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Three Tips for Throwing a 1950s Dinner Party  

Three Tips for Throwing a 1950s Dinner Party

Poodle skirts, saddle shoes, Elvis, and James Dean defined the iconic era of the 1950s. A social and community driven time, the era was filled with dinner parties, adventurous dishes, and an optimistic mindset the world is nostalgic for.

Bringing the 50s back to life with a throwback dinner party reminds everyone of a simpler time where family came first, and conversation usually centered over a homemade meal. Homemade fare was the norm, and that’s what created the familial solidarity of the era: a people coming together for food and fellowship.

Here are the top three tips to capturing the ‘50s essence:

1. ‘50s Recipes

The first rule of a dinner party is the menu. When it comes to bringing to life an era as distinct as the 50s, the food has to be authentic. Whether it’s from an old cookbook or your grandma’s recipe box, choose recipes that dictate what the ‘50s were all about.

For example, a classic meal would be deviled eggs and pimiento-stuffed olives as an appetizer, patty melts with Sargento cheese and sautéed onions for the main course, and Jell-O and whipped cream and pound cake dipped in chocolate for dessert.

Here is a rundown of a patty melt recipe, in case you are unfamiliar:

For a serving of four, you need 1 lb of ground beef or ground turkey, 1 large thinly sliced onion, 8 slices of cheese, and 8 slices of rye or pumpernickel bread. In a large skillet, melt 2 Tbsp of butter over medium heat. Add onion rings to the melted butter, and allow them to cook until they are brown and tender, about 10 minutes.

While the onions are cooking, form the ground meat into four equal patties, about ½ inch in thickness. Season with salt and pepper in order to bring out the meat’s natural flavors. Cook in a skillet or grill over medium heat, usually 6 minutes per side, or until the center is no longer pink.

To assemble the sandwiches, place a piece of meat on 4 slices of bread. Top with cooked onions, a slice of cheese, and the top piece of bread. To really melt the cheese and toast the bread, cook each sandwich over low heat until each side is toasty and golden brown.

What’s great about preparing a meal from the ‘50s is that it can be done relatively quickly. Most everything can be made in advance, giving you, as the host or hostess, the chance to enjoy the company you invited over.

2. The ‘50s Feeling

The best way to capture the ‘50s feeling is to take notes from Mad Men, I Love Lucy, or To Catch a Thief. Get everyone in the ‘50s mood by playing the music that defined the era: big band, doo-wop, and rock and roll. A generation was born with Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, Johnny Cash, Chuck Berry, etc.

3. Signature Beverages

The ‘50s was an era that enjoyed its cocktail hour. Classic drinks such as martinis, Manhattans, or old-fashioned daquiris were typical of the time period, and are still some of the most well liked drinks today.

Sargento covered the costs of the ingredients used in this recipe, but the opinions are my own.

Author Ted Levin is a food lover and cheese aficionado always searching for the newest recipe craze. You can connect with Ted on Twitter.

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Love Cooking? Why not Start Your Own Catering Business from Home

If you love to host dinner parties for your friends/family, and feel a little like Monica Geller when they come over, you might make an amazing food caterer. Why not make a career out of a hobby that you love? You’ll need an entrepreneurial attitude, but your overheads will be low compared with other businesses, and you have the opportunity to turn this into a lucrative business.


Photo taken from Flickr

Find Your Niche

To find your niche, think about food that you love to make. You need to have a passion for the food you’re cooking, otherwise you won’t stick it out. You could specialise in lunch food, wedding receptions, desserts, or even starters. Decide whether you’d prefer to make quiches or cakes and you could find the perfect catering niche for you.

Make a Menu

If you make a menu first, you can figure out how much kitchen space you need, what appliances you need, and how much money you’ll expect to bring in finance wise. Try to have food to suit everyone, e.g. vegetarian options and spicy options. Make sure you’re menu is a manageable size for you so you don’t take on more than you can handle. You can even test your dishes on friends and family and tweak them until they’re perfect.

Set Up Your Kitchen

If you want to set up from home, you need to get your kitchen ready for your new catering business. You could consider renting out some premises, but this will be way more expensive and it’s not convenient. You’ll need the right equipment to start, so take a look at your menu and work out what you need.

