Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Customer service!

How many times have you walked into a shop and you've had to wait for the assistants to finish their personal conversation before you get served?
Is there a shop that you avoid going in because the staff are clearly disinterested or just plain rude?

I just think the whole bad customer service issue is wrapped up with manners. Plain, simple manners. That's all - it's not rocket science! It's not about wanting your customer to enjoy the experience of shopping with you, it's just about good old fashioned manners.

Now don't get me wrong - I want to provide good customer service because I know that it leads to referrals and more work for my business but shouldn't it just come naturally? Shouldn't we all have a sense of niceness instilled within us that we shouldn't have to be taught about good customer service we should just give it as a matter of course.

Which leads me on to an even bigger topic. Wait for it my friends - respect! So do you think that if you're respectful then with that comes manners and with that comes good customer service?
Respect doesn't come with age or experience or money. It is something you earn. It's not an automatic entitlement and I think that there are some people that need to learn this as a valuable lesson. As my old boss many years ago used to say "Behaviour breeds behaviour" and by crikey she was right.

So I think what I'm saying is that if we all learned to be a bit more respectful of one another then good customer service would come naturally.

What do you think? I'd love to know your thoughts on this. Am I ranting about a non issue or do you genuinely feel that the world is lacking a bit of respect/manners/customer service?

As you ponder on this I'm off to sort out Party Boxes, a job that I love very very much and I always aim to give the best customer service possible!!! I look forward to hearing from you and if you want to celebrate respect and customer service then you know where you will get a fantastic party box!!

Keep smiling my friends


Friday, 27 January 2012

Friday Fun 90s Pop Quiz

Ok, we're celebrating the 90s today! So here's our Friday Fun 90s pop quiz! All our 30th Birthday Party Boxes have 90s music in them and a 90s pop quiz. So along with all the party supplies you need to have a good time, you'll get music, quizzes and I also throw some games (and prizes) in there too. Simple! A party you don't need to think about!

Anyway, try your hand at my 90s pop quiz. If you email me your answers maxine@lifesacelebration.co.uk then you'll get a 10% discount code for your next purchase at Life's A Celebration

1.       Who sang “All for Love”?
a.       Sting, Bryan Adams and Elton John
b.      Sting, Bryan Adams and Bryan Ferry
c.       Sting, Bryan Adams and Rod Stewart

2.       What superstar timidly told Madonna that her show was "neat," in In Bed With Madonna?
a.       Kevin Costner
b.      Brad Pitt
c.       Christian Slater

3.       What singer spiced up the release of her solo CD Look at Me with a "five continents in seven days" promo tour?
a.       Mel C
b.      Victoria Beckham
c.       Geri Halliwell

4.       Who were “feeling it in their fingers and feeling it in their toes” in 1994?
a.       Colour Me Badd
b.      Take That
c.       Wet Wet Wet

5.       Which diva suffered a slap in the face at how quickly she was replaced?
a.       Alanis Morrisette
b.      Shania Twain
c.       Celine Dion

6.       Who were a million different people from one day to the next in 1997?
a.       The Verve
b.      Oasis
c.       Blur

7.       What was the name of The Spice Girls 1st No. 1?
a.       2 Become 1
b.      Say You’ll be The
c.       Wannabe

8       Who had a hit in 1999 with the song My Love Is Your Love?
a.       Mariah Carey
b.      Whitney Houston
c.       Britney Spears

9   Who provided the vocals for Santana’s hit song Smooth
a.       Rob Thomas
b      Rob Thompson
c.       Rob Sanderson

10  Who had a hit song with “Unbelievable”?
a.       The Wonder Stuff
b.      Suede
c.       EMF

11  Who had a hit with Mmmm Mmmm Mmmm Mmmm
a.       Crash Test Dummies
b.      The Counting Crows
c.       Hootie and the Blowfish

Well I hope you enjoyed my little quiz! If you think you know the answers email me maxine@lifesacelebration.co.uk and just for entering I'll send you a 10% discount code for your next purchase from www.lifesacelebration.co.uk 

Don't forget that we have milestone parties, baby showers, kids parties and so much more!

Enjoy your Friday and keep smiling my friends.


