Our guest Daddy blogger, Tom Ellis-Jones explains what makes the perfect Father’s Day gift.
‘First times’ come thick and fast in the first year of being a parent.
First nappy change; first family photo; first intrepid outing to the park; first public melt-down!
Many are done together; you muddle through with your other half as you figure out all the many intricacies of caring for your little one.
And as your baby grows up through that first year, the ‘first-times’ get ticked off thick and fast.
There’s one ‘first-time’ however that really surprised me in my daughters first year. It was my first-time Father’s Day as a new Dad.
For years, prior to having children, Father’s Day was a day that always completely blind-sided me. It was suddenly there; I hadn’t bought a card. I hadn’t bought a present and I certainly hadn’t booked a table anywhere. And even worse, because it was Father’s Day – not Mother’s Day – I’d settle for buying a below-par card from the corner shop and dispatch it to arrive late the day after (I wouldn’t get away with that on Mother’s Day by the way…!!)
But in my daughter’s first year, my much-more-thoughtful-than-me wife made no such mistake. She celebrated my new role as a Father by spoiling me rotten. I remember being brought tea in bed and opening two cards – not just one, but two! – and then unwrapping a china mug that my wife had had imprinted with my daughter’s 7 week old footprint and a message that said “Happy Father’s Day x”
As first-times go, it was a really special one. And it’s completely changed my view of Father’s Day. Because now, Father’s Day is a day I have in common with my own Dad. We’re both Fathers. And I appreciate how very important that is.
As for gifts for my subsequent Father’s days, I am building quite a collection of mugs and i think its a perfect gift, mainly because every Dad needs a good cup of tea to start the day and it’s just good to have keepsakes.
From my son’s footprint mug, to a heart Daddy mug, the personalised mugs and my recent favourite the BabyBlooms Daddy Bear mug, my collection is growing a bit like my children. Very fast. My now-very-busy-wife says she will buy from BabyBlooms again as everything comes beautifully wrapped so its one less thing for her to do. Sign of a busy parent heh?
This year my baby is ten years old! I founded Babyblooms in 2005 and our website went live in October. It was probably not the ideal year for my stress levels to launch a business with two small children in tow but it meant I was incredibly close to my product and customer and for that it was absolutely the right time.
Entering our tenth year is a huge milestone and one of which the entire team is immensely proud. Whilst indulging in nostalgia, I took a trip down memory lane and looked out some of the previous incarnations of our website, products and literature - I was totally amazed and shocked by how dated they look. But hey, ten years is a long time!
Babyblooms has evolved and developed over the decade as have our bouquets and gifts. Parallel with our evolvement is the gifting market which has changed enormously driven by new businesses, high street retailers and ultimately consumer shopping habits. During our first year, 40% of orders were placed by telephone and of the 60% that ordered online, many also telephoned to confirm details. Currently, more than 95% of orders are placed online and the orders received by telephone are generally because our customers have specific delivery requirements.
When I looked into some stats on internet usage I read from the Office for National Statistics that in 2005 less than 50% of UK households had internet access, whereas currently the figure is more than 85%. I also think consumers now trust the internet more and feel safer giving their payment details online which along with the growth of online businesses and improvements to the buying process means that shopping online is often more rewarding than hitting the high street.
The growth and stats regarding internet shopping came as no shock as Babyblooms has grown up in this world. However, customer's propensity to buy gifts online and in particular baby gifts has seen a more recent explosion and for that I think it's also a socio cultural change towards gift buying.
Internet shopping lacked the personal touch
In the past, many gift buyers felt that sending a gift bought online showed less thought and care through the lack of personal physical involvement. Attitudes have changed but there is still a nervousness about ordering for delivery straight to the recipient. This is where we aim to please and every gift from Babyblooms is wrapped beautifully with a personalised gift card, all as part of our free gifting service. We also strive to provide exceptional customer service and are thrilled that for the past two years we have been recognised with Feefo's Gold Trusted merchant Award for outstanding customer service.
Gifting etiquette has evolved: We now have more reasons to buy
How our attitudes and spending habits have changed! It seems we now have many more reasons to buy gifts and the baby market is no exception. From the announcement of a pregnancy, a celebratory baby shower, maternity leave, the arrival itself and the traditional christening, our average amount spent per baby has seen a sharp increase over the last ten years.
One group of customers which have embraced this change is the corporate world. It is now commonplace for companies and organisations to buy their staff and customers maternity leave gifts and congratulatory new baby gifts and most corporate gift buyers have a budget for maternity gifts. Ten years ago, whilst maternity gifts were bought, they were usually as a result of a collection in the workplace, amongst colleagues, which may or may not have been contributed to by the employer or company and it was extremely rare for companies to have a dedicated budget. The other major change has been the introduction and dramatic growth of Baby Showers to the UK. This concept is an industry in itself, bringing with it Nappy Cakes and an endless selection of both novelty and practical gifts to suit all budgets.
Variety and choice
Traditionally, it was considered to be unlucky to buy anything for the new baby until they were born and so maternity leave gifts were mostly fresh flowers and vouchers. New arrival gifts were also traditionally fresh flowers or an outfit for the baby which was selected and bought in person on the high street. Consumers are more open about when and what they buy and giving consumers more choice and innovating on the traditional gifts of flowers and clothing was what drove me to set up Babyblooms.
