What did I learn very early on when planning a baby shower?

Pinterest and eBay are your best friends.

Yes, over the last couple of months I have been scouring the internet to find the best deals and ideas for my sister’s baby shower. As always, our lovely internet did not let me down! I searched Pinterest and eBay daily to put together what I hoped would be, a baby shower to remember.

 

 

I am happy to report that after months of planning, the shower was a huge success! My sister, Faye, was delighted with everything I had planned. All the guests seem to enjoy the food + games, and passed on lots of lovely compliments. For any baby shower, I feel like a happy mum-to-be should be the main priority. So I was just so pleased to see Faye enjoying herself on the day, and getting even more excited for what’s to come.

 

 

Planning a baby shower

I don’t know about you, but not many people I know of have actually been to a baby shower before, or know what’s really involved. I think there’s a couple of reasons for this. The first being quite simply that not everyone decides to host one. The second being, that it’s a fairly new tradition in the UK which has recently come over from America.

So… what elements are involved in planning a baby shower?

  • Baby-themed party decorations
  • Baby-themed party games
  • Party food + drinks
  • Party favours
  • Party music

Let me take you through this one (baby) step at a time!

 

Party Decorations

Baby-themed party decorations are usually a good place to start for any baby shower. This helps you to build a theme for your shower, and also helps to tie everything together. So whether that’s simply blue/pink for a boy or girl, or a woodland themed extraveganza, the possibilities are endless!

My sister and brother-in-law decided to keep the gender of their first-born a surprise, so I opted for a neutral theme. I went with a trendy kraft look with highlights of white and gold.

To start off, I purchased a bunting style banner in white from eBay here.

 

I also found a beautiful range of white and gold party supplies from the always amazing Ginger Ray. These added a touch of elegance to the baby shower, and looked so beautiful! I purchased many of these items from eBay at great value.

Equally you can find lots of baby-themed party supplies from stores such as Hobbycraft and John Lewis.

 

 

Party Games

Pinterest is a great place to start here, and gave me heaps of inspiration for baby shower games. After a quick search and a few (too many!) pins later, I finalised a handful of games to play.

 

 

A number of games were sourced from crafttlittlefox, the most amazing eBay seller. I purchased lots of stationary items from here, and they were all so gorgeous and helpful. It meant that guests didn’t need to scramble around for bits of paper, and ensured all the games ran smoothly. I had lots of compliments over how professional everything looked, and the stationary worked so well with the rest of my theme.

 

The games played were:

  • Guess the Baby Food – Guests are given 5 mystery jars of baby food to inspect, smell and taste (if they dare!) The lucky lady who guesses the most correctly wins! We had plenty of fun with this one, and lots of laughter was had trying to figure out what the flavours were.
  • How Big is Mummy’s Tummy? – Guests are given a piece of string to tie around the tummy of mummy-to-be. After everyone has written down their measurement, mummy’s tummy gets measured with a tape measure. The lady with the closest guess wins!
  • Who’s that Baby? – Guests are asked to bring a baby photo of themselves. These are pegged to some string and hung up for people to guess who is who. This can be a fairly relaxed game for people to play in their own time, or as more of a conversation starter.
  • Dad Knows Best – Before the shower, ask the daddy-to-be a series of questions about the pregnancy, birth, and baby. The answers are written down and sealed for the party. For an added bonus, consider a short video or audio clip of the answer, particularly if it involves a funny story. At the baby shower, ask the mummy-to-be to guess his answers out loud. The results can be hilarious! This one is a really fun game that helps you bring the partner into the mix, without having to be there.
  • Disney Baby Game – Ask guests to match a series of Disney children names to their Disney Parent. This is a great one for any Disney fans! My sister (a complete Disney-buff) aced this one and absolutely loved it.

