As most of you know, Patrick and I welcomed our beautiful daughter Lily Rose into the world on 1stMay. It had been a long and difficult journey for us prior to this, but on that day our world changed – our love for her was instant and continues to grow stronger each day. We cannot imagine our life without her.
When preparing for her arrival, I will be totally honest, we were pretty clueless! Although most of our friends have children, we don’t have any nieces or nephews or any babies in our immediate family and so our experience with babies, particularly newborns was limited.
It can be so overwhelming with lists and advice to be found everywhere! When we were invited to visit Anita, who runs Anita’s House (formerly The Baby List), at her showroom in Chelsea, we jumped at the chance. Anita’s House is basically a concierge for all things baby and she is the perfect person to hold your hand through the process of preparing for a new arrival, particularly if like us you feel a little overwhelmed.
Before meeting Anita, we weren’t sure what to expect – fully prepared to listen to her advice, but unsure as to whether we would end up booking her to help us, or whether we would feel that her list was too much and more than we would need. One thing we had decided was that we would not go too crazy and would keep things as simple as possible until our little one arrived. We had chosen not to know the sex of our baby before her birth, so that also slightly limited what we would want to buy in advance.
When we first met Anita we warmed to her instantly. She is such a lovely person and our few hours with her were some of the best in my pregnancy! I felt able for the first time to feel truly excited about the arrival of our little one – I had recently passed the 28-week stage, which had been crucial to me because of our previous experience. Being in her showroom surrounded by beautiful nursery furniture and an amazing selection of baby bits was just heaven – I would really recommend an appointment there to everyone.
We spent a few hours together and she worked through a list of items we would need. It was amazing to be able to look at all the options together there in person and to have a proper look/play with items such as prams. She literally goes through everything from nursery furniture to less exciting, but equally important items such as breast pumps, nursing pads and post-natal knickers! Because she has so much experience, you really know that the items she recommends are the best and work. Having now used it all I can really vouch for that – there hasn’t been anything from our list that we haven’t used and haven’t loved!
Two of the most useful items have been things that Anita has designed herself. The first is the amazing ‘Day of the Week’ muslins. We have used these so, so much – in fact every day since Lily was born both as muslins for feeding and also in her cot as a pillow to protect her sheet from dribbling milk. They are such a clever idea and have been so useful.
The second is her amazing Poppy playpen. We chose one to have in the TV room where we spend a lot of time relaxing as a family. We use it as a cot for her to sleep in or as a safe place to keep Lily Rose’s baby gym playmat, so that the dogs can’t use it too! We’ve currently got it on the new-born setting, but when she is bigger we can move the base down, so she can safely sit in and play with her toys. In a family with pets (or even without) I think it’s great to have a safe place to pop her, so you can make a cup of tea or pop to the loo knowing that she’s safe.
Anita has also designed the most beautiful range of merino wool cardigans, blankets and hats. Lily Rose wore the cardigans so much in the first few weeks after she was born (before the heatwave started!) and we use the blankets still all the time now. They also make the most amazing gifts for newborns or friends with babies in general.
After the initial meeting with Anita, she sends through a list of everything that you have chosen together all itemised – there is no mark up on the items and it’s so useful to see everything on one spreadsheet, so you know the total and can pick and choose what you really need or can afford.
Once you have finalised the order you then book in a date with Anita for delivery (you can choose to pay extra for her and her team to deliver and assemble everything for you). We chose that option, and again, I would highly recommend it if you can do it. Her team put everything together in a few hours and Anita came down later in the day to talk us through everything and show us how to use it. It was a real luxury, but something that really helped us, plus it was lovely to spend the afternoon with Anita – she is so warm and bubbly and made us feel so calm and excited about the imminent arrival!
It’s so funny now thinking back to that time – a few weeks before Lily’s arrival, when we didn’t whether she was a boy or a girl or who she was going to be – those weeks and the ones following her birth were some of the most magical I have ever experienced, and Anita was definitely a big part of that.
This post was created in collaboration with Anita’s House.
As always all thoughts and opinions are my own.
Photography by Patrick Butler-Madden.