Hosting The Perfect Party

Being in charge of organising a party can be great fun especially if you’ve got a good list of friends and family coming along. Whether the event is in aid of a promotion at work, your anniversary, or a milestone birthday, you want it to look just right and for the event to go smoothly so both you and your guests can enjoy themselves.

Hosting a party needn’t be stressful as long as you prepare the food and drinks beforehand and sort out what you’re wearing and know what time people are arriving so to ensure that all elements of the party synchronise together. You’ve probably got an idea of exactly how you want the venue to look, and you’re excited to get the festivities underway, so take heed of these useful tips for organising a party and see if you can pull off the perfect soiree you had in mind.

Keep To The List

If your party is at your home, then before dashing out to the supermarket and picking up the items you need, or least what you think you need, make a list of the necessities and stick to the list. Your party will soon rack up heady costs if you veer from the list, resultantly overbuying items that will, for the next two years, take their place on the bottom shelf of the kitchen cupboard. The price offers might look tempting, but remember to ask yourself whether you need the items you’re hurriedly sweeping into your basket.

Organise Food And Drink Nice And Early

Happy Birthday Miss Mostyn

Certain foods can be bought in advance; if your party has been a long time in planning, then you’ve likely already sourced the alcohol and a few party pieces, such as crisps and cheeses. If your party is an outside summer affair, perhaps even a late afternoon picnic, then getting the food and drink assembled may be a little more challenging especially if you have to travel with it. In this case look into getting a readymade luxury hamper that you can bring along and set up, and add extras alongside it like bread and wine.

Know How Many Guests You Have

You don’t want to underfeed your guests, of course, but there’s no need to waste food in the process. You could wait until the morning of the party to get some of the last bits and pieces once you know an exact number of who can make it and if any of your guests have had to cancel. Shop according to how many of your guests have said they’re attending, this seems like an obvious point to make, but you’d be astonished at how much food can be wasted at a party, especially if you’re providing filling drinks like fizzy prosecco, beer and cider.

Setting The Scene

Make sure you’ve taken into account the weather and temperatures, and have a backup plan just in case of adverse weather conditions. If you’re planning to have your party outside then ensure that you have a small gazebo, in case the clouds threaten your fun with rain*. If you’re lounging outside sipping champagne on the lawn in the height of summer, then you’ll want to relax in the knowledge that you can keep the drinks cool, so entertain the idea of getting a freestanding cool bag.

* in the UK this is a very real possibility even in the height of summer. As we found out when we hired a hot tub for a weekend party in July. It rained on party day! But it was all good as we had a gazebo brolly to cover those brave enough to go into the tub!

Do you have any other tips on how hosting the perfect party?

Hosting The Perfect Party

(This is a collaborative post)

Rebecca

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Reducing my Plastic Footprint in bold typeface over am image of plastic bottles

There have been numerous video doing the rounds on Facebook recently regarding plastic waste. Those images of the plastic ocean and poor creatures stuck in plastic is heartbreaking. It is actually quite frightening and I really want need to start reducing my plastic footprint.

Recycling Plastic Waste

I love recycling! I fill up our weekly recycling boxes and almost always, it’s the plastic box that’s full. Our council takes most plastics (thankfully) so I cram that little box with any plastic I can find.

Now, seeing as I recycle my plastic I thought I was doing my good deed for the planet. That is until I saw this Sky News video. I had no idea that our plastic waste was being shipped off to Hong Kong! It is bloody disgusting! I genuinely thought that my plastic was being melted down to recreate. So now I’m wanting to stop buying so much plastic in the first place so to reduce the plastic that needs to go into that recycling box.

Reducing my Plastic Footprint

I saw another video on Facebook about a woman in Los Angeles who was going to keep track of her waste for the month. It was fascinating! She had less waste in a whole month that I have in a day! She stopped buying anything in plastic containers and instead took her own containers to the shops and filled her containers from the bulk buy section.

It’s a great idea but I don’t see how I can possibly do this in the UK. For example, we eat a lot of Cheerios. They don’t sell it loose in the supermarket so I have no option but to buy the cardboard box and plastic bag. Someone suggested that we find a shop that sells loose products. I’m not sure if there are any around here. I honestly think the supermarkets need to change. I’m so pleased to hear that Iceland are making a change – let’s hope other supermarkets will follow. In the meantime maybe I should just start shopping at Iceland.

My Current Plastic Footprint

Teabags and cling film - plastic pollution

Don’t get me started on tea! I genuinely thought that teabags were one of the most eco-friendlist things on earth – amazing drink and compostable! But I find out now, that the teabags which I thought was paper, is actually infused (see what I did there!) with plastic! Ugh!

Cling film is another bugbear of mine. My husband would tell you, me and cling film don’t mix. I’ve always hated it. But it is handy to cover things. If I ditch the cling film, what can I use instead?

