It is with a heavy heart that we morn the passing of Michael Jackson.
Google said that it had problems keeping up with the information requests at the time his death was announced.

Lisa Marie Presley, Jackson’s former wife had said that she was “Shocked & saddened, by his death.” It is rumoured that Michael’s Mother the kids grandmother will get custody of the three children.
Whatever you views on the man himself, and his lifestyle. No-one can argue that he made great party music.
Whatever your age from 5- 80 there will be a Michael Jackson song to get you up on your feet and dancing.
Michael Jackson- Bless you sleep well and Thank you for some great party Music!
Deep condolences to this family.

Want yo add your own sympathy message?
Please add comment below.


As a family as well as a company. We take the whole Global warning thing very seriously.

So please don’t be offended if your party supplies come in recycled paper or packed with clean recycled cardboard. Not only does it save us money, which we can pass on to you, but it’s great for the environment too. So it’s a win, win situation.

I’m not claimming that our company is brillant at being green, but we are always on the look-out for ways to reduce our carbon – foot print.

Looking around the web for ideas to improve our companies greeness, I came across a few fellow Eco people. These are not hemp shirt wear, yurt living freaks, but normal people trying to do their best to care for the only world that can easily sustain life.

I would like to introduce them to you.

Tracy Smith Author of  “The book of rubbish Ideas” and the blog of the same name, which has over 15o thoughtfull Eco Articles  on there.  She came to fame during 2005 when Tracy organised National Downshifting week. Since then her fame has spread with her covering in her local press and radio.

Joe Newbury is a man after my own heart. He hates plastic bags his blog sings the praises of using re-use-able bags. He caused a media storm back in 2007 when he tried to get his local town to go plastic bag free. Such a simple plan, with far reaching Eco goodness. Now 90% of the traders in that town want to get rid of plastic bags. Most of the big chains are starting to follow suit. They can see the money they will save, as well as the green Eco points they will get from their customers.

Last but by no means least Karen Cannard. Her blog

Karen sprang into action when her local council organized a Zero waste week. she took the step of looking for foods when shopping without any packaging, or at least very little. I mean does a cucumber really need to be covered in plastic?

Karen’s blog has the tag-line Almost Mrs average. Which just goes to prove my point. I’m not talking about Eco freaks I’m taking about normal every day people, who care about our plant. after all it’s the only one we have. Once this one is broken, where is there to go?

It’s in all our best interest to make sure that we take care of the planet.  It only takes a few moments to pick up the items from the shops with little or no packaging. It takes a moments thought to remember to take a cotton bag or two out when you go shopping. Walking to the shops for the mid-week little items, instead of taking the car takes a little longer, but if you use local shops, you’ll be supporting them too. All these little moments add up to one thing – great Eco living. By thinking Eco in our daily lives, both at work and at home, we can all make a difference. One big difference, that could help save our planet for our children, and there children.

Please  fee free to comment on this post.

The final part of my  fun guide to finding out what type of party hostess you are.

  • Little Miss Scary – Is as you might imagine very good at Halloween theme parties. Fake blood, spiders, webs and tombstones galore. She knows that with any type of theme party, the more you set the scene for your guest the more they will get into the theme. She knows that if you ask your guests to come in fancy dress, helps with this too. She never forgets to add a surprise or two as well, to frighten her guests, after all it is Halloween.
  • Little Miss Scatterbrain – she sends an invite to herself so that she doesn’t forget her own party! If you know someone like this, the chances are that you help her with planning her party. In the very worst of cases, a professional party planner is the only course of action.
  • Little Miss somersault – Is great at organising active kids parties. Think trampolining, cheer- leading,  and circus skills., Phew I’m out of breath just thinking about it all.
  • Little Miss Spendid – Thinks she’s the greatest party hostess ever. She throws herself into party planning, using only the finest of everything, as she likes to show off.  Don;t be temped to go down this route, unless you are rich. Most people (even the rich ones) party on a budget.
  • Little Miss Sunshine – When hosting a party it’s  a great idea to take a leaf out of Miss Shines book. A happy hostess will make the party flow better, than a hostess who looks like she wishes she’d never wanted to host the party in the first place. A smile and a cheery warm welcome,  will go along way to making your guests feel at home and relaxed.
  • Little Miss Wise – A perfect party hostess, she knows that the best way to hold a party is with the help of a party planner. She books her party planner at least 3 months before the event, and Lay’s out for the party planner what she wants and expects from her. She has a clear idea on budget, and has a few ideas on theme. Little Miss Wise knows that a her party planner can get her a good deal on her party supplies and services thus saving her both time and money. And as we all know both are in short supply at the moment.

