5 Easy Party Backdrops for the Perfect Party Photo

Well it’s no secret that I love a good backdrop or feature wall. They make for a great photo opportunity to have a keepsake memory of that particular event. It makes things so much more interesting rather than standing in front of a boring white wall right? (Well I think so!) And they don’t have to be expensive.

Check out my 5 favourite party back drop ideas that you can use for your next birthday party, hens party, baby shower, engagement party, Christmas party or even a New Years Eve party! ( or if you are like me you might just throw a party for the hell of it!).
They can be as easy ( cheap) or as extravagant ( expensive) as you like and are totally Insta worthy!

Feature wall #1
The Balloon backdrop
Now this is one of my faves. Because it is super cheap but yet really effective. ( and kids LOVE them)
I used a black balloon party backdrop for my little boys 2nd birthday recently. It cost me $2.50. Yep thats right! 1 pack of 24 Black balloons from the cheap shop ( or Kmart). I have a balloon pump like this one ( which I recommend) and I just manually pumped them all and stuck them to the wall with masking tape. Simple yet effective see-


Or you can lash out and grab some fancier balloons and create cool balloon back drops like the super talented Oh Happy Day has done here ( check out her website. She is amazing!)


I also love this colourful balloon wall from You are My Fave


And this one from Brit.co  (so gorgeous for a baby shower or bridal shower)


Feature wall #2
The Flower Wall
The Flower wall is romantic and  pretty. It can be simple or extravagant. You can use fake flower or real ones and it makes for a great back drop for girls birthday parties, hens parties, baby showers and high teas.

I am also in LOVE with this cute floral feature form A Pair and A Spare. Very Boho!


Feature wall #3
Paper Pom Poms
This feature is super lush and colourful and you can either make the pom poms yourself out of tissue paper, or buy them for around $2-$6 each at your local bargain shop, Big – W, Kmart or online. I love this created by Margot Madison 


Or this one is really cute I came across on Pinterest


Feature wall #4
Streamers can be really effective! They can be tied between two trees for an outdoor party or stuck across walls or doorways. You can use paper streamers, shiny glittery streamers or even material ones to add that touch of whimsical vibe.This one from Francescas Collections has a definite summer soiree vibe!d0e52c08086f6524dea613ee140cc6cb.jpgAnd this one I found on Pinterest recently for a unicorn party is really easy but makes a great backdrop for your little ones party memories!d033a9eeb885509ee93812aeed3a35ff.jpg
Feature wall #5
Wrapping Paper Feature
I just love the wall art you can create with wrapping paper! I mean there are literally millions of wrapping paper designs! So you can be as quirky or colourful as you like!


This wrapping paper feature is SUPER cool from Design Sponge. So sophisticated!!
It would look great at a dinner party, house warming, engagement party or a teenage girls birthday!2fb338e448d583755418b697f3e26dd3.jpg

So as you can see, it is so easy to create a party backdrop feature, that doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg, yet is still really effective. Try one at your next party or event and see how much everyone loves it!
Happy party planning!

xxx Nat
TMS_by Always & Forever Styling_ (85)
Photo credit – Always and Forever Styling

Identity Crisis

So I have another confession…

Sometimes I dress up as a fairy or a character and entertain people.
Sometimes I dress fancy and mingle as me.

Last week I was the fancy and mingley type( not a word I know, but just deal with it).
I was invited as a guest to enjoy a special event and socialise in my capacity as a corporate lady.
Sometimes I get confused…

You see, when I am dressed as a character, it is my job to be confident and enter a room and make a point of talking to strangers. Sometimes it requires putting on a fake accent and talking about my fake life ( like how my sister Anna lives in Arandale with our snowman friend or how I had an affair with JFK and love diamonds).
Sometimes it requires me to laugh at peoples silly (crap) jokes and smile for photos with them like we are old mates.
I often deal with sexist comments or offers of phone numbers so we can hang out later
(ummm as if mate!). Side note – That part happens at corporate events, not kids parties. Just to be clear.
Basically, being a character is all round quite colourful ( but I absolutely love it!). Which is why I can sometimes get confused when I just have to be me.
For example…

Last week when I arrived at the event, I was wearing a nice dress and heels and had done my hair and make up ( in about ten minutes, because hello mum life with a toddler lol!) All the same preparation as one does when prepping to be a character.
I walked the red carpet with the other guests, but kept saying ‘Hi!’ and ‘How are you?’ to people I didn’t know ( they were like what the?). I posed for photos and wandered the room. And its not the first time.