Wednesday, 25 January 2012

It's A Year Since It's All Began

Well today my gorgeous daughter turns 7 years old. She is the reason why I've become the "Party Lady".

Last year when she turned 6 and I asked her what she wanted for a party all she would say was "A musical statues party" and I thought "I can do that". It was then that I realised that organising a kids party can sometime be a bit of a headache and that was nobody out there offering a complete party in a box to help save busy parents time and money!
So I set about putting together some kids party boxes to see what people (especially children) thought. These prototype boxes were so well received that I set about setting up the business. I was so surprised at the reaction that the party boxes had and the range has expanded quite dramatically since the business was launched.

We now have all kinds of parties from children's birthdays to young people's sleepovers to milestone birthdays to baby showers to pre wedding party boxes. All of my party boxes follow the same simple concept. Everything you need to celebrate is in the party box; tableware, decorations, games, prizes, party bags (for our kids & milestone party boxes), music and loads loads more. All you need to do is tell me how many guests you have coming and I do the rest. When the box arrives, just open it up and enjoy the party!

If you also have something specific then get in touch! I love creating new parties and have lots of ideas. Coming soon our Jubilee Party Boxes and Olympic Party Boxes!

I am absolutely amazed and if I'm honest really proud of how far I've managed to take the business in less than a year. From what began as a germ of an idea a year ago is now a full e-commerce business with regular customers, a full product range and a marketing strategy!

There's no denying that it's not always been plain sailing but I've met some great people along the way; some of whom I would consider to be friends for life!

So I have my daughter to thank for all of the amazing things that have happened in my life over the last year! (and making me the happiest lady ever!) If you ever want to chat about my party boxes please get in touch! maxine@lifesacelebration.co.uk

Keep smiling my friends.


Monday, 23 January 2012

A Guest On Monday - Liz Broomfield

Well it's two weeks since our last 'Guest on Monday' so today we put aside blog posts about our fantastic party boxes and we welcome Liz Broomfield from Libro Editing. Liz is a proof-reader, copy-editor and copy-writer and here's what she has to say about starting your own business;

"People seem to have two views of people who run their own businesses. If you work from home, then of course you’re sitting on the sofa, slumped over a laptop with daytime telly in the background, IN YOUR PYJAMAS. But you’re also a pushy, shouty executive with your fingers in millions of pies, working every hour there is and doing it all for the money.

I’m not sure how these two stereotypes can coexist, and most of the entrepreneurs and small business owners I know aren’t like this. I’m certainly not, and while I’ve treated this topic at greater length in some of my blog posts http://libroediting.com/2011/05/18/risks/, I’m hopefully now going to reassure anyone thinking of starting their own business.

You don’t have to turn into Margaret Thatcher in pyjamas.


Soft-launching is a fancy phrase for avoiding risks and supporting yourself while growing your business. I did this: I started Libro, which was then a proof reading business in August 2009 while working in a library full-time. In January 2011 I dropped one day at the library, and another in May, and I launched Libro full time in December 2011.

This allowed me to live on my salary while I built the business. I’m not saying it wasn’t hard: it is hard to do two jobs in one day; to only see your partner at mealtimes; to miss social events because you’re working … but all the juggling and tiredness aside, it meant I had the luxury to learn what I was doing, to make mistakes and learn from them, and to grow slowly and carefully, only taking on jobs that I really wanted to, with the support of my salary behind me. I also learned that I enjoyed doing this work, and would like to think about doing it full time.

Being true to yourself

You don’t have to change dramatically when you run your own business. I was always a quiet, efficient administrator, and that’s helped me in my daily work; I am also decent and fairly idealistic, and I still respect my clients, treat them decently, keep within the rules for claiming against my tax, etc. Maxine is a bubbly and lively lady who’s out there helping people have lovely parties. Neither of us has changed our fundamental personalities or ethics. Although I’d like to bet we’ve both become more confident!

You can do it

If someone had told me in my 20s that I’d be leaving paid employment to strike out on my own as I hit 40, I wouldn’t have believed them. I am an unlikely entrepreneur – if you have a limited view of what an entrepreneur is. Actually I’m persistent, organised and reliable – all features that have stood me in good stead in my new career. There’s plenty of help out there, both from organisations and other freelancers. If you fancy giving it a try, you can do it too!"