As one of the first dedicated online baby gift retailers in the UK, we introduced the concept of baby clothing bouquets and undertook to educate the public regarding this unique concept that we had developed. Our key message was that baby clothes bouquets are 'the perfect alternative to fresh flowers, a gift with wow factor that encompasses a beautiful silk flower bouquet delivered to the new mum and practical items of classic baby clothing for the new baby to wear.... all for the price of a bouquet of fresh flowers'.
We have also continued to innovate whilst maintaining the Babyblooms mantra of Beautiful and Practical. Our Pyjama cupcakes were introduced as a nod to fun baby showers and the emerging cupcake and baking trend, one which we honestly didn't expect to last!! More recently, this range has expanded to include our own take on 'Nappy Cakes', focusing on taste not tat, and our beautiful cakes are decorated with delicate silk roses and coordinate perfectly with our newly re-designed baby clothing bouquet range. We have also embraced the need for personalised gifts with teddy bears, bunnies, T-Shirts and much more designed with our beautiful illustrations and embroidered at our offices in Chipping Sodbury.
Product development and the flow of new baby gift ideas doesn't stop at Babyblooms and as we continue to evolve in the next decade, our aim is to ensure that our gifts remain both beautiful and practical and bring delight to the recipients. We also continue to support our charity partners and local businesses with our most recent additions to the range, baby skincare and leather baby shoes, all made in the UK
Ten years of changes to the digital world, gifting world and the world of babies and we at Babyblooms are proud but by no means still. We have survived increased competition and a global recession this decade and we are showing good growth as we enter into the next one. The team we have are a bunch of passionate, committed, (mainly) working mums who believe the best is yet to come. So with a decade of changes due, we better get back to working on our next new arrival!!
Founder of Babyblooms
No one can have failed to notice that The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting their second child this year, a little brother or sister for the adorable Prince George.
It was in the weeks following the Scottish referendum last year when we were all contemplating our Britishness that Catherine’s second pregnancy was announced and there is nothing like a new Royal baby to make you proud to be British.
2015 is also a special year for Babyblooms too as we celebrate our tenth anniversary so together with the Royal arrival we have been inspired to mark 2015 and create a Royal collection rooted in Britishness.
When we were reviewing what we should develop we asked ourselves, “If you were to get an invitation to the Royal Baby Shower, what gift would you take?”. We had a great debate about what we thought Catherine would like to receive? Whilst she is undoubtedly inundated with gifts there will surely be a few that she favours and will treasure. The question is, what makes those gifts different to the others?? As baby gift specialists, the Babyblooms team understand that it is the love, thought and care behind any gift that makes it, especially where a new baby is concerned.
Whilst everyone loves to receive fresh flowers and designer outfits, we think the ultimate gift is one of our signature Babyblooms’ Bouquets of Baby Clothes. We know these always deliver the love, care and thought that make a gift really special. Our classic Hand-Tied Bouquets and Posies are made from a selection of garment flowers interspersed with luxury silk roses in either white, baby blue or vintage pink.
When we considered the guests at Catherine’s shower too, the ultimate guest would be the Queen so we wanted to create a limited edition Luxury Royal baby Bouquet which she might choose. We chose Purple Poppies and Lavender sprigs. Purple because it is a regal colour and poppies because they are delicate yet strong with sprigs of lavender which signify love and serenity. These are all nestled amongst soft babywear and classic white silk roses and make a perfect gift for a special new arrival.
Continuing with the royal baby theme we have also created a bouquet which incorporates the red, white and blue of the union flag. The anemones, tulips and lavender are combined with the white ‘garment flowers’ in our hand-tied royal bouquet and this unique and practical gift will make a perfect gift for any little prince or princess too.
To mark this special year, we have also designed and created in the UK, a collection of fine bone china which is hand decorated and features the fabulous Lion and Unicorn themed Illustrations by Amanda Bradley. These delightful animals were inspired by the Lion and Unicorn on the Royal Crest, and we asked Amanda to add a Babyblooms twist by depicting a lion cub and unicorn foal and show them at play in a relaxed setting. To complete the British theme and add a splash of colour, Amanda also included the National Flowers of the United Kingdom, the rose, daffodil, shamrock and thistle along with our signature Babyblooms’ bees and butterflies. The result, we hope you’ll agree is truly enchanting.
The bone china breakfast set and money box make perfect new baby gifts and christening gifts and are beautifully presented in gift boxes designed by Amanda, inspired by the Babyblooms’ home town in the Cotswolds. Coordinating personalised T-shirts are also available and gift baskets with an assortment of Babyblooms’ bouquets and beautiful products.
We couldn’t forget Prince George as the arrival of a new baby can be a challenging time for siblings too so we have developed a range of gifts to both prepare and congratulate them too. An embroidered big brother T Shirt for Prince George or your own Prince or Princess would make a perfect gift.
So, if you share our excitement about the new Royal arrival and you have a new baby gift to buy soon, please check out the new Royal collection available for all little Prince and Princesses born in this special year!