Like the time I finished a kids party and changed into normal clothes ( but still had my heavy over the top princess make up on) and dashed into Coles to grab some groceries.
I got to the milk section and asked a couple of kids ‘How are you?’ and ‘What’s your name?’ and their parents looked at me like WTF? Back off lady! Then I quickly realised to them I am just a weird lady at Coles with over the top make up… Not the party princess I was playing 15 mins earlier.

Or the times I have hurried to get food after a job because I am starving, but still dressed as Snow White. Make a quick drive through stop at McDonalds and think, ‘Why are the teenage staff giggling?’ only to remember I am still in costume.
As you can see, it can be quite the challenge.

So I apologise to anyone who thought, do I know that chick? The answer is, you probably don’t!

: )

Keep smiling! xx

Reward Yourself!

Reward yourself people!

Friend – Hey! How have you been?
You – Oh my gosh I have been sooooooo busy!

Sound familiar?
For some reason, we all have this constant ‘busy’ answer.

Maybe you are busy, maybe you feel busy (I mean hello, being a mum, running a business and working is busy right?) but the more we say ‘ I’m so damn busy ‘ the more you will never feel relaxed or free from that vibe.

Recently I was forced to not be as ‘busy’ after being made redundant from my role in Marketing (see previous blog post). This made me have no choice but to re- evaluate many things in life. Did I love that job? Did I love the madness of juggling so many things? Should I just focus on one job full time and no longer run a business where I dress up as a costume character (umm… as if! I love that!). Should I just be a full – time mum? But how will we pay the bills? What will people think?

Here is the answer – Who cares what people think. The most important thing to do is what’s right for you and your situation.

So, after lots of reflection and goal setting, I realised what I needed to do was something that was right for me and my family at this very point in time. What that is could change in a few years, who knows! But right now, in this very moment the right thing to do was to search for part time work that supported working mums, focus on my family and still enjoy dressing up as a costume character for my business.
I also made a very conscious decision to focus more on my health and well – being.
I don’t mean going on a fad diet and meditating daily (nothing against that, but for me that would last 2 weeks max). I mean, choosing to eat more delicious healthy foods instead of processed food, choosing to do things I enjoy (Kind of like hobbies but my ‘hobbies’ are usually quite simple, not like the sporting kind. They can range anywhere from going for a walk along the beach to drinking wine and bargain shopping on Gumtree).

Rewarding yourself …

If you reward yourself, it can help you to set and achieve goals. It helps you to recharge and focus. Rewarding yourself keeps you motivated and it makes you feel good! Your brain and mind will be happy and you kind of reset yourself to be ready to go again.
Your rewards don’t need to be extravagant or expensive, they can be as simple as reading a book or magazine in peace for 10 mins, having a bath, eating a special treat or enjoying time out in the sunshine. Rewards are things that make you happy! Maybe it’s a wash and blow dry or a coffee at a special café. The opportunities are endless.

I chose to treat myself to a spa treatment last week (a reward on the more extravagant side but hey I bloody deserved it. See images below) I went with my friend who is a fellow costume character (what else do princesses and fairies do on their days off hey? Lol!) and it was amazing!!! We went to spaQ which is on the Gold Coast at the QT Hotel in Surfers Paradise and it was just beautiful from the moment we walked in (spa smells, relaxing music, but not the daggy kind) to the cool robes we got to wear before and after our treatments, to the absolutely beautiful treatment, to the herbal tea we sipped in the relaxation room! Oh and did I mention there is a Turkish Hammam steam room? AMAZING!!!
The outcome was a happy, recharged, positive Nat. I had a child free day, which is sometimes nice to be with your own thoughts and I was treated like a bloody queen at spaQ. Best decision ever!!

Whether you are a mum, dad, single, married, divorced, retired, male or female, it does not matter. You are a human being and if you don’t stop to refresh those batteries and take time out, you will burn out.

We only have one life to live, so make it a happy one.