Liz runs Libro, offering proof-reading, editing, transcription and localisation services to businesses, authors and students. Her business blog features other small businesses once a week http://libroediting.com/2011/06/11/freelancer-chat/ as well as general business and language posts, and she is writing a blog http://www.librofulltime.wordpress.com about her experiences going full-time as a freelancer.
Liz is also a great tweeter and you can find her at @lyzzybee_libro Pop across and say hello to her! I can guarantee she will say hello back and you will find her tweets interesting and very friendly! You can also email her on liz@libroediting.com 
Well I hope you've enjoyed today's "A Guest on Monday" and both me and Liz look forward to chatting with you soon. Don't forget about our fabulous party boxes if you've got a celebration coming up!
Keep smiling my friends

Friday, 20 January 2012

Friday Fun - Make your own princess and pirate treasure map

Hi there everybody,

In order to celebrate today's special offer of a party box for 10 children for only £60 (plus p&p) here's some instructions on how to make a treasure map with the kids. These are included as standard in our kids party boxes as part of the craft kits. As it involves cold coffee and hairdryers some parents choose to leave this until a rainy day after the party. Don't panic though as part of our party boxes the children all get at least two things to make and decorate as well as the instructions on the treasure map.

All you'll need cold coffee or tea (about 1/2 cup), piece of white paper, a hairdryer, a little imagination and some markers.

1. Take a piece of nice white paper and rip off all the edges (don't cut them with scissors, rip them!)  If you rip the paper a bit more than you meant to, it doesn't matter.

2. Crumple the paper up as tightly as you can into a ball.

3. Flatten the paper out again and put onto a large plate or baking tray.

4. Pour cold coffee or tea over the paper.  Swoosh around with your hands to make sure it covers everything.

5. If you're doing this with a large group of smaller children, you may want to get it to this point and set them aside for a couple minutes (get the children arranged at the table for drawing their maps).  Then pull out some finished, dried sheets that you premade.  It keeps the children from having to sit through the "waiting" parts of the project.

6. Let it sit for about 5 minutes (if you're doing it with a group, you don't have to let it sit so long... 2 minutes is enough to give it some colour)

7. Pour the coffee off into the sink.

8. Dry with a hand held hairdrier on high for about 5 minutes (leave it sitting on the plate while hairdrying or it will tear to pieces).  When it's pretty dry (and starts to lift a bit) switch the hairdrier to low to finish off (about another 2 minutes).

9. Get some markers and draw your map.   There should be a big X in the middle, a dotted line trail that winds around and maybe a title that says "Treasure Island" and a North, South, East, West arrow in the corner.

10. Once you've drawn the trail and X you can draw and label some "obstacles".  Some ideas are for the girls might be; Princess Beach, Waterfalls of Delight, Prince rock, Magical Mountain, Fairy Garden, King’s Cave (King's Cavern) and Butterlly Pass. Some ideas for the boys might be; Bloody Beach, Waterfalls of Doom, Skull rock, Monster Mountain, Skeleton Jungle, Captain's Cave (Captain's Cavern), Serpent Pass.

Hope you enjoy making your treasure maps. Me and my daughter had great fun when we made maps with these instructions.

Don't forget for today only you can get a 10 children party box from Life's A Celebration for only £60 (normally £100). Our party boxes have absolutely everything you need to celebrate a kids party; plates, cups, napkins, tablecloth, table confetti, balloons, decorations, games, prizes, craft kits, party bags, music and loads more. It couldn't be easier!! We're here to make your life easier. If you want to take advantage of this massive bargain just email me on maxine@lifesacelebration.co.uk and tell me how many princesses you have coming and how many pirates and I'll do the rest!
Anyway my friends,

Keep smiling


Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Kids parties made easy

So your child's birthday is rapidly approaching. Do you start planning with great gusto or does the thought of all the organising fill you with dread?

So what can we here at Life's A Celebration do for you if you fall into the second camp! Well for a fabulous party you need games to play. All our kids princess & pirate party boxes come with a games pack with all the instructions on how to play all the games and more importantly all the supplies you need to play the games. We provide a blindfold for the games that need it, gold coins for the treasure hunt, a box to place all the gold coins into once found, balloons for the games that need balloons, even the music to dance to.

