Category Archives: How to

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How To Build A Beach At Your Event

The Seaside is a popular theme at events and galas these days. No Seaside event would be complete without sand. This is how the organisers of a Seaside Day in Ripon, North Yorkshire tackled the problem. A large plastic sheet was laid on the grass and planks were set up on three sides to create a boundary and to contain the sand which was tipped onto the sheet. There were also small inflatable paddling pools set out round this, also containing sand.  I took this photo at the end of the afternoon just as the event was closing. Earlier on it would have been impossible to take a picture as it was crowded with children digging and building sand castles etc

Seaside Day Sand Pit

Seaside Day Sand Pit

Seaside Day Sand

Seaside Day Sand

Have you held a Seaside Day? Share your ideas with us.

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How To Avoid Face Paint Peril For Parents | Face Painting Advice

It is great fun to play around with face paints and dress your kids up for parties or playtime. Just take care to follow our 5 key tips on how to paint your child’s face safely.

1. There are many face paints available out there in toy shops and supermarkets, but some are not so great.  You may find that the cheaper ones are more like a cream and don’t go on or cover well. Try and find a water based paint kit. Snazaroo is a good make and the sets usually come with everything you need; a set of the basic colours, a brush, a sponge and often a book of design ideas.

2. Always do a patch test before applying paint to your child’s face. It is not advisable to paint a child’s face under the age of three. This is of course due to how sensitive skin is at that age and problems, such as eczema, are common. Many paint manufacturers have now changed the age suitability on their products from two to three years old. Never paint a child who is suffering from sensitive skin, eczema or cold sores.

3. Removing water based paint is simple; it goes on with water and comes off with water and a little soap if necessary. For other types of paint always read the instructions on how the product manufacturers recommend removal. Don’t remove water based paint with face wipes; it may irritate the skin and cause soreness or the ingredients in the wipes may react with the paint.

4. If you are going to add some sparkle as the finishing touch, make sure you buy a glitter which is designed for the skin. Craft glitter is NOT suitable for faces, and they are metal-based which makes them very dangerous. NEVER apply glitter around the eye area.

5. Remember to sit somewhere comfortable while painting and make sure your child sits as still as they can! Two stools or chairs of the same height would be ideal. Beware that some face paint might stain upholstery or clothes. Tie long hair back and get the child to wear a hair band if necessary to get fringes out of the way. Rest one hand on the child’s head to prevent any fidgeting! Always take care whilst painting around eyes. Most of all, use your imagination and have fun!!!

By Natsha Wood

Please feel free to comment on this article or ask a question if you wish.

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Find more information, photos and video clips about face painting

To hire a Professional Face Painter go to Face Painter [ Jolly Good Productions ]

For information about Training go to Face Painting Courses [ Jolly Good Productions ]

You Tube Free Video Downloader

How to download You Tube videos for FREE

If you enjoy watching videos on You Tube then this great piece of FREE software might be of interest. It enables you to download your favourite films and videos directly to your PC. It works on Firefox, Internet Explorer and Opera browsers and it’s easy to install. Just go to and follow the appropriate links. If you want to experiment then please feel free to test it on any of the Jolly Good Productions videos. To locate them type Jolly Good Productions or ronwooduk into the You Tube search box. You can now watch your favourite film clips without having to log in to You Tube every time.

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Children’s Entertainer | Right And Wrong Way To Book

Booking Children’s Entertainment for a Fun Day, Event or a Birthday Party can be a minefield. What is the best way to go about it? What are the pitfalls? Where do I start? In this article we discuss the pros and cons of booking an entertainer.

You will need to consider the following:

  • What type of children’s entertainment do I want?
  • When do I want it, date and times?
  • How many shows / performances are required and duration of each?
  • How many Acts / Artists / Performers will there be?
  • What is my budget?
  • How am I going to book the act I want?
  • How will payment be made?

Having established exactly what it is you want you will need to make a booking. There are a number of ways this can be done.