The traditional Easter Tree is a festive holiday custom whose roots trace back to Germany.
The branches are picked from trees and placed in a vase or in my case a bottle to be decorated with brightly coloured eggs and ribbons. The eggs can either be real eggs, carefully blown and a ribbon threaded through with a loop for hanging on the branch, then painted or decorated with glue and sequins etc. Alternatively, polystyrene and plastic eggs are available at most craft supply shops and pound shops at this time of year. Some of these are in two halves and can be filled with sweets or model chicks, as long as they are light they can still be hung on the tree. rather than painting these, this year I have chosen to wrap them in squares of fabric which I have tied with ribbon.
For my own Easter Tree I use Pussy Willow as I just adore the soft downy buds, but any branch can be used. A further option, which I have done in the past is to spray paint the branches, the effect of which can be very pretty indeed.
Easter Trees are also traditional in Sweden, where typically they use birch twigs and attach brightly coloured feathers to the end of the stems. I have come across several stories about the origin for the tradition in Sweden which date back to the 1600’s. Some used the twigs to beat each other in commemoration of the suffering of Jesus on Good Friday, whilst others believed the twigs to signify witches brooms used to sweep away winter.
Whatever the origin, these attractive decorations are great fun to make and children especially enjoy making and adding decorations. The options for decorations are endless and over the years I have tried many – the decorations which proved the biggest hit with the children were spiced biscuits threaded onto ribbons, half of which we cooked with a boiled sweet at the centre to provide a stained glass effect and half we decorated with icing.
I generally make a few easter trees, one sits on my coffee table while a second adorns the hall table and the third takes pride of place as a table centrepiece. Whilst the homemade decorations are undoubtedly the main appeal, I always add some carefully chosen silk flowers to fill the neck of the vase or bottle. this year, my favourites are some miniature daffodils which add just the right splash of colour and are just the right size to dress the neck of the bottle without detracting from the tree itself. I regularly mix silk flowers with real flowers and can honestly say that no-one has every noticed or commented. Silk flowers are generally of uniform size and can be manipulated to fill ‘gaps’ in an arrangement and to provide structure with the added benefit that they can be re-used!
The same silk daffodils and mimosa have inspired this years Easter Baby Clothes Bouquets and Easter Nappy Cake and I hope that for years to come they’ll continue to feature in the Easter Trees and decorations of their recipients.
Many people are very vocal in criticising the commercialisation of Mother’s Day, but I think it is a good thing, if only to remind us all to show our appreciation to our Mums. Lets face it, how many of us, even the Mums among us would remember and make the effort to treat our own mums without a little prompting?
I am sure we can all recall our own Mums saying “it is the thought that counts” and “don’t waste money on expensive cards, I’d prefer you to make one”. I guess it is now our turn to continue that tradition with our own kids. For those with little ones, I call on all you Dads, childminders or family members out there to get the craft box out or even bake something…the handmade approach is always appreciated and if time doesn’t allow these things, a pampering gift is perfectly wonderful too!
Over the years, I think I have developed a winning formula with my Mum. I generally invite her to our house for a roast dinner and take huge pleasure in spoiling her. We always decorate the table with potted roses, the pots of which we either paint or wrap and tie with ribbons. Mum enjoys being around her family with lovely food plus she gets to take the pots home and more often than not plants them in her garden (with help from the grandchildren!).
Of course, having a mother whilst being one yourself raises the question of who now gets the attention – that is unless you opt to go out! Personally, I prefer to stay at home on Mothering Sunday and to share the day with my mum (I do expect my own share of treats too!) my perfect day would involve staying in bed and reading whilst my children bring me breakfast in bed and home made cards. Following this late start, a long soak in the bath would be my idea of bliss, after which, I am ready to begin cooking and preparing an afternoon treat for my own mum.
I was brought up in my parents’ country pub, and my childhood memories of Mother’s Day are of one of the busiest days of the year, the bar and restaurant were packed throughout the day and evening with families ‘taking mum out for lunch or dinner’ this meant that no matter what we as children planned, our mum was pretty tied up and we had to get up very early indeed to take her coffee in bed! Mum always went the extra mile to ensure that the Mum’s who came for lunch had a great day out and every detail was planned with precision. Each table was decorated with a pretty rose in a decorated pot which the lucky mum could take home after her meal.
I guess these childhood experiences are behind my aversion to going out on and joining the throngs of other families on Mothering Sunday and my desire to keep things calm and special for my own mum and make sure she gets her own roses to take home each year. This association between motherhood and roses also inspired my baby gift company Babyblooms which specialises in bouquets of baby clothes and silk roses.
If you are pregnant or have a new baby, you are now a member of the world-wide, time-old club that is ‘motherhood’ – welcome and congratulations to this wonderful world.
A significant date in your diary this year must be your first mother’s day. This is one day when all mums hope to be indulged by their loved ones with thoughtful gifts, the most important being the gift of ‘time’. Time for a lie-in, a leisurely bath, some pampering, time to read, watch a favourite movie and enjoy a meal without any interruptions.
Aside from the benefits and options that ‘time’ provides, it allows opportunity to reflect and take stock. Often, we are so busy being ‘mum’ and all that it entails that we lose sight of the precious gift that motherhood is.