All the supplies to play the games

What else do need with the games? The prizes! Our party boxes come with quality prizes for the children. The pass the parcel even comes wrapped up for you with instructions on whether it's a boys prize or a girls prize (so you know who needs to win!)

Quality party prizes

You also need to decorate the house and get your tableware organised. All our party boxes come with banners and balloons to make the house look fab and all the tableware you need. By tableware I mean plates, cups, napkins, tablecloth, table confetti. As a parent myself I know that spillages happen so I also pop some spares in there too!

Decorations and tableware

So what do you do with the children once they have eaten. Well all our party boxes come with craft kits with lots of things for the children to make and do. We supply all the items to decorate on and all the items to decorate with; stickers, pom poms, glue, colouring pencils, glitter - everything

Things for the children to make and do

With our party boxes I would recommend that you play all the games (with the exception of the treasure hunt!) and then let the children eat their lunch. When the children are eating get another parent to hide the gold coins for the treasure hunt. Once they've eaten let them do the treasure hunt whilst you clear the table but leave the tablecloths on so that it keeps everything tidy for the craft activities. Once all the gold coins have been found the table will be cleared of food debris and you're ready to get the kids to sit down and make and do! I also pop in the party boxes instructions on how to make a treasure map. However I always exercise caution with this as it requires cold coffee and a hairdrier! Some parents prefer to hold onto and use on a rainy day.

When it's time to say goodbye every child goes home with a fantastic party bag brimming with goodies for them to enjoy when they get home.

Party bags for everybody to take home
So what do you think? Do you want another year of getting everything organised, trawling the internet and shops looking for prizes, games ideas, party bag fillers (not to mention putting the party bags together!)? Or do you think it's just easier to get in touch with me and let me do it all for you?

All you need to do is pop across to Life's A Celebration fill in how many princesses are coming and how many pirates and I'll do all the rest. Your party box will arrive at your door and you and all the children can enjoy all the fun.

Keep smiling my friends


Friday, 13 January 2012

Friday Fun - Baby Shower recipes

As you know we’re celebrating all things new here at www.lifesacelebration.co.uk and as such there’s 20% off our Baby Shower party boxes throughout the whole month of January. To celebrate our baby showers I thought I would provide you with a couple of recipe ideas for light finger food that you might like to use for your next baby shower (or any other kind of party really!).
Our baby shower party boxes contain everything you need for a super baby shower. They are designed to save you time and money. In fact I spent a lot of time yesterday researching how much my baby shower party box for 10 people would cost you if you went out and bought it all separately. I stopped counting at £93 and I hadn’t even factored in all the things that are contained in my box (I also include some recipe ideas and ‘Mocktail’ recipes). I had to go to 3 different online retailers and various shops. Just researching it took me all afternoon. I wouldn’t like to think how much time it would take to actually plan a baby shower! So why not make you life easy and just swing by my website, tell me how many guests you have coming and I’ll do the rest. Everything you need is included from tableware to decorations to music, to games to prizes to recipe ideas and loads more!

Anyway here are the recipes for you to enjoy. These, and many more, come as standard in my baby shower party box.
Halloumi and Bacon rolls
You will need; 250g block halloumi cheese, 10 rashers pancetta or smoked streaky bacon, 1 tbsp chopped chives.
Heat oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. Cut the halloumi cheese into 20 sticks, stretch each rasher of pancetta with the back of a knife, then cut in half. Season the pancetta with just black pepper, then sprinkle with the chopped chives.2. Roll the pancetta around the halloumi in a spiral and arrange on a baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 mins or until the pancetta is brown and beginning to crisp.

