Favourite Things: Sparkling Sheffield - Lucy Lippolis finds plenty to entertain her

Lucy Lippolis in Urban Pantry with her brother Reece, the owner, and his children, Edward and Freya.
Lucy Lippolis in Urban Pantry with her brother Reece, the owner, and his children, Edward and Freya.

Sheffield-born Lucy Lippolis, aged 30, is the founder of Sparkles children’s events and parties.

After studying at Aston Comprehensive, she took a BTEC national diploma in childhood studies at Rother Valley College. Working up to become a nursery manager in Scotland, a broken heart and entrepreneurial parents led Lucy to set up Sparkles parties which quickly grew into after-school clubs around the city, childcare for corporate events and wedding creches. She is running holiday childcare from Westbourne School in Broomhill, offering fun activities, personal development and adventures for children aged five to 13. Lucy lives in Nether Edge.


Urban Pantry is my favourite place at the minute. It’s my brother’s recently-opened deli in Crookes which I love to visit whenever I get the chance. It’s great to see Reece and I’m getting quite addicted to the tasty treats there. In fact, I’m becoming a bit of a cheese snob and struggle to buy supermarket cheese and milk any more. Not only do I love the food and my bro, but the most irresistible thing in the shop is my little baby niece and nephew twins. I’m finding them totally scrumptious and get the added bonus of cute time when I visit.


My absolute favourite place to be of all is in the sun. Having the sun on my face gives me total relaxation and happiness, I can’t help but smile. When I’m in the sun, I can close my eyes and take myself to a beautiful place. It doesn’t matter where I am, the sun transports me to a tranquil paradise. Unfortunately our weather isn’t consistent but when we do have a blast of sunshine I am lucky enough most of the time to have the flexibility to get out in it.


I spend most of my time at the Sparkles office in Neepsend, so it’s a good job I love being there. I work with some fantastic people, which makes me love coming to work each day. We have a quirky little office full of fun things, including my quirky team. It’s really bright and colourful with lots of fab things inside, I find I have to grind us into getting work done as it’s so easy to just have fun. We love getting visitors and sometimes have our entertainer and freelance friends pop round. It’s great fun when balloon modellers and jugglers come by – even if it is just to eat our sweeties.

We like to work hard at Sparkles, but occasionally we turn up the music and have some fun, silliness and dancing.


On sunny days I like to visit Cemetery Park, a little park near where I live, to unwind and to catch up on a bit of ‘me time’. If I can take myself away from the office, I have been known to take a little blanket and get some calls and admin done whilst sitting in the sun. I love the variety of people: I sit in the park as a mum pushes a pram down the path, some teenagers sit round a tree, couples relaxing, there’s the odd person on a blanket reading and once a guy in a business suit arrived, positioned himself under a tree, took off his suit jacket and started doing tai chi. I love being part of such a diverse community.


I love the freedom of festivals and to spend time chilling out, spending time with friends and meeting new people. When I’m at festivals socially it’s a real break time for me, one of the few times I’m unreachable by telephone, so liberating. This year, I’m really excited to be going to the Boom Town Fair in late August at the beautiful Matterley estate in the south of England. Quite a few close friends will be there and I’ll be looking forward to a very creative and fun time.

I also love helping to organise a local festival, Peace in the Park, which happens every year in early June. I’ve been involved for the last four years. It’s amazing to see 10,000 people having fun together. Sparkles organises the children’s area and I am child safety officer for the festival. The sense of achievement I get from being involved adds a whole new level to my festival enjoyment.


My little flat is my sanctuary, my haven from the world where I enjoy relaxing and unwinding. The decor is totally me at the minute – fun and pretty random. My favourite part is my living room window. It’s a great size, opens right up and lets the outside in. I also have a lovely comfy sofa which I must confess I often fall asleep on. I’m heavily into comfort.


I’ve had some great times here, it’s fun to explore. Look out for the giant rock lizard and frog. I find it incredible to think that I can drive just 10 minutes from home and be treated to the most picturesque view.

And my one favourite places outside Sheffield is a African shebeen that I visited a couple of years ago. I have so many great memories from my time in Africa, but one of the places I often go back to in my mind was an evening I spent at a shebeen in Sun City. A pub-club with a beautiful garden and lots of hammocks, I was lying in a hammock with the warm breeze on my face and voices around me.