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


Book Review: Decorate for a Party by Holly Becker and Leslie Shewring

Today, I'm delighted to share an extract from the gorgeous new book by Holly Becker and Leslie Shewring - Decorate for a Party. The duo teamed up previously in their book Decorate with Flowers (read my review here), so it's wonderful to see them back together, styling up the most beautiful settings for parties. 

Book Review: Decorate for a Party by Holly Becker and Leslie Shewring (Jacqui Small) - Gathered Cheer blog

The main thing that strikes me about the book is that is takes absolutely everything into account. I've sometimes heard it referred to as the 'texture' of an event. You know, the things that go beyond the more obvious elements of the event, things such as the all-important playlist and the lighting. The season you're holding your gathering in also may affect what theme, colour, centre-pieces, music and flowers you choose - and each of these and more are covered in the book. 

The sections will appeal to many different tastes and will also work across the year for a variety of different types of party - these range from 'New + Romantic' and 'Pure + Simple' to 'Warm + Cosy' and 'Playful + Sweet'. My hands down favourite section is 'Gather + Make' - a festive, monochrome affair full of geometrics, metallic accents and that all-important hygge feeling. I'm so excited to have a go at bringing together some of these elements at my next gathering. 

Dotted throughout the book is a recurring feature '6 ways'. These pages are filled with tips on any given element of a party - such as goody bags, white balloons and name cards. Each of the six ways is varied and you're sure to find one that works for your own get together. To get a better flavour of this lovely feature of the book, take a look below at the extract from the book - '6 ways: Place Settings'. I literally want to replicate every single one of them at my next dinner party... 


6 ways: Place Settings

6 Ways: Place Settings - an excerpt from 'Decorate for a Party' by Holly Becker and Leslie Shewring (Photo by Holly Becker) on Gathered Cheer blog
6 Ways: Place Settings - an excerpt from 'Decorate for a Party' by Holly Becker and Leslie Shewring (Photo by Holly Becker) on Gathered Cheer blog

1. Lace trim was snipped to mark a place setting and simply laid on top of the tablecloth. A linen napkin is topped with a round cocktail napkin with sprigs of greens on top and a strip of paper with ‘Let Us Eat’ stamped on with dark brown ink. Small baking tins become tealight holders. Sprigs and blooms are scattered on the table to bring in colour and a touch of nature. A menu card is tucked beneath the napkin, with pattern peeking through that complements the subdued palette of the tabletop.

2. A plate holds some candles wrapped in greens – we just used wire and sprigs and made these simply by hand-forming little circles and placing candles in the middle. Ribbons dance down the centre of the table with petals from a daisy. A larger wreath was placed on a plate – in the centre a small candle has a tag that says ‘Make a wish’ (created on the computer, printed out and trimmed with scissors) pinned onto ribbon. Silverware was placed in a napkin tired with string.

6 Ways: Place Settings - an extract from 'Decorate for a Party' by Holly Becker and Leslie Shewring (Photo by Holly Becker) on Gathered Cheer blog
6 Ways: Place Settings - an extract from 'Decorate for a Party' by Holly Becker and Leslie Shewring (Photo by Holly Becker) on Gathered Cheer blog

3. Metal baking tins mimic the floral shape of the soup bowl. A pretty votive candle greets each guest with hello on a strip of paper (or write your guests’ first names) – just punch a little hole in the top of the paper, pull the wick through, bend beneath the candle and tape in place. A simple dahlia head continues the petal-shape theme. The linen runner in blush rose adds additional colour.

4. Mixing linens makes a table feel warm and natural. A napkin placed below a gorgeous handmade plate topped with tied silverware against nubby linen is simple but elegant. Use your computer and a favourite font to create a ‘Thankful for’ slip, placed near the dinner plate with a wooden pencil. This is such a wonderful way to connect people at a dinner. We’ve done this before and asked each guest to share their list during the evening and it always made the gathering more magical and intimate. A small sprig of green in a tiny vase is as simple as you can get but beautiful still. We used a paper bag from the grocery store and a circle punch to add some polka dots to the table. A wine glass is topped with a strip of lace trim and the name of the guest is placed on top. Small candles in tin holders work nicely with the colour of the napkin and patina of the vintage silverware.

