New Orleans, Louisiana (NOLA)

Where do I even start?! As with Nashville, New Orleans was always on my bucket list and for good reason – it’s unlike anywhere else. It has a very French/fairytale/jazz infused feel it’s impossible not to love. There’s a big interest in the supernatural; graveyards, ghosts (you can even have dinner with one at Muriel’s in Jackson Square) and clairvoyants and it’s had a reputation as a “refuge for lost souls” for many many years. If you’ve ever read A Streetcar Named Desire it’ll feel like you’re in that book as you walk round, theres an actual ‘Desire Street’ and you can go to ‘Elysian Fields Avenue’, just a casual literature reference.

When we first arrived it was the hottest it had been for a few days, hitting the early 30’s as we wandered a Lafayette graveyard filled with beautiful historic above ground tombs which was interesting to see if not a little haunting. From there we obviously headed to a bar, where we had drinks in the sunshine and threw coins into a fountain as we made wishes. After a unanimous decision, we headed to a thrift store where we picked outfits for our first night in N’Awlins. We headed to the hotel to freshen up and get ready and we were blown away by the luxury that awaited us. After many nights in hostels and motels (all of which were really good) we were in a proper hotel with walk in showers and luxurious double beds. Heaven. There was also an incredible rooftop bar with live jazz music and a view of the city which was stunning at sunset. The link to the hotel is here if you’re in need of a recommendation.

So, let the first night begin. Apart from Nashville, this was the first city that we were really able to party in and let me tell you, we were ready for it. We met at the rooftop bar with sequins, fake moustaches, pleather caps, snake hats, Mardi Gras beads and moustache suits in tow. The crazy thing? We didn’t look out of place.

We wandered the French quarter and got hurricanes on the way to dinner. A hurricane for anyone that’s wondering is a strooooong cocktail made with various rums and we got them by the litre, literally. Jazz music filled the streets as we waited for a table at the best restaurant for gumbo and other Louisiana favourites. We were waiting a while, well, long enough for the hurricanes to take effect and for a group of us to pop to the bar next door to get some more rather strong but expertly and individuality made cocktails. Delish. The alcohol laws in New Orleans are such that you can walk from bar to bar with your drinks and it’s legal. Amazing.

After dinner we wandered, dipping in and out of bars to listen to jazz performers which were amazing. Street music, dancing, spoon playing and cartwheels were happening left right and centre – and that was just from our group. I’ll insert some videos below – even they may not give the whole atmosphere but they sure make me smile thinking back to them. The rest of the night was filled with dancing and drinks and laughter and it was one of my favourite nights on the trip.

On the left is Jess cartwheeling, the top right video is me and Jack – pretty sure I blacked out for the whole thing, I had no idea what I was doing (clearly!) it was like a crazy trust exercise, “just run!”, and bottom right is Jess and Jack playing the spoons. What can I say, we’re a talented bunch…

Feeling surprisingly fresh the following morning, we headed out in the blistering heat to get breakfast. We walked a fair way and I think it nearly killed a few of us off but we made it. I ordered the bananas foster which is bananas, cinnamon, sugar, cream and ice cream and it’s way too heavy for breakfast after a night out but it’s a New Orleans classic so I couldn’t miss it. And of course we had mimosas which kind of goes without saying.

Later in the day, Ana and I went to Mardi Gras World where we learnt why and how all the floats are made as well as getting to walk round the warehouse where they’re all made. Instead of a ticket to enter the ‘museum’ you get Mardi Gras beads which both Ana and I thought was such a novelty. Before looking round the actual floats and learning about the process they go through when they’re made you get to watch a video about the history of Mardi Gras. We also got to eat cake – if your piece had a tiny plastic baby in it then you were king/queen for the day. It was called King Cake. I know, New Orleans right?

I think we went out the second night as well but in all honesty I can’t remember much about it, I think it was more chilled than the first night but no doubt drinks and jazz still featured highly. Before we left we had to stop by the market and grab some beignets, deep fried choux pastry covered with powdered sugar, which were incredible.