For all your party supplies vist  –   Our great June Deals are on now.

For more great party hints, Tips and general chat, why not follow me on twitter.

Twitter ID    Askjan.

Part Three in my quest to find out what type of party Hostess you are.

  • Little Miss Jealous – I think here the name says’s it all. She tends to hold parties to try and find out what you’ve got. She’s the type to hold a Hawaiian party after you have. But if you’ve used plastic leis, she will of course use real flowers. It’s just her way. If you know someone like this. Don’t get involved in the party arms race, it’s just not worth it.
  • Little Miss Late – As a guest it’s not too bad. We all have day’s where we run up againsttraffic problems, or we get a phone call, just as we are going out the door. If this happens to you, it is polite to contact your hostess to let her know that you are running late. But as a hostess, it’s terrible. The moral of the story is make sure you leave plenty of time to get your party sorted, not forgetting yourself of course. The hostess, needs to look her best.
  • Little Miss Loud – Is a fine guest at a Disco where being loud is O.K. But would you really want her at your dinner party? This is where the Hostess needs to think about her guest list carefully. The art of a good party is making sure that you have the right mix of people for the right occasion.
  • Little Miss Lucky – Is the sort of hostess, everyone would love to be. If something goes wrong at her party, it’s not a problem, as it works out even better. For example someone knocks over a glass breaking it. So Miss Lucky gets out her broom and starts sweeping, but just as she is finished doing that the broom breaks. A wonderful idea has come to Little Miss lucky, everyone could have some fun with a limbo game under the broken broom. Try taking a leaf out of her book. If something goes wrong at your party try making light of it, or better still, turn it to your advantage. This is what the best party planners do.
  • Little Miss Magic – If you are lucky enough to be a natural entertainer, then you could do no better than copy little Miss Magic. If however you are more like me, than hiring a close- up magician to your party is a great way to warm a party up and to get your guest’s talking to each other about what they’ve just seen. We tend to think of Clowns and Magicians for children’s parties. But they can work well for us grown ups too.
  • Little Miss Naughty – All I can say for this one is that she is great at hosting Hen do’s. With her wicked side, she is perfectly placed to encourage a little naughtiness in others too. The key here is to limit to naughtiness to good humoured fun and games and not to get too carried away.
  • Little Miss Neat – We all know of some-one who’s invite to come over for a coffee leaves us feeling nervous, in case we spill something or crease the cushions on her pristine sofa. Her home is always just so. She will never in a million years host a party at her home. She couldn’t stand the mess. A Hostess who is like this, will end up with no guests, as no-body likes to feel uncomfortable at a party. The moral here is a successful hostess, will do every thing in her power to ensure that her guests are happy and comfortable. Which starts with a relaxed and comfortable hostess. If you are rushing about worried about what might be spilt on your white rug, remove it before the party starts.
  • Little Miss Prim – Her idea of a great party is a sewing bee. Which is fine if the other guest are fun, but with Miss Prim you know that they are going to boring. Miss Prim needs a gentle shake up. By adding an interesting mix of guests, your party will come alive.
  • Little Miss Quick – One of the cardinal sins of a party hostess. She rushes her guests through the party. As soon as her guests have arrived they are given a drink, then a plate, then they are pushed out the door again. Let you party follow it’s own timetable. Only if you have  to have a schedule which you must keep to, but leave plenty of time between each item of your schedule. This will allow for guests to move about, and give a more relaxed air to your party.

The final part  Tuesday……

Untill then bye for now.
For Great theme party supplies why not take a look here.

This is the second part of the which hostess are you?
All these Little Misses are based on the Roger Hargreaves Books of the same name.

