I remember when I first found out we were expecting Wilf we were completely inundated with recommendations of things we 'needed'. The choice can be very overwhelming and I remember buying lots of things we never really needed or having to buy items again when our original choices weren't 'quite right'.
The biggest example of this would be a change bag, we actually got through around three until we found one we liked. When I was pregnant I couldn't see why you would need anything other than just a largish regular bag but in hindsight this was something we could have done with getting hold of much sooner.
Marks and Spencer asked if I could put together a little list for new parents about what products I loved and which I would with, the aid of hindsight have bought now looking back.
When you first have a baby friends are eager to bring round gifts, which are usually, for the baby. This might sound a little odd, but the gifts I really appreciated at my baby shower were ones for me, wait a second, I'll explain! Having a child is the most amazing and fulfilling experience, but it's also completely overwhelming and exhausting. Being able to grasp back even a tiny bit of 'Me Time' is, I think, essential. This often doesn't mean anything more glamorous than lighting a candle and having a cup of tea but that time to grab five seconds for yourself is so important.
Whilst I would never suggest that you should need to look a certain way or necessarily wear make up if that's not something that would feel natural to you. For me I feel more of myself when I feel more 'together'. Having a baby that did not sleep longer than 45minutes in a row for over a year just putting a little bit of blusher on my cheeks and evening out my skin tone make me feel a bit more human again. If I only wear one bit of make up it is always blusher, as someone who is quite pale I feel like it makes me look healthier. I actually have to admit I didn't realise Marks and Spencer had such an extensive beauty range, stocking some of my favourite items. I love this shade of blush as it feels very light and natural.
I actually hadn't tried this Stila 'one step' before but I love it, it brightens and hides blemishes without feeling in anyway heavy like a foundation might. I wish I'd known about it earlier if I'm honest! The candle is bitter orange and smells fantastic, I'm also a big fan of the tin is comes in too. I'd say these items would be the perfect little gift for a new mum.
When it comes to baby toys I have to admit to being drawn to the simple and classic designs rather than anything with flashing lights and loud noises. I adore this wooden pull along duck and its actually something that can be played with for years, Wilf was quite taken with is and he's almost three. Stacking cups are also another timeless classic, I really like how these ones have three different aspects, size, shape and labeled with numbers. Again, meaning that they can have a lot of use throughout different ages, as a baby Wilf would have loved to just stack them but now we can talk about the numbers and count together too.
I remember the first time we gave Wilf a bath, it was so nerve wracking! It's funny to think we always made it a two person job. I remember friends with babies the same age saying 'have you bathed your baby yet? We're so scared!'. Those first moments are so special, I don't know yet how it differs with another child (I'm presuming we won't be so nervous about everything!). I also remember a moment, looking at the towel rail in our bathroom and seeing three towels hung up, mine, Tom's and that teeny tiny one with a hood and my heart skipping a beat. It was like 'wow we really are a family now!'. I love these animal designed ones from the Skip Hop Range, perfect for little monkeys ;)
And back to change bags, our first was a free one, it was badly made and ugly but I thought it wouldn't matter too much at the time. Turns out it did matter to me as I was wearing it every single day, and frankly I wouldn't wear an item of clothing I thought was ugly every single day. My second bag was bought because I thought it looked good..but it was massively heavy and once I'd packed it up with all the millions of things we seem to take out with us on a daily basis it was terrible. I actually was told off my an osteopath for wearing it! I would certainly recommend getting a good one first time round, and by good I mean lightweight, with lots of compartments and a design you like. Also gender neutral like this one is a good idea too if you fancy getting your partner to lug it around (not that Tom's very fussed about things like that, he was often carrying my pink handbags pre change bag days!).
Once we'd moved onto food we bought Wilf his own little plates and bowls. These ones are brilliant for making dinner time that bit more fun and having a divider is often quite important for little ones. They are also really durable and dishwasher safe which is essential with kiddos!
I've mentioned it before (lots) but something that brings me lots of joy as a parent is dressing Wilf. I love that there are brands out there that don't insist blue cars are for boys and pink princesses are for girls. Marks and Spencer have a brilliant range of classic and colourful prints and designs for both sexes and I couldn't help but get a little bit excited about being able to chose some items for Wilf's little buddy Stella. It's a pleasure dressing boys but in my heart I am truly a bit of a girly girl, I would wear some of these items myself if they only made them in adult versions.
This tunic top and leggings combo is a definite favourite of mine, who doesn't love a collar and that shade of mint is just so sweet. Doesn't Stella make for a great little model?
I can't quite cope with how cute this bear cardigan is!
Which leads us onto nurseries. Wilf didn't go into his own room until 18months but when he did it was really important to me that it worked well. I actually did up his room whilst I was pregnant as it felt like a very exciting thing to do without really realised it would be so long until he slept in there. Interior design is very important to me and I wanted it to have the same colourful and bright feeling that we try to create in the other rooms in our home. Actually Wilf's room is now my favourite place to hang out. I loved this Ercol chair and having a chair in the room was something we didn't actually have up until now, I'm surprised at how much this has changed the feeling to the space and helped encourage us to play in there longer. Now either Tom or I will sit and read stories or I can just sit and enjoy a cup of tea whilst Wilf plays on the rug.
I've never been a huge fan of carpet, feeling that it's a bit boring, so I love that we now have a rug for the space. I love how modern the design is and the colours really compliment the rest of the space without taking over the room. It also matches the pouffe, which we've had so many compliments about since it arrived. I love how much use has been got out of it already, as well as an added seat Wilf and his pals think it's the most hilarious play thing and roll around on it all the time. I'm so impressed by the quality of all three of these items and would certainly recommend them to friends thinking about doing up their nursery.
And thats it! What would you add to a list of things you found essential when becoming a parent? Is there anything that in hindsight you would have added or even not bothered with? I'd love to know!