My Hospital Bag (AKA the most fun thing to pack, ever)

While it took me a little while to get organised with my hospital bag, I did find it was really fun putting it all together in anticipation of our little babe's birth. I think they recommend you pack it anytime around 36 weeks, just in case of an early arrival - but I don't think I packed mine until a few days before my due date. As it is I went overdue anyway, and kept having to dive into it to use some of the toiletries etc. In the end I think I took about three separate bags which meant a fair bit for B to carry! I ended up with a small wheelie suitcase with mine and baby's main belongings, a small carrier bag with snacks and drinks and B had his backpack too. 

I love writing lists, so ahead of packing my bag I wrote endless lists, all the while scouring Pinterest for any and everything I might possibly need. It got a little overwhelming so in the end I broke it down further and then I put each collection of items into its own pouch. The theory being that B would know what was in each one and could quickly grab any of it as and when it was needed. (By the way, this is one of the best pieces of advice I was given - make sure your birthing partner knows where you stuff is stashed. You probably won't fancy rooting through your bag yourself as you may be a little preoccupied!)

It's fair to say I took a grand total of no photos of my hospital suitcase...so I'm sharing a few fun photos of a tiny Tallie instead...

Two days old. Look at that squishy face!

Two days old. Look at that squishy face!

FOR ME

POUCH 1 - LABOUR 

  • Bendy straws - handy for sipping at water throughout labour, even when in funny positions! 

  • Massage oil - I'd heard how good and uplifting orange oil was so I was keen to give it a try and with each contraction in early labour B massaged this oil into my lower back. As it turns out, it really helped me relax and keep breathing through it all. I had tons left over afterwards and it's been lovely to use after showers to keep my skin soft.

  • Mints - I didn't really need these, but it was nice to have them on hand.

  • Lip balm - yes oh yes. My lips got super dry making this and water absolutely essential.

  • Nightdress - I had an old nightie that had skinny straps and was super soft and light, and this was just what I needed. Plus, it being old I didn't care that after labour it went straight in the bin! (There's one similar here.) As mine was pretty loose it also meant that straight after giving birth I could feed Tallie, even though it didn't have fancy pull down bits at the front.

  • Hair ties - I packed a ton of these as I couldn't risk B not being able to find them, there is nothing worse than feeling hot and bothered and not being able to find a bobble...

  • Sweets - as it turns out I was ravenous while waiting for the induction to kick in, but once things got going food was the last thing on my mind. The sweets were nice afterwards though. I also took a big tub of Haribo for the midwives to put on their station which I think was happily received! 

  • Face spray - I got a travel spray bottle and just filled it with cool water once I was in active labour. B then could spritz my face occasionally which brought some lovely cool relief.

  • Face cloth - much like the spray bottle, a cool flannel is handy to dab your brow with once things get going. (Certainly if you're anything like me and feel like you run a few degrees hotter than most!)

POUCH 2 - TOILETRIES

  • Shower gel

  • Shampoo

  • Deodorant

  • Toothbrush

  • Toothpaste

  • Moisturiser - I had this cream and used it on my face and body and loved it. Quite sad to have run out now tbh.

  • Emery boards - I don't know about you, but if I snag my nail and I don't have an emery board to hand it is so hard to think about anything else!

  • Hand cream - lots of hand washing definitely takes its toll so this is a nice one to have handy on your bedside.

  • Hand sanitiser - not essential if you have a private room with a sink, but so handy to keep on standby for before/after nappy changes.

  • Pack of tissues - I don't go anywhere without these, and hospital was no different!

POUCH 3 - AFTER CARE

  • Nipple cream - if you're wanting to breastfeed this stuff is amazing while you get the hang of it. 

  • Breast pads - so handy for any leaky moments. I had (and still have) disposable ones, but in future I'd be tempted to get washable ones like these bamboo ones.

  • Maternity pads - I took two packs of these with me and that was plenty, though I did stock up again once I was home. 

  • Maternity mats - these were provided by the hospital, but I added them to this list as I made sure I had them handy for when I returned home. They were really handy for changing Tallie on those first few days, as the nappies were interesting to say the least!

POUCH 4 - MAKE UP

  • Tinted moisturiser - I didn't want anything too fussy, just something to hydrate and even out my skin tone, ahead of welcoming visitors. I love this by La Roche Posay.

  • Mascara - my usual staple.

