Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Using my daughter to advertise the business!

So I have a 7 year old daughter and she's very keen on the business (obviously - there's party stuff here!). She has her own desk at the new office too!

When the weather was so nice at the weekend she got her easel out in the garden and declared that she was going to spend some time making posters for the business.

Her first poster is a general poster about the different types of party boxes we have here. What do you think?

Do you think it's 'exerlent'?

Her second poster is to advertise our Children's Garden Parties? Again what do you think of it?

You will get 130% fun in the sun with this party! Our kids garden parties are not on the website yet but with the summer sunshine showing it's face at the moment if you're looking for an outdoors party for the kids then drop me a line. They're something a bit different and the kids love them!

Speak to you soon.

Keep smiling my friends


Monday, 26 March 2012

Totally obsessed with videos!

Hi there everybody,

Well I'm nicely ensconsed in my office and settling in (need to unpack some boxes though!).

Today I want to tell you all about my latest obsession - making videos!

I've made a video of our Jubilee party boxes


I made the Jubilee video over the weekend. What do you think?

This morning I've made one to show you all my girls party bags. Again, what do you think? (Don't look at the face I'm pulling below!)

So what do you think about my first few attempts at video making??

If you're looking for boys party bags too then I will be making a 'Boys Party Bags' video very soon.

Don't forget that we don't just do party bags - we can box up an entire kids party and send it out to you. These videos will follow too!!

Any comments and feedback you want to make then please get in touch.

Keep smiling everybody.


Saturday, 24 March 2012

We've moved!

Hello everybody!

We've moved! We now have our own little party office and I have my house back!

Here's my welcome video for you all to enjoy!

I shall be regularly posting update videos for you all to enjoy! It's a chance for you to see our great party products and see me demonstrating them. Then you know exactly what you're getting when you receive a party box or party bags from us.

Don't forget we have a 3 step simple party process;
1) Choose your party box from our range
2) Receive your party box
3) Enjoy the party!
It's easy peasy.

Pop by the website and see just how fantastic our products are! Want to chat to me then just drop me a line.

Keep smiling my friends


Thursday, 22 March 2012

Planning my birthday party (part 3)

Hello everybody.

Well the birthday party planning is going well. The invitations are starting to go out. These are the party invites - what do you think?

I'm starting to get the replies now and I'm really pleased that people are actually RSVPing in the way that they've been asked to do!

I've organised the cake and it's going to look something like this.

I've also organised the catering now too! I thought we'd go for something a little bit different to the usual buffet (although I do love a good buffet!). A local company is coming in and will serve pies and peas. What do you think?

So now all I have to do is pay for everything (booooo!) and organise what I'm going to wear and also practice back combing my hair!!!

I've been messing around with these posters. What do you think?

So it's all going very well.
I'm going to start putting together the ideas for the party bags very soon. If you have any ideas of what you think should go in them then I'm all ears.

Don't forget that if you need help planning and executing a party then all you need is me! We have a full range of party boxes on the website however if you want something a bit different then just get in touch Always happy to help!

Keep smiling my friends and have a great weekend!


Monday, 19 March 2012

A Guest on Monday - Claire Mockridge

If you're a pregnant lady out there then todays guest blog post is definitely something you need to read. Claire Mockridge has joined us today with some great hints & tips on how to stay healthy during pregnancy and beyond. Here's what she had to say

"Hello there.  I’m Claire Mockridge, an Ante/Postnatal Fitness Expert who’s helped over 800 pregnant and postnatal women keep and stay fit during pregnancy and after birth.

Exercise during pregnancy has many benefits, not just to you, but to your unborn baby.  There’s definitely truth in the saying “Fitter mums, have fitter babies”, so no doubt you’ve already made the first step to giving your unborn baby the BEST start in life by staying as active as possible.

When you study the anatomical and physiological changes that occur in a pregnant person’s body, what happens to you is really quite dramatic.  Sorry – did I scare you a bit there?!  It really is a life-changing experience.

The postural changes that occur in a pregnant person’s body are numerous eg your shoulders start to round forwards, your hips get tighter, your back gets more of an excessive lumbar curve, your gluteals weaken.  This makes exercising during pregnancy, and doing so under the guidance of an Ante/Postnatal Expert like myself, very important.

I’m not sure if any of you are suffering with back ache right now, but, my tip for the day would be to get up and move, every 30 minutes or as often as you can, to avoid that “ceasing up” feeling!  Seriously – off you go!

