A Simple Floral Themed Baby Shower

In celebration of our little Tallie turning six months all this week on the blog I'm sharing some stored up posts to bring us right up to date. You can hear all about Tallie and her arrival here, see her nursery nook here and read why I'm a huge advocate for maternity shoots here. Once this week's posts have run normal service will resume - with more interiors, DIY and book posts - not just parenting and family posts, promise! 

Today I wanted to share a little peek into my baby shower which was such a special afternoon. Contrary to popular opinion, I decided to co-host my baby shower with my bestie, Ruthie. (Our mums obviously have great choice in names!) I love planning events and had such set ideas about what I wanted to create that it felt right that we'd make it happen together, and my goodness I really couldn't have done it without her. The plan for the afternoon was simple, it was a baby shower for someone who didn't love the idea of having a baby shower! You may have guessed by now, but I really don't like the attention being on me. All I really wanted was a good excuse to gather together with some dear friends, to eat some tasty treats and to pray together as we celebrated the imminent arrival of my little one. 

A Simple Floral Themed Baby Shower | Gathered Cheer blog

Here's a little more detail about what we got up to...

DECOR

The shower was held on a grey afternoon in January, so adding flowers and candlelight was essential to lighten our home and to create a cosy atmosphere. The day before the event I stocked up on simple blooms and greenery - including ranunculus, eucalyptus, spray carnations and wax flower. By picking flowers which easily separate into little posies, we made up several little arrangements and dotted them around my home. They were everywhere from the dining table and fireplace hearths to the kitchen drinks station and even in our bathroom. We also used the same flowers to decorate our doughnut stack and cake. It's amazing how something as simple as adding flowers to some cheap and cheerful doughnuts makes them look so much more fun and pretty.

Next we added candles - both scented candles from Anthropologie and simple tealights. We emphasised the twinkly feeling with string lights too. I love the ones that just need batteries, they look great and don't need a power socked - winner! 

A Simple Floral Themed Baby Shower | Gathered Cheer blog

I'm a sucker for banners and bunting, so of course we strung up lots of these! By sticking to the party colours (pink, grey, gold) it all tied in nicely, without being too fussy. We also hung the 'love' balloon as I couldn't resist it! It's now hanging in our bedroom as I can't bear to be parted from it.

Finally, I dotted a few little baby bits around the house. I had a sweet pair of crochet baby booties and a snuggle toy which were sweet and made the party feel more like a baby shower.

A Simple Floral Themed Baby Shower | Gathered Cheer blog

FOOD & DRINK

We served a selection of sweet and savoury snacks including a delicious carrot cake, vanilla sugar cookies (which we'd stamped 'hello baby' on roll out icing), chocolate dipped strawberries and plenty of popcorn. To make the sweet treat table look pretty I gathered a selection of glasses and plates to display everything in. Even a simple treat like mini eggs look extra special when put out in martini glasses. 

For drinks, we set up a 'pimp your prosecco' station. I labelled carafes and filled with different juices, and put chopped fruit in bowls. Guests could then grab a jam jam (complete with gold foil straw), pour prosecco and add whatever juice or fruit they fancied. 

A Simple Floral Themed Baby Shower | Gathered Cheer blog | Mimosa bar
A Simple Floral Themed Baby Shower | Gathered Cheer blog
A Simple Floral Themed Baby Shower | Gathered Cheer blog
A Simple Floral Themed Baby Shower | Gathered Cheer blog

DETAILS/ ACTIVITIES

While I didn't relish the idea of traditional baby shower games, I did want to do a couple of things to mark the occasion. I'd seen 'wishes for baby' cards available to download on various blogs before and I wanted something similar. I'm such a stationery fan and this was one of the most special elements of the day so I came up with a loose design concept and then commissioned Quill London to print the cards. I was thrilled with them! The calligraphy element looked so beautiful and then when they were filled in I was left with a pile of sweet messages, hopes and dreams for Tallie. I'm so looking forward to sharing them with her when she's older. 

A Simple Floral Themed Baby Shower | Gathered Cheer blog

The final part was a lovely time of prayer with my dear friends. Needless to say I was pretty apprehensive ahead of having Tallie, so gathering with friends to commit it all to God was so precious and the highlight of the afternoon. I felt so priviliged to be surrounded by such incredible women, knowing they'd each be an important part of Tallie's life. 

It was such a joyful afternoon and I'm so grateful to everyone who came and made it so special. And of course my biggest thank you goes to Ruthie, as she made it all happen! We wouldn't have had anything to eat if it weren't for her amazing baking skills - the biscuits, cakes and pastries were all made by her. Thank you, friend. You're the best! 

A Simple Floral Themed Baby Shower | Gathered Cheer blog

I'll be back with a couple more posts this week - including one on the things we've most used these past six months having Tallie. See you soon.

