nat

fairy
15 weeks pregnant
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18 weeks pregnant
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18 weeks ( and I promise I never went to a party dressed like this. I just wanted to show the difference in costumes)
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18 weeks pregnant
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25 weeks pregnant
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22 weeks pregnant. The puffy skirt and the belt detract from the tummy.
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28 weeks pregnant! Puffy skirt hiding the bump!
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33 weeks pregnant! The last dress up! ( looking a little chubby here! But the dress hides a lot!)

 

How to throw a luxury kids party! (Guest blog feature with Decinda from Sugar and Spice Events)

We all love our kids no matter what the party size or cost.
But as a part of my job with Strawberry Fundaes Kids Parties, I have been lucky enough to be a part of some pretty amazing luxury parties. Thats right – I am talking Kardashian style, fancy pants kids parties with drool worthy EVERYTHING.
My friends always ask me to tell them more about what it was like, so I decided to share some of the magic I have witnessed first hand.
Luxury parties are not just for celebrities. I have attended parties that have little bits of luxury here and there for something special, to those that have complete luxe with celebrity appearances and all!

For example, one party I attended had a beautiful Aussie celebrity singer perform a set of the Childs favourite songs! ( Epic!)

Another party was held at their house but had an actual sushi train set up out the back with a sushi chef! ( Yum!)

There was one that had a 7 tiered cake and all the guests took home gift bags filled with Peter Alexander Pjs instead of lollies. ( I totally wanted one)

There have been gift tables with decadent presents from Tiffany and Co and BVLGARI, guarded by security, to carousels, real ponies, and festivals.
When it comes to parties the possibilities really are endless.

And who better to interview on the topic –  the amazing Decinda MacDonald, Creative Director from Sugar and Spice Events, who is one of Australias best event planners and leading master minds behind loads of these luxury kids parties ( as well as all the other beautiful events she creates.)
Q & A With Nat and Decinda
N – What kinds of luxe kids parties do you plan or have planned previously?
D – We have had so many opportunities to create some amazing parties!  I love it so much because the themes are always so varied, and our clients give me the opportunity to flex my creative muscle in fun new ways.  
From Carousel to Farmyard, Mermaid to Unicorn, Ballerina and just today – Construction!
N – What are your favourite themes to create or your favourites you have created?
D – I love fairytales…so anything whimsical with a touch of make believe is my favourite.  I think secret garden would be my favourite of all time, because I just lose myself in the magic of it all.  Fairies and toadstools and pretty flowing fabrics…there is something so exquisite about a garden party.  
N – How many Luxe parties would you plan a year?
D – I guess it depends on your definition of luxe….I think all of our parties fall into that category though!  I would think around 20 on average.  
N– What would be the min spend to classify as a luxe party?
D -Good question!  I think that all parties can have luxe elements, like a jaw dropping lolly or dessert station or an exquisitely detailed party table, or amazing how-do-they-dothan organic balloon installations…which are so on trend.  We have worked with budgets from $1,500.00 – $30,000.00 for children’s parties, and no matter what the budget is we always inject a little LUXE into as many areas as possible.
N – Can you share what the most expensive kids party has been?
D – $30K was the most….so far =)
N– How are these kids being lavished? is it just over the top decorations or is it crazy entertainment, activities, party bags, food, experiences?
D – Yeah, it’s everything. Having a big budget means that you can make every single area OTT.  A backyard becomes a ballroom, a take home lolly bag becomes a life-sized remote control car, a few bunches of balloons become a whole room made out of over 7000…. party ware on tables is designed, not bought from the shop.  
 Pretty amazing huh!

Did you know that Beyonce spent a reported $200K on Blue Ivys first birthday?
Or that Suri Cruises second birthday had a cake worth over $5K alone and over $17K on fresh flowers?
DJ Khaled chose a jungle theme lavish baby rager for his sons first birthday and it was held at Miamis hottest night club. There were real life tigers and it was hosted by by Sean “Diddy” Combs. WOWSERS!!!!
So there you have it folks! How to throw a luxury party!

All parties are amazing no matter what the budget. Our kids love everything we do for them. I hope you have enjoyed!
And remember if you want to throw a luxury party, Decinda is your gal. Check out some of the amazingness below or visit her website – https://www.sugarandspiceevents.com.au

Party Favour with all the flavour!