So, what are the benefits of exercising during pregnancy?

a)      it improves your circulation to stop you suffering with cramp, heart burn or indigestion

b)      reduced pregnancy aches and pains eg back ache, sciatica, stiff shoulders etc

c)       combat excessive weight gain if you’re doing the right types of exercise 3-5 times a week

d)      helps you maintain your fitness level if you’re doing 20-30 minutes of cardiovascular fitness 3-5 times a week

e)      helps you maintain a strong heart and lungs to prepare you physically for labour

f)       helps you focus on your breathing during labour

g)      keeps muscles strong and toned to help you with the physical demands of motherhood when baby arrives

h)      improves your general well-being and lifts your mood

i)        helps fight insomnia

j)        helps you relax and de-stress after a long day

k)      gives you some ME time

l)        aids your postnatal recovery

This list is by no means exhaustive, but I hope it’s given you some motivation, to get you up and about and be a little more active throughout your day-to-day activities.  Simple things like taking a walk at lunch time, doing a swim after work, going for a cycle ride with your family etc, all count to your recommended weekly exercise target of 20-30 minutes of exercise, 3-5 times a week.

One thing I do notice is, clients who exercise with me during pregnancy, have a speedier postnatal recovery, because they’ve remained active throughout their pregnancy.  Exercise can’t guarantee you a short labour, I’m afraid, but what it can do is help your body withstand the physical demands of labour, for longer, because your cardiovascular system is in tip-top shape.  Something to think about, isn’t it?

I teach Ante/Postnatal Fitness and Pilates classes for pregnant women here in my local area and I often have clients return to me for their second and third pregnancies which is lovely.  If you can’t find an exercise class nearby and you’re thinking about exercising at home, and want to make sure you’re:

a) doing the right type of exercise, and

b) you’re doing enough exercise to make a difference, you’ll be pleased to know I have a very good solution.

My Pregnancy Fitness DVD - “Don’t let your BUMP get in the way” is every busy mum-to-be’s answer to exercising safely and effectively throughout pregnancy.

If you’d like to order your copy, click here: http://www.bumptobabe.co.uk/pages/DVDs.html

The DVD is jam-packed full of over 2 hours of footage and includes 3 x cardio sections, 3 x toning segments, 3 x Pilates workouts, focus on pelvic floor, 2 x stretching sequences and the all important relaxation section.

I promise you won’t get bored with this DVD, as variety is the theme.  It’s every busy pregnant woman’s answer to staying in shape, safely and effectively.

The beauty of the DVD is that you can mix and match the exercises you want to do.  For example, you could complete one entire workout eg 1 x cardio, 1 x toning and 1 x Pilates section; or just pop the DVD and focus on one particular Pilates section that you want to master, for example.  The options are endless.

If you have a question about exercising during pregnancy, or after birth, do get in touch.  My Pre/Postnatal Fitness Blog answers FAQs about exercising here: http://clairemockridge.wordpress.com/

Or, connect with me here:

Take care now.

Claire Mockridge"

Well I hope you've enjoyed that and don't forget that even if you're not pregnant then please make sure you pass on these invaluable hints and tips to any friends that are.

For those of you with pregnant friends don't forget that we've got some fabulous baby shower party boxes with everything you need to celebrate! It couldn't be easier. If you want to have a chat about these then just get in touch.

Claire and I would love your comments on our blog post. If you want to chat with either of us please get in touch. Any comments you want to leave on here for Claire I will make sure they get passed on.

Keep smiling my friends.


Friday, 16 March 2012

My Mothers Day promise

Well it's Mother's Day on Sunday and what are you doing to celebrate the most important person in any ones life? Well that's what I think because I'm a Mum!!!

Being a mum to my gorgeous girl is spectacular and the best thing in the whole world. Traditionally aren't us mums meant to put our feet up on Mother's Day and have everything done for us? I think it should be a day when everything else stops and we spend the day with our kids. I don't know about you but my whole life seems to be spent racing around doing the everyday things that always need doing. Sometime I feel like I don't spend enough time with my daughter doing things like playing games, craft activities and just generally having fun.

So this Mother's Day I'm going to stop..................not spend time working, not spend the whole day doing housework. I'm going to spend some precious time with my child and take advantage of the fact that she does actually want to spend time with me. We've not quite reached the "embarrasing mother" phase although I fear we are nearly there!

Here's some of the things that I will be doing in Sunday. Why don't you try some of these too? Or better still let me know what suggestions you have for things for us to try in our household!

