Baby & Family

SHOPKINS & KAWAII THEMED BIRTHDAY PARTY

A few months ago I hosted a 4th birthday party for my little girl Flora – she’d asked me for a shopkins themed birthday party, and with the current trend in cute kawaii food I embraced it fully – cute faces on cookies, polka dot filled giant balloons, super sweet bright colours and a bespoke pin the candle on the cake game for the smallest guests. I made a bright coloured streamer pass the parcel ball (I’m now obsessed with these), and invented a few other food/shopping related games – from pretend egg n’ spoon races to shopping basket filling competitions.

It was featured on Inspired by This too, with pretty photos by Sarah Hannam (you should also go check out the DIY Tutorial for the bouquet Flora is holding over on Style Me Pretty).

“From the fun cutout milk cartons and ice cream cones, to the giant yellow poppies that decked out the picnic tables, this 4th birthday party is full of creative, fun details. It’s only fitting that Flora had a colorful floral birthday party, whose mom, Jessie Thomson, totally decked it out with balloons, desserts, and plenty of fun & games. Flora’s aunt, of Westwood Design, styled all the pretty pink & yellow florals. Let’s go back to those desserts – “milk & cookies” shaped cookies, sprinkle cake pops, and an iced donut topped cake are just the start of the sugar rush! We can only imagine how much these toddlers enjoyed it. We love this fun theme and know you’ll love it just as much!”

INSPIRED BY THIS

shopkins kawaii theme birthday party

shopkins kawaii theme birthday party

shopkins kawaii theme birthday party
shopkins kawaii theme birthday party

shopkins kawaii theme birthday party

shopkins kawaii theme birthday party
shopkins kawaii theme birthday party shopkins kawaii theme birthday party shopkins kawaii theme birthday party shopkins kawaii theme birthday party shopkins kawaii theme birthday party shopkins kawaii theme birthday party shopkins kawaii theme birthday party shopkins kawaii theme birthday party shopkins kawaii theme birthday party shopkins kawaii theme birthday party shopkins kawaii theme birthday party shopkins kawaii theme birthday party shopkins kawaii theme birthday party shopkins kawaii theme birthday party shopkins kawaii theme birthday party shopkins kawaii theme birthday party shopkins kawaii theme birthday party shopkins kawaii theme birthday party shopkins kawaii theme birthday party shopkins kawaii theme birthday party shopkins kawaii theme birthday party

shopkins kawaii theme birthday party

CREDITS

{PHOTOGRAPHY:SARAH HANNAM; DESIGN & PLANNING:JESSIE THOMSON; FLORAL DESIGN:WESTWOOD DESIGN; STATIONERY:HIP HIP HOORAY; CAKE, CAKE POPS AND COOKIES:CURTIS & CO.; VENUE:THE WILSON ART GALLERY; CATERING:FOSTERS EVENTS; PIN THE CANDLE GAME & GARLANDS:THINGS BY LAURA

GRIZZLY BEAR BIRTHDAY BASH N’ BRUNCH

My little boy Augustus was one last year, and I couldn’t possibly let the occasion pass by without at least a little celebration could I?! Actually what I love about first birthdays is that the smalls aren’t too bothered about lots of friends and party games at that age, so it’s just as much a gathering for the parents, friends and family who surround them with love (and a raising of glasses to “hey we made it one whole year”!).

For Augustus I decided to host a brunch party in his honour – at a local cafe Boston Tea Party – and the decor somewhat dictated the design plan and theme thereafter. Though we do nickname him Augie Bear, so it was a nod to that too!

I created a black and white grizzly woodland bear themed birthday party – complete with bespoke invites created by Hip Hip Hooray, who also made me matching place mats, mini bunting for the high chair, and signage. I asked them to create some mini wish cards too, as I completely forgot to fill them in for his time capsule at his naming day (far too much champagne and rose, oops… better as a planner than a host it seems!).

I asked the ever so lovely Marie Green to make me a birthday cake with bark inspired icing, which I then topped with a mini bear figurine, mini succulent and a single black and white candle. Marie also made me the most delicious cookies as party favours too.