  • Tinted lip balm - I love these by Korres as they have a lovely pigment, but are light and non sticky.

  • Concealer - bags be gone!

  • Pressed powder - only for a light dusting, but I don't think I really used it as the ward was so warm and my skin was pretty dry.

I then also packed: 

  • Maternity notes - essential!
  • Flip flops - for showers while you're on the postnatal ward, our showers were clean, but still...
  • Towel - our hospital provided towels which actually weren't too bad, but I still preferred to have one from home.
  • Other PJs - while I wouldn't recommend taking your fancy pjs to hospital (save them for when you're home as you may still be a bit messy). In the end I stuck to wearing my big pants and a comfy vest top while I was in hospital, and I put on old loose pj bottoms for trips to the bathroom etc. 
  • Nursing bras - I had these for sleeping in, and these for day time wear. 
  • Comfy clothes - I was only in for one day and night following Tallie's birth, so I wore my pjs most of the day and had comfy clothes for going home in. My feet had swollen so much that I ended up needing to wear my flip flops to go home. I made sure I took the nursing vest tops I had as they made things so much easier while I was getting to grips with feeding. These from H&M are a staple in my wardrobe now. 
  • Big pants - cotton, comfy and essential after birth. I also got some of these disposable pants for right after birth, when things were still a bit messy.
  • Dressing gown - I did pack one of these (a thin light one) and began active labour wearing it, but it got so in the way with its tie straps that I ditched it in the end. I didn't feel I needed one on the ward afterwards either as it was so so hot!
  • Headphones - I listened to a lot of music in the early stages of labour, so headphones were essential. They would also have been handy on the postnatal ward (so noisy most of the time) but as it is I managed to snag a private room.
  • Wooly socks - I packed my favourite snuggly socks, but in the end I was so hot (maternity wards like to keep things toasty) that I didn't need them.

FOR BABY

  • Nappies - these aren't provided at hospital so we took about half a pack (around 10-15) I think, which was plenty given our short stay. But we also didn't stress out as the hospital was not far from lots of shops, so B could have dashed out and got more had we needed them. 

  • Muslin cloths - x3 ideal for burping and cleaning up any and everything. 

  • Cotton wool - we didn't really use this, as when the nurse came to teach us how to wash Tallie, she brought her own cotton wool with her. 

  • Baby wipes - we used Water Wipes at first, instead of using cotton wool and water for nappy changes as it was so much quicker and easier.

  • Sleepsuits - we took 3 of these, size 'up to one month' as well as 2 newborn sizes. Not really sure why we took the newborn ones as she was so big they never got a look in!

  • Short sleeve vests - x3 to wear under the sleepsuits.

  • Hat - we didn't put Tallie in one in our room as it was so warm, but we had it on standby for the journey home.

  • Scratch mitts - I packed a pair of these but they weren't used as the sleepsuits had them integrated.

  • Coat - we didn't get a coat exactly, but we did have a warm hoodie type jacket for the journey home.

  • Blanket - I used this cellular blanket and it was perfect, plus it lasted a long while once we got home before she outgrew it.

  • Car seat - another essential!

One of the first photos of little Tallie. Only a few hours old and already a fan of grey!

One of the first photos of little Tallie. Only a few hours old and already a fan of grey!

FOR B 

  • Phone

  • Wallet - including change for the car park at hospital. Thankfully our hospital gave a good discount on a longer term parking pass to those having a baby!

  • iPad - handy for the quieter moments when they need to pass the time.

  • Chargers - I gave B mine too, to keep handy. 

Look at how teeny she was! This was taken when she was four days old, when we'd been readmitted as I had a post birth infection.

Look at how teeny she was! This was taken when she was four days old, when we'd been readmitted as I had a post birth infection.

And that's it. Looking at the list it does seem to be an awful lot of stuff, but as you can see some of it was a 'just in case' addition to the bags. 

What about you? Did you pack anything different in your bag? I love this article about what women have with them at birth, from around the world. So fascinating and it really makes me grateful for the amazing (free!) care we have access to in this country.

-x-


A Simple Floral Themed Baby Shower

In celebration of our little Tallie turning six months all this week on the blog I'm sharing some stored up posts to bring us right up to date. You can hear all about Tallie and her arrival here, see her nursery nook here and read why I'm a huge advocate for maternity shoots here. Once this week's posts have run normal service will resume - with more interiors, DIY and book posts - not just parenting and family posts, promise! 