 

From all of my stationary, I also made little packs up for every guest with everything they should need. As well as the game cards, I also included an advice card and predication card for each guest to fill out at their leisure. This was a great way for guests to pass on their wisdom and keep a record of their predictions. I also thought it was a nice keepsake for the parents-to-be, to smile and laugh at after the shower, and for many years to come.

 

Party Food + Drinks

 

 

Finger food and buffets are ideal for a baby shower, and makes catering easy, regardless of how many people you have attending.

For the buffet we laid out all the standard affair: sandwiches, mini pork pies, mini sausage rolls, crisps etc.

For drinks, we whizzed up a healthy tropical smoothie and found some non-alcoholic Prosecco for mummy-to-be! We also provided Prosecco + Pimm’s for those wanting an alcoholic tipple.

 

I also liked the idea of offering some baby-themed pieces for the spread, to make the buffet a little bit more special. My sister’s husband splashed out on this beautiful white Nappy Cake pictured above. It was a great feature piece for the table, but also doubled as a lovely gift for Faye.

I sourced some baby cakes from Sponge, one of my favourite local cake makers. I ordered one of their Baby Party Boxes.

 

Being gluten-free, I went for their gluten-free selection, but there are a number of different box varieties to choose from. The mini cakes were freshly baked the day before I needed them, and delivered straight to my door.

They were amazing value, and tasted absolutely delicious. I can honestly say that they where one of my favourite additions to the shower! Finally, I topped them with the cutest Oh Baby! cake toppers from Ginger Ray.

 

I also took inspiration from Pinterest, and made up some Ready to pop! popcorn tubs.

I found these shabby chic stickers for a great price on eBay, and purchased some plain white tubs too. After little effort, and a couple of minutes sticking labels to the tubs – voilà!

 

 

Party Favours

If your budget will allow, it’s always a nice idea to include some mini favours for guests to take away as a memory of the shower.

Due to my current obsession with succulent plants, I decided that this would be a great lasting gift to give to all those who came along. The little favours had the added sentiment of growing with the baby.

 

I found these baby succulent favours on… you guessed it… eBay! These were from a lovely seller known as seedhouseplants. They were so helpful, and allowed me to create a custom order for a specific quantity.

These were fantastic value, working out at just over £2 per plant! This allowed me to provide some beautiful favours without breaking the bank.

 

I tied them with little thank you tags from craftylittlefox – an invaluable eBay seller for all my baby shower stationary.

 

I also found this cute printable sign on Etsy, which I printed and framed in a spare frame from home. I placed this next to the favours, to encourage people to take a little succulent on leaving.

 

Party Music

Finally you will need an epic playlist to bring everything together and get everyone in the mood to celebrate! Thankfully another idea gathered from Pinterest.

Here I collated every baby, boy or girl related song I could possibly think of. Spoiler alert, there’s a lot. Personal favourites include Push It by Salt-N-Pepa and Ice Ice Baby by Vanilla Ice. The playlist is pretty eclectic with something to please all guests.

You can view and listen to my Spotify playlist below. Feel free to subscribe or use for your own playlist inspiration.

 

And that’s it! Once you have everything in place, you’re free to set-up your baby shower, whether at home or at a venue. I always find a bit of prior planning goes a long way, and leaves you free to relax and celebrate the arrival of a new baby human! Plus it’s always lovely to see a mum-to-be getting excited to start her new adventure!

Good luck + happy planning!

If you’re planning a baby shower and need any further tips, feel free to ask questions in the comments below x

 

Raw Millionaire's Shortbread

 

You know that feeling when you come across the most perfect recipe in the world, and you just HAVE to tell everybody about it? Well a couple of weeks ago, thanks to my latest copy of Good Food magazine, I found these Raw Millionaire’s Shortbread.

For all us gluten + dairy-free peeps out there, finding a recipe that’s as good as the original can often be an impossible find. So when I stumbled across this one, it felt like I’d struck gold big time. It was like winning the bloody lottery. CHA-CHING!

