Sep 29th 2014

Diwali Inspired Bonfire Night Party

Diwali Inspired Bonfire Night Party

So, as we say goodbye to October, I suppose we have to admit to ourselves that summer is now behind us.  And time to get all autumnal with the planning of a Bonfire Night party!  Think differently this year – and look to a Diwali Inspired Bonfire Night Party instead of the usual fayre!

Some love it, some hate it but I think Bonfire Night is one of the best family occasions in the party year.  It’s a chance to get everyone together, enjoy the great outdoors and eat some great hearty food.   Obviously, the main ingredient for this party, are fireworks.  However, I’m suggesting that this year you try something different and combine some traditions from another celebration that falls at this time of year– Diwali. This Hindu ‘Festival of Light’ is a joyous occasion, all about family, close friends and yes, of course, fireworks!


Diwali Inspired Bonfire Night Party    

The lighting of lamps is a huge part of Diwali.  Illuminate the entrance to your event with small decorative oil lamps in silver and gold.  To create a truly stunning display, combine your lamps with some rangoli designs.  Rangoli decorations are made on the floor from coloured rice, flour or sand.  The intricate, brightly coloured patterns are a symbol of good luck.  They look particularly effective in gently flickering lamp light.  Don’t be fooled into thinking these look easy to create.  You will need to plan your design very carefully, but the result will be unique and will really make a statement


Décor-wise, you can choose to continue your theme by draping soft furnishings in brightly coloured silks and using votive candles and strings of delicate lights to light your rooms.  Cover tables in bright linens.  Pick out an Indian motif such as a paisley pattern as your design accent for napkins.

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As November can be very chilly, offer your guests hearty food – if they have been standing outside ooing and ahhing at your fabulous fireworks, they deserve some warming sustenance!  Ditch the jacket potatoes or bangers and beans in favour of steaming velvety pumpkin soup (you’ll have plenty left over from Halloween!), lightly spiced with cumin.   Serve in an oversized mug with a generous selection of traditional Indian breads – this is guaranteed to hit the spot and will keep those hands warm too!

Diwali Inspired Bonfire Night Party

For those with a sweet tooth, offer a selection of both traditional Bonfire Night fair and Indian sweets.  Parkin and toffee apples will keep the traditionalists happy whilst fudge-like barfi and sticky sweet jaleebi will be a big hit – especially with the children.

Private Parties Catering in Manchester 20.06.2017.03


Along with warming food, I would also suggest providing warming drinks.  Cinnamon infused mulled cider is a great warming drink.  For those who would rather something non-alcoholic, serve rich hot chocolate with a selection of syrups and toppings.

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Fire Pit

And finally, Bonfire Night is an outdoor celebration.  Try keep it that way by building a bonfire or at the very least a fire pit.   If you are building your fire on grass, cut a large disc of turf away and surround your planned fire with bricks or stone, to contain it.  Once you have made sure that any young guests are supervised and that someone is keeping the fire burning, you and your guests can then spend the rest of the evening relaxing, chatting, roasting marshmallows and enjoying the great outdoors! 

I hope our Diwali Inspired Bonfire Night Party tips have helped.  Plan, and enjoy!!

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 Sep 24th 2014

Russell Watson Talks to The Cheshire Magazine

Thanks to Russell Watson for giving a great interview to The Cheshire Magazine – all in support of the Variety, the Children’s Charity Awards Dinner to honour Kirsty Howard.  A special TLC night

Russell Watson Russell Watson

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 Sep 21st 2014

Stars join Kirsty Howard for Variety Award

A spectacular TLC party as Variety, the Children’s Charity honoured 19 year old Kirsty Howard with an Outstanding Achievement Award at the Hilton Deansgate Manchester  Great DVD messages from the likes of David Beckham and Prime Minister David Cameron, and a fantastic night to honour a wonderful lady.  We feel proud to have been asked to get involved.

Russell WatsonLes Dennis

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 Sep 18th 2014

Halloween Parties with a Difference

Halloween Parties with a Difference

So, the children are back at school and there’s a noticeable nip in the air.  Before we know it, it’ll be Christmas, but I think there’s room to squeeze in a good party before then and what better excuse than Halloween!!  Take a look at some of my ideas on how to host a Halloween parties with a difference – ditch the ghosts, zombies and wizards in favour of a very stylish, spooky Day of The Dead Party….. your children will love you!

Day of the Dead (Día de Muertos) is the Mexican tradition, celebrated from 31 October to 2 November, of remembering loved ones who have died – sounds sombre?  Not at all, this is a vibrant celebration and perfect for a party.

