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Sunday, 18 May 2014

Throwing the perfect baby shower

As regular readers will know I am unexpectedly expecting our fourth child.  I've only ever had one Baby Shower thrown for me and that was when I was pregnant with our eldest child.  I have however planned and thrown lots of baby showers for friends and thought I would share some hints and tips to help those planning a Baby Shower for a friend or relative.

Here are my top tips:

Good planning is essential - Decide on the theme and type of party you will be organising.  Pinterest has endless ideas for themes, games, food, etc.  Send out invitations at least 14 days in advance and don't invite more guests than you or the venue can cope with. Also ask guests to notify you of any dietary requirements when they RSVP. Consider asking guests to bring a plate of savoury or sweet treats if you are not the most confident cook or on a tight budget. If guests aren't able to bring a plate of food they could bring some refreshments instead. Make sure you have enough crockery, cutlery and seating for all the invited guests 

Time management - Do as much preparation ahead of time as possible.  Make or buy decorations, ensure you have a timetable for the day to ensure food stays fresh and savoury items can be served warm if necessary. Savouries that you can make in advance and freeze are fab as all you need to do on the day is defrost them and heat them up. Cupcakes can also be frozen uniced ready to be defrosted and decorated on the day. Leave yourself plenty of time to decorate the venue and set up the refreshment tables, a few willing helpers will come in very handy at this point.

The menu - Ensure dietary needs of guests are catered for with gluten free, egg free and vegetarian options available if necessary. I like to serve bite sized sweet and savoury treats which are easy to eat whilst chatting. I usually try and have enough savoury and sweet treats that allow for each person to have 4 or 5 savoury and 3 or 4 sweet items. Tailor the food to your event, whether it be dainty cakes and treats for an afternoon tea or canapes for more of a sophisticated evening party event. Also make sure there are plenty of refreshments such as fruit juice, tea, coffee, mocktails/cocktails and wine if you want.

Gifts - A Wish List is a great way to ensure the Mum-to-be doesn't end up with 31 sleepsuits.  An online document that guests can edit can be a great way to ensure that gifts are what the guest of honour wants/needs.  Ensure the list contains items to suit all budgets, also make sure homemade items, especially toys, are safe for very young babies.  I am coveting a stylish change bag from Pink Lining, amongst other things, just in case anyone wants to get me one ;o)

I asked friends on Facebook for their Baby Shower tips:

Maria said "Make sure people know you would like a baby shower, hoping they will throw you one is not enough. Apparently some people need telling a whole lot of times."

Hannah had a brilliant idea "If people are bringing children make sure there is a little table of activities for them to keep them amused. This is what my friend did at mine, the children decorated little biscuits and had baby colouring sheets.*

Jo suggested "Have lots of cake there and wine for the non-pregnant ladies! Silly games are always a hit too! We had to drink squash out of baby bottles at mine"

And my cousin Catherine had a great idea for a keepsake "A friend threw both my baby showers for the girls. We had civilised afternoon teas! One thing she did do, and I still have, is she got a plain fleece blanket and then cut squares of fabric (with animals on them) had every one sew one on throughout the day and then sign their name. Its still in use 11 years later I love it and my daughter treasures it so much."

Here are my top two recipes for easy and tasty party savouries that can be made in advance:

Mini Vegetarian Quiches

1 sheet ready-rolled short crust pastry
2 large free range eggs
60ml milk
a few grinds of black pepper
1 courgette, finely diced
1 pepper, finely diced
finely chopped fresh chives
75g grated mature cheddar

Preheat your oven to 180C/160C Fan. Grease a mini muffin tin.

Cut small circles from the pastry using a cookie cutter or the rim of a glass, then line 15-holes of a mini muffin tray with the pastry circles, pressing in to conform to the tin. Chill the tray whilst you make the filling.

In a jug, beat the eggs and milk until smooth, then stir in the freshly ground pepper.  Put some finely diced courgette and pepper into each pastry case. Sprinkle over some chopped fresh chives. 

Fill each of the pastry cases with the egg mixture. Sprinkle over some cheese then bake for 15 - 20 minutes until the pastry is golden and the filling is puffed up and cooked through. Serve immediately or cool and freeze for later if you like.



Mini Pizza Tartlets

375g pack ready rolled puff pastry, thawed if frozen
2 or 3 Tblsp tomato paste
1 courgette, finely diced
1 pepper, finely diced
finely chopped fresh chives
100g mature cheddar, grated

Preheat your oven to 200C/180C Fan. Line two oven trays with non-stick baking paper. Cut small squares from the pastry then score a border about 1/2 cm in from the edge. I made 24 savouries from one sheet of pastry.  Prick inside the border with a fork. Spread tomato paste inside the border of each square, top with a little diced courgette and pepper followed by a sprinkling of chives and grated cheese. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes or until pastry is golden and topping is cooked through.



Disclosure: I was compensated for my time spent writing this post and creating the recipes

5 comments:

  1. Loving the little quiches. I never had a baby shower when was pregnant. I think I was just too tired to be bothered towards the end of my pregnancy.

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  2. Ooh lovely, I was very lucky and got treated to afternoon tea out - but also love the idea of having a big group of girls over to eat and drink and your tarts look like tasty treats!

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  3. I would have loved enjoying a baby shower especially eating lovely food such as this. I never did have one thrown for me but it's a great thing that you can do for someone. A perfect chance to get together and enjoy your friends with some yummy bites to eat!

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  4. Those tartlets looks so tasty and dainty!

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  5. Baby showers weren't really around when I had my boys, but i'd have loved one!!!!! I think a lush afternoon tea with games and girly gossip sounds perfect. I've seriously got my eye on those pizza tartlets - yum!

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