So, to reward you all for being so amazing at what you do and achieve in life, I have a special offer for you to REWARD YOURSELF at spaQ at QT Gold Coast Hotels.
(sorry if you live interstate! This one is for Gold Coast locals.)

Call spaQ on (07)55 841108 or email spa_goldcoast@qthotels.com.au
and quote “Nats Neighbour” to receive Neighbourly Love discounts and VIP treatment including:

  • 20% off all spaQ treatments*
  • 10% off Uspa products ( these are sooooooo good!)
  • Complimentary use of the Hammam steam room prior to your treatment and access to the hotel’s resort-styled swimming pool area before or after
  • Complimentary hotel parking
  • PLUS you’ll also receivea glass of bubbly post treatment – cause hell, you deserve it!

*You will need to show a proof of postcode when you arrive for your appointment. This special deal is available Mon – Thu (excluding public holidays) on treatments one hour or longer.

How to host a Boho dinner party…

Well we all know I love a party right???
Since my own birthday party recently, I have had quite a few mums email me asking for tips on how to throw a boho style party. So I thought I would share examples from my own birthday party and from some of the other ‘at home’ boho style dinners I have put on for my friends in the last 12 months. ( See images below)

I love creating beautiful moments and collecting props and pretty things. I actually cannot just go on a normal picnic without taking a wooden cheese board or a boho blanket. It is impossible for me to do! I even take plastic crystal glasses and floor rugs camping!
Life is too short to be boring and I think we should enjoy beautiful things. My eyes enjoy it!

My party was hosted with mostly adults in mind, but you can certainly use some of these ideas for a tween or teen party. This party can be set up in your living room or your backyard! Minimal stress and no large outlay required!

Here is my check list for all my ‘must haves’ to throw a boho dinner party.
The first few are ideal and the last couple are optional. I have tried to include where I source things as well, to help you when you are hunting for decorations. But trust me – Most things will already be in your cupboard at home!! ( Or your nanas).

Boho Party Checklist

  • Invite your friends. I love to create invitations and email, print or text to my friends.  I love this site for free templates.
  • Vintage table cloths. Do not feel the need to match! All kinds of lace, crochet and patterned look amazing. ( Look in your local op shop for crochet or lace table cloths. Even old lace curtains do the trick! Otherwise Spotlight sell lace look table cloths brand new.)
  • Wooden cheese boards ( Kmart or Target sell these cheap!!!) Cheese platters are an easy way to wow guests and fill them up. They always look best served on a wooden platter. Add dips and Turkish breads too! Fresh rosemary, strawberries, and edible flowers are a great way to jazz up a platter visually.
  • Candles. Any candles in jars or on their own really add ambience. ( Tea light candles are the best! These can be purchased super cheap at your local supermarket.)
  • Flowers make everything beautiful!!! Pop them in vases, jars, crystal decanters or even old spirit bottles. ( The local florist, flower market or Aldi are my go to. Aldi are super cheap but go the day before because they sell out fast at $4.99 a bunch!)
  • Floor rugs ( Kmart, Target or op shops.)
  • Low table/ coffee table . This sets the ‘casual vibe’. ( I have an old coffee table I use but find one easily on Gumtree. Or wooden pallets work a treat! Free curb – side or on EBay or Gumtree)
  • Pillows and cushions. Once again to add the casual vibe. ( I actually use a mix of large cushions you would use in bed with plain white pillowcases and cushions or covers I have found at Kmart or on Ebay. My palm leaf ones were just $2.99 on Ebay. They were from China though and took 5 weeks to arrive so allow time when buying on Ebay.)
  • Crystal mis-matched glasses. By using real glasses and not plastic, the boho feel really shines through. And wine always tastes better in crystal!!  ( I collected mine from op shops. I got most of them for under $1 each. I also used some of our wedding crystal. Life is not a dress rehearsal! Use your finest now!)
  • Fairy lights. Lighting is EVERYTHING!! But don’t stress if you only use candles. ( Bunnings, Kmart, Target or Ebay.)
  • Champagne buckets ( I got my gold ones from Ikea. They can actually be used as plant pots later. Otherwise Kmart or Bunnings has some champagne buckets on sale now.)
  • Crystal Decanters ( I collected mine from eBay, Op Shops and Gumtree for our wedding and now use whenever I can!)
  • Mismatched vases. These can be used for the flowers. ( I use decanters, old jars or little vases from Ikea.)
  • Anything brass, copper, gold or rose gold always looks beautiful! Check out Ikea, Kmart or your local op shop.
  • Music! This is a must!! ( no need to spend lots of money on buying music. Use Spotify or Apple Music or Youtube! I love Ziggy Alberts, Flume, Chet Faker. But of course everyones music tastes are different so play what you enjoy.
  • Teepee tent – Optional. And for back yard set ups.( I purchased mine from Kmart of course. Alternately if you have a pop up marquee shade tent you can use that and drape it with lace curtains from spotlight or op shops.)
  • Party favours – These are optional ( I use gift bags from Kmart or the brown paper lunch bags from Coles. You can decorate or just fill with yummy treats for a midnight snack.)
  • Added extras – I love to include greenery and pot plants, old suitcases as tables, vintage plates, dream catchers, and serviettes I have cut out of old table cloths. These things are just add ons but super fun all the same!
    Here are some other cool add ons I love!
    Personalised Coconuts ( see images below) – These two companies are fab! Studio T 55  and Kayter Co 
    Little Fairy Floss Favours
    Drink Toppers ( See Images Below) – Kyra Jade Design.
    I love to bring the inside outside so I often use furniture usually seen in my bedroom!


