Florence’s Gift Guide #6: Newborns and New Mums

This morning, Becky is back with a gift guide that although it’s timely, will remain useful to you guys 365 days of the year. When my friends have babies I’m always unsure what to buy. I want to buy them something practical and I usually want to spoil mum too. I was pleased to see many of my favourite purchases on this list that Becky has complied with the aid of her new mum friends. I hope it also gives you confidence to give the ultimate gift, that of time, whether it’s helping out at home as Becky suggests or spending time cooking something lovely for them.

Before I had a baby, I never knew what would be the most useful and appreciated gift to buy friends with newborns. Now I know, and as it’s the season for gift giving, I thought I’d share some present ideas with you.

To assist me with this post, I asked my trusted group of new mum friends for their suggestions. Everything comes with a personal recommendation.

For Baby

  • Clothes are always much appreciated but it seems most people give 3-6 month sizes. It’s nice to receive newborn basics too. Vests and sleepsuits with built in scratch mits are very useful and difficult to have too many of. If you’re going to buy for when the baby is a little older, make sure you consider the seasons. Cardigans are essential for a winter baby but not a summer one. And ‘Sock Ons‘ are an essential accompaniment to any pair of socks
  • Baby Bundler – Great for quick, popper free night time nappy changes
  • A bouncy chair or musical cot mobile – essential for Mum to grab a shower. The mobile also helps to calm during nappy changes.
  • A fleece wrap or footmuff for a car seat – saves having to wake a sleeping baby to put a coat on
  • Ewan the sheep lullaby soother
  • Grobag 
  • A music box – can act as a distraction for nappy changes
  • Extra large muslin wraps – indispensable for spillages, swaddling, and great for your modesty if you’re breastfeeding in public
  • A Cuddledry bath towel can help to make bath time a little easier
  • Most Jellycat toys are suitable from birth and have been very popular
  • Sophie the giraffe – for when they start teething
  • Beautifully illustrated classic books make great lasting gifts for children as well as providing pleasure for parents.
  • Baby hand and footprint ink set
  • Tommee Tippee Closer To Nature Healthcare And Grooming Kit 

For Mum

  • A homemade dinner in a disposable container (pies, casseroles, and pasta bakes are great options) or a homemade cake
  • A good book or magazine accompanied by a clip on book light – great for those lonely night time feeds
  • A scented candle
  • A luxurious bath or shower treat that can be enjoyed in 5 minutes off
  • A pedicure – it doesn’t have to be professional, a home pedicure from a friend would be equally appreciated
  • The offer of help with the housework

So readers, I’d love to hear what your favourite newborn/ new mum gifts are for giving and receiving.

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas, and the happiest and healthiest of New Years.

Love Becky
Xx

Real Renovation… Sofa Deliberations

This afternoon, we’re back to Jessica’s Real Renovation and she’s sharing the dilemmas of one of the most important purchases you’ll ever make. Jess and I have spent many an hour on my sofa, the two of us enjoying the super comfy cushions and a glass of vino, so I knew the hunt for her very own take on this essential would be epic…

When I’m buying clothes, I like to justify an expensive item with the old ‘cost-per-wear’ argument. So if budget allows, I think the same rationale can be applied to sofas. After all, you will sit on them nearly every day that you own them, so why shouldn’t you splash out?! Having said that, there are some great sofas that will fulfill all your interior design fantasies as well as being comfortable, without needing a fantasy sized bank account.

A sofa has to be a considered purchase and I think them so important even, that I have just bought new sofas yet still don’t have any wardrobes! I have lost count of how many sofas Dan and I sat on before we found the right one. If I had been doing an equivalent number of squats at the gym in a bums, legs and tums class I would’ve thrown in the towel long before I found my perfect perch!

We had one major specification and that was comfort. Having said that, as we now have a new fairly large living room we needed something that would suit an Edwardian house and its proportions, and of course look good. In the past we lived in a small, modern open plan flat and we had leather sofas which we really liked and so initially considered leather for the new house too. But, for the past few months we have been borrowing a friends leather sofa, and we soon realised that this was not a practical option in our cold and poorly insulated house! Fabric is the way forward for us…


*Chesterfield from Habitat, via Home Shopping Spy

So, if we are going to talk about sofas, we can no further without talking about the classic Chesterfield. Over the 200 or so years it has been around, it has been a staple of English design, often furnishing a traditional study or living room. Now it is having a huge revival, as its original shape with rounded arms and stud detailed back is combined with modern fabrics and sumptuous colours. It is now a key piece of furniture design that can look great in both period and modern homes. So if you feel like making a statement without compromising on comfort, I don’t think you can go wrong with a Chesterfield. Maybe go for a classic leather version (if you have a nice warm house!) and go all out Victoriana style, or as alternative maybe this luxe fabric version from John Lewis.


*Pale Blue Chesterfield – John Lewis

For the daring amongst you, this yellow sofa has curves in all the right places and will definitely make a statement any room. I was seriously tempted by this one but just couldn’t quite be brave enough.


*Arighi Bianchi Hepburn Sofa

Fashion has gone retro and so why shouldn’t your sofa? I love the simplicity of this green beauty from Couch Design which fits the bill perfectly, and Marks and Spencers new Conran range has some beautiful chairs and sofas that epitomise the smooth clean lines of the retro look. Personally I love with the teal velvet, its the fabric I think that makes this sofa so good. (Rebecca has already posted about the entire Conran for M&S collection if you want a peek at the rest of the range.) Although there are plenty of rooms that successfully combine retro shapes and period features, it just wasn’t right for our home.


*Retro Sofa, Not On the High Street


*Conran sofa for Marks and Spencers

So, by this point I had pretty well narrowed down the style of the sofa that I wanted, something quite traditional in shape, but with a modern fabric and super comfortable. Our living room is reasonably big, but just because it could fit two large sofas doesn’t mean it should. Too much furniture can make a big room feel smaller than it really is.

One of the things that attracted me to our house was the bay windows and a love seat seemed the ideal way to utilise the often difficult to use space. So, along with one large sofa we could have seating for at least 5 or 6 people (I can still feel a statement chair coming on though). I figured that many more people than that in the room and it becomes a standing up kind of a party anyway.


*Sofa – Tamarisk Designs

The sofa style we chose was something fairly classic by Tamarisk Designs but we chose a deep grey/blue slate chenille fabric that really adds to the luxury feel I want to achieve. There is also an almost identical to this one from Baileys in a linen weave.


*Sofa – Baileys Home and Garden

Above all though, I think it is one of the most comfortable sofa I have ever sat on, and it was sheer luck that it was in just the style I had been looking for. Luckily for me this time, Dan needed no convincing that this was the right sofa for us. Unfortunately it was not the cheapest option but when they arrived last week it felt like Christmas! The rest of the room is still a work in progress (as you can see by the bare white walls and paint samples below), but at least I will be comfortable whilst researching my next purchase!

Thanks Jessica!

What a search – but I have to say, it’s a great choice 🙂 I can’t wait to see the room finished…

Have you bought a new sofa? Are you desperate for one of the above? Or did you too have an epic sofa hunt?

Love,
Rebecca
xo

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