Monday, 30 July 2012

A Guest on Monday Abi Yardimici

Today's Guest on Monday is a friend of mine. I met Abi through the usual business networking that all us busy business people do. We immediately got on and have become good friends. Abi runs The Cool Rule Company - a business that provides parents and carers a wondeful tool to help with those difficult toddler years. Have a read what Abi has to say

"Before we begin, I just want to make it clear that I am really rather chuffed. As a busy mum it’s not often I’m asked as a ‘guest’ anywhere, let alone on a very cool blog spot. So thank you Maxine, for this chance to tell the story of The Cool Rule Company.

Once upon a time there was a mum who decided it would be a good idea to combine parenthood and business . . . hang on, I don’t think I actually decided to do that. I can’t remember sitting down and signing a contract with myself. I’m not going to pretend there was a strategy if there wasn’t. Oh, what the hell, let’s just tell it like it is.
Six years ago, on a trip to Turkey, I found the man who was going to change the course of my life. And that he did. After an intense but wonderful long-distance relationship, I moved over there to be with him. We got married and before I knew it, I was barefoot, pregnant and in a hot, hot kitchen.

Our first son changed everything. As babies do. Not only was I living in a different culture in a climate that made me want to bask permanently in ice cubes, but I was a mummy now. I’d joined a new club. And I’d signed up without reading the small print.
I remember being struck by the extreme highs and lows of this new vocation. One minute swooning with love for my baby and the next minute feeling helpless, clueless, alone. Nobody said it would be like this.
And then came the toddler years. Ouch. At what point exactly does your child morph from a cooing angel into a relentless, stubborn little rugrat? And why does nobody warn you about that?

We'd jetted back to the UK by the time my second son came into the world, and I thought my older son, now nearly three, was starting to come out of this phase. Maybe the naughty spot could take a holiday. How wrong I was. This new arrival was clearly awesome as well as alarming for him. Now that was a conflict of emotions I could identify with.
And that’s when the Cool Rule Book was created. My son needed patience, love and compassion as well as a good dose of humour. So we took photos of all the things, people and places he knew well and stuck them in a scrapbook alongside rules for him to follow. Share nicely with your friends. Brush your teeth every day. Remember how much you are loved.

The Cool Rule Book was a hit. It reminded my husband and I how to be consistent, and how to stay calm but firm. It showed my son all that was expected of him and enabled him to celebrate everything he was good at.
Other parents wanted a piece of the Cool Rule action. So a trial began. A very successful trial. And then a business plan. And that’s when the combining of parenthood and business stealthily crept in. I didn’t invite it. It crept in. Sneaky, eh?
So now I run The Cool Rule Company and sell my creation, The Cool Rule Book to parents and carers who want to celebrate happy living with their little ones. It’s all about allowing your child creativity and freedom within fair boundaries. Oh, and giving yourself a helping hand too.

You can find out more about The Cool Rule Book and The Cool Rule Company by visiting the website, or following the blog: "

Well I hope you've all enjoyed what Abi has to say about her journey on running her business. You can also follow The Cool Rule Company on Facebook at Pop across and say hi to Abi - she is genuinely lovely lady!

Don't forget too that if you do have small people running around and you need to organise a stress free party then all you need is Life's A Celebration! We're here to help you! If you want to chat to me directly about your next party be it for a small person or a little person or a person that has not yet arrived then all you need to do is get in touch you know I'm always more than happy to help!

Keep smiling


Thursday, 26 July 2012

Entertain the children yourself at their next party

Do you want to give it a go? Do you want to entertain the children at your child's next party in your local village hall? NOOOOOO I hear you cry! Well it's actually less difficult than you would imagine.

Read this blog post and it will give you some ideas on how to entertain the children at a party.

This blog post is designed for those parents that have booked the local village/church hall and have decided to entertain the children themselves. I've assumed the standard 2 hours for the party, that there are roughly between 20 and 30 kids there, that the age range is 4-7 and that you're a really great dancer!!!

Let the children run around for 10 minutes or so. Have some music playing in the background. This just lets all the last minute arrivals to get there and also gives the children a chance to say hello to each other and burn off some party excitement!

Start the party by getting all the children to stand in a circle. Then say something like "This circles too small. It needs to be bigger. C'mon mums and dads we need a bigger circle"

Get all the kids and their parents/grandparents to get into a big circle. Start the proceedings with the Hokey Cokey.

Once the Hokey Cokey is finished the parents can sit down and continue drinking their cups of tea and gossiping!