  • Little Miss Chatterbox- Is a fine hostess to get your guest chatting together. But as every good hostess knows the key is to get them started talking, then move on. Part of the party hostess job is to introduce guest to each other, with comments about each other, so that they have something to talk about. It is not the hostesses job to dominate all the party conversation.
  • Little Miss Christmas- Is great at Christmas parties, but she doesn’t just hold them at Christmas. If you feel the need to host a very early Christmas party, like in June or July for example, then you could host an Irish Christmas, which you can hold at any time of year you like. You’ll be surprised at just how much fun Christmas can be, when you are not rushing around doing present hunting, wrapping, cooking,  other Christmas parties and visiting relatives. Go on why not give it a try?
  • Little Miss Contrary- Not a customer you wish to have as a professional Party Planner!
  • Little Miss Curious – This is great at the start of a party, if you are curious about new people, ask interested questions, Who do they know here? What they do? How did they get into that line of work? Hobbies? However there is a fine line here between being interested and being Little miss Nosey. So just ask a few questions, and be prepared to answer some questions too.
  • Little Miss Daredevil – This is party invitation is one to accept if you like living dangerously. Think bungee jumping, abseiling, swimming with crocodiles. On a more day to day  level this is more likely to be a hen night invitation, where the bride to be and her friends do dares. Only accept if you have a broad mind. Otherwise you are likely to be offended. (But then I guess you would not be invited in the first place.)
  • Little Miss Dotty – Has the oddest but clever ideas for theme parties. Take a leaf out of her book Think about a theme, then twist it. Think Hollywood into Bollywood, Cocktail party into 30’s speak-easy. It’s not such a dotty idea.
  • Little Miss Fickle- Again not a customer you wish to meet as a party planner. often called two -faced. I’m pretty sure that we have all come across one of these before. But we learn to avoid them.
  • Little Miss Fun – Great party guest and hostess. Wants to make sure that everyone is having as much fun as she is. Just take a small leaf out of her book, don’t take the whole tree, as someone as bouncy as she is could get very trying very quickly.
  • Little Miss Giggles – Some ones been drinking before the party started? This is not a good idea. Arriving at the party the find the hostess drunk is a party killer. You guest will feel very uncomfortable right from the start. 
  • Little Miss Greedy – We have all seen at parties, people who pile their plates up with food from the buffet. It would be O.K. if they ate it all, but you often find that their plate still has Lot’s of food left on the plate at the end of the party. If you have a few guest like this, there is a simple solution.  Instead of a self serve buffet, pre-plate up your buffet food. When I do this, I always add a few plates with party favourites on, so that people can add to their plate if they wish. Of course Miss Greedy will do this, but it does help to cut down the waste.

Hope you are enjoying the Little Miss’s.  More Little Miss Hostesses tomorrow.
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This is part one of a four part set

I’m sure that you’ve heard of the Little Miss books by Roger Hargreaves. Well taking the book titles as inspiration. I thought I would come up with a guide to the different types of hostess there are using the Little Misses as a starting point.