“Laissez le bon temps rouler” translated as “let the good times roll”, the unofficial catchphrase of New Orleans. Add it to your bucket lists now.

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Heading South…

I think I’ve been waiting a while to write all these posts because once I’ve done it and they’re out there, what more is there to say? Who else is there to tell about my adventures? Reliving each city as I’ve written about it has been such a joy, I guess it’s the closest thing I’ll get to actually re-doing the trip – as much as joke about it to Ana. I’ve been especially reluctant to write about Nashville and New Orleans because I’m afraid my love for them won’t come across. It’s quite hard to write about a place where nothing major happened, there were no grand canyons or star filled skies it was much more about the people and the music and the atmosphere. And that’s something very hard to describe.

Nashville was always on my list of places to go. Country music and the whole romanticism of country life have always been of interest so actually being there was really special. The visit to the Ryman auditorium was incredible – learning about its history and the Grand Ole Opry and being only a few footsteps from the stage that so many incredible performers have sung on was so surreal. Walking up and down Broadway, the main street, popping into boot stores, hat stores and the array of different bars and honky tonks listening to all the next big thing’s. People singing and dancing everywhere with a real love for the music they’re listening to. It’s just such a special place.

It’s the place of karaoke – and I mean karaoke. These people can SING! Like, ready to get their big break kind of singing. So naturally our tour leader added my name to the list. I politely but rather forcefully declined and let another member of our group take my place, and it was just as well because she smashed it.

It’s also the place where you can get pizza delivered to the bar. I’m here for it.

It’s the place of $54 hats, 3 pairs of boots for the price of 1 (which is actually a really good deal and a few of us nearly grouped together but the reality of carrying boots round the world put a slight downer on the idea), it’s the place where everyone can wear pretty much the same thing and it’s not weird – think denim, flannel shirts, hats, boot, etc etc. It’s magical. I think the phrase of the night was “I love it, can I stay here? Let’s stay here. Can we stay here?”.

We also got to visit the Bluebird Cafe, which may not mean anything to many of you but it’s the place people go to perform at open mic nights where they may or may not get spotted and they become the next Garth Brooks or Taylor Swift. Both were discovered there, and it’s also had visits from Keith Urban and Dierks Bentley before they were country superstars. It’s a country music holy grail and I got to stand outside.

Nashville, I’ll be back.

From Nashville we went to Memphis, land of Elvis and Blues. Compared to Nashville, Memphis was a little bit of a let down. Don’t get me wrong, it was still amazing and the live blues singers were unlike anything I’ve ever heard before but nothing was going to beat that Monday night. Tuesday night in Memphis wasn’t quite as buzzing and the rain may have dampened the mood a little, thanks Irma.

We spent the day at the National Civil Rights Museum which is adjoined to the Lorraine Hotel, the place where Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. The museum was incredibly interesting and interactive but the most hard hitting part for me was definitely seeing the room where the assassination happened. Everything was left as it was and the quotes from his family and friends bought a tear to everyone’s eye, it was very moving. If you’re ever in Memphis I’d definitely recommend taking the time to visit.

We also took a trip to the Gibson factory which was $11 rather than $60 like Graceland was, sorry Elvis – maybe next time. The Gibson factory was fascinating though, even for someone who’s not got the biggest passion for how guitars are made. It was very hands on, lots to see and touch and questions were encouraged, well worth $11.

I have to say though, highlight of the day had to be the Peabody Ducks. If you haven’t heard of them, stop whatever you’re doing and listen up. There are a group of ducks that live in the Peabody hotel in the centre of Memphis and every night there’s a ceremony for them. They walk (waddle?) from the fountain in the hotel foyer down a set of tiny red stairs, down a red carpet to the elevator lead by the Duck Master. They proceed to get in the lift which takes them to the roof where they spend the night and then in the morning the ceremony is reversed. They do this every day. Hundreds of people (us included) waited for 45 minutes to get a good view of them. There was music and the Duck Master had proper attire and it was quite the event. Half our group thought it was ridiculous and the other half (myself included) thought it was maybe the highlight of the trip (or definitely the highlight of Memphis). Here’s a video Ana took of them – she sat on the floor with the children to get the best view, obviously, but I still don’t think you can get the full experience. Add it to your list of things to do in this crazy city.