It will of course be many years until your baby can cherish and indulge you, so that honour and responsibility falls to your nearest and dearest on their behalf. Depending on their approach to Mother’s day with their own mum this could be a delicate moment in your relationship! We would strongly suggest a few hints and reminders and even sharing this blog may help!
Calling all Mother’s day gift buyers….
When it comes to actual gifts, this is a time for unashamed sentimentality. After all, Mother’s day gifts are really from the children, aren’t they and when its the first Mother’s day, it has to be special. So, here are our top 5 Mother’s day gift list outside of the number 1 gift of ‘time’.
1. Something to treasure: anything handmade or which directly involves the child or children. Homemade cards, framed hand prints or ‘mummy’gifts make great keepsakes.
2. Pamper Pamper: ‘Me Time’ is very precious to mums and the chance to soak in the bath and pamper with the best natural skincare and a scented candle will help relaxation and pampering. Fragrances found in babyblooms’ skincare use essential oils rather than blended or artificial perfumes which will help mum to relax. We have just launched a new luxury pamper hamper and a mother’s day gift basket to truly indulge her this Mother’s day.
3. Yummy Chocolates: Always a firm favourite and won’t break the bank, so great gifts from children or step-children. Our chocolates are handmade in England and taste really good!
4. Flowers: What can we say? While everyone loves fresh flowers, they can be expensive and don’t last long. A babyblooms bouquet combines classic, practical baby garments, cleverly disguised as flower buds with beautiful, high quality silk flowers that will last forever so a perfect alternative for Mother’s Day.
5. Jewellery: Always a special gift for any mum. We have the perfect jewellery selection for a new mum which includes our breastfeeding bracelet.Beautiful and practical too.
Babyblooms have been delivering gifts for Mothering Sunday since 2005 and as a team of Mums and Grandmothers we know first hand what Mums want. We also pride ourselves on our gift wrapping and packaging which is guaranteed to delight and impress too.
Here’s wishing all the fabulous mums (new and experienced) a wonderful Mother’s day.
Love from all of us @babybloomsgifts
All you have to do is pledge a donation, decorate your balloon and the balloon is ready to race. You can track your balloon online with some balloons travelling up to 2,000 virtual miles! The winning balloon will be announced after the 9th March and can choose from an array of fabulous prizes.
Join our Babyblooms Balloon in this fun and worthwhile fundraiser. Good Luck!
The technique which was developed by Japanese chef Yama Chaahan involves spinning the egg in the leg of a pair of tights for a few minutes before boiling.
There is of course a bit more to it than that, Mail online have produced the following simple step by step guide:
As the scientists amongst you will no doubt have already realised, the yolk of an egg is much denser than the white and the centrifugal force caused by spinning the tights forces the denser substance to move to the outside.
Read more from the Mail online: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2950638/How-make-boiled-egg-INSIDE-Video-reveals-simple-trick-yolk-outside-white-inside.html
Having spent an hilarious tea break having a go at it ourselves this morning we believe that this technique may also hold the key to banishing bingo wings!! More importantly, as half term looms, this offers an excellent way of entertaining children over a wet afternoon and including a science lesson to boot.
Here are Sharon and Nicola giving it a whirl this morning:
It is Tuesday 17th February and suddenly it dawns on you…it’s Pancake Tuesday! I have no mix…do i have eggs..yes? enough milk? phew. Right need to google the easiest pancake recipe and do my daddy pig pancake flip impression for the kids.
You don’t need batter mix (promise) – pancakes are so quick and easy to make, we think dry mixes and following their instructions are actually more difficult than making your own pancakes from scratch.
The pancakes that we all remember from our childhood are the fabulous, thin, crepe style pancakes which perform daddy pig flips perfectly. These are by far the best kind, they are so versatile! However, we accept that they aren’t to everyones taste and so we have selflessly endured several sample batches of American style pancakes so that we can confidently share with you the best recipe for those as well.
Traditional Style Pancakes
250g plain flour
¼ teaspoon of salt
2 large eggs
Knob of butter for frying
Can be served with a sprinkling of caster sugar and a squeeze of lemon, maple syrup or why not serve as a savoury option with a savoury filling.
Preparation Method – Prep : 5 mins Cook: 15 mins
- Combine the flour and salt in a mixing bowl.
- Break the eggs into a separate bowl, whisk with a fork and then add to the flour.
- Pour in half of the milk and whisk briskly.
- Add the remaining milk and whisk until the batter is smooth.
- Heat an 8 inch pan over a low heat. Add a small knob of butter and swirl the pan to coat the bottom.
- Use a ladel to spoon the pancake batter into the pan, then tilt the pan to spread the mixture out evenly.
- As it sets, shake the pan to see if the pancake is loose, then flip it over with a palette knife. Cook the other side for 30 seconds- then shake again to see if it’s loose.
- Slide onto a warm plate, ready for filling or rolling.
- Cook the rest of the pancakes, one at a time but remember to melt a small knob of butter before adding the batter.
American Style Pancakes
250g plain flour
4 tablespoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons cooking oil
Preparation Method – Prep: 15 mins Cook: 10 mins
- Stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a big mixing bowl.
