How I organized a kickass babyshower, without actually knowing what I was doing.

A few months back, we decided to throw our dear friend Marta a baby shower. As a designer, I obviously have an eye for decorating, so that part was covered. But as a 30-ish woman who doesn't really have the desire (yet) to start a family thus doesn't know much about baby showers, I didn't have a clue of where I should even start. After some googling I did have a vague idea of what baby showers were all about, but most examples were rather - yawn - boring (and Marta & her lady posse are certainly NOT - I repeat - NOT boring!) So let me take you through the day, maybe it'll give you some inspiration for future party planning as well. Enjoy!

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Lunch & Laughter

Lunch was pretty much the only part we hinted Marta, the rest of the day was top secret (which must have been very brain wrecking for a control freak like her, haha). We kept it pretty simple and everybody was asked to bring a healthy, yet yummy dish, so we could all share the deliciousness. We were lucky enough the sun was shining and we could enjoy getting some much needed vitamin C - bliss!

Beach & Sand

After that we hit the beach in Ostend. The temperature was excellent and we found a nice spot in the shade to just relax & chill for an hour or two - chatting, napping and giggling away!Around 6pm, we headed to the activity of the day, but not before spoiling ourselves with a delicious cup of ice-cream (we're naughty like that!).

A total makeover

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The real surprise was a total make-over for all us girls at 'Lily'. I must admit I was really happy with this activity myself, since I just lo-lo-love this shop (my wallet doesn't so much). We got some beautiful & natural make-up on (thanks Annabel!), a styling sesh with the lovely Lily ladies and delicious tapas from 'Passe Vite' to get by. We had a splendid time and I think they were happy to have us, crazy bunch!

Capturing the awesomeness

The perfect ending to this day: a small photoshoot at the beach with the most crazy poses and moves. We had such a good time and didn't want this day to end, but were all oh-so knackered. I'm sure we'll do this again very soon!

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Some extra tips:

Brainstormingisn't easy in such a big group, certainly not by e-mail. Firstly, ask everyone which ideas they have and then set up a detailed plan yourself, otherwise things will get messy. I'm sure everyone would handle things differently, but you can't please 'em all. Just make sure the mommy-to-be will like the idea!

◆ Shipping invites by snail mail are always awesome to dot the i and I must say I haven't come around to that (bummer!). But I did give Marta an invite, which was 'vague', but gave her some ideas on what to bring and what the day would be like (without spoiling too much). I'm sure this made her even more excited for her surprise baby shower!

◆ Make a wish list of things the mommy-to-be would like. Maybe she wants something totally different (and more fun!) from her close friends than what she'll be getting from her family. We made a Pinterest board to collect all the items, but if you do this, do make sure you get the conversation going on who got what, so you don't end up with the same gift.

Remember not to make the day too busy. You're hanging out with your friend who's preggers, remember? Take it easy, enjoy and relax! Maybe throw in a fun game here or there, but we decided not to, since it didn't feel like it was the right crowd to do so.

◆ And last but not least: make it super personal! I - for instance - had so much fun decorating the table and channeling my inner Princess Misia while doing that, so I'm sure she enjoyed the effort (we even got the same napkins!). I also know she enjoys the seaside, shopping, getting pampered and shooting pictures… so we were on the right track here as well. It's not because it's a baby shower, that it has to be 'boring' or 'conventional' or has to be a certain way. Just make it fun, personal and spice it up!

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4 THINGS I'VE LEARNED AS A FREELANCER

Being a freelance might sound great – being your own boss and working when you choose to – but it can be more difficult than you might imagine. That's exactly what I've experienced a few years ago when I impulsively dove into the full-time freelance adventure. (right now I also work at a newspaper as a layout designer, so I'm able to grow at my pace) With this in mind, here are a few tips for anyone who is planning to go freelance:

◆ One of the most important things to remember as a freelancer is that you will need to be disciplined. Working for yourself means that you won’t have the boss looking over your shoulder, but you’ll still need to put in the hours if you want to be successful. Following you dreams means a 100% dedication, at least, if you want to be successful. It can often be easy to get distracted by facebook or games when working online, but this can mean that you won’t accomplish as much as you hoped to. Why not set time aside to indulge in the pastimes which you enjoy, and focus on your work when you need to. Oh, and get out of your pjs.

◆ As a freelancer, you will also need to learn to manage your money carefully. If you’re unable to find work, then you won’t get paid, and some months are likely to be busier than others. Most freelancers soon learn not to blow their earnings as soon as they’re in the bank – you never know when work might dry up and you find you need to dip into your savings. (that’s how I’ve learned my lesson the hard way) You may also find that you need to think more carefully about the investments that you make. Your camera equipment won’t be provided for you, so you’ll need to consider what to invest in if you want to develop your freelancing business.

◆ Have fun doing what you do! This is why you’ve started your business, right? Experiment, try different things, find creative solutions.  Whatever you do, don’t forget the passion! It’s super important to reflect on your work and business once in a while and ask yourself how you’d like to take it from there. Are you still having fun? If not, shake things up a little and make it work!

◆ Lastly, you will need to develop your contacts. Make sure you are always reliable, and impress those that you work for in order to ensure good recommendations. This can be key in establishing yourself as a freelancer.

What are YOUR top tips? Please, do share!