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7 tips for an unforgettable family Easter party


Want to make Easter 2018 the best ever? It’s not too late to start planning your celebrations, to make this Easter Sunday the biggest and best family party you’ve ever had.

To help you get organised before Sunday 1st April rolls around, here are 7 tips for your Easter party planning:

  1. Keep the kids occupied with an Easter egg hunt. Provided you can contain the chaos to a space outside of your food prep and party planning area, an egg hunt is a great way to keep the little ones out of the way while you get everything ready. The kids can hare around in the garden looking for eggs while the grown-ups enjoy some Easter fizz. Tip: make sure you have some eggs in reserve to make sure that everyone gets one at the end of the hunt – it’ll save a lot of tears!
  1. Get everyone involved in egg decorating. Egg decorating isn’t just for the kids, and you’ll be surprised just how competitive the adults get if you offer a prize for the best egg! Provide some hard-boiled or fake eggs and some craft materials (and a protective tablecloth, newspaper or mat) and let everyone’s creativity run wild.
  1. Decorate with spring flowers. Daffodils and tulips are the perfect way to set the tone for an Easter 2018 party. These seasonal flowers will really freshen up the room and get everyone feeling excited for the start of spring.
  1. Choose the right colour scheme. Just like with the flowers, which simply scream spring, your party decorations should evoke the freshness of spring and the fun of Easter. Bright pastels, including pinks, purples and light blues, are a great choice – but you could also push the envelope and go for something bolder and more unusual. You don’t need to decorate the house from top-to-toe, but some balloons, napkins and perhaps some bunting will all add a splash of much-needed colour and flair to the party.
  1. Plan the food plenty in advance. The last thing you want is a last-minute dash to the supermarket on Easter Sunday to fight another family for that last leg of lamb. Plan the menu in advance, try to keep it simple so as to avoid making extra work for yourself, and buy all of your ingredients in plenty of time.
  1. Make sure there’s plenty of chocolate! It sounds obvious, but the kids (and adults) will be disappointed if your party doesn’t feature at least a few Easter eggs or special chocolatey Easter puds.
  1. Send your guests away with personalised party favours. This a real crowd-pleaser, especially if you have lots of younger guests and family members coming to your house on Easter Sunday. Personalised mini Easter eggs, lollipops and other treats will go down a storm, and you’re sure to be asked to plan next year’s Easter party – if you’ve got any energy left!

To help make your party easy as well as special, shop our range of Easter party supplies here at The Event Experts.

5 fabulous St David’s Day party traditions you may not know about

Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Hapus! This is what you’ll be hearing on 1st March 2018 if you have any Welsh friends, as St David’s Day is nearly upon us.

Fancy celebrating this festival of Wales’ patron saint with an event of your own? Even if you have no Welsh heritage yourself, it’s a fantastic excuse for a knees-up. What’s more, there are lots of fun, unusual and downright delicious St David’s Day party traditions that most of us have never heard of – so now is the perfect time to give them a try…

  1. Make (and eat!) some Bara Brith. This tea loaf, along with Welsh cakes, cawl (soup), roast lamb and Welsh rarebit, are staples of any Welsh celebration. This ‘speckled bread’ is bursting with fruit and flavour, and is absolutely delicious. It’s readily available on St David’s Day if you know where to shop, but it’s much more fun to make it yourself.
  1. Give your guests a lovespoon. Party planners who are really embracing the theme may want to purchase or make a small gift for their guests – and nothing says Happy St David’s Day more than a traditional lovespoon! Dating back to the 17th century, this is a symbolic gift consisting of a carved wooden spoon, often featuring hearts, horseshoes and other charm symbols.
  1. Get a dragon costume or a Welsh chimney hat! It wouldn’t be a St David’s Day party without a dragon being involved somewhere. This is a fantastic fancy dress theme, or you can decorate a cake with a fire-breather of your own creation. The tall Welsh ‘chimney’ hat may be a little trickier to find, but along with a red shawl – it is what schoolchildren in Wales typically wear on St David’s Day.
  1. Do some daffodil crafts. If you’re having a laid-back or even a family-friendly bash, why not try your hand at some relaxing and colourful crafts? Welsh people all over the world often celebrate St David’s Day by making and decorating their parties with daffodil bunting, fabric flowers and badges. It’s cheap, fun, great for kids and can really brighten the place up.
  1. Have a dram of Welsh whisky. Strictly one for the adults, this is the perfect way to inject your party with some real Welsh spirit. Wales has some excellent whiskies to try, particularly those from the Welsh Whisky Company and its Penderyn distillery.

