Joc's Baby Shower

OK anyone who knows me knows I am RUBBISH at keeping secrets. If its like your deepest darkest secret then sure I'll keep it, I'm not a bad person but with anything else..I just cant keep them. Usually if you tell me a secret I will share it with one other person (Tom) as it physically hurts me to keep it quiet. When I was pregnant with Wilf we were going to keep his name a secret..but within about a week of us agreeing that I had already told two people. If I buy Tom a birthday or Christmas present I beg him to let me tell him what it is, I just can not bare not being able to share.

I repeat I am rubbish at keeping secrets.

So the fact I have not only managed to organise a surprise baby shower but to keep it secret from the recipient for about two months is nothing short of a miracle.
My sister in law Jocelyn is due with her baby girl in July and was kind enough to throw me my shower back in November (see pics here). In fact she was actually pregnant at my shower but only found out a few weeks later!

Before my shower I had never really been or heard of a baby shower as they are only really starting to take off now in the UK. I knew (or thought I knew) how big they were in the states though (they are bigger than I thought!) Either way I knew Joc definitely needed one! Joc's best friend was visiting the UK from the states in April so it made sense to find out if it was something she would be able to attend whilst she was in the country. I contacted her to ask if she would be able come and if she had any tips to host a successful shower. We then decided to organise it together, I also enlisted my brother Keir's help in getting a list of who to invite. After contacting the guests with the provisional date and the location of 'somewhere in London yet to be confirmed' I took to Twitter to ask for their suggestions of nice cafe's in London that could host something like this.

I got a few good suggestions from my Twitter friends and also one of the guests who lives in London. After contacting our favourite three we settled on Mouse and De Lotz who as well as being a cute cafe were by far the best customer service and most accommodating for our ideas.

We decided upon a book themed baby shower as it seemed most fitting. With the help of my little Sister Serin and brother Madog we made up the invites.

(I did have pictures of us making them but they are on my non-working hard drive). Unfortunately my mum and sister couldn't make it as they were going on holiday at the time.
The idea was that everyone bought a book instead of a card and we could build baby Strickland a little library. We bought her 'Green eggs and ham' by Dr Seuss as Joc's had mentioned before it was her favourite book and she couldn't find it anywhere. In fact the weekend before they had been down visiting us and we had popped into a book shop for her to find it (thank god she didn't!)

We commissioned Abi to make a blanket as the gift as we love the one she made Wilf. I love the idea both cousins will have boy and girl versions of it.

Joc's friend Meghan ordered some favours for the guests (personalised M&M's with Keir and Joc's name and 'it's a girl' written on them). We bought some bottles of champagne and I made some bunting and two months later we had a shower!ha

We knew Keir and Joc needed a moses basket so decided to bring it up to the shower so the guests could put their gifts in there as well. We put Wilf in the sling (which ended up being the best idea yet, I have no idea how we would have worked the tubes with a pushchair, Londoners how do you do it?) and had one small bag of (5 different outfits for Wilf and spare underwear for Tom and I) my hand bag of baby changing bits and our gift and another side bag containing three bottles of champagne!

Getting to London Paddington was easy, we then got a tube to Liverpool Street as thats where the internet told us to go..but it turned out to be a 30 minute walk from there to our hotel, ordinarily this would be no problem but carrying a baby plus a bunch of luggage..it was hard!

Finally getting to the hotel we could relax, the room was massive and a bit of a treat as I booked it 6 weeks in advance on a offer so we got a good deal. I'm not really all that used to Hotels and even asked Tom if we need to bring towels (I think this is the third time I've ever stayed in one, travel lodges don't count) We all had a little nap on the bed (finally room enough for the three of us!) and got ready for dinner. Walking out in the evening with Wilf in the sling was surprisingly stress free, although unlike baby friendly Bristol we only saw one other baby. In fact a lot of people in Shorditch made me feel really old, I dont know if i've ever been as young or as cool as East London hipsters ;)

We settled on a nice Thai restaurant where Wilf was happy to stay tucked up close to me and watch the other dinners, we even managed to have three courses and a beer. The owners kept coming up and talking to Wilf, I'm sure if he wasn't in the sling we would have had lots of volunteers to hold him.

We even stayed out past mine and Wilf's usual bedtime of 9pm!
The next day we woke at Wilf's usual time of 6.30ish and got ready slowly, we went down for the overpriced breakfast and tried to eat as much as possible to make it worth while! My brother snuck out to the hotel at 10am to give us a few peoples gifts and we checked out.

Here's where it went wrong.
The overground by our station was cancelled (which we only discovered once we had got there) we then walked to our nearest tube to find we would have to get three different tubes to our destination.

Wilf decided he was starving and I didnt have enough time between tubes to feed him so I sang 'The Grand Old Duke Of York' over and over at the top of my voice instead. Meghan (Joc's friend who was helping to organise the shower & get Joc to the venue) txt me to say they were nearly there (we were no where near!). We were still carrying a moses basket, three bottles of champagne & all our clothes (well Tom was) and were getting later and later!

One of Joc's friend who I had been in contact with before (she was kind enough to source champagne glasses) had managed to get to the venue early so was keeping me updated as to who was there. I felt a little less bad as three of the other guests were also delayed but I was stressing out that Joc would get there before I could finish setting up and the other guests arrive.

We finally got to the venue (half an hour late) I sat down with Wilf to feed him (poor baby) & Joc's friends and Tom took over to get everything in place. As soon as the table was set I looked toward the front of the cafe to see Joc heading through the door. We were in a separate room so we all stood away from the door to semi hide as she walked through.

I guess you could say she was surprised!
Joc confessed afterwards that she knew something was up (what with Keir sneaking out and Meghan getting them lost on purpose to delay them) but had no idea it would be this. Some of her friends had travelled in from Brecon & Oxford so she really was not expecting to see them.

Love this shot!

These were 'Wishes for baby' each guest was given one and we had complete sentences such as 'I hope you love..' these are mine below (I hope you laugh - at your daddy's jokes and I hope - you get Monty Python jokes are a must for this little girl, poor baby!)

This one made me laugh 'I hope you grow - no-one likes a shorty' 

Red Velvet cake made specially as its Joc's favourite, I had never had it before but can confirm its really good!

The beautiful baby blanket I commissioned Abi to make as I loved the one she made Wilf so much. 
This was a bit of a running joke as Joc had just said she wasn't going to buy any shoes for her little girl as a new born and then pretty much every gift included shoes!

I'm pretty sure Joc had a lot of fun and I really enjoyed meeting all her friends and having the odd few glasses of champagne! Wilf made lots of friends and had lots of volunteers to hold him!
We gave ourselves two hours to get back to Paddington and got there with a half hour to spare..to find out our train was cancelled! We ended up getting two different trains home making our journey about and hour longer but we got there in the end. We all flopped into bed at 9pm totally knackered but I think it was a success! 


Coffee and Cat Hair said...

Well done Fritha that looked like a gorgeous shower!

Kim xxx

Tigerlilly Quinn said...

Thanks Kim! was fun but glad I dont have to plan any more showers, ack! xx

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