1) A gameathon - we're going to get all the board games out and spend some time playing Monopoly, Snakes & Ladders, Spotty Dogs, Guess Who and Hungry Hippos etc.

2) We're going to get the paint out and I'm not going to worry about where the paint ends up. It will clean off! We're going to paint some masterpieces.

3) Get engrossed in Enid Blyton. My child loves the old Enid Blyton stories so we're going to get into a Famous Five or Secret Seven story. We may even write our own adventure story with its own characters.

4) Have a party tea. We're not going out for lunch. We're going to stay in with sausage rolls, triangle sandwiches, crisps, Jammie Dodgers etc. She loves a good party tea (and so do I!) so I figured lets have a feast that we'll enjoy

5) Ride our bikes - we live in a beautiful part of the world so (English weather permitting!) we're going to get out there and enjoy it!

So even if the washing basket is overflowing, even if the breakfast dishes are sat in the sink all day, even if the sun shines through the window and the whole world can see how dusty my telly is - this Sunday I DON'T CARE! I know what I'm doing - spending a fabulous Mother's Day is my favourite person in all the world!!

What are you doing this Mother's Day? Let me know. Me and my daughter would love to know. You never know we might end up doing that too!

Don't forget that I do party boxes too (that's my shameless plug btw - can you tell????)

Keep smiling my friends


Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Surprise parties - hints & tips

Are you planning a Surprise Party? 

If you're thinking about throwing a surprise party for somebody then trust me it's not always as easy to organise as you might think.

Here's my top tips for planning a surpise party are;

1. Keep it simple and straightforward. Surprise parties are hard work enough without making the arrangements too complicated!

2. Make sure that all the guests know what time to get there. Write the invitations for about half an hour before the guest of honour is due to arrive to avoid any last minute cock-ups.

3. Obviously you have to tell people but make sure they all know it's a surprise. It can be good if you can email a couple of people and ask them to spread the word discreetly. Make sure that they are letting everybody know that it is a surprise. Then you're not left trying to organise people, supplies, venues, catering etc.

4. Don't do the whole "lets all pretend we've all forgotten your birthday" routine. In my experience it doesn't work. Instead pretend you're doing something low key and then the element of surprise is better.

6. Will children be invited? Now sometimes your children will want to be involved in the preparations but if your children are anything like my daughter then they'll let the cat out of the bag. Maybe involve them in the last stages then there's less chance of it slipping out.

7. Make sure that the person who you are organising the party for will be pleased to have a surprise party thrown for them! You'd be amazed at how many people would actually rather eat their own arm then walk into a dark room and "surprise".

8. Last, and perhaps more importantly, have a fabulous party!!

Are you always the one in your circle of friends that gets left with organising the parties? If you are then why not
get in touch with me. I'm always happy to chat and help if I can. Together I'm sure we can come up with a party that's certain to fit the bill!

Here's the shameless plug at the bottom! We have party boxes for all occasions. Our Milestone Party Boxes and Baby Shower Party Boxes are especially good for surprises.

Keep smiling my friends


Friday, 9 March 2012

Hints & Tips for Kids Parties at Home

Are you thinking about having a children's party at home? There seems to be an increasing trend towards doing this. My daughter went to a party at her friends house the other day and she ABSOLUTELY loved it! So ditch the soft play party idea and do something at home with your children. I know that they will love it and it's these things that make lasting memories for them!

So my top 5 tips  for having a house party would be; 
1. Don't stress!
Don't think about what little Jimmy down the street had for his birthday extravanganza! Kid's parties should not be about 'keeping up with Joneses'. How many times have you stood in the play ground silently thinking that some children's parties seem to be more for the parents than they do for the kids? If you want to hold a house party and invite a handful of children then do just that. You don't need fancy surroundings or the most expensive entertainer in town. All kids want is good old fashioned fun!

2. Don't worry about the mess!
I know I know it's easy for me to say - I'm not the one that has to tidy it up. But if the kids feel like they can't play without you stood behind them constantly picking up after them they'll be a lot more relaxed and they'll enjoy it a lot more!

3. Have a relaxed but structured format.
What does that mean? Well, know what games you can play before the children arrive, know when they're going to eat, know when you will do the craft activities etc. But if all the children just want to play on the wii then let them. Don't try and enforce 'fun' on them because they'll spot it a mile off and will immediately stop enjoying themselves. Just make sure everybody is involved and if some want to do one thing and others want to do something else that's when your structured format comes into play. It is a very fine line between letting them know who's boss and letting them run amok. (Click here if you want me to send you a free games pack)

4. Don't expect that all the children will be happy all the time.
There will be tears, there will be tantrums. You will have to tell your child off for showing off in front of their friends. This is all completely normal!! It doesn't mean that the children are enjoying themselves any less. My suggestion is to give them a sweet and move onto the next activity or the next dance.