Around the tables I placed succulents I picked up myself, as well as mini woodland figurines and colouring activities for the older kiddies. I also decorated the space with black & white marble effect balloons, black paper circle garlands, bark effect paper straws, and a mix of bark or black check paper napkins. I also made a mini crown out of pipe cleaners!

Both Augie and Flora’s outfits were mostly from UK store Monkey McCoy – the little black Amy & Ivor moccasins are my faves, and has only just grown out of them!

Huge thanks to Sarah Hannam for capturing all the details!

BEATRIX POTTER SECRET GARDEN NAMING DAY

I was delighted that this secret garden and Beatrix Potter inspired naming day celebration I created for my baby boy was featured on the beautiful and inspiring 100 Layer Cakelet blog recently – and so forever grateful to the cast of vendors who helped me make it so special {scroll down to the bottom for credits}.

The venue really was my inspiration for the design plan – the grounds and gardens are just magical, and I was so blessed to be able to host the ceremony outside by the beautiful lake with the most incredible water feature as a backdrop. I hope the set of images below show you just how important it is to have an amazing photographer not only for your wedding day, but for all the other special moments in your life. It’s worth every penny!

For more information on luxury celebrations and kids party planning, as well as styling for family portraits and newborn shoots, please visit JESSIE KIDS and contact Jessie directly for a consultation.

Photography: Katie Julia / Venue: Cowley Manor / Planning & Design: Jessie Thomson / Flowers: Georgia Westwood at Westwood Design / Stationery: Hip Hip Hooray / Cake: Curtis & Co / Celebrant: Diana at Grace The Day

See more at: http://www.100layercakelet.com/2016/02/26/english-garden-baby-naming

{visit Jessie’s shop for baby & lifestyle products}

MINI FLORALIA FESTIVAL: 3RD BIRTHDAY PARTY

Since I first started up my event planning business I’ve designed and created many celebrations that aren’t related to weddings, but it’s not something I’ve shouted about that much… until now!

And that’s because I’m excited to properly launch a new and special part of the company: JESSIE KIDS.

Having both Flora and Augustus to cherish, entertain and throw parties for has opened my eyes up to a huge area of event planning and styling that seems to be forgotten about in the UK. I’ve absolutely adored creating fun yet stylish soirees that the children enjoy just as much as the adults, and think that every mama out there should celebrate their bump, babies and birthday’s in style.

You can read more Family & Baby related content here on the blog, but if you are interested in having someone help you style and co-ordinate a maternity or newborn portrait session, or create a special sweet celebration for a loved one, then contact Jessie directly at jessie@jessiethomson.co.uk.

For now though, I wanted to share with you a Mini Floralia Festival themed birthday party I created with Westwood Design for my daughter Flora when she turned 3 years old earlier this year:

Floralia is “a festival originating from Ancient Rome when the Romans celebrated the goddess of flowers, Flora, and the beginning of spring. The festival was then known as ‘Floralia’. The celebrations included playing games, singing, dancing and feasts. People would decorate everything with flowers, and wear them in their hair.”

Naturally the party was pretty heavy on the florals! We had mini floral crowns and buttonholes for boys and girls to wear, and hosted a Montessori inspired flower arranging activity where children decorated gift bags containing floral foam, before picking their own foliage and blooms to arrange inside from a flower buffet station. There was also lots of food, sweet treats, music and bubbles!