Easy cheese & onion slice
You will need; 600g baking potatoes (peeled and chopped into chunks), 300g mature cheddar (200g grated, 100g cubed), pinch cayenne pepper, large bunch spring onions (finely sliced), 1 egg (beaten), 500g pack all-butter puff pastry, jar caramelised red onions (to serve)
Heat oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7. Boil potatoes for 15 mins until tender, then drain well and smash a little. Cool slightly.Mix the cheese, cayenne and onions with the smashed potatoes and stir to make a mouldable filling. Roll out the pastry to a rectangle about 25 x 35cm. Carefully lift onto a baking sheet and brush all over with beaten egg.Press the cheese mix along one of the long sides of the pastry, leaving 2cm pastry free on one side for sealing, and half of the pastry empty on the other side for folding over later. Fold the pastry over the filling and press the edges together, before trimming with a knife and sealing well by pressing the edges with a fork.Brush with egg and bake for 30 mins. Cool, then slice and serve with caramelised red onions. Can be made 1 day ahead.

Hope you enjoy these recipes. Let me know if you try them and how you get on. If your friend is pregnant and you want to throw her the most perfect baby shower then get in touch. I guarantee our baby shower party boxes will save you time and money!
Keep smiling my friends.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Working Wednesday – Working together

What does TEAM stand for? Well as we all know TEAM stands for Together Everybody Achieves More. Cheesy I know but I think it’s got a point!
I don’t know if you read my “A Guest on Monday” blog spot featuring Alison Murray from www.lullabybabygifts.co.uk but if you didn’t then you missed an excellent post about her business. Pop across and take a look at it.
It was great to work with another business and as a result the “A Guest on Monday” blog spot will continue every two weeks on a Monday. I will be featuring lots of different businesses doing lots of different things up and down the country. All the posts will be different; some will be party related, some won’t, but I’m really looking forward to hearing what people have to say about their businesses. You never know you might find a business that provides exactly the kind of thing you’ve been looking to buy.
I enjoy working with people and chatting to people and I regularly get to chat to people on social media, email or on skype. I’ve had a skype button added to my website which means that I can chat to people on there too. Have you seen it? http://www.lifesacelebration.co.uk/ I am currently working on a project with another business which I am also very excited about. Working in collaboration with like-minded people is fun!
So if you’re looking for a fabulous party but without all the stress and hassle that’s involved then please get in touch with me to chat about my fantastic party boxes! I look forward to chatting with you soon and as a team, me and you will get your party sorted!
Keep smiling my friends


Monday, 9 January 2012

A Guest On Monday - Alison Murray

Well good morning my friends! Today we launch our very first "A Guest On Monday". This is Alison Murray from http://lullabybabygifts.co.uk/ We asked Alison to write some words on her baby gifts business so when you buy your baby shower party box from us you know where to look for the presents!!

Here's what she had to say,

"Maxine at Life's A Celebration approached me and asked if I'd like to do their very first guest blog. I've never done one before but felt quite excited about the prospect of sharing with others how I started up my business and how successful its become! 

I'm a single mum and became a Grand Mother at the grand old age of 39! 
When my daughter and her husband told me the news I was so excited!! and decided to move back from Spain. It was actually only 2 weeks before the baby was due to arrive when I moved back to England. As soon as I got back I set about organising the best Baby Shower I could possibly give my daughter!! I looked on line for lots of ideas and decided to try my hand at making her a nappy cake.
Everyone at the Shower wanted to know who did it & when I told them I did, my friends and family encouraged me to start up a business and that's how Lullaby Baby Gifts began, in July of 2009!

I got my very first order within a couple of weeks and I haven't looked back since! 

The next step was to create a website, to make more people aware that there are affordable, beautiful & unique baby gifts out there, that can't be bought on the high street.  I also wanted to add a little something different for my customers and so decided to offer a free gift wrap service with the option of sending the gift direct to the recipient. This service has gone down a treat and all that's needed from the customer is a personal message for the gift tag! 

As I mentioned, I like to offer my customers something a little different. So I  have just added a 'Hand Knitted by Nanny Murray"  range and the animal slippers are selling like hot cakes!!  
My Grand Daughter, Mylee has just sadly grown out of the biggest size I do, which is such a shame because they kept her feet so cozy warm and because they were so novel she loved wearing them.

I sell a lot of gifts for Baby Showers! Showers started off as an American idea but have become so popular here in the last couple of years! The Gift Sets/Baskets & Nappy Cakes I sell all came beautifully packaged and are my top sellers. 

Purchasing a gift from the website also takes all the stress out of hunting for a gift around all the shops.