5. Have a large glass of wine waiting for you when all the children have gone home!
This is when the tidy up operation begins but I can guarantee you will get a giant hug off your child telling you that you are the best parent ever. Now all you have to do is enjoy all the fun again this time next year........................

And obviously I am going to do the shameless party plug but if you want 10% off your next kids party then head across to Life's A Celebration and take advantage of our current deal of the month.
So for example if you've got 7 children a party at your house one of our party boxes with ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING you need will only cost you £63 (plus £5.95 p&p).

Want to chat about your child's party? Want to discuss a different theme then get in touch.

Keep smiling


Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Planning my birthday party (Part 2)

Well to follow on from Planning my Birthday Party Part 1, I though I'd give you all a quick update on where I am with my birthday party prep. As you may or may not know I'm planning an 80s extravaganza for the 'do' with lots of cheesy music and (hopefully) fun and laughter.

I have now been to the venue and seen it! It's just what I want. There's an enormous dance floor which is great because I genuinely intend to do a lot of dancing all night.

I have been giving the catering a lot of thought too! Do I opt for the classic buffet that the venue can organise for me or do I opt for something a bit different. I quite fancy the idea of Pie and Peas but I'm not sure how that would go down with the guests and I don't know if it would be just one more thing to have to think about on the day. Plus I would need to speak to the venue to see if they will warm it all up for me. What do you think?

I'm pretty sure I know what my colour scheme of balloons and decorations is going to be. I figured that because it's an 80s fancy dress party and all things cheese then really I should go for really garish colours. Colours to match the illuminous socks and fingerless gloves I wore in the 80s. What do you think?

The invitations have been discussed with my fantastic designer; the wonderful Carrie Dennison from www.pressfordesign.co.uk I won't divulge the details of these until they are printed and then you can see them in all their shining glory.

Anyway that's where I am with it all at the moment. I keep thinking there's loads of time to get this organised but it's on May 4th (Star Wars day - May the 4th be with you!) so there isn't really a lot of time.

Don't forget that if you've got a birthday coming up and you don't know what to do then head across to www.lifesacelebration.co.uk and take a look at my birthday party boxes. If you can't find what you're looking for on there then drop me a line maxine@lifesacelebration.co.uk because alongside all the party boxes that are on there I can also knock up a bespoke party box just for you. I've put together loads of individual party boxes from Firework Parties to Gothic Parties so if you fancy something out of the ordinary then the answer could be just an email away!

Keep smiling


Monday, 5 March 2012

A Guest On Monday - Carrie Dennison

Todays Guest on Monday is the wonderful and inspirational Carrie Dennison from Press For Design. I first Carrie about a year ago at various business networking events and we have become really good friends. She has designed some flyers and postcards for me. Click here to see just how fab they are!

Carrie is actually the person who gave me the initial idea for my birthday party this year - a 1980s extravaganza! (Don't forget about our fantastic party boxes if you've got a party coming up. We have parties for young, young at heart, jubilee, baby showers and loads more)

Anyway here's what Carrie has to say!

"Hello, I'm Carrie, a freelance web and graphic designer and printmaker, based in County Durham, north east England.  I set up as a freelancer just six months ago in September 2011, offering affordable web and graphic design for sole traders and small businesses and also offering my original lino print artwork for sale.  I met the lovely Maxine whilst I was setting up my business and we have since become good friends, and I was thrilled to be asked to write a guest post for her blog.

As a freelance web and graphic designer I am often asked to come up with new and creative ideas in a short space of time.  Sometimes this is an easy process, the ideas flow freely and I can get on with the brief effortlessly, it will feel just like playing.  But, sometimes the ideas just want to stay hidden and won't come out to play.  So how do I get the ideas flowing when I have a deadline looming and a brief to fulfil?  These are my top 5 ways to "get creative" - and hopefully you will find them useful too.

1. Doodling
Always top of my list - in fact, always going on.  I can't tell you how many sketchbooks I own, seriously, I've lost count.  There's one for every handbag, one for the bedside table, one for the coffee table, one on the mantlepiece in the kitchen, and of course dozens of them in my studio.  Doodling lets the mind wind down, the hand loosen up, and eventually the two work together to create a piece of art.  For example, in the picture below, making random swirls on the page and colouring them in led to swirls that I filled in with paisley designs, which in turn led to the paisley design background on the sunflowers design.