Planning a St David’s Day party? We can help!

There’s not much time left before the big day, so gather together your Welsh flags, daffodil bunting and stock up on baking ingredients for all those Welsh cakes and Bara Brith you’ll be making.

The Event Experts can also help with a full range of party supplies from tableware and balloons to fireworks, and we’ve got plenty of red, white and green items to fit the theme! Alternatively, you can take advantage of our custom party planning service if you really want to push the boat out this St David’s Day.

It’s nearly Chinese New Year – time to start party planning

In 2018, Chinese New Year falls on Friday 16th February, and will be celebrated worldwide with parades, dances, communal meals and other festivities. But as well as public celebrations, many people throw an annual Chinese New Year part for all of their friends and family.

Whether you normally celebrate this huge event in the Chinese calendar – also known as the Spring Festival – or you simply love an excuse for any kind of New Year party, there isn’t long left to make your preparations. Here are some tips to help you plan the perfect Chinese New Year party in a hurry:

Fireworks are a must

What are Chinese New Year celebrations most associated with? For most people, it just has to be fireworks. Just like at New Year at midnight on 31st December, there really is no bigger, better or suitably spectacular way to welcome the new year than a sparkling, explosive pyrotechnic display. Just make sure you stick to your local authority guidelines about the times you are allowed to hold your display, and remember to follow all essential safety instructions.

Go red and gold with your décor

Choosing a theme for the décor for your party is easy, as the cheerful colours of the Chinese national flag lend themselves perfectly to celebrations of all kinds. Vibrant red and glimmering gold are the colours to plump for, in everything from tablecloths and balloons to lanterns and candles. You really can’t use too much red and gold!

Crafts for kids

Chinese New Year is also a great excuse for some cheeky crafting, and you can get the kids involved too. For example, you could buy Chinese lanterns with which decorate your party, or you can make some yourself! There are lots of instructions and printable templates available online, many of which are nice and easy for the younger members of your party to keep up with.

Have fun with dumplings

This event is all about celebrating the best of Chinese culture, and not many countries do dumplings better than China. You can order them in, make some yourself or have a therapeutic and fun dumpling folding session with your guests – just make sure you have some Jiaozi, Dim Sum pot stickers or even steamed Bāozi buns at your shindig!

And remember – it’s the Year of the Dog

For dog lovers, it’s great news that 2018 is the Year of the Dog in the Chinese calendar. This means you can bring pooches into your party plans – finally, an excuse! Invite your guests to bring their four-legged friends along to the party, and you can even stipulate a red and gold dress code for humans and pets alike.

Need help with party planning? If you need an easy way to find party supplies all in one convenient place, or you need expert assistance with a private or corporate party, you know where to turn. Get in touch with The Event Experts, for memorable events made easier.

Your guide to planning an incredible Valentine’s Day surprise

If you do the same old thing every Valentine’s Day and you’d love to make a truly romantic gesture this year, The Event Experts can help. With our guide, you can spring the ultimate Valentine’s Day surprise for your partner. Take a look…

Play it cool

What’s the key to springing the perfect surprise? Playing it cool, so that your partner never suspects for a minute what you have planned. So, before you start planning all the bells and whistles to knock your loved one off their feet, practice your poker face. You could even pretend you haven’t planned anything, as long as it doesn’t make your partner too furious!

Fizz and fireworks

Valentine’s Day just wouldn’t be the same without something sparkling, so make sure you have a bottle of champagne – or prosecco if you prefer – on ice ready to toast the occasion. If you really want to push the boat out for a special surprise, why not hold a mini fireworks display? You can get a friend or even professional display organiser to run it all for you, so you can be by your partner’s side when the fireworks begin. Even if it’s just ice fountains as a table centrepiece, it’ll still be pretty spectacular.

Knockout décor tips

One of the best ways to set the scene for your big Valentine’s Day surprise is with incredible décor. Top ideas to bowl him or her over include:

  • Filling the room with flowers or balloons
  • Spelling his or her name out with beautiful twinkly alphabet letter light boxes (including Mr and Mrs LED lights perfect for married couples), or spelling out a romantic message instead.
  • Decorating the room with candles and rose petals – these may be something of a cliché, but they are a classic when it comes to creating romance.