Get all the children to sit in a circle and introduce yourself. Say the reason why you're all there. Tease the kids a little bit - get their names wrong. Say you're there to celebrate Mavis' birthday and she's going to be 64. Do the usual pretend you can't hear them and make them shout and encourage them to interact with you.

Then get some music going and encourage some dancing with interactive songs. Buy the Black Lace Party album and get them to dance to songs like Agadoo, Superman, I am the Music Man. If you stand at the front and show them the actions they will be joining in in no time! Other good songs to dance to are "The Fast Food Song" (you know the one - A Pizza Hut, A Pizza Hut, Kentucky Fried Chicken and A Pizza Hut), YMCA, The Birdie Song and other old favourites. Make sure you also put some more up to date songs on there too and let them do a bit of disco dancing. You'll probably find that the girls want to dance and the boys just want to run around. But that's ok if they do - it's totally normal.

What I like to do is then have the food. The best way to do this is to get the children to line up with you at the front and then do the Conga to the food tables.

If you really want to make your life easy then get the food organised by using food lunch boxes rather than having it all plated up and set out for them. This way it is then really easy to serve and probably more importantly clear up afterwards.

Not all children eat at the same speeds and not all children eat the same amount. So expect that some children will finish before others. That's ok too! Just pop the music back on and let them dance and run around until all the children have finished eating.

After food I like to play some games. Obviously you have the old classics like Musical Chairs, Musical Bumps and Musical Statues. I like to also play corners. Get the children to decide which parents should be picked to stand in each corner and before the party buy silly hats for 4 parents to wear. Obviously the sillier the better!

There are loads of party games out there that you can play. Pin the Tail on the Donkey, Pass the Parcel etc. If you want a games pack sending out then get in touch and I'm happy to send you some ideas.

I also like to play "Find Bob Monkeyhouse". All you need to do is buy an inflatable monkey before the party and hide it before the children arrive. The concept of "Find Bob Monkeyhouse" is pretty simple - they have to find the monkey!

Another game that the children like to play is "Feargal The Sharkey". For this you have to have 2 inflatable palm trees in two corners of the room and an inflatable Shark (do you see what I did there??). The premise of the game is that you chase the children with the shark and they have to run between the 2 trees which are "den". The children absolutely love this game but in my experience it does get a bit boisterous. You can play it for as long as you have breath in your body and the kids are relatively calm.

What I tend to do to get them to calm down after Feargal The Sharkey is play "Dead Fishes" or "Sleepy Lions" as it's known in this part of the world.

Before the party have a think about how you can rope in friends/family into the celebration. Does anybody have any special talents? Face painting, story telling etc. You might also want to sort out the music before the party so you know what track is going to be played and when. Make sure that you have a running order so things in your head so there is a relaxed structure to what you're doing but it's something you can deviate from. So if you find that the kids are really enjoying playing one particular game then maybe play it again.

By the time you've sang Happy Birthday, blown out the candles etc it should be time for everybody to leave.

You then clean up, hopefully get a thank you from your child, go home and pour yourself a large glass of wine and remind yourself it is all over for another year!

So go on give it a try - what's the worst that can happen?? Actually don't answer that!

Let me know how it goes! Don't forget that here at Life's A Celebration we have all your party supplies. If you decide to give this a go then get your party box from us and you'll be sorted.

Alternatively if you're local to me - give me a shout and I'll come and help out and bring a Party in a Box too!!!

Keep smiling


Monday, 9 July 2012

A Guest on Monday Mandy Miller

Chalkboard Lady “who is she?”

Let me start by introducing myself, I am Mandy Miller A.K.A The Chalkboard Lady. Maxine asked me to write a guest blog for her. So here goes…

You may have seen chalkboards as you queue for your Latte or check out the specials in your local restaurant or Pub. You may even have pondered on who writes them! It’s probably someone like me who provides this secret service when no one is looking! I creep in, transform chalkboards and creep out again. Its a service that can give chalkboards impact and style and never fails time and time again to draw in customers. Whether its an A-Board outside on the pavement or a full wall menu, I write them.

My mission to transform tired, neglected chalkboards began when I was 18 and became a trainee signwriter. Right from the start I loved it and knew this was what I wanted to do. As my career progressed I built up the skills that would eventually lead me to take the leap and become Self-Employed.

It took me a couple of years to build my client base but as people got to know me word spread and more work followed. 15 years on I have a good little business with great loyal customers and plenty of new ones popping up along the way.

The last couple of years have been hard for the Pub Industry and led me to seek new customers. I now write Boards for Butchers, Florists, Cafes etc as well as my faithful Pubs! I also produce posters and do some murals and wall art.