We also visited Beale Street which is the equivalent of Broadway in Nashville. It’s a street full of bars that have blues music flooding the street it’s impossible not to be impacted by such soulful voices; blues isn’t my favourite genre of music but even I was swept up in it. It was a great place but the tiredness from Nashville and the rain from Hurricane Irma had caught up with us and so it wasn’t a late night but a fun one all the same.

East Coast Highlights

City: New York, New York

Technically the tour started in New Jersey so we got a bus from New York to New Jersey with no idea when to get off, when we did eventually guess (surprisingly correctly), we were dumped on the side of a road like in a movie. It was bizarre. Luckily a man gave us directions along the gravelled main road where we came to a Motel and finally called an uber to rescue us. The morning of the tour we nearly went off on the wrong tour altogether, down to Miami whilst Hurricane Irma was happening. Not the best start. But before all those misadventures we went to New York which quite frankly started out as a nightmare trip.

You know how you always have the thought in the back of your mind that the hotel won’t have you booking or the Airbnb won’t exist? Well, that actually happens. 11pm in the middle of The Bronx, two young women are wandering the streets trying to contact the owner of the accommodation they’re meant to be staying in and they get no reply. I don’t know whether it was the tiredness or just because everything was completely overwhelming but we both stayed relatively calm considering the situation. Thank god for smart phones and google is all I can say. We booked one night at a place nearer the centre which from the outside (and the inside come to think of it) looked like a prison but our room was decent. It had walls and a bed and that’s really all we cared about. We sorted accommodation for the rest of our stay which was in the theatre district and 2 minutes from Times Square so it actually worked out in our favour, despite the stress and money.

So, my highlights of New York are as follows:

The Rockefeller Center, or the top of the rock as it’s more casually known. Tickets have set times on them so if you know you want a particular time I would either book online or get there early, we tried to just saunter in and it doesn’t really work like that. Tickets are about $34 which is a bit steep but there’s a video of the history of the family and the building as you wait and once you’re up there the price becomes irrelevant because the view is indescribable. As with everything on this trip, I’ll never forget it.

Secondly, Broadway. It was on my bucket list to see a Broadway show and I had to persuade Ana, my travel companion, but as soon as we were there she was on board. We queued in Times Square to get the reduced tickets which worked out pretty well. We bagged seats in the stalls for Kinky Boots for about $75 each which when some seats go for $$$ it was a steal! I can’t rate a Kinky Boots highly enough, if it’s not on your list of shows to see, add it on now because you will be blown away. It has everything you need from a musical – a heartfelt storyline, fantastic musical numbers and costumes to match as well as plenty of laughs. The only thing that bothered us was the accent, being set in Northern England the American twang was a little hard to get used to but it was amusing rather than irritating. Ana loved the show so much she found a souvenir cup in the trash on the way out and took it back to the hotel with us and let me tell you, other souvenirs were sacrificed because this cup took up so much space in her bag.

My third highlight of New York is Times Square. The glitz and glamour of the lights, the amount of people and the atmosphere is exactly as you’d imagine and it was so surreal to be there.

Other highlights include: Grand Central Station, Central Library and of course, Central Park

City: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Now Philadelphia wasn’t my favourite city it has to be said but if you’re into American history it’s definitely the place for you. We weren’t there long but we saw the Liberty Bell, ran up the “Rocky Steps” and saw many other historical landmarks. We also went to Reading Market where you can purchase the infamous Philly Cheesesteak.