Mini Floralia Festival: 3rd Birthday Party, Flower Arranging Mini Floralia Festival: 3rd Birthday Party, Flower Arrangingc Mini Floralia Festival: 3rd Birthday Party, Flower Arranging Mini Floralia Festival: 3rd Birthday Party, Flower Arranging Mini Floralia Festival: 3rd Birthday Party, Flower Arranging Mini Floralia Festival: 3rd Birthday Party, Flower Arranging Mini Floralia Festival: 3rd Birthday Party, Flower Arranging Mini Floralia Festival: 3rd Birthday Party, Flower Arranging Mini Floralia Festival: 3rd Birthday Party, Flower Arranging View More: http://racheljanephotography.pass.us/flora Mini Floralia Festival: 3rd Birthday Party, Flower Arranging Mini Floralia Festival: 3rd Birthday Party, Flower Arranging Mini Floralia Festival: 3rd Birthday Party, Flower Arranging Mini Floralia Festival: 3rd Birthday Party, Flower Arranging Mini Floralia Festival: 3rd Birthday Party, Flower Arranging Mini Floralia Festival: 3rd Birthday Party, Flower Arranging Mini Floralia Festival: 3rd Birthday Party, Flower Arranging Mini Floralia Festival: 3rd Birthday Party, Flower Arranging Mini Floralia Festival: 3rd Birthday Party, Flower Arranging Mini Floralia Festival: 3rd Birthday Party, Flower Arranging Mini Floralia Festival: 3rd Birthday Party, Flower Arranging View More: http://racheljanephotography.pass.us/flora Mini Floralia Festival: 3rd Birthday Party, Flower Arranging Mini Floralia Festival: 3rd Birthday Party, Flower Arranging Mini Floralia Festival: 3rd Birthday Party, Flower Arranging Mini Floralia Festival: 3rd Birthday Party, Flower Arranging Mini Floralia Festival: 3rd Birthday Party, Flower Arranging Mini Floralia Festival: 3rd Birthday Party, Flower Arranging Mini Floralia Festival: 3rd Birthday Party, Flower Arranging

Photography: Rachel Jane | Flowers: Westwood Design | Event Design, Styling & Planning: Jessie Thomson via Jessie Kids | Cake: Marie Green | Venue: The Beehive.

 

BABY LOVE: AUGUSTUS STANLEY JACK

I can’t quite believe it’s been 6 months since we welcomed our latest addition to the family, little Augustus Stanley Jack. He is just the sweetest boy, full of smiles and already sitting + crawling (so different to Flora who was quite content to sit still and play with whatever was closest at the time!).

To celebrate his birth I enlisted the help of my sister Georgia, who happens to be an incredible florist and set designer in London, and had my dear friend Ashlee from Taylor Barnes Photography come and spend a day with us in October last year. I dressed us all in white, adorned us with fresh flowers and foliage, and headed out to our local park to spot fairies in the wildflowers with Flora. I hope you love the results!

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For those interested, Flora’s dress was from Zara Kids and my dress was from Asos, while Augie wore H&M Baby. Flora is also wearing an amber teething necklace – never been sure if it worked but she’s grown rather attached to it over the years!

 

Photography: Taylor Barnes Photography | Florals + Foliage: Westwood Design

JESSIE LOVES MARRAKECH

I’m back! So if you didn’t know already (and if you follow me on Instagram then you definitely will do), I’ve been travelling with my family in Marrakech, in Morocco, for the last couple of weeks. We had an absolute blast!

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I plan to do a little review of each place we stayed and a few hints and tips along the way, but wanted to share a few pictures with you whilst it was all still fresh. I’m also going to create a few marrakech wedding inspired moodboards with you too, there was so much I picked up on there, I can’t wait to show you what’s going on inside my head!

I also really wanted to thank the team at i-escape who organised our hotel accommodation – brilliant service and the places we stayed were perfect for taking a toddler with us. Yup, that’s right… we took Flora! I had so many people advise against taking a little one to Marrakech, and we certainly saw a few raised eyebrows when I said we had decided to take her anyway, but I am so glad we did. It will be lovely to show her the photos one day, and she was an absolute star throughout. Loved it!

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We stayed at the beautiful Jnane Tamsna and Beldi Country Club (or Hotel by Beldi) – both of which were just stunning, and out of the hustle and bustle of the medina. Such a welcome retreat after an afternoon at the souks or exploring the city – calm gardens and cool swimming pools, with absolutely fantastic service.

Flora was an absolute star when we went off exploring, the locals absolutely adored her and she wasn’t overwhelmed by the craziness of the Jemaa el Fna at all. She ate street food with us, made friends with a tortoise in a teeny henna cafe, and played with a little girl living above a traditional berber pharmacy (sharing their snacks sweetly).

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I’ll definitely write a separate post about travelling with little ones too, I picked up lots of tips and can give plenty of advice on making it a smoother and happier trip!

So now for me it’s back to work. Wedding season is over in terms of my weekends being full of travel, set up and co-ordination, but the hard work continues with full planning for next years brides and plenty of design planning and consultations to keep me busy.

Keep an eye on the blog for reviews of where I stayed and Moroccan inspired wedding eye candy of the next few weeks!