- In another bowl, beat in the eggs, milk and oil.
- Add the wet mix to the dry ingredients and combine thoroughly.
- Pour the batter onto a lightly greased hot griddle or frying pan, using about 60ml for each pancake.
- Turn when bubbles form on the top and edges are a bit dry, cook until second side is a lovely golden brown
- Serve straight away with honey, jam or syrup.
We also thought we would publish our top ten pancake fillings as voted for by some of our lovely team..
1. Sean loves..Classic lemon and sugar – Slide the pancake out of the frying pan and onto a sugar coated plate. Sprinkle more sugar onto the top of the pancake, and squeeze fresh lemon juice liberally over the top. We are divided as to whether these should be rolled or folded in half and then half again to form a triangle – what’s your preference?
2. Nicola loves….Grated cheese and chopped ham – simply sprinkle over the pancake after it is turned in the pan and allow to melt while the underside of the pancake cooks. Slide onto a plate and either fold or roll the pancake to enclose the filling.
3. Russell loves…chocolate and strawberries. Simply spread some nutella thickly over the pancake and add some sliced strawberries.
4. Julie loves….Golden syrup, sugar and lemon juice. Like Sean’s but even sweeter with a slithering of syrup. yum.
5. Marilyn loves…Minced beef and onions or left over Bolognese sauce- Cover the cooked pancake with some warm minced beef and roll up, then sprinkle with grated cheese and place under the grill to melt the cheese.
6. Emma loves… Fruity ones. Freshly squeezed oranges with lots of bits, sprinkly some sugar, roll them up and enjoy
7. Lisa loves… garlic mushrooms. Finely chop two cloves of garlic and fry in a knob of butter. Finely slice button mushrooms and add to the pan to fry gently for 5-10mins. When cooked through, add 3 tbsp of double cream, seasoning and chopped parsley. Set aside while you cook your pancakes. Slide a pancake onto a warmed plate and cover half of it with a spoonful of the garlic mushrooms. Simply fold the other side across it.
8. Sharon loves….Apple and cinnamon. Just peel, core, chop and stew some cooking apples with plenty of sugar, sultanas and cinnamon and allow to cool. (otherwise, cheat and buy a jar of apple sauce!). Slide a cooked pancake onto a plate and spread with a layer of the cooled mixture, cover with a second pancake, spread that with mixture and continue to repeat until you have a pile measuring up to 8cm. then cover liberally with icing sugar and cut into wedges like a cake.
9. Jacq loves…Cream cheese and smoked salmon –Slide the cooked pancake onto a plate, evenly spread cream cheese over the pancake, lay a slice or flakes of smoked salmon over the cream cheese and then roll the pancake. The roll can then be cut into 2cm wide discs or pinwheels, they look brilliant!
10. And everyone likes maple syrup with any variant (banana / bacon / chocolate / nutella) a top ten too!
As avid fans of The Baby Show we wanted to make sure all baby lovers go along to this fabulous event! The Baby Show truly is a one stop shop for new and expectant parents. This year’s headline speakers include nutritionist and author, Annabel Karmel MBE, breast-feeding gurus Clare Byam-Cook and Geraldine Miskin, sleep experts Jo Tantum and Lisa Clegg, fitness guru, Michelle Heaton and child safety expert, Tracey Taylor from the British Red Cross.
We are also delighted to announce that our official charity, Theodora’s Children’s Charity is the Baby Show’s charity partner too. The charity train ‘Giggle Doctors’ who are professional performers such as magicians, singers, actors and musicians, to bring magical moments and laughter to brave children in difficult times. Visitors can donate to the charity when purchasing tickets or whilst they are at the Show. Babyblooms have been proud supporters of Theodora’s Children’s Charity for many years and continue to fund giggle doctor visits through donations raised from the sale of Theodora Gifts, examples of which will be displayed on the Charity’s stand near the main stage.
Andre Poulie, Founder and President of Theodora’s Children’s Charity, says: “We are delighted to have the opportunity to share our work with so many people. Our Giggle Doctors are very much looking forward to bringing music, magic and laughter to The Baby Show next month.”
See below for opening times, admission charges and travel information and we look forward to seeing you there!
Baby Show Excel Opening Times:
Friday 20th Feb: 9.30 am – 5.30 pm
Sat 21st Feb: 9.30 am – 5.30 pm
Sun 22nd Feb: 9.30 am – 5.30 pm
Purchase your ticket in advance & save! (On the door price £20)
|Saturday / Sunday||£14.95|
(Access for all 3 days)
|Babies & Children (12 and under)||FREE|
The Baby Show is located nearest to the west entrance at ExCeL
ExCeL is an international exhibition and convention centre situated in the heart of London’s Royal Docks and within easy reach of central London. The venue is part of a 100 acre campus, which includes onsite DLR stations, and easy access to the Jubilee Line and London City Airport.
Travel by Tube or DLR to ExCeL
The Jubilee Line is recommended as the quickest route to ExCeL London and the ICC. Alight at Canning Town and change onto a Beckton-bound DLR train, for the quick 2-stop journey to Custom House for ExCeL (West) or Prince Regent for ExCeL (East) and ICC London.