Today I wanted to share a little peek into my baby shower which was such a special afternoon. Contrary to popular opinion, I decided to co-host my baby shower with my bestie, Ruthie. (Our mums obviously have great choice in names!) I love planning events and had such set ideas about what I wanted to create that it felt right that we'd make it happen together, and my goodness I really couldn't have done it without her. The plan for the afternoon was simple, it was a baby shower for someone who didn't love the idea of having a baby shower! You may have guessed by now, but I really don't like the attention being on me. All I really wanted was a good excuse to gather together with some dear friends, to eat some tasty treats and to pray together as we celebrated the imminent arrival of my little one. 

A Simple Floral Themed Baby Shower | Gathered Cheer blog

Here's a little more detail about what we got up to...

DECOR

The shower was held on a grey afternoon in January, so adding flowers and candlelight was essential to lighten our home and to create a cosy atmosphere. The day before the event I stocked up on simple blooms and greenery - including ranunculus, eucalyptus, spray carnations and wax flower. By picking flowers which easily separate into little posies, we made up several little arrangements and dotted them around my home. They were everywhere from the dining table and fireplace hearths to the kitchen drinks station and even in our bathroom. We also used the same flowers to decorate our doughnut stack and cake. It's amazing how something as simple as adding flowers to some cheap and cheerful doughnuts makes them look so much more fun and pretty.

Next we added candles - both scented candles from Anthropologie and simple tealights. We emphasised the twinkly feeling with string lights too. I love the ones that just need batteries, they look great and don't need a power socked - winner! 

A Simple Floral Themed Baby Shower | Gathered Cheer blog

I'm a sucker for banners and bunting, so of course we strung up lots of these! By sticking to the party colours (pink, grey, gold) it all tied in nicely, without being too fussy. We also hung the 'love' balloon as I couldn't resist it! It's now hanging in our bedroom as I can't bear to be parted from it.

Finally, I dotted a few little baby bits around the house. I had a sweet pair of crochet baby booties and a snuggle toy which were sweet and made the party feel more like a baby shower.

A Simple Floral Themed Baby Shower | Gathered Cheer blog

FOOD & DRINK

We served a selection of sweet and savoury snacks including a delicious carrot cake, vanilla sugar cookies (which we'd stamped 'hello baby' on roll out icing), chocolate dipped strawberries and plenty of popcorn. To make the sweet treat table look pretty I gathered a selection of glasses and plates to display everything in. Even a simple treat like mini eggs look extra special when put out in martini glasses. 

For drinks, we set up a 'pimp your prosecco' station. I labelled carafes and filled with different juices, and put chopped fruit in bowls. Guests could then grab a jam jam (complete with gold foil straw), pour prosecco and add whatever juice or fruit they fancied. 

A Simple Floral Themed Baby Shower | Gathered Cheer blog | Mimosa bar
A Simple Floral Themed Baby Shower | Gathered Cheer blog
A Simple Floral Themed Baby Shower | Gathered Cheer blog
A Simple Floral Themed Baby Shower | Gathered Cheer blog

DETAILS/ ACTIVITIES

While I didn't relish the idea of traditional baby shower games, I did want to do a couple of things to mark the occasion. I'd seen 'wishes for baby' cards available to download on various blogs before and I wanted something similar. I'm such a stationery fan and this was one of the most special elements of the day so I came up with a loose design concept and then commissioned Quill London to print the cards. I was thrilled with them! The calligraphy element looked so beautiful and then when they were filled in I was left with a pile of sweet messages, hopes and dreams for Tallie. I'm so looking forward to sharing them with her when she's older. 

A Simple Floral Themed Baby Shower | Gathered Cheer blog

The final part was a lovely time of prayer with my dear friends. Needless to say I was pretty apprehensive ahead of having Tallie, so gathering with friends to commit it all to God was so precious and the highlight of the afternoon. I felt so priviliged to be surrounded by such incredible women, knowing they'd each be an important part of Tallie's life. 

It was such a joyful afternoon and I'm so grateful to everyone who came and made it so special. And of course my biggest thank you goes to Ruthie, as she made it all happen! We wouldn't have had anything to eat if it weren't for her amazing baking skills - the biscuits, cakes and pastries were all made by her. Thank you, friend. You're the best! 

A Simple Floral Themed Baby Shower | Gathered Cheer blog

I'll be back with a couple more posts this week - including one on the things we've most used these past six months having Tallie. See you soon.

-x-

All photos shot and styled by Ruth Garner for Gathered Cheer


Five Reasons To Book A Maternity Shoot

Today's post has me a little nervous. Because, while I wholeheartedly believe what I'm about to say, it means me putting more images on this blog of yours truly. Not something I relish. I tend to prefer to beautiful interiors images, pretty views or more recently photos of my sweet little babe. But that's also kind of the point behind this post. That while you may be like me in your dislike for appearing in photographs, it's actually a really lovely and special thing to do from time to time. Getting pregnant wasn't quite as straight forward as I may have anticipated (you can read more about our journey here) and so it felt right to record this special moment. That while I felt even bigger than usual, it was a precious miracle that was cooking away in my belly and that deserved to be celebrated.

Five Reasons to Book a Maternity Shoot | Gathered Cheer blog | Photos by Siobhan Calder

I'd seen Siobhan Calder on Instagram (here and here) and loved her images so it felt like a natural fit to ask her to take my portraits. Siobhan has a magical way with light which is so different to my usual predilection for bright, white (often overexposed) shots. I knew that she'd capture this quiet moment for us beautifully and we'd be left with images to treasure forever. I wasn't wrong. Usually my first thought upon seeing myself in photos is to zone in straight away on my appearance. Don't we all do that? It can be the most amazing photo and all we see is our flaws. But these photos were different. Instead of seeing flaws and feeling uncomfortable, my initial thought was just how happy I looked and even now looking at them takes me back to that moment of excitement waiting for our little Tallie to arrive. It felt like the most effortless shoot, too. Siobhan and I chatted over cups of tea and she snapped away all the while. There were no cheesy forced grins or awkward poses. I didn't fancy doing any full on belly shots and that was fine because she captured me. The bump is there, just not taking centre stage. She knew where the light was and played to that (on one of the greyest days in January!) and it all felt so easy. A surprisingly fun morning for a camera shy person like me. And now that Tallie is here and B and I are already often found looking at pictures from when she first arrived, I also find myself going back to these photos too. From when she was still safely nestled in my belly. I was full of cold, but felt that strange mixture of calm and excited a month before my due date.

Five Reasons to Book a Maternity Shoot | Gathered Cheer blog | Photos by Siobhan Calder

So, if you're pregnant and sitting on the face debating whether to have some maternity photographs taken here are five good reasons to do it...

IT'S A PRECIOUS MOMENT

Pregnancy is one of those amazing moments in life that makes you go 'wow'. It's probably why perfect strangers see fit to reach out and touch your bump, or stop to chat asking all the usual 'when's it due?' questions. Bringing life into the world really is a miracle. And pregnancy doesn't happen everyday, or more often that a few times in a woman's lifetime, so it's precious. I don't know if I'll be pregnant again and so recording this treasured moment was something that felt really right for us. 

Five Reasons to Book a Maternity Shoot | Gathered Cheer blog | Photos by Siobhan Calder

PREGNANCY IS BEAUTIFUL

Ok so depending on how far along you are in your pregnancy you might be contending with morning sickness, swelling, nausea or feeling super achey. And this might make appearing in photos feel less that appealing. But you still look gorgeous. Trust me, you do. I loved my big bump as for the first time in ages I didn't feel self conscious about my tummy! Looking back at photos of yourself from pregnancy you'll see your lovely bump and remember your little one growing inside you - you honestly won't see your swollen ankles or anything else you might otherwise be hung up on. 

Five Reasons to Book a Maternity Shoot | Gathered Cheer blog | Photos by Siobhan Calder

THE MEMORIES WILL ENDURE

There's something magical about photographs that means that they capture more than just a moment in time. They capture so much more - the smells, the emotions, the sounds... As I said earlier, my own maternity photos remind me of the grey day in January, when I was full of cold and downing copious amounts of warmed honey and lemon. The house was as still as can be, with lights on and candles flickering. Anticipation filled each room as we waited and prepared and imagined what life might soon look like. If feels so special to be able to look at images and have all this conjured up time and again.