City: Washington DC (apparently not part of any state but in between Maryland and Virginia)

Washington DC also wasn’t one of my favourites but it again, full of history and very interesting if you’re into presidents and parliament etc. We saw the Liberty Bell, which is so much smaller than you’d expect it to be it was almost disappointing, we also saw The White House which is also a lot smaller than you’d think. We went to the room where the Declaration of Independence was signed, saw the World War Two memorial, the Martin Luther King statue. The Lincoln statue was very surreal to see and its as imposing as you’d imagine. We visited the Air and Space museum which was really cool, and I’d highly recommend going because not only is it free but it’s actually really interesting. There are two “best things” about Washington though. First of all, the bars. I’ve never had drinks so strong and neither had Ana – as the pavement soon found out (no judgement Ana, my time would soon come too!). Secondly, we got the chance to go to a baseball game. A proper all-American baseball game with pizza and beer and the whole shebang. It was so cool, a definite movie-moment.

State: Virginia

We passed through Virginia on our way from Washington DC to Nashville so we stopped off at Shenandoah National Park where the first of our group photos was taken. Virginia was our first time staying in a motel which was another movie moment, despite the murder vibes, but it was so nice being in a double bed rather than a single bunk bed. It’s the little things.

Fiji: Tips and Tricks

1. Starting off with the thing you can’t go without, the Bula Pass. This is pretty much the only way to go from island to island unless you want to catch a private speedboat or helicopter. Purchased in advance, it allows you to go from island to island as many times as you want and in any direction you want (I mean up and down the islands, not like, forwards/backwards or side to side just to be clear). It costs $442 Australian dollars (roughly £253) and is available from Awesome Adventures, the company that primarily deal with island hopping transport and accommodation as well as day trips and activities.

2. Bulk buy water ($6 for 6 litre bottles) from the mainland before you head to the islands because a lot of the islands don’t provide drinking water (some don’t even provide it at meal times) and if you buy it on the islands you could pay up to $8 a bottle. It’s a pain to carry around but Fijians are super helpful and will always take it from you when getting on and off boats and usually carry it to the room too (island dependant). Just a quick word about the mainland – don’t let it put you off, the islands couldn’t be more different so don’t stay there more than one night either side of your trip (or get a flight the same night you arrive back if you can).

3. Speaking of boats, don’t go to Fiji if you don’t like water travel and/or get seasick as the ferry can take up to 4.5 hours to reach some of the resorts that are in the north islands. The ferry also doesn’t take you to the door, you have to climb from the ferry to a speed boat/smaller passenger boat that then takes you to the islands. Even then you get out of the boat into the shallow of the water to walk up the beach to your resort so wear flip flops and clothes you don’t mind getting damp because you will have water splashed up your legs to get the sand off. Hey, I never said it wasn’t an adventure.

4. If you’re doing island hopping (backpacker style rather than a fancy resort vacation) try and visit a combination of “one coconut” and “two coconut” resorts. The coconuts replace a star rating system so one coconut is the basic level with resorts run by villages and families, often with limited electricity and water whereas two coconuts is more luxurious often with wifi (possibly at a cost) and hairdryers. One coconut resorts are great for getting a feel for the Fijian culture and really getting back to basics and I’d highly recommend staying in one but start your trip there and work your way up to a two coconut place – degrading the standards as you go will only be a bad thing. Ending on a high and finishing somewhere that has a few more amenities will be exactly what you need after 10 days running from place to place (it really is more taxing than it sounds). I’d highly recommend Blue Lagoon and Octopus and for the extra $50(ish) they’re more than worth it.

5. I doubt this would happen but if you’re island hopping try not to piss anyone off because nine times out of ten you’ll see them again on another island or meet someone that’s met them. In the same way, friends are everywhere and reunions are the best.

6. Take a bed liner and the strongest insect repellent you can find. I’ll leave that to your imagination.

Top Five Travel Must Haves 

With the non-stop place to place schedule I’ve had the past couple of months I found the easiest way to write down blog ideas was to create lists of different things I’ve noticed/learnt/experienced. I feel these type of posts are easy and fun to read as well as being a good ‘on the go’ format for me. With that in mind I have a couple of upcoming posts in a similar style to this one on various topics so hopefully you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoy writing them. 

Kicking off the first one I thought I’d give you my top five travel must haves since I’ve just passed the ten week travel mark. A couple of these are aimed at hotter climates but hopefully it’ll provide some inspiration for any upcoming trips you may have. 

