5 Questions with – Stancliffe Hall

Photo of Stancliffe Hall

Today I get to spend some time at one of my favourite Derbyshire wedding venues. I first encountered the delightful Stancliffe Hall around 10 years ago when I exhibited at a wedding fair they were hosting. A lot has happened during those ten years, including a brief hiatus from events, but Stancliffe Hall is now back and as glorious as ever! I caught up with events director Victoria Pym as we discussed all things Stancliffe.

Tell us who you are and what do you offer?

Stancliffe Hall is a Grade II listed family home located on the edge of the Peak District. We have 9 contemporary bedrooms to offer in the main house itself with an additional cottage which sleeps up to 10 guests a mere stone’s throw away. Stancliffe is licensed to hold Civil ceremonies, Wedding breakfasts, Corporate functions, Parties and other event you can imagine!

We also have a stunning Spa Sanctuary complete with swimming pool, sauna, jacuzzi & steam room. And if that wasn’t enough…we are a photographers dream with over 50 acres of parkland to enjoy at your leisure.

The Beautiful Whitworth Room

Are you a venue only or do you offer a full planning service?

We have a number of recommended suppliers who we have worked with repeatedly in the past (including you Looch!) We will always recommend these suppliers to our couples if they are looking for something in particular. Because we have a wealth of experience working with these suppliers, we know how they work and how it compliments and enhances the overall day. However, our Events Coordinator is always on hand throughout the whole process even down to the final touches on the tables the morning of the big day.

It really is up to our client as to how much involvement they would like our Events Coordinator to have in the planning stages. We are led by you!

What is it about Stancliffe Hall that sets you apart from other venues in the area?

We have been running events here for years and our wonderful guests always tell us the same things: That because the Hall is family run the whole experience provided is very personal and this emanates through all of our staff. No job is too much.

We often get told that “Traditional meets Contemporary” at Stancliffe. Everybody assumes that as we are very traditional from the exterior our interior will match. However, this could not be further from the truth. Our interiors are extremely contemporary, with something to excite everybody’s tastes who visits us. We hope that everybody who visits us has that WOW factor to take home.

Another factor that helps us to stand out is exclusivity. We only hold only a select number of events per year and therefore that gives Stancliffe ‘time to breath’. Your privacy of course, is very serious also. Many locals dont even know not where we are and your privacy is very important. We are set away within the Derbyshire Dales along a private driveway and want your guests to arrive at Stancliffe and be blown away immediately!

Once here, you can take your time and relax. We certainly wont be counting the minutes to kicking you out as soon as you have had your breakfast. If you wish to make a weekend of your celebrations then we are all for it. You really can hire Stancliffe Hall for as long as you like. We are your “home from home”.

The Courtyard

What are your top 3 tips for a successful wedding day?

I always like to take as much stress away from my brides on their big day however, I think that is so important on both the week leading up to the wedding day and the morning of, to accept help from others. Do not try and take everything on as you will only end up feeling exhausted. When you do finally stop which will be the morning of your wedding. Accept that other people want to help and just say thank you.

Some of my couples may have been planning their big days for up to 3 years in advance. I always say to them on the day try and take every moment in. Enjoy being surrounded by your loved ones. But I always suggest to take ten minutes out. Take a few moments to enjoy that feeling of being newly married.

Very importantly ‘Breathe!’ Emotions are naturally running high so make sure to take moments to breathe throughout the day. (we always find a glass of champagne also helps with this!)

Complete with Spa & Swimming Pool

What’s next for Stancliffe Hall?

We have a range of different events coming up including Open Gardens, Halloween Balls and Christmas Galas. It is set to be an exciting few months ahead here at Stancliffe. We’re also very keen next year to increase our outdoor events. So if you have an unusual idea, then please do get in touch.

As a family, music is a large part of our lives and we feel that Derbyshire is crying out for live music events. Evenings with live music being played, accompanied by a glass of something bubbly. Maybe even some cheese and meat platters and a great atmosphere. What could be better?

