Tag Archives: baby shower gifts

Moons and Showers

3 Aug The Three Sisters

Stick the word baby in front of ‘moon’ and ‘shower’ and you have two events, which have become almost rights of passage for women these days prior to having a baby.  Depending on where you live, the nature of each varies, but in Australia, a baby shower seems to be as common and as expected as in the US. The baby moon, previously the time after the birth, is now known as the short holiday before the baby is born.

I have to say I was not planning on doing or having either, but with James back for such a short time before leaving again, I was keen that we did go away, just for a couple of nights. I never thought of it as a ‘babymoon’, but if you are going to adopt the newly-used definiteion, then yes, it was a short break, where we could get away, enjoy some time as just the two of us and try to make the most of that, knowing in a few short weeks, things will change. Time as a couple is becoming precious and now James has gone again, I really have no idea how much more time we will actually have together before we are a family of three.

I booked us into a hotel in the Blue Mountains – a little luxury for a couple of days, to relax, go for walks, indulge in a nice meal and uninterrupted, adult conversations! In many ways it was an early anniversary gift to each other as well.

Lilianfels hotel

Lilianfels hotel

View from hotel gardens

View from hotel gardens

Hotel gardens

Hotel gardens

Admittedly, the walks were a little shorter than they might have been eight months a go but enjoyable all the same and as much as I dislike feeling as if I’m less capable now, there was nothing nicer than getting back, having a warm bath and curling up in the hotel lounge in front of one of the two big fireplaces. It was the first time we got a taste of winter, for it has been fairly warm in Sydney this year, apart from a couple of cold snaps lasting just a few days. Warm jumpers, hats and cosy log fires were just what we were after.

The Three Sisters

The Three Sisters

Blue Mountains views

Blue Mountains views

Blue Mountains walking trail

Blue Mountains walking trail

Admiring the views

Admiring the views

Walking the trail

Walking the trail

Mountain trail

Mountain trail

Post walk drink

Post walk drink

Evening by the fire

Evening by the fire

We couldn’t resist the high tea, offered by the hotel but felt we had earned it after our walk! Well, I am eating for two now… Right?

Post walk high tea!

Post walk high tea!

Relaxing in the lounge

Relaxing in the lounge

Warming up with a hot chocolate

Warming up with a hot chocolate

Sunset from the hotel

Sunset from the hotel

It was just a couple of days after James left again that I had my baby shower. A couple of friends asked if they could throw one for me, which was very touching, and of course, I was delighted, although specified I was not after anything extravagant and was not going down the route of a gift registry, which many people do. The word ‘shower’, implying I would be showered with gifts, actually makes me feel a little uncomfortable.

Initially I was hoping to have a joint party with James for a modern-day twist; less baby shower, more a bit of fun with our friends before the baby arrives. However, dates were limited and eventually we settled on a low-key, girls-only, tea party at our apartment. I have to admit I did enjoy making a cake and putting together some home-made thank you gifts and tags, which involved baking several trays of macarons… Patience and lots of willing later, I think they actually turned out ok!

Macaron thank you gifts

Macaron thank you gifts

To be honest, I could not have asked for anything more and I was completely blown away by the generosity shown by our friends and the efforts they had gone to, to create a fantastic party. Beautiful decorations, flowers, food, activities and gifts; a room full of women, love and general support; a lovely occasion, which given the timing, was a good way to enjoy myself during my first weekend with James away again.

Clouds and feathers

Baby shower decorations

Baby shower decorations

Party details

Cake what I made

Cake what I made

Baby bunting

Baby bunting

Baby clothes

Stringing up the clothes

Fantastic friends & Party Planners

Fantastic friends & Party Planners

Baby shower friends

Baby shower friends

Showing the nursery

Showing the nursery

Everybody who came brought flowers, a tray of food and gifts. I admit I even shed a few tears when they played a short video montage compiled of clips from a few friends and my sister back in the UK, wishing me well. Saying that, I can cry at the drop of a hat these days… I blame the hormones.

Food and Flowers

Food and Flowers

Quilt made by talented friend

Homemade baby quilt

Special gifts

Baby shower present

Friends

Shan & Sophie

Generous friends

Generous friends

34-week bump

34-week bump

End of the day

End of the day

With so many lovely things, the ‘nursery’ (read corner of our bedroom for now) is now pretty much set up. One of James’ jobs the past fortnight was to build the cot. We have a mini one, which expands to a full size cot when required, and I love it. Now I just need to start washing a few more little clothes and should probably think about that hospital bag!

Just need a baby now

Just need a baby now

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Great Expectations

8 Apr

Baby showers: had never been to one, never had one and didn’t even know anyone who had hosted one, so I was wondering what I had let myself in for after a friend asked me to help organise hers.

