This week, we’d like to introduce you to Lemonjelly Childcare Solutions – a vibrant, successful and fun childcare company covering clients’ in-house and event needs. We caught up with proprietor Johanna for a chat…
When did you launch? Lemonjelly Childcare was established in 2006, initially as a Childcare and Nanny agency providing local families with nannies, maternity nurses, parent helps and babysitters. In April 2012 I launched the event childcare and mobile crèche provision to offer a bespoke, creative and imaginative childcare service at events and weddings.
Where are you based? Lemonjelly covers the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire area, but I am always happy to discuss going further afield – this year the team have worked at Sudley Manor in Gloucestershire and we have just had our first 2015 booking for a wedding at Woburn Abbey in Bedfordshire.
Where did the inspiration come from? A little boy called Max.
Whilst attending a wedding in 2011 I observed a little boy looking bored and lonely trying to occupy himself with a toy car whilst the adults chatted around him. I later found out that no other children had been invited to the day. This got me thinking about the choices open to parents at weddings, I wanted to find ways of encouraging bride and grooms to include children in their wedding day planning that also gave parents the opportunity to enjoy some adult time whilst the children got to have fun.
What did you do before running your business? I have always worked in childcare as a children’s nanny, maternity nanny and nursery manger. When I relocated from London to Oxford I felt I needed a new challenge whilst still working in an industry that I loved and Lemonjelly was born.
What services do you offer? Lemonjelly provides event and in-home childcare solutions for families, corporate clients and happy couples. Our wedding and events service provides a mobile crèche provision, event nannies and babysitters, we also make activity books for children aged 2 to 11yrs.
All of our wedding and event services are tailored to each couple and their day, we will put together the perfect package to suit their day and the needs of their little guests. Our professional childcarers offer quality care both during the day and in the evening, making sure the children are cared for, entertained and have lots of fun.
What has been your biggest achievement?
Having had the idea of starting my own business and seeing all my hard work come to fruition in 2006 was a dream! Then in 2012, especially during a time austerity, to be in a position to expand my services and launch the wedding/event and Mobile Crèche service was incredibly fulfilling and I feel very proud about what I had accomplished.
No two crèches are ever the same, one week we could be looking after 30 children aged between babies and 14yrs, organising a treasure hunt, table tennis competition and face painting. The next week it could be a group of 8y – 12yr old girls we are looking after and we will be setting up a nail bar and karaoke).
What do you love about weddings? Everything! It’s a day that brings people together, big and little, families and friends. The rooms fill with love, laughter, happy tears, smiles and joy. It is an honour to be involved in a couples big day, to help it run smoothly and enable little ones to attend with their families.
Who inspires you? I find inspiration everywhere – the smiles you get when a child leaves a crèche after having a lovely time with our team of nannies, the thanks you get from a bride after keeping the children occupied during the speeches or happy parents after they tell you that they have just enjoyed their first (uninterrupted by a child) meal for 6 months.
All these moments are very rewarding and makes you want to do your job bigger and better the next time.
What is your pearl of wisdom for a Bride to Be planning her wedding day?
Our top tips!
· Set up a table during your reception with colouring paper, pencils, crayons, paper and stickers as something for children to do. Consider setting a competition, ask the children to draw something specific like the bride and groom and ask the best man to judge and announce a winner during the speeches. Tip – NO PAINT!
· Don’t expect young children to eat the same as the adult, organise a children meals or a picnic box style meal. Tip – include a small toy of activity inside to keep them amused.
· If you have space outside consider organising a treasure hunt, garden games or even a bouncy castle.
· Ask the bar to ensure there is a jug of water or diluted juice available, try and stay away from fizzy or anything with artificial flavours and colourings!
What is your favourite activity to keep the children entertained at a wedding?
Having a box of dressing up items – hats, jewellery, accessories and having a silly photo shoot with the children, they make great keepsakes of the day for the children and can be made into a collage for the bride and grooms.
Decorating a ceramic plate / picture frame with handprints and messages from the children to give the bride and groom as a keepsake of their day.
What trends have you seen for 2013 and what do you predict for 2014?
This year we have had a lot of clients and their guests ask us about a crèche area for the grandparents……….…..you never know :0)
Any other comments….
Children can no doubt enhance a day, add a sense of fun and bring smiles to everyone’s faces; a flower girl scattering rose petals down the aisle, the cheeky grin of a toddler during the family photos or doing a funky dance during the reception disco but when boredom sets in or the sugar from the cake takes over you may wish you had put a bit more consideration it to their requirements! A wedding day is a long day for a child especially as for the most part they are required to be on their best behaviour and quiet as a church mouse. So what do you do??? As with other aspects of your day, catering, music, photographer – you call in the experts!
Location: Thame, Oxfordshire
Telephone: 07847 922483