-x-

All photos shot and styled by Ruth Garner for Gathered Cheer


Meet, Wrap, Mingle

Ok, so Christmas has been and gone for another year - but with it being New Year's Eve today I thought I would share with you some festive inspiration from the Make Wrap Mingle event, hosted by Zeena Shah, Lynne from Papermash and Geraldine from Little Big Bell - just in case you're in the mood for a little last minute crafting! 

Make Wrap Mingle event with Zeena Shah and Papermash | Gathered Cheer blog - image by Anna Southgate
Make Wrap Mingle event with Zeena Shah and Papermash | Gathered Cheer blog - image by Anna Southgate

The afternoon, held at the beautiful (and most-instagrammable!) Papermill Studios was an absolute delight, from beginning to end. With the chance to wrap gifts, have our hair braided by the lovely girls at Prettly, write secret letters, make wooly pom poms and crackers and eat our fill of the amazing treats on offer, it was the perfect way to spend a few hours. 

Make Wrap Mingle event with Zeena Shah and Papermash | Gathered Cheer blog - image by Anna Southgate
Make Wrap Mingle event with Zeena Shah and Papermash | Gathered Cheer blog - image by Anna Southgate

CONFETTI CRACKER MAKING

One of my favourite activities was the cracker making craft, led by Zeena. And who says crackers need to be confined to the Christmas table? If you have a little time today (and just a few basic craft items) why not whip up a few to help ring in the new year? They're so easy to make, and you can easily decorate them to match your theme - whether you're going bold and bright and colourful, or gold and black and sparkly. To read the instructions about how to make your own cracker, nip over to Stylist where Zeena shared all her cracker making know-how. The one I made on the day used mint green card (I'm nothing if not predictable!), and I used gold dot stickers to decorate the outside, while I filled the cracker with brightly coloured confetti and a little treat. Ours didn't include a bang, but these could easily be added too! (You can buy the gold and white bakers twine at Papermash here)

How to make a confetti filled cracker for parties, by Zeena Shah | Gathered Cheer blog
Make Wrap Mingle event with Zeena Shah and Papermash | Gathered Cheer blog - image by Anna Southgate
Make Wrap Mingle event with Zeena Shah and Papermash | Gathered Cheer blog - image by Anna Southgate
Make Wrap Mingle event with Zeena Shah and Papermash | Gathered Cheer blog - image by Anna Southgate

SECRET LETTER SENDING

Another activity we did which needn't be kept just for the most wonderful time of the year, was envelope decorating and letter writing. Our instructions were simple - pick a name and address from the label list, and write them a cheerful letter, while also making and decorating the envelope to house your letter. We used all manner of tape, stamps, stickers and pens to decorate the envelopes (made using a template, currently sold out). This is such an easy and fulfilling craft at any time of year. Sometimes there are anonymous letter exchanges you can join in on, or you could just make more of an effort to send pretty snail mail to your nearest and dearest. So much nicer than a quick email or whatsapp message, right? 

Make Wrap Mingle event with Zeena Shah and Papermash | Gathered Cheer blog - image by Anna Southgate

I hope you liked those two super easy 'not just for Christmas' crafty ideas. I for one am definitely feeling ready to get my craft on in 2017 - starting with some more pretty letter writing to my friends and family. Do you have any crafty plans for 2017? I'd love to hear about them - let me know in the comments below! 

Do also have a little peek at the Papermash blog to hear more about the afternoon, and stay tuned over there for more information on 2017 workshops! 

Happy New Year! 

-x-

All photos by Anna Southgate, of August Story Company (and over here on Instagram), with the exception of the first confetti cracker image with is by Ruth for Gathered Cheer blog.


Getting Festive with MK Design and Occipinti

With Christmas just days away, I'm delighted to share a few tips and tricks I learnt at a recent Christmas workshop, hosted by Mathilde from MK Design and Ashley from Occipinti, with florist Tom from Agent.F. The afternoon was packed full of inspiration, all focused on setting a beautiful table - incorporating festive foliage and pretty name and place settings. 

Top tips for a festive tablescape with MK Design and Occipinti | Gathered Cheer blog

Mathilde and Ashley have a wealth of styling experience and so seeing the tables that they had set was wonderful. We worked our way around the gorgeous Republic of Fritz Hansen store, looking at the different scenes they'd set using all the scandi pretty - including the Georg Jensen table, below.

Top tips for a festive tablescape with MK Design and Occipinti | Gathered Cheer blog

Both Mathilde and Ashley shared their top tips for creating an eye-catching and festive tablescape. So if you're looking for last minute inspiration ahead of Sunday, look no further! 