1. Sun cream and after sun

These come hand in hand and you can’t have one without the other. Especially for Australia, New Zealand and other countries in the Southern Hemisphere suncream is a no brainier because of the strength of UV rays. Don’t forget the after sun as well because no one wants pealing skin especially after the hard work of getting a good tan, you’ll want it to last as long as possible. 

2. Antiseptic cream 

Don’t laugh at this one. The sun cream/after sun and antiseptic cream combo has become a daily (and nightly) routine now due to the amount of bites received. It’s also great for any cuts, grazes, popped blisters, and any other ailments. It’s basically saving my life at the moment, there’s not much it can’t fix. I’d even go as far as to recommend a brand but that might be a bit much… who am I kidding, it’s Bepanthen. 

3. Clothes for all weather 

Even if it’s just one item for each weather type (e.g. one raincoat, one pair of fluffy socks, one sun hat) because yes, you will need a raincoat in Fiji despite what you might think. Fluffy socks are great for colder cities (Melbourne I’m looking at you) as well as being useful for flights. 

4. A microfibre travel towel 

I can’t stress this one enough, I’d be lost without mine. Bodhi is a great brand and the towels come in a variety of sizes and colours and have a hook which is great, providing the door actually has hooks. They also come in small travel bags meaning you can keep it separate from your other things in the event that you have to pack it whilst it’s still damp (although they dry incredibly quickly) but they fold so small you can squeeze them in anywhere. I got mine from Amazon here

5. The lowest standards 

When you think they’re low, lower them again. I’m serious. Think bed bugs, mice, unwashed sheets and geckos under the mattress to name just a few scenarios. I should add in a sixth one on this note; hand sanitiser. I know they become less effective the more you use them but I think you’ll agree it’s better than nothing. 

So there you have it, my five travel must haves. I’m sure with time I’ll add a few more to the list but until then these are my holy grail. If you have any you’d add to the list feel free to leave them in the comments! 

Just an update…

Throughout the past two months (58 days) I’ve travelled over 22,000 miles. I tried to look for an equivalent distance but google wouldn’t give me one; I know it’s a crazy long way though. I’ve currently been to 16 US states, 4 out of 6 Australian states and a two week stint island hopping in Fiji, all in the space of 8 weeks so it’s safe to say I’m more than a little exhausted (island hopping is actually more tiring than it sounds…). 

Throughout the multiple trips I’ve done there was barely time to sleep, let alone keep up a blog which is why this post is as late as it is. This may or may not be a get out clause; I will write something at some point but it might not be until I have some sort of routine because although it may look like constant cocktails and sunsets, travelling is super stressful at times. 

Thank you for all the interest in what I’m up to, it’s definitely appreciated -messages of support don’t go unnoticed and I’ll always reply so drop me a line if you want to! 

With love from across the (very big!) pond,

Sophie 

95 days and counting…

Welcome to another post that’s been a long time coming! It’s only a short one as some of you may already know about what I’m about to write but since I got to properly tell my best friends about it this past weekend I thought I’d make more of an ‘official’ post. 

Come September I will officially unemployed and ready to take on a whole new adventure! Something I’ve been planning and working towards for a couple of years, although not without its setbacks, is finally in motion. Travel. Perhaps indefinitely, but we’ll see how things pan out…

First on the list is New York – The Big Apple, The City of Dreams… spending a few days exploring and taking in the bright lights before joining an organised group tour from the East coast to the West coast. After much deliberation about which company to go with, Trek America was chosen due to the better selection of tour types and price ranges. Here is their website if you’re interested: Trek America

From New York the tour continues to:

Philadelphia

Washington D.C

Virginia

Nashville – might need an extra case for my hat and boots! 

Memphis 

New Orleans 

Louisiana 

Austin 

San Angelo 

Carlsbad Caverns National Park  

Santa Fe

Monument Valley

Grand Canyon National Park

Route 66

Las Vegas

San Diego

Los Angeles, where the tour ends after 21 days

From Los Angeles a trip to San Francisco is a must, as is a day-trip to Disneyland!! But after that I catch a flight to Melbourne where I have a weeks worth of accommodation before my plans end and (I’m hoping) spontaneity begins. Any tips and tricks for working and travelling around Australia would be much appreciated as I’ve exhausted every possible YouTube video on the subject! 