  • Little Miss All goes well – As her name suggests she is the perfect party planner. She plans with her guests in mind. Knows well what they like and dislike and works her party accordingly.
  • Little Miss Bad- Not a party invite to accept unless you are feeling very brave. She hosts her party without any thought to others, and when things go wrong, which they do, she expects her guests to sort out the mess.
  • Little Miss Birthday- Is great at planning a birthday Party. As she is so keen on Birthdays. This is a great tip, if you have a passion, your party theme could be worked around this.
  • Little Miss Bossy – Well she’s rude and will not listen to advice, even if she’s asked you for it. Once you arrive at her party you will be directed on how to behave, what you can drink, and when and what to eat. She doesn’t get many guests comming to her party I wonder why?
    It’s a good idea to be relaxed as a hostess, rather than being bossy. Your guests have come to your party to enjoy themselves, not be bossed about. If you wish your party guests to do something then just ask nicely.
  • Little Miss brainy – The quiz party specialist. If you want a quiz party this is the person to ask. If you wish to know which countries grow bananas then she’s your girl.
  • Little Miss Brilliant- Like Ms Brainy is good at quiz’s, but she’s also savvy enough to know when to ask others for help with her party, and wise enough to know that she can return the favour, when asked.  A great friend to have.
  • Little Miss Busy- Is a bit like me, in that she loves to plan things, parties of course!!! She can fit you in to her schedule at the drop of a hat. Her parties run smoothly due to all that planning, with a back-up plan in case something goes wrong.
  • Little Miss Busy-Body – Likes to hold parties, but prefers to go to them to find out what’s going on in every ones life. A little bit too nosey.
  • Little Miss Calamity – Bless her, everything goes wrong for her, she tries to plan her parties, but the D.J. doesn’t turn up, the caterers call in sick. This is one of the best cases for a back up party plan I know. Things like this can and do happen in real life make sure that if this happens to you, you can sort it out quickly to save your party from being a calamity.
  • Little Miss Careful- Knows all her guest’s food allergies, all food is labelled with all ingredients listed. Has doctors Number on speed dial. Has a spill kit ready to go, complete with dry cleaning equipment. Now you don’t need to go this far, but if you know one of your party guests has an allergy, is it a good idea to label food which contains that ingredient in it.

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More Little Miss Hostesses coming in parts two, three and four.

I was e-mailed a question this morning,

How do I budget for food at my party?

Well now that all depends on how much money you have in the pot for you party catering. I would say as a minimum £8.50 per head for adults you cannot get away with less than this.

For kids you should budget about £6.00 for under 6


One the of the cheapest options is to cater yourself. If you are doing this you will need to work out an approximate amount each guest will eat. If they are your friends you will already have a good idea, but if they are business contacts, or people you don’t know that well, like new neighbours for example I would air on the side of caution, and cater a little more than you think you should. 

Work out what you wish to serve and how you can bulk out your buffet table with things like

  • Potatoes either, jacket, salad,  crisps, or roasted.
  • Pasta either cold pasta salad or hot with a sauce.
  • Rice again either cold  or hot.
  • Couscous is another popular buffet filler too.
  • Salad

Just make sure you have big bowls or patters with those on and your buffet budget should stay on track.

Whenever your party is being held, make sure to use seasonal foods, which will be cheaper than imported goods.

By placing water jugs and glasses  near to the buffet, you can allow you guests to fill themselves with water, should they require it.

The tip here is to place these fillers at regular intervals along your buffet table. Another top tip is don’t put out all your party food at once at the begin, otherwise you could run short. Better to keep a few platters   fridge, so that you can add them later as the buffet table starts to look a little thin.

This has two pluses.

  • One, it gives everyone the chance to eat the widest variety of food.
  • Two, you look as if you are being more generous than you really are if you add food to the buffet, as your party continues.

All these tips can be used if you wish to use caterers, just remember to tell your caterer that you wish to stick within your set budget, they should do the rest for you.

To find a really great local caterer, it’s best to speak to someone who uses caterers on a regular basis. Don’t just fish one out of yellow or white pages.  But if  you have to go down this route go to visit them at their kitchens. If they will not let you, Don’t book them. They should also provide you with copy food hygiene certificates and contact details of at least three satisfied customers. Again if they cannot, walk away. I’m constantly amazed at how many people hire caterers without checking them out first. Any good caterer will not mind you asking these sorts of questions, infact the good ones, will be more than happy to do this for you.

Well I hope this has helped you. If you have any budget buffet party tips, please feel free to add them in the comments box.

Untill next time.

Jan xxx

Hi there and a very warm welcome to my Ask Jan expert blog.

I’m Jan Dering and I’m going to let you in on all the top theme party hints and tips I’ve picked up over the years.

Why should you read my blog? Well if you wish to find budget party hints and tips, or just to find the answer to that funny party question, you could find the answer here. If it’s not here Just ask. I’m more than happy to answer your party questions.

What makes  me a Expert?  Well with 15 years experience in the party industry, working for film studios, and the BBC. As well as owning a sucessful party supplies company Absolute parties I think that makes me a qualified expert.

If you wish to take a look at my theme parties website, it’s here.

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