Apply for Permits and Licenses

Apply for any permits, licenses and certificates you need. You may need different certificates and permits depending on where you set up, so make sure you do your research. You may even need kosher certification by Earth Kosher.

Buy Equipment to Transport Food

Once you’ve done everything listed above, as well as set your prices, you’ll need to buy a vehicle and other equipment suitable for transporting your food to the event you’re catering. It’ll need plenty of space, so a van is best.

Do You Need Staff?

If you need extra staff, you can always use a temp agency to start with until you’ve built your reputation. You’ll need to consider what type of uniforms you want your staff to wear, and train your employees up so they provide the right kind of service. However, when it’s time to hire more staff it may also be time to rent out bigger premises – are you and your staff going to fit in your kitchen?

Now all that’s left to do is market your business! Make sure you use both online and offline marketing techniques to target people in your area, and be consistent as you won’t experience overnight success. Let us know how your home catering business is doing in the comments!


7 Things Parents Need to Know Before Going Caravanning with The Kids

If you are planning on taking the kids away on a caravanning holiday this year, then there are a number of things that you will need to know in order to prepare you for your summer break. Taking the kids on holiday will need the preparation, and planning, of a military exercise, so you will need to be organised in order to have fun during your break. If you are unsure as to where to start when planning your caravanning holiday with the kids this year, then you need not look any further. This article will give you the lowdown on everything you need to know about caravan holidays and kids:


Flickr: Gideon

Safety is Paramount

Keeping your kids safe is of paramount importance, you will need to ensure that you have a first aid kit to hand for any nasty bumps, and scrapes, that your kids will undoubtedly get into. What is more, you will need to ensure that you have the right insurance for your holiday. Many people who have caravans fail to take out the appropriate insurance that is suitable for their vehicle. Take a look here for a guide to motorhome insurance security.

Organisation is Critical

If you fail to be organised on your trip, you will not have a good time. Due to the nature of caravan holidays, you will need to make sure that you have enough essential items with you, lest you be caught short of sufficient underwear!  Make a checklist of everything that each family member needs and pack accordingly.

Keeping Costs Down

If you want to keep costs down during your caravanning holiday, then it is imperative that you do a food shop beforehand. The amount of food that you buy should be comparable to the length of your stay.

Choose a Family Friendly Caravan Park

So many parents fail to find out if the caravan park that they are staying on is family friendly. Many caravan parks operate on an adult only basis, so check before you travel to avoid disappointment. There is nothing worse than upset kids.

Check if the Caravan Site Has a Kids Club or Children’s Facilities

While being on holiday should be enough to entertain your brood, kids are prone to boredom at the most unexpected times. Check if your caravan park has children’s leisure facilities, such as a park or a fun club. This is sure to keep them entertained throughout your holiday. What is more, they will make new friends too.

Be Prepared

You need to be prepared for any eventuality, so ensure that you have everything that you need within the confines of your caravan. Take medications, toys, games and lots of clothes to ensure that you, and your kids, have a great holiday.

That’s Entertainment

The long drive to your holiday destination can be tedious for small children, so do remember to pack toys, games, books and portable gaming devices to keep them occupied on a long journey ahead. This should silence any cries of ‘are we there yet?’.

Teaching Your Child to Play Guitar: Tips and Tricks

Playing an instrument can be one of the most rewarding hobbies ever, but learning to do it is difficult. They say that kids pick things up a lot faster than adults, which is why it’s a good idea to encourage your child to play an instrument from a young age. But what do you want them to play? Drums make a lot of noise, wind instruments aren’t always considered ‘cool’, and some can be very complicated. In my opinion, the guitar is the perfect instrument for children to learn how to play. Although it’s hard work, it makes a great sound and it always has, and always will, be considered ‘cool’. Here’s how to teach them:


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Get Them into Music that Featuring Guitar

There’s plenty of music out there that features guitar, and it’s sure to get them interested in learning to play. Whether you go the hard rock option or the Britpop option, there’s something to interest every child. I find that songs by Oasis are very effective!

Buy Them a Suitable Guitar

Some guitars are way too big for children’s little hands, so they can’t reach the frets or strings. Make sure the size of the guitar you choose is suitable so that they can play it efficiently! You may also want to buy them a coloured guitar or a guitar with a pattern on it to interest them further. If this is the case, try searching online for new musical instruments for sale.

