If you hang around on Twitter long enough, you get to meet some lovely people. You may also meet some strange people from far flung places wanting to sell you odd appliances of questionable heritage. But that aside, Twitter is a friendly place.
It can bring the world to your door, desktop, and mobile phone, or it can reveal wonderful local gems to you. Throughout the day I can watch the news break (@BBCBreaking), follow the daily life of old friends and their new baby (@CrouchingRabbit & @BrightonCrouch), whilst receiving tips on how to make my toad in the hole apple-tasting tastic (thank you @kristenmavric). Then as the world wakes up and the sun ripples from the Atlantic to the Pacific, more people get online, show me wonderful things (@itscolossal), tell me stories (@Joannechocolat), make me laugh (@rhodri).
So I’m going to introduce some of these people to you, especially when I think you would like to meet (WLTM) them. They are people who will make your life easier, happier, more bright and beautiful because of what they do.
Where to begin?
Well, I’ve got a particular fondness for party food and I’ve always enjoyed pass the parcel (especially when sweets are snuck in every layer). But I draw the line at musical chairs – only because I am quite competitive and the 6 year old me made no friends by pushing to win. When I was young, a birthday party meant a trip to Wimpy, some limp chips and a slightly frightening man in an oversized Beefeater costume.
Now, times have changed and birthday celebrations can fill a parent with fear and dread. You can barely entertain your own kids, let alone 20 sugar-crazed friends of theirs. What will you do? How can you manage the time and keep everyone happy? Fear not, because I have just the person for you…
Say hello, Ellie. Introduce yourself. Don’t be shy.
Hi, I’m Ellie Kelly (it is my real name, I married an Irishman) and I own and run Buttons Children’s Parties which is based in Fleet on the Hampshire/Surrey border. I am 27 and have worked with children either as an LSA, art teacher, running summer clubs or as a party host for 6 years now.
Tell us how Buttons was born.
After working with children for many years I moved into the events industry and over four years worked my way from an events coordinator to events and sales manager in two hotels. I had always wanted my own company, so I could 1. have a dog and 2. be at home with my kids (when we have them). After my Nan passed away I went from dreaming about it to thinking, “That’s it, I’m doing it!” I found a great company to work on my children’s party brand and website and off I went. Buttons has now being going just over 1 year and so far I have entertained over 2000 children.
What do you love most about the parties you create for kids?
I love that I have created lots of different parties that are unique and I have something that every child will love. I love when the children make something they are really proud of, when they get a little scared or amazed by one of my adventures, when they scream with joy at one of my games or when their faces light up when they walk into a fully themed and transformed venue.
Organising birthdays must be stressful, so tell us how what you do makes parents feel human again.
I know that planning a children’s party can be a bit overwhelming. Parents have lots of expectation to live up to and many don’t have a ton of spare time. I listen to their wants and needs, then offer my advice on the best party option for them. I take all of the worry about entertainment off their hands and even offer help with party bags, sourcing catering and venue theming. I always call the parents 3 days before the party to go over final details and reassure them everything is fine. I even send text messages saying I am on my way to
parents I know are particularly tense. Each parent also gets a little tank you and well done gift from me a week after their party.
Why do kids love what you do?
I connect to children easily (something about being a big kid, I think). We have a giggle and I can see what will and won’t work in different situations. Be it a party, big event, mixture of ages or a strange venue. I can turn all of this knowledge into lots of different entertainment options that will include just the right mix of fun, structure, learning and openness to let each child be themselves. I also have cool shoes and glittery make up, so that helps!
How can people book the Buttons experience for themselves?
Just pop over to my website, Buttons Children’s Parties, and either fill in the online enquiry form, send me an email or call me on 0774 389 6987.
See. I told you. A local gem. Unless you are my reader from the Ukraine. In which case, my apologies. I’m afraid I don’t know anyone nearby who can whip up a fabulous kids party for you.
Ellie and I decided it would be great fun to collaborate on creative projects together – to show the work we do, to share the ideas we have and to generally have a fun old time.
Tomorrow, for your general amusement I have our first inspiration shoot to share. It is a tale of flying kites, craft tents, birthday cakes, beautiful sunsets and the rapid onset of thick, unworkable, Victorian fog.
Here’s a little taster for you, before the grey blanket of smog rolled on in.
See you tomorrow then? Good. That’s a date.