 

Raw Millionaire's Shortbread

 

These vegan, gluten-free chocolatey treats are made with dates, cashews + maple syrup, and are so sticky and moreish, that they rival your everyday Millionaire’s Shortbread. They are also raw, refined-sugar free, and made with all-natural ingredients – so they don’t feel as naughty!

I’ve made these little beauties a few times now, and each time they’ve turned out perfect!

 

Raw Millionaire's Shortbread

 

Raw Millionaire's Shortbread

 

I think these nutrient-rich sweet treats are easy enough to whip up for any occasion, and would be perfect for a bake-sale. I recently made them ahead of time, before some friends came over for dinner. With them already chilling in the fridge, they made for such an easy dessert! All I had to do was cut them up and serve with some vegan ice-cream, and they went down a treat!

I hope you have as much fun making these Raw Millionaire’s Shortbread as I did! Let me know what you think by tagging your creations #heartandbowl, or leaving me a message in the comments below.

 

Raw Millionaire's Shortbread

 

Raw Millionaire’s Shortbread {GF + DF}

Makes: 16

Raw Millionaire’s Shortbread {GF + DF}

Ingredients

    For the base
  • 150g cashew nuts
  • 50g rolled oats
  • 4 large dates, pitted
  • 50g coconut oil, melted
  • For the filling
  • 350g dates, pitted
  • 125ml unsweetened almond milk
  • 25ml maple syrup
  • 150g coconut oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • sea salt
  • For the topping
  • 150g coconut oil
  • 5 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp maple syrup

Instructions

  1. Grease a 20cm square cake tin and line with baking parchment.
  2. Tip the cashew nuts and oats into a food processer and blitz to crumbs. Add the dates and coconut oil, and blend again. Transfer to the tin and use a spoon to press the nutty mixture into a compact, even layer that covers the base. Chill while you prepare the filling.
  3. For the filling, add the dates, almond milk, maple syrup and coconut oil to a saucepan with a generous pinch of sea salt and bring to a simmer. Boil for 2-3 mins until the dates are really soft, then tip into the blender, add the vanilla extract and blitz to a smooth purée. Add a little more salt if the mixture is too sweet. Pour over the nutty base and spread to the sides of the tin, getting the surface as smooth as possible. Chill while you prepare the topping.
  4. Gently heat the coconut oil in a saucepan until melted. Remove from the heat and whisk in the cocoa and maple syrup until there are no lumps. Cool for 10 mins, pour over the caramel layer and return to the fridge for at least 3 hrs or until firmly set.
  5. To serve, cut into squares and enjoy!

Notes

These Raw Millionaire's Shortbread will keep in the fridge for up to 1 week.

Recipe adapted from BBC Good Food

Turtle Bay Norwich

 

For those of you who haven’t walked by Turtle Bay’s new little corner of the city, allow me to introduce you to our latest hot spot! Turtle Bay is all about celebrating the lively, colourful, soulful experiences of the Caribbean – and it’s set to open its doors to Norwich on the 30th August, bringing a new, vibrant and delicious Caribbean dining experience to the city. Think jerk chicken, spicy, slow cooked curries, rice and peas, dreamy desserts and blissful rum cocktails!

 

Turtle Bay Norwich

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On Thursday evening, I was lucky enough to attend a VIP Press Launch before the opening of our very own Turtle Bay here in Norwich. My partner Dan and I, were fortunate to be some of the first in the city to try this new Caribbean experience, and we could not be more excited!

 

Turtle Bay Norwich

 

At 7pm we made our way to Swan Lane, right in the heart of Norwich’s historic lanes, one of my favourite parts of the city! On arrival we were in awe over just how stunning the restaurant was, both inside and out. It really captured the true essence of the Caribbean. Everywhere you looked there were reggae-inspired interiors, and new things to be discovered. With it’s salvaged VW Camper seating area – Norwich definitely hasn’t seen anything like this before! The whole place was vibrant, relaxed and colourful, and it instantly put us in a good mood.