Halloween Parties with a Difference

The main motif of The Day of the Dead is the adorned and patterned skull of a Mexican lady.  It’s a very striking image and should be incorporated into all design aspects of your event – especially the invitations. If you can, opt for a professional laser cut design – perhaps something that can be opened out into a 3D skull.  Don’t forget this invitation will be setting the tone for your party – if you want this to be a full on fancy dress-fest, here is your chance to make that clear. And send them out early, the more notice you give, the better the fancy dress – and with this theme, people can really go to town!

For your Halloween Parties with a Difference, go all out on colour for your decoration.  Most Mexican Day of the Dead celebrations have, as their centre-piece, an altar festooned with bright flowers – I suggest using lots and lots of huge tissue paper pom-pom flowers to decorate your room, along with paper bunting and plenty of life-sized skeletons.  Keep lighting low level by with pierced metal lanterns and flickering votive candles (LED ones are ideal), to create that slightly macabre feeling.

RELATED TOPIC: 5 Freakishly Good Halloween Tips

Greet your friends with a bespoke fruit punch served, of course from a cauldron.  To keep their drinks cold, offer worm-infested ice cubes (jelly worms of course!) and be sure to capture their expressions for Instagram as the ice melts!

Food-wise, I recommend staying totally Mexican.  Hire in an authentic street cart to serve up delicious empanadas, mini burritos and filled tacos – delicious, fun and totally on-trend!  Younger guests will enjoy heaping corn tortillas with toxic slime (guacamole), squashed frog sauce (salsa) and witches teeth (sweetcorn). 

   Halloween Parties with a Difference

Dessert of course is equally important.  Something that will appeal to everyone is churros.  These delicious sugared donut-like sticks can be shaped like bones for added amusement!  Dipped in thick hot chocolate, they are the perfect end to a Latino meal.

No Day of the Dead celebration is complete without some sugar skulls.  These decorative treats are made of icing and are ornamented with intricate patterns in glitter, sequins, foil and jewels.  You can either set up a creative area where guests can decorate their own, or they make a great party bag gift along with a selection of Day of the Dead temporary tattoos. 



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 Sep 16th 2014

London Fashion Week Sets the Party Trend

With London Fashion week setting the trends for Spring/Summer 2015, I have taken a look at the Autumn/Winter 2014 catwalk designs that have inspired some of my event designs this season.

Fabrics – this autumn and winter will see an increase in the use of metallic and iridescent fabrics – think brocade with a modern twist rather than sateen and lurex! These soft, tactile materials are perfect for table covers and when lit by candles or low level lighting they give a beautifully soft lustre. For that extra special touch, you can even create bespoke fabrics for your clients by digitally printing metallic designs such as logos or initials onto table linens.

Burberry and Temperley London, both showed collections featuring fabrics with ornate detailing whilst Alexander McQueen went for diaphanous lacy sheer fabric with feathers – obviously such lavish fabrics look amazing but come at a cost, so rather than blowing your budget, identify one design element from the trend and go with that.


Colours – all shades of blue from bright electrics to powder baby blue are big this season. Contrast them with vivid red and rich burgundies to make a bold design statement.  These colours will work beautifully for Christmas events, with dark velvety red fabrics for warmth against more stark, pale shades of blue.

Also popular are wet-look black and vibrant green. I am a huge fan of green and whilst this particular colour combination may not be for the faint-hearted, done properly, it will certainly have impact.

Patterns – by using the latest pattern designs in small elements of your event, you can give a nod to cat-walk trends without over doing it.This season Roksanda Ilincic’s designs using contrasting vertical and horizontal stripes are wonderful fun, as are Jonathan Saunders huge chequerboard prints. Table runners, napkins and bottle sleeves are a wonderful way of displaying patterns such as these and stunning against a bold solid background colour.

Whilst Christopher Kane’s clever folded fabric designs inspired me to explore the use of intricate yet simplistic origami place settings and table centres at events.

Trends – Delicate elements of nature were evident in Valentino’s elegant butterfly embellished gowns, which were a clear winner with me along with the art nouveau fabrics from Givenchy which also reminded me of gossamer butterfly wings.The motif is one that can be adapted so beautifully in event design.  How fantastic would hundreds of beaded tropical butterflies look at the centre of a table – simply stunning!

Folklore is also a big trend, with clear influences from Innuit culture in collections from Emilio Pucci and Burberry.This style is suitable for an informal, relaxed event – think faux fur or shearling throws, leather fringing and woollen blankets.

