i started writing this post before eloise arrived, and i remember the feeling of anticipation. we were just so curious to find out who this tiny little human was going to be and what our life would be like as a family of four. i started nesting really, really early on – and basically spent the last four or five months of my pregnancy preparing our home for the arrival of juliet’s little sister.

in my mind, babyproofing our home wasn’t so much about safety (trust me – with a three-year-old toddler in the house, you’ve already thought of everything that can go wrong) as it was about creating a warm and cozy environment for all of us to come home to. when i was pregnant with juliet, i was so busy and stressed out up until the final hours before she was born, our house was a complete mess. we had also just moved there a few months earlier, so int he pictures i have from that time the walls are still bare. add to that my then-obsession with black and white, and it doesn’t make for a very inviting interior.

so this time around, i went all out to transform our living room into the coziest and friendliest place possible. we installed eloise’s high chair at our table, put up a crib for her to relax and play in when she’s not sleeping in our room, and added lots of cute little details in warm colors and materials. i love the wooden baby gym from mum an dad factory, and the golden canopy that used to hang over juliet’s bed (now replaced with a pink one, because PINK) was the perfect finishing touch to mark eloise’s area in the living room. i love how it matches so beautifully with the gold-speckled bedding from les rêves d’anaïs. i’ve also made it a habit to always have fresh flowers around – i think it’s a lovely way to add color and to spread a nice scent (without using overpowering scented candles).

coincidentally, i also added some new items to our collection of pomax table ware and decoration – there are no words for how much i love the gold cutlery and that gorgeous hurricane light. and while the table setting doesn’t exactly have anything to do with a new baby in the house, it does help to make those hasty and hectic dinners (two kids. WHO KNEW.) feel more festive and special. last but not least we added a bean bag from nobodinoz to our sitting area, for juliet to have a cozy little spot of her own when mom and dad are stretched out on the couch fighting off a coma caused by sleep deprivation.

a few weeks after the facts, i am still loving what we have done to our place in anticipation of eloise. we didn’t expect juliet to be such a big fan – her favorite spot to watch netflix on the ipad is in eloise’s crib, with the curtain drawn shut, and it’s all we can do to prevent her from crawling into the stokke baby seat… which does look so utterly cozy! i’m curious to hear from you – what did you change in your home in anticipation of your babies’ arrivals?

photos by stephanie duval • thanks to the brands that allow me to experiment, discover and only share what i genuinely love with you • tableware, cutlery and gold/glass hurricane light from POMAX • black highchair with baby seat by STOKKE via HET LAND VAN OOIT • off-white cuddle bunny from MIES&CO • white park bumper, pillow, blanket and bunny with golden speckles from LES REVES D’ANAIS • peach dotted pillow from CAMOMILE LONDON • wooden baby gym from MUM AND DAD FACTORY • gold canopy from numero74 via LIDOR.NL

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


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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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