A few months ago, I planned a party to celebrate my son’s first birthday and arranged for some balloons through a large company in Penrith. It was very much out of my way, but I wanted balloons and Penrith seemed the logical place to go. Only days after the party, however, I ran into Lisa from “Pop goes the Weasel”, who, as I quickly discovered, runs her own Balloon business only minutes from my house. I was so disappointed that I didn’t know about her earlier. But it was that chance encounter that sparked the idea for this post: host a birthday party for a local family and showcase some of our extraordinary local talent.

What follows is the final report from the day; a “party blog”, I guess, highlighting some the talent we have around the Blue Mountains. The businesses in this blog all donated their time, talent, and resources to help a lovely family in the community celebrate their son’s birthday. Let me tell you, these girls are the real deal. Working with them was wonderful and I can say with confidence that you will have no regrets engaging their services. Happy Party Planning.

Brushtail Photography—Elvia Butt

First up, let me introduce you to our photographer, Elvia (pictured above with her camera). Her photos speak for themselves. Really, she is a wonder at her craft and an incredibly generous person, who gives her all to the people she works with. You feel how much she loves her job of capturing stunning images. She is a mother to two, lives in the Blue Mountains, and owns her own business as a photographer. She completed a Bachelor of Arts in Visual Communications, majoring in Photography. But what started as an interest has become a skilled profession. Elvia loves working with families and loves finding ways to unlock genuine moments of Joy to capture on camera. In her own words: “My goal is to capture what matters to you, in a natural and candid way.” Elvia was so wonderful to work with. I don’t think she stopped smiling the whole time she was there. Nothing was too much. No request was too silly. She got in whatever posture was necessary to get the shot she wanted.

This whole feature is showcasing Elvia’s Work (with exception to the photo of her taking a photo, which was a sneaky one I took on my phone). These first few are just some of the many photos she took of our team and their talents.

Elvia is available for a variety of photography needs. Newborn, Family, and Events. She is also quickly becoming renowned for her amazing Santa photos each year. She crafts a beautiful set up with all the trimmings, a truly unique experience for your kids. You may not think to have a photographer at a party, after all, you have a camera on your phone, right? But if you’re anything like me, most of the time you simply forget to take photos in all the busyness of hosting your child’s party. So, if you want to make sure all the details are captured and have one less thing to think about on the day, a photographer like Elvia is a great investment.

Capturing beautiful Family photos is where her heart is. Here are just a few she caught of my little family. Including my sons favourite moment: meeting real super heroes!

Head over to her website www.brushtailphotography.com and look through her portfolio. You can also follow her on Facebook @brushtailphotography for continual inspiration in your feed. It will be sure to make you smile.

Pop Goes the Weasel Balloon Design

Balloon “Art”—is that a thing? I wouldn’t have thought so, but after seeing Lisa’s work I have completely changed my mind. I’m not just talking about some helium balloon bouquets, this is another level. Don’t believe me? Just look at these photos. A slingshot made from balloons!? Amazing!

Lisa is a local mum who saw a niche in the Mountains and has jumped on it. And the best part: no more trips to Penrith to get my balloons. The thing that is so great about Lisa, like all the other businesses here, is that she is SO keen to find unique ways to help you create the atmosphere you want. She is wonderful at interpreting the brief you give and is also very generous with her own insights. She loves a good party theme and is likely to get a little bit excited about what you are planning. In addition to Balloon Art, she also loves a bit of glitter tattooing. So you can order some balloons to be delivered then get her to stay around and get glittering for additional entertainment. It’s a one stop shop for a party.

Lisa was so instrumental in the creation of this blog. She was a key collaborator in making the whole thing happen. Why? Because she genuinely wants to make it easier for you to enjoy celebrating your family and marking special occasions. You can view more of Lisa’s work and contact her on Facebook: @Pop Goes the Weasel Balloon Design.

Mrs. Woods and Co

Every party needs a cake, right? Lisa from Mrs. Woods and Co is one of those strange people that adores staying up into the early hours of the morning to make the perfect birthday cake. I gave Lisa a brief of the party’s theme and I could feel her excitement as we spoke. For her, a new theme is always exciting. She started researching what she could create and, I think you will agree with me, what she came up with was Brilliant. And, no surprises, the birthday boy was ecstatic.

Lisa is a local mum in the Blue Mountains who built a wonderful business around her love of baking. She has four children of her own, the eldest being 18, which means that she has spent many years organizing parties. In her own words: “Mrs. Woods & Co use the freshest and finest ingredients; we specialise in unique, made to order, special occasion buttercream cakes and cupcakes as well as personalized cookies and bespoke meringues. We can also design tailor-made, edible images for any occasions.” You will hesitate a moment before cutting the cake, they are just that good. And I can tell you from experience that they are as delicious as they are beautiful. More than her talent though, you can’t help but adore Mrs. Woods. She is just a special lady!

You can check out Lisa’s portfolio on her website www.mrswoodsandco.com. You’ll also want to follow her on Facebook and Instagram. So much inspiration to find there.