To learn more about Stancliffe Hall and their fabulous events please visit their website here. You can also call Victoria direct on 01629 736956.

5 Questions with – Iced & Spliced by Cakey Wakey

Image of Iced & Splice's work

In todays blog post I head out to grab a coffee with the very talented Joanne Wakefield. I have known Joanne and her husband Pete for around 10 years now. We met whilst exhibiting at a wedding fair and have had the pleasure of working together at many weddings over the years. They are a wonderful couple with some serious skills! Their company ‘Iced & Spliced’ by Cakey Wakey is one of the top venue dressers and cake makers in the midlands region.

Here are 5 questions with Iced & Spliced by Cakey Wakey

Jo’s cakes have a fantastic reputation.

How did Iced & Spliced come to be?

Iced & Spliced by Cakey Wakey began, as Cakey Wakey, 25 years ago as I couldn’t find anyone capable, or willing, to make the wedding cake I wanted for our wedding celebrations. I’ve always enjoyed baking, learning from my Grandmother & Godmother, usually to keep me quiet, so when my future Mother-in-law bought me a new part work magazine, with all sorts of baking & cake decorating ideas in it, I was hooked.

After being told what I wanted on our wedding cake wasn’t something the cake companies at that time were comfortable doing, I decided I’d do it myself. We had 3 fruit cakes, so baking & decorating ahead of the day was possible, with each set up on a swan shaped cake stand, so dowelling & pillars weren’t necessary. I was asked to make a Golden Anniversary cake for some family friends, & things just grew from there.

Do you prefer cake designing or dressing the venue?

I love making sugar flowers. I taught myself from books, although I recently did an online course to refresh techniques, making the flowers look even more realistic. Seeing a cake come together before your eyes is very rewarding. Receiving images from photographers of a cake in place is fabulous too, as these tend to arrive a good amount of time after the wedding. A beautifully edited image can stop me in my tracks. But then I love working with couples on how they want their Wedding Breakfast & Reception space to look too.

It’s the wow factor we want to achieve. You only get one chance to blow your guest’s socks off!

It would be ideal for me to work on the cake AND venue styling, as it allows me to be sure the same colour palette is used throughout the entire wedding. Plus it helps the couple limit stress, as they’ve only got one person to deal with instead of a few, & they know that the one person understands their entire vision. So the answer to that question is….both.

Iced & Spliced – Venue Dressing

You also offer car hire…unusual.

We introduced our first Bridal Car, Elanor, around 14 years ago. In fact the cars became part of our list of services before Venue Styling was added. We did some investigation into Bridal Cars after speaking to a lovely chap at a Wedding Show. It seemed to be a nice progression into other parts of wedding planning.

After our first wedding show, with Elanor sat proudly outside, we quickly realised that most weddings were booked for the same day. Once Elanor was booked, we had disappointed couples chatting to us, so we decided to look for more cars.

Each car has her own personality & colour scheme, with some very interesting history behind them as well. Elanor was joined by Bonnie & Evie within 18 months of us opening I Do Wedding Cars, giving more couples the opportunity to book our services.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?

I think social media plays a massive role in how couples look for inspiration for their wedding. There are lots of visual tools available too, like Pinterest & Google Images. The only pitfall with using styled images for inspiration is the limitation of the availability of certain products. As so much on the internet originates abroad, being able to source a particular object or fabric can be near impossible or excessively expensive.

I love to play with chair dressings, experimenting with styles & different fabrics, looking for the next new design that our couples will love. It’s the same when I start to develop a new cake design, to exhibit at wedding shows. I have to make sure that the design will appeal to as many couples as possible, while showcasing my sugar skills.

I tend to limit the use of strong colours, as most people can’t see past what’s on display. But I do love to filter in the most on trend colour palettes, on the cakes & for venue styling too.

Iced & Spliced – Wedding Car Hire

3 top tips for successful wedding?