Plan a party

Many people’s idea of the perfect Valentine’s Day is just the two of you, enjoying some quality time alone together. However, this doesn’t work for everyone. Some find the day a little too soppy, while others would prefer to spend the day celebrating with a wider circle of loved ones. If this sounds like you, why not plan a Valentine’s Day party? It’d be the ultimate surprise, includes your single friends and is a really fun way to celebrate. For party planning ideas, check out our party shop.

Popping the question?

If 14th February is the day you’ve picked to ask your partner to marry you, this can be the icing on the cake of an already super romantic evening. Candles, champagne and decor are all essentials for creating the perfect mood for your proposal, but the rest is down to finding the right moment. If you feel pretty confident of the answer, get that fireworks display organised now. Good luck!

For more help planning an incredible Valentine’s Day celebration, get in touch with The Event Experts – our friendly team of experienced party planners will be happy to help.

When Rain Stops Play… Weather-Proof Parties

When the weather rains on your parade, there’s no need to call the party off.
Weather-proof your celebration with our all-weather solutions.

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  1. Even when you’re expecting your party weather to be fine and dry, it’s always advisable to make back-up plans. That way, there’s no last minute stresses when the inevitable threat of rain rears its head. Don’t make too many plans that are entirely reliant on it being a sunny day, that way not all is lost if it rains, and have a plan B in place for everything else. Borrow, hire, or buy marquees, gazebos and awnings – enough for everybody to be covered – and make them cosy spaces that will be appreciated by guests, whatever the weather. Furnish tents with comfy places to sit – chairs, cushions, blankets and outdoor heaters if you’re concerned about the temperatures. Set up children’s tents and fill them torches, bean bags and blankets so that it all becomes part of the entertainment if they have to take cover!
  2. Allocate an under-cover, or inside area for everything you set up outside, and jot it down in a quick plan so that if the heavens open, you won’t be thrown into confusion and things won’t get soggy while you work out what to do. Use food tables that can be quickly lifted and brought indoors, keep all food preparation areas under shelter, and clear out your garage if you have one, and hang some festival fairy lighting so that the space can be utilised if necessary too.
  3. The last thing you want to be doing on the day is mopping-up muddy footprints. If you’re having guests coming into the house, to use the kitchen or loos for example, then put down some plastic covering over the areas that are likely to get trampled. Tarpaulin or those large plastic sheets that cover furniture when you’re decorating are great, weighted down well on each side so they can’t slip loose and expose carpet.
  4. Be clear about which areas are out-of-bounds should guests need to come indoors. Put up ‘No Entry’ signs. It’s not rude – it’s entirely sensible!
  5. You don’t need to rip up your dress code if rain is forecast. A waterproof poncho and a pair of wellies are all that’s needed to make any outfit rain-proof. Ponchos come in every colour under the sun (or rain) so guests can co-ordinate with their outfits, or go for transparent clear macs so that their carefully chosen dresses or fancy dress outfits are still on full view. If you’re the party organiser, buy a box of lightweight, disposable ponchos for your guests to throw on if the heavens open. With clear-disposable ponchos selling for as little as a few pence each, it won’t cost much, but it’ll make the world of difference to your guests’ enjoyment.
  6. For those who haven’t brought wellies, invest in some plastic shoe-covers for guests to use in the event of unexpected downpours (the kind they make you wear over your shoes at the swimming pool). You can get them from festival gear websites and they’re cheap as chips.
  7. Consider hiring-in portable loos. They’re available in different sizes and prices from basic to luxury, to suit all occasions and budget, and all the necessary cleaning up afterwards is taken care of by the hire company… Which is more than can be said for your own bathroom or downstairs toilet after you’ve had two dozen muddy pairs of feet traipsing in and out of them all day.
  8. If your event involves moving between different locations or standing in outside areas without shelter, then it’s also worth considering hiring in umbrellas for your guests to use. If it’s a wedding or anniversary party, our Splash Love umbrellas are a stylish way to keep dry.
  9. Where rainy parties are concerned, planning and preparation are your best allies. Send out a weather report the day before your party, giving guests a heads up if the weather looks like it’s going to turn nasty, and making them aware of the provisions you have in place to ensure they can party on, whatever the weather. Advise them to put a pair of wellies and a brolly in their car boot and let them know you have a festival attitude and a practical head on. It’ll stop fair-weather guests from wavering about whether to come, and set the tone for what will be a great party, rain or shine.
  10. Keep smiling! Don’t get too down-hearted about the weather. It’s perfectly possible to have a fun-filled, chilled-out, happy-as-Larry outdoor event in even the most torrential of downpours. Afterall, we’re British! We don’t let a little bit of rain stop us having a good time.

