Two weeks ago I helped to plan my dear friend, Cal’s, baby shower. In complete honesty, 2 years ago this request would have been amongst my worst nightmares! Don’t get me wrong, I’m child friendly, some might say ‘maternal’, and I adore my friends children. But similarly to weddings, I have a frightening aversion to ‘themed’ events, favours, activities and decorations that have been seen and done over and over, and (I’m so sorry ladies) I’m also (shock horror) not a girls girl…! I have a small pool of close female friends, my relationships with which have been forged throughout history, with immense patience on their part. But, truth be told, I’d rather go to the pub and play cards with The Lads than have a Girls Night Out. I feel like I’ve betrayed my sex and put you off reading any further, but wait, please don’t go! Let me explain…
This unsightly aversion I have for ‘normal’ things is something I’m not proud of and I hate to admit it, it has led me to be rude, antisocial and a bit of a let down in the past. I have failed to give wedding presents on time to treasured friends, if at all, I’ve cancelled on girl gatherings, or I’ve been withdrawn and abrupt if I attend. Having seen the error of my ways, I can’t commit to changing the little oddball that I am (unfortunately) but I CAN commit to finding a way to show those dear to me that they ARE dear to me and a way to nurture the relationships important to me. I have also discovered that despite my laddish tendencies, there’s actually a closet girly-girl desperate to come out and play. So, for my friends baby shower, I let her.
When myself and another of Cal’s friends were asked to help organise the shower, we initially convened with one another and she suggested I did the invitation and planned some games. My crazy creative self was pricked and I requested that I do more decorative duties, expressing that that was more my forte. She very kindly agreed to let me loose on decorations, whilst she did the hard part of the actual planning – thank you Del!
I swallowed my pride and told myself there had to be SOME baby related paraphernalia at this shower. Therefore my first idea was to bake biscuits in the shape of babies. I have begun a tradition every Christmas of making iced biscuits and gingerbread, sometimes extravagantly decorated, sometimes not so much (like the year I tried to ice biscuits with a raging hangover). I gave a batch to Cal last Christmas and she raved about them. So this was my first obvious gift to recreate for her baby shower. Actually, the thought of mini biscuit babies with nappies on really amused me. When my husband, James, saw them he declared he didn’t know if he was really impressed or terrified!
But these biscuit babies have become legends around social media and apparently Cal’s nieces wouldn’t stop talking about them late into the evening after the shower. So simple and yet so effective. Here is my first How To….
How To Make Biscuit Babies
You will need:
250g butter, softened
140g caster sugar
1 egg yolk
2 tsp vanilla extract
300g plain flour + plenty extra for dusting
A rolling pin
Gingerbread men cutter/s
Egg white for basting
Ready to roll white icing
Blue and pink gel icing
My advice – go to Aldi!
- Mix 250g softened butter and 140g caster sugar in a large bowl with a wooden spoon, then add 1 egg yolk and 2 tsp vanilla extract and briefly beat to combine. Sift over 300g plain flour and stir until the mixture is well combined – you might need to get your hands in at the end to give everything a really good mix and press the dough together.
- Dust your surface with flour. If the dough seems too dry and breaks apart, rinse your hands under the tap and knead again. Roll out the dough and use your gingerbread men cutters to make your babies. Tip – I got a pack of 5 different sized cutters from Sainsburys for £4!
- Grease a baking sheet with butter. Carefully place your babies onto the sheet. Bake on 180* C for 12 minutes.
- Allow your biscuits to cool for at least 5 mins before transferring to a heat rack.
- Make a small ball of ready to roll icing and roll out into a thin sheet. I cut out long rectangular strips, approximately the right depth to fashion a ‘nappy’ for the babies, then I used the curve of the gingerbread man cutter to cut a semi-circle. You can just as easily use a sharp knife to do this though.
- Either use a basting brush or your fingers (like me) to baste a small amount of egg white onto the ‘nappy area’ of your cooled and hardened biscuits. Transfer a nappy and gently pat and smooth the sides down. Repeat for your many biscuit babies!
- If you want to sex the babies, as I did, use the coloured gel to draw a blue bow tie for the boys, and a pink hair bow for the girls. Transfer to a plate carefully and place in the fridge to set.
Other details for this shower are pictured below, and their How-To’s are pretty self explanatory. My lovely mum helped to collect empty jam jars for flowers and I bought several bunches (again, Aldi. Sorry Cal!), trimmed the stems and loosely arranged in enough jars so that every person could take one home. I tied champagne coloured ribbon around each jar to pretty them up. The ribbon was 99p for 3m from The Range (an amazing discovery thanks to a thrifty friend!).
I found the party bags in John Lewis party section (less cheap and cheerful) and filled with popcorn. The “Ready To Pop” labels I printed and used a handy template I found on trusty Pinterest. Here is the link.
For Cal’s young nieces I printed colouring book templates from a free website, rolled them up and put a small pack of colouring pencils in their party bags to keep them entertained. I also popped jelly babies in there to keep them awake!
The slightly frivolous part was the hand-stamped place settings and name tags. I found a typewriter style stamp set in Waterstones for less than £10, which was a personal investment for me as I know I’ll use over and over. I got such satisfaction from stamping every individuals name on their cards, feeling how much it meant to Cal that they were taking the time to come and celebrate her pregnancy with her.
Finally, my crazy venture was the guest book frame! This idea came inspired by my equally creative mother-in-law, but I shall save the How To for this for another blog post, as it another fab idea not baby shower specific.
Yes all of this did take SOME time and, if I am honest, if you don’t have a lot of patience for fiddly things you might not enjoy the process as much as I did! However, the babies don’t need decorating…the shapes themselves pass for ‘babies’, the jars don’t need ribbons and the place settings don’t need hand stamping, just some neat handwriting or a pretty printed out font. These are just my slightly nutty additions. All my way of saying Thank You to Caroline for being such a wonderful friend to me, showing her she and her baby are loved, saying thank you to her friends for coming and supporting her, and making the event memorable for all. All of which the time and fiddling was SO worth it.