  • Telephone / verbal agreement. This is the easiest way but neither party has any come back should things go wrong. There could be misunderstandings, things could be forgotten, changes could occur which are not passed on.  This is a recipe for disaster and best avoided. A very unprofessional way to do business. We often receive calls from people saying they have been let down at the last minute, can we help. More often than not it was a booking made over the phone or through someone who knew someone etc.
  • Book through another act. Perhaps you already have an act booked for your event and this person offers to book the other entertainers for you. These days many performers are willing to do this as they are extending the service they offer and making life easier for you. In most cases they are likely to be taking a cut from the fee. They may or may not know the act they are bringing in. They are unlikely to have employers liability insurance which they should have if you are paying them and they are then paying the act as technically they are acting as the employer. Finally, they may not pass on the payment. We know of a Face Painter who was booking other face painters and children’s entertainers out to events and disappeared owing over £5000. Unfortunately this type of problem does occur.
  • Booking through an Entertainment Agency. If you are going to use a third party then using an established and reputable agency is the best way. Unfortunately Entertainment Agencies are not licenced and this means that anyone can set up and start trading without any control over their activities. This can lead to unscrupulous people exploiting the situation for monetary gain. The advantage of using an Agency is that you can source everything from one place. You don’t need to spend a lot of time scouring the Internet looking for the right acts, contacting them all and trying to choose between them. The agent does that for you. This all sounds great and if you are dealing with a reputable agent then all should be well. There are still a few things to be aware. First, you will find that the agent’s terms and conditions completely remove any responsibility from themselves should things go wrong. Check the small print if you don’t believe me. You can complain to the agent but you will have no redress against them as their terms and conditions have get out clauses for everything. Second, you don’t know how much you are paying for their services. We know of one incidence where the agent charged the client £350 and paid the act £180. It is fair for an Agent to charge 15% – 20% for arranging a booking but taking almost 50% is outrageous even if two agents are involved. There should be transparency when arranging fees and the percentage to be paid to the agent should be known by the act and the Booker. Finally, it is common practice for agents to issue a contract to the act and a different contract to the client so neither party sees what the other is signing. This is because the agent doesn’t want either side to know what he is making on the deal. This is not good practice because the agent is setting up a contract between himself and the act but not taking any responsibility as the employer and then there is a separate contract between the agent and the client again where he is also not taking any responsibility. So there exists no contract between the act and the client. A very bad state of affairs especially if the agent does a bolt with the money or goes bust after he has collected the fees due to the act. Believe me this does happen and it is wrong. I know of many instances of this type of thing happening. In one case the agent owed £150,000 to acts who had worked for him – and no one got a penny.
  • Use an Event Management Company to plan and run the entire event including booking all of the entertainment in which case you can relax and let them sort it all out. This is really only an option for corporate clients with substantial budgets as hiring in  this kind of total service and expertise is going to cost.
  • Book direct. This is my preferred option. This way you can discuss the requirements directly with the provider. Nothing is going to be misinterpreted, misunderstood or missed out. You are in complete control. A professional Children’s Entertainer will send you a contract or written confirmation and there is no middleman to pay.

Payment terms should always be agreed in advance and adhered to. It is a good idea to pay a deposit as you then have a legally binding agreement. You should sign and return any paperwork as soon as possible in order to secure the booking.

Have you had good / bad experiences when booking children’s entertainment or other types of act? What are your views on this subject?

Slide Show | Feature Packed And FREE

How to get a fab feature packed slide show for free!

Most people use digital cameras these days and end up with hundreds of photos sitting in albums on their computer. Here is a great way to create a brilliant slide show using FREE software on the internet. is easy to set up and use and its got some great features. Here is an example of a slide show I made up in just a couple of minutes:

Natasha\’s 21st Birthday

You can easily send by e mail or insert into a web site etc.

Hope you find this software useful.

Memory Full, Baffling Computer Problem Solved

How to solve a computer memory problem.