As we entered we were greeted by some of the friendly folks at Turtle Bay, and we were immediately given a rum punch to start the evening. Not being a big drinker, I gave my cocktail to Dan, who was more than happy to nurse a drink in each hand. Being a big rum lover, Dan definitely thought the rum packed a great punch, and he loved the mix of flavours.

 

Turtle Bay Norwich

Turtle Bay Norwich

 

Passing on the rum, I opted for a soft drink, and was made very happy by the choices on offer! As well as an impressive Caribbean Cocktail menu, they also had a whole Caribbean Softs menu, with a huge amount of delicious sounding options! In the end, I landed on the Watermelon Crush (pictured above) – which was so beautifully refreshing!

As we waited for the night of entertainment and dining to begin, I met a few representatives from Turtle Bay who already knew my name, and remembered my blog. We chatted, about the buzz of the new restaurant, and they asked me about Heart + Bowl. It was so lovely of them to take some time to get to know me, and all of the bloggers and press at the event. It gave the evening a really friendly atmosphere, and a personal touch.

 

Turtle Bay Norwich

 

Once everyone had arrived, we were given some nibbles to snack on, including some Curried Chickpeas which were beyond addictive!!! Then we were asked to assemble around the bar for a rum demonstration.

We were talked through the history and inspiration behind Turtle Bay. Their mission? To bring the fun and relaxed Caribbean dining and drinking experience to the UK. With their famous rum, reggae and jerk – they’ve got this down.

 

Turtle Bay Norwich

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After the entertaining rum demonstration we were asked to find a table for the evening of food to begin! Me and Dan picked a nice table by the window near the open street-style kitchen, so we could watch the chefs at work!

Before we got stuck in, one of the managers introduced to us to the ethos behind Turtle Bay’s food. The menu offers a vast choice of bold flavours and rustic dishes, all inspired by the laid back, social outlook of the Caribbean. Dishes are brimming with zesty flavours and spicy hues.

 

Turtle Bay Norwich

Turtle Bay Norwich

 

After the introduction, waiters started to bring out surprise dishes to the guests. The dining area was buzzing with anticipation, excited to see what we were going to try. Reggae music played softly, to get everyone in the mood for the night ahead.

Dan and I were prepared for a night of food, but we could not be prepared for just how much amazing food we would get to try that evening!

 

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Turtle Bay Norwich

 

Firstly we were given a Beach Food Platter, followed by Turtle Bay’s famous Our Curry Goat, followed by Jerk Chicken, and all topped-off with a mixed platter of Puddings! Being a gluten-free eater, there were lots of gluten-free options for me to try, which really put me at ease. All of the food was so hearty and delicious, and was packed full with so much bold flavour. They’re not afraid to add a real spice kick – and I admired them for it!

My personal favourite was the Our Curry Goat (pictured below), served with rice n’ peas! Dan fell in love with the Sweet Corn Fritters on the Beach Food Platter, claiming they were incredibly moorish!

 

Turtle Bay Norwich

Turtle Bay Norwich

 

Overall the whole evening was a completely refreshing, relaxed and memorable dining experience. Turtle Bay brings the heart and soul of the Caribbean – and there’s definitely nothing like it in Norwich. If ever I get the summer, holiday blues, I’ll be sure to head right here to soak up some fun and sun of the Caribbean. I would definitely recommend all Norwich locals and visitors to check it out when it opens from 30th August!

You can book here, OR if you’re feeling lucky – Enter in my free giveaway below!!!

 

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Turtle Bay Norwich

 

WIN DINNER FOR 4 AT NORFOLK’S FIRST TURTLE BAY IN NORWICH!

 

Yes, the kind folks at Turtle Bay have given me this incredible prize to giveaway. We’re offering one lucky winner a

3-course-dinner for 4 with drinks.

Please enter in the rafflecopter below for a chance of winning!

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 Apologies, but I will be accepting entries from UK residence only.