last month i took you on A LITTLE TOUR of my favorite belgian children’s store het land van ooit, which also happens to be the place where i put together a gift registry for the new addition to our family. if you’re belgian, you’re familiar with the concept – you put together a list of gift ideas so that family and friends who’d like to offer you something to celebrate the birth of your baby know exactly what you’d be most happy with. apparently it’s not something that is usual in many countries, though from my experience it seems that our neighbors in france and switzerland are catching up. i know it’s the thought that counts and everything, but who can say in all honesty they like every single gift they’ve ever gotten that wasn’t picked from a list? i mean, how many pastel-colored-name-embroidered towels does a person need in their life? (none, if you ask me).

so many belgian children’s stores offer the service of putting together a gift registry when you’re expecting, and what shop is the perfect fit for you really depends on what you like and need. for me, the choice for HET LAND VAN OOIT was easily made. even more so than three years ago when juliet was born, the shop carries most of my favorite belgian and international brands. their selection is huge, and i love that it covers every single aspect of new parenthood – from dressing to feeding to bathing to transporting your babe. they also have the biggest offer in furniture and decoration – and that’s what sealed the deal for me. as you may know if you’ve followed my journey for the past few years, there are very few things i find as important as making our apartment look beautiful and feel like a true home for everyone involved. even though our rooms are decidedly fuller than three years ago and we already have many baby essentials lying around, i thought it was important to add some new things that make life as a family of four easier, and that will make our baby feel welcome and loved right from the start.

so a few weeks ago i sat down with karolien van turnhout to create the gift registry for our baby girl. she is one of the four kids of rita sels, who founded het land van ooit over 20 years ago. the five now work together in running the family business – karolien and her mom are usually off to the international fairs to buy the new clothes’ collections, for example. but around 19 years ago, she started out by helping clients put together the best possible gift lists before the arrival of their newborns. and from any interaction i’ve had with anyone at het land van ooit, it becomes so obvious just how much experience they have in that department. there literally is no question they haven’t heard before, no type of parent they haven’t helped out yet. i admit i’m not the easiest breed of consumer – my priority is definitely on creating a ‘big picture’ in which every little detail fits together perfectly. and yes, sometimes i tend to overlook the practicalities of real life in the process. but i’ve always felt like the people at het land van ooit respect my wishes and peculiarities with endless patience, while gently sharing their knowhow and experiences whenever appropriate. i’m very grateful for the way in which they have managed to simultaneously help me scout the perfect items for my ‘ideal vision’ and given me expert advice on some of the less sexy but hugely practical aspects.

but enough about how much i love the people there – let’s talk stuff! obviously i haven’t been able to resist scooping up some goodies already in order to prepare for baby’s arrival. you may have already seen THIS gorgeous garbo&friends bedding, and i already showed off our beautiful new OLIVER FURNITURE crib on instagram. i also couldn’t resist buying baby’s first outfit for the hospital (THIS and THIS from my favorite MARMAR) and some super cute cuddles. but there is plenty more good stuff on my list – and i have gathered some of my absolute favorites in the little collage above. from left to right, from the top down • 1+ more in the family CARDIGAN and T-SHIRT • cam cam BIB • beaba BATH THERMOMETER (how cute is this floral design?!) • liewood PLACEMAT and BATH TOWEL • mini a ture PANTS and TOP • cam cam BATH TOWEL.

i’m curious to know about your experiences with gift registries. have you had one before? what was the ultimate thing on there? any recommendations – stuff that people tend to overlook or something you truly loved? and if you are on the giving end of the equation – do you like gift registries or do you prefer picking something out yourself? what’s your favorite thing to gift parents of a newborn?

video and photography by stephanie duval • post in collaboration with HET LAND VAN OOIT

there is so much fun in preparing for a new baby in your life – but i gotta admit i spend at least as much time worrying about it, too. those first few months with juliet were a challenge, to say the least, and in some ways it now feels like we are preparing for battle or something. i am especially wary of the sleepless nights that are undoubtedly in our future, so i am not just preparing our little girls’ room (for when they can start sharing it after the first few months), but i am also giving our parental bedroom a bit of a makeover.

we’ll put the baby in a cradle in our room for those first few months, so that means we’ll be spending lots of night time moments feeding, burping, changing and soothing her right there. we have already put the changing table back into the corner where it used to be when juliet first arrived, and i am planning on adding a cosy chair somewhere, too. but something that i wanted to get done much faster, was the addition of a little lamp on my side of the bed.

in our previous apartement we used to have an ARTEMIDE tolomeo micro table lamp on either side of the bed, but when we moved into this place, i hung up that black metal bedside table on my side and the table lamp didn’t quite fit on there anymore. for some reason, i stopped looking for a decent replacement, and we got in the habit of using just one beside lamp for the both of us. needless to say, it’s not very convenient whenever i want to get out of bed earlier or want to read a little longer… i can’t count the times i’ve hit my toe against the wall, stumbling around in the dark.

i figured i needed to do something before the new baby arrived and i would trip straight into her crib in the middle of the night, so i started scrolling through endless options online. i knew i wanted something timeless and that would fit with the tolomeo micro on the other side. in the end i opted for the TOLOMEO PINZA, that i can simply ‘pinch’ onto my bedside table (which conveniently has a hidden compartment that hides most of the lamp’s cable from view).

i am trying to approach the prospect of sleepless nights as positively as possible, by adding cute and nice items here and there and focusing on the nice moments we’ll share with the new baby. a good night serum and body oil on the night stand to take good care of myself, a deliciously scented lavender bag (thanks MINIMALISMA) next to my pillow to fall back asleep more easily, tiny cute clothes and beautiful muslin cloths for those midnight changes…

i’m curious to hear – what are some ways in which you prepare(d) for the many, many (AND MANY MORE) sleepless nights that come with new parenthood?

photos by stephanie duval • bedside DESIGN LAMPS by MICHELE DE LUCCHI for artemide • post in collaboration with MISTERDESIGN.BE


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my name is stephanie duval, and i am a storyteller. this blog is where i share my favorite stories about design, travel, fashion and the nice things in life.


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