Food and Beverage Ideas

When I throw a party I want to spend less time in the kitchen and more time hanging out with my guests so here are my quick and easy dinner options to serve,

  • Cheese platters filled with fruit, nuts, dips, bread , cheese and crackers. Garnish with Rosemary and edible flowers.)
  • Pre bought BBQ chickens on low heat in the oven. (I buy these from the super market just before the party and keep in the oven until serving.)
  • Pre made salads.
  • Pre made rice that I keep warm or reheat.
  • Curry or Dahl in the slow cooker. ( This can be prepared in advance and then stay in the slow cooker on low heat until serving)
  • Dessert – Macaroons, mini pavlovas, or fruit and chocolate.
  • Champagne on ice or red wine in the decanters.
  • Simple cocktails pre- made in jugs before guests arrive. Then just pour, garnish and serve.
  • A sangria, juice or non alcoholic lemonade / drink in a drink dispenser. Serve in little glass bottles or glasses.


Well Hello Again!

Hello again everyone!
It has been a while! 2 years in fact!! And for that I am sorry. Mostly sorry to myself because I love to write.

So here I am relaunching my blog Confessions of a Costume Character!

The blog where I share funny adventures about my juggle of working in a corporate world and being paid to also be a costume character on the side ( my calling in life hahaha). The funny stories about when they cross over. The fun and crazy things I witness when I am a costume character and my party tips that I have learnt over the years, working at parties and corporate events.

This plan to ‘return’ to blogging was to also add the exciting element, of the additional role I have taken on ( Well two years ago nearly now! Oops! ) of becoming a mother on top of the rest.
This plan to ‘return’ was to fill my need to write again and share funny stories as I have always done.
My passion for all things party, sharing funny stories, motherhood, being proud of how far I had come in my career and running my business and my excitement for writing would all come together in this one spot.
It was going to be fun and exciting! It was going to be launched in the last week of September and I was super pumped! The only thing is things don’t always go to plan…

Here’s a funny story for you…
You see I kind of feel like my blog is not entirely what I say it is anymore. Because I no longer work in the professional world.
Because I was made redundant the last week of September from my role as a Marketing Manager. It actually happened the day I was to re – launch this blog. ( Cue tears and pity party here).

It was hard to digest at first because I am a hard worker with strong work ethic. I strive to be the best I can for any company I work for. I have only ever been made redundant once, and I had a new job within 48 hours so that doesn’t count ( and at that time in life I didn’t have a family to think about). And the only other time I have taken extended leave was to go on maternity leave to have my little boy Jude ( who is nearly 2) and that was a journey into the unknown. One of the hardest ( yet most rewarding) jobs I have ever taken.
So its safe to say I went into a state of panic. Even though I still can dress up and do parties, this main stream of income was pretty important. It helped to get me to those parties I love to do. ( Oh and pay the bills).

Day 1 – Shock and sadness.
Day 2 – FAAARRRKKKK!!! I have no job.
Day 3 – Browse Seek like its the new Instagram.
Day 4 – I think you get the picture. Rollercoaster of emotions.