I’m hoping to blog about what I get up to as much as I can whilst I’m away, hopefully filling your timelines with wanderlust inducing posts and photos but wifi may dictate how often that happens, we’ll see. 

So there we go! Just need to pack my bag and dust off my passport and I’m good to go… well, almost… 

Southern BLT from New York

Friendship…

Friendship.

This post has been months in the making because I’ve found it difficult to find the right words to explain my thoughts fully. Hopefully, with a bit of luck, it’s turned out how I imagined it would and I hope that it can be helpful and reassuring to anyone who’s feeling anything similar to me… 

I think friendship is different now from when our parents were younger, at least that’s how it seems in my family. If your parents didn’t go to university, most likely their friends live in the same city as them, or one not too far away unless they’ve moved in more recent years. Up until I went to university, I was the same. I had all my friends a simple bus ride away. Granted, they all lived in different directions but it was still pretty easy to meet up with them; you saw them at school every day and you’d hang out at the weekends for shopping or sleepovers. Friendship was easy. Sixth form for me was pretty much the same as school apart from the introduction of a few German exchange students, one of which I’m still best friends with today. 

Of course the next step is university where you met people from all over the country and whilst making friends at uni is pretty easy, maintaining those friendships once you’re in different cities is where things need a little more effort. Suddenly there are very few original friends in the city we’d all started in which was a strange feeling. It was a bit like being newbie here, having to start over and make friends again. To meet up with friends from school or university now required planning (as well as time and money) since they were scattered in various places all over two hours away. Friendship is team work, it’s give and take. Sometimes the people you thought would be there forever, aren’t. They’ll let you down and a message from them will be too much to ask. You’ll see them maybe four or five times a year and they won’t see anything wrong with it. It takes a little time to accept that not all friends are “forever friends” and that’s okay. However there may be times when someone you thought you’d never speak to again comes back into your life and however daunting and strange this may seem at first it could well be a blessing. It’s also okay to keep people out if that’s what’s best for you. Only you can make that call. Give it the time and effort you think it deserves and go from there. People change, friendships change – it’s not the end of the world. There will be people who show up and never leave, don’t take them for granted – they’re keepers. 

There may come a time when you realise that you don’t really speak to anyone from your school days anymore and that’s okay. You may only have one or two people that you still speak to and that’s okay too! Reconnecting and meeting up with my best friend from secondary school is one of my favourite things to do because although we’ve been leading separate lives for nearly as long as we were at school together we’re still the best of friends. Having known each other for over half our lifetime it’s so cool to be able to say “I knew you back when…” And reminisce together. It’s equally as cool to be able to catch each other up on our current lives and discover that we still both have the same interests and values and that actually, between us, not much has changed. Cherish these people – they’ll be the ones with the best photos at your 40th birthday party. 

Sometimes it may seem that everyone is moving on, settling down with new friends and partners and families and you’re still where you always were. Don’t get discouraged. Don’t feel like you’re doing something wrong. You have your new friends and you’ll get where you’re going soon enough too. It’s a good idea to check in with the friends who are on the same page as you, chasing a similar path – they’ll be feeling exactly the same and it’s nice to reassure each other that you’re not both crazy. 

Bridesmaid 101

They always said it would happen, and I believed them, I just never realised it would come around so quickly! “Wedding season” as they called it, has begun! You may be recently engaged yourself or be the friend or relative of someone who’s recently been asked The Question. If that’s the case there’s a chance you could be asked to play a part in the occasion so if you’re unsure about what that entails here are some pieces of advice for being a bridesmaid, since that’s the only role I’ve ever played in a wedding (I’ve never even been “just a guest” – serial bridesmaid anyone?!). Most recently I was bridesmaid for my best friend in Germany and helping with such duties from a different country had its difficulties but I think we coped pretty well!  