So if you have a baby shower coming up to go to or a new arrival to buy for or quite simply want to buy something different for your own baby have a peek on our website;

If you're organising a Baby Shower then you must take a look at Life's A Celebration website - http:/lifesacelebration.co.uk  They are offering 20% their Baby Shower party boxes this month!! and of course you know where to come for the gifts!! ;-)

Hope you have enjoyed reading my very first blog. You can follow me on twitter @lullabybabygift for special offers and more!"

Well I hope you've enjoyed our 'A Guest on Monday'. If you would like to feature on here please email me on maxine@lifesacelebration.co.uk I look forward to speaking with you soon.

Keep smiling


Friday, 6 January 2012

Baby Showers & Nursery Rhymes

Hello my friends. Well it soon comes round to the end of the week so it’s time for the first Friday Fun blog of the year. To celebrate our Baby Shower extravaganza I thought I would share with you a couple of facts about nursery rhymes. With 20% off you will get an entire baby shower with games, prizes, quizzes, plates, cups, napkins, decorations, balloons, invites, candles, recipe ideas, music and loads more for only £8 per head.
Humpty Dumpty was first printed in 1810. At the time, a humpty dumpty was a clumsy person, so the nursery rhyme was meant as a riddle. It doesn’t actually state that Humpty Dumpty is an egg, so the aim of the reader was to guess what he really was. Of course everybody now knows that he is an egg. There is speculation that the nursery rhyme had an underlying meaning – in which Humpty Dumpty represented King Richard III of England and the wall his horse. Others have suggested that it refers to the downfall of Cardinal Wolsey at the hand of King Henry VIII.
Sing a song of sixpence dates back to at least the eighteenth century. In the original, the tale ends with a blackbird pecking off the nose of the maid in the garden; in the mid-nineteenth century this was sanitized with the addition of a final verse in which a doctor sews it back on. While interpretations vary wildly, the four and twenty blackbirds are most likely simply a reference to a common practice in the sixteenth-century in which large pies were baked then filled with live birds which would escape when the pie was cut. This stems from the fact that a meal was meant not just as nourishment, but entertainment.
If you would like to hear more about our baby shower party boxes email me on maxine@lifesacelebration.co.uk Always happy to chat!

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Why 2012 is going to be a good year!

Happy New Year everybody
Well as you may or may not have noticed I didn’t post any blogs last week. I was too busy enjoying myself over the Christmas and New Year break. I hope you enjoyed yourself too and you’re all ready to approach 2012 with gusto!
I don’t know about you but I have got well and truly got fed up of reading and seeing all the bad news out there so I have made my New Year’s Resolution to be that 2012 is going to be a good year.
So what is going to make 2012 so good for me?
Well did you see the changes that have been made to my website? These were launched on the very first day of 2012 and show an updated home page and various other changes. These have been really well received especially our Deal of the Month which this month is our Baby Showers. What that means is that our Baby Showers have 20% off which at £8 per head is a “monster bargain” (as somebody described it!). If you would like to have a chat about these then get in touch with me at maxine@lifesacelebration.co.uk As you’ve probably gathered by now I am a very friendly individual and will always be happy to help.
There are going to be more changes made to the website as the year goes on and I have big plans for it. If you have any suggestions for party boxes you would like to see then please get in touch. I am thinking that divorce parties might be a good addition to my range. What do you think?
I will also be starting a guest blog every month (this might be every couple of weeks depending on how popular it is!). If there is something you would like to contribute then please get in touch and let me know.
The first orders of 2012 have been despatched and I have lots of you waiting for your parties to come round this month and throughout the year. It will be my 35th birthday this year. Do you think I should have a “half way between 30 & 40” party??
I am also starting to build up a really loyal customer base and I thank each and every one of you for that.
So those are some of the reasons why my 2012 will be a good one. What’s going to make your 2012 a good one? (and don’t forget that for your celebrations in 2012 you need to visit www.lifesacelebration.co.uk!)
I look forward to enjoying 2012 with you.



Welcome to Life's A Celebration's Blog. We box up all kinds of parties for all kinds of celebrations. Pop across and see us at www.lifesacelebration.co.uk