CHFaceArt

I am not exaggerating when I say that I have never seen face painting like this. It truly is art. Cate is amazing at what she does and is always embracing opportunities to further her skills and develop her technique. These photos don’t even do her work justice, really, they are just so brilliant. You can see in the photos her set up: the brushes, the colours, the sequins, the stencils, the glitter… It is probably the only time that you will be hesitant to wash your child’s face.

Cate not only paints but she also designs the artwork. For example: at this party, Cate didn’t have any Angry birds in her portfolio but got excited about the opportunity to create a new design. She just loves a challenge and looks for new ways to get creative. The other wonderful thing about Cate is that she is a trained childcare worker, meaning she is passionate about children and supporting families. You can see it when she is with the children. They feel comfortable with her, she gets them. I know that from several experiences my kids LOVE Miss Cate! In short, she is a local mum taking her hobby to the next level.

I mean, look at these faces, they are so beautiful! AND I could only include a few, there is SO much more where this came from.

You can check out more of Cate’s work and contact her via her Website: CHFaceArt

Once Upon a Magical Party

This girl, Lisa, (yes, another amazing girl called Lisa) is so incredible at what she does. If you’re like me, one the biggest stresses about hosting a party is creating the fun. Well, look no further. Lisa is another local mum who just loves making children smile. She has So many different characters she can play and when a party requires more she can make that happen too–like inviting Batman for this special boy’s celebration.

Here you see her setting up boxes for a game. This game is one she thought up to fit the theme of Angry Birds. If you are unfamiliar with the film, there is a scene where you find angry birds launching themselves via a slingshot (hence the balloon slingshot pictured above) into the city. So, Lisa created a city, then created some angry birds. Getting innovative with angry birds hats to make them into toys, how creative is that?! The objective was to launch the birds at the city and destroy it. Kids LOVED it. Such a great idea.

I first met Lisa at a park event where she came as Elsa from Frozen. Just because, she held a free party in the park. She has actually done this on multiple occasions. At each one, she painted hundreds of rocks to drop in the park for children to find. Why? Because she loves it! She has a wardrobe full of character costumes and so many ideas for fun activities. Games, craft, face painting, ballooning, any sort of activity to suit your theme. So many kinds of fun. Here she is playing a variety of games with the children. NOTE: No parent were required for the making or hosting of these games. Yes, you can sit back and just watch!

Lisa was wonderful to work with on the project. She had so many fantastic ideas and went above and beyond to build a connection with the birthday boy and help create the party of his dreams. Wonder Woman is just one of the many characters she plays, and the likes of Batman are only too happy to join her to provide reinforcement. What she didn’t have on hand she sourced or created herself. She was fantastic at casting the vision and collaborating with the rest of the team to create this party. I know from experience that she would bring a sparkle to any party.

One of the things that really impressed me was how she engaged with the kids. She played the games they suggested—even if they didn’t make sense—and she quickly diffused meltdowns that, let’s face it, are probably inevitable at any party. She was able to because she was getting to know the kids as she played with them, not just entertaining them. More than all of that, not having to stay up and wrap the pass the parcel was just fantastic.

You can see some of Lisa’s work and also contact her on Facebook @Onceuponamagicalparty.

Hot Spot Discounts

This little discount store in Springwood is a great “go to” place to get your party supplies. They have an aisle dedicated to all things party: plates, cups, napkins, banners, party bags, toys, lollies, balloons, costumes, even piñatas; all in a large variety of colours and trends. I can generally get all that I need here in one shop. For this party I just needed some of the basics: tablecloths, plates, cups, napkins, and I also wanted to put together some party bags. Hot Spot Discounts have a variety party bag options as well as lots of little play trinkets like the ones I put in these party bags–if you want to avoid a bag full of lollies. I will say though, they do have a great variety of lollies, too.

Here I purchased some small plastic party bags and put in: a lollypop, a small dinosaur, a party blower, a small stamp, a sheet of stickers, a balloon and a pen. Simple and cost effective. You will get most of what you need by way of party supplies here in Springwood = WIN. Located: 141 Macquarie Rd Springwood, NSW. And you can follow them on Facebook @HotSpotDiscounts.

The final report: it was an incredible day made possible by some even more incredible women. And just as important: the birthday boy had so much fun!

Well, I hope that this has been helpful and I hope it has enlightened you to some of the great services that are local to you. I also hope it has inspired you to search local when you are planning your next party. These girls are local businesses as well as local mums doing what they love. I know I love an opportunity to support my local businesses, and I also love putting money in the pockets of a local mum.

Finally, let me encourage you to share this post with other locals and help raise awareness of the local talent right here in our own neighbourhood!

Rachel

Author Rachel

I am Mum to 3 little ones, aged 6,3 and almost 1, Wife to my high school crush, Midwife at our local hospital and Creator of 'Out of the Nest'. I hope more than anything to do all these things well and maybe empower and encourage others along the way. Though its quite the juggling act, and balls do drop ALOT, so I am happy to talk about that too. xx

More posts by Rachel