Use social media & tools like Pinterest to get an idea of what styles & colours you’re drawn to. Look for suppliers your venue recommend, or who post images of weddings in the same space as your own will be in… this gives you an idea of what you like & what you don’t. Mood boards are a great way to get your ideas into one place visually. These can be boards on your phone, or a physical book. Before long you’ll see a thread of the things you’re drawn to.

If you have a colour scheme in mind, go gown shopping for your Bridesmaids first, to cement that colour in place, or to allow you to look at other options if what’s in your head doesn’t suit all skin tones in your squad.

It’s much easier for you to have the colour in place before talking to venue stylists & florists, as you’d be surprised how much sashes, dress fabric & ribbon shades differ. You could have everything in place for your chair dressings & florals, but have to go back to square one if the dresses don’t blend well, or suit each of the girls, once you’ve shopped with them.

It’s never too early to book the suppliers you want! (Cough cough, dont forget Looch as your entertainment!) Whether you meet them at a wedding show, or through social media stalking, once you know they offer exactly what you want, are within your price bracket & will deliver the day of your dreams, get them booked in. A small reservation fee will secure your date in their diary, while the finer details can be discussed & confirmed when you’ve progressed further along your planning journey.

Thank you!

Iced & Spliced by Cakey Wakey are based in Nottinghamshire and serve weddings all over the midlands region. If you would like to find out more about their wonderful work please check out their website. They are certainly on my recommended list of incredible wedding suppliers.

Hire the BEST Magician in Cambridge for YOUR Next Event

Looch is absolutely THE best magician in Cambridge and the surrounding areas. He is an Award-Winning, full time professional magician and mind reader that has wowed crowds at weddings & events all over the Cambridge region for years.

What makes him the most requested magician in Cambridge ? He offers exceptional service for all his clients and is 5 star Google rated. Looch has over 15 years experience entertaining at pretty much any event you can imagine. He offers a wide range of unique and exciting performances for your event. To find out more about this incredible talent, read on.

Magician & A Mind Reader

The magic industry has many specialist branches. From stage illusion, to card magicians, to pickpockets and hypnotists. Looch is a type of magician that specialises in ‘Mind Reading’ tricks. This is known as Mentalism, and the performers are often regarded as ‘Mentalists‘. Here in the UK, it is quite a rare thing. For every 2 million people, there is just one mentalist.

We guarantee you, that you will have never seen anything like it before. Your guests will love it and talk about your event for years to come.

Amaze your guests with the number one Magician in Cambridge.

What Performances Do You Offer?

Looch offers a wide range of performances that are suitable for all events. His most popular booking is his Stage Show. This is a 60 minute stage performance that is suited for after dinner events. The majority of bookings for the stage show are either corporate events or weddings. He has been hired to perform his unique show for small directors dinners up to large annual conferences of over 1000. Looch is introduced to the stage and will engage and amaze your guests in the most unbelievable of ways. Imagine your friend having their mind read live and in person in front of your very eyes!

If your event requires more of a close up performance, you can hire his Mix & Mingle performance. This is typically a 2 hour booking where Looch will mingle at your event anywhere in Cambridge, and amaze your guests in front of their very eyes. This type of entertainment is sometimes referred to as close up magic, and is hugely popular at drinks receptions and weddings.

Something Unique & Memorable

In addition to the 2 primary performances above, Looch also offers his clients a unique ‘pop up’ performance that has become very popular over the past few years. Challenge the Mind Reader is an interactive experience that will not only compliment, but enhance the atmosphere of any event. It is a 2m x 2m performance area that can be set up in minutes. Looch is able to build a crowd around him and take challenges from audience members.

Challenge the Mind Reader is the ideal type of performance for Corporate Events, Trade-Shows & Exhibitions in Cambridge. This particular act has been the booking of choice for events at local venues such as: Quy Mill Hotel & Spa, The Hilton, Hallmark Hotel & The Imperial War Museum (IWM) Duxford. If you want your entertainment to stand out and ensure your guests are engaged and entertained, this is the option for you.

Perfect entertainment for Weddings & Corporate Events in Cambridge.

Do you do Weddings?