Recently I have dipped my toe into the world of social media which is a great tool for any small business. Its been a bit of a learning curve but I embraced it with enthusiasm! It was through a small business networking online group that I met Maxine ( or Maggie as I call her, due to our love of Miss Philbin!!) We have built up a friendship and she is now one of my virtual buddies. So thanks Mags for this opportunity to tell my story xx

It is true that me and Mandy have built up a really good friendship via social media and she will definitely be getting an invite to my next big party in October! Check out Mandy's website at  Hope you like Mandy's blog post and if you run a business and would like to appear on my "A Guest on Monday" blog spot then let me know.

Keep smiling my friends

Mags..............I mean Max!

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Our Wedding Photoshoot

A few months ago I met a lady called Sarah Sutcliffe from a business called Energise Weddings. We chatted about the possibility of getting some wedding suppliers together for a big photoshoot to showcase all our products.
Sarah's business makes the most gorgeous headwear and jewellery for brides to be, mothers of the bride and bridesmaids so obviously I jumped at the chance to work with her.
We spent some time contacting and selecting suppliers that wanted to help us create a fabulous photoshoot.
The shoot was arranged at the beautiful Eslington Villa in Gateshead and the first job of the day was to get the models hair and make up sorted. Hair was styled by Bespoke Hair by Paula and the makeup was applied by Carly Michelle Hair and Makeup. The models looked gorgeous before their hair and makeup was done and after they looked absolutely stunning (making me feel incredibly short, dumpy, plain and hopelessly inferior!!).  The models were Cheryse Longstaff, Jade Ashleigh Slavin, Zoe and Faith.
We then took some shots of the models enjoying one of my Pre Wedding Slumber Party boxes. These are a totally unique party box which include a romantic DVD, popcorn, games, quizzes and prizes and "Appreciation Bag". These are cute little party bags filled with novelty tokens of love designed for the bride to say thank you to all those people that have helped organise her big day!
Appreciation Bags filled with novelty tokens of love to say thank you to everyone who has helped organise their special day!
(L-R Cheryse, Jade, Zoe, Faith)

Enjoying a romantic DVD and popcorn as part of our Pre Wedding Slumber Party Box
(L-R Jade, Zoe, Cheryse, Faith)
We had also arranged for Annette Keelty to join us on the day. Annette runs Lingerie By Annette and had brought with her the most extensive and beautiful collection of lingerie and nightwear for the models to wear.

In the run up to the shoot Sarah and I had spent a lot of time deliberating over what the venue styling should look like. We wanted the styling to reflect to be contemporary but also a little bit quirky. We opted for two styles a Classic style and a Gothic Style. We had 4 models and decided to split them into 2 brides and 2 bridesmaid each couple taking one of the chosen styles.

Here are some of the fabulous shots taken of the classic bride and bridesmaid and also the classic venue styling. All of the venue styling on the day was done by Kerry from Daisychain Events and Poppy from Papaver Designs. All of the stationery and paper lanterns were also handmade by Poppy just for the shoot. These ladies worked like troopers to make sure that the venue looked absolutely perfect. Don't get me wrong Eslington Villa is incredibly picturesque but the styling was the icing on the cake (so to speak!). The dresses all came from Mia Sposa and I can honestly say the Classic Brides dress was beautiful.

All of the 'classic' headwear, jewellery and flowers were designed and made just for the shoot by Sarah from Energise Weddings. These handmade designs complemented the brides and bridesmaids dresses perfectly.
Then we got onto the Gothic aspect of the shoot. Again all the headwear, jewellery and flowers were designed and crafted by Energise Weddings and the bridal headpiece is a particular favourite of mine. It looked absolutely stunning on Jade the model. Outside on the patio was styled in a Gothic scene by Kerry from Daisychain Events and Poppy from Papaver Designs.

All of these shots on the day were taken by Darren from Ti Amo. Darren worked tirelessly all day with really good humour and the shots he has created are perfect. He has really captured the mood of the day effortlessly.
And I can't leave this blog post without showing you the shots of my Wedding Activity Bags for children!
Boys under 3 Wedding Activity Bags

Girls aged 6+ Wedding Activity Bags

Boys aged 6+ Wedding Activity Bags
All in all it was a really excellent day. All of the suppliers and the models were sooooo friendly and we all got along famously. In fact expect more from our little crew - but that's as much as you're getting out of me for now.

I really hope this has inspired you if you're planning your wedding day. If you want to have a chat with me about any of my products then please get in touch.

Keep smiling



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