Our Top Tips for Organising a Street Party

queen's 90th

Celebrate the Queen’s Official 90th Birthday this weekend with a Right Royal Knees Up!

It’s the Queen’s official birthday on Saturday which means it’s most definitely time for party! And what better way to join in and celebrate with her majesty, who this year celebrates 63 years on the throne and her 90th birthday, than by joining the Big Lunch taking place on June 12th.

The Big Lunch is an annual event which encourages people to sit down to eat with their neighbours in streets and community spaces. Everyone can get involved. You don’t need to be a professional party planner and it isn’t too late to set one up.

Street Party Myth-Busting Facts:

  • You don’t need to fill in complex forms to have the street closed to traffic. For most small parties in quiet streets, all your council needs to know is where and when the closure will take place so they can plan around it. And it doesn’t need to be a special occasion like the Queen’s birthday either. You could plan a summer street party, or a Halloween street party.
  • You are not required by law to pay a charge for closing your road for small residential street parties in England, so if asked for a payment make sure to check what the charges are for.
  • You do not require a music licence at a street party unless amplified music is one of the main purposes of the event.
  • There is no requirement from central government to have public liability insurance and many councils do not insist on it.
  • The Food Standards Agency has confirmed that one-off events such as street parties aren’t usually considered food businesses, so there are no forms to fill in and you don’t need a food licence.

 

Organisation:

  • Whether it’s a street party for all the neighbours, or a ‘street meet’ in someone’s back garden, it’s a great way to build a community spirit, have fun and for children to experience the simple joy of playing out in the street.
  • Share the responsibility for food, entertainment, music and organisation. People are often afraid of knocking door to door to ask for volunteers, but you most likely be surprised by the positive response you receive.
  • Ask people to ‘Bring a Dish’. You could ask the even house numbers to bring sweet dishes, and the odd house numbers to bring savouries. Or set up a Facebook page where people can list what food items they’re bringing, so avoiding having 12 trifles and no salad.
  • If you’re holding your party in the street, contact the council about applying for a street closure. You’ll probably need to do this at least 3 weeks in advance, but don’t worry if it’s too late. You can always organise a ‘Street Meet’ instead, and set up stalls, games and tables in people’s driveways and gardens instead.
  • Ask people to bring their own chairs – and ask for folding tables and other equipment such as BBQs to be contributed. Allocate food stuffs to different BBQs; one for sausages, one for burgers, one for veggie sausages etc, with the owner of the BBQ overseeing the cooking on each.
  • Keep music volume modest and always address any concerns of neighbours who don’t wish to take part in the proceedings, reassuring them that music will be turned off before it gets too late. Sometimes people have fears about what a street party will entail, such as late night music, which can be easily allayed.

Games:

  • Have a mixture of games, including teams games for all the family to join in, games that are just for children, competitions that people can work on before the day, and quizzes that don’t require any hard work on the day. The following are great for big community events and keep costs to a minimum.
  • Guess the number of sweets in a jar. Winner takes the jar home.
  • Guess the name of the cuddly toy. Winner takes the cuddly toy.
  • Put out chalk for children to draw on the pavement.
  • Design royal-themed pub quiz sheets and leave them on tables for people to complete over the course of the day.
  • Ask all party-goers to bring a photo of themselves as babies, and a pin board for them to be displayed. Ask people to guess who is who. And have a picture of the Queen as a baby too, of course!
  • Design a list of items for children to track down on a Street Scavenger Hunt.
  • Face-painting. There’s usually a parent, or a couple of older children who will happily paint faces.
  • Host a Great British Bake Off. Ask people to bring along their own show-stoppers and ask an elder, experienced home baker on the street to volunteer to be judge for the day.
  • A crown competition. Ask children to design homemade crowns to wear on the day. A prize for the best ones in each age category (and a sweet for all children who entered to save tears!)
  • Hold a colouring competition. Print out pictures of crowns, princesses, castles and corgis.