Something I LOVE about hosting a party is giving little gifts to my guests to take home.
I actually do it even if I am hosting a small dinner party!
Crazy I know, but so much fun. I have been known to package up little cakes or give everyone a candle, or a flower or even little party bags.
There are so many ideas for party favours out there which I will elaborate on soon, but in the meantime I discovered something SUPER COOL that I just HAD to share with you…

Let me introduce you to to a Gold Coast based company called Just Dough It
I am talking hand crafted cookie dough people!!!!! THIS IS NOT A DRILL!!
They are a dessert company that sells ready to eat cookie dough ( drool).
Their cookie dough does not contain eggs ( Winning! Because hello preggo) and they heat treat the flour so that the cookie dough can be eaten straight from the bowl!!!
I repeat – Eaten straight from the bowl!!!!

Firstly, that is absolute music to my pregnant ears and cravings, but secondly, how amazing and different is that for a party favour at your next kids party, house party or event?
They have an online store that you can purchase the delicious goodies from and have delivered to your door. They also have a tricycle that you can hire for birthday parties and private functions that can be customised for each event. Super cool!!
Their product range also includes cookie dough ice cream and DIY packet mix where they have done the hard work for you, all you have to do is add butter!

What is even cooler is the Just Dough It tribe are offering my Confessions party lovers a special discount for the next week so get in quick!

To receive 15% off orders over $30, simply enter FUNDAES06 at their check out when placing an order. (Click here to see their website)
Just don’t blame me when you become addicted ( or when your friends vote you the best party host ever).

Happy indulging!
xxx

 

The Top Party Trends This Winter! (Guest Blog Feature with Roxanne from Lovely Occasions)

Well Winter is upon us here in sunny Queensland!
We are super lucky to live in a state where it doesn’t get too frosty, ( even though I still don’t cope with anything below 20 degrees!) so there is no stopping our party vibe.

I absolutely love seeing all the new trends and decoration styles when I attend parties, so I was super excited to chat to the amazing Roxanne at Lovely Occasions about what is on trend this Winter Season and share it with you!

Lovely Occasions is your go to shop for pretty, stylish, party decor. They have a beautiful range and they support Aussie designers and party makers!

Here is what you can expect to see, or aim to achieve when throwing a party from this Winter.

KIDS STYLE:
Glamping & Movie Nights

For kids this winter it’s going to be all about glamping indoors with movies, popcorn and sleepovers. Think hot chocolate and marshmallows, a popcorn treat bar, cute teepees and plenty of fairy lights.
( Ummm…. Hello Can I join in? Sounds awesome!!)

GROWN UP STYLE:
Boho style picnics
Thats right! Boho ain’t going anywhere people!!!!
Boho picnics continue to be the biggest trend in grown up celebrations from baby showers, bridal showers, engagements and birthdays.
New bright colours, themes and styles are emerging to take over from the original bohemian style and lucky for us Queensland’s winter sun is perfect for an outdoor picnic.

DECOR TRENDS:
Balloon Garlands
Beautiful balloon garlands are still the hottest party decor trend at the moment with new colour tones in darker chrome metallics taking over from bright pops of pink. And DIY garlands kits available from trendy online party stores making it easier to create this look yourself! ( See below)

And with supermarkets going plastic bag free there has also been a big shift away from plastic party plates and plastic cutlery, with people opting for more eco friendly, sustainable and recyclable/biodegradable wooden cutlery and beautifully designed paper plates

SWEET TRENDS:
This winter you will see plenty of naked drip cakes topped with full size donuts, cookies and other amazing treats! Layered number tarts (now with thin sponge layers instead of biscuit) aren’t going anywhere and donut walls are still super popular. Party guests will also continue to enjoy personalised wrapped chocolates and customised stamped cookies as party favours.

So there you have it my friends! The inside goss from the expert herself Roxanne.

Soak up the Inso and get ready to party in style this winter!
And remember to sign up to our Confessions of a Costume Character newsletter for your chance to win a $50 voucher to spend on stylish party decor at Lovely Occasions!
Click here to sign up now! ( I promise we won’t be spammy or annoying. Ugh! I hate that!)

Image:  Tropical Luxe Picnic by Lovely Occasions

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5 Common mistakes made when planning a party (and how to avoid them)

Parties are so much fun right!?
But planning them can be super stressful. Especially if you have never thrown a party before!
There is so much pressure these days to throw the perfect party. The pressure is often put on us by ourselves of course, but the list of things to prepare can get quite long.
The decorations, the food , the venue, who to invite etc. People often forget the most simple things to cross check and it can be to the detriment of their special event.