Five Reasons to Book a Maternity Shoot | Gathered Cheer blog | Photos by Siobhan Calder

IT'S FUN

Pregnancy can feel a bit like a slog especially towards the end. So taking time out just for you to sit, rest and generally reflect on it all is really lovely. And if you decide to have photos taken with your partner and any other children it'll be a happy moment for you all to enjoy together as you anticipate your new arrival. I found the morning with Siobhan so calming and enjoyable - which totally surprised me as ordinarily I feel so tense having my photo taken. It was just her and me as B was at work and it just felt like hanging out with a lovely friend, I was barely aware of her snapping away.

Five Reasons to Book a Maternity Shoot | Gathered Cheer blog | Photos by Siobhan Calder

YOUR KIDS WILL LOVE IT

Obviously Tallie is still to young right now but I imagine that as she grows she'll be keen to see photos of her as a baby and photos of her as a bump. I think it'll be such a special thing to enjoy looking at together as I tell her stories of how I felt, what labour was like, how we first felt to be parents. I love hearing stories from my own childhood and it makes me happy to think of passing similar memories onto Tallie. Of course, these portraits don't need to just capture you. They could be images of corners of your home, sweet gifts you've been given or particularly treasured items. For us, these other photos included ones of our sitting room, some sweet crochet booties and a precious print with a bible verse on. (You can see the print more here). So not only will Tallie be able to see my bump and me, but she'll get a little peek at what her first home looked like too. (I wonder if it'll seem as weird and outdated as when I look back at our first home and its furnishing way back in the 80s and 90s?!) 

Five Reasons to Book a Maternity Shoot | Gathered Cheer blog | Photos by Siobhan Calder

So, have you had maternity photos? Would you like to? Let me know in the comments below, or find me on Instagram! 

If you're looking for a photographer I'd so happily recommend Siobhan. Go see her amazing work here.

-x-

All photos shot by Siobhan Calder


Our Nursery Nook

As I shared in my last post, we're currently sharing our bedroom with Tallie. Truth be told we're working on moving her into her own room now, but before we do I wanted to share her little corner with you as I've so loved it these past six months. General advice is that you room share for around six months but (as with anything parenting related) it's all so subjective and down to preference and I know friends who have room shared with their little people for shorter or longer periods. We're definitely ready for her to move rooms now, but having her right by our bed in the early days with all the frequent night feeds was wonderful. That said, I actually switched sides with my husband as I couldn't sleep right by the cot. Every single snuffle or wriggle had me waking up and it was so silly. So now my husband sleeps next to Tal's cot and I'm on the other side - even that little distance helps so well. 

Nursery nook styling in master bedroom | Gathered Cheer blog

We're fortunate that our room is a fairly good size, but even so when planning the nook I prioritised a few key elements: 

COT

For us, we wanted to go down the sidecar cot route. Bed-sharing sounded lovely but I just didn't feel confident enough with it, and so having her cot with its side down right by us was the best of both worlds. It also meant feeding times were easy as I didn't have to step foot out of bed. We chose the Chicco next to me cot, but the Snüzpod is so lovely too. (Have you seen the new Snüzkot? It's beautiful!) Naturally, we chose the grey cot so it would fit in nicely with our bedroom colours.

Nursery nook styling in master bedroom | Gathered Cheer blog

CHANGING STATION

A changing station of some sort is pretty handy in a nursery nook for all the many nappy changes but it honestly doesn't have to be fancy. We opted to put a changing mat (this wedge from John Lewis) on top of a chest of drawers, but a mat on the floor would have sufficed just as well. Since it is on top of the drawers we use the top drawer for all the nappy changing essentials, it keeps them close at hand without cluttering up the space. Plus, now she's so grabby and fidgety during changes we need to keep the decks clear! On top of the unit we also have the Gro Egg. Our bedroom temperature is a bit of a nightmare - one minute it is too hot and the next it's freezing. So with a new baby we were super cautious and wanted to keep a close eye on things so we could dress her appropriately. It also acts as a gentle nightlight, which is lovely. 

*I must add a little note about safety here. We attached the changing wedge to the chest of drawers with command strips to stop it sliding all over the place. We didn't attach the chest of drawers to the wall for stability as is recommended, so I'm super careful anytime we use it. I never leave Tallie unattended on the mat - especially now she's prone to attempting to roll over on it.*

Can you tell I shot this back when England was 'enjoying' a heat wave? I wasn't kidding about the fluctuating temperature in our room!

Can you tell I shot this back when England was 'enjoying' a heat wave? I wasn't kidding about the fluctuating temperature in our room!