All the resources you need, including recipes, guides to making bunting and paper chains, and organisers’ tips are available on the official Big Lunch website http://www.thebiglunch.com/

 

 

Best Ever Summer Party Hacks

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Some of our favourite ever party hacks that’ll leave you wondering how you coped before.

Attach labels to guests’ drinks glasses.

No more drinks confusion. Parcel tags work brilliantly because there’s no sticky residue left on the glass. Fix the tags round the stems or the handles, leave a pen by the drinks table and wave goodbye to embarrassing, “I’m sorry but I think you’ve got my drink” moments.

Pre-scoop ice-cream and keep it in cupcake cases in the freezer.

Save yourself oodles of time and prevent that queue of eager ice-cream fans from building up by pre-scooping ice-cream before the party and storing it in cupcake cases in baking trays in the freezer. No more wrestling with rock hard tubs of ice-cream on the day, or worse, melted ice-cream dripping all down your arm!

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Individual ice-cream scoops in cupcake cases, placed into the freezer.

Leave out sunscreen and insect repellent for guests to use.

Because we’ve all been at parties where we wish we’d brought some, but how many of us actually remember to pack it?

Put out containers for dirty plates, empty bottles and rubbish.

Signpost bins, baskets or buckets with ‘Dirty Plates’, ‘Empty Bottles’, ‘Non-Recyclable Rubbish’ and ‘Recyclable Rubbish’ and position at strategic places around the garden. Guests get to feel like they’re doing their bit to help, and you save yourself bags of time on the clean-up operation.

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Use two skewers to cook kebabs.

Instead of putting your meat, fish and veggie kebabs on a single skewer, use two, an inch apart. That way you won’t get individual pieces of food flipping in all the wrong directions when you turn them over on the grill.

Tie a bottle opener to the drinks table.

Hang it from the table or drinks station with a piece of ribbon. No more hunting for bottle openers that have gone for a wander.

Set up a self-serve drinks station. Make it easy for guests to serves themselves. Place it in the shade, or fix up some awning over a table. Use water balloons or blocks of ice frozen in empty butter tubs to keep your drinks cool for longer. Guests don’t go thirsty and your time is freed up to mingle, cook, or dance on the tables if the mood takes you!

Place tea lights in washed out jam jars for instant high-romance evening lighting. 

Inexpensive and pretty. This is a great outdoor party lighting solution. Just ask your friends to keep their empty jam jars for you in the weeks running up to the party.

Keep your party pest-free with natural repellents that double as pretty table decorations. 

Cut lemons into halves, place them flesh up into miniature pretty bowls, and push cloves into the cut side of the lemon. They not only smell and look gorgeous, but are great at keeping the midgies away. Set out about 30 min before serving and keep food bug free in non-toxic style.

Spray paint a Twister board on the ground.

Bring out a game of Twister at any party and you’ve got guaranteed giggles. For a novel, even more fun, outdoor-friendly version of the game that all ages can enjoy, just spray paint red, blue, green and yellow circles using a simple stencil cut out of cardboard, in rows onto the grass. Voila, a Twister board that provides hours of entertainment.

Image of sun hat courtesy of 9comeback at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Roll up, roll up, summer parties are on their way…

The sun has started shining at long last! (Hands up if you thought Spring might never come this year…) So it’s time to start getting excited about those Summer celebrations you’ve got planned. And what better way to create wow-factor weddings, sensational summer shindigs and awesome pop-up parties, than with the best of the new wave of stunning designer partyware.

Head this way for all the dish on the season’s best designer plates, cups, favours and frills.

Mint-to-Be

Keep cool this summer with a fresh mint colour scheme. And when paired with gold or silver, you’ve got an elegant match made in heaven. These cute little bags come with stickers, reversible inserts and pretty ribbons for absolute pretty perfection.

