Our blog this month has been written by our 2018 Franchisee of the Year Laura Dodsworth from Pink Spaghetti Staines & Woking. It was first published on LinkedIn.
It’s that time of year I almost dread….my daughters’ birthdays. A terrible thing to say I know! I have 2 girls, Poppy (2) and Gracie (5), and a step-daughter Hayley (15). By some strange co-incidence, their birthdays are all 2 days apart from each other in May, which makes my life a little hectic, to say the least.
This year, our holiday fell right in among it all too – one birthday while we were away, one on the day we returned, and one 2 days after we returned. I have no idea what I was thinking when I booked it!
We also did battle with chickenpox just before the holiday and before all the birthdays – my eldest first, closely followed by an anxious wait for my youngest to get it, get over it, and be fit to fly for our holiday.
We are now through the other side, phew, and I live to tell the tale. I am super organised by nature so it should have been a doddle but it was no mean feat so I thought I would share my top tips for getting through busy periods.
Evernote was a Godsend – I used it for lists (and there were plenty of lists!), websites I’d stumbled across, photos of everything from cakes to balloons. It’s accessible from any device, and the search function on it is fab.
WhatsApp, while fairly basic was great. We threw a quadruple party – both my children, my eldest’s best friend (who has the same birthday, you couldn’t make it up) and her sister who is 10 days later. It was great to have another parent to share the load but that, of course, meant I had someone else to check everything with!
Pinterest was fab for logging ideas for birthday presents – not only are all the children in the same week, we have 6 other friends and family members around the same time. When the time came to get the presents, I planned ahead and bulk ordered as much as I could from the same toy store to make it time efficient and cost effective as that got rid of any delivery charges as I’d spent over a certain amount.
All gifts were put into an Excel spreadsheet on my phone so I could manage my budget and remember what I’d bought. Nerd alert, I know….
Facebook was brilliant for recommendations when looking for a hall for the party, and an entertainer – so many local parents willing to share their experiences and ideas. And it’s super easy to share content so when I wanted the other Mum to take a look at something, I simply tagged her in.
There were to-do lists aplenty – I had to plan so much in advance. For example, we had to take my eldest’s presents with us as her birthday was while we were abroad, that meant buying and wrapping extra early. Some gifts needed batteries so that went on the list too (although not allowed in hand luggage!), and we took balloons and banners for the hotel room. The list was endless….
Even on-line shopping played a role – while sunning myself in Ibiza, I ordered a grocery shop on-line to be delivered once we’d arrived home with supplies for us as well as the party. Delivered to the door – super easy!
As I sit back now, the holidays, birthdays and chickenpox a dim and distant memory, I realise what a huge role the internet plays in planning – how did we manage before?! There are so many apps worth exploring and so many planning tools we should be making the most of.
If you’re hectic at home or at work and need help getting organised, don’t hesitate to get in touch – Pink Spaghetti are your 25th hour in the day.