Now being a parent, the kids obviously have (and still are) used nappies. I’m ashamed to say that we use the disposable ones. I had fully intended on using re-usable nappies as our local council had a scheme where they would you provide you with some, and had a cleaning scheme. But that scheme ended just before I had my first child. Unfortunately, disposable nappies are just too convenient. *hangs head in shame*

Reducing My Plastic Footprint

So tell me, what can I do to start reducing my plastic footprint?

Rebecca

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Professionalism and Social Media written in bold text over a photo of a Macbook, phone and notebook

Something I read recently got me thinking about the interaction between professionalism and social media. Can you be silly on social media whilst remain professional in your career? Now as you know, I’m an accountant by day (super hero by night) blogger by night.

Professionalism

During the day I’m professional with clients. I tailor my attitude to suit – I have a laugh with those clients that are easy going. Remain reserved with the more serious client. This is not me being fake. I have both serious and easy going sides to my personality. I just let one side out more than the other depending on the client.

Social Media Silliness

At home, I am a mother to two young kiddiwinks and so am silly. I am a blogger and vlogger and so I’m also an oversharer – I will say my mind to anyone in real life too. A natural oversharer. I share my silliness online for the world to see. I’m hoping that whilst I do share my silliness online, that it doesn’t have impair my professionalism. It doesn’t change my ability to sort out tax and accounts. I believe it makes me human.

Opinions of Other Bloggers

So I asked other bloggers what their thoughts are and there’s some interesting answers:

Sara from Jodhpurs for Maisie says: “I think you can but my golden rule is never to be Facebook friends with anyone connected to work. I also haven’t told people at work about my blog which may be a bit short sighted in the long run but I am just more comfortable with it that way. We all tailor our real characters a little at work, I have seen far too many people get into trouble, or loose respect due to some off the cuff comment on Facebook”

Pete from Household Money Savings says: “I work for the government in quite a serious role. But, by nature, I’m an incredibly daft person. My social media is all personal and completely separate from my work life. I’m quite happy being silly on social media (within reason) because that is who I am.”

Anonymous says: “Define silly really-as a teacher I have to be really careful with social stuff!(or at least feel a level of professional pride in doing so and assume all other teachers feel the same). However, totally comes down to semantics here. My blog is my attempt to put my experiences into some stored format, and I’m naturally quite a positive enthusiastic person so might come across as silly to others? Hope that makes sense!”

Epril from Eps and Amy says: “Few of my colleagues at work are my Facebook friends and they knew I do blog and some of them laugh at me when they saw a video or picture of me modelling clothes that I’m reviewing haha lol well, I’m a bit embarrassed but that way they can see my fun side. They usually tease me and we all laugh about it. I work at night that sometimes I can do a bit of blogging or social media when we’re just sitting but now I’m thinking I need to be careful as you’ll never know they might make an issue about it. I use to be open about me blogging now I don’t tell much. Also I don’t take photos at work even though sometimes I might need some due to our health category. Most of my fb friends are following us on our fb page that now I have to think before posting.”

Jenna from Then There Were Three says: “I have to be very careful about not mentioning the company I work for in my blog. The most I can say is that it’s an international airline. They have a huge social media policy and I know of a few people who have been sacked; not even for being bad against the company, small things like uploading drunk videos to Facebook and they have the company listed on their profile as where they work. I don’t have the company I work for listed as my job on fb but I’m still careful with what I write if it’s to do with work.”

David from DadVWorld says: “100% yes. There’s a line but I think common sense is enough to find that line. Your job shouldn’t define you. If you’re in a professional career you don’t have to live with out of work with a stick up your arse too 😬😃”

Kate from Kate On Thin Ice says: “I think you need to exercise caution but then again when you are yourself loud and true, you can be liked for that. Much sadly depends on your age apparently according to companies who are engaged by employers to check out candidate’s social media activity – so for example a young person might be forgiven for immaturity/lack of judgement where an older person would not be.”

Anonymous says: “Not these days. Social media is the first place employers will look when recruiting / interviewing. Personally I wouldn’t risk it – there are loads of media stories where the past has come back to bite the candidate on the bum!”

Conclusion – Professionalism and Social Media

I think it is possible to be professional and be silly on social media. The most important thing is to be sensible about how silly you are. Ultimately, I think you should just be yourself.

What do you think? Can you be a professional and be silly on social media?

Rebecca

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Bucket of marshmallows with the words "2017 Bucket List" in big bold black letters

Whilst clearing out my notes on my iPhone I came across my 2017 bucket list. It was really interesting looking back. I don’t think I did very well. So here’s what I had on my 2017 bucket list:

Rollerblading

Scootering on Lon Eifion

DONE (ish)! Well I did manage to go rollerblading during the year but not as much as I would have liked. It is on my 2018 bucket list again though!

Visit remaining castles

DONE! I did better at this one. We visited Beaumaris Castle, Conwy Castle and Caernarfon Castle last year. I have Rhuddlan Castle and Criccieth Castle on my 2018 list though.

Go trampolining on Bounce Below

Bounce Below - underground trampolines

FAIL! Which is why it’s my number 1 item on my 2018 bucket list.