  • Limit yourself to two colours - this will keep the table looking elegant and professional. 
  • Add in greenery - whether you use herbs (such as rosemary sprigs) or foliage (such as eucalyptus), greenery will bring your table to life. Plus it often smells amazing too!
  • Bring in colour with your textiles - to make it easy to switch up your colour scheme as and when you fancy, try sticking with neutral crockery and use the napkins and table cloth to inject colour. 
  • Get crafty with name settings - these look impressive but are so easy to do. Fold a little piece of card in half, hole punch on each side and add a sprig of rosemary to achieve the place setting seen below right. Or roll out a little air dry clay and use stamps to personalise a setting for each guest, seen below. 
Top tips for a festive tablescape with MK Design and Occipinti | Gathered Cheer blog
Top tips for a festive tablescape with MK Design and Occipinti | Gathered Cheer blog
Top tips for a festive tablescape with MK Design and Occipinti | Gathered Cheer blog

Not content with showing us how to style up a beautiful setting with napkins and name tags, florist Tom from Agent Fwas then on hand to guide us in the making of an incredible festive centrepiece - in the shape of a foliage, herb and succulent arrangement. 

Top tips for a festive tablescape with MK Design and Occipinti | Gathered Cheer blog

A mess was made as we all descended on the various foliage stems - from spruce and eucalyptus, to rosemary and lavender. To see a full step-by-step guide have a peek at Melanie Lissack's blog - it's definitely a centrepiece well worth having a go at creating yourself. I was amazed how quickly our arrangements came together, as we layered different types of greenery around and into our oasis block. The crowning glory came with the prettiest gold dipped sprigs of magnolia and eucalyptus and the lush addition of succulents. I don't have a finished photo of my own creation, but it's still alive and looking as happy as the day it was made. Now I just need to see if I can transport it safely to the south coast for our Christmas lunch! 

Top tips for a festive tablescape with MK Design and Occipinti | Gathered Cheer blog
Top tips for a festive tablescape with MK Design and Occipinti | Gathered Cheer blog
Top tips for a festive tablescape with MK Design and Occipinti | Gathered Cheer blog

I must also mention the amazing food and drink that was on offer during the workshop too - my goodness, it was good. The raspberry and turmeric tea was warming and refreshing and the refined sugar-free brownies made by Cake + Cucumber were delicious. I think I went back for thirds... 

Top tips for a festive tablescape with MK Design and Occipinti | Gathered Cheer blog
Top tips for a festive tablescape with MK Design and Occipinti | Gathered Cheer blog

What a perfect way to spend an afternoon - sipping Glögg, eating brownies, getting creative with foliage and learning the art of creating a beautiful tablescape - all the while nattering with a bunch of lovely likeminded folks. What's more, the goodie bag was an extra special treat, it was like Christmas came early! Big thanks to the goodie bag sponsors:

- JollySmith, Nuori, Iris Hantverk, À L'aise, Kay Bojesen, Tom Pigeon, Haws, Mind the Cork, Ola Jewellery, Muubs, The Nomad Society - 

Mathilde and Ashley will be back with more workshops in 2017, so be sure to follow them on Instagram to make sure you are first to hear when the dates are announced! (Mathilde + Ashley)

-x-

Photo credits //

All by Ruth for Gathered Cheer

I was invited along to the workshop with a complimentary ticket, but all opinions and excellent foliage styling are my own!


12 Styled Days Of Christmas : Day 3

Hands down, Christmas is one of my favourite times of the year. There are so many things to be relished right from December 1st - the tree, the carols and the food among just a few. At the heart of the celebration for me though is celebrating the birth of Jesus. It's also a special time to see friends we might not have seen for a while, and so when we do it feels appropriate to make the occasion extra special. With my love of Christmas undeniable, I was thrilled when the super talented Teri from The Lovely Drawer got in touch about her 12 Styled Days of Christmas project, with West Elm. You can see Teri's beautifully styled table for day 1 here, and Heather's crafting table for day 2 here. I'll update the list below as each post goes live for the 12 days, but you can also follow the #kindredspirits project on instagram and on West Elm's blog Front & Main.

And so onto day 3 - my styled table. Since for us Christmas becomes a season of hosting lots of gatherings and parties I wanted to make our dining table look extra festive and sparkly, ready to welcome our guests. As much as I enjoy playing hostess, I enjoy keeping things simple even more. With this in mind, I wanted to style a relaxed table, making it easy to leave as it is throughout advent, with just the food and florals needing to be refreshed as and when new guests arrive. Never one to go big on the traditional colours of Christmas, I went with my favourite hues instead - white, gold and dashes of green. And of course a little sparkle too. There has to be sparkle. 

12 Styled Days of Christmas with West Elm | Gathered Cheer blog
12 Styled Days of Christmas with West Elm | Gathered Cheer blog
12 Styled Days of Christmas with West Elm | Gathered Cheer blog
12 Styled Days of Christmas with West Elm | Gathered Cheer blog

side plates | bottle brush trees | marble plate

I made a backdrop for the table by attaching a dowel rod to the wall (with a couple of little nails) and from the rod I hung gold glitter baubles and geometric decorations with twine. It creates a lovely focus to the table above the marble plate centre piece. 

