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Pregnancy Clinic

Parties & Celebrations

5 things that make a great baby shower

Remember Rachel’s baby shower in Friends? Naturally it was held at home, in the flat she shared with Monica, with an array of smug mummies on the invitation list. Poor Rachel was so fazed by such alarming gifts as a nappy disposal system and a breast pump that she couldn’t bear to open any more presents. She suddenly realised how little she knew about becoming a new mother.

The important thing for you is to relax. You're in charge of keeping yourself and baby healthy, and enjoying the party. Let whoever is planning the shower take care of the worrying.

Now, if you are the hostess, these tips will help you deal with the basics. Don't stress too much, though - the love, support and company of friends and family is far more important than any gift, theme or catering.

1. Time it right

Best time for a baby shower? Somewhere in the last three months. Allow a few weeks from D-day otherwise you could find your star guest can’t attend. Having the shower too early, though (within the first half of pregnancy) could be -- counting eggs before they're hatched.

2. Plan ahead

Get the invites out at least six weeks ahead of time. Don't forget to include directions and your phone number and e-mail for replies.

3. Be creative

Themes are great (think tea party, the nursery's decor, or baby brunch), but if the thought makes you squirm, try simply picking a colour or style of food to plan the party around.

4. Great gifts

The best gifts are those that are wanted. Speak to your friend and find out whether they’ve got a gift list at John Lewis or the Babylist.  It's also fun to ask each guest to bring a smaller, themed present -- favourite childhood book, homemade frozen dinner, IOU for future babysitting or chore help, etc.

5. Make it fun

Even if a themed party seems like too much work (or too corny), it's a good idea to plan some kind of activity. Try setting up a mini-spa with manicures, pedicures and massages.

Venue Ideas:

These days, the vogue is to decamp to a luxury hotel or spa. At The Berkeley (020 7107 8897; www.the-berkeley.co.uk), you and up to 14 chums can nibble on fondant fancies and sip pink champagne in a suite decorated with Diptyque candles and posies of McQueen’s flowers. On a weekday, you could indulge in a day spa package including lunch at The Grove in Chandler’s Cross, Herts (01923 807807; www.thegrove.co.uk). Or you could book in for tea at The Ritz (020 7300 2345; www.theritzlondon.com), served in the gilded splendour of the Palm Court. Mamas & Papas (01484 438476; www.mamasandpapas.co.uk) host baby shower buffets at Cibo, their flagship store’s café on Regent Street, while at Cupcake, Unit 6, Riverside Quarter, Point Pleasant, SW18 (020 8875 1065; www.cupcakemum.com), the spa and members’ club in Wandsworth specially for new and expectant mums, shower-goers get tea served prettily on fine bone china plus spa treatments (available to non-members too). If only they’d been around in Rachel’s day.


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