Warning messages were popping up on my laptop informing me that I was running out of memory. I did a quick assesment of what was on my hard drives and was certain that this was incorrect. I went into Windows and changed the settings to show hidden files but nothing significant turned up. I was baffled. I asked a few knowledgable people what they thought  and also took my laptop into several computer shops. There was much head scratching and chin stroking but no answers. I drew a blank every time. Finally I went onto Google and started reading forums on related matters. Inevitably I discovered that lots of other people have had the same problem. I read about a programme called Winderstat which is FREE to download and will not only show you everything on your computer, hidden files and all, you can also clean up your drives and remove unwanted stuff too. The description for Winderstat is:

“WinDirStat is a disk usage statistics viewer and cleanup tool for Microsoft Windows (all current variants)”

Once I downloaded and installed Winderstat I could immediately see what was going on. I had a stack of back up files piling up but HIDDEN from view. I deleted all but the most recent and all was well again.

Problem solved!

I recommend you try out Winderstat. Even if you don’t need it right now it’s worth having a copy just in case.

Magician’s Lemon Cheescake Recipe Is Magic

Well it’s true, I do know a few magic tricks and some people call me a magician but a chef I am not. On the other hand I do know a good cheesecake when I taste one. The recipe I am sharing with you here is magic so give your taste buds a treat and try it.

How to make lemon cheesecake


Base :

6 oz digestive biscuits

3 oz butter

1 1/2oz demerara sugar

Filling :

397 gms condensed milk

1/2 pint double cream, whipped

2 lemons – juice and zest


Base :

Line a dish with foil

Spread the biscuit mixture, place in fridge to set

Remove foil

Filling :

Bring to the boil slowly

When cool place on biscuit base

Yum Yum, we’re done !

Suitable for freezing

Hope you agree this would make great party food.

Do you like cheesecake?  What’s your favourite?  Have you tried this one?

How I Made My Twitter Background

Twitter is a growing phenomenon. There are already millions of people using Twitter and more joining every day. I read Joel Comm’s book Twitter Power which is full of great advice. Joel strongly recommends having a customised Twitter Background. Once you have signed up for Twitter it’s easy to change the background using the standard templates supplied. In the menu bar, top right, click on Settings then click on Design. Simply select the background you want, click save changes and your new background will appear. If you don’t see anything you fancy there are Web sites offering more exciting FREE or very cheap backgrounds, try Tweetygotback or Mytweetspace or freetwitterdesigner

How to make a Twitter Background

I made my own Background. Here’s how I did it :

  1. Using my web design software I created a blank page 1200px wide by 600px high because this works ok with most computer screens.
  2. I put my logo, some text and a small photo in a narrow column down the left hand side. I had been advised that the column should be 200px wide so I tried that first.
  3. I then put another picture, full height on the far right hand side also bearing in mind the 200px width. I added some text which I flipped to read vertically at the extreme right.
  4. I saved this as a png file in My Pictures.
  5. I went back to Twitter, signed in, went to Settings, then to Design. I scrolled down and clicked Change background image.
  6. I clicked the Browse button to locate my saved file which I had name twitback1, clicked open, then saved changes to install the image.
  7. I opened a new tab on my browser, went to my Twitter page and previewed my work.
  8. On previewing I found that the columns on both sides were too wide and quite a lot of my text and images were not visible. I viewed the my Twitter home page on my laptop and on a PC because the appearance changes depending on the screen size used to view the page.
  9. I went back to my original design and made corrections, reducing the width of the columns, moving the images etc. I then saved the changes and went back through the process of uploading the revised image.
  10. I previewed again on Laptop and PC  and was still not happy. I returned to my design and changed it.
  11. I repeated this process several times until I got something I was happy with.
  12. I found that the images and text on the right hand side were more affected by the change in screen size when viewing. I therefore increased the width of the images on the right hand side to compensate or this.
  13. I also noticed that there is a gap between the box containing the main content and the menu bar on the Twitter template. I added a crowd scene across the top of the page on my original design. You can see the crowd scene in the space between the menu and main content. I was quite pleased with that.
  14. I also ended up saving my design in JPG format rather than PNG format. The resulting image seemed sharper.
  15. See my finished page by searching for ronwooduk on Twitter

Having a your own Twitter Background is a good idea and it’s not difficult to do. Yes, it is  time consuming and requires a little time and patience. However it’s worth the effort.