Show them Tutorials on Youtube

Tutorials on Youtube can be very helpful, and the best thing about them is that they’re free! Who needs an expensive music teacher when you have Youtube? They can learn pretty much any song they could ever want by doing a search on Youtube. They’ll love being able to play their favourite songs!

Encourage them to Practice Alone

Encourage your child to practice alone, thinking up new sounds and music on their own. They don’t always have to be practicing other bands songs – they could try to create their own! This will add another element of excitement for them.

Make it Fun for Them

The worst thing you can do is make learning an instrument boring for them. When I was a child, my dad bought me a guitar and sat me down in front of an old fashioned video designed to teach me the basics. I didn’t understand any of it; it was boring, uninspiring, and it put me off the idea altogether. I wish I’d stuck to playing the guitar, but it didn’t paint a very good picture for me at the time!

Make Sure You Don’t Make them Practice for Too Long

Forcing them to practice for too long can take all of the joy out of it. If they genuinely want to practice for longer then let them, but make sure they have regular breaks.

With these tips and tricks, your child is sure to love learning the guitar and could even end up becoming a pro soon enough!

Portrait Photography: Why Choosing an Amazing Photographer is Important

As a mother, you are probably like me, and are always taking photos of your little one. You want to document their every move so that you don’t lose the time that you have with them. As any mum will attest, babies don’t stay that way forever, and before you know it, you have a rebellious teenager on your hands!

Photos are perfect; they allow you to recapture times that you have long forgotten. Photographs of your children are no different. If you are seeking the services of a portrait photographer, so that you can have amazing photos of your children, then there are some things that you need to know:



There is a Vast Amount of Choice

With so many photographers selling their services, it can be difficult to know where to start. Simply compile some basic internet research of photographers in your area, or those that are willing to travel. Ask your friends and family if they have used photographers in the area and ask for their recommendations. You need to establish your budget so that those whose services are a little more expensive that you anticipated can be dismissed. Checking out the style of the photographer is very important. You need to take a look at their portfolio and see what other family portraits they have done in the past. Ask your photographer what their passions and interests are, as this will give you a feel for the style of photography that they take.

Styles of Photography

While it is important to determine the style of your chosen photographer, it is equally as important to decide what style of photography that you like, to ensure that you obtain the dream photos that you have always wanted.

Think about the styles that are available. Do you want natural shots that capture the moment of your young children playing and laughing? Or do you want more formal shots that are staged? You could have a glorious mix of the two styles. The choice really is yours. Talking to your photographer about your requirements is important. What is more, their portfolio will be able to show you where your photographer’s talents lie.

A reputable photographer, such as, will be happy to answer any of your queries.

Finding the Perfect Space

Should your photographer have their own studio, you may feel more comfortable having your family photos taken in their professional setting. However, getting your children to pose in a studio can be difficult. Ask your photographer if they do home visits and see what room in your home will accommodate your photographer’s equipment. Being comfortable during your shoot is imperative. If you feel uncomfortable, you will look uncomfortable on the photographs. After all, the camera never lies. You need to decide what location is best for your amazing family photos.


Determining your budget is important, as is the number of shots that you require. It is important to remember that the more shots that you decide you want, the more expensive your overall shoot is going to be. Your photographer may have different package options available, so ask them what they can do for you. They may even tailor a package to suit your budget.

Six Easy Ways to Keep Your Family Safe at Home

Six Easy Ways to Keep Your Family Safe at Home

As homeowners’ and parents’ top priority, home security, or a lack thereof, is of major concern. There are simple, effective ways to bring home security into your house that take little time and money in order to keep your family safe.

Here are the top six:

1.  Security System

A home security system is one of the best security tools, for the alarm alerts you, the alarm company, and the police that someone has broken into your home while alerting the burglar that the police are on their way. One of the best ways to find a great deal on a security system is to do an online keyword search such as security systems in Waltham or something of the like. You’ll find information on the best products, installation guides, and the best companie

2. Dog

Even if your dog wouldn’t actually hurt a fly, if it has a good bark, burglars will stay away. Dogs add a layer of protection to the home, because most burglars do not want to risk being attacked by a dog. To burglars, the home is not worth the hassle of having to fight a vicious dog. Some of the best friendly yet protective breeds are German Shepherds, Bernese Mountain Dogs, and Saint Bernards.

