Interview - Meg, The Fairy Queen (Mystical Fairies)
Hi Meg. Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your family?
My name is Meg Gordon Sussman -I married my husband in 1996 and moved from Belsize Park to Hampstead in 1998 when our first daughter was born - we have 2 girls, one at uni and the other doing A Levels - and I totally know I don't look old enough!!!
We also have 2 dogs, a labradoodle, Daisy and a poodle, Tilly who have an Instagram account set up by my girls called Poodle and Doodle who have over 5,000 followers - if only my children would take over the fairy social media...we also have a ton of fish and a turtle as you do!
How long have you been in the Hampstead area for?
We have been in Hampstead for almost 20 years and seen a lot of changes! It is lovely though to go into the coffee cup and get the same table you used to bring the children to for hot chocolate and raisin toast after school, or be buying our fruit and vegetables from Paul and his father seeing everyone's children grow up! Lots of friendly faces, even if we are no longer the school gate mums or even on the PTA!
The Fairy Shop opened in 2003 by my partner Veronica whose face was the one you would see when you came into the shop in Flask Walk! Over time we have added parties with entertainers trained up by us, holiday clubs and different activities and events from book launches to our local activities at Fenton House and Keats Library to our annual Father Christmas visits at Liberty's in London!
What do you offer for the boys?
We are more than just fairies and princesses, we have our pesky pirates side which hosts more robust parties like Lego themed parties, ninja's, superheroes, pirates, Pokemon trainers and so many more to our older themes from Sherlock Holmes and mystery parties to Jedi Training!
We have also grown up along with our children, so to that end we started our Pampered Princesses side which hosts so many things from Rock Star Parties to Mocktails and Jewellery making and Kidchella festival themes amongst them! We have had so many parents loving these that we are now hosting their parties too!
What is a good option for a very unisex party?
That totally depends on what your child is into - unicorns are very on trend as are jungle explorers, knights and princesses, fairies and elves or even pirates! Pirates are pretty unisex as we have girl pirates too! The only advice I would give if you have a very girly girl who wants pink everything is to offset it with a boy assistant or vice versa if you are worried about it being "too girly" or "too boys only" - we have hosted some great Elsa and Superman parties as well as Scooby themed with Fred and Daphne!
What is the most outrageous party you have organised?
The most outrageous party we have done to date is a party at the Ritz for a 3 year old with 12 guests. It was absolutely bonkers and we organised every detail from invitations, styling, face painting, glitter, entertainers (one for each child), bespoke food and cakes, a candy table, a pink chocolate fountain, a photographer, a unicorn visit (at The Ritz), party bags and more things I probably have not mentioned! That was outrageous, so much so visitors at the Ritz kept coming in to take photos when we were setting up as it was so over the top fabulous!
What is the most fun party you have organised?
I love all our parties, they are all fun for us! Something I do love and find fun about what we do, is that when you book with us, we ask so many questions to get a feel for the birthday child and their likes and interests, that we tend to get to know you as parents too, so when we host your parties year after year we see everyone grow up and we hear all the news and literally we have seen some children from nursery through the 11+ and onto GCSE choices as we do their parties and know you as parents! Having said that, we did host a fairy school bachelorette party many years ago in the shop with a lot of sweets,games and paint your own prosecco bottles whilst wearing wings - it got out of hand rather quickly and if anyone saw 20 grown up fairies trailing streamers running up and down Hampstead High Street on a scavenger hunt - I apologise!
What is the most interesting party you have organised?
That is a hard one, we do quite a lot of princess, fairies, pirates and superheroes on a weekly basis, so when we get a child who is interested in something that is different and we have to create a party round that,I find that interesting. There are a few of us in the office and on our team that do styling and also teach so to come up with decor and game plans and activities for something new is great fun and interesting to us - when we started hosting Harry Potter Parties for the older children and we put together a potions class, we all had lots of fun learning how to make them and then you would get videos from the entertainers who had gone home and done these potions classes for their flatmates, we love to learn new things! We were involved in the Harry Potter and the Cursed Child midnight book launch which was great fun and all the potter mad entertainers were begging to be on it - I went along and everyone had to explain everything to me constantly - but I loved it!
Do you have any tips for new parents organising a party?
My tips for parents new to organising a party is firstly to do what the birthday person wants - be it Elsa for your 3 year old son or your husband wants to rent the everyman and watch Young Frankenstein - do what will make them happy and not what you think everyone else wants to do. If they are happy then you have done your job! Delegate, trust me I was that mother up at 2 in the morning decorating the cake till it was perfect...by the time we had the party I was exhausted and fed up! If people coming or family members have a skill and they offer, or you beg, use their expertise! Also remember it is a party, people want to have fun so don't over think every decision as it will drive you insane! Lastly take photos, always take photos!
3 top tips for party planning :
1. Know your child/partner/parents/co - worker/person you are hosting the party for - if your daughter is 4 and LOVES every princess - host a royal ball so then whichever princess comes and however you decorate she will love it - as opposed to buying all Cinderella everything and then she is over Cinders! If your partner is a meat and potatoes kind of guy - organise a BBQ (and a marquee in case it rains), if you are in charge of the baby shower and the Mummy to be loves glitter and sparkles - go mad with glitter and sparkles! This is their party, you want them to love it! It is all about them!
2. Balloons are a godsend - they can transform anywhere and you can even give them out to the guests as they leave, so less tidying up for you! Dreary church hall - plonk bunches of balloons round the room - mix up the heights - it adds a huge amount and can fill a big room and make a small room look buzzy!
3. Cakes - cakes should look and taste good. They do not have to be ridiculously expensive (unless it is a wedding and then everything is ridiculously expensive as "wedding" gave it away), we have some wonderful cake makers who make cakes that taste as good as they look, lots of supermarkets do cakes and even Costo if given enough time can do a decorated sheet cake! Over the years we have seen the most beautiful and expensive cakes that taste terrible and that is such a shame. If you go to someone's party and the cake is good - ask who made it.
I am adding my 4th and 5th tips too -
4. Party Bags - they are expected and unless you have had an arts and crafts or an activity making session in the party to take away with your balloons, do not give lots of little bits that will break on the way home... everyone gets frustrated by that!
One thing per child that goes with the theme does not have to be a lot of money is much more thoughtful and appreciated! There are websites like the book people who sell bulk children's books like the mr men or little miss series - or places like Tiger by the 02 centre which has tons of things you can put into a pretty bag - they are very big on superheroes at the moment and we have been sending superhero party people there!
Last tip I promise -
5. Timing - if you have a toddler that needs a nap in the afternoon... have a morning party; host it around their time or schedule! If you have a tween whose birthday is on a weekday a small after school party is a lovely thing to do! If your child is between 2 to 4 I would suggest a 1 hour party as attention spans are not great, but if your child is a younger sibling or at clubs or daycare they might well be great with a 2 hour party which we always recommend from 4 upwards.You know your child!
I would say that parties should be fun for everyone, if planning it is driving you crazy, take a break from Pinterest boards or cutting snowflakes to fill a backdrop...you still want to enjoy it when it comes around! Ask for help, if you have been to a party that you or your child loved, then ask who hosted it. People are always happy that you loved it that much! The most important thing for me, is that you love your party. That is why we do what we do!
The Fairy Queen
020 7431 1888