Weddings in Cambridge, have been one of Looch’s specialities for nearly two decades. He has won numerous awards within the wedding industry and has a reputation for delivering fantastic service and mesmerising performances. If you are contemplating hiring a magician in Cambridge to blow all your guests away then why not check out his wedding entertainment page.

He is a regular at weddings at the following venues: Holmewood Hall, Longstowe Hall, Parklands and Bassmead Manor Barns.

Let’s have a chat!

Would you like to have a chat about your forthcoming event or wedding? I would love to hear from you, please get in touch here, or alternatively give me a call now on 07841332816.

7 Reasons Why You Need an Exhibition Magician at Your Next Trade Show

Photo showing exhibition magician

Marketing and magic go hand-in-hand. Strategic marketing turns imagination into reality—the same’s true with magic.

Since trade shows are like massive marketing conventions, it only makes sense to have an exhibition magician at your booth. 

Gone are the days where magic was called fantasy. While it’s easy to forget life’s magic as we age, exhibition magicians remind adults what it means to believe.

Mentalism, mind-reading, and magic are all mind-blowing arts. If exhibition magicians can convince adults magic is real, that’s proof in and of itself.

If you’re wondering how to sell products at trade shows, it’s time to put magician on your trade show list. Here’s why.

Exhibition Magicians

Magic fuses history, art, culture, theatre, imagination, and reality into a single performance. There’s no age limit for magic and that’s why the business world needs it

What better place to house all these things than a trade show? It is a show after all!

There are common threads between trade shows and magic. They share the following traits:

  • Creativity
  • Curiosity
  • Strategy
  • Connection
  • Distinction
  • Expanding your mind

No matter what business you have or which products you sell, there’s a way for exhibition magicians to reach your demographic. Everyone knows good trade shows come from diverse booths. No one likes a show with a hundred companies in the same field—throw in some art, boutiques, and magic!

An Exhibition Magician creates Impact & Boosts Sales.

Trade Show Industry

Trade shows are innately magical. They’re a container for unexpected revelations, things you never thought you’d buy, and unlikely conversations. That’s where exhibitions magicians belong.

Why You and Your Booth Need Magic

Successful businesses come from marketing, connections, and lasting impressions. Here’s what your magician can do for you and your booth.

1. Magic Peaks Interest

Consumers need to come to you. Calling out to people isn’t pleasant or sustainable these days. Instead of waiting for them to confront you, magic makes for easy connections.

2. Magic Draws Attention

Where one person goes, many follow. If you can drive traffic to your booth, it’s more likely people will stick around to find out what you offer.

The longer people stay at your booth, the more likely they’re yes people. That mentality can turn into increased sales and/or successful networking. Connections come from an initial spark.

Cue magic!

3. Magic’s Unexpected

Curiosity’s enticing. Having a performer at your booth prompts a question to the audience. How do these things go together? 

While people watch the show, they’ll also wonder how magic relates to your booth. Curiosity motivates people to hang around to learn the answer.

Magic IS Marketing!

4. Magic Is Strategic Marketing

It’s best to have a story to link your booth to the magician. Whether that means having them pitch your product or weaving it into their act is up to you both. 

As successful as magic is for trade show marketing, not having a cohesive story can backfire. If the audience feels a weird disconnect, they can see it as a marketing ploy—and we all know it’s far more than that! 

If magic is your marketing card, be sure to play it right!

5. Magic’s About the Mind, So Is Business

There’s no smarter way to attract business than using a magician, mind-reader, or mentalist. Why? If your audience can have their minds blown by magic, they’re far more likely to consider things they wouldn’t have had before.

Strategic marketing is a psychological game, one that’s focused on connection. Truly connecting with people means eliminating the barriers that get in the way. Magicians epitomize breaking mental barriers—the perfect catalyst for smart business.

Open mindsets make talking about home renovations, buying art, getting estimates, and booking appointments an easy yes. 

6. Magic Is Fun!

While business is business, trade shows are a fun way to work. Using exhibition magicians brings a new personality to your company, showing people you’re fun and interesting. 