Travel by Road to ExCeL
When driving to ExCeL London follow signs for Royal Docks, City Airport and ExCeL. There is easy access from the M25, M11, A406 and A13.
All onsite parking is pay and display, with the exception of the Royal Victoria multi-storey car park, which is located at the west end of the site. Parking in the Royal Victoria multi-storey car park can be paid for at one of the three pay points located within the car park at the end of your visit (the machines are located on level two and level zero and all machines accept both cash and credit card).
Parking is £15.00 for up to 24 hrs
These tariffs are applicable for the following locations – Royal Victoria multi-storey car park, Undercroft parking (Orange and Purple) and East Car Park. Motorcycles can be parked free of charge in any of the above locations.
For further information click on the link below:-
There is huge pressure to host elaborate baby showers and if you are researching this subject or planning a party you will doubtless have encountered plenty of tips and advice that can sometimes include plenty of tat, gimmicks and cringe inducing games, all available online and sometimes at great cost!
So to keep things simple and as a gift company devoted to mums and little ones we thought we would develop our own simple tips on how to host a baby shower the mum to be will LOVE.
First things first, as a host its important to understand the key guest, the MUM TO BE.As a pregnant woman you are typically and probably several if not all of the following:
- An Adult
- Tired and emotional
- Anxious or nervous about the birth and the future
- Up to your ears 'nesting' in decorating and DIY
- On a budget and saving money
- Missing out on socialising and workplace banter
We don't mean to be negative, pregnancy is a truly special time its just important to understand how your mum to be is TRULY feeling. Which is why we think it is important to note that baby showers don't have to be the forced, organised 'fun' promised by the many games and gimmicks associated with baby showers. Instead Baby Showers can be a select gatherings which celebrate friendship and affirm support and love for the expectant mum.
So onto our top four baby shower party ideas -
The Spa Baby Shower:
On a straw poll in the bb offices there was not one of us who didn't dream of having more spa days. Becoming a mum means that 'me time' become less frequent which is why a visit to a day spa where 'mum' and friends can indulge in some pampering and an uninterrupted day of each others company is utter bliss. The only accessories required are towelling robes, slippers (hopefully provided for) and a selection of scrumptious baby shower gifts all to be enjoyed whilst lounging around the pool.
The Girls Night In Baby Shower:
Girls nights in become quickly replaced by cuddles with new babies so its a perfect way to relax and have fun with close friends and family before the big day. Plenty of home treatments and pampering, followed by a chic flick and takeaway. Light some of our relaxing scented candles or use scented reed diffusers to set the scene and add that unique spa feel to the occasion. Leg and foot massage is always a favourite with mums to be and who can resist having their nails done? Give mum a thorough top to toe pampering! After all, she is growing a wonderful new baby and that needs alot of resting time. Gift giving finishes the night off perfectly.
High Tea Baby Shower:
A proper old fashioned tea-party - fish out your best china tea set, (or else get to a charity shop and buy some), make dainty cucumber sandwiches and home baked cakes. This is a great idea if you want to include several generations of family as well as friends. If you want an 'activity', ask family guests to bring their family albums and create a scrap book or illustrated family tree, great fun ( we promise!!) and a keepsake to treasure. A nappy cake makes the perfect baby shower centrepiece on such an occasion, as far from being a gimmick it follows the theme perfectly. Babyblooms Nappy Cakes only include biodegradable nappies and practical essential items of baby clothing - oh, and a few silk flowers for mum to keep! Continuing the cupcake theme, perfect gifts include pyjama cupcakes gift sets and organic cotton sock cupcakes.
The Recycle Baby Shower:
This is a fabulous idea, especially if you're one of the last in your friendship group to have a baby. Essentially, it is where other mums can gift garments that they have treasured or enjoyed seeing their own children wear, or nursery items that they have found particularly useful. Older relatives and friends or non mums can be encouraged to bring handmade or knitted items - Essentially anything that has inbuilt love and sentiment.
Hosting a baby shower is exciting but can be daunting depending on your experience of the baby world. Our overall guide is to keep it full of pamper and less of tat with a sprinkling of delightful gifts.
Baby showers present a valuable opportunity for family and friends to show their love and support for the mum to be and most importantly it is an opportunity for her to enjoy some down time and fun with her nearest and dearest before the big B Day.
The entire range is made from scratch using ingredients such as beeswax, essential oils, honey and flower waters and does not contain parabens, sodium, lauryl sulphate, palm oil or lanolin. Our products are suitable for vegetarians and no products have been tested on animals.
When it comes to packaging, both our glass and plastic jars can be recycled and wherever possible we use local business to keep our carbon foot print down.
Recently, we have collaborated with local west country producers to develop a relaxing home fragrance candle, reed diffuser and solid hand soap. These natural products are fragranced with our own blend of essential oils. Babyblooms candles which are clean burning with low carbon diffusion are produced using high quality natural wax that is both kind to the environment and from a sustainable source. Free from any petroleum based parrafin wax, additives and animal based ingredients they make a fantastic gift for a mum to be or a new mum
Recently we saw a tweet from a new mum who wanted to see more gifts aimed at pampering the new mum "afterall I'd carried baby for 9months".
