May, 2015 Archive

Baby Showers

Throwing a Baby Shower? Make sure nothing rains on the mum-to-be’s parade with our round-up of all the planning essentials.

Baby Shower1

The Planning

If you’ve been delegated the task of hosting a baby shower, then congratulations! It’s a real honour to be asked. But getting such a special and happy occasion right can understandably feel like a daunting affair. So share the duties out. Giving people a role in the planning stages, such as organising a beauty treatment for the mum-to-be, sorting out games or ordering the cake, ensures not only that you get to enjoy the party too, but that every guest feels they have a part to play in helping make it a really memorable and special occasion for the mum-to-be.

Setting a Date

You can start planning a baby shower any time after the happy news has been announced, but the party itself usually takes place in the third trimester, sometime towards the end of the pregnancy, when excitement about the imminent arrival is reaching fever pitch!

Some families are cautious about celebrating the baby’s arrival too early, with some even preferring to wait until after the baby is born but each and every mum is different so if you’re not sure, ask the mum when she’d prefer it to be. She might be worried about how much energy she’ll have in the last few weeks of the pregnancy. On the other hand, this might be when she feels she’d most appreciate a bit of pampering. It’s probably advisable not to leave it too late however… you don’t want any unexpected early arrivals gatecrashing the party!

Some friends and family members might like the idea of a surprise party, but a note of caution here: If the mum-to-be is taken completely off-guard then she may end up feeling unprepared and uncomfortable – not what anyone wants.

All Shook Up! World Cocktail Day 13-14th May 2015

A party just wouldn’t be a party without a cocktail, but this week you don’t even need to wait for the party to start to open the cocktail cabinet. 13-14th May is World Cocktail Day and was there ever a better excuse to mix your drinks. So channel your inner Tom Cruise, do the hippy hippy shake and raise your glass with six of the best.

Mojito

Cocktail

Image courtesy of tiramisustudio at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Muddle (crush with the end of a rolling pin) the mint and sugar together. Add the lime juice and rum. Pour over the ice cubes and top with soda water to taste. Serve in a highball glass with a straw, wedge of lime and a sprig of mint. Perfect Cuban cool.

Ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 10 mint sprigs
  • 2 measures white rum
  • 1 measure lime juice
  • Splash of soda water
  • 1 measure ice cubes
  • wedge of lime and mint sprigs to serve

Sazerac

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Invented in New Orleans in the 19th century, many believe this to be the original cocktail. To make it, put an old fashioned glass in the freezer 10-15 minutes before serving. When ready to serve, put the sugar cube in the glass, shake the bitters and pour over the sugar cube. Add the Pernod and swirl to dissolve the sugar. Add the ice cubes and vodka. Top up with lemonade, lightly stir again and serve with a slice of lemon.

Ingredients:

White Witch

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A great Halloween tipple for serious partgoers who don’t want their drink served with fake eyeballs and jelly teeth. And great for the rest of the year too. Combine the ice, rum, crème de cacao, Cointreau and lime juice in a cocktail shaker. Shake, then strain into the glass. Top with soda water to taste and stir. Garnish with slices of orange and lime and serve with a straw.

Ingredients:

 Cosmopolitan

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Chill a small Martini glass or coupe glass in the freezer before serving. In a cocktail shaker, combine all the ingredients and shake hard. Strain over the glasses. Serve with the twist of orange peel and if you’re out to impress, flame the orange peel just before serving. Was there ever a more classy drink?

Ingredients:

Black Russian

 

 

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An eternally popular drink, and it couldn’t be easier to make. Combine or shake the vodka and Kahlua together. Pour over ice in a lowball glass and top with cola.

Ingredients:

Blue Hawaiian

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Place all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker, shake well and strain over either a hurricane glass or a highball that has been chilled in the freezer beforehand. Serve with a slice of pineapple and relax with a taste of the tropics.