Taking inspiration from the sweet side plates, I incorporated extra little phrases and sayings across the table. To a little plywood tray I simply added a stamped out (on my trusty dymo machine) 'pick me' sticker, to let guests know to help themselves to a little gift. (The gift was a tiny Roccoco chocolate bar, wrapped in a glassine bag with an added gold glitter bauble for sparkle.) I also added my framed 'spread some cheer' print to the table, which Teri made for each guest at our Gathered Cheer social brunch a little while ago. The hand lettered aspect definitely makes for an informal feel, without compromising on the pretty!

12 Styled Days of Christmas with West Elm | Gathered Cheer blog
12 Styled Days of Christmas with West Elm | Gathered Cheer blog
12 Styled Days of Christmas with West Elm | Gathered Cheer blog

Around the table I dotted the bottle brush trees and hydrangea and eucalyptus posies in mini milk bottles. Again, these keep the table feeling relaxed, and the posies are really easy to style but bring with them bags of charm. The blush colour of the petals is just perfect with gold. Sigh.

To make the napkins more of a feature, I tied sprigs of rosemary onto them with twine, adding a gift tag with an initial for each guest. Set against the gold these look lovely and festive, and smell gorgeous, too! All my crafty bits and bobs - twine, glitter letters and tags etc are from Papermash. To finish the table, and to keep it safe but sparkly, I added a string of battery operated fairy lights.

12 Styled Days of Christmas with West Elm | Gathered Cheer blog
12 Styled Days of Christmas with West Elm | Gathered Cheer blog
12 Styled Days of Christmas with West Elm | Gathered Cheer blog

So, there you have it - my styled Christmas buffet table. Just add a party selection pack and it's complete! 

Day 1 : The Lovely DrawerDay 2 : Growing Spaces | Day 3 : Gathered Cheer | Day 4 : Fall For DIY | Day 5 : Apartment Apothecary | Day 6 : Cate St Hill | Day 7 : Made By Molu | Day 8 : Lobster & Swan | Day 9 : Lapin Blu | Day 10 : A Quiet Style | Day 11 : Lotts & Lots | Day 12 : Little Big Bell

x

All photos styled and shot by Ruth Garner for Gathered Cheer. Products were given by West Elm for this project, but all opinions and definitely my own. 






Jelly and (ice) cream

Nothing quite says 'happy birthday' like jelly and ice cream, but for some reason such celebratory treats seem to stop over the age of ten. This hardly seems fair, so with B's birthday fast approaching I thought it would be fun to try and put a grown-up spin on this childhood classic. If you've been anywhere in blogland lately you'll have noticed some wonderful seasonal recipes for elderflower cordial, so naturally I wanted to have a go at making some for myself. (For excellent recipes nip over to Really Pretty Useful, A Quiet Style and Humphrey & Grace - they're all gorgeous.) After successfully negotiating the gathering, steeping and straining I was left with a lovely elderflower concoction - some of which I froze, ready for any baking and recipe making. It was a happy day when these pretty margarita glasses from Rose & Grey arrived. I love the shape of the glasses and they showed off the jelly beautifully. 

Grown-up jelly with Rose & Grey | Gathered Cheer blog

The glasses come in a sweet set - complete with two tropical print straws, coasters, flamingo stirrers and mini drinks umbrellas. With it being a set jelly rather than a drink, I didn't really need to use these little extras, so I thought it would be fun to repurpose them a little. In a crafty move which made me reminisce about making necklaces out of pasta shapes as a child, I cut the straws up into smaller tubes, and threaded them onto some pretty twine. I then stuck the coasters onto the twine with a little washi tape. When taped up on the wall, this little tropical garland brought a bit of fun to proceedings. A longer garland would work so well above a bar cart or birthday buffet, don't you think?

Grown-up jelly with Rose & Grey | Gathered Cheer blog

The jelly recipe I followed was the BBC Good Food one. With a mix of raspberries and elderflowers, the result is a sweet treat, perfect for summer celebrations. Some other recipes suggest adding prosecco to the mix, which I'll definitely be trying out next. For a finishing touch I added a generous dollop of clotted cream, some fresh raspberries and mint sprigs. Who doesn't love fresh mint and raspberries? 

Grown-up jelly with Rose & Grey | Gathered Cheer blog
Grown-up jelly with Rose & Grey | Gathered Cheer blog

What grown-up jelly should I make next? Extra points if you share a recipe with me that involves gin...!

-x-

Photo credit // All images shot and styled by Ruth Garner

This post was written in collaboration with Rose & Grey, as part of their blogger's style challenge and for which I was gifted the glasses. Thank you for supporting the companies I work with that keep Gathered Cheer going!