Jessie

x

Engagement Shoots: A Lovely Love Story {Me and My Boy}

So a few weeks ago I agreed to take part in an engagement style shoot by my sweet friend Ashlee from Taylor Barnes Photography, she wanted to practice a style of photography using the beloved technique to evoke emotion, and she also wanted to shoot it all in film. Having been in front of the lens a few times now, I’ll say that this felt much less like a photo shoot and more like a personal experience, with a photographer there who just happened to capture the moments.

beloved engagement shoot

I’m so delighted with the results from our session at this Cotswold Vineyard (also a gorgeous wedding venue and restaurant). You see one of my biggest regrets is that I never had an engagement shoot, or took enough time on my wedding day to have a few shots of just me and my new hubby. We were so excited and busy chatting to our friends that we didn’t notice the photographer being dragged into group family shots that we weren’t that bothered about, and we ran out of time. Don’t get me wrong, I love our official pics but I wanted some that really captured our love of one another for the grandchildren to look back at one day.

tree engagement shoot

It was so nice for us to get away from our busy lives for this sweet little shoot in a beautiful Cotswolds setting; what with work, family and home renovation .. we hardly ever get time to connect and just be in the company of one another. Ashlee totally stepped back and let us interact with each other without feeling posed or unnatural, she prompted us with the odd question and moved away to let us share a private moment each time. I loved it. I felt amazing afterwards, really back in tune with who we are as a couple.

After the shoot I asked Ashlee if she’d pen down a few thoughts for the blog about engagement shoots and couple sessions. So I’ll hand over to her now and hope you feel inspired…

vineyard engagement shoot

vineyard wedding venue uk

Documenting your life is something that is hugely important to most people, you just have to glance at how many apps now focus on photography and videography – with Facebook and instagram being the most popular apps now available via our smart phones. So it always surprises me when my lovely couples choose not to have a couples session before (on an engagement session) or during their wedding day. 

Thomson TBP -15 uk vineyard engagement

After further discussion many couples tell me that it’s because they are not a fan of having their own photograph taken, and others feel it may take up precious time that they would rather spend with their loved ones. I understand both of those objections. I understand that it can often feel nerve wracking being in front of the camera – but like most things practice makes perfect and what better way to practice than at an engagement session?

beloved photography technique vineyard cotswolds wedding

I find them so useful as a way to get to know my clients better, learning how they work as individuals and how to photograph them in a way to reflect there personalities. That’s why I offer an engagement shoot free to any couple who book me to do their wedding as I feel its imperative to getting better photographs on the day.

So if you don’t feel comfortable in front of the camera do discuss that with your photographer, as it is our job as professionals to give you more confidence, make you feel comfortable and give you fond memories of your session. 

film photographer cotswolds engagement ring diamond antique

Another thing to note is on your wedding day, is that without a doubt you will have spent a great deal of time and effort into making sure you look amazing! Every single bride I have ever met has been completely radiant, fresh faced and genuinely beautiful. All of these efforts deserve documenting!

The other objection I get to taking couple photographs on the day is that my bride and grooms are worried about too much time being taken out of the day away from their loved ones. This is something I completely agree with and would never want to encroach on, so I always aim to make a couple session as quick and succinct as posible. I work along side your wedding planner to find a time that would be most suitable for you both, and I spend as little as 10mins capturing those key shots (for couples who have an engagement shoot prior then this time is always considerably shorter).

cotswolds engagement shoot location laughing engagement photolaughing engagement photo

Its only on reflection that I believe a couple look back on their wedding photographs and really appreciate the time they put aside to have a few shots of them both. I have never had a couple say to me that they regretted having portrait shots of themselves, but every couple who I have worked with who have’t had them, have regretted not doing so.

When thinking about your wedding, remember that this is the start of your family, you are the roots of your family tree! Make sure you capture those memories, not just for now but for your children and grand children to come.

My grand parents wedding album is one of the things I have left of them being together and it was what inspired me to become a photographer myself.

xxx Love and Hugs xxx

Isn’t she talented? And oh so lovely? If you are looking for a wedding photographer who uses both real film and the beloved technique, then she’s your gal. She happens to have her own super pretty blog if you wanted to check that out for some extra inspiration too.

Have a lovely day.