At over eight month’s pregnant, she wanted something low-key, with no fuss and relaxed. It sounded simple but then you know how the simple things always seem to take more time and effort? Like natural-looking make-up probably takes twice as long to perfect than a full face of gaudy colour. Plus, not only have I never experienced child birth, none but one of the girls she invited had children either, so her vision of women all offering her pearls of wisdom and advice was also looking a little doubtful. Not to be defeated, I set about researching baby showers and thinking of ideas, which would give my friend the relaxed afternoon surrounded by girlfriends that she wanted.

If the term ‘earth mother’ fits anyone, it fits my friend. She has stocked up on bamboo silk, reuseable nappies, her windowsill is currently abound with jars of oil, infusing with calendula to bathe the baby-to-be, the baby will be fed on wholesome, organic foods and she holds dear all things related to her family and particularly the advice of her own mother, who happens to live in South Africa. As such, it was no surprise that she wanted, in her words, ‘a day of female-power’ and the pressure was on; it had to be meaningful with a capital M.

We discussed the guest list and dates and then she told me she would like everyone to write a message for her baby and place it on an ornamental tree that she owns. With this as a starting point, I then just had to organise, the gifts, the food, the drink, any activities and the decorations. It may have been my friend who was expecting but it dawned on me that there was going to be quite a lot of expectation on me too.

Given that my friend already has a lot of clothes, equipment and products for the baby, choosing a present she wanted or needed proved tricky so it seemed clubbing together to get something she would not get for herself was going to be the best way forward. I knew she would love a family photo shoot once the baby is born so between us we came up with enough to buy credit for a shoot and several prints. I used the extra to put together a pamper box of goodies she could use before and after the birth and a a couple of little things for the baby. Luckily in Sydney it is not too hard to find eco-friendly, paraben-free, sulfate-free, organic products!

Then there was food: baby-sized tea party was the theme so bite-size brownies and scones, mini cupcakes and cake pops, miniature carrot cakes and plenty of teas and champagne were on the menu. I made afternoon tea cup cakes and attempted cake pops (cakes on sticks – they should be simple as described  by Bakerella here  but mine were far from perfect and at 9am on the day of the shower after the first batch flopped and fell apart, I had to make do! I definitely did not give mine long enough to firm up.)

cup cakes

For the activity we ‘ummed and ahhed’ over doing something like a joint painting or decorating bibs and babygrows but whatever it was it had to be able to be done seated, involve everyone and hopefully create something that mum and baby could keep. That’s when I saw the calico teddy bears and had the idea that everyone could stitch a patch on to the bear. Cue an afternoon in my idea of heaven trawling craft stores for suitable materials for the bear and pretty papers for her messages on the tree. I reminded myself how to do a blanket stitch and started off with an ‘A’ for the baby’s name, Ash. Then it was on to making the card.

homemade baby shower card

Patch teddy

Of all the items on my to-do list, locating decorations and bunting seemed hardest and what to do when the places you go to have either sold out or require a second mortgage to purchase them? My solution: two packets of Cath Kidston napkins, a ball of string and a couple of hours in front of the TV that evening, sticking and sewing.

emergency hand-made bunting

Come the day before the shower I had a box of pampering goodies all wrapped and in cellophane, a scrap book for her to put all the messages in also filled with quotes and photos of her and the bump over the past few months, a card, a voucher for a family photo shoot, a teddy bear, sewing materials, Japanese papers for the messages, organza bags in which to put said messages to hang from the tree, trays of cupcakes and cake pops and some home-made bunting.

The day of the shower I arrived to set up with a couple of friends and mum-to-be disappeared for an hour to leave us to it. In that time, her mother-in-law, who she is very close to, arrived, so she was there to surprise her when she got back. Not only that, I had got in touch with her mum in South Africa, asking her to be part of the day too, so over the past few weeks I have been receiving parcels from Cape Town containing messages from her mum and other members of her family as well as a present and poem, written by her mum, to read. If all else failed, there were going to be enough surprises to keep the excitement levels up, I just had to hope they didn’t also cause the onset of labour!

After gifts were given and poems were read, we all got crafty and got our granny on and each stitched a patch on to the teddy bear. She now has a very individual gift, which we have all helped to create.

heart work

sweet talk

sweet treats

message tree

Loving Granny's blanket

I think I can hesitantly say my first baby shower was a success. There were screams (of surprise when she saw her mother-in-law), there were tears (when she saw there were messages from her family in South Africa), there were smiles and hugs for the presents and most importantly she loved being surrounded by her girlfriends, exchanging stories and words of support and encouragement. Hopefully there were enough meaningful moments and expectations were met and we get to meet the biggest expectation of all in just a couple of weeks.

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