STORAGE

We soon learnt that having a baby meant the amount of stuff we owned seemed to multiply dramatically, despite me trying to buy only the essentials. We use the chest of drawers for her clothes, and I'm forever going through them to clear out the outgrown pieces! (It happens far too often...) We have managed without a hanging rail as so many of her clothes are simple babygros or leggings but when we move her out to her room I'd love one just so we can hang up special outfits.

LIGHTING

I so often forget about lighting in a room, but it's so important. For our nursery nook we opted to put a light inside our wardrobe. Handily it's a large space and even has a plug socket inside. This means that we can leave the light on in there overnight, and when we need to do a nappy change we just slide open the door a fraction. If we didn't have this option, I'd have chosen add a dimmable switch to our table lamp. The last thing you want in the middle of the night is a blazing bright light! 

Nursery nook styling in master bedroom | Gathered Cheer blog

CURTAINS

The curtains we have are meant to be blackout, but sadly in adjusting them (trimming off the bottom) they don't fit the windows brilliantly and so let in a lot of light. Not only does this seem to affect Tallie's sleep, but it wakes us too so we needed a solution. This is one of those 'make do and mend' solutions, as we're currently using a Gro blind. These aren't really meant for everyday use, but we've adapted ours slightly by using adhesive velcro to stick it literally to our window frame. (Cheapy UPVC windows, so hoping it comes off fairly cleanly when needed). This means they fit the frame snugly and it's easier to open, rather than using the window suckers it comes with which are a little fiddlier to keep unsticking and resticking.

DECORATION

For me the most fun part in any room is the decoration. It's where you can really let your personality speak by choosing prints for the wall and other accessories that mean something to you. With it being a nook, we didn't have all that much space to stand any objects so instead we decided to add a little interest above Tallie's nappy change area. A simple string of lights (which light softly at night), a really precious print and a happy sun all set off the cheery corner. The sun too has become a favourite with Tallie, as she loves to stare at it during changing time. I so love our picture ledge and cloud hook, as kindly given to me by Margarita at Chocolate Creative. Marga joined me on a Gathered Cheer social in Faversham last year and then I saw her at a lovely market hosted by Papermash. Marga makes such beautiful pieces and I'm so chuffed to be able to look at these everyday. The print too has so much meaning and was kindly given to me by the super talented designer Liz Mosely after I commented on how much I loved it on a photo she posted on Instagram. Amazingly, the print arrived about three weeks before I found out I was pregnant and given the verse on it, it felt way more meaningful and prophetic than being simply a happy coincidence! "Your eyes saw my unborn body - all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be." (Psalm 139: 16)

Nursery nook styling in master bedroom | Gathered Cheer blog | Photo by Emily Quinton
Nursery nook styling in master bedroom | Gathered Cheer blog
Nursery nook styling in master bedroom | Gathered Cheer blog | Photo by Emily Quinton

I've so enjoyed adapting our room to make room for our little bird and it's lovely that it wasn't a tricky task - it was more a case of getting a few key pieces of furniture and having a bit of a shift around. Also, it shouldn't be too tricky to rearrange when she moves out and we put our room back as it was. Although her nursery space will be a somewhat bigger task. We've finally ordered her cot and we're planning on having a big sort out in our spare room. It's a room that is going to have to work very hard as it'll be a combination of a nursery, a guest room and work space for B. That's a lot of areas to squeeze into one place! I'll let you know how we get on...

PLUS to celebrate Tallie turning six whole months next week, I'm planning lots more baby fun content. There are a few things I've kept meaning to share but I've been so slack, so I figure we'll do one week of baby heavy posts and then after that things will calm down and I'll be back to sharing book reviews / interiors pieces / DIYs etc.

Post to come next week include:

  • A little peek at my baby shower - with a handy shopping edit
  • What I packed in my hospital bag
  • The things we've loved and actually used in the past six months
  • The launch of something fun and exciting which I can't reveal just yet...!

-x-

All photos shot and styled by Ruth Garner for Gathered Cheer with the exception of the close up of the bunny rabbit and the close up of the picture ledge and cloud hook which were taken by the lovely Emily Quinton.

I was given a few items that I've mentioned in this post, including the print (Liz Mosely), the lights (Cox & Cox), the picture ledge and cloud hook (Chocolate Creative). All opinions are of course my own!


Five Ways To Make Your Room Kid Friendly (without sacrificing style!)