Mint-to-Be Treat Bags

treat bags mint

mint striped napkins meri meri

Scalloped Edge Napkins

mint striped plate meri meri

Scalloped edge paper plates

straws mint

Mint Green Striped Straws

pom poms gold

Gold Paper Pom Poms

 

Marshmallow Pink

Dusty, or marshmallow, pink is never out of season with its enduring delicate and pretty tone. Add some mix-and-match vintage chic, and its appeal is even greater though.

pink stripe cups

http://Pink Stripe Paper Cups with Gold Bunting

invitations - bridesmaid19

Pink ‘Pop the Question’ Bridesmaid Invitations

pink n mix bowls

Pink n Mix Ice-Cream Bowls

pink n mix plates

Pink n Mix Scalloped Plates

 

Circus Tent Chic

Create all the fun of the fair with big top colours and fantastical, fun accessories that grown-ups and children alike will love.

red and white stripe meri meri plates

Red Stripe Scalloped Edge Plates

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Glittering Gold Disposable Cutlery

party bags PE sherbert blue striped

Sherbert Blue Striped Party Bags

Red Stripe Baking Cups

Red Stripe Baking Cups

Enjoy the Craic! The World’s Daftest, Funniest and Best Ways to Celebrate St Patrick’s Day

From dying your landmarks green, to dressing as a leprechaun, St Patrick’s Day, on 17th March, is an excuse for a party the world over.

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Image courtesy of Vichaya Kiatying-Angsulee at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

  1. The annual New York City St. Patrick’s Day parade is the granddaddy of all St. Patrick’s Day parades. It’s the largest in the world, lasts for 6 hours and sees over two million spectators turn out each year. There are no cars or floats allowed at this pedestrian-powered procession, which sees 150,000 participants take part.
  2. The U.S city of Chicago celebrates St. Patrick’s Day on a grand scale by dying the Chicago River a brilliant shade of green for the day.

chicago river

According to the Chicago St Pats Day parade website, “In 1961 Stephen Bailey [friend of the mayor of Chicago] was approached by a plumber who was wearing some white coveralls… These coveralls had been mostly stained or dyed a perfect shade of green, an Irish green to better describe it. It was when Stephen Bailey asked how the coveralls got this way, that they discovered that the dye used to detect leaks into the river turned green, not just any color green, but the perfect emerald green.”
The annual tradition, which sees 45 pounds of vegetable dye thrown overboard has happened annually for over 40 years, organised every year by the Chicago Journeymen Plumbers, and overseen by thousands of spectators.
Other cities have tried to dye their rivers green, but none with as much success as Chicago. Windy City residents put this down to the components of the emerald-coloured dye, which, like the secret recipe for Coca Cola, is a closely guarded secret. Visitors to the celebrations are assured the ingredients are thoroughly-tested and non-toxic to the river life however.

3.    It wouldn’t be a proper St Patrick’s Day celebration without a pint of Guinness. An expected 7.5m pints of the black stuff are sold on the day – twice that of a normal day. And if you’re lucky enough to be called Patrick, Patricia, Patricio or any one of the many variants of the name Patrick, you’ll be able to receive free admission to the Guinness Storehouse’s own St Patrick’s Day celebrations in Dublin on March 17th this year!


Count yourself lucky if you can get a pint of Guinness anywhere in Ireland on the day though. Until the 1970s, all pubs were closed in Ireland on St Patrick’s Day out of respect for the religious feast day, and for fear that people would ‘break lent’. The only place you were allowed to drown the shamrock in pre-1970s Ireland, was the annual Royal Dublin Dog Show.

4. Nothing says St. Patrick’s Day, like turning your landmarks green. Places that have turned green around the world in honour of St Patrick include the Pyramids of Giza, Table Mountain, the Christ the Redeemer statue in Brazil, the leaning tower of Pisa, the London Eye, the Sydney Opera House, and Al Arab in Dubai.

5. St. Patrick’s Day must be one of the widest celebrated patron saints days in the world, with hibernophiles (someone fond of Irish culture, language and Ireland in general… there’s a new word for you) joining in March 17th celebrations in far flung places all over the globe. Japan plays host to Asia’s largest St Patrick’s Day parade. In Buenos Aires, much of the city is closed off to allow for St Patrick’s Day celebrations. In Moscow, a St Patrick’s Day parade is held, drawing thousands of people, as does the one in Sydney. A Guinness-fueled fiesta in Cabo Roig, Spain, sees flamenco dancers tap alongside Irish dancers, and in Lithuania, the Vilnele river in Vilnius, gets turned green in a smaller version of the Chicago tradition. Since 1961, St Patrick has been regarded as the patron saint of Nigeria too. It has the largest Guinness stout market in the world, accounting for around a fifth of Guinness’ global sales.