3. Doors and Locks

Replace old or hollow-core doors, for they are easy to kick in or break through. Solid wood doors or metal-clad doors are a better option, for they are nearly impossible for someone to kick in. And, change the locks in your house, especially if you recently moved in. This ensures you and your family are the only ones with keys to your house.

4.  Lock Your Doors

Now that you have a new door, lock it. It’s a simple concept, but when distracted it can be an easy habit to forget. Most burglars are looking for a quick and easy entrance into a home. Most robberies are not well thought out, and a burglar is looking for some quick cash or expensive items he or she can pawn off. If the doors are locked and the blinds are drawn at night, burglars will most likely skip to another house that is more accessible.

5. Join a Neighborhood Watch Program

Most neighborhoods have a program like this that helps to build a community-oriented neighborhood and reduce crime in the area. Often times neighbors notice something unusual happening at a neighbor’s house, but because they do not know the neighbor personally, they ignore it in order not to inconvenience anyone. Getting to know your neighbors can save your house from a break-in, especially while on vacation. Ask them to keep an eye out on your home, pick up your paper, or grab your mail.

6. Upgrade Your House Number

When there is an emergency, it’s important the police and fire department are able to see your home’s street number easily in the dark. Many fire departments, city, or county governments sell inexpensive reflective street numbers, which makes your house number much more obvious to officials.

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How To Turn Your Son Into The Next Jimi Hendrix

Okay, so, the chances of anyone becoming the next Jimi Hendrix are slim to none, right? Even so, that doesn’t mean you can’t assist your child in becoming an axe wielding maniac of the musical kind. Not only does playing the guitar give kids something to keep them out of trouble, but it’s very good for their personal development and mental health too. While you might not realise it yet, music can have a significant impact on mood, and playing it yourself increased this impact tenfold. How do I know this? I’ve been playing the guitar for more than fifteen years now, and I still send myself into a meditative trance when I sit down with the instrument.


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With all that in mind, I’m going to take a few moments out of my schedule this morning to explain how you should go about this endeavor. A lot of parents think that professional lessons are the way forward, but from my own experiences, I can tell you with all certainty that lessons are not the right way to go. If you want your son to become interested in the guitar, he needs to learn what he wants, when he wants. Tying him down to some kind of syllabus is never going to work.

Buy him a good guitar

I understand the reasons why some parents opt to get their son a cheap guitar at first, but that isn’t going to inspire him very much. For that reason, you should check out websites that list Rickenbacker, Fender, Gibson and Ibanez guitars for sale. While they might set you back a few hundred dollars, having a quality instrument is important if you want him to progress quickly and remain interested.

Play quality guitar music constantly

You son needs a burning desire inside of him for the guitar, and he’ll only get this when he fully appreciates what it can do. So, heading down to your local music shop or downloading some of the best albums from the internet is a good idea. You should look towards Eric Clapton, BB King, AC DC, Slade, Pink Floyd and any others you deem to be appropriate. Listen to them in the car on the way to school, provide him with a personal music player loaded with tracks for break times and start attending live music gigs together.

Help him start a band

No matter where your son goes to school, there will be at least one person with the skills needed to keep a beat on the drums, and so you should encourage your son to link up with him. Also, it can be difficult for kids to get gigs at music venues, so acting as their manager and helping them out with this is wise. Playing live is often what encourages musicians to continue with their trade. Each gig will provide him with a huge adrenaline rush he won’t ignore.

So long as you do all this, the chances of your son becoming a rock god will be vastly increased. Good luck with everything, and hopefully I’ll see him on the TV ripping licks like nobody’s business very soon!




Five Ways to Make Family Road Trips Fun

Five Ways to Make Family Road Trips Fun

With spring quickly on its way out and summer fast approaching, vacation season is just around the corner. As much as families love their vacation destination, the road getting there, especially if by a car, is long and boring.

Here are five ways to make the long, boring hours fly by with fun:

1. Movie Marathon

Whether the drive is a couple of hours or a couple of days, having a portable DVD player, laptop, or car with a built-in TV with streaming capabilities compatible with Direct TV Internet or companies of the like can quickly change an uneventful trip into something exciting. Bring a handful of choices or subscribe to Netflix or other streaming companies to have an endless supply of movies and TV shows to watch.

