It is rare for both the English and the French side of our family to get together. At the start of the last bank holiday weekend, we made our way to South Devon. My mum, her cousin, two of my brothers, even my nan and my aunt drove from the Champagne region to meet us. Despite pouring rain, we all had a wonderful weekend, catching up, talking, eating and chatting some more.
We were all there together to celebrate Wriggly’s christening. We chose my youngest brother and our oldest niece as her godparents. We know they will always be there to look out for our little girl, guide her and love her dearly.
Wriggly’s siblings were all baptised at Notre Dame de France, the French church in Leicester Square. This time, we decided to have our baby’s first sacrament in Devon, where Hubby comes from. The celebration was to take place at Buckfast Abbey thanks to my lovely sister-in-law.
There was no theme as such for the baptism, but I wanted yellow and grey tones on the invitations. As I was thinking of the sort of photo I wanted for the front of the invites, I decided to take a few shots of Wriggly holding helium-filled balloons.
We had a portable helium tank and a kit of colourful balloons from Balloon Time at home. Although I was a tad worried it might take ages or be complicated, Beanie and I got started a few minutes before we had to collect Crevette from school. It could not have been easier!
Here is Beanie inflating a balloon. I was just behind her, supervising her closely (just in case you were wondering).
We just had to open the valve, slide the balloon onto the nozzle and push the nozzle down to release helium into the balloon. Knot, string, done! I could not believe I had never heard of those great kits.
You see, we love helium-filled balloons at home. We always have them for our parties, because every child we know loves balloons (and bubbles!).I always get one for each child to take home. Not only does it cost a fortune, but I also end up wrestling with twenty balloons or so as I walk back home with small children, a pushchair and some last-minute shopping. Do not get me started on the tangled strings!
I managed to get lots of beautiful pictures of my four little ones in the park that afternoon. Balloons are a great prop to have when taking photos of children. They are distracted by the balloons, and therefore pay less attention to the camera. Their smiles are genuine; their facial expressions natural and relaxed. I took dozens of photos of Wriggly sat in a wicker basket holding balloons and I love this back shot:
Sorry, I got a bit carried away here. Shall we go back to the baptism? I chose one of the photos I took that afternoon and her invitations were quite simply perfect.
We took the helium kit to Devon, and Crevette took a bouquet of yellow and grey balloons to the abbey before the baptism.
The day before the celebration, we all sat in the kitchen to put the favours together. In France, it is traditional to give your guests sugared almonds at weddings, baptisms and communions.
There are close bonds between the English side of our family and the abbey. It made the celebration even more special. Wriggly was as good as gold from start to finish.
The only thing she was not keen on was being wriggled into her baptism gown. The gown is rather special to us. When Crevette was born, my nan asked me what she could get us for our new baby. I gave her my wedding dress and asked her to have it turned into a baptism gown. It means my wedding dress has been used again instead of gathering dust in the loft.
I dressed my four children in white, and they looked angelic (until they started eating the chocolate cake, that is). Quite a few of us were wearing peachy-orange tones, and I loved my Kaliko dress. Thanks to the Jacques Vert group for this lovely gift.
After the celebration, we all went to The Rising Sun, a lovely pub nearby, where we had a Sunday roast. My friend Vicki, The Free From Fairy, made the cake so that Jumpy and her daughter could enjoy dessert with the other children despite their exclusion diets.
It was scrumptious!
Oh, and we had champagne, because no baptism would be complete without champagne in my family. Wriggly enjoyed her first sip. She makes her great-granddad really proud!
Here is Wriggly in the beautiful Jacadi dress my aunt bought for her, wearing the baptism brooch that has been passed down a few generations in my family.
When was the last time you had a big family gathering?
I am working with BritMums and Balloon Time as part of the “Celebration Club”, highlighting inventive and fun ways of using balloons. I was provided with a Balloon Time helium kit and have been compensated for my time. All editorial and opinions are my own. Visit www.balloontime.com for more information and party inspiration.
Here is what the kit we used looks like: