This weekend was ‘FREE THE MUTHA CLAUS’ Christmas party for The Happy Mumdays.

It’s been months in the planning and I feel like I haven’t breathed properly for the passed few weeks, trying to pull it all together. I was so worried about turnout and people being disappointed. I wanted everyone to have a good time and feel like they got value for money.

I’m hoping to build on the ‘brand’ in 2020 so this party, our first one, was key to the success of making that happen. The daytime meet-ups with kids will always remain free because that’s what it is about, keeping people in contact with the world and making the motherhood journey easier. But I also would like a bit of a career and an income (feels so uncomfortable to say that aloud) and this seems like a good way to do that. It feeds my creative brain and gives me something to do with my time.

The party itself was great. The turnout wasn’t quite as good as I would’ve liked/could’ve been but I was a few weeks behind in releasing the tickets due to Teddy getting Bells Palsy and being hospitalised. It knocked everything out of order and became our only focus for a few weeks. The result being instead of releasing tickets when I wanted to, allowing people two months to sort out the money for a ticket and babysitters etc, they went live just five weeks prior.

It also meant I didn’t have much time to pull everything together either. The raffle prizes had to be begged for and obtained, the food had to be decided upon, costed and purchased. I found a DJ (thanks to a friend). A venue. Decor had to be envisioned and purchased. Tickets had to be monitored and promoted. The bottom line was watched meticulously. It had to be. I couldn’t afford to lose money on this event.

It all came together and on the day itself, my Bunni and The Bearded Manc came to help decorate the venue. It took us 6.5 hours but the end result was like something straight out of the 70s. I loved it. I couldn’t have done it without them. I never would’ve finished in time.

I have to give credit here to my Bunni who despite having only recently turned three, spent 6.5 hours in the same one room. The Bearded Manc and I pretty much left her to her own devices and she pottered about, playing, singing and “helping”, without moaning about being bored or tantrums. What a little star.

I rushed home to have a bath and get ready, paranoid that I’d forget all the fresh food sat in my fridge. I didn’t though and returned to the venue laden with salami and stinky cheeses and started the grazing table I had long dreamed about creating for my partygoers. I thought it’d be easy. And quick. It was neither.

A mere ninety minutes later, it was done and dare I say it, looked pretty ace. Henry VIII would’ve been proud. It was beautiful and plentiful (another thing I worried about…how much food do you need for a grazing table?). I scattered some gysophylia across it and felt pretty smug about the whole thing. *Patselfonback*

I was ready for my guests with – I kid you not- less than one minute to spare. That’s the reality of trying to establish and run a business with two small kids (literally) in tow.

My lovely friend, Louise (unofficial business manager and butt kicker) arrived early to help and frantically tore raffle tickets up at a rate of knots, (because I’d not had time) and then spent the night selling them for me. What a little gem.

I still haven’t done a proper tally of what was raised from the charity raffle as yesterday was mostly spent dealing with the messy venue and clearing up. My home had become a bomb site, with everything being stored in our bedroom and so it all needed sorting.

As did the donations for Manchester Women’s Aid of bras, bags, sanitary products and toiletires that I asked guests to bring along with them. Everyone was so generous. I’ve got three boxes in my bedroom all ready to be dropped off at The Pankhurst Centre in the next week, to help out women who need a little kindness and support right now. It’s amazing what a difference a bottle of shampoo can make to someone’s day.

It was an immense amount of work. You don’t realise how much work goes into events until you do one entirely alone and have the pressure of it being a success both for the guests and for you as a business too. It’s massive. But I think it was a success, at least I hope everyone enjoyed themselves. It seemed as though they did and I have since received some nice messages and photos which suggests that overall FREE THE MUTHA CLAUS was well received, while also being of massive benefit to the community at large in terms of money raised and items donated.

It’s great to know that while we had a good time, we were also helping out a fellow babe down the road who can’t be partying with us because life isn’t always fair, but while things might be a bit sh*t, there’s an army of Mum’s looking out for her.

A huge thank you goes to the venue, the New Nags head (Urmston) for being so accommodating, all the amazing raffle prize donors who were so very generous, the DJ’s and my lovely little family for being so supportive. Not to mention everyone that came along or supported the event somehow, however small. It means more to me than you could ever know.

I know there are some areas to improve on and I will definitely do that before the next big bash – 2020 FREE THE MUTHA CLAUS will be huge! Top of my list of ‘must do better‘ is the venue which absolutely has to be accessible. It was unavoidable this time due to time restraints but I didn’t feel good about it. It won’t happen again because when I say The Happy Mumdays is for all Mum’s, I mean it.

Anyway, here’s to 2020 and venues clad in tinsel, where we do like Prince says and party like it’s 1999.