Jessie

x

Summer Recipe: Tomato, Basil + Feta Tart

This tasty light Summer tart is a mixture of inspiration from a recipe in the Leon Family & Friends cook book and my Mummy friend Annabel – I popped into hers after a baby group one week and she had whizzed something like this up for her family earlier that morning. I totally stole her idea, with a bit of amendment from me, simply because I was just using up ingredients already in my fridge!

Both Annabel and the cook book used a softer goats cheese here rather than Feta, and you could totally swap the basil for thyme or other herbs. I also think you could swap the tomatoes for figs and add a drizzle of honey at the end for something a bit sweeter!

tomato, basil and feta tart

Ingredients:

500g ready to roll pastry

4 x plum tomatoes (or you could use cherry tomatoes, just make sure whatever you use are nice and ripe)

1 x bunch of basil roughly chopped (or swap for thyme, keep a couple of sprigs for the end)

1 x clove of garlic finely chopped

100g of Feta cut into chunks, or crumbled (feel free to add more/less or swap for any goats cheese of your choice)

A big glug of olive oil

Salt + pepper to taste

Pesto to finish

 

Recipe: 

Preheat the oven to around 200C.

Roll out your pastry and place on a baking tray with grease proof paper underneath. Make sure to fold over the edges and press down with a fork (or score with a knife).

Take a bowl and mix your tomatoes (chop ’em, slice them… up to you!), chopped basil, olive oil and garlic together. Spread this mix evenly over the pastry base, avoiding the edges.

puff pastry tart base tomato, basil and garlic

Scatter or crumble the feta cheese or goats cheese over the top, sprinkle with salt + pepper and put the whole thing in the oven for about 20 mins until the pastry is a lovely golden colour.

tomato basil feta tart recipe

Serve immediately with salad and a drizzle of pesto with a few fresh basil leaves (I added a touch of olive oil to my jar of pesto to make it go further).

summer tart with salad

This is a really great recipe for a quick and easy Summer lunch or supper, great for kids to help with, and Flora seemed to enjoy hers too!

Jessie

x

 

Fashion Friday: Pretty Pleats

Last year I bought rather a lot of pleated dresses and skirts, and this year I still love them – easy to dress down with a tee and flats, or dress up with heels, or you can even hitch up a long pleated skirt under your bust or armpits to make a floaty dress (good for those of you with a bump!).

 

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Beige Pleated Dress from Olive

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Sheer Pleated Dress via Pinterest

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Image via Taylor Barnes Photography

That last shot is actually me when I was super preggo with Flora Belle, so there you have it ladies… proof that I practice what I preach!

Jessie

x

Woodland Theme Bedroom or Nursery

When I found out I was pregnant just over a year ago, one of the first things I did was to start planning how I’d decorate the nursery. We didn’t know if we were having a boy or girl at the time so I kept it pretty neutral with a woodland theme. I already had some sweet postcard bunting left over from our wedding that I could use, as well as some sweet cushions that would work well. I simply painted the walls all white and accessorised with bolder colours.

The bed canopy was from good old Ikea, and my woodland felt mobile was from Amazon (much to my amazement – I had searched everywhere for something and it was perfect!). My biggest luxuries were my wall stickers. A big tree with birds, owls, squirrels and mice came from Love Mae and I also bought this gorgeous light bulb “Bonne Nuit” glow in the dark wall decal, couldn’t resist.

Our little wicker bassinet was from Mothercare, which I thought was a great find (clever me) until I spotted two Mum’s with the very same one on Eastenders. Oh.

 

 

We had a baby girl, Flora, who is now 14 months old. She loves the tree and birds which peel off and stick back on really easily. Which is lucky as we actually moved house and I managed to safely transport them in a roll of grease proof baking paper!!! The cot has been replaced with a white iron little bed, but everything else remains (erm, apart from the bunny nightlight which I loved but got accidentally melted by the hubby who put the wrong replacement bulb in it. I am not bitter, honest).

Just remember that when you do have a girl/boy you get a load of gender specific gifts. You won’t move for super cute wall hangings and trinkets with their name written on… so leave some space for the extra decor!

Are you planning a gender neutral nursery right now? I wanna see!

Jessie

Photo Credits: Taylor Barnes Photography

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