People long for company transparency and it’s likely they’ll only respect you more for being different.

7. Magic’s Memorable

Whether you have immediate sales in response to your magic or leave with more connections, lasting impressions indicate success. Going forward, even if people forget your name, they can associate you with magic. It could be the hook that makes them look for you at the next show!

You may book a magician for prospective customers, but find yourself also benefitting. Not only does magic help attract others, but it can establish your own personal relationship with it.

It helps businesses to back your marketing decisions, which is easy when you’ve experienced them first-hand.

Magic’s real and pure. It makes successful business that much easier to achieve. Consider your exhibition magician your next best business sidekick.

One of the key ingredients to a successful exhibition is using magic as your secret weapon.

Exhibit Trader Magic

Big trade shows can be overwhelming. As a result, no one wants to feel lured into sales. Exhibition magicians perform to give people a worthwhile experience.

Large trade show conventions also mean not everyone reaches every booth. It’s that much more important to be on your trade show marketing A-Game to make quality contacts.

Magic makes it so that you can show more than tell. Magicians bring you instant character.

In a disconnected society, it feels harder to get people to stop, make eye contact, and have a conversation. Magic’s the way to do that. Magic as a marketing strategy can prove to you that it does truly exist.

Trade shows are a marathon, not a sprint. They offer exposure to long-term contacts with uncapped possibility. Make magic happen and book your extraordinary exhibition magician today!

For more information please check out our Exhibition Entertainment article.

Charity Ball Entertainment

Photo showing Charity Ball Entertainment

Charity balls, dinners and galas are a special way for organisations to bring people together, raise money and also to thank patrons and sponsors for their support. According to a recent report though, the proportion of people giving money to charity has seen a steady decline since 2016*. Therefore, holding a charity ball or gala can be a way of enticing people to attend an exciting event and more importantly, encourage donations. So, here are some charity ball entertainment ideas to help you and your guests enjoy an unforgettable evening and get them to dig deep.

Image of a possible theme for a charity ball
Carnival? Venetian Ball? Black Tie? Whats your theme?

State a Theme and Dress Code

While setting a theme for your charity ball might not seem like entertainment at first glance, what it does is set the tone for the event and build anticipation long before the date itself. From suave and sophisticated black-tie events to colour themes or even a theme linked to your charity, setting a dress code allows guests to enjoy planning their outfits months in advance. It will also give your guests something to talk about on arrival, even if they do not know each other.

Fundraising Games

Everyone loves to laugh and therefore, games will always go down well at charity balls and galas and will help you boost funds on the night. From reverse auctions, games of heads or tails, rolling a £1 coin and raffles, having plenty of activities for guests to take part in can create a great atmosphere.

Professional Photography

With all your guests dressed up and looking fabulous, why not hire a professional photographer to capture the evening’s entertainment? Many photographers offer a printable service meaning guests can pay for their prints, offering yet another opportunity to raise funds for good causes on the night.

Top tip: Don’t forget to set up a personalised hashtag for the event for guest to use on their own social media posts and pictures. This will help you find them later on and perhaps use them for post-event promotion and reviews.

Photo showing Charity Ball entertainment in action courtesy of Looch - Mind Reader & Magician.
Looch in action at a Charity Ball for PPWH.

Professional Entertainers

Lastly, no charity ball or gala would be complete without professional entertainment for that real wow factor. From bands, solo singers or tribute acts, dancers or mixologists one act that is sure to keep your guests talking for months to come, is a charity ball magician.

As a mentalist and mind reader, I have performed at countless charity balls, dinners and galas, astounding audiences with both my unique, large-scale stage performances as well as more intimate demonstrations alongside individual tables and small groups. 

There are numerous benefits to hiring a charity ball magician, mind reader or mentalist, whether you have 100 guests or 1,000. My flexible and bespoke packages mean I have a solution to any query about charity ball entertainment!

So, if you have an upcoming charity ball or gala and want something truly spectacular to keep your organisation at the forefront of your guests’ minds, then get in touch.

*CAF Online 2019 repot