I hope you found this article useful. Your comments / questions are most welcome.

How To Make Yourself Feel Better

Laughter is the best form of medicine says Chuckle The Clown ! A friendly smile is worth its weight in gold and no one can deny that having a good laugh makes you feel better.

Doctors, Nurses and Psychologists acknowledge that ” A cheerful heart is good medicine ” It is well known that laughter reduces stress, eases pain, fosters recovery and generally brightens ones outlook.

Some hospitals and nursing homes amuse patients with trolleys stocked up with jokes, humorous cd’s, games and gimmicks. A few have even set up ” humour rooms ” for use by patients and their families to enjoy hearty laughter whilst watching DVD’s, telling jokes and watching live performances.

In one hospital nurses wear badges that read ” Warning : Humour may be hazardous to your illness”

Laughter stimulates the production of alertness hormones called catecholamines. These cause the release of endorphins in the brain. Endorphins promote a sense of relaxation and dull the perception of pain.

In addition Cathecholamines increase blood flow, speed up healing, reduce inflammation and increase alertness.

It is also believed that laughter enhances immune response by reducing hormones that suppress immunity.

A Doctor at the School of Osteopathic Medicine in New Jersey said that the diaphragm, thorax, abdomen, heart, lungs and even the liver are given a massage during a hearty laugh. Dr Herring declared that the effect of laughter on the cardiovascular and respiratory functions is even more evident. Regular breathing is disrupted, expiration becomes spasmodic and deeper. There is an increase in heart rate, blood pressure and muscular tension. As laughter subsides all of these levels drop to lower than normal and the individual feels relaxed.

It is thought that this relaxed state can last for up to 45 minutes and can help to counter high blood pressure heart disease and depression.

Given the fast pace of modern life and the daily pressures many of us face it’s easy to become stressed or feel depressed. In a weakened condition we are more prone to illness. Perhaps we all need some Laughter Therapy.

Chuckle The Clown’s advice on ” How To Make Yourself Feel Better ”

A laugh a day keeps the doctor away…

Book Chuckle The Clown for a party or event.

Share your ideas on ” How To Make Yourself Feel Better ” What works for you ?

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How To Make Yummy Yummy Chocolate Cookies

Check out this great party food recipe. My Mum loved baking and she wrote down many of her favourite recipes. I have copied this from her hand written notes. We always had great family parties with lots of delicious home cooking. I hope you enjoy these ” yummy yummy ” cookies as much as we did when Mum made them for us.

How to make ” Soft Chocolate Cookies “


4 oz butter

4 oz soft light brown sugar

1 tbspn golden syrup

1 med egg

1 tsp vanilla essence or flavouring

6 oz plain flour

1/2 tsp bicarb of soda

4 oz chocolate – plain / white / milk, chopped into small chunks


Set oven to 190 deg C or Gas 5

Have a baking tray ready

Cream together butter, syrup and sugar

Beat in egg and vanilla with a little of flour

Gently mix in remaining flour and bicarb until thoroughly combined. Stir in chocolate

Place heaped spoonfuls of mixture onto baking tray, allow room for spreading

Flatten slightly then bake for 10 – 12 mins until cookies are brown underneath and at edges and beginning to brown on top

Cool on wire rack

Cookies become firmer as they cool

Hey Presto!

Try this at your next birthday party or family get together.

I’m on the look out for other recipes to share on my blog. Can you help? Add your recipe in the comment section below.

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