6. The tiny island of Montserrat in the West Indies is known as the ‘Emerald Isle of the Caribbean’ with St Patrick’s Day being an official public holiday. Founded by fleeing Irish servants who wanted to escape religious persecution from neighbouring islands in the 1600s, Shamrock passport stamps pay tribute to Montserrat’s Hibernian roots. Cue a whole week of calypso-Irish festivities which also commemorates an attempted slave revolt on March 17, 1768.

7. Wearing green on 17th March is a tradition which stretches back to the 17th century, although it is worth noting that blue, not green, was the colour originally associated with St Patrick with ‘St Patrick’s Blue’ being used on Ireland’s Presidential Standard. According to legend, people wear green to makes themselves invisible to leprechauns, who would pinch anyone they could see. In America, it is tradition to pinch anyone who isn’t wearing green on St. Patrick’s Day. However for leprechaun unbelievers, the explanation centres on green being a symbol of sympathy with Irish independence.

Enjoy your St Patrick’s Day celebrations, however you choose to celebrate it!

 

How to Wrap the Perfect Present

Whatever you choose to give to your mum this Mother’s Day, make sure it’s beautifully presented with our guide to flawless gift-wrapping.

Step 1.

Always put your gift into a box if it’s soft or awkwardly-shaped. It’s much easier to wrap a teddy bear in a box than it is to wrap a teddy bear. Stuff the box with tissue paper for extra luxury.

 

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Using a gift box will make wrapping so much easier.

Step 2.

Put your box upside down in the centre of the wrapping paper. This way, your present will be the right way up when it’s wrapped. For a really smooth finish, wrap a sheet or two of tissue paper around the gift first. Bring paper from the long side of the box up to the middle. Do the same on the other side, wrapping the paper snugly around the present. For flawless wrapping, use double-sided sticky tape to fix the join and ensure the join is down the centre of the present so it can be hidden with a bow. (For how to seal the ends of the tissue paper, see Step 5)

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Wrap your present in tissue paper first.

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Turn your present upside down, to ensure it’s the right way up when wrapped.

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Cut just enough paper to cover all sides.

Step 3.

Measure your paper correctly around the gift by flipping your box over on all sides along the paper to ensure it will meet all the way around. Always use sharp scissors to cut the paper and don’t cut more than you need. Too much paper gives a lumpy finish. When cut, fold the cut edges over to give a neat, even finish.

If you’re using patterned wrapping paper, try and match the patterns up when you join the edges. If you’re wrapping a really big present and need to use more than one sheet of paper, ensure the join is down the centre of the present so that you can cover and hide it with ribbon.

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Fold the edge over on the cut side for a neat finish.

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Use double-sided sticky tape instead of sellotape.

Step 5.

To fold the short ends, face the open end towards you and push the right and left edges of the paper in towards the middle, pushing them flat against the box, to form top and bottom flaps. Press the top flap down, running your fingernail along the edge to create a sharp fold. Tape with double-sided sticky tape. Pull the bottom flap up and tape into place in the same way. Repeat at the other end of the gift.

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Push in the left and right sides at the ends.
Use a fingernail to give crisp edges to the triangular folds this makes.

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Use scissors to cut any excess paper that is showing at the points.
Use double-sided sticky tape to fix the top and bottom folds in place.

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The Bow

Step 6.

For a classic bow, lay a long piece of ribbon out flat and place your present onto it, topside down, with the ribbon running down the centre of the longest side of the gift. Pull the ribbon up from both sides, twist in the centre at the bottom of the present, then pull the ribbon up the shorter sides to create a criss-cross. Turn your present over and tie the ribbon in a knot at the centre of the package. Leave ends loose.

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Place your gift wrong side up, on the length of ribbon.

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Make a twist at the bottom in the centre, then bring the ribbon
up the sides of the box, and turn over.

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Make a knot at the centre of the top of the box.
Take the ties under both pieces of ribbon to keep the cross centred.

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Step 7.

Using the loose ends create two loops, criss-cross the loops and bring one of the loops through the hole to the other side, and pull tight to form a bow. Fold the loose ties in half lengthways, and snip diagonally to form a V-shape. For a double bow, slide another piece of ribbon underneath the knot and tie a second bow.

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Fold ribbon in half and cut diagonally to give fishtail tips.

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Et voila! A beautifully wrapped present.