Some cars have built-in streaming capabilities that phones and tablets can hook up to, which is helpful if your family has teenagers. Often teen siblings don’t agree on what to watch, thus each one can watch a movie of their own choice on their phone or tablet.

If you have young children who are particularly interested in watching the same movie over and over again, invest in headphones your children can wear. They get to enjoy the movie, and you get to enjoy the silence.

2. Apps

Load up your phone, tablet, and kindle with games, books, and other entertaining apps. Look for apps with trivia quizzes that the whole family can participate in like naming movies or different songs heard from song clips. Or, to keep it more educational, look for trivia quizzes about geography, history, or literature. And, be sure to download a bunch of books. If the movies get old you can always read children’s books out loud.

3. Special Snacks

Road trips and vacation are usually the time most people splurge food wise. Make it a tradition to bring fun snacks that are otherwise not allowed on a regular basis like cookies, candy, donuts, or soda. In each town, stop at different local hotspots for milkshakes or great comfort food. Download apps like Roadfood, Food Network, or TV Food Maps. These apps can determine your location and provide you information on what food joints are near you. These food stops will give the kids something to look forward to, and will hopefully alleviate some of the “are we there yet?” questions.

4. Games

Sometimes good old’ fashioned fun is the best way to go when on a road trip. Games like the ABC game, license plate game, “I Spy,” and slug bug game are always a crowd pleaser. Six degrees of celebrity separation or the celebrity name game can be a lot of fun, especially if you have older kids. But, there are plenty of road trip game books that offer hundreds of activities if the classics start to get boring.

5. Music

A road trip just isn’t a road trip without tunes to cruise to. Make sure to load up your iPod before you leave.

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How to help your kids get rid of stress and feel less pressure in life


Managing built up stress had become somewhat of a favorite subject for scientists, media and various lifestyle gurus lately. In fact, it is mentioned and referred to so often that the word “stress” itself had come to signify stress overload and health problems related to it as well, which is one of the reasons we tend to relate it solely with its negative physical and psychological outputs.

In order for a parent to tackle problems related to it and teach their children how to do the same, it is necessary for us to understand its inner workings to the best of our ability.

What exactly is stress?

Stress is nothing more than an instinctive reaction of our body to any type of challenge. In other words, stress is an “all hands on deck” sign to all of our internal mechanisms that helps our body to prepare for the challenge we are faced with.

Seeing thoughts and emotions play a big part in the way information and stimuli from the outside world is processed by the human body and, consequently, the brain, it is not that uncommon for those information and stimuli to take a wrong turn somewhere and end up transformed to physical discomfort and anxiety, or worrying almost arbitrarily about just about anything. To put it simply, instead of helping us be more alert, energized and to access all of our physical and mental capacities, stress can have the opposite effect if not handled properly.

The same happens when we are faced with too many unwanted challenges – the body is unable to translate stress into positive action and it simply turns it into negative energy.

Inspect and introspect

Solving your child’s problems in most cases must start with our solving our own, or at least carefully examining how some of our actions or lack thereof affects our kids in everyday life. Amazingly, adults tend to forget how keenly and instinctively kids feel and copy everything we do, right down to the subconscious mechanisms for dealing with challenges we ourselves are most often not aware of. It may be an obvious point, but it is worth repeating that you cannot trick a child unless he or she desperately wants to believe you, and even then you cannot outflank their instinct. Our kids are programmed to read us like an open book and consequently memorize and apply that knowledge to a letter, just as we are programmed to care for them and protect them. They will simply know in their bones if something is not right, even if, on the surface, it seems you have tricked them into believing otherwise.

Where to start

In order to maximize the positive effects of stress and minimize the negative ones, it is best for us to start from the outside, so to speak. Experts agree that healthy nutrition, regular meals, physical activity and overall balanced and orderly lifestyle are the prerequisites for us to be able to handle challenges as smoothly as possible.

This is even more important for our little ones, as their young bodies are going through bigger and more violent chemical and hormonal changes than us adults and their chemical balance is that more easily disturbed.

The other part of the equation is coaching our children to properly reroute the stimuli into positive action, to recognize the right moment for blowing off some steam as it is up to us to provide them with a healthy way to do so.