Healthy eating

FAIL! I did not give up chocolate and crisps. BUT I do think I didn’t have as many Chinese takeaways last year. This year is looking to be the same… I’ve been informed that the Chinese is closed until February!! #shock #horror #howwillicope

Dog walking

Our dogs, Megs and Gemma in the boot of the car.

FAIL! The poor pups don’t get out enough. I have no excuse for this really other than it’s difficult to fit the dogs and the pram in the car at the same time.

Patchwork quilting

FAIL! I bought all the equipment but just didn’t get around to doing it.

Fun days out

A view of the Plas Newydd house on the banks of the Menai Strait, on a beautiful sunny day.

DONE! An effort was made to try and take the girls on days outs at the weekends. We captured some of them on video. One of my favourite days out was our little trip on Arriva Buses to Conwy Castle. Although Plas Newydd was also a good one.

Penpalling

FAIL! I started well and signed up to a few penpalling groups. I let things fall by the wayside over the last couple of months and ashamed to say I have quite a few letters to reply to.

Sort out Miss Mostyn’s bedroom

DONE! The beds were moved around and some items cleared out. There’s always things to be done in her bedroom really as that’s where all the girls’ clothes are stored.

Family holiday

Bikes parked outside the lodge at Centre Parcs

DONE! A week was had at Centre Parcs last July which included a trip to Peppa Pig World and to Thomas Land in Drayton Manor.

Monthly visits to Blaenau Ffestiniog

FAIL! The plan was to go up to my hometown every month. Must try better this year. I will be going a bit more often.

How well did you do with your 2017 Bucket List?

Rebecca

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Blaenau Ffestiniog header image with a photo of the town on a sunny day

There’s a new series on S4C at the moment called Cynefin. It’s a series which focuses on various areas in Wales and gives insights to that area. The first episode was about my hometown of Blaenau Ffestiniog. I watched it a few days ago and it was fascinating. I must admit I got a little bit emotional. It made me realise how much I miss my home. Anyhow, today I’m going to focus on some of the best things about Blaenau Ffestiniog.

The views

Selfie of me and the husband with the view of Tanygrisiau reservoir in the background and further afield the view towards Trawsfynydd

Blaenau Ffestiniog is huddled in the Moelwyn mountains and oh the views are stunning. No finer place in the world. When the weather is nice it’s absolutely beautiful. Even when the weather is a bit moody it’s still wonderful. Also depending on where you are, you can see down towards Porthmadog, over towards Trawsfynydd, down towards Dolwyddelan, down Cwm Croesor.

Slate Mines

Sheep at Blaenau Ffestiniog slate mines

It’s an old slate mining town. At one time, the slate mines in Wales supplied slate for the world! Sadly those times have come to an end. Although there is still one working mine in Blaenau Ffestiniog. The Cynefin programme featured the Cwt Y Bugail mine and how they mine the slate there still. Not only that, the caverns at Cwt Y Bugail were used to house some of the nation’s most prized artwork (including some Michelangelo paintings) during the Blitz. It is well known about the artwork, but what the Cynefin programme also mentioned is that it is rumoured that some of the crown jewels were housed there as well.

Some of the old slate mines have been put to good to use including converting the old caverns in Llechwedd into an underground trampoline playground.

The walks

Cwm Orthin above Blaenau Ffestiniog - view of the lake, the mountains and slate slag heaps

OK this really couples in with the first point but there are so many walks in and around Blaenau Ffestiniog. One of my absolute favourites is walking to Cwm Orthin. Take in the views of the old slate mines and the lake. There’s something eerie about the place but it’s an amazing walk.

If you’re looking for something a bit more leisurely, then you can take a stroll along the Tanygrisiau reservoir dam.

Steam Trains

Ffestiniog Railway's Earl of Meirioneth at Porthmadog train station

(Image courtesy of Helena of Babyfoote – check out her epic adventure here)

The Ffestiniog railway runs from Porthmadog to Blaenau Ffestiniog. The original line has been there from the mining days – slate trucks would be carted down from the quarries and down the line to Porthmadog docks for shipping to the world.

These days the railway is a heritage railway ferrying tourists from Porthmadog to Blaenau. It runs right past the back of my childhood home. I love the smell of the steam trains.

Weather

Photo of Blaenau Ffestiniog taken on a sunny day. View of the Moelwyns in the background. Taken by Dave Newbould

(Image courtesy of Dave Newbould of the Love Snowdonia Facebook group – join for more amazing photos of Snowdonia!)

The town is well known for being one of the wettest places in Wales. It feels like it rains in Blaenau everyday! Whilst that isn’t quite accurate, it would appear that it rains approximately 2/3 of the year! For this reason, the town has a reputation for being dull and grey – especially when considering the rain and the slate. But, when we get a sunny day in Blaenau, it is beautiful! Just look at the above photo – how can you say that isn’t beautiful!

Have you ever been to Blaenau Ffestiniog?

Rebecca

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