Essential Outdoors: How to Throw Your Own Mini Festival

Festival themed parties are the hottest thing right now. Even Kim Kardashian and Kanye West planned a Coachella music festival themed first birthday party for their daughter North. Sadly most of us can’t afford a Ferris wheel – or fit it in our garden for that matter!

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So to get in on the trend, how do you throw your very own mini festival?

#1  Pick a Location

Unless you have a huge back garden it is unlikely you will be able to hold the festival party at home, so where would work best? Do you know a friend with a large garden or some land you can hire? Or if you are worried about facilities you could do it inside at your local community hall. Wherever you decide to throw your festival, make sure to consider essential elements such as toilets and parking facilities. You wouldn’t want something so simple to ruin the day.

#2 Check the Weather

Even if you were born in the middle of July, sadly with the British weather you cannot guarantee it won’t rain. So make sure to check the weather in advance and plan accordingly. No one wants a wash out.

#3 Plan Entertainment

How much money are you planning on spending? If the sky’s the limit, then rent out a load of fairground equipment, build a stage for the hired entertainment and create a poster for the line-up.
For those on a smaller budget, get a friend to dress up as a clown, ask a local band to provide the music in exchange for the exposure and book a bouncy castle. You don’t have to spend a fortune to have fun!
If you are planning a lot and have an outdoor location you may want to consider how you are going to power this entertainment when there is no electricity switch in sight. Renting used generators or used lighting towers may be a necessity.

#4 Serve up Great Food

Most festivals will have stages lined with food carts and trucks, selling everything from hotdogs and beer to cooked dinners inside a giant Yorkshire pudding. So what will you dish up at your party?
Mini burgers are always a favourite, and they don’t require any crockery, so less washing up to do! Serve them with cones of chips, bowls of crisps and sweet treats like cupcakes and toffee apples always go down well.

Other Festival Themed Ideas

– Instead of giving your guests a birthday party invite send them tickets to get in.

– Set up a few tents with plenty of soft cushions inside for any tired guests, whether that is napping toddlers or adults who    have had one-too-many beers.

-Put out plenty of garden furniture if you are planning an outdoor party, no one enjoys eating standing up – even at a real festival.

-Complete a line-up and display it clearly, such as on a chalk board. This way your guests will know when to come off the bouncy castle and enjoy a live show.

So will you be throwing your very own festival themed birthday party, or maybe one for your kids? Have fun! We’ll be expecting an invite soon….

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How To Run A Cost Effective Construction Site

A construction site can either be a profitable dream project, or a money-consuming nightmare. The difference is in 3 simple tips…

bricksImage: dierk schaefer

“The most efficient, labour-saving device is still money.” – Franklin P Jones

Money, money, money.

At the end of the day, when all is said and done, most projects rise or fall on the amount of money available to fund them. And when a project is of the type requiring you to run a construction site…this is especially the case. That’s because a construction site is the type of creature that, if you’re not careful, will swallow your budget in one gulp before you’ve barely gotten started, and continue demanding more…even beyond the point that it’s drained you dry of everything you’ve got, thats the bad news….

But the great news is that by following 3 simple tips, you can not only run a cost effective construction site, but you’ll also have the joy and benefit of your completed project, here they are:

#1 Start With A Plan – it’s been said before, but it’s worth saying again: failing to plan is planning to fail. Before you embark on your construction project, you need to be explicitly clear on exactly what you want, how you want it, when you want it…and the plan you’re going to follow to get it. After all, if you don’t know where you’re going before you set out on a journey, how will you know when you get there? And knowing when you get there is important, because – just like a meter running in a taxi cab – the longer your construction project goes on, the more it is going to cost you. So you need to have a comprehensive detailed plan that expresses your vision, goals and objectives…as well as demonstrating the step-by-step path to realising them. Now if this all sounds a bit overwhelming, that’s only because you’re looking at it through the lens of having to figure it all out by yourself.