So we sent her some of our skincare and she independently reviewed it with glowing comments,
"I loved the delicate smells which each product I received had, and was impressed with how luxurious the products felt on my skin. The soothing hand cream, smells delicious - although obviously you can't eat it! it contains beeswax and smells sweet like honey! It's really rich, but absorbs well and left my hands feeling really soft!"
This is only a snippet of Ms Goriami's review and equally fabulous view of the world. Check out the details in her blog dancing in my wellies.
Our CEO and founder, Lisa Roberts shares her tips on how to make your Christmas wrapping for children extra special and delightful.
It is fair to say I love wrapping gifts. So much so I made my business Babyblooms out of it. And, as anyone who has watched a child receive a gift knows, it is as much about the surprise, delight and anticipation as the contents. In fact, the gift wrapping and box often captivate the recipient for longer than the gift itself! So I thought I'd offer m of 'pass the parcel'
- Include treats or surprises within the layers, this could be jokes, chocolates, stickers or even 'treasure hunt' style clues as to the contents to keep them guessing
- Use ribbons and bows which can be re-used as bedroom decorations, hair bows or simply keepsakes.
- Attach feathers, flowers, chocolates, candy canes; in fact anything attached to the ribbon or string adds interest.
Wrap gifts in things that children enjoy and may even keep. Older children love wrapping from comics and maps, smaller children love boxes and muslin squares make fantastic wrapping for babies.
- Develop your own signature wrapping style so that your gifts will be recognisable. My children have a favourite uncle whose gifts always arrive by post in the same brown kraft packing paper addressed with black marker pen- very simple but instantly recognised and much anticipated! If you take this advice, you had better not forget!
I think we are all children at heart. As such, we take our wrapping very seriously to ensure that our gifts delight everyone. Whether it's our baby clothes wrapped within floral bouquets, children's PJ's wrapped up like cupcakes or our new range of free gift wrapping; our gorgeous illustrated boxes designed by Amanda Bradley based around our home, local high street and town in Gloucestershire.
Don't forget to post your tips on our community and together lets make sure every child is delighted this Christmas.
We are delighted to continue our support of Theodora Children's Trust with the introduction of two new 'Theodora Gifts'. These new baby gifts feature a posy of babyclothes in either Pink or Blue, accompanied by an adorable cuddly toy Lamb and sell for £35.00. For every 'Theodora Gift' purchased, Babyblooms donates £10.00 which funds one 'giggle doctor' visit to a poorly child.
Theodora Winter 2014 newsletter
The difference we're making......
"Oh the Giggle Doctors are so funny! I met them whilst my Grandson, Alex, was on ward 12 at Birmingham Children's Hospital after his Fontan surgery on his heart back in February this year. They were fantastic! They made Alex laugh so hard, most of the fluid on his lungs came off them overnight and made him feel so much better! They say laughter is the best medicine and this is certainly true of the Giggle Doctors! Thank you for giving Alex, his Mummy and myself (Grandma) lots of laughs!"
"James had a wonderful visit from Dr Jammi and Dr Dotty today. The work you do has been really important for James and our whole family, giving us something fun to think and talk about during an awful time."
"My son, Archie was diagnosed in May 2013 with Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma. We spent many weeks in Addenbrookes Hospital during Archie's intense treatment. The Giggle Doctors were amazing, always put a smile on Archie's face and made his stay there that little bit easier. Archie is now in remission and is doing really well, although he still has a couple of years of chemotherapy left. I just want to send a massive thank you to all the Giggle Doctors for everything they did for Archie."
Hello from Charlotte Wilson
Welcome to the Christmas addition of our newsletter, and my first as Chief Executive of the Theodora Children's Trust. I'm absolutely thrilled to be at the helm of this fantastic charity, which I hold very close to my heart. I'm sure many of you have children, nieces, nephews or grandchildren who have had to visit a hospital at some point. I've certainly seen how difficult it has been for my own son, when he has been in hospital. The work of the Theodora Children's Trust holds such value for me as I know what a difference a Giggle Doctor would have made to my son's experience of hospital, as it has made to Mimi's (see page 3). It's these magical moments that motivate me to continue to work towards our goal of providing Giggle Doctor visits for every sick and disabled child in hospitals, hospices and specialist care.
We need your help to make this goal a reality. You can support these children this Christmas by making a donation (see page 7) or by purchasing our Christmas cards (page 6). Every £10 we receive can help us to send a Giggle Doctor to bring a smile to a child’s face. Even better, make a donation and spread the word! On page 5 you can read about how important corporate support is to the Theodora Children’s Trust. Perhaps your workplace is looking for a new charity to support in 2015. Don’t forget to nominate us! What better way to start the New Year than to support a charity dedicated to bringing fun and laughter to those who need it.
Thank you so much for your support.
Yvette Clarke got in touch to tell us about how the Giggle Doctors helped her daughter Mimi.
Why was Mimi first admitted to hospital, and how did she feel?
Mimi was first admitted to hospital in June 2013. She had been extremely tired and used to sleep a lot. She then developed a squint and started to vomit in the mornings so we took her to the Opticians, who advised we take her straight to hospital. Mimi was sent for a MRI scan and the results showed a tennis ball-sized tumour in her head.