6 Ways: Place Settings - an extract from 'Decorate for a Party' by Holly Becker and Leslie Shewring (Photo by Holly Becker) on Gathered Cheer blog
6 Ways: Place Settings - an extract from 'Decorate for a Party' by Holly Becker and Leslie Shewring (Photo by Holly Becker) on Gathered Cheer blog

5. Add a wreath to just one of your place settings for the birthday girl, bride-to-be or someone who is being honoured at a special gathering. You can even ask her to wear it in her hair or hang it later from the back of her chair, and definitely invite her to take it home. Use two runners on your table, placed along each side to use as placemats. A darker linen napkin in an eggplant tone adds contrast. Simple twine looped around silverware is easy but pretty. A tiny note on a small plate is a personal touch.

6. A little scroll can be for your menu or a sweet note to your guest. We found these adorable candle holders, which are also vases, and it was love at first sight! We mixed in some greenery and used the same greens to form a little wreath and tied on the guest name. A tiny bottle with sprigs of flowers acts as a sweet takeaway hostess gift.


What a beautiful and inspiring extract - I hope you'll agree! This is just one of the many gorgeous parts of the book, which is packed full of how-to's, styling hints and ideas for ways to make your party pack a punch. I know I'll be dipping in and out as and when I have a party or gathering to plan to dose up on inspiration. 

-x-

Decorate for a Party by Holly Becker and Leslie Shewring (Jacqui Small Pub) is out now

 

Copy and Photo credits //

Top photo is by Ruth for Gathered Cheer

Extracted from Decorate for a Party by Holly Becker and Leslie Shewring, published by Jacqui Small (£20). All images © Holly Becker


A Place To Rest

The bedroom. If yours is anything like ours it acts as a slightly unloved, multi-purpose room - at once being a dumping ground (the laundry airer doesn't fit anywhere else), a work place (the bed is a cosy spot) and a storage room. Never mind actually trying to sleep in there. I often find it hard to sleep anyway - I wish I was one of those 'can sleep in cars, on planes and on the sofa' people, but unless it is a) quiet b) pitch black and c) not to hot I find it tricky to nod off. So it makes sense then, that I put some effort into creating a happy, peaceful and minimal room. My sleep cycle will be sure to thank me...

A beautifully clutter-free and calming bedroom, snapped at the Makelight weekend away

A beautifully clutter-free and calming bedroom, snapped at the Makelight weekend away

As you'll have spotted in my previous post about industrial bedroom styling I'm hoping to have a bit of a shake up soon, to address some of the things I've been neglecting. It'll be all change around here when my lovely big bro moves out at the end of the month - London's loss is Sheffield's gain - but one thing I won't mind is that his attic bedroom will become B's and mine instead. Hello, peace and quiet at the top of the house. I have used his room a few times anyway as it photographs better than our own room, so when it is actually ours I'll feel less like I'm trespassing when wallpapering wardrobes! It's not huge, but it has a super wardrobe in the eaves, and an en suite which I'm sure just needs some Aesop handwash adding to it. I'm hoping the move upstairs will inspire us to pare back so we can create a calming space fit for relaxing and sleeping in. As part of this bedroom dreaming I had a think about my main priorities for the room and here are my non-negotiables...

 

BED

The first (somewhat obvious) essential is of course a bed. Our current bed is a rather traditional looking one, that used to be that attractive shade of orange pine, but now has been painted white. While it is perfectly fine, I'd love something a little more minimal - perhaps like this one from Furniture Village. I like the idea of having a much smaller bedframe, without too much fussy detail - and a headboard which is gently padded would make sitting up and reading in bed all the nicer. Then it's just a case of adding some dreamy linen and blankets, the softer the better.

Scandinavian bedroom inspiration at Gathered Cheer blog - photo credit Johanne Dueholm at www.scandinavianlovesong.com

STORAGE

On a constant mission to reduce clutter, I am generally a fan of wardrobes for clothes storage, but I am slowly coming around to the idea of clothes rails. While I suspect they only really work if you have a beautiful edit of coordinating clothes, rather than a mismatch of colours and misshapen items, a rail could be a useful way to plan the following day's clothes and accessories - hanging them ready for the morning rush.

Bedroom inspiration on Gathered Cheer blog - photo shot and styled by Holly Marder on Avenue Lifestyle

LIGHTING

At the moment we have pretty functional bedside lamps, but I really like the look of the exposed bulbs hung at each side of the bed, like the one below. There is something effortlessly stylish about them, and they are super practical too. Perfect for reading in bed. Even better, I could incorporate a dimmer switch to keep the ambience calm and peaceful.