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 Sep 15th 2014


September 15, 2014


Events company, the Taylor Lynn Corporation (TLC) and Variety, the Children’s Charity have taken a – approach to fundraising at the charity’s September 20, 2014 event at Hilton Deansgate Manchester, which honours 19-year-old fundraiser Kirsty Howard with a Variety, the Children’s Charity Outstanding Achievement Award. For the first time, the event company and the charity have partnered up with Manchester based firm, Bidtec, who will provide them with the latest in mobile fundraising solutions.

TLC, who have previously staged high-profile fundraisers for the likes of Children in Need and Centrepoint, will be using Bidtec technology in a pre-event online auction website, allowing users to bid in the silent auction ahead of the prestigious awards dinner.

Plus, on the night itself iPads will be provided on each table, as well as a bespoke app for guests to download, which will allow them to take part in the charity auction and help raise thousands of pounds for Variety, the Children’s Charity and Francis House Children’s Hospice in Didsbury, Manchester.

The technology provides a quick and easy way for the bids to be compiled, displayed on a large screen in the event room and the winning bids to be announced.  Plus with the ability to bid either anonymously, or put your name to the donation, Bidtec have found a competitive spirit becomes a part of the bidding process.

Commenting on the partnership Liz Taylor from TLC said:“The event’s industry relies on the latest technology in many aspects of its work, so it is a natural progression for us to introduce bidding technology into our charity events.  We have to constantly innovate and move with the latest technology to make our events stand out, and this is no different in the charity sector.

‘The easy bidding approach offered by Bidtec will hopefully ensure that the amount of money raised on the night will beat all expectations and support two exceptional charities.’

Lyn Staunton, Variety, the Children’s Charity development director in the north-west said: ‘Utilising the latest technology in our fundraising is essential to make the most of every event we stage. This is the first time that the charity has used Bidtec, but we are confident that it will provide a modern, simple and fast way for people to take part in the auction and increase our fundraising totals.’”


For further details contact:For further information about the event and TLC, please contact Sarah Lewis – M: 0781 792 8132, E:

For further information about Variety, the Children’s Charity, please contact – Lyn Staunton, Development Director, T:0161 236 0500, E:

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 Sep 10th 2014

A Monastery Transformed!

Some amazing new photos of the fabulous ‘Monastery’ at Gorton, Manchester as the TLC team transformed it!  Here’s a sneaky peak!

party decor party decor party lighting party lighting celebrity entertainment


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 Sep 6th 2014

Second Time Wedding

Second Time Wedding

So you’ve finally said yes to your partner and the plans for marriage number two are in full swing. Then you stop and think for a moment, ‘are second time brides meant to scale things down’? Should they get married on the ‘quiet’ with just a few friends and family as witnesses’? Or should brides of a second time wedding even get married abroad with just their partner, so they don’t upset anyone?

I’ve found that second times brides tend to enjoy the day more, are much more relaxed and go with what they want, without worrying too much about parents/relatives friends etc.

Scale Up or Down?

Second time brides do not have to scale down their day! To the contrary – if they have had a bad experience the first time round, many second time brides want the works.  They still want to feel special and are prepared to splash out on their wedding day – and actually get more scope on what they can wear and colours for their wedding flowers etc. because a “white” dress is normally off the agenda.

Second Time Wedding

Seating Dilemmas

You may think that the seating plan will throw up all kinds of problems, but second time they can be more flexible.  If children want to sit with friends that’s fine. If there are some strained relationships in the room be sensitive to their needs. Just ensure that everyone is sat next to someone they like and enjoy chatting to.  You don’t have to have a top table, in fact you and your partner can sit with whoever you like!

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Most second time brides tend to choose a civil ceremony and a smaller reception.  However, it is still your special day so if you and your partner want the most luxurious venue in the area and food created by the region’s leading chef, go for it, as long as it doesn’t blow the budget totally!

personal wedding favours

Wedding Gifts

A wedding list for second time bride is fine, as log as it’s not too extravagant.  Guests will want to buy you a gift. If you really don’t need anything, then suggest gift vouchers at a favourite department store.

Deja Vu??

And the final rule when it comes to a second time wedding. Do not repeat your first wedding!  Choose something completely different so that the wedding receptions can’t be compared with each other.  And under no circumstances should you reuse anything from the first wedding in the second – dresses, rings etc – it is absolutely against second wetting etiquette and believe me, your guests will notice!!

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