I must confess… I have seen some major party stuff ups over my time that could have easily been avoided. Here are my top tips and words of wisdom to hopefully save you from stress!

Common mistake #1
Planning an outdoor party with no back up plan
As a party entertainer, this is the most common party mistake I see!
Parties in the park, at the beach, at beautiful farms, are all a fab idea. The kids/ guests can all be in the fresh air, running around, not messing up your house.
But if the weather looks like it might be going to turn bad ( I highly recommend looking at the weekly forecast before hand) its good to have a back up plan.
Your back up location could either be back at your house, a friends garage or home if they have the space and are willing, or perhaps you could set up a marquee for shelter, use the local church or YMCA / community hall or even sporting club. Have that back up plan sussed out well before the party, so that if the week of the party comes and it looks like rain, you will be less stressed.
Note – Some parks actually have huge rotundas you can reserve through local council which means you can still host your party in the park, rain, hail or shine!

Common mistake #2
Planning a party on a national holiday or event without realising
There is nothing quite as sad as seeing a little girl or boy devastated only 3 kids turning up to their party because it wasn’t realised that the party day fell on Easter/ Mothers day/ Fathers day. ( I have seen it! It sucks!)
Before you set the exact date of the party, consult with your calendar to ensure that chosen date does not fall on holiday weekends and school breaks. Celebrating two occasions can be fun sometimes, but when those days are meant to be spent in a tight-knit family circle, it is silly to expect your childs school friends to want to attend a big bash party on a date they might want to be with their family.

Common mistake #3
Over Catering Food
This is easy to do. As a mum myself, I never want anyone to go hungry at a party I host, so often we over cater. And then we have too much waste and realise we spent too much money.
This is why we need to ensure we collect RSVP’s to have a clear estimate on how many guests are attending.
And remember kids don’t eat a whole lot in the time frame they are at a party. A good party time frame is about 2 hour maximum for little ones and they get so over whelmed and distracted with playing or being entertained that they often only pick at the food.
Pick just a few food options and make them easy to eat. Or create little ‘snack packs’ to encourage kids to sit down and each their own individual portions ( this is great for less mess too! )
Here are my go to easy food examples –
Fruit platter, crackers and cheese slices or sticks, mini sandwiches, fairy bread, jelly cups. Other options that are stress free include sushi platter, sausages in bread, home made or ordered in pizzas, cherios in sauce.  And have jugs or bottles of water and maybe fruit juice (of course there are a million others but I will share that in my next blog)

Common mistake #4
Planning a party time during nap time
I see this one many times over for little ones parties!
If your child has a nap at midday, don’t force a party time then because it suits your mum/ grandma/ uncle/ cousin. Or if you do, expect to have one cranky child!
Everyones nap times are different, but your child is the one being celebrated so try your best to accomodate. Even if it means attempting to pop them down earlier than usual.
With little ones I find the wheels really start to fall off and everyone is losing their minds if the party is too late in the day. Think about what is going to suit your little party animal the best.

Common mistake #5
Failing to have any activities for kids
Obviously, my job as a children’s entertainer is for me to bring the activities, but not everyone has the budget to hire an entertainer, so here are my quick and easy options to keep the kids busy at your next party.
Colouring in sheets, pencils and stickers- This is super easy and can be laid out on a picnic rug or on the table for them to do as they choose.
Craft station – Only if you are brave enough to leave the glue unsupervised! hahahaha! But depending on your time and the age of the kids, a craft activity is always fun
Hoola Hoops – These are a great option to have out to play with! and only cosy about $3 each from Kmart.
Outdoor toys – Kids love playing with other peoples toys! Its a novelty! Pop them outside and let them go for gold!
Dancing – Just play fun music!
Party games – If you want to play host yourself plan 3 – 4 party games with prizes! There are loads to choose from. ( feel free to ask me too if you need tips)
There are also loads of other activities like treasure hunts, water play and sand play, cupcake decorating, fake tattoos, nail painting and more!

I hope you have enjoyed this blog and that these tips help planning your next party that little bit easier! Stay tunes for more party tips and confessions soon!

xoxox
Nat

 

Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

Kids Party Emergency Kit

Parties are all about having fun right?
Absolutely! Everything is roses and nothing ever goes wrong! Like EVER…
If only….