2. Take photographs
This is what mobile phones with cameras were invented for.  Well, in my mind at least.  As a Twitter addict I take photographs of everything with my mobile phone when I'm out and tweet a lot of them: beautiful views, quirky things I see, textures in walls and pavements, flowers, the coffee and cake I'm enjoying, and last week, even a giant purple kangaroo (yes, really).  Some of these make their way into my artwork, some into my journals, some are just fun and spark off other ideas.

3. Keep a journal
I combine journalling with my mobile phone pictures to create a record of fun days, almost like a scrapbook.  I have a great little gadget called a PoGo Digital Photo Printer which prints out 3" x 2" stickers straight from my mobile phone, which I can then stick into my journal, and write about.  Bus tickets, entry tickets, receipts, leaflets, concert tickets, they all go into the journal too.  Getting thoughts down on paper can spark off new ideas, and the finished journals are wonderful reminders of happy moments.

4. Get messy
This is a fun technique that really lets the brain relax and therefore gets ideas flowing.  Take some cardboard (old cereal packets are great for this) and cut up into postcard sizes (6" x 4" is good).  Then get out your old magazines, brochures, leaflets, etc., rip them up and glue the pieces down onto the cardboard randomly.  I use PVA glue for this.  Then, get out some paints, acrylics are great, and just smoosh over the top with random colours.  I then journal on top of mine, add a few more layers of ripped magazines, and add some more colour.  In the photo below you can see the process happening on the left, and on the right is the finished piece.  I actually made eight of these, from one Friday through to the next Friday, with each day having a different colour theme, and was really pleased with the result.  You can see the whole collection in my etsy shop.  Once you've made your postcards, do write a note to someone special and send them a smile through the post :)

5. Go on a workshop
Workshops are a wonderful way to get creative.  I love to try out all different types, and have attended workshops on jewellery making, felt making, knitting, making decorative household items, watercolour, amongst others.  Below are just a few of the items I've created whilst learning about new techniques on workshops.  You meet like-minded people, bounce ideas off each other, and generally have a good laugh and a chat, as well as coming out with a finished piece and lots of new ideas at the end of the day.  I love workshops so much that I even teach my own on eraser carving, which is a form of printmaking.  Come on over to my carving blog to find out more.

So, those are my top five ways of getting creative - I'd love to hear about yours, so please let me know about them in the comments section.  A lot of these activities are great for doing with kids too, so maybe some fun ideas to think about for the next holidays - who can doodle the best monster, a journal of a trip to the beach, postcards for nana and grandad made using scraps of leaflets picked up at the zoo/aquarium/local theatre, etc.  Have fun!"

So that's Carrie - please pop along to Carrie's website and see her fantastic portfolio of work! You can chat to Carrie on Twitter @pressfordesign pop across and say hi to her.

Well that's all folks. Don't forget if you want to be my Guest on Monday then email me and let me know!

Keep smiling my friends



Thursday, 1 March 2012

Planning my birthday party (Part 1)

Unbelievable as it is; I actually turn 35 this year. I know it's incredible isn't it??

Anyway I figured in my line of work it would be churlish of me not to organise a big birthday bash so all my friends can help me celebrate!

So this is my first blog post about planning my birthday party. Over the course of the coming weeks I will keep you updated with the planning and preparations! The party is booked for 4th May (that's Star Wars day - May the 4th be with you!) and it's been decided by a committee (i.e. me) that it's going to have a 1980s theme.

So tomorrow I will be going to have a look at the venue which I have provisionally booked. I am a bit worried because I've been told that it holds up to 150 people. I don't even know 150 people so I have a feeling that when 10 people turn up I might look like a bit of a No Mate Nelly!!!

The DJ is booked and he has been heavily briefed that it is to be a night of pure cheese! Although mental note I must let him know that the date has changed!

I have the invites sorted in my brain. As it is 80s fancy dress, the invites will have loads of suggestions on them of what people could wear.

There's also going to be awards for Best Dressed Man/Woman, Best Dressed Couple, Best Hairstyle (personally I'm hoping some mullets turn up!) etc etc.

So anyway I will keep you all fully briefed with how it's all progressing and if you want an invite then just let me know..................(I have a massive venue to fill!).

Before I go I thought it wouldn't be right not to provide you with some classic 80s sights!

Enjoy my friends!

Keep smiling



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