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  • How to throw the best birthday party ever!

    Plan the perfect party - graphic image

    Organising a birthday party is never easy but it can be fun! It doesn't matter who you are organising it for, you are going to want to make sure that you have everything that you need, and that it is going to make a great impression. To help you to hold the best party ever, we have put together a series of quick tips to help you pull off the ultimate celebration.

    Always think about your party budget

    One of the first things that you should consider when it comes to organising a party is your budget. Be realistic and don’t go crazy! This is going to have an impact on what you can organize, where you hold your party, what food you eat and how many people you invite. When you have set your date put money aside each month and stay on track by buying little and often. Use a budgeting tool such as our Budget Book to help you monitor what you’ve spent and to keep your receipts in order. There’s nothing worse than spending a fortune you haven’t saved for – you’ll b sure to end up with a post-party sore head!

    Plan, plan and plan some more...

    Planning a party can be super fun. What do you want to achieve? Do you want a theme? Where would you like to hold the event? Take time out, build an aspirational list of things you’d love to have at your party, compare it to your budget and narrow it down to what you can afford. Then, it’s helpful to write a ‘to do’ list and to allocate dates wherever possible so you can tick things off as you go. If you are struggling for inspiration, head to Instagram and search #partyplanner. Problem solved.

    Create delicious food and drink and wow your guests!

    So, even though many of us are embarrassed to admit it, a vol au vent does go down rather well, but why not be a little more creative with your catering? If it’s a party at home, think of food and drink which matches your theme. Perhaps you’d like to hold a beach-themed soiree so you could make some coconut curry and pineapple cocktails, or perhaps you’d like to host a 70’s theme with classic prawn cocktail, advocate and gateaux. If possible, try to cater for a range of diets, there’s nothing worse than going to a party only to be left with a bread roll with butter! One great source of quirky recipe inspiration is https://www.facebook.com/buzzfeedtasty/ There are thousands of recipes collected from around the world. You are bound to find something that works for your theme!

    Make sure your event invitations have all the information that they need

    Your invitation will set the tone. It doesn’t need to cost much and actually, there are some great designs online. You could make them yourself and get your friends involved too. Be sure to reflect the theme of your party, but most importantly be sure to include the essentials – the time, the place, the method of response, diet specifics and any dress code. Plus, if you are holding any fundraising at your party, let your guests know in advance so they can collect their pennies in advance. A Google Image Search is a great place to start, simply type in ‘invitation ideas’ followed by your theme and be prepared to be inspired!

    Don’t forget about gifts for the guests

    Depending on the party, it’s often the host who is in receipt of fabulous gifts, but it’s lovely when guest have a little surprise themselves. Perhaps a themed git such as a beach ball or a disco ball key ring. Who said it has to be serious? Head to Instagram for some serious gift inspo’, search #giftideas and you’ll be away!

    We hope these quick tips have helped you to get started with planning the perfect birthday party. We’d love to hear more ideas so we can share them with our followers on social. Contact us on Instagram @boxcleverpress or via email to hello@boxcleverpress.com. Have fun!

  • How to keep school uniforms in top condition!

    School uniforms can be expensive, so it makes sense to do all you can to prolong their lives before they need to be replaced, especially if you have multiple children to clothe. There are many cleaning, storage and repair tips you can follow to cut your school uniform bill and avoid frequently replacing the garments your children wear, so let’s take a look at some of the most useful advice for parents hoping to keep uniforms in good condition right now.

    1. Cleaning

    Separate your wash load into whites and colours. You can also use a colour-friendly detergent to prevent fading and treat mud and grass stains with washing-up liquid before you put the garments in the washing machine. Fabric conditioners can prevent bobbling. Don’t wash at a higher temperature than recommended. You can also save time and energy by purchasing easy-iron trousers and shirts.

    2. Storage

    One of the best ways to store school uniforms is to hang them up when they are not in use. It’s also wise to buy two or three uniforms and alternate between them. This will reduce wear and tear. You can also prevent fading by keeping the clothes away from direct sunlight. Don’t leave sports clothing in bags for longer than you need to because the resulting odours and mildew can be very tough to eliminate. Another valuable tip is to ensure name tags are sewed into everything. This will vastly reduce the chances of garments being lost or ending up in the wrong home.

    3. Repairs

    Purchase a basic repair kit including hemming tape so you can resolve problems as soon as they appear. Repairing uniforms is generally much easier than repairing them, and many fixes are easier to implement than you might think.

    4. Removing marks

    It’s common for parents to find themselves dealing with marks from paint, pens, grass and more. Let garments soak in cold water before you apply stain remover and put them in the machine. If white garments are part of the school uniform, invest in an in-wash whitener which will stop them from turning grey.

    5. Drying

    It’s important to take care when drying uniforms to avoid discolouration and wear. Air dry the garments as soon as you take them out of the machine. If you do use a tumble dryer, dry the clothes on a low heat setting to avoid shrinkage. Some parents take the clothing out of the machine before it is completely dry and let them finish drying out naturally.

    6. Encourage kids to get changed at home

    You can reduce the chances of uniforms being ruined by asking your children to change out of them as soon as they get home. Chances are they’ll want to continue playing when they arrive home, so instruct them to change into suitable clothing, especially if they’ll be heading outside. This also gives you more time for cleaning and ironing their uniform whilst reducing wear and tear and helping it retain its shape.

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