CATEGORY / Day to day stories from Lollipops
I can not believe that January is over already. Being a working Mummy sure does make time fly by! The Christmas decorations are back up in the loft and thoughts are turning to events and offers for Spring/Summer. Our new milkshakes and smoothies have been a huge hit and we have also introduced our Play & Dine offer every Tuesday-Friday after 2.30pm which has become really popular. Customers can choose ANY meal off the kids menu:-)
So that life is not all work and no play I have also been planning a family break. After chatting to one of our regular customers about her recent trip to Disneyland Paris she has inspired me to make the most of the off peak prices before Rosie starts school in September and book a trip for March. So so excited…. the prices are fantastic value (not much more than centre parks and other UK breaks) and the girls are ridiculously excited. They are the perfect age for meeting characters and princesses! Bring it on!
Half term is only round the corner too and with it coinciding with pancake day we will of course be doing something yummy to mark the occasion- keep a look out on our Facebook page for updates.
Our exclusive party bookings have gone slightly crazy in the new year and we are now fully booked until the very end of March for the weekend slots. We do still have weekdays at 5pm or non exclusive slots left but please please do book early as we have unfortunately had to lots of customers miss out on dates they required.
Wow what an amazing start to the week. The Lollipops phone has been RED HOT with party bookings. We now have very limited availability for our exclusive party slots in both September and October and November also getting quite busy. So please please do not delay in calling us to book. We do still however have availability for our regular non-exclusive soft play parties which are a great cost effective way to host your kids birthday celebrations.
This week has also seen the kids going back to school and next week all of our amazing baby and toddler classes resume. We have got some really great classes in place including; Minky Moos sensory sessions, Jiggy wrigglers, Jo Jingles, Creation Station, Carousel drama, toddler Spanish as well as our very own gorgeous Jody hosting ballet babes – a brand new pay as you go ballet class for 18months up to 5yrs. I have tried to listen to our parents feedback and so now most of our classes operate on a pay as you go basis giving you more freedom with your payments. With all our classes you can stay and play in Lollipops soft play for just £1. Check out our website http://www.lollipopsplaycafe.com/whatson.html for more information.
The ice cream bucket offer we ran on bank holiday Monday was a HUGE success with loads of yummy ice cream being served all day despite the rain! Thanks to everyone who came and also my my amazing staff who coped so well on such a busy day and allowed us to stay open later than planned to meet the demand.
This week I had my first experience of being ill whilst owning a business – I apologise for anyone who felt service was not up to normal standards on Tuesday but I was so so poorly. I tried to come in but had to go home unfortunately. With all my staff away or without childcare unfortunately Jess and Ellis were left to fend for themselves and coped remarkably well given the circumstances.
Fingers crossed that will not happen again in a while! Onwards and upwards and super excited about the month of September and seeing some regulars return after the summer holidays– I’m loving Lollipops Erica. x
Wow what a crazy yet amazing first 5 weeks I had! After taking over in June the sun has not stopped shining which is not ideal when running a soft play café and I must be the only person in Bournemouth doing a rain dance every day!
However taking over at a quieter time of year I do think has been a blessing in disguise as there has been so much to learn. It has also been a big adjustment getting my 2 girls settled in nursery and getting our morning routine in place so that we all get out of the door on time in the morning.
So what is like running your own business? 2 words spring to mind…..terrifying and amazing!
It has been terrifying because of the sheer responsibilities that are involved; hygiene, insurance, staff payroll, rent etc etc but I can also say that hand on heart it has been the most amazing thing at the same time. Nothing in life can give you a true sense of achievement without being terrifying first right? I have had so much fun getting to know all the lovely staff, meeting so many amazing customers, hosting my first few birthday parties, working with local companies to ensure we deliver a fantastic range of classes, analysing and changing suppliers and off course evenings of painting with friends and family.
So what have I achieved so far…..
- Recruited 3 amazing new members of staff
- Altered the menu to ensure a good choice that minimises food wastage
- Introduced home made cakes and off course our very popular Rocky Road
- Change cake suppliers used for our parties
- Introduced new hygiene systems to ensure we operate our kitchen to the highest standards possible
- Painted our hall, toilets, counter, garden fence and front doors
- Created a stock room at the back which will free up space at the back of the play frame so we can eventually extend the play area and introduce new and exciting toys for our little customers
- Introduced my family’s amazing ice cream
- Created and launched a brand new website, blog and Instagram account
- New graphics to go inside along the wall to create an even happier friendly atmosphere
What is still to come….
- Brand new signage outside so we have better visibility from the road
- Further improvements to our ‘secret garden’
- Extend the baby and non-walkers area within the soft play frame
- Improve the main play frame to ensure we are the best soft play in Bournemouth and Poole for our target market
- Our amazing ice cream bucket sundaes menu and new ‘Bucket sundae & Play for £5’ 3-5pm Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday
- New signage in the café so everyone can see clearly the fantastic range of classes that we have in place for the September term
So lots achieved so far but still lots to do. We have started to get loads of soft play party bookings come in for September and October now which is really exciting and we have also had a sudden influx of christening enquiries which we have now started doing.
And how has my life as a ‘mummy’ been affected? Well it has taken a little bit of getting used to by me and the girls but we are getting into a routine now. Both girls go twice a week to nursery which is really good for them as I cannot say I am the best at doing painting etc. at home with them! And then they have a child-minder one day a week which they love and ‘daddy day care’ on a Saturday which usually involves lunch and a play at Lollipops. They have loved spending lots of time at Lollipops, driving round in the Lollipop car and their favourite job is helping the staff to clean the play frame when everyone else has gone home!
So I really do feel that this has been a huge leap but so far so good as what could be a better business for a mum with a 1yr and 3yr old?!?