Anyway here we go, take or leave as you need. 

1. Even if you’re not maid of honour, help with the hen party is appreciated. Although I couldn’t just pop round with ideas or props I was frequently messaging her sister (the MoH) with ideas, links to Pinterest crafts and suggesting things that we could do/wear/see. Having the “English advantage” as her sister called it, I was able to bring things from home to go with the theme of part of the hen party – a pretty vintage tea cup, M&S scones (only the best) and other little English teatime treats. 

2. Be helpful, her wish is your command – whether it’s giving ideas, helping make/prepare party favours or something else she needs your extra pair of hands

3. Give her ideas and suggest things she may not have thought of but don’t be over powering, it is her day after all

4. Be prepared to spend time with her friends and family without her – this was especially true for me as I was staying with her family. Although you may not have extended periods of time with them and not her there will always be new family members to meet and socialise with

5. Be her motivator when things get stressful or tedious – hours making Pinterest style crafts and decorations gets a little tiring but we found watching Sex and the City reruns and drinking copious amounts of tea worked pretty well as a slight distraction 

6. Having said that, know when you both need a break – go out for dinner, make dinner together, have a movie and ‘pick n mix’ night, do something completely un-wedding related

7. Have fun and cherish every moment that you’re spending time together planning, making and celebrating because it’s over much too quickly! 

Top Tips for throwing the perfect baby shower… 

Back in September I helped to throw a baby shower for my best friend and I have to say it went perfectly so I thought I’d jot down a few top tips in case of you are in need of some ideas or inspiration! 

1. Make it a surprise if you can 

I would say make it a surprise if you can (presuming the expectant mother likes surprises – we did joke about setting off labour, thankfully that didn’t happen) as this really made the whole thing so special. Three of us hadn’t seen each other altogether for over a year so it was really lovely to be reunited. I’ll never forget A’s face when she came round the corner and saw us all hiding – there were tears all round. Not to be soppy but it was a special moment – if you can make it a surprise I’d recommend it. 

I have also been to a baby shower that was organised by the mother, a sit down dinner with gifts and shared stories, advice and laughs – pick something that suits the person you’re throwing it for, not everyone will enjoy the same thing and their comfort and enjoyment is number one priority! 

2. Find a good location 

Luckily for us, my best friends mum lives and works on a holiday caravan park and she very kindly saved a caravan for us to stay in for the weekend. It was such a cute place to hold the shower – perfect size for the four of us to chill and it had all the amenities we needed! 

3. Decorations!!

This was the most fun part!! The three of us that organised the shower are all pretty creative and so we’d all bought bits and pieces with us to put together and it looked so good! We had bunting, pom-poms, a twine “washing line” filled with tiny baby clothes, a bit fluffy cloud hanging from the ceiling with little appliqué rain drops, a big prop version of the adorable book “Guess How Much I Love You”, mason jars full of chocolate buttons, fudge and skittles as well as pretty cups and plates for other drinks and snacks – the list goes on! Get creative! 

4. Games

Well, games are a must!! Pinterest was very helpful when deciding what games to play (also for decor ideas too if you’re less creative) especially as they needed to be reasonably easy to pack into a case and take on train. We had “pin the sperm on the egg” – a baby centric version of “pin the tail on the donkey” – it has to be said we were probably equally good at this game, which in reality is the easiest of the ones we played, surprisingly. Next there was “who can dress the baby the quickest” this was done blindfolded, obviously. I was doing well at this until I got the poppers wrong and had to forfeit first place… I think I came third in the end. We also played “put the nappy on the baby”, again blindfolded. They’re all a lot harder in practise and I have to admit I was rubbish at this and had the nappy inside out from the start. There were also team games – describing and acting out different pregnancy and baby related topics in the fastest time; hilarity ensued. We also had print outs of “wishes for baby” and “advice for mum” which we didn’t get time to complete but are sweet ideas if you have more time. 

As I took a while to write this the baby in question has actually just been born so this is for you little Evelyn – can’t wait to meet you very soon!