When did Mimi first meet the Giggle Doctors?
At first we spent a lot of time on ward D2 at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge. It was there that we first met the Giggle Doctors. Mimi was only 3 and I think she was overwhelmed and confused about being in the hospital. She loved interacting with the Giggle Doctors though; it was a real treat for her.
After Mimi's initial operation in June we were allowed to go home and were out of the hospital for 3 months. However, in September 2013, another MRI scan showed that she had hydrocephalus and that half of the tumour they had removed had grown back! We were devastated and set to start chemotherapy ASAP but were told that first the hydrocephalus had to be sorted out with a shunt.
One of my favourite moments with the Giggle Doctors was on the day of this operation. Mimi and I were waiting for hours on F3 ward. Mimi was nil by mouth and very lethargic. That was, until the Giggle Doctors walked into the playroom and blew some magic bubbles for her! She was running around with the most beautiful big smile on her face. It turned out to be her last moment of fun before everything went wrong. In hindsight this became my most treasured Giggle Doctor moment. Mimi did not respond well after the operation and to this day we still don't know why this happened. She was having seizures and had to go into intensive care for a while.
After her stay in intensive care we were on C2 ward for 8 weeks. We saw the Giggle Doctors quite often there and it was lovely. When Mimi and I saw them go into another room first we would excitedly wait for them to come into our room. Mimi loved the balloon animals and would really giggle. I have a clip of it somewhere. It made me well up as it was like our 'old normal' Mimi was coming through all the misery she went through.
What was Mimi's favourite moment?
Bumping into three Giggle Doctors in the hallway at C2! Mimi loved having her feet smelt by everyone who would want to...her splints got pretty smelly and she kept popping her feet up for the Giggle Doctors to smell and she absolutely loved it!
How did the visits change Mimi's experience of hospital?
At the hospital you live from visit to visit. Doctors, Physios, Nurses etc..but the highlight for Mimi was always the Giggle Doctors, and it was the same for all of us. It helped us to have that little happy laughing moment once in a while, during a very worrying and stressful time.
We still make regular visits to Addenbrooke's Hospital to receive chemotherapy, eye tests, attend endocrine appointments etc. Mimi still goes to the hospital in good spirits; not once has she told me she doesn't want to go. This is thanks to the Theodora Children's Trust and the Giggle Doctors!
Fundraising at work
We are so grateful for all that our supporters do for us. Will you help us to do more? We want to visit every sick or disabled child in hospitals, hospices and specialist care centres.
No matter what your position and no matter where you work, you can help us. We all spend a lot of time with our work colleagues...we're asking you to help us spread the word amongst these people and encourage them to get involved.
There are many ways you can help:
- Collections can be a fun and competitive team activity.
- Coffee mornings and tea parties are a great way of bringing people together.
- Cake sales get people talking to each other (as well as helping people to show off their baking skills)!
- Sponsored challenges like walks, runs, treks, cycles and swims are great team building events. We have tons of different events for you and your colleagues to take part in - just take a look at our website:
- Nominate Theodora Children's Trust as your company charity of the year.
If you'd like more information about fundraising at work please contact Jenny at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 020 7713 0044.
When sending your Christmas cards this year why not spread more than just festive greetings.
By purchasing a pack of Theodora Christmas cards you could also be helping to give a giggle to a sick or disabled child.
We have 2 fantastic designs to choose from (shown below). Each card comes in a pack of 10 and includes the message "Wishing you a season full of fun and laughter" inside.
Each pack is priced at £4, plus delivery.
If you would like to make an order, just visit our website.
At Babyblooms , all of our gifts are beautifully wrapped and packaged to ensure that they surprise and delight every time. We take enormous pride in our gift wrapping and are consistently congratulated on our fabulously presented gifts.
Babyblooms’ famous bouquets are now presented in subtly branded tall white ‘hat box’ style boxes, the lift-off lid of which contains a round window that displays the head of the babyclothing bouquet.
Babyblooms’ Pyjama Cupcakes are presented in delightful cake boxes with a magnetic closure, decorated with a pretty repeating cupcake print. Each cupcake box is tied with a ribbon that corresponds to the colour of the pyjamas and includes a cupcake themed hanging gift tag.
Keeping to Babyblooms’ gifting philosophy of delivering gifts that are both beautiful and practical, our Keepsake boxes score on both counts! The much sought after boxes themselves are perfect for keeping safe cards and precious momentos from those early days with a new baby. The window in the lid is designed to either house a photograph of the baby or specially designed and enclosed record card which details the time and place of birth, baby’s weight etc. Also included with the packaging in this gift is a delightful height chart to record baby’s growth, the back of which can be used to write your congratulatory messages.
The latest additions to our packaging collection, are three boxes which were designed by the super talented Amanda Bradley and which are based on buildings at the Babyblooms Home and in our home town in the Cotswolds. We will be using them for sending our new gift range which includes personalised items, skincare and teddy bears. We are sure they will delight the lucky recipients, and they are so beautiful they will make fabulous storage, to or keepsake boxes, or provide hours of playtime fun.