Bedroom inspiration | Gathered Cheer blog - photo by Jakob Nylund at blog.formconspiracy.se

OTHER FURNITURE

Who doesn't love a chair in the bedroom? While they likely become an extra wardrobe of sorts, they are so handy for those times when you want to relax and read, but don't really fancy snuggling in bed. All I'd add to the chair below is a soft sheepskin, to introduce more texture and cosiness to the otherwise minimal room. Other bedroom furniture includes night stands, dressing tables and consoles. Of course all of this depends on the space you have, as to what you incorporate into the room. The key here is to only bring in the furniture you need, to avoid the room becoming crowded. For me, the idea I find most appealing is making furniture work hard - so my dressing table also doubles up as an extra work space, and my bedside table is brilliant hidden storage unit for my stacks of magazines.

Minimal bedroom inspiration - Gathered Cheer blog | Photo by Jeltje Janmaat on VTVonen

CURTAINS

While the idea of billowy white or grey curtains, blowing in a gentle summer breeze is definitely one I can get on board with, waking at sunrise with blinding light streaming in at 5am is no fun. So, to enjoy the best of both worlds - pitch black sleeping, with soft drapes - I'm looking to hang blackout blinds in our loft room. That way, floaty light curtains can also be hung, but more to soften the overall look of the room, rather than for any practical light blocking reason.

Bedroom inspiration on Gathered Cheer blog - photo via Esny.se

FINISHING TOUCHES

As with any room, it's the little details that make a bedroom feel extra special. Artwork, leafy urban jungles and pretty beauty essentials all bring life and inject personality. My own plant family is growing significantly (more on this in an upcoming blog post) so making space for them in our room is high on the agenda. I've also amassed a fair few inexpensive prints, which I can't wait to pick and choose from to hang around the room. It's also fun to mix and match these finishing touches, refreshing them every few months or so, depending on the season and your preference at the time. It's a great way to update the look and feel of the bedroom without spending a fortune.

Scandinavian bedroom inspiration at Gathered Cheer blog - photo credit Johanne Dueholm at www.scandinavianlovesong.com
Bedroom inspiration on Gathered Cheer blog - photo of art by Silke Bonde, photographed by Enok Holsegaard

 

WHAT DO YOU THINK? WHAT ARE YOUR BEDROOM ESSENTIALS? GET IN TOUCH BELOW, OR FIND ME ON INSTAGRAM!

 

 

Photo Credits1 shot by Ruth Garner for Gathered Cheer 2 via Scandinavian Lovesong | 3 via Avenue Lifestyle | 4 via Jakob Nylund | 5 via VTVonen | 6 via ESNY.se | 7 via Scandinavian Lovesong | 8 via Silke Bonde

This post was written in collaboration with Furniture Village, but all opinions are of course my own. Thank you for supporting the brands which help to keep Gathered Cheer going!


Hello, World!

Rustic meets Minimal with One World Trading

I've written a fair bit about our living room of late - our new armchairs and its cosy spots for relaxing amongst other things - and now we have some lovely new additions to the space, thanks to One World Trading Company. This room is now my absolute favourite in the house, as it feels so lovely, light and welcoming. Rather than going for new furniture and accessories which fit completely with the room (white, bright, minimal, Scandi-inspired) I picked a few pieces which looked more rustic. 

One World Trading Company were totally new to me, but I've been so impressed with the product range (full of items designed and developed totally by them) and the price and quality of each piece. It's also refreshing to see that charity work plays a big part of their story.

Rustic meets Scandi with One World Trading | Gathered Cheer blog

Cue our new pieces - the Brookby coffee table, the portal mirror and the metal lattice lantern. To celebrate these new lovely pieces, I've written a few tips about pairing the Scandi and rustic styles together over on the One World blog - nip over here to have a read!

Rustic meets Scandi with One World Trading | Gathered Cheer blog

The coffee table could be considered a tiny bit big for our space, but it's so beautiful I don't mind one bit. It's the sort of coffee table that has heaps of space for pretty things, but also for cups of tea. It's also super solid, while being amazingly light - it's the fir wood that I've got to thank for that! And, with a potential home renovation in the offing (anyone want to come and knock down the wall between our living and dining room?!) I'm convinced it'll fit with our space for years to come. I so love that it is unfinished wood. Beautifully rustic, but right at home among the white, grey and pastels of our living room. 