Anyway! I thought to myself – Nat you need to still write. You need to share the funny adventures and your experiences and hopefully people will share theirs back. Write because you love it. So here I am. With a slightly different outlook and hopefully I will have another job soon so that my blogs motto of ‘Corporate one day, fairy wings the next’, still comes into play.

So I thought I would take a quick moment to ask… Is there anyone else out there that has had to adjust to the new ‘roles’ and ‘characters’ they play? Any tips to share?
Anyone that went from working as a professional, and having a career, to adjusting to the new identity of becoming a mother (Which I absolutely LOVE and wish I could win the lottery and be there every day for him ), to then  juggle returning to work ( my career that I also love), to feel that no one really wants a part time mum/ part time career woman? That you should choose one or the other?
That sometimes businesses don’t necessarily support those choices ( even though most return to work mums I know work so darn hard because they have to manage their time super strictly.)
How do we create balance and keep our pre baby identities, all whilst helping support our family and being there for the most precious little people in our lives – our kids?
I wish I had the answers… but I don’t … but until I do, I will be right here fiercely loving my family, dressing up as a princess, searching for a job, writing about my adventures and throwing kindness around like its confetti.


Elsa is having a baby!

elsa 1

No it’s not the story line for Frozen 2 if that’s what your thinking! 

I am super excited to announce / confess to all my costume party bookers that I am having a baby!
This costume character is going to have to hang up the cape and wear normal hair instead of wigs for a while.

Most of you who have recently booked with my business Strawberry Fundaes Childrens Entertainment have been told the news personally and have been very understanding and supportive.

Weird I know that I should say ‘understanding’ but I actually was a bit worried at first to tell you in case you thought I would not be up to scratch with presenting my usual quality party entertainment!
Obviously I have been able to hide the bump until recently, so I have still been performing but now it is time to wrap it up. ( There is only so many cakes Elsa can to pretend to have eaten)
I still have a few parties to go with appropriate ‘bump’ hiding costumes ( thanks to my amazing mum who sews) but very soon I will be completely wrapped up until our little angel is born. Then daddy will take over on some weekends and I will come and hang out again! hahahaha!

But the parties will continue with the amazing group of girls who work with me ( and I am sure you have seen from time to time on my facebook). I am very particular with my Strawberry Fundaes brand and all my girls are highly trained in childrens entertainment and have worked as dancers/ actors/ hosts/ entertainers for years and will continue to roll out fabulous parties for you .

Of course I need to add a confession to this post….
Those times early in the pregnancy when no one knew, there were moments Elsa had to stop on the highway to vomit on her way to a party. Let me tell you passers by were very confused but I always managed to pull myself together ( with the help of ginger beer, water crackers and chewing gum mints) and make every party special.
I am so thankful that I never was actually sick at a party!!!

So there is my latest confession! Hope you all enjoyed it!

Look forward to chatting soon xxxx

Cinderella To The Rescue

So it has been a while since I posted.
But the other week something happened and I just had to get back on the blogging wagon!

So here I am with another confession…

It was your average Thursday morning. Ok that is not true because I am fairly sure most peoples Thursdays don’t  roll like this.

I was dressed as Cinderella since 6.30am – wearing a large very puffy blue dress and a blonde wig.
The occasion was a photo shoot for a new collaboration I was very excited about.
So due to the fact I have a normal weekday job, the shoot was early and I was heading to work, still dressed in costume.
I had planned to change into my work uniform in my car once I arrived to work. (This is something I am extremely good at these days – car changes!)

I was just two sets of lights away from work when I noticed a little old lady walking along the foot path at the busy intersection. This set of lights was opposite a school and in front of a group of shops – so lots of people around at 9.00 am.
Just before the ligths changed green I noticed this dear old lady fall face first into the driveway of a building!
I looked around and no one went to her aid. She didnt seem to be getting up.
My heart began to race. Oh my gosh I have to go help her! Someone has to help her!
But my gosh I am dressed in the biggest ball gown. Will she be afraid? What will passers by think? Will they think I am crazy and trying to hurt her?
All these things rushed through my brain but instinct took over.
I mounted the gutted in my Nissan X-trail and drove straight over to her.
I stepped out of my car ( barefoot) and in a sea of blue chiffon I walked up to her and said without really thinking ‘Dont be alarmed. I am Cinderella and I am here to help you. Can I help you get up?’
This beautiful old lady, dressed in a lovely outfit with her pearls and all, looked up and said
‘That is ok darling princess. I am so embarrassed at how clumsy I am but would be so happy if you could help me. I hurt my wrist.’
So she put her arms around my neck and I lifted her up.
Now where to go from here…
‘Where are you headed? Can I help you get there?’ I asked.
‘To that building in front. I have an appointment with the specialist’ , she replied.

