30th celebrations

This year my friends and me turn 30. A momentous birthday that deserves, or rather seems to require, some larger than normal celebration. The first of my friends to commemorate was Rachelle in early December, we had planned a weekend break to Centre Parcs, but this had to be cancelled when two of the group, one being me, fell pregnant, one with a very close due date to said weekend. I had been planning a Friday night arrival of champagne and cake and a dress code of little black dresses to keep the event very grown up, the Saturday would be free to enjoy the activities of the centre and then a meal out with perhaps bowling and drinking. The Sunday would be finished with a roast dinner, movie and ice cream pyjama party before driving home Monday morning. I gave each of the attendees a questionnaire to ask their breakfast likes, major food dislikes, film options and other light-hearted questions so nobody would be inconvenienced and the birthday girl would get her preferences. With the questionnaires I gave personalised pencils, so easy to find on eBay or etsy, which add a cute personal touch to events or planning. I had planned to buy individual bottles of champagne and decorate with black and gold paper tassels and a black table runner which I could chalk details of the cake heavy buffet.

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I’m still a little disappointed this weekend never happened. To make it up to her we ended having a day out in Leeds, a day spa session, champagne at Harvey Nichols and then a meal and personalised glittery badges ordered from eBay so there was some memento from the day.

Does anyone feel the pressure of having to celebrate big birthdays or have you organised something similar for your friends? I’ll post later with the details of the other 30th plans we’ve made and are yet to make.

baby shower

My friend Anneka is expecting her first baby any day now, about a month ago a friend and me put together a baby shower for her and I’d like to share it with you today At the start of our planning process we divided our jobs into food, decorations, venue, guest list and invites. Due to the timing of the shower, late October, we went with a woodland theme, keeping the colours red, brown and green, this also fitted a gender neutral theme as we are yet to know what baby will be. We sorted venue, Granma-to-be’s house, and guest list first, sending out save the dates so we had more time to pull together the invites. Pinterest was a main source of inspiration, for decorations, food and game ideas, we actually planned more games than we even got round to playing on the day. We held it on a Sunday afternoon, one lesson learnt was that baby showers, although becoming more popular in the UK are still an idea from America, like gender reveal parties and Black Friday. So with hindsight the invite should have specified more details we assumed would be known, mainly the playing of games and the serving of a buffet lunch. We divided the tasks and everything came together nicely, we met up on evening in the week before the shower to pull all our resources together and make sure we had everything checked off and from the response we had it was a resounding success. The only thing left to do is share the photos from the day on here and with the attendees. I hope you all enjoy.

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people who were helpful and unhelpful

 “You know Aunty Sandra, – not your real aunty but you call her aunty cause she’s a family friend or went slimming club or bingo with your mum!” – Peter Kay

Aunty Margaret is that to The Boy, friend’s with the Mother In Law since French language class, and then child minder and close family friend ever since. She baked with him as a child and made things after school and they enjoyed playing out in the fields with Margaret and Uncle Geoff’s dog. She offered to do the flowers for our wedding and she was brilliant. Margaret is an inspirational woman who has recently fought breast cancer so to still be recovering and offer to take on the floristry was amazing.

She didn’t even want to discuss details until a few months before the wedding, so I had time to get ideas together and have something not to think about. I gave her my ideas and some pictures and she threw the bridesmaids bouquets together in a few days and we never changed them, and after a shape change my bouquet was sorted with the same skill. She is a master with silk flowers and apart from The Boy’s button hole we never contemplated that fake flowers wouldn’t do the job because Margaret was doing such a good job. She simply took my ideas away and brought back what I imagined and I got to trawl the wondrous aisles of Country Baskets to pick up more supplies or decide which specific flowers I would prefer (as I am a flower novice). For me in the midst of planning a wedding Margaret was perfect, asked the right questions but didn’t pester, went away with my ideas and came back with a product and we took any changes/ideas from there. I’m sure you’re reading this saying “a florist does the exact same thing” but as a family friend taking on some of the responsibilities of our wedding she was all I could have hoped for. So if you have offered to design the stationary, arrange the flowers or bake the cake of your closest friend, sister or brother well then firstly well done you, you talented people. Secondly, don’t pester, ask the bride and groom what kind of time scale they need your skills by, when the time comes ask them for their input and ideas and then go away until you bring back your work. This may sound cold, but for the sake of the bride and groom act like you’re being paid for the job, because with the best will in the world being friendly and mentioning it all the time or asking questions about it when you’ve nipped round for a cuppa will only do one thing…make them wish they hadn’t have asked and stress them out.

For me once a decision has been made it’s because I’ve put a lot of thought into it and I’m happy with it. While planning the wedding I had people who were being helpful with their opinions and other ideas; these were close friends and family wanting to share in the build up to the big day and they were giving their opinions from a good place. But if a bride-to-be says she’s going with roses what she doesn’t want to hear, if you’re anything like me, is “have you thought about peonies”? The response from me is yeah I probably have considered other flowers because I’ve said I’m going with roses!  I got loads of ideas from friends and family but I didn’t like hearing different ideas once I’d made a decision, it allowed doubt to creep in and the process was made longer.

If you want to stay friends with someone who is planning a wedding, then leave them alone, offer advice when asked, throw out some ideas in the early stages and do let them know you are there if they need you. But that’s it, leave it, it’s stressful enough without having to consider everyone’s perspective.