I've always been a homebody, but since having Tallie I've spent more time in one room than I ever have - our bedroom. In those early fuzzy days (which incidentally I'm already forgetting - how quickly do those blurry days slip by?!) we snuggled into bed as we got to know one another, and my word, those moments were precious. Fraught sometimes, yes. Scattered with tears and frustrations, certainly. But oh so wondrous. Since then, I still spend a fair bit of time in our room, as I shush and pat. And shush and pat. And sometimes even manage to sleep myself. As one who has always found comfort in a tidy and cosy home our new mini addition has added a new dimension to our decor. Suddenly practicality seeks to rule over pretty. Substance over style. Certain fabrics and colours seem off limits. But thankfully, I don't think you need to totally give into these practicalities. Instead I think there are a few things you can bear in mind to balance out your bedroom's style and kid-friendly nature.

 

OPT FOR NO FUSS FABRICS

Linen is perfect. It is literally a no fuss fabric. Straight out of the washing machine, dried however is easiest (chucked over the bannister in our home...) and then straight onto the duvet cover. Crumples add to the life of the sheets, making them extra cosy and lived in. Who really has time to iron their sheets anyway? As an added bonus, linen has a beautiful way of helping you keep your cool. Especially when you're smack bang in the middle of the breastfeeding night sweats. I love my soft grey linen sheets from Soak & Sleep as they feel so cool and fresh, even on hot summer nights, and the lighter shade of grey is very forgiving on spillages and stains! 

                        Bed | Fitted Sheet | Pillow cases | Duvet cover | Rug | Bedside stool | Basket | Candle | Lamp | Slippers | Balloon

                        Bed | Fitted Sheet | Pillow cases | Duvet cover | Rug | Bedside stool | Basket | Candle | Lamp | Slippers | Balloon

PILE UP THE CUSHIONS

Happily ticking both the practical and pretty boxes are cushions and pillows. And lots of them. If you're going to spend days on end in bed, or nights sat up with only a restless babe and your iPhone light for company you might as well be comfy. We recently swapped our bed for this beaut, which even has a handy shelf sort of headboard (on non shoot days anything can be found there, from empty baby bottles (hers) and phone chargers (his) to muslin cloths (her again) and water bottles (mine). Even with it's padded headboard I find myself stacking up the pillows to prop myself up, whether I'm feeding or rocking or shushing or snuggling. A bad back is not a mama's best friend.

RELISH IN THE DETAILS

While the crawling and walking days are still a way off for us (although if the days continue to fly by they'll be here before I know it!) my mind has already turned to that of baby-proofing our home. As a fan of minimalism and clutter free interiors, I'm hoping this might be a little easier for us, as I don't have umpteen knick-knacks around the place. But if you do love little mementoes and accessories, why not opt for hanging items instead? Not only will they be out of reach of little hands, but they'll also brighten up a nursery nook or otherwise plain white wall, adding character and life. I made the little embroidered hoop (with hidden night lights) following along with a Mum Made box. I'm pretty chuffed with the results! 

LAYER UP A BEDSPREAD

It stands to reason that if you have little people, they will most likely end up in your bed at some point. And even if you have the pretty and practical bed linen as mentioned above, you might want to try and keep it clean to save you sticking it in the wash every day. This is where throws and blankets come into their own. Not only do they add warmth to a bed, but they're also super handy for putting on top of bed linen, to keep spills and stains at bay. Your little one will probably love the extra cosy feel too! I added this kid's bedspread to our bed, and for snuggle or play time I pop Tallie on it and then when the inevitable sick ups happen, I feel less precious about the sheets getting ruined!

Keep essentials handy

When your bedroom becomes your kitchen, living and dining room it's natural for 'stuff' to accumulate. There are certain bedside essentials I won't be without - namely a water bottle, breast pads, iPhone (and charger), headphones, a ton of muslin cloths, handcream and Calpol. But if these are all out on display I can get a little twitchy, so the basket is my friend. Keeping everything close on hand, but hidden out of view baskets are a super handy addition to your bedside area. 

So there are some of my tips for making your room baby friendly, without sacrificing your style. How about you? Do share any of your tips in the comments, or find me over on Instagram and let me know there!

-x-

All photos shot and styled by Ruth Garner for Gathered Cheer

This post was written in collaboration with Soak and Sleep, and for it I was given the lovely bed linen featured. All opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that keep Gathered Cheer going.