You don’t. All you have to do is follow tip#2 which is…

#2 Build A Team For The Task – To turn your dream into a reality will require the input of a team of experts. Accountants, financial advisors, architects, project manager, tradesmen…the greater the scope of your project, the broader the spectrum of expertise required in your team. And as you share your ideas and goals with your team, they will help you turn the metaphorical ‘sketch on the back of a napkin’ into a detailed blueprint that can be followed step-by-step to turn your vision into a reality. But there is one caveat to this, which is found in the third – and most vital tip.

#3 Create A Budget And Stick To It – This is where many projects rise to success or collapse in an expensive heap of failure…and the reason why you need to be brutally honest and ruthlessly realistic when creating a budget that you are going to commit to. Without this level of commitment, costs will very quickly spiral out of control and cause your project to fall into disarray. However, often times this is easier said than done. And so a great deal of creativity needs to be employed to find ways of completing the project within the boundaries of the budget.

One of these creative tactics used is in the costs of materials and building tools.Now whilst there can be a fine line to be walked between quality and expense when it comes to materials…this line is a lot broader when you consider the tools used in the process of construction. And one major strategy during the planning stage is to seek out “used welders” or “used generators for sale” listings in order to find second hand tools that still provide first class performance.And if you work closely with your team to identify every single tool and resource that would be required to deliver the full scope of your construction project…seeking out second hand building tools can be a way to stop your construction site from draining you of “money, money, money”.

Planning an Outdoor Event in 10 Simple Steps

Organising an event can be very complicated, especially if you haven’t got much experience doing so. This can become even more difficult when you have to consider the great outdoors – but luckily for you, we’ve put together this checklist to ensure that you have everything you need to hold a successful event.

mhm Checklist for an Outdoor Event…

1. The Venue – is the space large enough, is there ample parking (if necessary), is it easily accessible, is there a limit on people allowed in the area, can you hold the number of trailers/ stages you want? This all needs to be determined prior to booking.

2. What’s the weather – you may not be able to see into the future, but you can use common sense to determine the likelihood of it being wet or cold and make arrangements around this. If your event is in the winter then heaters and shelter should be a priority.

3. Safety Check/ Insurance – as organiser it is your job to ensure that nothing goes wrong, which is why you will need to conduct a safety check of the venue and ensure that you have the appropriate insurance in place. You will also need to ensure that all potential hazards are dealt with appropriately and have proper first aid measures in place.

4. Road Closures – if you’re holding a particularly large event then you may need to consider whether roads need to be shut. You will have to talk to the local government authority and police to seek approval and assistance – this should be done at least three months prior to the event but the more notice your provide the better.

5. Hire a generator – outdoor events don’t tend to have easy access to electricity, which means that you will have to find power from other sources. Diesel generators are a great way to provide portable power to almost anything you need it for and you can tailor the size based on your needs.

6. Hire a lighting tower – events that go on late into the night will need to find light from somewhere and lighting towers are perfect for this. You can hire a few in order to create an even spread over high traffic areas or simply use them to make potential hazard areas safer.

7. Catering – where’s the food coming from? This is something you will seriously need to consider prior to the event. If you’re going to be serving alcohol then you will need to ensure that you have the correct licences in place.

8. Waste Management – people create a lot of rubbish and you need to have systems in place to deal with this. Make sure you have an ample amount of bins and that they are regularly emptied to prevent overflow and spread of further waste. Having toilets is essential so make sure that you have an appropriate system in place. There are many options here from single portable units to toilet specific trailers, make sure that you account for the number of people and size of the event.

9. Attractions – what’s the point of an event with no attractions? Make sure you get some acts, performances or other attraction in that will help to draw a crowd and keep people entertained. Always remember that it’s safer to have too many than too few, this will ensure people are entertained all night long.

10. Signage – stop being getting lost by ensuring that there are signs in place to direct people to various places in the event. Make sure that these signs are easy to see and won’t get ruined or broken by rain or heavy wind.

And there you have it, all the important bases covered! Just make sure you remember to publicise the event, otherwise you’ll have a well-planned event happening with no guests…