As we started the walk ( with people on the street watching) a car pulled in and a lady called out the window, ‘Do you want me to help too? Umm… Natalie?? Is that you???’
I looked up to see one of the partners from my sensible, corporate everyday job, was in fact the person in the car.
This is a person who has no idea I dress up on weekends and as far as they knew I should be at work already. What are the odds!!! Looks like I will have some later explaining to do!
‘All good! I have it covered’ I yelled out.

So, I left my running car half parked on the road and half in a driveaway and helped the fallen lady to the surgery.

Well you should have seen the look on those peoples faces when I opened that door.
With everyone, including the ladies at the counter and one doctor staring at me I said
‘Hi guys. Can someone please assist me? I saw this lovely lady fall and I have helped her. I believe she is a patient?’
No one said anything at first. Then the doctor said ‘Good grief its a fairy!’
That is when I replied with ‘Actually no, I am Cinder….. oh gosh never mind. Yes I am a fairy and I am here to save people.’
Then the doctor walked over and assisted the lady into  chair. No more words were spoken.
I simply walked away.
They will never know the real reason as for why I was dressed up.
They will live in wonder – why was that crazy chick dressed like that?
And something about that is awesome.
I hope that I -the crazy lady dressed as Cinderella on a Thursday morning, gets to be a part of some strangers dinner discussions at least once.

The Cinderella dress!


Elsa Drives A Holden Ute!

Yesterday I was booked to entertain some gorgeous children for a birthday party at a park.
It was a very public park with lots of people.
The only car park available was right in front of the party –  I was to attend as Elsa ( Frozen queen ) and yes I arrive in full costume.

My Husband borrowed my car which meant I only had his bright red Holden ute to drive to the party.
I am not the best at reverse parallel parks at the best of times… and certainly not in his ute!

So after a million attempts at parking I just put the car in park and looked out to see a huge audience watching my amazing driving skills. ( I was still half out on the road…)
I then got out of the car and everyone cheered!
One child yelled out “OMG mum Elsa drives a ute! And its a Holden!”.

I felt this weird sense of uh oh these people think they have hired a bogan Elsa! I wanted to tell everyone instantly that this is not my car and I am going to be really professional. ( Not that driving a ute means your a bogan but it just looked really weird)

Turns out everyone loved the party and apparently all the adults were super impressed by the red ute.
One dad even filmed it!

Elsa just got cooler.

An Angel Got Her Wings

Yesterday I found out some sad news.

A few months ago I had the absolute honour of granting an urgent wish for the Make A Wish Australia foundation. It was wonderful! I flew to cairns and greeted the most beautiful little girl in a stretch limousine while dressed as her favourite snow queen and we went and played in fake snow. We sang and danced and threw fake snow at each other. We ate cake and all her friends and family joined in.

Her wish was to see snow with her family and meet Elsa. Even though the snow was not real she loved it. She was too sick to travel to the real snow.

It was an amazing day that I will never forget.

Sadly that little angel lost her battle this week.

Wonder Woman Fridays!

Sometimes when Friday rolls around my head is spinning with wrapping up all the things that need to be finalised for the week in my day job ( full time marketing supervisor) and preparing all things party for my entertainment business Strawberry Fundaes.

It is both overwhelming and satisfying at the same time. Perhaps I have ADD because I do struggle to cope when I have a day off. Busy is fun!

Anyway with all this in mind I have decided to label Fridays – Wonder Woman Fridays – because I often wonder how I manage to fit it all in!

On that note – here is me – as Wonder Woman – aged 4. #flashback
Have a great weekend!

Me as Wonder Woman aged 4
Me as Wonder Woman aged 4