Kids are always unpredictable and from my personal experience, attending literally hundreds of parties, I recommend the following items listed below to have on hand for just in case.
I have seen all sorts from bleeding fingers, to bumps on the head, ant bites to vomiting from over eating! Seriously!

But of course this blog post is not to alarm you, or make you rethink that party, this is just to better equip you for the ‘just in case.’
More often than not, you will not have any miss haps or need to use any of the following.
If your party is in the park packing this kit or some of these items are a good precaution so you can continue to party like a pineapple!!

  • Bandaids – Lets face it. The most minor graze can be fixed in an instant and stop the tears with a bandaid!
  • Bottles of fresh water – For the obvious really. Hydration and rinsing any cuts if needed.
  • Wet Wipes – Cleaning up spills.
  • Paper Towel – Drying up spills.
  • Garbage bags – For mess overload!
  • Ice or frozen peas – Pop Ice in the paper towel or plastic bag and use on any bumps or bruising.
  • Sick bags  – ( or use the garbage bags) for anyone that feels nauseous.
  • Mozzie spray – No one wants their party interrupted by mozzies!
  • Sting spray or paw paw cream – For bites or stings. Parks and beaches have naughty ants, bees and sometimes bluebottles. This will take the sting away.
  • Jelly Beans –  ( for those who feel dizzy or low)
  • Berocca –  ( for mum and dad to have before the party)
  • Champagne –  ( for mum and dad after the party.

I hope you enjoyed todays party tip!
Keep smiling and party on!
xoxo

Always a Winner? Should kids win all the games at their own party?

My question to you all today is – Should the birthday girl or boy ‘win’ every game played at their party?
The child is the true guest of honour at their party, but should they win every game?

I ask this because I have noticed a shift over the last 6 / 12 months and it’s becoming a common request from my lovely families who have booked a party to ask – Please can you try to ensure that my child wins all the games as they get really upset.

Of course I NEVER want an upset child, especially at their own special party,  but it got me wondering… has something changed in the school curriculum? Are there no longer winners or losers? Is everyone a winner? And should I just start to automatically do this for every party even if it’s not requested? HELP!!!

I seriously have started to get nervous about it!
I have never felt this way when it comes to playing party games. I have always felt confident and in control of the kids. I am always calm and diplomatic and have never really had a problem but now I literally feel scared to not reward the birthday girl or boy for every game! My mouth gets dry and I feel this hot rush come over me just before I pick my winner. Its like they could be a ticking time bomb of emotion, and if they ‘go off’ and get upset I will feel like I ruined the whole party! Boo!!!!

Sounds a bit dramatic right ( well lets face it, I am a fairly dramatic person in general ) but my focus is always to make sure the child has the best day possible.
So I now bring extra, extra prizes so the birthday girl or boy wins as well as one of their friends (so it doesn’t look too ‘rigged’). I try my best to ‘read the situation’ and so far I am mostly spot on but there have been some definite moments.
Like if a sibling doesn’t win as well ( hard when theres 5 siblings!!) or if they don’t both get a prize exactly the same.

I started to think back to my own birthday parties and ones I attended as a kid.
We NEVER had a prize in every layer of the pass the parcel ( mum was probably like – this wrapping is enough as it is!) and we certainly didn’t win every game. We learnt what it felt like to lose.
Not just at parties. I think I lost every running/ swimming/ sporting event and race I ever took part in. But I wasn’t too bothered by that. I think I actually thought it was funny! Maybe only slightly bothered when I took part in dancing competitions. Those things can really KILL your ego. ( excuse me while I reminisce those hardcore, competitive, over the top,  dance comps. They are BRUTAL. I even won a few and still think they are full on.)

On an extension of this I started to think, if kids are always winning and never losing, how will they take their first job rejection or if they are not accepted into uni.
What about the first person that turns them down on a date or if they apply for a rental home and don’t make the cut? Are we setting kids up for emotional downfall? Or is there a study I need to read up on that shows they will be much more confident and independent by adulthood to deal with losing and rejection better once they are older and more mature?

I ask this as a mother and not just a children’s entertainer. If parents want me to ensure their child wins at every party, I will do that because that is my job. I am here to give your kids the best god dam party!! But as a mother, I want to know – has there been a shift? What have I missed? Have I been too busy playing tractor games and watching ABC kids in between emails and meetings to have missed the news on this one?

I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this little dilemma.
Lots of love always – regardless of if you win or lose. xxx