Rustic meets Scandi with One World Trading | Gathered Cheer blog

It's such a joy of an evening the light all the candles along the table, including the amazing lantern, it creates such a sense of cosiness - or 'hygge' - if I were actually Scandinavian. I'm picturing it set up for a relaxed dinner - cushions scattered around it's base, table filled with food and surrounded by a few of my nearest and dearest. Perfect.

The mirror too has been a revelation. Having never really bought a mirror before, save for a little one on my dressing table, I'm amazed at what a change it's made in the room. Painted white wood, with a fun portal design it is a statement piece and it bounces so much light around making it as practical as it is pretty.

Rustic meets Scandi with One World Trading | Gathered Cheer blog

What do you think of pairing rustic and Scandi styles? Have you blended different styles for a more relaxed, eclectic look in your home? I'd love to hear all about it!

-x-

All photos shot and styled by Ruth for Gathered Cheer

This post was written in collaboration with One World Trading Company, a brand I am super impressed with. For this post I was gifted the furniture and accessories. All opinions are of course my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that help to keep Gathered Cheer going!


Styling the Seasons | March 2016

I'm sneaking in yet again a little late with my thoughts on March for the lovely Styling the Seasons project. For the most part March has been a pretty calm month. After a busy start to the year it's been such a joy to rest and recuperate. I have finally got my act together and joined a local gym, which means I can begin once again with my swimming endeavours. In fact, just a couple of weeks ago - for the first time ever - I managed to swim a full length with almost the correct technique. Before this (last summer) I had to stop every couple of strokes to come up for air... not entirely efficient. Learning to swim as an adult has not been easy, in fact it took me three different teachers to find the right one, along with a whole lot of practice and determination. But I am so so happy I persevered. It's served to remind me that goals are there to be reached - no matter how far off (or scary) they seem. As spring comes into full bloom, it feels like the perfect time to rest and relish in the changing season, while looking forward to the summer months. And whether that means getting stuck into a new fitness routine, taking time to get out and enjoy some fresh air or sitting down to enjoy a book - it all counts.

Aside from setting new goals for my physical fitness and wellbeing, March is also a poignant time for me since Easter falls in the last week of the month. As a Christian this celebration means so much, and so while I of course love spending time with God every day of the year, at Easter it takes on a really special significance. I've been enjoying my daily readings as part of the She Reads Truth lent bible study - they've opened my eyes to so much beautiful truth that I'd previously overlooked. So, in celebration of this time my styling the seasons surface is our dining table - complete with a cup of tea, a hot cross bun and my bible. The perfect cosy reading spot.

Styling the Seasons - March 2016 | Gathered Cheer blog

In this photo above you can also see my completed Sukhi felt ball rug. Isn't it a beaut? Handmade especially for me in Nepal by Hira Lama. I just love how I know who made my rug, and I can even send her an email to say thank you! What a wonderful idea. If you read my blog post all about Sukhi, you'll know that they are all about fairtrade and ethical production of beautiful rugs. (If not, you can nip here to read all about it!) Now that I have my very own rug I'm delighted. It's a beautiful quality and looks amazing wherever I put it, and I think it looks lovely as part of this set up. 

Styling the Seasons - March 2016 | Gathered Cheer blog

Who doesn't love soft pink ranunculus flowers? (And buttered hot cross buns, obviously...) I just can't get enough of grey, pink and white right now; it's a combination that seems to bring spring to life. Complementing this styled scene perfectly is my new cushion (see below, sat happily on my Sukhi rug) made using Kauniste fabric, sweetly called Sokeri or sugar in english. 

Styling the Seasons - March 2016 | Gathered Cheer blog
Styling the Seasons - March 2016 | Gathered Cheer blog

Wishing you all a peaceful and happy Easter, whatever you're up to! See you after the long weekend. 

-x-

Styling the Seasons is a project initiated by the lovely Katy at Apartment Apothecary and Charlotte at Lotts & Lots. Join in by blogging your own styled surface or by instagramming / tweeting a photo tagging it with #stylingtheseasons

All photos shot and styled by Ruth Garner for Gathered Cheer