Ingredients

  • Ice cubes
  • 1 measure white rum
  • ½ measure blue curaçao
  • 2 measures pineapple juice
  • 1 measure coconut cream

Get the Party Started! 40 Wedding Reception Entertainment Ideas

You’ve walked down the aisle; you’ve made your vows… so now it’s time to party! Thankfully, the days when starting a conga was the only choice open to you if you wanted some reception entertainment, are long gone. Now, with everything from mobile petting zoos to celebrity look-a-likes available for hire, there’s no shortage of options when it comes to keeping your guests entertained.

chris ward - blog 12 photo

Photo reproduced by kind permission of Chris Ward Photography
www.chrisward-photography.co.uk

Start the party the second you’re pronounced man and wife, with a drinks reception with a difference. Book a mixologist for the day and you’ll not only get a bartender who knows his beverages, but a showman too. With their unique brand of bar-magic, professional ‘flair’ bartenders will ensure your guests’ drinks requirements – whether they’re Alabama Slammers, Cuba Libras or Blue Lagoons – are shaken, stirred, flipped and frothed into the glass. You can even commission your own one-of-a-kind wedding-themed cocktail to be specially made for the occasion.

A wedding just wouldn’t be a wedding without music, but why limit yourself to one option when there’s so much choice on offer. With everything from string quartets, solo guitarists, pianists, big bands and ukulele orchestras, to bagpipers, pop and rock tribute acts and of course DJs, there’s no reason why the musical flavours can’t change as the day progresses.

Give your guests a break from the selfies and hire a photo booth for the day. Funny faces, pouting, and bundling as many people as possible into the booth are all compulsory. It’s great fun, and the resulting photos make perfect take-home wedding souvenirs.

Quizzes and competitions are a brilliant way to break the ice and keep everyone entertained in the lulls between photos, drinks, food and dancing. And best of all, they don’t cost a thing.

Traditional fair games like Lucky Dip, Coconut Shy, Ball in a Bucket, Buzzwire, Hoopla, Darts and Hook-a-Duck provide hours of fun for all ages. But if you’re looking for more of high-stakes thrill, then why not book a Las Vegas-style casino (albeit a fake-money one you can’t lose your house on when you’ve had one Cosmopolitan too many).

When it comes to keeping children happy at a wedding, it pays to think carefully about your audience, because entertaining a preschooler requires something very different to entertaining a pre-teen. Balloon modelling, magicians and even mobile petting zoos are all great choices for young children. As are activities that let them burn off energy in between the sitting-down and keeping-still parts of the day. Activities such as bouncy castles, inflatable slides and ball pools are always popular choices, but strike a cautionary note and enlist an adult to supervise the activities. A trip to A&E might be entertaining, but probably not in the way you intended.

A scavenger hunt is a fabulous way to keep older children entertained. Give them disposable cameras and a list of objects they have to find and photograph, or design an activity pack for them with tasks such as ‘Draw the wedding cake’ or questions to find out the answers to, such as ‘Who are the oldest and youngest people at the wedding?’ Keep a bag of small prizes handy to reward children who complete the activities.

A craft table with trinket boxes to decorate, stickers, ribbons and sequins will be a winner with children of all ages, and will keep them busy for hours, as will garden games like skittles, giant Connect4, giant snakes and ladders, giant dominoes, pick-up sticks and Jenga which have the added bonus of being easy to bring inside should the weather take a turn for the worse.

Outdoor games are great for adults too, and if you have guests who are game for a laugh (and don’t mind messing up their wedding hair) then you can’t beat inflatable sumo wrestling or inflatable pole jousting for proper grown-up belly laughs.

If it’s something more sedate, but still guaranteed to raise a smile, that you’re after, then why not consider a caricaturist or table magician?

You can’t fail to put a smile on the faces of guests both young and old with sweet treat entertainment. Chocolate fountains, an ice-cream van and traditional handcarts hired for the day serving candy floss, popcorn, and retro sweets not only look fabulous, but are just the thing when the post-Wedding-Breakfast-munchies set in.

chris ward - ice cream van

Photo reproduced by kind permission of Chris Ward Photography
www.chrisward-photography.co.uk

And if you have fine weather and a clear sky, why not scatter some cushions, rugs and beanbags on the ground outside, provide a few maps of the night sky for guests to use, and invite everyone to partake in a spot of stargazing. It’s completely free, and what could be more romantic than lying out on the lawn looking at up the stars, at the end of your first day as husband and wife.

For more entertainment ideas, and a list of recommended suppliers, take a peek at our Services and Hire page.