Excitement vs. Anxiousness

Anxious kids or kids that tend to transform stress into fear, worrying and feeling of great pressure, think differently to other children. Their first reaction is thinking about everything that can go wrong in a certain situation, which, in essence, is worrying by default. In order for us to reverse that trend, we must first teach out kid the difference between thoughts and feelings and how first in most cases leads to the latter.

In order to do so, encourage your child to speak openly about his or hers concerns and to write them down, preferably connecting a particular thought with a corresponding feeling.

Then teach them to rationally examine those causal connections by writing down questions that will help them to determine their internal stress pathways and to build a mechanism for recognizing, singling out and confronting those thoughts before they transform into emotions. Be patient and allow enough time for this process to become a reflex, automatic response to a challenge.


Although right approach to challenges is imperative, there comes a time for us all when we have to relax.

Recognizing that moment and applying the preferred method of stress relief without hesitation is a delicate art that is to be nurtured throughout our whole lives. It is important our pride and joy has a way of blowing off some steam and they will naturally rely on your guidance in that regard, especially while they are in the single-digit years. If we adopt healthy habits in stress relief, our little one will do so, as well.

It would be great if every parent could include yoga, some type of sports activity and meditation in their daily life. Contrary to what most people assume, most children take up meditation effortlessly.

Breathing exercises are also an extremely powerful tool for achieving almost instant relief and you could perform them just about anywhere and anytime. Half an hour of video games is also great for children to blow off some steam, but not more than an hour.

Last, but not least, it is advisable to provide your child with a physical stress-remover appropriate for studying and mental effort in general. Stress balls are a great example, as they provide another way of channeling the energy stress provides us with without having to stop with what we are doing in order to take a breather.

The right approach to handling stressful situations is a crucial tool for overcoming challenges in any area of human endeavor. Stress is a formidable force, but it should not be feared. We should respect it, learn to utilize its good sides and avoid the bad ones as much as possible. The sooner our little ones learn how to handle it, sooner they will be able to harness it, use it to their advantage and to enjoy its numerous benefits.


Entertaining Extras You Can Hire for Your Child’s Birthday Party

If your child has a birthday party coming up, then you obviously want to make sure that they have the best time EVER. Birthdays are 10 times as exciting for kids as they are for us adults, so making them special is a must. Yes, you could simply hire a hall, invite their friends, and hope for the best, but what makes a truly amazing party are the entertaining extras! Need inspiration? this post will give you plenty of ideas:


Image taken from Flickr

A Fun Photobooth

Fun photobooths are all the rage, and can be placed anywhere within a party venue ready for both kids and adults to pile in and have their picture taken. It might look like one of those booths where you get your passport photo taken, but it’s much more fun and can even come with props to make the photographs twice as hilarious!

A Karaoke Machine

Who doesn’t love to sing on the karaoke? You’ll get hours of entertainment, plenty of entertaining videos, and some very excited children. Take a look at these karaoke machine reviews to find the perfect one for the party!

A Clown

Clowns can be lots of fun, but do be careful that no one at the party has a phobia. Some children hate clowns so check with their parents before booking yours. However, some children love clowns, and some of them can do some great tricks/offer great entertainment packages. You might even want to take it one step further if your child loves to be scared, and hire a clown to follow them around like this crazy service. Just be warned: you might end up paying for counselling afterwards.

A Face Painter

Most children love having their faces painted, as they can be anything they want to be; a butterfly, a smurf, a tiger, or something else even more fun and creative.

A Bouncy Castle

Adults and children love bouncing on bouncy castles at parties – who’d have thought that some rubber filled with air could provide hours of entertainment? It’s even a great workout too, so you don’t need to feel guilty about plying the kids with sweets and cakes!

A Balloon Artist

Great balloon artists can make all kinds of fun balloon toys; dogs, hats, balls, butterflies – you name it, they can make it. The kids are fascinated watching them, and they get some lovely souvenirs to take home with them afterwards.

A Confectionary Cart

Confectionary carts look amazing even as just a decoration at a children’s party, but they’re also perfect for giving the kids a sugar rush they’ll never forget. You can get traditional Pic ‘n’ Mix sweets with them, and even some little bags for the kids to take a selection home along with the traditional slice of birthday cake. We think their mums and dads will even love this too!

Are you hiring one of these entertaining extras for your child on their birthday? Let us know in the comments…thanks for reading!